Tuesday, May 03, 2016

WSIS forum kicks off in Geneva

The four-day World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) forum 2016, today, May 2, kicked off in Geneva, Switzerland, reports ITRealms.
The forum expected to last till Friday this week is being hosted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNDP) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) at the  ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.
ITRealms also reports that the WSIS Forum serves the UN as a mechanism for coordination of multi-stakeholder implementation activities, information exchange, creation of knowledge, sharing of best practices and continues to provide assistance in developing multi-stakeholder and public and private partnerships to advance development goal, building on the UN General Assembly Overall Review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes which recognized the necessity of holding this Forum on an annual basis.
In addition, the forum calls for a close alignment between WSIS and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) processes.
The chairman of the WSIS Forum 2016 High-Level Track, Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda (USA) said the Policy Sessions will be moderated by High-Level Track Facilitators (HLTF) nominated and identified by Civil Society, Private Sector, Technical Community and Academia stakeholders. Remote participation is available through both Adobe Connect and live webcast. Geneva time is CEST, 6 hours ahead of NYC.

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Alert! Gov. Ayade surprises, pays May salary on workers day

The politics of May Day workers celebration climaxed this year with the Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade surprised workers on the 1st of May, Workers Day, when he announced the payment of salaries for the month of May on the first day of the month, reports ITRealms.

This was obviously affirmed a slight drama when workers at the U.J. Esuene Stadium for the May Day celebration began to receive salary payment alert from their various banks.

Additional reports showed that the workers out of excitement started shouting 'alert, alert' as they commended the governor.

ITRealms gathered that hitherto, the governor had paid salaries between the 13th and 20th day of each month since assuming office.

Governor Ayade also told the workers, who named him the 'Best Labour Friendly Governor in Nigeria' that his administration had a duty to give workers a sense of dignity.

“We must create opportunities for labour to feel a sense of dignity. If you are truly a Christian, you must know that as you care for your kids, you must care for labour,” he said.

ITRealms equally reports that another goodnews is that workers in the Edo State civil and public got cheering news during the May Day celebration as their salaries were increased.

It was further gathered that workers' salaries were increased by 45 per cent, which is the minimum wage is now N25,000.

Vincent Okoli with additional reports by EkitiOnline/GEE

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

NGO drags EFCC to Federal Character Commission

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC), has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Federal Character Commission, Abuja for violation of Federal character principles in staffing and appointments, reports ITRealms.

The group’s Information Officer, Phillip Inyang confirmed this to ITRealms in a press statement saying a petition dated 18th April, 2016, signed by himself alleged that over sixty per cent of the staff of the EFCC are from one State in the northern part of the country, while also alleging a secret recruitment by the Commission.

“We write, in recognition of your mandate, to draw your attention to the obvious lopsidedness in the staff strength of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as well as a secret recruitment presently going on in the Commission.”

“Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s present staff strength is made up of majority of northerners, particularly, Adamawa, Gombe and Borno states. In fact, over sixty (60) percent of the staff of the Commission, are from Adamawa State. It is followed by Gombe and Borno States, respectively. This, no doubt, defeats the Federal Character principle.”

“EFCC’s former chairmen, Nuhu Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde, both from Adamawa states, used their positions to influence the massive recruitment of indigenes of the state into the Commission, not minding their qualifications and experience, as well as the Federal Character principle.”

“Presently, a secret recruitment is ongoing in the Commission, designed to favour the same northerners, with special interest in Gombe, the home state of the incumbent Acting Chairman of the Commission. The recruitment exercise is believed to be a ploy by the incumbent Chairman to impress some politically exposed persons in the region, particularly, those close to the Presidency, with a view to retaining his office and being made a substantive chairman.”

“A post on the WhatsApp group of Northern Youth Professionals published the original internal (secret) advert on the recruitment for northerners. The advert is titled: “2016 Recruitment Exercise for young Northern Nigerian men and women”. The last sentence in the advert also says: “please send to only NORTHERN Nigerian candidates.”

“In recognition of your mandate, part of which is to ensure balance and equity in the distribution of posts and socio-economic activities in Nigeria, we most respectfully request that you use your good offices to ensure: an investigation into the ongoing secret recruitment in the EFCC, as stated; Equity in the distribution/employment of staff in the Commission. There should be equity and balance in the numerical strength of staff, ie, all the six geopolitical zones (and states) of the country should be equitably represented; Equity in the staff employment in the Commission, also reflecting all the geopolitical zones of the country and gender parity, as well as transparency in recruitment process.”

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Opinion: Blacks, poverty and wealth transfer

I thought about putting pen to paper on this sensitive subject for quite a while, the urge to do so has been tainted with sentiments and facts rubbed together in a Yin and Yan. There is this saying that "Everybody plays the fool, and there is no exception to the rule". 

Whether consciously or unconsciously, we play the fool to some things we do not fully understand, not because we do not want to understand those things, but because we have chosen to psychologically detach ourselves from such thinking or we are just being unrealistically sentimental about it; either way to our own peril.

A bulk of this writing is directed to Africans, Caribbeans, Asians, South Americans and African -Americans. I am more particular about black Africans on this subject, we are at the bottom of the economic ladder when it comes to standard of living, per capita income, life expectancy, food security, primary health care etc. Our position is not accidental, things do not just happen, they happen for a reason.

Inter-generational wealth can be transferred in three ways: (1) Saving Money (2) Insurance Policies (3) Dependable Investments. How many of us have one of these three functionally in place, not to talk of having all? What most Africans have succeeded in having as their inheritance is poverty! And what most Africans alive today will leave for their children as inheritance is poverty! Same applies to other races mentioned above. It all begins with expensive burial rites and ceremonies in the name of culture and tradition. A situation where the living is compelled to bury the dead with monies they don't have to please people they don't like!

Saving money, having insurance policies in place and venturing into dependable investments as means of wealth transfer from one generation to another is something that has been mastered by Europeans and whites all over the world well over 200 years ago. A major reason why they are on top of the economic ladder. An average white kid or teenager at the untimely death of one or both parents starts out with an average of $100,000 while an average black kid with same circumstances as the white kid starts out with $0 because his parents are either ignorant, selfish, insensitive or do not simply believe wealth transfer is a priority.

You hear my people say: "It is not in our culture to do insurance", but our culture supports going to borrow money to bury the dead when you don't have it. You hear some say: "My religion forbids having insurance policies". But your religion does not forbid begging and asking people for financial support for your young family when you untimely pass on, your religion does not forbid living on benefits accrued from the sweat of other people to support your family. Indeed, your religion forbids you protect yourself and your family against uncertainties for the price of a visit to KFC or Burger King? Think about this....

And others say: "My wife may kill me if she knows I have a life insurance". What did you do to her that will make her consider killing you? "My husband will strangle me if he knows I have a life policy". These are things I have heard from friends, families and clients during briefing. If there is one thing such people should know, in countries like UK, USA and other developed nations, your partner will be the first suspect should you die mysteriously with a life policy in place. Murder is not that easy to get away with in such climes. The positives of having policies in place and not needing it far outweighs the negatives of not having it and then needing it.

The most common response is: "God is my insurance". Of course, He is the Alpha and Omega, the arbiter of all things. But we have seen men and women of God die untimely by human standards. Accidents, sickness, fatal injuries, depression, murder etc. Are you saying they died because they sinned or because you are better or of more faith than they were? Why don't you let earthly things remain earthly and heavenly things remain heavenly. 

Several people of faith have died because of ignorance and negligence, uncountable have died in Nigeria due to inhalation of generator fumes because they refused to buy smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on the premise that Jesus is their protector and Mohammed (SAW) their saviour. Imagine the height of ignorance! Believing to know when you do not know is folly...

Numerous number of people have lost their mortgages and have their homes reposed due to serious injuries or life threatening illnesses, they could not work and they have no life policies (mortgage or non-mortgage in place). These are mortgages of over a £1,000/month but not having a £20/month policy as cover in the face of uncertainties, they lost their homes and lost the equities. Those without mortgages in same situation  could no longer function as a family due to lack of funds. They became a burden to friends and families. Now, who is wiser, the lender or the borrower?

Having insurance policies is important the moment you have dependants to cater for. God forbid untimely death, accident or critical illness any of us but whether dead or alive, none of us would want to see our loved ones going abegging, aborrowing and asorrowing. Let us contribute to inter-generational wealth transfer and by so doing, elevate the black race from the scourge of poverty at the bottom of the ladder to a more appropriate position on the ladder.

*Anthony Ihidero is a certified Insurance Consultant based in United Kingdom and contributed this at The Rat Race (only headline changed)

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Monday, May 02, 2016

Oganiru urges Ndi-Igbo to be vigilant, defend themselves

A socio-political and cultural organization of Igbo speaking people in Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers States of Nigeria, the Igbo Improvement Union (Oganiru Ndi-Igbo) has urged Ndigbo to be vigilant and ready to defend themselves, life and property by any and every means possible, reports ITRealms.

A communique issued by the group and made available to ITRealms on the gruesome attack on Ukpabi-Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State, and endorsed by 14-man signatories led by its President-General, Hon. Ugochukwu Agballah and Secretary-General, Chief Edozie Njoku, made this known after a closed door meeting with Igwe John Ikemefuna Akor, Agaba Idu XXIV of Ukpabi-Nimbo Community in Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State.

The group expressed shock and disbelief on the wanton destruction of lives and property in Ukpabi-Nimbo, the Union said it is scandalized that such ethnic cleansing and palpable act of brigandage could take place in a 21st-century Nigeria.

The Union was dismayed over inability of the joint patrol team stationed at Uzo-Uwani LGA in arresting these criminals in spite of all reports to the law enforcement agencies about the impeding attack.

Oganiru Ndi-Igbo reaffirmed its earlier position taken at Umuahia, Abia State on April 23rd 2016, “That the entire Igboland should be excised from the proposed grazing reserve/ranch, noting that this latest invasion is a proof that the Fulani herdsmen are the greatest threat to the corporate existence, territorial integrity and structural indivisibility of the Nigerian State.

The Union further admonished the Buhari-led Federal government of Nigeria for its inability to use security forces in apprehending Fulani herdsmen who unleash mayhem on communities all over the country and wondered why it is only Fulani herdsmen that are allowed to carry AK47 all over the place without police ever  arresting any of them.

“The genocidal activities of the Fulani herdsmen are most injurious to the Nigerian state than the activities of secessionist organization,” the union said.

Ike Okeugwu/GEE
ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Epileptic power supply worsens Nigerians hardship – ActionAid

The ActionAid office in Nigeria has lamented the state of the nation as workers celebrate their day based on the United Nations (UN) convention, reports ITRealms.

The secretary of the organisation’s Board who doubles as the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ojobo Ode Atuluku, gave this position in a press statement made available to ITRealms, asserting, “… epileptic and often non-existent electric power supply has combined with the continuing petrol scarcity to introduce a dimension of suffering to the lives of Nigerians that defies easy description.”

This year’s Workers’ Day, she said, comes at a time when Nigerians are grappling with multiple issues that have visited immense hardship on the citizenry.

ActionAid, specifically noted that both the Federal and States levels are being owed arrears of salaries and pensions, and due to the interconnectedness and dependencies of family systems in the country, this has further aggravated poverty across the land.

Ms. Atuluku, further said that the worst of all is the now frequent incidents of attacks by herdsmen that have led to the loss of many souls.

“Without mincing words, it must be said that the country is ailing and many citizens have the impression that the Government of the day has not got its priorities right,” ActionAid said.

Therefore, ActionAid Nigeria called on the Federal Government to take cognisance of Section 14(1) (b) of the Constitution, which states: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government.”

Chuks Egbuna/GEE
ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

May Day 2016: Bayelsa expresses optimism in Nigerian state

The Bayelsa State Government has joined other Nigerians in congratulating the nation's workforce on the 2016 May Day, expressing optimism that all will be well, reports ITRealms.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, in a press statement made available to ITRealms, said workers remained the most critical component of Bayelsa state, "as they act as vehicle to propagate policies of the government and give governance more meaning."
According to him, the 2016 May Day, is sadly coming at a time when the economic woes of the country and Bayelsa State were getting worse, due to dwindling resources. 
"This current challenge has made it extremely difficult to meet up with the welfare of workers, especially in the area of payment of salaries and also carry out the completion work on ongoing projects.
"However, it is worthy of note that, despite the prevailing circumstance, civil servants have continued to show understanding with the government by enduring the hard times of which the government is aware and truly appreciates. This rare act of cooperation is very remarkable and we assure all workers that it will surely end with praise," he said.
Obuebite further said that tough times do not last, but tough people do, stressing they are very optimistic that, the situation will in the near future improve and when that happens, they will activate all those packages, which His Excellency Governor Henry Seriake Dickson promised workers during his campaigns for a second term.
"Our fervent prayer is that workers in Bayelsa will continue to be dedicated and put in their best in their day to day work, while on our part we will work with security agents to ensure lives and property are safe. Once again congratulations on your Day," he said.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Wanted! Credible leadership in Enugu APC

One of the major reasons why former President Olusegun Obasanjo distanced himself from the Peoples Democratic Party was that it made Senator Buruji Kashamu its National Vice Chairman, South-West. Kashamu is believed to be a fugitive wanted for drug peddling and other criminal offences overseas. In Enugu State, something close to it is in the offing.

A lawyer friend said something that kept me thinking. Rhetorically, he asked: where is the opposition in Enugu State? Is it the APC where that ex-lawyer is chairing? Is he not on the payroll of the incumbent governor? Is it the same Party that has a joker as permanent governorship candidate-Ideke? When I asked who he was referring to as ex-lawyer, he retorted- Ben Nwoye of course. “He was debarred in the U.S. He is a wanted man, a fugitive.”  Thereafter, I began my investigations and realized that the situation is actually of a greater magnitude.

From one controversy to another, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State appears to be at crossroads. The situation gets from bad to worse daily, with no end in sight, as the national leadership appears not interested.

From one financial scandal to another; from allegations and counter allegations of misappropriation of funds, to issues of credibility and criminal records against the leadership of the Party in the state, especially, the Chairman, Ben Nwoye and the Governorship candidate in the 2015 elections, Okey Ezea (Ideke).

The entire controversy appears to be centered on the duo of Ben Nwoye and Okey Ezea, whose continued stay as leaders of the party has further reduced its acceptance level, considering what many see as their ‘dirty’ records. The call for change in leadership really did not start today, but what have the authorities done, or is it about having long legs?

In a letter dated 29th April, 2015, a stakeholder-organisation, the Enugu APC Integrity Group petitioned the then President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, raising issues, ranging from misappropriation of funds to betrayal of trust and other integrity issues.
The 15-point petition, signed by the group’s Coordinator, Kingsley Eze and Secretary, Victoria Ani, also made a 5-point recommendation to the President. 

The Petition reads in part:
“We have observed with total dismay, the indescribable and irresponsible manner in which the leadership of the All Progressives Congress in the state has been piloting the affairs of the party, a situation that was responsible for the abysmal performance of the party’s candidates in the state during the last general elections. Permit us to say that the Party is unfortunate to have Chief Okey Ezea and his partner in crime, Mr. Ben Nwoye as leaders in the state, as they have become sources of embarrassment to the Party. They have neither shown any credible leadership nor shown any transparency in their conduct as leaders.”

“We are also worried that Ben Nwoye’s record in the United States of America, where he lived and practiced will soon be a source of embarrassment to the Party in the State and beyond. For instance, as a lawyer in the United States, he was barred for corruption, indiscipline and immoral conducts….Is this the kind of Minister you would have in your cabinet or the kind of Chairman, Enugu APC will continue to have? Opposition parties’ members are watching and we must not allow the Party to be an object of caricature. A visit to the link below could be a guide: (M.R.25750):http//www.state.il.us/court/SupremeCourt/Announce/2013/031513.pdf.

Similarly, in a two-page Petition dated 17th February, 2015, a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Committee, Osita Okechukwu sent a ‘Save our Soul’ message to the National Chairman of the Party, alleging that the party’s leadership and candidates for elections in Enugu were formed via consensus.

“However, immediately funds trickled in, the Chairman and some stakeholders formed a clique; that today, the chairman, in cohorts with the governorship candidate, is working at cross purposes with the secretary, deputy chairman, two vice chairmen, women leader and a host of state and local party officials who are silently grumbling.”

“…the unfortunate outcome is low morale of members resulting from less than transparent management of funds.”

“As of date, only N2.5m has been given to the Presidential Campaign Committee, of which all stakeholders are members, out of N150m which came from national coffers; making the committee incapacitated to even place posters or jingles when our vice presidential candidate visited on Monday, 16th February, 2015. In fact, it was the national that paid for local press.”

In another development, a letter dated 24th November, 2015, addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal, complained over nomination for appointments into boards and parastatals of the Federal Government and the highhandedness of the Chairman.

The Petition, signed by the Deputy Chairman of the Party in the State, Comrade A.C. Ude, Deputy Governorship candidate in the 2015 election, Barrister Juliet Ibekaku, State Secretary, General Chris Eze (Rtd), State women leader, Lolo Queen Nwankwo, Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Kate Offor and five others, accused the state chairman of nepotism and disobedience to the guidelines for such nominations, as prescribed by the national leadership of the Party.

“Pursuant to the guidelines of our great party of October 26th 2015, wherein you requested nominees from Enugu State for appointment into Federal Boards and Parastatals, kindly note that contrary to your guidelines, our state chairman, Dr. Ben Nwoye flouted all the guidelines, didn’t in spite of advice from Stakeholders, hold any State Executive Committee, State working Committee or Stakeholders meeting for the purposes of the nominations.”

“Sir, our understanding of the intendment of the guidelines is that 50 names are large enough for our imperial chairman to convene an open and transparent compilation meeting, so that we can reward those who worked hard for the party. Unfortunately, rather than rewarding hard work, our Party chairman and the South East zonal Chairman, Chief Emma Eneukwu secretly compiled a skewed crony list. The outcome is a list made up of those who sabotaged our great party, those who embezzled campaign funds and non-members of our great party.”

The petition also accused them of deliberately excluding members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and President Buhari’s Presidential Campaign Organisation, Enugu State chapter.

More so, on the 6th of January, 2016, the Enugu State Deputy Chairman of the APC, A.C. Ude petitioned the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, itemizing massive diversion of funds by the Ben Nwoye-led Administration. The issues; Mr. Nwoye, who is also accused of anti-party activities has refused to address, till date.

Investigations revealed that Mr. Nwoye was indeed, disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court, Chicago, United States in 2013. Ideally, by that decision, which was not challenged, he remains debarred and may not have been qualified ab initio to head the Party at any level. 

Again, there is nothing to suggest that the funds that have entered the coffers of the Party in the state under his administration were judiciously used. No financial records are available anywhere. Funds were not available for the members to work during the elections, but monies were released to the State, where are all the monies?

In addition, the same party members that practically killed a lion with bare hands are about being denied their reward for hard work. Haba! Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop!

Meanwhile, there is no evidence to suggest that Federal Board membership slots were sold, as alleged. However, the list of 50 persons from Enugu State for appointment into Federal Boards submitted by Ben Nwoye contained names of persons who are known members of the Peoples Democratic Party and relatives of Ben Nwoye. For instance, Senator Fidelis Okoro was until recently, a member of the Governing Council of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, courtesy of the PDP.

Not even the Deputy Governorship candidate of the Party in the 2015 polls, Barrister Juliet Ibekaku, whose entry into the race enhanced the fortunes of the Party in the state, was considered for a Board appointment. In fact, she was the face of the party during the polls. Senatorial candidates, House of Representatives candidates, Local Government chairmen and other important stakeholders were all left out. Friends and relatives of the leadership, who were not part of the party’s activities all the while, had their names listed. This is most unfair!

But, what has the national leadership of the party done in the midst of all these anomalies, especially, as the Party in the state is at the verge of collapse? Members are beginning to see the APC family in the state as synonymous with injustice, while others accuse it of condoning fraud.

The least, one expects from the Party’s national leadership and indeed, the President is to direct the party’s leadership in the State to step aside, set up an independent committee to investigate all the issues raised and submit a detailed report within a specified time.

First, there is need for an audit of all the funds received by the Party towards the 2015 general elections and how they were expended.

Also, the list submitted for consideration for appointment into Federal Boards and parastatals should be screened/reviewed, to ensure that justice is done to all stakeholders.

In practical terms, it is a case of the Chairman and gubernatorial candidate on one minority side and other members of the state Executive Committee, stakeholders and majority of other party members on the other side. It is no doubt, a case of declaration of no confidence.

Given the obvious loss of confidence in the present leadership of the party in the state, coupled with the several allegations of misappropriation of funds, criminal indictment and several other issues inimical to the party’s stability and growth, it only makes sense to dissolve the party’s entire leadership structure, conduct fresh Congresses to allow a new set of State, Local Government and Ward executives emerge.

Until this is done, the Party will remain a subject of caricature in the state and beyond; or is anyone trading with the PDP in the State to keep the party perpetually immobile?

Everyone can’t be wrong at the same time. Even at that, democracy is tyranny of the majority. Let the majority have their way! The Party is bigger than any single individual or clique, no matter how connected or highly placed.

Let credible and transparent leadership be entrenched in Enugu APC!

*Destiny Ugorji contributed this piece from Abuja.
ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

What Buhari told Nigerian workers


Great Nigerian Workers!
Great Nigerian Workers!
I bring you greetings.
It is with great pleasure that I honour the invitation by the two Federations of Trade Unions, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to attend the 2016 National May Day celebrations. As you all know, this is my first outing in this forum which has a long and historical tradition that are noble and progressive.
The efforts of all the heroes past who had fought for the workers of all nations to have a ‘voice’ in determining the course and direction of both national and international issues affecting the state of their being, are commemorated today, the first day of May all over the world. Labour remains unarguably an important element in any policy, programme and project propagated for national development.
This year’s celebration is significant in a number of ways. First, it marks the first May Day celebration under the All Progressive Congress (APC) Administration which brought an end to the sixteen (16) years of national squander, bad governance, unbridled corruption and economic woes by the previous administration. Second, it is coming at a time when the whole world is experiencing some form of economic crisis or the other.
For us whose main foreign exchange comes from oil, the global decline in the price of oil has further exacerbated our economic crisis. The resultant effects of this are noticeable in government dwindling resources, reduction in operational capacities of most companies especially in the Oil and Gas Sector, threats of workforce reduction by multinationals and the escalations of volatility amongst others. These developments no doubts, have socio-economic implications for the economy as well as the working class. I therefore appreciate the theme you have chosen for this year’s National May Day celebration – The Working Class and the Quest for Socio – Economic Revival. A quest it is, and the realization of the revival is not farfetched. It only requires reasonable time to remedy the maladministration and put forth a change so desired by all of us.
I make no excuses as this Government of the APC is determined to tackle headlong all socio – economic ills that have troubled our nation and we shall evolve solutions to emerging threats to our well being and the realization of sustainable development as well as growth anchored on equity and social justice.
Development must be sustainable for it to benefit society in general. It is therefore the responsibility of those in the citadels of power to align themselves with the working class who make development possible by generating and sustaining the momentum of positive change. That is why the present Administration has sought and will continue to seek the hands of Labour so that together we can attain the enviable heights of progress in our beloved country.
It is for this very reason that I aspired to become President which the Nigerian people have now made a reality. This Administration shall effect positive Change in the lives of average Nigerians, to ensure that the downtrodden are elevated and most importantly to fight the intense pain of corruption which has enriched the very few to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians who groan under the overwhelming weight of poverty and all the superstructural and infrastructural maladies resulting from corruption.
In this fight against corruption, I need you all to be very willing partners. Fighting corruption in the Public Service in particular, requires the workers to play major roles by cooperating with the Government.

I have listened to the speeches made by both the Presidents of the TUC and NLC. By the speeches, you have without any equivocation affirmed your faith in the greatness of Nigeria as a nation. The challenges facing Nigeria have been highlighted and I assure you that they shall be accorded due consideration. It is worthy to note that solution to some of those issues and requests are already being considered and would be made public in the near future. The times may be tough, but we Nigerians are by nature resilient and strong and it is that nature that propels us to overcome adversities and still thrive as a nation.
Let us use this National May Day to celebrate the workers and Nigeria as a Nation. There will always be challenges in the life of a man and what defines greatness is the way and manner such challenges are tackled and overcome. I assure you, great Nigerian workers that this Administration is able and willing to constructively handle the challenges.
In so doing, I request your cooperation and understanding, as partners in progress. The need to ensure a conducive atmosphere devoid of incessant industrial actions becomes paramount to ensure no loss of man – days and accordingly promote high productivity which is perquisite for sustainable development based on increased investments, creation of jobs as well as protection of jobs. I further assure you that working together, this Administration protect workers rights and shall promote incentives for great productivity and hence greater prosperity.

Thank you and I wish you all happy May Day celebrations.
God Bless.
ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

ASWGT seeks African logo artists, dangles $1000

The organisers of the 2016 Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology (ASWGT) are seeking African artists to design its logo, reports ITRealms.

In a public statement made available to ITRealms, ASWGT is seeking artists to design its logo, which must be creative, fun, colorful and inspiring logo designed by an African artist to show the world ASWGT vision.

The design, ITRealms gathered will be used for the first and future editions of the Summit.

“The inaugural summit will to take place in Accra, Ghana on September 13-14, 2016,” the organisers said, pointing out that through this first-ever event, ASWGT will bring together brilliant female leaders from across Africa to design solutions that will enable millions of African women and girls to benefit from access to technology—and use their skills to build a better Africa for all.

Keywords, ASWGT explained must include Africa, information and communication technology (ICT), Internet, women and girls, gender equality, female empowerment.

The prize for the logo design, ASWGT said is USD $1,000 plus a stipend to attend the summit.

The requirements for the logo, ITRealms reports include that the logos should be presented in both black-and-white and color, delivered in multiple formats such as  Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file, Portable Network Graphics (PNG) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

ASWGT also demands low-to-medium-resolution for web use, as well as hi-resolution for printed collateral such as brochures, trade show exhibit walls, t-shirts, stickers and for embroidered products namely polo shirts, hats, visors, vests to name a few.

In addition, ASWGT maintained that the logo design must satisfy 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 accessibility guidelines and the copyright will be ceded to ASWGT, while they will make the logo available under a Creative Commons license.

Deadline for submission, ITRealms gathered is Friday, May 6, 2016, just as winners will be unveiled a week later on Friday, May 13, 2016.

To participate, artists must complete the entry form embedded on the ASWGT website page calling for this entry by Friday, May 6th.

This, ITRealms reports, would be followed by upload the logo submission in a shareable folder, such as via Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. and include the link in the form. We will showcase your entries on social media throughout the contest. 

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Herdsman Invasion of Nigeria: Buhari, Arase … Stop This Madness!

“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more”  (Jer 31:15).

This passage from the Prophet Jeremiah captures the present mood in Nsukka and, especially, in the hitherto quiet and peaceful farming community of Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area. 

When the news broke about the massacre of innocent, unarmed and defenceless citizens of Nimbo in the early hours of Monday 25 April by invading armed militants, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, the first question that popped into my mind was: “Again?” This was because similar stories had been heard from many parts of the country in recent times, including Abbi, another community in our Diocese, also in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area.

The news of the attack was soon followed by a flood of human beings fleeing their homes and emptying into the urban centre of Nsukka, many of them scantily clad women clutching only their babies. Wailing filled the air as vans brought in lifeless bodies of persons who were slaughtered like animals for the crime of having been found in their homes or on the way to their farms.

Such scenes sent the minds of the older ones back to similar scenes in 1966, when our people had to flee the places they had considered their homes in other parts of the country, as a result of the first ethnic cleansing in modern African history. The big difference now, 50 years after, is that we are being chased out of our homes in our own land, from our own farms, from our Churches, from our schools and from our village markets.

As our people say, if a man is pursued from outside, he runs into his house; but when he is pursued from his house, he has no place to run to.

The most painful aspect of the Nimbo massacre is that it was announced, expected and executed without inhibition – in broad daylight! The State Government is reported to have made attempts to provide security in the area prior to the incident. But what those who lost their dear ones (especially those little babies now blankly staring into an uncertain future, because their fathers have been senselessly murdered) and all of us want to know is why, as the reports go, the security forces “tactically” withdrew shortly before the attack and why, when they later returned to the scene, there was no attempt to immediately pursue and arrest the perpetrators. 
At present, nobody can say with certainty the number of those killed, given that more of those who were badly wounded are still dying and some bodies are still being recovered from the bush where the people had been killed while taking refuge. Today, Nimbo is like a ghost town.
It is equally disturbing that whereas the invading militants killed and maimed anybody they could find, the only houses they attacked were Christian religious houses. They burnt the house of one Pastor and from there headed straight to the residence of the Catholic Priest, where they attempted to burn the house but could not, since they did not find any petrol in the car and a motorcycle parked there, in the generator, and in the containers. 

When their attempt to break into the house also failed, they fired gunshots into the rooms, in an attempt to kill all those whom they suspected were hiding inside. And we are forced to ask: If these men were only herdsmen, why did they particularly single out Churches for their attack?

Nsukka people are peace-loving people. Why would anybody single them out for this type of massacre? In the name of God, I appeal to my peace-loving people to please remain law abiding and not to take the law into their hands. But even as I do this, I hear them asking aloud: Are there really any laws in this country guaranteeing the safety of our life and property even in our homes? If there are, is there anybody out there ready to enforce them?

Or has this become a lawless country where violent persons can kidnap and kill, rob and rape innocent citizens in their homes, on the road, in their farms, at any time of the day or night, unhindered? How are we supposed to react to these threats to our very survival as a people when the Federal Government, who controls the security agencies, seems unwilling to protect us and the State Government appears incapable of defending us, since it has no control over these agencies?

Our young people are asking us why the Police and the Armed Forces of the Federal Government are so swift and sometimes so high-handed in their reaction when unarmed persons march the streets in protest in the South East and so heavy-footed when it comes to stopping the massacre of the South Easterners anywhere in the country, even in their own homes. They are asking whether Boko Haram has actually been weakened or has only been redeployed from the North East to the South East. And we are scratching our heads in vain for the correct answers.

While we wait for these answers, we shout a loud and an absolute “NO!” to any form of violence even in the face of this persistent provocation. Reprisal attacks are not the answer. They are wrong; they are unlawful; they are un-Christian. Besides, we should not give the Police and the Army any excuses for adding to our woes, as they are sure to respond rapidly to any perceived form of aggression on our part.

We appreciate the position taken by President Muhammadu Buhari on this latest war-like attack on a peaceful community and hope that his directives will be carried out promptly. Protection of life and property of citizens is the primary responsibility of government and every other act of governance would lose its meaning if this was not guaranteed.

We are consoled by what the President said. But only concrete actions can lead to the return of normalcy in the community. Nimbo and its neighbouring communities are among the few remaining farming communities in our area and the herdsmen had earlier chased the people out of their larger farms. The rains have just started and they had begun work in the smaller farms nearer to their homes. 

And even from there too they have now been chased out. It is sad that in these hard times, when many have been crushed by the harsh economic conditions in the country, in addition to the loss of loved ones, many of our people are now homeless and all of us will also face the problem of acute food shortage in the near future.

We call on the Federal Government not only to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the massacre as well as their sponsors and collaborators, as the President has directed, but also to disarm all those who carry assault rifles publicly when they have no permission to bear arms. Some people predicted that Nigeria would be a failed State by the year 2015. 

All of us heaved a sigh of relief after the general elections and the smooth handover last year. But any further delay in dealing with this and similar cases all over the country may lead those who made that prediction to affirm that its realization has only been delayed not avoided. If these incessant attacks and raids going on in many parts of the country are not stopped immediately, it may happen that by the time our President has won the war against corruption, there will no longer be any Nigeria left for him to govern.

We thank Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the efforts he made to prevent the tragedy and for his timely interventions after, without which more lives would certainly have been lost. We expect, however, that he will use the tools at his disposal to prevent its reoccurrence in any part of the State and to find out why, despite his efforts and prior information, the security agents failed to protect the lives of innocent citizens. 

To our Senator Chuka Utazi, we say “Gbagaa!”, in all the meanings of that word, for what he has been and done for his people during this time of crisis. We also thank the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase, for promptly visiting Nimbo and for promising to bring those responsible for the massacre to book. 
But we are forced to wonder whether it does not bother him (Arase) that some herdsmen in this country are better armed than some of our Policemen. Does it mean that the lives of cattle in some parts of the country are worth more than the lives of human beings in some other parts?
The Catholic Diocese of Nsukka is in mourning for her dead children and in pains for the displaced ones. We are also living in fear because we do not know where and when the armed militants will strike next. In the meantime, we shall do what we can to offer some help to the displaced persons, relying on the usual generosity of our people.

But we have absolute faith in the abiding presence of God among us. In these difficult and trying times, all of us, especially those who have lost dear ones, should know that God is even nearer to us than we thought. Let us turn to him in prayer, asking him to receive our dead ones in his kingdom and heal our bleeding hearts. We direct that Masses and prayers be offered in all the Churches in the Diocese next Sunday, while awaiting the detailed programme for our prayer in this period which will be announced later.

As good Christians, we should, like our Lord Jesus Christ, pray for those who persecute and kill us: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34). We also pray for those whose responsibility it is to protect and defend us. We are sure that in no distant time we shall also hear the voice of the Lord saying to us: “Stop your weeping dry your eyes… There is hope for your future after all… your children will return to their homeland” (Jer 31:16-17).

Nigeria is a country richly blessed by God with abundant human and natural resources. For decades we have continued to senselessly slaughter ourselves, squander our resources and destroy our environment. We call on all to please stop this madness, so that, as a people, we may realize our full potentials for the benefit of all and to the glory of God.

*Godfrey Igwebuike ONAH, (Catholic Bishop of Nsukka)/GEE

(A press statement following the massacre of innocent citizens in Nimbo, by suspected Fulani Herdsmen)

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!
Pix: Godfrey Igwebuike ONAH, (Catholic Bishop of Nsukka)