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Militants for Chibok girls: PDP’s faux pas

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Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.- Groucho Marx (American – Comedian October 2, 1895 – August 19, 1977)

 

Last week Saturday news filtered in that Boko Haram, the militant group, which shot to global infamy with the abduction of over 219 girls from Chibok Secondary School in Borno State on the night of April 14, 2014, had released some 82 of the young girls.

As more details emerged about the cheering news, it was learnt that government had finally decided to bow to the wishes of the militant group by releasing some of the Boko Haram fighters captured in exchange for the girls.

This position had been clearly stated by leader of the group Abubakar Shekau in some of the propaganda videos he uploaded on YouTube. But up till now government had refused to budge on this demand, ostensibly believing (rightly or wrongly) in the ability of a military solution to the protracted problem, which had refused to go away especially with the continued action of the Chibok pressure group – ‘Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), which constantly let the whole world know that the girls had not been returned with their daily marches and activities in Abuja.

However, while the parents, family, friends and millions of Nigerians and others around the world, who had followed the saga as if the girls were their own daughters, expressed unbridled joy at the release, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did what I considered a faux pas by issuing a statement which was clearly not in keeping with the prevailing mood of the moment. According to the party, government’s decision to bow to the demands of the terrorist group, by releasing some their captured members will only encourage the dissidents to commit more havoc across the land.

Though it described the release of the 82 girls “as a welcome development,” the PDP under whose government about 276 Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok students were kidnapped from their hostel on April 14, 2014, said it was concerned about the “unusual price” paid to “secure the release of the girls.”

“We recognise the concern of President Buhari to ensure the earliest release of the Chibok girls for domestic and international consideration,” said Dayo Adeyeye, PDP’s National Working Committee’s spokesman.

“But we disagree that negotiating with the terrorists is the right approach to achieving the objective.” Adeyeye said “the suspected terrorists by this release have escaped justice,” adding that “all the effort made by security agencies to bring them to book has come to nothing.”

He noted that “the negotiations are in clear violation and indeed a direct assault on the generally accepted international principle never to negotiate with terrorists.”

Although as an opposition party it was expected that they should perform the function, which is to keep the governing party on its toes by constantly firing barbs at government, however, this does not mean that they should just criticise for criticising sake or just to make the news headlines!

For how does what they said assuage the feelings and emotions of the families of those who have learnt that their nightmares are finally over with the release of their daughters If the PDP had been in the shoes of the girls who have been away from home since 2014 with the families not knowing in what state their children are in? Although losing a loved one is never easy; but it is still much better than the trauma that the families of the Chibok girls have been going through – not knowing if their children were alive or dead.

At least with the former there is closure – they know the person is dead! Again being girls brings the additional anguish of them being repeatedly raped by their abductors.

Despite the promise of giving them the best medical care available in the country many of the girls will never be the same again battling to overcome the demons they faced for the years they were away from the comforts of their homes and the family and friends they have been used to.

For the Chibok families no request is too much to wrest from government as long as their children come home alive – and this will be the position of any normal parent. Adeyeye, the spokesman of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party, also argued that the release of the 82 girls was a “clear violation and indeed a direct assault on the generally accepted international principle never to negotiate with terrorists.”

Excuse me! If my daughter was captured by the terrorists I will not expect any ‘international principal’ to stand in the way of her rescue just like any sane parent would! Besides who also says nations like the US, Israel and others do not reach out to terrorists despite their public stance that they “do not negotiate with terrorists”.

They might not do so directly as a government, but often use “back channels” to reach out to which ever group is holding their citizen(s) hostage. In fact following severe criticism of the US by families of American hostages killed in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State, in June 2015 former US President Barrack Obama ordered a review of government’s position on hostage taking.

Family members had complained that they were ignored by officials or even threatened with prosecution if they attempted to negotiate with the captors or raise money for ransoms. Officially, the long-standing US policy of refusing to makes “concessions” to hostagetakers remains in place, but Obama said then that it would not seek to prosecute people who engage in ransom negotiations.

“The last thing we should ever do is add to a family’s pain with threats like that,” Obama said. Of course, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (in line with Adeye’s opposition position) framed the executive order as a kind concession in itself.

“We have had a policy in the United States for over 200 years of not paying ransom and not negotiating with terrorists and the concern that I have is that by lifting that long held principle you could be endangering more Americans here and overseas,” Boehner said.

But Leslie Edwards, a leading hostage negotiation specialist, who had worked in Nigeria before, defended the new policy, saying it was a realistic approach to the agonising dilemmas faced by hostages’ families.

“People don’t understand the difference between not standing in families’ way and actively paying for kidnappees,” he said. “This is just sensible pragmatism. The families are going to pay anyway, regardless of what the administration is saying. It’s totally unrealistic to expect them not to pay or get involved.” And at the end of the day this is all that matters – getting the girls back – any which way!

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Carabao Cup final: Aguero, Aubameyang in marksmen showdown

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     …De Bruyne, Ozil also go head-to-head

 

Arsenal and Man City will continue their rivalry as they battle for the Caraboa Cup on Sunday at the famous Wembley Stadium but much focus will be on the striking war between City’s Sergio Aguero and Gunners’ new recruit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While Aguero has been one of the most prominent players in the league owing to his awesome goal-scoring record since joining the Sky Blues in 2011, Aubameyang is seen as Arsenal messiah for goal scoring.

The Citizens’ point-man seems to be well-focused for this tie such that he decided to let go a Wigan fan over an on-pitch bust-up as the Argentine claimed the supporter spat at, tried to punch and verbally abused him in the shock loss to Wigan at the DW Stadium on Monday.

Since joining from Borrusuia Dortmund just before the close of the January transfer window, Gunners faithful have found a new wave of optimism that their search for a pointman in the mold of club legend Thierry Henry is over.

The Gabonese striker showed Arsenal fans and a glimpse of what he would be bringing to the table as he scored a brilliant goal in the 5-1 whitewash of Everton some few weeks ago; although he was slightly offside from the move.

He was to be at the receiving end of a poor call exactly a week later when his goal against Tottenham was ruled offside but the replay showed he was level with the Spurs’ last defender. In recent time, Arsenal, to some extent, have been masters of Cup football as they defeated Man City and Chelsea on their way to winning of the FA Cup last season.

The win over Chelsea, whom they also defeated to win the Community Shield, was their third success in four years in the FA Cup and they will be eager to keep up their good record of late at Wembley. Another head-to-head war is expected in the midfield between Kevin De Bruyne and Mezut Ozil.

De Bruyne has been one of the most prominent players for Pep Guardiola’s team this season and the Belgian’s relentless consistency has seen him in the running for the player of the season. Apart from scoring vital goals, he also has the vision to set up the likes of Aguero and Raheem Sterling and his one-touch football is second to none.

Ozil, on his part can, also initiate moves that could break the resistance of the expensively-assembled City rear guard. And with assist specialist Henrikh Mkhitaryan roving in the midfield, if the German find his right element, his supplies to the likes of AUbameyang and Danny Welbeck may see Arsenal enjoying another bragging right of another cup success in England.

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If in doubt, please quit!

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A major trust of news reporting in journalism is: “if in doubt, leave out or drop the story.” In my days as a News Editor, whenever a reporter couldn’t substantiate his facts, I will drop the news item. It is a norm that conforms to the best professional practices. Integrity and truth are the hallmark of media practice but with the advent of social and online media, those valued ethics seem to have been practically jettisoned. And the consequences of such professional delinquency daily stare us in the face, regrettably though.

This same ethos applies to those planning their conjugal affairs on a sandy soil of anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. If betrothed lovers are frequently experiencing rancour, threats of breakup and relating to each other with mutual suspicion and fear, they don’t need a soothsayer or a prophet to tell them that they are not compatible. Many of those in desperate mood to remain in troubled relationships are women.

Reasons adduced for their tenacity usually centre around fear of the unknown, age, social class, low selfesteem, economic factor, religious affinity and beauty among others. Some of them prefer to go into ‘trial’ marriage and fail than let go their abusive partner.

The reckless decision they often make is to blindly walk down the aisle with partners they can’t have peace and desired happy matrimony with. A 31-year-old woman would not let go off her fiancé of two years despite her frustration and constant abuse in the relationship.

Twice she had called it quit but she reconciled on both occasions without her boyfriend showing any sign of remorse. Devising a way to end regular disputes, she moved into his apartment unannounced thinking perhaps they would understand themselves better by living together. Her boyfriend’s response was to bring another woman home for the weekend. Yet, she stayed on, weeping, begging for his love. They eventually got married and it only lasted for nine months! She packed out with seven months pregnancy when she almost lost her life due constant battering.

A young man is currently battling with high blood pressure arising from constant cases of cheating, insults, threats to quit the relationship and coping with hardline rules of his fiancée. His reason for hanging on with this woman is her beauty. He said he would rather learn to endure than let her go.

“All my friends envy me because of her beauty,” he said. More than thrice, he had caught her pant down with other men. She cheats a lot. She insults him at will and set rules for him as condition to remain in the relationship. As you read this article, they are planning to wed in a couple of months’ time. Should we then ascribe these kinds of relationship to genuine love?

If yes, then, love is truly blind! It shows love can blindfold lovers when they are engrossed in it. In most cases, the love charm usually have a vice-hold on one of the partners. When blinded in love, they usually act blighted. Consequently, the traits of such desperate, confused and helpless partners are to:

• Defend weaknesses, character flaws that would eventually shred the union.

• Get fixated and unreasonably enslaved to their partners by trying to please, satisfy, compromise and sacrifice to tag along; forgetting that once they beg or manage to go into marriage, they need to keep begging and managing to remain married for the rest of their life.

• They are afraid of the unknown. Attitudes they won’t tolerate ordinarily or naturally would become their choice just to remain in relationship.

• They accommodate those things to feel “fulfilled” among their peers even when eventual failure looms large in the horizon.

• They often ignore every counsel that is not in tandem with their sentiments, interests and expectations.

• They often learn their lessons at a time the situation is beyond remedy. They calmly live with the scars because it was their choice. There are three levels of marriage:

• Marriage contracted in fear – desperation, low self-esteem, age consideration and social class

• Marriage contracted in reluctance – family and peers pressure, abstract considerations, marrying partners not wholly convinced or satisfied with many things about.

• Marriage contracted in wilful decision – marrying one’s dream partners, desired choice, best friend, feeling satisfied, fulfilled and complementary to her life. It is advisable and wiser to avert awaited marital failure by quitting troubled relationships. As it is often said, “A broken relationship is better than a broken marriage.”

Some are currently regretting their decisions in marriage because of the choices they made. While many of them have tried frantically to make their marriages work; but alas, they couldn’t get it right not due to their own faults, but because they paired with wrong partners.

There are those who might feel heeding a counsel that is against their wish is obviously denying them the right of choice in their personal affairs. I wish to submit that counsel is not a law. There’s no compulsion in it. Counsel is a piece of advice steeped in rich experience and knowledge. My sincere prayer is that may the song: “Had I Known” not be your anthem at last. Amen.

 

Send your responses/private issues to: mikeawe@yahoo.co.uk or 08035304268 (SMS/WhatsApp)

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Columnists

Health benefits of cucumber (3)

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Cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trailing or other supporting frames, wrapping around supports with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. Face Mask: For oily skin – grate 1/2 cucumber into a bowl and add one tablespoon of honey.

Apply to the T-Zone, which is the forehead, nose and chin. To reduce pores and tighten skin – apply the mixture all over the face including under the eyes and eyelids. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water, Pat dry with a clean towel.

 

Fighting cancers: Cucumber is known to contain lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol which are linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer. Controlling blood pressure: Cucumber juice contains a lot of potassium, magnesium, fiber, and phytonutrients that work effectively for regulating blood pressure.

 

Aiding digestion: Their high water and dietary fiber are very effective in driving away the toxins from the digestive system. Daily consumption of cucumbers can be regarded as a remedy for chronic constipation. Relieving gout and arthritis pain: Cucumbers are rich in vitamin A, B1, B6, C & D, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.

 

When mixed with carrot juice, they can relieve gout and arthritis pain by lowering uric acid levels. Cucumbers also contain a substance needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin. Researchers have found that sterols in cucumbers help reduce cholesterol levels. It is one of the very low calorie vegetables. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

 

Cucumber peel is a good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation, and offers some protection against colon cancers by eliminating toxic compounds from the gut. It is a very good source of  potassium, an important intracellular electrolyte.

 

Potassium is a heart friendly electrolyte that helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium. Cucumbers contain unique antioxidants in moderate ratios such as ß-carotene and a- carotene, Vitamin- C, vitamin-A, zea-xanthin and lutein.

 

These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Cucumbers have mild diuretic property, which perhaps attributed to their free-water, and potassium and low sodium content.

 

This helps in checking weight gain and high blood pressure. Ongoing research indicates that Cucumbers play a key role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

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