MTN AND THE RETAILERS – WHO IS DECEIVING US? 


Yesterday, there was a short post by me on the text by MTN to its subscribers not to pay more than its official prices for its recharge cards. My worry was confirmed few minutes ago. The situation is the same in Owerri and indeed, Imo State. I decided to buy MTN recharge card of N200.00 to test if MTN has reached out to the retailers to halt an increase that started since December 2016. Who is deceiving who? 
I bought the N200 MTN recharge card for N210. I tried to ascertain why. The answer I got is this: The sellers now buy, for instance, a pack of 10 MTN recharge cards of N100 each at N990. Their gain, if they sell at N100 is N10. To offset their sundry cost which include transport to and fro the wholesalers or MTN access point, pay local government daily toll, etc and to make light gain, they added N10. I felt for them. You see them under the sun. They feed too. How much do they make at the end of the day? It simply means that MTN is milking them. I think regulation is needed to protect this class of Nigerians trying to legitimately eke a living. 
If MTN is sincere and serious on keeping the price of its recharge cards at its official rates, it should reduce the cost of its recharge cards to retailers, at least, by N50. Also, it should investigate its wholesalers and its official access points. Who knows? There could be funny business going on in these places. 
The NCC should, on its own, step into this matter. The poor retailers need protection, not exploitation. We cannot be talking of fighting corruption and insecurity when we abandon the poor and vulnerable to be exploited and mistreated by producers. I reiterate that MTN should go public and inform us what caused the hike. It ought to know.

​THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA IS A NATIONAL IMPERATIVE


Fighting corruption is a serious business. It is not a matter of media entertainment. If you must fight corruption, you must have either kept clean record in life or have for long purged yourself and ready to admit your past, if the need arises. Integrity of self and institution one is representing are important in achieving success in any fight against corruption. 

For EFCC to succeed, each of the officers must bring to the table proven integrity, the EFCC as a corporate body must demonstrate proven institutional integrity – that it is not biased, not an attack dog of any government in power, etc and that in discharging its duties, it is rule of law compliant and treats all under its investigation equally. 
To appreciate the challenges of EFCC today, there is need for us to ask: Can it be said that the EFCC officers have the integrity expected of corruption fighters? As a corporate entity, has the EFCC proven itself as above board? That it is neutral, fair and follows due process in its actions, including disposing of properties confiscated? The truth is that Nigerians are genuinely worried presently. There is no doubt that Nigerians want the fight against corruption, however, they have issues with the ways and manners that it is being fought by the EFCC. 
The Ikoyi money discovery by the EFCC is the newest concern. The discovery has raised professional and ethical issues for the EFCC. One will ask: Does the EFCC take time to investigate reports and allegations before it acts? Is the EFCC not expected to be clinical in its investigation? If it does, why is the ownership of the money now a huge pendulum swinging recklessly? When the EFCC approached the Court for interim order, who did it say has the recovered money? Can we say it lied on oath? The matter has become a national embarrassment as different persons and bodies are now claiming the money. If the money belongs to NIA, which is a possibility, was the EFCC not expected to have known, if it did its investigation, at least basic investigation, before going to the media? 
Ironically, we are in a country where considered opinions are dubbed opposition. The EFCC needs to overhaul itself. The fight against corruption is a must for our national security and development. However, it must be fought within the law and by those who have the integrity and the capacity too.

​OKEY NDIBE AND MAKING NIGERIA GREAT – MY VIEW


This morning I read Okey Ndibe’s statement after he was quizzed by the State Security Services. I remember that I read his post sometime where he stated that a relation was, a kind of, pleading with him to stay away from visiting for now to avoid being detained. He wondered why. We all know that he is not a criminal or enemy of the State. He is just a man of ideas. In the statement, he stated that his name was placed in the SSS Watch List in 2010 during the Yar’Adua administration. I was taken aback. Eleven years after people like Okey Ndibe opposed the military and forced the military to usher in democracy by force of ideas, not arms, that a civilian regime would place him on a security  Watch List. This is sorrowful. 

I am strengthened by the concluding part of his statement that ‘Fear is a choice, I ‘ve chosen not to fear.” I have opposed fighting free speech because it is a feature of tyranny. Okey Ndibe was quizzed for exercising his right to free speech. He is not an enemy of the country. He is rather a patriot pushing for viable and contemporary alternatives to make Nigeria great. What is offence? Let the DSS tell us. 
It is so embarrassing and irritating  that successive governments in the country indulge in all forms of repressive tactics against free speech. They forget that free speech is sine qua non and key to national development. If we are to develop as a country, the citizens should freely express themselves as how to fix the country. Development is a product of thinking. Ideas, they say, rule the World. It is worthless to think when you cannot express your thoughts. So, if we are serious as a country, we should let the country be a market of competing ideas. This is strength, not crisis. We know when a speech is seditious. Who is more seditious in speech in this country than our politicians who are now politrickians. I therefore call on the SSS to remove the name of Okey Ndibe from its Watch List. His name on the list serves no security purpose. We need more patriotically clear headed and vocal Nigerians like him expressing themselves on the viable way to go for our country. Our people need more critical and alternative ideas on nation building. Let the choice be that of the people. Nigerians are capable of making the right choice. When a people choose the path to go, they walk it with tenacity and audacity. The result is always enviable. Nigeria needs ideas to move forward. 
Good morning Nigeria! You are destined for greatness.

KILLINGS BY FULANI HERDSMEN IN NIGERIA 


ON THE RECENT KILLING OF THREE MOBILE POLICE MEN BY FULANI HERDSMEN IN ADAMAWA STATE
According to the Adamawa State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, the attack was carried out by fulani militia. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) stated as follows: “Fulani militia attacked the three villages and we lost three of our gallant MOPOL while two are missing.”
This is interesting. So, the fulani herdsmen have militia or are militia too? This is not permitted in law. A militia is an armed group. One will ask: is it the reason why the violent activities and acts of the fulani herdsmen are on the increase and more brazen now? Also, the perpetrators of the killings and destruction of properties during the attacks appear to be invincible or untouchable. It simply means that attacks by the herdsmen are now carefully planned, coordinated and executed. They are not by ordinary herdsmen. The operations are therefore professional and not rag tag.
If truth must be told, it is beyond dispute that the violent activities and acts of the herdsmen constitute gross threat to our national security. The Federal Government must come clear on this. 
Ironically, it is not so considered by all rational indicators. The approach of government has remained to, in a sublime manner, describe the violent attacks of herdsmen as act of self defence or provocation. Next is for efforts to be made to placate them. The allegation of their cattle being stolen or killed by rustlers is given premium over the killing of persons and destruction of properties. 
I do not support cattle rustling, it is a criminal act and should be condemned and punished. The issue is: should it be a justification for herdsmen to kill and maim people, and destroy properties? Rustling being a crime, should it not for the herdsmen to take their complaints to the law enforcement agencies to carry out their investigative and prosecutorial duties under the law? Is it right and proper for the herdsmen to take the laws in their hands? Or, is armed self help now permitted? The lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government to the violent armed activities of the fulani herdsmen is not health. 
Good conscience dictates that the increasing wave of armed violence by herdsmen is halted. The killings of the Southern Kaduna people are yet to be resolved, there are now killing of three Police men by herdsmen in Adamawa State.  The killings should not just be condemned by the Federal Government, they should be halted.
The solution, however, is not to acquire the land of other Nigerians, under any guise, and handing same over to the herdsmen.

    THE RATING OF LIVES OF NIGERIANS NOW


    Adesina disappointed me. Many Nigerians feel the same way. We may, however, be wrong. His interview potrayed the rating of the right to life of Nigerians. The PMB administration has not been bold and decisive in several situations of senseless and unlawful killings of Nigerians.
    Interestingly, I recollect that when there was a wave of cattle rustling, Mr. President’s voice was clearly heard and he took urgent action to halt same and which step is still effective till date. 
    Ironically, there is now mass killing of an ethno-religious section of Kaduna State, and Adesina, from his statement, has told said it all: that it is inconsequential for Mr. President to speak out against it. We are in interesting period of our national history. 
    I shudder that Mr. President has not been heard and no action has been taken by him. Nigerians should jettison pretence and say: Mr. President you failed on this and urge him to discharge his duty to protect the lives and properties of the ethnic people of Southern Kaduna. He is bound by the Constitution of our country to protect lives and properties of every Nigerian, regardless of backgrounds. 
    I must state that the ongoing wave of religious and ethno-religious killings in this country, if not geuinely halted, could throw span into our collective dream. The Federal Government by its unexplainable inaction is not reassuring and inspiring hope to all. This is bad.
    My position remains that whenever a Nigerian is unlawfully killed – whether a Christian, or a Moslem or or an atheist, or a self determination campaigner or right to worship campaigner, etc and no matter the part of the country the killing is: whether in Southern Kaduna, or Igboland, or Tivland, or Borno, or Ekiti, wherever, we must all rise to say no. The life of every Nigerian must be respected and honoured.
    We must stop politicizing matters of killings of fellow citizens. We are simply destroying our advocacy fo national integration and unity. We cannot be taken serious when fear, insecurity and deprivation pervade the nation. It is painful that our leaders do not see Nigeria, they merely see their ethnic stock. This has been the major challenge of leadership in the country. 
    Let us respect the right to life of all persons in the country. You may spine some excuses, be sure that our consciences and posterity will  judge us!

    GOVERNMENT AND ABUSE OF WORKERS’ RIGHTS IN NIGERIA


    • The issue of owing workers and pensioners in this country has assumed a wide dimension. It is not confined to the States or their appendage called Local Government Councils, the Federal Government is becoming part and parcel of the inhuman team. Many federal civil servants were not paid their December 2016 salary. We cannot continue in this evil path. How many Governors are being owed? Is Mr. President being owed his December 2016 salary and allowances?  These men are feed by our common wealth and are not being owed. Why? 
    • The Government must know that none payment of salary to workers and pensioners constitutes threat to their lives and also an inducement to corruption.  How do you expect them survive and take care of their families? What message are you sending to their children and numerous dependants? Hunger and fear of hunger can lure a person into corruption. This is truth of life. I am not justifying corruption. However, I like being real. We must learn to clear or reduce the things that make corription posdible. This is the most potent way of fighting corription. You do not fight corruption by unleashing hunger on the populace. Abiola, in his life time, said that “hunger is a buffalo.” This is true. There is also a saying that a hungry person is an angry person. Don’t let the citizens fight for their survivals like buffalos.
    • We cannot build a new Nigeria and/or inspire  patriotism into our people when our leaders are insensitive and inhuman though pretending to be for us. Future will tell!  
    • I plead with the Government to pay workers and pensioners. It is their right under the law, and nor a privilege or favour.

    NIGERIA ARMY TO REAR CATTLE – NOT RIGHT


    One of our challenges as a country is that the persons who drive the formation of policies easily lose focus and direction and this accounts for the monumental wreckages we record in each administration. They get so fixated in the pursuit of certain issues that they abandon bigger and more important and/or pressing national issues.

    It is not in dispute that insecurity is one big issue that has been threatening the life of our country. We are still grappling with it. It is not yet uhuru for us. The army has been battling to overcome the threat, but the situation is not yet calm.

    One point that has clearly emerged from our fighting terror is that our army is not well-equipped and our soldiers are not well motivated. The situation might have improved now, but not overwhelming. I strongly believe that what should be our focus and concern for now, is how to make our army more professional and more proficient to safeguard the country ready as global insecurity also increases. For me, anyother concern is a deliberate distraction and also not in the national interest.

    The Nigeria Army has a constitutional mandate which is to protect and defend the territorial integrity of our country from external aggression. To realize this, there is need for a modern, professional, well equipped and motivated army. This ought to be our focus for now. The country does not need cattle rearing army; as cattle rearing by the army is not a priority now.

    I view of our experience as a country, we may pause and ponder over the following questions: where is the assurance that if the cattle rearing scheme is allowed, it will not turn out another big conduit pipe? Also, will it turn out another strategy for forceful land grab from the citizens? Why the Army, not Police or Civil Defence who are more civil in orientation?

    I believe that our farmers have not failed us. Despite, the harsh realities of our day, they have continued to toil to feed the nation. The farmers need the support of the government to produce more, but this is not forthcoming in concrete terms. It is a huge challenge. There are no sufficient incentives and great efforts to introduce modern healthy agricultural practices and models to our farmers. The government is not meaningfully engaging our farmers and our agricutural research centres to do more. I am sincerely convinced that the solution does not lie in turning our soldiers into herdsmen and women. We need a better deal for our soldiers.

    It is important to point out that there is not much revenue from engaging in cattle rearing or anyother agricultural activity, if the value chain is in the hands of foreign investors. Until our government starts to think local, we will continue to run around in an endless circle. Have we tried to ask: how many beef canning industries do we have in Nigeria? How many of them are owned by Nigerians alone? We produce for foreign investors to make money, while we go borrowing and sorrowful.

    Food security is possible in Nigeria, if our leaders realize that our development and growth should be anchored on our efforts and ingenuity and not turning our soldiers into cattle rearers. The cattle rearing push by the army should be discouraged. It is unnecessary. I hope that the hierarchy of our Army has been misquoted on this.