Monday, 21 August 2017

NEWS AND STORIES

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is okay but has to obey his doctors orders in London.

Buhari had left Nigeria on May 7th to meet up follow up consultation with his doctors in the United Kingdom.

Stressing that there is tremendous improvement in his health, he said that he really wished to return home.

He spoke while receiving the presidential media team, and the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, at Abuja House, London, on Saturday.

The team was led by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, accompanied by Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity; Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, and Lauretta Onochie, Personal Assistant on Digital/Online Media.

Buhari, in a statement issued by Adesina, said “But I’ve learnt to obey my doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. Here, the doctor is absolutely in charge.”

When the team expressed delight at the much improved health of the President, he retorted: “I feel I could go home, but the doctors are in charge. I’ve now learnt to obey orders, rather than be obeyed.”

On how he felt hearing different conjectures about his health, an amused President Buhari said he followed events at home closely, lauding Nigerian television stations, and the media generally, for keeping him informed.

When told that prayers were going on fervently for him, not only in Nigeria, but all over Africa, and round the world, a delighted President said: “What we did in The Gambia early this year fetched us a lot of goodwill on the African continent. It gave us a lot of latitude. I thank all those who are praying. May God reward them.”

President Buhari, the statement said, sent appreciation to all Nigerians, expressing hope that he would be with them soon.

Published in Headliners

 

A woman carrying her baby walks through the temporary shelters provided by the Mission for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in one of the hosting communities in Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria on December 7, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
The UN has been providing aid to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency

Nigeria's security forces have raided a UN camp in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri and carried out an unauthorised search, a UN official has told the BBC.

Samantha Newport, of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), says the search lasted nearly three hours.

The UN is urgently seeking answers from the authorities.

The base provides aid to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Lagos says one possible reason for the search could be the camp's name - Red Roof.

Rumours have been swirling in Maiduguri that the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has been hiding out in a compound with the same name.

map

Edward Kallon, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria has expressed grave concern following the search.

Mr Kallon says that he is extremely concerned that the actions by the security forces could be "detrimental to the critical work that is being carried out every day to support the most vulnerable in the region".

The UN ordered local staff to work from home today following the incident.

It also said it grounded helicopters - which provide humanitarian assistance to far - flung camps - as a precautionary measure.

Published in Business and Economy
Friday, 04 August 2017 03:02

Buhari’s wife returns from London

Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, on Thursday returned from London, United Kingdom almost one month after joining her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been receiving medical attention in the British capital since May 7.

Mrs. Buhari, who left the country on July 2 had a stopover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before continuing her journey to London on July 4.

The Director of Information to the Wife of the President, Suleiman Haruna, confirmed on Thursday that the President’s wife returned to the country in the early hours of Thursday.

Haruna added that Mrs. Buhari landed in Abuja and thereafter proceeded to Owerri, the Imo State capital, where she attended the annual August Meeting organised by the wife of the state governor.

“Yes. I can confirm that Her Excellency is back. She returned to the country this morning and proceeded to Owerri for a function organised by the state governor’s wife,” he said.

The July 4 trip was the second time Mrs. Buhari visited her ailing husband since he embarked on his second medical vacation of the year.

Haruna had announced the trip in a statement made available to journalists on July 2.

The statement read, “Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, left for London, United Kingdom on Sunday, July 2, 2017, to visit her husband who is on medical vacation.

“She will convey to the President the best wishes of Nigerians and their fervent prayers for his quick recovery.

“She is expected to stop over at Addis Ababa, to make a symbolic appearance at the meeting of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS on Monday, July 3, 2017.

“She will join other members to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the organisation, and use the opportunity to reiterate the voting rights of Nigeria in the upcoming elections of the organisation.

“She will continue her journey to the United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.”

The first time Mrs. Buhari travelled to meet her husband was on May 30.

She returned to the country in the early hours of June 6 after spending one week in London.

The President’s wife, on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja conveyed the President’s appreciation to Nigerians for their constant prayers.

She said Buhari would soon return to join Nigerians as, according to her, he was recuperating fast.

Mrs. Buhari had also called on Nigerians to continue to be strong in the face of challenges and to support the Federal Government in implementing the agenda for which the present administration was elected.

“Mr. President thanked the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his loyalty and called on Nigerians to continue to support the acting President in his effort to actualise the mandate of the All Progressives Congress,” Mrs. Buhari was further quoted as saying on her arrival during the first trip.

Published in News & Stories

Gideon Morik bends down before a neatly piled mound of red soil just beside his home. It’s the grave of his daughter, Anna. She was fourteen years old when she and her friends were gunned down on Christmas Eve.

The dry breezes of the harmattan swirl around Morik as he speaks in low tones.

“May your sweet soul rest in perfect peace,” he says. Morik remembers picking up her corpse and taking it to the mortuary. It’s a day that still haunts him.

“Up till now, I don’t believe it was my daughter I was carrying,” he pauses and blinks his eyes rapidly. “At a very, very tender age, a promising young girl.”

The men who shot up Morik’s community that day also set his house on fire. There’s a collapsed ceiling fan in the middle of the living room. Pieces of his children’s bicycles lean along a burned wall. The restroom is covered in rubble and shards of glass.

Morik lives in a remote community of mainly Christian farmers called Goska. He’s a leader here, having served on the state and regional level. Goska is in the southern region of the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna. Southern Kaduna is a hotbed of sporadic sectarian strife. Politics, land rights and other disputes have fueled the violence since the 1980s.
That’s when residents say Christians and Muslims started using violence to advocate for their communities. Hundreds of people have been killed in the latest bout of unrest that began in December 2016. The state government management agency says 204 people have been killed since December, but numbers are still being compiled.

Morik does not know if he will ever see justice for Anna’s murder.

She was in her bedroom when she heard gunshots outside in the evening of December 26. She fled out the backdoor, but it was already too late.

About 200 attackers, according to witnesses, had invaded Goska. Witnesses saw them shooting AK-47s and heard them shouting “Allahu Akbar!”

When Morik saw his daughter’s bloodied body on the ground, he froze.

That’s when police came. That’s when the assailants fled. But no one really feels safe.

“The attackers are still outside the village,” Morik says. “Any attempt by anybody to go one kilometer outside this village, he will be killed.”

Morik’s cars were set on fire. In the house next to his, stray chickens strut around in a daze. The coop is still lying on its side and there’s no one around to pick it up - the homeowner fled Goska weeks ago, like many others.

Goska sits in a valley surrounded by rolling hills where Christian farmers of various ethnic groups share the fertile land with nomadic cattle herders who belong to the predominantly Muslim ethnic group called Fulani.

Conflict is increasing to unprecedented levels here as more cattle herders move south, oftentimes entering farming land. Farmers accuse the Fulani herdsmen of allowing their cattle to trample and eat their crops. Fulani cattle herders accuse the farmers of killing their cattle.

“We lost almost more than 6,000 cows,” says Haruna Usman, a Fulani leader and head of the Kaduna State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders association.

Usman accuses the Nigerian media of bias. He says that Christians, unlike Fulanis, have greater access to the media.

“They will go to the media and say Fulani are killing them. They are the people causing all these problems, blocking roads. When they meet someone grazing his cows in the bush, they will just kill him,” Usman says.

Abdullahi Jibril, a Fulani cow herder, says his three adult sons are missing. They were last seen grazing their cows in a predominantly Christian neighborhood a few weeks ago. They are presumed dead.

“What hurts me most is that I can’t find the corpses,” Jibril explains, speaking in Hausa. “I’m calling on the government to take charge and wipe my tears.”

Jibril wants the government to compensate him for his losses. He says he also wants the Christians to stop killing Muslims.
But there are deep-rooted suspicions between Christian farmers and the Fulani Muslim herdsmen, according to Agyole Abeh, the Kaduna state police chief.

Abeh tells VOA that the police force is still investigating the attack in Goska.

They’re also investigating an attack on Dangoma, a few kilometers away from Goska. In Dangoma, homes belonging to Fulani families were razed to the ground on December 23 and December 26.

“It was Christians from Goska who attacked the Muslims in Dangoma. Look at the houses, completely destroyed,” says Usman.

Several communities across southern Kaduna are nearly deserted except for elders who say they were too weak to run away when an attack happens. It’s not difficult to find bullet casings in the dirt.

The ones who do summon the strength to run away sometimes go to makeshift relief camps.

Binta Linus holds her son, Alfa, on her lap. She’s waiting to get food donations at a camp set up by a Christian pastor named Gideon Mutum in Takau Primary School’s yard.

“For them, this place is actually like a safe haven because they lack food. They lack clothing. If you actually beg them, in the nearest possible time to go back to their villages, they’re not ready,” Mutum tells VOA.

Linus says she watched Fulani cattle herdsmen slaughter her husband with a machete in January.

In the afternoon, Linus joins a line where Mutum and his wife distribute packages of noodles and juice. In another line, Alfa reaches for a free notebook to use when he eventually goes back to school.

Ndi Kato, a 26-year-old native of southern Kaduna, passes out the notebooks for children. She’s an activist and founder of the Dinidari Empowerment Foundation.

“There is something happening here. And as long as you’re not paying attention, this thing is going to keep on happening and nothing is going to be done to relieve people of the pain they’re going through,” Kato tells VOA.

The violence is colored with religious hues - Muslims and Christian leaders blame the other.

Rev. John Mark Chitnum of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, tells VOA about 800 Christians have been killed in southern Kaduna in the past two years.

“You can go and count from the graveyards, you can go. Even the bones are still there,” he says. In December, Christians gathered on these streets to hold a peaceful rally. But the rally turned into a riot.

“I joined the protest because the killing of the people in southern Kaduna is too much and mostly our Christians, says Shadrack Samson, a 31 year old local activist. “Our people are dying. We see it as a genocide. Seriously it’s a genocide because we don’t see anything from the government to safeguard the lives of these innocent people.”

Meanwhile, Muslims clerics are demanding the arrest of Christian leaders who they say are spreading incendiary messages to their followers.

“Most of these people actually called onto the people of southern Kaduna to take up arms to protect themselves. We’ve seen these people go to the media to tell their people to pick up arms,” says Sheik Usman Abubakar Babatune, the chairman of the Kaduna State Council of Imams and Ulama.

The killings have stopped in the past few weeks as police, soldiers and personnel from the nearby Nigerian Air Force base monitor the area. But no one has been prosecuted in connection with the recent violence.

Communities are left to mourn and pray for peace.

Published in Headliners

OIL giant Oando Plc has declared a N4.6 billion profit in its half year ended June 30, 2017.

An analysis of the half-year  results of oil and gas companies operating in the country revealed an increase in earnings.

Royal Dutch Shell’s cash flow rose to the highest since the oil price crash began. It generated $3.6 billion.

Tullow Oil’s revenue increased by 46 per cent to $0.8 billion . A comparative review of Oando’s financials showed positive performance. Its turnover increased by 26 per cent to N267.1 billion from N212.3 billion; its gross profit rose by 76 per cent to N33.4 billion from N19 billion; and its net finance costs more than halved to N16.4 billion from N35.3 billion.

The firm’s profit-after-tax  (PAT) increased by 117 per cent to N4.6 billion from a loss of N26.9 billion in the same period last year. For the third time in a row, Oando posted positive financials, defying speculations and bolstering confidence in the Oil and Gas sector.

In its final year-end 2016 results, the oil firm declared N3.5 billion PAT; in the first quarter of 2017, it posted N1.7 billion PAT and more recently, N4.6 billion PAT in its half year ended June 30, 2017 results. Amidst the sectorial challenges the company continues to wax strong. These numbers are indicative of the company’s ability to manoeuvre the cyclical nature of the sector by adapting quickly to continued low oil prices. Oando has done this through the successful implementation of its corporate strategic initiatives of growth, deleverage and profitability alongside its renewed focus on its dollar earning businesses.

Commenting on the company’s financials, its Group Chief Executive, Mr. Wale Tinubu said: “With security concerns in the Niger Delta receding, Nigeria’s economic recovery has been buoyed by a boost in oil output, while the legislative approval of certain segments of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) provides greater long-term policy certainty for the sector. Our returns underline our continued successful foray into the upstream.”

Oando scored significant operational highlights in the first half of this year.

Through its upstream business, Oando Energy Resources, successfully realised N3.2 billion in net cash from the crystallisation of the corporate facility hedges (1,590 bbls/day) while in the second quarter of 2017, it successfully completed the sale of its interest in oil mining leases (OMLs) 125 and 134 to Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) for a profit of N4.6 billion.

In its Downstream business, Oando Trading (OTD), the company recorded a 40 per cent growth in traded volumes and a commendable 147 per cent increase in turnover to N217.5 billion compared to N88.1billion for the comparative period of last year. The trading business lifted volumes exceeding 7.5mmbbls of crude and imported 610,000MT of refined petroleum products, a 72 per cent and 20 per cent increase respectively.

The Structured Trade Finance lines in its downstream business increased by N76.5 billion to N214.1 billion in total, from a total of five international and African banks, further validation that Oando is still a good business investment. This increase in financing allows the company to achieve greater trading capacity and in turn more volumes.

Speaking on the outlook for the company in the second half of 2017, Tinubu said: “We remain committed to optimising our overall production base, seeking unique profit-driven opportunities to further partner with IOCs, while firming up our balance sheet to provide greater shareholder value.”

 

 

Analysts say the oil and gas sector is gradually recovering from the upheaval of low oil prices due in part to the exemption of Nigeria from the global oil production cut by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as containment of the Niger Delta unrest which has led to a steady rise in oil production. In May 2017, the country’s oil production increased by 273,600 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.484 million barrels per day (bpd), a testament to these changes.

The approval of the PIGB is set to further improve the sector. The anticipated fall out of the PIGB is a more efficiently regulated oil and gas industry and a conducive business environment for sector players. More recently, three petroleum industry bills passed second reading in the Senate; this is expected to further encourage substantial investment in the petroleum industry.

Published in Headliners

 

People walk on a flooded road at Okokomaiko in Ojo district of Lagos, on May 31, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Torrential rainfall left many homes, shops and roads flooded in Lagos

Nigerians are facing at least three months of battling against heavy rains that could lead to deadly, destructive flooding.

At the beginning of July, the government warned that 30 of the country's 36 states could be at risk.

Already, 16 states, including the commercial hub Lagos, have been badly affected.

Five years ago, the worst flooding in more than 40 years in Nigeria claimed 431 lives and displaced nearly two million people, according to the country's National Emergency Management Agency (Nema).

BBC Africa's Ishaq Khalid explores the causes and what needs to be done to protect Nigerians from the scourge of floods every year.

How bad is this year's flooding?

The rainy season usually runs from July to September in Nigeria and every year it poses the threat of devastation and destruction across the country, claiming lives and destroying property.

So far this year, several people have been killed across the country and hundreds of residential buildings, cars and other vehicles have been destroyed or submerged under water.

Car in flood
Vehicles are often submerged or swept away by floods

Thirty-seven-year-old tea seller Sa'adu Abubakar, lost his six children and two wives when water poured into their apartment in the city of Suleja, just north of the capital, Abuja.

"I held two of the children but I could not withstand the force of the water. The children slipped out of my hands," he told the BBC's Hausa Service.

"I was just desperately praying to Allah at that moment. When the day broke, we found my family's dead bodies a short distance from our home."

A Flooded street
Fast flowing floodwaters have battered the streets of the central city of Suleja

Another resident of Suleja told the BBC: "The rain started at 23:30 at night, we heard a loud 'boom'. Before I knew it, I was up to my neck in water.

"We couldn't salvage anything... we have to save our lives. My house was well built but the water brought it down.

"We need help. I haven't been able to cook food since yesterday and I'm living on the goodwill of other people."

The tragedy in Suleja has once again highlighted the magnitude of the devastation caused by floods in Nigeria. Yet despite the yearly loss of lives and property, it seems that so far the country has not taken many concrete measures to tackle the disasters.

Which areas are worst affected?

Niger state in the north of the country has the highest number of casualties so far. Officials have confirmed that 15 people have died and many more injured. Other badly affected states are mostly in the south, near to the River Niger. Lagos has also been badly hit.

A taxi motocyclist rides on a flooded road at Okokomaiko in Ojo district of Lagos, on May 31, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Torrential rainfall left many homes, shops and roads flooded in Lagos

Why is the flooding so bad?

The frequency of the flooding differs across the regions, but the height of the rainy season tends to be from July to September, and it is often a time of anxiety for many communities living in flood-prone areas.

Heavy rains, combined with poor drainage systems and blocked waterways cause rainwater to flow through commercial and residential dwellings.

Town planning expert Aliyu Salisu Barau told the BBC that Nigerian authorities and ordinary citizens are ill-prepared for such disasters.

"Tackling persistent flooding requires long-term planning," he said.

"In most cases the authorities do not make provision to clear drainage systems until it is already rainy season," Mr Barau added.

A sandal vendor pushes his cart through the flooded streets of Maiduguri in north-east Nigeria on July 5, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Poor road drainage can cause flooding

Nigeria's swelling population could make matters worse.

Its currently home to 180 million people, and a recent UN report estimates that Nigeria will become the third most populous nation in the world by 2050, overtaking the United States.

This could put pressure on land as the need for more housing rises. But it is the lack of proper town planning and the authorities' inability to accommodate these changes which causes most alarm.

Some residents dump rubbish and waste in the streets, putting extra strain on the few existing urban drainage systems and preventing the steady flow of rainwater.

What about dams?

Nigeria's many dams are also seen to be part of the problem.

Used for irrigation and fish-farming activities, some are located close to towns and villages. But observers say these useful water reservoirs are poorly maintained and during the rainy season they can sometimes burst, releasing torrents of water into nearby communities.

This picture taken on August 27, 2011 shows floodwaters coursing through Ibadan, Odo Ona, in Oyo State.Image copyrightAFP
More than 100 people were killed when a dam burst in torrential rain in Oyo State in 2011

The Lagdo dam in neighbouring Cameroon, which is on the Benue river that runs through Nigeria, also poses a danger of heavy flooding in Nigeria when the Cameroonian authorities decide to release the dam's excess water.

To add to the problem, the Nigerian authorities have very few arrangements for evacuating endangered communities - even in the face of imminent flood risks. And when warnings are issued they are rarely heeded by the least well off locals.

What should Nigeria do?

Analysts say something concrete must be done to prevent the high death tolls seen in recent years.

Destruction to property can be reduced by introducing effective town planning, respecting construction rules and regulations, and rooting out corruption in the building certification process.

House damaged by torrential rains
Flooding and heavy rains can destroy peoples' homes

The number of fatalities and the impact on communities could be reduced if the authorities prepared themselves to forcibly evacuate those who are at imminent risk.

Raising public awareness and encouraging people to become more aware of their urban environment are also key.

Unless these practical measures are taken, experts say, floods will continue to destroy lives and property.

Published in News & Stories

Former Commissioner for Information in Cross River, Mr Patrick Ugbe, who was kidnapped in Calabar on June 1, has regained freedom.

Ugbe, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Hit Fm 95.9, was kidnapped by gunmen at Ekpo Iso Street in Ikot Ansa, Calabar.

ASP Irene Ugbo, Police Public Relations Officer in the State, confirmed this in a telephone interview in Calabar on Saturday.

“As we speak, the CEO of Hit Fm has been released and he is right now with his family.

“No ransom was paid, the combined efforts of security agencies in the state and the office of the State Security Adviser were on top of the matter to secure his release.

“We thank God that he was released alive without any harm.

“The police, in collaboration with other sister agencies in the state, would continue to work together to safe guard the lives and property of the citizens’’, she said.

Ugbe also served as Chief Press Secretary and Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the eight-year tenure of Sen. Liyel Imoke as Governor of the state.

 
 
Published in News & Stories

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has criticised the proposed N5 petrol levy by the Senate, describing it as a huge joke.

Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of NUPENG, said in Lagos on Saturday that the proposal was ill-timed and also smacked of insensitivity to the current economic hardships facing Nigerians.

He wondered how the nation’s Upper Chamber could think of another fuel price increase when Nigerians were “striving to
cope with the current harsh economic realities”.

“How can the Senate propose such a bill at this particular period when poor Nigerians can hardly feed themselves?

“The prices of foodstuffs have tripled in the market, while workers’ salary has not been increased,” Korodo said.

Sen. Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano), the Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, had on June 1, presented a bill entitled, “National Roads Bill” to the House.

The bill recommends that Nigerians should pay N5 levy on every litre of imported petroleum products and that levy will form part of the proposed national roads fund.

It also recommends the deduction of 0.5 per cent on fares paid by passengers travelling on inter-state roads to commercial mass transit operators as well as the return of toll gates on federal roads, among others.

Korodo said: “Just a year ago, the pump price of petrol was increased from N87 to N145 per litre and Nigerians accepted the increment because of the sincerity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“Any attempt to adjust the price of petrol under any guise will be resisted by Organised Labour.”

The NUPENG chief called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the leadership of the Senate to step down the bill.

 
Published in Headliners

ONE of the greatest disincentives to military coups in Nigeria is the liberalisation of the broadcast media. If you seize a radio station in Kaduna to announce a coup, another officer will seize a television or radio station in Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Ibadan or Rivers,  to counter the coup. If you attempt a military putsch through an announcement on air in Owerri, someone else will make a counter announcement on radio or television in Abuja, Ebonyi, Jos, Ekiti or Bayelsa. It is no longer easy to plan a successful coup in Nigeria.

And to detect coup attempts is now so easy. Unlike the 60s to 90s when telecommunication lines can be cut in order to restrict access to information, as you mention your illegal attempt in one barracks, before you take two steps, the information has reached another barracks. So, how do you conceal a coup attempt in the era of GSM, Watsapp, Twitter, indeed all agents of instant communication? And coup is an offence against your country, a high treason. The experiences of men of the Armed Forces in the coup years of the 60s to 90s have nearly destroyed esprit de corps. And so, how do you expect Igbo, Yoruba or Ijaw soldiers to obey orders from a Hausa officer to overthrow an elected government? In the same vein, Hausa soldiers will not obey illegal orders from Yoruba, Igbo or Ijaw to sack a civil government, no matter how good or bad the elected government is.

Drawing from the benefit of hindsight, Nigerians will prefer a devil in civilian dress to a saint in an army uniform. It was military rule that brought the country to its knees. Indeed, while the civilians in the 60s allegedly stole in secret, the military governments looted the country dry, and openly. This country has not recovered from the pains of military rule and may not fully recover from the depredations foisted on the nation via  coup d’etats in the next 50 years because it is easier to destroy than to build. For instance, the regular assault on civilians by some soldiers is a hangover from the military rule. In developed climes, soldiers accord civilians regard and utmost respect to all constituted civil authorities.

Finally, a military coup in the present day Nigeria will only lead to civil war and disintegration of the country. With Boko Haram, MASSOP, IPOD, OPC, MEND, NDA, etc, no soldier will dare to attempt an illegal occupation of Aso Rock and Government Houses across Nigeria. There is so much inter and cross ethnic suspicion in the country such that any officer illegally occupying power will be viewed as that tribe trying to achieve by the barrels of gun what it could not achieve through the ballox box. No section will be able to lay claim to monopoly of violence. Civil war will be the consequence.

Good or bad civilian government , the era of military regime  is over in Nigeria.  The military is not the watchdog of our democracy and should not constitute itself into one. That role has been handed to the press by the constitution. The military is not an alternative government, not being a political party. The teachers are carrying out their lawful duties in the classrooms, the doctors and nurses are fulfilling their constitutional mandates in the hospitals, with the farmers in the farms. So should the members of the Armed Forces fulfil their lawful duties of defending the country against external aggression and internal insurrection as permitted by the constitution and the Armed Forces Act in their barracks. This is the right and proper way to build a nation that we all can be proud of. The military cannot claim to be more important than teachers. Neither can doctors claim superiority over the police. Let every one and every institution fulfil its constitutional mandate.

If one political party in power is not doing well, then let another political party replace it at the next general election. That is the prescription in all civilised societies.  Our country can only develop when all hands are on deck to deepen the current civil rule.

  • Dr Joseph, a social researcher, writes in from Abuja
Published in Parliament

There is no denying that we spend a large proportion of our lives at work, which is why our careers are so important to us. If you’re thinking about taking the next step in your professional career, now is the time to make a change and push yourself to achieve more.

However, with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which direction is the best to take. Would simply reading a book help you to achieve greater success? Or would academic guidance add more value to your professional journey?

Returning to university is an excellent way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to move up the career ladder as it provides a managed journey through carefully curated content. Thanks to the advancement of online degrees, there’s also no need to quit your job to continue your studies, providing an accessible solution for the career-driven professional. In fact, millions of people around the world have already been jumping on this opportunity as the demand for online education continues.

Amongst our digital students is Tosan Ozoro, who studies the Online Masters of Public Administration at the University of Birmingham. Currently working as a Relationship Manager at Keystone Bank in Lagos, Tosan is using her degree to move into the public sector and make a difference to Nigerian society. After researching her options, she concluded that studying online was a feasible solution as she could continue to work whilst learning at a highly rated institution.

A course aligned to your career goals
With many online degrees to choose from, it’s important to undertake research to find a course which suits your needs and aligns with your career goals.

As a member of the Russell Group and world ‘top 100’ University (QS World University Rankings, 2017), the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, is committed to producing the very best research and innovative teaching experiences.

We offer three career-focused online degrees:

A course structured around you
Your location or professional situation won’t restrict you as there’s no need to relocate or pause your career to head to the UK. This allows you to make a difference to your surrounding economy.

For Online MBA student Patrick Gettleman, studying online was his only option: “With my job and career path, I travel for work almost on a weekly basis and could not be successful with a part-time program in person,” he explained. “I would simply miss way too many classes.

“I also liked the fact that there are live connect sessions 4 times per module. This helps to give the feel of connection to the courses that sometimes online education makes difficult to get. It doesn’t hurt that I have been able to join the connect sessions from 3 continents so far in my 6 months of study!”

Test and share your new knowledge immediately
Any skills and knowledge you acquire can be applied to your career in real time. You can also pass on this valuable knowledge to your colleagues, helping you stand out in the workplace.

Current Online MSc International Business student, Helena Feibert, explains the benefits:

“I have gained a deeper insight into many aspects of an international business and I have been able to not only apply theories in my work activities but also analyse past events and decisions to better understand the motivation behind them,” she said.

Throughout your studies, you’ll be interacting with students and lecturers from all over the world, from various professional backgrounds. It’s a great opportunity to gain a global perspective on challenges you’re facing at work.

Advance your career today
Learning to juggle personal, professional and educational commitments can sometimes be difficult, but your return on investment – your career enhancement – should pay dividends.  

You’ll receive plenty of support when you study online, just as you would if you were on-campus. Dr Michael Shulver, Director of Online Content at Birmingham Business School, explains: “As soon as students have accepted an offer – even before they join – they can talk online with someone from our Careers Team,” he said. “There’s direct support on, for example, resume preparation and interviews.”

What are you waiting for? Join online students across the globe by enrolling to study at the University of Birmingham. Applications for our next intake are open. For more information visit our webpages.

 

This article is sponsored content brought to you by the University of Birmingham.

Published in Business and Economy
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