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Who Is Ruining Nigeria’s Image?

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l heard an unbelievable argument on a radio station.
Following the arrest of five young Nigerians in connection with a daring armed robbery in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) a few weeks ago, the radio presenter sought the opinion of listeners on why some Nigerians abroad commit crime, thereby tarnishing the image of the country.
Many people called in, giving various reasons for the embarrassing behaviour and called on those involved to turn a new leaf. But one particular male caller said that all the allegations levelled against Nigerians abroad were not true.
He claimed to have lived abroad for many years and knows that, sometimes, authorities of certain countries cook up allegations of crime against Nigerians to further tarnish the already battered image of the country. He alleged that citizens of some other countries are racists and would go to any length to deal with blacks, Nigerians in particular.
Indeed, it was difficult to buy into the man’s narrative. In the first place, what will these countries and their citizens gain from painting Nigerians and our nation black? What do they have against Nigeria that they would descend on the nation and its citizens in such a wicked manner?
But be that as it may, one thinks it will be proper for appropriate authorities to carry out thorough investigation into the heavy allegation with a view to finding out how true it is. Let it not be that our citizens abroad are actually paying for crimes they did not commit.
But while that is being done, we must not fail to tell ourselves the truth, which is that Nigerians do have a global reputation for crime. Even President Muhammadu Buhari alluded to that fact in a recent interview with a foreign newspaper.
He said it is usually difficult for foreign countries to grant asylum to Nigerians as a result of the country’s reputation for crime abroad. Expectedly, many critics have been criticizing the president since then, saying he is de-marketing Nigeria but facts available show that Buhari was merely stating the obvious.
For instance, a report had it that 723 Nigerians were deported from Ghana between 2018 and 2019. The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Michael Abikoye, who was quoted in the report, said they were sent home on the basis of alleged cybercrime, prostitution, overstaying their time and illegal stay.
Elucidating on the action, the Comptoller-General of Ghana Immigration Service, Kwame Takyi,  said some Nigerians in Ghana had become laws to themselves, blocking major streets where they drink, fight and stab one another, hence the need for a decisive measure to sanitize their country.
The story is not different in Italy, Malaysia, South Africa, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States of America and many other countries where Nigerians have spread their criminal network. A Google search of the criminal activities of Nigerians abroad will shows the terrible things our brothers and sisters do in foreign land.
It ranges from human trafficking to bank credit and card fraud, drug trafficking and many others.  Lately, many Nigerian young men are trooping to Malaysia which has been christened the “Yahoo boys” headquarters. Truly, a study needs to be carried out on what they do in Malaysia such that a person that leaves Nigeria empty-handed for Malaysia comes back in less than six months, a millionaire.
Many Nigerians are serving jail terms in countries across the globe for various illegal acts.  This definitely does not speak well of the country and her citizens. And the sooner we imbibe the habit of decent, lawful behaviour both within and outside the nation, the better for us as individuals and as a country.
Of course, not all Nigerians abroad are involved in these atrocities. There are many decent, hard working, honest, law-abiding Nigerians around the globe who are daily making us proud. But the few individuals involved in criminal activities have seriously dented its image and the sooner actions are taken to salvage the situation the better for us all.
Already, we have seen how shabbily Nigerians are treated at many international airports and the attacks on them in many countries which may not be unconnected with our poor image. Some people believe it will be worse in the coming years if nothing is done to address our image problem.
It is, therefore, high time concerted efforts were made by all well-meaning Nigerians both home and abroad to project a good image for the country which will counter the bad one created by the unscrupulous, criminal-minded few.  To achieve this, we need value re-orientation.
Presently, there is so much emphasis on the acquisition of material things which leads the citizens, both the leaders and the led, to do anything to acquire wealth. It’s high time we began to teach our people, particularly the young ones, the value of hard work, patience, good name, good image and good legacy so that whether they find themselves within or outside the country, they will not be willing to commit any crime to “make it”.
Government at all levels should also ask themselves if through their actions and inactions they push the citizens to desperation and hopelessness. Perhaps, if government invests more on infrastructure and good governance, less people will have the urge to seek for better life in foreign lands.

 

Calista Ezeaku

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Opinion

The Tomfoolery of RIVLEAF

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There indeed seems to be no end, as far as nay sayers are concerned, in the quest to frustrate the efforts being made by the Rivers State Government to ensure that the spread of the coronavirus in Rivers State is reasonably checked.
On a daily basis, this becomes more apparent to the chagrin of genuinely concerned people of the State.
Although it is not a surprise that RIVLEAF, supposedly a pressure group has always announced itself as a purveyor of ill-contrived negative information, its latest attempt to dismiss a genuine alarm raised by the Rivers State Government regarding a foreseen build-up to a declaration of State of emergency in the State, has further exposed the membership of the organisation as persons with cowardly and sychophantic intentions.
At a time like this, when the whole world is still baffled over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has not only exposed even the hitherto world super powers in all spheres of their existence, but has so made it clear that everyone must be involved in order to check the pandemic, all RIVLEAF has to offer is an attempt to discredit the world acclaimed efforts of the Rivers State

Government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike to ensure that the coronavirus does not get to the stage of Community transmission in the State.
It is indeed an irony of faith, that people who say they’re a pressure group do not actually know what it means to be a pressure group. They do not know, for instance, that one key role of a pressure group in the development of a society is to provide specialised and expert information to the government and explain government policies to the understanding and benefit of the general public. Thus they are an important link between the government and the people.
This explains their choice of caption, “Governor Wike Needs Help”, and the fact that rather than address in cogent terms the issue at stake, all they could do is to seek to raise irrelevant issues to cause rife between the President and the Governor, and with his Deputy.
What is really “funny and disturbing” about a clear statement that there is “a plan to declare a state of emergency in Rivers State? And, rather than categorically state what makes it funny and disturbing, all Onyeche Nnatah Peters could say is that Governor Wike “boasted that he was beyond the reproach of the Federal Government and, could do and undo as he so wishes”.
This statement in itself is a confirmation of the Governor’s proclamation of a plot to declare a state of emergency in the State, for reasons that have to do with Wike being seen as somebody who must be dealt with. The question is, for what reason?.
The most clear answer to this question is that from the point he started preparing to be the Governor of Rivers State, through his first tenure, and about a year into his second tenure, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had had to accept the peculiarities of Rivers State in the present State of affairs in the country, and had adjusted to the point of being able to provide good governance to Rivers people as minimally as possible in the face of unrelenting and determined efforts to frustrate him.
This is why every step of governance he has taken has turned out to be timely, and lauded in the given circumstance it is taken by all well-meaning public globally, especially as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the world knows is a new virus, hence decisions to combat it are mostly taken based on the exigencies of the moment. This is, of course, knowing the peculiarity of the virus as it relates to Nigeria, and Rivers State in healthcare delivery.
To say the least, Governor Wike has been setting the pace in steps taken to contain the coronavirus across Nigeria: amongst others, he was the first to set up an Interministarial COVID-19 Committee, the first to set up a palliatives committee, first to declare border lockdown, etc.
Even in the face of clear attempts to sabotage his efforts, Wike had been undeterred towards ensuring that the State does not get to Community transmission of the virus as is the case with some States. Beyond this determination to give good and transparent leadership to a people who understand his every step, and so are fully behind him, what else can the likes of RIVLEAF blame Wike of?
If the membership of RIVLEAF are truly of Rivers origin, and have the State at heart, they should be in a better position to appreciate the kind of development the State has recorded in the last five years.
Therefore, seeking to forment trouble where there’s none, such as between the Governor and his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, is a wasteful venture. This is because Rivers people have come to know what the interest of RIVLEAF is, and it has nothing to do with the overall interest of Rivers people.
Soibi Max-Alalibo
SA on Media to the Hon Commissioner for Information and Communications
Rivers State
May 21, 2020.
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Opinion

Dakuku Should Stop Playing To The Gallery

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Sociologists have what they call “Looking Glass Theory”. The crux of this theory is that people are prone to naming others, or something, by what they truly are, or what they have in store as experience.
For someone whose dream to be governor had been scuttled severally because of his unpopularity ,one can easily understand where Dakuku Peterside is coming from.
In his veiled attempt to be one of those who “came out openly to oppose Governor Nyesom Wike” at this point in time he exposed himself as a political toddler.
 All over the world today, well-meaning people are joining hands with their governments to check the spread of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, it is in this context that Dr Dakuku Peterside has displayed his lack of knowledge of the key ingredients of governance at crisis periods.
The need for law and order at all times, more so in crisis periods as the COVID-19 pandemic has instituted globally, compels governments  to take painful but necessary actions to save lives.
Thank God Dakuku Peterside supports “the Governor to ensure that the state is free from Coronavirus”, but how he expects this to come to fruition if people disobey directives put in place at will, raises a huge question mark.
In the light of  his latest condemnation of the Governor’s order to demolish two hotels found to have flouted a lockdown directive, Dakuku has again displayed his penchant for grandstanding.
Maybe he should learn some lessons from the role played by the  Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva who attracted Federal presence  to Bayelsa State during this period eventhough he belonged to the opposition in home State.
Dakuku’s stance in the face of an affront on an Executive Order which resulted in the demolition of two hotels in Eleme yesterday, without  considering the true circumstances that led to the demolition questions his citizenship as a Rivers son.
He should know what it means  to attack people authorised to perform legitimate duties under an  Executive Order.  Dakuku would not have declared genuine people-oriented actions by Governor Wike as “destructive” if he was well informed.
Rivers people are not foolish enough not to know that but for the stringent proactive measures put in place to check the spread of the virus by Governor Wike, the State would have entered community transmission like some other States in the Country.
Dakuku Peterside should therefore desist from the temptation of endangering the lives of the people he pontificates to care for, knowing that every act has its day of reckoning.
Soibi Max-Alalibo,
SA on Media to the Hon Commissioner
Ministry of Information and Communications
Rivers State.
May 11, 2020
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Opinion

Austin Tam-George: An Intellectual Prostitute Let Loose

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Austin Tam-George has consistently been biting the finger that fed him because he is an intellectual prostitute.
He looks for every available opportunity to lampoon Governor Nyesom Wike in order to impress his paymasters as a paid hack without conscience.
Someone like Austin Tam-George does not have the moral standing to discuss governance because his tenure as Commissioner for Information in Rivers State was a monumental failure.
A man who used his first month in office as Commissioner to throw 2O Rivers indigenes who were earning a living in the Ministry as casual workers into the unemployment market surely loves Rivers State.
Perhaps Austin Tam-George’s patriotism also led him to seize the monthly imprests meant for Departments in the Ministry.
Maybe he should explain to Rivers people and the those he is serving why a Commissioner should arm twist Heads of Parastatals under him to make monthly returns to quench his voracious appetite for money.
Was it not his kinsman in one of the parastatals that engaged him in a verbal warfare along William Jumbo Street in Port Harcourt that helped to tame his unquenchable taste for money?
His grouse with Governor Wike is because the over inflated and bogus proposals he made under the guise of upgrading the State Media Houses without recourse to the Bureau for Public Procurement were turned down by the governor who insisted on due process.
Austin Tam-George was quoted as saying that he will never forgive Governor Wike for not allowing him dupe the government.
The likes of Austin Tam-George are always available for the highest bidder that is why his recent outburst should not be taken seriously.
When he was looting the money generated by parastatals under him he never remembered United Nations and European Union.
As the proverbial dog that eats the bone hung on his neck, he milked the media houses dry before he was sacked from the State Executive Council.
He should know that the record of monies siphoned from the Media houses are still in the archives and will be released if he dares to make any more noise.
If Governor Wike did not retain him in his cabinet because he lacked character is it enough to look for any slightest opportunity to impugn his integrity?
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. A word is enough for the wise.
Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State
May 11,2020.
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