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Which way, Nigeria?

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By Derenle Animasaun

Nigeria is losing a whole generation to unemployment

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ? Martin Luther King Jr.

One in every 13 chil dren born in the world by 2050 will be a Nigerian. So, how do we ensure that that the Nigerian child is provided for and prepared for the future.

READ ALSO:Sanusi urges leaders to protect less privileged

Forward planning is key and they say if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

In thirty year’s time, it would be a comfort to know that the Nigerian child is prepared for the future. Right now, not much investment has been made to provide for the present,talk less of the future.

In a country where 80 million of its population is existing under a dollar a day and in abject poverty, it will be a pipe dream to think, that subsequent government have put the interest of the nation ahead of their selfish interest, alas, it is not the case.
We only have ourselves to blame if we think that everything will come out in the wash and magically it will turn out fine. Time to snap out of this pipe dream, it is a fantasy and idle wish.

The facts are there for everyone to see, time to remove the blinkers and take a reality check. The children of Nigeria has never had it so bad. Their development has stunted over the decades, the abuse of the most vulnerable section of the population is beyond the pale of decency. The cruelty and abuse of young people by adults is abysmally shocking and we wonder why we have maladjusted adults. The cycle of deprivation will continue until the commitment to change the narrative and break the cycle.
Nigeria is the third most populous nation in the world and so what can be done to prepare our young for the future?
First, it has to redouble its commitment and dedication to protect and promote the rights of children, it has to ensure that every child has access to the basic essential care; housing, food, health care and education. This is the very least but very important.
Investment in children services and specialist trained enforcement agencies.

The next decade should be dedicated to the needs and promotion of the Nigerian child. Invest more in schools, education, training, employment, housing,social and health care. Help families that are struggling and provide help and assistance for those who need guidance and education on how to be good parents or carers. One the most positive developments in Nigeria today is that people are beginning to report to authorities whenever there is a case of cruelty or domestic violence. It has helped saved lives and help send messages to abusers that they will be reported and they will face the full weight of the law.
We have to change our mind-set that we have children because we have a source of income but that we have them because we want to love and care for our children. This is no pipe dream. We need some radical change because the lives and the future of Nigerians depends on it.

The federal government are making some movement in the right direction but not nearly enough;0.6 %of its GDP on education and public health. It is not enough, nowhere near.
Accessing all the areas no matter how remote is the key to ensuring that no child is left behind, investment in a child means unlocking the potential of every child is transformative and a benefit to the child and the country. Let’s start with 2020 to 2030 being the decade of the Nigerian child.

A man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive –

US Visa and birth tourism
Trump administration has decided after three years of issuing a travel ban on seven Muslim majority countries, it is planning on expanding the ban to include four more countries including Nigeria.

The administration has not looked favourably at Nigeria , was described with such derogatory terms, not one that I will repeat here. They cast aspersions and tarred all Nigerians with the same brush, they as well pull up the welcome rug and tell us that Nigerians are not welcome. Thousands of Nigerians have made the US their home and have contributed to the economy and progress. So why do Nigerians feel the lure to go to the states? Actually why not. You would hope that Nigerian dollars is as good as anyone, wouldn’t you?

Some have come to expect that no matter how much insults, the Nigerian will dust it away and move on regardless. When someone says you are not welcome and you say you will go anyway. There must be something in America that keeps Nigerians going regardless.

Nigeria accounts for the third highest number of US visa overstayed last year. The visa application is more stringent; even after indefinitely suspending its visa interview waiver for Nigerian applicants (the waiver allowed frequent travellers renew their visa without going through in-person interviews each time), the US also raised visa application fees for Nigerians by including additional “reciprocity fees” ranging from $80 to $303 depending on the class of visa. And even though the Nigerian government immediately slashed visa application fees for American applicants in a bid to get the US to reverse its price increase, the reciprocity fees remain in place. The clampdown measures have resulted in Nigeria recording the largest global drop-off in visitors to the US.
There is more to come: stopping the US birth tourism and whatever the US administration may come up with next, it is up to Nigerians to make up their mind if the infringements will be enough to find a different country to go to.

From my archive
Jesus does not do coins” 28, October,2012
The British mail newspaper ran a centre page about the Winners’ Chapel. The head of the ministries, David Oyedepo, has an estimated £93 million fortune, a fleet of private jets and a Rolls-Royce Phantom. The church has been accused of cynical exploitation with £16.7 million in donations and followers are told that God would give them riches in return.

In the British Mail revelation, it was revealed that followers are bussed to the church and handed envelopes and their followers encouraged to make debit cards payments. This the ministries say will make them immune from illnesses.

The donations to the ministry in England almost doubled from £2.21 million to £4.37 million between 2006 and 2010.Mr Oyedepo’s super church in Nigeria received £794,000 or 73 per cent of the charitable donations paid out by the British Winners’ Chapel between 2007 and 2010. This was despite claims in Africa that he is enriching himself at the expense of his devotees.

I have a lot of misgivings, when vulnerable people who go into these places seeking spiritual refuge and absolutions are fleeced.
I know of several cases. One that comes to mind is that of a former client who was a victim of a serious crime. She had gone to a church to pray and at the end of the sermon the collection plate came round and she placed a £1 coin into the tray. She had saved the money but the usher was so scathing and she told my client that “Jesus does not do coins”! An old lady gave her last £5 and had to beg at the door for money to buy her electricity. She had felt pressured into handing her money over.

Whatever the case, these places prey on the vulnerable and promises everything only to deliver paranoia, penury and pain. Some of these places are nothing but a pyramid scheme only the top tier milks the proceeds while lowest tier remains deluded of spiritual deliverance.

“To be wealthy and honoured in an unjust society is a disgrace.”– Confucius
I read that Okorocha’s ADC,Gabriel Onu, was jostling Governor of Anambra’s man for warming up the seat for his boss. Gov Okorocha’s punches Peter Obi’s aide for denying him seat.

You see, the event was in Anambra and the Governor of the state, would be given a place in the front row. But the Imo contingent did not think so. Okorocha’s aides were defiant: “Why is it that anywhere we go, they always reserve a special seat for Obi. Is Okorocha not the leader of Ndigbo?” They did make a scene and what a carry on! Anyway, when Governor Obi arrived to the venue, he squeezed between Onyebuchi and Okorocha.

Flight or fight?-?February,2013
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”- Leonardo da Vinci.

The blinkers are finally slipping off the eyes of die-hard Nigerians, who have just cottoned on to what many have been saying so loudly, for so long. It is one that they customarily brushed aside, with the usual “God save Nigeria! Or “Nigeria will get better”.
Such gullible people do so because they are fearful of causing a ripple or they do not want to face the facts that Nigeria has been progressively declining for so long and they failed to be part of the solution. Well, the penny (or the Kobos) has finally dropped.
The perception index of Transparency International ranked Nigeria 144th out of the 146 countries, beating Bangladesh and Haiti to the enviable last position, is nothing to be proud of.

The United States was amongst the countries that have been very vocal that Nigeria is not doing enough to tackle corruption and they went as far as to describe the Jonathan led administration as ineffectual; not implementing the law, but perpetuating and engaging in corrupt practices with unrivalled impunity.

They said in 2011, that “There was a widespread perception that judges were easily bribed and that litigants could not rely on the courts to render impartial judgments,” and that “citizens encountered long delays and alleged requests from judicial officials for bribes to expedite cases or obtain favourable rulings.” Sounds familiar then? So nothing has changed then?

Anti-corruption laws in Nigeria seem to be about window dressing, grand standing as the practice pervades the very stratum of our society. The worst of all is that the practice continues unabated without fear of consequences. It seems the higher up the corruption, the more the licence to continue without scrutiny or they seem immune and above the law.

Pardon me for stating the obvious: Our justice is an ass. We have known this all along but we hoped that there are those who are sworn to uphold the law and dispense justice to deter wrong doings and punish the guilty will adjudicate without bias and dispense appropriate sentence that fits the crime .

Ordinary Nigerians are left exposed and with no system to protect them and serve the interest of any law abiding citizens.
So when will we collectively realise why there is so such fecund jungle justice, mob rule and anarchy in the country? We all know what is wrong with Nigeria but it is exasperating that it took this long for people to seek restorative justice?
The latest miscarriage of justice is the final nail in the coffin on common decency.

Here is the present situation in Nigeria: the police cannot serve or protect the citizens; our politicians are hell-bent on plundering the national coffers, misappropriating funds meant for essential services, safe roads, health care, education and maintenance of structures and systems. So the last bastion of legal protection and the defender of law can be bought and it is patently peddling its services to every get rich, disgraceful law breaking common, grand- scale thief.

In Abuja, there was an understandably public outcry to reaction of the two-year sentence for John Yusuf, a former director on the police pension office, who pleaded guilty for stealing N23 billions of N40 billion stolen from the Police Pension fund( as if the police aren’t in enough trouble already) was staggering, it is shocking the amount that was stolen.

Then what happens next could have been the stuff of movies, sadly it was not, the Presiding Justice, Abubakar Talba in his immeasurable wisdom, gave this grand thief a get out of jail card… an option of N750, 000 fine. Of course, the thief took the option, it is nothing to him just loose change. He paid and went home to his ill-gotten wealth. So who tells you that crime does not pay? John Yusuf knows so!

What message is this man of the robe sending out to the likes of Yusuf; that crimes pay and it buys legal preferential treatment. Six days prior to the Abuja judgement, an Abeokuta Magistrate Court sentenced 49-year-old, Mustapha Adesina, to two years imprisonment for stealing vegetables worth N5, 000. Adesina had an option of N10, 000 fines. He was jailed under Section 309 of the Penal Code Act, Cap. 532, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria. The law says Adesina who stole vegetables worth N5,000 is far worse than someone who stole N23 billion, and besides, he was not clever enough. He should have stolen more so that he can buy his freedom with a relative paltry sum.

It is natural for people to act when they have been pushed so far and there is nowhere left to go. So when pushed to the absolute edge, there are only two options: to fight or flee . They have to fight with whatever is left.

Vanguard

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