Looking for the perfect wife? Visit St Charles Vocational School!

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SOME OF THE STUDENTS MAKING BAGS AND CLOTHES
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A MOTHER ALSO WITH THE SCHOOL

It is increasingly becoming commonplace to hear of a wife who can only boil water and prepare noodles for her husband. She would rather go with him to a fast food shop for a meal than cook anything at home. But no man dreams of marrying a wife who cannot cook at home. They would rather marry a lady with the kind of home management skills taught at St Charles Vocational School. Perhaps that is the reason why it was difficult getting a single lady to speak with when the reporter visited the centre in Lagos recently-it is as if these well-trained ladies are hot cakes for marriage.  For St Charles is no ordinary school, and neither are its students.

This is a breeding ground for the finest stock of mothers and wives, and, irrespective of one’s educational qualifications, St Charles caters for all levels of women.

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MEASURING OUT LIQUID SOAPAND DISINFECTANT WHILE THE VP MONITORS

Located at the premises of St Charles Catholic Church, Olodi Apapa, the school was established 33 years ago to educate women and girls of all ages in different crafts and handworks. Catering, baking, clothes making of all kinds, manufacture of cosmetics, bag and shoe making, the school is a conglomeration of ideas translated into usefulness. According to its principal, Mrs Beatrice Uboh, who had a chat with Newswatch Daily, two years is all that is needed to transform a girl into a responsible woman, and the good thing about it all is that the Federal Ministry of Education issues a certificate to every student who successfully completes her programme. She laughed when the reporter wanted to know whether they can make a birthday cake different from Christmas cake: “There are so many different types of cakes. There is the Christmas cake, and what is used to make it have to be very rich. The colour for the decoration must be green and red. Wedding cakes are also very rich like Christmas cakes, and contain a lot of ingredients. Then we come to birthday cakes, engagement, New Year cakes, lovers’ cake, farewell cake, retirement, send-forth, fathers and mothers day cakes. But there are those who will tell you that all cakes are the same. But it is not so. When you tell me the type of celebration you are having, I will know the colours you will need for it, the ingredients, the type of decoration that will fit it and so on. So all the things I just listed- confectioneries and bakery, continental and African dishes are under catering.”

She also enumerated the types of dishes they educate the ladies to cook: “What the ladies you see are doing is beyond catering services. It is Home Economics comprising of catering and other subjects. What you see them doing here is craftworks on flower vases. They are beaded flower vases and when they are ready, we put flowers in them, and they are used for decorating rooms and tables.

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SOME NEW ENTRANTS WITHOUT UNIFORMS ALSO WORKING

In the area of catering, we have continental dishes which we teach them how to prepare. For instance, there is the Italian dishes, US, India, and we have three course meals-appetizers consisting of soup, like carrot soup, mushroom soup and others. When you come to African dish, we have also the three course meal. Tell a student to prepare a three-course meal on our behalf, edikaing kong for example. We have the fresh fish soup as the appetizer, main dish can be the edikaing kong, with accompaniment. The accompaniment can be foofoo, then the last course can be orange or pineapple juice/ drink for digestion. You have to take any of the fruits, not all these processed ones with a lot of chemicals. You have to prepare it by yourself. Get the fruits in the market and prepare it. Then serve it for digestion. That is what we mean by three course meals both in African and continental dishes. You can use salad as first or last course. You can also use cake as last course. Sweet food is best for last course. Then come to baking and confectioneries, snacks like buns and chin-chin, puff-puff, doughnuts and egg-rolls are frying snacks. Then there are sausage rolls, meat-pies, American cornbread, meat envelope, polish pastry, all these are baking snacks.”

Aside food, Uboh enumerated some other things the ladies learn: “We have teachers teaching all the subjects, we also have language and communication teachers. But as the principal, what I do is to monitor what they are doing here and correct those who are making mistakes. After I completed my courses, I went outside to study more. Anywhere see any new thing on board, I will go and study it. We had an elaborate exhibition during our last graduation. We teach the students how to do interior and exterior decorations too. We also teach bag-making, travelling bags, hand-bags and so on. Baby-cots, beddings, bed-sheets, twine bags are some other things we teach them”.

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THE PRINCIPAL, MRS OBUH WITH SOME OF THE PRODUCTS OF THE SCHOOL

But another beautiful thing about St Charles is that, despite being under the Catholic Church, there is virtually zero discrimination as Muslim women were seen dressed as students and involved in the works going on. A Muslim lady, Bakare Sikirat Taiwo told Newswatch Daily that the school is like a family, and she has been particularly encouraged by the love they share to increase her programme from the initial six months part time studies she came to for to the full course which lasts two years. She said that she intends to set up her own shop after studies.

 Also, ladies of all ages, from 16 to over 35 were seen, some pregnant, others with babies strapped to their backs as they worked. According to the vice-principal, Mrs Juliana Nwigwe, all one needs to be qualified is to know how to read and write. She also explained that so many idle young women have turned into entrepreneurs studying at St Charles. She stated that some of the graduates who did not take the studies serious at the initial stage have come back to show gratitude: “we teach them crafts, catering and hotel management, hat making, sewing and I have been there for19 years and graduated many. Some of the graduates used to comeback. When we were teaching them, they felt what we are doing is not important. But after a period of their graduation, they will come back and tell us that they have come to show appreciation.”

“The school has been success- the number of students have kept increasing. In the past we used to graduate 35, 40 but these days we graduate 100, 140. At the moment, there are over 200 students, and new intakes are still coming.”

But St Charles Vocational does not take just women who can read and write. Ezinne Esther Michael, a graduate of Agric Economics from Federal University of Technology FUTO, Owerri has been studying there for a year. Married with a kid, she told Newswatch Daily that her husband had made it clear to her that he would prefer a wife who can do things with her hands and provide employment for others. She had come to the vocational centre hoping to learn all the tricks in cake-making, when suddenly a new world unfolded before her, and she hungrily started devouring the studies: “I had in mind to learn cake making, but when I started, I saw other things I found very useful, like crafts, sewing which is good for a married woman. I needed to do something in the vocational area, as my husband desired. I have learnt so many things. I don’t how to sew but I can sew very well now. I do beaded works and can prepare continental dishes. I intend to set up my own centre after my industrial training.”

On how she manages her home as well as study, she states : “By 5 am up from sleep. By 7.15, I am out of the house because I stay far from school. I get to school 8.30, and by 5.30, I am through and get home by 7.”

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EZINNE MICHAEL

 

By the way, she is one of the school prefects. The other prefect, Lawal Risikat Omowunmi is a school certificate holder. She decided to change her life too after a neighbor made it look like magic the fact that she can suddenly do a lot of things with her hands: “A lady attends the school in the house where I live. Whenever she returns to the house, she makes a lot of things, from crafts to food, and I told myself, wherever she learnt to be so different, I will go there and learn the same. The first day I came was their practical, and they were all dressed in aprons, canvas shoes and caps. They looked so beautiful and I fell in love instantly.” Since then, she has been studying hard, and intends establishing her own centre, to replicate the wonderful things she has learnt. She also intends to go to the university.

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LAWAL

Speaking further, Mrs Nwigwe told Newswatch how cheap it was to attend St Charles: “All you need is N1, 000 for registration, and N20, 000 for six months fees. This includes uniforms, ID cards, apron, caps and some other study materials, though we intend to increase it soon”.

“There are two sessions- the morning which is two years programme full time. A certificate from the Ministry of Education will be issued to them, while the part time lasts for six months. Those ones only apply for catering, and they resume at two in the afternoon and close at six, Mondays to Fridays. There is also the shorter programme of three months. All these things enumerated cannot be learnt under six months and that is why we use two years for the regular students. They also learn English language, communications, food and nutrition, health and physical education. People who drop out of schools and don’t want to continue in the area of academic studies can decide to study here. Men can also study here, but only on part time basis. The school is 32 years old, and people also come here for Industrial Training.”

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TAIWO

 

She also advises young women who loaf around: “no one knows what he is going to be in terms of happenings and occurrences. To those who are not doing anything, they are free to come and join. We don’t discriminate- we admit both married and single ladies and the school is not restricted to Catholics alone. In fact, you can see Muslims who are also our students. There is no discrimination.  The doors are open for everyone to come and learn. This type of vocational centre, buy the time you join and learn something, you can never have any regrets. You can get self-employed and stay in your house and make money. For instance we sold these vases at N4, 500 each last time.

 

 

 

Nigeria’s biggest pastor erects occult symbols all over university terrain

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Nigeria’s biggest pastor, David Oyedepo, the owner of Winners Chapel, also known as Living Faith Church World Wide, the richest pastor in the country, with a net worth of over 150 million dollars has been exposed by bloggers via internet Google-earth satellite imagery of his establishment to have constructed the entire campus based on occult, masonic symbols.

Isis Egyptian goddess symbols, 66, star of David, $ symbol, Baphomet ram god, and more symbols can be observed by simply googling ‘Covenant University,’ and clicking on and expanding the Google map.

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Covenant University is located in Canaan land in Ota, Ogun State in Nigeria and is a Private owned Christian University. According to Wikipedia, it is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The University describes itself as an institution that makes new leaders. The type of leaders, and their earthly, spirit world or other allegiances is a worthy question.

The scary University also partners with USAID (United States Agency for International Development).

David Oyedepo studied in the United States during his younger days. He got a Ph.D from the Honolulu University, Hawaii in Human Development. It is common place for “Illuminati” agents in Africa to have passed through college in the United States, during which time it is proposed that they got indoctrinated. Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the leader of Liberia and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala of Nigeria are two such examples cited by Illuminati researchers.

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In December 2012, the University was in the news for reportedly expelling 200 students for not attending Church service.

Bishop Oyedepo has also been in the news for his quality lifestyle, owning private jets, “Dominion Air,” and got into many Nigerian blogs’ hall of fame, for openly slapping a lady in Church.

Millions of Nigerians attend Bishop Oyedepo’s Mega Church services and of course, pay tithes generously while there.

Nigeria is a country where the masses live in abject poverty.

These pictures say it all. Follow this link to view live on Google: https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&ie=UTF-8&q=covenant+university+nigeria&fb=1&gl=us&hq=covenant+university+nigeria&cid=0,0,13330631619649973796&ei=kn_wUNboKZOC0QGs6YGQBw&ved=0CJEBEPwSMAM

 

Pope’s resignation confirms End-Time prophecy

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Is the world only a Pope away from the End? Yes, if you believe a chilling 12th-century prophecy.
Attributed to St. Malachy, an Irish archbishop canonized in 1190, the Prophecy of the Popes would date to 1139. The document predicted that there would be only 112 more popes before the Last Judgment — and Benedict XVI is 111.
The list of popes originated from a vision Malachy said he received from God when he was in Rome, reporting on his diocese to Pope Innocent II.
The story goes that St. Malachy gave the apocalyptic list to Innocent II and that the document remained unknown in the Vatican Archives some 440 years after Malachy’s death in 1148. It was rediscovered and published by Benedictine Arnold de Wyon in 1590.
The prophecy consists of brief, cryptic phrases in Latin about each Pope. It ends with the 112th pope, named “Petrus Romanus” or “Peter the Roman.”
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According to the premonition, Peter the Roman would “feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the City of the Seven Hills shall be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will judge the people.”
Often highly enigmatic, several prophetical announcements in the document appear to have come true.
For example, Malachy prophesied the first pope on his list would be “from a castle on the Tiber.” Celestine II, elected in 1143, was born in Toscany on the shores of the Tiber River.
Malachy predicted another pope would be “elevated from a hermit.” Nicholas IV, pope from 1288 to 1292, had been a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles.
The 45th pope in the prophecy is described as coming “from the hell of Pregnani”. Indeed, Pope Urban VI (1378-1389) was born Domenico Prignano and came from a village near Naples called Inferno (hell).
Most scholars consider the document a 16th-century elaborate hoax. Until 1590, when the prophecy was published, the mottoes were easily derived from the pope’s family, baptismal names, native places or coats of arms.
After 1590 the epithets become much more vague. According to the Catholic Pages, “the inclusion of anti-popes would also appear to militate against the authenticity of the prophecies.
Yet, uncanny similarities also appear when reading the mottoes associated to modern-day popes.
For example, the 109th pope is described as “of the half of the moon.” John Paul I, elected pope in 1978, “lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half,” the Catholic Pages noted.
As for his successor, the late Pope John Paul II, Malachy described him in Latin as “de labore solis,” meaning “of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labor of the sun.”
“John Paul II (1978-2005) was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse… His Funeral occurred on April 8, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas,” the Catholic Pages wrote.
Finally, “Glory of the Olives” is the motto for Benedict XVI, the 111th pope in the list. A branch of the monastic order founded by St. Benedict is called the Olivetans.
As for the doomsday pope, one would think we are quite safe: according to church tradition, no pope can take the name Peter II.
However, one of the favorites to succeed Benedict XVI is Ghanaian Cardinal Turkson.His first name is Peter.

Jamie Foxx attacked for making ‘racist’ remarks

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Jamie Foxx is drawing fire after his comments at the NAACP Image Awards, saying: “Black people are the most talented people in the world.” To some conservatives, that remark was more than just prideful boasting. To them, it was racism.

‘Black people are the most talented people in the world. I, it’s, I can’t explain it,’ Foxx said. ‘You can’t sit in this room and not watch Gladys Knight sing and go like, “Golly, what in the world?”’

Perhaps Jamie got a bit carried away in his acceptance speech. The Academy Awarding winning actor made that statement as he received the NAACP Award for Entertainer of the Year. Of course, having won several other major awards in his career, including a Grammy for his song ‘Blame It’ in 2010, Foxx should be well-versed in delivering politically correct acceptance speeches. However, for his Entertainer of the Year speech it’s clear he decided to throw caution to the wind and say whatever came to mind.

The NAACP Award aired almost two weeks ago on Feb 1., but conservative news outlets like NewsBusters picked up on the story after writer Noel Sheppard wrote a piece criticizing the actor for what he called a “really stupid” remark. In his criticism, Sheppard wrote, “Can you imagine the heat a white actor would get if he said at a nationally televised awards ceremony, “White people are the most talented people in the world?” Sheppard wrote. ‘Probably be the end of his or her career.”

This is an interesting point. If you watched Vh1′s debacle ‘Love and Hip Hop’ recently then you know that reality TV star ‘Jen the Pen’ ended an argument with her non-White co-star saying, “I’m White…it’ll get done.” Some viewers were outraged by what they viewed as the “racist” statement Jen made.

In both cases, both comments can be seen in poor taste, most definitely. However, when does the idea of being politically correct go out of the window in favor of people being honest with how they see the world they live in? It is okay for someone to ever praise their own race as superior in any regard? Or has race become so ingrained in our consciousness that we will do anything to be seen as “politically correct;” even at the expense of productive dialogue?

The festive masquerades of Igbo people

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Challenges to Rural Festivals with the Return to Democratic Rule

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Apart from the language, the traditions and culture are also some other endangered heritage of the Igbo peoples. One of the branches of this culture that is fast ebbing away is the mmanwu culture, the masquerade culture. Mmanwu is a traditional masquerade of the Igbos, to whom it used to be a major form of entertainment. Masquerades can differ from community to community, and from village to village. Masquerades festivals generally last for weeks and some may span over months, and were performed during the end of the harvest or start of the new planting season. There are some Igbo peoples that perform masquerades throughout the entire year. Masquerades are used to honour the dead and pray to the gods for a successful planting season. They were also used to honour the dead, and would go about performing during burial ceremonies. In these modern times, masquerades are used during the Iri Ji (New Yam), Christmas, New Year, Easter and other such celebrations. Masquerades became so important as an element of entertainment that Igbos from all over the world would converge at home during in order to ‘gbaa mmanwu’, that is, ‘to celebrate the masquerade during these ceremonies.
Indeed, in 1986, the old Anambra State began the annual Mmanwu Festival which lasted for days whenever it was celebrated. In those days, the less dangerous ones would come to display at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in the day, while those regarded as spirits danced at midnight, and it was said that the lights were put off and some of the masquerades did wonders, like emerging from ant-holes in the ground.
With the increasing rejection of Igbo culture, many communities have lost their masquerade traditions, but the more culture-conscious peoples have refused to let go, continuing in the noble entertaining tradition as in the past. Among these communities, the Aro Ndi Izuogu people of Imo State holds its masquerades as the most important entertainment festival, and is perhaps, the greatest celebrators of masquerades in Africa. Practically, all Igbo towns have their masquerade cults and masquerades, but some have more masquerades than others, for instance, in Enugu State, Ugwuoba, Oji River, Enugwu-Ngwo, Enugu, stand out, though Nsukka and Nkanu areas are also known for their advanced masquerades like the ones that require a lot of charms. For the Anambra, peoples of Agulu, Agulu-Uzo-Igbo, Igbo-Ukwu, Nnewi, Nanka, Ekwulobia and others are known to run masquerades for weeks whenever there is an outing. Afikpo people in Ebonyi have several masquerades too. For Abia, Arochukwu, Umuahia and other towns stand out with their Ekpo and Ekpe masquerades.
So, Igbo sons and daughters still invest millions to ensure the success of the masquerade celebrations during festivities. Between Christmas Eve and two weeks into January, some of these towns sustain a tempo of dance, performance and magic, which the masquerade is known for. And the mmanwu, like humans, come in different ages and looks, as well as fame. For instance, there are masquerades for children, and there are those for young men, while old men also have masquerades that they run. For example, the Igariga and Esekemperi are young mmanwu who dresses light, and carries canes with which he chases people around, especially girls and women. The Ekpo is also a people-chasing masquerade, and would rub the soot on its body on well-dressed girls it catches. These types do not usually go with charms. The Omewaluigwe on its own side is a wise masquerade in the sense that it is known for its talkative nature. It goes around making proverbs and speaking parables, while its followers and the audience applaud it. Ada-mmanwu is a masquerade who dresses beautifully, with handbags, and face paints. It also swags like a girl. However, the masquerade cult is restricted from women, and no woman goes close to one. Indeed, it is a taboo for a woman to go close to one, and that is one of the many reasons why it carries canes in order to scare them away. There is also the Odo, an mmanwu peculiar to the Agbaja (Ngwo and environs) people.
The Ojionu masquerade is a water spirit character represented by a headdress of crocodiles, sharks and other water creatures. The major attribute of Ojionu is creative non-stop dancing. Versions of the Ojionu masquerade varies from those that perform voices only and possess superior mystical powers to those that dance predominantly with minimal voices and less mystical powers.
Another type is the Agaba. The Agaba masquerade is a warrior-like mmanwu, who, in actual sense, is a leopard masquerade.
The Ijele masquerade is a peculiar type of masquerade. It is such a popular masquerade that its fame is felt in every part of Igbo land. The Ijele masquerade is most popular in Anambra State, and to some extent, Enugu State.This masquerade is very big and completely adorned with very costly clothings and shiny objects, making it gleam in the sun when dancing.
Mkpamkpankụ is a very serious, fully masculine-featured masquerade. Mkpamkpankụ is brisk, aggressive, agile and notorious in its own way. It has the apperanance of a person. This masquerade is active to the extent that about two or more strong men are ever around it to with the rope that is tied around its west to draw it back from over acting.
The Okwomma is the type that carries a cutlass, well sharpened. It uses this to shake hands, to collect money and to greet people who are in the cult, or other great masquerades. But it chases people with
Other masquerades include the Enyi mmanwu(Elephant), mmanwu Ugo (Eagle), mmanwu Mbe (tortoise), Odum mmanwu. These assume the appearance of the creatures that they have their names attached. And during their display, they do things that are peculiar to those creatures.
But there are more mystical mmanwus, like the Otawaru Ikpo-dreadful masquerade with charms that enables it dance on cassava leaves. Another terror is the Odegwu Anya Mmiri which sheds tears when it is about. It ius a two-faced mmanwu, and can move simutaneouldy in two directions. It is also so dreadful that whoever it meets first as it leaves the shrine dies. In order to avoid human deaths, a ram is tied in its path, which perishes after it passes.
Masquerades used in enforcing the law include the Omoba night masquerade, Ojukwu and Ekpe, and these mmanwus are common among the Arochukwu people.
Mgbadike is a warrior mmanwu which wields axes and cutlass, and its guide would use the cutlass to cut open his mouth without inflicting any injury on himself.
Then there is the Mkpa-mkpa from Agulu, which is said to lays a large egg like a chicken whenever it appears. There are also the night masquerades, and these include the Oga nigwe, Omoba and others. These are the types said to come out of ant holes at night to dance in the darkness. There are also the crowd masquerades that are used during burial ceremonies of titled men and at ofala festivals. Such masquerades are common among young men and usually carry canes with which they scare people away.
The Ịzaga are tall masquerades that have the ability to grow very tall and also make itself short. The Ojiọnụ, on the other hand, has a long mouth.
Masquerades are also very sacred to Igbos. No one dares a masquerade in any guise as it is regarded as a taboo. There is a story about a school teacher who beat up a child masquerade at Doodo, Oji River, Enugu State. The little masquerade, an Igariga had flogged his girlfriend, and he in anger, caught the spirit and tore its cover, beating it up. Before nightfall that day, the whole streets of Oji River was filled with wails and cries of masquerades, for, as every masquerade in the town had assembled to lament the incident. According to Mr Ogunjiofor, who narrated this story to Daily Newswatch, such an incident is regarded as ‘killing the spirit’, and that was why all the masquerades wailed. They all converged at the teachers’ quarters. The young teacher was lucky as he was smuggled out of the house, and out of town. He never returned. They burned down the building where he lived, and were only appeased by the school authorities with items needed to perform a burial, including a goat. “If it were in the past, they would have killed him, but they deliberately allowed him to run away to avoid having blood on their hands”.
Also, masquerade cults are used to preserve morals, as is the case in Ugwunani, Aku, Enugu Statein March last year.
Daily Newswatch learnt from a native that the Odo stripped two ladies for coming out in skimpy trousers. One of the two women stripped, whose name could not be ascertained was a visitor and that she was attacked at Eke Aku by the masqueraders, which completely removed her blouse and compelled her to pay a ransom of N1,700 to regain her freedom for wearing trousers in the area during the period of the Odo masquerade celebration.
Also, masquerades are not allowed to abuse their powers against the people. For instance, Nkerefi people of Enugu State used to be a major masquerade community, and had the Ovuvu, Okoro-Ocha, Okoro-Ojii, among other entertainment masquerades. But according to Nwuko Christopher, a priest with the Methodist Church, Umuogbii Nkerefi, the masquerade culture is no more because they were banned. “Masquerades became an annual affair in our town until they began to abuse their privileges. Masquerades will flog people will reckless abandon, even chasing them into their homes to beat them up. It was one year when the thing became too much that it was banned. They went as far as beating up a girl and tearing up her clothes.” On his part, Emeka Nwajagu, a student with NIIT Benin also stated that his hometown of Aguluzigbo still has masquerade festivals, but that some have been banned due to impunity: “We used to have the dreaded Omaba masquerade which only comes out in the night. But one year, while it was about, it sighted a man with lights, an abomination to Omaba, and killed him. Since then, the Omaba has become a taboo here. Not too long ago too, it was reported in the news that women of Opio in Nsukka Local Government held a protest due to incessant rape cases in the community. According to sources, some masquerades had taken turns to rape a nursing mother, who was also a student.
The lady, Ngozi Ugwu told newsmen that the rape, which happened on March 21, 2012 left her in both physical and psychological trauma.
All in all however, many people still wonder why Igbos insist on travelling home during festive periods. One of the answers can only be given by a masquerade.
DAILY NEWSWATCH

Politics of Second Niger Bridge

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Even in the face of the bridge facing threats of collapse, successive administrations, from former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, to the present, have always used the issue of Second Niger Bridge as bait to hoodwink or curry political favour or support from the South East region and at the end none has done anything concrete in this direction.

The reason for the second bridge is to reduce the pressure and stress from the existing one.

When ever any of the leaders makes a promise of the second bridge the mood in the South East region is usually electrifying as the people are thrown in to ecstasy because they know how adversely they would be affected in every realm of life if anything untoward happens to the one in use.

Long before he left office, when the agitation was much for the bridge, in 1992, Babangida challenged the Nigerian Society of Engineers to come up with the design of the bridge. As that was being done, he left office in August 1993.

Although former President Obasanjo included the building of the bridge in his administration’s economic agenda, this never came to fruition until at the twilight of his administration in 2007, when he urged Anambra and Delta state governments to contribute funds towards the construction of the project under the public private partnership scheme, where the Federal Government would contribute some of the funds and the two state governments and private investors would contribute the remaining funds for the execution of the project.

On May 24, he rolled out red carpet to celebrate the foundation laying ceremony for a bridge that was yet to be designed a few days to the end of his tenure. At the flagging off ceremony, Chief Obasanjo declared that it was a ‘promise fulfilled’ by his administration.

Under Obasanjo, the bridge was estimated to cost N60 billion, whereby both Anambra and Delta would contribute N10 billion each, while the Federal Government would bring in N20 billion and the remaining would come through public private partnership (PPP). The entire arrangement is now history.

Then entered President Goodluck Jonathan, who, on his part, affirmed to deliver the bridge before 2015, during his presidential campaigns in 2011 in the South East. He keeps on repeating the same promise at any South East forum he is present or represented by one of his aides.

On March 26, last year, Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, declared that the construction of the bridge would take off last September. He had said: “In the next three weeks  (that is from March 26, 2012), we would announce the concessionaires to handle the Second Niger Bridge project; and by the last quarter of 2012 to 2013, they will move to site to start ground breaking.”

The works minister, who assured Nigerians that there would be no funding gaps because of the prime importance attached to the project, said the total outlay was N100 billion out of which the Federal Government would provide N30 billion and N70 billion would be secured by a foreign concessionaire company.

Last August, Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Pius Anyim; Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi and Senator Ben Obi, one of President Jonathan’s Special Advisers, met Igbo in Lagos. They said they were there on behalf of President Jonathan to thank Igbo for not participating in the fuel subsidy riot of January 2012.

At that forum, the issue of Second Niger Bridge was raised and Senator Anyim said: “How I wish the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, were here. She would have answered the question appropriately.”

According to Anyim, the minister is making progress to source foreign firm that would take up the project under PPP and said that the design would be ready soon.

Last September, when Jonathan went to commission Onitsha river port, initiated by then Shehu Shagari administration in 1980 and other projects in Anambra State, he vowed that the bridge would be ready before he leaves office in 2015. He threatened to go on exile if he fails to do so. He said: “When the first bridge was built, it was during the presidency of Nnamdi Azikiwe; the Second Niger Bridge will be built under the presidency of Azikiwe Jonathan. If I fail to build the bridge in 2015, I will go into exile.”

Perhaps, as a demonstration of Jonathan’s commitment, N12 billion was voted for the construction of bridge in the 2013 budget.

SUN NEWS

Ezu River dead bodies: Who are they? by Onyema Uche

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On the 19th of Jan. 2013, more than 30 bodies were discovered floating on Ezu river between the boundaries of Enugu and Anambra states. The bodies were unidentified but the states ordered for autopsy which was a right action in a right direction. Surprisingly the federal police acted fast and disposed the bodies by a hurried burial. A week after that, another bodies of about 10 were discovered on the same river.
Nigerians were amazed, the Igbos especially indegines of the two states Enugu and Anambra woke to the rude shock wondering whose bodies were they. The traditional rulers quickly took a head count to ascertain if some of their people were missing. Their search came back negative. The bodies were not from those communities. The wonder and worries continued. Then the MASSOB Public relations office issued a statement which said that the so called mystery bodies were in fact suspected members of MASSOB. According to the statement they bodies were arrested by the combined team of the military, police, sss and were handed over to SARS.
”He gave the names of MASSOB members the movement suspected to be among those killed and dumped in the Ezu River to include Basil Ogbu, Michael Ogwa, Sunday Omogo, Philip Nwankpa, Eze Ndubisi, Ebuka Eze, Obinna Ofor, Joseph Udoh and Uchechukwu Ejiofor.
He said they were arrested at MASSOB security office at Onitsha Anambra State on November 9, 2012, by a combined team of the army, police and State Security Service men and handed over to the State Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters, Awkuzu Anambra State, where they were detained until their disappearance”.
Now the question is why did the federal government resort to extra judiciary killing of these young men? Who should we be scared of, the military, and police or Boko Haram? It looks like if you are Igbo death awaits you every where. The killed them and then to show their disregard for the people, they polluted the rivr with dead bodies. The perpetrators of this horrendous acts, as despicable as it is, knew that Ezu River was the only source of drinking water for the communities and its environ. Why pollute our water with the bodies of our sons you killed? This act is not only an affront on the people but a direct act of provocation for violence.Senator Andy Uba has moved a motion on the senate for the investigation of the matter. Speaking on the incident, the senate president, Gen. David Mark said, ”“Even if they were in boat that capsized, who are they? So it is strange and we need to be very concerned about it. In addition to that, of course the villagers naturally will be concerned and they may not want to go to the river anymore, but unless we are able to say who these people are, I think there’d be big problem for us in this country. And it is not just about security agencies alone, I think every community in this country now is involved.” I want to remind him that words and promises will not cut this one. We need results and we need it fast too.I hope Ndigbo has not forgotten the incident of 1992 when a lorry load of Igbo men, women and children en route to the North were all killed and the bus driver ordered to take the bodies home and show to his people what the North has in stock for us. The driver drove home with dead bodies and in tears. It is important to recall that the difference here is that these bodies were found floating in Ezu River while the other was transported in a bus. Either way both were Igbos killed in extra judiciary style, sent to the owners to mock them and insult our humanity. When would enough be enough in Nigeria? Who is taking the glory of these heinous acts? If no one why then has no one been arrested and tried?
Sadly I am seeing the repeat of 1992 orgy of blood. Ndigbo Youths have no more love to give. Their heart is full of anger and bitterness. They have no more strenght for patient. It is upto the police, and the federal security agents to act very fast and explain to us what happened and why. The police must tell us why they were in such a haste to bury the bodies without first identifying the bodies, carrying out the ordered autopsy, and determine the cause of death. It is even hypocritical that Western based human rights in Nigeria are silent over the killings. Now is the time for Nigeria to tell Ndigbo which nation guarantees our right to life and safety of our properties. Finally let me ask all Igbo politicians, leaders of thought, senators, states assembly men and women to wake up. Death has come upon us. Fight for justice for our murdered children or the youths will fight the way they know best. We are waiting.
Please spread this message on your wall if you are for justice. If you know any of the victim’s families inbox me their contacts.
Onyema Uche, a public analyst writes from the United States

PHOTOS-Sullivan Chime arrives Enugu with fanfare


Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State returned yesterday to a tumultuous reception at Enugu after his extended vacation abroad.
The Governor who had arrived Abuja, Wednesday from London, touched down at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu around 3.pm local today amidst cheers from the crowd of enthusiastic supporters who had thronged the airport since morning to welcome him.
He was welcomed on arrival by the Acting Governor, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi accompanied by his wife, Nneka, National and State Assembly members and other top government officials.
Spotting a cream white jacket, blue stripped shirt and a pair of black trousers, Governor Chime acknowledged cheers from the ecstatic crowd that included many federal and state legislators, traditional rulers and top government officials before being driven to the Governor’s Lodge.
Another huge crowd of singing and dancing people was at hand at the governor’s lodge. Governor Chime and his wife, Clara took time to receive many guests.
It was also celebration galore on the streets of Enugu as soon as news filtered in that the governor had arrived the Coal City, with the people chanting victory songs. His return finally marked the end of his absence as the excited residents heaved sighs of relief.

BREAKING NEWS: Enugu governor, Sullivan Chime, returns after 140-days

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The Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, has returned to Nigeria after spending more than four months abroad.

According to reports, Mr. Chime arrived Abuja this morning aboard an early morning British Airways flight  that touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. Abuja, and went straight to the Enugu State Governor’s Lodge in the nation’s capital.

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom had said in Lagos on Friday that Mr. Chime, who was receiving treatment abroad, would return home within 10 days.

Mr Chime was last seen in public precisely 140 days ago. Officials of Enugu State Government said he was on vacation and would soon return home.

However, some newspapers had reported last December that the governor had died in an Indian hospital, after prolonged illness.

But the state Commissioner for Information, Chuks Ugwuoke, said in a statement then that reports of the governor’s death was unfounded and malicious.

Mr. Chime was indeed admitted at the Wellington Hospital, Wellington Place, St Johns Wood but was discharged two months ago.

Catherine Acholonu replies Helen Vesperini’s on “Ikom monoliths, Nigeria’s Answer to Stonehenge”-

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Helen Vesperini’s article “Nigeria’s Answer to Stonehenge” was inspired by the inclusion of Nigeria’s Cross River Monoliths (Ikom monoliths) in the World Monument Fund’s 2008 Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites. But whereas the WMF listing of the monoliths was meant to draw global attention to the importance of the 300 inscribed, age-old stones now in danger of being lost due to environmental and human threats, Ms Vesperini’s publication was a blatant caricature of the monuments, the people of Nigeria and by extension, the World Monument Fund that did the listing.

 

Ms Vesperini made no attempt to disguise the fact that she visited Alok (the location of one of the 35 sites that make up the body of stone monuments that have come to be known worldwide as Ikom monoliths of Cross River State) with her tongue firmly in her cheeks, determined to make a mockery of Nigerians and the monoliths. Thus it beats the imagination why the sorry example of a write-up that she came up with is being published and republished in various languages by the Western Media. Her article is replete with falsehoods and half truths. Her choice of words and images are very mischievous. Her need to create a cartoon character out of the curator (Sylvanus by name) of the monoliths by emphasizing his bulk, his sweaty face, a likely slip of tongue in his statement about dates – 450,000 years instead of 4,500 B.C (my linguistic analysis places the inscriptions on the monoliths at around 4,500 BC because they share two letters ‘ki’ and ‘shi’ with the Original Sumerian Alphabetical System which predated Cuneiform); her constant reference to the monoliths as “Chief Sylvanus’ monoliths” (the only photograph in the write-up is a full-length photograph of Sylvanus with his right hand on top of an almost invisible monolith); her description of the annual New Yam Festival of Ikom, a very sacred occasion for the ritual ‘dressing’ of the monoliths in symbolic colours, as an occasion when villagers “laugh among themselves, … joke and … stop for something to drink”, all add up to expose the derogatory intentions of Ms Vesperini and leave no one in doubt that her trip to Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria was a demolishing mission.

 

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Even though, she quotes verbatim, three phrases from my Web Site www.catherineacholonu.com, the author pretends to know nothing about my work and even claims not to know the actual title of my book, describing it as “seemingly not yet published”, all of which amount to perjury and plagiarism, for as Mr. Sylvanus Akong recently informed me in a telephone discussion, Ms. Vesperini was actually given a copy of the 480-page publication of my research on the monoliths, titled The Gram Code of African Adam, Stone Books and Cave Libraries: Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa’s Lost Civilizations which she pleaded to take with her, but was advised to direct her request to me. Yet Ms Vesperini claims not to know the book’s title and falsely claimed that it had not yet been published. Mr Akong is in possession of my telephone numbers and residential and office addresses in Abuja, the nation’s capital (where I live and work) and would have gladly obliged the author if she had been interested in seeing me or talking to me, and she would surely have passed through my base on her way to and from Cross River State.

 

Considering that I am listed by the WMF as the official nominator of the monoliths for the 2008 WMF Watch listing and that my team has been conducting research work on the monoliths for upwards of five years, with much to show for it on my Website and on Google, Yahoo and other Internet search engines, and considering that someone must have financed Ms Vesperini trip to Nigeria, her decision not to see me sums up her trip as a joke and an affront on the World Monument Fund, to say the least.ImageThe emphasis of my team’s linguistic research work is the discovery that the body of inscriptions on the 300 monoliths of Ikom was a lost form of writing, and we carried out actual translations of a number of the inscriptions. These are well illustrated in our book The Gram Code of African Adam and noted on my Website. Other highlights of the Site are speeches and photographs from the World Media Presentation of The Gram Code of African Adam Stone Books and Cave Libraries: Reconstructing 450,000 Years of Africa’s Lost Civilizations: the speech of the Chief Presenter, the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo which was read on his behalf by the Hon Minister for Culture and Tourism; the speech of the co-authors Catherine Acholonu and Ajay Prabhakar and notably, the photograph of the actual book presentation by the Hon Minister of Culture, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu. Surely Ms Vesperini must have seen all these.

 

Her reference to Sylvanus as claiming that “his” stones “were 450,000 years old” was a veiled attempt to take a swipe at my dates, and at the same time a proof that she saw and handled my book. Had she eschewed all her prejudice and read The Gram Code, which uses the monoliths as a window into the lost Pre-History of the African continent, she would have been more informed and perhaps might have treated the monoliths with greater respect. The quotation which the author credits to “Nigerian bloggers” to the effect that “a high technology civilization based in the present day location of the Sahara desert whose hallmarks included the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Egypt”, which was decimated by the Deluge and the war of the gods of antiquity”, were my words, taken word for word from my Website. The Gram Code, was published in 2005. Since then it has received several positive reviews in the media including the globally read Washington Post in 2006. Voice of America gave me a telephone interview after the book was published. We received strongly worded commendation letters from Prof. N. Tidjani-Serpos, the Asst Director General of UNESCO, and Head, Africa Department in Paris among others. Copies of the book are available at UNESCO Library, Paris and at Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.

 

Nigeria has many monuments deserving attention. It is such condescending attitudes and colonial mentality exhibited by the Vesperinis of this world that give the world the impression that Africa’s cultural heritage is of no consequence. However, I must tell Ms Helen Vesperini that this kind of attitude cannot deter serious minded researchers such as myself from forging ahead with the great task to which we have set ourselves; that whether she knows it or not, the world is moving ahead, while writers like her who enjoy turning true knowledge on its head are becoming anachronisms. And while we are at it, we still commend Ms Vesperini for her flash of foresight in naming the monoliths ”Nigeria’s answer to Stonehenge”, for in fact oral traditions of Britain claim (and frontline Western researchers of the late 20th Century have demonstrated undeniably) that Britain’s Stonehenge were created by Africans and that the stones were ferried across the seas from the African continent.

ImageLet me also use this opportunity to once and for all correct this erroneous impression that The Gram Code of African Adam where I elucidated another major discovery, namely, that Tilmun, the ancient Land of the Living was an ancient name for the land that is today known as Calabar in the Delta region of Nigeria, has not been published. The Gram Code was published in Nigeria in 2005 but is not available on the international market yet. However, we are keen to have it republished in Europe or America to make it more globally accessible.

 

– Professor Catherine Acholonu is an Ambassador to United Nations Forum of Arts and Culture and former Special Adviser on Arts and Culture to the President of Nigeria. She is the Co-Author of The Gram Code of African Adam, Abuja, January, 2008.)