OBJECTIVES: To ascertain which sector has the highest frequency of editorial comments among the following sectors- Education and Technology; Health; Corruption; Power; and Governance. To draw conclusions on the level of commitments of these newspapers to Nigeria nation. To identify different issues highlighted in these editorial and therefore present a summary of them and broadcast it through different channels. To send letter of commendation to the newspaper for highest focus in a sector. To give yearly awards to newspaper that had highest contribution on an issue in a sector.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nigerian Army- Justice PLEASE

The message below was shared on whatsapp and because of the need to have it investigated it is shared here also so that it could get to many ears around the world for actions in order to save the Army and people of Nigeria who are always at the receiving ends
A CRY FOR JUSTICE
Corporal Lawal Ahmed: ‘Buhari Should Retire
All Generals’
Thirty two-year old Lawal Ahmed is a Corporal in
115 Battalion of the Nigerian Army. The Funtua,
Katsina State-born soldier enlisted in the Nigerian
Army on 27 August, 2003, and served in 6
Battalion, Akwa-Ibom State, 1 Brigade Garrison,
Sokoto, as well as State Task Force (STF) Jos. His
service number is 03/54/5867. On 22 April, 2014,
Lawal said he applied to the Chief of Army Staff for
voluntary discharge to enable him contest a seat in
the Katsina State House of Assembly, but that the
army turned down the application. He claims the
working conditions in the army is terrible, and has
therefore decided to take his case to the media,
since, according to him, his employers won’t
listen. He spoke with Chuks Akunna
Can you please start by introducing yourself and
why you are here?
My name is Corporal Lawal Ahmed of 115
battalion, Northeast. I am 32 years from Funtua,
Katsina State, and attended Government Science
Secondary School, Paskari, Katsina State. I joined
Nigerian Army on 27th August 2003. I was posted
to 6 battalion Nigerian Army, Ibawa, Abak, Akwa
Ibom State and served from December 2003 to
2006. In 2007, I was promoted Lance Corporal and
posted to 1 Brigade Garrison, Sokoto. From there I
was taken to STF in Jos. Before STF, I received
training at 1 Div, Kaduna. In 2011, I was promoted
to the rank of Corporal.
Can you recall the names of some persons who
joined the army with you?
We were 30 boys, one girl - Ajaiyi Kemisola, she
was the only female among us, as private.
Why are you here?
I decided to come to THISDAY to speak on the
terrible working conditions in the army.
Are there no ways of channeling your grievances
in the army?
None. We are discouraged from asking questions.
Twice, I applied to leave the army to continue my
life as a normal human being, with dignity. On
both occasions they rejected my application. That
is why I left.
Isn’t that AWOL or desertion?
Call it anything. I am ready to sacrifice my life for
the betterment of the army. The conditions are
terrible.
How?
Let me give one example. When we were taken to
STF, according to the brief of former Chief of
Army Staff- General (Azubuike) Ihejirika, we were
to spend six months. We ended up spending close
to four years without being changed and without
explanations. You needed to see how tattered our
uniforms are, not to talk of the weapons. This is
not how armies operate in other countries.
Like?
I was in Sudan in 2005, under the African Mission
in Darfur. I went there for peace keeping, as
protection force.
How many of you went from Nigeria?
Actually, army headquarters garrison provided one
company, six batallion provided another company.
A company is made up of betweem 100 - 250
soldiers. My commander was Major H. M. Labo, I
don’t know his rank now in the army. My
commander in the STF was S. A. Sangonuga, a
Yoruba. I don’t know his present rank.
Which other officers did you remember?
We had Lt. Col. Olakola Micheal and Lt.Col.
Rasheedudin, my battalion commander.
Why did you join the Army?
I joined the army to contribute to the growth of
my country.
Not because you were looking for work?
No. However, sadly, right from the time I joined
the army, I began to see many wrong things. There
I saw people who served the Nigerian Army for 35
years and retired at a rank of Lance Corporal. This
is bad.
You saw them where?
I saw them in 6 Battalion, I worked with them.
How did they feel?
They felt terrible because their juniors, are always
ahead of them. Imagine someone that entered the
army in 1980 remaining a Lance Corporal and
someone who joined 20 years later rising to the
rank of Staff Sergent. How do you expect the Lance
Corporal to feel!
From that moment, I began taking notes on the
bad things I felt should be addressed in the army.
I consider myself lucky to have reached the rank of
Corporal in about 13 years. Several soldiers in my
units had spent more years than me, and did not
commit any offence, yet are Privates.
What is your status? Are you still in the Nigerian
Army?
I am still in the service. I wrote on the 23 April,
2014, for voluntary discharge but the Army refused
to release me.
What reason did they give?
None
Who did you write to?
I wrote through my commanders to the chief of
army staff. Till date nothing has been heard of my
letter. My sector commander was Col. Olagunju.
But one soldier with whom I trained in Jaji told me
that the reason may be that the army is under-
manned.
You trained in Jaji?
Yes, we were over 800 soldiers. Some were turned
back due to medical reasons. Gen. Okoro, who
was Commander, Nigerian Army Infantry School,
addressed us that we were going to receive new
weapon training. I never saw any new weapon,
apart from the weapon used in my unit.
What kind of weapons?
A-K47, 60mm Commando Mortar and 10mm
mortar, even though nobody ever came to teach
me how to operate the mortar guns. The truth is
that most soldiers don’t know how to use such
weapons because they have never been taught.
Why?
I don’t know. There was this funny incident when I
was in 1 Brigade, Sokoto. When our annual range
classification was conducted, my commander said
soldiers with motorcycles should assist those who
didn’t have to the range. Imagine the army didn’t
provide a vehicle to take us there. My commander
at the time, in 2008, was Lt. Col. O. A. Dada. I
don’t know his rank now.
Did you serve in the Northeast?
In 2014, I served in Gombi, Adamawa State. From
there we headed for Fella Junction, in the name of
going to see new weapon, but there was none. The
APCs we used were so old. At some point some
were used to tow-start the others. We didn’t have
tanks. It was after spending three days with our
advance that we were able to borrow four new
APCs from another battalion. We didn’t have
communication.
How did you operate without communication?
That was the problem. Something happened in
Fellatu Mia. Our soldiers were bringing food to us.
We thought they were Boko Haram terrorists and
opened fire on them. We had killed and injured
many before realising they were our troops. This
was very sad.
You mean field officers don’t have radios
communication?
Only battalion, company commanders and
administrative officers have Motorolla radios.
Company commander, company sergeant
supposed to have his own, but I don’t know if
Nigerian government cannot provide or whether
they provide the money and the top officers divert
it.
Couldn’t your people have at least used GSM
communication?
There was no GSM network there. I don’t think
Nigerian Army do tell the families what happened
to their loved ones because if they tell their
families, they will take action on it. I have never
seen a country that will send soldiers to go and
fight without providing communication gadgets,
only in Nigeria.
Can you tell us what day this attack occured?
No, I cannot remember the date because I lost my
war diary. But from Fella we start advancing on
the Miya -Fella road. At about 6:30pm, we ran into
the terrorists around Miya and we fired almost till
day break. Luckily, we overpowered them, and
came back in the morning. Basically, our prayers
served us because with the weapon we used, I
don’t think we would have overpowered them.
What weapon did boko haram use?
They were carrying very powerful weapons. In
fact, that was the first time of my seeing such
weapons.
What kind of weapon?
Very big anti-aircraft guns. See. When a soldier
dies in the army, the family will be in for a very
hard life, because after three months, Nigerian
army will block their salary.
What happens thereafter?
Some families spend more than two, three years
chasing the dead soldier’s benefits. By right, the
army is supposed to show love to the deceased
soldier’s family to get their benefit. In most cases,
the families spend all they have following up. When
they run out of cash, they will abandon the money
and some people will convert the money to
personal use, leaving the families to suffer.
How true is this claim?
If you have any soldier from the rank of warrant
officer down to private, call ask them, because if I
give you any number, you might think I
collaborated with the person. You are a journalist.
Go and investigate.
Tell us how Boko Haram usually ambush soldiers.
The usual method is to push cows to us. They get
over 100 cows and push them to us. In the
confusion, they launch their attack. How they get
the cows is what baffles us. Maybe they are stolen
cows. And most times, our soldiers abandon their
weapons and run. Some get killed. The problem
isn’t helped by godfathers in the army. Very often
you see soldiers and officers boasting that they are
sons or relations of this General, as if Nigerian
Army belongs to them. Maybe.
From your presentation, you seem to be very
educated. Are you a graduate?
I am a school certificate holder. The army only
allow people with godfathers to go for further
studies. For people like us with none, you remain
a Private all your life. I served twelve years without
going for any course. And in Nigerian army, if an
officer passes out from NDA, either regular or
short service, the army are the one to nominate
him to course, but we, other ranks, they think we
are slaves to them. One should think it is in the
best interest of the Nigerian Army to train their
soldiers, but the Nigerian Army will block you from
going on course so that you remain blind, not
knowing much about your profession.
Why do you say that?
The officers love the status quo. They are afraid of
you challenging them on what you might end up
learning from the courses, so they rather you
remained with zero knowledge. Our officers drum it
in our ears that, as human beings, we have no
rights, only privileges. And many soldiers have
come to believe this. I disagree with them because
I know that I am first a human being before
becoming a soldier. Since I joined army, nobody
ever showed me the terms and conditions of
service, to read, to know what and what and where
I will find my right. We don’t know what the Armed
Forces Act says. All we know is when you commit,
your superior will give directive to the clerk to
prepare your charge.
This is serious.
It is more serious than you think. When I was at
Eket, Exxon Mobil, the company trained us directly.
mobile trained us directly. I was an orderly to a
white man, and there was this day in 2005 I asked
him, “why are you paying your staff overtime and
leaving us with just N15,000 each month?’
Apparently, my question jolted him. He told me he
was paying my Commander N90,000 for me and
that I should not ask for any other over time.
Imagine! Means my Commander had been
pocketing N75,000 in my name. Multiply that times
the number of soldiers under him and get an idea
of how much he was making in our names. When I
complained, my Commander responded by
withdrawing me. Other soldiers accused me of
‘sabi-sabi”. They don’t care if their rights are
trampled on, they just want to get by. As a
Corporal, my monthly pay is N57,000, that is less
than N2,000 a day. On the other hand, a Cadet,
Termer 1, what you call Year 1 in the university
collects N60,000 a month. He is collecting more
salary than me. A Termer 5 or final year student in
NDA earns almost twice what a Warrant Officer,
who has put in more than 25 years in service
earns. Don’t forget that the WO has a family and
children in higher institutions. This is a very unjust
system.
Now, we have a new Commander-In-Chief, who
happens to be from Katsina, your home state.
Since Buhari took office, Boko Haram appear to
have stepped up its activities. What is your recipe
for ending insurgency in Nigeria?
My advice to Mr. President is to retire all officers
from the rank of Brigadier General. They have no
use in Nigerian Army, because all of them have
been feeding fat from the insurgency and it won’t
be in their best interest to end it. If President
Buhari will take my advice, let him look for a very
capable Lieutenant Colonel and appoint Chief of
Army Staff. Afterall, Gowon, I think, became Chief of
Army Staff as Lt. Colonel. Several officers- Usman
Katsina, Obasanjo, Benjamin Adekunle and others-
were GOCS as Lt. Colonels and performed
excellently well. What rank was Ojukwu when he
led Biafra to war? Most of the Generals we have
today have so politicized the military that there is
little room for professionalism. They are
businessmen and want to compete with the
Dangotes and Ibrus. Let Buhari begin by flushing
them out.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nigeria, may be African definition of a weakling.

Who is a weakling? According to dictionary meaning which is relevant to this commentary- a
weakling is:
- (figuratively) A person of weak character, lacking in courage and/or moral strength.
synonyms
- (person of weak character) sissy, walk-over.
In Nigeria if two people or a government official decides to let go in the interest of the nation and people he is regarded a weakling.
This become painful to the person who let go. This is why some problems are difficult to handle in our Nation. Recent fuel scarcity/ hoarding is a good example.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

AFRICANS SHOULD WAKE UP

For how long will African leaders be deceived by so-called assistance from developed countries? In the news (NTA News Nigeria 18-05-2915) that Chinese government is offering Nigeria 12 ambulances while Niger is planned by the EU for shelter to dissuade African immigrants from coming to Europe. The other day roads construction was undertaken by UN agency in the South East Nigeria. Can African really manage their affairs? Even when we have a good leader we don't support her/him but pull him down instead and we rather support those that will deceive us and steal our money while we lament. The award given to Dr Okonjo Iweala by Yale University is being challenged because she served in an already  failed government of Goodluck Jonathan. When we have good leaders we deny him of our support in attempt to get rid of bad leaders and we in turn cry when the same bad leaders visit us with corrupt leadership. How long will Africans continue this way?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Nigerian Prisoners will not dare this

California prison hunger strike ends
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23975602
Prisoners in Nigerian prisons will not dare what their Canadian fellows did. They will die like chickens without anyone noticing their passage. Of course Nigeria prisons is a place from media reports where criminals are hardened rather than rehabilitated. I heard the story of a fellow that on completion of his jail term he would be repatriated to Nigeria wish that he would commit another crime same day so that he would be returned to prison rather than return to his country-Nigeria.

Let those in authority make our prisons better and more humane

Friday, August 30, 2013

Generator Spewing Fumes

Generators at a shopping mall few metres away from one of the wards at Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Students whose living hostels are not far away are not spared either. The entire community is also sharing in this hazard-one of the indicators of negligence of Nigerian government.

Unique Stowaway with a difference

Puzzle as Daniel puts Nigeria on global stowaway list: http://besoci.al/lcmi8 Sent from punchng newspaper http://besoci.al/lcmi9

Monday, August 19, 2013

Making it to the position of a ruler in Nigeria

It is true that making to the top is difficult in any society and it answers to dedication and hard work. In Nigeria as especially with the political class you have to show that you are prepared to trample on anyone on your way and if necessary kill, cheat, and have a godfather you must answer to even to the detriment of the people you represent. The language money speaks  in Nigerian politics is; use me to get what you want and get as much as you can get provided you play along with all the elements of corruption,  then power become cheap.