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Aisha Saleh: How Lagos Crushes Its Promising Young

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The recent decision by the Lagos State Government to ban rather than regulate okada (commercial motorcyclers) and keke Marwa (tricycles), sounds posh, innit? Big city! Oho!

But beyond the urbanisation rhetoric is sprawling, gnawing poverty and misery left unaddressed: millions of people across Lagos whose survival depend on these sources of livelihood now have their basic existence threatened. And this is in addition to the neck-breaking inconvenience to millions of commuters who crisscross smaller road networks across the state every single second of every single day and utilize these modes of transport.

One of the millions of people directly impacted by the fall-out of this monstrous policy is our own Miss Aisha Saleh, the Glistening Genius we discovered in one of our Lagos communities. Fifteen year-old Aisha, academic genius, polyglot and child’s rights campaigner, whose refusal of an international passport by Immigration officers at the Ikoyi, Lagos passport office to attend an international children’s conference in Geneva last November as the guest of the United Nations and representative of our country, made some news.

Aisha’s dad, Saleh Mohammed is a keke Marwa driver. That’s the only thing he does for a living and from which he fends for Aisha and her brother Mohammed (their mum being dead since about a decade ago). Their dad has refused to remarry, dedicating his life to caring for the duo who stay with their grandmother in Monkey Village. Besides the educational scholarship from CEE-HOPE, the weight of feeding and every other thing rests on the fifty-something year-old. You can then imagine the impact on these kids and for millions of others like them across Lagos who are barely surviving a fragile economy- multifaceted impact.
Dear, so that’s how Lagos ‘nourishes’ its young, especially those sired by their perennially criminalized urban poor adults.
Clearly, government entities across the world make conscious efforts by their policies and body languages to project their poor-friendliness outlook and overall inclusiveness. But Nigeria, and especially Lagos State prides itself by how it terrorizes and pushes its most vulnerable into extinction. Check it up; it’s the biggest news that emanates from Lagos every single year: ban on this, ban on that and targeting the struggling poor, or shooting to death of slum dwellers in routine illegal and crude raids in the name of forced evictions. Count: Maroko. Makoko. Badia East. Otodo-Gbame etc. and just recently, Tarkwa Bay. All inhabited by millions of kids, school age kids, chased into homelessness, instability and damp directionlessness. And yet we are the country with the highest number of out of school kids. Common on, where is the sense in that?
Nothing wrong with aspiring to be a big city, but then, you have to have the big city reality: infrastructure, standards of living, employment rate and other indexes. And even then, in achieving that status, does it have to be overnight, and at what cost? How about consulting the potential victims of such sledge hammer policy for alternative livelihood engagements? What about bringing to life a non-existent welfare system?
And if you cannot improve the lot of your impoverished population, must you necessarily habitually crush and push them into further misery, actually, extinction? Does it actually make any sense that the country designated the ‘Poverty Capital of the World’ also has the worst anti-poor policies?
And what about child-friendliness? What about preserving the interrupted development of its vulnerable young population?
But then that’s what happens when the worst among us are thrusted the jagged reins of power.
No creative thinking. No empathy. No care for perceptions. No thoughts for sustainable development. Emptiness. Savagery.
That’s the tragic story of Nigeria.
A BIG SHAME ON YOU, LAGOS!

Abah, a journalist and child’s rights activist, is the founder of CEE-HOPE, a child’s right and development NGO
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Foreign

Ronaldo Meets Ole Gunnar, Trains With New Teammates

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Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday reunited with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his return to Manchester United’s training ground. He also took part in a training session with his new teammates.

Ronaldo, 36, left Juventus before the international break but has been in quarantine after arriving with his family in Manchester last Thursday.

Ronaldo played alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his first stint at Old Trafford twelve years ago.

A statement from United reads:

‘Cristiano met with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former team-mate, in the manager’s office before being introduced to the players who are currently hard at work in training,’ read a statement from United.

‘The spectacular signing from Juventus joined the session with his colleagues and wasted no time in getting acquainted with the group.’

‘Cristiano met with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former team-mate, in the manager’s office before being introduced to the players who are currently hard at work in training.

‘The spectacular signing from Juventus joined the session with his colleagues and wasted no time in getting acquainted with the group.’

Ronaldo is expected to make his debut this weekend for United as the Red Devils host Newcastle at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo in training session with new teammates

‘Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday,’ Ronaldo said after completing his move back to United.

‘I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again.’

Other players expected to join the Red Devils via this summer transfer window include England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and centre-back Raphael Varane, a former teammate of Ronaldo at Real Madrid.

United started the season in good form with two wins and a draw from their opening three Premier League games. They look up to build on that in the coming weeks in both the league and in Europe. 

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GRAZING ROUTE: Ortom Threatens Legal Action Against Buhari’s Presidency

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The Benue State governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom has threatened legal action against the Presidency if it decides to go ahead with the Grazing Reserve Policy.

In an interview with journalists in Makurdi on Sunday, Ortom insisted that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria superceded the Northern Nigeria Law that provided for grazing reserves.

Governor Samuel Ortom

The governor insists that Benue will not concede any land for the grazing policy, especially as such lands do not even exist.

“The truth is that if the entire country had accepted ranching, then why is Mr. President insisting on open grazing when there is no land for such.

“In the 50s when this policy was initiated what was the population of Nigeria, it was less that 40 million but today we are more than 200 million. The 923 square kilometer is not even enough to cater for the population. The reason Mr. President is insisting to some of us, I think there is a hidden agenda.

“Mr. President has aides, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and other lawyers around him should advise him. For God sake it is laughable and it appears we do not know what we are doing.

“Under my watch, this state will not accept open grazing . I have already briefed my lawyers should Mr. President insist on going ahead with the Policy,” Ortom stated.

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Entertainment

HOW RACHEL ONIGA DIED AT 64

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Veteran movie actress, Rachel Oniga has passes away on Friday. According to the family, the actress died of heart disease.

The actress reportedly died Friday night in a hospital in Lagos.

In a statement yesterday by the deceased’s sister, Deaconess Toyin Odusote, Oniga, who passed away at the age of 64, had been battling the ailment for some time now.

The statement read in part:

“With a heavy heart and total submission to God, we write to announce the passing of our beloved sister, mother and grandmother, Chief Rachel Tabuno Oniga .

“She died in a Lagos hospital at the age of 64 , on Friday, July 30, 2021 at about 10 pm.

“Contrary to diverse reports informing that she died of COVID-19 complications, we write to inform the general public that she died of heart related issue, an ailment she battled for a short period before her demise.

“We accept her sudden transition as God’s design and we see it as a function of a race of life well finished.

“Painful as it may, we accept it in good faith and total submission to her Maker.

“We, therefore, desire to be allowed to mourn her death privately for now, as we do cause with deep sense of respect for her soul and the glorious life she lived.”

Burial arrangement would be announced in due course by the deceased’s family, the statement promised.

The deceased reportedly had been on Kunle Afolayan’s movie set in Mowe area of Ogun State since last week.

Biography and Profile of Rachael Oniga

An indigene of Eku in Delta State, Oniga was born on 23 May 1957 in Ebutte Metta, Lagos State. She began her acting career in 1993, shortly after her divorce. She worked briefly at Ascoline Nigeria Limited, a Dutch Consultant Company before her first movie titled Onome and her debut Yoruba movie was Owo Blow. Over the years, Oniga has featured in notable Nigerian films such as Sango, a movie scripted by Wale Ogunyemi, produced and directed by Obafemi Lasode and Wale Adenuga’s television series, Super story.She was one of the famous Nigerian Actresses who played a role of a mother in movies. Although featured mostly in Yoruba movies, she was also active in Nollywood English movies.Among the movies she featured are Sango in 1997, Out of Bounds in 1997, Owo Blow 1997, Passion of Mind in 2004, Power Of Sin, Restless Mind and Doctor Bello in 2013, 30 Days in Atlanta in 2014, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel in 2017, Power of 1 in 2018, The Wedding Party and My Village People 2021.

Oniga is survived by three children and several grandchildren.

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