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Posts tagged ‘Rwanda’

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.

By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

What Matters Most in Ministry?.


Aaron Crumbey (r)

A lot of times we can get into the results game or the comparative game and lose sight of what matters most. We think if only I had that building, that equipment, more staff or more money, then we would be able to do ministry better.

I’ve learned that if you start playing that game it’ll never end. You will always feel like you can do better ministry with more. I think we all know this but sometimes need to be reminded.

God has us where we are, for the work He has for us to do.

That doesn’t mean we can’t set goals or grow and strive to serve more. We just need to know that what matters most should be our motivator and focus. In ministry, the why is always more important than the how, where and who. If you get the why right, the how, where and who will align.

I’ve witnessed God doing amazing things with the ministries in Rwanda with people who are simply focused on introducing people to Jesus Christ with nothing but a bible and the shoes on their feet. I’ve also seen the same focus at Saddleback Church with the resources we have. It doesn’t matter if a ministry is mega or small, if it’s not focused on what matters most it’s not fulfilling its intended purpose. I believe that if we are not watchful we can get caught up in the how, where and who and allow those things to motivate us and drive us in ministry instead what matters most.

I think we can all agree that whether your youth group has 20 kids or 20,000 kids, encountering Jesus Christ in a real authentic way is what matters most. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have, students encountering Jesus Christ in whatever strategy or model your minstry uses is what matters most.

I really want to encourage you to focus on what matters most in the ministry God has you doing. Allow it to motivate and drive what happens in your ministry within the context of your ministry. Here are four questions I want to leave you with that come to my mind when I think about how I continue to pursue what matters most.

1. Am I personally invested in what matters most? How are you helping people encounter Jesus Christ in your personal life? I believe that when you are invested in what matters most it can’t help but spill over into the rest of your life, especially ministry. When I say invested I’m saying what matters most should have priority in my life.

2. Am I motivated by what matters most? This question is simply asking what motivates me every week to do what I do for youth ministry. To give a few examples it could be for self gain, self notoriety, notoriety of the ministry within the church, status, keeping a job, getting a job or is it introducing students to Jesus Christ in a real authentic way. You need to know this because being motivated by anything other than what matters most will not end well for you.

3. Does what matters the most to me agree with what matters the most to God? We need to be aligned with what matters most to God.

4. Do I allow what matters most to speak into what I do? This is basically saying, “as I plan and strategize, am I thinking about what matters most or am I thinking about other things.”

I only listed four but I know there are more. What are some other ways we can keep what matters most as our focus and motivator?

Aaron Crumbey oversees pastoral care for the high school ministry at Saddleback Church. He cares deeply about sharing Christ with students and seeing them reach their full potential in Christ. He’s married with three children and loves family time, sports, movies and all things musical among some other things. He also runs

For the original article, visit

Written by Aaron Crumbey/Saddleback Church

Hard View: Letter To My 5 Year Old Self Since Independence By Hannatu Musawa.


Hannatu Musawa

My Dearest Nigeria,

I’m writing you this letter fully knowing that you’re going to think everything I’m about to tell you is complete rubbish, because at the stage you are now, you’re a nation with so much promise and hope; a nation that is out to conquer the world. OK, right off the bat, I will tell you that your plans to conquer the world are not going to happen.

Today, 1st October, I am 53 years since independence and you are 5 years and I’m writing you this as a warning of things to come. For you, it has been five years since your illustrious children such as Herbert Macaulay and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe helped gain independence for you from the British colonial masters. And even though that journey was riddled with several road blocks, on the 1st October, 1960 when you were granted independence, you came out of it in the end with a hope for a very bright future. Oh what a time, what a time! I remember very fondly the pride on the faces of your young children, the hope in their hearts, the beauty that lay across your breadth, the envy of the world at the promise you held… Behold the giant of Africa; Behold Nigeria!

But as you read this letter, very shortly a chain of events will occur that will have such a disastrous and far reaching effect and give way to the circumstance that propels me to write you this warning letter today. This chain of events will start on the 15th January, 1966 in a military coup. I wish I could tell you everything to stop you making the same mistakes I did, but I can only say a few. The rest you have to figure out yourself. There is so much you need to know about the things you will be going through very shortly. Some of this won’t make sense for a long time. And some of it will go against everything you know about yourself. But it needs to be said by me…, by you.

In exactly forty eight years you are going to find yourself at the midst of a crisis; a crisis which, although created by your children and by you, could be quelled if you could give your children the will to fight for your survival. It is a crisis whose footprints are riddled in the scorching political landscape of your fourth republic; a republic that could come tumbling down based on the choices and route the elections of 2015 are going to take. It is a crisis that could spell doom for you; the most populous nation in Africa; a crisis that is being created by the selfish ambitions of individuals, leaders and former leaders to the detriment of 150 million of your brethren.

I know it may sound ludicrous to you now Nigeria but there is other hard truths to tell. You are going to be a nation that is reviled and mocked the world over and your children are going to harbor such a deep and innate hatred for each other, the likes of which created such catastrophe and pain during Hitler’s Holocaust and the sectarian massacres in Rwanda. Extremism will run so deep in the veins of some of your offspring that they would commit the most monstrous of acts against one another. Bigotry will eat at the heart of your very own that their spirit and soul will only exist in the dark corridors of loathing and hatred. Those of your decedents, whom you bequeath the mantle to lead your kingdom, will betray you in the worst of ways; they will bastardize their position and loot your treasures dry. Selfishness, greed, corruption, pain, poverty, suffering will come to define your children as a people and you as an entity.

You will be a 53 year old who will be immature and have no sense of direction. Your many years will be marked by nothing apart from nonsense, lawlessness, crumbling infrastructure and little power infrastructure. All you will be able to boast of at 53 will be dilapidated Schools and glorified Universities where strikes, violence and cult reign supreme. At 53, you will have no functional rail system, no credible election system and an elite force that cares little about the mass population in your space. As I write this to you, I can only boast of a few major achievements other than terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, stealing of public funds, rigging of elections, political instability and 419. Today, you are one of the poorest countries in the world despite the huge human and natural resources you have had at your disposal.

You will be seen as a tragic love story, looked upon as a pathetic entity and as a reprehensible excuse for a nation. As big and populated as you are, you will feel minute and unworthy whenever you face those that should not even square up to you and those who have not had the opportunities and resources that you have been endowed with. Africa and other nations in our continent will be suspicious of you. And if you look past what you may consider to be a cruel assessment by our continental siblings by myself, lives a hard truth that you must come to terms with before you can make right what is wrong within you.

When you look at your existence since 1914, you will see many of the mistakes you could have avoided and many of the bad choices that you made. As I stand here at the age of 53 since independence writing to you at the age of five, I don’t think either of us could have imagined we would be living a nightmare at the age of fifty-three after our independence.

When you get to where I am now, you will recall all the incidents that led you to where you are and you will regret that each incident wasn’t addressed and tackled there and then. In 1964, when we were doing well, we ignored the eruption of several crises such the fractionalization of the Action Group Party in the Western Region, the Census Crisis, the Electoral Crisis, Tiv Crisis and the agitation by minority people for greater autonomy and we swept those troubles under the carpet ignoring the fire they would ignite.
As I reflect, I remember the mess created by the toppling of the civilian government of Sir Abubukar Tafawa Balewa on the 15th January, 1966 in a military coup that was led by Major Chukwu Emeka Kaduna Nzeogwu.

When The Prime Minister, the Premiers of the Northern and Western Regions, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Akintola were all killed, it was inevitable that the embers of ethnic nationalism and regionalism would be inflamed but we did nothing to mediate between our children then.  A lot of damage control could have been done then. Then there was the civil war. After the war when it was announced that there would be, ‘No victor and no vanquished’, we knew that the proclamation was complete rubbish. After all, how can groups of people go to war in which one group is decimated and they be expected to feel like a victor and not the vanquished? Again we did nothing to settle our children’s minds.

During the course of our development, when the military was playing Russian roulette with the leadership of the country by overthrowing each other, we never tried to heal the deep scars that the nation carried within the psyche of the individuals that participated in this macabre dance. Up until now, that dance is still being played with the same actors still actively participating and sabotaging each other in politics.

When the military promised to give way to civilian rule, yet annulled the freest and fairest elections we have ever seen, it was amazing that it never occurred to us how much the course of our route would be changed.
When we eventually had a constitution which was to guide our new democratic dispensation and within that constitution, no state was allowed to adopt any religion as the state law, many thought it was because we wanted to protect the country against the rise of religious extremism. Yet when some of our children went ahead to develop religion as a state law, we did nothing to remind them that civil aspects of religious law was already part of the state law because the Penal Code included civil parts of Shari’a law. Out of fear, we watched as some governors used religion to gain political favour and we kept silent when that seed grew to a point where people are justifying the mass murder and decapitation of fellow Nigerians in a misrepresented interpretation of faith.

When we drowned out the fighting and drama between our own children, in our own home, we gave way to the negativity of the few bad spawn within our midst. And this is what has shaped what I am and what will, in due course, shape who you will become.

I am giving you the chance that I never had. I am telling you that you have no choice Nigeria but to make yourself right, to battle your demons and heal yourself from within. To give your coming generations a fighting chance, you must desperately fight to escape what I represent today. I need you to realize the effect that my grown-up actions and the actions of our children will have on the next generation of Nigerians who watch and learn from the bad example I have set.

I know that you cannot get everything right and you cannot be perfection, but what is important is for you to try to be better than I am. You have got to get it together and fight for your future.

I understand that some of our children and even you sometimes think that the problem of Nigeria lies in the creation of Nigeria in itself. There is no doubt that the underling objective for the fusion of the Colonies and Protectorates that eventually made you a nation was purely economic from the point of view of the British colonialists. This has led to the view that Nigeria is a failure because she was cobbled in such a manner. But even as some describe us as ‘a mere geographical expression’, we should never subscribe to that view. After all, there are so many countries with great industrial, military, economic and political powers that were artificially created in the same manner. That has never been and will never be an excuse.
That is just the tip of the iceberg Nigeria. Like I earlier mentioned, I felt the need to write this to you because in 48 years’ time, you will find yourself in the middle to a crisis which may be the precipice of your existence. This should be your wake-up call. See the beauty and virtue of your differences and diversity and you will realize that your cup is half full.

My failures leave you with many valuable life lessons. Use this to your advantage in order to make sure that your greatest weakness actually turns out to be your greatest strength. I know it’s a tough one to swallow, but it will only be upon that realization that you will able to start turning things around. Even if the differences that represent us are not going to go away, once we learn to harness it, it will lead us from a rather self-destructive path to a highly productive one.

You must not let anything distract you and blind you to what’s really in front of you. And what really is in front of you Nigeria? You are. You don’t even know yourself yet. You think you know and you want to assert that you do, now that you’re a certain age, but you don’t. What’s in front of you is a whole world of mistakes and bad choices beyond your imagination. And my warning to you is to tread with caution.

Put yourself, and your growth and development first, grab the unity that you promised your children who were the forefathers. Unity… Yes unity! That is the key. If you dissect your innermost problems Nigeria, you will find that in the core of each and every one of your problems and mistakes lays the lack of unity and the religious, ethnic, tribal and regional dichotomy that drives our people and drives a wedge in our necessity of that unity.

You must teach your children that the unity of you as Nigeria must come before the unity of any tribe or region. It is only then that you and they will be able to objectively separate the good from the bad and ostracize the bad and uphold the good in the interest of the nation. It is only then that you can see facts clearly through clear vision not through bigoted and jaundiced eyes.

Everything you do, every thought you have, every choice you make creates a legacy that you will hold within your entity and that will come to define your history. It’s imprinted on you as a nation and on generations of your children and it affects you all in the most subtle ways; ways that you may never be aware of. With that in mind Nigeria, please be very conscious, be very careful and be very smart. Wish you the best for the next 48 years when we shall hopefully merge again as one. I will be watching with high hopes for you.

Forever with you always,
Written By Hannatu Musawa

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Hard View : Sowing The Seed Of Discontent.


Hannatu Musawa

Hannatu Musawa

Seriously, all this malarkey about power shift and the region entitled to occupy the presidency in 2015 is not only out of order but really, really reckless. For a nation that prides itself as the unifying presence in Africa, for a country whose white stripe on the flag represents the desire for peace and unity, the recent obsession by the political class on this issue stands as a stark contradiction. As a supposedly unified group of people, the concept of being a Nigerian is meant to be more superior to any given ethnic, regional or tribal concern. As one nation, we are supposed to place the interest of Nigeria above and beyond any sectarian and parochial interest. But from all indications, Nigerians seems blasé about the fact that their future could invariably be navigating towards a very dangerous trend, towards a form of tribal politics.

The continuing barney on who or which tribe or region has more right to be in the presidency is honestly, really, really ridiculous. It is astonishing that we can talk about the unity of Nigeria and equal opportunity on the one hand and turn around to demand for the zoning of political positions in the same breath. How on earth can Nigeria achieve political stability when several regions are wrangling for political power and are using regional and tribal sentiment as a tool to acquire it? How do we expect the unity of this nation to be certified if there remains in our psyche an irrational element that can be exploited and influenced in a manner that does not benefit us as a nation? I really do honestly believe that this ‘my turn, your turn’ zoning issue exemplifies perfectly the source of the Nigerian crisis. To continue bickering on political entitlements of regions in this country is, without a doubt, a manifestation of all that is wrong with Nigeria. For heaven’s sake, at what point do we as country men and women become blind to the thought of our regions and tribes, when we know that we are supposed to be Nigerians first? Nobody is saying that we should not take pride in where we come from, our identities or who we are, but at some point in our existence as a nation, we have to think; really think about what is in the best interest of this poor nation.

It is amazing and horrible that day in, day out politicians on television, in print media and interviews continue to overtly debate the issue of zonal, tribal and regional politics with all conviction without seeming to give a toss that the consequence of their declarations is one that is fast sowing the seed of discontent and further polarizing the nation. We continue to hear debates from South-South elders; Northern elders, Middle belt elders, regional forums and all sorts of political alliances about which part of the country has the most valid claim for the presidency come 2015. At the end of the day, there can be only one president and that president is naturally going to come from only one region, only one tribe and belong to only one religion. Now, because of the combative atmosphere of regional and tribal politics that has already been set by the politicians, the regions that eventually lose out in the skirmish are bound to feel short-changed and angered. Is this what we envisage for the progress of our democracy and the harmony of our country? Do our politicians not see that the remnant of discontent and fall-out from the regional political claims they are making holds the promise of evolving into more inter-tribal hate? Do they not appreciate the fact that our revival will only come about when we arrive at a time where leadership in this country is earned on qualifications, competence and character as opposed to tribe, religion, region and personal interest?

I do believe that every objective and fair minded person in this country, no matter their tribe, would relish a setting where they could vote for their political leaders based on whether those potential leaders honestly have the intent and ability to rectify the pandemonium in our power sector, create jobs for us, grow our economy, flush out corruption, resurrect our education sector and make Nigeria a better place than it is now; not because of where they come from. If those that have the clout and opportunity to speak on our behalf continue to allow the sort of regional and tribal entitlement calls they have been bellowing out to continue and deepen, without considering the consequence for the nation as a whole, they would be doing this country greater damage than has already been done.

Despite all of our past and present problems and with the exception of the religious extremist behemoth that has recently reared its ugly head, Nigeria has known the worth of relative peace. From what we have seen in the history of our Continent, tribal, ethnic and regional dichotomy is the surest way of guaranteeing a nation’s fragmentation. We only need to look at the accounts of countries like Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya and Somalia in order to fully understand the damage ethnicity, tribalism and regionalism can cause and the importance of social cohesion and triviality of ethnic and regional identity in relation to national identity. The genocide in Rwanda was probably one of the severest in global history and, of course, one cannot ever envisage such a calamity taking place in this country, by the Grace of the Almighty. However what happened in Rwanda must stand as a lesson and a testament to the rest of the world, Africans especially. There was a time in Rwanda where the topic of ethnicity, tribe and region was treated in much the same way we treat the topic in this country. Without anticipating the danger of this, Rwandans allowed that sore to fester and fester, chafe and putrefy until it erupted in the tragedy we witnessed in 1994. The Rwandan misfortune began with civil strife that occurred because the different ethnicities could not agree on how they were going to share their countries resources among the different ethnic arrangements and tribal boundaries and it ended with the mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people. Today as a result of their nightmare, if a Rwandan was asked which tribe they belong to, they would always answer that they are Rwandan; never a tribe, only Rwandan. It really is tragic that it took so much pain and bloodshed for them to embrace that reality.

While other instances may not be as grave as that of Rwanda, other examples of the consequence of tribal and regional dichotomy can be seen from the situation in Kenya. From a country that held so much potential, allegiance to tribal and regional identities have become so deeply rooted in the body politic of Kenya, that the politics in the country today has been reduced to a tribal democracy which is so bunched according to ethnic lines that each tribe and ethnic group has been forced to establish its own party.

If Nigerians really desire to continue as one people and not tempt fate in the irresponsible way that we have been doing in the last 50 years, we must stop nurturing the growth of this ethnic and regional trend that has the potential of jeopardising our democracy and fragmenting our existence. Each and every one of us in this country deals with the same problems and challenges. The vast majority of us are trying to feed our families, bring up our children, go to school, find jobs and sleep soundly at night. When we have no security, it is not because we belong to a certain religion. When we are confronted with rising fuel and market prices, it is not due to the fact that we come from a particular region. When our most basic needs are not satisfied, it is not because we are members of a certain tribe; it is because those in leadership, despite where they come from have not provided it. Nigeria is what we have; it is ultimately what we are. We cannot afford to let politicians use our diversity as a tool against our social cohesion in the guise of regional politics. We just cannot afford to do that.

Nigeria has been through enough already. It has been dragged through a civil war, been exposed to religious and sectarian massacres, its image has been desecrated globally. Those of us who form her should embrace unity in the interest of her advancement, stability and wellbeing. Our forefathers did a lot of positive things for this country, but they did also allow differences in tribe and region. The present crop of leaders must not continue with this trend, because by advancing the cause of regional politics that they are doing now, they are really doing nothing more than sowing the seed of discontent for Nigeria.

Article Written By Hannatu Musawa
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Luxury Living In Lagos Built With World Bank Funds For The Poor.

By Global Information Network (GIN)

Aug. 13 (GIN) – Local officials in Lagos, Nigeria, who accepted a $200 million loan from the World Bank to “increase sustainable access to basic urban services,” are instead creating an unaffordable complex of 1,000 luxury units on the grounds where poor and working people recently lived.

According to a new report from Amnesty International, partnering with the Nigerian Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC), tens of thousands of Lagosians who lived in the Badia East area which fronts the scenic Gulf of Guinea, have been homeless since their devastating evictions in February on short notice. Self-built homes were bulldozed and the one-time residents were forced to sleep out in the open or under a bridge.

“The effects of February’s forced eviction have been devastating,” said Amnesty’s Oluwatosin Popoola.

It wasn’t the first time the Lagos government diverted money intended to improve life for the large riverine community. Since the early 1990s, grants from World Bank money for ‘slum clearance’ were instead the motive for the mass eviction of area residents without resettlement. In 1997, more evictions were ordered for some 2,000 residents who were chased off by armed guards from even salvaging their own possessions.

A new round of demolitions began in 2003 following a 48 hour notice, but was stopped midway by non-violent resistance. After a short interlude, the evictions resumed again in October 2003. Some 3,000 residents of Oke Ilu-Eri were left without compensation or replacement homes. Again in March 2013, hundreds of homes were demolished by the ‘Kick Against Indiscipline’ brigade.

In an interview with the New York Times, the Lagos state commissioner for housing, Adedeji Olatubosun Jeje, provided a different version of events.

“It’s a regeneration of a slum,” he said. “We gave enough notification. The government intends to develop 1,008 housing units. What we removed was just shanties. Nobody was even living in those shanties. Maybe we had a couple of squatters living there.”

The Lagos state Attorney-General claimed they were merely clearing empty land. “It was just a rubbish dump,” he maintained.

As for the new housing, “there’s not a chance they can afford it,” said Felix Morka, SERAC’s executive director told the Times. Badia residents earn under $100 a month on average.

“The Lagos state government has failed to comply with national and international law. It is high time that the Lagos state government and the Nigerian government stop forced evictions and enact legal safeguards that apply to all evictions,” said Amnesty’s Popoola.

Amnesty and SERAC are calling on the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, to publicly commit to stopping forced evictions, and on the World Bank to put safeguards in place to ensure it does not support any activities which may result in forced evictions in the future. w/pix of homeless family in Badia East

Namibia Restores An African Name To Historic Caprivi Strip

Aug. 13 (GIN) – In a move to restore African names erased by its German colonizers, Namibia officially renamed the historic and touristic Caprivi Strip. The new name is the Zambezi Region.

Namibia was occupied by the German Empire from 1884 to 1919. After a deal struck with England, Caprivi was annexed to German South-West Africa in order to give Germany a route to Africa’s east coast. The strip was named after the German chancellor, Leo von Caprivi.

After Germany, Namibia was administered by apartheid South Africa until 1990. There are some 30,000 Namibians of German descent  living in the country.

Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba also changed “Lüderitz” – named for a German merchant – to Naminus, which means “embrace” in the local Khoisan language. The village of Schuckmannsburg was changed back to its original name, Lohonono.

Over the years, the Strip had political-strategic military importance. From the Rhodesian Bush War (1970–1979), African National Congress operations against the South African government (1965–1994) and the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), the Strip saw multiple incursions by various armed forces using the Strip as a corridor to other territories.

In 2004 Germany apologized for the colonial-era genocide that killed 65,000 Herero people through starvation and slave labor in concentration camps. The Nama, a smaller ethnic group, lost half their population. The camps – with their “bureaucratization of killing” – allegedly influenced the Nazis in the second world war.

In 2011, Germany sent back 20 Herero and Nama skulls that had been transported there for racial experiments.

Today there is still anger among indigenous communities who live in poverty and demand reparations from Germany, their shanty town homes contrasting with vast German-owned farms. South African author Patricia Glyn observed: “Changing a couple of names doesn’t really crack it. It’s very little and very late.”

“The Nama people are still living in a ghetto,” she pointed out. Further, “not one of the German concentration camps has so much as a sign and you can still go out in a buggy and find yourself driving over the bones of those who died. I don’t think the Namibian government is doing one-eighth of what it should to honor the dead.” w/pix of Herero women

President Clinton Takes Swipe At Human Rights Groups, Backs Kagame

Aug. 13 (GIN) – Former President Bill Clinton, on an African tour with daughter Chelsea, praised the Rwandan government lead by President Paul Kagame despite increasing evidence that Rwanda is backing ruthless rebels in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A feisty Clinton, in an extended interview with the BBC, barely contained himself when reminded that human rights advocates, the U.N. and even President Obama have linked Kagame to the M23 rebel group which reportedly employs child soldiers and uses “terrible acts of violence,” according to the U.S. Treasury which has placed sanctions on group members.

“Where were those human rights groups criticizing” Rwanda today when Hutus were slaughtering Tutsis, Clinton asked BBC reporter Komla Dumor of Ghana. “…where were they when the Hutus went crazy in 1994?” To which Dumor responded: “Where was the world?”

Allegations of Rwanda’s support for M23 rebels in DRC, stated Clinton, “has not been fully litigated.” He added: “Secondly, its complicated by the fact that this section of Congo near Rwanda is full of people who perpetrated the genocide, who spurned the President’s offer to come home and not go to prison…and you can’t get around the fact that the economic and social gains in Rwanda have been nothing short of astonishing under Kagame, and he says he going to leave when his time is up…”

“…So I understand that some people in the human rights community believe that every good thing that has happened in Rwanda should be negated by what they allege they [Rwandans] have done in eastern Congo…”

In addition to support for M23, Dumor said, there’s repression of media and other human rights abuses.

A laughing Clinton said: “Look, I believe in a free press. When I was President, I helped to keep the press free that made a living out of feasting on my bones everyday! And I think too many politicians are too sensitive to being criticized.

“I think we have to be a little sensitive to the fact that if you’re Rwandan, you remember that an alleged free press helped push Rwanda into a boiling cauldron of butchery…”

The Clintons’ tour took them to Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Africa where they pumped up support for the Coca Cola Company’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment which focuses on retail entrepreneurship for women.

Rita Marley – ‘Philanthropist And Patriot’ – Tapped As ‘Honorary Ghanaian’

Aug. 13 (GIN) – Rita Marley, wife of reggae artist Bob Marley and founder of the Rita Marley Foundation, has received a Ghanaian passport in recognition of her contributions to Ghana.

Dr Erieka Bennett, head of mission for the African Union’s Diaspora Africa Forum, said: “We are thrilled to see the Ghana Government recognizing the tremendous contribution Nana Rita has made to Ghana socially, as well as economically. This is a historical day for those of us from the diaspora.”

Nana Rita Marley, born in Cuba and raised in Trenchtown, Jamaica, began her musical career in the early sixties as a vocalist with the all-female group The Soulettes who appeared with the Four Tops, Johnny Nash and other stars of the day.

She repatriated to Ghana over a decade ago and lives at Konkonduru, a village near Aburi. Among her projects, as detailed on the website “It’s About Time,” has been the adoption of the Methodist Local Primary and J.S.S, both schools in her community. Apart from rehabilitating old school blocks and building new ones, she also supports the children by providing lunches for primary school children to supplement their nutrition, and through scholarships.

Mrs. Marley supported the funding and distribution of the five-in-one vaccine for children of the eastern region. Other projects include improving the main road for the Konkonnuru community, and bringing water to the village by drilling a 40 meter deep borehole.

In 2004, Rita Marley and the women in her community began a plantation of cassava and other vegetables. Mrs. Marley has also opened a library stocked with the musical works of Bob Marley and herself at her Tuff Gong Studio at Aburi on the Akwapem ridge.

On her official website she notes, “Reggae is the heartbeat of a person. It’s the people’s music. Everywhere you go, you get the same response from both black and white.”


Elie Wiesel: Ahmadinejad Should Be Indicted.

Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel

Famous Jewish author and Nobel Peace Prize–winner Elie Wiesel, who also happens to be a Holocaust survivor, believes that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be indicted with incitement to commit a crime against humanity.

According to Wiesel, “Ahmadinejad has two goals: One goal is to become nuclear, and the second goal is to destroy the State of Israel. The fact is, he means it. If he goes to Germany or here to New York, he should be arrested and brought to The Hague and indicted and charged with intent to commit a crime against humanity. That would solve the problem. He should be arrested. He deserves it.”

Indeed, Ahmadinejad has engaged in incitement to commit genocide against the Israeli people. The crime of incitement to commit genocide is considered a crime against humanity in itself according to international law. According to the Rwanda Tribunal, the crime of incitement to commit genocide directly provokes “the perpetrator(s) to commit genocide, whether through speeches, shouting or threats uttered in public places or at public gatherings, or through the sale or dissemination, offer for sale or display of written material or printed matter in public places or at public gatherings, or through the public display of placards or posters, or through any other means of audiovisual communication.”

The person doing the inciting must have the intention to commit genocide, which is defined as “the wholesale destruction in whole or in part of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” This means that even though Ahmadinejad has not displayed genocidal intentions against Iranian Jews, that does not mean he lacks genocidal intentions, for seeking the destruction of the Israeli Jewish community in Israel is sufficient to label his goals as genocidal.

International law forbids incitement to commit genocide in Article 3 of the Genocide Convention, Article 25 (3) (e) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Article 3 (e) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and article 3 (c) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Indeed, Ahmadinejad’s public statements against the State of Israel demonstrate that he has genocidal ambitions. Ahmadinejad incites against Zionists in a very dehumanizing manner, comparing Zionism to cancer, mosquitoes and colonial oppressors, and he also claims that the Zionists lack religious piety. He has also referred to Jews as “filthy bacteria.”

Such assertions dehumanizing Zionists and Jews work to prepare the population for genocide by teaching them that the target group is subhuman. Various genocides throughout history have started out with propaganda that dehumanizes the target population. For example, in the Rwandan genocide, Tutsis were compared to cockroaches, while during the Holocaust, Jews were compared to snakes, vermin and satanic figures.

Furthermore, Ahmadinejad has called to “remove the Zionist black stain from the human society,” adding that “the very existence of Israel is an insult to humankind and an affront to all world nations,” requiring the wiping out of this “scarlet letter from the … forehead of humanity.” He has also claimed that Israelis are not human beings: “They are like cattle, nay, more misguided. Next to them, all the criminals of the world seem righteous. Thanks to G-d, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off the face of the world.”

Yet what is even more dangerous is that Ahmadinejad sites the Shiite Islamic faith as a reason for these genocidal ambitions. He believes that the Mahdi, otherwise known as the Shiite Messiah, guides his government and their policies. Thus, some analysts believe Iran seeks to development nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel as the first necessary showdown needed for the arrival of the Mahdi.

Unfortunately, Israelis are not the only group Ahmadinejad has targeted in such a manner, for Iran’s Baha’i community also is portrayed similarly. The Iranian state media frequently refers to Baha’is as prostitutes, filthy and incestuous. The Iranian government views them to be heretics because they don’t believe Muhammad was the last prophet, and Iran frequently claims the Iranian Baha’is are agents of foreign powers, such as the United States and Israel.

While the Iranian government hasn’t yet taken any actions directed toward the physical annihilation of Baha’is, there is evidence asserting that the Iranian government seeks to exterminate the Baha’i faith as a religious community in Iran. Official Iranian governmental documents assert that the progress and development of Baha’is should be blocked, that a plan must be devised to “confront and destroy” their cultural roots outside the country, that Baha’is should be expelled from universities, and that Baha’is should be denied employment and not have any position of influence within Iran. Since the Iranian Revolution, many Baha’is have already been killed, imprisoned, tortured and had their holy places and cemeteries desecrated.

According to Christopher Tuckwood, executive director of the Sentinel Project, while these actions don’t necessarily amount to physical annihilation at the moment, “It does provide clear evidence of an overreaching state-directed plan with the intent of destroying the Baha’i faith and community, apparently through forced conversion to Islam.”

Tuckwood also believes it is possible that in the future, Iran could attempt to physically annihilate the Baha’is. Thus, this Iranian governmental document demonstrates that, like Israel, the Baha’i community in Iran is also a victim of incitement to genocide. As Romeo Dallaire, the former U.N. peacekeeping commander who tried to stop the Rwandan genocide, declared, “The similarities with what I saw in Rwanda are absolutely unquestionable, equal … and in fact applied with seemingly the same verve. We are witnessing a slow-motion rehearsal for genocide.”

Given all this, Elie Wiesel is correct in asserting that Ahmadinejad should be indicted for inciting crimes against humanity, against both the State of Israel and the Baha’i community in Iran.

For the original article, visit


Congolese Warlord Leaves Rwanda to Face Charges.

KIGALI— A Congolese warlord accused of war crimes charges was flown out of Rwanda bound for the International Criminal Court in the Hague on Friday, four days after he surrendered to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, the Rwandan foreign minister said.
Bosco Ntaganda has just taken off from Kigali in custody of ICC officials following cooperation between Rwanda, US and Dutch governments,” Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said on Twitter.
The International Criminal Court confirmed he was on his way to the Netherlands. It would soon set a date for his first appearance in court to confirm his identity, it said in a statement.
A Reuters witness earlier saw a blacked-out U.S. Embassy vehicle under police escort drive along the perimeter of Kigali’s international airport. Shortly after, a private jet took off.
Ntaganda, a rebel commander nicknamed “the Terminator,” walked off the street and gave himself up to the U.S. Embassy on Monday after a 15-year career that spanned a series of Rwandan-backed rebellions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
He asked to be moved to the ICC where he faces charges of recruiting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery and rape during the 2002-3 conflict in northeastern Congo’s gold mining Ituri district.
“Bosco’s arrest won’t bring peace to the eastern Congo, but Bosco’s arrest does spell a victory in the battle against impunity and the dismantling to one of the barriers to a peace process in the country,” Jason Stearns of the Rift Valley Institute wrote on Friday.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


World Bank gives Rwanda $50 mln for welfare programme.

KIGALI (Reuters) – The World Bank has given Rwanda a $50 million grant to boost social welfare programmes targeted at the country’s poorest citizens through unconditional cash transfers and public works employment.

The bank said in a statement late on Thursday the money will go to Rwanda’s World Bank support to Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Program (VUP) which supports over half a million people.

“We are happy to continue supporting Rwanda’s efforts to manage its social safety net programs more efficiently, so that poor people can withstand economic and climatic shocks better and benefit more from economic growth,” Carolyn Turk, World Bank country manager for Rwanda, said in the statement.

Rwanda relies on donors for about 40 percent of its budget. A number of donors, including the European Union, the United States and Britain suspended aid to Rwanda last year over allegations senior military officials had supported a rebellion in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda has strongly denied any involvement with Congo’s M23 rebel group, whose clashes with the Congolese army forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Last month Germany announced it would unblock 7 million euros in frozen aid to Rwanda. Britain followed suit earlier this month, announcing it was unfreezing £16 million of aid.

Both countries said the money would no longer be given as general budget support. While in February the World Bank approved $60 million for an electrification programme for Rwanda’s rural areas.

Rwanda’s poverty levels have declined to 45 percent in 2001 from 57 percent in 2006 to 45 percent in 2011. Rwanda’s government has partly attributed the success to its social security programmes and the VUP system.

Last month Rwanda revised upwards its national budget to 1549.9 billion Rwandan francs, a 20 percent increase from the previous amount presented in June.



Rwanda raises fuel prices, cites higher global oil costs.

  • A driver pumps petrol into his car at a filling station in a file photo. REUTERS/Yves Herman

    View PhotoReuters/Reuters – A driver pumps petrol into his car at a filling station in a file photo. REUTERS/Yves Herman

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda has increased fuel prices due to higher costs on the international market, the ministry of trade and industry said late on Monday.

Rwanda lowered fuel prices in December, which officials said was due to a reduction in oil prices on the international market.

The ministry said that from Tuesday prices for diesel and petrol would be set at a maximum of 1,050 Rwandan francs per litre, up from 1,000 francs in December.

The ministry of trade and industry said the increase was “mainly due to the high oil prices escalation on the international market where petroleum products prices increased by an average of 10 percent since January”.

Rwanda was spared the worst of soaring inflation and currency weakening in 2011 that hit its larger east African neighbours such as Uganda and Kenya, because strong agricultural output and the removal of fuel import duties kept food prices down.

Its year-on-year rate of urban inflation slowed to 4.79 percent in February from 5.67 percent a month earlier.



Church of God Rebuilding in Rwanda.

The Kicukiro Church of God headquarters located in Kigali, Rwanda, was recently dedicated to the glory of God in a beautiful service at the conclusion of the 1st National Conference of the Church of God in Rwanda. The theme for the conference was taken from Nehemiah 2:17, “Come, let us build the walls of Jerusalem.”

The trauma suffered by the nation of Rwanda is well-known. Although the genocide of 1994 is slowly moving into history, the pain and suffering of the people of Rwanda lingers. The Church of God in Rwanda was dealt a double blow when almost immediately following the genocide, bad decisions by trusted leaders left the church with a bruised self-image and no place in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, to call its home.

In 2004, Charles Karangwa began working with the remnant to rebuild the Church of God in Rwanda. Later Laval Marivel served as leader for the struggling church. For several years, the congregation was nomadic, moving from one rented location to another. People became discouraged, believing they had been forgotten by their brothers and sisters outside Rwanda. Gradually, the number of people attending the services dwindled. When Bishop Joseph Ndashe was appointed overseer of Rwanda, he found a small disheartened group of believers. Ndashe began to preach hope and healing to his sheep. He adopted “Do Not Cry” as a theme for the worship services. The road to healing in Rwanda has not been easy. Members, when giving their testimonies, naturally mentioned their extensive losses. Many of them lost every member of their family and were left absolutely bereft as a result of the genocide. Others testified of losing mother, father and siblings. The grief has been palpable.

Ndashe continued preaching hope and healing. After some months, the group felt ready to purchase a property with existing buildings, which would become their permanent place of worship, with national offices and a functioning secondary school. Such a purchase would not be possible, though, because the amount needed was beyond their means.

The determined little group was growing, not only in numbers but more importantly, in hope and in faith. They continued in prayer and fasting, believing they would receive word that the purchase would take place. Following much agonizing prayer, many discussions, many negotiations and meetings, the Church of God in Rwanda, with help from World Missions, finalized the purchase of St. Patrick’s Secondary School, with all its existing buildings (and a functioning high school), as its permanent home. The biggest financial support for this center came through the 2009 YWEA Project. Through this project, $350,000 was raised for use in Rwanda. In addition, in 2007, World Missions purchased a large piece of property that has been subdivided and sold to cover the purchase of St. Patrick’s Secondary School with all its finished and functioning buildings.

This story is a shortened account of months and years of hard work, commitment, perseverance and above all, HOPE. The dedication on Aug. 20, 2012, gave affirmation to the great faith of this group of believers. Surely, the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV) are appropriate:

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

In preparation for the conference and dedication services, the excited congregation planned for approximately 650 people to attend. Their expectations exceeded that number, but there was plenty of food for everyone.

Sermons and lessons by leadership, included Peter Thomas, Jurgen Rudolph and Joseph Kagarama who reached this group of hurting, hopeful people.

One of the Rwandan pastors only attended one service during the conference. His personal grief was heavy and he decided not to attend other meetings. On Sunday, he returned to hear the message delivered by Peter Thomas, field director of Church of God World Missions in Africa. After the service, the pastor told Overseer Ndashe that the words of the message brought healing to his soul.

May the Lord continue His healing in this community, which now has a permanent place of worship and renewed hope. One of Ndashe’s themes he preached was, “Can anything good come out of Rwanda? Come, and see.” Many people came; many people saw; many people were blessed. The future for the Church of God in Rwanda is bright, and those who have seen and been blessed are now sharing their own stories of healing and hope with others in their neighborhoods.

Waneda Brownlow is a missionary to Africa.



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