UN Concerned About Lake Chad Basin Food Crisis

United Nations, UN, Lake Chad Basin, FoodThe United Nations has said that at least nine million people are in urgent need of aid in Nigeria’s northeast and neighbouring countries.

The UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, Toby Lanzer, said at least $559 million would be needed in the next four months to ease the crisis in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

He said more than six million people were “severely food insecure” with 568,000 children acutely malnourished adding that the UN has appealed to Britain and other western governments for help.

Mr Lanzer said at the Chatham House in London: “With population growth of speed and nature, in an area where everyone is already poor, the environment is incredibly stressed.

“There is a never-ending stream of heavier violence, it is only natural to conclude that more people will migrate,” he said.

The Heads of State of the Lake Chad Basin and donor countries would meet on the margins of the annual United Nations General Assembly holding next week.

Meanwhile, the US President, Barack Obama, would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the sidelines of the Assembly.

US Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes, disclosed that President Obama would hold separate sessions with the Nigerian President, Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi and Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos.

Okorocha Advocates Human Capital Growth To Tackle Insecurity, Corruption

Human CapitalImo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, on Thursday there must be a great investment in human capital developmen for a nation to develop and perform optimally.

Mr Okorocha added that it is a means to harness the natural resources and potentials.

He said this while delivering a speech on “Nigeria’s Human Capital and State Education Initiative: The View from Imo State” at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House in London.

Governor Okorocha said he believes that the only pivot on which any nation can rotate depends on the level of investment in its human capital, which reflects why some countries are more developed than others.

He added that until Nigeria is able to harness its natural resources and potentials as the most endowed and largest nation in Africa, it might be difficult to join other developed countries of the world.

The Governor was also of the opinion that the Nigerian educational system should introduce the use of local Nigerian languages to teach vocational and skills acquisition courses to boost the development of the nation’s human capital just like some other Asian countries.

He stressed that Nigeria needs to change the system of its human capital development in order to reach her desired goals.

Governor Okorocha also spoke on the need to take government to the communities and grassroots, which would help in tackling corruption and insecurity challenges.

Buhari Returns From Trip To United Kingdom

BuhariThe presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, General Muhamadu Buhari returned from his two weeks travel to the United Kingdom on Friday amidst tight security presence and a large crowd of party supporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.

General Buhari did not give detailed response to questions from journalists who where at the airport to clarify issues surrounding his visit to the UK but explained sojourn at the Chatham House in London.

He noted that he had explained all he needed to about events at the Chatham House and his campaign activities since he travelled.

He further denied claims that his absence from the country was because the PDP was allegedly having the upper hand in the campaign, adding that “I don’t think so”.

“Don’t forget that we were a number of opposition parties that came together to form the APC, so no one man is the party. This party belongs to all the parties that came together”, Buhari said, assuring journalists that there was no division in the APC.

Group Challenges Buhari To Debate With Jonathan

groupA PDP support group, Wind of Hope, has challenged the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to a presidential debate at Chatham House, in London.

In an open letter, published online, the group said; “In our quest for deepening democracy which thrives on robust and constructive deliberations, that aid the electorate, Wind of Hope hereby offers you (Buhari) a platform to debate with the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, before the forthcoming elections at Chatham House, where you were so obviously at ease before your supporters and the international media”.

It further read; “We wish to state further, our readiness to fully sponsor such a forum. All we ask is that you state your preferred date and time”.

According to the group’s National Coordinator, Onoriode Akpeh, a presidential debate with both candidates, would help deepen democracy.

It would be recalled that the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, refused calls for a presidential debate in Nigeria, including one organised by Channels Television and other groups.

Last month, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Director of Strategy, Dele Alake, had explained that Buhari would not attend the presidential debate organised by Channels Television, Arise TV and NPAN, noting that the party “could not vouch for the independence of some of the organisers of the debate”.

On the other hand, the Head of Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, had expressed the President’s readiness to participate in any presidential debate, organised by anyone, anywhere in the country.

If the APC candidate accepts the challenge, it could be the final showdown between the two political gladiators in the 2015 Presidential elections, re-scheduled for March 28th.

Chatham House Lecture: Buhari Promises To Tackle Terrorism

Chatham HouseThe presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, says the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria is crucial as it is expected to further democratic consolidation on the African continent in general.

General Buhari made this declaration on Thursday while speaking during a lecture at London think-tank, Chatham House.

He said; “On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

“I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa.

“But as a starting point, we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead and deprive the zones who want to scuttle it the benefit of drowning our fledging democracy.

“That way, we’ll all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.”

General Buhari also explained that his priority if elected as president is to go tough on the terrorist group, Boko Haram, and tackle general insecurity in the country.

The APC candidate also promised to tackle corruption by blocking all channels of wastage in the economy and ensure that corrupt persons are not appointed to serve in his government.

“We will run a functional economy driven by our wide view that sees growth not in an end by itself but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike,” he said.

7 Feared Dead In NNPC Jetty Explosion

gusau_zamfara_explosion_4Unconfirmed reports say that about seven people may have died and scores of others severely injured in an explosion at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) jetty, in Okrika, Rivers State.

The explosion, which was allegedly caused by petroleum product thieves, happened on Sunday, May 18.

The Chairman of Okrika Local Government Area, Tamuno Williams, who confirmed the incident, said that the fire broke out when pipeline vandals were siphoning petroleum products from the pipelines belonging to the NNPC at a jetty near Okrika.

The Executive Director, Services of the NNPC, Mr. Ralph Ugwu, however, said that the blast did not damage refinery installations and had no impact on operations.

Mr. Ogwu added that the explosion had nothing to do with the NNPC or the refinery but with some people who came to steal crude.

The Rivers State Police Command also confirmed the explosion, attributing it to activities of oil pipeline vandals. It also said that those who were burnt had be taken to an hospital for treatment.

London-based Think Tank, Chatham House had said in 2013 that oil theft was costing Africa’s top producer an estimated $5 billion a year in potential revenue.


Foreign Experts Call For Caution In Nigerian Politics

Some international affairs analysts have pointed out that the on-going political drama poses a major security concern for the country if it is allowed to degenerate any further.

The analysts, who are based in London, called for a more balanced approach to the party politics currently rocking the nation.

In a series of exclusive interviews with our London correspondent, Doris Okenwa, they said the country’s security is fragile as it is and politicians should avoid a bigger setback in this regard with the on-going political wrangling.

Okenwa reports that “the world is watching as Nigeria’s political stage is churning out epic performances” citing “party defections and open letters”.

She notes that “the implications of these events are enormous for Africa’s most populous nation now considered to be on the brink of a political implosion”.

She says international political players are beginning to ask questions over the on-going clash of titans in the country.

Asst. Head, African Programme, Chatham House London,  Elizabeth Donnelly argues that defections are democratic but the extent parties might be willing to go to maintain or gain control poses an even bigger worry.