Economic Recession : Nigerians Seek Other Sources of Income

As the economic recession in Nigeria continues to take its negative  toll on Nigerians unabated, the people are now seeking alternative sources of income to keep body and soul alive.

Such sources of income include online money making opportunities,which although may be risky, but the attractions are, without doubt, mouth watering.

According to the anchor of one of such programmes, Prophet Kayode Samuel, investing in the billion coin and sports trading are some online opportunities, Nigerians are already embracing.

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”Sack  your boss is a registered company and by the Grace of God, we have taught several people how to become their own boss. About a  month ago, we started training on the billion coin and D9 sports trading. The billion coin is a crypto currency. When you invest, you make good money. You can use the billion coin to buy or sell, even you can use it to buy land and car”, Prophet Samuel stated.

In his views a Director of the company, Dr. (Pastor)Olawore Olasupo called on those in need of extra income to key into  the two programmes.

”People should wake up from their slumber to see the light,this is not Yahoo business, this is not MMM, it is not fraudulent and it is not questionable.It is an investment that they can partake in and get weekly returns. They can invest little and begin to make their money. We have several groups for this purpose”, Dr.(Pastor) Olasupo stressed.

However, in a Telephone chat with Federationews2day, a management staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), speaking incognito, advised members of the public to  be careful, the way  they invest in programmes and cross check with the Apex bank  or knowledgeable financial experts on the credibility of  such investment opportunities.

 

Land rights in Georgia: the stench of corruption

By Oliko Shermadini, Transparency International Georgia

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When corruption is disguised as a legal procedure, it can often be difficult for ordinary citizens to fight back. But legal procedures can also be used to win the day. This is the story of how Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre in Georgia helped a group of villagers win a legal battle against local authorities who had essentially stolen their land. 

On a piece of land about the size of 18 football pitches on the edge of the small village of Didi Lilo just outside Georgia’s capital Tblisi aggressive scavenger birds swoop down on piles of stinking refuse. Parents keep their children indoors because the birds are so dangerous and the smell so noxious.

For generations a group of 17 local tenant farmers grew wheat on this land. It helped them through bad economic times, when food was scarce following the collapse of the Soviet Union and during the civil unrest. “We milled the wheat into flour and baked bread for our family and we used the grain to feed our chickens and livestock,” said Marine Tsopurishvili, one of the villagers (pictured). “It helped us survive as there was no other work around.”

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Marine Tsopurishvili (second from left) stands with villagers in front of landfill.  

When the rights to the land came up for auction in 2006, the 17 villagers joined forces to buy it. Four years later when they tried to register the land on a new electronic cadastral map they found they couldn’t: it was listed as state property.

It was during a fallow year, when the land was left uncultivated that the fences went up and the garbage started pouring in. That’s also when the villagers started their fight to get the land back. They wrote letters and produced ownership evidence but were continually stonewalled. During the court proceedings, representatives from the Public Registry, Tbilisi City Hall, the ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the group that operates the landfill all argued that because the property was not registered as belonging to the villagers on the electronic map it was state land.

Transparency International Georgia operates an Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre for citizens who find themselves beaten back by a system they cannot understand. When one of the Didi Lilo villagers showed us their file, we realized that the authorities, for whatever reason, were acting in bad faith.

Corruption is the defined by Transparency International as the misuse of entrusted power for personal gain. We did not try to argue that this was a case of corruption because it was clear that we could win on procedural arguments.

During court proceedings, representatives of the state claimed that at the time of registering their ownership of the land, the villagers had not registered an electronic cadastral map, and that the paper version of this document did not show any overlap between the landfill area and the land owned by the citizens.

According to Georgian legislation, however, property rights may not be restricted on the grounds that the cadastral map has been registered as a paper document. The majority of land registered before 2010 had been registered this way.

In land dispute cases, the Public Register is obligated to take into account all the data available. The villagers had done everything by the book: they had registered the land, provided a privatization plan and relevant cadastral information that clearly shows its location.

The state claimed that the plot overlapped with state land but refused to provide the 2010 maps to prove this. In court we argued that that state bodies had acted in agreement to intentionally, illegally and without compensation seize a piece of land from the rightful owners. The state was happy to take the villagers’ money in 2006; and just as happy to doctor the system and seize it back in 2010.

In 2014, the Georgian Public Defender had also recommended the Public Registry reconsider its decision, but to no avail. We used the Public Defender’s report as evidence in court.

The dispute lasted for 3 years but ended on March 22, 2017, when Tbilisi City Court (court of first instance) granted our claim and recognised the ownership rights of the villagers. The court decision granted our clients’ requests for registration.

The next step is to get compensation. The land is now unfit for agriculture. According to a private audit estimate, the disputed piece of land had a market value of GEL 1.3 million (US$536,103) prior to its seizure. We plan to demand compensation for damages, which will include the above market value as well as compensation for damage incurred as a result of a 10 year property rights violation period.

The state can of course appeal the decision but we will be ready to continue the fight. The villagers of Didi Lilo may not have agricultural land anymore but they are clearly entitled to compensation for the illegal seizure.

Oliko Shermadini started working at Transparency International Georgia as an intern in 2012. Since then she has been involved in different TI Georgia projects, including working at the Advocacy and Legal Advice Center. 

Source-Transparency International

Do Nigerian Workers Have A reason To Celebrate ?

The scene was that of workers with gloomy faces, clad in various vests, with their trade union names embedded on the vests, moving in and out of the Lekan Salami stadium venue of the 2017 workers day celebrations in Oyo state.

Even though the atmosphere indicated that all was not well, the organizers still went on with the programme of events.

Workers in attendance discussed their various experiences in the last few years,  with worries written all over their faces, while taking solace in the saying ”When there is life there is hope”.

For quite a while, some labour leaders had been silent on the plight of workers in the state, to the  chagrin of most workers, who insist that such attitude is an abberation, this is as most state Governments are at a lose on the legacies to be left behind on completion of their tenure.

The complain  by the Chairman of an industrial union ,that he was  yet to be given the special vests designed for  Labour leaders, is a reflection of the communication lag in most unions. The Chairman was eventually given a tight  fitting vest, which was obviously too small for him.

The large number of law enforcement agents and security operatives at the venue was a source of discomfort for the workers.

Do workers in Oyo state and Nigeria as a whole have a reason to celebrate ?

Professor Sabitu Olagoke is the Founder and spiritual head of Shafaudeen Worldwide, Wakajaye, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Professor Olagoke provides an answer. ”Workers do not have any cause to celebrate today, but to gather together, on pryer in a sober reflection mood. Workers are the engine of development of any nation, workers activities all along over the years have been moderate and  regulated through  laws and policies. Unfortunately Government is always at the violation end of the promises and policies. The way we treat workers in Nigeria, is like incapacitating the geese that lays the golden egg. Presently, workers in Nigeria are been traumatized and bullied, through the non payment of salaries by their political head employers. And along the line, they have been divided into fragments, so that they will not be able to speak with one voice”.

Of worry is the ”hot and cold’ attitude” of those, workers in the country rely on to achieve satisfactory remuneration and working conditions. This has made workers to be at the mercy of their pay masters in the public and private sectors.

”When you compare the dynamism of the present labour forces in Nigeria, you will agree with me that they have been incapacitated. They are not as viral as before, this is because of the divide and rule tactics of Government, destabilizing them and disorganizing their structure.  Workers those days, were known to fight for the cause of the poor., but today, some of their executives, in fact, romance with their employer oppressors in the name of Government.  Even, some union executives, milk dry the stipends of their unions. And in Nigeria today, most of them cannot really correct the aberrations, of Government because they prefer to compete with Government in self enrichment, while they collaborate in snubbing public schools  or having their children study abroad, while deceiving the masses, who really need their help and upon whose mandate they are carrying the banners of the unions. If all these anomalies are not corrected, the hope of the common man will be permanently dashed, essence of governance is to work to be able to serve the people, who gave them the mandate to serve. Nigeria needs constructive opposition, not necessarily from the inner fold or politically disgruntled parties, but from unions, who are expected to be objective and neutral in pursuing the cause of sanity for the common man, Professor Olagoke noted.

For Comrade Waheed Olojede, who is the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC)Oyo state council, some people  in far way Chicago, United States of America(USA) in 1887, lost their lives for the cause  of workers of the world. ”Today is a day to remember them and of course, to pray for them and of course to pray for their families.  This is why ,we say that even in the face of all odds, as workers of Nigeria we must celebrate to remember them and pray for the repose of their souls. Secondly,  I want to say that in reality, workers are not happy, not only in Oyo state, but the entire country. Today, Government at all levels are indebted in one way or the other, promotions are not effected as and when due, salaries and pensions are not paid, nobody is even talking about gratuity any longer. Workers are groaning, they are not happy, they are hungry, notwithstanding that, we have to celebrate ourselves.  No matter the situation, we we must gather  to celebrate ourselves and to also believe that life must continue, in whatever way, in whatever situation we find ourselves”, Comrade Olojede asserted.

Some union leaders in Oyo state have their own opinions. Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran is the Chairman Trade Union Congress(TUC), Oyo state council. Comrade Ogundiran is of the opinion that workers have a cause to celebrate .

”Workers have the cause to celebrate because we are alive,  the nation we  call Nigeria is our common project, it is still surviving, so workers have the cause to celebrate. But who should celebrate workers and who are the workers celebrating themselves ? What you are seeing  here, it is the workers whop are celebrating themselves, to give thanks to God that they are alive, they are surviving.Also to give thanks to God that this project called Nigeria is surviving”.

”But normally we have a word for employers, be it state, be it private, they are the ones to have looked back and celebrate their workers  because without us they cannot be, without us they cannot survive, nobody would have seen them as employers. But because we are working , we are the geese that are laying the golden eggs that they are eating, it behooves on them to celebrate their workers, but what do we have ? It is the workers coming together to celebrate themselves, even for that alone it is worth celebrating.

However, Comrade Ogundiran insists that when other indices and indicators are used, the workers day is not worth celebrating. ”What is the value of the Naira ? How many factories are closing down ? Look at the public service itself, is it looking like the way it used to look like, No !, it is not worth celebrating”.

For Comrade Olusola Fatoki-Cole, Chairman Non Academic Staff Union(NASU)Oyo state council workers have every cause to celebrate. ”By the grace of God we have every reason  to celebrate, to celebrate for been alive for been alive I think is the major reason  for us to be celebrating, we are hopeful that today may be bleak, but after the dark cloud, there will be sunshine,. by the special grace of God, we have every reason to thank God. I t is only the dead, who have no cause to celebrate, but we are still alive and God has been preserving us, for the fact that our salaries are not paid up to date, for the fact that they are still owing us some months of salary arrears, but we thank God that we don’t have any cause to be on the sick bed, even though that is the wish of some people, who are against the workers in this state, but God has proved them wrong.  God has disappointed them,  that in spite of hunger, in spite of starvation, God is  keeping us alive. So, we have every reason to celebrate.

Indeed, Comrade Ademola Babalola, Chairman, Medical and Health  Workers Union of Nigeria(MHWUN)Oyo state council believes that workers have every reason to celebrate, even as he counsels workers to remain steadfast, as the present difficulties they are passing through is for a short while.

”Workers have a cause to celebrate. Come what may, whatever they may be facing or they may  be encountering, we believe it will be just for a while, it would come and go. So, we believe by God’s grace everything would soon be alright.

What about the workers  who have passed on to glory, as a result of the uncomfortable situation ? They do not have nay reason to celebrate. So sad.

Kenya: President Kenyatta Orders 18pc Minimum Wage Increase

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered an 18 percent increase in the minimum wage. He said he appreciates concerns by employers on ballooning wage bills and asked Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed to hold a meeting with them to discuss non-labour factors that impact production.

“After consultation with key stakeholders, I have directed that the minimum wage be increased by 18 per cent. In addition, we have increased the non-taxable bonuses and overtime to Sh100,000,” he said at the 51st Labour Day celebrations.

President Kenyatta also told workers seeking jobs overseas to only use approved agencies.

Organization Remolds Nigerian Youths With Cricket

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A private organization in Nigeria has  organized a cricket competition for teenagers in the South west Geo-political zone of the country as a step  towards re-moulding them.

The competition, for under 19 males, involved teams from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun states.

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For a long time,Parents and Guardians have been contending with the unbecoming behavior of the children and wards, with most of them expressing frustrations, over how to handle the situation.

In his views, the Head of the Technical team of the competition, Endurance Ofem, says that cricket is a character builder.

”The game is a character moulder and that is what we stand for. Once a child has education and sports, then violence is out of place.

That is why we are coming down to this level to inculcate good culture in them, so that they can represent  us well, when they eventually represent Nigeria”, Ofem stated.

The finals of the maiden edition of the competition, The Jide Bademosi cup, comes up by 9.00am on Sunday, 23 April, 2017 at the Obafemi Awolowo stadium, Ibadan, Nigeria.

How African governments use advertising as a weapon against media freedom

National governments remain the single largest source of revenue for news organizations in Africa.  In Rwanda, for example, a  staggering 85-90% of advertising revenue comes from the public sector.

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In Kenya, it’s estimated that 30% of newspaper revenue comes from government  advertising.  In 2013, the government spent Ksh40 million in two weeks just to publish congratulatory messages for the new President Uhuru Kenyatta.

But with a general election coming up this year in August, the Kenyan government has decided to stop advertising  in local commercial media.

In a memo, reportedly sent to all government accounting officers, the directive was given that state departments and agencies would only advertise in My.Gov –  a government newspaper and online portal.

Electronic advertising would only be aired on the state broadcaster – the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

It’s difficult not to characterize the withdrawal of state advertising from commercial media as punitive. Without this revenue stream newspapers are likely to fold.

Worse still, efforts to withdraw government advertising from commercial media can be interpreted as a worrying way to undermine the freedom of expression.

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Starving news media of revenue is a means of indirect state control. This has been the case in countries such as Serbia, Hungary, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

But to fully understand the link between government spend on advertising and media freedom it’s important to take a historical perspective.

How did we get here?

The 1990s saw the adoption of multi-party politics in many African countries. This led to relatively liberal constitutions  in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana among others.

Since then, most African governments have grown anxious about their inability to control the local news agenda, much less articulate government policy.

For governments in countries such as  Ethiopai, Uganda,Zimbabwe and more recently Tanzania, controlling the news agenda is seen as a means to stay in power. Views that compete with the state position are often cast as legitimizing the  opposition agenda.

This is part of a much broader strategy for political control which Africanist historians and political scientists have called the ”ideology of order”.  This is based on the premise that dissent is a threat to nation building and must therefore be diminished.

The narrative was popularized by most post-independence African governments and emphasized through incessant calls for what they liked to call “unity”.

In Kenya, former president Daniel Moi even coined his own political philosophy of ”peace, love and unity”. Citizens were expected to accept this narrative unequivocally. Dissenting views were undermined through state-controlled media such as Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and newspapers such as the Kenya Times.

From the 1960s – 1980s, African governments conveniently used the nation-building argument to suppress legitimate dissent. Opposition was punished by imprisonment, forced exile and even death. This was common practice in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and in West Africa more generally.

The current political climate on the continent is premised on constitutional safeguards including the protection of free speech which make these kinds of punishments unlikely in the present day.

Many countries now have institutional safeguards  including fairly robust judicial systems capable of withstanding the tyranny of naked state repression.

As a result, the media is controlled in subtler ways and its violence is softer. It’s against this background that I interpret the withdrawal of government adverts from the commercial media in Kenya.

Controlling media budgets

In Kenya, the decision followed a special cabinet meeting which agreed that a new newspaper would be launched to articulate the government agenda more accurately.

The government also argued that the move was part of an initiative  to curb runaway spending by lowering advert spend in Kenya’s mainstream media and directing all the money to the new title.

A similar move was made in South Africa last year when the government’s communications arm announced that it would  scale down government advertising in local commercial media.

Instead, advertisements would be carried in the government newspaper Vuk’uzenzele. The decision withdrew an estimated $30 million from the country’s commercial newspaper industry.

The South African government also claimed that the move was made to reduce government spending. But  critics have argued that the decision was made to punish a media outlet that’s been particularly critical of President Jacob Zuma’s presidency.

In both countries the decisions have hit at a particularly hard time for the media industry, providing governments with the perfect tool with which to control the press.

Will a free press survive

Commercial news media is going through a period of unprecedented crisis. The old business models are unable to sustain media operations as audiences adopt new ways of consuming news.

More than that, mass audiences are growing ever smaller. Newspapers particularly haven’t been able to adapt to the changing profile of the old versus the new newspaper reader.

The effect has been that newspapers are no longer as attractive to advertisers. As such, they have to rely a lot more on state money and patronage for survival.

To sidestep state control commercial media in Africa must rethink their business models and diversify their revenue streams.

It won’t be an easy road but non-state media must also work hard to disrupt this re-emerging narrative of “order”. Nation states cannot revert to the dark days when government policy was singular and alternative viewpoints were silenced or delegitimised.

Source : The Conversation

South Africa: Police Minister to Address Media On Decision to Withdraw Ntlemeza Appeal

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Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to address the media on Thursday on his decision to withdraw his application to appeal the ruling of the High Court in Pretoria to set aside the appointment of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.

In March the court found that when then police minister Nathi Nhleko appointed him head of the elite police unit he had ignored two court judgments which found that Ntlemeza lacked integrity and honesty.

The court found that the findings in both judgments constituted “direct evidence” that Ntlemeza lacked the requisite honesty, integrity and conscientiousness to hold public office.

Ntlemeza, however, continued with his application for leave to appeal the judgment.

On Wednesday afternoon, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed his application and ordered him to vacate his office with immediate effect.

The matter was brought to the High Court by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom under Law.

Source : News24wire

All Nigerians Including Political Office Holders Must Make Sacrifices-Cleric

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Nigerians, irrespective of their status in society, have been called upon to make sacrifices, in order to move the country forward.

This call was made by the Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN)Oluyole Local Government, Ibadan,Oyo state, Nigeria, who is also the  President and Commandant General, Royal Chaplain Global Mission, Evangelist Emmanuel Babalola in his Easter message to the nation.

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”The political class must go back to the drawing board, their take home, is robbing Nigeria, workers are not getting their salaries”

”The message of Easter is all about the highest level of sacrifice. How Jesus came from heaven, humbled himself, without minding, He surrendered Himself to His creator. The life of Jesus simply teaches us that to achieve anything great in life, there must be sacrifice”.

”Everybody should make sacrifice, right from the Presidency to the National Assembly, to the Governors, to the state law makers, they should be prepared to sacrifice, for anything good to happen, some of them are receiving huge amount of money as salaries, they must be prepared to slice it even by 1 1/4, then something good will happen, that is the message of Easter, as leaders we must be ready to make sacrifices”.

Second suspect in custody after Facebook Live sexual assault

By John Keilman and  Heather Schroering

Chicago Tribune

A second teen has been taken into custody in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was recorded on Facebook, police said.

The suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was taken into custody “accompanied by a parent,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon.

A second teen has been taken into custody in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was recorded on Facebook, police said.

The suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was taken into custody “accompanied by a parent,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon.

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The news came a day after police announced charges against a 14-year-old boy.

The 14-year-old, who was charged April 1, was expected to face a hearing in juvenile court Monday, but Cook County Associate Judge Patricia Mendoza waived his appearance until April 28. The boy is in custody in a detention center, according to an assistant state’s attorney.

Police are also trying to identify others who took part in the assault, officials said, but the investigation has been slowed by the trauma experienced by the girl.

“She’s just having such a difficult time even communicating what occurred to her,” Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said at a Sunday news conference at Chicago police headquarters. “We obviously have a video of the incident, so we have verifiable objective evidence of what occurred to this young lady, but she’s just having a very difficult time.

“On top of it, there’s constant social media … bullying (of the girl), making fun of what occurred. This is just a very traumatic incident.”

The girl had stayed over with family the evening of March 18 and gone to church with them the next day, then was dropped off near home before disappearing.

Deenihan said the girl was “lured” to a residence by one of the attackers, who did not allow her to leave. As many as six males took part in the assault, police have said. She was found two days later walking down the street near her home.

The 14-year-old boy was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, manufacture of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography, all of which are felonies, police said.

One of the suspects broadcast the assault on Facebook Live, and authorities have said that as many as 40 people saw it. None called police, an abstention that enraged police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

“We’ve seen a couple acts in this city now in the last few months involving social media, and it just disgusts me that people could look at those videos and not pick up the phone and dial 911,” he said at the news conference. “It makes you wonder where are we going, what are we doing as a society?”

Reginald King, a relative of the girl, said a teen alerted him to the assault on Facebook. Chicago activist Andrew Holmes got the video to police, and the girl’s mother was shown screen shots and was able to identify her daughter.

After the girl was found, she was reunited with her mother and taken to a hospital, where she was examined for injuries, a family member later told the Tribune.

As news of the attack spread, people began ringing the family’s doorbell and coming around the house in a menacing way, the girl’s mother has told the Tribune, and police described a campaign of social media bullying against her. The taunts prompted authorities to relocate her family to another home, which police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi described as “a safe place.”

The girl’s mother did not return messages seeking comment on the arrest.

Deenihan said that authorities have looked into possible charges against those who watched the video and bullied the girl, but said that making charges stick appears to be a complicated task.

Guglielmi said Facebook has told authorities it’s not possible to identify who is watching a video on the platform. And Deenihan said the bullying hasn’t risen to the level of criminal conduct.

“We’re going to vet all that out to see if there is a specific possible charge, but right now there isn’t a specific threat made to the victim or her family, nothing anybody could be charged with,” he said.

The attack was at least the fourth Chicago crime caught on Facebook Live since the end of October.

After one of the previous attacks, in which a mentally disabled man was tormented and tortured by a group of people, the company said it does not allow people “to celebrate or glorify crimes” on its network. Facebook took down the video of the girl’s assault after being notified by police.

Johnson said that although the girl was having a difficult time talking to investigators about the assault, he was impressed by her courage.

“While I know the emotional wounds caused by this savagery will take long to heal, I am hoping that her story can be an inspiration to other young women who are victimized by bullying and sexual assault,” he said.

“The young men responsible, they should be ashamed of themselves. They humiliated themselves, they’ve humiliated their families, and now they’re going to be held accountable for what they did.”

Chicago Tribune’s Kim Geiger contributed.

Source : Chicago Tribune

Grace Mugabe Defies Court Order, Destroys Villagers’ Homes

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Despite a Zimbabwean court ruling against First Lady Grace Mugabe’s demolishing villagers’ houses and evicting them from a farm , the police, under the First Lady’s order, proceeded with the illegal evictions of mostly women and children.