Saving Kenya’s children born of incest

Child welfare worker with rescued baby
Some babies are as young as one day old when they arrive at Kanduyi, says welfare officer Alice Kimotho

Baby X is sleeping quietly, wrapped in a warm blanket and held close in a motherly embrace in a Kenyan orphanage and children’s home.

But, as the name we are using for him would suggest, he is no ordinary child.

For Baby X, now one month old, was born as a result of an incestuous union.

Like many others at Kanduyi Children’s Home, in Bungoma county 400km (250 miles) west of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, he had to be rescued from his family before he could be killed.

In Baby X’s case, just two days after his birth the security forces, acting on a tip-off, raided his home and took him away, saving him from a death sentence condoned by elders of the area’s Bukusu community.

There are others like him at Kanduyi, a clean if ageing collection of stone buildings with corrugated iron roofs – children with ages ranging from one day to 18.

‘Taboo babies’

Incest is taboo in this part of Kenya as it is almost everywhere. According to Kenyan laws it is punishable by five years in prison or life imprisonment for sex with a minor.

But for centuries the traditional punishment in many Kenyan communities has been death – and among the Bukusu it is not necessarily of the man or woman involved but of the child born from the forbidden union.

And while it is not legal for a community to impose a death penalty – only a judge can do this – in rural areas it is part of customary laws as such babies are considered cursed.

The Bukusu call them “be luswa” meaning “taboo babies”, fearing they will bring curses such as infertility and mental problems.

“Any time we receive a report that a taboo child has been born somewhere we rush to save it – otherwise you may reach there only to be told that the baby died,” Alice Kimotho, the children’s welfare officer in charge at Kanduyi, told the BBC.

“Most of these deaths are very suspicious.”

Titus Kolil, an administrative officer at the home, says incest is “very frequent” in this part of Kenya, blaming “cultural biases”.

He does not give further details but speaks of three or four new cases each month just for Kanduyi to handle.

The nature of a taboo is such that there will be other cases about which the local authorities never hear.

“We are having rampant irresponsible sexual relations,” says Stephen Kokonya, the Bungoma county culture minister.

“And most of these relations… are actually relationships between very close relatives, including even fathers having relations with their own children.”

Girls growing up in rural homesteads are particularly vulnerable when they reach puberty because they have to move out of the family hut to sleep in the kitchen or another building.

Force

Mr Kokonya said his administration was using “cultural leadership structures” to address the problem.

“We are campaigning against retrogressive values.

Young mother studyingThe 15-year-old mother of the rescued baby is now back at school

“We believe we shall be able to communicate what is positive for communities to embrace and what is negative for communities to discard.”

The records at Kanduyi Children’s Home show that Baby X’s mother is a 15-year-old, who was impregnated by her 17-year-old uncle.

The girl has since been moved to live with relatives 25km away from her home, and is now back at school, repeating the year she missed during her pregnancy.

I go to visit her at her guardian’s home.

With her aunt present, she quietly tells me what happened.

“He used to force himself on to me,” she says. “He threatened to beat me up if I leaked it to anybody.”

She says she has no love for her uncle or their baby.

“Since I begot him with my uncle I can’t love him. They say it is bad.”

Later I ask her what she would like to do when she finishes school and she says she would like to become a doctor.

An outdoor school in Bungoma, Kenya - archive shot 2007Officials say educating cultural leaders will be the best way to change attitudes in remote areas

Tears are now rolling down her cheeks, and she asks her aunt to help her finish her education.

The 17-year-old uncle, who did not have to relocate from his home, declines to speak to the BBC when we contact him.

‘Right to life’

At a nearby shopping centre I meet some members of a Bukusu elders’ council.

One of them declines to comment on Baby X but tells me how an unborn taboo child is often killed.

“When the girl is about to deliver, they summon some women who pretend to help her deliver but instead they suffocate the baby by pressing the mother’s thighs together, killing the baby discreetly.

“They believe the baby should die for the girl to live peacefully in the community.”

Villagers in this region sometimes also kill second-born twins, as they are thought to bring bad luck. Those who want to keep their babies are forced to flee their homes.

Another elder says the practice of killing taboo children might stop if perpetrators of incest were sufficiently punished.

“The government lets rapists and those participating in incest go scot-free,” he says.

“If these criminals were arrested and punished then cases of taboo children would be eliminated.”

Mr Kokonya says proving cases of infanticide in these rural areas is difficult – so few cases are prosecuted.

But the culture minister said he wanted to remind “those old men who are sitting down and making such a decision” that they are “interfering with the basic fundamental right to life”.

At Kanduyi, as Baby X wakes up and older children play noisily outside the classrooms, it is clear that those who might have died are very much alive.

But how many born in similarly unhappy circumstances have been less fortunate?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-30019899

Oil price falls ahead of Opec meeting

 

The price of oil has fallen as Opec oil producers prepare for their meeting on Thursday and data showed crude stocks rose last week.

Inventories of commercial US crude oil increased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Brent crude future’s price slid 0.8 to $77.75 a barrel after the data.

The drop came as Saudi Arabia indicated it would not push for output cuts to help push up oil prices.

US crude finished Wednesday’s business down 40 cents at $73.69 a barrel.

Last Updated at 26 Nov 2014, 21:30 Brent Crude Oil Future twelve month chart

price change %
77.57

-0.76

-0.97

The oil market will “stabilise itself eventually”, said Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.

Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of the 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

The oil cartel is split over how to react to the sharp slump in oil prices.

The price of Brent crude has plunged 30% since June, triggered by a sharp rise in US shale oil output and weakening global demand.

There is speculation that on Thursday Opec could announce its first cut in oil production since 2009 in an attempt to support the oil price.

Oil price graphic

Among the Opec members, Venezuela and Iraq have called for output cuts.

However, fellow Opec member United Arab Emirates’s (UAE) Oil Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui appeared to side with Saudi Arabia, indicating it would not push for a cut in production, saying “the market will fix itself ultimately”.

“We are not going to panic, this is not the first time, this is not a crisis that requires us to panic … we have seen [prices] way lower. We are not interested in the short fixes because we know they will not last,” Mr al-Mazroui told Reuters.

Russia says ‘no’

The responses from Saudi Arabia and UAE come a day after non-Opec member Russia, which produces an estimated 11% of global oil, said it would not co-operate with any production cut.

Following a meeting with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico representatives, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the country’s energy companies would produce around the same amount of oil next year as they did in 2014.

He told reporters in Moscow he was sceptical that Opec would decide on Thursday to cut output quotas.

The heated debate over how to react to the sharp fall in oil prices has led to some suggesting that Thursday’s meeting could last longer much longer than usual.

“It might take a bit longer than the ordinary meetings,” said one delegate. “They must agree, even if they have to stay here for two days. It is a matter of death or survival for budgets.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30211564

Japan man self-immolates ‘in protest over military shift’

Navy servicemen of the Japan Self-Defense Force stand with their flag prior to a review ceremony on a runway at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Hyakuri air base in Omitama, Ibaraki prefecture on 26 October 2014.
Japan’s constitution states that its military is not allowed to use force in conflicts except for self-defence

A Japanese man burned himself to death on Tuesday in what appeared to be protest against a shift in military policy, local media said.

The cabinet in July approved a landmark change in security policy allowing the military to fight overseas.

Japan’s post World War Two constitution bars the country from using force in conflicts except for self-defence.

The incident follows another self-immolation in June, in an apparently similar protest. The man survived.

Police sources told local media that they found a man on fire in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park near parliament and government offices on Tuesday night, after they received an emergency call.

He died after he was taken to hospital.

Local media quoted investigators as saying they considered the case to be suicide and reported that the man left behind a protest note and a video camera. Police declined to confirm such details.

The note was reportedly addressed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top lawmakers, and protested against the military policy shift.

Mr Abe had been lobbying for Japan to adopt collective self-defence, which is the use of force to defend allies under attack.

The cabinet approved a controversial reinterpretation of the constitution to allow for this shift in July, sparking significant opposition and protests drawing thousands. It also further angered neighbours such as China and South Korea.

But some argued that the move was needed, pointing to Japan’s constitution as a post-war relic imposed by the US that restricts Japan from engaging in the normal activities of a modern nation.

Mr Abe has defended the decision as a “strictly defensive measure” and emphasised that it would not lead to Japan becoming involved in foreign wars.

Ahead of the July decision, a man tried to immolate himself in June on a walkway in Shinjuku in protest.

Also on Tuesday, there were reports that Mr Abe could be planning to call a general election as early as December, amid concerns about Japan’s slow economic recovery and ahead of a planned increase in sales tax.

An election is not due until 2016 but major parties have begun preparations for a snap vote, local reports say.

line

What is collective self-defence?

  • In the past Japan could use force only in self-defence. Under the change, Japan’s military will be able to come to the aid of allies if they come under attack from a common enemy
  • Other conditions would apply, according to reports, including that there should be a clear threat to the Japanese state and that people’s right to life and liberty could be subverted
  • Examples from officials of “collective self-defence” could include Japan shooting down a missile fired by North Korea at the US and Japan taking part in mine-sweeping operations in key sea lanes during a conflict
  • Japan’s PM says the change does not mean taking part in multilateral wars, like the US-led war in Iraq

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-30015841

‘Petrol for a quid’ if oil price slump deepens

“A continued fall in crude prices raises the tantalising – though distant – prospect of getting change from a quid for every litre you buy”, says Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation

motorist filling a car with petrol

Oil prices have fallen around 28pc since June. Photo: PA

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Oil prices have fallen around 28pc since June, but the drop has been slow to filter through to cheaper prices at the pumps, and fuelling the car continues to be one of the average family’s biggest weekly expenses.

However, with some experts now forecasting that the current slide in crude oil will only end once prices have dropped below $70 (£44) per barrel, a sustained period of lower petrol bills appears to be finally just around the corner for Britain’s hard-pressed motorists.

“When oil was last at $60 a barrel in spring 2009, the price of petrol stood at just under £1 a litre,” Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, told The Sunday Telegraph. “Rising VAT and fuel duty rates need to be factored in, along with changes to the exchange rate, but a continued fall in crude prices raises the tantalising – though distant – prospect of getting change from a quid for every litre you buy.”

Major supermarkets were quick to respond to the warning last week from Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, that savings in wholesale oil and petroleum product costs should be passed on faster to consumers. Asda, Tesco and Morrison’s all trimmed a few pence off at the pumps, and the price of petrol fell below 120p per litre for the first time in four years, with diesel available at just over 123p.

Blaming oil prices for the cost of petrol is too simplistic. The UK has one of the highest rates of taxation on fuel in the world and, perversely, lower wholesale costs might force the Government to increase duty in order to compensate for getting less revenue from North Sea drillers.

In 2009, the Labour government raised value added tax (VAT) on fuel from 15pc to 20pc. Although George Osborne, the Chancellor, provided some relief in 2011 by freezing duty at 57.19p per litre, experts fear that oil prices falling below $75 per barrel would force a change of heart.

Subtract the cost of producing the oil, and transporting and refining it and profit margins for most petrol retailers remain paper thin in the UK, where tax accounts for over half the cost of a litre of fuel.

This is also the view of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which controls about a third of the world’s physical oil supply and the overwhelming majority of reserves.

Opec argues that the global economy has generally functioned pretty well with prices of oil at above $100 per barrel and that it is for consuming nations such as the UK to match any savings in wholesales costs by lowering domestic taxes on fuel.

However, the group’s leading members now appear to be willing to allow prices to fall, maybe to a low point of around $70 per barrel, in an attempt to claw back market share in the US, where their supplies have been gradually replaced by the rise of shale.

“We are not panicking. This situation has come after a stable five years,” said Abdalla Salem el-Badri, Opec’s secretary general, in Vienna last week after the publication of the group’s latest annual World Oil Outlook.

Brent crude – a benchmark for about half the world’s oil – was trading at around $83 per barrel last week, far below the high of $115 achieved in June, when it appeared that Iraqi production was seriously threatened by Islamists.

Even within Opec, an organisation that is used to adjusting its production in line with supply and demand, the sharpness of the current falls has unnerved some members who require prices around $100 per barrel in order to balance national budgets.

“We don’t have any target price” said Mr El-Badri.

The group’s 12 members, who include the oil superpowers Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), meet in Vienna on November 27 with many pressing for an urgent cut in production in line with the changing fundamentals that have pushed down prices.

Two years ago, ensuring there was enough supply to meet global demand of around 90m barrels per day of crude against a backdrop of turmoil in the Middle East was the overriding theme driving the market. The outbreak of violence in Syria and Libya raised concerns of wider political risk to this vital oil producing region.

However, oil exports from Libya were restarted months ago and the feared disruption to supplies from the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has dissipated. In short, the world has grown comfortable with the level of political risk in a major producing region that once would have sent prices skyrocketing.

At the same time, demand from China has begun to soften and the downward force that has already had on other commodities such as iron ore has started to weigh on oil prices. However, Opec still expects 71pc of growth in demand through to 2040 to come from Asia.

While demand has come under pressure, with the International Energy Agency estimating that the market will only require 29.3m barrels per day (bpd) from Opec in 2015 compared with the 30.5m bpd that it is currently producing, more supply could soon flood on to the market.

Citibank now estimates that with the development of new fields in the Arctic, the US could be pumping more than 14m bpd of oil and other liquids by the end of the decade. These volumes would add pressure for America to lift its ban on crude exports in direct competition with Opec.

In the nearer term, a decision is due on November 24, just before Opec is due to meet, on whether the six major powers led by the US can reach a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme. A resolution would lead to the eventual lowering of sanctions and the return of international oil companies to Iran, which has the world’s fourth-largest crude oil reserves.

It is these fundamental shifts under way in the global oil market that could soon be felt in the pockets of British families, with some experts predicting that crude has much further to fall before reaching a floor.

“From 2003 to 2013 the average nominal price of Brent crude has been about $68 per barrel. So we shouldn’t be too surprised if it returns there now,” Mike Daly, former head of BP’s exploration division and now professor of earth sciences at Oxford University, told The Sunday Telegraph.

“Successful exploration for new resources helps to sustain a diverse and secure supply of oil into global markets, and thereby mitigate the power of the world’s major resource owners, an absolute essential, until the day that we have a serious alternative to oil.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/oilprices/11218225/Petrol-for-a-quid-if-oil-price-slump-deepens.html

Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia

Washington is trying to drive down prices by flooding the market with crude but risks collateral damage to its own shale industry
Fracking In California
An oilfield on the Monterey shale formation near McKittrick, California. Photograph: David McNew/Getty Images

Imagine that at the start of 2014 you were an investor who liked to dabble in the commodity markets. You could sniff something going seriously wrong in Ukraine and you were alarmed by early reports of groups of militants marauding across northern and western Iraq.

With hopes that the global economy would continue to strengthen, the smart money would have been on oil prices continuing to climb. That’s what geopolitical tension plus robust demand usually means.

On this occasion, though, the smart money was wrong. After standing at well over $110 a barrel in the summer, the cost of crude has collapsed. Prices are down by a quarter in the past three months. More oil has been pumped at a time when the global recovery has faltered, with traders caught unawares by the slowdown in China and renewed stagnation in the eurozone.

That, though, is not the whole story. The fourfold increase in oil prices triggered by the embargo on exports organised by Saudi Arabia in response to the Yom Kippur war in 1973 showed how crude could be used as a diplomatic and economic weapon. History is repeating itself.

Think about how the Obama administration sees the state of the world. It wants Tehran to come to heel over its nuclear programme. It wants Vladimir Putin to back off in eastern Ukraine. But after recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House has no desire to put American boots on the ground. Instead, with the help of its Saudi ally, Washington is trying to drive down the oil price by flooding an already weak market with crude. As the Russians and the Iranians are heavily dependent on oil exports, the assumption is that they will become easier to deal with.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, allegedly struck a deal with King Abdullah in September under which the Saudis would sell crude at below the prevailing market price. That would help explain why the price has been falling at a time when, given the turmoil in Iraq and Syria caused by Islamic State, it would normally have been rising.

The Saudis did something similar in the mid-1980s. Then, the geopolitical motivation for a move that sent the oil price to below $10 a barrel was to destabilise Saddam Hussein’s regime. This time, according to Middle East specialists, the Saudis want to put pressure on Iran and to force Moscow to weaken its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

Turning on the oil spigots comes at a cost. The Saudis, like all other producers, have become accustomed to oil above $100 a barrel. The Arab spring in Libya and Egypt raised fears that the political unrest would spread. Oil revenues financed higher public spending, so Saudi Arabia needs the price to be above $90 a barrel to balance the books.

But a bit of pain is acceptable. The Saudis are gambling that they can live with a lower oil price for longer than the Russians and the Iranians can, and that therefore the operation will be relatively short-lived.

There is no question that this new manifestation of cold war muscle is hurting Russia. Oil and gas account for 70% of Russia’s exports and the budget doesn’t add up unless the oil price is above $100 a barrel. Moscow has foreign exchange reserves, but these are not unlimited. The rouble fell by 10% last week. That adds to the debt servicing costs of Russian firms, and the central bank is under pressure to push up interest rates, which should help stabilise the currency, but only at the expense of a deeper recession.

But thus far, Russia’s foreign policy does not appear to have been affected. Support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria remains strong and there were reports at the end of last week of Russian troops entering eastern Ukraine. It remains to be seen how Iran will react. In the meantime, the Middle East looks as unstable as it has ever done.

Provided it is sustained, a falling oil price will boost global growth. Andrew Kenningham at Capital Economics estimates that if the cost of Brent crude settles at $85 a barrel, the upshot will be a transfer of income from producers of oil to consumers of oil amounting to 0.9% of global GDP. As consumers tend to spend a higher proportion of their income than producers, demand will increase. The big winners will be the big oil consumers: China, India and Europe.

Simultaneously, inflation will fall. The drop in the oil price so far is enough to ensure that headline inflation is around half a percentage point lower in advanced countries next year. That would be enough to take inflation below 1% in the UK and below zero in the eurozone. Lower inflation should help to boost consumer and business spending because budgets will stretch further. For the US, the picture is more mixed. Washington’s willingness to play the oil card stems from the belief that domestic supplies of energy from fracking make it possible for the US to become the world’s biggest oil producer. In a speech last year, Tom Donilon, then Barack Obama’s national security adviser, said the US was now less vulnerable to global oil shocks. The cushion provided by shale oil and gas “affords us a stronger hand in pursuing and implementing our national security goals”.

Recent US production of crude has certainly been impressive, with a jump of almost 50% from 5.7m barrels a day in 2011 to 8.4m barrels a day in the second quarter of 2014. This increase in supply has meant that any reduction in supplies from Iran or Russia due to sanctions can be absorbed without disrupting the global economy.

But the sharp drop in the oil price will make some shale fields unviable. That is especially true of planned new developments, where a high price is needed to cover start-up costs. But it is also true of some of the more mature fields, where the rapid depletion of reserves has forced companies to go deeper – at greater expense – in search of supplies.

At the weekend, George Osborne announced that he supported the idea of putting revenues from shale production in the north of England into a sovereign wealth fund for the north. The idea would be to prevent the proceeds being squandered on day-to-day spending, which – sadly – is what happened to the revenues from the North Sea.

Friends of the Earth said the chancellor’s intervention was a cynical ploy designed to win over strong opposition to fracking. It was certainly ill-timed. One side-effect of the US-Saudi attempt to drive down the oil price will be to prick the shale bubble.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2014/nov/09/us-iran-russia-oil-prices-shale

A speech made by former South African President P.W. Botha to his Cabinet August 18, 1985


“Pretoria has been made by the White mind for the White man. We are not obliged even the least to try to prove to anybody and to the Blacks that we are superior people. We have demonstrated that to the Blacks in a thousand and one ways. The Republic of South Africa that we know of today has not been created by wishful thinking. We have created it at the expense of intelligence, sweat and blood. Were they Afrikaners who tried to eliminate the Australian Aborigines? Are they Afrikaners who discriminate against Blacks and call them Nigge*rs in the States? Were they Afrikaners who started the slave trade? Where is the Black man appreciated? England discriminates against its Black and their “Sus” law is out to discipline the Blacks. Canada, France, Russia, and Japan all play their discrimination too. Why in the hell then is so much noise made about us? Why are they biased against us? I am simply trying to prove to you all that there is nothing unusual we are doing that the so called civilized worlds are not doing. We are simply an honest people who have come out aloud with a clear philosophy of how we want to live our own White life.

We do not pretend like other Whites that we like Blacks. The fact that, Blacks look like human beings and act like human beings do not necessarily make them sensible human beings. Hedgehogs are not porcupines and lizards are not crocodiles simply because they look alike. If God wanted us to be equal to the Blacks, he would have created us all of a uniform colour and intellect. But he created us differently: Whites, Blacks, Yellow, Rulers and the ruled. Intellectually, we are superior to the Blacks; that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt over the years. I believe that the Afrikaner is an honest, God fearing person, who has demonstrated practically the right way of being. Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that behind the scenes, Europe, America, Canada, Australia -and all others are behind us in spite of what they say. For diplomatic relations, we all know what language should be used and where. To prove my point, Comrades, does anyone of you know a White country without an investment or interest in South Africa? Who buys our gold? Who buys our diamonds? Who trades with us? Who is helping us develop other nuclear weapon? The very truth is that we are their people and they are our people. It’s a big secret. The strength of our economy is backed by America, Britain, and Germany. It is our strong conviction, therefore, that the Black is the raw material for the White man. So Brothers and Sisters, let us join hands together to fight against this Black devil. I appeal to all Afrikaners to come out with any creative means of fighting this war. Surely God cannot forsake his own people whom we are. By now every one of us has seen it practically that the Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other. They are good in nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex. Let us all accept that the Black man is the symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence. Isn’t it plausible, therefore that the White man is created to rule the Black man? Come to think of what would happen one day if you woke up and on the throne sat a Kaff*ir! Can you imagine what would happen to our women? Does anyone of you believe that the Blacks can rule this country?

Hence, we have good reasons to let them all-the Mandelas-rot in prison, and I think we should be commended for having kept them alive in spite of what we have at hand with which to finish them off. I wish to announce a number of new strategies that should be put to use to destroy this Black bug. We should now make use of the chemical weapon. Priority number one, we should not by all means allow any more increases of the Black population lest we be choked very soon. I have exciting news that our scientists have come with an efficient stuff. I am sending out more researchers to the field to identify as many venues as possible where the chemical weapons could be employed to combat any further population increases. The hospital is a very strategic opening, for example and should be fully utilized. The food supply channel should be used. We have developed excellent slow killing poisons and fertility destroyers. Our only fear is in case such stuff came in to their hands as they are bound to start using it against us if you care to think of the many Blacks working for us in our houses.

However, we are doing the best we can to make sure that the stuff remains strictly in our hands. Secondly, most Blacks are vulnerable to money inducements. I have set aside a special fund to exploit this venue. The old trick of divide and rule is still very valid today. Our experts should work day and night to set the Black man against his fellowman. His inferior sense of morals can be exploited beautifully. And here is a creature that lacks foresight. There is a need for us to combat him in long term projections that he cannot suspect. The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year: that stance, for example, should be exploited. My special department is already working round the clock to come out with a long-term operation blueprint. I am also sending a special request to all Afrikaner mothers to double their birth rate. It may be necessary too to set up a population boom industry by putting up centres where we employ and support fully White young men and women to produce children for the nation. We are also investigating the merit of uterus rentals as a possible means of speeding up the growth of our population through surrogate mothers.

For the time being, we should also engage a higher gear to make sure that Black men are separated from their women and fines imposed upon married wives who bear illegitimate children. I have a committee working on finding better methods of inciting Blacks against each other and encouraging murders among themselves. Murder cases among Blacks should bear very little punishment in order to encourage them.

My scientists have come up with a drug that could be smuggled into their brews to effect slow poisoning results and fertility destruction. Working through drinks and manufacturing of soft drinks geared to the Blacks, could promote the channels of reducing their population. Ours is not a war that we can use the atomic bomb to destroy the Blacks, so we must use our intelligence to affect this. The person-to-person encounter can be very effective.

As the records show that the Black man is dying to go to bed with the White woman, here is our unique opportunity. Our Sex Mercenary Squad should go out and camouflage with Apartheid Fighters while doing their operations quietly administering slow killing poison and fertility destroyers to those Blacks they thus befriend. We are modifying the Sex Mercenary Squad by introducing White men who should go for the militant Black woman and any other vulnerable Black woman. We have received a new supply of prostitutes from Europe and America who are desperate and too keen to take up the appointments.

My latest appeal is that the maternity hospital operations should be intensified. We are not paying those people to help bring Black babies to this world but to eliminate them on the very delivery moment. If this department worked very efficiently, a great deal could be achieved.

My Government has set aside a special fund for erecting more covert hospitals and clinics to promote this programme. Money can do anything for you. So while we have it, we should make the best use of it. In the meantime my beloved White citizens, do not take to heart what the world says, and don’t be ashamed of being called racists. I do not mind being called the architect and King of Apartheid. I shall not become a monkey simply because someone has called me a monkey. I will still remain your bright star,

His Excellency Botha. “

Govt Houses costlier than Nigerian universities

State House, Bayelsa

 

The cost of building many government houses in Nigeria is far higher than what it takes to build many universities in the country with some state houses gulping as high as nine times more than the cost of building a university, Saturday PUNCH investigation has shown.

It was also discovered that in many states where billions of naira were expended on building bogus and expansive state houses for the first families, universities owned by such state governments were in terrible conditions.

In addition to this, many programmes run by these state universities are yet to be accredited by the National Universities Commission, the regulatory agency for universities in Nigeria, due to lack of fund.

To accredit a programme for study in any university in Nigeria, there are minimum acceptable standards required by the NUC. They include availability of adequate facilities to run the programme as well as minimum number of staff both academic and non-academic.

Delta State University

A former Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof Peter Okebukola,   said, ‘’The requirements are essentially facilities and staff. Both need money to put in place. However, in the case of staff, a long-term investment is needed to procure quality staff.’’

Depending on the number of programmes to be accredited, accreditation of courses, according to him, could gulp between N1.8bn and N2.7bn with science-based courses gulping more money than non-science based courses.

But Saturday PUNCH investigations showed that some states that could hardly afford to spend as low as N800m on accreditation in their universities, spent billions of naira to build state houses for their families.

New Bayelsa governor’s office

In Bayelsa State for instance, a Government House Complex named “The Glory Land Castle” gulped at least N24bn. The edifice,   located in the heart of Yenagoa, the state capital, was initiated by former governors Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and Timipre Sylva.

The same state has begun the construction of a new Governor’s Office project at Government House, Yenagoa, at a cost of N3.8bn according to the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

Justifying the cost of the project, he described the impressive edifice as one of the best in Nigeria and West Africa with a captivating aesthetic ambience.

Paradoxically, there is high level of infrastructural decay at the Niger Delta University being run by the state government.

The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Niger Delta University branch, Dr. Tuboukiye Sese, told one of our correspondents on the telephone during the week that lack of   infrastructure had been the major problem of the university.

Sese said, “Honestly, the state of infrastructure at NDU is nothing to write home about. Successive administrations in the state have been neglecting the school.

“When the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson, paid a visit to the university recently, he saw things for himself. The structures in the permanent site of the institution are those provided by TETFUND (Tertiary Education Trust Fund). The governor then awarded contract worth N1.2bn. Unfortunately, up till now, nothing has been done.

A lecture room in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

“In the university, internal roads are non-existent, office space is a sad development and student hostels are in poor state.”

He lamented that due to absence of staff quarters, academic and non-academic workers alike operate from Yenagoa, the state capital, a journey of close to one hour.

Though he could not be specific on the number of programmes in the university that are yet to be accredited, he recalled that many of the university’s programmes were not accredited during the last accreditation exercise.

He said, “We lost quite a number of our programmes during accreditation. This development is giving us cause for concern. As it is, many lecturers risk losing their jobs because of the development as students will not want to go to a school where most of their programmes are not accredited.

“The state government should help us in this direction. The university’s management is running round the clock and using its initiative to ensure the de-accredited courses are accredited.”

In the same vein, the Kaduna State Government   has just completed a N9.6bn new Kaduna Government House/ Office Complex that was recently inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan. The state Governor, Alhaji mukhtar Ramalan Yero, said the project was executed in six phases.

But shortly after the inauguration, medical students of Kaduna State University stormed the street to protest the non-accreditation of the institution’s medical courses by the NUC. They also protested poor conditions at the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital, which is supposed to be the university’s teaching hospital.

Akwa Ibom State Governor’s office

The protesting students lamented that the Faculty of Medicine started since 2008/09 academic session and none of the students had gone beyond 300 levels. According to them, the hospital’s ICU/dialysis centre has been abandoned; the pathology laboratory is not supplied with equipment; and all other works in various departments are moving at a very slow pace.

The spokesperson for the Medical Students Association, Hassan Abu, who called on the state government to address the problem urgently, said a set of medical students had been transferred to Uganda to complete their studies due to inadequate facility at the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital.

The story is similar in Akwa Ibom State where the government constructed a State House with a sum of N16bn and a Banquet Hall with 500 seating capacity with the sum of N18bn. In other words, N34bn was spent on constructing a state house and banquet hall, according to the state Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Enobong Idem.

Saturday PUNCH investigations showed that the state government had not been funding the Akwa Ibom State University adequately.

Akwa Ibom Govt House, Uyo

It was learnt that the state government only released N1.5bn for construction projects, expansion and renovation of academic blocks, including the acquisition of laboratory equipment in the university.

The government was said to have set up a task force headed by the Commissioner for Education, Prof Atim Antai, to execute the projects and guarantee their timely completion.

The NUC between July and August accredited only 11 courses in the institution’s Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences. Some of the courses are Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Geology. Others are Marine Biology, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Botany and Zoology.

Apart from the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, the university also runs courses in other faculties like Business Administration, Arts, and Education, among others. But none of these other courses which are over 40 have been accredited.

While Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, in 2012 said his administration would spend N6bn on the building of a new Government House, Ekiti State former governor Kayode Fayemi borrowed N3.3bn to build a state house.

Both governors justified the huge investment in building the state houses on the need to build befitting edifices for their states. Uduaghan had said, “The current Government House in Asaba has always been a temporary arrangement, not a permanent feature. But we cannot continue to live in a temporary accommodation. We have to do the right thing and do it well.’’

But it was learnt that as of the time Fayemi spent N3.3bn on the state house, the state university was in terrible condition.

According to the Student Union Government President of Ekiti State University, Babatope Ibitola, the institution lacks basic laboratory equipment. He said, “We still lack lecture theatres because the available ones are not sufficient. Our core sciences lack laboratory apparatus except the College of Medicine which is well equipped.” He appealed to the state government to hasten the accreditation process of the college of medicine.

New Kaduna Govt house

Investigations by Saturday PUNCH also showed that while it was convenient for states to budget billions of naira to build state houses,   governments did not make such bogus budgetary allocations towards establishment of new universities.

For instance, the Federal Government provided just N2bn, about a quarter of what should ordinarily be needed, for the take-off of each of the nine universities it established three years ago.

President Goodluck Jonathan approved N18bn for the nine universities. The sum was among others to assist them in developing their campuses as well as providing administrative blocks, libraries and Information Communications Technology centres. The nine federal universities are located in Jigawa, Katsina, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kogi, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Ekiti and Taraba states.

Providing insight into what it would cost to establish a new university, the Registrar, Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Mr. Omololu Adegbenro, said a minimum of N7bn is required to establish a standard university in Nigeria.

According to him, one of the NUC’s demands from promoters of private universities is that they must have 102 hectares of land. Adegbenro said, “This alone is expensive to acquire. Even if you are starting with two faculties, you will need to construct the faculty buildings. You need at least two halls of residence for the students; one for female and one for male.

“You will also need to build a cafeteria, a library, administrative complex, banking halls, road networks and provide Information Technology facilities, among others. These are huge projects and that is why you need a minimum of N7bn to set up a good private university in Nigeria.

New Ekiti Govt house

“You will also need to start with at least four professors; the principal officers and other personnel are also there. The NUC also requires that you must have at least N500m in your account before takeoff.”

A former NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola, said though there was no minimum amount specified in the commission’s guidelines for setting up a standard university, there are minimum facilities and human resources that should be available before a university is licensed.

According to him, the minimum amount to set up a university can be estimated from the cost of such facilities and resources. He said the amount was N3bn in 2003, but it is about N5.5bn now.

He, however, said Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State; Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State; American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State; and Afe Babalola University had a cost range of between N7bn and N12bn at take-off.

The former NUC executive secretary, however, said it would cost more to accredit science-based courses than non-science courses.

He said, “If we have an admixture of the two which is the typical scenario in most universities, the cost can range between N1.8bn and N2.7bn if the programmes are to be elevated from the denied status.

“In 2004, Kogi State University spent about N900m to get about 20 of its programmes re-accredited. In 2014, a number of universities seeking re-accreditation for about 20 courses are asking their proprietors for about N1.5bn.”

Okebukola, however, blamed the governors’ preference for luxury at the expense of investment in education on members of their state Houses of Assembly who approved money for giant Government Houses.

He said, “Education is a potent tool for fast-paced development and investment in the sector should never be made secondary to luxury. No governor will start using tax payers’ money to build a giant Government House without approval by members of his state House of Assembly who are the representatives of the people.

“The greater concern is not the governor who spends the people’s money on a structure in his state, but those who steal the money to build giant structures in Dubai, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa, among others.’’

The Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Prof. (Mrs.) Mopelola Omoegun, said, “According to the NUC, it will   cost a minimum of N9bn to build a standard university in the country and I think it is not fair for governors to spend almost same amount to build their lodges.

“The state of education in this country will continue to fall if there is no adequate funding. We have been talking about this all the time. What is the root of the falling standard of education? It is inadequate funding. There is need for adequate funding. If our governors will play their politics right, they have to fund this sector well even if they have to sacrifice their comfort for the benefit of all. They should make it viable.

“Some of the state institutions are the direct victims of this menace. That is why it may be difficult to even establish new higher institutions in such states. To all the governors, provide facilities and funds, and we will get the results we want,” she added.

Also, an Abuja-based lawyer and social commentator, Mr. Jide Oluyemi, said it was still unacceptable for a state government to spend billions of naira on building one Government House when the Federal Government gave each of the nine newly established universities N2bn as take-off grant.

Additional reports by Kamarudeen Ogundele, Simon Utebor and Etim Ekpimah

http://www.punchng.com/news/govt-houses-costlier-than-nigerian-universities/

Foreign reserve now $38bn — Okonjo-Iweala

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

Abuja—The nation’s foreign reserve currently stands at $38 billion, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed yesterday.

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Speaking at the Public Affairs Forum, in Abuja, the minister said the economy was stable and the Gross Domestic product, GDP, was growing at over 6 per cent in spite of the challenges facing the nation.

Her words, “One of the key things I want to tell you is that we have tried to keep this economy stable under this administration. All these things you are seeing- the investments in roads, the investments in industries cannot happen if your economy lacks stability.

“If you wake up worrying about inflation; if you wake up worrying about exchange rate, you know Nigerians watch the exchange rate every single day. If you wake up worrying about no growth then you cannot even talk about investing in the sector.

“So the number one task that every government delivers in every country- America, UK, Nigeria- is stability. One thing you have to say for the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is that it has been able to deliver on macro-economic stability for the past three years.

“The exchange rate, yes, it has gone up and down, it fluctuates, but it has been relatively stable. The inflation rate has come down from about 12 per cent last year to about 8.5 per cent. The reserves are at $38 billion today and enough to cushion us for 5 months. We have been able to put a little more into the Excess Crude Account”.

The minister described Nigeria’s fiscal deficit as “one of the lowest in the world- just over 1 per cent of GDP”, adding that many countries, even in Europe, run fiscal deficits of between 5 to 10 per cent.

On borrowing , she noted that Nigerians voiced their objections to large borrowing and that as such the President Goodluck Jonathan administration decided to maintain a low debt profile.

“By 2010, we borrowed N1.3 trillion to help finance our spending. We determined under the president who said Nigerians don’t want borrowing, let’s bring it down. Today do you know what our borrowing is, N571 billion. We will continue to take it down, even if it is by N1, we will continue trending down. The debt stock is very high because of past borrowing but will continue to bring it down. That means we must be prudent in the way we spend and we must also be very fast to try to organize additional revenues”.

Non-oil revenue

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said that the nation was too dependent on oil revenue and that with the falling oil price in the international market, coupled with declining crude oil production, expanding the non-oil revenue base had become inevitable.

Her words, “We are too depending on oil. The price of oil is now coming down. The quantities are also not as large as they used to be. So we have to plan differently. That is why we have to rely more on non-oil.”

“I am convinced that this economy can generate additional $ 3 billion that can help us finance our expenditures”.

She pointed out that Nigeria has a big responsibility, not just for itself but for the whole West African Sub-region and the entire African continent.

“We form 77 per cent of west African GDP, we form 25 per cent of Africa’s GDP. It means that if things don’t work well in Nigeria, a quarter of the African GDP is affected”, she said, adding, “that is why this administration is not only thinking of what we will deliver here but how to be a responsible African citizen and global citizen in the way it delivers for its home people”.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/11/foreign-reserve-now-38bn-okonjo-iweala/#sthash.9vhCOybu.dpuf

Boko Haram renames occupied Mubi town

By Umar Yusuf
Y
OLA— FEW hours after the Federal Government gave the military marching orders to flush out Boko Haram insurgents from Mubi, the commercial nerve centre and second largest town in Adamawa State, the terrorists, yesterday, defiantly renamed the town ‘Madinatul Islam’, which means the city of Islam.

Four local governments of Michika, Madagali, Mubi North and Mubi South of Adamawa State are now in the firm grip of the insurgents, throwing up thousands of internally displaced persons.

Trapped residents of the town who spoke on telephone confirmed that the insurgents firmly in control have renamed the town and have also set up check-points in strategic locations. The terrorists were also said to have urged all the residents who fled to return as they would be more secure in the areas controlled by Boko Haram than in Nigerian territories.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh

A trapped resident, Aliyu Bala, who spoke on telephone said: “They (insurgents) mounted check-points in strategic locations, brandishing rifles but asking us not to panic or run away. But despite assurances of safety and security, thousands of the trapped residents have been sneaking out as they said they would not risk staying in the town for fear of the unknown.”

A resident of Uba town, Mallam Salisu Baba, however, said normal activities have started picking up in the captured territories as Boko Haram enjoined residents to go about their normal activities while asking them to open their shops for business.

He said: “The insurgents have also warned politicians not to try to hold any election in the state as they vowed to frustrate any of such actions and restated their resolve to capture the whole state in no distant time.”

Baba said the insurgents have assured them of security and freedom. He added that unlike other parts of the state where curfew was imposed and people were prevented from riding motorcycles, the insurgents have assured residents of free movement any time of the day and asked them to ride their motorcycles and go about their normal activities.

According to him: “The insurgents have assured people of freedom and have been telling shop owners to open their shops, threatening that anyone who fails to open his shop will have the shop broken. Whenever the insurgents want any commodity, they pay for it. This encouraged meat sellers, tea sellers and others to open for business.

“They provided security during the market day of Uba town last Thursday while promising to continue to give market owners and residents who come to the area utmost security as long as they comply with Islamic rules. They have opened one of the filling stations belonging to A.A Garba in Uba town as motorists trooped to buy the commodity due to high demand,” Baba said.

Yola-based legal practitioner, Sunday Joshua Wugirawho, who went to Maiha town to pick up his aged parents who fled to the town when Mubi was captured, said despite the assurance by the insurgents, several trapped residents were still fleeing, including soldiers.

“I was in Maiha few hours ago. The pathetic plight of the people I saw was simply beyond imagination. We were in a commercial bus when some fleeing soldiers said we must adjust for them to get space in the bus, and we had no choice than to oblige. It’s unfortunate that even soldiers joined civilians to run away,” he said.

Boko Haram on rampage in Gombe, attacks police station

Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents, yesterday, launched an attack on the police station in Nafada Local Government Area of Gombe State. The gunmen also took over the premises of a strategic cement manufacturing company in Gombe State, shortly after killing five people including a Sheikh in a neighbouring town.

According to workers at Ashaka Cement factory, the heavily armed militants came in convoys of pick-up vans and started shooting indiscriminately at workers after the security guards at the company fled into the bush.

Police officers attached to the Nafada station were said to have been overpowered as some of the officers reportedly fled on sighting the insurgents who had superior fire power.

 NATIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE—From left: Former President Shehu Shagari, former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; Senate President, David Mark; Justice Minister, Mohammed Bello and President Goodluck Jonathan during the opening of the National Council of State meeting at Aso Chambers, State House, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.

Arms and ammunition were believed to have been looted from the station.

Spokesperson of the Command, Fwaje Atajiri, confirmed there were reports of attacks in Nafada, and that reinforcement had been sent there. He however said details of the incident were still sketchy.

30 killed, 89 injured in Yobe bomb attack — hospital

In a related development, Executive Secretary of Yobe Hospitals Management Board, Dr Mamman Mohammed, has confirmed that 30 persons died while 89 others were injured in last Monday bomb attack in Potiskum, Yobe State.

He told Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who paid a visit to the victims at the Potiskum General Hospital that some of the victims with severe injuries have been referred to tertiary health institutions in Azare and Nguru.

Gaidam directed that free treatment be given to the victims, saying “the government will bear all the medical bills of the victims, including those referred to other hospitals outside the state.”

He also condoled with the Shi’ite group on the death of their members. Members of the group were presumably attacked by a suicide bomber while on a procession.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/11/boko-haram-renames-occupied-mubi-town/#sthash.LRRW798W.dpuf

Borno lost 8 LGAs to Boko Haram – Shettima

Maiduguri –  Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno on Tuesday expressed worry on how Boko Haram had taken over eight out of the 27 local government areas of the state.

Shettima disclosed this while receiving members of the Federal Government Sub-committee of the Victims Supports Fund in Maiduguri.

He said that the continued attacks on communities in the state had created hardships on the people.

“The insurgents have taken over nearly eight LGAs in the state.

“They have taken over Gamboru-Ngala, Kala-Balge, Marte, Dikwa, Gwoza, Bama, Askira-Uba and part of Konduga local government areas.

“The insurgents have also carried out recent attacks in Abadam, Kukawa,” he said.

Shettima, however, expressed optimism that the insurgency would end in a short while, saying “I strongly believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“We are going to bounce back very soon by the grace of God.”

Speaking earlier, retired Air Marshal Jonah Wuyep, the sub-committee chairman on data collection, had commended the governor for his supports to insurgency victims.

“We commend the responsible leadership of Shettima for what he has been doing in helping victims of insurgency in the state,’’ Wuyep said.

He said that the state alone could not be able to effectively provide help to victims of insurgency, especially with the renewed attacks on villages.

“Borno alone cannot be able to handle the problems of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) because lots of things needed to be done.

“The Federal Government will step in to provide supports to the IDPs,’’ Wuyep said.

He said that the sub-committee was set up to gather data on the number of IDPs and infrastructure that were destroyed for  government to intervene.

“The president is worried about the plight of the IDPs that is why the victim support fund was inaugurated.

“Our sub-committee was set up to get the details on the ground so that government can intervene,’’ Wuyep said.

He said that the sub-committee decided to visit Borno as its first place of visit because of the enormity of damage done by the insurgents in the state. (NAN)

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/11/borno-lost-8-lgas-boko-haram-shettima/#sthash.atviHSHh.dpuf