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Friday, April 17, 2020

How an article about Elrufai's wife's reaction to her son's threat to "pass" around someone's mother led to the Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper losing his job

The Nigerian literary community is currently engulfed in controversy over the sack of the Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper, Otosirieze Obi-Young, resulting from an article he wrote addressing Hadiza Elrufai's reaction when her son threatened to "pass" someone's mother around to his friends.

On Sunday, April 12, Bello El-Rufai, in a series of tweets, had threatened to "pass" the mother of another Twitter user to his friends after describing the woman as a "whore."

Bello wrote in a private message to the follower after they argued about politics: "Tell your mother I’m passing her to my friends tonight."

"No Igbo sounds please!" Bello El-Rufai added an ethnic attack, having thought the Twitter user was Igbo.

Twitter users were incensed by this and they tagged Bello's mother, Hadiza El-Rufai to tweets about her son's threat to gang rape someone's mother.

Hadiza El-Rufai responded: "All you people talking about @B_ELRUFAI Don’t @ me. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

"All is fair in love and war. My belief: Respect everyone, but take no shit from anyone. I didn't see any threats of rape. I would never condone that."

Her response attracted criticisms from Nigerians who accused her of supporting her son's rape threats.

She later issued an apology, stating: "When I posted the tweet below, I assumed it was just the usual Twitter gbas-gbos. Having read the tweets chronologically, I have had conversations with Bello. Never ever should sexual abuse be employed as ammunition in public/private exchanges, no matter the provocation."

Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper, Otosirieze Obi-Young wrote an article condemning Hadiza El-Rufai for her tweet supporting her son and it was published on the Brittle Paper platform.

However, the article titled "Novelist, Feminist & Kaduna First Lady, Hadiza El-Rufai, says all is fair in love and war after son’s gang-rape threat draws backlash" was pulled down from the platform on April 14 and Brittle Paper released a statement saying that the article was pulled down because it did not meet the editorial standard.

On April 15, Otosirieze revealed that he woke up to see that he had been logged out from all Brittle Paper accounts. He added in the lengthy statement that he had been fired from BP where he worked for 4 years.

Otosirieze said that despite editing the article as Aniehi instructed she still called him and informed him that she was pulling down the whole article completely and fired him from his position.

He wrote: "The Founder called me and expressed concerns about my criticism of a Nigerian newspaper in it and the informal and strongly worded tone addressing said novelist. I edited the post, removing the relevant sections.

"The Founder called back a few minutes later and said she wanted to take down the report. That was unacceptable to me. I saw no reason why my post-publication edits, which removed my opinion and restricted it to reportage, were not enough.

"I saw no reason why her concern about my lack of objectivity was not something that could be fixed by her own edits or rewriting. So I cut short the conversation: I said I no longer wished to discuss this report, that she should take it down if she wanted."

He added that he was then fired without reason.

He continued: "Removing me from Brittle Paper is part of the political agenda to subsume Nigerian literature and make it difficult to be an honest writer here. Their takeover is now complete."

Otosirieze's statement had a far-reaching effect as Nigerian writers took to various platforms to call out Brittle Paper, known to be one of Africa’s leading literary platforms that encourages writers to express themselves freely.

They accused BP of silencing and censoring writers in Nigeria. Nigerian writers then indicated that they were boycotting Brittle Paper and some asked that their articles published on the platform be pulled down.

Chibuihe Obi, a contributor to Brittle Paper who also won the platform’s anniversary award, also released a statement stating that he was rescinding the award BP gave him and asked that his works be pulled down from the platform.

"I am publicly rescinding the award Brittle Paper gave me in 2017 and will forthwith return the cash that came with the prize. i have written to ainehi edoro to demand that my works be pulled from their site." Chibuihe wrote on Facebook.

US-based Nigerian literary critique, Pa Ikhide Roland Ikheloa, also condemned BP, writing: "?Let me suggest this to readers of conscience: Boycott Brittle Paper until its “high” editorial standards stand up for justice and the truth, and do not coddle despots, genocide enablers and rapists. Do not read Brittle Paper until it apologizes for protecting thugs like Elrufai.?"

Elnathan John, author of Born on a Tuesday, who once wrote that some members of the Nigerian literary community have been bought over by the Kaduna State Government, also condemned Brittle Paper, writing: "My final word on Brittle Paper shame... In the words of Lagos philosopher Brymo: Person wey befriend rat e go chop shit."

A number of other people also called out the platform, leading the publisher of BP to respond.

Ainehi Edoro, who is the founder/publisher of Brittle Paper explained in her statement that Otosirieze flouted editorial guidelines of the company "and was unwilling to make changes in the report."

She said her problem with Otosirieze's article was that she "found the title inflammatory and unnecessarily incendiary".

She added that the report seemed fine "until I got to the last paragraph. It was then that alarms rang in my mind."

She said Otosirieze's last paragraph which "did not only sound strong but also criticised other Nigerian papers."

The last paragraph of the article in question reads:

Interestingly, four hours after backlash began to her response, an article appeared on ThisDay titled “Endearing Qualities of Kaduna First Lady, Hadiza El Rufai.” It is exactly as shabbily-written as you would expect of a hastily assembled, face-washing gimmick. But it is not as unintelligent as the one on OperaNews.

There must be a name for this feminism whose reply to “Tell your mother I’m passing her to my friends tonight” is “I didn’t see any threats of rape.” A feminism that agrees to raise men to be better but says “All is fair in love and war” when their ethnic-bigoted men-children threaten violence on women’s bodies.

Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Do better.

Ainehi wrote in her statement: "It was not clear why he was accusing two Nigerian newspapers of writing “hastily assembled, face-washing gimmick” and another of being “unintelligent”. And why was the diatribe “shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” being used in what should have been a plain reportage of facts and written statements and tweets? It seemed to be histrionic, inflammatory, even melodramatic and totally not in keeping with the seriousness of the matter he was addressing.

"I felt, and feel, Otosirieze’s outrage. I am both a woman and the mother of a daughter. Suggesting that a woman should be sexually assaulted is unconscionable and needs a hard and swift response. But in condemning such statements, it is important that we ourselves do not stoop to the level of those making them. It is important that we do not abandon completely all principles and ethics in how we write."

She also faulted the use of "gang rape" in the title where she said, something like "lewd comments" would have sufficed.

She explained that Otosirieze agreed to delete the last paragraph but "he refused to change the headline – which led to the misunderstanding."

She added: "Unfortunately, this all occurred at a time I had to prepare time sensitive lectures for my students, and without sufficient time to edit the post. The time difference between Nigeria and the U.S. also left me with little time to act quickly, so I pulled the post down as the exigent thing to do."

She also revealed that "the ex-Deputy Editor hung up the phone when she attempted to have a conversation."

She further stated that contrary to public opinion, Brittle Paper has never been funded by the Kaduna State Government.

Ainehi Edoro's statement further divided members of the Nigerian literary community as some took sides with Ainehi, accusing Otosirieze of trying to spoil the company's name while some said Ainehi's comment doesn't add up and that she could easily have edited the parts of the headline she had a problem with and left the article up.

@KateCHampton tweeted in support if Ainehi: "This cancel culture is getting completely out of control. Trying to bring down a respected publication with YEARS of proved integrity based on hearsay of one angry bro trying to call a professional, intellectual woman a gang rape apologist? Pls. If that's not sexism, what is??

"She made the only responsible choice in that situation and he still managing to screw her. Imagine if he'd begun this vendetta and still had access to their site and accounts? I've seen too many toxic 'feminist' men in literary communities to buy any of what he's serving."

While writer Sally Kenneth Dadzie took Otosirieze's side, writing: "Ainehi saying that she didn't have time to edit the title of the article makes no sense to me. How many seconds would it have taken her to erase the part she claimed was problematic and insert a more appropriate title she was certain would have sufficed?"

She added: "Clearly, @ainehiedoro you were the one who didn't want to be reasonable. How did you go from having a difference of opinions to logging your editor out of @brittlepaper? How did that happen so fast? You couldn't even call, text or email. No notice? Haba! You messed up."

Otosirieze took to Facebook amid the controversy to issue another statement after Ainehi's response.

He wrote: "When you speak truth to power, when you dare refuse to be compromised, there will be consequences. You will be maligned, marked to be destroyed. You will be up against all their machinery, all lies to deceive the public. But if you can afford it, please stay true to yourself. Nothing is better than waking up with your dignity intact, being true to yourself. It is the foundation for a happy life.

"Remember what was said and what was done. Remember who did. In time, the truth will shine."

Video purportedly showing Oluwo of Iwo rolling up a joint is leaked by his ex-wife

The ex-wife of the Oluwo of Iwo has released a video of the monarch rolling up a joint to smoke, after she granted an interview accusing him of numerous vices.

Chanel Chin, who has a son named Oduduwa with the King, said during her interview with GIO TV that the Oluwo married her after raping her when she was drunk. She also accused him of hiding the fact that he had other baby mamas and children. She further accused him of deception.

She went on to release a video to the interviewer and made other accusations that caused viewers to fear for her safety (read here).

One of the videos released purportedly shows the Oluwo of Iwo rolling up marijuana to smoke.

COVID-19 Palliatives: Senator Ndume accuses federal aid committee of fraud, calls for disbandment

Ali Ndume, an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker and Senator representing Borno south sentorial district has accused the federal government relief committee on Coronavirus headed by Humanitarian minister, Sadiya Farouq of fraud and also called for its immediate disbandment.

The senator alleged that the committee lacks the credibility to manage the huge resources at its disposal, as he expressed disappointment that President Buhari did not announce the disbandment of the committee during his last national broadcast “despite the outcry of many Nigerians who expressed dissatisfaction about the minister’s led committee.”

Senator Ndume stated that President Buhari will be ''smearing what remains of his goodwill'' if the committee is allowed to continue disbursing palliatives meant for the poorest of the poor Nigerians amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

He told journalists;

“I’m not trying to make allegations against the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development; what I’m saying are facts.

“If they will continue with the way they are doing now, they had better not distribute the palliative at all because it’s a fraud.

“My concern now is the manner and ways the palliative measures taken by the president are being executed. We have received numerous complaints and it’s very unfortunate. Left to me, I’m calling for the so-called Humanitarian committee headed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to be disbanded immediately and the president should set up a task force to handle issues of palliatives.”

Pointing out the lopsidedness of the disbursement, Senator Ndume added;

“The task force under the Chairmanship of each state governor should include a Senator and House of Assembly member from each state, the Army, Police, Civil Defense, religious organization, Red Cross, Civil Society Organisations to ensure the distribution of the palliatives; I don’t mind the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and members of Social Investment Programmes as members.

“Imagine Zamfara state, which happens to be the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs’ home state, has 291, 629 households and 1, 341,153 individuals captured under the National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable households for March 2020, leaving Sokoto State which is adjudged as the poorest state in Nigeria with a paltry 3,347 households and 18, 435 individuals. Borno has only 7,130 households and 33,728 individuals.

“I have reliable information that even names they have generated is fake, the BVN is not fraud-proof, one person will generate thousands of names and after conniving with banks, they are issued BVN. Investigation will reveal all these.

“They have the names of their cooks, drivers, relatives, relatives of their house helps and those they call the poorest of the poor and give this money to them.

“I call on the press to join in the call to stop this callous act, you can imagine the situation our people are in at the moment, yet some people are rushing to either share or steal this money."

Niger state government lifts ban on Juma'at prayers despite having two confirmed cases of COVID-19

The Niger state government has lifted the suspension of congregational Friday Prayer (Juma’at) for today Friday, 17th April, 2020.

In a statement released this morning, the state government said the Juma’at Prayer is expected to hold between 11am to 3pm under strict observance of all the precautionary measures, using hand sanitizers, face masks, hand washing facilities (soap, and water), maintaining social distancing and avoiding contact base greetings.

''The sermon and prayers are to be conducted within thirty minutes; Muslims are advised to adhere strictly to the precautionary measures taken by Government on the containment of coronavirus pandemic in the State.''the statement read in part

The lockdown however continues immediately after the Juma'at Prayers.

Niger state has two confirmed case of COVID19.

China must pay damages to Africa, write off all her debt for failing to stop the Coronavirus pandemic- Oby Ezekwesili

Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education in Nigeria, has said that China would have to pay damages and liability compensation to Africa for their failure to ''transparently and effectively'' manage this global catastrophe termed the Coronavirus pandemic.

In an article she wrote for Washington Post, Ezekwesili said Africa’s economic gains since the last global crisis has been eroded due to this pandemic. She wrote that it is time to make offending rich countries pay the poor ones a global risk burden tax for delaying their rise out of poverty due to their own careless activities. She said China should immediately announce a complete write-off of the more than $140 billion that its government, banks and contractors extended to countries in Africa between 2000 and 2017.

Read her piece below

The COVID19 pandemic has dealt a severe injury to Africa’s development prospects and worsened the conditions of its poor and vulnerable. Although there are calls for voluntary international aid to support the continent during this difficult time, this is far from the best solution.

The continent must be accorded damages and liability compensation from China, the rich and powerful country that failed to transparently and effectively manage this global catastrophe. Africa’s economic gains since the last global crisis have been eroded. It is time to make offending rich countries pay the poor ones a global risk burden tax for delaying their rise out of poverty.

Today, Africa is home to more than 70 percent of the world’s poorest people, with more than 400 million living below the poverty line. It is no surprise that it is disproportionately vulnerable to this crisis. It should not suffer even more because yet another powerful country failed to act responsibly.

China should immediately announce a complete write-off of the more than $140 billion that its government, banks and contractors extended to countries in Africa between 2000 and 2017. This would provide partial compensation to African countries for the impact that the coronavirus is already having on their economies and people.

The analysis of the balance of compensation due to Africa can then follow from discussions with the Africa Union and its member countries, alongside global and regional organizations including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and the European Union.

Our world is long overdue for a change of approach in the way it manages global risks that leave the poor worse off due to failures of the rich and powerful. The current model of development assistance is broken and can never deliver any real change of fortune for the most vulnerable. We need a new model that strengthens people to engage in the design of their pathway out of poverty and builds economic resilience.

The current conditions mirror what happened during the 2008 global financial crisis. In my time as the vice president in charge of the World Bank’s operations in Africa, we had to mobilize internal and partner resources to mitigate the severity of the economic recession suffered by the continent. Exogenous shocks dealt a lethal blow to the countries’ decade-long steady rises of economic growth, which had averaged 5 to 6 percent annually until tumbling to 2.4 percent in 2009.

This sharp fall ended Africa’s upward economic growth trajectory and sent per capita income tumbling. It increased inequality and the number of Africans in absolute poverty. Such fragile and low economic growth rates for a continent with one of the world’s highest concentrations of young people and annual population growth rate of about 2.5 percent is a key reason for widespread multidimensional poverty — a threat that carries seeds of global insecurity and instability.

The economic shock caused by the coronavirus has badly reduced the opportunity Africa would otherwise have had to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. The African Union Commission estimates that Africa’s gross domestic product will shrink by as much as 4.5 percent, resulting in 20 million job losses.

This has dangerously hampered the possibility that Africa can generate jobs for young people and women, or increase literacy levels by reducing the number of out-of-school children with access to quality learning opportunities. It will result in lessened ability to reduce maternal and child mortality, improve nutrition and food security, make reliable energy available and accessible, improve the availability of quality roads, water, sanitation, and other infrastructure, and such other investments in public goods.

China, a country that only within the past four decades has managed to lift more than 850 million people out of poverty, would understand how critical it is for African countries to accelerate inclusive growth. While economies in Asia, Europe and the Americas have announced hefty emergency stimulus packages for their people and businesses, countries in Africa struggle to meet short-term food needs.

Most of Africa’s countries simply do not have the buffer required for fiscal relief in times of crisis, because they were already severely constrained by budgetary crises caused by poor domestic revenue mobilization, high public debts and low productivity. The parlous public finances of these countries worsened due to volatility in commodity prices as the pandemic worsened.

Africa faces frequent shocks caused by climate, terrorism, health issues, food insecurity, crime and other sources of risk. Most of these perils emanate from the failures of the rich and powerful economies, but end up inflicting a disproportionate share of the poor and vulnerable.

China should demonstrate world leadership by acknowledging its failure to be transparent on covid-19. Beijing’s leadership should then commit to an independent expert panel evaluation of its pandemic response. China and the rest of the Group of 20 countries should engage with the Africa Union and countries to design a reparations mechanism.

"Now is the Time to Display your Wealth by Giving to the Needy" -Popular Billionaire Prophet, Jeremiah Fufeyin, challenges Wealthy Pastors in Africa, as he is set to donate another 800Million Naira, towards COVID-19 relief

The General Overseer of Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministry, Inc. who is also the President Of Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin (JOF) Foundation, has called on all affluent Nigerian Pastors, Prophets, Apostles and Bishops to resurface from the sidelines and assist other well-meaning Nigerians in supporting the President Buhari- led administration, as the COVID-19 Lockdown extends.

Prophet Omoto Fufeyin who recently trended on social media for donating over 300 million naira to charity, is at it again.

In a press statement signed by his Publicity Secretary, Mr. Moses Akpovotiti, and Media Aide, Engr. Tare Franklin Fufeyin, the Man Of God is said to have challenged other wealthy and renowned Nigerian clergymen to support the Federal Government by giving to Nigerians, according to their varying capabilities. He stated that the christian Nigerians have been generous to the Church and it is only right that the affluent Clergymen reciprocate these gestures by supporting Nigerians, now.

According to the Man of God,

“Nigerians need the Church now, more than ever, and I am challenging all Nigerian Billionaire Clergymen, like myself, to come out and do something to aid Nigerians and support the work of the Federal Government.”
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