How to transition your offline business online

By Rabiat Mustapha

The world as we all know has gone digital. Everything is now been done online, businesses are not left out of this. In the business world where technology dominates, business owners are beginning to understand the impact of an online presence for their business and how this could improve their brand growth, survival and profitability.T

echnology base marketing strategy are been employed to keep business activities afloat and increase brand visibility. With the substantial increase in the number of active social media users, businesses can reach out to their target customers online in no time and with little cost by having an online presence and visibility. Below are steps on how you can transition your offline business online;

MAKE RESEARCH ABOUT YOUR TARGET MARKET

So you’ve decided to move your business online, who are your target customers? What are they interested in? Why should they buy from you? What value are you offering? Identify their demographics and behavior and determine how your product will fit into their lifestyle. Having knowledge about this will help you understand their needs/wants and how you could modify your product or service to suit their needs.

KNOW YOUR COMPETITORS

Check out your competitors online selling the same product or offering the same service as you. Identify their strategies; who are their customers? What niche do they dominate? How do they attract their customer? e.t.c. An analysis of what your competitors are doing will give you an insight into the opportunities and threats in your industry and how you can position yourself effectively to stay ahead.

 CREATE A BUSINESS PROFILE ON SOCIAL PLATFORMS

Moving your offline business online means leveraging various social media platforms to reach out to you target market. First, you need to know what platform your target customers are more likely to utilize. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, PInterest are platform business owners could optimize in creating brand awareness for their business, expand their customer base and promote their activities.

CREATE QUALITY CONTENTS AND KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE ENGAGED 

Great content attracts the right audience who need your products and who are likely to patronize your business. Whatever content you create should be related to what product you sell or what service you offer. For instance, if you are a Financial Consultant and offer advisory service, you could create contents related to personal finance or on how people can invest their money with high return on invest within a specific period. When people see value in what you do, they are most likely to pick interest in your business profile giving you the opportunity to convert them into potential client.

INTEGRATE YOUR OFFLINE AND ONLINE BUSINESS

Your offline and online business should be identified as the one brand. Creating an online space for your business does not translate to ditching your offline business, both should be integrated to enable you reach several audience and build a trusted and reliable brand. You can also get your online customers engage in your offline business or persuade them to visit your offline store.

Secrets out: not COVID-19 but free studies in Italy

By Inyiama Neche

Although, Italy is recording it’s death in thousands due to the pandemic but we can’t overlook the truth that many don’t know about.

If you have probably followed me, you would know see this as the continuation of the abroad studies. And trust me, your curiosity won’t deteriorate because It would get more bigger and alive in you to see the truth of studying abroad no one will tell you.

So today, I will be laying out the secrets of studying abroad in Italy for free.

Studying in Italy is exciting experience with unique opportunity to immerse in Italian culture and reach out to the other parts of the world. Am sure you have heard of other free tuition in other popular country like Norway, Germany, Iceland etc but it’s with a lot of competition. So it’s probably harder to get into this popular countries than entering a university here in Nigeria.

That’s why I thought to share this secret many don’t know. Italy has good universities with best world ranking and good facilities a school should have, hence it’s gradually becoming an international destination. So you better grab a seat here before it’s full.


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Shocking!

Different provinces in Italy offer regional scholarship for every student for low income paid families to cover their tuition (be it a public or private university), feeding and accommodation. Shocked right?. There’s more to it.
Every student be it a foreigner from any country can participate in this so far you prove you are from low income earning family.

And how do you prove that?

Through the embassy in your country. The embassy in your country has to prove to them with just a confirmation you’re eligible for this scholarship.

Though, this secret is out but there are a lot of processes to take to get this and I promise I will discuss that next time.
At the main time, you can research more on this and inquire from the Italian embassy or consulate in Nigeria for more information on this.

Meanwhile, hit the comment button let’s hear your thoughts.

Six money traps to avoid in your 30s

By Akujor Clinton 

You indeed have witnessed the change in the life of a single, carefree college graduate into a serious future as you start a family and fulfill your job duties for the next stage of life. Your 30’s is the most important part of your life. At this stage of your life, you are mature and can make a huge difference.

Keeping your adulthood from entering middle ages warrant a change of priorities. Once you stop counting the days for the next paycheck, it’s time to start preparing the financial future. There are so many cash errors, and you can not even know it.

Don’t let your social responsibilities erase it now that you have a respectable salary. There are six money traps here, which you should stop in your 30s at all costs.

1. Buying a Car you can not afford

Don’t buy an expensive car today only to affect other expenses tomorrow. Citizens need travel, but there is so much price volatility that you must carefully invest. In the first year, a new car from the supplier loses about 30% of its value and half by the end of three years. Learning to secure and appreciate what we already have makes it easier to spend more on investment.

2. Buying a house that is too costly.

It may be a reasonable expense to own a house that raises its value, but there is a point of decreased returns. If you drink every penny, you get into a home mortgage that you can’t afford; there’s no room for emergencies left. Don’t spend more than 20% of your net worth to get a house. For example, if your annual income is one million naira, don’t spend more than two hundred thousand per year in getting a house. This is called the 20% rule.

A monthly payment you can hardly afford could, on average, weigh 30 years on your budget. Instead, keep an eye on the local market and buy if you can get a home at a moderate price.

3. Not Investing or Not Investing Enough.

While some people prioritize short-term investment gains, pension planning is a marathon, not a sprint. The faster you start, the more you can build up. Starting savings and retirement plans require the balance between covering your bills, reducing existing debt, and putting aside funds that will help you repay. Make sure you make the most of your 30s savings using the advantage of compound interest.

Life is moving fast, so you don’t want to miss your chances. Investing now gives you decades to develop expertise and trust and watch your money grow.

4. Not being Financially Literate

Smart money management isn’t always easy when you want to start a family, develop and appreciate the money you work for. You will have to make decisions that can affect your money’s short and long-term viability. Educate yourself on the money. Know how to read and interpret financial statements. Speak about money to your spouse and children

5. Not having Financial Goals

Make sure you have clear financial goals. Know how much you want to make and invest.

Most couples get married and know very little about financial habits. This money mistake extends to all generations who enter a partnership. Take the time to talk to your loved one about financial ambitions and spending habits before you tie the knot. The third leading cause of divorce is financial issues. A successful marriage is more complicated than managing assets, but merger financing can often be a challenge in the early years of a partnership. Make financial targets together and hold daily talks on monthly spending and accounts. This may take years to complete joint finances, so be flexible and prepared to negotiate if you both see the money differently.

6. Not having high-income skills

Strive to increase your active income. High-income skills involve generating income on your side. It is not a side hustle or company generated. It is transferable and can be learned personally. Use the internet to learn some of these skills today.

Most people at this stage don’t know how to develop high-income skills. While luckily, you avoided these financial traps in your twenties, in your thirties, there are a lot of cash errors! If you can avoid this trap, you can have financial success.

Life starts to take your 30s a little more seriously because you have more responsibilities at home and work on your shoulders. You can do both financially and emotionally by focusing on living within your means and making a plan for the future. Only note that time is the greatest asset you have. You still have decades to overcome any obstacles on the path known as life.

5 skills you should learn during this lock down

By Akujor Clinton 

Since the lock down was declared, everything in the country seems to be on standstill. Prior to the lock down everyone was busy; we now you have plenty of free time. What are you doing with it.

You have the choice to waste it or invest in learning valuable new skills. Thanks to the internet, now you can learn almost anything online.

Most jobs would become outdated by the time the lock down is over. Hence the more reason you need to acquire new valuable skills that will help you remain relevant in the business and work place. Even top company executives recommend that workers take on a new hobby or learn new skills.

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How should you go about learning a skill that would have an immediate impact after the lock down?

 First, the new skill should be practical. It should not take years to learn. Study at your own pace in the comfort of your home.

If your skill involves outdoor exercise, I advise you not to use it right now. Nonetheless, if you only want to discover a new talent that you can practice during the lock down, here are a few skills that you can learn online.

Coding

It does not extend to all IT workers, but you will undoubtedly use this enhancement in your current skills. People with coding skills will always be in demand. Think about companies and businesses that will begin to automate some of their operations and services.

Creation of content and copywriter

Businesses will always need copywriters. Content design is one of the most critical aspects of marketing, especially online. Because they use contents: images, videos, and written words to provide customers information on social media and e-mails.

Most businesses will need individuals who can create the right type of content to turn their audience to customers.

Digital Marketing

I want to encourage you to develop if you see your position as one based on achieving social goals. Facebook is situated at the crossroads of commercialization, customer experience and sales and is the source of useful business intelligence. More companies are focusing on digital marketing, selling things online.

Your ability to align your social strategy with more exceptional marketing and business goals can lead to the next stage of your career.

It is essential to understand other conventional and digital marketing approaches e-mail, conferences, lead generation, PR, and more. Such awareness will allow you to put your business socially in the broader sense of how your brand interacts with its users.

Sales Closing Skills

Regardless of the abilities and strategies of a sales person, closing a deal is and will always be a vital skill.

When the prospects are not turned to buyers, having a pipeline full of prospects would do little. The ability to close the deal would highly be needed in the job market.


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The closing of a transaction can be a daunting case. Not only does a sales specialist understand the expectations, preferences and concerns of the customer thoroughly, but also knows how their product or service meets those expectations.

In conclusion, these time can be tough, but use it to your advantage. Concentrate all your attention on success, and you will be shocked to see how easily the time passes.

There is an extensive range of free videos, applications and tools for learning any skill online. Start your search from Google and Youtube.

“Do you want to get rich”, it’s probably more easier than you think if you do this.

Ask a poor man why you want to get rich, they will give you all kind of answer but the point is clear that he clearly wants not to be poor again. There is a nasty feeling about being poor, everyone rejects but again most people who aspires to be rich don’t take the right action to become successful even when obvious they doing so but in the opposite way of success.

Confused right?, we will be discussing that today.

Clearly anyone that wants to make it must avoid these behaviors and habit. Although, not easy but the world never give you what you don’t fight for.
So, today make sure you get the right information to put up a good fight.
Coley an acknowledged business man based on USA speaks of eleven habits that obstruct sucess.

1 Gambling: “There is no such thing as getting rich quick,” Corley writes.
“Financial success takes time, takes initiative, and requires relentless effort, he continues. Those who gamble are deluded into thinking there is a shortcut to success. In his study, 52% of poor people gambled on sports at least once a week and 77% played the lottery every week. Conversely, 84% of rich people did not bet on sports and 94% did not play the lottery.“Self-made millionaires don’t pursue any get-rich quick schemes. Instead, they make a habit of pursuing their dreams and their goals.”


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2. EATING AN UNHEALTHY DIET: Don’t be surprised by this. Don’t you know the popular adage that says, “Wealth is money”. The value of your money is your health so doesn’t joke with this. Wealthy people value their health and in addition to eating healthy, they exercise consistently, sleep seven or more hours every night, and make a daily habit out of flossing.

3. DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL: While the occasional glass of wine or beer is fine, drinking too much could impede your chances of financial success. Drinking too much could affect your memory and ability to think clearly doesn’t advise good health.

4. HANGING OUT WITH TOXIC PEOPLE: Who you hang out with matters more than you may think. Eighty-six percent of the rich people made a habit out of associating with other success-minded individuals. They also make a point to limit their exposure to toxic, negative people. You are only going to succeed in life if you surround yourself with the right type of people.”

5.   WATCHING TOO MUCH TV: The rich would rather be educated than entertained. They replace TV time with reading, thinking, exercising, or any other form of self-education.“Making productive use of time is a hallmark of self-made millionaires,” Corley says.“Wasting time is a hallmark of poor people.”

6.    NEGATIVE THINKING: The problem for most people is that they’re completely unaware of their thoughts, positive or negative, he explains: “If you stop to listen to your thoughts, to be aware of them, you’d find most of them are negative. But you only realize you are having these negative thoughts when you force yourself to be aware of them. Awareness is the key.”

7. PROCRASTINATING: Procrastination “prevents even the most talented individuals from realizing success in life,” Corley writes. This goes hand-in-hand with author Napoleon Hill’s assertion that the wealthiest people are also the most decisive people.

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Whether you realize it or not, procrastination is a big reason why you are struggling financially in life. It damages your credibility with employers and fellow colleagues at work. It also affects the quality of your work and this affects the business you or your employer receives from customers, clients, and business relationships.

8. AVOIDING FEEDBACK: Fear of criticism is the reason we do not seek feedback from others but feedback is essential to learning what is working and what isn’t working. Feedback helps you understand if you are on the right track. Seeking criticism, good or bad, is a crucial element for learning and growth. Additionally, it allows you to change course and experiment with a new career or business.

9. OVERSPENDING: Spending more than you make is a surefire road to financial stress. Spending more than you make and putting saving on the back burner “creates long-term poverty, with no hope of escape,” he writes.

10. KEEPING A JOB YOU HATE: The wealthiest, most successful people pursue their passions. Passion trumps education, intelligence, skills, and any other advantage those who lack passion might have in life. Passion makes work fun. Passion gives you the energy, persistence, and focus needed to overcome failures, mistakes, and rejection. It infuses you with a fanatical tenacity that makes it possible to overcome obstacles and pitfalls that block your path.

11. STICKING TO YOUR COMFORT ZONE: We so desire to blend in, to acclimate to society, to be a part of the herd, that we will do almost anything to avoid standing out in a crowd. Yet failure to separate yourself from the herd is why most people never achieve success. While the average person finds peace of mind in familiarity, and hesitates to leave their comfort zone, rich people find comfort in uncertainty.

The pursuit of wealth requires that you take risks. Most don’t, and that’s why most are not wealthy.

Be wise and make wise decisions if you want to be rich.

You can be filthy rich if you want.Do you this is possible?Let’s hear your thoughts on this in the comment section.

Pedophiles are destroying the society

By Agbaka Gift Lynda

Pedophilia is a menace that has eaten deep into our society. It affects the general health, mental, academic and psychological stability of children thereby hindering adequate physical, moral and economic development in the Society.

Pedophilia is one of the current dangers we are facing in Nigeria and an adequate knowledge on how to combat this obstacle will lead to an all-round development of the society. Pedophilia can come in form of a rape or an act done willing but however, the willing child will not know the meaning and implications of what he or she  has agreed to do.

Who is a Pedophile?

A Pedophile is an adult above the age of 18 who is sexually attracted to children way below his/her age. These are mature adults that take advantage of little children below the age of proper reasoning. Pedophiles include fathers, mothers, religious leaders, teachers, family relations, neighbours and any other mature adults living in the society.

Instances of cases of pedophilia include: A man of ninety (90)  years raping a child of six(6) years, an uncle of thirty (30) having canal knowledge of a baby of nine(9)months, a school teacher defiling the pupils/students under his care, a religious leaders taking advantage of his young church member, a domestic staff sexually abusing the child under his/ her care, a mature neighbour defiling a little child kept under his/her care,  admist other similar cases.

These mature adults know the implications of their actions but tend to cease the opportunity of the innocence and  ignorance of these minors placed under their care. It is pathetic how these dogs tend to enjoy the bones tied around their own necks for safe keeping. The rate at which pedophilia is increasing in Nigeria is alarming and if something is not drastically done about it, many lives of naive children will be ruined and it will hence keep contributing to moral decadence in the society.

Reasons/ Causes of Pedophilia

1. Lack of self control of the adults: when a mature adult lacks control and desires to have sexual knowledge of everyone he or she sees.

2. Ignorance of children: many children don’t understand the meaning and implications of what they are made to do.

3. Failure to teach children sex education: when children are not properly educated on sex, they are left to be taught wrongly by other people. You can simplify sex education to suit the age of the child to be prepared in case of mishaps.

4. Diabolic purposes: some adults engage in this act as instructed to them by evil people. They do it only as a means of sacrifice for evil reasons.

5. Excessive trust on certain individuals: when as a parent, you have so much trust on certain individuals not actually trustworthy, and leave your kids under their care.

6. Always silencing children whenever they want to talk.

7. Not having a good bond with your child: This prevents them from opening up to you in cases of such.

8. Raising children that lack self- confidence.

These and many more are the possible reasons/ causes of pedophilia in our society.

Effects of pedophilia on children

Children who have in one way or the other being sexually abused usually suffer from the  following effects:

1. The children usually become withdrawn from others.

2. Their psychological life is affected.

3. Inferiority complex sets in.

4. Lack of self confidence

5. Poor academic performance

6. Inability to trust people anymore.

Children sexually abused usually have one or more of the above listed effects on them.

Ways to combat this menace

Here are the ways to fight against pedophilia as a parent, child, government and responsible adult in the society:

1. Children should be taught sex education early enough in life. As a parent, try to look for a simplified way of instilling this knowledge in the children otherwise, wrong values will be taught to them by irresponsible adults. Government should also include sex education in the curriculum of children so as to be taught early enough before they can come across such suitation.

2. Parents should bond well with their children. This will keep the channel of communication open, so that they can feel free to tell you anything bothering them.

3. Never train children by constantly silencing keep. This affects their self confidence as they grow.

4. Adults should be encouraged to have self control.

5. Parents shouldn’t trust certain individuals as to leave them in custody of their kids. These people are always the first to defile the children.

6. Government should make sure that pepetrators of such acts don’t go scot free. They should be duely punished to serve as a deterrent to others.

7. Children should be taught to speak out in case of an attempt.

8. Parents should teach their female children not to be too attached to any male adults. 

9. Parents shouldn’t accept any adult to refer to his or her child as ” my wife” or ” my husband”. This can send wrong interpretation to the child who may now actually begin to perform the role of a husband or wife to the adult.

10. Children should be taught never to accept unnecessary gifts from adults. These gifts can serve as a bait to keep luring the children to them and also to make them feel indepted to those adults.

11. CCTV cameras should be mounted in schools and homes where there are care givers to monitor the relationship between the children and these adults.

12. Children should be monitored closely at all times.

13. Teach your children not to believe that all adults are always right and are to be trusted. They should know that some adults are irresponsible and shouldn’t be trusted.

In conclusion, pedophilia is a serious crime that shouldn’t be taken lightly because it destroys the entire personality of the child, but if we join hands together to combat this evil, our society will become a better place. 

“We are suffering here” – Nigeria BEA scholarship recipients in Russia complains

By Inyiama Neche

Over the years, the BEA scholarship has become very challenging contest for Nigerians. Nigeria has Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) with non-speaking English countries like Egypt Ukraine, Turkey, Serbia, China, Macedonia, South Korea, Romania and Russia which many Nigerians participate in.

Nigeria pays for the student allowances like textbook, feeding, housing, medical insurance etc while the host country waves off the school fees and receives them. Among this host countries, Russia is the most choosen destination for Nigerians and has taken more than half scholarship receipent each year.


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The Nigeria president union of students in Russia has written telegram to Nigeria complaining they haven’t receive their student allowances resulting to them working in cold odd hours to survive. Some have been even chased out of their hostels because they haven’t paid. The lists goes on how they are being mis-treated in Russia.

Director, Federal Scholarship Board, said efforts were being made to pay the students their outstanding arrears. Ndajiwo said the board had forwarded memos to the Central Bank of Nigeria to start payment of both 2017 and 2018 arrears of the stipend.“The arrears will be paid to the scholars bank accounts,” she promised.

NAN reports that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, during a news conference in Abuja on Thursday also assured the students that their arrears will be paid. Adamu said the Federal Government was committed to fulfilling its financial obligations to students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees both at home and abroad.

He said: “On our part, we will do our utmost best to meet our obligations arising from all bilateral agreement as much as circumstances will permit.

They have said but we are still waiting until the issue remains passive.What’s your thoughts on this?.Hit the comment button to voice your opinion on this.We would appreciate your opinion on this.

Tonto declares to do what the Federal government failed to do

By Agbaka Gift Lynda

The iconic nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh, the self- declared female king, has proven very useful to the society since the advent of the dreaded COVID 19 as she is set to disinfect three states entirely in Nigeria.

Since the outbreak and spread of the Corona virus, Tonto through her foundation, The Tonto Dikeh Foundation, and that of her son, King Andre Dikeh Foundation has been of immense help to the society.

On a daily basis, she distributes food items including bags of rice, eggs, noodles, bread, bags of water, oil, tin tomatoes etc to the less privileged on the streets. She feeds the poor street children daily, by giving them plates of cooked food with other items.

Yesterday, she announced via Instagram, that she intends to disinfect three states in Nigeria from her private pocket. She called on the general public to recommend any fumigation companies they know to
contact her for the contract. She said that she intends to do this as part of her support to the federal government to fight the Covid 19.

She also said that even if we succeed in killing the virus in the body and return to the streets, that we will still contract this virus. Hence, to completely kick out this virus, the streets too must be disinfected.

She intends to lend a helping hand to the government by disinfecting three states completely in Nigeria.

Some of the states she has in mind are:
Rivers state
Imo state
Delta state and
FCT.

Isn’t this lady an angel?

Furthermore, Tonto has received national applaud for her kind gestures which she does single-handedly.

However, Tonto has faced several challenges in the cause of her good deeds. She and her foundation team were attacked by hoodlums that made away with lots of their relief packs leaving them stranded with slight bruises. But this didn’t stop her from continuing to touch lives through give aways.

Today, she took to her Instagram page to complain about how their foundation is faced with the challenge of crowd. She said that the crowd never listens to her orders despite the fact that security personnels are on ground. They overcrowd her thereby disobeying the need for social distance. In fact, they pulled down her gate, rushed in and took away all that she intends to distribute to people. She confirmed that the crowd left her and her team hurt today. They never cared about her or her safety, all that mattered to them was to flee with her stuffs. But this Angel said that it would not stop her from continuing with her charitable deeds.
She put her life at risk just to give back to the society.

In a nutshell, Tonto is an angel in disguise, no matter her past or escapades with her ex- husband and her relationship with Bobrisky, I think she still has a heart of gold for she intends to do what even the federal government have not done for Nigerians. If every rich person out there can be like her, then the world would certainly become a better place for us all.

I can’t be the only one who is enjoying the little things

Ifound a bottle of multipurpose antibacterial spray the other day. It was in the cupboard under the kitchen sink, hidden at the bottom of a box of random dishwasher tablets, J-cloths and Marigolds that I had been rummaging through in the hope of finding a pan scourer. When I saw it, I could barely believe it. I picked it up and I turned it again and again in my hands, as if to check it was actually real. When it dawned on me that it was, I leapt up and started to dance.

‘Harry!’ I shrieked up the stairs, bouncing as I did so. ‘Harry! Guess what? I’VE FOUND SOME MULTIPURPOSE ANTIBACTERIAL SPRAY!’

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Harry was as thrilled as I was. Even Edie got excited.

It was the 10th birthday of a neighbour last week. That day, at 11am, we all went into our back gardens and sang her Happy Birthday, a slight twist on the weekly applauding of the emergency services and key workers that we – like most of Europe – do every Thursday at 8pm. My daughter’s seventh birthday occurred a couple of days later. I sent out a note to the street WhatsApp group and everyone went into their gardens and did the same. I cried – obviously – big, splodgy tears of joy.

The night before our daughter’s birthday, my husband and I stayed up late baking a cake. It was the worst cake that had ever been baked in the history of the entire world, but we laughed a lot doing it, and it tasted sugary and chocolatey, so she didn’t really care what it looked like.

We completed a 1,000-piece jigsaw recently. The euphoria was such that I actually felt high.

We appear to have trained the guinea pigs to dance to Dolly Parton. Don’t ask me to explain: just believe that it is true.


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Before this, before the world as we knew it changed – and my goodness, that was only three or four weeks ago – I sometimes had to run at least 13 miles to make myself feel joyous. I needed to be planning an exotic holiday, or asking myself what my next career goal was, to get the sense that I was achieving things.

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Now? Now, all it takes is a bottle of Dettol, or a neighbour being kind, and I can go to bed feeling like I have won the lottery. This crisis has recalibrated expectations; it has shown us that, really, the only thing that matters is our health, and the health of our loved ones. Everything else can wait. Everything else feels somehow woolly and unimportant.

It is the small things that make a difference, the tiny acts of kindness from neighbours and friends, the realisation that you will never again take for granted a phone call from your mum and dad. The bigger picture has changed, yes. But now, more than ever, the little things have the power to bring great joy, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Diddy proves he’s Tiwa Savage’s biggest fan

Guess who was equally excited to “virtually party” with Tiwa Savage? It was American rapper/business mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Last year, Tiwa was among several other industry stakeholders that attended the AT &T Revolt Summit in Atlanta where she met her biggest fan, Diddy, and he was really excited at meeting the music star.

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It was a fun Easter celebration for Tiwa Savage as she went on InstaLive to celebrate with American rapper Diddy.

When Tiwa Savage asked Diddy when he will be in Nigeria, Diddy revealed he would love to organise a concert in Africa soon and bring American, Nigerian and other African artistes to perform together.

And, of course, Diddy proved he’s a big fan of the queen by jamming to her hit song, “Attention“.

Watch Tiwa Savage and Diddy on IG Live here!

Shaping Africa’s urban areas to withstand future pandemics

Urban areas are a fertile ground for contagion
Getty Images

By Astrid R.N. Haas, International Growth Centre

The power of cities comes from the number of interactions they enable, between people, firms and markets – they are centres of social interaction. For all their virtues, however, cities have a major downside. They are a fertile ground for contagion, such as the rapid spread of COVID-19.

This is because cities are by definition places of density, with large numbers of people living and interacting in close proximity. Furthermore, many cities are deeply embedded in national, regional and global networks. This is embodied by infrastructural features such as airports, ports and other transport terminals ferrying goods and people at a high frequency. As such, the potential for transmission rates of COVID-19 within them may be far higher relative to national averages.

This is aptly illustrated by New York City, which already accounts for approximately half of all known cases in the US. Perhaps even more shocking, it accounted for 5% of all confirmed cases in the world – and it is just one city of about 8.6 million people.

Contagion in African cities

Given the characteristics of many African cities, the situation, without appropriate mitigation measures, could be far worse. For example, density levels in certain parts of African cities, most notably in slums and other informal settlements, may be even higher than New York’s. It is estimated that about 2/3rds of Nairobi’s population lives on just 6% of its land. In Kampala, 71% of households sleep in a single room.

These congested settlements have few amenities. Only an estimated 56% of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa have access to piped water. And even those with access, they can spend 30 minutes or longer sourcing it.

This begs the question whether frequent hand-washing – one of two of the main measures to prevent transmission – is even feasible. The same goes for social distancing, the second recommended preventative measure, both given density and also because it runs contrary to many African societal norms, which are inherently deeply communal.

At the same time, one of the drivers of rural-urban migration in Africa is the relatively better access to services in the city. This includes health services. Data from the countries with already well-developed and funded health systems show that they are experiencing immense strain with COVID-19 patients. In the US, it is predicted that at least 200,000 intensive care unit (ICU) beds will be needed in the case of a moderate outbreak. The whole of Uganda on the other hand has 55 ICU beds in 12 operational units. It is clear that with similar infection rates African health systems would collapse. Yet people are still more likely to be treated in urban areas. In Uganda’s case, 80% of these ICU beds are located in Kampala.

Economic distress from lockdowns

To reinforce social-distancing, many governments in Europe and US are enforcing strict temporary lockdown measures. African governments, which still lag behind in terms of the known infection rate, are quickly following suit – some with even harsher measures. Given that urban centres are major economic nodes they will naturally bear a disproportionate economic burden of any lockdowns. This effect will rapidly percolate through the whole economy.

Urban dwellers working in the informal sector will be the first and potentially some of the hardest hit. About 85% of workers do not receive a reported wage. Rather in many African cities, the majority earn their daily keep from the informal service sector, particularly selling or providing manual labour. Here there is no option to work from home: both because of the lack of necessary infrastructure such as power and more importantly because their jobs are predicated on face-to-face interactions.

Even though they are working, their daily earnings are small. In Kampala, for example, a survey of informal sector firms showed that 93% of them are already operating below the poverty line. Therefore lockdowns, for these populations, will mean not earning a wage and affect their survival.

This is exacerbated as urban populations are largely beholden to food prices, given in general they are not able to grow their own food. Early indications already show that some countries like Ghana have seen rise in food prices by nearly 30% already due to panic buying and disruptions in food supply chains.

This is particularly worrisome for some countries already concerned about a food crisis this year, due to the plague of locusts affecting supplies. With the timelines of the overall COVID-19 crisis remaining unclear, feeding one’s family, particularly in urban areas, with no income and rising prices is already becoming an increasing struggle.

Lockdowns may support curbing transmissions, but by potentially pushing millions more people across the continent below the poverty line, it could have other detrimental, and potentially worse, longer-lasting effects beyond the health impact. Therefore, reshaping African cities in the pandemic’s aftermath to ensure they can be engines of economic growth in the future, will be key.

Shaping the urban future

Cities across the globe and throughout history have adapted and reinvented themselves in the face of crisis and disaster. Some analysts are predicting that cities in the US, will emerge and be reshaped by this crisis, for example, as a result of people working from home. This means the need for centrally located offices will diminish.

The nature of jobs is different in African cities. Working from home is not likely to be an option. Rather, it may even be that, in the aftermath of the crisis, rural-urban migration actually increases as people flock to cities in search of more economic opportunities.

Preparing for this by ensuring urbanisation is well managed will be critical to providing the engine to ramping up national economic growth.

A critical element of this and in particular to prepare for the next pandemic, is the need for cities to invest in productive infrastructure, focused on improving health outcomes. This includes water and sewage infrastructure as well as increasing the number of health facilities.

The density of cities that make them susceptible to disease, also make them more efficient to provide infrastructure to a large number of people. In managing and shaping Africa’s urban future there should be a central role for public health officials, working alongside planners, economists and others. This can help reduce the potential of contagion whilst maintaining the power of cities.

Astrid R.N. Haas, Policy Director, International Growth Centre

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

What drives abuse of women in childbirth? here’s what care givers told us

A healthcare worker examining a pregnant woman.
GettyImages

By Patience Afulani, University of California, San Francisco

Disrespect and abuse during childbirth are a violation of women’s human rights. Women deserve care that maintains their dignity, ensures their privacy and confidentiality and is free from mistreatment and discrimination.

Most research has, quite rightly, focused on the perspectives of women. However, it’s also essential to get a better understanding of what drives providers toward this behaviour. To better understand the dynamics, we conducted research with providers in 18 facilities in rural Kenya.

Most providers we spoke to reported that women were mostly treated with respect. But some acknowledged instances of verbal and physical abuse and lack of privacy and confidentiality. We identified several drivers of this behaviour.

The drivers

Verbal and physical abuse appeared to be an expression of both helplessness and an exercise of power.

The most common reason given for abuse was that they “had to do it” to save the baby when the woman was uncooperative or difficult. Examples of what made women “difficult” included not following instructions, refusing exams or aspects of care, screaming too much, wanting to deliver on the floor or being disrespectful to providers.

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Providers said they sometimes felt overwhelmed when they felt the baby might die because of a woman’s lack of cooperation. They then reacted by being verbally or physically abusive.

Another major contributor cited by the providers was stressful work conditions and burnout. Issues raised included high workloads due to staff shortage, a lack of essential supplies and medicines, women presenting for labour without the recommended items and language barriers.

As one provider put it:

You can find yourself on night duty at the same time you are covering daytime, and so you can’t get good services that you want to give a client because you are exhausted.

Another factor was the culture within a facility, and if providers were held accountable. For example, providers thought disrespect and abuse were more likely at night when providers were often alone and would not be held accountable. Unfortunately, when providers were punished for abuse they would often just transfer to another facility.

Providers also cited poor infrastructure and lack of supplies and medications. It was sometimes difficult to maintain women’s privacy and confidentiality because of small labour wards and a lack of privacy screens. Women had to bring their own supplies like sanitary pads and detergents, and those who didn’t bring their own sheets were sometimes left uncovered.


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Community expectations of “free maternity care” under Kenya’s maternal health policy sometimes created tensions between providers and women and their families because they did not think they should have to bring their own supplies.

Few providers admitted that abuse was their own responsibility. However, a few acknowledged that disrespect and abuse were sometimes due to provider attitudes and temperament. Provider attitudes were attributed to stress, lack of motivation, ignorance, lack of training or just being human.

They also acknowledged that treatment differed based on a range of factors such as personal connections, wealth, social status, education, empowerment, age and ethnic affiliation. As one provider put it:

Some is just physical appearance, you just get in and everybody is in love with her and the other one comes in and everyone is like oooh nobody bothers to attend to her, but mostly it is race and financial status.

What next?

These findings suggest that disrespect and abuse are driven by difficult situations – real or perceived – in the health system as well as the socio-cultural environment.

Interventions need to tackle multiple intersecting factors. This should include empowering providers with the skills to manage difficult situations. Training should also aim to help providers to develop positive coping mechanisms and to identify and curb the effects of their biases.

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It will take time, motivation, practice and reinforcement to develop providers’ interpersonal skills and change their attitudes. Training to prevent disrespect should be part of both pre-service and in-service training. Providers should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to pursue alternative ways to deal with difficult situations, as well as unreasonable expectations of women in labour.

For example, providers who were more aware of women’s rights had changed their behaviour. Some said they had stopped pinching women since going to training and, as one person put it,

left the barbaric old way of nursing.

Beyond training, action is needed to address factors that contribute to stressful work conditions, such as staff shortages, lack of supplies and medicines, and poor facility infrastructure. Accountability mechanism are also needed. Improving the work environment and changing the culture of facilities and health systems are essential to ensuring every woman receives dignified and respectful care during childbirth.

Patience Afulani, Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Lagos lockdown hits hard on homeless citizens

Residents of Abule Ado, in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, have been hit hard by the ongoing lockdown after their houses were destroyed in an explosion in March, caused by a lorry hitting some gas cylinders.

The homeless people have had to sleep outside or in crowded houses disregarding advice from the World Health Organization on social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Lagos, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, is on a two-week lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce its spread.

Peace Dim, a young mother of two whose house was destroyed in the explosion, has been living in a crowded house with other families that were affected.

Social distancing is not an option for her as it is more important for her to have a roof over her children’s heads.

“In this house now, we have three married men whose wives are squatting elsewhere, two bachelors, a spinster, including myself, my children and a friend’s child. The son of the man who owns the house is also here,” she said.

Joseph Ojukwu was a landlord with six apartments and six shops blocks but now he lives in a friend’s house.

“I now sleep on a friend’s couch,” Mr Ojukwu said..

He was forced to send his wife and children back to the village to avoid overcrowding his friend’s house.

There are 254 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria and there have been six deaths caused by the virus.

Coronavirus: Nigeria’s mega churches adjust to empty auditoriums

By Nduka Orjinmo

The auditoriums of Nigeria’s mega churches are empty and their gates are shut as they are forced to observe a government ban on large gatherings to halt the spread of coronavirus.

But it took not only threats, but force and arrests for the message to get across.

In some cases those in charge of making the churches bolt their doors turned to the scriptures.

“May I use the words of [Prophet] Mordechai: ‘For such as time as this we do what is appropriate,'” said the leader of an enforcing team in the capital, Abuja, as he arrested a pastor in front of his congregation.

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Dressed all in black, had he had a collar he would have passed for a preacher with his baritone voice and gesticulations.

The pastor he led out of the church, donned in a burgundy-coloured suit, shiny black shoes and with hair that glowed in the sun, looked like many of those who now lead huge congregations in the West African nation.

These preachers have changed the face of Christianity in Nigeria – with their evangelical sermons, prophecies and promises of miracles.

Conspiracy theories

One of the most famous of these is TB Joshua, who last month claimed to be divinely inspired, predicting that the coronavirus pandemic would be over by 27 March, several days before a lockdown was imposed on the states of Lagos, Ogun and the capital, Abuja.

TB Joshua is one of Nigeria’s most flamboyant and controversial pastors

“By the end of this month, whether we like it or not, no matter the medicine they might have produced to cure whatever, it will go the way it came,” he said to applause from his congregation.

When 27 March passed the TV evangelist found himself mocked for his “false prophesy”.

But he defended himself – once again to cheers from worshippers – by saying: “What I meant was that the virus would be halted where it began, and in Wuhan it has stopped.”

Other pastors have been accused of flying in the face of the authorities and spreading fake news, impeding efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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The biggest controversy has been caused by Christ Embassy pastor Chris Oyakhilome, who in a video post that went viral, linked the virus to 5G networks and alleged that it was part of a plot to create a “new world order”.

Such views have been widely condemned by scientists, who say the idea of a connection between Covid-19 and 5G is “complete rubbish” and biologically impossible.

Online prayer services

For some Christians, especially those who belong to the dwindling pews of the Anglican and Catholic churches, more needs to be done to weaken the influence of the mega pastors who exploit vulnerable people.

Church advertising online services
Image captionMany worshippers say they miss going to church, especially over the Easter period

“Those that sell us the miracle waters, the holy oils and all that, this is the time to prove it,” said Blessing Ugonna, a woman I met in Lagos.

But many of the mega churches, which run multi-million dollar business empires, have adapted to the changes brought about by the virus.

They are streaming prayer services online, and some families are trying to create an atmosphere at home by dressing up in their Sunday outfits with the head of the household even collecting “offerings” – or money – from the rest of the family to give to their church.

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The churches are also making donations to the government and financially stricken worshippers in a move that is likely to see them retain popularity.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye – the head of Redeemed Christian Church of God that has a branch in almost every street in mainly Christian cities and towns in southern Nigeria – has donated 200,000 hand gloves, 8,000 hand sanitisers, 8,000 surgical face masks to the Lagos state government..

And the Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention Church – whose self-styled prophet Chukwuemeka Odumeje once caused a stir on social media for wrestling a congregant he claimed to be possessed by a demon – has earned some praise on Twitter for giving food to people who risk hunger during the two-week lockdown.

Twitter post by @chinochinwa: The devil you know is quite better than the Angel you don't know.... It doesn't matter how people see this man, Odumeje   Odumeje shared not less than 500 cartons of Indomie,3000 tubbers of yam, rice and other food items not only for his church members but anywhere you come.
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Empty streets on Holy week

Nevertheless, many Christians still yearn to go to church – and last Sunday was particularly difficult for them as it was Palm Sunday.

A man enacting Jesus Christ receives a beating as he carries a cross during a procession to mark Good Friday in Lagos, on April 14, 2017.
Image captionHoly week processions, like this one pictured in 2017, have been banned

Usually, the streets of Lagos are packed on the day, with processions being held as the faithful wave palm leaves and re-enact Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem days before his crucifixion.

The streets were empty this year – just as they are likely to be over the Easter weekend.

But I did bump into a group of four – three women and a man – returning from a small service held in someone’s home.

Women who went to a service at home
Image captionThese three women attended a service at a private residence in Lagos

When I asked them why they had ignored advice to pray alone in their own homes, one of them replied: “Even the Bible said that where two or three are gathered, He is there in their midst. The Bible did not say one person.”

‘Prayer warriors’

I then went to the headquarters of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, known for its intense prayer sessions, in Ogun state.

The security guards told me there was no service.

“Not even an online service?” I asked.

“Not even online,” one of them, dressed in a lemon-coloured vest, replied.

“So how are people keeping the faith?” I inquired.


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He dug into his bag and put a booklet into my hands.

“That’s what they are reading while the lockdown lasts,” he said, before walking away and shutting the gate with more force than was required.

The 60-page booklet was called Thirty Days Prayer Retreat – with recitations from the books of the Bible.

It will not be surprising if the “prayer warriors”, as the church calls some of its worshippers, complete it during the 14-day lockdown, rather than in a month.

How can breastfeeding affect the shape, size of your breasts?

Conventional wisdom now says that breastfeeding is one of the best ways to ensure that your baby is getting the nutrients that he or she needs, especially during those critical first 6 months of life.

Sadly, many women avoid breastfeeding because they’re under the impression that breastfeeding can have a negative effect on their body – that their breasts will sag or droop because of nursing.

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But does breastfeeding affect the shape and size of your breasts?

Breastfeeding mamas rejoice! Science says no.

It’s actually a myth that breastfeeding changes the shape and size of your breasts – the changes that breastfeeding mums observe is actually a byproduct of pregnancy, not breastfeeding.

During pregnancy, your body, including your breasts, will start to change to prepare for the arrival of the little one. With heightened levels of estrogen and progesterone, you may notice that you can go up several cup sizes. In fact, some of these changes can occur as early as a few days after conception! Your breasts will start to become larger to prepare your body for breastfeeding. Your nipples and areola may also start to get darker.

The effect of breastfeeding on breast aesthetics.

A 2008 study shows that breastfeeding was not found to be an independent risk factor for breast ptosis, more commonly known as breast sagging.


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The factors that did impact whether a woman’s breasts will sag postpregnancy were identified as greater age, higher body mass index, greater number of pregnancies, larger pre-pregnancy bra size, and smoking.

Your breasts are made up of fatty breast tissue and connective tissue known as Cooper’s ligaments. As your breasts increase in size during and after pregnancy, the connective tissue will stretch to accommodate for these changes.

When you stop breastfeeding, your breasts should start to return to their prepregnancy size. There may be some stretch marks left over as a legacy of the pregnancy, but generally, there is no need for any sort of medical intervention.

What can I do to prevent my breasts from sagging?

Stay healthy, eat well, and maintain a healthy weight

Based on the results of the study, it’s very important for mums to maintain a healthy body mass index, even before she becomes pregnant. The state of your health prior to pregnancy can impact how well you recover after.

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There are some experts that promote eating pomegranate for breast firmness, as it’s rich in nutrients that can lead to firm breasts.

Drink lots of water

Of course! Water is the heart of life and can have positive benefits for breast firmness as well. When you’re not well hydrated, it can make the skin over your breast look shrunken and lead to premature aging. If this goes on for an extended period of time, it can make your breasts lose its firmness.

Stop smoking

It’s also very important to stop smoking. Not only does smoking increase your chance of breast sagging, but your baby’s SIDs risk also increases dramatically. If both parents smoke, baby’s SIDs risk is 3 and a half times higher than if neither parent smokes.

Wear well-fitted bras

You can make sure that you are supporting your breasts with a well-fitted bra. Wearing a bra that fits well can keep your breasts firm AND make sure that your back is well supported.

Need help? Don’t fret!

In doubt that breastfeeding may affect the shape and size of your breasts? Please refer to a lactation consultant, who can offer you more personalised advice according to you and your baby’s situation.

This article was first published on AfricaParent.com

The ugly sides of skin bleaching

By Ezinne Success

No one falters the notion, that good looks – skin care giving, is a category of business, in and of itself. The craze to have an untainted, ageless and a possibly sun-kissed skin, fuels people to taking unthinkable measures towards its acquisition.

Contrariwise, there is a boundary, as it were, in such quest. The availability of a vast range of skin care products, which contain nocuous chemicals, constitute serious damage to the skin, and generally affect a balanced health.

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The search for a true and fine-toned skin, admirable by all, have driven people to procuring products, which transmogrifies the natural skin colour, with the unhealthy chemical substances therein. The products containing these substances, most times do not go through the required safety measures, before being let out to the market. Owing to this, the natural state of the skin’s complexion, is unguardedly altered, with regular application.

As much as there may be attempts to run off from the consequences of altering the skin’s colour, they are always bare, and cannot be dodged. The temporary seeming benefits of this act, breeds umpteenth and lasting side effects, not only to the exterior body parts, but also the internal organs, generally.


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These aftereffects, made realized by noxious chemicals are Hydroquinone, Tretinoin, Kojic Acid, Niacinamide USP, Mercury etc. They pave way for the unhindered susceptibility of the skin to somewhat irreversible consequences, further highlighted.

Premature Skin Aging: The protracted use of skin care products which are abundant in these harsh chemicals, have the chance of causing the skin to wear the face of an aged granny. It exposes the skin to quickly wearing away, at a point it’s meant to be sheen and alive. In a world where everyone seeks to have an appearance likened to that of a day old baby, it is only best abstaining from products with these substances.

Skin Cancer: With regular and prolonged application of these products, there is an increased possibility of contracting cancer of the skin. This however, is quickened due to the exposure of the skin to sunlight. The presence of hydroquinone which inhibits melanin production and removes the top layer of the skin, makes this possible. It has also been validated to cause leukaemia in mices and some animals. For this reason, certain countries have banned its use, due to the life-threatening health challenges.

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Kidney, Neurological and Psychological Problems: Most skin care products have Mercury as its active ingredient, and this poses deadly risks to the body. The chances of getting high blood pressure, excessive fatigue, numbness of a particular body area and sensitivity to sunlight, are as a result of this specific agent. This makes it commonly regarded as Mercury Poisoning.

Skin Infection: Certain skin products are composed of steroids which are harmful to the skin in diverse ways. These lightening chemicals cause skin disease, thinning, acne and poor wound healing. The steroids if applied in large portions of the skin, will be absorbed into the body, eventually leading to internal dysfunction of vital organs.

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Irritation from Allergies: Skin bleaching have adverse reaction on the outer skin layer. Asides the irritation it gives, rashes, burning sensation, flaky or dry skin leading to cracks and peeling, profuse redness, swollenness, are side effects. All these are realized, due to constancy of the application. Consequently, the skin opposes any slight atmospheric and environmental change, normal or strange, contrary to what it originally experienced.

Uneven Colouration: The use of bleaching products expose the skin to an ununiform colouration. A part of the skin tends to blend while another portion remains dormant or unyielding. This is one reason the knuckles, knees and elbows of people who apply lightening creams, get relatively darkened, without any hope of it conforming with other areas of the body. This skin discolouration, is most times untreatable.

Common fears of living in Lagos

By Ezinne Success

Being one of the major hub of commercial activities in Nigeria, Lagos presents heightened opportunities to people of several tribes, which has contributed to the always increasing influx of individuals, overtime.

It is a state where the craze to succeed is at an all-time high, which contains virtually every ethnic group across the country, and deemed as everyone ‘s perfect choice.

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With the colossal spread of firms, industries, companies, institutions, vacation sites and every other gripping establishment, citizens from near and distant states get relatively attracted and consider the option of migration. Be it as it may, the greener pastures in Lagos is not without equivalent clogs.

There is a fixed phobia in the hearts of most indwellers in Lagos, which possibly stands as a deterrent to those who consider the thought of relocation. A host of these factors are carefully stated. 

1. Human Congestion: This is the dominating factor upon which others cling to. The presence of too many humans from several cultures of life, is a major fear that inhabits the minds of those who live in Lagos. This causes overpopulation and an instant upsurge and struggle for the essentials of life, thereby making opportunities limited to few individuals. The thought of either temporarily or indefinitely changing environment to Lagos, will be a nightmare for persons who have phobia for crowded places. Even though the chances of succeeding in an any enterprise is on a very high scale, one would always have to combat the issue of overpopulation. 


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2. Traffic Block: Here is nearly an unkillable fear, resident in the hearts of every single Lagosian. As a result of the ever booming population, there is direct influence on the movement of man and goods. This is the cause many who work in distant places wake and set out as early as the hour of 4, or about then, just to meet up with schedules and appointments, and ultimately defeat the daily traffic. So long as overcrowding remains unbeaten, the case of traffic, might always abound. 

3. Accommodation: The challenge of shelter will never cease being a reason for worry among Lagos residents. It varies from choosing a place of true comfort to being capable of footing the necessary bill, for such pick. This is because house owners find it a thing of delight fixing bizarre rent for their tenants, after all, living in Lagos equals being a relatively big man.

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It results in an unsettled state of mind for most occupants at the end or start of any year, as they are always left with the thought of how to garner and dole out ridiculous amounts to their landlords. So, people with the mindset of having a change in neighbourhood, are stuck with only two opposite variables – being well-off to pay the charge for a serene home or opting for a substandard apartment and having the risk of encountering sour ordeals.

4. Cost of Living: The daily expenditures of Lagos residents have not been on the very favourable side. The monies plunged into transportation, healthcare, food, clothing and other salient necessities for living, is outrageous. The effect chokes both the single and married, which is no fault of theirs.

The providers of these services take the advantage of the teeming population to boost their sales, and seeing that the services are essentials, the populace yield with no second thought.

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5. Security: The large population density in Lagos have given license to persons with heinous and nefarious intentions to thrive, thereby affecting the security percentage in the state. Be it at day or nighttime, a random dweller needs extra cautiousness to overcome the agony that accompanies boarding a vehicle controlled by kidnappers or the perils associated with meeting thugs.

This is a serious turn off for Lagosians and having no possible choice other than relocation, living with this fear, is their next door alternative. 

Top 5 causes of internet addiction

By Ezinne Success

In a world quickly flooded by the rise and impact of science and technology, the internet have proven to be an introduction, which is here to stay, undisturbed.

The invention of smartphones, is a direct offspring of the technological world, which have given the internet the wings to soar. In spite of the plethora of favourables, or needfulness of the internet, the excessive use of it have created an unavoidable addictiveness, among its users, all over the world. 

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Addiction to the internet stems from an overpowering urge to stay long periods on the internet, for several reasons. This addiction is born and nurtured, owing to a number of factors. 

1. Acute Depression: This arises from the emotional, physical, psychological and social traumas of life. This disorder naturally makes the sufferer feel unconsciously detached and secluded from normal daily dealings. In such state, the mind is automatically redirected to whatsoever may likely give temporary respite.

It is a reason many depressed people storm and live on the internet in today’s world, in other to get the distraction they seek, through engaging in trending topics, articles and documentaries. This drives them to staying for hours on end, on the internet, thus paving way for addiction to creep in, without them realizing it, solely due to the fleeting euphoric tendency they probably get, in their condition. 

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2. Loneliness: There is every chance for people who dwell all by themselves to get confined to the world of the internet. An individual who lives off family and friends, most definitely fills the vacuum, through regular visitations to the social media, and this covers up for their physical absence. In a bid to wave off solitariness, such individual ensures he or she works towards constantly accessing the internet, and finds it a taxing task staying away. Even during moments when it is unrequired, the urge to take a visit cannot be checked and balanced. 

3. Boredom from regular activities: It is natural for anyone to grow faint and bored from daily activities or routines and need a taste of other varieties. When such scenarios present themselves, one of the many areas to divert ones focus to, is the internet. It has become the world’s go-to option, for pleasure and leisure, whenever monotony sets in. This slowly but ultimately leads to frequent and addictive use of the internet, as it will be seen as the  immediate escape from common engagements of everyday life. 

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4. Euphoric Sensation: Humans have the ability to derive happiness and fulfillment from manifold areas. For some, it is via books, for some, writing, for others, through music and the rest, by engaging in internet activities. Those whose happiness is synced with regular operation of the internet, do all they can, to visit it, when the need surfaces, and even at times, when there is not any sensible need for it. As such, they get fixated and unconditionally attached to it, since their own bliss depends on it. 

5. Ranking of Schedules and Timing: Planning and proper timing is a pertinent attribute in the dispensation of any dealing and the realization of a given target. However, it seems to be a norm for people to misplace priorities, thereby diverting their time to the internet and jettisoning the activities which are topmost on their agenda. This breeds abuse, disorderliness and overall, addiction. 

FGN special intervention fund for MSMEs

In my previous posts we covered information about the AGSMEIS and MSMEDF loan scheme, the Eligibility, Procedure and Requirements. If after going through and you feel that your business does not qualify for the loan scheme, then you should try the Federal Government Special Intervention Fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (FGN).

By Ujunwa Onuegbu

This is my favorite loan scheme because it is specific and covers a lot of businesses. Irrespective of the type of business, there is something for you. And if your business is not listed, you can provide information about your product to be reviewed by the Bank of Industry.

FGN special intervention fund for MSMEs also known as National Enterprise Development Program was initiated to provide subsidized loans to micro, small, medium enterprises at a single digit (9% per annum) interest rate. The fund is also to cater for applications received from SMEDAN under the National Enterprise Development Program (NEDEP) scheme.

The fund is aimed at stimulating economic activities for SMEs engaged in manufacturing and Agro-processing businesses. The fund can be accessed by duly registered limited liability companies, enterprises and cooperatives in Nigeria.

Applications are received and processed by the Bank of Industry (BOI) including disbursement and repayment.

BUSINESSES ELIGIBLE FOR THE LOAN

Adire (Tie& Dye) / Aso okeDigital Printing/ Multimedia publishingGreenhousesPlastics
Animal FeedsDoors & Window FramesLaundry & DrycleaningQuick Service Restaurants
AquacultureE-commerce/ information communications Technology ICTLeather & Foot wearQuarries
BakeryFashion/ GarmentingMeat ProcessingRecycling
Blocks & interlocking StonesFish Smoking/ DryingMechatronicsRoofing Sheets
Bottled waterFood Processing (including Agricultural produce)Health care (Medical Diagnostics)Soap/Detergents
Ceramics & TilesFoundries/ Metal Fabrication/ 3-D printingLaboratory / Orthodontist /Ophthalmology / PhysiotherapySolar (off grid)
Chemicals and paintsFruit JuiceMovie ProductionTechnical /Vocational Schools (Offering City &Guild Certificate)
Cosmetics/ Hair ProductsFurniture & Wood ProcessingLight ManufacturingTheme Parks
DairyGemstonesWater TransportationGrocery Packaging

REQUIREMENTS

Micro Credit

  1. Formal letter of application
  2. Photocopy of Certificate of registration
  3. Business plan
  4. Four passport photographs of the business owner
  5. Any form of ID; National Identity Card, international passport or Driver’s License
  6. Bank statement of the Business for a period of one year (for existing business)
  7. Sales Record for six months and operating expenses
  8. Evidence of availability of collateral Security (e.g. landed property, individual Guarantor

Note that the Federal Special Intervention Fund requires that you pledge an asset to secure your loan.  However, the bank also accepts other forms of security. Types of security the Bank accepts include:

  • Legal mortgage on a landed property (duly registered with Certificate of Occupancy)
  • Debenture on assets of the company
  • Bank guarantee
  • External Guarantors with Notarized statement of Net worth for loans below 10 million

HOW TO APPLY

Create an account on the website, login and click on register. Ensure you have all the necessary documents ready before you apply.

Once you’ve successfully applied, you’ll be given an Application tracking ID to help you track the progress of your application.

Read more on this series

9 simple tricks to healthy eating

The ancient saying that ‘Health is wealth’, have never fallen short of its pristine truism. It is the measure of life’s longevity; this is the reason the sorts of food we consume should be given conscientious attention.

By Ezinne Success

Food consumption is a life-long affair: a thing that contributes to maintaining an ever-radiant skin, a robust physical fitness, a mentally alert mind, and a healthy and overall balanced body. Apart from knowing the foods to eat, being aware of how best to consume them, the time for its intake and the most acceptable quantity for each consumption, is requisite.

Measures need to be taken towards ensuring that the correct amount of nutrients and right dietary statistics are contained in every food, as these are things which make eating salubrious. 

1. Pick meals with a certain concentration of starchy carbohydrates: The quantity of carbohydrates should be a little above one third of the total food served. Among a lot of them are; cereals, oats, rice, bread, potatoes, yam and pasta. Also, ensure to include a minimum quantity of starchy foods with every main meal.

Though the general misconception is that starchy foods are fattening agents, yet, with the appropriate gram, they provide less calories of fat. In other to be safe than sorry, limit the fats when making or serving these kind of foods, as incorrect measurement could heighten the calorie content. For instance, oil during baking or frying, margarine on bread and sauces with pasta. 

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2. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables: This is a unique food class composed of a plethora of fibre, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, which have active body building effects.

The benefits fixed with the intake of veggies and fruits seem not to be over-stressed. They are: the protection from cancer, heart disorder, effects accompanied with aging, obesity and an increased life span. It is advised to always add some quantity of fruits or its equivalent- a glass of fruit juice, smoothies and vegetables, with every meal, to be taken.

It may mean having your breakfast with one or two balls of apples or a glass of smoothie, alongside your afternoon meal. 

3. High fish intake: As a quality protein provider, the consumption of fish is so essential to the body’s growth and maintenance. Fish is widely acclaimed to contain a healthy amount of fat. This is exceptionally true of fatty fishes as Salmon, Mackerel, Herring, Sardines, which have a great degree of Omega-3 fats that has the likelihood of preventing heart disease, dementia, diabetes and depression.

The American Heart Association recommends fish consumption at least twice, every week. 


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4. Minimize saturated fat and sugar: However vital fat is to the diet, it is expected to be consumed in the right proportion and moderation. There are fat of 2 types; Saturated and Unsaturated Fats. Excess saturated fats increase the cholesterol content in the blood leading to the danger of heart disease.

Saturated fats are contained in foods as: slices of fatty meat, cakes, hard cheese, sausages, biscuits, pies cream etc. This makes it advisable to reduce saturated fat intake and opt for foods containing unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils and spreads, avocados and oily fishes. However, every kind of fat needs to be eaten in little amounts, and measured adequately, since they are all high in energy. 

On the other hand, steadily consuming foods and liquids, with intense volume of sugar, raises the risk of obesity and tooth decay. With the high degree of energy, if eaten very often, contributes to weight gain. Also, the danger of tooth decay happens when eaten between meals. Moderation in its intake, needs to be applied, so that there will be no less or more consumption. 

5. Cut down the salt intake: There needs to be a reduction in the overall quantity of salt to be consumed, everyday. More salt consumption exposes our bodies to high blood pressure which has an adverse effect of culminating into a disease of the heart, or also, stroke.

Food labels will serve a proper guide in knowing the exact quantity of salt, each day. It is prescribed that adults should have no more than 6g, about a teaspoonful, per day, in their overall meals. 

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6. Work out to maintain healthy weight: Healthy eating is directly proportional to a healthy physique. Aside the regular eating of fine quantities of foods with exact nutrients, constantly engaging in exercise sessions, are equally weighty.

It assists in cutting short the chances of severe health issues. The risks being overweight poses are: diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease. In trying to have a reduced size, consume fewer calories, eat less and remain active. With the wholesome, balanced diet being taken in, a healthy weight is achievable. Also, do not push away the thought of visiting a dietitian for advice. 

7. Remain hydrated: The essence of fluids – water, fruit and vegetable juice, smoothies, low fat milk and low sugar drinks will never lose its value. The body needs a lot of water to get healthier and perform metabolic functions.

Medical practitioners  recommend the consumption of 6-8 glasses of water daily. In addition, during the hot season and exercising, it is best to have more fluids. 

8. Opt for whole foods rather than processed ones: In an attempt to eat healthy, the preference of whole foods, should be ranked highest on the food scale. It is best doing away with junk foods, as they are most times unhealthy and unfit for the body.

These could be ramen or instant noodles, processed meat, sugary drinks, processed cheese, pizza, industrially produced vegetable oils, which are extremely low in fibre, protein, vitamins and micronutrients, thus providing empty calories to the body, contrary to the numerous benefits of whole foods.

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9. Stick to ideal timing: It is imperative recognizing the best time for meal intake. They have positive, far-reaching effects in our bodies, in the long run. The acknowledged time for breakfast is 7a.m., while that of lunch is 12:45p.m. and dinner, before 7p.m. or at most, at 7p.m.

This gives room for early and sufficient digestion, thereby helping in muscle growth, sports performance and fat loss. 

How to access the micro, small and medium enterprises development fund

By Ujunwa Onuegbu

The MSME Development Fund was launched by the CBN on August 15, 2013 with a share capital of N220 billion. The Fund was established in recognition of the significant contributions of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector to the economy and the existing huge financing gap.

You can access up to N500,000 for Micro-business and N50 million for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) at a maximum interest rate of 9% per annum.

Repayment of loan is maximum of one year for Micro-business and five years for Small & Medium Enterprises.

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Are you a woman in business? This loan is for you! As part of gender inclusion, 60% of the Fund is reserved for women and 40% for others; including persons with disability (2%) & Start-up businesses (10%).

Objectives of the MSMEDF

The broad objective of the Fund is to channel low interest funds to the MSME sub-sector of the Nigerian economy through Participating Financial Institutes (PFIs) to:

  • Enhance access by MSMEs to financial services;
  • Increase productivity and output of microenterprises;
  • Increase employment and create wealth; and
  • Engender inclusive growth

Participating Financial Institutes (PFIs)

  • Microfinance Banks
  • Commercial Banks
  • Cooperatives
  • Financial Companies
  • NGO-Microfinance Institutions
  • Development Finance Institutions, i. e, Bank of Industry & Bank of Agriculture

Eligibilty

Enterprises to be funded under the Scheme include:

a. Micro Enterprises

b. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Microenterprises

  • Agricultural value chain activities
  • Cottage Industries
  • Artisans
  • Services
  • Renewable energy/energy efficient product and technologies
  • Trade and general commerce

Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

  • Manufacturing
  • Agricultural value chain activities
  • Services
  • Renewable energy, energy efficient product and
  •  Technologies

Other economic activity as may be prescribed by the CBN.

Note: Only 10% of the Commercial component of the Fund is channeled to trade and commerce.

Also, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) Insurance is compulsory for primary agricultural production.

Requirements

A viable business plan and any other document requested by the bank.

Example: First Bank’s Required Documents are:

  • Formal application for a credit Facility.
  • Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Memorandum and Article of Association (MEMART).
  • Board Resolution to Borrow.
  • Feasibility Study/Business Plan.

Procedure

  • With your Business Plan go to any  PFIs of your choice
  • Request for loan
  • Your bank will discuss your request and provide you the fund

Be informed that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not authorize or appoint any agent to sell forms or collect any fee to access the Fund.  ONLY FORM AVAILABLE UNDER THE FUND IS THE FORM TO BE FILLED BY PARTICIPATING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS (PFIs) – to enable them access the Fund and IT IS FREE.

You’re therefore advised to beware of the activities of fraudsters and report anyone that approaches them with the fake forms to the law enforcement agencies.

11 best vacation sites for an epical Christmas

The Yuletide is welcomed with overwhelming activities all over the world. As is known, it’s that period of every year, wherein the birth of Christ, is commemorated.

  • By Ezinne Success

Besides this, it also is a season which unites families, friends and loved ones, giving them ample space to have quality time from the busy timeline, that the year brought.

With this notion at heart, people travel to and from neighbouring and far distances, just to ensure they have a noteworthy celebration. Apart from the regular indoor engagements, people try the most they can, to visit notable tourist sites, which will grant them the optimal pleasure they seek. 

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Nigeria, an unarguably prominent country, situated at the heart of Africa, is wholesomely blessed with amazing tourist sites in some of the beautiful states that make it up. This is the singular reason why a great amount of both its nationals and foreigners, love embarking on vacations, picnics and adventure spree to these very admirable places of attraction.

1. Olumo Rock

This is one of the most famous attraction sites, situated in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The state’s capital – Abeokuta, is a Yoruba derivative meaning ‘Under the rock’ and this helps with a clue of the rocky plains that encompasses the city. Olumo Rock performed the role of a shield, protector and fortress for the inhabitants of the town back in the 19th century, when there were wars. With the aid of an elevator, a tourist can make it to the rock’s summit where a large expanse of the town can be viewed from. Olumo Rock is sincerely worth the try.


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2. Lekki Conservation Centre

This is widely recognized as one of the best nature reserves in Nigeria, situated in Eti-Osa Local Government Area in Lagos State, on Lekki Peninsula. It was established in 1990 as an arena for wildlife preservation, biodiversity and recreational values. The centre serves as an appropriate picnic and relaxation spot for the inhabitants of Lagos and tourists.

It features the 401 metres lengthy, longest canopy walkway in Africa, which affords people the opportunity to get a bird’s-eye view of the forest’s scenery. The Lekki Conservation Centre presents a superbly tranquil environment, distinct from the otherwise loud nature of Lagos. 

3. Obudu Mountain Resort:

Here is another pleasurable site, formerly known as the Obudu Cattle Ranch, found in Calabar, the Cross Rivers state capital. It is one resort any adventurer would die to visit, time and time again, owing to the classy natural endowment it heralds- moderate temperature, eye-catchy valleys, attractive landscape, cable cars, waterfalls and epic canopy walkway. The Obudu Mountain Resort is everything and more.

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4. Zuma Rock

This is another renowned tourist site in Nigeria. The Zuma Rock described to have the face of a human is amicably seated in Mandalla, Niger State, to the North of Abuja.

A dominant attribute of this irresistible natural endowment is its ability to make fire during a heavy downpour. This specially happens at the apex of the rock, every rainy season. 

5. National War Museum

The National War Museum is found at the centre of the Abia State capital, Umuahia. It offers an avenue for not only having a delighting time-out, but also a memorable learning about the Nigeria war history.

It is sectioned into three categories viz; the Traditional Warfare gallery, Armed Forces gallery and the Civil War gallery, which all have diverse artifacts, for ultimate viewing bliss. 

6. Yankari Game Reserve

Here is a common place of visit for most tourists. The reserve is seen in Bauchi State. An adventure to this alluring site reveals how nature’s finest animals are beautifully tamed and tended for, not excluding the exposure to the large tropical forests, captivating activities anyone would never get tired of giving a try.

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7. Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort

This warm spring is often referred to as a natural wonder, due to the unparalleled feature it presents. Situated in Ekiti State, the warm spring is a mixture of the cold and the warm water. It is not a common idiosyncrasy and as such, makes tourists easily attracted, alongside the hills and nice landscape it comes with.

8. Oguta Lake Complex

The Oguta Lake Complex, otherwise called the Oguta Fresh Water Lake, is seen in Oguta Local Government Area, in Imo State. With its tremendous services as : The Cruise Boat ride, the International Standard Golf Course, Kids recreational park, the complex makes for a suitable leisure site, for people in search of true comfort and relief. 

9. Osun Sacred Grove

Located on the outskirts of Oshogbo, Osun State, in Nigeria, the Osun Sacred Grove is known to be ‘The Osun’, the fertility goddess in Yorubaland. In honour of the goddess, an annual festival occurs in Oshogbo. Also, reports state that a certain number of plant species used for medications are found in there.

10. Idanre Hills

Another eye-candy for tourists found in Ondo State. The remarkable hill is composed of high plains and spectacular valleys. The hill has loads of interesting physical characteristics anyone would just not look over. They are the mysterious and unreadable writings inscribed on the rock, old courts, shrines, thunder water (Omi Aopara), burial grounds and the conspicuous Aron River, visited by tons of people overtime, due to its natural healing power.

11. Nike Art Gallery

This is an eminent five-storey building located in the city of Lagos, perfect for any connoisseur of arts. As the name portrays, the gallery is bedecked with various irresistible artistic paintings, drawings, craftworks, beadworks, embroidery, stone works, carvings, traditional weaving, dyeing and all things art-related.

This edifice uses art as a fraction of human life narrate stories in different forms. Its building is embellished with uncommon marbles and varying artistic graphics that consciously leaves anyone ignited towards the arts. 

Sowore Vs Dss: unending dance of shame

I saw the various viral videos of scuffles in and outside the court premises, and I said to myself, this is really bad!

  • By Gbenga Adesanya, a Bloomgist Columnist

That, added to the comment of Femi Falana, SAN, it was a bad day for law and order in Nigeria. I said to myself, it’s better not to premise my opinion on a one-sided story, so I waited for the othe party to affirm or deny the claim that the court was invaded by the DSS operatives to rearrest Omoyele Sowore. Some hours later, a statement was issued by the DSS Spokesperson, giving a different account entirely. I said haba, how could the revered Femi Falana be this economical with the truth! Still something didn’t look right.

Again another yet to be confirmed story came up that Falana admitted he was informed Sowore was to be rearrested, hence a drama to forestall it was quickly concocted, starting with Sowore whose case was already concluded for the day, to run back into the court wherein another session had already begun. The latest story went as far saying the DSS official purportedly shown in the video was actually a Sowore man. The biblical injunction to seek out and affirm truth made me wait again. I watched, listened and questioned.

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Few hours later, another story was in the air that the DSS had apologised for invading the court. I wanted to say, finally, but I cautioned myself again that we might not have seen the end of this ‘dance of shame’. That was the title of a television serial drama that aired on Galaxy television many years back while I was a staff there.

Anyway, all these actors know more than we all, so whether we like or not, we are a willing part of a play we do not know the full story, and we will continue to be until the very end of the fatalistic story line. That’s not to say Nigerians don’t have a sense of right or wrong, it simply means, in my own understanding, that we have learnt a bitter lesson of betrayal since the old days of labour unionism when we followed and trooped onto the streets the moment a call to action was made. It stopped with Adams Oshiomole when we realised we were simply being sold from one selfish interest to the other. Does anyone remember George Orwell’s Animal farm?


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The animals thought the pigs, so soft spoken and articulate, were messiahs and would bring relief, but they turned out to be tormentors-in-chief. My point is that Nigerians have grown to know the diffrence between the needed and the necessary. Plus or minus, I am hoping innocent Nigerians wouldn’t be drawn into some people’s personal wars, because they always come out to ask the masses to fight for them when they need, but who fights for the masses when we need it?

Do we see the members of the house of representatives or the senators fighting for Nigerians? Do we see the ministers, governors and or local government chairmen fighting for Nigerians? Do we ever see their children or family members near protests? Do we see any of them leading a campaign for genuine change and standing by it? Those who pretended to do so in the name of activism, when they got a taste of money, did they not turn against us? Yes, of course, their wars are always personal until we see a clear and genuine thrust in desire for a meaningful change. Noted though, there is no saint anywhere.

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We just need someone that has a measure of genuine will. This is the point where I think Sowore’s biggest mistake came from. The revolution now became a personal fight, otherwise he would’t have made some questionable moves he made immediately after elections.  Note this, a political party offered some truce and alliance to Sowore”s party, AAC during the 2019 general elections in a state, can’t remember if it was Rivers State or not, but he declined and preserved the party integrity. Great. It was a smart decision, not just for that moment, but for a foreseeable future. Then, he lost the election, which everyone knew he couldn’t have won, anyway, an his arms were suddenly open to every dick and harry? Hmmm, that  bothered and still  bothers a lot of people.

Revolution now, with the way it was being touted would not have gained the people’s support, except for those on social media who would also not step near protests, but would allow the willing tools of chaos who were waiting on the sideline to start a war that benefited their patrons alone. Personally, I believe Sowore corrupted his activism and tainted his motive with some ill advised alliances.

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With all the bitterness flying around at various corners for losing out on elections, even an idiot would interprete Sowore’s actions as troubling. Anyway, whether he has actually done anything wrong or not is for the court to determine, and not by the DSS. The questions that truly bother me now are numerous, but I will make them few.

Does the DSS have the power and right to rearrest Sowore wherever and whenever?

Why would the DSS take such a drastic step to rearrest Sowore alone?

Would the DSS not have known rearresting Sowore in such manner would cause uproar?

What would the DSS gain by bringing itself to disrepute over Sowore?

What happened between the hours Sowore was released and was rearrested?

What would Sowore gain or lose if his rearrest had not been fought?

Would Sowore and Falana be capable of staging such drama, and to what purpose?

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Why did Nigerians not rise up in support of a fight expected to make Nigeria better?Some of these questions already have my personal opinions inferred earlier,  and some are begging answers yet. Nevertheless, it would be in the interest of everyone to tread softly, obey the rule of law and abide by every judicial decisions. What is at stake in this matter is bigger than Sowore, DSS or the presidency.

sideline to start a war that benefited their patrons alone. Personally, I believe Sowore corrupted his activism and tainted his motive with some ill advised alliances. With all the bitterness flying around at various corners for losing out on elections, even an idiot would interpret Sowore’s actions as troubling.

Anyway, whether he has actually done anything wrong or not is for the court to determine, and not bythe DSS. The questions that truly bother me now are numerous, but I will make them few.

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Does the DSS have the power and right to rearrest Sowore wherever and whenever? Why would the DSS take such a drastic step to rearrest Sowore alone? Would the DSS not have known rearresting Sowore in such manner would cause uproar? What would the DSS gain by bringing itself to disrepute over Sowore? What happened between the hours Sowore was released and was rearrested? What would Sowore gain or lose if his rearrest had not been fought? Would Sowore and Falana be capable of staging such drama, and to what purpose? Why did Nigerians not rise up in support of a fight expected to make Nigeria better?

Some of these questions already have my personal opinions inferred earlier, and some are begging answers yet. Nevertheless, it would be in the interest of everyone to tread softly, obey the rule of law and abide by every judicial decisions. What is at stake in this matter is bigger than Sowore, DSS or the presidency.


Gbenga Adesanya is a Bloomgist Columnist. He’s been writing for over 20 years, with his many of his works published.

The Bloomgist is committed to publishing stories that our readers care about. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: infobloomgist@gmail.com.

Read more on The Bloomgist Opinion section on the dedicated page

Why are Lagos people always angry?

Last week, I asked this exact question on the Bloomgist reader center to know why Lagos people are always angry like someone provoked them eternally, but you see, even from the response from people online, you could perceive anger, Why so?

  • By Mike Ikenwa

“You know, we can be sweet, so sweet to fault to anyone that comes around us any time any day, but yet, that is when we are not angry, because over here, we are meant to be angry to survive, we are meant to be mean and harsh to pass the day or get rushed by other angry men”, says Deji, a business man who supplies nylon to market women between Ketu to Ijora markets.

Journeying through the streetrs of Lagos, you could t=smell the anger from almost everyone ytou see, even the market men are the worse. Don’t be fooled by the intial smiling and pet names they call you when you are walki ng past their shops, they are doi ng so to woo you, but ones you decline and refuse to budge, you are as dead to them as hell.

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My times in Lagos has exposed to me to so many thing that always makes them angry and more reason why they will always be angry during their days activities.

Here are the two major reasons Lagosians are always angry.

Traffic

Traffic is obviously one of the many reasons an average Lagosian is angry. A journey that should take an hour is always lasting for 5 hours, forcing therm to spend more for alternatives, or decline important offers just because they can’t keep up with the daily routines of having to fight to stay ahead, wake up hours before normal just to push through the busy road to meet up with appointments.

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“I leave in Coker, Aguda, and I work at Lagos Island. At most it should take me 2 hours or less to get their if I leave early, let’s say by 6, I should be there by 8 or few minutes past 8, but because of traffic, I’m always forced to wake up by 4:30am, prepare within 30 minutes, and most times I eat on the road. I leave my house latest 5:30, but yet, I still get to work around 9:00am or many minutes past it.

It’s so frustrating and at this point, there is no amount of money that can justify such stress, so when you are passing through these and knowing it’s not worth it, you end up being paranoid all the time.


The problem is not just the traffic, but the rush, the tension on the road and the fear of being caught up in a fight to retain your lane and keep moving for both commercial and private drivers. It’s a scene you don’t want to witness.

Stress

Lagos evidently the most populous African city, with many of its people settling their for business, and less of pleasure, this i=make it and extremely busy place to live in

The high level of competition among business owners is second to known you have witness. From fight to maintain and serve existing customers in other not to lose them to other competing businesses, to the struggles of getting new customers and expanding your business, whichever way, the stress that come with running a business in Lagos is real and exhaustive.

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“I work at the trade fair, every day I have to stand outside the gate, beckoning on passers by and visitors to the market to come try our product and and come inside the shop to see the good we have and buy. It’s not a great experience.” says Nneoma, a sales girl in Trade fare, Ojo, Lagos.


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“Most times I stand there for many hours, under the son and walking about other times to meet new people who may be interested to buy from us. That’s a lot stress and I end almost all the days very tired and don’t feel like having any of the dramas from anyone, as a result, creating my own drama without even knowing it. This is Lagos and not a place for someone who is not ready for stress.”

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Living in Lagos is base on the connections and the many opportunities it offers, not anywhere close to pleasure, hence you wonder how one can achieve that in a very busy place without getting mad.

What are the other reasons you think Lagosians are always angry?

How to get easy government loans for your business in 2020

Did you know you can access loans for your business, without collateral? Well, you can! Not only that, you’ll also have flexible repayment plans with a single digit interest rate, irrespective of the type of business and the amount you would need to boost your business.

By Ujunwa Onuegbu

The Nigerian government in a bid to support and promote entrepreneurship, has at various times put in place loan schemes with the aim to encourage business growth, economic development and employment generation. However, due to lack of information, a lot of business entities are ignorant of these loan provisions. Some are of the opinion that it is not possible to access these loans; others say the paperwork is too cumbersome, or the requirements are a tall order.

But, in the course of researching this post, yours truly realized that applying for these loans is super easy! If you have a viable business plan, and follow due process, be assured you’ll get the loan.

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Therefore, if you believe that capital is what is keeping your business from taking off, here is a list of government loan schemes available to Agric-businesses, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

This post series will include information on Eligibility, Procedure, and Requirements.

  1. The Agric-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment
    Scheme (AGSMEIS)
  2. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF)
  3. FGN SPECIAL INTERVENTION FUND FOR MSME
  4. Agric. Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF)
  5. Agricultural Credit Support Scheme (ACSS)
  6. Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS)
  7. AGSMEIS LOAN SCHEM
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The Agric-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS)is a loan package initiated by the Bankers Committee to promote and support participation in the agricultural sector and other related businesses. With this loan package you can access up to N10m at nine percent interest, repayable in seven years. Note that it was initially pegged at five percent interest rate. But, with the inclusion of NISRAL, charged with the responsibility of disbursing the fund, it was increased to nine percent .

  • Businesses eligible for the loan include:
  • Creative & Art industries
  • Fashion, Beauty
  • Apparel & Textile
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Industrial & Manufacturing
  • Agriculture & Allied Processing
  • Automobiles
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Telecommunication
  • Media & Publishing
  • Hospitality
  • Catering & Event Management

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REQUIREMENTS:

Before you can apply for this loan, you must be trained by a CBN-
CERTIFIED ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE (EDI ). They
help guide you through the loan application process and make
sure that all your documents are complete. The documents
required are:

  1. Registered business with CAC
  2. Evidence of tax payment
  3. BVN
  4. Letter of introduction
  5. Letter of Guaranty
  6. Certification by an EDI
  7. Passports
  8. Valid ID card
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HOW TO APPLY

The loan application process is completed in six easy steps.

Step 1: Get Trained
Attend a compulsory training with a CBN certified Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC).

Step 2: Apply For Loan
The Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) guides and assists you in getting all necessary documents required to secure the loan

Step 3: Receive Funds
Loans are paid into the account of beneficiaries. Unqualified candidates are given feedback.

Step 4: Get Business Support Services

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The Entrepreneurship Development Institute assists you to implement business plan and provide business support services commercially.

Step 5: Make Sales
Sell products and services to pay back loan and make profit.

Step 6: Repay Loan
Run your business, keep proper records, monitor sales and expenses to maximize profit and pay back the loan.


The rest of the list of such available loans will be discussed in subsequent posts. Subscribe to receive notifications of new posts.

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Lagos bus won’t stop for you, Learn how to jump

On my first day arriving Lagos, the first thing I learnt was that no bus is ready to stop for you, not because they don’t want to stop, but because they are always in a haste. I was forced to learn how to jump in and out.

By Sade Olakunle

In my city where I come from, it wasn’t so. The buses pack, even reverse so you can enter. Most times they clear on the service lane so you can negotiate the price, but in this very city, Lagos, the land of the rush, they don’t do that. You first of all know how to run faster than other passengers in the race to gain access to the entrance, then learn how to jump in while the vehicle is still moving.

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Sharing her experience, Temitope, a friend I met at the Popular CMS bus stop who witnessed how difficult it was for me said;

“Looks like you are still ‘JJC (Johnny Just Come)’ in this city, because with the way you are doing, you may end up sleeping in this bus stop. If you want to survive in this city, you must train yourself to not just run, but to beat other passengers in the race to catch up with a moving bus and learn how to hold firmly in other not to be pushed off by other struggling passengers.

This is not just a city, this is a land of the smart and the strong. If you are weak, nobody cares about you and that is how it has been, and how we have survived many years here”


Some times I wonder why this is so, and what would actually happen if they decide to clear and let passengers enter without the stress of having to jump in while they bus is in motion. So I spoke to a driver.

“Some times we want to stop, but most times we also have things we are running away from. We run from Ageberos (Task force), we run to beat traffic which is going to make us lose money, and we also run to carry as many passengers as we can in a day before other buses carry them all. This is survival, and nobody understands it better than the drivers and the conductors”

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Considering this fact, I think it is very much understandable. Lagos is a place with massive population, and with almost everyone moving at the same time with the same speed, nobody want to wait for anybody and the moment you delay, you have actually forfeited your right to someone else without even knowing.

What is your Lagos experience? Let us know below.

Sex workers to be arrested for incomplete service

Earlier this week, a group of young men in Lagos gathered to discuss ways to get value for their money whenever they patronize sex workers in Lagos.

By Sade Olakunle

Some of the men who spoke to Bloomgist anonymously decried the rate at which Lagos sex workers treat them even with their money. According to one of them, many times they leave them hanging without satisfying them, with their reasons being that their time has exhausted.

Speaking to Bloomgist, one said “To be honest, some times I feel like pouncing on them and demand for my money back, but I’m not a violent person and wouldn’t want to go about it in the wrong way. So over the weekend, I met with some other men who has been complaining of the same thing, and we have decided that the best way to get what we want to is to persuade the government to issue an order that will get sex workers arrested if they don’t satisfy their customers.”

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Lagos is known for high patronage of sex workers by men who seek for either new ways to enjoy the night, or men who seek for sexual satisfaction. It is one of the highly patronized nightlife business in Lagos.

Men complain that the female sex workers are no longer satisfying them. According to them, most times they rush into it and out almost at the same time just because they want to meet up with another customer who, they also don’t want to lose.

“One of the night I went in with one in Ikeja, she rushed me like I din’t pay. I had read stories of how customers abuse female sex workers in Lagos, and I don’t want to do that to them. So I’m always gentle to them, but this recent attitude and style is no longer doing it for me.

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“Some times they complain that we are slow to release, and that our money has expired, so they can’t continue. That is so annoying.

So we have taken steps to bring them to order in the future. We are making plans to write to the court to make an order that will punish sex workers if they fail to satisfy their customers after receiving money from them.”

Five truths every young entrepreneur should know

If you are a young entrepreneur or career professional, you would agree with me that the past months have been totally overwhelming. Trying to meet your target to earning customer’s satisfaction can be quite tough.

By Nancy Okere

This reminds me of the conversation I had with two start-up friends of mine few days ago on moving from being invisible to making profits as an entrepreneur.

These two friends of mine started their businesses in January this year but have different results now.

While one friend is having a lot of engagements and taking home referrals no matter how little, the other friend is complaining bitterly and considering taking up a white collar job.

I weighed the different reasons my friends gave me for their current position as business owners, combined with my knowledge as an entrepreneur and derived five truths you must be intentional about to be a successful entrepreneur.

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It’s time to move from getting the “we will get back to you” to the ” let’s talk more about this”. A new year is close by, you have to level up!

Work on your appearance

The way you dress  going about as an entrepreneur is the very first important tip. I heard of someone who lost a mouth-watering job all because he was wearing a plastic band. This might seem strange but there is more to it. As much as you can, avoid wearing rubber bands too. Use a watch or  keep your hand empty. Wear clothes that cover your private parts properly as well as tattoos. Well-tailored suits are recommended. If you’re a lady, cut down on heavy make-ups. Smell nice and put up a smile when necessary.


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Stop claiming to be young

Now, that your dress sense is in check, the way you introduce yourself is next. Most entrepreneurs in their 20’s spend years hiding under the facade of being “young” professionals. In Nigeria, respect is completely associated with age. If you must gain respect for the services you offer, you must project maturity.Take away the “young” from the “professional” and claim professionalism. It’s a creative way to position yourself properly. Begin to think and act like a professional. Trust me,this will make people take you more seriously. So, the next time you have to introduce yourself, just say, you’re a professional. Period.

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Prepare your mind to speak up

If you don’t want to give people the impression that you’re not sure of what you’re about to say or you don’t want them laughing when you present a thought especially at a meeting, then prepare your mind to speak up. Be confident, brief and certain when projecting your ideas.

Promote your opportunities with proofs

In most top oil companies, you would need to be credited by certain people or organizations before you would be chosen to write their exams. Credibility is a vital requirement for success and if you must be successful, you must do the extra. Apply for training certifications, volunteer for print,radio or television features, become a member of relevant associations amongst others. With these, you are likely to sell more than your competitors.

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Successful entrepreneurs are connected

This is the final truth I will be sharing with you. See, technology is a great tool you can use in your favour, you have to be intentional about checking your mails and tweeting about your brand regularly. Learn the art of writing and replying official mails from corporates. Don’t also forget to follow-up people who indicate interest in your services. You don’t have to be all over them. A polite reminder might just be the click.
These tips suggest that age doesn’t have anything to do with the success of a business if you do the right things. If you apply them with caution, you too can be on your way to getting better results as an entrepreneur.

A new year is close by, Level up, and cheers to a better entrepreneurship life!

Nancy Okere is a Library and Information Science student at Federal Polytechnic, Nekede. She is an academy writer and columnist for Bloomgist’s Column 6

Strategies and pitfalls: Anambra 2021 elections in focus

In my last submission, I dwelt on the strategies adopted by APC to beat PDP in the just concluded Bayelsa and Kogi elections, and briefly went into how that might play out in Anambra state in the 2021 governorship election.

By Gbenga Adesanya

Already, Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress have started stoking political fires to ensure either win the 2021 elections. For instance, the former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu, openly declared he would quit politics if PDP loses the governorship seat of Anambra State in 2021, while the APC shouted from the mountain top that other political parties should prepare for war in the 2021 governorship election.

Having tasted the bitter pills of defeat since the creation of Anambra State, both parties want to put an end to their perennial loss, and if the last elections in Bayelsa and Kogi were anything to go by, a keen observer would know that the formulae to win elections in Anambra State have already
been devised, or ignorantly created.

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Every political actor knows that conflict is a gold mine for political parties, and they are always brutally mined. No doubt, every political has internal conflict, but a party that wants to win elections will do everything to end the conflicts in its rank and file, while helping to deepen those in other parties, or create one where there is none. In Bayelsa and Kogi, the conflicts in PDP were well mined by APC.

Without doubt, that would be the ace that will win the 2021 gubernatorial election in Anambra State. APGA is a powerful force in Anambra state, but that may be the reason it may lose the 2021 elections by believing incumbency and popularity are on their side. Anambra is not short of intellectuals, power brokers and deep pockets, hence they exist in abundance across all the political parties in Anambra State. Anambra is also not short of controversy and conflicts. Let us remember that this is the only state that has had 4 governors sworn in 6 times within a single term of 4 years in Nigeria’s political history.


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At the moment, the political landmine of ‘zoning’ that APGA created is rocking Peoples Democratic Party. After the South east zonal, working committee meeting that took place in Enugu, the zonal chairman of PDP, Chief Austin Umahi told journalists that part of their strategy is to give opportunities, and eventually the party ticket, to the best candidates irrespective of their zones in the state. A declaration which Obinna Okafor, a past member of the caretaker committee dealt a huge blow when he said zoning, equity and fairness do not run in Umahi’s DNA. He pointedly accused Umahi as being the reason PDP performed woefully in the last National Assembly elections.

Similarly, while Anambra State APGA looked intact, the leadership crisis rocking the party at the national level between Chief Edozie Njoku and Victor Oye, is causing the state massive distraction. Incumbent governor, Willie Obiano is also not removed from this problem as he has been fingered for not allowing members of the party from other states to lead the party. An argument that was countered by a source within the party that it is improper to allow party members of states that have not produced good results in local and national elections to run the affairs of the party at the national level.

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Perhaps, a clearer omen of what might be coming for APGA in 2021 was the painful loss of National Assembly election of the Anambra Central Senatorial seat by the former National chairman of APGA and incumbent, Victor Umeh, to Uche Ekwunife of PDP. Instead of looking at the root cause(s) of this loss, Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, APGA’s National Publicity Secretary excused the loss as a characteristic outcome because APGA has never done well in the National Assembly elections. This is good music to APC which knows very well it doesn’t have a foothold in Anambra.

Also of note is Ike Uzozie’s defection to APC earlier this year. Uzozie, a former member of Anambra’s house of assembly, defected to APC, starting a gradual erosion of APGA from inside as he promised to help move more APGA members into APC. The money machinery is within the grasp of APC, and they are also recruiting brains in Anambra. Regardless of the leadership problem surrounding its national chairman, Adams Oshiomole and some party members, the president and party executives understand and agree to the singular purpose of taking over as many states as possible in Nigeria.

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After all, the business of a political party is winning elections. Hence, Zoning is not a problem for APC, at least for now. The angry APGA members who feel undermined will also be targeted to undermine the party if APGA does not put its house in order before 2021, and what should have been an impossible task might just be a walk in the park as was the case in Bayelsa and Kogi.

We will travel this Christmas to provoke President Buhari

Earlier this year, Nigerian’s thought the second coming of Buhari is the strangest thing to happen to Nigeria in 2019, some were even hoping, though they knew it’s impossible, that Buhari is leaving Aso Rock back to wherever he has been resting before they dragged Him to Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari

By Mike Ikenwa

Obviously Buhari was dragged to Aso Rock. I know that is to hard to believe, but yet, think about it like a Nigerian, in Nigeria and knows our political system. Who really think a 76 year old former military general would genuinely want to come back to power in a democratic era?

Apart from the fact that he has no idea how the democracy of a thing even works, he can’t fit into the system, having to wait for approval from ordinary senators, who may not even want to pass his bills, or to obey court orders (after all he has not been doing so either) to release people who speak against his policies. We know that is not Buhari we know, but what do we do? Nothing.

We experienced the change, obviously we did. Firstly we saw decline in curruption. I don’t know about you, but over here at my small room fitted with small bachelors bed that I bought back in 2014, it’s practically a lifestyle now to manage your days or go forever hungry. He promised the change and we saw it happen.

The corruption was so much reduced to the point that poverty was forced to crawl out of its hiding place to look for how to improve in its work or be killed by hunger, and it really did improve. We can see that as the country was in June declared as the new poverty capital of the world after we successfully snatched it from the former holder – India who’s leaders are too lazy that they pushed poverty away from their country.

Another evidence of that ‘Change’ that Baba promised us was the rate at which fraud is increasing. I don’t want to blame poverty on that, because he is still struggling to finish up what he started, but this time, I am going to blame it on the man called ‘hunger’, yes, he is responsible for the rate at which our young people go into fraud.

The annoyimng thing is that this hunger is not even doing the job well, rather it’s pushing our lazy citizens into doing petty fraud.

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My colleague’s phones were stolen from his shop that he manages with his wife whenever he leaves office, and the thieves, instead of working hard to see how they can transfer his money from his bank which is linked to his phone number to another bank, but instead used it to buy recharge cards for their friends and families. Imagine that? I wouldn’t say why they bought for their friends, maybe to use it to be in touch for future deals, but why connecting your families and putting their lives too at risk of what they don’t even know, why not be a good fraudster in peace?

Now Christmas is approaching, and the stories we are hearing are not even something we can’t afford to celebrate. We are still putting some beans together to see how we can arrange for ‘Akara and Akamu’ celebration ahead of the things to face this season.

Firstly, we are hearing that only those that are in Aso rock, or have connection with people there are going to eat it this season. Oh, I forgot to mention their semi gods around the states too. those ones that are blaring sirens on every nukes and crannies of our lives.


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For the first time in time we can’t remember, we are witnessing women being caught stealing cups and nylons of rice. Rice. Rice, the most common and widely consumed food in Nigeria. I even watched one that was caught with the small rice she stole and hide in her wrapper. You can imagine how small it is to fit into her wrapper. Lazy woman.

The good news everywhere now is that the price of the rice, from all indications is going to go up to thirty thousand Naira, that is if Buhari remains a good president, keeps up the good work and not interfere with the process. What this means is that there is going to be low traffic on our roads this season, at least those demi gods and their families moving from one city to another this season will drive freely without seeing anyone to pull over and flog ‘shege’ in traffic under the scotching sun that has vowed to even frustrate all efforts Buhari is making towards committing to the climate change as other world leaders are doing.

A woman sits outside a shed as she waits for food rations at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria June 6, 2017.

I don’t want to talk about the petroleum managers and their seasonal strike, mostly in partnership with their good neighbours, the tanker drivers. That one is a story we don’t want to bore you with almost everyone know that it’s a normal thing for those bodies to go on strike once the Christmas bells begin to ring and blare around the streets.

So, how do we travel this season to see how families and loved ones that hunger has deprived some good air and whose voice we almost can’t recognize are doing? Thanks to the same hunger, powered by our dear president all the way from London, but you see this time, I know Nigerians, they are too lazy that in this type of situation, they will still travel, to what end? I don’t know, but you see, they will travel again, just to provoke our hardworking and transforming president. We won’t allow that!

Many families in the DRC can’t routinely access preventive services. Shutterstock

Outbreaks of measles: compounding challenges in the DR Congo

An outbreak of measles that began in early 2019 in the southeast corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has now spread to all 26 provinces. Over 180,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths have been reported. The outbreak has disproportionately affected young children under five years of age. Similar outbreaks occurred previously in the DRC in 2011 and again in 2015.

Many families in the DRC can’t routinely access preventive services. Shutterstock
Many families in the DRC can’t routinely access preventive services. Shutterstock

This is the largest and most fatal of the large measles outbreaks across the world this year. These have occurred in the Ukraine, Philippines, Brazil, US, New Zealand, Madagascar and Nigeria. While the details of each individual outbreak vary, the root cause of measles outbreaks is always the same: too few children receive timely and effective vaccination.

The outbreak in the DRC highlights all of the various causes for episodic measles outbreaks. The delivery of measles vaccine in endemic areas must contend with a biological catch-22. From birth to about nine months of age, most infants have maternal antibodies that protect them from measles infection. But these antibodies also prevent the measles vaccine from conferring lifelong immunity.

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Those children whose maternal immunity wears off early are at risk of infection at an age when measles infection can be most severe. Thus, health systems in endemic regions, like the DRC, employ a first dose at a relatively early age (nine months) to immunise these vulnerable children. Later they provide a second dose to catch those for whom the first dose didn’t provide protection.

The weak spot of this strategy is the accessibility of routine preventive health services. In the DRC, as in many underfunded health systems, many families cannot routinely access timely preventive services. This can be because they live too far from clinics, or because clinics are in bad shape.

To combat limited vaccination access, the DRC conducts periodic “supplemental vaccination activities”. These are large, coordinated efforts to bring second dose opportunities into every community, vaccinating all children under five years of age, regardless of prior vaccination. The expense and logistics of these massive efforts means that they can only be conducted every few years.

The unfortunate consequence is that, in the years in between them, many children are born and not vaccinated. This sets the stage for large outbreaks.

On the ground

Many specific challenges in the DRC compound the already difficult task of vaccine delivery.

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Years of internal conflict have displaced millions from their homes, limiting their access to preventive health services. The country has an estimated population of 87 million, of which more than half are children. About two thirds live in rural areas and 40% of mothers report distance to health facilities as a challenge when getting health care.

In addition, inherent mistrust of government-run programmes prevents some from seeking care. Those who do are met by health-care workers who want to help, but are hampered by stock outages or unstable refrigeration necessary to store vaccines in the prescribed temperature range. Many are understaffed or simply don’t have sufficient vaccines available due to the fragility of cold-storage and supply chain in remote areas.

All of this combines to leave more than 40% of children born in the DRC unvaccinated in any given year. This risk isn’t uniformly distributed. Some remote areas and areas of conflict have much lower coverage.

Once an outbreak begins, rapid response to provide vaccination to children at risk is critical. This first requires detection and confirmation of the outbreak, and must be followed immediately by a massive effort to coordinate agencies, and often NGO partners, to mount a response in affected or at risk areas.

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Even when cases of measles are detected in clinics, limited diagnostic and communication infrastructure can cause significant lags in triggering the outbreak response. The DRC currently has only one reference laboratory that can run the blood tests necessary to confirm a measles outbreak. Transporting and processing samples can take weeks. Add to this the competing demands of a health system combating two Ebola outbreaks in the past two years, and these lags can become larger.


Read more: How the DRC’s Ebola crisis has led to children dying from measles


Coordination efforts for outbreak response have been improving in the DRC. The Ministry of Health has partnered with the Measles and Rubella Initiative, the World Health Organisation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to deploy vaccination campaigns in April 2019 and again in October 2019. The aim is to vaccinate more than 20 million children under the age of five nationwide against measles.

Medecins Sans Frontieres has additionally conducted several targeted vaccination campaigns, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, in acutely affected areas.

Tackling intractable problems

The solution to measles outbreaks is deceptively easy: vaccinate more children. This belies the challenges along the path to that solution. In the DRC, as in many low and middle income countries, periodic supplemental vaccination activities have borne too much of the weight of the control effort.

Supplemental vaccination activities as discrete events are convenient for external partners to fund and to evaluate afterwards, and thus have become a favoured tool of organisations that are beholden to donors seeking measurable results.

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While the benefits of supplemental vaccination activities are clear (they have saved millions of lives), they don’t address the fundamental need to improve routine vaccination. Improving routine vaccination coverage requires a broad, systems-wide approach that includes supply chain, training and financing of health system staff, and community engagement to get at the root causes of non-vaccination.

In the DRC this requires tackling seemingly intractable problems. One is health access for people internally displaced by conflict. Another is deep mistrust of government institutions and solutions from the global north in areas that have experienced decades of both colonial and internal oppression.

Technological and infrastructure solutions can help to make gains in vaccination coverage. Solutions ranging from the very simple – packaging vaccines in pre-loaded syringes to prevent wastage in remote clinics that see children infrequently – to the aspirational – micro-patch technology to allow thermostable, needle-free vaccination – hold real promise but are years from implementation at scale.

Mundane solutions hold the potential to make meaningful gains in improving immunisation rates overall and increasing equity. These solutions include improving surveillance and response by building new regional reference laboratories to reduce the burden on the single national lab and shorten the time to confirm outbreaks.

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Additionally, trying out strategies to increase routine vaccine delivery throughout the year, rather than relying on campaigns every three or four years; and reinforcing national surveillance to allow targeted, reactive enhancement of vaccination activities in locations that are underperforming can help to achieve the goal of equitable control of measles.

Bad habits drive health risks among Kenya’s urban poor

There’s a rise of cardiovascular diseases in developing countries which is linked to changes in diet, physical activity and obesity.

The Kenyan urban population, including low-income settlements, are part of this trend. Like residents in other low-income settlements, the rise in diseases can be linked to their surroundings. Poverty and stress is prevalent in Kenya’s low-income settings which increases the behavioural risk factors for cardiovascular diseases – like smoking and drinking. In addition, many residents have a diet which doesn’t include the amount of fruits and vegetables they need as they’re too expensive.

Cardiovascular diseases affect the heart (cardio) and blood vessels (vascular). People are more prone to them if they are overweight or obese, have high blood pressure, smoke, drink large amounts of alcohol, don’t do enough exercise and have a poor diet.

My colleagues and I wanted to know what people living in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, knew about cardiovascular disease, the risks and how this affected the medical treatment they sought.

We found that there’s a real lack of knowledge about the disease risks and even when the risks are known, societal pressures make it hard for them to change their ways.

As Nairobi grows and develops, more people will move into low-income areas and the number of people that need healthcare support for these diseases will get bigger. We hope that our findings inform strategies for and enhance the effectiveness of prevention and treatment programmes.

Poor knowledge

To carry out our research we held nine focus group discussions with healthy people aged 20  years and above in Korogocho and Viwandani slums. A total of 65 people were involved.

During the interviews, cardiovascular diseases were defined as disorders of the heart and blood vessels, namely heart disease (angina), heart attack and heart failure and stroke. Risk factors were listed as hypertension and raised blood pressure, diabetes and raised blood sugar, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and harmful alcohol consumption.

Generally, there was poor knowledge of cardiovascular diseases and the risk factors involved.

A small number of respondents said that some of their family members discovered “only by chance” that they suffered from conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, which mostly happened when they had a stroke or heart attack and were hospitalised. In most instances, it was too late to treat the conditions.

The magnitude of the cardiovascular disease burden in the community was not obvious among many of the study respondents, because in their own opinion, “these conditions were discrete and considered private”.

Most respondents couldn’t identify people who were likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases or relate common risk factors – like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption – with increased risk of developing a heart attack and/or stroke.

There were views, based on “observed trends” in the community, that “anyone” could be at risk. This opinion was formed because of situations where “even children” were diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension.

According to a few of the study respondents, independent of their age, people who harboured worry and suffered stress were more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. Women were especially singled out in this.

Behaviour

When looking at the link between behaviour and risk factors in Nairobi’s slums, there were worrying signs.

Despite participants understanding that food rich in fat led to the blockage of blood vessels, and therefore stroke and heart attacks, they argued that it was difficult to avoid fat when cooking.

Women “whose role was to prepare food for the family” were said to be under pressure to satisfy the tastes of their family members, especially their husbands – and fats were key.

Also, although sugary drinks were mentioned as a cause of cardiovascular, respondents that were involved in heavy manual labour said that it was okay for them to consume a lot of sugar (sometimes up to five teaspoons in a cup of tea) because of their high energy requirements.

Very few respondents knew or understood how harmful smoking or excessive alcohol consumption was. The participants linked alcohol consumption to stress, but not necessarily disease.

Most participants thought that slum residents had become less physically active. They attributed this to new and cheap forms of transportation, like the boda boda (motorcycle taxi). They also said that widespread crime meant there weren’t enough safe spaces for children and adults to play.

What can be done

A major issue is that there are few specialised health facilities and care providers that can help residents. But there are ways to help residents from home.

Mobile health interventions (specifically text-messaging) have been shown to work in high income countries. Based on this, the African Population and Health Research Center is currently rolling out interventions that provide blood pressure monitors and meters to measure glucose levels to patients. Text message reminders are then sent on days when people are meant to take their medication or go to a clinic.

Community health volunteers will help by spreading information on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, how to prevent them, the benefits of early screening and detection and treatment for diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Nigeria don’t have enough universities to take in all it’s intending students, but the government don’t care

By Chiamaka Kaima


Education is, around the world one of the first and basic right of everyone, but here in Nigeria, it has been abused by both the Governments and People.

During one of the Tours to the Adekunle Ajosin University in Akungba Akoko, Ondo state. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Igbekele Ajibefun identified Poor Funding as a major threat to achieving a Functional Education in Nigeria. He said, Poor funding of Nigeria’s Education Sector causes Setbacks for its inherent ability to compete globally even with the inferior countries to Nigeria.

In Nigeria, to enhance good Education and stop the yearly increase of Admission-seekers [from getting] out of Hand[, the] Education Sector should be given lots of attention because it gives room for the country’s development ,but unfortunately, the quality and standard of Education in Nigeria is poor because it has not been paid adequate attention to.

And due to these lack of attention, it has caused lots of Problems that the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) has [revealed] how the number of admission-seekers increases yearly but only 75% are granted admission with only 20% being admitted to Public Universities, while 55% into other sectors of Education in Nigeria like the Private Universities or Polytechnics.

And this is are drastical elements that needs to be changed. Below are the causes;

Poor Funding

The foremost and greatest challenge that triggers this is Inadequate Funding by the Federal, State and Local Government.

In the year 2017, it was recorded that the budget bill allocated to the Nigeria’s Education sector was 26% much lower than the National budget recommended by the United Nations.

The Global organization recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable Nations adequately cater for rising Education demands.

But in the proposal represented to the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion budget to the Education.
 The total sum allocated to the sector was 605.8 billion, with 435.1 billion for Recurrent Expenditure, 61.73 billion for Capital Expenditure and 109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission. Even though, it hasn’t reduced the rise of Education yet but has yearly increased the number of Applicants to Universities.

Corruption

This is another Major problem in the Country that has also affected the Educational Sector?

There are multiple stories of how lecturers collects bribes from students in exchange for grades, some even go to the extent of harassing their female students to sleep with them. Even some university administrators demands money from students to have their Exam results compiled and submitted to the (required) National Youth Service Corps.

 Also, funds meant for paying salaries and maintenance of school facilities and so on are being diverted for personal use and mismanaged.

And these acts can cause schools to embark on strikes or riots which will not only ruin the School reputation.

Politicization of Education

The Governments at all levels, especially at the State level, attempts to run many Institutions even when they’re least prepared to do such, which thereby cause a general fall in the Standard of the initially existing ones and the available budget insufficient to cater for their needs.

In addition, State Governments gives accreditation to Schools that they fully know are not well equipped for Teaching, all in a bid to generate more revenue for themselves.

Unwillingness to study Education in Schools

Due to how Courses are being scrapped out and parents advising their children/ward to go for courses that pays much in jobs than those that gives adequate time but pays less.

In 2015, it was recorded by the Educational Board, that out of more than 1,700,000 applications submitted, only 5% applied for Courses in Education.

 To that resul,most Graduate Teachers aren’t professional and inadequately exposed to Teaching Practices which has made Learning in schools in-conducive and generated the love of doing things for money and not for passion or will.

But to solve these problems, it all has to begin with the Governments and not the Citizens because they have the powers to punish any defaulters.

Solutions

Provision of Conducive Environment to enhance Active Learning: It’s not all about teaching on Theory but also with other Teaching aids like practices, interactive sessions and Computers to exposed the students to more digitalized ways of learning and prepare them to be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world. When these are provided, it gives each student the room to be well prepared for what they want and get it at their disposal anywhere, anytime.

Giving Power to those who actually knows What they’re to do and not to those who are there for the Money:To govern the Educational Board, the Government needs to Employ one who has both the Intellectual Skills not to rule alone but to apply Good measures and build up the Sector in a Striking way that will not only develop the Students but also the Country.

Contributions of Financial Funds both from the Private and Public sectors to Universities.

•There should be a Career Counselling where the Youths are been advised about Courses and similar courses when not given the first: This is a very delicate issue that should be looked into.

The Federal Government can enforce career counseling in all schools especially in secondary schools both the juniors and Seniors to avoid large numbers desiring to study one course that has Several alternatives which hinders the progress of the Economy.

 And if these solutions and many more are being implemented, it’ll give Nigeria a greater chance of competing with their counterparts from other parts of the world.


About the author.

Chiamaka Kaima is a young prospective writer with good writing skill that cuts across, education, lifestyle and living. She writes for The Bloomgist through our Academic Writers Forum “Column 60

OAU’s Department of Adult Education organizes skills fair for university community


By Olamide Samson Olalekan


The Department of Adult Education and Life Long Learning, in the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, organizes first of its kind Skills Fair in the history of Obafemi Awolowo University.

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The skills fair, which serves as a continuous assessment for the students offering DCE 403 with course title, “Organizations and Administration of Adult Education”, was held on the 3rd of August, 2018 at the Faculty of Education basement.

It encompasses various vocational trainings which includes tie and dye, soap making, bead making, bow tie, lapel, make up and gele, barbing, wig making etc

The skills fair was not only attended by students from the faculty of education, but also had in attendance lecturers in the faculty, students from other faculties and even persons from outside the University.

The newly elected Dean of Faculty of Education, Prof. M. A. Adeleke, also witnessed the Skills fair. He commended the efforts of the lecturers in charge of the course, Dr. Mrs. Babalola and Mr Paul Akpomuje, for being the brains behind the innovation.

He also congratulated the students offering the course for participating in the fair and advised them not to see it as a mere continuous assessment, but to see it also as a skill acquisition program.

In order to get more details about the real driving force behind this first of its kind Skill Fair in the University community, bloomgist’s Olamide Samson Olalekan had an interview with one of the Lecturers in charge of the course, Mr. Paul Akpomuje.

During the interview, Mr. Paul Akpomuje shed more lights on the reason(s) for the skill fair. He said: “We in the Department of Adult Education and Life-long Learning believe that education should be practical; we believe that when people come to the Faculty of Education, they should not just be trained to become classroom teachers only.”

“They may choose to be classroom teachers and do other things or do other things but classroom, so when we train people and do all these things; we believe we should bring education to reality.

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“Most importantly, there are three domains of learning; we have the cognitive, the affective and the psychomotor. In our universities in Nigeria, I stand corrected, I’m sorry to say, I think we have missed it in the sense that, I don’t know of other universities but to the best of my knowledge, emphasis is only on the cognitive, that is why you see people cramming, going to write exams, cram to write tests and all.

“We believe that the other domains, affective and psychomotor, are tested. So what we are doing now is called “Skills Fair”, the skills fair is to test both the affective and the psychomotor domain of learning so that we will be able to test people’s character, behavior, attitude, emotional intelligence not only intellectual intelligence quotient.

“We don’t believe only in IQ in Adult Education, we believe in IQ- Intelligence Quotient, EQ- Emotional Quotient and SQ- Spiritual Quotient, so we believe in all the quotients of a person, meaning that we believe in the roundedness of a person i.e. a person must be rounded.

“Learning should be a rounding process; it should be able to go round a person’s whole skills. So what we are doing here is a test of the psychomotor and affective skills. While we are testing the affective skill, the behavior, mannerism and emotions, of students; we are also testing their ability to put their hands to work, that is, the psychomotor skill.

“For instance, one of the students in one of the groups, the tie & dye and soap making group, is visually challenged, taking this course (DCE 403) , and was the person who taught soap making.

“Ordinarily, she may write exams and not do well because you are testing the cognitive domain but here she is using other skills very effectively which is the psychomotor skill and different groups.

“Some people were taught how to make wigs, barb, do make up, finger foods etc., these are the things that may not be taught in the classroom. So, the essence is to practice training or teaching and also to test all other domains of learning”, he added.