Sunday, March 31, 2013

600, 000 Farming Households In Akwa Ibom Are Using Bad Pesticides

Photo Credit: George Monbiot's blog + Pesticides.

600, 000 Farming Households In Akwa Ibom Are Using Bad Pesticides

Do you know that a report of a study done in Akwa Ibom State found that 600,000 farming households used pesticides of some type (usually improperly, and usually banned pesticides because they were the cheapest even on the black market). And I can bet you that the government is totally ignorant of this catastrophe!

Read the full report of Dr. AJ Udoh on

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Letters To Nigeria By Dr. Patience Idaraesit Akpan-Obong

If you really care about Nigeria and you want to know the truth about Nigerians in Nigeria and in the Diaspora beyond making noise about the challenges and problems of Nigeria, then you should read Letters to Nigeria: Journal of an African Woman in America by Dr. Patience Idaraesit Akpan-Obong, an associate professor of science, technology and society in the School of Letters and Sciences at Arizona State University Polytechnic. She holds a PhD in Political Science (University of Alberta, 2003) and a Master’s degree in Journalism (Carleton University, 1996). She is also the author of Information and Communication Technologies in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges for Development (New York: Peter D. Lang, 2009). Dr. Akpan-Obong was a journalist for several years in Nigeria and Canada. She currently contributes to Saturday Punch, a nationally circulated weekly newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Letters to Nigeria: Journal of an African Woman in America is a light-hearted and hilarious commentary on the immigrant experience from the perspective of an African woman living in North America. Each chapter educes a riotous LOL but the reader recovers soon enough to reflect on the serious issues that the author addresses. And each chapter does indeed address a serious issue even if the hook is the banal (such as the heady smell of “genuine leather” Brazilian shoes) or the profound (such as race and racism). Many entries begin with personal stories that illuminate the author’s own experiences as an African woman raising young children in the United States while pursuing an academic career. There is, however, a universal resonance in these personal stories. Readers, especially immigrants and working mothers everywhere, will therefore relate to these stories and perhaps see themselves and their own experiences on the pages of Letters to Nigeria.

You can get copies of "Letters To Nigeria" on Amazon.

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Historical Life and Times of Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

The Historical Life and Times of Chinua Achebe

Achebe, known as the grandfather of modern African literature, died at 82. Alicia Powell reports. submit to reddit

Nigerian Broadcasting: Challenges and Opportunities in the Growing Market for Pay TV

27 Mar 2013 12:57 Africa/Lagos

Nigerian Broadcasting: Challenges and Opportunities in the Growing Market for Pay TV

LONDON, March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa there are numerous examples of industries that have undergone a period of deregulation and privatisation having previously been state-controlled. Market liberalising reforms gathered momentum during the 1990s as African nations sought to align themselves with an increasingly integrated global economy. In Nigeria, the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) launched by the Federal Government in 1986 marked the start of a progressive withdrawal of state involvement from a number of sectors.

Until that time television broadcasting had been among the industries in Nigeria that were entirely state-run. A proliferation of private stations following deregulation in 1992 included the arrival of Digital Satellite Television (DStv), the first pay TV operator. DStv is owned by the South African firm MultiChoice and is the leading satellite TV service in sub-Saharan Africa.

It was not until 2004 that Frontage Satellite Television (FStv) became the first indigenous pay TV provider in the country. Others followed, including the direct-to-home (DTH) service HiTV, established by businessman and lawyer Toyin Subair; and DAARSAT, another DTH service that offered the country's first high definition programming. After promising starts, these and other stations collapsed within a few years due to intense competition and a difficult operating environment.

In the DTH and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) segments of the subscription TV market it is clear that domestic stations have not yet been able to compete effectively either with DStv or with Star TV, the more affordable offering of China's StarTimes. But while MultiChoice and Star lead those areas of the market, Nigerian firms predominate in cable TV. Cable stations are generally licensed to operate within a smaller range of coverage and offer more regional, grassroots programmes.

Whatever the scope or the means of delivery, broadcasting is a capital-intensive industry and operators need investment in order to grow and maintain market share. MultiChoice and StarTimes have had a head start in this regard but capital has also been flowing to smaller, indigenous firms. Compared with their public counterparts, private stations across the market are generally characterized by better equipment and higher quality production.

It is estimated that total private investment in Nigerian broadcasting has now passed the $1bn mark. Thousands of jobs have been created, not just within the sector itself but in related industries too: advertising in particular is on the rise as firms look increasingly to domestic agencies to make their TV adverts.

For all the good news however there are a number of obstacles to the growth of pay TV in Nigeria. Power scarcity means stations are reliant on diesel generators while consumers are forced to deprioritize TV. With both supply and demand thus constricted, newer, smaller firms often find it tough to survive. Piracy, mainly in the form of so-called 'string' operations in which signals from multiple decoders are transmitted locally, is also choking demand. For Nigerian providers, lack of confidence on the part of foreign content owners has sometimes translated to a reluctance to hand over rights.

Infrastructure development, tighter legislation and stronger regulatory frameworks would go a long way to addressing these issues, but the initiative should not just lie with government. High quality Nigerian-produced TV can itself do much to challenge the negative perceptions that deter business. More international broadcasting in a similar vein to that of African Independent Television (AIT) in Lagos and Minaj Broadcast International (MBI) in Obosi- both of which transmit to a global audience-would go a long way towards bridging the divide between Nigeria and the rest of the world. Such channels present an opportunity to showcase the growing expertise of Nigerian producers and to reflect the best of Nigerian culture.

Underpinning everything is content. A perceived lack of quality in the output of indigenous providers has been a major factor in their failure to take more of the market. Nigeria is due to go digital in 2015: a huge opportunity for more domestic firms to offer subscription services. Nigerian operators must deliver programming that competes with foreign-backed providers, drives viewership and attracts revenue. If they can achieve this, the digital future will be very bright.

~ Kola Aluko is a Nigerian-born international businessman with commercial interests spanning energy, media and private aviation. For more information please visit

CONTACT: Press Office - +44-(0)-7929-565-349

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter! But Lest We Forget...

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.
8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.

~ Ephesians 1:7-8, Holy Bible (New International Version).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lest We Forget

"But He [Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed."1

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember with profound appreciation that it was for this day that Jesus came to earth … to die in our place on that cruel Roman cross to save us from the terrible consequences of sin—a disease far deadlier than AIDS or any other disease that is a physical death sentence.

Today, we also remember that Jesus Christ was not an ordinary man. True, he was a man but he was and is the Son of the Living God—the Great Creator who became our Savior—the one who laid aside his external garments of deity, stepped out of the Ivory Palaces of Heaven, clothed himself in a garment of human flesh and came to earth to pay the redemption price for our sin. He died on the cross in your place and mine. In so doing he provided the only cure for the deadly disease of sin whose sentence is spiritual and eternal death.

Today, we remember, too, that without Jesus as our Savior, we would be headed for hell from which there is no escape beyond the grave. Wherever and whatever hell is we can be sure of this, it is eternal disconnection from God the author of all love and life—cut off forever from all love and all loving relationships. Such consequences are unthinkable.

And today we need to remember that Jesus died for us because he loved us far more than we can even begin to understand. As another has said, Jesus would rather go to hell for us than to go to heaven without us! This he did when he died on the cross in your place and in mine.

Jesus gave his life that we might live. In thanksgiving to him for his unspeakable gift, may we give our life to live for him—to help spread the gospel so that others might also live. For without Jesus, people are lost forever!

If you have never thanked Jesus for dying on the cross to pay the price for your sins, I urge you to do this today, and accept Jesus as your Savior and receive God's forgiveness and the assurance of a home in heaven forever. To help you be sure to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—without having to be religious at: and/or "God's Invitation" at:

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, how can I ever thank you enough for loving me enough to give your Son Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins? And dear Jesus I do thank you from the depths of my heart for what you did for me. Please help me to live a life of thanksgiving to you always in all ways. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV).

<:>< With Love from Handel's Messiah!

George Frideric Handel's musical masterpiece MESSIAH, illustrated with beautiful motion pictures and short narrative between the songs to tell the Biblical story behind the music. This presentation emphasizes the purpose of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Features The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood conductor, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. 54 minutes. A DVD of this film is available for $6. Call 614-882-2126, or go to Associated Bible Students of Central Ohio.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

57% of Nigerians Buy Petrol Above the Official N97 Per Litre



Abuja, Nigeria. March 28, 2013
This week’s Poll results' release by NOI Polls is based on a 12 month project (start date: January 2013) on Petrol Pump Price Monitoring. Results would be released every quarter to show a three-month average on the pump price of petrol as bought by consumers across the country. Next release date would be June 2013. This poll is conducted via telephone interviews across the 36 states including the FCT with a total of 1,512 phone owning Nigerians aged 18 and above that use the product.

The removal of fuel subsidy in January 2011 sparked protests across the country on the impact of this removal on household spending (please visit our website to read about results of this impact), although the removal of the fuel subsidies is in line with the Federal Government’s transformation agenda aimed at improving transparency, efficiency and accountability in the petroleum sector thereby curbing corruption, attempts to further remove subsidies has generated opposition from consumers due to presumptions that any price increase will further raise inflation and reduce economic welfare. However the question still remains on whether the product is being sold at the official price as stated by the government at N97 per litre or marketers are selling above the price. In view of this, NOI Polls conducted these monthly snap polls to help gauge the price distortions if any on petrol products that occur along axial lines and to track the average price paid for petrol each month. Results presented here are from snap polls conducted in the first quarter of 2013 (January, February and March). We hope that these results would bring about a discourse round the price parity, fuel subsidy and the need for transparency in the downstream sector.

Topline results:
Three key findings from the three month average show that 57% of Nigerians have bought Petrol above the official price of N97 within a range of N100 –N130 per litre. This disparity is particularly seen in cities outside Lagos and Abuja. 70% of the South East Consumers buy their product from Independents; lastly 54% of Nigerians have attributed the huge disparity in the price to non-monitoring of the filling stations by the government.

The NOI Polls survey asked people a collection of 10 specific questions monthly over the three month period; we have reported four of these questions here. To get full results please email first question sought to establish where respondents buy petrol. Respondents were asked: Where do you mainly buy petrol from? Nationwide results indicate that the majority (61%) mainly buy petrol from major marketer filling stations followed by 34% who buy from independent marketer stations. Only 5% mainly purchase their petrol from petrol hawkers.

An analysis of results across geo-political zones highlights some interesting differences. The majority (70%) of respondents in the South East mainly buy their petrol from independents; this could be representative of the fact that there could be a greater number of independents within the South East. Also, the North East has the greatest proportion (11%) of respondents that mainly buy from petrol hawkers.

Over the first quarter of 2013, respondents were asked the following question each month: How much do you normally buy petrol? Nationwide results show that over the 3 months, an average of 57% of respondents bought at more than N97 per litre while 43% of respondents bought at the official price of N97 per litre.

Further analysis along months show that, the proportion of respondents that buy at the official price of N97 per litre has increased steadily over the months from 31% (January) to 46% (February) and 51% (March). This can be attributed to easing of the intense fuel scarcity experienced in most parts of the country towards the end of 2012 and early in 2013. However the overall average of 43% still shows a huge disparity in prices across regions. Please click here to see Monthly purchases across geo-political regions.

Subsequently, each month respondents were asked the following question: What do you normally use petrol for? A nationwide average indicate that the majority (34%) of Nigerians mainly use the product for their generators, 29% use the product for their cars while 24% use the product for both their cars and generators. A trend analysis (Jan: 25%, Feb: 37%, Mar: 39%) shows a rise in the use of petrol for generators in February and March indicating a higher use of alternate power supply in this period. Other uses of petrol include for machinery, tricycles etc.

Respondents were also asked: What do you think is responsible for the difference in the pump price of petrol across filling stations? The vast majority (54%) said the differences occur because the government is not monitoring filling stations. This is followed by 22% who think it is because the cost of importing petrol is not the same for all marketers and 16% who think the filling stations are exploiting the public by hoarding fuel.

In conclusion, the quarterly results from the three month average show that 57% of Nigerians have bought Petrol above the official price of N97 within a range of N100 –N130 per litre. This disparity is particularly seen in cities outside Lagos and Abuja. 70% of the South East Consumers buy their product from Independents not Major marketers; lastly 54% of Nigerians have attributed the huge disparity in the price to non-monitoring of the filling stations by the government.

Survey Methods
The opinion poll was conducted between January to March 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. A total of 1,512 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 5%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at

This press release has been produced by NOI Polls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOI Polls be acknowledged as author whenever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOI Polls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOI Polls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOI Polls’ current findings and/or thinking.

Press Contact:
The Editor

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Ekulo International Ltd Restores, Re-Focuses Consumers Confidence In Baron De Valls

Baron De Valls Unveiled!

Ekulo International Ltd Restores, Re-Focuses Consumers Confidence In Baron De Valls

~ By Ingram Osigwe

Marketing Manager of Ekulo Group of Companies, Mr. Emeka Oramadike giving his welcome address.

In an event that befits the brand class for one of the pioneering and foremost wines in the Nigerian market currently, Ekulo International Ltd, the company whose entrepreneur won the Sun Newspapers’ Business Man of the Year, 2012, held a Media Re-Launch of Baron De Valls wine, one of the best brands in the vast catalogue of products for which they are sole distributors in the Nigerian market today.

Sales and Marketing, ICC Branch, Pamela Nweke, Head, Sales and Marketing, Mr. Pawan Modguil and Group Marketing Manager, Mr. Emeka Oramadike all of Ekulo International Limited during the relaunch of Baron De Valls wine, product of Ekulo International Limited held on Tuesday in Lagos.


From left, Head, Sales and Marketing, Mr. Pawan Modguil, Manager, Sales and Marketing, ICC Branch, Pamela Nweke, Group Marketing Manager, Mr. Emeka Oramadike, Category Manager, Mr. Leke Oyedele all of Ekulo International Limited and Media Consultant to Ekulo International Limited, Mr. Ingram Osigwe during the relaunch of Baron De Valls wine,  product of Ekulo International Limited held on Tuesday in Lagos.

Clara Okoro, CEO of Brand World TV as Co-Compere.

Famous OAP Olisa Adibua and top stakeholder in Nigerian entertainment industry.

Comperes Clara Okoro, CEO of Brand World TV and Olisa Adibua, famous OAP as the morning drive-time host and Programme Director of Beat 99.9 FM and also on Pidgin English radio station, Naija FM 102.7. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Storm 360.

Everyone of them an oenophile (a lover or connoisseur of wine) enjoying the unique wine Baron De Valls.

The event which drew brand correspondents from virtually all principal media organizations in the country, from traditional print, audio and television to the neuveau cyber-media with many representatives of brand promoting websites and blog spots, saw the unveiling of the Baron De Valls to the media, for the purposes of brand illumination and propagation. The re-launch took place at the Welcome Hotels, International Airport Road Ikeja, from 10 am till 2pm on Tuesday 26th March, 2013.
Speaking at the occasion, The Marketing Manager of Ekulo Group of Companies, Mr. Emeka Oramadike, said that the purpose of the re-launch was as a result of the alarming rate at which counterfeit wines are surfacing in the Nigerian market today, with their names bearing the prefix of “Baron De…..” with all kinds of suffixes. He revealed to the media that “Baron De Valls” was introduced to the Nigerian market, at a time when Nigerian consumers were more attuned to beverages such as Beers and Stouts as well as spirits. He said that Ekulo Group of Companies invested a lot of money, manpower and the strength of their unmatchable distribution network, experience and skills to practically groom Nigerian consumers into acquiring a taste for wine through the Baron De Valls brand. He posited that indeed for a majority percentage of Nigerians, the first bottle of wine they ever purchased was Baron De Valls. Baron De Valls came in at price and quality and availability that enabled it to cut across all economic strata, thus demystifying ‘wine’ as a sole preserve of the high and mighty. The result was that a new niche was carved for wine in the Nigerian Consumer’s list of preferences and Baron De Valls sat very comfortably as the centre of attraction in that list till today. However recent developments saw the odious cropping up of other drinks who try to ride on a platform sacrificially built by Ekulo group, to reap consumers’ patronage where they did not sow. He said that thus the company found it necessary to come out and say to the Nigerian Media and Public: “IF IT IS NOT BARON DE VALLS, IT CANNOT BE LIKE BARON DE VALLS” He urged millions of their loyal Baron De Valls Consumers not to be deceived by look "alikes" and name-alikes, but to stay comfortably and immovably with their beloved Baron De Valls because the quality and price will not change and henceforth, it will be available even closer to them than before.

Miss Nkechi Okonkwo and Mr. Pawan Moudgil.

Mr. Pawan Moudgil having a press interview.

Olisa Adibua and executives of Ekulo Group put heads together.

Olisa Adibua and Mr. Ingram Osigwe.

Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, President of the annual Eko International Film Festival and Publisher of Supple Magazine and CEO of Supple Communications Limited with Olisa Adibua.

The Head, Sales and marketing for Ekulo group of companies Mr. Pawan Moudgil, while supporting his colleague, urged Nigerians not to be swayed or stampeded into abandoning their loyalties for Baron De Valls. He reassured them that Baron De Valls was produced in Valencia, the highest and most traditionally revered wine-making region in Spain by the Vincente Bodegas Gandia wine making family. He said that the company is over one hundred and twenty five years old and has retained an untainted culture of making quality wines fit for royalties. He said that today, the company has presence in over 85 countries world wide, combining tradition with innovation and quality to create wines of value at affordable prices, thus becoming undisputedly one of the most professional wine making outfits in Spain today. He says: “to sell millions of bottles year after year in such difficult and demanding markets as the UK, the wines must be free of any weaknesses and to achieve this, consistency in the best managerial practices is needed and this is what Bodegas Gandia does.” Mr. Pawan said that at Bodegas Gandia, there is one single policy: all wines must be “Not Just Good but Great”.

Pamela Nweke, Pawan Moudgil, Emeka Oramadike and Chibuzo Nnaebue.

Toasting to a great world class brand Baron De Valls.

The event saw the unveiling of the Baron De Valls range of wines to the cheering and applause of excited men of the press. There was a question and answer period during which Ekulo officials fielded questions from journalists. In one of the responses, the officials explained to the media that indeed wine are used for cooking, in baking and also in making certain sauces.

Baron de Valls are a range of excellent wines, made with a selection of the best grapes, that is full of flavours like Cherry, ripe fruit, creamy oak, minerals and a sweet finish. Baron De Valls have great taste which makes it very outstanding. They also have sufficient percentage of alcohol which makes them ideal for any party or get together. Baron de Valls wine recently thrilled her teeming admirers with more wine varieties by the debut of Baron De Valls Cabernet Sauvignon, Baron De Valls Cava Brut and Brut Rose.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Secure is Your DNA?


DNA is so tiny, only a few microns across, that we often don’t spend much time thinking about how much of our most personal and private information it contains. Yet each individual’s DNA also offers an intimate look into family history, risk for illness, behavior, internal clock, propensity for thrill seeking, and countless other aspects of a person’s life, personality, behavior, and place in the world. Accessing this treasure trove of genetic information has some amazing benefits, but it also comes with some serious concerns.
While DNA may be small, it’s packed with information that has the potential to cause some pretty big problems. Uncontrolled access to this information, whether in a medical or law enforcement setting, could set individuals up for violations of privacy and discrimination, and as genetic testing becomes more common and inexpensive, the issues surrounding the protection of genetic information will become ever more pressing concerns in the larger public discourse.

Genetic privacy may not yet be a concern for most Americans, but as technology develops and practices change, it’s critical to know what risks you face as well as your rights, the laws that protect you, and how you can ensure your DNA isn’t be accessed and analyzed without your knowledge and consent.

DNA Law and Policy

While the structure and makeup of DNA has been known since the late 1950s, it was not until the 1970s that DNA was sequenced. It would would be nearly two decades before an efficient method of sequencing DNA would be developed, allowing it to be used outside of the scientific setting. Because the use of DNA profiling has only recently became practical for use in medicine and law enforcement, there aren’t yet that many laws that address the privacy and discrimination risks posed by genetic information. Here are just a few that have passed or are on the docket for the coming year that play a major role, or have the potential to, in the security of your DNA.
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act:Enacted in 2008, GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. This means that health insurers and group health plans cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums to an individual based on a genetic predisposition for developing a particular illness. It also ensure that employers cannot make any decisions with regard to hiring, firing, promotion, or job placement based on genetic data.In light of the recent growth of genetic testing, however, many think GINA needs amending. Provisions have been proposed that will help protect genetic information from being used to discriminate in life or long-term care insurance coverage and will ensure that data from genetic testing is not disseminated in research studies or other ways without an individual’s consent.The state of California has already passed state-specific laws of this nature that will ensure DNA can’t be used to discriminate in the areas of housing, education, public accommodations, life insurance, mortgage lending, and elections, so it may only be a matter of time before federal laws follow suit.
  • DNA Identification Act of 1994: The DNA Identification Act was among the first laws to address the establishment of federal databases of DNA information, passed into law in 1994. The act authorized the creation of CODIS, a national database of DNA identification records of persons convicted of crimes, the analysis of DNA samples recovered from crime scenes, and the analysis of DNA samples taken from identified human remains. The act was modified in 2004 by the Justice for All Act, which expanded the offenses for which DNA could be collected, created a new system of indexing, and required national accreditation for forensic laboratories.
  • DNA Fingerprinting Act of 2005: The DNA Fingerprinting Act allowed the national CODIS database to include samples from any individual from whom collection was authorized under state law. It also made it permissible for DNA to be collected from federal arrestees and from non-U.S. detainees. As a result, criminal DNA databases have rapidly expanded, with nearly all states and the federal government maintaining their own systems today. It has not been legislation without criticism, however. Some argue that it has unjustly allowed for the cataloging not only of convicted individual’s DNA but also that of those accused or arrested for a crime.
  • California Genetic Privacy Law: One state that is working hard to protect the genetic privacy of its constituents is California. Authored by state senator Alex Padilla, the law would help protect genetic information from being used without consent, requiring research and health organization to acquire consent to collect, share, and retain genetic material and information. In 2006, Minnesota passed a similar law and over the past year South Dakota, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Vermont have all proposed related bills that would define genetic materials as personal property. As of yet, none of those bills have become law.
Also important to note are state laws on when and why DNA information can be forcibly collected. In all 50 states, those who have been convicted of a felony of any kind must submit DNA to both the national CODIS database and state databases. Yet policies differ from state to state with regard to when DNA evidence can be collected from those who are accused or arrested for a crime and have not yet been convicted. In 28 states, arrestees can be subject to DNA collection. Thirteen of those states collect samples for anyone arrested for a felony while the rest limit collection to violent crimes, including sexual assaults. Seven states also collect DNA for certain misdemeanors.

While this might help in solving crimes, it also poses some privacy issues. Probable cause is only required in 11 states to obtain or analyze a sample from an individual who has been arrested for a crime. More troubling, perhaps, is that even if an individual is acquitted of the charges, DNA information remains in the system unless the accused requests for it to be expunged; the state does not take responsibility for removing DNA evidence from those who have been judged innocent.

Court Cases on DNA

Laws regarding DNA and the collection of genetic materials have been hotly contested over the past decade. Many believe that current state laws infringe on the Fourth Amendment and are tantamount to unreasonable search and seizure. Others have argued that DNA laws violate the Fifth Amendment, with the obligation to provide DNA evidence acting as witness against the accused him or herself. To date, many major cases involving DNA are still being addressed by the Supreme Court. Here are just a few that may shape federal and state law over the coming years or that have already impacted DNA privacy, criminal law, and genetic policy nationwide.
  • Maryland v. King: This case is currently under review by the Supreme Court after the justices agreed it to hear it late last year. Previously, Maryland’s top court ruled that taking DNA from individuals arrested, but not convicted, for a serious crime was a breach of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. If this decision is upheld, laws in 21 states and federal law enforcement practices could be impacted, and in the future, law enforcement officials would be required to procure a warrant prior to obtaining DNA evidence from suspects in a case.
  • Bearder v. State of Minnesota: The Minnesota Supreme Court found the state’s own department of health in violation of the law for failing to dispose of blood samples routinely used to screen newborns for serious illnesses. In some cases, the samples were used to validate new genetic tests, a clear violation of the state’s Genetic Privacy Act.
  • Washington University School of Medicine v. Catalona: In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that tissue and serum samples donated to the school could continue to be used for cancer research and that donors could not require that the samples be transferred elsewhere, as former Washington University surgeon William Catalona had argued. This is significant for DNA privacy, as it acknowledges that once samples are donated that they become the property of the institution, not the donor.
  • Kohler v. Englade: DNA dragnets faced a major legal challenge with this Louisiana case. In 2003, Shannon Kohler was asked to submit a DNA sample by Baton Rouge police. His refusal led to him being named as the primary suspect in a serial rape and murder case. Kohler eventually provided DNA and was cleared of the charges, but alleged that the police didn’t have probable cause to compel him to give up his DNA. The Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, saying that the probable cause provided by law enforcement was so broad that it would have encompassed thousands in the Baton Rouge area. This decision helped to toughen the circumstances under which a warrant for DNA evidence could be granted, at least in the state of Louisiana.
  • District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne: Oddly enough, while the courts have largely upheld the right of law enforcement to compel those who have been arrested or convicted of a crime to give DNA, once individuals are convicted of a crime, they do not have a constitutional right to their own DNA evidence nor that collected from the crime scene. In older cases, this means that DNA evidence cannot be reanalyzed using better, more accurate methods; a practice that has already exonerated many behind bars. According to the Supreme Court ruling in 2009, individuals do not have the right to post-conviction access to State’s evidence for DNA testing, making it impossible to exonerate those who may have been convicted falsely. Luckily, while the federal government does not mandate this, many states do allow for post-conviction DNA analysis.
This is hardly a complete list of all the major cases involving DNA testing and genetic privacy. For a great history on the subject, read a breif summary of major cases from Rhode Island College. For more information about major court cases on DNA around the world as well as some older cases here at home, check out the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s collection of important cases that have impacted genetic privacy all over the world.

When Your Genetic Privacy Is at Risk

While much of DNA law has to do with those who’ve committed a crime or been accused of committing a crime, the reality is that your genetic privacy can be at risk even if you’re a law abiding citizen. There are a number of cases when your DNA can be collected, analyzed, or retained without your consent.
  • DNA dragnets:You don’t have to be accused of a crime in some cases to have your DNA requested by law enforcement. DNA dragnets occur when law enforcement officials as hundreds, sometimes thousands, of (presumably) innocent people to give samples of their blood or saliva in the hopes that one will be connected to a crime. While individuals can refuse to give DNA, in some cases the courts have forced compliance and most who refuse have faced increased scrutiny as a suspect in a crime, despite the fact that many see the request as an invasion of privacy.DNA dragnets aren’t especially common in the U.S., but in other places, like the U.K. and Germany, they have become common practice. In one case, DNA was collected from 16,000 individuals. While dragnets have been helpful in identifying the perpetrators of several high profiles cases, some who’ve been forced to partake say the dragnets have had unexpected consequences and have petitioned to have their DNA returned after being cleared.
  • Discarded DNA: Directly giving a sample isn’t the only way for law enforcement officers to get a sample of your DNA. If your saliva is transferred onto another object, which you then discard, that object can be legally collected and used to analyze your DNA. While this practice has been challenged, it has held up in court because law enforcement officials state that there can be no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to items that have been discarded. Not worried that the police will come after your DNA? Be aware that stray DNA could also be accessed by others looking for genetic information, like family members or those seeking to establish paternity.
  • Family member searches: Another occasion when an innocent person may have their DNA requested by law enforcement is when a member of your family is suspected to be guilty of a crime, but no DNA can be gathered from that person because he or she can’t be found. In these cases, sometimes close family members are asked to submit their DNA to look for matching elements. If you wish to aid law enforcement, make sure that your DNA sample will be destroyed after it is analyzed, not stored.
  • Participation in studies: Currently, few states have laws that protect genetic data once it has been collected and analyzed for research. This means that genetic material can be reused in future studies, transferred between institutions, or disseminated without the permission of the original donor. This doesn’t mean that individuals shouldn’t participate in research, but they should find out in writing before the study what will be done with their genetic information. Studies have shown that DNA data alone can easily be used to figure out an individual’s actual identity, a fact that could influence insurance and employment opportunities.
  • Elective genetic testing: Many worried about genetic condition opt to have their DNA sequenced by a private company. This can be beneficial, but it does come with risks. Not all DNA testing facilities have airtight privacy policies and some may do little to ensure your information stays confidential. If you submit to testing from a service, you may also be opening yourself up to these records being obtained by insurance companies or other outside sources. Once those records are out there, it’s very hard to get them back.

How to Protect Your DNA

While it’s useful to know what laws protect your genetic information and when it’s at risk, it is perhaps more important to know what you can do to ensure that your genetic information is kept safe and confidential, unless you choose to share it, that is.
  • Always know the privacy policies of genetic testing companies. Getting genetic testing done through a private company is increasingly common, as prices have plummeted and access to these companies has increased. While these businesses do provide an opportunity to learn more about your health, they also pose a risk to your privacy if you’re not careful. Before submitting any samples to a company, carefully examine their privacy policy to see what it says and check out the business through the Better Business Bureau and TRUSTe.
  • Know your rights under the law. We’ve outlined the major legislation that protects your genetic privacy above, but it doesn’t hurt to do additional research as well. The better you know what your rights are under state and federal laws, the better you can protect your personal and private health information. For additional information on privacy as a patient, learn more about HIPPA, which while not DNA specific does ensure that knowledge of your health issues can’t be shared.
  • Don’t freely give out health information. Unless you are protected under law, do not share your personal family history or genetic information with others. In some cases, like when applying for life or long-term care insurance, this information can be used to discriminate against you. While GINA and other laws may protect you, there is no guarantee that sharing your genetic information won’t result in discrimination, so it’s best to always keep it to yourself unless absolutely necessary.
  • Keep records about your DNA in a secure location. If you opt for DNA testing of any kind, especially that which looks at your risk for certain conditions, make sure to keep these records in a secure location that can’t be accessed by others. While you hardly need to worry about thieves, you do want to keep anyone who may be snooping around your home from finding out private information about you.
  • Ensure that any research studies you participate in will keep data confidential. Sometimes, those suffering from certain diseases will choose to participate in research studies that collect genetic data. This can be an incredibly beneficial way to make strides in understanding and treating these conditions and others like them, but it does compromise DNA privacy. While not everyone will care about this, those who do will want to ensure that any studies requesting this kind of information will keep it confidential and, in some cases, you may even want to request that genetic material not be retained after the study is complete.
  • Ask questions. You don’t have to agree to take part in a study for genetic information to be gathered on you. That’s why you should ask your doctor or health care professional if certain medical procedures will require genetic testing and find out in advance what his, her, or the medical facility’s policy is on personal genetic information.
  • Seek legal recourse. If you believe your genetic information has been compromised in a way that violates your personal privacy and the law, contact a lawyer who can help you address these issues. You can also file a complaint with federal and state agencies for certain violations as well.

Much of the legislation and public policy regarding genetic privacy is still in its early stages, but as technology evolves and genetic testing becomes increasingly more common, how genetic data is handled, who has access to it, and the privacy rights of individuals will become increasingly more important. If you haven’t considered the risks posed by unsecured DNA information before, now is the time to look into protecting yourself and ensuring that your information isn’t being used, shared, or stored in ways that put your privacy at risk. While you may never face a serious issue with regard to your genetic privacy, it never hurts to be cautious and know your rights.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Nigeria Prize For Literature 2013: CALL FOR ENTRIES

This is the official Call for Entries for 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature.

The Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2013

Call For Entries

Entries are hereby invited for The Nigeria Prize for Literature. The yearly literary prize is endowed by Nigeria LNG Limited [NLNG] to honour the author of the best book by a Nigerian within the last four years.

The prize rotates among four literary genres - prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. This year, the competition is for Poetry.

The competition is open only to published works by Nigerian writers irrespective of place of residence. It carries a reward of $100,000.

Submission Procedure

Six copies of the entry and, if available, an e-copy, together with evidence of Nigerian citizenship (photocopy of Nigerian passport or National identity card), may be submitted either by authors or publishers, in accordance with the genres in competition.

Books should be submitted to Nigeria LNG Limited’s External Relations Division, promoters of the prize, by the stipulated deadline. Failure to meet the stated conditions will lead to disqualification of the entry.

No book published before January, 2010 will be accepted.

Complete contact information, including full postal address and/or e-mail(s), phone number(s) and other relevant contact information should accompany each submission.

An author in any competition will enter only one published work. Mere manuscripts will not be considered. No book previously submitted for this competition may be re-submitted at a later date, even if major revisions have been made or a new edition published.

The prize will be awarded for no other reason than excellence.

Panel of Judges

· A panel of judges shall be appointed for The Nigeria Prize for Literature by the Advisory Board for Literature.

· The appointment of judges shall be done to reflect the genre in competition for the year. Persons appointed as judges are those who have wide experience, peer recognition, good public image, and command respect nationally and internationally.

Literary Criticism

To encourage literary criticism, the Advisory Board for Literature will also reward one critic with not less than N1,000,000.

Since the aim is to promote Nigerian literature in the world, the prize will be open to literary critics from all over the world. Special considerations shall be given to critical essays on new writing in Nigerian Literature.

Contestants shall send in at least three or more critical essays published in a major scholarly journal. Such a journal shall have proven track record of dedication to excellence and shall have an international circulation.

No critical essay previously submitted for this competition may be considered at a later date, even if major revisions of it have been made. Mere manuscripts will not be considered. Entries not submitted by the deadline and according to stated conditions shall not be considered. Only entries published in the year of the competition or in the three years before then shall be considered.

No member of the Advisory Boards or Panels of Judges can enter their essay(s) for the literary criticism award in the year they are serving.

Public Presentation

Prizes will be awarded at a Public Presentation.

Close of Entry

All entries must be in by April 12th, 2013. Late entries will not be entertained.


Professor Romanus Egudu - Chairman

Professor Abiodun Omolara Ogundipe - Member

Dr. Andrew Abah - Member

International Consultant

Professor Kofi Anyidoho

Advisory Board

Professor Emeritus Ayo Banjo - Chairman

Dr. Jerry Agada - Member

Professor Ben Elugbe - Member

Entries shall be sent to:

The Nigeria Prize for Literature
External Relations Division
Nigeria LNG Limited
INTELS Aba Road Estate
Km 16, Aba Expressway
P.M.B 5660, Port Harcourt
Rivers State, Nigeria.


The Nigeria Prize for Literature
External Relations Division
Heron House
10 Dean Farrar Street

For further information, visit Nigeria LNG Limited’s website:

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Mr. IGP, Remember the Emergency Declaration on Police Training Colleges?

IGP M.D. Abubakar.

Mr. IGP, remember the Emergency declaration on Police training Colleges?

~ By John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D.

Mr. Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar after being appointed by President Jonathan as the Acting Inspector General of Police made an open declaration about police training institutions in January of 2012. At which time he professed, at least in the public media, that he was going to declare a state of emergency on the Nigerian Police training institutions as they are in need of serious reformation in terms of basic necessities like healthy facilities for sleeping, eating and lectures.

More than one year later after the new police head made his assertion, and asked the public media to be a direct witness to his plans, and requested for “prayers” is now faced with an open question.

The declaration of the emergency was apparently never realized as evidenced with the recent events, but the IG may very well have a set of good reasons for the non-realization of the emergency plans.

His leadership and administrations have demonstrated the least evidence of backing up his promise, as the training centers and colleges, at least from the point of the historical Police College in Ikeja, Lagos, which remains a spot and site of national humiliation, shame and outrage.

As we all know President Jonathan made a surprise visit to the Ikeja Police College and reportedly found the whole place Unbelievable! The President’s visit was in response to the good and bold work of the media. The Nigerian people were told that the President found the entire place especially the boardinghouses, college kitchen, dining hall and other places almost beyond human living.

This was certainly a good move by the president but he showed unfortunately, the usual signs of Nigerian Emotional Democracy (NED) when he expressed a peculiar concern about when and how the Channels TV was able to film the rot and deterioration in the college.

Mr. Jonathan reportedly showed anger and viewed the documentary by the TV station as a smear campaign, no, Mr. President, you are totally wrong! What does it matter?
It is true that the police college in Ikeja is not the only training ground in Nigeria. But one thing is clear, the Ikeja police school is a place where current and future officials of national security are supposed to learn the science and profession of police work.

But how can this be done in the face of being punished with an environment that is negative for healthy mental processing, a place with overflowing space for physical disease, and an environmental ground with constant exposure to burden of invisible ailments, resulting in possible disability, or likely premature death.

Mr. President, as you may know training grounds generally have significant impact on the human body and mind as well as on one’s future behaviors.

A trainee’s ready access to necessities like healthy food, accommodation, and even restrooms could affect how he or she behave months and years to come; particularly, when the time comes for him or her to become active as police man or woman on the streets and in the public.

Mr. President, now that the Nigerian Army Engineering Corps is giving a helping hand in rehabilitating the police college which is the essence partnership in a democracy, a healthy smell from the new or updated lavatories, classrooms and hostels, will no doubt enhance the mental and physical well being of these trainees.

Mr. President, your openness in allowing the Army to give a helping hand as we have seen in other democratic or presidential societies like America, where the Army corps of engineers always come to rescue in time of urgency is fully noticeable.
This move of yours should be commended, and be expanded to other institutions, especially, when the expending of funds is not the only way to engage in the maintenance of institutions in Nigeria.

As we all know, many projects in Nigeria are being handled sometime in an evil and selfish manner, especially by those filled with the spirit of psychopathy which has eaten so deep into the mind of many powerful persons.

And it matters not whether the Ministry of Police Affairs or the Nigeria Police is in control of police funds in regards to the annual budgetary allocations for sectors like the training colleges.

Especially, when some of these so-called leaders appear to suffer from what could be called the mentality of schizonaira or perceptual craving for corrupt money which remains prevalent in the society?

If it is true that the IG is partnering with the private sector to work on improving the police force that is a good thing as that is what is expected in our new global community where the spirit of corporate social responsibility is valued. Many Nigerians will agree that this is not the time to blame each other as it relates to who should take charge of funding or whether it is the function of the Ministry of Police Affairs, the Nigeria Police or even the Police service commission to clean the current mess; as each of these sections did not scream out publicly until the God-sent documentary was aired by Channels television station.

This type of media exposure in regards to the accumulated and ongoing consequences of schizonaira behaviors, conducts, and deeds in Nigeria is just what the people need at this time. Thank God for this courageous form of the media, it is about time!

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