Saturday, 26 May 2012

teenaijanews: Communicating Climate Change and Sustainable Devel...

teenaijanews: Communicating Climate Change and Sustainable Devel...: The Oxford advanced learners dictionary defined communication as the activity or process of expressing ideas, and feelings or o...

Communicating Climate Change and Sustainable Development

The Oxford advanced learners dictionary defined communication as the activity or process of expressing ideas, and feelings or of giving people information. This process in recent times has necessitated the basis for trainings and workshops organized for journalists, bloggers and other frequent users of the internet and social media in Nigeria. A training programme was held for journalists and bloggers, in Lagos which had participants from different parts of the country. The workshop organisers CC-Hub in collaboration with Goethe Institute; a German based organization, said the training was needed to help communicate climate change better to the people. The focus of the training was on ECO-JOURNALISM.
The Director of the Goethe Institute Mr Mac-Andre Schmatel explained that eco-journalism was more encompassing and gives the journalist the view that climate change is not only about the environment but a cross-getting development challenge. He pointed out that Goethe Institute was involved because of its bi-lateral relations with Nigeria, and expressed optimism that through Nigeria the whole of Africa can be informed on environmental issues and sustainable development. According to him Germany is one of the countries globally, that is green-economy driving and would want the most populous country in Africa to toe that path.
The Co-founder of CC-Hub Mr. Michael Ilesanmi further explained, that eco-jhub through eco-journalism will provide an online platform in Nigeria, extend the reach and amplification of Nigerian eco-journalists and their work and also establish global media and commercial partners for the initiative. The participants were not only journalist but also bloggers and active citizen of the internet, which Mr. Ilesanmi said Nigeria could not be left behind as the world is going more digital. To him the conventional media, atimes do so much gatekeeping that reduce the value and power of the message. The new media offers opportunity for fast and quick ways of getting information. “We don’t need to wait till news time before we know what is happening. This day’s news break as it is happening anywhere and at any time. These new media participants will help in achieving this purpose, but the issue of credibility to stories could be challenged by this method though” he said. He said the concept of peer-peer was adopted in training the participants, as this allows them to share what they know about and also learn from their peers. To him the journalist has to be knowledgeable enough to be able, to communicate with his/her target audience.
Furthermore also, a non-governmental organization Community Conservation and Development Initiative (CCDI) based in Lagos, selected some volunteers to use social media in monitoring projects in Local communities and informing the people about climate change and sustainable development. The Director of CCDI Mrs Kofo Adeleke said climate change issues is long overdue, to be a matter of urgency and priority in Nigeria. If local communities in Nigeria’s most populous cities are informed about their environment and what they should do, I believe this would have replicate effects in other parts of the country. We cannot keep living in ignorance of the devastating effect of climate change in a coastal state like Lagos. Do you know the economic implication of the loss Nigeria would have, if there is another flood like the one experienced in July last year? We need to act now, inform and call the people in the communities to be responsible to their environment. These volunteers would use Facebook, twitter, and blog stories to create awareness.
A consultant to the project and an information technology expert Mr. Gbenga Sesan said the decision to use social media, as a tool to inform and empower the people about climate change and sustainable development is because of the power of the internet. We all know the world is global village and from research, Nigerians have been identified as one of the fastest growing users of the internet globally and we should be able to maximize this for the environment.
Nigeria has had it fair share of the effect of climate change as experienced recently with irregular weather pattern, excessive and lack of rainfall which has resulted in loss of lives and properties. There are fears that if proper adaptive and mitigating strategies are not put in place in the Agriculture sector, to combat climate change food security could be threatened. Wide spread flooding of farmlands was experienced, last year in Nigeria due to excessive rainfall.
A recent study conducted among journalists in Lagos reporting about the environment and climate change showed that enough attention and coverage has not been given to climate change, it is expected that with this current trend of trainings and involvement of social media platforms more Nigerians would be able to understand better the issues of climate change and the perceived notion that it is an elitist opinion from the developed countries would be eroded.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

teenaijanews: GEJ: Why won’t they escape?

teenaijanews: GEJ: Why won’t they escape?: I was angry with Mr. President on the 18th of May 2011 when he said during the funeral service of the late mother o...

GEJ: Why won’t they escape?

I was angry with Mr. President on the 18th of May 2011 when he said during the funeral service of the late mother of Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime that Nigerians should not think of escaping out of the country. I took a journey back to last year 2011 before the general election when Goodluck Jonathan with all his campaign machinery in motion calling on Nigerians to vote him as he promised the citizens fresh air and a dawn of a new era. Most people voted for him not as a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate member but as an individual who they felt had an experience of their pains and agony. His campaign of how he had no shoes as a child and trekked for miles to get to school among other illusionary propaganda successfully swayed Nigerians to give him their mandate. Just like President Barack Obama who became the first President of the United States (US), Dr Goodluck Jonathan was the first President of Nigeria from the Niger-Delta whose people’s agitation brought about the militants in the oil rich region. He made history and Nigerians believing he was educated as a doctorate degree holder that he would bring in something different to the table of governance but this perception of him had been eroded with Nigeria’s corruption level reaching the high heavens.
What the President does not get right is that his campaign of “don’t escape” is not what will keep an aspiring young Nigerian in the country rather an assurance that could give wings to the dreams and aspiration of these young Nigerians, who would want to emulate the likes of Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti that studied abroad and had the guts to come home and use the knowledge they got from the foreign land. In essence what Mr. President should know, is that motivation and affirmative action rather than endless political statements, are what keep people in their motherland. Let’s imagine the state of living in the country now which gives a picture of abysmal hope with many young people in the streets in search of jobs, in their homes without electricity and water, with corrupt leaders washing their dirty linens in the media in the name of legislative probes and executive cover; why and why not would they not want to escape. What hope is there for a young man in a country where youth corps members, deployed to nooks and crannies of the country against their wish are left to leave without stipends? Since they are often posted far from families and friends to remote areas they only discover exist in Nigeria due to the programme, is it the ones escaping from death and threat of death as they were used as ad-hoc staff during the last general election in the Northern part of the country where corps members were killed and burnt by angry mobs who were not pleased with the presidential election declaring Goodluck Jonathan as President. These youths who were serving their fatherland, were killed because they refused to register under-aged children for election. They ran to the police station for safety but met their deaths there. I attended the memorial lecture in honour of these courageous youths, who thought they could bring about change by refusing mal-practice during the election. They died believing in a new Nigeria and even after their death all the promises made by the President to immortalize them and provide jobs for their siblings who were graduates have only increased the loss and pain associated with their demise.
One of the survivors of that election violence gave an account of what happened that fateful day.
With all these will President Jonathan still think he can convince a young person not to escape by his speech but only by given them the fresh air he campaign about and the new dawn to stop them from escaping.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Politics of fuel price increases in Nigeria

The Federal Government always present fuel price hike as the solution to problems in the economy anytime they want to increase the pump price of petrol. The history of fuel price increase dates back to the Gowon administration in 1973 when it was increased by 40% from six kobo to eight point four-five kobo (6 kobo - 8.45kobo), and this trend has been  followed by subsequent administrations till date. But in all the increases the Obasanjo administration has been the most notorious. He was the first President to increase by 70% in 1978 from nine kobo to fifteen point three kobo (9 kobo - 15.3kobo) as a Military Head of State  and as civilian President, he increased the pump price  six times and had a cause to revert it only once in 2000. Also the Abacha administration was not any better with fuel price increase as he reduced the price twice but has being the only President in the country to increase fuel price with over 362% hike in 1994 from three naira twenty-five kobo to fifteen naira (#3.25kobo - #15), which resulted in a slight reduction two days after severe Labour pressure to eleven naira (#11). But only one President has made positive history with fuel price regime in the country. And that is Late President Musa Yar-Adua, who after a month in office in June 2007 reduced the price of fuel from seventy -five naira to sixty-five naira (#75 - #65).  He maintained that price till he passed on while in office in 2010. These increases have always had there toll on the social-economic of Nigerians. 
Before the Oil boom in the 70’s the nation’s economy was largely dependent on revenue from the Agricultural sector that brought about stability in the economy, with the Naira at one point in history been more valuable than the dollar and pound. Nigeria was a country people came to seek greener pastures and also helping other nations boost their internal politics and economy. Nigeria’s palm oil seedlings was adjudged the best at a time when Malaysia came to Nigeria to collect oil palm seedlings, but today the various agricultural edifices Nigeria was known for have all disappeared. Is it the groundnut pyramid in the North, or the Cocoa and Timber in the West that the region used in making the westerners the most educated tribe in Nigeria or the oil palm seedlings in the East that made transport business a main trade for the Easterners who transported palm oil from the East to other parts of the country?  Can it be said that when oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Olobiri River State, that Mother Earth knew that black crude would result in massive exploitation, corruption and a tool to keep the nation torn against herself? Or make the Niger-Delta region a trigger of the gun waiting to explode due to continuous neglect of a people whose land and rivers have been degraded but never enjoyed what their land produced or a complete neglect of other sectors of the economy that has made our economy a recurring decimal of failure?

When President Jonathan gave Nigerians one of the worst New-year gifts that no President had given in the history of this country on the 1st of January 2012 by increasing the price of fuel with about 120%, he never expected the outcome of that action. Nigeria became the center of attention with a massive protest that led to what is now called the OCCUPY NIGERIA MOVEMENT. That action showed the anger the masses had been groaning under for a long time, with an administration that has only made Nigeria classed as a terrorist nation due to the frequent deaths associated with the Boko Haram sect in the North. Nigerians from across the country came out to the streets of major cities refusing to accept a gift from their President at a time the nation was in a festive period, and many families had made and spent based on their budget only to realize that the New Year was going to be a time to tighten their belt. The protest that greeted that fuel hike led to the death of twenty Nigerians who were gunned down by security operatives that were overwhelmed by a people, that they never believe would revolt due to their constant siddon look stand and I go beta slogan.

The Presidency using the State owned media as a puppet resorted to propaganda that the increase in price was the only way for the nation not to go broke, and also reduce the grip of the cabals who are unknown but in charge of the oil sector by importing petroleum products that could not be properly accounted for. The Presidency talked about a cushioning effect and palliative measures that would be put in place, to reduce the burden of the removal of oil subsidy since his administration could no longer pay for subsidy on fuel. The promises made by the President since the recent increase in the price of fuel is yet to be felt by the people. The major reason why Nigerians always see the increase of fuel as a death sentence is because the nation is powered by generator due to the epileptic state of the power sector. In most cities and towns across the country seven in ten homes has a generating set to provide electricity for their use. Anytime there is an increase in the price of fuel everything and every sector feel the brunt of the increase. The price of food, transportation and most essential services also increase. What concerned Nigerians are after is that, can there be an administration in this country that would run a successful Government without resorting to fuel price increase?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Civil Society important in policy making in a Changing Climate

A coalition of more than twenty civil society networks in developing countries, have presented a report which states that civil society plays key roles in pushing for new laws, programmes, policies or strategies on climate change, in holding governments to account on their commitments, in identifying the lack of joined-up government responses to climate change and in ensuring that national policy making does not forget the poor and vulnerable.

The report which was launched at the United Nation Climate talks in Bonn highlights the importance to civil society networks of engaging with the media to reach the general public and key decision-makers, and of having good relations with governments to influence policy making and planning. According to the report, while some governments in industrialised nations seem to ignore climate change, civil society organisations are working hard to promote solutions and climate justice for those affected.

Contributions in the report were from more than twenty climate networks and their member organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific and were supported by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) with fund from the Government of Denmark. The report’s editor Dr. Hannah Reid of the IIED said many of even the world’s poorest countries, now have active civil society coalition that work on climate change and they are increasingly influential. Dr. Reid further stated that these coalitions can play an important role as bridges between vulnerable communities, and those with the power to enact policies that can protect people from the impacts of climate change.

Challenges experienced by the coalition based on the report include lack of skills and resources needed to meet their advocacy objectives, and where relations between government and civil society are weak, civil society involvement in key policy making areas has not been adequate. Recently during the Fourth Lagos State Climate Change Summit in Nigeria, an Environment Lawyer Professor Lanre Fagbohun while delivering a lecture on the role of civil society in governance model, called on the civil society group to keep the Government on their toes and hold them accountable to their commitment and also sensitize the people on their rights.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012



The danger associated with travelling on most Nigeria roads, make travelers have no better option than to travel by Air. Over the years Nigerians have found Air travelling, better because it is much faster and save time. Most travellers who got attracted to some Airlines through the ways they advertise their services online, have been disappointed as the services have not been commensurate with their expectations. Some offer online booking and reservation which is best you pay immediately, because there could be cancellation of flight booking without any notification. According to the Airline companies, the system does the cancellation automatically. This un-informed cancellation could affect the budget and plan of an unknowing passenger, who has planned based on the price booked but shocked to find out the online booking, has been cancelled without any prior notification. One then wonders why the need for all the information the system administrator, always request for when you are filling the booking form online. When you fail to fill in some of the required information the system would reject the form and insist on the information, but why can’t they use that same information you supply the administrator to notify you of booking cancellation?
Most of their Staff who collects money for tickets at the Airports is only about pretty faces and masculine frame with no other professional intellect. I know customer service is more than outlook appearance but also the provision of basic information that would enable an intending passenger to make decisive plans. It is so unfortunate that these Airlines staff act as though they are doing you a favour when you meet them to make enquiries. Airline charges in Nigeria are believed to be among the most expensive in Africa but yet their services are not commensurate with the exorbitant prices they charge for flights. This act only makes travelling by Air more cumbersome than a camel passing through the needle eyes.