A crayfish seller has warmed the hearts of many in Nigeria with photos from his pre-wedding shoot and his wedding.
Emeka who sells crayfish at the Gwagalada market in Abuja, said he graduated from the University of Abuja in 2013. Growing up, his mother was a crayfish seller and he joined the business when he was in the University. He began to help his mum to supply crayfish to people and they were making good returns which motivated him to go into the business full time after university.
According to him, business has been very profitable as he has been able to erect a house of his own in Abuja from the proceeds he makes from the sale of crayfish.
On how he met his wife who finished her Youth Service in December last year, Emeka said
‘She came to my shop to buy cryafish and we got talking. We became friends and it went further”.
The couple had their wedding on May 25th.
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Long lines of lorries stretch like tentacles from Apapa port, the largest in Nigeria. Drivers doze in their cabs, feet flung over dashboards; some sling hammocks beneath the chassis. Musa Ibrahim, an ebullient trader, says he has been queuing for two days. He gestures at empty buildings. “Most of the companies you see here they done close,” he sighs, writes The Economist.
The Nigerian economy is stuck like a stranded truck. Average incomes have been falling for four years; the IMF thinks they will not rise for at least another six. The latest figures put unemployment at 23%, after growing for 15 consecutive quarters. Inflation is 11%. Some 94 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, more than in any other country, and the number is swelling. By 2030 a quarter of very poor people will be Nigerians, predicts the World Data Lab, which counts such things.
Nigeria’s engine was already sputtering when President Muhammadu Buhari took the wheel in 2015. The price of oil, which makes up 9% of GDP and more than 90% of export earnings, had crashed. But “Baba Go Slow”, as Nigerians took to calling him, made a bad situation worse. Instead of letting Nigeria’s currency slide, which would have stoked inflation, policymakers rationed dollars to maintain the naira’s long-standing and artificially high peg to the dollar. To do so the central bank refused to release foreign currency for a long list of imports, ranging from toothpicks to shovels. Without dollars for equipment or supplies, factories closed and workers were laid off, leading to a recession in 2016.
The central bank confused things further by introducing several exchange rates. One was an official rate of 305 naira per dollar. Its main use seemed to be to allow the bank to brag about how strong the currency was since it sold almost no dollars at that absurd rate. Its second rate was used to funnel artificially cheap dollars (about 320 naira each) to favoured importers. Naturally, there were not enough of these dollars to go around, so most Nigerians (especially those buying toothpicks) had to pay as much as 500 naira on the black market. The gap between most of these rates has converged of late at about 360. But having so many rates puts off investors. The government thinks the answer to the “dollar shortage” is for Nigerians to make and grow more and import less. To this end, it has slapped import taxes on rice and fertiliser and is giving tax breaks for a huge new oil refinery.
There is little sign of the kind of export-led industrial revolution that has lifted incomes in Asia. This is not only because the naira is overvalued. It is also because the state has spent decades neglecting basic public goods, like roads, schools and electricity. “In Nigeria, if you set up a business you have to build your infrastructure, you have to build your power plant, you have to build everything,” says Abdul Samad Rabiu, the chairman of the BUA Group, a conglomerate. Eghosa Omoigui, who manages a tech fund, compares running a business there to “running a nation-state”.
Where urgency is needed, Mr. Buhari offers the only caution. Few are holding their breath for any more drive in his second term, which began on May 29th. “We are trying to avoid shocks,” explains Adeyemi Dipeolu, his economic adviser: sharp currency movements or hikes in electricity tariffs would be felt by ordinary Nigerians. Yet officials are postponing a crisis, not averting one. Consider borrowing. The debt-to-GDP ratio is 28%. But Nigeria collects so little in tax that interest payments swallow about 60% of federal revenues.
“We don’t have a debt problem, we have a revenue problem,” insists Udoma Udo Udoma, the budget minister in Mr. Buhari’s first term. The government plans to raise funds by selling off some of its share in joint-venture contracts with oil companies and might hike taxes on luxury goods. Revenues are rising, but fall far short of budget targets. Some of the gaps is probably being filled by running up an overdraft with the central bank, which now holds more assets than the entire banking system.
Public finances would be healthier if the government raised the price of fuel, which is imported by the state oil company and sold on at a loss. Last year this subsidy was worth at least 0.5% of GDP—as much as the government spent on health care. Politicians are scared to end the subsidy. An attempt to do so in 2012 led to massive protests. Although the government has expanded school-feeding programmes and is working on a safety net for the poor, most citizens get few benefits from the state. Oxfam, a charity, ranks 157 countries on their commitment to reducing inequality, based on social spending, taxes and labour laws: Nigeria comes last.
For Nigeria to prosper, the state could harness the vim of its 200m citizens. Instead, it ignores them, except when politicians need votes. People have come to expect nothing from government, says Chika Okeke, who owns a small stationery shop in Lagos: “you struggle yourself.” (Independent)
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The National Population Commission (NPC) has said that the current overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years.
The Acting Chairman of NPC, Hassan Bashir, stated this in New York while delivering Nigeria’s statement at the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development.
According to the World Health Organisation, life expectancy refers to the average number of years that a newborn is expected to live if current mortality rates continue to apply.
The population chief said Nigerians “60 years and over currently represents less than five per cent of the entire population, while overall life expectancy is 52.2 years.”
Mr Bashir added: “As you may be aware, Nigeria estimated population is currently at over 198 million with an annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent.
“The total Fertility Rate remains at 5.5 per woman; 63 per cent of the entire population is under the age of 25; 42 per cent is under the age of 15 years.
“Fifty per cent of the female population is in the reproductive years, while 54.8 per cent of the population constitutes the working age,” the Nigerian population chief said.
According to him, Nigeria recently concluded the field work of its national demography and health survey in 2018 and while it awaits the outcome of that survey, early and child marriage still persists.
He said data available indicated that unintended and unwanted pregnancies were common as 23 per cent of the adolescent girl age 15 to 19 years have commenced reproduction.
Mr Bashir said the situation had put women, especially young girls, at risk of maternal death which stands at 576 deaths per 100,000 live births.
He added that 61 per cent of women of reproductive age who had live births within this period received antenatal care from skilled providers.
However, only 36 per cent of them had their deliveries in health facilities and 38 percent of the deliveries were attended to by skilled birth assistants, he said.
He explained that the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) had been conducted regularly with plans to conduct a census during the 2020 round of census.
Mr Bashir, however, bemoaned the major challenge of unavailability of timely information and robust disaggregated data for tracking progress aimed at achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Some of our critical concerns include addressing the needs of over 66 million adolescents and young people, aged 10 to 24 years (half of whom are girls) to gain access to comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health information and age appropriate services.
“There is also the need to address the contraceptive needs of 14 million internally displaced persons affected by increasing insecurity, as well as the needs of over 13.2 million out-of-school children including school-drop-outs due to unintended pregnancies.”
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UN, Tijjani Bande, while delivering a statement on behalf of African Group, said Africa recognised the urgent need to unleash the creative initiative and energy of its large youth population.
Mr Bande, Chairman, African Group, UN, said Africa remained committed to cooperating internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of all migrants.
“To this effect, the African Group supports the free movement of people and goods within countries as it foster rural-urban inter-linkages, and regional integration,” he said.
According to him, African Group emphasised the need for developed countries to promote policies that foster the integration and reintegration of migrants and returning migrants. (NAN)
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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday said Nigeria’s economy was in bad shape because members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic team do not posses what it takes to turn the economy of the country around.
Atiku said if voted into office in 2019, he would use the knowledge he had garnered from many years of serving as a public officer and being in business to turn the economy around.
He spoke in Aba, during a town hall meeting he had with representatives of the business community.
The presidential candidate said he was in the South-East to interact with businessmen from the zone because of the role they played in the economic development of the country and West Africa.
He said he would do whatever was obtainable within the confines of the law to promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
He said, “I am aware of your challenges because I am a business man like you. Whatever that is your pain is also my pain. I face the same challenges you are facing, but the only thing we can do to change the situation is to change the government in power now.
“This present government lacks the understanding and the capacity to turn our economy around, nor promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“We would ensure that policies that would encourage businesses to thrive in Nigeria are put in place.”
Atiku said the nation could not afford to have a population of 15 million unemployed youths.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, described the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics that 20.93m Nigerians had lost their jobs under Buhari as terrible and catastrophic.
He said the implication was that the unemployed population in Nigeria was twice the population of Benin Republic.
He said Nigeria could not continue to be run by an administration that lacked solution to the country’s socio-economic and political challenges.
He said, “We expected a terrible job report, particularly with the comment on live television from the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, that President Buhari had ordered the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, to fudge the latest job reports.
“However, the job report released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, November 19, 2018, is not just terrible, it is catastrophic. It shows that under the APC administration, a whopping 20.93m Nigerians have lost their jobs!
“To put this in perspective, the unemployed population in Nigeria is now twice the population of Benin Republic!”
He added, “Nigeria cannot continue like this, especially with an administration that continues to blame others for things that they should find solutions to with the latest ridiculous episode being President Buhari’s blaming of former President Jonathan for his own inability to appoint ministers for six months, an action that is directly responsible for the sorry state of unemployment in Nigeria.”
The former vice-president urged Nigerians to note that a President who could not create jobs or wealth in his own private business could not create jobs or wealth for the public. (Punch)
A 19-year-old man, who was identified as Prince Chigozie, has reportedly committed suicide because he was denied some bananas by a relation of his.
The incident took place in Mmakwum village, Obosi in the Idemili North Local Government Area of the state.
PUNCH Metro gathered on Monday that Chigozie hanged himself in his room.
A source in the community who begged not to be named for fear of victimisation told our correspondent that Chigozie was found hanging in his room by his father.
He said, “Though no suicide note was found around him about his death; we suspect he killed himself because he was denied of some bananas by one of his relations, whom, I wouldn’t want to mention here.
“I saw him fuming in the morning hours. When I approached him, he said a relation of his had been denying him many things because of his unemployed state.
“I told him to take it easy, but he kept fuming and threatening. Shortly after that, I heard that he had committed suicide.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Haruna confirmed the story to our correspondent.
He said, “One Uche Gbughemobi of Mmakwum village Obosi reported at Obosi Police Division how he found his son dead in his room. The scene was visited and the victim was taken to Crown Hospital Obosi where he was confirmed dead by a medical doctor.”
He said the case was being investigated to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident. (Punch)
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has called on youths in Nigeria to show President Muhammadu Buhari that they were not lazy and uneducated by voting against him in 2019, saying; “it is painful that the President could describe youths in Nigeria that are daily struggling to make a living under a harsh economy as lazy people.”
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said; “Contrary to the morale-killing comment of the President, Nigerian youths are hardworking, intelligent and enterprising. Their future was mortgaged by past leaders like President Buhari, who had everything at their beck and call as youths. I imagine the youths of today having half of the opportunities available in the 50s and 60s.”
He said; “At 19, President Buhari left Secondary School to join the Army. At age 21 (two years in the army), he was commissioned a second lieutenant and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Within his 24 years in the Army, the President was Governor of North Eastern State, Minister of Petroleum, Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Head of State. Where can our youths get such opportunity today?
“Under his watch as Minister of Petroleum, N2.8 billion went missing from the accounts of the NNPC in Midlands Bank in the United Kingdom. That N2.8 billion as at that time is like $2.8 billion (over N1 trillion) now and here is he insulting the youths whose existence his likes mortgaged.”
While telling the President to stop de-marketing Nigeria and its people in foreign lands, Governor Fayose reminded Nigerians how he (Buhari) said in an interview with UK Telegraph in February 2016 that some Nigerians in the United Kingdom were disposed to criminality and should not be granted asylum there.
The governor, who insisted that the negative foundation the likes of President Buhari laid for Nigeria has made life impossible for the youths, asked; “As Military Governor of the North Eastern State, what difference did President Buhari make in the lives of youths in the North?”
He described Buhari as an analogue President, saying; “There is no connection between him and the youths because I doubt if he can even use a common android phone. One can’t really blame the President; he does not understand what is obtainable in the country anymore. That’s the reason he was still seeing West Germany and Deutschmark in 2015.”
Urging the youths to use their votes to send President Buhari out of office in 2019, Governor Fayose said; “I did say before now that majority of the youths that voted for President Buhari in 2015 never knew who they were voting for because they did not experience him (Buhari) as a Military ruler. Most of them were those that were born in the 80s and they did not witness Buhari’s clueless and draconian government.
“Now that our youths have seen President Buhari and he has topped his cluelessness up by going to London to insult them by calling them lazy and uneducated people, they should be prepared to vote against him next year and install a President that will value and respect them.”.
A mother of two unemployed graduates, whose name was given as Uzoaku, on Saturday hanged herself in Mgbakwu, in the Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
It was gathered that the 66-year-old woman had complained to some people that she was angry that her two children, who graduated some years back, had not got any job.
A villager, Uche Aniuno, said, “I saw her about four days ago. She expressed bitterness over the unemployment situation of her two children who graduated some years back. But I didn’t know that could lead her to this situation.
“She was a hard-working woman and I won’t say she was poor. One of her daughters is married with children. We are all surprised that she ended this way.”
But the younger brother of the deceased, Fredrick Nwenu, told some journalists that his sister had no reason to take her life.
Nwenu, who said he accommodated her late sister for some time, said the news came to him as a shock.
He said, “My sister had no reason to do this, having trained her two children to university level.
“She had two children who are university graduates. Her daughter is happily married with kids. So, she had no reason whatsoever to commit suicide.”
The community was thrown into mourning when the news of the suicide spread, as many described her as an industrious woman.
It was gathered that the deceased hanged herself with a rope which she tied to the burglary-proof bars of the window in her room.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the victim was cooking in her kitchen around 4pm when she suddenly abandoned the food and dashed to the bedroom where she allegedly took her life.
A neighbour, Isaac Umeh, who described the incident as regrettable, wondered why a grandmother would take such a decision.
He said the deceased was alone at home when the incident happened.
He said, “Nobody was around that time. The food she was cooking was still on the fire when she suddenly rushed into the room where she used a rope to hang herself.
“The whole thing is still a mystery to us because nobody believed a woman of her age with grandchildren could take her own life.”
When our correspondent visited the residence of the deceased, sympathisers were still trooping in in large numbers to offer condolences to the family.
Calls made to the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Nkeiruka Nwode rang out. A text message sent to her had also yet to be replied to as of press time. (Metro)
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says Nigeria is currently at a crossroads as poverty, unemployment, inflation, infant mortality and other social vices are on the increase.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to unite in the demand for true federalism.
Atiku said this while delivering his speech at the formal public presentation of the Daily Stream newspaper in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “A huge pall of pessimism hangs over a section of the citizenry, and the ranks of those who harbour real doubt about the future of the country swell by the day.
“The country is truly at a crossroads, and things are made worse by the cocktail of economic, social and political problems which we have had to contend with, and which add to the abysmally low estimation of our country even by its own citizens.”
The former Vice-President recalled that life was better in the First Republic because each region was allowed to grow at its own pace while the Federal Government was weaker.
Atiku, however, noted that following the creation of states, the Federal Government became very powerful while the federating units became poor, thereby, deepening poverty among the populace
He added, “Our beloved country has been in the throes of severe and debilitating social and economic problems. Virtually all the development indices have not been favourable: massive and pervasive poverty, double-digit inflation, unemployment, dwindling foreign exchange receipts, poor GDP growth rates, high infant and maternal mortality, high levels of illiteracy, and millions of school-age children out of school.”
Atiku said the many problems facing the nation were already threatening the unity and the existence of the country. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to come together to renegotiate the terms of our union.
The former vice-president said no leader could make far-reaching positive changes in the country except the current political structure is changed.
He added, “To be sure, good leaders do make a difference in the fortunes of countries. However, leaders operate within structural constraints imposed by constitutions, laws and regulations and the local and world economy.
“But the most germane question we need to ask ourselves is: must we really continue to live together as one country amidst such a pervasive climate of disunity, which is impeding our development?
“My prompt answer to this is yes, we should remain together because it is the best option, and because we will be stronger, greater, and better in one piece than in pieces.”
Attempts to get reactions of President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, did not succeed. He had not responded to an email and an SMS sent to him as of the time of sending this report. (Punchng.com)