By Ifeatu Agbu
One big challenge that is at the heart of youth restiveness in Nigeria’s Delta region is the high level unemployment. Sadly, this social evil is a pervasive scourge that is choking many economies across the globe. Not even the world economic powers, like the United States and Japan are spared. In the US, unemployment rate among fresh university graduates is said to have hit a record high of 10.6 per cent.
Very often, poor economic policies contribute to this situation which makes sustainable economic development a daunting task. Unfortunately, the most affected are young graduates, who for obvious reasons, lack the experience to secure employment and cannot afford the seed capital needed to start their own businesses. Most of the youths also lack the basic entrepreneurial skills needed to facilitate self-employment.
Yearly, thousands of graduates are churned out from the nation’s over 100 universities into the labour market without corresponding job opportunities. Any society that ignores this ever-growing army of unemployed youths does so at its own peril. It is, therefore, necessary that their potentials are harnessed and positively channelled, so as to save them from being used as cannon fodders for criminal gangs or as thugs for political gladiators. Of course, the sensible thing to do would be to arm them with the necessary skills to enable them to build a better future.
Perhaps, it is in response to these challenges that the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in line with its mandate, is embarking on a Technical Aid Corps [NTAC] programme, as a means of alleviating the unemployment situation in Nigeria’s oil-producing region. The commission has designed the programme to meaningfully engage graduates from the region and reduce the level of unemployed youths. ( Continues below….. )
The first phase of this programme has already taken off with scores of unemployed graduates who are now in various companies. During their two-year work experience, the commission will pay each of the beneficiaries N30,000 a month which will be augmented by the employer with N15,000. Like the National Youth Service Corps [NYSC], the scheme is expected to help the young graduates gain the necessary experience, which would enhance their chances of securing gainful employment or to become self-employed at the end of their tutelage in the industries. Indeed, the NDDC hopes that those who are able to prove their mettle may eventually get permanent employment at their place of deployment.
The NDDC scheme has the potential of reinvigorating the SMEs which are among the most potent forces responsible for the fast-tracking of the economic transformation of any country. Most of them lack the resources to hire graduates to boost their productivity. They can therefore take advantage of the availability of this relatively cheap labour to optimise their productivity and profitability. It is thus a win-win situation—the Federal Government mops up unemployed graduates from the labour market and the employers smile more often to their banks.
The Technical Aids Corps is a programme that the three levels of government and the private sector should be encouraged to buy into so that they can collectively mop up the teeming youths roaming the streets in search of employment.
The case for Small and Medium Enterprises [SME’s] has become imperative. An investment expert, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Awa, warned that the quest to develop the Nigerian economy may remain a mirage unless efforts are made to boost the emergence of vibrant small and medium businesses in the country.
Awa said in an undeveloped economy like Nigeria with massive unemployment and poverty, only small businesses hold the key to unlocking the potentials of the country and its citizens. According to her, there was the need to place more emphasis on boosting SMEs in the country because through this the economy and livelihood of more grassroots people would be affected for the better. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
“SMEs also create opportunity for self employment; encourage rural development and entrepreneurship; and very importantly have a shock absorber in times of economic melt down as is being currently experienced throughout the world,” Awa said. The NDDC should carry out thorough research on the strength, weaknesses and opportunities of similar schemes done previously, or still on-going, in this nation and abroad so that its technical aids programme can benefit from their experience. This will help it to optimally achieve its lofty goal of drastically reducing graduate unemployment in the Niger Delta. It is also one opportunity the SMEs can not afford to miss.
The first phase of the NDDC Technical Aid Corps tokk off with 2,000 graduates of diverse disciplines as beneficiaries. A breakdown of the figure shows that Akwa Ibom has 289, Abia – 117, Bayelsa – 240, Cross River – 120, Delta – 214, Edo – 120, Imo – 120, Ondo – 176 and Rivers – 310. Speaking at the flag off ceremony in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha said the event which took place simultaneously in all the Niger Delta states was a bold step by the Commission to deploy the teaming unemployed graduates in the Region to boost the manpower needs of SME’S , educational institutions and other organizations.
“What this means in simple terms is that the NDDC has today successfully intervened in the suffocating unemployed situation in the Region by 2,000 jobs”, he said. Mr. Ugwoha disclosed that 52,000 applications were received out of which 15,000.00 met the Commission’s requirements, adding “this underscores the urgent need for all stakeholders in the Region to join hands and design solutions to reduce the army of jobless graduates in the Region”.
According to him, the NDDC will pay each beneficiary N30,000.00 per month while the benefiting SME will pay a minimum of N15,000.00 per month, making a total of N45,000.00. While advising the beneficiaries to take full advantage of the opportunity the NDDC Boss stated that they will be made to go through a one month re-orientation programme on work ethics, civil education and basic computer appreciation in relevant work place applications.
On the NDDC Micro – Credit Scheme, Mr. Ugwoha disclosed that a total of 8,500 youths are expected to benefit from the first phase of the disbursement, totaling One Billion Naira and billed to be released by the third week of September. He also spoke on other youth capacity building programmes of the Commission, including the recent training of 25 youths of the Region in South African, Institute of Welding, Graduate Computer Training, programme and training on oil and gas related skills in Norway. ( Continues below..... )
“The NDDC is doing everything within its mandate to build the capacity of youths to enable them participate in the socio economic development of the Region”, Ugwoha said. In his speech, the Rivers State Consultant of the programme, Dr. Nimi Tariah charged the graduate beneficiaries to ensure exemplary conduct, personal integrity, compliance with rules and regulations, impeccable service delivery and respect for others.
Under the broad theme of economic development, the NDDC driven Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan identified unemployment and youth restiveness as some of the grave challenges facing the Region. The NDDC Technical Aid Corps programme will therefore in the short to medium terms help to alleviate the unemployment situation in the Region and thereby strengthen the growth of small and medium Enterprises to their full potentials and inflate the economy of the Region.
What the NDDC is doing has been applauded by the leaders of the region. Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke is one of those who are thrilled by the human capacity development and youth empowerment programmes of the commission. He described it as key to the socio-economic development of the Niger Delta Region.
Imoke who bared his mind when the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha led the commission’s management team on a courtesy visit to him at government house, Calabar said he was thrilled by the uncommon passion and commitment shown by the commission in ensuring that youths of the region had sustainable means of livelihood.
In demonstration of his support the governor announced that the Cross River State government was desirous to partner with the commission in ensuring that all set targets designed to change the orientation of the youths through capacity development and empowerment were met. “ We in Cross River State are ready to collaborate with you because we believe that solving the Niger Delta question we remain a mirage of issues as issues of unemployment, human capacity development and youths empowerment are not given due attention” Imoke said.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Niger Delta, Abuja, MEND, Lagos, Jobs, Africa, Masterweb
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu (email@example.com)
America is on the verge of making an irreversible mistake, a mistake that will comfortably tear the so called “United States” into pieces of atomic, uncontrollable entities. That mistake is the allowing, for any reason, for the building of a mosques near Ground Zero.
Never in history has a blow, as private and catastrophic as the 9/11 attack, hit the American soil and, after all these years, the impact has not doused nor has the damage been repaired. Yet, in the cloak of what some individuals who are clearly out to raze the United States of America to dust tend to call “human rights”, a new software that will tell negatively on the entire American system has emerged and downloaded, getting ready to be run. It’s the allowing of a mosque near Ground Zero. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: U.S. President Barack Obama
The present leaders of America seem not to be consulting their book of records for guidance at all. The American security is becoming porous by the day and the system, as a whole, is getting weaker by the day-no thanks to their misuse of the word “freedom.” Nobody is contesting the freedom of worship or the fact that Islam is a religion that should also be recognized and respected. The question here is not whether Moslems have been accepted and integrated into the American mainstream, because they have actually been a part of America from years unnumbered; the question is whether terrorists and Islamic extremists are also being drafted to fit into the American system.
I believe that Islam is a honorable religion and the majority who are true adherents love their neighbors. But I also believe that, with all the harms and criminal activities going on in different parts of the world, terrorism is unequaled- terrorism is the master executioner and annihilator or mankind. And terrorism is the product of Islamic extremism or, should I say, a product of Imams who have abandoned the true faith. Every real Muslim will accept the fact that, put in the American position, they will never allow such a such a religion that threatens their peace to be erected in such a “delicate quarter” as Ground Zero, where they will constantly be reminded of terror and its power. These so called extremists, though “Muslims,” do not hesitate to kill men of other faiths, burn churches, Bibles and flags at will, but when a single thing about them is touched, they go murderous. Is that the attitude of a winning or that of cowardice, inability and fear? This leaves room for cogitation. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: New York twin towers burning from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
The world’s golden advice: Let the Imams and all those involved in the plan to build a mosque near the Ground Zero withdraw indefinitely from such plans and relocate the project to a different and less delicate site unless, of course, they are the “fathers of terrorism”. This simple act of allowing such thoughts as erecting a mosque near such “reminder of pain”, and the very act of proposing it, is so unprofessional and unrepresentative of religious or global peace.
Let the world Islamic body converge and, with one voice and determination, deal with this terror roots within them. The simplest way to win the people to Islam will be the ability of the Islamic leaders to prove to the world that co-existence is tolerated in Islam by working round the clock to root out those elements involved in these extreme acts against humanity from among them. They are among them and, at a great margin, their undeniably direct products. Unless and until this is done, people will continously live in the fear of such extremism; people will continue to fear their neighbors whom they truly love, as long as they are not of the same faith.
*Tags: Nigerians, World, Mortal, September, Africa, Masterweb
By Lateef Lawal
Arik Air early this month commissioned its mini-depot for the storage of aviation fuel, popularly known as Jet A1. The depot is located within the Arik Air Aviation Centre at the Murtala Muhammed Domestic Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. The Depot which will serve as a strategic reserve, according to Arik Air Deputy Executive Vice President, Mr. Chris Ndulue is to assist the airline manage its fuel requirements properly.
The fuel depot has capacity for 100, 000 litres of Jet A1 and comes equipped with the full compliments of a depot and is an above ground facility which makes the fuel free from water. The Technical Director for the depot, Mr. Owolabi Oriola said the facility has an added advantage of a relaxing chamber which will remove sediments and water from the fuel before being dispensed. It also has a double wall tank to control spill. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Arik Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide (right) receiving the Company of The Year Award from Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami at the Leadership Awards for Excellence 2009 held in Abuja on Friday, April 30, 2010.
The mini-depot is to have five browsers, two of which are on ground while three others are on the way.”The browsers also have the facility to remove sediments and water from the fuel before dispensing,” Mr. Oriola said. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Arik Air’s Chairman, Sir Joseph Akinola Arumemi-Ikhide said it was a thing of joy for the airline to build its first private depot. He said: “We are doing this because more often than not we have challenges with fueling our aircraft which have caused flight delays. Doing 150 flights daily, with plans for another 45 flights to make 200 within the next one year, means we have to remove all obstacles to smooth operation.”
He stated that the commissioning of the depot is just a tip of the iceberg. “We are going to expand this facility to over five million litres in the next one year. We are going to commission one million litres in Abuja, Port Harcourt already has some and we are adding to it.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane
Sir Arumemi-Ikhide reiterated the commitment of Arik Air to safe and reliable operations. “We have the youngest fleet in Africa; all our aircraft are modern. We believe life does not have a duplicate and we want to ensure that people enjoy and not endure flying. There is difference between enjoying and enduring flying.”
Arik Air is West Africa’s leading commercial airline. It now operates a fleet of 26 state-of-the art regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft. The airline currently serves 22 airports across Nigeria as well as Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Dakar (Senegal), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Monrovia (Liberia), London Heathrow (UK), Johannesburg (South Africa) and New York JFK (USA). The airline currently operates over 150 flights daily from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Tags: Nigerians, Arik, Abuja, Lagos, Yar’Adua, Jos, Africa, Masterweb
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The world, as we have it today, was once a village, and, through evolution, we have been able to transform it into a near-global village-thanks to science and technology. Since science began leading the way, man has sought for ways to be bi-locational-even literally; being able to “eat one’s cake and have it.” Behind this longing lies two insatiable desires: the desire for freedom and the desire for security. These desires make good case in the long-listed UN charter on human rights. And so, the desire for freedom, subsequently, has narrowed down to include freedom to subvert natural establishment-sprouting homosexuality, incest and zooerasty. The desire for security has equally degenerated to mean an increased number of war casualties, deserts, and nuclear proliferation.
The obvious truth we have all failed to see over the centuries is that freedom and security live on either side of the same coin; either can only reign at one given time. You either choose to be free or you choose to be secure. This truth, of course, can easily be bought from countries that have been at war for a long time now. War leaves no one secure or free; it leaves you alert and compliant at all times. Compliance is an enemy to freedom just as security is the unsureness of freedom. ( Continues below..... )
The desire for security led us through the devil’s path-leading us astray. This desire informs itself in nations’ security budgetary allocations, military “reserves” and, subsequently, nuclear proliferation. We have believed, over the years, that the way to live free and secure is to annihilate our “enemies.” We have also learned from experience that such beliefs have not only been based on false calculations, but have ended up making us less free and less secure. We kill our “enemies” to ensure our security but we end up more insecure and less free, because our “enemies” are fighting to kill us and be both secure and free. The challenge for military might gave birth to nuclear weapons.
So far, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China have been formally recognized as the nuclear weapon states. Other states believed to have these nuclear weapons include India, North Korea, Pakistan, and Israel, which has had a policy of opacity regarding the matter.Sensing the madness which has crept into the desire for security, and its impending over-damaging consequences, the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also called Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) was brought into force by the United Nations on the 5th of March, 1970. ( Continues below….. )
Mortal desires are both indulging and harmful; so is the desire for nuclear weapons as security measures. Iran, at present, has held the whole world hostage with its quest for the enrichment of nuclear fuel, which many fear is for development of nuclear weapons. In order to curtail the global result of the culmination of this mortal desires, and to maintain the non-proliferation treaty, the United Nations must ‘write boldly’ the unmistakable dangers of a ‘global cum nuclear village’ on every wall. This fresh rekindling of awareness will help them see that there is one and only real threat to global freedom and security which is yet to be unequaled; this threat is any government that insists on developing nuclear weapons. In the case of Iran, The United Nation should know that the world’s mortal desires will culminate into global doom should the Iranian regime be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
The Iranian case should not be viewed from the angle of ‘brotherly-discounts,’ but should be seen as a threat to our ecumenical existence. Every applicable measure must be used to, not only to deter, but to dismantle, from its root, the Iranian century-long nuclear weapon dream and that of any other country on queue. It’s a mortal desire that will culminate into a global doom. Only after these mortal desires have been checked can we hope to find our way toward freedom and security in a new coin with no sides.
*Tags: Nigerians, Nuclear, World, Culmination, Mortal, Desires, Illusions, Africa, Masterweb
By Lateef Lawal
The problem that had hitherto worked against government parastatals, especially in Nigeria have been that of the so-called power brokers who harness every opportunity to ensure that they cheat on the society by using the word ‘Presidency’ to strike fear into government officials into looking the other way when it is glaring that they are committing acts of illegality by not paying taxes on their companies that largely always secure juicy contracts from the common purse of the federating units called -Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In addition, if they are opportune to have an airline, they will want to be in business and keep all the gains without paying for services rendered to their corporate entity by agencies of the government charged with the statutory responsibility of proving such services, thereby leading such agencies into financial quagmire in the areas of the provision of continuous quality service, training and re-training of staff that operate the facilities with which such services are being provided, not to talk of the payment of salaries of such staffers and meeting up with other operational logistics. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
They always succeed in this dangerous game plan by threatening to report whoever dared to ask them to pay their taxes or for services rendered with the word such as, ‘I will report you to the Presidency’ or ‘I will get you sacked. Don’t you know me’. It will only take an with tough stance and that have not soiled their palms with mouth watering gratifications to challenge and look such men in the face. Such was the case in the hay days of Nigeria Airways when some powerful individuals , because of their closeness to the corridors of power in ‘Aso Rock’ wrench the airlifting of pilgrims from the then national carrier and were given the business of Hajj Operations leaving the Federal Government owned airline in the red.
The private airlines cum tour operators then performed woefully year-in-year-out leaving several pilgrims stranded in Saudi Arabia. Each time this happened then, government with its fiat always direct Nigeria Airways to go and bring back the stranded pilgrims without financial back-up to pay for overflying charges across countries in the desert. The accumulated debt was transferred to the bills of Nigeria Airways while the private airlines cum tour operators who failed woefully in the contract were always smiling to the banks with free public money. Same was the situation with several other government owned agencies and parastatals.
Though. Has always claimed it has-‘ no business in business’- that was what informed the selling off of many of the agencies because they were always in the red, a situation that was largely caused by government and it is today being repeated and entrenched systematically. This why we need to critically looked into the recent unnecessary scenario created by some airlines who wanted to evade payment for services rendered to them by some service providers in the industry such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA). All the airlines jointly owe these two agencies of government a whooping N10billion if not more out of which over N4billion is owed to NAMA. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane
Prior to the 1st September 2010 when the management of NAMA took the bull by the horns after the directive of the Minister of Aviation for aggressive revenue and debt recovery drives, there had been several meetings between NAMA officials and those of the debtor airlines on debt reconciliations. Some attended some blatantly refused to attend. Later a Ministerial Committee was set up to look at all the issues at stake and come up with recommendation on the ways out. Members of Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON) were members of the committee along the those of the Ministry and all the parastatals in the industry. After the committee’s two-week sitting they came up with far reaching recommendations which included the spreading of the old debt owed by the airlines since 2005 to June 2010 be spread across 36 months while they should henceforth make it a point of duty to always pay for services rendered to them.
This recommendation among others were endorsed by the Minister for implementation, which was what NAMA started on 1ST September this year. So, baffles many industry watchers to see an about turn by the airlines that were part and parcel of the report which their representatives at the Ministerial Committee Meeting endorsed their signatures. If airlines who were signatories to the mutual agreement on debts settlement and prompt payment of their current bills failed to abide by the tenet of the, then they do not have moral justification to run to the Presidency for any form of protection nor do they deserve to hide under the umbrella of the Minister who had twice intercede and advised that they should be allowed to elongate their old debt but henceforth pay for services they enjoy on cash and carry basis.
It was even unimaginable that one or two members of the AON could confidently say that domestic navigation charge(s) does not exist in other countries that are signatories to all the ICAO Conventions including operational documents in 17 Annexes that are more or less the’ holy book’ for safe and secure civil aviation in all member States of ICAO of which Nigeria is one.
So, let us examine what ICAO says in these annexes with particular focus on the provision of Air Navigation Services. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Policies on Charges for Air Navigation Services as laid out in Doc.9082/7 states among others that: "That a Charge shall be made to recover the costs of providing facilities and services for aviation." The word Charge in this clause simply means an amount of money paid for either goods or services rendered, while in the usage of the word shall, it is mandatory that whoever is so billed for such services pay the specify amount.
To ensure that the charges are not extended to non-aviation related services or proliferate such Charges, ICAO Council recommends that, ’States shall permit imposition of charges only for services and functions provided for civil aviation operations,’ and added further to say that,’ Each Contracting State has responsibility for Airports and Air Navigation Services in its territory in accordance with Standards and Practices recommended or established pursuant the convention.’ The convention refer to are all the convention of which Air Navigation is part and Nigeria is a signatory unless we are saying we no longer belong or we are opting out of ICAO then the federal government can decide to foot the bills of all Nigerian registered airlines that are operating commercial civil aviation business. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.
Under the same ICAO Policies on Air Navigation Services Charges, such charges it explained include –Approach and Aerodrome Control Charges (which we refer to in Nigeria lately as Terminal Navigation Charge,TNC) and Route Charges either on domestic or international routes.
[ Legal Basis For The Charge ]
In explaining the legal basis for air navigation services charges, ICAO said users are levied for services provided or made available to them (in accordance with the regional air navigation plan). Charges may be levied on the basis of the same unit rate regardless of category of user or, alternatively, some categories of users may be specifically exempted or charged at a lower unit rate, for example flights made under visual flight rules (VFR).
In summary a flight may be defined as: "An aircraft movement through any airspace and defined by aircraft identity and/or airline flight identity, aircraft type, flight category, respective entry and exits points, departure and destination airports, date and time of departure".
[ Liability To Pay ]
In general the liability to pay the charge, says ICAO falls on the user who at the time the flight was made was the operator of the aircraft concerned. In some cases where the operator cannot be traced the owner of the aircraft can be made liable for the charge. Identification of the correct operator is fundamental to the smooth operation of any billing system. In the majority of cases the ICAO call-sign and/or the registration of the aircraft will provide the crucial link. This information is usually entered on the flight plan and will appear on the ATC flight progress strip.
With the above excerpts from the world body of which we subscribe to, and factual issues raised , one wonders where the apostle of free air navigation got their tutorials from. If they want to set a unique commercial aviation practice, the airlines should start carrying passengers free of charge and let us see if they will be able to pay staff salaries and allowances, meet their ramp operational costs, pay for insurance and above all be able to maintain their fleet as at when due. Enough of this balderdash!
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Tags: Nigerians, Free, Air, Navigation, Commercial, Flights, FAA, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu (email@example.com)
“For wisdom is a defense, so says the holy book, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.” In other words, money brings security and wisdom brings security but the pre-eminence of wisdom over money is that it brings lasting security. When a man thinks of security, he thinks of lasting security; and when he thinks of a lasting security, he thinks of posterity. Now, there can be no posterity without the children. So we can deduce from this quote that, as money builds the house, wisdom gives it the foundation it deserves. Every architect knows that the height and durability of any building is, first and foremost, dependent on the depth of the building’s foundation. This literally translates that a man’s true security is in his family, his children. That’s the reason kidnappers in developed world often prefer using children as baits for their parents. In every 90 out of 100% divorce hindrances(in the case of families with children) in the developed world is the issue of custody of the children. Each partner wants to go but not without the security for the future-the children.
Coming now to how this issue applies to our contemporary millionaires, you cannot look farther than is already stated; it’s still the children. I see a man work extra-hard either by genuine labor, cheating, defrauding, embezzling, stealing, or making blood sacrifices to get to his primary monetary millions in order to be secure or, better put, to secure a comfortable future for his children. This article is not to question our millionaires’ sources of wealth, but rather to appreciate their zeal and, most importantly, to point out to them why their zeal is misguided by whatever informs it. This article laughs at their methods of ensuring that their future is secure in their children. Although this does not apply to all our 'wealthies', majority of them are in this quagmire which needs to be looked at urgently. ( Continues below..... )
Education sector in the United Kingdom is a major revenue source for Britain, thanks to Nigerian leadership and that of other myopic countries. Malaysia has taken on the heels of Britain in ‘educating’ our Nigerian students. Most of these students either come on their own reasons, by scholarships( which oftentimes are fueled by nepotism) or as children from these millionaire homes. I am emphatically talking on our millionaire politicians because I have a better case on the matter. Scattered all over these countries are the children of the said rich, studying, as it were, courses that boost their fathers’ pride. And so, they can ‘feel’ like they are finally saving a future. But, wait a minute! It’s all wrong, it’s all unwise, it’s all a waste- like building castles in the air. To our millionaires: maybe you have not known, but about 0.5% of your children are actually studying as students do. The rest- what do they do? Well, they do exactly the options you left for other deprived Nigerians studying in different institutions in Nigeria because you have concluded that, since your children are all away getting the best education, you are secure.
What an illusion! What a grand illusion! Since money is the only word you have made your children to understand, it might interest you to know that they pay their way through virtually everything; paying for a girl’s smile, for a class assignment or coursework and for exam mercenary(since the whites/Asians find it hard to different black faces). Some of these children have even graduated to paying for friendships because they can’t afford to be alone, for any reason. No one is mentioning the fact that the abduction/kidnapping strategy has also migrated to Malaysia in search of your children. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Most of our millionaires’ zeal were borne out of ignorance and blatant selfishness. You may be saying, “how does that concern me since I’m connected and can get my children settled once they are through with school?” Well, what you fail to see is that no child runs without, first of all, learning how to sit; Nigeria, as she works on growing, needs professionals with practical ability and not mere theorists. Gone are the days when the ability to read, write, and being able to speak English language is considered a degree certificate in Nigeria labor market. Time is here when every government employee, not to mention the private sectors, with all the UK, Malaysia, Ukraine or US degree, will have to go through intensive practicals as the core interview procedure. You see why you can never be secure in your children when it comes to Nigeria as long as Nigerian schools remain in shambles?
Wake up, our millionaire politicians! Wake up, our men of cash! Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. Look into our Nigerian schools. Bring into your homes the brilliant and intelligent but low-opportunity students and set up constructive competitions between them and your children. Upgrade our schools and set up a program to make academic intelligence in Nigeria interesting and competitive. Stop thinking that money is lasting security. No, wisdom is the spirit of money without which money means nothing.
*Tags: Nigerians, Elections, Votes, Contemporary, Millionaires, Illusions, Africa, Masterweb
By AKinyemi Abdul Mujeed
Remember that a fool at fifty is a fool forever. Is Nigeria a fool? Let us find out. Democracy according to Abraham Lincoln is the government of the people by the people and for the people. Before we consider the democratic journey if adventitious or not, there are some features of democracy which need to be considered. These features include periodic election, independence of the judiciary, freedom of press, supremacy of the constitution, respect for fundamental human right, application of the principle of the rule of law, principle of separation of power, principle of check and balances, multi power system and so on.
Although we claim to have periodic election in Nigeria, there is no such thing as periodic election. What we have is periodic selection. During elections, there is rigging, bribery, and killing to get to the to post. Most of our leaders today forced themselves on people by distributing foodstuffs and making irrelevant portfolios. This is very bad. If a political godfather does not baptize a candidate, such a candidate will never win the election and this does not speak well of the giant of Africa. ( Continues below….. )
Nigeria also claim to have freedom of the press, but this is not so. The Nigerian press is not free under the present civilian administration. What they print and broadcast are being carefully screened by their editors to prevent victimization of the government .In September 2008, the Lagos and Abuja branches of channels Television, headed by John Momoh, was closed down by security operatives on orders from the federal government for broadcasting news about Late president Yar’adua’s ill health and his likelihood to resign then.
Also, the rule of law which state that we are all equal before the law is no more valid .The immunity clause prevent public office holders from being dragged to court for any crime committed. This shows that the law is partial. The former President ought to be dragged to court for not being able to account for some money and projects before living office. Most of our leaders are selfish, after ruling thrice-twice as elected president Obasanjo`s shadow loom large over the polity. If his time at the helm had been so prosperous and peaceful, perhaps he would have been so much adorable figure. If he had not tried to perpetuate himself in office by attempting to force a rework of the constitution after eight years, perhaps he would have been getting an hero welcome everywhere.
If he had not seen governance as a means of realizing a personal ambition and living in the delusion that what some great men could not get he received, even without asking, perhaps many would have been singing his praise. If he had not constituted himself into a rock-solid hurdle against democratic ideals, perhaps many would have been praying for him. If he had not become the chief priest of do or die politics, perhaps he would have been genuinely loved by many democrats. Perhaps -may be so. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Where is Nuhu Ribadu now? He has being sent out of office due to the fact that he was fighting corruption. The Niger Delta militants are demanding for there fair share of the Nations wealth. There is no development. What we have are bad roads, terrible power supply, low standard of education, fuel scarcity etc in the Africa’s giant for that matter.
There is insecurity in the country since the last decade. If the then attorney general of the federation (Bola Ige) could be assassinated in 2003 and his killers are still roaming the street as free men after prolonged trials under a civilian regime, what will happen to a common man like you and I? We claim that there is multiparty system. The minimum number of political party that should be in a country in a democracy is two. In Nigeria today we have over 30 political parties, and each party wants’ its candidate to be elected. That is why we have rigging and some other electoral malpractices.
There must also be an independent National electoral body. The body responsible for election in Nigeria is Independent national Electoral commission (INEC), the body itself is corrupt not to talk about the heads of the body. Due to some problem that affects the feature that needs to be considered to know if democratic journey is adventitious or not, it is hereby concluded that the democratic journey in the last decade is nothing but a disappointment as the pace is not adventitious.
*Tags: Nigerians, Fifty, Yar'Adua, Africans, Goodluck, Jonathan, Political, Politics, Leadership, Masterweb
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Assuming that individual votes in Nigeria now count for something, that the logistics for a free, fair and credible election have been put in place, who and who should we vote for in this coming election? Who is vote-worthy among all the aspirants and/or party nominees? Every party goes through primaries before putting forward the candidates that best describe or represent their parties. It’s no longer news that Nigerian political parties have placed their interests far above national interest and their nominees do not, in minutest way, represent the interest of the masses or of the nation for that matter.
That informs the reason so many politicians defect from party to party as elections draw near. You see a single politician go through three parties within four years and you wonder, ‘what is he really after?’ Well, it’s clearly a show of visionless leadership, a glaring proof that most of our politicians do not know what politics or leadership is all about. They scamper from pillar to post in search of who promises them the bigger share if they could sell out their constituencies. A perfect example of such political sell-out is what is going on in Abia state where Mr governor has been buttonholed to return to PDP.
Most of these old politicians generally started from PDP and left for other parties because of in-party irregularities, anti-national interest strategies and policies the party adopted, or because of personal reasons. In the case of governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji of Abia state who has been wooed by the PDP bigwigs to desert his present political party, APGA, for PDP, the sole bargain would have been, ‘what is in it for me?’ and not, ‘ what is in it for my state?’ There are a thousand and one of such cases scattered all over the federation, especially as the election draws nigh. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Every common Nigerian (to whom power truly belongs) knows that the present politics in Nigeria is not representative of our collective yearnings and our national purpose, but it will be well to take cognizance of the few politicians that truly need and are working towards this change that we all long for. So, as we prepare to vote, it’s important that we search out for the best we can squeeze out from our politicians; it is important that we picture tomorrow from our pasts when we choose who to vote for.
Before we decide on who to vote for, we have to, first of all, KNOW THOSE WE DARE NOT VOTE FOR. It will be safe for me now to say that, although we do not have the best of politicians in Nigeria today, we can get the best out of the ones we choose to vote for if we give it a good shot. So, some of the qualifications you have to look out for in any politician who must not be voted for are these:
1. Has he/she been in power before and, if so, how was general security in the area he/she led? If there were security fallout during his/her tenure, he/she is not to be voted for.
2. How did the educational sectors, both for the teachers and the students, fare in his/ her tenure? If there were fallout by, either teachers’ frequent strikes or cults’ butchery, he/she is a bad candidate.
3. The withdrawal of the American troops from Iraq was one of the promises Obama made prior to his election and everybody looked forward to it. If he/she was in office before and was not able to meet, at least, 60% of his/her manifesto, that’s a candidate who is not yet ready.
4. If he/she has been in office before, was his/her administration able to bring in new business ideas,opportunities and investors? Were there remarkable improvements in the business sector? If business was as usual in his/her time, then it’s a clear sign that he/she is not versatile.
5. In the case of a former head of state, how were the citizens in diaspora treated during his regime; with respect like every other citizen from different countries or were their rights violated with the support of our first man? If Nigerian embassies during his tenure were mere outposts, then he is not to be trusted with the lives of the citizenry.
6. His/her background must be dug and if he/she is known to belong to or harbor cultists or occultists, then no good thing will ever come out from such regime. Get rid of such persons. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Imo State) and capital (Abuja or FCT)
The core problem we face in Nigeria is security fallout; security of lives, property, personalities, and our national purse. Basically, the most important place we must not make mistake about is who to be voted for as the president. The general fallout we experience in Nigeria has its root in the presidency. So, the person to occupy the first seat in Nigeria must not be selfish and cowardly. These are some of the things to check out in a candidate, both new and returnees, before endorsement or election:
1. He/she must be educated and able to defend his discipline. As a matter of fact, exams should be set from party primaries for every political aspirant based on their areas of discipline -the presentation of certificates is not enough. This will automatically ensure that impostors, mediocre, untrained and ignorant personalities do not lead this great nation as long as they remain in that darkness. As a matter of truth, this is the core problem in Nigeria-the imposition of ignoramus on the nation as leaders.
2. He/she must be a de-centralised person; someone who sees family to mean the nation and the people he leads.
3. He/she must have a record of honesty. Since honesty is rare in Nigeria, it wont be difficult to track an honest man or woman.
4. He/she must be a man with the 21st century mindset, a man who can represent the unspoken wishes of the people.
5. He/she must be open and willing to tolerate high criticism. A good leader knows that criticisms sharpen and bring out the best in him/her.
6. He/she must be tolerant of his/her opponents. He must be willing and ready to accept constructive competitions for the Nigerian goal.
These and a lot more, when properly utilized, will bring a new Nigeria to bare. Someone might say that his/her vote does not count. Well, it does, at least, it will start counting the moment you start believing in yourself, for how can we not believe in ourselves and expect to believe in Nigeria? We are Nigeria, we are the ones to choose who represents us. This consciousness is the beginning of our victory as a great nation.
*Tags: Nigerians, Elections, Votes, Worthy, Africa, Masterweb
By Lateef Lawal
Arik Air which was refused start-up September 1 for its flights by Air Traffic Controllers over its huge debt has made a U-Turn by paying N50 million for its domestic operations and $25,000 for six flights on the Lagos-London route.
It could not be immediately known why the sudden change of heart, when the management of the airline had earlier told journalists that it was not going to pay since "the dispute in respect of the domestic charges has been on since 2002 and is currently before the Supreme Court".
Arik management further claimed that at a meeting held August 30, at the conference room of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) attended by Aero, Air Nigeria, Dana, Bristow and IRS airlines, it was agreed that navigational charges were illegal. It also described the action of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA) as unlawful and unilateral. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane
Despite the claim by Arik, all the airlines mentioned including Associated Airline, Overland, Allied Air, Mobil Aviation and AOS Helicopters not only paid part of their old debts but also embraced the new payment regime of ‘Pay As You Go’ for all their flights to avoid future accumulation of debts.
However, in a swift response to Arik’s claims, NAMA in a statement stated among others:
That all the domestic airline operators were fully notified earlier before now shortly after a meeting in Abuja with the honourable minister of aviation, Mrs Fidelia Akuabata Njeze who equally appealed to them to honour their financial obligations to all the parastatals. That the issue of Terminal Navigation Charge has never been a contentious issue in the court with the Agency.
That AON had wanted a waiver on en-route navigation charges which was taken to the Court and the Appellant Court ruled in favour of NAMA in 2002.
That the issue in the Court has nothing to do with the huge debt Arik is owing NAMA on services provided on domestic and international routes. That when AON went to Court in 2002,Arik was never incorporated and can not be a party to the issue in Court as claimed to escape settling its debt which stood at N884,719,271.65 and $1.6million on domestic and international routes respectively as at June 2010. That what transpired today, showed that Arik Air was alone ranger in this new payment regime as other airlines made their flights without hitches.
That the Act No 48 that established NAMA empowers it to charge for its services ditto ICAO regulation . NAMA as an agency of government does not receive subvention for payment of salaries and allowances including continued maintenance of facilities to ensure safe air navigation. Our only source for meeting these mandatory obligations is from our internally generated revenue. It was after this statement was issued that NigerianAviationNews learnt that Arik Air had come forward to pay N50million at about 8.00 pm and 9.00pm last night, clearance was reportedly given to Air Traffic Controllers to give Arik Air flights navigational services. And as at this morning (Thursday) all flights of Arik commenced their normal schedule. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.
1. From: NIGERIAN AIR TRAFFIC CONROLLERS ASSOCIATION[ Haske Jibrin(President), Martin Akujuobi(General Secretary) ]: The attention of the Nigerian Air Traffic Contollers’ Association has been drawn to the current debate, innuendos and misguided arguments regarding the denial of services to defaulting airlines by the relevant government Agencies over payment of fees and charges. The Association wishes to state as follows:
*That we identify with the resolve of the Government Agencies to deny services to ANY Airline that fails to pay its business charges to the concerned parastatals, especially I the interest of the Aviation Safety systems.
*That the Association supports any step taken by Government to ensure adequate funding of the various Aviation Parastatals to enable them finance their critical safety services to the industry such as Staff Training and Re-Training, Equipment re-newals and up-grades and other financial obligations to the Public Air Transport system.
*That the public should be properly guided by the fact that the denial of services to defaulting Airlines is in line with normal and civilized business practice and any thing to the contrary is both unethical and a reward to unpatriotic corporate citizenship.
*Meanwhile, it is mischievous to insinuate that Air Traffic Controllers are on strike. The truth is that the Association and its members will continue to deny Air Traffic Services to any airline found to be in default, while arrangement has been concluded to set up a committee of the Association to ensure the sustenance of this important revenue drive.
2. FROM: CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVE[ Comrade Abdul-Razaq Saidu, Civil Society Rep-MTSS Aviation ](MTSS 2011-2013): The existence of the Federal Government’s MTSS and full representative of the Civil Society in the same MTSS gave the Civil Society representative some serious concern over the indebtedness of the airlines to the Federal Government’s parastatals and agencies in the Aviation sector with particular reference to NAMA.
It is a fact to confirm that NAMA has installed basic infrastructure and equipment thereby enabling the pilots and air traffic controllers to function effectively in terms of safety in the air. The airlines indebtedness to the parastatals has become an open hearing issue by the Senate Committee on Aviation, Ministerial Committee for which both had looked into the face-off between the airlines and parastatals particularly NAMA.
Directives were given to address this face-off, but some airlines have refused to comply with these directives, considering the fact that it is an ICAO set standard on payment for services provided. It has therefore become mandatory for the airlines to pay for the services being provided by these parastatals.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Tags: Nigerians, Arik, Airlines, FAA, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Masterweb News Desk
The burial of Chukwudubem Okafor, 64, a Nigerian Professor in the U.S. who killed his wife and himself on August 15, is on hold unless funeral expenses are paid up. The original funeral/burial cost of $13.000.00 was reduced to $9,500.00 to enable Okafor's family afford the bill, but only the sum of $4,200.00 has been paid as at the time of this report. Hunt Memorial Chapel(aka Emmett Golden Hunt Memorial Chapel), the funeral home (mortuary) handling the burial, upon passionate plea by Nigeria Masterweb, has extended its deadline for the completion of the funeral payment from August 30, to September 6. Hunt Memorial Chapel would upon the expiration of the deadline, if the $5,300 balance is not paid, declare Okafor's body abandoned and seek permission from the city for its cremation .
Hunt Chapel handled the funeral and burial ceremony of Cheryl, Chukwudubem Okafor's murdered wife, and is now stuck with his body. Cheryl was buried at Laurel Dale Cemetery in Reading, Pennsylvania. According to Carrie Arvilla Hunt, Hunt's Funeral Director, the funeral home has been with Okafor's body since August 15. ( Continues below…… )
Photo Above: Laurel Dale Cemetery, Reading, Pennsylvania, where Chukwudubem Okafor's wife, Cheryl was buried.
Nigerians and friends of Nigerians are called upon to help raise the needed funds to enable Okafor's burial in the U.S. We are not talking of burial in Nigeria which would be more than double the cost for U.S. internment. Let us give him a grave site which his children in Nigeria from his first marriage could go to and pay him their last respect, whenever they make it to the U.S.
Please send your donation via Cashier's Check (Cheque) immediately to:-Please for record purposes notify Masterweb at email@example.com of any donation to Hunt Memorial Chapel. Hunt Memorial Chapel can be reached by phone at +1 (610) 380-8000.
Photo Above: Chukwudubem Okafor and wife Cheryl (Photo 1).
Photo Above: Chukwudubem Okafor and wife Cheryl (Photo 2).
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*Tags: Nigerians, Chukwudubem, Okafor, Kill, Wife, Cheryl, Attack, Woman, Crime, Africa, Masterweb
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