Wednesday 28 March 2018


President Muhammadu Buhari, on the 26th of March, 2018, inaugurated the National Food Security Council (NFSC) in Abuja. The Council, chaired by the President, has the Governor of Kebbi state as the Deputy Chair. Other members are the Governors of Taraba, Plateau, Lagos, Ebonyin and Delta states. The high profile Council has also named the following as members:

*Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)
*Chief of Staff to the President
*National Security Adviser (NSA)
*Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development
*Minister of Finance
*Minister of Interior
*Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment
*Minister of Water Resources
*Minister of the Environment
*Minister of Budget & Planning
*Chief of Defense Staff
*Governor of Central Bank
*DG, Department of State Security Services (DSS)
*DG, National Intelligence Agency
*Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service

I am interested in the NFSC to the extent that the following are its objectives:

*Developing solutions to the farmer-herder clashes
*Study the impact of climate change and desertification on farmland, grazing areas, lakes, rivers and other water bodies
*Ascertain the impact of oil spillage on Niger Delta communities
*The effect of piracy and banditry on the populace
*Review of Agricultural Research institutions and extension services
*Inquiry into the challenge of smuggling

I am a member of the Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations in Nigeria (FFARN), and we have done a substantial amount of work. We meet monthly and so far, we have at least two policy briefs to show for it. It may be useful for the newly inaugurated NCFS to liaise with FFARN in order to avoid the former re-inventing the wheel. See for example;;

Under the auspices of the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), there is a publication on Rural Banditry in Northern Nigeria, in which Dr. Amina Salihu and my I wrote the chapter on 'The effect of rural banditry on the livelihood of women'. I intend to keep a close watch on the progress of the NCFS with a view to sending memoranda if and when necessary... See for example;



The Peace and Security Network (PSN), currently housed by Mercy Corps was earlier labelled Peace and Security Working Group (PSWG) under the auspices of Nigeria Stability & Reconstruction Programme (NSRP). The PSN is a platform for peace and security analysis, advocacy, coordination and confidence building. The platform is made up of several civil society actors, international donors/agencies and foreign embassies. I am a valued member of PSN.

PSN is indeed a veritable platform for stakeholder coordination, peace/security activities and strategies to prevent and manage conflicts around Nigeria. The platform seeks to implement its strategies for ensuring political stability in Nigeria in order to engender a favourable environment for economic activities and by extension FDI attraction. PSN was re-launched August 2017, after being relatively inactive after the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. PSN currently has over 350 members!

The last meeting of PSN was hosted by Foundation for Partnerships in the Niger Delta (PIND) in Abuja. The discussions at the meeting centred around two major issues:

*Scenario building towards the 2019 elections in Nigeria and
*Security threat/Election vulnerability assessment

Present at the meeting were representatives of the following:

*CLEEN Foundation
*Foundation for Partnerships in the Niger Delta (PIND)
*International Alert (IA)
*United States Institute for Peace (USIP)
*High Commission of Canada
*National Democratic Institute (NDI)
*Centre for Information Technology & Development (CITAD)
*Fund for Peace (FFP)

In the short period of its 'second coming since August 2017, and under the able leadership of Adeolu Ade Adewumi, a Security Specialist and Manager, PSN. PSN has initiated a 'Confab Series' with the inaugural one held on the 12th of March in Abuja. The inaugural confab was a resounding success. It was held in collaboration with the Centre for Information Technology & Development (CITAD). The lecture, titled: 'Towards 2019 elections: Hate speech & implications for ethnic relations' was delivered by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chairman Savannah Centre, Former UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs & Mediator in Rwanda and Myanmar crises.

The fact that the Manager of PSN has recently been appointed to the Board of the Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution (IPCR), is a pointer to the fact that PSN has made significant impact in such a short time. Besides, PSN has been invited to speak at the next International Press Institute World Congress in June 2018. Ardent readers of my blog would recall that IPCR is the Federal Government's flagship institution for preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in Nigeria and indeed Africa. I retired as Director from IPCR in 2010 after serving my full term of 8years. With all these impressive achievements, PSN is poised to remain a force to reckon with in the peace and security sector.

Tuesday 27 March 2018


The Yar'Adua Foundation (YDF) held a Town Hall Meeting on the 19th of March 2018 in Abuja. The theme was 'A spanner in the wheel of corruption'. I was one of the esteemed guests. The former guest of honour was the former Chairman, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. YDF promotes national unity, good governance and social justice by creating platforms to engage citizens, policy makers and stakeholders in national conversations that foster an inclusive and prosperous Nigeria. The programme was sponsored by the McArthur Foundation. I wish to commend the Foundation for being a stickler for time providing a really sumptuous buffet afterwards...

Ajorah Royal Theatre did not disappoint with their well rehearsed and good delivery of their lines in their stage performance of Ken Saro Wiwa's 'The Wheel' - a political satire that dramatically highlights the damaging effects of official corruption, failed campaign promises, bad governance and the need for ethical revolution. It tells the story of a politician who, upon winning election, demanded bribe that resulted in the corrupt practice gradually becoming institutionalised.

There were other film clips. One depicted how a child (Junior's) school fees was appropriated by his mother and diverted to trivial endeavours! The other clip highlighted how corruption starts among children very early in life. Two young children of the same parents become unfriendly when one 'caught' the other breaking a vase. The blackmail as a result of keeping this 'secret' did not end until the victim fell into semi-depression! These are two sordid examples of corruption perpetrated in the average home on a daily basis.

The stage play anf film clips were followed by a panel discussion:

*Mallam Nuhu Ribadu - Former Chair, EFCC & Special Guest of Honour
*Waziri Adio - Executive Secretary, NEITI (Government Representative)
*Prof. Umaru Pate - Bayero University, Kano (Citizens' Representative)
*Rosemary Otohwo - Senior Programme Officer, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (Media Representative)
*Isiaka Olagunju - General Secretary, Nigeria Bar Association (Judiciary Representative)
*Patrick Okigbo - Nextier Ltd. & Moderator

Some of the views canvassed are:

*We have come a long way in the anti-corruption fight. Nigeria is the only country in the world that has successfully repatriated stolen funds. Other measures in this direction are in the pipeline - e.g. Nigeria Financial Intelligence Bill (NFI) and the separation of the office of the Accountant General from the office of the Minister of Justice.

*We should keep an eye on the 3S's of corruption - Sanctions, Systems and Society.

*Our societal values predispose us to corruption. There is a bifurcation of morality - different standards in the public and private spaces. Citizens have a fractured relationship with the state, hence immorality is condemned mainly in the public domain.

*We should move from 'investigative reporting' to 'solution journalism' i.e. clinical anti-corruption reporting, behavioural change and humanising corruption stories.

*The more we engage in online monetary transactions, the more we eliminate face-to-face interaction. The latter fuels corruption.

*The ongoing reforms in the criminal justice system, which began in 2015, is a step in the right direction. The proposed digitalisation of the Judiciary is welcome. Kudos to Dr. Amina Salihu, Senior Programme Officer, McArthur Foundation, who said that because Nigerians are fed up with corruption and lack of accountability her Foundation would continue to programmes such as this...

On the whole, the visualisation of corruption through a stage play and two short film clips was refreshingly different! This method brought the issue of corruption home to the audience in a very  basic manner... 

Related Links

*How to fight money laundering
*Nigeria: FEC approves N1.6b for e-Government Procurement to check corruption
*Corruption is the ultimate betrayal of public trust, even more damaging in times of crisis
*Private Eyes & the Anti-Corruption Crusade
*SAS AML Software: Fight money laundering with these 5 game changers
*Infrastructure projects like roads & bridges tend to be large, long term and complex - all fertile ground for corruption: How can Companies cut the waste?  #IMFBlog
*3 ways to fight corruption & restore trust in leadership

Friday 9 March 2018


On the 8th of March 2018, International Women's Day (IWD), I was one of the stakeholders at the interactive session hosted by UNWomen in Abuja. There were representatives of women in agriculture in both rural and urban areas. The urban women were represented by Dr. Angel Adelaja of 'Fresh Direct' - Nigeria. She uses hydroponics (soil-less farming) to provide organic farm produce. The pilot project is in Abuja. Angel discussed the challenges of technology based agriculture in an urban setting. However, a number of challenges cut across rural and urban areas as regards women farmers:

*Lack of access to finance and credit as a result of difficult 'conditions' by banks.
*Lack of safe spaces for women in ungoverned rural and urban areas.
*Dearth of experiential (continuous) learning for women in agriculture.
*Need for more employment and entrepreneurship models for women in agriculture.
*Adequate healthcare for women, including those living with HIV/AIDS.
*Need to review the Land Use Act which puts women at a disadvantage.
*Lack of easy access to farm inputs.
*Budgets of States and Federal Government that are not passed on schedule constitute a major challenge, since farming is time specific.
*Agriculture is a vital part of the Sustainable Development goals and since a large number of women are engaged in the sector, they need support.

Aisha Babangida, daughter of former first lady, Maryam Babangida, exponent of the Better Life for Rural Women (BLRW) programme, alluded to the fact that when her mother was first lady she ensured there were at least 280,000? cottage industries in the country. She then asked the rhetorical question: 'What happened to all these cottage industries?'

Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, an activist for the emancipation of women, said 'everyday should be IWD, not just March 8'. Mrs. Dayo Benjamins-Laniyi, delectable 'voicepreneur', talked about the bonding of women across rural and urban areas.

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on SDGs, Mrs. Adefulire, gave a ray of hope as regards the availability of affordable tractors for women. She said a foreign firm had been contacted which could manufacture these tractors in Nigeria. Economies of scale could reduce the price of such tractors.

The following gave inspiring speeches at the event:

*Ms. Comfort Lamptey - UNWomen Country Representaive
*Representative of Ministry of Women Affairs & Social Development - Senator Aisha Alhassan
*SA to the President on SDGs - Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire
*UN Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria - Edward Kallon
*UNFPA Resident Representative - Dr. Diene Keita

Waje, celebrity artiste, sang many emotional songs eulogising the entrepreneurial spirit of the African woman at the well-attended post Policy Dialogue cocktail and photo exhibition by the Association of Female Artists in Nigeria. The take home is that women in urban and rural areas contribute immensely to the Nigerian economy even beyond agriculture. Women need all the support they can get...    

Saturday 3 March 2018


On Monday, February 19, 2018, suspected Boko Haram (BH) insurgents invaded Government Girls' Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, Nigeria, abducting 110 of the 906 student population. It was yet another tragic day for a nation that is yet to recover from a similar incident that took place on April 14, 2014 in Chibok, Borno State. See for example -

Sadly, both incidents happened in similar circumstances. Lax security made these wholesale abductions possible. Did we learn any lesson at all from the abduction of the Chibok girls? How did the Dapchi kidnap happen? The Federal Government (FG) has since set up a 12-man committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the abduction. 

Meanwhile, Nigerians hope that the girls would be united with their families soon...

Related Links

*Dapchi: How insurgents abducted our school girls>News
*Al Barnawi faction kidnapped Dapchi girls - Barrister Aisha Alkali Wakil
*BH: What Nigerian government should do - UN Secretary General
*Chibok girls angry, upset at BH's abduction of Dapchi girls
*The full story of Chibok girls from 276 to 197
*Chibok & Dapchi: The intriguing metaphor of a roving Chi
*Focusing on schoolgirl abductions distorts the view of life in Nigeria - Chitra Nagarajan
*How 14-year old girl helped Chibok girl escape BH
*Untold story of Chibok girls' kidnap
*FG paid 3m Euros for release of Chibok girls
*One month after abduction, BH brings home more than 100 Dapchi girls
*'Has the food aid for BH victims not delivered' - BBC news
*BH: New strategy of suicide bombers
*UN Security Council Report on BH affected areas in Lake Chad region
*BH fighters found posing as refugees in Nigeria
*Map covering BH activity across the L. Chad region
*In Nigeria, militants use dozens of children as human bombs
*How Jonathan's government fought BH with Ukrain mercenaries who posed as instructors
*Electronic Jihad in Nigeria: How BH is using social media
*BH releases videos of some of the remaining Chibok girls who vowed not to go back home
*BH most lethal terror group in the world - US General
*Nigeria: BH now collecting taxes from Nigerians in Borno, Yobe
*Hundreds of Nigerian troops missing after BH overruns base
*The ISWA Province vs Abu Bakr Shekau: Full Text, Translation & Analysis
*Nigeria's battle with BH
*Factional BH leader. Mamman Nur, killed by own fighters
*Report blames BH insurgency, north-east conflicts on poor governance
*Research on Islam & Militants in Africa: Collected Papers 2013-2018 (RIMA)
*Only 6 Chibok girls sighted in Sambisa Forest - Parents
*Beyond tweets and screams: Action for empowerment & accountability in Nigeria - The case of the #BBOG Movement