Monday, 11 April 2016

What happened to empathy?

What happened to empathy?

Anja Loven

This picture would probably trigger references from religious fanatics who would look at this woman and judge her to hell and back for her tattoos and in quote "state of unclothedness"
So why did I start this article with the picture of this woman? Her name is Anja Loven, Anja Loven was in the news recently for saving the life of a 2year old Nigerian boy who had been abandoned by his family on accusations of witchcraft. The boy had been left to fend for himself for 8months, begging for food for on the streets. Upon discovery he was malnourished and riddled with worms.
What really struck me about this story was how unbelievable religion and ethnic lines has shut off empathy. Religion failed this child; Christians, Muslims and all types of religious followers would probably have come across this child where he was striving to survive on the streets and turned a blind eye or felt it wasn’t their concern. These are the same people that would be quick to judge Anja who rescued this child for having tattoos with references to holy books to drive their points home.
Ethnicity, why am I bringing ethnicity into the mix? This is because it also failed this child. People from different tribes would have seen this child on the streets. The Hausa man would probably not be bothered because he is not his tribe, the Yoruba man might be indifferent and the Igbo man couldn’t care less. We have become so imbibed in our self-gratification, which leaves us blind to empathy. 
Our thoughts are so clouded by religious and ethnic boundaries that we fail in the basics of what makes us human in the first place “Empathy”.
What is empathy? Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.
Even if we have been blinded by our different religious and ethnic constraints, what happened to human empathy? We were born with this before other factors shaped our thoughts and beliefs. The humanity in us should be forefront of our reactions and judgments. Anja displayed a wonderful act of kindness that we need to emulate. We need to shed our religious and ethnic differences and allow the light inside us radiate towards others. The next person is your brother and love should be the message.

The image that went viral

Road to recovery

Image credits:

Written by Femi Shine

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

At the end of the bridge.

Photo credit

At one end of the 3rd mainland bridge is Adeniji Adele and the other end linking to the mainland is Bariga/Oworo. I lived part of my childhood in Bariga; this is a community where sin is a way of life. This is a community where teenagers smoke readily available weed, where you won’t be surprised to find a small chemist shop/hospital where fetuses are being removed from underage girls like plucking feathers off a chicken. You’re either awoken in the morning by the cries of a neighbor beating his wife over daily feeding stipend or the curses and banters of gossiping housewives over topics such as who was supposed to wash the toilet and didn’t. If you’re lucky such topics lead to fights and the sight of luscious women fighting and stripping each other to reveal old, torn under-wears with holes plenty enough to pass as a sieve is a sight to behold. The men engage themselves talking and arguing over topics in the newspapers, gesticulating with one hand holding the helms of their wrapper and the other hand a chewing stick. This I call ‘’chewing stick politics’' 

Feeding here depends on your pocket, Ewa Agoyin with the legendary Agege bread with its inside as soft as a baby’s butt, lunch could range from a huge head of fish with garri Ijebu or on glory days, that can be replaced with kuli kuli hard enough to knock Goliath out. One cube of St Louis sugar in your garri or ogi (pap) is sane, two cubes is luxury while three cubes is extravagance or your father probably drives a Volvo or ladybird. Dinner served by the woman who sells Eko and Moin Moin above the canal where prostitutes and teenagers with unwanted pregnancies drop dead or sometimes alive babies.

 At night the community comes alive, the darkness seems to cloud the unhappiness for the moment being and everyone tries to wind down in different ways. The sight of drivers and their conductors counting the day’s earnings over bottles of adulterated alcohol, women grinding pepper to prepare different of concoction to go with the ever ready and palatable amala. A stomach full of amala makes the worries go away. By the end of the night, the sight of drunk men drowning in the pool of their own vomit, used condoms and heaps of cigarette and marijuana butts are a few feet from each other.
Don’t get me wrong; every city has its own fair share of slums and gory sights. At the bottom of every skyscraper there is a slum. Bariga in all its glory is an ongoing story, every corner tells the tale of the misery and neglect that has embedded itself on the face of people living there. The stench of vomit coupled with urine and the aura of poverty saturates the air. At the end of the bridge is a faint glimmer of hope, hope that there is a better day, somewhere, somehow.  

Written by Femi Shine


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Dysfunctional Childhood

My apologies to the holier than thou and over religious pansies, if at any point you feel a tingling in between your legs then yes I have achieved my aim and yes you have broken all the commandments in the bible and hell awaits thee! lol . Alcohol is good; I mean the devil’s drink is one strong mind impairing mixture. It opens the veins and allows the worries subside for a while. If only one can just make love to a bottle of good whiskey, wouldn’t that be way better than the guilt you feel after sleeping with a girl you don’t like but have to satisfy the need God created eve for? Call me whatever you want but women equal sex, lets be real here, that’s how it works. Except you’re a guy who likes other men, no sane man sees a good looking woman with the right endowments and the first thing that comes to your mind is a Bible passage. 

Pardon me while I indulge you in the crappy tales of my childhood, I’m far from being called a dysfunctional kid. Would you say because my neighbor who was way older than me, playfully dragged me to back of our kitchen and slid my innocent fingers up her flowery gown into her hairy pot and made me do certain unmentionables down there while I could hear the sound of my mom struggling to stir the fufu pot for dinner. Lets just say from that day, I didn’t like going to those holiday lessons during the 3rd term break from school, I just wanted to have my fingers in pussy everyday..I mean who wouldn’t?  You would say I was molested right? Nope I wasn’t, I had already seen ''Glamour Girls’’ so I pretty much knew what she was doing after all I did see Zach Orji perform a bathroom scene with the now actress turned evangelist Eucharia Aunobi. I knew things way too early for my tender age, she showed my innocent fingers how to use  them to touch a woman and give her mind blowing orgasms (At some point during our backyard adventures, she always squeezes my head and starts convulsing; which I’ve come to know as orgasm. That shit scared me then!!) I knew if I complimented you about your socks or school bag, the chances of me getting your cream flavored Nasco biscuit was very high ( Nasco biscuits was the shit back then) That was my first lesson about handling women. Shower a woman that has low self esteem with compliments and she will willingly allow you shave her pussy. 

I plunged into the world of sex pretty early, no regrets about that actually. After a couple of premature ejaculations, nervous erections and epic embarrassing moments, I learned the ropes. How did I overcome? Masturbation did come in handy (Men deny this a lot)anyone remember ‘’Hints’’ magazine? "Better Lover” I saved to buy them. My pocket money and Sunday offerings were willingly handed over to the old man at the bus stop who always made sure i received the latest editions, sometimes on credit. I was a loyal customer!!! Another remedy that came in handy was whenever I’m about to blow too early; I picture getting scolded by my primary school teacher for spelling “business” incorrectly as “bussiness”. She goes thus; Femi how many times have I corrected you about this eh? She then bends over; fully exposing her luscious well rounded boobs and twists my ear. The thoughts of that event get me aggressive and the urge to ejaculate disappears and I begin to attack the pussy like I’m about to shift the earth from its axis!!!! 
To be continued…...
Well, allow me welcome you into the world of Mr. Phallus, this is my first entry. 
I’d say a woman’s vagina is the safest haven you can be. Even in harsh economic times; the pussy is always welcoming except the ones at Allen Avenue, you’re broke? Stay home, turn on some porn and grab your Vaseline.

Disclaimer: A couple of half-truths, a shot of fantasy with a drop of fiction. Choose what you believe.

Written by Femi Shine
Image credit: Wikihow

Know Your Level In Your Church ( An Eye Opener )

I read a post on and would like to share it with my readers so we can view religion from another perspective

Religion to Nigerians is not so much about its content, but about an identity. A girl who spent all Saturday night in the club or even Being Intimate with her boyfriend/aristo will wake up by 7am, have her bath, dress up and she is in church. That Muslim chap that hides his alcohol inside his prayer kettle would do his Ablution and head for the Mosque on Friday  Its now a part of what they do. It has no real meaning to them. Thats why a convicted felon would go straight from the prisons to a church for thanksgiving.

Immorality is very high in Nigeria right now, corruption, crime and all sorts of vices.. Yet every Sunday, the churches are filled to capacity.

To the Rich/upper middle-class Nigerians, Church is nothing but a social gathering where they can come into contact with the poor and subconsciously oppress them. Thats why its easier for a rich man to see the pastor than it is for a Poor Church Usher to even enter the Pastors office, let alone see him. They dont pray as hard as the poor, they come late and leave early, they get choice seats in church, they get special invites to every occasion and the pastor always answers their calls personally. This class only attend church on SUNDAYS!!

To the lower-middle class/independent entreprenuers, Church is nothing but another avenue to meet potential clients. These ones get access to the pastors, but not as easily as the rich folks. They can get a Pastor to pray for them, but cant get a pastor to come to their houses. This class would attend Church on Sundays and are always at house-fellowships (as this is where they c=get to interact with the rich).

The Poor, To them, Church represents hope. This class are the most dedicated members of the church. they sweep the church, they make up over 75% of the churches workers, they are very loyal to the pastors, they pray the hardest, loudest and longest. They are the first to arrive in church and the last to leave. To them, they really do believe that if you pray hard enough, manna will fall from the skies. They are the most committed. This class can never see the pastor at will. In fact , they will be lucky if they can get the pastors number let alone speak to him one on one. They come to church every sunday hoping for a miracle. They dress their best but always come short. They eat at the feet of the rich & upper middle class who use them as they like.

The Politicians need religion for control. They use it for election purposes and to keep the masses under control. A christian wouldn't kill a Politician that is stealing him blind because of religion. And he is so shackled by the religion that he cant even fight the system, so he prays to God for a solution to a problem that is within his control.

Religion is not important to Nigerians, its now a habit.

Sadly, we have chosen foreign gods like the Jewish god and the Persian god. Abandoning our local gods. If we still actively worshipped Amadioha, by now, someone would have dragged their governor before Amadioha and made him swear with his life if he stole our money during his tenure or not.. By now, a Yoruba man would have dragged his council man before Sango to swear if that fake road was truly tarred with 15 billion Naira. INFACT, ALL OATHS OF OFFICES WOULD BE TAKEN IN FRONT OF AN ORACLE.. Maybe, just maybe, things would not have been this bad.

In case youve forgotten religion was brought by missionaries who in turn took away our fore fathers as slaves.

” Phallus Journals’’

Lagos, centre of sexcellence, I was born here, I have had my fill of it, yet the city never ceases to amaze me. The ridiculousness of the situations its citizens tend to find themselves must really amuse the supreme being above us. Crime , sex, sex and yes more sex is an active ingredient in most of its successful business interactions. The possibility of a deal being sealed over a simple act such as a blow job is more certain than 40 days of fasting and prayer. It is a circle, young steaming beautiful teenagers from high school with bodies carved by the goddess of beauty Aphrodite herself; who have overdosed on porn images coupled with raging hormones willing to be devoured, university students enjoying the sour pleasures of different men from all works of life who will gladly make it rain on them while their disgruntled wives back home have given up on the missed calls but now seeks solace in the gigantic phallus of the gate man or most often receiving the anointing from their Pastors..wink wink.

I live in this city, I’ve seen its high and lows. Drowning in a mixture of false hopes and broken dreams, I’ve thrived in it. Men seeking women, women seeking women and men moaning with pleasure in the arms of another man. If you have battled against the power in your loins to resist the lust that envelopes the entire city then you were thoroughly baptized in whatever disease infested water your priest tried to drown you in; I was baptized at the shores of the unilag lagoon overseeing the third mainland bridge were corpses are thrown into at midnight. Fornication is sweet, let no human with good functioning testicles or uncut clitoris tell you otherwise.

I am going to embark on a series, lets call it an ongoing narrative, hopefully the god of procrastination will let me be this year so that i can thrill you guys with different stories which will build up to a final climax. So allow me to introduce you to ” Phallus Journals’’ It will be filled with juicy thoughts, imaginations and will be spiced with suspense filled situation that will tingle you between your legs..wink wink. ‪#‎phallus‬

Sunday, 23 November 2014

''Let us go to church’’

''Let us go to church’’ These words echo through the house every Sunday morning as my mom riles everyone up to go to church. Sunday used to be a day to be excited about; it’s the time to bring out the well-ironed church outfits condensed with the intoxicating stench of camphor. It is an excuse to be thoroughly cleaned and glistened with overwhelming amounts of Vaseline, leaving you reflecting sunshine like a mirror. Woe betides you if look unkempt to church or be out dressed by the neighbor’s kids. My mom would spend forever trying to get her head tie in the perfect angle that will symbolize how well she was doing. My dad couldn’t be bothered, his Sunday meant laundry and ironing his office shirts, Benson and Hedges dangling from his lips with Sunny Ade’s music blaring in the background as he expertly twists his waist to the rhythm of the song while trying to keep his towel from falling off his waist. On good days my mom could get him to go with her to church amidst grumbling; her reason was she didn’t want her friends to think she didn’t have a husband. 

Sunday means you get a few coins for the offering basket, which was an incentive to actually inspire the children to go to church. I wonder if our parents knew we didn’t actually drop the coins in the offering book or perhaps they knew because we inherited it from them. The mallams with their mouth watering candies, biscuits and drinks welcome us into their warm embrace as we drop our offerings into their ever welcoming purses. Sunday was the day to catch up with friends from the neighborhood in church, bragging about their exam and test scores and oh you get to see your crush too. My crush? Crushes? I had a different one for every Sunday.

Sunday school was a escape from the harsh reality of school and focus on the thrilling stories from the bible. The story of Jonah being swallowed by a fish, the story of David slaying Goliath with a stone and the epic story of Samson ripping a lion apart..haaa such stories left us wide eyed and in awe. Such memories can’t be complete without the recitation of memories verses. Aunty Biola, how hard you tried to teach me the Ten Commandments while I was only absorbed in the details of how Moses path the Red Sea. She always ended the class with how our sins will make the devil take us to hell; the mental picture of the devil was a man dressed in black with horns and a ridiculous tail..hey don’t laugh it was scary back then. I always wanted to sum up the courage to ask her if sticking my hands to take meat from my mom’s pot meant Jesus would throw me in a hell fire for eternity. I didn’t think Jesus was that mean though.  

Sundays now? Oh dear.. I can’t sum it up; I don’t want to lose the nostalgic feeling writing this piece has given me. Ok i will say it, it is pathetic. It is now deeply entrenched in the juices of prosperity preaching that you hear every time until it becomes totally boring. The charade bridled with the sweet antics of motivational speakers never ceases to amaze me. It is like a show, an entertainment piece saddled with the theatrics of the exclamations such as Ride on pastor!! Yes Lord!! Hmm!! Haaaa!!! And a few courageous members trying to display how intense the service is by speaking in tongue. At this point, I am busy browsing the internet for news about my favorite football team and checking Instagram for any juicy piece of news. Don’t blame me! Aunty Biola told more exciting stories than these crooks in suits.

Written by @FemiShine

Monday, 9 June 2014

Apologies to Azazi

Andrew Azazi
As the security question in the country is gradually, if not completely, turning to a complete puzzle, which will take a lot more than the normal requirements to unravel, it is further aggravated by a myriad of confusing unfolding of events, criss-crossing of opinions and viewpoints from supposed experts and consultants on security, avalanche of media festering, and of course spinning and counter-spinning of moves. Behind all these drama and activities, more and more lives are being savagely and avoidably cut short, more lands are being crippled and turned in to wastelands of blood and despair, and the cycle continues with no foreseeable end in sight. No one is talking here of the economies of such places which will take only God knows how long to resuscitate.
The officers who occupy the top echelons of the security agencies in this country have been men of no little feat both on the academic and realistic fronts, especially, and since security is a field subject, much of the onus of the job relies heavily on experience, and the revered men who have occupied such offices have been quite equal to the daunting task of providing a charted course of enhanced security for the entire nation. It could have been probably attributed to the fact that this new wave of insurgency and terror, which has borne the brunt of a lot of explanations and definitions, is actually unprecedented in Nigeria, otherwise the stewardship of the holders of our various security agencies may have been properly assessed and rated, in the time past. In effect, no one particularly in the history of the office of the National Security Adviser has ever received as much criticism as the late General Andrew Owoeye Azazi.
Azazi like his predecessors, came into the office riding loftily and basking in the clout of his intimidating resume on security matters, as well as formidable experience, and settled in well on the job. But like the maestro he was, he had quickly took his time and acts together to study and surmount the terrorism problem, which had gathered appreciable momentum, and what he found out was not a pleasant one at all. In no time, he had noticed cracks in the wall of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s existence, and also a seeming connection and consonance of the party to the activities of the sect. He cried out, and the response he got was more cries for his head, abuse, rejection, and every other thing a straight and frank person suffers sandwiched heavily by evil in breathing forms.
For his effort of speaking out of the gross unpreparedness and inadequacies of the Nigerian military to check the superior Boko Haram challenges when they began to rear face, he got summary abuse, more abuse, and even more abuse to the level of questioning his competence in totality for such a sensitive office, from all facets of our national life. Expectedly, of course, there was a tsunami of media attack on him for trivialising and making a gallery play of our all-important security question, when lives were being sacrificed countlessly by the day. How a simple admittance of a bare-faced reality and pragmatism amounted to gallery playing would forever remain a mystery to many people, if in fact it was not a step in the right direction on the contrary, if anything. He was elevated to the position of a policing spirit, who ought to know everything and had an answer to every single crime that was perpetrated. Jurisdiction was a totally non-existent word in the dictionary of this accusation and expectation. Even marriage failures were attributed to him. Why else would Kunle decide his wife was no longer good enough for him to the point of divorce, if not for the fact that our National Security Adviser was opening his mouth too wide?
Why did Azazi receive such a huge traffic of blame, accusations and criticism, yet nobody is talking about Dasuki? Has the office of the NSA been abolished, defiled or deformed? Nobody is talking to him or about him. Instead, the Federal Government even set up a fact-finding committee while our National Security Adviser is relaxed. The man, Dasuki, and the office of the NSA should be on the fire of quick response reliability. Apart from his soft-approach suggestion in dealing with Boko Haram, which President Goodluck Jonathan and the service chiefs immediately rejected by calling for and declaring a total war on Boko Haram, what is next? We need innovative and strategic thinking and high level of manoeuverability integrating cultural political, religious, diplomatic and military protocol and doctrine.
It is strange that the Chief of Defence Staff is in the forefront of communication, information and interfacing in this Boko Haram and Chibok matter, as if the military are at war with Nigerians. The military did not generate Boko Haram, even if there is a case of mismanagement, the office of the NSA should act as a buffer and clearing house of information and procedure.
 Since the emergence of his successor, Dasuki, there is no doubting the fact that there has been an escalation both in dimension and number of the abductions, bombings and sporadic attacks across the North. It all seems as if the emergence of a northerner who seemed to understand the terrain better, as well as all the political permutations and calculations around his appointment seemed to be offering the country no respite at all. Yet, in the midst of all the happenings, he has managed to shield and veil himself away from media attention and some level of accountability. Recourse should not be shifted from the fact that he is the one expected to give us cogent and acceptable explanations for what is going on, as well as how it plans to abate, subside or even stop in its entirety. Yet, no one even seems to notice his presence, or stake in the matter-a real cause for reflection. Somehow, and some way, he has been able to evade all the media attack and propaganda seeking scapegoats and sacrificial cows: yet, this is one man that really matters in this security equation of this country.
   If the current security challenges are overwhelming our National Security Adviser, this long into his tenure, then I feel the hullaballoo around Azazi was unfounded and unnecessary. If it pans out that it is the same issue that bedevilled the country during Azazi’s time that is still at play or even on a higher scale than during Azazi’s time, then his grave is still fresh: that apology must be tendered, because he deserved it, unreservedly. He will hear. But if it turns out he was naive or a system failure at the time, then let the other option hold sway.
culled from punch newspaper columnist IKE WILLIE NWOBU

    Friday, 2 May 2014

    Watch As Nigerians Protest In Front Of The The United Nations In New York

    I am hurt, Nigeria is hurting me . This is a country that I love,this is where my placenta is buried. As i type this I am in a taxi cab from an airport in downtown Toronto, reading about the recent bombings and the children that were kidnapped. I felt a sense of surprise at how things have gone out of hand so fast. Now I am in another country finding ways to live a better life,adding values to this country instead of my fatherland. I visited the United Nations today on a school trip and came across a group of Nigerians and non Nigerians protesting for the return of the kidnapped girls. I had to join them and excuse myself from the school trip for a few minutes. Nigeria is hurting us, it really hurt me explaining to my fellow students that as an oil producing country why are we so less developed. Nigeria is hurting us.
    Watch As Nigerians Protest In Front Of The The United Nations In New York

    Friday, 4 April 2014

    I flee

    I flee 
    I flee and free myself from the ropes that bound me to a way of thinking that classifies me as normal 
    I flee and free myself from the barriers set by religion and society to limit my thinking and cage my mind
    I flee from any God or god that prompts me to take up arms to spill blood,blood of people who worship other God or gods
    I vomit all the lies that have been fed to me from the day I was born ..lies that make me judge my fellow humans based on the color of their skin and religion..I flee
    I flee from the laws that suppress the human rights of people based on their sexual preference 
    I flee from man made laws dipped in the rotten juice of religion that suppress women from education
    I shiver at the thought of the pain as I destroy the innocence of a little girl because my religion allows me to take her as a wife 
    As I flee, the tide is against me, the wind of disapproval beats my face 
    I forge on from my chains 
    I seek solace in the arms of common sense and reasoning , gender equality and human rights , equity and tolerance .
    As I flee and free myself ...there is relief in the thought of a free world ..someday ...somehow.
     © FemiShine

    Monday, 20 January 2014

    I am the ”APP”

                                    I am the ”APP”

    In this ever evolving world of emerging technology and the already overwhelming internet of things I have come to note that for innovations to exist there has to be a need. This need is very vital in the equation of innovation . Using myself as a case note , before I left the shores of my country I had an iPhone with the popular apps such as Facebook , Instagram , Twitter and a couple of games download on it and my life didn’t revolve around them . But as soon as I stepped into this shores of this country I quickly realized that my life and how I live it will begin to rely on devices . I had become a persona , a variable in the equation and a vital element in the code . I became a target without my own will playing any role , in short I didn’t have an option in the decision making process , the decision had already been made and I was left with the choice to either have these apps or be ready to ask a lot of questions from people . In a generation where human-human interaction is on the decline and human-device interaction is on the increase , stopping people to ask them directions might not be the best approach

    I had the following apps dictating my life to be averagely on the daily .

    • Rocketman :  this handles my transportation needs ..bus schedules based on my location

    • Weather network app : the need to have this can’t be overemphasized ..I know when to wear my boots and warm clothing.

    • Google maps : it tells me where everything is except helping me to find where my socks are in my disorganized wardrobe .

    I go into a mild state of panic whenever my phone battery becomes low and access to charging isn’t nearby . At what point did I step away from being a conventional user to being over reliant on apps to decide and chart all my activities ? Here’s where the idea bulb light up. I am the app , I created the need , I am the persona that was created to validate the need for the innovation to exist .

    Persona + Need = Innovation
    I was a target from the moment i arrived and there has been content tailored particularly for me . I became the human app , I am the end user of all the hours of coding and strategy . I take all the information provided in these innovations and decode them according to the need they serve in my space , this is the price i have to pay for my liberty and the comfort they provide for me . As long as the elements of my equation above continues to exist then i don’t think there will be a decline in the amount of apps to be discovered and launched. Do note that i am just one persona and a lot more can be created and their needs met. The Itunes store is a good example of that,the amount of apps on their store is overwhelming , it isn’t a surprise that they make billions and will continue on this part for a long time .

    Thursday, 16 January 2014

    Oil bunkering: Harnessing opportunities in Nigerian waters

    Despite the misconceptions about the business, the resuscitation of oil bunkering operations in the Nigerian territorial waters has huge economic benefits, DAYO OKETOLA writes
    Oil bunkering is an operation involving the fuelling of ships of all kinds on the high seas, inland waterways and within the ports. However, this line of business has suffered serious misconception in Nigeria. What comes to mind whenever oil bunkering is mentioned in Nigeria are thoughts of illegal oil bunkering, oil theft and pipeline vandalising. Indeed, the line between crude oil theft and oil bunkering has become very blurred in the country due to a misunderstanding of what oil bunkering operations entail. This, according to experts, is largely connected to the proliferation of crude oil theft that is already denying the country huge revenues in trillions of dollars.
    The Executive Director, Anyiam-Osigwe Group, the parent company of Nuel Energy Limited and PSTI Oil & Gas, which is involved in bunkering operations, Mr. Michael Anyiam-Osigwe, said, “The bunkering business was suspended for quite some time because there is a misconception about it in Nigeria. When we talk about bunkering, people think it is an illegal activity and this is not correct because when you steal crude, that is not bunkering, it is crude oil theft. If you are doing illegal bunkering, it means you are engaged in bunkering operations without a licence.”
    In an attempt to explain what led to the widespread misconception about oil bunkering in the country, Anyiam-Osigwe, said, “What I suspect is that when people steal crude oil, they use vessels to sell it to other ships on the sea. So, that becomes illegal bunkering because you are not licensed. It is also oil theft because you have stolen the crude and you are selling to users as though you are bunkering. This is because once you are doing a ship-to-ship transfer, it is called bunkering. In other words, once a smaller ship is pumping petroleum product into a bigger ship, that is how bunkering operations work.”
    According to him, bunkering is like running a gas station on the sea to provide fuel such as marine diesel, lubricant and others to vessels. He added that bunkering companies sometimes provide fresh water to vessels on the sea.
    When the Federal Government approved the return of oil bunkering operations to the country’s territorial waters recently, some people criticised the government for ‘legalising’ oil bunkering as if it was illegal in the first place.
    Conveying President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval to stakeholders in Lagos recently, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. George Osahon, similarly described bunkering as a downstream business involving the fuelling of ships of all kinds on the high seas, inland waterways and within the ports. Usually, the fuels supplied include Automotive Gas Oil or diesel, Low Pour Fuel Oil and recently, Liquefied Natural Gas.
    “Bunkering as a legitimate business line should not be confused with illegal trade in stolen crude for which the same term has been freely used in the Nigerian lexicon,” he said.
    Osahon said bunkering was introduced as a legitimate business activity with licences issued by the DPR in 1979, adding that not much record of bunkering activities were recorded in the country prior to that time. However, owing to some abuse of the system, he said bunkering operations were limited to five major oil marketing companies in 1984.
    “In 2000, bunkering operations were again put on hold by the government on account of the subsidy on petroleum products, which more or less, gave the operators windfall profits that did not trickle down to the government,” he said.
    Thirteen years after, the Federal Government approved the resuscitation of bunkering activities in the country and Osahon said this development would generate revenue for the government and create employment opportunities that would buoy the economy.
    According to the Chief Executive Officer, Ships and Ports, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, an average of 5,000 sea-going vessels berth at various Nigerian ports every year. With the suspension of bunkering operations, these ships, according to marine experts, go to neighbouring countries such as Senegal, Cape Verde and Cote D’Ivoire to refuel.
    But the DPR director said the resumption of bunkering services in the country would save oil, gas and marine operators the stress of going to these neighbouring countries to fuel vessels operating in Nigerian territorial waters.
    He said, “From structured supply of bunker fuels to various vessel types operating in the country; licensing of bunkers including licence renewals, registration of vessels for bunkering business annually by the DPR will generate about N250m. The economic benefit is huge because this will be a stimulus for growth in other sectors of the economy, including inland ports and waterways.”
    Osahon foresaw an increase in marine activities in the country, stressing that the nation might become a hub for bunkering operations in the sub-region.
    Potential beneficiaries from the resumption of bunkering operations, according to him, include fishing trawlers, LNG tankers, Very Large Crude Carriers, Ultra Large Crude Carriers, coastal tankers, bulk cement cargo carriers and bulk wheat cargo carriers.
    Others include General Cargo Carriers, container carriers, Floating Production Storage Offloading vessels, FSO, rigs supply vessels, tug boats and marine support vessels and other offshore oil facilities.
    Anyiam-Osigwe said, “Bunkering is a hospitality business in that when a vessel is coming into Nigeria and knows that it will get bunkered easily for fuel, lubricant and water, then freight will be cheaper.
    “This is because the vessel will take less bunkers and carry more load. So, when they come here, they will do the refuelling and this will also pay the country better. Freighting goods to Nigeria will be cheaper and the consumers will benefit from this.”
    Explaining the requirements for bunkering operations, Osahon said, “All bunkering operations in the country will be licensed by the DPR. Guidelines have been prepared by the DPR to regulate the business in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Act. The guidelines recognise two types of bunkering operations and licences will be issued in accordance with the nature of operation, which requires different qualifying criteria.”
    According to Osahon, the DPR is responsible for the licensing and supervision of bunkering operations in the country, while the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is responsible for qualifying vessels for bunkering in accordance with local and international standards
    He said, “The Nigerian Navy is in charge of security and enforcement of bunkering regulations. The Federal Ministry of Fisheries will identify vessels fishing under NIMASA. Nigerian Ports Authority, Customs, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Ministry of Transport all have major roles to play to ensure successful bunkering operations.”
    The DPR boss said the quality of fuels for bunkering operations in the country is as specified by the International Maritime Organisation and agreed between the buyer and the bunkering operator.
    “Bunkering companies are to source their products independently and are, therefore, responsible for the quality of such fuels. For an effective bunkering operation, participating companies are enjoined to maintain reasonable bunker fuels stock as only product availability guarantees hub patronage by vessel owners,” he added.
    The Director in charge, Directorate of Marine Services, Nigerian Navy, Navy Captain S. O. Ayeni, warned that any ship that must bunker in the country’s territorial waters must fulfil the requirements of the Navy.
     “The operator will be expected to present to the Nigerian Navy headquarters an application for bunkering clearance detailing the vessel involved, location of bunkering operation or discharge point, quantity of bunker fuel and duration of the operation,” he said.
    Ayeni further explained that the operator must disclose the source of his bunker fuel, adding that in view of the poor state of the refineries, the product must not come from the country; otherwise, it would be regarded as stolen oil.
    He also said the operators must obtain licences and certifications from the DPR and the NIMASA on the quality of the products and the vessels.
    “All these conditions will be verified at the Directorate of Marine Services in Lagos for validity and correctness; and if they are in order, recommendation is made to the Naval Headquarters for prompt approval of a particular bunkering operation as captured in the application,” Ayeni added.

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    Kenya Westgate siege: Accused’s trial begins

    The trial of four men charged over the Westgate shopping centre siege in Kenya has started in the capital, Nairobi.
    BBC reports that the four suspected foreigners deny charges of aiding a “terrorist group” and being in Kenya illegally.
    The court heard testimony from security guards who saw what happened when the gunmen launched the attack in September, killing at least 67 people.
    Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group said one of its suicide brigades carried out the siege.
    The four are the first to be charged over the attack – the worst in Kenya since 224 people were killed in the 1998 bombing of the US embassy.
    None of the men – named as Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah, Adnan Ibrahim and Hussein Hassan – are accused of being the gunmen who carried out the attack.
    Their nationalities have not been disclosed, but they are said to be ethnic Somalis.
    Guard Stephen Juma told the court he was directing traffic outside the upmarket shopping centre when a car pulled up and three men jumped out.
    One of them immediately shot dead a shopper, he said, the Associated Press news agency reports.
    Juma said he could not identify any of the gunmen because their heads and faces were covered with black headscarves.
    “I began to hear gunshots, I made a radio call for help while running to the main entrance,” he is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
    “I took shelter in a residential compound until when I saw policemen come.”
    The police say the four accused had sheltered the attackers in their homes in Eastleigh – a Somali neighbourhood in Nairobi – and that they were in contact with the gunmen four days before the siege.
    The men have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include entering Kenya illegally and obtaining false identification documents.
    BBC reports that 40 witnesses are expected to give evidence in the trial, which is likely to last around a week.
    The Kenyan army has said that all four of the attackers died during the siege.
    One of the suspected attackers has been named as 23-year-old Somalia-born Norwegian national, Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow.
    Al-Shabab is fighting for an Islamic state in Somalia.
    It said it carried out the attack to avenge the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia to bolster the UN-back central government.

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    Wednesday, 15 January 2014

    Why did Jonathan sign the gay law?

    In 2013, an iconic picture of two ladies kissing before anti-gay marriage protesters in Marseille, France, went viral. That act of defiance before an assembly of mostly old ladies was to demonstrate an inviolable right to private life and choice. It was largely the fear of this sort of freedom that spurred the Nigerian Senate to embark on pushing a bill to criminalise activities relating to homosexuality with draconian measures.
    The climax of the saga occurred on Monday, January 13 when the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, announced that the President had signed the bill into law.
    It was a well-calculated move from a politician who wants to win popular support for 2015 elections, and he chose a good time to espouse conservative values. Just the previous week, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the All Progressives Congress engaged in the usual catfight, this time over religion. Having whipped up some Islamophobia, he artfully topped it all by riding on the waves of subsisting moral panic the gay debate generated. For a man who routinely closes his eyes to corruption and every other imaginable human vice in his administration, Jonathan’s signing of this bill is illuminative of his moral values and priority. (By the way, where was his voice when the debate on child marriage was going on?) This time, he chose to be Pontius Pilate who delivered a poor prisoner to a raging mob.
    That is not the stuff morally strong folk are made of.
    The seeming interference by the West –specifically the United States — over the issue of same-sex relationship and its cultural acceptance in this part of the world have given some relativists a new punch-bag. What people saw as Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama’s meddlesomeness quickly gave rise to a congress of emergency patriots who arrogated upon themselves the power to erect a perimeter fence around values they alone can decide are either “African” or not.
    These afro-jingoists position Africa as the bastion of moral values (which, incidentally, always begins and ends with sex) and insist we maintain a rigid stand against cultural erosion; that we are a sovereign nation and the white man cannot dictate to us. Rather than focus on their countrymen who will be affected by the law, they expend energy yelling at the white man who will not lose anything in the long run.
    This sort of resistance is to be expected, of course. History teaches us that the people of Calabar had a similar pushback against Mary Slessor when she began to campaign against the killing of twins. Today, Nigerians venerate her for her foresight. When a white District Officer stopped the Elesin Oba culture in colonial Oyo town, people protested saying a white man had no right to stop a legitimate cultural practice.
    The point is, culture does not mean people should be stuck in a time warp. Societies advance and that is why even the most vociferous campaigners for “African values” will not forsake their European/Arabia-gifted religion for Amadioha or Sango; will not give up their cellphones (and other forms of western technology) and return to the villages to communicate with drums and smoke signals. They will not request a law that forces women to marry as virgins like it used to be, once upon a time, in Africa. There is no culture in the world that is immutable. What people call “African culture” today, cultural scholars have analysed, are largely practices that are consequences of colonialism.
    Nigerians can talk about sovereignty all day but countries interfere in local affairs as moral conscience of other countries. For both the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, taking the stand of “sovereignty” was as immoral. Either as individuals or as a nation, “The West” has intervened in Africa frequently: in wars, in education, during famines and till now they still dish us billions of dollars in aid and relief. Bill Gates, on his blog, posts pictures and notes of his philanthropic activities in Africa’s poor places and not one African leader has ever kicked him out in the name of sovereignty.
    To be an independent nation goes beyond yelling against the white man’s intrusive ways. It comes with obligations and one of them is protecting the minority from the repressive might of the majority.
    That is the sort of moral responsibility that President Jonathan should have displayed rather than take the populist route of offering up gays as scapegoats to be slaughtered to one of the gods we worship in Nigeria –hypocrisy. In a country where freedom and human rights are barely guaranteed most people, why expose minorities to hate and its consequences?
    Prior to the time the likes of Senators Oluremi Tinubu, Domingo Obende and about 24 others proposed the bill in 2011 to stem the cultural tide rising from the West, gays in Nigeria were not agitating to be married. They were not requesting that the law defining marriages as heterosexual relationships in Nigeria be amended. No, the move was mimicry; since Oyinbo lawmakers were debating homosexuality, Nigerians lawmakers must do so too.
    That copycat attitude was an annoying form of reactivism to an issue they obviously barely understood beyond its aesthetics. Most of the debaters had neither profound arguments nor made historical analyses to tender beyond throwing out their religious definition of morality everywhere. In Nigeria, when people bring out their holy books during an argument, good luck to reason. It was not surprising the debate did not go far.
    I had hoped Jonathan would at least refrain from touching the bill and concentrate on the corruption crippling his government; he would have focused on providing electricity. He should also stop giving recycled speeches every time his hand grasps a microphone. But no, he had to capitulate. One day, he will look back and realise he fell on the wrong side of history.
    Finally, at whatever personal risk under this obnoxious law, I reiterate my unflinching support for sexual minorities in Nigeria –lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. I believe nobody should suffer discrimination based on their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, race and whatever identity with which they are labelled. I believe in equality and I wish to state that unequivocally.
    And for those who are about to wonder, yes, this is my religion.

    JANUARY 16, 2014 BY ABIMBOLA ADELAKUN  for punch newspapers 

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    Wednesday, 18 December 2013

    A Rapist Blames His Victims

    Viewpoint illustration
    Many a time, when a male rapist is apprehended, he mischievously blames his victim for his conscienceless manhood. He mouths inanities like, “She made me do it because of the way she was dressed”, or, “I did it to teach her a lesson.” Or, “her body was irresistible.”
    Most rapists blame their victims’ dressings, conduct, body, outlook, manners and, over all, personality.
    The rapist blames everything about the victim but himself because in his tiny mind, he sees himself as the victim of his coerced victim. And, no, a rapist does not rape because of any of those external factors. He rapes because he is a despicable scum of the earth. He rapes because he is a rapist.
    I borrow the analogy of a rapist to illustrate the impertinence of Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State who was widely reported to have said, barefacedly, this past Saturday, that he –and the rest of the political elite he belongs to – steal because Nigerians do not stone them. In other words, the thieving gang that makes up Nigeria’s political class would not steal if their victims were not so passive. How simplistic and unfair an assessment!
    We must note that this is not the first time Amaechi has blundered in his faux-advocacy against corruption. And that his “vision” is always preceded by public fallouts with his bellicose peers. In April, he said Nigerians were too timid for a revolution. His Arab Spring generalisation was consequent of his tiff with President Goodluck Jonathan. This December -having successfully “revolted” from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress but still having running battles with the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike’s acolytes- he expostulated the same logic; again, everything is false.
    If we merely high five Amaechi for his simple-minded statements, he will continue to ejaculate his guilt conscience on our already battered bodies. No, this is an obscenity that merits censure.
    We need to tell Amaechi –and everybody he codified into his “we” when he made the statement- that they steal because they are contemptible thieves; vile souls destined for perdition.
    What Amaechi is saying is that politicians steal because that poor pregnant woman who might become a maternal mortality statistics in the next few weeks has yet to cast a stone at them; Amaechi posits that politicians steal because thousands of children whose lives have already been shortchanged by successive governments of Nigeria and who walk around ill-equipped for any decent future are not threatening him with stones; Amaechi says he is a thief because people leave their doors open for wheeler-dealer politicians like him to walk through; Amaechi is blaming the poor and deprived people of Rivers State who cannot even gain access to where he displays his majestic opulence for allowing him spend their money on a private jet.
    If Amaechi thinks the average Nigerian is so passive and will never stone their thieving leaders, why does he -and other loathsome politicians- invest so much money on security? Why can he not walk the streets of Port Harcourt in the afternoon and see if he would not be stoned? In better countries of the world, politicians ride in public railway system along with common people without the fear of being stoned. Why cannot Amaechi do the same if he is confident about Nigerians’ docility?
    Amaechi’s backers will plead he is speaking the truth about the attitude of Nigerians. To a large extent, they might be right to say Nigerians do not display enough civil vigilance to keep political office holders on their toes. Undeniably, the average Nigerian does not show enough outrage at the numbing degree of impunity that goes on in our so-called corridors of power. From the corruption inbuilt into the continued fuel subsidy scheme to the recent revelation by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido, that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has “stolen” a whopping $50bn of oil earnings, Nigerians have not done enough to engage their leaders.
    There is some truth to the fact that we are easily trampled because, well, we are either high on hope-dope injected straight into our brains by organised religion or we are simply weary of pushing because previous efforts had led nowhere.
    But has Amaechi asked himself why the same Nigerians who fought the military governments have largely grown colder than ice water and do not exhibit fearless agitating spirit anymore? Could it be they are tired and they do not see any difference between options? I mean, what is the point of stoning the PDP when the APC –and the other locusts who may take over from them- are no better?
    Has it occurred to Amaechi that what he called timidity is one of the (dis)advantages of democracy?
    Democracy tends to attenuate citizens’ revolutionary zeal because its institutions ensure citizens do not have to resort to bringing down the entire system each time things are not going their way. That is a lesson Egyptians had yet to learn when they stormed the streets and deposed President Mohammed Morsi.
    Amaechi seems to be positioning himself as the lone voice of conscience in the Nigerian wilderness but we are not fooled. He seems to have read the playbook of former president Olusegun Obasanjo –Nigeria’s original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Obasanjo has a similar incredible ability to play multiple personalities in the same drama. He can stand at the ruins of the house whose faulty foundations he laid whilst yelling, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” He does this without, surprisingly, being weighed down by the irony of the whole affair. One could say the same of Amaechi who, shortly before decamping to the APC, began hollering vociferously at the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over corruption. As if he suddenly woke up one morning and found that Nigeria was corrupt.
    If he had not been a beneficiary of corruption, Amaechi would have made sense. But as a member of the corrupt ruling class who has neither given up his own position nor made any restitution, he needs to shut his mouth. And, fast too. Barking at repressed Nigerians will not do any shred of good. This cloying behaviour not only divests him of personal and moral responsibilities to the people he pretends to govern, it is shamelessly hypocritical. If you need to be stoned to do the right thing as an elected administrator, why then do we have to have a democracy?

    Written by  ABIMBOLA ADELAKUN for punch newspapers