Saturday, September 29, 2012

I travelled by road from London to Nigeria — Newton Jibunoh

Newton Jibunoh

Dr. Newton Jibunoh is a man of many parts. An arts enthusiast and environmental activist, the 74-year-old founder of Didi Museum and Fight Against Desert Encroachment, a Non Governmental Organisation, wears his passion like a badge.

Surrounded by art in different forms at Didi Museum, venue for the hour-long chat, the former chairman of Costain West Africa, speaks animatedly about his interests that have since become his identity.

On the museum, he says, it is an educational institution which he traces its genesis to a small room in Apapa.

“As a child, missionaries referred to these artifacts as taboos and tried to get my people to get rid of them,” he recalls. “What shocked me was that the missionaries were taking away some of those things. When I got to London in the early 60s and visited the British museum, I found most of these works there. So, I decided to start a campaign to keep our history. When I returned to Nigeria in 1966, I started collecting works. Moreover, because I was also finding myself in the midst of artists like Segun Olusola, Akin Yuba, Wole Soyinka, Dr Ekpeyong, I learnt a lot from them.

“Dr Ekpeyong, who was the director-general of the National Museum, would come to my house and see the works. He always commended them and urged me to show it to the public. That was how I started from a parlour exhibition to a room exhibition and to what it is now.”

Famous for his trips across the desert, Jibunoh rhapsodises on his first trip which he made when he was in his 20s. “When you are in your 20s, that is what I will regard as your formative era, when you decide who you are and where you are headed. One of such examples was the arrest and trial of Nelson Mandela. He said on the day he was sentenced, ‘this is my cause, this is what I believe in, and I will continue to do so even if I die in the process.’ The other statement was that of John .F. Kennedy, who was challenged for trying to explore the space and the moon because of the huge amount of money America, was investing in it. He told his opponents that it was only by doing hard things that good things come out. That also stayed with me and that inspiration started in earnest. I decided that I was going to be part of my era and the only way to do that was to try the impossible. It took me six months to get to Nigeria from London.”

You wonder why he still takes the risk of going on expeditions at his age. In a fit of amusement, he enumerates the reasons for his sustained interest.

“It is like going to the moon and what they have achieved by going to the moon. To go on an expedition like this, you have to put your life on the line and be ready to die. You do not do things like this for nothing; you have to have a course because many times people have asked what this whole thing is about. It is about the air we breathe, it is about the water we drink, the food we eat and it is about the land we came out from and will go back to when we die. How much are we doing to protect and preserve the land that is so important for life?”

Recounting his several near-death experiences, he tells without mincing words that he is undeterred. “If you are stuck in the sand and you cannot get your car out of the sand and you do everything (maybe for four or five hours) and you are 600 miles from help, what do you do? You just stay there and die. Alternatively, when you are attacked by bandits, they wonder why you are there, and they want to kill you, what do you do? You either surrender or try to talk them out of it.

“I have gone through so many near-death situations but somehow, I think it is the fact that once you are ready to die for anything, death stays away from you. It is when you are scared of dying and you are faced with death that you panic.”

In spite of all these, he still finds time to relax. “I do relax but maybe when I go to that six feet beneath, I will relax. I do many things and I cycle around a lot. When I am in London, I use my bicycle to go everywhere because there are bicycle tracks. In my village in Delta, I ride my bicycle. The same applied in Amsterdam, wherever I go to visit my daughter and grandchildren. In Lagos, I don’t ride often and when I have to, I take my bicycle to some island or one of these estates where it’s a lot safer.”

Bu his childhood was not as pleasant. Hear him: “I did not know I was an orphan until I was seven years old. What my sister and I were told was that our parents travelled. Family and friends offered to put us up here and because of that, I went to so many schools.”

His educational sojourn brought him to Lagos. “After secondary school, I came to Lagos, where I did a number of courses at the emergency science school now known as YABATECH. First, I got a job with the Federal Ministry of Works and I found out that I could sit for scholarship examinations. I failed the first time and passed the second time. That was how I travelled out of Nigeria to study building engineering in 1961 and I graduated in 1965. I then came back to Nigeria in 1967 and went back to the Ministry of Works where I worked for a little over a year. I found that I was not sufficiently challenged and I left there for a private sector organisation, which was like a subsidiary of Costain. From there, I moved on to Costain and whilst there, for 36 years, I worked there — I was CEO for 16 years.”

Married to Elizabeth, he remembers their meeting many years back. “It was a Christmas day. I did not have what you would call a family, so, I liked moving around during Christmas. That Christmas morning, I saw two young women and it turned out that the other lady had spent the night at my wife’s place. So, she escorted her to her parents’ place to explain why she spent the night.

“On my way back, I saw my wife alone and I greeted. She ignored me but I repeated my greeting and I followed her. She continued to ignore me and I followed her to the house where she just walked in. At night, I went back to that same house and met her mother, who was pleased with my honesty. Today, we have five children and nine grandchildren.”

Ask him what he would like to be remembered for and he stares back at you in amazement and says, “Anytime I am asked that question, I am at a loss. When I am gone, I am gone. I think it is my legacy that will determine. I do not think I want to predict. First, I do not know when I am going and I do not know how I am going to go. When I hear people talk about what they would like to be remembered for, I am not impressed.”

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Minister warns publishers against corruption

Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has warned publishers against conniving with schools to sabotage Federal Government’s efforts at improving the quality of education.

He gave the warning in Abuja on Friday in a meeting with publishers awarded the contract to produce free instructional materials for the Universal Basic Education programme.

“I summon this meeting just to let you know how serious we are and that it is no longer going to be business as usual. Every effort being made by Federal Government to improve quality of education at the basic level is being sabotaged by various people,” he said.

The minister explained that the meeting became necessary as the government had awarded contract for the purchase of materials for core subjects for public primary and junior secondary schools.

Wike pointed out that government was aware that publishers colluded with State Universal Basic Education Boards to sabotage government efforts through corrupt practices. He added that most times, the usual number of books that were supposed to be supplied were not supplied, saying, “Instead, cash is being exchanged,” he said.

He warned the publishers to refrain from such act, as the government had set up monitoring teams that would supervise the supply of the books in the states.

“This will also check what the Universal Basic Education Commission is doing; we want to actually know if the commission is part of the sabotage.”

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N’Assembly should stop funds for 511 LGs — Igini

Hon. Speaker, House of Representative, Aminu Tambuwal

Hon. Speaker, House of Representative, Aminu Tambuwal
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The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Mike Igini, has urged the National Assembly to stop the monthly allocations to 511 local government areas across the country that are being run by caretaker committees.

Igini, who stated this in an interview with our correspondent in Calabar on Friday, said it was against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the affairs of LGAs to be managed by unelected officials.

He lamented that the widespread use of caretaker committees by governors to run the affairs of LGAs was a movement away from democracy, saying it is for that reason that majority of the LGAs had remained unaccountable to the people.

Igini said if the National Assembly could take the step of suspending the allocations to LGAs run by caretaker committees, there was the likelihood of the grass roots being back on the track of democracy.

He said, “Nigeria is under partial democracy. We have three tiers of governance; the federal, the state and the local government tiers, but evidently, the LGs have been turned into vassals of the states held in thrall by party and executive structures that have confiscated the local government tier and strangulated development at the point where it is nearest to Nigerians.

“Of the 36 states and the FCT, only 13 have elected local governments, namely, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Sokoto, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kwara, Taraba, Jigawa, Ogun, Niger and Zamfara,other states are therefore in breach of section seven of the constitution; an impeachable offence with the implication that a whole 511 LGAs where Nigerians are domiciled do not experience democracy at the moment because it is only 263 LGAs out of 774 that have elected councils.

“The setting up of caretaker committees is a movement away from democracy and this has resulted in the failure of that tier of government. Accountability in all its facets must start from the LGAs. The National Assembly should ensure that there are no allocations to those LGAs in order to reverse the trend.”

The REC said there was an urgent need to review state electoral laws and electoral management at local government levels to reflect the aspiration of voters at the grass roots.

For instance, he said governors should not be the determinants of what the budget the state independent electoral commissions should be.

According to him, this urgent and crucial governance deficit justifies the need to tackle it to a logical conclusion.

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Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson
Secretary-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr Abdulateef Adegbite

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Panic as Qatar Airways plane makes emergency landing in Lagos

There was panic on Saturday afternoon as a Qatar Airways plane inbound Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Doha made an emergency landing.

Reports said the plane lost a tyre midair while its landing gear also developed a fault.

Aviation and National Emergency Management Agency officials swiftly rushed to the runway of the airport to handle any emergency.

The plane eventually landed at the airport and after some anxious moments, came to a halt.

The pilot of the Airbus A330-200 plane had sent a distress call to air traffic controllers on duty at Lagos airport, telling them that one his tyres was having low pressure.

 The aircraft carrying 248 passengers touched down on runway 18R of the airport at about 1:15pm and one of the tyres tore opened.

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Winners emerge in 2012 WISE education award

The interior of the solar-powered floating classroom

The World Innovation Summit for Education has announced six groundbreaking projects from around the world as winners of the 2012 WISE Awards, under the theme “Transforming education.”

The six winning transformative educational project presenters will go home with $15,000 each at a presentation award ceremony to be held later this year in the United Arab Emirates.

The WISE Awards was inaugurated in 2009 to identify, showcase and promote innovative educational projects from around the world.

To date, 1,600 applications have been received from 128 countries, resulting in 122 finalists and 24 winning projects.

The 24 successful projects have come from a variety of countries around the world, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, India, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, South Africa, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

These “real world” initiatives are progressively building a pool of sound practice, which is having a local or global impact on education.

Now in its fourth year, the WISE Awards identify, showcase and promote innovative educational projects from all sectors and regions of the world in order to inspire change in education. 

The chairman, WISE, and chairman of the WISE Awards Jury, Dr. (Sheikh) Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, in a statement explained that the 2012 winning projects, which were selected for their concrete and positive impact upon society would receive global visibility and a prize of $15,000 each. 

The winning initiatives, he stated, came from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Denmark, India and the United States of America after they scaled the pre-selection process, whereby works of 24 participants from 14 countries were judged.

According to him, winning projects have been selected for their tangible and positive impact on the society and their innovative approach to solving important global educational problems.

“Since 2009, the WISE Awards have recognised successful, transformative projects in education in order to generate a pool of sound practices and to inspire their adoption and adaptation elsewhere.

“When determining the best projects, we look at what is being achieved as well as how it is done. The winning initiatives were selected not only because they are successful, but also because of their innovative approach. These are not ordinary education efforts,” he said.

He added that the diverse projects offer unique solutions to today’s most important challenges, from poverty to climate change.

The solutions proffered by the winners, he said, include unconventional business models to provide low-income families with affordable education, as well as original ways of bringing high-quality education to remote and destitute parts of the world.

One of the six winning projects is a solar-powered floating school designed for unreached pupils in Bangladesh during monsoon. The device, Nigerian educationists said, would be useful for people in riverine and flood-prone areas.

The project was presented for the awards by a Bangladesh -based non-profit organisation, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha.

According to a statement introducing the project, “the solar-powered floating schools are to ensure children’s education even during the height of the monsoon. The boats collect students from riverside villages, dock at a final destination and provide on-board, small-group instruction.

Finalists and winners of the WISE Awards will, according to the organisers, participate in the annual WISE Summit taking place between November 13 and 15 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar, under the theme “Collaborating for change.”

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I Used To Wash My Wife’s Pants, Stained With Other Men’s Semen-Hubby Tells

A 39-yr-aged property agent, Mr. Ibukun Oluwadamilare, induced a lot laughter when he told a Lagos Grade A Customary Courtroom, sitting in Agege, that he used to wash his spouse’s pants, which smell of other males’s semen.

He claimed: “Every time she returns at evening from an outing, I always perceive sperm odour and she always returns dwelling with pink lips, which indicated that a man have tough manage her and also kissed her lips.”

Ibukun informed the courtroom that he married Mrs Adesuwa Oluwadamilare in the yr 2000 and the union is blessed with three small children and that Adesuwa had two children from her past marriage.

He claimed that his wife packed out of his property four years in the past after she gave birth to their last born, adding that Adesuwa out of the blue became uncontrollable.

He alleged that Adesuwa went to lodge in the hotel located someplace in lju-lshaga.

Ibukun also informed the court that his wife would have killed him with some fetish substances she robbed on her face, all her body and her private part..

However, lbukun begged the court not to dissolve the marriage, since he nonetheless loves her.

Previously, 33-year old -Mrs Oluwadamilare informed the court that she mistakenly got pregnant for lbukun in 2000, and he refused to remit her bride price even after three little ones.

Adesuwa said why she informed  the court was to make her  husband come to the village in Edo State and marry her in accordance to the custom and tradition of their land.

She claimed that lbukun continually accused her of dating young adult males and capitalised on the situation to abuse her.

She explained: “There was a day he beat me at a bus station and tore my garments to shreds. I left there stark unclad.”

She said her husband often monitors her where about and would not give her peace of mind.

Meanwhile, the court President, Mr. Emmanuel Shokunle adjourned the matter till October 22 for more hearing.

Photo Of A Giant Sea Turtle Captured In Oniru Beach, Lagos

EFCC arrests suspected currency smuggler with $7m

A statement by the agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren Said. The 24-years old -was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed  Airport (MMIA) in Lagos en route Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Uwujaren claimed the suspect had escaped basic safety scrutiny from other companies on the airport but was apprehended on the point of boarding the plane by operatives of the EFCC.

“When he was arrested, he declared that he had  entire sum of $4.5 million on him but a thorough screening and complete search showed that he was basically carrying $7,049,444 (7 million, Forty Nine Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty four Usa Bucks)”.

Sheriff reportedly confessed that he was a courier for twenty people who hired him to courier the cash for them to Dubai.

Uwajuren mentioned “Investigations because of the EFCC showed that Mr. Sheriff can be a standard traveller and one particular of a number of couriers of illegal money suspected to get proceeds of crime. The Percentage is still investigating his states in respect of his accomplices”.

The profit mentioned its practical experience obtained proven that majority cash smuggling, the globe through, are generally associated with proceeds of crime as legitimately earned money are generally processed via the banking technique.

“Our expertise in the last several many years indicates an rising trend of majority real money smuggling to Europe, Middle East and North America while using attendant consequence for capital flight. Some Nigerian citizens are routinely arrested at airports in Europe and North American for foreign money smuggling though no these types of arrests have already been recorded from the Middle East,” the statement mentioned.

“But in all cases, the cash is lost as they can be never ever repatriated back to the nation.”

The fee as a result warned travellers who for any purpose want to transfer bulk cash out of the region to accomplish so by way of the banking method or be ready to declare it and clarify the base of the money.

Meanwhile, the suspect is currently being detained at the EFCC’s keeping facility in Lagos pending his arraignment in ct.

Amosun, Fashola mourn Islamic leader, Abdul Lateef Adegbite

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, and his Lagos State counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, have expressed sadness over the passing away of the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Lateef Adegbite.

The Islamic chief and Baba Adinni of Egbaland died inside a Lagos hospital of an undisclosed ailment aged 79.

His loss of life reportedly threw Abeokuta and Egbaland into clean mourning, coming for the heels of the demise of two prominent Egba sons, Chief Oluwole Adeosun and Chief Segun Taiwo.

Amosun, within a statement by his Senior Unique Assistant on Advertising, Funmi Wakama, described the late Adegbite as one of the greatest men produced from the state.

“Dr. Adegbite shone like a star within the field of legislation and was very well identified throughout the world as the mouthpiece of Islam in Nigeria. The late Seriki was a person who normally provided wise counsel to governments at federal and state levels.

“The demise of Dr. Adegbite is just not just a loss to Ogun State but to Nigeria like a total,” the governor explained.

The Ogun State governor also described the NSCIA chieftain as “a strong believer in one Nigeria plus a motivator of youths who usually preached tolerance and peace whatsoever occasions.”

In his condolence meaning issued by his Particular Adviser on Mass media, Hakeem Bello, the governor stated Adegbite’s passing away was “painful and a sad reduction on the nation.”

Fashola described the late Adegbite as “a straightforward, truthful and courageous character who spoke the truth in any way instances.”

He claimed Adegbite “was an apostle of peaceful co-existence whose spiritual convictions had been not in doubt but who nonetheless epitomised the peaceful essence of the Islamic religion till be breathed his previous.

Condoling with family users, the federal government and people today of Ogun State, Fashola prayed for the repose of the departed NSCIA chieftain’s soul.

Also commenting on Adegbite’s demise, deputy NSCIA Secretary-Standard, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said, “Baba was an academician, a lawyer, a spiritual chief, a political determine, the entire non secular group would surely miss him.”

Oloyede, who's also the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Inter Religious Council extra, “It was painful that we lost him. The spiritual neighborhood in Nigeria would certainly miss him.”

Adegbite, who was a Commander of the Buy of the Niger, was also a director in Nigeria’s 1st Islamic financial institution, Jaiz Standard bank.

He obtained a B.A. (Hons) Law in the University of Southampton in 1962, was termed for the Bar in 1965 and obtained his PhD in 1966.

He obtained in excess of 40 a long time knowledge in legitimate follow at all levels and worked with diverse neighborhood and global clientele.

He was one of the founders along with the 1st president of the Muslim Students Society and was an Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice within the defunct Western State.

Adegbite was Commissioner for Native Governments and Chieftaincy Matters inside the old Western Area of Nigeria through the army administration of Brig. Oluwole Rotimi (retd.).

In October 1976, he founded the appropriate firm of Lateef Adegbite && Co because the Principal Partner, with major business office in Lagos along with a br business office in Abeokuta, specialising in Commercial and Company Regulation. Adegbite was president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee from 1972 to 1985.

He was Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Maiduguri from 1984 to 1990.

Adegbite was also a fellow member of the Nigerian Inventory Alternate; member of Council and Executive Committee of Lagos State Chambers of Commerce and Industry; deputy president of Nigeria-Arab Chamber of Commerce and Business; and executive chairman of Nigerian – Arab Association.

Adegbite, who is survived by a wife, kids and gand-young children, will be buried on Saturday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital according to Islamic rites.


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