Super User

Super User

I had always wanted to build my own house. I would buy “House and Garden” magazines and look at so many different house designs.

As a child, I wanted to be an architect. As an adult, it was clear the nearest I would get to fulfilling that dream would be by designing and building my own house. I disliked even the best houses I saw. There was always something missing; always something out of place. But I knew that one day; I would build a house that would put all other houses to shame.

Mission unaccomplished

Finally, one day, my dream came true. I built the house of my dreams. It was by far the greatest day of my life. My house was an architectural masterpiece. It was fabulous. It was glorious. It had everything I wanted exactly where I wanted it. Of course, it cost a fortune to build: 10 billion naira to be precise. 

People came from near and far to admire my house. The verdict was unanimous; there was none like it. Everybody who was anybody adored my house. A whole edition of “Ovation” was devoted to celebrating it.

Tourists came just to take photographs of my house. Nollywood film directors begged me to feature it in their movies. Everybody, from presidents to senators to business tycoons, readily came for my seasonal parties. My house was without doubt the talk of the town. 

But one day, I noticed something odd. The roof in the den upstairs started leaking when it rained. Worse still, mysterious cracks started appearing in the walls. I tried everything but just did not seem to be able to identify the cause. 

Finally, in desperation, I went to see my Father in Ibadan and told Him about my predicament. His reaction irritated me a great deal. First; He laughed at me. Then He rubbed salt into the wound by saying: “Femi, what do you really know about building a house?  You have little or no experience in these matters.”  

“How can you say that?” I retorted, “I have built a house that is by all accounts the best there is in Lagos.” 

“So how come the roof is leaking and the walls are cracking?” He asked mischievously.

Papa had a simple solution. “I will send you My Structural Engineer. He will stay with you for a couple of weeks. He will identify the faults in the building and suggest ways to rectify them.”

Disagreeable redeemer

A few days later, a mild-mannered man knocked on my door. He introduced himself as the Structural Engineer my Father had spoken about. He moved into one of the many bedrooms and set out to inspect the entire building.

I showed Him the problems I was having in the den. He smiled knowingly and immediately identified where the leak was coming from. I was very impressed and could not help but seek the approval of such a connoisseur about my mansion. 

“Apart from these minor details,” I said dismissively, “I am sure you will admit that this is such a magnificent house?  It cost no less than 10 billion naira to build it.” 

The Engineer seemed a little amused by my statement. “I take it,” He replied, “that you haven’t yet noticed the faults in the kitchen?”

The kitchen? What kitchen?  What fault could there be in the kitchen? The kitchen was nothing short of extraordinary. Everything there was well appointed and custom-made. I do not mind saying so myself. The kitchen was quite simply a work of art. 

Not one to argue, the Engineer took me to the kitchen. One-by-one, He showed me all kinds of structural defects I had not even noticed before. I was crestfallen but decided to put a bold face on it.

“Thank God You are here,” I said. We can fix it, right?” I was looking for some kind of reassurance, some words of comfort from this gentleman. But I was more than taken aback by His response. “And then what do you propose to do about the study?” He asked.

Killing me slowly

“The study,” I shouted, livid. “What study?” 

Suddenly, I took another look at this mild-mannered man. He did not seem so mild-mannered anymore. It was becoming clear to me that this man was up to no good. Why did I ever allow this so-called Structural Engineer to come into my house? It was time to show Him the door.

Yes, I knew there were some things wrong with the den. I noticed them myself and had brought them to his attention. I am even prepared to admit there were some things wrong with the kitchen. I never argued with Him when He showed them to me.

But there was no way He, or anyone else for that matter, was going to convince me that anything was wrong with the study. I spent more time designing that room than I did with any other room. I supervised its construction to the very last detail when it was being built. It was the room in the house where I spent most of my time. If anything were to be wrong with the study, I would have been the first to know. 

But in His characteristically no-nonsense manner, the Engineer walked me into the study. Again, He systematically showed me all the things wrong with the room. I could not believe it. There were more things wrong in my favourite study than there had been in both the den and the kitchen combined.

I was crestfallen. It seemed like my whole world suddenly came crashing down. In desperation, I turned to this mild-mannered Engineer. “What can we do?” I pleaded. “We can fix it, can’t we?  Please tell me the truth.” 

The denouement

The Engineer looked at me with great intensity.

“Do you really want to know?” He asked.

“Yes,” I said, resigned to my fate but now afraid to look Him in the eye.

“What we need to do,” said the Engineer, “is knock the entire house down and start all over again with a completely new building.” 

I could not believe my ears. “Knock the house down?” I protested. “This house cost 10 billion naira to build.” 

My nemesis was completely unimpressed. He smiled at me in that enigmatic manner of His that drives me up the wall. “Do you not see all these things?” He asked. Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:2). 

This is how I embarked on my tumultuous relationship with that wonderful Structural Engineer whose surname is the Holy Spirit. I thought He came by agreement with my Father to stay with me for just a few weeks, make some vital repairs, and then leave. But since He arrived, He has never left and obviously has no plans of leaving. 

I have watched in consternation as He has set about demolishing every single stone of my once magnificent house. The agony of it all has been excruciating. Every protest from me hit against the same brick wall:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1).   

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; www.femiaribisala.com

 

What’s the most sustainable way to wash your hands or lather up in the shower?

In general, the greenest option is an old-school bar of soap made from plant oil or animal fat and lye, without many extra ingredients. Simple bar soap cuts greenhouse emissions by about a third compared with liquid soap, according to a study from the Institute of Environmental Engineering at the Swiss university ETH Zurich.

“Soap is a natural product, it’s sustainable, and it’s been used for a long time,” said Tony O’Lenick, president of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, a professional association for the scientists who concoct recipes for beauty products. The downside: “That kind of soap dries skin out,” he added.

That’s why many people have turned to liquid hand soap and body wash, which have seized about half the American soap market since their introduction in the ’70s and ’80s, according to sales data from Mintel, a market research company. Liquid soaps and body wash typically come with extra ingredients to moisturize skin, and many brands advertise the skin care benefits of their products.

“A lot of those new claims have mostly been tacked onto liquid formats, particularly liquid body wash, which has kind of left bar soap behind,” said Joan Li, a senior beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel.

But lately, the soap market has gotten a lot more complicated: Many bars of soap - looking to ditch their reputation as drying - now contain the same artificial, petroleum-based ingredients and moisturizing additives as liquid soaps. And some liquid soap - in a bid to market itself as eco-friendly - is now made from the simple, natural ingredients found in old school bar soap.

If you want to cut through the noise and pick the greenest option, according to O’Lenick, you should think about ingredients, packaging and the differences in how you scrub with bars vs. liquid soap.

Ingredients

All soap cleans dirt and oils from our skin using molecules called surfactants, which help water pick up grime and wash it away. But there are two ways of creating surfactants.

The old-school way is to combine fat and an alkali such as lye - the basic ingredients of soap for centuries. But around the 1940s, O’Lenick says, cosmetic companies found a cheap way to make surfactants out of petroleum. Technically, he says, chemists don’t call these products “soap” - they are “detergents.”

Although they clean more or less the same way, soaps and detergents have a couple of key differences: Soaps tend to be more alkaline than detergents, which changes the chemistry of your skin and leaves it feeling drier. But detergents are made from drilling and refining oil, so they tend to be worse for the environment. Making detergents uses five times as much energy and produces about 10 times as many greenhouse emissions as making simple soap, according to the Swiss researchers.

To understand whether you’re buying a natural soap or a synthetic detergent, you have to look at the label, O’Lenick said. Most products - even most bars of soap - are made from detergents, which contain ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

True soaps made from animal fat or plant oil as well as lye may also contain additives, such as glycerin, scents and essential oils.

Packaging and transportation

Ingredients aside, bar soap has a clear advantage over liquid soap when it comes to packaging and transportation.

Bar soap typically comes with minimal packaging - a cardboard box, paper or nothing at all - which is often easy to recycle. Soap bars also sometimes come in plastic wrap, but it’s generally less material than liquid soap, which comes in thicker plastic containers that sometimes contain pumps that are hard to recycle. Packaging liquid soap is 19 times as energy-intensive as packaging bar soap, according to the Swiss study.

Plus, liquid soap is mostly water, which means the majority of what gets shipped around the world from a factory to your doorstep is something you could get from your faucet. Bar soap is pure, concentrated cleaning product; you pay only for the soap, and you add water when it’s time to lather up. Distributing liquid soap creates nearly eight times as many carbon emissions as an equivalent amount of bar soap, according to the Swiss study.

Scrub time

One big advantage for liquid soap over bar soap is that people typically spend less time lathering, which means they don’t use as much warm water, according to the Swiss study - although it made that comparison only for handwashing, not showering.

Bar soap scrubbers typically use about 40 percent more water, according to the study. That’s by far the biggest source of environmental harm from using bar soap - but it’s not enough of an impact to make bar soap worse overall than liquid soap, according to the study.

The Bottom Line

But whether your soap is bar or liquid, natural or synthetic, it’s not going to be a huge part of your carbon footprint. In the worst case, washing your hands creates 15 grams of carbon emissions, according to the study - the equivalent of charging your phone one time, or driving a car 200 feet. We’re not judging you for the soap that you use.

But, collectively, that can add up as billions of people wash their hands or bathe hundreds or thousands of times a year. If you’re so inclined, it makes sense to switch to a more eco-friendly product. Just understand that there may be a trade-off between sustainability and comfort.

“The consumer has to decide: Are they serious about where their soap comes from, whether it’s synthetic or natural? And do they like the feel of the product?” O’Lenick said. “You could have the most sustainable soap in the world, but if it doesn’t feel good, you’re not going to sell [more than] one bar to everybody that comes around.”

 

Washington Post

The federal government has raised its proposed national minimum wage from N60,000 to N62,000. In response, organized labour has reduced its demand from N494,000 to N250,000. This adjustment follows the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, presenting the cost implications of the new minimum wage to President Bola Tinubu. The organized private sector has expressed support for the government's N62,000 offer.

Governors Declare N60,000 Minimum Wage Unsustainable

Meanwhile, the 36 State Governors, under the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), have announced that subnational governments cannot afford the proposed N60,000 minimum wage. This stance was communicated through a press release by the NGF’s acting Director of Media Affairs and Public Affairs, Halimah Salihu Ahmed.

According to the statement, the NGF believes that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is unsustainable. They agree that a new minimum wage is necessary and sympathise with labour unions' demands for higher wages. However, the NGF urges all parties to consider that minimum wage negotiations impact all pay scales, including pensions. They caution against signing any agreement that is not sustainable and realistic.

The NGF highlights that adopting the N60,000 proposal would result in many states using all their FAAC allocations solely for salaries, leaving nothing for development. Some states might even need to borrow to pay workers, which the NGF argues is not in the country's collective interest, including that of the workers. They appeal to all parties, especially labour unions, to consider the socioeconomic variables and settle on a sustainable, durable, and fair agreement that balances the needs of all segments of society with legitimate claims to public resources.

Saturday, 08 June 2024 04:57

Tinubu inaugurates N21bn VP’s residence

On Friday, President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the N21 billion official residence for Vice President Kashim Shettima, amid widespread economic hardship. The National Assembly had approved an additional N15 billion last November, bringing the total project cost to N21 billion.

The project has faced criticism due to the country's economic conditions. Workers are currently negotiating a new national minimum wage with the government, with an ongoing impasse as unions have rejected the government's N60,000 offer, a 100% increase from the current N30,000. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) recently halted economic activities for 48 hours over the wage dispute.

At the commissioning, FCT Minister Nyesom Wike explained the high cost, stating that the project was initially awarded in 2010 for N7 billion but was abandoned in 2015. It was not until January 2024 that the budget was revised to N21 billion. Wike highlighted that Tinubu ensured the project's completion within a year, calling it a symbol of "renewed hope."

Wike further detailed that the president directed him to complete the project to prevent the area from being overtaken by criminals.

Tinubu, represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the event, emphasized his administration’s commitment to finishing inherited projects. He stated that completing such projects demonstrates accountability, transparency, and efficient resource utilization. Tinubu expressed that abandoning projects after significant expenditure is wasteful and that completing them is in the best interest of the government and public.

He underscored the residence's significance, noting that it symbolizes respect for the office of the vice president and the individual holding it. Tinubu added that this completion reflects the administration's determination to overcome obstacles and fulfill promises made to the Nigerian people, aligning with the Renewed Hope Agenda, which prioritizes completing inherited projects.

The commissioning of a N21 billion official residence for the vice president, Kashim Shettima, by President Bola Tinubu is a glaring example of government insensitivity and profligacy in the face of widespread economic hardship. At a time when the nation is grappling with a staggering poverty rate and soaring inflation, the decision to allocate such a colossal sum to an opulent project is both tone-deaf and irresponsible.

According to the World Bank, Nigeria's poverty rate has surged to 46% in 2023, translating to 104 million citizens living in poverty. Compounding this dire situation, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that the country's inflation rate climbed to 33.69% in April 2024, exacerbating the cost of living crisis for countless Nigerians. Against this backdrop, the government's expenditure on a luxurious residence for the vice president is indefensible.

The timing of this project could not be more ill-conceived. Workers across the nation are locked in a contentious negotiation with the government over a new national minimum wage. The government's offer of N60,000, while a 100% increase from the current N30,000, has been deemed insufficient by unions, leading to a 48-hour shutdown of economic activities by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). The contrast between the government's frugality in addressing workers' demands and its extravagance in funding the vice president's residence is stark and disheartening.

The justification provided by FCT Minister Nyesom Wike, citing the project’s history and revised budget, fails to mitigate the discontent. The initial cost of N7 billion in 2010 ballooned to N21 billion by 2024, reflecting a gross mismanagement of resources over 14 years. Wike’s assertion that completing the project symbolises "renewed hope" rings hollow when millions of Nigerians struggle to afford basic necessities.

Tinubu’s remarks, delivered by Vice President Shettima, about the administration’s commitment to completing inherited projects and avoiding waste are overshadowed by the reality of the economic hardship facing the nation. While it is true that abandoning projects can be wasteful, prioritising such a lavish expenditure amidst a severe economic crisis is a misallocation of public funds. The argument that the residence is a symbol of respect for the office and its occupant overlooks the pressing need for policies and actions that directly alleviate the suffering of ordinary Nigerians.

The government’s focus should be on pragmatic and impactful measures that address the urgent needs of the populace. Investing in critical infrastructure, healthcare, education, and social welfare programmes would be far more beneficial and morally defensible than completing a luxurious residence for the vice president. Demonstrating genuine respect for the office entails making decisions that reflect an understanding of and empathy for the hardships faced by the citizens.

In conclusion, the commissioning of the N21 billion vice president's residence is a poignant reminder of the disconnect between the ruling elite and the Nigerian populace. It underscores the urgent need for a shift in priorities towards equitable and responsible governance that prioritises the welfare of all citizens over opulent expenditures. The government must realign its actions with the economic realities of the country and strive to earn the trust and respect of its people through prudent and compassionate stewardship.

Ahead of the forthcoming Eid-el Kabir celebration, prices of animals used for sacrifice during the annual festival have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many celebrants.

Every year during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims around the world who have the means, slaughter animals like sheep, goat, cow or camel – to reflect the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, for the sake of God.

While it is not the only livestock acceptable, a narration in Sahih Muslim records that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sought out horned, white rams to sacrifice during the Eid el-Kabir, as the ram of Prophet Ibrahim had been.

At least, one third of the meat from the animal should go to the poor or vulnerable people.

Like that of ram, prices of cow and camel have also hit the roof top, as findings by our correspondents revealed.

The hike in the cost of basic commodities in Nigeria has reflected itself boldly in the livestock sector, a situation that is likely to deny average Muslims the means to partake in the annual sacrifice amidst economic crunch.

Findings by Daily Trust Saturday in Abuja, Kano, Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina, Lagos, and Port Harcourt, among others, showed that the cost of rams currently hover between N150,000 and N1 million, depending on the size and the location one is buying from.

Stakeholders interviewed blamed the situation on the insecurity around some major rearing states in the North West and North East, devaluation of the naira as well as withdrawal of fuel subsidy, which have in addition affected the price of animal feeds and the cost of transportation.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, had declared Friday, June 7, 2024, as the First Day of Dhul Hijjah 1445AH and Sunday, June 16th, which will be equivalent to the 10th of Dhul Hijjah will be marked as this year’s Eid-El-Kabir.

Low patronage in Abuja  

Few days to the Sallah celebration, sales have yet to pick up as noticed during a visit to the Abuja main livestock market located in the Dei-Dei area in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

This is a sharp contrast with the past when the market served as a rallying point for suppliers and off-takers well ahead of the Sallah festivity.

A livestock merchant in the market, Uzairu Dan-Kudalo, said that the insecurity bedevilling some major rearing states, like Zamfara, Sokoto, and Katsina, is affecting the sector, sending many stakeholders out of the business.

“I know a lot of our members from Zamfara State that lost their capital to this problem just in one fell swoop, after their communities were attacked by bandits or run into their trap along the way. You can see how our animals’ stalls look empty, and it is less than 10 days to the Sallah festivity.

“From Zamfara State alone, we used to receive a supply of no less than 30 trailers during this period, with each trailer loading between 200 and 250 rams,” he said.

“This does not include other mini trucks like canter, which used to supply without getting any attention. But as I am talking to you today, we are yet to receive any kind of supply from there. If you are talking about other states, by this time, a single merchant alone from other states like Kano, Jigawa, or Yobe, would supply about 200 rams into the market. However, many of them can no longer afford a capital of 50 rams now, due to the cost of transportation and the naira devaluation”, he said.

He said bulk buyers and individuals were also not forthcoming.

“By now, I would have finished with the supply of rams to all my regular customers who may decide to keep the animals here, or transport them to their agency, for onward distribution among the beneficiaries. But I am yet to witness this gesture so far,” he said.

Another trader, Yahuza Abdullahi, said that some of them that usually travel to the neighbouring countries like Niger, Chad, or Cameroun to supply the animals are now constrained as a result of the naira devaluation, which according to him has given an edge to the traders that come from the Francophone currency nations.

“Their currency (CFA) has greater value compared to the naira, and as such, nothing you can buy from those countries and expect to make any gain out of it there.

“Rather, the traders of those countries stand to gain a lot when they convert their currency to naira and export our commodities,” he said.

The price of ram has either tripled or doubled when compared with how it went last year.

The same thing goes to the animal feed and cost of transportation.

Given the breakdown of ram price, based on their categories, a trader, Abdullahi Adamu, said the smallest animal that attained the level of sacrifice currently sold between N120,000 and N150,000.

He said such categories of rams were sold between N70,000 and N100,000 last year.

According to him, a middle-sized ram, which sold between N150,000 and N180,000 last year now costs between N250,000 and N300,000.

There are also jumbo-sized rams, which cost from N800,000 and N1.4 million.

Same rams were said to be sold last year, at the rate of N500,000, while the biggest of all, sold at N1.1 million last year.

The same scenario is playing out at the animals’ feed commodity.

A breakdown of the commodity in the market indicates that a bag of animals’ feed extracted from raw beans is now sold between N13,000 and N14,000 per bag, depending on product quality and location. This is in contrast to the N7,000 to N8,000 sold last year.

Same goes to the dried groundnut leaves, which are currently sold at between N5,000 and N6,000, compared to previous year, when it was sold at between N3,500 and N4,000.

For the harvested corn by-product, its bag costs between N6,000 and N7,000, compared to the previous price of N4,000 and N4,500.

A bag of grounded maize by-product, or dusa in Hausa, is sold at between N18,000 and N20,000, compared to its previous price of N9,000 to N10,000 last year.

In the transportation sector, the traders said a canter truck supplying rams from Katsina or Kano that they paid between N200,000 and N250,000 last year, now goes for between N400,000 to N500,000.

Same truck transporting the animals from either Adamawa or Yobe states in the North East costs around N700,000, in contrast to between N400,000 and N500,000 paid in the past.

It was further learnt that transporting rams in trailer trucks from Mubi, in Adamawa State, a town neighbouring Cameroon Republic, now costs up to N1.5 million, as against last year’s N800,000.

They’re beyond our reach

An Abuja resident, Alhaji Shuaib Hassan who went to buy ram at the livestock market on Wednesday, left there disappointed, as according to him, the N200,000 he budgeted for the kind of ram he bought at N150,000 last year could not get him a ram as it now costs N300,000.

He said he was contemplating returning to the market on Saturday when more traders, especially those from the rural areas, are expected to arrive.

Sani Yusuf said he found succour when he bought two rams at his home town of Bichi, in Kano State, two months ago.

“I bought them at the rate of N150,000, and so far, I have sent about N10,000 for their feeding. I am expecting to pay an additional N10,000 for their transportation from the area to Abuja in the company of other animals tomorrow,” he said.

There was the same lamentation from some roadside ram markets visited in the neighbouring Niger State.

A ram trader in Suleja town in the state, Abubakar Kwamba, predicted the likely drop in ram supply, as well as patronage of buyers this year, owing to the present economic reality.

“We are about 20 traders that supplied ram to this makeshift market last year. But as I am speaking to you now, there are only three of us that arrived, and still with lower supply, compared to what we brought last year. I could only afford to buy 12 rams this year, against 20 that I bought last year”, he said.

Sale outlets springing up in Kano

Roadside livestock markets are springing up in Kano, our correspondent reports.

At Kofar Naisa, where the sacrificial animals are available for would-be buyers, a trader, Yusuf Sani said they were bringing the animals from outside the state, in the hope of making little profit.

He said that the economic situation in the country makes everything look bleak at the moment, but he was hopeful that in the next few days, the market will record improved patronage.

He said the price of a big ram starts from N400,000, while medium-sized ones go for N300,000. A small-sized ram costs N100,000.

Another ram seller, Aminu Gwagwarmaya from Hauran Makaranta, said with N150,000, one can get a modest ram in the market.

Ummah Kulthum Muhammad Lawan was seen at one of the markets.

She said the money she used and bought many rams last year, which she shared with relatives, will not give her half the number this time around.

“The price for each ram has almost tripled and only God can see us through,” she said.

At the Kofar Naisa Market, the price of camels range from N780,000, depending on the size.

It is permissible for three to seven people to contribute money to buy a camel or a cow for sacrifice and share the meat, clerics said.

The situation in Jigawa State is the same as merchants at Dutse temporary animals’ market lament low patronage.

One of them, Shafiu Hamisu, said scarcity of rams in the state has forced them to resort to buying from neighbouring states.

He said the prices of rams have increased significantly, with a big ram now selling for between N200,000 and N250,000, compared to less than N120,000 in 2023.

Sani Muhammad Bashir, a buyer at Dutse temporary ram market, said he will manage to buy the ram, though the price is very costly.

He called on the government to look into the matter and make things easy for the masses by finding ways to tackle inflation and provision of affordable means of transportation.

Yobe traders in a fix

In Yobe State, livestock sellers have decried low patronage of the sacrificial animal ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir.

The sellers said buyers are reluctant to come forward, saying this may not be unconnected with the high cost of the animals at a time people were struggling to buy food for their families.

The few buyers seen were lamenting over the price of ram and cow, which has increased significantly compared with last year.

A buyer at the livestock market in Potiskum, Adamu Umar, told Daily Trust Saturday that “A cow that you can buy at the cost of N400,000 last year, has now been increased to N650,000, while a bull, which we used to buy at N1,000,000 has now skyrocketed to N1,600,000.

“The situation of the market is not encouraging and by the body language of the buyers, you will understand that many people will not slaughter cows this year,” he said.

MD Adechu, a buyer from Lagos told our correspondent that cattle are very expensive even though the Potiskum market is one of the largest livestock markets in the North.

“I don’t know what is happening; please, our government should make things easy for the masses and its citizens”, he said.

Abubakar Usman, a dealer said the price of a medium-sized ram starts from N100,000.

Another ram seller, Zakari Yau, said that most of the buyers are from the southern part of the country.

In Lagos, Abduwasiu Ibrahim, a middleman, said rams and cattle are cheaper in the North.

“The ram that you can buy for N120,000 will cost you around N220,000 here; and a cow of N1,000,000 in the North will be sold at around N1,500,000 here,” he said.

He said the situation is the same in Port Harcourt, Enugu and Uyo.

“The reason is the cost of transportation and other challenges on the highway. You have to pay a lot of money to many tax collectors,” he said.

The same thing goes to the animal feed and cost of transportation.

Given the breakdown of ram price, based on their categories, a trader, Abdullahi Adamu, said the smallest animal that attained the level of sacrifice currently sold between N120,000 and N150,000.

He said such categories of rams were sold between N70,000 and N100,000 last year.

According to him, a middle-sized ram, which sold between N150,000 and N180,000 last year now costs between N250,000 and N300,000.

There are also jumbo-sized rams, which cost from N800,000 and N1.4 million.

Same rams were said to be sold last year, at the rate of N500,000, while the biggest of all, sold at N1.1 million last year.

The same scenario is playing out at the animals’ feed commodity.

A breakdown of the commodity in the market indicates that a bag of animals’ feed extracted from raw beans is now sold between N13,000 and N14,000 per bag, depending on product quality and location. This is in contrast to the N7,000 to N8,000 sold last year.

Same goes to the dried groundnut leaves, which are currently sold at between N5,000 and N6,000, compared to previous year, when it was sold at between N3,500 and N4,000.

For the harvested corn by-product, its bag costs between N6,000 and N7,000, compared to the previous price of N4,000 and N4,500.

A bag of grounded maize by-product, or dusa in Hausa, is sold at between N18,000 and N20,000, compared to its previous price of N9,000 to N10,000 last year.

In the transportation sector, the traders said a canter truck supplying rams from Katsina or Kano that they paid between N200,000 and N250,000 last year, now goes for between N400,000 to N500,000.

Same truck transporting the animals from either Adamawa or Yobe states in the North East costs around N700,000, in contrast to between N400,000 and N500,000 paid in the past.

It was further learnt that transporting rams in trailer trucks from Mubi, in Adamawa State, a town neighbouring Cameroon Republic, now costs up to N1.5 million, as against last year’s N800,000.

They’re beyond our reach

An Abuja resident, Alhaji Shuaib Hassan who went to buy ram at the livestock market on Wednesday, left there disappointed, as according to him, the N200,000 he budgeted for the kind of ram he bought at N150,000 last year could not get him a ram as it now costs N300,000.

He said he was contemplating returning to the market on Saturday when more traders, especially those from the rural areas, are expected to arrive.

Sani Yusuf said he found succour when he bought two rams at his home town of Bichi, in Kano State, two months ago.

“I bought them at the rate of N150,000, and so far, I have sent about N10,000 for their feeding. I am expecting to pay an additional N10,000 for their transportation from the area to Abuja in the company of other animals tomorrow,” he said.

There was the same lamentation from some roadside ram markets visited in the neighbouring Niger State.

A ram trader in Suleja town in the state, Abubakar Kwamba, predicted the likely drop in ram supply, as well as patronage of buyers this year, owing to the present economic reality.

“We are about 20 traders that supplied ram to this makeshift market last year. But as I am speaking to you now, there are only three of us that arrived, and still with lower supply, compared to what we brought last year. I could only afford to buy 12 rams this year, against 20 that I bought last year”, he said.

Sale outlets springing up in Kano

Roadside livestock markets are springing up in Kano, our correspondent reports.

At Kofar Naisa, where the sacrificial animals are available for would-be buyers, a trader, Yusuf Sani said they were bringing the animals from outside the state, in the hope of making little profit.

He said that the economic situation in the country makes everything look bleak at the moment, but he was hopeful that in the next few days, the market will record improved patronage.

He said the price of a big ram starts from N400,000, while medium-sized ones go for N300,000.  A small-sized ram costs N100,000.

Another ram seller, Aminu Gwagwarmaya from Hauran Makaranta, said with N150,000, one can get a modest ram in the market.

Hajiya Ummah Kulthum Muhammad Lawan was seen at one of the markets.

She said the money she used and bought many rams last year, which she shared with relatives, will not give her half the number this time around.

“The price for each ram has almost tripled and only God can see us through,” she said.

At the Kofar Naisa Market, the price of camels range from N780,000, depending on the size.

It is permissible for three to seven people to contribute money to buy a camel or a cow for sacrifice and share the meat, clerics said.

The situation in Jigawa State is the same as merchants at Dutse temporary animals’ market lament low patronage.

One of them, Shafiu Hamisu, said scarcity of rams in the state has forced them to resort to buying from neighbouring states.

He said the prices of rams have increased significantly, with a big ram now selling for between N200,000 and N250,000, compared to less than N120,000 in 2023.

Sani Muhammad Bashir, a buyer at Dutse temporary ram market, said he will manage to buy the ram, though the price is very costly.

He called on the government to look into the matter and make things easy for the masses by finding ways to tackle inflation and provision of affordable means of transportation.

Yobe traders in a fix

In Yobe State, livestock sellers have decried low patronage of the sacrificial animal ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir.

The sellers said buyers are reluctant to come forward, saying this may not be unconnected with the high cost of the animals at a time people were struggling to buy food for their families.

The few buyers seen were lamenting over the price of ram and cow, which has increased significantly compared with last year.

A buyer at the livestock market in Potiskum, Adamu Umar, told Daily Trust Saturday that “A cow that you can buy at the cost of N400,000 last year, has now been increased to N650,000, while a bull, which we used to buy at N1,000,000 has now skyrocketed to N1,600,000.

“The situation of the market is not encouraging and by the body language of the buyers, you will understand that many people will not slaughter cows this year,” he said.

 

Daily Trust

Amid widespread power outages and increasing hunger in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that foods not properly refrigerated during power cuts should be discarded. According to WHO, perishable and cooked foods stored in a refrigerator become unsafe to consume after four hours without power.

In a series of posts on its X account for the 2024 World Food Safety Day, themed "Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected," WHO stated, “If there has been a power outage in your area, refrigerated or frozen food may not be safe to eat. Products can become unsafe if they have been exposed to temperatures above 5 °C for more than two hours.”

WHO warned that after four hours of a power cut, all perishable foods in the fridge, such as meat, poultry, fish, and leftovers, should be thrown out. Additionally, frozen items that have thawed or been exposed to ambient temperature for more than two hours should either be cooked immediately or discarded. WHO emphasized, “Never eat food to determine if it is safe. If in doubt, throw it away.”

This advisory is particularly concerning for Nigeria, where power supply remains unstable, with outages often lasting for days. Between 2020 and 2022, an average of 21.3% of Nigeria's population experienced hunger. The World Food Programme projects that about 26.5 million people across Nigeria will face acute hunger in 2024, a significant increase from the 18.6 million people affected by the end of 2023.

WHO also highlighted that foodborne illnesses affect 91 million people in Africa each year, with one in 10 people falling ill from contaminated food annually. Over 200 diseases are caused by consuming food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances.

For those living in areas prone to power outages, WHO recommends keeping a stock of pre-packaged, ready-to-eat, and canned food, as well as bottled water for emergencies. It advises that undamaged canned goods and commercial glass jars are likely to be safe but should be sanitized before use. Any canned foods with broken seams, serious dents, or leaks, and jars with cracks, should be discarded.

World Food Safety Day

Celebrated annually on June 7, World Food Safety Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to raise awareness and encourage efforts to prevent, detect, and address public health risks linked to unsafe food. This year's theme underscores the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents, regardless of their severity.

WHO noted that food safety incidents can occur due to accidents, inadequate controls, food fraud, or natural events. Managing these incidents requires dedicated efforts from policymakers, food safety authorities, farmers, and food business operators, with consumers also playing an active role.

Israeli forces batter central, south Gaza as tanks advance in Rafah

With a renewed ceasefire push in the eight-month-old Gaza war stalled, Israel bombarded central and southern areas again on Friday, killing at least 28 Palestinians, and tank forces advanced to the western edges of Rafah.

U.S.-backed Qatari and Egyptian mediators have tried again this week to reconcile clashing demands preventing a halt to the hostilities, a release of Israeli hostages and Palestinians jailed in Israel, and an unrestricted flow of aid into Gaza to alleviate a humanitarian disaster. But sources close to the talks said there were still no signs of a breakthrough.

A month after rumbling into Rafah in what Israel said was an assault to wipe out Hamas' last intact combat units, tank-led forces have advanced to the southwest fringes of the city that skirts the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, residents said.

They said tanks were stationed in the al-Izba district near the Mediterranean coast while snipers had commandeered some buildings and high ground, trapping people in their homes. They said Israel machinegun fire had made it too dangerous to go out.

Gaza health officials said two Palestinians had been killed and several wounded in western Rafah from tank shelling there. In central Gaza, Palestinians medics said at least 15 people died overnight in Israeli bombardments.

"I think the occupation forces are trying to reach the beach area of Rafah. The raids and the bombing overnight were tactical, they entered under heavy fire and then retreated," one Palestinian resident told Reuters via a chat app.

In the larger city of Khan Younis just to the north of Rafah, an Israeli airstrike on a house killed eight people and wounded several, including children, medics said.

In north Gaza, three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza City school building that was sheltering displaced families, rescue workers said.

The Israeli military said it had targeted Hamas gunmen operating from a container inside the school premises, similar to its explanation for an airstrike on a U.N. school building in al-Nuseirat in central Gaza on Thursday that medics said killed 40 people including 14 children.

Israel said it killed in Thursday's strike many of 20-30 militants concealed in the compound. Around 6,000 displaced people were sheltering at that site, the U.N. said.

CEASEFIRE IMPASSE

Israel's military blames Hamas for Gaza's high civilian death toll, accusing it of operating within densely populated neighbourhoods, schools and hospitals as cover, something it denies. U.N. and humanitarian officials accuse Israel of using disproportionate force in the war, which it denies.

Hamas said on Friday militants in the central city of Deir al-Balah shelled a house where Israeli troops were barricaded, killing some and wounding others. It said helicopters were seen landing to extricate the stricken Israeli unit.

The Israeli military focused on central Gaza in its latest update, saying it had killed "dozens" of militants and destroyed more militant infrastructure in continuing operations in the al-Bureij refugee camp and nearby city of Deir al-Balah.

Israel has ruled out peace until Hamas is eradicated, and much of Gaza lies in ruins, but Hamas has proven resilient, with militants resurfacing to fight in areas where Israeli forces had previously declared to have defeated them and pulled back.

Hamas precipitated the war when militants stormed from Israeli-blockaded Gaza into southern Israel in a lightning strike last Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking over 250 hostages back to the enclave, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's invasion and bombardment of Gaza since then has killed at least 36,731 people, including 77 in the past 24 hours, Gaza's health ministry said in an update on Friday. Thousands more are feared buried dead under rubble, with most of the 2.3 million population displaced.

Since a brief week-long truce in November, repeated attempts to arrange a ceasefire have failed, with Hamas insisting on a permanent end to the war and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Israel says it is prepared to discuss only temporary pauses in the hostilities until the Islamist militant group, which has ruled the narrow, impoverished enclave since 2007, is wiped out and Gaza poses no more security threat.

The latest round of indirect talks began on Wednesday when CIA Director William Burns met senior officials from Qatar and Egypt in Doha to discuss a proposal U.S. President Joe Biden publicly endorsed last week. Biden described the three-phase plan as an Israeli initiative.

 

Reuters

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russia will win – Putin

Peace talks are based on either victory or defeat, and Russia intends to win, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, when asked about the Ukraine conflict.

Putin’s comments came during a question-and-answer panel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Stating that the leadership in Kiev is illegitimate and that the West cannot be trusted, the Russian leader said this will not get in Moscow’s way.

“All negotiations are based on either military defeat, or military victory. Of course, we will win,” Putin said.

Moscow is open to negotiations, Putin repeated, but it needs to be able to trust the people on the other side and be offered conditions that are in its interest. Peace talks can’t be based on “fantasies,” he added.

Putin was referring to the admissions by former leaders of Germany and France about the Minsk peace process, which ostensibly sought to resolve the dispute in Donbass which began in 2014. The West was merely stalling for time, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande said in December 2022.

Putin also reminded the SPIEF audience that Vladimir Zelensky can’t be considered the president of Ukraine, as his term legally expired last month. The Ukrainian constitution is clear on extending the parliament’s mandate in case of emergencies, but says nothing about presidential terms. Zelensky’s claim to power is therefore illegitimate, Putin concluded, implying that Russia will have to find someone else to deal with.

 

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Russia-installed governor says Ukrainian forces kill 22 in small town

The Russia-installed governor of Ukraine's southern region of Kherson accused Ukrainian forces on Friday of killing 22 people and wounding 15 in shelling of the small town of Sadove.

Governor Vladimir Saldo said Ukrainian forces had deliberately struck the area a second time, using a U.S.-supplied HIMARS missile to inflict the largest possible number of casualties.

Leonid Pasechnik, another Russia-installed governor in Luhansk, an occupied region northeastern Ukraine, said a Ukrainian strike had killed three people and wounded 35. Russia's Defence Ministry said Ukrainian forces had used U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles on the attack on the city of Luhansk.

There was no comment from Ukraine on either incident.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said both episodes "exposed the inhuman, Nazi essence" of Ukraine's authorities after the United States allowed Kyiv to use U.S.-supplied weapons on Russian targets in limited circumstances.

Zakharova earlier accused Ukraine of using HIMARS missiles to hit civilian targets in Russia's southern Belgorod region.

In Kherson, Saldo wrote on the Telegram messaging app that a shop packed with customers and staff was hit in Sadove, a town south of the regional centre of Kherson, which is held by Ukrainian troops.

He put the death toll at 22, with 15 injured, five of them in serious condition.

Russia's Tass news agency later quoted Saldo as telling journalists: "After the first strike, residents of nearby houses ran out to help the injured and within a short period of time a HIMARS missile struck. Two children are among the dead."

He said Ukrainian forces had "deliberately made a repeat strike to create greater numbers of casualties".

Russian troops quickly advanced into Kherson region during the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but Ukrainian forces recaptured swathes of the region later that year, including the regional centre of Kherson. Other areas remain in the hands of Russian forces.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of launching repeat strikes in one area -- or "double tap" -- to increase casualties, particularly among rescue squads.

 

RT/Reuters

The Fanvue Miss AI pageant, the world’s first beauty pageant for AI-generated female models, judges contestants on beauty, social media clout, and their creator’s use of AI tools.

At first, they said artificial intelligence was coming after our jobs, but now it seems that not even beauty pageants are safe. Originally announced back in April 2024 by Fanvue, a subscription-based platform for creators, the world’s first beauty pageant for AI-generated avatars made international news headlines and sparked controversy online.

But, based on the popularity of AI models like Aitana Lopez and Emily Pellegrini on social media, this type of event was bound to happen at some point. About 1,500 AI-generated girls were submitted by creators from all over the world, but only 10 of them made the finalist list.

The top three contestants stand to win a total of $20,000 in prizes, with the creator of the one crowned Miss AI expected to walk away with $5,000. But this event is about more than cash prizes, as winning the world’s first beauty pageant for AI-generated female models is bound to open up new opportunities in the fast-growing AI space.

“What the awards have done is uncover creators none of us were aware of that have compelling backstories, along with talented creators behind them creating content for their fans,” Fanvue co-creator Will Monange said. “That’s the beauty of the AI creator space. It’s enabling creative people to enter the creator economy with their AI-generated creations without having to be the face themselves.”

AI is already being described as the new frontier in content and influencer marketing, with the most often cited advantages being models’ availability 24/7, low maintenance compared to real people, and being able to show up virtually everywhere, anytime. The tech is still not perfect, as most AI-generated models are still easy to recognize as “fake”, but the technology is evolving at breakneck speeds.

Despite the popularity of AI-generated avatars, the world’s first Miss AI pageant has drawn its share of criticism from people accusing it of further exacerbating the unrealistic beauty standards set by social media.

The results of the Fanvue Miss AI pageant are expected by the end of this month.

 

Oddity Central

Page 4 of 341

NEWSSCROLL TEAM: 'Sina Kawonise: Publisher/Editor-in-Chief; Prof Wale Are Olaitan: Editorial Consultant; Femi Kawonise: Head, Production & Administration; Afolabi Ajibola: IT Manager;
Contact Us: [email protected] Tel/WhatsApp: +234 811 395 4049

Copyright © 2015 - 2024 NewsScroll. All rights reserved.