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PHILIP EMEAGWALI: THE FACE OF AN INTERNATIONAL LIAR AND CONMAN

In ESSAY on September 11, 2012 at 6:57 am

 A Citizen Investigative Essay On SaharaReporters, New York

Philip Emeagwali stirs up diverse emotions in Nigerians, Africans, and black people around the world. His claim of being a father of the Internet, of having invented the Connection Machine, of possessing 41patented inventions, of winning “the Nobel Prize of Computing” and of being a “doctor” and/or “professor” have been conclusively debunked with widely documented evidence.

Fraudulent claims help  Emeagwali get on the Nigerian N50 postal stamp

Yet, the figure of Emeagwali as a black scientific, engineering, and information technology genius and pioneer continues to loom large over discussions of black achievement. The legend of Philip Emeagwali’s purported inventions, widely proven to emanate from the perverse deceptive genius of the man himself, endures and proliferates among Nigerian and black groups around the world.

Only recently, the USAfricadialogue googlegroups listserv managed by Professor Toyin Falola of the University of Texas hosted a discussion on Philip Emeagwali’s vast fraud. Participants in the discussion included Nigerian and African intellectuals, scientists, engineers, and IT professionals. Overall, the discussion reinforced and reiterated one of the worst kept secrets in the Nigerian Diaspora, especially in its online community: that none of Emeagwali’s highfalutin claims, on whose strength he has curried and continues to curry favor and recognition from gullible and hero-hungry black people, is true.  Yet, just a few days ago, one of Nigeria’s more visible dailies, The Vanguard, included the academic and intellectual fraud in its list of 20 “most influential Nigerians.” Curiously, unlike previous Nigerian publications and profiles on Mr. Emeagwali, the biographical write-up accompanying the nomination does not repeat any of the well-known claims and “achievements” that Emeagwali has aggressively and fraudulently peddled about himself — claims that many of our people regard as truth. Apparently, the journalists at The Vanguard have become exposed to the widely available refutations of those claims and now know that they are false. But that, precisely, is the outrage. If they know that he is not a father of the internet, did not win “the Nobel Prize” of Computing as he claims, has no invention patents, did not invent the connection machine, does not have a single academic publication, and is neither a “doctor” nor a “professor” by any definition of those terms, why did they include him on the list? What makes Mr. Emeagwali “influential,” his ability to deceive Nigerians and line his pockets on the black speechmaking circuit?

Nigerians and black people deserve to know who the real Philip Emeagwali is. This will save them from the embarrassment of continuing to celebrate a fraud while real black scientific achievers and pioneers starve for attention and recognition. To correct Nigeria’s scientific and technological lag there is a need for investments — both financial and motivational — in the sciences, engineering, and IT fields. Nigerian youths need inspiration in the quantitative and scientific disciplines, but they should get it from actual, not pretending, black scientific, computing, and engineering heroes, not from phonies like Mr. Emeagwali. Patented Inventions Or The Invention Of Patents?

Debunking the many myths of Mr. Emeagwali’s “achievements” is one the easiest things to do on earth if you have a computer with Internet access. Let us start with his claim of possessing 41 (32 by some accounts on some hero-worshipping black websites) patents for various inventions. A simple search at the website of the US Patent and Trade Mark Office (here: http://tarr.uspto.gov/) reveals that Mr. Emeagwali has only one registered patent, for Emeagwali.com, his website. He has no other patent listed against his name. It is the same patent that most owners of independent websites apply for to legally protect their proprietary rights over the website and its contents. We can state conclusively then that Mr. Emeagwali has no patented invention of any kind, contrary to his and his supporters’ claim.

Specifically, Mr. Emeagwali claims to have invented the Connection Machine (CM-2). This false claim is displayed boldly and shamelessly on Emeagwali.com in the section on “inventions” and “discoveries.” Some black websites like this one http://inventors.about.com/od/blackinventors/a/black_historyE.htm credit Emeagwali with inventing the Hyberball Machine Networks (or the supercomputer). Both claims are demonstrably false. The connection Machine, which is capable of conducting simultaneous calculations using 65,000-processors, was conceived by Daniel Hills and built by Thinking Machine Corporation, which Mr. Hills, along with Sheryl Handler, founded in 1982. This information is widely available on the web. The so-called supercomputer is therefore clearly not the child of Mr. Emeagwali by even the most generous stretch of the imagination.

Internet Pioneer?

Mr. Emeagwali claims to have used the CM-2 Machine to carry out billions of calculations by connecting over 65,000 processors (computers) around the world. He claims that this was the rudimentary foundation of the Internet. It is on this ground that he has aggrandized to himself the title of “father of the internet.” But this is a barefaced lie at worst and an egregious exaggeration at best. And it is so absurd in its circular logic that it is hilarious. First, as stated earlier, Emeagwali did not invent the Connection Machine on which his “experiment” relied. Second, Emeagwali used more than 65,000 independent processors “around the world” (meaning on the Internet) to do his calculation. This means that the Internet already existed and that he RELIED ON it for his calculations. Unless the Internet he claims to have fathered is different from the Internet that already existed at the time of his experiment (and which we all know as the existing internet today), he COULD NOT have invented the Internet or fathered it. He could not have been using an internet that, by his claim, did not exist until he invented it. As this website http://www.boutell.com/newfaq/history/emeagwali.html makes very clear, Emeagwali’s research did not contribute to or help invent any of the known components of what we now know as the internet:

Philip Emeagwali did work in supercomputing in the [late] eighties……. But supercomputing and the Internet are very different areas. And Emeagwali did not contribute to even one of the hundreds of Internet standards, or RFCs (Requests For Comments), that were created in the early decades of the Internet—an open process that anyone could participate in. His supercomputing research was completely unrelated to the Internet.

Emeagwali’s research was thus irrelevant to the evolution of the internet. Emeagwali did his supercomputing experiment in the late 1980s. By then, the “core standards” and protocols for information and data flow on the Internet already existed. And although, improvements have been made to the template since then, Emeagwali did not make any of those improvements and cannot therefore claim credit for them.

Emeagwali’s tenuous—and fraudulent—claim to internet fatherhood rests on his assertion that “the Supercomputer is the father of the Internet,” “because both are networks of computers working together.” This, experts agree, is not true, as supercomputing is just one component of the Internet and in fact RELIES ON the rudiments of what we know as the internet to work. So, if anything, the internet concept is the father of supercomputing, not vice versa. But even if we accept Emeagwali’s wrong logic, the fact that he did not invent or pioneer supercomputing means that even on this flawed premise and logic he cannot be considered a father of the internet.

Authentic histories of the internet are accessible all over the web. One can be found here: http://www.isoc.org/internet/history/brief.shtml#SC69. Many people played leading roles in inventing, improving, and constituting the vast technologies, protocols, and ideas that gave birth to and perfected the Internet. It is interesting that none of them is nearly as vocal in claiming that he is a father of the internet as Mr. Emeagwali, who did not contribute to the invention of the internet in any shape or form and in fact relied on the already existing internet to conduct his research. One of the most significant contributors to and pioneers of the internet is Vinton Cerf, who is today a Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google Inc. Other important figures in the development of the Internet include JCR Licklider, Bob Taylor, Paul Baran, Donald Davies, and Lawrence Roberts. If anyone deserves the title of father of the Internet, it is these people. Yet, none of them craves or has appropriated the title. When interviewed about their contribution to the Internet, they often humbly outline their actual contribution, crediting others with other components and shunning the title or insinuation of having fathered the Internet.

The only “history of the internet” source to even recognize Emeagwali as a legitimate computer scientist to be mentioned when chronicling the history of the internet is the book History of the Internet: A Chronology, 1843 to the Present by Christos J. P. Moschovitis, Hilary Poole, Tami Schuyler, Theresa M. Senft. The book was published in 2001. Although Mr. Emeagwali proudly displays the book’s reference to him on his website and claims that the “father of the internet” moniker (which has since been lazily picked up by several media platforms) originated in the book, there is absolutely no such reference in the book. The book’s reference to Emeagwali only states how Emeagwali’s research “effectively stimulate[d] petroleum reserves” by “harnessing the power of parallel computing.” And it is clear from a cursory analysis of the linguistic properties of this specific reference to Emeagwali that Emeagwali himself supplied the material and the claims articulated in it. It is also clear from the reference that it has nothing to do with the internet but is about improving the modeling of oilfields or oil reservoirs. The content and prose are eerily identical to the autobiographical write-ups and claims on Emeagwali.com and on black websites that simply lift and republish Emeagwali’s claims and self-written biography.

The Nobel Prize Of Computing?

Emeagwali’s other claim is that of winning the “Nobel Prize of Computing.” He is, of course, referring to the Gordon Bell Prize, which he won in 1989. Many uninformed observers have since picked up this fraudulent reference, which emanated from Emeagwali.com, and given it wings. The truth is that the Gordon Bell Prize does not come close to the Nobel in status, recognition or prize money and to compare the two prizes is to insult the prestige of the Nobel and grossly exaggerate the Gordon Bell’s importance. The Gordon Bell Prize is, properly speaking, an annual competition that young, driven, engineering upstarts — mostly graduate students — enter. Winners are usually those whose research are innovative and on the cutting edge of new processes in the field. So, on that score, winning the Gordon Bell Prize is a reward for doing research work that is important and solves an application problem at the time that the award is given.  But let us put the award in perspective and recognize that it is actually a very minor award in the narrow field of supercomputing and in the larger computing and scientific community. Here is why the Gordon Bell Prize, Emeagwali’s only legitimate achievement, is much less than what he has portrayed it as:

•    The cash award for the prize is a mere $1000.  Often, the amount of an award is a good guide to its prestige and significance in the field.
•    Consider the fact that the most prestigious prize in the field of computing (and yet it cannot even be called the Nobel of Computing without insulting the real Nobel) is the Turing Prize, which carries a cash prize of $100,000. •    The Gordon Bell is awarded in the narrow subfield of supercomputing, thereby further thinning the applicant pool and reducing the intensity of the competition. •    The prize is further subdivided into several categories. Emeagwali won in one of those categories, the price/performance category. The more prestigious overall Peak Performance category was won by the entry submitted by a team from Mobil and TMC. •    It is interesting that apart from Emeagwali no other winner(s) of the Gordon Bell annual prize makes noise about winning it or claims to have won “the Nobel Prize of Computing.” They usually go on to do bigger and better research in the field, the Gordon Bell being just a launch pad for future significant work. The public does not even know the other winners because it is a minor prize even in the field of computing. •    Finally, and most importantly, Philip Emeagwali only won the prize in the price/performance category by default. His calculation of 3.1 Gflops was the second fastest speed. The fastest speed belonged to the Mobil/TMC team’s entry, whose calculation, according to the official record of the IEEE, which administers the prize (IEEE Software, May 1990, p. 101), bested Emeagwali’s speed. The speed of the Mobil/TMC Team’s solution to the seismic data processing problem was almost twice that of Emeagwali’s at almost 6Gflops. Similarly, and of more relevance for our purpose here, the Mobil/TMC team’s entry achieved the best speed/cost ratio (price-performance) at 500 Mflops per $1 Million, beating out Emeagwali’s entry, whose speed/cost ration was less than 400 Mflops per $1 Million. In fact the prize in the price/performance category was actually awarded to the Mobil/TMC initially. However, because the Mobil TMC team won also won in the overall Peak Performance category and the IEEE’s prize rule does not allow more than one prize per entry, the Mobil/TMC team forfeited their prize in the price/performance category, sticking with the prize for overall Peak Performance, a more significant category. As a result, Emeagwali’s entry, the second placed entry with the second highest speed/cost ratio, was automatically bumped to first place.

For all these reasons, it is the height of self-promotion and delusional exaggeration for Mr. Emeagwali to claim that he won the Nobel Prize of Computing or that the Gordon Bell is regarded as the Nobel of Computing. Nobody except Mr. Emeagwali regards the prize as such.

It is noteworthy that both Emeagwali and the Mobile/TMC Team relied on the CM-2 Machine (the Connection Machine) for their calculations, the same machine that Emeagwali falsely claims to have invented!

A final point to note here is that the research for which he won the Gordon Bell Prize (by default) has application and relevance only in the narrow area of oil flow reservoir modeling and oil prospecting. His entry for the competition utilized and optimized the capacity of parallel computing, that is, relied on an already existing Internet. Emeagwali’s own website states that he “accessed the supercomputers over the Internet from local workstations.” Neither the research nor the prize had anything to do with the Internet. The Internet was already invented and fairly perfected by then; otherwise he would not be, in his own words, “accessing the supercomputers over the Internet.” This clarification is necessary and important because some of Emeagwali’s supporters and victims tend to assume wrongly that his purported fatherhood of the internet derives from the research for which he won the Gordon Bell Prize. All these facts can be easily accessed here: http://www33.brinkster.com/iiiii/inventions/emeag.html “Dr.” Emeagwali Or Doctored Emeagwali?

Emeagwali’s final fraudulent claim is that of being a “doctor” and “professor.” Several years ago, before eagle-eyed Nigerians and Africans decided to scrutinize his eye-popping claims, his website audaciously referred to him as “doctor” and “Professor.” Because of recent exposures of his scam, he no longer refers to himself on his website as “Dr. Emeagwali” or “Professor Emeagwali.” However, in what is typical of the Emeagwali scam, his website is still littered with many media references to “Dr Emeagwali” and “Professor Emeagwali.” These stealthily promoted references then get picked up by unsuspecting black media people who are eager to promote black achievement and excellence. Sometimes, he approaches black websites and organizations, asking them to link to or publish his false claims. In the course of the discussion on the USAfricadialogue forum, Ms. Funmi Okelola , the owner and webmaster of cafeafricana.com, revealed that Mr. Emeagwali approached her a few years ago, asking her to help propagate the lie that he is “a father of the internet.” Ms. Okelola, herself an Adjunct Professor of IT, flatly turned down his request, refusing to participate vicariously in his fraud. For good measure, she advised him to seek help for his delusions of grandeur.

But many proprietors of black websites and publications have not been as alert to Emeagwali’s antics as Ms. Okelola and have been falling for his scam. In their eagerness to embrace what they believe to be the proud achievements of a “brother,” they have inadvertently donated space and platform to Emeagwali to consolidate and spread his false claims. Because of the virility of the internet, even some non-black websites have picked up these ubiquitous references that are patently false. Here, on this website http://www.answers.com/topic/philip-emeagwali for instance you will find a clear reference not only to “Dr Emeagwali” but also the following reference in their documentation of his education: “Ph.D., Scientific Computing, University of Michigan, 1993.”

He will not correct what is clearly a false reference, preferring to take cover in the deniability of being able to say that it is others, not him, who use these false, unearned titles to refer to him. The reason he will not correct this falsehood is that it emanated from him in the first place; most of the references were picked up from his website in the days before scrutiny spooked him into avoiding such direct self-referencing. The clearest evidence yet of his complicity and culpability in this misrepresentation is that he sits through interviews where the clueless, awed interviewers refer to him as “Doctor Emeagwali” and “Professor Emeagwali” and he does not correct them. There is a particularly revolting video on youtube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMFy9sBLFQQ&feature=related>(http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8244498418903739405#) in which the female interview repeatedly calls him Dr. Emeagwali, obviously assuming and/or reading from her script that he has a PhD. He sits there and nods and smiles through those references without correcting her. Having planted the false biographical information about himself in the first instance, he understandably makes no effort to discourage people from using it or to correct them.

The false references to him as “doctor” and “professor” are not the only falsehoods that Emeagwali coyly and deftly promotes; he routinely lets interlocutors repeat the many false claims that are based on his own prolific misrepresentations. On this website http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa111097a.htm, for instance, the misinformed interviewer, a black woman who is proudly interviewing “a black inventor” for a book she was writing on black inventors, asks him the following question: “You have submitted 41 inventions to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office concerning seven technologies. Can you give us expanded details?” Clearly, the interviewer was repeatedly the false claim on Emeagwali’s website and in his self-written biographical profiles, without realizing that, as we showed at the beginning of this essay, he has no patent for any technology or invention.

Here is Mr. Emeagwali’s response to her question: “Inventors are reluctant to provide expanded details of their inventions until they receive full patent protection. The reason is that the Patent and Trademark Office can deny patents to inventors that publicly provide details of their invention.” But the truth is that he has neither registered patents for his non-existent inventions nor a patent-pending status. He has no inventions or technologies to patent! The response itself contains a lie. Contrary to Emeagwali’s insinuation that inventors cannot publicly discuss their work until they are patented or that doing so would jeopardize their patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), inventions and products with “Patent Pending” status are routinely discussed, advertized, and marketed on American television. In fact these public discussions of unpatented inventions always carry the disclaimer that patents are pending, meaning that applications have been made. If public discussion of inventions and technologies were detrimental to patent applications, none of these unpatented and “patent pending” technologies and inventions would be on the American market or be advertized on television. This was Emeagwali seeking to perpetuate the myth that he has several technological inventions that are patented or awaiting patents but avoiding having to mention or discussion the specific fictitious inventions for which he claims to have patents in order to have deniability when checks are made at the USPTO and he is confronted with the truth of his falsehood. Racism Or Laziness?

The case of Philip Emeagwali is a cautionary tale on the pitfalls of self-delusion, laziness, and a sense of entitlement. Mr. Emeagwali enrolled in a doctoral program in Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1987. His coursework over, he took the comprehensive examination that qualifies one for candidacy. He failed the exam twice and did not take it a third time. In the meantime, he conducted the research that would later win him the Gordon Bell Prize, a research he began as a class project for one of his graduate courses. In 1991, two years after winning the Gordon Bell by default, he petitioned the Dean of the School of Engineering to be allowed to submit a dissertation (despite not having passed his candidacy exam and therefore not being a doctoral candidate) in a different department — the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. His request was curiously granted in what was clearly a sidestepping of standard procedure. Emeagwali submitted the dissertation, basically a rework of his entry for the Gordon Bell competition, on July 24, 1992. A team of internal and external evaluators examined it and found it unworthy of a doctorate and turned it down.

Emeagwali then sued the University of Michigan for racial discrimination. The lawsuit was dismissed for lacking merit and also failed on appeal in 1999. The details of Emeagwali’s graduate school records and of the dueling contentions in the lawsuit are all documented here http://www.michbar.org/opinions/appeals/1999/102999/5473.html in the court record of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

A dispassionate analysis of the details, affidavits, and arguments submitted in the lawsuit and in the appeals process reveals the following:

•    Emeagwali was a fairly brilliant student but he was lazy and would not put in the work necessary to earn his degree.

•    He had a sense of entitlement, feeling that since he was black and had made it into the University of Michigan, he was entitled to a special treatment and academic favors.

•    This sense of entitlement escalated after he won the Gordon Bell Prize. He thought that he was entitled to a PhD on the strength of the Gordon Bell competition entry when in fact he was not even a doctoral candidate, having failed his comprehensive examination twice.

•    Emeagwali was more concerned with parlaying his newfound default Gordon Bell fame into profitable self-promotion than with the serious academic effort required to complete the PhD.

•    He petitioned to be allowed to submit a dissertation only after he realized that he would not be taken seriously as a researcher and may not be able to find a secure job in research or teaching if he did not possess a PhD.

This is a story of how a promising, modestly brilliant graduate student was destroyed by his own hubris, entitlement mentality, and laziness. What Emeagwali failed to earn through hard work and diligence, he has since appropriated to himself by calling himself and getting others to call him “doctor” and “professor.”

Emeagwali is not a doctor of whatever kind. He is not a professor. He has not held any research or teaching job in any educational or research institution since he failed to get a doctorate degree at Michigan. He has also not done any new research. Emeagwali has no single publication in any scientific journal. A search of the most comprehensive scientific publication database (which can be done online) yields only a reference to his Masters Degree dissertation.

Here we have a man who is unemployed, has no serious standing in the scientific, engineering, or computing communities. Yet he is widely referred to as “a father of the internet,” “an internet pioneer,” “the greatest black scientist that ever lived,” “Bill Gates of Africa,” among other over-the-top and unearned titles. The question to pose is: how did the world get so deceived and why did many reputable people and organizations buy into Emeagwali’s con job? Emeagwali is a very industrious, persistent, and successful scam artist; you have to give him that. Very few intellectual frauds have successfully mainstreamed their false claims as Emeagwali has done. Intellectual Fraud And Its Unwitting Validators

Even former president Bill Clinton was suckered by the fraud, famously referring to Emeagwali as “one of the great minds of the information age” in his speech to the Nigerian National Assembly in 2000. The Clinton reference has provided cover and alibi for Emeagwali to perfect and spread his false claims. Predictably, Emeagwali’s defenders point to the Clinton reference and to CNN’s and TIME Magazine’s references to him as “a father of the internet” and “the unsung hero” of the internet age respectively. These references are boldly displayed on Emeagali.com for the obvious purpose of convincing the uninformed that his claims have been vetted and endorsed by these entities. The problem is that these media organizations sadly endorsed the claims without vetting them. Part of it is sloppiness, but much of it is the result of what black intellectuals who live in the West understand and experience as white liberal pandering, which is itself borne out of white liberal guilt and the fear of the “r” word (racism).

Obviously Clinton was pandering to his Nigerian hosts who believed Emeagwali to be a scientific genius and national hero. Clinton, the savvy politician that he is, and a man who perfected white liberal outreach and pandering to black/African peoples, was relying on the image and descriptions of Emeagwali that was already in the black and mainstream press —descriptions that are traceable to Emeagwali’s own misrepresentations on his websites. What Emeagwali does is so clever as to ensnare even a skeptical and vigilant observer, especially one that is already inclined to believe or seek out claims of black scientific achievement for whatever reason. As indicated earlier, Emeagwali plants these autobiographical write-ups that are ridden with falsehoods and misrepresentations in unsuspecting black publications. He does this by aggressively pitching these claims to their editors as he tried to do unsuccessfully with Ms. Okelola. Then, fired by liberal guilt and a desire to seem welcoming to black achievement and excellence, the mainstream media like TIME and CNN, lazily pick up these references and descriptions. Emeagwali then links to, disseminates, and publicizes these mainstream press references and descriptions (which are actually based on his own descriptions of himself and his “achievements”), thus perfecting and furthering the fraud. This way, he creates deniability for himself. The deception comes full circle but the cycle continues to repeat itself, populating and repopulating the Internet with Emeagwali’s falsehoods.

The sophistication and complexity of the fraud notwithstanding, there is no excuse for reputable organizations like CNN and TIME not to have done a simple due diligence on the false claims of Emeagwali. It is true that at the time that TIME and CNN made the glowing references to Emeagwali, the now widely available refutations of his claims were probably not yet available on the internet. Even so, a basic inquiry from the appropriate quarters would have revealed the truth about the claims on which the references to Emeagwali were based. The two reputable organizations failed to carry out this basic fact checking, an elemental reportorial and investigative duty of journalists. Instead, they relied on Emeagwali’s widely disseminated falsehoods for their stories. The case of TIME is particularly scandalous. The story in which it extols Emeagwali is clearly directly based on Emeagwali’s own autobiographical claims on Emeagwali.com. In fact it is a faithful, almost verbatim reproduction of Emeagwali’s self-written profile. It is lazy, sloppy journalism at its worst.

There is similarly no excuse for President Clinton’s speech writers not to have done basic checks or asked some of the president’s own appointees and advisers who are engineers and scientists about the true value of Emeagwali’s work. Had they done this relatively simply investigation, they would have realized that being a default winner in one category of a minor supercomputing competition for work that has a specific, limited application in the narrow field of oil reservoir modeling does not qualify one to be called “one of the greatest minds of the information age.”

A Self-Replicating Fraud

When challenged, Emeagwali and his supporters can say he is merely repeating and linking to what others call him and say about him and that he does not call himself a father of the internet or a doctor or a professor. But the fraud is a self-replicating one, perpetuating and proliferating itself across both the print and virtual media worlds. Other publications that are searching for black scientific achievers do an internet search and then rely on the previous press descriptions of Emeagwali, which ultimately lead back to the man’s fraudulent biographical claims on his own website. The lazy journalists and Pan-African activists lift these published claims and references (which emanated from the man himself), concluding that they must be established facts if other media outlets had already published them. And on and on it goes. It is a very sophisticated fraud that is aided by the virility of the Internet. This is precisely how even the prestigious Law School Admission Test (LSAT) ended up including a passage about Emeagwali in their test, a passage that is exactly the same as what Emeagwali published on Emeagwali.com about himself!! The examiners at the LSAT did not even bother to rewrite the passage. Nor did they bother to check the veracity of the claims therein.  It is clear that they were simply interested including a passage about a “black achiever” to fulfill the need for diversity of content and to deflect or avoid accusations from black test takers and other minority groups that the test does not represent or reflect the experiences of black people and is thus biased against them.

White liberal patronage of black people can be that shallow and sloppy — and insulting to the very people it purports to promote. It is political correctness and pandering marinated in a political agenda–that of ingratiating white liberal politicians and figures to blacks for political support and multicultural validation. The peak of this phenomenon is Black History Month in February when white liberal organizations and black institutions alike pull out all the stops to have self-promoting “black achievers” like Emeagwali speak to them. That’s when they get invited by white liberal and African American organizations to showcase black achievement and innovation! White liberal patronage is a big industry in America. It takes many forms; one of them is what Pius Adesanmi calls the Mercy Industrial Complex (MIC). But the MIC is not as offensive as the false flattery and the silly excuses and defenses that white liberals advance for cuddling black failures and frauds. Hero-seeking black organizations have not helped matters with their patronage of people like Emeagwali. Emeagwali’s deception succeeds so well because of a multiracial coalition of consumers and enablers.

Emeagwali is a very clever, self-conscious scam artist. That is however no excuse for the black community to allow itself to be used to actively promote a fraud.

Testimonies To Fraud And Deception

A participant in the USAfricadialogue discussion, Professor Pablo Idahosa of York University, Toronto told of how, as the institution’s Director of African Studies, he summarily dismissed the request of black students in the institution who came to him seeking sponsorship for their proposal to bring Mr. Emeagwali to the campus to speak to them. Professor Idahosa told of how a cursory scrutiny of the biography that Emeagwali had supplied to the student group convinced him that the man was a fraud and his claims false. Subsequently, he declined to fund the proposed event, refusing to use the institutions name and funds to validate a deception.

Another member of the forum, Dr. Ola Kassim revealed how he had been taken by Emeagwali’s claims when he stumbled on them and how he, as the leader of a Nigerian group in Canada, had decided to invite the self-proclaimed “computer genius” to speak to the group.  In a demand that fleshes out the pecuniary motivations for Emeagwali’s persistence in perpetuating his fraud, he requested for an honorarium of $10,000, round the clock limousine service, a five-star hotel accommodation, and first class plane tickets for him and an assistant. Dr. Kassim promptly discontinued correspondence with Mr. Emeagwali, seeing his demands as grossly unreasonable. A few years later, he was glad that he did, as he became exposed to the mountain of evidence proving that Emeagwali is not what — and who — he claims to be. Other African organizations with deeper pockets have been paying up Emeagwali’s ridiculous and undeserved fees, believing that they are paying an African “internet pioneer” and “inventor” to inspire them. It is a classic case of obtaining financial gratification through misrepresentations and false pretenses, what is called 419 in Nigerian parlance. Some white liberal groups also pay Emeagwali to talk about his “achievements” as a way to satisfy their Afrophilic sensibilities and assuage their consciences. These gullible and not-so-gullible deep-pocketed groups keep Emeagwali in business, enabling the jobless Emeagwali to make a living off his deception. They have unwittingly helped him solidify his fraud as he routinely posts videos and audios from these events on his website to further cement his self-created legend. The irony of paying Emeagwali to inspire and motivate black (and white liberal) audiences is that, as one commentator remarked, in addition to being an intellectual fraud, Mr. Emeagwali has no personal charisma, lacks the oratorical skills of a motivational speaker, and, for a man who is fairly well educated with two Masters degrees, has terrible English speaking skills as evident in his online videos.

Yet another member of the forum, Wassa Fatti, a Gambian resident in London, narrated how he had been a fanatical believer in Emeagwali as an African scientific hero and thanked members for providing the overwhelming evidence that convinced him of Emeagwali’s monumental, sophisticated fraud. He was so enamored of Emeagwali’s legend that he, along with like-minded Africans, wanted to write a children’s inspiration book on the fraudulent self-promoter. In his own words, the project was abandoned when even those who were most vocal in touting Emeagwali’s claims and “achievements” could not find independent corroborations for any of the claims and after they realized that every single claim about his accomplishment, except the Gordon Bell Prize, led right back to Emeagwali.com. Fatti writes: “I abandoned [the] project….when others raised concerns that we need evidence to support Emeagwali’s claim. Those who were loudest among us to produce such a booklet were also the least to provide evidence beyond Philip Emeagwali’s verbal claim.”

Why Emeagwali Is Bad For Nigeria/Africa

Some people acknowledge Emeagwali’s deception but suggest that it should be understood in the context of America’s broader culture of self-promotion, deceptive enterprise, profit-motivated lies, and self-misrepresentation. It is true that this culture makes it easier for people like Emeagwali to thrive and inflict their fraud on society. But ultimately, Emeagwali, like everyone else, has to be held personally responsible for his transgressions.

Other Nigerians argue that Emeagwali’s scam has not hurt anyone personally, that it is a victimless fraud. By this logic, exposing Emeagwali’s fraud hurts the image of Nigerians and black people more than it helps it. There is some technical veracity in that argument. But the cost of non-exposure to Nigeria is much greater. There are now as many web postings and videos clearly exposing the intellectual con artistry of Mr. Emeagwali as there are websites and web postings celebrating him. Every time his scam is highlighted, his Nigerian nationality is mentioned to reinforce the stereotypical notion that Nigerians are shifty, lying frauds. His Africanness and blackness also become factors that are invoked to explain his fraudulent ways.  So, image-wise, every hard working, honest, achieving Nigerian (intellectual or otherwise, scientist or not) is sullied by Emeagwali’s scam. Every discussion of Emeagwali’s fraudulent self-promotion casts a dark shadow on Nigerians with hard-earned reputations; their genuine achievements are put on trial with every discussion of Emeagwali’s serial dishonesty. They are victims of Emeagwali’s fraudulent activities. His fraud taints Nigeria and Nigerians.

Emeagwali’s quest for a short cut to fame and recognition and his subsequent refusal to take responsibility for his misguided actions and inactions has hurt black people everywhere. Experts on racism believe that every false, frivolous racism allegation or lawsuit actually harms the struggle for racial equality and justice because it makes future, genuine allegations of racism less believable and less credible in the eyes of the dominant white power and judicial structure. This is the damage that Emeagwali’s frivolous recourse to the racism card in his Michigan travails has inflicted on the struggle of black people for equality in America and elsewhere.

Some people argue that Emeagwali should not be denigrated because of his failure to finish his PhD and that many of the giants of the information revolution do not have PhDs. This is true. Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Jobs, Danny Hills, Vint Cerf, and the founders of Google all do not have PhDs. Yet they have gone on to do great things that have transformed the world, as we know it. But the difference between these people and Philip Emeagwali is like night and day. Unlike Emeagwali, these are actual pioneers of various technologies and protocols with documented patents to truly pioneering and innovative technologies. These people celebrate the fact that they do not have doctorate degrees, wearing it as a badge of honor, thereby intensifying the inspirational effect of their life stories and accomplishments. They don’t go around calling themselves “Dr.” and “Professor” like Mr. Emeagwali. In fact, the most well known of these information age pioneers, Bill Gates, proudly proclaims the fact that he dropped out of college to pursue his dream. Unlike Emeagwali, these people do not go around claiming to have patents that they do not have.

The fact is that one does not need a PhD to contribute to scientific knowledge or to invent technologies and techniques that improve human life. That is precisely why Emeagwali’s false claim of being a PhD holder and a professor is so galling. He has a Masters Degree in Engineering from a respected university and does not need a PhD to pursue his intellectual or scientific dreams. He could get a job with his qualification and earn a respectable, honest, decent living. Yet he felt the need to misrepresent himself as a “doctor” and “Professor.” This shows that his fraud is clearly not motivated by necessity, self-preservation, or survival, but by greed and a desire to secure unearned gratifications.

Some people say: “why expose Emeagwali when he is inspiring our people to embrace computers?” The answer to that is that a fraudster should not be the one inspiring “our” people, especially impressionable young black people, who will eventually realize that Emeagwali is a fraud and be devastated. Others argue that Emeagwali is a harmless, self-promoting charlatan who poses much less threat to Nigeria than the thieving politicians in Abuja. There is some truth to that, but the intellectual, activist, progressive, and media constituencies of Nigeria have no moral right to rail against Salisu Buhari and Bola Tinubu’s certificate and biographical deceptions if they cannot hold one of their own to account for his multiple deceptions.

Ignoring Genuine Nigerian Scientific Achievers

The most important reason why celebrating the likes of Mr. Emeagwali is ultimately detrimental to Nigeria (and by extension Africa) is that it takes attention away from the genuine black/Nigerian achievers that deserve to be celebrated and projected as models of black/Nigerian ingenuity. It is an outrage that, as African intellectuals were discussing Mr. Emeagwali’s multi-layered fraud on the USAfricadialogue forum, the exploit of Professor John Dabiri, who recently won a McArthur Genius Award, received barely a blip in the Nigerian and black press. Professor Dabiri is a fluid dynamics expert at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and was among a select few who received the highly prestigious prize that carries a $500,000 cash award.

Another Nigerian, Dr. Joseph Igietseme, led a team of scientists at the prestigious, Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control (CDC) to win this year’s award for outstanding research. Yet another Nigerian, Professor Sam Adeloju beat out 14 finalists to win the James Dyson International Design Award with a device he calls Buoyancy Bazooka that can be shot to a drowning person to save their life at sea. This innovative Nigerian scientist and designer barely got any attention among Nigerians and black people.

In literature, Professor Pius Adesanmi recently won the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing, the latest in a long line of young Nigerian writers to win prestigious awards in the last 15 years. One does not even have to mention the Nobel-winning Wole Soyinka, or the multiple award winning Chinua Achebe, whose Things Fall Apart is the most translated work of fiction in Africa and perhaps the world. These two giants are not on Nigeria postage stamps, but intellectual frauds like Emeagwali and Gabriel Oyibo (of GAGUT infamy) are!

Inviting And Enabling Intellectual Fraud

The degree to which Nigeria and Nigeria celebrate people of fraudulent and inflated reputations lends credence to the contention of Professor Pablo Idahosa that Philip Emeagwali was created by “the embarrassing Pan-“Afrikan” infantile, therapeutic achievism that afflicts so many black people [the] world over — the need to find heroes that result in a cathartic sycophancy of anything achieved by black folks.” Professor Mobolaji Aluko, who teaches Chemical Engineering at Howard University, echoed a similar sentiment, describing the tragedy of Emeagwali as an indictment of black people’s gullibility and their unquestioning and naïve commitment to racial solidarity on whatever premise. His words ring compellingly true:

The tragedy is not just Emeagwali’s – who may truly believe what he peddles on his website and his world-wide motivational speeches within the Black circuit that clutches for heroes, particularly in the technical fields apart from sports and the humanities – but those spectators who insist of being conned, or else indicate that Emeagwali serves a harmless, motivational purpose. Racial therapy is a dangerous enterprise because it emotionalizes what should belong to the realm of reasoned skepticism and intense interrogation. It leads to the celebration of mediocre and phony members of a racial community. Consequently, real black scientific heroes and achievers are ignored. Conclusion

Mr. Philip Emeagwali is entrenched in his fraud. Being jobless, he earns a living off it. He will not come clean on his own, for that would be economic suicide. It is therefore the duty of everyone invested in black scientific achievement to educate himself on Mr. Emeagwali’s pyramid of intellectual fraud. Mr. Emeagwali knows that there will always be gullible black people and guilt-ridden white liberals to swindle with his false claims. We recognize that there will always be Nigerians and black people who will not get off the self-comforting bandwagon of Emeagwali’s fraud regardless of how much evidence one puts out. Some of it is ego. Some of it is a naïve, misplaced desire to find black heroism where none exists. This essay may not sway those people. But there are many Nigerians, Africans, and black people the world over who are honest, humble, and open-minded enough to recognize and accept that the man they have been led to adore and lionize is a compulsive liar, intellectual fraudster, and a shameless, self-promoting exaggerator. Those people deserve the truth about Mr. Philip Emeagwali.

 

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HOW TO COPE WITH TRAFFIC IN LAGOS

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2012 at 11:26 am
  • Take something with me to read. Then if the traffic doesn’t move at all, I don’t get so frustrated.
  • When the traffic is crawling along, listen to the news on the car radio or to a recording of the Bible. In this way you have something other than traffic to think about.
  • As a rule, never use the horn, since it just disturbs others and serves no purpose. By showing courtesy to other drivers, avoid stress and help others to do the same.
  • Try to be calm when you encounter aggressive drivers, and give them a wide berth. There is no substitute for patience.

For short distances, walking or cycling may be the best solution. In many cases either alternative will prove quicker, easier, and healthier. For longer distances, public transportation might be the ideal option. Many cities are trying to improve bus, metro, and rail services to entice people to leave their cars behind. Using these services may also mean saving money. Even though you may have to drive part of the way, you could possibly use public transportation for accessing the city center.

If you must drive, consider the possibility of carpooling. This is one of the most effective ways of reducing rush-hour traffic. In the United States, 88 percent of all commuters use automobiles, and about two thirds of these travel alone. Convincing a significant percentage of people to travel together to work “could produce dramatic effects on the levels of delay and congestion during peak periods,” states Stuck in Traffic. Furthermore, in many places fast lanes have been designated for cars with two or more persons. Cars with only one person are not allowed to use such lanes.

If you have some control over the time when you travel, try to avoid rush-hour traffic. This will make things easier for you and for other motorists. And if you park properly, your vehicle will not impede the free flow of traffic. Of course, even the best plans will not guarantee that you don’t get stuck in a traffic jam. At such times, having the right attitude can do a lot to ease the frustration.

 

  • Clearly, if you live in a large city, you will have to live with traffic congestion. Nevertheless, by individually taking responsible measures and by displaying courtesy and patience toward other drivers, you can learn to cope with the trials of traffic.City driving and punctuality are not always compatible. courtesy, Awake!

 

BUSINESS AS USUAL IN NIGERIA?

In ANYTHING on April 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

BUSINESS FORUM

Dangote Cement’s Ibese Plant Kicks Off

“We are marking the closing ceremony of cement import in Nigeria with the coming on stream of our Ibese cement plant, which will be producing a combined six-million tons per annum from its initial two lines while additional two line will be added immediately to increase its production to 12 million tons per annum”.

Anthony Chiejina, Group Head, Corporate Communications of Dangote, also noted: “Considering that Nigeria’s cement need is between 17 to 19 million tons per year, by implication, with the coming on stream of Ibese, what Dangote Group alone will be producing will be far more than the country’s demand. That will set the pace for exportation of our products, which will lead to increased products, more revenue for the company and better returns for the shareholders.”

Flour Mills Invests 7 billion in Edible Oils

Flour Mills Nigeria Plc has concluded arrangements for the establishment of an edible oil manufacturing plant in Ibadan, Oyo state.

The plant will have a daily capacity of 500 tonnes of edible oil and will serve as raw materials input for the company’s Animal Feed Mill operations.

Paul Gbededo, Head of Flour Mills Agro-Industrial Division, stated that this investment is a phase in a larger N 20 billion investment campaign focused on the cultivation and extraction of edible oil from soybean and palm.

Phase 1 consisted of the expansion of soybean cultivation capabilities in Kaboji, Niger state and the acquisition of an existing oil extraction and refining company in Ibadan.

The new plant, to be commissioned in this second stage, will more than double the extraction capacity to 500 metric tons per day of Soy and 300 metric tons per day of palm kernel. The extracted crude oils will be refined in 400 metric tons per day state-of-the-art multi-oil refinery to be established on a new site purchased for this purpose.  100 metric tons per day fractionation plant will split 100 metric tons per day of the refined palm oil into Olein, which will be bottled for retail consumption, and Stearines for industrial use.

The third stage of the company’s investment in edible oils will be the establishment of palm plantations to augment local raw material supplies, and the establishment of an additional 750 metric tons per day multi oil refinery and margarine packaging plant at Agbara Industrial Estate, Lagos State.

JOB VACANCY TODAY IN NAIJA: CAREER IN JOURNALISM

In LATEST JOBS IN NIGERIA TODAY/ CAREER OPPORTUNITIES & DEVELOPMENTS on February 21, 2012 at 8:29 am
Financial Reporter- Lagos, Nigeria

Mergermarket – Nigeria
Job Description

Mergermarket, the world’s leading M&A news service, is looking to appoint an experienced and hardworking freelance reporter based in Lagos, Nigeria. The post involves writing exclusive news stories on mergers and acquisitions across all sectors, interviewing senior executives and attending conferences and meetings in the country.

The ideal candidate should have experience in financial/business reporting and have excellent spoken and written English skills. Candidates must have previous work experience in financial journalism in order to apply. Candidates should be willing to travel within the country at times and must comply with mergermarket’s strict ethical guidelines.

The post will suit reporters who are able to regularly deliver quality copy while working independently and with reporters and editors abroad. Part-time freelancers will be accepted as long as there is no conflict of interest between their other jobs and our product.

Please contact our senior reporter in West and Central Africa, Kimberly Johnson, kimberly.johnson@mergermarket.com if you are interested, or can recommend someone who is. A professional CV and at least three copies of published articles should be submitted with a proper cover letter to be considered for this position.

Desired Skills & Experience

Print reporting and writing skills

Business and economics journalism skills

VACANCY: FINANCIAL REPORTER – LAGOS

In LATEST JOBS IN NIGERIA TODAY/ CAREER OPPORTUNITIES & DEVELOPMENTS on February 17, 2012 at 11:22 am

Financial Reporter- Lagos, Nigeria

Mergermarket – Nigeria

Job Description

Mergermarket, the world’s leading M&A news service, is looking to appoint an experienced and hardworking freelance reporter based in Lagos, Nigeria. The post involves writing exclusive news stories on mergers and acquisitions across all sectors, interviewing senior executives and attending conferences and meetings in the country.

The ideal candidate should have experience in financial/business reporting and have excellent spoken and written English skills. Candidates must have previous work experience in financial journalism in order to apply. Candidates should be willing to travel within the country at times and must comply with mergermarket’s strict ethical guidelines.

The post will suit reporters who are able to regularly deliver quality copy while working independently and with reporters and editors abroad. Part-time freelancers will be accepted as long as there is no conflict of interest between their other jobs and our product.

 

Please contact our senior reporter in West and Central Africa, Kimberly Johnson, kimberly.johnson@mergermarket.com if you are interested, or can recommend someone who is. A professional CV and at least three copies of published articles should be submitted with a proper cover letter to be considered for this position.

Desired Skills & Experience

Print reporting and writing skills

Business and economics journalism skills

GSM ROGUES: MTN, GLO, AIRTEL AND ETISALAT

In ESSAY on February 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm

THE GREAT GAMBLERS

How telecom operators swindle unwary Nigerians of several billions of Naira via promo sham.

Bayo Akinloye

The incessant short messages (sms) sent to subscribers’ phones are too promising to ignore. The game-show prize-money is so stupendous to jettison. Thus, ubiquitous media glitz spun by various telecoms firms through wild sales promos, tempting game (gambling) shows, and misleading sms solicitations has continued to catch in its webs unwary and greedy subscribers.

As early as 4:00am almost every weekend, Saturday or Sunday, scores of youths and a mix of adults troop to Murhi International Plaza, in Ikeja, Lagos, to put down their names in a register, as audience-participants in a game-show. At about 7:30am, the about hundred early birds are given a tag each, by personnel Ultima Ventures – producers of the show -, as pass to enter the game auditorium. With keen eyes and palpitating hearts each one in the audience sits, hopeful of sitting on the ‘hot seat’. Welcome to the most popular TV quiz-show in Nigeria: MTN’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. To participate in the studio-play, a subscriber sends an SMS with his name and phone number to 132 and a question is sent to him. Then, the subscriber sends back an answer through SMS. SMS charges are: N 200. If the subscriber is successful he will be notified through a confirmatory message inviting him to participate in the studio programme. Usually, 120 subscribers are invited to the studio from which eight will be short-listed for the ‘hot seat’. The remaining 112 people will form the in-studio audience. The eight short-listed subscribers take turns on the hot seat. Questions are asked and as the participant gets the right answer to each question, he wins prize money. The biggest prize is N10million. The remaining 112 people invited to the studio are left to contest for the twenty N20, 000 slots.

The audience participation part of the show, called fastest fingers, illustrates this. The winner of this segment gets N20, 000. Well, almost. To get the N20, 000, however, National Standard investigations revealed that the winner must present an MTN SIM certificate (to prove he is a genuine subscriber), a photocopy of his identity card, passport photograph and his birth certificate. The winner is also required to buy recharge card up to the value of N1, 000. Two weeks after the show has been aired, and then the winner will be contacted on further steps to collect his cash prize. This magazine also found out that rather than MTN Nigeria, the bank form issued to its game-show beneficiaries has Ultima Ventures, producers of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, as account holder.

Little wonder it was a shocking and disappointing experience for 21-year-old Sola Emmanuel, a student, and one of the fastest fingers winners, when he went to the bank to withdraw his N20, 000 cash prize. “When I got to the bank to get my cash reward I was surprised when told that 5% withholding tax, 5% Lagos state gambling tax and other bank charges would be deducted from my N20, 000. This is baffling. If it is a game show or promo why would they be deducting 5% gambling tax? I felt cheated and used as a puppet in a gambling show,” Sola narrated. At the end of the day, Emmanuel left the bank with the sum of N17, 895 instead of the N20, 000 he won. But there is more to the show than meets the eye.

Each week, MTN Nigeria rakes in N1.665 billion, N6.660 billion each month and N79.920 billion each year. This is based on the conservative estimate that at least a quarter (8,325,000) of MTN’s 33.3 million subscribers send an sms each (costing N200) to participate in the TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. With the home-play version, using the same estimate, the firm makes N39.960 billion each year. With the combined figures (excluding proceeds from other promos), MTN Nigeria grosses at least N119, 880, 000, 000 in a year. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Adegoke, an elderly man, had a nasty experience with Globacom Bid2Win promo. Lured by lucre and the unrelenting text messages that bombarded his cell phone, he expended N420, 000 in the hopeless bid to become a millionaire. “I got frequent sms from GLO, encouraging me to continue playing. They said I was near to winning N1 million. So I continued playing till it dawned on me that it was all trick. I had already spent over N420, 000,” Adegoke said. As proof of his extensive elusive investment in Globacom Bid2Win, he made a public display of the many GLO recharge cards he had purchased to participate in the GSM company gambling game referred to as a promo. Zain and Etisalat are also involved in what has become sleazy, corporate gambling.

Then enters GLO. With a subscriber base hitting more 25 million as at June last year, Wale Adenuga’s telecom giant is also eating deep into the insufferable skin of its customers. Take for instance its text-to-win promo. In that promo alone, Globacom grosses N30, 000, 000, 000 on the approximation that only a quarter of its more than 25 million subscribers play in the gamble a la promo. Thus, every month, GLO pockets at least N2.5 billion. That is discounting the fact that the GSM firm has other gambling gimmicks from which more money are effortlessly raked in. Not to be over-looked also are one-off subscribers – who get on the network just to participate in any of the promos. If all these are factored in what will be revealed would be a staggering sum.

But, there is no letting up in the telecoms industry as all the firms hold sway in a field that appears devoid of a regulator. New-comer Etisalat, Nigeria’s fifth GSM operator is feeding on the promo fever too. Since its arrival, Etisalat has stormed the industry with mouth-watering offers such as, Exactly June 17 last year, the GSM firm claimed to have hit a subscriber base of 1 million. To qualify for the express ticket to the grand finale in the critically acclaimed 9jillions one million dollar game show, customers who had spent up to a thousand naira within the month just needed to text the state they live and their full name to the short code 5123. Multiple entries are allowed. With an estimated figure of 250, 000 subscribers participating each month, with at least double entries for six months, Etisalat would have netted N1.5 billion. You can go on and on multiplying that amount by number of greedy fingers the Nigerian population can proudly produce.

“Confidential information!” the text message from Zain Nigeria said. “Text WIN to 222 now and you fit win N2 million cash from Zain. Costs N100/sms,” the text pitched. Another came in a hurried, secretive fashion, begging: “Abeg, your name don come out to win N2 million. Make you no tell anybody. Just text WIN to 222.” Welcome to Zain Nigeria – the most erratic, in terms of management, GSM operator in the country. As many times it had changed name, it had also changed management. But, that is a story for another day. That is Zain’s Wake up To Be a Millionaire.  The above-quoted text messages are apparent testimony of the mad dash by Zain to defraud Nigerians of their hard-earned money, by hook or by crook. Not satisfied with its six-week Zain Naira Rain promo, Zain in its current text-to-win N2 million is mind-boggling. Zain Nigeria executives will be smiling and patting their rotund bellies as at least N500 million naira is realised in a week based on the rough estimate that 5 million of its over 20 million subscribers forfeit N100 weekly.

Typically, though there has been talk of sanctions, there is no regulatory agency wielding the big stick on the telecoms companies defrauding their subscribers in the name of promos and game shows. But the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, was quick to absolve itself of any complicity in the defrauding promotions being done by the GSM firms. “Our business at NCC is to regulate service provision and not sales promotions but the NCC, CPC, Lottery Commission, will meet to look into who regulates what. Operators should have a code that can allow a consumer not to receive unsolicited SMS,” said Ernest Ndukwe, erstwhile executive secretary of NCC.

Unlike the lukewarm response of NCC to the raging issue of wanton gambling by the GSM operators, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC, expressed certain degree of concern at the 55th edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament, where subscribers have opportunity to air their complaints. “Our concern is that you do not tell customers that you are rewarding them when you are ripping them off by engaging them in a game of chance. You do not expect customers to load their phones to reward them. Operators should not tell customers they are rewarding them when they are doing sales. You do not have to tell a consumer to load certain amount of money with certain code to qualify for a particular scheme. What many service providers are doing is a game of chance. They lure customers through unsolicited text messages to enter into sales promotion. If any operator engages in lottery in the name of sales promotions, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission will get interested. We are more concerned when a reward scheme becomes lottery in the name of promo,” said Barrister Osa Uwadiae, the Assistant Director, Enforcement & Compliance of National Lottery Regulatory Commission. Great sound bite that was.

Section 7(c) of the National Lottery Act says, “[the commission shall] promote transparency, propriety and integrity in the operation of national lottery;” and (d) maintains that the commission shall “ensure the protection of interests of players, stakeholders and the public in the national lottery.” And section 17 adds, “…the operation of the business of a national lottery or any lottery, by whatever name called, shall be subject to a license granted by the president upon recommendation by the commission and compliance with the provisions of this Act or any regulations made pursuant thereto.” The questions are: did the presidency grant these GSM operators the licence to engage in lottery in the guise of promos? Is the National Lottery Regulatory Commission ensuring the protection of interests of subscribers? Is the commission promoting transparency, propriety and integrity by feigning ignorance of the ‘gambling in disguise promos’?

While it is instructive to note that the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC, by its enabling Act (2005) is empowered to authorize and supervise promos, many subscribers have found it perplexing that it has not come to their aid. According to the telecoms industry observers, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission cannot feign ignorance that the ripping off of GSM subscribers has been going on for a long time before now. In 2009, the Consumer Advocacy Forum of Nigeria CAFON and the National Telecom Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS) raised an alarm over frauds called promotions by Nigeria’s GSM firms. According to CAFON, “what many companies do is lottery not promo as they rip off Nigerians because they know that many Nigerians do not know their rights”. The Forum accused regulatory bodies of ‘having been bought over by the companies as they look the other way when subscribers complain’.

This is no doubt a matter of urgent public concern, as it is worrying that GSM companies, employing deceits and sometimes outright lies, are fast becoming gambling institutions treating their customers with impunity. Even more disquieting is the fact that the concerned authority has yet to call for refund to all swindled subscribers. Maybe, as always, the GSM consumers are being taken for a ride and the hand of the law is too short to protect and make restitutions for them.

Human Sacrifice Business Booms in Kampala

In ESSAY on October 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

UGANDA: WHERE CHILD SACRIFICE IS A BIG BUSINESS

A BBC undercover reporter is told “we can bury the child alive on your construction site”

The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda’s capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear.

School children are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.

The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until around three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country’s economy.

The mutilated bodies of children have been discovered at roadsides, the victims of an apparently growing belief in the power of human sacrifice.

‘Sacrifice business’

Many believe that members of the country’s new elite are paying witch doctors vast sums of money for the sacrifices in a bid to increase their wealth.

At the Kyampisi Childcare Ministries church, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga is teaching local children a song called Heal Our Land, End Child Sacrifice.

To hear dozens of young voices singing such shocking words epitomises how ritual murder has become part of everyday life here.

“Child sacrifice has risen because people have become lovers of money. They want to get richer,” the pastor says.

“They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business.”

The pastor and his parishioners are lobbying the government to regulate witch doctors and improve police resources to investigate these crimes.

According to official police figures, there was one case of child sacrifice in 2006; in 2008 the police say they investigated 25 alleged ritual murders, and in 2009, another 29.

The Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force, launched in response to the growing numbers, says the ritual murder rate has slowed, citing a figure of 38 cases since 2006.

Pastor Sewakiryanga disputes the police numbers, and says there are more victims from his parish than official statistics for the entire country.

The work of the police task force has been strongly criticised by the UK-based charity, Jubilee Campaign.

It says in a report that the true number of cases is in the hundreds, and claims more than 900 cases have yet to be investigated by the police because of corruption and a lack of resources.

‘Quiet money’

epenensi led me to a field near her home where she found the body of her 6-year-old grandson Stephen, dumped in the reeds. She trembled as she pointed out the spot where she found his decapitated body; he had been missing for 24 hours.

Clutching the only photo she has of her grandson, Tepenensi sobbed as she explained that although the local witch doctor admitted to sacrificing Stephen, the police are reluctant to pursue the case.

“They offered me money to keep quiet,” she says, “I refused the offer.”

No-one from the Ugandan government agreed to do an interview – the police deny inaction and corruption.

The head of the Anti-Human Sacrifice task force, Commissioner Bignoa Moses, says the police are doing all they can to tackle the problem.

“Sometimes, they accuse us of these things because we make no arrests, but we are limited. If we get information that someone is involved in criminal activities like human sacrifice we shall go and investigate, and if it can be proven we will take him to court, but sometimes the cases are not proven.”

Boy castrated

At Kampala main hospital, consultant neurosurgeon Michael Muhumuza shows me the X-rays of the horrific injuries suffered by nine-year-old Allan.

They reveal missing bone from his skull and damage to a part of his brain after a machete sliced through Allan’s head and neck in an attempt to behead him; he was castrated by the witch doctor. It was a month before Allan woke from a coma after being dumped near his village home.

Allan was able to identify his attackers, including a man called Awali. But the police say Allan’s eyewitness account is unreliable.

Local people told us that Awali continues to be involved with child sacrifice.

For our own inquiries, we posed as local businessmen and asked around for a witch doctor that could bring prosperity to our local construction company. We were soon introduced to Awali. He led us into a courtyard behind his home, and as if to welcome us he and his helpers wrestled a goat to the ground and slit its throat.

“This animal has been sacrificed to bring luck to us all,” Awali explained. He then demanded a fee of $390 (£250) for the ritual and asked us to return in a few days.

At our next meeting, Awali invited us into his shrine which is traditionally built from mud bricks with a straw roof. Inside, the floor is littered with herbs, face masks, rattles and a machete.

The witch doctor explained that this meeting was to discuss the most powerful spell – the sacrifice of a child.

“There are two ways of doing this,” he said. “We can bury the child alive on your construction site, or we cut them in different places and put their blood in a bottle of spiritual medicine.”

Awali grabbed his throat. “If it’s a male, the whole head is cut off and his genitals. We will dig a hole at your construction site, and also bury the feet and the hands and put them all together in the hole.”

Awali boasted he had sacrificed children many times before and knew what he was doing. After this meeting, we withdrew from the negotiations.

We handed our notes to the police. Awali is still a free man.

‘No voice’

Allan’s father, Semwanga, has sold his home to pay for Allan’s medical treatment, and moved to the slums near the capital.

Sitting on the steps of their make-shift house, built from corrugated sheets of metal, I showed the footage of our meeting with the witch doctor to Allan on my laptop. He pointed to the screen and shouted “Awali!” confirming he is the man who attacked him.

Pastor Sewakiryanga says without the full force of the law, there is little that can be done to protect Uganda’s children from the belief in the power of human sacrifice.

“The children do not have voices, their voices have been silenced by the law and the police which is not acting, and the people who read the newspapers do nothing, so we have to make a stand and do whatever it takes to stamp out this evil, we can only pray that the government will listen.”

TRUCK / CAR DRIVERS WANTED

In LATEST JOBS IN NIGERIA TODAY/ CAREER OPPORTUNITIES & DEVELOPMENTS on September 13, 2011 at 11:34 am

TRUCK/CAR DRIVERS Ref: TCD/2011/09

Energetic, hardworking, reliable and intelligent individuals to serve as Truck/Car Drivers.

Position Summary

The Truck/Car Driver shall be responsible for transporting various materials/cargo from one point to another. Other duties will include inspecting and maintaining the vehicle, tracking of inventory of cargo/materials and where applicable assist in the loading or unloading of inventory.

Essential requirements for the role:

  • At least 10 years experience as a professional driver.
  • Minimum of SSCE Certification.
  • Current/valid (FRSC) class E and F licenses for regular and truck drivers respectively.
  • Good working knowledge of the Benue area.
  • Proven safety and no criminal records.
  • Certification in defensive driving/SPY training will be an added advantage.

Remuneration

The remuneration package attached to this position is highly competitive.

  • Submit your CV to careers@transcorpnigeria.com.
  • The Subject of the email must be JOB TITLE and REF. NUMBER. For example, if you are applying for the position of Plant Manager your email subject should read: “Plant Manager Ref: PLM/2011/09”.
  • Deadline for submission is 19th September, 2011.

CAREER OPPORTUNITY FOR FACTORY OPERATORS

In LATEST JOBS IN NIGERIA TODAY/ CAREER OPPORTUNITIES & DEVELOPMENTS on September 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

FACTORY OPERATORS Ref: FYO/2011/09

Patient, responsible, accurate, quick and hardworking individuals to serve as Factory Operators.

Position Summary

The Factory Operator shall mainly be responsible for running the operational machines in plant. Other duties will include collecting raw materials for processing, measuring, mixing and production, controlling the automated process and temperature for making the product, inspecting finished goods for quality, packing the final product, checking machinery for safety, sterilizing the plant processing area and adhering to company policies.

Essential requirements for the role:

  • At least 3 years cognate experience.
  • Minimum of SSCE Certification.
  • Good understanding of quality control methods.
  • Ability to operate basic manufacturing tools/machines.
  • Knowledge of health and safety regulations.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Able to follow instructions as directed by the supervisor.

Remuneration

The remuneration package attached to this position is highly competitive.

  • Submit your CV to careers@transcorpnigeria.com.
  • The Subject of the email must be JOB TITLE and REF. NUMBER. For example, if you are applying for the position of Plant Manager your email subject should read: “Plant Manager Ref: PLM/2011/09”.
  • Deadline for submission is 19th September, 2011.

FORK LIFT OPERATOR NEEDED URGENTLY

In LATEST JOBS IN NIGERIA TODAY/ CAREER OPPORTUNITIES & DEVELOPMENTS on September 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

FORK LIFT OPERATORS Ref: FLO/2011/09

Energetic, hardworking, reliable and experienced individuals to serve as Forklift Operators.

Position Summary

The Forklift Operators shall be responsible for operating a forklift to move, locate, relocate, stack, and count merchandise.

The Operators will be accountable for the safe and efficient operation of the equipment and other duties will include pulling and preparing product for shipment, ensuring inbound and outbound shipments are accurate and free of damage (report quality variances), ef?ciently move product from staging and/or storage areas into trucks/ trailers and assist in the maintenance of the factory (including grounds, building and equipment) as required.

Essential requirements for the role:

  • At least 5 years experience as a fork lift operator.
  • Minimum of SSCE Certification.
  • Knowledge of health and safety regulations.
  • Excellent teamwork and numeracy skills.
  • Ability to operate in high speed and fast-paced environment.
  • Good physical health.
  • Able to follow instructions as directed by the supervisor.

Remuneration

The remuneration package attached to this position is highly competitive.

  • Submit your CV to careers@transcorpnigeria.com.
  • The Subject of the email must be JOB TITLE and REF. NUMBER. For example, if you are applying for the position of Plant Manager your email subject should read: “Plant Manager Ref: PLM/2011/09”.
  • Deadline for submission is 19th September, 2011.
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