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A severe heatwave during the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia led to the deaths of over 900 pilgrims. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the extreme temperatures, reaching up to 51.8°C in Mecca, resulted in at least 600 fatalities among Egyptian pilgrims.

The total death toll was reported at 922, with many of the deceased being elderly or infirm individuals participating in the largely outdoor pilgrimage, which took place during the intense Saudi summer. The harsh conditions prompted relatives to scour hospitals and turn to social media, posting pictures and seeking information about their missing loved ones.

Besides Egypt, fatalities were confirmed by authorities in Jordan, Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia, and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. However, in many instances, the exact causes of death were not specified.

Despite the overall grim reports, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) announced that only three Nigerian pilgrims died during the event. Abubakar Adamu Ismail, the head of NAHCON’s medical team, credited the lower death toll to adequate preparation and the proximity of the Nigerian hajj camp. He noted that 17 Nigerian pilgrims suffered from heat stroke but were successfully resuscitated. He emphasized that if these cases had occurred farther away in Jamarat, about 3 kilometers from the camps, the outcomes might have been fatal.

Ismail also reported two miscarriages, 25 cases of severe dehydration, and five cardiac arrests among Nigerian pilgrims.

NAHCON's head of Aviation, Mohammed Goni Sanda, announced that outbound flights for Nigerian pilgrims would commence on June 22, starting with pilgrims from Kebbi State. The return flights will follow a first-in-first-out schedule, beginning with three flights daily and gradually increasing to as many as six flights per day.

NAHCON Chairman Jalal Ahmed Arabi indicated that preparations for the 2025 Hajj are already underway. He urged state pilgrims' welfare boards to finalize their preparations by September to ensure an accurate count of participants for the next pilgrimage.

Israeli tanks push deeper into Rafah, forcing people to flee again

Israeli tanks backed by warplanes and drones advanced deeper into the western part of the Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Wednesday, killing eight people, according to residents and Palestinian medics.

Residents said the tanks moved into five neighbourhoods after midnight. Heavy shelling and gunfire hit the tents of displaced families in the Al-Mawasi area, further to the west of the coastal enclave, they said.

Some eight months into the war, there has been no sign of let up in the fighting as efforts by international mediators, backed by the United States, have failed to persuade Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire.

Twelve Palestinians were also killed in an Israeli strike that hit a group of citizens and merchants in the south of the Gaza Strip, medical sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The people were hit as they waited for convoys of aid trucks carrying goods through the Kerem Shalom crossing in Salahuddin Road northeast of Rafah, the sources added.

Israeli forces have laid waste to much of Gaza and seized most of the Palestinian territory but have yet to achieve Israel's stated goal of wiping out Hamas and freeing Israeli hostages.

Medics and Hamas media said eight Palestinians were killed in Al-Mawasi and many families fled north in panic. They did not identify the fatalities, and the Israeli military said it was looking into the report.

Residents said Israeli army forces blew up several homes in western Rafah, which had sheltered over half of Gaza's 2.3 million people before last month, when Israel began its ground offensive and forced most of the population to head northwards.

Some United Nations and Palestinian figures put those who remained at under 100,000 people.

"Another night of horror in Rafah. They opened fire from planes, drones and tanks on the western areas to cover for their invasion," said one Rafah resident, who asked not to be named.

"Bullets and shells landed in the Mawasi area near where people slept, killing and wounding many," he told Reuters via a chat app.

An Israeli commander briefing military correspondents in Rafah on Tuesday named two more locations there - Shaboura and Tel Al-Sultan - where the army planned to take on Hamas fighters.

"The Hamas battalions there are not yet well worn down and we need to dismantle them completely. We estimate it at more or less a month, at this intensity," Colonel Liron Batito, head of the Givati Brigade, told Army Radio.

The Israeli military remained in control of the border between Rafah and Egypt. Footage circulated on social media showed the Rafah crossing, the only window for most of Gaza's population with the outside world, was destroyed, buildings burnt, and Israeli tanks positioned there with the flag of Israel flying over some places.

The Israeli military said aid into Gaza had not been impeded by the damage.

Further north, Israel sent a column of tanks back into the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City, and residents reported heavy fire from tanks and warplanes but also sounds of gun battles with Hamas-led fighters.

In another Gaza City suburb, Sheikh Radwan, an Israeli air strike on a house killed four Palestinians, including a child, medics said. A total of 20 people were killed across Gaza.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters battled Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs, and have in some areas detonated pre-planted explosive devices against army units.

Later on Wednesday, Palestinian gunmen fired rockets at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza, the Israeli military said.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The offensive has left Gaza in ruins, killed more than 37,400 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, and left much of the population homeless and destitute.

Since a week-long truce in November, repeated attempts to arrange a ceasefire have failed, with Hamas insisting on an end to the war and full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to end the war before Hamas is eradicated and the hostages are freed.

On Wednesday, the United Nations human rights office said Israeli forces may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war and failed to distinguish between civilians and fighters in their Gaza campaign.

In a report assessing six Israeli attacks that caused a high number of casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, the U.N. Human Rights Office said Israeli forces "may have systematically violated the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack".

Israel's permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva called the analysis "factually, legally, and methodologically flawed".

 

Reuters

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Russia's drone attack damages Ukraine's energy infrastructure, injures two

Russian drone attacks on Wednesday damaged energy infrastructure in central Ukraine and injured at least two people in the western region of Lviv, Ukrainian authorities said.

The energy ministry said via the Telegram messaging app that emergency services have been deployed to the sites of the attacks and that repairs to damaged electrical equipment in the western region of Lviv were underway.

Russian forces launched five drones to attack the Lviv region that borders NATO member Poland, injuring two men, according to Lviv regional governor Maksym Kozytskyi.

Kozytskyi said on Telegram that all five drones were destroyed by Ukraine's air defence systems. The damage and injury were caused by falling debris.

The drone attack in the village of Malekhiv in the Lviv city district damaged a multi-storey residential building, in addition to scores of windows in other residential buildings, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi wrote on Telegram.

The attack also damaged a veterinary drugs research institute in Lviv, Sadovyi said.

Ukraine's air force said it destroyed 19 out of 21 drones launched by Russia over six Ukrainian regions.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Russia. Both sides deny targeting civilians in the war, that Russia launched against its smaller neighbour in February 2022.

Lviv city is the administrative centre of the Lviv region.

 

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russia’s Battlegroup East thwart Ukraine’s attempts to rotate its troops

Russia’s Battlegroup East has foiled Ukraine’s attempts to reinforce its frontline positions and rotate its troops near the settlements of Novodonetskoye, Marfopol, and Cherivnoye, the battlegroup’s spokesman Alexander Gordeyev told TASS.

"Units of the Battlegroup East continue performing their combat tasks in the zone of the special military operation. Units of the battlegroup have improved their frontline position and thwarted the enemy’s attempts to reinforce their positions and rotate their troops at the strongholds near Novodonetskoye, Marfopol, and Cherivnoye," he said.

Apart from that, Russian forces hit Ukraine’s strongholds and areas of the deployment of manpower and weapons of the 72nd mechanized, 58th motorized infantry brigades, as well as the 102nd and 108th territorial defense brigades near the villages of Pavlovka, Shevchenko, Vladimirovka, and Marfopol.

According to Gordeyev, Ukraine’s daily losses amounted up to 120 troops, two infantry carriers, two Krab self-propelled artillery systems, one FH-70 tugged howitzer, three cars, as well as six fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles and two field munitions depots.

 

Reuters/Tass

On 11 June at about 5 p.m., I was at my friend, Femi Onabajo’s office to listen to Al Jazeera, as well as charge my phone, before returning to my apartment in Abeokuta for the usual dark nights and, of late, no water. There was no water, not because the Ogun State government or the local government authority responsible for my place of abode had a temporary delivery problem. The two levels of governance eagerly collect taxes, share federal allocations meant to care for all of us, but never provide one of the reasons why people pay taxes and revenues are shared in other climes.

As a kid, I joined my parents in dancing all over the streets when the self-government authorities provided pipe borne water and electricity in Ijebu-Ode, where I grew up. But all that has become history, at least in Lagos, Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode – places I am familiar with. State and local government authorities do not provide water anymore. Hence, there is a cholera outbreak with many deaths in a Nigerian state claiming to be the seventh richest political space, when compared with countries in Africa.

It is very fortunate to have a very good friend, retired Justice S. Abidoye Olugbemi, who insisted that I must have electricity in Abeokuta. I decided not to bring my stand-by generator from Lagos or buy another one. He went ahead to lend me his stand-by generator. I had concluded against setting up another personal mini-local government in Abeokuta, as I run in Lagos. There, I supply my water, since no one in most areas of Lagos receive water supply from any central arrangement, as was once the case. With an inverter and a generator fuelled by impossibly expensive diesel fuel, in comparison with Nigerian earnings, I meet my energy needs, in Lagos. In Abeokuta, the borrowed petrol fuelled generator has never been easy for me to manipulate, so I hardly use it. On rare occasions, I call on a friend to come over and help crank the generator to save my food stuffs.

Onabajo and I have come a long way. We did not just meet at Chrisland University, where he serves as the Head of the Mass Communication Department, as I do the same for Political Science. We both were two of the many Nigerians who were dribbled by our own fake Maradona, aka Evil Genius, who asked Nigerians if they wanted the IMF loan with its conditionalities or not. With me serving as a Consultant to the Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 7 at Tejuosho, Onabajo, and other staff members of media houses, criss-crossed the heights, valleys, rivers and swamps that made up the entire Lagos State. We sought the views of the people of Lagos State as others did in other states and local governments to give the accurate expression of the will of Nigerians.

The people overwhelmingly rejected the IMF loan and its conditionalities. I compiled the report of our consultations, which was in line with responses from all over Nigeria. However, Maradona, like our so-called traditional rulers of yore, under indirect rule, knew he could not go against the IMF as his people wanted. He knew he came to power by supplanting Buhari/Idiagbon in a coup that received the support of MKO Abiola, then arguably the richest African, alongside external support. It was in their interests to execute the will of the IMF that had insisted on the devaluation of the national currency, with N1 then being equivalent to $1, which Generals Buhari and Idiagbon had resisted, and instead chose trade by barter, having been blacklisted by the West. So, supported by Olu Falae and others, Maradona deceived us that we were going to have home-grown answers to our economic problems. He devalued the naira, even more than the initial demands of the IMF without the soft loans. We all acquiesced, for want of a better word. As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, his will held sway. Many of our people, especially from the academia, joined the gravy train that he laid out. Those of us who countered him either got driven into exile or rendered irrelevant, as Nigeria continued its ignominious decline.

As I was glued to the television on the latest situation in Gaza and whatever else, Ms Taiwo Gbadegesin, Onabajo’s assistant, came in at the end of the work day at Chrisland University, Abeokuta, and wished us a great holiday on the following day. We were shocked, asking which holiday again, since the Eid holidays would come in the following week. She quipped that it would be 12 June. Oh!, we responded in unison. I pondered on the fact that it would be another day in the list of Nigeria’s governance deceptions.

Another deception is that of celebrating independence day, as we pretend to be independent in a world of Western indirect rule and control over much, if not all, of Africa through the Bretton Woods institutions. How can a country be sovereign in a world in which you cannot feed your people? Of course, we collect visa fees at border posts but our value has declined radically over time, as the external environment dictated. Recently and precisely a year ago, it was announced by a president, who in 2012 had boldly written clearly against the economic policy plans of the then President Goodluck Jonathan, who was then forced to abort the so-called fuel subsidy removal (another thieving design), as well as allowing the naira to “find its level” under the grand deception of market forces, that we have been brainwashed into believing is a natural law of human existence.

In Nigeria, Democracy Day, formerly designated as 29 May, and now 12 June, has been officially set aside to remember and celebrate the return to civilian rule. However, the level of commitment to true democratic principles in the last 25 years raises a lot of doubts. This is why many, including myself, have continued to maintain that, saying Nigeria is democratic on the grounds of the holding of elections, normally, characterised by shambolic periodic voting, is a major deception. As such, any day set aside to celebrate this deception of grandeur, is nothing but a “Deception Day.”

I have taken this position, being aware of the usual widespread soft-spots that make some Nigerians quip that Nigeria’s democracy is a work in progress, in spite of the disillusionment with the political system and the persistent challenges undermining the possibility of democratic governance in Nigeria.

More importantly, it is wrong to continue to celebrate the mediocrity of a system from a very limited conception of democracy that runs only with the minimalist election component with respect to “government by the people”, ignoring the two other components of “government of the people” and “for the people”. In this respect, I align with A. Bolaji Akinyẹmi, as reported in a very recent piece in the Leadership newspaper, to the effect that what we have is civil rule and not truly a democracy. He showed the failure of our system to deliver so much to ensure better life for Nigerians. He paid dues in the struggles against General Abacha like I also did in a smaller way but outside the formal structures they used.

Even if we try to overlook much and pretend to have a “government of the people”, in which those who govern are from among us, by refusing to see the controllers of our “agbero” leaders who are really in the service of the real drivers but able to pilfer a reasonable portion of national patrimony and store in Panama, Paradise, Pandora, etc., papers, there is no way in which we can usefully define democracy without a focus on what the concept was/is to achieve, i.e., the “for the people” aspect.

The most crucial strive for democracy is towards what I refer to as utmost freedom, an ambitious but a pursuable process, with the right approach to governance, including leadership, reduction of corruption and improvements on the rule of law. Utmost Freedom in itself is the summation of the rights from and the rights to, which are inherent in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We cannot be democratic if freedom from asphyxiation from failed environmental policies, freedom from thirst and hunger, at the minimalist options are not guaranteed. Along this priority line is also the right to life as the State would normally be expected to guarantee freedom from unlawful killings, whether by kidnappers, bandits and/or terrorists. These four which deal directly with existential realities have superiority over other necessary ones like freedoms of association, thoughts, speech, voting, and religion.

How do we continue in the deceptive celebration of a journey characterised by 2 steps forward and 4 steps backward? Do Nigerians truly have hope and aspirations for a government that respects their rights, promotes transparency, and ensures equitable development? It is very unfortunate that we keep telling younger Nigerians of how better it once was for us as a country. Japa syndrome became important because many of our youths, especially from the southern portions of Nigeria, could no longer see any hope or inspiration for a better Nigeria and are voting with their feet.

Based on recent official household survey data from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics, 30.9 percent of Nigerians lived below the international extreme poverty line of $2.15 per person per day (2017 PPP) in 2018/19; just before the Covid-19 crisis. The situation today can only be worse when we factor the impact of the devaluation in the last one year on costs of the production of foods, including transportation, procurement of medicine and many other manufactured needs. We need not go on and on with respect to qualities of the provision of health and education, unemployment and underemployment, etc.

Herein lies the huge disconnect between the annual ritual of celebrating democracy amidst very unpleasant and harsh realities facing ordinary Nigerians. In spite of the pretentious honour of democracy day by commemorating sham elections, the impact of persistent autocratic practices, including by a corrupt system at different arms and levels of governance, as well as sectors of society, resultant socio-economic inequities, and pains in living continue to bite hard and harder.

Democracy is a governance structural arrangement to guarantee the good life for people in their environment on earth. It is not like religion where benefits and gratification are delayed until existence in a presumed heavenly space. Democracy is for improved lives and living on earth. It is a conception that is superior to the current deceptive fixation on elections irrespective of performance failures of those who put themselves forward as leaders, on accountabilities on many other freedoms that are crucial for human existence.

The performances of elected office-holders on all crucial freedoms are very important. Whether elected leaders fail on other important freedoms beyond the freedom to vote should be of great concern. Democracy should be a preferred structural arrangement for the strive towards the many crucial freedoms for human existence that are put together as utmost freedom.

** Babafemi A. Badejo, the author of a best-seller on politics in Kenya, was a former deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, and currently a legal practitioner and professor of Political Science and International Relations at Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

  • Though it can be challenging, keeping things simple can significantly drive innovation and growth for your company.
  • Innovation doesn't have to be about creating groundbreaking new technologies. Simplifying existing technologies and making them user-friendly can be a powerful strategy.
  • Simplifying communication and processes within a company is crucial for efficiency and collaboration.
  • A simplification mindset in product development can lead to better user experiences. Incremental changes tested with users helps inform larger updates and can lead to more impactful and user-friendly products.

According to Steve Jobs, "Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple." It seems obvious that keeping things simple will help your business succeed. And yet, it's surprisingly difficult to do it.

If simplicity is this challenging, you need to be intentional to make it happen. That's why many successful companies actively prioritize it as a value. Ikea's focus on simplicity comes across in its designs, catalog, store experience and more. One of Nike's 11 management maxims is "simplify and go," focusing teams on moving fast to adapt to new technologies and fashions.

I believe that simplicity is a driver for genius innovation. In fact, my journey as an entrepreneur began with an idea to simplify a complex and bureaucratic process. Today, the success of that idea has created new challenges. We serve millions of customers across over 100 countries, with many different needs — to meet them all, we'd need a ton of different features. So, we have to find the simplest ideas that will improve the experience for the largest number of users.

Simplifying innovation is a recipe for success

Some people think that to be an entrepreneur, you have to bring groundbreaking technological innovation to the world. But actually, there's a lot of room to innovate on top of new technologies, simplifying them and packaging them for specific use cases.

If you think of two of the technology giants of our times, Google and Apple, neither of them invented their core technologies. Apple wasn't the first company to create a home computer or cellphone, Google wasn't the first company to develop a search engine. They made existing innovations simpler and more user-friendly, and it was a recipe for success.

This is particularly relevant right now in the middle of a revolution fueled by generative AI.There are definitely huge opportunities in creating new AI-driven technologies, but there are even more opportunities in finding ways to package these technologies into user-friendly software for specific use cases.

To do this, first master the tech, and then put yourself in the shoes of your potential user. Try to understand what is really useful about the innovation and what barriers people might face when trying to use it.

The key is to find a way to simplify the technology, making it easier for your target users to understand and adopt it. Do this, and you're onto a winner.

Work smarter by simplifying communication

Another part of any business where simplification is super important is communications and processes. As companies grow, it becomes harder to get people on the same page or ensure continuity between departments. Poor communication creates misunderstandings, which can lead to mistakes. The more people involved in a project, the more likely it is that workflows will become complicated. This all slows things down, wastes time and restricts your ability to make an impact on the business.

Let's start with communication. Using a single, simple language across the company is crucial for people to be able to understand each other. For example, try to use less jargon and fewer three-letter acronyms, or make sure to explain them if you do. By creating organized archives of historical documents and plans, you help onboard new people and anyone can find important information fast when they need it.

Create a culture of transparency where different departments share their plans with each other. Create frameworks to facilitate this, like quarterly reviews or roadmap deployments. It's not possible for employees to be actively involved in everything going on in the company, but by helping everyone take part passively, you're making sure they're on the same page and can facilitate ideas and collaborations across teams.

When you do have to communicate, encourage your teams to do it in the most straightforward way possible. By simplifying communication and making it easy to understand, discussions are more focused and decisions are made faster.

Put simplicity at the heart of your product

A simplification mindset can also be applied to product development. By making small incremental changes, sometimes with test groups of users, you can use the inspect and adapt methodology to understand their adoption, as well as any issues, and innovate further accordingly. Every so often, you can combine all these small changes into a large product update that you roll out for everyone.

For example: A company added a lot of extra value to its product with new features and releases. In theory, this was great for the users, but some found the UI overwhelming and new pricing options confusing. To use a metaphor, some people are happy to be given ingredients to make their own meal, but most would prefer the chef do the cooking so they can enjoy the final result.

Having understood this through their feedback, the company introduced a change to its UI that helped users get the end result they wanted, without having to work hard to achieve it themselves. By simplifying, the company maximized the impact of the value of all the new additions to the product.

Richard Branson once said: "Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple." Simplicity won't come about by accident — you need to be intentional. You have to call it out and make it a focus for the whole company. You need to put it at the heart of everything. And when you succeed, the impact will be huge.

 

Entrepreneur

President Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to change their mindset about the country to foster progress. During a visit from a National Assembly delegation in Lagos on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, Tinubu emphasized the urgent need for a shift in the national value system to advance the country.

Highlighting acts of sabotage such as the theft of electric cables and rail tracks, Tinubu remarked, “Yes, there is poverty and suffering in the land. We are not the only people facing such challenges, but we must confront our issues head-on.”

The delegation, led by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, included Deputy Senate President Jibrin Barau and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Benjamin Kalu, among others.

The President stated, “Good economics during harsh times is a challenge we must face. No matter how difficult or challenging, I will not turn my back on Nigeria. There is a need for some citizens to abandon a rent-seeking mindset and become more productive to the economy, halting smuggling and economic sabotage.”

Tinubu stressed the importance of changing the national mindset and value system to address these issues. “Why should we have people removing rail tracks, stealing electric cables, and sabotaging the economy? We must campaign for a change in our value system and mindset,” he said.

The President commended the National Assembly's support for his administration, noting that their cooperation has led to significant developments. “I am proud to have the best partners in the National Assembly. We must be inclusive and dedicated to serving our people despite the daunting challenges. This country must overcome its hardships,” Tinubu stated.

Acknowledging the severe challenges ahead, Tinubu reassured the nation of his steadfast commitment to improvement. “We must eliminate banditry and terrorism so farmers can safely produce food. Without good roads to transport this food, losses of 60-70 percent will incur, leading to higher costs,” he said.

Following the meeting, Akpabio spoke to journalists, expressing gratitude for Tinubu's leadership in his first year.

Nigerians have asked President Bola Tinubu to lead by example after saying that Nigeria needed sacrificing citizens to fulfil the dreams of its founding fathers.

They also tasked the president to ask those directly working under him like ministers, advisers and heads of agencies, as well as governors at the subnational level, and other people in position of authority, to also live by example, saying sacrifice must start from top to bottom, instead of the other way round.

Tinubu had, while addressing journalists after observing the Eid-el Kabir prayer at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, on Sunday, stressed the need for the people to follow the path of sacrifice to make the nation great.

“Being a very good citizen comes with responsibility. As citizens, what do you do to be a very committed member of our society? Go and sacrifice. Love your country, love your neighbours, share what you have with one another and be thankful to Almighty God. That’s all,” he had said.

The comment had elicited reactions from Nigerians, civil society organisations, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among others.

An economist and lecturer at Saadatu Rimi University of Education, Kumbotso, Kano, who is also the Director, Fiscal Discipline and Development Advocacy Centre (FIDAC), Abdulsalam Kani, said the government had failed to fulfil its part of the bargain, especially promises made to Nigerians.

“The government has removed fuel subsidy and increased electricity tariff, plunging many into difficulty. Nigerians were promised that Port Harcourt refinery would begin production in December last year, and that has not happened. Despite these and the failure of the administration to fulfil promises, they are making plans to buy new aircraft for the president and vice president,” he said.

He said the government had equally failed to address rising inflation which is above 33 per cent at the moment.

“The primary responsibility of government is to ensure welfare and security of its citizens,” he said.

The Secretary-General, Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA), Bakare Adegbola, said: “The statement of the president is a normal thing politicians say during eid celebrations, especially Eid-el Kabir, which is all about sacrifice. But when politically contextualised, then we begin to read meanings to it.

“An average politician cannot make sacrifices in terms of what they get when they get into power because they see the position as a business investment and must recoup their money,” he said.

“However, before demanding such from the masses, he should have shown that he is leading from the front. The cost of governance is too high and yet, we are talking about buying new carriers for the president when we already have ten. Why not sell some of those ageing ones?

“The number of cars in their convoys has shown that they are not making any sacrifice. They need to govern by example and take the lead in their campaign of sacrifice,” he said.

Abdullateef Abubakar, a resident of Kano, said the Tinubu administration should rather reduce cost of governance instead of asking poor Nigerians to make sacrifices.

He said the president appointed more ministers with retinue of aides who are paid allowances from the government’s coffers.

“People are really facing difficulties. Food is beyond the reach of many families. What else do they want people to do,” he asked.

He said despite increase of allocation from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to the states, the life of the poor citizens has not improved.

Umar Tijjani, a school teacher said Nigerian leaders should fear God and make life easy for the people as life is already unbearable for them.

“Tomato price has never in our history been this high. Things are so expensive that my salary means nothing,” he said.

Peter Azi, a resident of Jos, said: “The Sallah message of the President that Nigerians should sacrifice is very worrisome and disturbing. How can ordinary man sacrifice amidst massive killing, maiming and kidnapping of citizens every day?

“Minimum wage is a total mirage while the cost of governance is on the increase at all tiers of government”, he said.

Danjuma Salihu, another resident of Jos, said: “There is no way Nigeria will have sacrificing citizens when those in government are not willing to make enough sacrifices”. 

CSOs react

Tunde Salman, the Team Lead/Convener, Good Governance Team (GGT) Nigeria, said that Tinubu and his team should also practice what the administration is preaching.

“But unfortunately, Nigerian leaders have not been known to have practiced what they preached. As such, the expected import of the presidential appeal would most likely be ignored”, he said. 

Also, the Senior Communications Officer at Yiaga Africa, Mark Amaza, said that it was unconscionable to ask citizens to make more sacrifices in order to make the nation great, as though they have not been making sacrifices already, especially when the leaders were not doing the same.

“Sacrifices such as cutting down the cost of governance need to be made and be seen to be made, from the size of the cabinet, to spending priorities such as renovation and construction of new official residences for the president and his vice, to other extravagances rub salt into the wound of citizens who are going through some of the hardest times in Nigeria’s history,” Amaza said.

Equally, the Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said that the call by President Tinubu on Nigerians to sacrifice more to make the country great was the height of insensitivity.

He said that neither the president nor any other member of the current ruling class had the moral right to make such demand on Nigerians, who had already been reduced to beggars and destitute in a country so blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The question we should be asking the president is: what has he and the other members of his cabinet sacrificed so far, to make Nigeria great? I think the only thing left for the citizens to sacrifice is their lives,” Zikirullahi said.

The Country Director, Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), Andrew Mamedu, said that the president’s call must be accompanied by demonstrable actions from the highest levels of government.

“The nation is currently grappling with inflation, leading to a significant rise in the cost of living that disproportionately burdens ordinary Nigerians. Those who peacefully protested for a change a few days ago were arrested.

“The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has rightly called for an increased minimum wage to help workers cope with the escalating expenses. Yet, we see the glaring disparity between the sacrifices expected of the average Nigerian and the opulent lifestyle and substantial wages of our lawmakers”, he said.

On his part, the Executive Director, Cleen Foundation, Gad Peter, said that the request by Tinubu for Nigerians to make sacrifices is a request he has been asking for since he came into the office.

“But the fundamental question is that as Nigerians have made sacrifices for him to become our president, what are the things he’s doing as an individual? What sacrifices are his government making to ensure that Nigerians are enjoying the dividends of democracy and for electing him into office?”, he asked.

A former National Secretary of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Yinka Folarin, described Tinubu’s statement as unfortunate, and one that could agitate the consciousness of Nigerians at this critical time.

Speaking with our correspondent, Folarin said Nigerians have been sacrificing, enduring and dying in the face of the economic hardship and failed promises.

He said: “Obviously, the president appears to be in complete disconnect with the people, knowing fully well that Nigerians have been sacrificing and have been enduring even in the midst of unprecedented hardship.

“So, I wonder what the president wants from the suffering masses whose future appears to be bleak? We were promised renewed hope when the hope is even not forthcoming and we have to keep enduring? I wonder”, he exclaimed.

Leaders must lead by example – PDP

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked Tinubu to stop corruption in his government and make sure that members of his administration lead by example before telling Nigerians to make sacrifices.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, told Daily Trust on phone, that: “If you look at our recent outing on the state of affairs in the country, we have told the president to take action and reduce profligacy and corruption in government.

“Yes, we agreed that every citizen needs to make sacrifices, but the leadership must lead by example; the government should show the way in making sacrifices by leading by example. That way, the people will be connected to the government.

“What we are saying as a party is that there are times everyone must make sacrifice for the good of the country, but the government must show the way by example; because that is the only way the people can be connected to the government.

“What is happening is that Nigerians have resorted to providing their own security, they have taken over the role of government, because government has apparently failed them and they are disappointed”, he said.

Ologunagba also said because of the situation in the country, “Majority of Nigerians have completely lost confidence in the APC government, which has failed to articulate any clear-cut, development-oriented policy direction that is geared towards guaranteeing the security and economic wellbeing of the people, leading to despondency and uncertainty”.

Sacrifice call unfair – YPP

The National Publicity Secretary of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Egbeola Wale Martins, said that Tinubu asking Nigerians to make more sacrifices was unfair. He said that it is now clear that he (Tinubu) was insensitive because it is not clear what further sacrifices should be made after the removal of fuel subsidy, increment in electricity tariffs, introduction of stamp duty and other taxes to mention but a few, without providing any social safety net to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians.

“Charity should begin from the president and all our so-called leaders across the board as they are the ones who should sacrifice because it’s obvious they are oblivious of the degree of sufferings being experienced by Nigerians”, he said.

 

Daily Trust

In a stunning display of keen insight, President Bola Tinubu has pinpointed the true architects of Nigeria’s economic woes: the small-time cable thieves and railway vandals. While some naïve souls might suggest that our troubles stem from corrupt leaders, wasteful public spending, bad policies, and fraudulent elections, Tinubu knows better. It’s the petty criminals, scraping by in poverty, who are sabotaging the economy.

During a visit from a National Assembly delegation in Lagos on the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, Tinubu urged Nigerians to change their mindset. He passionately described the havoc wreaked by citizens who dare to steal electric cables and dismantle rail tracks. “Yes, there is poverty; there is suffering in the land,” Tinubu acknowledged. But clearly, it’s not the N15 trillion coastal highway awarded without transparency or the systemic corruption involving ex-governors and public officials that’s the issue. No, it’s the desperate acts of survival by the destitute.

The President, surrounded by the epitome of integrity – the leadership of the National Assembly – called for a shift in values. Imagine the nerve of those hungry souls, daring to smuggle and engage in economic sabotage. The real crime is not the trillions siphoned off by the elite or the fraudulent elections undermining democracy. No, the true sabotage is stealing a piece of wire.

Tinubu’s unwavering determination to address these “saboteurs” is commendable. Why focus on the entrenched culture of sleaze or the corrupt judiciary when you can target the marginalized, those with no choice but to engage in petty theft? After all, solving the issue of hunger, lack of infrastructure, and banditry is secondary to teaching the impoverished a lesson.

Meanwhile, a newly released global report from the Open Society Foundations highlights the endemic corruption hindering Nigeria’s development. But who needs global consensus when Tinubu has it all figured out? While the report suggests that deliberate strategies to combat ingrained corruption are necessary, Tinubu’s focus remains steadfastly on the small-time criminals.

And let’s not forget the accolades for the coastal highway – a shining example of due process abuse and misplaced priorities. Who cares about transparency when there are cable thieves to catch?

In conclusion, we must salute our President for his clarity of vision. While the world may scratch its head over Nigeria’s economic decline, he knows the real culprits: the downtrodden and desperate. Here’s to changing mindsets – but only for those who can’t afford to dine at the table of grand corruption.

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Administration and Control, Moji Adeyeye, has urged Nigerians to refrain from storing cooked food in the refrigerator for more than three days.

Adeyeye warned that cooked food stored in the refrigerator for days is susceptible to contamination by disease-causing pathogens, key agents of foodborne diseases that can lead to death.

Adeyeye made this known in a statement on Tuesday signed by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola.

Adeyeye, who said this in commemoration of the 2024 World Food Safety Day with the theme, ‘Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected’, urged stakeholders in the food supply chain to take deliberate actions to institute a food safety culture in their operations to mitigate food hazards and risks that could compromise food safety.

The World Food Safety Day celebrated annually on June 7 was established by the United Nations General Assembly task force in 2018 to raise awareness and encourage efforts to prevent, detect and address public health risks linked to unsafe food.

Adeyeye remarked that food safety is not only important for public health but a sine qua non for economic development and food security.

She noted that food safety is a collective responsibility, adding that everyone from producers to consumers needs to play their part to ensure food safety.

According to her, the campaign aims to promote global food safety awareness to strengthen efforts of preventing, detecting, and managing foodborne risks globally by highlighting the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents.

“Let us all stay true to the statements ‘food safety is everyone’s business’ and ‘food safety is a shared responsibility’ as we celebrate this year’s World Food Safety Day. Working together, we will continue to strengthen our food safety system, ensuring its resilience, robustness, and preparedness for the unexpected,” she said.

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 600 million – almost one in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food, and 420,000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years.

WHO said $110bn is lost yearly in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.

 

Punch

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Tuesday to deepen trade and security ties with North Korea and to support it against the United States, as he headed to the reclusive nuclear-armed country for the first time in 24 years.

The U.S. and its Asian allies are trying to work out just how far Russia will go in support of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose country is the only one to have conducted nuclear weapon tests in the 21st century.

In a signal that Russia, a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, is reassessing its entire approach to North Korea, Putin praised Pyongyang for resisting what he said was U.S. economic pressure, blackmail and threats.

In an article published by North Korean state media, Putin praised "Comrade" Kim, and promised to "jointly resist illegitimate unilateral restrictions", to develop trade and strengthen security across Eurasia.

"Washington, refusing to implement previously reached agreements, continuously puts forward new, increasingly stringent and obviously unacceptable demands," Putin said in the article, printed on the front page of North Korea's Rodong Sinmun, the ruling Workers' Party mouthpiece.

"Russia has always supported and will continue to support the DPRK and the heroic Korean people in their opposition to the insidious, dangerous and aggressive enemy."

Putin noted the Soviet Union was the first to recognise the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) founded by Kim's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, less than two years before the 1950 Korean War.

North Korean state media also published articles praising Russia and supporting its military operations in Ukraine, calling them a "sacred war of all Russian citizens".

Putin's state visit comes amid U.S. accusations that North Korea has supplied "dozens of ballistic missiles and over 11,000 containers of munitions to Russia" for use in Ukraine. South Korea, a staunch U.S. ally, has raised similar concerns.

The White House said on Monday it was troubled by the deepening relationship between Russia and North Korea. The U.S. State Department said it was "quite certain" Putin would be seeking arms to support his war in Ukraine.

Moscow and Pyongyang have denied arms transfers but have vowed to boost military ties, possibly including joint drills.

Russia is due to outproduce the whole NATO military alliance on ammunition production this year, so Putin's trip is likely aimed at underscoring to Washington just how disruptive Moscow can be on a host of global crises.

Russia in March vetoed the annual renewal of a panel of experts monitoring enforcement of longstanding United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

Putin's foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Russia and North Korea may sign a partnership agreement during the visit that would include security issues.

He said the deal would not be directed against any other country, but would "outline prospects for further cooperation".

The visit will include one-on-one discussions between the two leaders, as well as a gala concert, state reception, honour guards, document signings, and a statement to the media, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Ushakov as saying.

Russian Defence Minister Andrei Belousov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the ministers for natural resources, health, and transport, the heads of the Russian space agency and its railways, and Putin's point man for energy, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, will be part of the delegation.

Ahead of the visit, North Korea appears to have been making preparations for a possible military parade in downtown Pyongyang, commercial satellite imagery showed.

The summit presents the greatest threat to U.S. national security since the Korean War, said Victor Cha, a former U.S. national security official now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"This relationship, deep in history and reinvigorated by the war in Ukraine, undermines the security of Europe, Asia, and the U.S. homeland," he wrote in a report on Monday.

He urged Washington to work with Europe and other partners to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang, engage with China, and launch a major human rights and information campaign to flood the North with outside media.

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006, and those measures have been strengthened over the years.

The Security Council has been divided over how to deal with Pyongyang.

Russia and China say more sanctions will not help and that joint military drills by the United States and South Korea merely provoke Pyongyang. Two years ago, they vetoed a U.S.-led push to impose more U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches.

Washington and its Asian allies accuse Beijing and Moscow of emboldening North Korea by shielding it from more sanctions.

After North Korea, Putin will visit Vietnam on June 19-20.

 

Reuters

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