Thursday, January 31, 2013

World loses $260bn from poor water, sanitation

World loses $260bn from poor water, sanitation

 ….100,000 Nigeria children at risk

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued a stark warning in Monrovia Wednesday to the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel that is meeting this week, to address the future of international poverty reduction efforts as economic losses due to poor water and sanitation access globally are costing $260 billion (US) every year.
The international charity has also highlighted that if governments meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by significantly reducing the proportion of populations without sanitation by 2015, the lives of 400,000 children under the age of five, would be saved around the world (over 100,000 in Nigeria, and 66,000 in India alone).
Sirleaf, one of three co-Chairs of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, said "$260 billion in economic losses annually is directly linked to inadequate water supply and sanitation around the world. We must take this issue more seriously."
"All too often, access to adequate sanitation in particular is seen as an outcome of development, rather than a driver of economic development and poverty reduction. South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore in the 1960's and 1970's demonstrated the potential for boosting economic development by addressing sanitation."
The President's comments came during the High-level Panel meeting in Monrovia which was broadly focused on the theme of "economic transformation".
The Panel, which includes 27 leaders from government, the private sector and civil society, is co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Sirleaf. The group is tasked with producing a report in May to the Secretary-General containing recommendations for a development agenda for the world.
The current MDG targets on water and sanitation have had starkly differing levels of progress and political and financial support. While the drinking water target – to halve the proportion of people worldwide without access to safe drinking water – was met five years early in 2010, the sanitation goal is decades off track. Progress in Africa specifically is even worse with sub-Saharan Africa expected to meet this goal a century and a half late.
Director of International Programmes for the international water and sanitation charity WaterAid, Girish Menon, said "The High Level Panel must grasp this unique opportunity to put together an ambitious vision for eradicating poverty in our time. For this aspiration to be realized, there must be a central focus on achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene."
"International efforts on the existing Millennium Development Goals have shown us that to succeed in areas like education, child health and gender equality progress on access to water, sanitation and hygiene is crucial."
Liberia is in many ways typical of sub-Saharan African countries, with access to safe drinking water at 73% of the population, far exceeding levels of access to decent sanitation, at only 18%. The average across sub-Saharan Africa to these services sits at 61% for water but just 30% for sanitation.

First published in Peoples Daily Newspaper

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nigerian Youths are today's leaders, tomorrow is far...

This week I decided to speak the minds of many young Nigerians who are dreaming of a better fathers Land in their life time, which should start from strong participation of the youths in Nigerian political process and governance.

During the recent Constitutional Review programme by the National Assembly, we came under the banner of Youth Alliance on Constitution Review (YACOR), a coalition of  30 groups to fine-tuned our  inclusion in the new constitution, removal of the age requirement for elective offices hurt us most .

One thing  that took central stage at the twitter conference was the constitutional role of Nigeria youths in democracy, the disjointed, disoriented,

disorganized and incoherent pattern of youths involvement in political governance.

The constitutional denial of many youths who are eager to make political changes  if given the chance, must be address in the ongoing amendment process.

Nigerian youths constitute over 50 per cent of the voting population but lacks the opportunities to correctly participate in the nation's political process expect casting votes that often end in trash bins. This however is contributing eminently to our woes over the years.

The current minimum age requirement for elective offices in Nigeria needs to be abolish. Youths are the strength of every nation. Aside being the active age group and dominant of the nation's labour force, Nigerian economy to a large extent depends on its youths due to their awesome efficiency in private businesses and other endeavors within and outside Nigeria which impact on the country's revenue and international relevance cannot be overlooked.

It is a well-known fact that youthful exuberance, enthusiasm and energy tend to fuel organizational activities when exhibited in a controlled and tactical manner. Therefore,  of  what reason why youthful participation in politics, power and state resources control should be delayed still when they have few steps away from their graves?

The age limit bar must be redress if we want to stop recycling these old hands in new garments that form  our government. We need a  younger generation of successive  and responsible leadership skills to pilot the affairs of the country and the constitution amendment should allow this.

At the gathering, many of us (youths) asked for outright removal of age limit or in the alternative reduction of age qualification for contesting election to the office of the president from 40 years to 35 years; governors and Senate (30 years); House of Representatives and state Houses of Assembly
(25 years).

We must not wait till when we are aging and our strength is lost to personal pursuits and

accomplishments before we are allowed to undo these mess, the old generation has plunge us into.

If the popular excuse remains "wealth of experience". Fellow Nigerians, I think these politicians' experiences are needless, what has the experienced leaders since 1999 led us into, uncontrollable corruption, bad roads, massive unemployment, insecurity and many other chaos situations.

Yet we wonder how same people that had failed us still find their way back to power to continue their looting spree, crumbling our brighter future because we are not allow to challenge them at the poll. We can't take this anymore.

Obafemi  Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe, Ahmadu Bello where in the youthful age when they made their landmark achievements for this country.

How old was General Gowon, Muritala Muhammed when they became head of states? Yet their impacts were felt. 19 years old lady, Proscovia Alengot Oromait of Uganda is the Africa's youngest legislator.

Chad Barefoot at 29 and Rep. Justin Burr at 26, are the  youngest senators in the US congress, why are we denied of same? Nigerian youths have many positive things to contribute in governance if given the
chance to seek elective post.

We can rebuild this nation, we have the strength,  we give a damn about our future ,we are not the leader of tomorrow but leaders of today. We are ready now!



Some Nigeria Police are monsters killing people anyhow, IGP should address it now, well-done sir- James Ugo Abuja

Thoughtful thoughts here, but not all police kills like that we still have good ones here- Ibrahim Ali,Kano.

When police are killed you journalists keeps quite, do you know how many officers that had paid the supreme price for Nigeria and their family now suffers neglect- ASP Amodu Jalingo.

Better their lives and you will see changes, its not easy to carry arms in Nigeria-no name

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mindless Police killings

It appears that Nigeria Police officers are still in the jungle where animal instincts reigns, or how can someone explain the gross mindless killing of citizens by those armed to save their lives and properties.

These days, Nigerians are convinced that the easiest and fastest suicide attempt is to argue with an arm carrying police officer. Lives are worthless in the sights of many cops, while numerous killings by triggered happy officers are yet to be resolved.

My earlier thought was to write on the rise in social violence among us (youth), when I got a message about how an Okada rider was shot dead by a mindless police officer in Ikeja area of Lagos.

While still grunting on this, the following day the senseless  killing had  moved to Muritala Muhammed International Airport, where another young man was shot dead by a police officer after a hot argument between both.
A friend who witnesses the scene said he was shock to the bones but take to his heels to avoid being the second victim of the unwholesome incident.
Same time last year at the wake of subsidy protest in Lagos, happy trigger  Segun Fabunmi,  Divisional Police Officer of Pen Cinema, Agege, had shot promising Ademola Abe, a 28 year old fashion designer till date  justice is yet to be served and I doubt if the policeman is still in custody or walking a freeman.
Abe might be luck unlike other unfortunate victims, his statue now stands in at Yaya Abatan area of Ogba in Lagos where he met his untimely death.
Also in Nasarawa State ,two youths have been sent to early grave by the police and I wonder if we should fold our arms I watch police officers to continue killing innocent souls with bullets bought to protect us and our properties while criminals rules our streets.
The reported police killing this year alone are more than 10 (as at time am writing this piece )and we are just a few days into the new year.
The police authority needs to address this issue urgently, its beyond sitting in Abuja to launch a code of conduct that a cadet or recruit will never get to read nor understand.
Police officers on the street needs re-orientation, our arms (because there are brought by tax payers money) are now terrorizing us in the hands of police, policing  is not about been ruthless or transfer of whatever  aggression to innocent citizens. 

Its about communicating and partnering with the public to make the society safer for us all.

Lastly Fabunmi, yes  'the late Abe's killer cop' should be brought to justice, to serve as deterrent to other 'I will shot you nothing go happen' officers, we have them many among our cops.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jonathan, before we talk about 2015

My Thoughts with Ayodele Samuel (published by today's Peoples Daily Weekend)
08074420617 (SMS only)
 Jonathan, before we talk about 2015

Many  Nigerians during the illness and evacuation days of Late President Yar'Adua rose to ensure Jonathan was given his right to be made Ag. President,  But today, he has taken away our rights to good  governance  as  Nigerians.

We were fascinated about his 'my brother and sister' speeches and a couple of days the
constitutional crisis got attentions  of every Nigerian, but I never believed in him, I was wary of a fisher man son, who trekked long  distance  without shoes  to school.

As a journalist, I knew Nigerians would be carried away by his pitiful campaign messages promises which my friend Dr. Doyin Okupe told me he fulfilled in 2012 though  I took exception.

The fact remains; Jonathan's government has continue to make many Nigerians  cry. Even at times I felt like leaving the country and come back 2015 perhaps Nigerians may decide to kick him out of Villa. Unpatriotic! You say.

Let face it! Nigeria is in a big mess; our country is drowning at the speed of light, yet these prodigals in government are insensitive to our plights.

As a fresh graduate, I can beat my chest that our major problem as a country is UNEMPLOYMENT, because if solved, it's a solution 20 other problems we face as a nation but this government, led by Jonathan is slow in creating the jobs but fast in stealing our money.

Take for instance, the BRISIN project (The Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN), a multi-billion naira project conceived to provide the fundamental infrastructure for information flow from grassroots to the national level)  was to generate 10 million jobs in 10 years, but under Jonathan administration the project is suffering its worst neglect.

Our manufacturing sector if working at maximum capacity will create 20 million jobs, but today under Jonathan administration more companies are folding up, investors are not coming, therefore, our youths remain unemployed.

With gainful employments Boko Haram will run out of suicide bombers. You said it a lie! Remember, some kidnappers confesses that if only they could earn N20,000 per month, the trade won't be an option.

Corruption is on the increase, imagine, no one is in jail on the subsidy scam till date. We keep reading about the pension scam too yet culprits walk freely on the streets.

Our government continues to deceive us with unimaginable achievements and you wonder if you live in same country Jonathan governs.

Our roads are death traps. Nigerians are dying daily on bad roads with contracts awarded to most powerfuls of the country. we import even tissue paper and tooth pick sticks in Nigeria, little improvement in agricultural sector is distort with importation of 60 billion naira worth of mobile phones from China and America, for unknown 10 million farmers, excluding  my grandmother-  a cocoa farmer because she has two functioning popular brand phones to herself.   

Nigeria can't continue to be govern  by this clueless leaders, we need original freshness. A breath of jobs creation, a revival of our dead textile industries, reopening of our manufacturing companies, a strong government against corruption, all these are still possible before we talk about 2015, Mr. President.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jonathan fulfilled campaign promises in 2012, claims Okupe

I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Doyin Okupe 'Jonathan Attack Lion" where he told me among other audience that President Jonathan delivered his  campaign promises in 2012, i can't but look back year 2012, where we had the worst of dividend of democracy, while many thanks to journalism "we are forced to listen to liars many times", here is my published work after the meeting

Jonathan fulfilled campaign promises in 2012, claims Okupe


On fulfillment of campaign promises Jonathan's Okupe, refuted claims that President Jonathan has not fulfilled mos

t of the promises he made to Nigerians during the election that brought him into power saying, he was optimistic that the year 2013 will be the "year of Nigeria's glory. He also

added that Nigerians were seriously lamenting before the coming of Jonathan, but according to him, the lamentations have started to decrease.

"To say that Nigerians lamented the most in 2012, that is not true. There were lamentations before. The President on assumption of office said the days of lamentations are over, so in gradual sequence, the lamentations started to decrease. Gladly enough, stage by stage, most of the promises he made are being fulfilled gradually.

"2013 is a year of Nigeria's glory. The president has said it. Good things are coming to Nigeria. There will be growth in all ramifications. There will be regular power supply" he said.


On Boko Haram

Okupe said even though the President has not foreclosed direct interface with the group, the dialogue would have to be constructive with highest level of sincerity. He said the Federal Government was not against dialogue but that the real representatives of the sect must first of all be identified before genuine dialogue can take place. 

"I believe that most Nigerians are interested in dialogue and that this ultimately would be the best way of resolving the issue, but dialogue would have to be constructive. You have to identify genuine people and when the proper stage is set for dialogue, the government would

surely be interested", he sai


Even so, the President said more than 70% of the intended action of the sect is being foiled by security agencies, adding that Aso rock has the capability to secure and

protect the people of the country. "The Federal Government has curtailed the insurgency, it's no longer escalating. There is containment with both the numbers and locations. Don't forget that insurgency is not easy to contain anywhere in the world, but the government has a responsibility to protect the people and it's doing just that.

"So, we should be careful with the way we criticize the President; we should measure our utterances. You don't destroy a country because you want to criticize the Federal Government. Boko haram only spread to seven states when it began and has been contained to three stat

es. How then can people be saying that the country is not safe?" He asked.


On Anenih's appointment as NPA Chairman

Reacting to condemnations that trailed last week appointment of Chief Anthony Anenih as the Chairman of th

e Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), the Presidential spokesperson said that there was nothing wrong in appointing the veteran politician to use his vast experience to guide the professionals in NPA. He said the various allegations leveled against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain have not been proven in the court of law and that records have shown that they are all lies. 

He particularly mentioned the billions of Naira that Anenih was alleged to have collected when he was the Minister of Works, saying that the money was only budgeted by the ministry and was not released. "Why then should people be accusing him of embezzling money when the money was not released?" he queried. 


On FG's action on fuel subsidy

Okupe assured Nigerians that the coming year will be the country's year of glory and that the Federal Government did not make a mistake in its handling of the fuel subsidy issue in January this year. He said the Jonathan's administration is a very responsive government and that, according to him, explains why the government, after due consultations bow to the wishes of the Nigerian people through the reduction in petrol price from N141 to N97 per litre. "I am not being pompous or irrational but I don't agree that government made a mistake given the

way it handled the fuel subsidy issue. As responsible government, if you do something wrong and you come to the realization, you should agree that you make a mistake, but in that particular situation, from government perspective, it wasn't a mistake. I don't think government made a mistake; I am speaking from government's position, I don't think it was an error. Government backed down to the wishes of the people which are a responsible thing to do in a democracy".


On refineries

He also spoke on the nation's refineries saying just like an old car, the refineries in the country are old and instead of spending money on frequent maintenance, the best option is to sell it off and purchase a new one.

On why the federal government did not partner with those operating illegal refineries in the creeks to raise the refineries to a standard level and make them legal, Okupe said the operation of illegal refineries has nothing to with national growth and development. "The refineries are working and I believe that even in re

cent times, the recent figure that we have is that majority of the refineries we have are very, very old. The least of them is about 30 years in age or more. So, we are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The best thing to do is to do away with these refineries. It is like having an old car and you don't have money to purchase a new"

2012: The untold hardship of Nigeria's Manufacturing sector

Ayodele Samuel, Lagos

The Nigerian manufacturing sector performed 'poorly' in the out gone year, as experts say the manufacturing sector contributed only 5 per cent to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in its Business Environment Report 2012 disagreed with the Federal Government's claims of significant economic growth on the nation's economy, while the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) recently said  no fewer than 800 companies in Nigeria closed shop between 2009 and 2011 mainly due to harsh operating business environment.

  NACCIMA president, Dr. Herbert Ajayi said, "More than half of the surviving firms had been classified as ailing, which poses a serious threat to the survival of the manufacturing industry in the country. Capacity utilisation in industries hovered around 30 per cent and 45 per cent on the average, with 100 per cent overhead costs.

"Political and economic factors contribute greatly to the decline in the manufacturing sectors. For instance, poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply are also key impediments to the industry. The industry as a whole operates on more than 70 per cent of energy it generates, using generators and operating these generators greatly increases the cost of manufacturing goods in Nigeria", he stated.

"Other factors include increase in the prices of petroleum products used by industries, multiple taxation, unabated smuggling and inadequate access to finance, both local and abroad", he added.

Corroborating Ajayi's views, National President, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr. Chuku Wachuku  told Peoples Daily that many companies operated  below capacity in 2012 because of unstable power supply, inadequate funds and high labour costs.

This, he said, has increased businesses' expenses, reduced productivity and hampered economic growth making many firms to shut down or relocated to neighbouring countries.

He said the manufacturing sector is facing challenges in the face of the economic crisis that has accentuated the loss of competitiveness against manufactured products from China.

The blackouts are negatively impacting the economy, which is grappling with a combination of slow growth, a weak currency, high inflation and the effect of flooding that is expected to drive up food prices.

While the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has not released its official position for 2012,  its President, Dr. Kola Jamodu, in  September 2012 said there was an increased investment as well as improved turnover for the industrial sector of the economy within the last one year. His view however drawn conflicting reactions from other stakeholders.

According to data obtained from the office of the Director-General, West African Institute of Financial and Economic Management, "In developed countries where the real sectors are thriving, manufacturing contribute as much as between 35 and 40 per cent to the GDP. For instance, in Malaysia, the manufacturing sector contributes about 45 per cent to the GDP. Our manufacturing sector must function optimally to generate more jobs if we are to realise the Vision 20:20:20 target.

According to the data,"At present, about 30million youths are unemployed in Nigeria . The economy is growing at  almost 8 per cent, but we still have rising level of poverty of about 70 per cent. The rate of unemployment stands at about 24 per cent, which is about 35 percent among the youth.  Though increasing unemployment rate is a global phenomenon, we must tackle it in Nigeria".

"The inflation rate is 12.8 per cent. So, what we are experiencing as economic growth rate is only marginal increase. Every year, government prepares the entire budget depending on income from crude oil. So, the economy is still heavily dependent on oil, while the manufacturing sector, which has the potentials to create jobs and generate more revenue, is not given the required attention. The rate of unemployment is growing faster than the growth of the economy. Increase in rural unemployment is also disturbing" the data stated.

 Small and Medium Scale enterprises (SMEs), according to experts, contribute nearly half of the nation's GDP and accounts for over 25 percent of employment in the country. Also, the recent release from the Enterprise Baseline Survey 2012 stated that there are 17 million SMEs in Nigeria , employing 32.41 million persons and making a contribution of about 46.54 per cent to the GDP.

Also, the CBN has been in the forefront of building a synergy between the financial and real sector of the economy, in order to enhance accessibility to capital for operators of SMEs in the country.

The initiative is to ensure that the operators of SMEs have access to low cost funds to boost their operations and for start-ups to enhance expansion of smaller units of businesses across the country. This will bring about long-term benefit of boosting domestic production capacity for local manufacturers, such that they are able to carry out operations with reduced cost.

In April 2009, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) created the N200 billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme Fund to stimulate growth in the SMEs sub-sector, with subsequent approval of N500 billion Intervention Fund in 2010 for the manufacturing industry.

According to the LCCI report, major challenges faced by the  manufacturing sector was rising cost of production due to high cost of capital and alternative source of power as well as  increasing cost of labour due to scarcity of required skills and new minimum wage legislation expansion, leading to importation of technical skills required by the industries.

The report however urge the Federal Government to ensure that SMEs and manufactures get loan at single digit and eliminate delays associated with loan processing, stressing the urgent need to responsibly check the influx of fake, imitation and sub-standard goods into the Nigerian market.

published in Peoples Daily Newspaper August 16 2012, Page 20