Grandmom and I, Me and Grandmom

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My grandmother Ngo Hurung N.D Kataiko passed away last Monday at the age of 88. She is my maternal Grandmother and was before her death, my last surviving grandparent.

We dont share the same religion (I’m a Muslim and she was Christian) and tribe (I’m Bogghom i.e my father’s tribe while she is Berom) but we loved each other so much.

The kind of love that no amount of the hatred that we are gradually institutionalizing as nation could severe. Last Christmas, she didn’t wait for us to visit her as we always do, she asked my uncle to drive her down to our house because she just couldn’t wait to see us.

During Sallah, we always create a day to visit her and asked her to join us in the celebration as well and she does that with so much joy and affection. Words are gradually failing me.

Today she will be lowered to the ground in Kuru, Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. I pray that may God give us the fortitude to bear this huge lost. Rest in peace Kaka. I love you. I care

 

 

 

 

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Royal Eselu Ngaobiwu: Adieu my brother

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A good reputation is better than precious perfume; likewise, the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth – Ecclesiastes 7:1 (NIRV).

Some hours ago, I received the news of the sudden demise of my friend turn brother Royal Eselu Ngaobiwu who passed away yesterday after a sudden illness in Owerri, Imo State.

In law school, we belonged to the same group (Group 10) under the mentorship of Dr. Emmanuel Oluwafemi Olowononi and he was my subgroup leader. In the hostel, his room was directly above mine. We always discuss and argue about what is happening in Nigeria, it’s future and our desire to by God’s grace, contribute to making it the giant of Africa in true sense of word. Our reasonings and thoughts were always the same because he was a Progressive like me who believed so much in the unity of Nigeria.

I often called him the future Governor of Imo State. No doubt, he had all the criteria that a leader should have, he is intelligent, urbane, suave, charismatic, patriotic and confident. Imo and Nigeria, has truly lost a great personality.

My man, as we loved to call each other; you were born a star, remained so and even died a gold star. You touched my life in many ways. I admired you. Your death reminded me of two verses in the Glorious Qur’an where Allah said “Every soul shall taste death” and “I created death also to serve as a lesson to those still living”

The world missed you cause you made such a huge difference. I often wondered why you were so loved, adored and admired by many, but now I know the reason why “Good people go only too soon, they have only a short time to leave their footprints in the sand of time”.

You will not be forgotten. I promise you this! By God’s grace, as long as I’m here before I join you, I will continue to stand by those ideals we both shared. May God console your family and we your loved ones.
Rest in peace my man
I care,

Adieu Mallam Ahmad Dargazu

 

I had a tough day in Court yesterday. My boss, Mahmud Magaji SAN is the one representing the Senate President and the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the suit instituted by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege challenging his suspension. The Court gave us only 2 days to file all our processes because we were already out of time. We worked till late hours from Friday to Sunday. The matter was slated for 1:00PM to enable us file our processes before the Court sits. The Court was in session for over 4 hours. We left the Court around 5PM and judgment has been reserved for the 10th of May 2018.

Finally got home around 9PM and went to bed immediately. I woke up this morning to the news of the demise of my Principal during my days at Federal Government College Azare, Mallam Ahmad Dargazu yesterday.

Under his watch, Mama and Yadiko took me to school at age 10. He cared and admonished us like a father would. Mondays and Fridays assemblies were incomplete without him advising us to be focused, read our books, obey rules and regulations, dressed well, cut our long hairs and all what nots.

Under his watch l became the Library Prefect and later the House Prefect of my Hostel. He retired even before we graduated and I remember how we all missed him when he was leaving. Mallam Dargazu truly defined the saying that teachers reward is in heaven because he gave his best to the School which he loved so dearly.

Whatever God has destined for us to be and achieve, it wouldn’t have been possible without Him bringing people along the line to shape that journey. Mallam Ahmad Dargazu was a motivation to us all who had the privilege of growing under him in our early years.

I pray that may Allah bless his soul and forgive all his shortcomings. I pray also that we make him proud in shaa Allah by making Nigeria a better place. Make Unity Schools function the way they were created to; to foster unity, peace, tolerance and to instill the love for country among young Nigerians.

Rest in peace Mallam Ahmad Dargazu

 

Youth, Leadership and the Future of Democracy in Nigeria

In today’s world, everywhere you look these days, from books to seminars, conferences, magazine stories, someone is trying to peddle his version of tomorrow. Historians, economist, demographers, businessmen etc embark upon long range planning by looking at dates, detecting trends and estimating from the facts already known so as to tell in advance what is expected to happen. In fact in some part of the world, the year 2000 is practically over for the futurist, they now have their minds on the year 3000 and beyond.

In the history of the world, change often starts with the young. Young people look at the world with fresh eyes. They see the world as it is and ask “why?” and imagine a different world and ask “why not?” George Bernard Shaw and Robert Kennedy asked these questions long ago, but young people today are asking them again.

As it is today there exist a certain degree of tension between what the youth of this nation has already achieved and what it should become. As far as we can see the people are unanimous in their conviction that economic and socio-political performance of this nation is far below its potential and expectations.

As one of my political mentors Late Sen.G.N.S Pwajok opined, Nigeria is a compelling paradox. On the other hand, a nation endowed with vast natural and human resources. But, on the other hand, a nation that has consistently, yielded to the curious paralysis of the will when it comes to judiciously harnessing the resources for her good. The Nigerian condition suggests a history of raised hopes and unrealized expectations; of want in the midst of plenty; of poverty in the midst of affluence and ‘doom’ in the midst of ‘boom’. There is today in Nigeria a conflict between the past and the present as well as between the present and the future.

As a nation, we have experienced years of civilian government and military rule through coups and periods of intense political strife. When there was increasing in oil earning, we witnessed influx of the petro-naira. However, the huge inflow of financial resources has not come close to solving the basic problem of mass—poverty. But unfortunately as we speak now, we don’t have such petro-naira anymore due to the fall of crude oil in the global market. In the present Nigeria, most States can’t even afford to pay salaries talk less of embarking on infrastructural projects.

Professor Chinua Achebe in his book “The Problem with Nigeria” has insisted that “the problem of Nigeria is simply and squarely the failure of leadership”. Thus beyond the past and present leadership, Achebe’s x-ray also posed fundamental questions about the potentials of the so called “new breed” or younger politicians to transform Nigeria into an economic prosperous country.

Young people have a major role to play in all of these by ensuring that democratic politics is not played along undemocratic lines so that the hope of political freedom and economic betterment does not continue to elude the people. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilize support, young people must maintain unique perspectives on issues bordering on the survival of Nigeria. This is more so in a situation where the capacity of democratic institutions has continued be whittled and citizens are turning their backs on politics. It is only a matter of time before the little advances recorded become consumed in the waters of unfolding contradictions if the youth are not oriented on the importance of peaceful coexistence, social growth and development. How our communities progress is determined to a large extent, on how much the youth are involved in building and designing the future. As Senator Pwajok observed, as we prepare for the future to avoid failure we need to take consideration of the following:

  1. We must realize the future is rushing on us as breakneck speed
  2. A leader’s concentration must not be on the past nor on the present but on the future
  3. Vision is an effective leader’s chief preoccupation
  4. This country can be reinvented with new generations of dreamers.

It was Malcom X that said “…they got to be a changed. People in power have misused it. A better world has to build and for it to be built, it has to be with extreme measures. I for one will join with anyone. I don’t care who you are, what colour who are or where you are from, as long as you are ready to change the miserable condition we found ourselves on this planet”. This is a call on my fellow Nigeria youth for us decide the kind future we want to see ourselves and generations to come. The future is now and it is far becoming yesterday.

@muntaseeer on twitter

Poem: Practice in Staying

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(For my future wife)

I come from a long line of men

Who chose divorce papers

Over apologies

To them, that word doesn’t exist

 

Men who love their kids,

But not the women

They came out of.

What an irony

 

I fear the amount of escape  I have

Running through my blood.

Everyday will be a practice in staying,

Sitting in the mire,

Being still in the flame

And saying to myself

This house will not burn

Without my permission

Inspired by Rudy Francisco

A long line…

I have been so busy of late in school. From resumption after 3 months strike, to lectures, revisions, exams and later my elections. I am glad to be back after a long time and a long line of absence.

My vision can still be captured in the statement by Walter H. Capps: ‘We are strongest as a people when we are directed by that which unites us – rather than giving in to the fears, suspicions, innuendoes and paranoias that divide.’

I CARE!!!

UNDERSTANDING THE VIOLENCE AGAINST PERSONS (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2015

 

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During the Nigeria Bar Association Law week, my lecturer Professor Alphonsus Okoh  Aluba delivered a lecture on the new “Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015″ which gave me first insight into this new legislation that seeks to prohibit any violence against persons in Nigeria.

On May 25th 2015 the immediate past President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan recorded a milestone when he signed into Law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015. This has brought to a successful conclusion the 14-year-long social and legislative advocacy championed by women’s groups and gender activists towards the passage of this law that will protect women and girls from all forms of violence. This Act, according to its long title, is aimed to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices; discrimination against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.

This Act commendably covers most of the prevalent forms of violence that could be categorized into: Physical violence; Psychological violence; Sexual violence; Harmful traditional practices; and Socio-economic violence. Specifically, The VAPP Act comprehensively deal twith one of the most vexed forms of sexual violence, rape, from which existing penal laws protected only females and limited to vaginal penetration .
It has expanded the scope of rape to protect males and to include anal and oral sex as well as protect the identity of rape victims.
The following are offences punishable under the Act: Rape, Inflicting
Physical Injury on a Person, Female Circumcision or Genital Mutilation, Forceful Ejection from Home, Depriving a Person of His/Her Liberty, Forced Financial Dependence or Economic Abuse, Forced Isolation or Separation from Family and Friends, Emotional Verbal and Psychological Abuse, Harmful Widowhood Practices, Abandonment of Spouse, Children and Other Dependent without Sustenance, Spousal/Partner Battery, Indecent exposure, Harmful Traditional Practices, Political Violence, and Violence by State Actors.

The law begins in Section 1 by defining rape as the intentional penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person if such person does not consent to the said penetration or if the consent is obtained by force or means of threat or intimidation. It also recognises that women can commit rape as well. Section 2 states that a person if found guilty of rape will be liable to imprisonment for life except where the offender is less than 14 years in which such person will be liable to a maximum of 12 years in prison, however, in other cases such person can only be sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison. If the rape is however committed by a group of persons, the offenders are liable jointly to a maximum of 20 years imprisonment without option of fine and the court shall also award compensation to the victim. The law also states that a register of convicted sex offenders shall be maintained and accessible to the public.

The new law also provides that anyone who willfully causes or inflicts physical injury on another commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a jail term not exceeding 5 years in prison or a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or both.

Also anyone who incites, aids, abets or counsels another person to commit an act of violence is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding N200, 000 or both. The court may also award compensation to the victim.

Furthermore, according to the law, coercing another to engage in acts that are detrimental to the person’s physical or psychological well being is an offence and a person is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 3 years. Anyone who also willfully places a person in fear of physical injury commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year to a fine not exceeding of N100, 000.

Compelling another to commit an act either sexual or otherwise, to the detriment of the victim’s physical or psychological well being is an offence and a guilty party is liable on conviction to a jail term not exceeding 2years.

It is worthy to note that the law prohibits female circumcision and offenders will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 4 years or to a fine not exceeding N200, 000 or both. An attempt to commit the act also attracts a jail term not exceeding 2 years and a fine not exceeding N100,000 or both.

The law also provides for forceful ejection from the home wherein a person who forcefully evicts a spouse or refuses them access commits an offence and liable to a jail term not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding N300,000 or both. The law also states that depriving another of his or her liberty without a court order is an offence and a person convicted is liable to a jail term not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding N500, 000.

Causing mischief or destruction of property with intent to case distress is also an offence and a guilty party will be liable to jail term not exceeding two years in prison or a fine not exceeding N300, 000.  Another offence is also forcefully isolating a person from friends and family and a guilty person on conviction will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or both.

Importantly, the Act contained provisions on effective remedies,
including the rights of victims to assistance. According to section 38,
“Every victim is entitled to receive the necessary materials, comprehensive  medical, psychological, social and legal assistance through governmental agencies and/or non-governmental agencies providing such assistance.” Victims are entitled to be informed of the availability of legal, health and social services and other relevant assistance and be readily afforded access to them. Furthermore, it provides that: “Victims are entitled to rehabilitation and re-integration programme of the State to enable victims to acquire, where applicable and necessary, pre-requisite skills in any vocation of the victim’s choice and also in necessary formal education or access to micro credit facilities.”
This Act, long overdue in coming, will unarguably bring succor and effective remedies to millions of victims who have suffered in silence without recourse to justice or rehabilitative-psycho-social support for their recovery and reintegration. The Act affords access and better services  for victims/survivors of violence, such as hotlines, shelters, legal advice, access to justice, counselling, police protection, and comprehensive health services.
The only drawback in relation to this law is its limited application to the
Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This is as a result of the nature of Nigeria’s federal structure and constitutional distribution of powers between the Federal Government and States of the Federation. It is expected that 36 states of Nigeria will take immediate and necessary action to adopt and enact similar law on Violence against persons.