IoS letters, emails & online postings (25 May 2014)

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While a co-ordinated response to Boko Haram extremists is imperative ("Only together can we defeat Boko Haram", 18 May), more must be done inside Nigeria to address poverty and inequality. That includes the undervaluation of education, particularly for girls.

Eight hundred classrooms and 200 schools in Borno and Yobe states, in the north of the country, have been destroyed by Boko Haram since 2013; and, since February last year, more than 15,000 children have stopped attending class in Borno state alone. It is dispiriting that the government's response to these horrendous attacks on schools has been to allow them to stay closed.

Nigeria is home to more than 10 million of the 57 million children out of school globally, and this number is rising. The majority of these children in Nigeria are girls and most are in northern Nigeria. Of those who do enrol, fewer than two-thirds complete primary school and even fewer begin, let alone complete, secondary school.

ActionAid has seen successes in our work in the region with girls, boys, teachers, parents, community and religious leaders to make the case for girls' education. But what is needed is adequate investment. The Nigerian government invests less in education than almost any other country in Africa. We must not only bring the abducted girls home. We must invest in and keep their schools open for them.

Dr Hussaini Adbu

ActionAid Nigeria Country Director

Abuja, Nigeria

Paul Vallely did not "trivialise the question of halal meat" (Letters, 18 May). He simply pointed out that no type of animal slaughter is "humane". The most "humane" slaughter involves terrible fear, suffering, and distress. This is not to mention all of the suffering the animal endured beforehand from birth. Going vegan is the only way to stop all that unnecessary animal torture.

Mark Richards


In last week's Money advice, there was an answer to DT's letter about her mother's taking in a lodger and the potential tax liability. The answer didn't sound like particularly good news.

Lo and behold, in another article, the first way to earn extra cash from your property was to rent a room because you can earn up to £4,250 tax free – surely the reassuring answer to DT's question, together with some other pertinent advice about the effect on insurance and council tax.

Perhaps should consult Kamal Khurana!

Michael Worthington


As a candidate, I was pleased to read you saying that "if there are local elections in your area, they are important, too" (Leading article, 18 May). Well, in that case, why did your polls of voting intentions on page seven not include one relating to these municipal elections, rather than asking a question referring to the general election that isn't taking place until next year?

Tim Mickleburgh

Grimsby, Lincolnshire

As you note, Nigel Farage and Ukip have succeeded both in arousing interest in the European elections and in reminding us who should not be voted for either now or in next year's general election – themselves.

The media has a role to play here so it was unfortunate that you chose to "big up" the Ukip poll ratings on your front page rather than remind people that there are alternatives, and ones that collectively have far more support than Farage and co.

Keith Flett

London N17

It costs money to run the country. Inheritance tax contributes to it (Letters, 18 May). If you abolish inheritance tax, from where is the shortfall to be found?

E Wright

Fleetwood, Lancashire

Argentinosaurus actually weighed 80 tons ("We're going to need a bigger Jurassic Park", 18 May).

Conall O'Hara (age 6)

Via email