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248 topics in this forum

    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.

  1. Media personality Toke Makinwa has asked to join the stingy women association after the hashtag started trending on Twitter.
    The hashtag started after Nigerian men formed a group called #StingyMenAssociation in order to block the habit of spending on women.
    This led to women to form their own group called #StingyWomenAssociation to counter the group formed by men.
    Seeing the hashtag, Toke in solidarity with the women association asked how she can sign up.
    Taking to Twitter, she wrote; “This stingy men association na wa ooo… Abeg where can I sign up for Close legs association #Wemoveeee”
    Meanwhile Twitter users have reacted to her tweet, as some men drag her for saying she wants to join the stingy women association.
    See some of the tweets below.





     
     

    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”.
     

    The 17-year-old girl, who burnt her boyfriend to death in Benue state, has narrated how the incident happened.
    A patent medicine, Chidinma Ikechukwu  died on January 11, after he was set ablaze by Alex Esther in Wadata suburb of Makurdi, Benue stare.
    According to the girl, she and Omah took a blood oath before she allowed him to deflower   her. She also said that he had promised never to leave her after he had a blood oath.
     

     
    Speaking with Punch, Esther said she had aborted three pregnancies for Omah and that the second one, he promised they would keep the baby but didn’t fulfil his promise.
    “I just gained admission into Benue State University to study Law.’” Esther told the publication
    “I just can’t explain why I killed my boyfriend. I was just angry over all the issues we had.”
    ‘We had been fighting over some issues; like I was a virgin when I met him, and he promised never to leave me but to always stand by me. Our relationship was really serious to the extent that we had to take a blood oath before I allowed him to deflower me. When I got pregnant for him, he gave me an injection in his medicine shop to abort the pregnancy. I got pregnant the second time, and he promised that we would keep that one (pregnancy). Then he started misbehaving and would sometimes not even come home while I was pregnant.” she continued.
    ” He later came with some people to meet with my family after which I moved in with him. Then I got pregnant for him the third time. We had serious problems to the point that we had even been going to the police station. I later had to pack out of his house. His sister would sometimes come and beat me up in the house. I couldn’t fight for myself.”
    Narrating how the incident happened, Esther said;
    “We started chatting in his room and settled (our differences), then we had sex. I actually didn’t feel like having sex with him, but he forced me and had his way. After the sex, we both slept off.
    Later, I went outside and carried the fuel and poured it in the room, and then I lit the matches. I ran out naked and went and slept inside a church.”
     

    Big Brother Naija former housemate Tacha Akinde, has slammed BBNaija fans for always hating and trolling people online.
    According to the reality star, cyber bullies who constantly troll people online are typing and paying tribute to digital strategist Dele who committed suicide after battling depression for 7 years.
    She said it wouldn’t take these set of people till tomorrow morning to start wishing people they don’t like death.
    “Can’t believe cyber bullies and Trolls are typing RIP DELE.💔
    But It won’t even take till tomorrow morning and your clown asses will be in comment sections wishing people you don’t like death!! Be kind with your words!!! Depression is REAL.” She wrote.
    Tacha added that 2020 was a tough year for everyone but that people lose their sense if reasoning all because of Big Brother Naija show.
    “We went through a tough 2020! It’s alarming how lessons weren’t learnt..
    You turn to real life Devils to prove how much you hate, you lose your sense of reasoning, you lose your conscience! All for a SHOW?!”
    Tacha also asked social media trolls and BBNaija fans how much they were paid to be inhuman while praying that nemesis catch up with people who hate and troll celebrities online.
    “Tell me, How much do you get paid to be this inhuman?? I’ll double it.You go around wishing death on people, people struggling through life, People bottling themselves up!
    People only trying to survive, people who just wants a better life for themselves! all for a SHOW! A show you don’t make coins from! May NEMESES CATCH UP WITH YOU!”
     

    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;
     

    BBNaija star, Nina has blamed fans causing for enmity between some former BBNaija housemates.
    According to Nina, fan wars is the reason why most BBNaija housemates might never be friends, as she asked fans to stop pressuring people.
    She also recounts how many people wrote her off and judged her but says she very happy. She also asked fans to stop writing people off because they are not God.
    She tweeted: “But to tell you fans the truth, Most of you are the reason why most people are still enemies and might probably remain enemies for a long time, this is a new year, stop pressurizing people, let them be , Preach peace, try to outgrow certain things, this life is too short.”
    She added: “One more thing guys , you cannot determine anyone’s future, I was once written off , Judged ,called all sorts of names , but today I am overly happy..
    try to stop judging and writing people off,you are not God , nobody is perfect and finally the future is not in your hands… “Depression is real guys.”

     
     

    A couple’s love story has raised eyebrows on social media after the lady advised women to go for a man they love even if the man tells them he is in a relationship.
    The lady shared the story of how she met her husband on Instagram and how the man liked all her photos after they followed each other.
    She revealed that she travelled from Abeokuta to Lagos to see him for the first time, and they had fun. According to her, when she was leaving, he told her he has a girlfriend and his relationship was a serious one.
    However, she said that she kept going to see him secretly and that they are now engaged to be married this weekend.
    Using her love story as an example, the lady advised her fellow ladies, to go ahead if they love a man even if the man tells them that he has a serious relationship.
    “Again, ladies if a guy tells you he has a girlfriend and you love the guy please go ahead lol, anything can happen. ” She said.
     

     

    Nigerian Singer Davido has shared video of  his second daughter, Hailey Adeleke wearing an expensive Rolex watch.
    Davido welcomed his second daughter in 2017 with his Atlanta-based baby mama, Amanda.
    Father of three  who always lavish expensive gifts on his children, gifted Hailey a Rolex watch, worth millions of naira.
    In video shared by Davido on his Twitter page, the 2-year-old girl is seen flaunting her new gift as she tries pronouncing the word “Rolex” while with her mother.
    Sharing the video of adorable moment, Davido  wrote,
    “My daughter crack me up .”
    Watch video below,
     
    Also, the singer once took his daughter Hailey to a jewelry shop in Atlanta where he bought her a diamond necklace.
     
     

    The Bayelsa state government has cleared the air on the recent appointment of former BBNaija housemate, Nengi Hampson as face of the Bayelsa Girl Child.
    According to the state government the reality TV star and Miss Eradiri are to work together to inspire the girl child in Bayelsa state.

    Miss Eradiri is the first female First Class graduate from the Faculty of Law at the Niger Delta University (NDU), a feat she repeated at the Nigerian Law School.
    Many Nigerians had called for the Eradiri, a Bayelsa-born First Class Law Graduate, who has not only made Bayelsans proud but the entire Izon nation on her excellent performance at the Niger Delta University and the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus.
    Some also argued that Eradiri has distinguished herself and should be the ‘Role Model’ to Bayelsa Youths.
    After the announcement of Miss Eradiri, as the face of Bayelsa Girl Child, many had believed it was a replacement.
    The state government has now reacted to the confusion that emerged, as the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa state governor, Daniel Alabrah, in a chat with BBC Pidgin, said Nengi has not been removed or replaced. He said;
     

    Popular Interior designer, Ehi Ogbebor has dared any man who claims he donated money she used in building her mansion or business to come forward.
    Reacting to a rumor about being funded by a man, Ehi said she has never received any monetary gift from any man, as she dares any man who claimed to have sponsored her to speak up.
    Speaking in a new video, Ehi said; “If you as a man has ever bankrolled Ehi and you don’t talk, God will punish you,”
    She added that she built her own house through hard work. She said “I built my house myself, that’s hardwork darlings.
    “I’m on the road, at times 4 days in a week. I do it for myself, I do it for my kids.”
    She also slammed people spreading the rumours, said that they are ruining the minds of young girls by telling them that the only way they can make it big is with the help of men.
    Ehi also denied dating men for their money, says she date men she loves and not because of their money.
    She said, “I’ll be the last person, by the grace of God, to date a man for money.”

     
     

    A woman alleged to be the friend of Iheoma Nnadi who blocked her for refusing to attend a party has replied back.
    Recall that the Beauty Queen on Instagram, revealed that a friend blocked her for refusing to attend a party due to COVID and also because she didn’t wish her happy new year first.
    An alleged friend of the former beauty queen has now replied back, although it’s not yet clear if she was the said friend Iheoma talked about since she did not call names.
    The lady took to Instagram Stories few minutes after Iheoma’s post to state that “ no body above blocking.”

    She also called out married women of Lagos, as she claims most of the married women cheat on their husband.
    “Married women of Lagos state stop doing ashewo inside husband house oh, leave when you’re tired. Shameless bunch of fools.” She wrote.
     

     
    In another slide, she wrote, “You sabi talk abi? Wait for me big shameless fool.

     
    She continued: “Does your lifestyle matches with what your husband gives you? Wait, I dey come for you.”

     

    Bisi Alimi has reacted after Nigerians started asking him to weigh infer in the feud between Nigerian cross dressers, Bobrisky and James Brown.
    The LGBTQ activist, warned Nigerians to leave him out of their drama after he revealed that he being dragged in to their drama.
    In a new video, Alimi said, “Please, all of you, stop dragging me into James Brown’s and Bobrisky’s drama. I’m not interested, so, please, stop it now.”
    Bisi had once stated that Bobrisky is a threat to the LGBTQ community and has slammed him for profiting off his cross dressing.
    Watch the video.
    https://www.instagram.com/reel/CKHOCYiHBcY/?igshid=7d7qtiruxg6m
     
     
     

    The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has confirmed that the Third Mainland bridge will be reopened to traffic by February 15.
    The closure and repair of the bridge had led to traffic across the Lagos metropolis.

    Fashola gave the update during the inspection of construction work on major roads and bridges in Lagos State today January 14.
    According to the Minister, the closure of the third mainland bridge is delaying the scheduled maintenance on Falomo bridge.
    The third mainland bridge has been shut July 24, 2020. The repairs were expected to have been concluded by the end of January 2021. However, the ministry and its contractors said they lost two weeks to the EndSARS protests and had to extend the completion date by two weeks.
     

    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.
     

    Relationship expert Blessing Okoro said without side chick some marriages would have been long dead.
    The controversial relationship blogger, said that some side chicks has made married women to sit up.

     
    She added that without side chicks, some women will turn palliatives in their   husband’s house.
    However, some of social media users has slammed her for such statements, while others agreed with her.
     


    A Twitter user has shared screenshots of the conversations he had with a lady who tried to shoot her shot.
    According to the conversation shared online, the lady chatted the guy first. After they exchanged greetings, the lady told the man that she likes him.
    However, the man told the lady that she was pretty but that he is not available after she asked for her number.
    The man explained that he has a girlfriend and doesn’t want to entertain other pretty girl because he doesn’t want to be distracted. In response to the man’s message the lady said his explanation was insulting.
    The lady went ahead to insult him while calling him a bastard for refusing her advances. Sharing the message on Twitter, the man wrote; “I’m not the one to usually post stuff like this but this is funny AF! Omo!”
    See the screenshots from the message below.




     
     

    Lagos TrafficThere is an alarming rise in traffic robbery in Africa’s commercial hub, which has posed a major source of worry for all road users and the government.
    In Lagos today, especially in areas of heavy traffic, stories have been told of day and night robbers unleashing terror and mayhem on helpless road commuters and motorists.
    Victims and eyewitnesses have shared pathetic tales of how the daredevil traffic robbers have defied the presence of security personnel and gone ahead to attack innocent road users, carting away valuables and sometimes, killing those who struggle with them.
    In recent times, the fear of a traffic robber is the beginning of wisdom as motorists never toy with the opportunity to wind up completely when stuck in traffic. Surprisingly, the culprits seem invisible until they appear right before you, skillfully snatching your mobile phone, wristwatch, costly jewelry or a bag lying lazily on any of the car seats.
    Other times, even when motorists wind up completely, and making good use of the central lock of the car, there have been instances where the car windscreen or window is smashed and valuable items whisked away in a heartbeat.
    This has become a source of worry for motorists heading to work in the early hours of the morning, driving through traffic infested zones or heading home after a long hectic day at work.
    Lagosians have since begun to express fears and concerns that the state is fast returning to the Pre Babatunde Fashola days, were things like these were a common occurrence.  Localities such as Oshodi, Mile 2, Okokomaiko, Cele, top the list of places were these criminals operate with reckless abandon — whether at day or at night — making motorists who ply those areas do so with their hearts in their mouths.
    Lagosians have called on the government to look into the situation and create a lasting situation, as they can no longer drive on roads without being apprehensive of what atrocity, another traffic robber ahead, may have in store for them.
    Arrested Traffic RobbersWhat police has done
    Over the last couple of months, the Lagos State Police Command says it has doubled its efforts and introduced fresh strategies in order to combat the menace of traffic robbery in the state.
    It appears that the strategies employed have yielded some good, as a series of the arrests that have been made, in an effort to rid the state of such activities.
    For instance, in May 2019, the Lagos state police command announced the arrest of about 18 traffic robbers.
    According to the command’s Public Relations Officer(PRO), Bala Elkana, the suspected traffic robbers were nabbed at various locations in the state.
    Elkana also noted that the arrests were only possible because of the fresh strategies initiated by the state’s Commissioner of Police, CP Zubairu Muazu.

    In an interview with Information Nigeria on Wednesday, the police spokesperson said the command has taken drastic measures to address the menace in the state. He noted also that surveillance patrol has been deployed to areas where they frequently received reports of traffic robbery.
    According to Mr. Elkana, those robbers take advantage of traffic situations to rob motorists within a matter of minutes. Therefore to solve this, the police spokesperson said the command has deployed undercover police officers to crime-prone areas where they pretend as traders.
    “In one week alone, we got close to nine suspects arrested and recovered a lot of weapons from them, ” he said.
    He further revealed that 12 suspects were arrested in the other week and in subsequent weeks, there was a harvest of arrests and that is really bringing down the menace in the state.
    Also, earlier this month, the command issued a strong warning to traffic robbers and cult members in the state to either quit their criminal lifestyle or leave the state completely.
    The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Mohammed Ali, stressed that the command was working on new strategies to crack down and suppress the activities of these traffic criminals including cult members harassing citizens of the state.
    Security OperativesSpeaking with journalists at the Command Headquarters, in Ikeja on July 3rd, he said: “Traffic robbers and cultists are criminals. My advice to them is to relocate out of Lagos, otherwise, we will dislocate them. Anyone arrested will be charged to court and end up in prison. Then, life to such a person will have no meaning.
    “So, instead of wasting your life as a young boy or young person growing, by ending up in jail, why don’t you drop the idea of joining any of these groups of criminals- be it cultists, traffic robbers, armed robbers or kidnappers.
    Lagosians recount their unpalatable experiences with traffic robbers
    Information Nigeria, in separate interviews, spoke with a few residents who narrated how they watched in total confusion at the swiftness and skills these criminals employ as they carried out their activities in traffic.
    Nnaemke Ezekwu said that he was in traffic at Oshodi, alone in his car when “the rogue entered my car and emptied my pocket, very bad experience, ” he said.
    Abdul-Raheem Yaasir said: “my dad was robbed recently at Ikeja under bridge, they collected all his stuff and he is still facing a lot because of that day. Hmm, what a country!!!”
    Muri Oladokun said: “Ladipo in Lagos state is a no go area and the police nearby are bunch of rubbish.”
    “I was rubbed together with my colleagues in the vehicle, especially when a bystander hinted them that I was of the Oyo state Governorship aspirant, they started chasing my vehicle with knives and clubs, ” he said.
    “When we reported to the police, the officer simply said “in the broad daylight”, the officer instead asked me for ‘egunje’ before he could commence investigation,” he concluded.
    It appears these criminals are gaining more grounds with each passing day, as more Lagosians continue to get robbed of their valuables, day and night by these young men, who have mastered their act to near perfection. The government and all appropriate authorities must rise above rhetorics and tackle this menace headlong before it grows into an uncontrollable one.
    The post (EXCLUSIVE) Traffic Robberies On The Rise In ‘Mega City’ Of Lagos 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.

    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.

    No less than 14 people have been reported dead in the ongoing cult clash in the Obun-Ale, Ireshe, Ladega, Itunpate, Kokoro-Abu and Adamo areas of Ikorodu, Lagos.

     
    14 people dead as Ikorodu cult clash enters day 3 According to the Lagos State Police Command, four people have already been arrested in connection with the clashes between suspected members of the Aiye and Eiye confraternities.
    PUNCH Metro gathered that clashes started on Sunday, with 14 persons feared dead as of Tuesday.
    An eyewitness, Farouk Aderibigbe, reported that the clash started when suspected members of the Aiye Confraternity shot dead four persons, including an innocent motorcyclist, identified simply as Pastor, around Ireshe and Obun-Ale on Sunday.
    He said,
    Another eyewitness, Oke Fakunle, said during a reprisal on Monday, suspected members of the Eiye Confraternity allegedly shot two rival members dead, adding that a yet-to-be-identified businessman was also killed while resisting the cultists from looting his shop
    He said,
    The clashes took another dimension on Tuesday, when seven persons, who were said to be innocent, were shot dead by suspected members of the Aiye Confraternity, who invaded the Adamo area of Ikorodu.
     

    Apostle Paul Okikijesu of the Christ Apostolic Miracle Ministry has claimed in a series of prophecies that God revealed to him there will be a serious crisis in Aso Rock.
    According to him, the said crisis will shake the entire nation and affect every soul in the country.
    He said there will be a great misunderstanding between the Fulani herdsmen and Niger Delta people.
    “Thus says the Lord of hosts: A looming crisis will burst in Aso Rock between January and March 2021. It will have a widespread effect; it will shake the Nation and make people to tremble,” he said in the prophecies made available to DAILY POST.
    “Thus says the Lord: People should pray seriously for Aso Rock, because of the crisis that can make every soul in Nigeria to be worried. Write this period down, that is what will happen and there is nothing that can be removed from it, says the Lord God of hosts,” he said.
    He further said that a 2023 presidential aspirant will pass on.
    He also predicted the death of a sitting Governor, while a woman will take over after much crisis.
    “Thus says the Lord of hosts: One of the 2023 Presidential aspirants is about to leave this world, and rest permanently. Three of them are presently sick and they are being treated. If one of them dies, the remaining two sick aspirants will be afraid.
    “A male governor will die and the Deputy Governor who is female will assume the position of the Governor of the State.
    “Thus says the Lord: They will agree that the woman who is the Deputy Governor should be the Interim Governor. It will be like the case of Jonathan and Ya’radua.
    “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The people of Niger-Delta will flare up between February and March 2021.
    “Certain things will manifest that will cause great misunderstanding between the people of Niger-Delta and the Fulani Herdsmen,” he added.
     

    A woman abandoned her husband for her 21-stepson and has undergone surgery to look more beautiful and you g for him.
    35 year old Russian  fitness blogger, Marina Balmesheva is pregnant with her stepson’s baby and has even insisted on prenup to safeguard her assets.
    Marina has known her current boyfriend since he was seven-years-old and has been married to his step son’s father.
    According to the ex-husband, he accused her of seducing his son while stating that the boy is not experienced with women and that the woman reduced his son.
    “He had not had a girlfriend before her,” he fumed. They were not shy to have sex while I was at home.I would have forgiven her cheating, if it wasn’t my son…
    “She was running to my son’s bed from our bedroom when I was sleeping. After that she was coming back and lying in bed with me as if nothing had happened.”
    However, the lady Marina says her previous marriage was “not living but pretending” as she states that she doesn’t want to return to her former marriage.
    “Did I have regrets that I destroyed the family? Both yes and no. I was ashamed that I killed the stability of ‘mum and dad’.
    “Did I want to return to my ex? No. Do I feel anger and hatred to him? Not any longer. He is a good person and a wonderful father to our children.
    She also revealed that the children she and her Ex-husband adopted, took the divorce very calming.
    “How did children take the changes? Absolutely calmly.
    What [do I have] today? I am married. I moved to a bigger city. I love and I am loved.”
    However, the lady seems to sensed that her new relationship with her stepson may not last.
    “He is only beginning to settle down,” she said.
    “We now share everything but he understands and admits that it is me who earned for our car and first mortgage payment.
    “We will have a child. Perhaps, more than one. I am hoping for a strong marriage, but it does not stop us from having a marriage contract with everything registered to me remaining mine in case of divorce.”
    “Why? Because we are together, but I am not his sponsor. Yes, now, while he is finding his feet, all expenses are on me. We know clearly who is earning what.
    “I knew what I signed up for, and so did he […] I will simply guide him and support him.”
    Marina had also revealed that she had even undergone cosmetic surgery for her new boyfriend.
    She boasted: “How a person can change
     
    “On the before photos I am 32-33, this February I will be 36.” So many people tell me to use makeup – make lashes, and curl my pubic hair – because of my young husband.
    “But there is one thing – he fell in love with me with all my scars from plastic surgeries, cellulite, excessive skin and personality. And I do not want to seem better than what I am.”
    As for the baby she’s expecting, she said that Vladimir’s mother – another ex-wife of Alexey’s – would help them care for the baby.
    “I have an interesting experience given that my former mother-in-law was a former mother-in-law of my current mother-in-law,” she said.
     

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    The Sokoto state Commissioner of Home Affairs, Abdulkadir Jeli Abubakar III has died after a protracted illness.
    Abubakar, who is a younger brother to Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III reportedly died on Wednesday.
    He was once the Commissioner of Information during Governor Aminu Tambuwal first tenure in office.
     
    He also served as Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA).
    The deceased was survived by two wives and many children and has been buried according to Islamic rights.
    Details of his death are still sketchy, as there is no official statement from the Sokoto state government.
     
     

    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;
     

    Nigerian singers, Adekunle Gold and Simi are celebrating their second wedding anniversary today January 13th, 2021.
    The couple last year celebrated their wedding anniversary in Cape Verde, but such romantic trip looks unlikely this year due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

    Adekunle Gold and Simi had their white wedding in January 2019 and have since welcomed a baby girl. The love birds took to social media to celebrate their second wedding anniversary, as they professed their love for each other.
    Celebrating the special day, Adekunle Gold wrote on Instagram;
    Simi on her own part wrote;
     

    African Union (AU) has secured bout 270 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for distribution across the continent, AU head South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed.
    According to him all doses will be used this year.

    Although infection numbers and death rates are comparatively lower across most of Africa, a new variant of Covid-19 in South Africa is causing particular alarm and spreading quickly along the region.
    At least 50 million of the doses will be available “for the crucial period of April to June 2021,” he said.
    The WHO Regional Director for Africa praised the move during an online media briefing on Thursday.
    “Covax can only cover 20% of the African population, so it is really wonderful to see the African Union’s efforts to secure a provisional 270 million doses by the end of 2021…” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.
    The African Export–Import Bank will support the strategy by providing advancements of up to $2 billion to the manufacturers on behalf of member states, Raphomasa added
    The African Union and the World Bank are also working together to to allow member states access to $5 billion to purchase more vaccines, according to Ramaphosa.
     

    Aliko Dangote, the wealthiest man in Africa, has reportedly faced a huge loss in his business. The business magnate is said to have lost a total of $900 million equivalent to N343 billion within 24 hours.
    The business magnate lost a substantial amount of his earnings after his company, Dangote Industries Limited emerged the biggest loser at the end of trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
    According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Dangote’s wealth reportedly fell from $18.4bn on to $17.5bn on Friday. However, he managed to secure a spot among the 500 billionaires across the globe and he is now the 114th wealthiest man in the world. Before his loss, he held the 106th position.
    The report reads;
    “The majority of Dangote’s fortune is derived from his 86 per cent stake in publicly-traded Dangote Cement. He holds the shares in the company directly and through his conglomerate, Dangote Industries.
    His most valuable closely held asset is a fertiliser plant with capacity to produce up to 2.8 million tonnes of urea annually, according to the international news agency.
    “A $12bn oil refinery that is currently being developed in Nigeria isn’t included in the valuation because it’s not yet operational and construction costs are calculated to outweigh its current value”.
     

    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.

    Aisha Yesufu, who is the Co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement has said she witnessed same-sex marriages in Nigeria in the 1980s.
    She made the statement on her Twitter page earlier today where she stated that homosexuality was not a new discovery in Nigeria, adding that the choice of sexuality is personal.

     
    Aisha Yesufu: I witnessed same-sex marriages in Nigeria in the 80s
    When questioned by a Twitter user Imorta Rakeem about the veracity of her claims, Yesufu replied that the LGBTQ community in Nigeria is unaware that homosexuality existed in Nigeria before the coming of the colonialists.

    Homosexuality and same-sex relationships attract a penalty of up to 14 years in Nigeria.
     

    British-based Nigerian billionaire businessman, Aare Boluwatife Akin-Olugbade is reportedly dead.
    He reportedly died at the age of 64 from complications from covid-19.

     
    Boluwatife Akin-Olugbade is dead – Reportedly dies from Covid-19 Chief Akin-Olugbade, was a native of Owu kingdom in Ogun State, Chief Akin is described as one of the world’s largest Rolls-Royce collector.
    He is so obsessed with the brand that he once had 10 Rolls Royce cars, which were customised with plate numbers – “BOLU 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on”
    Akin-Olugbade was one of the largest collectors worldwide.
    His 10th Rolls Royce, the Cullinan worth $450,000, was reportedly the first shipped to Africa in 2019.
    A man of taste and glamour, Akin-Olugbade told ThisDay in 2018:
    Late Owu Chief attended Corona School, Yaba; King’s College, Lagos; London University; University of California (master’s in Law); and Cambridge University where he got his doctorate specialising in Company Law.
    His business interests cut across law, property development, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, maritime and offshore services, investment banking, etc.
     

    Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi scored his first league goal in 15 months last night, as Everton secured a 2-1 away win over Wolverhampton in their Premier League clash at Molineux.

    Iwobi was on target in the sixth minute off an assist from Lucas Digne as he coolly finished Digne’s pass into the bottom corner to give Carlo Ancelotti’s side an early lead at the Molineux.
    However, Wolves midfielder, Ruben Neves was on hand to restore parity for the hosts in the 14th minute.
    Everton later got the maximum points on offer through Michael Keane’s 76th-minute goal to win the away tie 2-1.
    Before finally scoring in Tuesday night’s clash, the last time Iwobi scored in the Premier League was in September 2019 and interestingly it was also against Wolves.
    Everton are now in the fourth position on the EPL standings with 32 points from 17 games and they are just four points adrift of new table toppers, Manchester United.
     

    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 MainaThe Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday has remanded a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, in prison, till the end of his trial.
    Justice Okon Abang gave the order following an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecution counsel, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar.
    Ruling on the EFCC’s application for a remand order, Justice Abang said, “The defendant is already on bench warrant having jumped bail.
    Also Read: Maina’s Trial Resumes In Abuja
    “So he shall be remanded in correctional centre pending the conclusion of the trial.”
    A lawyer, Adaji Abel, who newly took over Maina’s defence on Friday after his former counsel withdrew from the case, appealed to the judge to adjourn the case to enable him to prepare adequately for the case.
    The judge acceded to the request and adjourned till December 8.
     
    The post Alleged Money Laundering: Court Sends Maina To Prison 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.

    The Federal Government has said it will shut down the Lagos-Ibadan and the Abuja-Kaduna train services should there be any case of Covid-19 detected among passengers.

    The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated this on Monday while featuring on NTA Good Morning Nigeria programme, the Punch reports.
    He said train users must comply with all Covid-19 protocols from the beginning of every trip to the end.
    The minister said,
    The minister also added that the $1.6bn Lagos-Ibadan railway project which would be completed this month would be inaugurated virtually by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
    The Nigerian Railway Corporation had in December 2020 commenced operations for the Lagos-Ibadan railway, a standard gauge rail covering a distance of 156km.
     

    By Brigadier General SK Usman (rtd) mni FNIPR fapra mnarc DFOARM
    The date, 15 January of every year, is a significant day for Nigerians, especially serving military personnel, ex-servicemen and women, their families, and friends.

    It is also meaningful to families and friends of those gallant service personnel who paid the supreme price with their dear lives and those wounded in action.
    These unique sets of people voluntarily decided to serve the nation through thick and thin to the extent of being killed or injured either in Nigeria to defend its territorial integrity or elsewhere.
    The Armed Forces and Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC) is a worldwide phenomenon in which nations set aside a particular day annually to celebrate their Armed Forces. Although most have certain things in common, the date and sequence of events celebrating it varies from one country to another. These standard denominations include prayers, parades, laying of the wreath and charitable activities.
    The Armed Forces’ celebrations started with the monarchical context and after that the Versailles treaty in 1919. The celebration is designed and is not by accident, to be in line with the Realists’ theory, belief in military power to fulfil the state’s interest. The Developed World followed the Realists’ philosophy that states that national interests should supersede all other interests. National power denotes military might or power, hence the celebration of the Armed Forces.
    The global celebration of the Armed Forces in such a manner in the modern context dates to World War I, which officially ended when the Allied Nations and Germany signed the Versailles Treaty in France on 28 June 1919. However, war hostilities ended seven months earlier, precisely, on 11 November 1918 which has since been observed as the Veterans Day every year, regardless of the day of the week it falls, all over the world, especially among the member states of the Commonwealth.
    In line with global trends, Nigeria had celebrated its Armed Forces and Remembrance Day Celebration (AFRDC) in the past on 11 November each year. However, it adopted 15 January every year to celebrate her Armed Forces for some significant historical reasons. Nigeria chooses 15 January to commemorate the day the 3-year Nigerian Civil War officially ended in 1970. The celebration is not misplaced as the worldwide military plays a significant role, especially on any nation’s defence and security issues. Thus, respect for the military in most countries is part of national culture and tradition. The military is a significant part of national power and the last resort in defence and security, so nations strive hard to have a virile and formidable Armed Forces. Here in Nigeria, the military is also a symbol of national unity and its contribution to national unity, peace, security, and development is unquantifiable.
    Therefore, the observance of a day like this helps the system pay more attention to the Armed Forces; honour and appreciate them for their sacrifices, patriotism, unflinching love for the country. It will help the citizenry appreciate the service personnel’s willingness to serve and sacrifice for the nation. We owe a debt of gratitude to these courageous men and women in uniform and their families for shouldering a tremendous burden on behalf of us. The gallant officers, soldiers, ratings, airmen, and women voluntarily served and sacrificed their youth and most productive parts of their lives to the nation. In most countries of the world, the military enjoys honour and Constitutional roles on defence and security issues.
    Thus, many Nigerians hardly know or understand the significant role of this critical segment of society in the country’s national life and development. The AFN global exploits started when they fought in the two World Wars, civil wars against rebels and enthroned peace and democracy in Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Just recently, they assisted in stabilizing the polity in Ivory Coast, the Gambia and Guinea Bissau. One of the most significant national contributions of the AFN is the Civil War’s success to keep Nigeria as one entity. For the fast ten years, they have been involved in internal security duties to curtail violent extremism, militancy, separatists’ agitations, ethnic and religious conflicts, banditry, kidnapping, while practicing in case of any hostile foreign aggression on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria. They are notwithstanding its continuous participation in peacekeeping and peace support operations in the search for global peace. In performing their duties, some were wounded in action and many have lost their lives so that Nigeria could be peaceful, secured and the citizenry safe in conducting their daily activities. Above all, they have performed marvelously well, thus, deserving commendation.
    The Legal Framework which provides for the establishment and consequent deployment of the Armed Forces of Nigeria are in Sections 217 and 218 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended), respectively and other subsidiary legislations such as the Armed Forces Act Cap A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2001 and the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service 2017. The primary duty of the AFN is to defend Nigeria from external aggression, maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea, or air. It is also to suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authority when called upon by the President and may also perform such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly. Over the years, the AFN have been discharging its Constitutional duties creditably well despite obvious limitation and distractions occasioned by politicization of security issues. Despite these sterling performances, there is still lack of understanding of the roles of the AFN and noticeable poor cultural affinity with the Nigerian society.
    Therefore, the AFN deserve understanding, encouragement, serious and generous commendation, and sincere appreciation by the citizenry, rather than denigration, undue criticisms, abuses, and all forms of negative comments especially from those that ought to know better. The most worrisome aspect is the politicization of security for political expediency rather than national interest. Nigerians, therefore, need to develop the culture and tradition of appreciating the AFN and the veterans, as this personnel on their own have decided to curtail their freedoms and privileges as citizens and lay down their lives for the benefit of humanity and fellow countrymen and women, peace, and development in Nigeria.
    It is very disheartening to see some Nigerians denigrating our Armed Forces for inconsequential or unjustifiable reasons. This attitude gave some non-governmental organisations the impetus to continually harass, embarrass, demonize, and paint our gallant Armed Forces in lousy light. A clear example was the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Amnesty International, who were equating them with one of the world’s detested terrorist organisation; Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists’ group. It is essential to know that whatever affects the country’s Armed Forces, equally affects its security architecture. The continued haranguing of the AFN by these organisations is demoralizing and should therefore stop.
    As we celebrate these breeds of courageous and gallant people, some of whom are not with us in this world, we need to reflect and appreciate our Armed Forces’ sacrifices and all they have been through to make Nigeria better. They endure hardship, deprivation, safeguarding our lives and properties, risking their lives and yet do not ask for anything other than our collective support, prayers, and respect. In this vein, I enjoin Nigerians to show more understanding, while corporate organisations, institutions and businesses should institute unique treatments for service personnel and our veterans.
    To further earn the trust and respect of Nigerians, the AFN must continue to respect human rights and the rule of law. They should be more conscious of their critical role in our Constitution’s defence, guaranteeing peace and security in Nigeria by being more professional and always making the nation proud. The military should exercise more understanding and restraint in their dealings with civilians. They should continue to remain apolitical, professional and bastion of hope in our collective quest for peace and stable democracy in Nigeria.
    The politicisation of security issues in the country is counterproductive to our quest for peace and security. The nation should commit more resources to improve the welfare of troops, equipment, and training and enhance the welfare of the families of fallen heroes and those wounded in action. We should also enhance good governance and welfare of the people. The Government should adopt more creative ways of conflict resolution and create an enabling environment for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians devoid of circumstances that are excavating the security situation in the country that warrants the military’s deployment. Leaders should know that most conflicts are resolved through dialogue. They should therefore explore mechanisms of solving disputes that could make resort to military efforts more effective.
    I join millions of well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians to celebrate our Armed Forces today and always. Happy Armed Forces and Remembrance Day Celebrations 2021 to our gallant and patriotic Armed Forces of Nigeria and their families. May the gentle souls of our fallen heroes continue to rest in peace, amen.
     

    A Texas megachurch pastor and former spiritual adviser to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush has been sentenced to six years in prison for bilking investors out of millions of dollars.

     
    Barack Obama, George Bush pastor jailed 6 years for fraud Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, 67, was sentenced Wednesday in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he and his co-defendant, Gregory A. Smith, were indicted in 2018.
    Caldwell, who in March pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, was the senior pastor of Houston’s Windsor Village United Methodist Church, which has about 14,000 members.
    He was a spiritual adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
    According to federal prosecutors, Caldwell and Smith, a Shreveport-based investment adviser, used their clout and influence to persuade people to invest about $3.5 million in historical Chinese bonds.
    The bonds were reportedly issued by the former Republic of China that lost power to the communist government in 1949.
    The bonds aren’t recognized by China’s current government and have no investment value.
    Caldwell “used his status as the pastor of a mega-church to help convince the many victim investors that they were making a legitimate investment.
    Instead he took their hard-earned money from them and used it for his own personal gain,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook said in a statement.
    Caldwell used about $900,000 he received from the scheme to maintain his lifestyle and pay down credit cards and mortgages, according to the Justice Department.
    Caldwell has a master’s degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and had worked in the financial industry.
    In November, Smith was also sentenced to six years in prison.
    In a video posted on Facebook, Floyd LeBlanc, chairman of the Windsor Village Church Family Personnel Committee, said Caldwell has taken full responsibility and paid full restitution to all the victims.
    LeBlanc said Caldwell has remained active within the church during his case, including helping with virtual ministry and weekly food distributions to families during the pandemic.
    “Mr. Caldwell has apologised and asked forgiveness from the people harmed in this matter,” LeBlanc said.
    LeBlanc also described Caldwell as a victim for choosing the wrong business partners.
     

    Bashir Ahmad, has shared a photo of the white pigeons flying out of the cage at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Abuja.

    President Buhari had earlier today the symbolic White pigeons at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
    The event took place this morning, Friday, January 15 in remembrance of the fallen heroes who dead serving the nation.
    However, the pigeon refused to fly after it was released but later flew when after some minutes.
    The video has since gone viral as Nigerians reacts on social media.
    To counter the opinions of many, Bashir shared a photo of the pigeons flying out of the cage.
    While responding to a Tweet, Bashir in a now-deleted tweet, also gave an explanation of why the Pigeons did not initially fly and what happened to them.
    See his explanation below;


     

    BBNaija ex-couple Ike Onyema and Mercy Eke are no longer together following their messy break online.
    However, seems like the drama is far from over, as the reality stars are constantly trying to out do the other in terms of their recent affairs and relationships.
    Yesterday, Thursday January 14, a video of Mercy rocking and twerking on her alleged new man while he caressed her ass in a club went viral on social media.
    Mercy also shared videos of herself and her alleged man on Snapchat which led to the speculation that the reality star might be seeing another man identified as Montana.
    Watch video below.

    Few hours after the video went viral, Ike’s Snapchat video of himself having fun with two unidentified ladies feeding in bed in South Africa also surfaced on line.
    Watch video below.

     
    BBNaija’s Ike shares video of himself in bed with 2 ladies, after video of Mercy twerking on her man went viral (video)
    Queen Nwadah

    Controversial relationship expert, Blessing Okoro, has stated that most people who hate cheating are cheats too.

    Taking to her Instagram page, she said a large percentage of people who detest it when their partners are unfaithful to them are likely cheats as well.
    She stated that the major reason why such people hate it is that they hate feeling like their partners pulled a fast one on them.
    See what she wrote below;
    It can also be recalled that the relationship expert had previously spoken about the cause of married woman sleeping around with young boys.
    Blessing in a video sighted byjaonline, said the women cheat because of lack of satisfaction and communication. She said;
     

    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.
     
     

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Maryam SandaAn Appeal Court in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by Maryam Sanda for lacking in merit.
    The court upheld the judgment by the FCT High Court which had sentenced her to death by hanging for killing her husband, Bilyaminu Bello.
    Recall that on 27th January, Justice Yusuf Halilu gave the sentence in Abuja while delivering judgment on the protracted trial of Missus Sanda.
    Also Read: Why Appeal Court Must Uphold Maryam Sanda’s Death Sentence: Police
    In his two-hour Judgement, Presiding Judge, Justice Steven Adah, held that the court is duty-bound to do justice according to law and not sentiments.
    The judge further held that the law does not leave room for irregularities, adding that parties must conduct criminal trials according to the law.
     
     
    The post BREAKING: Appeal Court Affirms Maryam Sanda’s Death Sentence appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    CourtA member of the House of Representatives, Victor Mela has been sentenced to one-month imprisonment by a Magistrate Court in Wuse, Zone 6.
    The lawmaker who represents Billiri/Balanga federal constituency was, however, given an option of fine.
    Also Read: North Is The Worst Place To Live In Nigeria -Sultan of Sokoto
    Recall that on November 10 that a magistrate court found the lawmaker guilty of lying under oath while filling the CD001 INEC form prior to the 2019 elections.
    The magistrate had, however, set a different date for sentencing of the lawmaker after his lawyer pleaded for leniency.
    Mr Mela swore to an affidavit thrice, denying citizenship of another country whereas he has a British passport.
     
    The post BREAKING: Court Jails Rep Member For Lying appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Nyesom WikeAn explosion has reportedly rocked a church belonging to the father of Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
    The Rivers State Police Command has however announced the arrest of three suspects who allegedly detonated explosives at a Pentecostal church, Christain Universal Church International, located at Mile 3, Diobu area of Port Harcourt.
    Also Read: Buhari Will Set Nigeria On Fire If He Doesn’t Implement People’s Demands —Wike
    The act was reportedly carried out on Saturday night and detonated the explosives suspected to be dynamite.
    According to reports, a significant part of the church was damaged by the explosion, which created panic in the area.
    The post BREAKING: Police Arrest Suspects As Explosion Rocks Wike Father’s Church 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.

    Manchester United and Portuguese midfielder, Bruno Fernandes has become the first player in the English Premier League history to win Player of the Month four times in the same calendar year.

    He has been in superb form since joining the EPL in January 2020.
    Bruno Fernandes was on Friday named Premier League Player of the Month for December, after scoring three goals in six Premier League appearances in December as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side went unbeaten, winning four games and drawing the other two.
    He also picked up the award in November, May and February.
    The Portugal international has emerged as a key figure at Manchester United since joining from Sporting CP 12 months ago, scoring 15 goals in 26 games this season across all competitions, helping Manchester United move three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
     

    A fashion designer, model and budding Nigerian actor, David Mela is dead.
    The actor passed away after reportedly battling an unknown illness.

     
    Budding actor David Mela is dead According to reports, the actor died on Monday and his friends have been sending their tributes on diverse social media platforms.
    A friend, Itz Atagher Hardin Pee while lamenting over his death, wrote:
    Other comments gathered on his social media page:
    Blessing Mela said: “We are not fine, u left a vacuum in our heart.”   Tyogyer Dorcas said: “Kai, so painful, Rest in peace of the Lord Jesus Christ Amen.”   Ortwer Samuel said: “My condolences to the family. We pray for the repose of his soul.”   Darling Doo said: “Kai! My brother, it’s so sad to know that you’re no more.”  

    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.

    Tragedy struck in Arue-Uromi, Esan-North East Local Government Area of Edo State on Friday, January 16, when six children were crushed to death by a Mercedes Benz car bearing a learner driver sign. 
    It was gathered that the children, four girls and two boys, said to be siblings, were playing football when an approaching Mercedes Benz car, which in an attempt to dodge a pothole, swerved and killed them on the spot.
    Another account of the incident said the children were crossing the road when the car ran into them.
    The accident provoked anger as residents of the community immediately blocked the road and burnt the Mercedes Benz.
    Edo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Henry Benamaisia, confirmed the incident.



    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.

    A suspected thief has been captured by CCTV camera after he raided a home in the Lekki, Lagos State.
    The incident happened on January 3 and was captured by a CCTV camera installed in the house. Footage of the incident has been released online.
    According to LIB, the owner of the home named Jibola Onanuga, revealed that the thief stole a car, a laptop, 55 inch smart tv, water dispenser and slots of other items yet to be identified.

     
    The incident has also been reported to the police according to Onanuga, who wrote;
    “A thief broke into my house in Ilasan Lekki on the 3rd of January and stole my car ..a light blue Toyota Highlander with registration number KRF353FC and so many other valuables.
    I have reported the case to the local police station in the area, however we have not made a head way yet… the reason I brought this here. I had cctv camera installed in my house and this captured the face the thief which I have attached to this email.
    In addition to the car he stole , he stole a laptop, 55 inch smart tv, home theater system, water dispenser, industrial blender , juicer machine , hampers, many bottles of wine , standing fan, DVD player, bag, jacket and other items I am yet to identify.
    I believe this thief can be caught.. handed over  to the police”


     

    The Daily Show host and GRAMMY-nominated comedian Trevor Noah is set to host the 2021 Grammys, according to the Grammy Awards website.

     
    Comedian Trevor Noah to host 2021 Grammys The show host in a statement revealed that he is so excited to be hosting the event.
    Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy maintained that Trevor is the perfect choice to host the show.
    He said.
    This will be the first time Noah will host the Grammy.
     

    Former Aviation Minister, Rotimi AmaechiFormer Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi was appointed Minister of Transportation to superintend what were previously two ministries —Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Aviation, with Senator HadiSirika as Minister of State.
    By virtue of the fusion of the erstwhile ministries — transport and aviation — the new Transportation Ministry has 13 agencies and parastatals to be overseen by Amaechi and his minister of state, Sirika.
    The agencies in the maritime subsector include the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding of Nigeria (CFRRN) in addition to bodies and associations of industry operators.
    In the aviation subsector, the ministry of Transport controls the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN), commercial aviation regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, which are, however, being managed by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator HadiSirika.
    Other agencies in the Transportation ministry include the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT).
    Investigations reveal that, despite efforts by the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to reposition key agencies in the ministry, his overall performance, in four years, fell short of the hopes of Nigerians and industry operators.
    This is not to conclude that the former governor did not record achievements in the transportation sector. For instance, under his watch, the railway sector received a boost in the forms of construction and rehabilitation.
    Amaechi swaggers in railway and other sectors
    Some major achievements recorded by the Ministry of Transportation since the emergence of Buhari-led administration are: the completion and flag off for commercial operations of the Abuja – Kaduna standard gauge railway in 2016; comprehensive repair of runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to ensure safe and secure Air Transport System; commencement of the construction work on the Lagos – Ibadan railway standard gauge rail line with extension to the Lagos Port Complex at Apapa, Lagos; completion of the Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri railway standard gauge project, which was commenced over 30 years ago;  repositioning of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron in Akwa Ibom; completion of four international terminal buildings in Port Harcourt and Abuja airports; the laying of foundation for East-West rail line
    With the strategy to link major cities in the country with rail line, the Ministry of Transportation further completed the Lagos-Abeokuta Section of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.
    Under, Amaechi, the transportation ministry concluded and commissioned the first Inland Dry Port in Nigeria, sited in Kaduna State; and added more coaches and locomotives to the few available ones on the Kaduna-Abuja rail line.
     
    Amaechi bows out with failures in key sectors
    On the flip side, Amaechi was unable to deliver much success in the maritime sector. The performance of the erstwhile minister is rather unfortunate. For instance, shipping development underwent inestimable loss as indigenous capacity was almost wiped out.
    Over 90 per cent loss of capacity was recorded by indigenous ship owners, thereby causing high mortality rate.
    Under Amaechi’s watch, insecurity on Nigeria’s maritime realm worsened. All forms of insecurity, such as piracy, sea robbery, kidnapping for ransom, oil theft, illegal trafficking, among others within the nation’s maritime territory tripled.
    This insecurity upstretched shipping charges as foreign ship owners feared coming to Nigerian waters. Those, who gathered the courage to come, hiked series of surcharges on Nigerian shippers while insurance premium also doubled the previous charges.
    The $195 million maritime security contract, which was in line with efforts to check increasing criminal activities, might have helped, assuming the contracted was implemented.
    For four years, the former minister failed to expend the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), an interventionist fund meant to develop indigenous capacity in shipping.
    Also, on assumption of duty, the former governor promised to deliver the National Shipping line. He failed to keep to his promise. With this, however, Nigeria lost and had since continued to lose numerous economic and human development opportunities.
    Amaechi failed in his plan to float a national carrier. According to him, the project was suspended because cabinet members were divided on the modalities for its establishment. The cancellation announcement came barely two months after Nigeria unveiled the proposed airline at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18.
    Due to lack of concentration, foresight, and negligence, infrastructural decay, high cost of doing business at the ports and government policy inconsistencies, Nigerian ports, under Amaechi, lost initiatives to the neighbouring countries like Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
     
    Nigerians React
    A customer care representative, Seyi Oloyede, opined that Amaechi did well during his tenure as Transportation minister. According to him, “there was a huge restoration in the railway sector, as well as major federal roads, and Niger Bridge.
    “Amaechi also touched the aviation sector. He has done more than what Nigerians have expected.”
    Sola Ogunaike, on the other hand, said: “His ministry is the most performing so far.
    “He did his best in road, railway, water, and aviation sectors.
    “Without saying much, Amaechi performed better than all other ministers.”
    A civil servant, who does not want her name in print, said “we did not see any new mass transit scheme or improvement from his end, the only two projects Amaechi can confidently boast of are railway projects introduced and almost completed by his sworn enemy, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
    “Nigerians had expected Ameachi to initiate modern mass transit schemes that will see more comfortable, cheaper, and safer mass transit choices available to the masses, but he failed woefully in this regard”.
    Henry Ohakwe posited that “there is really anything to commend about the minister, as far as transportation in Nigeria is concerned today.
    “I have not seen anything done in the transport sector except for the completion of existing projects in railways.
    “President Buhari should endeavour to appoint competent ministers in his second term”.
    Efforts to get the former minister’s reaction, however, proved abortive as telephone calls to his phone were not answered.
    The post COMPILED: Rotimi Amaechi’s Failures As Minister Of Transportation (Exclusive) appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    A conjoined female twins has successfully been separated at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.
    According to the University of Ilorin Teaching hospital, the conjoined female twins were successfully separated by a team of medical experts on Thursday, January 14.

     
    The babies were separated by a 66-member of Nigerian team of paediatric surgeons, paediatricians, paediatric cardiologist, anaesthetists, cardiothoracic surgeon, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral scientists and many more.
    The team was led by Paediatric surgeon, Prof Lukman Abdul-Rahman who is pictured above carrying the babies.
    See photos below.


     

    Irish professional mixed martial artist and boxer, Connor Mcgregor has shown off his wristwatch worth well over N400 million.

    Taking to social media, Mcgregor showed off his expensive watch amidst his press rounds for his upcoming UFC 257 bout against Dustin Poirier
    The UFC fighter purchased the Astronomia Baguette watch in rose gold for a whopping $1 million.
    According to Hypebeast;
    Watch a video of the UFC star showing off his watch below;

     

    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)
    http://dailypost.ng/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Beggars.jpg
    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.

    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.

    A Nigerian man, Imbul Dooyum Kelvin, and his wife, Mimidoo Rufina, have cried out over alleged negligence at Gbaja Randle Mother and Child hospital in Surulere, Lagos, which led to the death of their two-month-old twin-daughter, Zoe, Igbere TV reports.
    Imbul disclosed the unfortunate incident occurred on Friday, January 15, 2020, two days after they arrived the hospital.
    According to him, “We woke-up on Wednesday morning and my wife said our baby wasn’t eating well again so we took her to the hospital, the doctor examined her and said she was ok but let us run a blood test to confirm if there was an infection.
    Shortly after they took blood from her, my daughter cried for two-hours nonstop. We called the attention of the doctor and they rushed her to the ER and placed her on oxygen.
    She was responding very well not until on Friday, the doctor came in and asked my wife to breastfeed her because she was stable for breastfeeding, after breastfeeding her, my baby started crying and my wife ran to the nurses to please come check our daughter but instead they sent her away, telling her she disturb too much.
    My wife begged them with tears that please she’s not understanding her daughter but they neglected her, it was after the baby gave up that my wife started crying that they came to check her but by this time she was far gone already.”
    Mourning the baby, Imbul wrote;
     
     

    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.

    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.

    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.
     

    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.

    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.

    Governor WikeGovernor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has imposed a 24-hour total curfew for two weeks on some parts of Port-Harcourt, the state capital.
    The Governor made this known during a broadcast on Sunday where he noted that the curfew begins from Monday 23rd November 2020.
    The statement noted that the upsurge noticed by the state government in cases of cult activities, other forms of violence, and killings is responsible for the curfew.
    Also Read: Umahi Unhappy With PDP Because Atiku Picked Peter Obi – Wike
    Wike in the statement declared that the entire area along and around the Okoro-nodu flyover up to a one-kilometre radius from Saint Emmanuel Anglican Church, Rumuokoro, extending to the Rumuodomaya Slaughter and Local Government daily market will be affected.
    He added that no form of trading, human or vehicular movement is allowed in the affected areas until further notice.
    The post Cult Violence: Wike Imposes Two-Week Curfew Around Okoro-Nu-Odu appeared first on Information Nigeria.

    Dan Matakaya Mwaka was fast asleep when his wife poured sulfuric acid solution on his face, and also made sure the water on the floor in his room was electrified.

     
    Dan Matakaya Mwaka: Wife bathed him with acid, electrocuted him The inspector Matakaya who was a police officer in Kisii before the sad day of the incident in September 21 2013, never knew that would be the beginning of his sojourn into utter darkness as he eventually lost his sight from the acid attack.
    “I was given First Aid. My face was washed and I began seeing. The pain was so severe in my legs I struggled to walk. They tried to give me painkillers but there was no change,” he told the British broadcaster.

    After two days he was transferred to Kakamega County Hospital.
    He lost his sight during the process of hospital transfers.
    He said the doctors did grafting, removed tissues from other parts of the body for the burns to heal from inside.

    The surgeries stabilized his condition but he was not fully healed.
    The story of Inspector Matakaya is not a new one, but it is just getting media attention in the wake of increase in domestic violence in several homes across Africa.
     

    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.

    Nigerian singer Davido has reacted angrily after seeing a video of the the wife of a Presidential Candidate, Bobi Wine in Uganda being stripped by Police.

     
    Davido angry after seeing video of Police strip Bobi Wine wife naked This sad incident is coming just a day before the Presidential election in the east African country., and if you recall, Bobi Wine is contesting against the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni who has ruled the country for over 30 years.
    According to report, the Ugandan police force carried out an arrest on the wife of the Presidential aspirant who has the support of the people.
    In the viral video, Bobi Wine’s wife was dragged, stripped, and tortured in the presence of her son who struggled to rescue his mum while screaming, “leave my mummy.”
    In reaction, the popular Nigerian singer and songwriter expressed utter disgust at the abuse of power and the violation of human rights.
    “Jesus !! This is disgusting !this is so so bad !! POWER IS A DRUG !!”. He tweeted.
    Watch the video below;

     

    Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke, better known as Davido, has shared the touching letter he wrote to his late mother Veronica Adeleke.

    Veronica Adeleke died on the 6th of March 2003, before her death she was a lecturer at Babcock University.
    Davido has now taken to social media to remember his late mum, as she shared an old letter he wrote her.
    The superstar singer who expressed his love for his mother in the letter, captioned the photo he shared “Look what I found, Sweet mother.”
    The letter was a touching one in which the young David was expressing his love for his mother.

     

    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.

    Former Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba has announced that he is seperated from his wife Lalla Diakate who he met in the 1990s in Paris and married in 2011.
    The footballer whose has been private with his life, made the announcement after an intimate video of him in bed with a mystery woman went viral.
    In a statement issued by Drogba in regards to the video, the football legend said he separated from his wife last year.
    Drogba in the video was seen bare-chested in bed with a nearly-naked young woman. while the lady playfully sunk his teeth in to Drogba’s shoulder as he scream in pain. However, a representative claimed the video was hacked, the lady playfully sunk her teeth into Drogba’s shoulder as he screamed in pain.
    He then speaks to her in French about being bitten, and appeared to say; She’s positive!  She’ll infect me by biting me!”
    Confirming his split with his wife of 20 years, Drogba wrote;
    “I’m not in the habit of discussing my private life.
    “But, because of speculation in the media today, I can confirm that sadly, after 20 years together, Lalla and I took the difficult decision to separate last year.
    “We remain very close, and our main priorities have been to protect our children and our family’s private life.
    “May God bless you.
     

    President Donald Trump has approved a state of emergency for Washington, DC, through January 24, covering the date of US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

    The move comes after protesters loyal to President Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6, halting Congress’s counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory as the police evacuated lawmakers from the building. The incident left many dead and several others injured.
    Trump’s state of emergency declaration was in response to a letter sent to Trump on Sunday by Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who already declared a 15-day public emergency for the city shortly after pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the US Capitol.
    The emergency declaration authorized the department of homeland security and the federal emergency management agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the district of Columbia.
    FEMA is also authorized to identify, mobilize, and use discretion to provide resources and equipment to prevent any impacts of violence or situations of emergency.
     

    Lagos-based Nigerian socialite Ehi Ogbebor has shared chats between her and the Oluwo of Iwo to debunk rumors of her collecting his phone number.

     
    Phone Number Collection: Ehi Ogbebor shares chats with Oluwo of Iwo The entrepreneur yesterday was spotted in a video taking something from the Oluwp of Iwo when he was hugging her husband and at the same time shaking her hands while she was in the car.
    In the video, Ehi appeared to have received an item from the monarch which she promptly put away.
    Rumors immediately flew across social media that the monarch gave her his number right behind her alleged lover, MC Oluomo.
    Reacting to that, she shared their chat to disclose that she has had the number of Oluwo of Iwo before the time and it wouldn’t make any sense receiving it again.
    See below:
     



    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.

    West Ham have appointed Eve Vorley, a former porn star and director of X-rated films such as ‘Lesbian Student Nurses’ and ‘Hot Housewives on the Job’, to their board.

    Eve Vorley: West Ham appoint ex-Porn star to their board Vorley, whose real name is Emma Benton-Hughes, is the partner of West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan and has been pictured at the London Stadium watching the Hammers in action on numerous occasions.
    Now, she is stepping up into the day-to-day running of the club who are currently 10th in the Premier League standings.
    The 55-year-old Vorley was a Page 3 girl and directed a number of adult films in the late 90s and early 2000s.
    The adult entertainment industry is where her partner Sullivan has made his money – in the Sunday Times richlist, Sullivan’s estimated wealth came in it £1.15billion.

    Vorley has been appointed a director at West Ham, alongside Sullivan’s son Dave. Sullivan’s other son, Jack, is currently the managing director of West Ham’s women’s team.
    Sullivan, alongside David Gold and Karren Brady, oversaw a takeover of West Ham back in 2010 and in that time have facilitated the controversial move from Upton Park to the London stadium.
    The switch has yet to usher in the era of success that Gold and Sullivan were hopeful of but West Ham have had an encouraging season so far under the guidance of David Moyes.
    While they are currently sat in mid-table, they are only three points off fourth place, which is occupied by their London rivals Tottenham on 29 points.
    West Ham are next in action on Saturday, when they host Burnley at the London Stadium.
     

    Former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke has tested positive for coronavirus in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
    This development has stalled the money laundering trial of Adoke at the Federal High Court in Abuja due to his absence on Monday.
    His lawyer, Kanu Agabi informed the court about this development on Monday.
    Mr Agabi told the judge on Monday that his client had earlier tested positive to the virus at his point of returning to Nigeria as a result of which he was held back by the UAE authorities.
    He stated that the former minister tested negative after he was treated but was unable to immediately fly back to Nigeria as ordered by the court.
     
    He said Mr Adoke would be able to return to the country on Tuesday.
    Mr Agabi further pleaded with the judge to extend the time given to the defendant to appear in court to enable him to take care of himself and be fit for the continuation of his trial.
    Without opposition from the prosecuting counsel, the judge granted the request and adjourned till March 1 to 4.
    Recall that the former AGF had gone to UAE for a medical check-up after securing permission to travel on health grounds.
    Justice Inyang Okwo had ruled that he should return to Nigeria on January 10 ahead of the Monday’s scheduled hearing.
     

    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.

    Gridlock along Apapa-Oshodi ExpresswayCommuter traffic on Lagos roads is a usual day-to-day incident and, being stranded in road traffic is never out of place in Lagos.
    But for truck drivers who journey through the well-known Tin-Can and Apapa ports to either pick up loaded containers or drop empty ones, the congestion on that road offers much more than just a traffic experience.
    The trip on the route towards the port welcomes you with a never-ending queue of vehicles unwearyingly waiting for weeks or months, even for their turn as they struggle to negotiate the appalling roads.
    The booming businesses along this corridor include local liquor and beer joints where the drivers and motor boys go to cool off traffic stress. These joints are very visible and they serve as relaxation spots to kill boredom.
     
    Presidential Directive   
    Obedience with President Muhammadu Buhari’s 72-hour ultimatum for the removal of trucks on the bridges and ports’ access roads in Lagos has been marred by low compliance, days after the expiration of the first deadline.
    The order, issued on May 22, directed “the speedy removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.”
    The Federal Government has, however, extended by two weeks, the time given the Presidential Taskforce on the Apapa traffic gridlock to resolve the matter, following a request for an extension by members of the task force and other stakeholders.
    A visit to Apapa and its vicinities on Friday, 14th June 2019, revealed that trucks still obstruct major roads, affecting traffic to move in scant inch.
    Information Nigeria, however, gathered that the roads are still littered with broken down stationary trucks that frustrate traffic flow in and out of the areas.
    Drivers and residents continued to contend with the dreadful gridlock caused chiefly by reckless parking by truck drivers.
    However, there was slight progress in the movement of trucks in some areas where a joint team of Lagos State Transport Management Authority(LASTMA), Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC) and police personnel are posted to control and regulate traffic.
    Other areas such as the first gate of Tincan Island Port, the bridge between Cocoanut bus stop and Tincan Port up to Mile 2, Berger-Yard, down to Trinity onward Coconut were still in bad shape as ‘at the time of this investigation’.
    Along the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, truck drivers virtually took over the full five-lanes, leaving only just a lane for other road users.
    Residents, commuters and some industry operators, in separate interviews with Information Nigeria, however, said there was a great improvement on the traffic-flow around Apapa axis; while some others opined that the has been no improvement even with President Buhari’s directives.
     
    Lagosians React
    A commuter, Doyin Akinkunmi, attributed the congestion to inflow of trucks to the ports, adding that “the ongoing rehabilitation of roads in Apapa area has further compounded the problem.”
    Another commuter, Lawal Shuaibu, laments that on the bad state of the road. According to him, “that road is more than a mess.
    “I once had an emergency to attend to in Apapa, but due to the traffic, I asked my driver to park at Mile 2, while I boarded a taxi from Mile2 to Apapa.
    “On this particular day, the road was very terrible, with trucks and containers littering the entire road.
    “Nigeria needs a complete overhaul of human beings”, he added.
    A clearing agent, who prefers not to be named, said “nothing has changed. He, however, pointed out that inadequate truck parks and holding bays around the port are the major cause of traffic around the port, adding that “the majority of trucks parked on the roads carry empty containers and ideally should utilise holding bays and garages.”
    But a truck driver, Kayode Shodehinde, however, maintained that the gridlock has reduced when compared to previous years, adding that” the ease was as a result of President Buhari’s order.
    Speaking on the economic implication of the congestion in Apapa, Shodehinde said: “the poor state of the port access roads has led to excruciating traffic, delays and time wastage for both road and port users and results in losses to several businesses operating in the axis.”
    Another truck driver, who simply identified himself as Orion, expressed disappointment as he is unable to move his truck off the road, he lamented that he had been on the road for five days and had not made much headway. He blamed the damaged road and poor traffic management at Apapa as part of the numerous causes of the gridlock.
    A resident, Tajudeen Ogunaike, in his words, said “there are numerous empty cargoes and containers in the ports occupying space and leading to congestion.
    “Orile to Suru-Alaba is full of containers and tankers; trade fair to Oluti bus stop is worse.
    “Satellite residents are moving out, they are suffering as a result of the unending traffic.
    “We are tired of the situation already”.
    Another resident, Steve Anthony, said “the bottleneck is the turnaround at the port itself and the bad roads.
    “If the ports in Lagos generate the 2nd largest income for Nigeria, why can’t the Federal government come up with plans for maintenance and development of the port and its environment?
    “We all know that FG doesn’t care about the regions that bring in the revenue Nigerians are enjoying e.g. (Ogoni and other areas in South-South) derivative ought to be paying to Lagos state government, percentage of what the port generates per year”.
    A clearing agent, Gary, says “the right thing to do is to create a large trailer lot on all the outskirts of Lagos.
    “Trailers can park there until they get a call that their consignment is ready and then they can proceed to the wharf directly for loading.”
    Reacting, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, says the presidential directive has been obeyed and many trucks have left the road and the bridges.
    Ogungbemi, who stated this in Lagos, said that the absence of regulation is why most trucks come to the direction of the port at the same time
    “What are the measures put in place to regulate the movement of trucks on the road?
    “Many trucks are on the road due to lack of regulation.
    “Not until when measures and regulations are put in place before we can see sanity and orderliness in the movement of trucks at the port.”
    Speaking on the root cause of the unending gridlock, the Chief Ogungbemi says populations are increasing, vehicular are increasing, business activities are increasing, volumes of goods that are coming into the port, vis-a-vis import and export of goods, are also increasing.
    “But the necessary infrastructures that are needed to grow and expand this increase remain stagnant.
    According to him, “the road that we have been using for 60years is the same road we have been relying on till date, hence, there is no how there can be proper sanity and control without regulation.
    “By now, there should have been an expansion or even construction of another road to accommodate more cargoes.
    These are things I think the government should do to ensure sanity and orderliness in the movement of trucks and port operation”, he added.
    The post EXCLUSIVE: Apapa Gridlock Persists Despite Presidential Directive 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    ‘I rented a self-contained flat in Lagos in November. Before I paid, the landlord promised to provide water for the house as the plumbing was already done.
    “As I speak, there is no water, and he keeps assuring that he will do it.
    “Security is bad as he has refused to fix the burglary gate to the entrance as promised. The burglary is right there but he has refused to fix it…” a Lagosian recounts ordeal in the hands of his heartless landlord.
    Lagos — a city of diverse culture, status, and background — is set to be home to over 20 million residents.
    It is home to the finest industries, great job opportunities and greener pasture. It is also home to insecurities, high cost of living and accommodation challenges.
    According to BBC report, more than 500,000 people move to the city every year.  Lagos is, however, on the verge of facing a housing epidemic as many Lagosians are left to deficiency of apartments.

    In Lagos, many residents live in rented apartments rather than government-owned. This has given absolute power to owners of the house, known as ‘landlord’.
    The landlord is the alpha and omega of his house while the tenants are the mercy-seeker of the alpha and Omega. It is not news that Lagos is a metropolitan city that comes with a high cost of living.
    Getting accommodation in Lagos is like jumping from a bus on a highway. The struggle, stress, the fake agents, money spent and landlord’s terms and conditions can be revolting. You have to go through a long chain of struggle to get an apartment or accommodation in Nigeria.
    READ: Rapists On Rampage: Shocking Stories Of Raped, Traumatised Victims
    Getting an apartment
    Getting a good accommodation in Lagos costs more than half a million naira, depending on the location. Gbagada, Ikeja, Festac, and some parts of Surulere cost more, while apartments on the Island — Ikoyi, Lekki, and VGC are for those who live a luxurious lifestyle; they cough out millions to pay rents yearly.
    Getting an apartment in Lagos can also be very tricky. There are a lot of acclaimed agents who defraud unsuspecting victims of their hard-earned money.
    Information Nigeria gathered that Landlords defraud their tenants  as they have been reported cases where landlords chase out tenants even when the tenancy is yet to expire
    Mrs. Bello, a petty trader and single mother of three children lives in a one-bedroom apartment and pays N100,000 naira yearly on the house rents. Before getting the apartment in Bariga, a suburb area in Lagos, she was passed down from agents to agents who collected roughly N5000 for ‘registration and inspection’.
    She, however, settled for the one-bedroom apartment in Bariga as she paid about N180,000 for rents, agreement, and commission. In Lagos, it is illegal to collect more than one-year rent payment, but that is not the case in Lagos, as many landlords use their accommodation as a means of enriching themselves, collecting two years rent from prospective tenants.
    The case of Mrs. Bello is a tricky one. The landlord collected rent for one year, but had ulterior motives. Six months into the year, he requested an advance payment for another year, and failure to pay this money will get the tenant evicted from the apartment.
    According to Bello, the landlord said someone else wants to pay for the apartment she lives in, perhaps, double payment of what she initially paid. This made the landlord demand more money from her.
    Bello believes it was a dubious move by the landlord. After constant torment and phone calls from the landlord, she agreed to pay extra N100,000 to stay in the house.
    READ: (EXCLUSIVE) Traffic Robberies On The Rise In Mega-City Of Lagos
    Landlord palava
    Many landlords in Lagos are not accountable to their houses as they leave the tenants to the deplorable condition of the house. A tenant, Mr. Wole said: ‘I rented a self-contained flat in Lagos in November. Before I paid, the landlord promised to provide water for the house as the plumbing was already done.
    “As I speak, there is no water, and he keeps assuring that he will do it.
    “Meanwhile, the plumbing is bad; my toilet bowl doesn’t flush well; I spend no less than N1000 a week buying water from ‘meruwa’.
    “Security is bad as he has refused to fix the burglary gate to the entrance as promised. The burglary is right there but he has refused to fix it.
    “Each time I call or see him, it is from one excuse to the other. He once called someone to check the plumbing but it was only a temporary fix.
    “I am tired of talking and insisting. I want to know what actions I can take legally, to ensure he does what he is meant to do as the landlord.”

    Shortcomings of the Lagos State Tenancy Law
    The Lagos State Tenancy Law enacted in August 2011 governs the landlord-tenant relationship in Lagos. Unlike the old law which stated rent rates for different types of properties in the different areas of the State, and how those rates could be increased, the Tenancy Law does not impose rent rates on the landlord. However, it provides for how much in advance rent can and should be paid – one year, as opposed to six months in the old Law.
    All of this is theory on paper.  The reality is that between two contracting parties (in this case, the landlord and the tenant), there is usually one with the upper hand, a stronger bargaining power.  The law respects our freedom to enter into contract agreements and will usually not intervene in a bad bargain, particularly in commercial transactions.
    The new law excludes any prescriptions for rental rates.
    Mrs. Amokeodo explains how her landlord forcefully increases her rents without prior notice, and still called police officers to kick her out of the apartment.
    “My landlady increased her house rent twice in one year, saying I bring a lot of people to the house, therefore, I am subletting my room, which was not the case.
    “She insisted she would increase the rent I paid the first time, but when she came up with another problem and asked me to pay again, I was ready to fight back and I maintained I wasn’t going to pay.
    “She made all sort of allegations, reporting me to the police, saying I am a witch and I have bewitched her son and I have to leave her house.
    “I told them I will spend my complete 2 years before I leave the because I had paid for 2 years.
    “The landlady made the house on unbearable for me, disconnecting power and water supply to my flat, and even engaging in diabolical things for me to leave her house.
    “I eventually left the house after staying for 6months when I initially paid 2 years.”
     
    Rights of a tenant under Lagos State Tenancy Law
    The government has made laws, however, these laws protecting the tenancy law have been throw out of the window as many Landlord does not follow the law and its a detriment to the tenants. Tenants, therefore, need to know their rights before bargaining with any landlord.
    Right to receipt of payment – Once you pay your rent, you are entitled to be issued with a receipt of payment by your landlord. The receipt should include, the amount paid, the location of the property, and the duration of the tenancy. In fact, failure to issue a receipt of payment is an offense in Lagos under the Lagos Tenancy Law and there is a penalty of N100k for landlords who don’t issue it.
    Right to exclusive possession – once you become a lawful tenant, in the eyes of the law the place is solely yours for the period of the tenancy – you have something called ‘exclusive possession’. Exclusive possession is the right to use premises to the exclusion of all others, including the landlord himself. What this means is that the landlord will need your permission to enter the house or apartment.
    Right to Notice to Quit before eviction – As a tenant, you are entitled to be given notice before you are evicted from your premises. The notice varies based on the type of tenancy agreement you have – weekly tenants are entitled to a week’s notice, monthly tenants are entitled to 2 weeks’ notice, yearly tenants are entitled to 6 months’ notice. However, in Lagos, if you have a fixed tenancy, the landlord does not have to serve you a notice to quit once the tenancy expires, this is because the Lagos Tenancy Law presumes that you are aware of when your tenancy is due to expire and so no notice is required.
    Right to 7 days’ Notice to Recover Possession – Apart from the notice to quit, all tenants are entitled to receive 7 days’ notice to recover possession, this is issued by a landlord only after a validly issued notice to quit has expired. This is a critical part of the eviction process, and therefore if this is not issued, the landlord cannot bring an action for eviction.
    Right to habitable premises – As a tenant you are entitled to live in habitable premises, and so if for any reason during the course of your tenancy the premises becomes inhabitable e.g. due to flooding, or damaging to some essential utilities, you can request that the landlord put the premises in a habitable state, if he/she refuses you are entitled to end the tenancy and demand a refund of your rent.
    The post EXCLUSIVE: Misfortune, Extortion, Pains Of Tenancy In Lagos 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Hauwa Nuru, wife of the embattled former MD of FCMB, Adam Nuru has denied claims she has left her matrimonial.
    In a statement released by Hauwa, she said she is still with her husband and has no plans to divorce him or move out of their home, The Cable reports.

     
    FCMB Adam Nuru: My family is still intact – Wife She said those spreading the rumours only want to demonise her “beloved husband and a loving father”.
    “I am still very much with my beloved husband. Following several calls from well-meaning family members and friends over a malicious publication and deliberate falsehood that I have packed out of my matrimonial home, I want to clarify for the avoidance of doubt that I am still very much with my husband,” Hauwa wrote.
    “This fake news was published by an online newspaper in a calculated attempt to further demonise my beloved husband and a loving father.
    “Let me reiterate that at no time did I contemplate leaving my matrimonial home or filing for divorce as no grounds exist for such. I really have no idea where this is coming from.
    “While I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have genuinely expressed concern about the fabricated story of moving out of my matrimonial home, let me appeal to the media to abide by the ethics of their profession and avoid the pitfall of rumormongering and sensational reporting. There is no truth to the tale whatsoever. I will not be responding to any further comments made by persons who obviously have an agenda whatever it may be.”
     

    FCMB Asset Management Limited, the Asset Management arm of FCMB Group Plc, has been assigned an Investment Manager rating of BBB+(IM) by Agusto & Co., a foremost pan-African rating agency.   FCMB Group Plc is one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions.   According to Agusto & Co.: “The rating reflects the Manager’s well-established process for generating good quality research, experienced & qualified decision-making committees, member of an established financial services group with an operational track of over 30 years.”   The firm was established in 1997 to provide portfolio management and investment advisory services to individual and institutional investors, globally.   The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSL Stockbrokers Limited, a member of FCMB Group Plc.   Speaking on the firm’s new credit rating, the Chief Executive Officer of FCMBAM, James Ilori, said: “The company rating assigned to FCMBAM by Agusto & Co is another demonstration of our commitment to running a professional and transparent organisation. We remain focused on providing international standard fund management solutions that cut across asset classes, markets, and currencies. We thank our stakeholders for trusting us to meet and exceed expectations and restate our commitment to creating value for all.”   FCMB Asset Management Limited currently manages four mutual funds – Legacy Money Market Fund, Legacy Debt Fund, Legacy Equity Fund and Legacy USD Bond Fund.   In addition to the four collective investment schemes, FCMB Asset Management offers clients discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio services, as well as execution-only mandates.   FCMB Asset Management Limited prioritises the delivery of international standard investment management services aimed at meeting investors’ investment goals in terms of capital preservation, income-generation and capital appreciation.  

    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.

    First City Monument Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, is now a member of the Open Banking Nigeria, an industry-focused non-profit body facilitating the advocacy, development and adoption of a common standard for open Application Programming Interface within the Nigerian financial ecosystem.

    With this development, FCMB has formally joined more than 50 other individual and corporate members across the financial industry, including banks, fintechs, financial consultants, global customer service leaders, among other stakeholders as an integral part of Open Banking Nigeria.
    Open banking is a concept aimed at enhancing the capability of operators in the financial industry and allied institutions to drive and deepen innovation through access to more customer-authorised information and data.
    In Nigeria, it will result in far greater end-users satisfaction, help the various stakeholders thrive, boost collaboration and inspire more innovation.
    In addition, the adoption of the concept would create a new data sharing infrastructure among financial institutions, which will go a long way towards enriching the range of services and products that would emerge from operators.
    Commenting on FCMB’s membership of Open Banking Nigeria, the Divisional Head, Transaction Banking of the Bank, Rolayo Akhigbe, said: “As an institution focused on the attainment of enhanced customer experience and a more productive as well as impactful business environment, our membership of Open Banking Nigeria reinforces our commitment to the delivery of exceptional services.
    “We are optimistic that this would also upscale our operations and ultimately enable us align with the aspirations of our customers.”
    Also commenting, the Team Lead, Banking As A Service of FCMB, Isi Nweje, stated: “As always, we are receptive to partnering with the drivers of initiatives that advance the development of Nigeria’s financial services industry to greater heights, while also enabling and fast-tracking growth across other sectors of the economy.”
    A Trustee of Open Banking Nigeria, Ope Adeoye, said: “It is a delight to welcome FCMB to the fold. We anticipate working together for a standardised API-led system that would facilitate the growth, accessibility and viability of numerous cross-industry initiatives which would stem from Nigeria’s financial ecosystem.”
    Established in 2017 to define and develop these open and non-partisan APIs, Open Banking Nigeria serves as a platform where industry players jointly champion a progressive cause for the benefit of the country and, by extension, the African continent.
    First City Monument Bank is a member of FCMB Group Plc, one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments.
    With a clear understanding of its market and environment, the Bank has successfully transformed to a retail banking and wealth management led group.
    It has also continued to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services, while enhancing the growth and achievement of the personal and business aspirations of customers.
     

    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.
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    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.

    Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, has hit out at the Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum, over his claims that some Christians are members of the deadly sect group, Boko Haram.

    Governor Zulum made the allegation while speaking at the 17th Chief Gani Fawehinmi annual lecture last week. The governor in his speech at the ceremony, said
    Reacting to Governor Zulum’s comment via his Twitter handle, FFK described the allegation as a lie from the pit of hell
    ”The allegation that there are Christians in Boko Haram by Gov. Zulum of Borno state is a lie from the pit of hell. No real Christian will be in the ranks of an Islamic terror group whose objective is to wipe Christianity off the face of the earth. I have lost respect for Zulum.”
     

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