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Nigerian troops fighting insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country have rescued 30 women and children from the clutches of the Boko Haram sect as the army liberated Dikwa in Borno State.
Those rescued include seven women, 21 children and a six-day old baby. Among the seven women were three nursing mothers and two male adults.
The rescued women and children had been held captive by the sect at Kwayabe and Wufe wards in Dikwa Local Council Area of Borno State.
The Army also confirmed that it liberated the palace of the Shehu of Dikwa, which had become the training camp of the Boko Haram following the sect's raid on the town, an incident which forced the Emir to flee.
In a statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 7 Division, Maiduguri, Col. Tukur Gusau, the Army said: "our troops discovered a training shed inside the vandalised and looted palace of the Shehu of Dikwa, where weapon handling and engagement of aircraft were being taught to new Boko Haram recruits.
"As a result of ongoing operations, under the aegis of Operation Lafiya Dole to clear Dikwa and its environs of Boko Haram terrorists, the troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army on Monday rescued 30 internally displaced persons from the hands of the terrorist in Kwayabe and Wufe wards in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State."
In a related development, the Nigerian Army said on Tuesday that it successfully repelled Boko Haram attack on Buratai, the home town of the Chief of Army Staff, Maj. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday night
According to the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said the Boko Haram insurgents attempted twice to attack the town but were rebuffed by the troops.
He added that for about the fourth time since February 2014, Boko Haram terrorists moved against Buratai, the home town of Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai last night, which is also the location of a military camp.
He added: "in their desperate attempt to capture the town, the invaders struck at about 9.30pm but were repelled by Nigerian soldiers.
"The terrorists returned again at about 3.00am and were equally pushed back."
An impressive collection of organizations have come together to answer President Barack Obama's call at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya, to advance entrepreneurship and economic growth around the world.
Representatives of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) and Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) participated in a formal signing ceremony at the Summit, committing to lead the Spark Global Entrepreneurship initiative. Spark is a coalition that is seeking to mobilize like-minded organizations, companies and investors that collectively generate more than $1 billion dollars in private investment for emerging entrepreneurs by the end of 2017.
"The world is full of nascent entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas—but they need stronger ecosystems to help them unleash those ideas and grow them into game-changing startups," said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Network and one of three Spark coalition co-chairs. "Spark increases coordination and collaboration among startup support programs and amplifies their efforts."
The first wave of companies that have stepped forward include Citi, EY, GE, Google and IBM. Two African companies, Rendeavour, the continent's largest urban land developer, and SkyPower, the largest provider of utility-scale solar power projects in the world, have joined as well.
"African entrepreneurship has been the missing link in Africa's development. The actions of just one entrepreneur sends ripples across a community and entrepreneurship lifts people permanently out of poverty and creates social wealth," said Tony Elumelu, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. "We all know entrepreneurship, anywhere in the world, is not easy nor is success guaranteed. All stakeholders – the private sector, governments, NGOs and donors - must make a commitment to use their respective powers to address the hurdles facing African entrepreneurs. That is what Spark is all about."
Spark taps into the growing involvement of government programs in helping entrepreneurs start and scale new firms.
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden announced the Spark initiative at the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Morocco and outlined the commitments of some of the most active and effective U.S. government programs such as the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, Young African Leaders Initiative, African Women's Entrepreneurship Program and more.
Spark is asking for commitments from organizations and individuals willing to "start the spark" by collaborating and contributing resources, networks, data and ideas to multiply efforts and help founders start and scale new firms.
"We are excited to leverage our in-market presence in nearly 50 countries to support Spark, inspire today's entrepreneurs and foster the next generation globally," said Vijay K. Tirathrai, CEO of Entrepreneurs' Organization. "Our organization provides numerous platforms to bring entrepreneurs together for enhanced learning and leadership growth. Spark is a natural extension of our commitment and we call on others to join us and affect positive change through entrepreneurial support."
In The Spotlight
His Royal Majesty Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, the fiftieth Ooni of Ile – Ife, the ancestral cradle of near fifty million Yoruba people broke into a run, i.e. passed into eternity at a London Hospital at about 5pm on Tuesday, July 28, 2015. H.R.M. Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse, ascended the throne as Ooni of Ife in 1980. His pre-eminence was immediately stamped as the foremost traditional spiritual leader and king of the entire Yoruba race.
Two weeks before the passing of Oba Sijuwade, in Ondo State, the influential king in the gateway kingdom to the East of the capital of the state, His Royal Majesty, the Alayede of Ayede Ogbese, Oba Peter Adetumbi Olasehinde Oluyede IV, also joined his ancestors. Oba Sijuwade lived for 85years, while kabiyesi, P.A.O. Oluyede, Ise-Oluwa I, lived for 86years. On the throne, Oba Sijuwade led his people for 35years. On the other hand, Oba Oluyede reigned for 5years having ascended the throne on December 30, 2010. Oba Oluyede was the third African to earn an LLD. He was Nigeria’s leading authority on laws of conveyancy, constitution and administration. He used the instrumentality of law to assist in engineering change in the society and psyche of Nigerians.
The Ooni of Ife made his mark in insurance and automobile salesmanship in the mid fifties and became a leading Yoruba financier and business mogul with interest in constructions as well.
The manner of the preservation of the remains of Yoruba kings is supposed to be shrouded in secrecy and myth. But Oba Oluyede, who was a professor of Law and former Judge/member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal left specific instructions that nothing in the order of activities on his transition should be mystified. He was of the opinion that the secrets kept around royalty in Africa contributed immensely to the culture of corruption and graft around Africa.
His views were disparaged, his kingdom was ridiculed because, he counseled, Africans must like truth to the creed of the novel Christian faith which is now about two thousand years old on the continent at large, Christianity is about two hundred and fifty years old amongst Yoruba people who can be found in places like South-West Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Europe and North America.
When Oba Oluyede went through the medical procedure that eventually removed him from this terrestrial plain, he strongly refused to be taken oversees for what some people may see as a more advanced care. His majesty felt that it would be inappropriate for a crowned head to sleep outside the kingdom. Even while at a Nigerian government health facility, he insisted he must be taken back to his palace. He, subsequently, was in high spirit upon returning home. Ironically, that same night, he closed his eyes and went into permanent communion with his ancestors.
His Christian principles and deep commitment to taking charge in his domain using the cannons of law and faith drove several people mad. The question that immediately arises from the stance taken by critics of the rites of passage for king Oluyede: would they prefer a king to be interred without ceremony or proper church service or raise objections with the proper preservation by morticians, would they also want to voice the same views on the treatment so far given to the body of Oba Sijuwade who must first be embalmed before the body could be brought to the land of his ancestors.
The point being made here is that we treat our royalty like dreads and scum in death. Unless the African wants to embark on a vulgar ostentatious display of means and resources, we do not give proper eulogies and memoriam to our departed kings.
Many Africans in the diaspora, I believe this may actually be in the majority would often prefer to be buried abroad because of the unspeakable things done to the remains of the departed. Not that many of us can truthfully attest to what these rites are in the true sense of reason and logic. We speculate too much stuff, which is why it looks to me that the culture of openness preached and recommended by Oba P.A.O. Oluyede offers more attraction.
Meanwhile, activities marking the open burial of Oba Oluyede would start on Tuesday with a commendation service at the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Ayede Ogbese. This would be followed by a candlelight procession at dusk on Wednesday. On Thursday, there would be a Christian Service of Songs and Wake Keep. On Friday, August 7, 2015, the king would take a final rest in the royal vault in the palace after an inter-denominational service that would be presided over by the Lord Bishop of Akure Anglican Diocese.
In the manner and forms the council of Ife and Ayede Ogbese chiefs would celebrate their natural rulers, something has given in: things are not like they used to be. There is bound to be more openness on how those who lead, rule or govern exit the stage. Those who must continue with bitter vitrioles on the changes that have attended the tradition of the Yoruba race must think twice before concluding that the present level of democratization in handling the remains of Kings are unprecedented must be living in denial or they may be making a deliberate choice to celebrate falsehood.
To the best of my knowledge, the remains of Oba Akinyele of Ibadan was an open affair and when people pass the harsh judgment that a royal couple who requested to be buried side by side in the royal vault, should not be granted their wish, one would shudder that such attitude belong to the stone age. After all, it is a well known saying that no one must put asunder those whom God has joined together.
Exposure and trips round the world certainly prove that no position can be absolute in the decency and courtesy we extend to the dead. Royal vaults around the world are replete of couples, kings and queens, princes and princesses buried close to each other. Some of the royal graves in Yoruba land are unmarked, we destroy proper records by not keeping dates and dispensations.
Many of the royal vaults are never accessible to common living beings. These remain mysterious. These are well known recipes for denigration, degradation and loss of interest in what actually constitutes our substance and essence. If Yoruba continue surrounding so many things in secrecy, then we must be worried about the fate of men and women to whom will pass the torch of heritage.
Oladimeji Abitogun, a journalist lives in Kansas City, Kansas, USA
In The Spotlight
I didn’t vote for President Buhari in the last election, though I know that Nigeria needed change. I just disagreed with the change agent due to reasons I have explained in various write-ups in the lead up to the election. I didn’t vote for Jonathan either; the PDP as was constituted and operated just wasn’t a Party I could even consider for anything. In the end, I voted for one of the lesser known Parties.
But Buhari it is. The majority vote will always prevail and that is respected here without any equivocation. So we move on.
As we move on however, it is becoming a struggle not to be uncomfortable in the way things have unfolded and in the way they are playing out. Some of the reservations expressed by some of us are now rearing their ugly heads. Contrary to his inauguration speech, and contrary to reasonable, logical expectations, Buhari hasn’t put a fully functional government in place. This is already the end of July.
As we say around here, nothing spoil. The only harm I saw were incompetent governors (who are unable to manage quite sizable resources) dancing around the President, taking advantage, and getting off easy. The mound of flip flops and reversal of official pronouncements have only meant a slight loss of face; nothing major.
However, I began to panic when I read a news report that Buhari has approved an exchange rate of N160 to $1 for Christian pilgrims. This report was publicised widely and with plenty of fanfare.
To me, it is another indication that the president sorely needs all the help he can get. He needs technical advisers and a seasoned cabinet like a fish needs water.
But the President has already and unwittingly set up his eventual Ministers for failure. They can’t win. Expectations are just too high now. Ministers would still have to be Nigerians, working in Nigeria. The current perception is that Buhari is searching for the best of the very best – folks with no blemishes at all but blessed with superpowers. Optimal performance bothering on miracles would be expected from these Ministers and other appointed government functionaries. How could anyone go into a job like that? It is unrealistic and quite unfair.
All the same, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the president created this governance lacuna in order for him to have unfettered, unchallenged (dictatorial, if you will) shot at managing the country for a while before Ministers, Advisers and other technical and legal people are brought in and begin to rein-in some of his more impulsive and autocratic tendencies.
It seems to me that Buhari wants to get in a few military-style diktats, strong-arm a few people and peoples before settling down to normal democratic governance. Because, so far, the only things on the table are hunting down people, dire innuendos and promises of persecution.
As has been whispered all along, the president has finally confirmed that he intends to probe just Jonathan’s government. It is only that government that is corrupt in Nigeria’s recent history. Obasanjo is living large. The bribees from the Halliburton scandal are the major stakeholders in Nigeria’s present day change project. Even the scions of Abacha are running loose, obscenely flaunting stolen wealth. No problem with that. No investigations. Now tell me; how are certain sections of this country supposed to feel? Does this not seem like the start of marginalisation and dehumanisation of the usual suspects all over again?
Even madam Patience Jonathan was comprehensively humiliated at Port Harcourt airport last week when she attempted to use the VIP waiting area. She was refused access by security personnel citing “orders from Abuja.” How petty! If a former First Lady cannot use an airport’s VIP lounge, who should? I suppose Rotimi Amaechi is using his APC mates to exact revenge. Anyway, there is God o.
The inclusiveness that was pervasive in the last four years is fast dissipating. Perhaps someone needs to remind the President that we are in a thriving democracy. The opposition and opposing voices are not supposed to be treated like conquered prisoners of war, or like burnt offerings.
Which brings me back to the issue of the pilgrims’ exchange rate.
I could have sworn that I heard candidate Buhari campaign that he would scrap government’s participation in, and subsidy of religious pilgrimages. But he has only gone and directed that pilgrims should exchange N160 to the dollar.
What this means is that a pilgrim with N400,000 who would have received $1,740 at the normal exchange rate will now get $2,500 under the Buhari plan. The government will cough up the difference.
Last year, about 14,000 Christians made one form of pilgrimage to one place or the other. 76,000 Muslims went to Mecca. If we do the math, the government is going to end up subsidising around a further $68 million or N13.6 billion on top of whatever is already subsidised for these pilgrimages.
Can you see why the president needs Ministers and other technical people like yesterday?
Furthermore, a pilgrim with N500,000 would get $3,125. In theory, this person could turn around and sell back dollars on the black market and make a profit of $1,000 or N237,000. Now, an…emm…shall we say, enterprising Pilgrims Board official can fund 100 people into this scheme and he is looking at a cool N23,700,000 million per pilgrimage cycle. The Christians alone run four pilgrimages in one year! Heavens only know what they are looking for.
Please, please, we do not desire on a national scale a situation like that which currently exist in Osun State. The struggling governor of that State, Arigbesola, who has not been able to pay workers salaries in like forever somehow manages to find money every year to pay for Osun citizens transportation during sundry religious holidays; no audits, no questions asked.
By Michael Egbejumi-David