Naira scarcity: Churches, mosques,  nightclubs, others count losses
New naira notes

Adebayo Obajemu

The ongoing scarcity of  Naira  has greatly affected the revenues of religious organizations – Christian and Moslem, including traditional religion, such as Ifa  religion. The negative impact of the scarcity has also seeped into relaxation and drinking centres – night clubs and drinking joints.

Beside the challenge of finding cash for tithes and offerings, many religious practitioners found it difficult to even attend services for lack of transport money. The result is that attendance has drastically dropped to the alarm of the clergy, which led to the reduction in the hours of services to save the cost of fuel or diesel, as revenue dropped.

At the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries,  Egbado road, Odewale, Ogun State, a worshipper, who craved anonymity, said congregants were advised to send in their tithes and offerings electronically.

“When the cash crunch became severe, the presiding pastor informed us to send in our tithes and offerings through transfers, but the following week, some, who did the transfers and came to church with the receipts were surprised when it was discovered that some transfers did not enter the church accounts”, he said.

At  Cherubim Seraphim Church, Ayokunle Street, Amje, Alakuko, one of the senior apostles, who did not want his name in print told Business Hallmark that “We discovered that the weekly revenues through tithes and offerings have depleted ever since we asked members to pay their tithes and offerings through transfers. I believe the frustrating process of doing the transfer actually dissuaded many from paying their tithes.”

At Redeemed Christian Church, Boluwatife Street, Ishaga, a congregant confided in this medium that revenues profile of the church accrued through tithes and offerings has come low. According to him, due to human nature that abhors anything that will put them in stressful situation, many congregants have not been paying their tithes and offerings, though many are still faithful to the injunction of tithing.

At  Central Mosque , Ojuore, Ota , Ogun State, the chief imam, Sheikh Abdulfathai Abulganiyu, told Business Hallmark that the scarcity has really affected the congregants’ commitment to the development of the mosque.

“Two weeks ago,  we announced that we wanted to buy a new generators, and many people showed commitment, but the following week when we reaffirmed the issue, those that came out with cash were not up to three, and of those that promised to do transfer only three out of ten actually fulfilled their promise.”

Abimbola  Alamu, an Ifa priest at Okearo, near Agbado Crossing, Ogun State said the number of people that come for consultation has reduced. “Most times, they will come for consultation seeking for spiritual solution to their marital challenge, property, promotion, spiritual problems and others but having told them what the Ifa is saying concerning the issue that brought them, which normally requires money to do some sacrifice or ablution, they never come back. And that was not the case before the current scarcity of Naira.”

But the issue at hand goes beyond the challenge being faced by these sacred places of worship, as those delivering sybaritic businesses, such as drinking joints and nightclubs are also complaining of low patronage.
Biola Solarin, who owns a drinking joint at Dalemo, near Alakuko told Business Hallmark that ever since the scarcity has become a serious issue, her business has suffered.

“Before, you will see men and their consorts and all forms of choice cars parked across the road.  This place used to be filled to capacity. When the business was good, I used to make an average of  N20,000 from catfish pepper soup, we are not talking of the beer. Most times, I go home with N40000. When the business was not good, I could still make N20000, but now , if I get N15000 I will thank my God.”

A man, who simply identified himself as John at Biola’s Joint said he used to come to the joint everyday before going home in pre-cash crunch time.

“But now, I only come here once a week and I will do transfer. At times, the transfer may not go but because I’m one of Biola’s customers, she will write down my name against my debt .”
At a night club at Agbado Oja, Alagbado, the number of people in revelry when Business Hallmark visited was considerably small compared to when there was no scarcity of naira. One of the waiters told this medium that the continued scarcity has affected patronage.

“Before this place used to be filled up, but you can see empty chairs. In spite of strip girls we have brought to entice increase in patronage, the situation has not changed'”, he said.

At the strip nightclub, some commercial sex workers that hang around the precincts of the club waiting for customers complained of low patronage  in their business due to the scarcity of Naira notes. One of them who identified herself as Angela  said the scarcity of the notes was a threat and had crippled their business.

She described the development as both frustrating and slow for the business. Angela told Business Hallmark that before the scarcity. “Anytime I come here I always make an average of N15,000 , as you can see, I have been here for the past three hours, nobody has called me”, she said.
Rising cases of stroke among youth worry experts

– Seek always to lower mortality rate of victims

By Tumininu Ojelabi Hassan

Medical experts are getting increasingly concerned about ever rising mortality rate among stroke victims. Stroke is a medical emergency, which is often caused by interruption of the blood supply to the brain or hemorrhage into brain tissue lasting more than one hour leading to brain damage and, in critical cases, death.

The incidence of stroke is increasing worldwide, mostly due to the increasing aging population. According to the World Health Organisation, it is the second leading cause of deaths and third leading cause of disability all over the world, especially amongst adults aged 65 and above.

According to WHO, 15 million people suffer stroke worldwide each year. Of these, five million people die and another five million are permanently disabled. Nearly three-quarters of stroke cases occur in people over the age of 65 and the risk of having a stroke doubles each decade after the age of 55,” WHO stated.

In Nigeria, stroke is the second leading cause of death and disability. The Nigerian Stroke Organisation revealed that over 100,000 cases of stroke are recorded in Nigeria annually. Stroke is the most common medical emergency in most hospitals and accounts for eight out of 10 neurological hospital admissions.

This disease, which is of two types, Ischemic stroke and Hemorrhagic stroke can manifest in temporary or permanent disability, which depends on how long the brain was denied of blood flow and which part was affected.

A survivor of stroke disease, Adeshina Adetunji, a 54 year old Lagos resident, shared his healing process with our correspondent.

“It started two years ago, October 24th 2020 to be precise. Before then, I had been battling hypertension for over 12 years.

“On that fateful day, I was at home because I couldn’t go to work due to the severe headache I had overnight, I used paracetamol but I found it difficult to sleep. I checked my blood pressure it was extremely high, I knew there was a problem.

“My son drove me to the hospital, at this point I was feeling dizzy, I couldn’t move my legs and hands and I wasn’t myself anymore.

“I was admitted immediately I got to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Computed Tomography (CT) scan was carried out and I was told I had stroke. I was there for over a month receiving treatment,” he said

Adetunji revealed that the ailment drained him and his family financially and emotionally as he was the breadwinner of the family with three kids in higher institutions.

“This disease drained me and my family. My savings was exhausted due to it, at a point I started selling my belongings. We have spent over N3 million since the sickness started. My church donated money to me, my family and friends also donated money because the burden was too much for me to bear.

“I’m grateful to my family, friends and church, without their support I wouldn’t be alive today. During this period, I had three children in the higher institution. One was in his final year and was preparing for his final exams when the issue came up,” he narrated.

According to Adetunji, this ailment changed his life completely and he has been out of job since then.

“Due to this sickness, I haven’t been able to work. Since it happened, my life hasn’t remained the same. It’s just very unfortunate this happened to me but in all situations I have to be thankful to God,” he said amidst tears.

He explained how he has been managing this health condition since the incident occurred with the use of orthodox and traditional drugs. There have been improvements since then, but I can’t really control the movement of my legs and hands and I have been suffering from amnesia,” he mentioned.

According to a medical expert, who spoke with our correspondent via a phone chat, the cases of stroke are rising on a daily basis, especially amongst young people.

“Yesterday, we recorded five cases of stroke, today, we have recorded two cases of stroke within four hours, which is quite worrisome. Most of these people were below 50 years,” he said shockingly.

The doctor, who prefers to be anonymous, mentioned that most of the people battling with stroke were hypertensive but weren’t aware. Some were aware, while some had diabetes but they didn’t manage their health condition properly.

In addition, he talked about some of the symptoms of stroke, which include, difficulty in speech, balance problem, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, memory loss, paralysis, sight problem and constant headache. Also, he highlighted some of the risk factors which can lead to developing stroke.

“Stroke can be caused by hypertension. An hypertensive person stands a higher chance of developing stroke. Diabetes is another cause of stroke, especially amongst old people. It can also be caused by genetic factors, someone, who has a family history of stroke may likely battle with stroke,” he explained.

He advised that early detection and quick treatment are effective ways of surviving stroke. “It’s possible to survive stroke in Nigeria by detecting early and undergoing treatment immediately to avoid further damage to the brain,” he said.

Furthermore, he advised against feeding people evincing symptoms of stroke as they can have difficulty swallowing. “Feeding people during an attack attracts bacteria, which leads to a grievous lung injury called Aspiration Pneumonitis. Instead of feeding, please rush them to a nearby hospital immediately because stroke is a medical emergency.

He gave tips that help in preventing stroke disease: “Stroke disease can be prevented by managing underlying health conditions appropriately, especially people living with hypertension and diabetes. Also, to prevent stroke, engaging in physical activity and maintaining healthy diet is key as obesity is one of the factors that contribute to stroke.

It is advisable to reduce intake of salt, alcohol and tobacco. Lastly, maintaining a good lifestyle and going for medical checkups regularly is pivotal in reducing the rate of deaths attributed to stroke disease in Nigeria.

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