Tag Archives: Nigeria

Happy Birthday to the SaveBagega Hero

12 Mar

Bagega_Child_Hamzat 2

I clearly remember the day Hamzy suggested we visit Zamfara. I was excited about going, but suddenly had a bit of cold feet, because of the crises rocking some parts of Northern Nigeria.  I was also preparing for motherhood and did not want to expose myself to more toxins. I had the option of staying off the toxins, but many Bagega women can not make same choice as I did, leading to children exposed to lead poisoning and most born with deformities.

Few days later, Hamzy came back with heartbreaking stories of children whose’  lives are in grave danger, parents who live in constant fear, and possibly counting down to the death of another loved child while also holding strong to faith for a miracle. That miracle came with the release of desperately needed funds for medical care. I just had to make this first interview of my very close friend, to show how proud I am of him and to say Happy Birthday to Hamzat Lawal.

Here is how Hamzat did it.

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Calculating Toyin Saraki’s Communication Carbon Footprint

26 May

I saw this photo of  Toyin Saraki and couldn’t help but imagine how much energy she would need to keep those phones powered 24hrs a day.  The photo shows 5 power phones and these could just be the ones that made the red carpet. The carbon footprint of using 1 mobile phone is  47kg CO2e: for a 1 year,typical usage of just under 2 minutes per day 1250kg CO2e: a year’s usage at 1 hour per day 125 million tonnes CO2e. Mobile phones cause a fairly tiny slice of global emissions, but if you are a chatterbox using your mobile for an hour each day, the total adds up to more than 1 tonne CO2e per year – the equivalent of flying from London to New York, one way, in economy class.  So multiply  that by 5.  It’s the energy needed to fly from London to New York, 5 times. That’s a lot maam!!  What does she need all those phones for? Is that how much wealth and wastage that comes with Nigerian governance.

Mrs Saraki’s husband is Senator Bukola Saraki, Chair, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology.

Luxury living for our ailing environment and economy!!

Read more about communication carbon footprint here. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2010/jun/09/carbon-footprint-mobile-phone

Subsidy Removal Implications on the Environment, by Experts

26 Jan

Niger bridge on a bright tuesday afternoon.

By Michael Simire

Deputy Sunday Editor

The past couple of weeks have not been the best of times for the average Nigerian, who has been battling to contend with an unsavoury New Year gift from government.

Astonishment, despair, and then anger greeted the unexpected January 1 declaration by the Federal Government that the downstream sector of the oil industry had been deregulated and as such the N65 per litre cost of petrol had more than doubled overnight.

Consequently, the nation virtually came to halt for most of the past week as the Organised Labour-led nationwide mass action became operational. But life still had to continue and Nigerians, amid the protest, had begun to devise means to adapt to the catastrophe.

Industry stakeholders say that because of the new price regime, the environment will be better off as less fuel will be burnt and thus resulting in minimal pollution.

“Already, people have started re-ordering their priorities – generators are now working fewer hours in residential area; during the sit-at-home most afternoons are devoid of generator noise and fumes,” submits Akin Olawore, a realtor.

According to him, resources will have to be reallocated and, following the crashing GSM airtime, “there will be more of conference calls than physical meetings where it can be avoided.”

Olawore, who is based in Lagos, adds, “More people will desire to join mass transit and perhaps pooling of vehicles will become of greater relevance. No doubt house prices will go up where there is vibrant market such as the mid and low, but there may be prolonged void at the high end.

“This is the time to convert downtown properties to executive studio flats, as closeness to the Central Business District (CBD) will translate to savings in gas cost which will drive demand in that market.”

Abuja-based environmentalist, Ochuko Odibo, believes that the situation will create a behavioural change in the way Nigerians consume fuel.

His words: “Many Nigerians will rather walk to the corner shop than drive there. Nigerians will now prefer to share car rides with friends or use the public transport service therefore reduce emission of carbon dioxide (Co2) in the atmosphere.

“It will also drive Nigerians to adopt alternative source of fuel that is cheap, renewable, affordable and available,” he stresses.

Environmentalists and university professor, Babajide Alo, notes that the development may reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere.

He says, “People would begin to rationalise how they use their vehicles now because of the new fuel regime. Rather one person using a car, three or more people would now occupy such a vehicle. I foresee a situation whereby mass transportation will also be encouraged.”

Alo, a chemist, emphasises that the nation’s contribution to GHGs emission will reduce Greenhouse Gases would reduce under the new regime, adding, “One good part of the deregulation is that the environment will be better for it.”

Environmental activist, Ewah Eleri, describes the former fuel regime as not cost effective, resulting in wasteful use of vehicles. He states that the country’s transport sector is long overdue for an overhaul.

“If this becomes one of the resolutions of petroleum deregulation, people will rethink before embarking on single occupancy journey. This will be good for the environment and the national economy,” he contends, expressing regret that the timing of the policy’s implementation is questionable.

Environmental advocate, Surveyor Efik, tags the new regime as a blessing in disguise in terms of carbon emission reduction because, according to him, a lot of people may be forced to park their cars while others may engage alternative means of transportation.

Nigeria Ebezina video- Flavour goes green

He explains that the regime will reduce the number of cars on the roads and consequently cut the nation’s carbon footprint of the country. He laments, however, that the development will negatively impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry.

Efik wants the authorities ameliorate the sufferings on the masses as a result of the subsidy removal, adding that the buses presented by the Federal Government should be adequate and environment-friendly.

He suggests that government should go for bio-fuel buses that are fuel efficient and emit less.

Subsidy Removal for Forced-minimalism

24 Jan

For many Nigerians, 2012 did not have a good beginning. This is because the cost of living from Jan 1, 2012, skyrocketed to a frightening height, over a 100 percent. This was a bitter pill Nigerians were made to swallow by our government in the name of fuel subsidy removal. The government said it needed to remove the subsidy to open up the market and cut cost. So forced “minimalism” became the survival strategy from day 1 in 2012 and thereafter. Nigerians home and abroad hit the streets in protest. Nigerians from all works of life, ages and in different parts of the world set out to occupynigeria .

Minimalism is a green concept of living with only the exact things you truly need and reducing ones thirst to consume more. In this contest, “forced minimalism” is hoarding and managing what you have to make it last longer and holding strongly unto all other things you have because you know not what this subsidy removal has in store.

Minimalism this period became not optional but by instinct. The new cost of living, heightened by the nationwide strike activated forced minimalism in every Nigerian except ofcos government officials and their families whose fat pay and mega lifestyle  rejects cost cutting by default.

Nigerians began to save, hoard and protect whatever they had. From food to clothing, airtime, drinks, Alomo Bitters (Latest drink in Lagos and its environ) and most especially petrol. According to your social and financial class, use of resources got reduced a great deal. People turned off their air-con, reduced their use of generators and embraced a more eco-friendly means of transportation-walking and cycling on the empty streets.  Nigeria is hugely dependent on use of petrol because  electricity doesn’t work and no other means of transportation works as much as road transportation and air for the few who can afford it. So every thing was affected. Even the sky experienced a bit of FRESH AIR. Air transport was shut down . You either coughed out enough cash and time to travel by road, start a new life where ever you got stuck,  wait till the government reduces the cost of petrol and the strike is called off or wait till one of Mr Presidents  Subsidy SAVIOUR  Buses comes to take you away like the Chariot of fire.

I strolled out to buy some akara(bean cakes) and had a great laugh as I listened to a young boy narrate his forced minimalism ordeal to his friend. He had in his hand a sachet of pure water. He said “ My guy, see as I hold pure water for hand because I never finish am. If na before, as I drink am reach the amount wen I want, I no care whether na small or big remain, I go throw way am. But this one, I no care if e de spoil my swag o. I go hol am for hand till I finish am, I no care if na from mainland reach island o. Na N20  I buy am. No be N5 o!!!  20Nairaaa!!!!  My brother, my eyes don red. Na manage I dey”. It was so hilarious but also shocking to hear that the price of pure water had gone that high.

Lord, do it for her. You turned water into wine. You have done it before. You can do it again!!

Like majority of Nigerians, I am for subsidy removal because of the long term benefits. Opening up a sector for more investors, breaks monopoly and brings about competition/reduction in price of the commodity. The reason people rose up against this change and hit the street was majorly because of the timing. Jan 1. When folks were still back in their villages , have spent so much money during the festivities and getting set to go home possibly having just their transportation fares. Worst still, Nigeria lacks good infrastructure to help cushion the effects. Therefore, it was a story of pain and anguish for so many.

The question of cutting cost was unacceptable for Nigerians. In a nation with extravagant government spending and a history of widespread theft of billions by military rulers and present politicians. Why wouldn’t judgement start in the house of power? Why wouldn’t the government cut down on their wastage to help the economy instead of worsening the living of over 160million people.

I did not enjoy the striking period one bit(except the holiday and family bonding time), but I am sure mother nature did while it lasted. She must have been glad that we  learnt to use our resources wisely and in a sustainable manner.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Long live mother earth and a moment of silence for all who lost their lives in the struggle for a better Nigeria. Have a great 2012 and overcome every challenge one day at a time.

More photos below.

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PHCN…… Stop the noise and the carbon.

13 Oct

Nawa o.

I couldn’t sleep well last night, therefore I put finger on keyboard to write this piece.

Power supply  in Abuja has been such bad news. It started with electricity going off  for a few hours on Monday, Oct 10 2011 then gradually going  for a whole day and more. I thought it could just be peculiar to my area which was very unusual (I am favoured to have found an APARTMENT  in an area specially loved by PHCN. Guess they realized that Ugochi has moved in. No vex, no beef me. Receive this same miracle …….AMENNNNNN). Anyway  we soon got to realize that it  was not just us, it was a total ‘’BLACK-OUT’’  in the entire nation. The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)  shut down five power stations in the country because  Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) shut down five gas stations for maintenance to help improve gas supply to the power plants. With the shutdown, Nigeria will be losing about 1,400 megawatts of electricity. And so since monday, tons of carbon have been realized into the Nigerian atmosphere. To worsen the situation, RIM seized the Blackberry network , right after Airtel users recovered from a network shutdown caused by a protest over the undue sacking of about 3000 of Airtel staff. With all these many issues, ICT had a down time, thereby adding fuel to fire.

I usually sleep and sleep well, and not even a sucker mosquito with metal “piercing and sucking” equipment is able to stop my sleep till I am ready to wake up. This night, was different. The noise generated by the ‘’very many’’ generators in and around my vicinity is able to alter ones sense of hearing. OMG!!!!!!!

Half of my neighbours have been running their generators the past 24hours, not even the darkness of night nor the sweetness of sleep would stop them talk less of ‘’eco-friendliness’’. A large amount of the air we are going to inhale this night and in the days to come would contain some amount of carbon monoxide. Carbon inhalation for the generator user and a non-user like me. Yes I do not use one. Not because my salary no reach, I just don’t like the noise and I ‘’HATE’’ the fume. The last one I had was just powered for a few hours, stayed out redundant for months till I gave it out  and remember I stated earlier that my area has generous supply of power so you would not quite miss not having a power generating set.

The power sector of Nigeria has been a huge failure and over the years, the people are beginning  to give up on ever having constant power supply. We have heard different sweet promises by politicians. We have also seen probes of individuals involved in looting of funds, billions of dollars  meant to bring Nigeria power. Nothing is ever heard after the initial ‘’gragra’’ (so much noise about the issue). We are still believing and hoping that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan delivers on his promise in the area of power provision.

So for millions of Nigerians, especially those who never see electricity beyond 2hrs or less daily, monthly or yearly, this ‘’BLACK-OUT’’ season, the inhalation of toxin has increased. Businesses will be halted, running cost would increase, children would breathe in the fumes emitted, and globally, extra pressure (no matter how small) would be added to earth’s climate. It’s a cycle. This extra pressure will further alter the climate and a rural farmer would cry when the extreme sun dries up her crop, when his cattle finds no grazing area or the excess rain washes her crop and investment away. For we, city dwellers, we would pay some extra naira to put food on our table, And for the super rich who doesn’t mind an extra bucks, you and your entire household would pay by joining the poor/everyone to inhale this air that we are polluting.

For the Politian and contractor who stole the funds for solving this energy crises, u-follow-join. Whether you live in Nigeria or not, the climate we are changing is the same. And the companies manufacturing and shipping to Nigeria, you would experience earth’s anger as well.

I would try and go back to sleep. I do not have the power to stop the deafening  sound from these generators, nor the power to stop  the carbon from finding its way into my room once in a while (because I need air, the windows have to stay open) but I have realized that I have the power to ensure my children have a better environment. The power to secure their future, their health, their share of earth’s resources (until Christ comes for the saints. Yes I am a Christian) and save their own children too. I can do this by sticking to living an eco-friendly life style. It’s not always as easily done as preached, but step by step, day by day, I would ensure that every one of my action is fair to the environment. I would strive to reduce my carbon footprint by ECO-ly thinking through my every action. But for my power to work, I need to work with you. I need you to do your part. Please consider our dear mother nature.Local individual actions would bring about a global result.

By Franke James

I will try to get back to sleep………Awwwwwww!!!!!!! Low batteryyyyyyyyyyyy……….


I have asked about 5 colleagues what they thought about the blackout and guess what, they asked me “When”? They amazingly did not notice. They have gotten so used to NEPA  Never Expect Power Always(old name). PHCN Power Holding Company of Nigeria (new name). We hope this maintenance really improves our electricity. Stop holding the  power. The name change did not work biko !!!!!!

Where is my Tomato Jos?

25 Jul

“My tomato Jos eh,I just dey think about you, Omalicha nwa ……..” We grew up hearing the phrase “TOMATO JOS”   in music, movies, jokes etc. It is commonly used by Igbo men to describe  a very beautiful and attractive young woman. If a young lady hasn’t been called the lovey-dovey name “Tomato Jos”, by an “OMATA” or “Working class dude”, I would be surprised.

Nigeria is a big country with different zones known for some particular natural resources. From Oil, to coal, timber, iron, cocoa, groundnut, palm-oil etc. Jos, Plateau State was known for it’s food production. But most popular is the fresh Tomatoes, usually red, large, nutritious, flawless, very beautiful and affordable. It used to look like this.




















Lately, I might not find it funny being described as Tomato Jos, if you mean I look like this.

Our Tomato Jos is no more what it used to be. If you have been to the market lately, you would realize this fact. You find unattractive bowls of tomatoes staring at you. Try pricing them and you would be in for a shocker. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t find our precious Tomato Jos, but can you afford it?

I was in Jos a few months back. I met some small scale farmers and heard their stories. They told me how their climate has changed, how much their harvest has been affected by the change in weather patterns and how they cannot feed their families. The drop in harvest is enormous. I remember a  particular farmer, who told me he wasn’t farming this season. Reason being his land is very dry, it had not rained and he cannot afford a power generating set to pump water to his farm. So now, he helps builders carry blocks and cement (Labourer) to get paid. He uses the meager wage to buy food for his family (don’t mention school yet).

We all know it, we feel it, we hear it. Our climate has changed and everything is affected. Our livelihood is threatened. Our entire planet is threatened. Biodiversity, food, water, air,all of what nature has given us freely is under threat.

It might not be Tomate Jos, but be truthful, there is a food produce that you have noticed isn’t how it used to be. Shrinking in size, increasing in cost, becoming less tasty and nutritious, just not how you used to know it. Think about it.

Lets leave some Tomato Jos for our children to eat and describe.  Don’t you want a cute guy to call your pretty daughter “Tomato Jos”? I sure do!!!

Be good to the environment.

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.