The ‘Living God’ Found In A Nigerian Shrine As Pastor Goes Mad In Attempt To Destroy It —- He Has Been Arraigned And May Go To Jail

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The marooned and imbecilic Christian evangelist who out of sheer hatred for any belief-system, not of his Christianity, who went to destroy an aboriginal, unadulterated Dwelling Place of The Universal Intelligence whose manifestation and magnificence also illumines in a traditional shrine in Ketu community in Ayetoro, Yewa ‎North Local Government Area of Ogun State, has been arraigned, Police can confirm.

shrine

In a chat with newsmen, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi‎, said Evangelist Wale Fagbere was charged for hateful destruction which was an act that was capable of putting the public into chaos. The PPRO reiterated that what the brainwashed evangelist did was imposition, because all citizens have a right of worship and worship anything they so believe in that does not contravene the Constitution of the country.

The trouble that the evangelist is likely not to come out from, at least, very soon, started on September 25, while in a charlatanic ministration at a local church in the community and swaggered before his sheepishly followers, perhaps, for more offerings to him, saying that he was instructed by ‘God’ to destroy the shrine.

In what turned out to be a misfire, the leprechaun trapped in the shrine in his unjustifiably move to destroy it. Eyewitnesses said that he was numb and motionless except for the intervention of Alaye of Ayetoro, Oba Abdulaziz Adelakun, who massaged the priests of the shrine to do something, so that the goon would be normal again.

This might sound as a strong warning to the over-enthusiastic and ill-read Christians in the things of ‘God’ in Nigeria, who go about destroying aboriginal shrines and spiritualities of peoples in the villages and towns that cut across the country in their malarial-pursuit of Satan, that the ‘Living God’ is in the African shrines, there is no ‘Dead God’ in them; the later they preach in cajoling African Traditional Spiritualities but the world has seen who is fake from the incident.

-Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Consultant based in Rivers State. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com

Mpempe: Nigerian Girl Who Died Out Of Poor Healthcare Service

By Odimegwu Onwumere

As I’m leaving for work in the morning of August 16 2016, I see the woman near the fire, shivering. She is ill. She tells me that her little daughter, Mpempe, of say 3 or 4 years old, is also ill.

I erroneously call the child, Pempe, and it glues. Anytime I’m passing their house and see her, I will pet her, shouting, “Pempe!” She will run inside their room, complaining to the mother, “Oga has called me Pempe.”

The mother tells me of how her daughter feels by my call, anytime I see her in front of their cemented mud house.

The lively husband is more or less doing nothing. They eat from hand to mouth. The woman makes sure that her family and she are happy; always going or coming from the farm with either firewood or loads of cassava or something.

I tell her that I shall see to their health problem when I am back. We joke and laugh, as usual. But as I’m leaving, I tell her that I was down about a month ago.

The hospital was only giving me drugs anytime that I went there. If not for one woman that advised I should drink water squeezed out of scent leaf and vegetable, I would have died.

I didn’t know that the drugs had sucked and sacked my blood. So, I was suffering from loss of blood, while the hospital continued to give me drugs for treatment. I advise her to be taking same with her children, since we are facing hunger in the country.

At the office, I am calculating how much money to give to her while coming back, only to be informed by a neighbor close to my house that Pempe has died.

My worry now is that I saw the girl playing and laughing a day before her death and as usual, I called her Pempe.

My worry stems to the fact that there are many Pempes out there, dying of preventable deaths. My worry is not that I’m related to this family by blood, but since I relocated to this remote village, due to the increasing noise in the city I detest with my life, they have shown me likeness that I cannot express just in words.

They were not ignorant of what to do to save their child. When I interviewed the woman, she said that the family did their best by going to the patent medicine store, where they do go to, whenever any of them is ill, because they cannot afford going to the hospital, with mountainous bills that patients encounter at the hospitals across the country.

Within me, I thought that if the national healthcare does not only exist on the pages of the newspapers, perhaps, Pempe would have been alive. I’m not happy that we are so given over to carelessness in Nigeria.

The lives of the living seem nothing to the leaders and death, seems nothing to the living. We are living in an era when deaths are celebrated than mourned.

The woman is not even properly sound, but what can she do. She has not left her motherly chores, because she has no one to help her do them. I see the mourning of her child written all over her since then, even though she is not crying every day.

I know that in her closet, she must be crying, but pretends in the open that all is well. She cannot leave the death of her daughter behind her in a country where government’s overconfidence has bred a lot of carelessness.

Pempe’s death has caused me to ask about the provision of health care in Nigeria which we were told, remains the functions of the three tiers of government: The federal, state, and local government.

I am yet to see the primary health care system being managed by the 774 local government areas (LGAs), as was speculated.

If there has been anything like that, there is little or no support that the locals are getting from their respective state ministries of health as well as private medical practitioners. If the primary health care was functional at the village, district, and LGA, Pempe could not have died.

If the country is yet to function optimally in the primary healthcare delivery, the secondary health care system being titular and managed by the ministry of health at the state level is balderdash.

I wonder how patients who have not seen the primary healthcare function would be referred to the secondary healthcare as the case was programmed. I laugh when I hear that the state primary health care comprises laboratory and diagnostic services, rehabilitation, and others. I just laugh.

If the primary and secondary healthcare systems are for the marines, then the tertiary primary health care which is said to be provided by teaching hospitals and specialist hospitals is a sorry tale.

A government that is gasping for the breath cannot work with voluntary and nongovernmental organizations, as well as private practitioners, at the level of tertiary healthcare system.

Our country behaves like young people that are careless of their virginity; they have it today and by tommorrow, they lose it.

The system that our country operates makes one get angry like when an illiterate does. Imagine that before independence in 1960, there was the introduction of a 10-year developmental plan (1946–1956) to boost health care delivery.

There were many health schools and institutions, just as there are today in Ministry of Health, several clinics and health centers, were developed according to this ‘plan’.

There was great development of this plan by 1980s, when leaders could be said, led with Nigeria at heart. But we lost this ‘plan’ since democracy.

I do not want to say that the carelessness we have come to endure in the hands of our government is a form of cruelty. I’m sober always that the mother of Pempe does not break down and go the way of her daughter.

If the Nigerian health insurance scheme had ensured that every Nigerian has access to good health care services, protect Nigerians from the financial burden of medical bills, limit the rise in the cost of health care services, ensure efficiency in health care services, ensure equitable distribution of health care costs among different income groups – equitable patronage of all levels of health care, maintain high standard of health care delivery services within the scheme, improve and harness private sector participation in the provision of health care services, ensure adequate distribution of health facilities within the Federation, ensure the availability of funds to the health sector for improved services, the many Pempes, their fathers and mothers would not have died.

There has not been any medical test conducted on the woman, no psychologist or medical advise given to her since she lost her daughter. All that we see is a woman who has been relieved of the fever that made her stayed besides the fire. And there are many of her ilks out there.

Odimegwu Onwumere is an award-winning journalist based in Rivers State. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com

Arthur Eze’s Philanthropic Ministry

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Nigerian oil tycoon, Prince Arthur Eze who embodies so many qualities of what a Prince represents – he is strapping, independent, father, politician, philanthropist, dynamic and Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum – was recently spotted at a wedding ceremony stoning a couple with bunches of money; showing what he knows how best to do – giving. There is a saying that philanthropy is a ministry and not a geographical term. Philanthropy flows from Prince Eze’s loving heart, not actually from his rich bank accounts and business empires. His gesture has since gone corkscrew on the internet, with bloggers making a gallery of pictures taken at the event, perhaps, to attract traffic to their blogs.

{Prince Arthur Eze}
{Prince Arthur Eze}

Prince Eze’s act is in appraisal with a statement by Mahatma Gandhi, suggesting that the simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. Nevertheless, Prince Eze is not your everyday noisemaker, but he says his mind where necessary without fear or favour and donates unpredictably to both the rich and indigent without singing his praise, without deafening anybody’s ear for cheap publicity. In the words of sages: A charitable man is like an apple tree – he gives his fruit and is silent; the philanthropist is like the hen. This epitomizes the attributes of Prince Arthur Eze.

It was revealed that the word philanthropy is in connection with the Greek Language meaning ‘love for mankind.’ Prince Eze is one man who has decided to walk in the light of love, for mankind, for many to see him in the court of openness, than in the court of destructive selfishness. Many financially opulent Nigerians are found in the later; they are squirrels, magpies, stashers. They hardly give out! But Prince Eze has been carving his name on hearts, while others do on tombstones.

Prince Eze is living a legacy into the minds of many and the stories they share about him are immeasurable. The billionaire businessman that owns several producing and non-producing oil and gas assets across Nigeria, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and the Gambia, is known for giving, for easing another’s heartache. In the recent past, a rating by Forbes suggested that Prince Eze donated $6.3 million (N1 billion) to flood relief efforts in Nigeria, apart from the donations he made to universities. The world believes that the most valued and consecrated moments of Prince Eze’s lives are those filled with the spirit of giving. One Joseph B. Wirthlin as if talking to Prince Eze, said that the greater the measure of our love, the greater is our joy. In the end, the development of such love is the true measure of success in life.

Just in June this year, Prince Eze put a smile on the lips of members of the Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Dis­order (APLSCD), by donating the sum of N5 million lifeline for a Sickle cell stan­dard clinic at Ukpo, Dunukofia Council Area of Anambra State, with expectation that the clinic would be commis­sioned on the World Sickle Cell Day by June 18, 2016. Prine Eze had also donated 1.8 billion naira ($12 million) to a Nigerian Church charity, St. Stephen’s Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre, for youth development. The dude made the donation in Lagos at the church’s fund raising chaired by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, whose hometown church was the recipient of the funds.

Prince Eze has a heart reaching down and lifting people up. In July 2014, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke and the then National Chairman of APGA, Sir Victor Umeh, paid Prince Eze a courtesy call at his splendid home of Ukpo in Dunukofia Kingdom of Anambra State.

In that courtesy call, Prince Eze donated the sum of $1m for the programme in the state to crackdown on criminals. He also assured the sum of one billion naira to sustain the governor’s agricultural programme. Hence, it can be regarded as mumbo-jumbo for some leaders of Abagana community under the aegis of Abagana Welfare Union (AWU) to petition the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, on August 9, 2016 and signed by Mr. Emma Ifeadike, accusing Prince Eze of engaging in acts of terrorism and asked the police boss to arraign him. This is said because a man like Prince Eze with such a heart of giving may not engage in petty and unscrupulous activity as terrorism.

Making the donation in his palatial home of Ukpo in Dunukofia Kingdom of Anambra State, when the governor, accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke and the National Chairman of APGA, Sir Victor Umeh, paid him a courtesy call, Prince Eze who is a famous philanthropist and a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, explained that the gesture was intended to encourage Governor Obiano’s efforts to make Anambra State a livable and business-friendly environment for all.

Apart from making donations in monetary aspect, Prince Eze donates his time for peace against party line. He’s of the belief that nothing can bring a division between him and his home state, not even politics. The philanthropist Prince Eze who is a stakeholder in the Peoples Democratic Party while Obiano is of the APGA sees nothing wrong in working in synergy to support the government by any positive means necessary, thereby shaving the animosity that is always in party line. He was of the gesture that Governor Obiano has shown gargantuan wisdom in bringing the issue of security first in his menu.

Following the statement by one G.K. Chesterton, saying that “the whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives; the business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes; the business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected”, it is not easy to say where Prince Eze belongs in the two. This is why he is simply referred to as a philanthropist; because he loathes any authority that makes colossal mistake or that prevents the correction of mistakes. To buttress this point, he cried out in July 2015, that one year after, Nigerian billionaires and government were yet to redeem to victims of Boko Haram bomb attacks vows, one year after the lavish fundraiser in Abuja.

Checks revealed that the government fundraiser which held on July 31, scraped in N54.7 billion in pledged donations from the federal and state governments, and the private sector. While the government was said to have donated N20 billion, key oil and gas operators gave N17 billion, banking sector offered N15 billion; investor Tony Elumelu gave N2.5 billion; and former defence minister, T.Y. Danjuma promised N1.6billion; the 36 states and the FCT gave N3.7billion; Arthur Eze and Mohammed Indimi gave N800million each; Folorunsho Alakija, Dahiru Mangal, Abdul Samad Rabiu, N500million each; Aliko Dangote, Zenith bank chief, Jim Ovia, Wale Tinubu, Mike Adenuga, donated N1billion each; making the donated sum exceed the government’s target by N8 billion.

However, Prince Arthur Eze was in June 2015 deemed the eighth richest person in Africa with a net worth of more than $5.8 billion. With a traditional title as Ozo Igbo Ndu (saviour of Ndigbo), Prince Arthur Eze is from a royal family with his older brother as the traditional ruler of Ukpo village in the Dunukofia Local Government Area. A chemical engineer by training, Prince Eze has been a major donor to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). From his days at St. Augustine Secondary School in Nkwere in 1970 to California State University at Long Beach from 1974 to 1978, where he studied mechanical and chemical engineering, Prince Eze has not stopped to help people even as he founded Atlas Oranto Petroleum for oil exploration activities in West Africa in 1991.

{Prince Arthur Eze blessing the couple}
{Prince Arthur Eze blessing the couple}

In some quarters, there were expressions and speculations that he also lavishes money on himself, having had five different models of Rolls Royce in his garage, and a Bombadier worth more than $25 million, as his private jet. He believes that his God made him rich to help people. Talking on his donation to the church in the Jonathan’s Village, Prince Eze said that his God gave him the money to contribute to the church; the money was not meant for Jonathan to put in his pocket; he thought of God and thanked Him for what He has done for Otuoke (Jonathan’s village) through Jonathan.

Odimegwu Onwumere is an award-winning journalist based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com

Destroying Biodiversity At All Types Of Guises

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Indiscriminate destruction of biodiversity across the country spurred the Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo and Shell Professorial Chair on Biodiversity and Climate Change, Professor Kingsley Akpabio to summon a one day workshop in March 2016 to find out ways to arrest the issue, said Agro Nigeria, a leading voice in agriculture.

Over the years, outsized population in Nigeria, poor land use planning, inter-communal wars, bush burning, domestic, commercial and industrial activities, high percentages of illiteracy, socio-cultural characteristics, food and trade connections, corruption of logging controls, unemployment and poverty have undermined the efforts by the successive governments and professionals to arrest the destruction of biodiversity effectively, opinion leaders on biodiversity and climate change have said.

{Biodiversity: Culled Online}
{Biodiversity: Culled Online}

“Biodiversity Conservation and Challenges of Climate Change” was the discourse that inundated the summit held in collaboration with Shell and the school. The keynote address presenter, Jonathan Ombo Amakiri, Ph.D (London), DIC, M.Sc., M.Inst.Pet., C.Biol., in his paper – Environmental Management, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development – said that Nigeria has always been involved in meetings on climate change but has not fared well with lessons of the summits, adding that the country is a shrub among poplars in the understanding of what biodiversity means.

“Other nations have moved on. Being a signatory to Rio and later conventions, constituting large country delegations at huge expense for conferences, summits and other international responses to climate change and threats to biological diversity have not adequately addressed the unprecedented biodiversity depletion and reckless deforestation in our country,” said Amakiri.

The chief of discourses at the convention was “The conservation of the nation’s vast and rich biodiversity in the face of increasing climate unpredictability and variability – climate change.”

“Because individual plants and therefore species can only function physiologically, and successfully complete their life cycles under specific environmental conditions (ideally within a subset of these), changes to climate are likely to have significant impacts on plants from the level of the individual right through to the level of the ecosystem or biome,” said researcher Ishita Haldar, in his work: Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences.

Loses/Destruction

“In the period between 2000 and 2005, Nigeria lost about 2,048, and 3000 ha of forest according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation while the USAID Report on Biodiversity and Tropical Forestry Assessment recorded that there were too many environmental threats in Nigeria affecting biodiversity,” Daily Trust, November 17 2015, reported.

Discoveries are further that the rich ones in the society have been sending the poor ones to be degrading biodiversity for livelihood.

“The poor are pushed by the affluent and influential majority to destroy their own source of livelihoods for meagre financial returns and the poor, due to deprivation find it difficult to secure any other alternative than to erode the very foundation of their own long term survival.

“Biodiversity is always at the receiving end being the readily available option for food, fibre and minimal commercial gain by the rural poor.

“The need for protection of biodiversity is therefore seen as elitist by the rural poor whose deprivation in terms of food and domestic needs have been pushed to the wall,” reported Clearing House mechanism of Nigeria.

Flaws By Authorities

Local and State authorities have been unable to arrest the situation due to the mounted pressure by exploiters to trade on biodiversity.

The National Biodiversity Committee, being an umbrella body that sees to conservation of biodiversity, has been churlished by illegal traders, making conservatory checks on forestry and biodiversity associated matters to fail.

“There has been no shortage of talk-shows on threats to the environment or more specifically on global biodiversity and anthropogenic climate change.

“What is in short supply in most nations of Sub-Saharan Africa is getting in-step with the rest of the world to benefit from the incentives that have been generated towards the stabilization of green house gas (GHG) concentration in the global effort to combat climate change and promote biodiversity conservation,” added Professor Amakiri.

Additionally, the professor said, “The Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank has played a pioneering role in carbon finance development since it began the world’s first carbon finance known as the Prototype Carbon Finance (PCF) in 1999.

“By 2012, the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, more than US 5 billion Dollars has been channeled to developing countries through carbon finance transactions.

“The World Bank board of executive directors approved the creation of Carbon Partnership Facilities (CPF) whose target size over the first five years of operation is 5 billion Euros. Over US 100 billion dollars have been channeled annually to developing countries as incentives to conservation and the combating of climate change.”

Constituted Bodies Failed

Different groups have been said to have failed in arresting deforestation in Nigeria. They include Nigeria Park Service, Federal Executive council approved a National Policy on Climate Change and Response Strategy (NPCC-RS), Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigerian Conservation Foundation.

Others include United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, and so on.

Since the committees and groups have not achieved the expected results, investigations are that the locals have taken over the supervision of forests for royalty and profit sharing.

Findings by this writer revealed that the aforementioned are the major propellants that increase demand on the remaining biodiversity that has been severely affected by climate change, causing over 70-80% of Nigeria’s original forest to vanish and currently, the part dominated by forests has diminished to 12%.

“Evidence-based field studies have confirmed that natural processes of regeneration are not able to cope with the over-exploitation in high magnitude,” reported Biological Diversity, an international agreement established by the United Nations.

This happened regardless that the Nigerian government had built many forest reserves for the conservation of forest resources. While managerial prospects beset their maintenance, climate change has taken a toll on them. But the environment and by inference, biodiversity, insulates behind other sectors in policy and legislative reforms, leading to deforestation.

Effects

Experts said that deforestation has contributed to climate change in the area of dangling earth temperature.

“The earth has experienced a constantly changing climate in the time since plants first evolved. In comparison to the present day, this history has seen earth as cooler, warmer, drier and wetter, and CO2 (carbon dioxide) concentrations have been both higher and lower.

“These changes have been reflected by constantly shifting vegetation; for example, forest communities dominating most areas in interglacial periods, and herbaceous communities dominating during glacial periods,” accounted media reports.

In 2012, research showed that what has been happening in Nigeria in term of deforestation was due to poor land use planning; and this did not start today, but since 1976; approximately 24 million hectares had been deforested. Over 15 million hectares were deforested in 1995, and by 2011, 9.6 million hectares had followed deforestation.

Competing land uses such as agriculture and human settlements, have been said by specialists, to be contributing to the decline of forests and woodlands together with the rising demand for fuel wood and charcoal.

“Over harvesting, agricultural encroachment and unregulated burning are believed to be contributing to the decline of many species in the wild. The depletion and degradation of the natural resource base have extended to less stressed areas in the different ecological zones of Nigeria,” reported Clearing House mechanism of Nigeria.

Defining Biodiversity

Professor Akpabio said that biodiversity is the “sum total and variety of plants, animals and other organisms that exist on earth; the most essential component of nature which ensures the survival of human species and contributes to the quality of life through the provision of food, shelter, medicine and other resources to mankind.”

Further, he added, “High Biodiversity Value Areas (HBVAs) are allowed to be destroyed in all sorts of guises. The challenge to the industry, government and society is then, how to find ways of meeting the public demand for abundance, low-cost oil and gas products and, at the same time, meet society’s expectations for social and environmental responsibility, including biodiversity conservation.”

Odimegwu Onwumere is an award-winning journalist based in Rivers State. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com

‘The Sperm That Saved My Marriage’

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Mrs. Olivia Owhonda, a resident of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, has been having series of miscarriages over a period of six years she got married. The miscarriage comes within the first three months of her pregnancy. She has gone to virtually everywhere, looking for solutions, but her chances of finding one are slim. Her marriage is threatened as her husband is deciding for another wife. She needs help, but hasn’t gotten it from the hospitals and traditional places she had visited. One day, a patient she disclosed her predicament to, at one of the hospitals she often visits, directed her to Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, where Obstetrician/Gynecologist Abayomi Ajayi is the Managing Director.

{sperm-cells}
{sperm-cells}

Mrs. Owhonda and her husband visited the Centre and were attended to. The causative factor of the miscarriages, otherwise known in the medical term as abortion, was traced to the husband early this year. The hospital tells the couple that the husband’s sperm is substandard and needs medical attention for corrective measures. The couple looked at each other in utter amazement. The hospital also told the couple to be grateful that they found out this on time unlike many women out there that have been miscarrying over decades and thinking they are menstruating.

Ajayi says that a number of women during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy, spot, bleed or suffer cramps, which is in the ration of 20 or 30 per cent of pregnant women, while 10 per cent miscarry. The doctor does not hinge the finding only on defective sperm, he also says that genetic defect in the embryo is the commonest reason for a first-trimester miscarriage.

Causes of miscarriage
Mrs. Ohwonda and her husband have been travelling to Lagos from Port Harcourt for first hand examination at Nordica Fertility Centre. Dr. Ajayi advises that lifestyle factors in the area of dietary habits can cause havoc to the sperm, while defining male infertility as one or more oddity in a semen scrutiny, with 35 per cent of causes of infertility being from the male factor.

“We don’t know why, but that is what we have seen. We have substantiated that in Nordica, by comparing the sperm of people who presented 10 years ago to the sperm count of people who are presenting now.

“It is obvious to us that there had been about 30 per cent decline. It is like, every year, there is 30 per cent decline in sperm parameter. There is no doubt that sperm is a big issue all over the world.

“Although, every woman has some chromosomal abnormal eggs and every man produces some chromosomal abnormal sperm, when a man has high volume of abnormal sperm, his wife may continue to experience miscarriages even if she has the best eggs in town,” Ajayi says.

He pities women in the miscarriage oddball in this part of the world, saying that majority of their husbands humiliate them for the miscarriages before they most times find out that the problem is not from their wives, but from them.

Helping couples have children
After some period of placing Mrs. Owhonda and her husband on medical examination with the necessary medications, the woman is pregnant and the time she miscarriages is over. Very soon, the family will hear the cry of their baby.

Mrs. Owhonda hubby’s sperm has been boosted. The woman is saying that she is going to write a book on this and the title would be, “The sperm that saved my marriage.”

Apart from ameliorating the case of the once befuddled couple and boosting men’s sperm that are defective through dietary and Sperm Intracytoplasmic Morphologically-selected Sperm Injection (IMSI), which was first introduced as an IVF technique in 2004, Nordica offers free IVF treatment to Nigerians.

The centre offered exclusive free IVF treatment to Nigerians in 2009, when there were heightened fears on the perceived risks associated with Assisted Reproductive Technique (ART), especially In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).

Thousands of IVF babies have been born since the first one on 25 July 1978, whose name is Louise Brown, born at Oldham General Hospital, Oldham, by planned Caesarean section delivered by registrar John Webster. Brown weighed five pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth.

Reports say her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years. Lesley faced complications of blocked fallopian tubes.

The first IVF baby for Nordica Fertility Centre will turn 12 years by 14th of September this year, and the centre has assisted couples with over 1500 babies in the centre.

Dr. Ajayi says that people have nothing to fear about IVF, because it is a known fact that about 25 or 30 per cent of babies born from assisted conception, especially IVF, will be more than one.

In 2009, the centre charges between N600,000 to N800,000 very maximum N900,000 for IVF, unlike in a country like the United Kingdom, where a cycle costs about $4000, the same period.

Defining intracytoplasmic morphologically-selected sperm injection
Dr. Ajayi says that IMSI is where a single sperm is injected into an egg, the only difference is that the sperm is selected using a very powerful microscope compared to the Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) microscope.

“The image of the sperm is magnified around 6,000 times during IMSI and this allows the embryologist to analyse it in greater detail and choose the healthiest-looking one for injection,” Ajayi explains.

The medical doctor adds that Nigerians have to be sensitised about IMSI, with investigations revealing that IMSI has increased pregnancy rates in people with previous failures in ICSI. This has also seen to less abortion rates over five years in the country.

He says that IMSI is only indicated when there is less than two million sperm count and motility less than five per cent. First, sperm count is low, and then there is higher incidence of genetically deformed sperms. Much of the problems with bad sperm are genetics, and they can burn out.

“Selecting the best sperm for ICSI is not a big deal if most of the sperm are normal. Where it becomes trickier is when you are hard pressed to find a normal appearing sperm in the sample.

“Some defects like sperm with two heads, huge heads, two tails, and kinked tails are easy to detect and avoid with standard magnification.

“Other defects, like vacuoles in the sperm head are not always glaringly obvious at the lower magnification (300x) used for selecting sperm for ICSI,” he says.

Nigerian men accessing treatment
The doctor adds that the impressive results that are spread either by words of mouth, media or other ways are the reasons Nigerian men are now accessing treatment.

“The macho thing is disappearing. There is no shame in it. The sperm parameters are becoming worse, and therefore it is necessary to bring it to the front burner and we cannot talk about it without talking about technology that offers hope, because we know there is no drug right now that solves the problem of deranged sperm count or bad sperm parameters. Intra-cytoplasmic Morphologically-selected Sperm (IMSI) is helpful,” Ajayi says.

Sabotage in semen’s level
Months before the findings and the subsequent counselling of Mrs. Owhonda and her husband, another leading voice in medicine, Dr. Sunny Abarikwu of the Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, told Nigerians in a public presentation that there’s tremendous sabotage in the level of semen expected of young men of child bearing age, not only in Nigeria, but all over the world.

“Although little is known about what is responsible for the decline in male sperm count worldwide, significant associations have been reported between impaired semen quality, including sperm count, motility as well as morphology and exposures to heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, mycotoxins such as aflatoxins, pesticides, industrial chemicals and endocrine factors,” he said.

Science says that standard sperm count is deemed to be between 40 million and 300 million per millilitre. In August 2016, Mail Online reviewed American Journal of Epidemiology, and warns that men who watch TV for more than five hours have average sperm count of 37 million per millilitre of fluid, while those who hardly watch TV have 52 million per millilitre of fluid.

“Decreases in testosterone were detected in men watching many hours of television, the researchers added. The hormone testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair,” says the report.

Dr. Abarikwu exposed the deterioration in semen quality of young healthy men worldwide, adding, “In Nigeria, the problem is further compounded by a variety of factors such as sexually transmitted infections, genito-urinary tract infections/inflammations and deficiencies of dietary antioxidant nutrients, thereby increasing male-factor contribution to infertility in the population.”

Dr. Ajayi affirms, “Heat is a factor in male infertility. The enzymes required for the production of sperm are very sensitive to heat. Men, who frequent saunas or hot tubs, wear tight pants, sit at a desk all day, or stand in front of a hot stove may be inadvertently heating their testicles to such a degree that they can’t make sperm and get their partners pregnant. The reason that the testicles hang out and away from the body is that it’s about four degrees cooler than the normal body temperature. That cooler temperature is required for sperm to thrive.”

How to boost sperm
Dr. Abayomi Ajayi advises men to eat diets high in antioxidants in order to have quality sperm. He adds that such foods are amongst beans, apples, lettuce, carrots, and walnuts. He says that these are the highest in plant omega-3s.

{Dr. Abayomi Ajayi}
{Dr. Abayomi Ajayi}

There are also recommendations of dark green vegetables, which is said to be rich in vitamins C, E, and A, calcium; magnesium and potassium. Spinach, pulses, potatoes, oranges, bananas, pawpaw, beans, avocado, okro, avocado, corn, carrots, inter alia are also recommended for B vitamin.

“Alcohol affects the way the liver functions and it ultimately disturbs hormonal levels by affecting the way your body produces sperm, because alcohol is toxic to the testes and it can harm sperm when they are produced and prevent them from developing properly or stop them altogether from reaching the egg,” experts add.

At Panoramic Hall of the Civic Centre, Victoria Island in Lagos recently, while sensitising the public on fertility, the Nordica Clinic Manager, Mrs. Tola Ajayi counsels, “A couple should undertake professional counseling before embarking upon investigations and treatment. This can open up channels of communication and keep a couple in contact with each other as they undergo what can turn out to be a challenging course of action.”

Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Consultant based in Rivers State.