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Making Sacrifices To Save Nigeria

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The economic situation in Nigeria demands that some drastic sacrifices and adjustments be made immediately as a state policy that would be comprehensive. It is obvious that the masses are the class of Nigerians making the greatest sacrifices, albeit involuntarily, while the political leaders are seen to be living a life of awesome hedonism. Especially with some members of the National Assembly saying that “our N8.5m monthly allowance is too small”, Nigerians are wondering what the lawmakers would consider enough for themselves, when the masses are hungry!
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, was quoted recently as saying: “You will now see that you are maligning and criticizing the National Assembly for nothing”. He also added that: “The money they have given them is not going to be enough. I have seen them crying already.” If the money that political office holders are given is not enough for them, then why the scrambles that we find in the political arena! Why the hustling?
It is expected that when economic fortunes decline drastically such as the condition which Nigeria has been going through in the past several years, there should be a corresponding system of adjustment and sacrifices. But when political leaders and lawmakers complain about their allowances, then it would appear that they are unmindful of the plight of the masses. Politics should be characterized by exemplary leadership and patriotism.
An Italian immigrants’ son, Leelacoca, became a legend in America by a rare exemplary leadership and patriotism. When Chrysler, a leading American company, was close to bankruptcy in 1980, Lacoca not only pushed through a most appropriate rescue operation in the business world, but also introduced “equality of sacrifice” policy in the company. He reduced his salary and allowances by over 90% as part of his sacrifice to save Chrysler. Other subordinate staff followed his example in good faith.
An example of sacrifice to save Nigeria was introduced during the Presidency of General Ibrahim Babangida, when he declared a 20% cut in his salary and those of his governors. Despite the fact that such “cut” or sacrifice was made “in sympathy with Nigerian workers”, it was obvious to discerning Nigerians that it was a window-dressing.
As things are now, Nigerians rarely know the true and exact salaries, allowances and subsidies which political officers, including the President, enjoy. Orji Uzor Kalu told us that as a governor “the state was buying my food; the state paid everything, but as a senator, nobody does that”. What he did not tell Nigerians was the number of exotic cars at his service, how much of tax payers’ money went into fuelling such vehicles daily and what other allowances, benefits and subsidies that he enjoyed. Perhaps these would be followed by a demand for life penson.
Then put these luxuries side-by-side with a 58-year-old civil servant with university degrees, on salary grade level 15 and retiring with a gratuity of about five million naira and a monthly pension of N56,000.00. The children of this senior civil servant who would adjust to having two meals daily because times are hard, may not be lucky to enjoy NNPC or Shell scholarship. Senator Shehu Sani disclosed that each senator gets N13.5m monthly as running cost apart from a salary of N700,000. Other allowances run into several millions apart from N200 million as constituency allowance.
Perhaps members of the National Assembly and other political office holders do all the hard labour necessary to keep Nigeria going as a nation, which is why they regard their remunerations as not enough yet. Nigerian politicians are known for keeping huge sums of money in their homes. When late Barkin Zuwo, a former Kano State governor, was accused of keeping millions of naira in his bedroom, his sharp reply was: “Yes, what is wrong with that? Government money in government house, what is wrong with that?”
There may be nothing wrong with political office holders keeping millions of naira in their bedrooms or in other buildings, but what is unacceptable in that practice is that it does not reflect accountability.
Nigerian political office holders at all levels of government should put the following measures into practice as a means of saving the country from further crises:
The number of official cars should be reduced to not more than two for zeach official, with fuelling and maintenance costs borne by each of them; while the known monthly salaries should remain as they are, other allowances and subsidies should be reduced by more than 50% for each officials; all political office holders whose food and other necessities of life are being paid for by government should have them reduced by 50%; foreign travels for medical vacation should be banned entirely for every public office holders; number of supporting aides and staff should be reduced by more than 60%; government trips and entourages should be reduced drastically as well as the level of flamboyance.
Foreign travels by members of the National Assembly, ministers, commissioners and other officials should be reduced, based on approval and utmost necessity; political office holders should be mindful of their utterances, especially on sensitive national issues; Nigerians expect greater transparency in contracts and appointments into public offices; politics should not be mixed with religion and security votes should be audited.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

 

Bright Amirize

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Opinion

Open Letter To Nigerian Politicians

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Dear Honorable Politicians of Nigeria, events taking place in the country in the recent times demand that you hear how those that you represent feel about you hear how those that you represent feel about you and your activities. In the first place, Nigeria is larger and greater than a few powerful individuals who represent the masses. Secondly the task of political leadership is a serious responsibility meant to be undertaken with patriotism and a volition to serve.
Money and power rarely on their own make a good and responsible leader, but personal integrity comes in as a strong factor. Politics as a calling is obviously being debased and distorted considering the way it is being practised in Nigeria. If you would be perceptive enough to look into the souls of those that you lead, you would see disillusionment, disappointment and hunger. There is a longing for a change for the better. There is a need to bring down the level of anxiety and frustration in the land.
One of the key responsibilities of national leadership is to manage the economy in such a way that the masses can be motivated to strive diligently and honestly to earn a living and contribute positively towards an up-building of the nation. To beg or steal in order to live would not be an ideal situation in a well-managed economy, for any citizen.
Unfortunately, Nigerian citizens have the impression that politics is a means of personal and sectional aggrandizement rather than opportunity to serve and make personal sacrifices for the sake of the well-being of the masses. Ordinary Nigerians feel that politicians constitute a part of the problems which they have. Money and power cannot be the key issues of life, but those who possess them can utilize them, with maturity, for the well-being of the struggling masses.
There is the story of Timon of Athens whose misapplication of his wealth through over-generosity resulted in his fall and banishment. In his dying statement he wondered: “What a god is gold, that he is worshipped in a baser temple than where swine feed!” There is also the story of Macbeth whose ambition for power led to a personal and national disaster. One of his dying statements was that “There’s nothing serious in mortality, all is but toys: renown and grace is dead …”
The purpose of the two examples cited above is to remind those who possess wealth and power that material possessions and positions are transcient. One great man who had tasted wealth and power left or will which contained the following statement: “There are two things to aim at in life; first, to get what you want, and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.”
The nature of Nigerian politics was portrayed in an unguarded statement as a “do-or-die affair,” by an ex-president. Majority of Nigerians would have wished that politics should be about service to the nation rather than a gangsterist affair or “dirty game”. Through monetization it has become a “cut-throat business” whereby huge financial investments must be recouped in a gansterist manner. There must be some good politicians who have the interest of the masses at heart.
There is a general impression that politicians are oppressors rather than friends of the masses. This perception should be altered through patriotic and exemplary service which would not be difficult for the people to observe and appreciate. It is obvious that the task of nation-building is enormous and demanding, but there would be a focus on providing an enabling environment wherein the masses can put in their best willingly.
Perhaps, unknown to many people, there is a global cleansing process, meant to correct past imbalances brought about by human greed and ignorance, largely. A few people who are permitted to perceive the trend of this global phenomenon, see that Nigeria is a flash point where there must be diligent care with regard to the practice of politics. Politics should not degenerate into conspiracies and gangsterism.
Without being specific, it is necessary to advise Nigerian politicians generally to bridle personal ego, vanity and vaulting ambitions. To plunge a community into anxiety and instability cannot be described as good politics. There is an old prophecy that those that the gods would destroy, they first make mad. A “do-or-die” system of politics can be described as politics of madness. May be time will unfold what cunning intrigues hide away now. The military and police should stay away from the growing madness.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

 

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Opinion

Combating Human Trafficking In Nigeria 

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Nigeria is a source, transit point and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons in which they are subjected to forced labour and prostitution. Trafficked Nigerian women and children are recruited from rural areas within the country’s borders.
Women and girls are for voluntary domestic servitude and sexual exploitation while boys are for forced labour in street vending, domestic servitude, mining and begging. Nigerian women and children are taken from Nigeria to other West and Central African countries like Ghana, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Gambia for the same purposes.
According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Nigeria is one of the leading African countries in human trafficking with cross-border and internal trafficking. Human trafficking is a way to exploit women and children for cheap labour and prostitution to help themselves out of poverty.
Human trafficking always occurs within Nigerian borders, in neighbouring countries and many European countries as well because they are able to ship women and children for human trafficking to expand the market or the industry. Human trafficking gangs Nigerian have sent thousands of women into the sex market within Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. Research shows that about 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes in Italy are subjected to human trafficking.
Human trafficking of Nigerian women to Italy began in the 1980s because of the demand for low skilled labour in agriculture and services. Nigeria has a history of hearing financial issues causing significant unemployment and poverty. Given the underground nature of trafficking, its consequences are hidden and difficult to see.
Trafficked persons often do not have unlimited access to basic necessities such as safety, food, sleep, hygiene and medical care. The effects of trafficking vary depending on the type of trafficking and specific situation. Given that trafficking is based on the exploitation of individuals, all victims of trafficking may be subject to physical, psychological and social impacts.
Victims of trafficking often experience harsh physical impact due to excessive work or the use of force by traffickers. Victims may be exposed to health risks like HIV/AIDS as well as a serious mental health risk. Anxiety, insecurity, fear and trauma are all products of trafficking. Research indicates a high level of Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) in formerly trafficked persons which can also lead to cognitive impairment, memory loss, depression and even suicide.
Trafficked minors are all the more vulnerable due to their age. It may greatly impact children’s emotional, physical and overall psychological development. Trafficked persons may also experience social ostracism and often isolated from their social circles, leaving individuals unable to engage socially or reach out for help. Victims may also be trafficked internationally and, therefore, may not be able to engage due to a lack of linguistic capability or geographic and cultural familiarity.
Sex trafficking has some consequences for victims and society. It affects women and girls in reported cases. Despite law protecting them, victims of trafficking are often criminalized; this exacerbates the physical and psychological trauma they experience and causes economic harm that limits their ability to break free from their traffickers and rebuild their lives.
Human Trafficking is seen as an endless cycle with a global economic crisis on the horizon as the demand for cheap labour is on the rise. People looking for jobs far away from home are often deceived. This places the poor at a higher risk of being trafficked, as victims of human trafficking are often poor and illiterate.
Sex and human trafficking could be curbed through learning the indicators of human trafficking to help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training should be made available to individuals, businesses, law employees, among others.
One should be able to report suspected traffickers to law enforcement agents. Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community. The government should endeavour to create employment for Nigerian citizens several of whom are unemployed and have no livelihood.
Skills acquisition should be organized in every State to enable youths to learn at least a trade. Nigerian borders should be properly guarded while other agencies should be set up to arrest human traffickers in order to reduce the rate of trafficking in the country. The media have a role to play in shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about human trafficking.
Harry, a freelance journalist, is based in Port Harcourt.

 

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Opinion

Gleaning From Akashic Record

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Issues raised and discussed during World Sickle Cell Day (June 19) would not be adequate to throw open deeper knowledge into the phenomenon of Sickle Cell Anemia. It is necessary that we take some gleaning from other quarters too. There is nothing abracadabra about so-called Akashic Record, because it is all about Natural History; namely, the evolution, development, pilgrimage and the travails of the human species over a very long time. Nothing is erased or arbitrary therein.
Sickle cell anaemia is a serious genetic illness which affects mainly the black race, in which the blood cell changes shape, causing weakness and fever. The normal cell has a circular shape while the sickle one has a hook-like shape. The anaemia associated with sickle cell is the lower level of red blood, whereby a child becomes more prone to illness.
Some Ill-disposed persons took the prevalence of sickle cell anemia among the black people to say that the Blacks are an inferior or cursed race. Because Sickle Cell Anaemia is known as “Undine’s curse” and is hereditary in nature, there are lots of superstitions associated with it. However, there is a need to delve into the reason why sickle cell anaemia is associated with the “Undine”.
There is a widespread ignorance, superstition and misconceptions about this matter and a lot of people look in the wrong directions or make unfounded claims over the phenomenon. In many cases more guilts are incurred in the process of seeking solutions to personal problems, especially with individuals and organizations that take delight in exorcism.
Definitely there are hereditary diseases and other afflictions, some of which arise from curses and imprecations whose origins are decades or even centuries old. Undines which can also be called Nixies are one generic species of innumerable Nature beings. However, the Undines as Nature beings, do not place a curse upon any human being, rather, the activities of all Nature beings have to do with working and serving in various elements, such as air, water, fire, soil and all that constitute Nature.
There are other species of beings whose activities have to do with the weaving of the fate of humans, referred to in the Scriptures as “Watchers”. Therefore, there is a need to make a distinction between various Nature and Elemental Beings serving in different spheres of creation in line with the Will of the creator, and artificial entities created by human thoughts and emotions. What human beings create through their activities would continue to haunt them.
Because of human misconceptions about the mechanism, weavings and laws in creation, there is the tendency for individuals to judge events and experiences from grossly myopic perspectives. For example, the phenomenon of sickle, cell anaemia or Undines curse, has nothing to do with Nature beings. Rather, human beings may not remember the origin and starting points of what they experience in life, neither is the issue of continuity of life considered as a reality by many people.
The striving to find meaning in life is a vital motivating force in man, and the experiences and challenges which we encounter are some of the means of finding deeper meanings. Unfortunately a good number of people would dodge rather than face life’s experiences and challenges boldly and seek to learn what lessons they mean to convey. Thus, the escapist syndrome expresses inability of man to stand up to the demands and responsibilities of life. Dodgers and weaklings can hardly have a glimpse into the Akashic Record!
To run to prayer houses, occult and witch doctors for the removal of personal afflictions for a fee, would be to refuse to dig deep into the perplexities of life. Truly, there is no mystery in creation but ignorance, fear and indolence, but those who seek diligently and earnestly can always find the truth, hidden from the majority of humans. Would anyone deny the fact that we reap what we sow, in spite of our clever scheming?
All hereditary diseases and afflictions which may appear inexplicable or unjust can be explained from the light of the operations of the law which demands that those who sow singly or jointly must also reap what originated from them. The “Watchers”, not the “Undines”, weave, knot together and connect the threads and radiations of fate so that at the right time, those who are bound together by the threads of fate can experience mutually what they had set in motion long ago.
There are a number of people allegedly tormented by evil spirits, mamy-water, etc, but whose plight can be traced to some personal negligence or wrongdoing of a distant past. Nature beings cannot be held culpable for such woes, but what torments humans are artificially created thought-forms which can also be called demons, which are products of human volition and emotions. The links between such evil centres of energy and those connected with them do not take place arbitrarily; rather, the contents and blood cells of individuals serve as microchips. The storage tank or bank of all human activities is what is referred to here as Akashic Record! Blood is an identity fluid, like finger print! DNA technology is a valid science.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.

 

Bright Amirize

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