Implications of a no accord at Copenhagen
THE two-week Copenhagen Climate Conference organised by the United Nations (UN) ended on Saturday, December 19, without adopting a legally binding accord. That was a big disappointment to a world that was expecting something positive. But the conference managed to reach a political decision to "take note" of a U.S. brokered agreement without formally approving it. The failure of leaders to agree on a legally binding treaty marked a step backward in the urgent need to address the worsening impacts of climate change. They would now continue to wait indefinitely while the polluters act in a way that pleases them.
The Nigerian predicament
AT the December 11 Colloquium on Nigeria sponsored by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and led by famed novelist, Chinua Achebe, the most provocative presentation was made by former U.S. Ambassador Princeton Lyman. He decried the complacency of Nigeria's elite regarding the country's vulnerabilities. According to Lyman, being the most populous African nation and a major petroleum exporter were no longer doing the country much good as it was becoming increasingly "irrelevant" in continental and international affairs.
Blood for cash?
No illustration of the hard times the average Nigerian is going through can be more vivid than the report that hundreds of the country's citizens are indiscriminately offering their blood for sale. And this is not for humanitarian reasons as the act may first suggest, but purely out of desperation to survive. For example, some adult males in Ilorin, Kwara State have resorted to offering their blood for sale at diagnostic laboratories in the state capital. Some of the donors do this two or three times in a month, raising concerns about their own health and safety. Ordinarily, haematologists encourage people to donate blood, but not at the expense of the donors' well-being. Doctors usually recommend sufficient time for recovery, coupled with intake of rich diet, all of which the poor donors in the reported cases consider a luxury. Many of this underprivileged Nigerians live on cigarettes, alcohol and kolanuts. They often appear pale and unwholesome, thereby posing a health hazard even to the patients who receive the blood that they donate.
Small Hydro Power and Vision 20: 2020
FROM December 15-16, 2009, at the Banquet Hall of the Golden Gate Hotel, Abuja, experts from diverse backgrounds brainstormed on the way out of the woods for the power sector in Nigeria. This was at a workshop with the theme "24-Hour Electricity for Nigerian Homes and Businesses through Small Hydro Power." The workshop was organised by Continental Capital Ventures Ltd, an Ibadan-based science and technology company, in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation's (UNIDO) Centre for Small Hydro Power.
The many ways Africans are dying
THE Nigerian author, Ben Okri in his book, A Way of Being Free, said, "There are many ways to die, and not all of them have to do with extinction. A lot of them have to do with living. Living many lies. Living without asking questions. Living in the cave of your own prejudices. Living the life imposed on you, the dreams and codes of your ancestors". I quite agree with him. The author did not make specific reference to any nation, race or continent. But any time I read this piece, it seems to me as if he is addressing Africans. Because I think Africans are dying in so many ways, in ways that many of them do not know. And some of them who know, do not care. Or they think that the situation is too bad to make a change.
Chaotic constitutional crisis in the brew
AS the 2011 election year approaches, intense lobbying and underground campaign works have begun in earnest. By early next year more pronounced political activities would become noticeable across the country. However, there is an imminent constitutional crisis yet unresolved. To avoid an Andy Uba-like Governor-in-waiting scenario and the attendant protracted litigation with some instituted legal actions looking like a scene from Icheoku, we need to know now what positions would be legally contested in 2011.
Different tunes on gas flaring
IN a related editorial last week, we drew attention to some of the utterances of Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, in which he downplayed the horrific devastation of human, plant and animal life caused by gas flaring in the Niger Delta. We warned that what is at stake is how to avert a looming catastrophe that cannot possibly wait for the Minister's proposed long-term solutions.
Fear Of Going Home
When I was on postgraduate study at the University of Ibadan in 1991, in line with my tradition, in the evening, I would go to The Seat of Wisdom Chapel to pray to close the day which began with morning Mass. Often, after praying, I would hang around the Church premises to savour the campus greenish scenery and the up and down movement of students.
Another Year ...
"Ha. How time flies.. Another year don dey end be dat o." "You sound surprised. When a year starts, it must end. Me I no dey too worry myself about dat kin tin." "It was a tough year. But not quite what you will call annus mirabilis." "Anus mirabilis" "That was how the Queen of England described the year 1999." "An-us mirabilis. Every year in Nigeria is an-us mirabilis, my friend, if you understand what I mean. I can't remember when last a year ended in this country and the people had cause to celebrate. Na lie. Na so so gnashing of teeth. It is a miracle that we are alive"
Identity Guard Commercial And Nigeria's Image
There seems to be no end in sight to the battered image Nigeria has suffered internationally with the release of another stereotype commercial in the United States targeting our country's infamous advanced fee fraud industry known as 419. The present commercials play on our Nigeria's perceived international reputation as scammers' haven. The commercial, released this week by Identity Guard, a United States Company safeguarding internet users in the US against online identity theft and currently playing on CBS, a frontline US television broadcast is also being circulated on the internet especially on You tube and other international television network.
Mines And Solid Minerals Underdevelopment
The Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals Development, Mrs Dieziani Alison -Madueke was in Beijing China recently where she addressed an Investment Forum and announced that the Government of Nigeria has approved a three-year tax holiday for new companies in the Solid Minerals sector. The companies are to commence payment of income taxes after three years beginning with accumulated tax liabilities of those previous three years. She also announced to that audience the reduction of company income tax from 35% to 30% and capital gains tax from 20% to 10%. Other incentives, according to the Minister, include import duty exemption on mining equipment and regularised repatriation of foreign capital.
Bad roads, development and safety of life
THE state of Nigeria's highways and the security of people and materials moved along them give cause for concern. The nature of deficiency and the extent of deterioration of these roads include, among others, unfilled pot-holes, flooded segments due to poor drainage, gutters and erosion damage and overgrown shrubs that block the view of motorists. The consequences range from accidents (some fatal), damage to vehicles (some irreparable), the loss of goods, traffic hold-ups and loss of man-hours in traffic hold-up. This also leads to a decline in the gross domestic product with a shrinking job market even as the contaminating effect of a deleterious global economy due to the on-going global financial meltdown takes its toll. This is not to mention the untold frustration caused by long hours spent in traffic hold-up and the consequent rise in blood pressure of sufferers, in some cases bringing about sudden death.