Is INEC Maltreating Youth Corpers?

A youth corper posted a picture on Facebook depicting their plight in the name of helping with elections. They allege that their training allowance was not paid by INEC. Are the youths still being empowered under this administration? 

Esther Banda posted: 

This was where we slept (CORPERS), outside at the INEC office in IZI LGA of Ebonyi State, the cold was something else some slept while sitting, some slept on suck away

The most painful thing is that the training allowance was not paid and the election has been postponed. NIGERIA NIGERIA NIGERIA!!!!!

NDIC Warns Against Digital Currencies-“Digital Currencies Are Unregulated”

This is a warning from the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) regarding the use of digital currencies. According to NDIC, the publication of the warning was necessitated due to the concern of the National Assembly and the general public on the digital currency proliferation. The risks are highlighted below:


In view of the concerns expressed by the National Assembly and the general public about the incursion of Digital Currencies, the NDIC is issuing this warning to the users, holders and traders in Digital Currencies, including Bitcoins, Zcash, Monero and Litecoin, about the possible financial, operational, legal and security related risks that they are exposing themselves to.

Digital currencies are unregulated electronic forms of monetary value that can act as means of payment. A digital currency has no physical form and it is not issued by any central authority and is thus exempted from government support. It is not created, issued or guaranteed by a central bank. Digital Currencies are also referred to as Virtual or Crypto Currencies. Specifically, digital currencies are:
i. Neither currencies nor coins offered by any central bank like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or a Central Bank of any other country with authority to issue such currency.
ii. Not backed by any physical commodity, such as gold.
iii. Not deposits or instruments authorised by the CBN.
iv. Not insured by the NDIC.

i. Consumers are not protected when using digital currencies for payments
Digital currency ‘units or accounts’ are not recognised by the CBN and are not insured by the NDIC unlike bank accounts. There is no protection, refund rights or redress for users of digital currencies.

ii. Consumers can lose all their money due to Loss or Theft
Digital currencies are virtual money, stored in electronic medium called e-wallets and are vulnerable to losses due to loss of password, hacking, virus/malware attack etc. The loss of the wallet could result in the permanent loss of the digital currencies held in them.
iii. High price changes that could lead to zero value of the currency quickly
The inherent instability in the rates because digital currencies are not issued or backed by any government, with no investor protection and are not protected by deposit insurance. This exposes the users to potential complete loss of value.

iv. Absence of Authorised Exchange Platforms
Digital currencies are traded on exchanges established in various jurisdictions with unclear legal status. Consequently, the users of these platforms are exposed to financial, operational and legal risks.

v. Misuse for criminal activities
It has being widely reported that digital currencies are used in illicit activities in several jurisdictions, including unintentional breaches of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) laws.

vi. Negative Opinion of Digital Currencies by the world’s central banker
The head of the Bank for International Settlements labelled Bitcoin as “a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme” and, due to the energy consumption required for mining it, an “environmental disaster”.

vii. Negative Opinion of Digital Currencies by the head of the World Bank
The head of the World Bank compared crypto-currencies to “Ponzi schemes,”….. “In terms of using Bitcoin or some of the crypto-currencies, we are also looking at it, but I’m told the vast majority of crypto-currencies are basically Ponzi schemes,” according to World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

i. Bangladesh, Nepal, Ecuador, Bolivia and Iceland and Morocco have all banned Bitcoin in their territories.
ii. South Korea, a global centre for crypto-currency trading, said it would ban anonymous trading of virtual currencies.
iii. China’s Central Bank barred financial institutions from taking part in digital currency as well as exchange trading of Bitcoin.
iv. The European Banking Authority banned financial institutions from buying, selling or holding digital currencies.
v. The central banks of India and Mexico have issued a warning on the use of digital currencies.
vi. The central bank of Russia are “…totally opposed to private money, no matter if it is in physical or virtual form”.

In 2017, the CBN issued a Circular warning Nigerians against the use of digital currencies, including bitcoin, ripples, litecoin. The CBN stated that:
“The CBN reiterates that VCs such as bitcoin, ripples, monero, litecoin, dogecion, onecoin, etc., and similar products are not legal tenders in Nigeria.”
The CBN directed banks to “Ensure that you do not use, hold, trade and/or transact in any way in virtual currencies.”

The NDIC has equally warned banks and Nigerians, through several platforms to stay away from digital currencies because the Corporation does not provide insurance cover to risks and loses associated with trading in any form of currency not issued by the CBN.


Senator Ben Bruce Recommends Using Anambra State As A Case Study


en Murray-Bruce, a senator representing Bayelsa East is still on his message on using Anambra State’s efforts in improving social measures as a model for Federal and State governments. Senator Bruce who is one of the most out-spoken political figures in the country has been advocating that Federal and State governments study what Anambra State is doing to be successful in education and other social measures. The Senator said Anambra has been leading the rest of the States in West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in recent years and has continued to meet its statutory obligation of paying state workers’ salary despite getting limited federal allocation.
He said: “The Federal Government and other states should study what Anambra state has been doing right and replicate it nationally.”
The full statement posted on his Facebook account is below:
“The nation with the largest reserves of crude oil in the world is Venezuela. If crude oil could save any nation, then certainly Venezuela would be that nation.
However, the desperate economic decline in Venezuela, the nation with the world’s largest oil wealth under her ground is a warning to Nigeria. We must look beyond oil or we are at risk of experiencing the same fate.
My people consider that nations like the US and UK who used to buy Nigeria’s oil no longer buy our oil…. As a matter of fact, America now plans to sell her own oil. In other words our buyers are now our competitors.
Currently, royalties from oil accounts for 90% of our total government spending. Many people have said that this means without oil Nigeria could not function.
Perhaps this thinking is itself the problem.
Let us take the case of Anambra state and make it a test state for how we could possibly get out from the oil boom and bust cycle.
Anambra is not an oil producing state in that it does not have oil in commercial quantities yet it does not take loans or owe workers salary.
According to the United Nations, Anambra has one of the lowest poverty rates in Nigeria at 11.2% which places her ahead of 33 states.
Twenty years ago Anambra and other Southeast states lagged in education and had poor boy child school enrollment, but today Anambra leads the nation in WASSCE results.
For the past three years Anambra has had over 60% pass rates in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
They have made the best improvements in education in the whole nation and the state government even supports private schools financially.
But look at those states that thrive by depending solely on federal allocation. They are broke, cannot pay salaries and are so debt ridden, banks will not lend to them any more. Worst of all is that these states are performing woefully in education.
There is something to be learned from Anambra. Is it their policy? Is it their budgeting practice? Is it their sense of community? Whatever it is, it is working!
The Federal Government and other states should study what Anambra state has been doing right and replicate it nationally.
Anambra proves that Nigeria does not need oil to thrive. What Nigeria needs to thrive is education. What is under the ground of this nation is chicken change compared to what is between the ears of our people.
My name is Ben Murray-Bruce and I just want to make Commonsense!”



10 Things Men Shouldn’t Assume (When it comes to Women)

10 Things Men Shouldn’t Assume (When it comes to Women)
1.      Never assume because you have a woman over for a drink at your place that she’ll like to have sex with you immediately after. She may only be looking to have somebody mature enough to chat with.
2.      Never assume because she is standing next to you in the lift wearing a slip of blouse that accentuates her breasts that she’s meaning to get laid by any fellow as cool as you.
3.      Never assume because your female colleague pokes you in the ribs over your jokes that she’d be an easy lay – or that her hubby barely titillates her in all the right places.
4.      Never assume because she lets you grind your crotch against her on the dimly lit dance floor that she’s sharing your kind of fantasy of both of you lying naked in bed.
5.      Never assume because she laughs too unabashedly that she is the type of woman any guy can lure into bed within a blink of an eye.
6.      Never assume because she acts rather too reticent that she’s merely affecting a hide-and-seek to get you coming after her.
7.      Never assume because you see a group of girls drinking coolly by themselves that they’ve something against men – they are queer by all means.
8.      Never assume that the charming woman staring across the room is making a pass at you, for she just might be figuring out the shape of your head.
9.      Never assume because you’re fond of sneaking a few banknotes in the palm of the teenage girl who often serves you drinks at your favorite bar that she’ll come rushing over to your crib once you ask.
10.  Never assume because a girl likes to Facebook or Instagram a photo of her in a slinky bikini that she is baring her flesh invitingly for men only.

Visionless Governance: Mr. Governor What Will Be Your Legacy?

When people aspire to govern in most of the Western nations, they come up with plans to leave a strong legacy for their people. However, in Nigeria and most of Africa the political leaders come in with a plan to line their pockets and by so doing attempt to enrich their families for generations. This has been described by some psychological thinkers as the fear of poverty or what could be called “povertyphobia”.

The people of Nigeria have had democracy now for the longest stretch ever in their history and for a lot of people it is a good thing because the nihilistic, despotic, and fraudulent era of military occupation of our governance is gone and we hope forever. It will be wrong to assess governance in Nigeria and its states prior to civilian democracy as the military dictators with their conquering mentality could not have aimed at any legacy. Since 1999, we have had governance in all 36 states of the federation by democratically elected governors. The rendition today is a total failure of governance in most of the states given the current inability of most states in the federation to meet their statutory obligations to civil and public servants in their payroll. While some states owe as much as nine months arrears of salaries, some owe a little less and only a few like Anambra and Lagos have been able to meet civil servants monthly wages. This is a shame!

Another index that could be measured is education with the pass rate of secondary school students in WASC and NECO. Within the last four years, Anambra has remained top two, finishing tops on three occasions. In the most recent result, Abia came first, followed by Anambra and all the Southeastern states made top 10 (5th Imo, 9th Enugu and 10th Ebonyi), with only Lagos from the Southwest, Edo 3rd, Rivers 4th, Bayelsa 7th and Delta 8th from the South-south. Ekiti State and Ondo State were the 11th and 13th respectively. The 10 bottom performing states were all from the northern regions except for Osun state which has been mired with religious issues introduced to their schools by the current governor. This is indeed a reflection of poor governance. Mr. Peter Obi certainly left a legacy for Anambra state, he left it the best managed in terms of assets given the amount it generates and gets from the center. Only Mr. Babatunde Fashola comes next to him given that Lagos is performing well in education and its finances.

Globally, the states of the south-east have fared better than others, followed by south-south and then south-west (except for Osun which has the worst educational performance of any southern states and the worst debt owed civil servants). For the states of the south-east, in Anambra Mr. Willie Obiano must not only keep up with what was done by his predecessor, he has to leave his own legacy. In Enugu, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi must work to leave a legacy following the impressive development in the coal city and Enugu State roads by Mr. Sullivan Chime. Okezie Ikpeazu and David Umahi in Abia and Ebonyi respectively who are new after failed governance, must work on a legacy. Mr. Okorocha has his second term to show that he can do something for the highly cerebral Imolites. For the South-south, Mr. Adams Oshiomole is leaving and must make sure he does not negatively influence the succession processes, so that the state can make progress in the needed social developments.

Mr. Henry Dickson in his second term has to get rolling, and he’s done well in education, but has to do more work to set a legacy in managing the Bayelsa’s resources. Mr. Ezenwo Wike must reinvent Rivers and tap on the numerous resources of this state to leave a legacy and the same for Mr. Arthur Okowa in Delta. On the other hand, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom have to wake up to the charge for a legacy. In the southwest, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode will have to be at his best to give Lagosians a legacy.

Though Mr. Ayo Fayose in Ekiti has been roundly criticized by opponents, his state is only second to Lagos regarding education and in terms of debts owed civil servants he is much better than the very poor performing Governor Rauf Aregbeshola of Osun State. Mr. Fayose needs to be ingenious in finding ways to work on a legacy and though it is important for the strengthening of the country’s nascent democratic process for him to continue his critic of the center, he should devote more time to statesmanship. On the other hand, Mr. Aregbeshola needs a miracle otherwise his legacy will be leaving Osun State in the ranks of the worst third in Nigeria. For Ogun and Oyo State governors, they have been lackluster in performance and need to lift their games to be able to show credible legacies. All the other bottom half states of middle-belt, northeast, and northwest, show no evidence of good progress either in education or finances. However, for those governors who are new in the leadership of their state, it is an easier threshold to improve education and management of resources.


Growing our Sons with Words to Become Hard

The words we use on our children matter a lot. We can use words to either delight or displease them; or use words to heal or hurt them. Sometimes we use words angrily, other times we use them quite innocently. Even when we use words in innocent ways, we may not know that such words could actually harm our sons and daughters in the long run.
Some words stay with a child as he or she grows up. Some words find a way into our children’s heads or minds, shaping the kind of adult they would become eventually. If one keeps telling a girl she is a fool, there’s a chance that she will grow up believing she is one. Or even acting like a fool, indeed.
Words are neither completely innocent nor empty. Words have meaning, and it’s very important we know what kind of words to use on our children, we learn to use the right words when addressing children – whether we are telling them off or speaking our mind whenever we feel upset or let down by their actions or errors.
I remember watching a father telling his son to stop crying like a girl. I also remember hearing a mother telling her son, ‘Don’t you know you’re a boy – so why are you crying like a girl?’
Words like these have a long-term damaging effect on boys. When we utter such words, three or four things happen:
One, we are telling boys that crying is for girls. Don’t do it.
Second, we are telling them that any boy crying is weak and soft. Be strong, be hard.
Third, we are saying that crying is shameful. Something every boy should be ashamed of.
Four, we are saying that boys are emotionally different from girls. Boys don’t have emotions, girls do.
But we cannot deny the truth that both girls and boys, men and women, do experience emotions. Emotions are part of our human make-up: sadness, joy, love, anger, depression, loss, we experience each of these at different times, etc.
Therefore, when we tell boys to stop crying, we are conditioning them to hide their emotions. In time, boys stop themselves from crying openly. They begin to develop thick skin. They harden themselves and by so doing, they begin to dislike any boy who can’t help but cry if he has to.
Sadly enough, these boys grow up with this terrible mindset, harming not only themselves but other boys as well. You hear them telling each other, ‘Be a man, man up, stop acting like a woman,’ because while growing up they have been made to see crying as something no boy should be found doing. Some of these boys end up becoming bullies, or brutes, having long been socialised to act not like a girl, but hard.
In fact, what is wrong with a boy crying?
I remember attending a health seminar and the medical doctor reported that out of every 10 women he had diagnosed only 2 usually suffered high blood pressure. As for men, he discovered that 8 out of 10 were nursing high blood pressure. I found it alarming, but he said women tend to cry if they have to, but men, well, they bottle up emotions, however damaging, and live with the dreadful consequences.
So words are packed with meaning, some positive, some negative. We cannot determine how our sons or daughters will turn out eventually, given the pull of peer pressure and social influence, but at least we can decide what words we use on them to help them grow well emotionally.

Tragedy Of Dry Drowning:10 year-old Boy Who Drowned While Sleeping In 2008

The sad story of a 10-year old boy that drowned after going for a swim has resurfaced online. The initial broadcast of the story occurred in 2008, but it is a good reminder for parents this coming summer months to be careful and protect their children from this potential risk. Johnny died at home more than an hour after walking home from swimming and telling his mom that he was feeling weak. He went to sleep after complaining of weakness. The tragedy is a reminder that drowning does not only occur in water, it can happen after swimming.

Johnny’s mother Cassandra Jackson, told NBC news that “I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water.”

Dry and secondary drowning may occur when water gets deposited in the lungs, causing airways to shut-off. Symptoms may include tiredness, excessive coughing, paleness, and vomiting.


A Nigerian Church With A Mission To Build Free Schools In All States

A Nigerian church, Omega Power Ministries (OPM) has chosen a unique mission of building free schools that is making waves around the country. OPM, as it is popularly called, has a stated mission “to open free schools in every state of Nigeria so that the poor can go to school and crimes will reduce.” According to the post by OPM on social media, the church currently operates free schools in Port Harcourt, Eleme, Ohanku village in Ndoki, Abia State, and Bayelsa State and plans to open at least one free school in every State in Nigeria.

This is a powerful mission, considering that many new generation churches have come under severe attack for the lavish lifestyles their General Overseers live. Many of the church leaders own luxurious cars, private jets, and are quick to brag about their lavish lifestyle, which is in line with the “financial prosperity” gospel they ostentatiously espouse.

The idea of building quality free schools is bound to touch many lives as the rising cost of education deters many poor families from sending their children to school. By providing this opportunity to poor families, many children will benefit from it and will learn the skills and knowledge to be productive members of the society.

Moreover, the success of this mission brings hope of social mobility for the poor families that their children would otherwise not have gone to school. Children who live in poverty in Nigeria and other developing countries, face extreme barriers to education. Giving a child the opportunity of free quality education is an act of kindness that epitomizes the biblical teaching “love your neighbors as yourself.” They say, give a child education and change his/her  live forever. Education is power!

Nigeria Police Force Nabs Impostor

The Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has arrested Austine Okwuokei in Iponri, Lagos State. Mr. Okwuokei pretends to be a policeman and was caught in action extorting money from unsuspecting motorists. NPF reported that the impostor makes about N10,000 daily. Okwuokei will be charged to court.

NPF warned the general public through its Facebook post:

“The Lagos State Police Command is advising members of the public not to part with their money to anyone who claims to be a police officer or seen wearing police uniforms or resemblance of police uniform as the leadership of the force frowns at all forms of corruption.”

Anyone that witnesses such activity is encouraged to report to the Complaint Response Unit of the NPF.


The Wave Of Nigerian Military Brutality

It is no longer news that the Nigerian military invaded several communities in the Niger Delta area following the repeated bombing of pipelines and oil well facilities. In reality and shamefully, what should have been a police operation became a military offensive. The mindset of military dictatorship has continued in Nigeria and it seems from its heights in our democracy during the Obasanjo era, down in the Yaradua and Jonathan era, but up again in the current Buhari’s administration. The invasion of Oparoza community in Gbaramatu reminds us of that of Odi and Zaki Ibiam.

The reckless massacre by the Joint Task Force (JTF) made up of military and police, of Southeastern youths during their Biafra Day celebrations and that of Zaria massacre reminds one of a medieval era security approach. The peoples of Gbaramatu, of Onitsha, and of Zaria where these heinous killings have happened should and must take their cases to the International Criminal Court. Nigerians must say NO to the military shooting of unarmed citizens in Nigeria.