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Why insurgency, uprising thrive, by Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, said Nigeria’s increasing population is assuming a worsening trend, which keeps him awake at night.

Speaking at the public presentation of the 2020 Africa Progress Group (APG) report in Lagos themed: ‘‘Making Africa’s Population an Asset,’’ he lamented the challenge of providing basic amenities for the country’s ever-increasing population.

The report, Population As Asset Responsiveness Index (PARI), is anticipated to be a stimulus for African countries to show more responsiveness to making their populations more of an asset than a burden.

The former president stated that the reason for uprising and terrorism in the country is not far from the fact that there are large armies of unemployed youths who are being recruited into violent extremist groups and criminal gangs.

Making reference to the 11-year Boko Haram insurgency, Obasanjo said Mohammed Yusuf, the group’s founder, was noted to be a religious and forthright man who had lots of unemployed graduates around him.

He said: “Mohammed Yusuf who started Boko Haram was said to be a good and responsible man with a lot of idle youths waiting to listen to him. I heard there was a time he called his followers and said to one, ‘you went to university, how many years now since you graduated?’ He said three years and what are you doing now? He said, ‘no job.’ Then he replied, ‘you see the uselessness of your university education.’

“That is how the word Boko Haram came up. By virtue of his followers not having jobs, he said ‘you see the uselessness of your western education.’ If we cannot provide jobs for our population, we are really in serious trouble. Nobody needs to tell us anything more,” the former president remarked.

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Obasanjo, who is the chairman of the APG, said his heart sinks any time he travels across places and sees the huge population of people “oozing out from nowhere.

“Over the last several years, as I travelled through cities and rural communities in Africa, my heart sinks with the sea of heads that fleet across my eyes in parks, marketplaces, and under bridges.

“Even today, as I flew over some settlements from Minna to Lagos and traversed the road from Ikeja to Victoria Island, the sheer number of persons literally oozing out from nowhere kept my mind numb and exasperated. The situation has been worsening and has filled me with a sense of foreboding.

“Three clusters of questions pop up in my mind any time the scary thoughts of the ever-increasing population kept me awake at night. The first cluster is: how are we going to feed this exploding population?

“Only a few days ago, the alarm was raised about the imminent food crisis in Nigeria. Similar alarm bells have been ringing with increasing stridency all over Africa. How are we going to house them; educate them, provide them with health security and other variants of human security?”

A November 2020 report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) noted that at least 22 million Nigerians could face a severe food crisis between October last year and August 2021.

Continuing, Obasanjo said: “The second cluster of questions is: how do we keep this keg of gunpowder of the large army of unemployed youth from exploding? How do we keep them from enlisting in violent extremist groups and gangs of kidnappers? The third cluster of questions is: how can Africa attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 in a turbulent sea of exploding, not-well-managed populations?

“While these clusters of questions are frightening, they would appear to have an elegantly simple solution — political will and action to make population an asset. This is the master key of a sort! I am sure you noticed that this ‘key’ has two elements — the will and the action.

“It is not enough to shroud political will in mere political rhetoric and sloganeering, but translating such will into concrete, measurable actions with a visible impact on the ground. This is why, in this report, APG, being a group with a burning desire for Africa’s progress, has established a unique measure of progress of African countries on the concrete and measurable actions on responsiveness to their growing populations.”

According to him, to avoid imminent danger, the huge population of the country must be met with adequate measures that will provide job opportunities for its teeming youth, else the nation will be sitting on a keg of gunpowder waiting to explode.

On his part, President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, who was represented by Chief Economist/Director, Research and International Cooperation, Dr. Hippolyte Fofack, said the APG report provides the opportunity to realise the huge potential of Africa, drawing on economies of scale associated with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to transform the continent’s youth bulge into a demographic dividend.

“Well trained and better harnessed young Africans will not only develop epidemiologic models to predict the next pandemic, but they will also manufacture effective vaccines for the prevention and the right drugs for treatment when prevention is not possible.

“They will protect the continent, which will be in their hands when the old and current generation is gone. There is no development without sustainable development; there is no sustainable development without intergenerational continuity and making Africa’s population, I should add, every cohort of Africa’s population, an asset is definitely the path to sustainable development and real independence.’’

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PHOTOS: Fani-Kayode dines at residence of another Buhari’s Minister

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Since Thursday when his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was made public, Femi Fan-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, has been under fire.

From Social media to traditional media, the former critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party, has been lampooned.

But FFK has waved critics aside, sharing pictures of his visit to the residences of key APC figures.

On Saturday, he released pictures of his visit to Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, whom he had labelled a terrorist and asked Buhari to sack a few months ago.

While the dust raised by the post is yet to settle, Fani-Kayode released fresh pictures of his visit to the residence of George Akume, Minister of Special Duties.

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Armed gang invade Lagos streets, injure many, loot shops

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Mushin area of Lagos State was yesterday, thrown into commotion as some armed gang invaded some streets, inflicting injuries on residents and destroying property worth millions of naira.

It was gathered one person died in the mayhem that forced churches within the affected communities to close for fear of being attacked.

Information had it that a notorious armed robber was arrested sometime by the police and was transferred to Abuja. But his release was allegedly facilitated by some big shots he worked for.

After his release, his loyalists from the Idi-Araba area of the state reportedly invaded some areas of Mushin to attack some persons whom they accused of being the cause of his arrest. The areas affected were Alafia, Daniel and Morgan.

A resident, who simply gave his name as Mitchy, explained that “the fight has been going on since midnight (Saturday)and the perpetrators came from Idi-Araba. This has been happening for almost six months. But last night and today’s(Sunday) were the most violent.

“Surprisingly, the armed thugs were teenagers between 16 and 19 years. They looted people’s shops and carted away goods. They were armed with machetes, guns and bottles.

“Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Alafia junction and Christ Gospel Apostolic Church on Da-Silva street could not conduct Sunday service.”

It was gathered teams of policemen from the Tactical Unit of the Lagos State Police Command were ordered by the Commissioner of Police, CP Odumosu to contain the situation.

When contacted, the command spokesman, CSP Ade Ajisebutu, said 15 suspects had been arrested in connection with the clash. He said axes, cutlasses and expended cartridges were recovered in the process.

According to Ajisebutu, “Normalcy has returned to the area. CP Odumosu has assured residents to go about their lawful businesses. At the end of an investigation, the suspects will be charged to court.”

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Ondo Govt seals off Shoprite, popular market

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The Ondo State Government has sealed off Shoprite and the neighborhood market in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The popular facilities were sealed on Monday by the Ondo State Waste Management Authority, ODSWMA, over what was described as unsanitary and unhygienic practices.

A few days ago, the agency had taken similar action against five notable buildings in the state for flouting the environmental laws of the state.

Shoprite, which is located on Igbatoro road in Akure and the Neighborhood market at NEPA axis of the State capital, were accused of ignoring a series of warnings from the agency.

The General Manager of the Authority Mrs Ayo Adeyemo, who disclosed this, said the owners of the affected facilities violated environmental laws and failed to comply with the laid down hygienic practices.

Adeyemo, who maintained that further sanctions would be taken, warned that anyone found culpable will not be spared

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