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Posts tagged ‘Corruption’

Bill and Melinda Gates Letter Debunks World Poverty Myths.


Image: Bill and Melinda Gates Letter Debunks World Poverty Myths

By Elliot Jager

Bill and Melinda Gates have released their foundation’s annual letter, which instead of sketching out their worldwide philanthropic agenda for the coming year aims to debunk three public policy myths about poverty.

The Gates Foundation letter argues that it is not true that “poor countries are doomed to stay poor,” that “foreign aid is a big waste,” or that “saving lives leads to overpopulation,” Forbes magazine reported Tuesday.

Bill Gates writes that most countries “we used to call poor now have thriving economies. And the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990.”

Gates is not saying poverty and inequality will disappear. Overall, though, he is optimistic for all countries except those “held back by war, politics (North Korea, barring a big change there), or geography (landlocked nations in central Africa).”

Regarding foreign aid, Gates says the belief that U.S. aid does not work “gives political leaders an excuse to try to cut back on it — and that would mean fewer lives are saved, and more time before countries can become self-sufficient.”

It also does not cost a lot, he notes. The U.S. spends less than one percent of its annual budget on foreign aid, he says, or about $30 billion. Gates breaks that down to $11 billion for public health and $19 billion for infrastructure.

While he acknowledges that aid is sometimes stolen by corrupt local government officials, he notes that corruption is just as bad if not worse in the United States.

“Four of the past seven governors of Illinois have gone to prison for corruption, and to my knowledge no one has demanded that Illinois schools be shut down or its highways closed,” he writes.

For her part, Melinda Gates tackles the myth that saving lives makes the planet unsustainable.

“Saving lives doesn’t lead to overpopulation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world,” she writes.

The Gates Foundation disbursed $3.4 billion in grants during 2012, and has given out more than $28.3 billion since 2006 for various programs around the globe.

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Back To Basics : Homosexuality Is Not un-African, Homophobia Is By Ijabla Raymond.


By Ijabla Raymond

In Nigeria, university lecturers have been on strike for nearly 6 months; medical doctors are contemplating going on strike; the roads are death traps; people rely on generators for power as electricity supply is epileptic ; people have to sink wells or boreholes to supply their own homes with water; those who can’t have to buy water off the street from water vendors; Nigeria remains one of only three countries in the world where polio is endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan; our hospitals are poorly resourced and people with money fly abroad for routine health checks; we have one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world; many state governments have refused to adopt the Child Rights Act, and those which have, are failing to enforce it; child marriages occur with reckless impunity and no one appears interested in banning the practice anytime soon; you get 7 years for raping a woman but 14 years for a consensual same-sex intercourse; we rely on foreign aid to assist with poverty alleviation despite our stupendous wealth; our government is one of the most corrupt in the world etc.

But guess what? The Nigerian government has chosen to prioritise anti-gay law over all of these pressing needs. The government feels that legislating on what two consenting adults choose to do in their closet takes precedence over all of the aforementioned problems.

Sadly, but as expected, this law has turned out to be very popular with Nigerians, who say that homosexuality is wrong because it contravenes God’s principles in the Quran and the Bible. They say that homosexuality is wrong because it is un-African, foreign and that it will lead to a de-population of the human race. But, if I may ask, what is African about Christianity and Islam? These religions are foreign to us and are very un-African, when are we going to ban them too?

Homosexuality is as old as human history and it exists in all human races. It even occurs amongst animals. Gay people lived freely and even got married in many African cultures pre-colonisation. It was colonisation, through the instrument of the twin foreign religions, Christianity and Islam, which criminalised homosexuality. Till date, those who live in northern Nigeria will be very familiar with the “yan daudu” – the third gender men who can be anything from transvestites, homosexuals, to bisexuals. I grew up in northern Nigeria and I remember how well these individuals were accepted – their lifestyles were even featured in TV dramas.

My question to those who say that homosexuality will lead to a de-population of the human race is: When should we start jailing heterosexual couples who practise anal and oral sex or couples who suffer from infertility or those couples who use contraception?

And to those who say that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible or Quran God said so, first of all, may I remind you that these religions are foreign to Africa and were instruments of slavery? They were used to subjugate our forefathers. Secondly, if we say that God is omnipotent or omniscient, then we must accept that it was His grand design and plan to create homosexuals, so, why destroy them?

Who would believe, that in the 21st century, we would still be making laws based on books that were written a few thousand years ago by men who reasoned that diseases were caused by demons and evil spirits? We need to separate religion from the State, it’s only in doing so that we can guarantee and uphold the human rights of all people.

This anti-gay law smirks of gross ignorance of our own history and culture. If we are going to make laws, then let’s do so from a position of knowledge and best evidence, and not ignorance or religious bigotry. I have included links at the bottom of this article for those who wish to know more about “yan daudu”, homosexual practices in pre-colonised Africa or the practice of adult men using young boys as sex slaves in Afghanistan (the dancing boys). I believe there are similar practices in Arab countries.

President Jonathan (GEJ) and his government have succeeded in distracting Nigerians from our main problem – corruption. I have seen photos of harmless gay people on news media being hounded into the back of vans with their hands cuffed, but those who steal our collective wealth and cause us untold hardship and death are not only walking freely, they are even worshipped by some of us. I will not be surprised if GEJ gets voted back into office for a 2nd term on the back of this popular, but inhumane, anit-gay law. I weep for this country.

Ijabla Raymond,
Medical doctor of Nigerian heritage writes from the UK

Email: Ijabla.Raymond@facebook.com

REFERENCES:
1.     http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/lgbt1208_webwcover.pdf

2.     Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex. Pages 220 – 227

3.     Alternatively, swipe through pages 220 – 227 of this e-book:http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=iZ5RAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA221&lpg=PA223&ots=P…

4.     http://yoknyamdabale.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/africa-kill-the-gays/

5.     http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/10/nigeria-yan-daudu-persecution

6.     http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11217772

 

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

St Paul’s College Confirms Stella Oduah Earned Bachelors Degree, But Not MBA.


 

Stella Oduah
By SaharaReporters, New York

Authorities of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, in the United States today confirmed to SaharaReporters that Mrs. Stella Oduah did obtain a first degree in Business Administration at the institution in 1982, with concentration in Accounting.

St Paul’s registrar, Ms. Helen Jackson, reiterated however, that the school has never had a postgraduate program.

Ms. Oduah would have been 16 years old at the time of admission.  Asked to make that confirmation, Mr. Jackson said she could not offer personal information about the student.

SaharaReporters began a series of exposes on the minister’s educational background on Monday night.  By Tuesday she had removed any mention of St. Paul’s College, the institutions where she initially claimed in citations, on Wikipedia and several personal websites that she earned a Masters Degree.

By yesterday, SaharaReporters obtained her curriculum vitae but it curiously made no mention of the widely, previously-claimed MBA. However, she claimed to have obtained an “honorary Ph.D” from Christian Pacific University in Glendale, California.  That claim has also now been found to be false.

The Minister’s claim to an MBA in 1983 also conflicts with the year in which she supposedly served in the National Youth Service Corps.

Meanwhile, earlier today the ministry of Aviation disabled Ms. Oduah profile page which claimed she had “Bachelors and Masters Degree (in Accounting and Business Administration respectively) in the United States” only to restore the page apparently caught pants down with the false claims on her resume still intact.

 

Okonjo-Iweala’s Made False Claims On House Of Representatives Video-PREMIUM TIMES.


 

Minister for Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
By Premium Times

Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, through her spokesperson, Paul Nwabuikwu, accusing us of uploading a ‘doctored video’ of what transpired during her appearance before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

In the statement, the minister used an earlier published two-minute video by Channels Television as a yardstick of what the ideal reporting should be concerning that controversial session, describing the Channels publication as  “the authentic video account of the encounter.”

We find it unfortunate that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala would seek to create an impression that her session with the lawmakers lasted about two minutes only.

It is even shocking that the minister and her aides do not understand that two media organizations will not necessarily see the same issue or event the same way?

In any case, why is one reporting of the session okay by the minister because it suits her agenda and the other is doctored because it doesn’t?

For the avoidance of doubt, we stand 100 per cent by our published video.

We challenge Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala to mention any scene, any at all, in our video that did not happen or was doctored.

Our video was not to question or dismiss what Channels Television published. In fact, we agree completely that Channels reserve the right to determine how to report an event based on the best judgment of its reporters and editors. We had also referenced the Channels clip in our earlier stories of the incident.

Unlike Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, however, we believe the footage published by the station was definitely just a part of what transpired at the session.

It was in order to ensure that Nigerian’s get a fuller picture of what transpired that PREMIUM TIMES sourced the full video.
Our aim was not to repeat what Channels had published (all what Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala accused us of omitting were contained in the Channel’s clip), but to show that a lot more happened than was shown in the Channels video.

Perhaps Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala would love to explain to Nigerians why she preferred limiting all her encounter with the lawmakers on that day to just a two-minute video, when ours, over four-minute long, is clearly more comprehensive, showing what transpired before the episode shown by Channels.

Just like Channels Television and other responsible media houses, we are at liberty, using our best editorial judgment, to ensure that true and complete information on actions of public officials are brought to our readers.
We therefore assure all our readers and viewers that we would continue to abide by basic journalism principles and continue to reveal that which public officials want to keep hidden.
Management

PREMIUM TIMES
www.premiumtimesng.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Decay In Police Colleges: SERAP Asks ICPC To Probe Spending On Trainees’ Welfare.


 

One of the toilets at the police college in Ikeja, Lagos
By Adetokunbo Mumuni

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Mr. Ekpo Nta to “urgently and thoroughly probe the spending for police trainees’ welfare for the past 10 years.”

The organization said that this will “help to establish whether the money budgeted to improve the infrastructure and conditions of police colleges and trainees’ welfare across the country have been spent as allocated or simply stolen, misused or mismanaged.”

In a petition dated 18 January 2013, and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization also asked the agency to “ensure that any suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.”

According to the organization, “Recent investigation and documentary by Channels TV show among others that training facilities are in terribly bad shape; that the college is overcrowded (housing 3000 people instead of 750); that student hostels are in dilapidated conditions and lack beds, mattresses and decent and functioning toilets.”

“The poor, dehumanising, and deteriorating conditions of the Police College Ikeja and other police colleges across the country seem to explain why the force has been unable for many years to provide adequate security for the common man and to effectively tackle crimes. The inhuman and degrading treatment of police trainees as shown by the Channels documentary also illustrates the deep rooted corruption in critical institutions of government and public services that have been completely neglected for several years,” the organization said.

The organization also said that, “Unless budgets for police colleges are transparently spent as allocated, these institutions cannot effectively perform the crucial function of training quality officers that will be able to maintain law and order, and contribute to the efforts to improve the safety and security challenges facing the country today let alone win public trust and confidence.”

“SERAP believes that the investigation by the ICPC into the management and spending of budgets meant for police colleges across the country would provide the much needed accountability and put a stop to the apparent mismanagement of public resources in that sector. What Nigerians saw in the documentary cannot be justified legally or morally; and makes nonsense of Nigeria’s international anti-corruption and human rights obligations and commitments,” the organization added.

According to the organization, “The efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria will not achieve the desired result if there is no proper, transparent and accountable management of public wealth and resources.”

The organization therefore urged the Commission “to exert its mandates, power, and influence to ensure that the truth is known in this matter.” It asked the commission for the following reliefs:

The Commission should fully and transparently investigate the management and spending of the budgets for police colleges for the past 10 years, and to establish the use to which the budgets have been put.

The Commission should make public the findings of its investigation.

The Commission should ensure that the police authorities faithfully and consistently implement the government’s anti-corruption initiatives and international anti-corruption obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption.

The Commission should establish a mechanism to monitor the use of funds meant to improve the conditions of police colleges across the country.

Signed
Adetokunbo Mumuni
Executive Director
20/1/2013
http://www.serap-nigeria.org” www.serap-nigeria.org

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

The Nigeria Dilemma: What Is To Be Done? By Bayo Oluwasanmi.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi

As the year trudges to an end, I looked at Nigeria closely, my mind racing back to 52 years. A surge of impatience rose up within me.
I tried to shake off a rush of anxiety. The progress so far jarred my confidence. My stomach was knotted with fear.

The memories of Nigeria’s immediate political history of a leaderless country cut like a knife at my soul.

As I contemplate Nigeria’s future, fatigue swept over me. Over the years, the confidence I had for Nigeria is quickly fading back into skepticism.
Economic prophets with gloom forecasts and political seers with doom predictions are working overtime warning us where Nigeria is headed.

The unanimity of their prophecies is summed up in one ominous and frightened sentence: “A failed state.”
The image of a comatose nation in a stupor of its former greatness in the intensive care unit of rogue nations is having a kind of negative psychological contagion among Nigerians.

The profound dilemma of Nigeria has been a permanent leadership vacuum.
I thought of a man who might have had a chance to bring relief to our people.

I thought of a man with position, training, natural ability, and the desire to help.

I thought of those who had the unique opportunity to rescue Nigeria but in foolish act after another, they forfeited all the advantages they might have used.

Ninety-nine percent of those who run the affairs of Nigeria needed complete reconstruction.  All the three tiers of government – local, state, and federal – there is leadership deficit. They seek to bring about the right thing in the wrong way.

The abhorrent mediocrity of the elected representatives at all levels of our government disqualifies them from the service of the people.

Nigeria has been turned into a football game in which millions of spectators in need of exercise are watching a handful of players in need of rest.

The unending recycling of ill equipped, witless, and myopic technocrats, bureaucrats, and other political appointees guarantees imitation of the barbaric past of their predecessors.

They have become silent enablers and co-conspirators in defrauding the very people they’re supposed to serve and save. They find so much pleasure in watching the slow agonies of poor Nigerians.

The socially and economically induced misery caused by the corrupt representatives results in deforming and depleting our humanity and love for one another.

The meaning of events taking place in Nigeria defies worn-out vocabulary. It leaves us intellectually debilitated, morally disempowered, and personally depressed.

There is pervasive intellectual impoverishment. There is collapse of meaning in life – the eclipse of hope and absence of love for others.
No one, nowhere is safe in Nigeria today: suicide bombers, armed robbers, abductors, rapists, hired assassins, exhorters, swindlers, defrauders, ghost workers, robber-barons, jet pastors, corrupters, child molesters, looters, and leeches.

What we’re witnessing today in Nigeria are the consequences of a lethal linkage of economic decay, cultural decay, and political lethargy in Nigerian life.

What is to be done?

What shall we do to foster or generate a new spirit and vision to meet the challenges of post-democracy, post-industrial, and post-party politics?

First, we must accept that the critical power, help, and hope lie within us and our commonalities. We must search for a new paradigm to bring into the fore our understanding of multifaceted crises and overcome our despair.

Second, we must shift our attention to the common good that focus on how much we care about the quality of lives together.

The neglect and non-existent in most cases, of our infrastructure – roads, highways, water and sewage system, streets, bridges, hospitals, schools, airways, airports, electricity, safety and security must be terminated forthwith.

The lack of these basic infrastructures reflects (a) our myopic economic and social policies, (b) impediment to productivity, and (c) the low and primitive priority we place on our common life.

Third, the tragic abandonment of our children and the elderly clearly reveals the type of people and nation we are. It also shows our deep disregard and lack of compassion for the weak and the most vulnerable.

Majority of our children are born and raised in poverty. Parents who are overburdened and overpowered by poverty are ill-equipped to provide lives of spiritual and cultural quality to their children.

A way forward is for the government and patriotic Nigerians with private initiatives to assemble a large scale public intervention that will ensure provision and access to basic social goods: housing, food, health care, education, transportation, child care, jobs, and social safety net.

Last, the most important and major challenge is the need to generate and nurture new leadership. There is paucity of courageous leaders.
The mangling, bungling, and manhandling of policies and programs by the crop of present leaders demand that we look beyond the circle and recycle of old, backward, worn-out, burn-out, tired horses, close minded ancient thinkers, and blind as bat elites.

We need leaders who can plunge themselves into the oppressive and unresponsive socio-politico-economic narrative of our country and craft a rewrite that will correct the malaise.

We need leaders who possess the acumen, integrity, intelligence, foresight, and fortitude that will grasp the complex dynamics of our ethnicity, differences, and with creative imagination chart the future of a new Nigeria.

We need leaders, who will strap themselves with ideals of freedom, democracy, fairness, and equality that will shield and shelter the shoeless, homeless, landless, luckless, propertyless, and the marginalized that perch on the fringes of poverty and penury.

We need visionary leadership that can and motivate “the better angels of our nature.”

We need a new leadership grounded in grass root organizing that emphasizes democratic accountability and service. We need leaders who will serve and not to be served.

We need leaders who are givers and not takers.

There appears no alternative route to the above. Either we swim or sink, or the turbulence this time we consume us all!

byolu@aol.com

Source: Sahara Reporters.

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