History, Historians and Nation-Building in Nigeria


By: Terhemba Wuam

According to the historian Jorma Kalela, “Why history?” is more fruitful than the question of “what is history?” The former question is posed because people need knowledge of the past, which they can use as they deem fit as the past is always used in the present. In the United States of America we heard of the Tea Party and talks of the Founding Fathers. In Britain, the Brexiteers anchored leaving the European Union on supposed British values and traditions that they believed Europe was eroding. Using the past is equally true for China, which is the most persistent civilization and culture area. China’s heritage and past imbues the Middle Kingdom with confidence about its place in the world.

In Nigeria, the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba and the other hundreds of ethnic nationalities are together due to history. Because more than a hundred years ago the British came to colonise the Nigeria area. Thus, although one can say these groups have nothing in common before 1914, and therefore that they should not be together, such thinking misses a basic point. They are now together because of history, a common and shared history. A jointly shared history of colonization, which they experienced together for over six decades.

History, will therefore always be about the past and the contemporary. How the past or history is used only heightens the politics in the usage of the history, that is, what historians choose to emphasise, what the elite, the religious authorities, and the government or the people decide to remember and value. As a result the entire gamut of experiences will be there, but often groups will emphasise certain strands and leave out others towards the achievement of certain aims. In Nigeria such battlegrounds are: religion, colonialism and 1914, 1953, 1966, the Civil War, June 12 and May 29 and other historical experiences. Such histories are often subjected to diverse interpretations and meanings. Some of which may be benign and others malignant to the national well-being.

The diverse interpretations of past historical events highlight that history and meaning can be twisted by groups within a nation or internationally. However, despite this bending of history to serve specific agendas, it is very much to the historian to remain impartial and objective and tell the story of the past as it was. Being objective prevents history from degenerating to myth-making. This is often a difficult task, as historians may find it difficult to limit the influence of their ethnic, regional, religious and cultural orientations from affecting their professional role as objective practitioners of the craft of history. As a result, some Nigerian historians against the tenets of the discipline may be less than objective in accounting for the past based on their ethnicity, religion or politics.

Despite such limitations with regards to interpretations of the past by some historians, it is still to be asserted that the relevance of history to society is in the broad perspective it provides by synthesizing how the roots of the present are located in a past, that even though long gone is very much still alive. Its influence being felt in the foundations upon which the present exists. The reality being that societies and nations in the past and in contemporary times have always used history as anchors. As history helps the present to make sense of the world, to understand trends and utilise same to shape the course of human actions locally and globally.

The relevance of historians in this grand scheme in Nigeria is to contribute to providing understanding, to shaping thought. To imbue the civic spirit of nationhood and community, patriotism and hardnosed idealism in citizens. It means historians helping the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to work out compromises on the basis of an enlightened comprehension of the challenges facing the nation; and how to build a stronger Nigerian state and nation-hood.

Fundamentally, it is in the nation’s shared history of common roots before 1900 and after that historians can locate and provide the nation with the basis upon which it can face challenges and build stronger, better and more prosperous local, state and national communities. Historians can strengthen the nation through the histories they have researched and know so well and by how they explain the past as a source of lessons and inspiration to the present generation towards building a stronger and united Nigerian federation.

Wuam is a Professor of Economic History and Dean Students’ Affairs, Kaduna State University.

Curbing Human Trafficking Through Intelligence Gathering in Nigeria



Globally acknowledged as a high-profit but low-risk criminal activity, human trafficking has unfortunately gained attention as the modern-day form of slavery that is expanding in scale with damaging repercussions on humanity and nations’ economic lives.

And going by the definition that; “Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit”, it is currently ranked among the fastest growing criminal activities across the globe, comparable to the smuggling of firearms that is considered the second most organized criminal network worldwide.

In recent times, with different interpretations by national governments and experts in criminology, human trafficking has generated a great deal of concerns among stakeholders because of its adverse impact on social lives and the human race.

The threat is becoming more alarming in Nigeria with sordid tales by returnees from Libya and Italy among other foreign countries. Unfortunately, men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds have become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world.

And being a transnational crime that is fast ruining the country’s image within the African continent and beyond, this criminal activity has continued to degrade and dehumanise the victims; fuel public sector corruption and irregular migration; aid the spread of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases while also promoting money laundering and other financial crimes that clearly distort the nation’s economy.

Regrettably, parents and guardians have become too busy and sometimes so uncaring to effectively monitor the activities of their children and wards or even notice the glaring antics and pranks that are obviously risk-infested and portend danger to themselves and the immediate family.

A situation where children, teenagers, youths and even adults, embark on irrelevant expeditions, secret trips and visits without, but sometimes with, the knowledge of their parents or other family members have been identified as one of the major risk factors that have made many vulnerable while exposing them and their loved ones to avoidable hurt.

Painfully, in their overzealousness, many have deliberately ignored the security tips and public advisory regularly issued by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other law enforcement agencies that urge caution by members of the public, specifically applicants to always guard against falling prey to so-called juicy jobs’ adverts that do not contain comprehensive information on location, specifications and schedules; shun the temptation of subscribing to vague visas and overseas travel promotions that could be the handiwork of human traffickers and scammers or their agents.

Importantly too, verifying information before acting on any calls about untoward incidents involving family members, colleagues, relatives or friends cannot be overstressed; just as the need to careful visiting new friends or meeting colleagues at unfamiliar or unspecified locations; and restraint in dishing out and advertising vital personal information on social media platforms.

Similarly, stories are abound where some individuals have inadvertently exposed themselves to danger by standing in as guarantors and sureties for people who may have changed over time, thereby becoming agents that aid and abet the criminal activities of society’s bad eggs.

Given the sophistication, secrecy and ‘value chain’ in organised crime which human trafficking has evidently become, synergy among security and law enforcement agencies as well as partnership with the public cannot be overemphasized. However, making the matter a bit more complicated is the fact that some unscrupulous elements within the security agencies and even greedy parents and relations are supportive and in cohort with those perpetuating this criminal activity across the country.

With the way things are going globally, adopting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to combat human trafficking should also be the way to go by the Nigerian authorities. Though no technology can be termed perfect or full proof, there is no denying the fact that with conscious efforts, any technology, would over time, evolve with improvement to make it more relevant and responsive in tackling existing as well as emerging challenges associated with this modern day ‘slave trade’ and other related crimes.

Pointedly, security agencies like the DSS have not relented in their collaboration with relevant government establishments to give human trafficking syndicates tough times running their criminal activities. In January this year, the Service was on hand assisting NAPTIP to rescue a Burundian woman and her three children from traffickers in Umunoha village, Mbaitoli Council of Imo State where they were being held captive and exploited.

The victims were rescued during a sting operation carried out on their holding mud house by the combined team of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Department of State Services (DSS). Thanks to a tipoff by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the four foreigners duly regained their freedom from where they were cramped under inhuman conditions.

Without making much fuss about it in the public domain, the Service has continued to play active part in bursting child trafficking syndicates across the country with its various State Commands recording huge success in stemming the tide of their criminal activities.

Recalled an incident on July 6, 2015 where four suspects were arrested and the victims, comprising 12 males and 24 females, rescued from homes in Yenagoa and Kaiama in Bayelsa, Port Harcourt, and Enugu-Agidi in Anambra, having been forcefully turned into house helps.

As indicated in their public advisory, most disturbing is the fact that the suspected syndicates sometimes operate under the guise of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that usually approach parents and convinced them to release their wards under the pretext of assisting the children to acquire good education only for such kids to end up as house helps and sometimes worst as sex slaves.

Forward looking, it is important to support the position canvassed by many well-meaning individuals and groups that human trafficking offenders and perpetrators should serve sentences commensurable with the magnitude of offences committed to send the appropriate message as a major deterrent to culprits.

Concerns have also arisen that a situation where some offenders often escape justice with light sentencing has led to cases of repeat offenders now posing a grave danger to the dimension of human trafficking in the Country.

Therefore, continuous citizens’ sensitization and awareness creation on how to curb the menace are very crucial. This is against the backdrop that the inherent fear of reprisals cannot be ignored since many victims and their families are afraid to come forward and incident cases, amid the limited enforcement resources and shifting legislation coherent enough to address this thriving crime.

Hammering on the need for continuous enlightenment and sensitisation in the local communities nationwide, one DSS official said; “There is need therefore for members of the public to be sensitized on the need to be circumspect in the way they give out children or take in children from such unscrupulous modern day slave traders.”

Certainly, these routes are the way to go in effectively addressing operational and other existing challenges in the fight against human trafficking.

On the whole, relevant government establishments like NAPTIP, security and law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and Intelligence Community, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and traditional institutions as well as international bodies must embrace and deploy robust partnership as a strategy to check and eventually suppress the crime of human trafficking in the country.

With subdued optimism, this collaboration should help calm the frayed nerves and broken spirit of most victims, always left in a pitiable traumatic state to nurse wounds inflicted on them by heartless and exploitative traffickers, who often are erroneously or unintentionally pampered with light sentencing by the courts.

So the ball is in the court of judicial officers to compliment the works of security and related agencies by always considering the victims’ plight and exploitation in deciding cases of human trafficking rather than over relying on the salient technicalities that often deny them adequate justice.

Security, Safety And Open Display Of Affluence



These are not encouraging times for Nigeria, a country respected and honoured as giant of Africa. Taking a quote from the Bible in Ephesians 5: 16 which states; “But as wise: redeeming the time, because the days are evil”, it certainly did have Nigerians in mind at a time like this when insecurity is among the biggest challenges facing Africa’s largest economy.

No matter how one looks at it, the wisdom in the scriptural injunction clearly stirs us in the face today as global citizens. But regrettably, many are still refusing to draw their ears and learn lessons in terms of being security conscious and alert at all times.

Amid heightening insecurity in the country, it is worrisome that many citizens have disappointingly refused to heed public advisories by some agencies of government and come to terms with the reality that the ‘times are truly evil’, therefore, things can no longer remain ‘business as usual’ on all fronts.

Consequently, the saying that ‘security is everybody’s business and responsibility’ must certainly assume a serious dimension as a call to prayers by religious leaders and adherents or a hit song by popular musicians.

Interestingly, there have been quite an unending streams of write-ups on security being everybody’s business with some highlighting the fact that it has somewhat become “a cliché that reverberates in every forum, discussion, advertisement, conference, and organization.”

Sadly, the reality as acknowledged in most circles, is that very little has been done to “dispel the myths and obscurity surrounding information security – its use, applications, and its study.”

Further making matters worse as observed by security agencies is some individuals’ unrestrained lifestyles and lack of public decorum. Not being deliberate about developing security consciousness, many are inadvertently exposing and putting themselves as well as family members and friends in harm’s way as victims of criminal elements and hostile agents of the society.

Not hidden is the fact that security agencies, particularly the Department of State Services (DSS), have not relented in their mandate delivery concerning public safety and security. Here, public advisories have repeatedly been issued cautioning Nigerians on the dangers of outrageous open display of affluence in the midst of abject poverty in the land.

There are many instances that aside from such show of affluence attracting the attention of criminal elements directly to those personalities involved, their close relatives and friends have unfortunately been caught in the crossfire of abduction/kidnapping, robbery, arson, and senseless killings.

Added to the above are negative habitual routines that include late nights, constant driving on a particular route and visits to a special spot. Also, not minding their exposure to danger and the risk involved, it is commonplace observing people making prolonged phone calls along the roads at night or while walking on lonely and deserted areas; driving or crossing major roads with eyes fixed on their handsets; and having earphones romancing their eardrums oblivious of the environment and the persons around them.

At a recent symposium organized by the Kwara State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the DSS, in a presentation titled; “Security Tips For Health Practitioners In Kwara”, specifically cautioned Nigerians on the huge security risk and dangers of public display of affluence in the midst of biting poverty.

Speaking through its Deputy Director, Security Enforcement in Kwara Command, Mr Paul Oduh, the Service hinted that such open and obscene display of affluence counts as one of the major factors that usually attracts the attention of criminal elements, even as he urged people to embrace moderate lifestyles to avoid falling prey to society’s bad eggs.

Admittedly, Oduh captured the current reality saying; “There is need to accept that threats existing and people are targets of these threats. This is why people should put in place measures to safeguard and protect themselves from such threats.”

Again, one readily agrees with the submission by the nation’s secret Police that security can never be 100 percent everywhere in the world and people should therefore strive at being properly knowledgeable on areas and the possible things they can do to protect themselves and stay safe in a security-challenged environment like ours.

Therefore, it has to be clearly stated and driven home that no single individual or organization is responsible for information on security and safety of society. It is indeed the responsibility of the whole to ensure robust partnership that cut across religious, ethnic, cultural, socio-economic and security boundaries in the overall interest of society.

As aptly conveyed and put across in some of its public advisories, the DSS sees security as a way of thinking and not a problem to be solved. So, to be secured and safe, everyone or groups need to have a security mindset, even as security thinking and planning should always precede every action.

Despite acknowledging that the current debilitating economic situation and hardship have put a lot of pressure on many individuals and families, thereby making it almost difficult to manage day-to-day life challenges, we cannot pretend about insecurity being a matter of most urgent and serious concern given that only the living can enjoy the fruits of his or her labour.

Importantly, as patriotic citizens we must make up our minds and be ready to cooperate and assist the security agencies, particularly the DSS and the Nigeria Police to check and reduce crime while ultimately building a nation in which all citizens and residents are “free to pursue their legitimate aspirations/businesses” without let or hindrances.

The public advisory remains that “people should be alert on happenings around them, especially strange individuals loitering around an area” as these could easily be criminal elements or their agents surveying the environment for a planned attack when unexpected.

In the world of security today, a little humanity can go a long way to help and the truth remains that everyone within the neighborhood should take some responsibility in ensuring each others’ safety and security.

Similarly, synergy between the public and security agencies will directly impact the result in the spirit of unity and working together for the good and benefit of all citizens.

Though it is quite tough managing one’s daily affairs given the current economic situation in the country, keeping in mind that ‘security is everybody’s business’ certainly remains the safest and surest way to go.

There is therefore no gain saying the fact that security should be the concern of all.

IPOB’s Deadly Shunting And Discordant Tunes By Security Agencies



Looking away from the established culture of loyalty to the state, exploits in public mandate delivery, and professionalism in service due to today’s mounting security challenges in the country, someone made a seemingly funny but ‘unkind joke’ about the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

This is coming amid the Police ‘mishandling’ of the recent bomb blast in Kano State which the Force rather preferred to cloak as a ‘gas explosion’ until the timely intervention of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Obviously wanting to make light of the Kano tragedy, the dear friend teased that “if making wild assumptions were to be an Olympic sport, police personnel in Nigeria would have no competition easily claiming accolades and mounting the podium as gold medalists”.

Funny as it may sound, this is indeed a sad commentary on the current pattern of ineptitude and official Luke warmness that dot the Force’s operations and keep it on a collision course with public confidence befitting the nature of their services and sacrifices to the motherland.

This development makes one seriously concerned about the confusion that pervades existing relationships among the nation’s security agencies where intelligence has been sacrificed on the altar of pride, ego, self-adulation, and other extraneous factors offensive to rational, and logical processes that would have built a robust synergy to address the debilitating insecurity across the country.

Most worrisome is the reality that most security advisory and alerts issued by the DSS are either treated off-handedly or ignored only for the State to suffer the consequences of humongous losses most of the time due to actions and inactions of relevant security agencies and bodies.

It still beats one’s imagination that the Police hurriedly and without due diligence classified the Kano incident as a ‘bomb blast’ even to the point of offering some official coloration the State Commissioner of Police, Samaila Dikko, said in a radio and television broadcast that the gas exploded at a welding point near a primary school on Aba Road in Sabon Gari, Kano.

Quite embarrassingly, the narrative suddenly changed after the nation’s secret Police, the DSS stepped up its game as usual to arrest some members of the deadly Boko Haram sect over the unfortunate incident.

Though this piece is not intent on focusing on the Police’s derailing investigation machinery that is becoming so prevalent, it is imperative to take a cursory look at the prevalent discordant tunes within the security apparatuses that keep many guessing what could have happened to infect the age-long synergies; deft communication strategies; and collaborative efforts that readily propel gallantry and victories by security agencies against both internal and external aggressions.

It is against the backdrop of these worrying events and unfortunate treating with levity credible intelligence from the DSS that current killings of innocent citizens in the South-East geo-political zone present a huge burden on all stakeholders, including the government at all levels, political, religious, and community leaders across the board.

Unfortunately, the evil that many well-meaning stakeholders feared has gradually taken root in an alarming manner within the region because some pro-Biafran agitators and their sympathisers failed to heed the warning signals that were clearly bold and conspicuous for all eyes to see.

Despite caution from different quarters, particularly the security agencies, that things were going awry based on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’s aggressive tendencies and inhumane enterprise against innocent citizens, the senseless agitation was allowed to fester.

Worst still, this misstep created the challenge of effectively coordinating and managing the splinter groups that daily sprung up in pursuit of individuals and groups’ selfish and weird agenda in the name of Biafran activism.

That Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his minions are now hard-pressed engaging in supremacy battles against these splinter groups hoisting the so-called Biafran agitation is not in doubt. No doubt, the skewed narratives, amplified on ‘Radio Biafra’ and ‘Voice of Biafra’ have caught fire among the huge illiterate and semi-illiterate support base of IPOB, its paramilitary arm, Eastern Security Network and the so-called ‘Fallen Angels’, its M-Branch, and MASSOB among others. These untoward development have done so much harm in heightening insecurity in the South-East region.

The turbulence engulfing the rank and file of IPOB is quite glaring, especially against the backdrop of repeated denials by the organization that it has no hands in the ongoing needless killings and deadly attacks on the security institutions and public facilities in the state.

Expectedly, IPOB’s hitherto effective stay-at-home protest tool has become entrapped in its internal leadership crisis and the result is the audacious rebellion in terms of counter directives with some strange and bloodthirsty characters hijacking the activities and structural command in the purported Biafran struggle.

Therefore, it was not surprising that the stage was set for chaos now reigning unabated in every nook and cranny of the South-East zone with killings, maiming, torching of houses, vehicles, and shops; as well as vandalising goods and abuses of all kinds have without restraint becoming a daily occurrence.

With Anambra, Imo, and Ebonyi States mostly hit as theatres of these absurdities, things are no longer at ease in the South-East as the region continues to reel from ceaseless attacks on innocent citizens, police stations, security personnel, public facilities, and Correctional Centres where hardened criminals are set free, among others.

In trying to find the leeway out of this debilitating situation, it is difficult to gloss over the views expressed by former Assistant Director of DSS, Mr Dennis Amachree on national television that most times State governments and the relevant authorities are guilty of ignoring or misusing credible intelligence placed at their disposal by the DSS.

That the system can deliberately ignore and downplay intelligence and security advisory is appalling and unfortunately, it is the innocent citizens who are paying the price as manifested in the new level of fearless criminality that currently thrives in the zone.

There is no denying the fact a well-defined partnership among security agencies going forward will make Nigeria safer and more secure for Nigerians. The relevant authorities cannot continue to remain aloof in the face of worsening insecurity, clearly ignoring credible intelligence and refusing to engage in proper communication processes; information exchanges; experience sharing; and well-coordinated efforts for the greatest good of all Nigerians.

For the nation’s security agencies, rejigging existing collaboration and channels of communication would no doubt recalibrate and boost public confidence in their daily operations. Without mincing words, robust inter-departmental and inter-agency engagement and selfless interaction should be the way to go at all times.
In this digital age of Information Communication Technology (ICT), the world is now a global village and some of our security agencies cannot and must not continue with their clearly lethargic, archaic, silent, and harmful battle for superiority that leaves Nigerians and Nigeria as the greatest losers.

Victor Buoro, a journalist wrote from Abuja.

​El-Rufa’i’s Workforce Restructuring: A Pure Adminstrative  Tyranno-Terrorism


At a point, I spare some minutes to meditate, take a recap of events and regurgitate them to help me understand our past destination, the current one and the one in the near or far future. 

It’s exactly four years ago that governor El-Rufa’i rolled the heads of over 22,000 teachers of Kaduna state after a well orchestrated blackmail campaign against them. Demonically, he described all the 22,000 teachers as totally unqualified to teach primary school pupils. I can’t help, but to wonder the IQ measure of Kaduna state pupils. Maybe, they get 130+ IQ . In what he called restructuring exercise, El-Rufa’i organized a purported “competency test” which  was short of credibility and integrity by all standard measures. One  of the questions asked was to write the name of the then American president (Donald Trump). 

That means, if by either anxiety or examphobia a teacher swap alphabets he is gone! What a professional test! But, I don’t think United States of America has ever produced a governor who would contemplate testing the quality of his teachers by asking them to write the name of Olusegun Obasonjo, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan or even the El-Rufa’i’s temporary father, Muhammadu Buhari. 

In fact, not even the name of any president in the world. Otherwise, the governor would have been considered the maddest or the most insane in the history of America. For good four years after the abrupt and illegally advanced disengagement exercise, I have never come across a single index that indicated quality improvement of education in Kaduna state. Why? Because the ‘restructuring’ was not able to answer perfectly the following questions:

Are the disengaged teachers really unqualified to teach at basic level?

Are the replaced teachers really more qualified than the disengaged ones?

Is the teaching/learning environment conducive for quality service delivery?

What is the frequency of training and retraining of the teachers?; 

Are quiz, debate, exhibition and presentation functions sponsored and encouraged by the State Ministry of Education in order to enhance intra and inter schools level of competitiveness? In a more lucid statement,  the exercise is what I termed redestruction. 

Visiting ramshackled schools in Milgoma, Kufena and Shika will confirm to you that El-Rufa’i has been delving in a gutter of purposeless and capitalist oriented leadership. 

Within the same year, El-Rufa’i turned the wheel of his retrenchment vehicle to local government councils were he sacked no less than 4,000 staff leaning on what he called redundancy. Questions emanate therefrom: were all departments and units in LG Secretariats created right from inception without stipulated schedules or were they  rendered unscheduled due to hijacking of such schedules by state  governors? Or has the government of El-Rufa’i lack the capacity to carry out conversion or creation of relevant schedules which could ram well with the existing socioeconomic blueprint of the state? To the best of my knowledge, merging-splitting, scraping-creation are done based on how productively relevant a particular department or unit is in terms of providing needed services for global and local consumptions. This implies that, as core  schedules of a given department or unit go obsolete new ones emerge, thus the need for conversion or creation, which ought to be carried out systematically and cautiously to avert overnight negative consequences typically massive retrenchment. 

Few days to the commencement of Ramadan fasting, the governor laid off up to 4,000 LG staff across the state LG areas. This is in addition to many other intermittent red cards that come in tenths which usually go unnoticed. 

Unreservedly, El-Rufa’i’s adminstrative incompetence, political naivety coupled with untamed tutelage have been defining the current trilemma of Kaduna state workers. Perhaps, being an accidental civil servant who served with little passion and weak commitment, the governor has failed to understand the seed of horror he is sowing today as well as it amoebaid repercussions. I may not like to scratch well beneath the skin, but the most tragic consequences of this mass sacking will be obvious in social insecurity, systemic and collaborative corruption and total lack of honesty in the civil service system of Kaduna state.

Another lacuna of the governor manifests in his disarrayed actions and irreconcilable pronouncements. The governor claimed to have improved significantly the IGR of the state, yet, he mortgaged the state by borrowing 350 millions dollars. Paradoxically,  he still connect the mass sack  to his government’s inability to execute other development works. Has the governor forgotten about the borrowed money which he promised to deploy wholesomely and prudently for capital projects, both infrastructural and social? 
I uphold a view that, culture conflict, religious bigotry, and to a good extent ideological decay have played well in deactivating the expected response from the Kaduna state populace. Regrettably, those who voted him for the second term because of his deceitful Muslim/Muslim ticket are now fasting the greatest month of Ramadan with little or no food on their tables. 

I wish the people of Kaduna well but the state is far away from the garden of prosperity and growth and development under the incumbent administration. 


Department of Soil Science, ABU, Zaria-Nigeria


​Chibok schoolgirls: Pause as a parent, to imagine 2,549 days of pains

By Professor Babagana Umara Zulum

As a father of daughters, I can’t even imagine the pains of having one’s daughter held by terrorists for as long as seven whole years. 

However, I urge parents, especially anyone with a female child to pause for a while, no matter how brief, to imagine how it might feel to have one’s daughter abducted and held for more than 2,549 days so far. Imagine how parents and relations of these girls have been feeling in each of these days. 

Certainly, the mental torture of not knowing the fate of one’s daughter in the hands of Boko Haram is far worse than losing a child.

No parent can ever lose hope in a missing child and having that hope comes with so much pains of anxiety and depression. 

Parents of Chibok schoolgirls have been devastated yet they have demonstrated faith and strength in the hope of reconnecting with their missing daughters. They deserve our continued empathy, our compassion, our support and most importantly, sharing their optimism. 

As a father of all sons and daughters of Borno, I haven’t lost hope that our remaining Chibok schoolgirls and other abducted persons will be safely recovered.

From my series of interactions with the President, Commander in Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, I have seen in him that he is as concerned as the parents of the Chibok girls and all of us. 

Countless times, the President has shown me that he is not losing hope on the Chibok girls. He says to me although a number of our girls were reunited with their parents and are being catered for by the Federal Government, he is not happy until the remaining girls are freed. 

I believe the President and I urge everyone in Borno to sustain prayers for those girls and everyone in abduction to be safely freed, and for peace to be fully and permanently restored in Borno. 
I pray that Allah in His infinite mercy answers our prayers and grant us the peace we have been so desperate to gain in almost 12 years now. 

While we pray, our prayers are being combined with relentless support for security agencies and funding thousands of our recruited volunteers, as we all remain determined in our shared goal to free Borno and all its people.

​How DisCos Are Wickedly, Criminally Overbilling Customers Despite NERC Capping

The recent electricity bills distributed to estimated customers across the country is not only wicked, but criminal.

This was done in flagrant disregard for the capping which the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) issued out in February this year.

In view of the aforesaid, the  August and September billings are contrary to the NERC Order “C” of Page 7 of the ORDER NO/NERC 197/2020 titled Order on the Capping of Estimated Bills in the NESI.
The NERC had in February issued order No/NERC/197/2020 on capping of estimated billings in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, thereby placing a cap on estimated bills to unmetered customers. 

This was to protect unmetered R2 (Residential single and 3 phase meters, who consume more than 50kwh per month) and C1 (Commercial single and 3 phase meters, small businesses) customers from estimated and arbitrary billing and hopefully hasten the process of metering. (June 9, 2020) NERC Tweet.

“NERC Nigeria


The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued notices of intention to commence enforcement action against Seven electricity distribution companies over their failure to comply with the Order 197/2020 on capping of unmetered R2 and C1 electricity customers.

12:55 PM · Jun 9, 2020”

NERC further tweeted that some erring Distribution Companies (DisCos) were sanctioned for not adhering to the capping in June this year.

“NERC Nigeria


The Discos are Benin, Enugu, Eko, Ikeja,Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt. @NERCNG @nannews_ng @NTANewsNow @AIT_Online @THISDAYLIVE @TheSun @LeadershipNGA @GuardianNigeria

12:55 PM · Jun 9, 2020,” the tweet said.

The power sector regulatory agency in its statement said, “The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued notices of intention to commence enforcement action against seven electricity distribution companies over their failure to comply with the order 197/2020 on capping of unmetered R2 and C1 electricity customers’’. 

Prior to the capping, NERC had done a proposal to Cap Estimated Billing.

NERC proposed to issue an order stipulating the maximum amount that any unmetered customer will pay to the distribution company (DisCo) that provides him or her electricity services.

This amount will continue to apply until the customer is metered by the distribution company. NERC proposes to set this cap at a level that will protect unmetered customers and provide sufficient incentives for the DisCos to quickly meter such customers.

The context of this proposed new regulation is the realization that distribution companies are not doing enough to meter unmetered customers. 

Since the takeover of the network by the preferred bidders on November 1, 2013, there has not been aggressive metering as promised by the preferred bidders. 

This has led to overbilling of customers especially in the face of epikeptic supply of electricity. 

The main reason for low rate of metering has been the inadequate financial liability of the sector. But this excuse is no longer viable as the NERC sought to solve this problem through the Credited Advanced Payment for Meter Implementation (CAPMI) which provides DisCos with the opportunity to finance metering through consumer finance. 

In spite of this innovative financial crowd-sourcing initiative, minimal metering has occurred because DisCos have not been determined enough to meter their consumers.

The Commission therefore needs to provide the incentive for speedy metering of unmetered customers by limiting the amount of revenue that a distribution company can earn from unmetered customers. 

This transfers the cost of non-metering of customers from hapless customers to operators who have the responsibility and capability of metering customers.

Ahead of the capping, a Public Hearing On Proposal to Cap Estimated Billings and to Create an Independent System Operator was held.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in furtherance of its mandate to ensure an efficient and fair electricity market that ensures an adequate, reliable and affordable supply of electricity to Nigerian homes and businesses invited operators, consumers, and the general public to the public consultation to consider for approval by the Commission, two proposals, namely,

(1) A proposal to cap the amount that a distribution company can charge an unmetered consumer until he or she is metered;

(2) A proposal to create an Independent System Operator (ISO) from the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

NERC proposed to issue an order stipulating the maximum amount that any unmetered customer will pay to the distribution company (DisCo) that provides him or her electricity services.

 This amount will continue to apply until the customer is metered by the distribution company. NERC proposes to set this cap at a level that will protect unmetered customers and provide sufficient incentives for the DisCos to quickly meter such customers.

The Commission therefore, needed to provide the incentive for speedy metering of unmetered customers by limiting the amount of revenue that a distribution company can earn from unmetered customers. 

This transfers the cost of non-metering of customers from hapless customers to operators who have the responsibility and capability of metering customers.

There was also a Proposal to Create an Independent System Operator (ISO).

The Electric Power Sector Reform Act mandates the NERC to create and maintain an efficient, transparent and fair electricity market that continuously allows customers access to adequate, reliable, safe and affordable electricity services.

 As part of the features of such a market, the Act prescribes the establishment of an independent system operator (ISO) immediately after substantial privatization on such terms as NERC will indicate. 

The NERC  wishes to unbundle the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) into a Transmission Service Provider (TSP) and an Independent System Operator (ISO). 

The ISO is conceived to be jointly owned by the operators in the market and operate totally independent of government so as to be fully impartial and professional in the dispatch of energy. 

An ISO is a global model that guarantees credibility and confidence in the electricity market such that investors in independent power projects (IPPs) will have no fear of discrimination in the use of transmission network.

The public consultation in view of the above was held at the Hearing Room, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Plot 1099 Adamawa Plaza, First Avenue, Abuja on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

In futherance to that, on February 20,  2020, the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) released an Order on the capping of estimated bills in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) (the Order). 

The Order was enacted pursuant to the NERC’s powers to regulate the NESI, to create, promote, and preserve efficient industry and market structures and to ensure the optimal utilization of resources for the provision of electricity services in Nigeria. In this article, we revisit and discuss important highlights of the Order.

The Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation, 2012

The NERC’s (Methodology for Estimated Billing) Regulations 2012 (Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation) was introduced in 2012 to deter Distribution Companies (DisCos) from issuing to electricity customers arbitrary electricity bills which did not reflect their actual power consumption. 

The Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation classified consumers who can be issued estimated bills into three (3) basic categories.

Customers with faulty meters. This category belongs to those customers which have been issued meters but which are no longer functional.

Customers whose meters cannot be read. This category belongs to those customers whose meters cannot be read by the officials of the applicable DisCo due to inaccessibility arising from locked doors, customers who are not on the premises at the time when the officials of the DisCo come to read the meter, the presence of dogs on the premises of the customer etc.

Existing customers without meters. This category belongs to customers who have not been issued meters by the DisCo and who are directly connected to the DisCos’ distribution network.

However, the Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation achieved little success due to inadequate level of metering and distribution transformers. 
Over 65% of complaints lodged at the customer centres of DisCos together with the subsequent appeals to NERC are as a result of non-provision of meters and unrealistic billing of unmetered customers. To facilitate the metering of electricity consumers, the NERC introduced the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations in 2018 with the ambitious aim of metering all customers within 3 years.
The Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations, 2018
The MAP Regulations introduced by the NERC in 2018, were issued principally to:
Encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in the NESI;

Eliminate estimated billing practices in the NESI.

Attract private investment in the provision of metering services in the NESI.

Close the metering gap through accelerated meter roll out in the NESI.

Enhance revenue assurance in the NESI.

As at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, the NERC had issued permits to twenty-six (26) Meter Asset Providers. 

However, due to a number of factors, including changes in fiscal policy, limited availability of long-term funding and several other constraints, the MAPs and the MAP Regulations were able to achieve very limited success. 

Metering thus, still remains a key challenge for the NESI with only two (2) DisCos having been able to meter more than 50% of their electricity customers as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 – Abuja and Benin DisCos. 

Of the 10.3 million registered electricity customers in the NESI, only 37.77% had been metered with the remaining 62.37% remaining on estimated billing at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.

Hence, it should be on note that the capping released by NERC in February 2020 stops DisCos from billing estimated customers more than 60 kilowatts monthly, which most of them are abusing, riding on the ignorance of electricity consumers.

ONJEWU DICKSON is a Kaduna based journalist

Is Nigeria On The Brink?



Happenings over the last few days are alarming and desperately beg for prompt attention.

Pockets of violence have greeted the earlier peaceful EndSARS protests which rocked several major cities across the country.

It is sad that the most populous black nation on Earth has been greeted by such occurrences, gaining roots from alleged injustices that pervade the country over the years.

What started out as a peaceful protest took a new twist over the last two days, leaving behind several questions begging for answers.

This has resulted to trading of blames from several quarters, with the government blaming the opposition and the protesters alleging that sponsored thugs ate responsible for the recent violence recorded in several cities.
Just on Monday, the news of a prison break in Edo prompted a 24-hour statewide curfew in the state.

On Tuesday, the burning of a Police Station in Lagos State and the alleged stabbing to death of a policeman who tried to escape the raging inferno at the station, with earlier reports of the injuring of several Police personnel of the Rapid Response Squad in the state prompted Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to declare a 24-hour curfew in the state.
Before the dust settled, disturbing news came out of Jos, the Plàteau State capital that hoodlums had a field day burning vehicles and other property, too much a sad news from one day!

Reports from Abuja, the nation’s capital on Monday were worrisome that several cars at Apo were set ablaze by hoodlums.

The situation is beginning to take regional and religious dimension with the North feeling like the protest is targeted at ousting President Muhammadu Buhari.
Several statements from Northern based groups on Monday, frowned at the protest.

What Nigeria needs now is peace, without which there can be no development.

With the recent happenings it seems a mirage. However, all hope is not lost as the President needs to act fast to save the country from chaos.
Fact remains that sustained Injustice is a precursor for agitations, which often turn violent.

Mr President should in his wisdom, address the nation at this trying times and seek ways to calm frayed nerves
If possible, convene an emergency conference of strategic stakeholders like civil society organisations, youth groups, clergy, labour leaders and representatives of the government.
Facts remain that several are agitated, following rising cost of food and essential commodities.

It behoves on the leaders to act fast to save the degenerating situation from aggravating.

The protesting youth on their part should also know that breakdown of law and other will be detrimental to the country as it would affect everyone, with no one immune to the adverse effects should things get out of hand.
Nigeria is ours to build. Caution should be the watch word.

Jacob Onjewu Dickson is a Kaduna based journalist.

​How PEFMB Under Bobboi Is Advancing, Stabilizing Nigeria’s Gas Industry


Since it was established by Decree No. 9 of 1975 (as amended by Decree No. 32 of 1989) the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board (PEFMB)  has lived up to its billing and even if recent, surpassed expectations.

On establishment, the board was charged with the primary responsibility of reimbursing petroleum marketing companies for any losses suffered by them, solely and exclusive, as a result of sale of petroleum products at uniform prices throughout the nation.

In view of that, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board (PEFMB) has advanced progressively in pursuing and implementing programmes that align with the focus of the Oil and Gas industry, a development that has been further consolidated on since present Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi came on board.

Keying into the legislative Charter of the Board as provided by Decree No9 of 1975 as amended by Decree No. 32 of 1989 (now Chapter 352 of the Laws of the federation 1990), it is also expected to ensure that the Uniform Pricing Mechanism works effectively throughout the country. 

To apply the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as they affect the Uniform Pricing System, vis-a-vis degree No. 9 of 1975 (as amended by Decree No. 32 of 1989), establishing the Fund and the Board, in ensuring that each existing marketing company complies with the laws regarding the management of the transportation equalisation process, the board has evolved pragmatic approaches that have ensured stability throughout the country. 
Such strategies include  equalising the transportation differentials.

The areas that pertain to the downstream  sector include the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) and the 

deepening of domestic gas utilisation & consumption and overall monetization of the 

gas resource.
Achievements of the board led by its present Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi so far.

1. Improved Collection and Remittance of Outstanding Bridging and Other Allowances: 

uninterrupted payment of Marketers Claims to ensure efficient distribution and 

availability of petroleum products; and support of Marketers’ business operations. 

PEFMB operations have remained uninterrupted during the ongoing COVID-19  pandemic, with sustained payments to Marketers’ to ensure availability of petroleum 

products nationwide, price stability and support micro-economic activities.

2. In alignment with the HMoS’s initiative for deepening gas penetration, domestication, utilisation and consumption, PEFMB proactively commenced 

evaluation of the provision of administrative support for infrastructural development 

in the downstream sector. 
The organisation is also exploring and establishing  programmes that will support the FG’s drive for job creation, establishment of small 

and medium scale businesses. 

The PEFMB is also a member of the National Gas  Expansion Programme Committee.

3. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval for implementation of the Downstream  Automated Fuel Management System (DAFMIS) is ongoing. DAFMIS is a solution  that will enhance delivery, monitoring and management of the downstream  petroleum products, serve as a data repository and credible source of information 

for national planning and economic development.

 In partnership with the Nigeria  Customs Service and identified Stakeholders, the DAFMIS technology has been  successfully tested and was able to track live position of petroleum products from a  Lagos loading depot to a retail outlet in Daura, Katsina state. Despite the pandemic  and associated delays, the various workstream have continued to function, albeit  virtually.

4. In support of the FG and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PEFMB  presented palliatives to the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster  Management and Social Development to provide succor to the less vulnerable in the society. Donations were also made to the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari’s Future  Assured initiative, for distribution to the less privileged.

5. The PEFMB has commenced the exploration of the provision of railway, and riverine  & mountainous equalisation.

6. Recognition of the PEFMB as Fund Managers by the National Council for  Hydrocarbon.

7. Capacity Building: With the aim of instituting a world class service delivery  organisation and the grooming of a crop of highly skilled, competent, committed and disciplined leadership, PEFMB has made considerable investment in the development  of staff with highly tailored, good quality training opportunities. 
This is also in  alignment with the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), in preparation for  future responsibilities. 
The organisation also promotes and encourages self development through the provision of an online training platform.

PEFMB aims to consolidate as well as seek new and better ways of creating value  and claiming values with a vision of covering the field, from white products to  stimulating economic activities in the Downstream Hydrocarbon sector in a sustainable way.

The legislative Charter of the Board as provided by Decree No9 of 1975 as amended by Decree No. 32 of 1989 (now Chapter 352 of the Laws of the federation 1990) are:-
To ensure that the Uniform Pricing Mechanism works effectively throughout the country. To apply the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as they affect the Uniform Pricing System, vis-a-vis degree No. 9 of 1975 (as amended by Decree No. 32 of 1989), establishing the Fund and the Board, in ensuring that each existing marketing company complies with the laws regarding the management of the transportation equalisation process. 
A flash back into why the board was established would make one recall that available records show that  between 1974 and 1975, most petrol service stations nationwide were characterized by long queues due to frequent severe shortages of petroleum products. 

The problem was compounded by the haphazard way marketers priced the product on the basis of transportation cost incurred by them. 

In an effort to solve the problem, the Federal Government set up an inter-ministerial committee comprising of the then Ministries of Mines and Power, and Transport, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Railway Corporation and the Petroleum Products’ Marketers to examine the situation and make appropriate recommendations.
The committee observed that the only variable element in the provision and the sale of petroleum products at uniform price nationwide was the transportation cost. 

It therefore, blamed the limited local refining capacity and inadequate distribution facilities for the problem. In line with the recommendation of the committee, Government introduced the Uniform Pricing System. 

In cognizance of the inequality in the transportation cost of distributing products throughout the country, the Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board was established. 
So far, Nigerians are better off for it as the pump price in Bayelsa and Borno and all over the country remain the same.

Buhari lacks the powers to restructure Nigeria –Yakasai

Elder statesman , Alhaji Tanko Yakasai , on Monday said the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , lacks the constitutional powers to restructure Nigeria .

He advised proponents of restructuring to channel their energies towards ensuring their representatives in the State and National Assemblies perform their statutory functions by providing the necessary legislative structure required to restructure the country .

Yakasai who spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja said , “The President does not have the powers to restructure Nigeria .

“He can initiate a bill just like every other Nigerian and send the same to the National Assembly for necessary action .

“I will urge proponents of restructuring to send proposals to the national assembly and put pressure on their representatives to do the needful .

“We need to follow the necessary procedure to achieve desired goals . We are currently running a constitutional democracy which requires dialogue and consultation.

“Whatever the issues are, we can approach our legislators and ensure that our voices are heard .”

The Second Republic Presidential Liaison Officer noted that Nigeria and Nigerians will be the better for it if issues were debated and agreements reached .