Nigeria Launches nyenet.com

Nigeria

Nigeria’s Federal Government has launched, nyenet.com, the online module designed to complement its Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) devised to link the country’s youth population with government/private sector-sponsored entrepreneurship and empowerment programs.

NYENET is short for Nigerian Youth Entrepreneurship Network and was designed in collaboration with Nicholas Okoye, the founder, Empower Nigeria, a pseudo-incubator which, according to it’s webpage, offers training support and capital sources to get young people started in businesses.

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president launched nyenet.com alongside YES, on Tuesday, in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. According to him, “[The] one-stop portal that will enhance government’s ability to reach out to the young. [It] will give young entrepreneurs opportunities for both training and funding for entrepreneurial ideas.”

The website, currently, is basically an aggregate – or more appropriately, a list, for they are without links or information as to the nature of said programmes – of the FG-sponsored programmes across the country’s  36 states. It is not yet clear what more nyenet.com does. Though the website outlines some features such as: Chat, Marketplace, Super Mentor and Entrepreneurship Clinic, the features are currently unavailable. “Coming Soon” written in red lettering appears when any of the links are selected.

The general outlook of the webpage is lean and and quite wonky, even for a beta version. The listing of the programmes, however, does give an insight into more programmes sponsored by the Nigeria’s federal government than currently available in the local mainstream media. In other words, a marginally better inspired evidence campaign effort for the incumbent administration.

Photo Credit: theglobalpanorama via Compfight cc

Nigerians sent, received over 1,747.09m SMS’ in 4 years

NCC

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday, gave a break­down of telecommunication activities between 2010 and 2014, saying the number of SMS sent and received in 2010 on mobile lines totalled 1,747.09 million with outgo­ing text messages at 871.97 million and incoming text messages at 875.12 million.

The bureau also said in a re­port that in the course of daily activity, 1,722.70 million mes­sages (98.6 per cent) were sent and received domestically while 24.39 million messages (1.4 per cent) were sent and received internationally.

Also in 2011, there was about 80 per cent growth in SMS sent and received to a total of 3,158.62 million.

“During this period, out­going messages increased to 1,897.00 million, an approxi­mately 1,000.00 million in­crease or by 117 per cent, and international incoming 16.25 63 92.57 115.45. Domestic incoming 858.86 1198.14 2141.26 1403.49. Interna­tional outgoing 8.14 126.08 127.92 47.39, domestic outgo­ing 863.84 1775.82 1,953.28 1232.27,” it said.

However, SMS increased to 1,261.61 million, a 386.00 million increase or by 44 per cent. In this same year, 2,973.97 million messages (94 per cent) were sent and received domestically while 189.55 million messages (6 per cent) were sent and re­ceived internationally.

“In 2012, the sector record­ed substantial growth of SMS sent and received, with a total of 4,315.03 million indicating a 36.6 per cent percentage increase. Outgoing messages increased by 9 per cent to amount to a total of 2,081.20 million while incoming mes­sages increased by 77 per cent to total 2,233.82. During the year, a total of 4,094.54 mil­lion (94 per cent) messages were sent and received domes­tically while 220.49 million (5 per cent) messages were sent and received internationally.

The Nigerian Communica­tion industry in 2013 recorded a decline in the number of SMS sent and received. The total number of SMS sent and received in 2013 stood at 3,394.94 million indicating a 21 per cent decrease from 2012. The outgoing messages in 2013 reduced to 1,555.02 million by 25 per cent and incoming messages also re­duced by 17 per cent to equal 1,839.92 million SMS in that year. The domestic activity recorded a total of 2,635.77 million messages represent­ing 77 per cent of SMS sent and received in 2013, while 162.84 million messages (4.7 per cent) were sent and re­ceived internationally in the same year.

“In 2010, the SMS fixed line service recorded only two operators in that market space. The total SMS sent and received grossed 246.32 mil­lion in that year with incom­ing SMS representing 80.5 per cent and outgoing SMS with 19.5 per cent of the total. 2011 took a downward slide with a 97.68 million reduction in the total number of SMS sent and received, indicating a 39.6 per cent drop to 148.64 million SMS in the same year. Incoming messages, however, contributed 51.8 per cent of the total SMS in 2011 show­ing a reduction of 61 per cent from the previous year. The total number of SMS in 2012 decreased compared to other years under review. A total of 76.31 million SMS were re­corded in 2012.

“Outgoing SMS contrib­uted an equal share of 50 per cent each to the total number of SMS in that year. Finally, 2013 witnessed a further de­crease in the number of SMS to a total of 42.43 million SMS, representing a reduction of 44.3 per cent compared to 2012. Similarly, incoming and outgoing SMS also contrib­uted an equal share of 50 per cent to the aggregate figure in that year,” it said.

Nigeria-American Professionals Endorse Jonathan

Goodluck-Jonathan-pdpThe Association of Nigerian-American Professionals, on Thursday, endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan for the second term.

A statement signed by the group’s Chairman, Dr. Iheanacho Orabuchi, cited the ‘YouWin’ project and the revamping of the light rail as major achievements of the President’s administration.

Part of the statement read; “In the face of global terror, the international community prefers Jonathan. Despite restive electorate and voters who are angry and want change, the change is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He is the change we can trust at this time.

“We strongly believe that President Jonathan is the best candidate for President of Nigeria at this time. He has been tested and has the strong leadership qualities to lead Nigeria to the next level.

“A case in point is President Jonathan’s recent leadership in curbing Ebola, prompting the World Health Organization declaring Nigeria Ebola free.”

The group went on to list about 22 accomplishments by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, which informed their decision to “strongly endorse” him.

They listed some of the establishment of over 100 Almajiri Islamic schools, establishment of 12 new universities, privatisation of the power sector and the completion of the Niger Delta power sector among the reasons why President Jonathan should be supported to continue.

They concluded, “Nigeria needs President Goodluck Jonathan at this time. President Jonathan is the change we need and trust; he has changed lives in Nigeria for better as demonstrates democratic principles.”

The group of professionals also honoured President Jonathan with the ‘Excellence in Leadership’ Award for his outstanding accomplishments in Nigeria.

Nigeria Elections: The Economist and its tongue-in-cheek verdict

GEJWriting in its February 7, 2015, issue, The Economist made some pronouncements on Nigeria’s presidential election with the same magisterial authority that has always defined its analysis of socio-economic matters in developing countries. Such analysis is often made through those old, jaundiced lens which produce images hardly ever consistent with reality.

Of course, these can only culminate in some pathetic logic as evident in the publication’s tragic verdict that seems to suggest that Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s candidacy were a better option in comparison to President Goodluck Jonathan’s. “As a northerner and Muslim, he will have greater legitimacy among villagers whose help he will need to isolate the insurgents. As a military man, he is more likely to win the respect of a demoralised army. We are relieved not to have a vote in this election. But were we offered one we would – with a heavy heart – choose Mr Buhari.”

This tongue-in-cheek assertion is a by-product of the West’s paternalistic attitude towards Africa; the assumption that it knows what’s best for Africa and the reluctance to concede that the old “decadent” template to which the continent seemed eternally bound for decades has changed. That is the reason the magazine’s editors could so glibly discountenance President Jonathan’s economic accomplishments as if Nigeria’s economy were a conscious, organic being whose growth does not depend on some impetus.

“The single bright spot of his rule has been Nigeria’s economy, one of the world’s fastest-growing,” the magazine observed. “Yet that is largely despite the government rather than because of it.”

It’s inconceivable that the remarkable growth attained in the country’s non-oil sector is not the outcome of a painstaking planning and committed implementation of policies. We see huge leaps in agriculture which stands out as a beacon with some impressive indices: a 14.2 per cent rise in exports in the first quarter of 2014; $4 billion investments as a result of reforms; 1.07 million metric ton increase in farm output following the introduction of dry season farming in 10 northern states in 2013; 7 million metric tons of paddy rice added to national production since 2011; elimination of the largely corrupt era where most farmers were shut out of agricultural inputs like fertilizers or procured them from middlemen at highly exorbitant rates.

Similar advances exist in the creative sector where the Jonathan administration, apart from securing NEXIM’s support for showbiz entrepreneurs, has launched Project Advancing Creativity and Technology, a N3 billion grant for Nollywood artistes that has aided distribution and led to a few top-notch productions. The impressive data could also be glimpsed in manufacturing, a sector which for long teemed with dismal figures that meant companies seldom produced at optimal capacity. The tale is gradually changing. For instance, Nigeria has today become a net exporter of cement, moving production from 2 million metric tons to a capacity of 28.5 million metric tons. These, combined yielded the robust figures that emerged from Nigeria’s rebased GDP ($510 billion), the highest in Africa at present. There is as well the YouWin programme, an initiative of the Federal Government that creates a platform for enterprising youths to pitch for support for their start-ups. The dreams of many young and aspiring entrepreneurs have been launched this way. Of course, this has created enduring job opportunities for many.

These cannot be fortuitous statistics. To suggest that anyone of these feats had occurred “despite the government rather than because of it” is grossly uncharitable and smacks of intellectual dishonesty. It’s as silly as implying that the decades long reputation of The Economist globally was earned despite the editors than because of them.

That is the sort of flawed reasoning that runs through the essay. Any surprise then why it teems with simplistic assumptions you would only expect to find in a hack publication? It is the reason also why the magazine could have drawn a conclusion utterly incongruous with its premise. How could a magazine that seeks “to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress” (an extract from the publisher’s vision) contemplate giving its vote to Buhari – even “with a heavy heart” – were it possible to do so. This was how the magazine described the ex-general’s regime:

“His rule was nasty, brutish and mercifully short. Declaring a ‘war against indiscipline’, he ordered whip-wielding soldiers to ensure that Nigerians formed orderly queues. His economics, known as Buharism, was destructive. Instead of letting the currency depreciate in the face of trade deficit, he tried to fix prices and ban ‘unnecessary’ imports. He expelled 700,000 migrants in the delusion that this would create jobs for Nigerians. He banned political meetings and free speech. He detained thousands, used secret tribunals and executed people for crimes that were not capital punishment.”

Well, thankfully, the magazine’s writers and editors are not eligible to vote and the effect of their puerile conjectures would, happily, be barely discernible because the true narrative about the elections and what the candidates actually represent is each day becoming apparent to Nigerians.

Indeed, a little learning is a dangerous thing, as the 18th-century English poet, Alexander Pope, had observed. The Economist noted that “Nigerians typically die eight years younger than their poorer neighbours in nearby Ghana.” What the magazine failed to indicate, perhaps fearing that probing deep could lead to findings that will controvert the editors long held presuppositions, is that life expectancy in the Jonathan administration rose to 52 years from the 47 years that it was before his accession.

Another instance of the ruinous effect of insufficient understanding is deducible in the “Few nowadays question his commitment to democracy or expect him to turn autocratic: he has repeatedly stood for election and accepted the outcome when he lost.” What is left unsaid is that his comments after losing the 2011 presidential election do not reflect tolerance, an important democratic virtue. In fact, his utterance more or less presaged the violence unleashed across some northern states by youths alleging the Peoples Democratic Party had rigged the election against General Buhari, then presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change which would later coalesce into the All Progressives Congress. That violence claimed scores of innocent lives, among them some members of the National Youths Service Corps.

There is a line in the essay by The Economist, which doubtless unwittingly, offers a disturbing glimpse into General Buhari’s personality: “As a northerner and Muslim, he will have greater legitimacy among villagers whose help he would need to isolate the insurgents…” The magazine may, implicitly, be voicing what some analysts had long suspected – that the intolerably vicious atmosphere that spawned the north-east insurgency is a protest against Jonathan’s election as Nigeria’s president. How can sharing ethnic affinity with a section where terrorism has taken firm roots ever be considered a strong point in a sharply polarised nation as Nigeria? It is a belittling quality which anyone who seeks to rule an ethnically diverse people should never wish to be identified with.

But the ex-general has done little to dispel sentiments that may hurt his chances at the poll. This includes very divisive issues. So even when people outside the north are horrified by his pledge to work towards the implementing of the Sharia code across Nigeria, he makes no attempt to refute that. He was also silent few years ago when hurtful sentiments about the polio vaccine emerged in the north, resulting in the inability of health workers to immunise thousands of children. That unfortunate decision seriously hampered the drive to eliminate polio and set Nigeria’s targets back by several years. But there’s a silver lining in the dark clouds because the man whose government had been so unfairly appraised by The Economist stepped up National Immunisation Coverage from 38 per cent in 2012 to 82 percent in 2013.

Such intervention yielded other heart-warming indices that include the following: eradication of guinea worm disease which previously affected over 800,000 lives in Nigeria yearly; non-transmission of the type-3 wild polio virus for more than one year; an increase in health insurance coverage from 6 per cent in 2011 to 8 per cent in 2013; reduction of under-5 mortality to 94/1000 live births from 157/1000 live births. The ratio too for maternal mortality is down to 350/100,000 live births in 2012, a significant improvement from 545/100,000 live births which was the case in 2008.

The ridiculous attempt to deodorise the unpleasant odour that the Buhari story leaves in the air is inconsistent with the unsparing mindset that a number of commentators adopt when appraising President Jonathan. It seems whereas Buhari gets a pat on the back, sort of, for his downright failures, Jonathan runs the gauntlet even for his accomplishments which, to his adversaries, should rather be left in the closet. It is such discriminatory assessments that distorted the narrative resulting in the notion that Jonathan has achieved nothing despite countless evidence to the contrary.

So, while the failure to defeat Boko Haram is repeatedly cited with some flourish to buttress the unflattering labels which members of the opposition had coined to define the president, the fact that he was initially hampered by shrill calls for restraint and claims he was planning genocide against the North is conveniently ignored. As a matter of fact, General Buhari had voiced such refrain which somewhat rationalises Boko Haram’s existence. This is a point The Economist could have considered before making a pronouncement akin to giving a tacit nod to Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator whose government the magazine had been hugely critical of.

But, as history proves, no matter how further away from the public view reality is pushed, it often returns. And when it does, the entire truth becomes as evident as the gulf between the man whose policies gave Nigeria its status as Africa’s biggest economy and “a former military dictator with blood on his hands”, as The Economist had described General Buhari.

Wole Karim Adisa wrote in from Lagos

Gallant Heroine: Nigerian Female police officer disarms 2 robbers

A female police officer in Lagos, has done what many of her male counterparts cannot do by disarming two armed robbers.

Sergeant-Mercy-John
Sergeant Mercy John is now the cynosure of the Nigeria Police’s eyes. (Facebook)

Sergeant Mercy John, a female police officer attached to the Provost Office, State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos, has shown a gallantry that has continued to draw plaudits from all and sundry when she single-handedly disarmed two armed robbers who had plans to rob her of her belongings.

The incident happened on Tuesday, 10 February, 2015, at about 6pm around the Egbeda-Shasha area of the state.

According to a statement released by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, the robbers who rode on a motorcycle, had accosted John, brought out guns and ordered her to lie down.

Apparently unaware of the fact that she was a police officer, the robbers thought they would have a field day but she gave them such a surprise by boldly grabbing the neck of one of the robbers and hit it on a wall.

With his gun falling out of his hand, John then grabbed it and turned it on the hoodlums who, out of fear, fled the scene.

Nwosu said:

“Mercy John and one other person were accosted by two armed robbers on motor bike and ordered to lie down.

The NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) refused to comply and also turned down the order to hand over her handbag.

However, her companion, out of fear, complied. One of the men who accosted them brought out a locally made pistol; the NCO immediately on sighting the firearm, smartly and professionally grabbed the neck of the gun-wielding hoodlum and hit his head on a nearby wall.

The firearm fell and she immediately grabbed it and the hoodlums, sensing imminent danger, fled.

The Commissioner of Police wishes to congratulate the NCO for this uncommon act of bravery and urges her to keep it up.

He further enjoins all personnel of the command to emulate the effort of the NCO and put in their best in the service to the nation.”

Full Text Of President Jonathan 8th Presidential Media Chat

Goodluck-JonathanNigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan,  on Feb 11 2015, hosted his eight presidential media chat since May 2011.
President Jonathan responded to questions concerning the challenges confronting Nigeria – insecurity, the economy, corruption, dearth of infrastructure.
Additional information from PremiumTimes were used in this compilation.
Read Full Text Below:-

On postponed elections:

The president sought the understanding of the international community over the postponed elections. He said the kind of scenarios where elections are postponed for the sake of perpetuating power is not the case in Nigeria.

Boko Haram:

The president was asked why he thinks the war against Boko Haram can be won in six weeks even though the war had raged for six years. The president said he has just acquired new weapons, and gotten support of neigbhouring countries to fight Boko Haram. He mentioned that Chad waited for African Union approval, which they recently got too. He also mentioned that the issue of security is beyond Boko Haram. The president said it runs into dangerous signals of youth restiveness. In the next four weeks Nigerians will see the difference in the security intervention in the North, he said.

The president is asked where he bought arms for the coming onslaught on Boko Haram. He said they managed to get from other sources other than America.

PRESIDENTIAL MEDIA CHAT

Do you have confidence in Jega to conduct the 2015 elections?

The president said he wished Jega was seated by his side to answer the question.

I wish Jega were here, I could have asked him to answer whether I have confidence in him Yes those who called for his sack may be close to me, but they express their own opinion. More than 80 per cent of those who sponsor messages on our behalf we don’t even know them. People use the reschedule of election to misinform Nigerians.

I have never thought about removing INEC Chairman, though I have the constitutional power to do so.”

GEJ blamed his supporters for rumours about Jega’s resignation. “I have not told anybody that I will remove Jega,” he said. He explained that if there are obvious reasons to remove Jega, he would rely on “constitutional” provisions that gives him powers to sack whoever he appoints.

Attacks:

”The level of misinformation, especially from young people is high. Attempting to attack the president is treasonable offence.The president is protected by soldiers, not just the police. People get carried away and make some provocative statements.

Those who pelted my convoy during my campaigns in the Northern part of the country were ignorant. If INEC conducts the election poorly, it will be on my head.”

Hate speeches and political violence by both opposition and ruling party members.

The president explained that “some people” get carried away by the political play and exude these violence. He blamed aides and associates of key political actors for the hate speeches and political violence. He did not categorically condemn the hate speeches or war threats or politically-motivated violence.

“We will make sure things are done so that nobody goes to war,” the president said when he pressed for categorical stance on the war threats by ex-militants should he lose the elections. He argues journalists have responsibility to ensure the unity of the country.

On why he frequents churches for campaign but never visited mosques:

GEJ responded by saying he does not receive invitations from Muslims like from the churches.

If election would hold should the military fails to eliminate Boko Haram in six weeks:

The presidents said the new dates are sacrosanct and a new president would be sworn in by May 29. He argued that the goal is not to totally eliminate Boko Haram but to make adequate security arrangement for the election.

Missing Chibok girls:

Questioning moves to the issue of the president’s perceived weak support especially as it relates to the missing Chibok girls. “Just give us some times,” he said, responding to questions seeking the state of the girls at the moment. The president is optimistic the girls would be rescued with the new military collaboration with neighbouring countries. “I believe the story would be different in a few weeks,” the president said. “We would recover them alive.”

I believe the story of Chibok Girls will get better in the next few weeks, but don’t quote me. We are working with our neighbours, we will comb the whole of that place Partying after abduction? It’s unfortunate that people play politics with the issue of Chibok girls. It’s not like that elsewhere. In other countries, political boundaries collapse in the face of terror attacks, not so in Nigeria.

With regards to his weakened political base, the president said “in politics, there are only permanent interests.”

The president is asked to clarify his previous comments that “stealing is not corruption”:

He said he made that statement quoting the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Mustafa, who explained to him that his analysis of corruption cases in Nigeria showed that most of such cases were theft. He argued that referring to stealing as corruption minimizes the crime. “Ole (thief in Yoruba) should be called Ole and given that treatment,” the president said.

“Let us communicate properly. The word corruption, we have abused it.”

“It is not actually my quotation. I quoted the former Chief Justice,” as he continues to defend his previous comments on corruption and stealing.

We have convicted more corrupt people than ever. It is just that Nigerians are confused on what the difference is between stealing and corruption.

The state of the N1 billion security loan and funds confiscated in South Africa.

He said the government have not started disbursing the N1 billion loan. With regards to the .3 million arms money seized in South Africa, he said the money does not belong to Nigeria, technically. He added that the matter was in court.

The president is asked if he would hand over if he loses the next election.

“If the elections are conducted and I lose, of course, another president would be sworn in,” the president said. He argued that Nigeria is more important than any individual.

The president is asked what he will do differently if he wins.

He said most of the problem he had in the past is related to perception and not concrete. He did not really say what he would do differently.

The president is asked to comment on his opponent for the 2015 general election, Buhari.

The president responded it was an unfair question. He however mentioned that he has recieved more criticism that Muhammadu Buhari on social media.

The president is asked if he has confidence in INEC as presidently constituted.

He answered saying he appointed everyone at the management level of INEC.

GEJ-media-chat

Closing Remarks:

In his closing remarks, president Jonathan assured Nigerians that elections would be conducted and a new president sworn in on May 29. He argued that it is better for INEC to conduct an election everyone would be happy with.

UN Applauds Nigeria’s Handling Of Polls Postponement

Ban Ki Moon
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has applauded President Goodluck Jonahan, the political parties and Nigerians for the maturity they exhibited in following the postponement of the 2015 general elections.
The UN secretary-general gave the applause in a message delivered through his Special Representative for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn-Chambas, when he visited President Jonathan in Abuja.
The envoy, accompanied by former Head of state Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, spoke with State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with the President.
“The secretary-general wished me to commend Mr President, other leaders of the political parties and Nigerians as a whole for the maturity that has been demonstrated so far in this whole preparations towards general elections which are now scheduled later in March.
“We saw first of all the primaries; there was a lot of speculation about how they will go. They transpired in a very calm and peaceful manner.
“The campaigns started and again Nigerians have demonstrated a lot of maturity in the general manner in which the campaigns have taken place.
“Naturally in periods such as this there will be heightened tension and heightened rhetoric. But on the whole we have seen very little violence associated with this process.
“And this is the same also with the postponement where there was a lot of speculation about what will happen.
“So far, this process is proceeding in a very calm, peaceful and credible manner and this is the wish certainly of the UN and also the many fans of Nigeria
“It is our expectation that all will continue to exercise restraints and keep this process clean and that at the end of the day Nigerians will accept the outcome of the vote of the people.“
The UN secretary general also said that the extension would provide an opportunity for more Nigerians to obtain their Permanent Voter Cards.
He also expressed disgust over the Boko Haram insurgency and pledged support for the war the country was waging to degrade the insurgents.
“UN stands firmly behind Nigeria in its legitimate fight against Boko Haram terrorism.”
“Mr President has the assurance of Secretary-General for the recent initiative whereby the Lake Chad basin commission will be the platform to anchor the multinational task force which is being put in place.”