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COMMENTARY

UNITED IN GOD FOR LIFE

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A Declaration issued at the end of the Pro-life Conference/ Rally
at the Obiri Odenigbo, Villa Assumpta, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, June 3rd – 4th, 2013.

As our society is experiencing the dangerous encroachment of the culture of death from without and within, the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri continues its Pro-life Mission by organizing a two-day Pro-life Conference with the theme: “Protecting Human Life from Conception to Natural Death.” Pro-lifers from Nigeria, Europe and America participated in the Conference and Rally. The predominant evils of same-sex union, pornography, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, baby factory, anti-life bills and laws and the negative influence of social networks were the major concerns of this conference. The destructive effects of these moral ills are quite obvious in the structural decay of families in Europe and America which have led to the systematic decline of their economy and social order. These notorious international organizations – International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Marie Stops International (MSI), Gates Foundation, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and many more, are serving as platforms for the spread of these anti-life practices.

From insights generated from the conference we declare as follows:

1.         Human Life begins at conception and as such must be protected till natural death. Every conceived child is formed and perfected in the image and likeness of God.

2.         All legislations for abortion, which is the intentional killing of innocent babies in the womb, should be denounced as evil and abrogated. We must remain resolved in our efforts to ensure that abortion is never legalized in our society.

3.         Artificial contraception is morally unacceptable and harmful to the health of women and marriage stability. Hence, the Natural Family Planning is the ideal method of spacing of children and delay of pregnancy. It has proven to be very effective and has no side effects. The key to success is co-operation, commitment, communication and prayer.

4.         Human Life is sacred and of inestimable value. The entire human person belongs to God. This means that neither the human person nor his body can be commodities for commercial purposes. We must therefore fight against these heinous crimes against humanity.

5.         Same-sex union is abominable and should never be given legal status in our nation. The tolerance and promotion of same-sex union leads to the corrosion of more basic rights (conscience right, religious right), injury to children, further degradation of the family and decrease in life expectancy. It is for this reason that it should never be an integral part of our social, cultural or legal landscape. True marriage is a one-man and one-woman covenant established by God.

6.         Having sex is a special preserve for the married. It is a sacred act ordained by God to be exercised only in marriage for its unitive and procreative purposes. Pre-marital sex and extra-marital sex is a deviation of this divine plan of intimate love which is rooted in chastity. Homosexuality and lesbianism are abnormal and sinful acts.

7.         We should remain with God for life. If we remain with God, we will not only cherish the life of God in us, we will defend the life of everyone everywhere.

 

Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna              Rev. Fr. Justin Okoro             Mrs. Obianuju Ekeocha
Archbishop of Owerri                                            Chaplain Pro-life Owerri              Pro-life Biomedical Scientist
 

ARTICLES

Open Letter to Gov. Rochas Okorocha

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In a meeting of Retired Permanent Secretaries held on December, 2015, it was decided that the payment of only three months of pension to some pensioners by the Imo State Government be acknowledged. However, the arrears left to be paid vary from individual to individual as the minimum arrears yet to be paid is nine months. The government is therefore urged to pay the outstanding arrears immediately.

 

It is important to note that section 210 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended does not permit withholding of pensions for even one day unless in accordance with a law. Sub-section 2 of the said section stated clearly as follows:

“Any benefit to which a person is entitled in accordance with or under such law as is referred to in Sub-section (1) of this section shall not be withheld or altered to his disadvantage except to such extent as is permissible under any law including the code of Conduct”

 

Also in section 2 of the Pension Act which is the law under which civil servants are retired it stipulates that “there shall be charged on and paid out of the consolidated Revenue Fund of the (state) such sums of money as may from time to time be granted by (State) Government by way of pension and gratuity”.

 

It is on account of the above quoted statutes that pensions and gratuities are treated as the first charge on the State Consolidated Revenue Fund. They guarantee these entitlements of retired public servants; and that is why they take precedence over any other government expenditure.

Every Pensioner in Imo state expected the Governor to clear the back log of pension owed to them before the Christmas of 2015; but this did not happen.

 

Finally, it is unfortunate that several letters written to the Governor and requests for audience with him by the Association did not get any response. Since all these efforts and avenues explored to reach the Governor did not yield any positive fruit, the Association has no option than to address him by an open letter.

 

It is hoped that he will read this and act expeditiously to save the lives of these senior citizens.

 

We assure the Governor of our untainted loyalty to the State Government, and still request that he grants audience to the Association so that our collective expertise will be placed at the disposal of his administration for the benefit of Imo people.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

F.I. Agba

Secretary

Association of Retired Permanent Secretaries,

Owerri, Imo State.


 

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COMMENTARY

The Need To Establish Fire-fighting Volunteers Corps In Nigeria

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Fire out-break is a world-wide phenomenon. No nation, no State, no community is exempted. The resultant loss of life and property cannot therefore be totally eliminated. But the important thing is that they can be reduced. The purpose of this piece Is to invite attention to an aspect of combating fire out-breaks which is yet to be meaningfully undertaken in this country.

We must start by accepting that fire-fighting is too enormous and prevalent a societal challenge to be left only to Government fire services departments. That is why some forward looking countries have considered it a matter of crucial importance to enlist the assistance of their general citizenry to compliment Government effort in this matter. That aspect of assistance to Government fire services departments is in the area of human resources, that is by augmenting available career fire-fighting personnel with a corps of fire-fighting volunteers. This is the crux of this presentation.

A typical example is the United States of America which in spite of employing 350,000 career fire-fighters personnel, has organized and put in place over 800,000 fire-fighting volunteers. This is in realization of the fact that effective fire-fighting even in a fully developed country is not a matter of improved machinery only. The need for comparable human resources is equally critical

In our country Nigeria, major fire outbreaks evoke total reliance on the Federal or State fire service facilities which even at the best of times have difficulty in coping with normal challenges. We need to embrace the new approach demanding attitudinal change to tackle the problem.

The new approach is to accept right away the idea of establishing firefighting volunteers in this country, starting from major cities, towns, and key suburban areas. The virile manpower is there, most of which can be drawn from already existing organized bodies.

For example, personnel of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps, Vigilante Groups, State Orientation Agencies, Members of Major Market Associations, and others can readily constitute the immediate source for the fire-fighting volunteers.

Fortunately also, there are serving and retired fire service officers who can be easily augmented with firefighting experts from oil companies, commercial and industrial establishments to be the pilot trainers.

Re-emphasizing the obvious is reminding ourselves that losses through fire worldwide are generally incalculable. Occurrences in the United States are mind-bugling. In China a deadly out-break killed more than 112 people in a poultry farm in June 2013.

Coming nearer home, 223 people died in fire incidents in Rivers State in 2011. Lagos State, without adding the most recent ones, lost 39billion naira to fire incidents in 2012.  In February 2014, Kara Market in Sokoto was reduced to ashes. In Ose Okwuodu market in Onitsha, goods valued 100million naira went as fire gutted 200.  In Umuisiedo market in Anambra State, 11 shops were razed in April 2014. Similar incidents of fire outrages have been occurring in virtually all other States.

Time and space make it difficult for this writer to outline here all the basic requirements like points for the enabling legislation, training modules, programming, and expected sources of support for the Firefighting Volunteers. These will be contributed as the proposal develops positively.

The important thing at this stage is to recognize the need, and for our governments at various levels to accept and facilitate the formation of fire-fighting volunteers properly prepared and motivated to join hands with the professional ones to respond quickly and efficiently whenever a fire occurs.

Now is the moment to start. Join in the crusade for positive reaction on this matter of Nigeria Fire-Fighters Volunteers Corps. It will turn out to be meaningful and exciting for all concerned.


Chief Nwozuzu wrote from Mbari Street, Ikenegbu Layout, Owerri.

 

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COMMENTARY

Revisiting Electricity Privatization

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Privatization! Privatization! Privatization! That was what Nigerians were told will solve the problems of power generation and electricity. Nigerians received this news of electricity privatization with much hope. They breathed a sigh of relief in hopes that “selling NEPA” and putting it into private hands would mean better electricity supply and better life for all Nigerians. Unfortunately, that has not happened and the country is still in darkness.

Electricity is not called power for nothing; it is, indeed, power and it is power that drives much of what we know, today, as development.  It is the discovery of electricity in Europe that sparked off industrial revolution and opened up new opportunities for the world. The industrial revolution in Europe is actually a revolution in Electricity / Power generation. Obviously, constant and adequate power supply is an important condition for industrialization, which is primarily what separates the so-called developed countries from the rest of the world.

Electricity is, indeed, power and this is what has eluded Nigeria these many years and stalled every attempt to rise to the challenge of industrialization and development.

When Nigerians thought they were getting close to acquiring “real power” through the privatization of the power sector initiated by the Jonathan administration, and that there will be light at the end of the long tunnel of darkness, what they got instead was shock, real shock! The long-awaited exercise which has gulped billions of Naira has not produced anything except more noise and higher electricity bills, without corresponding service. Even hopes that things would soon be better were dashed by the Jonathan government, on the eve of their departure, when the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, seemingly threw up his hands and announced that “sabotage” was responsible for the problems in the sector. It should be recalled that the same minister at inauguration told Nigerians that “evil forces” were responsible for the problems and that he had the ability, as an Anglican cleric, to exorcise them, so we can have electricity. Apparently his exorcism failed, suggesting that much more than spiritual abracadabra was needed to make Nigeria work.

The question now is, can Buhari and his government save the nation? Can they successfully wrestle with the so-called “evil forces” or “saboteurs” and rescue Nigeria from chronic and embarrassing darkness, given the mess that has already been made in the privatization process?

The average Nigerian does not want to know who the investors were, who borrowed money from where or acquired NEPA assets. What they want is regular electricity like the rest of the world. They do not even want to know what is involved in the generation and distribution of gas, they leave that to the Federal Government. What they want is power, power to do what can be best done with regular electricity.   They are tired of paying bills for electricity they did not even see far more consume.

The issues and challenges may be huge but it is a shame that despite privatization, electricity generation has declined from what it used to be. If sabotage is, indeed, the problem, then the Federal Government should deal with it head-on. That is what Governments do. They should use every possible means to end the sabotage, in the interest of the nation. More so, they should revisit the privatization exercise to ensure that what it delivers is what it promises on paper.

It is obvious that inadequate power supply is at the heart of Nigeria’s industrial morass and much of its under-development. Our “generator economy” cannot sustain any meaningful industrial development. Buhari and his government must do everything possible to dispel the darkness that has enveloped this country for long. Only then can they open the door to real growth and development.


 

 

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