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270 topics in this forum

    Nigerian male barbie Bobrisky  has been dragged for wearing torn inner bra while giving women advice on how to secure rich men.
    The crossdresser has been giving young girls lecture on how to secure rich boyfriends for themselves, as she always shares new  video of himself advising out his usual advise on his official Instagram page.
    In the video posted by Bobrisky yesterday, he slammed and condemned girls who always form the habit of doing domestic chores in a man’s house just because she wants him to propose.
     

    However, social media users were quick to notice the worn out black inner wear worn by Bobrisky, as they mock him for wearing it.
    According to some his critics online, Bobrisky has to be dressing like the rich lifestyle he’s always lecturing about, while others claim his living a fake life.
     
     

  1. Super Eagles star, Wilfred Ndidi, who currently ply’s his trade with Leicester City in England, has shared the motivational story of his life.
    The football talent who was discovered in a local competition in Nigeria, has narrated how he was hawked in the streets to support his mother financially.

    Speaking with Nigerian football journalist Oluwashina Okeleji via The Frame online publication platform, Wilfred Ndidi revealed that he hawked pepper, groundnut, among other things to just to support his mother while growing up.
    According to him, none of the things he sold gave him fame more than groundnut and that was where he got the nickname ‘groundnut boy’. He said;
     

    Mo Abudu, the Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife Films, has responded to copyright infringement allegations levelled against her by Tobore Mit-Ovuorie.

    Multiple award-winning journalist Tobore Mit-Ovuorie, had called out Mo Abudu for allegedly using her work without giving her due credit.
    Weeks after October 2, 2020, Netflix global release of ‘Oloture’, Journalist, Tobore Mit-Ovuorie took to Twitter with shocking revelations.
    In a video sighted byjaonline, the journalist can be seen stating that the movie is her work and life experience, and wondered why she wasn’t given due credit for it.
    Mo Abudu has expressly denied the claims stating that Oloture is a work of fiction and was inspired by a variety of true events.
    In the video released on her Instagram page, she acknowledged that before the release of Oloture, Tobore was duly notified and was given a private screening. Additionally, Tobore was promised five percent of the films’ gains.
    After an earlier official statement, Mo Abudu wrote on Instagram;

     

    The defence headquarters (DHQ) has stated that the armed forces have ”checkmated” Boko Haram and their operations in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.

    Despite claims that the insurgents have been decimated, some parts of the north-eastern region still come under attack, but during an interview with NAN on Monday, John Enenche, coordinator of defence media operations, said the federal government and the military since 2015 had checked the intensity of terrorist activities across the country — particularly in the north-east.
    According to Enenche, the initial delay in tackling the menace made it gain momentum — Boko Haram taking over territories and setting up administrative structures — before they were knocked off in 2016.
    Enenche said history has shown that terrorism “is a very resilient type of enemy activity”, adding that the type of terrorism in Nigeria is not “a smart one” but rooted in the state of mind of a group of people.
     

    The family of the late Nollywood actress, Mrs Folakemi Aremu, popularly known as Orisabunmi, has reacted to multiple reports on her cause of death.
    There had been claims that she and her siblings died due to COVID-19 complications.

    The actress was reported dead last weekafter suffering from a cough, and about 24 hours after her demise, Steve Onishola, her elder brother, died at 71.
    But according to Punch, Gbenga Onishola, a nephew to the deceased, said the duo’s younger sister passed away on Saturday.
    However, some reports that went viral on social media platforms stated that Orisabunmi contracted COVID19 at an event where a popular gospel artiste, Esther Igbekele, performed in Ibadan, Oyo State in December, claiming she went on to infect her family with the virus.
    However, the family described the reports as unfounded lies, Oluwaseun Adelubi, a member of the family, said,
     

    Nollywood actress Omoni Oboli has taken to her Instagram page to share a piece of sad news about the sudden demise of her mother-in-law.

    The actress took to her page and announced the passing on of her mother-in-law although she didn’t give details of her death. Omoni Oboli wrote;

    Her husband Nnamdi Oboli has also taken to his page confirming the death of his mother a few hours ago. He wrote on Instagram;
     

    The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has stated that the Federal government is considering shifting the January 18th resumption date for schools over rising COVID-19 cases.

    Adamu said this while speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID19.
    After calling off 9-months strike, the Academic Staff Union of Universities says it is unsafe to re-open varsities now as COVID-19 guidelines are absent.
    This was said on Sunday, January 10, in reaction to the directive of the National Universities Commission that universities could resume on January 18.
    According to ASUU, although its members were ready to start work, the government had not put measures in place for the safe reopening of the schools.
     

    In reaction to the calls for the sack of the service chiefs in Nigeria, the presidency has stated that Muhammadu Buhari has not succumbed to the calls because he sees what Nigerians do not see.
    Gabriel Olonisakin, chief of defence staff; Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff; Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff; and Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff; are all due for retirement.

    This was made known by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari when he appeared on a Television Continental (TVC) programme on Sunday.
    He said the chief of army staff and his colleagues serve at the pleasure of the president who has not sacked them because “he is seeing things that critics are not seeing”.
     

    Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has threatened to shut down the Bonny-Bille-Nembe Jetty in Port Harcourt if there are reported cases of criminality or physical violence in the area.

     
    He stated this at the commissioning of the remodeled Bonny-Bille-Nembe Jetty by the Governor of Sokoto State, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Saturday.
    The governor stated that the zeal to provide an enabling environment for sea travellers and boost the marine economy of the state, spurred his administration to remodel the once dilapidated jetty first built in the 1950s.
     
    He also stated that he decided to remodel the dilapidated infrastructure because he firmly believes that the people of the State deserve the best infrastructure required to boost economic activities and enhance the well-being of the people.
    He, however, noted his administration will not tolerate criminal activities around the remodelled jetty.
    “Don’t come here and kill people. Don’t come here and kidnap people. Don’t come here to act like thugs and criminals.”
     

    Governor Willie ObianoA monarch in Anambra State, whose suspension was lifted seven days ago, Igwe Nkeli Nzekwe Kelly has reportedly died.
    He was the traditional ruler of Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area.
    He was among the 13 monarchs suspended in August 2020 for travelling to Abuja to see President Muhammadu Buhari without permission from the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano.
    The suspension was lifted on December 31st 2020, by the governor.
    Also Read: Anambra Gov, Obiano Suspends 12 Monarchs For Visiting Buhari
    Nzekwe Kelly, was also, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the splinter Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide General Assembly
    Before his sudden death on January 7, he had celebrated his 30th ofala festival on January 4.
    The Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba, confirmed his passing away to newsmen.
    He also revealed that the monarch had been buried.
    The post Suspended Anambra Monarch Dies Seven Says After Governor’s Pardon appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Seyi MakindeGovernor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has reacted to the allegation of high-handedness leveled against some members of the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun.
    He reacted in a statement issued on his official Twitter handle on Friday.
    Makinde stated that his administration is probing the alleged high-handedness of some members of the security outfit.
    Also Read: Osun Amotekun Debunks Fight Indecent Dressing
    He stressed that his administration will not allow security operatives to harass and intimidate members of the public.
    The governor assured the people of the state that their welfare and security remains a top priority to his administration.
    Makinde, however, urged the people of the state to remain calm and allow members of the corps to perform their legally authorized duties.
     
    The post Oyo Govt Probes Allegation Of High-Handedness Against Amotekun Corps appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Aminu MasariGovernor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has revealed that security agents have rescued 103 kidnapped victims in the state.
    Masari stated this when speaking to some rescued victims at the Government House on Friday.
    He revealed that the government took advantage of the recent release of 344 students of the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara.
    “This is in continuation of the exercise that started with the recovery of the 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara,” Masari said.
    Also Read: Masari Receives Abducted Schoolboys, Assures Them Of Proper Care
    “We saw an opening and we are working with some stakeholders to make sure that we exploit the opening and bring back as many kidnapped victims as we can.
    “We have so far returned 103 of the kidnapped victims and the process is still ongoing. We are doing this as quietly as we can, to make sure that nobody is harmed and further kidnapping is stopped.
    “So, we are doing this with the army, the police, Air Force and the Department of State Security.
    ”I can assure you that no ransom was paid to the kidnappers.”
    Masari urged the victims to consider the incident as something from the Almighty Allah.
    The post Security Forces Rescue 103 Kidnapped Victims In Katsina: Gov Masari appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Boko HaramGunmen suspected to be the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents in an attack on Geidam town in Yobe State on Wednesday abducted the district head.
    According to reports, the attack happened at about 6:30 p.m.on Wednesday evening.
    The insurgents reportedly stormed the town shooting sporadically causing many residents to panic and flee into the bush while others hid in their houses.
    Also Read: Residents Flee As Boko Haram Attacks Four Villages In Borno
    Confirming the incident, Yobe State Police Command spokesman ASP Dungus Abdulkarim said the terrorists abducted the district head of Geidam
    He also revealed that the police recovered a burnt Hilux vehicle containing two bodies.
    He added that it could not be ascertained whether the deceased were Boko Haram members or not.
    Reacting to the development, Governor Mai Mala Buni directed the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to move to Geidam and support the victims.
    The post Boko Haram Kidnaps District Head In Yobe appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Governor El-rufaiThe Kaduna State Government has arraigned five persons for alleged attempted adultery and organizing a nude party in breach of the COVID-19 protocols.
    Among those arraigned on Thursday was the spokesman for the Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna, Abraham Alberah.
    Alberah is also the husband of Aisha Yakubu, the owner of Asher Kings and Queens Restaurant – the purported venue of the aborted sex party scheduled to hold on December 27, 2020.
    Also Read: Aborted Sex Party: Demolished Building Had No Valid Title, Permit – Kaduna Govt
    Others were those operating the restaurant, the staff working there, and the customers who organized the party.
    The five persons were brought before Magistrate Benjamin Nok of the Magistrate Court sitting in the state capital on allegations of flouting the COVID-19 protocols and acting immorally.
    The document containing the charges filed against them stated that the nude party had already begun when policemen arrived at the scene.
    The post Nude Party: Kaduna Arraigns PDP Spokesman, Others For Attempted Adultery appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Demolished Kaduna RestaurantKaduna state Government has explained the reason for the demolition of the building housing Asher Kings and Queens restaurant; the alleged venue for a botched sex party in the state.
    The government said the building was brought down for its illegal status stressing that, “checks of government records show that the building housing Asher restaurant had neither a valid title nor development permit.”
    Kaduna State Urban Development and Planning Authority (KASUPDA) Director General, Ismail Umaru Dikko made this known during a press briefing for selected newsmen on Tuesday.
    Also Read: Second Wave: Kaduna Imposes New Restrictions On Churches, Mosques, Others
    He accepted that the earlier statement it issued through its Twitter handle was inaccurate.
    He stated that the decision to demolish the property on December 31, 2020, was in line with the laws and regulations of the state on any property that was in violation of its provisions.
    Umar-Dikko added that the illegal status of the building became a very separate matter from the trigger event, the third-party elements who had planned and advertised an unlawful gathering purportedly at the restaurant.
    The post Aborted Sex Party: Demolished Building Had No Valid Title, Permit – Kaduna Govt appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    SoworeHuman rights activist, Omoyele Sowore and four others have been remanded by a Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the hearing of their bail applications.
    The formal bail of the Sahara Reporters publisher would be heard on Tuesday, January 5, 2020.
    The Magistrate, Mabel Segun-Bello said all the charges are bailable, except if the defendants are deemed likely to evade trial or commit the same offence.
    Also Read: Sowore, Four Others Arraigned Over New Year’s Eve Protest
    She asked that the formal bail application should be brought before her at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday and ordered that the defendants be allowed access to medical attention and to a lawyer of their choice.
    Recall that it was earlier reported that the activist and four others were arraigned on three charges of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, and attempting to incite others.
    The five arraigned persons, however, denied the charges levelled against them.
    The post Court Sends Sowore, Four Others To Prison appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Lagos, Nigeria. 2nd of January, 2021. – Africa’s most preferred smartphone brand, TECNO, has just unveiled a new device under its Spark flagship.

    Smartphones have become an important part of everyone’s daily lives. However, as smartphone companies have improved on their devices over time, rising costs have put these modern smartphones out of most people’s reach. Nevertheless, consumers have increased expectations of their smartphones – without necessarily wanting to upend their savings. This is what the problem the brand is proffering solution to with the new Spark 5 Pro.
    With the Spark 5 Pro, TECNO is providing consumers with cutting-edge and premium features at a cost-effective price. Speaking at the unveiling in Lagos, Attai Oguche, Marketing Manager TECNO said;
    With its latest smartphone, Spark 5 Pro, TECNO has once again designed a product that delivers premium experience and a power-packed performance. For the young, urban, aspirational consumer, the Spark 5 Pro combines the latest in technology breakthroughs while allowing them to not only share their photos and videos across their social media channels but also have enough memory for saving their best memories with ease.  
    He further added that:
    The Spark 5 Pro comes out of the box with TECNO’s big memory, 128 + 4 GB. The device also has a unique AI powered camera system that differentiates it from any other device in its category. For consumers wanting a stylish smartphone that provides outstanding camera capabilities, pro performance, and long-lasting battery life, the SPARK 5 Pro will give you a big value.


    Unmatched Camera Features
    Equipped with a 16-megapixel rear AI Quad camera and an 8-megapixel front camera, SPARK 5 Pro brings quality in image and video creation. The cameras at the back consist of a primarycamera, a camera that captures depth of field, AI lens for edge detection in portraits, face recognition, and colour profile enhancements. Spark 5 Pro also as a macro lens for photographing small subjects at very close distances as well as a slow-motion feature to bring consumers a brand-newphotography experience.
    Long Lasting Battery
    Building upon the Spark 5’s battery performance, the Spark 5 Pro packs a punch with a powerful 5,000 mAh battery, so that consumers can run powerful applications and multiple tabs without the need to constantly recharge.
    Sleek Design


    SPARK 5 Pro comes in four colour options of Seabed Blue, Ice Jadeite, Spark Orange and Cloud white. The finishing, the material and the device’s sparkly look makes it unique and beautiful. The backing of the TECNO Spark 5 Pro is also made of polycarbonate (glassy material), giving it a premium and elegant look and feel.
    About TECNO Nigeria
    TECNO is the premium mobile phone brand of TRANSSION Holdings with a comprehensive mobile device portfolio that cuts across feature phones, smartphones and tablets. As a brand, TECNO is dedicated to transforming state-of-the-art technologies into localized products under the guideline of “Think Globally, Act Locally”. Established in 2006, TECNO has presence in more than 50 countries across the globe. It is now one of the top three mobile phone brands in Africa and a major player worldwide. TECNO is also the Official Tablet and Handset Partner of Manchester City Football Club. For more information, please visit: www.tecno-mobile.com
    The post TECNO Amazes Its SPARK Consumers with the Upgraded SPARK 5 Pro Smartphone appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    By Amaka Odozi and Damilola Ayomide
    Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria lost its footing as it officially slid into its second recession under five years. The oil production in the country fell to a four-year low under the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari. This has brought to light the failures in his administration. As a mono-economy which largely depends on the proceeds from the oil sector, the country contracted in the third quarter of the year, based on official data made available. 
    In 2016, the country suffered an economic downturn for the first time in over two decades and since then, it has been struggling to get back on its feet. There has been a rise in fuel prices as well as electricity tariff due to the recession.

    Earlier in the year, the World Bank had predicted that the collapse in oil prices combined with the COVID-19 pandemic was going to plummet the Nigerian economy into a severe economic recession, the worst since the 1980s. It didn’t come as a shock when the country eventually slumped into recession.

    A recession is said to arise when the economy plunges significantly for at least six months. Simply put that a recession occurs when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is negative for two or more consecutive quarters.
    According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s gross domestic product shrank by 3.62 per cent in the third quarter of the year which ended in
    September. In the quarter of 2020, it had contracted by 6.1 per cent, suggesting a slump in the country’s economy.  The country has basically gone through contractions for two consecutive quarters.
    “Cumulative GDP for the first 9 months of 2020, therefore, stood at -2.48 percent,” the NBS said.
    The oil sector fell by 13.89% (year-on-year) in real term. The average daily oil production recorded in the third quarter of 2020 stood at 1.67 million barrels per day (mbpd), or 0.37mbpd lower than the average production recorded in the same quarter of 2019 and 0.14mbpd lower than the production volume recorded in the second quarter of 2020.
    The slump in the country’s economy is mainly ascribed to the lock-down restrictions put in the place by the government during the period of March to August 2020 across the country with the intention of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Mass employment is a huge problem plaguing the country. Due to the severity of the crisis, scores of families were made to dig into their purses just to survive because the daily commercial activities had been disrupted and they were forced to stay in their homes till the coast was clear. People were laid off from their jobs because some companies/ organizations could no longer afford to pay them while some others suffered salary cut.
    Prices of goods and services also shot through the roof during this period. The service sector contributed to the economic downturn due to the fact that there were problems with domestic demand and supply, trade, and finance. The NBS had revealed in August that the economic decline in Q2 was largely caused by lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity resulting from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector contributed 8.73% to total real GDP in Q3 2020, down from 9.77% and 8.93% respectively recorded in the corresponding period of 2019 and the preceding quarter, Q2 2020. Also, the non-oil sector grew by –2.51% in real terms during the reference quarter, which is –4.36% points lower than the rate recorded in Q3 2019 but 3.54% points higher than in the second quarter of 2020. In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 91.27% to the nation’s GDP in the third quarter of 2020, higher than its share in the third quarter of 2019 (90.23%) and the second quarter of 2020 (91.07%).
    According to The Guardian, failure to save for the rainy day as well as poor monetary and fiscal policies, according to the central bank of Nigeria is one of the reasons Nigeria slumped into recession. People undermine the importance of saving, forgetting the fact that it comes in handy when faced with financial emergencies.
    Similarly, the federal government keep on garnering more debt. According to the Nigeria public debt report released by the Debt Management office, the country’s Total Debt Stock (Foreign & Domestic), as at June 2020 stood at N31.01 trillion ($85.9 billion)- 8.31% increase when compared with N28.63 trillion ($79.3 billion) recorded in March 2020. Domestic debts stood at N19.65 trillion ($54.42 billion) as at June 2020. Foreign debt grew by 13.8%, compared to $27.7 billion (N9.9 trillion) recorded as at the first quarter of the year. Nigeria’s public debt grew by $22.09 billion in the last 5 years, indicating an increase of 34.6%. The recent increase in Debt Stock was attributed to the $3.36 billion Budget Support Loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), New Domestic Borrowing.
    The high-interest rates have also scared investors away. During the November meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the monetary policy rate still maintained 11.50%, which is considerably high. The U.S. dollar exchange rates have increased and this has majorly affected those into importation business.
    Effects of recession on individuals and families

    An entrepreneur, identified as Kelechi, who deals with buying and selling of human hair, raised an alarm over how the dollar exchange rate had affected her business. She revealed she said that she was unable to import goods because the dollar agent informed her to add more money to the money she had already paid. The hair seller said that the dollar agent had previously complained about dollar shortages.

    Jumoke Williams, a female banker, disclosed how the recession has affected her saying;
    “There has a lot of pressure at work to meet up with the budget assigned. In my personal business, I have noticed a reduction in rate of orders from customers. The increase in the Foreign change rate has also affected me due to the fact I import the goods I sell from outside the country.”
    A restaurant owner, Jide Bankole, said that he had to let go of some of his staff during the coronavirus period.
    “Due to the impact of coronavirus, I was made to lay off some employees in my organization just to stay afloat and now I have limited number of hands so there is pressure on each staff to meet up. My restaurant was closed during the lock-down period and the #EndSARS period so we didn’t make sales. Money keeps coming little by little. I am happy my shop was not looted or destroyed by those hooligans.”
    Mr Babatope Openiyi, librarian, 36, finds it hard to sustain his family consisting of a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. He tells Information Nigeria that the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protests took a heavy toll on the citizens.
    “You can imagine the level of hardship we have gone through in this country. Although I work as a librarian, I also own a bookstore. It has been hard for me to pay all the bills – light, water, waste, name it. I also have to provide for my children. My take-home used to be about N75,000 monthly. Now, what can N75,000 do for two adults and two children in a month? My store was almost looted during the #EndSARS period. But I guess people don’t read anymore or want to. Looting a bookstore in a pandemic? Now, it’s recession. People wouldn’t even remember my store exists anymore, except students.”
    Mr Nduka Eze, pharmacist, 39, says the recession is not helping his retail pharmacy.
    “I am a man of principle. The country is being flooded with adulterated drugs than ever before due to the pandemic and the aftermath of the protests. It’s becoming even more difficult now that there is a recession. People are complaining that the prices of drugs are becoming very expensive and costly. But I still have to get authentic drugs at affordable prices on my shelves. The recession is definitely making my business slower and depressing.”
    Way Out 
    Survival being the primary instinct of humans, there is a need for Nigerians to stay afloat during the current recession. Considering that the end of the recession is not predicted to be soon, delay in finding ways to handle the situation may become disastrous.
    While moderation appears to be the commonest solution to the economic recession, there are some concrete steps that can be taken in order to cushion the effects on individuals and families.
    Although these steps are not long-term plans, it becomes necessary at a time like this. It is believed that if these steps are followed, Nigerians would not be adversely affected during this period. It is also to prevent a worsening of the situation.
    A good solution to consider is a daily source of income. This will help parents who have mouths to feed and monthly utility bills to pay not fall into debts. A daily source of income in addition to the monthly salary will take care of the rough edges associated with staying afloat during the recession.
    Also, this is not the time to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’ This is the time to live within one’s means. While it is good to desire luxurious items, an economic recession does not present the opportunity for such frivolities. Necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter should take precedence over status symbols such as fine dining, frequent cinema-going, expensive skincare and gadgets – all which aid the standard of living but can be done without for this period. In other words, except it is absolutely necessary, it should not be purchased.
    Unemployment being one of the contributing factors to the recession, those out of employment should consider taking on jobs that can yield a stable income even if it is not as high as they desire. Job security should not be taken for granted during this period. A stable job will go a long way in helping individuals and families weather through the storms of the recession, especially for individuals who have to cater to the needs of a loved one or the other.
    Still on status symbols, it becomes necessary at a time like this for parents/guardians to weigh the academic needs of their children/wards vis-à-vis the desire for social climbing and hobnobbing. Taking advantage of government-owned schools that provide quality education is another way of easing the burdens of the recession. If at all private education is considered, affordable ones should be the top choices.
    The importance of savings cannot be overemphasized at this point. Citizens are advised to cultivate the habit of savings no matter how little it may be. After the needs of children and the elderly who fall within the dependent category of the workforce are met, a portion of the earnings should be saved in such a way that the temptation to go back and take out of it is reduced to the barest minimum.
    These steps, if duly followed, will help alleviate the effects of the recession. With a downsized family and individual budget, surviving the hard times should not be a herculean task.
    The post Way Out Of Nigeria’s Economic Recession appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Onions on display at Yaba market. Picture Credit: Information Nigeria 
    By Damilola Ayomide, Amaka Odozi
    In the average Nigerian household, onion is an important food item. This is because it is the main ingredient in the preparation of virtually every Nigerian meal. It is also known for its healing abilities – particularly in the treatment of the common flu. The sudden spike in the price of onions has become a cause for concern because it is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables in the country.
    Notwithstanding, there is still a rise in demand as consumers continue to purchase the vegetable due to the fact that it is needed in food preparation. Owing to its essential value, the sudden and inflated price increase has created discomfort for many Nigerians. In reaction to the recent development, consumers have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction over the surging prices as well as the deteriorating quality of the kitchen staple.
    From Twitter users developing novel hashtags and memes in an attempt to make light of the unfavourable situation to Facebook users creating posts on the pains of getting a good bargain at the market, it becomes necessary to shed more light on the reasons for the sudden increase in price and how Nigerians are adapting to the situation – especially considering the hike in other essential social amenities.
    A biennial crop, onion cultivation is a large agricultural industry with its main production occurring in the North East and North West states such as Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi, and Kebbi. This is why Nigeria, according to statistics, is the sixth highest-producer of green onion. As regards the production of dry onions, Nigeria sits at the eleventh spot.
    The main varieties produced in Nigeria are the Red Creole (which is popularly called purple or wet onions among sellers and consumers); the White Creole (which is mainly used as an ingredient for Fried Rice); the Red Tropicana (which falls under the category commonly called dry onions); the Bombay Red (which is another variety commonly known as dry onions); and the Green Bunching (the spring onion that doesn’t grow into a bulb-like its counterparts).
     
    The Problem
    In Lagos state, these varieties are readily available for purchase at regular big and small open markets – large retail malls are equally not exempted. To find out why the prices have shot up, Information Nigeria journeyed down to Yaba market, Lagos state to carry out a market survey.
    The steep increase in the prices, it was gathered, is as a result of high demand for the edible bulb, flooding in the farms and poor storage facilities. Flooding in the farmlands has led to crop damage and limited supply of onions in the market. Onion is considered as a semi perishable crop, yet it is a delicate product to store due to its high-water content. Thus, poor storage facilities have contributed to the loss of half of the total produce.
    These conditions have translated into high prices for traders and distributors, who intend to reap their profits and cover the cost of buying the crops inadvertently affecting the end consumers as they are forced to dig into the pockets to be able to afford the edible bulbs.

    A trader at the market seller said: “It’s not our fault too. We had to increase the retail price because the wholesale price was also increased by over 50%”, Idowu said. “A big bag that used to be N80,000 is now N150,000.
    “This will definitely affect the retail price. Five bulbs of wet onions used to be N100; it’s now N300”, she added.
    Another lady, Blessing, said that a big basket of onions cost N60,000, so she and another trader split it into two and pay for half which cost N30,000, so they are selling it in bits due to its limited supply. Blessing said the onions are imported from the north.
    Market reaction
    While some people have resolved to their fate, others have found alternatives to save money. With the continuous increase in the prices, people are not so generous with their servings of the edible bulb.
    Mrs Adenuga, 35, was met with shock on visiting the stall of her usual seller in Yaba market as her budget could no longer purchase the usual quantity of onions. Information Nigeria met her haggling with the middle-aged female trader who could be heard saying that the prices of the dry onions (Adenuga’s favourite) had all gone up.
    “I thought it was a joke when my colleague told me that onions are now gold. I decided to close early at work to come see things for myself. How do I cope now? This government doesn’t want us to eat at all.”
    “A big bag that used to be N80,000 is now N150,000. This will definitely affect the retail price. Five bulbs of wet onions used to be N100; it’s now N300”.
    A ready answer met the question of why the wholesale price is now almost twice its previous.
    “COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected everything, with onions not left out. The planting season was when there was a mandatory lockdown – I’m talking about the months of February, March, and April. So, what were we expecting? It’s not just onions, it’s tomatoes, pepper – everything.”
    Ms Uche Nwabuzor could not purchase onions at the open market that same day. The exorbitant prices greatly displeased her. After haggling with almost five sellers, she gave up the pursuit. Information Nigeria asked her why she chose to forgo the perishable crop considering that the sellers all beckoned on passers-by with trite phrases like ‘my colour’, ‘come, I have what you want’.
    “It’s not that I don’t want to buy. I can’t buy at that price rate. I know my budget. But even if I want to exceed it, it shouldn’t be at the current rate.”
    Asked of an alternative, she replied: “I’ll try spring onions. And if I can’t get that, then I’ll try the big malls – I hear they sell it in bundles. A bundle should be fairly worth the price.”
    Kayode Bello, when asked of alternatives he has found so far in the absence of the perishable vegetable, he said that: “the consumption of onions is common in this country, that makes it look there are no other alternatives. Onions can be substituted for garlic which is among shallot, having the same function.”
    Madam Sola, the owner of Madam Sola’s local restaurant in Sabo said that: “I use onions to cook my meal despite the price increase but I reduce the portion of onions I use in each meal so that it can go round. And besides, not everybody enjoys onions.”
    Miss Adenike, 24, said: “I no longer buy onions at the market because I can get it at a cheaper rate and in more quantity at the shopping mall. Imagine, how can I buy 3 small pieces of onions for N200?”
    With the country still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic as well as the chaos and unrest which rocked the month of October, onions ought to be the least of all problems.
    There is a dire need for the government to provide support to farmers in building more storage capacity and also offer more solutions to bridge the gap.
     
    The post Why The Price Of Onions Soared To New Heights Across Nigeria (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Prepaid MetersBy Gbenga Odunsi, Lagos
    The electricity regulatory body in 2018 introduced a law directing power distribution companies (DisCos) to furnish consumers with more prepaid meters. While many Nigerians are yet to be allotted meters, despite paying in full, some have complained of exorbitant billings.
    “The officials came to my house, promising to fix my light and provide me with prepaid meter. This was on 15 May 2019, but as I speak(October 2020), I have not seen any meter. I went to their office in Ikeja to know why my meter has not been delivered, despite making full payment. But, on getting there, I met other people who had come to lay the same complaint, 35-year-old Joy Edna told Information Nigeria.
    In April 2018, a new regulation on meter asset provider service says customers are not supposed to pay for meters.
    According to the regulation, “DisCos shall conclude the procurement process for the engagement of the first set of MAPs within 120 days from the 3rd day of April,” MAPS regulation states.
    “DisCos shall conclude the procurement process for the engagement of the first set of MAPs within 120 days from the 3rd day of April,” MAPS regulation stipulates.
    Investigation by Information Nigeria uncovers the failure of the DisCos in meeting this deadline, and millions of Nigerians without prepaid meters are afflicted with the exploitation of estimated billing.
     
    Why use prepaid meter
    Whether you are a house or flat owner, renting or a landlord there are many benefits to using prepaid electricity over normal billed electricity in your home or office. Prepaid electricity means you don’t get bills in the post at the end of the month and many people in Nigeria using prepaid electricity now would never want to go back.
    When you are using postpaid electricity (get billed at the end of the month) you are not aware how much you are using a day, a week or an hour. A prepaid electricity meter has a readout which displays your units as well as the level of power consumption. This allows you to better monitor how much electricity you are using and therefore budget better every month.
    With a prepaid meter, a consumer can recharge N3000 worth of power and effectively manage it for three months by switching off appliances. This, however, doesn’t favour the DisCos as they tend to make little or no profit from this. Estimated billing allows them to charge based on assumed, rather than actual, electricity consumed, hence, they issue estimated bill of N30,000 each month, even if consumption is not more than N3,000.
    Read Also: #EndSARS: Nigerians Recount Horrible Experience With Thugs In Police Uniform
     
    Prepaid meter intentionally made scarce
    Tonye Akinwande, a 43-year old landlord in Lagos who spoke with Information Nigeria, says the officials of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC are culpable of prepaid meter scams in Lagos. According to the estate surveyor, the prepaid meter costs N38,000, and payment is made in full, after which another sum of N5000 must be paid to open an account with the electricity department.
    Mr Akinwande says as a landlord, there is a need to install the prepaid meter for all his tenants in the three different houses he owns within the city, but all attempts to purchase the devices proved abortive as officials of the electricity distribution company continue to frustrate his efforts.
    “A 3-bedroom flat would be given an estimated bill of #20,000-#25,000 a month, only to find out that the flat isn’t even using so much appliances.
    “The prepaid metre device cost #38,000 for one, and would not be issued to you until you have fully paid for it – that’s if you are even issued one.
    “This means as a landlord in Lagos, I have to install the meters for my tenants, one per flat, Where would I get that kind of money?
    “I was made to understand one prepaid meter costs #38,000, I paid for 8, then I was made to pay another #5,000 to open an account with the electricity department for each of the meters.
    “People are yet to realize that this is a ploy by IKEDC to frustrate and further discourage people from purchasing the device because they make a huge amount of profit from estimating electricity bills.
    “The prepaid metre is intentionally made scarce so that individuals would not get hold of it and put an end to the menace of estimated billings.
    “The officials know that if you are able to purchase the metre and recharge #2,000 worth of power, if managed well, it would last you for more than two months, hence, their foot-dragging to issue out these meters.”
     
    Prepaid meter 
    Computer drops long names
    Chidinma Umunna could not believe her ears when officials of IKEDC told her husband that the computer dropped his name because it was ‘too long’.
    She gawked in disbelief at the total amount they had been charged for estimated electricity consumption. The tall, plumpy, dark-skinned lady laments over the shoddy activities of IKEDC officials in the issuing of prepaid meters to electricity consumers.
    According to the banker, her husband had paid for the device in 2018, but he is yet to be issued a meter.
    “The officials appear to me as scammers, she says.
    “In a country where there are rules and regulations, you find government officials bury themselves in financial shenanigans, thinking they are above the law.
    “What would it cost IKEDC to produce prepaid meter that has been paid for since 2018?
    “We keep hearing the meters are not available but they will never tell you not to pay for it.
    “Among the numerous excuses that were given to us was that my husband’s names are too long that the computer had to drop it.”
    “The officials sit in their offices and draft figures according to whatever wave swept through their heads.
    “We keep getting estimated billings of over N25,000 in a modest two-bedroom flat.
    Friends that I explained my situation to ask could not believe their ears, they kept asking if we were running an industry inside the house.”
     
    Overcharging and overbilling prepaid meter users
    In what appears to be a grand scam and illegal extortion by IKEDC officials — intentionally or through high powered negligence — metered a residential apartment with a device meant for commercial use. The effect of this is that the residential apartment is overbilled after each recharge.
    Customarily, prepaid meter consumers are billed according to energy used. Consumers control what they use, and when they run out of unit, they can understand why it is so.
    But, a prepaid meter consumer, Mr Babatunde Ayodeji, says whenever he recharges N5000, it doesn’t last more than two weeks – and it’s not as if power is constant.
    According to him, IKEDC officials classified him on A1, instead of R2TP, which is the normal bill for a residential apartment with 3 phase.
    After months of overbilling, Mr Ayodeji filed a formal complaint to IKEDC support centre via email.
    After exchanging several emails since July, nothing has been done to effect or reclassify this consumer who lives around Ojodu Berger area of Lagos State. Having been overcharged for more than eight months, the power distribution company have done next to nothing in either rectifying their gross negligence or undoing their grand scam, after been found out.
    “Aside email, I have also been to their office and spoke with a customer service agent who also confirmed the “fraud” and promised to push it to the appropriate department.
    “Many residents are oblivious of this smart overcharge system but many just noticed their recharge doesn’t last despite the epileptic power supply they enjoy.
    “We will recall that during the recently announced tariff change which elicited widespread condemnation from the public and labour unions, which was later halted by the government through the intervention of the national assembly, it required only a forty(40) digit token to move everyone up the higher tariff ladder.
    “It is still a wonder why this same process cannot apply to effect a commercial tariff plan to a residential tariff, after all, it is all about the change in figure,” Ayodeji added.
    Read Also: INVESTIGATION: ‘Attitude’ Of Health Workers In Ogun State General Hospital Killing Patients Faster Than Sickness
    The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Consumers rights and Obligation, empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 clearly states that: all customers have a right to refund when over billed; all customers have a right to file complaints and to the prompt investigation of complaints; all customers have a right to transparent electricity billing; it is the customer’s right to contest any electricity bill, among others.
    Further, Section 96 of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act specifies that when a distribution company is informed during working hours that a customer’s prepaid meter is not operating properly, an authorized official from the company shall visit the customer premises within 24 hours to inspect and fix or replace it.
    Five months after, Mr Ilori is yet to be reclassified on R2PT; yet to be refunded; while officials of IKEDC have continued to overbill him for electricity consumed, an egregious breach of the EPSR Act.
     
    IKEDC, a failed agency — NERC is complicit too
    The IKEDC has failed in its responsibilities to electricity consumers in Lagos and neighbouring cities. It remains to be seen if the officials will turn a new leaf from their corrupt ways.
    Many Lagos residents are rocking the same boat with the above-interviewed persons, and they are dying in silence because they have no means to prosecute these dare-devil officials.
    Again, Kabir Olatunde, an IT specialist residing at Airport road paid cash for the prepaid meter in February at IKEDC’s office in Ikeja. Nine months after, the device is yet to be delivered to him. He has lost every hope of ever getting the prepaid meter, after several failed assurances from IKEDC’s officials.
    “I paid for the prepaid meter in February, before the coronavirus lockdown began, and I was assured the meter would be installed after five business days.
    “It is close to nine months now and no meter in sight.
    “I have tried all I can to ensure the device is installed but I keep getting empty promises from the officials, Olatunde told Information Nigeria.
    Efforts to get reactions from Ikeja Electricity and Nerc proved abortive as emails sent to both agencies were not replied as at press time.
    The post Ikeja Electricity Officials Caught In Prepaid Meter Fraud appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    In the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality, the inspector-General of police, Mohammed Adamu announced the disbandment of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
    This decision was made after Nigerian Youths stormed the streets to take action and call for change. The Nigerian government had no other option than to yield to the demands of the people, who came out in their number to stage demonstrations and to request for the termination of the notorious police unit following reports that they were misusing their powers to inflict pains on innocent citizens.
    The nationwide protests which gained momentum kicked off on October 8, after a video emerged showing SARS operatives allegedly shooting and killing a young man infront of Wetland hotel in Ughelli South local government of Delta State.
    ‘Young People’ are often being targeted as they are constantly harassed either because of their looks and the type of gadgets and vehicles they make use of. Hence, they decided to take charge of their lives because they are tired of being oppressed and abused by the same people meant to be protecting them.
    The #EndSARS hashtag goes back to 2017, and it started off as a Twitter campaign used by people to narrate their experiences of police brutality. The campaign elicited responses from people who have suffered at the hands of the rogue police unit.
    SARS was founded in 1992 by by former police commissioner, Simeon Danladi Midenda to combat armed robbery and other grievous crimes but these particular set of mischief makers are known for extorting, killing, raping, and committing all sort of crimes and atrocities with impunity.
    READ ALSO: IGP lists requirements for new SWAT operatives as training begins
    Demonstrators have always insisted that they have no leader and they speaking with one voice despite the fact that some ‘people’ have tried to spin the narratives to cause a divide.

     
    On October 11, the IGP revealed a new police unit known as Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team has been set up in place of SARS.
    This idea wasn’t well-received by Nigerians probably due to the fast timing and this raised eyebrows.
    Five demands of the youths
    People are skeptical about the new police unit due to the fact that the government in general has not given them enough reason to trust and believe them in past. Many still believe the government doesn’t have the best interest of the people at heart.
    The accuracy of the mantra, ‘Police is your friend’ remains arguable and far from truth thanks to the activities of the Nigerian police force.
    Nigerians are demanding for the total dissolution of every tactical unit and a reformation of the Nigerian police force.
    Protesters have also submitted their five core demands to the government and these include; immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for the victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families, setting up  an independent body to oversee investigations into police brutality and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct, psychological evaluation and retraining of SARS officers before they are redeployed to other police units, and increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens. They are not accepting less and they also intend to tackle the bad governance and corruption in the country.
    Five Demands Of #EndSARS Protesters 
    SARS TO SWAT
    It didn’t take long before a photo of a man wearing the alleged SWAT Uniform began trending online despite the fact that people haven’t wholly accepted the unit.
    According to the inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu, former police officers from SARS will be part of the new unit but will undergo psychological and medical examinations to make sure they are fit.
    “The officers are expected to undergo this process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties,” said Adamu.
    Nigerians have stood their ground and have said ‘no’ to the creation of the new police unit.
    People have also continued to agitate for an end to the tactical units.
    Some Nigerians believe they are still the same set of people under the guise of a new name as they also cited how the government changed PHCN to NEPA but the issue of constant supply of light remained unresolved.

    Efforts have been made to disrupt the peaceful protests. Is Nigeria truly a democratic nation if the people are deprived of their freedom to speak and be heard?
    Protesters have said that they are tired of empty promises made by the government. The  Nigeria Police Force need to sit down and come up with a well-thought-out-approach that would bring relief to the citizens of the country.
    Reactions trailing the decision 


    https://twitter.com/obyezeks/status/1317153129507524612?s=21






    https://twitter.com/princecasmir8/status/1319280618501410819?s=21
    Oriola Topsy Seun
    It was too early to make such decision citizens sees it as if it’s a old wine in new bottle. The IGP should have been patient enough since der is nationwide protest on this particular unit dey don’t have adviser and see the result of lack of patient we all bear it together even the IGP is not safe this time around and his family inclusive. May God deliver us in this country.
    Owoicho Peter Ochola
    For doing that shows their foolishness and insensitivity to the plight of their people. They think we are fools! No…!! Enough is a enough
    Oche Mohammed Yusuf
    Very good to go.
    There must not be vacuum at any security space, rather the need for more fortifications, most especially when a unit is disbanded as the case with defunct SARS, there is a swift need for replacement.
    For me, I say kudos to IGP for been proactive.
    However, they must take into cognisance the insensitivity of their past actions.
    Austin Ayodele
    The swiftness in the change of SARS to SWAT means it’s just a change of name and that’s senseless.
     It remains to be seen if replacing Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad, FSARS, with Special Weapon and Tactics, SWAT, will bring any positive difference.
    The post Why Nigerians Protest Creation Of SWAT Police appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    #EndSars protesters“I entered a commercial tricycle heading home. On our way, we met SARS officials. They told us to come down. We were three inside.
    “They started asking me questions about where I worked and what I do to which I replied all. After much questioning, they collected my ATM and told me I have to bail myself. I asked on what grounds and as we were talking, the other of his men shot one of the guys in the tricycle.
    “I was terrified and told him that I don’t have cash on me. He brought out a POS, inserted my card in it and told me to type N200,000. I had to type it because I was scared of being shot”, she tearfully recounts.”
    If you think the above narration is from a Nollywood scene, you are wrong. A young lady, Sophia, who works as a food vendor in Delta state, was not only forced to witness a young man being unlawfully shot but also part away with her hard-earned money – a total of N200,000 in her bank account.
    The ongoing protests against the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) which is gradually growing into a nationwide revolt is not independent of the burning desire of the majority of Nigerian youths to see a reformed Nigerian police force.
    The most populous black nation in the world with more than half its population as youths is witnessing its strongest alliance against police brutality in over a decade.
    Read Also: #EndSARS: Nigerian Minister Blames ASUU Strike For Civil Unrest
    SARS, created in 1992 to handle crimes related to robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and crimes involving firearms have been involved in anti-citizen activities, with officers deviating from their original assignment by profiling young Nigerians, maiming, harassing, and shooting them even in the absence of concrete information to warrant their arrest.
    Nigerian share their experiences
    The anger and agitations for the total disbandment of the hated police unit cannot be said to be unreasonable.
    During one of the several peaceful protests, a protester who took to the streets of Port Harcourt in a stereotyped appearance was later revealed to be DJ Kaka, who schooled in Ghana but lost his twin brother and car to SARS officers in Nigeria. His experience with the rogue police unit made him travel from Ghana to Port Harcourt to join the street protests.
    “My name is End SARS boy, I don’t love them, I schooled in Ghana, but when I came back on January 25th, SARS had the guts to kill my brother and took his car. I don’t love SARS; I don’t love them.
    “We need the MOPOL. We need the police. And we don’t need criminals like them. iPhone is not a crime. I’m from Ikwerre, all my body there is tattoo and I’m a DJ but no job. So, I’m just here to end SARS.
    That’s why I came all the way from Ghana to end Port Harcourt SARS. I’m crazy but I’m gentle”, DJ Kaka reveals in a viral video.
    Nina Nora’s experience with the rogue police unit was while travelling to her village in early 2020. The bus she boarded was framed for transporting Indian hemp.
    “When I was going to the village early this year, FSARS stopped us at Okwu Uratta and told all of us to come down for ‘stop and search’. They didn’t see anything so they allowed us to go. Another group stopped us at Bishop’s Court and told us to come down for ‘stop and search’ again.
    “One of them went straight to the gloves compartment and brought out wraps of weed. They started to threaten us with the NDLEA if we don’t comply. We eventually settled them with N30,000. They had initially asked for N5,000,000. Definitely, their ‘stop and search’ was to plant incriminating evidence in our bus”, she shares.
    A quantity surveyor identified as Alexander Aghedo narrated his experience with the infamous police unit thus:
    “When I was to lead a team of surveyors to Rivers State during the height of kidnapping menace along the East-West road, I visited the SARS post in Emoha LGA of the state to make arrangement for security escort.
    “This was to enable me and my team carry out survey work and also collect soil samples for analysis. I paid the requested amount to their head and four SARS officers were released to provide the much-needed security for our survey work to go seamlessly. I was in for a surprise when while working at the site on the day, one of the SARS officers told me that he and his colleagues have concluded that I’m going to pay them an addition N100,000 right there and then.
    “They said that what I paid in the office was for Oga. I told them I had already given their boss N200,000 and asked where he expected me to get an additional N100,000. The officer then cocked his AK47 rifle and shouted that if I couldn’t transfer them money, they would kill me and say it was cultists that attacked. Afraid for my life, I had to transfer my last N40,000 to them.”
    A young woman who was raped by SARS officers in 2018 is championing the protests on the streets. Identified as Chiatuiro Precious Chidera, she says she does not want a repeat occurrence for her unborn male and female offspring.
    “I was raped two years ago. They also extorted money from me. What was my crime: I fresh. I fresh na crime? I cannot give birth to a daughter in this country make them no go rape my daughter tomorrow. Make them no go shoot my son tomorrow. Na people pikin them they dead for Lagos state. End SARS. End police brutality”, she said while holding a placard.
    Protests across the nation
    The ongoing protests started on Thursday, October 8, 2020 after a planned protest by notable musician Naira Marley that was put on hold following a Twitter appeal from the Minister of Youth. Naira Marley then agreed to have a Live chat via Instagram with the IGP, Mohammed Adamu on Monday, October 5 2020. He, however, issued a one-week ultimatum to the government, after which a protest would begin to bring an end to the activities of the unit.
    Read Also: #EndSWAT: Sanwo-Olu Condemns Attack On Protesters In Alausa
    Displeased with Naira Marley’s lack of resolve, another artist Runtown who had also called for physical protests maintained that the protest would take place in Lagos on October 8 in spite of the government’s warnings and appeals. Runtown was soon backed by rapper Falz, comic skit maker Mr Macaroni, female singer Tiwa Savage, OAP Toke Makinwa, and reality TV star Tacha.
    On October 8, the aforementioned celebrities took to the streets of Lagos alongside other young Nigerians who had received the Twitter call to meet at the agreed venue. They all marched to the Lagos State Governor’s House. Majority of the youths slept at the gate of the government house till Friday, October 9.
    Other celebrities joined subsequently. The number of youths at the protest grounds increased, with Twitter as the main social media platform for communication. The #EndSARS hashtag alongside its offshoots such as #EndSWAT, #EndPoliceBrutality, and #SARSMUSTEND has attracted global attention with some global celebrities such as Trey Songz, Kanye West, and Lil Baby tweeting the hashtag and creating more awareness on the microblogging platform. Currently, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has acknowledged the movement with an emoji.
    The protests then spread to other states of the country such as Rivers, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and the FCT, Abuja, following the disbandment of SARS by the IGP on Sunday, October 11. It was also on Sunday that the five demands were made to President Muhammadu Buhari. Currently, the protesters have not relented. This is because of the unimplemented pronouncements of disbandment and prosecution of abusive officers in the past.
    The protests have also been disrupted on several occasions by alleged government security agents and hoodlums. The death of Jimoh Isiaq spurred more hatred for the SARS unit and more protests against police brutality. A prominent activist in Abuja, Aisha Yesufu, was also reportedly manhandled by the Nigerian police.

    There have also been donations made by private companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and notable celebrities. The protesters have so far spoken with one voice: there is no leader among them and they will not stop until all demands are met.
    SARS To SWAT, Any difference between Akara and moi moi?
    After the IGP’s announcement of the disbandment of SARS on October 11, a new unit was created to replace the now-defunct SARS. This unit is called SWAT (Special Weapon and Tactics Team). SWAT is to fill the gaps created owing to the dissolution of SARS.
    In an official statement released by the Nigeria Police Force, no personnel of the defunct SARS will be selected to be part of the new Tactical Team. It also states that operatives of the new Tactical Team must be free of any pending disciplinary matter especially those touching on misuse of firearms and abuse of human rights.
    Nigerian youths have, however, rejected the formation of a new police unit to replace the scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad, positing that it will not end the brutalization of citizens. Some also argued that the new name given to the unit will give the police unfettered rights to further harass and intimidate Nigerians as they refer to the new unit as an advanced version of SARS.
    It remains to be seen what the protests will metamorphose into, and how the Buhari-led dictatorial government would handle the trivial issue.
    The post #EndSARS: Nigerians Recount Horrible Experience With Thugs In Police Uniform appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Protests in Oyo, Osun over fuel price, electricity tariff hike“That is how they normally talk. They will say they are doing it in our interest, but it’s all lies. How much am I earning? Don’t I have a family to take care of? This is callous of them.
    “While governments of other countries are trying to make life better for their people, here, they want to choke us with increase in this and that.
    “Everything keeps increasing but the minimum wage doesn’t increase,” Mr Hammed, a 47-year-old carpenter told Information Nigeria while reacting to the increase in fuel price and electricity tariff.
    As Nigerians went about their daily activities despite the restraints caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, hoping to surmount the challenges brought about by the unexpected tragedies witnessed in the year 2020, the subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PNPPC), announced an increase in the ex-depot price of fuel from N138.62 to N151.56 per litre.
    A few hours later, the price was adjusted to N147.67. The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold to marketers at the depots.
    This announcement comes shortly after the increase in electricity tariff that welcomed Nigerians into the month of September. Although this has been described to be in the best interest of the populace, the thought of having to pay more, despite slashed salaries and unreliable power supply has become quite difficult to bear for many Nigerians.
    The assurance of Oyebode Fadipe, general manager of corporate communications at Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, that “the Service Reflective Tariff (SRT) plan is a NERC mandated tariff structure whereby an upward increment in tariffs will result in substantially longer hours of power supply, good quality voltage profile, swifter response to faults clearing and provision of pre-paid meters” is not sufficient to assuage the thought of tariff-induced burden growing in the mind of  Mr Hammed who told Information Nigeria that the government is on a wanton mission to further impoverish his ilk.
    Read Also: FG Never Promised To Keep Fuel Price Permanently Low, Says Petroleum Minister
    Nigerians, known for doggedness and tenacity during tough periods, could not but worry over the state of economic affairs of the country. However, the increase in fuel price was bound to happen, considering that the government had announced in March that there would be subsidy removal on petrol in order to hand over the reins of importation to private companies such that market forces would begin to determine the retail price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
    The PNPPC’s adjustment of the ex-depot price twice within a few hours, inevitably caused varied retail prices at different filling stations across the country. Some filling stations in Lagos state sold at N161 per litre while others sold at N159 per litre. However, the uniform price of N151 soon took effect.
    Gas retailer, Christopher Okafor, is not convinced by the official statement from the ruling party. He tells Information Nigeria that he is displeased with the government’s move but is optimistic that better days would return.
    He said: “If I tell you that I’m happy with the increase in the price of petrol, I will be the biggest liar on earth. It displeases me to my heart. Why now during COVID, when there is increase in the prices of other commodities? It is very unfair to us, but as usual, we will pull through.”
    A 45-year-old beauty salon owner who pleaded anonymity, told Information Nigeria that she is fed up with the electricity billing. She has just one hairdryer in her small shop but her electricity bills run into N40,000 per month.
    “This is exhausting”, she begins.
    “But what am I to do?” She laughs for a while, probably trying not to let the burden get the better part of her.
    “This is my only source of livelihood. I have to support my husband. I can’t stay idle. Now there is a tariff increase, it’s crazy. What can the masses do? What am I selling? That they want to finish me with such bills.”
    Bimbo Oyemade, 37, female, is concerned about those who have lost their jobs during this period and how they would be able to afford to purchase fuel at the new price.
    “I lost my aunty during this COVID. As if that was not enough, I was also among those laid off from work as a result of the pandemic. Is it now that I’m supposed to be paying so much for fuel and electricity that I am not even enjoying?
    “So, other people in my shoes would also have to face this kind of hardship. I can only imagine how parents who have school fees to pay would be coping during this period. I am still trying to survive from having to purchase food items at a costlier price. I am fed up. And what’s worse is that we can’t do anything about it. We are meant to believe it’s in our own interest. Pathetic!”
    Read Also: Electricity Tariff Increase: What Consumers Are Saying In Lagos
    41-year-old Pastor Kenneth tells Information Nigeria that he concurs with the tweet posted by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu. In response to the PDP’s statement that the fuel price and electricity tariff increase would be unbearable for Nigerians, Shehu had tweeted thus: “Don’t allow the PDP to deceive you. Amidst acute shortages, they sold petrol at N600 per litre on Easter Sunday in 2013 (See Punch published on that day).”
    “We will soon realize that this is for the best. The PDP that are now acting as saints did not do any better. In fact, they wrecked what the APC are now trying to amend. How do we expect the government to keep paying subsidy at the expense of other state-owned corporations? Think about it. That is why we will have to understand the move is a smart one, for the ultimate good of everyone”, he says.
    The post Fuel Price, Electricity Tariff Hike: ‘Everything Keeps Increasing But Minimum Wage Doesn’t’ appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    2020 was meant to be the year of cinema blockbusters – from action thrillers to sci-fi. There was a forecast of huge turnovers from several box office hits. But for the intrusion of COVID-19, about five box office hits would have been witnessed by the end of the second quarter of this year.
    Before COVID-19, 2019 saw the growth of Nigerian cinemas. The movie ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking free’ accrued a total of N158,435,642 million thereby making it the eleventh overall highest-grossing movie and the highest-grossing Nollywood movie of the year.
    With such a feat achieved in 2019, there were increased hopes that 2020 would be more rewarding. Nollywood filmmaker, AY Makun, said in an interview that the third part of his franchise movie ‘Merry Men’ was meant to premiere and show in the cinemas in 2020, but has now been moved to 2021.
    Since the government mandated a lockdown, cinema houses in Nigeria have remained shut. Speaking with VIVA Cinemas in Lagos state via a telephone call, Information Nigeria confirms that cinema houses were exempted from the re-opening of leisure and relaxation centers.
    “Of course, all cinemas (including VIVA Cinemas) have been shut. What did you expect? That we would open during a pandemic? – when we haven’t been authorized to do so?”
    Unwilling to disclose his identity to this reporter, he continues: “We have been shut. But this was never our major source of income. I am currently on a different work assignment. We are fine. Thank you for your time.”
    According to statistics released by Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria, during the week in which the first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria was confirmed, there was a reduction in attendance at the cinemas – from 73,209 to 68,922 admissions. Consequently, the general revenue generated dropped to N71 million from N81.5 million.
    Shortly before the mandatory closing of all cinema houses, the few films that were shown at the cinemas made low profits as opposed to the usual estimated amounts. ‘The Legend of Inikpi’ managed to make N7.4 million in the first weekend after its premiere at Silverbird Cinemas in January. Things got lower as the profits reduced to N973,850 by February. Also, it has been revealed that there were just 801 viewers across the country in the same month.
    ‘Sugar Rush’, which was premiered in December 2019, also got affected by the Coronavirus. In the opening weekend, it achieved an enviable feat by grossing N40 million. However, in January, a reduction was witnessed as the movie managed to make N18 million throughout the month. By March, the profits had drastically dropped to N2.3 million.
    Although the set term that 50% royalty goes to the film distributor in the first week is still in place, with a low turnout and turnover during the first few weeks of the Coronavirus confirmed cases in Nigeria, cinema exhibitors had a hard time making their usual profits. This inevitably affected the movie producers.
    Read Also: Zero Social Distancing, No Face Masks… Lagos Computer Village Steadily Breaching COVID-19 Protocols
    Information Nigeria sought to know the diversification of revenue by Nigerian cinema exhibitors. For this reason, Metro Cinema was contacted.
    A lady’s voice answers at the other end. “This is Metro Cinema.”
    “We have totally complied with the lockdown directive. I am not even in Lagos. Have you been to our cinemas? It’s completely locked. We are surviving in the best way that we can. My other business is outside Lagos. I have more time to focus on it now that all cinemas are shut.”
    But if cinema exhibitors may be relaxed in the knowledge of multiple streams of income, relevant stakeholders such as actors and filmmakers have been agitating for the reopening of cinema halls. Popular actress, Osas Ighodaro, took to Instagram to protest against the exemption of cinema houses from re-opening. Some of her colleagues also joined in the campaign.
    A few of them include Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Toyin Abraham, and Falz. With the hashtag #SaveCinemas, they expressed their grievances about the plight of cinema houses during the lockdown, especially considering that other activities were fast going back to normal.
    In Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde’s words:
    “I believe cinemas are easier to monitor and regulate. If other indoor places are open, why not the Cinemas? Temp checks, masks, distancing etc. We need to work together to ensure safer ways to keep the Arts going. Many livelihoods depend on this. It can and MUST be done as safely as possible. #savecinemas”.
    Notable filmmaker Steve Gukas wrote a post on Instagram thus:
    “The ability of the film industry to grow and sustain itself is directly linked to how much money films earn in various windows. The cinema is a very important revenue source. Keeping them shut has dire consequence for the industry. Given how many of our youth make a living from this industry, it is time to give this a second look.”
    Speaking with KazMPIRE MOVIES, Information Nigeria learns that the cinemas will soon be re-opened but not at the same seating capacity before COVID-19. KazMPIRE MOVIES is ready for re-opening, but they also understand that their income will be drastically reduced.
    “Our industry is like the aviation industry”, he begins. “We deal with large crowds and gatherings. We will not make money if our halls are scanty”.
    “Our goal was to have full halls by the time of re-opening.
    “But that will not be possible anymore. We have no choice but to comply with the government’s directive.
    “We hope we can return to our full seating capacity soon enough. All the workers are at home. We have not made any income so far. And that has not been favorable for us at all.”
    Read Also: COVID-19: Prices Of Bread, Egg May Soon Become Unbearable For Nigerians
    A rather cheerful manager of MAGNIFICENT CINEMAS told Information Nigeria that they opened their lounge for visitors to come in, watch football matches and have some drinks, considering that lounges have been allowed to operate.
    “That is our own way of diversifying our income.”
    “We should reopen soon”, he continues. “You are still asking if it’s a huge blow? You are very funny. Of course, it’s a huge blow. The lounge is separate from the cinema halls. We’ve had meetings and have finally agreed that our lounge will continue to operate till our cinema halls can be reopened. The government will authorize our reopening soon.”
    Tobi, a computer engineer, male, has missed going to the cinemas. However, football matches have made up for his cinema-going habit.
    When asked about other video-streaming platforms, he responded: “Netflix? Frankly, not that I don’t enjoy the platform, it is a good one. But what do you do when you want a different environment and scenery? For dates, for relaxation.
    “It’s just like saying why go to viewing centers to watch a football match when you can watch it at home? No one is saying you can’t watch it at home, but there’s a different feeling when you’re in the midst of other people enjoying the same thing. It’s a different feeling.”
    For Peter, digital marketer, he likes the cinemas because he enjoys the movies better on the big screen. “I can use my phone. But you can’t compare watching on your phone to watching at the cinemas. That’s why I still think I prefer the cinemas. I hope they reopen soon.”
    The post Pandemic Brings Huge Losses To Nigeria’s Cinema Industry appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    The easing of the coronavirus-induced lockdown brought about a sense of relief and excitement for most of the citizens of Nigeria.
    People had hoped that life would go back to being normal but it seems that there is no guarantee that it would ever be possible.
    In an exclusive chat with Information Nigeria, some residents of Lagos state opened up about the effect of the lockdown on their lives and businesses as well as how they adapting to life post lockdown.
    The Genesis of the lockdown
    There has been a significant increase in the number of confirmed cases over the past few months. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, there are now 50,488 confirmed cases and 985 deaths, at the time of this publication.
    The first case of the novel coronavirus was recorded on February 25. The index case was an Italian man, who had arrived into Lagos from Milan on a Turkish Airlines flight and he was said to have traveled to Ogun state where he spent two days before he was eventually isolated.
    The lockdown was imposed on 30th of March in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.
    President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the cessation of movements in these three major cities for an initial period of 14 days so as to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
    Businesses, schools and churches were shut down.
    Markets were only allowed to operate for a few hours.
    Days into the lockdown, some Lagos residents had begun complaining about lack of food and lack of electricity.
    Read Also: Zero Social Distancing, No Face Masks – Lagos Computer Village Steadily Breaching COVID-19 Protocol
    The government came up with solutions to cushion the effect of the lockdown which was subsequently extended for two weeks.
    Albeit, it was partially put on hold, some businesses commenced operations from May 4. During this period, many people had already been laid-off from their jobs due to the fact that companies were shut down and were not allowed to operate. There was also an alarming rise in armed robberies and gang warfare cases in communities.
    On April 27, Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country. In June, the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and lifted the ban on interstate travels. However, it could only be done outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020.
    The second phase of eased lockdown was extended by an additional one week on July 27. On August 6, the federal government announced the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for the third time. Hence, an extra four weeks was added.
    The burning question; How are people adapting to life post lockdown?
    “Although I accepted that this is going to be the new norm, I still find it difficult to adjust to virtual environments. Learning virtually is not as easy as you might think.“
    A 300 level student of Bowen University, who pleaded anonymity, revealed he sent back home during the lockdown and he is still trying to adapt to the virtual learning environment.
    The lockdown caused a shift in people’s lives and daily activities.
    Another resident, Mariam, a civil servant said she hasn’t fully adjusted to life post lockdown.
    “I’m still to trying to grasp the concept but I’m trying and I’m not so sure I’m adapting now but ask me in a few more weeks and I might have an answer.”
    Many have also gone ahead of accepting that the coronavirus is not going anywhere and it still remains in our midst. People have been forced to make some changes to their social habits.
    Taking precautionary measures such as wearing face masks and using hand sanitizers shouldn’t be compromised.
    A medical practitioner, Sandra Sanchez has advised people to take precautionary measures.
    “I’m in the medical field and I can’t stress enough the importance to wear mask and follow CDC regulations. This is not going away any time soon,” she said.
    Companies and organizations have security personnel stationed at the entrance to administer temperature checks and hand sanitizers before people can gain entry into the premises.
    “We are to only allow people with face mask to enter.” a tall dark security agent named Musa told Information Nigeria.
    Zainab Balogun, a female Corp member, says;
    “Nothing has changed about my life, the slight difference that I can no longer go out to eat at eateries because they now do takeaways. I’m also getting used to having nose masks and remembering to use hand sanitizers frequently. Also, I no longer go for CDS“
    Mr Matthew, a secretary, disclosed the new ‘norm’ in his place of work.
    ”In the canteen, we are to sit apart from each other and anyone without face-mask won’t be allowed into the office premises. We are also to wash our hands when we get to work”
    Read Also: With Thousands of Cases Recorded, Some Nigerians Still Believe Coronavirus Does Not Exist (Video)
    Unfortunately, some people believe the virus doesn’t exist as markets are usually flooded and roads remain busy.
    Abidakun Opeyemi Augustina, a female resident of Lagos state, revealed she has discontinued the use of her face mask.
    ”I never took all those serious. I wear mask to avoid police drama and other embarrassments. I moved on since”
    Speaking on how he survives post lockdown, Mr Alao said he relies on the money gotten from the N-Power Forum.
    “It’s been God, I am N-power dependent, I didn’t know the government will disappoint us even after using us to win 2019 presidential election,” he said.
    A dark-skinned lady, who identified herself as Deborah Ayodele, lamented about an increase in the cost of transportation.
    The civil servant said;
    “I am a government worker and I was asked to resume after the lockdown.
    I earn 32k every month and by the time some deductions are made I am left with about 17k.
    The cost of transportation and feeding before the lockdown was approximately 1k per day.
    I always board the BRT buses from Ketu to Fadeyi at the sum of 100naira but the fare was increased to 300naira.

    Now, I spend about 1500 everyday even the bike trips of 50naira now cost 100naira.
    You can imagine me using that 17k for the whole month. Work has also been dull lately because only a few people come to work.
     I was supposed to go for my convocation and also get my BSc certificate so as to get promoted at work but that was put on hold because of the outbreak and lockdown”
    Eva, a human Resources specialist, says;
    “Life after lockdown has been tedious as well as interesting, Tedious in the sense that I have to battle with waking up early and the traffic involved, hence interesting because I have to see faces after so long even though I have been working from home.” 
    At the end of the day, people are still trying to recover from the lockdown but it won’t be an easy task especially with the social distancing measures.
    The post Nigerians Speak On Life After Coronavirus Lockdown appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Traders and buyers at Ikeja Computer VillageGbenga Odunsi, Lagos
    “If you see how people patronise traders at computer village, you would marvel at their level of recklessness, and wonder if coronavirus indeed exists. There’s no social distancing, the provision of soap and water are not in place, both buyers and sellers hardly use face masks. Imagine one COVID-19 patient visiting this market today”.
    A concerned Lagosian — Omidiji Olamide, male, 32 — passed the above remark at Computer village in Ikeja area of Lagos, following the way and manner crowd at the technology market violated laid down COVID-19 guidelines.
    For several months, Lagos, with a population of about 20 million people, has recorded a high number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, while Abuja, the nation’s capital followed suit. It is, however, surprising that most residents — aware of these figures — throw caution to the wind by refusing to comply with the set guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus.
    In May, following the gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos state, the government had issued new guidelines for the reopening of markets and shopping malls as part of efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic. The state government said that all markets and stores in the various Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas across the metropolis will be allowed to open from 9 a.m till 3 p.m on selected days.
    It further mandated the use of face masks for everyone attending these markets and stores as well as take preventive measures such as social distancing and high levels of personal and respiratory hygiene.
    Here’s why Coronavirus cases keep increasing in Lagos
    Computer village, a technology market located in Ikeja area of Lagos, is one of the largest, most visited and crowded markets in the state. Others are: Yaba market, Obalende, Alaba international market, Ajah Market, Obalende, Balogun Market, Idumota, Oyingbo, Mile 12, Isale Eko Market, among others.
    Read Also: INVESTIGATION: ‘Attitude’ Of Health Workers In Ogun State General Hospital Killing Patients Faster Than Sickness
    When Information Nigeria arrived at computer village in Ikeja, it was difficult to tell if the crowd were aware of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state. Traders went about their usual businesses unperturbed and without caution, not minding social distancing appeal by the government. Buyers trooped into the market in their thousands with no face masks.
    A light-skinned lady who simply identified herself as Oyinade, a 400-level student of the University of Lagos, expressed regrets of visiting the market. According to her, she would have rather ordered her goods via online e-commerce than risking her life at Computer village.
    “When I set out to get a laptop at Computer village, I already knew I would meet a lot of people at the market, but then, I was expecting a little bit of social distancing but where is it?
    “There is nothing of such here. Zero facemasks! All I can see here are jaw masks. Everyone is protecting their jaw.
    “I see a lot of people hugging and shaking hands, maintaining close contact while talking to each other with their mask under their jaw.
    “A while ago, I saw people dragging wears, cloth sellers dragging you to buy from them. Again, zero physical distancing. Infact, I regret coming to this place and I can’t wait to get the laptop and leave this place, please.”
    Another resident, Babatunde Ayodeji, an accountant, says: “There is no social distancing at computer village or any of the major markets in Lagos.
    “That is why Bishop David Oyedepo is shouting government down.
    “Same people that go to market come to church, so why give churches maximum time to operate, which does not apply to markets. For lack of social distancing, who should be arrested in the market? The seller or the buyers?
    “Our government should be blamed for a copy and paste approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Is it only market that violated social distancing? Even the federal government violated it during the burial of Abba Kyari, the late Chief of staff to President Buhari.
    “You tell people and bus to carry half capacity, yet the Lagos state BRT is on full load. Is the BRT immuned?
    “There should have been an avenue for rapid and increased testing procedures so that more COVID-19 patients can be ascertained and treated. Kogi has opened worship centres since more two months now, do they have cases up to Lagos. Our leaders are our bane”, he added.
     
    Lagos Computer Village COVID-19 guidelines severely murdered
    No face mask, no entry Only two gates will be opened “IN” shall be Otigba gate by Awolowo road, while “OUT” will be Kodeshp gate by metro quarters. All pedestrian gates shall be opened. Cars are not allowed into the market except for delivery and pickup trucks/vans. No street trading until virus is completely contained. Shop owners are advised to maintain NCDC 60% crowd control in offices. (Customers and staffs inclusive). Each building should enforce “No Loitering, No Hawking”. Failure will attract sealing of building by Lagos State government. Shop owners must provide sanitizers for their customer use. Trading time shall be 9am to 2.30am as the market is expected to be locked by 2-m Market task force shall go round to monitor compliance.  The above guidelines were put in place by the market board of Computer Village, under the leadership of the Babaloja, Adeniyi Olasoji and Iyaloja, Abisola Azeez. Some of the rules were meant to guide both shop owners and buyers on ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Information Nigeria, however, observed that not all the laid rules were strictly adhered to.
    Lagos computer village: No face masks, no physical distancingWhile there are protocols guiding reopening of Computer village, it appears that traders and buyers are tired of observing the protocols, hence the violation of the rules set to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
    For instance, the first rule on the list was largely flouted by both shop owners and buyers. With the “No mask, No Entry” rule, Lagosians trooped into the technology market without masks. No one, not even a soul, was apprehended at the gate this reporter observed for not wearing a mask.
    Further, the fifth rule was also heavily violated in the market. Street trading took place in its fullest form, and none of the violators were apprehended or fined for a fee. Numbers 7, 8, and 9 were also flouted by traders in the market. Some buildings housing shops and offices inside the market had no signage warning of no loitering or hawing, except for banks and some others within the vicinity; some of the shops visited by Information Nigeria had no hand sanitizer in place for customer use. Above all, there is a zero level of social and physical distancing at Computer Village.
    Read Also: INVESTIGATION: Dirty Toilets, Irregular Water Supply, Leaking Roofs At Ogun State Secretariat
    A shop owner — who is also one of the market executives and craved anonymity — bemoaned the low level of compliance, especially among the market traders who have been briefed on guidelines and protocols
    “That’s why the virus keeps increasing in Lagos everyday. Just take a look at everyone in the market.
    “Yes, we are all here to hustle and make a living, but at least their should be a level of precautionary measures in place. People should ensure their safety first. Na person wey dey alive go enjoy him money. I really hope the market board will do something about this before it gets out of hand.”
    NCDC recommendations violated in other parts of Lagos
    The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC recommends that people wear masks in public places and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public places. The agency also recommends the use of hand sanitizer; regular washing of hands with soap and water; and practising social distancing
    COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear masks in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).
    A visit to other parts of the state, including Yaba market evinces large gatherings of persons in violation of guidelines provided by the NCDC. Traders and buyers in the market crash into one another with reckless abandon. Commercial buses, private car owners and taxis were still crowded.
    Zero physical distancing inside Lagos BRT on full load.Some of the traders interviewed gave reasons on why it is a herculean task to comply with the new rules on handwashing, wearing of face masks, among others.
    “How is it possible to control millions of people who come to the market? Enforcing these rules do not seem like a possible task, which is why I do not support the lifting of lockdown, especially in Lagos,” says Mrs Nwabufo, 45, who runs a clothing store in Yaba market.
    Computer Village market board reacts
    Speaking with Information Nigeria, the Iyaloja of Computer village, Mrs Abisola Azeez, says the market has done a lot to ensure that the market complies with laid down COVID-19 guidelines.
    “Before the reopening of the market, we made sure we put signage on all the six entrances, we have shared a lot of free facemasks to both shop owners and buyers. We have handwashing equipment at all the six entrances, and testers, too.
    “But as time went on, people tend to relax on the rules and regulations. All these rules and regulations were strictly adhered to when the market reopened and we made sure that no one entered the market without face masks. That is the best we have been able to do since the market reopened.
    Iyaloja Abisola Azeez. Source: Mediapoint“Also, when we try to impose the laid down rules government provided, traders in the market bring in ethnicity and begin to fight the authority. We don’t want any issue to generate, that is why we have relaxed the market orders for now.
    We are planning to engage the government to let them know the challenge we are having, so they know this is not a market board law, but Lagos State law. So when people don’t comply with the laws, it is the government that will come and impose the law themselves.”
    On his part, the Public Relations Officer of the market, Mr Godwin Enamoh, dismissed reports that visitors enter the market without face masks. According to him, the market board stationed taskforce at the entrances of market to enforce ‘no face masks no entry policy’.
    “Can you tell me which of the gates you noticed this? Enamoh queried.
    “We have taskforce at every entrance of the market and their duty is to ensure that people who come into the market put on face masks. As a matter of fact, there are people who sell facemasks at the gates, so if you don’t have one, you buy.
    “If you come to my office, you will find a lot of hand sanitizers. Same applies to most of the offices inside the market.
    “On many occasions, we have had to settle fight between the taskforce and violators. I would like you to come to the market again to show me the places you visited and observed the violation of COVID-19 guidelines,” Enamoh says, after Information Nigeria told him there are footages to support the claim.
    Mr Enamoh, however, admitted that it was difficult to control social distancing of people in the market.
    The post Zero Social Distancing, No Face Masks… Lagos Computer Village Steadily Breaching COVID-19 Protocols appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Poultry farmerThe coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Nigeria’s economy, with farmers and food processors taking some of the heaviest losses. In this exclusive report, Damilola Ayomide documents plight Nigerians — both sellers and buyers — as the country battles COVID-19 effects on the economy 
    “We stopped buying our ingredients (cornflour and yeast) – especially corn flour – at the usual price during the lockdown. We somehow expected this to happen, considering that the manufacturers would have only little stock left as workers were mandated to stay at home. Even the price of nylon for packaging the bread became high,” says the bakery owner of Demmie’s Dough at Maryland area of Lagos State.
    The flour industry inevitably suffered a big hit as workers complied with the lockdown directive. The little stock left before the lockdown took effect had to be distributed but not at the same price anymore.
    According to Demmie’s Dough bakery owner who does not want her name on print, the increase in the cost price of ingredients for making bread would later affect her retail price before the ease of the first lockdown. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, her biggest loaf was N350. During the lockdown, she had to increase it to N400. Her profit margin also reduced by 50%.
    When asked how her patrons reacted to the sudden increase, she said: “Initially, they stopped buying from us. But when they went out to see that the price of bread had increased everywhere, they came back to buy from us, knowing fully well that we don’t compromise on our quality no matter what.”
    Read Also: INVESTIGATION: ‘Attitude’ Of Health Workers In Ogun State General Hospital Killing Patients Faster Than Sickness
    However, they are looking at increasing the retail price even more in order that they might maximise profits. “At the end of the day, it’s business and we have to make profits. Although we are putting our patrons into consideration, we would also like to return to our 100% profit and with the way ingredients are becoming more expensive, I’m afraid we will have to increase the price of our bread even more.”
    Backstory
    When COVID-19 first hit the country, the immediate concern was human lives. It will be recalled that the first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria, confirmed by the Federal Ministry of Health, was on the 27th of February 2020. The Ministry of Health swung into action as the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, released a press statement in which he outlined a number of guidelines for citizens to adhere to in order to contain the spread of the virus.
    However, a lockdown was soon to happen. The Federal Government mandated a 14-day lockdown on the 30th of March in the three commercial hubs of the country, Lagos, Abuja and Ogun. This led to a lot of production activities grinding to a halt as citizens were directed to stay at home. The lockdown was subsequently extended by more weeks.
    For many Nigerians, the Coronavirus is an unwanted pandemic. The normal lives of citizens have been disrupted by this deadly virus waging war against the human race. Lives have been lost, families separated and jobs gone, yet the days roll by as though the elements cannot relate to the turbulent state of human affairs all over: it is for this reason that the saying ‘when there is life, there is hope’ remains relevant.
    From the recent commercial activities, it is evident that Nigerians are highly resilient people who will continue to forge ahead in spite of the trying times. However, the will power needed for this to continue is also being threatened with the impending increase in the price of bread, a food relied on by Nigerians of different social classes and cultures.
    It has been said that ‘yam is the king of food’ but the succour that bread provides to millions of Nigerians as a result of its flexibility and adaptability is too consequential to be underestimated.
    Nigerians React
    A regular bread consumer, Idris Afolayan, was asked how he feels buying bread at such an amount. Reacting rather calmly, he said that bread is what his children love and it is easier to prepare for the family, especially when accompanied with eggs.
    “There is really not much we can do; we have to eat. Bread is like a fast food; my children love it. I buy to please them and I always try to find value for my money. In other words, I won’t buy cheap bread that is substandard because I’m trying to save money. Yes, we want to save money but quality is also very important”, he concluded.
    BreadCertainly, egg is one of the main supplements of bread. Proceeding to Mrs Shobande’s poultry farm at Onigbongbo market in Lagos, Information Nigeria inquired about the increase in the cost of her eggs due to COVID-19.
    “Corn feed is now gold”, she said, as she raised her hands to point at the workers packaging chicken feed right behind her.
    Mrs Shobande lamented that her profit margin had reduced by 80%. According to her, before the pandemic, she sells a crate of egg for N800. Now, her retail price is N1200, with little or no profit at all. “I have to put my customers into consideration”, she adds.
    “When we manage the feed, how will they lay enough eggs? This is why egg is now scarce and more expensive. We can’t wait for things to go back to normal. The reduction in the quantity of eggs produced is responsible for the current artificial scarcity. That is why egg is now expensive.”
    Izunna, a shawarma vendor along Sylvia Crescent in Anthony area of the state, told Information Nigeria that he still purchases bread at the same price.
    “The price of bread has not changed. The N100 own is still there to buy. The bigger ones are also still sold at the same price. I’m yet to see any changes.”
    Asked about the price of egg, he replied that it Is still the same. “Egg has always been 50 naira here. No changes.” Pointing at three different egg vendors on the same street, he continued “they all sell egg. Egg is not scarce here at all. You want, you buy. Many of them are wholesalers.”
    For Iya Itunu, her egg business has never been more frustrating. She says “egg is more expensive now. I can’t buy in bulk as I used to. But how do you tell customers that egg is now expensive?
    “It’s almost as though I’ve become a mini retailer. My shop has never been so empty. Customers don’t also buy as they used to. The little I can sell is what I have. You tell them egg is expensive; they ask you ‘how’, ‘why’. It’s the COVID; we don’t get eggs as easily as we used to anymore.”
    Read Also: With Thousands of Cases Recorded, Some Nigerians Still Believe Coronavirus Does Not Exist (Video)
    At Mix and Max Bakery at Oseni street, there is Kayode, a baker who told Information Nigeria that the price of flour is now higher than it used to be.
    “My boss has been complaining about the cost of flour. A bag of flour that we used to buy at N11,000 now goes at N13,000.
    Nylon too has become expensive: from N350 per pack to N550 per pack.” However, this did not prompt them to increase the price of their bread. “Our bread price is still the same. Our biggest loaf goes for N300 and that is the amount we still sell it till now. In fact, we are looking at reducing the price to N250.”
    For Mr Matthew, it’s going to be hard for him to stop buying bread. “I eat bread almost every day. I will buy bread this night, I also eat bread at work. It’s hard to think of any other better food. There’s no substitute. How many times will I eat rice?”
    Mrs Nwadiora laments the increase in the price of egg. “I buy per crate and it’s not been funny at all. They say the chickens are not eating well because feed is scarce. For how long will this continue?
    It’s just frustrating. And my children eat eggs regularly. With noodles, with bread, everything. I had to stop them from eating French Toast anyhow because I can’t afford to use about 5 eggs for just one loaf of bread.”
    The post COVID-19: Prices Of Bread, Egg May Soon Become Unbearable For Nigerians appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    COVID-19 health workersBy Gbenga Odunsi, Lagos
    With the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria and its enfeebling effects on Nigerians, the Buhari-led administration and the Lagos state government have rolled out new safety guidelines for Lagos residents and businesses.
    Prohibition of gatherings that exceed 20 persons; compulsory use of face mask; dusk to dawn curfew, among others are major aspects of approach by Lagos State government to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
    But, many Lagosians have continued to defy the state directives. In separate interviews with Information Nigeria, some Lagosians dismissed the reality of the virus. Their reason, it was gathered, was that they do not know anyone, friends or relatives who have contracted the deadly virus.
    “I have been hearing of coronavirus, but I have not seen any patient affected by the virus. We hear it is a virus that kills but they have not shown us any patient. So, to me, I don’t think coronavirus exists in Nigeria,” says doubtful Mrs Ogbonnaya Chinelo, a trader at Surulere local government area of Lagos state.
    READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: How Hunger, Irregular Power Supply Frustrated Lagosians During 5-Week Lockdown (Video)
    Another resident, Aigbe Miracle, a female trader in her late 20s, said, “all I know is that it is a virus that kills people but I am not sure if coronavirus is in our country because I have not seen people this virus has killed.”
    Edet Asuquo, a driver, says he doesn’t know anything about coronavirus because he doesn’t know anyone infected with the virus. He concluded by saying, “for our own side na hungry dey catch us o.”
    Information Nigeria recalls that media mongul, Chief Raymond Dokpesi penultimate week made a comment on the existence of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Dokpesi and his family members had earlier tested positive for COVID-19.
    But after he was treated and discharged, Dokpesi says he is a bit confused, asking the difference between malaria and coronavirus.
    “I still have doubts in my mind and I need to be educated. What’s the difference between COVID-19 and malaria? Every drug we were given were malaria medications.
    “A number of persons who tested positive were checked in reputable labs, hospitals in Abuja and were found to have malaria parasites in their bloodstreams. When did malaria become synonymous with COVID-19?,” Dokpesi said.
    As of May 17, Nigeria has over 5500 COVID-19 cases, with Lagos state topping the list with over 1700 cases. Over 1400 patients have been discharged while over 170 deaths have been recorded.
    These figures, however, mean nothing to some Lagos residents who clearly distrust the Federal government’s claim of coronavirus in Nigeria.

    The post With Thousands of Cases Recorded, Some Nigerians Still Believe Coronavirus Does Not Exist (Video) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Lagos marketBy Gbenga Odunsi, Lagos
    “The worse of coronavirus is hunger.
    “Many people in this area are suffering from hunger. Government promised to dispatch food items like Rice and Semovita, but people in this axis have not seen anything of such.
    “So many people are dying of hunger.
    “How would people survive without food during this lockdown?
    “This is worse than coronavirus,” says Okwudili Jumbo, a resident of Orile Iganmu area of Lagos.
    Complaints and wailing by residents in several parts of Lagos have trailed the palliative announced by the Federal and Lagos State governments to cushion effects of the lockdown imposed on the state to contain the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
    President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a 14-day lockdown due to the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday, 29 March 2020, via a national broadcast to Nigerians. In his words, “I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
    Of Nigeria’s over 3,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, as of May 7, 2020, over 1,300 cases, were detected in Lagos with 103 number of deaths recorded. But a major concern surrounding the lockdown, which kicked off in late March is the inability of many Lagosians to stock up on food and other essentials for survival during the lockdown period.
    Many Lagosians, however, have complained about the difficulty faced in feeding themselves. The stay-at-home order has cut countless people who live hand-to-mouth in the city off from their only source of survival.
    A female resident at Orile who does not want her name in print, said, “the situation is getting worse everyday. Many people are hungry. I have four children at home. I left them this morning because there is no food to eat at home. I came out this morning to see if I will get help from people. Many people have stopped work and some have lost their job, but when you keep people inside without any means of survival, the problem will  keep getting worse.”
    Residents at Aguda area of Surulere say they only received packages from private individuals but none from state or federal government.
    Paul, a trader at Aguada market, Surulere area of Lagos said, ”Government has not given us anything. We are only managing and surviving on our own. We traders come out in the morning to sell. Others who are not opportune to sell their wares come here to beg us for money.
    Lagos Emergency Food Response Initiative — a failed project
    The Lagos State Emergency Food Response Initiative was established to extend relief materials and distribution of food to the poor and vulnerable people in the state.
    Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced an economic stimulus package that covers taking food to the doorsteps of millions of residents in Nigeria’s most populous city.
    The handout initiative from the Lagos state government aims to provide rations to an initial 200,000 households to last them through the two-week shutdown.
    This project, it was gathered, was to be spearheaded by Lagos State Emergency Food Response Initiative.
    Sanwo -Olu said that the aged citizens from 60 years and above with a family of six and the most vulnerable would be given priority, especially those who relied on daily wages for survival.
    “We have packaged dry food stimulus for about 200,000 families in the first instance for a household of a husband, wife and about four children. We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, bread, dry pepper, and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of Vitamin C. Each ration, we believe, is going to be able to last a household of husband, wife and about four children for, at least, a minimum of 14 days so that our advocacy around ‘stay at home’, ‘stay with your loved ones’ will be respected,” Sanwo-Olu said.
    Lagos emergency food response operational vehiclesA trader at Lawanson market, Mrs Ogbonnaya Chinelo says she is aware the state government is distributing relief packages to residents, but they have not extended it to Surulere local government area of the state.
    “Nobody in Lawanson has received relief package from the state government. I used to ask people around and no one claims to have received any package, at least for now.”
    “The state’s emergency food response team’s distribution process is very poor,” says Mrs Tosin Ajose — a middle-aged woman.
    “They came to my street, they gave only four bags of rice; a street of about 30 houses.
    “As a person, I feel the relief material should be distributed in a way that everybody will receive.
    “The governor has tried his best but we, the masses, are the problem of ourselves.”
    Read Also: FACTBOOK: Coronavirus In Nigeria — Everything You Need To Know
    Another resident, Aigbe Miracle said she heard government is distributing food but she hasn’t seen anyone receive relief package.
    “Individuals are the only ones sharing food on this street; I have not seen government sharing food on this street.
    “A woman told me that in her street where there are four tenants, Lagos food response team brought one ‘derica’ of rice and beans each, with bread of N100. This means four tenants must share one derica of the items brought, meanwhile, the woman has four children at home. How will they survive with such little items?”
    Residents of Orile came out en masse to lambast the Lagos state Emergency Food Response team over perceived bias the distribution of stimulus packages to Lagosians.
    They further cried out about hunger that cannot be helped due to the lockdown. The residents claim they have not sighted or received any stimulus package in the area.
    They, however, admitted that Lagos police is doing its best to secure the area from the infamous one million boys rampaging the state.
    A resident, Bernard, a businessman says “In terms of government palliative, nothing is happening at Orile. Whatever it is the government is sharing, they should please extend their arms to this area because we have not received food or money, even electricity is not constant. We are really suffering. The worst thing is the price of commodities are inflating everyday, and there is no money for us to buy. All of us have been left at home to die to hunger.”
    Another resident at Orile, Michael, a trader, says, “I have not received anything from the government, not even a recharge card of N100. I only receive messages from NCDC everyday. I am not going to survive with the messages.”
    At Oniru, Eti-Osa local government area of Lagos, residents trooped out to get relief materials from a foundation spearheaded by music entertainer, BankyW. Resident at Oniru slammed the state government for abandoning them to their fate. They showered praised on the music entertainer for taking up the responsibility of a failed Lagos government.
    Another Lagos resident, Moses Otayokhe, a retired civil servant, said text messages were sent around by Lagos state government, including me, asking me to confirm if they still leave in a certain address. I replied the text messages several times, but up till now, nothing has been done. So, what do you expect somebody like me to do, I don’t work, I am a retiree.”
     Palliative For APC Members Only
    Lawanson market at Surulere area of Lagos was beehive of activities when Information Nigeria visited. The residents bemoan stimulus packages distributed by the state government.
    Many of them confirmed that the packages largely politicized and were distributed to members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
    Both buyers and sellers at the main market slammed Lagos and federal government for abandoning them during the lockdown period.
    Olamilekan Sulaimon, a respondent at Lawanson market, said he hasn’t received any palliative from the state government. He says food items were distributed to members of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC only.
    “Dem no give us anything. Dem dey do am as APC member. APC member nah in dem dey give food. But e no suppose be like dat. Na all of us vote for them.”
    Residents at Oniru queue for relief materials from Banky WAnother resident, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, said: Itire Ikate Chairman brought out relief materials but his boys only distribute to APC members only. If you don’t go there with your APC card, you will not get any palliative. People are suffering very well in this area. If government wants to share food, they should share for the masses because Nigerians are crying.”
    Corroborating the previous respondents, another resident — an aged woman, Mrs Egwuonwu — said, I have not seen anybody that received palliative, except the day they were sharing bread. The main palliatives were given to APC members only.”
    Ambrose Dike says “Government promised to send food materials, and when they send it, it doesn’t get down to the people. The government is using the relief package as political affair. That is why you see people coming out to fend for themselves.”
     ‘Audio’ Conditional Cash Transfer
    “E ma pariwo
    “Dem money na just audio (Na audio)
    “E ma pariwo oh
    “Na just audio…”
    The above isn’t a poem. It is a lyrics from Rude Boy’s ‘Audio Money’ music.
    Audio Money is a trending Nigerian slang that takes a swipe at social media influencers and celebrities who live fake social media lives; flaunt material possessions they never really owned just to look good and wealthy before their teeming social media followers and fans.
    Their monies or wealth are never seen in reality but only on social media, hence, the term ‘Audio Money’.
    The Federal Government’s Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) has received several knocks from Lagosians, and has been termed ‘audio money’.
    The cash transfer scheme, which is part of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the current administration is under the newly-created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and being superintended by the Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq.
    On March 30, the Federal Government announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of its restrictive policies during this difficult time.
    But many Lagos residents who spoke to Information Nigeria said they have neither received any money nor food items from the Federal Government since it was announced.
    Edet Asuquo, a driver said, “ Government say dem go send money, me I no see any money wey dem send o. Na hungry dey catch me, even dis morning wey I comot, I wan go find something wey me and my family go chop.”
    Mr Samuel, a businessman, says both the federal and state government are greedy. According to him, other foreign countries are helping their citizens during the lockdown but the Nigerian government have refused to help its citizens to cushion the hard effect of the lockdown.
    “Tomorrow, they will say they don’t know how to pay money into our account, but they have our BVN, account number, and voters card. They know what to do but they refuse it.”
    Olamilekan Sulaimon said, “They asked us to stay at home, but they didn’t provide anything for us. Before Buhari will ask us to stay at home, he should be able to provide at least N5000 or N2000 for every citizen. The N2000 gan we no even see anything. Make dem follow Buhari talk make he share money.”
    Information Nigeria understands that five states of the federation, including Lagos, Delta, Borno, Ogun, and Ebonyi were conspicuously excluded from the list of states currently benefiting from the federal government’s N20, 000 conditional cash transfer scheme to the poorest and vulnerable households in the country to cushion the hardship posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Watch Video

    The post EXCLUSIVE: How Hunger, Irregular Power Supply Frustrated Lagosians During 5-Week Lockdown (Video) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    By Gbenga Odunsi
    As Nigeria further shuts down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and more cases are being recorded in the country, Information Nigeria takes a look at how the outbreak is affecting the entire nation.
    Editor’s Note: This piece will be updated as more reports come in.
    In December 2019, public health officials from China informed the World Health Organization that they had a problem: an unknown, new virus was causing pneumonia-like illness in the city of Wuhan. They quickly determined that it was a coronavirus, which is part of the family of viruses that also caused the SARS outbreak. The disease however spread through and outside of Wuhan.
    Early evidence suggested that, like other coronaviruses, the virus jumps between people who are in very close contact with each other.  It also probably spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Coughs and sneezes produce little droplets of mucus and saliva. If these droplets make it into another person’s eyes, mouth or nose, they can get sick. The viruses in those little droplets can also fall onto surfaces, like tables or doorknobs — if someone touches that surface and touches their eyes, mouth or nose, they can also get sick
    The virus is now spreading in dozens of countries around the world. So far, the virus has spread to no less than 190 countries and territories, including Nigeria; over 640,589 people persons have been infected, and nearly 109,000 people have recovered; while more than 29,848 people globally have died from the virus.
    What is happening in Nigeria
    As Nigeria further shuts down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, more cases are now being recorded in the country. The virus is spreading through the country, and multiple states and have made emergency declarations. Hot spots include Lagos and Abuja. Other states include Edo, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Bauchi, Niger, Osun, among others

    Although some states have not recorded outbreak of the virus, they have, however, put measures in place to curb and contain the spread of COVID-19. These measures and their attendant effects will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs.
    Education – Closure of schools
    The Federal Ministry of Education on March 19 ordered the immediate closure of all educational institutions in the country which includes primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions nationwide.
    This directive, Information Nigeria understands, is a precautionary step aimed at preventing the spread of the dreaded coronavirus which has become a global threat.
    After the Federal government took the decision to close all of the country’s schools and universities amid the outbreak, many say the measure puts too much pressure on working parents – and won’t help anyway. Feelers pointed out that closing schools seem like an unusual way to go about halting a disease if parents would still go to the office, get exposed to the virus, and return home to their children.
    In addition to the closure of schools, the federal government also ordered suspension of orientation and other activities by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The orientation exercise commenced on 10 March and was expected to end on 30 March, before it was suspended after just 8 days.
     Transportation – Lagos, Oyo States issue guidelines for public transportation
    On 23rd march, Lagos State Government issued public transport guidelines to operators and passengers to curb further spread of the coronavirus in buses, cabs, motor parks, and garages.
    Information Nigeria understands that the measures were parts of government’s efforts to further prevent a state-widespread of COVID-19. According to Lagos government, it is compulsory for all transport operators to sanitize their parks and garages regularly and continuously at least before and after each trip; All Operators are not allowed to overcrowd or overload their vehicles; there should be no standing in all Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and the Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL) bus operations; all drivers and conductors should always wear hand gloves and nose guides while in transit.
    To further contain the spread of the virus, the Lagos government commenced massive disinfection of usually crowded bus stops, car parks, markets and other public spaces.
    On its part, the Oyo state government issued new guidelines on public transportation to ensure proper hygienic standards. The guidelines, amongst others, stated that there must be a minimum of one seat interval between passengers, while tricycles are limited to three passengers and commercial motorcycles are limited to one passenger only.
    According to Information Nigeria’s investigation, very few public transporters adhered to the guidelines in Lagos. On three separate occasions when our correspondent made use of public transport, hand sanitizers were not available on the buses. This non-adherence, however, is a sharp contrast to the nation’s fight against COVID-19.
    Travel and Tourism industry records lose over travel ban
    Nigeria adopted sweeping measures to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, including full lockdowns, shutting down airports, imposing travel restrictions and completely shutting of borders.
    On March 18, the government announced it was restricting entry into the country for travellers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the US, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
    Those coming from high-risk countries are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Nigeria expanded its restrictions on March 21, announcing it will close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from March 23 for one month.
    On 10 March, Turkish Airlines cancelled all their flights to Nigeria due to the virus outbreak. On March 20, Nigeria announced the closure of their international airports, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano airports from 21 March. It further announced the closure of the remaining two international airports, Abuja and Lagos, from 23 March.
    The travel industry is one of the most affected by the coronavirus global outbreak. Investigation by Information Nigeria’s Amaka Odozi reveals that travel ban and restrictions have dealt a huge blow on travels and tours industry.
    During a phone interview with a Travels and Tour company in Lagos, an employee, who does not want her name in print said the effect of the virus on the travel industry is ‘high’ and ‘tiring’. She stressed that customers are constantly calling to request for refunds of their money and to change their travel plans. Another employee from the same company said: “Booking tickets and vacation for customers is what we do for a living, but now, we are not doing anything.”
    Religions adapting to coronavirus
    From changing rituals to going digital, churches, mosques, and synagogues across the country are adjusting to fit the new reality
    With the number of coronavirus cases on the rise, Nigerians have adjusted to holding Sunday service at home. The Nigerian family typically attends service in the Church, but both states and federal governments have placed restrictions on large gatherings, ordering Churches not to hold service of more than 50 members per time.
    While few churches did not gather at all for worship, others did in a bid to call on God for his intervention.
    Here’s how some churches, mosques are handling the outbreak.
    Winners Chapel with headquarters in Sango Ota, in Ogun state, held church service with few members. Findings by Information Nigeria reveals that Pentecostal Churches in Ikorodu area of Lagos held services on 29 March.
    Church members obey government’s ban on religious gatheringChurches are adjusting to livestreaming to reach their followers. The Redeemed Christian Church of God and other prominent big churches in Nigeria live-streamed its service n YouTube on March 29.
    Muslims are not taking the ban on religious gathering with kids glove. In Katsina, some protesting youths burnt down a police station, seven cars, two motorcycles because police officers prevented them from observing their Juma’at prayers.
     Nigeria’s economy on the brink
    With falling oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria is predicting a recession that could lead to a devaluation of its national currency.
    Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, warned that Nigeria might go into another round of recession if the Coronavirus disease persists beyond the next 6 months. The minister stated that the Federal and the State governments would struggle in terms of revenue, as long as the crude oil price is as low as $30 or below $30 per barrel.
    Reason for the dwindling economy is not far-fetched. As the country battles COVID-19, several companies have shut down operations, including Travels and Tourism companies; some other organizations have asked their staff to work from home; states and federal governments have asked public servants from level 1-12 to work from home. The work-from-home order would last indefinitely until the government reviews the situation and decides that it is safe to go back to work.
    The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) also directed its members, who are petroleum tanker drivers, petrol station workers, petroleum depot workers, independent marketers’ employees, oil and gas suppliers, surface tankers, kerosene peddlers, and liquefied petroleum gas retailers to stay at home.
    The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad ordered all courts in Nigeria to shut down from 24 March.  The federal government also ordered the closure of all land borders for four weeks; The Nigerian Senate adjourned plenary to 7 April, while the Nigerian House of Representatives adjourned indefinitely.
    As of time of this report, Lagos, Niger, Oyo, Ogun,  Rivers, Osun, Kwara, Ebonyi, Ekiti Kaduna, Kano have ordered the closure of markets to prevent the spread of the virus. Some of these states have also announced an indefinite closure of their sea, air and land borders into and out of the state
    Some states that have not implemented closure of markets have however placed ban on clubs, event centres, weddings, seminars, conferences, burials and other large gatherings, except places where food, water and medicals are sold.
    Several Nigerian states have enforced total lockdown, restricting movement of residents of the states, as well as closing all business premises.
    These directives, coupled with earlier mentioned, have forced the country to record a further drop in economic activities.
    List of events and activities cancelled in Nigeria over COVID-19
    Comedians and entertainers, schools, politicians across the country are cancelling events in an effort to slow the spread of the novel COVID-19.  The situation is has caused panic in the country and state governments, and federal authorities have issued guidance as the disease spreads. Here is a list of some events and activities Information Nigeria knows have been cancelled.
    The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) postponed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates indefinitely.
    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released a statement informing the general public that bye-elections across the country have been postponed indefinitely as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

    Popular actress, Toyin Abraham took to her Instagram page to announce that the release of her movie ‘Fate of Alakada’ has been postponed till further notice.
    Afro-soul superstar, Bukola Elemide, popularly known as Asa, cancelled her ‘Lucid’ concert in Nigeria due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
    Comedian, I Go Dye postponed his 25th-anniversary show which was billed to take place on the 12th of April, over Coronavirus concerns.
    The federal government postponed the National Sports Festival (NSF), tagged Edo 2020.
    President Muhammadu Buhari approved the indefinite suspension of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) National Executive Council (NEC) meetings.
    Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) announced postponement of its annual convention that attracts thousands of delegates.
    National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) abruptly ended activities at orientation camps across the country.
    Organisers of GOtv Boxing Night, Flykite Productions, announced the postponement of the 21st edition of the event.
     Symptoms of the virus
    Information Nigeria understands that COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms including fever and cough, according to the World Health Organisation, WHO.
    In some patients – particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions – these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
    It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.
    After a week, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment.
    Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.
     Cases recorded In Nigeria so far
    On 27 February, Nigeria confirmed its first case in Lagos State, an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria had returned on 25 February from Milan, Italy through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, fell ill on 26 February and was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing.
    On 9 March, the second case was confirmed, a Nigerian citizen in Ewekoro, Ogun State who had contact with the Italian citizen.
    On 13 March, Nigeria confirmed that the second case no longer had the virus in his system and thus tested negative.
    On 17 March, Nigeria confirmed the third case in Lagos State, A 30-year-old Nigerian female citizen that returned on 13 March from the United Kingdom.
    On 18 March, Nigeria confirmed five new cases of the virus, four of the new cases were discovered in Lagos State, while one was discovered in Ekiti State.
    On 19 March, Nigeria confirmed four new cases of the virus in Lagos State. The Nigerian government also announced that the Italian citizen who brought coronavirus to Nigeria has tested negative and was discharged the following day.
    On 21 March, Nigeria confirmed ten new cases, seven in Lagos State, three in the FCT.
    On 22 March, Nigeria confirmed eight new cases, six in Lagos State, one in Oyo State and one in the FCT.
    On 23 March, Nigeria confirmed ten new cases, six in Lagos State, three in the FCT and one in Edo State. They also confirmed their first death, a 67-year-old male who returned from the United Kingdom with underlying health conditions.
    On 24 March, Nigeria confirmed four new cases, one in Lagos State, one in Ogun State, one in Bauchi State and one in the FCT.
    On 25 March, Nigeria confirmed seven new cases, three in Lagos State, one in Osun State, one in Rivers State and two in the FCT.
    On 26 March, Nigeria confirmed fourteen new cases, twelve in Lagos State, one in Bauchi State and one in the FCT.
    On 27 March, Nigeria confirmed sixteen new cases, eight in Lagos State, three in the FCT, two in Enugu State, two in Oyo State and one in Edo State.
    On 28 March, Nigeria confirmed eight new cases, seven in Lagos State and one in Benue State. On same day, Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-rufai tested positive for coronavirus.
    On 29 March, Nigeria confirmed sixteen new cases: nine in Lagos State, and five in the FCT.
    On 30 March, Nigeria confirmed twenty new cases: thirteen in Lagos State, four in the FCT, two in Kaduna State and one in Oyo State. Five new persons were discharged with one new death. The suspected cases that Nigeria was tracing rose to 6,000.
    On 1 April, Nigeria confirmed thirty-five new cases: nine in Osun State, nine in Lagos State, seven in the FCT, five in Akwa Ibom State, two in Edo State, one in Ekiti State, one in Kaduna State and one in Bauchi State.
    On 2 April, Nigeria confirmed ten new cases: seven in Lagos State and three in the FCT.
    On 3 April, Nigeria confirmed six new cases in Osun State.
    On 4 April, Nigeria confirmed five new cases: three in Bauchi State, and two in the FCT.[53
    On 5 April, Nigeria confirmed eighteen new cases: eleven in Lagos State, four in the FCT, two in Edo State, and one in Kaduna State.
    On 6 April, Nigeria confirmed six new cases: two in Kwara State, two in Edo State, one in Rivers State, and one in the FCT.
    On 7 April, Nigeria confirmed sixteen new cases: ten in Lagos State, two in the FCT, two in Oyo State, one in Delta State, and one in Katsina State.
    How to stay safe
    Based on what we know so far, you can protect yourself with the same measures you’d take (and should be taking) to protect yourself against the flu: wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and stay away from people who are ill.
    Stay at home if you’re feeling sick, and if you can, stay at home even if you’re not feeling sick. If you’re older or have a chronic health condition — which makes you more likely to have a severe case of the disease — you might want to stay away from crowded places, and postpone any unnecessary travel.
    If you’re a young, healthy person, you might not feel very sick if you catch COVID-19. But if you don’t stay home and away from others, you could pass it on to someone who might get really sick. That’s why it’s so important to stay home.
    One of the best ways to slow the spread of an outbreak is by staying away from other people, which is also called “social distancing.”
    That gives a virus less opportunity to jump from person to person. It’s why there aren’t going to be big events, professional sports, and in some places, school for a while.
    Those measures help blunt the impact of an outbreak by slowing the virus. If fewer people get sick at once, it’s easier for healthcare providers to give everyone good care.
    The post FACTBOOK: Coronavirus In Nigeria — Everything You Need To Know appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    To contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos, the State Government ordered civil servants from level 1-12 to stay at home after it has announced the closure of all schools in the state, as well as placed restriction of social gatherings amounting to more than twenty people.
    Following these restrictions, Information Nigeria spoke with few religious leaders, students, as well as traders to get reactions to the government’s directive.
    Just a day after the ban on social gatherings of more than twenty persons, many churches adopted a method that did not in any way go against large gatherings.
    Lord’s Chosen Church at Ejigbo area of Lagos held Sunday service that was conducted in batches. Each batch accommodated members in pairs of fifty, giving number tags to members who were eager to identify and worship.
    A member of the church, ‘Favour’, said she understands that the government is doing what it can to contain the spread, however, this is not a time to look away from God.
    “We followed all they said and we understand why the government is restricting worship, but this is not a time to be looking away from God as only him can save us.”
    A church member of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Pako, Akoka area of Lagos pointed out that at this time, Nigerians need to look up to God more than ever for solution to COVID-19 pandemic
    A Deacon of the church, Mr Nze, said the church adhered to the state’s restriction but however, urged all Christians to call on God for his help.
    While few churches did not gather at all for worship, others did in a bid to call on God for his intervention.
    The impact of the restriction extends both public and private schools, including tertiary institutions. Armando-Silva, a masters student at the University of Lagos who had just packed his bags out from the hostel, stressed the impact of the restriction on the education sector.
    Mr Armando-Silva expressed the importance of containing the spread and the impact of the closure of schools.
    “So I think the fact that they asked us to leave the hostels is very important and generally speaking, I feel like a lot of other activities should be halted because it is important to contain this. Imagine having one student with the virus on campus, that’s all it takes to get everyone infected. So, this is the best move, everyone should be indoors.
    “I personally just think that the halt on education, as you call it, will only affect the calendar for education as for the economy, education has never had a huge impact on the economy, it’s usually the other way around, at least in this part of the world.’
    A non-academic staff of the University of Lagos, Mrs Elizabeth Ugoala shared her bits as she pointed out that the impact the closure of schools will have on the economy will not really be felt as the education system is not really as strong in Nigeria when placed side by side with the economy of the country.
    “I personally think that when this is over, schools will just pick up from where they stopped, ASUU, in all of this, is on strike, so what are we really talking about?'” she said.
     
    The post COVID-19: Nigerians Adjusting To Ban On Social, Religious Gathering appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    “This is what we feed on, and now, we have no work to do as movements has been restricted,” a staff of tourism industry said.
    There is no doubt that the travel industry has suffered a massive blow due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through Nigeria and other parts of the world. Hotels, airlines, and cruise operators are just a few of the hardest hit travel industries that suffer the most immediate repercussions.
    As of 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the tourism sector accounted for 34 per cent of GDP and about 20 per cent of the nation’s employment creation in 2017. Thus, this means that the sector also has a significant impact on the country’s economy.
    On March 18, the government announced it was restricting entry into the country for travellers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the US, Norway, the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Nigeria expanded its restrictions on March 21 announcing it will close its two main international airports in the cities of Lagos and Abuja from March 23 for one month.
    These travel ban and restrictions have dealt a huge blow on travels and tours industry. The risk particularly applies to companies who already have financial problems. The situation is more optimistic for strong industry players. Some of them are taking different measures to secure their financial situation.
    According to the country’s National Centre for Disease Control, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travellers from these countries. All travellers returning from these countries prior to the restriction will be in supervised self-isolation, monitored by the NCDC and Port Health Services.“
    Travel agencies are putting their best foot forward to ensure their customers are being satisfied during this period. The companies have to deal with thousands of calls from customers, who intend to either cancel their trips or are trying to book flights to get home, as well as those due to travel imminently or with trips planned for later in the year.

    During a phone interview with a Travels and Tour company in Lagos, an employee, who does not want her name in print said the effect of the virus on the travel industry is ‘high’ and ‘tiring’.
    She stressed that customers are constantly calling to request for refunds of their money and to change their travel plans. When asked what the travel industry is doing to manoeuvre the situation, she said:
    “Airlines are doing their best to handle the situation by giving vouchers to customers that can be used for future travels. Customers can be rest assured that their next trip is partly covered.
    “It is not like money isn’t coming in, so it is not possible to refund people. The same thing applies to hotels, tourist centers and others.

    “Most of the tickets have been left open and some airlines’ cancellation policies don’t permit refunds.
    “Some airlines have also been lenient by leaving tickets open for up to a year or giving vouchers, stating that they have a particular amount that can be used in the future because it isn’t the fault of the customers.
    “No one knows when the disease will clear, so people don’t know when they will travel. Even local airports are beginning to shut down.
    “These past few weeks have been tough because we have clients calling and some people do not want to understand as they continually ask for their money back. The disease is taking a toll on us but there is nothing that can be done.”
    Another employee in the same industry described the effect of the disease as a ‘huge loss’.
    In his words, “This is what we feed on, and now, we have no work to do as movements has been restricted.
    “The packages booked by people going for honeymoon can’t be feasible and we are begging for hotels to give refunds but unfortunately, some have a no-refund policy. Some airlines have also stated that they do not give people money back.
    “We come to work to receive calls from customers. Before, the calls are usually from people hoping to book flight, but now, people are either asking for refunds, to cancel their trips and leave their trip open and how long it will be valid.
    “It has become a norm now due to travel restrictions.
    “There is no measure being put in place to solve the situation. The travel industry is shutting down.
    “I work at the International Air Transport Association, which is the governing body for airlines and those working in airline-related services and they have predicted that Nigeria will lose almost 109 billion Naira. This is because almost all agencies are shutting down while others have asked their staff to come three times in a week to cut cost.
    “Staff are scared that their salary won’t come in due to the decrease in sales.
    “Everyone is in limbo and this is not a good time to be in the travel industry.”
    The events planning industry is also suffering from coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. Social gatherings have been limited to 50 persons. (Lagos, 20)
    Bars, lounges have also been asked to shut down but some have refused to adhere to the directive. At Oworoshoki area of Lagos, Bars were opened and ready for business but only few customers patronised.
    Speaking with Seun Bankole, an event planner, the CEO of House of Wonders; she said;
    “The disease has affected event planning because so many clients have requested to cancel their events which has already been slated between now and April because they are scared of people refusing to come due to the spread of the Covid-19 disease as well the fear of the government coming to bombarding the venues and halting the process.
    “Only a few, who are religious have opted to stay put and stay positive that nothing will happen but this will also mean a reduction in the number of guests.
    “I and some of my colleagues are praying and hoping the situation is contained so things can go back to normal. It is similar to the INEC election where people had to cancel their weddings for the election to hold.
    “There is nothing people can do but the best that can be done is for the urgent events like christenings, birthdays to be held in small gatherings like in your home, living room I.e. a place that won’t call crowd in order not to flout government orders.”
    The post EXCLUSIVE: Coronavirus Causing Damage In Nigeria’s Travel, Events Industries appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    People who have lived in the Lagos have at one point or the other had encounters with the rickety buses smeared with yellow paint and black stripes, also known as Danfo.
    A Danfo BusMost Lagos State commercial vehicles, like the buses (danfos), cabs (taxis) and tricycles (Kekenapep) have adopted the color, making it a signature look that anyone can recognize from miles away.
    Similarly, other states in Nigeria have their own color scheme for their commercial vehicles.
    A typical danfo bus in the bustling city of Lagos carries almost 16 passengers, including the driver and conductor, but in some cases, they’re more than that because you can find a person carrying another person on his or her legs if there are no more spaces or if they need to cut cost.
    Most Lagos buses have conductors attached to them like a follow-come charger.
    Following the ban of commercial motorcycles and tricycles, moving around has become more stressful and tiresome for some Lagosians.
    On the 3rd of February, the Lagos State Government directed the management of Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL) to deploy a fleet of 65 buses to join some major routes to ease commuters’ pain.
    Residents are still complaining that they’re yet to see the buses on the streets and they have to trek or find other means of reaching their destinations.
    From Bus drivers hiking the transport fare, their unprofessional driving skills, conductors not having ‘change’ to passengers struggling to join a bus over limited seats are the attendant experiences of Lagosians boarding danfo buses.
    Information Nigeria roamed the beautiful city that never sleeps to ask residents about their travails in the iconic buses and they are definitely worth sharing.
    Here are some funny yet true experiences below:
    A youth corp member, who pleaded anonymity, said;
    ”I was coming from my CDS and after struggling to enter a bus, I realized a girl had placed her wet poly bag nylon on my white shirt, when I got home I saw blood at the back of my shirt.”
    A middle-aged man identified as Josiah Solomon gave a short tale of his experience saying;
    “I once had to jump off a moving vehicle because the bus driver didn’t want to be stopped by area boys. It was a terrible experience because I didn’t see that there was a pothole before I took the risk of jumping.”
    Demidun Akinwumi gladly obliged to telling her recent experience in the danfo bus.
    ”When I’m on a bus, I try to distract myself by staying glued to my phone but some people’s eyes won’t stay one place, they will be peeping into my phone. My boyfriend once sent me an explicit message and a woman seated me saw it and began telling her friend”, she said:
    Looking exhausted after a long day’s work, Femi Adeoti said;
    ”I once got lost when I boarded a danfo. I was going to work on this particular day and there was heavy traffic, we had to follow an unfamiliar route, I got confused and asked the driver to drop me in a street. I began asking people for directions back to the main road.“
    After a successful sale at the market, a trader named Cynthia Ogechukwu, who had closed for the day said;
    ”It is hard to find a bus going to Oworoshoki from 5pm but the ban made it even worse.  I was rushing to catch a bus at Bariga when I accidentally hit my head while entering because I didn’t know it was that low and someone stole my phone from my bag”
    The bus kept emitting smoke and I realized there was fuel directly behind me. Everywhere was choked up. I wish the government would do something about this.”
    A web user, Akintunde Olayinka Godfidence shared his experience saying;
    ”It’s not funny at all. Transport fare has increased, there’s always heavy traffic on the road. Ever since the ban on okada and Keke, the thought of going to work saddens me. It has been hell so far.“
    Recounting her experience, Hope Ezioma Umesi complained about the sudden increase in transportation fares by bus drivers.
    “I told the driver I was going to Lagos business school from PWAN at Oko-ado and i told him I had 100 naira he said enter, when I got there I gave him 200 naira expecting 150 balance only for him to tell it’s 100 and drove off. The thing pain me oooo
    “In the morning going to church, from my junction to church is 50 naira the driver asked me about the exact place I told he said ” and you hold 50 naira” and I said yes na, he started talking and expecting me to beg before he could say come down I shouted at him to drop me.
    “Honestly, this whole thing is crazy and annoying”, she said.
    A resident in Lagos, Johnson Babson complained about the conductors not having change and giving passengers money to share.
    Babson said;
    “Hmmmmm… Its really craziest indeed, when danfo drivers inflated their fee, and danfo conductor will tell you ‘No’ change, Enter with your change, after you have managed to enter the bus, and will start insulting more so join change with you and fellow passengers in the bus stop.”
    Sam Dashiell Afenfia complained bitterly saying;
    “Buses that run Obalende to Ajah reduced by 2/3rd. They focused more on going the short distance (Obalende to falomor) at a higher price. Instead of 50 naira it’s now #100( any bustop from Obalende)
    Obalende to Ajah was BTW (250 to 300) depending on traffic. I found myself paying #500 one time and that was after I trekked a long distance and fought over 50 people at the bus stop.“

    Akinbayo Salami had this to say about his worst danfo experiences;
    “I was trying to catch the bus going to Yaba but it drove off leaving me to wait for another 30 minutes at the bus stop.“
    Following suit, Bukola Soremi said;
    ”Some men are taking advantage of the bus to harass women, this man stretched his hand around my shoulder and accidentally hit my boobs in the crowded bus.”
    Kunle Adesanya (name withheld) complained about bus drivers not pronouncing the locations clearly saying;
    ”I once entered a bus at Sabo going to Makoko because it sounded like Pako. It was truly a funny experience.“
    Saheed Mohammed, a graphic designer, said;
    “There was a day I met a girl who was trying to preach to me inside the bus. She asked for my name and I told her.
    “She continued preaching despite the fact that she knows I am a Muslim.
    “She preached all the way from Yaba to Lagos University Teaching Hospital.”
    The funniest experience was given by Uzor Chioma.
    In her words,
    “There was a day I was going to Ikeja City Mall. After I got to Ojuelegba, I entered a bus and the bus fare was 300 instead of 200.
    “After I paid, the tire of the bus deflated on the road but the driver replaced it with a spare tire.
    “Not so long after we continued our journey, the spare tire went down. The driver refused to refund our money but he promised to put us on another bus.
    “Apparently, one of the passengers happened to be a military man so he challenged the bus driver.
    “The driver didn’t know he was arguing with a Soldier until he got slapped by the military man.
    “The driver started begging, promising to put the military man in a car and that was how I and other passengers started claiming that they work with the military but the driver didn’t refund our money.”
    Ajibodu Tobiloba said;
    ”I school in Ogun state so I’m not really familiar with Lagos road. My worst danfo experience was when I had to go to Ikorodu for something important.
    “I had budgeted 500 naira. When I got to Ojuelegba, they told me to go to stadium then they transferred me to Yaba.
    “From Yaba they transferred me back to Ojuelegba and las las, I had to go back to stadium again.
    “I had already spent 200 naira out of my t-fare
    “When I finally entered a bus going to Ikorodu, it was late in the evening so I was asking my mom for directions on the phone when a man sitting beside me said I should calm down that he is also going to Ikorodu.
    “I was already happy, so after being on the road for a long time, I asked the man if we had gotten to the place but he said he forgot that I was going toI korodu that we had already passed the place. I couldn’t cry.”
    Michael Issac also chipped in his own experience saying;
    “Since government has placed ban okada and keke… It’s been terrible, I mean, it’s bad that the transport system in Lagos is bad enough but it just went from bad to worse… For me… having to walk through some distance before I get a bus going to my bus stop is just too much… I usually just get a keke going to Pako for just N100, but now, I have to trek for a while before I get a bus and still pay N150. it’s just sad.”
    The post Danfo Tales: Lagosians Share Their Horrible Experiences appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    When a patient dies, his or her death is usually blamed on sickness, but don’t be mistaken: Nigerian health officials would have enormously contributed to it. Deaths of many patients would have been fast-tracked by the many drawbacks of a comatose public health system. However, to ascertain the time an average patient spends before seeing a doctor, and to experience what patients go through in government hospitals, Information Nigeria’s Editor, Gbenga Odunsi ⁠— who disguised and registered as a patient at the Ogun State General hospital on Sokenu Road, Ijaye in Abeokuta ⁠—  brings this report.
    At about 1:30 pm on a sunny afternoon, the patient-journalist walks up to the registration desk to make inquiries on how to get hospital card. Here, every patient is required to pay N300 to obtain a card before seeing a doctor.
    “You cannot get a card now”, says a woman at the small cubicle where patients register to obtain hospital card.
    “You have to wait till 3:30 pm when the doctor for the next shift arrives.”
    Alarmed, I ask what would happen if I have brought an emergency case.
    “You still have to wait till 3:30 pm”, she said. But you can go to the emergency ward and tell them. They may attend to you if they see your condition requires emergency”, she added.
    Well, since there was no possibility of seeing a doctor, I left the hospital.
    The next day, I got to the hospital at about 8am.
    I met a young lady at the point of payment section of the General Outpatient Department (GOPD). She was the only one attending to patients — both new and returning ones.
    At the Records department, a middle-aged man and lady tended to every patient. The job of the lady requires collecting receipts after payment, while the man inputs the demographic details of patients in a higher education book (not even a computer). This process lasted several hours and patients, including those with emergency cases, had to wait it out.
    After my details were collected, I joined the queue of patients waiting to see the doctor. At about 9:45am, a nurse called me to check my blood pressure. At the hospital, it is a norm for nurses to examine patients before assigning them to a doctor
    And again, this process took longer time; even though three nurses were responsible for this procedure. They were seen gisting, chatting, and laughing while attending to sick patients.
    Many Nigerians prefer to practice self-medication than visit the hospital. The fear of spending long hours before seeing a doctor drives sick people to self medicate.
    While waiting to see a doctor, Information Nigeria observed that consultation session with doctors did not last up to 10 minutes. Despite complaints of a severe and constant headache, accompanied by body pains, the consultant doctor only asked two questions and scribbled down medical jargons on my card. This didn’t last up to 6 minutes either.
    How doctor’s negligence led to death of a sick child
    Information Nigeria recalls a Nigerian woman, Oyin Gucci, who lost her child in 2019. The bereaved mother recounted how she lost her nine-month-old son due to carelessness of a doctor at the Ikorodu General Hospital in Lagos State.
    According to Gucci, her son suffered from an attack at 3 a.m. on July 19 and she rushed him to the General Hospital, Ikorodu. A nurse on duty met them, but the doctor who was scheduled to be on duty was absent and his phone was switched off. Consequently, the nurse said there was little she could do for the sick child.
    Gucci narrated how two hours later; the doctor strolled in leisurely, unperturbed. He acted as if there was no emergency and did not offer any direct treatment to her son. Instead, he wrote some prescriptions for her to buy and left for the mosque to pray.
    Thirty minutes later, he returned and attended to other patients. Gucci felt these other cases were not as serious as her son’s, whom she could see was struggling to breathe. In the end, her son died more than 6 hours after arriving at the hospital.
    The situation is not different at Ogun state hospital
    Crossing his arms with his left hand out, Bimbo detailed how his brother died at the state hospital due to negligence of the doctor on duty. Wearing a sombre look, the agony in her eyes is evident. Two months after the sad experience, the 32-year-old lady has not been able to get over her loss. She gnashes her teeth intermittently, stressing that her brother’s death has caused damage in the family.
    Bimbo says her brother, who was ill, was rushed to the state hospital on 2nd December, 2019. On arriving at the hospital, he was wheeled to the emergency unit but nurses refused to attend to him until a hospital card was obtained, which took up to an hour, due to a large number of patients on waiting to obtain a card. Several minutes after getting the card, the patient was still not attended to.
    A nurse attends to a patient at the Ogun state hospital. Image credit: Information Nigeria“The nurses on- call were like voltrons; they work at their own convenience and you cannot confront them.
    “But I managed to challenge the doctor when he walked majestically into the ward. With no sign of remorse, the doctor said ‘he won’t kill himself over an emergency case’.
    My brother was finally examined; his blood sample collected, and the doctor asked me to take it to the lab for a test.
    “The doctor finally examined my brother, took blood samples and asked me to take it to the lab for test. But unfortunately, when I got to the lab, I was told its past 4pm and I would have to come back the following day for result.
    “With this development, my brother was left without treatment throughout that day until the lab test results were ready the following day. Two days after, he was hurriedly moved out of the emergency unit, due to lack of bed space. On the third day, his condition worsened, his breathing changed.
    “Again, we were told there was no doctor on duty and we would have to wait till the next doctor on shift resumes. I almost ran mad when my brother breathe his last breath.
    Laboratory section of Ogun State hospital. Image credit: Information NigeriaWhy a state hospital is understaffed is what I am yet to understand. Many tragic incidents that happened in this hospital could have been avoided if there were enough doctors,” Bimbo added, in an embittered voice.
    Like Bimbo, the visit to Ogun State hospital was similarly a nasty experience for Mr Toba Ogundele, a 41-year-old secondary school teacher.
    Ogundele had gone to the hospital to complain of chest pain. According to his narration, he got to the hospital around 10am but was unable to see the doctor until 2:10pm, after a long wait at the General Outpatient Department
    “On seeing the doctor, I explained the symptoms of my illness and he suggested I have a blood test. But on getting to the laboratory department, I was told to come back the following day as they could no longer take blood sample for the day. I had to go back home, still in pains.
    “The next day, I ensured I arrived the hospital by 9am before it was already crowded. The lab attendant asked me to pay N1500, which I did. The blood sample was taken and I was asked to return for the result by 1pm.
    “Due to the excruciating pain, I couldn’t go to work or even move around; so, I hung around the premises. By 1pm, I was back at the lab for my result. Lo and behold, it wasn’t ready. It took another 55 minutes for the result to be ready.”
    “I collected it and hurried back to the General Outpatient Department, hoping to see the doctor and get drugs, but those I met on the queue were already tired and lamenting the queue wasn’t moving at all.
    “Out of frustration and annoyance, I left the hospital unattended to, after all the sufferings.”
    Endless frustration of patients
    Information Nigeria met with a man where he sat on a covet beside the maintenance department of the facility, fanning himself on a Thursday afternoon. Recounting his experience on how doctors and nurses treated patients when his mum was placed on admission at the state hospital, the 35-year-old man, who pleaded anonymity said:
    “The nurses have bad manners; they are always rude to patients. Some go as far as screaming at sick patients. While I was at the ward with my mother, on several occasions, I kept reminding nurses that the drip of a patient was finished and needs to be changed. You can imagine that kind of negligence,” he says, while his face contours into a frown.
    “Most of the nurses are only good at gossiping with themselves on their seat. When their attention is needed, they find it difficult to leave their seat to attend to patients in the ward. They hardly treated emergency cases with speed of urgency.
    “If they were truly trained as nurse, they would understand that 3 seconds is a lot of time to waste. If some patients had 3 seconds, they could have been alive today. It is a pity but with my experience here, I can boldly state that a lot of deaths that happen in Nigerian hospitals occurred because the patients lived in Nigeria. You would never find unruly health workers in foreign countries, and they take patients health more seriously.
    “Would you blame politicians who travel to foreign countries to treat cough and headache, when health practitioners in Nigeria, who took an oath to save lives are doing the exact opposite?
    “Just two days in the ward, I saw more patients die like it was the latest trend. I would never forget a young girl who was frequently in pain while his parents watched helplessly, but the nurses did nothing about it.  Regularly, I would go to meet the nurses to please come attend to her.
    “I got to the ward this morning to hear she had died, just imagine such, in a country that claims to be giant of Africa.”
    Some patients waiting to see a doctor at Ogun State hospital. Image credit: Information NigeriaIt is widely believed that medical bills at state hospitals are relatively cheap and affordable for the average Nigerian, but with the attitude of Ogun health workers, sick patients prefer visiting private hospitals where they will have to pay much but get timely attention. While patients have recounted their experiences of longer ‘waiting in’ emergency ward or at the General Outpatient Department, leading to frustration and anxiety, some have put the blame on the underfunded system and understaffing.
    Temidayo, 28, a webmaster based in Abeokuta said he once left the state hospital in anger after several efforts to see a doctor but was discouraged by the number of patients on queue waiting to be attended to.
    “I was not feeling too well sometimes last month, I made a decision to visit the state hospital for a checkup, since it is just a mile away from my house. I arrived there at about 11am but was greeted by hundreds of patients waiting for a doctor to attend to them.
    “If I had waited on that particular day, I am sure I won’t be able to see the doctor until evening. So, I went back home and returned the following day, this time, around 8am.
    “Again, I was welcomed by tens of other patients already seated at the general out-patient department, waiting to see a doctor. I had thought I would be among the first ten patients.
    “I joined others, but when it didn’t get to my turn around 11am, I left the hospital and checked into a private hospital where I was given quick attention.”
    Mortuary with limited body trays
    With the negligence, carelessness and recklessness of doctors and nurses at Ogun State Hospital, it is not surprising that the mortuary section of the hospital is filled to the brim.
    On February 14th, a day commonly known as Valentine’s Day, I stormed the mortuary, posing as ‘bereaved’ hunting for a morgue for a freshly dead uncle. I spent time with dead bodies; moving from one corpse to another, ranging from accident fatalities, murder victims, among others.
    The morgue-attendant, an elderly man in his mid-50s, shows no pity at the bereaved visitor trying to make inquiries.
    “Bring your corpse first, I will explain everything to you,” he says. I made him understand family members sent me and I need to get the necessary information to make an informed decision on whether we will bring our corpse or find somewhere else.
    Knowing I may change my mind if he doesn’t spell out the costs and other necessary information, the tall, slim-figure mortuary attendant opens up.
    Mortuary section of Ogun State hospital. Image credit: Information Nigeria“I need to see the place where the deceased will be kept, I interrupted.
    “You want to enter? Come in,’ he says, without hesitation.
    The morgue of the state hospital is neat and well cleaned. All the corpses were neatly placed on body trays, and no stench emanated from the air-conditioned room. Inside the mortuary, a brightly lit room is quiet; no sound whatsoever. The smell of cleaning agents filled the air. Out of respect for the dead, I decided not to take pictures of corpses.
    Although the room is neat, stainless body trays were in limited supply. Asked where the new corpse I intend bringing will be laid, the morgue attendant insists I “bring it first, then we will find a space for it”.
    “When did he die?
    “Is he fat?
    “Bring him first…”
    These were the words the morgue-attendant uttered, to my dismay.
    Depositing a corpse at the state hospital morgue costs N25,000 for the first one week, after which N500 will be paid daily at the expiration of the first seven days. These are official rates pasted on the door entrance of the morgue.
    It is time to bargain price, but the attendant insists the prices are official. Even though I knew he could do some reductions to make gain for his personal pocket, I blatantly told him the prices are on the high side and I may just have to look for another morgue.
    “This price is cheap when compared to other mortuaries in town, you can go there to confirm,” he says, insisting he would not soil his hands in corruption.
    This attendant is not your average Nigerian. He belongs to a slim clique of men who, despite temptations, would remain resolute while shunning corruption.
    In his 2020 budget presentation to the State House of Assembly, on Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, Governor Dapo Abiodun says a total sum of N44.719 billion has been earmarked for the Health sub-sector.
    Abiodun said his administration will enhance health care delivery in the State through rehabilitating, equipping and providing adequate staffing for the general hospitals and the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) so as to continue to serve as effective referral centres for the lower tier healthcare delivery centres.
    The state hospital is vast becoming a home of pains, agony, and deaths, and Ogun state residents can only but hope that the several challenges facing the state hospital, including understaffing, would be resolved soon to forestall further loss of lives of patients.
    The post INVESTIGATION: ‘Attitude’ Of Health Workers In Ogun State General Hospital Killing Patients Faster Than Sickness appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    It is unarguably true that social media is a platform that has given voice to the voiceless and has helped boost communication across the world.
    Social Media platformsIt has also brought about citizen journalism where anyone and everyone can actively play a role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.
    To a large extent, it has helped in restructuring communication and information.
    The proposed social media bill in Nigeria 
    In 2019, news broke that the Senate were considering signing a bill that will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria.
    Senator Mohammed Sani MusaThe aim of the bill is to curb fake news but many believe the government intend to use it as propaganda to restrict the flow of information and prevent them from condemning the government.
    The bill named ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019’ is sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa and it was read for the first time on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
    Mr Musa said the bill is for “patriotic Nigerians” who want to see the country live in peace.
    The bill gives the government the power to shut down the internet at their own will.
    An active supporter of the bill is Senator Elisha Abbo, who is currently being investigated for an alleged assault he carried out on a woman at a sex-toy shop in Abuja.
    Senator Elisha AbboThe senator was caught on a CCTV footage, slapping the woman repeatedly in July.
    Senator Abbo supports the bill, perhaps because it is beneficial to him, but his reason is to prevent “fake news” from spreading to different countries.
    According to him, fake news is “a cancer waiting to consume all of us.”
    The penalties of the Social Media Bill if passed
    Reading out the penalties, the sponsor of the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, also known as the Social Media Bill, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa said;
    “If anyone is caught with this kind of situation, you cough out between N150,000 to a maximum imprisonment of three years or both.
    And if it is a corporate organization that refused to block that false information despite the fact that they have been alerted by authorities not to disseminate that information for public interest and they still go-ahead to do it, refusing to do that blockage will be penalized between N5 million to N10 million for those organizations.”
    However, despite the abundance of proofs about its existence, Nigeria’s minister of information, Lai Mohammed has said the country is not trying to pass a law that can stifle dissensions. “I’m not even aware of the bill,” Mohammed told DW’s Tim Sebastian in London. He doubled down on that claim moments later, noting that “there is no such bill before the House. I can say that with relative authority.”
    Nigerians Reactions to the Social Media Bill
    Speaking with Mr Joe Ejofor, the public relations officer in Yaba College Of Technology polytechnic on his view about the social media bill, he said;
    “It is a gang up on people’s right. The bill violates a person’s fundamental right to freedom speech if he or she can’t air their opinion without any form of punishment. Coming out to ban social media and send people, who make comments behind their laptops, doesn’t depict a country that wants to grow.
    “Notwithstanding, I believe there should be a way out. A lot of people have taken advantage of social media to invade people’s privacy. Even though I oppose the bill, those involved in the act should be penalized. There should be a balance in which people can talk without being penalised. A situation whereby people try to probe into people’s lives should be restricted.”
    Another staff, who pleaded anonymity, in the institution, said; “The bill is anti-democratic. Even though the government have made their mistakes in the past, the bill shouldn’t be the next thing. Rather, there is an aspect of the government which needs urgent attention which is the obedience to the rule of law and separation of power”
    Making reference to Sowore’s case, he said;
    “This is a government that will tell you that the court will release a person but they will keep this person back for being a threat to national security. If the law is eventually passed, a person can be arrested and killed for God knows what. The bill isn’t necessary as there are already provisions of law that will take care of fake news.
    “The bill is just a way to counter the Freedom of Information Act, FOI, bill signed into law. Goodluck Jonathan signed the law in 2015 despite several disputes.”
    Supporting the proposed bill, Mr Peter, a lecturer in the institution stated; “I support the bill, everything in this world has pros and cons. The excesses of social media need to be curtailed because the damages are overshadowing the beauty.
    “The bill is the only way to balance a problem and it can only work if guiding principles are put in place for instance; make the law in such a way that it is fair to the citizens. The aim of the bill must not be devalued.
    “I am advocating that the government put everything in place to block loopholes that will affect the bill. Nigerians are only looking at their loss rather than focusing on the end result which is to curb fake news. We should learn to sacrifice. The rate at which fake news is becoming a norm in the country is becoming alarming. If you care about the country then you should be in support of this.
    “The essence of social media is to involve, educate and entertain but when you disperse the wrong information for instance; the president himself, Muhammed Buhari got embroiled in a messy situation after reports claimed he was getting married to another woman.
    ” There was also a report alleging the president had died and he is being represented by his doppelganger. The man has been embarrassed within and outside the country. Just because he is being called “Baba Go Slow” doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings as well. Only the person wearing the shoe can tell where it pinches him or her.
    “Some people have suffered because of this issue. Every law can be amended at any time, the government found out people are misusing the FOI law so they brought about a solution. Why can’t Nigerians just accept it as a sacrifice for their country? I do not believe the government intend to use it as a way to cover their sins, we still have our freedom of speech but we need to be careful.”
    Countering the argument, Amokeodo Olabanji said;
    “I’m totally against it, regulating social media would also mean you’re talking our fundamental human rights, that is right to communicate and expression and this will ultimately make the country a totalitarian start and we practice Democracy in Nigeria. The government should find other means of curbing fake news.”
    Corroborating Amokeodo’s argument, Adedeji Adebgite said;
    “First of all, freedom of speech and that includes what you type or put online, as long as it’s not to ruin anyone’s career and it’s true. Also, government officials should be able to be held accountable and when they fall short of that people should be allowed to express their concerns and reservations although things like death threats and all should not be taken lightly.”
    In his opinion about the proposed bill, Damilola Ogunbanjo said;
    “The idea is good to stop the false spread of information is good (e.g the death of Wole Soyinka; a man who receives calls almost yearly from family and friends to confirm if he’s still alive or dead will stop) but this is NIGERIA.
    “Most of these good ideas become perverted and used to political agendas. People will be harassed indiscriminately. And there is a general fear that it will affect Freedom of speech. It is perceived that the president does not like people talking against him so he might use this opportunity to fine or jail people that talk against him”
    A female political science student at Crawford University, Adeze Nnaji said;
    “I feel that despite the fact that the government is painting this bill to make it look like it is to our benefit, it’s actually to our detriment. In a way, this bill is being an obstacle to the freedom of speech and opinion because we all know the elites and so-called government officials can manipulate any platform they want to.
    “This bill might just be one more asset to make them stronger. Who decides what information is good for the public interest?
    “Aren’t we smart enough to decide for ourselves what we choose to do with information?  They can turn real information to a false and provoking one real quick under the guise of the penalty that this bill encompasses so left for me, it’s unnecessary. They should rather pass a bill on Cuber trolling, hate speeches and slander on social media instead.”
    The post ‘It Is A Gang Up On People’s Right’ – Nigerians Reject Hate Speech, Social Media Bills appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    As much as you may not want to think about it, love exists, even among young people; But it is not entirely wrong to note that young people may get love and the idea about it wrong.
    As love is in the air and many are inclined to express their love in many ways this valentine’s day, Information Nigeria’s Michael Isaac and Amaka Odozi visited the University of Lagos to hear students speak about love to the best of their understanding.
    University Of Lagos, Love GardenOn a sunny Tuesday afternoon, two days away from Valentine’s Day, the journalists both arrived at the University of Lagos with one goal ⁠— to find the couples and ask them about their relationship and what love generally means to them.
    At the University, there is a place called, ‘The Love Garden’ and just as the name suggests, that was our first point of reach, but on getting there, we were greeted with a rather opposite view of what a love garden should look like as students were seen reading rather than being in mood of love.
    Speaking with Lawrence at the famous water front, love to him was a matter of availability and care. “If you love someone, you have to be available for them and care for them”, he said, clarifying that the lady with him is not his girlfriend.
    Asked what was the greatest gift he has given his ‘lady’ who wasn’t with him, he said he had bought her a gown worth seven thousand naira.
    It was fun speaking with him, but we needed to speak to couples. We found ‘Tobi and his girlfriend’ at the same Lagoon front, and oh, again, the lady was camera shy, it’s always the lady!
    Tobi seemed excited to talk about his relationship but was awestruck as he couldn’t clearly explain what love meant to him.
    Tobi opined that when you love someone, you have to tell them every day and at any point you get, adding that the greatest gift one can offer their partner is their time and energy.
    For Flourish and Choice, love means care and companionship. Choice pointed out that the most valuable item a person can give to one they care about is love. Flourish agreed as someone from the background pointed out that she was currently fighting with her boyfriend. Well, I hope they fix their issues.
    READ ALSO – Nigerians Reacts To Sextape Of UNILAG Students
    Speaking with Abraham, he shared that he has been dating a lady for three years now, as the love in his eyes could clearly be seen.
    For all four friends, love meant to care, availability, and companionship and you can clearly hear them express their feelings in their words.
    Love among younger generations is a thing and believe me when I say that as a society, the more we create room for conversations that teach young people how to handle love and relationship issues, the better it will be for us generally for a better society.
    Video below:
     
    The post Love Is In The Air: UNILAG Students Speak On Love And Valentines Day (Video) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    An Infographics Showing The Changes In Power Tariff From 2012 to 2020 By Prince OkaforThe issue of electric power in Nigeria is not one that started a few years ago. This challenge, among many others, remains one huge problem that many Nigerians seem to be clueless to what exactly may just be behind the epileptic nature of electricity in Nigeria. For many Nigerians, the idea of stable electricity sounds like a dream that may never be achievable.
    In December 2015, when the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, with the backing of the Federal Government, carried out the last upward electricity of tariff review, it told Nigerians that the hike would bring about stable electricity supply and finally resolve the problems of the country’s power sector.
    In the latter part of 2019, The bodies responsible for the distribution of power in the country hinted plans to increase tariff plans in the distribution of power and their plans stirred a mix of reactions to Nigerians. With the interest to understand why Nigerians are about to be subjected to pay for ‘darkness’, I took a visit to the EKEDC at Idiaraba Lagos and some other power outlets speaking to both staffs and power consumers.
    At EKEDC office at Idiaraba-LUTH, I met a number of people who were ready to react to the epileptic nature of power supply in Nigeria and plans to increase the tariff, but first, I spoke to a staff at the office who shared a few information with me.
    Choosing to remain anonymous, ‘Sandra’ (Psuedo) pointed out that the electricity challenge in Nigeria is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
    ‘How, ma?’ I asked as she looked at me, excited to explain.
    “Well, many people will choose to say otherwise, but really, electricity is becoming more stable and the federal government and Power Companies, DisCos and the Transmission companies are working tirelessly to ensure that becomes a thing. That’s why the new tariff plans initiated for April will ensure this becomes a reality.”
    I smiled and reminded her about the policy initiated in 2015, the policy that increased the tariff prices and added other fees to consumers of power, reminding her that the government also promised stable power as the reason for the increase.
    Watching her reaction, she shrugged, adjusted her eyeglasses, stressed ‘that’s how the government work’.
    “You try something thinking it would work but it doesn’t, so you keep trying and trying till you get it,” she said.
    Before 2015, the NERC had undertaken a review of the tariffs in 2012, which increased the tariff to N22.62 per kilowatt-hour of electricity. The tariff was also reviewed upward to N23.75 per kilowatt-hour in 2014, N26.50 in 2015, before the latest review, January 2020, which sought to hike tariffs to as high as N49.80 per kilowatt-hour of electricity.
    Just like SANDRA hinted, the increase in the price for power is to reach the need for stable electricity and the federal government has tagged it inevitable.
    Electricity WorkersLeaving the EKEDC office, I met with some people on the premises who had come for one business or the other.
    Speaking to Emmanuel, a 20-year-old medical student at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL) who had come to pay his power bill, he expressed his ignorance of the policy as he also disapproved.
    Approaching him, I introduced myself and he gave me a chance to speak with him.
    After exchanging pleasantries, I asked what he was in the premise for and he told me. “Did you know that by April, you will start paying more for power due to a new policy?”
    He expressed his ignorance and I explained to him the new power policy which had him expressing shock. Reacting to that Emmanuel said: “It doesn’t make sense, we are not even seeing light well and now they are increasing the price…”
    ‘Well, they said that they’re increasing it so that we can have more power.’ I interrupted him and caught his displeased expression.
    ‘Na so dem dey talk’ Emmanuel said responded as he pointed out that even at their school, (CMUL), power is a challenge and they have heard several promises in the past from ‘the government’
    READ ALSO – EXCLUSIVE: The Marriage Between Poverty And Street Hawking In Lagos
    Moving further, I arrived at Ojuelegba where I met up with a man whose business was to assist people pay their power bills and other payment at their ease. Mr John was excited to speak with me as I explained my aim to him.
    ‘What do you have to say generally about the new power tariff plan by April 1st?’ I asked as I watch him take a seat for himself.
    3D Electric Powerlines Over Sunrise‘For me, I think it’s a conspiracy by the federal government to steal from Nigerians’ He started as I expressed my need for a clearer explanation.
    ‘…Okay, not many people will understand this, but the government are clearly using us to pay off debts. Isn’t it obvious? Nigeria has accumulated a lot of debt and we are the ones paying for their mistakes. 10% VAT fee, now power tariff hike? these are ways they want to swindle us of our money and pay the huge debts they owe.’
    I nod my head and pointed out that the reason, as stated by the federal government, was to improve the state of the power in the country.
    ‘My brother leave that story, they know what they are doing, in 2012, they reviewed it and for what? to better our lives, in 2015, the same thing, look at how better our lives is now. My point is, from April when they start billing higher, it won’t be any different from what we are experiencing and going to express from now till then. Nigeria is broke, we’re looking for money everywhere and the masses are the ones taking the heavy blow.’
    I also pointed out that many Nigerians are not aware of the new policy and Mr John had this to say: “Misplaced priorities is the simple answer. Many Nigerians have close to no interest in the government and it’s not their fault really, as the government has failed on many occasions.”
    Speaking to Ibironke, she pointed out the same thing Mr John had hinted.
    “Nigerians will still pay, they will pay and learn to always pay. We are not even bold enough to tackle these things but it’s a good thing Information Nigeria is doing, for putting it out there alone. Well done.”
    Ibironke was in a hurry, so we didn’t get to talk so much.
    In April, the tariff which the Federal Government has tagged ‘inevitable’ will finally come to life and we will keep our fingers crossed to see if the plans as they have stated is actually what it is or what Mr John described as a conspiracy to swindle Nigerian.
    The post Electricity Tariff Increase: What Consumers Are Saying In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Paracetamol tabletsIn Lagos, Nigeria as against other states in the country, it is not uncommon to find food vendors sprawling in every nook and cranny. Sometimes in a street, you could find as much as three food vendors — why? It is a lucrative business, people must eat.
    Food business has grown over time from going to the restaurant or buka as it is referred to in local parlance to door-step delivery. With the aid of social media, food can be ordered from any part of a city and be delivered to a customer at no hitch at all.
    In Lagos, because of the usual ‘hustling’ that Lagosians are known for, many leave their homes as early as 4:00 am to return a little before 12:00 am daily. This makes patronising food vendors a daily practice, and in return, a boost for the food business.
    For the vendors, it becomes a part of personal branding for their business to carve a good niche for themselves. Some of them want to be known as the go-to-place for tasty and assorted meals of all kinds, others have come to be known to be the early birds of the business. They start selling food as early as 6:00 am, to serve workers rushing off to work but desire breakfast no matter how early.
    In the food business, consistency in a taste, quality and time(opening and closing hours) are key to sustaining the business and getting ahead of competitors.
    Read Also: Struggles, Pains Of Single Mothers And Society’s One-Sided Backlash (Exclusive)
    However, it became recently known that some food vendors have employed a deadly practice of using paracetamol to cook their meat in order to make it tender on time.
    The revelation came as a big blow to many, as it is almost impossible to find a Lagosian who doesn’t eat out or patronise local bukas.
    Though the revelation might have come as shock to many, it is interesting to note that the practice has been in existence for a long time and only came to light recently.
    INFORMATION NIGERIA spoke with Iya Dami who runs a makeshift Buka at Fagba junction, Iju, Lagos, during the day.
    Reluctant to speak about the practice in the first place but after much persuasion, she agrees that it is true that some food vendors use paracetamol to cook their meat in order to make it tender in no time.
    She said: “many people dey use am cook because e dey quick makes meat soft. Instead of you to dey waste firewood or gas, paracetamol go make am quick soft.”
    Although Iya Dami denies using paracetamol to cook her meat, she said she is quite aware of a number of her colleagues who engage in the practice.
    Asked if she knows that the practice could be hazardous to the consumer’s health, she said “ I nor think so because if person get headache or body pains, him go take paracetamol, so I not sure say na bad thing. ”
    Monsurat Aderanti, a food vendor at Iju Ishaga road said although she has heard of it being done, she has never practised it.
    The light-skinned middle-aged woman who sells food alongside more than 4 other food vendors at the bus garage said she first heard of the method when she was about to go into the food business.
    She said, “People have been doing it for a long time. When I was going to start my business, I was advised by those who have been in the business before to use paracetamol to soften meat in order to make it soft quickly. ”
    However, she says she discarded the advice alongside some other ones given to her because it just didn’t feel right.
    Not just those who sell food, ‘Beer parlour’ operators have also been fingered as major culprits of this act. Because pepper soup is an important aspect of their business, it has been found that they use paracetamol to prepare their goat and cow meat in order to save the waiting time of customers and of course burning excess gas or kerosene.
    Food vendor at IkejaKnowing that it would be a herculean task to find a food vendor who would admit to using paracetamol to cook their meat, to avoid long hours of cooking — and in turn, keep customers waiting — which could lead to losing them — Information Nigeria’s Verity Awala proceeded to speak with Lagosians on the street to find out if they knew about the practice and if it has stopped them from patronising food vendors.
    Oludara Salako, a roadside vulcanizer at Pen Cinema, Agege, said “ I have heard of it before, but it hasn’t stopped me from patronising food vendors. In fact, I just finishing eating Amala and Gbegiri with meat from my favourite vendor. ”
    On if he doesn’t border it could have an adverse effect on his health, if his food vendor in fact uses paracetamol to soften her meat, he said; “I’m not bothered because I have been partonising food vendors since I was a child and nothing has happened to me. And moreover, something must kill a man. ”
    Read Also: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    Arike Ogunbiyi, a student of Lagos state polytechnic, who was on her way to her school said, “I only heard about it recently and that has made me reduce my eating out habit. Sometimes when I decide to buy food from a food vendor, I just buy egg instead.”
    Sarah Omotoro, a trader who sells kitchen utensils at Moshalashi Alhaja Market, Agege also spoke with INFORMATION NIGERIA, saying, “ it is almost impossible not to eat out, especially when you have to leave home very early in the morning and don’t have time to make any food before leaving. ”
    The mother of one said she buys food a lot, especially as she has to breastfeed her 8-month old baby. However, she said that the revelation has taught her not to buy food from just any food vendor but a selected few and hopes the ones she patronises are kind enough not to be culprits of the evil practice.
    It became imperative to speak with health experts on the real dangers of cooking food with paracetamol. Is it as dangerous as it sounds or there is a way around it?
    A pharmacist, Chimerem Emenyonu who works at Juli Pharmaceuticals Ikeja, said the practice is very dangerous. According to her, there is something called paracetamol poisoning which in the long run can cause liver damage.
    Nonso Nwosu, another pharmacist who works with a popular pharmaceutical store in the Agege area of Lagos state, wondered why people would go through such means just to cut costs and make profit.
    He said, “When paracetamol is used for cooking, it breaks down into other forms which become entirely different from its original properties as a pain killer and becomes highly acidic which becomes unsafe for consumption.”
    He added that when paracetamol is broken down in this form, the drug is hydrolyzed into what is known as 4-aminophenol, and this is extremely hazardous to the kidney.
    Naturally, taking too much anything is bad and this is more true for drugs because of its effect on the kidney and liver.
    In Nigeria today, Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has become rampant that the Nigeria Medical Journal in its 2016 report said it has become a public health issue.
    A report by the Nigerian Association of Nephrology (NAN) in 2018 said more than 25 million Nigerians, representing over 13 percent of the country’s estimated 180million people had kidney failures.
    With the increasing case of young people having kidney problems and eventually dying of the disease, it becomes important for all and sundry to take precautions as to life style choices that could lead to the almost irreversible condition.
    In a country such as this, where there is hardly proper monitoring of things, it would be almost impossible to check restaurants, beer parlours or food business owners on this practice — Especially since many food vendors cook their food in their homes and take them to streets to sell.
    Some people have expressed fears that the revelation instead of deterring people would even serve as publicity of the illicit practice as they would jump on the new knowledge to perpetuate more evil in the name of saving cost and time.
    The post How Food Vendors In Lagos Use Paracetamol To Cook Meat appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Traffic at IkejaLagos has always been known for its signature traffic with successive governments thinking up plans and policies to solve the menace once and for all.
    However, it appears the traffic situation in the state has remained without a cure, and Lagosians have for a long time, had to grapple with the reality of spending long hours in traffic, both in the day and at night.
    As a result of this, the need to seek the easiest way to meet up business or personal appointment has seen a boost in the motorcycle and tricycle business. With the way they are structured, motorcycles easily manoeuvre, even in the worst traffic situation.
    Okada and keke napep or marwa as it is referred to in local parlance, have enjoyed the love of Lagosians who need to be somewhere very fast and have the means to board one.
    So, it became a serious of form of heartbreak for both riders and passengers when the Lagos state government announced that a ban on this form of transportation would take effect from February 1 2020.
    According to the state government, motorcycles and tricycles are not part of the plan for the megacity.
    Read Also: Struggles, Pains Of Single Mothers And Society’s One-Sided Backlash (Exclusive)
    Speaking on the ban, which will be effected in six local governments and nine local council development areas of the state, Gbenga Omotosho said the decision was in response to ‘scary figures’ of fatal accidents recorded from Okada and tricycle operators in Lagos between 2016 and 2019.
    Read Also: Inside Life Of “Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive)
    The affected areas are Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LGA, Yaba LCDA, Surulere LGA, Itire-Ikate LCDA, and Coker-Aguda LCDA.
    Others are Ikeja LGA, Onigbongbo LCDA, Ojodu LCDA, Eti-Osa LGA, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Lagos Island LGA and Lagos Island East LCDA.
    The restricted highways are Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road, and Eti-Osa Lekki Coastal Road.
    The bridges are Iyana-Ipaja Bridge, Agege; Dopemu Bridge, Agege; Airport/Ikeja Bridge; Agege Motor Road/Oshodi Loop, Oshodi; Mushin/Isolo Link Bridge; Dorman Long Bridge; Ojuelegba Bridge; National Stadium Flyover; Apapa-Iganmu Bridge; Apapa-Ijora Link Bridge; Liverpool Bridge, Apapa; Mile 2 Bridge-Loop, Amuwo-Odofin; Okota (Cele)/Ijesha Link Bridge; Apakun/Apapa-Oshodi Bridge Network; Ikorodu Road/Anthony Clover Leaf Bridge.
    Others are Trade Fair Flyover Bridge, Festac/Amuwo-Odofin Link Bridge, 2 Flyover Bridges along Alhaji Masha Road, Ojota Clover Leaf Bridge, Ogudu Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge, Maryland flyover, Ikeja General Hospital Flyover Bridge, Kodesoh Bridge, Oba Akran, Ikeja; Opebi Link Bridge; Sheraton-Opebi Bridge; Jibowu/Yaba flyover Bridge; Carter Bridge, Lagos; Bariga-Ifako Bridge; Apapa-Oshodi Expressway/Alapere Bridge; Bariga/Oworonsoki Bridge; Apapa-Oshodi Expressway/Gbagada U-Turn; Apapa-Oshodi Expressway; Third Mainland/ Oworonsoki Bridge; Eko Bridge; Apongbon flyover Bridge; Cowry Bridge (Officers Mess); Mcwen Bridge (Bonny Camp); Marina/Ikoyi Bridge and Ikoyi/Obalende Bridge.
    INFORMATION NIGERIA, to understand the depth of the situation as it would affect riders and passengers, spoke to some motorcycle and tricycle operations and every single one of them lamented about the proposed ban.
    Gokada Riders at IkejaSanya Olagbegi, a Gokada operator who stationed at Agege, Pen Cinema at the time of the interview, said the ban will be a big loss to him. He said “I have two older sisters and three younger brothers that are dependent on me. I make about N100,000 monthly from this business.”
    Olagbegi attributed most of the success of the business to the traffic in the state, saying passengers would pay anything as long as they meet up their appointments on time.
    He said, “you know how Lagos is with traffic, a customer can board this bike from here to Ajah and his fare would be around N3000. The customer would not mind paying it because he knows he is off for business and would get more from the trip than what he expends on transportation.”
    According to the GOkada operator, he remits N4,000 to the company and whatever he makes after paying his daily ticket fee of N300, fuel and feeding are what he takes home.
    Chima Eze, an indigene of Imo state, rides his Okada between Pen Cinema and Ikeja. According to him, “the ban will affect both riders and passengers. Eze said the situation of Lagos is so terrible, ” things are so expensive and there are no jobs. ”
    He also said that most of the Okada riders in his park are graduates who had to take to the form of business because there are no jobs.
    Commercial motorcyclists park at Agege“Most of us you see here are graduates who have the capacity to work anywhere but because there are no jobs, we have decided to take up this business  — because we can’t just sit at home doing nothing, especially since we have families to cater for.”
    Eze, an ambitious man in his 40’s stressed that “even here, you would find policemen and soldiers who work with us, just to make up on what their salaries can’t.”
    On what he will do if the ban takes effect, Eze said; “I will find another way to make ends meet as life must go on. I remember during the time of Fashola when a similar ban was imposed, many people ran away from Lagos to seek pastures elsewhere and for those of us that remained, life still went on. I don’t believe the ban is the end of the world,” he concluded.
    Aderonke Fabiyi, an ardent Okada passenger, says she has been making it early to her workplace at Yaba from Agege since she got the job in 2017.
    “I honestly don’t know how I will cope with this ban. This government just make policies without thinking it through,” she lamented.
    Tomiwa Adisa, a Keke Napep operator who shuttles between Agege and Ikeja, said “when one way closes another way opens. I believe my God will not put me to shame.”
    An Opay rider at Ikeja, John Peter, decried how the ban would affect his life and his nine months of work. According to him, he has worked for Opay for about 9 months on a higher purchase contract of one year, where he would take ownership of the bike after he has paid back the agreed sum.
    He said, “if the ban comes to play, they might back their bikes which means I have worked in vain for nine months.”
    He added that “some riders may not accept that Opay takes their bike after working for 8 to 9 months, which may cause a lot of trouble.”
    While the state government may have good reasons to effect the ban, riders and passengers have said the ban is going to have a huge toll on them.
    There have been many government policies that have been announced with the tone of finality but enforcement becomes a dream. For this ban, it would be interesting to see where all these lead.
    The post Okada, Tricycle Riders, Passengers Lament As Lagos Threatens Ban February 1st appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    The Nigerian government has undoubtedly made efforts to fight against the high rise of substandard private schools in the country, yet some schools keep springing up like weed.
    Most parents send their children to private schools because they believe they offer quality education than state-owned schools. The main objection for the privatisation of schools was to remove the burden of the rising demands on public learning from the government.
    Private education providers saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on the government’s failure at the expense of providing quality education.
    The public authorities have also failed to monitor and regulate the mushrooming of schools, and this has paved way for schools without licences, hiring of untrained teachers and absence of quality education.
    Likewise, most of these so-called “government approved” schools do not adhere to the operational guidelines of the state government in offering quality teaching and learning in a standardised environment.
    The guiding principle for setting up primary schools in Nigeria by the ministry of education stipulates that at commencement, schools must have a minimum of a library, three VIP toilets, computer and health facilities and playground among others.
    Investigation reveals most of these schools operate on their own terms and conditions. Three private schools in Ifako and one in Ketu were visited by Information Nigeria to expose substandard private schools.
    Foladem Nursery and Primary schoolFoladem Nursery and Primary School operates in a four-bedroom bungalow and a miniature building connected it. The school also serves as a tutorial centre in the evening, after school hours.
    Going into the school, I was greeted by a job vacancy signpost, suggesting that the school is understaffed. The painting on the building had already begun to fade and which means over the years, the school hasn’t undergone any maintenance or renovations, despite charging a development fee of 1,000 Naira per term.
    One of the teachers, a young dark-skinned man, coming out of the miniature building approached me and directed me to the main building where I was asked to sit on a long wooden bench, to wait for the proprietress to attend to me.
    Sitting by the corridor, also known as the reception, I could only see male teachers around. The proprietress, a woman in her 40s, who had just finished taking a class invited me into her office.
    The office, clustered with plastic chairs and pile of papers on her desk, she handed me the school fees bill, while asking a couple of questions.
    Asked whether after school lessons are not compulsory since the school closes by 3, proprietress said I’ll have to meet with one of the teachers to bargain the price.
    Being my first time doing investigation, I left the school area without getting adequate information.
    Another school, Sunjem private schools, located in a two-storey building, is partitioned in two parts. Save for the signboard, the main entrance was situated in a tight corner, making it seem like the school management is trying to hide the building.
    A part of the building was solely dedicated to crèche and nursery school, while the second part was for the primary and secondary… or so I thought. I was taken to the administration building where I spoke with the proprietor whose office was located in the corner of an open space.
    From my observations, Basic 1 classroom had no door, so it was easy to see the teacher make use of her phone after she had occupied the children with classwork.
    “For new intakes in basic 3, we charge 58,000 Naira, and this includes registration fee, uniform and sports wear fee, development and tuition fee,” the proprietor said.
    I asked to take a look around the school. At the back of the building, is a shed attached to the building made with wood and roofing sheets. The building is for basic 3-5. a quick glimpse into this building reveals that the classrooms have been demarcated with boards and I learnt only two teachers had been assigned to take the three classes.
    The man, whom the proprietor had led me to, happened to be one of the teachers and he said the students have to go to the back to the main building if they need to use the toilet.
    Outside the gate, there was a building directly behind it, which is said to be the hall where functional activities take place.
    Opel International Islamic schoolThe third school, Opel international Islamic school is situated on the 2nd floor of a building Schools are responsible for providing a safe and comfortable environment for learning. If a child is harmed, the school can be sued.
    The main gate for the schoolDifferent classes were being taught in the same room and it was quite noisy. One would wonder how students could cope in such a learning environment. Inside the three-bedroom apartment, the proprietress had her personal office, close to two rooms dedicated for learning. From the look of things, the school lacked a library, sickbay or other necessities for it to qualify as a school.
    At the fourth school, one of the teachers (Miss Sarah, whom I knew, pleaded to keep the school anonymous to avoid losing her job.)
    In the school located at Ketu, a number of five teachers had been divided to handle 10 classes. In case you are wondering how this is possible, the classes are usually merged if the students are few. This means crèche is in its own room while the kindergarten class 1 and 2 are merged to form one class, and it follows suit, Nursery 1 and 2, primary 1, primary 2 and 3, 4 and 5.
    A teacher teaches all subjects, regardless of their specific area of expertise. However, in a situation where a teacher can’t speak Yoruba, the classes are merged so one teacher teaches them.
    Miss Sarah described the quality of education in the school as ‘backward’. Giving her reasons, she said; “The teachers are not trained professionals, so their salaries are poor and this compromises the quality of tuition being delivered in the schools.
    “The teaching materials are old and we do not go for trainings.
    “Our method of teaching is old and we use textbooks as far as 15 years.
    “The furniture are not standard.”
    In 2019, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced the closure of substandard private primary schools and secondary schools across the country.  A statement issued by the ministry quoted the minister as saying that the National Secondary Education Commission, billed to take off soon.  
    The post EXPOSED: Understaffed, Crappy, Shabby Private Schools In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    In Lagos today, many youths find themselves doing some jobs not just for the long run, but to satisfy their daily need for food.  The quest to understand these young men who find themselves going through the hard way to make ends meet, informed the decision of  Information Nigeria’s Michael Isaac to take to the streets of Lagos to listen, and tell the stories of these young men hawking inside the harsh traffic in Lagos.
    Young Men HawkingOn a sunny Saturday afternoon at Okota road, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government area of the State, road users are seen moving up and down on both sides of the road as impatient drivers honked their way through the traffic. However, while everyone seem to go about their businesses, the hawkers were also busy moving from vehicle to vehicle in search for that one customer who would aid having bread on their tables.
    Watching them from a corner going about their business amongst the other road users who mostly turned down their goods or seemed highly uninterested in giving them attention, I  patronized one of the traders; it was a very sunny afternoon, so I decided to buy bottled water. From the corner where I stood, I motioned to one hawker selling water to come and three ran to me.
    “Chairman, bottle water or minerals”, they all said as they approached where I stood.
    I let all three come to me as I stretched my hand and picked from one of their bowl of drinks.
    “This una business, e be like say una dey make money o”, I said to get their attention which they immediately gave to me. As they looked at me they expressed shock that I had said that as they were quick to counter my statement. It was at that point I introduced myself and all three identified themselves as Chucks, Ike and Olamide.
    Speaking with the trio, I asked why they resolved to hawk on the streets, but the three gave different narrations
    Olamide hinted that he started hawking to support himself because he has no one in Lagos and he finds the daily proceeds from his hawking better and more sustainable.
    “You dey make money na,” I said as he concluded, and again, he countered me and said “How much na… Na only 3k or 5k highest for one day, nothing else dey to do so na this level I dey so.”
    For Ike, the story was that of a hustler from Eastern Nigeria. According to him, he left Ebonyi State for greener pastures only to meet disappointment, leaving him with no choice but to hawk. He had been promised a job by an uncle and on getting to Lagos, the uncle turned deaf ears to his needs and pleas for something to do.
    Chucks had a similar story with Ike as they are both from Ebonyi State.
    Read Also: Kaduna State Bans Street Hawking / Begging
    “How long una don dey do hawk?” I asked and looked out for their expressions.
    All three looked nothing excited as they gave their answers. Two years for all three.
    Taking a sip from the water I had bought from Ike, I asked them “Wetin you think say government fit do to help una?’
    They all wanted to answer eagerly and I let them, one after the other.
    For Ike, the government should either provide jobs for them that fit their class as they are neither academics or intellects and if they can’t, they should stop using taskforce officials to harass them harassing.
    Ladies HawkingThe other two pretty much said the same thing, but Olamide has a touching story to share.
    “Nigerian government is wicked and even if you write heaven and earth, dem no fit do anything. No be everybody go school but everybody get one thing wey dem sabi do. Even their yeye task force, na money everybody dey find. If dem sieze your market, na bribe you go take collect am. So this country, no be today wickedness start,” he said, while his colleagues and friends supported him.
    It was interesting speaking to the trio, but it was time to leave for my next location, I brought out Fifty-Naira to pay for the bottled water, but they asked me not to pay; I thanked them, asked to take a picture which they declined and left.
    Two Young Men HawkingAt Maryland, next location, the hawkers here seem to be having a hard time finding customers to buy, and many blamed it on the state of the nation, the just-concluded festive season, and the big guys (retail stores and online marketplaces).
    However, I found teenager hawking some potato chips and other crunches, and immediately I found interest in speaking with him.
    I waved at him, motioning him to come and he ran towards my direction
    “Good afternoon sir, what do you want to buy”? He spoke eloquently and my interest grew.
    I don’t like potato chips but I picked up one from his box of chips and gave a I-don’t-really-like-this face. He caught it and said “don’t worry, fine bros, you will like this one,” he tried to convince me.
    Read Also: Nigerian Politician Distributes Wheelbarrows On Hire Purchase To Alleviate Poverty (Photo)
    “Hmm, before nko, you’ll say anything to make me buy.”
    “Man gats hustle to survive na, bros,” he said as he stretched his hand to collect his money. I was about to introduce myself to him before another customer beckoned for him to come.
    Immediately he left, two young ladies approached me, one with her bowl of drinks. “Pure water, bottled water, minerals, bros which one you wan buy?” The other lady with groundnuts looked at me to desperately buy from her.
    I bought a bottle of Pepsi and asked the other lady to give me groundnut worth of fifty-naira.
    “Una go don make plenty of money today o”, I started, hoping to get their attention and just like my brothers at Okota, it worked.
    They were, again, quick to counter my statement as they pointed out that they have only engaged in hawking to support their families and to have food on their tables daily.
    I introduced myself and they felt a little more comfortable speaking with me, I asked them what prompted them to start hawking and for how long they have been on it.
    The ladies, Grace and Olaide hinted that it was the condition of the nation that has made them street hawkers, they pointed out that if the country was economically healthy this would not have been an option for them.
    Speaking further, Grace said: “If only the people in high places would come out and see how hard it is for the people on the street, the market women. If they can just take a day and come out, they would see that people are suffering.”
    Olaide supported her as she spoke and I thanked them for their time after paying for the drink.
    It is obvious that poverty, bad governance and corruption are factors that affect the lives of many Nigerians, and as citizens, we can only hope for better days to come as we play our own parts to ensure the better days come fast enough.
    The post EXCLUSIVE: The Marriage Between Poverty And Street Hawking In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Known to be the next phase of life for every Nigerian graduate, the National Youth Service Corps orientation scheme is a program every youth anticipates and looks forward to. In this exclusive piece, Information Nigeria’s Amaka Odozi narrates her 3-week experience at the Lagos Iyana Ipaja camp, from her call-up letter to her last day in camp.
     
    NYSC Call up letterOn the 1st of November, 2019, I received the anticipated National Youth Service Corps call up letter like every other prospective corp member of my set.
    I graduated in June, and had been disturbing my university’s secretary because of this letter, which I finally received in November.
    I became a ‘batch C’ corps member after the long wait.
    Although, I asked a friend of mine to check it so I don’t suffer heartbreak because I had chosen Adamawa, Kano, Oyo and one other I cannot remember now.
    It is a known fact that 90% of corpers posted to Lagos influenced their posting.
    I was initially scared that being born and brought up in the southwestern part was going to pose as a threat and I would definitely be thrown to the Northern part of Nigeria for my service year.
    In my mind, I had already surrendered to the thought of being posted to far away from home but I was low-key, eyeing Kano, since I heard it was the Lagos part of the North.
    However, this would only give my parents a heart attack.
    While others were checking their dashboard and breaking the news on their Whatsapp status.
    I begged my dear friend, Olamide to check the letter after I had given him my username and password.
    I joyfully announced that our prayers had been answered.
    Before then, I already lied to my friends that I had been posted to Kaduna… to my dismay some congratulated me while others sympathized with me till I told them the truth.
    By this time, I knew who my true friends were.
    After I had done extensive research and read many reviews about Lagos Iyana Ipaja camp, I quickly rushed down to Yaba market to buy a waist pouch, torchlight, food flask, cutlery, 4 white knickers, 2 packs of white shirts, three pairs of socks and a pair of sneakers.
    I had spent over 17, 000 naira purchasing these items.
    I also bought provisions and toiletries which cost 5,000 extra.
    I made sure all my documents were ready and intact the night before I left for camp.
    The documents included,
    My call-up letter, Authentic medical report (this will be verified by a medical practitioner to ensure you are fit to stay in camp) Green card slip Statement of result from school ( certificate) School ID card At least 10 passport photographs I made sure I took at least 8 photocopies of each document.
    I packed my things together and placed them in front of my bedroom door because I was excited.
    Day One: Reporting To Camp
    On the 5th of November, 2019, I set out early to camp and I suddenly became nervous as I got closer to the entrance of the camp.
    I got to camp around 10:30 am because I had to look for a bank where I could make cash withdrawals because there were no ATM Machines on camp yet.
    The soldier who attended to me seemed pretty nice as he cracked some jokes here and there while my luggage was being checked in.
    Not to worry, I carried only one box to avoid too much stress and stories that touch.
    I came prepared with the necessary documents and photocopies after hearing how the traders at the Mami market could be ridiculously expensive.
    I already knew sharp objects, hard drugs, electronic appliances were contraband items which will eventually be seized.
    After the search, I was told to walk down to the female hostel.
    I noticed photographers had begun making their way towards me like bees to honey, and they asked me if my passport was in red background.
    “They think they’ve seen another Johnny just come,” I said to myself.
    The devil came and I almost gave in but I summoned up the courage to go with my passports in white background which was accepted.
    I managed to get to the hostel where we were told to line up to write down our names, and when we were up to 30 on the list, we were taken to a room where we were going to spend the next three weeks.
    Female hostel of Lagos NYSC CampBefore now, I have never seen a single room fit in more than 10 bunks and 30 bed spaces. Do not blame me because I attended a university where we were either six or four in a room.
    Moving on, the registration process was seamless because all the camp officials were situated in one big hall, so it was pretty easy to locate them and finish up on time.
    When the time came for the medical clearance, the long queue seemed endless, so I postponed mine till the following day.
    Quick tip: Intending corp members should go early for registration to reduce the stress.
    I was given my NYSC kits which includes Khaki, crested vest, white tops and shorts (2 pairs), jungle boots and white tennis shoes under my platoon stand.

    Thankfully, I had gotten my white shirts and shorts from home because the ones I was given at camp were too small.
    We were also told to change into our white shirt and white knicker immediately after getting the kits.
    Each Corp member is expected to always don their NYSC cap to avoid unforeseen consequences.
    While I was trying to rest, the soldiers unexpectedly blew their beagle around 4:00pm and we, the corps members had to align at the parade ground.
    I thought we would be given a day off to rest and mingle.
    Sadly, we were taught how to ‘at ease and attention’ and I dreaded every moment. We had already started practicing for the swearing-in ceremony.
    This is when all prospective corps members learn the moves soldiers use in welcoming visitors, especially the governor of the state or representative, who are to visit on the day of the swearing-in ceremony.
    I stood for over 4 hours because I am obeying the clarion call. After the drills around 6:00pm, I stormed the market to feed my eyes but I ended up buying a bucket for using the restroom.
    All ‘Otondos were also told to go to the campground to watch an orientation movie.
    I got back to my room around 9:00 pm, I ate and dozed off.
    The activities
    I was soon disturbed from my slumber by the sound of the beagle by 4:00am. Female soldiers came into the hostel blowing their whistles and I quickly got dressed and ran to the parade ground. All corp members were told to line up according to their various platoons. There were 10 platoons in total. Each platoon stands in three’s and a group of soldiers are assigned to them.
    Each platoon was also assigned to lead the morning devotion on a day to day basis.
    We sang praises, recited our NYSC anthems and then listened to a write-up, known as meditation verse and from the platoon leading that day.
    After this, we were addressed by our camp director, who constantly gave us the rules and regulations to abide by in camp and communicated with us to improve our stay.
    After this, we had our Man O’ War drills, where most times we jogged round the camp premises.
    During the drills, we learnt some hilarious songs that made the situation bearable.
    Some of them are:
    Shoe get size, Okirika get quality Na u go tire oo, na you go tire, Lazy soldiers (corpers) na you go tire U go born mumu, u go born mumu, if soldier marry soldier you go born mumu After all this, we went our separate ways form 7:25 am till 8:50 to get ready from the day.
    Meanwhile, each platoon was also assigned days to clean the environment and cook for all the corp members.
    Not to worry, it didn’t involve washing toilets because cleaners were there for that.
    At camp, we were given meal tickets for collection of food at the camp kitchen.
    The second beagle for lunch blows by 2:00 PM.
    The camp food wasn’t bad after all.
    I also tried to join Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) and I passed the first stage of the interview.
    The OBS, a mini studio with sound and electrical gadgets, is manned and operated by the corps members under the supervision of the publicity and protocol committee
    Swearing-in/taking of oath by Corps members
    On the 7th of November, the swearing-in ceremony was held, which meant I officially became a corp member.
    All corps members were expected to be on their crested NYSC shirt and khaki trouser.

    That morning, I had gotten to the parade ground only to realize my trouser was torn at the front. I had to quickly run to the market to sew it.
    On this day, Emmanuel, the head of the OBS department, had instructed that I and other corp members to write a report on the event as part of our entrance test but I couldn’t because I was trying to fix my trouser.
    Getting to the parade ground, I saw a girl complaining about the shoe given to her because it was not her size.  Since I had the same problem so I switched with her.
    Nigeria goes to bed
    Every day by 5:00 am, the beagle will be blown for the Nigerian flag to be raised and by 6:00pm, the flag will be lowered.
    When the beagle has been blown, you are expected to stand still wherever you are till it ends.
    Lectures
    After resting in the hostel by exactly 8:50, the beagle sound comes up again for all corp members to rally at the parade ground where a series of lectures are passed on from 9am to 2pm.
    The Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development, SAED, programme began on the second week in camp and they include,
    Traditional . NYSC (Information communication technology [ICT], community development service [CDS], skills acquisitions and entrepreneurship development [SAED], registration department, etc.) Environmental sanitation/inspection Security lecture by security consultant Sensitization on skills acquisition HIV/AIDS and SDG sensitization Values reorientation lectures by PAIGAS/NDLEA EFCC Sensitization on financial inclusion by FMYSD ICPC NIM INEC sensitization Professional orientation on teaching NEMA sensitization Professional orientation: engineering law and medicine Funding option by financial institutions (SAED) Collaborating partners During this period, I observe my siesta.
    The SAED lecture literally meant Sleep Activated Every Day. This is the period when most corps members sleep, including myself.
    After the lectures, we were asked to break into our different classes. I chose a makeup class which was a part of the listed classes.
    It is also good to pay attention to some lectures because they can really make a difference in your life.
    Sundays: Lazy day

    Sundays are no waking up early days. Drilling exercises start by 4:00pm.
    Rumours
    My roommates always had stories to tell every single night.
    I heard two corpers got decamped after they were caught having sex.
    I even heard they saw a female corper giving a male corper oral sex.
    Social activities

    There were many social activities, which usually begin from 7:00 PM to 10:00, examples are, Welcome party, Mr Macho, Miss NYSC, Mr and Miss Ankara, Carnival Day and Drama Night.
    Photo from the carnivalFrom 18 and 19 day, the different sports and games final took place.
    The first allowance was paid into bank accounts on day 18. Those who did not get their own were paid cash on the last day of camp.
    This is a game whereby each platoon celebrates one tribe from Nigeria by dressing in costume as that tribe. Bonfire night was the highlight of all camp activities but my bonfire night was replaced with cooking competition between each platoon. The food is shared between the platoon. The last day of the camp is a free day for all corpers. Passing Out Ceremony
    I was given my plastic identity card a day to leave camp and we told to return state code tag to the platoon inspector.
    On the final day, we were told to resume under the tent by 9:00 am for the last lecture afterwards our Place of Primary Assignment letters were distributed around 11:30am.
    PPA is where a corper is expected to render selfless service with dedication for a year of active service to the country.

    All PCMs were expected to wear their 7/7 outfit.
    Vehicles from different groups from were park around waiting to help CM to their PPA if going their way. The post REPORTER’S DIARY: Lagos NYSC Camp Where Corpers Sleep During Lectures appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    A toilet at Ogun State Ministry of Environment. Photo Credit: Gbenga Odunsi/Information NigeriaInadequate supply of water in Ogun State Secretariat, located at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, is exasperating civil servants as the entrance of toilets in some ministries are filled with disgusting dirt, producing offensive smell around the corridor; while most of the ministries do not have access to running water in their restrooms.
    It was an arduous task moving from one ministry to another, identifying those with good, slightly good, bad, and totally bad restrooms. Hence, it took a total of three nerve-racking days — December 20th, 23rd, and 24th — for Gbenga Odunsi, Editor at Information Nigeria, to observe the poor sanitary condition of the government facility that houses offices of the state ministries, including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Budget and Planning, and Office of the Accountant-General.
    At the Ministry of Environment, there was no water in most of the toilets from the ground floor to the last floor when the journalist visited on December 20. At the secretariat, it is de rigueur for toilets to be locked — to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing it. I observed for hours, how public servants go in and out of the restrooms. At the first floor, I wasn’t allowed to use the toilet. A lanky man — in his mid-40s,  thinking I am a civil servant from another ministry — asked me to go back to my ministry to access the toilet facility. I thought of pleading with him, but, one look at him, one would know he is a typical civil servant, donning an extra-large shirt with a black oversized trouser.
    Crestfallen, I inadvertently found myself on the third floor. The entrance of the male toilet is unbefitting of a ‘ministry of environment’. Filths littered the entrance and no one bothered about it. The employees walked past the filth like its a decoration used in beautifying the place.
    I approached the last man who used the toilet – a short, dark, rotund, middle-aged man.
    “Please ‘sar’, don’t close the door, I want to quickly ease myself,” I said.
    “From where”, he asks, as he moves to padlock the toilet door.
    In Ogun secretariat, “from where?” is the patois for asking a probable toilet user if he is a staff of the ministry.
    Knowing I would not be allowed to use the toilet because I am not a staff, I neologized by telling him I came to check on a friend at the Information ministry, annihilating his plans of sending me back just like the lanky man on the first floor did.
    “The person I came to check at Information ministry is not around, and I am tired of sitting down, so I decided to take a stroll to other ministries. Please let me just use the toilet.”
    After a long anodyne glance at me, “enter”, he murmurs as he paves way for me to enter the ramshackle restroom.
    Inside the restroom, the handwashing basin was not functioning, and there was no single roll of tissue paper in sight. The restroom was littered with water storages and yellow jerry-cans used in fetching water.
    A washing hand basin inside a toilet on the third floor of Ogun State Ministry of Environment. Photo credit: Gbenga Odunsi/Information NigeriaA toilet on the third floor of Ogun State Ministry of Environment. Photo credit: Gbenga Odunsi/Information NigeriaA ‘risky’ visit to the toilet on the second floor evince the situation is the same as that of the first floor. Here, abandoned stationeries and furniture were dumped inside the male restroom. The roof of this particular toilet is in shambles, and of course, there was no running water.
    At the Ministry of Budget and Planning, a public servant, who prefers not to be named, tells me some workers prefer to openly defecate than using the toilet. He says the ministry has no running water, and this discourages some of the workers from visiting the restroom.
    “I am only telling you this in confidence; some people still throw ‘shotput’ in this secretariat.
    “There is no water. Although a water tanker comes to dispatch water every two weeks.
    “But then, the water finishes in one week which leaves workers with no choice than to defecate in the bush or ask an aboki to help them get water.
    “In some cases, some use bottled or sachet water to clean themselves.”
    Workers use sachet and bottled water for urination due to lack of water. Photo credit: Gbanga Odunsi/Information Nigeria 
    N100 to buy jerry-can of water at Ogun State Secretariat
    On Friday, 27th of December at around 2pm, a cleaner pulled two jerry-cans of water to the convenience of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, 2nd floor to be precise. When approached, he says he is trying to fill the drum inside the restroom to allow employees make use of it.
    “You know say water no dey run here. If water no dey inside the toilet, dem go just use and mess up the whole place.”
    Asked if he was doing the job out of concern for employees, he smiles, “Oga, how I go do dis kain tin ‘’just like that’, he exclaimed dramatically.
    “Dem dey pay me N100 per jerry-can.
    Today, like dis, I don fetch more than 15, and I still get more to fetch
    A cleaner carrying two jerry-cans to supply water to toilet at Ogun state secretariat. Photo Credit: Gbenga Odunsi/Information NigeriaA source at the office of the Accountant-General clandestinely confirmed that whenever there is no water in the restrooms, no one would be allowed to access the facility, as the door will remain locked until the cleaner supplies water. He further lamented on how previous government administrations overlooked water challenges at the secretariat.
    “When you go to Governor’s office, all the toilets, from the first to the last floor functions well.
    “Even the securities attached to the Governor enjoy a well-maintained toilet than civil servants in the secretariat.
    “It has been a long-age problem, we are just confused on how long this is going to last.
    I made an attempt to enter the restroom on the 2nd floor of this ministry, but I was met with a toilet oozing with thick faecal stench. I quickly retraced my steps back to the ground floor.
    A toilet at the Office of Accountant General, Ogun State Secretariat. Photo Credit: Gbenga Odunsi/Information NigeriaInvestigation reveals that an aboki — averagely tall, dark, with scrotal elephantiasis — identified as Isa, supplies water, with the use of yellow jerry-can, to most ministries in the secretariat. He fetches water from an old tap located 100 meters away from Finance ministry, very close to a dumpsite within the complex.
    On a sweltering afternoon, I went on a ramble walk around the complex…lo and behold, I found the tap that serves as a saviour to Ogun civil servants.
    Disguising as a staff — although no one questioned my innocuous movement within the premises, aside for a group of guys who raised eyebrows at the Ministry of Finance —  I sat on a covet few metres away from the tap, observing and pressing my phone, but with eyes and ears wide open. An employee, a not-too-tall man, dressed in native attire with a Yoruba cap, fetched six jerry-cans of water to the brim, and loaded them in his car. By his mien, he wears the aura of a man, who lives a life of simplicity.
    Mr. Balogun, as I later found out, works at the Ministry of Information. He came to the tap with another colleague from the same ministry. While fetching each jerry-cans, they both expressed displeasure on how other staff give excuses of busy schedule when it is time for someone to volunteer to fetch water for toilet use.  They had these conversations in Yoruba dialect, hence, the need to converse with them the same way.
    After some minutes, I approached them and begged for water to wash my feet.
    “Ejo se mo le ri omi die fi san ese mi, ema binu o?”  (Please, sir, can I get some water to wash my feet?”
    “Ah ahn why not. E bu omi ni inu bucket yen, tabi kef a keg yen seyin,” the man in native attired replied. (Why not, you can take water from that bucket or simply pull back the jerry-can from the tap and wash your legs).
    After washing, I teased him on why is he fetching so much water. “Daddy, se e nko awon omi yii lo si ile ni? (Daddy, are you fetching and taking all these jerry-cans home?)
    He replies “rara o. aan lo fun toilet ni. Se mo pe kosi omi ni ministry odo wa. (No, it’s for toilet use as there is no water in our ministry)
    Asked which ministry he works, he gestures, pointing at a direction, before saying “Information”.
    “If we don’t fetch this water, how will we use the toilet?
    “Or is it possible to leave the office and go home just because to want to defecate?, he says in Yoruba dialect.
    “It’s a big problem in most of the ministries, he concludes with a ‘we-have-accepted-our-fate- look.
    Further surreptitious survey around the complex yielded no fruitful result, aside the noticeably heaps of refuse decorating the back of Finance, Budget and Planning, Office of Accountant-General, and Information ministries. 
     
    Public servant fetches water inside jerry-cans for toilet use at Ogun State Secretariat. Photo credit: Gbenga Odunsi/Information NigeriaAbandoned items inside a toilet at Ogun secretariatA leaking roof of a toilet at the secretariatItems dumped inside a restroomOgun civil servants work side by side with heaps of refuseEntrance of a female restroom at Ogun secretariatFilth at the entrance of a toilet at Ogun secretariat

     
    Billions budgeted for water supply and maintenance services in Ogun state
    Figures from budgets from 2013 to 2020 fiscal year show that successive governments in Ogun state budgeted billions of Naira on water supply and maintenance services in the state. In 2013, the then Governor, Gbenga Daniel budgeted N16.1billion for Ogun Water Corporation, and Bureau of Water Resources.
    Also, as part of its capital expenditure in 2019, former governor Ibikunle Amosun budgeted N8.7billion for Ogun State Water Corporation, and rural water supply.
    However, in his 2020 budget presentation to the State House of Assembly, on Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, Governor Dapo Abiodun says a provision of N9.823. billion is earmarked for the execution of the various water and sanitation projects in the state.
    It remains to be seen if this current administration will tackle the long-age challenge of irregular water supply in the state, and in the secretariat, in particular.
    The post INVESTIGATION: Dirty Toilets, Irregular Water Supply, Leaking Roofs At Ogun State Secretariat appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Thomas Salako streetAs it is the annual tradition for many Christians from around the world to celebrate Christmas, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ, Christians in Nigeria are not left out.
    For people of Christian faith, it is time to be merry, to reflect on their salvation, and celebrate an important aspect of the religion, which is ‘Jesus Christ’ — his birth which would have to happen for his death to occur.
    Long before December 25th, many Christians would have started getting into their ‘Christmas spirit’, ready to partake from the annual festivities that come with the season. The ‘smell of Christmas’ feels the air, and it could easily register as one of the most beautiful time of the year.
    As the day approaches, there are different programmes fixed by corporate bodies, churches, individuals to mark the period.
    However, Christmas as lovely and exciting as it may be, comes with its own peculiarities. It’s the period where extra cash are budgeted for shopping, home renovation and decoration, travel, holiday with the family, visiting the less privileged, orphans or motherless babies, sending packages to family members and allies, and so on. These things cost money and when the money is unavailable, Christmas may not look as lively as it should.
    INFORMATION NIGERIA took to the streets of Lagos to get reactions from Lagosians on how they spent this year’s Christmas. The focus was to know if this year’s Christmas was better than that of last year — if so, why and if not, why.
    It’s the 26th of December, a day after Christmas known popularly as ‘Boxing Day’, a day to continue the festivities of Christmas. Thankfully for many, it is a public holiday around the country, which means another day not to worry about work.
    At Thomas Salako road at Ogba, Lagos. It was gathered that most of the shops were locked, and only a handful were open. Unlike a typical Ogba on Thursday afternoon, the streets were quite scanty and a handful of motorists and passersby were seen going to and fro.
    If someone were to come to Lagos for the first time and be at Ogba at that every instant, no amount of convincing would make that person believe the gory tales, Lagosians tell of the traffic they encounter daily, as the present state of traffic was something Lagosians only dreamed of.
    Brightly dressed in a red dress, and a pair of flats, Olamide Adedayo walks past me, her eyes fixated on the road. You can tell, she had an important appointment.
    Read Also: Few Days To Christmas, Nigerians Are Having Sleepless Nights Over High Cost Of Rice
    “Hello, can I have a moment to speak with you”, she stops briefly accessing me from head to toe, then says OK.
    I introduced myself and told her why I needed to speak with, her feature softens and it means I already have audience.
    Asked how this year’s Christmas was for her, better than last year’s or doesn’t even compare. She says “for me, the year’s Christmas is not quite different from last year. It just that things are more expensive now than they were last year. So, I couldn’t really buy things as much as I did last year.”
    You know this is Nigeria, where things become more expensive during this season. We are already used to the trend, so, for me, I did get the best that I could, and left the rest. ”
    Another Lagosian, Tope Olukoya who spoke with INFORMATION NIGERIA lamented on the high cost of things. She decried the high cost of foodstuffs like rice, tomato and onions. The mother of two, as she would later reveal, said, “lets even leave foodstuff. Do you know I couldn’t afford to buy any dress or shoe for my daughters, even though I went as far Balogun market on the Island. You would hear a seller tell you, just one gown for a 5-year-old is N6000, N7000, N8000. I ended up going home without being able to buy anything.”
    She lamented on how life has been so hard for Nigerians, following the border closure. She also didn’t spare the commercial transporters who she says are using the festive period to milk their passengers dry.
    A few foodstuff sellers corroborated what Olukoya said. They said business didn’t boom as much as it did last December, and most people who used to buy in bulk, only bought sparingly because of cost.
    Around Pen Cinema, Agege, buses that convey passengers to and from, Alausa, Ikeja, Ishaga were seen doing the usual, as passengers joined the buses going to their respective destinations. Street hawkers were seen advertising their wares while those that sell by the roadside are seen beckoning on prospective buyers.
    It’s a beautiful but hot Boxing day afternoon, Bottled water and soft drink sellers seem like they are having a good day, all thanks to dehydrated commuters. Anike Ogunrinde, who sells frozen fish , a few meters away from where the Hitech construction workers are busy building the flyover bridge. Asked how the Christmas has been so far, she laments on low patronage.
    Read Also: Inside Life Of ‘Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive)
    She says “ it doesn’t even seem like Christmas as sales are the same with what I usually get any other month. Unlike before, you would see people going about buying and buying and by now I would have sold my 7th carton of fish.”
    On why she didn’t stay back at home to rest on Boxing day, she says “There is nothing to rest about. I need money and I won’t get it at home. My kids will resume in January and that’s another batch of expenses. We all know Nigeria today is not easy at all.”
    Temitope Olabode and her sister, Jumoke, said they enjoyed 2019 Christmas because they celebrated it in their own little way. Jumoke, a nurse at a private hospital in Agege, said, although she was on duty on Christmas day, she thinks the celebration wasn’t much different for her than last year’s or may even be better.
    However, her sister, Temitope decried the huge cost of transportation, saying “my only problem is the way transporters unfairly hike the price this period. You almost spend a fortune just to get from one place to another.”
    At Ikeja underbridge, while most of the shops were conspicuously under lock and key, a few opened for business.
    Francis Anamaya, a phone dealer in Computer Village said this year’s Christmas for him was way better than last year’s. He said, “I won’t even lie. I made some cool profit this Christmas as sales boomed beyond my expectations. I had expected low patronage because of how much people lament but it seems that didn’t affect the phone selling and repairing industry.
    “I was able to achieve some of the things that I couldn’t achieve last year. So I thank God.”
    Goke Shinabade, an engineer that repairs laptops inside computer village said; “well, I thank God, because for me, this year’s Christmas beat last year’s by far. I really enjoyed it because I made some good money more than I made last year.”
    Read Also: Inside Life Of ‘Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive)
    Adesola Adegboyega, a Makeup Artist at one of the cosmetic shops at Ikeja also corroborated what the others said.
    She said, “It may not have been a lot but it was way better for me than last year. I’m no longer where I used to be, and that for me is enough reason to rate this Christmas better than that of 2018.”
    While it may not have paid off for foodstuff sellers and low-income earners, it seems some entrepreneurs, have a better Christmas.
    The sellers and some people at Ogba and Agege blamed the poor Christmas celebration on the harsh economic situation of the country, adding that the high cost of food products and other essentials has stalled a beautiful celebration.
    Then a few claimed they enjoyed Christmas 2019 better than they did last year, even though they had to break the bank because it’s once in a year and no financial excuse was needed to hinder the celebration.
    The ones in Ikeja seem to have totally enjoyed this year’s Christmas and even went on to rate it better than last year’s.
    The post How Lagosians Celebrated Christmas At Ikeja, Ogba And Agege (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Among the many problems facing Nigeria today, the issue of identity remains one very huge problem that many Nigerians are not very keen to acknowledge as a problem, and which the importance still remains vague to a lot of Nigerians.
    I’m not about to touch on the importance of having a form of identification as a Nigerian as that will be a topic for another day, however, having a form of identification not only benefits one as a citizen, it also shows a certain level of responsibility and accountability to Nigeria as a country.
    An effective national identity management system is critical to the development of any economy. It provides a universal identification infrastructure for a country that enables access and means to confirm the identity of individuals residing in that country. Thus, proper economic planning, adequate intelligence gathering and a functioning internal and external security architecture will be difficult to achieve in the absence of a working national identity system.
    In Nigeria, as highlighted in the NIMC (National Identity Management Commission) Act of 2007, the national identification number (NIN) is mandatory for most transactions in Nigeria. Every citizen and legal resident is expected to enrol and obtain his or hers, however, many Nigerians are either oblivious to the importance or are generally uninterested to obtain theirs.
    The desire to address the lack of interest on part of Nigerians,  and what federal government has done prompted Information Nigeria reporter, Michael Isaac to walk through the system.
    A visit to Igando-Ikotun Local Council Development Area at Ikotun-Egbe, I met a number of people who were ready to share their experience on the whole process as well as other personnel who shared in details how much input the government has set in place to ensure that Nigerians enrol for their NIN.
    Mr. Badejo shared how much easy it was for him to get his NIN as he had just concluded the process.
    “I am very happy that I have completed this thing because I have been coming here for two days now. Even though this is not the final stage, at least it is something.
    “And what is the final stage?” I asked.
    “I have to go to Alausa after three days to get the permanent one. This one is only temporary,” he replied excitedly.
    Many Nigerians are oblivious to the importance of having a form of identificationMr. Badejo was among the many that also hinted that the process was seamless for them.
    “So at what point did you see the importance of getting a National ID card and did you pay for this?’ I continued.
    “I don’t know, sir, I just thought it was necessary and it is now that I have the time, that’s why I did it and I only paid fifty Naira.”
    His response proves the point that a lot of Nigerians have little or no idea of the importance of having a National Identity Number.
    Speaking to one of the personnel, the government have also provided easy ways to go about the enrolment, registration and collection of the IDs
    Mrs Adebimpe sheds light into that detail.
    “It is actually easy now for anyone to get their NIN, the NIMC has partnered with many smaller outlets to make registration easier. So for someone with a busy schedule, you can actually pre-enrol online, print out the form and go to any of our stations to complete the rest of the process.”
    “I hear now that some banks also push for it and you can get it all done at the bank and head straight to Alausa to collect the card”
    Asked her why a lot of Nigerians seem uninterested about getting their NIM, Adebimpe said, “The thing with us Nigerians is that, there are laws but these laws are not followed duly and that’s why many people act like this is unimportant, however, the NIMC on her own part is poor, in the sense that there are no adequate amount of publicity on what we are trying to achieve here.” She concluded.
    READ ALSO – Why Child Discipline, Domestic Violence Thrive In Nigerian Homes
    Another visit to the Yaba Local Council Development Area at Adekunle Yaba, I met with a couple of people, young and old as they queued up at the NIMC office waiting to be attended to. Speaking to a few of them, they expressed that the process has not been entirely easy as they have been there on the queue all morning and it was only 11 am.
    A man identified as Joseph, however, walked me through the process – “It really has not been easy as most of the people here have been here since morning and the funny thing is that it is only one system that they are using to work.”
    “I got here as early as 7 AM and look, it’s past 11 AM”.
    “They have only one system here and the crowd is much and at this point, they are asking newcomers to go and return tomorrow.”
    I asked him at what point he felt the necessity to have a national identification and he expressed that it is because he wanted to apply for a loan in a bank.
    Speaking a youth identified as Martha, she hinted that she had done the pre-enrolment at UBA Bank and was only there for confirmation.
    “So I recently created a UBA account and having no means of identification they gave me a NIMC form which I filled and they took my biometrics and assigned me a number. So I came here to confirm and they’ve asked me to go to Alausa in three days”
    For Martha, it was as easy as that, but she wouldn’t have cared enough to enrol if she didn’t go out to create an account with UBA.
    As part of the NIMC (National Identity Management Commission) Act of 2007, to document Nigerian citizens and legal residents in the country, it seems that a lot of Nigerians have little or no idea about what this is all about and it seems also that the NIMC are poorly equipped to carry out this process to its full effect.
    The post Long Queues, Fruitless Efforts Mar National Identity Card Registration In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Bags of riceSince the closure of all land borders in the country, Nigerians have continued to groan over the high cost of foodstuffs such as rice, frozen chicken and turkey.
    Prior to the closure of all land borders, a bag of foreign rice cost between N15,000 to N17,000 and one didn’t have to worry about stones and dirt in it, but with the closure of the land borders and a strict ban on the importation of rice, the least price for a bag of local rice is N18,000 —  dependant on the area —and could go as much as N22,000 in other localities.
    Getting foreign rice is almost impossible and when one does, it is very possible that some unscrupulous sellers have repackaged local rice into foreign rice bags, selling it at every exorbitant price, in order to deceive unsuspecting buyers.
    With Christmas around the corner, it becomes even more worrisome that the price of rice may skyrocket than it is already.
    Rice is undisputedly one of Nigeria’s most consumed staple food. Most homes in Nigeria can’t go a day without consuming rice. Some homes even go as far as cooking rice more than once a day because it avails them different variances, such as the prestigious jollof rice, coconut rice, rice and stew, rice and beans, concoction rice, palm oil rice, peppered rice, fried rice and so on. Hence, it becomes very easy to understand why Nigerians love rice so much.
    Read Also: Inside Life Of ‘Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive)
    No wonder the immediate past Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, in 2016, berated Nigerians for consuming too much rice.
    Ogbeh, while in a meeting with officials of VICAMPRO, an indigenous Agro Company investing in the production of Irish Potato in Abuja canvassed for local productions to save the country’s foreign exchange.
    According to Ogbeh, the consumption of rice in the country was rising and a lot of people were probably unaware that rice had some degree of arsenic. He pointed out that consuming rice in large quantities on a regular basis was a bit of health risk, while he urged Nigerians to substitute their consumption of rice with potatoes.
    “The volume of importation of virtually everything into this country is too much.
    “Since 1986, we began this habit of importing everything and doing virtually nothing at home to sustain ourselves; now, we do not have the dollars and people are very hungry.”
    With Christmas around the corner, there is the possibility that many Nigerians would schedule their events such as weddings, reunions, end of year parties, and other forms of fun events around the period, and rice will play a huge part in such events.
    Seriously, what is a Christmas party or an ‘owambe’ without our dear Jollof — a matter of fact, the thought of party Jollof and a huge piece of chicken on it, makes it impossible to say ‘no’ to any invitation where such will go down.
    However, with the closure of the land borders in the country, the high cost of rice, and no set date for reopening the borders, the reality has left many average Nigerians wincing in pains of coughing out as much as N18,000 to N22,000 just to go home with a bag of local rice.
    Important to note is the Consumer Price Index from the National Bureau of Statistics in November which showed that Nigeria’s inflation rate rose by 11.61% for the month of October 2019, the fastest rise in about 17 months.
    According to the data, states in Western Nigeria have been hit hardest by the border closure and has recorded the highest rise in food inflation for the month.
    The data reveals that Oyo, Osun, Lagos State, and Ogun States were worst hit recording the highest spikes in inflation rates.
    This is understandably so because of their proximity with the border towns, therefore feeling the full weight of the negative effect of the border closures is rather inevitable.
    This, according to some experts, could pose a major food security threat for the western region, if local production does not meet up with its demand.
    Although there seems to be an assurance from the government that the price of rice will go down before Christmas, the reality of that promise is yet to be achieved as prices have stayed the same.
    To have a proper understanding of how border closure, which has in turn affected the price of rice in the country, may affect Christmas this year, INFORMATION NIGERIA took a trip to Moshalashi Alhaja Market, Agege, Lagos, to speak with rice sellers and buyers.
    Sellers and buyers spoke about the current price of the different brands of rice and how it has affected them. For the seller, their sales and profit, and for the buyers, their pockets and demands.
    Speaking with Sunday Igwe, a rice seller who deals on different brands of rice, he listed some of the stock he has as; Jameela( N19,000), Big Bowl(21, 500), Super Champion( 20,500), Tomato Gold (17,500) among others.
    Asked what his profit is now that the borders have been shut and he only has to deal on local rice, compared to when there were no border restrictions and dealt on foreign rice, he said; “We are making more profit from this local rice because that’s mostly what’s available in the market. Customers can’t cough out as much as N26,000 to buy foreign rice which they are not even sure of.
    “Many people had no idea that our local rice could come in some superb qualities that are absolutely fine and stone-free. Local rice comes in grades and there are some that don’t have stones. And we can even convince someone that the rice is foreign and the person wouldn’t even doubt it”.
    Read Also: Struggles, Pains Of Single Mothers And Society’s One-Sided Backlash (Exclusive)
    On where he buys his rice from, he said “We get them from Kebbi state. We have a rice dealer in Kebbi that brings the rice to Lagos.”
    On whether patronage has dropped since the border closure, and the high cost of local rice, he said: “The price of rice has not affected people’s demand as they still buy as much as they used to buy even when the borders were open.”
    However, Shadrach Uchendu, another rice seller whose shop was only a few steps away, shared a different view from the first seller. On his part, he blamed low patronage on border closure. He lamented also that the quality of the local rice which is the only available one in the market has also brought down the demand for rice.
    Asked if border closure has affected his business, He said; “the problem is that there is no foreign rice in the market and we are stuck with just local rice, which has reduced patronage and people don’t buy rice as they used to buy in the era before border closure.”
    Uchendu said both the price and the quality of the local rice may have discouraged people’s demand for local rice.
    “There are so many stones in the local rice and the price is high, which has had a negative effect on their demand for it”,  he said.
    Asked to compare the demand of rice last Christmas to this upcoming Christmas, and tell which was better and more profitable, he said: ” You can’t compare last Christmas to this upcoming one because from October 2018, we had already started the season and we were already making good sales, but now, with  less than 3 weeks to Christmas, we are yet to feel the vibe.”
    So for one seller, while the closure of the border has no affected the demand and sale of rice, the other seller vehemently blames border closure on poor sales and low demand.
    We heard from the sellers and it was also important to hear from the buyers, So INFORMATION NIGERIA spoke with Kafayat Lawal, who had come to the market to purchase rice at the time.
    Asked whether the lack of foreign rice in the market has affected her rice demand, she said: ” I honestly don’t have a problem with going without foreign rice forever, but my problem with local rice is the price and the quality. The pains it takes to sift through the rice before you go ahead to prepare it, make it exhausting.”
    On whether she still consumes rice as much as she used to before the era of border closure, she said; ” My family and I can’t do without rice. We eat it almost every day, so even if it shoots up to an unreasonable amount we will still buy.”
    However, Damilola Abayomi said even though she is a rice lover, the price and quality of local rice has affected her consumption.
    “With the cost of rice, I no longer eat it like I used to. Now I have substituted spaghetti and noodles for rice, ” she said.
    As for Christmas, she says even though she would buy rice, it wouldn’t be in the quantity that she bought last year.
    “Like last year, I bought 3 bags of rice and shared it for some of my family members, but this year, I would just buy one and give those I can give”, she explained.
    It appears the price and quality of local rice owing to border closure may in many ways affect Christmas this year for all the reasons given by some buyers and sellers.
    The post Few Days To Christmas, Nigerians Are Having Sleepless Nights Over High Cost Of Rice appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Gbenga Odunsi writes on the challenges many underprivileged Nigerian girls face in having access to sanitary pads for their menstrual cycle. In this exclusive piece, Odunsi highlights the high price of the commodity; the many items ladies use as alternatives to sanitary pads;  and what a non-governmental organization is doing to combat period poverty in Nigeria.
    On a sunny Saturday morning, several girls in Ajegunle area of Lagos state are seated at the balcony of an aged building, to listen to a lecture on menstrual hygiene, in an outreach organized by Sanitary Aid Initiative — a nongovernmental organization established to address the needs Nigerian girls who do not have access to sanitary pads­ — in collaboration withInformation Nigeria.
    “You see where this lettering is, you make sure you clip it, and then you wear it.
    “You cannot soak it in hot water; you cannot use bleach or hypo to wash it.
    “Just wash it with OMO detergent, the way you wash your shirt. For those living inside face me face you, try not spread it outside.
    “Even if you do, try to use a light scarf to cover it.
    “You have to be very neat while using this pad. It can last you for six hours., Make sure it is dried completely before you use it. You cannot iron it.
    “Please don’t borrow your pad to your sister…”
    Although it wasn’t the first time these girls are experiencing their menstrual cycle, they paid apt attention to their lecturer who reeled out the dos and don’ts of using reusable pads which she distributed to girls in the community.
    Reusable pads are cloth pads that are easy to manage, and last between 1-4 years. They are also eco-friendly.
    In many societies around the world, taboos associated with menstruation, combined with an overall culture of silence around the topic, limit the ability of women and girls to fully and equally participate in society, undermining their overall social status and self-esteem.
    Menstrual health is not just a women’s issue. Globally, 2.3 million people live without basic sanitation services and in developing countries, only 27% of people have adequate handwashing facilities at home, according to UNICEF. Not being able to use these facilities makes it harder for women and young girls to manage their periods safely and with dignity.
    In Nigeria, 25 percent of women lack adequate privacy for menstrual hygiene management. Globally, over 500 million women and girls lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Inadequate WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities, mainly in public places, including schools, workplaces can pose major challenges to women and girls
    In many African countries, menstruation is rarely talked about, yet remains a stressful problem for teenage girls, particularly those from low-income homes who have to skip classes because they can’t afford sanitary pads. Others ask for permission to leave school premises and many stay at home during their periods.
    It’s a serious problem, and one that makes girls vulnerable to exploitation. There are men who demand for sex in return for buying girl sanitary pad they desperately need.
    Cost Of Pads
    The high cost of menstruation sanitary materials is so high that girls from poor background cannot afford hygienic sanitary materials like pad, and monthly menstruation is unavoidable. They miss schools while menstruating, dig holes to sit on, keeps dripping blood without using anything to hold the flow. They are vulnerable to men that take advantage of providing money to buy pads to molest them.
    In Ajegunle, a young girl, who does not want her name revealed, says whenever her period shows up, she finds it difficult to access pad, hence she resorts to tissue or clothes before going out to buy pad. She added that being an unexpected incident, sometimes, she does not have readily available funds to procure disposable pads.

    Another woman in the community says she does not use pad during her period. According to her, she uses cotton wool, but her daughter has educated her on how to use the reusable pad Sanitary Aid just gifted girls in the community.
    With the duration of the menstruation cycle ranging from two to seven days, and average being five – a school girl needs about two packs for proper hygiene management. This means she will need to spend about N600 to N1000.
    More worrisome lately is the influx of fake and substandard menstrual pad finding its way into the market from both within and foreign countries. Nigerian alone boasts of over 12 sanitary pad brands, including popular ones like Always, Ladycare, Lady Sept and Kotex® that has just entered the space.
    However, quite a good number of these popular brands are battling adulteration, while unbranded ones, many of which do not meet up with standards and whose sources are untraceable, is another menace confronting menstruation safety in the country.
    Bose, 28-year-old says she suffers from rashes whenever she uses disposable pads. She expresses joy over the reusable pad given to her by Sanitary Aid Initiative.
    A 16-year old girl says she buys tissue whenever she does not have access to pad. She further lamented over the cost of disposable pads.
    Through various campaigns, Sanitary Aid Initiative has distributed reusable pad to over 15, 000 girls across Nigeria, and is hoping to draw the attention of the government and international organizations to ensure girls and women do not go back into period poverty,
    Many young Nigerians had been calling on the government to reduce or stop taxing female hygiene products. They also demanded that sanitary pads be distributed free to secondary school students and teenagers in rural areas.

    Tax On Sanitary Pads
    Lack of access to functional and separated toilets, limited information on menstrual hygiene management, and limited availability of sanitary materials to manage menstruation make it more difficult for girls to manage their periods.
    Many young Nigerians had been calling on the Nigerian government to reduce or remove taxing the importation female hygiene products. They also demanded that sanitary pads be distributed freely to secondary school students and teenagers in rural areas.
    In 2018, a group of Nigerians submitted a petition titled “An appeal to end all the taxes on the importation of menstrual hygiene products (including sanitary pads) and pass the menstrual hygiene bill” to the National Assembly.
    Despite these calls, the government is quiet as menstrual products remain taxed – resulting in higher prices of pads.
    The post Teenage Girls Struggle To Afford Sanitary Pads In Lagos Community; Use Cotton Wool As Alternative (Video) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Owing to the rising default in loan repayment forced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the declining economy that affected borrowers’ revenue inflow, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) faced an upsurge in credit loss expenses in the third quarter but its management waded through the strain and maintained the elevated profit performance it demonstrated at half-year. The situation which affected lenders globally also forced the bank’s net loan impairment expenses to rise to N5.6 billion quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter ended in September 2020. This pushed up the year-to-date loan loss expenses to more than N13 billion, jerking up the year-on-year rise from 41 per cent at half-year to over 70 per cent at the end of the period.
    The resumption of new lending in 2019 after two years of break, occasioned by the Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), appears to be fueling the rising asset losses. Last year, the bank grew the customer credit portfolio by 13 per cent and further growth of close to 11 per cent had happened at the end of the third quarter to N793 billion. The bank’s management is not letting the asset quality strain to impede the impressive growth record of the bottom line. Instead, it gained speed on profit growth from the half-year position to 30 per cent year-on-year at the end of the third quarter. FCMB is maintaining the path of growing profit for the third consecutive year though it has remained well below the peak profit figure of N22 billion attained as far back as 2014.
    The bank maintained its earnings growth levers on the upbeat, spurred by a step up in interest earnings from 8 per cent growth at half year to 10 per cent increase year-on-year to N112 billion at the end of the third quarter. This was punctured by non-interest income, which shrank from 13 per cent increase at half-year to close flat at N34 billion at the end of September 2020.
    Nevertheless, FCMB is still seeing the highest growth rate in revenue in four years in the current financial year. Interest income is growing at the highest rate in for the bank since 2014. At over N146 billion at the end of the third quarter, gross earnings improved by 7.8 per cent year-on-year, slowing down from over 9 per cent improvement at half-year. This remains the best revenue growth record for the bank in four years against a slight decline in 2019.
    Interest cost extended its benign behaviour in the third quarter with a year-on-year decline stepping up from 3 per cent at half-year to roughly 4 per cent to close at N44 billion at the end of the third quarter. Improving interest income with declining in interest expenses are the favourable combination for FCMB in 2020. The share of interest income devoted to interest expenses went down from 45 per cent to 39 per cent over the review period. The positive effect is a top record growth of 21 per cent in net interest income to N66 billion at the end of the third quarter compared to less than 5 per cent improvement at the end of 2019.
    The major increase in impairment loss on financial assets however did not let all the increase in net interest income get down into profit. Net loan impairment expenses rose by 70 per cent to over N13 billion at the end of September 2020. The expenses claimed nearly 20 per cent of net interest income against 14 per cent in the same period last year. 
    With the strength of improving revenue and declining interest expenses, FCMB was able to dilute the impact of rising credit loss expenses and still add some momentum to the bottom line.  The bank closed the third quarter with an after-tax profit of roughly N14 billion, which is a year-on-year growth of 30 per cent – stepping up from 29 per cent record at half-year. Profit is accelerating this year from 16 per cent growth the bank recorded at the end of 2019. The ability to grow profit more than three times ahead of revenue underscores a gain in profit margin this year. Net profit margin improved from 7.9 per cent in the same period last year to 9.5 per cent at the end of the third quarter. This is the highest net profit margin the bank has seen since 2015. The strength came from cost saving from interest expenses and a moderated operating cost during the review period. 
    The improvement in interest income reflects the expansion of earning assets with loans and advances growing by N77 billion over the 2019 closing figure of N715 billion and investments rising by N64 billion to over N303 billion over the same period. Over the nine months of the year, it has grown the size of the balance sheet by N369 billion or 22 per cent to close at over N2 trillion – the strongest growth since 2012. Earnings per share amounted to 70 kobo at the end of the third quarter operations, improving from 54 kobo per share in the same period last year. 
    The Bank remains on track with our full-year expectation that it would retain the key strengths of growing revenue, moderating interest expenses and improving profit margin and stay the course of rebuilding profit for the third straight year in 2020.
    The post Braving The Odds To Deliver Value appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Do you know that many people have been asking, what are the most popular gift cards?
    And this very question has lingered a lot, making the demand for most popular gift cards to be on the rise over the years.
    However, this serves as good news to sellers and retailers who trades and use Gift cards for promotions and gifts.
    If you’re among those asking for what is the most popular gift card or the best online gift cards, then you’re lucky to be here.
    Today, I will show you the Top 10 Most Popular Gift Cards 2021.
    I will also show you the list of gift cards and the best gift cards to give as a holiday gift or for promotion.
    Before we proceed, let’s see what a gift card is all about.
    What is a Gift Card?
    A gift card is basically a pre-paid voucher (money card), which can be used to make purchases on some platforms and it serves as alternative to cash.
    Gift card can be used to make purchases on various stores like Amazon, Walmart or used on iTunes, Starbucks etc.
    Also, Gift cards can be used as a present (Gift) to your friends and customers during the holiday season.
    How Does Gift Cards Work?
    Gift Cards are mostly used as a gift, for purchases and for promotional strategy by retailers and marketers.
    However, you cannot exchange gift cards to cash, it can only be used to spend and make purchases on stores.
    Nevertheless, there is good news for you, do you know that Gift cards can be redeemed and you get instant cash here in Nigeria?
    Yes, it is very possible and it has been working over the years.
    All you need is to trade, redeem and sell your gift cards on this reliable platform called Apexpay.org.
    Apexpay.org is the Nigeria’s leading Gift Card Exchanger, where you sell Gift Cards for Instant Cash.
    If you got a Gift Card to sell and looking for How to sell Gift Cards in Nigeria, then quickly check out Apexpay.org today.
    What are the Best Selling Gift Cards?
    When gifting your friend or someone a gift card, you should know that not all Gift Cards would do.
    Most people especially (Women) prefer gift cards as a present rather than a trip to SPA, and it is not any-how gift cards.
    According to research, Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks, Visa and Walmart has proven to be the best selling gift cards so far.
    So, you need to gift them with the most popular gift cards and the best selling gift cards that will be useful to them.
    Types of Gift Cards
    There are 2 major types of Gift Cards, these are the most popular and trending gift cards so far.
    • Cash Cards Gift Card
    The Cash Card Gift Cards is one of the popular gift cards that is flexible, it can be used anywhere.
    You can use the card to carry out online transactions and make payments anywhere credit card payment is accepted.
    Cash Card Gift Cards are been sponsored by different companies like Visa, Vanilla, and American Express.
    • Store Cards Gift Card
    The Store Cards Gift Cards is one of the most popular gift cards as well that can be used in a particular stores. 
    The cards are peculiar to some specific retailer stores like Amazon, Walmart and Sephora.
    These store cards is a personal gift cards and they are the best online gift cards.
    However, all store cards has a validity (expiry date) of 30 or 90 days. And some gets to lose value after some months.
    Now, let’s quickly see the list of Top 10 Most Popular Gift Cards 2021 and the Best Online Gift Cards to use.
    Top 10 Most Popular Gift Cards 2021
    The following below is a list of gift cards and the top 10 most popular Gift Cards in 2021.
    • Amazon Gift Card • Visa Gift Card • iTunes Gift Card • Walmart Gift card • American Express Gift card • Google Play Gift card • Apple Gift card • Steam Gift card • Sephora Gift card • eBay Gift card So, the above list are the top 10 most popular gift cards 2021 which you can use as a retailer for gifting or as part of your promotional strategy.
    How To Save Money On Gifts Cards
    Every year, so many worth of gift cards are not being used, but you can save money on gift cards in this various ways.
    1. You can save money on Gift Cards by buying them at discounted rates. 2. You can save money on Gift Cards by Shopping Online through coupons or discounts. 3. You can also save money on gift cards by bidding on eBay. 4. You can also save money on gift cards by stalking on the Amazon Daily Deal. 5. You can as well save money on gift cards by trading with Apexpay.org at a very high rate. Wrapping It Up:
    The high rate of demand on Gift Cards is becoming more popular these days especially in the US.
    Hence, the demand makes it as the best presents (Gift) to be given to friends and loved ones during the holidays.
    With the gift cards, you can spend it online and make purchases during the Christmas and festive seasons.
    However, if you’re not interested in using the gift card or getting any item/product with it, you can equally sell the gift cards.
    You can easily sell your gift cards and get instant cash payment anytime any day on Apexpay.org.
    And also take note of the expiry date on the gift card before selling, storing or spending online.
    So, that is all you need to know about the Top 10 Most Popular Gift Cards 2021.
    Always go for the best and popular gift cards as a present, and for purchases.
    Enjoy!
     

    COVID-19 outbreak, which originated from Wuhan in China, has ravaged Nigeria, claiming the lives of citizens, including prominent personalities, especially politicians.
    About 1,278 deaths persons are said to have died in the country from the disease. Nigeria has recorded over 86,576 cases and 73,322 people have been discharged, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) daily update.
    After almost 8 months of total lockdown, the restriction was eased and citizens went back to their normal lives. However, this didn’t mean that the coronavirus no longer existed. The government tried its best to salvage the situation and contain the spread of the disease, but this has yielded minute result.
    Unfortunately, there has been a spike in the number of cases in Nigeria since early December. Taking this into consideration, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced new restrictions in an attempt to prevent the second wave of infection from spreading rapidly in the state. Let’s not forget, the governor also contracted the disease. The virus doesn’t look at faces as it affects both the rich and poor.
    Information Nigeria has compiled the names of 5 politicians, who succumbed to the deadly disease.
    Abba Kyari
    Abba Kyari Joining the list of notable figures that have fallen victim to the deadly disease is Abba Kyari, the chief of staff of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari. He passed away on April 17 at the age of 67 at the First Cardiology Consultants, a private hospital, situated in Ikoyi area of Lagos State.
    Kyari first tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24. Unfortunately, he died from complications from the coronavirus, the Lagos state government revealed. He was buried at the Gudu Cemetery in Abuja, on April 18. There were controversies surrounding railing his burial as senior government officials, who were present at the event, were rebuked by medical officials and health workers for not practicing social distancing.
    Adebayo Sikiru Osinowo
    Adebayo Sikiru OsinowoSenator Adebayo Sikiru Osinowo, also known as Pepperito died of coronavirus at the same hospital where Kyari, Ajimobi and Kashamu died.
    Osinowo, who represented the Lagos East senatorial constituency at the National Assembly, passed away on June 15 at the age of 64. He was buried the same day at his Abuja residence.
     The Senate held a valedictory session in his honor, where his colleagues observed a one-minute silence and prayed for the repose of his soul. The lawmakers also praised his immense contribution to the development of the country’s democracy.
    Abiola Ajimobi
    Former Governor Ajimobi On June 25,  the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, died from COVID-19 complications. He was 70. Ajimobi was admitted to First Cardiologist and Cardiovascular Consultants Hospital in Lagos after slipping into coma. He, however, passed away. He is survived by his wife and five children. Ajimobi was declared as the acting chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) while he was battling with the virus.
    Buruji Kashamu
    Buruji KashamuThe Nigerian politician from Ijebu  East senatorial district also succumbed to the coronavirus disease. He died in Lagos on 8 August 2020 as a result of complications caused by COVID-19. He was 62 years old. Kashamu served as a Senator representing Ogun East in the 8th National Assembly. His friend and former colleague in the Senate, Ben Murray-Bruce shared the news of his death online. He was the third politician and high-profile Nigerian to die of COVID-19 complications at First Cardiology Hospital in Lagos.
    Femi Odekunle
    Femi OdekunleMr Odekunle, a professor of criminology and member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), died 12 days after contracting COVID-19. According to reports, family and close associates claimed that Odekunle was gasping for air due to shortage in oxygen supply at the isolation center inside the Abuja University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada where he died on Tuesday evening. He was the first Nigerian Professor of criminology. Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar had described the untimely demise of Odekunle as a huge loss.
    The post Five Prominent Politicians Who Died Of Coronavirus In 2020 (Video) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Zulum visit attacked huntersBorno State Governor,  Babagana Zulum on Saturday visited some hunters injured by a bomb blast while on patrol in Kayamala village in Konduga Local Government Area on Wednesday.
    The blast reportedly left 16 of the hunters injured while seven died, including their leader, Bunu, as they rushed to intervene in a nearby village.
    The hunters had reportedly been tipped off that some insurgents had rustled cattle in the area.
    Also Read: Residents Flee As Boko Haram Attacks Four Villages In Borno
    Zulum was received at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital by Sports Commissioner Sainna Buba.
    The Commissioner informed him that 11 of the hunters had been discharged remaining four, who were also responding to treatment.
    Buba also said their hospital bills had been taken care of while livelihood support had also been provided to the families of those affected, as directed by the governor.
    According to reports, the governor urged the people of Borno to continue to remain resilient in seeing to the end of insurgency in the state.
    The post Zulum Visits Attacked Hunters In Hospital appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Olusegun ObasanjoFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked Nigerians who survived COVID-19 and witness the New Year to thank God for His mercies.
    Obasanjo stated that he was spared by God to witness the New Year despite the turbulence and challenges posed to humanity in 2020 by COVID-19 pandemic purposely to “serve Him and humanity more and more.”
    Obasanjo made this remark at the second annual Thanksgiving Service of the Ogun state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta on Saturday.
    Also Read: Nigerian Army Will Shame And Disgrace Terrorists In 2021 – Buratai
    The former president expressed that he survived 2020 not because he was more righteous or cleverer than any of those that were swept away by the pandemic in Nigeria, Africa, and the rest of the world.
    He said: “It is our duty to give thanks to God. You will be the most ungrateful person if you do not perform the duty of giving thanks to God.
    “In all circumstances, give thanks. Therefore if you fail to give thanks, you are failing a very significant duty of yours as a Christian.
    “I thank all of you for being here to join us in giving thanks to God.
    “Last year 2020, was a very challenging year not only for us in Nigeria, not only for us in Africa but for the whole world.
    “The fact that you are alive calls for giving thanks to God. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, that those whom you know but as a result of Covid-19 are no more here with us not because you are better than they are, more righteous or knowledgeable than they are, it’s just by the grace of God.
    “And if God gives you that grace, to still remain on earth, maybe for a purpose and I believe part of the purpose is for you to continue to serve humanity and to serve God. You cannot be a server of God if you cannot give thanks to him.
    “The purpose of being here is to perform our duty as Christians, by giving thanks to God.”
     
    The post COVID-19 : How God Spared My Life – Obasanjo appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    – stand a chance to win iPhone 12 pro and the 58″ Samsung QLED and much more for just N9,000
    Since the beginning of this year, 9mobile has simply been putting its customers at the heart of its campaign by offering valuable deals to its loyal customers. Now, 9mobile has an ongoing promo just for you, tagged“CRAZY EMBER DEALS,” and we thought to let you know about it, in case you’ve not heard.
    If you’re wondering about what to gift yourself and loved ones this Christmas, 9mobile got you coveredwith its ‘Crazy Ember Deals’. Why not get more for less? With this campaign, you only need to recharge N1000 or more on 9mobile to receive discount codes of up to 99% to shop your favourite products across various categories such as mobile devices, fashion, electronics and more on https://eshop.9mobile.com.ng/9k-store
    In simple terms, with the ‘Crazy Ember Deals’, youstand a chance to win discount codes by simply recharging up to 1000 on your 9mobile line. Isn’t that great? Recharge N1,000 and get up to 99% discount to purchase products across the above listed categories and more on https://eshop.9mobile.com.ng/9k-store!

    Now that you know all the goodies that await you, and you can’t wait to lay your hands on the new iPhone 12 pro, you might be saying to yourself well “how can I be a part of this?” well… here is how.
    ● Recharge N1,000 and above and get up to 99% discount on the iPhone 12 pro. ● Get discount codes automatically when you recharge. ● Visit https://eshop.9mobile.com.ng/product/apple-iphone-12-pro-crazy-ember-deals/  and apply the code. ● The more you recharge the more discount codes you get.
    How about the quality view you’ve always wanted when you screen on Netflix? You can have that experience this Christmas. Just recharge now and a stand a chance to get yourself a 58’ Samsung QLED TV. The best part? It goes for just N9,000
    Here is how you can get yours;
    ● Recharge N1,000 and above and get up to 99% discount to purchase the 58’ Samsung QLED TV ● Get discount codes automatically when you recharge ● Visit https://eshop.9mobile.com.ng/product/samsung-58-qled-tv-crazy-ember-deals/   and apply the code. ● The more you recharge the more discount codes you get.
    Let’s face it, what is Christmas if it is not a season of love, fun and sharing? So, remember to share this exciting news from 9mobile with your family, friendsand colleagues so they can all be a part of the fun.
    Imagine waking up on Christmas morning with a brand new iPhone12 pro and a 58’ Samsung QLED TV for just 9,000. Well, no need to imagine any longer, 9mobile is offering them to you this Christmas. You can get them each for N9,000 only!
    Visit https://eshop.9mobile.com.ng/9k-store  to get started.
    The post Get up to 99% off your dream devices, electronics this Christmas with 9mobile Crazy Ember Deals appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Udom EmmanuelThe Akwa Ibom State Government has announced the transfer of investigation of the 11-year-old boy allegedly sexually abused at the Deeper Life High School, Uyo to the Nigeria Police Force.
    The state Commissioner for Information, Ini Ememobong, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo, the state capital.
    He added that the schoolboy has been moved to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre at the Immanuel General Hospital, Eket for further medical investigation.
    Also Read: #JusticeForDonDavis: Nigerians Demand Justice For Boy Who Was Sexually Molested At Deeper Life High School
    The Commissioner stated that the victim’s parents and other interested parties gave their consent for the boy to be taken to the referral centre.
    He also revealed that the Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Education, who investigated the sexual abuse allegation on behalf of the Akwa Ibom government, has been advised by the Attorney General of the state to hands off the case, especially since the police were already on the case too.
    Ememobong also stated that organisations such as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Mirabelle Centre, FIDA Akwa Ibom, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Response Unit of the Ministry of Justice, Akwa Ibom State, have been involved in the case.
    The post Deeper Life School: Akwa Ibom Withdraws From Sexual Abuse Probe appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Don DavisMany netizens were outraged after an 11-year-old JSS1 student, Don Davis was sexually molested and mistreated at Deeper Life High School, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
    The boy’s mother, Deborah Okezie had shared a video via Facebook on December 20 wherein she alleged that her son was starved and molested by some senior students of the school.
    She claimed that she noticed that something was off about her son when she went to pick him up from school.
    According to Okezie, she noticed that Don Davis was sick and had not been attended to. The distraught mother alleged that she observed that her son was not able to sit properly, which prompted her to check his buttocks.
    There was every indication that her son had been sexually molested.
    Don Davis claimed that the senior students in his school would usually put their hands and legs in his anus after he was transferred to their hostel by a teacher. He was also starved at the school. The mother said her son told her that they threatened to kill him if he reported to the principal or his parents.
    Doctors also confirmed that the boy had been sexually violated and he is currently receiving treatment at the moment.

    In a bid to seek justice, the mother of the young boy cried out for help and this struck a sympathetic chord among Netizens.
    The video also generated reactions from the school and state government.
    The school management announced the suspension of the principal, Solomon Ndidi, and revealed that they have launched an investigation into the case. The Akwa Ibom State Government has also stepped in.
    The Deeper Life Bible Church, owners of the high school involved, had tweeted on Monday, December 21, that they were investigating the issue, and that “appropriate disciplinary action will be meted out to all culprits in this unfortunate act”.
    The mother subsequently shared updates regarding the case.
    In a new video, she talked about how she and her family were intimidated after she was summoned by the Commissioner for Education for further investigation. She said her phone was seized and she was ordered to delete the video from social media. She also mentioned that a parent at the meeting threatened to beat her up in front of the commissioner.
    Okezie noted that the Deeper Life board members came kneeling and begging in the hospital where her son was admitted but she added that the same day Deeper Life announced their investigation, the church’s representatives were on air alleging that Don Davis came to the school bedridden, saying that she was not his mother.
    The mother did not only debunk these allegations but also shared pictures of the boy, before and after going to school, while also saying she will go as far as a DNA test to prove she is the boy’s mother.
    The mother revealed that her son now experiences nightmares and suddenly wakes up with a jerk every now and then. She claims it is now hard to get a word out of him.
    These new revelations sparked uproar, propelling several Netizens to take to Twitter to share their sentiments and call for justice for the young boy with the use of the #JusticeForDonDavis hashtag. They have also appealed to Kumuyi, to take action.
    The post #JusticeForDonDavis: Nigerians Demand Justice For Boy Who Was Sexually Molested At Deeper Life High School appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Seyi MakindeGovernor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has raised the alarm that bandits are entering the country through some international borders in the Oke Ogun axis of the state.
    He made this known speaking during a visit to the palace of the Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi, where he met with traditional rulers from Oke Ogun Zone 1.
    At the palace, the governor condemned the porous nature of the borders.
    He noted that bandits from Mali have been entering Nigeria through the border in Saki unchecked and this has emboldened the criminals to steal and stay in the country.
    Also Read: Makinde Mourns Harry Akande
    The governor, however, said the state was able to tackle banditry with the establishment of Amotekun and the support of the traditional rulers and some other stakeholders in the state.
    He said: “For instance, Saki shares an international border and it is more of an international issue because we have bandits all the way from Mali that are trying to cross. Once they gain entrance into anywhere they can operate, they will stay there.
    “When we inaugurated Amotekun, you gave us your support. When some bandits went to the bush at Kishi, we were able to flush them out with all the efforts of all of us here.”
    The post Terrorists, Bandits Entering South-West through Oke-Ogun Area – Oyo Governor appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has again proved its mettle as a customer-centric financial institution that cares for the comfort of its customers by opening a world class Cash Centre at Ikorodu, Lagos.
    The ultra-modern Cash Centre, located at Oluwarotimi Adeola Street, Ori Okuta Junction, Off Isawo Road, Ajaguro-Owutu, Ikorodu, takes into consideration the convenience of residents and businesses present within Owutu and its environs, including the popular Ikorodu garage, Agric Junction and Haruna areas. The development, which is coming two weeks after the Bank opened another Cash Centre at Ipaja, a suburb in Alimosho local government in Lagos, is in line with the commitment of FCMB to bring financial services closer to the populace to deepen financial inclusion, especially in densely populated areas like Ikorodu where a large number of people desire excellent banking services.
    The Cash Centre, which commenced operations on December 21, 2020, is powered by solar energy, and equipped with latest traditional and digital banking infrastructure that ensures convenient and secured financial transactions for customers in a relaxed and tranquil environment. This is in addition to the team of highly experienced staff deployed to attend to the needs of existing and potential customers of the Bank.
    Speaking on the opening of the FCMB Cash Centre at Owutu, Ikorodu, the Managing Director, Mr. Adam Nuru, reaffirmed the commitment of the Bank to grow its network to meet the individual and business aspirations of its ever-increasing customer base across segments.
    According to him, “this is another turning point in our commitment to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the very best of Banking experience from FCMB. We consider our presence at Owutu, Ikorodu as another great opportunity to further cement our relationship with Lagos and in turn, drive development in this part of the state. Ikorodu is one the fastest growing residential and business hubs in Lagos. As an inclusive lender, we recognise that the only way we can succeed is when we engage and support our customers to succeed.’’.
    Also commenting, the Divisional Head, Service Management of FCMB, Mr. Oluwakayode Adigun, said, “having a second physical outlet in Ikorodu to support our long existing Branch in the town reinforces our customer-centric approach. We assure that individuals and businesses at Owutu and its environs will enjoy the valued-added offerings which FCMB has been known for since its establishment 37 years ago. We will also use the opportunity to further  optimise our strategic digital transformation drive by deploying channels that would promote rapid growth in the area. We urge existing and potential customers to take advantage of the benefits which the Cash Centre offers by banking with FCMB”.
    FCMB, as a foremost financial institution in Nigeria, has continued to wax stronger by re-engineering its processes and leveraging on emerging technologies to offer seamless customer experience at all channels. This is in line with its values of Execution, Professionalism, Innovation and Customer-focus (EPIC)”. With its more than 6 million customer base, over 200 branches spread across Nigeria and upward growth in overall performance, the Bank has consistently proved its mettle as a resilient and dominant player in the Nigerian financial services industry.
    These strides have earned the Bank several accolades and awards. The Bank recently emerged as winner of the prestigious award of Best SME Bank in Africa at the Asian Banker Middle East and Africa Regional Awards. In 2019, the lender was conferred with the award of “Most Business-Friendly Bank” at the BusinesDay Banking and Finance Awards. It equally bagged the award of “Excellence in Customer Experience” at the Finnovex Award held last year. In addition, FCMB was rated as the number one Bank for SMEs in Nigeria, courtesy of the Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Experience Survey report by KPMG.
    With a clear understanding of its market and environment, FCMB is well positioned to continue to create value by delivering exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of its customers.
    For more information about FCMB and it’s wide range of financial services, please visit www.fcmb.com
    The post FCMB Deepens Financial Inclusion, Opens Ultra-Modern Cash Centre At Ikorodu, Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Have you ever wondered when child discipline turn to domestic violence or abuse?
    Every parent has a style of parenting and every culture also tends to provide a standard which is considered normal and most appropriate in bringing up a child. While discipline is a very important tool in bringing up a child, there may be certain ways which may just be extreme and considered domestic violence and abuse to a child.
    Today, many parents take extreme measures in ensuring that their children turn out to be the best in society and they are willing to use whatever corrective measures they deem fit in setting their children on the right paths in life.
    It is with the desire to know just when these so-called disciplinary methods would be considered too much to be classified as Domestic violence or child abuse that we take to the streets to hear what both parents and children had to say.
    Younger generation Nigerians would readily say that parenting style in Nigeria is hard and harsh compared to their Western counterparts, however, for the African or the Nigerian Parenting Style; There are definitely some unique characteristics.
    Mr James, a young banker and father of two, highlighted that every parent on their own know just when it is extreme as there are no rule books to training one’s child.
    “Every parent should know just when it is extreme. It has to do with the mind. There are certain things I can’t do to my kids, but another father would readily do that to his own kids. So, there are no rule books.”
    On what measures he would consider being extreme, he says, “Like I said earlier, there are no rule books, extreme could be basic to another person, but to me, anything that leaves marks on the child is just too extreme.”
    READ ALSO – Exclusive: Dirt, Clogged Gutters, Human Waste ‘Beautify’ Mega City Of Lagos
     
    Nigerian Child, Victim of Extreme Measures of DisciplineMany children are left with marks from one parent or the other over one error they had done, both physical and emotionally imprinted marks which often does more harm than good to the entire well-being of the child.
    Speaking to a young boy identified as Jibola, a victim of his parents’ so-called disciplinary methods, as he tells his story clearly points out that many Nigerian parents often take extreme measures in the disciplining of their children, often forgetting to think and only acting on anger.
    ‘Tell me how you got the mark on your forehead?’ I asked him after we had exchanged pleasantries.
    Viral Photo Of Child Beaten Mercilessly At School“My Dad did that to me, I will never forget. I got back from school one day and because I forgot to turn on the pumping machine, he threw a shoe at me and the sole, opened my head. We had not had light for days because they cut our line, but the previous night, they fixed the light and we all expected power that night but it didn’t come. The following day, he came back home and realized that I had been in the house when they brought the light, which was when I came back from school. So I forgot to pump water, and they took the power. Discovering that I didn’t pump water when there was power, he did this to me. I know he acted out of anger but look where that has left me.” He laughed as he touched the scar on his forehead.
    Looking at his face, I asked, “How does it make you feel when you see the mark?”
    ‘Well, there is nothing I can do, it happened way back in secondary school. I feel bad that the mark is there, but my feelings have given me a definition of how I will bring up my own children.’
    “Which is?” I asked.
    He laughed as he shook his head saying: “Definitely not like this.”
    Like, 19-year-old Jibola, who is celebrating his freedom away from home because of his recent admission to the university, many Nigerians are victims of domestic violence from their homes all in the name of discipline.
    Another parent and teacher identified as ‘Aunty’ Ruth, pointed out that many parents act first on anger and later realize the damages they have done, she also provided what she thinks is a reasonable approach.
    Students Serving Punishment“We forget that parents are human beings too, they get angry and I think it’s with that anger that they go extreme in their disciplining. As a mother and teacher, I’ve had the first-hand experience on how annoying children can be, but notwithstanding, discipline should be well communicated. Parents should let their children know what is coming before they pounce on them.
    If a child has done something wrong, let them know and tell them ‘Hey, you will be punished’ that way, it leaves a window for reflection for both the child and the parent before extra damages are done.”
    While many Nigerians are trying to do right by their kids in bringing them up in the best way they know, a lot of times, damages have been incurred by the children from the extreme efforts of their parents in grooming their sanity.
    The story of Gabriel, a twenty-four-year-old man who was one time disciplined by his parents over food left him emotionally traumatized at that point of his life.
    Narrating his story, he said that his mother had punished him with a large quantity of food because he cooked more than the instructed volume of food.
    “So I cooked two-and-a-half derica of rice instead of two, and my mom practically fed me the half. I couldn’t finish it of course so she shoved the rest down my throat”
    Asking him what he thought about the whole experience, he said “I got the message, even though it was a mistake, I was very certain I heard two-and-a-half. I learnt my lesson and at that point in my life, I became really afraid of my mother and food. I am not afraid of food anymore, but my mom, I still very much am.”
    A lot of time, many Nigerian parents resort to using fear in putting their children in check. A tool that works really well but is likely to damage the child emotionally in the long run.
    Many children live in fear of their parents because of the extremities of their disciplinary methods, while we are not discarding the need to discipline a child, our concern is how?
    Where do you cross the line in disciplining a child?
    The post Why Child Discipline, Domestic Violence Thrive In Nigerian Homes appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Lagos, the commercial hub of West Africa, Nigeria’s most congested city and like most will like to describe it, the city that never sleeps.
    If you can live and survive in Lagos, you can live and survive anywhere in the world. The beauty of Lagos isn’t just in its architecture, or how the city combines business and entertainment effortlessly or the tall rising buildings or bridges kiss crossing, its magnificent cuisines, restaurants, malls, relaxation centres but in its diversity — It is its ability to accommodate all and sundry and still flourish.
    It’s a place where you would easily find Nigerians from every region or geopolitical zone. It isn’t also unusual to bump into other Africans, Asians, Europeans, Australians and even Americans on the streets of Lagos, walking or driving freely like a familiar city in their country.
     
    However, in all these beauty and splendour that our favourite Nigerian city holds, there is one thing that one will always find unpleasant in Lagos, ‘noise’.
    Noise and Lagos are like rice and stew, married and still in love after many years.
    You go to the bus stop, the bus conductor is screaming at the top of his voice, ‘Yaba Palm Groove, Onipanu’, the ‘agbero’ on the other hand, is screaming his lungs out at the conductor for his ticket fee, the bread seller is at the other corner of the road, shouting ‘Fine butter bread’, to interested and uninterested customers alike.
    Read Also: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    Are we going to forget the soft drink and bottled water seller, who harmonises all the chaos with how cold her wares are?
    Then you set off on the journey proper, from Ikeja to Yaba, that shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes, if not for the signature traffic that accompanies almost all roads in the city. While you’re contending with the various types of honks necessary or unnecessary from several motorists, you also have to deal with ear-deafening phone ringtones of your fellow passengers and the conversation on the line that mostly sound like they’re having a fight with the person on the other end of the phone. As if that isn’t enough, two passengers on the bus are having what should be a normal conversation but it sounds more like an orator addressing a town hall meeting — Your only prayer at that point should be that no argument erupts between the driver and a passenger or between the conductor and another passenger over change’ or even between passengers, because you are going to be in a lot of ‘noise situation’. The noise in Lagos also extends to residential areas. On some streets, residents have to contend with the noise generated from heavy speakers from a nearby church, and if they are unlucky, they have two or more on just one street. Then there’s the mosque with its early morning alarm. In all these, you may also find a school or more in the same area, where happy children blare off in rhymes and songs, oblivious of the amount of noise they make at their assembly ground. Some residents will deal with these and if there is a football viewing center just by the corner of their home, the matter becomes even worse. While the football fans are excited about an upcoming season, residents are worried about their evening rests especially on nights when two star English or Spanish clubs meet. Then the one that almost everyone is guilty of, ‘generator’. In the name of generating power where the Discos have failed, the comfort of a neighbour is slaughtered at the altealtaryours. In every nook and cranny of the city, there is something or someone consciously or consciously generating noise without recourse to the hazard noise could cause to other people. Read Also: Struggles, Pains Of Single Mothers And Society’s One-Sided Backlash (Exclusive) On October 15, 2014, the then governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola now Minister of works and housing had introduced what he called “horn free day”. Where motorists in the city would have to resist the thrilling temptation of blasting their car honks. Introducing the initiative, Fashola had said; “It is for our own good, it is for our own health, it is for our own life. It is not because Governor Fashola said so. It is not because Lagos State Government said so. It is simply because it is good for us. Doctors have told us it is for our own ultimate good”, the Governor said.
    According to him, “What we see in a way that we now choose to live is that because we live in a very noisy environment, which we can really diminish, we tend to be very noisy ourselves. We speak at the top of our voices, we play music at very high decibels and we do very many things at very high levels”.
    Many observers described the initiative as highly successful with a success rate of 70 percent.
    Information Nigeria, in a chat with George Nwosu, a health practitioner at a private hospital in Lagos and he had this to say about why Lagosians must minimise the noise they make.
    According to Dr Nwosu, whether or not you’re used to a certain type of noise, it can still lead to serious psychological disorders and, when that happens, you may not even know it because you have become too used to it.
    He noted that high noise levels can contribute to cardiovascular effects in humans and an increased incidence of coronary artery disease. He said “Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as coronary heart disease (CHD) or ischemic heart disease (IHD), involves the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to build-up of plaque in the arteries of the heart. It is the most common cardiovascular disease.” When exposed to noise for a long time, Nwosu says it can cause a range of health problems such as stress, poor concentration, productivity losses in the workplace, and communication difficulties and fatigue from lack of sleep.’ He noted that ” when noise becomes too much, people tend to become easily irritable, nervousness, irrational in decision making.” He adds that it goes even worse to causing health conditions ranging from  “cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, tinnitus and hearing loss.” What has contributed to the excessive noise in Lagos?
    An environmental expert, Titilayo Ekundayo says ” rapid urbanization is one major culprit of noise Lagos. She describes noise in two categories, indoor and outdoor environmental noise pollution which she says could cause adverse health effects on babies in the womb, newly born,  little children, adolescents and adults. She said ‘on Lagos roads, finding outdated vehicles which should have been put away for many years isn’t strange. “Then you also have increased traffic, congested residential areas, crowded educational institutions and workplaces, unregulated commercial and industrial noise, which have become a source of noise pollution with long-term disability. “ “You must have seen herbal drug sellers and music CD sellers or Disc Jockeys with heavy speakers just to advertise or draw attention to their business.” “Some churches hold vigils and turn on all their speakers causing noise that could cause sleep disturbances which have been known to cause serious long-term health consequences,” she stressed. She explained further that, of the people to be given full protection from noise pollution, “Pregnant women, foetus, nefetus, infants and children top the list.” How can we reduce noise pollution? She says this can only be achieved when “there is proper monitoring of schools, workplaces, commercial and industrial areas to check the noise levels generated. ” She added that “There should also regulation of traffic noise to be within safe limits. Bus-stops, railway stations and airports should not be situated in residential areas.” What noise does to you
    Anyone who lives in a very noisy area can attest to one or more of these. Poor sleep You’re thinking of taking a nap, but the blaring sound from “Baba jedi ” speakers are having a toil on that simple decision because all you can hear is how one herbal drug cures all types of ailments including death. Let’s not forget to mention the dangers associated with irregular sleep or not sleeping well at night on your day. Noise interferes with your speech You most definitely can’t have a meaningful conversation in a noisy environment. Poor concentration This is one of the banes of noise pollution which affects everyone including the culprit of pollution and has long term disadvantages such as making hasty or poor decisions. You find yourself spending long hours doing something that should have been done at a shorter time and so on. In all these, it because imperative for Lagosians to make a very conscious effort to tone down the noise they generate. The post Lagos, Nigeria’s Center Of Noise Pollution appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Among many things that are pressing in the city of Lagos, the challenge of waste and its disposal seems to be very present in the fabrics of the city. With a system and government that seems to be either clueless in solving the problem or negligent of the problem which is very much visible, Lagos environmental cleanness will always be a story for now and another day. A cruise around the city sparks excitement, youth, hope and life; but there is a part that gives the strangest thought, a sharp contrast to the good part: how can a city with so much hope and life be dirty? Michael Isaac writes…
    Waste clogged up in a gutterIndiscriminate waste disposal has for long been a thing of great concern in Lagos, a threat to environmental health, the reality of urban life, and a general threat to the public health of Lagosians. Despite environmental laws, campaigns, and structures that have been put in place to combat uncleanliness in Lagos state, the reverse has remained the case.
    Lagosians have, despite these formal directives, violated roads, canals, highways, street corners, marketplaces, and in fact, every available space they can lay their hands on in the disposing of their waste.
    This brings the question: Is Lagos State dirty because there are no environmental laws, or because Lagosians generally just have a bad habit of haphazard disposal of wastes?
    Taking to the street on two locations of the Mega-City and speaking to residents and road users, the problem doesn’t seem to sit only on the shoulders of the government.
    Locals Resort To Indiscriminate Dumping of Refuse After Failure to Clear DumpsterAt Jakande Gate, along Isolo-Ikotun Road rests a huge heap of dirties just opposite of the main road and in this part of Lagos, residents blame the government for this abnormality.
    Speaking to Babajide, a motorbike rider, he blamed the government that provided them with a gigantic waste bin and fail to come to park it when it gets full.
    “Nobody dey proud of the dirty, I think you too sef can smell am? Dem do well bring the big dustbin but the only problem wey we dey see, wey even cause the matter na say dem no dey come pack am when e full. Nobody wey no like free thing and na because of this wey people dey always pour dirty even if the thing don full.”
    He expressed disappointment at the government for failing on their own part in maintaining the sanitation of the locales.
    Another resident identified as Ebuka also blamed the government who introduced the system in the first place. “I remember in Fashola’s time, the PSP guys usually come to this area, estate by estate, street by street every Friday and that is when everyone will bring their dirties out and give them. That time there was nothing like this big waste bin you are seeing here. This one you are seeing her has even been here for close to two weeks now and no one is doing anything about it.”
    While Ebuka and Babajide blamed the government for the issues of environmental sanitation in their area, a lady who chose anonymity, was of the opinion that people are generally ‘animals’ when no one is watching. According to her; When no one is watching, people can throw their dirties anywhere as long as they don’t live there.
    “I think it’s a people thing. People are generally animals and will be their worst when no one is watching. Me myself, I don’t throw dirties when I’m in a bus. I hold it till when I get to a trash can. So it’s a people thing and not the government. Lagosians are generally dirty people and we need to address that first. The sanitation starts with us first.”
    ‘The sanitation starts with us first.’Plastic bags, nylons, bottle caps and all that are majorly present across everywhere in Lagos, on the streets, in market places, in canals and sometimes in the air, congested on electric transmitting cables. So it is safe to say that these are enemies of the environment.
    In April, Nigeria became one of the countries to harbour a law against the use of plastic bags and nylons. ‘The plastic bag prohibition bill’ fines store owners who give customers plastic bags, and this is in attempts to reduce environmental pollution and enhance environmental sanitation. Well, till today, no one has been caught defaulting the law and everyone still uses plastic bags and nylons, our streets are still flooding with plastic bags and even store owners still give customers plastic bags.
    A cruise around the busy market of Yaba gave us people who are of the opinion that tackling sanitation in the country may not be possible until there are laws in place and until these laws are followed through properly.
    LAWMA Workers Clearing Up Refuse Dumping SiteSpeaking to Amoke, a LAWMA worker as she was observing her rest period under the shade of a stall, she pointed out that the problem of sanitation in Lagos has its residents to be blamed. Being a government worker, she pointed out how desperate the government of Lagos wish Lagos could be sparkling clean as soon as possible and how uneasy locales have made it.
    “It’s not the government. Trust me, it’s you and I. We are the problem. Lagosians are less appreciative of the good plans the government is making for them for their streets and environment. That’s why a place I just cleaned twenty-minutes-ago will turn up dirty in no time.”
    When asked‘What about places where the government has not touched? Places like Ago Egun in Bariga?’, her response showed cluelessness and concern as she replied saying ‘I don’t know there, but everything na small small.’
    The truth remains that Lagos State in all its glory is a dirty place and both the residents and government have the power to correct the errors.
    Just like our anonymous respondent explained, we can do better in promoting a healthier Lagos environment. The keys to a better environment are also in our hands.
    Like London, Washington, Oslo, Dublin, Paris, and all the beautiful places we see on movie screens we can turn our Lagos healthier and cleaner. With the right self-discipline and conscious efforts, we could also turn most of our cities into an amazing haven of cleanliness.
    This could begin with a simple habit of not throwing dirt in unauthorized places. It could be as simple as not urinating in public places even.
    The post Exclusive: Dirt, Clogged Gutters, Human Waste ‘Beautify’ Mega City Of Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    No one sets out in life to be a single mother and be saddled with the sole responsibility of raising a child(ren) alone.
    However, life sometimes throws at us, burdens that we are forced to take up, giving us very little or sometimes no choice.
    These were the words of Wura Olaitan (pseudonym), a single mother of two kids who juggles between a day job as a fashion designer and a freelance writer at night for some organisations who require the services of a copywriter.
    Being a single mother is tough, you get blamed by everyone; your family, your friends, society and sometimes the kids that you’re struggling to cater for, she stated with an unreadable expression.
    People are quick to dismiss you as a vile bitter woman who couldn’t keep her marriage or a loose promiscuous woman who went ahead to have a child for a man out of wedlock.
    Does anyone ever bother to ask, how the woman who singlehandedly carries her burdens and those of her wards on her back, walking doggedly sometimes, and other times wobbling through life with the sole realisation that this is her cross and she has to carry it or die trying?
    Why do women mostly have to bear the brunt of a failed marriage or relationship? Why does society never hesitate to reach for its horsewhip and mercilessly flog the woman whose husband left or whose man blatantly refused to take responsibility?
    Read Also: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    Why are fingers quickly pointed at a woman who has been handed the crown ‘singer mother’? With these question resonating in mind, I set out to speak with a few women, who have had to walk out of a marriage or a relationship that has produced a child or more for reasons no one but them would truly be able to understand.
    Wura, a graduate of English from the University of Lagos, said like every young woman, she had hoped to settle down with her prince charming and have a fairy tale marriage, but sadly for her, that never happened.
    She recounts that she met Feyi (not real name), the father of her sons shortly after graduating from Unilag in 2011 and by 2013, she found herself pregnant with her first child, worse of all, unmarried to the love of her life.
    “I tried to talk him into having a wedding even it was a small one but he kept saying there was no money. Although he had a job, I knew he would have to save aggressively for us to have a wedding, no matter how small. I didn’t have a job as I had just finished my NYSC. I loved him and he loved me too, so we agreed that we would move in together and have a wedding latter when we are financially better.
    “To cut the long story short, the wedding never happened as living together did more harm than good. We found out that we are incompatible as we were always arguing and fighting.”
    She says by the time the baby was born, they were already out of love for each other and knew there was no way she would spend the rest of her life with the man she once loved with so much passion.
    “I quickly became pregnant for my second child because I didn’t want to carry the name of one who will have children for different men.”

    The relationship, she says, ended in 2017, with both of them walking out and not looking back, even though they have two young children together.
    With a society such as this, an average Nigerian would first drag a single mother through the mud, straight to hell and back before availing them the benefit of humanity.
    Names like ‘old cargo’, ‘after one or two’ as the case may be, are thrown at them without recourse while the men with whom they had the child(ren) enjoy total liberty from castigation and backlash.
    The stigmatization that comes with being a single mother in Nigeria is something that higher authorities must look into.
    In Lagos, for instance, many house owners would categorically state that they do not rent out their apartments to single women or single mothers for reasons that would leave a sane mind disturbed for days.
    Among fellow women, they have to bear the excruciating trauma of being looked down or segregated against because unlike them, they do not have the golden ring on their finger or answer the most ‘sacred’ title ‘Mrs’.
    Stella Ogunbiyi, a single mom told Information Nigeria that she has “had to wear a wedding ring to my son’s PTA meeting at school severally just to avoid any form of unnecessary questions or assumptions.” the sad part is, she said with a clear sign of pain in her voice, its a fellow woman that would play the lead role in administering the verbal abuse or mental torture.
    We can not also forget to mention how some families would kick, threaten fire and hell if their son falls in love with a single mother.
    Sometimes the brave men, who damn all consequences and go ahead to marry these ‘unholy women’, risk being disowned, ostracised or have their inheritance cut off.
    Has it always been like this or did this culture of ‘condemning’ single mothers start in this generation?
    Information Nigeria, in order to get a clearer picture,  conversed with an older Nigerian woman in her sixties. It would amaze you to learn that the ‘shaming’ and ‘lambasting’ of single mothers date back to generations before this one.
    Rose Odiase, a 61-year-old woman from Egor LGA in Edo state, who resides at Aguda, Surulere says when she was a young child, the scene wasn’t pretty much different from what obtains today.
    She recalls how older aunties who had children from a failed marriage where nicknamed “women whose husband’s house were too small to contain”(literarily put).
    Read Also: Inside Life Of ‘Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive)
    Although she says single motherhood wasn’t as rampant in her days as a younger person because women were made to remain in their marriages, whether good or bad.
    According to her,” my grandfather, for instance, made it really clear to his daughters that once a man took them as a wife, the contract was binding for life, no matter what.”
    On whether her grandfather would make his child stay in a very volatile and abusive marriage just because he has a laid down principle, Odiase says “except the man is so terrible to the extent that my grandpa’s shock absorber wears off on the matter. Only then can a daughter return to his house with her kids and raise them there.”
    However, the shaming, she says remains as the community will continue to haul all sorts of condescending names at the woman raising her kid(s) without their father.
    From the chat with her, it became clear that not much has changed since her time – if, for anything, things have grown from bad to worse.
    It appears women may have to choose between society’s backlash with regards to raising a child(ren) without their fathers or stay in a marriage or relationship to avoid backlash.
    Or society may soon adjust and accept that not all relationships or marriages will have happy endings and single motherhood is not an abomination as they have chosen to label it.
    Where would the pendulum swing? Only time shall tell.
    The post Struggles, Pains Of Single Mothers And Society’s One-Sided Backlash (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Nigerian MarketBarely eight weeks to Christmas, Nigerians are experiencing frustration and pains over the hike in the prices of staples; decline in business activities of some traders; as well as inflation headache. Both traders and consumers have expressed mixed reactions in the closure of Nigeria’s land borders, Gbenga Odunsi reports.
    Recall that the Federal government of Nigeria, on 13th August 2019, sealed Seme border without formal or prior notice. The Seme border, according to investigation, is one of the bustling boundaries, and is the chief course for the importation of food items such as rice, chicken, and turkey into the country.
    The Nigerian borders remain occlude in the face of warning from West Africa’s regional grouping that the seal up is harming economic prosperity.
    The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) urged the federal government to recrudesce its borders.  It warned that the closing of border crossings, which prevents the free movement of people, contravenes agreements signed by Nigeria.
    Although Nigeria’s resolution to close its land borders was projected at cracking down on smuggling. But traders in adjoining countries say their businesses have shut down as a result. Similarly, the closure has exerted inadvertent consequences on the prices and availability of some food items in Nigeria.
    “We cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue,” President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement released by his media aide shortly after the border closures. However, the federal government has claimed that the closures are bearing desired results, and it had seized hundreds of bags of ‘smuggled’ imported rice.
    The prices of such staples as rice, frozen chicken, frozen turkey and groundnut oil — which often finds their way into the country from neighbouring ECOWAS countries via the borders — have ballooned as they become sparse in the local market, Information Nigeria authoritatively reports.
    Baskets of red tomatoesRice produced locally, it was gathered, is yet to equivalent local demand standards based on quality and quantity. One kilogram of frozen turkey now sells for N2,200. There has also been a spike on other food items premised on the closure of the border.
    The final consumers of the affected commodities have wailed the stinging effects of the federal government’s action, which according to them, has impelled a sharp shortage of food items and further swelled their prices.
    In the same way, the condition with traders — predominantly the middlemen in the distribution value chain of the food items — is not any better.
    Mixed Reactions Over Sealed Land Borders
    A market trader at mile 12 market in Lagos, who does not want to be named, lamented that border closure is affecting business activities, adding that local rice, which would have been a better alternative, is short in supply. According to him, closing up the border at this time, few weeks to Christmas, is a wrong decision by the government. He further pointed out that the yuletide season will be accompanied by hardship if the government does not rescind its decision.
    Taofeek Ibrahim, 41, who deals in frozen chicken and turkey at mile 12 market, says the closure of Nigeria’s land borders has led to shutdown of businesses for some traders, and commodities are not available for them to sell.
    “Following the closure of Nigeria’s border, frozen foods have become very scarce commodities in the market. Nigeria has been doing well with the importation of these items. The locally produced ones are not sufficient to meet the market demand, unfortunately, the prices have increased.
    “Before the closure, a pack of the Nigerian chicken costs about N8,000. If you go round the market now, you will find out the price has increased  N15,000. Moreover, local processors of frozen foods have not been able to meet market demand. When we demand for 100kg of chicken, they are only able to supply maximum of 25%.
    “The hikes in these prices, accompanied with inability to meet up with demands have stopped customers from patronizing us, they have shifted their attention to the consumption of fish,” Ibrahim said.

    Taiwo Oyagbesan, a rice seller, in his own view, posits that closure of Seme border has affected the importation of foreign goods into the country. He bemoaned the adverse effect the closure is having on his business, which in turn affects his survival and that of this entire family. Taiwo added that the closure has skyrocketed every commodity in the market.
    Mr Oyagbesan lamented that he had not been able to sell both the local and foreign rice in his shop because the price has swelled and Nigerians are unable to afford it. He says he foresees hardship on average Nigerians this yuletide season.
    “Customers who are used to buying Basmati rice for N5,375, when you now tell them it is 8,000, they quickly turn away and look for another alternative such as spaghetti.
    “Since morning wey I open shop, I never sell anything, and it has been like that since September, Sales has dropped drastically, Taiwo said.
    He added that effort to redirect their market operation to accommodate locally produced rice yielded no fruit as many Lagosians complain about the local rice. Moreso, the brand is not readily available to serve the whole of the state.
    Oyagbesan urged the government to reopen the borders to allow Nigerians go about their daily business and hustle for survival. He added that if the border must remain closed, government should ensure that the productions of local commodities are improved.
    Adding to the pressure of low supply, many dealers, Information Nigeria gathered, are hoarding the commodity with the intention of selling at increased prices during the Christmas festivities.
    Checks by Information Nigeria evince that a bag of Mama Gold rice (50kg) which initially sells for N15,000 is now sold for N28,750. Other imported rice such as Royal Stallion and Caprice suffer the same fate. Locally produced Lake rice has spiked to N24,000 from N13,500. A basket of tomatoes which initially sells for N6,000 has increased to N13,000. A carton of frozen foods which before now sells for N7000 is now pegged between 14,000 to N16,000
    Nigerian rice vendor, Martins Omoboriowo gives no qualms to the closure of Nigeria’s borders.
    On his part, “we have been consuming homemade foodstuffs since the closure of borders.
    “I think the closure is a good decision by the government, Omoboriowo told Information Nigeria.
    “The closure has improved production, and locally-grown rice is now available in many markets.
    Omoboriowo, however, believes the situation of the country requires patience as the government is doing a turnaround.
    “Predominantly, Nigerians import almost everything through the Seme border, and if there is going to be a stoppage, it will take time.
    “Nigerians want fast solutions, but if the government plays its own part to lessen the effects of the closure, then very few people, the ungrateful one, will complain of hardship.
    Odunsi, Editor at Information Nigeria, reports from Lagos, Nigeria.
     
    The post Border Closure: Prices Of Frozen Foods, Rice, Tomatoes, Groundnut Oil Skyrocket…Few Weeks To Christmas appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Porters at Daleko Market Mushin, Lagos State.Young people of today are faced with situations that pose as bottlenecks for the ultimate goal of survival. Today, many youths find themselves doing some jobs that not only pose danger to their health, but ultimately reduce the creative power of their minds. The quest to understand these young men who find themselves going through the hard way to make ends meet, informed the decision of  Information Nigeria’s Michael Isaac to take to the streets of Lagos to listen, and tell the stories of these young men, known as porters, and the service they offer, known as porterage.
     On a sunny Friday morning at Daleko market, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government area of Lagos State, traders are seen going about their businesses and having their random small conversations, but one thing, however, would catch me in awe – men carrying nothing less than two bags of rice on their backs, almost running and resounding only one word, “ago”, which I have come to learn is Yoruba for ‘give way’.  A word which they scream to ward off human obstacles on their way. These are the ones we are interested in ⁠— ‘The Alaburus’ ⁠— as they are commonly called.
    Watching them go about their business amongst the other traders who did nothing but just received calls and punch numbers on the calculator prompted me to speak to a few of them. It’s amazing how people are ready to talk about themselves and their job.
    SA porter carrying two bags of rice at Daleko Market, Mushin. Image credit: Michael IsaacLanre, who happened to be the chairman of the Alaburus at Daleko Market, was both chatty and expressive of his ideas as he was also surrounded by a team of men who also wanted to say one thing or the other in addition to what their chairman had said.
    “Wetin make you start to dey do alaburu as work”, I ask after I had introduced myself. His smile in response to the question was heartwarming and I could see regret in his eyes as the smile waned off in less than a minute. I watched and listen to him explaining how he had dropped out from school just a year away from the finish line, he had also hinted that, even though he had never liked school, he still regrets that he wasn’t patient enough to finish and, being a dropout in a society that has no opportunity for people like him, Alaburu was his closest option for survival.
    “Me I no fit thief and I no even sabi how to use laptop, talk less of doing yahoo-yahoo wey many boys dey do now. I no go school o but my hand and my whole body still dey work na why I go use am make money wey me and my children go take eat.’
    While many of them attributed they’re doing the hard job because they had no proper education, Sulieman, one of the men who was with Lanre thought differently. He, however, attributed that for him, this was what was passed down from his father, as his father had also been a porter back in Kano State. On saying this, the rest of the men under Lanre’s unit laughed at him.
    Sulieman talked about how hard it has been for him, and shared a moment when he experienced a breakdown because he had carried three bags of rice at a time. It was after his breakdown amongst others that made their Chairman, Lanre create a policy that only allowed them carry two bags at a time.
    “If government say dem wan put eyes for this una alaburu business now, how you think say dem fit help?” I ask Lanre. ” He looked at me and smiled again saying: “Government ke! Na only people way go school dem they help.” He hinted that over the years, they have tried to form and start an association for their business and on every occasion, their request to be recognized were turned down. His squad also agreed with him as they all nodded in support.
    The Alaburu business is an irregular one that involves them carrying loads for customers and traders from one point to another using whatever means they seem fit, usually their backs. Each item has a fixed price but sometimes, they charge higher or lesser, depending on the distance they have to cover. Lanre also hinted that one can typically make fifteen thousand naira in a day if one is resilient and hardworking.
     
     
     
     
    “one can typically make fifteen thousand naira in a day if one is resilient and hardworking.” Image credit: Michael IsaacOn several occasions, these young men have experienced medical breakdown for the heavy load they put on their backs and to them, it doesn’t matter as they are all just striving to survive. Just like the NURTW and other unions, they also want to be recognized, however, on every level, their kind of trade seems to be unusual.
    Moving to Oshodi, the story is different. While the Alaburus at Daleko had some level of organization, the men at Oshodi didn’t. They source out their customers themselves, unlike at Daleko where the customers and traders usually come for them.
    Alaburus at Oshodi hustling to carry goods for passengers on a moving vehicle. Image credit: Michael IsaacIf you have ever been to Oshodi, you won’t miss the sight: young men struggling behind moving vehicles that have goods in the trunk, you will see them chasing after these vehicles just so they can render their services to make ends meet for themselves and their families.
    Speaking to one of them who identified himself as Musa, I was able to understand that in the end, this was only just what seemed right for him to do in earning a better life for himself and his family. When I asked Musa if he were to be presented with a better opportunity if he’d take it? He didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’
    For Musa, it was the only way he had known to survive as he hinted that he was neither educated nor skilled in any creative function: “I no go school and as I dey like this sef, I no sabi do anything if no be this work wey I dey do. Make I no lie, e no easy, but na wetin me I fit do be this” He went further to share a story of when the job affected his health: “E get the day wey my back break sef, that same day, tire roll for my leg as I dey hustle for market. As I carry the bag load put for back, next thing I know my back just shift.”
    Alaburu Carrying Two Bags of Rice Behind Back. Image credit: Michael IsaacContrary to popular beliefs that these men are uneducated is why they are doing this kind of job, the truth still remains that a good number of Nigerian youths are living in ignorance of the opportunities that the government has put in place for Nigerians, educated or uneducated, many don’t know this.
    Should they be blamed for their ignorance?
    The government has on countless occasion made these opportunities quite hard to access as if they are almost invincible and oftentimes, if the likes of Mr. Lanre, Mr. Sulaiman and all the Alaburus in Oshodi and Daleko put together could find them, the administrative bottlenecks involved are just discouraging.
    Speaking with Mr. Lanre who had come to the conclusion that the government can not even help them or empower them, it can easily tell us how much distrust many youths have on the government.
    It’s a tough life for them, but just as Mr. Lanre had said to me earlier: “No pain, no gain.”
    The post Inside The Lives Of Struggling ‘Alabaru’ At Mushin, Oshodi Markets In Lagos (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Indecent dressing“I had gone to check my result in his office with my friend, a girl too. He asked for our matriculation numbers and showed us our grades. My friend and I had both scored ‘B’.
    “The man said he was very happy that we did well in the course and engaged us in a little conversation.
    “However, I noticed he particularly picked interest in me and asked me, if I would be interested in working as an assistant in his office before the release of our National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) posting letter…
    A female ex-student of the University of Benin who does not want her name in print, narrates her shocking experience in the hands of a lecturer who offered her a job, and sexually assaulted her some minutes after.
    When a woman is sexually harassed or assaulted, oftentimes the victims are always the first to be blamed. Questions like; what were you wearing, why did you go there, did you go there alone and lots more, are hauled at them without any thought, and sometimes, no outrage at the perpetrator, who took advantage of someone else.
    A recent documentary by BBC Africa Eye on sexual harassment perpetrated by lecturers in some West African universities — the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana — brought to the fore, what most people already know but have waved off, as one of those things that happen in every tertiary institution across the region.
    Some Nigerians and Ghanaians dismissed the crime of the guilty lecturers, shifting the blame to the students because, according to them, “most female students go to their lecturers with the sole aim to seduce them and get good grades in return.”
    A professor from one of the federal universities in Nigeria attributed indecent dressing as one of the reasons why many female students are harassed by lecturers or university staffs who are supposed to guide them.
    A lecturer who spoke on a radio station described it as a situation where some female students deliberately go into these tertiary institutions with the main goal of acquiring ‘sexually transmitted degrees”.
    Professor Okwechime Emmanuel of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in a radio interview on Nigeria Info FM 99.3, while reacting to the trending BBC Africa Eye documentary video said, “First and foremost, the ancient hyping of sexual corruption [Sex for Grade] is just want of BC’s (Broadcasters) and people not being serious. Sexual harassment is being seen from one angle.
    “Is it not possible that even the lecturers are being [sensually] harassed by the girls by the way they dress?
    “Essentially you will see girls who are half nude come to class who want to obtain what we call STD sexually transmitted degrees”.
    “They want to get their degree by sexual intercourse, and when you as a lecturer refuse to oblige them, they go and blackmail you.
    “How do you reconcile that a girl comes to your office in a very transparent dress with their breast shooting out almost seeing what is inside.
    “In the end, you discover that you trust otherwise to do their bidding.”
    Many have argued that not all men can resist seeing something as minor as a woman’s uncovered shoulders or thighs without losing their self-control and throwing caution to the wind; just to have a taste of what their eyes have already fed on.
    Whether they are their lecturers, pastors, bosses in the office, business partners or any man in certain authorities, to these people who argue vehemently for this school of thought, what a woman wears plays a huge role in determining whether she is harassed sexually or not.
    With this argument already taking a good lead, in countering the plight of those sexually assaulted or harassed, Information Nigeria decided to explore the relationship between sexual harassment and indecent dressing.
    Read Also: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    A popular Nigerian twitter user took to the platform to debunk any ties between indecent dressing and sexual harassment. According to Onye Nkuzi, lecturers abroad are faced daily with students who wear skimpy outfits especially during summertime and he has always wondered how those lecturers often restrain themselves.

    A female ex-student of the University of Benin, spoke anonymously to Information Nigeria, on her experience with a senior lecturer of the institution, in the weeks after they had written their last paper.
    “I had gone to check my result in his office with my friend, a girl too. He asked for our matriculation numbers and showed us our grades. My friend and I had both scored ‘B’.
    “The man said he was very happy that we did well in the course and engaged us in a little conversation.
    “However, I noticed he particularly picked interest in me and asked me, if I would be interested in working as an assistant in his office before the release of our National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) posting letter.
    “To say I was elated was, to say the least. I immediately agreed, and I could see the envy in my friend’s eyes. In a minute, I imagined how this little beginning would land me into becoming a graduate assistant and the very beginning to a blissful lecturing career.
    “Who said there’s no God, I wondered to myself. My hard work would finally pay off. All those all night reading to make a 2-1(Second Class Upper), didn’t go to waste after all.
    “You would start immediately, he said.
    “With this, my friend and I talked briefly outside his office, she congratulated me on my new job and off she went.
    “I went back into the lecturer’s office, he brought out some examination booklets of some part-time students of the school, which he had already marked and asked me to record their scores in a register which already had their names.
    “I started on my first task with all the seriousness in the world and I was so engrossed in it, that I almost thought I was dreaming when I felt very strong hands on my two breasts.
    “First, I couldn’t register what had just happened, I couldn’t move, I could breathe, I was lost for words and action.
    “I felt totally sad and disappointed. This was a man I spent the last four years admiring, a man old enough to be my father. I particularly chose his course in the second-semester final year because I admired and respected him so much.
    “I looked up at him and he laughed devilishly, then took his hands off me. I felt so much disgust and at that instant all the respect I had for him vanished. I thank God, I have graduated and nothing would ever bring me and the pervert under one roof again.
    “So I played cool, showed no anger and continued recording the scores. So he started asking me if I live in Benin or one of those students that came from neighbouring States; What my parents did and other irrelevant questions. I answered calmly and waited patiently for when he would say it’s closing hour.
    Read Also: Inside Life Of ‘Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive)
    When it was 5:00 pm, he asked me to take my leave and gave me N500 for transport. I didn’t accept the money even though he insisted because I said I lived to inside Ekosodin and my house is just walking distance to school.
    He then asked me to come early the next day. Of course, I knew I wasn’t going back there.
    Then he called me at 9:00 am the next day and asked why I hadn’t resumed yet. I told him, I got an emergency call from my mom, most after I left his office to start coming to Lagos that she was travelling to Dubai to get goods for her shop since I have already finished my exams.
    I could feel his disappointment but he obliged and never called me again.
    Asked her if she was indecently dressed, and her response was “No.
    “I was wearing a sleeve top on a jean. In fact, I had no makeup on as I never wore any during my university days. ”
    According to her, whenever she remembers the incident, she still shudders.
    This is just one of the many experiences that many female students face whether in the university, workplace or elsewhere, where they have to face randy men in a position of authority.
    Whether indecently dressed or not, some men have made up their mind to harass any woman over whom they have authority over, or whom they already perceive to be vulnerable.
    Following the release of the documentary by BBC Africa Eye, a hot debate ensued on social media with many debunking the relationship between indecent dressing and sexual harassment.
    The post Sex-For-Job: How UNIBEN Lecturer Grabbed My Breasts In His Office — Female Ex-Student (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Getting stuck in Lagos traffic is one of the most dreadful predicaments you pray to never find yourself in.
    Abule-Ijesha roadThe sounds of car horns ‘honking’ like they are in a competition to know the loudest likewise the yelling of people.
    You can’t do anything but complain when you realize the reason for the gridlock is the bad roads and there is free flow of movements ahead.
    Everyone is struggling to go first, then when they hit each other, they start a commotion.
    Residents, motorists and commuters have continued to lament over the deplorable state of various roads in the center of excellence.
    Every Lagosian is aware that the state is usually in a mess during rainy seasons as many parts are usually submerged in flood, making movements difficult for motorists and residents.
    The heavy downpour in Nigeria’s commercial city leaves the road flooded, which is one of the problems affecting its population, subjecting Lagosians to harsh traffic gridlock, unpliable roads, leaky roofs, damaged communication masts, electric poles and other building infrastructures.
    In July, the Lagos State House of Assembly rated the performance of Public Works Corporations (LSPWC) low in maintaining roads and other infrastructure in the state, saying there are too many bad roads.
    The Lagos State Public Works Corporation, LSPWC, gave their words to residents, urging them to be patient while it doubles efforts to fix potholes and ensure roads remain motorable.
    READ: EXCLUSIVE: It Is Okay To Start A Relationship With An HIV Patient: Medical Expert
    The General Manager of the Corporation, Engineer Olufemi Daramola had made this known during a chat with news correspondents on the activities of the Corporation since mid-June 2019.
    The Lagos state government also took to Twitter to create awareness on the looming effect of global warming in Lagos which has led to climate change.
    The tweets reads:
    Global warming has led to climate change. Scientific literature has repeatedly suggested that climate change will result in more frequent extreme weather events (floods, droughts, heatwaves etc)

    This only means more rainstorm and the need to take safety precautions.
    Nigerians are not helping either, because, they do not yield to taking precautionary measures as this is evident in the way people build houses along water channels.
    In Lagos, houses are built everywhere with no proper drainage system and gutters overflowing to the already bad roads and then one begins to wonder the type of architect that handled such project.
    In April, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) warned that about 600 local government areas are under threat of flooding in 2019.
    Among the parts of the country susceptible to massive and devastating flooding this year are the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Niger, Lagos, Edo, Imo, Abia, Jigawa, Adamawa, Delta, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Oyo, Enugu, Kebbi, Nasarawa, and Bauchi states.
    It is also a known fact that most parts in the state were either established along water or located in floodplains near rivers and the Lagoon which are subject to flooding.
    The city of Lagos has a large population listed at over 14 million people.
    Many have also opined the cause of traffic congestion is usually the rapidly growing population who ply the roads daily.
    A motorist, Charity Okonkwo, said the rainy season only worsens the roads because it causes gridlock and one can spend hours in the traffic.
    Okonkwo said,
    “I leave my house early so I can beat the traffic but i still end up meeting the traffic I was running away from”
    “Being a mom of three, I need to drop my kids off at school before I can go to work early but everything just seems futile”
    Effects of bad roads on residents and motorists
    According to a resident, the gridlock stretches all the way to Fola-Agoro because of the damaged road at the front of Abule Ijesha.
    “The government need to do something about this road, otherwise something terrible might happen.
    “These potholes are getting wider and it wasn’t always like this.
    “The road makes it difficult for people going to work and school because of the heavy traffic.”
    A commercial motorist, Jubril Mohammed, said the bad road is taking a toll on his vehicle which he constantly has to repair.
    READ: EXCLUSIVE: 14 Million Nigerians Are Drug Addicts
    In his words,
    “This keke is my source of living and sometimes, the money I earn is what I use to repair it.
    “The road is not even helping at all.”
    Sometimes Okada riders or touts help in controlling the traffic.Sitting in a bus, known as Molue, Faith Ekpenyong keeps looking at the time as the traffic congestion keeps building up and everywhere is a ‘no go area‘ in the community, located on the Ifako area of Gbagada in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State because whenever it rains, the canal rises to the brim and the road is muddy.
    Ifako area of GbagadaResidents blame the government for not repairing the already damaged roads.
    Many commuters resort to trekking when the traffic is at standstill.
    This has also caused enough discomfort to those going home after a hectic day at work.
    Thousands of cars, buildings and lives are damaged or lost every year by bad roads.
    A web user took to Twitter to complain about the notorious Ikorodu road, claiming it has caused the death of youths.
    @kodadesuwa said she and her friend suffer from body aches because it is costly and stressful to ply on the road daily.

    https://twitter.com/iWonPopular/status/1043150544460767232?s=19
    Nigerians have also voiced out about the persistent problem between the month of May and September by sharing videos of flooded areas on social media so the government can do something about it.



     

     
    The post Lagos ⁠— A Mega City With Bad Roads That Lead To Hell appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    File photoDespite the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Law No 91, 1992 that prohibits self-medication in the country, many Nigerians have remained adamant on carrying on with the practice.
    For many, self-medication has become a normal part of their lives, that they see nothing wrong with popping pills that are not prescribed by a certified health worker charged to do so.
    For a lot of them, once they have a headache or fever that has persisted, the next line of action is to go to the drug store(popularly known as Chemist) in their area to buy drugs for an ailment that wasn’t diagnosed by a doctor, ignoring the fact that many ailments possess the same type of symptoms but definitely not the same mode of treatment.
    In a lot of instances, their nearest doctor is a neighbour or a family member who claims to have had similar symptoms and what drugs they took at the time.
    Spending as little as 30 minutes in any pharmaceutical store in most part of Nigeria, will serve as an instant eye-opener as to how many Nigerians self medicate and the frequency is totally disheartening.
    Why do people self medicate? Are there implications to self-medication, who is the culprit, what has been done to tackle this problem, is government to blame, all these critical questions prompted INFORMATION NIGERIA to look into this health menace.
    Information Nigeria visited a pharmaceutical store around Iju-Ishaga on a very pleasant Thursday evening. Many customers were seen standing at the entrance of the drug store, while some were at the counter of the pharmacy, waiting patiently to be attended to one after the other. The first question that comes to mind is, is the drug seller a certified pharmacy? Are the customers with a doctor’s prescription? Are the medicines prescription drugs, antibiotics or normal over the counter painkillers?
    Just as these questions were roaming in my head, a woman approaches the pharmacy with a baby strapped to her back. She looked distressed as she walked hastily to the door to get the attention of the drug seller. She narrates that her child has had high temperature since the previous day and it got very worse at night.
    The drug seller asks the woman how old her baby is. Nine months old, she responded. The seller further probed on what she has given the baby and if the baby has been vomiting and stooling. She quickly gives her answers to these questions.
    “My baby has been very weak and has refused to eat anything. Even when you breastfeed her, she seems very uninterested. My neighbour suggested that I treat her for malaria but I thought it was better to come here with my baby,’’ she said.
    The drug seller tells her to buy malaria drugs and a drug he described as antibiotics and prescribes the dosage for the woman, who pays and leaves, a little bit relieved.
    No sort of medical examination was conducted to ascertain what the problem with the young child truly was, no weight was taken, just a mere reliance on the belief that the drug store has been in the area for many years, and as such, remains credible and reliant.
    More customers approached the drug seller, whom I couldn’t ascertain if he’s a certified pharmacist or someone who learnt the trade from another uncertified drug store owner. In their numbers, they reeled out their symptoms and like a pro, the drug seller dished out prescriptions to their various complains. In the over 40 minutes that I stood there like I was waiting for someone, only a handful of the customers came with a doctor’s prescription.
    What is self medication
    According to sciencedirect.com, self-medication is self-consuming of medication without getting advice from a physician for either diagnosis or treatment.
    Many Nigerians, for one reason or the other, have become accustomed to medicating themselves.
    Whether it’s through traditional or pharmaceutical unregistered dealer, Nigerians have found a way to help themselves medically, without any recourse to the dire implications of such habit.
    Living in Lagos, it wouldn’t be strange to find unregistered ‘pharmacists’ advertising and selling one form of orthodox or herbal drug to passengers in one of the city’s commercial vehicles known as ‘danfo’.
    However, most shocking is the way these passengers pay attention to these unregistered drug seller and order their drugs one after the other like a harvest bazaar in my favourite catholic church.
    As if this isn’t shocking enough, you get off the bus and find someone sitting with a tray at the bus station, motor park or market place, selling medicines ranging from prescription painkillers and antibiotics to over the counter painkillers and nonprescription drugs.
    Tarry for a little as 10 minutes, the ‘pharmacists’ are already prescribing drugs to customers and it leaves you wondering if people no longer value their lives. Worried about this menace, Information Nigeria spoke with some Lagosians on why they self medicate and here’s what they said.
    Nigerians tell us why they prefer self-medication
    Izu Okomah, a spare parts dealer at Ladipo market around Oshodi, Lagos, said it is very easy for him to go a pharmacy store, explain his symptoms and the ‘pharmacist’ prescribes drugs to help him get rid of them rather than go the hospital.
    According to him, “for me, it is cheaper and faster. By the time you go to the hospital, they waste your time and drain your pocket. You will pay for card and consultation, then they would ask you to go and do test. All these things cost money and waste time. So chemist is the best,” he said.
    Hannah Ogundipe, a petty trader at Agege said, “Hospitals, doctors and nurses have too much wahala. I had taken my first son, only 6 to Ifako General hospital, I got a card for free and was asked to go to one session to wait for the nurse there to take my son’s temperature. The queue I met there was so discouraging but had no choice than to wait. Can you believe that I got to the hospital around past 8 am but didn’t leave until 3pm.”
    Etah Idris, an office assistant at one of the online news platforms also spoke with us about why he takes to self-medication.
    According to him, “I don’t need a doctor to tell me what is wrong with me because as soon as I fall sick, with the symptoms, I already know. I would just go to a pharmacy or a chemist and tell them what I need.”
    So, for many of them, the financial implication, the stress of going to a hospital and the amount of time wasted are a few of the reasons they prefer to self medicate.
    Read Also: Inside Life Of Area Boys In Lagos (Exclusive)
    However, one never talked about reason why people self medicate is tradition. Many people grew up running to pharmacy to help their parents or elders buy one form of medicine or another without any doctor’s prescription. They, in turn, grow into adults that self medicate and breed children who will take after them.
    There’s also this widespread notion that fever in infants is usually because of teething, therefore first-time moms and experienced moms, without recourse, administer paracetamol or other forms of drugs that ease fever to the child without seeing a doctor.
    However, health practitioners insist that any form of fever is usually due to an infection or inflammatory process, so, parents should stop administering paracetamol until the child sees a doctor.
    Medical Expert Reacts
    Abosede Adetoyi, a registered nurse at the Ifako General Hospital says, “Nigerians should discontinue self-medication because the dangers are enormous: For instance, Co-Trimaxazole is a commonly abused antibiotics, used to treat cough and sore throat.
    “However, there are patients who react negatively to this drug.
    “There is a patient that took Ceptrin and reacted to it, which ended up making her deaf.
    “She had to be flown to India for treatment. ”
    Read Also: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    “There are also people with conditions like ulcer, those people shouldn’t take certain drugs like Diclofenac because it stimulates ulcer pain.
    “In this case, a trained pharmacist will prescribe Arthrotec, instead.
    Things like body weight and body type are taken into consideration when a doctor or pharmacist prescribes drugs, but these things are thrown out of the window, in cases self-medication.
    “There is also the case of addiction. When one begins to binge recklessly on drugs, they become so used it that it becomes something they take with or without ill health.
    Some patients have abused sleeping pills so much that they can no longer sleep without it.
    “There are those who have abused antibiotics so much that their bodies have grown resistant to them.
    There is a thin line between self-medication, drug abuse and drug resistance.
    Taking drugs without a doctor’s advice ends up being more expensive, masking the symptoms, prolonging the illness, and ineffective in the long run.
    The post The Heartbreaking Romance Between Nigerians And Self-Medication appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Nigerians have very little or no knowledge about the early signs and symptoms of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
    According to Avert, Nigeria has the second-largest HIV epidemic in the world. Early realization allows for early treatment thereby preventing the virus from developing into full-blown Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which is more dangerous and life-threatening.
    It was also difficult to determine the exact numbers of people infected with the disease, but in 2018, Nigeria had over 1.9million people living with HIV and 53,000 lost their lives to the disease.

    Thus, there is a need to create awareness and make people understand the essential aspects of the disease and the importance of following the rigid treatment procedures in order to take responsibility themselves for managing their condition and living a longer life.

    HIV can be gotten through direct contact with certain types of body fluids such as blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid or pre-cum, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk. Also, having vaginal or anal sex without a condom or sharing needles with someone who is infected with the disease are other ways in which the virus can be contacted.
    Consultant Hematologist in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr Olowoselu Festus OlusolaAccording to Dr Olowoselu Festus Olusola, Consultant Hematologist at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, the early symptoms of HIV usually are not specific and is characterized by a viral prodrome, usually a rash, feeling of unwellness, malaise, fever, little swellings at different areas of the body called lymphadenopathy, there might also be sore-throat like illness, flu-like symptoms.

    Although, even though both the symptoms are the same for gender, no two infected individuals can have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all but the infection can cause some common changes over time. Note that even if you have these symptoms, that doesn’t automatically mean you are HIV-positive.
    Dr Olowoselu further states that, “the standard care now is ‘test and treat’ which implies that as soon as an individual test positive to the virus, he/she gets treated immediately.
    “People rarely check their status despite it being free and readily accessible at multiple points perhaps because of fear.”
    However, the best way to know if you have the disease is by going for a test because “HIV No De Show For Face”.
    Read: EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria Overtakes Togo, Sierra Leone In Africa’s Suicide Ranking
    Stages of HIV virus
    At the early stage of HIV infection, it’s important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but it’s expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
    There are four stages of the
    diseases which include
    Stage 1: Asymptomatic/latent phase then the individual progresses
    Stage 2: If left untreated or if there is treatment failure.
    Stage 3: Is characterized by herpes zoster, recurrent flu, seborrheic dermatitis, fungal infections, etc stage 3 the individual develops more infections, Koch’s DX, invasive candidiasis, pneumonia, etc.
    Stage 4 is called AIDS-defining illnesses which include HIV wasting syndrome, primary CNS lymphoma, disseminated tuberculosis.
    A good way to determine if your immune system is working is to do a CD4 count if you are infected with HIV. There is no objective test to check the functional ability of components of the immune system however if you don’t fall ill often then your immune system is working.
    Is It Okay To Start A Relationship With An HIV Patient?
    There are HIV discordant couples in which one partner is infected with the disease while the other is not, that is why the World Health Organization,WHO, are working towards U=U. Undetectable = Untransmissible.
    Thus, it is very possible to start a relationship and build a family with an infected patient.
    However, an infected person is usually most infectious during the period of acute illness, that is sero-conversion but the individual is less likely to transmit the infection during the chronic latent phase just after the sero-conversion when he has developed antibodies.
    The virus is transmissible at every stage.
    The goal is to suppress viral load to undetectable levels only then can the individual not infect others.
    Misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS
    Dr Olowoselu, who has valuable experience with HIV patient, said that in Haematology, consultant and residents consult in the HIV clinics and patients admitted into the wards are managed by the same consultants and residents.
    According to him, “there are a lot of misconception surrounding it, like individuals infected are promiscuous. And that positive individuals can’t have negative babies. Other misconceptions are that it is a death sentence, it is contagious by eating from the same plate, shaking hands.
    “Using antiretroviral (ARV) HIV drugs judiciously is a proven method to prevent transmitting the virus, preventing other Sexually Transmitted Infections.
    “People, however, try to opt for traditional practices. But from experience, those that discontinue ARVs do poorly. They return with advanced disease and resistance to ARV
    “The rate at which the spread of the disease can be reduced by advocating for safer sex, preventing sharing needles and risky behaviours
    “When diagnosed with the disease, there are support groups on both national and local levels, Non-governmental organizations, even HIV clinics have support groups.
    “HIV clinics are in all tertiary, state and general government hospitals across the nation.
    “Each of these clinics have Voluntary and Counselling unit which helps support the patients should in case they are struggling or know someone who is struggling with the disease
    “Sadly, there is no cure yet but with effective HAART individuals can live a normal life.
    “There have been attempts at cure being made using transplant but it hasn’t been approved yet.
    “HIV/AIDS patients tend to face stigmatization which is very wrong.”
    Always remember to stay safe by using a condom and going for a check-up every 3-6 months to know your status.
    The post EXCLUSIVE: It Is Okay To Start A Relationship With An HIV Patient: Medical Expert appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    NYSCThe National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Osun State on Wednesday confirmed the death of one of its corps members, Bomoi Sulaimon Yusuf, who was shot dead along Jere-Abuja road.
    The late corp member had completed the 2020 Batch ‘B’ Stream 1B orientation programme at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Ede, Osun State, on Tuesday and departed together with others to the northern part of the country.
    NYSC confirmed this tragic development to newsmen in a statement issued on Wednesday by its Director of Press and Public Relations, Adenike Adeyemi.
    Also Read: Insecurity: From Chibok Girls To Kankara Schoolboys
    The statement also revealed that 17 corps members were attacked by suspected armed robbers who stormed the expressway
    “Tragically, along Jere -Abuja Expressway, they were accosted by a gang of armed robbers whose sporadic gunshots unfortunately felled Corps Member Bomoi Suleiman Yusuf. It is imperative to state that the 16 other Corps Members were never abducted,” the statement partly read.
    The post Corps Member Killed As Gunmen Shoot Sporadically Along Jere-Abuja Highway appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Muhammed Rudman, President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (Nira) presenting the award to Samson Akejelu, Marketing manager Spectranet 4G LTE at the event held recently at Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos.Lagos; 30th November 2020: Spectranet 4G LTE has been adjudged the best 4G LTE Internet Service Provider of the year by Communications Week Organizers of the Beacon of ICT (BoICT) 2020awards ceremony.
    This award is coming three weeks after Spectranet was voted the best 4G LTE Internet Service Provider of the year and Consumer-Friendly Internet service provider of the year respectively by Nigeria Technology Awards.
    The event, which was held at the Eko hotel, under strict observation of the COVID 19 rules and regulations, had key players of the Information, Communications and Telecommunications industry in attendance.
    Chris Uwaje, Managing Director of Mobile Software Solution, was the Chairman of the event,
    Obadare Peter Adewale, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Digital Encode limited delivered the keynote address on Cybersecurity and its role in Nigeria Economy.
    Other dignitaries in attendance were ALTON Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, ATCON
    President Engr. Ike Nnamani, ITAN President, Engr Adetayo Adeniyi, President NiRA Engr.
    Muhammed Rudman, and SPON President,ChinenyeMba- Uzoukwu.
    Presenting the best 4G LTE award to Spectranet, Engr. Muhammed Rudman said,“a close
    observation of Spectranet 4G LTE brand in the industry shows clearly the growth of the brand in the deployment of its technology. According to him, “Spectranet 4G LTE is truly deserving ofsuch an award based on its spread and growth over the years”
    The convener of the award and founder of Nigeria Communications Week, Ken Nwogbo in his
    welcome remarks said it is a celebration of brands based on the theme of the event “Honours to deserving Achievers”
    He commended Spectranet 4G LTE “for consistency and doggedness in ensuring that consumers continue to enjoy quality 4G Internet Services”
    Commenting on the awards, Ajay Awasthi thanked the organizer for consistently recognizing the contribution of Spectranet 4G LTE in the country’s technology space. He said, “We appreciate the recognition today, we have made the promise to our subscribers that they will remain first on our list of priorities. We will continue to up the bar of Internet Service delivery as a pioneer andreputable leader in 4G LTE”
    He added that Spectranet 4G LTE in partnership with the subscribers will continue to strive to
    deliver the very best in internet services domain, through cutting edge technologies like 4GLTE, FTTx and WTTx.. We will always listen and respond quickly to the changing requirements of our customers
    The post Spectranet 4G LTE Shines at BoICT 2020 awards. Wins Best 4G LTE Internet Service Provider of the year appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    African American in PrisonNo fewer than 38 inmates on Sunday escaped from the police custody in Enugu state.
    According to The PUNCH, the inmates escaped from the police cells at the State Criminal Investigation Department, inside the State Police Headquarters on Sunday night.
    The newspaper added that inmates were remanded by Magistrate Courts at the police cells for various offences during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
    It was learnt that the offenders were kept in the police custody because of the congestion of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Enugu.
    The post 38 Inmates Escape From Enugu Police Cells appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    CBN Governor – Godwin EmefieleThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the revoking of the operating licences of 42 microfinance banks in the country.
    According to reports, this was made known on Friday in a statement titled ‘Notice of closure of 42 microfinance banks’, by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).
    The statement read, “This is to inform the depositors, creditors, shareholders and the general public that the operating licences of the under listed 42 microfinance banks have been revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria effective 12th November, 2020.
    Also Read: CBN Opposes Suit To Remove Arabic Inscriptions From Banknotes
    “The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, the official liquidator of the banks whose licences were recently revoked, is in the process of closing the listed banks and pay their insured depositors.
    “We, therefore, request that all depositors of these banks should visit the closed banks’ addresses and meet NDIC officials for the verification of their claims, commencing from Monday, 21st December 2020 till Thursday, 24th December 2020.”
    The post CBN Revokes 42 Microfinance Banks’ Operating Licenses appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Nigeria Police ForceThe Katsina State Police Command has revealed that 80 abducted pupils of Hizburrahim Islamiyya, an Islamic school in Mahuta, Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State have been released.
    The Police Public Relations Officer in Katsina State, Gambo Isah revealed in a statement issued on Sunday.
    He revealed that a team of combined security operatives carried out the rescue mission on Saturday.
    He stated that the Islamiyya students were on their way back from a Maulud occasion at Unguwan-Alkasim, Dandume to Mahuta, when they were ambushed by bandits.
    He said, “On 19/12/2020 about 2200hrs, a distress call was received by DPO Dandume that some Islamiyya students of Hizburrahim Islamiyya, Mahuta village, Dandume, Katsina state, numbering about 80, while on their way back from Maulud occasion celebrated at Unguwan-Alkasim, Dandume to Mahuta, were accosted by bandits.
    Also Read: How We Secured Release Of Katsina Schoolboys From ‘Bandits’ – Masari
    ”The bandits had already kidnapped four persons and rustled 12 cows from Danbaure village, Funtua, and were trying to escape with them into the forest.
    “On receipt of the report, the DPO led Operations Puff Adder, Sharan Daji and Vigilante group to the area and engaged the bandits in a fierce gun duel.”
    The statement added that the team succeeded in dislodging the bandits and rescued all the kidnapped victims as well as recovered all the 12 rustled cows.
    Isah explained that search parties are still combing the area to arrest the injured bandits or recover dead bodies while investigations are ongoing.
     
    The post Police Rescue 84 Schoolchildren, Dislodge Bandits In Katsina appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    gunmenThe Acting Eje Of Ankpa, Ankpa LGA, Kogi State, Alhaji Shaibu Usman has reportedly been kidnapped.
    He was reportedly abducted early on Friday around 5.30 am while entering the mosque.
    The Commissioner of Police (CP), Ayuba Ede, confirmed this development to newsmen.
    He expressed that the police have cordoned all entry and exit points into the state, with the view to rescuing the traditional ruler.
    According to him, the kidnappers laid ambush at the mosque and zoomed off with the traditional ruler to yet to be ascertained destination.
    Also Read: JUST IN: Suspected Killers Of Ifon Monarch Arrested
    The Kogi State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, also revealed that effort is on to secure the release of the traditional ruler.
    “The state government is working with security agencies to ensure his release. The Kogi State government has also put machinery in motion to ensure even more stringent security network during this yuletide.
    “The people of Ankpa should remain calm as government is on top of the situation. We remain committed to security of lives and property,” he stated.
    The post Gunmen Kidnap Kogi Monarch appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Olisa MetuhIn Nigeria, theatrics are often exhibited by public officials in courtrooms, police custody, as well as National Assembly panel when they are being tried for flagrant fraud cases. Time and time again, public officials always have different tricks up their sleeves. It appears they have all masterminded the art of feigning ailments and the infamous ‘fainting’ strategy is mostly used during court hearings, perhaps to either stall the trial or escape the long arm of justice. 
    The strategy was triumphant when former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun was tried for corruption in June 2005. Balogun was charged to court and arraigned for embezzling and laundering over $100 million in his three years as Inspector General of Police from the Police treasury. His trial was quite a dramatic one as he collapsed on his seat at the Abuja High Court.
    Years down the line, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, followed suit in October 2016 as he passed out while he was in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. At the time, his spokesperson, Jude Ndukwe had alleged that Fani-Kayode was undergoing recovery therapy following his prolonged detention and was physically attacked by an EFCC officer when he fainted and was revived by the medical team at the anti-graft facility. He was tried on the grounds of corruption. He was accused of receiving illicit funds from former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.

    Olisah Metuh’s trial was hilarious to the core. The former spokesperson of Nigeria’s lead opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arraigned in 2016 for money laundering by EFCC. The anti-graft commission accused him of receiving N400 million from the same largesse like Fani-Kayode. During his trial, Metuh alleged that he was ill and he sought the court’s permission to travel out of the country for treatment. His requests were denied. He then was unable to make an appearance in court. Reports had it that he had been admitted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra state.
    The judge remained undeterred and asked that he be present in court on the next adjourned date. Two weeks later, Metuh showed up to court in an ambulance. In March 2018, he ‘fainted’ as he approached the dock.
    Just like her male counterparts, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumobogia, also slumped on December 14, 2018, minutes to the commencement of her trial. Ofili-Ajumogobia had been arraigned by the EFCC before an Ikeja High Court for perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment, and forgery.
    Former Nigerian senator, Dino Melaye, also used the fainting tactic in January 2019 during his arrest. Police had laid siege to the home of Melaye, who represented Kogi West senatorial district at the time. The former senator made things difficult as he refused to be apprehended after he was accused of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide. After eight days without water and electricity in his Abuja residence, he turned himself in. He, however, slumped while arriving the station. He was reluctant to leave his hospital bed for the court in Lokoja, after he claimed he was ill.
    On May 2, 2018, he had appeared in court on a stretcher after he was charged with attempting to escape arrest. He had reportedly hid in a tree in order to escape from the police. He also jumped out of the moving vehicle with which the police were conveying him to a Lokoja court, eventually landing at the Zankili Medical Center, Mabuchi, Abuja.
    July 2020 came and professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, the interim managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) applied the same stale tactic as he collapsed while being probed by the House of Representatives. What followed next was hilarious as people rushed to his side. Someone was seen massaged his shoulders while another tried to open his mouth to revive him.
    Pondei was being interrogated over his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of N82.5 billion by the Commission.
    Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Taskforce Team, also fainted in the dock while being arraigned by the EFCC on charges of laundering over N2 billion from the pension scheme. He suddenly passed out at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday morning, December 10, 2020.
    Before the incident, he had appeared in court in a wheelchair. After he was granted bail, his health was suddenly restored and he travelled from Sokoto to Niger Republic where he took cover for months before he was rearrested and extradited to Nigeria to face trial.
    The post Alleged Money Laundering: Top Government Officials Who Fainted In Court appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Lagos, Nigeria. 15th of December, 2020. – Africa’s most preferred smartphone brand, TECNO has this year garnered series of recognition for its innovative smartphones, from Techuncode and Africa Tech Radio.
    Techuncode is an independent online media that solves the negative perception of Africans and Technology. At their recently concluded Techuncode awards, TECNO clinched the award for the Most Innovative Phone Brand for its POVA smartphone.

    Africa Tech Radio is an online radio station focused solely on technology topics from start-ups, to tech reviews and tech disruption. At their maiden awards event, TECNO was recognised twice. The brand took home the award for the Most Innovative Smartphone 2020- TECNO POVA, as well as the award for the Most Preferred Smartphone Brand 2020.

    POVA embodies TECNO’s forward thinking and distinct approach in delivering what actually matters to consumers. For reminder, TECNO POVA has officially been launched in November 2020. Here are some of the features that set the devise apart and endear consumers.
    Battery: 6000mAh battery provides users with standby time of 30 days and the ability to play music for 8 days straight. Flash Charger: 18W dual IC, increases 20% charging efficiency. Camera: 13 megapixel-focal length cameras on the rear and an 8-megapixel AI selfie front camera. Operating system: HiOS, the customized version of Android™ 10 mobile permits a wide range of user customization. The operating system also features an all-new design to bring consumers an intelligent and delightful system experience. Display: 6.8-inch dot in display screen offers immersive displays that avid gamers and streaming enthusiasts will appreciate. It gives you a screen with a 90.4% perfect screen ratio allowing for a much viewing experience that provides an extremely sharp display. Color: Magic Blue, Dazzle Black and Speed Purple TECNO is no stranger to awards. Over the years, the brand’s innovative efforts have been recognised and applauded in diverse ways. Just few months ago in September, TECNO’s CAMON 16 Premier won the “Camera Technology Innovation Smartphone Gold Award” for its outstanding camera functions at IFAGermany– the world’s largest and most influential home appliance and consumer electronics event.

    About TECNO Nigeria
    TECNO is the premium mobile phone brand of TRANSSION Holdings with a comprehensive mobile device portfolio that cuts across feature phones, smartphones and tablets. As a brand, TECNO is dedicated to transforming state-of-the-art technologies into localized products under the guideline of “Think Globally, Act Locally”. Established in 2006, TECNO has presence in more than 50 countries across the globe. It is now one of the top three mobile phone brands in Africa and a major player worldwide. TECNO is also the Official Tablet and Handset Partner of Manchester City Football Club. For more information, please visit: www.tecno-mobile.com
    The post THE NEWBORN TECNO POVA WINS BIG AT AFRICA TECH RADIO AND TECHUNCODE AWARDS appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Christmas is in the air. As we begin to deck the halls with boughs of holly, lights and gorgeous
    trees, it’s great to remember that Christmas is a time to create captivating memories. Already, many of us are in pursuit of the perfect presents to share with our family and friends.
    And so, in the spirit of Christmas, TECNO wishes to show her profound gratitude and
    appreciation by giving back to customers in an extraordinary way.
    As a brand with a profound love for Nigerians, TECNO wishes to bring immense happiness to 20 lucky families by rewarding them with 1 million Naira each.
    Think about the amazing things you can do with such a whopping gift this festive season. It just might pave the way to greatness for many families, come 2021.
    Ready to be among 20 lucky customers to win 1million Naira this Christmas period? Hurry now and buy for yourself or your loved ones, any of the POUVOIR, CAMON or the SPARK series and stand a chance to win a whopping sum of 1 Million Naira.
    To participate Offline
    Walk into any TECNO authorized dealers across the country. Buy any of TECNO SPARK, CAMON or POUVOIR series You will get a raffle ticket at the point of purchase, which qualifies you for a chance to win the grand prize. Ensure you fill the raffle ticket correctly with valid information including your name, location of the store, sales ambassador who sold the phone to you, and date. Save your raffle ticket and watch out for the weekly live draw on TV and our social media pages. You stand a chance to be announced as the winner in the live raffle draw. The more devices you buy, the better your chances of winning. Winners of the TECNO Blue Santa Xmas will be decided through the raffle draw which will be
    aired live on Facebook and TV on the 15th and 22nd of Dec. 2020 and Facebook on 7th of Jan. 2021. The promotion runs from 1st-31st December 2020.
    Online: Nominate your friends to receive a special Xmas gift from TECNO
    Beyond the offline scene, TECNO is also rewarding fans online with a chance to a special Xmas gift box with a TECNO phone in it. Customers and fans should visit any of TECNO’s social media pages, nominate their friends for a special Xmas gift box and see it transformed to reality.
    How to Nominate your Friend to receive a special gift box?
    Post the image of the phone you will like TECNO to gift your friend and tag the person on your page State, why you want him or her to receive a device from TECNO using the hashtag
    #TECNOBlueXmas On TECNO daily countdown to Christmas post, get your friends to vote for you by commenting with your name, handle and #TECNOBlueXmas. The most emotional and authenticated wishes with the highest number of genuine votes will emerge as winner and will be announced every 24 hours on every countdown post All entries must be made using #TECNOBlueXmas, and you must be following TECNO on
    Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to win. Prizes to be won:
    Grand Prize: – 20 Million Naira for 20 customers (N1m each) A Special Xmas Gift box, with a TECNO Phone and other exciting gift items for 7 fans The promotion runs from 1st-31st December. Terms and Conditions applied.
    For more information, visit TECNOSpot Online Forum.
    The post N20M and Special Gift Packages up for Grabs in TECNO Blue Santa Xmas appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Pastor Timi AdigunPastor Timi Adigun of MINE Teenage Ministry has finally spoken out after being accused of sexual assault and misconduct.
    The leader of the Ark Church released a statement in which he responded to the allegations levied against him.
    Ironically, Adigun is in charge of the teenage ministry, an offshoot of his church, encourages sexual purity and even has a yearly “virginity day”.
    However, the pastor was accused of indulging in inappropriate sexual acts with his female teenage members for years.
    Journalist, Akan Imoh also called out the pastor, noting that he and others investigated the accusations and everyone they spoke to “confirmed” the story.
    The clergyman, in his statement, admitted to his wrong-doings and he tendered an unreserved apology to people, who are hurt by his actions.
    Although, the pastor stated that “there was no sexual intercourse with any” of the girls and “none was a minor.”
    The clergyman revealed that his wife was not aware of his actions.
    Read his full apology and also the accusations made by Mine Teenage Ministry on Twitter below:

    The post Pastor Timi Adigun Publicly Apologizes After Being Accused Of Sexually Molesting Teenagers In His Church appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Aborted fetus“The job of an investigative journalist is about life and death. Any miscalculation will lead to fatal consequences” – Anas Aremeyaw Anas
    For five straight days in September, Gbenga Odunsi, Editor at Information Nigeria, disguised as a hapless boyfriend to unearth the illegal practices of abortions in Lagos hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. Presented in this comprehensive undercover exposé, his findings reveal series of abortion practices. Odunsi discovered that unskilled providers of all sorts, called “quacks” are widely responsible for the high numbers of botched abortions. Some operate out of their homes or sketchy clinics; two pharmacists he encountered admitted to performing abortions at the back rooms of their shops.
    “Abortion isn’t a lesser evil, it’s a crime. Taking one life to save another, that’s what the Mafia does. It’s a crime. It’s an absolute evil.” – Pope Francis
    This reporter makes a journey to hospitals, pharmacies, and ‘shops’ in Lagos — on undercover operation— to hoist the lid off fraudulently operating ‘doctors,’ whose activities are on the rise across the state.
    A medical officer at a private clinic in Lagos, Mr Ayo Oyadiran, had in 2018, stated that hospitals in Lagos no longer provide abortion services unless it is done to save the life of a pregnant woman. Mr Omidiran confidently made this statement while having a friendly and unofficial discussion with his journalist-friend.
    “Sometimes, a woman may not be healthy enough to carry a pregnancy due to some terminal ailments. In such cases, a non-induced abortion is performed on medical grounds.
    “A married woman or a lady in a relationship will be advised to consult her partner, but then, she can decide not to notify or consult him.”
    “What I am stressing is, you can no longer find hospitals performing dilation and curettage without medical reasons. That era is far gone. Clinics that engaged in it in the past have been shut down the state government.
    “Some of these hospitals, Rotunda, a well-known abortion hospital at Orile no longer exist. Even the doctor who performs abortion at the clinic is down with stroke.
    “Marie Stopes, a foreign hospital with branches in Abuja and Lagos no longer operates. Their branch in Surelere has been shut down.
    “My brother, gone are those days, clinics and hospitals don’t engage in abortion again because it is illegal, he said, with confidence.
    The need to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of Mr Oyadiran’s claim informed the decision to go undercover in 2019, to expose the criminals who are masquerading as doctors, causing the deaths of young women in frantic need for abortion.
    Abortion happens all the time in Lagos, but behind a mask of silence, and it happens across the health care field. From posh hospitals to local and community clinics and pharmacies in Lagos, the term ‘abortion’ brought dropped voices, tense glances and sometimes, perspiring brows.
    “We don’t normally do this,” was a ubiquitous catchphrase in all the hospitals I visited.
    Abortion legislation in Nigeria
    Abortion in Nigeria is illegal and carries a heavy jail sentence–up to 14 years imprisonment–unless it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman. Abortion is governed by the Criminal Code in the southern states, and the Penal Code in the northern states.
    Nigeria’s abortion laws make it one of the most restrictive countries regarding abortion. The Criminal Code is currently enforced in southern states. The abortion laws of the Criminal Code are expressed within sections 228, 229, and 230. Section 228 states that any person providing a miscarriage to a woman is guilty of a felony and up to 14 years of imprisonment. Section 229 states that any woman obtaining a miscarriage is guilty of a felony and up to imprisonment for 7 years. Section 230 states that anyone supplying anything intended for a woman’s miscarriage is also guilty of a felony and up to 3 years of imprisonment

    The Penal Code operates in northern states, with abortion laws contained in sections 232, 233, and 234. The sections of the Penal Code parallel the Criminal Code, besides the exception for abortion with the purpose of saving the life of the mother. The Penal Code’s punishments include imprisonment, fine, or both. The offenses of these codes are punishable regardless of whether the miscarriage was successful. No provisions have been made to the Criminal Code making exceptions for the preservations of the mother’s life.
    Section 297 provides that “a person is not criminally responsible for performing in good faith and with reasonable care and skill a surgical operation…upon an unborn child for the preservation of the mother’s life if the performance of the operation is reasonable, having regard to the patient’s state at the time and all the circumstances of the case”.
    Lagos State of Abortion
    It was 9.30 a.m. the cloud was pregnant on this day, thus creating a gloomy picture of the sky; a picture which largely mirrored my seemingly impossible mission — to uncover an abortionist in Ikeja Area of Lagos. A quintessentially clean, calm and quiet clinic environment sits at along Airport road in Ikeja. The clinic is sited 400 meters away from the Nigerian Navy barracks along the same axis.
    With its pale leather sofas and brightly-lit reception, the sleek office could be mistaken for an accountancy firm, but, despite its superb appearance, this hospital is an abortion centre.
    I quietly approach one of the medical officers on duty, whom I later knew as Demola. “Please sir, I need your help,” I start, stooping by the man, a dark, well-built frame who spoke in measured tones.
    “I have a serious problem. My girlfriend is four months pregnant. I have to come make inquiries if there is a way you could help me. We don’t want the baby, sir.” Demola, who combines laboratory with medical services ran a quick, furtive glance over me and must have concluded that I truly had a problem.
    “What is your name?” he asks softly, his voice rich in sympathy.
    “Mide,” I reply,  “Olamide”.
    “See, nobody will help you with this request,” he begins slowly, in hush tones.”
    “You would be putting her life at risk by attempting to remove a four-month-old pregnancy.
    “Why did you wait till four months before taking this step?
    “Even if we are to do anything, where is the girl in question?”
    AbortionI told Demola that a prophet had warned us not to abort the pregnancy, adding that  I only came to make inquiry and if we are able to agree on the terms, I would bring her in the evening, after the close of work.
    But realizing how much he would make from the procedure, Demola asks me to bring my girlfriend by 6pm, with a sum of — wait for it — paltry N8,000. According to Demola, no test would be conducted; no pre-abortion services will be carried out. He says the entire operation will last between 10- 15 minutes, after which my girlfriend will be given Ampiclox capsules. “Don’t worry, she will be fine after 24 hours, Demola says.
    At this hospital, pregnant ladies are not offered in-depth counselling on their decision to request a termination — despite the questionable grounds. The life of a woman is only worth N8,000, despite telling him a prophet had warned us against abortion.
    I stood outside the hospital for more than two hours, gisting with one of the security men on duty, and keeping my eyes wide open to monitor the inflow of patients to the hospital. In my estimation, I counted eight young ladies troop in at intervals to the clinic. One would assume all the ladies are sick and came for treatment, right?
    I asked one of the security man, whom by now, I had gossiped and shared experiences that cut across board with. I told him of my predicament: My girlfriend is pregnant and I am not ready for the baby…and all that. I made him understand I wasn’t sure if such operation can be carried out in the clinic, which is why I didn’t approach the doctors. As I was saying this, a tall, skinny man, who had been carrying himself with the swag of Chief security offer, interrupts. “Where is ya girlfriend?, he speaks in Igbo-English dialect.
    “When you bring her, ask for Doctor Henry,  he will help you.”
    My next stop was a clinic, few meters away from Mr Biggs at Obanlearo in Ketu Area of Lagos.  I stared at the signpost, it reads: ‘Deji Clinic’. I feigned as a  boyfriend seriously in need of a doctor to terminate the two-month-old pregnancy of my girlfriend. I approach a tall, dark young medical officer donning a red shirt and black trouser.  I told him the same story: I have a major challenge; my girlfriend is pregnant, and I wanted to see if a D and C can be performed on her.
    In hush tone, “Why do you want to terminate it”, he asks.
    After giving him reasons which are not enough to conduct an abortion, the doctor opens up, “we don’t do such here.” He, however, directs the journalist — although he thinks he is just a random member of the public — to “a professional nurse who knows her onion and has performed the procedure on several ladies.”
    He handed me a piece of paper on which he scribbled: 0805845671*. I thanked him and left.
    Acting on specific information, I made a short visit to another government-approved hospital, Ayo Clinic, at 8 Alapere Street in Ketu. I met a short, dark lady at the reception. With a sombre look, I describe my plight to her. The receptionist, with a ‘who-is-this-evil-man- look’ bluntly tells me “no, we don’t do it here.”
    I tried to ask if she could direct me to where I can get a D and C done for my girlfriend. The nurse — one quick glance at her and you would conclude she is a ‘Pastor — casts another desperate look at me. “Mr man, I say I don’t know,” she says, in a brusque, brisk tone.
    As I exited the clinic and descended the stairs of the building. I knew that my second strategy for exposing this abortion clinic had just been scuppered…or so I thought.
    I went back inside the hospital to request for the doctor’s number. I gave him a call the following day, and the following conversation ensued:
    “My name is Tunde, a friend of mine gave me your number. My girlfriend is two months pregnant; we are not ready for the baby. My friend told me you can help us solve the problem, I said.
    The doctor, who never bothered to confirm which of his clients referred me, was quick to affirm that he can abort the pregnancy. “When last did she see her period? he asks. The doctor asks me to come with N22,000 to terminate a 2-month pregnancy. I told him I will bring my girlfriend in the evening. I never went back there.
    The following day, I set out to meet one Mr. Seye, a pharmacist who specializes in illegal abortions. His shop is situated at Ogba Bustop, adjacent Tantalizers eatery, 200 meters from West African Examination Council (WAEC) office. His shop sits in-between a line of cosmetic shops. I glanced at the signpost, it read: ‘Five Dees Pharmacy’.
    Abortion instrumentsThis time around, I went with a female friend who is not pregnant. Earlier, before the commencement of this investigation, a female friend, whom I had planned to use to disguise as my girlfriend, pulled out of the game for fear of being recognized and attacked by the ‘bad men’ after the story gets published. A police officer, whom I hinted of this investigation, had warned us to be ready for the consequences of exposing the abortionists. He, however, advised that “I apply wisdom and discretion in order to stay alive to tell more stories”. Luckily, two days into the investigation, alone, I was able to convince another lady to assist in pushing the investigation further.
    Posing as a boyfriend, I ask Mr Seye to give me a drug that can be used to abort a pregnancy. With a curious look, Seye asks why I wanted my girlfriend to use a drug rather than have a ‘safe D and C’.
    “I don’t know anywhere I can get that done; I am new in Lagos,” I reply.
    Seye was quick to recommend himself as a qualified pharmacist, priding and reeling out the number of successful D and C’s he had carried out in the last few years.
    He tells me he must carry out a test before any operation can be done.
    “Follow me,” he says, after insisting that I would follow my girlfriend to where the pregnancy test will be carried out.
    Seye, an averagely tall man, perhaps in his 40s, led the way to a small room inside his pharmacy. It turns out, the pharmacists, carries out the operation in a shack-size room right inside his pharmacy.
    He did not take any record of my girlfriend, neither did he ask for any symptoms of pregnancy. It appears that, his motive was the money that he would receive from the operation. It took him less than ten minutes to conclude that my girlfriend is pregnant. This conclusion, he came to, after pressing her lower belly a few times. Seye says a foetus was present and an abortion must be done. We convinced him that we will be back for the operation the following day.
     Unintended Pregnancies On the rise
    Nigeria is not the only country in Africa where risky abortion is on the rise. About 93% of women of reproductive age in Africa live in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Medical experts say the deaths associated with unsafe abortion will continue to rise until either unintended pregnancies are significantly reduced or putting systems in place to ensure safe abortion.
    While the number of unplanned pregnancies averted due to the use of up-to-the-minute methods of contraception continues to rise with the latest estimate nearing 1.5 million, the number of unintended pregnancies at risk of unsafe abortion in the country continues to rise as shown below.
    The Guttmacher Institute connected unsafe abortion in Nigeria to the country’s high maternal mortality figures. While noting that abortions are common, and most are unsafe because they are done clandestinely, by unskilled providers or both, the institute noted that the practice of unsafe abortion is tightly connected to the death of many pregnant women in the country.

    Black Market Abortion
    The failure of hospitals to provide abortion services to patients, irrespective of their reasons, has created a booming business for anyone who can claim he or she can provide such.
    Some other people in masquerade, parade illegally operating ‘clinics’ under the guise of having the healing hand. Such is the story of the sexy and quack abortionist, Mariam.
    Mariam, a fashion designer, operates a tailoring shop in Isolo Area of Lagos State. It turns out, the tailoring shop is just a cover up for booming abortion business. Her shop is located at Ajao Estate, a stone throw from MTN connect office. The shop is situated in a green building housing a few line shops.
    I had earlier told a friend, Mosunmola, that I needed a pharmacist who could help me terminate my girlfriend’s two- month unwanted pregnancy. She informs me of a tailor who combines her job with aborting pregnancies.
    As usual, my ‘fake’ girlfriend and I paid a visit to Mariam’s shop. Entering the shop, you would have no reasons to doubt that any other activity goes on around there aside cutting and sowing of materials. There are three tailoring machines in the shop, littered with different catalogues of different cloth designs; a chest freezer, a wooden table for ironing, and a basket full of clothes.  Don’t be deceived; this tailoring shop is an abortion center.
    I told Mariam one of her clients referred me to her. After the entire introduction, Mariam took us to the inner room which had a bed for examination and abortion. The ‘tailor-doctor’ charges N1000 as consultation fee.
    Over the next quarter-hour, she would give me a blow-by-blow explanation of the two methods of abortion. According to her, my girlfriend is meant to choose one.
    “An abortion for a teen looks like a 1-2 inch blood clot on a menstrual pad in one day. It is not a human life.
    “Medication abortion can safely be used up to the first 10 weeks of pregnancy”
    “You can take pills – mifepristone and misoprostol – 24 to 48 hours apart.
    “With these drugs, you will begin to miscarry after few minutes, even before you get home.
    “There is also D and C. In this one, a tube is inserted through the vagina and a machine is used to gently evacuate the fetus and other tissues.
    “So it depends on your body system. You can choose anyone.”
    We decided to go for D and C. She tells us her operation fee is twenty thousand naira. For some minutes, we haggled over the price before she finally settled for ten thousand naira.
    “I’m sorry, uncle, N5,000, cannot do it,” says the fair-complexioned lady in a courteous, in fact, apologetic, tone.
    We told her we would go and hustle for the money and come back the following day.
    Abortion at Home 
    After exiting Mariam’s shop, I called 0805845671*. (Remember a doctor at Deji Clinic had earlier referred me to a ‘professional nurse’. She gave me her price, fifteen thousand naira, and I requested for her address. I headed to her house at 33 Ijero street, Agiliti, Mile 12, Lagos.
    “Who are you,” asks a robustly-built man. With his swag, one can easily deduce he is the security man employed to secure the large compound housing three block of flats.
    “Looks like you’re a stranger here?” he says, in a nondescript tone that is neither interrogative nor sentential. I called the nurse again, then she came outside to pick me. I later got to know her name as Chinwe.
    Nurse Chinwe, a calm, soft-spoken, simple lady with a suspiciously innocent mien, swings her voluptuous, scantily-covered hips as she leads me to her apartment.
    It was a very short visit. I had deliberately made it short in other not to get ‘caught in the act’
    I told her my girlfriend had gone to work and I only came to see her and have some discussions before bringing my girlfriend later in the evening.
    “I believe you can do a clean job without complications, since it was a doctor that directed me to you.  I don’t want any issue at all. I prefer a clean job”, I told Chinwe.
    Switching between English and Pidgin, the three-minute tutorial that followed confirmed nurse Chinwe conducts abortion procedure in her two-bedroom apartment.
    “You said your girlfriend is two months pregnant abi? Congratulations, she teased.
    “But the safest period to abort a pregnancy is in the first trimester, and from what you have said, your girlfriend falls in this category.
    “Even the Doctor wey direct you come here know say my work dey clean.
    “No be today I start this thing, ehn, no worry,” she added.
    I, however, insisted I wanted to take a glance at the room where the procedure will be done, as this would inform my decision on whether or not to bring my girlfriend. She hesitated for some time, but, seeing that I was bent on my stance, and because she doesn’t want to lose ten thousand naira, Chinwe reluctantly led me into one of the rooms.
    The room contains two beds, two mattresses and pillows. In spite of scrubs, visible signs of bloodstains decorate the spreads laid on the beds. Beside one of the beds is a box filled with gloves. Then there is cotton with which she wipes off blood and other stains after the operation.
    When clients become sick or feel like vomiting, there is a medical renal dish at their service. Her abortion tools are placed on a wooden table at the edge of the room. A 32inches Samsung LCD sits comfortably on the white painted wall. A GOTV decoder sits on a black shelf below the television.
    A table-size refrigerator poses at the other end of the room, while an industrial OX fan, just beside the TV, blows at an average speed. Apparently, clients who decide to take some rest can easily feel at home inside the abortion room.
    After seeing all these, I told the abortion-nurse I would be back in the evening with my pregnant girlfriend.
    Chinwe performs the operation alone without any assistance from any nurse or medical personnel.
    As I was leaving Chinwe’s apartment, a lady saunters in.
    “You see that lady that just came in, she is also here for what you came for”, she says, with a full smile.
    Availability Of Abortion Drugs
    The price of black-market abortions differs widely; the cheapest procedures tend to be the most dangerous. In spite of legal restriction, abortion rate is still high in Nigeria. For as low as N1,000, a woman could procure abortion drugs in the country. While abortion practices are illegal in hospitals, Information Nigeria confirmed that abortion drugs can be easily gotten over-the-counter in chemist shops in several parts of the country.
    Where mifepristone is not available, misoprostol alone is being used by abortion seekers to remove unplanned pregnancies. Misoprostol is available under the brand names Cytotec, Miso-fem and Vanaprazol – 200, while Mifepristone is available as a combipack under the brand name Mifepack.
    http://cdn08.allafrica.com/download/pic/main/main/csiid/00480439:40139a520fdadbb4aba64ce8e772ed8d:arc614x376:w614:us1.jpg
    Many pharmacies sell misoprostol, a drug for post-partum haemorrhage that can also be used to induce abortion. While the sale of misoprostol requires a doctor’s prescription, many pharmacists willingly sell it over the counter.
    “I was denied abortion at a hospital sometimes last year, but then, I went to a chemist very close to that same hospital and the man I met in the shop gave me misoprostol without asking questions,” a 27-year-old lady who does not want her name in print told this Journalist in Lagos.
    According to her, she was panicked to ask for advice on abortion when she was denied the service at the private hospital but the experience at the pharmacy was a sharp contrast. She was told on what to use, how to use it and what to do afterwards.
    This investigation reveals that dilation and curettage can be done by quacks for N10,000 while hospitals charge about N22,000 for same procedure.
    Quote: “The job of an investigative journalist is about life and death. Any miscalculation will lead to fatal consequences” – Anas Aremeyaw Anas
    Editor’s Note: Phone number of nurse Chinwe was intentionally made uncompleted to avoid abortion seekers from taking advantage of it. Further, with the aid of a secret camera, this journalist secretly filmed and recorded doctors and quacks he had encounters with. Hence, video and audio records of doctors agreeing to perform abortion are available on request.
    The post Undercover Investigation: Inside The Deadly World Of Abortion Doctors In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    File photoIn Nigeria today, the word ‘connection’ seems to be the family term for nepotism, favouritism, godfatherism and a less suspicious term for corruption.
    Every aspect of Nigerian life is affected by this term.
    Who do you know? Who is your father? Which family do you come from? What sort of influence does your family wield politically? Who are in your circle? and the list is endless. The answer to these questions, no matter how you tend to look at it, determines how far one goes or how much one achieves in this country.
    Information Nigeria had a chat with Lanre Ogundipe(not real name), a commercial bus driver who plies between Agege and Ojuelegba, Lagos state. In the state, it is against its traffic law to drive on a one-way road but Lanre says the rule doesn’t apply him.
    “My brother na oga for Lastma (Lagos State Traffic Management Agency), you see those LASTMA boys for road, them not fit hold my motor, even if I beat traffic light or drive one a one-way road,” he said boastfully.
    And if he’s held by an official, he says all it takes is just one phone call and “them go let me go sharp sharp”, with a hint of pride on his face.
    Connection may not have completely taken the place of merit, but more often than not, merit has had to take the back seat while connection thrives.
    There have been instances where people who truly deserve admission slots in various Nigerian tertiary institutions were replaced with those who wielded the most connection.
    In the end, those with high scores who meet the institution’s cut-off marks are shoved aside for the children and relatives of the Vice-Chancellors, Deans of Faculty, Registrars, Seniors lecturers, Rectors, Bursars and politicians in the state.
    Read: (EXCLUSIVE) Traffic Robberies On The Rise In Mega-City Of Lagos
    Quincy Balogun, a graduate of one of the Nigerian Universities, also narrated how he was unable to secure admission in his first two trials, after scoring 233 and 256 respectively and also acing the post UME(now UTME) in 2010 and 2011 respectively because he didn’t know anyone who would help him influence his admission.
    He said, “ but a friend of mine who scored just 201 got admitted into the school, because his mother is a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts.”
    “ I was only able to get admission in 2013 because my dad had to pull all his strings regardless of the fact that my Jamb and postUTME scores were high”, he said.
    There are also instances where job positions are kept for children and relatives of those in the position of recruitment, while those who have no connection but meritoriously deserve the position are left to continue the struggle of job hunting.
    Connection can be said to thrive more in government institutions. From recruitments to something as basic as getting a file signed, some government officials will drag an ordinary citizen without any connection through hell but would jump into action as soon as one with the right connection shows up at the door.
    There have also been instances where people have been told to get a referral letter from a particular senator of their constituency in order to be eligible to apply for a job position.
    Even government hospitals are not left out of the connection craze. Patients with connection are quickly attended to but those without any connection are made to wait almost endlessly to see a doctor.
    Connection has ruined many things in Nigeria, but sadly there doesn’t seem to be hope in sight.
    Somebody once said on social media, when corruption favours a person, they call it connection.
    Information Nigeria had a chat with some Nigerians about how having connection has helped them get something done and the stories will enlighten you.
    We also spoke with those who have lost something major because they didn’t have the proper connection to push it through.
    Is connection harmless?
    Connection just like that social media user said, is simply a beautiful tool to wield when it favours one, and people never hardly stop for a minute to wonder what the consequence of their actions could cause.
    Many Nigerians must have heard narratives of people who committed heinous crimes and should be languishing in jail but because they have the proper connection, they have had their names substituted with that of other people. The innocent person languishes in jail while they walk away scot-free, enjoying freedom at another person’s detriment.
    What of those who have had others die in their stead after committing a horrible crime – they walk away, evading the punishment of their actions while another man is sold to face the capital punishment for a crime he knows nothing of.
    The man with connection will never be able to understand the pain of the person who would have to endure the excruciating pain of his freedom and life snatched away from him for another man’s wrong.
    The VIP or rich neighbour who uses security operatives to harass and coerce others into doing his biddings, because he has the connection, will never understand what it feels like to be treated like a dog because you’re poor and have no one to speak for you.
    Onu Chimuache told Information Nigeria that “someone hit my car from behind and claimed she was right without saying sorry because she was with a security escort,” with the hurt still very visible in his eyes.
    The man who recruits his ‘brother’ for a job he has no intelligence or mental capacity for, will never understand the weight of hazard his brother’s misfit will cause the ordinary man.
    The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) official who verifies a substandard drug and puts a NAFDAC number on it because his ‘person’ produced it, will never understand the pain of someone who loses a loved one because they purchased such counterfeit product.
    We interviewed some Nigerians who have benefited from “connection”, and their responses were quite revealing.
    Aremu Omobolanle told us of how she used ‘connection’ to jump a long queue during the 2014 Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) voters registration.
    “During the 2014 registration form voters card, there was this corps member asking me out. So when I went to register, I skipped a long queue and was quickly registered while everyone on the queue started shouting.”
    Read: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    Abdurahmom Bola, an undergraduate said “The day I was captured by environmental sanitation enforcement officers. They took us to a customary court where I met my dad’s friend.” According to him, he was immediately released after his dad’s friend made a quick call.”
    We also spoke with a few people who have in one way the other being at the receiving end of ” connection”.
    Austin Emezie said, “every Nigerian without a godfather or someone to mediate on his/her behalf has experienced this in one agency of the other especially jobs.”
    “I don’t want to talk about mine but God had his reason and it turned out to be a blessing. I for dey smell rod for Metele or Konduga now”.
    Uwaghiaren Oziegbe, who didn’t go into details told us she lost a job opportunity with the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). ” After that, I stopped applying for government jobs, very painful.”
    Another person, Chris Onwudiww said: “ I have seen many people lose something major because of lack of connection.
    He said he too had lost the chance to get justice because he didn’t have the connection.
    At the police station, he says, “Police said they wouldn’t register my case because I didn’t have money. Secondly, I’m Igbo and my case was against a Yoruba person, in a Yoruba dominated police station. I would have called a big person or a connected person and the order would have been given and the case would have been registered and followed up. ”
    There are too many instances of injustices suffered because one has no connection or at the hands of those who wield the proper connection.
    The post How Connection Has Eroded The Place Of Merit In Nigeria appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Begging for alms has been a common sight on the streets of major cities of Nigeria for some time now. It is fast turning into an art of money-making venture or a vocation like all crafts requiring a high degree of tact and experience. Paradoxically, it is tax-free and to some extent less hazardous, hence the large number of practitioners.
    Practitioners of vocational begging are adept in the arts of the trade; they know a bit of the psychology of the trade. They know that most Nigerians are benevolent and do not like to see others in trouble
    Unarguably, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with more than 170 million people out of which Lagos State boasts of 20 million inhabitants, thus making the City the nation’s biggest urban ­agglomeration.
    Population surge in Lagos has largely occasioned by the influx of people from different parts of the country. Lagos has to contend with various socio-economic challenges peculiar to cities with exponential growth.
    With the current economic situation in the country, the trend of begging in Lagos has now become quite worrisome with able-bodied men actively engaged in it. The increasing population of beggars in the Lagos metropolis has become an eyesore and the situation has become alarming because they now constitute environmental hazards as well as security threats. There have been instances when a few of these beggars were discovered to be agents of criminals.
    Investigation revealed that most of those who indulge in street begging are mostly employable but jobless people who take to it as a better choice between two devils. They prefer begging to stealing or armed robbery. This is practically why these ‘executive or corporate’ beggars get patronage.
    How can one explain the situation where well-dressed gentlemen and ladies (both among the youths, adolescents and adults) are very determined and quite intimidating in begging as a profession? They are available at almost every roadside in Lagos.
    Unbelievably, there are individuals who own properties and are married yet they are beggars. Some are sane but they feign insanity and assumed deformity especially at night to attract sympathy while others sophisticatedly use the facade (e.g., the dark shade or eyeglasses) as a disguise.
    But despite the resolve by the Lagos State government to clamp down on beggars soliciting for alms all over the roads, it appears beggars can’t just be caged, as they daily overwhelm motorists and pedestrians on major streets and roads with their harassing demands.
    The practice is, however, contrary to Section 166, sub-section 1 (b) of the Lagos State Criminal Code, which prohibits street begging, with penalties for offenders.
    READ: Filth, Stench, Poverty, Disease In Lagos Community With Over 5000 Residents (VIDEO)
    Everywhere you go in Lagos, beggars await you; using different strategies, they gesture on you for one favour or the other. In some areas, you might be tempted to conclude that it is the only lucrative “business” in town. From the mainland to the island, they are on the streets, at every corner, on the major roads, under the flyovers, swarming around vehicles in traffic, and you can hardly miss them as they call on passersby to take pity on them.
    Street begging and destitution in Lagos State remain unpleasant features, and various efforts by the government to exterminate them – including making it a criminal offence – remain largely futile
    Findings revealed that besides the nuisance they constitute for the state, they also expose themselves to various risks, and – for those who use their infants and adolescents to generate income – are inadvertently guilty of child abuse.
    It was gathered that child beggars are not always alone on the job, as some of their parents or bosses were found to be hiding at corners surreptitiously watching how well their wards were doing at the begging assignment.
    At Ile-Epo Market in Agbado area of Lagos, begging takes place in different shades and forms. Three young men were seen dropping sick people, including the old and handicapped, in the middle of the busy Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. They use sick people to attract the attention of passersby while soliciting alms.
    But one thing that puts people off, according to residents, is how they display these sick people with nauseating wounds. Many of them are simply an eyesore. Diseases such as elephantiasis, prostate cancer, even severe burns and many other disgusting conditions and malodorous wounds are displayed to appeal to people and torment the emotions of passersby. Such scenes are common features at busy bus stops and other places across the state.
    READ: Inside Life Of Area Boys In Lagos (Exclusive)
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    A student at the University of Lagos who pleaded anonymity said that his friend does not take a particular route to the campus because of a particular man begging with a decaying sore stationed along the way.
    “If you see the sore, you will not be able to eat for days. This man has been there for many weeks. He doesn’t cover the wound with anything. You see flies feeding on it. People who are easily irritated can easily throw up at such sights,” he said.
    Some motorists have maintained that beggars have become a public nuisance and called on the government to do something about them.
    “There was a time we were held up by the traffic light around the Government Reservation Area, on Isaac John Street, Ikeja, and this boy just came with his water and brush. I immediately stopped him but he refused and insisted on washing my windscreen. In the process, I almost hit the car in front of me because I was arguing with him. That is what beggars have turned to. I believe the government should do something about it”, said a motorist.
    Relating her experience with child beggars, a businesswoman, Theresa Adetayo, said, “I have seen the children and their parents on a number of occasions counting their money at the end of each day. And what a bounty they always count, Adetayo said.
    She added that she was not disposed to giving the child beggars alms because it baffles her that, despite the economic situation and its attendant effects on families, the parents of those children can’t still control their procreative proclivities. She said she was irked by the seeming mentality of those parents that members of the public would always be there to feed their families through almsgiving.
    Adetayo stated that those parents rub it in by sitting down lazily somewhere on the road feeding new babies, while the beggar-children solicit for money that would “massage their (parents) laziness and stupidity.
    “The older ones move about looking for whom to disturb, while the mother sits with a baby in her hand and uses that small child as a decoy to lure people into giving her money,” she said.

    But, in a renewed effort to tame the rampaging beggars and curtail the social menace, the Lagos State government, in 2018, appealed to members of the public to cooperate with the state government to only give alms to the less privileged in the society through registered charity homes and other socially responsible organisations.
    The state government vowed that it would continue its clampdown on perpetrators of the social menace, noting that, beyond prosecution, the government has provided rehabilitation and training centres where those rescued from the streets would be engaged in mental re-orientation and vocational skills training.
    Similarly, former Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, after one of the state executive council meetings in mid-2017, condemned the prevalence of street begging, saying that some unscrupulous persons hide under the guise of seeking alms to rob members of the public.
    “We have had security reports on the activities of persons who pose as beggars, especially in traffic, but their sole aim is to perpetrate evil. We are putting a searchlight on this trend and one way to do that is to ensure that we take pre-emptive measures to forestall this development,” the governor said.
    No doubt, the menace of beggars on the streets of Lagos has reached an alarming dimension. This is in spite of regular rescue operations carried out by the rescue team of the state’s Rehabilitation Department. Beggars of different categories and destitute have continued to be common sights across the state with resultant negative effects on traffic management.
    A resident who pleaded anonymity told the reporter that professional beggars have honed their act so well that unsuspecting members of the public can’t but part with some money in their pockets.
    “As a security person, I have been at this Allen branch of our bank for over five years and I see these different tricks that beggars use to solicit alms. Sometimes, they feign fainting spells, cardiac attacks, asthmatic attacks and the like to simply get the attention of passersby and eventually get them to part with some change.
    “Some of them have been doing it, moving from one place to another, for many years. There is a particular woman who will always say she is stranded and needs N100 as transport fare to get home. In the last three years or so that I have been seeing her, always neatly dressed and carrying a black polythene bag, she is still asking for N100 from people. We drive some of them away once they come near the bank premises because we know their tricks,” he said.
    The post Corporate Begging – A Fast Growing Profession In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Tunde aka Abu moneyIt is no longer news the Lagos state is replete with tales of street urchins who parade themselves with so much vigour, disrupting daily business activities of innocent traders and motorists. They rove about openly to pounce on unsuspecting street traders demanding for money. These area boys brazenly go from shop to shop for daily ransoms. One cannot help but meditate on whose authority these individuals operate as some even resort to violent behaviour and intimidation in a bid to extort these daily funds. In this exclusive piece, Information Nigeria’s reporter. Verity Awala, narrates the day to day activities of an area boy in Iju area of Lagos state.
    Getting to Iju railway station, a number of young men sit on tables and chairs; smoking, drinking and having conversations. Everything seemed normal to them but to anyone else, the sight is scary and dreadful. Young men living daily for nothing, wasting away. They are neither dampened or withered.
    I see many young men, their looks nothing but scary and intimidating. The first hurdle was how I would start a conversation with anyone without having my front tooth knocked out of my mouth. From their menacing appearances, it was a clear impossible mission but you know, a girl has to do what a girl has to do.
    With that determination in mind, I move to the first and the scariest one standing right opposite me. “Good morning”, I quickly introduce myself with an average firm smile and to my greatest shock, he answers back with a smile.
    A pair of brown teeth flashed, his face lights up. I found out his name is Tunde but he says no one calls him that around here.
    The dark face, burnt lips young man had a fair command of English and that even surprised me more. So you went to school? I asked in disbelief, he laughs heartily and almost as if he couldn’t believe my scepticism.
    ” I went to school na, I mean secondary school oh… Ogba grammar school, ” he said, still laughing at my ignorance.
    With this, I became calm and relax, at least no one will knock anyone’s front tooth out, at least, not today.
    “My name is Tunde but people mostly call me Abu money.
    “I’m a footballer, but also learned to be an electrician during my secondary school days.
    “I’m 38years old”.
    Again I was shocked and he saw it on my face.
    He says ” what? You don’t believe me?”
    No, I said, still scanning his face to trace the correlation between the face and the age.
    Then he says “I’m a footballer, I played football for many years. You know the training makes you fit, strong and young.
    “I traveled to Spain in 2004 to play football. I was doing very well and was even sending money home to my people. All of a sudden, I pack my things and come home – I still can not explain what prompted my decision to leave Spain for Nigeria.
    “E be like say na my people remote me come back. And I dey send money go house oh, yet them remote me.
    The twist in his story is touching and I felt pity for him. Abu money says he returned home in 2011, and since then, he has been on the street, trying to survive.
    READ: Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos
    From sniffing snuff, to smoking hemp to drinking local gin from sachets, Tunde gets off early in the morning from his one-bedroom around the railway area, which he shares with his friends, to the station. He doesn’t take a bath, he stays there from 6 am till 11 am, then goes home to take a shower and returns back to the station to continue what he started in the morning. For Tunde, that is his regular day.
    He says he has a daughter, Aisha who is 15 years old. He said his girlfriend got pregnant as soon as she found out he was traveling to Spain to play football. ” She used the pregnancy to tie herself to me,” he said.
    He says he doesn’t engage in crime but only comes to the station every morning and evening to feed his eyes.
    I ask for a photo, he declines and I beg further, he agrees but says only from behind. A bird at hand is worth, a million in the bush. So I took what was available.
    Young men like Tunde or Abu money are many on the streets of Lagos, some are born and bred in Lagos and some came from neighbouring cities and states.
    Their concentration in Lagos is simple, with a population such as its, comes varieties and diversities.
    Lagos is one of the most industrious places in Africa to live. With industries and businesses sprawling the nooks and crannies of the city, little wonder Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to troop in by the day.
    Christened a ‘no man’s land’ because of its ability to accommodate a wide range of people. From the Igbos from the far east to the Idomas from the middle belt, Nigerians and even foreigners from Africa and the world over have their people represented in the Centre of Excellence.
    It’s the land of dreams to some, and the land of opportunities to others. That is why the phrase ‘took a night bus from my city with only a small bag hanging on the shoulder’ being popular in the success stories of many who have been blessed by this mega city.
    However, it remains a puzzle to be answered how this group of Nigerians have absolutely no interest in tapping into the various legitimate opportunities in Lagos to make wealth and earn a living for themselves. They seem like a group of harmless people with no identifiable future ambition, and no known means of livelihood but a daily goal to survive come what may.
    Often called ‘Alaye’ boys, this group of street urchins, between the ages of 14 – 45, are found mostly at motor parks, bus stops, railway stations, market places and busy environs during the day.
    They set out as early as 5am, like a white collar job owner but the only difference is that their own offices are at several bus stops , motor parks, market places or anywhere you find people going about their legal hustle.
    Modus Operandi Of Area Boys
    They are usually found in groups, smoking weeds, and sipping off sachets of gin, which is passed around from one person to another till the content is emptied by the last man.
    When they find someone who they see as well to-do, they approach them, singing praises to this stranger, with hope that he or she finds them ‘something’ to purchase their next round of weed, gin and food.
    While some of these people seem like a harmless group, aimlessly living from dawn to dusk, others transform into merciless criminals in the dead of the night or the wee hours of the morning. Until luck runs out on a passerby, and encounter them at a lonely place, they wouldn’t waste time in displacing their victim of everything they own including phones, valuables and even cash. Sometimes, victims are lucky to escape without a severe injury or their precious life.
    The story of a young doctor, Stephen Urueye, a University of Lagos (UNILAG) graduate and House Officer at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), stabbed to death by hoodlums just at the gate of the hospital at Idi-araba, Lagos, remains a wound in the hearts of many young Nigerians who could have been in his shoes.
    A good look at these men translates quickly into a generation heading for doom with no one to stop them. Future leaders who should be getting ready to take over from the older generation are wasting away with reckless abandon.
    The post Inside Life Of ‘Area Boys’ In Lagos (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Inside room of one of Ago Egun resident 
    In two separate days, Gbenga Odunsi, Information Nigeria’s investigative journalist, visited a slum in the Bariga Area of Lagos State. His findings evince bad roads, bad walk paths, dirty streets, poor education, murky water, and a stench very hard to get used to — and this is still home to over 5000 residents. In Ago Egun community, Odunsi discovered that the deplorable condition of the community leaves residents cut off from safe access to school, health care as well as employment and other economic opportunities. For residents of Ago Egun, poverty, pollution and disease are a way of life… Odunsi writes.
    Lagos, formerly the capital city of Nigeria, is the nation’s commercial hub and most popular city with about 12 million inhabitants. The metropolitan city is filled with beautiful architectural masterpieces and modern infrastructure. Despite its predominantly modern landscape, Lagos has a sprinkling of slum communities — Ago Eegun is one.
    In the midst of one of the busiest areas on the mainland, sits Ago Egun, a rather rural area with an entirely low standard of living, where fishing and all activities relating to fish reign supreme. From roasting, drying, and then frying, the people of Ago Egun can be said to be self-sufficient.
    A trip to the community evinced that the slum, which has always subsisted on the murky waters of the Lagos Lagoon, remains an eyesore as the unhygienic condition of the dwellers leaves much to be desired.
    With children shouting, dancing, posing, pointing; adults staring, some pleasant, most curious, some suspicious, others mocking…Welcome to Ago Egun, the stilt village of Lagos.
    On my first day of visiting the community, heaps of refuse, murky water, stench of both material and human waste welcomes me to the fishing community. I, for some minutes, wondered how dwellers of the community survive in such thwarting environment.
    The residents live side by side with the growing heaps of refuse erratically dumped in every corner of the community with awful health consequences for residents and visitors, even.
    One of the main appearances of the ever-growing slum is the continuous problem of garbage and waste disposal, as well as sewage leakages, especially in the lowland areas coupled with the odious stench from the immensely polluted environment.
    Health experts say this sort of environment predisposes coastal communities to faecal-oral infections transmitted by the consumption of contaminated food and water.
    The condition is generally regarded as a major health hazard and in particular encourages the spread of infectious diseases such as typhoid, diarrhoea, malaria amongst others.
    The everyday life of these squatters, who are mostly Yoruba and Egun, revolves around fishing in a slum that keeps growing bigger and dirtier.
    A Slum In Full View
    Ago Egun community is not your conventional town. Bad roads, bad walk paths, dirty streets, poor education, dirty water, unhealthy looking children — and this is still home to over five thousand residents.
    Then there’s the hustle and bustle of human activity: women smoking fish or vending food and bric-a-brac; semi-unclad children playing on the verandas of wooden shacks; some community women gossiping and laughing; and some youths drinking in a local gin spot.
    I carefully walked through creaky rough paths that lead to almost anywhere in the community, watching my footsteps not to step on faeces. Amidst all its imperfections, all the residents are not dampened or withered. They take each day as it comes and dream of a better tomorrow. They have created avenues to smile and be happy.
    Proposed site of Ago Egun Community hall decorated with heaps of refuseBusiness Activities In Ago Egun
    The economic structure of the community is simple. The men fish in the sea, and the women smoke the fish on circular wire grills. For a fishing community like Ago Egun, fishing is the unquestionably the main source of livelihood.
    The people of Ago Egun have made a living from fishing ever since their families first settled on the edge of the lagoon more than 50 years ago.
    But these dwellers have graduated from poverty to extreme poverty in Nigeria just few years ago. Today, nobody fishes in Ago Egun anymore. Residents lamented over the dredging project the Lagos State Government embarked on in 2017.
    In May 2017, a company, Nigerian Westminster Dredging and Marine Limited, started a land reclamation project on the edge of the Lagos Lagoon. The land reclamation project, which is opposite the community, is being done on the behest of the Lagos State government.
    But as the reclamation of the 29.6 hectares site for the project continues, the misery of inhabitants of Ago-Egun deepens. Silt flowing from the dredging site towards the community completely blocked the fishermen’s route to the Lagoon. The men now stay at home, while the women cater for the family by selling smoked and roasted fish, and other odds and ends.
    Most men here have more than one wife. It is the duty of the woman to nurture the children and set them on the right path.
    Residents of the community, in separate interviews with Information Nigeria, expressed their displeasure over the present predicament of the community. Many highlighted the lack of basic amenities as the core challenges confronting the community.
    According to Ajagun Francis, a resident and also Chairman of Fishermen and Women Association, “Before government commenced dredging project, we go into the lagoon to catch fish, being our major occupation here.
    “After fishing in the lagoon, we come back home and our wives smoke and sell the fishes.
    “That is how we have been making ends meet.
    “Now, we can no longer access the lagoon for fishing due to the dredging project by the state government.
    “We barely feed well these days; our wives have been the ones feeding us.
    “Our children no longer go to school because we do not have money to pay their school fees.
    “However, we thank God for providing little for us to sustain.
    “We are begging Lagos State government to come to our rescue.”
    Francis Ajagun, Ago Egun community resident Basic Amenities Still A Daydream For Ago Egun Residents
    Another resident, Tunde Agemo, says “we are aware that government builds hospitals for other communities but we don’t know why we have been abandoned here.
    “Our community lacks health centre, schools, and water system.
    “We often buy water from Aboki; and when they don’t come around, the community suffers.
    “We are appealing to the state government to provide us with these basic amenities of life.
    “All the men in this community are being fed by their wives, this is due to the dredging project embarked upon by the state government.
    “Our wives go to the market to sell fish, come back home to feed us, and children with the little proceed from the fishes sold.”
    Tunde Agemo, Ago Egun community residentThe difficulty associated with access to other basic services like health care, access to potable water, schools, and toilet system are nightmares especially for pregnant women and people who have emergencies.
    These dwellers, who live in shacks, built on stilts, lack healthcare centre. Residents of the community say they trek miles to get access to healthcare centres in Bariga and CMS.
    Pregnant women in Ago Egun give birth at home with the help of traditional birth attendants. In 2015, approximately 303, 000 women died either during or following pregnancy and childbirth with 99% of these deaths occurring in the low-resource countries.
    These deaths occur as a result of unavailable, inaccessible, unaffordable, or poor quality care, especially at the point of delivery.
    The hygiene and environmental conditions of Ago Egun community are unsurprisingly hazardous, exacerbated by a lack of toilets. Information Nigeria gathered that most residents have developed a strong immunity to the unhealthy conditions, which often overwhelm visitors — many of whom have fallen ill after visiting the community. Even at this, inhabitants of the community live in total disregard of the health and environmental hazards posed by such an unhygienic condition.
    In Ago Egun community, there are no toilet facilities. Open defecation among the Egun people is standard. The community lacks functional toilet system. Inhabitants wait till night time to openly defecate in the black murky water located somewhere within the community. The toilets are built right on the lagoon and the waste adds to the floating debris in the lagoon. Those who are unable to wait, release their excreta right there on the street.
    Nigeria has been ranked second among countries practising open defecation globally, says the United Nations Children Fund. Dr Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, UNICEF made this known at a Two-Day Media Dialogue in Calabar State in August 2019. According to him, findings from the 2018 Water sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping survey reveals that 24 per cent of the population, about 47 million people, practise open defecation.
    Ago Egun residents live in shack houses built on stiltsYouths in Ago Egun are barely educated. The community lacks in both primary and secondary schools. Some residents say their children trek two hours to get to their school. Even the educated ones can barely speak English fluently.
    Rowland Kasumu — a 12-year old, dark and averagely tall boy — says he attends St Luke Junior Grammar School in Bariga. According to the JSS 2 student, “I go late to school every day because there is usually no water to bath in the morning
    “I have to go hustle for water first, before bathing and getting ready for school.
    “Most times I get to school very late. I end up missing morning assembly.”
    Ajagun had earlier said the community lacks educational centre, and “when the young ones are going to school, the parents follow them all the way to CMS as most of them are too young to cross the ever-busy road without a guardian.”
    Youths who are unable to attend school due to the long-distance and high cost of school fees, play in the many rickety and abandoned boats that drift on the black murky water amid the piles of faeces, waste and garbage floating outside their parent’s shabby shacks.
    Youths, with ages ranging between 17-24, lazy around the community, drinking local gin and extorting money from visitors to the community. This, it could be said, is the comeuppance of the community without economic opportunities.
    Nigeria has the ‘largest number of children out-of-school’ in the world. Recall that Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, during ministerial screening at the Senate, announced that the number of out-of-school children in the country now stands at over 16 million. Adamu noted that out-of-primary-school children stood at 10 million, while children out-of-secondary-school are six million. The former minister blamed the high number on poor funding of education in the country by states and the federal government. Nigeria’s 10.5 million out-of-school children are the world’s highest number.
    Access to portable drinking water is difficult. Despite living close to the lagoon, Ago Egun residents buy water from Aboki, popularly known as ‘Meruwa’. According to some residents, when meruwa does not bring water, the community suffers.
    Children play in abandoned boats in Ago Egun Community Hazy Hope
    The future is tentative for Ago Egun residents since the land is not legally inhabited and a slum upgrade also seems implausible.
    The community is currently at threat of eviction promoted by the Lagos State government, which intends to construct an extension of the luxurious neighbourhood of Victoria Island and to clean the image of the megacity.
    Residents say they have had an uncountable number of meetings with Bariga Local government Chairman and his representatives to tender their plights to the state government. Apparently, their pleas have been falling on deaf ears.
    One can only hope that Lagos state government rise to the occasion by extending government projects to this community, pending when the community will go into extinction. Accordingly, new political leaders have a huge task before them, like Ago Egun, which is still undeveloped and uncivilised.
    Watch Full Video:

    Odunsi, Editor of Information Nigeria, tweets @gbengaodunsii
    The post Filth, Stench, Poverty, Disease In Lagos Community With Over 5000 Residents (VIDEO) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    “The police is your friend” the motto of the Nigerian police force, but many have raised questions if this is really true with the activities that go down in the police force. The Nigerian police force boast of over three hundred personnel, but the level of insecurity in Nigeria is at its emergency state.
    Many Nigerians have largely described the Nigerian police to be professionally ill, as many have come out to accuse the police of bribery, corruption, extortion, and harassment of citizens. The international community rates the Nigerian police as one of the most corrupt in the world.
    This has, however, caused many Nigerian to lose hope and confidence in the Nigerian police owing to the unethical conduct of some of its operatives.
    READ: A Peep Into The Trails, Challenges Of NYSC Corps Members
    The Nigerian society is largely regarded as a developing state and some have said it has invariably affected the police force as some have protested that the Nigerian police are not well equipped in literacy and training. Accordingly, illiteracy, inadequate funding and welfare of the policemen have been argued to affect the efficiency of police personnel.
    In the same vein, some members of the police have been diligent in their works and have received recognition from the international and local level but this is pinch salt compared to the ills of the force. Some operatives of the Nigerian police have however been reported to involve its self in embarrassing extortion, illegal detention, harassment and extrajudicial killing.
    In separate interviews, Information Nigeria reached out to some victims of police harassment and extortion, chronicling their heart-breaking tales.

    Testimonies Of Harassments 
    A student of the University of Lagos, Ramon gave a full insight on what he went through in the hands of some policemen:
    “My experience was an unlawful arrest by the police. I was on my way to my mom’s office that fateful day, my mom had ordered an Uber to bring me to her office at Alausa from Unilag.
    “I was on my way when a police van crossed us and told us to park, we did and I was interrogated for a while and later one of the policemen requested for my phone, I hesitated at first, but later gave them.
    “Scrutinizing what was on my iPhone, the policemen concluded  I was a ‘yahoo yahoo’ boy with no proof. According to one of the policemen, I had a flashy lifestyle and any young man who has a flashy lifestyle is a yahoo boy and I was going to be arrested.
    “As we continued the journey in the Uber ride, I was told to call my yahoo friends to come bail me, and I said I’m just a young university boy going to see my mom at her office. Then one of the policemen told me to call my mom to come to bail me.

    “After I called her she asked she speak with the  policemen who told my mom they suspect me to be a Yahoo boy and she has to pay N150k to bail me or I’d be taken to ‘Panti’ Prison and I won’t be seen, my mum protested saying she can’t pay that money because I wasn’t even guilty of I was accused of. After a while, she said she was coming to bail me and not take me away from there.
    “The policemen started interrogating me about my parents and wanted to know my family background. After a while, I was released but the officers maintained my face has been marked, saying I will be rearrested.
    READ: EXCLUSIVE: Misfortune, Extortion, Pains Of Tenancy In Lagos
    “In all of these, my ATM was collected; I was hit and threatened to be shot.”
    A young stylist and a student of Yaba College Of Technology narrated his ordeal with men of the police force when he was going to get materials for his clients:
    “So I was on my street at Akinola in Bariga, when some police officers on the street were picking boys at random.
    “I was on dreads because I’m a fashion enthusiast and a stylist. On my way out, I encountered two men who were on mufti and they flashed an ID card saying they are police force personnel, I was first accused of being a bad boy because of her hair and they instantly told me that I would need to go with them to the police station.
    “I protested that I cannot. One of the policemen requested for my phone, an HTC Andriod, and after they searched my phone, they concluded I was a ‘yahoo boy’. In all honesty, I was in a hurry to get some fashion materials for my clients and I did not want any delay from these men so I told them to name their price out of the desire to leave them and get going, not because I was guilty of their accusation.
    “One of the policemen said 10k, but I didn’t have up to that, and in fact, I’m, not a yahoo boy Then we were dragging forth and backing, can you imagine we were negotiating on the money they will collect. We settled for 5K and I just had to leave because these policemen will waste your time and still collect money.
    “I have encountered them many times and sometimes I have to bail myself away.”
    The most common venue for police extortion in Nigeria occurs at police roadblocks and checkpoints. On a daily basis throughout Nigeria, drivers of taxis, minibuses, and motorcycles, as well as private motorists are subjected to routine extortion under threat of arrest, detention, and physical injury after being obliged to stop at official or semi-official police roadblocks.
    The post Horrifying Chronicles Of Police Extortion, Harassment, Torture Of Harmless Citizens appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Traffic gridlock in LagosIt is no news that the Lagos traffic congestion is not for the lily-livered. If you reside in Nigeria, it is impractical to be oblivious of the Lagos traffic gist. To some Nigerians in other states, the traffic condition is over-flogged; however, if you have ever lived in Lagos you would have an entirely diverse analysis.
    The duration which Lagosians waste in traffic every day is quite disturbing. The traffic situation in Lagos has remained a chief hassle in the city. It is even alleged that you can buy your household needs in Lagos traffic. Notwithstanding the fun and amusement Lagos offers, the traffic clause is one of the downsides which take its toll on your entire day.
    The amount of traffic gridlock in the city may make you want to consider leaving your car in traffic then advance to taking a long walk home. Worse still, the traffic condition in Lagos does not walk alone, it is escorted by its siblings, noise and air pollution.
    The eminence of life, competitiveness of the industrial base and the ability to attract and sustain big business and sightseeing, all hinge on the provision of safe, fast, reliable and convenient roads, including access through public transit. Economic growth brings with it some jamming during busy times.
    Over the years, Lagos has witnessed rising transport demand and road traffic which have led to increasing gridlock and delays (go-slow) occasioned by greater access to cars, access to credit, population growth and large supply of used cars; as well as poor quality of driving, especially by those who drive commercial vehicles or transit vehicles.

    A Never-Ending Tale
    Gridlock in Lagos affects both car and public transport users and produces losses in terms of economic effectiveness and other downbeat social effects like road accidents. Congestion in Lagos State is worse than many, perhaps most, other states in Nigeria. More important, it is getting worse, year by year.
    The impact of traffic congestion is overt to anyone witnessing setback on Lagos roadways.
    A motorist, Olaniyi, 42, says the congestion is caused partly by road users themselves.
    “Lagos road users are known to be very intolerant and terrible at obeying traffic rules.”
    Without a doubt, many times traffic congestions have been caused by a driver declining to give way for another road user. The comeuppance of congestion is in many folds; some directly affect the drivers’ sense of wellbeing, be it times worn out sitting in a traffic queue and the changes in the behaviour of drivers.
    Such behaviour — according to the middle-aged and eloquent Olaniyi — might include “rude gestures, verbal insults, consciously driving in an unsafe or aggressive manner, or making threats.
    “This can further lead to altercations, assaults, and collisions which result in injuries and even deaths.
    “Other effects include missed appointments, higher fuel bill, decreased productivity, and a high degree of stress and so on.
    “Some of the effects are less palpable, such as the impact on the environment.”
    Olaniyi further stated that “commuters, commercial drivers and private car owners should be accurately enlightened on the traffic signage, traffic law and also, they should be well-informed on the penalties of flouting traffic law and signage.”
    In a short interactive session with Tajudeen Asiru, a 34-year-old civil servant at the Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, “traffic situation in Lagos gets worse as the day goes by as a result of the poor condition of roads in Lagos.
    “There is scarcely any stretch of road that is completely free from potholes and bad portions.
    “In rainy season, living in Lagos can be horrendous as the roads are mostly flooded due to blocked drainage channels.
    “The lack of control of residents in Lagos has contributed to the predicament of traffic congestion in the state. Driving in Lagos requires a lot of patience and tranquillity as you are bound to see other drivers whose unruly manners would almost drive you over the edge.
    “Lagos drivers hardly obey traffic rules.
    “The problem of on-street parking is caused by Lagosians as well as other forms of trading activities which disrupt the free movement of cars.”
    Good road network, encouragement of mass transport system, proper traffic planning/management, regular road maintenance, construction of interchanges and regular education of road users are among the recommendations suggested by Mr Asiru to reduce traffic congestions in the megacity.
    Briefly responding to a stranger-journalist, a young man who prefers not to be named, says “bad roads, trading activities, on-street parking, poor drainage, frequent vehicle breakdown, narrow road sections, religious activities, high volume of traffic, lack of parking space, menace of area boys and unscrupulous policemen, lack of traffic light at some road intersections, bad attitude of many Lagos drivers, over-dependence in road transportation are the reasons why traffic congestion will remain a constant feature of Lagos state.
    “They say Lagos has a master plan but there’s a difference between a plan and a paper-work. Is there really a holistic plan for Lagos and Lagosians in their entirety or is it just restricted to a particular place and people?
    “When we are able to answer this question, then we can determine the possible way out on the menace of traffic congestion in Lagos”, he added.

     Way Out — FRSC Official
    A Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corp, Modupe Jikeme, posited various measures to solve the increasing gridlock in the state. According to Mrs Jikeme, “new acts enabling severe punishment for erring drivers and corrupt official should be promulgated.
    “This is probably the most important action that needs to be undertaken to improve the prevailing congestion in Lagos as the majority of drivers do not obey traffic laws owing to self – indiscipline, and apparent inefficiency of the pertinent agencies established to enforce the laws.
    “Despite being an official of the FRSC, I must admit that some measures that are supposed to help resolve traffic in Lagos have not been implemented by those at the helm of affairs, coupled with some bad eggs in the agency.
    “The FRSC should mount sufficient towing vehicles in offices positioned close to the dark spots for swift response once such telephone calls are received.
    “Road space diminution and hitch owing to collapse vehicles contribute notably to congestion in Lagos.
    “As congestion is caused by increased traffic volume and density, which in turn are prejudiced by road design and behaviour of individual driver, it is much loved to diminish or perhaps eradicate the negative aspect of the latter.
    “Although one of the key roles of present FRSC is to publicize safe driving, it appears this has not been helpful, based on the driving culture of Lagos motorist.
    “The situation has deteriorated so badly that it often joked that prospective drivers in Lagos should “remember that every road user is mad.
    “This situation is compounded with the ease at which a driving licence is obtained. Many drivers, especially commercial drivers often obtain licence without due driving tests by bribing the license authorisation officers.
    “The FRSC should carry out proper driving tests and commence enormous efficient ads of safe driving and the ruthless penalty from not obeying the traffic rules or trying to obtain a driving license through bribery or other fraudulent ways.”
    The post Lagos Traffic Problem Is More Terible Now Than Ever Before appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Every year, over 500,000 graduates are released from the tertiary institutions both within and abroad and thrown into the labour market where they have to compete and struggle with one another to get a job in order to fend for themselves and be independent.
    The essence of bagging a university degree is to earn a personal income and be self-sufficient.
    However, not up to 35% of graduates get their dream jobs, thus, making the rate of unemployment in Nigeria call for national concern.
    According to the Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria is one of Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, but she suffers a youth unemployment problem.
    In the country, nearly a quarter of the population is either out of work while 20 per cent is underemployed.
    Degree Certification Becoming Worthless In Nigeria
    One of the reasons for graduate unemployment in Nigeria is the fact that prospective employees’ education and skills acquired are, more often than not, inadequate to meet the demands of modern-day jobs.
    Most companies are only willing to employ those with practical skills, such as IT or digital marketing skills, thus  making a Degree certificate an added advantage having spent 4 years or more and a lot of resources.
    Unemployment has led many to venture into starting up a business of their own, while some keep waiting for a white-collar job.
    According to Daniel Mba, Internet fraud, also known as Yahoo Yahoo has become the order of the day. Celebrities, including Naira Marley, 9nice, among others,  praise and encourage youths to go into illegal activities. There are many untapped human resources which are often ignored, perhaps that is why we have more music entertainers earning more or people rushing into that particular field.

    Statistics
    The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) defines unemployment as the proportion of the labor force that is available for work but did not work for at least 39 hours in the week preceding the survey period (Central Bank of Nigeria Annual Report, 2008).
    This situation has not only become a great challenge to the Nigerian economy but it has also put a constraint on the economic growth of the country.
    This is why many unemployed youths are depressed and unhappy, especially when they have to stay at home and rely on their parents on their daily needs or when they see their peers get that dream job or drive that dream car they have always desired.
    Andrew Nevin, the advisory partner and chief economist at PwC Nigeria, states that being young in Nigeria is “very challenging”. For young people aged 15 to 35, the figures are grim: 55.4 per cent of them are without work.
    The National Population Commission (NPoC, 2013) states that about half of the population is made up of youth, defined as individuals between 15 and 34 years of age.
    According to Trading Economics,  Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria decreased to 36.50 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 from 38 per cent in the second quarter of 2018. Youth Unemployment Rate in Nigeria averaged 23.63 per cent from 2014 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 38 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 and a record low of 11.70 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014.
    It is only in Nigeria that a fresh graduate needs to have 3-year of work experience or more to be employed. It is disheartening that youths are not given the opportunity to showcase their talents and hidden abilities.
    Failed Government Policies
    Creating jobs is often one of the key issues and mantra usually sang during every election campaigns but nothing seems to be done about it.
    The very first quest in solving unemployment by the government was to enroll unemployed youth to public programs such as Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) under the administration of Obasanjo and the Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DIFRRI), which gave immediate response and direct jobs to participants interested in agriculture.
    Although, the transition to a democratic dispensation in 1999 has seen constant successive civilian administrations’ efforts in focusing more on unemployment programs, thus, dissolving many of the old programs, restructuring and creating new ones. Hence, placing youth as the major cause of concern.
    This has led to the establishment of certain institutional arrangements and agencies focused on promoting employment among youth.
    Three top current programs are the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria (YOU-WIN) and the Osun State Youth Employment Scheme (O’YES), among others.
    The failure of the public policies directed at solving youth unemployment includes poor finances, the absence of good administration and implementation, inconsistent policies, unimpressive responses from would-be trainees, and unqualified resource personnel handling the training programs.
     

    Where Are The Jobs?
    Nwabueze Sharon, a graduate of Economics, in an interview with Information Nigeria stated that lack of funds is the major challenges faced by many graduates in the country.
    “Chai, this thing can pain. It hurts like a sting because, after school, there are no other means of regular source of income, taking us back to those days when we have to beg mummy and daddy for almost everything.
    “When it finally dawns on you that you cannot even afford ordinary recharge cards. Then, there is no more inflated school fees and textbooks that you sometimes, might not buy.
    “After the big girl praises that you received on your graduation, you will be ashamed to ask for money to make your hair, buy shoes, clothes and other luxuries.
    “You start to wish you had planned for the future.
    “Sleep becomes your friend and depression sets in.
    “Most people often get depressed from being unemployed because, you basically sleep and wake up thinking on how to be useful to yourself and your family.
    “You begin to pray for a miracle job.
    “Sometimes, you face endless sleepless nights worries.
    “Life begins to hit you hard like film trick.
    “Having to stay with your relatives before you gain your feet is tough cause they begin to see you as someone that cannot offer anything.
    “You automatically become an househelp, but you just have to endure.
    “I remember how my brother’s wife used to send me on errands to deliver goods to her customers without giving me a dime as compensation.
    Adesanya Samuel, in a separate interview with Information Nigeria, narrates the predicament he is subjected to as a result of his ‘unemployed state’.
    The graduate of Mathematics revealed he is currently unemployed because he refused to settle for less.
    Adesanya said that most companies would only want to employ him as an intern because he is yet to be posted for his NYSC. The salaries for internship jobs are also quite low and not enough to cover his transportation cost and allowance.
    He said that his family are not so considerate because he stays at home most-times and he is often compared to others, especially family friends.
    In his words,
    “My dad thinks I’m lazy because I’m yet to get a job but it is not his fault. He shouts at me and complains a lot because I stay at home. He also doesn’t give me allowance anymore because at my age, 25, I’m old enough to get married. Although, I’m thinking about starting up a phone business where I can sell and repair phones, but right now, I’m looking for funds”.
    The tertiary institutions and government need to combine their efforts to encourage practical application of entrepreneurial skills. This might somehow stimulate the impact it has on graduates who want to start up their personal business.
    The post After Four ‘Gruelling’ Years In University, Nigerian Youths Suffer Unemployment appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Graduating from a tertiary institution as a Nigerian is not the end of the road for graduates. After convocation, graduates must compulsorily obey the clarion call of the Nation.
    The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC)  scheme is not new in the Nigeria system. Those who have not had the opportunity to experience the 1-year mandatory scheme may not be able to understand what it feels like to be a corp member. It is against this background that Information Nigeria reporter, Banji Amokeodo, brings to light, the travails and plight of NYSC corps members.
    NYSC Members“Youths obey the clarion call
    “Let us lift our nation high
    “Under the sun or in the rain
    “With dedication and selflessness
    “Nigeria is ours, Nigeria we serve.
    If you think the above is a poem, ‘you are wrong’. It s the lyrics of the NYSC anthem. Corp members must be able to ‘cram’ and sing this anthem ‘extempore’ and every day during their stay in their respective camps.
    The NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war. This history gave birth to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps by decree No.24 of 22nd May 1973 which stated that the NYSC is being established “with a view to the proper encouragement and development of common ties among the youths of Nigeria and the promotion of national unity”.
    To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves.
    To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher ideals of national achievement, social and cultural improvement.
    To develop in the Nigerian youths the attitudes of mind, acquired through shared experience and suitable training. which will make them more amenable to mobilization in the national interest.
    Corp Members Recount Horrible Ordeals
    Reaching out to some corp members, many complained about the scheme. The programme comes with a cumbersome level of sacrifice and members are at the mercy of hazardous problems stemming from unjust deployments to rural communities with little or no basic amenities for the survival, rejection at Place of Primary Assignment, language barriers, unfriendly attitude from host community, non-payment of allowance, amongst others.
    Benjamine, a graduate of the University of Lagos who lives in Lagos State was deployed to Sokoto state for his one-year mandatory service. Sokoto state which is a far northern state in Nigeria will take him about a day from Lagos, by road.  He was bitter and sad about the dangerous road, insurgency, and cost of transportation which he highlighted as his major challenges.
    John, who travelled by road from Lagos to Rivers state, recounts the tremor he went through, describing the road a ‘graveyard’.
    According to him, the road from Lagos to Rivers state is a suicidal trip as the bad road can lead to one’s untimely death.
    A story also trended on twitter about a bus hired by prospective corp members who boarded the bus from Lagos to River states. In the course of their journey, the passengers were abducted by kidnappers. Luckily, the Nigeria police were able to rescue them.
    The high risks of insurgency in Nigeria cannot be overlooked as many Nigerian Youths preparing for NYSC are subjected to this social menace.
    The beginning of the service year starts in the orientation camp. Most orientation camps are in deplorable condition, no electricity, scarcity of water, unhygienic environment and sometimes, unhealthy food.
    While morning drills and painstaking exercise are part of the rigorous training that goes on in the camp, what is more ridiculous is the high cost of living in the camp; Taiwo, a corp member laments.
    Banji narrated his camp experience in a short interview we had;
    “I got to Asaya camp, Kogi State at around 5.30pm after leaving Lagos as early as 7.00am. On getting to the camp, I was checked in by the soldiers. ‘Hey you, open your back’, the official barked, with his eyes fixed on my language.
    “I walked to the second entrance where I was requested to write down my details.
    Corps members in orientation camp“I got inside the camp and I was as lost as a baby in a deep forest; I saw clusters of PCM in different angles of the camp, my apparent blank face attracted about four lads who ran up to me requesting to help me carry my bag.
    “I was reluctant at first, but with their persistence, I was forced to release my bag pack with one of the lads as he leads me through my first registration. He took me to my room for the night, I handed him N100 for his stress.
    “The night was cold and I knew it would be the longest three weeks of my life.
    “At the end of the 3-week orientation camp, corps members were posted to their Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). While some influenced their redeployment back to their state, others proceeded to their assigned community and PPA
    “For me, I was unfortunate. “I was posted to a village in Kogi.
    “My employer was supportive. He provided me with accommodation but without basic amenities like light and water. water, There was no way I would live in the deplorable condition, and so, I begged him to reject me, citing reasons beyond the deplorable condition of the place.
    “After series of pleads and little ‘bribe’, he rejected me.
    “I had to go find a PPA for myself and this took me a while before my state coordinator could help in getting another placement.”
    Place of Primary Assignment
    Immediately after camp, corps members are yet faced with another round of hassle, locating where they have been posted, to for their primary assignments. Some are ‘thrown’ into remote villages where they have to spend all they have on transport fares. In many cases, some end up searching for their PPA all day. Not to even mention the risks attached.
    Uju, a corp member, recounts how she was rejected by two companies which drifted her into a state of depression.
    In an interview with Uju, the first place of primary assignment informed her that there was no more space for corp members, while the second employee asked for sexual intercourse as a form of gratification before her posting can be considered.
    Another corp member, Jumoke, pointed out that “the PPA issue is tiring
    “My employer uses me like a robot and pays me less.
    “I work like every other staff but I am paid less because I am a corp member, this is unfair.
    “Why should I be paid less because I am a corp member?
    “The same input the staff put in is the same I put in, and my employee is a bossy man, I cannot stand him.
    “I can’t wait to complete the remaining months so I can leave his company, Uju lamented.
     
    NYSC Official Reacts
    Reacting, Mrs Olaide Jamiu, Shomolu Local Government NYSC Inspector, in an interview with Information Nigeria, listed the many challenges faced by corps members in Lagos.
    “I will highlight some challenges corp members face, but it is also imperative for corp members to understand that the NYSC year is a service year to the Nation, that is why they first go through the rigorous orientation camp for 3 weeks.
    “It is a call to clarion and a selfless act to the country. It is, thus, important for corps members to prepare themselves mentally for the service year to make it easier for them.

    “Having said that, some challenges faced by corp members vary from state to state. In Lagos, a major problem is getting PPA placement, because of the voluminous corps members directed to Lagos.
    “A lot of corp members are either rejected by the company they are assigned to, or find it difficult getting one.
    “Another challenge I have noticed in my local government particularly is the clashing problem with employers and corp members.
    “Corp members are directly responsible to the federal government, not to their employer. So, when the corp member is requested to do something for the government, it supercedes what the employers ask you to do.
    “Corp members should know how to balance this; like it is said, you cannot serve two masters.
    “In Lagos, the cost of living is quite high. That is, getting accommodation, transportation, feeding and basic needs.
    “Hence, if a corp member is posted to Lagos, and does not have family in the state or other means of income, it becomes quite frustrating as the corp member will struggle with the allowance he or she gets from the federal government.
    “Lagos, like every other state, has its dangers too. However, most casualties recorded are probably due to daily activities of the corps members rather the services rendered to the nation. These are some of the challenges that I am familiar with.
    “And, as stated earlier when we started this conversation, I said it was imperative to prepare yourself mentally for the service year.
    “Do not be ignorant of the laws guiding the service year.
    The service year is a life-changing experience, and contrary to what anyone tells you, its worth it.
    It helps you develop your skills and sharpen your craft if you are diligent in your services year.
    The post A Peep Into The Trails, Challenges Of NYSC Corps Members appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Legalization of hard drugs for adult frivolous exploit and for medicinal purposes is, at this time, the subject of much public debate.
    In May 2019, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, and Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah rtd, the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) travelled all the way to Thailand to learn more about how to grow cannabis.
    This has sparked various reactions from different quarters of the country. Whatever the upshot, public health experts are concerned about the increasing abuse of drugs among youngsters, since marijuana use as an adolescent may damage the developing brain, lower IQ, and seriously weaken the ability to drive safely, particularly when combined with alcohol.
    Over the past year alone, nearly 15% of the adult population in Nigeria (around 14.3 million people) reported a “considerable level” of use of psychoactive drug substances—it’s a rate much higher than the 2016 global average of 5.6% among adults.
    The survey was led by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Center for Research and Information on Substance Abuse with technical support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funding from the European Union.
    It showed the highest levels of drug use was recorded among people aged between 25 to 39, with cannabis being the most widely used drug. Sedatives, heroin, cocaine and the non-medical use of prescription opioids were also noted. The survey excluded the use of tobacco and alcohol.
    Codeine addict Youngsters prefer an independent and sovereign life that is free from adult control, thereby engaging in various antisocial acts (drug abuse, rape, stealing, cultism and vandalism) that are perilous to the home, community, school and the country as a whole.
    The impact of drug abuse among young people has been a stigma of moral dissipation, brutality, thuggery, physical attack, lunacy and murder. The hazard of drug abuse has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation.
    Since the early times, herbs, leaves and plants have been used to cure and control diseases. The use of drugs in itself does not pose any danger, because drugs correctly administered have been a blessing.
    The use and abuse of drugs by teenagers have become one of the most alarming health-related phenomena globally.
    Youths, particularly those in secondary school tend to see the drug abuser as one who is tough, bold and strong. Many adolescents have been known to use drugs at the instance of peers, elders or siblings.
    Students who typically feel derisory have been known to use drugs to achieve societal acceptance. Some drug addicts become insane, maladjusted to school situations and eventually drop out of school.
     

    Experts React
    Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most instant danger for exposing young people to drug abuse and antisocial behavior, says Adenike Olurin, a medical expert at Yaba Psychiatric Hospital in Lagos.
    According to Olurin, other facets, such as drug availability, drug trafficking patterns, and beliefs that drug abuse is generally accepted, are also risks that can sway young people to start to abuse drugs.
    “Several youth abuse drugs because they see their friends indulging in the act. And, because they don’t want to be seen as a coward, they follow suit.
    “Some teenagers suffer from despair, nervousness, stress-related disorders, and physical pain.
    “Using drugs may be an attempt to minimize these feelings of depression. Tension and trauma principally play a major role in starting and continuing drug use as well as returning to drug use for those recuperating from an addiction.”
    Expressing her displeasure for drug addicts, Blessing Okogue, a 39-year-old medical doctor says addiction occurs when frequent use of drugs changes how a person’s brain functions over time.
    Okogue pointed out that abused drugs interact with the neurochemistry of the brain to produce feelings of pleasure.
    “The strength of this ecstasy differs by the type of drug and how it is used.

    “We live in a competitive society in which the demands to perform flexibly and academically can be extreme.
    “Some youth may turn to certain drugs like prohibited stimulants because they think those substances will enhance or improve their performance.
    “Youths of these days smoke Indian herbs to last longer in bed; we have heard of boys using Tramadol to boost their sexual performance. Meanwhile, Tramadol is a pain reliever drug for sickle cell patients.
     “Teenagers are often propelled to seek new experiences, especially those they identify as exciting or daring. Inquisitiveness to try out the unknown facts about drugs thus influences people into drug use. The first incident in drug abuse produces a state of excitement such as pleasure and happiness which in turn encourage them to continue”, Okogbue added.
    Addicts Have Excuses
    In Lagos, Oludairo, a young guy on the streets of Ikeja, shared his story as he held a cup of gin and a wrap of marijuana.  According to him, he began smoking at age 12.
    “I was in secondary school when I first tasted ‘igbo’, Diaro says, as he inhales and puffs out a white paper containing marijuana.
    “At first, I was scared to taste it, but then, my friends encouraged me, saying it will clear my head and make me read and comprehend fast.
    “ I tried it, it worked, even though the first and second time was a little bit rough for me.
    “Since then, I have not been able to stop it. Instead, I graduated from one form of substance to another.
    “ But, It’s cool. I have no regrets.
    When asked if he would encourage his children to follow his lifestyle, “I can’t”, he replies almost immediately.
    Sipping his ‘shekpe, tall and skinny Dairo noted that although, he knows smoking is harmful to this health, he finds it hard to quit, and will never encourage any of his children to smoke.
    In an earlier visit, in 2018, to a psychiatric hospital in one of the southwestern states by this reporter, some inmates were seen secretly taking hard drugs. The drugs, it was gathered, were received through the help of nurses on duty. The inmates, who are still battling with addiction, would secretly keep the substances neatly ‘under their lockers’.
    A 29-year-old lady, Adanna, in treatment for heroin and nicotine addiction, believed that addiction was a part of human nature.
    “I feel like everybody got addiction; you know what I mean, ‘because they have an addiction to smoking, addiction to going to work, you know, so somebody has an addiction somewhere in them.”
    Connecting her experience to a trend she perceived in others, Adanna had developed a sense that her addiction, though problematic and disabling, was not unique to her, but in fact, a common experience along the spectrum of “normal” human behaviour.

    Tunde Ayobami, former banker with no stable source of income, in his mid-thirties, shared what he believed to be a strong connection among his mental health, employment, and alcoholism cycles.
    “It is anxiety and stress that I was dealing with.
    “Alcohol just calmed me down so that I used it as a tool, like self-medication for me.
    “I have depression and anxiety and overwhelming problems with employment.
    it was very stressful…but it has nothing to do with family or anything…I would quit for a month here and there; I have quit for a couple of weeks here and there. But I always went back when the anxiety and depression set in when I’m dealing with work.
    Tunde placed his alcoholism in the flux of cyclic depression and anxiety. He relapsed and remitted upon the tides of his mental health and employment status. A common factor that influenced his drive to drink or empowered his abstinence was the amount of stress in his life:
    “I resigned one job due to the stress and then I would start another one and that is the one I’m at now and I enjoy the job, but the increase in work duties just kept piling up where the stress was built up again for me. You know, in this day and age, they try to put as much responsibility as they can on people …I mean management does, basically to cut costs and that hurts the blue-collar people. I mean, and the stress just got worse and that is why I started again. It just kept back and forth, back and forth.”
    Tunde described some of the limiting factors that have kept him from straying too far from his equilibrium. One of the most significant influences to curb his drinking and restore balance was his wife.
    “My support has always been my wife. She pointed out that if I didn’t quit, she would leave. … There were divorce threats; that is basically it. I just quit, and, you know, just go for a while and then the tension would build up, the stress would build up again and I would go back to it.”
    Gboyega Adaramaja, a student in his twenties, described himself as a “chronic relapser” for whom social stress was the trigger for alcohol use.
    “I always felt out of place. I always felt like I didn’t fit into my skin. I was so afraid of people and of the world and I had horrible social anxiety and all I ever really wanted was to like, be a part of something, to have friends and to be comfortable with people, and I couldn’t do it sober. And when I had my first drink it was like, Wow, this is what I’ve been looking for all of my life!
    Editor’s Note: Changes have been made to some of the names in this story; the affected ones pleaded anonymity. The name of the psychiatric hospital where inmates were seen taking narcotics will not be disclosed.
    The post EXCLUSIVE: 14 Million Nigerians Are Drug Addicts appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Sam Nda-IsaiahThe publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah has passed away at the age of 58.
    According to reports, the deceased died around 10 pm on Friday night after complaining that he was unwell.
    Also Read: Makinde Mourns Harry Akande
    The deceased, a former presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), reportedly attended the inaugural meeting of the board of economists of the National Economy — another of his publications — on Thursday in Abuja.
    Born in Niger State, He attended the Federal Government College, Kaduna, from 1974 to 1979. He thereafter proceeded to the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where he bagged a degree in Pharmacy.
    The post Sam Nda-Isaiah, Publisher Of Leadership Newspapers, Is Dead appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Ogun State House of AssemblyOfficers of the Lagos State Police Command have recovered the mace of the Ogun State House of Assembly stolen by hoodlums on Thursday.
    This was contained a statement released by Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Lagos police spokesperson.
    “The police operatives attached to Trade Fair Station of the Lagos State Police Command today Friday 11th December, 2020, recovered the missing mace of the Ogun State House of Assembly at Abule Ado Area of the state at about 8.30am.”
    Also Read: Hoodlums Attack Ogun Assembly, Steal Mace
    “The police operatives, who were responsive, worked on intelligence from the members of the community that someone in a moving vehicle, suspected to be Toyota Siena Space Wagon, threw out an object into the nearby bush and recovered the object which was later identified to be the Ogun State House of Assembly Mace.
    “The mace has been handed over to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, who later instructed the DCP State CID, Lagos State, Yetunde Longe, to protect the mace and liaise with the Ogun State Police Command on the return of the recovered mace to Ogun State.
    “The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu however promised to assist the Ogun State Police Command in the investigation into the incident that led to the recovery of the mace,” the statement reads.
    The post Police Recover Stolen Ogun Assembly Mace In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
    The Covid pandemic has had serious repercussions for the world, including in Africa where many countries are struggling to cope with the social and economic demands caused by the virus. While these are extremely grave and deserve our utmost attention, there are still opportunities to look forward to.
    The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA) is due to come into effect on New Year’s Day 2021, bringing all 55 member states of the African Union under the same trading umbrella. It will unify a market of over 1.2 billion people, create a combined GDP of around $3.4 trillion, and lead to a growth in several industries across the continent. This article looks at the areas that could benefit the most.
    E-commerce (cashless payments)
    E-commerce is growing quickly in Africa, and many Africans trade on the internet every day.
    However, until recently, certain barriers held the sector back from realising its full potential, with logistics being the most significant. Many cities don’t have an address system, so it’s difficult to send goods to an internet user via mail. There’s also the added problem of border checks: goods are subject to strict custom protocols and possible prohibition.
    The AfCFTA seeks to change this. One of its cornerstones is frictionless interregional trade, which means investment towards reducing the red tape and costs that impede transactions between African nations. Increased cooperation between member states would make the flow of goods over borders much easier and improve communication between local agents who know how to find the required destination without difficulty.
    African digital payment platforms are also improving, so buyers can make payments seamlessly and can be confident that the money reaches its intended target.
    It’s good news for online merchants who can look forward to better business opportunities thanks to these advances.
    iGaming
    iGaming is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with a multi-billion-dollar value and a strong presence in most of the world’s markets. Until recently, however, Africa has stayed slightly off-radar, with much of the population without internet access.
    Yet Africa is coming into the fray. Recent statistics show that nearly 40% of the population now have internet access, a big jump from a few years ago. iGaming sites are wise to this and are keen to get their market share: online casinos offer perks such as no deposit bonuses and sports betting sites push special offers to try and get players on board.
    The obvious downside of this is a rise in gambling addiction, which has been noted in countries such as Kenya – and there is a need for responsible gambling guidance to warn new players of its consequences.
    Still, African governments have it within their power to introduce protective legislation and encourage responsible gambling. Improved cooperation will make it easier to come up measures that work across the African Union.
    Regional trade
    When the first Covid-19 wave hit in March 2020, there were fears that the global trading system would collapse due to the economic disruption caused by strict lockdown measures. These forecasts have turned out to be pessimistic, however, with trade statistics staying surprisingly robust.
    Kenya, a traditional barometer for East Africa as a whole, has reflected this global trend. After an initial shock in April, their trade figures bounced back during the summer with significant jumps in trade volume, according to a Brookings Institution report. Central to this resilience is the country’s regional trade figures, which have benefitted from swift government measures, such as the creation of mobile labs on borders for Covid testing so that trade can continue undisrupted.
    While the situation is still not perfect, other East African countries, such as Uganda and Tanzania, have been on board with the measures and the hope is that this increased co-operation will make future trade easier.
    The introduction of the AfCFTA in 2021 will help to simplify customs processes further and reduce tariffs, saving billions of dollars along the way.
    With the agreement seeking to increase intracontinental exports by more than 81% by 2035, the continent’s future in regional trade looks bright.
    Foreign investment
    A united economic union with a bright future is an extremely attractive option for outside investors. Trade development programmes between some African countries and nations such as China and South Africa already exist, while Africa’s growing tech sector is attracting funding
    from the likes of Google and Facebook.
    While most foreign investment goes to a small number of African nations at present, the AfCFTA will seek to increase funding to less developed countries like Chad and Sierra Leone. Representatives from South Korea recently spoke about increasing their influence in sub-Saharan Africa, with the area deemed to be an area set to benefit greatly from the AfCFTA agreement.
    The benefits of this could be huge. Significant investment would help lift millions of people out of extreme poverty, creating long-term job opportunities and improved infrastructure.
    Often investment breeds further investment and a trickle of outside funding has the potential to turn into a flowing river should the AfCTFA prove a success.
    Africa’s long-term future
    The potential areas of growth helped along by the AfCTA might be clear to see, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges along the way.
    Opponents of global free trade complain about the income inequality that it causes, and African nations will have to ensure that they do commit to social causes, such as helping their citizens out of extreme poverty and improving their national infrastructure.
    Yet in a continent ravaged by internal conflict over the last century, a comprehensive trade agreement is its best hope towards meeting its long-term goals and accelerating its growth in these four fundamental areas.
    The post 4 areas that might accelerate in Africa post- pandemic appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Abdulrasheed MainaThe former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina on Thursday collapsed in court.
    Information Nigeria reports that the Federal Government is prosecuting Mr Maina on a 12-count charge of fraud and money laundering before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
    The former pension boss collapsed when his counsel, Anayo Adibe was addressing the court on his no-case submission before Justice Okon Abang.
    Before Maina’s collapse, his counsel was praying the court for an adjournment to enable him to get records of the proceedings of the court to enable him to prepare for the no-case submission he intends to file on behalf of his client.
    The court had to rise abruptly to enable officials of the Correctional Service and relations of the former pension boss to attend to him.

    The matter was had been on Wednesday to today for the defendant to argue his no-case submission and for the prosecution to respond to the same orally.
    The post Alleged Fraud: Maina Collapses In Court During Trial appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Abdulrasheed MainaFormer Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina has informed the Federal High Court, Abuja, that he has no case to answer in the allegation filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
    Maina through his counsel, Anayo Adibe, had told Justice Okon Abang, that he would be filing a no-case submission.
    Also Read: Maina: Court Rejects Request For Adjournment Of Case
    He was also cross-examined by the ninth prosecution witness (PW9), Rouqquaya Ibrahim, an EFCC investigator.
    Justice Abang on Wednesday adjourned the case until Friday (Dec. 10) for Maina’s lawyer, Adobe, to address the court orally and for the prosecution counsel, Abdullah, to respond to the no-case submission.
    The post I Have No Case To Answer On Allegations Against Me – Maina appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Abdulrasheed MainaThe Federal High Court in Abuja has denied the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, a request for an adjournment to prepare for his defence.
    Maina is facing a 12-count charged bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.
    Justice Okon Abang, in his ruling, noted that the judgment was passed at the court’s discretion.
    He added that the plea filed before the court is a plan to waste the judicial time of the court.
    Also Read: Alleged N2bn Fraud: Maina’s Trial Resumes In Abuja
    Counsel to the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, Farouk Abdullah, told the court that the matter was slated for continuation.
    Maina’s new lawyer, Anayo Adibe, however, objected on grounds that the legal team was just taking over the case and needed some time to prepare.
    Justice Abang in his response noted that since the matter resumed on September 29, Maina failed to appear in court until a bench warrant was issued against him.
    He added that the issue of fair hearing is not applicable because Maina is not just coming into the matter for the first time.
    “The issue before the court has to be properly made not on a sentimental basis. The 1st defendant (Maina) jumped bail without reason to do so.”
    The Judge stated that if Maina’s lawyer needs his case file, he should reach out to the former counsel for him to hand over the file to him.
    The post Maina: Court Rejects Request For Adjournment Of Case appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Aminu MaisariIn a move to protect child abuse, the Katsina State House of Assembly has passed the Child Right Protection Bill.
    However, in a surprising move, the legislation will not regulate the age of marriage.
    With this bill, a child in the State is anyone below the age of 18, however, people who should by that definition be considered underage can still marry.
    The sponsors of the bill stated that the bill is aimed at guaranteeing children’s right to education and check underage marriage, cruelty, and sexual assault against children.
    Also Read: No Pardon For Rapists, Says Sanwo-Olu
    The House Committee chairman on the Child Protection Bill, Musa Nuhu, reportedly presented the recommendations of the committee before his colleagues on Wednesday.
    He urged the immediate passage of the bill to end the prevalence of child rape, child labour and forced and underage marriage in the state.
    The bill also gives Sharia law supremacy over the Child Protection Act.
    The post Katsina’s Child Law Sets Adult Age At 18, But Says Those Younger Can Marry appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Late AkandeHarry Akande, business mogul and Agba Oye of Ibadanland, is dead.
    He died on Saturday after a brief illness. He was 77.
    ”In the early hours of Saturday December 5, 2020, our patriarch Chief Harry Ayodele Akande passed away following a brief illness,” a statement issued by Olumide Akande for the family said.
    ”Chief Harry Akande was an astute businessman of international repute whose legacy and influence cut across continents.
    ”But by far his greatest passion was for a better Nigeria that guaranteed equity and justice for all. It is our fervent hope that this will be a reality in the not too distant future.
    ”His passing is a huge shock to his immediate & extended family, friends & associates. We are all grappling to make some sense of it.
    ”As we seek the repose of his gentle soul, we ask you to in turn to uphold us in your prayers while we pass through this very turbulent period of our lives occasioned by the loss of someone as dear as him.”
    Akande was reputed to be one of the richest men in Nigeria. He was the chairman of Akande International Corporation (AIC) — with interest in healthcare, engineering, building construction and power.
    He was a one-time presidential aspirant on the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) platform.
    The post Business Mogul, Harry Akande, Dies At 77 appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    AmotekunThe Osun State Command of the regional security net­work, Amotekun, has debunked the rumours that the outfit would not tolerate indecent dressing and bastardizing of Yoruba language by the youth in the society.
    Amitolu Shittu, the Osun State field commandant made the denial in a statement in Osogbo.
    He described the statement credited to him on the claim as falsehood and charged members of the public to disregard it, describing it as image tarnishing.
    Also Read: Don’t Harass Members Of Public, Be Professional- Makinde Warns Amotekun Members
    Amitolu insisted that the statement credited to him was not done in good faith and warned against bringing disrepute into his life.
    He, however, appealed to well-meaning Nigerians not to take the claim seriously as it is a ruse that far from the truth.
    The post Osun Amotekun Debunks Fight Indecent Dressing appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Shehu SaniFormer lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani has reacted to rumours that the South-West regional security network, Amotekun that the outfit would not tolerate indecent dressing and bastardizing of Yoruba language by the youth in the society.
    The rumours have led to a serious backlash on social media.
    Also Read: Don’t Harass Members Of Public, Be Professional- Makinde Warns Amotekun Members
    Reacting to the rumours, the former lawmaker from Kaduna expressed that if the security outfit extends beyond the security issues which it was established for, it would become the South-Western version of, the Hisbah in some states in the north.
    He wrote:

     
    The post Shehu Sani Reacts To Rumour Of Amotekun Policing Indecent Dressing appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    The Nigerian perception of mental health illness is poor, making the country one of the top 7th suicide-prone country in Africa. In this exclusive piece, Information Nigeria reporter, Amaka Odozi, examines the disturbing facet of suicide cases across the country. 
    A part-time student of Lagos Polytechnic, Ikorodu campus, in June, committed suicide after he had a quarrel with the girlfriend, Police reports.
    According to reports, Mayowa took his own life by ingesting a poisonous chemical, sniper, at his residence at the Eyita area, Ikorodu, in Lagos.
    The girlfriend, it was gathered, was to have been with the deceased when he died. He was quickly rushed to a hospital by his neighbours after the girlfriend raised an alarm but he was confirmed dead on arrival at the hospital.
    Mayowa’s case is just one out of many suicide cases Nigeria has witnessed in the last one year. The growing trend is becoming more disturbing, and it calls for serious concern.
    Nigeria is ranked 7th African country with higher rates of suicide, leading countries like Togo (ranked 9th), Sierra Leone (10th).
    The concept of ‘Mental Health’ is often overlooked and misunderstood in Nigeria perhaps it is due to low level of awareness of the public on mental health issues, as well as leading factors contributing high suicide rate in the country.
    READ: EXCLUSIVE: Misfortune, Extortion, Pains Of Tenancy In Lagos
    Misconceptions stemming from people’s ignorance also worsens the matter: a mentally ill patient does not openly come out, and thus, do not get access to the proper treatment they require because of the stigma.
    In Nigeria, people suffering from mental disorders are perceived to be ‘mad’, dangerous, tattered or unkempt looking people walking and talking to themselves on the road.
    As the saying goes, many are mad, few are roaming.

    People do not want to associate with someone with a mental disorder because they are meant to kept away from ‘normal people’ thereby causing an increase in the condition.
    According to health experts, there are different categories of mental disorders but those who walk on the road unaware of their environment could be referred to as the extreme case of the health condition.
    There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illnesses. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.
    For years, Nigerians believed depression was a ‘White man sickness’ which could be easily tackled by getting drunk with beer.
    According to the Federal Ministry of Health, about 20 to 30 per cent of Nigerians suffer from mental illness.
    Abdullahi said with a population of about 200 million, Nigeria had a high rate of mental illness implying that the country has about 60 million persons with mental illnesses.
    The WHO (World Health Organization), clearly defines Mental Health as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
    Director of Public Health, Dr Evelyn Ngige, revealed that mental illness could destabilize a person more than HIV, heart disease, accidents, and wars combined.
    Ngige stated that Nigeria’s mental health statistics was too bad, adding that the high rate of suicide in places like Lagos may just be the tip of the iceberg.
    People find suicide as a way out which shouldn’t be so but when they do not have the necessary help then how do they survive?

    Ages prone to suicide – Experts
    According to Agugua Blessing Chimuanya, a psychologist, every age is prone to depression and are most susceptible when a life-changing event occurs. However, young people between the age of 18-29 because they are greatly affected by life-changing situations and also because they seem to be more under a lot of pressure in life.
    READ: (EXCLUSIVE) Traffic Robberies On The Rise In Mega City Of Lagos
    DailyTrust reports that the Medical Director of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, who was present at a symposium organized to mark the 2018 World Mental Health Day themed: “Young people and mental health in a changing world”, expressed his concern over the rising incident of mental health problem among Nigerian youths in Nigeria, saying one in five youths have mental health issues while one in four adults (12 per cent) will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives.
     
    Reasons and signs of suicide 
    The bond that used exist between families and friends have been severed. People would rather opt for online interactions than face-to-face interactions.
    People can only see the physical and become aware that a person is going through something but when a person is going through something emotionally, people cannot tell because they cannot see them.
    Instagram, Twitter, Facebook portray a larger than life image. People only show what they want people to see.
    The state of the economy is not helping either, it has led to massive loss of jobs and put millions of people into the overinflated job market.
    Students go to educational institutions with the hope of graduating and a good job. Certain problems like ASUU Strike, lack of funds to complete their education or when the lecturers refuse to accept their final projects.
    If they are fortunate to finish, they find themselves idle and back in their parent’s home having committed huge sums towards their educational pursuit.
    Millions of Nigerians are hard-pressed to make ends meet and are living from hand to mouth.
    There was a time suicide was taboo in Nigeria and Nigerians were not readily known for ending their lives by suicide.
    There are stories about many Nigerians who have either ended their lives through suicide or attempted suicide as a result of the emotional pain they go through be it depression, anxiety, isolation.
    According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, an estimated 800,000 people die by suicide annually and Nigeria now ranks among the top suicide-prone countries. Also, the World Population Review,  with a crude suicide rate of 9.5 per 100, 000 population, Nigeria, ranks 10th in Africa and 67th in the world.
    Although terminal diseases can lead to resignation and then suicide, it is common knowledge that 90 per cent of people who commit suicide suffer from mental illness.

    Depression is a top risk factor followed by Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
    Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these.
    Agugua added that lack of adequate mental health care facilities, lack of awareness of mental health illnesses and solutions, hardship, pressure from family, society and the media.
    Psychiatrists and health experts have often linked the rapid leap of mental health disorders in the country particularly to stigma and lack of public awareness.
    Nigerian singer, Korede Bello charged the appropriate authorities to prioritize mental health in order to reduce the spate of suicide.
     
    Disturbing suicide cases
    The past few months have been rather traumatic and filled with stories on suicide.
    Publisher of Genevieve magazine and founder, Betty Irabor, took to her Twitter handle to share that she once contemplated suicide on May 21, 2019.
    A 300 level medical student of the Niger Delta University, Uzakah Timi Ebiweni committed suicide after failing his MBBS examination on the same 21st of May 2019. Ebiweni jumped into  Amassoma River in Bayelsa State.
    On the 1st of June, a part-time student of Lagos Polytechnic, Ikorodu campus, Joseph Mayowa committed suicide after he had a quarrel with the girlfriend. Joseph was said to have taken Sniper, a pesticide.

    The following week on the 19th of June 2019, Miss Christabel Omoremime Buoro, a 300-level student of the Department of Medical Laboratory Service, University of Benin (UNIBEN) had reportedly committed suicide simply because her boyfriend of many years dumped her.
    Another final year student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Mr. Samuel Elias committed suicide by drinking sniper.
    On the 15th of July, A final year student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), identified as Ephraim Imaghodora has reportedly committed suicide over his poor academic performances.  It was learnt that the student had jumped down from second floor of the Faculty of Arts.
    News broke out that a popular Nollywood actress, Queen Wokoma’s ex-husband, Prince Kalada Allison, was revived after he attempted to take his own life as a result of his failed marriage.
     
    A Bitter-Sweet Taste of Depression
    Going down the memory with Henrietta Azuka of how she went through depression.

    Azuka said:
    “I craved sleep not because I was tired but because I didn’t want to be awake.
    The darkness was preferable to the hell that was my life.
    “People didn’t get my plight. They kept saying I’m not the only one who had issues, there were people who had it worse.
    “Mine was worse to me, I couldn’t live if anything happened to him. He was my everything! My dad! My strong man, my superhero who was our life in my house. Oh, we loved my mum too much but my dad a lot extra.
    “One day he couldn’t walk, the situation got worse, he got depressed as well and in severe pains! It was horrible to behold, this illness changing him, changing us.
    “I became his little helper, carrying him with my small frame, bathing him, cleaning him up after he used the toilet.
    “It killed him to see himself put us in that position but we cared me for. I was his favourite child, the closest to him, my heart was enlarged, too big from the constant hurt that was my life, every waking moment was painful, I became a shadow floating through life, screaming in my head without my lips moving.
    READ: Bribery, Extortion, Unruly Behaviour — LASTMA — An Overzealous Group With Misplaced Priorities
    “I slept all the time. Till I thought, what if I never woke up, the pain disappeared when I sleep. I thought about ending it all in a most painless way till my dad snapped me out of it. He became lively even in bad health and really spoke to my soul.
    “I think something profound happened to him one night. He told me he had taught us well, if anything should happen, he wouldn’t regret a thing, he said a lot that gradually brought light back into my life and his as well.
    “It’s been 16 years, he’s still not in the best of health but I have accepted that there are some things I can’t change and prayed for courage because I know that death is a part of life! It’s not something we should hurry along with ourselves but let it come when it comes!
    “I deal better with my blues, I just pray and think positive thoughts.”
    Kayode Oluwatosin emotionally recounted his experience, revealing that he suffered depression because he couldn’t graduate with his mates.
    “I stood on the fourth floor of my house. It wasn’t rational but I need to feel better. I have to find another to escape from my own self. I had to find another way. I needed to settle score with myself.
    “I can’t trust anybody with my thinking because they believed I was crazy. Because they don’t feel what I feel, they don’t really care. So I keep to myself.
    “It got worse on the convocation day, when my mates were all in nice 3-piece suits, looking fly. Where was I? Under the bedspread in tears.
    “I was supposed to happy for them but to be honest, I wasn’t but I couldn’t tell my parents either. No one cares. Hopefully, I get over it and move on.”
    Baby steps to healing
    Agugua Blessing Chimuanya, advised that a constant reminder that you are there for them is one way to help, encouraging them to talk is another, however, you need to be careful here so they do not entirely withdraw, the best thing that can be done is to see a professional therapist or counsellor.
    Checking up on your friends to know how they are fairing helps and not mocking them when they open up too.
    Some of the symptoms of depression include; anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings,excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation, little or no sleep,excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite, lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide, weight gain or weight loss. Hence, when these symptoms persist more than 2weeks, one has to see a professional, people need to understand that just as you see a medical doctor for a physical illness, it is also okay to see a therapist or counsellor for mental-illnesses.
    Hence, increasing the level of awareness on these mental health issues can help to alienate the suicide rate in Nigeria.
    The post EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria Overtakes Togo, Sierra Leone In Africa’s Suicide Ranking appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Aunty é ba mi ra ( please buy from me), she pleads as she flaunts vegetables on a rusty old tray to a very uninterested passer-by, who shoots her a look of disinterest and walks away briskly.
    This is what Busayo Olumide contends with every evening when she goes to Ishaga to hawk her goods to enable her family to make ends to make ends meet for the next day.
    In a chat with Information Nigeria, 9-year-old Busayo, a pupil at a government primary school in the area,
    takes to the street every evening after school, including weekends, to sell the vegetables which her mother goes off to fetch from a farm not so far away from their home.
    According to her, no matter how tired she is from school, once she eats her meal of Ijebu garri, groundnut and sugar or sometimes beans and garri, off she goes to sell her goods and sometimes doesn’t return home until 10 pm.
    The weather, friendly or harsh, cold or warm, has no way of deciding her fate as it is constant; going out to hawk her vegetables is as sure as night and day.
    Just like Busayo, many Nigerian children face the daily unpleasant hassle of street hawking and child labour, but unlike many other kids, Busayo goes to school and only picks up her tray of vegetables after school hours. Some other children aren’t so lucky.
    According to experts, child labour is any work or task carried out by a child not up to the age of 18 years, with the hope that cash will be the reward or sometimes kind.
    Child labour deprives a child of his/her good health, academic excellence and normal physical and mental development.

    The International Labour Organization ILO minimum age convention of 1973 No 138 says it is child labour because the children who do the labour are below the appropriate legal minimum working age (18 years).
    READ: Bribery, Extortion, Unruly Behaviour — LASTMA — An Overzealous Group With Misplaced Priorities
    In 2017, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) reports that about 50.8 per cent of Nigerian children, between the ages of 5 and 17, are involved in child labour.
    The NBS conducted the survey in conjunction with other partners, including the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
    Another example is Mutiu Olawale, 11, and lives with his uncle and his wife in a one-room apartment around Iju – Ishaga. For Mutiu, at the break of dawn, he leaves with his uncle’s wife to her shop where she sells food. So, Mutiu is saddled daily with chores of taking plates off customers’ tables; washing them immediately; and run some other errands for the smooth running of the business. He speaks very little English but very fluent in Yoruba.
    Unlike Busayo, Mutiu has only been to school a few times in his life and when he was brought from Abeokuta to live with his mother’s younger brother and his wife, who already have 4 kids, Mutiu’s only hope of ever getting a better life is to learn a trade as soon as he turns 14, as promised by his uncle.
    Like these children, millions of Nigerian children grapple with this sad reality every day. Instead of being allowed to live their childhood free and happy as it should be, they are saddled with the responsibility of contributing their own income to their respective family.
    Many parents and guardians have denied their children and those under their guardians the right to live a childhood life devoid of labour and have even paid deaf ears to directives from the government on the evil of child labour and the consequences if caught.
    Poverty Takes The Blame
    For the defiant parents, the culprit is poverty, not them. With so many responsibilities and bills to pa;y and a high cost of living to contend with, most of these parents and guardians have narrowed or even zeroed their options on involving every member of their family from oldest to youngest to contributing their own quota to the survival of the family.
    For some of these parents and guardians, if they had a choice, they would give their children a better life but life has dealt them an unfair blow, and like it is rightly said, ‘the instinct to survive is the strongest in man’. So for the sake of survival, these parents would let their kids face all the dangers associated with child hawking or child labour just to soften the weight of poverty hanging mercilessly on their neck.
    Tunmise Awosanya, an 11-year-old girl, who hawks oranges say her father has been unemployed for a long time and her mother is the family’s main breadwinner.

    “My mother sells oranges and other fruits along the road at Agege, Lagos. She leaves home very early to buy oranges from Ile-Ipo, Iyana-Ipaja.”
    When asked about her father, she says, “My father used to work as a builder/in Lagos Island but has been unable to continue with the work because he suffers severe arthritis.”
    So, for Tunmise, hawking oranges every day is her won way lightening her mother’s burden.
    READ: (EXCLUSIVE) Traffic Robberies On The Rise In Mega-City Of Lagos
    Family Orientation
    Whereas for some other parents, it doesn’t matter their financial capacity, what the child brings to the table is a plus, and as such, everyone must contribute to the overall income of the family…no matter their strength or age.
    There have also been reports of guardians who take undue advantage of the financial capacity of the parents of the children sent to live with them, to turn them into slaves and money-making machines.
    There have been harrowing narratives of guardians who send young girls barely 15, off of sleep with men for money. They go to their poor relatives to convince them to give them their children to look after, unsuspecting parents gladly do, thinking they are being helped and relieved of the financial burden of raising their children. These relatives end up sending these children off to the streets to hawk goods for them or work day and night at their petty businesses. Sometimes never sending them to school, or giving them proper meals or health care when they fall sick.
    Children younger than 17 have been and are being sent out by guardians to beg, pickpockets, traffic drugs, shine shoes, wash cars, work in farms, among other disturbing things.
    Information Nigeria also spoke with Esther John, a 15-year-old girl from Delta State, who lives with a family around Yaba, Lagos.
    According to Esther, she started living with her current family when she was 12. Her mother’s elder sister who lives in Lagos had come to convince her mother to allow Esther to come to Lagos with her and stay with a rich family she knows very well.
    Esther says her parents already had trouble with her fees and upbringing and even though she vehemently refused her mother convinced her that it was the best way for her to get a better life.
    “Since I came to Lagos, it has been one type of work or another. It’s either they ask me to go and hawk soft drinks and bottled water or hawk jollof rice. Even on Sunday, I can’t go to church because I have to stay at home, to clean and wash the whole family’s clothes, ” she said almost in tears.
    And when her mother calls her, she tells her to endure. All my mother says is “At least they are sending you to school and with one more year to go, you would take your Senior School Certificate Examinations, who knows they might even send you to the university”

    Family Size
    With the high cost of living in Nigeria today, it has become almost possible for large families with no proper source of income to survive. In this case, everyone becomes a breadwinner and every little extra income from each member of the family counts.
    Sometimes, these children on their own go out in search of labour, just to survive since they have little or no chance at surviving from what they are giving at home.
    Cases have been heard of young children who take to the street to hawk or engage in labour just to get the amount of their school fees, exam fee or a particular levy at school.
    Moshood Bello, also spoke to Information Nigeria, a 15-year-old boy, who lives around Agege, Lagos. Spotted washing cars in a car wash along Iju Road, Moshood says he goes there every day to wash cars. Depending on what the car owner wants the least amount is N500. Although he washes about 5 – 15, cars depending on how lucky he is that day.
    However, not everything goes to Moshood as he is paid a percentage for every car he washes by the manager of the carwash.
    “Sometimes I take home up to N2000 but other times I even make more when customers give me tips.”
    On why he chose to were cars instead of going to school, he says no one will sponsor him. Moshood says he is the 4 child out of 9 children with the youngest being a baby.
    He says his mother hawks Agege bread in the length and breadth of their area and his father is a vulcanizer. With the size of his family and his parent’s meagre income, the only way for him to survive is to wash cars. He walks all the way from their home in Agege, down to Fagba, on Iju road to make a living for him.
    “When I get home and buy food for myself and my younger siblings. My elder ones are girls and they also fend for themselves, ” he said with a hint of pride in eyes.
    What government has done
    The federal government, including some state governments, have created laws and policies to tackle the menace of child labour in the country.
    As with many other government policies, the bane with tackling child labour is implementation.
    Many of the laws against street hawking and other forms of child labour are being flouted daily with visibly no government sanctions to check the rising trend.
    The post Inside The Sordid World Of Child Hawkers In Lagos appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    A Lagos State Traffic Management (LASTMA) official was recently shamed for driving against traffic along Oworonshoki expressway in Lagos.
    Angry residents dragged him out of the car and dishevelled his uniform before dragging him around to the exhilaration of passersby. They were infuriated that the LASTMA official, who is among those arresting other motorists who go against the traffic law should not have driven against traffic.
    In this exclusive piece, Gbenga Odunsi x-rays the appalling behaviour of the LASTMA officials, vis-à-vis their rules of engagement; captures the ordeals of motorists who are ill-fated victims of LASTMA officers.
    “LASTMA officials have, on many occasions, harassed me without disclosing my offence.
    “The officers also seized my motorcycle and, in turn, asked for money to get it released, threatening to take it to their office at Oshodi.
    “Sometimes, even without disobeying traffic laws, these dare-devil officials will still harass you. They do this often, without shame.
    “Most of them need to be educated and enlightened on how best to do their job…”
    Wasiu Akinde, a tall, slim, dark-skinned commercial tricyclist, probably in his early 30s laments, as he implores Lagos state government to enlighten LASTMA officials on their rules of engagement.

    It is a well-known fact that LASTMA officials are an overzealous group with misplaced priorities.
    Lagos State Traffic Management (LASTMA) was established, under the Ministry of Transport, a new government initiative back in the year 2000.
    The outfit was formed to alter the state transportation system to ensure a free flow of traffic and reduce the number of critical accidents on Lagos roads.
    READ: COMPILED: Rotimi Amaechi’s Failures As Minister Of Transportation (Exclusive)
    The agency was created to not only trim down deaths and economic losses caused by road traffic accidents, but just as importantly, to ease conflicts that arise between drivers, congestion and delays on Lagos roads.
    The initiative of LASTMA, chiefly, is to ensure that motorists who defy any of its rules and regulations are made to face the wrath of Lagos Traffic Law.

    The Toils And Tears Of Extorted Motorists
    The fear of LASTMA officials is the beginning of wisdom for Lagos motorists.
    When asked if he could say one or two sentences about the activities of LASTMA officials on the road he plies daily, Wasiu Akinde — a tall, slim, dark-skinned commercial tricyclist, probably in his early 30s — frowned at the question. Apparently, the mere mention of ‘LASTMA’ ignites fear and hatred in him.
    “LASTMA officials have, on many occasions, harassed me without disclosing my offence.
    “On one occasion, the officers said I did not part my ‘keke’ properly before picking passengers, he adds, briefly raising his eyebrows to elaborate his point.
    “After delaying me for one hour, they collected N5,000 from me.
    “This was around 11am when I have not even made up to N3,000.
    “On other occasions, they just chose to bring out one unnecessary thing, and claim it is an offence.
    “Sometimes, even without disobeying traffic laws, these dare-devil officials will still harass you. They do this often, without shame.
    “Most of us are used to them. We only feel there is a need for government to educate and enlighten them on how best to do their job.
    “They have really become a public nuisance.”
    LASTMA Officials Station Touts To Collect Bribe On Their Behalf
    Sitting dejectedly on his motorcycle at a junction opposite Alagomeji in Yaba area of the state, a commercial motorcyclist, who simply identified himself as JBoy, narrates his terrible experience in the hands of these dare-devil officers.
    In the next three minutes or thereabouts, he would give blow-by-blow details of how a LASTMA official connived with a tout to fleece money from him and other commercial motorcyclists.
    “Sheyb na those people wey dey wear yellow and red? All of them na former ‘agbero’ before Tinubu con dash dem job.
    “One LASTMA guy bin arrest for Oyingbo last week.
    “He say I drop passenger for where I no suppose drop.
    “I bin think say na play, na so I start my machine, con dey go.
    “Walahi dis officer hold my shirt from back; Na God even save me dat day.
    “Las las, he say make I go give one agbero N2500 before he go release me.
    “Nothing wey I fit do cos he don seize my key. I don beg beg, he no gree, time dey go, and you know say for this our Lagos, time na money.
    I squeeze the money for the agbero hand. Na agbero com give me key sha.
    “All of them no dey collect money directly. You go pay through their agbero before dem free you.
    In this conversation, Jboy posits that traffic officer have touts who work for them. He is of the view that the yellow and red uniform officers try to play safe; they don’t talk…incase you have a recording gadget with you. Their touts do the negotiation on their behalf.

    With an inquisitive who-are-you look, Funke Sotimirin — a dark, plump lady donning in a blue suit and skirt — welcomes the journalist with a stern look.
    Mrs Sotimirin, a lecturer at the Yaba College of Education, shares her encounter with LASTMA officials stationed at Jibowu roundabout.
    READ: Rapists On Rampage: Shocking Stories Of Raped, Traumatised Victims
    According to her, two officials waylaid her some weeks back. Her offence was that the lady at the passenger’s seat was fixing the seat belt when the car was already in motion. She narrated that one of the officials attempted to force his way into her car, but failed. On sighting this, the other official began to drag the car steering with her, in the middle of the road.
    She was forced to park her Honda Accord car in the middle of the road, causing traffic gridlock to other road users. After all threats of towing her vehicle to their Oshodi office, she was asked to cough out N5000 to redeem her car keys. This money, Information Nigeria understands, did not go into government coffers.
    Mrs Sotimirin expresses disappointment in the activities of the traffic regulation officers. According to her, the agency was set up as a corrective measure on Lagos road, but the reverse has been the case. The officials hit the road only to make illegal money for their pockets. The Yaba Tech lecturer concludes that “they do their job well, but they tend to appear lazy. They feel they can pick on just anyone.”
     

    Sometimes, You Don’t Know The Source Of Some People’s Anger
    “Who employed them?
    “What is their qualification?”
    “Were they trained to control traffic or constitute nuisance on major roads?
    “Who asked Sanwo-Olu to increase their allowances?
    Wearing a sombre look, Tunji Ogunleye, a middle-aged, averagely-build man with few strands of grey hair fumes.
    These are the questions that welcomed the journalist’s when Ogunleye, a tricyclist, was asked to bare his thoughts on LASTMA officials and how well they perform in their duties.
    Ogunleye said okada business in the state was no longer eye-catching because LASTMA officials are out to ensure commercial motorcyclists do not go back home at nights without extorting all the money they have made for the whole day.
    Ogunleye further laments on how LASTMA officials fight, and sometimes beat up motorists; use offensive language on people, and exhibit aggressive traits while discharging their duty. He added that the officials are quick to impound bikes and vehicles — with reckless abandon — without disclosing their victim’s offence.
    Ogunleye wants LASTMA to enlighten Okada riders on traffic rules to enable them stay out of trouble with the agency’s officers.

    A LASTMA Official Clears The Air
    Reacting to all the above-mentioned allegations against LASTMA officials, pari passu the operations of the agency, an official, Lala. B, says it is wrong to assume all officers of the agency are corrupt.
    The tall and light-skinned officer says although, the agency harbours both good and bad officers, he, however, stressed that the agency is in the process of rooting out all the bad eggs in the service.
    Lala pointed out that members of the public can as well report any abuse from LASTMA officers. According to him, some officers have been dismissed over accusations made against them by members of the public.
    “No officer has any valid reasons or excuse to extort drivers for whatever offence.
    “Members of the public must also desist from making any form of payment to LASTMA officials. More often than not, motorists are quick to bribe our officers when they go against traffic rules. This is not right; drivers must ensure their vehicle documents are up to date.
    “Motorist and Lagosians as a whole must endeavour to obey traffic rules in order not to endanger the lives of other road users. When you comply with all these, you won’t have reasons to engage our officers in any discussion whatsoever.”
    Odunsi edits Information Nigeria; tweets @Gbengaodunsii
    The post Bribery, Extortion, Unruly Behaviour — LASTMA — An Overzealous Group With Misplaced Priorities appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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