Inside Nigerian prisons, some inmates are breaking new grounds and making millions of naira by venturing into productive ventures.
The most outstanding are two inmates who took to agriculture and invested their earnings on education and transportation while still in the custodian centres set up by the authorities of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).
The two inmates have also become their families’ bread winners with one of them maintaining two of his children up to the university level.
Although the NCoS did not disclose the record-breaking inmates’ identities, LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that one of them is at the Kaduna State Custodial Camp while the second, until recently, was kept at a similar facility in Enugu State.
It was gathered that the inmate in Kaduna made well over N2 million from the sale of vegetables from his garden in the NCoS’ camp while his colleague in Enugu owned houses and bought buses for commercial use from the proceeds of his farm produce.
The public relations officer of the Correctional Service and Controller of Corrections, Francis Osagiede Enobore, told newsmen at the end of the Comptroller-General (CG’s) 2019 media parley/facility tour of Dukpa Farm Centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja that the inmate who trains two of his children in the university is not alone in this stride.
He said that another inmate from the South East who left the facility recently was able to acquire houses, bought buses for transportation business as well as household properties through the sales of his farm produces.
NCoS spokesman disclosed that the Service has 17 reformation farm centres spread across the country with over 22 tractors where “we produce large quantity of palm oil, rice, maize and other forms of grains, to help minister moral gaps to convicts.”
Enobore, however, explained that awaiting trial inmates who are on the high side in the correctional facilities are not usually deployed to the farms and other empowerment centres as the NCoS’ mandate revolves only around ensuring behavioural reorientation and retooling of convicts.
He said: ”Custodial camps are borderless environments where inmates who committed crimes outside sexual offences are taken after they have served one quarter of their sentences in the various locations of their primary detention.
They are transferred to such locations based on the recommendation of officers in charge of their primary locations to be given monitored freedom. Monitored freedom in the sense that they are not entirely free but to a very large extent you don’t see them go about with wardens by their side.
They are given relative freedom to see how they can gradually transit to the society. Most of them have their families around, they rent houses for their wives, children and they pay their school fees and all that.” ( Kemi Filani)
JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari will this week travel to South Africa for a State visit, which will also mark the 20th anniversary of the Bi-National Commission (BNC).
Despite recent attacks on Foreign nationals in South Africa, both countries insist they share sound relations that were formally established in 1994.
The relations were established immediately after South Africa’s first democratic elections.
Last month hundreds of Nigerians were evacuated from South Africa as a result of the anti-foreigner violence that included the looting and burning of their shops.
Buhari has since met South Africa’s special envoy, Jeff Radebe, in Abuja. Radebe conveyed an apology on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Formal relations between Nigeria and South Africa have been conducted through a BNC, established in 1999 as a structured bilateral mechanism to provide for political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation.
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa will host Buhari on Thursday, 3 October 2019, said the Presidency in a statement on Tuesday.
Over the years the BNC recorded remarkable achievements, and provides a useful platform for enhancing bilateral relations, notably on the economic front.
There are more than 30 agreements which have been negotiated and signed since the establishment of the BNC, and which are at different stages of implementation.
These include the Bilateral Trade Agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Economic and Technical Cooperation and an Agreement on Cooperation in Defence.
There is a significant footprint of South African companies currently doing business in Nigeria in various sectors, mainly in telecommunications, banking, retail, hospitality, mining, tourism, agriculture and construction and tourism.
The total value of trade between South Africa and Nigeria amounted to R50.8 billion in 2018. The major South African products exported to Nigeria include machinery and mechanical appliances; mineral products, and chemical Products.
Major products imported from Nigeria include mineral products, products of the chemicals or allied industries, base metals & articles, plastics and articles (rubber), vegetable products, machinery & mechanical appliances, etc.
One of the main features of the visit will be a Joint Business Forum with a focus on trade and investment.
“The State Visit will not only provide an opportunity for the two Presidents to strengthen and deepen political, economic, social and cultural relations between the two countries, but will also create space for deliberations on issues of mutual interest and concern pertaining to the continent and global governance,” said the SA Presidency.
Ramaphosa will be supported by several senior Cabinet ministers of departments that include International Relations and Cooperation; Defence and Military Veterans; Minerals and Energy; Trade and Industry; Police; State Security and Home Affa
Former minister and presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Oby Ezekwesili, has made it clear to President Ramaphosa of South Africa that only a public apology will be good enough at this point.
When a former presidential candidate in Nigeria’s 2019 elections, Dr. Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili and leaders of the Nigerian community in Cape Town met to proffer solutions to recurring xenophobic attacks in South Africa, they issued a statement afterwards to say only a public apology will be good enough from South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.
Anti-immigrant sentiments have consumed South Africa for decades, with mobs in the Gauteng province, Johannesburg and Pretoria, taking to the streets in recent weeks with cudgels and rocks, burning property belonging to immigrants and looting their shops for fun.
At the receiving end have been Nigerians, Somalians, Zambians, Madagascans and Zimbabweans.
Africans across the continent have responded by boycotting South Africa. Pop stars have canceled concerts. Madagascar and Zambia refused to send football teams for a game with South Africa. Nigeria has recalled its ambassador and pulled out of a major economic forum. And Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buharihas made it clear he is ready to evacuate Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return home.
“We have made arrangements for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return home.The recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent, if nothing is done to stop it”, Buhari said.
Nigerian community in South Africa makes contribution
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town, South Africa, last week, Ezekwesili, alongside Nigerian entrepreneurs, professionals and the Nigerian community in South Africa led by Mr Cosmos Echie (who is the acting President of the Nigerian Community Western Cape) issued a communique in which they referred to latest events in South Africa as ‘Afrophobia’.
“It was unanimously agreed that the crisis is detrimental to the spirit of African renaissance, affirmation of black heritage, progress and development. Afrophobia compromises everything that the recently brokered intra-African trade – Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement — represents and aspires to deliver,” the communique reads.
The group also asked President Ramaphosa to apologise to Nigerians and other countries whose citizens have borne the brunt of xenophobic attacks for decades.
The South African government was also advised to trigger series of actions necessary to de-escalate the brewing conflict.
“Officials of the government of South Africa must immediately desist from making any further pejorative and incendiary comments targeting Nigerians and their country and instead publicly commit to taking preventive and surveillance measures that will foreclose a repeat of Afrophobic attacks of Nigerians and other African nationals.
“The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, should rise to the demands of leadership and reach out to the President of Nigeria to trigger the series of dialogue and actions necessary for swift de-escalation of the brewing conflict between their two countries.
“The President of South Africa should offer a sincere public apology to Nigeria, other countries affected by the attacks and the entire continent for the tragic hostility and harm perpetrated against their citizens.
“The President of South Africa should send a sharp signal to South Africans and the continent by visiting the victims of the Afrophobia attacks to empathize with and reassure them of their safety in South Africa and the government should consider paying compensations for losses sustained in the attacks.
“South Africa and Nigeria should agree a mutual legal assistance cooperation scheme for tackling cases of crimes occurring among their citizens”, the communique stated further.
The group also asked “the Nigerian High Commission and Nigerians in South Africa to design a fact-based campaign to widely convey the accurate and positive narrative of the value they contribute to their host country.
“For example, South Africans must be made aware that more than 18 per cent of lecturers in their higher institutions are Nigerians. A significant percentage of the medical personnel in rural hospitals are Nigerians.
“Most Nigerians and Nigerian-owned businesses operate responsibly in legitimate and professional practices in South Africa compared to the less than one per cent of cases of shadowy activities.
“The Nigerian government should make visible effort to guarantee the safety and security of South Africans and their businesses in Nigeria.
“The umbrella organisation of South Africa- based Nigerians will be encouraged to launch a business platform to support the formalising processes for as many informal businesses of Nigerians as possible in order to better capture the value and impact being created and contributed to South Africa’s economic and social landscape.”
Ezekwesili also promised her expertise to the cause in the days ahead.
“The leaders of South Africa-based Nigerians will collaborate to promote a citizens diplomacy programme to foster stronger personal and business relationships between Nigerians and South Africans”, the former minister said.
South Africa is home to many immigrants. However, the country’s poorest often struggle to find employment, with some South Africans blaming competition by foreigners for their plight.
Violent attacks on outsiders, particularly those from other African nations, have become a major and recurring problem in the former apartheid enclave. Some assaults have been deadly.
The attacks have stoked tensions and threatened to sour diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nigeria–two of Africa’s biggest economies.
Demand releases of Chibok Girls, Leah Shaibu, Sowore, others
A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has revealed plans by prominent Nigerians to stage an apolitical massives protest against Muhammadu Buhari at the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly slated for 17th of September, 2019.
He said the protest is aimed to demand for the release of all political prisoners under the APC administration, free the remaining Chibok Girls, free Leah Shaibu, free , free Dasuki and free Ibrahim El-Zazaky.
Other demands include; a stop to Fulani herdsmen killings, respect the rule of law, stop insecurity, stop human rights abuse, stop interfering, harassing and intimidating the judiciary, stop nepotism and more importantly, urging the United State of American to including the Chief of Army Staff and other Service Chief in the Visa ban list for extra judicial killings in Nigeria.
A statement released to newsmen by Comrade Timi Frank, in Abuja on Wednesday, said the current administration does not practice democracy and as such does not allow protest in Nigeria.
“We urge all Nigerians in diaspora to come out and protest in New York and make him understand that Nigeria belongs to all of us. This apolitical protest is to save Nigeria from further destruction by Gen Buhari whose sole aim is to islamise Nigeria.
“A protest date will be communicated later, however Nigerians in diaspora should brace up for this mother of all protest as this is an opportunity to let the world know about the plight of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Buhari will be attending the UN general assembly meeting; therefore Nigerians should come out en-masse to protest to save Nigeria from further destruction by the incompetent Buhari,” Frank said.
“All regional groups including IPOB in diaspora should take part in this apolitical protest to bring to the knowledge of the world, the sufferings, human right abuse and oppression being meted out to Nigerians by Buhari.”
The statement also called on the International Community to take note that Buhari has a pending case in the presidential election tribunal where the legitimacy of his presidency is being challenged and until the judgment is given by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the President should not be addressed as President but as former General.
“No world leader will accept or perpetrate the kind of killings, impunity and lawlessness being meted out to Nigerians in Nigeria by General Buhari’s government which does not allow freedom of expression which is one of the fundamental human rights of any citizen in a democracy.
“Finally, we appeal to Nigerians in diaspora, especially those in USA to come out en-mass and join this forth coming apolitical protest, let us show love to our brothers and sisters back home who have been caged and are not allowed to express their views freely.
“Henceforth, Nigerians in diaspora should come out en mass and protest against Gen Buhari and his lackey Yemi Osibanjo in any country they visit as there is no peace for the wicked.
“#FreeNigeriaprotest is the beginning of rescuing Nigeria from tyrants like Buhari,” the statement stated.
A Christian street preacher who had his Bible wrested from him as he was handcuffed and taken away by police has been awarded £2,500 for wrongful arrest.
Oluwole Ilesanmi, 64, has welcomed the payout by the Metropolitan Police as a victory for freedom of speech after he had been wrongly accused of Islamophobia.
The former dentist was preaching outside Southgate Tube station in North London in February when he was approached by two officers.
A passer-by had earlier called police and accused Mr Ilesanmi of hate speech.
He admits to having described Islam as an ‘aberration’ but insists he was simply expressing his point of view as a Christian rather than denigrating Muslims.
One of the police officers claimed Mr Ilesanmi was disturbing the peace, saying: ‘No one wants to hear that. They want you to go away.’
A video of the incident taken by a passer-by shows the policeman taking the Bible away, to Mr Ilesanmi’s visible distress.
One of the officers then says: ‘You should’ve thought about that before being racist.’
He was handcuffed before the officer gave a thumbs-up to the camera. Mr Ilesanmi was then bundled into a police car and driven several miles away. There the grandfather was ‘de-arrested’ and let out of the car.
However, he was not carrying any money and it was only thanks to the kindness of a stranger who gave him the necessary bus fare that he was able to get back.
Scotland Yard has now agreed to pay Mr Ilesanmi £2,500 for wrongful arrest and his humiliating and distressing treatment.
Mr Ilesanmi told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I believe God loves everyone, including Muslims, but I have the right to say I that I don’t agree with Islam – we are living in a Christian country, after all.
‘I was upset when they took away my Bible. They just threw it in the police car. They would never have done that if it had been the Koran. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?’