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SOCIAL PROBLEMS

Gay: One issue that unites Africans, irrespective of their differences.


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Gay: One issue that unites Africans, irrespective of their differences.

Some have wondered why the gay topic is one issue that unites Africans, irrespective of their differences. Is their vehement opposition to gay borne out of religious, cultural cum social backgrounds? From the spiritual point of view, why are Africans less antagonistic on issues like paedophilia, lust, adultery, pride, envy, stealing, and greed as they are to gay? Likewise, why would an average African show less anger or backlash to typical African social problems such as bad leadership, corruption, stealing, lack of hospitals, schools, housing, water, and food than the gay? Hence why is the gay topic more sensitive to Africans than their mountainous, strangling social problems, which could endanger generations of their unborn children? Read the latest Kata Kata Cartoon Magazine for more............................................

https://storage.googleapis.com/katakata-cb1db.appspot.com/pdfs/jabs/1657789499
OR: https://www.magzter.com/magazines/listAllSpecialIssues/12051

Originality versus Alien.


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Originality versus Alien.

Alien? Being from, belonging, or relating to another place, person, or thing? Unfamiliar or abnormality, distasteful? A hypothetical or fictional being from another world? But what criteria dictate originality, normality – and for that matter, alien? And who determines what authenticity, normality, strange, unknown, unfamiliar, or odd is? Read the latest Kata Kata Cartoon Magazine for more. https://storage.googleapis.com/katakata-cb1db.appspot.com/pdfs/jabs/1657789499 OR: https://www.magzter.com/magazines/listAllSpecialIssues/12051

Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 3)


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Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 3)

Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 3)
Hardly do we have racism enshrined in the constitution of various countries, but our governments put in place different racial biased institutions, which help to maintain racism and promote dominant ideology. To reduce racial discrimination, we must systematically dismantle the racist institutions that foster racism. Read more:
https://storage.googleapis.com/katakata-cb1db.appspot.com/pdfs/jabs/1648728688

Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 2)


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Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 2)

Kata Kata Village Fights Racism

Kata Kata Village Fights Racism
Hardly do we have racism enshrined in the constitution of various countries, but our governments put in place different racial biased institutions, which help to maintain racism and promote dominant ideology. To reduce racial discrimination, we must systematically dismantle the racist institutions that foster racism. Read more: https://storage.googleapis.com/katakata-cb1db.appspot.com/pdfs/jabs/1648728688

Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 1)


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Kata Kata Village Fights Racism (Part 1)

Through constant interaction with State organs such as family, the churches, education, court, trade unions, political parties, media, and literature, human beings adopt specific behavioural patterns and (re)produce preferred meanings and ideologies such as racism. Let’s join hands and eliminate the cankerworm consuming the social fabric. Read more: https://storage.googleapis.com/katakata-cb1db.appspot.com/pdfs/jabs/1648728688

Cyber Bullying Campaign: Thanks for coming on board


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Cyber Bullying Campaign: Thanks for coming on board

Since the launch of the cyber bullying campaign on 11th November in Uganda, many have come on board to make the campaign a reality. Thank you for that right decision! However, we still need those of you out there, who are yet to join the historic wagon. Agama, Piccolo, Nza, Useni, Liam, Namazzi, Mukisa, Natukunda ……..(you keep on counting) have all joined the Cyber-Bullying Campaign Wagon. Where are you? We can only reach our destination quickly and book a tangible result if we all work together as a team. Yes, you are, perhaps not a cyber bullying victim today, but you may become one tomorrow. No one is immune to the menace of cyber bullying. You could be a victim – soon. Remember: if you surrender to the cyber aggression, you become a loser. So listen to Agama’s advice and do the right thing!! Please join the campaign now and let us make Uganda – and Africa – cyber bullying free!!!!

Fighting Gender Inequality in Africa: The Botswana Model


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Fighting Gender Inequality in Africa: The Botswana Model

Discrimination against women and girls is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing. Just like elsewhere in the world, women and girls in Africa had gone through thick and thin due to gender inequality on the continent. And the menace is hardly far from being eradicated in modern African society.

Gender inequality, which is a by-product of the sexist ideology, which maintains that the female is inferior to the male, persists through the enaction and (re)enforcement of sexism, via the ideological state apparatuses such as the family, educational institutions (schools), media, court, police, law institutions. These institutions are used by the states to transmit its value, through control and the coercion of individuals, to reproduce preferred values and maintain psychology of gender. By so doing, the states, society or culture (re)creates a social formation and preserves the status quo. This process makes gender ideology, and indeed gender inequality, part of our everyday reality.

Discriminatory laws that favour men over women exist in many countries. A whopping percentage of women are side-lined when it comes to decision making in many issues in different countries, as well as in families. It is not strange to know that some cultures, even have rigid control over how women and girls dress or their interaction. Furthermore, women are prohibited from driving, working, expressing love or choosing their husbands in certain African cultures. Restrictive access to education, economic discrimination, reproductive health inequality, land ownership prohibition, professional obstacles, custody rights, freedom of marriage, early marriages, early childbearing, and discriminatory divorce rights are some of the subjugations of gender inequality. Gender inequality subjects women to economic, social and psychological dependence on men, which leads to the male exercise of power and control over the female.

In January 2020, UNICEF reported that a third of the world’s poorest girls are denied education, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This denial is possible because public education spending is disproportionately skewed towards children from rich households, compared to the poor. Guinea, Central African Republic, Senegal, and Cameroon are some of the countries having a tremendous gender-related academic imbalance. Discrimination against women has also extended to the economic sector. Many companies and institutions are dominated by males, limiting eye-bogging 70 per cent of women to the informal sector, with low pay and difficult working conditions.

Psychology of gender equally produces gender-based violence. Gender inequality and discrimination manifest in the form of female genital mutilation, human trafficking, sexual violence, to mention just a few examples. According to the United Nations Population Fund, forme rly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), gender-based violence ranges from physical, sexual, emotional abuses. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found out that one in two women experiences sexual violence in their lifetime either from a stranger or somebody related to them. The East and Southern Africa regions have the highest number of women and girls who have been sexually abused, according to the UN study. The study further showed the cases of sexual violence are high among girls aged 15 and below in conflict and post-conflict countries of the DRC, Mozambique, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. For instance, research shows that violence against women is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in Botswana; 67 per cent of women in Botswana has experienced it.

Gender inequality comes with its consequences; some of them can cause irredeemable damage to society. Hindering women and girls from accessing education can increase the level of illiteracy which hampers development. When many people are uneducated, the formal sectors are likely to struggle to find workers, which will translate into lower SDG for a country. Some countries are less developed because of the lack of women in leadership positions. Many research findings have shown that there is a high probability of development policies and implementation in a country when women are holding leadership positions. Equally, the study shows that societies, where women are in leadership positions, are associated with positive health outcomes such as the promotion of women high life expectancy and reductions in both maternal and infant mortality.

With the overwhelming evidence of the advantages of women participation in social development, various human rights agencies have intensified their campaign to create awareness of the need to correct the gender imbalance in the world. Many rights groups are advocating for equal rights and treatment for women and girls, including in the areas of education, socio-political and economic participation, law ownership. Many governments have also enacted laws that enshrine gender equality. African countries are equally trying to eliminate gender discrimination. For example, in some countries like Cameroon, the Penal Code has been amended; now, both men and women have equal rights to sue for divorce. The attitude towards the female gender is positively changing, thanks to the human rights groups relentless efforts. Many girls can now acquire education up to the university level; numerous women have gained employment in popular companies, with some holding managerial positions and earning good salaries.

Botswana has been one of the few African countries, making positive efforts to balance gender inequality. The government has approved the National Policy on Gender and Development to address social inequality in society. The fight against women discrimination in Botswana received a boost recently after its President Mokgweetsi Masisi abolished a Land Policy that denied women rights to own if their husbands had some. The new law means that every woman in the South African nation is now eligible to acquire one residential plot in any part of the country of their choice, on both state and tribal land. That is not all. The new law empowers women and provides them with another source of income and livelihood in case of divorce or death of their husbands. Before the amendment of the 2015 Land Policy, only unmarried women and wives of men who did not own land were eligible for land rights.

“The Botswana Land Policy 2015 was discriminatory against married women and did not give them equal treatment with men, and I am happy to report that this discriminatory sub-section has since been repealed,” Mokgweetsi Masisi said.

The historic decision by the Botswana President is a positive example for other African countries to emulate. The new law in Botswana encourages countries on the continent to abolish all laws that discriminate against women.

The best way to measure the level of development any country enjoys is to see how it treats its minorities. African still has a long way to go when it comes to gender discrimination. It is painful and disgusting to see women being treated as second-hand citizens in some countries in this modern age and era due to customs and laws enacted and influenced by the psychology of gender.

It is not too late to cast away our gender prejudice. Until we accept that we can achieve more in our various societies if women are actively involved in the social formation and economic development. This much-needed development can only take place if we cast away our sexist views and treat women as equal and dignified human beings.

Kata Kata Village Fights Against Gender-Based Violence.


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Kata Kata Village Fights Against Gender-Based Violence.

Gender-based violence, which is violence directed against a person as a result of their gender is a serious, yet often neglected human right violation. We cannot talk about gender-based violence without first going back to gender inequality, because gender violence is deeply rooted in gender inequality, which offers the “reality” behind the violence.

This kind of violence can be perpetuated physically, psychologically, sexually or economically on the victims through threats, coercion, liberty deprivation whether in public or within the four corners of our private homes.

Although from the definition, both men and women can be victims of gender-based violence, in reality, women are mostly at the receiving end of the violence. It is, therefore, not strange to know that the term “violence against women” is often used to describe gender-based violence. In Africa, where culture and tradition often segregate and relegate women to a second-class citizen position, African women have become increasingly victims of gender-based violence, which is systematically legitimized in the continent. That reality gives men the “right” to exercise their power, dominance and control over women. This leads to an imbalanced relationship between male and female.

The developmental benchmark of any country is measured by the position of women in that country. In most cases, gender-based violence leads to low economic productivity. Tackling gender-based violence must be an uncompromising task of every progressive and responsible government because gender-based violence constitutes a human rights violation, as well as a blatant form of gender-based discrimination.

Since most of the gender-violence is rooted in our culture and tradition, efforts must be directed to preventing any form of domestic violence against women. Traditions are man-made, as such, they can be modified to suit the present reality. Apart from discouraging domestic violence against women, governments much back the initiative up, by making laws to seriously punish gender-based violence offenders. Law enforcement agents must be empowered and encouraged to enforce anti-gender-based violence laws.

It is by discouraging gender-based violence and seriously punishing the perpetrators of such an evil act, that the government can positively change the social cognition and the mindset of the people as well as the attitude that encourages the violence.

The Kata Kata Village has decided to make gender-based violence one of its 2020 priorities. Come and join the campaign. Let us head to the village square and be part of the Kata Kata Village anti-gender-based violence campaign. Come on, let’s go!

Read the full illustrated story:

2020 Edition Vol7 Issue 24 DIGITAL

Say No To Gender-Based Violence!


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Say No To Gender-Based Violence!

Discrimination against women and girls is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing. Just like elsewhere in the world, women and girls in Africa had gone through thick and thin due to gender inequality on the continent. And the menace is hardly far from being eradicated in modern African society.

Gender inequality, which is a by-product of the sexist ideology, which maintains that the female is inferior to the male, persists through the enaction and (re)enforcement of sexism, via the ideological state apparatuses such as the family, educational institutions (schools), media, court, police, law institutions.

Read more:

Female genital mutilation and gender-based crimes against women in Africa

Between Tradition and Gender Rights

The Torch: Gender Equality

Gender inequality and Gender-based Violence


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Gender inequality and Gender-based Violence

While we fight against gender inequality and gender-based violence, many around the world have decided to leave no stone unturned in creating a gender-balanced society. Kata Kata Village is not an exception. A glimpse at the conversations amongst some members of the village tells you how important the subject has become. Hear them:

PICCOLO: You mean shouting on your wife frequently till she breaks down emotionally is not a kind of violence against her?

MAN: Why is it dat one abuse? I flog her?

PICCOLO: Any kind of intimidation or coercion that causes physical, mental or sexual harm to the woman is regarded as violence against her. This includes abuse, control of her behaviour or even arbitrary deprivation of her liberty.

WOMAN: God bless you my broder, Piccolo!

MAN (angry): You head get malaria or chickenpox, Piccolo! So when I shout at my wife you call dat one violence too?

WOMAN: If you think it’s good to shout on your wife till she cries, is it ok if she shouts on you too?

MAN: Woman, keep quiet!

PICCOLO: Shouting on your wife or any woman till she starts crying is verbal violence.

MAN: What’s de problem? Me, I shout with her mouth?

PICCOLO: Apart from that, think of sexual violence eg forced sex. Any attempt to obtain a sexual act, directly or indirectly through force against one’s wish, regardless of one’s relationship to the woman, is violence.

FATMAN: Eeee! Men don’ have power again as a man in dis Kata Kata village..

PICCOLO: Other forms of violence against women can be through organized crime, human traffickings like selling women and forcing them into prostitution or slavery…..

FAT MAN (surprised): Wait oh! Remind me, I don’ understand dis force sex. So, me, I first write a letter of night employment en put stamp en signature before I touch my wife at night?

KATA KATA VILLAGERS: Hahaaa

MAN: Good question!

PICCOLO: When I say sexual act, I mean rape, which can be through physical force, coercion or …………

FAT MAN: Heee! Dis law even difficult more dan Babylon law. Now you know why I prefer marry my food. Me, I don’ argue or fight with food. I just sit down and enjoy my sweetheart, food.

KATA KATA VILLAGERS: Haha / Shooo!! / Aya ya!!

VILLAGER: Real sweetheart!

Read more: https://katakata.org/kata-kata-village-celebrates-womens-day-in-a-special-way/

https://katakata.org/cyberbullying-campaign-kicks-off-in-uganda/

https://katakata.org/between-tradition-and-gender-rights/

Talking About Violence Against Women


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Talking About Violence Against Women

Being seen (and treated) as inferior, weak, less intelligent than male, a sex object and, in fact, as everything opposite the male, the discriminatory perception and maltreatment of women can itself be a bitter traumatic experience for the female gender. Justifying such perception with the violent treatment of women, and in some cases, being killed for not living up to that patriarchal sex-role stereotype and expectations, can indeed be a nightmare for a woman and a huge stumbling block towards a productive, progressive and egalitarian society.

From female genital mutilation, girl marriage, lack of access to education and means of production, (re) production of discourse, power (economic, social, political), sexual violence, human trafficking, economical, emotional/psychological dependence on the male (you name them), all lead to one conclusion: dehumanization, fragmentation and enslavement of women. It is time to rise and fight this naked injustice that is destroying our social fabric. Read more:
https://katakata.org/female-genital-mutilation-and-gender-based-crimes-against-women-in-africa/

Gender inequality and Gender-based Violence
Kata Kata Village Fights Against Gender-Based Violence

Say No To Gender-Based Violence

Bride Price in Africa: He Who Pays The Piper Calls The Tune


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Bride Price in Africa: He Who Pays The Piper Calls The Tune

Dowry, a payment made by the family of the groom in the form of money, presents, or a mixture of both, to their future in-laws at the start of their marriage, to enable the groom to marry the bride, has endured the strong wave of westernization in the Africa continent. The long-standing customary practice is shared across the societies from Egypt to South Africa, down to Ghana and Rwanda. On the other hand, in the Hindu culture, the bride’s family pays the dowry to the groom. In some cultures, factors such as income or status determine the value of the dowry.

Dowry (also called bride price) bears different names in different society, tribe, or country. In Tanzania, it is called “Mahari,” the Shona people of Zimbabwe call it “roora” and South Africans name it as “lobola.” In some cultures, dowry is paid before the wedding, others during the wedding, and few societies accept it after the event.

In traditional African societies, dowry payment was a family affair, and negotiation did not exist. The groom and his family had the right to settle on what and how much to pay to the bride’s family. People used animals such as goats, sheep, and cattle as the method of payment. Some societies also used agricultural products or gifts such as beer, blankets, and palm wine.

Traditionally, dowry acted as a token of appreciation to the bride’s family for bringing up their daughter and nurturing her for marriage. It also served as a unifying bond between the new families created by the union. It also legalized customary marriages, validated children born in marriages, and added value to the woman. The payment was also proof that the man can take care of his wife and the new family.

“It’s a cultural symbolism that, sort of, puts two families together. The coming together of two families which acknowledges that this is who we are and we are creating a new family,” said Nqobile Zulu, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

According to Lebogang Ramafoko, a South African social activist, the custom created a bond at the family and clan levels. It equally cemented peaceful co-existence between clans involved in the dowry ceremony.

“So when person A meets person B, African cultures acknowledge that person A and person B both are part of a system. In fact, the rituals that are involved in lobola (dowry) negotiations are bringing those two systems together, acknowledging that we are stronger working together than when we work as individuals. I think that is the beauty of the practice,” she reiterated.

But with our present social, political and economic advancement, dowry has been given a new twist. Our forefathers did their best to transfer this high esteemed cultural practice to the current generation to ensure a smooth marriage process, but their efforts may have hit a snag. Things have taken a U-turn, eliciting debate on the significance of dowry payment in the modern era. People have contorted the meaning of this traditional practice and effectively commercialized dowry. What was intended to be a token of appreciation and a uniting factor between families has become a money-making business.

Today, some greedy parents are using the marriage gift as a gateway to riches. Few societies still accept items like cattle, goats, and agricultural products as the mode of payment. Nearly everything is paid in the form of hard currency. Marriage has become an expensive entity due to unreasonable dowry charges by the brides’ parents. Today one has no freedom to offer what he can afford as a bride price. The two families have to sit down and agree on what the groom’s family is needed to pay and the amount to be paid depends on the man’s social status and the bride’s level of education.

For example, In Zimbabwe, educated brides fetch higher bride prices, said Sambulo Ndlove, the chairperson of African Languages and Literature at Great Zimbabwe University. According to him, a woman with a master’s degree or PhD. can attract between $15,000 and $30,000 dowry; and for women with a college degree, the price tag can range from $8,000 and $12,000.

The modern perception of dowry is now a matter of concern. Ironically, men put much importance to having a male child, whom they believe will culturally inherit their name/root after their death. This cultural expectation and practice put incredible pressure on their wives, who feels insecure in their marriages without a male child. Yet, some parents see their daughters as an investment that should generate profit for the family when they get married. The pressure is extreme for men who cannot afford the outrageous demands from the potential in-laws. That means finding a wife of your dream does not necessarily transcend into marriage if you are not financially sound to pay for the dowry. Other men are forced to pay beyond their financial limit and capability, simply to fulfil cultural expectations. Unreasonable demands for dowry have seen planned marriages and engagements broken. Demanding, for example, $3,000 or more for a bride price, from a man who earns $100 or less per month is ridiculous and malicious.

“When you have paid a hundred and thirty pounds bride-price and you are only a second-class clerk, you find you haven’t got any more to spare on other women.”

Chinua Achebe, The African Trilogy: Things Fall Apart; Arrow Of God; No Longer at Ease (Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition).

But the pressure is not only on the man. In many African societies, unmarried women are often treated with disrespect, and the affected women regarded as “bad.” This attitude simply put enormous pressure on both unmarried men and women.

But logically, he who pays the piper calls the tune. If a man is forced to spend his life-saving on his wife’s dowry, logically, he may most likely see the wife as his property and treat her so. The attitude towards one’s wife encourages subordination, mistreatment of wives – and to a great extent, women – as an appendix to their husbands. The treatment puts unnecessary pressure on marriages and even cause them to break. Apart from the cultural pressure, the majority of parents and families are responsible for the failed marriages and increase in single motherhood.

“No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man.”

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Human rights activists have warned that the sudden twist (Which “twist”? There must be “unity” between each sentence / paragraph, otherwise, it will be difficult to follow one’s argument )

Human rights activists have warned that the recent commercialization of bride price has turned women into a commodity or property, with men being perceived as having full rights, authority and control over their newly acquired “properties.” That perception devalues women in marriage and treats them as second-class citizens in various societies. That is not all. Some women have been denied the rights over their children, and others are blocked from getting into their marital homes. Gender-based sexual violence has become the order of the day. Those women who cannot bear the gender inequality and discrimination in their marriages hardly find comfort in their fathers’ home either, which culturally belongs to and inherited by the male family members. Worse still, husbands mostly exercise total control over their “properties,” and thus hardly entertains outside intervention in their marriages. Many families who have demanded much bride price from the groom are sometimes helpless when their daughter is being mistreated in a marriage. Some of the families are hardly eager to caution their son-in-law or accept their daughters back because of the inability or unwillingness to refund the outrageous bride price they collected from the groom. Result? Unhappiness becomes inevitable in marriage; families often encourage their daughters to bear the sometimes, unbearable condition in their marriages rather than save her the unhappiness, pressure, hardship, discrimination and fragmentation that come with her marriage.

Some of these atrocities have been recorded by the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA). A study by two researchers Dorrit Posel and Stephanie Radwick of Witwatersrand University in South Africa, on marriage rates in Kwa Zulu-Natal Province, disclosed that the numbers of young couples who have chosen to cohabit due to inability to pay high dowry demands. Others choose elopement as the only answer since they have to get married in line with the African culture.

Overpriced bride prices have also plunged some low-income families into a crippling debt; often, they are coerced to sell their lands or acquire loans at an exorbitant rate to raise the money demanded by the bride’s family. Some men who cannot pay a dowry or make a top-up on what they had paid before, had been bullied and mistreated by their wives and in-laws. In India, where the family of the bride pays the bride price to the groom, many mothers-in-law mistreat or even sometimes, kill their daughter-in-law to cash in on another – and sometimes higher – bride price. Many young unfortunate Indian brides, who cannot afford to pay for their bride price end up killing themselves, rather than face the mockery of being unmarried.

Some human rights organisations have labelled bride price a “modern-day slavery” and called for the abolition of the practice, which they argue oppresses women. In 2007, MIFUMI, an Uganda-based international women’s rights advocacy group, filed a suit in the country’s Supreme Court seeking to have the custom eradicated. After eight years of the court battle, the judges unanimously uphold the dowry’s payment but barred men from claiming a repayment from their wives’ families in the case of divorce or marriage dissolution. The judges also banned parents from marrying off ladies who are under 18. In Zimbabwe, Prisccilar Vengesai a Harare lawyer, who was once degraded and mistreated in her previous marriage also failed in her attempt to ask her country’s Constitutional court to stop payment of a dowry or to mandate both parties to share the payment of bride price.

The culture, customs and practices of a group are the existential rope which binds and unites them as an entity and defines their identity; it brings coherence to their existence. However, what happens when the same cultural cord that binds a group together seems to be the same that effectively strangles it? If people have created a practice, they can modify it to fit their existence. Rather than eradicating the bride price, it is time to change it to suit with present reality. That necessary modification will go a long way in ensuring the survival of African culture and the people.

Sober reflections on global environmental hazards and damages


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Sober reflections on global environmental hazards and damages

There is no doubt that many oil companies have blood in their hands due to the environmental hazards they have caused, globally. The immediate and long-term effects of those environmental damages cannot be underestimated. From the pollution of the ecosystem (soil, water, sea, air, plant, etc) to hazards to the human, animals, the drilling of oil comes with a huge income and many challenges to the society. Many oil companies have been accused of paying little or no attention to the environmental impacts of their businesses but rather, focusing mainly on the profit that comes out of them. This is hardly a lie. Amongst those oil companies held responsible for the environmental damages across the world, Shell’s name has always featured predominately on the lists of environmental polluters.
Environmental damage caused by oil drilling in Niger Delta

A classic example of the environmental atrocities committed by Shell is visible in the Niger Delta oil-producing region of Nigeria, where the Dutch-British company has been active for decades, making billions of dollars in profit. Yes, billions of dollars at the expense of the future of extinguishing local community. Sadly, the local inhabitants of the Niger Delta are one of the environmentally endangered groups in Nigeria, due to the infamous activities of Shell. They cannot farm on their land. Nor, can they fish on their polluted waters. Visible oil pipes have occupied most of their lands, competing with human beings for space. The oil spill and flammable oil disasters are a common occurrence, which claims hundreds of innocent lives very often. Animals are dying. Plants too are not spared. Local inhabitants are increasingly dying of toxic air. No many social amenities. Schools, hospitals, drinkable water are all a dream. Yet, this is the economic heartbeat of Nigeria, a country which depends economically mainly on its oil from the Niger Delta region of the country to survive. On the other hand, the Shell oil company is drilling billions of dollars in profit from the Niger Delta region. From the Nigerian Niger Delta region to, Amazon, Alaska, the story is the same.

But holding Shell solely responsible for the environmental negligence in Nigeria without pointing an accusing finger on the corrupt leadership of Nigeria is indeed unfair to all the parties affected by the inhuman practice. You may wish to ask yourself a simple but important question: why would Shell commit such unacceptable environmental atrocities in Nigeria, yet it simply cannot do the same in the Netherland and the UK? The answer is simple. It boils down to accountability. The oil company cannot be allowed to undertake such irresponsible and deadly actions in its native countries without being held responsible and severely punished for the actions. Is it the same in Nigeria? That is where the Nigerian element comes in. We are talking about responsibility for actions taken. So the next question is: why did the Nigerian government allow Shell to get away with such an environmental genocide in the Nigerian soil? Does that clearly say much about the level of commitment the Nigerian government has to the lives of its citizens? Many have accused the Nigerian government and some local leaders of the Delta region of Nigeria of turning a blind eye to the deadly activities of Shell after allegedly, collecting kickbacks from the oil giant. Yet others believe that the Anglo-Dutch oil company may have paid millions to improve the social services and living standard of the locals where it operates, however, much of the compensation, many believe, was channeled to the pockets of a few powerful leaders.

Regardless, that does not exonerate Shell from those reckless environmental damages to the locals from where it makes billions of dollars. If Shell (and other environmental polluters) know their actions are deadly to both the environment and human beings and that such criminal acts are illegal and unacceptable in their countries, why would they encourage such unholy actions elsewhere? Doing so exposes the level of oil giants’ double standard and insensitive to the lives of others. Many environmental activists have intensified their struggle to make the oil companies pay more attention to the environment where they operate and where they make their billions. That campaign has started yielding fruits. Recently, Shell is not only acknowledging its shortcomings and previous atrocities, but it has also promised to work diligently towards setting an environmentally accepted standard. This must be praised and encouraged.

Will the Anglo-Dutch oil juggernaut keep to its promise? Will other environmental polluters follow suit? We have only one world; it is our natural duty to sustain it through our actions and policies for our benefits and those of our future generations to come. Some might call it a hoax, but global warming is a reality, which has been scientifically proven. From extreme hot weather, to unbearable snow falls, harsh climate, unexpected tsunami, the Arctic sea ice, visibly diminishes, global sea level is rising, ocean heat content is increasing, humidity is increasing due to warm wind, snowfall melts faster, glaciers are fast melting, air temperature over the land goes on increase. These visible changes are scientifically proved.

At the level of our present environmental damages, we owe our children and the future generation a clear explanation as per what we have done to protect our environment. What would be the explanations of Shell, Sinopec, Saudi Aramco, China National Petroleum Corporation, ExxonMobil, Rosneft, Chevron, Total, Lukoil, BP, Eni and other oil giants, which have in one way or another contributed to the environmental dangers facing mankind?

The Other Side of The Mobile Phone Technology


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The Other Side of The Mobile Phone Technology

Technology, and for that matter, the mobile phone, has drastically changed our lives and behaviour. Ironically, in our present globalised world, mobile phones have not only made our lives easier, but they have also simultaneously enslaved us. Can you image your day – to – day life without a phone? Hardly not. The degree of the effect of the mobile phone addiction is such that we all now compete not to be left behind as far as mobile phone technology is concerned.

Welcome to the new era of mobile technology. According to the U.N. released figures, there were worldwide, over 6 billion mobile phone users, making it virtually 86 phones per 100 people in the world. With such devices as cameras, music players, and organizers substituted by mobile phones, our lives, relationship and mode of interaction and communication have changed drastically. Unlike when newspaper vendors were even bribed to jealously keep favoured newspapers for their preferred customers or were bombarded by a swarm of curious readers, struggling to buy their favourite dailies to catch up with the latest news, mobile phone technology has given the newspapers a devastating sale blow. With your fingers on your fanciful and portable mobile phones, all the breaking news unfolds live from any corner of the world, films, latest entertainment news, gossips and scandals, all information you can think of, is easily displayed on your fingertip, directly on your phone screen. More than that, you are 24 hours and 7 days, a week connected with your friends and family. Online chats and social media chat rooms enable you to stay in touch with friends and make new ones. The world has never been so small and redefined, and the distance incredibly reduced by mobile phone technology. Definity, there is no more distance barrier for those who have been initiated into the mobile phone cult. Mobile technology connects anyone in every village in every country. More than ever, global connectivity is forming the basis for wider international collaboration and development. The once a wide gulf between demand and supply has been effectively reduced by the introduction of a mobile phone, while speed, quality, and efficiencies have been added to the global market, research, education, and services due to the said technology. Timely delivery of services, high-level resilience, easier sharing of information, techniques and coordination amongst researchers, teachers, and students are part of the wonders of the mobile technology development.

Shopping can never be the same due to global connectivity. With many online stores and sites available, many customers do not only prefer online shopping; equally, shopping at the convenience of their home or office with their credit cards has become a common trend.

What about a job application? The days are gone when one had to go out every day to buy newspapers or drive hundreds of kilometers to offices, searching for a job. Equipped with your mobile phone, laptop or internet connectivity, you can comfortably search or apply for jobs, connect business opportunities on the forums.

However, global internet connectivity has its downsides. Many research works have repeatedly pointed out the dangerous effects of mobile phones – especially on children. There is a strong belief amongst health experts that excessive use of a mobile phone could cause cancer; although the mobile phone – cancer connection has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. However, it is calculated that an average brain receives approximately 220 electromagnetic impulses per minute each time one uses a mobile phone. Although the amount does not pose health havoc, prolonged use of a mobile phone means more impulses, which can be dangerously unhealthy in a long run. Many experts, therefore, strongly believe that frequent mobile phone users are 50% more likely to have brain cancer than their counterparts, who use the gadget less often. Furthermore, experts believe that the constant use of mobile phone by pregnant mothers poses significant health problems to both the mothers and their unborn children. But the risks are not limited to women alone. Some research has equally concluded that mobile phone, when carried near the male reproductive organ, can affect the male reproductive system. A good reason, experts have advised men to desist from carrying their phones in the pockets of their trousers. Other health risks associated with a mobile phone are a headache, depression, decreased attention, insomnia, short temper, all as a result of the influence of mobile phone on the nervous system. Equally, excessive texting could affect eyes harmfully.

Apart from the health hazard associated with mobile phone usage, other social problems are not uncommon. Many, especially, children, are so addicted to their phones nowadays that they have no other social contacts. Due to the addiction, social interaction is now limited to the use of the phone. Many accidents both at home and on the road are recently caused by the many phone users have effectively forgotten the existence of another world than their phones. .What of the relationship between mobile phone technology and cybercrime? Scamming individuals in and outside the country has never been easier, thanks to the global connectivity. Worse still, cyber-attacks targeting other country’s infrastructure, stealing of the State’s secrets, using viruses and other malicious software are some of the nightmares associated with global connectivity.

Pornography – especially those targeting kids – is another headache. Kids are easily unfortunate victims of global connectivity. With many porno sites out there, many teenagers are ruined into sexual activities at a ripe age.

Definitely, no one can deny the positive impacts of mobile phones and global connectivity; equally, to turn a blind eye on their negative effects is in fact, suicidal. It is high time we found a balance between the advantages and disadvantages of global connectivity and set a clear border how far we can go in order to secure a healthy and productive future.

Technology: Maintaining online safety


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Technology: Maintaining online safety

Faced with an upsurge in cyber-attacks worldwide, we decided to investigate what it means to be secure online, what kinds of threats exist on the internet, and what one can do to protect themselves from them. According to the National Online Safety Alliance, online safety is the act of remaining secure while using the internet. E-safety refers to Internet safety, cyber safety, or e-security. It encompasses any electronic devices that have an internet connection, ranging from personal computers and laptops to smartphones and tablets, among other things.

Regardless of one’s geographical location on the planet, it is impossible to guarantee maximum protection on the internet. According to the most recent figures, cybercrime has increased by 600 per cent since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. When the revolutionary virus made its appearance in the world in early 2020, many firms switched from traditional office models to home-based operations to curtail its spread. Although the emergence of COVID-19 brought economic devastation and fatality globally, it equally offered an economic boom to some individuals – including scandalous ones with nefarious activities taking advantage of depressing situations. The pandemic has created an uncertain social and economic environment, which has prompted cybercriminals to develop and spread their attacks at an alarming rate. According to Jürgen Stock, the Secretary-General of INTERPOL, these criminals are taking advantage of the worry and uncertainty produced by the current situation. While some criminal-minded elements spread their fraudulent tentacles, pretending to offer protective equipment, hand sanitiser and other needed items against corona, others pretended to be providing humanitarian services to desperate citizens. They all had one goal – to breach the security of their “clients” and defraud them through a cyber attack.

A cyber security threat is any malicious attack on a network by an individual or organisation with the intent of gaining access to the network, corrupting data, or stealing confidential information from the web. Cyber security threats include both individual and organisational attacks on networks. Computer viruses, malware, phishing, botnets, Distributed Demand of Service (DDoS), Trojan Horse, SQL Injection Attack, Rootkit, Rogue Security Software, and APT Threats are all examples of common cyber threats.

Cyber-attacks are perpetrated by cyber terrorists, government-sponsored actors, organised crime, hacktivists, script kiddies, internal user errors and malicious insiders. Actors are motivated by a desire to make a political or social statement, sometimes attacking in various ways to show their unhappiness with everything and anything. These include attacks against governments, politicians, society, giant corporations, and current events. Commonly, they start attacks against their targets if they disagree with them by interfering with their website.

Another component that contributes to the equation is financial gain. For the most part, cyberattacks aim at the economic benefit, which includes stealing money directly from financial accounts, collecting credit card information, infringing on data security, and demanding ransom in exchange for information.

Hacking can be a form of vengeance aimed at individuals, employees or organisations. Nor are members of the public spared. Experts point out that culprits are successful in most of their plans because they have an extensive understanding of their systems, networks, and even security.

Yet, other hackers also engage in cybercrime to get notoriety and admiration from their peers. Hackers who are socially awkward loners and live in virtual worlds turn to hack for the intellectual challenge and adrenaline rush that comes with breaking into a computer network.

There is also the issue of commercial competitiveness to consider. The goal is to cause financial and reputational harm to the competitors while disrupting the market and enticing customers to switch allegiances. For example, some of these assaults aim to prohibit competitors from participating in more significant events. In contrast, others may lead to a complete shutdown of web-based businesses for a specified length of time.

Although eradicating cyberattacks is a complex undertaking, experts have approved various technologies that can help mitigate their impact. Ran Shahor, a retired Brigadier General (Ret.) and the founder of the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence branch’s cutting-edge Cyber Security program, said tools that were previously only available to top-level cybersecurity professionals are now available to anyone via the Dark Web, posing many problems. Although hackers have stepped up their game, the following steps will keep you safe on the internet:

• Download and install anti-virus software.

Virus detection and elimination are the primary functions of anti-virus software packages, which safeguard devices from assault. The majority of them will prevent viruses and other risks from reaching or harming your computer or device. Anti-virus software is available for purchase or obtained for free via the internet. The majority of people are reliant. When everything is working correctly, most anti-virus programs will display a green flag or icon on the screen. If you notice yellow or red, you should follow the on-screen directions to get everything back on track using the utility. The majority of consumers place too much reliance on Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center, although experts recommend that you use a third-party protection program.

• Make a copy of your data.

The good news is that most Macs and PCs have a feature that allows you to backup your data, and it’s well worth your time to do so regularly.

If your computer is infected with a virus, having a backup of your data can save your life since you should be able to restore your computer to the state it was in before it became infected. You can back up your data in two ways: either purchase an external hard drive and do an “offline” or “cold” backup, or sign up for a cloud-based service such as Dropbox and perform a cloud backup.

• Make use of strong passwords.

Websites and social media platforms require passwords to be more and more complicated as time goes on. They frequently demand a combination of at least eight characters consisting of an uppercase letter, a number, and at least a special symbol such as a question mark or a complete stop, among other things. In addition, make each account’s password distinct from the others. One of the most straightforward methods for hackers to steal information is to obtain a batch of login and password combinations from a single source and then try those same combinations in several places. They will likely attempt to access your financial accounts once they have successfully gotten into your social networking account.

• Two-factor authentication (also known as two-factor authentication)

According to McAfee, two-factor authentication is a means of restricting computer access by requiring many different pieces of evidence to be submitted to an authentication mechanism to get access. Two-factor authentication is already available from most businesses and social media platforms. They provide a unique code to the user by SMS, and this code will expire after a specific length of time. This code also alerts the user if someone attempts to obtain access to their account without their consent.

• Delete all of your cached information.

Make a habit of deleting browser cookies and clearing your browser history regularly to protect better the information that may be hiding in your Web browser history. It’s a simple process. Simply pressing Ctrl+Shift+Del in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera will bring up a dialogue box that allows you to select which components of your browser data you want to remove from memory. While it is not always problematic, removing cookies from some websites may result in the loss of whatever personalisation you have made to your browsing experience.

• Make use of firewalls.

Firewalls serve as filters, allowing or restricting access to devices on a network to safeguard them. Firewalls, which use a precise set of criteria to determine if something is safe or hazardous, can protect sensitive information from being stolen and malicious code from being inserted into computer networks. Often, your operating system and security system come pre-installed with a firewall already configured. It is good to ensure that those features are on and that your settings are adjusted to download and install updates automatically to enhance internet security.

• Refrain from disclosing any of your personal information.

Never give up your passwords, banking information, or mailing address to anyone online. Also, keep in mind that hackers may be able to guess your password based on other information about you, such as your pets or your relationship.

• Use a virtual private network (VPN).

A virtual private network, or VPN, should be used whenever you connect to the internet through a Wi-Fi network that you don’t control, according to the FTC. A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a server maintained by the VPN provider. That implies that no one, not even the owner of the free Wi-Fi network, will be able to access your information.

Maintaining your online safety is your responsibility; it’s important to remember that hackers simultaneously target companies and individuals. Using the above recommendations and others, such as using security questions, will put you in a better position than not using them at all.