Sunday, May 14, 2006

Neva giv up

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for GOD to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.
"GOD, how could you do this to me?" he cried.
Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" Asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because GOD is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain, and suffering.
Remember that, the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground; it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of GOD.
You May Want To Consider Passing This On, because You Never Know who Feels Like Their Hut Is On Fire Today.
Man says that seeing is believing, but God says that believing is seeing.

Digital world

The onus of bridging the digital divide between the developed and the under-developed nations lies on both the private and the public sectors of the economy. In the past, computer was perceived as a kind of television meant for only the affluent and beyond the reach of the poor.

But the world has been reduced to a global village and the removal of geographical boundaries by information and communications technology also complements not only the relevance but also the importance of computers to economic growth of any nation and relevance in the comity of nations.

In an effort to comply with the United Nations’ objective of ensuring that computer is available for at least 80 per cent of the world’s population by 2015 and the move towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, both the public and private sector operators in Nigeria have also taken the lead in ensuring that more people have access as well as own computer.

The Federal Government has tapped into the opportunity provided by a United States-based non-profit organisation to manufacture and distribute about 10million computers to seven countries, namely, China, India, Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt, Thailand and Argentina.

Under the One Laptop Per Child Project, a laptop, which is expected to cost $100, would be designed to give one million Nigerian children of primary school age access to knowledge, educational tools and bridge the digital divide between the rich and poor countries.

The government will buy the machines and distribute them free to students under the pilot project expected to take-off in the first quarter of 2007. The project is now enjoying the backing of the United Nations Development Programme.

Speaking recently on the project, the Project Director, Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, said that given the fact that a great proportion of the target populations were children of the rural poor, the laptops would be designed to be rugged, very fast and consume low power, adding, “The $100 laptop is an inexpensive, robust computer, with open-source software and a very low power consumption. It can also be powered by handcranking.”

Early this year, the Federal Government announced reduction in tariff on imported used computers to allow more Nigerians to own computers.

Organisations such as Zinox, Omatek, Hewlett Packard Nigeria, NetnearU and individual initiatives, including the collaborations between Chief Tunde Fanimokun and SchoolNetGlobal, also put in place various projects to ensure that more Nigerians have access as well as own computers.

HP initiated the “With out Worry” to help Nigerians own laptops with ease. HP initiated the project in partnership with other organisations, which directly sell to end-users. Under the WoW, people have the opportunity to pay for an N series of HP notebook over a period of 24 months.

The Marketing Consultant of HP Nigeria Limited, Ijeoma Onyuike, told THE PUNCH on Tuesday, that even though HP do not sell to the end-users directly, the system would allow Nigerians to own computer without stress. She added, “This is an opportunity that Nigerians should tap into, to bridge digital divides and enhance the nation’s technological advancement by acquiring modern knowledge available in other parts of the world, especially the developed countries, through the Internet.”

Zinox, an indigenous computer company, put in place the “Computerise Nigeria Project, which gives working Nigerians opportunity to own computers very cheaply. The scheme provides for workers to pay for notebook and desktop computers under an agreed format through their organisations.

NetnearU recently unfolded a project, where Nigerians could own computers, paying as little as N20,000 monthly, with a warranty of two years. This was done in collaboration with HP, Zinox, Microsoft, Intel and some financial institutions, such as Ecobank Nigeria Plc, among others.

The Chief Executive Officer of NetnearU, Mr. Kaycee Kennedy, at the roll out of 300 new wireless fidelity hotspots, told our correspondent that his organisation’s agreement with Intel takes care of provision of hardware solutions that address the challenges faced in the deployment of personal computers in Nigeria, such as affordability and use in the rural areas.

He said Intel explored further opportunities to collaborate with NetnearU on the digital inclusion initiatives, such as Computer for All Nigerians Initiative, WoW and rural connectivity

She died and rose after eight hours
Umuahia Wednesday, April 26, 2006

• Evangelist Oluchi Precious KanuPhoto: Sun News Publishing

Ever heard of a mortal who rose from death? That’s what happened when Evangelist Oluchi Precious Kanu lay dead for eight hours only to wake up later.Indeed, the story of the 20-year-old evangelist is as thrilling as it is interesting. She told Daily Sun her story."I started serving God in the year 1997, though I answered His call in 2004. My dream had always been to read Law. I was working hard academically for it. It never occurred to me that God had other plans for me."I was in a dream one day when a man came to me. In this dream, I was holding a dictionary. The man collected the dictionary from me and gave me a Bible. I never knew what this meant when I woke up. I entered for WAEC examination. The day I was sitting for Mathematics, God appeared to me and asked me to use the money I had ear- marked for NECO examination for a crusade.“I asked myself how a little person like me could do that. I told God that this was not possible”.“After the WAEC examination, I was lying on a sofa when God spoke to me again, telling me that Friday of that week was a day of competition between Him and I, and that whoever won the other would serve. "On that Friday, I was lying down when I passed out. People started crying that I had died. They did everything to revive me to no avail. I laid down there for eight hours and when they felt that I was dead, they sent somebody to go to the village and call my father. Before the person could leave for Uzuakoli, I woke up and there was jubilation everywhere. In that "death" state, God took me to a big hall and stood me on an altar. I saw more than 100 ministers of God in that place. It was a big cathedral and the altar covered half of the auditorium. I mounted the altar and started preaching to the ministers."God told me that unless I agree to go and do so in the land of the living, He would not allow me to go back. I then agreed to come back and work for Him. This lasted for eight hours, under which people thought I had died."How did I know that it was God? When He came, He told me that He was the elder with grey hair who never grew old. Then he started growing up and I saw only his legs and he kept growing until I did not see him again."When I did not do the crusade he directed me to do, I was afflicted with stroke and for a period of six months, I was bed-ridden. I decided to do the crusade which he demanded. In that crusade. I was holding a microphone with one hand and before I could finish, I was completed healed. "God opened my eyes and exposed many evil doers in my community and I know them. He asked me to call their names, which I did. It was during her crusade that the revolution by the youths of Uzuakoli to wage war against witches and wizards erupted in which over 30 unrepentant witches and wizards were banished from the villages."Sometimes, when I finish ministration, people would tell me what I said. I tell them to write down what I say during preaching. I am just a vessel through which God does his work. I am not the miracle worker.


Purdue grad student arrested for Internet threats

Vikram Buddhi, a 34 year old grad student and teaching assistant is in federal custody.
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HEADLINES David MacAnally/Eyewitness News
West Lafayette, April 17 - The Purdue University community is shocked over the arrest of a teaching assistant for making threats against President Bush and other national leaders.
Vikram Buddhi, 34, is charged with making threats in an online Yahoo chat room that landed him in federal custody.
The Purdue students Eyewitness News spoke with couldn't believe it. "He is a nice guy and helped my friend to move," said one student. Another said she didn't believe the charges "because he is such a nice person."
Commments on a Yahoo chat site were allegedly traced back to Buddhi's computer at Purdue.Among the messages attibuted to him: "Call for assassination of G.W. Bush.," "Go Iraqis," "Kill Bush," "Rape, kill Laura Bush," Kill Cheney, white fat pig," "Rumsfeld: old geezer crook," and "Kill Republicans."
Buddhi allegedly urged people to target key sites like nuclear power plants.
Eyewitness News asked another student if that sounded like Buddhi. "I don't think so. I don't see him as the kind of person that would do this."
Buddhi is still in custody. He has nutritional supplies placed at his door waiting for him. He lives in grad and undergrad campus apartments on the edge of campus with a roomate. No one Eyewitness News met got to know him there.
His lawyer said their neighbor was just exercising his free speech rights and didn't intent to act. His neighbor did come to his defense.
"Obviously there are a lot of opinions like internationally. I think threats on an internet chat room don't have a lot of validity."
A web surfer in Texas spotted the message and contacted the Secret Service. Buddhi could face disciplinary action at Purdue.Three years ago Buddhi was recognized as an outstanding graduate teaching assistant.

Wonders shall never end

efcc: The arrest of Manira
6th February

Have you heard that Manira Haruna Dariye has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission? This, I shamefully confess, is not the first time the EFCC has arrested anyone and therefore it ought not to be news. But, quite unfortunately, it is news all the same because Manira is a newborn baby who, if you were to put the money allegedly laundered by her Uncle Joshua Dariye in her tiny hands, she would try to chew it thinking it were food. But whether she could tell the difference between money and bread is immaterial as little Manira is as much under arrest as if she could tell the difference between her right hand and her left.
It is Manira’s enviable fortune to get arrested so early in life so that she would learn later in her formative years that justice does not roll down the high plateaus of Jos like a mighty stream, nor does it cover the heightening rocks of Abuja like a harmattan fog. It should do her a lot of good because suffering breeds patience and patience breeds character and character breeds honesty. And honesty, according to conventional wisdom, pays – though it does not seem to pay enough to satisfy the Alamesieyeghas, Baloguns, Dariyes, Wabaras and Osujis of this world.
According to media reports, the EFCC had gone to arrest the younger brother of the embattled Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State, Mr Haruna Dariye. Not finding the man they decided to arrest his wife? Which action, I figure, the EFCC could justify by sanctimoniously quoting the fact that the Good Book and conventional wisdom declare that the two (the man and his wife) shall become one. And since little Manira had just been born she had to be arrested alongside her mother to also prove to Nigerians at home and abroad that the sins of fathers shall be visited on their children (even to the third generation) by the all powerful EFCC.
Press accounts of the incident of the arrest of Manira have left the facts a little murky. There clearly was a fight and some men (including EFCC officials) were injured. One account even has it that an EFCC man was abducted. Manira could not have joined in the fight and she could not have cared a wee little bit about it. She would have been crying in her cot over all the noise, and desirous of being breast-fed. But she, poor child born at the "wrong" time to the "wrong" couple, deserved to be arrested because the daughter of a lion would eventually become a lioness, and the daughter of a Dariye would ultimately become a Dariye – that is if EFCC does nothing about it in the national interest. So they picked her up to keep her under their watchful eyes and see how by careful genetics engineering they can kill the Dariye genes and turn her into a Ribadu or better still, Obasanjo, and thereby make the world a better and safer place for you and me.
Uninformed people could argue that in civilised societies you do not arrest a woman or a baby for the sins (or if you prefer, the crimes) of her husband or father. You could even refer to the Good Book which posits that no more shall it be said in Israel that the fathers’ have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But this is not Israel, so if a father eats sour grapes his children should begin to worry about their teeth being set on edge. Though the whole problem here is that Manira has no teeth to be set on edge, and as such should have been given time to grow something which could be set on edge before her arrest.
You could argue that babies ought to be spared arrest in the macrabre drama of money laundering and sundry financial crimes committed by the high and mighty in our land. That, I suppose, is a position informed by the fact that you were once a baby. I sympathise with you. Well, if you must know, folks like us (EFCC officials and me) were born as adults. We were never babies and we do not know why a baby should be innocent of the father’s misdemeanor. Ribadu, I have it on good authority, was solving mathematical puzzles before he was born and the day he was born he looked the doctor straight in the face and said "Decent conduct demands that you do not look at a naked man who has just come out of the womb. You can leave now Mr Man, I can take care of myself from here." You who were once babies hold babies in high esteem, eh? That is okay, but not folks like us (Ribadu and me) who missed this metamorphic stage of mankind’s existence.
So… this is partly why EFCC does not have compunctions about the moral imperatives of right and wrong in arresting a baby. To them Nigeria is made up of two kinds of people – thieves and the President’s men and women. And they know for a certain that the son or daughter of a thief is either a thief or a thief in the making. They are not concerned with civil liberties and civil rights – they would rather leave such distracting matters to the Ganis of this world and focus on catching thieves through using avowedly McCarthyist methods.
Of course lately the EFCC’s operational methods have reminded one of McCarthyism. The word McCarthyism is derived from the activities of United States Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy (1908-1957). During the cold war, Senator McCarthy - one of the most patriotic Americans who ever lived and a man who left his office as a circuit judge to fight for his country during World War 11 - headed the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He waged an obsessed and paranoid campaign against communists and members of the American Communist Party. His methods left a lot to be desired but he capitalised on the paranoia of Americans for communism and got away with his unorthodox methods for a time. Much later moderates put paid to his unwholesome hounding methods and his only ignominious legacy is the contribution of the word McCarthysm to the English language. This word according to Encarta Dictionary means the practice of using unsubstantiated accusations or unfair methods of investigation to discredit people. One may not accuse the EFCC of using unsubstantiated accusations to hound its quarries, but you can sure accuse them of using unfair methods in their investigations.
The same mistake Joseph McCarthy made is being made by EFCC. It is a mistake captured perfectly a couple of millenniums ago by the Roman orator and statesman, Cicero (106 - 43 BC) when he said "extreme justice is extreme injustice." But these are not the best of times to pontificate on the need for the respect of citizenship rights by the commission in its fight against endemic corruption in high places in the nation. As a matter of fact, you lose your citizenship right at the moment the EFCC’s torch swings in your direction.
As a point of fact, forceful arrest in the kind of case involving Governor Dariye is supposed to be effected in a situation where a citizen ignores a summon or an invitation to appear before a competent investigative body or judicial panel. We have not been told that Manira had such an invitation extended to her, nor did her mother receive such an invitation. Newspaper reports have not also said whether Haruna, Manira’s father received his invitation before the swoop on his house while he was (by his own account) in Gombe. EFCC believes in shooting first and estimating the damage after.
But let’s not digress further, let us consider the question of what should be done to Manira. I suggest she should be found guilty immediately of being born at the wrong time, to the wrong man, who married the wrong woman, and lived in the wrong house and had a wrong brother, who became the wrong governor of a wrong mountainous state named after a plateau. And do note that a plateau is defined in one of its entries as "a phase of stagnation: a phase in mental or physical development during which little headway is made." Let us convict her of not having the common sense and moral rectitude to decline to suck breasts assisted with laundered and embezzled funds. Since the father used laundered money to marry her mother and nurtured her with this same money when she was pregnant, the baby should have known better than to be born to such a couple and would have elected to be born to my wife who is interested in a ‘third’ child. As a matter of fact she is an accomplice after the fact of crime and a potential key prosecution witness. Meanwhile, I suggest her name be changed from Manira to Ma-Naira or better still, Ma-Nigeria.
But if this is not all right by Ribadu, I would simply suggest that he should keep the baby and throw away the bath water.