Monday, 24 September 2012



I awoke late last night in my bed,
With a grandiose scheme in my head.
To mark our independence
With a rhyme in attendance
So please read on to see what I said.

Said myself while composing this limerick
'Finding rhymes gives me quite a big kick’
And I know that my verse
Is sarcastic and terse 
Or silly and scant- take your pick!

My poem presenting this rhyme,
Which follows the scheme in my time
Need not be what we call
A true Limerick at all
Like a lemon, the cousin of lime.

Yet my limerick a lemon can be,
You could use a small slice for your tea.
Do not take it too serious
Please don’t get delirious,
They’re just jumbled up words from Hanney!

This piece is just right for my show
It’s of random events we all know
Please don’t launch an Appeal,
I’m just keeping it real
On the good and the bad; here we go…!

There is a great land named Nigeria
Whose chaos level was superior.
Strife and trouble there reigned,
Greed, corruption sustained
So much so this land became inferior!

As this nation marks its independence
With governor’s and Kings in attendance.
They’ll pretend all is fine,
And ignore our decline
Notwithstanding our near non-existence

Now onto our President Goodluck,
Whose luck seems to have come unstuck.
Once did not have a shoe
Now he aint got a clue
How to undo the troubles running amok.

When fate picked our Johnny to rule,
It seemed cool; at least he’d been to school.
But it soon became apparent
That his actions were errant
Now he looks like a cruel April fool!

Diezani is the Queen of our land,
She’s in command of the grand oil gland.
But with all of her wheeling,
And dealing, the feeling
Is she’ll one day be in EFCC’s hand

Abati, that wonderful fella,
In the past he produced a top sella.
As a genius, he's hailed,
Yet he’s frequently failed
Now his speeches are pitched arcapella.

Farqouq Lawan I really admired,
Until he fell for that bribe and got fired.
Even if it was a set up,
His let up and get up
May stop him in future getting hired.

Edwin Clark’s old enough to be Granddad,
But my word, he is such a big fad.
He talks all this rubbish
Of conspiracy skirmish,
‘Zip it Sir, your case really is sad!’

One can’t bypass A.G Adoke,
Not my favourite man I must say.
He’s a lawyer like me,
So with legal espirt
I’ll delay to display his dossier.

Mark’s assent as Senate President,
Does ferment that scent of dissent.
A successful Legislator,
And a peace regulator.
It must be because he is a Gent.

Asari Dokubo aired his contention, 
to peers at a recent convention. 
He warned all opposing Johnny,
(Mujahedeen’s’ way of making money),
He’s a Moron out to cause more tension.

A lady named Obi Ezekwesili
Is the epitome of an African Lilly,
We need her likes in our throngs,
To correct some of our wrongs.
She’s a person with values sincerely.

The best officer has got to be Fashola,
He channels the popularity of Abiola.
One wishes he’d compete
For the President’s seat
And you can shout that from a high Gondola.

The slayers named Boko Haram,
Just kill without giving a damn,
Their demands are outrageous
Uncourageous and disadvantageous
One can’t wait till they’re caught in a jam.

Those who bomb people’s houses and churches,
Are hell-bound, this is from the researches.
Why should you declare war
On one’s worshiping door
When you take no insult on your perches?
The leak in our force is amazing,

Now top secret info is appraising,
Yes I heard from a Sarge,
That it’s thought by and large
In the SS some spies are hell raising.

NEPA’s well on its way to restore?
But it just seems as dark as before!
A few hours of light
Is no cause for delight.
We need constant electricity galore!

We don’t have a national airline to fly.
Most of our planes are not fit for the sky.
It’s bad that a nation
With a high population
Have passengers always on standby

Going to market makes one feel apprehensive
Because everything there’s so expensive
How can Nigerians survive
In this state of deprive?
It’s no wonder the nation’s so pensive.

See our roads with their craters so large,
So big they resemble a barge.
But our maintenance habit
Is not fit for a rabbit
And you can bet that it’s not free of charge.

Some entrepreneurs in debt far too deep
Were living a life that’s not cheap.
Now the banks in all zones
Stopped from giving them loans
They thought they will not sow but just reap.

A talented young Nigerian named Bob,
Had a Masters Degree but no job.
Cause the unemployment figure
Had grown bigger and bigger
So to make ends meet, he would rob.

The opposition is being so lame,
One must think, what’s the point of their aim?
If they cant all unite
For the 2015 fight
They must know they have lost in that game!

From subsidy to five hundred naira notes,
To ‘don’t give a damn’ and similar quotes,
Government’s not done so well,
In a minute they fell
A sinking ship like with Titanic’s boats!

The insecurity and lack of fuel,
Is a mark of incessant misrule.
Our life is absurd
and from this I’ve inferred
There’s a need for government renewal.

Those that are Northern are so lazy,
Now some Hausas are religion crazy.
How can the region progress
With so much distress?
Get it together or your future is hazy!

The snag of Arewa is the leaders,
Where octogenarians are still the main feeders.
Instead of educating their fleet,
Take their kids from the street,
They are bent on remaining the breeders.

There is nothing amiss in the East,
Igbo’s are hard working and creative at least.
But their thirst to get rich,
Is their hitch and main glitch
And they must get their unity increased.

Our most sophisticated come from the West,
Maybe because they are education obsessed.
But it’s hard to give trust,
When their word they adjust
Still Yoruba’s have impressed in their test.

THE OIL IS OURS!’ –‘Yes we’ve heard!’
The South-South proclaim- ‘How absurd!’
But the truth of the story,
An example’s Ibori
Are their poor have no benefit conferred.

Our nation is a federation of tribes,
This transcribes variant opposite vibes.
They dislike one another,
Reject their brother
And reduce each other with jibes.

It’s a custom in these our parts,
To draw ethnic dichotomy charts.
Those that hate with such ease,
Harbour a grave disease;
One that eats up the good in their hearts.

I hope Nigeria as one will pull through.
But it’s just not by force -that’s my view.
So let’s waiver the raver.
‘No one’s doing me a favour!’
Each can survive on their own; and that’s true!

For Nigerians to explain their desire
we must know just what word we require.
When we become objective,
Think as one collective
it’s from bad governance that we really ‘don tire!’

North, South, West, East must stand up together,
To overcome this most turbulent weather.
Treat all with respect,
Drop abuse and suspect.
Let disdain reach the end of its tether.

Im told that much hate I have spawned
But I only read views where I can respond
So if you've something to say
Twitter and  mail is the way
To engage me...And I give pound for pound!

Peace and unity, that is the key, 
our forefathers on this did agree.
Now they’ve gone to their grave,
Look how we misbehave.
If they knew, broken hearted they’d be.

See the labour of our heroes thus past,
Feel the ‘call and obey’ that is asked;
Turn and give me your hand,
Let us stand as once planned;
Give Nigeria a peace that will last!

I know my words often causes despair. 
But I've no notion to tear out your hair. 
I just speak for the mass
Who have no voice Alas!
Those I mentioned, I hope you’re aware.

When we celebrate on the 1st of October,
Let’s all pray for peace, but moreover
Let us thank God for all,
Our fortune’s not small.
Let’s be fair, let’s be just, LET’S GET SOBER!

(OK, I’ll Stop there….Happy Independence Day to every Nigerian!)

Twitter -@hanneymusawa

Hard View (The Folly Behind The Wisdom)

The Folly Behind The Wisdom

In a despairingly tragic turn of events, the world woke up last Tuesday to the devastating news that Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador in Libya was senselessly killed. It was reported that Islamist gunmen attacked the US consulate as well as a safe house refuge in Benghazi, Libya. The act was supposedly for revenge against a film that directly insulted their beliefs. The violence in the eastern part of the city of Benghazi had been culminating amidst the 10thanniversary of the September 11 attack of the US by al-Qaeda. Indeed, the violence in the Middle East as a whole has reached a fever frenzy in Egypt, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Tunisia.
The fact that terrorists use religion to instigate bloodshed and mayhem is intolerable. A fundamental trait in a reasonably objective person would be to respect another’s personal belief, but violent actions should be unanimously condemned. A majority of the world cheered and supported the unity and stance taken by patriotic nationals in the uprising of what the history books will remember as the “Arab Spring”, amidst mostly non-violent campaigns, Arab nationals rose against the darkening tide of dictatorship and corruption.  The protests that took place were strategically planned and, interesting to note, they took place for the purpose of the betterment of the struggling working class.
Egypt was a primary example of a non-violent type of protest. The marches that took place in Tahrir Square, Cairo, were so successful because the strategy was not only non-violent but meticulously organized. The inflammatory anti-Muslim film that has been blamed in the upsurge called “The Innocence of Muslims” was allegedly filmed by Blue Cloud Studious in Santa Clarita. It is disturbing on investigation to learn that the film negatively portrays the Prophet Mohammed as sexually promiscuous in several graphic films of a pseudo-pornographic nature. The maker of the movie, Sam Bacile, who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, claimed that “Islam is a cancer, period”. The film has now sparked many parts of the Middle East to rioting and Egypt is no exception. Last week, after a particular violent demonstration, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsey on his official face book page addressed the crises  thus: “The presidency condemns in the strongest terms the attempt of a group to insult the place of the Messenger, the Prophet Mohammed…and condemns the people who have produced this radical work. The Egyptian people, both Muslims and Christians, refuse such insults on sanctities.”
But after a discourse with President Barack Obama in what the White House describes as a review of the “strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt”, Morsey criticized the attacks that took place in Libya. While visiting the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, Morsey said, “Those who are attacking the embassies do not represent any of us.”
Following the fall of several dictatorship regimes in the Middle East, it is disturbing to note that moderate- Muslim governments seemed to have unwittingly paved the path for more extremists and terror unto their communities and international borders. Last Tuesday’s attack was indeed a dire setback to international peace, and is bound to put a strain in relations not only with the US but other countries too. While dictatorships and absolute monarchies have stifled and oppressed the Arab people for decades, several factors have pointed to the reasoning that these dictators were able to maintain an uneasy peace in their countries. Six years after the capture and execution of Saddam Hussein, the state of affairs in the ruined shattered streets of Iraq has left many Iraqis questioning the future of their country. The “Arab Spring” that was the series of revolutionary protests and demonstrations in the Arab world has somehow paved a path for several  embattled countries with fatal security challenges, suicide bombings and mounting terrorism. Many sectarian clashes in the region have been described as spillovers of uprising resulting in the culmination of regional protests. Similarities have been drawn by observers comparing the Arab Spring movement and the pro- democratic, anti- Communist Revolutions of 1989 (known as the Autumn of Nations) that swept through Eastern Europe and the Communist world, in terms of scale, gravity and significance. But it is important to note that several differentiating factors – for example, the use of internet or social media to highlight struggles— were an advantage for protesters in the Arab Spring.
Over a year after the fall and death of the former Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi, Tripoli and other parts of Libya stand in ruin amidst constant bombings and sectarian crisis. Libya witnessed a popular uprising against the former dictator that lasted from February to October 2011. Libyans voted on July 7, 2012, in elections that observers called free and fair. The Libyan General National Congress replaced the Transitional National Council in August; they are to govern the country until elections are held on the basis of the new constitution. The US Embassy in Libya only resumed operations on September 11, 2011; and the consular services for US citizens resumed August 27, 2012. After the general rejoicing of the downfall of Ghaddafi though, crime levels in Tripoli have significantly increased. There are increased reports of car theft, armed robbery, burglary and other even more serious crimes. Since the revolution, it would seem that the Libyan police and internal security institutions have not fully reconstituted themselves and, shockingly, 16,000 criminals released from prison by the former regime are still roaming the streets of Libya. Another contributing factor to the volatile environment are the thousands of firearms that were looted during the riots from government buildings and storage facilities.
After last Tuesday’s siege in the eastern part of the country, Libya’s new prime minister, Mustafa Abu Shagour, said he would strive to improve security by boosting the national police force and army as well as collecting weapons.
Even prior to the discovery of oil, the Middle East has been a region of religious conflict and wars over other rich resources and land. The fall of the Ottoman Empire paved the way for rising European imperial and colonial powers interested in securing various territories and controlling access to Asia. Edward Said, in his highly acclaimed book Orientalism, claims that for centuries Western populations have been acclimatized to a type of propaganda and vilification of Arabs and the Middle East, and this has provided an excuse for involvement to ensure “stability” for the “national interests” of powers that want to be involved in the region. The cultural stereotyping and apparent racism were magnified in the 1980s war films, always depicting Arabs as the bad guys. As a result on the terrorist attacks against the US on September 11, and the resulting “War on terror”, that imagery still exists.
The Middle East is the most militarized region in the world and most arm sales take place there. Arabs are a suppressed people that generally see Western influence as a major root cause of the current problems in the region; this has led to a rise in acts of terrorism and anti-Western sentiment. The Iraq War/ invasion, conflict between Israel and Palestine, the crises in Lebanon, strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan, invasion of Libya and now the crises in Syria has culminated into a chaotic state of affairs.
While the invasions and strikes may have been methodically planned, the aftermath of such actions may not have been fully considered by the invading countries. The West appears to have responded with what looks like a genuine humanitarian intervention attempt; but more amplified measures need to be taken to curb the escalating violence and bloodshed. On reflection, the concept of overthrowing merciless dictators may have seemed an initially wise one. But after years of brutal war and the spilled innocent blood of thousands of victims, we cannot help but be perplexed at the folly behind the wisdom.

Saturday, 15 September 2012



"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them”
                                                               -19th century American writer and humorist, Mark Twain.

In a modern day society, of all the rights enjoyed by individuals, freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental. The concept is integral for the existence of democracies and the protection of human dignity; a principle borne out of the need for the general discovery of truth. History reveals, that the fact that people were hesitant to speak freely due to social pressures and fear of government retribution hampered the growth and development of nations. Thus, in the interest of the sustenance of free communities, governments were urged to allow and encourage input from its people.

Freedom of speech helps to shape the intellectual character of a society. The true right of free speech is however accurately carried out when self-restraint is responsibly exercised. Despite the importance of this right, it equates to neither an obligation to offend nor a duty to be insensitive. Its exercise comes with a responsibility of civility because of the explosive nature of expressions. Words and depictions have a life and power of their own; they can hurt or they can heal. The essence of the freedom was always one that was meant to heal not hurt, mend not break; that is essentially its moral imperative. Deviations from this rule have resulted in dire consequences especially when the expressions borders on personal and religious criticism.

Oftentimes, the irresponsible and malicious use of the freedom of expression results in clear consequences. Take for example the comment made by John Lennon of the 1960’s band Beatles on the nature of fame when he said that the band was, “more popular than Jesus”. Despite the group’s popularity at that time, there was a worldwide outrage and a huge campaign to destroy all Beatles albums and other paraphernalia. It was this single comment that led to the beginning of the end for the legendary band. Another example is the 2002 religious clash in response to the irresponsible piece of journalism by Isioma Daniels during Nigeria’s hosting of the Miss World Pageant. These cases exhibit clear examples of how flippant and callous remarks can lead to an upsurge of negative concatenations; this ever more so when the expression is at the expense of anthers’ belief and spirituality. It has been said that everybody has a right to swing their arms, but that right ends the second ones fist hits another’s nose. It’s the finical reason why tort law encompasses defamation legislation that protects against libel and slander. Just like in everyday life where regulations and borders are needed to safeguard against lawlessness, in the same vein rules exist to guard against verbal and visual imprudence.

The present freedom of expression and global religious troubles we are seeing which were stirred by the amateur film that disparages Islam in the most disgusting, wicked and malevolent manner has no doubt reached the very epitome of insensitivity and crossed a sacred boundary. Mockery in general is never nice but deliberate attacks on sensitive topics such as race, family, gender, tribe and especially religion are rancorous. Such topics form the very basis of an individual’s spiritual identity. An attack on a group translates as a personal attack on each individual person that regards themselves at oneness with that group.

Notwithstanding any solidarity shown on the sanctity of freedom of expression, from the inception of the concept, it has never been completely sacrosanct. History shows that in numerous instances the world over, slander based on religious grounds has been unacceptable by most States. In most Western civilizations, governments have introduced laws on blasphemy. Blasphemy is the crime which consists of indecent and offensive attacks on religion, the scriptures, sacred persons or objects calculated to outrage the feelings of a religious community. From the beginning of religion, there have been hundreds of thousands of cases where distasteful depictions of religion have resulted in harsh consequences from communities. Europe in past centuries was a place where blasphemers were automatically burnt at the stake and the laws supported this by introducing the death penalty as punishment for the crime of blasphemy. More recent reactions to insensitive religious statements have included the murder in 2004 of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh after he made a film dealing with violence against Islamic women. The fatwa placed on the head of Salman Rushdie, the author of the Satanic Verses by the Iranian government is arguably the most well known case of its kind. Similarly the 2005 prosecution of and conviction in absentia of Austrian author Gerhard Haderer for depicting Jesus Christ as a hippy junkie in his comic book,  The Life of Jesus, further shows the general un-approving consensus against blasphemy.

Although there is a trace of censorship regarding blasphemy, most available legislation are lacking because in each country the laws only protect the main religion practiced. For example blasphemy laws in Middle Eastern countries do not predominantly extend its protection to other faiths apart from Islam. While in a country like Italy, there is an argument that Italian laws against insult to religion and its application appear to protect only Roman Catholicism.

In most societies, it is an offence to use expressions that threaten, deride or degrade on the grounds of race, color, national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation. However, in most instances, that provision does not appear to have been used against statements offensive to religion. The irresponsibility of such legislation is even more apparent when one considers that slander against sexual orientation is more important than slander against religion.

The world is getting smaller and every country has people of different religions lawfully living within its borders. And as civilized individuals we must learn to live beside and respect every one of those beliefs. No religion should be subjected to jest on a lawful, public arena. Ideally countries might consider passing legislation that prohibit public insults or any offensive conduct that shows contempt for any religious creed and its doctrines of worship.

In addition to the laws, people must increase their understanding and receptivity to diverse religions. A very clever man called Albert Einstein once said, “Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population”. For peaceful coexistence in this global village, we should at least avoid gratuitous insults on people’s identity because they hurt and incite. Caution should be used in delineating delicate topics. By applying heed, this precious freedom of speech is not challenged.

If our belief in free speech is absolute, our assent in anti-racism should be no less so. The right to offend must come with at least a consequent right and a subsequent accountability. If film makers have the rights to offend then the recipients of that offence similarly have the right to be offended. While we recognize that expression is not impotent, we must recognize that listeners and viewers are not impotent either. And any unconscious assumption of the passivity of reception neglects the fact that resistance begins with reaction, reaction begins from the offence.

While there is no justification for the vehement reaction from the Muslim World, where people not in any way involved with the making of the offensive film are being hounded targeted and murdered, the blood of those who have died as a consequence is as much on the hands of those involved with the film and the ignorant, untaught, bigoted degenerates who encourage the denigration of another’s beliefs as it is on those who actually committed the murders. Rather than unleash the type of violence we are witnessing, the countries and communities offended by the film may have applied a similar approach as the 2005 effective boycott of Danish products and export when the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten published a number of cartoons considered offensive to Islam.

It’s hard to imagine anything but cynicism, mischief and provocation being behind the content and message of this revolting and disgraceful video, especially if, as reports claim, the religious charity, Media for Christ, was responsible for the movie. As a religious organization, they, more than anyone, should understand the sensitivities and emotions that accompany insults to religion.

The present backlash from this controversial film by took months to escalate to the sorry level it is at today. This just goes to show how enduring such sensitivities can be. Eventually the controversy surrounding the film will come to pass, but not before the overprotection of expression is brought to its knees. And it may not be such a bad thing because the regulation might augment the diversity and range of public discourse and enhance respect and recognition of heterogeneous religions. Let’s hope that in future, expression is not used to hurt but to heal the diversity of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other religions of the world.

Hard View (The Lust For Illicit Money)

The Lust For Illicit Money
Kidnapping can most accurately be described as the crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force of fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with an intent to carry that person away at a later time. The law of kidnapping can be complex to define with precision because it can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Most state and federal statutes define the term ‘kidnapping’ vaguely all over the world, and usually it’s left for the courts to clearly define it in detail.
The number of kidnap cases in Nigeria has risen to a staggering level. Most of the cases are attributed to ransom demands while others are linked to terrorist activities. The high-risk potential victims of kidnapping were usually prominent members of the society -- from our artists and their family members. But, recently, it was noticed that there has been a shift from that trend. In the past, kidnaps were fundamentally politically based and foreign workers within the oil companies were the prime targets. Oil rebels, in order to stress and highlight their political stances and campaign, would seize unsuspecting foreigners in a bid to extort money.
So far, the main motive for most of these kidnaps has been for financial gain, and a majority of security analysts attribute the rise in kidnapping cases to the severe poverty levels in some communities, especially the problem in the rise of unemployment. The most alarming fact is that if the economy in the country gets worse, we would witness the rise in killings in kidnap cases as the kidnappers become more dangerous, daring and desperate. The root cause of kidnapping would be unemployment. Youths should be engaged in numerous employment opportunities and be encouraged to enrol in vocational programmes. It saddens me that the security situation in Nigeria today is unpredictable; there is an alarming risk of terrorism, inter- communal clashes, armed robbery attacks, banditry and now a spate of kidnappings. Formerly, kidnappings were a particular threat within the Niger Delta region but now they are all over Nigeria.
The statistics are simply appalling. On May 31, 2012, an Italian citizen was kidnapped in Kwara State. On January 26, 2012, a German citizen was kidnapped in Kano and then tragically killed on May 31. A British citizen and an Italian citizen were kidnapped in Kebbi on May 12 , 2011, and brutally murdered by their captors on March 8, 2012.
Red24, the AIM-listed international security advice and management company, has named the world’s ten countries in which it says the threat of being kidnapped for ransom is the greatest. Their findings would alarm most Nigerians. They are: 1. Afghanistan 2. Somalia 3. Iraq 4. Nigeria 5. Pakistan 6. Yemen 7. Venezuela 8. Mexico 9. Haiti 10. Columbia.
Nigeria records a staggering 1,000 kidnappings for ransom cases annually. Many experts though believe that due to different incident classifications between countries and the reluctance of relatives to report incidents, for fear of retaliation by the kidnappers or because of concerns about police corruption and ineptitude, data on kidnappings could be complex to compile. However, Red24 stated that, using official data in respect of Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico and Columbia as well as piracy incidents off the Somali coast. And non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan have discovered there was a 9% rise in kidnapping cases in 2011 compared with the previous year. One chief executive, Maldwyn Worseley-Tonks, remarked that kidnapping is a “growing, global threat”.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities had cause to accuse the federal government of its failure to properly curb the spate of insecurity and the high rate of crime in the country. On August 13, this year, during a meeting with reporters at the end of its National Executive Council meeting at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, ASUU’s national president, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, said, “The spate of insecurity in the country has continued unabated. On a daily basis, the newsstands are awash with reports of bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, armed robberies, arson, and related acts of violence perpetuated against the Nigerian people and foreigners alike. There are also reports of spiral inflation and phenomenal increase in commodity prices leading to food insecurity and reduction in standard of living across the country. Joblessness, homelessness, and decreasing access to education and other indices of underdevelopment now characterize our national life.”
The most challenging hurdle to cross in this crime of kidnapping would be that of severe unemployment plaguing our nation. Various independent and authentic studies have revealed that unemployment is responsible for the largest portion of kidnappings in Nigeria today. It is a vicious chain of unfortunate events where poverty resulting from unemployment and a badly managed economy increases criminal activities in Nigeria. The economic growth in this country has been severely stunted by decades of corruption and mismanagement of public funds. The depressing economic climate has taken its toll on Nigerians and the social effects of unemployment in Nigeria has increased the rate of kidnappings. Our youths are being lured by criminal gangs, warlords, illegal activities and terrorists. Amidst the extreme economic deprivation, the enticement of making fast money by snatching someone’s loved one seems just too tempting to resist.
The crimes in general are becoming alarmingly more violent as well. The horrendous use of human beings or their body parts for money-making rituals has become common news. In the 1980s, sporadically reported acts of crime were of burglars silently and stealthily entering a house while all were soundly sleeping and going away with the family’s Betamax video. The robbers were too “polite” to even wake up, talk less of confront, any member of the family. Nowadays, poor wages, detrimental living conditions and lack of proper social morals have made money-making ventures such as kidnapping the popular stock-in-trade for misguided youths. So the million dollar question remains: how safe exactly is any of us?
Apparently, no one is safe. We are all potential victims. Nigeria can best be described as a prison of fear and uncertainty guarded by invisible walls. Even in traffic, robberies are common. People are snatched in broad daylight by kidnappers and witnesses are either too scared or cynical to try to help much less assist security agencies to apprehend the perpetrators. With kidnapping, these criminals involved resort to the most cruel, degrading and most inhumane treatment of another human being.
How can this abominable trend be reversed? Employment can be generated by means of restructuring our education system; a conducive economic environment devoid of staggering inflation, and rebranding our agricultural sector would almost certainly go a long way in discouraging youths from engaging in criminal activities. All good citizens of this country should take responsibility to an extent for the state of lawlessness in the country today; for it would be selfish and irresponsible to blame the federal government alone. These misguided youths were once our children before they grew up to be criminals, and until we all understand that we have a high stake in Nigeria’s future, we can only show chagrin and contempt for a worsening situation. The primary focus of the federal government and indeed all Nigerians is to empower our youths through sound educational and vocational programmes; let us as parents give them hope for a brighter and more solid and secure future. These fundamental advantages, I believe, have already been laid by the great founding fathers of Nigeria.
In the meantime, all Nigerians and foreigners within the country should exercise grave caution and vigilance at all times. The next breaking news about the latest kidnap victim could be any of us – and that’s the sad reality of Nigeria today.

Hard View (Fallen Angel: Deadly Perils Of Social Media)

Fallen Angel: Deadly Perils Of Social Media
The shocking and senseless murder of the beautiful Miss Cynthia Udoka Osokogu created a deep sense of unease in the heart of all Nigerians, especially in the hearts of parents with children at the tertiary level. She had been reported missing since late July 2012 by her concerned family. A month later this story came to a heart-wrenching tragic conclusion with the discovery of her body in a morgue.
Enterprising Cynthia was a 24-year-old postgraduate student of Nasarawa State University and a clothing retailer as well. She had allegedly been chatting with some new friends whom she had met on the social network Facebook.
Facebook is a social media tool founded and launched by Mark Zuckerburg in a Harvard dorm room. The media chat room is especially popular with young adults for it provides a medium for sharing concepts and ideas of interest. Facebook can best be described as the world’s most popular social network. In 2009, Facebook had 200 million active users, overtaking MySpace as the world’s largest social network. There was a flooding of messages, photography, and status updates streaming to and from its zealous users. The company continued cultivating and growing with the 2010 debut of the “like” button and, in 2011, the launch of Timeline which paved the way for Facebook to integrate personal data from the rest of the web. Facebook has been hailed as the revolutionary tool of modern communication, turning the world into an even smaller global network.
But Facebook’s growth as an internet social-networking site has, from its inception, met criticism on a range of issues, including child safety, online privacy, hate speech and the inability to terminate accounts without first manually deleting the content. In 2008, several companies removed their advertising from the site because it was being displayed on the pages of controversial individuals as well as groups. Inflammatory topics such as politics, religion and sex have been promoted on Facebook, causing several lawsuits against the company.
In August 2007, the code used to generate Facebook’s home and search page as visitors browse the site was accidentally made public, according to leading internet news sites. A configuration problem with its server caused a confidential code to be displayed instead of where the web page code should have been created, and there was a serious cause for concern on how secure private data on the site were. Social networks, like Facebook, can have a detrimental effect on marriages with users becoming worried about their spouse’s contacts and relations with other people online, leading to the breakdown of a marriage or even divorce. Shockingly, in the U.K., between 20-33 per cent of divorce petitions cite Facebook as a cause. The site has also been criticized for misleading campaigns, adding stress to the lives of its users, making people envious due to the constant exposure to positive yet unrepresentative highlight of their peers, misleading campaigns, privacy infringement, identity theft, defamation of character - the list is simply horrendously endless.
Unemployment is the evil social monster engulfing our youths in Nigeria today. According to the minister of agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is fast spiraling and growing at 11 per cent yearly. He said, “Youth unemployment rate is over 50 per cent. Our unemployment rate is spiraling, driven by the wave of four million young people entering the workforce every year with only a small fraction able to find formal employment.”
The Ministry of Youth Development reported recently that there are 68 million unemployed youths in Nigeria. Annually 300,000 graduates enroll in the NYSC scheme and the Population Reference Bureau has said that the population of Nigerian youths is a staggering 43 per cent. These appalling statistics are a shame and embarrassment to all Nigerians. But most importantly, there should be severe concerns by the society at large and the critical question should be: what are these youths resorting to during this idle time in their lives? The rise in robberies, kidnapping, terrorism, rape, vandalism of oil pipelines and other crimes is sadly the answer to that question.
Nwabuzor Okwuoma (33), who claimed to be a student of University of Lagos (UNILAG), befriended Cynthia initially through Facebook and later through a group on Blackberry Messenger. After many exchanges between the two of them, Okwuoma convinced Cynthia to take a business trip to Lagos in order to negotiate bargain sales of clothing items for her retail shop located in Nassarawa. In collusion with his cousin, Ezekiel Odera (23), an undergraduate of Anambra State University, they picked the innocent Cynthia from Lagos airport and took her to a hotel which they had paid for in Festac town. They drugged the poor unsuspecting girl with Rohypnol, a sedative drug commonly known as the “date rape drug”. It was alleged that they apparently strangled her to death and raped her for several hours before stripping her of her valuables and leaving her corpse chained to the Hotel bed. It is an abomination and an unforgivable sin that they molested her even after they snuffed the life out of her. They were later apprehended through the use of CCTV cameras at the hotel and mobile phone calls traced to them. These psychopaths were dishonest young men that are professional criminals and fraudsters who specialized in luring unsuspecting young women and stealing from them.
Cynthia’s story ended tragically because, like most children and adults that use social media networks, we are not informed enough about online privacy and social media responsibility. It would be unwise to forbid a young adult to register on these sites; rather, it would be more effective to sensitize them on information about how to protect one’s privacy on the internet and how to use social media responsibly. For even though social sites allow us to connect with friends and family, they are also potentially dangerous breeding grounds for predators and criminals alike. As parents we have to prioritize the education of our children by encouraging them to use diligently the privacy tools provided by sites to protect their identities and location from strangers. The government also has a social obligation to embark on a national campaign of awareness to emphasize that whatever information Nigerians share on the web is not only public but permanent as well. By educating citizens on ways to protect their privacy, people will reconsider how they share information as well as the calibre of people they can accept as “friends”.
As a mother with a young daughter, I have been touched by this tragic story beyond what words can describe. Along with Major General Frank Osokogu (rtd) and Mrs Osokugu and their entire family, I join millions of Nigerians in mourning the loss of this beautiful fallen angel. It has pained me in ways unimaginable that some media channels have twisted certain facts for the sake of sensationalism by trying to tarnish her image. Some have incredibly gone as far as criticizing the family’s statements and reactions after the discovery of the heinous crime. This is a family that is in mourning and totally unprepared for the tragedy that has befallen them. The main focus should be on supporting the family in this trying period, and finding solutions to cyber crime. Let us accept that all Nigerians are potential victims of this tragic event and that Cynthia’s death should be seen as that of a heroine. It should serve as a serious warning of what could happen as a result of misguided cyber -friendship.
I want to use her own mother’s words to describe this lost diamond. “Cynthia was a very industrious and respectful child. She was my daughter, my friend and my sister. Her memory will never be forgotten because she has touched so many lives positively in her short stay on earth.”
May this fallen angel rest in peace.