Sunday, 24 September 2017

Genderizing corruption: Dieziani would not be harshly judged if she was a man

Daily Post of 22nd Sept. 2017 reported that Nigerian frontline novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, took a swipe at Nigerians for criticising former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dieziani Alison-Madueke over fraud allegations. According to her, Dieziani’s case would not be capitalised if she was a man because stealing money is a norm practised by Nigerian politicians.

It's a great surprise that this is coming from someone in the calibre of Chimamanda Adichie who is operating at the global arena and should, ipso facto, imbibe global standards and exhibit zero-tolerance against corruption. It shows that we've got a long way to go as far as corruption war is concerned. 

Corruption is an unwanted beast-of-no-gender in a progressive society. Corruption took the deep egocentric plunge into the muddy lake and got itself messed up with stolen black gold, but someone is telling us from a high gender ground that we should just wash it clean, cloak it back in a new attire, worry less about the black gold, and give it a pat on the back on account of gender sensitivity that has no precedent whatsoever.

Ngozi, Nigerian youths are looking up to you as a literary leader but you have just disappointed them by simply genderizing a big case of corruption the same way that important public issues are normally ethnicized and religionized by unscrupulous politicians. My sister, if you argue that the system is unfair to Dieziani because she's a woman, is Col. Sambo Dasuki - for example - a man or a woman? Please don't jump into that murky political water with your presumably white regalia.

You may wish to tender apologies to the millions of Nigerian youths for disappointing them, and to the millions of corruption-averse men and WOMEN in Nigeria for offending their sensibilities.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Nigeria: Who can be considered to have committed an act of terrorism?

Legally speaking, who can be considered to have committed an act of terrorism?

According to Section 1 Subsection 2 of Nigeria's Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 and in tandem with the definition of "act of terrorism" given by Section 1 Subsection 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011:

"A person or body corporate who knowingly in or outside Nigeria directly or indirectly willingly -

(a) does, attempts or threatens any act of terrorism,

(b) commits an act preparatory to or in furtherance of an act of terrorism,

(c) omits to do anything that is reasonably necessary to prevent an act of terrorism,

(d) assists or facilitates the activities of persons engaged in an act of terrorism or is an accessory to any offence under this Act,

(e) participates as an accomplice in or contributes to the commission of any act of terrorism or offences under this Act,

(f) assists, facilitates, organizes or directs the activities of persons or organizations engaged in any act of terrorism,

(g) is an accessory to any act of terrorism, or

(h) incites, promises or induces any other person by any means whatsoever to commit any act of terrorism or any of the offences referred to in this Act,

commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to maximum of death sentence."

Here is the definition of “terrorism” as provided by the Nigerian law

In the context of recent developments in some parts of Nigeria, people have been asking for the definition of “terrorism” and what exactly constitutes “terrorism”.

Different people have come up with different refractions of terrorism based on their own prisms of understanding and judgment.

Without any attempt to join issues with arguments or counter-arguments on the subject, here is the definition of “terrorism” as provided by the Nigerian law:

Section 1 Subsection 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that: 

In this section, "act of terrorism" means an act which is deliberately done with malice, aforethought and which:

(a) may seriously harm or damage a country or an international organization;

(b) is intended or can reasonably be regarded as having been intended to -

(i) unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act,

(ii) seriously intimidate a population,

(iii)seriously destabilize or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organization, or

(iv) otherwise influence such government or international organization by intimidation or coercion; and

(c) involves or causes, as the case may be -

(i) an attack upon a person's life which may cause serious bodily harm or death;

(ii) kidnapping of a person;

(iii) destruction to a Government or public facility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility, including an information system, a fixed platform located on the continental shelf, a public place or private property, likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss;

(iv) the seizure of an aircraft, ship or other means of public or goods transport and diversion or the use of such means of transportation for any of the purposes in paragraph (b) (iv) of this subsection;

(v) the manufacture, possession, acquisition, transport, supply or use of weapons, explosives or of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, as well as research into, and development of biological and chemical weapons without lawful authority;

(vi) the release of dangerous substance or causing of fire, explosions or floods, the effect of which is to endanger human life;

(vii) interference with or disruption of the supply of water, power or any other fundamental natural resource, the effect of which is to endanger human life;

(d) an act or omission in or outside Nigeria which constitutes an offence within the scope of a counter terrorism protocols and conventions duly ratified by Nigeria.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Un-African South Africans

Many Africans (including Nigerians, Zimbabweans, Somalis, and Malawians) have lost their lives and properties in South Africa in the hands of the South African police or black South Africans since the end of apartheid regime in 1994. Quite a number of these incidences have happened in controversial and inhuman circumstances that put a challenge on international instruments such as the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly referred to as the United Nations Convention against Torture) which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December 1984. The recurrence of these acts also calls to question whether the Republic of South Africa ever remembers that she subscribed to the United Nations Convention against Torture having signed the instrument on 29th January 1993 and ratified it on 10th December 1998.

With the latest killing of another Nigerian (Mr. Uchenna Emmanuel Eloh) in South Africa, here’s a plea to the good people, police and government of South Africa to prevail on their few wicked nationals who have been perpetrating these crimes either in their individual or official capacities.

We strongly believe that the Republic of South Africa, as a member of the international community, will henceforth do everything possible to ensure respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights not only concerning its citizens but also foreign nationals. 

We also expect that South Africa will strive to abide by the UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance 1995

South Africa must not allow a few un-African South Africans to harass, maim or kill other Africans or any human person for that matter!!!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Nigeria’s Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) - Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

The Nigerian health sector has, for quite some time, been advocating for improved funding of the sector. Inadequate funding of the health sector is not peculiar to Nigeria. It was against this background that African Heads of State and Government, under the auspices of the African Union (AU), met in April 2001 in Abuja and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector. The situation has not significantly improved in Nigeria and in most African countries as Nigeria sometimes allocates as low as 5% of its annual budget to health and spends about that same percentage on General Government Health Expenditure (GGHE) in relation to General Government Expenditure (GGE). Moreover, past Nigerian National Health Accounts (NHA) studies conducted (1998-2002, 2003-2005, 2006-2009, and 2010-2014) have revealed that the burden of health expenditure on the household through out-of-pocket expenses is generally as high as 70% of Total Health Expenditure (THE).

It is heartwarming to note that the efforts of stakeholders yielded dividends with the enactment and signing into law of the National Health Act 2014 The Act provides under Section 11 (1) that: “There is established the Basic Health Care Provision Fund ….” According to Section 11 (2) of the Act, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) shall be financed from the following sources:
  • Federal Government annual grant of not less than one percent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund;
  • Grants by international donor partners; and
  • Funds from any other source.
It has been almost three (3) years now since the BHCPF was established but funds are still being awaited. We appreciate the fact that Government’s revenue situation has been very weak especially in the last two years and we patriotically look forward to significant improvements soon. However, we hope that Government will make allocation of requisite funds for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund a top priority in the 2018 Annual Budget.

In anticipation of funds, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) have collaborated to develop Guidelines for the Administration, Disbursement, Monitoring and Fund Management of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund 2016 This proactive action is very commendable.

While fully supporting and optimistically looking forward to the statutory transfer and release by the Federal Government of not less than one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund into the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, we must remember – as a popular saying goes – that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. We must not be like pro-democracy groups and NGOs who fought for democracy and subconsciously went to sleep when the return to democracy became a reality in 1999. We must be very vigilant of the administration, disbursement, utilization, and management of the Fund by relevant agencies and bodies such as the NHIS, NPHCDA, State and Federal Capital Territory Primary Health Care Boards, Local Government and Area Council Health Authorities, and the Committee to be appointed by the National Council on Health.

It is important that funds are released into the BHCPF, but of great importance also is the transparent, effective and efficient management of the funds to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Eternal vigilance is the price expected from all of us as stakeholders. 

Thank you.