Life is a story: UNIV Nigeria 2018

8 03 2018

Special guests; Dr. Darligton Agholor, Rufai Oseni , Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq, Prof. R.A.C.E Achara

UNIV Forum draws together hundreds of university students from all over the world. They come to expand their horizons, exchange ideas and reflect on important issues affecting youth and society.

Marking its 50th anniversary this year since beginning in Rome, in 1968, more than 3000 young people the world over have had their ideas come alive and grow thanks to the forums.


Some University students, participants at the UNIV 

Each year, during the forum, Nigerian students meet and discuss and listen to each other and other people from different cultures, explaining the challenges facing society. This year, it was the turn of students from University of Ibadan, Pan Atlantic University, University of Lagos, University of Nigeria, University of Benin and the Industrial Technology, to rob minds and share experiences at the Pan Atlantic University.

Sharing ideas and listening to others

During a keynote address by the coordinator, UNIV NIGERIA, Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq, he said that life is a story, written in the first person, counting on the others.



Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq

No man is an island,” he continued, “no man is a single verse; rather, we all make up a single poem. “

Young people see the greatness of the world and its failings, and experience both wonder and dissatisfaction. They feel and desire change, along with insecurity and fear, never knowing whether they will fail or succeed, they are restless. 50 years ago, this restlessness led the student revolution of May 1968, a revolution that overthrew all authority. The protesters confused freedom with license, opening the way to a relativistic society. Yet, like all false ideologies, 68′ student revolution did not foster the true greatness of man but rather diminished it. To be effective, a genuine revolution needs reflection; it needs to listen to the deepest truth of the human heart. Otherwise, the revolution ends in chaos and debris. We all need to ask ourselves how we can build a better, more just, more human and cleaner future today.”

Nigerian Man Survives 3 days at Bottom of Atlantic: Harrison Okene’s Story

4 12 2013

downloadLAGOS, Nigeria — About 100 feet down, on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, divers had already pulled four bodies out of the sunken tugboat. Then a hand appeared on a TV screen monitoring the recovery.

Everyone assumed it was another corpse, and the diver moved toward it.

“But when he went to grab the hand, the hand grabbed him!” Tony Walker, project manager for the Dutch company DCN Diving, said of the rescue in May.

Harrison Odjegba Okene, the tug’s Nigerian cook, had survived for three days by breathing an ever-dwindling supply of oxygen in an air pocket. A video of Okene’s dramatic rescue —[ — was posted on the Internet more than six months after the rescue and has gone viral this week.

As the temperature dropped to freezing, Okene, dressed only in boxer shorts, recited a psalm his wife had sent him earlier by text message, sometimes called the Prayer for Deliverance. “Oh, God, by your name, save me. … The Lord sustains my life.”

To this day, Okene believes his rescue after 72 hours underwater was the result of divine deliverance. The 11 other seamen aboard the tug Jascon 4 died.

On the video, there was an exclamation of fear and shock from Okene’s rescuers, and then joy as the realization set in that this hand belonged to a survivor. “What’s that? He’s alive! He’s alive!” a voice can be heard exclaiming.

“It was frightening for everybody,” Walker said of that moment, speaking in a telephone interview Tuesday. “For the guy that was trapped because he didn’t know what was happening. It was a shock for the diver while he was down there looking for bodies, and we (in the control room) shot back when the hand grabbed him on the screen.”

Walker said Okene couldn’t have lasted much longer.

“He was incredibly lucky. He was in an air pocket, but he would have had a limited time (before) … he wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore.”

The full video of the rescue was released by DCN Diving after a request from The Associated Press. Initially, a shorter version of the rescue emerged on the Internet. The authenticity of the video was confirmed through conversations with DCN employees in the Netherlands. The video showing Okene was also consistent with additional photos of him on the rescue ship. The AP also contacted Okene, who confirmed the events.

Okene’s ordeal began around 4:30 a.m. on May 26. Always an early riser, he was in the toilet when the tug, one of three towing an oil tanker in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta waters, gave a sudden lurch and then keeled over.

“I was dazed and everywhere was dark as I was thrown from one end of the small cubicle to another,” Okene said in an interview with Nigeria’s Nation newspaper after his rescue.

He groped his way out of the toilet and tried to find a vent, propping doors open as he moved. He discovered some tools and a life vest with two flashlights, which he stuffed into his shorts.

When he found a cabin of the sunken vessel that felt safe, he began the long wait, getting colder and colder as he played back a mental tape of his life — remembering his mother, his friends, but mostly his wife of five years, with whom he hadn’t yet fathered a child.

He worried about his colleagues — the Ukrainian captain and 10 Nigerians, including four young cadets from Nigeria’s Maritime Academy. They would have locked themselves into their cabins, standard procedure in an area stalked by pirates.

He got really worried when he heard a loud sound in the water outside — sharks or barracuda, he supposed — fighting over something big.

As the waters rose, he made a rack on top of a platform and piled two mattresses on top.

“I started calling on the name of God,” Okene told the Nation. “I started reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept. I read the Bible from Psalms 54 to 92. My wife had sent me the verses to read that night when she called me before I went to bed.”

He survived on a single bottle of Coke.

Okene really thought he was going to die, he said, when he heard the sound of a boat engine and an anchor dropping, but failed to get the attention of its crew. He figured, given the size of the sunken tugboat, that it would take a miracle for anyone to locate him. So he waded across the cabin, stripped the wall down to its steel body and banged on it with a hammer.

But “I heard them moving away. They were far away from where I was,” he said.

By the time the divers found him, relatives already had been told there were no survivors.

Using hot water to warm him up, the rescue crew attached Okene to an oxygen mask. He was put into a decompression chamber and then safely returned to the surface.

Before the slow ascent began, a voice on the video could be heard asking Okene to give a thumbs up if he understood what was about to happen. Slowly he raised his hand and stuck out his thumb.

“Good job, my friend. Well done,” the voice says. “You are a survivor.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

Condom Fails Sub-Saharan Africa: HIV/AIDS On The Rise

3 12 2013

Condom Fails Sub-Saharan Africa: HIV/AIDS On The Rise

Sub-Saharan Africa has two-thirds of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases. So you would think that Western journalists and politicians might condescend to ask us what we think about how to fight AIDS. But they haven’t. A pity, because they would have found that many of us support Pope Benedict XVI’s scepticism about the effectiveness of distributing condoms.

In 2009, the Lancet, a leading British medical journal which regularly pontificates about public health, slammed the Pope for making “a false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of millions of people”. I wonder if the editor of The Lancet has ever visited rural areas of Nigeria or South Africa. If he did, he would begin to see why fighting AIDS with condoms is like extinguishing a fire with petrol.

First of all, many rural Africans are illiterate and proper use of condoms cannot be relied upon. In any case, many men think that it compromises sexual pleasure. “Would you eat sweets with a wrapper on?” is a common objection.

Secondly, social organisation in rural Africa is quite unlike sedate suburban life in Sussex, or wherever the editor of The Lancet lives. In villages here there is often a low standard of moral behaviour. Men don’t get married but they do want children, so using condoms does not even come into their minds. They sleep with whomever they like until they are very old and need someone to cook for them. A man might be sleeping with six different women in a year. And the women often don’t mind whether a man will marry them or not.

Day to day life is unlike the West. The huts are open and at night there is no electricity to supply light. Anything can happen. Thus rape of children as young as six is not uncommon. As most of these go unreported, the aggressors go scot-free. Even when the rapist is known, nothing much is done.

In South Africa, which has some of the highest rates of AIDS in the continent, researchers claim that half a million women are raped each year. Journalist speak of a “rape epidemic”. More than a quarter of all the females can expect to be raped at least once in their life, even in infancy. Half of the victims are under 18. It is hard to get hard figures, because most attacks go unreported. Tell me, how do you persuade a rapist to use condoms?

If condoms are so effective why is HIV still on the increase in Africa? One factor is certainly that people with condoms are emboldened to take more risks. Part of the counselling of people living with AIDS is “try not to spread it” — in a word, to live abstinence. But before they got the disease they were told “hey, no need to curtail your libido, just use condoms.” If personal control is not achieved before contracting HIV/AIDS it is often impossible afterwards. I overhead a chilling conversation once of a boy planning to sleep with a girl. “What if she has AIDS?” his friend asked. “Well then, I have seven years to live and I will enjoy myself to the limit,” he replied.

There are even more basic obstacles. Many villagers are unschooled and know little about modern science. Poisoning or sorcery is suspected when people fall ill. Western medicine is often seen as a last resort after traditional healers have failed. So doctors find it difficult to explain to HIV/AIDS patients the cause of their illness. It is not uncommon for them to go to their graves with the stubborn belief that an enemy cast a spell on them. The more serious and “treatment defying” an illness is, the more it confirms the malignant power of the sorcerer.
Villages are often cut off from distribution networks for goods and services because of difficult terrain. You can’t jump into your car and make a midnight trip to the pharmacist to buy a packet of condoms. In fact, you might be cut off from condom suppliers for weeks at a time. One doctor related to me a typical example. A youth in a village explained why he did not use condoms with his girl: “well, I had to convince and convince, and when she finally said yes, I could not risk going outside to buy condoms since she might change her mind before I came back.”

And people are not just careless, they are ashamed. Here’s another story from the same doctor. A woman came to him for an antenatal check of her second child (the first was a year old). She discovered that she was HIV positive. She was terrified of what her husband would do to her. The doctors called the husband and tried to break the news gently. To their amazement he told them that he was HIV positive and had been on treatment for over a year — without telling his wife. Why? “Well, someone gave it to me,” he said. Many infected people deliberately spread the disease, thinking; “I can’t be the only one. Since someone gave me the disease, I will give it to someone else.”

Plus, there are other means of transmission of AIDS which are unfamiliar in the West. One treatment you will not find in Cleveland is medical scarification. A traditional healer in a village will make an incision over the affected area to discharge fluid or blood. The healer uses the same implement to cut different people, leading to the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infections. Traditional scarification for aesthetic or cultural reasons also exists and is no more hygienic.

It is true that in rural Africa HIV/AIDS spreads mainly through heterosexual relationships. But it is also transmitted by intravenous drug users. African villagers prefer injected drugs to tablets because, so they think, it is better value for money. So the local chemists (who are seldom trained pharmacists) oblige them. Sometimes they save money by reusing syringes and not swabbing the skin with disinfectant. The resulting infections sometimes create huge abscesses.

The Pan African Health foundation (PAHF), a non -profit HIV/AIDS prevention charity, is building a factory in Nigeria with a capacity of 160 million syringes a year. This will supply 20 percent of Nigeria’s needs and, when fully operational, most of sub-Saharan Africa. Inexplicably, American and British foreign aid agencies which doled out lavish donations for condoms to fight HIV/AIDS were not interested in supporting the foundation. The local state government finally gave some funding.

UNAIDS, the international agency which coordinates research and treatment for AIDS around the world, is a strong supporter of condoms. Its official position is that: “The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”

Note the stress on the word “technology”. The condom is just a technology. And technology is not much good for changing behaviour.

The West is addicted to technology as a substitute for free will and moral effort. If you eat too much, you get gastric banding surgery. If you’re depressed, you take Prozac. If you’re a smoker, you wear nicotine patches. Here in Africa, this fantasy has collided with the reality of the AIDS crisis. There is no technology to tame sexual desire. There is only self-restraint and faithfulness to your partner. These will eventually rein in AIDS; condoms won’t.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

%d bloggers like this: