Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The forgotten history of gay marriage

By Paul Canning
Republicans and other opponents of gay marriage often speak of marriage as being a 2,000 year old tradition (or even older). 

Quite apart from the fact that the definition of marriage has changed from when it was a business transaction, usually between men, there is ample evidence that within just Christian tradition, it has changed from the point where same-sex relationships were not just tolerated but celebrated.

In the famous St. Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai, there is an icon which shows two robed Christian saints getting married. Their ‘pronubus’ (official witness, or “best man”) is none other than Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Civil society raises concern about the worsening state of insecurity in Nigeria

The civil society delegation to the 2014 National Conference is worried about the worsening state of insecurity in the country, and concerned about the deepening sense of hopelessness among ordinary Nigerians with respect to the security situation in the country.

We join other well meaning Nigerians, including all the delegates to the National Conference 2014, who have unanimously passed strongly worded resolutions on the issue to condemn without mincing words the perpetrators and perpetuators of this dastardly act. 

Nigeria’s Media Rights Agenda launches FOI App for Android devices

Press Statement

Lagos, Nigeria: Tuesday, April 15, 2014:  Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today launched an Application to enable users of android powered mobile devices to download the Freedom of Information Act 2011 to their handsets, tablets and other devices that use the android operating system in an easy-to-navigate format.

The app was developed by Eko-Konnect for MRA with support from the Ford Foundation.  Eko-Konnect is the Lagos cluster of the Nigerian Research and Education Network (ngREN), which aims to support network connectivity and collaboration between education and research organizations.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Nigerian bus station hit by deadly explosion

At least 71 feared dead after blast in outskirts of capital, Abuja, as hundreds of commuters travelled to work.

An explosion ripped through a busy commuter bus station in the outskirts of Nigeria's capital on Monday, killing 71 and injuring at least 124 people.

The attack by Islamist insurgents Boko Haram was the group's first in Abuja in two years and the deadliest.

The blast ripped a hole 1.2 metres (4ft) deep in the ground of Nyanya motor park, about 10 miles from the city centre, and destroyed more than 30 vehicles, causing secondary explosions as their fuel tanks ignited and burned.

Insecurity and indecisiveness in Nigeria: the maddening race down the hill of self destruction

By Jaye Gaskia
We are indeed living in perilous times, a season of anomie, where life has become truly brief and brutish, and where not even the fittest can be sure of survival. This is the condition that best describes our existence in Nigeria at this moment.

Violent crimes and irrational insurgencies have taken over the land. We have become a people buffeted by violence driven by the rabid hatred of the alienated for society, sponsored by highly placed and connected members of our treacherous ruling elites.

Let us be very clear about this, no organized violence in whatever form, either as criminal acts of kidnapping, armed robbery, or crude oil theft; nor of insurgency, has been initiated without the active mobilization, organization and sponsorship of different fractions of the treasury looting elites in their antagonistic competitive drive towards primitive accumulation.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

PDP, APC and the spectacular failure of ruling class leadership: the case of power (de)generation

By Jaye Gaskia
At the inception of the Fourth Republic, one key area prioritized by the then victorious ruling party, the PDP, and its newly inaugurated presidency was power.

In 1999, when the current civilian democratic dispensation came into being, the ruling PDP made fanfare of its intention to turn power generation, distribution and transmission around as a way of ensuring that there was enough electricity to power our triumphal march into the league of newly industrializing economies.

15 years down the line, what is the scorecard? Power generation as at 1999 had plummeted to just about 2,000 MWs of available generated power, while the capacity of the National Grid stood at barely 4,000 MWs. 

APO murder: Is the National Human Rights Commission blazing a refreshing trail?

By Bamidele Aturu

The indictment last week by the National Human Rights Commission of the Army and the State Security Service authorities for the indefensible killing of eight innocent and harmless citizens in an uncompleted building at Apo District of the Federal Capital Territory on September 20, 2013 is quite refreshing.

But more pleasant is the reaction of the political authorities to the indictment.

The Commission has shown by its bold, well-reasoned and fair decision that what we need in Nigeria is a combination of independent institutions and independent but patriotic and competent persons to run the institutions.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Fulani herdsmen and their host communities: A stitch in time saves nine

By Kingsley Paul
We cannot continue like this. Some may argue that they are nomads in search of grazing routes. I believe anywhere can be made grazing routes. Can we continue to live in the past? There are things from the past we have found better or modern ways of doing now. 

Take for instance the use of mobile phones and the Internet for speedy communication as against traditional style of posting a letter and waiting for it to arrive its destination in a month’s time. 

You can’t move your cattle which is your means of livelihood to another the land of a person that lives on subsistence farming and have the cattle march down their crops or eat them up and expect them to clap for you. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Summarising the opening statements and the shape of things to come: Week four of the National Conference

By Jaye Gaskia

The National Conference completed its fourth week [first month] of sitting by bringing to a conclusion the opening statements and responses of individual delegates to inaugural address of the President while formally inaugurating ‘The National Conference Of The People Of Nigeria’ – the official designation of the ongoing conference.
Why was it important for each delegate to articulate a response to the Presidential inaugural address? And why was it important for each delegate to make individual opening statements? The two weeks expended by the conference to take these individual delegate statements was both a fundamental and strategic necessity. 

Vaginas grown in labs successfully implanted into girls with rare disorder

Scientists hail operations on teenagers with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which affects vaginal development. A scientist at the Wake Forest medical centre, demonstrates the process to engineer vaginal organ tissue.

Scientists have successfully implanted vaginas grown in laboratories into four teenage girls who have a congenital condition which meant their own did not develop properly.

The artificial vaginas, engineered from the patient’s own cells and individually made to fit them, allowed the women to later have full sex lives. As well as being a breakthrough in vaginal reconstruction, the US and Mexican scientists responsible for the procedures said it potentially meant other tissues or organs could be laboratory grown and implanted.

Land owners accuse Imo State government of insensitivity

Land owners of cash crops uprooted due to the on-going excavation of debris along Otanmiri stream in Owerri, Imo State, have described the state government led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha as being insensitive to their plight.

The land which belongs to Umu Oyima Owerri in Imo State before the excavation exercise was used for farm activities.

When this reporter visited today, some villagers at the scene were busy picking remnants of their crops and wondered why the state government did not give them notice before the exercise. They expressed shock over the sudden action.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

What does the “North” want? (Part 2)

By Chido Onumah
This piece is not a response to the “North’s” position on the National Conference. I believe every individual or group has the right to respond to the conference as they deem necessary. Rather, it seeks to address the crisis of identity which is at the root of the Nigerian tragedy. 

Who are we? What is Nigeria? The answer to these questions can help us understand the various issues confronting us as a country and what our responses have been, whether it is the politics of oil, religion or geo-political space.
There is nothing new about the comments of those who claim to represent the “North”. 

If we look at developments in pre-independence Nigeria, the “North’s” response to the Unification Decree No. 34 of May 24, 1966, by the military junta led by Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, or the introduction of Sharia law in some states in the “North”, historically, the “North” has always been in favour of political autonomy and fiscal federalism. It is strange, therefore, that there is so much angst in the “North” when it comes to the issue of autonomy and fiscal federalism. 

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