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poetry column




with a line from Gbenga Adesina

By Taofeek “Aswagaawy” Ayeyemi

Memory is the darkness
in which we find our gone souls;

history and heritage reminisced
as culture, as headstones to crush our flowers.

Father was a griot
and death filled the missing gaps in his stories.

Once I was massaging my limbs,
and pitied I was pressing his shoulders too hard;

It is that my hands
are also my father’s hands,

open and always so; a sloppy hallway
slipping gifts into the street.

Of everything I refused to inherit,
his visage– where a river of mercy flows, wasn’t among.

Every time my friends talked about me in my absence,
I always appear: & they’d tick the box of my legitimacy.

Once, a strange woman saw me
and called my father’s middle name;

she didn’t mean to call him,
she meant to strike her guess that I’m my father’s son.



Taofeek “Aswagaawy” Ayeyemi is a Nigerian lawyer, writer and author of the chapbook Tongueless Secrets (Ethel Press, 2021) and a collection “aubade at night or serenade in the morning” (Flowersong Press, 2021). A BotN and Pushcart Prize Nominee, his works have appeared in CV 2, Lucent Dreaming, Up-the-Staircase Quarterly, FERAL, ARTmosterrific, Banyan Review, Conscio, Porter House Review, the QuillS and elsewhere. He won the 2021 Loft Books Flash Fiction Competition, 2nd Place in 2021 Porter House Review Poetry Contest, and Honorable Mention in 2021 Oku-no-hosomichi Soka Matsubara Haiku Contest and 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize among others. He is @Aswagaawy on Twitter.

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NDLEA collaborates with BUA Cement to combat drug abuse among workers



The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has initiated a collaborative effort with BUA Cement to implement regular drug tests for drivers and other employees of the company, aiming to ensure they remain free from illicit substances.

Mr. Adamu Iro, the NDLEA Commandant in Sokoto State, disclosed this during a sensitization lecture jointly organized by NDLEA and BUA Cement for the company’s workers in Sokoto. Iro emphasized that this initiative would play a crucial role in safeguarding lives and commended BUA Cement for its commitment to this partnership.

Highlighting the importance of the initiative, Iro noted the alarming trend of some drivers engaging in the illegal use of substances, posing significant risks to their health and overall well-being. He expressed concern that drug abuse has unfortunately become a normalized lifestyle for many Nigerians, leading to an increase in criminal activities among drug-dependent individuals.

Iro underscored the correlation between drug abuse and the prevalent crimes in the nation, emphasizing that drivers under the influence of drugs pose serious threats to public safety through road accidents.

Mrs. Ramatu Sani, the Head of Training at BUA Cement, expressed gratitude to NDLEA for their support in promoting the well-being of workers and enhancing productivity within the company. She emphasized the significance of the sensitization program in fostering a healthy work environment and sustaining the partnership between NDLEA and BUA Cement.

Mr. Ibrahim Bande, the Head of Transport at BUA Cement, urged workers to heed the lectures and abstain from all forms of drug abuse, emphasizing its detrimental effects on personal development and societal well-being. He cautioned drivers against operating under the influence of drugs, emphasizing the importance of upholding the company’s integrity and ensuring road safety.

The event included a drama presentation highlighting the dangers of drug abuse and recognized staff members who have contributed to the fight against drug abuse within the company. Additionally, a road walk was organized within the community to raise awareness among residents about the hazards of drug abuse and its associated consequences.

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poetry column

Lances at the hedges of light



By Samuel A. Betiku

With Nigeria’s economy and poverty levels worsening, abductions have become an almost daily occurrence in recent years — Reuters

Until now, you savoured the world in packets of myth, moon-
lit frolic and a cot where the soft ripple of praise succeeds the rooster’s
call and the amber flush of afterglow. What did you know of a country
flailing outside the stained glasses of your eyes, eyes your mother looked into
to relearn the curves of a hymn: what did you know of being a prey
or of a complicit knot of trees and underbrush lining a dire trail,
blanketing the gleam of tomorrow. You watch your friends trudge on,
each laboured step a prayer no one dares to say out loud. When you open
your mouths, it is to let out a wisp of stifled cry, to risk the gruff nudge
of a gun. At the end of the road, your plundered selves waiting, inescapable.
What can you give to stay a haloed house? You look down at your feet
crusted with crimson and grit and imagine your mother sitting outside
the shed, the quiet sob of petition, the drooped heft of her brow, barely able
to stare at a sky spangled with lights closer to home than her daughter.

Samuel A. Betiku is a Nigerian writer from the city of Ondo, South West Nigeria. His works have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Rattle, The Offing, Frontier poetry, The Temz Review, Trampset, The Christian Century, Strange Horizons, Agbowó, The Deadlands, and elsewhere.

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poetry column

The Knowledge



By Kei Vough Korede

In a dream, two bars of soap
Were handed to me—
One containing melancholy.
The other, mirth.
A voice instructed me to give
The former to my father and keep
The latter for myself.
I broke each bar into half
And handed a half of each soap to my father:
His pain is my pain. My joy is his joy.

Kei Vough Korede, he/they, poet, fashion and mustache enthusiast. He works on his manuscript Oral History. Flirt with him on Twitter @theDilatedSoul

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