Adieu Prof A U Oronsaye

Adieu Prof A U Oronsaye!

 

The news of the passing of Prof A U Oronsaye brought us tears, sorrow and pain.

In his case we wish man could live forever so that they could continue with their good work of showing kindness and love to all.

 

Prof Oronsaye will be remembered for the care he gave not only to his patients but to all in his sphere of influence. Prof Oronsaye showed commitment to his patients, his students and trainees, his  dedication to duty was excellent.

He facilitated the progress of his juniors and contributed in no small measure in reducing maternal and peri-natal morbidity and mortality by removing the obstacles to training in UBTH in allowing rotation from the Central Hospital Obstetrics & Gynaecology unit Benin City; a process that was stalled by one of his peers until he Prof Oronsaye ascended the post of HOD in Obstetrics & Gynaecology UBTH in 1986 and opened the door for the trainees.

He progressed to become the Chief Medical Director of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital for many initiating new programmes and strengthening old ones.

 

In spite of his physical endowment and beauty as a human being, his gynaecological and teaching skills, he was still very humble and respectful no wonder the spouses of the high and mighty in Bendel State flocked to him for consultation as a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician.

 

Prof A U Oronsaye a gentleman par excellence was the Best. He will always be remembered as the best in his time for his excellent attitude, generous comments on issue, transparent policies, his smiles and infectious laughter when occasions called for humour.

 

He will be remembered as an alumnus of Unilag, a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologist, a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons, a Fellow of International College of Surgeons, CMD of UBTH, a good father, and above all he was an excellent teacher, my mentor, my colleague and my friend. Edo State has lost a great internationally acknowledged son.

May the Lord accept Prof Oronsaye into His bosom.

May his children, friends, family and colleagues have the strength to bear this great loss.

Adieu Prof Augustine U Oronsaye.

 

S E O Ogbonmwan & Family.

 

SPEECH AT THE DUBLIN ANNUAL THANKS GIVING CEREMONY

SPEECH AT THE ANNUAL THANKS GIVING CEREMONY (IGUE FESTIVAL) OF THE BENIN COMMUNITY IRELAND.

BY

SEO OGBONMWAN

(PRESIDENT EDO GLOBAL ORGANIZATION)

ON 29TH JANUARY IN DUBLIN IRELAND.

The Mayor of South Dublin,

His Excellency The Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland

President Benin Community Ireland,

President Nigerian Community Ireland,

Members of the High Table.

Ivbie do nu Uzomo, wahia obokhian,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is an honour to be invited to chair this august occasion in the vibrant city of Dublin. Dublin which was a kingdom in the time past has a chequered history like the ancient Benin Empire which is your home. This city of Dublin brings many good memories to me as being the address of the first caucasians I met in my life. They were the Parish Priests at  St Joseph’s Catholic Church Benin City, my first Principal whilst I was a student at Edo College, my music teacher and my first literature teacher were all Irish with their addresses in Dublin Ireland . I think I am here today because of the moulding people from this city and my other teachers gave me in my youth, so I am grateful to the City of Dublin for producing those God fearing men and women who left their shores in Europe to Benin City imprinting positive and indelible marks in my mind and in the hearts of my numerous school mates in Benin City.

You must count yourselves lucky to be amongst these very friendly people and to be in Dublin a city of arts which has produced many Nobel laureates, Dublin was one of the UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, Home of Guinness Stout, (black thing good oh, I hope you will remember that advert on TV in Benin City); Dublin is the UEFA host for 2011 and the European Capital of Science in 2012. Dublin houses one of the oldest monasteries in the Catholic faith and has produced many missionaries who helped spread the word of God so you have no reason not to improve yourselves during your sojourn here in Dublin.

I am also very pleased to be here to celebrate with you the ancient IGUE festival which is a festival of good overcoming evil, a festival of love; a festival  and people’s power, and above all a festival of thanksgiving to the Most High God, the God of the Universe, the Supreme God, the God of Isaac, Jacobs and our ancestors, who gives graces ceaselessly, who does not record wrongs; who provides for our everyday needs as His children and protects our going out and our coming in.

I am proud of all of you here and thank God that you have been able to organise yourselves in a faraway land to promote that Edo spirit and culture in you of excelling wherever you find yourself on mother earth, of being your brothers’ keeper and living sociably.

I am particularly pleased that you have found time to celebrate Igue in faraway Dublin in Western Europe and enter the New Year with hope and determination to break new grounds in your individual endeavours and collectively to take this Benin Community to the highest possible level.

I am aware of a number of organisations that have been formed and could not live long enough to have their names etched in the rock of times due to incessant squabbling and not adopting live and let live attitude. You must remember the system that sustained our culture; I mean the political system of the Benin people which in modern terminology is a mixture of gerontocracy and democracy, i.e. e rulership or government by the community elders and by the wishes of the greatest majority of the people. A leader chosen by this system is almost always a popular leader of his people and will be able to achieve leaps and bounds even with minimal resources due to the unalloyed support and co-operation from all in that community so I wish your leaders success in taking this community to the greatest height.

As you live in Ireland make yourself sons and daughters of the soil, forge in to the larger Dublin society, and do not stay aloof, celebrate with other Dubliners when they celebrate and mourn with them if occasions calls for it and you will be blessed.  It is easy, obey the laws of the land and all good things will follow you. Remember the earth and every human being in it belongs to the Almighty God and as His children, you should partake of the fullness therefore.

Making progress must be your dictum, if there is an obstacle as there will always be sometimes; you must get around it, pass under it, move above or just burst through it. You must overcome any perceived obstacle if you stay focused. Remember your lives are in your hands so you must do well with it. Spend your time to improve yourself socially, physically, emotionally, professionally and academically; get the required qualifications so that you can have an edge and compete well, so that you are sought after.  See where your talents lie and develop it thereby creating a niche and become the best in your field. If you are a grass on the bottom of the valley, be the best grass that ever grown on the bottom of the valley; and so also if you are a tree on the hill top; be the best tree that ever grown on the hill top. There will also be hard times but as our Heavenly said, you may stumble but you will never fall if you are truthful, honourable and put God first in your dealings. Let your lives be an embodiment of integrity, reliability, credibility and passion for what is best in the community and the world.

There are many get rich quick schemes globally these days, you must avoid them. Schemes like human trafficking, being drug couriers, gun running and other illegal 419 schemes should be shunned. They do not only destroy physically, they also destroy the perpetrators spiritually.  Remember you are an ambassador of Edo people and in fact of all Nigerians, so you must stop to think deeply before taking any course of actions so that you are right always before embarking on it.

You all got here by different routes and you all have different stories but there are  things  common to all of us; that we left home to make our lives better abroad, that we have left our relatives at home in Edo land, that we have the hope of going back after our success to improve our lot.

Remember that it is only when you succeed here that you can support your kits and kin at home in Edo State and Nigeria. Failure therefore is out of the question as you all carry a burden of improving the lots of your familes left in our homestead. So as not to forget home or be forgotten by those at home, try to visit at least every two to three years and if you are blessed, the more often you visit, the better as your visit will put a smile on one or two faces amongst your relatives.

My brothers and sisters, make your presence felt here in Dublin City and the whole of Ireland. You can do this through the arts, science, information technology and competitive sports. Look at all of you, one can only see healthy looking, strong, very beautiful people determined to succeed. Someone here can win a gold medal for Ireland in the next Olympic Games if he/she puts his mind to it because you already have that innate athletic spirit of endurance that can win laurels. When you can achieve that, you would have put Edo people and Nigeria in the heart of the Irish people. Do not just be receivers but also a giver as well because God loves a cheerful giver. You must excel to create a positive impact in the community you live in. If you cannot achieve it, then train your children to achieve these great heights that great men reach by toiling whilst their companions slept.

Igue festival is a time of merry making so I would not wish to bore you with long speeches like discussing the origin of Igue festival; other than to tell you to water your Benin Community plant effectively and appropriately so that it can grow and become an Iroko, then it can achieve, it can link with other of our brothers and sisters in all the countries of the world and take its place in the Edo Global Organization Board of Directors as a respectable constituent part.

The next Edo Global Conference will be held in London from Friday the 29th of July to the 31st at the Waltham Marriot Hotel London. May I use this opportunity to invite all of you to that event?

Finally I wish you a successful year ahead, with good health, long life; prosperity, lots of joy; laughter and above all I wish you the Peace of God Almighty now and always. Once again I thank you for the opportunity to chair this Igue Festival and New year celebrations here in Dublin Ireland

SEO Ogbonmwan

© January 2011

 

Prayers Spirituality in Tribune

Prayers, spirituality, religion and science

SEO Ogbonmwan KSC

In the last few weeks, there have been articles posted on the internet to prove that prayers, religion and spirituality are of no effect; that science is all, that is, the beginning and the end. This is obviously a view from one school of thought. We agree that there are many perspectives to view from. It may be possible to show in the course of this discourse that there is a strong relationship between prayers, religion, spirituality and science.

Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional connection to some greater power in the universe through deliberate intentional practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and takes place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song, or complete silence. Prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petition, supplication, thanksgiving, etc.

Prayer is directed to a spirit, deceased person (ancestors),  a  deity for the purpose of worship, assistance, guidance or confession of sins to express one’s thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons; for personal benefit or for the sake of others.

The active word in the definition above is that prayer is a deliberate intentional practice learned from parents, elders or the community and the culture one was born into. It is agreed that one is most likely to imbibe the culture and religion of his/her parents.

Scientific studies regarding the use of prayer have mostly concentrated on its effect on the healing of the sick or injured people. The efficacy of petition in prayer for physical healing to a deity has been evaluated in numerous studies, with contradictory results. I can confidently say that those who prayed before and during assisted conception treatment cycle tended to achieve a pregnancy and subsequent better take home baby rate although the methodology was criticised.

In the scientific analysis of the role of prayers   in the outcome of ill patients, cognisance of the spirituality and/or the belief systems of the patients were not taken into account. Those who believe in the supreme nature of God, believe in faith and they receive in faith. That is the corner- stone of answered prayers. Prayer does not return void. It will also be the way you wish it to be when you pray. That is the role of prayers.

This is also similar to placebo effects of drug administration. Studies have shown when two groups of individuals diagnosed as suffering from the same condition were treated; one with true drug and the other with a placebo, the outcome was similar as the patients and those administering the medication were blind to what they were administering. This research shows that the belief of the patients may underlie the outcome of his or her treatment in most cases. In motivational speeches, we say if you believe you can, then you can and the converse is also true; if you believe you can’t, you cannot. In the thought of the week, I posted a few days ago, we agreed that boldness has the power, the genius and magic in it to succeed so it is with prayers. While you pray, you have to work towards manifesting the object of your prayers .

The term spirituality refers to the search for the Absolute amongst animists, or God  among Christians, Allah among the Moslems.  Different people experience spirituality in different ways and religion is one way of experiencing spirituality.

One can therefore be  “spiritual but not religious and the converse is also true that one can be religious and not spiritual and it is only those who are spiritual and religious at the same time which we term as being “born again” that can really benefit from prayers.

People generally believe in the existence of many different “spiritual paths” – emphasising the importance of finding one’s own individual path to spirituality. Whereas religion is externally practised, spirituality is practised in the mind and only keen observers can see the spirituality of another person.

The experience of “spirituality”; the human emotions of awe, wonder and reverence, are also the province of the secular or scientific, in response to their highest values, or when observing or studying nature, or the universe.

Religion on the other hand, is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural Being usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. There are many aspects of religion which include narrative, symbolism, beliefs and practices that are supposed to give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life. Whether the meaning centres on deity or the ultimate truth, religion is commonly identified by the practitioner’s prayers, ritual meditation and music. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology as well as personal faith and religious experience.

Science is, in its broadest sense, any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In its more restricted contemporary sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific methods and the organised body of knowledge gained through such research. Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge and understanding through disciplined research.

From our primary education days in Benin City, we were informed that the acquisition of knowledge is a march which will never end as long as man is keen to increase his store of knowledge.

There is a link between spirituality, science, prayers and religion. All questions were once spiritual as man grappled with the unknown. Once a phenomenon can be explained by scientific knowledge, then it is no longer spiritual and may not be approached in prayers or religious terms.

Since the beginning of time, spirituality and religion were called upon to fill the gaps science did not understand. The rising and setting of the sun were once attributed to Helios. Earthquakes and tidal waves were then referred to as the wrath of Poseidon. Science has now shown that these belief systems are false as earthquakes and the rising and setting of the sun can be explained scientifically. Science has now provided answers to the numerous questions although there are still some questions that continue to bog the mind especially the esoteric ones. Questions like where do we come from? Where are we going? What is the purpose of life? This quest for knowledge we call science does not undermine the existence of God but rather reinforces it. So one can say that

science, religion and spirituality are not enemies but allies, which are two different  paths or languages telling the same story. It is a story of symmetry and balance for example heaven and hell, night and day, hot and cold, God and satan. Both science and religion rejoices in God’s symmetry.

http://www.tribune.com.ng/index.php/opinion/1786-prayers-spirituality-religion-and-science.html

MEDICAL & DENTAL COUNCIL OF NIGERIA

MEDICAL & DENTAL COUNCIL OF NIGERIA REACTS TO POOR MEDICAL TRAINING; A ROOT CAUSES ANALYSIS.
The news of the barring of great University of Benin (Uniben) College of Medical sciences graduates from registration with the Nigerian Medical & Dental Council came as a shock to many alumni of the university especially those who passed through that medical school. Only a couple of years ago UNIBEN alumni were all rejoicing that UNIBEN came up as the best University in Nigeria.
In a statement in Benin on the 21st of February 2008 by Mr. Eddy Akporere, Head Public Relations and Protocol said that the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities released in January, 2008, showed that University of Benin maintained its first position in Nigeria, in the past one year.
He added that the new World Universities’ Ranking has again placed University of Benin, Benin City ahead of all Nigerian Federal, State and Private Universities in terms of global visibility, in terms of researches and academic programmes.
The announcement by Professor Roger Makanjuola of the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) de-accrediting the College of Medical Sciences of the University of Benin, Benin City did not only shock some of us but was very demoralising considering that only a couple of years ago UNIBEN was voted the best university in Nigeria; how did this sudden fall from grace to grass happen?
Professor Roger Makanjuola himself a medical doctor and professor of psychiatry would not have taken the decision lightly as the current chairman of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria especially as he himself knows what it feels like for an accreditation to be withdrawn from a faculty or college as he was the ViceChancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife when the faculty accreditation for the faculty of law was withdrawn by the National University Commission NUC in January 2006.
Professor Roger Makanjuola is a man who may be keen for the best standard of care for Nigerians and more importantly keen to maintain the standard of medical training and practice in Nigeria. We all recall his road show in the USA seeking support from well placed alumni of OAU Ile Ife to come home to support their university so it is difficult to ascribe politics into the decision on great UNIBEN. Is this therefore a case of the University of Benin authority affronting the MDCN’s earlier decision of refusing the Niger Delta University accreditation for its medical training and Uniben authorities stepping over to assist the young university and taking the fall? One can only guess.
One cannot fault MDCN of Nigeria for their punitive action against university medical schools in Nigeria as the practice of medicine has actually deteriorated like everything else in the country but this sorry state of affairs is unfortunately not limited to only Uniben. How has the great Uniben been pulled down from its Olympian heights as the best university in Nigeria to be de-accredited in medicine where as an institution it has made a great impact nationally and internationally. Reading through the suspension letter signed by Dr. A. A. Ibrahim, Registrar of MDCN, ‘the Council wishes to reassert that the issue at stake is the unsatisfactory and inadequate training of students who shall be licensed as doctors to treat the citizens of this country based on the visitation panel report to MDCN. However Council would be ready to pay an accreditation visit to the College of Medical Sciences within the next twelve (12) months, on an appropriate date in 2011, if the University authorities invite such a visitation’

The statutory functions of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria is to approve the institutions at which courses of training are to be given for persons who are seeking to become members of the Medical and Dental professions as well as the courses of instruction prescribed and the qualifications to be granted by such institutions. Council also has the responsibility for supervising the nature of the instructions and the examinations leading to the qualifications to be granted in these cases (vide Medical and Dental Practitioners Decree No. 23 of 1988, Sections I (2a), 8( I a & b) and 9 (1, 3 & 4), after several reviews, the enabling Act is now CAP M8. In pursuance of these duties, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria sends visitation panels from time to time to inspect newly established medical schools with a view to approving formally their training programmes as required by the law but UNIBEN is a first generation university in Nigeria and would have had series of such inspection and would have been a grand master in getting the college of medical sciences of the University of Benin ready for such accreditation and re-accreditation so what went wrong?

The story is that the University of Benin a few years ago was approached by the Niger Delta University College of Health SciencesWilberforce Island, Amassoma, Yenogao; Bayelsa State of Nigeria to assist with the training of her medical students as her College of Health sciences was not accredited for medical students training. The then VC of the University of Benin agreed as this was a common practice amongst Nigerian universities usually between a well established
universitylike Uniben and an upcoming university as the Niger Delta University who had its first intake in 2002.

If you recall the first intake pre-clinical science students of the University of Benin were trained at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, while the first intake pharmacy students were trained at the University of Ife. In the same vein, the University of Benin also trained Bendel State University now Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma until they became fully fleshed to produce their own medical graduates. This kind of support and co-operation between Nigerian universities is what is essential to make Nigeria grow as a nation and give support to newer universities but standards must be kept at all cost by those whose duty statutorily it is to keep them like the MDCN, the National University Commission and the Senate of the various universities.

It was this addition of the medical students from the Niger Delta University Bayelsa State which took the number of medical students allowed for Uniben above the acceptable limit for students’ faculty ratio and the ratio of students to infrastructure and equipments. There may be other factors detected by the visitation panel but it seems the crux was the disproportionate ratio of students to staff. This same problem will be detected in other Nigerian universities as they are all usually guilty of admitting too many students above the quota approved for each institution so the commissioning authorities for Federal, State and Private Universities must put resources in place to provide adequate faculty, equipments and infrastructure for producing medical doctors fit for purpose of providing healthy living and preventing ill health amongst Nigerians.

The need for maintaining standard cannot be over emphasised and similarly the morale of the students, and faculty members of the University of Benin Medical School must be maintained so this issue needs urgent resolution so that appropriate infrastructure, necessary equipments and adequate number of staff must be quickly put in place so that a new visitation panel will give the medical school the acceptable minimum standard so that this de-accreditation can be lifted. The quick fix options will be to send the Niger Delta medical students back to Bayelsa State as suggested in some quarters. This will obviously be very inappropriate and an unpopular option as the students have spent between one to three years in the medical school and are at the stage of graduation so every
effort should be made to see that they graduate with minimal delay and disturbance as they have not caused any of these current crises.

There is no doubt the standard of Nigerian medical schools have fallen over these years and visitation panel if sent to other similar university will come back with sorry tales of same situation as found.

The best option will be for the Federal Government to intervene through the Federal Ministry of Health and or Education by voting an emergency fund to support Uniben Medical School so that it can meet the minimum standard of the MDCN. Special plea should be made to President Goodluck Jonathan to facilitate this emergency vote for upgrading the medical colleges not only in Benin but in Yenogao as well after all the Niger Delta University he contributed in setting up is at the middle of the current crisis.

In subsequent years the Federal Government should vote adequate funds for the maintenance of her universities to bring them to international standard and save the MDCN and other regulating bodies the problem of incessant intervention and unnecessary adverse publicity which is not good for the universities, the students, Nigerians and even the regulating bodies.

It may be difficult to blame the conduct of Nigerian medical graduates on their training institutions because they were admitted from amongst Nigerians who believe in get rich quick, who sees the way the politicians are squandering the resources of the nation, who see the lack of transparency, lack of accountability and lack of integrity amongst the ruling class so total re-orientation of our people is needed but we have to start from somewhere. As a child growing up in Benin, medical doctors were the heart and soul of the community as they were respected so it is only fair the re-orientation of the Nigerian society should start amongst doctors to show examplary character, conduct and behaviour. Our countrymen needs a re-orientation not just the medical graduates alone and efforts like this to bring sanity into the polity should be applauded but suffering of the innocent medical students should not be prolonged so as not to throw the proverbial baby away with the dirty bath water so we appeal to the MDCN through its chair person Professor Roger Makanjuola to temper justice with mercy and give the College of Medical sciences of the University a probation of about a twelve
months period while they put their house in order. The Nigerian President must act quickly to redeem the situation as the current father of the nation to obviate the current adverse publicity which is not good for the nation as University of Benin is one of the national flag bearer in academics, research and in the industry.

SEO OGBONMWAN MMED, FMCOG, FRCOG. An alumnus of the University of Benin in the Diaspora.

MEDICAL & DENTAL COUNCIL OF NIGERIA

MEDICAL & DENTAL COUNCIL OF NIGERIA REACTS TO POOR MEDICAL TRAINING; A ROOT CAUSES ANALYSIS.

The news of the barring of great University of Benin (Uniben) College of Medical sciences graduates from registration with the Nigerian Medical & Dental Council came as a shock to many alumni of the university especially those who passed through that medical school. Only a couple of years ago UNIBEN alumni were all rejoicing that UNIBEN came up as the best University in Nigeria.

In a statement in Benin on the 21st of February 2008 by Mr. Eddy Akporere, Head Public Relations and Protocol said that the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities released in January, 2008, showed that University of Benin maintained its first position in Nigeria, in the past one year.

He added that the new World Universities’ Ranking has again placed University of Benin, Benin City ahead of all Nigerian Federal, State and Private Universities in terms of global visibility, in terms of researches and academic programmes.

The announcement by Professor Roger Makanjuola of the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) de-accrediting the College of Medical Sciences of the University of Benin, Benin City did not only shock some of us but was very demoralising considering that only a couple of years ago UNIBEN was voted the best university in Nigeria; how did this sudden fall from grace to grass happen?

Professor Roger Makanjuola himself a medical doctor and professor of psychiatry would not have taken the decision lightly as the current chairman of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria especially as he himself knows what it feels like for an accreditation to be withdrawn from a faculty or college as he was the ViceChancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife when the faculty accreditation for the faculty of law was withdrawn by the National University Commission NUC in January 2006.

Professor Roger Makanjuola is a man who may be keen for the best standard of care for Nigerians and more importantly keen to maintain the standard of medical training and  practice in Nigeria. We all recall his road show in the USA seeking support from well placed alumni of OAU Ile Ife to come home to support their university so it is difficult to ascribe politics into the decision on great UNIBEN.

Is this therefore a case of the University of Benin authority affronting the MDCN’s earlier decision of refusing the Niger Delta University accreditation for its medical training and Uniben authorities stepping over to assist the young university and taking the fall? One can only guess.

One cannot fault MDCN of Nigeria for their punitive action against university medical schools in Nigeria as the practice of medicine has actually deteriorated like everything else in the country but this sorry state of affairs is unfortunately not limited to only Uniben. How has the great Uniben been pulled down from its Olympian heights as the best university in Nigeria to be de-accredited in medicine where as an institution it has made a great impact nationally and internationally.

Reading through the suspension letter signed by Dr. A. A. Ibrahim, Registrar of MDCN, ‘the Council wishes to reassert that the issue at stake is the unsatisfactory and inadequate training of students who shall be licensed as doctors to treat the citizens of this country based on the visitation panel report to MDCN. However Council would be ready to pay an accreditation visit to the College of Medical Sciences within the next twelve (12) months, on an appropriate date in 2011, if the University authorities invite such a visitation’

 

The statutory functions of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria is to approve the institutions at which courses of training are to be given for persons who are seeking to become members of the Medical and Dental professions as well as the courses of instruction prescribed and the qualifications to be granted by such institutions.

Council also has the responsibility for supervising the nature of the instructions and the examinations leading to the qualifications to be granted in these cases (vide Medical and Dental Practitioners Decree No. 23 of 1988, Sections I (2a), 8( I a & b) and 9 (1, 3 & 4), after several reviews, the enabling Act is now CAP M8.

In pursuance of these duties, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria sends visitation panels from time to time to inspect newly established medical schools with a view to approving formally their training programmes as required by the law but UNIBEN is a first generation university in Nigeria and would have had series of such inspection  and would have been a grand master in getting the college of medical sciences of the University of Benin ready for such accreditation and re-accreditation so what went wrong?

 

The story is that the University of Benin a few years ago was approached by the Niger Delta University College of Health SciencesWilberforce Island, Amassoma, Yenogao; Bayelsa State of Nigeria to assist with the training of her medical students as her College of Health sciences was not accredited for medical students training. The then VC of the University of Benin agreed as this was a common practice amongst Nigerian universities usually between a well established universitylike Uniben and an upcoming university as the Niger Delta University who had its first intake in 2002.

 

If you recall the first intake pre-clinical science students of the University of Benin were trained at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, while the first intake pharmacy students were trained at the University of Ife.

In the same vein, the University of Benin also trained Bendel State University now Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma until they became fully fleshed to produce their own medical graduates. This kind of support and co-operation between Nigerian universities is what is essential to make Nigeria grow as a nation and give support to newer universities but standards must be kept at all cost by those whose duty statutorily it  is to keep them like the MDCN, the National University Commission and the Senate of the various universities.

 

It was this addition of the medical students from the Niger Delta University Bayelsa State which took the number of medical students allowed for Uniben above the acceptable limit for students’ faculty ratio and the ratio of students to infrastructure and equipments. There may be other factors detected by the visitation panel but it seems the crux was the disproportionate ratio of students to staff. This same problem will be detected in other Nigerian universities as they are all usually guilty of admitting too many students above the quota approved for each institution so the commissioning authorities for Federal, State and Private Universities must put resources in place to provide adequate  faculty, equipments and infrastructure for producing medical doctors fit for purpose of providing healthy living and preventing ill health amongst Nigerians.

 

The need for maintaining standard cannot be over emphasised and similarly the morale of the students, and faculty members of the University of Benin Medical School must be maintained so this issue needs urgent resolution so that appropriate infrastructure, necessary equipments and adequate number of staff must be quickly put in place so that a new visitation panel will give the medical school the acceptable minimum standard so that this de-accreditation can be lifted.

The quick fix options will be to send the Niger Delta medical students back to Bayelsa State as suggested in some quarters.  This will obviously be very inappropriate and an unpopular option as the students have spent between one to three years in the medical school and are at the stage of graduation so every effort should be made to see that they graduate with minimal delay and disturbance as they have not caused any of these current crises.

 

There is no doubt the standard of Nigerian medical schools have fallen over these years and visitation panel if sent to other similar university will come back with sorry tales of same situation as found.

 

The best option will be for the Federal Government to intervene through the Federal Ministry of Health and or Education by voting an emergency fund to support Uniben Medical School so that it can meet the minimum standard of the MDCN. Special plea should be made to President Goodluck Jonathan to facilitate this emergency vote for upgrading the medical colleges not only in Benin but in Yenogao as well after all the Niger Delta University he contributed in setting up is at the middle of the current crisis.

 

In subsequent years the Federal Government should vote adequate funds for the maintenance of her universities to bring them to international standard and save the MDCN and other regulating bodies the problem of incessant intervention and unnecessary adverse publicity which is not good for the universities, the students, Nigerians and even the regulating bodies.

 

It may be difficult to blame the conduct of Nigerian medical graduates on their training institutions because they were admitted from amongst Nigerians who believe in get rich quick, who sees the way the politicians are squandering the resources of the nation, who see the lack of transparency, lack of accountability and lack of integrity amongst the ruling class so total re-orientation of our people is needed but we have to start from somewhere. As a child growing up in Benin, medical doctors were the heart and soul of the community as they were respected so it is only fair the re-orientation of the Nigerian society should start amongst doctors to show examplary character, conduct and behaviour.

Our countrymen needs a re-orientation not just the medical graduates alone and efforts like this to bring sanity into the polity should be applauded but suffering of the innocent medical students should not be prolonged so as not to throw the proverbial baby away with the dirty bath water so we appeal to the MDCN through its chair person Professor Roger Makanjuola to temper justice with mercy and give the College of Medical sciences of the University a probation of about a twelve months period while they put their house in order. The Nigerian President must act quickly to redeem the situation as the current father of the nation to obviate the current adverse publicity which is not good for the nation as University of Benin is one of the national flag bearer in academics, research and in the industry.

 

SEO OGBONMWAN MMED, FMCOG, FRCOG.

An alumnus of the University of Benin in the Diaspora.

 

LEADERSHIP BORN OUT OF YAR[1]

LEADERSHIP BORN OUT OF YAR’ADUA’S ILLNESS CRISIS.

SEO Ogbonmwan KSC

There is no doubt that Yar’Adua’s illness has caused crisis of no small magnitude in the Nigeria political landscape and in spite of the ingenuity and resilience of Nigerians who are determined not to go again through the mistakes of 1966/67 some evil people who are making profit out of this disorderly situation are determined to plunge the nation into the abyss.

Right from when Yar’Adua was flown to Saudi Arabia for his treatment after he was said to have collapsed in Aso Rock, all information about his illness have been coming in a drip drip form as the whole medical management has been shrouded in secrecy. As we are aware or suspect, the medical situation of the president is not looking good but he and his closest alleys still wish to hold on to power at all cost.

Anyone is allowed to fall ill;  anybody who is ill is also allowed to seek remedy anywhere in the world for his ailment but what one is not allowed to do is to stop the clock of a nation’s progress; a nation of over  150 million people just that one has fallen ill.

You would expect the Yar’Adua’s closest friends and supporters  will advice him to transmit power fully to his deputy so that he can have ample time to look after himself in the best medical setting anywhere in the world but they have not done that. Scared that power may be slipping from his (Yar’Adua’s) grip and in turn themselves,  the heartless cabal of his closest associates decided to bring him down to Nigeria and nurse him in an ambulance without access by anyone.

The situation obviously creates doubt in the minds of many Nigerians. The thorny questions that come to mind includet:

  • Is Yar’Adua really in the country especially when one considers the secrecy with which he was brought in the small hours of the night?
  • On the other hand is he dead that there is so much secrecy and security about preventing everyone including the mother, siblings and the acting President of the nation from seeing him?
  • The innermost cabal that is obviously controlling the situation presently, are they unmindful of the feelings of 150 million Nigerians who seem being taken for an inglorious ride?
  • The role of the military in particular the brigade of guard, the Chief of Army Staff, National Security Adviser s who seems not to respect the views of the Nigerian people through the actions of the National Assembly of bestowing power on the Vice President to act on behalf of Yar’Adua as the Acting President of the nation.
  • The role and pronouncements of the Personal Assistant to Yar’Adua who seem to be dishing out information from unelected individuals to the Nigerian people which seems to have compounded the present situation.
  • The inability of Yar’Adua personal physician to inform the nation of his boss’ medical situation from time to time as done in other countries. Does this not call for the creation of the post of a Surgeon General for our country?

However some good has come of out of this ugly situation in the person of Professor Dora Akunliyi who shows she has a conscience, and wishes to do what is right for our people by showing transparency in her dealings with fellow Nigerians. She has shown fearless ness and commitment to her position as information minister to sift the lies from truth in her information management.

Nigerians needs more Dora Akunyili to move the nation forward in a selfless manner as she is doing. Her actions, devotion to duty, from her days in NAFDAC to her present position has revealed her personality as a women with honour, conscience, transparent, incorruptible and has a vision for the good of the Nigerian nation. It is in crisis time that a leader  emerges  and Nigeria has just been blessed with one and her name is Dora Akunliyi.

The other benefits of the Yar’Adua illness include the unity of purpose of the nation in seeking to stop Nigeria from drifting in a rudderless manner at sea. Nigerians from all works of life have been involved in asking for direction from the national assemblies. No one has been left out being concerned, from students’ union to market women, to civil societies, NBA, and the coalition of political parties all have asked for direction from the ‘leaders’  So the ascendancy of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is not only and act of God but the very strong desire of Nigerian people who have made their feelings known.

The composition of the cabal determined to hold the country down have been exposed.  They are doing this not for the ill Yar’Adua but for their personal gains and personal greed to acquire more personal ill gotten wealth from the common pool

The Yar’Adua illness has exposed the very weak Nigerian Heath system that needs  urgent attention. What is lacking is not the manpower but appropriate infra structure and modern medical equipments to render a 21st century clinical service in at least a few centres in each of the geopolitical zones in the country.

It is also a good opportunity to entrench in the nation’s constitution that the federal government of Nigeria no longer funds treatment abroad for any her citizens. This singular move will help the government to invest appropriately in the national health sector.

We hope that Professor Dora Akunyili who is the type of incorruptible leader Nigeria needs will put herself forward for elective position at the highest level in subsequent election and we hope Nigerians from all walks of life will emulate her outspokenness, frankness, commitment to Nigeria, her transparent attitude and courage.

Those who are moving negative motions in the national houses of assembly against Dora Akunyili are deaf and blind to the quiet revolution taking place across the nation.

 Nigerians want transparency, accountability and openness and an effective government and they are showing it. No more secrecy which facilitates corrupt practices.  I ask them to listen to the new Nigerian song of progress, courage, openness and determination as exemplified by our respectable and hard working Dora Akunyili. Please leave our hero alone.

SEO

© February 2010

 

In the throes of police killings

 

 

In the throes of police killings

Ogbonna Onovo, IGP

TWENTY-two-year- old Ernest Obi lived with his parents in Lagos though they hail from the South-Eastern part of the country. A very brilliant boy, he had one of the best results in the WASC exam, hence, gaining admission to a first generation university was not a problem. He was in 200 level when his father lost his job. But in spite of this, his father struggled to ensure that he did not drop out of school being a source of joy to the family as the first and only child to have gone that far in the pursuit of education.

But things took a new dimension when Earnest came home during one Christmas break. The reality that stared him in the face was that his family of eight hardly had food to eat. Many times, they resorted to eating mango fruits (the tree grew in their backyard) for lunch and dinner. At this point, he knew that schooling was no longer possible and the family needed to do something urgent so they would not starve to death.

So, when the firm with which his father worked paid his severance allowance and other entitlements, he (Ernest) advised that they should buy a tokunbo car with which he could operate a kabukabu ( taxi service) to feed the family. The plan was that he would return to school after he must have helped the family to overcome their terrible financial state.

Earnest was making enough money to feed his family and pay the school fees of his younger siblings when fate played a cruel joke on his family. He was killed at a police checkpoint between Ojota and Maryland for refusing to part with N20. This was in 2008.

In a more recent case of police killings, Sunday, an electronics trader at Idi Arere area of Ibadan,  was not involved in the argument that ensued between the driver of the commercial motorcycle conveying him and a police officer when the former refused to pay the “toll fee” of N20, but as it turned out, he paid the ultimate price; he was killed.

The Nigeria Police, expected to be the epitome of courage, honour, courtesy, devotion and dedication to the cause of the citizens and the society at large at all times, have since acquired a new and rather strange attitude- the inclination to cut short the lives of the people  they are being paid to protect.

Hardly can a month pass without an incident(s) of accidental discharge recorded somewhere in the country. While the mass media are awash with the incidents of the killing of innocent citizens, several others go unreported.

On many occasions, police kill as a result of the refusal to pay a “toll fee”, a bribe or because of other excuses that could best be described as flimsy and outrageous.

Early last year, 2009, Monday Ediagbonya, a commercial cyclist in Benin city, enthusiastically drove a passenger to a bank near Emokpae Primary School hoping to be adequately compensated for the service but, oblivious to him, death, in a smart, dark uniform, was waiting. Probably, he would have escaped the cold hands of death if he had not chosen to display a little gesture of kindness.

Just as he dropped the passenger in front of the bank, the ball being played by some boys in a nearby school flew past him and hit the gate of the bank. Monday picked the ball and threw it back to the boys prompting the mobile policeman attached to the bank to query his effrontery.

Attempts by the policeman to seize Monday’s bike was resisted which made the policeman to shoot him in the head.

Nigerians are besieged by the fear of armed robbers, rising cost of living, fuel scarcity, unemployment and now, the fear of murderous policemen. The fear has subsequently metamorphosed into a deep-seated contempt and hatred for the uniformed men in black.

In Lagos, people reportedly cheered when some robbers got the upper hand in a duel between them and a team of policemen.

This not withstanding, people say there is much more going on and that what people know about police killings is a mere tip of the iceberg compared to what actually takes place. Those who have been in the precincts of police stations for a while will present a vivid but grimmer picture. People are summarily and deliberately killed in police custody.  These witnesses say names are called mostly in the dead of the night and that many times, those called never made it back. Only the police can tell where they were taken to.

These people, they say, could be those awaiting trial or those who were randomly picked and/or raided by the police on flimsy excuses. Some were arrested and detained indefinitely while taking a walk in their neighbourhood or going about their legitimate business.

The 2009 Amnesty International report on extra judicial killings of innocent Nigerians by the police revealed a dastardly act that is heart-rending.

According to the report, which covered three years, frrom 2007 to 2009, police kill at will and hundreds of people are unlawfully killed by the police in Nigeria every year. It said: “The police don’t only kill people by shooting them, they also torture them to death, often while they are in detention… some people die because they fail to pay police officers a bribe…”.

Amnesty International, in reference to a Nigeria Police Annual Report, gave the number of robbery suspects unlawfully executed by the force as 3,014 between 2003 and 2008.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission and Nigeria’s human rights organisations have said the killings took place under questionable cirumstances and that the majority of the cases were not investigated, let alone meting out adequate punishment to the officers involved.

Amnesty International,  which observed that some policemen consider the killing of alleged armed robbers in detention as an acceptable practice, reported that its delegate saw 15 people killed in a disused abbatoir, and counted at least 30 empty bullet cases, when they visited the Special Anti robbery squad  in Abuja in June 2009.

In another report, the Delta State branch of the committee for the Defence of Human Rights said about 120 innocent Nigerians are killed annually nationwide at police check points. And that many times, they are tagged armed robbers.

It gave the example of three artisans, namely: Rotimi Philips, Ibrahim Olojede and Friday Uti, who were reportedly labelled as armed robbers and killed at their mechanic workshop at Alagomeji, Lagos, during a police raid. Incidentally, the brother to one of the deceased was a policeman, and he later disclaimed his colleagues’ claim.

Many times, when these killings are reported, they are followed by public outcry and the declaration by police authorities to deal with such killer-cops. End of story.

Indeed, one can say that police killings are particularly a Nigerian phenomenon because such incidents are very rare in other countries.While consenting that it is a Nigerian problem, some Nigerians proffered reasons for this unhealthy development.

Mr. Kayode Ogundoro, a management consultant, stated that the sociology of policing in Nigeria is ultra vire. He said the nation’s present day  policing is a reflection of the law enforcement agencies of the colonial era, who were used mainly for territorial aggression and to conquer the people physically, before missionaries were bought in to conquer the people’s minds (mental and emotional) to ensure the success of their governments.

He pointed out that the police, which derived its name from the Greek word polis, meaning metropolitan or polity, is meant to “police the polity” by enforcing laws, and that with the coming of civilisation, less arms should be used.

While advocating state police, Ogundoro recommended that people in the community should make the police their friend. “The heads like the DPOs and commissioners should be people with tribal affiliations in the areas they  oversee. With this, crime tracking becomes easier and the police would be less prone to brutality.”

A Nigerian based in the United Kingdom, Dr. Steve Ogbonmwan, however, attributed the situation to the general state of lawlessness and corruption pervading the land. He said: “From the highest office holder who absconds from office without anyone knowing about his whereabouts, to the lowest paid employee, all are lawless. They believe that once they have money, they can buy their way through. In this country, justice is for sale.

He further noted that, in this state of lawlessness and scant regard for the rule of law, there is the tendency for people to arrogate power to themselves, especially when they have certain privileges. Hence, policemen think they have the world in their pockets, being in possession of the AK 47 rifle”.

Ogbonmwam added that the situation is made worse by a system that frustrates hardworking people, but rewards mediocrity and indolence.

To Dr. Akeem Akinwale, a  sociology lecturer at the University of Ibadan, police killings are indices of the weakness in the law enforcement machinery because, people believe they can always escape or buy their way out when they violate the laws of the land. He said the fact that cases of killings that have been addressed are just a tip of the iceberg, while the delay in bringing culprits to justice have not helped matters.

Mr. Ojo Adebayo, a legal practioner, had a different opinion. “The situation has persisted because the claim by police authorities to sanction perpetrators of police killings is a mere cover up”.

He cited an instance which happened in Ibadan, Oyo state, some years ago, during which a policeman shot and killed two people and wounded three others at a check point. According to him, when the case was filed before the court, the police authorities in the state refused to produce the culprit.

But when the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adisa Bolanta’s reaction was sought on this, he said he could not speak on the matter because he was not around  then, emphasising that, at the time, issues of police killings, whether accidental or extra judicial, had reduced immensely all over the country because police authorities ensured that culprits did not go free. He cited a recent happening in Ibadan in which a policeman shot a passenger when, according to him, the motorcycle driver refused to wait when he was ordered to. He said that the policeman had already been dismissed and plans were underway to have him prosecuted.

The Oyo state police boss declared that police killings were illegal. “Policemen are not trained to kill, but to maim, and this depends on certain circumstances”, stressing further that, “when a policeman shoots someone, it should be with the intention to maim in order to effect arrest and subsequent prosecution. The situation is such that, even if the judge hands down a death sentence and prescribes the manner by which a criminal should be killed, it is not the duty of the police to kill such a criminal”.

However, the fact that police killings have reduced, is totally unacceptable. There’s the need for the total elimination of this malady  .

There is, therefore, no gainsaying that this,  and other issues that have consistently portrayed the Nigeria police in bad light, are pointers to the urgent need for a complete overhaul of the system to purge it of all “infirmities,” and thereby give  them a human face and human feeling. We cannot continue to hide a leprous finger, for one day, it would infect the others and the whole body bears the brunt.

But while this is being done, Nigeria’s political leaders must begin the process of putting the nation on the path of rebirth by eschewing all those vices that are common among them, which are capable of holding the nation to ransom and thwarting all efforts towards the attainment of the desired development. They must live by example.

 

Dora Akunyili

 

 

Dora Akunyili’s truth and graveyard peace

SEO Ogbonmwan KSC

Nigeria is a country of over 150 million people, with a minority ruling class. How can a multitude be made so submissive by  a few, as to accept silence as the answer to our problems? Silence is a lie when the situation is as dire as we are currently experiencing in our nation.

The Presidency has been intimidated by the actions and comments of the Governors’ Forum, the PDP national executives, the recent action of the Brigade of Guard and the utterances of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Demeji Bankole, about coup plot. The Presidency may be intimidated, but the Nigerian civil society is not.

There is no nation worth its name that can just float without direction. How can an incapacitated president rule the nation by proxy through a close cabal of associates, while fronting another designate as the Acting President?  The activities of the ruling class are shrouded in secrecy and no one knows what the true state of affairs is anymore.

Nigerians now get information about their president either through the BBC or the Al Jazeera television news report. What a shameless position to be! Yet, Yar’Adua continues to be screened from Nigerians by his close associates. Does this cabal realise the security implications of having an incapacitated president, of treating our head of state in a foreign land, of making Nigeria  a  laughing stock among other nations, of being economical with the truth?

None of them is civil enough to tell Nigerians the true state of affairs. The only source of getting a semblance of the truth is being intimidated by those who wish to maintain the status quo, so as to continue siphoning the commonwealth of the nation into personal or ethnic banks.

Nigerians must learn to speak the truth and live by it, as it is the truth that can augur well for the progress of the nation. Lies may have many variants, but  truth is constant. The truth is being in accord with the fact or reality of a situation, and anyone who has the courage to say it as it is should be encouraged by every means possible.

Saying the truth means sincerity or constancy of action, character and utterance and, such, truth bearers deserve our respect.  There is no doubt that those who wish to maintain the status quo will kick against the truth bearer by any means, but they should stand firm, because a man’s life consist, not of the abundance of his earthly possessions, but by what he/she has positively contributed to society.

When a man says what conforms to reality on the ground his/her judgments can be said to be truth. The truth said by our Information Minister, Dora Akunyili, is her inability to manage information whose source is unverifiable, dubious at the best or at the worst, totally wrong. Being a part of the condemned system or not, she has shown she has a conscience not to deliberately misinform fellow Nigerians.

Truth is constructed by a social process which is historically and culturally specific, and that has, in part, shaped the current power struggle within the Presidency between the progressive who wish to move Nigeria forward and the reactionary forces, who wish to maintain the status quo.

The perception of truth should be viewed as contingent on convention, human perception and social experience, so those who are most likely to live the truth are those who have been well cultured from the cradle. The converse is also true that those who are poorly nurtured are more likely to deceive by speaking and living falsely, by doing things in the dark, even while working in hallowed chambers and by being secretive, as that is the only way their survival could be guaranteed.

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds and those who live by the truth should not be scared to continue to live by the truth, because truth alleviates pain rather than hurts and will always  bear up against falsehood and silence, which is a lie, just as oil does over water.

Our truth bearer should not be harassed, because truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content with whatever we have or have accumulated on this plane, in our everyday life and to share with people. Truth is incontrovertible, malice and bias may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is like a beacon of hope, which Dora Akunyili now bears to this great, sick nation of ours, no matter what others may want us to believe.

Our Information Minister’s refusal to manage lies as truth and coming forward with it, has shown that truth is the secret of eloquence and of virtues, the basis of moral authority, the summit of art and life. The current situation of stiff upper lips by those in the know, creates an uneasy calm which is the peace of the grave- yard.

Our Muslim brothers and sisters  will agree with the teaching of Prophet Mohammed that there are three signs of the hypocrites; when they speak, they speak lies, when they make promises, they break it and when they are trusted, they betray the trust. The cabal holding the nation by its jugular must be reminded of their promises to their faith to be truthful in all their dealings, so as not to attract the wrath of Allah.

Our brothers and sisters in the FEC, the National Assembly, the Governors’ Forum and the PDP Board of Trustees, must release this nation from their iron grip and give Nigeria a breath of fresh air, by coming clean on the health situation of President Yar’Adua, and by confirming the Presidency of Jonathan Goodluck, so that he can move this nation forward.

To Ebele Jonathan, the current tinkering will not do, you must start from the beginning, which is the foundation, and work sleeplessly so that you can leave your foot steps in the sands of time for the benefit of fellow Nigerians.

For now, do not listen to the distant drums, you must keep your goal in focus. I wish you and Dora Akunliyi well and good luck.

Finally, the Holy Bible and the Quoran tell us to adhere to the truth, for the truth leads to good deeds and good deeds leads him who does them to paradise. Falsehood is wickedness and ultimately leads who peddle it to hell.

Ogbonmwan sent this article from United Kigdom.
Note: This article was sent in before the Acting President dissolved the cabinet —Editor.

 

Benin Queen Idia

 

: Benin Queen Idia  Mask

We would like to bring to your attention the planned auction of the IDIA Mask by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Lionel Galway. The auction is being organized by Sotheby Auction House  in London on behalf of Galway family for the sum of 3.5  to 5 million pounds sterling on 17th February 2011.

This Ivory Mask is a Nigerian national treasure looted from the Palace of the Oba of Benin, Benin City which was then the seat of government of the ancient Benin Empire by the invading British forces in 1897.

With the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria and the incorporation of the ancient Benin Kingdom as part of the Nigerian State this treasured mask now form part of the diverse culture and heritage of Nigerians and should be protected by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in fact all Nigerians.

Please sign the petition to stop the auction following the link below:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/benin_ivory_mask/

You can also phone Sotheby on +44 (0) 20 7293 5000 and tell them to

stop the planned auction of the Benin Ivory Mask and for its return to the Palace of the Oba (King) of Benin, Benin City Nigeria. The item was stolen from Benin City thank you”

Presently nations of the world are doing everything possible to reverse the pillaging of the cultural heritage of members state of the United Nation. The Chinese Cultural relic recovery programme is doing everything possible to recover stolen arts work and sculptures and return them to China.

The Egyptians are working hard to recover the statutes of King Rameses 11 and King Tuthmosis III. The Greeks are agitating for the return of the Elgin Marbles that once adorned the Parthenon complex on the Acropolis in Athens and the famous Rosetta Stones.

These agitation and contact at the highest diplomatic level has recently paid off as the United State government has returned seven pieces Angkorian artifacts and the Buddha to Cambodia  through the USA Embassy in Phnom Penh.

We are aware of the efforts made by previous Nigerian government. Just before the start of the second  Festival of African Arts and Culture (FESTAC 1977) commenced effort was made to recover the Idia mask as it was the symbol of the festival but  the request then was denied by the British government..

We are also aware that even recently the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua also made efforts at recovering the numerous works of art from the ancient Benin Kingdom. The House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also passed a motion that all works of art from Nigeria illegally in museums around the world should be safely returned..

As we speak Nigerians are phoning Sotheby Art Auction House on +44 (0) 20 7293 5000to register their protest to the proposed auction while others are signing the protest letter to prevent the sale but that may not be enough. We need the might of the Federal Government to have a proper legal representation through both the Ministry of Culture and Tourism or the External Affairs through the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Kingdom in view of the cost and insurance premium involved in achieving the injunction to prevent the sale and subsequent return of the art treasure. There are Nigerian solicitors willing to handle the case, some of them from Edo State on pro bono but they need to be instructed by the Nigerian government through the Nigerian Embassy in London.

The Benin Ivory Mask created by our ancestors sometimes in the 16th Century is not just a mask as it has a history of several centuries behind it so it forms an integral part of the culture and tradition of our people and in fact Africans as it is the symbol of many African organizations  in the world and the FESTAC

We thank you for your prompt action in this matter as the auction date has been set for 17th of February 2011. The phone number and link to the petition is above.

Thank you.

signed

Edo Global Organization.