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News N30,000: How Nigerians reacted to Buhari’s signing of new minimum wage bill

April 19, 2019 By Seun Opejobi DAILY POST had reported that Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senate had on March 19, approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation. DAILY POST had reported that Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senate had on March 19, approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation. Following the signing of the bill, Nigerians took to their Twitter handles to express their views on the development. Their tweets read thus: @Ariyo758628: “MinimumWage I hope and pray that the FG will not use the newly signed minimum wage to Rob Peter to pay Paul because I can’t understand HM IK landing cost theory onibara ba ole boo noni.” “What is the best way to help poor people? By giving them money and encouraging them to become dependent, or by creating jobs so that they can better themselves and live independent lives? \

Africa in the news: Disputed election in Comoros, US sanctions on Cameroon, and attack on Mali villa

March 31, 2019 Disputed presidential election in Comoros On Tuesday, Comoros’ electoral body declared incumbent President Azali Assoumani winner of the country’s presidential elections with 60.8 percent of the vote. The runner up, Ahamada Mahamoudou, one of 12 opposition candidates, received 14.6 percent of the vote. Assoumani’s victory with over 50 percent of the vote has ensured that he will not face a second round of run-off elections against a single opponent. The opposition alleges that voting was fraudulent and hindered by violence, assaults on candidates, and arrests of opposition supporters, which the government denies. As a result, opposition groups have rejected the results of the elections and are planning a civil disobedience campaign aimed at unseating the president and demanding a new ballot to be conducted by a transitional administration. Hours after opposition candidates announced their plans to unseat the president, a firefight took place near the main military base in the capital of Moroni. At least three people were killed in the shootout, and former army colonel Mohamed Soilihi, who came third in the elections, was arrested. Observers from the African Union, the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa, and the African Standby Forces of the East have stated that the voting process was highly irregular and lacked credibility or transparency. US applies sanctions on Cameroon as violence persists On Thursday, March 28, Human Rights Watch reported that at least 170 civilians have been killed since October in the escalating violence in Cameroon. The violence has occurred primarily along linguistic lines between Cameroon’s Anglophone and Francophone populations. The ethno-linguistic tension stems from perceived discrimination against the minority Anglophone Cameroonians: The government operates primarily in French, courts have ostracized Anglophones, and Anglophones are unable to hold civil service jobs. As a result, many Anglophones feel like second-class citizens, and ties between the two communities continue to fray while trust in government, especially in Anglophone regions, has plummeted. Both the government and separatists are accused of atrocities. According to the report, “government forces in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have killed scores of civilians, used indiscriminate force, and torched hundreds of homes over the past six months.” The separatists, however, have also contributed to the violence through kidnappings—including of at least 300 children under age 18 years old—and two executions, says the report. Over 430,000 have fled in response to the violence. The violence is also compounding poverty in the country, as farmers have been forced to abandon their crops and exports are in decline. As a result of the violence, earlier this week, the U.S. placed sanctions on over 20 military personnel, civilian actors, and government ministers in Cameroon. Aid programs and military training by the U.S. have been withdrawn. Attack on Mali villages kills more than 150 Gunmen attacked the villages of Ogossagou and Welingara in central Mali last Saturday, killing 157 people. The attack was one of the deadliest in recent years. The villages are home to the Fulani ethnic group, who are seminomadic herders, while the attack was allegedly carried out by fighters from the Dogon ethnic group, escalating an ongoing conflict between the Dogon and Fulani. According to the U.N., more than 200 people have been killed in interethnic violence in Mali in 2019. The conflict between the Dogon and Fulani has become increasingly violent since 2012 following a militant Islamic uprising in the northern part of the country. Responding to the attacks, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita disbanded an anti-jihadi vigilante group and fired two generals in the military. On Wednesday, the United Nations announced that it would send a team of experts to investigate the attack. The International Criminal Court will also send a team to Mali to investigate and assess whether the crimes fall within its jurisdiction.

Nigerian academics hail court ruling on lecturers deported to Cameroon

March 30, 2019\ File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Cameroonian president, Paul Biya Nigerian academics have welcomed the judgement by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordering the repatriation of six academics from the former British Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) and four other refugees who were all in Nigeria and who were abducted and illegally deported from Nigeria on January 5, 2018, on the allegation of plotting to destabilise the government of President Paul Biya of Cameroon. Two separate judgments were handed down by the presiding judge, Anwuli Chikere, on March 1, 2019, in connection with the matter. In the first case – brought by a group of human rights lawyers against the National Security Advisor and Attorney General – the judge ruled that the arrest of January 5, 2018, and subsequent detention of the academics at the National Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) was illegal and unconstitutional. In the second case – brought by the deportees – the judge ruled that the deportation of January 26, 2018, was illegal and violated the deportees’ rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution. Power of the courts The court ruling has been hailed by the university community and staff unions as a sign that the courts can still protect and defend the rights of foreign nationals and citizens who are either working, residing or are refugees in Nigeria. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has promised to ensure that the judgement is enforced. The academics are part of a larger group of 57 Cameroonian refugees and asylum-seekers who are Anglophone restorationists. Some of them have been living in Nigeria for decades and at least one has a Nigerian wife and children. The university lecturers are: Professor Augustine Awasum, Faculty of Veterinary Surgery & Diagnostic Imaging at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria; Dr. Henry T. Kimeng, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering also at the Ahmadu Bello University(ABU) Zaria; Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, Assistant Vice President and Pioneer Head, Information and Technology, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Fidelis Ndeh, Assistant Professor and Director, Academic Planning, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Cornelius N. Kwanga, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University in Katsina; and Dr. Egbe Ogork, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering, Bayero University, Kano. On the issue of their illegal arrest and detention, the judge ordered the state to pay damages of N5 million (US$13 to each detainee “as general and aggravated damages for illegal violation of their fundamental rights to life, dignity of person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association”. On the issue of their deportation, the court ordered the state to pay damages of N200,000. The judge also ruled in both cases that the Nigerian state was under perpetual injunction restraining it from further violation of fundamental rights without lawful justification. She also ordered that the deportees should be returned to Nigeria as soon as possible. Solitary confinement Since their deportation from Abuja to the Cameroon capital Yaoundé in January 2018 at the hands of Nigerian and Cameroonian security forces, the deportees were initially kept in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison facility without access to sunlight, family, lawyers or specialized medical care for 11 months after which they were moved to another maximum – security prison facility with some limited access to family and lawyers. They are yet to be charged or arraigned for any crimes because lawyers in Cameroon have consistently challenged the jurisdiction of the Military Tribunal in LRC to try scholars who faced a death penalty if eventually the ‘kangaroo military tribunal’ brings them to trial. The lawyers argue the composition, jurisdiction, language and historical precedence which makes the court incompetent to hear the case or guarantee a free and fair trial of the academics. As refugees who were abducted, their lawyers have persistently insisted that the national and international laws should be respected and the scholars should be returned to Nigeria from where they were kidnapped. Soon after their deportation, a team of human rights lawyers led by Femi Falana and Abdul Oroh filed a case in the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging their detention and deportation. In their submission they rejected the allegation that the group were terrorists bent on overthrowing the LRC government. In July 2018, University World News reported that Me Oroh, who is representing the detainees, said the deportees were members of a political organisation demanding a complete restoration of their homeland, the British Southern Cameroons to complete independence and be free from the annexation by the La Republique du Cameroun. In an exclusive interview with University World News following the March 1, 2019 judgments, Mr Oroh said he had written to Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami, informing him of the judgments. “In my official letter to the attorney general, I attached a certified copy of the two court rulings on this subject matter. I received a call from the attorney general acknowledging the receipt of my letter. He assured me that my letter was receiving urgent attention and that his ministry would soon comply with the court ruling,” said Mr Oroh. Nigeria’s academic community have welcomed the rulings and hopes are high that the repatriation will be expedited as quickly as possible. ‘The world is watching’ Caleb Abraham from the Faculty of law at the University of Uyo said both Nigeria and Cameroon are signatories of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “In the light of these rights, the arrest and deportation of our colleagues is illegal and unconstitutional. Therefore, both the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments should implement this court ruling by ensuring these teachers and others are repatriated to Nigeria and their rights in Nigeria are enforced. The entire world is watching,” he said. Adekunle Akinlaja from the Faculty of Law at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said both President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroun may find it difficult to explain and rationalise their actions on this matter within the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN’s Universal Declaration. “However there is still room to rectify these wrongs,” he declared. Highlighting the lack of irrationality in the government’s actions, Muktar Ismail, based in the Sociology Department at the University of Jos, said Egbe Ogork was married to a Nigerian. “By right they are Nigerians. How would the Nigerian government rationalise its actions against those who by marriage are now Nigerians? Kolawole Akomolafe from the Economics Department of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti noted that the list of the “alleged plotters” included names of responsible scholars and teachers. “These are scholars and teachers who have dedicated their lives to the development of Nigeria. I have known them for over 20 years,” he declared. Source:premiumtimesng.com

Nigerian academics hail court ruling on lecturers deported to Cameroon

March 30, 2019\ File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Cameroonian president, Paul Biya Nigerian academics have welcomed the judgement by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordering the repatriation of six academics from the former British Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) and four other refugees who were all in Nigeria and who were abducted and illegally deported from Nigeria on January 5, 2018, on the allegation of plotting to destabilise the government of President Paul Biya of Cameroon. Two separate judgments were handed down by the presiding judge, Anwuli Chikere, on March 1, 2019, in connection with the matter. In the first case – brought by a group of human rights lawyers against the National Security Advisor and Attorney General – the judge ruled that the arrest of January 5, 2018, and subsequent detention of the academics at the National Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) was illegal and unconstitutional. In the second case – brought by the deportees – the judge ruled that the deportation of January 26, 2018, was illegal and violated the deportees’ rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution. Power of the courts The court ruling has been hailed by the university community and staff unions as a sign that the courts can still protect and defend the rights of foreign nationals and citizens who are either working, residing or are refugees in Nigeria. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has promised to ensure that the judgement is enforced. The academics are part of a larger group of 57 Cameroonian refugees and asylum-seekers who are Anglophone restorationists. Some of them have been living in Nigeria for decades and at least one has a Nigerian wife and children. The university lecturers are: Professor Augustine Awasum, Faculty of Veterinary Surgery & Diagnostic Imaging at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria; Dr. Henry T. Kimeng, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering also at the Ahmadu Bello University(ABU) Zaria; Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, Assistant Vice President and Pioneer Head, Information and Technology, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Fidelis Ndeh, Assistant Professor and Director, Academic Planning, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Cornelius N. Kwanga, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University in Katsina; and Dr. Egbe Ogork, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering, Bayero University, Kano. On the issue of their illegal arrest and detention, the judge ordered the state to pay damages of N5 million (US$13 to each detainee “as general and aggravated damages for illegal violation of their fundamental rights to life, dignity of person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association”. On the issue of their deportation, the court ordered the state to pay damages of N200,000. The judge also ruled in both cases that the Nigerian state was under perpetual injunction restraining it from further violation of fundamental rights without lawful justification. She also ordered that the deportees should be returned to Nigeria as soon as possible. Solitary confinement Since their deportation from Abuja to the Cameroon capital Yaoundé in January 2018 at the hands of Nigerian and Cameroonian security forces, the deportees were initially kept in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison facility without access to sunlight, family, lawyers or specialized medical care for 11 months after which they were moved to another maximum – security prison facility with some limited access to family and lawyers. They are yet to be charged or arraigned for any crimes because lawyers in Cameroon have consistently challenged the jurisdiction of the Military Tribunal in LRC to try scholars who faced a death penalty if eventually the ‘kangaroo military tribunal’ brings them to trial. The lawyers argue the composition, jurisdiction, language and historical precedence which makes the court incompetent to hear the case or guarantee a free and fair trial of the academics. As refugees who were abducted, their lawyers have persistently insisted that the national and international laws should be respected and the scholars should be returned to Nigeria from where they were kidnapped. Soon after their deportation, a team of human rights lawyers led by Femi Falana and Abdul Oroh filed a case in the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging their detention and deportation. In their submission they rejected the allegation that the group were terrorists bent on overthrowing the LRC government. In July 2018, University World News reported that Me Oroh, who is representing the detainees, said the deportees were members of a political organisation demanding a complete restoration of their homeland, the British Southern Cameroons to complete independence and be free from the annexation by the La Republique du Cameroun. In an exclusive interview with University World News following the March 1, 2019 judgments, Mr Oroh said he had written to Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami, informing him of the judgments. “In my official letter to the attorney general, I attached a certified copy of the two court rulings on this subject matter. I received a call from the attorney general acknowledging the receipt of my letter. He assured me that my letter was receiving urgent attention and that his ministry would soon comply with the court ruling,” said Mr Oroh. Nigeria’s academic community have welcomed the rulings and hopes are high that the repatriation will be expedited as quickly as possible. ‘The world is watching’ Caleb Abraham from the Faculty of law at the University of Uyo said both Nigeria and Cameroon are signatories of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “In the light of these rights, the arrest and deportation of our colleagues is illegal and unconstitutional. Therefore, both the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments should implement this court ruling by ensuring these teachers and others are repatriated to Nigeria and their rights in Nigeria are enforced. The entire world is watching,” he said. Adekunle Akinlaja from the Faculty of Law at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said both President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroun may find it difficult to explain and rationalise their actions on this matter within the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN’s Universal Declaration. “However there is still room to rectify these wrongs,” he declared. Highlighting the lack of irrationality in the government’s actions, Muktar Ismail, based in the Sociology Department at the University of Jos, said Egbe Ogork was married to a Nigerian. “By right they are Nigerians. How would the Nigerian government rationalise its actions against those who by marriage are now Nigerians? Kolawole Akomolafe from the Economics Department of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti noted that the list of the “alleged plotters” included names of responsible scholars and teachers. “These are scholars and teachers who have dedicated their lives to the development of Nigeria. I have known them for over 20 years,” he declared. Source:premiumtimesng.com

Politics

News N30,000: How Nigerians reacted to Buhari’s signing of new minimum wage bill

April 19, 2019 By Seun Opejobi DAILY POST had reported that Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senate had on March 19, approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation. DAILY POST had reported that Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senate had on March 19, approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation. Following the signing of the bill, Nigerians took to their Twitter handles to express their views on the development. Their tweets read thus: @Ariyo758628: “MinimumWage I hope and pray that the FG will not use the newly signed minimum wage to Rob Peter to pay Paul because I can’t understand HM IK landing cost theory onibara ba ole boo noni.” “What is the best way to help poor people? By giving them money and encouraging them to become dependent, or by creating jobs so that they can better themselves and live independent lives? \

Africa in the news: Disputed election in Comoros, US sanctions on Cameroon, and attack on Mali villa

March 31, 2019 Disputed presidential election in Comoros On Tuesday, Comoros’ electoral body declared incumbent President Azali Assoumani winner of the country’s presidential elections with 60.8 percent of the vote. The runner up, Ahamada Mahamoudou, one of 12 opposition candidates, received 14.6 percent of the vote. Assoumani’s victory with over 50 percent of the vote has ensured that he will not face a second round of run-off elections against a single opponent. The opposition alleges that voting was fraudulent and hindered by violence, assaults on candidates, and arrests of opposition supporters, which the government denies. As a result, opposition groups have rejected the results of the elections and are planning a civil disobedience campaign aimed at unseating the president and demanding a new ballot to be conducted by a transitional administration. Hours after opposition candidates announced their plans to unseat the president, a firefight took place near the main military base in the capital of Moroni. At least three people were killed in the shootout, and former army colonel Mohamed Soilihi, who came third in the elections, was arrested. Observers from the African Union, the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa, and the African Standby Forces of the East have stated that the voting process was highly irregular and lacked credibility or transparency. US applies sanctions on Cameroon as violence persists On Thursday, March 28, Human Rights Watch reported that at least 170 civilians have been killed since October in the escalating violence in Cameroon. The violence has occurred primarily along linguistic lines between Cameroon’s Anglophone and Francophone populations. The ethno-linguistic tension stems from perceived discrimination against the minority Anglophone Cameroonians: The government operates primarily in French, courts have ostracized Anglophones, and Anglophones are unable to hold civil service jobs. As a result, many Anglophones feel like second-class citizens, and ties between the two communities continue to fray while trust in government, especially in Anglophone regions, has plummeted. Both the government and separatists are accused of atrocities. According to the report, “government forces in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have killed scores of civilians, used indiscriminate force, and torched hundreds of homes over the past six months.” The separatists, however, have also contributed to the violence through kidnappings—including of at least 300 children under age 18 years old—and two executions, says the report. Over 430,000 have fled in response to the violence. The violence is also compounding poverty in the country, as farmers have been forced to abandon their crops and exports are in decline. As a result of the violence, earlier this week, the U.S. placed sanctions on over 20 military personnel, civilian actors, and government ministers in Cameroon. Aid programs and military training by the U.S. have been withdrawn. Attack on Mali villages kills more than 150 Gunmen attacked the villages of Ogossagou and Welingara in central Mali last Saturday, killing 157 people. The attack was one of the deadliest in recent years. The villages are home to the Fulani ethnic group, who are seminomadic herders, while the attack was allegedly carried out by fighters from the Dogon ethnic group, escalating an ongoing conflict between the Dogon and Fulani. According to the U.N., more than 200 people have been killed in interethnic violence in Mali in 2019. The conflict between the Dogon and Fulani has become increasingly violent since 2012 following a militant Islamic uprising in the northern part of the country. Responding to the attacks, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita disbanded an anti-jihadi vigilante group and fired two generals in the military. On Wednesday, the United Nations announced that it would send a team of experts to investigate the attack. The International Criminal Court will also send a team to Mali to investigate and assess whether the crimes fall within its jurisdiction.

Nigerian academics hail court ruling on lecturers deported to Cameroon

March 30, 2019\ File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Cameroonian president, Paul Biya Nigerian academics have welcomed the judgement by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordering the repatriation of six academics from the former British Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) and four other refugees who were all in Nigeria and who were abducted and illegally deported from Nigeria on January 5, 2018, on the allegation of plotting to destabilise the government of President Paul Biya of Cameroon. Two separate judgments were handed down by the presiding judge, Anwuli Chikere, on March 1, 2019, in connection with the matter. In the first case – brought by a group of human rights lawyers against the National Security Advisor and Attorney General – the judge ruled that the arrest of January 5, 2018, and subsequent detention of the academics at the National Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) was illegal and unconstitutional. In the second case – brought by the deportees – the judge ruled that the deportation of January 26, 2018, was illegal and violated the deportees’ rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution. Power of the courts The court ruling has been hailed by the university community and staff unions as a sign that the courts can still protect and defend the rights of foreign nationals and citizens who are either working, residing or are refugees in Nigeria. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has promised to ensure that the judgement is enforced. The academics are part of a larger group of 57 Cameroonian refugees and asylum-seekers who are Anglophone restorationists. Some of them have been living in Nigeria for decades and at least one has a Nigerian wife and children. The university lecturers are: Professor Augustine Awasum, Faculty of Veterinary Surgery & Diagnostic Imaging at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria; Dr. Henry T. Kimeng, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering also at the Ahmadu Bello University(ABU) Zaria; Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, Assistant Vice President and Pioneer Head, Information and Technology, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Fidelis Ndeh, Assistant Professor and Director, Academic Planning, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Cornelius N. Kwanga, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University in Katsina; and Dr. Egbe Ogork, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering, Bayero University, Kano. On the issue of their illegal arrest and detention, the judge ordered the state to pay damages of N5 million (US$13 to each detainee “as general and aggravated damages for illegal violation of their fundamental rights to life, dignity of person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association”. On the issue of their deportation, the court ordered the state to pay damages of N200,000. The judge also ruled in both cases that the Nigerian state was under perpetual injunction restraining it from further violation of fundamental rights without lawful justification. She also ordered that the deportees should be returned to Nigeria as soon as possible. Solitary confinement Since their deportation from Abuja to the Cameroon capital Yaoundé in January 2018 at the hands of Nigerian and Cameroonian security forces, the deportees were initially kept in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison facility without access to sunlight, family, lawyers or specialized medical care for 11 months after which they were moved to another maximum – security prison facility with some limited access to family and lawyers. They are yet to be charged or arraigned for any crimes because lawyers in Cameroon have consistently challenged the jurisdiction of the Military Tribunal in LRC to try scholars who faced a death penalty if eventually the ‘kangaroo military tribunal’ brings them to trial. The lawyers argue the composition, jurisdiction, language and historical precedence which makes the court incompetent to hear the case or guarantee a free and fair trial of the academics. As refugees who were abducted, their lawyers have persistently insisted that the national and international laws should be respected and the scholars should be returned to Nigeria from where they were kidnapped. Soon after their deportation, a team of human rights lawyers led by Femi Falana and Abdul Oroh filed a case in the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging their detention and deportation. In their submission they rejected the allegation that the group were terrorists bent on overthrowing the LRC government. In July 2018, University World News reported that Me Oroh, who is representing the detainees, said the deportees were members of a political organisation demanding a complete restoration of their homeland, the British Southern Cameroons to complete independence and be free from the annexation by the La Republique du Cameroun. In an exclusive interview with University World News following the March 1, 2019 judgments, Mr Oroh said he had written to Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami, informing him of the judgments. “In my official letter to the attorney general, I attached a certified copy of the two court rulings on this subject matter. I received a call from the attorney general acknowledging the receipt of my letter. He assured me that my letter was receiving urgent attention and that his ministry would soon comply with the court ruling,” said Mr Oroh. Nigeria’s academic community have welcomed the rulings and hopes are high that the repatriation will be expedited as quickly as possible. ‘The world is watching’ Caleb Abraham from the Faculty of law at the University of Uyo said both Nigeria and Cameroon are signatories of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “In the light of these rights, the arrest and deportation of our colleagues is illegal and unconstitutional. Therefore, both the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments should implement this court ruling by ensuring these teachers and others are repatriated to Nigeria and their rights in Nigeria are enforced. The entire world is watching,” he said. Adekunle Akinlaja from the Faculty of Law at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said both President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroun may find it difficult to explain and rationalise their actions on this matter within the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN’s Universal Declaration. “However there is still room to rectify these wrongs,” he declared. Highlighting the lack of irrationality in the government’s actions, Muktar Ismail, based in the Sociology Department at the University of Jos, said Egbe Ogork was married to a Nigerian. “By right they are Nigerians. How would the Nigerian government rationalise its actions against those who by marriage are now Nigerians? Kolawole Akomolafe from the Economics Department of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti noted that the list of the “alleged plotters” included names of responsible scholars and teachers. “These are scholars and teachers who have dedicated their lives to the development of Nigeria. I have known them for over 20 years,” he declared. Source:premiumtimesng.com

Nigerian academics hail court ruling on lecturers deported to Cameroon

March 30, 2019\ File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Cameroonian president, Paul Biya Nigerian academics have welcomed the judgement by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordering the repatriation of six academics from the former British Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) and four other refugees who were all in Nigeria and who were abducted and illegally deported from Nigeria on January 5, 2018, on the allegation of plotting to destabilise the government of President Paul Biya of Cameroon. Two separate judgments were handed down by the presiding judge, Anwuli Chikere, on March 1, 2019, in connection with the matter. In the first case – brought by a group of human rights lawyers against the National Security Advisor and Attorney General – the judge ruled that the arrest of January 5, 2018, and subsequent detention of the academics at the National Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) was illegal and unconstitutional. In the second case – brought by the deportees – the judge ruled that the deportation of January 26, 2018, was illegal and violated the deportees’ rights as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution. Power of the courts The court ruling has been hailed by the university community and staff unions as a sign that the courts can still protect and defend the rights of foreign nationals and citizens who are either working, residing or are refugees in Nigeria. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has promised to ensure that the judgement is enforced. The academics are part of a larger group of 57 Cameroonian refugees and asylum-seekers who are Anglophone restorationists. Some of them have been living in Nigeria for decades and at least one has a Nigerian wife and children. The university lecturers are: Professor Augustine Awasum, Faculty of Veterinary Surgery & Diagnostic Imaging at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria; Dr. Henry T. Kimeng, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering also at the Ahmadu Bello University(ABU) Zaria; Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, Assistant Vice President and Pioneer Head, Information and Technology, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Fidelis Ndeh, Assistant Professor and Director, Academic Planning, American University of Nigeria in Yola; Dr. Cornelius N. Kwanga, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University in Katsina; and Dr. Egbe Ogork, Associate Professor of Structural Engineering, Bayero University, Kano. On the issue of their illegal arrest and detention, the judge ordered the state to pay damages of N5 million (US$13 to each detainee “as general and aggravated damages for illegal violation of their fundamental rights to life, dignity of person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association”. On the issue of their deportation, the court ordered the state to pay damages of N200,000. The judge also ruled in both cases that the Nigerian state was under perpetual injunction restraining it from further violation of fundamental rights without lawful justification. She also ordered that the deportees should be returned to Nigeria as soon as possible. Solitary confinement Since their deportation from Abuja to the Cameroon capital Yaoundé in January 2018 at the hands of Nigerian and Cameroonian security forces, the deportees were initially kept in solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison facility without access to sunlight, family, lawyers or specialized medical care for 11 months after which they were moved to another maximum – security prison facility with some limited access to family and lawyers. They are yet to be charged or arraigned for any crimes because lawyers in Cameroon have consistently challenged the jurisdiction of the Military Tribunal in LRC to try scholars who faced a death penalty if eventually the ‘kangaroo military tribunal’ brings them to trial. The lawyers argue the composition, jurisdiction, language and historical precedence which makes the court incompetent to hear the case or guarantee a free and fair trial of the academics. As refugees who were abducted, their lawyers have persistently insisted that the national and international laws should be respected and the scholars should be returned to Nigeria from where they were kidnapped. Soon after their deportation, a team of human rights lawyers led by Femi Falana and Abdul Oroh filed a case in the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging their detention and deportation. In their submission they rejected the allegation that the group were terrorists bent on overthrowing the LRC government. In July 2018, University World News reported that Me Oroh, who is representing the detainees, said the deportees were members of a political organisation demanding a complete restoration of their homeland, the British Southern Cameroons to complete independence and be free from the annexation by the La Republique du Cameroun. In an exclusive interview with University World News following the March 1, 2019 judgments, Mr Oroh said he had written to Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami, informing him of the judgments. “In my official letter to the attorney general, I attached a certified copy of the two court rulings on this subject matter. I received a call from the attorney general acknowledging the receipt of my letter. He assured me that my letter was receiving urgent attention and that his ministry would soon comply with the court ruling,” said Mr Oroh. Nigeria’s academic community have welcomed the rulings and hopes are high that the repatriation will be expedited as quickly as possible. ‘The world is watching’ Caleb Abraham from the Faculty of law at the University of Uyo said both Nigeria and Cameroon are signatories of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “In the light of these rights, the arrest and deportation of our colleagues is illegal and unconstitutional. Therefore, both the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments should implement this court ruling by ensuring these teachers and others are repatriated to Nigeria and their rights in Nigeria are enforced. The entire world is watching,” he said. Adekunle Akinlaja from the Faculty of Law at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said both President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and President Paul Biya of Cameroun may find it difficult to explain and rationalise their actions on this matter within the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN’s Universal Declaration. “However there is still room to rectify these wrongs,” he declared. Highlighting the lack of irrationality in the government’s actions, Muktar Ismail, based in the Sociology Department at the University of Jos, said Egbe Ogork was married to a Nigerian. “By right they are Nigerians. How would the Nigerian government rationalise its actions against those who by marriage are now Nigerians? Kolawole Akomolafe from the Economics Department of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti noted that the list of the “alleged plotters” included names of responsible scholars and teachers. “These are scholars and teachers who have dedicated their lives to the development of Nigeria. I have known them for over 20 years,” he declared. Source:premiumtimesng.com

Exploration

VOX POPULI: Japan’s insular mind-set in the face of more foreign residents

Nov 3, 2018 Rene Hoshino (Asahi Shimbun file photo) Cameroon-born manga artist Rene Hoshino was 4 years old when he moved to Japan. His Cameroonian mother's new husband was a Japanese citizen. Fluent in Kansai dialect, Hoshino has published a manga titled "Afurika Shonen ga Nihon de Sodatta Kekka" (The results of an African boy growing up in Japan), where he recalls his surprise and bafflement at many of the situations he encountered as a boy. For instance, just because he was a foreigner, most Japanese automatically assumed he spoke English and were tickled pink to see him using chopsticks. Hoshino remembers being terrified to death of short-distance races on sports day at his school. There was the "unspoken expectation" that any black person would excel in physical activities and be able to run like the wind. "I want to scream at the whole world," a line in his manga goes. "Not all blacks are superhuman athletes!" Japan today has a growing number of residents with foreign roots. All they are asking is that they be treated as persons, and not as stereotypes stemming from their "foreignness" or countries of origin. Hoshino's manga clearly conveys this all-too-reasonable plea. The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Nov. 2 approved a government-drafted bill to revise the Immigration Control Law to allow more foreign workers into Japan. But I have my doubts about the extent to which the government is prepared to welcome them as people, not just as faceless members of the work force. The revised law limits their stay in Japan to five years in principle, and does not recognize their families' right to accompany them. Yasutomo Suzuki, mayor of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture, was quoted by The Asahi Shimbun as saying, "That is tantamount to treating those people as robots." Suzuki's point is that, from the standpoint of a municipality such as his that has a large foreign population, Japan is already a nation of immigrants. And that means appropriate education and welfare systems must be in place, but the central government is backpedaling. His criticism is quite correct. Now in his 30s, Hoshino appears to have assimilated fully into Japanese society. Asked if he sees himself as Japanese or Cameroonian, he replied, "That's like asking me to choose between the heart and the brain." He is clearly very enamored of Japan. I hope there will be more people like him. Source:asahi.com

Hilarious journey of coming to America

By Kari Mutu | Nov 3, 2018 Eventually, it was the US that became his new home. His most recent book, Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American, maps his journey. Like the book title, the chapters have intriguing headings such as On a Croc’s Back, Will Edit for Food and Wole Soyinka Saves my Christmas. Ndibe begins his story in 1960 in Nigeria, the year he was born and the country attained Independence. His narration is charming interspersed with humour, a sprinkling of folktales from his youth, and a rich vocabulary. Growing up in a strict Roman Catholic family, which he says was poor but happy, and, with few material possessions, Ndibe let his imagination run wild. At university, he was a lukewarm business student who preferred novels and literature to classwork. Upon graduating, he worked as a journalist in Lagos. It was during this time that he met the renowned Nigerian novelist, the late Chinua Achebe. Achebe later invited him to become the founding editor of the US-based magazine, African Contemporary. As Ndibe was embarking on his immigrant journey to America in 1988, his uncle gave him advice that inspired the title of this book. It is interesting to read about Ndibe’s close associations with Achebe and Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel laureate. Equally absorbing are the funny anecdotes about the culture shock he experiences in the US, like nearly getting arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank, Americans’ fetishes about their pets, misunderstandings about personal space, and stereotypical attitudes about Africans and Africa. Over the years, his unusual first name has caused much confusion and amusement. The African Contemporary constantly operated at near bankruptcy, forcing Ndibe to beg for rent money and deal with angry unpaid writers. After three years, the magazine folded. Ndibe then managed to complete both a Masters in Writing and PhD in Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The book is not in chronological order: Ndibe talks about his life through vignettes that meander between the present and past, sometimes in a disorderly fashion. He tells of the tender yet unconventional relationship between his parents who took cold baths together and held hands in public. But we learn little about his marriage and family in America, so that side of the story feels underrepresented. Beyond recounting his life, he reviews the reasons behind key events, questions around identity, colonialism and culture clashes. Secretly reading letters of correspondence between his father and a retired English missionary he met in Burma during World War II are driven by his “desire to deepen his self-knowledge.” He is a natural raconteur with an ability to make anyone understand the challenges and achievements of the newcomer in the US. His musings on the socio-political woes of Nigeria, which informed his decision to seek American citizenship, are frank but not overly bitter. “Naturalisation is not a loss-gain dialectic but a gain-gain proposition… I am proudly Nigerian American,” he writes. Sometimes his contemplations become long-winded, which slows down the lively narrative. Nevertheless, there is familiarity in Ndibe’s life story that African readers who have lived in and travelled to Western countries can relate to. Source:theeastafrican.co.ke

The 2018 Draft Is an African Immigrant Story

By Connor Orr | April 24, 2018 The ekwang is so good, Natalie Cabinda says, that if you taste it in her native Cameroon you won’t want to eat anything else again. Ever. She doesn’t make it as often here in her spacious home in western New Jersey, although the local ShopRite has surprised her at times with a stock of cocoyam, an essential ingredient to the rich stew of boiled beef, fish and greens. It takes time—hours for the onions, peppers and spices to marry with the broth and tenderize the proteins—and Natalie Cabinda has never had much time for anything that didn’t involve making a better life for someone else. When she was a child, her family managed to smuggle her out of the village where she was born, Batibo, to live with her older sister near Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. She mastered two languages in college. The second was for the family that lifted her to a better place. There was an unspoken pressure and pride in escaping a social and economic system that encouraged women to marry young in exchange for a dowry. “I never wanted to stop going to school,” Natalie says. “I always felt like I was learning for them. I am the first girl who ever succeeded in graduating with a degree from the University of Yaoundé. Nobody ever succeeded in that.” When she was 28 and a mother of two, she and her former husband fled the country amid a brush with the country’s shadowy and ruthless political empire. A relative of her husband’s was shot and killed for seemingly no reason by someone they believed was a government operative, bringing the dark side of her beloved and vibrant Cameroon too close to home. They moved to Hawthorne, Calif., then Fullerton. Her husband, who’d been a doctor in Africa, was relegated to non-medical moonlighting duties at emergency clinics. Natalie had been a teacher in Cameroon, a country so enamored with its educators that if students aren’t instructed to take their seats, they would remain standing at attention throughout the class. Now, she was a substitute teacher getting harassed for having an accent. Natalie and Jason Cabinda. Courtesy the Cabinda family “They didn’t listen to me,” she says of her American students. “They were like, ‘Where are you from? Where’s Cameroon? They didn’t know Africa was a continent.” In the 25 years since she arrived in America, Natalie published two books, became a high school teacher, college professor and U.S. citizen. This week her youngest, Penn State captain and linebacker Jason Cabinda, will be selected in the 2018 NFL draft. Jason is one of roughly a dozen NFL prospects in this year’s class with first-generation African roots—a small snapshot of a league and country that are becoming at the same time more diverse and more insular. At a moment in history when the immigrant experience in America is loudly debated but rarely understood, they and their parents represent the distillation of the core values many Americans claim in themselves. Hard work and sacrifice. Respect and compassion. NFL From Small-Town Idaho to the NFL Draft, Leighton Vander Esch Ready to Take the League by Storm Jason remembers his mom, worn down from two teaching jobs, still ensuring daily to remove his X Box video game console from the entertainment center and lock it in her trunk during school every day, to guarantee his homework was done; still making time for family prayer; still keeping touch with his coaches and academic advisors on a daily basis. All the while, she was painfully homesick for her beautiful village, sending money back to a family she missed dearly but had seen once in almost two decades. Never for one moment did she relax. Neither can he. “I feel like I have more to lose,” Jason, one of the leading tacklers in Penn State history, said. “There’s so much more invested in me.” The most recent Census recent data show that the African population in the U.S. has doubled each decade since the 1970s. More than two million African immigrants live in the U.S. and, as the Pew Research Center noted last year, immigrants from Africa represented the “fastest growth rate” of any U.S. immigrant population between 2000 and 2013. Despite certain damaging political commentary, the recent wave has gifted the country with tens of thousands of highly trained medical professionals, business people, engineers, architects, writers, accountants, artists and lawyers. “We all share the same cultural values: Democracy, education, the rule of law,” Herman Cohen, a former U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs under George H.W. Bush, told me. Cohen, who recently issued a strong rebuke of the political sentiment surrounding African immigrants in a column for The Hill, remains plugged in on America’s relationships and responsibilities to the continent. He added: “People don’t know that those coming from Africa are bringing a lot of good things with them.” The NFL has seen a similar boon of talent and character. In 2017, the Undefeated counted 68 NFL players from 18 African countries who were either native-born or first generation in the U.S. Of that 68, 12 were first-round picks, nine were Pro Bowlers, four have won Super Bowls and six were named to an All-Rookie team. NFL So, Are Any of These Quarterbacks Going to Be Good? Those players have successfully shined the light on Africa, introducing fans, teammates and media to the food, music, cultural traditions and geographical highlights of a continent that is often blanketed by the American media as rife with corruption and poverty. And when it comes to Africa’s struggles, there are numerous recovery efforts that have an NFL player attached. Ezekiel Ansah works with Ghanaian youth to promote physical education; Tamba Hali was nominated for a Walter Payton Man of the Year award for assisting in the construction of an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. In the U.S., Brian Orakpo led efforts to help Houston rebuild after Hurricane Harvey as a first-generation citizen whose parents came from Nigeria. That global consciousness has informed the next generation of prospects. Peter Kalambayi, a linebacker out of Stanford projected to go early in the 2018 draft, wants to be a correspondent in his down time. His father is Congolese, though he was raised by his mother, Liselle, who is from Trinidad and Tobago. “I like listening to peoples’ stories, and I was a communications major,” he says. “I took a journalism class, and if I went in that direction that’s where I want to go. I want to gather stories.” Peter Kalambayi, Stanford. Icon Sportswire via AP Images Kalambayi felt an undeniable warmth in bouncing between cultures. One day running into a distant cousin who recognized him as Congolese because of his last name, resulting in a traditional home cooked meal later that night. The next day talking about the President of the United States with his relatives in Trinidad. Maybe, by example, he can help show the rest of the country how to fearlessly and respectfully transition from one set of ideas to another; from one continent to the next. “It’s just good to have a worldview from three different perspectives,” Kalambayi told me. “I hear what my Congolese family thinks about politics, religion and everything. Same with my Trinidadian family. And obviously I’m engulfed in American culture. I pretty much—I’m very in tune with three different worldviews. “I think that’s good in a society that’s kind of torn these days in a partisan way. I think it’s good to be able to look at things from different perspectives. We don’t do much of that anymore.” Leo Igwebuike got off the plane from Nigeria, and his mother handed him a coat. He remembers wearing his sandals outside the airport in northern Ohio. It was late fall, and the cold stung his feet for the first time. Everything was unfamiliar. He was seven years old, only vaguely aware that his family left home after the end of the Biafran War in the early 1970s to start a new life. His father, a university professor, got a year’s head start to establish a home. His journey underscores the bravery and fortitude of American-bound parents and first-generation children. In a traditional Catholic Nigerian household, parents were true matriarchs and patriarchs. There was no explanation of events. No sitcom moment where the parents level with their children and discuss their mutual struggles. This was an opportunity. Success was expected. No one, young or old, fell back on excuses. Now, decades later, Leo’s son Godwin is preparing for the NFL as one of the draft’s top safeties, out of Northwestern. That seemed like a lifetime removed from the first steps Leo took on a football field as a young immigrant trying to pinball his way through American culture. By then, he’d upgraded to Converse high-tops, unaware that the kids shoving him around on the icy turf all wore cleats that could dig into the dirt. He played tight end and was deemed most improved player at the end of his freshman year. He told his parents about the accolades, asked football shoes and was told to get a job at the library and focus on his studies. He earned all A’s. Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern. Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images On the football field, he learned to deflect the bullying, which was prevalent, by using a move he brought from Nigeria—a sort of sumo sweep that he initiated by grabbing the offender’s legs and pummeling them to the ground. “If I was being harassed—and this was weeks of harassment, and I’m a quiet guy and I don’t say much, people teasing me about my accent, where I’m from, my name—but once I slammed them, Boom! That was it, they didn’t mess with me anymore. You get that strange respect.” Just before he began college, a second-cousin of Leo’s started dominating the NFL, leading the league in rushing in 1989 and reaching a second Pro Bowl in 1991. They called Christian Okoye the Nigerian Nightmare, and his rise to fame was a seminal moment during Leo’s formative years. Okoye’s punishing style blended with a proud cultural identity—Leo had always been firm in his roots among the Igbo tribe, and he reveled in the warrior spirit. Everything about who they were and why they were here was starting to come together. “For me, it was defining,” he says of Okoye’s NFL prominence. “Not to be arrogant, but we’re a very powerful people. I recognized my physical abilities when I was younger, but for him to transition to football, it was incredible. He broke a lot of the stereotypes. People didn’t believe it.” NFL Monday Morning Mock Draft: Darts, Deals & Wild Guesses He is happy now. At peace, but always looking for lessons in his family’s past. He’s helped create a world where Godwin can wear that warrior mentality, but can also project his humility. It rounds him out in a way that serves as the payoff for a lineage of sacrifices. “Even though my kids weren’t born there, I always remind them—you are Nigerian,” Leo says. “You should always be proud, and always be focused on spirituality first, family second and education third. That’s been their walk. That’s Godwin’s walk. And I demonstrated that myself by how I pursued my life.” Source: si.com

Cameroonian Lady Who Disappeared In Nigeria 28 Years Ago While Writing WASCE Narrate her story Camer

24 April, 2018 EDUCATION NEWS – Latest update as in 1990, Martha Eyong, a Cameroonian, was 16 years old when she came to Nigeria to write the West African School Certificate Examination (WASC) in Calabar, Cross River State. Meanwhile according to a report by newsmen, the young woman had come in the company of few friends who were also natives of Cameroon to write the same examination. But four days after their coming and having written some papers, Martha’s path crossed that of one Alhaji Aliyu Ameh, who allegedly hypnotised her with a powdery substance and took her away, first to Lagos and then to settle with him in Otukpo, Benue State. Ameh was alleged to have raped his victim and put her in the family way while ensuring that no one had close relationship with her over the years as he kept an eye on her and the two children produced from the unlawful union. Luck, however, ran out on him last week when he was apprehended by the police at a court premises where he had dragged a certain individual to on account of his closeness to his ‘wife’. The State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who paraded the alleged abductor before newsmen at the police headquarters in Makurdi, said the man would be charged to court for kidnapping and rape of a female victim. “The victim, a Cameroonian, came to Nigeria in 1990 to write WAEC. While with her friends, she came across an elderly man who bought food for her and hypnotised her. She had given him children in the process. Her father had been looking for his daughter for the past 28 years. The abductor kept her in a way that no one could reach her,”Owoseni said. The police commissioner added that someone who she narrated her predicament to, helped to trace her family which subsequently led to the arrest of the man in Makurdi early last week. Corroborating the police, Martha, who said her abductor changed her name to Sabina Ameh, said the incident happened on the fifth day of her arrival to Calabar for the examination when the man came by her side and ordered her to look at him. She added, “He asked what I wanted to do with the N20 in my hand and I said I wanted to buy food, he collected the money and bought food for me, then he poured a substance like powder in a handkerchief which he sprayed in my direction and ordered me to follow him. “And that was how I did whatever he said. I followed him to wherever he wanted, he took me to Lagos, I had to ask someone when he was not watching where I was and I was told it was Lagos. I begged him to take me back to my parents in Cameroon, he agreed and the next day I found myself somewhere I did not know and when I inquired someone told me I was in Agila in Benue State. “Whenever he realizes that I’m in my senses and asked questions, he would repeat the handkerchief spray on my face, then I will begin to do exactly what he wanted. He forcefully slept with me most nights and he prevented everybody in the village from talking to me. It was when I got pregnant that he brought me to Otukpo,” the woman narrated. Source: http://mynationnews.com

Business and Economy

News N30,000: How Nigerians reacted to Buhari’s signing of new minimum wage bill

April 19, 2019 By Seun Opejobi DAILY POST had reported that Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senate had on March 19, approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation. DAILY POST had reported that Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Senate had on March 19, approved N30,000 as the new national minimum wage with an appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on assent and implementation. Following the signing of the bill, Nigerians took to their Twitter handles to express their views on the development. Their tweets read thus: @Ariyo758628: “MinimumWage I hope and pray that the FG will not use the newly signed minimum wage to Rob Peter to pay Paul because I can’t understand HM IK landing cost theory onibara ba ole boo noni.” “What is the best way to help poor people? By giving them money and encouraging them to become dependent, or by creating jobs so that they can better themselves and live independent lives? \

Singapore-flagged ship hijacked off Cameroon

3 Feb 2919 A Singapore-flagged ship with 26 crew on board has been hijacked off Cameroon in central Africa in an apparent commercial dispute, it was learned on Sunday (Feb 3). The vessel, Barents Sea, was seized by local Cameroonian private militiamen armed with AK-47 submachine guns at the Sonara refinery in Limbe, Cameroon, Singapore-based ship management company Eastern Pacific Shipping said in a statement late on Sunday. "Eastern Pacific Shipping confirms that while performing standard discharge operations its managed Aframax M/T Barents Sea has been illegally seized by DSC Marine, a local charterer, and local Cameroonian militia forces armed with AK-47 submachine guns in the Sonara refinery," the statement said. It alleges that Mr Jules François Famawa, owner of DSC Marine, "used illegitimate means to seize the vessel for the purpose of holding its owners to ransom in clear violation of Cameroonian and international law". "Eastern Pacific Shipping condemns this act of unprovoked aggression and strongly urges the Cameroonian government to enforce its security forces to safely and immediately release the vessel and the 26 crew on board in accordance with international law. The safe release of our crew, which includes nationals from India, Ukraine, China, Philippines and Turkey is our main priority. There have been no reports of physical injuries." Source: straightstimes.com

Is it Time to Make Meat Obsolete?

James Bagshawe | Feb 3 2019 Is it Time to Make Meat Obsolete? By James Bagshawe on 01 Feb 2019 at 4:00AM Let’s face it, vegans can have a bad rep. To the majority of meat eaters, vegans conjure up images of insufferable, preachy, pale-skinned students who smell of B.O. and mushrooms. The types that wear organic hemp clothing that was crafted by Peace Lily back at the ashram, and they will thrust their gluten-free agave lentil biscuits at you to try and tempt you to hop the fence. Sadly, these tend to be drier than the Kalahari desert and have the flavour profile of plasterboard. There is truth to the old joke: how do you know if someone is vegan? They’ll tell you. For a group whose lifestyle choice has been very positively weighted for a long time, they have a very poor track record of winning around the majority. Aye, there’s the rub. If you look at a plant-based diet with an unjaundiced eye, there is no doubt it makes a lot of sense. Without wanting to descend into the finer points of the debate, animal agriculture is a massive contributor to climate change and – for the vast majority of meat we consume – an animal has been raised and killed in pretty rough conditions so that you might eat it. Ditching meat is good the for animal welfare, and even better for the environment. This is particularly important when you consider the rate at which we are multiplying. When Jimmy Carter wrote his message on the Golden Record carried on the Voyager spacecraft, he referred to the Earth as a planet of 4 billion inhabitants. That was in 1977. Today the Earth has 7.7 billion humans on it. We are growing at an alarming rate and something that seems innocuous, like whether or not we eat meat, carries huge global repercussions. In short, it would be a tremendous boon for our planet if we made meat obsolete. The good news is that the vegan revolution has really taken off in recent years. Twenty years ago, an agave lentil biscuit would have been a reasonable thing to see come out of a vegan kitchen. These days there are very few sacrifices to be made in diet, and the days where a £14 cauliflower steak is deemed acceptable are long gone. Recent times have instead seen the new wave of vegans have gone into the labs, determined to tackle meat eaters head on. Many readers will be familiar with brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger. Both of these firms have substantial financial backing; with big names like Bill Gates and Richard Branson coming on board. These heavy hitters signed on because the goal of the new wave firms was to mimic the real thing. The big selling point (apart from the taste) is that the burgers sizzle and bleed. People wondered how that happened. Was it beetroot juice oozing out? Not for Impossible Burger. Turns out it is – basically – soy-based blood. Soy leghemoglobin preparation, to be precise. To get enough of this key meat-like component for a burger, the Impossible team had to insert leghemoglobins proteins into a special type of yeast. This yeast could then be fed up quicker and return far larger yields; enough to make it commercially viable to use it as a component in their burgers. That’s a step up from the ashram. Now, some folks would turn their noses up at the burger for this. After all, it contains a genetically modified ingredient. GM foods are scary franken-foods that we should all be afraid of, right? Well, no, not really. This is another hot topic. The real threat of GM foods is less the food itself but more the business practises of those large corporations who look to control GM patents for their own gain but that is another story. The ideal way to make meat obsolete is to offer a plant alternative that is just as good. That is the big idea behind the Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat’s chicken strips. If you get to have delicious sizzling fajitas that taste great but no animals need enter the equation to make that happen, then you get a whopping environmental gain and a smug sense of self-satisfaction that you have made an ethical choice. There is another contender in the race to push ‘real’ meat into the annals of history and that’s lab-grown meat. History buffs might be interested to learn that Winston Churchill suggested using cultured meat – chicken, in his case – as far back as 1931, so the idea is not new. But, as with plant-based substitutes, the technology has come a long way in recent years. The idea here is to take myosatellite cells from an actual animal and culture those in a petri dish. Sometimes these petri dishes are lined in part with pieces of Velcro that cause resistance against cell growth and so prompt the cells to produce muscle tissue. Band enough of these micro strips together and – hey presto – you have ground beef. The price is dropping at a decent pace, too. The first lab-grown beef burger produced in 2013 cost an estimated $325,000 to produce. Fast forward two years and that figure was down to just over $11. Cost remains one of two huge drivers for the commercial viability of cultured meat or plant-based products. The other being a curious reticence by the public to embrace these alternatives as a better choice. This reticence shows just how ingrained the distrust of something ‘artificial’ goes. It’s as if eating meat was somehow a wholesome activity. These food alternatives matter a great deal if we are to change our ways and become good stewards of the planet. For example, eating cultured meat presents a reduction of emissions of 96 per centand a reduction in land use of 99 per cent over modern agriculturally reared beef. Your average swimming pool only contains enough water to produce 312 beef burgers. The same amount of water could produce 60,837 Beyond Burgers. If we all made the switch the consequences would be profound for our planet. Soon the Beyond Burger will be selling at Tesco for £5 for two. Expensive? Yes, but surely worth a try. God, I’m starting to sound like Peace Lily. Can I interest you in a gluten-free lentil biscuit? Source: gizmodo.co.uk:

Venezuela Starts Converting Pensioners’ Payments to Crypto ‘Petro’: Report

Dec 14, 2018 The government of Venezuela has reportedly started converting pensioners’ monthly payments from the country’s fiat currency, the bolivar, to its oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro, without giving them a choice. According to the Caracas Chronicles, a politics and economics-focused website based in Venezuela, the country’s pensioners are notified every time their monthly payments arrive, but this time received a second notification informing them the funds were “for the concept of Savings in Petro.” Per the website, pensioners have started depending on government bonuses after years of hyperinflation saw their savings become worthless. Bloomberg’s Café Con Leche Index shows Venezuela’s inflation rate is now close to 200,000%. Depending on these payments saw pensioners regularly visit a government-owned portal, paria.org.ve, which they have to use to transfer the funds to their bank accounts. The Caracas Chronicles claims the Venezuelan government deposited the bolivars to the pensioners’ accounts, and then converted them to its oil-backed cryptocurrency. “They sent people the bolivars, and then, from their accounts, they exchanged them to petros.” Notably, Venezuela has been pushing for the Petro’s adoption for months now. As CCN covered, the government has ordered local banks to adopt the cryptocurrency, and made it an official alternate currency in the country. The country is set to present its oil-backed cryptocurrency as a unit of account for oil to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and has offered India a 30% discount on oil if the country paid in the cryptocurrency. In April of this year, the country’s leader Nicolas Maduro noted in the country’s Cuatro F newspaper it “may” start charging for exports in Petros. Later on, Maduro launched a Petro savings plan that allows the country’s citizens to “save by means of certificate” through the cryptocurrency. Currently, it’s unclear how the pensioners will be able to use their Petros, as for citizens it has seemingly only been announced that passport fees are to be paid with them. Per the Caracas Chronicles, it’s possible for citizens to convert their cryptocurrency back to bolivars through the government’s portal, but it isn’t easy. On the popular microblogging platform Twitter, Nicolas Maduro shared a link to an 8-step guide on how to do it. Featured image from Shutterstock. Source: ccn.com

ArtCultainment

‘Tuition-free for all in public universities in Liberia’, says President George Weah

University of Liberia, 2009. Photo by mjmkeating via Flickr/CC BY 2.0. Abdoulaye Bah | 14 Nov 2018 Liberian students at the University of Liberia have protested a tuition increase they say they simply can't afford, leading to low student enrollment this semester with only about 11,000 registered students out of approximately 20,000. Students were paying $4 United States Dollars per credit hour in 2017 but the amount increased to $6 USD per credit hour for 2018/2019 school year. Faced with mounting pressure, newly elected President George Weah surprisingly declared tuition-free university during a visit to the main campus in late October 2018. Prince Kurupati reports: Speaking at the University of Liberia, Liberian president George Weah said that with immediate effect, all undergraduate students are no longer required to pay tuition fees. The Liberian president also took to his Facebook page to make the sensational announcement declaring that tertiary education with immediate effect is free for undergraduate students, ‘Today, I am excited to announce that I have declared the University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia Tuition-free for all undergraduates.’ Journalist Sebastiane Ebatamehi continues: During the last campaign before his election, George Weah said to a large congregation of his supporters, ‘I played football in Europe. I would have stayed in Europe and enjoyed my money, but I came to Liberia to redeem you from the bondage of hardships. See what I have done in this country in terms of development.’ Today, will come down as one to be remembered in history as the president, in a few months after his election, has declared the prestigious University of Liberia and all other public universities in Liberia tuition free … This is indeed good news and one which will go down well with youth, not only in Liberia, but Africa in general. Many students on the main campus celebrated and praised President Weah's declaration with singing and dancing, telling reporters that the news came as an enormous relief. Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban explains that students across all of Liberia's four public universities had protested against fee hikes in the past because of incremental increases in the costs of registration and tuition, causing many to drop out. This time, students mainly from the Fendall Student Association (FENSA) staged a protest before the Offices of the President, led by student Heylove Mark, who told school officials that the tuition hikes would prevent many students from matriculation. President Weah heard the students’ concerns and returned with his surprising declaration of tuition-free university education. Can Liberia afford a free-for-all college education? Former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called Liberia’s education system “a mess” after 25,000 high school students failed state university entrance exams five years ago. This has led Liberia to enter a nationwide experiment with private-public partnerships to help alleviate strains in the education system caused by civil war and the Ebola crisis. Given the burdensome cost of running a state university as a line item on the national budget, Front Page Africa (FPA) wrote a post wondering if Weah's populist move is sustainable. According to FPA, Liberia allocates $16,299,877 USD to the University of Liberia per fiscal year, which already presents enormous challenges. FPA continues: A recent World Bank report puts Liberia’s fiscal deficit at 5.2 percent of the GDP in FY 2018. This is a result of a significant shortfall in revenues and higher than anticipated non-discretionary expenditures … [T]he government is facing a hard time with generating finance and the situation might just worsen. Therefore, it is important that we face the reality: this government cannot afford to underwrite the hefty cost of running a free public universities or colleges. Has this government backtracked to assess the impact of the free primary and secondary education? Or is it only desperate to thrive on the popularity of abysmal policies? vv

BBN: Enhancing TV experience with social media

By Lawrece Amaku | April 21, 2017 It is common knowledge today that reality TV show organizers not only use the social media to create awareness for their shows, but also to obtain viewer feedback, reactions and opinions, aimed at forging deeper audience engagement. Oftentimes, the information that viewers get from their friends online serve as reviews of a TV show, and the media choices they make are influenced by such secondhand information. In corroborating this view, producer of a popular US TV show, The Voice (NBC), Nicolle Yaron, notes that “In this day and age, digital and social media for a successful television show can’t be an afterthought.” A study carried out by The Hollywood Reporter stated that over half of the people who were sampled said the social media determine the choices they made about entertainment. The report revealed that “of those who make posts about TV shows, 76 percent do so live and 51 percent do so to feel connected to others who might also be watching.” It is not surprising, therefore, that show organisers encourage fans to take their dialogue to the second screen – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms in order to enhance and deepen the experience. There is no doubting the fact that these platforms, especially Twitter and Instagram, have earned the reputation of being the choice media because their fast-paced environment lends itself to the television. Twitter, for example, enables television producers and advertisers to get prompt feedback about their programming. It is in the light of the above observations that I examine the role of the social media in the just-concluded Big Brother Naija (BBN) reality show. BBN has come and gone, but not without leaving memories and talking points that will surely linger. The show, which is a spinoff of the Big Brother Africa game show, was relaunched and renamed ‘Big Brother Naija.’ Its first edition, Big Brother Nigeria, was aired in 2006. Featuring 12 original contestants, otherwise known as ‘housemates,’ Big Brother Naija, which started shooting on January 22, 2017, came to a climax on April 9, 2017 after 78 days with Delta-born Efe Ejeba clinching the coveted prize of N25 million cash gift and a brand new Kia Sorento SUV car. No doubt, a lot has changed between now and when the first edition of the show aired eleven years ago. That time interval has seen massive evolution in the mass media space with the emergence of various platforms and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Youtube, and Wechat, among others. For instance, while the BBN 2006 only made provision for viewers to vote via SMS, fans of the 2017 edition of the game show, in addition to being able to vote via SMS, were availed of social media messaging app, Wechat, to vote for their favourite housemates and determine who gets evicted or not from the show. Other social media platforms and the Internet were also effectively used to enhance viewers’ participation and push conversations on the show. In packaging the show, the BBN organisers harnessed the power of social media to leverage audience interaction, thereby engaging the viewers and making them become a part of the event. The show generated so many internet trolls while it lasted and still continues to do so. Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, in a statement in Lagos, shortly after the commencement of the game show, disclosed that in the show’s first week, controversy over its shooting in South Africa topped Google trend stories. The debate on the matter raged for several days before being eclipsed by more interesting developments in the show which grabbed viewers’ attention. It is not surprising though that at the end of the game show, the host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, announced that it won over 420,000 Facebook fans, 320,000 followers on Instagram, and 160,000 followers on Twitter. Over 26 million votes were recorded for the finale alone, while 13 million votes were garnered in the penultimate week. These are further testimonies of the attention and buzz it generated in the social media. From Ebuka reading out live tweets from viewers during live eviction shows, twitter comments from viewers/fans scrolling while the show was streaming live; to off-screen competitions, which included asking viewers to do a video of themselves with the show’s theme song in the background, the organisers effectively employed the social media to get more viewers and create better viewer experience for it. Besides that, celebrity comments, opinions, banters and criticisms about the show; predictions on eviction, support for favourite housemates, as well as the entertainment created by the memes, mimicry, and jokes on the social media had a massive impact on the show’s viewership and helped it to create an appeal to different audiences. Of particular note is a meme posted on Instagram by popular female comedian, Chioma Omeruah, aka Chigurl mimicking evicted housemate, Uriel’s effusiveness during her Diary Room sessions with Big Brother, which earned her the moniker, Drama Queen of the Diary Room. Fans favourite and winner of the show, Efe, also had a solidarity song composed for him by a certain Jude Nj and posted on Twitter. The title of the song, which was inspired by Efe’s now very famous tagline, is ‘Based on logistics.’ The social media continues to swell with conversations and memes on the show even after its conclusion. In addition, social media communities were built around virtually all housemates, especially as the show drew to an end. This helped to shore up support and votes for the housemates involved. At the live viewing centre in Lagos, where the winner of the 2006 edition of the BBN show, Katung Aduwak, anchored the event, were significant numbers of fans and family members of the five finalists, who had followed them on the social media all through the show. With the social media now technically the second screen through which audiences watch/follow their favourite shows on TV, it is expected that the shows’ marketers will harness this to forge even closer engagement between their products and the audience in the foreseeable future. Source:sunnewsonline.com

How do you make a film about detained women that your government doesn't want you to see?

February 2017 Phones and recording devices are banned at the notorious Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, so filmmaker Jade Jackman had to be creative in documenting the lives of women asylum seekers detained there. Here, Jackman issues a rallying cry to artists looking for new ways to engage a news-numbed audience. In the midst of a business park in Bedfordshire, you'll find Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Slotted in amongst the stocky offices of cement and the tall street lights that curve ominously towards the sky, you'd be forgiven for not noticing the 400 women that live between them; you weren't meant to. Across Europe, our governments routinely detain asylum seekers with the hope of removing them back to their 'country of origin'. Out of all of these, Yarl's Wood, operated by Serco, is perhaps one of the most notorious. The women are not held for having committed any criminal offence, yet they are left to wait indefinitely for the outcome of their asylum cases. Despite allegations of sexual and verbal abuse by the guards, and being labelled 'a place of national concern', access remains rigid and almost impenetrable. When I went inside, I wasn't even allowed to bring a scrap of paper with me, and phones, or any video recording devices, are strictly prohibited. Then, in the dead of night, people are deported. As one woman told me, "We are constantly living in a state of fear. There are so many planes, we never know if we will be forced to leave". Others have said how they have seen women taken half-naked, their heads covered by blankets and chained by several guards. The severity of the force used by the guards shouldn't be underestimated. Jimmy Mubenga, a man detained inside one of Britain's male detention centres, suffocated to death while G4S guards attempted to take him aboard one of these very same flights, using force that failed to comply with their training. These chartered flights are intentionally kept secret; there is no set date or time. For one young couple, this meant not saying goodbye to her partner as she was 'returned' to India. But, for international governments, the hidden disappearances are what gives these places power. Their secretive nature gives the British government a veneer -- one that allows William Hague launch a very public campaign, with Angelina Jolie, about how rape is used as a weapon of war and the need to prevent it. Many women inside Yarl's Wood have fled this very same thing, but it is our part of our policy to detain them, causing more harm. The home office have refused to reveal whether women have been raped at Yarl's Wood, with a staff member telling the Independent that "disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests" of the people running the centre. Similarly, the hidden nature of these centres allows the United Kingdom to say that it proudly defends the LGBT community while simultaneously deporting individuals who could face persecution for their sexuality. Due to the ways in which invisibility is forced on these asylum seekers, there can be almost no resistance. What it actually means, is that the resistance must be visual. Aside from the horrific stories of the women's treatment inside, one of the reasons Yarl's Wood has received so much attention is due to the continued efforts of Movement For Justice. Since 2015, the organisation has planned actions, now reaching several thousand attendees, outside the detention centre's walls. The sheer mass of bodies, signs and colourful smoke passes over the facilities' fences, acknowledging and reminding us of the continued presence and struggle of the women inside. With my documentary, Calling Home, I took motivation from Movement For Justice and shone visibility on the lives of the women inside Yarl's Wood. It is no accident that the women aren't allowed camera phones and that the position of all these detention centres is as far away from towns and transport as possible (you have to take a two hour long train and a taxi before you even get to the detention centres gates). Even if we had been granted access for our film, it would have been mediated through SERCO and the Home Office. So we had to think creatively instead, and the constraints on our style turned out to be a blessing. Rather than taking a rigid approach to documentary, we borrowed techniques from fashion and art, and collaborated with performance artist and founder of She-Zine, Diana Chire, to amplify the voices of the women inside. And, as the women told me, they were excited to contribute to a piece that would present their experiences in a new light. As the women inside don't have the ability to represent themselves, as a filmmaker, I felt a greater responsibility to take a more collaborative approach to my questioning, and instead of asking them about the various traumas they have suffered and forcing them women to relive it, we decided to chat about Beyonce's new album, Rihanna's hairstyles, and how they missed certain brands of make-up from the outside. Of course, the pain of being held in detention emerged, but in a way that many people can understand and associate with. Dorcas, one of the women interviewed, told me, "I was so desperate to have a sense of me again, I used staplers from the post-room to pierce my ears". In a time when society is growing increasingly divided, we need to fuse forms to generate work that, whilst remaining political, speaks to a wide range of people. A powerful example of this was Yasiin Bey's decision to use his body and fame to undergo the force-feeding practice used against prisoners of Guantanamo Bay. In the video, by Asif Kapadia (Amy; Senna), Bey submitted his status and body to highlight the torture that people routinely undergo there, using his fame to attract an audience who may have never acknowledged or engaged with the suffering of the people held there. Look also to the political but funny music videos of Swet Shop Boys, such as T5, where the rappers put their own personal experiences of racism to a beat. These approaches are more important now than ever before. ?It is easy to dismiss people who don't agree with us as ignorant and stupid, but as it has been widely noted, if we are to take away one thing from the vote for Trump and Brexit, we should recognise that people are fed up and disillusioned by the 'establishment': politicians who lie to them and a media that ignores or belittles them. Whilst this is having a catastrophic impact on global politics, it means there is also an opportunity. This sense of dissatisfaction tells us that people are fed up with old-fashioned ways of receiving information or knowledge. Rather than complain about them, as artists or creators, it is our job to look for new ways to engage them. Calling Home has been produced as part of the Postcards series by Just So. Source: i-d.vice.com

11 Things to do in the days between Christmas and New Year

By Ellen Scott | December 27, 2016 Nothing is happening. It feels like there’s nothing to do. The excitement of Christmas is over with but you’re not quite yet to commit to being the glorious version of yourself you intend to be in the new year. So we’d recommend using these days as a chance for some quiet contemplation, reflection, and planning. Sort your sh*t out in time for the new year, basically, while remaining chilled out, cosy, and enjoying all your Christmas leftovers. Here’s all the stuff it’s worth doing in these weird inbetween days (otherwise known as Twixtmas, if you need a catchier term). 1. Do your shopping for the new year Boxing Day is always a bit too much to handle, but the days afterwards are perfect for buying up any new homeware and clothing you fancy for the year ahead. Use your days off wisely. Do a morning of shopping then nap in the afternoon. (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) 2. Sign up for the gym Or find another way to stay fit and healthy. If you leave it ’til the New Year gyms and sportswear shops will be rammed with people. Strike now by sorting out all the little things that are preventing you from getting healthy – a gym membership, new trainers, no one to work out with – then feel free to save actually exercising for the new year’s. 3. Spend some time reflecting on what you’ve learned this year We’re all so keen to move forward and set resolutions that we forget to ponder the year behind us. Have a proper sitdown with a cup of tea and reflect on how the year has gone. Write down your answers, if you fancy. Ask yourself what the best bits of the year were (I know it’s hard, but try to list out ten good things), and the worst. Ask yourself if there are things you would have done different. Ponder how you’d like next year to be different. 4. And make goals, not resolutions Trackable goals – meaning goals with specific deadlines and specific actions you can take – are better than more general resolutions. Resolving to ‘be healthier’ can leave you in a limbo, never knowing if you’ve actually achieved what you set out to do. Resolving to work out three times a week, however, is an actionable, trackable goal. Go for that. Have a think this week about what you’d like to achieve, then write down your plans. Now’s the perfect time to ponder. (Picture: Getty) 5. Use up your leftovers Try not to let your blowout Christmas dinner turn into a massive waste. Use the leftovers for meals while you’re still at home, then freeze the rest or turn vegetables into soups, curries, and anything else you fancy. 6. Spend quality time with people you love After all the excitement of Christmas, you might be thoroughly sick of your family and desperate to go home. That’s fine. Just try to dedicate a few of your spare days to friends or the people you don’t get to spend quality time with very often. It’ll help combat the risk of loneliness over the festive period, and make everyone feel loved and listened to. Which is always a good thing. 7. Have a clear-out If you’ve just received a bunch of snazzy presents, you’ll need to make room. Use the next few days to sort everything out and donate anything you don’t need to someone who’ll appreciate it. (Picture: Getty) 8. Do something good for another person Loads of people volunteer in the run-up to Christmas, leaving charities with a bit of a lull post Boxing Day. Instead of lazing about watching rubbish TV and waiting to go back to work, spend a day helping out someone in need. Try Crisis or find a volunteer group you can join with Volunteer London. 9. Make the most of all the festive activities on offer Finally, the queues for ice skating, winter markets, and festive special events have died down a bit. But they’re just as fun post-Christmas, so you might as well get involved. 10. Take care of your mental health Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for those of us will mental health issues. It’s stressful spending time with family, it can be difficult to stick to a routine, and all the alcohol and parties can take their toll. Add to that the feeling of pressure to have everything perfect, shiny, and new for the new year, and you’re at risk of experiencing serious lows. So be proactive. Accept that this is a tough time, and get help if you need it. (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk) I’m a firm believer that Twixtmas is the perfect time to rest, recuperate, and take care of yourself. Spend the next few days reflecting on your mental health, working out what you need – whether that’s support from friends and family, more sleep, less stress, medication, or someone to talk to – and give yourself whatever that is. 11. And of course, take the time to relax Turn off your office-related emails, stop trying to get ahead with work, take off the pressure, and just give yourself permission to relax and unwind. You deserve this, and it’s incredibly important. There’s no way you can glide into the new year while you’re holding on to a load of stress. Snuggle into the sofa with a blanket, a book, and a cup of tea (or whatever else makes you feel your most zen) and enjoy all the cosy, relaxed feelings Twixtmas can bring. Source: metro.co.uk

Safe Earth

WWF-funded forces in Cameroon have tortured and killed indigenous people 8, March 2019

8, March 2019 The World Wide Fund for Nature was warned years ago that its staff was complicit in “frightening” raids on indigenous villages by anti-poaching eco-guards, internal documents reveal. A BuzzFeed News investigation exposed on Monday how the beloved wildlife charity WWF has for years funded and equipped paramilitary forces that have tortured and killed villagers living near the national parks it supports. WWF responded by announcing an “independent review” of the evidence. “We see it as our urgent responsibility to get to the bottom of the allegations BuzzFeed has made, and we recognize the importance of such scrutiny,” the charity said in a statement. BuzzFeed News has revealed that WWF-funded forces in Asia and Africa have tortured and killed indigenous people. But this is not the first time WWF has launched an independent investigation of this kind. The charity commissioned a report in 2015, obtained by BuzzFeed News, which implicated WWF in violence against indigenous people in Cameroon. “Indigenous peoples and local communities bordering protected areas are victims of human rights abuses and violations by eco-guards,” the report found — noting the perpetrators were backed by “considerable technical, logistical and financial support” from WWF. But those findings were never made public, and WWF’s director general, Marco Lambertini, went on to dismiss concerns about the treatment of indigenous people as “matters for the government of Cameroon,” while the charity continued backing the park and its guards. When asked about the 2015 findings by BuzzFeed News, WWF said that its new investigation would examine the way reports of abuse are handled by executives in Switzerland. “All allegations will be subject to our independent review, which will look at specific allegations, and governance,” a spokesperson said in a statement. The explosive 2015 report was prepared by an indigenous expert hired by WWF to review its operations in Cameroon, who found staff there were “gravely concerned” about the abuses they were witnessing. According to the report, WWF Cameroon was participating in “coercive” nighttime raids of villages in which eco-guards employed by the government and backed by the charity “violate[d] the rights of communities” by looting houses and beating their occupants. The report found that the perpetrators went unpunished even when there was “evidence and testimony from the victims.” “Indigenous peoples and local communities bordering protected areas are victims of human rights abuses and violations by eco-guards.” After obtaining the report, BuzzFeed News contacted its author, Diel Mochire Mwenge. He said that the charity did not acknowledge the findings of his report publicly “because it incriminated them.” Mwenge told BuzzFeed News it was clear the charity was complicit in the abuse of indigenous people. “We understood that it was WWF that sent these eco-guards, it was WWF who paid, it was WWF who did everything,” Mwenge said. “And so we had to directly conclude that WWF was sufficiently implicated.” WWF declined to answer detailed questions from BuzzFeed News about abuses in Cameroon. But in a January interview, the charity’s chief operating officer, Dominic O’Neill, said he had personally traveled to Cameroon to make clear to its partners that WWF “can’t tolerate any human rights abuses at all.” “We’ve had issues and we’ve dealt with those,” he said. “But not to the extent where we said this relationship is now broken.” BuzzFeed News can also reveal that WWF opened another investigation last summer into allegations including gang rape and murder by eco-guards at Salonga, a massive national park it comanages in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The charity confirmed after inquiries from BuzzFeed News that several rangers have been suspended or fired based on its findings. However, WWF declined to answer questions about its ongoing support for the park’s anti-poaching patrols. The German government’s development bank, a major backer of WWF, has confirmed to BuzzFeed News it has requested “statements and information” from the charity on the abuses and has said it will monitor the findings of its internal review. The 2015 report warning of “frightening” raids on indigenous villages. At Lobéké National Park, one of the Cameroonian parks highlighted in Mwenge’s report, allegations of ranger abuses — beatings, torture, torched huts, stolen goods — date back years. When the park opened in 1999 with the backing of WWF to protect the area’s forest elephants and lowland gorillas, local Baka people lost access to wide swaths of their ancestral forests. WWF helped recruit Lobéké’s first forest rangers, who patrol the park for poachers. Known locally as “eco-guards,” the rangers are employees of the Cameroonian government run by the longtime dictator Paul Biya. But secret budgeting documents show how closely WWF’s staff have worked with the government forces. The charity has helped train them, paid their salaries, and built them homes. It has bought them radios, satellite phones, TVs, 4x4s, and boats. And it has allocated a significant portion of the millions in donor money it spends at Lobéké to “enforcement” activities, including patrols and raids. The park’s management plan says WWF will help organize raids, known as “coups de poing,” on local villages suspected of harboring poachers. In 2012, Sarah Strader, an American Fulbright researcher, witnessed eco-guards near Lobéké pull a man out of their 4×4. They beat him as he “moaned incomprehensibly,” Strader wrote in her diary, which she shared with BuzzFeed News. “We torture them when they don’t want to tell the truth.” Strader reported what she saw to a field office shared between the government and WWF. There, a forest ministry official told her the beating was a normal part of the fight against poaching. “We torture them when they don’t want to tell the truth,” the official said, according to Strader’s diary. Strader was stunned by this casual admission. “Literally WWF is right there,” she told BuzzFeed News, “and he’s telling me that ‘we torture people.’ It was appalling to me that the WWF would stand for this juxtaposition.” Strader told a WWF senior manager, David Hoyle, about what happened. Hoyle, who has since died, complained to the Cameroonian government. He also reported the allegations back to WWF’s Swiss headquarters. Strader said she never heard from WWF about her complaint. The charity continued to work with the rangers. Culled from BuzzFeed News

Engineering students present green energy project for Africa at PG4 Summit

Engineering students from Aarhus University will present their green energy project at the P4G summit in Copenhagen (photo: Institut for Datalogi, Aarhus Universitet) October 18, 2018 Six third-semester engineering students will represent Aarhus University with their own invention at the P4G Copenhagen Summit (Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030), which takes place between October 19 and 20. The group has designed a prototype flexible and modular solar cell pavillion which can be used in rural areas of Africa to provide both shade and green energy. They have been collaborating with a Dutch company that will look into the possibility of putting the pavillion into production and distribute it in Zambia in south-central Africa, where just over five percent of the rural population has access to electricity. Taking the lead “As engineering students, it’s our job to take the lead with technology for sustainable solutions and show that economic growth and achieving global goals can easily go hand in hand – also in developing countries,” said Mads Dalkjær Riis, one of the diploma engineering student at Aarhus University’s Engineering College. He added that those goals had inspired the project and that he and his fellow students felt extremely honoured to be allowed to attend the summit. Grim outlook for mammals Slowly but surely the earth appears to have entered another period of mass extinction – for the sixth time. Already before the existence of mankind, natural disasters and meteorological impacts caused the environment on earth to change so much that the majority of plant and animal species were eradicated. Yet each time evolution ensured that new species emerged, restoring the earth’s biological diversity. This time, however, researchers from Aarhus University have calculated in a study recently published in the recognised scientific journal PNAS, that human activity is so damaging to other mammals it will take to 7 million years before evolution can restore the biodiversity of mammalian species, if mammal species continue to die at the current rate. Source:cphpost.dk

‘Increased tree felling poses danger to air quality’

By Seth J. Bokpe | Oct. 13, 2018 Professor Godwin Aflakpui, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Methodist University College Ghana, delivering the 2018 Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR Professor Godwin Aflakpui, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Methodist University College Ghana, delivering the 2018 Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture in Accra. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR The increasing felling of trees in Accra to pave the way for construction poses danger to air quality, the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the Methodist University has s Prof. Godwin K.S. Aflakpui said trees were important in urban planning because they ‘modify the micro climate for you to enjoy. Don’t cut down everything, leave some to protect you.” Delivering the 2018 Annual Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences lecture on the topic “Plants and Human Development,” he said the country’s planners and developers needed to be up and doing about balancing construction and the need to have more trees. In a lecture that touched on a number of plants and their benefits, Prof. Aflakpui said most people appreciated the value of trees only when there was heat and they found comfort under shades provided by trees. Across Accra, more and more trees continue to fall, to give way to development projects. However, the regulatory institutions, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Parks and Gardens, have not done much to ensure that trees cut down during these projects are replanted. With urban space at its premium and competition for urban land resources being intense, experts say it is extremely important for local authorities to quantify the value of green infrastructure that trees provide. According to experts, trees serve multiple functions as “nature's air conditioners” by cooling urban heat spots and shading buildings, as well as the uptake of carbon dioxide from the environment. Atewa Forest Earlier, Prof. Aflakpui, while falling short of speaking to the government’s decision to mine bauxite in the Atewa Forest, said the forest was very important to the country because it protected four rivers that were a source of water supply to a number of regions. He, however, said the views of a mining expert were needed to explain whether the exploitation would benefit Ghanaians. The government, this year, passed into law the Ghana Bauxite Integrated Aluminium Industry Act, 2018, which is the legal framework to take opportunity of the vast bauxite resources to help in the economic development of the country. Plants and industry Prof. Aflakpui said plants provided opportunity for the auto industry and cited for example that in 2013, Ford and BMW, in an effort to make vehicle production more sustainable, produced some materials for some automobile body parts from kenaf, a fibre crop. “The use of kenaf is anticipated to offset 30,000 pounds of oil-based resin per year in North America and should reduce the weight of the door bolsters by 25 per cent,” he said. Turning attention to the opportunities in biofuel production, he stated that in 2010, worldwide biofuel—ethanol and biodiesel-- production reached 105 billion litres, contributing to 2.7 per cent of the world’s fuel for road transportation. On drug manufacturing, Prof. Aflakpui said nearly one quarter of all prescription drugs came directly from or were derivatives of plants. “Additionally, four out of five people around the world today rely on plants for primary health care. Green plants are the source of many of our orthodox medicines. “By promoting sustainable exploitation, we can attain some of the sustainable development goals aimed at poverty reduction, food security, promotion of health for people of all ages, sustainable and reliable water supply, making cities and human life livable, resilient, as well as combating climate change,” he stated. Source:graphic.com.gh

FSC-certified timber importer failed to check legality of shipment from Camer

By John C. Cannon on 19 March 2018 Hardwood Dimensions, a timber importer in the U.K., violated the EU Timber Regulation by not properly verifying the legality of a shipment of Cameroonian ayous in January 2017. A judge ordered Hardwood Dimensions to pay 4,000 pounds ($5,576) plus court costs in the case. The case calls into question the effectiveness of Forest Stewardship Council certification, which Hardwood Dimensions has held since 2000. A British government office has prosecuted a wood importer certified by the Forest Stewardship Council after it was found to have failed to ensure the legality of a shipment of timber from Cameroon. The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an international organization dedicated to ensuring companies harvest and source timber according to a set of environmental and social standards. On March 2, a judge ruled that Hardwood Dimensions had violated a set of laws known as the EU Timber Regulation that came into force in March 2013. According to a statement, the company didn’t properly verify that a shipment of ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon), a tropical tree species used to make furniture and guitars, had been legally harvested in Cameroon. Simon Counsell, the executive director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, said such legal violations by certified companies were “red flags.” “To me, what that points to is simply that the FSC system isn’t working properly,” Counsell said in an interview. Cameroon is considered a “high-risk” country for illegal timber, according to conservation NGOs. Photo by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. Simon Marsden, a director of Hardwood Dimensions, said the violation demonstrated the stringency of the EU’s laws governing timber imports, in a statement from the Timber Trade Federation, an industry organization. “As a company, we felt we had adequate procedures in place, particularly in this case as we were purchasing FSC Certified material,” Marsden said. “However, this is clearly not the case and we admitted that for this one particular supply line our Due Diligence systems were deficient.” Hardwood Dimensions has held an FSC chain of custody certificate since 2000, meaning it is required to perform checks “at every stage of processing.” A company has the “sole responsibility” to verify that its supply chain is legal, said David Hopkins, managing director of the Timber Trade Federation, in the group’s statement. “FSC alone is no guarantee of having complied with legal process,” Hopkins added. In an email obtained by Mongabay, an FSC representative said the organization was “closely studying” this case and had reported the incident to one of its partners, Accreditation Services International (ASI). Firms like ASI are supposed to ensure that timber buyers comply with FSC standards. But the fact that ASI as the certifier didn’t turn up this gap in Hardwood Dimensions’ due diligence raises the question of whether certifiers might have missed other issues in the past, said Rainforest Foundation UK’s Counsell. “The certifying companies aren’t identifying problems of illegality within the companies that they’re certifying,” he said, “and the FSC isn’t checking that the certifiers are doing their job properly.” A stream runs through the rainforest in western Cameroon. Photo by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. The judge ordered Hardwood Dimensions to pay 4,000 pounds ($5,570) plus court costs in a case brought by the U.K.’s Office for Product Safety and Standards, the British agency in charge of EU Timber Regulation enforcement. The Timber Trade Federation statement said “none of the material imported was from an illegal source,” according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which houses the Office for Product Safety and Standards. But Counsell said “They must have had good information to know that that timber was at least questionable,” particularly when it was coming from a “high-risk country” for timber like Cameroon. A court last year fined U.K. furniture importer Lombok 5,000 pounds ($6,970), plus court costs, for a similar violation of failing to do its due diligence on wood furniture brought in from India. Source: news.mongabay.com

Health

Scientists create new models of tropical eye worm for development of anti-filarial drugs

30, March 2019 Reviewed by James Ives MPsych Researchers at the LSTM's Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics, and University of Buea, Cameroon have developed new models of the tropical eye worm, Loa loa for the development of new drugs against filariasis. The research, led by Dr Joseph Turner at LSTM's Department of Tropical Disease Biology, in collaboration with Professor Samuel Wanji's team at The University of Buea, Cameroon, was published in Nature Communications. Co-infection with Loa loa causes loiasis, which is a major barrier to the elimination of onchocerciasis (river blindness) a major neglected tropical disease (NTD). It is intended that the new models will accelerate the development of urgently needed alternative interventions, including novel therapies which are safe in loiasis patients, to accelerate elimination of river blindness in Central Africa. "The current river blindness elimination strategy uses annual mass administration of ivermectin to communities where onchocerciasis infection is present" Dr Turner explained. "People who harbor high levels of L. loa are at risk of developing severe adverse reactions to ivermectin, which can cause coma and death. Therefore, many pharmaceutical and academic groups are developing new therapies which hope to target onchocerciasis whilst avoiding loiasis adverse reactions. However, a lack of accurate laboratory models of loiasis has hindered evidence-based decision-making of which drug candidates to progress. The key advance in our study was to utilize specific immunodeficient mouse strains as successful L. loa infection models which precisely emulate the clinical drug activity of ivermectin". Dr Turner continued: "This is a result of a longstanding and highly productive research collaboration with our colleagues at The University of Buea. The work required state-of-the art laboratory infrastructure to be established in Cameroon and extensive training of local graduate researchers. This scientific and capacity-strengthening research was only possible through grant funding from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Fund. We now believe the new facility is unique within Central Africa. It is gratifying that the new loiaisis preclinical testing models are operational within the disease-endemic setting and with our support are being run on the ground by a Cameroonian scientific team. Thus far, we have been able to deploy the research model to scrutinize safety of 14 unique Onchocerca drug candidates, including regimens from our anti-Wolbachia (A-WOL) consortium. The model has proved invaluable in the prioritization of moving drug candidates forward to preclinical development." Dr Turner and Professor Wanji's team now hope that the novel research models can be used in a range of other translational medicine applications for tropical diseases that affect several hundred thousands of people in some of the most medically-disadvantaged communities of sub-Saharan Africa, including researching safe drug treatments specifically for loiasis, determining the mechanisms by which ivermectin causes adverse reactions in L. loa patients and validating new filarial diagnostics. Source: https://www.lstmed.ac.uk/news-events/news/research-into-tropical-eye-worm-loa-loa-yields-new-tests-to-rapidly-assess-safety

Is it Time to Make Meat Obsolete?

James Bagshawe | Feb 3 2019 Is it Time to Make Meat Obsolete? By James Bagshawe on 01 Feb 2019 at 4:00AM Let’s face it, vegans can have a bad rep. To the majority of meat eaters, vegans conjure up images of insufferable, preachy, pale-skinned students who smell of B.O. and mushrooms. The types that wear organic hemp clothing that was crafted by Peace Lily back at the ashram, and they will thrust their gluten-free agave lentil biscuits at you to try and tempt you to hop the fence. Sadly, these tend to be drier than the Kalahari desert and have the flavour profile of plasterboard. There is truth to the old joke: how do you know if someone is vegan? They’ll tell you. For a group whose lifestyle choice has been very positively weighted for a long time, they have a very poor track record of winning around the majority. Aye, there’s the rub. If you look at a plant-based diet with an unjaundiced eye, there is no doubt it makes a lot of sense. Without wanting to descend into the finer points of the debate, animal agriculture is a massive contributor to climate change and – for the vast majority of meat we consume – an animal has been raised and killed in pretty rough conditions so that you might eat it. Ditching meat is good the for animal welfare, and even better for the environment. This is particularly important when you consider the rate at which we are multiplying. When Jimmy Carter wrote his message on the Golden Record carried on the Voyager spacecraft, he referred to the Earth as a planet of 4 billion inhabitants. That was in 1977. Today the Earth has 7.7 billion humans on it. We are growing at an alarming rate and something that seems innocuous, like whether or not we eat meat, carries huge global repercussions. In short, it would be a tremendous boon for our planet if we made meat obsolete. The good news is that the vegan revolution has really taken off in recent years. Twenty years ago, an agave lentil biscuit would have been a reasonable thing to see come out of a vegan kitchen. These days there are very few sacrifices to be made in diet, and the days where a £14 cauliflower steak is deemed acceptable are long gone. Recent times have instead seen the new wave of vegans have gone into the labs, determined to tackle meat eaters head on. Many readers will be familiar with brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger. Both of these firms have substantial financial backing; with big names like Bill Gates and Richard Branson coming on board. These heavy hitters signed on because the goal of the new wave firms was to mimic the real thing. The big selling point (apart from the taste) is that the burgers sizzle and bleed. People wondered how that happened. Was it beetroot juice oozing out? Not for Impossible Burger. Turns out it is – basically – soy-based blood. Soy leghemoglobin preparation, to be precise. To get enough of this key meat-like component for a burger, the Impossible team had to insert leghemoglobins proteins into a special type of yeast. This yeast could then be fed up quicker and return far larger yields; enough to make it commercially viable to use it as a component in their burgers. That’s a step up from the ashram. Now, some folks would turn their noses up at the burger for this. After all, it contains a genetically modified ingredient. GM foods are scary franken-foods that we should all be afraid of, right? Well, no, not really. This is another hot topic. The real threat of GM foods is less the food itself but more the business practises of those large corporations who look to control GM patents for their own gain but that is another story. The ideal way to make meat obsolete is to offer a plant alternative that is just as good. That is the big idea behind the Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat’s chicken strips. If you get to have delicious sizzling fajitas that taste great but no animals need enter the equation to make that happen, then you get a whopping environmental gain and a smug sense of self-satisfaction that you have made an ethical choice. There is another contender in the race to push ‘real’ meat into the annals of history and that’s lab-grown meat. History buffs might be interested to learn that Winston Churchill suggested using cultured meat – chicken, in his case – as far back as 1931, so the idea is not new. But, as with plant-based substitutes, the technology has come a long way in recent years. The idea here is to take myosatellite cells from an actual animal and culture those in a petri dish. Sometimes these petri dishes are lined in part with pieces of Velcro that cause resistance against cell growth and so prompt the cells to produce muscle tissue. Band enough of these micro strips together and – hey presto – you have ground beef. The price is dropping at a decent pace, too. The first lab-grown beef burger produced in 2013 cost an estimated $325,000 to produce. Fast forward two years and that figure was down to just over $11. Cost remains one of two huge drivers for the commercial viability of cultured meat or plant-based products. The other being a curious reticence by the public to embrace these alternatives as a better choice. This reticence shows just how ingrained the distrust of something ‘artificial’ goes. It’s as if eating meat was somehow a wholesome activity. These food alternatives matter a great deal if we are to change our ways and become good stewards of the planet. For example, eating cultured meat presents a reduction of emissions of 96 per centand a reduction in land use of 99 per cent over modern agriculturally reared beef. Your average swimming pool only contains enough water to produce 312 beef burgers. The same amount of water could produce 60,837 Beyond Burgers. If we all made the switch the consequences would be profound for our planet. Soon the Beyond Burger will be selling at Tesco for £5 for two. Expensive? Yes, but surely worth a try. God, I’m starting to sound like Peace Lily. Can I interest you in a gluten-free lentil biscuit? Source: gizmodo.co.uk:

In Africa, Sickle Cell Patients Endure Pain, Discrimination

Dec 12, 2018 FILE - Ado Ntanga, 23, holds her son, Adrielle Nyembwe, 3, who was admitted to the Medicare Policlinic with Sickle Cell Anemia in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africans who have the blood disorder sickle cell anemia met this week in the northern Cameroon town of Garoua to step up an awareness campaign. One hundred people with sickle cell from Cameroon and five other African countries sit and talk at the Garoua market square in northern Cameroon. They say their aim is to educate people about sickle cell, an inherited, generally incurable disease that causes tiredness, swelling of the hands and feet, vision problems, and episodes of severe pain. The patients want to end superstitions about the disease and stop doctors from pushing harmful practices like bloodletting and concoctions that will supposedly fix their blood. Among the patents here is 26-year old Hayatou Alimatu who lost two children to the disease. She came out today with her only surviving child, an eight year old girl who also has sickle cell. Painkillers are expensive, and she hopes to one day take the child to a developed country in the hopes of getting more advanced treatment that could improve her quality of life. She said her daughter normally gets outstanding grades at school and her averages grades are at the top. When she has severe episodes, known as crises, her grades drop. Sickle cell anemia affects red blood cells, the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Cells that are normally round become hard and look like the C-shaped farm tool called a sickle. They get stuck in blood vessels, causing pain. The cells also die early, causing a constant shortage of red blood cells. Shattered dreams Twenty-four-year old Blaise Fora said his hopes of getting married were shattered because he is a sickle cell patient. He said he has decided to remain single because when he fell in love once and was preparing to get married, his fiancee's family was vehemently opposed. They did not want him to - in their words - contaminate their daughter with sickle cell. Fora said the family was concerned that the couple's children might be born with the disease. Those types of concerns are shared by many people, and aid agencies are responding by suggesting couples that are about to marry to get genetic tests done first. Haminatu Hadza Karim from Chad, is among those leading the largely informal campaign, organized by associations of sickle cell patients. She says many of the women she works with have been thrown out by their husbands for delivering babies with sickle cell. She says she invites other women dealing with these prejudices to join them so they can fight for their rights and eradicate the disease. Genetic counseling Some people have the sickle cell trait without having the disease. To pass on the disease to a baby, both parents must be carriers. Dr. Oumar Zacki, who takes care of sickle cell patients in Garoua, says a lack of genetic counseling means many people are without crucial knowledge. He says the population of Central and West Africa move about with no visible symptoms but who carry sickle cell genes, passed from generation to generation in a pattern of inheritance. The World Health Organization reports that in Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Ghana and Nigeria, between 20 and 30 percent of the population carries the sickle cell trait. In Uganda, more than 40 percent carry the trait. Source: voanews.com

Every Six Seconds, One Person Dies Of Diabetes, Says Consultant Endocrinologist

By SAHARA REPORTERS, NEW YORK Nov 14, 2018 Dr. Adenike Enikuomehin, a medical consultant, has said that at least one person dies every six seconds of diabetes globally. Noting that the situation is worrisome, Enikuomehin added that 700 people out of 1,500 admitted to the hospital recently have diabetes. She spoke in Akure, the Ondo State capital, at an event to make the 2018 World Diabetes Day, themed 'Diabetes and the Family'. She revealed that Ondo State is recording an increase in the cases of diabetes as a result of the number of patients in the hospital. She stated that 3,500 out of 8,500 patients admitted at the teaching hospital since January this year till date are diabetic. “When you admit 40 patients in our hospitals, almost 30 out of them are living with diabetes," said Enikuomehin, a Consultant Endocrinologist at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Ondo. "And this is more than two-thirds of admitted patients. This is worrisome and calls for attention and the support of all and sundry. The family has a major role to play in this aspect by giving the necessary support to all the people living with diabetes." According to Enikuomehin, the main factors contributing to diabetes include high level of calorie intake, obesity rate and inducement of drugs. Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, Ondo State Commissioner for Health, said diabetes has become a major global concern among the people. Adegbenro also observed that diabetes is so rampant that one in every five persons has the disease. He, however, revealed that the state government has been doing much to create awareness to help nip the disease in the bud. He also advised people to shun self medication and avoid eating junk in order to have good health. “Diabetes and hypertension are major diseases troubling the whole world and incidentally, two of them can go together in a person," he said. "We have a lot of specialists and facilities that can handle diabetes. However, people should stop eating junk and self medication." Michael Ajayi, Secretary of the Diabetes Asociation of Nigeria in Ondo State, urged the people to always engage in regular checkup in order to know their status on time. "It is better for people to know their diabetic status on time because it would help save money and time," he said. Source; saharareporter.com

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