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PDP inaugurates reconciliation panel, campaign councils for Kogi, Bayelsa

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has inaugurated a national reconciliation committee and campaign councils for Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, scheduled for November 16.

The reconciliation committee is headed by a former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

While the party’s campaign council for Kogi is chaired by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, that of Bayelsa is headed by Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.

The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, while inaugurating the committee and the councils, urged the reconciliation committee to work assiduously to reconcile all grievances by members in the two states and bring them back to the party.

He said the party should not go into both Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections as a divided house.

Mr Secondus, who expressed confidence in the members of the campaign councils, advised them to work for the victory of the party in the two states.

He said the campaign council had the task of ensuring that the electoral desires of the people of the two states were realised.

“I charge you to make sure that you bring the best of our programme for the two states during your campaign.

“Preach one man, one vote; obey all the rules and the laws of the land, because we are a party that believe in the rule of law.

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“Make sure that we win in Bayelsa and Kogi states,” Mr Secondus said, adding that the party had credible and best candidates for the two states.

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He said given the achievements of Governor Seriake Dickson in the last eight years in Bayelsa and the current situation in Kogi, the elections in the two states would be smooth contest for the PDP.

The PDP chairman, however, said that the information available to the party showed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was planning to rig the elections.

Mr Secondus advised INEC to be neutral in the conduct of the elections to ensure that they were free, fair and credible.

He called on the international community and all lovers of democracy to show more than passing interest in the forthcoming elections in the two states.

Mr Secondus also advised President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to enforce peace and the rule of law in the country.

In his response, Mr Saraki said his committee would do its best to reconcile all aggrieved members in the two states.

“The work of winning Kogi and Bayelsa starts with reconciliation and end with reconciliation, because the two states belong to PDP,” he said.

Mr Saraki said the driving message was that a government headed by PDP was better than that headed by another party.

Also speaking, Governor Mohammed said the issue of reconciliation in Bayelsa was half done, as former President Goodluck Jonathan had directed him to accept the responsibility.

“I am taking this responsibility with the seriousness and energy that it deserves. Politics is not a joke.

“If the other side is planning evil, we will plan excellence. If they are planning violence, we will plan peace. If they are planning a loss, we will plan victory,” he said.

On his part, Governor Makinde promised that his committee would run issue-based campaigns in Kogi State and do PDP proud.

He said that the elections in the two states were an opportunity for the electorate “to press the reset button” that will end in the ultimate victory for the PDP in 2023.

(NAN)

Flood sweeps 11-year-old boy, rescuer to death in Lagos

Floods swept an 11-year-old boy and his rescuer, simply identified as Wasiu away at Aboru and Iyana-Ipaja in Alimosho area of Lagos on Saturday.

The duo was swept away at a canal linking Aburo and Iyana-Ipaja on Ige Road.

The News Agency of Nigeria correspondent, who visited the scene of the accident observed a huge crowd wearing sad faces due to the incident that occurred following the overflow of water from the canal.

It was gathered that two young boys sent by their parents to buy cooking gas at a gas station fell into a drainage that serves as a channel to the canal.

Three young men attempted rescuing the boys and succeeded in rescuing the older one, but one of the rescuers popularly known as Wasiu Stubborn was swept away while trying to rescue the other victim.

Speaking to NAN at the scene, Mr Solomon Agboghoroma, a Community Development Association leader in Oki Town, regretted the development, saying that the government had failed to construct a bridge to prevent such incidents.

Agboghoroma, who recounted the ordeal of landlords and residents of the area anytime it rained, said that there was the need to expand Aboru road and build a bridge at Cement Bus Stop to forestall recurrence of such tragedy.

“This rain started almost four or five days ago but the one of last night was one of the heaviest and it started around 2:15 a.m. and by 3:15 a.m., it came with full force and everywhere was flooded.

“Around 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m., we learnt that an OPC member, who was a security guard in one of the gas stations here had been carried away by flood while trying to rescue two children who came to buy gas but fell into the drain.

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“The gas station had not opened because of the flood as the whole place including the canal had overflowed its banks.

“The children fell inside the gutter. This OPC boy went and rescued one but in the process of rescuing the second child, he and the boy fell into the canal and that was the end,” Agboghoroma said.

He blamed the government for the tragedy, saying that several petitions had been written to successive governments in the state from the time of former Governor Babatunde Fashola to the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

“People have been dying in situation like this here and all landlords have tried, including raising almost N4 million for dredging of the canal.

“The government knows what to do when it is ready because this canal contract was award sometime in 2011 or 2012. When we taxed ourselves, Fashola came and commended us and promised palliative measures and government takeover.

“The government should come and do the bridge as against this culvert that is here. This flat culvert cannot contain water. The government should widen this road and ensure the canal is dug for the peace and safety of residents,” he added.

Mr Suleiman Adedokun, an eyewitness and a shop owner beside the canal, told NAN that the rescuer, named “Wasiu Stubborn “, entered the drain to rescue the boy but the flood swept both of them away into the canal.

“Wasiu tried, succeeded in catching the second boy but his effort to come out of the drain proved futile as it was not easy for him due to the force of the water.

“It is the bad road and narrow culvert that caused these deaths because these two children that fell inside the drainage didn’t know it was there as water covered everywhere,” Adedokun said.

An officer of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps, who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity, said that the agency got the information around 9:00 am that flood carried away one Mr Wasiu a.k.a. Stubborn while trying to rescue two children.

He said that the LSNC had made efforts and called relevant agencies of government, who he said may arrive the scene anytime.

“We are trying to locate the parents of the children and also to contact the family of Wasiu,” the LNSC officer said.

(NAN)

Fayemi lays foundation for airport as Ekiti attracts over $100m for four projects

Ekiti State Government has said the state’s social economic growth is hinged on a diversified economy driven by skilled and healthy workforce.
This plan, the government says, has begun to yield result as evident in the partnership it has forged with development partners and the private sector.

Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Aare Olumuyiwa Olumilua, made this known while addressing a press conference to kick start the activities marking first year anniversary of Governor Kayode Fayemi with the theme, “Walking the talk…Restoring values, Enhancing Impact.”
Part of the activities lined up for the one year celebration is the foundation laying of the Ekiti Airport, a new Ministry of Justice building and Traditional rulers chamber among others. This is in addition to the commissioning of not fewer than 50 projects spread across the 16 local government areas.

Olumilua in the press conference said government was already into partnership with some private investors and development partners that would eventually attract to the state over $100 million to finance Ekiti Knowledge Zone, Special Agriculture Processing Zone, Ado-Akure Road, and Ekiti Airport as well as $5 million to revive the moribund Ikun Dairy farm.

These projects, according to him, will ensure that Ekiti becomes the hub of the service and knowledge industry in Nigeria, cement the state’s place as a leading agricultural hub, and also improve access and connectivity for business and recreational travellers.
“Other projects include the World Bank funded NEWMAP and RAAMP projects which will improve the water supply to Ekiti people, and open up rural access roads to enable the easy evacuation of our farm produce.”

“Ekiti State is about to conclude a joint venture partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited, to revive the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm. The Shareholder Agreement for the new company to be formed to manage the Dairy farm will be signed this month, with Promisador as the core investor, while the State will retain a minority interest, through its investment company, Fountain Holdings. This will attract a new investment of $5 million into Ikun Dairy Farm, which will be used to buy equipment, provide the appropriate herd of cattle, and develop an outgrower scheme for providing feed for the cattle.”

He affirmed that government would continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare of the people to ensure a skilled and healthy workforce. He explained that human capital forms the basic requirement to attract investments and other rewards to the state adding that the State’s development plan is hinged on the need to lay a solid foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The commissioner confirmed that government would leverage on the state’s competitive advantages and history by focusing on agriculture and agri-business, knowledge and economy services, tourism and hospitality, and solid minerals saying it would prioritize development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, and the Special Agriculture Processing Zone that will make Ekiti the destination of choice for investors.
“Our people still remain our greatest asset, and we will continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare, to ensure that we have a skilled and healthy workforce. Human capital is one of the most important requirements to attract investments, and our goal is to improve both education and healthcare outcomes, by ensuring that our people get the requisite quality contemporary education, which will qualify them to take up the jobs that will be created by new investments in the State.

“Building a diversified and inclusive economy, leveraging our competitive advantages and history by focusing on agriculture and agri-business, knowledge and economy services, tourism and hospitality, and solid minerals while we will not ignore other sectors, these sectors will be the main drivers of growth. Our infrastructure spending will be focused on building the right enablers for the sectors to grow our economy, and be the engine of job creation”, he stated.
The commissioner however berated the immediate past administration in the state over the bastardisation of every facet of Ekiti life, including economy, education, health, sector and many more.

He said: “The Fayemi-led administration inherited a severely eroded State with our once pristine values as a people, seriously battered. Every facet of life in Ekiti was touched, albeit negatively. Civil servants, Teachers, Local Government workers, indeed all public servants were owed salaries, economic activities had grinded to a halt, and there was hunger in the land, while criminals and criminality held sway in Ekiti. Investors fled, Development Partners vanished, donor agencies disappeared, and the dreaded “Yahoo Yahoo boys” were about the only visible set of people in the society who had a free flow of the much desired cash. Morale was very low. The number of out-of-school children multiplied, as parents who were not paid salaries had problems keeping their children in school.

“Upon the recommencement of the Fayemi-led administration, the job of rebuilding, and refocusing the State, started in earnest. To make the State rise from its ashes like the mythical Phoenix, the job of rebuilding had to start from scratch. Guided by the administration’s 5-point Agenda of Agriculture and Rural Development; Social Investment; Infrastructure and Industrial Development; Knowledge Economy, and Good Governance, Governor Fayemi has successfully put our State back on the firm path to sustainable peace and development, which would survive administration after administration.”

Olumilua appreciated the media for their support in the task of developing the State and making life more meaningful for the people and their excellent coverage and positive exposure of events in the State. He urged them to sustain and improve the current level of professionalism.

Chatham House: $582bn stolen from Nigeria since independence

An estimated $582 billion has been stolen from Nigeria since independence in 1960.

The estimate, which was attributed to Chatham House, was quoted in an article published by The Economist titled, ‘Catch me if you can, African kleptocrats are finding it tougher to stash cash in the West,’ published in its online edition.

Corruption is known to be one of Nigeria’s major problem and at least N11 trillion is said to have been diverted in the power sector alone since 1999, while N1.3 trillion public funds were reportedly laundered between 2011 and 2015.

In the article which talks about illicit financial flows in Africa, The Economist said so much has been pilfered from the continent that “tracking it all is tricky”.

It quoted Britain’s International Corruption unit as saying it has confiscated £76m ($117m) loot from Nigeria since 2006.

“Another £791m has been frozen worldwide thanks to its work,” it said, adding that “it barely makes a dent in the £100bn of illicit funds which Steve Goodrich at Transparency International, a watchdog, reckons enters Britain every year”.

The Economist said African leaders’ best way of hiding and moving stolen funds is to set up “a raft of anonymous shell companies and bank accounts”.

It spoke of how Sani Abacha, the former military head of state stole Nigeria blind and “deposited billions of dollars in banks across the rich world, no questions asked”.

“Light-fingered tyrants are looking back wistfully. In past decades they could stash their illicit wealth in the West,” it said.

“Friendly lawyers, banks and middlemen were on hand to park the loot. Western governments often seemed equally unfussed.”

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

The article, however, said gone are the days when stealing public funds was easy as it is “becoming a bit harder to get away with”.

“Anti-corruption campaigners and muckraking journalists have busied themselves trying to uncover stolen assets,” it said.

“Western governments, tired of seeing aid money stolen, have toughened up money-laundering and bribery laws.”

Similarly, an anti-corruption tool in the form of a mobile application was recently launched by the Akin Fadeyi Foundation to enable Nigerians to report corrupt practices.

FG working to subsidise price of sanitary pads

The Ministry of Women Affairs says it has embarked on an initiative to subsidise the cost of sanitary pads for school girls in the country.

Mary Ekpere-Eta, Director-General of the National Centre for Women Development, a parastatal of the Ministry of Women Affairs, made this during a press briefing to commemorate the 2019 International Day of the Girl in Abuja on Friday.

This is coming in the wake of an investigation carried out by TheCable into how the education and health of schoolgirls are affected by the inability to afford sanitary pads.

In the report, some of the affected persons said they were unable to afford sanitary pads — even for N200 — hence stay away from school during their menstrual period.

She said efforts are ongoing to reach an arrangement with companies who produce sanitary pads to sell at subsidised rates in rural areas.

Ekpere-Eta enjoined the companies to support the initiative by reducing the cost and making it easily available.

She said young girls would be spared the pain of wondering how to get pads that they cannot afford.

“We have a menstrual hygiene corner in our programme whereby many of you could just drop in maybe N10 or N20 and there’s an arrangement with most of these companies who produce sanitary pads who will now sell at subsidised rates, which we will distribute to rural areas, especially in secondary schools, “she said.

“Be that as it may, we are working further to see how the issue of price will be dealt with. But it is a gradual process and we need to find a way to reach the manufacturers and find out how to reduce the price.

“Through advocacy, we encourage as a corporate social organisation from other agencies and private sector, to ensure that every organisation will buy a certain quantity of pads available to schools and send to rural areas as their own CSR.”

Wunmi Onanuga, chairperson of the committee of women development and social development, and four other lawmakers also moved a motion on the matter at the plenary session on Thursday.

Flood: Four killed as buildings collapse in Magodo, Ikorodu

Four persons have been confirmed after a house built on a hill collapsed in Isheri, Magodo area of Lagos state on Saturday.

According to Femi Oke-Osayintolu, general manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), the incident occurred around 8:00 a.m.

He said some injured victims trapped in the rubble had been rescued and rushed to a hospital while emergency officials were on the ground to ensure safety at the scene.

Building  collapse in Isheri

Another building collapsed before midday in Ita Elewa, Ikorodu on Saturday.

According to LASEMA officials, the immediate cause was attributed to the heavy downpour.

Further investigations revealed that aside from the heavy downpour, the obviously old building constructed with mud bricks had been seriously distressed over time with visible cracks on its other yet-to-collapse sides.

Parts of the old storey building which collapsed this morning at Rademo Street, behind Recreation Centre, Ita Elewa Ikorodu, has so far not recorded any loss of life, nor injuries at the time of filing this report.

In order to avert danger to adjoining buildings and other users of the environment, LASEMA has recommended that building’s remains be pulled down, the debris removed and the property forfeited to the Lagos state government as stipulated by law.

EXTRA: Five nations that imported Europeans to whiten the population

After the trans-Atlantic slave trade was officially abolished toward the end of the 19th century, many whites felt threatened and feared free Blacks would become dominant in the society. The elites spent a great deal of time mulling over how best to solve the so-called Negro problem. A popular solution that emerged during this period was the ideology of racial whitening or “whitening.”

Supporters of the “whitening” ideology believed that if a “superior” white population was encouraged to mix with an “inferior” Black population, Blacks would advance culturally, genetically or even disappear totally, within several generations. Some also believed that an influx of immigrants from Europe would be necessary to successfully carry out the process.

Although both ideologies were driven by racism and White supremacy, whitening was in contrast to some countries that opted for segregation rather than miscegenation, ultimately outlawing the mixing of the races. This, however, was just a different means to the same end as these nations also imported more Europeans while slaughtering and oppressing the Black population.

Here are 5 of the several counties that adopted a whitening policy and what happened as a result.

1.Brazil

Brazil’s whitening ideology gained support from two scientific racist beliefs that were prominent during this time. One being Social Darwinism, which applied Darwin’s theory of natural selection to a society or race, and the other being Aryanism, the belief that the “white” Aryan race was superior to all other cultures. By combining these two ideas, a certain portion of the Brazilian power elite believed, from roughly 1880 on, that the nation could be “whitened” and thus “improved” if whites were encouraged to mate with Black.

To further ensure that Brazil became whiter, a series of laws were passed prohibiting the immigration of Black people to the country. In 1945, the Brazilian government issued a decree favoring the entrance of European immigrants in the country: “In the admission of immigrants, the need to preserve and develop, in the ethnic composition of the population, the more convenient features of their European ancestry shall be considered.”

Because Brazil’s racist miscegenation agenda, lighter skin became valued more among Brazilians of African heritage, and darker-skinned individuals sought lighter-skinned partners, since the surest way to gain upward mobility is to possess whiter skin than your parents.

2.Cuba

At the dawn of the 20th century, Afro-Cubans enthusiastically joined the struggle for independence against Spain in hopes of building a nation based on racial democracy.  However,  the U.S. military presence in Cuba from 1898 to 1902 and again from 1906 to 1908 propped up and defended a racist ruling class, who pursued policies that actively sought the “whitening”  or Blanqueamiento of the nation.

The power elites promoted interracial marriage and the Cuban government created immigration laws that invested more than $1 million into recruiting Europeans, mostly from Spain, into Cuba in order to whiten the state and excluding Blacks from every aspect of national life.  A ban on “non-white” immigration was also implemented.

Despite the massive investment in European DNA, many of the immigrants did not stay in Cuba and came solely for the sugar harvest, returning to their homes during the off seasons. Although some 780,000 Spaniards migrated between 1902-1931, only 250,000 stayed.

By the end of the 1920s, Blanqueamiento as a national policy had effectively failed. It did, however cause lasting damage by shifting the demographics of Cuba and solidifying the social and economic marginalization of Afro-Cubans.

3.Jamaica

After the abolition of slavery in Jamaica (Aug. 1, 1834), many plantation owners feared an impending shortage of labor. Apparently the newly freed  and well experienced Africans on the island were not good candidates for a paid labor force.

Consequently, the former slave owners sought new measures in an effort to solve this problem. One solution was the establishment of a European settlement by Lord Seaford, then-owner of Montpelier Estate and Shettlewood Pen which were located in Westmoreland, in the parish of St. James. More than 1,000 Germans were brought to Jamaica with the promise of being granted housing, land and employment.

The white migration never amounted to much, because mixing with the Black population and migration to the U.S.  depleted much of its population. Moreover a century of in-breeding had a degenerative effect on what’s left of the population. However, many Jamaicans in Seaford Town and German Town in Trelawny carry heavy European features such as blue eyes, blond hair, freckles and white skin, as a result of the German genetic influences.

4.South Africa

The apartheid system was designed to maintain white domination in South Africa, and the assisted immigration laws implemented during White rule, reflected that ideology.  However the ground work was laid well before the apartheid system was officially put in place.

In 1820 the British authorities persuaded about 5,000 middle-class British immigrants  to leave Great Britain and settle on tracts of land that were being violently disputed by the Zulus and the Boers. The idea was they were supposed to provide a buffer zone, but the plan was unsuccessful because within three years, almost half of the settlers had retreated to the towns to pursue the kind of jobs they had in Britain.

From 1870 onward, there was large-scale immigration to South Africa following the discovery of gold and diamonds.  In the Transvaal, the site of the gold discoveries, the white population expanded eightfold.

In 1948, while European South Africa was facing food and housing shortages, rampant inflation an unemployment the government ramped up state-assisted immigration from Europe in what Prime Minister Smut said was an effort to ensure South Africa’s economic and industrial expansion, and to ensure the maintenance of Western civilization.

Following the implementation of the apartheid regimes immigration program, Europeans, primarily from Britain, arrived at three times the rate as they previous did. Meanwhile native Africans were being murdered, forcibly removed from their land, and immigration laws were being used to arrest those who were found in  “white designated” areas for more than 72 hours.

Although the Europeans declared South Africa a white man’s country during apartheid, immigrants from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were considered honorary whites in the country. They were granted the same privileges as white people for the sake of maintaining diplomatic relations with the respective nations.

5.Australia

Australia’s natives have been victims of oppression in many ways and for various reasons for nearly 200 years. Their land had been taken over by European settlers, and later on they were forced to assimilate into white society.

AO Neville, the Chief Protector of Aborigines from 1915 to 1940, inspired by the same eugenics propaganda that informed the Blanqueamiento in Latin America, attempted to use miscegenation to breed the blackness out of the Indigenous population. Following the Second World War authorities began a slow shift away from biological assimilation to one of cultural assimilation.

From 1869 until well into the 1970s, thousands of indigenous children under 12 years of age were removed from their families to be absorbed into the white community.

To reinforce attempts to whiten Australia, the Australian government’s first act was to pass the Immigration Restriction Act. Often referred to as the ‘White Australia policy’ this effectively banned non-white migration for 50 years and offered money and jobs to immigrants with European ethnicity.

When the European invasion began in 1788, Australia’s aboriginal population was about 750,000.  In 1933, the population fell to its lowest levels. Today, more than 20 million people live on the continent, but the indigenous people make up less than 2.4%, or 563,000.

Boko Haram war: Buhari to sign military pact with Russia

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will sign a military technical cooperation deal with President Vladimir Putin of Russia this month for help in crushing Boko Haram militants.

According to Reuters, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia, Steve Ugbah, said this on Friday in Moscow.

He said President Buhari is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa.

Ugbah said, “We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience combating Islamic State in Syria.”

He added that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment.

Ugbah said a military technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it only needed to be finalised.

“We hope President Buhari can take the talks to their logical end. The agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists,” he said.