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Nigeria, the Floods and the ‘We Never Ready Culture’

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floods in Ondo

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said over 1.5 million children in Nigeria were at an increased risk of waterborne diseases, drowning, and malnutrition as a result of the severe flooding in many parts of the country.

According to a statement released by the UN body, the flood, which has affected over 2.5 million adults and children in 34 out of the 36 states in the country has displaced 1.3 million people.

Cases of diarrhoea and water-borne diseases, respiratory infection, and skin diseases were also revealed to have already been on the rise.

In the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe alone, a total of 7,485 cases of cholera and 319 associated deaths were reported as of October 12.

In other stats, the Humanitarian Minister says the deluge injured more than 2,400 people and partially or completely destroyed over 200,000 homes. With 108,000 hectares of farmland damaged, the floods could also hurt Nigeria’s food supply. Plus, 332,000 hectares of roads and infrastructure have sustained damage.

In Bayelsa, the former president’s home is submerged in the floods, from the flooding which have affected 27 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

Did I add to the fact that in September, a dam in Cameroon, which borders Nigeria to the east, released excess water? Nigeria does not have a dam to contain the overflow, even though the two countries agreed in the 1980s that one should be built.

This is Nigeria’s worst flood in over a decade, there will be a food crisis alongside displacement and waterborne diseases.

King Charles III, aka Omo Iya Charlie, the British monarch, has described the devastating floods that have ravaged the country in recent months as deeply saddening.

In a condolence message to President Muhammadu Buhari, the British monarch said he and his wife were “deeply saddened” about the situation. He sympathised with victims, adding that his thoughts were with those working to support the recovery efforts.

Even though the US has provided $1 million in support, our government is at a loss on the direction to take.

It’s all too human to look for someone to blame after a huge natural disaster, but that doesn’t help anyone — certainly not the victims, the survivors or the people whose livelihoods were washed away by the masses of water within minutes.

I hardly approach things like these with a know-it-all attitude: Nigeria has 200 million politicians, leaders and experts, like in football, everyone seems to be a coach, and everyone is a disaster relief expert.

So, interestingly I am not fixated on the floods but on very important allied issues around the flood and nationhood. The floods are basically a result of rapid urban growth and poor planning, which makes the issue worse. After heavy rains in urban areas, the most common cause of the flooding is inadequate drainage systems and equally the almighty climate change.

The President has left for South Korea for a Bio Summit. No national address, nothing put in place. We simply never ready—

Where are our soldiers in this humanitarian disaster? In other climes, the military would have established flood relief camps across the country, with aviation sorties flying to far-flung areas of the country to rescue thousands of stranded people.

The Nigerian army should ordinarily be the country’s most efficient and well-resourced institution and best positioned to carry out relief work on the scale warranted by the recent disaster. Sadly, this is not the case.

Generally speaking, we have no national frameworks, policies, plans, guidelines, and risk assessments, as well as well-stocked warehouses for emergencies and revised building codes specially formulated for disaster preparedness and resilience. When we find one, they are merely limited to paper. In a practical sense, the country has never taken disaster management as a serious matter. There is hardly any work done on improving the institutions that work on disaster management.

A nation divided by the forthcoming elections along ethnic, religious and all sorts of fault lines has no participatory approach to disaster management. With a very diverse landscape, which requires different planning in different regions. Therefore along with investing and focusing on research and policies, disaster-resilient infrastructure is an important aspect to minimize risks for the future.”

The truth is that communities generally did not respond to the little Emergency Warning issued by government officials. Flood warnings were taken lightly, and no effort was made to vacate the houses/villages/communities etc. People were found stranded and engulfed in flood water in their pockets waiting for government help.

Organizational efforts at the area level by the public themselves were not visible.  Any emergency response mechanism at the area level did not exist at all. Inhabitants were not found cooperative with regard to security measures and the capacity of boats.

Disciplined organization of rescue operations and control of the public has not occurred, and this is not far-fetched because Disaster Management which ordinarily should involve cooperative work among multiple organizations from multiple sectors, remains poor. There is an absence of a cohesive network.

The Nigerian army is currently not carrying out any major operations in the flooded areas beyond pedestrian relief materials being shared was a main source of concern for the rescue teams.

Even when the floods recede, there will be no comprehensive review of the National Disaster Management Policy, whether in terms of strengthening it or providing complete clarity on mandates, roles and responsibilities. There will be nothing like a strategic planning network on flood response established immediately to meet periodically (preferably quarterly in peacetime) to prepare for a cohesive response.

We are never ready, colour TV transmission was introduced first at Benue Plateau Television, Jos, in July 1974 and in India, it was introduced in 1979, decades after we have not moved forward, we have seen growth, but there is no development, our priorities not set right in any form, another few years from now, we did be discussing another flood, and same reasons would apply, are we ready, would our culture allow for planning for the future, and would there ever be sound emergency preparedness construct—Only time will tell.

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How to Properly Store and Preserve Value of Dry Hay Bales

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value of dry hay bales

By Regina Thomas

Hay bales are a key ingredient in many farm animals’ diets, providing them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy. However, storing and preserving hay bales can be challenging, as they are susceptible to damage from weather, pests, and other factors. Here are eight tips for properly storing and preserving your hay bales.

1. Choose a Dry, Sunny Spot for Storage

One way to properly store and preserve the value of dry hay bales is to choose a dry, sunny spot for storage. Hay bales are susceptible to mould and rot if stored in a moist location, so it is important to find a spot that will stay dry. A sunny spot will also help to prevent mould growth by keeping the bales warm and dry. If you cannot find a sunny spot, you can protect your bales by covering them with a tarp or plastic sheet.

2. Stack the Bales on Pallets

Another way to properly store and preserve the value of dry hay bales is to stack the bales on pallets. This will help keep the bales off the ground, preventing moisture from seeping in and damaging the hay. Stacking the bales on pallets will also allow air to circulate them, further preventing mould growth. If you are stacking the bales in a barn or shed, leave enough space between the rows for ventilation.

3. Inspect the Bales Regularly

It is vital to inspect the bales regularly to ensure that they are not becoming damp or mouldy. If you see any signs of moisture, move the affected bale to a drier location immediately. Mould can spread quickly through a stack of hay bales, so it is important to catch it early. By following these simple storage tips, you can help to preserve the value of your dry hay bales.

4. Use a Tarp or Other Cover to Protect Bales from Direct Sunlight

Another excellent way to properly store and preserve the value of dry hay bales is to use a tarp to protect them from direct sunlight. Hay bales are extremely flammable; even a small spark can set them ablaze. By using a fire retardant tarp, you can help to prevent any tragic accidents from happening. In addition, the tarp will also help to keep the hay dry and free from mould and mildew. Tarps are inexpensive and easy to find, so there’s no excuse not to use one. Make sure to store your hay bales in a safe, dry place, and you’ll enjoy their benefits for years to come.

5. Rotate Your Stock

Another step in preserving hay bales is to rotate them regularly. This means using the oldest bales and storing new ones at the back of your storage area. This helps to prevent your hay from going bad and keeps it in good condition. Rotating your stock is essential to preserving the value of your dry hay bales.

6. Avoid Excessive Moisture

If you’re planning to store dry hay bales for any time, it’s important to take steps to prevent excessive moisture from damaging the hay. One way to do this is to store the bales in a well-ventilated area where they won’t be exposed to excessive humidity. It’s also a good idea to cover the bales with a tarp or other breathable cover to further protect them from moisture.

7. Use Pest Control Methods If Necessary

If you live in an area with many pests, it’s important to protect your hay. Insects can quickly destroy a bale of hay, making it worthless. Several pest control methods are available, and you should choose the one that best suits your needs.

One popular method is to cover the hay with a plastic sheet. This will create a barrier that will keep most pests out. You can also try using insecticides but follow the instructions carefully.

Conclusion

By following these simple tips, you can help to preserve the value of your dry hay bales and keep them in good condition for years to come. Hay is a valuable commodity, so protecting it from damage is important. By storing the bales properly and rotating your stock regularly, you can help to ensure that your hay bales will stay in a good state for a long time.

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2023 Election: The Role of Media Monitoring Services

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2023 election

By Queen Nwabueze

This 2023 election season is a true test of the much-vaunted objectivity of journalists.

Journalism’s pursuit of objectivity strives to enable readers to form their OWN opinions about a story. This implies that the media (mainstream and digital) must present the facts solely before allowing the potential voters to offer them their interpretation. Again, this means that news organisations should present the facts as they are, whether or not they agree with them.

Lovely on paper, yeah? But has this really been the focus of our media since the polls for 2023 began to be conducted? No!

A well-liked TV station reporter was recently discredited for having ties to a well-liked political party (names withheld for ethical reasons).

Hold on for a moment! Let’s sketch out the perfect situation once more. In journalism, objectivity means refusing to embellish any facts or details in order to strengthen a narrative or better align a topic with a predetermined objective. Similarly, according to the profession of journalism’s neutrality standards, news should be reported in an objective, fair, and impartial way. In actuality, according to this idea, journalists should support NONE of the competing political parties and should instead just present the pertinent information to everybody.

How about disengagement? The journalist’s emotional stance is referred to as detachment. Basically, reporters MUST approach topics not only objectively but also with a cold, emotionless mentality. This tactic calls for the telling of tales in a calm, collected manner, allowing potential voters to make their own decisions apart from the influence of social or traditional media. Again, all of these principles seem sensible on paper.

You might be wondering why this article focuses so much on the Disneyland roles that the media play during elections.

Sorry, but without hammering our media, we cannot properly address the subject of “2023 Election: The Role of Media Monitoring Services.” The role of media monitoring services should reflect the fact that the media’s actions and inactions are at the centre of every aspect of elections and electioneering. That is the reality!

Election seasons do in fact coincide with times of increased media attention and reporting, with each political party seemingly desperate to take the helm of the nation, as we’ve seen in more recent years. These times of change are frequently marked by extremely competitive rhetoric, escalating tensions, occasional political bullying, and occasionally even violent confrontation and death desires.

Since the media is the main driver of these dynamics, political candidates and campaign offices should use media monitoring services, if only to uncover information that is hidden from plain view and has the potential to prevent voters from receiving enough information to make informed voting decisions.

You may track your candidacy, your opponents, public media conversation, and even detractors in real-time across all media in Nigeria, including print, online, broadcast, and social. P+ Measurement Services is one such media monitoring service.

Largely as a result of Walter Lippmann’s work, the concept of objectivity in journalism as we know it now exists. After the excesses of yellow journalism, Lippmann urged impartiality in journalism. The yellows of the period, he said, had served their role, but the populace needed to hear the truth, not a “romanticized version of it.”

Not to cry anymore over already spilled milk, but this article strongly suggests that you hire expert media monitors to join your campaign organization and conduct your listening on your behalf. Do not employ individuals who are unqualified to watch your media.

You may have noticed that the electorate now lives online in this era of online media—your own potential voters! Where are they getting their political message from? If it’s in your favour, are you certain?

Since internet media has become so crucial, it is not advisable to quickly enter and leave.

Who is keeping watch of the media for you? Are they qualified?

Online media has significantly altered how individuals consume political messages. These advances have also resulted in certain unfavourable occurrences, such as a significant rise in material that is unreliable, context-free, and biased against you and your political party.

For instance, a number of studies have shown P+ Measurement Services that your critics are using newly forming social and tribal divisions to preach to your adherents. What will you do next, then? If your party is sincerely committed to winning the 2023 elections, we advise you to use media monitoring services to provide you with accurate information.

PPlus’ approach is straightforward. To manage the perceptions that shape your reality across the media, they engage in 24/7 media fact-checking, media monitoring, and traction using international standard listening and intelligence tools/metrics; they then report back to you with the crucial findings/feedback and hand you the precise places you need to influence.

Queen Nwabueze is a Media and Content Strategist based in Lagos

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Nigerians are Multidimensionally Happy…

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multidimensionally happy

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

How do you show you’re happy?

If you’re a cat, you purr. If you’re a dog, you wag your tail, and if you’re a rabbit, you bust out your best binky moves. You read that right — binky. When rabbits are happy, they do this crazy kind of move called a binky. Each bunny has its own binky style, but it’s a kind of jumping, mid-air twist with a kick and a little hop or two on the landing. Some bunnies’ binkies can reach almost three feet in the air!

If you watch a bunny binky, you can’t help but be happy too.

So, back to that first question: How do you show your happiness? Sure, there are tough days, but there are also wonderful days when everything seems to go your way. You wake up to your favourite breakfast, ace the test, and find an extra naira in your pocket.

There are days when God blesses you with a chance to help a friend or the opportunity to learn something new about Him. And there are so-so days that are still amazing because you get to share them with Him.

So, how do you let the world know life is good? Smile, sing, whistle, or dance — whatever says “happy” to you.

Just be sure to thank the One who gave you all those reasons to be happy.

So, how do Nigerians show they are happy? A nation that the latest Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report on Nigeria, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) this November, shows the country has a higher incidence of poor people but less intensity of deprivation, even though the report measured more indicators of poverty than in the past.

How do people considering 15 indicators, instead of the 10 indicators in the past 2 surveys, with at least 133 million, 63% of the country’s population, suffering from multidimensional poverty see happiness?

Furthermore, the 2022 MPI noted that the extent of the deprivations that these 113 million poor people suffer is an average of 40.9%. With these kinds of statistics, what’s there to be happy about?

Nigerians are happy, we are still high up there in the index of happy people, and I add very happy people. People were kidnapped, robbed, and flooded, week in, week out. And yet thanksgiving services with dances of all types and executions follow suit. We are happy jare…forget all that multidimensional English!

We remain a proud people, joyous in nature, never put down by ‘little’ setbacks like stealing leaders. Visit a state where workers were owed seven months’ salaries on a Saturday, you see women and girls adorned in expensive glittering ‘aso-ebis’. Thousands were spent on event planners/transport/comperes and more.

We are happy people, we love to party and forget that ‘MPI’ thing, and we have continued in our happy nature unabated. We are happy that Ghana lost her match to Portugal because they denied us that spot to be at the Mundial.

We attend ‘suna’ (naming ceremonies) and’ igba nkwo’ (traditional weddings), and ‘oku’ (funeral parties) of the same leaders we accuse of looting us dry. It gives us loads of joy and happiness, you get free food and booze and a fight if you are at the right party.

We are happy people, the only people who, after being used, abused, disused, and misused, are tortured with the flamboyance and ostentatious living, and all we do is admire them and cling to hope—after all, ‘my turn will soon come’.

Happy people: very few countries can live the way we do, weeks without light because the power transformer is bad, yet you pay bills. Fuel stations have no commodity, yet opposite those stations, young men sell the same fuel at hyper-black prices for a product we are blessed in quantum with.

We are sad people when the thief who is looting is from the other side, but when it’s from our town, we use the phrase “he is helping our people”. And because stealing is everywhere, we all are happy.

‘Multidimensional my foot, tell that to the birds–we bribe the police and accuse them of taking bribes. We don’t really pay electricity tariffs, yet we say ‘there’s no light’, when actually it’s a case of Aso Rock owing PHCN, PHCN owes gas company, that one owes staff, the staff is in debt of school fees, rent and utility. We are happy people!

Maybe if the report had said we multidimensionally grumble, no arguments. Maybe we complain most, that’s true, yes maybe we are amongst nations with the most problems. But how do you know Nigerians are happy…

People who pay in recruitment scams in the police, immigration, army, civil service etc, are happy people.

A nation that has bribes for admission scams or money for marks in school scams. Rent without house agent frauds. Pension fraud, electoral fraud, where girls date six guys simultaneously and men date five women, including their secretary, wife’s best friend and driver’s wife and nothing happens…cannot be multidimensionally poor.

How many suicides can be traced to spirited men that were tired of the system and called it quits–the fact is we kill to be happy because, in Nigeria, happiness is it. We steal to be happy because that’s the real deal. We want to be happy not because we are sad but because we want a status quo.

We want change but don’t want to change and are weary of change; a Nigerian adage says an erect penis has no conscience. Nigerians are not multidimensionally poor; when an accountant general would steal enough money to pay all the nation’s university teachers’ salaries, there is no real arrest, no outrage. We are happy, if we really are poor, it is not because we are poor, it is because we are multidimensionally happy and not pained enough to do things differently.

How do you know a Nigerian is happy; he runs kitikata on the same spot and blames everyone but himself, so, as long as the thief is from his hood, he is happy, as long as his neighbour also does not have electricity, as long as his enemies, real or imaginary are suffering some fate he is exempted from, as long as he is winning a football game he was ill-prepared for, as long as he gets a job he least deserves and more; he is happy, when will that change—only time will tell.

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