ABSU Rapists – Information Wanted

We all heard about the heinous rape of a young girl purportedly by 5 students of Abia State University. The supposed students made a video of the crime which eventually made its way to the Internet. People expressed outrage at the rape but few could do anything about it. So I thought about offering a financial reward to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects. With my limited resources I knew I couldn’t do much so I reached out to others. A few other friends online and offline who were as incensed as I am are contributing most of it.

So if you have any information that can lead to the arrest and prosecution of all five suspects please send an email to info@eienigeria.org The identity of anyone who provides such information will be protected. The reward for providing this information is N200,000 (two hundred thousand Naira). Any donations in excess of this amount will be given to the victim.

For a detailed reading about the actual rape itself please read this blog post by @sugabelly God bless all those who have spread the message on Twitter and who are contributing towards this cause. Together we can make a difference.

Developing A National Crime Database

Recent security incidents in Nigeria have exposed a fundamental weakness in the ability of our security forces to identify and classify criminals and their activities. When you have to make a statement at a Police Station, you are given a sheet of foolscap paper and a biro. Many Police Stations operate without a functioning computer even at the Divisional level. Our entire security apparatus is manual, fragmented and archaic. Individuals can commit crimes in one state and move to another state to join the Police Force.

I once joked to a friend that you can murder someone in Nigeria and leave your hair sample, finger prints and even your clothing and the Police would be none the wiser for it. An essential part of criminology is data gathering and management. The US operates several criminal databases at the Local, State and Federal levels. Before 1966, this information was not readily available to individuals. This changed with the promulgation of the Freedom of Information Act. Anybody with an internet connection can search for an individual’s name and recall their criminal history.

It is time for Nigeria to begin to work towards a National Crime Database (NCD). This may seem far-fetched but the tools to make this happen are already available. Most Nigerians have some data with at least one level of Government. Between the Register of births and deaths, census data, vehicle registration, income tax filing and voter registration most people have been photographed and fingerprinted by the Government. This data can be the starting point for an integrated NCD. The NCD can be hosted in a central sever at the Force HQ in Abuja with mirror servers hosted in every geographical zone or state. A few terabytes of server space should be able to store data on 80-90% of Nigerians. Additional data can be obtained from the Immigration authorities and from the recent SIM card registration undertaken by GSM operators.

Collating, analysing and storing this data will take a few years and the cooperation of the State Security Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, National Bureau of StatisticsNational Population Commission and the Nigerian Police Force. The previous attempt at National ID card which was fraught with irregularities and corruption allegations will need to be revisited. Perhaps some data can be obtained from here as well.

If an individual commits a crime or is accused but acquitted, these details should be recorded against the individual’s name. Retrieval of criminal records from the NCD could be via specialised terminals/PCs at major police commands and Stations, SMS or web based. The SMS or web based option will also enable Policemen crosscheck an individual’s criminal record at the point of arrest. The Police will need to be trained to use computers and any specialised terminals.

A pilot programme covering major cosmopolitan areas could be undertaken to test the storage and retrieval capabilities of the NCD. This idea may seem outlandish for a developing nation like Nigeria but great ideas start as a flicker and metamorphose into workable solutions through a firm commitment and the cooperation of all.

This project is within the purview of the new Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, so I will attempt to sell the idea to the Honourable Minister, Omobola Johnson.

Rich Man, Poor Country

Business Insider published a list of the wealthiest people in 35 countries on September 13th, 2011. Included on the list was Aliko Dangote, the world’s wealthiest Nigerian, African and black person. There was an interesting conversation on my Twitter timeline about whether his wealth was made honestly and why a poor country like Nigeria can be capable of producing such stupendous wealth. I decided to do a quick comparison of the GDP per capita of each country with each individual’s networth. The results are interesting.

A comparison of networth and GDP per capita

The table compares each billionaire’s net worth with with his country’s GDP per capita. I then ranked the resultant ratio to produce what I call an “equality ratio” (I just made that up). At the top of the list are the OECD countries of Denmark, Austria and Switzerland while India, Nigeria and Mexico are at the bottom of the list. The ranking shows how wealthy each individual is compared to the rest of his countrymen. The billionaires at the top of the list are wealthy in relatively well off countries while those at the bottom of the list are wealthy in relatively poor countries. The lower on the list you are, the more inequality there is in your country. So Lakshmi Mittal and Carlos Slim Helu can be said to also be rich men in poor countries just like Aliko Dangote.

I have conveniently made this as simple as possible and assert that there are limitations with this approach. Make of it what you will!

The original article can be found here http://j.mp/rdWCVa

(Source: GDP per capita (Nominal) Wikipedia

Presidential Media Chat of Sept 12th, 2011 – My Verdict? Slightly Above Average

We finally got to listen to President Goodluck Jonathan speak to Nigerians via a media chat with selected journalists. The event was prerecorded and the questions likely known beforehand. My overall assessment is that he performed slightly above average. Our President is not exactly naturally charismatic so I wasn’t expecting any rousing speeches ala Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America. He is also not a strong and imposing figure like former President Obasanjo. So instead of listening to him to get inspired, I was looking for concrete plans and programmes.

A lot of people probably watched the media chat so I won’t bother with the specifics, rather I will rate his answers on key areas.

Corruption: I expected tough talk and a reading of the proverbial Riot Act and not platitudes. He needs to prosecute some high-profile cases within the rule of law. He should make a scapegoat of just one big fish such as a corrupt former Governor to send a strong message to other corrupt individuals. Score: 4/10

Power: I have confidence that the current efforts at privatization will produce some improvements but the effects may not be felt until 2015. While he focuses on improving generation through new power plants, he also needs to pay attention to monetizing and correctly pricing gas resources, localized generation and distribution, market rules for operators, reduction of energy theft and transmission losses and improvement of billing. Privatization is a step in the right direction. Score: 8/10

Agriculture: He correctly diagnosed the issues but was unable to offer concrete plans. He’s expecting a lot from the Minister of Agriculture who has successfully transformed other nations’ agricultural practices. I expect an agricultural master plan with a focus on research into modern farming methods and adaptation of technology, cultivation of seedlings, land use reform and consolidation, irrigation, local fertilizer production, credit for farmers, establishment of processing facilities and improvement of roads for transporting inputs and produce. Score: 6/10

Security: Not much was said about this perhaps for fear of angering Boko Haram. Score: 3/10

Foreign Policy: Excellent responses to the Libyan crisis and Nigeria’s role in peace keeping operations in Africa. However, he correctly admitted that we don’t seem to have benefited much from playing Big Brother. We should have been entrenched in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean economies by now. No country loves another country to its own detriment. Score: 8/10

Single Tenure: Vague rationale for introducing the idea. Still unclear what benefits Nigerians will get from a single tenure over the current system. Score: 5/10

Judiciary: He admitted the challenge but avoided referring to the removal of Justice Ayo Salami by the NJC. The advice to the Judiciary to reform itself was non-committal and vague. Score: 4/10

Overall Score: 5.5/10

I have no doubts that he has good intentions and means well for Nigeria. I do have doubts about his appreciation for the enormity of the problems of the nation. He is an outsider who has had to rely on the political clout of the PDP cabal to ascend to power. However, he needs to understand that he is now the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the FRN and the nation’s number one citizen. While he cannot solve our problems alone, he has the power to galvanise everyone to action.

He cut the figure of a man who needs help. He needs help because he can’t do it alone. He’s our President so we should wish him well and criticize constructively when needed. On Social Media, there are two distinct camps of people who applaud his every move and those who blindly criticise him. Whichever camp you belong to, we need to agree that we all love Nigeria and if the President succeeds, Nigeria succeeds.

Introducing: 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria

Dating far back to the 80’s, the term ‘419’ has associated Nigeria and Nigerians primarily with online financial scams – ‘Advance Fee Fraud’. Most unfortunately, the situation exacerbated to such an extent that the internet became overwhelmed with such negative news attributed to Nigeria.

In response to this, ‘The 419Positive Project’ was initiated, with an ambitious objective of generating four hundred and nineteen positive attributes about Nigeria and Nigerians. “If you could tell the world one remarkable thing about Nigeria and Nigerians, what would it be?” Furthermore, in Peter Reilly’s Forbes blog post (Aug 28, 2011), he suggested a similar intervention to his Nigerian audience – “Make lists of 419 reasons to like Nigeria and Nigerians…” His suggestion came as one remedial to his previous post (Nigerians Switching From Greed to Fear), after some Nigerians took exceptions to his views. Other online posts by Chika Uwazie, Nmachi Jidenma and Akin Akintayo, have further lent a voice in this regard.

Pulling these ideas and suggestions together, an online rebranding campaign is being furthered. The aim is clear – to consistently inundate the internet with positive Nigerian attributes, such that when anyone types in ‘419’ in a search engine, it yields positive commentary about Nigeria, irrespective of the pre-existing negativity. This drive is labelled 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria. Awareness is currently being ramped up online, with the topic having trended on Twitter in the early hours of 2nd of September. There will be the big bang launch on October 1, 2011 (Independence Day), of at least 100 Nigerian blogs and sites listing four hundred and nineteen remarkable reasons to like Nigeria, with subsequent monthly blog publishing till the end of 2011.

Every Nigerian with a blog, website, and online presence of any sort (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, account etc.) is encouraged to volunteer and be a part of this campaign. With sincerity and candour, it is true that some, in times past, have contributed unfortunately to the prevailing negative association of ‘419’ with Nigeria, however, the time is NOW for us to counter-strategise by providing alternative content via an online rebranding initiative.

To register your interest, simply send an email to volunteer@419Positive.org, with the subject –CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER, and be sure to provide contact details (email address) so you can be reached subsequently. Volunteers will be contacted latest by the 9th of September, 2011.

Be a part of this drive…the time is now! Let’s tell the world 419 Reasons to Like Nigeria.

A Scorecard For President Goodluck Jonathan

I read the recently published achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan. The list of achievements include creating new institutions (Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NEBT) Plc), formulating new plans (machinery to establish 37 Skills Acquisition Centers) and a few “tangible” improvements (claims of improvement in power supply). There has been a backlash on popular news sites and Social Media questioning how tangible these achievements.

My first impression is that the list has far too many items, many of which are plans, policies and programmes. While I appreciate the list was published to coincide with the administration’s first 100 days in office, I don’t think the items on the list are weighty enough to be celebrated. When you are cooking soup, you don’t announce to the world that it will be the tastiest treat that has ever titillated their taste buds. Let people decide if the soup is actually worth all the noise.

A preferred approach to indicating progress or otherwise would be to select a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on a national vision and key objectives. In management parlance, this is called a Scorecard. Many multinational companies measure their performance using Total Return To Shareholders (TRS). This indicator shows if the company has added value to its shareholders through capital appreciation and dividend payments. Of course there are other KPIs tied to it but everyone watches just this one number. The lower level KPIs managed by the Leadership Team are often less than 10.

The Government would best be served if a few measurable KPIs are developed which show if a nation is developing or not. The average person doesn’t care about many of the achievements on that list. He is more concerned about food on the table. I suggest a short list of less than 15 items which tell of the current state of things and projects what they will be at the end of this administration. For example, a KPI could be school enrolments in 2011-25%, 2015-55%. This way, all eyes will focus on outcomes and not just activities and plans. These KPIs should have measurable targets against which to assess performance regularly, say quarterly.

The scorecard may contain the usual economic indicators such as GDP, External Debt, Interest and Exchange rates, Capital and Money market efficiency. KPIs could also cover infrastructure e.g kilometres of tarred roads, corruption, poverty, health, education etc.

My top KPIs would be as follows

  1. Hours a day without light
  2. Number of people who can afford Western standard healthcare with less than N5,000 a year
  3. Days without a major security incident
  4. Ability to feed a family with N1000 a week
  5. Time taken to drive from Kano to Lagos

Behind each of these KPIs will be a number of plans and programmes but if these things have not changed by 2015 then we will consider the administration a failure.

In addition, some of the more traditional measures could be included.

  1. Absolute and per Capita GDP Growth
  2. External Debt Levels
  3. Interest Rates
  4. Exchange Rates
  5. Power Generation (and % of generation that actually gets to consumers)
  6. Kilometres of Tarred Roads
  7. % of Nigerians below the poverty line

I believe adopting this transparent approach will give the Government focus especially if visually displayed at Government offices and shared with all Nigerians. If you were to measure the effectiveness of Government, what KPIs would you choose and how would you measure them?

Welcome to my new blog

Welcome to my blog. First of all let me say that I’m not a blogger! Not everyone who writes a blog should be considered one. This is my second attempt at writing a blog. I retired the first one but on the advice of a few good friends, I’m starting with this new one. I’m merely going to write what suits my fancy, what God is saying to me at a particular time or my take on topical issues. I’m an avid user of Social Media especially Twitter so my blog posts are going to be brief but to the point. My writing will at times seem amateurish, opinionated and unstructured. I also intend to ask guests to blog as well so expect to read what others have to say. I’m not a “Youth Leader”, satirist, journalist, celebrity or socialite so my writing may seem boring at times.

Please feel free to comment on whatever you see here, but keep it civil and constructive. More solutions and less complaining. In the words of the masked saxophonist, Nigeria must sweet again!