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Opinion: The Unconstitutionality and Hypocrisy of Kano State’s Alcoholic Repugnance



By Raymond Nkannebe

There is a sense in which the recent destruction of alcoholic beverages by the kano State government reinforces the argument namely, that the fiscal architecture of Nigeria needs a revamp. And hastily too. On Wednesday, 26th December, 2018, news went to town that the Kano state Hisbah board citing a certain local legislation destroyed over 30 trucks laden with alcoholic beverages running into billions of Naira, and largely owned by southerners, particularly the Igbos of the South East, who reside in the Sabon Gari area of the state where a substantial percentage of the alcoholics are consumed.

At an elaborate function on the 25th of December, 2018, the board’s Public Relations Officer, one Mallam Adamu Yahaya told press men, “the cartons of beer were destroyed on Monday evening after interception at Kalebawa on Dambatta road, in Dawakin Tofa area”. In an obvious attempt to provide a legal imprimatur to the move, he said, “the Kano State Law No. 4 of 2004 has banned the manufacturing and use of intoxicants in the state” and claimed that the destruction was pursuant to a court order issued by a magistrate court.
Now, this is not the first time that Igbo businessmen have been at the receiving end of this obtrusive state legislation at the instance of the Kano state government with a well-documented history of religious extremism. Not too long ago in the year 2015, this same religious police were reported by the Premium Times as well as other news mediums to have “destroyed 326, 151 bottles of beer out of 363, 853 it confiscated from members of the public in the past three years”. The destructions were carried out in three phases. Similarly, in the year 2013, it was reported that about 200,000 bottles of beer were also confiscated by the same Hisbah police in like fashion.

Whereas what normally makes it to the press are the reports of the confiscation and/or destruction, many Nigerians do not know that the owners of these goods, beyond the seizures, are made to pay humongous amounts of monies as fines prorated according to the total economic value of the individual consignment. The drivers of the vehicles conveying the goods are detained while their vehicles are impounded until huge amounts of money usually un-invoiced, are paid to secure the release of both the vehicle and the drivers. It is indeed a peripatetic double-whammy for dealers of alcoholic beverages in the state who tend to pass the buck to the consumers in the form of high prices.

While it may be contested in favour of Kano state that it reserves the right to enact legislations proscribing the manufacturing and/or dealing in alcoholic beverages within its territory, such argument would fly in the face of the spirit of the 1999 Constitution which consecrates Nigeria as a secular state—the operation of which must trickle down to the socio-economic relationship between the citizens irrespective of where they are resident, and their host-state. Thus section 4 of the Kano state Law bandied about by the Kano state government to perpetuate its economic sabotage citing Shariah runs foul of the constitution to the extent that the entire provisions of the 1999 Constitution and its schedules do not proscribe the manufacturing, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages. On the strength of section 1(3) of the 1999 Constitution therefore, the kano state Law No 4 of 2004, must be seen for what it is: a crude legislation repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

But beyond the legality/otherwise of this repulsive legislation, there is also a sense in which the hypocritical and somewhat “convenient righteousness” of the Kano state government’s attitude to the sale of alcoholics within its territory begs the question. It is in the manner in which it readily accepts allocations accruing to it from the Federal purse flowing from the VAT generated from the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages elsewhere.
In a well-considered editorial by The Punch Newspapers entitled, “Redressing the Injustice in VAT Sharing” published on the 21st of August, 2017, the medium put the issues eloquently thus: “figures for the year’s VAT recently released by the government have once again exposed the contradictions in the Nigerian federation where states that produce the wealth that sustain the country are hardly appreciated. Just as the case with the country’s oil resources, the VAT figures reveal a warped system where some areas labour to produce the wealth while others position themselves to grab the lion’s share of what is available for sharing”.

In the specific context of the contradictions created by a situation where the core northern states professing sharia and installing all the paraphernalia of same in their domains including the proscription of sale and dealing in alcoholic beverages, yet file out to claim revenue derived from same elsewhere, the editorial continued, “Added to this brazen injustice is the inclusion of the 12 Shariah practicing Northern states in the sharing of VAT on alcoholic beverages. Hisbah, the Shariah law enforcement agency in the state regularly confiscate and destroy alcoholic drinks. In 2001, a group that called itself the Independent Shariah Implementation Committee destroyed more than 600 crates of assorted beer. On Nov. 27, 2013, the Hisbah destroyed over 240,000 bottles of beer in Kano. In January, 2015, the Kano state Hisbah board said it destroyed 326, 151 bottles of beer. This is outrageous…”.

This well considered editorial rendering, highlights the hypocrisy of the so called Sharia states including Kano, and further resonates the restructuring question. In an ideal federal state, one would expect that Value Added Tax (VAT) will be collected by the disparate federating units with remits made to the center so as to enhance competitiveness among the federating states. It is highly incongruous for the federal government to collect VAT on behalf of the states and redistribute same on the basis of a sharing formula that appears to favour states that contribute little or nothing to the pool especially on religious and other cultural considerations. A situation whereby Kano, flaunting her religiosity by proscribing the sale of alcoholics within its territory, yet turn around to rake in more VAT revenue derived from alcoholics than say Lagos or Anambra who allows for same, cannot be in line with the principles of true federalism.

Which brings me to the timely reaction of the Afenifere—the Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Group who described the destruction as “hypocritical” arguing that a state (kano) which collects one of the highest amounts from VAT generated from other states where such beverages are sold should not be enjoying the benefits from goods it has prohibited contrary to Nigerian laws.

I like to associate myself with the position of Afenifere on the matter. Nigeria after all is not a socialist state operating on the principle of “from each according to his ability to each according to his need”. It is however unfortunate that the Ohaneze N’digbo has not weighed in on this one considering that the Igbos resident in Kano are the cyclical victims of this crude state policy.

Having said that, this writer observes with trepidation that at a time of dwindling revenues where state governments are unable to pay a miserly 30,000 minimum wage, the kano state government is rather pre-occupied with the drinking habits of residents of the state, rather than devising ingenuous means of boosting its revenue through soft regulatory taxes on the manufacturing, distributorship and sale of alcoholics in the state. Talk of leadership ineptitude!

Kano state it must not be forgotten accounts for one of the highest aggregator of out-of-school children roaming the streets from Tudun-Wada to Rijiyan lemo through Badawa and elsewhere as Almajirais and turning up at the polling booths year on year with counterfeit PVCs constituting electoral nuisance. A Multi Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS) in 2016-2017, showed that Kano accounts for a whopping 831,478 out of school children playing second runners up to Katsina and Bauchi states respectively who lead the pack. But apparently, the destruction of alcoholic beverages is a greater social good than the compulsory educational enrollment for these disturbing population of out-of-school children who have been described by one public thinker as “potential threats to social peace”.

Let us not forget also that this is the Kano of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of the infamous 5 million dollars’ contract scandal. But in a rather disquieting public reaction, while the indigenes of Kano hailed and chanted “Allahu Akbar” at the destruction of the alcoholic beverages, they promised a 2-million-man march for governor Ganduje in obvious support for his administration. Never mind that the visibly appropriated monies were meant to enhance the general welfare of the indigenes of the state. In essence therefore, while it is haram for non-muslims to engage in their legitimate business in a federal republic that thrives on religious tolerance, it is halal for a state governor to pilfer the resources of the state while the indigenes register their support with a disturbing silence. It is this contradiction that however helps to unmask the ultimate objective of the obnoxious local legislation: the socio-economic irritation of the Igbos and other minority tribes resident in the state whose economic survival revolve around dealing in alcoholic beverages at stalls, pubs and hotels scattered in and about the state capital.

Raymond Nkannebe, a Public Affairs Commentator wrote in from Lagos. Comments and reactions to

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Opinion: Will the Hopes of Nigerians be Truly Renewed?




By Abdulakeem Sodeeq Sulyman
It has however been observed by sociologists of revolutions that the social and psychological impulse behind most revolutions are two-fold: the passion for social justice and the thirst for political vengeance.” – Tatalo Alamu
May 29th, 2023, will mark exactly eight years that the outgoing President, (Retd.) Major-General Muhammadu Buhari gained access to the helms of affairs of our dear country, Nigeria, with a new catchphrase “I belong to everybody and belong to nobody.” The promises inherent in that catchphrase was refreshing to virtually all Nigerians to the extent that, as a newspaper vendor then, I sold more than fifty copies of The Punch newspaper. The goodwill enjoyed by President Buhari was so fervent, unmatched and unprecedented – I think.
Tunde Jaiyebo says, “One of the greatest sources of pain and sorrow is to be betrayed by those who are supposed to protect, love and help you.” Since President Buhari’s tenure as a civilian president had begun, Nigeria, a country blessed in every ramification has been experiencing a whirlpool and rollercoaster in different aspects of our social and national life. What is most troubling is the failure of President Buhari’s administration to robustly tackle the tripartite issues – insecurity, corruption and stabilizing the economy – Buhari and his party, the APC, used to oust the then president Goodluck Jonathan and the then ruling party, the PDP.
Initially, President Buhari started his administration on a snail movement and another factor that derailed the rail of his administration was lack of conception of governance and political leadership, leading to losing some candidacies to ‘perceived enemies,’ failure to set-up his cabinet on time and failure to take responsibility for his inconsistent policies leading to economic summersaults. All these, amongst others, clearly revealed to discerned Nigerians that President Buhari was not ready for governance.
As the President prepares to vacate the Aso Rock in some hours, I am sure it will be difficult for him to accept that he is leaving the affairs of Nigeria and Nigerians in a bad state than he met it. C.S. Lewis aptly submitted that, “To assess the value of anything, one must first know its purpose.” The purposes of President Buhari’s administration was obvious – to rescue Nigeria from the throes of PDP’s abuse of power, minimize corruption and end insecurity. However, if we use these metrics to evaluate the President’s tenure, it must have come to terms with the dumbest Nigerians that our values have been mishandled and misplaced under Buhari.
The interesting and intriguing events that unfolded during President Buhari’s reign inflamed the passion of Nigerians to be ready for the 2023 elections. As the elections were approaching, the two major political parties – APC and PDP – witnessed enormous challenges in the selection of their flag bearers for the presidential election. To me, the decisive moment to the 2023 presidential election was the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the flag bearer of the PDP. This fueled the rages of some powerful forces and their actions cost the PDP or the emerging LP, the chances of winning the presidency. Like it or not, both Tinubu and Atiku have been at the forefronts of the Nigerian political dynamics getting to thirty years or thereabouts. This made me limit my search lens of electing a viable president of Nigeria to the two of them.
Fortunately for the APC, its candidate, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu emerged the winner of the presidential election. The announcement of Senator Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election was like robbing salts on the wounds being nursed by some people who believed that the president-elect has many civil and criminal allegations levelled against him and he ought to be declared innocent of those allegations before he can be sworn-in as the Nigerian president. A small boy like me might not have swum deeper in the murky waters of Nigerian politics, but what is clear to me is that our political climate is not meant for the faint-hearted and those not ready to toy with their dignity and reputations shouldn’t bother venturing into it!
Looking into the political pedigree of Senator Tinubu, there is no doubt that he has proven his mettle to preside the affairs of Nigeria some days. His track record of working with some of the finest brains in the legal practice shows that he is sorrounded with competent individuals who can help in addressing injustice and restore social equity and inclusion. His experience as a senator during the military junta had equipped him for the liaison and collaborations required to drive cooperations among the arms of government; while his sagacity to be the only governor that survived the impeachment onslaughts against the South-west governors during 1999-2003 and many other battles he had won were enough to convince Nigerians that Tinubu is capable of steering the affairs of Nigeria to our dreamed land.
At this point that every decision to birth a virile country counts, Nigeria doesn’t deserve to be governed by ‘accidental managers’ – those that present themselves to us as problem solvers and maintain the status quo, giving us reasons why things don’t work, instead of exploring and discovering how to get things done to better the lots of ours. However, in order for us to have deliberate leaders, we must adjust our leadership selection process as submitted by Dele Momodu that “If anything must change in our country, how we select and elect our leaders must be the first change we embark upon.” Nigeria will not change if we citizens don’t change our approaches to politics and manners of electing leaders by desisting from basing our choices on factors that can be easily exploited and polarised.
Gerald Sykes makes us understand that “Any solid achievement must, of necessity, take years of humble apprenticeship and estrangement from most of society” and this is what Tinubu’s political sojourn teaches. Tinubu never hides it that he is interested in presiding the affairs of Nigeria some days. Instead of exploiting our differences to inflame the polity, he built bridges, assembling politicians with common aspirations and leveraged his political wit and acumen to galvanise resources for the birth of alliance which today’s the All Progressives Congress culminated from. I believe his role in the formation of APC qualifies him for the daunting task of rebuilding the cracking foundations of our dear country, Nigeria.
This humble intervention of mine is not to eulogise the president-elect, but to acknowledge how he has honed himself for the highest political office in Nigeria. What Nigerians witnessed in the last general elections, brought into fore that Nigeria is a nation existing in abstraction. It has become obvious that we need a leader that can set a new direction for the future. Some happenings in the elections revealed to us that our nation has been widely and deeply divisive and needs to be redeemed before it is too late! The challenges we are currently grappling with call for a combination of strategic and servant leadership; leaders that can harness the diversity of our dear country to set us on the path to our peculiar greatness and economic prosperity.
Simon Kolawole posited that “In underdevelopment politics, balancing is a major instrument of achieving some political stability.” Nigeria is in dire need of leaders who will respect every part of the country and create equal opportunities for people from every part of Nigeria to thrive and flourish. The potentialities of Nigeria are much more than political affiliations, ethnic background or religious sentiments. The over concentration on our fault lines – religion, ethnicity, etc., – has called for leadership that will initiate steps aimed at healing our wounds. That is why Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in Algeria, says, “Political efforts to separate Christians from non-Christians will probably cause more harm than good.”
In the next few days, Nigerians will be looking forward to the game plans and frameworks that will be deployed by the president-elect to restore our common aspirations. The safest way to achieve this is by shifting from politics to governance because Aristotle quipped that “The point of politics is to moderate a bad government so that it doesn’t become worse and, if possible, to try to gradually make it better.” Many people still believe in the Nigerian dream. But all they need is a leader who can strengthen their beliefs by making them feel important in the quest of birthing the nation of their dream. “Nations that flourish are those that continually reinvent themselves in light of domestic and changing world conditions. Those that fail to reform will atrophy and die,” says Obadiah Mailafia.
May Nigeria attain the lofty heights envisioned for it by her forefathers.
Abdulakeem Sodeeq SULYMAN is a Librarian, Author, Researcher and budding Self-development expert. He can be reached via +2348132226994 or

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Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

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DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

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