Friday, July 29, 2011

The Problems of Area Boys in Lagos

Area boys a growing menace on the streets of Lagos, the advent of area boys is due to little or no education, lack of family support, broken homes, child abuse and various social problems. These so called area boys are either forced into that way of life or are born into that particular social strater. Moreover Area boys flood the street of Lagos, roaming the streets to either steal from pedestrians or obtain money from people going about their daily activities an example of an incident on how these so called area boys operate are as follows;

After buying a new television in a popular market in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos, Ade Ojelabi was wending his way home when four unkempt young men suddenly surrounded his taxi. "You will have to pay money for the ground," growled one of the youths, with bloodshot eyes, leaning at the window where Ojelabi sat."Otherwise I will stab you in the eye," barked another with yellowing teeth from the opposite side of the car, as he brandished a large screwdriver.

With the car stuck fast in traffic that clogs Lagos' streets on a daily basis, a speedy escape was not an option. As passers-by watched from a safe distance, fearful of intervening, the taxi driver advised Ojelabi that he would have to part with some cash. His initial offer of 200 naira was rejected. But when he increased it to 500 naira the youths grabbed the banknotes and went on their way.

"More blessings to you!" they said, smiling as they scarpered off. "May your son never be like us," one of them added.

Ojelabi's ordeal is one played out every day on the streets of Lagos. For the past two decades, the 13 million residents of Nigeria's biggest city have run the gauntlet of several thousand delinquent youths who roam the streets extorting money.

The so called Area boys sprang up in the early 1980s, to begin with they were just small bands of bullies who roamed the slums adjoining the central business district. But since then their numbers have burgeoned, fed by the steady flood of unemployed people that migrates constantly into Lagos from elsewhere in the country.

The Area Boys are now rampant all over the city. Their favourite hangouts are bus stops, major highways and markets. In broad daylight, they levy tolls on bus drivers they demand bribes from market women wanting to set up stalls for the day, they patrol potential car-parking spaces and demand illegal fees from shoppers. They even threaten ordinary passer-bys, demanding "donations.

CAUSES.

The causes of area boys are so many, various social strater could be the cause of a young and able teenager leaving his home just to become a nuisance to the public. An example on how this could occur are as follows: Wale Adenaike, a self-confessed Area Boy, said how he had dropped out of secondary school at 16 after his father could no longer pay his fees. Swapping the classroom for the streets, the youngster quickly became addicted to drugs.

Now aged 25, he makes his living by claiming ownership of a space by a road junction in the central business district of Lagos and charging motorists to leave their cars there. "Otherwise, I make a living out of trouble," he said nonchalantly. Adenaike went on to explain that he and his friends were also available to be hired as thugs and for "other odd jobs".

This is something that worries the authorities who see the Area Boys as a pool of troublemakers ready to be recruited for the bouts of ethnic, religious and political violence that intermittently erupt in Lagos.

The major cause is unemployment, when there is no readily available jobs for the youth who are willing and able to work they result into becoming a manace to the society through crime and various other means.

Past governments have made various attempts to get the Area Boys off the streets and rehabilitate them by teaching them artisan skills and trades. General Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria's military ruler from 1985 to 1993, established a People's Bank, which extended micro-credits to many street boys and girls to help them start small businesses. However, there was not enough money to go round. And many of those who benefited from the handouts simply returned to the streets when People's Bank collapsed in the late 1990s.

Fews years ago, the past governor of Lagos state Bola Tinubu during is tenure designed a new scheme to rid the city of the Area Boy scourge. He has set up a skills training centre at Ita Oko, a disused island prison in Lagos lagoon, to the east of the city. Area Boys will be taken there for six months of training, and will receive a certificate and a job placement at the end of it.

"We cannot continue to give them fish. We have decided to teach them how to catch fish," Tinubu said during a recent visit to the training centre. But he added sternly that all those who reject the offer of rehabilitation "must be ready to leave Lagos".

The major ways to solve the problems of the advent of area boys is to create jobs, provide an enabling environment for them to learn through skill accusation schemes, give out loan through micro credit scheme, these would encourage them to be able to set up a small scale business and make them be young entrepreneur.

Another crucial aspect, is the aspect of education. The educational standard in the country should be high, well equipped classrooms, laboratories and well trained teachers that would impact crucial knowledge to the student. Most public schools in Lagos are in delapitating state and even the so called teachers are not interested in teaching but going about selling various goods withing the school premises. These various instances should be corrected, it's all about keeping the students in school because that's the only way they could get a sound education

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Culture and Tourism in Osun State.

Tourism all over the world is major revenue booster to an economy, the advent of tourism in places like Dubai as increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Economy in recent years. Coming to Osun State there are over a hundred tourist site and monuments which if properly rebranded and certain polices are put into place, Osun state could be the Hub of tourist attraction in Nigeria.

The last Iwude ceremony held in Ilesa at the palace of OwaObokun of Ilesa was proof thattourism is a major revenue booster, the ceremony witnessed massive crowd from different part of the country from far and wide. I heard people say this was the first Iwude ceremony that would be done in so much glamour and style which is to say our new Governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a man of unique style and an outstanding individual. At the ceremony there was massive flow in of cash due to massive buying and selling which makes cash to circulate and also stabilize the state's Economy. The palace was on a vast land with monuments that needed to be reformed because most where dilapidating and needs to be revived.

All over the world Kings palaces are major tourist site like the Buckingham palace in the United kingdom which people pay a token to tour and stories could be told on the history and major challenges that the town, city or village as gone through. While growing up I read and heard about the Osun-Osogbo festival and the norms and tradition that river stands for, the Osun-osogbo festival is an international known festival that people travel far and wide to witness but my main concern is the infrastructure, the site should be a master piece which should be well managed to preserve our culture in the most authentic manner. Art galleries should be established to encourage young indigenous artiste to showcase their works which reflect on the culture of the land. These art works could be sold which also can generate revenue to the state and not only revenue our culture are been exported in art from to the western world through International Art Exhibition.

Various tourist attraction and monument include:National Museum Ile-Ife, Ooni's Palace, Oranmiyan Staff located in Mopa Area Arubidi Ile-Ife, OlumirinWaterFalls Erin Ijesa, The Statue of OwaObokunEreja Square Ilesa, Mat weaving (local Industry) Ipetu-Ijesa, Mineral Spring Esa-Oke, Statue of Timi of Ede (sango) Timi's Palace Ede, Okinni water DamFrontOkinni, Suzan Wenger Gallery Ibokun Road Osogbo, Igi-Nla (Mysterious Tree) Iwara Via Iwo, Erinmo Hill Erinmo-ijesha, Talking Drum Timi's Palace Ede and many more. These are few of the various tourist attraction of Osun state as and if fully developed to International Standard could generate massive revenue for the state and also become the Hub of tourism in Nigeria as a whole.

Fola Kareem Olajoku Economy Analyst, Osogbo, Osun state

Economic Development of Osun State

Economic development basically means growth plus structural change and transformation in any society. For an economy to develop it has to be growing thereby economic development and growth could be said to be a sustained secular increase in Income per capita (National income divide by population). The quest for growth is understandable since it can improve the well-being of the people and elevate their social status. Economic development in our dear country is still in the cradle, represented by the existence of mass poverty, dilapidating infrastructures and the existence of very low income earners. The result to economic development by the existence of low income earners is that low income results in low saving and investment.

Since the advent of Crude oil, the Nigerian economy has diversified from a leading producer in agricultural products to one of the world largest producers of crude oil. Crude oil could be said to be a curse on the Nigerian Economy because since the advent of crude oil the Agricultural sector of the economy has suffered and has led to a decline in agricultural production which has resulted in mass unemployment in that sector and inadequate food for the nation. Coming to Osun state the state has a large land mass area which if fully utilised could serve as a food basket for the nation. The land is fertile, there is readily available human labour, the only constraint is funds. If the osun state government could create enabling economy policies that could favour and encourage farmers in the state, this would have a positive impact on the economy of the state thereby creating employment and also providing mass production of cash crops which could be used for consumption and also serve as the agricultural hub of the south-west.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in 100 days has created employment for 20,000 young and able youths through the OYES (Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme) programme this is a welcome development and this are one of the ways to strengthen the State's economy. Another major instrument is to encourage locally made goods, if the government of the state could create policies that could encourage the emergence of local industries which would produce locally made goods such as Adire(our native attire), Tye and dye, Mat weaving, Furniture making and so much more. The emergence of these industries will not only create jobs for the people of the state but will also be an avenue for the state to showcase its culture to the world as a whole.

Fola Kareem Olajoku, Economic Analyst, Osogbo, Osun State

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

REVOLUTION ( NIGERIA MUST DIVIDE)

Nigeria a once peaceful land of great cultural heritage, fertile land for Agriculture and a vast array of Natural resources but the average man still lives in penury. Just to have a three square meal or a roof under your head is like climbing mounting Everest, even the young man on the street after graduating from the university still comes out to an economy where to find a job is like making a man pregnant.

The advent of crude oil, could it be seen as a blessing or a curse. Let me talk about a brief History about how we have done so far,
The oil boom of the 1970s led Nigeria to neglect its strong agricultural and light manufacturing bases in favor of an unhealthy dependence on crude oil. In 2002 oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of federal government revenue. New oil wealth, the concurrent decline of other economic sectors, and a lurch toward a static economic model fueled massive migration to the cities and led to increasingly widespread poverty, especially in rural areas. A collapse of basic infrastructure and social services since the early 1980s accompanied this trend. By 2002 Nigeria's per capita income had plunged to about one-quarter of its mid-1970s high, below the level at independence. Along with the endemic malaise of Nigeria's non-oil sectors, the economy continues to witness massive growth of "informal sector" economic activities, estimated by some to be as high as 75% of the total economy.

Nigeria's proven oil reserves are estimated to be 36 billion barrels; natural gas reserves are well over 100 trillion cubic feet. Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and its current crude oil production averages around 1.6 million barrels per day. Poor corporate relations with indigenous communities, vandalism of oil infrastructure, severe ecological damage, and personal security problems throughout the Niger Delta oil-producing region continue to plague Nigeria's oil sector. In the absence of coherent government programs, the major multinational oil companies have launched their own community development programs. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was created to help catalyze economic and social development in the region, but it is widely perceived to be ineffective and opaque. Oil accounts for 90% of Nigeria's exports and over 80% of government revenue. Significant exports of liquefied natural gas started in late 1999 and are slated to expand as Nigeria seeks to eliminate gas flaring by 2011.

Nigeria inspects all imports on arrival, rather than at ports of origin; as a result, about 95% of containers are physically examined. This procedure, along with Nigeria's uneven application of import and labeling regulations and poor infrastructure, complicates the movement of goods through Nigeria's notoriously congested ports and increases the cost of doing business. The government has promoted foreign investment and encouraged reforms in these and other areas, but the investment climate remains daunting to all but the most determined.

Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies, and the lack of basic infrastructure. Still, the sector accounts for about 33% of GDP and two-thirds of employment. Agriculture provides a significant fraction (approximately 10%) of non-oil growth. Poultry and cocoa are just two areas where production is not keeping pace with domestic or international demand. Fisheries also have great potential, but are poorly managed. Most critical for the country's future, Nigeria's land tenure system does not encourage long-term investment in technology or modern production methods and does not inspire the availability of rural credit.

Oil dependency, and the allure it generated of great wealth through government contracts, spawned other economic distortions. The country's high propensity to import means roughly 80% of government expenditures is recycled into foreign exchange. Cheap consumer imports, resulting from a chronically overvalued Naira, coupled with excessively high domestic production costs due in part to erratic electricity and fuel supply, have pushed down industrial capacity utilization to less than 30%. Many more Nigerian factories would have closed except for relatively low labor costs (10%-15%). Domestic manufacturers, especially pharmaceuticals and textiles, have lost their ability to compete in traditional regional markets; however, there are signs that some manufacturers have begun to address their competitiveness.

Arguably Nigeria's biggest macroeconomic achievement has been the sharp reduction in its external debt, which declined from 36% of GDP in 2004 to less than 4% of GDP in 2007. In October 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved its first-ever Policy Support Instrument for Nigeria. In December 2005, the United States and seven other Paris Club nations signed debt reduction agreements with Nigeria for $18 billion in debt reduction, with the proviso that Nigeria pay back its remaining $12 billion in debt by March 2006. The United States was one of the smaller creditors, and received about $356 million from Nigeria in return for over $600 million of debt reduction. Merrill Lynch won the right to take on $509 million of Nigeria's promissory debt (accrued since 1984) to the "London Club" of private creditors. This arrangement saved Nigeria about $34 million over a simple prepayment of the notes. Nigeria faces intense pressure to accept multi billion dollar loans for railroads, power plants, roads, and other infrastructure. Expanded government spending also has led to upward pressure on consumer prices. However, the recent drop in world oil prices and the global financial crisis have prompted the federal government to tap its foreign exchange reserves, which consequently have decreased from $60 billion to $48 billion, in order to meet pressing budget demands from cash-strapped state and local governmental bodies.

In 2009, Nigeria took significant steps to strengthen the banking sector. After completing financial audits of all 24 national banks, the Central Bank found 10 of the banks to be undercapitalized or suffering from illiquidity. The Central Bank replaced many of the failing banks' management teams and pumped nearly $6 billion into the sector. In addition, the Central Bank published the names of significant loan defaulters, which included many prominent political and business figures. These reforms came on top of a major banking overhaul in 2006 that reduced the number of banks from 89 to 24, increased a bank's minimal capital requirement to $190 million, and required banks to hold 40% of their deposits in liquid assets. Retail, corporate, and Internet banking are seen as intensively competitive, and the home loan market is considered moderately competitive. Less than 10% of lending is believed to be made to individuals. About 65% of the economically active population is serviced by the informal financial sector, e.g., microfinance institutions, moneylenders, friends, relatives, and credit unions. Since 1999, the Nigerian Stock Exchange has enjoyed strong performance, although equity as a means to foster corporate growth remains underutilized by Nigeria's private sector. Credit is largely inaccessible to rural communities, the real estate sector and small businesses receive a low level of lending, and the credit card market remains at an early stage of development.

Nigeria's publicly owned transportation infrastructure is a major constraint to economic development. Principal ports are at Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can Island), Port Harcourt, and Calabar. Docking fees for freighters are among the highest in the world. Of the 80,500 kilometers (50,000 mi.) of roads, more than 15,000 kilometers (10,000 mi.) are officially paved, but many remain in poor shape. Extensive road repairs and new construction activities are gradually being implemented as state governments, in particular, spend their portions of enhanced government revenue allocations. The government implementation of 100% destination inspection of all goods entering Nigeria has resulted in long delays in clearing goods for importers and created new sources of corruption, since the ports lack adequate facilities to carry out the inspection. Four of Nigeria's airports--Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja--currently receive international flights. There are several domestic private Nigerian carriers, and air service among Nigeria's cities is generally dependable. The maintenance culture of Nigeria's domestic airlines is not up to international standards.
source: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2836.htm

After all this advent of situation now we have kidnapping, bomb explosion, and to cap it all up the situation of Zoning. A leader must come from the north or the east or south or west why not a level play ground and the best man wins. Nigeria cant grow if we continue like this, Should the country Divide that's the question..........................................

Saturday, January 8, 2011

WATER 4 ALL

OUR DEAR NIGERIA

With a population of well over 120 million people, less than 30% of Nigerians have access to safe drinking water. Successive governments in Nigeria have spent several billions of Dollars in providing safe drinking water. Critics claim that most of these projects failed due to fraud. Yakubu Ozohu-Suleiman who has been investigating the growing water debacle mentions the National Water Rehabilitation Project, the Improved, National Access to Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (INAWSSP), an Agricultural Development Bank assisted project, and the constructing of a second water treatment plant in the Federal Capital Territory. All across the country, the mass of people have been left to continue drinking water containing iron sulphide and all sorts of bacteria, germs and suspended matter capable of causing diseases. Most local and state governments whose primary responsibility is to provide water, are spending millions purchasing treatment chemicals for water that is not available
http://www.irc.nl/page/2074

4000 children die daily from water borne diseases {diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, Guinea worm }. One of five deaths are due to diarrhea a loss of about 1.5million lives a year. This toll is greater than that caused by AIDS, Malaria and Measles combined.
Nigeria is one of the countries with the poorest record in providing clean water and safe sanitation. Only one third of the population has access to safe and hygienic sanitation and only one in six have access to clean water.


Victor E. Dike
May 22, 2007
More from this author
The Punch of May 10, 2007 screamed, “ Nigeria gets standard for drinking water.” The Minister for Health who received the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality from the Standards Organization of Nigeria1 noted that the document is part of the ‘measures to provide safe drinking water’ to Nigerians. The question is how would the government implement a uniform drinking water standard in a society where the majority of the population depends on contaminated rainwater, pond water, and water from streams/rivers for domestic use?
Successive governments in Nigeria have abdicated their responsibilities to the citizens by not investing enough resources to the provision of safe and good quality water (pipe borne water) to the population for domestic and industrial use. After waiting in vain for the government, many communities (both urban and rural) have embarked on self-help projects in building small-scale water infrastructures. But because water infrastructures are capital intensive many of the poor communities do not have the resources to construct durable infrastructure, thus making water availability to the localities unreliable. Sadly, thousands of Nigerians who depend on dirty and contaminated water for domestic use die every year from water borne diseases.
This writer is not against the government setting up drinking water standard but frowns at the failure of its to expand access to clean water and sanitation and basic social amenities to the people. There are many communities in the society where water supply is in short supply and the people experience serious water scarcity. But the authorities who are not affected by this do not seem to care!
Is Nigeria facing water crisis? Water experts have partly defined “water crisis” as, ‘lack of access to safe and affordable water and sanitation.’ The cause of water scarcity could be economic (inability to meet demand because resources are not available or have not been developed); institutional (failure of institutions to allocate available water); or physical scarcity (shortage of water to meet demands).2 As Frank Rijsberman3 has rightly noted ‘water crisis’ in societies “is a crisis of governance and management” because this condition occurs mostly in a society where the government is corrupt and dysfunctional.
History shows that water resources development and basic water service has generally been handled by governments. And because a certain amount of water for drinking and domestic use water is considered a basic need and as a human right.4Thus, governments are required to make basic water available to the citizens; also investment in water development requires large financial resources, which are often beyond the reach of private individuals and poor communities. Since the government has failed to perform its duties many communities and private individuals in Nigeria have taken up the task of providing water service (and other public goods such as roads and power supply) that the government has abounded.
In some communities wastewater and human waste are discharged into local rivers and streams and the poor that depends on these sources for domestic use often lack the funds to build wastewater treatment plants and modern water distribution infrastructures. And in some cases the polluted rivers that are their only sources of water could dry up because of community development projects. Under this condition only those with financial wherewithal could afford to buy some few buckets or jerry-cans of water daily from private water vendors that haul water in rusty tanks that contaminate the water.
As the nation’s population grows (currently, over 140 Million) demand for water and other resources will also increase. What is the government doing to meet the challenges? Of what use is a government that cannot provide basic services to the citizens?
Water is an essential input to achieve some desired outcomes, including health and income; water affects sanitation and hygiene because lack of access to water leads to unhygienic behavior.5And a society will starve without food because of water scarcity for agriculture. However, water for domestic use should be of higher quality. Because of inadequate provision of clean water and sanitation services, many people (mostly the poor) in Nigeria (and other developing nations) are suffering from some form of water related diseases, including diarrhea, cholera, guinea warm, hookworm, and typhoid fever. To worsen the situation, the poor lack access to good health services to tackle these ailments, while the corrupt and powerful politicians could “jet out” of the country to obtain good medical treatment whenever they need one.
To expand access to clean water supply the government to invest copiously on rural and urban water scheme; and this should be part of the NEEDS and poverty alleviation programs. Lack of access to clean water for domestic use, for farming and other productive purposes, is one of the causes of poverty in the rural communities. It is also among the factors that discourage local and foreign investors. Ensuring access to low cost water supply (improving access to clean water or making access more secure) will improve the people’s welfare; increase their productivity and the wealth of the nation, because a healthy society is a wealthy nation, ceteris paribus.
Implementing a uniform standard for drinking water in Nigeria where the people lack access to clean and affordable water will be a Herculean task. The government should do the first thing first. Thus, expanding access to safe and affordable water for domestic and productive purposes should take precedence over the establishment a uniform drinking water standard for a people whose major sources of water supply for domestic use are rainwater and river/stream water, pond water and that hauled in contaminated water tanks by private water vendors.
Water supply and sanitation problems cannot be divorced from other challenges facing Nigeria . The political leaders should be alive to their responsibilities by ensuring that the citizens have access to safe and affordable water and other basic services such as good quality education, health care services, electricity supply, etc. The policymakers should stop wasting the taxpayer’s money in making policies that are impossible to implement.
Notes and References
1. The Punch (May 10, 2007); “ Nigeria gets Standard for Drinking Water”.
2. International Water Management Institute Working Paper (1999)
3. Frank Rijsberman (2004). Sanitation and Access to Clean Water; In Bjorn Lomborg (2004 editor) Global Crises, Global Solutions, Cambridge University Press
4. United nation Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (November 2002)
5. United Nations World Water Development Report (2003)
Victor E. Dike, CEO, Center for Social Justice and Human Development, in Sacramento , California .

Friday, January 7, 2011