Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration has continued to work tirelessly in empowering youths with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to become productive citizens of society.
This is part of Governor Ugwuanyi’s aspiration to create a blueprint for Enugu State. The governor said this mapping would involve all sectors of the society from the youths to the women and disabled persons. It is important to note that because of the broad implications and benefits of cyber security for national development, the state has taken this initiative seriously as it will provide employment opportunities for thousands of young people across geopolitical zones.
How to Get Involved in the Ongoing Cyber Security Training
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration launched a seven-month Cyber Security learning program for the State’s youths through the Enugu Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Centre. The Special Adviser to the Governor on SMEs Development and Director General, Enugu SMEs Centre Mr Arinze Chilo-Offiah said the training was organized in collaboration with CyberSafe Foundation and Ping CyberTalent and that the Gov. Ugwuanyi is spearheading the ICT-driven project to assist combat cybercrime and young unemployment in the state.
It will be recalled that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration recently trained another 500 youths in programming and product design through the Enugu SMEs Centre. He has also begun training another 500 youths as part of its concerted efforts to create employment opportunities for about 5,000 youths in the state in various fields of innovative endeavor.
According to Hon. Chilo-Offiah, contrary to common belief, the youth might make more money as Cyber Security professionals, even though many believe that internet fraud, also known as “Yahoo Yahoo,” is the fastest and easiest method to get rich.
The Special Adviser further reiterated that “there are 3.5 million vacant Cyber security jobs globally,” and that participants in the Enugu SMEs program will become certified Cyber Security professionals at the end of the training, with the possibility of internship possibilities both within and beyond Nigeria.
To get involved with these training sessions, “Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30, interested in pursuing a career in technology, residing in Enugu, and prepared to commit to the full period of the program,” according to the Enugu SMEs head.
Governor Ugwuanyi is a strong advocate for digital entrepreneurship and is committed to developing a workforce equipped with the skills needed to create a thriving economy. To this end, the governor has set up a cyber security training program to empower the youth of Enugu since more jobs are moving online, youths interested in this program must try to get hold of this opportunity and become fluent in cybersecurity.
The governor hopes that the program will encourage more youths to take up cyber security as a career option and will enable them to compete on a global scale as it is currently being offered free of charge.
Enugu is blessed with a wonderful system of governance and this system has played a very significant role in the rapid advancement of the state. When it comes to the issues of social security, social facilities, structural facilities, medical facilities, employment opportunities, academic facilities, infrastructures, and, many other things, the government in Enugu makes sure that none of these sectors is left untouched, which were among Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration’s four-point agenda unveiled to Ndi Enugu during his first term swearing-in at Okpara Square, Independence Layout Enugu in 2015.
The PDP government right from the time of Chimaroke Nnamani, Sullivan Chime, and, presently Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has focused their tenures on different projects which benefited the people implying the true meaning of democracy. All sectors were created with the people in mind, from rural development to education, health, infrastructure, security, workers’ welfare, and youth empowerment, taking the lead are all being addressed and are receiving critical attention by the government.
This attention placed on ‘people’ in Enugu state is what makes democracy in its original sense true because democracy is all about the people and where the people reap the dividends of democracy; they will certainly believe they belong in the system and give the leader maximum support.
Due to the rotational system of government in Enugu, every sector is being touched significantly and that is what finally resulted in Enugu being called ‘the white man land’. The resources generated in Enugu are to an extent, evenly distributed that every indigene or visitor to the state has a taste of such a good government.
There is a need to commend the administration of Ugwuanyi and his giant strides should be emulated by other state governments. He has distributed developmental projects equally and has given contracts and job opportunities across the state in a spirit of equity, unity, and fairness to the admiration and happiness of all the people in the state.
The Ugwuanyi’s government has not only tried their best to maintain infrastructures they had met when they came into power but they have also gotten new ones, built some, and even completed abandoned ones by other governments across the state. One of the infrastructures he started in enugu that is marveling is the rural roads in Enugu. He constructed Opi-Nsukka dual carriageway, Obechara road junction-Umuakashi mechanic Village-Ikenga hotels Junction-Enugu road Nsukka junction, Umuezebi-Nru junction have been completed and many more. Ugwuanyi in his inauguration ceremony pronounced that ‘Enugu is in the hands of God’ and this statement or slogan has been following his leadership and his affairs with the state.
The government in Enugu is geared towards the people and it is very result-oriented and when the people of Ibagwa-ani, in Nsukka local government area of Enugu state, led by the member representing Nsukka West State constituency, in the statehouse of assembly, Hon. Dr. Emma Ugwuerua, the former transition committee chairman of the council, hon. Onyema Idoko, among other leaders, came to the government house, Enugu, to appreciate His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, he reiterated how his administration is placing a priority on the needs of the people. The people are enjoying the result and to show their acknowledgment they came as a group and pledged their hundred percent support to Ugwuanyi. The people of Ibagwa-ani came, acknowledged, and thanked gov. Ugwuanyi for appointing their sons and daughters into various government positions, his concern of service and putting up of infrastructures, human empowerment, and human capacity building.
The Ibagwa-ani people commended Governor Ugwuanyi for his strength, his tenacity, and anticipatory handling of the covid-19 pandemic, which helped to abort the continuous spread of the disease, especially to the rural communities in the state. They were unequivocally happy with his government and solidly in support of his activities which they described as inspiring, all-inclusive, and result-oriented.
This piece summaries the last quarter theme highlighting what it means for the people of Enugu state and how it has contributed to a lasting peace and developmental strides.
The opening argument came from the article ”Need to Respect Power Rotation in Enugu State by Vera Igwilo” in it she argues that the administration of Dr. Chimaroke Ogbonnaya Nnamani of Enugu-east (Nkanu’s portion) Senatorial District, who served from 1999 to 2007, was the first to distribute power in Enugu State. Barr. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime of Enugu-west (Udi’s part) Senatorial District, who served from 2007 to 2015, was the next in line. The current government of Enugu-north (Nsukka’s portion) Senatorial District Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, whose term began in 2015 and is set to conclude in 2023. Since 1999, indigenous peoples in the three senatorial districts have enjoyed a fair amount of representation in the office. Not only were people appointed, but zones were also given power and authority.
As a result, this approach has shown to be beneficial to both the party (PDP) and the entire state of Enugu in ensuring an enabling atmosphere for the state’s development goals. It is also obvious that this structure does not begin and end at the federal and state levels. This technique, however informal, was effective in the PDP’s bid for governor of Enugu State; observations also show that the system’s effectiveness prompted other political parties in the state to emulate it. Chinweokwu Ukwueze in his article Nigeria at 61: How Rotation of Power is ensuring Enugu’s consistent developmental strides writes that one of the ways Enugu state has been able to maintain its phenomenal growth and development is by keeping peace in the state, which experts think is the most important condition for any state to have continual growth and development. “There can be no progress of any kind in an atmosphere that is bereft of peace or plagued by terrible outbreaks of violence.” The founding fathers discussed and agreed to maintain the rotation of authority among the state’s component divisions or zones, as it was done in the former Anambra State, to preserve peace and equality. Of course, this was done not simply to maintain equity, but also to assure the state’s continued peace and progress. Some parts of the population might feel marginalized in other states. Enugu State, on the other hand, is a different story.
One of the reasons why the Enugu State Governance has relied on rotational politics as a form of government since 1999 is to ensure that development reaches all of the state’s zones. As a result of Nigerian politics, politicians prefer to work more for their constituents, which is seen in Enugu State as well. Any governor elected works more in his district or in areas with which he is more familiar. As a result, development and growth are distributed throughout the state, and the state develops uniformly. The last feature titled Power Rotation in Enugu State: Going Beyond Democracy by Enema Oluchi examines how The organizational framework of power rotation in Enugu State has enabled a seamless transition of power, proper representation of the masses, and taking the minority into account in the same way as the majority over the years. It has gone beyond democracy to meet the needs of the people.
The meritocracy vs. rotation debate has been debated several times, with the notion that rotating power in government removes the focus on who deserves it and promotes regionalism and sentimentalism.
However, it is critical to study the State’s as well as the country’s structure first. Nigeria is made up of several ethnic groupings, just like Enugu State is made up of various senatorial zones. Power rotation is unavoidable until Nigeria is reorganized, argues Olu Fasan in Vanguard. This is due to the country’s governmental system, which perpetuates a historic power imbalance in which one ethnic group dominates the other. Enugu State would have faced the same dilemma if this rotation of power had not been the unwritten standard from its creation. In Enugu State, the people no longer talk about one group or zone dominating another since everyone is given equal attention. The significance of this power rotation may be compared to the requirement for traffic lights to be installed at intersections where many roads join together. These three distinct zones are populated by individuals of varied cultures and dialects who are unified by a single government. The necessity for a turn-taking regulation is critical, as is the requirement to prevent accidents, which is a critical need that traffic lights provide.
The Nigerian Police force is the first line of defense and should be well structured, very informed to tackle the everyday issues that are present in every community of the country.
The Enugu State Police Command plays a very vital role in ensuring the peace and security of members of its commune. And apart from stomping out insecurity, the Enugu Police Command has made it a mandate to curtail drug abuse and enforce order in the state. Earlier in the year, the Commissioner of Police for the state, Mr. Mohammed Aliyu, said that the Command recovered a total of 10 firearms of assorted rifles.
The commissioner, according to The Guardian, said that the suspects, 37 in number, were arrested for offenses ranging from armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, unlawful possession of firearms, child trafficking, car and phone theft, burglary among others. Aliyu said that the achievement was recorded with the joint effort of officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Federal Road Safety Corps, and the Neighbourhood Watch Groups in the state. However, the police force is still met with mishaps in the line of duty. In June of this year, the governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwauanyi paid a condolence visit to the widows of policemen shot in the line of duty by unknown gunmen. The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, had earlier in a statement issued in the wake of the dastardly act, disclosed that preliminary investigations on the matter had commenced.
Despite the efforts of the state command and various other security parastatals in the country, there is always room to fan into a fire the flame of improvement.
THE 2020 POLICE ACT On September 17, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Nigeria Police Bill 2020 into law. This Act repeals the Police Act Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and enacts the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 to provide for a more effective and well-organized Police force driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in operations and management of resources. The Act also establishes an appropriate funding framework for the Police force in line with what is obtainable in other federal government key institutions in the bid to ensure that all police formations nationwide are appropriately funded for effective policing. Below are the high points of the new amendments that every Nigerian should be aware of:
Section 66(1) of the Police Act 2020, ONLY a Police Officer who is a LEGAL PRACTITIONER, can prosecute. Police Officer who is NOT LEGAL PRACTITIONER cannot prosecute, unlike the Old Act that gave non-Police lawyers prosecutorial power.
2) Nigerians can now have private detectives who are not employed by the government. The Nigeria Police Force is responsible for vetting and approving the registration of Private Detective Schools and Private Investigative Outfits. See Section 4(i).
3) The Police is mandated to report the findings of its investigation to the Attorney General of the Federation or State as the case may be. Section 32(1).
4) The Act prohibits the Police from arresting anyone based on a civil wrong or breach of contract. Section 32(2).
5) The Act equally prohibits the arrest of any person in place of a suspect. Section 36.
6) The Act makes it mandatory on the police officer or any other person authorized to effect an arrest to inform the suspect of his rights to: i. Remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his own choice. Section 35(2)(a). ii. Consult a legal practitioner of his own choice before making, endorsing, or writing any statement or answering any question put to him after the arrest. Section 35(2)(b) iii. Free legal representation by the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria or other organizations where applicable. Section 35(2)(c).
7) The Act also makes it mandatory for the Police to notify the next of kin or relative(s) of the suspect immediately after the arrest of the suspect. Section 35(3).
8.) A suspect shall be accorded humane treatment. And a suspect shall not be subjected to torture, cruelty, inhumane or degrading treatment. Section 37.
9) The statement of a suspect can be taken only when he wishes to make a statement. Section 60(1).
10) The statement, where the suspect wishes to make one, MAY be taken in the presence of a legal practitioner or any other person or organization of his own choice. Section 60(2).
11) Where a suspect is arrested and detained for more than 24 hours if the offense he was arrested for is not a capital offense, his lawyer or relatives can notify any court that has jurisdiction to try the matter about his arrest. Section 64(1).
12) The notification can be made in writing or orally. Section 64(3). “The court SHALL order the production of the suspect and inquire into the matter. Where it is convinced that the suspect should be released on bail, the court shall admit him to bail.”
13) The Police are mandated to take the photographs and fingerprint impressions of all suspects who are in lawful custody. Section 68(1).
14) Where a suspect refuses to allow the Police to take his measurements, photograph, and fingerprint impressions, the Police have the right to apply to court compel the suspect to submit himself. Section 68(2).
15) On the last working day of every month, an officer in charge of a police station must report to the nearest magistrates the cases of all arrests made without a warrant in his jurisdiction, whether the suspect has been admitted to bail or not. Section 69(1) Now, these amendments are timely and apt.
The problem is how do we ensure that it is enforced and applied. Civil society groups, Human Rights Activists, Lawyers, Comrades & good citizens; must fight for these rights.
There have been a few notions encompassing taking the COVID-19 vaccine even before they were found. The majority of those fears were a result of strict and social variables, as well as plain false information. Now that the vaccines have been made available in most countries, including Nigeria, Some people have expressed worries about the vaccinations’ efficacy.
Several factors bordering mostly on misinformation, false prophecies, and propaganda churned out by conspiracy theorists, Concerns about vaccine safety (side effects), bad impressions of healthcare quality in rural areas, weak support from traditional leaders, and mistrust in the government have discouraged people from taking the vaccines in the state.
Enugu state’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through the National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has continued to lead the state public health response in the state with oversight of the Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19). The state NCDC is also working closely with the State Ministry of Health to curtail the spread of the disease and protect the health of Enugu residence. The Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), Dr. George Ugwu disclosed that the state government has trained over 1,200 health workers, who would ensure effective coverage of the vaccination in all the designated Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and general hospitals across the 17 local government areas of the state.
The ENS-PHCDA boss, who added that some mobile health teams will visit Churches and markets to ensure that every citizen is reached, maintained all 17 LGAs have effective cold chain mechanisms that preserve the vaccines to sustain their efficacy.
Dr. Ugwu therefore, expressed delight that the state’s unrelenting efforts in the fight against the pandemic as well as special interest in the provision of quality, accessible and affordable healthcare delivery services to the people to help boost the outcome of the vaccination exercise.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, reiterated the safety of the vaccines and urged those who have not been vaccinated or completed the second dosage in the first phase to do so, accordingly. Other strategies taken by the state government include the creation of awareness through its various means like Billboards, house to house sensitization, and mass media advertisement.
For Dr. Ibiam, a medical practitioner and resident of Enugu state, residents of Enugu taking the vaccine is a positive step to containing the virus and reducing the infection rate among people in the state. “It’s natural to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. I know I did, but no one is better equipped to make choices for your health and your family than you. What you hear from the news, social media, and other people can be overwhelming. So turn to a trusted source: your health care team. As a medical practitioner, I ensure to give my patients the facts. Telling them all I know about the vaccines to help them make a fully informed decision. For me and most of my patients, the safest choice is getting the shot and the protection that comes with it, as soon as we are able”, he said.
A Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu dismissed skepticism toward COVID-19 vaccines as “propaganda” and encouraged the people of God in the West African nation to get vaccinated. “Forget all the propaganda going around; we have taken other vaccines for yellow fever and the rest,” Bishop Callistus Valentine Onaga has been quoted as saying in a Tuesday, March 30 news report.
Bishop Onaga, who had recently led members of the clergy, seminarians, and employees serving at his residence in getting the first round of the AstraZeneca vaccine, urged Nigerians to “get this (vaccine) so we can stop this thing (COVID-19) from spreading.”
The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese said, “We are calling to everyone, every Catholic and every Christian, to go and take this vaccine,” adding that the inoculation will “help us worship better and will help us return to normalcy.”
Following Bishop Onaga’s vaccination, Dr. George Ugwu, the Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, assured the public of the vaccine’s safety, saying that the “nearly ten thousand (10,000) residents of Enugu State who have been vaccinated” have not “heard any severe adverse effect.”
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and medical professionals in Nigeria have reiterated the COVID-19 vaccinations’ efficacy and advised people to get them since they save lives. They made the claim at a child rights bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture’s media conversation on-demand development for COVID-19 vaccinations in Enugu State, in conjunction with UNICEF.
The vaccines were safe, according to the experts, and everyone should use them to help the government and relevant health authorities stop the pandemic.
Dr. Olufemi Adeyemi, UNICEF’s Enugu Field Officer, noted that despite UNICEF’s, the Federal Government’s, and partners’ efforts to stop the pandemic from spreading, public skepticism, hesitation, and conspiracy against the COVID-19 vaccines continued.
He stated that UNICEF and its partners would continue to respond to the four COVID-19 response pillars defined by the Federal and State governments following NCDC recommendations, emphasizing the importance of the mass media in the battle against COVID-19 and the importance of relying heavily on facts.
UNICEF and its partners were working together to reinforce messages about equitable access to healthcare, ending discrimination, and reducing social stigma by delivering daily updates to the public on the best ways to manage the pandemic and stay safe, according to Adeyemi.
Dr. Obasi Chikezie of the Community Medicine Department, Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) Teaching Hospital, presented a paper titled: Debunking Rumours and Conspiracy Against COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination, saying that the treatment of Coronavirus was expensive, but vaccination had provided a cheaper way to manage its treatment, and that no country was safe until all countries had the vaccine.
He dispelled misconceptions such as dying two years after receiving a vaccine, vaccines containing magnetic metals, causing convulsions, igniting electric bulbs, altering DNA, and causing infertility, which might lead to population decline, among others.
He claimed that these were false reports or assumptions made by bloggers to drive attention to their websites and to profit from the actions of some pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Nwachukwu Ugwunna of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, also highlighted that COVID-19 was real and that those aged 60 and up, as well as those with underlying medical issues, were at increased risk.
“Vaccination is a simple technique to overcome the virus or lower the chance of contracting the disease because people risk significant illness if they do not get vaccinated. The most important reason to be vaccinated is to protect ourselves and others.
“It is the actual vaccination, not the vaccines, that will prevent the pandemic. So, starting with the weakest and the oldest, everyone over the age of 18 years old should get vaccinated, since vaccines are the shots we all need to save lives,” he stated.
The Enugu State Government, new COVID-19 vaccination centers have been established in major markets, retail malls, and public locations.
These are in addition to the state’s existing network of more than 100 traditional vaccination clinics. The decision, according to Dr. George Ugwu, Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), was made to make COVID-19 vaccination centers more accessible to citizens, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu.
Dr. Ugwu praised the state government for assisting with the COVID-19 immunization programs, particularly the installation and maintenance of cold chain equipment, accessories, and logistics to ensure a 24-hour power supply. The Enugu State executive secretary also urged all eligible citizens and residents (18 years and over) to be vaccinated.” COVID-19 vaccines are safe, secure, and designed to protect everyone,” he stated emphatically.
While federal and state agencies work together with the state government to ensure a more seamless and secure vaccination program, the Enugu state government’s strategies in public education and adequate monitoring of adverse events among those who have been inoculated to boost public confidence and trust in the system have helped the state government combat COVID-19 vaccine resistance.
In discussing the issues of Health securities in Nigeria, using Covid-19 as a point of reference, we can say boldly that Enugu has not fallen short in ensuring that Health education gets to all nooks and crannies.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has shown to be committed to ensuring the health of his people is taken being care of, the evidence of this claim is apparent during the pandemic. The government started with providing some of the necessary major equipment to the government-owned hospitals thereby, making the health security in Enugu state a major priority. Furthermore, we can say that in being certain that Enugu doesn’t fall short of the demand of WHO (World Health Organization) the state was sure to have fulfilled the requirements for the takeoff of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund in addition to payment of the mandatory N100m counterpart fund that will enable the people of the state benefit from health care services under the Universal Health Coverage of WHO, and all this was done under the directive of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. This is not a privilege that every state enjoys but the government of Enugu has so far make sure that their people are secured health-wise says Mr Uchenna Obi a medical Practitioner.
At a time when the virus was at its peak, it was disclosed that the government in position provided the needed logistics for administering the Covid-19 vaccines, such as health personnel, security, and storage facilities, and the Commissioner advised the residents of the state not to fall short in obeying other precautionary measures for the containment of the virus such as the use of face masks, washing of hands with soap and running water at prescribed intervals and observing of social distancing.
When it was time for the vaccination, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration rolled the program in four phases, beginning with administering to health frontline workers, elderly people with underlying illnesses, some key stakeholders in the state, and the general public. The process was going to take a lot of able hands and personnel of the medical field, which was why when it came to both educating young undergraduate doctors and post-graduate residencies, the government pushed for the approval to ESUT Teaching Hospital Parklane to absorb 125 internship applicants in different fields of study and 102 Resident Doctors in addition, to continuous recruitment of Consultants in different medical fields, accreditation, and provision of medical equipment to sustain the hospital’s capacity to a high-tech tertiary health institution which will push for the smooth running of the distribution of the vaccines and drugs at large.
Enugu state is known for having one of the best and well-functioning university teaching hospitals. ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu, has been able to offer undergraduates a well-equipped and convenient environment to conduct all research and apply all practicals that need to be applied. In applying this the education system of doctors is being taken care of, the system also offers undergraduate clinical and post-graduate Residency training for doctors in addition to the delivery of specialist care to the people. The people’s health issues are being taken care of at a minimal amount of money. Enugu state also has a care unit ‘Enugu State Primary Health Care Development’ which also serves the people and contributed to a large extent in helping curb the spread of the virus.
Some stakeholders believe that Enugu state has a security system around it. The government knew ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu, is a gold mine for both the government and the people if invested in, which was why they went all in for the growth of the teaching hospital. Consequently, the Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ugwu, reassures the people that the agency has the necessary cool-chain equipment to deliver the vaccines to the citizens of the state. All hands have been on deck in the distribution of the vaccines and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi takes on the role of a leader by taking the vaccine to reassure people that it is okay to take the vaccine which is predicted to cut off Covid-19 spread.
The issue of health is said to be on the priority list in Enugu state. They followed the directives of WHO, who pushed for the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), a program that enables all people and communities to use the palliative, curative, preventive, rehabilitative, and promotive health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to go through financial breakdown. The implementation of this noble and people-oriented program of the WHO in Enugu State by Governor Ugwuanyi’s government before many states in the country is a further pointer to the fact that the administration of Enugu state places health a top in its priorities.
Conclusively, we can say that when it comes to the issue of health and health securities, Enugu is delivering and when it is narrowed down to Coronavirus of 2019, Enugu state, and its government made a brave move by pushing for the administration of the drugs, preventive measures and vaccines, of Covid-19 showing truly Enugu state is proudly in God’s hands.
Drug abuse is a serious issue and is fast becoming a menace in many countries who are very concerned especially because of the statistics of young people who are not only exposed to these but use them regularly. Identification of the major causes of this abuse would seem to be a viable solution in handling the matter. Currently, some of the most abused drugs in the country include amphetamine, codeine, tramadol, cough syrup, cocaine, and heroin. And after tons of research, the reasons for the abuse of these drugs included- stress; social, economic, and family pressures, a desire to feel good and to derive pleasure. Among sources of these drugs were fellow drug users, drug peddlers, chemists and pharmacies, and the open market. The most recent statistics given by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) projected that 271 million (5.5%) of the global population aged between 15 to 64 years, had used the drug the previous year. In Nigeria, according to the 2018 UNODC report “Drug Use in Nigeria”- one of the first large-scale, nationwide surveys in the country, reported that one in seven persons aged 15-64 years had used a drug in the past year. This raises a serious concern for the safety of our children and the future of the public at large. A troubling chunk of these numbers revolves around students in secondary school who try these drugs out of curiosity to undergraduates in the tertiary institutions who use these because of peer pressure, to derive pleasure, to stay awake, to fend off restlessness, and to relax. The drug policies and agencies currently in force in Nigeria include the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), the National Agency for Food and Drugs and Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
NDLEA and the efforts of the government:
In 2016, the second year of the new administration, the Enugu State Government pledged to partner with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) as one of its efforts to rid the state of illicit drugs. That same year Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuani, at a book presentation by the NDLEA Commander, Mr. Anthony Ohanyere titled, ‘Terrorism and Illicit Drugs in Nigeria-My Perspective” acknowledged that many youths engage in crime due to dependence on illicit drugs and lauded the commander and his team for their efforts in keeping the state safe.
Some residents argue that the major incidences of mental unsound are shown by the number of mad people on the streets as a product of prolonged drug use. There have also been genuine concerns shown by international bodies.
Recall that in the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to the second Ministerial Anti-Drug Conference on the Influence of Drugs on Global Security and Sustainable Development, in Moscow, in 2015, the Director said that “Drug trafficking exploits fragile nations and regions.” He added that he was particularly concerned about methamphetamine production, cocaine consumption and trafficking, and heroin use in West Africa.
And that in both West Africa and the Sahel, criminal groups involved in drug trafficking and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea have joined with terrorists attracted by vast criminal profits.
Similarly, earlier this year Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) charged Commanders of the Agency to brace up or move out, as charging at the drugs war under his leadership will be like a moving train which will crush anyone who stands on its front.
He said: “We need not be told of the nexus between drug use, crime and criminalities as the exponential growth of the nefarious drug activities can be directly linked to the upsurge in crimes such as insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping, cultism, political thuggery, gangsterism, rape and other maladaptation bedeviling today’s Nigeria”, ringing a familiar tune with the address of the director of the UN of in 2015.
Drugs and Terrorism are intertwined and leave a dastardly mess in its wake on the citizens of any city.
In addition to these the Chairman also hinted at plans to get the government’s approval to carry drug tests on tertiary institutions’ new students, security agencies’ fresh recruits, and all newly appointed government employees in the country which would help to keep drugs off Nigerian streets and homes.
Efforts of the NDLEA
The global prevalence of drug use is 5.6% but in Nigeria, it is 14.4% (14.3 million people). And this is a serious issue with one of the most prevalent causes of abused substances involving codeine and cough syrup with reports showing that on average, 2.5% of women use cough syrup containing codeine, more than men (2.3%) are involved.
And in Nigeria, drug enforcement agencies, like the NDLEA is very active in their efforts to eradicate drug incidences.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, on Thursday, 18th February 2021 paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, Gen Buba Marwa (rtd) with an assurance that the French government will partner with the agency in its renewed resolve to tackle drugs menace in Nigeria. During the visit, he was informed of sturdy and swift strides recorded in the fight against drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, within the short time that Marwa had been in charge of the anti-drug outfit and the seriousness with which he handled the issues.
In Enugu, the NDLEA has certainly thrived following the governor’s intention to collaborate with the agency.
Shortly after the executive governor promised to stop the excessive use of drugs in the state in 2016, the agency motivated by the governor, according to Mr. Ohanyere led to the discovery of “a clandestine laboratory in Udi local government area”, where “20kg of Amphetamine was recovered”, which he described as “the most dangerous and expensive illicit drug in the world.”
In May, Enugu state Command of the Agency, equally at the weekend raided the Nsukka axis of the state capital where a 28-year-old lady, Ordo Ndidiamaka was arrested with 80.23grammes of cocaine and 3.81grammes of methamphetamine. This is similar to the NDLEA command action in Plateau where freshly baked cakes or brownies made with cannabis Sativa were recovered in addition to 48.726kilogrammes of assorted psychotropic substances according to Vanguard Nigeria, which apart from these pastries, recovered from the three eateries, psychotropic substances also seized from there included: Barcadin Codeine 14kg; Flunitrazapem 355.5grammes; Tramadol 370.1 grams; Exol-5, 30kg; Diazepam 2.5kg and Pentazocine 1.5 kg, totaling 48.726kg.
A month before, In April, according to the Vanguard Nigeria, operatives of the Niger State Command of the Agency arrested a 24-year-old 400-level student of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Abel Godwin Idio for selling two strong variants of cannabis, Arizona and loud, concealed in textbooks.
The Country’s commander, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) in his reaction, commended the Plateau, Enugu, and Niger Commands of the Agency for disrupting the activities of drug cartels in their respective states. And lauded their efforts at quenching the drug menace.
The drug menace like a prong that has eaten deep into Nigeria’s social scene would have to be uprooted and extinguished.
There’s still a lot to be done and inclusion in the academic curriculum of every academic level in the country will be s nice way to start as well as regular sensitization of the effects of the drug menace in the country.
The Federal Government should make a more conclusive effort to enforce drug education in the state and sensitize people about the consequences some of which are just enticed by the feel-good effect of some of these drugs.
Reports recently ranked Nigeria as 5th in the world with the highest suicide rate of an average of six suicides per month. Substance use has been attributed as a major factor that leads people to commit suicide.
Also, the increase in cases of sudden deaths among youths in the country is reportedly connected to opioid overdose, which is the most common drug injected by youths.
This is similar to the effects worldwide where many international agencies try to handle the debilitating effects of drug use.
The influence of social media and the false glorification of drug use by entertainers has led a lot of young people down the nary road of drug and substance addiction.
The need for quailing the boom of abuse which in partnership with the NDLEA and the different states in the country will bring the drug issue to a conclusive halt.
Power rotation, which ordinarily means the ability for the power in government to be in stable and fair rotation either clockwise or anticlockwise in a state either zonally or according to locality. This healthy system of power distribution is that which is solidly rooted in the government of Enugu state and also instrumental in maintaining political balancing in the State since the return of democracy. It has not only given room for the smooth running of government for many decades but also made Enugu state to be perceived as one with transparency when it comes to the running of affairs of the people. It is the kind of power system that gives room for people to be accommodated, and also for those who are not accommodated at that time to have hope of the opportunity to get to them along the way. This ‘hope’ is that substance that brings peace in the heart of citizens to keep them at peace with the government, with the knowledge that the power in government would get to their zones too.
This power rotation is an issue the Nigerian government as a whole still finds hard to practice and this naturally causes the issue of insecurities from other zonal and tribal bodies. Although Nigeria and Enugu have a common trait that brings them close, which is, that they have different breeds of people which make up their colony. For Nigeria, they deal with different people with different languages, cultures, and religions but Enugu is said to have different kinds of Igbo people which boils down to them having different cultures and believes, however, the Enugu government can handle this with their idea of power rotation. The power is distributed and this gives the people this idea that the power is around their locality or would reach them in a way.
As at the time Enugu was first separated from the old Anambra State in 1991 to be called its state, it had three Senatorial zones which include, Enugu-east, Enugu-west, and Enugu-north. In dissecting Enugu State as a whole, it is made of seventeen local government areas. These areas are divided into three senatorial and political zones which are; Enugu North, Enugu West, and Enugu East. (Nsukka for Enugu North, Udi for Enugu West, and Nkanu for Enugu East). These senatorial zones are not only just mere political zones, sometimes they are considered cultural zones, even though the cultural zones overflow from one political zone to another.
The distribution of power in Enugu State began with the administration of Dr. Chimaroke Ogbonnaya Nnamani of Enugu-east (Nkanu’s section) Senatorial District whose tenure in office ran from 1999 to 2007. The next tenure was that of Barr. Sullivan Iheanacho Chime of Enugu-west (Udi’s section) Senatorial District whose term in office was from 2007 to 2015. The present administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu-north (Nsukka’s section) Senatorial District, whose tenure started in 2015 and is expected to end in 2023. Persons among the indigenous people of the three senatorial districts would have been said to have had their fair share of representation at the office since 1999. And not only were persons appointed but zones were the ones allowed to be in power and by this, the people have the feeling that their ‘own’ is in power.
Now, some may argue that the real deal of power rotation has been breached as for the past three consecutive tenures we have had to see the power in the hands of one political party which is the People Democratic Party (PDP), but this cannot stand as an argument as who represent the people are not the political party but the zonal or cultural leaders that’s why it was mentioned earlier that those senatorial zones are not only just mere political zones but they are considered cultural zones. In the Igbo land, it is a known fact that people are more interested in the ‘home branch’ one may be said to belong to besides the political party they support.
It was also perceived that the loss of power at the National level was a result of the disruption of the rotational system, whereas in Enugu State the party has been consistent with the scheme and as such retained power in the state. This system hence has proven to be useful both to the party (PDP) and the entire Enugu State to ensure an enabling environment to achieve the needed developmental goals of the state. It is also a visible fact that this system doesn’t start and end at the National and state levels. This system though informal is effective in the candidacy of the office of the governor of Enugu State by the PDP, observations also prove that the efficiency of this system made other political parties in the state adopt it.
In reference to the anti-grazing issue, Section 2 of the Law refers to “moving permit”, which is defined as: “a movement permit issued in the State under the Control Trade Cattle Regulations or a permit relating to the movement of trade cattle issued by any authority having the power to issue the same under any law in force in any other part of Nigeria.”
The expression “any law in force in any other part of Nigeria” in this context, of course, includes the Land Use Act, as previously mentioned in Part 1.
And together, comparatively, these two laws set the stage for restriction of cattle rearing and other land violation matters in the state, except and with express permission by the governor of the state.
Understand that there Are Laws in Support of Anti-Grazing in Nigeria
Consequently, without any new law banning open grazing, southern governors can assert their authority under these extant laws, including particularly under Section 1 of the Land Use Act, which provides that:
“Subject to the provisions of this Act, all land comprised in the territory of each State in the Federation are hereby vested in the Governor of that State… ”
The Land Use Act as the principle law of Nigeria dealing with matters relating to land has vested land in the federation under the control of the individual state governors. And for emphasis, this includes commercial and economic activities in the use of the land.
The Enugu State governor, therefore, has the power to order herdsmen or any other persons carrying on any other business on lands within the territory of the state to apply for a permit or license to do so under the above clear provisions of the Land Use Act.
And this cannot, in any way, be interpreted as a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of movement.
This is worthy of mention because recently, some opposition has been meted out to the stand of the southern governors’ on grazing in the country.
Asides from the argument that it is the constitutional requirement of Nigerians to have freedom of movement, an assertion which concerning the anti-grazing matter lacks any substance, the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami(SAN) called the movement of the herdsman ‘customary’ being that this has been their practice for as long as one can remember.
However, this cannot serve as a justification for the unchecked grazing of the Fulani owned cattle which in addition to being a nuisance and causing loss of property to indigent farmers living in the south and other parts of Nigeria, has become a security issue and object of terror resulting in loss of lives of the farmers on refusal to allow these herdsmen access to their property.
Customs like these which are not only undocumented as a right or contained in any legal promulgation including the 1999 Constitution, the highest legal document in the federation cannot be allowed to subsist.
The defense of the continued grazing of cattle in unspecified areas of land has brought with it death and destruction and should not be allowed to continue unmitigated.
In light of these developments, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) has sought more time to enlighten its members to stop the practice of open grazing of cattle in Lagos State.
This followed the one-day hearing which was held on Wednesday 8th September, for the anti-grazing bill which is scheduled to be passed by the Lagos State government subsequently. The proposed title of the bill is “A Bill for a Law to Prohibit Open Cattle Grazing In Lagos State, the Trespass of Cattle Land And For Other Connected Purposes” which is intended to stop open grazing in the former capital city of Nigeria.
The breeders association pleaded for more time for the bill’s passing to educate the herders on some new ways to handle their business. The spokesperson, the association’s Zonal Secretary for South-West, Maikudi Usman pleaded for additional time to educate the herders on breeding in one place rather than encroaching on other people’s farmland.
He added that the Lagos State government would however allow the prices of the cattle to be raised to two million naira insisting that the cost of rearing in a single location was more costly.
Regarding this plea, the question however is, “how much would need to be given to stop a practice which has caused untold hardship to indigenous in the country?
Finally, most people are not aware that anti-grazing has already been in the Federation for more than 60 years. This judgment, which was not challenged, was given by Justice Adewale Thompson on 17 April 1969 with Suit no AB/26/66.
The decision read thus:
“I do not accept the contention of Defendants that custom exists which imposes an obligation on the owner of the farm to fence his farm while the owner of cattle allows his cattle to wander like pests and cause damage. Such a custom if it exists, is unreasonable and I hold that it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and a good conscience and therefore unenforceable…in that it is highly unreasonable to impose the burden of fencing a farm on the farmer without the corresponding obligation on the cattle owner to fence in his cattle.”
“Sequence to that I banned open grazing for it is inimical to peace and tranquility and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities.”-HON.JUSTICE ADEWALE THOMPSON: 17TH APRIL 1969. SUIT NO AB/26/66 AT ABEOKUTA DIVISION OF THE HIGH COURT.
These various laws can serve as a guide to states and be used as precedent when needed in matters relating to anti-grazing laws. The anti-grazing law of Enugu state commissioned by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is among the very few in the southeast and the Republic addressing the anti-grazing issue and should be lauded. And hopefully, it would be instrumental to end the anti-grazing menace that has disrupted the peace, security and economic enjoyment of Nigerians in the state.
Enugu State government recently celebrated thirty years of existence since August 1991. The state has one of the best awesome histories or stories among all the states in Nigeria and the journey of Nigeria 61st Independence brings nostalgic memories of what the people of the state encountered to secure the establishment of the Enugu and celebration of people like C. C. Onoh championing the Wawa movement and the creation of a Wawa state as it was referred to in the past. Enugu has been able to survive and has witnessed successive governments who have championed tremendous economic growth.
One of the ways by which the state has been able to sustain its tremendous growth and development is by ensuring that there is peace in the state as Peace experts believe is the foremost requirement for any state to witness consistent growth and development. “There cannot be a growth of any form in an environment devoid of peace or an environment suffering from tragic bouts of violence. ” To ensure peace and equity in the state, the founding fathers deliberated and decided to keep to the rotation of power among its component units or zones as it was obtained in the old Anambra State. This, of course, was not only to ensure equity; it was also to ensure that there is consistent peace and development in the state. While in some other states, some sections would feel marginalized. This is not the same with Enugu State.
Political Stakeholders and leaders of thought through this process ensures the state is kept away from the violence or rancour associated with power thuggery and election of violence. The state might worry about other issues but certainly not the rotation of power among its component units. This has been obeyed since the creation of the state to date. Since the inception of a stable democracy in 1999, there has been a steady change of power from one zone of the state to another. Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu East was the first governor of the state at the beginning of Nigeria’s fourth republic and he handed over to Sullivan Chime of Enugu West zone and Sullivan handed it over to Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu North zone. Thus, at this point, there has been an unbroken exchange of power
Each State Government knows that to keep power rotating among the component units and zones in the state means uninterrupted governance and it also means an easy flow of business, less youth restiveness and less political tension means more development and economic stability for everyone. This makes any elected government support the zoning formula or procedure even when there are varying opinions about the zoning. For instance, H. E. Chimaroke Nnamani didn’t let these distractions deter him when he made his government work for the handover of power to Sullivan Chime. The government at that point worked with the political structure of PDP to see that Mr Chime is elected on the platform. Thus, the people continue to live in harmony and there is some sort of fusion or intermingling between politics and governance. Hence, there is little differentiation between the political and governing structure as they are closely linked. This makes it easy for any government in power to use the political structure and achieve the aim of power rotation.
H. E. Sullivan Chime of Enugu West zone was elected in 2007 and he started work immediately. He didn’t let politicking and the party structure distract him that much as provided dividends of democracy to the people, especially the people in the capital city. During his time, the Enugu North zone looked up to receiving the leadership mantle from his government. The zone had good facts as to why they felt their zone was neglected. Most of the previous administrations focused their works and administration on Enugu city or around the city, neglecting Nsukka city and the zone. It was in Sullivan’s regime that there was heightened agitation for the creation of Adada State. However, Sullivan’s government did not give up on the rotational politics instituted by the founding fathers of the state as the government utilized the PDP political structure in handing over power to Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu North Zone. At the point when Ifeanyi was elected in 2015, Enugu North suffered neglect in infrastructure and there was little or no presence of state infrastructure in the zone. Most people of the zone heave a sigh of relief as a citizen of the zone was elected. It meant that the zone would no longer be neglected as it were.
One of the reasons why the Enugu State Government since 1999 has insisted on rotational politics as a system of government is to get development to every zone. Nigerian politics as what is obtained in it is that politicians tend to work more for their constituencies as this plays out in Enugu State as well. Any governor elected tends to work more in his constituency or where he is more familiar with. This makes development and growth spread out in the state and The state develops uniformly this way and no side is ignored.
In this present time, there have been repeated calls by some of the state’s politicians for the cancellation of the unwritten rotational politics and formula of the state. These politicians argue that the right subject or idea should be competency over equitable sharing of power. To them, the state is in dire need of competent hands to take it to an enviable height. Of course, this does not mean that the leaders they have had are not competent or something. The state is performing above average in most indices due to many reasons including the kind of leaders it has had since 1999.
As H. E. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi government rounds off and looks towards the 2023 general elections, permutations are ongoing on what would play out. Citizens of the state watch wearily as some politicians kick against the zoning or rotational politics formula while some other politicians continue to be in support. There are varying plans and expectations concerning zoning. The first group insists that zoning must be upheld and as that Enugu East zone goes after Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. The second group kicks against zoning and believes everyone should contest on competency ground. The third group believes that if zoning is kicked away it can start from anywhere or anyone from any zone can contest, thus, Enugu North with over 45% population of the state is eligible and can contest.
The Government of Enugu State knows the importance of rotational politics and zoning in the state and knows very well that it cannot be ignored. The kind of politics obtained in the state has made the state extra-peaceful and development-oriented. Furthermore, development is evenly spread and no side is neglected. In the present Enugu, there is development going on everywhere and the government has a good role to play in this. The government knows this fact and would not want to jeopardize the giant strides the state has made this far.