Let Rivers Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Onne Be

The determination of the enemies of Eleme to keep Eleme in perpetual educational disadvantage and further alienate the Eleme people from effective participation in the economic, social and political mainstream of Nigeria is being amplified by the efforts of the current Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Professor Barineme Fakae to close down of the Rivers Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, (RIART), Onne – the only campus of a tertiary institution in the whole of Elemeland. This is happening when the people of Eleme are envisaging the upgrading of RIART, Onne to a fully-fledge University of Agriculture.
In 1974 the Rivers State Government acquired 156 acres of arable land from Onne community in Eleme Local Government Area for the establishment of a School of Agriculture and Fisheries (SAF), Onne, to train general agriculturists and create employment opportunities for the ever growing number of young Nigerians – a welcome development.
Under the superintendent of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, the students who were admitted into the School of Agriculture and Fisheries, Onne, successfully completed their full time course of study and passed the prescribed examinations were awarded National Diploma (ND) Certificates. Many of these students on graduation proceeded to Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umunike, Abia State and other tertiary institutions were they furthered their studies and obtained higher qualifications. Indeed, the School of Agriculture and Fisheries, Onne turned out qualified men and women from all over Nigeria with specialty in agriculture. Most of them are now holders of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in various aspects of agriculture and are working in various capacities and contributing positively to national development.
To formalize the school and further give legal backing to its activities, in 1980, the Rivers State House of Assembly passed the Rivers Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Onne Act, 1980, which did not only change the name of the School to “Rivers Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (RIART), Onne” but, also mandated it to carryout research, training and award of National Diploma Certificates in Agricultural Technology and related disciplines.
But, rather than pursue these goals and expand on them with a view of transforming the Institute into a fully- fledge University of Agriculture, the current management of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology under the leadership of Professor Barineme Fakae is bent on scrapping it. Besides, it is unfortunate that the Rivers State University of Science and Technology cannot maintain the only off campus extension of the University charged with the obligation of conducting research and training of students in both theories and practice of agriculture. What is the responsibility of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University if it cannot sustain and promote the goals of RIART? Is the University already infected by the Nigeria-Fever known as corruption and/or the Nigeria-Cancer called brain-drain?
Since assumption of office as the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology in 2009 up to the closure of RIART, Onne and the transfer of RIART staff to the main campus in Port Harcourt in October 2012, Professor Barineme Fakae did not visit RIART, Onne campus. Even when the staff demanded to have audience with him, he turned down the request. Decrying the deplorable condition of RIART, Onne the management said they have envisaged the closure stressing that, “It was long expected because of the long neglect of the Campus”.

The idea of scrapping Rivers Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (RIART) Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Onne Campus will not be unconnected with the dwindling finances of the University, despite huge investments in the University by the Rivers State Government. Over the years, the votes met to run RIART, Onne have persistently been diverted thus killing the dreams of making it a viable research and training institution. Where are RIART votes? Who are those responsible for blurring the future of RIART, Onne? Why does Professor Barineme Fakae want to scrap or move RIART from Onne Eleme without recourse to its enabling legislation and what the institute sets out to achieve? Is the closure of RIART, Onne intended to hide something? Otherwise there is no explanation to justify why someone should want RIART, Onne shut. Is Rivers State financially unable to keep the Institute, at Onne? Must Eleme men and women travel to Ogoni or Ikwerre in search of education in this 21st century that education is moving closer and closer to people at the grassroots? Must Eleme be deprived of every good thing including educational establishment? RIART, Onne, is an entity enacted by law therefore it should not be destroyed for trivial reasons.

The rash decision by the RSUST authority to close down RIART, Onne because rainstorm de- roofed the buildings in 2012 was not only to dodge its responsibilities as the parent body and superintendent university, but was also intended to sabotage the efforts of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to decongest Port Harcourt. Besides, Eleme is in Greater Port Harcourt, which also questions the rationale behind such decision.

The people of Eleme are predominately farmers and fishermen and women. Apart from depriving the people of Eleme and its environs access to higher education in our vicinity, the cost of the closure of RUST RIART, Onne campus include the abandonment of ongoing research projects on the field on plantain and cassava. What becomes the fate of casual workers who have rendered long service years ranging from 15 to 19 to the University on meager salary to be displaced by the closure? What happen to RIART, Onne Staff School, staff and the pupils who are mostly from the environment where RIART is situated? Is the purported transfer of the vast areas of farmland, 156 acres, to RSSDA by RSUST with the consent of Onne clan, the owners of the land? What is the content or terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between RSUST and RSSDA that allows RSSDA to take over and improve the facilities at RIART, Onne? Is Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) going to use the land or develop the facilities at RIART, Onne, for the same purposes it was originally donated? We demand some explanations; we asked to be carried along, to be told the use for which our land is being put.

That Eleme, christened the “Heart of Nigeria’s Economy” cannot boost of a single tertiary institution is very shameful; yet her lands and waters are forcefully acquired daily for national and multinational industrial developments; and her crude oil, the black gold, taken daily at gunpoint to keep Nigeria going, without minding the wellbeing of the Eleme ecosystem or employment of her youths.

We are appealing to the authorities concern to reconsider and rescind the decision. We therefore call on the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and the Vice Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Professor Barineme Fakae, to let RIART, Onne be! Considering Eleme’s contributions to the economic mainstay of Nigeria, it is not out of place to ask for special treatment for Eleme. Let us think of upgrading RIART, Onne to a fully-fledge University of Agriculture. Education is the ladder to the top. We deserve to have tertiary institutions in Eleme. Nigeria, do not take from Eleme always; at times, add to Eleme! Do not pull down Eleme, prop up Eleme! If RIART, Onne is not performing maximally there are many options open to the University management to make it to work better and serve the people rather than scrapping it or pulling it out of Eleme.

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Learn Eleme Language – Eleme Anthem

LEARN ELEME LANGUAGE

 

Ɔnɔɔnɔ Rε Ɔtaa

(Lesson Three)

 

εsɔ Eleme

(Eleme Anthem)

 

NNƆƆ BEE εTA ELEME

  1. Nnɔ bee εta Eleme, nnyimε εta re bai

Àfià mmuru bi mmasāā oso

Oku nsεnwinε bārā oku ekpo soosoo

Nài mεrε dala Eleme èbo

 

Kɔrɔs:

εdamɔ Eleme chui nε mpioo suāi ntito

Churāi ajuri mpioo suāi ntito Ɔbari

Nyimε εta Eleme rε Ɔbari àkasε

Ɔbari àkɔri nloru Eleme

Ɔbari, ka nεε nyimε εta Eleme

Àfià mmuru bi mmasāā Eleme

 

  1. Ɔkaka atɔsε oku ntε bārā nka bai

Ree chui juā èbo nkikε Eleme

Ɔbari soosoo, kasε εdamɔ nnyε bai

Nἓba ɔnyāɔnyā bārā ɔmɔna ru adε

 

  1. Ɔbari, soosoo dā olea Eleme

Nἓεi, ofalaru re e’e oku nté εbἓ

Sεe bai rε nἓε nsi oso εdamɔ ɔgbere

Nnɔni mɔmɔ bee olea bai.  

Learn Eleme Language

LEARN ELEME LANGUAGE

 

Ɔnɔɔnɔ Rε Ɔbεrε

(Lesson Two)

 

Εdɔ Amɔɔ Ogūrū Afabεt Ekã Eleme

(Sound of the Eleme Language Alphabets)

Oso  ekã Eleme, nnε nnε afabεt achu o’iî ntitε nnε nnε εdɔ amɔɔ. Nnε nnε εdɔ amɔɔ achurā o’ii ntitε nnε nnε afabεt. Ekarabee εdɔ amɔɔ rε dɔ oso ekã Eleme agbo nnε njenje ɔbεrε afabεt rε bãsε.

(In Eleme language, the same alphabet represents the same sound. The same sound represents the same alphabet it pertains).  

 

Rε bee kɔɔ, ekarabee εdɔ amɔɔ rε dɔ oso ekã Eleme agbo afabεt ajε achu rε a’o rε ɔ’rɔ afabεt ekã Elemeε.

(That is to say, any sound in Eleme language has alphabet among the thirty-six alphabets of the Eleme Language)

 

Rε bee rãã kɔ:

(That is to also say):

Nnε afabεt bee nkunã akε nnε εdɔ amɔɔ.

(One alphabet represents one sound).

Nnε εdɔ amɔɔ bee nkunã akε nnε afabεt.

(One sound represents one alphabet)

 

Bee ejijariε, sεε o’chu afabεt kp wεru a, εdɔ amɔɔ nnyε ka berã nnε nnε ekarabee oso ebiε rε nãã gwãnaru, tεmε oso:

(To expatiate it, if you add the alphabet kp to a, it will sound the same in any word they come together, such as in):

  1. Kpa (play, as in drum/music). E.g., kpa mkpaà (play music/drum)
  2. Kpaà (make)
  3. Kpabe (hoe)
  4. Kpaài(You – plural – make it)
  5. Kpakpagogo (butterfly)
  6. Kpalai (settle yourselves) 
  7. Kpara (unearth)
  8. Kpari (sweep)

 

Ekere mbela nyε beri: (Some of its samples are)

  1. Akpa (bag)                   
  2. Akpaka (shoe)
  3. Akpata (compound)
  4. Mkpà (scissors )
  5. כֿkpao (cradle)

HARVEST OF DEAD BODIES AS JTF AND BOKO HARAM CLASH

About 185 people were killed as members of the Military Joint Task Force (JTF) engaged the Boko Haram Islamist sect in gun battle in Baga, a town on the shores of the Lake Chad about 200 km north of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, yesterday.

The fighting begun on Friday when soldiers surrounded a mosque they believed to be housing Boko Haram members. The raid resulted into heavy fighting that saw the insurgents using rocket-propelled grenades, while soldiers spray machine-gun fire into neighbourhoods filled with civilians, mostly, women and children. The fierce gun battle was said to have sent the residents of Baga, a town well-known for its exports of dry catfish and host of the Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries, fleeing into the surrounding arid scrublands.

An official assessment of the area was conducted Sunday when government officials felt it was safe, only for them to discover that the area was littered with empty houses, unmanned businesses and abandoned vehicles.

The attack has been described as one of the deadliest involving Boko Haram, and it also shows an escalation in the insurgency in Northern Nigeria, with the sect using military-grade weaponry on the soldiers in coordinated assaults.

A local government official, Lawan Kole, told the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima who had gone to the scene Sunday, that council authorities had found and buried at least 185 bodies; stressing that officials could not give a breakdown of civilian casualties, those of militants and the Islamic extremists because many of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition as a result of the fires that razed many sections of the town, and they were all buried immediately according to Islamic traditions.

The commander of the Military Joint Task Force in the area, Brigadier-General Austin Edokpaye who also visited the scene did not dispute casualty figures, but said that Boko Haram had used heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault. He also said that the insurgents had killed a military officer before the assault started. General Edokpaye added that the extremists used civilians as human shields during the fighting – implying that soldiers opened fire in neighborhoods where they knew civilians lived.

“When we reinforced and returned to the scene the terrorists came out with heavy firepower, including (rocket-propelled grenades), which usually has a conflagration effect,” General Edokpaye disclosed.

But, local residents revealed that soldiers burnt down the community during the attacks. Previously, the JTF has been accused of violence by other security forces in the northeast of targeting civilians, and in many cases, it has been captured on video and widely documented by journalists and human rights activists. A similar raid in Maiduguri, Borno state’s capital, in October 2012 after extremists killed a military officer saw soldiers killing at least 30 civilians and setting fires across a neighborhood.

Fearful residents of the town had begun packing to leave with their remaining family members before nightfall, despite Shettima’s effort to convince the residents to stay.
According to Bashir Isa, a resident vegetable seller, “Everyone has been in the bush since Friday night; we started returning back to town because the governor came to town today. To get food to eat in the town now is a problem because even the markets are burnt. We are still picking corpses of women and children in the bush and creeks.”

Deterring and combating terrorism are two extremes of the same continuum that require different strategies. While the former may require a proactive approach the later may be solved reactively using ideological reconstruction and economic, social and political integration of all sectors of the society. The value placed on human live by the government becomes questionable when we weigh government reaction in relation to the protection of its citizens.

The military, by their nature, weapon, orientation and exposure, are not in good position to fight internal crisis. The civil authority is a better leader in this regard, driven by law enforcement while the military remains in the background. That the Military Joint Task Force in an attempt to raid a suspected extremists’ hideout killed about 185 persons mostly children and women is both embarrassing and inhuman. We must learn to value and respect human life.

BOKO HARAM RELEASES FRENCH FAMILY OF SEVEN KIDNAPPED IN CAMEROON

The French family of seven kidnapped in Cameroon’s Far North Region and taken to Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram insurgents have been released. According to Reuters, the Secretary General of Cameroon’s Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh said that the family was handed over to Cameroonian authorities late on Thursday.

UNDERSTANDING ARMED GROUPS IN NIGERIA

UNDERSTANDING ARMED GROUPS IN NIGERIA

 A group is said to be armed group if its members are armed and they act without State sanction and control. Armed group, not directly springing from recognized government authority such as the military and police forces falls into three basic divisions along a continuum, ranging from the poorly organized, disjointed and motivated by greed to the highly organized, coordinated and motivated by ideology. Identifying where any particular group falls on the continuum can help reveal how and why the group behaves as it does. This invariably will assist in determining how to effectively and efficiently separate and deal with these groups.

 At the one extreme of the Armed Groups Continuum are criminals who are haphazardly organized and are motivated by the simple prospect of plunder. At the other extreme are ideologues that are well organized; are driven by strong motives; and are seeking to change socio-political and economic conditions. In between these extremes are groups in transition. They are neither here nor there. They are primarily motivated by greed, but with time, information and resources they mature and want a bigger stake in the socio-political and economic order. At this level, they seek the trappings of authority more closely associated with traditional political power. Thus, threatening the government in power.

Identifying where a particular armed group is on the continuum is very important in determining how to separate and deal with it. While, these categories often overlap in their purposes and motivations, a common thread is their inevitable connection to an established economic and socio-political power. Irrespective of its type, armed group requires some form of support from an existing State or Patron, covert or overt, if it must move beyond the stage of routine criminal annoyance or fanatical fringe element. 

The classical example of the first group on the continuum is Pirates. Pirates have long history and they are group of poorly organized criminals. Their goal is money. They are not interested in changing society or overthrowing existing governments notwithstanding that their actions may eventually contribute to both. They simply want to prey on society and steal from others. Their livelihood depends on the prosperity of the society on which they prey. Because their plunder comes from the wealth generated by productive activities of the society, it is in their interest not to disrupt the society to the point of decline or collapse. The focus of pirates is to skim the cream from the top. As criminals driven by profit, they are usually found taking the path of least resistance. From ancient Greece over 2000 years ago to today’s Nigeria, the lucrative, easily taken merchant vessel is their target. They rarely challenge a constituted authority in any region. Their desire is only to exploit the trade routes, not control them.

The International Chamber of Commerce recently described the Nigeria waterways as piracy and armed robbery prone areas and equally warned mariners to take necessary precautionary measures when transiting Nigeria coast.  The report said that pirates and robbers are often violent and have attacked, hijacked and robbed vessels, kidnapped crews along the coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters, categorizing all waters in Nigeria as risky, “Generally, all waters in Nigeria remain risky”. In this group are also kidnappers and hostage takers.

The advanced manifestation of the pirates group is the sea-raiders. Like pirates, the sea raiders are sea robbers who threaten trading routes, attacking shipping and coastal settlements in a more organized and coordinated manner. They occupy midrange on the scale, somewhere between simple criminals and their opposites, the religious zealots. They are fierce pirates whose focuses are far beyond rapine and plunder. They exhibit unique culture, sense of government, and commerce, reinforced by the need to change the prevailing economic, social and political set up of society.

Although, the sea raiders are neither representative of society’s criminal elements nor are they proselytizers seeking to change societal cultures, they are part of the society they are looting, but gradually spreading their own unique criminal traits and trademarks. And as marauding pirates they are thoroughly professionals, but usually sought easy victims. If prevented from gaining sufficient power to displace or supplant a reigning government, or they meet with difficulty or military resistance, they look elsewhere for plunder or attempt to fit into the society through marriage and other social integration processes (Philip Gosse 1932).         

In some jurisdictions, governments have sought to buy over the sea raiders with tributes like the case of Alfred the Great of England, (Richard Drake 2000). And because they are insatiable, they keep coming for more; often with renew threats and renewed attacks.

The Nigerian ethnic militia popularly referred to as Niger Delta Militants fall within this category. Although the operational areas of this group extend beyond the sea, they exhibit the characteristics of sea raiders in their targeting and attacking of targets. They threaten trading routes, attacking shipping and coastal settlements and are offensive against oil pipeline and oil and gas facilities in a more organized and coordinated manner. In most cases they warn before they strike and their focuses are far beyond rapine and plunder. They exhibit unique culture and sense of commerce, reinforced by the desire to seize economic and/or political power. Apart from making the waterways unsafe, they are interested in government and their interest in politics is reinforced by their support for identified politician or political group, and they also engage in crude oil smuggling and illegal bunkering.

Occupying the extreme end of the scale from ordinary criminal gangs are organizations that are motivated by ideology, are armed with sufficient military capability, and possess organizational infrastructures capable of implementing their ideological visions. Such armed groups are formidable. Example of such group in Nigeria is Boko Haram. What many Nigerians are yet to come to term with is that Boko Haram is bent on religious conversion through colonization and conquest. Boko Haram members are Islamic jihadists. It is a military order founded in Maiduguri in 2002, representing the religious spirit of Islam.

Boko Haram is not limited to Nigeria; the proselytizing zeal of jihadists propelled their banner throughout the Islamic world. Nor are they confined to Christians and Southerners. Pagans, heretics of every ilk, and surprisingly, Muslims that are political opponents and those who speak out against their mass murder, are all marked to see the shadow of the Boko Haram’s flags and to feel the steel of their swords and to experience the boom of the bombs.

Born of and nurtured by religious fervor, Boko Haram has made its greatest imprint in northern Nigeria; with most attempts to penetrate southern Nigeria especially Lagos being met with difficulties and military resistance. Despite keeping Boko Haram away from the south, our security agencies mustn’t relax or slumber or sleep. Real Boko Haram members will not succumb to amnesty and cannot be bought over with tribute.    

The religious zeal, organizational abilities, and military skills of Boko Haram are being employed by selfish northern political leaders to serve their own ends. In fact, what makes the Boko Haram Islamic sect a powerful force is not their ideological zeal and organization and military might but simply the support of numerous patrons who are motivated by religious affiliation, political interest and financial rewards. Armed groups, irrespective of underlying aspirations, are often used as pawns by established powers. When the group serves some political, economic, or military purpose for an existing power, patrons do not only turn a blind eye or provide support; they also provide a soft landing ground in case the LAW frowns at their activities.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has approved the constitution of a 26-member Presidential Committee to “constructively engage key members of Boko Haram and define a comprehensive and workable framework for resolving the crisis of insecurity in the country.”

 

Announcing the setting up of the Presidential Committee, Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity in a statement said that the committee’s terms of reference include:

 

  • Developing a framework for the granting of amnesty.
  • Setting up of a framework through which disarmament could take place within a 60-day time frame.
  • Development of a comprehensive victims’ support programme.
  • Development of mechanisms to address the underlying causes of insurgencies that will help to prevent future occurrences.

 

Membership of the committee christened, “Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North” is made up of the following Nigerians:

1. Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, Minister of Special Duties – Chairman

2. Sheik Ahmed Lemu – Member

3. Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed – Member

4. Col. Musa Shehu, (rtd.) – Member

5. Sheik Abubakar Tureta – Member

6. Dr. Datti Ahmed – Member

7. Senator Sodangi Abubakar – Member

8. Senator Ahmed Makarfi – Member

9. Hon. Mohammed Bello Matawalle – Member

10. Amb. Zakari Ibrahim – Member

11. Comrade Shehu Sani – Member

12. Hajiya Naja’atu Mohammed – Member

13. Mallam Adamu S. Ladan – Member

14. Dr. Joseph Golwa – Member

15. AVM A. I. Shehu – Member

16. Mr. R. I. Nkemdirim – Member

17. DIG P. I. Leha – Member

18. Prof. Nur Alkali – Member

19. Malam Salihu Abubakar – Member

20. Alhaji Abubakar Sani Lugga – Member

21. Barrister Ibrahim Tahir – Member

22. Brig-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo – Member

23. Amb. Baba Ahmed Jidda – Member

24. Group Capt. Bilal Bulama,Rtd. – Member

25. Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi – Member

26. Representative of OSGF – Secretary

 

The constitution of the Presidential Committee is coming after the National Security Council on Wednesday, considered a report by the technical committee it set up to review modalities for addressing security challenges in the north.

 

In the same vein, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has also approved the constitution of a Federal Government Committee on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in keeping with his pledge that Nigeria will work with the United Nations and other countries to stem the worrisome proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and their use in creating insecurity and instability in Nigeria and other developing nations.

 

Membership of theCommittee on the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons” are:

1. Amb. Emmanuel Imohe – (Chairman)

2. Amb. Martin I. Uhomoibhi – Member

3. Amb. T. D. Hart – Member

4. Amb.Ghali Umar – Member

5. Amb. B.G. Wakil – Member

6. Mr. Opelusi Olureti – Member

7. Representative of Ministry of Interior – Member

8. Representative of NSA – Member

9. Representative of DG (SSS) – Member

10. Representative of NIA – Member

11. Representative of Federal Ministry of Justice – Member

12. Representative of Ministry of Defence – Member

13. Representative of DIA – Member

14. Representative of the Nigeria Police Force – Member

15. Representative of the Nigerian Customs Service – Member

16. Representative of OSGF – Member

17. Director, International Organisations Dept (MFA) – Secretary

 

The two Committees will be formally inaugurated by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 by 10am at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.