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On young women, the media and the question of privacy

May 26

In late February, the story was reported that a girl from Bayelsa, Ese Oruru, had been abducted by a young man from Kano and up till then her parents’ efforts to retrieve her have been largely futile. When the story broke in PUNCH, Nigerians reacted with an unanticipated level of outrage that instantly sensationalized the case, turning it into some kind of turf war between already antagonistic factions. In retrospect, the battle that was fought over Oruru through the media was not so much about her person or welfare. Rather, it was a proxy war; one that made it...

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What can Buhari do about Amaechi?

May 19

On Sunday, British tabloid, Daily Mail, published a rather derisive story about the Nigerian Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi. The paper taunted Amaechi, “friend of the president” with a rhetorical question that asked if he was “fantastically corrupt.” That piece by the conservative press was a well-timed slung shot, calculated to land in Nigeria at the time when President Muhammadu Buhari’s band of disciples were still celebrating his almost unexpected riposte to British PM, David Cameron; his earlier diplomatic gaffe at the anti-corruption summit...

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Tiwa Savage and Nollywood mythical reality

May 05

In the past days, social media has been agog with gossip of singer, Tiwa Savage, whose husband, Tunji Balogun, voiced his personal frustrations. Balogun ranted about his wife’s failings- a narcissistic attempt to dredge sympathy while subjecting his wife to public lynching. I will sidestep Ms. Savage’s marital drama because I cannot yell over the din of agony aunts and uncles who are already hoarse over her private business. However, I find Balogun’s rant unsettling: he complained his mother-in-law dimmed his star for that of his wife to shine. If you are a...

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“Fulani Herdsmen” – Now or Never

Apr 28

In January, President Barack Obama addressed a live press conference on the epidemic of gun violence in America. The figures are as staggering as they are sobering. In 2015 alone, an estimated 13,000 people were killed as a result of this scourge. Obama, within the limits of the constitution, has made several moves to check the spate of violence but his efforts have been stonewalled by a recalcitrant legislature – lawmakers remote controlled by their gun-obsessed constituency, gun merchants, and gun lobbyists. In the course of his January address Obama...

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Mrs. Buhari’s hustle

Apr 21

On Thursday, Mrs. Aishat Buhari launched her book, Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists, an event attended by the familiar gang of APC big wigs: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; his wife, Dolapo Osinbajo; Senators and state governors; distinguished and ordinary politicians. Coincidentally, the launch date also dredged deeply ugly memories for some Nigerians – the people of Chibok whose daughters were abducted two years ago; Nigerians who still remember them and care, and the girls themselves who, wherever they are, probably no...

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Why do Fulani lives matter?

Apr 14

Ordinarily, the news that the Department of State Security discovered 55 shallow graves in Abia state should spark excitement. Of this lot were bodies of 5 Fulanis who were the residents of the state. The rest, presumably victims of violence, have yet to be identified. At a time when public officials wield no magic wand, and cannot find solutions to Nigeria’s multifarious problems, the DSS’ rising to its own responsibility makes one almost want to deafen their ears with wild applause. Yet to take it for granted that this affair is solely about administrative...

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Panama Papers Palaver

Apr 07

Once again, the world was confronted with a massive leak of supposedly confidential information of how the rich, the corrupt, and the shady people hoard their nuts. The Panama Papers affair is the unprecedented leak of a whopping 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. Led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – a team of over 100 news outlets- the documents are an expose of how people hide their wealth in tax havens, far from the surveillance systems of their countries. The people...

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Astronaut 2030: “Lazy” Nigeria fantasizes

Apr 01

If you have always been a Nigerian, by now you would be highly familiar with deferred national promises. Those are the lofty and extremely ambitious promises usually denominated with decade long life cycles. Those promises, like a malevolent abiku child, are almost always guaranteed to die before they can even live. It so often happens that just when the years have rolled by, and the stated date to deliver on those promise neared, the promise givers (read: the government) quickly reset the date of redemption to another future date. That way, there is no shortage...

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Agatu killings and Buhari’s moral cowardice

Apr 01

President Muhammadu Buhari was quick to condole with Belgium over the unconscionable terrorist attack it suffered on Monday but one should not take his concern for humanitarianism. It was a verbal photo op – or voice op, if you like- by a president who wants to be counted among globally visible leaders. If Buhari genuinely believed in the worth of lives, he would have paid attention to the repugnant violence happening on his watch, the latest being the massacre of the Agatus of Benue state. Days after that vile act, the president’s Spokesperson, Mallam Garba...

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El Rufai and the failure of stomach infrastructure

Mar 17

Kaduna State Government recently lamented the threat facing the future of its school feeding program that was launched with much fanfare in January. The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Shehu Adamu, said in a media report that primary school students desert schools after taking the free meals offered them. He said those pupils would claim they were going to get some water after eating, but it was only a ploy to sneak out of school before the day was done. These children return again the next day, bid their time until food was served and...

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