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EDITORIAL

Obadiah Mailafia[December 24, 1956-September 19,2021]

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His controversial death on September 19, of this illustrious son of Nigeria came as a great shock to the nation. Obadiah Mailafia until his demise  over allegations of poor attention from  the various hospitals he was taken to  was a  development economist, international polymath, central banker, statesman ; the 2019 Nigeria Presidential election candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC), and a columnist with some of the national newspapers.

He was equally an international figure.  He was a former official of the African Development Bank Group and one-time deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
[Obadiah was  also the Chief of Staff of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the 79-nation multilateral development institution based in Brussels, Belgium.Mailafia was born on  December 24 1956 in  Randa in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State. His father ,Baba Mailafia Gambo Galadima ,was an Evangelist with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Central Nigeria (ERCC). Mailafia was brought up  as a missionary child in a multiracial environment. His parents later transferred to Murya, Lafia, in Nasarawa State, where he grew up. He started his elementary education at Musha Sudan United Mission School from 1964 to 1969 and proceeded to Mada Hills Secondary School, Akwanga from 1970 to 1974. While in school, he distinguished himself as  a keen sportsman, debater and scholar; winning the Commissioner of Education’s Award as the most outstanding pupil of the graduating class of 1974. For his ‘A’ Levels, he attended the School of Basic Studies (SBS) at Ahmadu Bello University,[abu] Zaria, between 1974 and 1975. He later graduated top of his class at ABU Zaria, in 1978 with a B.Sc. Honours Social Sciences degree (Politics, Economics and Sociology). He also obtained   M.Sc. from the same institution. He subsequently won a French Government Scholarship to France, where he earned a Certificate in French Language and Civilization from the University of Clermont-Ferrand in 1985. In 1986 he also earned the Diplôme (equivalent to an M.Phil.) in International economics from the Institut International d’Administration Public (IIAP), the international wing and sister institution of the prestigious École Nationale d’Administration (ENA) of France.Mailafia later proceeded to the United Kingdom as a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Scholar at Oriel College, earning a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1995.He  began his career teaching Government and Economics at Akoko Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi-Ikare in Ondo State, Nigeria between 1978 and 1979 as part of his primary assignment during his obligatory National Youth Service Corps[NYSC] . After national service he returned to his  alma mater, ABU, as a graduate assistant in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 1980 to 1982. During this period he lectured undergraduates and was also Research Assistant to Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who later became Foreign Minister and subsequently United Nations adviser for Political Affairs.From 1982 to 1989, Mailafia was a Fellow and sometime acting research director of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). Mailafia was resident tutor and lecturer in the economics and politics of developing areas at Plater College Oxford at the time an associate college of the University of Oxford. from  1995–1996 he was an assistant professor at New England College, Arundel, the foreign academic programme of New England College. He was subsequently a lecturer in international finance at Richmond Business School, the American International University in London  from (1997–1998). He was then headhunted as the pioneer head of the International Business Department of Regents Business School London ( from 1998–2000).From 2001 to 2005, Mailafia served as a chief economist in the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Department of the African Development Bank Group. He served both in Abidjan and in Tunis when the bank was temporarily relocated to Tunisia. In this capacity he was on several missions throughout Africa to supervise projects in power and infrastructures, agriculture industry. He was also the task manager for coordinating grants to research institutions throughout Africa, including such institutions as the Council for Social Science Research (CODESRIA),[13] African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)[14] and the African Capacity Development Foundation (ACBF). He drafted the Concept Note that was later adopted by the board of the AFDB, leading to the establishment of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and was also a Member of the AfDB and the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) Joint Committee that provided technical support to the steering committee of the heads of state and government on the establishment of NEPAD and its secretariat.From 2005 to 2007, Mailafia was recalled home from the ADB  to serve as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). In this capacity he served as a member of the board of directors of the bank and was principally responsible for managing monetary policy, economic policy, research and statistics and liaison with regional and international bodies, including the IMF and the World Bank. He was a principal actor in the banking consolidation exercise of 2005–2006 that led to the reform of the Nigerian banking sector. He oversaw the reduction of the number of commercial banks, through mergers and acquisitions, from 89 to 25 consolidated banks; an exercise that was widely regarded as one of the most successful such efforts anywhere in the developing world in recent times. He was also an active participant in the negotiations that led to Nigeria negotiating its way out of the Paris Club group of indebted nations.From 2010 to 2015, Mailafia was the Chief of Staff (Chef de Cabinet) to the 79-member nation African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States based in Brussels, Belgium. In this capacity he was the most senior adviser to the Secretary-General, overseeing the strategic management function; liaising with external partners such as the European Commission, European Parliament, European Investment Bank (EIB), UN agencies and the IMF and World Bank. He was involved in managing a portfolio of €22 billion of EU funding for ACP countries under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and €31.5 billion for the 11th European Development Fund covering the years 2015–2020. His work took him all over Africa, the Caribbean and the far-flung islands of the Pacific, where he canvassed for South-South cooperation, preaching the ideals of multilateralism, peace and international cooperation as the best hope for mankind.He later joined politics, and Mailafia ran for presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the 2019 presidential elections under the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).  

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The Northern Governors Forum[NGF]  has described his death  as a great loss to the nation as well as the entire Northern region.

In a statement , the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon  Lalong said the death of Dr Mailafiya is a sad development not only to his family, but to the nation because of his enormous contributions to the socio-economic pursuits of Nigeria.He said:  “The legacies of Dr Mailafiya will continue to be celebrated as he showed passion for development, emancipation, truth, justice and equity in all his interventions at various platforms.”Also, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom,  described the demise of the renowned banker as a great loss. Gov. Ortom said  the nation will greatly miss the contributions of Mailafia in the economic and political spheres of Nigeria, particularly at a time the country needs patriots in tackling the myriad of challenges confronting it. No doubt Mailafia will be greatly missed.

EDITORIAL

Ending the scourge of human trafficking in Nigeria

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By Shirgba Rosemary Awashima

The spate of human trafficking is becoming a big concern. Trafficking in persons is one of the most lucrative criminal markets globally.

In Nigeria, the trafficking in person by both domestic and cross-border method is taking a new dimension despite federal government effort to curbing the ugly trend.

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been making efforts to ensure trafficking cases are being investigated in close collaboration with other law enforcement agencies but more need to be done given then Nigerian citizens, especially girls are being affected.

There is no doubt that modern slavery is real and trafficking very much around us. Young people are dying daily and destinies being wasted.

Recently, luck ran out of a lady at Duku park in Makurdi, the Benue state capital (name withheld) why trying to traffick some girls in the name of given then better jobs in the city.

When asked about the lady who was trafficking them to Lagos, “The victims said a phone call was put across to them to call the lady in question and move with her to Lagos for a better life.” They added that some of them would move to even farther and better locations like Benin Republic, Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, etc.

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Sadly, there was one number for all of them as their next of kins. 

Speaking on the issue, a human right activist, Ukan Kurugh urged the management of transportation companies to be more proactive in their dealings with would be passengers because this has been ongoing for long now, and for a fact one is caught, many are around still.

He said, “The Nigerian Government indeed have a long way to go on trafficking. Modern slavery is real and young people, boys and girls need to know that, some of the area Uncles and Aunties that come with supposed help in one hand, have very big trouble in the other.

“Parents too need to be on the lookout and Please the government must check the borders, the situation is already terrible,” he added.

Although, the girls were lucky to have escape the trafficking, so many people are being lured into believing that they are being taken in the city or abroad in search of a greener pasture only to be turned into sex slaves and other means of exploitation.

Few days ago, the Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed said no fewer than 10,000 Nigerian girls are forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso.

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Ahmed went ahead to say the  victims of sex-trade were mainly underage girls kept in appalling conditions in Ouagadougou and in mining camps across the West African country.

Ahmed who had been in Burkina Faso since August 2017,  said  that over 200 Nigerian girls had been voluntarily repatriated this year.

According to the Ambassador,  many of the girls who were promised jobs in the country and Europe by the human traffickers are not willing to return home.

She was quoted saying, “The spate of human trafficking here in Burkina Faso is a big concern to the embassy because at present, we have nothing  less than 10,00 Nigerian girls who have been trafficked into Burkina Faso as commercial sex workers  and most of these girls are underage, most left school and are roaming about doing commercial sex work in Burkina Faso.

“This apart from been a dent to our country, it is also a sort of concern as far as their health is concerned, This is very serious to us and most of the girls who wants to go back as a result this voluntary repatriation do it because they were tricked, they did not know the condition there are going to found themselves here.

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Awashima is a Mass Communication student of Abubakar Tatari Ali polytechnic Bauchi

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EDITORIAL

2021:A year of Daunting Challenges for Nigeria

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As the year, 2021, winds to a close, Nigerians will  readily reflect on it as one of the worst in the annals of the nation’s history.

It was a year Nigerians faced numerous security problems, with a number of  challenges that were unprecedented in the history of the nation.

The nation also encountered economic challenges, with prices of food skyrocketing beyond the reach of the people, and in the process  increasing  the  poverty level of the country which has been dubbed infamously as the “Poverty Capital of the World” for the past three years .

Prices of staple food like rice, beans, garri, yams, etc increased by more than 100 pr-cent within the year.   On the front burner of the security challenges was the insurgency war in the North East which has been going on for more than eleven  years,  spearheaded by Boko Haram and the  Islamic State for the West African Province(ISWAP). 

Boko Haram alone  accounted for more than 35,000 deaths  in the North East region alone. But for the heroics of the nation’s military men and women, the story would have been worse.

To their credit, their fire power was so significant in the year that thousands of the insurgents surrendered to the nation’s Military. We therefore salute the gallantry of the men and officers of the nation’s Armed Forces for combating the twin insurgency groups whose  operations have been reduced from states like Yobe, Adamawa, but now consigned  to the Lake Chad Region .

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We are therefore advocating increased budgeting and financing for the Military to enable them finish the war of attrition against the nation, in the New Year.

Closely related to this was the increasing rate and frequency banditry and kidnapping took tolls on the nation, especially the Northern part of the country. States like Kaduna, Zamfara,Katsina,  and Sokoto were the worst affected. Some of these bandits have been linked to fleeing insurgents from the North East, , and the need for the Federal Government to take counter measures to halt their spread becomes inevitable. Sadly school children and their teachers were  targets of these unlawful elements.

The United Nations Children and Education Fund, UNICEF,  disclosed  that about 1,436 school children and 17 teachers were abducted from Nigeria schools between December 2020 and October 2021. It also disclosed that about 16 school children lost their lives in the process of their abduction within the same period.

Speaking in  similar    Save the Children International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said increasing cases of attacks on schools between 2020 and 2021  led to many schools being shut, thereby putting the education system of the country at “extreme risk.” Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, of the NGO stated this in the event  to mark the world second International Day to Protect Education from Attacks.

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Mercy Gichuchi its director in Nigeria  noted that “When education is under attack, a generation is attacked, and that  girls and women were  more vulnerable at times of attack putting them at a higher risk of trauma, fear, gender-based violence, physical and sexual abuse.Many cases of attacks by gunmen  were on schools in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger states, during which hundreds of students were abducted for ransom.

She further noted   with concern that  between 2015-2019, there were 100 reported attacks on schools in Nigeria. And that these  attacks have been on the increase between 2020 and 2021, which led to the closedown of many schools by the government due to fear of being attacked,” she said.

She revealed ,  that the  Democratic Republic of Congo, [DRC], Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Mali, and Libya have education systems that were  at “extreme risk” while Syria and Yemen followed  closely behind.

The  South East region of the country was also a boiling point in the year that is coming to an end with security problems traced to the Indigenous People of Biafra[IPOB] and its affiliate, Eastern Security Network(ESN).

Hundreds of civilians and and  security personnel lost their lives in some of the skirmishes in the area, caused mainly as a result of trouble between the people of the area and herders.

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While bidding farewell to 2021 with its numerous challenges, and difficulties witnessed by Nigerians, we are calling on the Federal Government to rise up and work towards making life  meaningful for the citizens. Of greater concern is the issue of security, which has to be addressed with all  seriousness to make the country safer and better place in 2022. 

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EDITORIAL

Children as Victims of Insurgency

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Nigerian children are passing through one of their most trying times in the nation’s history. Hardly does any day passes without reports of these young ones usually referred to as the leaders of tomorrow being kidnapped, raped and even killed by  bandits and terrorists in a society that is losing its moral direction.

More worrisome is the recent report by the United Nations Children Fund[UNICEF] that no fewer than  300,0000 children have been   killed, with more than one million of them displaced as a result of the the insurgency war being waged by Boko Haram in the North East in   the last 12 years.
        The Country Director of UNICEF, Mr Peter Hawkins , disclosed recently  that the European Union[EU] has finalished arrangements  for the  children in the war ravaged area to receive  psychological treatment as a result of the devastating effect of the crisis on the young Nigerians. Hawkins expressed regret that children continued to bear the brunt of  the war,  and as a result, the  United Nations’ organ  and EU were  working towards providing community-based psychological services aimed at improving the  children’s mental health.  He said a recent Mental Health and Psychological Support[MHPSS] needs  assessment  of conflict affected children  in the North East, and revealed  pervasive psychological problems  manifesting   as high levels of anxiety ,suspiciousness, ,anger, aggressiveness, and hyper  vigilance. Hawks maintained that the scars of conflicts are real and “attacks against children must stop immediately.” The report is a big blow on the nation, especially as it affects the upkeep of the young ones, for a nation riddled with numerous internal security challenges and crises. This is disturbing the more   because statistics from UNICEF earlier  had  it that ,  the current total for children under the age of five  stands at nearly 31 million, while each year at least  seven  million babies are born. While a little over one in three of Nigeria’s whole population lives below the poverty line, among children this proportion surges to 75 per cent. The recent UNIFEC reports, especially on the death of more than 300,000 children  and displacement  of more than 1 million of them as a result of more than a decade old insurgency calls for great concern.  No serious-minded nation will  afford to lose its young ones mindlessly as Nigeria is doing.  War Conventions mostly prohibit the killing of children, but it is a known fact in this country  these vulnerable ones are usually the targets of these senseless criminals and their sponsors. UNICEF Country Representative,  Mr Hawkins said  that these killings must stop, and the earlier this is done,  the better for  the nation. While we note that  the military is making a lot of sacrifice and commendable efforts, especially of recent  towards winning the war, it must ensure that priority attention is  given to the protection of the children in the crisis  prone areas. The Ministry of Health and other agencies should equally do the needful, and not leave  the psychological and other health issues arising from the war on the children to UNICEF alone.   They must play their part, and be seen to be doing so for the safety of the children and the nation as awhole.

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