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The Nigerian radio show that offers a platform to the voiceless

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The Nigerian radio show that offers a platform to the voiceless
A handicapped man poses for a portrait in front of a human rights radio station, where he’s about to lodge a complaint, over the airwaves in Abuja, on November 20, 2019. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

Early each morning, a crowd gathers outside Ahmad Isah’s radio studio in Nigeria’s capital Abuja hoping to share their problems over the airwaves.

For those waiting — men and women, young and old — Isah’s Brekete Family show offers a rare chance try to hold officials to account in a country where rampant graft and abuses of the justice system often frustrate citizens.

The lucky few who Isah picks each day get to make themselves heard on issues ranging from their struggles against the authorities to medical needs and requests for financial assistance. The others will have to come back another time. 

“My goal is to give a voice to the voiceless, facilitate arbitration, expose wrongdoings and force those in power to respect rights,” says Isah. “The inspiration is about justice, kindness, and support to humanity.”

Nicknamed the ‘Ordinary President’, Isah begins his live show on Human Rights radio with a call and response in pidgin, the language widely spoken in Nigeria, to get his audience fired up. 

Teacher Winifred Ogah has come to try to get some redress after she says a local court wrongly auctioned off her car for failing to pay rent on her house.

“I believe that the justice you get here, you can’t get it outside,” she said. “I have been listening to the programme and was encouraged by how other people’s problems were being resolved.”

‘Usually unheard’ 

Rights groups in Africa’s most populous nation often complain of a culture of impunity, where the wealthy easily skew the system in their favour and officials rarely have to answer for their misdeeds. 

“The voices of the masses in Nigeria are usually unheard because they don’t have the financial muscle or connections to be able to project their views especially when in need of justice,” says Daniel Soe tan, from the Goodwill Ambassadors of Nigeria civil society organisation. He is a regular listener to Isa’s show and lauds it for “helping to project the voices of ordinary people” in a way that makes it difficult for officials to ignore. 

“When these issues are projected, it attracts the attention of the authorities to attend to their plights,” Soe tan said. “It is a forum that allows people to speak because if they are left with authorities alone, there can be bureaucracies and attempts to silence them.”

Human Rights radio has been on air since 2006 and while Isah did not give precise audience figures he insisted it even had listeners outside Nigeria. They first need to depose to an affidavit at the High Court in Nigeria in which they swear they are telling the truth.  

‘Nothing is working’ 

It is not easy taking on the powerful interests deeply entrenched at every level of Nigeria’s federal, regional and local governments. But Isah insists the radio show’s combative style has had concrete results bringing officials to book. 

“Some of them see us as a threat. They don’t like us. We have exposed several corruption cases that other people are afraid to go close to,” he said. “There is injustice everywhere, the government is not accountable, and there is no justice for the poor, bad roads, terrible hospitals. Nothing is working in this country.”

Over 44 per cent of Nigeria’s roughly 190 million people are estimated to live in extreme poverty and that fraction is expected to grow as the population expands.

The show also looks to give financial assistance to those in need with support from the MacArthur Foundation and its own fund-raising. One of the beneficiaries Luis Kinta said the radio had raised two million naira to boost his shoemaking business.

“I came here without knowing anyone. The good thing is that ordinary president assists without knowing the tribe, religious and affinity of those he supports,” he said. 

But the major focus for Isah remains on trying to get redress for those wronged by Nigeria’s abusive officials — and the flow of hopefuls bringing cases to him shows no sign of slowing. 

“The justice system is only for the rich, not for the poor, So this is why we need this kind of journalism in this country,” he said. “I will never give up.” 

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Gambians Decry Price Hike in Basic Commodities

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Low-income earning Gambians have expressed concerns, frustration and dissatisfaction over the daily surge in prices of basic food commodities in the markets.

The west African country has witnessed incessant spike in the prices of basic food commodities in recent months.
A situation that has been a cause for alarm among traders, retailers and consumers.

Many have expressed dissatisfaction and uncertainty regarding daily survival for themselves and their dependants.

Market survey in the West Coast Region shows that the cost of fish has gone up 30%, sugar which sold for D1250 in 2020 now costs D1350, imported rice now costs D1250 as against D1075 which it sold for in December.

Amid increasing political fragmentation, the hope inspired by President Adama has since faded.

Barrow who has promised far reaching economic stimulus lifted in September, the state of emergency which may ease gradual economic recovery.

Vendors and traders are unable to sell their wares due to hike in prices of commodities and dwindling purchasing power. Many customers are left with lesser options due to the prices charged.

Gambia’s inflation rate stands at 6.04%, a slight drop from 6.15% in 2020.

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Rwanda to Upgrade Covid-19 Testing to Detect Variants

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, Rwanda has decided to increase the number of tests done daily.

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Rwanda is planning an upgrade of its testing capacity to enable the country to trace the new COVID-19 variants in the country. 

The Covid-19 variants which were first identified in South Africa and the United Kingdom are believed to be more transmissible than the original Covid-19 virus, raising concern that the new strains may be more deadly. 

On national television, Rwanda’s Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije said: “We haven’t yet tested and identified a Covid-19 variant…we are still working on this capability, and soon, we will be having it in place.”

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the country decided to increase the number of tests done daily.

On Saturday, Rwanda resumed mass testing of residents, running a three-day exercise.

On Monday, 336 new positive cases out of the 7,867 tests done were reported in the country, bringing the total number of infections to 12,975. Three deaths and 261 recoveries were also recorded in the country on the same day, bringing total recoveries to 8,420 recoveries and death toll to 174. As of Monday, active positive cases stood at 4,453.

Vulnerable groups, including the elderly, were among those tergetted in the mass testing.

The country’s Ministry of Health set a target of 20,000 people on a cell and village level in the capital Kigali.

The aim of the mass testing is to determining how many infections are in Kigali and linking patients to their residential areas for better management.

“On the first day, among 4,500 tests taken, 200 of them were positive and above 70 years of age. We are confident that once we know who is infected and where they are, treatment will be more effective,” Dr Ngamije said.

Rwandan last week re-instated a 15 days lockdown in Kigali following a spike in Covid-19 infections and deaths. Movement remains restricted nationwide.

Recently, the country imported 18,000 doses of the oral drug -Favipiravir which was used to treat influenza in Japan in 2014, that has now been approved for Covid-19 treatment by some countries.

Seven deaths were recorded in Rwanda on Saturday, the highest mortality rate so far in a day though the government is now optimistic that the new treatment will curb deaths.

Rwanda is also expecting the first one million doses of Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine after acquiring the required refrigeration units. At least 500,000 people are expected to be the first beneficiaries. Frontline workers, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions are to be among these beneficiaries.

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What You Need to Know About “Omo Ghetto, the Saga”

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“Omo Ghetto” ( The Saga), a movie by Actress Funke Akindele-Bello, a.k.a “Jenifa” has proven to be Nollywood’s highest-grossing movie of all time.

Reports have it that the 2020 comedy film has broken Kemi Adetiba’s ‘The Wedding Party’ four year record of being the highest grossed Nigerian movie.

In a statement released by Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), the 2020 comedy film has so far grossed N468,036,300 after holding the number one spot for its third week in a row.

“Omo Ghetto’ has officially broken a four year record by knocking off Kemi Adetiba’s 2016 Comedy movie” The Wedding Party”

The movie had been Nollywood Highest Grossing Movie with N453,000,000, in third place and ‘The Wedding Party 2 with N433,197,377,” the statement said.

Jenifa’s latest feat is probably the most shocking news in recent times, and this is because, the movie was released amidst a pandemic that crippled the film industry for months, and film makers were not making sales like they should.

The comedy movie, released on Christmas day 2020, is a sequel to 2010 trilogy ‘Omo Ghetto’, and follows the chaotic life of Shalewa aka Lefty (Funke Akindele)

Lefty (Funke Akindele) struggled between living a life of wealth and comfort provided by her adopted mother and returning to her ghetto lifestyle.

The comedy stars Funke Akindele in the dual role of Ayomide and Lefty, Chioma Akpotha (as Chummy Choko), Eniola Badmus (as Busty), Bimbo Thomas (as Nikky), Akah Nnani (as Mario), Alex Ekubo (Obi Wire), Zubby Michael (as Aza Man), Deyemi Okanlawon (as Stone), Timini Egbuson, Nancy Isime, Paschaline Alex, Mercy Aigbe, Yemi Alade among others.

The original film, “Omo Ghetto”, starred Rachel Oniga, Taiwo Hassan, Yinka Quadri, Eniola Badmus, Ronke Ojo and some others.



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