Home » Page 408
Categorieslatest

Tinubu’s family shares palliatives to mark President’s birthday

President Bola Tinubu’s 72nd birthday on March 29, 2024, may have come and gone, but for his family, the celebration continues. Many Lagos residents smiled home with bags of rice from the Tinubu family to commemorate the President’s birthday. Tinubu had opted for a low-key birthday celebration as a result of the challenging times the country is facing. He also urged his associates not to organise any events, but instead, use the opportunity to reflect and re-dedicate themselves to the task of building the nation. The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, and Information Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, noted that the recent killings of some military and police personnel in Delta State, as well as several security breaches, had contributed to the gloomy mood of the nation. However, his family said it would not be fine if the residents living around the President’s family home did not feel the joy of the celebration, however low-key it may be. On Saturday, April 6, bags of 25kg long grain rice and other foodstuff were shared with indigent residents in the Kakawa Street area of Lagos Island and its environs. Our correspondent, who was at the scene, saw residents dance for joy and showered prayers on the President and his family for the kind gesture as they received their share of the palliatives. A representative of the family, who doubles as the Board Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Board, Lagos State, Yetunde Gbafe, said that the gifts distributed were a token, adding that it was for the Ramadan and Easter celebrations. Some bags were also taken to the Methodist Church of Trinity, Tinubu, Lagos Island. Another batch was also sent to the central mosque in the area, and was received by an imam. A recipient, who gave her name as Mama Yemisi, thanked the family and prayed for God’s wisdom upon the President.

Categorieslatest

Band A customers decry extortion by power firms amid poor supply

Following the approval of 240 per cent tariff increment for Band A customers by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, some power consumers in that category are complaining of severe extortion by the various electricity distribution companies in the country amidst worsening power supply. NERC had on Wednesday announced the tariff increment for Band A power consumers from N68 to N225 per kilowatt-hour with immediate effect. With the new tariff, the regulator said the subsidy on electricity had been withdrawn completely from the Band A consumers, who constitute about 15 per cent of the total number of power users across the country. At a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, insisted that the Federal Government would continue with the new tariff regime for Band A consumers despite calls for its reversal. He said this was because the government could no longer continue paying humongous sums as power subsidy, stressing that subsidy on electricity for 2024 would cost the government about N2.9tn. But in a flurry of reactions to the development via their X handles on Saturday, some customers lamented that despite paying exorbitantly for electricity following the tariff hike, they were experiencing poor supply in their different neighbourhoods across the country. This is just as some Nigerians in Bands B, C, D, and E alleged that they were now being made to pay N225/KWh by the Discos instead of their old tariffs after the distribution companies upgraded their payment platforms to reflect the Band A tariff increment. An X user identified as Heybeedo @Fadodunabayomi, stated, “My environment was listed among Band A, but we have never used a 20-hour electricity supply per day. As I am typing, there has been no light since around 1am in the early hours of today (Saturday). Who will pay for the shortfall in their supply? A lot needs to be clarified.” Kaduna-based Tariq Abdulazeez @tariqq2 wrote, “The Kaduna Disco has failed to comply with the new regulations thereby upgrading 80 per cent of its customers to band A. We barely get 8hrs power supply. @OlaosunSina posted, “IKEDC claims OPIC in Isheri-North belongs to Band A and immediately implemented N225 per KwH. N50,000 energy (VAT inclusive) purchased yesterday (Thursday) gave 207 KwH Units. Light was taken since 9.34am today (Friday) 5th April and as of 3.37pm yet to come. This is a pure SCAM!” Vivo Val also tweeted, “Though I am on Band B, IKEDC gave me 82 units for N20,000.” One Michael Ifeanyi posted on the platform, “Please NERC, ask Enugu Electricity Distribution Companies to downgrade Centenary Estate Enugu to band C we hardly enjoy 10 hours light. They are charging us for band A.” One Bolaji @bolsaid said, “I am on Band A and have not had up to 20hrs supply in the last five days, from Easter Monday till now. NERCNG, FCCPC Nigeria,” while @Otyjonah wrote, “My environment is under Band A even though the Disco has refused to issue us a prepaid meter. I have seen power supply since 11pm on d 4th of April. Today is 6th and there is no single hour of light in almost 48hrs. Will I be made to pay for the darkness at the end of the month @NERCNG?” Lere Ojedokun @doklere said, “There is so much secrecy and loopholes in the electricity ecosystem which investors and players exploit to milk electricity consumers. This is why we will continue to be at their mercy.” Oluwakemi @tykeemon said, “Are there really any Band A users in Nigeria? Are we joking? I get less than eight hours of electricity supply daily and I have been fraudulently classified as a Band A user. @NERCNG, you are not a regulator but an accomplice to rip off.” Isaac Emalunegbe said, “We in Calabar around the Akai Effa axis suffer from your Disco staff here. They will tell us we are in Band A and we get supple less than those in Band C and at the end of every month they will issue exorbitant bill. I was a victim in 2021.” ‘Sack minister now’ In a related development, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, Lere Olayinka, has called on President Bola Tinubu to sack the Minister of Power for alleged incompetence reflected in his inability to ensure a steady power supply. Olayinka, a former House of Representatives aspirant, also accused the minister of insensitivity with the incessant electricity tariff increases despite failure to ensure constant power supply since he assumed office. Olayinka, in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Saturday titled, ‘Sack power minister, Bayo Adelabu, now; he can’t even give you constant electricity in Aso Villa, PDP chieftain tells Tinubu’, advises the government to save itself from further embarrassment by sacking Adelabu and replacing him with a professional. Obasanjo Farm, others downgraded Meanwhile, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company has downgraded the Olusegun Obasanjo Farm in Ogun State and 27 other feeders from the Band A to the Band E category. The firm disclosed this in a list it released on Saturday, which contained the names of the erstwhile Band A feeders downgraded to B, C, D, or E by the company across Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, and Osun states. According to the list, some areas within the states dropped from 20 hours of daily power supply to zero hours. This, according to NERC, brought about the removal of those feeders from Band A to the bands that fit their daily power allocations. Power ministry, NERC inefficient — Afenifere Similarly, the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, has described the electricity tariff increase as an attempt to thwart President Bola Tinubu’s economic recovery efforts. Afenifere stated this in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi and made available to journalists on Saturday. While noting that the electricity tariff hike will shrink both corporate and small medium businesses in the country, Ajayi said, “It is clear that rather than exploring ways to reduce the cost of producing energy thus reducing the pains of Nigerians, the relevant government agencies are passing the price of their own inefficiency on the people. In a related development, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has called on the management of IBEDC to urgently address current irregular power supply in the state. Adeleke, who made the demand at a meeting held with the management of the company in Ibadan, Oyo State, described Osun as a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian power sector with Osogbo, the state capital, hosting the National Transmission Control Centre. The governor said it was “unacceptable that the state will be having epileptic power supply,” which he said has been affecting its local economy and businesses badly.

Categorieslatest

Why pregnant women should avoid zobo

Zobo, a popular Nigerian beverage made from the dried calyxes of hibiscus flowers, is cherished for its vibrant colour, refreshing taste, and numerous health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, zobo is often consumed as a delicious and nutritious alternative to sugary drinks. However, despite its many gains, zobo, according to several health experts, can pose certain risks when consumed during pregnancy. Medical doctors and researchers, the world over, have linked the consumption of this drink to an increased risk of losing a pregnancy, especially at its initial stage. In a fact-check piece by Dubawa, several experts agreed with the claim that the consumption of zobo during pregnancy could lead to a higher risk of miscarriage. A matron at Novelty Hospital, Abuja, Grace Odoma, speaking on the matter, told Dubawa that zobo contains an agent that inhibits the production of oestrogen which is vital to fertility. “Oestrogen is a female hormone which helps to regulate the secretion of gonadotropin hormone which is required for fertility to take place, also it helps in maturation and maintenance of the uterus which houses the foetus. “This zobo contains an agent that inhibits the production of estrogen how ever leading to numerous side effects such as low birth weight, miscarriages (preterm labour for 24 weeks gestation) and can cause abortion leading to bleeding as the uterus will contract uncontrollably leading to excess loss of blood,” she noted. A gynaecologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr Jeremiah Agim, provided links to two studies that showed that hibiscus sabdariffa (zobo) relaxes the uterus instead of causing contractions. He said there had been arguments that it is the pineapple in the zobo that causes the contraction. Although these studies also show that pineapples have a contractile effect on rat and human pregnant myometrial muscle in vitro, the expert noted that further studies were needed to fully establish this claim. Another health practitioner, Dr Lynda Effiong-Agim, who is also a medical officer at Chivar Specialist Hospital, Abuja, agreed with other experts, however, noting that the study on rats alone was enough to be cautious with its use during pregnancy. “It should be avoided in pregnancy. Animal studies have shown the relationship between consuming zobo (hibiscus sabdariffa) and miscarriage. Although human studies have yet to be conducted, that alone is enough reason to be cautious,” she said. But according to a 2013 review of the study, titled, ‘Hibiscus sabdariffa L: Safety and Efficacy during Pregnancy and Lactation’, published in a peer-reviewed journal, Planta Medica, there was no scientific evidence to support the use of hibiscus sabdariffa during pregnancy and lactation. It, however, stated that there was in vitro evidence from animal studies that the seeds of Hibiscus sabdariffa had a lactogenic effect. “Animal studies have also shown that there is delayed puberty, the elevation of body weight, and body mass index in female rats that consumed extracts of hibiscus sabdariffa. “Caution should be exercised with the use of hibiscus sabdariffa during pregnancy and lactation till human research is conducted to determine its safety. There is a need to be cautious when using medications with hibiscus sabdariffa,” the researchers advised. In another 2016 paper published on the ‘Use, Safety, Efficacy, and Pharmacology of Hibiscus Sabdariffa During Pregnancy and Lactation,’ it was suggested that its use by women during lactation called for an in-depth understanding of its efficacy and potential for causing harm during pregnancy and lactation. The lead researcher, Nkechi Enwerem, of the Division of Nursing, Howard University, USA, said the seed and calyxes of Hibiscus sabdariffa had been shown to possess some beneficial therapeutic effects and that there was no strong clinical evidence supporting the use of Hibiscus sabdariffa in pregnancy or during lactation. “Based on in vitro studies, the aqueous seed extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa produced an increase in serum prolactin in a dose-dependent manner in lactating rats. “At a dose of 1,600mg/kg, it produced a similar lactogenic activity as compared to the metoclopramide treated group,” she stated. But, a nutritionist with a private clinic in Lagos, Fidelis Chukwuma, speaking with Sunday PUNCH, quoting from multiple researches, said there could be several negative effects of consuming zobo in pregnancy, not just for the woman but for the developing baby. He identified high sugar content and gestational diabetes as one of the most deadly risks a pregnant woman would open up to if she consumed the drink during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and can have serious implications for both the mother and baby. Untreated or poorly managed GDM, according to medical research by Mayo Clinic, an online health resource, can lead to complications such as macrosomia (large birth weight), preterm birth, preeclampsia, and an increased risk of cesarean delivery. He said, “Commercially prepared zobo often contains significant amounts of added sugar to enhance its flavour. While this may make the beverage more palatable, it also increases its calorie content and glycemic load. “For pregnant women, excessive consumption of sugary drinks like zobo can lead to weight gain and elevated blood sugar levels, potentially increasing the risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus. “Therefore, pregnant women should be cautious about their sugar intake, including the consumption of sweetened beverages like zobo.” He also noted that there was a potential for contamination and foodborne illness when a pregnant woman consumed the drink. “Improper preparation or storage of zobo can increase the risk of contamination with harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, salmonella, or staphylococcus aureus. “These pathogens can cause foodborne illnesses characterised by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to foodborne infections due to changes in their immune system and hormonal fluctuations,” he added. According to a 2007 research work, ‘Maternal Consumption of Aqueous Extract of Hibiscus Sabdariffa During Pregnancy Attenuates Pregnancy Weight Gain and Postpartum Weight Loss,’ by Dr Iyare E. E. of the Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu State; and Dr Iyare, F. E. of the Department of Pathology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, the effect of maternal consumption of aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa during pregnancy can impact on the weight of the pregnant woman. This was investigated in Sprague-Dawley rats. Fifteen in-bred pregnant female Spague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to groups A, B and C on day one of pregnancy. Group C rats had tap water while groups A and B rats had 0.6g HS extract and 1.8g HS extract respectively in 100ml tap water to drink throughout pregnancy and through 34 days postpartum. All the rats in all the groups were fed normal rat chow ad libitum. Dam weights were measured daily throughout pregnancy and at delivery, 10, 14, 20, and 34 days postpartum. Results of the present study showed a significant concentration-dependent decrease in both pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight loss at the doses tested. “The reduction in the weight gain during pregnancy in the rats that drank aqueous extract of HS during pregnancy (groups A and B) was expected to lead to low postpartum weights at all periods of measurement either as a result of low early postpartum weight gain (due to lactation) or increased postpartum weight loss (due to the suckling pups). “This, however, was not the case. Rather, there was no difference in postpartum weight changes at all periods of measurement except at PPD 20 and 34 when the weight loss in the exposed group was significantly less than the weight loss in the control group. “These observations may therefore suggest that exposure to an aqueous extract of HS during pregnancy decreases pregnancy weight gain and postpartum weight loss through a mechanism not yet fully understood. “We, therefore, hypothesise that HS exposure that commenced on day one of pregnancy through PPD 34 in the exposed groups (A and B) may have induced a state of dehydration (water deprivation) in pregnancy, directly or indirectly, in these dams as evidenced by the reduced fluid intake (table 1) which created an osmotic stress.” Also speaking, a food microbiologist and public health expert, Emmanuel Onyekwere, noted that, in severe cases, foodborne illnesses during pregnancy could lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and even miscarriage or stillbirth. Onyekwere said, “It is essential for pregnant women to ensure that zobo is prepared hygienically, using clean utensils and filtered water, and stored at safe temperatures to prevent bacterial growth and contamination.” Onyekwere also stated that the consumption of zobo in pregnancy could lead to an interference with nutrient absorption. According to him, hibiscus leaves, the primary ingredient in zobo, contain certain compounds that may interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients like iron and calcium. Iron deficiency anemia, he noted, is common during pregnancy and can lead to adverse outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental delays in the baby. He added, “Although the exact mechanisms by which hibiscus compounds affect nutrient absorption are not fully understood, pregnant women should be mindful of their dietary choices to ensure adequate intake of iron-rich foods and consider limiting their consumption of zobo, particularly if they are already at risk of iron deficiency.” A microbiologist and public health researcher currently studying for a doctorate in Spain, Steven Edwards, noted that hibiscuses had uterine-stimulating properties which might lead to complications. He said, “Traditionally, hibiscus has been used in some cultures as a uterine stimulant to induce labour or regulate menstruation. “While there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, consuming large quantities of hibiscus tea or zobo during pregnancy may potentially stimulate uterine contractions, leading to premature labour or miscarriage, especially in women with a history of pregnancy complications. “Pregnant women are advised to exercise caution and moderation when consuming beverages containing hibiscus during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester when uterine activity can increase naturally as the body prepares for labour. “It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using herbal remedies or supplements during pregnancy to ensure their safety and efficacy.” He also noted that there was a risk of drug interactions and medication effects when pregnant women consumed zobo and used the recommended medications used in pregnancy. Zobo, according to him, may interact with certain medications commonly prescribed during pregnancy, such as anticoagulants (blood thinners) or antihypertensive drugs. “The hibiscus leaves in zobo contain compounds that can affect blood clotting and blood pressure, potentially interfering with the efficacy of these medications or exacerbating underlying health conditions. “Pregnant women who are taking medication should consult with their healthcare provider before consuming zobo or other herbal products to avoid potential drug interactions and adverse effects on maternal and fetal health. “It is essential to disclose all herbal remedies and dietary supplements to healthcare providers to ensure safe and effective management of medical conditions during pregnancy,” he added. According to research by an online health resource, Health Today, on the hibiscus drink, zobo, when consumed during pregnancy may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. “Zobo has diuretic properties, meaning it can increase urine production and potentially lead to dehydration, especially if consumed in large quantities or in combination with other diuretic substances like caffeine. “Dehydration during pregnancy can compromise maternal health and fetal development, increasing the risk of complications such as preterm labor and birth defects,” the resource noted. It stated that pregnant women should prioritise staying hydrated with water and consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods to support maternal and fetal health throughout pregnancy. “While zobo can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, excessive consumption should be avoided to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that could negatively impact pregnancy outcomes. “Pregnant women should exercise caution when consuming zobo, or steer clear totally due to potential risks and negative effects on maternal and fetal health. “Moderation is key, and pregnant women are advised to consult with their healthcare providers before incorporating zobo or any herbal remedies into their diet during pregnancy. “By making informed choices and prioritising their health and well-being, pregnant women can ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy for themselves and their babies,” it added.

Categorieslatest

Hunchback

A hunchback, also known as kyphosis, is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal outward curvature of the upper spine. This condition can affect people of all ages, from children to the elderly. While some cases of kyphosis are mild and cause no symptoms, severe cases can lead to pain, limited mobility, and other complications. In this essay, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of hunchback, as well as the impact it can have on an individual’s physical and emotional well-being. One of the primary causes of kyphosis is poor posture. Sitting or standing in a hunched position for extended periods can put a massive amount of strain on the muscles and ligaments of the back, leading to curvature of the spine over time. Other common causes of hunchback include congenital conditions, such as Scheuermann’s disease, which affects the growth plates in the spine as well as degenerative diseases of the spine such as osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle and arthritis or disc degeneration. In severe cases, osteoporosis of the spine can lead to fractures which are guaranteed to make a bad situation even worse. The same thing happens when the culprit disease condition is tuberculosis of the spine. Most of us have seen various people with this deformity and even know some others personally. Symptoms of hunchback can vary depending on the severity of the curvature and the underlying cause. Mild cases may cause no symptoms at all, while more severe cases can lead to back pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. In some cases, hunchback can also affect posture and balance, making it difficult for individuals to perform daily activities. Diagnosing hunchback typically involves the documentation of the origin of the problem, how it has progressed and whether it was found or thought to have been provoked by some other factor. Everything relating to these issues is painstakingly documented. Afterwards, a physical examination is conducted, during which a healthcare provider will assess the curvature of the spine and look for any signs of pain or limited mobility. In some cases, imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs may be used to get a more detailed view of the spine and identify any structural abnormalities. But these are in situations where sanity prevails and people affected by this condition are seeking relevant solutions to it. More cynically, individuals with hunchback are often hunted down in the dark recesses of our country today and murdered for rituals. The same dilemma is faced by albinos, a subject with which we have felt compelled to provide education to many compatriots several years ago on this page. Hunchbacks have been the subject of various myths and superstitions throughout history. In some cultures, hunchbacks were believed to possess magical or supernatural abilities. For example, in medieval times, some people thought that hunchbacks had the power to ward off evil spirits or bring good luck. It is partly due to some of these beliefs that they are often killed. Throughout history, various types of superstition and misconceptions have led to discrimination, persecution, and even violence against individuals with physical differences, including hunchbacks. While there may not be specific documentation solely dedicated to the murder of hunchbacks due to superstition, there are instances where people with physical deformities have been targeted for their perceived differences. In medieval Europe, for example, individuals with physical abnormalities were often viewed as cursed or possessed by evil spirits. This belief was rooted in superstition and a lack of understanding about medical conditions. Hunchbacks, in particular, were sometimes associated with witchcraft or demonic possession, leading to their mistreatment and ostracization from society. The infamous witch hunts that took place during the European Renaissance and early modern period resulted in the persecution and execution of countless individuals, many of whom were falsely accused of practicing witchcraft. While some of those attacks were not specific to hunchbacks, these witch hunts reflect the dangerous consequences of superstition and fear-driven narratives that can harm innocent people. In many parts of our country, these beliefs remain strong. In some cultures, hunchbacks were also believed to bring bad luck or misfortune, leading to their social exclusion and mistreatment. Stories and legends portraying hunchbacks as villains or monsters further reinforced negative stereotypes and contributed to their marginalization within society. Specific documentation of murders solely targeting hunchbacks due to superstition may be limited, but it is essential to acknowledge the broader historical context of discrimination against individuals with physical differences. These injustices highlight the damaging impact of superstition, prejudice, and ignorance on vulnerable populations. In Nigeria, these physically different people are plentiful with no form of protection offered by the authorities other than the eternal vigilance of their own families. As we strive for a more compassionate and inclusive society, it is crucial to challenge harmful beliefs, promote education and awareness about diversity, and advocate for the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their physical appearance. Through empathy, understanding, and a commitment to social justice, we can work towards creating a world where everyone is valued, respected, and embraced for their unique qualities and contributions to the tapestry of humanity. Treatment for hunchback depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. In cases where poor posture is the primary cause, lifestyle changes. In more severe cases of hunchback, treatment may involve wearing a back brace to help support the spine and prevent further curvature. In rare cases where kyphosis causes severe pain or restricts mobility, surgery may be necessary to correct the curvature and stabilize the spine. Preventing hunchback involves maintaining good posture and following ergonomic guidelines when sitting, standing, and lifting heavy objects. Engaging in regular exercise to strengthen the muscles of the back and core can also help prevent kyphosis. Additionally, eating a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can help maintain strong bones and prevent conditions like osteoporosis that can contribute to hunchback. On the other hand, hunchbacks were also sometimes unfairly stigmatized and feared due to their physical appearance, leading to superstitions about them being cursed or bringing bad luck. It’s important to remember that these beliefs are rooted in ignorance and prejudice, and it’s crucial to treat everyone with kindness and respect regardless of their physical differences. When encountering someone with a hunched back or any physical difference, let us practice mindfulness and compassion. Instead of focusing on external appearances, let us look beyond the surface and see the person for who they truly are – a human being deserving of love, respect, and dignity. By extending kindness and acceptance to all, we can create a more inclusive and harmonious society where everyone feels valued and appreciated for their inherent worth. Ultimately, the hunchback serves as a powerful symbol of the diversity and complexity of the human experience. Just as each individual has their own unique journey and challenges, we must learn to embrace our differences and celebrate the richness of our shared humanity. Let us strive to see beyond the external shell and recognize the inherent goodness and potential within each and every being. By doing so, we can cultivate a more compassionate and inclusive world where everyone is welcomed with open arms and open hearts. The emotional impact of hunchback should not be overlooked. Individuals with severe kyphosis may experience feelings of self-consciousness and low self-esteem due to their physical appearance. It is important for healthcare providers and loved ones to provide emotional support and encouragement to individuals with hunchback to help them cope with the challenges of their condition. In conclusion, hunchback is a medical condition characterized by an abnormal outward curvature of the upper spine. While some cases of kyphosis are mild and cause no symptoms, severe cases can lead to pain, limited mobility, and other complications. By understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of hunchback, individuals can take steps to maintain a healthy spine and improve their overall quality of life.

Categorieslatest

Panache Ventures, Kora move to secure investors funding

Panache Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund, and Kora, a pan-African payment gateway, have entered into a strategic partnership to empower tech founders across Africa to secure venture capital funding. The alliance aims to address the persistent challenges faced by African tech entrepreneurs in accessing adequate funding to scale their groundbreaking ventures. This disclosure was made during the Venture Capital 101 event in Lagos recently, where some of the tech leaders enlightened the audience on various aspects of the startup journey, including funding strategies, and ideas on how to build high-functional teams. Some of the industry speakers at the event include: General Partner at Panache Ventures, Prashant Matta; CEO of Advancly, Lotanna Julian; CEO of Piggyvest, Somto Ifezue; and CEO and Founder of Quidax, Buchi Okoro. The General Partner at Panache Ventures, Prashant Matta, shared his knowledge as a key player in the Canadian venture capital scene, leading the firm’s investment in Kora, a pan-African payment gateway. Matta said, “This gathering serves as a testament to the incredible potential and entrepreneurial spirit in Africa’s tech ecosystem. The collaborations and discussions from this event will shape the future of innovative startups across the region.” The Nigerian startup scene witnessed a mix of setbacks and successes in 2023, as some emerging enterprises faced closures, while others attracted significant funding. Among the noteworthy startups that closed shops last year were 54Gene, Pivo, Bundle, Vibra, Payday, Pillow, Lazerpay, Hytch, etc. These closures were attributed to a myriad of factors, ranging from operational difficulties and co-founder conflicts to broader challenges of funding. According to Briter Bridges, funding for African startups declined by 54 per cent to $2.5bn between January and October 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022. The CEO of Kora, Dickson Nsofor, stated,The collaboration between Panache Ventures and Kora in hosting this event underscores our shared vision of empowering tech founders and catalyzing Africa’s vibrant startup ecosystem. “By fostering partnerships, providing mentorship, and providing guidance around funding opportunities, we aim to nurture groundbreaking startups that will redefine the technology landscape in Africa.” Kora, as the host of the event, showcased its position as one of the pan-African payment gateways, facilitating seamless transactions across the region. With a commitment to supporting tech founders and startups, Kora said it has been instrumental in driving innovation and economic growth in Africa.

Categorieslatest

Dad didn’t see his supporters as thugs – Chief Lamidi Adedibu’s son

Did you spend your formative years in Ibadan where your father resided? My name is Prof Abass Aderemi Adedibu, the eldest son of the late High Chief Lamidi Akanji Ariyibi Adedibu. I was born in Ibadan and attended Children’s House School, Ibara, Abeokuta, Ogun State, for my elementary school between 1960 and 1966 and proceeded to Ibadan Grammar School, Molete, Ibadan for my secondary education between 1967 and 1971. I was one of the best pupils in the final-year examinations in secondary school. I left Nigeria to further my educational career in the United States in 1972 when I gained admission to Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indiana, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Mathematics with highest distinction in 1976. I also had a Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology in 1977, with a Professional Indiana State Teacher Licence in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Psychology. I later obtained another master’s degree in Physical Chemistry in 1978. I had my Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry Education in 1981. Did you consider taking up leadership positions as an undergraduate? During my undergraduate days, I was the president of the Nigerian Students Association (from 1975 to 1977), president of the African Students Association (from 1978 to 1979), and president of the International Students Association (from 1979 to 1981). I was awarded Honorary Citizenship of the United States by Mayor Hudnut of Indianapolis for uniting international students in the State of Indiana. Why did you choose a different path from your father, opting to be in academia instead of stepping into his shoes as a politician? Sometimes, what people see from the outside is not what it is inside. My father loved education and encouraged all his children to embrace education. I embraced education based on his support and encouragement. Are you the only child who embraced education to the highest level among his children? I am not the only one because other siblings of mine pursued education to an appreciable level and they are doing well in their chosen profession. Your dad was a renowned politician in Ibadan, Oyo State, and at the national level. What kind of father do you think was to his children? My father was known to many people in Nigeria and elsewhere. That is why lots of people referred to him as the father of many people. He was a loving father to the children and he made enough effort to create time for them despite his busy schedule in politics and other personal activities. Whenever there was time for his children to be around him, he demonstrated what a father meant in a family. What memories of your childhood with him do you fondly remember? Many areas of his life come to mind each time I think of my past and his life. But one thing that stood him out as a father is that he took his prayers seriously. He would never joke with prayers. Your dad was known for his populist style of politics and had many supporters. What was it like growing up with him? It is not always easy to remember everything because there are different moments and times. As a political figure popular with several people at the grassroots, people learnt a lot from him watching him deal with peoples’ problems and providing solutions to them. His philanthropic work was without limit. It was interesting growing up seeing all these at a close range. He was a loving father who hated cheating, unfair treatment of defenseless people, and being dishonest. He was fair to his people and shouldered their burden like a loyal ally. What else will you say stood him out as a politician? He was outstanding as a politician and able to sustain his political relevance and base because he learnt a lot from great politicians like the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the Ibadan politician, Chief Lanlehin, the late Chief Adisa Akinloye, and others. He took a lot from the lives of popular politicians and made concerted efforts to reward loyal supporters. He was seen as a political father by millions of people in and outside the South-West. When you have such a trusted political figure and a philanthropist who was ready to fight for his people, it would be hard to play down his relevance. He encouraged all his children and the people who followed him to have the best education. He paid the tuition fees of many children he did not have a biological link with. As your dad, what were the major values he taught you? My father taught me to be honest, fair, and most especially, be close to my God through prayer. It is the biggest lesson you can give to your children because it is the only way for human beings to recognise the place of God in everyday activities. My father never went out without saying his prayers and we emulate that from him. There is a popular belief that influential families and parents often pamper their children, leaving strict discipline behind. What would you say of your father’s disciplinary style? He had a special way of putting you where you belonged. He knew everything about his children and came up strong when they seemed to be going the wrong way. My father did not use the whip on his children because that was left for our mother to do. Our mother used the whip instead of our father. Would you say he was over-protective? When I was travelling to the United States for my post-secondary education in the 1970s, I left Nigeria with $317. When I arrived in the US, I met two of my elder sisters who owed $300 in house rent. I gave them the $300 from the money I came with, leaving me with $17 to live in the US. The amount I left with from Nigeria was not the money I needed in the US. It was far less but my late father was short of funds during that period How did you live on $17? I was working while also schooling. It was tough but I was determined to study and excel because many of the people who travelled overseas and had no intention of studying would not return home. Why do you think he was protective of you? Well, there was something that happened soon after I left Nigeria to study abroad. My father did not announce his coming to the US to me in any of our discussions, but one day, he showed up at my school and asked questions about me from the dean of the school. He wanted to be sure I was in the US and studying at the school I told him. I was lucky to be around, just like I was surprised to see him but that explains the kind of father he was to his children. He had an interest in what we were doing and expressed it by making sure he visited us where we were if necessary. As a busy man, how did he love to relax? Relax? Baba Adedibu never relaxed because there was never time for him to do so. Or let me say that he never created time to relax. He became a populist politician early with thousands of people visiting him every day. Even when he had no visitor, he would come up with something that would eat up his time or take him somewhere. So he was always engaged in doing something that revolved around people. Did he love telling jokes? Many people solve big problems by using jokes to dilute them but my father treated issues the way they came in his way without losing any of their substance or important details. It was said that nobody assumed any political position in Oyo without his approval. Why did he always have a say in who became what in Oyo politics? As I said, he was a student of Awolowo and Lanlehin. He was a father figure and you cannot downplay his relevance in politics, either locally or nationally. He was respected by politicians from all over Nigeria so naturally, he was a force in Oyo State politics. Did he play a major role in your career choice? I would say he did because without his encouragement, financial support and assistance, I would not be what I am today. His place in my academic attainment is evergreen. How early did your dad introduce you to politics? In the late 1970s when I was still studying abroad, he had attained a level in politics so he sent for me to come home and become a commissioner in Oyo State. I told him that I would not go through all that I had gathered as an academic to come home and begin to carry people’s bags for employment and that I would come to Nigeria only when the Federal Government of Nigeria needed me. Luckily, I was invited for an interview by the Federal Government on employment in Illinois, Chicago, in 1979 and excelled on merit not on a quota system. Were you scared of Nigerian politics? Politics is a dirty game in Nigeria. You have a brother or sister hating you because you do not belong to their political party. It is not a fair game here because people go there with selfish intentions. They spend money to win people but when they get to position, they go after the public treasury to make themselves rich while people who voted for them remain poor. Even the electorate that had had access to them before the election is shut out after winning the election. It is hard to reach a Nigerian politician once he gets what he wants. Do you think he was disappointed that you didn’t join politics? No, he was not disappointed. He was a man who respected people’s opinions especially when it came to politics. He would not force you to do anything you are not interested in. He might persuade you to do his wish but he would not force you. He didn’t express any disappointment in me that I did not join politics. What did you find interesting about the way your dad managed his political base in Molete? Everything about it was interesting. My father was in line to become Olubadan of Ibadan so he built that house in Molete, his political base, like a future Olubadan’s palace. He had all the aura of a father figure in politics and future Olubadan. How would you describe the current state of the Molete residence? What is natural and inevitable in life is change. Death can bring change just like other factors. When my father was alive, he played host to many political leaders and supporters in his Molete residence. The place is still alive without him and those who still love his political structure are still going there to stage political activities and meetings. Many believe your dad’s style of politics also involved the use of thugs to intimate his opponents rather than allow people to make their choices. What’s your take on that? We once had a conversation along that line. My father dealt with issues based on experience. He told me when I confronted him about the issue that if you had hungry people and fed them regularly, took care of their family needs, and protected them from injustice, they would be the ones to protect you when someone came to harm you. He wondered why one would categorise those who were protecting their benefactor as thugs. Until his death, how many wives and children did your dad have? He had eight wives and less than 20 children. How would you describe growing up in a polygamous family setting like yours? Let me quickly correct that notion. My father did not practice polygamy but polygyny because the term, polygamy, is subdivided into polygyny and polyandry. A man married to so many wives is called polygynist whereas a woman married to so many men is called polyandrous (which happens in some Asian countries). To answer the question, children come out of such a setting when there is love and unity; these existed in our family and it helped us nurture understanding among all the children. Did your dad have any other businesses, apart from politics? Thank you for the question. Many people had the notion that my father lived all his life on financial gains from politics. But the truth is my father was a well-established contractor who got contracts from both federal and state governments. His wealth came from the work he did off the political scene. He sponsored politicians from the profit he got from the contracts. He sponsored governorship candidates and others with his money. What was your last conversation with him? A week before his death, I was in Ibadan from Abuja, and one of his wives told me that he was planning to celebrate the anniversary of the late former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala’s one year in office. If you remember, the late Alao-Akala became a full-time governor in 2007 and my father died in 2008. I was told that he had paid to hire a long truck that would be decorated and he would sit at the back with his supporters driving around Ibadan while waving to people. What came to me was: was my father bidding bye to people? Why was he planning to move in a convoy of vehicles and waving from a long truck that the delivery truck beverage companies use to distribute their product? I rushed inside and sat him down to discuss the plan. I expressed my objection to it. He saw reason in my wisdom and shelved the plan. Even after that, I did not return to Abuja until after he returned from the anniversary celebration. He returned from the event and met me at home. He asked why I did not return to Abuja as planned and I told him I wanted to be sure he complied with our discussion. Unfortunately, a week later, he died. I was in the computer room in my Abuja office when I began to receive calls from Ibadan, and then one of my younger sisters who called began to weep. That was how I knew he had left us. What would you say is your dad’s greatest legacy? His best legacy is education. He fell out with a former governor of the state and one of his proteges, Rasheed Ladoja, over the allocation of appointments. How did he feel about it? Some people in Ibadan penetrated the good relationship they had and caused the misunderstanding. Senator Ladoja is like an elder brother to me but a son to my late father. They had the best of relationships before some people came in between them. My father and (former) governor Ladoja’s father contested for a seat as councilor in 1954 but my father was defeated and he moved on. He later came to support the son of the same man who defeated him to become the state governor. It was a perfect relationship that was destroyed by people. Did they reconcile? If they reconciled before his death, Ladoja would have returned as governor. Do you think your dad would have been happy with the state of Oyo politics if he were alive today? Today’s politics is different from when my father was around. For example, if you spent 20 years abroad and returned to Nigeria with good money and you approached my father that you wanted to go into politics, my father would ask you to go back to your local government and ask them to introduce you as their representative. This was important so that if the person failed, people in the council area would know that they were the cause of the failure. You cannot come to my father and tell him you want to contest for a senatorial seat or become governor as a first-time politician. He would tell you to start from the grassroots. Today, people claim any local government they want and go away with it. I was discussing with a prominent politician in Ibadan recently and he told me how much they had missed my father in politics. He said in my father’s time, when some people were aggrieved at his party, he would wake up early and go to their houses with gifts for their families and seek the aggrieved people’s audience. Matters were settled in that way but today, people do what they like. As a respected Ibadan man, how did he love to dress? Or was he a simple man? He appeared in public in simple white attire on many occasions. But he was aspiring to become Olubadan. If he had ascended the throne, would he still have worn those simple clothes? He inherited several traditional free-flowing agbada from his father but after he died, those clothes were shared among us, the male children. However, it is not what he would wear that would make him a good Olubadan but what he would be able to do in the lives of his people. What was his favourite meal? Ibadan people love amala and gbegiri soup. He was no exemption. What were his hobbies? In his spare time, he read newspapers.

Categorieslatest

Shattered hope: Families of slain soldiers struggle with grief, unfulfilled dreams

The weathered face of retired Warrant Officer, Zakari Aliu, father of the late Captain Usman Zakari, was etched with lines of sorrow and fatigue as he spoke. Aliu’s eyes, once filled with hope and determination, are now hollow, reflecting the deep anguish of a parent who has lost a child. Although he tried to find solace in the knowledge that his late 34-year-old son died a hero, serving his country, the memories of his late son were like a dagger to his heart, reopening wounds that may never fully heal. Usman, who rose to the rank of a captain in January 2023, was one of the military personnel gruesomely murdered by irate individuals in the Okuama community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State. According to the official statement issued by the Federal Government on March 17, “The incident occurred on Thursday, March 14, 2024, when our troops, responding to a crisis between Okuama and Okoloba communities in Delta State, were ambushed. “A commanding officer, two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers sadly lost their lives. One civilian was also killed.” Speaking at the burial for the murdered personnel at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja, Aliu, who was himself a soldier for 35 years, disclosed that Usman joined the service in 2015. “He was a very obedient son. As a father, anytime I spoke to him, he looked down. He didn’t raise his head to look at my eyes; he was my first son. Since he joined the military, no accusing fingers were pointed at him by his colleagues. He stayed with me all through his school days. “He was married with no child yet. He was expecting one before his death, his wife is pregnant. It hurts me as a father when I hear it but it is something you can’t revert. “I will still allow my son to join the military; what happened was an accident. I joined it (the military) and finished successfully. I was untouched throughout my service year. This can happen to anyone at any time; it was an accident,” he said. Regarding his son’s murderers, Aliu added, “I leave them in the hands of the Federal Government. It is already handling that.” Plight of a grieving mother A dense mist of sorrow hung around the residence of the late Commanding Officer of the 181 Amphibious Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Abdullahi Ali, another victim of the Okuama murders. As a young man, Abdullahi joined the Army in 1996 as a member of the 43 intake following his graduation from the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. Struggling under the weight of crushing grief, his mother, Hassana, paused at intervals as she recalled how her late son used to frequently take permission to visit her before returning to his work. “He is my favourite child,” the mother of the late 48-year-old senior officer said. “I don’t know what to do. His death is bitter in my heart, but God knows the best. The last time he came to see me was just two weeks ago. “Honestly, it is devastating because he is now the fourth one I lost. I have nothing to say but God is watching. He was very good to me; I lacked nothing from him. I have nothing to tell them (the perpetrators, but God is watching everyone; he will judge on the final day,” she stated in an interview with Daily Trust. The distraught mother recounted how Abdullahi’s brother, also an officer of the Nigerian Army, was killed by suspected bandits in an ambush in Katsina State in 2019. “His brother, Captain Jamilu Ali Hassan, also paid the supreme price in 2019 in Katsina State. His colleagues told me that they were helpless, so they allowed him to be killed in a manner that no one would wish, even his enemy. “I don’t know what to do. I am speechless. But if anybody has a hand in this, God is watching and He will judge accordingly,” she added, noting that her late husband, also a military man, died peacefully after his retirement. Amid tears, the wife of the deceased, Hauwa Ali, described the father of six as a truly dedicated man who sacrificed his life for Nigeria. She lamented, “Words cannot describe him because he was everything to us. He was a man of his word, dedicated to both his family and work. “Apart from his family, he sacrificed his life for Nigeria, and that’s the price he has paid. I pray that wherever he is, God will continue to be with him. “We know that death is inevitable. As Muslims, we have to die at some point in time, but I am really shattered by the way my husband was killed. He called me that very day and told me that he was going on a peace mission. “I never knew that it was the last time we would speak. Nobody could call to tell me the news until Saturday, when I was called from the State House.” When she was asked if she would allow some of her children to join the military, she noted, “I will not advise any of his children to join the military. Their father has already sacrificed his life for the country.” My son was about to get married – Grieving mother The mother of the late Private Peter Hamman, Mrs Hanatu Hamman, broke down in tears as she recounted how her deceased son had been her major source of financial support. Peter, who was among the slain military personnel in Okuama, was enlisted into the Nigerian Army on 23 April 2019. Speaking at the mass burial service held last Wednesday, Hanatu said, “This my son, anything I say he’ll hear me. When he joined the army, he was the one who gave me money to feed and even take care of my health when I was down. “When anything happened to me, I called him at once and he sent me money to solve my problem. Now that he is no more, I still give God the glory. “I’m in God’s hand now, I don’t have anyone to run to for help. Those soldiers that survived, may God help and protect them as they do their job. My son was planning to get married before his death.” Similarly, Ahmed Abutu, the brother of Lance Corporal Abdul Ibrahim, described the deceased as the breadwinner of the family, noting that the news of his death during the incident in Okuama came with great shock. “It’s a great loss to the family; there is nothing that will compensate for the life of a man. He died fighting for this country, so that is our consolation. So if the government feels that this is what they can do, according to Mr President that this is what they can do for the family, we appreciate them. “For the perpetrators, a criminal is not supposed to live in the society, so anywhere they are, they (the authorities) should fish them out. Our security agencies should go out day and night to bring those people to book. We’ll be grateful,” Abutu added. 21 orphans, 10 widows During the burial of the slain soldiers on March 27, the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, disclosed that the slain soldiers left behind four pregnant wives, 10 widows and 21 orphans. He added that it took over 72 hours to recover some vital organs of the decapitated and disemboweled bodies of the soldiers that were scattered all over the Okuama community by the perpetrators and their accomplices. “The Okuama killing has added to the care of the Nigerian Army and, by extension, the Nigeria state, 10 widows (three of whom are four, five, and eight months pregnant), 21 orphans, and many other dependents which include parents,” Lagbaja stated. During the ceremony, President Bola Tinubu conferred posthumous national honours on the 17 slain military personnel, noting that “each man now belongs to the hallowed list of servicemen and women who defended our country and protected their fellow Nigerians, not minding the risk to their own lives”. “They have all been awarded posthumous national honours. The four gallant officers have been accorded the award of Member of the Order of Niger. The 13 courageous soldiers who also lost their lives have been awarded the Officer of the Federal Republic medal.” The President also promised to provide housing for each of the families of the four officers and 13 soldiers in any part of the country as well as scholarships up to the university for the children of the deceased, including the unborn. Tinubu further directed the military high command to pay the benefits of the fallen heroes within 90 days. Tunnels of pain Despite the gnomic promises made by the government, Opeyemi, a soldier who lost his elder brother to the cold hands of death still reels from the pain of loss. “My brother, Salaudeen, died last year in March in an ambush by bandits. He died by serving Nigeria and protecting the people. He was a brave soldier. He promised to serve on the job and retire but death took him away. “I know that one day, we must all die, but not like this. The pain is too much for us. May God bless the Nigerian Army and may the soul of my lovely brother continue to rest in peace,” Opeyemi said, in a chat with our Sunday PUNCH. Also sharing his painful ordeal, Isaac Tobi, the elder brother of Lawrence Tobi, a soldier who was killed by Boko Haram terrorists, disclosed that he advised him against joining the Nigerian Army. Lawrence was among the soldiers killed in January 2021 when insurgents engaged the Nigerian military in a four-hour battle to take control of the Dikwa community in Borno State. The attack happened a few hours after then Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, handed over to Maj Gen Ibrahim Attahiru as the Chief of Army Staff. The gun battle which reportedly started about 6 pm and lasted till around 10 pm, claimed many casualties, including Lawrence. Isaac told Sahara Reporters, “Tobi Lawrence was my only brother. My mother had five children – three girls and two boys. I am the first child while Tobi Lawrence was the last child of my mother. In 2015, he told me he wanted to join the Nigerian Army but I told him to join the Nigeria Police Force instead. “He came back to me and said he didn’t want to join the police and insisted on being a soldier. So, I had no option but to support him. We started the journey (to get him to become a soldier) but he couldn’t make it because he was not shortlisted. “So, the following year, that was 2016, he told me we should continue with the race for him to be enlisted as a soldier. So we started consulting, and we spoke to someone named Fidelix at Ogida Barracks in Benin (Edo State); it was the man who actually helped us, he made my late brother enlist in the Nigerian Army. “A week before his demise, my brother called me that they were going to the forest. They were told to carry some things along to meet those who were already inside the forest. Usually, when they go in the morning, they return late in the evening. “The day he was killed, he called me in the morning to say they were on their way. So in the evening, I waited for him to call me but he didn’t. I became worried because he had promised to call me in the evening. I tried his number several times, but it did not connect. “The next day, which was a Saturday, I started calling him but it was the same thing. Then someone called me with a strange number and asked if I was Tobi Isaac, I said yes. Then he told me what happened. I asked him how and he told me it was a Boko Haram attack.” He further recalled how much financial help he used to receive from his brother. “I miss him very much, he used to help me. Once I called him and said, ‘My brother, I don’t have any cash,’ he would send money to me,” he added. On his part, Obinna Uzor lamented how his brother, a soldier, had barely spent six months in Borno State where he was posted in 2019 when he was brutally killed by Boko Haram terrorists. “Jim got married in 2018 and on July 17, 2019, he sent in words that his newly married wife just delivered a baby boy and we rejoiced. Then on September 19, he informed me about his posting from Kaduna to Borno to fight Boko Haram; he told me he was on his way to Maiduguri. “We rightly had mixed feelings about it, but as a true soldier, disciplined and courageous, Jim had no choice. He believed that it was God’s will and when he reached his destination safely, he continued in his work, only for me to receive the news of his violent demise on March 14, 2020,” he said. “He loved everyone as a family. He called everyone ‘My paddy’ and was a jovial man. He was always in my thoughts when that year began, especially when my father died and I didn’t hear from him. I began nursing some deep-seated fear. “The painful part was that we were broke early in 2020, so we didn’t communicate via chats and telephone calls, but he was always in our prayers only to receive news of his demise. My brother may be gone, but I know and he too knows it doesn’t end here. The battle continues until the enemies are defeated and destroyed,” he added. In a Facebook post dated March 27, 2019, Aminu Muhammad, narrated how his family tried to discourage his late younger brother, Akeem, from becoming a soldier. He sadly recalled how Akeem was finally enlisted in the army and his major posting was to combat Boko Haram, noting that he had escaped death on four occasions before he lost his life at the age of 27. He wrote, “Growing up, all you wanted so passionately to do was serve Nigeria as a soldier. All efforts to discourage you failed. After trying thrice and failing, we thought you would give up especially since you were already earning money in Minna. But again, you tried the fourth time and succeeded. “You finally got what you had always wanted from childhood. Your first major posting was to go face Boko Haram. Many felt you should leave but, you would always say, ‘It’s a job I took for Nigeria.’ “Four times you escaped deadly attacks with many of your colleagues killed in some cases. All the time, you would ask us to keep praying for you rather than asking you to leave because you won’t. “Again, your team of 15 men came under attack. The vehicle you were travelling in was bombed by Boko Haram. All your colleagues we were told died except you. While most were beyond recognition, you survived with shattered legs. We found a way to thank God that at least you survived.” He added, “We didn’t know your survival was going to be brief. We were to be told later again that you couldn’t carry on. The Nigeria you were passionate to serve, you died for her. How could I have imagined that you would go before me when I buried your placenta 27 years ago? “Thank you for your passionate service to Nigeria. Rest in peace, my brother. Akeem my brother, it’s painful to bid you farewell. But, who are we when God has made a decision? May Allah in his infinite kindness turn your suffering in the army which you severally narrated as restitution for all your sins.” Too many fallen heroes Findings by Sunday PUNCH. revealed that dozens of Nigerian soldiers have been ambushed and gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram members, Islamic State of West African terrorists, bandits, and other non-state actors. The National Security Tracker run by the Council on Foreign Relations, between January 1 and May 15 of 2022 showed that criminals killed 323 security agents across the country. The victims included soldiers, among others. A report by a geopolitical intelligence platform, SBM Intelligence, revealed that no fewer than 642 soldiers were killed between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021, noting that about 72 soldiers have so far been killed by terrorists as of April 2022. On January 22, 2021, Boko Haram ambushed and fired machine guns at a Nigerian army patrol in Borno, killing seven soldiers and injuring others. The attack occurred barely five days after the gunmen activated seven improvised explosive devices against a Nigerian Army convoy of armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles, escorted by a foot patrol in Gorgi, Borno. According to military sources, over 30 soldiers were killed during the ambush. A report by Sunday PUNCH on March 29, 2020, detailed how Boko Haram insurgents ambushed and killed over 70 Nigerian soldiers of Operation Lafiya Dole. The soldiers were killed in Gorigi near Allargano Forest, a general area of Borno State when the insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the truck conveying the troops from the rear, killing no fewer than 70 soldiers in the ambush. One of the sources told Sunday PUNCH, “The terrorists got information about the operation from the villagers, so they laid staggered ambush for us and attacked our troops from the rear. When soldiers move like that, the rear mainly supports elements of the advancing forces while the main fighting force is ahead. “That was why they decided to attack our convoy from behind, killing many of our colleagues. They fired rocket-propelled grenades at the truck conveying them and because they were carrying bombs, the impact was much. We are saddened by the attack but we won’t give up. Seeing many of our colleagues killed hurts a lot.” Similarly, in January 2019, the Nigerian Army buried 14 soldiers who were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram terrorists on December 24, 2018. The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the 14 soldiers who were on escort duty were ambushed on their way back to Kaduna by the terrorists on the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road. Commenting on the dismal cycle of ambushed soldiers, the National Secretary of the International Human Rights and Dignity Defenders Forum, Amb Ayo Akintayo, in an interview with our correspondent, pointed out that the military needed to be restructured. He opined that if soldiers were deployed based on sound military intelligence and familiarity with the local terrains, it would minimise the rate of soldiers being ambushed. “When soldiers are of a different ethnicity and geographical part of the country are sent to a region whose terrain they are unfamiliar with nor can they communicate in their local languages, there will be a certain degree of mistrust and this could breed ill-will and jeopardise their safety. “The military also needs to weed out the fifth columnists within the army itself and ensure that it is operating based on sound intelligence and surveillance. There is no way that soldiers would be ambushed in a community and killed so violently without a degree of collusion and this needs to be investigated. “The authorities should withdraw the army from internal security affairs and allow police to handle all minor internal security challenges. The government should fish out the killers of soldiers on peacekeeping missions and find out who is responsible for it. Their death is truly devastating,” Akintayo stated. ‘Families of late soldiers need assistance’ In January, during an event to commemorate the 2024 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, the Chief of Defence, Military Relations, Rear Admiral Ibrahim Dewu, told families of fallen soldiers in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, that the Armed Forces would never forget the sacrifices of the fallen heroes. “We stand by you and are ready to offer support whenever needed. It is a commitment that no family is left alone in the face of adversity. Rest assured that the Armed Forces will never forget the sacrifices of our fallen heroes,” he said. However, a psychologist, Kolawola Afolabi, in an interview, explained that such promises must go beyond words to offer real assistance and social support to grieving families of late military personnel. Explaining further, Afolabi stated that death which results from a war could be even more troubling given the sudden and potentially violent nature of the event. “When families lose their loved ones, they experience bereavement, which means ‘to be deprived by death’. They may experience a wide range of emotions which include denial, disbelief, confusion, shock, sadness, anger, guilt, humiliation, yearning, and despair. These feelings are common reactions to loss. “Many people also report physical symptoms of acute grief – stomach pain, loss of appetite, intestinal upsets, sleep disturbances, or loss of energy. Mourning can worsen existing illnesses or lead to the development of new conditions,” he said. “Grieving families may experience profound emotional reactions like anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, depression, and thoughts of suicide. So the best thing is to allow these persons to grieve. “They need to be surrounded by caring people. They need caring relatives and friends who understand what they are going through and help them work through the grieving process. They could join a support group with others who have experienced similar losses and can speak with their clerics,” he advised. Afolabi also urged families of slain soldiers to take care of their health by eating properly, exercising and getting plenty of rest. “Be aware of the danger of using medication or alcohol to deal with your grief or numb pain. It takes effort and time to absorb a major loss, accept your changed life, and begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past. “If your feelings become too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief,” he added.

Categorieslatest

Earthquake strikes California Bay area day after NYC Metro rattled

A preliminary magnitude 3.4 earthquake shook the Bay Area Satruday morning — just a day after a temblor rocked the Big Apple, according to the United States Geological Survey. The temblor struck Berkeley’s Garber Park at 11:22 a.m. and had a depth of 5.8 miles, USGS said. Residents across Berkeley buzzed about the tremors, with others as far as San Jose, about 45 miles south, reported feeling the effects of the quake, according to USGS’ self-reported data map. No serious damage or injuries were reported. The earthquake occurred along the Hayward fault line, which extends 62 miles along the East Bay hills, according to USGS. The last serious quake along the Hayward Fault line struck in 1868 and had a magnitude 6.8, killing 30 people. Saturday’s earthquake in the Bay Area was much weaker than the magnitude 4.8 temblor that struck near Lebanon, NJ, Friday morning. The rare East Coast quake — the strongest to hit the area since 1884 — rattled tristate residents, with many panicked locals rushing out of their homes and filling social media with shock. Flights were grounded and traffic halted around New York City as a result of the earthquake, which was strong enough to cause the Statue of Liberty and chandeliers in City Hall to shake. In the Garden State, nearly 30 aftershocks were recorded after the quake, including one tremor with a 3.8 magnitude.

Categorieslatest

ITV Saturday Night Takeaway fans sob as Ant and Dec organise emotional mother-daughter reunion

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly staged an emotional reunion between a mother and a daughter who had not seen each other in five years for Saturday Night Takeaway’s penultimate episode. Saturday evening’s show saw the Geordie duo select audience member Jane from Birkenhead to get involved in their segment Spot The Difference, where participants have to point out what has changed within a scene to win cash. In this round, Jane was surprised to see radio and TV presenter Jordan North sitting in her pink dressing gown, relaxing in her living room. She was asked to take in all the details of the room before the live feed was stopped and restarted after North had rearranged different items. Jane was award £300 for spotting three differences, but she failed to spot the main change which was that the broadcaster had been swapped out for her daughter, who wore a Jordan North mask. When asked if she knew who was behind the mask by McPartlin, Jane admitted she had no idea. After her daughter Holly removed the mask to reveal her face, her mother could be seen gasping and clutching her mouth as she cried in shock. She was surprised further as it was revealed Holly was accompanied by her partner Lewis and their baby daughter, whom Jane has not seen yet as the young family live in Australia. After an emotional Jane said “I can’t wait to get home”, Donnelly revealed that she would not have to wait until she got back to Birkenhead to see them. The stage doors then opened to reveal the young family standing on a replica set of Jane’s living room which had been recreated in the studio. As McPartlin guided Jane down the stairs to see her family, he said: “Jane follow me because you haven’t been able to see them for five years and you’ve never met your granddaughter so we secretly flew them all the way from Australia so you could say hello.” The emotional mother then embraced her daughter in a tight hug before stroking her granddaughter’s face. To round off the surprises, the presenting duo revealed the whole family were being sent on a getaway so they could properly reunite together. The show also saw Take That perform a rendition of their hit song Shine after comedian and teenage actor Lenny Rush, the star guest announcer for the week, opened the episode. Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will wrap up its 20th series next Saturday with an extended two-hour live show featuring a host of celebrity guests. Girl band Girls Aloud will be the star guest announcers while pop group S Club, rockers Kaiser Chiefs and TV star Scarlett Moffatt are among the famous faces set to make an appearance during the grand finale. McPartlin and Donnelly previously announced they were going to take a break from the show at the conclusion of the series as they feel it is the “perfect time to pause for a little while and catch our breath”. Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway returns on Saturday at 7pm on ITV1 and ITVX. Follow Mirror Celebs and TV on TikTok , Snapchat , Instagram , Twitter , Facebook , YouTube and Threads .

Categorieslatest

Lando Norris snaps at Christian Horner complaints after Max Verstappen mission failed

Lando Norris was left bemused by Red Bull complaints about their race pace, after the McLaren racer was unable to match the speed of Max Verstappen during qualification. The Dutch world champion once again topped the pecking order at Suzuka as Red Bull locked out the front row of the grid. Norris finished third behind Sergio Perez, and found himself 0.292 seconds adrift in the standings. The 24-year-old English driver was left in little doubt to the quality he was up against in Red Bull, with the outing in Japan offering an emphatic illustration of the current Formula 1 pecking order. Norris is hopeful he can provide a challenge, as he did in 2023 on the track, but rubbished the notion that his rivals would see a drop in performance on race day. “Last year I was side by side with Max into turn one so hopefully try and do that but it is tricky, they are quick,” he said. “They complained about their race pace [in practice] but I don’t think they have had a bad race in the last four or five years. They are going to be good tomorrow.” After a successful qualification, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested that things would be tighter on Sunday despite the efforts of his drivers. The Milton Keynes-based side’s boss is uncertain how cooler conditions could impact his team’s chances with the race having been brought forward from it’s usual September staging. Horner said: “It is Checo’s best-ever qualifying here, so we’re really pleased to have both cars on the front row . It was another stunning lap by Max but I think the race could be a little closer tomorrow, but it is a great start to the weekend.” He added: “I think we’ve understood the issues, but I think we saw that the race pace is more varied. “In these cooler conditions, how the tyres behave is going to be a challenging factor. But I am sure it is going to be an interesting race, and I am glad to be starting on the front row.” After qualifying third, Norris is hopeful of earning a second podium in as many races but knows it will be difficult to catch Red Bull. He hopes to keep in touch with those ahead but believes the improving Perez will made that difficult. Norris said: “It’s so tricky, Sergio is doing a good job. So there’s one much harder car to keep up with. But we proved last year when we were further away from them that we could keep in touch and not be miles behind. So that’ll be our target. “But I think realistically, we’re still too far away to challenge them they are too quick for us. Yes, we are quicker in qualifying. But in the race normally they pull away a bit more. Our competition is with the guys behind and at same time, I’ll do my best to push forward.”

Verified by MonsterInsights