ONE: The Flood came: An estimate of 12 people died this week and more than 500 left homeless in the recent flood that hit Lagos, Kaduna, Delta and Kano states. Now that the rains have eased, the dead have been mourned; the next step is to review what happened and what is necessary to mitigate the looming unintended consequences of stagnate waters. The first step is to have a conversation about how such destruction can be prevented in the future. Knowing what went wrong and where, will help in preventing a recurrence of this devastation. The rains will come again, that we know. It is up to us to make sure she does not take with her Nigerian lives and livelihood. There is the government’s failure to enforce the regulation to leave all flood ways and drainage system open and functional. One can also point to the citizens who built structures across the gutters and buildings that cannot possibly pass standard tests. Some governments are doing their best to house the homeless in temporary shelters and provide basic needs in the mean time, but this is not uniform across the affected areas. The cost of the flood is already great. It will be even greater if the rainwater is allowed to stagnate enough to breed mosquitoes that will most likely lead to a malaria epidemic or the cholera bacteria that might lead to a cholera outbreak that will be largely uncontainable in mega cities like Lagos and Kano. Care must be taken as Nigeria attempts to move on from the devastation.
TWO: Boko Haram, Nigeria’s first terror franchise has evolved its marketing plan by tapping in to the technology of blogging. No Nigerian official has tried to verify whether the group truly runs the site and if so the location of the blogger. There are many tools available that will allow the authorities to figure out the identity of the blogger. There are civil rights concerns associated with such a move. However, one thing is clear, the organization feels increasingly safe and as such their hubris grows. This might lead to many more obvious errors that might finally allow the Nigerian authority to stop this growing trend.
THREE: In a rare case of responsiveness and professionalism, the Delta State chapter of the Nigerian Police force was able to save lives in the Oha Community. The anti-bomb unit of the state police force destroyed a petrol bomb that might have killed many if not for the fact that the victims called the police and the police responded on time. The country will be on the right path when such cases cease to be outliers.
FOUR: The cases of collapsed buildings increases everyday in various states. Lagos already has 2 major ones and Delta State just had a landslide remove more than 13 homes and properties in the Amachalla village, in Anambra State. Cross Rivers State had it’s own devastation last week. In response to the growing horror, the Lagos State government has requested the review of all structures in the state and ordered their demolition once they are found unsafe. He has also threatened to prosecute all building owners and property managers with criminal charges if their buildings are found to be dangerous. The government of Anambra might do well to learn from the Lagos example.
FIVE: Goodluck Jonathan’s new government has decided to move away from the precedent set by his predecessor of setting specific number of goals the particular government hopes to achieve. The new government has set ‘inclusiveness’ as its goal for the next four years and it adopted a transformation charter that is ostensibly meant to explain the goals of his administration, which is apparently to transform the ways the governess business is conducted. The presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, has expressed his excitement about the charter. He said the presidential team has been “energized about integrity, about efficiency and about the need to engage the Nigerian people and address all the issues that preoccupy them.” Nigerians are watching.
SIX: The ongoing fight to implement the Minimum Wage Act by the 36 states is finally resolved. The Nigerian Governor’s forum (NGF) finally decided as a group to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage requirement of the Minimum Wage Act last march. The NGF reached this resolution after many threats by various state governors not to pay the state workers this amount. Which led to a 3-day preliminary strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress.
SEVEN: The Borno State governor and legislators have requested an unconditional amnesty for the Boko Haram terrorist group. The request was supported by the precedence set by the amnesty granted to the Niger Delta Militants. The current amnesty program siphons billions of naira from the federal coffers annually and the result is mixed. While MEND still implements random bouts of destruction, their terror has lessen over time. One wonders if terrorism is the new strategy to get the Nigerian government to provide basic services it is contractually obligated to provide. This comes after the Borno State governor admitted to the Nigerian Army’s excess use of force in the institution’s counter terrorism campaign. It seems as if the Borno State’s strategy is to placate the terrorist enough to get them to the negotiating table. Time will tell if this strategy is good enough to reduce the security risk to the country so that we can refocus on developing the economic sector.
EIGHT: The state of the country and the sheer volume of the work that needs to be done to bring Nigeria a little closer to her potential can often get overwhelming. I bring to you, two fascinating editorials on important issues published this week. Uche Igwe writes about the horrific process of attempting to obtain a foreign visa in Nigeria here. Simon Kolawole’s piece on the structure of the Nigerian economy is illuminating yet accessible. These two articles are clear on the state of Nigeria and the way forward.
NINE: The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has reported that there are 20,000 Nigerian girls in Mali working against their will as prostitutes. The situation was discovered about a year ago and after some attempts to rescue the girls, the agency stated its inability to conduct the rescue operation. Unfortunately no one in the Nigerian government or the private sector has stepped up since and the girls are still being held against their will and her forced to be prostitutes in Mali. This is absolutely unacceptable.
TEN: Femi Akinde, the CEO of SlimTrader talks about his great new product here. The product is a platform that provides new e-commerce ventures an opportunity to market products and bring their concepts to scale. Enjoy.