News Tue, 28 Mar 2017 11:54:54 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Nigeria's angry children of suicide By Reuben Abati Nigeria's angry children of suicide  By  Reuben Abati

I once wrote about Nigeria's "children of anger", but the country seems to have progressed from anger to clinical depression, resulting in a rise not merely in social aggressiveness, but a determination by certain individuals to escape from it all.

The percentage of Nigerians seeking escape through suicide nonetheless remains small relative to the size of the population, but the sharp increase in the number and frequency of reported suicides in the last two years alone speaks to a certain dysfunctionality requiring closer inquiry. 

      Suicide is an act of self-destruction, an escape from the self, an act of self-defeat. Whether the suicide is anomic or fatalistic, due to loss of job, broken relationships, dis-inhibition, economic deprivation, environmental factors, disability or psychosis, it usually arises from an awareness of the inadequacy of the self.  What Germans call "weltschmerz", that is, a discrepancy between personal expectations and the reality of personal space, which for many may result in anger, aggressiveness, a feeling of rejection, isolation, inadequacy and ultimately a revolt against the self. 

     It is often assumed that poverty is synonymous with this resolve to deconstruct the self but the highest suicide rates are actually found in countries with wealth, and better environment, and all ten of the most popular spots for suicide in the world are in developed countries. What is certain however regardless of the place and time, is that human beings decide to abbreviate their own mortality when they resolve that they can no longer live with the discrepancy between what they are and what they would like to be, or what they have been and what they have suddenly become or what they expect and what happens to them eventually, all of this basically in the context of the imagined stigma, shame, disgrace or disappointment.  

     What is instructive in our own circumstance, however, is that suicide has always been frowned upon in our society: It is forbidden by law, religion, society and tradition, to the extent that in local communities, persons who commit suicide are not given any decent burial, they are thrown into the evil forest to serve as a deterrence to others, and the affected family is stigmatized.  It is for this reason perhaps that suicide cases used to be very few in our land. Besides, Nigerians are known for their optimism and resilience. 

     We were once described as one of the happiest people on earth, and one Dictionary describes a segment of our population, the Yoruba as the "fun-loving people of the South West part of Nigeria."  Nigerians love life so much they describe virtually every funeral as a "celebration of life" and every life, including the poorest is advertised in funeral posters as "a life well spent." The cemetery is seen as a desolate, lonely, outside corner of the social space where no one is in a hurry to go.  But all that has changed; or appears to be changing, for in the last two years, suicide seems to have become fashionable among seemingly ordinary folks. 

     I use the phrase "seemingly ordinary folks" advisedly, because the other kind of suicide that is known to Nigerians remains even surprising, and I refer here to the terrorism, religious fundamentalism-inspired suicide attempts of the likes of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Boko Haram agents. When the news broke in 2009, that the former had been uncovered as a suicide bomber, Nigerians were shocked. The reaction then was that it was impossible for a Nigerian to willingly decide to die for, of all reasons, ideological or religious reasons. We were soon proven wrong when Boko Haram began to deploy both male and female, mature and teenage, suicide bombers who turned Nigeria into an extension of the killing fields of al-Qaeda. This trend continues, with the hope within the larger society, that it is something that would end someday. 

      What the emerging literature shows is that the conditions for every suicide vary in time and space, but in Nigeria, the reported cases point to too many cases of self-deconstruction on the basis of economic deprivation, loss of status, debt, helplessness. The responsibility of government is to ensure the security and welfare of the people. There has been a great failing in this regard, with the people driven further below their perceived reality, which reinforces the causative principle earlier defined. Some of the recently reported cases are as follows: a man ended it all because he could not give his wife "chop-money", another woman chose to die because she could not pay off her debts, in one week in Lagos, a doctor, two women and an elderly man chose the Lagoon as their death-spot. With the way the Lagos Lagoon has suddenly become a popular spot for suicide in Nigeria, it may well  in due course, become one of the most popular suicide spots in the world. 

       It is noteworthy, if I must say so, that the ten most popular suicide spots on earth are associated with the sea, and bridges, with perhaps the sole exception of the Aokigahara Forest-Mount Fuji in Japan where suicide rate is as high as 100 per year.  The Japanese may tolerate suicide and consider it supernatural, but here in Nigeria, it is a growing trend that should be discouraged.  Some priests have said the Lagos Lagoon is angry and that is why it has been attracting persons to jump into it: if indeed whatever spirit that controls the Lagoon is hungry, the Oba of Lagos and his chiefs should hurry up and feed that spirit with whatever it eats. I assume that this would be a more useful venture than the partisan declaration by the Oba of Lagos that nobody should contest against the incumbent Lagos State Governor in 2019!  But how about the other unreported causes of suicide, far away from the Lagoon? This is where the dilemma lies and where our constructive social theory, and the admissibility of every piece of evidence, empirical and customary, meets a brick-wall.      

      As a country, society and government, we would always have to deal with deviant behaviour, into which category suicide – the ultimate act of violence and rebellion against self and society falls in this particular context, what is crucial is society's level of preparedness to reduce the scope and range. In Nigeria, we are not prepared at all. When people fall into depression in other countries, they visit counselors and psychiatrists. In Nigeria, a prominent leader once dismissed psychology as a useless course that should be removed from the curriculum. Graduates of psychology end up doing something else, or they end up offering pro bono counseling on social media like my in-law, Joro Olumofin, but with people dying for no just reasons and jumping into the river or hanging themselves or killing their spouses and family members, this is a country in urgent need of professional counselors. Psychiatry is another relevant discipline that has been utterly neglected.

       I once gave a keynote address at the Psychiatric Hospital, Aro in Abeokuta and I was again Keynote Speaker at the 100th anniversary of Psychiatry in Nigeria.  Nothing has changed since then. We don't have enough psychiatric doctors or hospitals in Nigeria. The few psychiatric hospitals are poorly funded, psychiatric doctors are poorly treated, the discipline is disregarded, and yet this is a country of psychotic cases at all levels, the more serious cases are in government, making decisions that create more problems of bipolar disorder in the larger society.  Nigeria is a victim, like many other developing countries, of a one-sided embrace of globalization and its gains and evils. People watch TV and they are socialized into a new form of thinking that is disconnected with local values and culture. They become anti-heroes in the process. Suicide or attempted suicide has not fetched any one or any family any kind of honour in our society. 

    Given this sociology, greater attention needs to be paid to the increasing incidence of suicide, in the North and the South particularly, with the most vulnerable states properly identified and strategic intervention measures put in place.  A preliminary observation indicates that the most affected persons in the North are radical Islamic extremists used as pawns by the Boko Haram, while in the 10 most affected states in the South, the cause is basically existential.  This observation is based on reported cases, but with the increasing frequency, it is safe to hazard a guess that there are many more unreported cases, which may provide additional or different sociological conclusions. 

      Whatever the case may be, this rise of despair in the country needs to be managed. Suicide prevention hotlines have been announced, but the thought of suicide should be discouraged in the first place, through better governance, opportunities for professional counseling, and better management of mental health.  Most Nigerians don't even know who to go to, or talk to when they are depressed! And if they know, they don't want their private secrets to be known. When the suicide succeeds or fails, the relatives are in need of help: they will need counseling, to deal with the frustration and the shame. 

      I believe that suicide-related problems can be fixed.  The challenge is to convert the people's pessimism into optimism through people-centred governance and to deliver the much-expected, much-trumpeted change in their circumstances. Disappointment leads to frustration, to anger, to despondency, to losses, to despair and ultimately to self-destruction for the weak-hearted.  But suicide is not a solution. And to those who doubt this, Teebliz, Tiwa Savage's husband is a living testimony.  Not too long ago, he wanted to jump into the Lagoon. He said his wife, the award- winning singer, had disappointed him. He accused her of many better-unmentioned-again-things. He could not take it anymore and he wanted to self-destruct.  

      His suicide attempt was more or less televised, because it was everywhere on social media - it is not every suicide that is so televised- eventually he was prevented from taking the plunge, and he raved and ranted afterwards and then went quiet. Months later, he has been shown taking photographs with the same woman for whom he wanted to play a Romeo without a Juliet.  In their most recent outings, they have been shown with their son, Jamil who looks like his father's twin, and last weekend, the boy had his Christening at a church in Lekki. Teebliz has been pictured bonding with his son and beaming with fatherly pride. 

      If he had jumped into the Lagoon when he wanted to do so, he would have been long dead and forgotten. But Teebliz looks much happier now, and deep within him, he must be grateful to the persons who did not allow him to jump.  He must be particularly happy seeing his son growing up into a fine young kid. There is nothing in this life that cannot be fixed and there lies the futility of suicide. 

]]> (Super User) Top Stories Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:07:16 +0000
Dino Melaye taunts detractors in new video Dino Melaye taunts detractors in new video

In all the controversy around Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West has released a video  singing, dancing and taunting perceived enemies.

The video was posted on Youtube shortly after Ibrahim Garba, vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, told a senate panel that he graduated from the university as Jonah Daniel Melaye with a Third Class in BA Geography. 

"You speak the truth you die, you lie you die, I Dino Melaye,  have  chosen to speak the truth and die".

An elated Melaye then sang and danced In the video, singing in Yoruba language: Aje ku iya ni oje, ajeku iya ni o je, eni ti o to ni na, ton de na de ni, which translates as “you will be beaten mercilessly, "you will be beaten mercilessly,  if you fight someone who is more powerful than you”, "You will be beaten mercilessly".

Watch Video below

]]> (Super User) Top Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:08:38 +0000
1/3 of Jailed Journalists Are Held in Turkey 1/3 of Jailed Journalists Are Held in Turkey

The international non-governmental organisation Amnesty International has called on Turkey’s government to stop its repressions against the media and to release jailed journalists in the country, reported Voice of America, cited by Focus agency.


“At the moment, Turkey is jailing more journalists than any other country. One-third of all jailed journalists in the world are being held in Turkey,” stated an announcement by the organisation.

“These repressions must end. Journalists must be allowed to do their job because journalism is not a crime,” added Amnesty International.


]]> (Super User) Top Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:11:25 +0000
Convicted former governor of Adamawa Ngilari released from prison after serving just 20 days out of 5 years sentence Convicted former governor of Adamawa Ngilari released from prison after serving just 20 days out of 5 years sentence

Convicted former Governor of Adamawa State, James Ngillari has been released from prison after serving just 20 days out of his 5 years sentence. He was granted bail on health ground. 

Ngillari was found guilty on all five counts of conspiracy to award contract amounting to the tune of N167,812,500 for the purchase of 25 units of operational official vehicles for the state without compliance with due process.

Justice Nathan Musa less than three weeks ago said his conviction of the former Governor on section 58(5) of the Public Procurement Acts, saying “the law hands of the laws are tied to convict any person found guilty of breach of procurement acts to be sentenced to less than five years imprisonment.

He said, “The convict is sentenced to a cumulative sentence of five years, cumulatively on all the five counts to any jail in this country of his choice. But, in the meantime, he will be held here in the Yola Prison.”


Musa said that the former governor would enjoy his bail pending the determination of his Appeal.


Ngilari, having appealed the sentence, went back to the same court that convicted him, and asked for bail, pending the determination of his Appeal.


Justice Musa, after listening to arguments of counsel to Ngilari, Mr Sam Olugunorisa (SAN) and that of EFCC, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, in the motion for bail pending Appeal, granted Ngilari’s request.


The bail plea was supported by a medical report on Ngilari, from Yola Prison, which indicated that the former governor had been under intensive medical management.


The report, signed by Mr John Bukar, a Deputy Comptroller in charge of Health, stated that Ngilari had diabetes, hypertension and insomnia.


It said that Ngilari, who had been referred to Canada Specialist Hospital in Dubai, for evaluation and management, had blood pressure that was rising between 180/110 MMHG to 190/120 MMHG.



]]> (Super User) Top Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:24:51 +0000
Dino graduated from ABU, says VC Dino graduated from ABU, says VC

The vice-chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Mr Ibrahim Garba  Monday disclosed that embattled senator Dino Melaye,  representing Kogi west, is a graduate of the school.


He said this while fielding questions from the senate committee on ethics.

“From the records, distinguished senator Dino Melaye graduated as Daniel Jonah Melaye during the 3rd semester with a 3rd class degree,” he said.


]]> (Super User) Trending Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:47:23 +0000
Corruption protests sweep Russia; Putin opponent arrested Corruption protests sweep Russia; Putin opponent arrested

Thousands of demonstrators across Russia marched Sunday to protest corruption in the government of President Vladimir Putin, and the opposition leader was among hundreds arrested.


Alexei Navalny was among about 500 people arrested in Moscow, police said in a statement. Navalny was charged with violating an administrative code regulating public gatherings and faced a possible fine, community service or administrative detention, the state-owned TASS news agency reported. Most of those detained were released within hours, police said.

"Many people were detained today," Navalny tweeted, warning the "thieves" that "we are millions."

Scores of protests, promoted by Navalny and his Foundation for Fighting Corruption, (FBK), targeted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a right-hand man of Putin who served as the nation's president from 2008 to 2012. Navalny accuses Medvedev of amassing yachts, vineyards and country estates through a string of financial schemes and fake companies.

Protesters, some hanging from light polls, shouted slogans, including "Down with Putin!" and "Putin is a thief!"

Navalny tweeted Sunday: "70 billion rubles stolen (by) Medvedev, and now there is a search in the office of FBK. That's why rallies across Russia." The equivalency of 70 billion rubles is more than $1 billion.

The success of the protests comes as vindication of sorts for Navalny, a lawyer and blogger who heads Russia's Progress Party. Last month he was convicted of embezzlement in a highly publicized case that he dismissed as a government-generated sham. He was sentenced to five years in prison. His sentence was suspended, but the conviction could complicate his plans to oppose Putin in the 2018 presidential election.

Navalny was arrested while walking from the subway to the demonstration, the Associated Press reported.

"Guys, it's okay with me," he tweeted. "You do not have to beat me. Walk along Tverskaya. Our today's topic — the fight against corruption."


]]> (Super User) Top Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 02:37:24 +0000
Paris Club Scandal: More evidence reveals Saraki influenced N19b, $183,000 diversion of funds Paris Club Scandal: More evidence reveals Saraki influenced N19b, $183,000 diversion of funds

Fresh report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission reveals that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and some of his aides diverted about N19bn from the N522bn Paris Club refund.


According to the report, apart from the NGF, others under investigation include the Relationship Manager to the Senate President in Access Bank, Kathleen Erhimu.

Some others under probe and identified as Saraki’s aides include Obiora Amobi, Gbenga Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Idowu.

The report alleges that sometimes in December, Saraki introduced ex-bank MD, Mbonu, to Erhimu. Mbonu is a former Managing Director of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, the commercial bank owned by the Saraki family which was later liquidated.

Others at the meeting were Saraki’s aforementioned aides.

It added that sequel to the meeting, the sum of N3.5bn was lodged into Melrose General Services Company account number 0005892453, domiciled in Access Bank from the Nigeria Governors Forum on December 14.

The report stated that two of Saraki’s aides, Obiora Amobi and Gbenga Makanjuola, were introduced to Access Bank as representatives of Melrose General Services Limited by Mbonu to enable them to make cash withdrawals from the account.

It added that Amobi and Makanjuola made cash withdrawals in various tranches of N5m and N10m.

The report reads in part, “Based on the foregoing findings, it is clear that Robert Mbonu, the Managing Director of Melrose General Services Company and his company were used to help divert proceeds of unlawful activities under the guise of payment for contractual obligations with the Nigeria Governors Forum.

“Suffice to apprise that all payments received by Melrose General Services Company from the NGF have hitherto been diverted directly via cash withdrawals and indirectly through transfers by Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu, who are principal aides to the Senate President.

“Furthermore, other payments from Melrose General Services Company have also been linked to companies that Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest in and carries out transactions with.

“This includes the sum of $183,000, which was transferred to Bhaska Devji Jewellers, Dubai, a company Dr. Bukola Saraki had repeatedly made payments to.

 “Also, the sum of N200m was transferred to Wasp Networks Limited that subsequently transferred the sum of N170m to Xtract Energy Services Limited, a company that routinely made deposits into Dr. Saraki’s Access Bank US Dollar Domiciliary account.”

]]> (Super User) Top Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 01:11:34 +0000
Kaduna airport posts record 43,000 in passenger traffic in 11 days Kaduna airport posts record 43,000 in passenger traffic in 11 days

...10,000 passengers take FG's free bus shuttle between Abuja & Kaduna airports

The Kaduna international airport broke a record in passenger traffic in its first 11 days of operations as the alternative to the Abuja Airport, according to the latest data submitted to the Presidency by the Federal Government Coordinating Committee overseeing the management of the Airport repair, closure and relocation..

More than 43,000 passengers passed through the Kaduna Airport more than the 41,000 passengers it recorded in the entire first quarter of 2015, and the 21,000 in the first quarter of 2016.

Also, during this period, about 10,000 passengers took advantage of the free Bus Shuttle organized by the Federal Government to transport passengers between the Abuja and Kaduna Airports.

The free Bus Shuttle conveys passengers between Abuja and Kaduna Airports, starting at the Abuja Airport at 6 o'clock in the morning, and at the Kaduna Airport from 8 a.m. The Shuttle takes 3 hours from Airport to Airport, and runs every 30 minutes, until the arrival of the last daily flight in Kaduna.

The Shuttle is in addition to the Federal Government's free Train Service between Abuja and Kaduna. The two-and-half-hour Train Service departs Abuja's Idu Station for Kaduna at 6 a.m., 11.55 a.m. and 5.45 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; and departs Kaduna's Rigasa Station for Abuja at 9 a.m., 2.50 p.m. and 8.40 p.m.

The Abuja Airport runway was closed for operations on Wednesday March 8, 2017, to enable the reconstruction of the entire runway. Originally constructed in 1982, the runway has, until now, seen no repair works, despite the fact that it was built to last no more than 25 years. The reconstruction, being carried out by Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, has since commenced, and is now in its third week – halfway into the planned six weeks.

"The reconstruction is going according to schedule, and we are fully confident that the Abuja Airport will reopen after six weeks, as planned," said a top presidency official involved in the presidential supervision of the airport closure and oversight, adding that the Aviation Minister of State Hadi Sirika, in particular has been working diligently to minimize the inconvenience caused by the closure.
After the Abuja Airport reopens for operations on April 19, upgrade works on the runway will continue for another 18 weeks. This second phase of upgrade works on the runway will be carried out at night, with no disruption to flight schedules, the Presidency official further disclosed.

The source added that a media tour to allow reporters observe and assess the progress on the Abuja Airport runway repair will hold this week, as the repair is about its mid-point on Weenesday.
]]> (Super User) Top Stories Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:42:15 +0000
FG unveils vision to turn illegal refiners to shareholders of proposed modular refineries FG unveils vision to turn illegal refiners to shareholders of proposed modular refineries

Per Second News---The federal government Sunday reveals plan to sell crude oil directly to illegal oil refiners, Per Second News gathered.


Under the plan being considered in the presidency, the Federal Government could supply crude to the local refineries at a reasonably considered price, as an incentive to stop the current practice whereby the illegal refiners vandalise and steal the crude. This concept would also prevent environment degradation  and trunklines damage caused by spills.

The idea being worked out will explore how some of the illegal refiners and the local communities in the region can become shareholders in the proposed Modular refineries concept of the Federal Government, presidency sources disclosed.

A modular refinery is a refinery made up of smaller and mobile parts- (skid-mounted)- that are more easily fabricated and can be more quickly transported to site. They come in different sizes with varying capacities normally lower capacity than conventional refineries with more elaborate and complication set-up.

The consideration going on now is subsequent to the promises made by the Federal Government during the presidential interactive engagements in several oil-producing States led by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to integrate the illegal refiners, rather than a scorched-earth policy that seeks to eliminate the operations of such refiners.

But sources explain that there are a number of significant hurdles to be crossed especially issues around the engineering and technical ramifications of such a conversion, besides figuring out the financial models that would be workable and profitable.

However, specific consideration on how to integrate local "illegal" refiners in the oil-producing communities into the Federal Government's proposed modular refinery concept is now in progress with the Presidency and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Agency, NSIA, spear-heading efforts.

At a meeting late last week at the Presidential Villa, issues around technical and engineering implications of how to integrate the refiners were discussed with industry experts and practitioners making presentations on how to implement the Buhari presidency modular refinery initiative said to have been first proposed by Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

At the meeting the experts reported that they have worked closely with the NNPC, Oil & Gas operators, owners of marginal fields, operators of refineries and various technical services providers "to develop a workable system to develop this initiative," a presidency source disclosed.

Also, marginal field operators can also supply crude to the new modular refineries that would have the illegal refiners integrated.

Presidency spokesperson Mr. Laolu Akande, confirmed that a meeting was held last week on the issue adding that the Buhari presidency is actively working on all fronts to speedily deliver on its promise of a 'new vision,' in the Niger Delta.

Another important component of the plan under consideration is to involve the current illegal refiners and their communities as shareholders while the NDDC and the NSIA will also hold substantial holdings/equity sufficient to make the smaller refineries operational as a business and a going concern.

To facilitate effective community engagements, an MOU would be established under the plan with the affected communities determining the communities share, while the FG would supervise the implementation, which would be driven largely by industry operators and the communities.



]]> (Super User) Top Stories Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:44:06 +0000
Soyinka calls for Buhari to release his medical records Soyinka calls for Buhari to release his medical records

Prof. Wole Soyinka is demanding president Muhammadu Buhari release his medical records.


“He’s ill, there’s no question, and I wish for heaven’s sake that people in public positions would just be honest, Soyinka said in Paris over the week-end.

 "Illness is part of our existence. Buhari owes it to the nation and I don’t know why he and his advisors are being so coy about it,” Soyinka told AFP.

President Muhammadu Buhari, speaking to dignitaries in Abuja, after returning from seven weeks of medical leave in the UK, said that he has never been "so sick" as he has felt in recent weeks.

His absence led to some anxiety in the country with people speculating about the president's health.



]]> (Super User) Top Stories Sun, 26 Mar 2017 21:29:49 +0000