Defeating rape and sexual violence

The upsurge in rape cases and other forms of sexual violence in the country in the past few months should be of serious concern to all Nigerians and we, therefore, challenge both the security agencies and the citizenry not to spare any effort to curb, if not totally eliminate the activities of rapists who are enemies of the society.

The posthumous honour to Sister Henrietta Alokha: Matters arising

The Nigerian Air Force blazed the trail in the unexpected when recently, she named a newly built 500-capacity assembly hall after the Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha, the principal of Bethlehem Girls’ College, in Shoba, Abule-Ado, in the Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Lagos who died in the March 15, 2020 gas explosion that also claimed the lives of 22 other promising citizens.

Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Devt Act (Amendment) Bill: Matters arising

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“The oil and gas industry is still reeling from the financial impact of the Deepwater Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (Amendment) Act, the Finance Act, and Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulation amendments with their cost burden. In this current environment of lower oil prices, OPEC production cut and the pervading macro-economic effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Government is expected to support the industry to remain a viable partner for the economic development of Nigeria.

The drive by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and NNPC to cap production cost at $10/barrel will be significantly challenged by this bill.  On one hand, Government wants to achieve lower costs; on the other hand, it’s imposing multiple taxes and levies” Continue reading “Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Devt Act (Amendment) Bill: Matters arising”

Lessons of June 12

AS Nigerians commemorate the 27th anniversary of the annulled historic June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the Late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and Democracy Day on Friday, the citizenry should ensure that the contributions made by the heroes and heroines of the political watershed, some of whom paid the supreme sacrifice in the aborted struggle to revalidate the poll, are not in vain. Continue reading “Lessons of June 12”

21 years of unbroken democracy and Nigeria’s parlous affairs

NOT many Nigerians will charge their glasses today in toast to the country’s 21st anniversary of the return of democratic governance due largely to broken promises of life abundant by the political class which has manifested in deep rooted bribery and corruption, huge deficits in housing, water, food, health care, education, power supply as well as massive poverty and insecurity, among others in the land. Continue reading “21 years of unbroken democracy and Nigeria’s parlous affairs”

Abolition of Life Pension Law and Uzodimma’s vision for new Imo

The speed with which Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma signed the bill repealing the “Pension and Gratuity Law for ex-governors, their deputies, speakers of the House and their deputies” into law, after its passage by the State House of Assembly recently, which will save the state of over N1billion annually, clearly, is a further manifestation of his unshaken resolve to provide good governance, harness financial resources for the provision of the needed infrastructures for the greater number of Imolites and we totally welcome the abolition. Continue reading “Abolition of Life Pension Law and Uzodimma’s vision for new Imo”

Bishops and the unusual fight against Covid-19

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Accepted that the gesture from them is more symbolic than it’s face value, the truth is that the effective deployment and utilization of the 425 Catholic hospitals by the PTF will drastically resolve the dearth of isolation centres which is critical to the fight against the vicious COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is clear that the Catholic hospitals will as well be willing to put their health workers including doctors and nurses at the disposal of the PTF on COVID-19 with assurances of parity in allowances with the government appointed health workers.

It is obvious that the coronavirus pandemic which has halted activities in the global economy has revealed the inadequacies and indeed, the dilapidated but sorry state of the Nigeria health care sector.

It has also revealed the incompetence and failure of most successive Nigerian governments and by extension, the political class.

Sadly, it took more than the alarm raised by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that the nation now lacks sufficient bed spaces at the various isolation centres for Nigerians to concede to the fact that the country is indeed in grave danger of possible implosion in the face of the ravaging effects of the disease which cure has not been found.

The shortage of bed spaces amidst insufficiency in testing medical laboratories, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and reacting agents among others persists in the face of multibillion naira donations from corporate organizations and individuals both foreign and local for which many of the states are struggling hard to outdo each other in strategies and data in order to get a larger chunk of the funds.

It is therefore a welcome development that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN had quickly risen to the challenge and acted as the nation’s conscience by putting 425 hospitals owned by the Catholic Church at the disposal of the PTF as possible isolation centres for the treatment of coronavirous patients.

We consider such rare gesture from the Bishops not only as humbling but serves as a pointer to what the nation stands to gain if and when it learns how to effectively harness its human and material resources to the good of the majority.

Accepted that the gesture from them is more symbolic than it’s face value, the truth is that the effective deployment and utilization of the 425 Catholic hospitals by the PTF will drastically resolve the dearth of isolation centres which is critical to the fight against the vicious COVID-19 pandemic.

It is clear that the Catholic hospitals will as well be willing to put their health workers including doctors and nurses at the disposal of the PTF on COVID-19 with assurances of parity in allowances with the government appointed health workers.

Such exemplary disposition on the part of Bishops in donating their facility to such a national cause is likely to yield multifaceted dividends contrary to the move by federal lawmakers to legislate on a forceful takeover of private facilities as isolation centres.

Part of the proposed Infectious Diseases Bill which gives government power to convert private properties to isolation centres is a stark product of bad thinking and a manifestation of  insensitivity on the part of the legislature.

The Bill sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu, which seeks to empower an agency of the federal government to convert any property in the country, including private properties, to isolation centres was read at plenary on Tuesday April 28, 2020 before it hurriedly passed first and second readings on the same day.

Although the current increase in number of new cases of coronavirus patients as well as the number of deaths calls for concern, it is expected that all stakeholders should deploy their creative thinking in fashioning out solutions to the nation’s crises which will last beyond the era of the COVID-19 era. The health sector as is with the education sector is standing as glaring example of how badly that Nigeria has done as a nation with a history of 60 years post independence experience.

Nigeria can learn from China in its response to fighting COVID-19. In Beijing and Wuhan, 1,000 bed capacity hospitals were built respectively in days. Nigeria must look beyond providing temporary measures and respond to current health crisis with more long-lasting solutions. Refurbishing abandoned national buildings into hospitals is one of such.

The current scrambling for chunk of the COVID-19 cash donations on the part of state governments who are churning out figures of purported victims of the pandemic is totally uncalled for.

We have good reasons to commend and indeed support the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its oil company partners who resorted to building ultra modern hospitals and diagnostic centres in all the six geo-political zones in the country with the ground breaking ceremony of the first of such centres already conducted in Yenegua, the Bayelsa State capital.

We however caution against any form of Greek gifts which could be tantamount to arm-twisting government into following untoward bidding of any groups or individuals. In sounding the alarm, we are mindful of the insistence of some religious groups who are bent on compelling government in easing the lockdown on religious activities.

Nigeria is yet to flatten the curve on confirmed coronavirus cases hence the warning on attempts at dropping the guards. At  4,971 confirmed cases  in the country with the number of recorded deaths at  164 as at Wednesday, My 13, 2020 and with experts warning that the worst is yet over, it will be suicidal for the country to lift ban on religious gathering.

This is more imperative given the apparent disregard by the people to the observance of the guidelines and conditions designed by government prior to the easing of the lockdown on businesses including markets and public transportation, especially in Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, a development that has prompted calls in certain quarters for government to revoke the relaxing of the lockdown.

For a better society