Of Dasuki, Jonathan and Quantum Quietude

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       Sambo Dasuki

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

‎When the name, Dasuki is now mentioned, little or no quick connect is any longer made to Elder Ibrahim Dasuki, former Sultan of Sokoto and father of the embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki. The NSA rather quickly comes to mind.

Ever since the former NSA’s arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ‎for alleged diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram in the Northeast, he has been arraigned before the courts in Abuja, three of which have granted him bail.

Deliberately or so it seems, the anti-corruption Commission has charged him, albeit piecemeal, thereby using that as excuse to rearrest him even after having been granted bail by the three courts.‎ And, incarcerated and allegedly excommunicated from all, including his lawyers and family members (save his wife), the color of a country with seeming lack of rule of law, being unveiled.

A section of Nigerians see the action of president Buhari as total violation of the very constitution that he swore to protect. “It is the constitutional right of any presumed accused person to enjoy bail granted him by any court of competent jurisdiction. Any attempt ‎by any one (including president) to deny such accused person his right of freedom, amounts to violation of the constitution,” Mande Isa said.

However, speaking on Nigeria’s criminal justice administration when his views were sought, Suleiman Usman, Sokoto state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice opined that if there are several criminal cases preferred against any person, if the accused has been charged to court on one of the cases and he is granted bail on that, he could be rearrested and charged to court on the other case(s) that had not been referred to court. 

“In that case, it will not be presumed that he is being denied the enjoyment of that bail but that he is being arrested on other charges. It may not also be said to be an infringement of fundamental human rights,” he posited.

Quantum Quietude

One worrying development surrounding Dasuki’s continued detention is the general ‎quietude by all manner of people that should make all necessary noise to ensure that he is freed on bail as granted by the courts.

While Nigerians witnessed protestation in Abuja against the detention of Raymond Dokpesi, African Independent Television (AIT) boss, that has not happened in the case of Dasuki, either in Abuja or his home state, Sokoto.

‎While supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and founder of Radio Biafra protested against their leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s continued detention by the federal government, no such gesture has been extended to Dasuki.

‎Quite worrying, according to observers of the development in Dasuki’s trial, is former president Jonathan‎’s quantum quietude. “Dasuki is being persecuted because of Jonathan and he knows this. But all this while, he has been quiet. Jonathan should break his silence and come out and talk. Or does it means that, if it is true Dasuki gave these people such monies, he had no instruction to do so?” A young family member who chose to keep his name said.

A senior member of the family who pleaded anonimity said that Dasuki’s family is not insensitive to the plight of the former NSA. “Although we are disturbed ‎about the hapenings; about government’s disrespect for rule of law; about president Buhari’s violation of the constitution, which he swore to protect, we are watching to see and listening to hear what his former principal will say. 

“We are waiting to see if Jonathan will continue to keep quiet while our brother ‎is left to languish in detention. We are waiting to see what he means by the the quietude. We pray it doesn’t continue. He should open up or else…,”  

Disturbingly too, Dasuki”s family members in Sokoto or elsewhere have kept sealed leaps over his continued detention. No single family member or group have so far come out to ‘make noise’ over their brother’s incarceration. It is a discernible to note that the former NSA has been left all alone in the Fight for freedom.

Worthy of note however is that some members of the family, especially the youths, have signified their willingness to stage peaceful protests‎ against the inhuman treatment of their own. “Our silence will soon run out and we may have to express our displeasure against the way the former NSA’s fundamental human rights are being abused. He is a Nigerian citizen and the Nigerian constitution protects his rights even of no one respects the constitution. 

“This is not a military junta but a democracy. This country should not be ran like a military regime when rights of citizens are trampled upon without question,” a young member of the family who simply identified himself as Maccido, said.

Surprisingly too, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dasuki’s party at state and national levels, have also chosen to kept sealed lips over his plight. When at a point in time the state organ of the party planned to issued a statement, it renaged for reasons that could not be qualified for the love of the former NSA. At the national level too, the party has chosen the path of quietude that is quantum.

‎In fact, the whole environment surrounding the former NSA seems to be deserted even by those that were very close to him – why?

Reason

This quantum quietude ‎by Jonathan; by the PDP; by his family and by the very environment that surrounded him, begs for reasons why no one is ready and willing to express his displeasure against  the continued incarceration of Dasuki.

Would these come round the foremr NSA when he finally regains freedom? Do they see him as guilty as he is being charged? Do they hold grudges against him that they did not enjoy anything from him? Are they afraid that if they shout for his freedom, they might be named as beneficiaries of what he is alleged to have diverted? Just what holds them from identifying with him now that he needs them?

el-Kurebe is a public affairs analyst

NTMA Throws Its Weight Behind Release of BT Cotton for Nigerian Farmers

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                Cotton

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

The Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA) has expressed its support for ‎the environmental release and commercialization of genetically modified Bt Cotton, which is known to be resistant against pests for Nigerian farmers.

A position paper signed by the Acting Director General of the Association, Hamma Kwajaffa noted that while the Nigerian 
textile industry was a strategic non-oil sector and the largest after oil and agriculture, it was also the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

According to the Association, the cotton potential in Nigeria was because of the country’s blessed abundant raw materials, specially cotton and polyester chips (petrochemical), adding that the industry had a high potential for added value generation from raw material to finished goods and is a major employer of urban and rural populations.

“It is estimated that about 30,000 Nigerians are employed in the textile industry and an additional one million small farmers and labourers are both in direct cotton production and within the value chain, probably supporting five million more people. This is a sharp contrast from over 400,000 people employed across over 250 textile mills in the country in the 80s,” the statement read.

The Association commended the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogonnaya Onu who recently said, when he received the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa – Nigeria Chapter, that the government had interest in utilizing the potentials of Bt Cotton to revive the industry. 

Applauding government’s establishment of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) to address issues of human health as well as environmental safety concerns, the Association adviced the regulating Agency “to engage the farmers in high level education as the whole GMO farming emanates from educated farmers like in the US, India, Brazil, Greece, Argentina, etc.”

It added that the recent application by Monsanto for the environmental release and commercialization of  genetically modified Bt Cotton could play an immense role in making cotton farming attractive “as well as reviving and repositioning the textile sector.”

It further added that the science-based review process by regulatory agencies and independent experts that the application was currently undergoing would ascertain the safety to human and animal health as well as the environment, of the proposed product.

“Lack of confidence by participants across the value chain over the years is restricting much-needed investment and one of the root causes of this is tied to the most important input in the industry, the cotton crop,” the statement continued, adding, “Seed quality remains a problem affecting yield and by implication, farmers’ income and motivation to cultivate. The prevalence of pests which leads to increased expenses in pesticides (thereby unnecessarily hiking cost of inputs upwards) is also another contributing factor.”

THE FULL TEXT:

THE NIGERIAN TEXTILE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION:

OUR POSITION FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL RELEASE AND PLACING IN MARKET OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED INSECT-PROTECTED (BT) COTTON 

The textile industry in Nigeria is a strategic non-oil industry and the largest industry in the country after oil and agriculture. In addition, it is the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its potential is derived from it being located in Nigeria, a country blessed with abundant raw material potential and especially cotton and polyester chips (petrochemical). The industry has a high potential for added value generation from raw material to finished goods and is a major employer of urban and rural populations.

It is estimated that about 30,000 Nigerians are employed in the textile industry and an additional one million small farmers and labourers are both in direct cotton production and within the value chain, probably supporting five million more people. This is a sharp contrast from over 400,000 people employed across over 250 textile mills in the country in the 80s.

Lack of confidence by participants across the value chain over the years is restricting much-needed investment and one of the root causes of this is tied tightly to the most important input in the industry, the cotton crop. 

Cotton farming in Nigeria over the years has suffered because the opportunity cost of planting cotton has remained high. Cotton does not compete favourably against other lower risk crops and this has led to a dwindling of farmers involved in cultivating the crop over time. In addition, seed quality remains a problem affecting yield and by implication, farmers’ income and motivation to cultivate. The prevalence of pests which leads to increased expenses in pesticides (thereby unnecessarily hiking cost of inputs upwards) is also another contributing factor. 

With all of these affecting cotton farming, it is no surprise therefore that attraction to the business is on the decline. Scarcity, poor quality or unattractive pricing of this raw material has direct consequences on our industry, causing it to contract with every passing year and stunting its ability to take its place as a potential key contributor to the economy especially now that the government of the day is exploring non-oil revenue options to boost public finance.

We therefore view the recent submission of an application for the environmental release and placing in market of  Genetically Modified insect protected (Bt) Cotton  that can play an immense role in restoring attraction to cotton farming as well as reviving and repositioning the textile sector as a welcome development capable of reviving the entire industry. 

The recent establishment of the National Biosafety Management Agency by the Nigerian government, to help safeguard human health and environmental safety concerns that the introduction of one of these critical technologies may generate among members of the public.

The agency in furtherance of its mandate, has commenced the process of reviewing this application presently before it. The application is currently undergoing a science-based review process together with relevant regulatory agencies and independent experts to ascertain that the proposed product is safe to human and animal health and to the environment.

Finally it behoves on the BT Cotton regulators to engage the farmers in high level education as the whole GMO farming emanates from educated farmers like in the US, INDIA, BRAZIL ,GREECE, ARGENTINA etc.

The Application submitted by Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Ltd, a leading company in agricultural sustainability, is for the consideration of Environmental release and placing in market of genetically modified insect-protected (Bt) cotton in Nigeria. 

This protection is expected to improve cotton lint quality and farmers will benefit increase yields due to reduced insect-pest damage. 

We are pleased that this is coming on the heels of recent comments from the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogonnaya Onu – when a team from the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, Nigeria Chapter visited him – that the government’s interest in utilizing the potentials of bt-Cotton to revive the industry. 

Of recent the Textile Industry has had a barrage of shortage of the commodity and even when available it by far surpasses the international price so, the thinking is that when it is produced in surplus, local industry should be able to purchase it at regulated prices and again farmers would be able to export.

Thanks you.

FOR: NIGERIAN TEXTILE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION

Signed

HAMMA A.KWAJAFFA

AG DIRECTOR GENERAL

Groups oppose Monsanto’s GM maize, cotton proposal

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      Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation

About 100 groups representing some five million Nigerians, comprising farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local community groups, have lodged an opposition to Monsanto’s attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize into Nigeria’s food and farming systems. In written objections submitted to the biosafety regulators, the groups have cited numerous health and environmental concerns and alleged failure of these crops, especially GM cotton, in Africa.

Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited has applied to the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for the environmental release and placing in the market in Zaria and surrounding towns of GM cotton (Bt cotton, event MON 15985). A further application is for the confined field trial (CFT) of two GM maize varieties (NK603 and stacked event MON 89034 x NK603) in multiple locations in Nigeria.

In their objection to the commercial release of Bt cotton into Nigeria, the groups are particularly alarmed that the application has come so close after reported failures of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso.

Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) – one of the groups in the frontline of the resistance – stated: “We are totally shocked that it should come so soon after peer reviewed studies have showed that the technology has failed dismally in Burkina Faso. It has brought nothing but economic misery to the cotton sector there and is being phased out in that country where compensation is being sought from Monsanto.”

Then he demanded: “Since our Biosafety Act has only recently entered into force, what biosafety legislation was used to authorise and regulate the field trials in the past in accordance with international law and best biosafety practice?”

According to the groups, former president, Goodluck Jonathan, “hastily” signed the National Biosafety Management Bill into law, in the twilight days of his tenure in office. Further worrying, they added, is the apparent conflict of interests displayed by the Nigerian regulatory agencies, “who are publically supporting the introduction of GMOs into Nigeria whereas these regulators (the NMBA) are legally bound to remain impartial and regulate in the public interest.”

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         Rufus Ebegba, DG of NBMA

Bassey stresses that Monsanto’s GM maize application is in respect of a stacked event, including the herbicide tolerant trait intended to confer tolerance to the use of the herbicide, glyphosate. In 20 March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), assessed the carcinogenicity of glysophate and concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” There is also increasing scientific evidence that glyphosate poses serious risks to the environment, added the activist.

According to Mariann Orovwuje, Friends of the Earth International’s Food Sovereignty co-coordinator, “Should commercialisation of Monsanto’s GM maize be allowed pursuant to field trials, this will result in increased use of glyphosate in Nigeria, a chemical that is linked to causing cancer in humans. Recent studies have linked glyphosate to health effects such as degeneration of the liver and kidney, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That NBMA is even considering this application is indeed unfortunate and deeply regrettable, knowing full well about the uncontrolled exposure that our rural farmers and communities living close to farms will be exposed to.

“Monsanto’s application deceitfully provides no discussion on the potential risks of glysophate use to human and animal health and the environment. Apart from the potential of contaminating local varieties, the health risk of the introduction of genetically modified maize into Nigeria is enormous considering the fact that maize is a staple that all of 170 million Nigerians depend on.”

The groups are urging the Nigerian government to reject Monsanto’s applications out of hand. They note with disquiet that there is a serious lack of capacity within Nigeria to adequately control and monitor the human and environmental risks of GM crops and glyphosate. Further, they added, there is virtually no testing of any food material and products in Nigeria for glyphosate or other pesticide residues, or the monitoring of their impact on the environment including water resources.

Groups endorsing the objection to Monsanto’s applications include:

All Nigeria Consumers Movement Union (ANCOMU)

Committee on Vital Environmental Resources (COVER)

Community Research and Development Centre (CRDC)

Ijaw Mothers of Warri Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN)

Host Communities Network of Nigeria (HoCoN)

Oilwatch Nigeria Green Alliance,

Nigeria African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development

Istitute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL)

Women Environmental Programme (WEP)

Persons with Disabilities Action Network (PEDANET)

Students Environmental Assembly of Nigeria (SEAN)

Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD)

Ogoni Solidarity Forum (OSF)

KebetKache Women Development and Resource Centre

Federation of Urban Poor (FEDUP)

Community Forest Watch (CFW)

The Young Environmentalist Network (TYEN)

Women’s Rights to Education Program (WREP)

Community Action for Public Action (CAPA)

Peoples Advancement Centre (ADC)

Bori Social Action SPEAK

Nigeria Host Communities Network

Urban Rural Environmental Defenders (U-RED)

Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI)

Women’s Right to Education Programme (WREP)

Foundation for Rural/Urban Integration (FRUIT)

Community Action for Popular Participation

Torjir-Agber Foundation (TAF)

Civil Society on Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE),

Jireh Doo Foundation

Advocate for Community Vision and Development (ACOVID)

Initiative for empowerment for vulnerable (IEV)

Kwaswdoo Foundation Initiative (KFI)

Environment and Climate Change Amelioration Initiative) ECCAI

Manna Love and care Foundation (MLC)

Okaha Women and children development Organisation (OWCDO)

JODEF-F Glorious things ministry (GTM)

Daughters of Love Foundation

Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN)

Community Links and Empowerment Initiative (CLHEI)

Nigerian Women in Agriculture (NAWIA)

Osa Foundation

Initiative for Improved Health and Wealth Creation (IIHWC)

Peace Health Care Initiative (PHCI)

Ochilla Daughters Foundation (ODF)

African Health Project (AHP)

Artists in Development

Ramberg Child Survival Initiative (RACSI)

Global Health and Development initiative

First Step Initiative (FIP)

Ruhujukan Environment Development Initiative (REDI)

The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Nigeria

Center for Children’s Health Education, Orientation Protection (CEE Hope) and CEEHOPE Nigeria

Next Generation Youth Initiative (NGI)

Akwa Ibom Information and Research Organisation (AIORG)

Rural Action for Green Environment (RAGE)

United Action for Democracy

Campaign for Democracy

Yasuni Association

Egi Joint Action Congress

Green Concern for Development (Greencode)

Kebetkache Ahoada Women Farmers Cooperative

Ahoada Uzutam Women Farmers Cooperative

Ogboaku Ahoada Farmers Cooperative

Gbobia Feefeelo women

Ovelle Nyakovia Women Cooperative

Rumuekpe Women Prayer Warriors

League of Queens

Emem Iban Oku

Iboku Uchio Mpani Ibeno

Rural Health and Women Development

Women Initiative on Climate Change

Peoples’ Centre

Citizens Trust Advocacy and Development Centre (CITADEC)

Centre for Environment Media and Development Communications

Centre for Dignity

Peace and Development Project

Triumphant Foundation

Earthcare Foundation

Lokiakia Centre

Community Development and Advocacy Foundation (CODAF)

Citizens Centre for Development Strategies

Rainforest Research and Development Center

Center for Environmental Education and Development (CEED)

Initiative for the Elimination of Violence Against Women & Children (IEVAWC)

Charles and Doosurgh Abaagu Foundation

Community Emergency Response Initiative

Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN)

Shacks and Slum Dwellers Association of Nigeria

Atan Justice, Development and Peace Centre

Sisters of Saint Louis Nigeria

Life Lift Nigeria

Community Research and Development Foundation (CDLF)

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/ FoEN)

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)

Culled from Environews

   

YAShuaib Resigns from FOSSRA… Says Jon Ode Panel Misleading President Buhari

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           Yushau Shuaib

By PRNigeria

The Chief Media Consultant to the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA), Mr. Yushau Shuaib has resigned his appointment after three years serving as an intermediary between all the major security and response agencies and the media in Nigeria.

Yushau Shuaib who was engaged by former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki to serve as media consultant to military, security, intelligence and response organisations under a unified platform, had as his core mandate the responsibility of positioning the agencies for desired public perception and changing the negative narratives regarding the war against terror.

In his notice of resignation served the Chairman of the forum and Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, Shuaib said he could no longer continue to serve FOSSRA which is under the auspices of Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) because of what he termed “misleading report by presidential committee under the same ONSA” for unjustly accusing almost all institutions and individuals that served the office without fair hearing.

Shuaib said: “The Presidential Panel under ONSA is merely criminalizing critical institutions and indicting groups and individuals in the media without being arraigned in the court of law where the accused could prove their innocence.”

He queried the rationale behind empowering a Panel of Procurement of Arms that is composed of retired and serving military officers to also be saddled with probing contracts and services that have nothing to do with arms and ammunition.

The Media consultant pointed out that “while the retired AVM Jon Ode led-Panel deliberately refuses to acknowledge successes recorded by previous administration in the war on terror, the team has only succeeded in misleading the president with its biased reports that create unnecessary anxiety in the polity.”

He advised President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of those whose stock in trade is to blackmail and destroy others apparently as a way and means of venting their anger over their past frustrations or exerting revenge against their perceived enemies or rivalries while in the service.

“I wonder if President Buhari was able to conduct comprehensive background checks on some members of the panel before their appointment. A mere google check would have provided him a glimpse on the character and ethical capital of some of these individuals who may likely be showing frustrations occasioned by stagnation in posting, arraignment before court martial for indiscipline and fund misappropriation while in service apart from those that might have served as aides to controversial figures,” he said.

Shuaib, who was defending a PR agency, Image Merchants that works for security agencies since 2013 with over 20 staff on its monthly payroll said: “It is mere mischief for the Jon Ode-panel to indict an umbrella strategic communication outfit that was not involved in partisan politics but provided proofs of its assignment and paid the full taxes demanded by the panel only for the same panel to turn around and claimed nothing was done just few days after an article we published exposing the lies being orchestrated that no weapons were bought by the previous administration for the prosecution of war on terror.

“The panel were even arguing with us on some contents of the published article forgetting that while most of them were on retirement we risk our live by engaging top serving military officers on various security issues and on the field which we disseminate through the media to the public.

“They seemed to be aggrieved with the disclosure in the article that the previous administration bought sophisticated weapons for the military, which included: Alpha jets, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) APCs, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, advanced artillery pieces, assorted arms and ammunitions, highly sophisticated surveillance drones, T72 Battle Tanks and modification of F7 supersonic jet fighters.”

In the same statement, Shuaib clarified that at the twilight of Jonathan’s administration more than 22 towns in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states were recovered and confirmed with video and pictorial evidences through military press releases. Some of the towns recovered before the coming of President Buhari included: Abadam, Askira, Baga, Bama, Bita, BuniYadi, Damboa, Gamboru Ngala, Goniri, Gujba, Gulani, Gwoza, Hong, Konduga, Kukawa, Marte, Madagali, Michika, Monguno, Mubi, and others. A clear testimony to some of the accomplishments was the official DHQ release dated March 16, 2015 with reference No: DHQ/ABJ/901/32/DDI and a title: “Troops Finally Rout Terrorists from Bama and Last Stronghold in Yobe.”

It further revealed that Jonathan’s administration achieved the feat through adequate funding of Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) and participating neighbouring countries in additional to recruitments of ‘Special M Forces’ that stormed the terrorists’ camps from the air. The combined and collaborative security efforts, according to the consultant, weakened Boko Haram terrorists from disrupting 2015’s general elections which Buhari eventually won.

Surprisingly an article published by an aide of President Buhari eulogizing former NSA Dasuki over the accomplishments in the war against terror by Jonathan’s administration, which Shuaib cited in his article, has been deleted from the website of the newsmedia that published it. The original article where the media link was provided can still be read from this: (http://yashuaib.com/2015/12/open-letter-to-presidential-spokesperson-femi-adesina/)

Shuaib stated that while the ONSA Presidential Panel deliberately refused to appreciate PR intervention in crisis management, he said that “For genuine reasons and concern, our strategic team manages many humiliating and embarrassing reports from leakages, including alleged terrorists’ attacks in the hometowns of top security officers in the current administration.”

The consultant warned that: “While it is wrong to criminalize the military by subjecting their officers to scrutiny in an agency headed by a policeman, it is appalling the continued exposure of our judiciary to public ridicule in the sensationalised anti-corruption campaigns. In this context, it is foolhardy for anyone to now contemplate using a PR agency to rubbish media integrity as another critical stakeholder. PR people engage the media professionally and responsibly to achieve strategic objectives.

“I strongly believe that President Muhammadu Buhari is being misled with negative and predetermined reports that continue to portray Nigeria as the most corrupt nation when he should be encouraged to address the current problems of weak Naira, fuel crises, poor electricity supply, skyrocketing costs of living among other economic challenges which are denting the image of the administration. President Buhari certainly does not need lies and distractive propaganda at this critical period.

“Since the President is neither a god to be worshipped nor a devil to be feared, General Muhammadu Buhari deserves love and respect of the citizens through transparency and motivating demeanour which are characteristics of a compassionate leader. My position on incorruptibility and integrity of Buhari is an open secret through my writings over two decades, right from the university days. We stand for Buhari not out of fear as if every Nigerian is a criminal; we love and pray for his success as a national leader. We therefore urge the President to be wary of vested interests who are clearly capitalizing on his sincerity and trust for their own proxy wars.

“We honoured the invitation to serve our nation out of patriotism and we dutifully provided our services as crisis communicators diligently and professionally. While acknowledging the moral supports and encouragement from critical stakeholders, we will continue to volunteer, support and render the services responsibly. We would never abandon our clients, partners and friends especially those who are unduly victimized and vilified.”

“Meanwhile we will soon be in the court to clear our name from the unfortunate media trial of indictment that has been used consistently to unjustly rubbish reputations of institutions and individuals without following the rule of law or due process,” he concluded.

NOTE: Members of FOSSRA include spokespersons from Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Nigerian Army (NA), Nigerian Airforce (NAF), Nigerian Navy (NN), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Security Service (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Federal Fire Service (FFS), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

By PRNigeria

Rice Ban: Bureau de Change Operators Kick Against Action

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               Rice Farm

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

Chairman of the Bureau De Change Operators Association in Sokoto state, Aliyu Yar Abba has criticised government’s ban on rice importation to Nigeria through land borders, appealing at the same time that the federal government lifts the ban in the meantime.

Reacting to the development in Sokoto on Monday, Yar Abba observed that although the policy was a good one, “It is ill-timed. It should have come at a time when the country can proudly boast of producing domestic rice to the level of self-sufficiency.”

He suggested that if the ban is sustained, “it will only encourage more smuggling activities across Nigerian borders.”

Stressing the need to revamp the nation’s agricultural sector, Yar Abba advised the federal government to empower farmers in the country in order to produce adequate rice at subsistence and commercial level.

“Nigeria stands to boost its revenue sources from the present oil-dependent one if the sector gets the attention it deserves,” he said adding that state governments should follow the footsteps of President Buhari in promoting agriculture for food security.

Sokoto Ties Salary Payment To BVN

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                  Gov. Tambuwal
By Abdallah el-Kurebe

As part of efforts to sanitise the state civil service and permanently tackle the serious problem of ghost workers in Sokoto state, Governor Aminu Tambuwal has instructed all workers to submit their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) before the April 2016 salaries would be paid to them.

A statement issued by the governor’s spokesman, Imam Imam in Sokoto on Sunday, said the state Head of Service has been instructed to ensure prompt compliance to enable all workers update their records.

It further stated that the submission of the BVN forms part of the ongoing verification of the workforce and the updating of records of all employees in the state civil service. The directive also affects workers at the local government level.

The statement said the ongoing verification exercise at the local government level had saved substantial amount of money, and that the effort would continue until the payroll was completely sanitised.

The Role of DWWT in Africa’s Faecal Waste Management

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By Abdallah el-Kurebe

Some Facts‎ on Global Water Pollution:

> “The current piped sewerage systems do not treat sewage but merely transport it away. They are toxic and extremely polluting for the rivers and lakes where they are dumped,” – CSE

‎> The  global  population  is  expected to  exceed  nine  billion  people by  2050.  Major  growth  will  take  place  in  developing  countries, particularly  in  urban  areas  that  already  have  inadequate  waste-water  infrastructure.  The  financial,  environmental  and  social costs  are  projected  to  increase  dramatically  unless  waste-water management  receives  urgent  attention – UNEP

> Every day, two million ‎tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water – UN WWAP 2003

Wikipedia defines water as a transparent fluid, which covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface‎ and is vital for all known forms of life. Waste-water , according to the online English dictionary, is any water that has been used by some human, domestic or industrial activity and, because of that, now contains waste products.

The current paradigm on water is that the more water is supplied, the more waste water is generated. This results in more costs for treatment, which in turn, is not sustainable because of the growing population – even though more than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.

The Second India-Africa Dialogue and Media Briefing Workshop,  organised by the Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) in conjunction with Ghana’s SaTCOG, was funded by the India-based Centre of Science and Environment (CSE).  Journalists from Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, attended.

The workshop, which was premised on Sewerage to Sanitation: Mainstreaming Septage (Faecal Waste) Management, under-studied the African plan for cities’ water, which forgets the waste. The faecal waste plan is such that is dependent on the plan by the colonial administration.

According to Suresh Rohilla, CSE’s Programme Director in charge of Water Management, “80 percent of water leaves homes as sewage where the more water that is generated, the more is wasted. Cities have no clue how they will convey waste, treat it in order to have clean rivers.”

‎The CSE, which carried out a study on waste water management in 2015, found that the disposal system of faecal waste was based on the sewage systems built by the colonialists, without the involvement of the local people. The study discovered that “The colonial administration created systems and structures where the participation of local people in making decisions was completely eliminated while the systems also became more and more centralised.”

The water supply systems were not decentralised. They were controlled and relied on long transmission lines. More so, the transportation of water from distant locations and sewage disposal were centralised in most towns and cities. “As much as 20 to 50 per cent of water was wasted during the supply process.”

According to Indian National Urban Sanitation Policy 2008, 50 percent of the population lives in unhygienic situations  where “only 102 million (equivalent to 29 percent of the urban population) are connected to septic tanks and 60 million (17 percent) use pit or vault latrines. Big cities still have 20-40 percent dependence on septic tanls and small/medium cities 80-100 percent ‎are on septic tanks.”

‎Against the conventional waste water treatment systems, which are expensive in maintenance, the workshop recommended the Duckweed based Waste Water Treatment (DWWT)‎, which have flexibility in design.‎ “The DWWT are tolerant to inflow fluctuation and sewer networks are shorter in length and smaller in diameter,” Rohilla explained in his presentation, adding, “it uses a variety of simpler and natural treatment system with non or minimal energy. It promotes conservation of used water and nutrients.”

Of additional advantage is that the DWWT system uses no electricity or chemicals for the treatment process and semi or unskilled labour for operation and maintenance. “The reuse of water is local and safe.

While the DWWT could be used in rural and urban areas, it could also be applied in single houses, public toilets, residential areas, tourism facilities, craft villages, industrial parks as well as hospitals, markets and schools.

African governments must think of workable ways of managing waste water. This could be by adopting technologies ‎that are known to improve water treatment processes. 

“These technologies, according to CSE, “are decentralised and designed to enhance the natural aerobic and anaerobic processes” and “create conditions in which wastewater can be treated with the least use of energy or mechanical equipment.”‎ On the whole, wastewater could be effectively recycled and reused locally at household, institutional or community level.

Patrick Appoya is of the Africa Sanitation Think Tank ‎and an Environmentalist. Presenting his paper, “Mainstreaming Sustainable Sanitation Solutions in Africa,” he observed that the sewage systems being used today in Africa “have proven not to be able to cover the population the way we want.”

He gave an example of Ghana, which in 1990 had 11 percent of the population only with access to improved sanitation. The country recorded a four percent difference (15%) in 2015. “It means that our strategy is not working if in 25 years, there was a difference of only  four percent. We are showcasing today that other workable approaches are available to achieve our public health objectives. And that option is the decentralised waste treatment. Whatever it will cost to contain our faecal matter effectively, according to the principle of improved sanitation, we must do it.”

Appoya sees one of African government’s challenge in faecal waste management as not charting their own path. “For example, countries that inherited conventional sewage treatment systems still go that way. They don’t think of how best they could create their own suitable methods. The ability to organise authentic evidence ‎to be able to improve on the status quo is the major problem when it comes to sanitation,” he said. 

While Appoya sees that very little has changed on the toilet that was invented in 1840s, ‎he recommends the decentralised waste water management system for Africa.

“I will recommend the decentralised waste water management system. We need to also understand that the centralised system will not be able to service everybody.”

‎Sudhir Pillay, of South Africa’s Water Research Commission made a presentation on the “Opportunities and Challenges in Faecal System Management (FSM) while MESHA’s Secretary, Aghan Daniel presented a paper titled, “Challenges Facing Science Journalism.”

NEMA Calls for Deployment of More Medical Personnel to IDP Camps

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image

                    Some IDPs

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

The Director General (DG) of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani Sidi has called for deployment of more medical doctors and others health personnel to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camps to improve their healthcare. 

A press release signed and issued by the Senior Information Officer of the Agency, Sani Datti on Thursday stated that the DG made the appeal when he led a team of Health Policy Specialists and Clinicians for an on-the-spot Health needs assessment and strategy appraisal at IDPs camps in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Sidi explained that the assessment was to determine the medical and health related challenges affecting 
IDPs camps in Maiduguri and host communities as well as liberated communities with emphasis on children, maternal care and vulnerable persons.    

The DG added that there were twelve (12) satellite camps that have currently been set up in liberated communities without adequate health personnel. “Even though the Agency has an MoU with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital and working relationship with other secondary health facilities for referral cases, these camps need to have medical personnel for immediate treatment of  cases.”

“Bakassi camp, which is accommodating 11,819 IDPs had recorded 27 new births as well as 3,393 out-patient consultations in the month of February with only one Medical doctor from UNICEF and some few health personnel attending to them,” the statement continued.

He appealed to volunteer doctors who were willing to be deployed to camps in liberated communities to come forward and join the ones on ground, promising that adequate security measures and incentives would be provided.

Common health problems identified in some of the camps, according to the Agency included Hypertension, Diabetes, mellitus, Eye problems, Malaria, Peptic Ulcer disease and Malnutrition.  

Some of the challenges noted down include inadequate health personnel and lack of steady supply of desirable drugs and medicaments.

The satellite camps are in Dikwa, Mafa, Damboa, Baga, Bama, Gwoza, Askira Uba. Others include Sabon Garin- Damboa, Beneishek, Ngamborou Ngala, Baki and Kondiga.

Second India-Africa Dialogue Calls for Urgent Curb of Waste-water

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By Aghan Daniel
MESHA Secretary I aghan@meshakenya.org

MARCH 22, ACCRA, GHANA – “Are all roads in Ghana this smooth? This good?” asked Maina Waruru, a senior MESHA member from Kenya as we approached the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra last Monday afternoon.

As we got off our hostess’ car, one Linda Asante, a very kind member of Science and Technology Communicators Association of Ghana (SaTCOG), received us and led us to the Scoop, the institutions canteen run by Akan, a very talkative woman.

For me, I rushed to the washroom to empty my bowels in a nearby modern toilet. My colleagues were already placing their orders for a late lunch. To many of them that would be their first meal on Ghanaian soil, thanks to the efforts of Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) and India-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

As I left the washroom, one thing kept ringing in my mind – how does Accra manage its faecal sludge? What about Africa? And the world?

A few years ago, I was startled when the City Council of Nairobi put a levy of Ksh100 (USD1) in addition to my water bill. I was startled that they specified the levy as a stand-alone-item, instead of including it in the charges for water consumed.

According to a study on waste water management carried out by CSE in 2015, the high cost of disposing faecal waste should be blamed on colonisation, which constructed modern sewage systems. “The colonial administration created systems and structures where the participation of local people in making decisions was completely eliminated while the systems also became more and more centralised,” the study read in parts.

The report furthers that while water supply systems were centrally controlled and relied on long transmission lines as well as transportation of water from distant locations, sewage disposal too, was done in a centralised manner in most towns and cities. “As much as 20 to 50 per cent of water was wasted during the supply process.”

Going by the analysis, the per capita (per person) consumption of water increased when the sewage systems became more ‘modern’. For example, data from India shows that in towns, the per capita consumption of water was 70 litres per person per day. This, according to the study, increased to 135 for cities. For the metros, it was as much as 150 litres per person per day.

“Only 20 per cent of this water is consumed. The rest is waste water – indicating an urgent need to curb wastage of water through wasteful sanitation and other practices,” said Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Programme Director (Water Management) of CSE.

Waruru and I were part of a group of 24 journalists from all over Africa who attended a one-day dialogue meeting on water and sanitation with specific reference to faecal management of waste in various countries. The dialogue, organised by MESHA in conjunction with SaTCOG, was funded by CSE. Journalists from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Rwanda attended the dialogue with others from Benin, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

According to WASH Alliance in Kenya, it is estimated that only one-third of the residents have access to sufficient, affordable and potable water close to their homes.

More so, only another third of Kenyans have access to improved sanitation. This basically calls for integration. As we think of the improved sanitation, costs also need to be discussed. In the rural areas, according to WASH Alliance Kenya, open defecation is still practiced by 18% of the population.
This suggests that contaminated drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene are urgent and growing health concerns. It is the leading cause of diarrhea, which is one of the main causes of death in Kenya.

In an effort to bridge the gap, WASH Alliance Kenya is currently raising awareness on low cost management technologies and faecal sludge management. They have launched a Sanitation and Solid Waste Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and local banks. This is aimed at influencing governments to adopt pro-poor and innovative waste management approaches that would target 175,000.

While WASH Alliance commits itself to this intervention, Ms Henrietta Ose -Tutu of the Department of Environmental Sanitation, Ghana observed that the current discussion and effort around waste management was more focused on solid waste. “It is necessary that we lay emphasis on liquid waste or waste water management as well,” she said.

Second India-Africa Dialogue Calls for Urgent Curb in Waste-water

Uncategorized

By Aghan Daniel
MESHA Secretary I aghan@meshakenya.org

MARCH 22, ACCRA, GHANA – “Are all roads in Ghana this smooth? This good?” asked Maina Waruru, a senior MESHA member from Kenya as we approached the Ghana Institute of Journalism in Accra last Monday afternoon.

As we got off our hostess’ car, one Linda Asante, a very kind member of Science and Technology Communicators Association of Ghana (SaTCOG), received us and led us to the Scoop, the institutions canteen run by Akan, a very talkative woman.

For me, I rushed to the washroom to empty my bowels in a nearby modern toilet. My colleagues were already placing their orders for a late lunch. To many of them that would be their first meal on Ghanaian soil, thanks to the efforts of Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA) and India-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

As I left the washroom, one thing kept ringing in my mind – how does Accra manage its faecal sludge? What about Africa? And the world? A few years ago, I was startled when the City Council of Nairobi put a levy of Ksh100 (USD1) in addition to my water bill. I was startled that they specified the levy as a stand-alone-item, instead of including it in the charges for water consumed.

According to a study on waste water management carried out by CSE in 2015, the high cost of disposing faecal waste should be blamed on colonisation, which constructed modern sewage systems. “The colonial administration created systems and structures where the participation of local people in making decisions was completely eliminated while the systems also became more and more centralised,” the study read in parts.

The report furthers that while water supply systems were centrally controlled and relied on long transmission lines as well as transportation of water from distant locations, sewage disposal too, was done in a centralised manner in most towns and cities. “As much as 20 to 50 per cent of water was wasted during the supply process.”

Going by the analysis, the per capita (per person) consumption of water increased when the sewage systems became more ‘modern’.

For example, data from India shows that in towns, the per capita consumption of water was 70 litres per person per day. This, according to the study, increased to 135 for cities. For the metros, it was as much as 150 litres per person per day.

“Only 20 per cent of this water is consumed. The rest is waste water – indicating an urgent need to curb wastage of water through wasteful sanitation and other practices,” said Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Programme Director (Water Management) of CSE.

Waruru and I were part of a group of 24 journalists from all over Africa who attended a one-day dialogue meeting on water and sanitation with specific reference to faecal management of waste in various countries. The dialogue, organised by MESHA in conjunction with SaTCOG, was funded by CSE. Journalists from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Rwanda attended the dialogue with others from Benin, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

According to WASH Alliance in Kenya, it is estimated that only one-third of the residents have access to sufficient, affordable and potable water close to their homes.

More so, only another third of Kenyans have access to improved sanitation. This basically calls for integration. As we think of the improved sanitation, costs also need to be discussed. In the rural areas, according to WASH Alliance Kenya, open defecation is still practiced by 18% of the population.
This suggests that contaminated drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene are urgent and growing health concerns. It is the leading cause of diarrhea, which is one of the main causes of death in Kenya.

In an effort to bridge the gap, WASH Alliance Kenya is currently raising awareness on low cost management technologies and faecal sludge management. They have launched a Sanitation and Solid Waste Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and local banks. This is aimed at influencing governments to adopt pro-poor and innovative waste management approaches that would target 175,000.

While WASH Alliance commits itself to this intervention, Ms Henrietta Ose -Tutu of the Department of Environmental Sanitation, Ghana observed that the current discussion and effort around waste management was more focused on solid waste. “It is necessary that we lay emphasis on liquid waste or waste water management as well,” she said.