ONE: The Lion lives on. Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is not dead.
TWO: A new law recently signed by the Lagos State governor dominated the news last week. The law proposes imprisonment or mandatory psychological monitoring as the punishment for men who abandon the women they impregnated. It is not clear what precisely this bill is meant to ameliorate. Criminalization has never been an agent of behavioral change and it certainly is not a deterrent for such. Further, a father in jail cannot pay for the cost of raising his child and as such, the cost of raising the child will shift to the mother or the state. In such a situation, no body wins. It is not too much to ask that public policy actually solve the problems it claims to address.
THREE: The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has stated that it would take an annual investment of $10 Billion to the much maligned power sector for it to efficiently fill the energy demand in the country. The chairman of the regulatory agency stated the figure of $10 billion. This information is especially useful as the country launches into privatizing the generation and distribution responsibility of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. Increasing energy consumption has long been tied to economic growth. Thus, increasing the per capita energy consumption in Nigeria might help increase the currently lagging economic growth of the country. This can only be achieved with sustained investment into this sector.
FOUR: The long seemingly never-ending legal battle between Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and a group of Nigerian parents is finally coming to a productive end. Last week, the company paid each of the four plaintive a sum of $175,000. The company was sued over the negligent deaths of 11 Kano State children as a result of a controversial drug trial ran by Pfizer almost 15 years ago. This is a win for human rights and human dignity.
FIVE: Nigeria’s struggle against terrorism continues. A video starring 2 kidnapped Italian and British nationals surfaced last week. The famous terror group, Al Qaeda, apparently kidnapped the two individuals and shot the video showing the 2 men on their knees and blindfolded. It was sent anonymously to a French News agency. The Nigerian Security Agencies are reported to be conducting a thoroughly investigation to confirm the video’s authenticity. This is the second incidence that shows Al Qaeda’s presence in Nigeria. The first came a month ago when British newspapers reported that British spies found that Al Qaeda plans to make Nigeria its West African base.
SIX: The Federal Government is in the process of prescribing the death penalty for all Nigerians convicted of importing counterfeit drugs. The reason for the new tougher stance comes as a result of increasing mortality of Nigerians due to taking counterfeit medication. This new administration has stated August 15 as the deadline for all counterfeit products. Starting on August 15th, Standards Organization of Nigeria will begin a systematic crackdown on all known warehouses and markets for substandard product. It is yet to be seen if this tougher stance will serve as a deterrent for such criminal activities.
SEVEN: 4 Million Nigerian girls have either dropped out of school or were never enrolled. The education of girls has been linked to development. Ignoring this major issue is dangerous indeed.
EIGHT: The presidential spokesman, Rueben Abati, reported that the presidency has no intention of scraping or editing his proposed single term elongation. He is to send the bill to the National Assembly as soon as the Senate comes back from recess. Many Nigerians, especially, the opposition parties have emphatically stated that they are against the proposed policy. Others believe that this is the wrong time for the bill and that there are other priorities that the country must devote her time and resources to. The single term must go on.
NINE: Weekly Trust’s heart wrenching human-interest piece on the plight of Abuja’s beggar children is a must read. The main hypothesis of the article is to explore the idea of professionalization of begging and parental insistence to pass these dubious skills to their young ward. Some of the children seem to love the job as they are fully protected by the beauty of youth. While some of them long for a different sort of professional life, for example, farming or even medicine. The question remains are these children victims or are the parents equipping their children with professional skills that will help them live full lives? Find out here and judge for yourself.
TEN: Two articles explore the state of health in Nigeria. One is on medical negligence and the human consequences of that. The other is an editorial by El Rufai that also looks at the state of health in Nigeria.