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Five African Tech Trends To Look Out For In 2018 by babaju [ f ] at 8:28AM on Jan 03, 2018

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The BBC's Clare Spencer picks five African tech trends to look out for in 2018.

Land registry you can't tamper with

The idea: Documentation is often lacking in parts of Africa, leading to land disputes because it isn't clear who owns the land. Even when there are records, sometimes they have been tampered with. A record that cannot be deleted, using something called blockchain, could be used to prevent these disputes. Blockchain is a method of recording data - a digital ledger of transactions, agreements, contracts - anything that needs to be independently recorded and verified. What makes a big difference is that this ledger isn't stored in one place, it's distributed across several, hundreds or even thousands of computers around the world. Everyone in the network can have access to an up-to-date version of the ledger. So it can be an open, transparent auditable and verifiable record of any transaction.

The application: Cybersecurity company WISeKey is using blockchain technology for the land registry in Rwanda.

What happened in 2017: WISeKey announced a partnership with Microsoft to support the Rwandan government in adopting blockchain technology, reports technology news site Cryptovest.

What can we expect for 2018: The first step in adopting blockchain in Rwanda is digitising the Rwanda Land Registry, iAfrikan tech blog reports. The company is opening a blockchain Centre of Excellence in Rwanda, reports the New Times, which could go as far as developing a Rwandan cryptocurrency, similar to Bitcoin.

Outsourcing IT work to Africa

The idea: The world has a scarcity of software developers. Meanwhile, Africa has a growing young population. Training software developers in Africa who US and European firms can hire taps into that human capital.

The application: Andela is a startup company that trains developers in Nigeria and hires them out to global tech companies. The original idea was to teach people a practical skill and then use the money they make to pay for their education, Iyin Aboyeji, one of the founders of Andela, explained to the Starta podcast.

What happened in 2017: In October Andela raised $40m in funding, reports TechCrunch. The previous year it had raised $24m from Mark Zuckerberg, reports Forbes.

What can we expect for 2018: There are rumours that it is going to open up in Egypt according to iAfrikan.

Making it easier to pay for things

The idea: Many people across Africa don't have bank accounts. Mobile money - sending money via your phone - has already proved a very successful alternative to cash. Africa has become the global leader in mobile money with more than 100 million people having mobile money accounts in 2016, according to McKinsey research. Mobile financial services now include credit, insurance, and cross-border remittances. The problem is that there are too many different systems which do not always work with each other. This means lots of people in Africa can't pay for products online.

The application: Flutterwave is one of the new innovations coming through. It makes it easier for banks and businesses to process payments across Africa. It lets customers pay in their local currencies and allows people to send money from the US to a mobile money wallet, charging sellers a small service fee, which it shares with banks.

What happened in 2017: In the first quarter of 2017 Flutterwave processed $444m in transactions across Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, it told BBC. From the start the company has processed more than $1.2bn in payments across 10 million transactions, reports CNN. The company received $10m of funding from the US this year, CNN adds.

What can we expect for 2018: The new funding will be used "to hire more talent, build out our global operations and fuel rapid expansion of our organization across Africa," Flutterwave says. With that, it hopes that more people in Africa can buy things they are not currently able to pay for, like on online retailer Amazon. As the firm's boss Iyinoluwa Aboyeji puts it: "If we are successful, we might just inspire a new generation of Africans to flip the question from: 'What more can the world do for Africa?' to 'What more can Africa do for the world?'".

Getting things delivered by drone

The idea: There is a global race for commercial drone deliveries of small packages, which have been restricted in the US and Europe because of aviation rules. In comparison, some parts of Africa, such as Rwanda, are welcoming drones. The combination of rural roads and vast amounts of land which is not on a flight path make parts of Africa perfect for developing delivery drones.

The application: The logistics company Zipline runs drones which can deliver small packages like blood, vaccines and anti-venom.

What happened in 2017: The world's first drone port opened in Rwanda in October 2016 and Zipline announced it was going to expand to Tanzania.

What can we expect for 2018: Zipline's Tanzania operation is expected to begin in Dodoma, in early 2018, reports Forbes. It will have four distribution centres across Tanzania, offering a range of medical supplies. Forbes says this will be the largest drone delivery system in the world.

Turning the lights on when you're off-grid

The idea: National grids are struggling to provide for the people who have access to them, let alone extend to the people in hard-to-reach areas. Renewable energy presents an opportunity for people to create energy nearer home.

The application: Peg Africa is one of the companies that sells solar panels to people who are not on the national electricity grid. Solar panels are just too expensive for lots of people so they pay it back in instalments through small payments on mobile money when they want electricity.

What happened in 2017: PEG Africa raised $13.5m, reports Techmoran.

What can we expect for 2018: PEG Africa is expanding in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Nigerian Law School And The Need For Change by babaju [ f ] at 8:53PM on Dec 18, 2017

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By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat

A law graduate or lawyer that cannot defend his or her own basic rights as contained in the constitution does not deserve to be called a legal practitioner. Why because, such person is not fit to defend the right of others. You can’t defend the right of others if you can’t defend your own rights.

This is why I have always maintained that there are very few lawyers in Nigeria who deserve to be called legal practitioners, what we have are businessmen and women who trade in the legal profession. If not, the abusive system in the Nigerian Law School could not have been tolerated for this long without much resistance. It appeared lawyers are now trained to be docile, so they could not defend human rights, but to wear wigs and collect certificates.

For the Nigerian law school, which has become notorious in flagrant violation of basic rights of many Nigerians, including female Muslim students who have been consistently denied their right to decent dressing as prescribed by their constitutionally guaranteed right to religion, the time for change is now.

To change an unjust system, there must be at least one disobedient person who is very much aware of the unjust system and purposefully decides to disobey it, with the intention of causing change and permanent restructuring. This is exactly what has happened during the recently conducted call to bar by the Nigerian Law School.

A Muslim lady, Amasa A Firdaus who graduated from University of Ilorin and Nigerian Law School, Abuja campus was barred from entering the International Conference Center (ICC) for the call to the bar program because she refused to remove her decently worn hijab in defiance to the repugnant tradition of the law school, which bans the use of hijabs by female Muslim students.

Firdaus is not the only victim of this violation of basic rights, thousands of female Muslims have continued to suffer similar abuse over the years.

Few days before the unfortunate incident at the call to bar event in Abuja, some young people had taken to the social media to launch a campaign to call for change in the law school discriminatory practice against female Muslims. It appeared Firdaus, a female law graduate, who was the Ameera of Muslim Students Society (MSS) at University of Ilorin resolved to take up the challenge to fight for all victims, as she also presides as the Ameera of Nigerian female Muslim lawyers at the law school.

While I understand that rule 36 (a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession Revised (2007) expressly decries the "wearing of apparel and ornament" that draws attention to a legal practitioner appearing before a judge, the hijab doesn’t fall into such apparel ornament that can be decried upon, because it is a constitutional right that no bye-law can suppress on a permanent basis.

It has been established that the constitution is a ground norm and by section 1(1) & (3) thereof, it is Supreme and binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria and as well above the ordinary laws of the land. Since the constitution recognizes ones right to manifest one's religion and belief in practice and observance, a female Muslim, being a Nigerian too, has the right to wear her veil anywhere, anytime.

“The Constitution of Nigeria is the basic norm from which all the other laws of the society derive their validity. Any other law that is in conflict with the provision of the Constitution must give way or abate." This is the position of the law court in the case of PDP V CPC (2011) 17 NWLR (pt 1277) 485 at 511.

Besides the above, there are numerous court judgments from the Appeal Court and even Supreme Court that has maintained that the use of the hijab by female Muslims is a right that cannot be denied because the veil is part and parcel of religious practice of a female Muslim if she chooses to wear it.

The Court of Appeal Ilorin Division in the case of *PROVOST, KWARA STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, ILORIN & 2 ORS VS BASHIRAT SALIU & 2 ORS

Appeal No CA/IL/49/2006, delivered on the 18th day of June 2009 held that:“The use of veil by the respondents, therefore, qualifies as a fundamental right under Section 38 (1) of the Constitution."

In another court of Appeal judgment in Massoud Abdul Rahman Oredola, JCA, it was held that; “The right of the Respondents to wear their hijab, veil within the school campus and INDEED ANYWHERE else is adequately protected under our laws.

I therefore hold the views that, the only reason why such archaic rule still existed in the Nigerian law school is because nobody has been courageous enough to challenge it like Firdaus has now done and all well-meaning Nigerians must rise up to defend our law and not their personal sentiments.

It is important to note that, if the law school can make rules to deny people their right under the guise of the profession, then to what use is the constitution? That means every profession can then proceed to make unjust laws and claim it is to protect a professional ethics. We must not allow this to continue.

I am also aware that religious right is not absolute. The right is subject to section 45 of the constitution which gives the government the right to disregard citizen's right to religion in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons. But the practice in the Nigerian law school doesn’t fall into any of these categories.

While some people might want to argue that it falls into the public order category, but they have to explain how exercising a right to wear hijab impedes public order. And even if it is for public order for the purpose of defense, such ban cannot be permanent; it can only last for some time.

The Supreme Court decision in M.D.P.D.T. v. Okonkwo (2001) 6 NWLR (Pt.710), explained that, for the purpose of public interest, such right would be held in abeyance.

In view of the above, the Nigerian Law School must begin the process of changing all of its rules that are inconsistent with the Nigerian constitution. This is the only way to guarantee peace and teach law.

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat is a Human Rights Ambassador and Executive Director of Foundation for Peace Professionals. He can be reached at [email protected]

Can Nigeria's Yams Power A Nation? by babaju [ f ] at 7:34AM on Dec 04, 2017

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Can Africa's biggest economy swap its addiction to oil for the starchy tubers that millions line their bellies with each day?

"It's our biggest hope," says Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh.

The global slump in oil prices has hit the West African nation hard, where oil exports make up more than 70% of government revenues.

Yam production meanwhile is thriving - in fact the UN's food agency says Nigeria produces more than 60% of the entire world's yams.

Despite this, Nigeria is not one of the world top exporters.

Its neighbour, Ghana, produces far less but exports more yams to European countries such as the UK than Nigeria does.

Spotting this discrepancy, Nigeria launched an ambitious yam export scheme earlier this year.

What are yams?

Yams are a staple food in temperate and sub-tropical regions - including Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific
They are starchy, fibrous tubers which are grown in the ground
Yams have brown tough skins and the flesh can vary in colour - anything from white to yellow to purple - depending on the variety
It can be cooked numerous ways - boiled, fried or roasted
Pounded yam or fufu - made by boiling, mashing and shaping yam flesh into balls - is a popular accompaniment to soups and stews in Nigeria and Ghana
The term "yam" is often used in the US to describe the sweeter, orange sweet potato.

It is hoped that exporting more yam will diversify Nigeria's oil-dependent economy, which has plunged into its worst recession in a quarter of a century because of falling global oil prices over the past couple of years.

The government also wants to provide young people in particular with jobs in agriculture.

Europe and the US are the main focus of the programme.

And the large Nigerian diaspora around the world is also a potentially big market.

So many growers and traders are encouraged by plans to boost exports.

'We are happy and excited," says Saleh Adamu Asiri, a local yam trader in the town of Agyaragu, a yam-producing community in central Nasarawa state.

"Exporting yam is a big opportunity to expand our business and we are ready to export. The country will benefit too.''

Boosting profits

Despite it being a government programme, the yam export initiative is driven by the private sector. The state is only responsible for striking inter-governmental agreements with importing countries, giving the green light for the trade.

Some say there are already bumps in the road.

''I have been able to export 76 tonnes of yam to the US," says Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai, a yam exporter. "The main challenge is funding."

"So if government can encourage banks to assist us, and liaise with the freight companies to bring down the price for us - that will be better.''

He says the high cost of preserving and transporting yams abroad have prevented him from making decent profits.

It costs more than $10,000 (£7,400) to ship 30 tonnes of yams to the US, and transportation is slow - taking about 40 days to arrive in the US by sea from Nigeria.

Some of the yams rot away before reaching the destination, adding to the overall cost.

Just over 200 tonnes of yam have been exported to Europe and America since the scheme was launched in June - a fraction of the 60 million tonnes produced every year.

More than 30% of Nigeria's yams rot away every year because of poor preservation.

'Yam is our hope'

Nigeria's government wants yam and other agricultural products to replace oil as the mainstay of the economy after the recent worldwide oil slump.

So desperate was the situation that government salaries have gone unpaid, with barely a mention made of developmental projects and social amenities.

Critics say Nigeria should process yams locally, seeing this as a lost opportunity.

''Fantastic idea! But ask them how much it costs to set up a yam flour processing factory," says the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ogbeh.

"You use full grade stainless steel."

Mr Ogbeh says that for now, the best course is to export raw yams.

"We have obstacles in our economic ambitions. When we stabilise, and when electricity and interest rates become more reasonable and repayable, Nigerians can try that."

So can Nigeria's government really bring in more than $6bn ($4.5bn) every year with yam exports and create thousands of jobs, as it has claimed?

'Yes, and not only yam. Other items are going to follow," says Mr Ogbeh. "But yam is going to be our major hope.''

'We need more help'

But Nigeria lacks good storage facilities, the transportation system is very poor, and local traders and exporters are struggling.

There are also concerns that greater demand abroad could inflate prices for customers at home, potentially hitting the poorest who rely most on the staple food.

''We need help from the government," says Cecilia John, a farmer, who nevertheless backs the push for exports.

"Help in terms of loans, tractors, fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides. If we get these, we will produce many times what we produce now and we will earn more money to take care of our children very well.''

Analysts echo the view that exports of the starch could help to iron out Nigeria's economic woes, but only with sufficient resources and support for producers.

What 'Allahu Akbar' Really Means by babaju [ f ] at 6:30AM on Nov 02, 2017

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Imam Omar Suleiman is the founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an adjunct professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN) - I'll never forget the day a US army veteran who had fought in Iraq embraced Islam at my former mosque in New Orleans. He arrived in his full uniform, and was overcome with emotion when he heard the congregation shout "Allahu Akbar" after he uttered the Islamic declaration of faith.

The army veteran never thought that the words that had terrified him in Iraq would be the very same that would welcome him to his new faith. They are words that he now uses in prayer.

Contrary to what many people seem to think, the words "Allahu Akbar" simply mean "God is greater." It is a powerful declaration used by Muslims on many occasions and in many prayers. It is a celebration of life, the first words fathers whisper in the ears of their newborns. They are used to indicate gratitude when God bestows something upon you that you would have been incapable of attaining were it not for divine benevolence. It is a prayerful phrase that reminds us that, no matter what our concerns may be, God is greater than them.

Worshipers at a mosque in Quebec reportedly heard the phrase "Allahu Akhbar," the very phrase they recite in morning prayers, uttered by their white supremacist attacker just before he opened fire and killed six Muslims this January. And Muslims at a mosque in Minnesota were reciting "Allahu Akbar" during their morning prayers when their mosque was firebombed this August.

Is "Allahu Akbar" sometimes used as a battle cry? Yes, though as Sen. John McCain has argued on Fox News, that does not make the phrase itself abhorrent. While noting that "moderate Muslims" also say "Allahu Akbar," McCain said the phrase is no more troubling that a Christian saying "Thank God."

But the way "Allahu Akbar" often appears in the media seems to serve a nefarious agenda: to instill fear of anyone who utters the phrase and to raise concerns even about Islam itself. But a lone terrorist who shouts "Allahu Akbar" while murdering innocent people in the streets of New York does not get to own that term. Nor do those who declare that no further details are needed to determine motive once a man with a Muslim-sounding name perpetrates an attack using those words.

As Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR-Florida, said in response to the recent terror attack in New York, "That is the biggest act of heresy to shout God's glorious name when committing the worst crime against God."

Though these words that are used to celebrate life also sometimes accompany horrific acts, this is not a new phenomenon.

Of the greatest ironies noted by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was the birth and death of Abdullah Ibn Az Zubayr.

Abdullah Ibn Az Zubayr was the first child born in the Muslim community after they had migrated to Medina from Mecca to escape persecution.

Some residents of Medina told Muslims that they had placed a spell on them that would prevent them from having children. When Abdullah was born, his grandfather Abu Bakr carried him through the streets as the crowd happily chanted "Allahu Akbar."

When Abdullah was murdered by another group of Muslims as he stood for justice in Mecca, his murderers also chanted "Allahu Akbar."

As one witness said, "I was there the day Abdullah was born, and I am here the day he has died, and I heard those who said Allahu Akbar the day he was born and I heard those who have said Allahu Akbar the day he has died, and I swear by Allah those who said Allahu Akbar the day when he was born were far greater than those who have said Allahu Akbar today!"

While those who killed Abdullah used the same words as those who celebrated his birth, only one group truly honored the greatness of God. They are the ones who get to own the term: those who live in a way that celebrates the greatness of God by obeying his commands and serving his creation, not those who flout those commands and attack his creation unjustly.

We mustn't allow terrorists or agendas of fear to own any of the words, concepts, or devotions found in the sacred text of a quarter of the world's population. That would give them exactly what they want. And God is far greater than the ugliness committed in His name. "Allahu Akbar..."
babaju on Open9ja
Burundi has become the first country to withdraw its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It accused the ICC of deliberately targeting Africans for prosecution.

The government of Burundi is accused of committing crimes against humanity, including execution and torture. The UN Commission of Inquiry is urging the ICC to open a prosecution soon.

In theory its withdrawal from the ICC has no effect on the court's ongoing investigations on the country.

Fadi El-Abdallah, a spokesman for the ICC, told the BBC's Newsday programme that "article 127 states that withdrawal does not affect the jurisdiction of the ICC over the crimes that have been committed" while the country was a member.

But the case of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, one of the ICC's "most wanted", has highlighted the difficulty of getting a non-member to co-operate in surrendering suspects.


The withdrawal comes a year after Burundi lodged an official notice to quit the organisation, which has 122 member countries, 34 of which are African nations.

In 2015, Burundi saw major unrest and a crackdown by the security forces after President Pierre Nkurunzize decided to run for office for a third time, leading to protests from the opposition which deemed it unconstitutional.

The BBC's Anna Holligan in The Hague, where the ICC is based, says Burundi's decision to leave the ICC is unprecedented - a statement that if you don't like the focus of the prosecutor, you can simply leave.

She adds that the real impact - and whether or not it creates a domino effect - will be determined by what happens next.

Kenya and South Africa have made similar threats to withdraw their membership.
babaju on Open9ja
Ha! Nigeria, Nigeria [:lol:]

RE: US, Kaduna Launch Maize Quality Improvement Scheme by babaju [ f ] at 6:15AM on Oct 28, 2017

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Well, Nestle is certainly not doing it for free... Those guys are evil. But let's hope Nigerians will have more food at the same time.

RE: Poverty Rate In The North Alarming, Says Sanusi by babaju [ f ] at 6:14AM on Oct 28, 2017

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Sanusi is a sharp man! Yes, Nigerian democracy is very costly - especially since all our "chairmen" want everything for themselves. They get elected on behalf of the people but they rule like they are the only ones.

RE: Nigeria Recovers $85m Malabu Loot From UK by babaju [ f ] at 6:12AM on Oct 28, 2017

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Such good news! But it really puts me to shame seeing how much money one individual had stolen and how poor many of our fellow Nigerians are:

How To Treat Women Better by babaju [ f ] at 7:09AM on Oct 17, 2017

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Hey men, what are you planning to do better? Because you need to do better. Here are ideas on how you should treat women better.

Talk to your friend who is “kind of a creep” at work.
Don’t talk over women.
If you are asked to be on a panel/team and see that it’s all men, say something. Maybe even refuse the spot!
When you see another guy talk over a woman, say: “Hey, she was saying something.”
Learn to read a fucking room.
Don’t call women “crazy” in a professional setting.
Don’t use your “feminism” as a way to get women to trust you. Show us in your day-to-day life, not in your self-congratulatory social media.
Don’t touch women you don’t know, and honestly, ask yourself why you feel the need to touch women in general.
Do you feel that any woman on earth owes you something? She doesn’t. Even if you’re like, “Hm, but what about basic respect?” ask yourself if you’ve shown her the same.
Don’t send pictures of your penis unless she just asked for them.
If a woman says no to a date, don’t ask her again.
If a woman has not given an enthusiastic “yes” to sex, back the hell off.
If a woman is really drunk, she cannot consent to you and she also cannot consent to your buddy who seems to be trying something. Your buddy is your responsibility, so say something and intervene.
If you do the right thing, don’t expect praise or payment or a pat on the back or even a “thank you from that woman”. Congratulations, you were baseline decent.
Involve women in your creative projects, then let them have equal part in them.
Don’t make misogynistic jokes.
Don’t expect women to be “nice” or “cute” and don’t get upset when they aren’t those things.
Don’t make assumptions about a woman’s intelligence, capabilities or desires based on how she dresses.
Pay women as much as you pay men.
If a woman tells you that you fucked up, and you feel like shit, don’t put it on that woman to make you feel better. Apologize without qualification and then go away.
Don’t punish women for witnessing your vulnerability.
Don’t get defensive when you get called out.
Don’t need to literally witness a man being horrible in order to believe that he’s horrible. Trust and believe women.
Don’t use your power to get women’s attention/company/sex/etc.
Be aware of your inherent power in situations and use it to protect women, especially via talking to other men.
Stop thinking that because you’re also marginalized or a survivor that you cannot inflict pain or oppress women.
If women’s pain makes you feel pain, don’t prize your pain above hers, or make that pain her problem.
Don’t read a list like this and think that most of these don’t apply to you.