Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nigeria Should Develop Forensic Hospital and Confinement Institutions for Corruption Suspects and Convicts

Nigeria Should Develop Forensic Hospital and Confinement Institutions for Corruption Suspects and Convicts who could be described as Corruptomanics

The yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and minute by minute changing reports on corruption are overwhelming.

The perpetrators’ minds and bodies that energize corruption crimes are certainly overbearing for an emerging society like Nigeria.

The amount of public money misappropriated by many of these individuals for their own personal use is always so huge that in their respective lifetime they will not be able to use it up.

So could their misconducts be solely corruptly and mentally driven, if so what could be done to reduce their dangerousness to society.

For the first time in modern Nigerian history has a President, as in the case of President Goodluck Jonathan, publicly admitted that corruption is presently retarding the nation’s “growth” and “development”.

While the Chief Prosecutor of the nation, Mrs. Farida Waziri has also publicly admitted that acts of corruption are scaring off foreign investment from the nation. As part of the Wazirian theory on corruption reduction, she has recently called for the legal endorsement of death penalty for convicted corruption offenders.

In the same vein, the Oshodi theory on this national predicament as previously written by this author in various news outlets, is for the legislature to pass very harsh anti-corruption laws with the Sharia type punishment meted on corruption convicts.

Now the nation is clearly under national and international threat as a result of endless number of cases of corruption spanning from those currently on prolonged bail, long-drawn-out trials, on mounting appeals as well as those on runaway status or in local prisons.

Therefore, it is time to start managing these persons in a whole different way. Nothing seems to be working on their minds!

Also, is it time for a corruption offender registry? The answer is a resounding yes, and it must be a public registry.

Is it time for a Forensic Hospital and Confinement Center for Corruption Offenders (FHCCCO), of course yes, and it could become operational as soon as possible in form of private therapeutic wards or as correctional treatment ventures.

As the above institutional name indicates it could be a two-tie system, with the first for those with active cases in court but need a form of treatment and confinement as they remain dangerous to witnesses and informants.

The second phase of hospitalization and confinement is strictly for the already convicted corruption offenders in need of rehabilitative and punitive environment.

He or she should have been diagnostically assumed to suffer from what could be called “Corruptomania”, an apparent impulsive and anti-social personality like syndrome that calls for ongoing study for the sake of objectivity and proper classification.

For the purpose of definition, a battery of psychological testing should be conducted on the individual to determine if he or she meets the criteria of being classified with one or more mental diseases in the areas of impulsive and social personality related ailments.

That is, psychological disturbances in the likes of the anti-moral personality, authoritarian personality, impulse control disorder and other related mental diseases with a clear and revealing picture of a criminal corruption offender.

Possible diagnosis like “Corruptomania” could be reached on the individual and the offender could be characterized as a “Corruptomanic”; however these are presumptive classifications by this author.

The battery of test must be carried out by qualified doctoral level Psychologists given their lengthy training and extensive practicum and experience in intellectual, projective, affective, personality and neuro-psychological evaluations.

Clinicians with training mainly in Psychiatry, a specialty that is related to the application of medicine to mental illness should be fully involved with the committed or confined offender only for the purpose of psychotropic medication assessment and maintenance.

For the sake of efficiency, it is emphasized that private ventures should be authorized to open and manage the forensic Mental Health Hospital-Confinement structures.

But mean while existing university teaching hospitals with some of them almost sitting empty or lacking adequate clients and clinical students should be used by the supervising private companies on contractual bases.

The atmosphere must be that of maximum security environment. This will reduce the chance of these corruptomanics threatening informants, witnesses or prejudicing their case by flying to overseas.

The goal of their being hospitalized is : 1.To keep the public safe as many or some of these offenders are known to put fear and danger in those who try to bear witness against them; 2. To stop their continued impulsive spending with all of the monies, in billions of naira or millions of dollars that they reportedly pilfered; 3. Under involuntary hospitalization, they are more likely to become out-of-pocket, and prone to freely engage in confessional and penitent-related behaviors; 4. For the convicted corruptomanic ,instead of becoming a bearer of State Execution, long-term detention would help provide the development of guilt, responsibility and controllability.

The Forensic Hospital and Confinement Center for Corruption Offenders must be expanded into a full blown phase for convicted corruptmanics where they will face both punitive consequences and therapeutic applications, all pointing to moralistic restoration.

The benefit of the this proposed system of dealing with corruption suspects or convicted corruption offenders is the allowance of not putting them in regular jails or prisons where they could face fatal and deadly acts from the general inmate population because of their crimes against the public treasury.

They need to be placed in special environments like the FHCCCO because they are corruption crime offenders and nothing else. As we all know they are highly malevolence in their advances to the public order.

While in the first or second phase of placement their seductiveness to shady or crooked money must be therapeutically addressed, so as to assist them develop an understanding of the societal, financial, and other destructive harms they have caused to the general population.

The most essential goal of corruption offender restoration is that he or she refrains from committing corruption offences in the future. This goal is more important than feelings of recovered self esteem and well-being when they return back to the society.

To reduce their temptations and recidivism rate or future reconviction, long term probation is recommended as well as the need to deny them entry into any job that calls for financial contact.

The treatment and penal direction of this proposed system of justice could help reduce the dreadful nature and consequences of corruptomanics and help them develop humane behaviors and caring ways to their nation.

~ By John Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D , DABPS, FACFE, is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beyond Setting Up The Ambrose Alli University’s Sex Probe, Institute A Crisis Drop-In-Center Now

Every faculty, student and family share a common priority in an educational center like the Ambrose Alli University, and that priority is leaning.

The Ambrose Alli University will not be the first institution of higher learning in the world to be faced with incidents of corrupt sexual behaviors between unprincipled students and dodgy lecturers or professors.

What is likely to be the first across the globe, is that on July 23rd, 2010, there was dramatic moments of a student, one Judith Okosun, in a chaotic encounter in the latter’s tiny room.

The videotape was flashed everywhere by the Sahara reporters, an internet newspaper.

There is a human side to this tragedy, which is the possible shocking response that could occur in persons directly and indirectly involved in this all time and highly published live video.

At the time of his writing, one wonders what the said lecturer and student, their respective families, the administrators, faculty and the student body of the university could be going through emotionally and morally.

There is a feeling of dishonor, indecency and shame that could be robbing on those affected by this hurting incident.

In what manner could the lecturer be thinking at this time even if he is being viewed as dishonorable, what could be streaming through the mind of the student even if she is being described as vicious?

At on point in the video, in what seems to be expressions in the Ishan vernacular, an Edo State dialect of this writer, a female voice, possibly that of a female on-looker or Ms. Okosun could be heard admonishing the highly distressed and near-naked engineering university lecturer; “Oya gbe’, tell me yes mar, Oya gbe (meaning shame on you, tell me yes madam). At which time the visiting but physically shaking, distraught and fenced in lecturer, replied through a nervous laughter, “Yes Ma”.

In the moment to moment recording were traumatic mentions of his wife, and daughter by the streaming and noisy voices of on- looking students. The identified student, Ms. Okosun, could be noticed periodically showing fluctuating display of facial pain and anger, in between phone calls.

At the point of this ugliness, what about their families out there in their respective homes, what could they be thinking is this a real or a fake episode?

For the lecturer’s wife, adult children and other family members, this apparent devastating event could form into an emotional storm and an overbearing event.

There could be feelings of traumatic horror equally manifesting in the affected student’s family. Even the co-female residents of Ms. Okosun, as well as the male students operating the video could be heard periodically mounting off screams of frustration and fury.

And there is no doubt that the families of the video operators could be feeling a sense of traumatic worry over the whole explosion.

How does any one make the families and the faculty, the males faculty mostly, understand the institutional tragedies flowing from this experience.

In the live footage, is a middle aged husband, father and lecturer with a full and open display of his penis per the order of both the female and male students.

So clear, from the entire image is a display of alarm, shame and helplessness beaming across the nation, and globe into various homes, offices, markets, dormitories and other settings.

Under these situations, the need for clear and cool heads through some form of clinical help becomes paramount.

The Nigerian culture historically has little attraction to helpful outlet like professional counseling and therapy, and instead many Nigerians rely much more on religious, tribal and family support or remain indifferent to painful related experiences. Certainly these outlets are part of the African reality.

However, the current institutional traumatic grief stands out markedly, as it is first of its kind, therefore calls for a much more different understanding, assessment and emotional support.

The Psychology department of the University with the help of the two or three Clinical Psychology faculty should set up a Crisis Drop- in- Center in safe like settings. It should be open to any one related or involved with the university.

In matters like this one there are natural responses of all types which could include guilt, exhaustion, apprehension, bewilderment or catastrophe.

The overall set up for help should revolve around Institutional Tragedy Assistance. The lecturer in question should be encouraged to receive urgent individual counseling to deal with possible feelings of acute stress, hopelessness, insecurity, gloom and loss.

On a separate basis his wife and children could be scheduled for a critical or an immediate family therapy, and in future another line of therapy with possible inclusion of the dishonored father and husband should be offered.

The student in question, given her reported past frustrations and dealings with this lecturer, and her current feelings of mixed, disgusted emotions and all of her overwhelmed undertakings ,she could gain from a cooling out related crisis intervention.

Her own family could also gain from some sort of supportive counseling. The faculty, administrators and other university staff should be encouraged to come in for counseling focusing on ‘this could have being me’ session.

Also, other students like Ms. Okosun’s co-residents, the students’ video makers and other on-lookers to the graphic scene, could gain from a safe environment like the drop in center to vent their anger and worry over their aberrant acts, the videoing of the episode especially.

And for those whose assessment and intervention showed to be in need of further help, a psychiatrist could become involved for medication evaluation and possible psychotropic medication maintenance.

There is the need for the Vice-Chancellor Sam Uniamikogbo and his administration to realize that crisis intervention is of high importance as it could help the affected players and individuals, the lecturer and the student especially. Immediate therapeutic assistance could help them learn better coping skills, develop good problem solving behaviors, and avoid negative ways of coping such as engaging in self destructive acts like self injury, drug or substance abuse as well as help return the individual to their previous level of functioning.

The commission of inquiry and the probing panel of this incident by the State of Edo under the administration of Governor Adam Oshiomhole, and through an investigational team at the university are certainly required.

However along side the investigation should be the urgent set up of short term assistance like the recommended Crisis Drop- in- Center.

This whole matter appeared to have come upon the university silently and swiftly, and let’s hope that this extraordinary problem goes out in the same way.

~ By John Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FACFE is a practicing Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida.

Honorable Fatima Raji-Rasaki the matter with Police is the lack of Psychological Connection and Clearance

Honorable Fatima Raji-Rasaki the matter with Police is the lack of Psychological Connection and Clearance

Madam, public service is all about attitude. Even when an individual is imbued with the best conditions of education, remuneration and lifestyle, if the individual’s mindset and outlook to his or her work and the community they serve, is representative of negativity and indifference, then the nation is in trouble. This is what you are dealing with in regards to the current brand of police workers and officers in your midst.

This is why a candidate for any national and state security-related job should to go through an extensive battery of intellectual, personality, visual-motor and ethical testing. Thereafter, routine and periodic psychological assessment should follow on serving officers in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) beginning with the lowest rank of constable to those at the commanding levels.

Also there are those who need to benefit from random testing and retraining depending on the test outcomes. Madam, take for example, the recent announcement of mass transfer of police personnel from the South-East to other geographical zones, following the kidnap debacle.

Of course, you can transfer the individual’s body but the same mindset remains active just like it has been, and with time that mindset is equally acted upon in any new environment. Such has been the case of the Nigerian security forces including the Police, Prisons, State Security Service, and others.

Madam, there is a reason why police psychological service within the police administration is important. For decades there is no independent or fully staffed doctoral level psychological testing and readiness unit in the Nigerian police force. None!

Madam and you wonder why, just last month in Abuja, why a police officer started shooting at a bus conductor after been asked for his 30 naira bus fare. Madam, that victim could have been my or your family member!

The formation, structure and functioning of attitude require special identification through the guidance of a licensed or certified Clinical and personality psychologist. Certainly, Police personality and competency testing must not be carried out by psychiatrists as they are by law and norm mainly involved in the medical model of verbally questioning, and mentally observing a client as well assessing their need for medication.

This understanding is important as the colonial mentality of sending troubled persons to psychiatrists mostly still persist in Nigeria. As a result there is little awareness of psychology in the institutional framework of the society. And by the way, these problems include the law making bodies like yours, where mental health course of actions are hardly raised or opined upon.

While there are some like you that see attitude change as indispensable in police work, the system remains closed minded to the methodological, clinical and ethical improvement that comes from the psychological measurement of a candidate preparing for a ‘life and death’ job.

Madam, we are talking about persons with the power of guns, sticks and badges, which could be misused by any ill-cultured persons attracted to security agencies like the Police Force, EFCC, SSS and others.

Madam not until you and your colleagues mandates Psychological systems in the Police force as expected in the 21st century, you are wasting your free time and space.

There are a few persons that see the clear need for psychology and have come to the realization for psychological clearance, and that person is Chairman Parry Osayande of the Police Service Commission. But the apparent loosely tight communication and relationship between the essential sub systems like the Ministry of Police Affairs and the NPF remain remains a strain on the entire system.

There are high level psychological experts (not the recent recruitment of persons with first degree in psychology, and calling them psychologist!) who are willing to exhibit patriotic, volunteer, and altruistic-related assistance. But they are ignored. Why, that is the way it is, in a system where strict rules of coordination, of ethics and shared understanding remain absent or lacking.

Madam, the work of policing certainly is demanding and risky, therefore one want officers who have the attitudinal power to relate with the people of the community. Since an attitude of good neighborliness makes fighting crime much easier. Madam, a monthly salary of at least 35,000 naira for a psychologically prepared constable would enhance the mindset of professionalism.

Madam, a systemic talk with the Chairman Parry Osayande will inform you that prior to an applicant being accepted into a police academy either as rank and file officer or as a cadet for inspector or superintendent position just taking an aptitude test, a physical exam, meeting the federal character or meeting entry qualifications like secondary school or others are not enough.

To be accepted into a junior or senior academy a battery of evaluations conducted by a doctoral and certified clinical psychologist is paramount. The number of test administered should cover personality, drug, lie-related test and other psychological related measurements deemed essential by the psychological examiner.

A detailed historical, personal, family and work background check is important. As a criminal background check is part of the pre-employment requirement, Madam you and others at the National Assembly, should provide the resources for the technology necessary for workable fingerprinting, and for data collection and banking of a citizen’s social history.

Madam, there is opportunity to advance the society towards peace and sanity, but it must start from your official end, and a cooperative relationship between the appropriate agencies will transform into the making of an officer with good attitude to security related services.

~ By John Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FABFE, is a practicing Forensic/Clinical Psychologist, and the Interim Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, Broward College, North Campus, Coconut Creek, Florida,

President Jonathan, I G Onovo and the Kidnapping Matter

President Jonathan, I G Onovo and the Kidnapping Matter

The ordinary Nigerian on a daily basis, earns less than 100 U.S cents, equivalent to 60 British pence, or roughly ₦140, which is less than a dollar.

A few weeks ago, at the University of Port Harcourt, something terrible happened to two students. For not being able to complete the remaining ₦100 on a cell phone debt, a student was beaten to death along with his friend by another group of students.

These are the realities in Nigeria at a time the nation is struggling to return to Nigeria the former MD/CEO of the Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, an alleged escapee now in London.

While the ordinary Nigerian struggles to earn ₦10,000 monthly, Akingbola is reportedly allowed ₦1.4million naira for his monthly expenses while relaxing in his London residence. Assets of £83 million or $126 million belonging to Akingbola were recently confiscated by a London Court. A contrast between two extremes!

As these harsh differences between the very poor and the exceedingly rich continue, the nation now seethes with the new phenomenon of kidnapping.

The latest was a seven-day national ordeal which involved the abduction of four journalists who reported had an unusually large amount of cash in their possession. This terrifying development had an emotional toll to an already nervous nation.

I.G Onovo’s Psychological Warfare

The episode held the entire country spellbound, including the psychological warfare waged by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo.

The journalists owe their release to this man! In spite of the fragile state of the Nigerian Police Force, representative of a chronically distressed society, Onovo’s tactics and leadership worked against the captors of the now-released journalists.

It mattered little if the any of the nation’s security management had a useable tracking device, or if any technical assistance was sort from an international or outside security agency was forthcoming.

The President’s recent statement that it will soon procure contemporary security technology to help control criminal activities like kidnapping is a good thing.

The President also recently pledged to put the military to use against those who abduct individuals such as foreign oil workers and contractors, which is how kidnapping began. The President’s recent show broadside aimed at kidnapping, whose new targets now include wealthy and middle-class Nigerians is welcomed.

As you may be aware of, we now know why what could be called the Onovo’s Rescue Manual with all of its outmoded tactics as in house-to-house; bush-to-bush search was the best alternative to fight the current wave of abduction.

According to Onovo, the police currently lacks the “necessary equipment,” and it is no wonder that a report from the four journalists revealed that the captors had more “sophisticated” weapons and devices than a law enforcement body like the Police.

Types of Kidnapping

Truth be told, the Nigerian style of kidnapping is a felony that appears to be very distinct in its nature, features and operations.

The Nigerian style abduction, at least, at this time is mostly in the image of what could viewed as:

* Arranged kidnapping with systematic and sequential approaches;
* Unorganized Kidnapping with marks of irregularity as in the spur-of-the-moment or sudden kidnapping of any one;

* Media-driven kidnapping as in a highly hyped and published name of a person with sudden wealth, focused on by criminals;
* Ludicrous kidnapping with ridiculous and bizarre characteristics as in a father abducting a son to get reward from a rich relative;
* Sensational kidnapping with marks of high-level acts like abducting an infant child; Message-driven kidnapping with purported information and concerns about the painful conditions in a society;
* Chance kidnapping with marks of opportunity and probability that the targeted victim is the right target;
* Sadistic kidnapping with marks of severe brutality and possible extermination of the captive,
* Compensatory kidnapping with marks of pure business like dealings;
* Humiliating kidnapping slanted on dishonoring and shaming a powerful, politically or socially placed individual;
* Ritual kidnapping with marks of illicit customary characteristics; and
* Conspiratory kidnapping as in a collaborative arrangement between disgruntled officials and bandits.

The common thread that passes through each style of kidnapping is the moment-to-moment emotion of not being a moneyed person, and the penchant for sudden riches, in the manner of those who became wealthy suddenly through corrupt or fraudulent practices.

Feelings of Inequality

People in general, perceive the nation as an oil-based economy where money should go around especially among the laboring working-class Nigerians.

As such, there appears to be this psychological pressure for some Nigerians to become soft invitees to crime, leaving them open to a quick entry into the illegal world of abduction. It appears that some hungry students from higher institutions, a few university students and some poverty-bound police officers with free and dangerous weapons now operate in the abduction trafficking.

These vulnerable Nigerians read the News papers and see articles about alleged billions of naira stolen by their fellow Nigerians.

Just imagine what goes through the mind of a university dropout due to financial problems, what emotions are felt by an unemployed graduate or a police officer with a monthly belated salary ranging from ₦8,000 to ₦21,000, when news of politicians like Senator Saminu Turaki reportedly amassed extra-ordinary wealth.

Turaki, the ex-Governor of Jigawa State allegedly looted ₦6 billion of State money in one day. In one day!

Perhaps the President feels for those enormously rich Nigerians who have to result into extreme precautions like the use of expensive German shepherds and armored cars in an attempt to protect themselves, their cash, wives, and children.

Young men and women by their very nature have so much energy or oomph, and pray for a state of liveliness. But when, some of them cannot pay for a basic living, or even purchase adequate food, shoes or clothing their vulnerable spirit might drive them to criminality.

And the President was right, some of these rebellious young men and women make these heavily guarded Nigerians their possible targets.

In a complicated society like Nigeria where people have a little trust in the Police, and where police informants are reportedly frequently killed, it is easier for captives to identify quickly with their captors emotionally.

In the same vein, captives secretly pay for their freedom at all costs and as a result of fear, protect the captors’ identity, especially when many kidnappers appears better armed than the nation’s Police.

As long as Nigeria remains a giant risk internally and among nations the threat of cyclical crimes such as extortion or abduction leaves the nation in a security-based dilemma leaving people feeling vulnerable.

Needed Reforms

Pesidential executive orders are needed to address the perilous state of security in the nation.

All private GSM Telecommunication device operators should install circuitry to quickly point out and locate the origin, and place of an incoming call, thereby making any telephone-oriented crime easy to detect.

Instead of trying to start a new senior police college, it should be delayed for now and the money invested in security measures for routine police work. This could begin with setting ₦40,000 naira as the basic salary for an entry level police constable with secondary school certificate.

Bullet proof vests for the Police become vital as the streets, banks, rural and urban areas are becoming more and more dangerous for the patrol officer.

The government should work effectively towards more electrical power to reduce darkness that kidnappers and other criminals thrive in. With expanded electricity generation, what better way to reduce unemployment?

Authorities should also work towards communications’ enhancement for the police to increase the detection rate for kidnapping to those of Western countries.

Nigerian should establish State policing in the nation, since local authorities tend to work better in coordinating local-driven occurrences that include crimes of kidnapping.

The security crisis requires the authorities to provide a steady step and bold moves in a national battle against the new type of criminal.

~ By John Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the Interim Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida.

Friday, July 23, 2010

World Water Activists Urge the UN General Assembly to Vote for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

23 Jul 2010 09:00 Africa/Lagos

World Water Activists Urge the UN General Assembly to Vote for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

NEW YORK, July 23, 2010/PRNewswire/ --

WHAT: Tele-press Conference

WHEN: Monday, July 26th at 08:00 -4GMT (New York, EST)

HOW: Contact Denise Hughes:, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview. Conference-Call-In- Number: +1-613-234-9374 Code - 973949 followed by the number sign.

WHO: Maude Barlow is the founder of the Blue Planet Project, Chair of the Board of Food & Water Watch, and Chair of The Council of Canadians. She was the Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Her book, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, argues that the water crisis - together with climate change - poses one of the gravest threats to humanity.

Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental leader. Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology, she is the author of Water Wars: Pollution, Profit. In Water Wars, she analyzes the historical erosion of communal water rights and exposes the destruction of the earth and the disenfranchisement of the world's poor. She also reveals how many of the most significant conflicts of our time are fought over water.

Pablo Solón Romero is Ambassador of Bolivia to the United Nations. Previously, he was Bolivia's Ambassador for issues concerning Integration and Trade. He was the Secretary of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) during Bolivia's Presidency of that institution and served as President Evo Morales's delegate in the Strategic Reflection Committee for South American Integration (2006). Ambassador Solón has been a social activist and worked for several years on human rights issues.


On July 28, for the first time the UN General Assembly will debate and vote on an historic resolution supporting the right to "safe, clean, drinking water and sanitation" that was presented on June 17 by Pablo Solón, the Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, and co-sponsored by at least 30 countries. This resolution would redress the omission of water as a human right from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.S., UK and Canada are standing against the resolution and influencing others to their position, threatening to divide the world body along North-South lines. Expressing concern, Maude Barlow says, "The U.S., Canada, and some European countries are throwing in every wrench they can to stop this process, even as their own citizens enjoy these rights, they shamelessly deny these rights to others. They're using procedural excuses to block an issue of life and death and showing no respect or compassion for those suffering terribly from lack of water and sanitation."

Why a UN resolution?

Water is essential to life. Everyday 4,000 children die from water-related illness. The United Nations estimates that nearly 1.2 billion people live without clean water and 2.6 billion without proper sanitation.

Passing this resolution is the first step the international community can take towards water sustainability. It will focus attention on the fundamental importance of water and sanitation. The resolution will also lay the legal groundwork for a fair system of distribution, and begin a larger process to clarify the state's role to ensure clean, affordable water to all. Future legal instruments could also protect water rights for the earth and address the urgent need to reclaim polluted waters and end destructive practices of the world's water sources.

Water must be paramount in realizing the Millennium Development Goals, and at the Climate Change Convention and Rio +20. In the International Herald Tribune, Mikhail Gorbachev said, "Expanding access to water and sanitation will open many other development bottlenecks...As population growth and climate change increase the pressure for adequate water and food, water will increasingly become a security issue."

Without water's recognition as a human right, decision-making over policy will continue to shift from the UN and governments toward institutions that favor private water companies and the commodification of water. In the face of a worsening global water crisis, UN member states must affirm whether water is a human right, or a commodity.

"Life requires access to clean water; to deny the right to water is to deny the right to life," says Maude Barlow, "We must seize this moment to enact solid legislation and action at national and international levels - starting with the U.N. vote on Wednesday."

For further information: Denise Hughes,, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview

Source: Blue Planet Project

For further information: Denise Hughes,, +1-917-549-2621, to R.S.V.P. or arrange an interview

Thursday, July 22, 2010

South Africa Purchases Raytheon Paveway(TM) Laser-Guided Bombs

22 Jul 2010 11:00 Africa/Lagos

South Africa Purchases Raytheon Paveway(TM) Laser-Guided Bombs

First sale of significant U.S. defense equipment to South Africa in 25 years

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 22, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The South African Department of Defence awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) a contract for Paveway II laser-guided bombs.

Raytheon will provide the South African military with LGB computer control groups and air foil groups that transform "dumb" bombs into precision-guided munitions for operational test and evaluation on South Africa's Gripen fighter aircraft.

ARMSCOR awarded a contract on behalf of the South African Air Force for the procurement of LGB bomb kits. ARMSCOR, the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, is the officially appointed acquisition organization for the South African DoD.

The direct commercial sale was negotiated with the assistance of South Africa's ATLANTIS Corporation and calls for Raytheon to begin delivery in 2011. In addition to the weapons, Raytheon will provide air- and ground-crew training.

"The combat-proven Paveway family of weapons is integrated on more than 22 aircraft and serves 41 nations around the globe, making this weapon the ideal choice for the South African warfighter," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon's Air Warfare Systems product line. "Raytheon is the sole provider of the Paveway family of weapons and is committed to providing the warfighter with a reliable direct-attack weapon at a cost-effective price."

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75,000 people worldwide.

U.K. U.S.A
J. Nicole Stewart Mike Nachshen
+1.520. 437.1975 520.269.5697

Source: Raytheon Company

CONTACT: U.S.A, Mike Nachshen, +1-520-269-5697; or U.K., J. Nicole
Stewart, +1-520-437-1975

Web Site:

Company News On-Call: .html

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A Letter from President Barack Obama

A Letter from President Barack Obama:

When you and I set out on this journey three years ago, we knew that ours would be a lengthy struggle to build a new foundation for this country -- one that would require squaring off against the special interests who had spent decades stacking the deck in their favor.

Today, it is clear that you have shifted the odds.

This morning, I signed into law a bill that represents the most sweeping reforms of Wall Street since the Great Depression, and the toughest consumer financial protections this nation has ever seen. I know that I am able to do so only because the tens of thousands of volunteers who make up the backbone of this movement overcame the most potent attack ads and the most powerful lobbying the special interests could put forward.

Our special-interest opponents and their Republican allies have now set their sights on the elections in November as their best chance to overturn the historic progress we've made together.

Organizing for America counts entirely on supporters like you to fight back -- no special interests, no corporate PACs. To keep making change and to defend the change we have already won, we need you -- and at least 8 other people in Keller -- to contribute so we have the resources necessary going into the election.

Please donate $5 today and help Organizing for America lay the groundwork for the fights ahead.

Because of Wall Street reform, we will ensure that Americans applying for a credit card, a mortgage, or a student loan will never again be asked to sign their name under pages of confusing fine print. We will crack down on abusive lending practices and make sure that lenders don't cheat the system -- and create a new watchdog to enforce these consumer protections.

And we will put an end to taxpayer-funded bailouts, giving us the ability to wind down any large financial institution if it should ever fail.

The passage of Wall Street reform is at the forefront of the change we seek, and it will provide a foundation for a stronger and safer economy.

It is a foundation built upon the progress of the Recovery Act, which has turned 22 months of job losses into six consecutive months of private-sector job growth. And it is a foundation reinforced by the historic health reform we passed this spring, which is already giving new benefits to more than 100 million Americans, ushering another 1 million Americans into coverage by next year.

But today's victory is not where our fight ends.

Organizing for America and I will move forward in the months ahead on the tough fights we have yet to finish -- even if cynics say we should wait until after the fall elections. This movement has never catered to the conventional wisdom of Washington. And we have fought to ensure that our progress is never held hostage by our politics.

You and I did not build this movement to win one election. We did not come together to pass one single piece of legislation. We are fighting for nothing less than a new foundation for our country -- and that work is not complete. As we face the challenges ahead, I am relying on you to stand with me.

Please donate $5 or more today:

Thank you for helping us get here,

President Barack Obama

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To Prof. Wole Soyinka @ 76

Our lionized sage Prof. Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Prize winner in Literature is celebrating his 76th birthday (he was born on July 13, 1934) and he is going to launch a new political party called Democratic Front for Peoples Federation in September.

We recommend Okey Ndibe’s An Apology to Wole Soyinka published in his OFFSIDE MUSINGS column in the Daily Sun newspaper of Tuesday July 20, 2010. Ndibe recalled the daring revolutionary zeal of the lion-hearted Soyinka during the Nigerian civil war and his opposition to military tyranny and corruption in Nigeria.
Nigerians Report is wishing Wole Soyinka many happy returns of the day with more blessings from above with all our love.

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Nigeria Draws Regional Migrants but Loses High Skilled Labour, Migration Profile Finds

20 Jul 2010 14:39 Africa/Lagos

Country Draws Regional Migrants but Loses High Skilled Labour, Migration Profile Finds

ABUJA, July 20, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A migration profile of Nigeria released today by IOM finds that the country remains attractive to migrants from the sub-region although increasing numbers of skilled Nigerians emigrate in search of employment abroad.

According to the National Population Commission, the number of immigrants residing in Nigeria has more than doubled in recent decades - from 477,135 in 1991 to 971,450 in 2005. The Profile shows that the majority of immigrants in Nigeria (74%) are from neighbouring Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and that this number has increased considerably over the last decade, from 63 per cent in 2001 to 97 per cent in 2005.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, the Nigerian economy grew between 5.5 and 6.4 per cent each year from 2004 to 2007, with the oil sector the primary engine of growth and a magnet for high-skilled migrant workers. However, recent economic growth has also been linked to the informal labour sector, which traditionally attracts low-skilled national as well as international migrant labour.

Although the overall situation in Nigeria has somewhat improved in recent years, the country still has some way to go towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The country has the world's third highest number of people infected by HIV/Aids, after India and South Africa and scores low in the United Nations Development Programme's human development index ranking (125 out of 151).

In spite of Nigeria's importance as a destination for migrants in the region, the report however shows that more people are emigrating from, than immigrating to, Nigeria with the negative net migration rate (per 1,000 people) steadily increasing in recent years, from -0.2 in 2000 to -0.3 in 2005, and this trend is expected to continue. According to recent estimates, the net migration rate could reach -0.4 in 2010.

Estimates made by the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty (DRC), based on the 2000 Census Round, indicate that 1,041,284 Nigerian nationals live abroad, mostly in Sudan (24%), followed by the United States (14%) and the United Kingdom (9%). Many Nigerian emigrants also settle in neighbouring Cameroon (8%) and in Ghana (5%).

Although it is difficult to obtain empirical data on migrant skills, there appears to be a strong link between high skill level and migration. According to the latest estimates in 2000, 10.7 per cent of the highly skilled population who were trained in Nigeria worked abroad, mostly in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

According to the report, an average of 64 per cent of the Nigerian emigrant population have tertiary education; 14 per cent of all physicians trained in Nigeria work abroad, with 90 per cent of these working in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Regarding the flow of remittances to Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) notes a dramatic increase from USD 2.3 billion in 2004 to 17.9 billion in 2007, representing 6.7 per cent of GDP.

The United States accounts for the largest portion of official remittances, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain and France. On the African continent, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and South Africa are important source countries of remittance flows to Nigeria, while China is the biggest remittance-sending country in Asia.

The report also notes a marked increase in the number of Nigerians emigrating for educational purposes. From 2000 to 2006, the number of Nigerian students abroad more than doubled from 10,000 to 22,000, the majority of these (some 6,000) studying at universities in the United States.

Consequently, the overall number of tertiary educated persons has been declining, from 90,579 in 2002/2003 to 39,509 in 2005/2006.

One result of this is the lack of human capital to meet the demand for highly skilled workers in the labour market. The Ministry of Health reported that nearly 8 per cent of its 39,210 doctors and 2,773 dentists are foreign nationals.

Despite declining official unemployment rates (from 12% in 2005 to 9.9% in 2008), the overall labour supply continues to outstrip demand and this is likely to continue in the near future as Nigeria is one of the ten most populous countries in the world and has one of the fastest population growth rates (2.38% in 2008).

Based on this growth rate, the Nigerian population will double its currently estimated size of 146 million people, and unless the market is able to absorb the resulting surplus labour, unemployment is likely to increase and lead to still greater emigration.

A review of the data available for the Migration Profile of Nigeria reveals several challenges including: the need for a national migration data management strategy tracking both internal and external migration; inadequate funding for training and staffing of personnel to record and monitor migration trends and provide migration controls at exit and entry points; the absence of a centralized system and official body mandated to coordinate migration issues amongst government ministries.

Having said this, Nigeria is one of the few countries in West Africa to have developed a draft national policy on migration which is pending ratification by the National Assembly. The draft migration policy, amongst other objectives, seeks to establish a central migration authority within the government, and addresses the absence of Migration as a theme in Nigeria's main development plans, such as the National Economic Employment Development Strategy (NEEDS) and the state and local government counterparts (SEEDS and LEEDS).

In addition to supporting full implementation of the pending legislation, the report recommends: clearly establishing the role of the National Commission for Refugees, which will be responsible for coordinating migration management activities; focussing on internal as well as external migration issues given that this is a precursor for international migration, occurs on a relatively greater scale and is vital for understanding the level of development of the country; and government emphasis on the strategic importance of migration in development by giving its full support to formalizing and implementing the national policy on migration.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tiger is Still America's Favorite Sports Star, but Shares Title with Kobe Bryant

Tiger is Still America's Favorite Sports Star, but Shares Title with Kobe Bryant

Serena and Venus Williams retain their titles of America's Favorite Female Sports Star

New York, N.Y. — July 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Despite his public image taking major hits this year, there is one bright spot for Tiger Woods. While he is no longer alone on top of the list, he is at least tied for first place as America’s Favorite Sports Star. Since 2006, this was a title he held solo, but this year, besides another NBA championship, Kobe Bryant can also share in being called America’s Favorite Sports Star, a jump up from the 4th position he was in last year.

Rounding out the top five are New York Yankee Derek Jeter at number 3, up from 5th place; Minnesota Viking Brett Favre at number 4, a leap from his 9th place position last year; and this season’s losing Super Bowl quarterback, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts at number 5, up from 7th place last year.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at the rest of the top ten, LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami and dropped three spots to number 6 on this year’s list while another NBA superstar—but one who no longer plays—Michael Jordan, drops from the 2nd spot on the list to number 7 this year. New England Patriots’ quarterback, Tom Brady, returns to the list after a one year absence at number 8 and the winning quarterback from this year’s Super Bowl, Drew Brees, debuts at number 9. Finally, a NASCAR superstar, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is at number 10, down from number 8 last year.

Two stars dropped off the top ten this year: another NASCAR legend, Jeff Gordon dropped from number 6 and baseball great, Albert Pujols dropped from number 10 last year.

Different groups have their different favorites. For men, Tiger is still number one, but for women it’s Kobe Bryant. There are also generational differences. Both Echo Boomers (those 18-33) and Baby Boomers (those 46-64) have Kobe Bryant as their number one while Gen Xers (those 34-45) say it is Brett Favre and Matures (those 65 and older) stick with Tiger.

Favorite Female Sports Star
Just like last year, Serena and Venus Williams are number one and number two on the Favorite Female Sports Star list, followed by race car driver Danica Patrick. Perhaps thanks to the World Cup excitement, Mia Hamm moves up from number 5 to number 4 this year, followed by tennis star Maria Sharapova who moves to number 5 from a tie in 6th last year. Next in the top ten is another tennis star, Anna Kournikova at number 6, up from 9th last year. Four newcomers or returning female stars round out the top ten: gold medal volleyball player Misty May, and gold medal winning gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champion, Shawn Johnson, are tied for number 7; at number 9 is women’s basketball star Lisa Leslie; and tied for the 10th spot on the list are two former tennis greats, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratalova.

The four female sports stars who dropped off the list are basketball star, Candace Parker, who was number 4 last year; golfer, Annika Sorenstam, who was tied for number 6; former tennis star, Chris Everett who was number 8, and skater Michelle Kwan, who was number 10.

So what?
Sometimes a sports star is more noted for things they do outside of their sport. Tiger Woods was in the news more for his marital woes and infidelities and his losing tournaments this year, yet he is still at the top of the list, albeit in a tie. Shawn Johnson was in the 2008 Olympics, but appearing on Dancing with the Stars helped bring her top-of-mind and spur her onto the list of favorite female stars this year. Regardless, the list of one golfer, three basketball stars, one baseball player, four quarterbacks, and one race car driver truly represents some of the greatest in their respective sports.

Read more

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nigeria Today: Kidnapped Journalists Released, Religious Violence Continues in Jos

Nigerian police arrest four over kidnap of journalists‎- AFP

LAGOS — Nigerian police have arrested four suspects in connection with the kidnapping of four journalists freed after being held for a week in the country's ...Nigerian Police Arrest Four Suspects in Kidnapping

Nigeria: Seven Killed in Fresh Jos Attack‎ - Gonji Palang
... bows and arrows as well as amulets with which they unleashed terror on the unsuspecting residents The pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), ...

Muslim attack on Christian village in Nigeria kills 8: army‎ - AFP

Nigerian machete-wielding attackers kill 8 people‎ - BBC News

Priest's family killed in Nigerian violence‎ - ABC Online

Sudanese security service carries out brutal campaign against opponents

19 Jul 2010 14:38 Africa/Lagos

Sudanese security service carries out brutal campaign against opponents

KARTHUM, July 19, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- “I was planning to kill myself that night… Every hour I was at risk. I knew it was a matter of time until they [the security service] reached me”*

The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) is carrying out a brutal campaign of arbitrary detentions, torture, and mental and physical intimidation against opponents and critics of the government, Amnesty International has said in a new report launched today.

Agents of Fear documents the institutionalized human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, ill-treatment, unlawful killings and enforced disappearances that have been perpetrated for years by the NISS in Sudan.

“The NISS rules Sudan by fear. The extensive, multi-pronged assault on the Sudanese people by the security services has left the critics of the government in constant fear of arrest, harassment or worse” said Erwin van der Borght, Africa programme director.

“The Sudanese authorities are brutally silencing political opposition and human rights defenders in Sudan through violence and intimidation. NISS agents benefit from total impunity for the human rights violations they continue to commit.”

During the first half of 2010 Amnesty International documented the arrest of at least 34 individuals by the NISS, including journalists, human rights activists and students.

Arrests have peaked at times of political tensions, such as following a major attack by a Darfur armed group on Khartoum in May 2008, before and after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against President Al Bashir in July 2008, and following the elections in April 2010.

NISS agents have systematically used intimidation and various forms of ill-treatment, including torture, against supporters of the political opposition, students, human rights defenders, civil society activists, staff of national and international NGOs, and anyone seen as posing a threat to the government.

The report documents a variety of torture methods used by the NISS: beating detainees while held upside down against a wall, electric shocks, whipping, sleep deprivation, kicking and stamping on detainees and beating them with water pipes.

Ahmed Ali Mohamed Osman, a doctor also known as Ahmed Sardop, was arrested by the NISS on 20 March 2009 in Khartoum after he wrote a web article critical of the government's decision to expel humanitarian organizations from Sudan and rapes in the Darfur region.

“They leaned me over a chair and held me by my arms and feet while others hit me on the back, legs and arms with something similar to an electrical cable”, he told Amnesty International.

“They kicked me in the testicles repeatedly while they talked about the report on rape in Darfur.”

Ahmed Sardop filed a complaint with the police and was examined by a doctor who confirmed his allegations of torture.

A few days later, he started receiving telephone death threats: “We will soon find you and we will kill you.” He now lives in exile.

Families are often threatened and harassed by NISS agents to put further emotional pressure on the victim.

Women have also been harassed and intimidated by law enforcement agents and the NISS, and sexually assaulted while in their custody.

Since the presidential and parliamentary elections in April 2010, the NISS has renewed its clampdown on freedom of expression.

NISS agents have resumed the pre-print censorship of the Sudanese press with daily visits to newspapers offices and printing houses.

Opposition newspapers have been closed, forced to stop printing, or have stopped printing themselves in protest against censorship. Some journalists have been arbitrarily arrested and detained.

Abuzar Al Amin, the editor-in-chief of Rai Al Shaab, a newspaper affiliated to the Popular Congress Party, was arrested at his home on 15 May 2010.

He was taken into NISS detention where he was interrogated about his writings and journalistic work, and tortured. He was beaten and kicked, and electric shocks were administered to his body.

NISS agents continue to benefit from extensive powers of arrest and detention and have immunity for all the violations they commit, under the 2010 National Security Act.

“The National Security Act must be reformed so that agents are no longer provided with extensive powers of arrest and detention. All immunities should be removed,” said Erwin van der Borght.

“Allegations of human rights violations must be promptly and effectively investigated and those responsible prosecuted for the crimes they commit. Victims must be given reparations”.

“Without these changes, Sudan's NISS agents will continue to be agents of fear”.

Source: Amnesty International

Saturday, July 17, 2010

President Jonathan Must Address Nigeria’s Extremely Bad Health Care

Inside a Nigerian hospital. Photo Credit:

A Cry Out to President Jonathan to Take Speedy Action on Nigeria’s Extremely Bad Health Care

Mr. President, you are fully aware of the deeply held culture of indifference that filters through our public institutions and especially, our hospitals.

The psychological and cultural realities of the Nigerian institutions are not strange to you and should not therefore, be much of a surprise to you.

As you know, Nigeria’s institutions are degenerating and wallowing in corruption, while religious and ethnic strife are a threat to good administrative governance and public sanity.

However, as the President of a country that is a part of the global economy, both you, other open-mind Nigerians, and our global partners should be in shock at life expectancy and the standard of health care in Nigeria.

Take a look at the ongoing horror-filled news from hospitals like the General Hospital in Agenebode, Edo State where patients undergo surgeries with flashlights, as in the most recent case where the Chief Physician, Dr. Monday Obawonyi, in near darkness and with no air conditioning, performed a surgical operation on one Mrs. Mary Alugbe.

There is the case of dead babies from the premier Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) being packed into bags, moved through the streets of Lagos on the way to be dumped in bushes.

It seems that there is no end to this national nightmare, to the extent that some in the Nigerian leadership who are quite familiar with the reality of life amongst the people, are beginning to believe that societal upheaval may be the quickest way out of this national distress, in order for constructive and drastic changes to occur.

Voices of Warning

An Economist, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria in a recent lecture at the Faculty of Social Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, seemed to predict that should the current economic woes continue, the people could seek self-help through violence, and bring the needed change that some in leadership have always resisted.

In addition, with an air of frustration, a nationally revered Constitutional Law scholar, Prof Ben Nwabueze at a recent Book launch, in Victoria Island, Lagos, posited adequate transformational change only taking place through Bloody Revolution.

His Co-member at the Presidential Advisory Council, retired Lt. T.Y Dajuma stated that at this time there is no leader to help transform the nation and fears that revolution as the only path for change would be too costly in terms of money and the lives of the Nigerian sons.

Even the current Federal Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien in a recent speech at a London business summit celebrating Nigeria’s 50th birthday sees the nation as being in a state of deep structural degeneration and seemingly hopeless.

A Way Forward

However, there is a much more forthright path in which the President can immediately take the country to put to rest these predictions of disappointment and doom.

Mr. President, declare a national state of emergency across some public institutions in light of the fact that no matter how much money is poured into a system, most of it gets converted to personal use.

As such, few projects are completed in Nigeria, and fewer come out right. In the process, the consumers of the intended public services suffer.

Mr.President, the blunder is not with the buildings; it is with those who occupy these buildings and handle the customers who seek help from these institutions.

In fact,the fault lies mainly in the heads and minds of some of the workers, officials, supervisors, clinicians, consultants, contractors, and managers of these institutions.

Sir, you must familiar with as one who has held public service for years and are familiar with how you break away from other powerful Nigerians who are entrenched in the system. This is an issue for you to grapple with, and it will not be easy. You will need help.

Help in the Diaspora?

It is time to summon the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs , Foreign Embassies in Nigeria and the Nigerian High commissions and Consulates in countries like United States of America to help in the mass recruitment of Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Bringing them in with their experiences will be less costly than the status quo and what might eventually result from its continuation and eventual public frustration.

Personnel blending or displacement will certainly be more tolerable to those likely to be displaced compared to the apparent appraoch being called for by the likes of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, and Prof. Ben Nwabueze,

I would suggest that you cannot ignore these nonviolent recommended paths to institutional-personnel renewal as you work on creating on a healthier institutional environment.

Sir, in order to have an idea of the type of sound governance that many Diasporan Nigerians could bring in, you only have to spend some time browsing internet News Papers and Outlets in the likes of,,,,,,,,, and others.

Within these news outlets are essays, comments, and inventions from Diasporan Nigerians who dearly love home. Many of them have mostly spent credible periods in foreign public-oriented careers and professions, while some are consequences of the Brain Drain-from the public and health care sectors, in Nigeria, especially.

The Shambolic Healthcare Sector

With the idiocy over the zoning issue, there are now grounds to believe that uncertainty could lie ahead as the electorate look towards the forth coming national election.

Mr. President, while focusing on the public institutions, the health care sector in particular can no longer be left in the hands of predatory commercialists, politicians and administrators.

It remains shocking how the nation has failed those dead children, having been loaded into street bags in the hands of a so-called contractor while the hospital medical executives, administrators and management seemingly look away and stand in a state of ignorance or denial.

If one of the best teaching hospitals—Lagos Teaching University Hospital (LUTH) could showcase such unethical/possibly illegal actions, what about all other much less noticeable medical centers across the nation?.

If the parents of these seventy-plus dead children are reportedly abandoning them within a short period of two to three months, where are the police reports on parental abandonment?

Could some these deaths be suspicious, or unexpected as they relate to possible child abuse and parental neglect? In that case, where are the documented calls from hospital staff and follow up police investigations? Are some of these deaths due to signs of physical trauma, medical accidents or criminal acts, and where are the autopsy reports from the pathologists?

Could some these deaths could have being prevented with the active presence of ethically minded workers/contractors and sustainable resources? How many child deaths happens due to intentional or gross neglect in order to enable staff to illegally supplement their salaries with bribes from morbid contractors?

How many corpses are dumped in residential and industrial bushes as corpses are turned away on contractors who cannot further pay inflated fees and bribes to cemetery care takers having bribed hospital workers and officials’ in order to remain in the job?

How many street and unlicensed contractors are allowed to manage the disposal of decomposing bodies in the midst of possible health hazards to the living and public environs?

Where are the Federal and State Ministries of Health in terms of procedures and practices for monitoring the handling of unclaimed bodies at different morbidity units in various hospitals?

Do public health officials have the educational and training fliers to guide parents and hospital officials on child related issues? Do these various local governments and large teaching and Specialist hospitals have Children fatality Review Board to assist in examining child fatalities?

Mr. President, surgical operations are always high risk in Nigeria, whether due to blackouts or inadequate supplies. Added to unreliable electric power and few medical supplies, there are few monitoring devices, no functioning oxygen plants, no adequate trauma care centers, no active stationary phones, no refrigerators to store medicines and food, and no workable toilets

Patients lay down on inadequate mattresses with no pillows. They overflow into corridors due to too much heat; X-Ray machines are AWOL; there is lack of running water, few good roads, no enforceable traffic regulations or dependable emergency transportation to hospitals.

Mr. President, public trust is weakening, in these crucial times and in the face of blatant extortion of public funds by a tiny fraction of the society.

Taking Bold Action

With all the recovered monies by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EECC), some of the confiscated monies could be directed to procure high-powered generators, functioning morgues, effective X-Ray machines, create workable cemeteries. Funds could be directed towards the mass return of Diasporan Professional who will only come if there perceive strategic insights into, and commitment towards solving these issues.

As the 2011 national election draws near, will the public hospitals and other medical institutions be ready for cases of trauma and other emergency related crises?

You must take action to convince Nigeria’s citizens that their health needs will be met in the short term, even if some form of national health care emergency has to be declared. Time is running out and many would say: “hurry up, Mr. President”.

~ By John Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FACFE, is a Clinical/Forensic Psychologist, and the Interim Associate Dean of Behavioral Science, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida. Joshodi@broward

Friday, July 16, 2010

Global Fund and Drug Manufacturers Cooperate to end deaths from Malaria

15 Jul 2010 19:30 Africa/Lagos

Agreements reduce prices of malaria medicines by up to 80 % / Global Fund and drug manufacturers cooperate to end deaths from malaria

KAMPALA, July 15, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Global Fund and six manufacturers of quality-assured malaria drugs have finalized agreements to place affordable life-saving malaria drugs within reach of millions of people in need, especially children. This public- private collaboration, a part of the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) Phase 1, will benefit 8 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Under the agreements, private importers will now pay up to 80% less than they did in 2008-2009 for the most effective malaria drugs (artemisinin-based combination therapies – ACTs), bringing the factory gate prices down to the same level as for public sector buyers. The AMFm will then subsidize purchases made by first-line buyers, all of whom have signed an undertaking to pass the benefit of low prices down the supply chain, thereby enabling the roughly 60% of malaria patients who obtain treatment in private shops to obtain the most effective treatments at affordable prices. Currently ACTs make up only 5% of treatments provided through the private sector. Orders of ACTs at these more affordable prices have already begun.

“These agreements bring us closer to the day when all who need malaria medicines will get them at affordable prices,” says Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine, "Thanks to the cooperation of partners, manufacturers of quality-assured malaria medicines and leadership by countries, we will make malaria deaths history.”

The six manufacturers that have signed Master Supply Agreements with the Global Fund under the AMFm are: Ajanta Pharma, Cipla, Guilin, Ipca, Novartis and Sanofi-aventis. All six pharmaceutical companies meet the Global Fund's quality criteria for supplying ACTs to first-line buyers under the AMFm. Other manufacturers may participate in the AMFm, provided that they meet the quality criteria.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) negotiated the agreements, which provide the terms and conditions under which the manufacturers would sell eligible ACTs to first-line buyers, and under which the Global Fund would make co-payment to those companies for qualifying purchases by wholesalers.

“No mother should have to worry whether or not she can access the malaria medicines that will save the life of her sick child. I am pleased my Health Access Initiative, building off of our experience lowering the costs of lifesaving malaria and HIV/AIDS medicines, could negotiate the agreements that enable AMFm to ensure effective, affordable ACTs are in the reach of the mothers and children that need them most,” says former US President Bill Clinton.

The conclusion of the manufacturer agreements is one of the first significant achievements of the AMFm. In a departure from prior practices, manufacturers will sell ACTs to first-line buyers from the private sector at the same reduced prices as they sell to those in the public sector, even before the AMFm makes a co-payment.

The manufacturers have also agreed to not market any oral artemisinin monotherapy, which are undesirable because they increase the risk of widespread resistance to the artemisinin in ACTs.

The Global Fund received pro bono legal support during the negotiations with manufacturers from Freshfields Bruckhouse Deringer LLP. The Global Fund warmly thanks Freshfields Bruckhouse Deringer LLP for their valuable contributions to this success.

In developing the logo for all co-paid ACTs under AMFm, the Global Fund received pro bono support from Programme for Accessible health Communication and Education (PACE), Uganda. The Global Fund also thanks PACE for their important contributions to this success.

Malaria and the AMFm

Malaria is a potentially deadly disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites and kills more than 2,000 children every day. Children make up nearly 90 percent of the nearly 900,000 people who die from malaria every year, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

The Global Fund is leading an innovation called the AMFm to reduce the price of effective malaria drugs so they can drive older, ineffective drugs out of the market, and help increase access to effective treatment of malaria. The proposition of AMFm is that a factory-gate global subsidy, combined with supporting activities at country level, will increase access to life-saving antimalarial medicines and also delay the onset of resistance to those medicines. Three elements constitute the AMFm: price reductions through negotiations with manufacturers of a class of malaria medicines called Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies or ACTs; a buyer subsidy in the form of a ‘co-payment' at the top of the global supply chain; and supporting activities to promote appropriate use of ACTs.

By working through the public, NGO and private sectors, AMFm will help to expand services beyond the reach of current financing mechanisms that work mostly through the public and NGO sectors.

"The AMFm is about getting better value for money so we get closer to the goal of universal access to malaria treatment. Tackling malaria is a key priority for the UK government and the AMFm aims to deliver real value for money - and will make a huge difference to the lives of some of the poorest people and help to prevent the spread of disease," says Andrew Mitchell, UK International Development Secretary.

UNITAID, the Government of the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are the financiers of a US$216 million AMFm co-payment fund to be used for the global subsidy. In addition, the Global Fund will spend about US$127 million on country-level activities to support the effective implementation of AMFm.

“We are using market dynamics to improve access to life-saving medicines; this is central to the mission of UNITAID and we are pleased to work with the Global Fund to achieve universal access,” says Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair of the UNITAID Board.

During the last few years new, effective malaria medicines have been made available for free in many public health clinics. When combined with national campaigns to provide mosquito bed-nets for every family living in areas with malaria this has led to a dramatic fall in malaria deaths in several countries in Africa. The combination of bed nets to prevent malaria transmission and drugs that cure malaria quickly has reduced malaria deaths by between 50 percent and 90 percent in areas where both are widely available.

However, because most people do not have immediate access to public health facilities they buy their drugs at local market stalls and private pharmacies. The new drugs, known as “artemisinin-based combination therapies” or ACTs, are about 10 - 40 times more expensive when sold over the counter than the old drugs which have lost their effectiveness because the malaria parasite has developed resistance to them. As a result of the high cost, many still buy these cheaper less effective drugs and currently, only one in every five patients treated for malaria has access to ACTs.

The AMFm was developed through Roll-Back Malaria – a broad partnership of public and private institutions, such as the World Bank, UNICEF, the Dutch Government, the Global Fund, WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Phase 1 of the AMFm includes nine pilots in eight countries: Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania (mainland and Zanzibar) and Uganda. After two years, providing it is successful, a decision will be taken on whether to expand it globally.

Source: The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria

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