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Posts tagged ‘Non-governmental organization’

We Will Even Use Spiritual Means To Prevent GMOs Coming To Ghana- Blakk Rasta.

Maverick Ghanaian radio personality and activist Blakk Rasta says Ghanaians will use every trick in the book to prevent genetically modified (GM) foods being introduced into the country’s agricultural system. He says if everything else fails, they will seek spiritual closure to the matter. “We will make a lot of noise; they can’t sleep…if this one fails which I wonder, we will chant them down spiritually. When they start getting cancer, they will think twice”, he said.

The outspoken activist who also doubles as a hit-making reggae artist appeared on Sahara TV’s weekly broadcast with Duke Tagoe, Deputy Director of of the Non-Governmental Organization, Food Sovereignty Ghana where he made these comments.

A couple of weeks ago, 40 journalists who were invited to a seminar to acquaint themselves with knowledge of GMOs to enable them do informed write- ups on the topic sent a petition to parliament asking them to freeze legislation until Ghanaians are well educated and their input sought on the subject. The matter is currently before parliament couched in the Plant Breeders’ Bill and the Bio-Safety Act 2011.

The issue has seen some amount of debate with a few protests organized by Food Sovereignty Ghana to sensitize Ghanaians on the dangers of introducing GMOs to the country’s food chain without proper debate. Other bodies like the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Private University Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) and the Ghana Export Promotions Council have also added their voice, asking Government to thread cautiously on the issue. Some notables like the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Walter Yakubu Alhassan and Convention People’s Party flag-bearer Dr. Abu Sakara Foster – both acclaimed agriculturists – have however surfaced as serious advocates of GMOs.

Blakk Rasta decried the attitude of some Members of Parliament describing it as “unfortunate”. He said when the group forwarded the petition, one of them asked if they had the permission of Ghanaian farmers to speak on their behalf. “Should we have the permission of the Ghanaian farmer before we fight for what is right for them?” he quizzed.

Asked about the phenomenon of GM tomatoes and other food items flooding unchecked into the country from neighboring Burkina Faso, Blakk Rasta said the solution to that lies in Ghana banning all imports from that country.

On his part, Duke Tagoe outlined the horrors Ghana faces if GMOs are introduced into the country. He said GM giants Monsanto and other multi-national agricultural companies are conniving with some devious politicians to sneak GMOs into the country. He said he is however optimistic that Ghanaians are slowly but surely catching up to the scheme and will reject these moves. He threatened a lawsuit if parliament ignores their protests and passes the bill. He also said GM foods are already on the market and cautioned Ghanaians to look out for certain brands like Bokomo Corn Flakes.

He further stated that scientists at the Ghana Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have already come up with high yielding, pest resistant varieties of several crops and wondered why the government would not concentrate on supporting the efforts of these scientists instead of turning to GM foods. “What is so unique about these varieties is that it was done in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eliminating extreme hunger and poverty…why are we leaving these particular varieties and we are going to bring in GMO seeds from Monsanto that we don’t control?”, he bemoaned.

The two vowed to continue the fight against the introduction of GM foods into Ghana and to force the hand of government to do what is right by the people.


Baby Factory Problem, Evidence of Rochas Okorocha’s Evil Rule, What Can Imo People Do?.

Baby Factory

Rescue 16 pregnant teenagers
Imo State Police Command yesterday arrested one Dr. Ezuma for alleged human trafficking, operating under the guise of a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Ezuma, a native of Ndiokeke Ndiakunwanta in Arondizogu in Ideato Local Government Area of Imo State, was arrested in his residence at Egbu Road, Owerri which he had allegedly registered as an NGO called women and children rights protection initiative along with 16 pregnant teenage girls.
Parading the suspect before newsmen, the state Commissioner for Police, Mr. Muhammad Katsina, said the suspect had used the NGO as a cover for his heinous activities of encouraging teenage girls to get pregnant and after delivery, they were paid N100,000 on the condition that

they would abandon their babies. “You may wish to know that when a search was conducted in the premises being used as an office for an NGO, 16 pregnant teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 19 years, who are at different stages of pregnancy, were seen. Also recovered in the premises was an automatic eight loader pump action gun which is a prohibited firearm.” The police boss also  expressed concern over a missing newborn baby who was sold to unknown persons who were yet to be found. He said the child was delivered on November 24 by one Chinaza Nnachi, a native of Ebonyi State, who came to the home when she was stranded during her pregnancy. Katsina said efforts to locate the child proved abortive as the suspect had refused to lead the police to where the baby was being kept. “So far he has taken us to Abia State, where he said the baby is but we were unable to recover the baby; though investigations are still ongoing, the presumption at the moment is that the baby may have been used for ritual purposes.” The Imo State police boss alleged that the suspect was a gun runner who had been arraigned for unlawful possession of firearms. “It is pertinent to mention that the suspect was arraigned before an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court 1 in November 2013 for the offence of conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.” The police also found 10 unregistered vehicles which the suspect claimed to own; the commissioner however said Ezuma could not provide any proof of purchase or ownership of the vehicles. He warned parents and guardians to be vigilant and ensure that their children do not fall prey to exploiters, adding, that the command would continue in its campaign to ensure that the business of trading in unborn babies in the state was eradicated and the perpetrators brought to book.


Source: Radio Biafra.

PHOTONEWS: Joe Okei-Odumakin Floats New Civil Society Platform- ‘Center for Change’.

The President of Campaign for Democracy (CD), President of Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA) and the chairperson of Task force at Professor Wole Soyinka‘s ‘Citizens Forum‘ among other civil society statuses, Dr. Josephine Okei-Odumakin has launched yet another NGO.
Her new platform, Center for Change (CC), lists Pastor Tunde Bakare, the convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG) as its Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Center for Change, Okei-Odumakin said, started as Center for Participatory Governance following yearnings of some activists to be part of the political determination process as Nigeria transmuted into a Democracy. She announced that CC became fully registered only a few days ago.

At the launch in Sheraton Hotel Lagos today, Prof. Pius Adesanmi, a prolific writer and lecturer at the Carleton University in Canada served his usual reflection on the State of the Nigerian Nation with a sense of satirical narration.

Prof. Adesanmi’s lecture titled; “Boda Nigeria, Bros Naija and Soul Things” wove history with captivating philosophies around what constitutes the missing soul of Nigeria, separately from the unifying souls of other highly rated countries of the Globe.


Forum tasks Nigerians on Payment of Tax to boost National Development.

By Eric Ojo

jonathanParticipants at the just concluded workshop on patriotism, civic and ethical responsibility (PCE) have reiterated the overriding need for every Nigerian citizen to ensure prompt payment of income tax as a foundation for any demand for accountability in efforts geared towards national development.
The workshop also urged governments at all levels should also ensure an expansive tax regime that is bound by the principles of equity, certainty, convenience, economy, simplicity, neutrality and efficiency, adding that many states in the country cannot be sustained through their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and that in most instances, their IGR cannot even fund recurrent expenditure.
The forum which was organised in Abuja by Stop Impunity Nigeria Campaign (S.I.N) is a collaborative effort by a multi stakeholder group of civil society organisations, religious bodies and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) aimed at re-orienting Nigerians and promoting new ethical values to free the country from the debilitating effects of impunity, noted that taxation is the foundation of the social contract between the citizen and the government.
The event which attracted participants from the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, civil society including the media, religious bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) added that tax as an instrument of social engineering, is the price of social security and welfare. The participants however lamented that a good number of Nigerians do not pay tax whilst others under-declare their taxable income and as such, Nigeria still depends on oil rent to fund its bureaucracy and service delivery operations.
The multi-stakeholder meeting also observed that the development of a culture of organized giving and charity at the individual and corporate levels is imperative if the country must sustain public spirited work in the national interest, adding that this should be facilitated by a taxation regime that makes such donations tax deductible.
The forum equally harped on the need for the introduction of citizenship education in the basic curriculum of schools for young Nigerians to be able to understand the country’s history, learn from it and inculcate the virtues of responsible citizenship.
The participants further called on the Nigerian middle class to be resolute about actively engaging governance, participate in the politics, vote at elections and champion the cause of new Nigeria that will be an egalitarian and progressive society committed to the development of productive forces, adding value, creating wealth and ensuring that the benefits of national development are available to all.
“There is an ever present need for a national dialogue by whatever name called to discuss and address the fundamental challenges besetting the Nigerian nation. Decree 24 of 1999 which masquerades as the source of authority for the 1999 Constitution cannot be the foundation of a Constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria where we the people of Nigeria resolved and agreed to give to ourselves a constitution”, the group further declared in a communique jointly signed by Eze Onyekpere Esq, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Jacenta Torhee (Mrs) of the NOA, Babatunde Adegbesan, Publish What You Pay and Idris Miliki, Centre for Conflict Resolution.
The workshop enjoined Nigerian civil society including organized labour, academia, the media and NGOs to rise up to the challenge of nation building and development, noting that the time has come to move away from leaving the field of activism to only a few advocates who can easily be isolated and their demands ignored.
They also recommended that regulatory agencies should as a matter of urgency, improve on their oversight and regulation of private sector entities that deliver services to the Nigerian people. “In this regard, we call on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and others to improve the quality of their services”, the forum further stated
In the same vein, the meeting said the culture of road safety should be strengthened through the enhanced activities of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and that the NOA should be supported by all Nigerians in its task of re-orientating Nigerians towards a great nation where people do the right thing to transform the nation while religious institutions in the country should be at the forefront of the campaign for civic responsibility and greater accountability in governance.
They also charged the Environmental Protection Boards and Authorities to improve service delivery, reach out to the people through community development associations and mainstream the culture of environmental stewardship.
The participants applauded the support of the Ford Foundation and the efforts of the Stop Impunity Campaign in the organisation of the workshop which focused on the identification of major issues and challenges in PCE and their links with impunity. Meanwhile, the workshop is also developing a follow up plan of action and strategies for enhancing PCE in Nigeria.
Source: African Examiner.

Egypt Court Bans All Muslim Brotherhood Activities.

Image: Egypt Court Bans All Muslim Brotherhood Activities

CAIRO — An Egyptian court on Monday banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country and ordered the seizure of the group’s funds, widening a campaign to debilitate the Islamist movement of deposed President Mohammed Morsi.

“The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its nongovernmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it,” said the presiding judge Mohammed al-Sayed.

The court ordered the government to seize the Brotherhood’s funds and administer its frozen assets.

The army-backed government is waging the toughest crackdown in decades on the Islamist group, which says it has a million members. Security forces killed hundreds of its supporters and rounded up thousands more since Morsi was deposed by the army on July 3 after mass protests against his rule.

The Brotherhood won parliamentary and presidential elections after veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi‘s toppling of Morsi triggered a political crisis in the Arab world‘s most populous state, with the Brotherhood insisting that a military coup robbed them of power.

The court decision is likely to drive more Brotherhood members underground and it may encourage young Islamists to take up arms against the state.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


In Further Islamist Crackdown, Egypt to Dissolve Brotherhood NGO.

CAIRO — Egypt’s army-backed government has decided to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood as a registered nongovernmental organization (NGO) , a state-run newspaper reported on Friday, pressing a crackdown on deposed President Mohammed Morsi‘s movement.

The decision applies to the NGO registered by the Brotherhood in March in response to a lawsuit that argued the group had no legal status.

It marks a mostly symbolic legal blow to Morsi’s group as the authorities round up its members in the harshest crackdown in decades.

“The minister’s decision has in fact been issued but it will be announced at the start of next week in a press conference,” Al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Hany Mahana, spokesman for the minister of social solidarity, as saying.

The Brotherhood won parliamentary and presidential elections after veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 but the army deposed Morsi on July 3 in response to mass protests against his rule.

The security forces have killed hundreds of Morsi’s supporters and arrested many of its leaders on charges of inciting violence. There has so far been no attempt to ban its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Al-Akhbar said Social Solidarity Minister Ahmed el-Boraie’s decision to dissolve the group as an NGO stemmed from accusations that the Brotherhood had used its headquarters to fire and store weapons and explosives.

Though formally outlawed under Mubarak, the Brotherhood was grudgingly tolerated for much of his presidency, taking part in parliamentary elections and operating a charity network that helped to it to become Egypt‘s biggest political party.

The Brotherhood was founded in 1928 but formally dissolved by Egypt’s army rulers in 1954. The group’s opponents drew on that to argue the Brotherhood remained an illegal movement even after Mubarak’s downfall.

In response, the Brotherhood decided to shore up its legal standing by formally registering as an NGO.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

TELL Magazine Interview: Being Gay Is Natural – Yemisi Ilesanmi.

Yemisi Ilesanmi
By Tell Magazine

She is the second child in a family of seven (six girls and a boy). In fact, Yemisi Ilesanmi was born in Lagos to a normal middle class family. However, by her late 20s she said she had come to the realization that she was bisexual, meaning she was sexually attracted to both men and women. Today, she is the coordinator of the Nigerian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual, LGBT community and has travelled extensively as guest speaker to promote gender and youth issues, sexuality rights, human rights and labour rights. Little wonder her debut book is titled, “Freedom to Love for All: Homosexuality Is not Un-African.” Before relocating to the UK where she studied for a Masters of Law (LL.M) degree in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights, Ilesanmi had worked with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. In this interview with Tundun Adeyemo, Special Correspondent, she talks about her sexual orientation, how her family has handled it and why LGBTs should be treated with respect and not criminalized for reasons of their sexual preferences.


In terms of educating the Nigerian populace about gays, lesbian, bisexual rights, what are the core foundational facts Nigerians need to know about the science of homosexuality?
The very first thing we need to understand is that homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality are all as natural as heterosexuality. Our sexual orientation differs; we are born with an innate ability to be emotionally or sexually attracted or not be sexually or emotionally attracted to same sex or opposite sex. Unfortunately, many African societies do not provide enabling environments to discuss sexual orientation. Sexual orientation does not harm anyone. A person who is attracted to opposite sex does not harm anyone so far it is a consensual adult relationship. A homosexual who is attracted to the same sex does not harm anybody so far it is a consensual adult relationship. A Bisexual or Pansexual who can be attracted to all sexes harms no one so far it is an adult consensual relationship. Even an Asexual who is not sexually attracted to any gender harms no one. We are all different, and non-harmful lifestyle of adults should not be criminalised. It is like criminalising a left-handed person for being born left-handed, or criminalising a girl for being born a girl. Also we must recognise that even if you claimed that homosexuality or bisexuality is a choice, you are also saying heterosexuality is a choice. Which means, somehow you woke up and decided, well, I am going to be a heterosexual. Well, I do not ever recollect a day I chose to be bisexual, neither has any heterosexual confessed that they remember the day they chose to only be attracted to opposite sex. However, even if our sexual orientation is a choice, then we must recognise that adults have the right to choose who they want to have a romantic, emotional or sexual relationship with. If you have the right to choose to be in an emotional or sexual relationship with an adult of opposite sex, then it stands to reason that others also have the right to choose to be in an emotional or sexual relationship with a same sex adult partner.

Do you really think Nigerians would ever accept that LGBT rights are human rights? Most people in Nigeria view homosexuality as a sin.
Whether Nigerians accept it or not, LGBT rights are recognised human rights. Unless, you can prove that Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals are not human beings, well, you have no reason to deny them their fundamental human rights. Unfortunately many Nigerians believe in the concept of sin. First, we must understand that sin is a religious concept. Not every Nigerian is religious. Your religion is also a personal matter, why drag other people into your personal relationship with Jesus, Mohamed or Obatala? When I am told that homosexuality is a sin, I just tell them their religion is not my law. The Bible or Quran is not my constitution, so why is that even coming up? It is absurd when Christian gay bashers gleefully quote Leviticus 18:22 to justify why they want to jail and stone gays. Anyone who wants to quote from Leviticus should at least read the book to make sure they are not guilty of any of the things condemned in the book. Leviticus also says you should not shave, you should not interact with a woman in her menstrual cycle, thou shall not eat shrimps or shell fish, Lev. 11:10,11:6-8 thou shall not touch the skin of a dead pig (therefore touching football without wearing gloves makes you unclean!) Lev.19: 19 – thou shall not plant two different crops in the same field, thou shall not wear garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). Thou shall gather the whole town together to stone those who curse or blaspheme, Lev.24: 10-16. So, when Christians throw Leviticus at me, I simply throw Leviticus right back in their face. And I watch pitifully as they try to explain how one verse has different interpretation but the one they want to defend means exactly what is written. If you use Leviticus as a reason to stone gays and you wear clothes made of blended fabrics as most clothes are, work on the Sabbath day, eat shrimp, you are a hypocrite.

What more do you think the Nigerian government could do to aid tolerance of the LGBT community and where do you think the anti gay legislation will take Nigeria in about 5 to 10 years?
The government must decriminalize homosexuality, bisexuality or any other sexual orientation or gender identity. The government must educate its citizens on sexual orientation. People must understand that we are different but equal. There is no harm in diversity, and people who are different from us are not automatically evil! The Nigerian ‘Jail the gays’ bill if signed into law would definitely worsen the plight of Nigerian Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and Transsexuals. The law will lead to a clampdown on human rights that will not only affect Lesbian, gays, bisexuals and Trans, but also every Nigerian. Politicians will accuse their opponents of being gay, landlord will accuse their tenants of homosexuality, NGOs who oppose the government in power will be accused of advocating for LGBT rights, an offence which is punishable with 10 years imprisonment under the bill. There will be blatant abuses of fundamental human rights, like freedom of expression, freedom of association, right to privacy. Many will be blackmailed or even lynched based on mere suspicion of homosexuality. This is already happening in Nigeria without the law. With the law, it will be a haven for those who want to blackmail gays, stone or burn them to death. This is a Nigeria I hope to never see, but which unfortunately, we are heading towards.

How has your immediate family and friends reacted to your sexual orientation and the publicity you attract?
What makes a family is love, tolerance and acceptance. Anyone who shows me love and welcomes me into their heart is my family. Love is one thing that is thicker than blood. My immediate family knows my sexual orientation, my father is late, and my mother is accepting of whom I am and has shown me love and support. To continue to be an important part of my life, you cannot be homophobic, biphobic or transphobic. You cannot wish others be beaten, imprisoned or stoned to death just because of whom they love. I will never proudly call anyone with such a mindset my family member.

Is your atheism connected to your bisexuality and what role does religion play in aggravating homophobic sentiments?
My atheism has nothing to do with my bisexuality. Atheism is simply a non-belief in God. My bisexuality is my sexual orientation, no connection. However, I must say, my atheism has helped me to stand up against religious bullies, who use the bible and the Quran to justify their hate for gays, lesbians, transsexual and bisexuals. Religion carries a lot of unwarranted weight in Nigeria and Africa generally. This should not be so. In fact, this is one reason the African continent is still very backward. When religion carried so much weight in Europe during middle Ages, it was wrought with wars, jihads, killings and ethnic cleansings. Religion is the main ground that proponents of the ‘Jail the Gays’ bill are using to support the bill. Catholics and Anglicans who attended the public hearing of the bill at the National Assembly even threatened to beat up the few LGBT rights supporters at the hearing! Some religious leaders argue that homosexuality is un-African and a western imposition; how so? Logic points to the fact that foreign impositions in Nigeria include Christianity and Islam and religious festivals like Christmas, Ileya and Easter. It is quite incongruous that those that are quick to embrace foreign religions are also the ones that are quick to condemn homosexuality on the trump up charge of ‘un-African’. Africans now defend the same holy books that were used to justify the slavery, exploitations and indignities suffered by their ancestors. Many religious Africans now use the ‘holy’ books to justify the oppression of members of their own society. Even when the original owners of the religion inform them that the book has been updated and some parts are no longer applicable, Africans still insist that it is must be applicable because it says so in the book they were given. How pathetic!

In a previous interview you had insisted that evangelical Christians and Muslims incite hatred for homosexuality, would a return to the traditional religion offer a breath of fresh air?

As I said in my book, Freedom To Love For All: Homosexuality is Not Un-African. Unfortunately, neo-colonialism and mental slavery continue in Africa through the heavy influence of evangelical missionaries who, having lost ground in their western countries to equality rights Acts, have now invaded African churches and are inciting members against homosexuals. Sadly, this nation is held spellbound by political and religious leaders who are averse to education and scientific knowledge.

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