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poetry column

odim hill is a flight risk

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By Precious Okpechi

there’s a kite testing how fast it needs to glide
to halt a cloud in space; a light travelling across
the globe like saturn’s wedding ring; the small town

below looks like a network of dendrites: a little
green here and there, pico-dust storms there and
here – i fear there isn’t any grief it can’t shoulder. i’m

closer to heaven than ever. like the stars, i’m someone
else’s dream: abandoned. much alive. reaching into years
of distance. a hope more resilient than a baby turtle

scrumming past the shore and into the sea. i know
gravity is at its most vulnerable here, if i leap off
this edge, my dancing knees first, i could become a spectacle

for the angels. what i need is to shed my dead skins
the weight of being born into a bloodline marked with
an undying thirst for deserts – the hot sorrows of it.

i am closer to heaven than ever, closer to joy, the sickled
rope only a jump away from my hands. and it’s for this,
i hope, the pheromones in my blood will become a prayer

that’s both my saving and my damnation:
here am i, most loving and faithful servant,
make, in me, a beauty that lives.

BIO:
Precious Okpechi is a Nigerian poet and editor. He is an alumni of the Los Angeles Review of Books Publishing Workshop and The Singing Bullet Writing Workshop. His works appear in Palette, Lolwe, The Shore, Isele Magazine, Ake Review, and elsewhere. Precious is Managing Editor at 20.35 Africa.

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NDLEA collaborates with BUA Cement to combat drug abuse among workers

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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

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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.

BIO:
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

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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.

BIO:
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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