- Is Africa Not Cemetery Like Putin Said?
Two weeks ago, some Africans across the cyberspace were angry following the publication of a comment attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin describing Africa as a cemetery where African leaders are buried.
Here are Putin’s reasons: “When an African becomes rich, his bank accounts are in Switzerland. He travels to France for Medical treatment and he invests in Germany.
He prays in Rome or Mecca. His children study in Europe. He travels to Canada, U.S, and Europe for tourism.
However, if he dies, he will be buried in his native country in Africa. Africa is just a cemetery for Africans. How could a cemetery be developed?” he asked.
Despite the need for patriotism, President Putin is not also wrong. Numbers of African elites take pride in spending millions of taxpayers’ money abroad at the expense of their nations. In fact, there is a provision for a medical trip and foreign education by the Central Bank of Nigeria, a certain percentage of the national foreign exchange is allocated to those traveling abroad for either medical treatment or education.
Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, takes a regular medical trip to the United Kingdom and at a time stayed for 159 days while poor Nigerians without access to such medical facility die of basic illness. Most government hospitals in Nigeria are empty without drugs and thousands of medical doctors have moved and still moving to developed economies where they are better paid and equipped.
A recent report shows that because of brain drain in the health sector, Nigeria now has one medical doctor catering for 5,000 patients instead of the usual one to 600 patients.
According to Dr Ekpe Phillips, the Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association, FCT Chapter: “We hear doctors collapsing because the workload is too much because their colleagues have left to find a greener pasture.”
“Brain drain is now becoming pandemic and sad news because government did not and still is not doing enough; there is no serious commitment to stemming this syndrome.”
It is impossible to effectively invest or stay committed to a facility you may never use period!
In fact, the presidency has already announced another medical holiday to the United Kingdom this December. The story is not different across the African continent.
In Zimbabwe, former president Robert Mugabe is currently receiving medical treatment in Singapore, a trip sponsored by the state and he has been there for close to three months. That is one of the poorest nations on earth with just $927 GDP per capita, spending millions to sustain the Singaporean health sector.
Ali Bongon, Gabon’s President, who fell ill on October 24, just arrived in Morocco last week following a month treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly, that was a week after Putin’s comment.
In 2016, a research revealed that Africa spent over USD$6 billion on outbound medical treatment. Nigeria alone contributed over USD$1 billion of that number.
The question is why can’t Africa use the USD$6 billion spent in one year to develop her health sector and take care of everyone and not just selected few?
A 5-year estimation showed Africa will spend USD$30 billion on foreign medical trips and that number is projected to jump to over $60 billion in 10 years, that is exactly the same amount African leaders used Africa’s facilities to secure from China as a loan in 2018.
It would be hard to disagree with Putin when numbers of African leaders have died abroad after expensive medical treatment.
Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia died in France, while Michael Sata from the same country passed away in the UK. Both were flown home to be buried in Zambia.
Guinea Bissau’s Malam Bacai Sanha died in France, Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi died in Belgium, Gabon’s Omar Bongo died in Spain, Nigeria’s Stella Obasanjo died in Spain and the number goes on.
Former Nigeria’s president Musa Yar’Adua made it home from Saudi Arabia but died shortly after, same with Ghana’s Atta Mills who died in Accra after returning from a medical trip in the US.
Until Africans learn to consume African products, high unemployment rate, weak investment interest due to poor infrastructures and low standard of living will remain high.
Over 1M Nigerians Have Completed Online Voters Card Pre-Registration – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) affirmed that over 1 million additional voters have completed their online pre-registration for the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) within the last four weeks across the country.
INEC’s national commissioner, and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this through a statement released in Abuja on Monday.
Of the 1 million new eligible voters, 259,450 people have completed their registration in Osun State and it is currently been followed by Edo state with 98,286 new voters.
These two states were closely followed by Anambra state with 65,014, followed by Bayelsa with 63,250, and later Lagos State with 61,991, this came as Yobe with 1,893, followed by Sokoto State with 2,453, Jigawa 2,593, and Zamfara with 2,769 were some of the least stare registered.
The state’s distribution of the online fresh registration released by INEC in Abuja on Monday showed the weekly update provided by INEC for week four which also reveals that the commission received 1,135,395 applications.
The figure of the total applications received includes those for voter transfer, requests for replacement of Permanent Voter Cards, and update of voter information record, etc.
According to the commission, the distribution of the 1,135,395 total applications by age group showed that 740,063 of them were youths between the ages of 18 to 34 years.
The applications from the middle-aged of between 35 to 49 years old were 278,042; the elderly from 50 to 69 years were 102,578; while the old from 70 years and above were 14,712
The distribution by occupation indicated that artisan constituted 75,877 of the total applications; farming/fishing – 81,096; public servants -25,298; business -230,551; house wives -25,816; students 355,227; civil servants 44,093; traders 97,624; others/not specified 199,813.
Also, the distribution by gender showed that females constituted 492,449 of the received applications while males were 642,946 as well as showed that 12,274 of the applicants indicated to be persons living with disabilities.
Okoye, providing an update on the online pre-registration which started nationwide on June 28, disclosed that the commission, also on Monday, commenced physical registration at its 811 state and local government area offices nationwide.
According to the statement, “As of 7 am today, Monday, July 26, the number of new registrants has risen to 1,006,661. The detailed distribution of the registrants by age, State/FCT, gender, occupation, and disability for week four of the exercise has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
“However, the distribution by age still shows that 740,063 (or 73.5 percent) are young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 34. As earlier announced by the commission, physical or in-person registration begins today, Monday, July 26 at our 811 state and local government area offices nationwide.
“The exact locations of the designated centers have already been uploaded to our website and social media platforms. For further details, citizens are encouraged to contact our state offices through the dedicated telephone numbers provided in the uploaded publication.
“‘Nigerians who pre-registered online can now complete their registration at those centers based on scheduled appointments. In addition, other Nigerians who prefer to register physically/in person can now do so at those centers.
“Both online pre-registration and physical/in-person registration will continue simultaneously until the suspension of the CVR exercise on June 30, 2022, to enable the commission to clean up the data and compile the voters’ register for the 2023 General Election.”
Okoye appealed to all citizens who wished to register to approach any of INEC’s state or local government area offices nationwide to do so, as the commission entered the next phase of the CVR exercise.
Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs
Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.
The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.
He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.
Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.
Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.
“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.
“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.
“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.
“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.
“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.
“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.
“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.
“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.
“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.
Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic
The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.
According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.
President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.
The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.
“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.
“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.
“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”
Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.
“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.
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