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On the need to curb ritual killings in Nigeria



By Abimbola Abatta

At least seven ritualistic murders have rocked Nigeria recently. The House of Representatives, following the alarming incidents of ritual killings, urged the Federal Government to declare a national emergency to address the spate of ritual killings.

Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari described ritual killings as hate crimes while calling for the strictest punishments for ritual killers. But despite the slated penalties, irony is the case as there are persistent reports on ritualism.

Some of the factors responsible for ritual killings are poverty and unemployment. Looking at different parts of the country, where street hawking, menial jobs, and street begging are prevalent, will paint a gory insight into what an average Nigerian has to grapple with each day in the quest for survival. It is war.

In 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that 40 per cent of Nigerians live in poverty. The NBS in the same year announced that 42.5 per cent of youths in Nigeria are unemployed. The overall unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020 was pegged at 33.3 per cent, while underemployment was 22.8 per cent.

Sadly, the situation worsens each day. In addition to poverty and unemployment, Nigerians are confronted with insecurity, incompetent leaders, corruption, and inflation. Consequently, Nigeria has become a hotbed of criminal activities.

Exploring reasons for ritual killings

As mentioned earlier, the underlying causes of ritual killings are poverty and unemployment. According to the World Poverty Clock, in 2022, more than 83 million Nigerians are in extreme poverty, which is below the international poverty line of $1.90 daily.

At least 27.4 million Nigerians earn below N100,000 yearly, an analysis by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) revealed.

Some other factors responsible for ritual killings include the lure of lavish lifestyles displayed by celebrities, greed, and vices-glorifying music. Also, the blatant worship of wealth without questioning the source of income has emboldened criminals.

Many youths have become desperate due to their wild desire for financial freedom and a life of luxury. And this desperation often translates to indulging in criminal activities like ritual killings, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, and cybercrimes.

What must be done

The Government must economically and financially empower Nigerians. Government must create an enabling environment for job opportunities and businesses to thrive. Youth need to be supported with start-up funds for entrepreneurial skills. Some youth have the requisite skills but lack the capital to establish their businesses. Access to loans with low-interest rates can also go a long way toward encouraging potential business owners.

Ritual killing is a violation of human rights and a criminal offence. Anyone found guilty of taking another human’s life should face the wrath of the law. Perpetrators of ritual killings are murderers. And murder remains an offence punishable by death according to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code (1990) of Nigeria. To prevent legislation from being audio laws, law enforcement agencies must strictly and swiftly enforce them to deter others from toeing the path.

In addition, the entertainment industry, particularly the music sector, should be regulated. The lavish lifestyles displayed by musicians and lyrics that seem to encourage the acquisition of wealth, by all means, should be regulated.

Parents and guardians often push their wards to engage in money rituals, they usually compare their wards to other young people living an extravagant lifestyle. The Government and non-governmental bodies should facilitate constant campaigns to educate parents on the dangers of unhealthy comparison and competition.

The desire to get rich quickly has demolished our “moral walls,” which is now a sad development in the ecosystem of our deep cultural values. There is a need for more vital institutions and value systems. Religious institutions, traditional institutions, not-for-profit organisations, and the government must not relent in advocating for good morals.

Through ongoing educational programs and campaigns in the media and social media, stakeholders can sensitise the youth on the dangers of greed, peer pressure, get-rich-quick syndrome, and criminal activities while preaching hard work, contentment, and patience.

It is high time to start questioning people’s source of wealth, especially when they have no visible or legitimate source of income. Unless stakeholders combine efforts to interrogate cases of overnight wealth, ritual killings may not end anytime soon.

Abimbola Abatta is a fellow at African Liberty.


Osun: Unraveling Governor Adeleke’s deceptive style of governance



By Waheed Adekunle

Lies, they say, run faster and is more contagious than the truth. And there is a Yoruba Adage that says ‘two people can’t be fooled with lies; if the person lied to doesn’t know he’s being fooled, the person lying knows he is lying.’

A lie, in whatever coloration, be it white or black, is always sarcastic.

This is a perfect aphorism to describe the blatant lies that characterised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in Osun State under the leadership of Senator Ademola Adeleke, since assuming office in the last one year.

Assuming office with a vengeful mission, the government had left no one in doubt of its penchant for lies, which has become a norm among the political gladiators and members of the ruling class.

As ‘hypocrisy is said to be the highest compliment to virtue, the art of lying is the strongest acknowledgment of the force of truth,’ hence the need to unravel the hypocritical style of governance in the ‘State of the Living Spring’ in the last few months.

Since a lie told often is enough to become the truth, it is also imperative to expose to the world some of those lies that the incumbent government had told to brainwash, deceive and hoodwink unsuspecting citizens.

A dispassionate assessment of the happenings around the government shows clearly that, the administration of Governor Ademola Adeleke, has been thriving on propaganda, deceit and unchecked impunity since the inception, as one could deduce infractions in the art of governance.

The Adeleke government’s penchant for lies and engrained fraudulent claims on nonexistent performance being used to sustain its dubious nature in governance had become a monster to the wheel of progress of the state in the last one year.

Too many to mention, but for the purpose of necessity, and for those that have been practically deceived by inherent treachery, sophistry and political demagoguery that engulfed and permeated every stratum of the government in the state, I will strive to mention but a few.

If we could remember vividly, the Adeleke-led government, on the assumption of office, promised to right the self-acclaimed wrongs of the past and set the state on the path of growth, development and sustainability, alas! the same government has been wallowing in its self-afflicted retrogressive backwardness gradually consuming the state and running it aground.

The instrumentality of the Adeleke government’s ‘Executive Order’ which was built on the pillar of lies had become the stumbling block to the fortunes of the state judging from its adverse effects, particularly on the collective fates of the harmless and innocent revered traditional rulers that were unjustly suspended from the thrones of their forebears.

The lie told by the Adeleke’s government was about the assurance given, to unravel what culminated into the appointment of the monarchs vis-a-vis the need to make public, the report of the review committee within six months of being constituted, alas, neither the government, nor the said review committee had come up with a white, black or any paper for that matter up until now.

The most unfortunate part of the ugly occurrence, remains that, the victims who were arbitrarily suspended due to palpable ineptness and malfeasance on the part of Governor Adeleke led-government did not know their fates up until now as they have been subjected to ridicule having patiently waited all along for the outcomes of the acclaimed review committee over a year.

Similarly, Adeleke’s government had practically failed in its responsibility to make official up until now, the reports of the Ad-hoc Review Committees on Ilesa University and the fathom recommendations that informed the government’s decision to appoint the new Governing Council and Pioneer Vice Chancellor for the institution.

In spite of the Adeleke’s government empty promise to unravel the perceived self-serving mystery leading to the appointment of 30 Permanent Secretaries by his predecessor – Adegboyega Oyetola, it had yet to make public the reason for the sack of the bureaucrats up until now, neither was it able to fulfill its promise on them.

The reasons for sacking 20,000 volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) still remains a puzzle to discerning citizens who have been patiently waiting for the government to make public ‘white paper’ justifying the government’s action.

We can as well recall that no report has been made public as promised by Governor Adeleke on the arbitrary sack of the close to 3,000 food vendors inaugurated for home-grown school feeding by the erstwhile administration, ditto the case of the recruited health workers, among other state government employees in the last one year.

Governor Adeleke who dashed the hopes of the suspended Executive Secretary of the Osun State Health Insurance Scheme ‘OHIS,’ Osun State Primary Health Management Board; Rector Osun State Polytechnic; State Chairman of the Osun State Independence Electoral Commission; Chairmen and members of the State Statutory Commissions, among other through his obnoxious Executive Order, is yet to make public, the report of the review committees as falsely promised.

The peak of the lie of Adeleke’s government was in the recent disclosure made by the Governor’s spokesperson, Mr. Olawale Rasheed, that his principal traveled overseas to engage foreign investors on the need to invest massively in the state. An assertion that is just a figment of their imagination.

It would be recalled that, Rasheed in the statement, noted that the Governor had embarked on a Working Vacation to Europe and Asia as part of effort to advance the cause of the state in multinational corporations.

The statement which was issued on 25th of November, 2023, quoted the Governor to have said the Working Vacation was aimed to finalise partnership deals with investors and development partners.

According to the Governor, “This is democracy. My masters are Osun people who elected me into office and to whom I am surely accountable. My trip is however a working one as I will be meeting foreign partners who are eager to join several sectors of our state economy.”

However, going by Mr Governor’s assertions, one would have thought that the state will be on the verge of total socioeconomic turnaround, but quite unfortunate, the whole scenario appears to be a ruse and blatant lie sold to the public.

Since the Governor’s departure, neither himself, nor the government, has shown any evidence of what the governor went overseas to do, as there was no picture of any business partnership or multilateral ties between the state and any of the much-talked investors, up until now.

While it is understandable that the Governor can embark on a vacation for obvious reasons, it is also incumbent on him to oblige the citizens his whereabouts with genuine reason not by fallacy.

For a government that claims to be transparent and prudent, one would wonder why the public are still kept in the dark of who-and-who are on the list of the governor’s entourage to Europe and Asia as painted up until now.

Since the trip is made possible on the treasury of the state, the citizens deserve to know what, worth and cost to be incurred, if truly and indeed, the Adeleke’s government is sincere with its self-acclaimed accountability and transparency.

Up until now, no one knows the number of the government officials on the governor’s entourage and the cost implication of same on the commonwealth of the state in the last few days since the trip was announced.

The general concern of the discerning citizens at the moment, is that the meagre resources of the state are being wasted on unprofitable voyage.

It is therefore not out of place to infer and conclude that the Adeleke government has been thriving on lies forgetting that it takes someone to tell 101 lies to cover-up a lie.

Though the opposition party had earlier busted the purported Governor’s Working Vacation claims, challenging him to tell the citizens the truth of his trip abroad rather than lumping it to business partnerships.

Some of the questions agitating the minds are; why has the Adeleke government chosen lies as fundamental in all it does? Why has the current administration been ridiculing the state by its imminent expeditions riddled with lies and propaganda? Must Adeleke’s government lie? What is the essence of the trip to Asia and Europe that the governor claimed to have embarked on, especially on the economy of the state? How many foreign investors have come from the same continents to bid business relations with Osun in the last one year of Adeleke’s administration? What does the state stand to gain from the fruitless trip? These and many more are thirsty for responses.

Anyway, the government should be reminded that ‘a building plastered with saliva will disintegrate under the morning dew.’

It is high time for the concerned citizens, particularly the stakeholders, to rise to the occasion which if not averted could drift our beloved state to the path of destruction. While it is also sine qua non for the elders to further show interest in the way and manner the affair of the state is being run under the current administration, so also, it is imperative to checkmate the unchecked impunity, profligacy, malfeasance and frivolity that thriving in the state in the last one year of Governor Adeleke’s government.

As we are curiously waiting for the day the foreign investors would be unveiled, it is pertinent to implore the state government to stop telling lies and return to the path of truthfulness, transparency, accountability, decency, honesty and probity bequeathed unto it by the immediate past administration of former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.

No matter the acceleration and speedy pace of a lie, even if it travels for a thousand years, truth will definitely catch up with it in just a day!

May God bless our dear State!

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We’ve got to get serious about ending gas flaring in Africa



By NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber

In an era when Africa needs oil and gas investments more than ever, attracting those investments has become increasingly difficult.

Part of the challenge lies in the mounting pressure on oil companies to shift their focus from exploration and production to investments in renewable energy in response to global emissions-reduction goals.

The perception that African energy assets are more carbon-intensive than average certainly has not helped. I could simply laugh at this absurd claim, point out that our entire continent produces less than 10 percent of global upstream emissions, and move on with my day. As our newly released “The State of African Energy 2024 Outlook Report notes, when compared to other global regions, Africa may not have the lowest oil and gas extraction emissions, but it certainly does not have the highest.

Nevertheless, myths about carbon-intensive African energy assets are hurting our oil and gas industry.

This makes a very real African problem, excessive gas flaring, all the more disheartening.We need to end this practice immediately.

The environmental implications are obvious — if Africa stopped flaring tomorrow, then the continent’s upstream emissions would decrease by half. Flaring releases methane, soot, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Locals who breathe air near flaring sites have complained of poor eyesight, chronic headaches, and difficulty breathing — and those are just the functioning flaring sites. Flaring-related accidents have also led to severe burns and deaths.

Yet despite these horrific effects, the practice continues. Annually, global regions flare enough gas to power all of sub-Saharan Africa. Well-intentioned regulations on flaring often fall short because they don’t address the core problem: When oil developers encounter gas, they must deal with it or risk deadly accidents. Unfortunately, the physics behind compressed gas explosions does not care about government fines or restrictions. For companies that still lack the infrastructure to reinject or transport the gas, flaring isn’t just the safest and cheapest option — it’s the only option. How can states significantly reduce flaring, much less end it?

The answer is simple: Treat the symptom, not the disease. Flaring happens because raw gas is a nuisance to many developers; they lack the resources to reinject or treat, store, transport, and market it. To fight flaring effectively, all actors — from consumers to governments to investors — must embrace natural gas.

I was pleased to see African leaders doing so at COP27, and hope that we continue the momentum. While reinjecting gas into the ground also has its place, I firmly believe that African nations should focus on monetization. Natural gas burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel, generates electricity, and serves as feedstock in fertilizer production. Because it can also power grids in conjunction with developing renewables like wind and solar, it serves as an excellent tool for a green energy transition. More than 600 million Africans subsist without electricity — it’s common sense to use the gas that oil companies would otherwise waste. And those are just the potential domestic uses — as more Western nations seek to divest from Russian gas, they increasingly turn to African exports. The transition from flaring to monetization will not happen overnight, but I am encouraged to see progress from states like Egypt, Nigeria, and Algeria.

Open to Investors

Since 2016, Egypt has reduced its overall gas flaring by 26 percent. Lower flaring often accompanies a corresponding drop in oil production, but that was not the case in Egypt — oil production only lowered by 16 percent during the same period. This 10 percent decrease in flaring intensity owes much to Egypt’s 2017 energy reforms, which gave consumers and private companies access to its national gas grid. (Prior to this change, only its national oil company purchased Egyptian natural gas.) These changes also greatly encouraged foreign investment through practical measures, such as cutting waiting times for permit approval. Since then, Egypt’s natural gas production has risen by over 24 billion cubic meters. The investor-friendly environment also made gas recapture projects possible — both majors like Shell and IOCs Pharos and Apache have successfully implemented flare-to-power projects. Simply put, cutting the red tape and encouraging investment brought Egypt an energy boom — one that enabled greener practices.

Sub-Saharan steps

Nigeria and Algeria, by contrast, remain two of the largest flarers globally — despite harsh penalties on their books for illegal flaring. However, hope may be on the horizon: Both nations lowered their flaring intensity this year, not just their total flaring volumes. Nigeria-based oil companies have begun using gas to power their operations, and Algeria’s investments in both reinjection and recapture technology are beginning to pay off. While neither sub-Saharan nation is ready to commercialise the recaptured gas, they have taken a valuable step in the right direction.

Breaking the cycle

Gas flaring often comes down to a vicious PR cycle. Faced with environmentalist pressure, investors avoid hydrocarbon projects. Lacking funds and certainty about the future, oil developers shy away from up-front costs of implementing reinjection and recapture technology. Said developers resort to gas flaring, which sparks more bad press.

This self-fulfilling prophecy hurts the entire energy industry, but particularly Africa’s: As we point out in our 2024 Outlook Report, African energy assets face higher scrutiny. However, the narrative has begun to change on natural gas. Many African states have stepped up to help Europe replace Russian gas supplies, and African leaders presented a united front at COP27. There has never been a better time to create operator-friendly policies and treat natural gas as a vital tool. Let’s start by investing in projects that reinject and recapture flared gas. Burning this resource was always harmful and wasteful. In a time of rising gas prices, flaring makes about as much sense as lighting cash — and our planet — on fire.

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Ondo: Tinubu’s peace thesis is absolute



By Dr Jimoh Ibrahim

President Bola Tinubu, a liberalist who believes in collaboration and cooperation, has handed over his thesis of absolute peace to politicians in the Ondo state instead of the trending power currency in contemporary politics, which he says is not acceptable according to him. To President Tinubu, there will be beauty in the character if righteousness is in the heart. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, the nations will have order. When there is order in the nations, there will be peace. He insisted that his Peace thesis is not subject to any amendment.

President Tinubu spoke on the philosophy that nothing can bring peace but yourself. It is left to remember Aketi’s incredible contributions to lifting social development in all sectors, including infrastructural facilities, integrity in governance, economic development, and review of cultural heritage, and the lifting of traditional institutions (there was a time when everywhere was full of celebrations of development), the goods are almost gone. They are not remembered any more, which is the case when realists want power! Aketi never thought that times like the present period would ever exist in our national history, and his voice on national issues is less to be remembered again. Should this be the case?

The realist can do anything to get into power and defend it at any cost, even if it results in anarchy. Alexander Wendt says Anarchy is what states make of it. Realist desire for power is a trajectory dated to the days of Thucydides, Morgenthau and Hobbes to structural (or neo-realism); it is always the case that politics oscillates around the acquisition and use of power. The realist explains realism in circumstances of power accumulation for self-defence in the state of statism. The event in Ondo state, if allowed to mature, will signal the praxis of the realist attributes -recall the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain (1479– 1516) expelled 170,000 Jews who refused their order to be ‘baptised.’ Henry VIII of England (1491–1547) imprisoned and executed those who would not sign his Act of Supremacy establishing the English monarch as head of the Church of England, including even his ‘good friend’ Thomas More Louis XIV of France (1638-1715)! The war in Ondo is in the early stages of hot water. We can only see a signal of imminent danger. It is not that the water is hot now. We can play with it for a moment!

What is more, President Tinube removed the fire. The Governor is the Governor. The government apparatus is working. Let’s stop pressing!

The Peloponnesian War is commonly seen as the first depiction of power politics. (Apologies to Thucydides). Yes, all Realists agree that states can only ensure their survival through self-help strategies that allow them to defend themselves and their interests against another state’s aggression. Is Ondo State at war with itself? It matters not to the realist in Ondo if the changes to power distributions are fundamental causes of war and system stability. It is unclear to Aketi that the game of power accumulation in Ondo was contemplated within the system for a long time (the political enemy did not start their plan today). It is not a matter of collaboration or cooperation for democratic peace, as Aketi considered with nostalgia. The realist does not hold sympathy for you if you are sick of remembering your good works in those days when you exerted incredible energy for the service of humanity that regrettably make no sense to the student of power politics but may be a significant thesis for the moral thinking of liberal democratic peace scholars. It is not a matter of regret because there is no need to share interminable inquest over past mistakes, for some of them have lessons to teach for the future.

Liberalist Immanuel Kent, Perpetual Peace 1795-1804, John Locke 1687 -1693 took the desire to encourage collaboration and cooperation in ordering the engagement for peace on their dashboard. To them, democracy and democratic peace agreements are the only ways to ensure human security. This is where Aketi belongs, not for power accumulation for self-defence in the state of statism but, as explained by President Tinubu, democracy as a driver for the peace of humanity.

Yes, it was the liberalism engagement that celebrated the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. The notion of democracy driving the state is that liberals do not go to war with other liberals. Aketi must have been trapped by the incredible belief of the sellable democratic peace and the deep classical liberal thoughts in his innocent states, for it is no longer the case that liberals do not go to war with another liberal, for things do change!

The events in Ondo state will soon play out the thesis that liberalism is for absolute peace for the security of humanity. It is needless to engage in war for the peace of the state, and the realist that triggers war in Ondo state must be ready for collaboration and cooperation as President Tinubu Posited; in any event, difficult times don’t last long. Ondo state cannot afford to be at war with itself. Regrettably, the realists at the centre of power accumulation in the Ondo state are epiphenomena.  We know their master, and it is in the democratic peace arena that we shall be engaging their power by democratic votes!  They may get no votes in the reality of a democratic election measurable to the power they need now. Otherwise, they should challenge Aketi in a new election and become the Governor!! President Tinubu took power even when the maximum ruler and the head of the realists in Daura kept petrol and currency from 200 million people! President Tinubu was sure of himself as a liberal democrat.

let us not forget that “politics is a power struggle.” Even in the most hospitable circumstances, the human condition is precarious because we are all unavoidably exposed. Yes, as Hobbes in ‘States of Nature,’ every human being is a potential threat because the struggle for survival in a world of limited resources is a ‘war of all against all,’ Hobbes thought that putting a government in place is an excellent way of guaranteeing security! In a world without a government to enforce order – a condition that Hobbes calls the state of nature – every human must be vigilant against threats to survival. A world without Government, he claims, forces humanity into a constant state of war because there is no way to trust in the excellent or peaceful intentions of others. We must always be on our guard lest we be attacked. This condition – in which no ruler or judge can resolve disputes and establish security – is anarchy. In a lawless world, Hobbes argues that our lives must revolve around survival, leaving no time for agriculture, the arts, or sciences conditions of anarchy; Hobbes says, ‘the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

As I replied to Hobbes in my PhD War thesis, it is also the case that the Hobbesian phenomenon underscores man’s aggressiveness in the state of nature that requires the leviathan’s intervention. In the face of the Buhari government, Boko Haram created a condition in the Northeast that makes the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”—a celebration of the leviathan’s failure.

Aketi case is not that of abuse of power as we saw in Darfur, where Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with war crimes against humanity. There is a Government in Ondo state. Aketi is not the Government but the Head of that Government. We have never had issues with the apparatus of Government and Governance (apologies to the sociologists). Aketi will be back, and this time shall pass!

Senator Jimoh Ibrahim PhD (Cantab) OFR, CFR.

Ibrahim is Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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