Mr Chairman and Members of the Esteemed Senate Committee
On behalf of the government and people of Benue State, I wish to thank the President of the Senate and all our dear distinguished Senators for giving me this opportunity to present our own side of the story as it affects the killing of innocent people in Benue by armed herdsmen. I wish to also commend the National Assembly for upholding justice by insisting that I be given fair hearing in this matter. The Senate and House of Representatives have indeed demonstrated that they are worthy representatives of the Nigerian people.
- Mr Chairman and Members, permit me to give you a background to the current attacks which have often been ignored and accusing fingers are now pointing at the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 in Benue State as the cause of the crisis.
BACKGROUND OF THE ATTACKS
- It is necessary to draw the attention of this important committee to the summary of the Fulani herdsmen attacks. These led to the general outcry and yearning in the state for a law to introduce ranching as a global best practice. Open grazing has been responsible, to a large extent, for the said attacks. Sustained attacks started as far back as 2011. From 2011 to May 22 2017, when the law was signed there were a total of 46 attacks by Fulani Herdsmen across 15 out of our 23 LGAs as listed below.
MAP OF BENUE STATE SHOWING LGAS AFFECTED BY ARMED FULANI HERDSMEN
TIMELINE OF ATTACKS ON BENUE STATE FROM 2011 – May 2017
February 2013 Fulani Attacked Agatu burning Inoli, Ologba, olegeje, olegogboche, olegede, Adana, Inminy and Abugbe communities. Many lives lost.
- April 23 2013. 10 farmers killed in an attack on Mbasenge community in Guma LGA by suspected herdsmen.
May 7, 2013. 47 mourners gunned down in Agatu while burying two policemen killed the Tuesday before in Nassarawa.
- May 14, 2013. Over 200 herdsmen surround Ekwo-Okpanchenyi, Agatu LGA killing 40 locals.
July 5, 2013. 20 people were killed in a “conflict” between Tiv farmers & herdsmen at Nzorov,Guma LGA, Benue state.
July 31 2013 herdsmen invade 2 villages in Agatu LGA killing 8 villagers allegedly in retaliation for the killing of 112 cows.
November 7, 2013. Attackers strike at Ikpele & Okpopolo communities in Ogbadibo LGA killing 7 and displacing over 6000 inhabitants.
Nov 9, 2013. 36 locals killed and 7 villages overrun in an attack by herdsmen on locals in Agatu LGA.
Nov 20, 2013. Attack on communities in Guma LGA, killing 22 locals and destroying properties worth millions of naira.
Jan 20 2014. Gunmen attack Agatu LGA, killing 5 soldiers and 7 civilians.
Jan 20, 2014. Attack on Adeke village in Makurdi LGA. 3 dead.
20-21 Feb 2014. Herdsmen attack Gwer West LGA. 35 persons killed. 80,000 displaced. 6 Council Wards Sacked.
- Feb 24, 2014. Attack on a Tiv community along Naka road, Makurdi, killing 8 people.
March 6, 2014. 30 killed in Kwande, Katsina/Ala and Logo LGAs by attackers dressed in military uniforms. 6 villages sacked.
March 12, 2014. Raid on Ukpam village of Mbabaai in Guma LGA. 28 persons killed. Yam barns and farms burnt.
March 10, 2014. Former Governor Suswam’s convoy attacked by herdsmen at Umenger. He and his convoy managed and escaped.
March 12, 2014. Herdsmen attack Suswam’s village in Logo LGA, 22 slaughtered. Entire village sacked.
March 23, 2014. 25 killed and over 50 injured by herdsmen said to be bearing sophisticated weapons in Gbajimba, Guma LGA.
March 25, 2014. Police recovered 7 corpses following an attack on Agena village, Gwer East LGA by Herdsmen.
March 29, 2014. Herdsmen attacked 4 villages in Agatu LGA. 19 people killed, 15 others abducted.
March 29, 2014. Suspected use of chemical weapons on Sengev community in Gwer West LGA leaving 15 people dead.
March 30, 2014. 19 locals killed and 15 abducted in Agatu LGA.
- April 10, 2014. Over 100 herdsmen attacked 4 villages in Ukemberagya/Tswarev ward of Logo LG, 6 killed, Properties destroyed.
April 15, 2014. Attack on Obagaji, Headquarters of Agatu LGA, 12 youths killed.
September 10, 2014. Herdsmen attacked five villages in Ogbadibo LGA leaving scores dead.
January 27, 2015. 17 persons killed in attacks on Abugbe, Okoklo, Ogwule & Ocholoyan in Agatu LGA by herdsmen.
January 30, 2015. Over 100 attackers stormed 5 villages in Logo LGA, killing 9 persons in the attack.
March 15, 2015. Egba village in Agatu LGA sacked by herdsmen, over 90 locals, including women and children killed.
April 27, 2015. 28 persons killed by herdsmen in attack on 3 villages at Mbadwem, Guma LGA; houses and farmlands razed.
May 11, 2015. Ikyoawen community in Turan Kwande LGA invaded by herdsmen. 5 persons killed & 8 others wounded.
May 24, 2015. 100 killed in an attack by herdsmen in villages &refugee camps at Ukura, Gafa, Per and Tse-Gusa, Logo LGA.
July 7, 2015. 1 local killed and several others injured following an attack on mourners in Imande Bebeshi in Kwande LGA.
November 5, 2015. 12 persons killed, 25 others injured in Buruku LGA following an attack by suspected herdsmen.
Feb 8, 2016. 10 killed and over 300 displaced in clash between herdsmen and farmers at Tor-Anyiin and Tor-Ataan in Buruku LGA.
- Feb 21-24, 2016. Over 500 locals killed and 7000 displaced in an attack on Agatu LGA by Fulani herdsmen. Over 7 villages razed.
March 9, 2016. 8 residents killed by herdsmen in attacks on Ngorukgan, Tse Chia, Deghkia and Nhumbe in Logo LGA.
March 11, 2016. Attack on Convoy of Senator David Mark by suspected herdsmen in Agatu LGA. No casualty recorded.
March 13, 2016. 6 people including an APC youth leader killed by herdsmen in an attack on Tarka LGA.
February 29, 2016 11 killed in Edugbeho Agatu LG including a police inspector.
March 10, 2016 Two killed in attack on Obagaji Agatu.
March 5, 2016 Houses burnt in Agatu. Security forces prevented killings.
January 24, 2017: 15 persons were killed by rampaging Fulani herdsmen, who attacked farmers in Ipiga village in Ohimini Local Government Area of Benue State.
March 2, 2017: No fewer than 10 persons were killed in a renewed hostility between herdsmen and farmers in Mbahimin community, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.
March 11, 2017: Seven people were killed when herdsmen attacked a Tiv community, Mkgovur village in Buruku local government area of Benue State.
May 8: Three persons were confirmed killed by herdsmen in Tse-Akaa village, Ugondo Mbamar District of Logo Local Government Area of Benue State.
- May 13, 2017: Less than one week after many people were killed by herdsmen in three communities of Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, armed herders struck again on May 13 killing eight more people.
ENACTMENT OF OPEN GRAZING PROHIBITION AND RANCHES ESTABLISHMENT LAW 2017
- The Law was passed by the Benue State House of Assembly in exercise of its powers as provided for by section 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). The bill followed due process with public hearings and the requisite opportunity for stakeholders, including herdsmen, farmers, the police and all other security agencies to make inputs. The Bill was passed into law by the Assembly and signed by me on May 22nd, 2017. Considering the fact that this was a new law, a grace period of six months was given for those interested in the establishment of ranches to obtain permits. The enforcement of the law started by November 1, 2017.
The law is to regulate livestock and ensure win-win solution for herdsmen and farmers. The law is to promote justice, peace and development in Benue State.
THREATS BY MIYETTI ALLAH KAUTAL HORE
- Shortly after the law was accented to on 22nd day of May 2017 for implementation, we received threats from Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural organisation. The group threatened to mobilize Fulani herdsmen from across West Africa to invade Benue and resist the ranching law.
- On Thursday, 1st June, 2017, I raised alarm over media reports particularly that which appeared on page 41 of The Nation Newspaper of 31st May, 2017. The report was credited to Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, which held a Press Conference in Abuja to reject the Ranches Law. In the aforesaid report, the National Secretary of the Association Engr. Saleh Alhassan, sought to justify the reprehensible, irresponsible and criminal destruction of lives and property in Benue State on the ground that the Fulani herdsmen are the original inhabitants of the Benue Valley. He claimed that they are engaged in a lingering crisis with the current inhabitants in the state, particularly the Tiv, over Natural resources. President of the Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, described the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law as “wicked, obnoxious and repressive.”
LETTERS/APPEALS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
- On the strength of these threats, I wrote to the then Acting President, His Excellency Professor Yemi Osinbajo on June 7, 2017. In the letter I drew his attention to the threats issued by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and requested the Federal Government to act fast to prevent the attacks. When President Muhammadu Buhari returned from his medical vacation, I also wrote to him on 27th October 2017 raising similar concerns and fears over the repeated threats from Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and appealed for his intervention.
I wrote similar letters in June to the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) the Director General of Department of State Services, (DSS) and the National Security Adviser, (NSA) requesting the intervention of security agencies to forestall the impending attacks.
- We called on all Nigerians to stand up and condemn the threat of this association and appreciate our legitimate contribution to the resolution of herdsmen and farmers crises because they remain one of the most protracted problems across our country. We considered the threat by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore as not only against Benue State but all other states that have or will have farmers and herdsmen crises.
- Not taking lightly the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore’s threat to rise against the law and invade the state, I as Governor, the Benue State House of Assembly, and leaders of all the socio-cultural organizations in the state made more petitions and calls on the Presidency and all the relevant security agencies in the country.
- The Benue State Government condemned the statements of leaders of the Miyetti Allah and their stand which amounted to open declaration of war on Benue State people. Benue State and its people were under threat and requested the Federal Government to call Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and its leaders to order before they plunged the country into a conflagration which will be difficult to contain.
- No action was taken by those saddled with the responsibility to protect lives and property at the national level.
- Between January 1 and 2, 2018, herdsmen invaded Benue communities in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas and killed more than 73 persons including seven members of the Benue State Livestock Guards. The communities attacked during the period were Mbabai, Mbadwem, Uvir, Nzorov, Saghev, Kaambe, Mbayer/Yandev and Nyiev in Guma Local Government Area. In Logo Local Government Area, the two major Districts of Tombo and Ukerberagya/Tswarev were attacked.
- We held a funeral and mass burial on Thursday, 11th January, 2018 in Makurdi for 73 victims.
- On 8th January, 2018, I wrote to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria drawing his attention to the attacks launched by armed Fulani herdsmen on several communities in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State between 1st – 2nd January, 2018.
- We also drew the attention of Mr President to the inflammatory statements by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association that “Expect more bloodshed in Benue” if the Law was not repealed. We accordingly appealed to the President to order the arrest and prosecution of:
Husaini Yusuf Bosso, National Vice President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association.
Badu Salisu Ahmadu and Umar Amir Shehu, President and Secretary of Fulani Nationality Movement and:
Alhaji Abdulahi Bello and Engr. Saleh Alhasan, President and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore; for their utterances that appeared to be full declaration of war not only against Benue people but the country in general.
RENEWED ATTACKS ON BENUE AND KILLINGS
- A few days after the mass burial of 73 persons, Fulani herdsmen resumed their attacks on communities in the State. From the 11th January to now 61 more persons including Police officers have been killed; at least 48 in Logo and 13 in Guma LGAs. Killings are still going on.
- Despite their irresponsible and illegal behavior and our consistent call, armed Fulani herdsmen and their leaders have not been arrested or even questioned by security agencies.
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN BENUE
- In addition to the 73 lives Benue lost, the development led to the displacement of over 106, 000 persons who are currently camped in seven Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs Camps at Abeda, Tse Ginde, Gbajimba, Daudu, Agan, Anyiin and Ugba (Logo LGA). Among those displaced 60% are children who are now out of school.
RELIEF MATERIALS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
- Following the intervention of Mr. President, Security Personnel were eventually deployed to the affected areas and for a few days, peace seemed to have returned. The President also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to bring Relief Materials for the surviving victims of the attacks. For 106,000 IDPs spread in seven camps NEMA has so far provided the following items:
150 Bags of parboiled rice,
200 Bags of maize
50 Cartons of peak milk
50 Kegs of Palm oil
50 Kegs of groundnut oil
30 Bags of salts
50 Cartons of tin tomatoes
30 Cartons of indomie noodles
1000 piece of blankets
500 sets women’s cloth
500 sets of men cloth
50 bags of OMO detergent
1000 pieces of mosquitoes net
300 pieces of nylon mats
OUR CONCERNS AND FEARS
- According to the Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan – Ali the blockage of grazing routes across the country is the remote cause of recent killings especially in Benue and Taraba states. The Minister also identified the implementation of Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in Benue state as the immediate cause of the killings. He was speaking with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the National Security Council presided over by President Muhamamdu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja when he made the said comments. It has already been pointed out that the unrelenting attacks on the state predate the law.
- His position is very misleading as it represents the facts of the matter. In the 21st century, we should be considering better conditions for herdsmen and their families than insisting on grazing routes. What happens to the education and welfare of their children and families as they continue to move from one place to another. To be sure the attacks and killings in Benue pre-date the law. To suggest that the killings in Benue are due to the Ranching Law is dishonest and mischievous, because even before the Bill was signed into Law in May 2017, over 46 attacks took place where thousands were killed and property worth millions destroyed
- Following the Benue killing, the President directed the IGP to relocate to Benue and stop the killings. However, the IGP spent a night in Lafia, Nasarawa State before moving to Benue. He spent only one night in Benue. While in Benue, he met with a cross section of Benue Stakeholders who confronted him and questioned his intentions. They also asked why the President directed him to Benue and he chose to spend a night in Lafia Nasarawa State? Benue Stakeholders also questioned his sincerity of purpose. In his response, he apologised for his earlier assertion that the Benue killings were mere ‘communal crisis.’
- Spending only one night in Benue, IGP returned to Nasarawa and gave notice to the people in Awe LGA Nasarawa State that he would be there in 3 days’ time to find if armed herdsmen militia were camped in Tunga as earlier alleged by Benue. In Tunga, Awe LGA of Nasarawa State, he was at the market square and asked any youth he met: “are you armed Fulani herdsman? Are you a militia? Do you have AK47?” It is a clear irony that the IGP would claim that he went to Tunga in Awe local government area of Nasarawa State but found no militia. Notice of this trip was given well ahead of time and militias are not camped in the market place. The method adopted by the IGP shows he was not prepared to get any result. It is important to note that IGP never relocated to Benue State, and never picked my calls at the time he was supposed to be in Benue on the orders of the Commander –in-Chief.
- His aide, Police Public Relation Officer (The PPRO) insulted me on Public Television programme by asserting that ‘I am a drowning man.’ The views of the PPRO are implicitly those of his boss and the Police. It also shows that the police he represents are taking side on Benue killings. Note also that the IGP has not apologized, has not arrested or even questioned Miyetti Allah for their threat and execution of their threats. Miyetti Allah Herders Association boldly announced “Expect more blood to flow in Benue,” and more blood is flowing yet IGP has not arrested or even questioned them.
- In my view the IGP has shown that he is not on the side of justice and should resign.
- It should be noted that the attackers did not bring cattle to graze but guns to kill, displace and occupy the land. There could be no greater mischief than that from the Inspector General of Police stating that I am arming a militia and making every effort to justify the claim. Nigerians are aware of the amnesty programme I initiated. I deployed both the carrot and stick approaches to make youths turned in over 700 illegal weapons and ammunition. They were destroyed in full public glare in accordance with specifications of the United Nations which sent experts to carry out the exercise under the supervision of the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
- Our administration is not arming militia anywhere. The underworld kingpin, Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana, who initially embraced the amnesty programme but later reneged, has been declared wanted by our administration and a reward of N50 million placed for information that can lead to his arrest. However, if the IGP is really sincere with disarming militia, the starting point should be with Fulani armed Herdmen militia rated the fourth most deadly on the global terrorism index.
The Benue State Government hereby completely rejects that statement coming from the nation’s top police officer who should have available records to confirm that there have been more than 47 armed attacks by Fulani herdsmen on Benue State before the State’s Ranching law came into being and some of these attacks happened years before our administration . Please refer to https://Youtu.be/K0Lq4F_pve8for preparations for one of such attacks by herdsmen.
- The State Government remains grateful for the tremendous support it has received from within and outside the state for the law which everyone agrees is the win-win solution to the incessant attacks that have claimed many lives over the years with property worth billions of Naira destroyed.
- Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Senators, once more, I thank you and distinguished Senators for availing me this opportunity to set the records straight in our collective efforts to end the invasion. The Open Grazing prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is widely, indeed overwhelmingly supported by Benue people. The law has good and noble intentions for peace and stability. It does not send any ethnic group away from Benue State. It only provides that anyone including foreigners engaged in livestock business must have the animals ranched. This is global best practice for modern agriculture and development of nations. The Law is devoid of ethnic and religious sentiments.
- Let me assure you all that Benue state Government will not arm any militia as alleged. We believe strongly in our conventional Security Agencies to defend us and also trust in God and His ability to protect us. Nigerians only hope that the Federal Government has not taken side in the Benue killings as perception is as good as reality.
- Chairman, Very Distinguished Senators, I once more thank you for the opportunity and would like to conclude as follows:
May 22, 2017 the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill was signed into law.
A six months grace period was given before the implementation of the law.
Fulani Socio-Cultural Association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, opposed the law and threatened to mobilize Fulani herdsmen from all over West Africa to occupy Benue.
We reported to the Presidency, Security and other Agencies of the Federal Government to avert the imminent attacks.
Benue was attacked on January 1, 2018 and over 73 people were killed in their sleep and property worth billions of naira destroyed.
We now have over 106,000 IDPs in seven camps with all the related humanitarian challenges including disruption of farming, schools, health, markets and the entire economy of the state.
We view the utterances of the IGP and the Defense Minister as those of Security Chiefs who are taking sides with armed herdsmen and of justifying the killings.
The Ranching Law has good and noble intentions for peace and stability. And it is on this law we stand as it offers win-win solution to farmers and herders irrespective of religion and ethnicity.
Ranching of Cattle remains global best practice for modern agriculture and economic development of nations.
Benue State Government does not have and will not have militia, because we have confidence in conventional security. Above all we strongly believe in God and His ability to protect us.
- Finally, we express our confidence in the National Assembly to prevent the present genocide in Benue State. We have confidence in the Federal Government to address the current security and humanitarian challenges.
Thank you Mr Chairman and very distinguished Members for this opportunity. Permit me to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention.
He directed IGP to relocate to Benue, and
NEMA provided relief materials
Military commence Operation Ayem Akpatema (Cat Race),
His efforts to restore peace and rule of law in Benue.
I also appreciate very distinguished
Senate President, Bukola Saraki,
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara
for your patriotic roles in intervening on the side of justice regarding the Benue Massacre.
Governor, Benue State.
African Innovation Foundation (AIF)’s top 10 nominees announced for the prestigious US$185 000 Innovation Prize for Africa 2018 awards
The top 10 nominees reflect Pan African flavour of Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) with representation from north, west, east, central and southern Africa, including Madagascar
IPA 2018 keenly contested with 3 000+ applicants from over 52 countries; This year’s innovations address critical challenges in ICT, agri-business, public health and the environment/ energy sectors; The top 10 nominees reflect Pan African flavour of IPA with representation from north, west, east, central and southern Africa, including Madagascar.
The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced its top 10 nominees for its prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2018 awards. This year’s Call for Applications with its theme “African innovation: Investing in Inclusive Innovation Ecosystems” attracted more than 3 000 applications from 52 African countries. Building on the AIF mandate, submissions this year demonstrate significant breakthroughs in ICT, agri-business, public health and the environment/ energy sectors to improve the lives and economic prospects of Africans.
Says Walter Fust, AIF Chairman: “Now in its seventh year running, we have witnessed multi-million-dollar businesses emerging from the IPA initiative, with health, environment/energy and agricultural innovations leaving imprints across the African continent and beyond. Our theme this year prompts the need for increased collaboration between government, business, industry, innovation enablers and the community to further realise African prosperity and economic freedom.”
The IPA initiative has grown from strengthen to strength mobilizing, rewarding and honoring top African innovators whilst also building strategic partnerships with innovation enablers to strengthen innovation ecosystems in Africa. To date, AIF has supported 55 IPA winners/nominees with US$ 1 million+ and mobilized 9 400+ innovators from all 55 African countries. AIF endorsement and exposure generated through IPA have seen past winners securing over US$135 million worth of investments to grow and scale their businesses. IPA past winners and nominee company valuations amount to US$200 million+.
Managing Director of AIF, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl who has steered the IPA program since its establishment in 2011, said: “We are proud of the impressive innovations that made it to the top 10 this year. They are evident examples of African ingenuity and each innovation is solving a real challenge in a key sector. Africa, and indeed the rest of the world, must keep an eye out – these innovations are ready to propel our continent’s global competitiveness in the market! Furthermore, these top 10 nominees are a great reminder that if given access to capital, Africans are capable of solving African challenges whilst also contributing to the rest of the world.”
Meet the top 10 IPA nominees whose innovations are in the sectors of agri-business, public health and well-being, ICT, energy, environment and water as follows:
Biodegradable seed tray for rice farming (Madagascar) – Juslain Nomenjanahary Raharinaivo: Rice is a staple food in many African countries, constituting a major part of the diet. With an ongoing demand for increased rice production, some African countries are not self-sufficient. In Madagascar, seeds are therefore sowed in innovative pots made of paper, called BG or biodegradable germinators. Growers transplant seedlings into easy-to-transplant clumps with very high tilling capacity which also increases rice yields and allow possibilities to expand the area under cultivation.
Buried Diffuser (Tunisia) – Mr. Wassim Chahbani: Irrigated systems play a major role in sustaining livelihoods in Africa and the world over. Water in agricultural use is critical for crop yields, and reducing consumption is necessary to increase the amount of available water for other uses. The Buried Diffuser saves irrigation water, energy, and use of fertilizers, reducing zero water waste through evaporation. Water is injected directly to the roots, radically reducing water consumption levels used for irrigation.
Efficient detection of TB and Hepatitis C (Morocco) – Professor Abdeladim Moumen and Dr. Hassan Ait Benhassou: Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis (TB) are critical health burdens in Africa. Besides lack of available treatment, access to accurate and cost-effective diagnostic tests remain a challenge across the continent. This innovation comprises two molecular tests for the rapid, accurate and effective detection and load quantification of both diseases. The technology allows specific detection of the hepatitis C or TB genome in blood or sputum samples; tests are clinically validated, simple, accurate and low cost.
eNose sensor for tea processing (Uganda) – Abraham Natukunda: This innovation applies an “eNose” and analytics platform to supplement current tea processing procedures using low power sensor devices to determine optimum levels of tea fermentation. An analytics platform receives and analyses the sensor data, providing real-time monitoring of key reactive elements and compounds during the tea-processing period, ensuring efficient traceability, prediction, and motion. This innovation will lead to improved control results in better tea quality, boosting marketability and increased revenue for tea processors from each bushel of tea harvested.
Incas Vaginal Discharge Kit (Ghana) – Dr. Laud Anthony Basing: Incas Vagkit is a 3-in-1 urine-based test kit that examines vaginal infections. Linked to a mobile application, it offers a convenient and fast solution for women experiencing vaginal infections. The Vagkit simply requires a urine sample and can be used at home; results are available within 10 minutes. This innovation drastically reduces testing time for vaginal infections in Africa, leading to the efficient and quick detection and management of vaginitis.
“iThrone” portable toilet (Egypt) – Dr. Diana Yousef: “We shrink it” is a revolutionary approach to removing un-piped sewage. This technology innovation is a disruptive yet low-cost composite polymer membrane that essentially “shrink-wraps crap” aggressively evaporating or “flushing” away the full water content of daily sewage output without need for added heat, energy or flush water. This innovation responds to the problem of poor sanitation and health conditions, as well as pollution caused by sewerage. iThrone cuts off a significant amount of methane emissions that are generated by unmanaged/uncollected sewage.
Mobile Shiriki Network (Rwanda) – Henri Nyakarundi: The Shiriki Hub is a Smart Solar Kiosk, powered by strong solar panels and equipped with large capacity batteries, Internet of things (IoT) sensors, and a custom designed router, offering device charging, virtual top-ups, and low-cost connectivity. Designed as a business-in-a-box and distributed on a micro-franchise basis, this is an ideal solution for digital connectivity to rural populations and temporal settlements such as refugee camps.
Natural solutions for skeletal regeneration and repair (South Africa) – Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung: A multi-method approach using natural products for skeletal regeneration and repair. La-Africa Soother (LAS) is a topical paste ointment for sportspeople as a natural anti-inflammatory cream to treat pain and inflammation. The second product which is Plant-Based Morphogenetic Factor Implant (PBMF) induces bone and cartilage formation. Treatment of fractures has been a continuous challenge for orthopaedic surgeons. The latter product differs from knee replacement, autografts and allografts, offering quick results with no waiting period and no harvesting of tissue, with relief and safety for patients.
Reducing pollution in an eco-friendly way using GKSORB! (Benin) – Dr Fohla Mouftaou: Water hyacinth is an environmental threat in many African countries, invading lakes, rivers, and agricultural fields. The threat affects agriculture, the fishing industry, health and livelihoods. GKSORB is 100% organic and biodegradable fiber with the potential to absorb up to 17 times its weight. Made from water hyacinth, it can be used as a separator for hydrocarbons or as a cleaning agent for surfaces contaminated by various pollutants such as hydrocarbons, acids and paints.
Waxy II Technology (Tanzania) – Christian Mwijage: His company recycles and transforms post-consumer waste plastic into durable and environmentally friendly plastic lumber using a chemical-free and energy conserving technology called “Waxy ӀӀ technology” for building, construction and furniture production. Every year, more than nine million tonnes of plastic garbage ends up in the ocean causing a major threat to marine life and people. Plastic timber is an affordable alternative to wood timber and reduces the need for building material manufactured from wood, preserving forests, cutting down on deforestation and mitigating the effects of climate change.
President of Ghana and Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the SDGs launches Africa-wide award promoting innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals
By Abdullahi Mohammed
Five winners will be awarded the grand prize and have their work showcased at an international level, helping them to expand their work
The President of Ghana and Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has launched a pan-African award for a new generation of early stage social innovators in Africa who are solving pressing problems in the SDG focus areas.
The award, titled Africa Innovates for the SDGs will put a spotlight on SDG innovators and raise awareness around their work. Open to innovators from all countries in Africa, Africa Innovates for the SDGs will recognize and award exceptional early-stage African innovation that solves key challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. Five winners will be awarded the grand prize and have their work showcased at an international level, helping them to expand their work.
“On our continent today, great African minds have been solving problems in their communities and this Award offers yet another platform to unearth, give recognition and the opportunity to take their innovations to scale for the benefit of the continent and to enhance prospects for achieving the SDGs. I call on the youth on the continent, the private sector, civil society organisations, community groups and all social innovators on the continent to actively participate in this timely initiative,” said President Akufo-Addo.
President Akufo-Addo in his role as Co-Chair of the Group of Eminent Adovocates for the SDGs has a mandate to support the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) in his efforts to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030 by working to promote the universal sustainable development agenda, raise awareness of the integrated nature of the SDGs, and foster the engagement of new stakeholders in the implementation of these Goals. The SDGs Advisory Unit of the Office of the President of Ghana is the unit supporting the President in this role.
Africa Innovates for the SDGs will accept applications for the award until September 7, 2018. To be eligible to win, applicants must be citizens of any African country or residents of any African country for a minimum of three consecutive years and must be 18 years of age or older. The award is seeking unique, new and innovative solutions that are clearly contributing to one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The solutions must have already been tested or have proven impact and must have the potential to create meaningful impact on society, especially on a large number of people.
To apply for the competition, or to learn more, visit www.AfricaInnovates4sdgs.com. The award is being implemented by the non-profit organization, Reach for Change, which has successfully run innovation competitions, accelerators and incubators in countries across Africa since 2012, promoting African innovation and entrepreneurship.
Oshiomhole To Saraki: Resign Honourably Or Be Impeached Democratically
By Abdullahi Mohammed
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), H.E. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole addressed a press conference on Friday at the Party’s National Secretariat calling on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to immediately resign honorably or be impeached according to law and democratic norms.
The APC National Chairman spoke extempore.
We decided to call for this press conference basically to respond to issues raised by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki during his press conference. It is important that we respond to some of the issues he canvassed, so that the public is not misled into turning villains into heros and twisting the facts that are not hidden to the Nigerian public. It is important that we help the Nigerian public by refreshing their memories.
The Senate President raised the issues of the fact that he has always acted not on the basis of his own personal interest, but that he has always acted on the basis of national interest. The truth is that it is doubtful if the Senate President has ever acted either in the National interest or in the interest of his own political party before his defection recently. Without going back to ancient history, it is important to look at how Senator Bukola Saraki became the President of the Senate. He decided, clearly, against the party position to enter into a deal with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and got a faction of the PDP, taking advantage of the fact that majority of the APC senators were holding a meeting at the International Conference Centre to resolve the issue of leadership of the senate and other principal officers that are expected to be produced by the ruling party with majority senators. Because he has put his personal interest over and above the interest of the party, he went into alliance with the PDP and conceded the position of Deputy Senate President to the opposition in other to obtain their support for him to become the Senate President. So, for the first time in our democratic history in Nigeria, we had a situation whereby, whereas the APC had majority of Senators, it went on to elect a PDP person as Deputy Senate President. This action alone portray Senator Saraki for who he is and that his personal interest come before any other interest, including national interest and that of his political party.
Having gone into this unholy alliance with the opposition and mortgaging the rights of the ruling party, he appointed opposition senators to head sensitive and strategic committees whose activities can affect either for good or for bad, the working of government and the relationship between the government and the legislature. Senator Saraki did that in other to continue to protect himself against the wishes of his party as Senate President. That showed that the only thing that was constant in his mind was to cling on to the position of Senate President even if it is at the expense of his own party and the country.
Even the media has consistently drawn attention to how Senator Saraki is managing the Senate to the extent that questions have been raised as to whose interest the Senate was serving.
You do not have to be a partisan politician to appreciate that in an election year, every democratic government around the world would do everything possible to ensure that it is seen to be working for the people of the country. Like any other political party in government, Nigerians expected the APC government under President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible this year to make up for lost time in terms of budget implementation and addressing critical infrastructures without which sustainable development is impossible. The Senate under Senator Saraki chose to delay the budget up to the end of the first half of the year and to coincide with the period of the rainy season such that those aspects of infrastructure such as roads cannot be constructed during the rainy season. These were not errors under his leadership, but clearly designed to frustrate the capacity of the government to address critical infrastructural deficit without which the ordinary man cannot feel the impact of government.
Again on receipt of the budget, the President cried out that it was a clear distortion from the well thought proposal that he submitted to the National Assembly. He appreciated that while they can make alteration to the budget, he did not expect that it will be completely rewritten as to make far more provisions for recurrent expenditure with very little for capital projects. He said this budget will be difficult to implement.
So, when I said he has never put the interest of Nigeria first, I support this statement with reference to the deliberate delay of the budget and deliberate manipulation of the provisions in the budget in a way that will compromise the capacity of the government to address critical infrastructures.
It is no longer a secret that as Senate President, he tried to conspire with others to create a semblance of division within the ruling party having failed to truncate the National Convention, when they assembled a handful of people who were neither delegates nor contestants for any office at the National Convention. There is nothing for me to add to the illegality of this action and the false foundation that Senator Saraki tried to leave than to adopt the well thought out presentation of Femi Falana SAN.
Those things did not portray him as someone who is concerned about sustaining democracy because sustaining democracy also implies absolute commitment to the rule of law. If the rule of law is compromised and Nigeria is reduced to a banana republic where it will be survival of the fittest, he is probably not the strongest man in town to cling on to that office. So, each time he takes an action that constitute a breach of the constitution, he is, by his own action undermining the foundation and weakening the fabrics of our democracy.
However, upon his illegal defection, which he had to do hurriedly because the number of Senators he was playing on their fears that they will not be able to return to the Senate.
At a point, he had on his list, about 36 Senators who were about to defect. But consequent upon our election, we took pre-emptive steps to reassure some of those senators. The first meeting we held after our election was with Senator Saraki to try and listen to what I called negotiable and verifiable grievances and this I did in company of the Vice President and he acknowledged that those steps were taken when he was leaving. But however, his real grievances are not negotiable which is about ambition, value and his fundamental values and the values of the APC. When he defected, he went to Ilorin to tell the people part of the truth that he was leaving for two reasons. He alleged that President Buhari gave out over 200 juicy appointments without allocating some to him and he choose to speak for the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he was also not given. My question is, giving Saraki, the Senate President juicy position, does that coincide with the Nigerian project? Or the interest of the people of Kwara State of his Senatorial zone? At no time did he refer to the interest of the people of his constituency or the people of Nigeria.
The second reason he gave was that he was being persecuted. That is alleged persecution of his person and not his people. He never pretended that any of these actions had anything, to do with the people of Nigeria, but his person. I think the governor of Kwara State was more explicit in corroborating his claim when he said that he as governor and Saraki as Senate President were being linked to armed robbery cases. Again, that has nothing to do with the Nigerian project or the Kwara people. What is the truth? Who linked Senator Saraki to armed robbery? Was it the federal government t or arrested armed robbers? It is the armed robbers that alleged that the weapons with which they carried out the operation were procured for them by the Senate President. This is contained in the police report which is no longer a secret. He has not denied knowledge of these people. So If armed robbers linked the name of the Senate President, is the APC or the government to blame? A crime that led to the killing of about 35 persons cannot be dismissed with a wave of hand and in any jurisdiction, when your name is linked to such heinous crime, people don’t clap for you. It is the duty of the security agents to investigate and establish whether they are valid or invalid. So, if he was linked to armed robbery, that cannot be an offense of the government or the APC. The best defense I have heard is that the robbers said that he did not ask them to use the weapon for armed robbery.
In support of my thesis that Saraki has never acted in the national interest, my final submission is on the way he adjourned the Senate. The senate calendar is not secret to the presiding officer and the calendar that was known was that the senate was going to adjourn on a Thursday. But by Monday night, Saraki used his guest house, wrote out names of Senators with provision for them to sign for senators to decamp from the APC to the PDP, but some of the senators refused to sign. That is what frustrated his calculations to turn the APC to a minority party in the senate. Is it a coincidence that as he was reading the names of defectors in the senate, his counterpart in the House was also doing same? So there was coordination for defection day. But happily, the pre-emptive measures we have taken to address genuine grievances frustrated their number such that from 36, he could not get more than 14 senators to decamp including one that subsequently overcame the manipulation.
Between Tuesday and Thursday, the Senate was expected to discuss the supplementary budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC requirements are not things that you buy from the shelf. You have to order them from the manufacturers and so, time is of the essence. But the senate under Saraki adjourned without considering the matters before it including the budget for INEC. So, if Saraki adjourned the Senate ahead of schedule to resume towards the end of nominations, can that act be said to coincide with national interest? If you decide to frustrate INEC by denying it the funds that it requires, can you be said to be a defender of democracy? If INEC don’t get their funds and therefore are unable to conduct t credible election, will that not lead to further consequences for our democracy?
So, I submit that Saraki’s actions were calculated to undermine democracy. Those who fought for democracy did not do it so that it can be at the mercies of a Senate President whose interest is clearly at variance with national interest. There was a request for virement which was also not considered.
A substantial part of the 2018 budget meant for capital project was supposed to be sourced through loans and under the constitution, you cannot borrow from foreign countries without the express endorsement of the National Assembly. Without those loans, the budget cannot be implemented. While this was pending, Senator Saraki put his personal interest above his office and choose to adjourn the Senate , leaving this huge national issues unattended to. So, for an officer that behaves like that, how can he argue that anything he did was not about himself? Everything he did has never been informed by national interest. There are also allegations of lack of transparency and we have seen Nigerians trying to demystify what they earn. We have an arm that is completely unaccountable because of the way he has presided.
Therefore, his attempt to use the incident at the National Assembly on Tuesday to portray himself as the conscience of the nation is to insult our collective intelligence as a people.
There is the futile attempt he has made to suggest that the Tuesday’s incidence was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment. How can a presiding office arrive at such a conclusion that there was a plan to carry out an illegal impeachment? Until an action takes place, you cannot determine the outcome, if impeachment itself is unlawful, then you can understand where he is coming from. It is lawful to impeach anyone, including the President the Senate and his deputy if the number required to do so is present. So, he cannot pre-empt that. From their own statement, they claimed to be aware that the Senate President was going to be illegally impeached and so mobilized thugs to the Senate. They told the world that they have adjourned till 25th September. But meanwhile, about 15 PDP Senators were in the Senate and imported thugs that molested two of our members they saw in the senate. If APC Senators were not in the Senate and it was PDP Senators that were there, what is the basis of the false claim that there was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment? In any case, Saraki is not going to be the first Senate President to be impeached and I doubt if he is going to be the last. But definitely, he will be impeached according to law and democratic norms. The only way he can avoid impeachment is for him to do what is honourable.
We saw Senator Godswill Akpabio who was the PDP leader in the Senate. Once he made up his mind to leave the PDP, he wrote to inform the PDP even before his defection that he was resigning. So, Senator Saraki has demonstrated neither character nor being a man of honour. I told him when we held a meeting that he came to join the APC as a Senator and it is on our platform that you became Senate President. Once you made up your mind to leave, the honourable thing to do is to resign as Senate President. If he does not resign, he will be impeached according to law and not by thuggery or by mob or anything that undemocratic. He cannot sustain a minority rule in the Senate and that is what is haunting him in the Senate.
When I say that the Senate President will be impeached, let me emphasise that he will be impeached properly according to law. The constitution is clear how a presiding officer can be impeached and because several impeachments has taken place, we are not about to witness what has not taken place before. We have enough precedent to fall back on. I have looked at the constitution which does not say that an impeachment is illegal. It is done, you cannot arrive at the conclusion that it is unlawful. How can we be accused of planning an illegal impeachment when it has not commenced. If he thinks that by saying that he will pre-empt the APC from having him impeached, he is deceiving himself. I think that the time of Saraki is over. The way he has manipulated the politics of Kwara state, he fails to understand that the Nigerian project is far more complicated than being at the mercy of his own dynasty. He will not only be impeached, we will work hard to have him defeated as a Senator in his own Senatorial zone come 2019 by the people of Kwara state who are fed up with SarakiI. Go and check the results of the elections that made him a Senator and you will find out that the President got more votes from Kwara Central than Saraki got for himself. So, he can’t claim that the vote the APC got from his Senatorial zone was because of him. That is why his leaving is of no political consequences as far as electoral issues are concerned. We tried to talk to him, not out of fear, but out of conviction that as a presiding officer, there are rules of engagement.
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