Sunday, 30 September 2012


My name is Nigeria !!! I need Re-Building and not Re-Branding.

In the next few hours, I am going to spend 10 billion Naira to celebrate my 52nd birthday! I am Nigeria !!!.

I am divided into 36 unequal states, plus my capital territory, christened ABUJA. I have millions of acres of arable land and billions of cubic litres of water and oil, but I cannot feed myself. So I spend $1 billion to import rice and another $2 billion to import milk. I produce rice, but don't eat it. I have 60 million cattle but no milk. I have the capacity to feed the whole of Africa but I import most food instead.

I am hungry, please help and re-build me.

Friday, 28 September 2012

EKO ATLANTIC Project is NOT for the Poor! - Tunji Bello

When asked whether there would be a low-cost housing estate in #Eko Atlantic City when completed, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello retorted, "are there low-cost houses in New York City?...Is there anywhere in the world where the poor live beside the ocean view?"
This statement was made at a roundtable, SUSTAINABILITY OF COASTAL ENVIRONMENTS: THE UNCERTAINTIES AND RISKS OF INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENTS IN LAGOS held yesterday, Thursday, 27 September, 2012 at the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event was organized by Heinrich Boll Foundation.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Is Islam a Violent Religion?

By Bologi Jimada

 If we are to have an intellectual, unemotional and unbiased discuss on the issue of Islam and violence, we have to first examine the dialectics of the whole conflict. First, there is religious conflict, there is clash of civilizations and there is failure of leadership. Islam is no more or less violent as Christianity and i say this because of the trail of blood following both religions through history. Without going back to the time of the Crusades or even Hitler and Christian Europe, the entire Hutu/Tutsi massacre was hatched and carried out by Christians against fellow Christians. 

In the Balkans, it was Christians who massacred Muslims in thousands. All this happened within the last two decades. We can try to draw parallels and conclusions accordingly. Now, to even begin to make sense out of most of the nonsense going on, one must separate the Arab Muslim from the Muslims from Persia and South East Asia. We must also separate Muslims from different parts of Nigeria as a result. There are also different sects of Islam, just as you have for Christianity, and for each, there are different thresholds of tolerance dictated by exposure, political and cultural experience and association. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012


By Professor Ako Amadi




    This critique of the Eko Atlantic City environmental impact assessment, EIA has been the results of a week spent reading a library copy of the submission by the South Energyx Nigeria Limited, SENL to the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja. It is not aimed at arguing the credibility of scientific technicalities or at pursuing their verification as presented. The focus is rather on the project logic, the rationale, potential for impacts, the risk factor and the possibility as well as the capability to mitigate unavoidable consequences, but also to identify the necessity to situate a precautionary principle on what the project must not do. The analytical approach in this manuscript is however not devoid of scientific knowledge that complements information on governance and the socio-economic status of Nigeria.
·         Thus, the analysis of the EIA is not so much over claims by the proponents to protect the shoreline from erosion and drive economic development in Lagos at the conclusion of their activities, but more about the eventual and longer term impacts of constructing a city on reclaimed land from coastal marine sediments.

Friday, 21 September 2012


By Professor Ako Amadi

The Eko Atlantic City Project plans to develop the shoreline of Victoria Island in Lagos State, Nigeria, specifically by dredging approximately 90 million cubic metres of sand from marine shelf waters to reclaim 900 hectares of land for the future development of a modern city. South Energyx Nigeria Ltd (SENL) is the company created to undertake the development of the project, while Royal Haskoning completed the environmental impact assessment (EIA) under the title: Draft Final Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A.) Report for the Proposed shoreline Protection and Reclamation of 900 Hectares of Land that was submitted to the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja and subsequently displayed for public comments there, and in Lagos in the one month from 13th July to 12th August, 2011. It constitutes, according to the developers a Phase 1 of the Eko Atlantic City Development Project at the Lagos Bar-Beach, Victoria Island, Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos, Nigeria.

It is important to note: SENL indicates that the present EIA is only in respect of the dredging and land reclamation activities, and promises to submit a further study/report on construction of Eko Atlantic City over the reclaimed land. Dredging and reclamation works have already begun under the supervision of Haskoning Nigeria Engineering Consulting Limited, and planned to last until May, 2016. From the dates given in the EIA, as well as within the project website, the document was submitted to the Federal Ministry of Environment after, and not before the commencement of the project as required by the Nigerian EIA legislation.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Here comes the CPSR!

Building on the gains of the highly informative e-conference on power sector reforms, hosted by Spaces for Change (S4C) on August 18, 2012, a Coalition on Power Sector Reforms (CPSR) has emerged. The Coalition's main goal is to promote awareness of the power sector reform processes and activities, and facilitate citizen engagement, cooperation and support for those initiatives. It is comprised of an independent group of experts, corporate bodies and civil society organizations, monitoring the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and consumer service issues in the power sector, in line with the reform agenda of Nigerian government.

The CPSR operates within the scope of the Power Sector Reform Roadmap, the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act and all other governing regulations. Further information about CPSR can be found here:   In particular, the coalition works to promote an understanding of the various ways in which implementing agencies and critical stakeholders can work together to deliver on the objectives of the power sector reforms, without undermining the realization of human rights of citizens to access stable electricity.

Monday, 17 September 2012



Babagana Gashi Mustapha

Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri has been one of the leading female commentators of recent times I have come to respect and encourage. I have followed her write ups, investigations and even sacrifices she has made, making efforts to get to the root of the nation’s mishaps and especially in the Northern part of Nigeria and particularly among Muslims. She is indeed a rare individual of this sort. However, in reaction to her recent article, Criminality and the North-South Divide, let me make an analogy that may shed better light with respect to insecurity and the need for leadership of the North to take charge and deal with the problem first hand.

The situation in the North differs a little bit. If for instance, Governor Fashola of Lagos State wakes up to demolish Oshodi in December, when almost all shop owners were away for Christmas, and yet they come back to say little or nothing, there must be a reason. If Governor Obi can walk among his people and supervise a demolition exercise of a home of a popular criminal kingpin and nothing happens, there must be some reason. If the Governors of the North cannot openly criticize, condemn and arrest the insecurity problems in the North, I doubt if it will be without its own reasons. And I'll tell you why.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


“The argument that the N5000 bill should not be introduced because it would spur corruption does not hold because those that are using our currency for corruption have already migrated to the dollar because the naira has lost its value. The dollar has now become the store of value. That is why we are introducing a higher bill of value because we don’t want to dollarise our economy. We need to be in charge of the money that comes in and goes out”, says Nigeria’s central bank chief, Sanusi Sule Lamido. 

Reacting to this statement in a documentary publicized on NTA Newsline last week Sunday (September 9, 2012), Nigerians, in no unclear terms, expressed outrage and indignation over the proposal by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce the N5,000 note. From the market women to the artisan, civil servant, bus conductors, members of the judiciary and the legislature, business leaders, financial analysts and so forth……they all chorused a resounding NO!

Amid all the uproar, all-time-high heavy spenders like Alhaji Aliko Dangote have endorsed the CBN’s proposal to introduce the N5, 000 note and coin smaller denominations: N5, N10, 20, and the N50 notes. The Bankers’ Committee has also lent its weight behind the new currency regime. Speaking to newsmen after the committees meeting in Abuja, the Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa, Philip Oduoza said that the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will not in any way affect the nation’s economy as currently speculated.

Characteristically, Spaces for Change went to town, to seek the opinion of young Nigerians on the matter. This is what we found…

Thursday, 13 September 2012


By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

Last Wednesday, Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi supervised the demolition of a stately edifice at Ifite-Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, belonging to a suspected kidnap kingpin, Mr. Olisagbo Ifedike, 36, alias Ofe Akwu. The demolition came on the heels of Ifedike’s arrest by State Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS and the shocking discovery of sophisticated arms and ammunitions concealed in the base of his building. Legally speaking, the demolitions were not backed by any judicial pronouncement of guilt on the suspect. The only whiff of legal authorization for the demolitions is the governor’s unwritten proclamation directing that “any building used by kidnappers or belonging to a kidnapper would be demolished and the land confiscated by the state government”. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A tribute for Cynthia

By Pamela Braide on Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I wrote this tribute for the funeral programme for Cynthia Osokogu at the behest of her friend and her mother who have never met me. It was the hardest thing I have ever written in my life and an honor. Below my tribute is a vote of thanks from Cynthia's friend, Aishatu Ella an amazingly loyal friend.

I never met Cynthia.

When I first saw Cynthia's picture I thought; what a pretty girl. I looked again, saw the words saying she was missing my head started to hurt, and my imagination went berserk. I read each update about Cynthia from what I like to call, the corners of my consciousness, as if not confronting bad things can make them untrue. I was afraid for this girl, and I was afraid for her family.

Somewhere in between the fear and the search and the finding Cynthia became the focal point for a national conversation with big words and loud voices. Nigerians were generally horrified and empathized, but some of these voices developed their own version of Cynthia. A version that deserved it. The way many young women are often told they particularly deserve the bad things that can and do happen to practically anyone in this place. Maybe, in trying to make sense of a senseless murder, it became necessary to cling to all the reasons why it happened to her, and will not happen to us. But we can't distance ourselves from a terrible crime in a precarious country by holding up comfortable versions of Cynthia as our talisman. I was angry at the mean percentage as I like to call them, but failed to realize that just like me, they may deal with fear by distancing.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Spaces for Change has just released a policy briefing paper, MAKING THE SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND MORE ACCOUNTABLE: A RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH. The policy paper, advocates that human rights offer a very effective framework for ensuring that the activities of the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) comply with Nigeria’s human rights – social and economic rights - obligations, and the highest standard of accountability and transparency.

The propositions contained in the brief were informed by a robust online debate and discussions focusing on the recently-launched Sovereign Wealth Fund in Nigeria. A broad spectrum of young Nigerian professionals across the globe participated in the discussions on Spaces for Change’s (S4C’s) Discussion Forum on Facebook on August 29, 2012.


In the context of a policy program aimed at achieving fiscal prudence, enhancing the management of oil wealth, and building a savings base for future generations of Nigerians, the Nigerian Government has established a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), with an initial fund of $1 billion. Accompanying the SWF’s launch is the establishment of an institutional foundation for the management of the Fund, called the Nigerian Security Investment Authority (NSIA), with a mandate to provide policy, technical and investment guidance for the NSIA’s operations. Describing the Fund as a far-sighted initiative, Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated that the Fund places Nigeria “firmly on the path to economic transformation”. 

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