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Concerns As Waste Threatens to Overrun Awka, the Anambra State Capital

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With only about two months to change of government, there are clear signs that seem to suggest that the current government has perhaps been disserted. An elegant proof of this is the attitude of government officials towards their duty. Understandably, transition comes with its own demands and pressures which tend to affect work and work pace. But even that must not subject the people and the society to incredible stress and confusion that smacks of absence of government.

Awka, Nnewi, and especially Onitsha have had long-standing challenges with waste management. In fact, Onitsha at some point was so filthy that the city easily qualifies as the waste capital of Anambra State, if not the Southeast. With so many big markets, that feature thousands of sellers and buyers daily except on Sundays, in addition to at least over a million residents, waste generated in Onitsha is only better imagined. Close to Onitsha is Nnewi which also has some very popular and big markets, with a lot of imported products, some industries among others, plus waste generated by residents who are in their numbers. This also makes Nnewi only second to Onitsha in waste generation. Awka comes third and most of the wastes generated in Awka are from residents of the city who have now more than doubled from only a few years ago, and with that is the challenge of waste management in the capital city.

For the past few weeks, different waste dumps across Awka metropolis have been filled to the brim and overflowing to nearby roads. In many instances, the wastes have nearly blocked off roads completely. While in some cases, waste covers a better part of the roads such that commuters moving in both directions can only take turns to use the small portion left uncovered by waste. Every nook and cranny of Awka is dotted by piles of waste and this only is a reflection of the type of government we have in place. Otherwise, why must city administration, environmental management be abandoned because a new government is coming in?

It is unfortunate that governance suffers in our clime because we have not been able to systematize our government so that it does not revolve around people who are occupying government offices, per time. Under that prevailing circumstance, there can hardly be any sustainable progress because each time, the system depends on the political allegiance or emotions, biases, and other considerations personal to the occupant of a public office, to be able to function and deliver or hinder results.

The tragedy, however, is that the people seem to be comfortable with the situation to the point of giving excuses for this failure, hopeless and yet expecting the worst. For instance, a businesswoman whose shop is at the point of being covered by waste overflowing from the dumpsite at Udoka Estate in Awka said that the situation is expected considering that the current government is leaving. ‘We will soon have a new government. this one now is tired and cannot do much again, look at my shop, it is as if I am selling this waste’, she said. People are angry, yet moving on and adjusting as if nothing is happening.

As of the time of this write-up, feedback could not be secured from the Ministry of Environment or the Anambra State Waste Management Agency – ASWAMA. However, the former Chairman of ASWAMA regretted that what is happening now was exactly what led to his resignation in February 2021. While resigning, ‘I noted with sadness non-funding of waste management by the government. I used my personal money and at other times, borrowed money from friends and family, to do government work…I hope that the incoming government of Prof. Soludo will take waste management very seriously’, Philip Chinwuba said. Regretting that the approach the government took did not solve the problem, Chinwuba noted that engaging private contractors as waste managers as it is obtained now may be a smart way of shifting blames but does not solve the problem of waste management.

This therefore only perhaps suggests that there is no solution in view pending when the new government takes over from Governor Obiano on March 17, 2022, by which time the whole of Awka and indeed Onitsha and Nnewi might have been swallowed up by filth and dirt and trash and refuse. This can only get even more perplexing as the rainy season draws closer. As of now, waste have already blocked some drainage and water channels, which will increase the chances of flooding in the coming months. The question remains, for how long will governance and public good be sacrificed on the altar of politics and in this particular instance, political transition?

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Answers demanded after Nigeria’s disappointing 2026 FIFA World Cup outing

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Nigeria’s sports ministry has demanded an explanation for the country’s poor 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, labelling it “unacceptable” after a 2-1 defeat by Benin left the Super Eagles winless from their opening four games.

Following draws with Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Monday’s result means Nigeria sit fifth in Group C with three points from a possible 12.

Only the group winners are guaranteed a place at the World Cup finals, which will be jointly hosted by the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

“Our supporters are passionate and devoted,” senator John Owan Enoh, minister of sports development, said in a statement.

“They deserve an explanation for why our national team has not been performing to the expected standards since after the last Africa Cup of Nations.

“The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) must provide a comprehensive technical report explaining the reasons behind this poor showing and give cause why there mustn’t be consequences.

“The recent results are unacceptable.”

Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, losing on away goals to Ghana in the play-offs, but did reach the final of this year’s Nations Cup under former boss Jose Peseiro, losing to hosts Ivory Coast.

Finidi George was appointed as Peseiro’s replacement in April but failed to lift the team’s performances against South Africa and Benin.

The Super Eagles have failed to win any of their past seven World Cup qualifiers dating back to November 2021 – a time when Gernot Rohr, now coach of Benin, was in charge.

The game against Benin, which was played in neutral Ivory Coast, got off to an inauspicious start for Nigeria when the the wrong national anthem was played.

Two weeks ago, President Bola Tinubu made a controversial decision to revert to the nation’s former anthem, but organisers in Abidjan clearly missed the memo.

The NFF expressed its displeasure at the mistake and threatened not to take the field for the second period until the correct anthem was played.

Raphael Onyedika had put the Super Eagles ahead after 27 minutes but goals from Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie gave Benin the advantage at the break.

Having returned to Nigeria on Tuesday, the team put out a statement on social media, admitting they were “unhappy about the way the two games panned out” and promising to “fight hard till the end” of the qualifying campaign.

One factor in the squad’s underperformance could be the absence of star striker Victor Osimhen, who has missed all four Group C games so far with injury.

Yet, even without the reigning African Footballer of the Year, the Nigeria squad boasts enough attacking talent to have found the net more than four times in as many outings.

African World Cup qualifiers are set to resume in March next year, with 2025 Nations Cup qualifiers scheduled to be held in September, October and November.

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Nigeria: Kano governor orders arrest of dethroned emir Bayero

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The Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf, has ordered the arrest of the deposed Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado-Bayero, who reportedly returned to Kano early Saturday.

Mr Ado-Bayero was dethroned alongside the emirs of Karaye, Rano Bichi and Gaya whose emirates have been scrapped.

The governor’s spokesperson, Sanusi Bature, said the deposed emir was smuggled back to Kano allegedly to cause mayhem as the reinstated Emir Lamido Sanusi retook the palace.

“The former Emir was smuggled into Kano city last night in an attempt to forcefully return to the palace two days after being deposed by the Governor.

“The new Emir, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, arrived at the (Emir’s) palace in the company of the Governor, the Deputy Governor, the Speaker of the State Assembly, and other top government functionaries at about 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, 25th May 2024.

“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has directed the Commissioner of Police to arrest the deposed Emir with immediate effect for disturbing public peace and attempting to destroy the relative peace the state enjoys.”

Mr Bayero, who was not in Kano at the time of his dethronement, was said to have arrived at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport Saturday morning where he observed the Muslim morning prayer amidst hundreds of sympathisers.

The sympathisers were singing that he remained the original emir of Kano as he committed no offence to warrant his removal.

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Nigerian officials probe plan to marry off scores of female orphans

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Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Women Affairs says it is investigating a plan by a lawmaker in central Niger state to marry off some 100 female orphans of unknown ages later this month.

Speaker of the Niger State Assembly Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji announced the mass wedding last week but called off the ceremony following widespread outrage.

Minister of Women Affairs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, speaking to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, condemned the plans.

Kennedy-Ohanenye said she had petitioned the police and filed a lawsuit to stop the marriages pending an investigation to ascertain the age of the orphans and whether they consented to the marriages.

“This is totally unacceptable by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and by the government” of Nigeria, she said.

Last week, Sarkin-Daji announced his support for the mass wedding of the orphans, whose relatives were killed during attacks by armed bandits. He said it was part of his support to his constituents following an appeal for wedding funding by local traditional and religious leaders.

The mass wedding had been scheduled for May 24.

“That support I intend to give for the marriage of those orphans, I’m withdrawing it,” he said. “The parents can have the support [money], if they wish, let them go ahead and marry them off. As it is right now, I’m not threatened by the action of the minister.”

Despite national laws prohibiting it, forced or arranged marriage is a common phenomenon in Nigeria, especially among rural communities in the predominantly Muslim north, where religious and cultural norms such as polygamy favor the practice.

Poor families often use forced marriage to ease financial pressure, and the European Union Agency for Asylum says girls who refuse could face repercussions such as neglect, ostracism, physical assault and rape.

Raquel Kasham Daniel escaped being married off as a teenager when her father died and now runs a nonprofit helping children, especially less-privileged girls, get a formal education for free.

She said the ability of women to avoid forced marriage in Nigeria depends on their income and education.

“I was 16 when I lost my dad and I was almost married off, but then I ran away from home. And that gave me the opportunity to complete my education, and now I have a better life,” Daniel said.

“So, the reason why I prioritize education is to make sure that other girls have access to quality schooling so that it will help them make informed decisions about their lives. Education not only increases our awareness as girls about our rights but also enhances our prospects for higher income earning,” she said.

Thirty percent of girls in Nigeria are married before they turn 18, according to Girls Not Brides, a global network of more than 1,400 civil society groups working to end child marriage.

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