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An association of Nigeria Peace Corps alumni and other friends of Nigeria who support the interests of the Nigerian people.


    Friends of Nigeria - News   

                                        A Quarterly Publication of the 
                 Friends of Nigeria 
                      Association

Editor 

Peter Hansen (27) 66-68

                                                                                        pjhansen717@gmail.com

  Book Reviews

  David Strain (07) 63-66

destrain@pacbell.net

Nigeria News 

Virginia DeLancey (04) 62-64

v-delancey@northwestern.edu 

Obituaries   

David Koren (09) 63-66

dlkoren@gmail.com 

Proofreaders 

Earl (Buzz) Welker (05) 62-65

                   Steve Manning (13) 64-66

   Mary-Ann Palmieri (05) 62-64

          Printed and Distributed by  

                        Leesburg Printing Company, Leesburg, Florida



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  • May 06, 2017 10:35 AM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    Featured Speakers for FON Annual Meeting


    Dr. Austin Okigbo

         Austin Okigbo, an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at University of Colorado Boulder, holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology and African Studies from Indiana University, and a Master of Music from Westminister Choir College, where he specialized in sacred music and music education with performance tracks in vocal performance and choral conducting. His research focuses on music in African, African American, and African diaspora religious experiences, Black World music and resistance movements, and music and public health performances and the global politics of AIDS. Prior to joining CU-Boulder, Okigbo taught at Williams College and Harvard University in Massachusetts, as well as at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

    Dr. Okigbo has submitted the following synopsis of his upcoming presentation to the FON meeting in Denver.

    Art and National Development: The Nigerian Experience in Perspective

         This year marks 50 years of the declaration and secession of Biafra from Nigeria. Following the end of the Civil in January 1970, several national policy statements were put forward by then Yakubu Gowon’s and Murtala Mohamed’s Administrations, that were aimed at forging stronger unity and national development. Central in those statements is the need to promote national culture, identity, and mutual understanding for development via cultural exchange and education. The statements would be echoed in the 1999 constitution and the 2004 National Policy on Education (NPE). The question is, how has the arts participated in these policies and the agenda of national unity and development? Drawing from insight gained from the rebasing of the GDP in 2014, and the revelation of the arts and the entertainment industry as the second most viable sector after agriculture, constituting about 1.4% of over $400bn GDP, this paper makes the case for national development that reflects a balance between economic growth and sociocultural education. It suggests ways in which this identified viable sector might comprise an important tool in Nigeria’s quest for national identity, unity, and sustainable development.


    Okey Ndibe

         Okey Ndibe is the author of the novels, Foreign Gods, Inc. and Arrows of Rain as well as a memoir, Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Brown University in Providence, RI, Trinity College in Hartford, CT, Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He was the 2015 Shearing Fellow of the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he began work on a novel titled Native Tongues. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, The Guardian (UK), BBC online,  Financial Times, and La Repubblica (Italy). He will be the 2017-2018 Viebranz Professor of Fiction at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.

    Josh Arinze

         Josh Arinze, a graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria, is a distinguished writer/editor, fundraising professional, and project manager. His career began in journalism, leading to a wide-ranging interest in news and current events. He has more than 15 years of experience in US non-profit operations and 10 years of journalism experience in Nigeria and the US. He has written numerous news reports/articles and op-ed pieces in newspapers and news magazines, including “Moral Anguish: Richard Nixon and the Challenge of Biafra,” “Poverty is No Excuse for Terrorism: Making Sense of Nigeria’s Boko Haram Menace,” “A Disaster Foretold: Nigeria’s Boko Haram Crisis,” and “Why Nigeria Drives Me Crazy.”

    Akeem Ayanniyi

         Akeem Ayanniyi comes from a highly respected family of drummers and drum makers going back nine generations. He makes West African drums that are played for ceremonial and religious functions. These instruments are handmade with local materials, carved from mahogany or teak, topped with cowhide and laced with rope strings. The shape creates the style and sound of the drum. The pitch can be changed by squeezing the drum’s strings, and the artistry is in the adjustment of the strings. Akeem and his family reside in Santa Fe, NM, but Akeem travels widely to teach drumming. He spent the month of March 2017 in Nigeria.

    Gasali Adeyemo

         Gasali Adeyemo creates fabric and clothing using batik designs and the traditional Yoruba adire technique. He uses broom stalks, chicken feathers, and cassava paste to make each piece. He specializes in the use of indigo dyes because of their importance to his people and each textile has traditional Yoruba designs.  Gasali and his family live in Santa Fe, NM. Both he and Akeem Ayanniyi give workshops throughout the US and are popular vendors at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, which is held each July in Santa Fe.


    Victoria Scott    

         Victoria Scott, an art history graduate from Smith College, lived in Lagos from 1970-1980. She speaks of Oshogbo art as representative of a grassroots contemporary renaissance which began in Oshogbo in western Nigeria in the early 1960’s. This decade was a prime time for artists in Nigeria. The Civil War had not yet begun, the oil boom was on, and the original Oshogbo artists enjoyed a time of intense creativity. Victoria researched Yoruba art and concluded before visiting the country that Nigerian culture had been profoundly changed by colonialism and modernization. She wanted to know how the art expressed the new realities. Victoria got to know the Oshogbo artists quite well and collected their work. She understands the medium from a time of great creativity and success compared with its current state. Victoria now lives in Santa Fe, NM.

  • May 05, 2017 9:09 AM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    Fixing the Food System: Changing How We Produce and Consume Food  

    By Steve Clapp (06) 62-64    

    Reviewed by Marion Nestle, New York, June 2016

          I wrote the Foreword to this book.  Here’s what I said:

    In this welcome addition to my library of books about food policy and politics, Steve Clapp’s Fixing the Food System reviews the past and current history of calls for a national food policy, the most contentious controversies over food and nutrition issues that have impeded development of such a policy, and the work of advocates to achieve one. As this book makes clear, this history began decades ago.

         I first became aware of the importance of federal food policies in the early 1980s when I was teaching nutrition to medical students at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  First-year students were eager to learn about nutrition, but for personal more than for professional reasons. They wanted to know what they—and the patients whose health problems they were learning to treat—should eat. But by the time they were residents, I could see their dietary concerns vanish under the daily demands of patient care. Trying to advise about diets was too difficult, time consuming, and financially unrewarding to be worth the trouble. It seemed unreasonable to expect doctors to take the time needed to counsel individual patients about the prevention of diet-related conditions—heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and the like. If nutritionists like me wanted to focus on disease prevention rather than treatment, we would have to advocate to change the food environment to make healthful food choices the easy choices, even better, the preferred choices. This meant we would have to advocate for food and nutrition policies aimed at promoting public health.

         In 1983, I co-authored an article with UCSF colleagues on the need for such policies.  It began: 

    The U.S. government helps to assure an adequate food supply for Americans by sponsoring a wide variety of food, nutrition, and agricultural support programs. These federal activities were developed in the absence of a clearly articulated national policy, a situation that has resulted in the fragmentation of government programs and their wide disbursement among numerous agencies and departments.

         Our article quoted the earliest calls we could find for a national policy to address these problems.  In 1974, long before the term “food system” came into common use, the National Nutrition Consortium of four leading nutrition and food science societies argued for a national nutrition policy that would:

    •assure an adequate, wholesome food supply, at reasonable cost, to meet the needs of all segments of the population.

    •maintain food resources sufficient to meet emergency needs and to fulfill a responsible role as a nation in meeting world food needs.

    •develop a level of sound public knowledge and responsible understanding of nutrition and foods that will promote maximal nutritional health.

    •maintain a system of quality and safety control that justifies public confidence in its food supply.

    •support research and education in foods and nutrition with adequate resources and reasoned priorities to solve important current problems and to permit exploratory basic research.

         Whether offered as nutrition or food policies, these were and remain highly appropriate goals for an abundant, healthy, safe, and effective food system.

         My co-authors and I went on to identify the constraints that then limited government action to achieve such goals.  Despite an emerging consensus on the basic elements of healthful diets—fruits and vegetables, balanced calories, not too much junk food (as Michael Pollan put it more recently, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”)—the greatest impediment to policy development was the controversy over the science of diet and health.  Our article understated this issue:

    The effect on the nation’s health of food processing and other changes in the U.S. diet is controversial. Salt, sugar, fiber, saturated fats, alcohol, caffeine, calories, vitamins, and food additives all elicit vigorous debate.

         Today, more than 30 years later, we are still arguing about that science, and the scientific arguments still impede policy development.  In Fixing the Food System, Steve Clapp brings us up to the minute on federal progress (or the lack thereof) toward achieving a clearly articulated national food policy. He begins and ends his book with the most recent policy proposals from leading food advocates Michael Pollan, of course, but also Mark Bittman, Olivier de Schutter, and Ricardo Salvador. Their recent suggestions for improving our current food system reflect the many changes in agricultural production and food consumption that have taken place since 1974 but retain the basic elements of those earlier proposals. Fixing the Food System explains why a national food policy is so badly needed and matters so much.

         Steve Clapp is in a unique position to comment on food policy issues.  He’s been at the policy game for a long time.  I don’t remember when I first met him, but I have been reading his work since he reported for the Community Nutrition Institute’s newsletter, Nutrition Week.  For those of us outside the Beltway in those pre-Internet days, Nutrition Week was a lifeline to the ins and outs of food politics in Washington, DC.  Later, when Steve moved to Food Chemical News, also—and still—a lifeline, I continued to read his reporting. I often ran across him at meetings and hearings in Washington, DC and found it instructive to read what he wrote about those deliberations, not least because he got it right.

         I say all this because he has been a keen observer of the food politics scene in Washington for decades, and I can’t think of anyone who ought to know it better. Fixing the Food System reviews the major debates he witnessed—the Dietary Guidelines, of course, but also attempts to set policy for food safety, marketing to children, hunger in America, and humane treatment of farm animals, among others.

         Over the years, he also observed the work of policy advocates, and this book includes profiles of many individuals engaged in this work, some likely to be familiar to readers, whereas others may not. Impossible as it is for me to judge whatever impact my own writing and advocacy might have, I am honored to be included among those whose work he presents.

         Fixing the Food System describes political arguments over the kind of food system we ought to have and what an ideal system should accomplish. But it is also about the importance of personal and political advocacy for  better food policies, those aimed squarely at promoting public health and environmental sustainability.

         Advocacy makes a difference. Advocates are scoring successes in improving one after another aspect of the food system. In comparison to the 1970s or 1980s, we now have better food in supermarkets, more organic foods, more farmers’ markets, more nutritious food in schools, and impressive declines in consumption of sugary drinks. My personal favorite among indicators of advocacy success—the change that makes me most optimistic—is the increasing number of college students who care deeply about food issues.  They are demanding local, seasonal, organic, and sustainably produced food in their cafeterias and campus vegetable gardens. And they are demanding and getting food studies courses and programs like the ones we started at New York University in 1996 that teach about how food is produced and consumed and the practical and symbolic meanings of food in modern culture and societies. Today’s students are tomorrow’s advocates for healthier and more sustainable diets for everyone, everywhere, and for fixing what needs fixing in our food systems. This book is a great starting place for this work.

         Steve Clapp passed away on December 1, 2016. He was an active and long-time member of FON and was vice presdient of FON at the time of his death. This review was originglly published on the website Food Politics in December 2016 (http://www.foodpolitics.com/2016/12/farewell-steve-clapp-and-thank-you-for-your-legacy/) and is published here with permission of the author.

  • May 03, 2017 8:43 AM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)


    The RPCV Oral History Archives Project: Stories of Odd Ball Kids Recorded for Posterity

    by Mimi Budd (15) 65-67

         The RPCV Oral History Archives Project was the brainchild of RPCV Bob Klein who began the project in 1999.  As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Bob was a member of Ghana 1, 1961-63. He taught in a secondary school in Sefwi-Wiawso and later served as PC staff in Ghana and in Kenya. In the 1990s, now retired, Bob decided to interview other members of Ghana 1, with a view towards eventually writing a book. (The book, entitled Being First, was published in 2010.) 

         Bob caught the oral history bug. He realized that returned volunteers beyond his group would also have fascinating stories to tell. He thought someday researchers would want to know more about these odd-ball kids who dropped everything to go off to far-flung parts of the world to work in untried programs. Bob approached the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston about recording these oral histories. They agreed! Together with the library archivists. Bob developed a protocol for recording the interviews. The recorded interviews become part of the National Archives and are in the public domain. As of May, 2017, the library houses some 600 recorded interviews of RPCVs. The most recent 70 interviews have been recorded digitally, (since 2015,) and most are now available online. https://www.jfklibrary.org/Search.aspx?nav=N:4294884964

         Alas, from 1999 until early 2015, approximately 530 interviews were recorded on audio cassette tape, making access to these more difficult. For the complete Finding Aid for all recorded RPCV interviews, go to https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/RPCV.aspx?f=1.

          The original intent was to interview early volunteers who served during Kennedy’s administration, but over time the library agreed to expand the base to returned volunteers who served whenever and wherever with the Peace Corps. 

         Bob Klein was joined by Phyllis Noble (17) 65-67, a teacher in Ugelli, who met Klein in 2004 when he was criss-crossing the country a couple of times a year in his two-door Toyota Echo interviewing volunteers. He 

    found her name on the Hospitality Network that listed volunteers willing to host traveling RPCVs.  The 

    found her name on the Hospitality Network that listed volunteers willing to host traveling RPCVs.  

    (Left) Phyllis Noble addressing the FON annual meeting in Nashville.

    The relationship evolved and they lived and traveled together doing interviews from 2007 until 2012 when Bob died. She says that he was a master interviewer who was truly gifted in bringing people out. Her own interview techniques are based on notes she took of the questions she heard him asking people when they first traveled together. Phyllis recorded her first interview in 2008 when they interviewed a couple simultaneously, he the husband in one room; she the wife in another. 

         Since then, Phyllis has traveled widely and completed 64 interviews. She has trained several other RPCVs to conduct interviews. She has not only sustained Klein’s original project, but has transformed it into the modern age. Interviewers for the project now use digital equipment.

         Of primary importance now is the digitizing of the 530 taped interviews now on the shelves at the JFK Library. Digitalized interviews are better preserved and their longevity ensured. They are also much more easily accessed online for those interested in reading or studying these histories. Noble’s current project is to raise money to pay for the cost of digitalizing all the taped interviews.

         Noble estimates some 50 people have been involved in interviewing over the years. Currently, she estimates there are eight to 10 people making recordings. The expenses involved in securing these interviews are largely self-financed. Klein and Noble crossed the country doing interviews and stayed with volunteers when possible to help with expenses. Klein was able to secure a couple of small grants from the JFK Library at the beginning of the project. Otherwise, they paid for their own motels, cars, gas and meals. Noble says regional RPCV groups sometimes help with the expenses incurred by volunteers who do these interviews. 

         When asked her vision for the future of the project, in addition to securing funding to digitalize the taped interviews, she said she hopes more RPCVs will commit to the project. It is a serious commitment involving scheduling, travel, setting up digital equipment, conducting a two- hour interview, writing a short abstract paragraph about the nuts and bolts of the interview, and then transferring the digital recording to the JFK library which takes some time. But she believes that the commitment is well worth it to ensure an historical record is preserved of the experiences and contributions of Peace Corps Volunteers around the world.

         Those interested in accessing information about the collection of taped and digital interviews can do so at the website for the JFK Library in Boston at www.jfklibrary.org   

  • April 19, 2017 9:00 AM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    Board of Director Elections

    Slate of candidates

         We will vote on the Board of Directors slate at our biennial meeting in Denver on Aug. 4. Members wishing to vote by mail may submit an absentee ballot on a single sheet of paper, listing the names of candidates the voter is choosing, to FON secretary Greg Zell at 3231 Mary St.Miami , FL 33133 before July 27, 2017. Envelopes should include the name of the FON voter.

         We have a slate of 14 candidates for an equal number of open board positions.

         After each name, we show Peace Corps group numbers in parenthesis followed by years of service in Nigeria. (Non-Peace Corps alumni would be listed by connection to a work experience in Nigeria if applicable.)

         Candidates are listed by current board status as either: elected incumbent for directors elected or reelected at the 2015 biennial meeting; board appointed incumbents for those named to the board by the board subsequent to our last election in 2015; and board nominated candidates for potential new board members selected in 2017 by your FON Nominating Committee.

    Barbara Bush (11) 64-66 (elected incumbent)

         I served in Nigeria XI as a teacher in Sapele teaching English, French, Math and science. When I came home, I settled in Boston, MA. I worked in several different Boston businesses as a mainframe programmer initially and then as a systems programmer, and later, a data base administrator. After retiring in 2002, I volunteered in several community organizations teaching English as a second language, tutoring several students, mentoring a refugee family from Somalia and assisting an 8th grade math teacher. I’ve been involved in politics since 2009. I was elected to the MassGOP state committee for my district in 2012 and 2016. I help candidates with their election campaigns for local or state offices. I have been on the FON board for several years, and I serve as membership chair.

    Jim Clark (12) 64-66 (elected incumbent)

         From June 1964 to June 1966, I served in Umuduru in the Eastern Region of Nigeria as an agriculture/community development specialist promoting Young Farmers Clubs, the use of fertilizer and other other beneficial farming practices. After returning to my native North Carolina, I became a teacher, husband and father. Retiring from education in 2005, I purchased and restored a historic home in which I still live. In 2007, I became a small business owner, purchasing and operating a restaurant/event center which I still own. I am active in my local Rotary Club and have served two terms as president. In addition, I served for 11 years on the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors serving two terms as chairman. Our FON organization serves a vital role as our alumni association. For that reason, I have worked with others to keep it alive and and relevant and, for the past six years, I have served as a board member and as editor of the Friends of Nigeria newsletter. Prior to assuming the editor’s role, I wrote obituaries for the newsletter. I have also served on the projects committee and the website committee. 

    David Koren (9) 63-66 (board appointed incumbent)

         I taught English and general science at Ohuhu Community Grammar School near Umuahia for 3 years, 1964-1966. Following Peace Corps service I worked as a counselor in an adult educationprogram in Buffalo, NY. That led to a full career as a Rehabilitation Counselor at Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Retiring from that I returned to school at the University of Pittsburgh, earning a master’s degree in Physics. As a final experience in gainful employment, I worked for 10 years as an optical design engineer making lenses for industrial infrared lasers. Now I am active in the local community on the township planning commission and the Friends of the Spring Valley Park. I am an amateur astronomer and maintain a six-acre mini farm with my wife and two tractors.

    David Strain (7) 63-66 (elected incumbent)

         I would like to stay on the board, and continue as Book Editor, to encourage FON members to write memoirs and also reviews of books relevant to our Nigerian experience … and to write a few of what my wife likes to call book reports myself. I represented a number of non-profits in my law practice, and hope that knowledge has some value. I was in Nigeria 7 and in a legal project encouraged by Harris Wofford, then working for President Kennedy, who thought young American lawyers would be helpful in newly independent countries. 


    Clemmie Gilpin (25) 66-68 (board nominated candidate)

         I served my Peace Corps years working with agricultural cooperatives in Bida, Niger, where I designed and taught a course on cooperative development at the local farm training center. Soon after I returned to Nigeria leading a group of high school students working in a rural development project near Ibadan. After Peace Corps, I earned a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Ohio University with focuses on Africa and International Development. I joined the Penn State University Harrisburg faculty in 1971 before receiving my Ph.D. from Penn State University Park. I have also taught at the US Army War College and in Malaysia. For the past twelve years I have served with the United States War College, Carlisle, PA, in its International Fellows Program, assisting officers and families to adjust to the local community and culture. Three of the twelve officers I’ve worked with were from Nigeria. Board and commission service has included the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition, Foreign Policy Association of Harrisburg and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Minority Advisory Commission. I recently led a Rotary Club fundraiser to purchase wheel chairs for polio victims in Nigeria. 

    Mike Goodkind (16) 65-67 (elected incumbent)

         Shifting from a teaching program to an agriculture-rural development program after receiving a B.A. in history because I felt I’d been around school long, I served in an oil palm cooperative project near Abakaliki for almost two years before leaving Biafra. For more than a decade I worked as a reporter and editor with a two year interruption for military service, half of which was in Vietnam. My Army experience was an eye-opening contrast but with parallels to the Peace Corps, and along with journalism (including working as an entertainment writer and editor in Associated Press’ Los Angeles hub) provided some of my perspectives for Friends of Nigeria, where I have served as a director, including president, for successive terms, since 2002. I was a public relations officer for Stanford Medical Center from 1981 to 2002, after which I ran a small communications business and co-authored a health book, etc. Recently I have worked and volunteered for community organizations, including California State Parks and two city literacy programs. My wife Marion and I live in Menlo Park, where I hope to remain active in FON with a particular interest in on-the-ground projects.

    Ned Greeley (23) 66-67 (board nominated candidate)

         I trained with Group 23 and taught in a high school between Enugu and Abakaliki in 1966-1967. After Peace Corps I taught a few years in DC and Kampala, did graduate study in DC, field research in rural Kenya, and earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology. USAID subsequently recruited me for the Foreign Service as Regional Social Science Advisor for East and Southern Africa. I mainly worked on design, implementation and evaluation of development strategies and programs. My wife and I met in Nigeria; Monica Newland was then a teacher in Group 18. Monica’s career has since been international school administration. We have lived and worked 40 years overseas in Uganda, Kenya (for 17 years), Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma, Egypt, and recently, Ecuador. Our last posting was in Nairobi, where I led the USAID team addressing good governance and cross-border conflict management in the Greater Horn of Africa. Our family base is in the Washington, DC area. After leaving USAID in 2004, I worked with the nonprofit World Education Inc. while living in DC, Cairo, and Jakarta, I retired in 2012. My current interests include development, family and tennis. Serving on the Board would offer the opportunity to continue my engagement with international development with like-minded colleagues. 

    Virginia DeLancey (4) 62-64 (elected incumbent)

         I have served as a member of the Board of FON for many years and would like to continue to serve in some capacity on the Board.  My main contribution over the years has been to write the news of Nigeria that is included in the quarterly newsletters, though I have contributed in other ways, as needed.  

         As to my qualifications, I have continued work in the field of African studies following my Peace Corps service in Nigeria IV from 1962 to 1964 in Buguma, Rivers State.  I have lived for extended periods of time in Cameroon, Somalia, and Egypt.  I completed a Ph.D. in Development Economics at the University of South Carolina with Fulbright-funded dissertation research in Cameroon.  I was later employed as a staff member of the African Studies Programs at Indiana University and at Northwestern University and have regularly reviewed grant proposals for the U.S. Dept. of Education.  Since retirement, I continue to participate in Africa-related events at NU, and am currently serving on the committee to organize the African Studies Association’s 60th Anniversary Meeting to be held in Chicago in November, 2017, hosted by Northwestern and other universities in the area.

    Peter Hansen (27) 66-68 (elected incumbent)

        A co-founder of Friends of Nigeria in 1996 (with Cathy Onyemelukwe), I have served on the board since then and until recently was also treasurer and database manager. My wife Katy and I lived in Ibadan where I taught chemistry at the University of Ife. For 40 years I was a chemistry professor at Northwestern College-Iowa and the University of Iowa. I am active in the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and the local Democratic Party, and I tutor University of Iowa student-athletes. My leisure activities include reading, KenKen and birding. I believe that Friends of Nigeria fulfills a valuable purpose by serving as the alumni association for Nigeria Peace Corps Volunteers and staff, by keeping its members informed about events in Nigeria, and by promoting continued service to the Nigerian people.

    Greg Zell (6) 62-64 (elected incumbent)

         I am founder, former three- term president, and current Director of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida, Inc. A 15-year member of the FON board, including five years as President and this last year as secretary, I am a retired attorney and 49- year member of The Florida Bar. FON is a voluntary organization. Since there have not been PCVs in Nigeria for over 25 years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new volunteers among our members. Longevity runs in my family. I intend to stay with the job for as long as it takes, God and the membership willing.\

    Greg Jones (22) 66-68 (elected incumbent)

         I taught English and Math in a Craft School in Maiduguri 1966-68, an incredibly formative experience. Upon returning home, I worked in the computer industry for 10 years, developing some actual skills. Then I attempted to recreate the Peace Corps experience, this time with something to contribute, working for two years in Iran as a computer consultant, 1976-77. My wife and I participated in FON’s return trip to Nigeria in 2008, stopping first in Maiduguri. We found the sleepy provincial capital of 150,000 had become a booming city of 2.5 million. Now it’s the center of Boko Haram activity and a destination we could never visit today. After joining the trip, we took a side trip to Kafanchan to visit The Fantsuam Foundation and were incredibly impressed with its leaders, John Dada and Kazanka Comfort. Since then I have been a strong advocate for Fantsuam. I have been President of FON since 2011. I am willing to serve for another 2 years, but I feel that I am beyond my sell-by date. Creating the new website has been my major contribution, and it still needs help to become the tool it has the potential to be.

    Mimi Budd (15) 65-67 (board appointed incumbent)

         I taught at the Army Children’s Primary School in Kaduna and at Our Lady of Lourdes Secondary School in Uromi. After returning home in 1967 I obtained my masters’ degree in Teaching English as a Second Language at San Francisco State College. I became an attorney and worked in public service for the State of California, including the State Legislature, the Office of Legislative Counsel, the Department of Health Services, the State Treasurer, and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. I later worked for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to create effective rehabilitation programs in California state prisons. In addition to FON, I am a member of Emily’s List, an organization to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office, the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence, and GIBS a neighborhood organization I founded to promote sensible public policy. I am also a tutor with the Sacramento Public Library’s ESL program. I enjoy politics, travel, fine arts, reading, staying physically active and good times with friends and family.

    Peter Stolzman (25) 66-68 (board appointed incumbent)

         I'm a lifelong resident of the New Haven, CT area. After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in History I went into the Peace Corps. A community development volunteer, I was stationed in Shendam, Kaduna and Kano from 1966-1968. While in Kano I met my wife, an English contract teacher, Lee Goss. We have been married since 1969. After returning to Connecticut I worked as a social studies teacher at Branford High School. During that time I became involved in local politics, union activities and community organizations. I was the founder and advisor of Branford High's Amnesty International chapter. In 2002 I was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi - Martin Luther King Peace Award by the Connecticut Education Association. In 1971 I was asked to join the Board of Directors of the New Haven Scholarship Fund, an all volunteer fund that has awarded over $8 million dollars to residents of New Haven. Currently I'm very involved in an organization which has resettled three refugee families since April 2016 and are trying to help more. Lee and I have two children (our daughter was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger) and five grandchildren.

    Warren Keller (23) 66-67 (elected incumbent)

         I joined the Peace Corps with my wife and taught chemistry and maths in Uli for less than a year before being evacuated from Biafra. We then spent a second Peace Corps year teaching in Uganda before returning to Berkeley in 1968. After completing my MS in chemistry at UC Berkeley, I spent the next 32 years working for IBM as a systems engineer and a data base instructor. We have lived in Berkeley since 1963 and have three children and four grandchildren (ages 16, 12, 12, and 3.) Interests now include family, hiking and backpacking, travel, and volunteer activities (neighborhood association board member and former treasurer, soup kitchen, and FON.) I’ve been a FON board member since 2006, serving as newsletter editor for five years and just now completing my first year as treasurer.


  • February 10, 2017 3:12 PM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    President’s Column 

    by Greg Jones (22) 66-68

         Friends of Nigeria is a membership organization. Actually, anybody who served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria is enrolled as a friend and people who choose to enroll and pay the membership dues are actual members. The new Friends of Nigeria website is both a website and a system for servicing our membership. But if we don’t have a valid way of getting in touch with our membership, then our ability to be of service to our members goes way down.  

         There are three ways for us to get in touch with our members: mailing to their physical addresses, their email addresses or by phone. We have 1750 people in our database who, to the best of our knowledge,  have not passed away. Of those, we have 1476 with a mailing address, 1519 with active phone numbers and 1190 with valid email addresses. Since the new website uses the email address as the userid, and since the best way to get in touch with a subset of our members is by email, we recently mounted an effort to contact those for whom we have a phone number but no email address. Eighteen people volunteered to make 21 phone calls each, and we are in the process of trying to contact almost 400 people.

         We have the results of 250 of those contact attempts. (I say “attempts” because the most prevalent results are a bad phone number (71) or lack of a call backs (60). The good news is that we have obtained 59 emails we didn’t have before. We also discovered that we have good phone numbers for 24 people, but they have no email address. Many of the volunteers making the phone calls had wonderful discussions with some of the people they contacted recollecting their experiences in Nigeria or comparing their experiences since Peace Corps.

         If you got a message to call someone back from Friends of Nigeria, that wasn’t a hoax message.  Do call back. Or if your email address, phone number or address has recently changed, please let us know by emailing fonigeria@gmail.com or phoning me at (978) 562-3613 or our membership chair, Barbara Bush, at (617) 241-8643. You can go to our website (friendsofnigeria.org) and check to see if we have accurate information for you. Unfortunately, for confidentiality reasons, you need to log in before you can see any personal information, and we need to have your email address in our database for you to log in. But if we do have your email address, you can log in. Then you can inspect the information we have for you in the Members and Friends Directory. If you see any errors, please contact us.

         Ultimately the purpose of keeping accurate information is to to maintain close contact with our members. After all, how else are you going to swap stories or compare notes on that time in our youth when we traveled half way around the world and experienced something completely different?





  • February 10, 2017 3:07 PM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    IN MEMORIAM

    Brent K. Ashabranner (Staff) 1961

         Brent Ashabranner of Williamsburg, VA passed away December 1, 2016 at age 95. He was born in Shawnee, OK in 1921. He will be remembered by friends and family as a warm man with a great sense of humor, who lived his adventurous life with courage and integrity.

         He and his wife, Martha White Ashabranner, who survives him, moved to Williamsburg in 1988. They married at 19 and celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary in August. Ashabranner served in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee in the Pacific during WWII. After graduating with a master’s in English, he taught at Ohio State University for several years. In 1955 he accepted a position in curriculum development in Ethiopia, leaving the U.S. with his wife and two young daughters for the next 30 years. He worked in Libya, started the first Peace Corps program in Nigeria in 1961, served as the Peace Corps director in India and then as the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps from 1967-1969. After working with the Ford Foundation for 10 years in the Philippines and Indonesia, he retired in 1985. In retirement he wrote over 30 books for junior readers on cross-cultural topics and won over 40 awards for his body of work. 

         Besides his wife, he is survived by daughters Melissa Ashabrannner (Jean-Keith Fagon) of Washington, D.C. and Jennifer Ashabranner of Alexandria, VA; grandchildren Damian Fagon-Karraker, Giancarlo Fagon, and Olivia-Jene Fagon; and a great-grandson, Neo Lucas Fagon.

         [Source: Virginia Gazette, December 3, 2016]

    Janice K. Phillips Bianchi (18) 66-67

         Jan Bianchi died in the early morning of August 20, 2016 at the age of 72. Jan was surrounded by love and laughter throughout her illness and was fortunate to have enthusiastic care and support from her families of origin and choice.

         Born in Wichita, KS to David and Bettie Phillips, Jan was the youngest of three girls. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Tricia. The family moved to Seattle in 1955 and while international travel took her abroad for a few years, she loved the Northwest and particularly the Pacific Coast. Jan served in the Peace Corps in Imo, Eastern Nigeria. After graduating from law school, she lived in Sao Tome, a beautiful equatorial island in West Africa, and later in Portugal before returning to Seattle.

         A fighter for social justice and equal rights, Jan began her law career at Evergreen Legal Services and then had her own practice in Columbia City. She finished her law career at the Washington State Department of Revenue. In her free time she worked to ensure full access to legal abortion for women in Washington State, LGBTQ equality and advancing other progressive causes. In retirement she became a woodworker and built many beautiful pieces of furniture.

         Along with friends and family, Jan built an amazing cabin overlooking the ocean, which was her favorite place. Anyone lucky enough to have visited knows well the special nature of the cabin, and Jan’s expectation that a visitor would help cut trees, haul brush or relax in the hand-made wood-fired hot tub she built.

         Jan was preceded in death by the two loves of her life, Barry Bianchi and Sue Schubert. She is survived by her two grandsons, Barry and Wyatt, who she thought were utterly amazing, as well as her daughter, Rachel. Her sister, Judy, also survives her and was a blessing during her illness, which allowed the two to deepen their relationship.

         [Source: The Seattle Times, August 28, 2016]

    Stephen C. Clapp (6) 62-64

         Stephen Clapp of Jeffersonton, VA died unexpectedly on December 1, 2016. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Journalism School, Steve Clapp was a writer and editor who covered food policy in Washington, D.C. for more than 40 years. His last book, Fixing the Food System, was scheduled for publication in November, 2016, just before his death. The book is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1Pyq9Mc.

         Prior to establishing himself in Washington, Steve served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Yola, Nigeria. His memoir of his Peace Corps experience, Africa Remembered: Adventures in Post-Colonial Nigeria and Beyond, went on sale in the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and other outlets.

          Moving to Washington in 1966, Clapp joined the Office of Inspection in the ill-fated U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity. For three exciting years, he and his colleagues investigated and evaluated antipoverty programs in the Midwest and South. Professionally speaking, Clapp moved from poverty into hunger and malnutrition; the common theme being food. From 1971 to 1983, he edited Nutrition Week, the newsletter of the Community Nutrition Institute. He then served as communications coordinator at Interfaith Action for Economic Justice, an antipoverty lobby funded by religious denominations and agencies.

         During this period, he got caught up in the long-distance running movement. He ran his first marathon in 1974 and began writing about the sport for the Washington Post and various magazines. In 1978 he was asked to edit Footnotes, a quarterly tabloid published by the Road Runners Club of America that reached more than 100,000 running club members across the nation. He held that semi-volunteer post for a dozen years.

         After leaving Interfaith Action, Clapp became a freelance journalist specializing in food and nutrition policy. In 1993 he moved to Brussels to serve as European editor of World Food Chemical News, a newsletter covering international food regulation. Soon after his return to Washington, he was hired to edit that publication, which was subsequently merged with the flagship newsmagazine Food Chemical News.

         Before retiring in 2013, Clapp served as senior editor of Food Chemical News and managing editor of the monthly Food Traceability Report, and later became a part-time contributing editor. He wrote articles on a variety of topics for the Washington Post and the Washingtonian magazine.

         At the time of his death he was the vice president of Friends of Nigeria and secretary of the Peace Corps Alumni Foundation, which provides scholarships for secondary schoolgirls in northern Nigeria and for students at the American University of Nigeria.

         Steve Clapp is survived by his wife, Bette Hilerman, also a retired journalist, five children and nine grandchildren.

         [Source: Provided by Stephen Clapp’s family]

    Robert D. (Bob) Cohen (4) 62-64

         Robert Cohen of Bethlehem, PA died suddenly at the age of 78 at home on December 6, 2016. He was born in Springfield, OH on November 19, 1938 to Beatrice (Lopper) and Arthur R. Cohen, M.D. both deceased.

         He lived his life fully with an abundance of energy and a great capacity for service to others while also attending to his own needs for creativity and self-expression. 

         Bob graduated from Cornell University in 1960. He also received an M.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an Ed.D. in student personnel from Teachers College, Columbia University.

         He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria teaching English literature in Ibadan from 1962 to 1964. He returned to the Peace Corps as an administrator in Liberia from 1965 to 1967. Later in life Bob served as a member of the board of directors of Friends of Nigeria.

         Cohen came to Bethlehem to be the associate dean of students at Lehigh University in 1979 following his work at Hunter College in New York City as the foreign student advisor and acting dean of students. Retiring in 2010, he followed three passions: music, singing, and acting.

          Bob was a board member and president of the Bethlehem Rotary Club, serving three years. He was on the board of Bethlehem Public Library and an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lehigh Valley.

          Bob is survived by his wife of 42 years, Amy Miller Cohen, his children, Samuel A. Cohen (Liliana) of East Brunswick, NJ, Anna C. Cohen of Bethlehem, his grandchildren, Madalynn E. Cohen and Christopher A. Cohen, his brother Bill Cohen (Randi) of Columbus, OH, his sister, Marian Weiss (Bruce) of Woodstock, IL, his nieces, Emily W. O’Conner (Rich) of Northbrook, IL and Hannah B. Cohen, and his twin grandnieces, Abigail and Isabella O’Conner.

          [Source: The Morning Call, Bethlehem, PA, December 10, 2016]

    Philip Dacey (7) 63-65

         Philip Dacey died peacefully at home in Minneapolis, MN at the age of 77 on July 7, 2016. He was born in St. Louis, MO. 

         Dacey taught poetry for 34 years at Southwest Minnesota State University and published 13 books of poetry. Philip was educated at St. Louis University, Stanford University and the University of Iowa. He taught in the Peace Corps in Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria and later at Miles College in Birmingham, AL along with his then-wife, Florence Chard Dacey. In 1970 he accepted a professorship at Southwest Minnesota State. Philip directed the creative writing program and founded an annual international literary festival. After retiring in 2004, he lived for eight years in Manhattan before returning to Minnesota to live on Lake Calhoun with his long-time partner Alixa Doom. 

         Philip is survived by his three children, Emmett, Austin and Fay, and Fay’s daughters, Sorcha and Ingrid. He was comforted in his final months by his partner, Alixa, and by contact with scores of friends and former students.

         [Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 16, 2016]

    Calvin Oliver Graham (11) 64-66

         Calvin Graham was born March 12, 1940 in Hominy, OK to Lester James and Chrissie Beryl (LeMaster) Graham. Calvin passed away on May 31, 2016 at the Cleveland Manor Nursing Home in Cleveland, OK. Calvin will always be remembered for his abundance of musical talent, his razor-sharp wit, his winning smile, and his persuasive personality.

         Graham went to Oklahoma State University where he majored in English. After receiving his B.A., he continued post-graduate studies at OSU and worked as a graduate assistant in the English department. After earning his M.A. he served in the Peace Corps teaching English at Ihiala in Eastern Nigeria. Calvin cherished his time spent in the Peace Corps and spoke of it often. He attended a 50th reunion of his training group in California in 2015 and enjoyed it immensely.

         Upon his return to the United States, Calvin worked in Texas briefly before embarking on his next adventure in New York City, where he remained for over 40 years. He first worked as a technical writer at Panasonic for 15 years. He spent four years in San Diego, CA as a textbook publisher at Coronado Publishing. Moving back to New York, Calvin became a transcriptionist at the United Nations for a few years. He then worked at Merrill Lynch as a word processor until his medical retirement. He remained in New York for another two years before returning to Oklahoma where he lived at the Baptist Village and finally at the Cleveland Manor nursing Home.

         Calvin was preceded in death by his father, Lester, and his mother, Beryl. He is survived by his sister, Chrissie Childers, and her husband, Dick, brother Marion Graham and wife Linda, one niece, Kelly Childers Friedburg and husband, Ron, three nephews, Richard Childres and wife Kristy, Tom Graham and wife Kim, and Jon Graham and his friend, Amy Dobbins. He was also great-uncle to Madison, Mallory, Bryan and Bailey Childers, as well as Devon, Wyatt and Madilyn Graham.

         [Source: Poteet Funeral Home]

    Arlene Fay Marans (7) 63-65

         Arlene Fay Marans died peacefully on August 2, 2016 at the age of 80. She was born on July 17, 1936 in Frank, PA to the late Joseph Tokar and Edith (Crosser) Tokar.

         Marans graduated from McKeesport High School near Pittsburgh, PA and worked for 5 years as a bookkeeper for an electrical company. Following that job, she earned a degree in Education at Malone College, Ohio. She taught a few years in Pennsylvania before joining the Peace Corps, serving 2 years in Aba, Nigeria. Returning to the U.S. she moved to New York City and attended NYU for her M.A. in Education. She started teaching at a Manhattan Junior High School where she made many friends. Arlene retired after 25 years. She enjoyed cooking, entertaining, and playing cards. She was an avid reader. While her husband continued teaching, she took courses in photography and art at a community college. In 1992 when her husband retired, they moved to Ormond Beach, FL. She enjoyed the beach and made many new friendships. Best of all she enjoyed traveling to many countries and cruising. 

         Arlene leaves behind her husband, Ronald, of 43 years, her sister, Kathy Street, brother-in-law, George Street, brother Joel Tokar and his wife, Elaina Tokar, sister-in-law, Janeen Tokar, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Joseph and Kenneth Tokar.

         [Source: Dayton Beach News-Journal]

    Alan M. Margolis (1) 61-63

         Alan Margolis died on February 17, 2016. He had a 50-plus year career in education for the City University of New York. He was in the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to Nigeria in 1961 where he taught English for two years at Ile-Ife. Margolis wrote several books on Nigerian education and continued to support education for international students who wanted to study in the United States.

         He is survived by his wife, Susan Smith Margolis, of Forest Hills, NY; his daughter, Sarah (Margolis) Katz and son-in-law, Larry Katz of Ridgefield, CT; his son, Jason Margolis and daughter-in-law, Maria Wisler Margolis of Pittsburgh, PA; and five grandchildren.

         [Source: The Ridgefield (CT) Press]

    John James ‘Jack’ McCaffrey (9) 63-65

         Jack McCaffrey, 85, passed away peacefully with his family at his side on July 5, 2016. He was the beloved husband of Parvin (Zafaradl) McCaffrey, with whom he shared 43 years of marriage. A son of the late John and the late Katherine (Garrigan) McCaffrey, he was born May 30, 1931 in New York City, NY, and at a young age moved with his family to Lowell, MA.

         McCaffrey served with the United States Air Force during the Korean War as a staff sergeant. Following his honorable discharge, he earned a B.S. in Education from Suffolk University and a master’s degree from Tufts University.

         From 1957 to 1962 he taught English at Suffolk University and Emerson College before joining the Peace Corps, where he taught English in Ijero-Ekiti, Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. Back in the United States, he taught at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell from 1966 until he retired in 2005. In retirement Jack tended his rose garden of over 55 individual rose bushes. He was a voracious reader and a talented chef. He collected sea shells, mostly from his winter residence on Sanibel Island, FL.

         In addition to his wife, Parvin, he is survived by his son, Thomas Jefferson McCaffrey and his wife, Chrystal-Leigh, of Merrimack, NH; his brother, Robert P. McCaffrey of Hudson, NH; his sister, Barbara Breakey of Wilmington; and several nieces and nephews. He was also a brother of the late Gerald McCaffrey.

         [Source: Lowell (MA), Sun, July 7, 2016]


    Frederick James Morgan, Jr. (11) 64-66

         Frederick Morgan died peacefully at his home in Lee, NH on September 12, 2016 at the age of 77. He was born in Franklin, NH September 2, 1939 and raised in Bristol, NH.

         Morgan received a bachelor’s degree from Keene State College in 1961. He taught in the public schools in Newport, NH from 1961 to 1963. From 1964 to 1966 he served in the Peace Corps in Agbede, Nigeria. In 1970 he began his career with New Hampshire Employment Security and later retired as a labor market analyst in 1994.

         He leaves his son, Scott James Morgan, and his wife, Amy, along with his two beloved grandchildren, Allie Hudson and Zach Hudson, and his favorite fur baby, Ryder Lee.

         [Source: Cremation Society of New Hampshire]

    John J. Mugavero, Jr. (22) 66-68

         John Mugavero, 71, passed away peacefully on October 23, 2015 at Merrimack Valley Hospice House in Haverhill, MA, with his loving family by his side. He was born in Lawrence, MA, son of the late John J. Sr. and Ida (Zinno) Mugavero. 

         John served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria from 1966 to 1968.

         Mugavero taught math at Wakefield High School for 33 years and also coached track. After retiring, he worked as a substitute teacher at Methuen High School for 10 years. He was a driver’s education instructor for many years at North Andover driving school and for All Safe driving school. John was very active at St. Lucy’s Parish where he served as a lector, confirmation teacher, Eucharistic minister, RCIA teacher and also assisted at funerals as a server. John was a loving husband and father and cherished every minute he had watching his children grow up. He assisted coaching Joseph during his years of sports. He was an avid Boston sports fan and enjoyed attending games with Joseph over the years.

         He is survived by his loving wife, Marilyn A. (Conte) Mugavero of Methuen; his son, Joseph A. Mugavero of Methuen; and his daughter, Elizabeth C. Mugavero of Willimantic, CT. He also leaves his sister, Mary Ester Cordaro and her husband, Joseph of Nashua, NH; and his brother, Joseph Mugavero, and his wife, Angelia of Dallas, TX; and several nieces and nephews. 

         [Source: Eagle Tribune (MA)]

    Terry D. Sadler (22) 66-68

         Terry Sadler unexpectedly passed away March 2015 in his favorite chair. He was 71 years old. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah into a family of fourteen children, he had wonderful memories of growing up with so many brothers and sisters.

         Terry studied zoology and received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah in 1966. It was his goal to join the Peace Corps. He did his training in Boston that summer and went to Bukuru, Nigeria to teach biology and chemistry in an all-boys government secondary school in Kuru, near Jos. He loved his experience and took every opportunity to meet the villagers and play basketball with his boys. He was there during the Biafran uprising and never forgot the horror of the massacre.

         Two days after he came home in 1968 he started teaching biology in an all-girls private high school. Also awaiting him was a draft notice and his girlfriend! He wasn’t drafted! Pam and Terry were happily married in April of 1969.

         Sadler settled into a 30 year career in the field of environmental health. He received his Master’s Degree in Public Health and retired as the director of Salt Lake City/County Environmental Health Department. He initiated the Non-Smoking Act in Utah, the Clean Air initiative, car emissions testing, and helped get many laws passed to ensure the health of the citizens of Salt Lake County. He was very well respected, received many awards, and had many lifelong friends. 

         In his private life, Terry was the caring father of two daughters and a son. He raised them with open minds, a thirst for learning, and the desire to serve others. Each one thinks they were his very favorite! He was the “Papa” to 8 grand kids. He enjoyed doing projects or taking adventures with all of them – even the babies. Every week he would come up with a new idea and somewhere to go with them. They miss him.

         Pam and Terry went on many wonderful trips together, combing the beautiful world that Utah offers naturalists. They stayed for weeks in their small trailer birding in Arizona, Death Valley and surrounding areas, and Big Bend in Texas. Spending the Fall season in Yellowstone photographing the wild life and hiking was almost a yearly experience. His photographs of three grizzlies in Glacier Park was printed and written about in the Salt Lake Tribune. Terry and Pam slept in hammocks in the jungles of Guyana, spent nights in a yurt in Mongolia on their Siberian Railroad trip, visited the locks of Panama Canal while birding in the jungles there, and so enjoyed the beauty of the quiet backways of Gifu Prefecture in Japan while visiting their daughter. 

         Terry had a happy, full life. He would always say, “We have to do it now as our windows are closing.” He would invite you to do the same.

         [Source: Special to Friends of Nigeria by Terry’s wife, Pam Sadler]

    David S. Seeley (Staff) 61-62

         David Seeley died November 20, 2016 at the age of 85 in Staten Island University Hospital. Born in New York City, he grew up in Stamford, CT. He earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Yale University and a doctorate in education from Harvard University.

         David spent a year (1961) in Ibadan, Nigeria as a Peace Corps staff member with Harvard’s teacher training program. He was accompanied by his wife, Anna Mae, and their three children.

         Dr. Seeley described himself as an accidental educator. Originally a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under President Dwight Eisenhower from 1956 to 1959, he was appointed assistant U.S. education commissioner under President Lynden Johnson, and he participated in the effort to desegregate schools following the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “I wanted to be a soldier in the desegregation battle,” he said.

         He also yearned to mobilize society on behalf of children. “Everyone shares the responsibility, even if you don’t have kids. Every child in your community, that’s your future, and you really should treasure that child and try to help her or him be as successful as possible,” he said.

         Dr. Seeley worked with the U.S. Office of Education from 1963 until 1967, when he became director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Education Liaison under John Lindsay. A year later he switched to addressing education issues outside government, as a senior staff associate at the Metropolitan Applied Research Center under Dr. Kenneth B. Clark, the noted national civil rights leader, psychologist and educator.

         David began his notable College of Staten Island career in 1980, and became a full professor in 1986. From 1985 to 2000, he was coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program, which he helped revise and transform. He was named professor emeritus and retired in 2003, but his efforts to further education, particularly in Island schools, never wavered. Dr. Ruth Silverberg of CSI’s Education Department said, “His legacy will continue in our work to foster schooling that educates all students at the highest levels and prepares them for meaningful participation in the lives of their communities.”

         Dr. Seeley had many interests, but he especially loved sailing and had crossed the Atlantic as a crew member in his younger years. Music was another passion, and he was a stalwart member of the Richmond Choral Society, singing in many concerts until last year.

         Assemblyman Matt Titone (D-North Shore) said, “He was a moral compass, and his life touched and influenced many, many people in a positive way.”

         Nathaniel Seeley, David’s son, said, “My father viewed happiness and hope as choices. He chose them for himself and urged us and others to do the same.”

         Mae, his wife of 52 years, died in 2008. Surviving, along with his son, Nat, and his daughter, Anne, are his daughters, Sarah Mitchell, Mary Seeley and Louise Seeley, and six grandchildren.

         [Source: Staten Island Live]

    Nicholas Wicker Thiemann (12) 64-66

         Nicholas Thiemann died at home on October 27, 2016 in Westport, CT. He was 76.

         Nick grew up in Greenwich, son of the late Aloys and Elizabeth Thiemann. He spent many years active in Westport life, including serving as a member of the Board of Finance and the Flood and Erosion Control Board. He also ran for First Selectman on the Democratic ticket in 1993 and served as a Selectman from 1993-1997.

         Thiemann left Greenwich to attend college at the University of Connecticut and law school at the University of Virginia. After graduating from UVA, he spent two years in Eastern Nigeria with the Peace Corps as a rural development officer in Nkwerre and Umuogbo near Orlu.

         Upon returning to Connecticut, nick joined the law firm of Senie, Stock and LaChance, moving to Westport in 1967. Soon after, he branched out on his own and kept a law practice in Westport until his death. He also served in a number of official capacities for the State of Connecticut as a member of the Commission on Human Rights and Disabilities and as a magistrate in the court system, hearing cases in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford.

          Outside of work, Nick was an avid golfer, spending many wonderful afternoons at Longshore with his family. He was also a talented singer and musician, performing for the last 25 years with the Fairfield County Chorale and the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut. 

         He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Helen Clark Thiemann, of Westport, son Clark Thiemann (Jennifer) of Norwalk, and a granddaughter, Molly. He was predeceased by his sister, Susan Sommer.

         [Source: RPCV Catherine Onyemelukwe]





  • February 10, 2017 2:58 PM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    Denver Meeting Taking Shape

    by Greg Jones (22) 66-68

         We need your participation, ideas, and conviviality in the Rockies this summer for our Friends of Nigeria biennial meeting in Denver. Please save the date, Friday August 4, and stay tuned for further details. Our meeting is being held in conjunction with the National Peace Corps Connect meeting, Aug. 4-6, so you'll have an opportunity to interact with returned Peace Corps volunteers from around the world for part of your time in Denver. Our goal is to create a meeting that will be interesting to you and get you participating and to ask your opinion about some of the crucial issues facing Friends of Nigeria

         A dynamic organizing committee is scheduling a variety of activities, events and discussions, including a festive dinner on Friday or Saturday with informal group gatherings facilitated for the "other" night. (Traditional Nigerian meal? Stay tuned). If you have ideas and wish to join our organizing committee, please email us at fonigeria@gmail.com. Any of you from Colorado interested? We could sure use your inside knowledge.

         We have a number of potential speakers selected to match the interests and concerns of our far flung membership. We intend to send out a list of timely and compelling books by Nigerians and will ask you to join panels and discussions about the books that you have read before arriving in Denver. We are developing a theme that will enable all of us to address large but focused issues of interest to our members and beyond.

         Last year’s meeting had very good speakers, but too many of them.  This year we intend to have a looser schedule, with more time for you to socialize with FON friends.  We certainly will present interesting things that relate to Nigeria, but we will try not to overwhelm you.

    The NPCA meetings are being held at the University of Denver. We will hold our FON meetings either at the university or at a nearby hotel. The biennial meeting is required by FON's bylaws, and member participation is encouraged, including attendance at a FON Board of Directors meeting, Thursday, Aug. 3, probably at our headquarters hotel.

           Denver and its rich natural surroundings will be at your disposal.

           We'll post more details as they become available.


  • February 10, 2017 2:54 PM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    Nigeria News

    by Virginia DeLancey (04) 62-64

    President Buhari Took Extended Medical Leave

        President Muhammadu Buhari extended a 10-day medical leave in the United Kingdom, disclosing in a short statement to the National Assembly that it was to enable him to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.  The President left for London on January 19, but his Special Advisor on Media and Publicity did not disclose when he would return.  Before departure, Buhari made a temporary transfer of power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

         The request deepened suspicions among many Nigerians that the president’s health is worse than officials are admitting publicly.  His extended leave could further erode confidence in his administration, already under pressures from investors to let Nigeria’s currency float freely to try to revive an oil-driven economy that is at its weakest in 25 years.

         While Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said that the president is not in any serious medical condition, he declined to give any details of the medical checks and said that there was no expected date of return.  This caused some Nigerians to take to social media to demand more details on the president’s health.  (Source:  Daily Trust [Abuja], 2/5/17; Premium Times [Abuja], 2/5/17; World News [U.S. edition], 2/5/17). 

    Former Nigeria President Meets U.S. Lawmakers

         Former President Goodluck Jonathan met with the U.S. Congress House Sub Committee on Africa to speak on the Niger Delta issue and the challenges facing Christians in Nigeria.  The meeting was part of the efforts of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation to fulfill its mission to promote peace and prosperity in Nigeria and Africa.  It was attended by the Chairman of the House Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, Congressman Christopher H. Smith, and other influential staff of the Committee.  (Source:  Premium Times [Abuja], 2/2/17).

    SERAP Writes Trump, Demands Return of Nigeria’s Stolen Assets

         The civil society group Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, urging his “Administration to attach and release to Nigeria some $500 million worth of US-based proceeds of corruption traced to former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha.”  The organization said that, “These proceeds are separate from the $480 million of Abacha-origin funds that have been forfeited to the U.S. under an August 2014 US Federal District Court order.  SERAP’s request is fully consistent with the UN Convention Against Corruption, which both the US and Nigeria have ratified.”  Article 51 of that convention provides for the return of “corrupt” assets to countries of origin as a fundamental principle.  Articles 43 and 47 are also relevant to the request.  (Source:  Vanguard [Lagos], 2/5/17).

    Tuface Calls for Anti-Government Protest, then Cancels It

         Popular artist Innocent Idibia, better known as Tuface, called for, then cancelled, a much-publicized February 6 anti-government protest, citing “security challenges.”  He initially called for a nation-wide protest of Nigeria’s worsening economic crisis that has seen costs of goods and services rise with many families struggling to survive.  Police promised to provide security, then later warned against it, saying that they had “credible intelligence” that other groups were planning counter protests on the same day and at the same venues.  They warned that the event could turn violent.  As expected then, a group called “I stand with Buhari” announced pro-Buhari campaigns on February 6 and 7. 

         After the police warning, Tuface announced on Saturday night that he had cancelled the protest, for security reasons.  In reaction, Nobel Laureate WoleSoyinka criticized the Nigerian police for planning to stop the anti-government protest, saying, “An unnecessary but important reminder:  the battle for the right of lawful assembly of citizens in any cause, conducted peacefully, has been fought and won many times over.”

         Despite the cancellation by Tuface and the security warnings, his group decided to go ahead with the protest, saying that the protest had gone beyond Tuface.  Other organizers, like the “Enough is Enough” group also said that they would proceed with the protest in both Lagos and Abuja.  Debisi Alokolaro, the spokesperson for the group said that the “I Stand With Nigeria/One Voice Nigeria” rally is being staged to protest the corruption and worsening standard of living under the Muhammadu Buhari administration at all levels of government.  (Source:  Premium Times [Abuja], 2/5/17).

    Nigeria Deployed Over 300 Police Officers Abroad in 2016

         The Nigeria Police said that it deployed over 300 personnel, including 57 females, for peacekeeping operations across Africa and the Caribbean in 2016.  The Director of the Directorate of Peace Keeping, Nigeria Police, said that personnel were sent to Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, DR Congo, Liberia, and Haiti.  He said that Nigeria was the largest contributor of female personnel for peace- keeping in Africa, with 22 of the women going to Mali and 36 to Somalia.  (Source:  Premium Times [Abuja], 2/5/17).   

    Government to Deploy Drones to Protect Electricity Transmission Equipment

         The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, says that it will deploy drones to check vandalism of its transmission lines and equipment in the country.  The TCN Managing Director, Atiku Abubakar, said that he is looking forward to the cooperation of the National Assembly to pass laws to deal with vandalism of critical infrastructures.  He also said that the vandalism of transmission equipment was responsible for the collapse of some of the transmission lines in the country.  (Source:  Premium Times [Abuja], 2/2/17).

    Federal Government to Remain Within the International Criminal Court

         The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains that the Federal Government will remain with the International Criminal Court (ICC).  In January, during the 28th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, the AU called for collective withdrawal of its members from the Court because they were not fairly treated by  it.  However, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said that Nigeria’s stand on the issue had not changed.  He explained that there was a strategy adopted by the AU for collective withdrawal from the ICC to which Nigeria did not subscribe.  According to him, Nigeria and others believe that the court has an important role to play in holding leaders accountable.  Senegal and Cape Verde also made it clear that they were not going to leave, as did Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, and Botswana, while a number of other countries requested more time to study the decision before making a decision.  In 2016, Burundi, South Africa, and The Gambia declared their intention to withdraw, while Namibia, Kenya, and Uganda were contemplating withdrawing.

         African countries have repeatedly criticized the court as an inefficient, neo-colonial institution of the Western powers to try African countries.  The criticism is supported by the fact that 9 of the 10 situations under investigation, with three others under preliminary investigation, involve African countries.  (Source:  Daily Trust [Abuja], 2/1/17). 

    Nigerian Air Force Makes Catastrophic Error

         A Nigerian military jet mistakenly bombed a camp for internally displaced people in the town of Rann on January 17. Initial reports indicated that the accident killed at least 70, including nine humanitarian workers, and injured more than 100.  Later reports indicated that 112 had been killed and 97 were injured. The fighter jet struck twice while hunting for members of Boko Haram.  The Nigerian air force has launched an investigation into the strike.  (Source:  Time, 1/30/17; This Day [Lagos], 2/3/17).

    Five Nigerian UN Officials are Killed by Cameroonian Bandits

         The Adamawa State Commissioner of Land and Survey, Ibrahim Mijinyawa,has attributed the death of five Nigerian officials on a UN team to inadequate security escort.  Bandits attacked the officials who were on a trip to Koncha area in Cameroon for a border demarcation exercise.  A recent International Court of Justice ruling ceded some Nigerian communities to Cameroon.

         The gendarme security men attached to the UN team had engaged the suspected bandits in a gun battle when a second group of gunmen attacked the officials, killing all of them.  (Source:  Daily Trust [Abuja], 2/3/17; Vanguard [Lagos], 2/2/17).

    Borno Governor Orders Arrest of Anyone Linked to Boko Haram

         The Borno State Governor has charged security operatives to arrest anyone linked to Boko Haram, even if they are his children.  He stated this in a seven-minute video broadcast on February 2.  His state is the most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

         Some public officials in Borno, including a local government chairman, have since been arrested by the military for alleged links to the terror group.  Despite losing a large chunk of their former base in Sambisa forest to Nigerian forces, Boko Haram still carries out attacks on military and civilian targets.  (Source:  Premium Times [Abuja], 2/3/ 17). 

    Niger Delta Villagers Lose UK Court Bid to Sue Shell Over Pollution

         A British court has blocked Nigerian villagers’ attempt to sue oil giant Shell for allegedly polluting their fishing waters and farmland.  Two communities in the Niger Delta, Ogale and Bille, claim decades of oil spills have ruined their homes and wanted their case heard in the UK.  However, the high court in London agreed with the Anglo-Dutch company’s argument that the case, affecting more than 40,000 people, should be heard by local courts in Nigeria.  The villagers have repeatedly said that they will not get a fair hearing in Nigeria.  

         Igo Well, a spokesman for the multinational’s subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), said that it was a myth that the communities could not get justice in their home country, as  claims are about the operations of a Nigerian company in Nigeria.  He maintained that it is about incidents related to sabotage, illegal refining, and crude thefts.

         Neither of the communities, who say that repeated spills since 1989 have meant that they do not have clean drinking water, farmland, or rivers, are ready to give up.  King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi, ruler of the Ogale, said that the decision must be appealed, not just for the Ogale, but for many other people of the Niger Delta.  He emphasized that Shell is simply being asked to clean up its oil and to compensate the communities it has devastated.

         In 2014, another community in the delta, Bodo, took Shell to court in the UK over an oil spill.  The case was settled by Shell which provided an unprecedented $84 million payout to the Bodo community.  The difference in the latest case is that the Nigerian subsidiary SPDC has refused to submit to a UK jurisdiction.  (Source:  BBC, 1/26/17). 

    U.S.-Based Human Rights Lawyer Sues Government Over Chibok Girls

         A U.S. based human rights activist and lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe, has gone to federal government court to ask for $5 million for defamation over the status of 10 Chibok girls schooling in the U.S.  The defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, and her ministry.  In the suit, the plaintiff accused Hajiya Alhassan of stating at a news conference that the ten Chibok girls his organization took to the U.S. are not in school. 

         Mr. Ogebe stated that in June 2014, he and some humanitarians of Borno State conceived a study abroad project to assist the abducted/escaped Chibok school girls after observing during a US Congressional fact-finding trip that nothing was being done for them individually or as a group.  According to him, he created a legitimate NGO, the Education Must Continue Initiative (EMCI), to provide quality education for the escaped Chibok school girls and other victims of the insurgency.  He further said that through the EMCI, 10 of the escaped school girls of Chibok were granted admission and full scholarships in the U.S. and were subsequently taken to the U.S. where they were enrolled in and began school within a week of their arrival, with the plaintiff duly authorized as their Guardian by their respective families.  However, according to the plaintiff, the Minister of Women’s Affairs stated that the girls were not schooling in the U.S.  The plaintiff is asking the court for the sum of $5,000,000 as exemplary and aggravated damage.  He is also asking for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants from further defaming his character.  (Source:  Leadership [Abuja], 2/3/17). 

    U.S. President Reinstates “Global Gag Order”

         During his first week in office, President Trump signed an executive order to stop federal money going to international groups which perform or provide information on abortions.  Known as the “Mexico City Policy” or “Global Gag Rule” by critics, it was no surprise that he reinstated it.  First introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1984, it has become a game of policy ping pong between Republican and Democratic presidents.

         Supporters of the ban say that it protects the fundamental right to life.  But, some health workers in Africa say that when it was last put in place under George W. Bush in 2001, it had far-reaching consequences.  They say that women who did not have access to contraceptive services were getting unintended pregnancies which increased the number of unwanted pregnancies, which sent them to backstreets to have unsafe abortions.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe abortion is one of the five main causes of maternal mortality, accounting for 13% of cases.

         The Trump order goes further than previous Republican administrations, which only targeted reproductive health services.  According to the organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), with the removal of funding from organizations that also deal with malaria and other child health issues, the policy could threaten progress on many fronts, including efforts to reduce HIV-related deaths and new infections, and decrease childhood mortality through malaria prevention, treatment provisions, and immunization programs.  (MSF does not receive U.S. funding, so it is not affected by the policy).

         Some of the largest organizations in Nigeria that will be affected by the ban include Marie Stopes International, the International Planned Parenthood Federation regional office in Africa, and USAID.  (Source:  BBC, 1/28/17).

    Chukwumerije Holds Fifth Edition of Night of Spoken Words in Abuja

         In his continued determination to revive poetry, an aspect of literature that has been relegated to the background in the country, Dike Chukwumerije’s Night of Spoken Words was scheduled for February 11, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.  Addressing journalists recently, Chukwumerije said that the introduction of performance poetry was aimed at bringing a bit of intellectualism into entertainment.  The 2011 Abuja Literary Society Poetry Slam winner explained that performance poetry is not the simple recitation of poems, but it is a modern and energetic form of poetry that combines the disciplines of traditional poetry with the power and charisma of dramatic performance, including the fusion of poetry with dance, with drama, with music. He believes that it is easier to grasp than written poetry.  He said that the current show would chronicle the history of Nigeria from 1914 to date, using essentially twenty poems that are seamlessly linked by dance, drama, and music.

         According to Chukwumerije, he has been organizing similar events twice a year since 2013, when he brings up-and-coming performance poets from around the country to the stage in Abuja for a 2-hour show.  (Source:  This Day [Lagos], 2/6/17).

    Film Producer is Arrested for Attempted N10 Million Fraud

         Detectives from the Lagos State Police Command arrested a prominent Yoruba film producer, Seun Agbegbe, over a N10 million fraud.  Agbegbe was arrested after he attempted to dupe a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator of N10 million at the Gbagada area of Lagos.  A witness said that the CEO of Ebony Productions had gone to the Bureau with his cronies to perpetrate the act, claiming to want to change some dollars into naira.  Instead, he tried to swindle the BDC operators, who raised the alarm and thoroughly beat him before the police whisked him away.

         This act came less than two months after he was arrested and detained by the police at Ikeja Police Division for allegedly stealing nine I-phone 6s valued at N2.4 million from the Kaaltex Innovation Consultancy at Computer Village, Ikeja.  He pleaded “not guilty” to that charge and was granted bail in the sum of N1million and two sureties in like sum by the court, after which he was whisked away to Kirikiri Minimum Prisons.  After his release, he went to Malaysia for vacation with plans to come back before his case was to be heard in court.  Apparently changing his mind, he came back early, only to be embroiled in the fresh scandal.  The investigation is said to be ongoing.  (Source:  Daily Trust [Abuja], 2/3/17; The Guardian [Lagos], 2/3/17).

    Wizkid Bags U.S. Award for Writing Drake’s “One Dance”

         Nigerian music sensation and Starboy Music Worldwide boss, Wizkid, earned another international award from The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), an American not-for-profit performance-rights organization that protects its members’ musical copyrights by monitoring public performances of their music.   

         The award was given to Wizkid in recognition of his role as the writer of Drake’s hit single “One Dance” which featured Wizkid and Kyla.  The song, which is on Drake’s album “Views”, was nominated at the Grammy Awards in the “Album of the Year” category.  It also occupied the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts for 10 weeks in a row.

         Wizkid and Drake have displayed a high rate of musical synergy ever since their first encounter on Wizkid’s single, “Ojuelegba,” which also featured UK rapper of Nigerian descent, Skepta.  (Source:  Premium Times, [Abuja], 2/3/17).

    First Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team Hopes to Make History for Africa

         Three Nigerian-American women are making history, creating Africa’s first bobsled team and aiming to go to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.  Driver Seun Adigun, brakewoman Ngoze Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga all come from elite track and field backgrounds.  Adigun and Onwumere competed for the University of Houston and Omeoga was an athlete at the University of Minnesota.  

         Adigun, who is a chiropractic doctoral candidate, became interested in bobsled after she competed in the 2012 Summer Games in London and saw some of her teammates make the switch to the winter sport.  While training and competing with the American bobsled team last year, she learned that Nigeria was interested in expanding its winter sports program but did not have winter athletes and that no African country had ever been represented in bobsled.  She gained a release from the American team upon request so that she could develop the Nigerian program—a difficult choice to make.

         Adigun recruited Onwumere and Omeoga, whom she met through track and field, and convinced them to join her in creating the bobsled team.  She said that Nigeria is supportive of them.  She also feels confident of the team’s strategy of qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics, calling their goals very realistic.  Their biggest problem right now, however, is that they do not have a sled.  Since launching a GoFundMe page in November, the team has raised more than $10,000.  In the meantime, they have been using a homemade sled called The Mayflower.  Adigun said that she spent three days hammering and drilling and sawing to put the wooden sled together.  The women still need to complete five races on three tracks by next January to qualify for the Olympics.  (Source:  CBS News,12/17/16; Global News, 12/13/16).

    Nigeria’s “Super Polygamist” Dies at Age 93

         Muslim cleric Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bello Masaba died at the age of 93 in Bida, Niger State.  Referred to as the “Super Polygamist,” various sources reported that he had married 86 wives and had 170 children by 2008.  News correspondents later reported that he had 130 wives, some of whom are pregnant, and 203 children, as well as many grandchildren and “an army of dependents” by the time he died in January, 2017.

         His personal assistant said that Masaba was a godly man, that he had never in his life sought medical attention in a hospital, and that he did not use Western medicine either for himself or his followers.  He believed in divine medication from Almighty Allah.  (Sources:  Daily Trust [Abuja], 1/30/17; The Guardian [Lagos], 1/30/17).


    Groups Aim to Prevent Construction of Highway Through Rainforest

         Pressure is mounting to prevent the construction of a six-lane highway through the rainforest in Cross River State.  The road would be 162 miles long with 6 miles of cleared land on either side.  Conservationists say that the construction would displace at least 180 indigenous communities and slice through a national park and adjoining forest reserves that provide habitats for some of the country’s most beleaguered species, including the endangered Cross River gorilla, chimpanzees, forest elephants, and pangolins—the world’s most poached mammal, whose scales are prized in traditional medicine.

         As now planned, and approved by President Buhari, the road would cut through several protected areas such as the Cross River National Park, Ukpon River Forest Reserve, Cross River South Forest Reserve, Afi River Forest Reserve, and Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary.  These sites are home to various threatened species.  

         Seeking to persuade Nigerian authorities to halt the project, reroute it away from protected areas and community forests along the border area with Cameroon, or rehabilitate existing highways, the Wildlife Conservation Society has launched an international campaign.  By mid-December, it had generated more than 100,000 petition signatures according to officials from the organization.  John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of the organization, said that he was hopeful that further dialogue between Nigerian authorities and conservationists could lead to a mutually agreeable resolution.  (Source:  Chicago Tribune [Chicago], 12/21/16).






     


  • February 10, 2017 2:49 PM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    FON Supports Fantsuam’s Household Food Security

    by John Dada, Fantsuam Foundation Director

         In 2015, Friends of Nigeria provided $2,795 to the Fantsuam Foundation to be invested in grain storage silos. These silos were purchased and are now being put to good use to store the 2016 harvest.

         One of the Fantsuam Foundation responses to the peace building efforts for our communities is the use of the grains bank at Fantsuam to support vulnerable families, especially families that are hosting internally displaced persons and whose household food security situation has become precarious.

         The harvest for 2016 was not impressive due to the pervailing political tensions which affected both the planting and harvesting activities. The total harvest in 2016 was as follows:

              Maize = 100kg bags x 10 = NGN250,000

              Rice = 100kg bags x 12 = NGN300,000

              Soyabeans = 100kg bags x 4 = NGN100,000

              Blackeye beans = 100kg bags x 5 = NGN200,000

              Brown beans = 25Kg x 1 = NGN3,000

         The total amount invested was N846,000 (US$3,000), and the  total amount of produce realised was NGN853,000 or US$3,024.

       As the peace efforts take hold this year, we are hopeful for a more productive farming season.



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    Fantsuam’s tractor prepares the farm for planting





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    Members of the Women’s cooperative planting on the Fantsuam maize farm


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    Paddy rice planting, Ungwa Mangoro, 2016



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    Women taking the harvest of maize home


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    Women processing the beans and the rice



    pastedGraphic_6.pngGrains being bagged and transported to Fantsuam grains bank

  • February 10, 2017 2:47 PM | Willard J (Jim) Clark Jr (Administrator)

    FON Continues to Support Projects in Nigeria

    by Jim Clark (12) 64-66

         The FON board of directors has authorized the expenditure of funds in support of three ongoing projects in Nigeria. 

         For several years, FON has partnered with the Peace Corps Nigeria Alumni Fountation (PCNAF) to fund the Robert Pastor scholarship, a scholarship to fund needy students desiring to attend the American University of Nigeria (AUN). In its recent meeting, the FON board agreed to fund its share of $500. On a related note, President Greg Jones announced that Lowell Fewster (04) 62-64 has agreed to be the administrator of the scholarship replacing the late Steve Clapp.

         The board voted to send an additional $3,000 to the Fantsuam Foundation in support of the foundation’s efforts to establish and maintain a reliable food supply system in an area affected by ethnic violence. FON has, for several years, supported Fantsuam by providing funds for its construction and farming projects. (More information on Fantsuam’s work can be seen in the recent report from John Dada elsewhere in the newsletter.)

         The AUN Read and Feed program received an additional grant of $3,000 from the board in support of its work in feeding and educating those affected by Boko Haram violence. Those in attendance at the FON meeting in Washington will remember AUN President Margee Ensign’s description of the challenges faced by refugees from Boko Haram violence and the positive results of the Read and Feed program.

          All these programs are only possible as a result of the generosity of our membership. Most of member  dues and 100% of contributions are donated to these programs. FON is proud to have good, reliable partners in Nigeria who enable us to donate our funds with confidence. Keep up those donations!


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