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OPINION

Understanding The Slang, “We No Go Gree” From The Perspective Of  Three Blind Men And The Elephant Story

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By ISAAC ASABOR

There is no denying the fact that it would be hypocritical for this writer to say that he is not been nostalgic as a result of the slang, “We Nor Go Gree” which suddenly became popular in the New Year, 2024. As understood, under growing up at different times in Agbor in Delta State, at Igbanke in Edo State, in Warri in Delta State, and in Benin-city in Edo State; all of which in past eras fell under the jurisdictions of the defunct Midwestern State and Bendel State, where pidgin is majorly spoken by both the young and old as the means of interactive communication on daily basis, it can authoritatively in this context be said that “We Nor Go Gree” interpretatively means not letting anyone bully or cheat you in any deal. 

In fact, at the moment, its expression on the streets and in the virtual space, particularly by Netizens is already heating debate so much so that the police, ostensibly out of anxiety, had warned that the slogan may be a message of rebellion. 

According to the Nigerian Police, ‘Nor gree for anybody’ slang which has already gained widespread usage and attention can cause the crisis.  Given the foregoing, the Police have expressed their strong discontentment with the trending slang, particularly as been expressed by youths and citizens across the country, ostensibly as some of them might have misunderstood its meaning. 

During a press briefing on Wednesday last week, the police, through its spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, warned that it could clamp down on people using the slang, and revealed that they had received intelligence suggesting that the slogan had the potential to incite a revolution within the country.

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He said, “Let me say that the new slogan for 2023, 2024 for our young ones is ‘No Go Gree For Anybody.’

“We have been informed from our intelligence that this slogan is coming from a revolutionary sector that may likely cause problems across the country.

“‘No go gree for anybody’ is being seen as just a normal talk, but in the security business, in the security community, we have seen it as a very dangerous slogan that can trigger a crisis.”

However, at this juncture, it is expedient to look at the now trending slang from the perspective of the three blind men and the elephant story.

As the story goes, six blind men heard that there was an animal called an elephant. They were curious about its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they visited the king’s palace where the elephant was harbored to find out the truth. One of the blind men, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This creature is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand felt its ear, it seemed like a kind of magic carpet. As for another blind man, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is like a large cow. The blind man who kept his hand upon its side said it was like a wall. Another who felt the elephant’s tail described it as a rope. While all the six men were arguing loudly about the creature, the king suggested they put all the parts together and then imagine the creature.

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Against the foregoing backdrop, it will not be out of place to opine that contrary to the fear expressed by the police that the slang can mischievously be put into action by those it considered to be rebellious, the slang can also serve as a motivational quote as it can help those who wish to internalize the positive philosophy that is inherent in it, and which it conveys, to cultivate a positive mindset and attitude, which is essential for success in any field. 

The foregoing by unarguably be achieved by focusing on the possibilities instead of the limitations, such people can develop a sense of resilience and optimism that can help them overcome obstacles and bounce back from failures. For instance, “I nor go gree for a cigar this year”, “This a new year, so I nor go gree for ‘Ogogoro’ or any “Shakis”. In other words, it may be “I nor go gree make anybody dey bring me down this year, so I go dey do wetin nor go make dem dey see me finish”.  Explaining the foregoing resolves coined in pidgin from the perspectives of the blind men and the elephant, it means that anyone that understood the now controversial slang, “We Nor Go Green” from the positive sides of its meaning will unarguably put it to good use. Who knows, it can even be advantageous to the police as there may be some Nigerians that may bring the patois into action by resolving thus, “I nor go gree for stealing this year” or “I nor go gree for bad, bad, things this year.”

Contrariwise, to any police officer who might have placed his or her hands on another part of this literary elephant called “We Nor Go Gree”, the slogan can be used to attack security operatives while discharging their duties as the issued warning by the police authority indicates. 

Buttressing its argument, the police say Slogans have long been used as powerful tools to convey messages and rally support for various causes while expressing the fear that the slogan “We No Go Gree for Anybody” has recently gained popularity among Nigerian youths.  Be that as it may, while the Nigeria Police condemned it, claiming that it might have originated from revolutionary groups, the Nigerian Army embraced it as part of their 2024 slogan. 

In fact, in as much as this writer is neither in support of the position which the police have decided to stay in the course of interpreting how the literary elephant called “We Nor Go Gree” looks like, and the danger it portends, nor completely in agreement with those that are on another side of the contextual elephant propagating the slogan, “We Nor Go Gree”, particularly on negative or mischievous grounds, it is expedient to recall that the elderlies, back in the days, used to warn the younger ones that “I nor go gree, I nor go gree nor dey pay”, meaning two wrongs can’t make a right.  The reason cannot be farfetched as it is a fallacy that has it that when a wrong is committed another wrong can naturally balance it out.  It is considered a fallacy because it is an argument based on illogical reasoning.

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At this juncture, it is germane to urge the police authority as it has already warned the public on the abuse of the slogans that it should also in the same vein enlighten and orientate its officers towards not seeing it as an opportunity to resort to indiscriminate arrest of the youths, in particular, as they are wont to do. 

In a similar vein, it is pragmatic to urge Nigerians, particularly the youths, to see the slang, “We Nor Go Gree” as a motivational quote, contrary to the expectation of the police, by reflecting regularly on it as it can help them cultivate a more positive attitude and a new perspective on challenges in 2024, particularly as January is ongoing. The foregoing advice, no doubt, cannot in any way be pooh-poohed or dismissed with a mere wave of the hand as it is unarguably inspiring enough to help motivate them to pursue their dreams, face challenges, and develop new perspectives in 2024. 

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OPINION

The Scourge Of Rising Inflation

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By Dakuku Peterside*
An increasing number of Nigerians are being driven into poverty, not by choice, but by the current political and economic climate, shaped by stringent macroeconomic policies. These policies, such as subsidy removal, devaluation of Naira, and increase in electricity tariff, have had unintended consequences. For instance, removing subsidies has led to a significant increase in the cost of living, while the devaluation of Naira has made imported goods more expensive. These factors, combined with the high level of insecurity, have affected food security in Nigeria and created a perfect storm of economic hardship. The signs of this unavoidable reality are readily apparent. The interventions to prevent this descent into poverty are either ineffectual or remedy the condition too slowly.
An unprecedented rise in inflation has destroyed households’ disposable incomes and pushed many families into poverty. Spiralling inflation is having a devastating impact on all, but especially on households in the lower rungs of the working class, who in their millions are joining the already over 133 million multidimensionally poor Nigerians struggling to earn a living because high inflation has eroded the value of their income. As shown by the NBS Consumer Price Index of April 2024, published in May 2024, the headline inflation rate rose to 33.69% in April 2024 compared to March. The headline inflation rate was 11.47% higher in April 2024 compared to the previous year. During the same period, inflation in urban areas was higher than in rural areas. Even worse, the food inflation rate in April 2024 was 40.53%, increasing by 15.92% compared to April 2023. What does this mean for the ordinary citizen? More money can purchase fewer goods and services.
We cannot dismiss the direct correlation between rising inflation and rising poverty in Nigeria. A household with a monthly income of N300,000 in April 2023 would have lost 33.69% of its real purchasing power if it earned the same amount in April 2024. This means that the same amount of money can now buy significantly fewer goods and services, putting a strain on the household’s budget. Imagine this household struggled in 2023 to make ends meet; how will it cope with less than 33% of its value in goods and services this year? It is little wonder many Nigerians are in despair and are calling on the government to tweak its policies and salvage the situation before it is too late. Families in the earning bracket mentioned above are even better than many whose total income is less than N100,000 if both parents in the household earn minimum wages per month.
The government intervention so far, with the best of intentions, has yielded little result as inflation continues unabated. The monetary policies of increasing base interest rates to above 22%, improving the cash reserve ratio by banks to above 40%, and constantly engaging in the money market to mop up excess liquidity have yielded less than the expected result in curbing inflation. More is needed, and my little knowledge of street economics shows me that the Nigerian economy often defies some fundamental economic concepts that work in developed countries because of our economy’s informal and unregulated nature. The Nigerian government must creatively use other bespoke and practical fiscal and monetary measures to tame our raging inflation.
Paradoxically, there is compelling evidence that inflation continues to rise because of critical government policies. Instead of providing more concerted anti-inflationary measures, the government has added more inflationary steps to the economy. The government cannot confront inflation while imposing limitless taxes, tariffs, and charges on the things that people spend money on daily. The impact of excess tax is on everybody, but the burden is more on people experiencing poverty whose purchasing power has been eroded by inflation. The government cannot tax itself out of our economic predicament. Increasing personal income tax is one way the government reduces disposable income to curb demand-pull inflation, but the inflation in Nigeria is not because of an increase in household income, but caused by cost-induced factors. So tax on people whose income has not increased in the past year is a recipe for hardship.
Other factors also imperil government efforts to curb inflation. Imported inflation has been the bane of Nigeria, given the number of raw materials and goods imported into Nigeria from countries with high inflation rates. This is not helped by the new exchange rate regime that has seen the Naira fall to its lowest value in a generation. The government has been trying to control the erosion of the value of Naira to no avail. The increasing cost of energy has pushed some businesses to pack up. These factors have exacerbated the rise of inflation, and unless the government starts tackling them, it cannot effectively win its fight against runaway inflation.
The consequences of inaction are severe and far-reaching. The system requires a set of anti-inflationary measures to relieve the people and companies so that livelihoods can improve, and real incomes recover from shock to encourage people to live and save. Savings and prosperity will fire up investment, production, supply, and consequent demand. If inflation worsens, the economy will, at best, go into stasis, further regression, and possibly depression. More manufacturers will quit, and unemployment will worsen with even more crime and insecurity. The picture I painted above is not far from us.
Recent statistics about the hunger level in Nigeria occasioned by food inflation are alarming. There is a deteriorating food security and nutrition crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states this lean season between May and September 2024. According to the Government-led Cadre Harmonise analysis released in March this year, in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, some 4.8 million people are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity, the highest level in seven years. Children, pregnant and lactating women, older persons, and people living with disabilities are among those who are most vulnerable. About 2.8 million of these people need urgent interventions.
The prices of staple foods like beans and maize have increased by 300 to 400 per cent over the past year because of a cocktail of reasons. Inflation is outpacing the ability of families to cope, making essential food items unaffordable. Furthermore, the report stated that “malnutrition rates are of great concern. Approximately 700,000 children under five are projected to be acutely malnourished over the next six months, including 230,000 who are expected to be severely acutely malnourished and at risk of death if they do not receive timely treatment and nutrition support.”  The Acting Representative of UNICEF Nigeria argues that “this year alone, we have seen around 120,000 admissions for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition with complications, far exceeding our estimated target of 90,000”.  These statistics are for only 3 states in Northeast Nigeria. Imagine what it will be like for the whole 36 States in Nigeria. There is real fire on the mountain!
This rising hunger is not peculiar to the Northeast. From my knowledge of street economics, hunger and poverty is pervasive across all six geopolitics zones. Increasing poverty is directly linked with more severe economic outcomes. Increasing poverty can result in a more divided society, Issues with housing, homelessness, limited access to healthcare, nutrition poverty and poor living conditions that have a detrimental effect on one’s health. Children living in poverty have less access to education, which will reduce their chances in the future. More families facing poverty will experience conflicts, stress, and domestic violence. Poverty can set off a vicious cycle in which the effects of it act as catalysts for additional episodes of poverty. Increasing inflation and poverty are bad omens that blow us no good. They are bad for our economy. They are bad for our people. The government must pay attention to these factors and be more sensitive in our economic policy choices.
Only some anti-inflationary measures that comprehensively capture the macroeconomic dimensions and provide solutions may work. Poverty alleviation measures are barely temporary and, at best, work in the short run to cushion the effect of heightened inflation and food insecurity. The government should provide solid medium- to long-term solutions to tackle these problems. They should re-evaluate some of their policies to see whether they are inflationary and jettison them to allow good policies to thrive. We can only imagine the unintended consequences of allowing poverty and inflation to fester. The increasing inflation and poverty are creating desperation among a portion of society, which is increasingly becoming despondent and seeing itself at the fringes of society. The implications of this are plausible. Many ordinary citizens are burdened by poverty, hunger, and severe inflation, which have made their lives miserable. The government must take action to alleviate this scourge and help Nigerians lead meaningful lives.

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OPINION

New Approach To Combatting Terrorism In Nigeria: Truth Alliance And The Path Forward

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Terrorists

By Ahmed Mustapha*

Three weeks ago, a high-level UN counter-terrorism summit in Abuja concluded that a new approach to fighting terrorism was needed across Africa.

As the head of one of Nigeria’s largest NGOs dealing with this problem, I strongly agree and hope that the conclusions of this meeting will herald new and exciting approaches to reducing the risk of more violence and its terrifying consequences for the people of this country and the Continent of Africa.

The summit gathered one month after the brutal kidnapping of over 100 students from Kuriga, Kaduna State.  Even more recent kidnappings show how the terrifying reality of violent extremism remains in Nigeria. Both provide a stark reminder of the ruthless tactics of terrorist or violent extremist groups who target innocent civilians, using suicide bombers in markets, places of worship, and crowded venues, further exacerbating the region’s humanitarian crisis – all to further their cause.

As the summit discussed, the terror unleashed by Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and their likes has led to widespread displacement, with millions forced into refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps under dire conditions. The social fabric of entire communities has been torn apart, with trust eroded and countless families mourning the loss of loved ones.

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But there is hope.  Our pioneering work to reduce the risk of violence and rehabilitate those who leave these groups and the tireless works of other groups like us give points to a new way forward.

Our work in affected communities is heralding great results and pointing to a new wave of defections and surrenders from Boko Haram for those fed up with the hypocrisy of its leadership, the brutality of its actions and the cruel manipulation of those whose job it is to recruit people into their ranks.

That is why a group of stakeholders, CSOs and concerned citizens formed the ‘The Truth Alliance’ – a network committed to unmasking the truth behind violent and extremist groups and empowering communities to resist tyranny and violence. Through education, outreach, and collaboration, the Truth Alliance strives to build a safer, more resilient society for all.

In a campaign tagged ‘Time to Tell the Truth’, the Truth Alliance has come together to expose the truth behind how violent extremist groups draw young people into their ranks. Their message is simple: these groups manipulate, they deceive, they control, they kill, and they destroy the hopes and dreams of people, their families and the communities in which they live.

In a new report, the Alliance has highlighted what we call “the significant revelations about the internal conflicts and growing disenchantment within Boko Haram.” We believe the group’s cohesion and operational effectiveness are weakening, illuminating the underlying vulnerabilities within its ranks.

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The personal testimonies from young insurgents who defected in April provide a disturbing glimpse into the group’s operations and the brutal reality that reveals the truth behind their recruitment practices, which contradict the group’s recruitment propaganda.  This manipulative recruitment strategy targets the most vulnerable, often deceiving them with twisted interpretations of religious texts.

The report also describes how Boko Haram, infamous for its brutal campaign of violence, has long engaged in atrocities, including mass kidnappings, indiscriminate killings, and the exploitation of children as soldiers. However, the growing number of surrenders and defections from Boko Haram indicates a loss of control and diminishing morale among its members.

If we act fast, these internal fractures are critical vulnerabilities that could provide opportunities for regional security forces to capitalise on. This could potentially accelerate the group’s decline and herald exactly what the summit asked for—a new scale of effort to tackle this enduring and terrifying problem facing the people of Nigeria.

*Mustapha is the spokesperson for The Truth Alliance and can be reached via info@truthalliance.org.ng

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OPINION

Manchester City Beat West Ham  To Become First Team To Win English League Title Four Seasons In A Row

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With Manchester City needing a win to be sure of holding off Arsenal, who started the final day two points behind but with a better goal difference, Phil Foden put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead after just two minutes.

The England star added another before the break and although Mohammed Kudus pulled one back, midfielder Rodri restored the home side’s two-goal cushion with a shot from the edge of the area after 59 minutes.

City survived a late scare when West Ham had a second goal ruled out by VAR for handball.

However, their victory was never seriously in doubt

The win completed a staggering run of 19 wins and four draws since their last defeat in the league, at Aston Villa on 6 December.

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City have now won six out of the past seven Premier League titles. Last term, they joined Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, twice, in winning the top flight three years in a row.

Now Guardiola’s team have achieved something no other side has managed since the English league was formed in 1888, 136 years ago.

On 25 May they will aim to become the first side to complete the domestic Double in successive seasons when they face Manchesterter United in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Foden has already collected the Football Writers’ Association and Premier League Player of the Year awards. Few would argue against a clean sweep when the Professional Footballers’ Association eventually confirms theirs.

At 23, Foden now has six titles to his name. He is still a long way behind Ryan Giggs, who holds the record with 13.

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However, it is worth noting Giggs did not achieve his sixth until he was 26 and while the Welshman was 39 when he got his last, given City’s current dominance, Foden is likely to keep chipping away at that total in the short term.

Guardiola feels there is further improvement in the England international, but he has already developed his all-round game, makes better runs with and without the ball, and his close control is sublime.

James Ward-Prowse must have felt he was chasing shadows as he closed in to make a tackle when Bernardo Silva provided Foden with a square pass. But with one touch, Foden ghosted away from the West Ham man before delivering the perfect finish.

There was no real evidence of nerves in the crowd before kick-off. City had not lost at home all season and they had a 100% winning record against West Ham on home soil since Guardiola arrived in 2016 .

The visitors had nothing to play for, manager David Moyes is leaving and top-scorer Jarrod Bowen was ruled out with tonsillitis.

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But any home anxiety that did exist was rapidly swept away.

Foden’s second – his 26th goal of the season – wasn’t long in arriving as Jeremy Doku delivered a slide-rule, square pass through a crowd of bodies to the edge of the six-yard area. Foden was calmness personified in a frantic situation and found the net with a first-time finish.

Only a bit of bad luck and West Ham keeper Alphonse Areola prevented West Ham being completely swept away in the first half hour.

The France keeper turned away De Bruyne’s vicious free-kick, repelled Doku twice and also denied Manuel Akanji. Rodri, Erling Haaland, acrobatically, and Josko Gvardiol all missed the target from reasonably close range.

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