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JAPA: MORE YOUTHS SELL ASSETS, SEEK FORTUNES ABROAD

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Youth and Sports minister, Sunday Dare

DAMILOLA AINA examines why some Nigerians disposed of their properties in distress sale to raise money to migrate in search of greener pastures.

Mrs Sola Seun, a woman in her early 30s had always planned to migrate abroad with her family but the loss of her job during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated her plans to pursue a post-graduate degree oversee.

She finally got her desire in late 2020 after her application for a student visa was approved; and in no time, she was out of the country for greener pastures.

But as it is with many Nigerians living abroad, loneliness crept in and the thought of relocating her family- husband and two kids- became necessary.

It should not too be difficult, she thought.  But to her surprise, the fund required to relocate her family exceeded her budget.

Narrating her experience with our correspondent via WhatsApp, she said the only option was to raise more money by selling her household items and furniture and renting out her three-bedroom apartment in Abuja.

She said, “The planning process to relocate was very smooth and it was through a student visa. I travelled out of the country in late 2020 after the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We spent N4.1 million to process our visa. I was on the verge of losing my job. And for the sake of my kids, I had to look for other options.

“We needed more funds when my husband and two daughters were to join me because we had exhausted our initial savings.”

According to her, the amount raised was meagre but it saved her second daughter from being stranded and left alone in Nigeria.

She said, “After running around, we had to put our property for rent but we sold all the furniture and household items to raise the needed amount of N350,000 that was to cater for the flight ticket for my last daughter.”

Having spent two years in the United Kingdom, she described her relocation abroad as the best decision of her life but would in the future return to the country for vacation.

“That decision was the best I have ever made although I would still want to come back to Nigeria.”

Mrs Olayemi Alademola did not know she may need to sell properties to complete her Japa project until it was time to show proof of funds at the embassy.

Yemi, who was seven months pregnant at the time of travelling, chose to use the academic route to relocate abroad.

The entire process gulped N20m but the family’s entire savings was only N8m when the process started in early 2022.

Speaking with our correspondent, she said the process was smooth and not overwhelming until it was time to show proof of funds.

According to Wikipedia, proof of funds is a document proving that a person or a company has the financial ability to perform a transaction.

Although the plan had been on for two years, it was nerve-wracking to sell household items, furniture and other properties to raise more money, she said.

“The planning process was at first not overwhelming because I was actually considering relocating to another country.

“We had been working on the plan since 2020 but when the slot for the United Kingdom came up, I applied through a student visa in April 2022.

“The total money needed for the project for a family of three was about N20m even though we had planned only N8m.

“It was at the proof of funds that we decided to source for more funds and that coincidentally was when the price for dollars increased heavily.

“Our previous calculations were not working, so we had no choice but to sell some of our properties to achieve the goals.

“We sold our household utensils, furniture, electronics even our car and the amount we sold then was not equivalent to what we were expecting because it was an urgent sale.”

She said she has no regrets about selling her properties to Japa.

“This place is worth more than any regrets. Assuming I knew about this plan earlier, I would have sold a lot of things and probably finished the process earlier in 2020.

“Yes, you have to work but you get your money at the end of the day, unlike Nigeria where salaries are owed.

“However, anyone who wants to go through a student visa should not do so if they don’t have a family. It is very expensive for a single person,” she concluded.

Although migration is a global phenomenon, in Nigeria’s case, the best brains such as doctors/nurses, tech workers and recently teachers have been leaving the country in droves as a way of escape from the challenging economic situation. They are in search of a better life that the country has not been able to offer.

Experts say the gloomy economic situation of the country is the major reason for the upsurge of the Japa syndrome in recent times.

Japa, a Yoruba word meaning “to run or escape,” has become a popular slang among GenZ Nigerians, who are trying to or have travelled abroad in search of better opportunities.

According to the United Nations International Migration report, as of 2020, a total of 1.67million Nigerians were international migrants around the world.

The PUNCH had on November 29, 2022, reported that the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors claimed it had been hit by a mass migration of its members with only about 10,000 resident doctors left in the country. The association said the manpower shortage has caused available resident doctors to be overworked.

There have been several reports on brain drain in recent times, and this cuts across all sectors including health, education, tech, etc.

The United Kingdom also in a circular issued recently announced that from February 2023, Nigerian citizens would be able to get jobs in the UK as a teacher. A move perceived to lure underpaid teachers and lecturers to the country.

Already, over 260 Nigerian teachers have migrated to Canada alone last year, according to the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof Josiah Ajiboye.

Data according to a Cigna survey has also shown that younger individuals are now more eager to start an expert life than older ones. 37 per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 and 34 per cent of those between the ages of 25 and 34 are willing to leave.

Moreover, the Chief of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, recently warned that 2023 will be a difficult year for the global economy as top economies such as the US, Europe, and China will all see declining growth. She emphasised that 2023 will be “tougher than the year we leave behind”.

The projected tough global economic realities in 2023 are likely to make it more difficult for the Nigerian middle class to migrate. This is because relocating abroad is quite expensive, especially for those trying to migrate through the academic route, which many Nigerians use. For those who are bent on migrating, selling their landed properties and houses might just be the option to securing a Japa ticket.

The President and Chairman of the Council of Real Estate Developer Association of Nigeria, Aliyu Wamakko, said it is a matter of personal conviction, adding that it was a good opportunity for interested buyers.

He said, “If it is someone’s personal conviction to relocate, there is nothing wrong with that. You can’t tell the person not to pursue his personal dream of a greener pasture. It won’t affect the real estate market.

“It is a good decision since you can’t take your house to where you are relocating. So, it is a good opportunity as long as you are selling it to Nigerians.”

The CEO, Seven30 Real Estate Limited, Dr Oluwole Fapohunda, argued that taking such a decision is generally a good one, adding a real estate investment is essential to raise urgent resources when needed.

He, however, advised that such a situation should be avoided as there are willing institutions who can lend those funds in exchange for collateral.

He said, “It is a multidimensional situation as it should be addressed in such a way as well. It is an advantage for the person selling the house. For example, let’s assume a house bought for N20 million is sold for N50 million, the property has experienced capital appreciation, secured the funds for its owner and everyone is happy.

“However, there is something called distress sale because they need the money urgently with a deadline to meet. They are under pressure and may not sell that property for the actual value and this makes it an advantage to whoever is buying.

“Generally, for the real estate market, it brings an appreciation of properties and can change environmental neighbourliness. But then I think it is a good decision. The whole essence in the first place is to be able to dispose of it when they need money.

And for someone relocating, they are going into a different socio-economic situation they are not aware of and need every little cash they can get.

“For some people even though they sold their properties when they left, a year down the line, they may be able to buy more properties in Nigeria.”

He advised selling property in distress should be the last resort of those planning to migrate.

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[RUSSIA – UKRAINE WAR] PUTIN’S GENOCIDE OF SMALL DIFFERENCES

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The True Story Of ‘Z’

The deeper tale of the mysterious emblem — a signal of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine — illuminates how the aging leaders in the Kremlin attempt to explain their fetishistic genocide to their own people.

BY ALEXANDER ETKIND

When Russian tanks and trucks invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the letter Z was painted on their sides. There were other icons, letters and tattoos on show, but the Z won the race of symbols. As a feature of war and a sign of support, the Z soon spread all over Russia. Within the country, patriots painted it on police cars, on the sides of buildings and on their clothing. In Kazan, children who were dying in a hospice were lined up in a Z formation for a macabre photo that was widely disseminated by state media.

The war being fought was against the West, so why was a Latin letter — foreign to the Cyrillic alphabet — chosen as its symbol? There was no official explanation, so theories multiplied. Some said that the Z came from the Russian word zapad, which means “the West”; others argued it stood for Zelensky and that Russian troops had been ordered to kill him.

True believers saw in the Z one-half of the swastika, which they claimed was an ancient symbol of the Slavs. Critics thought it was taken from zombie films. Whatever the truth, it has proliferated in Russian life and media. But the deeper story of why it became so popular and what that means is a fascinating one.

 Generations And Ethnicities

Preparing his assault on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the Russians and Ukrainians were one and the same people. Failing to explain any legitimate reasons for the attack, Putin’s pre-war speeches and articles foreshadowed the weird character of the events that followed.

Many millions of Russian speakers lived in Ukraine, a few million Ukrainians in Russia, and many other millions of both ethnicities were connected by blood, marriage or friendship. Judging by most demographic and social indicators, the neighboring countries were pretty similar. In global rankings, fertility and life expectancy were comparably low, and divorce rates were equally high. Due to oil and gas exports, Russians were technically wealthier per capita than Ukrainians, though this wealth rarely reached them. Judging by the inequality of incomes, Ukraine looked like a fairer, more balanced society. Despite the indicators of wealth, there was more poverty in Russia. And while the statistics of education were also similar, quality was questionable in both countries. Before Moscow started hostilities back in 2014, Ukraine was almost as corrupted as Russia. And though Russia was ethnically more heterogenous, both countries were mostly urban, educated and secular.

During the war, however, we have seen vast and growing differences between the two fighting peoples, with the hapless Russian troops and their corrupted commanders starkly contrasted by the ingenuity and rationality of the Ukrainians. In the diplomatic arena, senile, mumbling Russian leaders lose every argument against their brilliant colleagues from Ukraine.

The Russian regime that launched this war is as gerontocratic as the one during the twilight of the Soviet Union. In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the future Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, was 41 — exactly the same age as his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, is now. Putin has been in power (22 years) for quite a lot longer than any of the Soviet leaders, except only Stalin (29 years). In general, there was a huge difference in age between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders at the outset of the war. Putin (70) could easily be the 44-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky’s father, and the same is true of almost every Russian cabinet member in comparison to their Ukrainian counterparts.

Nothing cleanses the palate better than war. It changes everything — first the present, then the future and, finally, the past. It reverses the natural order of things. Sons die and fathers mourn, not the other way around. Every war brings the problem of generations to the fore. Ivan Turgenev wrote “Fathers and Sons,” the paradigmatic literary analysis of the problem of generational differences, in the aftermath of the Crimean War (1853-1856); Karl Mannheim wrote “The Problem of Generations,” the paradigmatic scholarly analysis, in the aftermath of World War I. A major divide in any country, generations are shaped by their experiences more than by their dates of birth.

“For military and political purposes, markers of difference between two similar peoples had to be created and emphasized.”

In all parts of the former U.S.S.R., the rupture of 1991 established a huge difference between the last Soviet and the first post-Soviet generations. In both Ukraine and Russia, generational differences were larger than ethnic ones. Born in the wake of World War II, many of Russia’s current rulers are deeply rooted in the Soviet period. These boomers went to Soviet schools and started their careers in Soviet collectives. Of the 83 Russian billionaires listed by Forbes in 2022, almost all of them are Soviet boomers. Peers of Putin and his regime, this tiny elite of oligarchs and officials amassed enormous wealth during the so-called “fat years,” the decade after 2000 of fossil fuel-based prosperity.

Ukraine’s leaders, on the other hand, know about the Soviet era mostly from history books. Among the 23 current members of the cabinet, none are boomers. Among the 31 members of the Russian cabinet, by contrast, 11 are.

This war is being fought between two neighboring peoples of similar languages and diverging cultures. It is a war of aging boomers against Generation X and millennials. That’s a craterous divide in any country, but the rupture of 1991 made it even wider.

In Russia, Zelensky and his peers would have been a lost generation. Born too late to profit from the massive redistribution of the 1990s, Russia’s Gen X felt resentment toward more successful predecessors from Putin’s generation. Mikhail Anipkin, a Russian-British sociologist, compares the Russian political life of the pre-war period to a theater: The boomers are on stage, performing an endless play, while millennials helplessly wait in the wings for their turn, and Gen X, uninterested, drinks at the bar. Youngsters in the audience whistle in protest, but the ushers kick them out.

Russian sons and daughters tried to rebel against their fathers in the mass protests of 2012, but they failed. In a huge contrast, Ukraine’s young people succeeded in Kyiv two years later, overthrowing an aging Moscow-allied regime and taking power to lead the nation. Feeling the heat, Kremlin septuagenarians launched a counterattack.

This is not a war between ethnicities — it is a war between generations. A gigantic Oedipal conflict.

 Genocide Of Small Differences

In his 1944 definition of genocide, the Polish-Jewish scholar Raphael Lemkin wrote that “genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.” But at the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, these “national patterns” were not much different. This may sound unusual, but in most known cases of genocide, such a situation is a rule rather than an exception.

Sigmund Freud wrote about the “narcissism of minor differences”; studying the Balkan genocides, the philosopher Michael Ignatieff demonstrated how small differences turned into grand narratives and mass murders. In the Bible, there is a story about how the Gileadites fought against a neighboring people, the Ephraimites. Those Ephraimites who fled and were captured had to pass a phonetic test — pronouncing the Hebrew word “Shibboleth.” For saying “Sibboleth” instead, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed (Judges 12:5-6).

Citing this story, Viktor Shklovsky, the Russian-Jewish scholar who took part in World War I and saw its aftermath in Ukraine, commented: “The Bible repeats itself in a curious way. … In the Ukraine [sic!] I saw a Jewish boy. He could not look at the corn without trembling. He told me: When they were killing us in the Ukraine, they needed to check whether the person they were about to kill was Jewish. They asked him: ‘Say kukuruza (corn).’ Sometimes, he said: ‘kukuruzha.’ They killed him.” There is not much difference between this use of phonetics and the Nazi method of identifying Jews by circumcision; obviously, neither of these markers warrants murder.

Other genocides followed the same logic of magnifying minor differences. Historians know that the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 and the Bosnian genocide of 1995 cannot be explained by religious hostilities between Muslims and Christians. The Young Turks — mostly intellectuals and military officers — who came to power in the Ottoman Empire, in 1908, aimed to secularize their country. At the outset of their campaign, the Armenian radicals — also secular intellectuals and military officers — supported the Young Turks and took part in their movement. There had been no genocide throughout the long centuries during which Turks and Armenians lived side by side in separate religious communities; the genocide only occurred after their religious differences had been mostly eliminated.

The internal terror in the Soviet Union, which spanned three decades and only ended with Stalin’s death in 1953, was equivalent to genocide. However, the perpetrators and the victims often belonged to the same ethnicity and shared the same ideology. Former interrogators would sometimes be arrested and then meet their victims in the same camp.

“Mass murders happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ethnic differences, big or small.”

For Bosnians and Serbs in the late 20th century, their religious and cultural differences did not play the role they did in the past. The same could safely be said about the Russians and Ukrainians when they lived side by side, in both Russia and Ukraine, before the disastrous war of 2022.

The absence of meaningful differences does not decrease the scale or the cruelty of mass murder. On the contrary, the lesser the differences, the greater the genocide. The smaller the chosen differences are, the more the genocide approaches a collective suicide — an analogy that has been noted in many historiographies of genocide, from Somalia and Cambodia to the Soviet Union and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In “Civilization and its Discontents,” Freud wrote: “It is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other. … I gave this phenomenon the name of the ‘narcissism of minor differences,’ a name that does not do much to explain it.”

Despite Freud’s uncharacteristic modesty, I see something valuable in his idea. If people are perceived as different, they can be used and abused, and the abuse would be seen in terms of economics rather than politics. But if you see another person or people as similar to you, they evoke either love or hatred. Political relations emerge among those who are similar.

Narcissism turned negligible differences into meaningful narratives, which then led to mass murder. This does not, however, explain why and how two neighboring and similar peoples become a genocidal couple. Many human groups are similar, but this does not lead them to kill one another. Genocide does not function as a causal chain of events that starts with a small difference and ends with a mass grave.

“The lesser the differences, the greater the genocide.”

The opposite is true. Mass murders happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ethnic differences, big or small. But after they have taken place, the survivors on both sides explain the slaughter by converting their small, negligible differences into grand, overwhelming narratives.

The number of small differences between human groups is infinite. Critical race theory deconstructs racial differences by arguing that they have no objective referents — they are all created by cultural perceptions. One could say that critical race theory works as an exact antidote to the “narcissism of small differences”: The former turns big differences, as they are perceived in a racist society, into collateral effects of cultural interactions, while the latter turns small differences into decisive factors that, for a murderous group, determine the difference between life and death.

There is no “objective” metric that could define which differences are small (like accents, for example) and which differences are big (races or generations). They are all constructed, contingent and fluid. A whim of history can turn any set of human differences into a genocidal matter.

According to Lemkin, the reason for genocide is the oppressors striving to establish their own order in occupied lands. The murderers want to get power, property and recognition from their own kind and from neighboring peoples. Differences are in the eyes of the beholder, but if one person has power, he can impose his perception on others.

Putin, his state and his army were determined to destroy the “national pattern” of the Ukrainians and replace it with the “national pattern” of the Russians. The perceived differences were small, but the political results were enormous. In some ways, the Russians and the Ukrainians were so similar that no Shibboleth test would have differentiated them. To identify the enemy among a people who looked and sounded like themselves, the Russian soldiers couldn’t rely even on accents — many of them had similar ways of pronouncing Russian words.

Having no other option, Russian soldiers at checkpoints searched people for “Nazi tattoos,” and anyone who had anything interpretable as such on their skin was beaten or killed. And those who sent these soldiers to Ukraine in the first place developed their own marks of difference.

 Fetishism

Russia’s war against Ukraine is as senseless as any other genocide: There was no way it could bring Russia any political or economic gain, and it did not. The only comprehensible framework for it is a classic Russian imperialism mixed with a specifically post-Soviet revanchism. But there was also a third part to the mix: fetishism.

Russian losses have been huge and predictable — but that hardly matters. What mattered was the fetish: a Ukrainian territory whose only value came from the idea that it used to be “ours” and should be regained. Supposedly, this would have brought glory, ecstasy or some other form of satisfaction to the Russian president, his elites and their people.

For military and political purposes, markers of difference between two similar peoples had to be created and emphasized. If not the color of the skin, then the ways of shaving beards or making tattoos; if not languages, then dialects and accents; if not different religions, then different uniforms or fashions. These minor differences grow into fetishes. They are more important than the biggest and the most profound similarities, and they define life or death. There is no genocide without distinct “national patterns,” but the fetishized differences between these patterns could be negligible for any other purpose but genocide.

Nobody understands a fetishistic desire but the fetishist. Moreover, even different fetishists do not understand each other. One worships a high heel, another a colorful bow. However, fetishism is a venerable concept — both Marx and Freud loved it. Why does anyone take pleasure from the proverbial heel? It’s incomprehensible. And the victim, the owner of the heel, is as dumbfounded as anyone else.

None of this matters to the fetishist; he seeks pleasure above all else. It is exactly this disproportion between a part and a whole that constitutes fetishism. Crimea was a heel, and so was Donbas.

“Minor differences grow into fetishes.”

In national catastrophes of this scale, there is always an irrational, incomprehensible core. German historians of the Holocaust call it a “civilizational rupture.” It is important to analyze imperialism and revanchism, two comprehensible sources of these catastrophes — but it is wrong to take them for the whole picture. Your foe, a fetishist, would be happy to deceive you in this way.

Militant and potentially genocidal, fetishist culture is full of contradictions. When the emperor is a fetishist, his poets write odes and his sculptors erect monuments to him. This is hardly surprising given that the fetishist pays them handsomely.

Being a scholar under fetishistic rule is more difficult. Precisely because the fetishistic aspect of events is incomprehensible, the scholar mostly writes about the imperialistic and revanchist aspects. Historically speaking, many scholars who lived under fetishistic regimes were imperialists, but very few were fetishists. For various reasons, they did not approve of worshipping the heel, and they wrote critically about it. Most of these writings intended to explain events as the product of comprehensible factors, either political or military; fetishism was subsumed within imperialism. It took courage to see brutal acts of genocide for what they were: senseless.

There is a fetish beneath every genocide: circumcised flesh, the manner of pronunciation of certain words, a tattoo. None of them justify murder, and only a fetishist would disagree with this. But we know from history that fetishization of these minor differences does take place, and it costs millions of lives.

With the Z, a new step was taken in this amazing spectacle of history. Since there were no real words that could serve to differentiate friends from foes, a symbol had to be invented from scratch. Entirely senseless, it is the belief in the Z, the love for the Z, the identification with the Z, that identifies a true patriot.

NOEMA

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EHA-AMUFU CRISIS, UGWUANYI AND ENUGU SECURITY

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

By Samson Ezea

Before the recent conflict in Eha Amufu community and its environs in Isi Uzo LGA of Enugu State where lives were lost, people displaced and properties destroyed, Enugu state has always been known for its peacefulness and security especially since Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi assumed office.

Although, it is axiomatic fact that no society is completely insulated from crime or insecurity, the sudden security breaches and hitches in some parts of Enugu state have always been brought under control and not allowed to unsettle Ndi Enugu by the appropriate authorities.

When there was security hitches along Ugwuogo- Nike- Opi- Nsukka road, the state government and security agents quickly stemmed the tide with the increased deployment of security personnel, completion and commissioning of the Mopol 76 Barrack Ekwegbe, Igbo-Etiti LGA, constructed by the Enugu State Government and clearing of bushes which had hitherto provided cover for kidnappers in that axis.

Different security measures have also been put in place at the Four Corner axis of the state following the recent security hitches in that area as well. There are other security measures deployed by the security agents and the Enugu state government to ensure maximum security in the state that are not for public consumption or disclosure to avoid sabotage.

In the same vein, there are other security challenges in the state that have been secretly and noiselessly nipped in the bud by the security agents in collaboration with the state government without the public experiencing and witnessing them.

Enugu’s attainment of the status of one of the most peaceful states in the country under Governor Ugwuanyi’s watch is not a fluke or compromise. It is a fact which the statistics is glaring, verifiable and unquestionable.

While security of lives and properties is the primary and major constitutional responsibility of every government, it is evidenced that the rising spate of insecurity across the country in recent years which is quite worrisome and overwhelming has posed a great challenge. To overcome and tackle this, requires the collaboration of all and for all hands to be on deck. It cannot be left for government alone.

From the Boko Haram insurgency in the North, to banditry, kidnapping, communal violence, unknown gunmen and marauding herders’ menace in the South, the situation is scaring and disturbing.

In the face of these daunting security challenges, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who made security and peace of the state his government’s top priority from inception is not resting on his oars.

He may have not been mouthing it at all times for genuine reasons, he has always acted it quietly and the result is obvious and encouraging. For instance, Governor Ugwuanyi established and empowered the Forest Guards and also strengthened and repositioned the Neighborhood Watch in the state.

Governor Ugwuanyi is quite aware and mindful of the fact that nothing meaningful or progressive can be achieved in a chaotic and violent atmosphere, hence his government has left no stone unturned in ensuring that the state is secure at all times, especially during festive period.

The recent insecurity upsurge and killings in Eha Amufu community and its environs which led to loss of lives and properties is quite regrettable, condemnable and unwarranted. The age-long crisis which appeared to have defied successive governments’ interventions has some undertones and remote causes that needed to be explored and addressed for immediate and permanent resolution of the lingering crisis in the communities.

This Governor Ugwuanyi has done with his recent reconcilitary and dialogical meetings with the various stakeholders, leaders and factional groups in Eha Amufu community and its environs that have been working at cross purposes in tackling the killings and conflicts in the communities.

It is discovered and believed by many that the remote causes and impediments to peace and security in the troubled communities had a lot to do with the local politics, power struggles and disunity among the stakeholders, people and leaders of the affected communities.

Before the meeting with them, Governor Ugwuanyi had donated the sum of N10m at the wake of the killings to take care of the displaced persons and survivors that needed urgent succour and care. He paid unscheduled nocturnal visit to the affected communities, where he sympathised with the victims and their families.

More security personnel were deployed to the troubled Eha Amufu communities to bring the situation under control.

Today, there is prevailing peace and security in Eha Amufu communities and across the length and breadth of Enugu State. People are going about their businesses and celebrating the festival season unperturbed.

It is quite disheartening, misleading and unfortunate that at the peak of the crisis in Eha Amufu communities, some people who have no first hand security information, knowledge or evidence of the conflict and even some persons from the troubled communities politicised and trivialised it on social media for cheap political gain. They peddled fake and gory pictures of corpses that have no link with the Eha Amufu crisis and claimed that they were from there in a desperate attempt to pitch and incite people against Governor Ugwuanyi, dismiss and sabotage his untiring efforts in tackling the problem headlong.

What these people failed to realise is that security matters and strategies to handle them cannot be put in the public domain for security reasons. They also failed to realise that 2023 general elections will come and go and the people of Eha Amufu communities and Enugu State by extension will remain brothers and sisters.

Some intentionally painted scary scenarios of the security situation in the state and ignorantly accused Governor Ugwuanyi of abandoning the people of Eha Amufu communities to their fate without stating how.

For the umpteenth time, Governor Ugwuanyi is a leader who has not relented in pursuing peace and security. He is a Governor who stays more in the state working assiduously than globetrotting.

Before now, his government has peacefully resolved lingering communal clashes, farmers and herders clashes in the state amicably.

Example of such is the age-long communal crisis between Umuode and Oruku communities in Nkanu East LGA that have claimed lives and defied resolution before Governor Ugwuanyi’s government stepped in and resolved the crisis to the acceptance and satisfaction of all the affected parties.

Considering the security situation across the length and breadth of Nigeria today, Enugu state remains one of the safest, if not the most safest, peaceful and secure state in the country.

Ezea, writes from Independence Layout, Enugu State

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I WANT TO BE LIKE BUHARI

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By Barr. Ezugwu Okike

The late story teller, Chinua Achebe, was very consistent in calling himself and contemporaries, the members of a lucky generation.

As he travelled the world and lectured, he kept saying it. That was consistent with the Achebe character. He was a very modest and honest man. The more general attitude of mankind is to shake things out of the ordinary. The first man who travelled to Onisha from Nsukka returned and told his kinsmen that every route to Onitsha was tortuous and long. They gathered and admiringly looked upon him as a fabulous adventurer. He did not want another person to undertake the journey and return to render his accomplishment commonplace.  Achebe would not do that. He would have told his kinsmen that Onitsha was not that far and that the journey was easy.

Muhammedu Buhari was among the lucky generation of Nigerians who had everything going for them. They had the benefit of world class education; economy, as well as an unlimited, dignified access to the rest of the world. They knew Nigeria before it went to the dogs, if that better describes it. I was in the N.B.A Committee which interviewed Dr. Michael Ajogwu, SAN.  The 80-year-old told us that he was the first Masters student in the university of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. He lived in the Postgraduate Hall alone and had a large number of servants. When he was bored of staying in the PG Hall alone and moved up to the campus, the university authorities ordered that an entire hostel be vacated for him, his many servants carrying his belongings. When you compare this to the rat-infested and evil-smelling rooms in the hostels of the same school today, and the big task it is to even secure a room in these dingy places, you will have an idea of what it means to have been a member of a lucky generation.

Buhari has been luckier than most. He is a man who does not take blame for his actions. If he promised that he would fight corruption — as a first instance — and corruption festers, it is not his fault. He had the intention but the judiciary refused to corporate. If he had talked about making one naira equal to one dollar, and the naira plummets shamelessly in the exchange market, he remains blameless. His predecessors did a lot of bad things and he is not a wonder-worker.

As he sank the country almost inexorably in debt, he is still free from blame. Buhari cannot, if you must be fair, make bricks without straw. Let us even assume that anybody heard him promise to fight terror, and you have some of the world’s most brazen ransom-framing happening in the country; well, you know who to blame: the Army Generals. Buhari gave them all the support they need — moral and material. Do you expect the old man to join in the fighting?  If oil marketers now halt distribution to protest the perilous state of federal Highways, Buhari has no hand in the pie. Jonathan and some other guys were president and could have done the roads.

The above are for those who love specifics.  Hardcore Buharists (and isn’t everybody a Buharist?), have a blanket approach with which they shield him from blame. Nigeria is now a fiasco. She is unflinching in her march into becoming a perfectly poverty-stricken Banana Republic. But you must not blame the indifferent man who sits on her destiny. He had or still has good intentions. Moreover, he did not steal your money. He is only a tribal bigot and that is a misdemeanor, not up to what you could call a crime against public service.

Muhammadu Buhari, a lucky child, is still stretching his privileges. After leading Nigeria twice, first as a coup and military leader and then again as a civilian head of state, two epochs of absolute economic turmoil and retrogression, the last thing he wants is any post-retirement headache. He wants a tranquil time at Duara. And he is already sending out strident notes of warning. First, he does not want to be blamed for the outcomes of a possible Bola Tinubu presidency. Like every rational Nigerian, he feels a premonition of the looming disaster. “I did not elect Tinubu. The Delegates did,” he told a reporter and grinned. But, did Buhari forget that nobody blames him for anything?

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He had warned also that he must not be summoned by any court to give testimony. I forgot to mention that Buhari has always lived above the law. He is not like Donald Trump whom you could disturb his peace for provoking a riot. Historically, the judiciary have always got on Buhari’s nerves. I am still wondering why he allowed one of his daughters to read law. “The nonsense of judicial proceeding,” he called it all with a cloudy grimace. He is not unmindful of the fact that his associates, since he became president, have been using the country essentially as a collateral for foreign loans. But you must not call him to testify before any court. Buhari is exiting the bustles of public life about which he has confessed his tiredness. He dreams of a pastoral life in Daura where he would be minding his moderate herd of cows.

What a life Buhari has had. Tell me if you don’t want to be like him?

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