Vol. 4 N0. 756 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 N150 2014: Expect more jobs, investments –Jonathan FG to reduce cost of governance in New Year Mark, Tambuwal praise Nigerians’ resilience P.6 ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA P resident Goodluck Jonathan has promised better conditions for Nigerians, as the country enters its centennial year. In his New Year message to the nation, Jonathan stated that despite several continuing domestic and global CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>> Young Chinese students at a middle school in Hanshan county, Anhui province, line up to form ‘Happy 2014’ to celebrate the New Year. Oritsejafor Buckle up or quit, CAN charges President Change imminent in New Year, APC assures Nigerians P.2 Again, aviation minister, Oduah, to splash N750m on vehicles Re-imposes N150m monthly ‘tax’ on NCAA FG links politicians to Boko Haram insurgency P.5 P.6 News 2 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Buckle up or quit, CAN charges President OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU, DENNIS AGBO, MURITALA AYINLA C hristian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to buckle up if he is desirous of averting danger in the New Year, else he should quit. Chairman of the SouthEast chapter of CAN and the Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma gave Jonathan the charge yesterday in a New Year message. Chukwuma said the President has to demonstrate stronger political will in tackling the myriad challenges facing his administration, especially the alleged cases of corruption in the polity, unemployment and epileptic power supply. The cleric stated if Jonathan fails to leave up to the billing, he should prepare to exit the presidency in 2015. Bishop Chukwuma also predicted doom for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, noting that except the likes of Chief Tony Anenih and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur retired from active politics, the party would face greater calamity in 2014. He expressed dismay that the duo of Anenih and Tukur as well as other elders above 75 years had refused to heed his advice to quit active politics, noting that the present crisis facing the party would be child’s play to what would happen to the party in the coming year. “If those elders I warned before to retire don’t retire, then the party will be in trouble in 2014. At 80, Anenih should retire; Bamangar Tukur should retire. These people should now serve as elders and advisers; if they do that, then PDP will get its dignity back but while you still have these analogue leaders and elders in the party and the polity, forget about PDP in 2015,” he said. He urged President Jonathan to be focused in the New Year to avoid attracting the wrath of the greater percentage of Nigerians, noting that since the buck stops at his table, all blame of every failing in his government would be completely laid at his doorstep. Chukwuma said: “The letter between Obasanjo and Jonathan is a boomerang of Obasanjo’s selfish act in enthroning a president of his choice for Nigeria. There are many better leaders out there than Jonathan who would have been elected but Obasanjo selfishly, because of the people he think he could control, maneuvered Jonathan into leadership by first putting sick Yar’Adua. Because, he couldn’t control him anymore, he started writing letters. “That is why Jonathan must be focused in 2014 in order to prove himself for 2015. Failure to do that and he gets distracted and doesn’t prove himself, and Nigeria continues with the way it is today with corruption, no light, poverty, unemployment, I beg him, he should just step aside, let us seek for a better leader in 2015. He has tried in the last six years, and rather than the thing getting him into trouble, and cause him more tension, I think Nigeria is greater than everybody, all of them should give way and give room for new spirit to rule Nigeria from 2015,” he said. While urging politicians to eschew violence and bitterness as the nation prepares for a major election in order not to mar the 2015 elections, Bishop Chukwuma called on Nigerians to be more faithful to God, pursue peace and righteousness. “We should all work dedicatedly for the unity and peace of this nation as we celebrate our century. Any attempt by anybody to fuel violence or confusion will call for the review of our amalgamation,” he said. He therefore commended Nigerians and security operatives for the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed throughout the Christmas and New Year celebrations and prayed that the year 2014 will bring more blessings and progress for the country. Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has assured Nigerians that the party is ready, willing and determined to make CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>> L-R: Peoples Democratic Party North-West Zonal Secretary, Bashir Gambo; former Governor, Zamfara State, Mahmoud Shinkafi; Minister of State Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda and Vice-President Mohammed Namadi Sambo during a visit by the PHOTO: STATE HOUSE Zamfara State PDP stakeholders to the vice-president in Kaduna yesterday. 2014: Expect more jobs, investments –Jonathan CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 challenges, 2013 witnessed many positive developments, which his administration would strive to build upon in 2014. He noted that his government was determined to sustain strong macroeconomic fundamentals, strengthen domestic institutions and invest in priority sectors to create jobs for the youths According to him, whatever storms the country may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, stressing that it’s “a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life and whose diversity remains a source of strength.” Specifically, Jonathan said that the cost of governance was still too high in the country and must be further reduced as it has become a source of concern for his administration In order to curtail this, the President stated that foreign travels by government officials would be further curtailed, saying that the directive shall apply to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government. He noted that the strategy to curb leakages would increasingly rely on introducing the right technologies such as biometrics and digitising government payments as the government shall complete the deployment of the three electronic platforms in 2014 including the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). According to him, the introduction of the systems which are all geared towards improving efficiency and transparency in public finances had already saved about N126 billion in leaked funds. The President further said that the government has already mobilised an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond “We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, we have already mobilised an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond. “Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatisation of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy”, Jonathan said. On the security situation in the country, the President explained that his government would empower the security agencies as the sum of N600 billion has been allocated to defence and policing in the 2014 budget. According to him, security agencies are working in collaborative partnership with the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in the country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of the country. “As peace and security remain prerequisite conditions for the full realisation of our objectives, we will also do more in 2014 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria. The allocation of over N600 billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commit- ment,” the President said. Ahead of the 2015 election, Jonathan said his administration would do all within its powers to ensure the success of the forthcoming National Conference as the report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Conference was currently undergoing urgent review while the approved structure, guidelines and modalities for the conference would soon be published as a prelude to its commencement and expeditious conclusion. He noted that the success of the national conference would further enhance national unity, peace and cohesion as the nation prepares for the 2015 general elections. The President also assured that the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC, would receive all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the elections. “In keeping with our avowed commitment to progressively enhancing the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process by consistently upholding the principle of one man, one vote, our Administration will also ensure that the INEC receives all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the next general elections”, Jonathan said. On the development of water resources which are key for both food production and job creation goals, Jonathan said the government has completed the construction of nine dams, which increased the volume of water reservoirs by 422 million cubic metres as well as the total irrigated area by over 31,000 hectares creating jobs for over 75,000 farming families while increasing production of over 400,000 metric tons of assorted irrigated food products. In education, Jonathan said that between 2007 and 2013, government almost triCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>> National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Wednesday, January 1, 2014 3 4 Photo News Wednesday, January 1 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Welcoming the New Year With fireworks erupting from the water and bursting high in the skies, Hong Kong’s harbour was showered in sprays of red and white. Thousands release balloons into the sky as the Tokyo is illuminated during the countdown to midnight in Japan’s capital. Tourists and locals dancing to celebrate the New Year in Queenstown, New Zealand. More than one million people converging at the water and shoreline of Sydney’s harbour to watch the annual fireworks spectacular while ushering in the New Year. An Indian reveller poses on New Year’s Eve in Amritsar. Indian school children light candles forming the date ‘2014’ at a school in Agartala. Fireworks explode near Malaysia’s landmark Petronas Twin Towers during New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur. Thousands packed the streets in Melbourne to celebrate the start of the New Year underneath a veil of fireworks. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net News Wednesday, January 1, 2014 5 Aviation minister to splash N750m on more vehicles in 2014 OLUSEGUN KOIKI AVIATION CORRESPONDENT T he Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, will splash at least another N750 milllion on vehichles this year, even as the N225 million bulletproof car scandal is yet to die down. This is just as the aviation ministry resumed the collection of N150m monthly from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. According to the minsitry’s 2014 budget proposals obtained by National Mirror, Oduah intends to spend N250m on eight operational vehicles for the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and another N500m to buy some trucks for the agency. Also, the budget proposal indicated that the ministry would also spend N137m on trips in 2014. The ministry also intends to spend another N100m on consultants for the Some Nigerians repatriated from Saudi Arabia at the local wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: NAN Buckle up or quit, CAN charges President CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 forts to reshape the country’s political landscape, shake off the heavy yoke imposed on them by their selfish, selfserving and clueless leaders and make the country a source of pride not only to its citizens but to all black people in the world. “As we wrote in the preamble to our manifesto, democracy, to be stable and meaningful, must be anchored on the principle that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. This means that governments are instituted on the basis of free, fair and credible elections, and are maintained through responsiveness to public opinion. “In addition, the exercise of political authority is rooted in the rule of law. The APC believes in the doctrine of social contract between the leaders and the led; which means that CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 ing access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme. “In 2013, we recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country. Over 400,000 lives have been saved through our various interventions. We have reached over 10,000 women and children with Conditional Cash Transfer programmes across eight states and the FCT and we intend to scale up this successful initiative. all the necessary sacrifices to reverse the prevailing gloomy situation in the country and bring about the much-needed change for the better in the interest of the long-suffering citizens. In a New Year message signed by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Lagos yesterday, the APC told Nigerians to go into the New Year with “an unyielding commitment to be part of ongoing efforts to set the country on the path of growth and development, rather than get into a state of funk on the basis of the cumulative mis-governance of the past 14 years by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led Federal Government. Mohammed said: “While wishing all Nigerians a great 2014, we hereby solicit their unalloyed support for our ef- the public office holder is a trustee of the people and that power must be used in the interest of the people rather than in the interest of the public office holder. “We ask all those who are yearning for genuine change to seize the moment and embrace the engine of change, which the APC represents! Our compatriots who have lost faith in our dear country because of inefficient and corrupt leadership can count on us, because we represent committed, transparent and focused leadership.” APC isnsited that year 2013 was among the worst, if not the worst, for the citizenry, “who have been pauperised and dehumanized” by a government that keeps touting favourable economic statistics in the face of an unprecedented fall in the standard of living of its people. Mohammed said: “They say President Goodluck Jonathan’s achievement in 2013 is unprecedented, yet Nigerians celebrated the Christmas and New Year holidays in unprecedented pitch darkness and an unprecedented number of our youths are unemployed; they say they are winning the war against corruption, yet key government officials, including the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy, do not even know how much Nigeria earns from crude oil and gas sales, and what happened to $12 billion earned from domestic crude lifting; They are so eager to cling to any straw of “achievement” that they are celebrating the revival of the locomotive engine in the 21st century! controversial Aerotropolis, the city-airports, she claims Nigeria desperately requires in order to be rated high in the comity of nations. She has also proposed to spend another N20m on other types of consultancies and another N425m on consultancy of institutional reforms, legal services and commercial. General consulting and professional services for the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, would gulp over N8m. On airport internal access roads, Oduah would spend about N200m and another N100m on Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASAs while the sum of N100m would be spent on security gateways on express roads. The budget proposal also shows that Oduah would spend N100m on airport toll gates and another N100m to paint and repair runways. The Ministry of Aviation will also spend over N13m on refreshment and meals and another N9m on publicity. In all, the Ministry will spend N26bn on capital projects and over N6bn on recurrent expenditure for a total budget N32.3bn. Meanwhile, a source close to the ministry confided in our correspondent yesterday that the monthly collection from the aviation industry agancies is raising some dust. The collections, which previously under the heading, Safety and Security, was stopped in the wake of the N255m bulletproof cars scandal but has now been reintroduced under another heading, Publicity. The monthly collection from NCAA was suspended in October and November following the brouhaha 2014: Expect more jobs, investments –Jonathan pled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion and also improved access to education in the country with the construction of 125 Almajiri schools, and the establishment of three additional Federal Universities in the North, bringing to 12, the number of universities established by the administration. The President noted that his administration has also performed well in the area of health with the building of strong safety nets and improv- “Our national immunization coverage has exceeded 80 per cent. And for the first time in the history of the country there has not been any transmission of the Type-3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year. We have also eradicated the guinea worm that previously affected the lives of over 800,000 Nigerians yearly. In tertiary health care, we upgraded medical facilities across the country. Two of our teaching hospitals – the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and the University Col- lege Hospital in Ibadan – commenced open heart surgeries this year after the installation of new facilities”, the President said. He said prosecution of all those involved in robbing retired people would continue while the Petroleum Subsidy Scheme was now being operated under new strict guidelines to tackle previous leakages in the scheme and prevent fraud. “To sustain Nigeria’s ongoing agricultural transformation, we have planned further invest- ments in the sector. We will provide input subsidies to five million farmers nationwide using the e-wallet system. This Administration recently launched a self-employment initiative under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), called the Nagropreneur programme. This scheme would encourage our youth to go into commercial agriculture as entrepreneurs and we plan to develop over 750,000 young Nagropreneurs by 2015. generated by the cars scandal. Before then, other agencies like the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, were paying N300m and N160m respectively to a dedicated account provided by the ministry. With the reintroduction of the N150m collection from NCAA, the agency is now back to the era where it was cash-strapped and unable to meet obligations including staff training. As at now, payments of at least two local and foreign outstanding claims are yet to be paid by the agency due to paucity of funds. Apart from this, Oduah has also allegedly carried out some minor shakeups in the agency especially among the top hierarchy. For instance, the minister relieved the former Technical Assistant to the Immediate Past DirectorGeneral, NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, of his duty. The Regional Manager (Abuja) for NCAA, A. Adeyemi was transferred to Calabar while U. Ugene from Port Harcourt is to take over from him with immediate effect. Ironically, all these instructions from the minister, according to the ministry source, are being carried out in the absence of the Director-General, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, who is holidaying in the United States. Apart from this, Oduah has also purportedly directed the Administrative Department of NCAA to immediately submit the staff list to her with their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses even in the absence of Akinkuotu. The purpose for this directive is not yet known. “We will also establish new agro-industrial clusters to complement the staple crop processing zones being developed across the country. In 2014, this Administration will continue to work with the private sector to improve financing in the agricultural sector. For example, we will launch the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) which will serve as a private equity fund to invest in agri-businesses across the country” 6 News Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Mark, Tambuwal hail Nigerians’ commitment to nation-building GEORGE OJI ABUJA S enate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, have saluted Nigerians for their perseverance, resilience and commitment to the ideals of nationhood in spite of the daunting challenges facing the country. Mark, in a New Year message to Nigerians, praised the indomitable spirit of the citizens and urged them to continue to work assiduously for the peace and unity of our country. He said: “Nigeria remains one of the best nations in the world because I do not know of any other country that is so blessed with human and natural resources. All we need do, therefore, is to honestly harness these resources for the good of all.” The Senate President, however, said that the security and economic challenges confronting the country were not insurmountable, claiming that other developed nations of the world at various times passed through such difficulties. Mark advised the political class against overheating the already charged polity through their actions, inactions as well as utterances. He said: “No matter the level of anger in a man’s mind, he should respect the rights of another.” The Senate President reminded Nigerians of the nation’s political history, saying: “Since we got it right in 1999, we must not in any way do anything that would take the nation back to the dark days again.” The National Assembly, he assured, would always be guided by the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians. Mark said: “Whatever affects the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians will continue to be our interest and concern.” Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, commended the Yobe State Government and the people for their peaceful conduct of the recent local government election in the state. In a New Year message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mallam Imam Imam, Tambuwal said despite the prevailing security situation and the state of emergency, Yobe voters turned out en masse to exercise their franchise. Tambuwal said: “The lesson in what happened in Yobe State should not be lost on all of us. Despite the security situation in the state, and operating under the State of Emergency, the Yobe State Independent Electoral Com- mission (YSIEC) proved doubters wrong by conducting an election which was peaceful and whose outcome was credible. “The determination of the government and people of Yobe State to have democratic structures at the grassroots level played a huge part in ensuring the success of the exercise. It should not be lost on all of us that when all hands are on deck, and with sincerity of purpose, we can achieve success together. MDAs round up activities for 2013 eads of federal ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, yesterday in Abuja rounded up their activities for the 2013 despite the obvious absence of many junior workers. Many of the junior civil servants have travelled out of the city to their various states of origin to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their families. But heads of finances, permanent secretaries, ministers and other top government officials who have one role or the other to play usually remain in the city and turn up for work to ensure the records of their institutions are harmonized. Government policy, as introduced by the late President Umar Yar‘Adua’s administration, requires that all unspent funds be remitted to the treasury at the end of the year, even though the projects on which such funds are being expended are still ongoing. Such funds are expected back in the nation’s coffers at the end of December 31. Projects could continue in the following year; as such returned funds would be reconciled with the budget of affected institution in subsequent year. When National Mirror visited the New Federal Secretariat, which hosts many of the federal ministries namely Health, Education; Sports, Aviation, Women Affairs among others yesterday, offices of heads of the various ministries and departments were still working even when many of the junior workers had already dashed home before the 4pm official closing time. get is not the end of the matter. There will be a lot of other support coming in and what will unfold will enable the Federal Government, international agencies, friendly governments abroad and also the private sector to make special contributions for the development of the North East,” he said. Maku said that Nigeria’s economy has been on a sustainable growth in the last three years, adding that those criticising the Federal Government are doing so for political reason. “In the last three years of the present leadership, we have recorded 7 per cent GDP growth. This is the highest we have recorded in the last 20 years,” he said, citing the feat as a landmark having achieved the percentage of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to national debt as low as 21 per cent, when compared to South Africa (42.7 per cent), United States (106 per cent), United Kingdom (90 per cent) and Japan 225 (per cent). According to him, the exchange rate has remained stable; foreign reserve grew to over $45 billion; domestic production particularly in agriculture and industries increased, while inflation decreased from 12 per cent to 8 per cent in 2013 as a result of stable macroeconomic management. The minister disclosed that government is fighting corruption through systematic methods by applying technology to block the loopholes hitherto exploited to siphon public money from the treasury. He noted that the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System, IPPIS, introduced in 15 ministries, departments and agencies has so far saved N118 billion paid to ghost workers. CHIDI UGWU AND MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA H Representative of the Inspector-General of Police and Adamawa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Godfrey Okeke, presenting a bag of rice to Mrs. PHOTO:NAN Felicia Zaki during the donation of food items to widows of Nigeria Police fallen heroes in Adamawa, on Monday. FG links politicians to Boko Haram insurgency CHIDI UGWU ABUJA T he Federal Government yesterday accused some politicians of sponsoring the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East for selfish interest. Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, who made the accusation at a press conference in Abuja, regretted that at a time when Nigeria has become an investment destination for the rest of the world, some local politicians are singing ominous songs that the country would collapse in 2015. He urged the apostle of disintegration to stop, adding that Nigeria as a country has come to stay. Maku, who is also the Supervising Minister of Defence, said the massive deployment of men and equipment through the establishment of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri had stemmed the tide of attacks by insurgents. He said that due to the huge investments required to set up an Army Division, government had prioritised the provision of funds to construct military barracks and other formations and infrastructure as well as the training of personnel and the provision of necessary equipment to wipe out the activities of insurgents operating in the North East. He noted that Nigeria is working to secure the support of Cameroun to halt infiltration by insurgents from the neighbouring country to carry out occasional attacks in isolated locations. “The recent attacks on Bama as we know came from across the border of Cameroun. We are working hard to reach out to the Camerounian government and other international agencies to ensure that we continue to put pressure on the insurgency from both sides of the boundary so that in the end by the grace of God we should witness greater successes in 2014. “What is clear is that in the year 2013, tremendous success was made and most of the insurgents that infiltrated into other states from the North East when the pressure went there were picked up. Some were picked up as far away as Lagos and Ogun states and a number of them are in detention and trial is going on gradually,” Maku said. He noted that insurgency in form of urban and rural guerrilla warfare could not be eradicated overnight as experience had shown in other countries with similar challenges. He added that it required concerted efforts by both the government and citizens in intelligence gathering and the provision of useful information to security agents to flush out the insurgents. The minister further stated that the Federal Government is intervening in the economic recovery of the zone, following the devastation and socio-economic setback suffered in the last four years. “The President at the Economic Forum on the North East, unfolded a new agenda for the economic support of the zone. From this year’s budget, some provision is now being made to really give the North East support. “What is seen in the bud- “I commend the security agencies, the government and people of Yobe State for setting an example worthy of emulation.” The Speaker tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to get its acts together and prepare well for the 2015 general elections. While urging Nigerians to remain positive about their country in the New Year, Tambuwal prayed to God for a prosperous and peaceful 2014 for Nigeria and Nigerians. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net National News Wednesday, January 1, 2014 7 strike: We’ll not resume 4, 000 police officers on peace COEASU work Jan 3 –FCE lecturers mission worldwide –IG T T he Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday said that more than 4, 000 police officers were serving in various peacekeeping missions worldwide. Abubakar made the statement in Abuja when he addressed 450 police officers deployed for peace support operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone. He said the officers were serving in missions of the UN, Africa Union, ECOWAS and many others. He added that the police had upgraded their training and achieved 85 per cent of contingent-owned equipment all over the missions. “We have replaced all the equipment that were not working because you cannot deploy officers and men and send them to a mission area that is very challenging security wise. “Without equipment, that means you are telling them to go and die and that is why you have minimal number of accidents in terms of those who are performing outside,” he said. Abubakar said the UN was happy with Nigeria and they also appreciated what the country was doing in terms of peace support missions. He urged the officers and men that were being deployed to be good ambassadors of the country and Nigeria Police, NPF. “I want to tell you that there is no monkey style and there is no half measure, you must do your best and continue to be excellent ambassadors of this country as you have always been. “In our own commitment, we shall continue to give you all the necessary facilities and equipment, welfare and motivation to make you the best in the world,” Abubakar said. Also the IGP received the Golden Star Award for Exemplary Leadership in National Service by Security Watch. He dedicated the award to all officers and men of the police, especially those who lost their lives in the course of duty. Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, displaying arms and ammunition recovered from January to December at a news conference in Asaba, yesterday. Fayemi, Ajimobi condole with Soyinka over daughter’s death E kiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his Oyo State counterpart, Abiola Ajimobi, yesterday condoled with Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, over the death of his daughter, Iyetade. Fayemi expressed sadness over the death of Dr. Iyetade Soyinka, who died two days ago at the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan. In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, the governor said Iyetade’s death is a bitter pill to swallow not only for the Soyinka family but other Nigerians who are sharing the pain of the loss of an important member of the family. He said the deceased will be missed for her sterling contribution to the medical profession which she served diligently till she breathed her last. Describing Iyetade’s death as painful and devastating, Fayemi urged Prof. Soyinka and other family members to take solace in the fact that the deceased lived a life of service to her community and country. He prayed God to grant the family the courage to bear the unfortunate and regrettable loss brought about by her demise. Governor Fayemi prayed God to heal the wound inflicted on the hearts of family members, friends, associates and colleagues of the deceased. In his condolence message, Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi, described the death of the medical doctor as unfortunate, disheartening and sad. The governor, in a statement issued in Ibadan by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo said: “It is with shock and disbelief that I received the untimely death of Iy- etade, the daughter of the Nobel laureate, Prof. Soyinka at the unripe age of 48. “It is natural that the death of Iyetade at the prime of her life will be very painful to Prof. Soyinka. It is even more painful that she was snatched by the cold hands of death when she was most needed by the country.” Governor Ajimobi urged the literary giant to see the death of such a brilliant and promising young woman as an act of God and prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest. Jigawa electoral body gets N500m to conduct LG polls T he Chairman of the Jigawa State Independent Electoral Commission, JSIEC, Alhaji Sani Ahmed, yesterday said the state government has released N500 million to the commission to conduct the forthcoming lo- cal government polls. Ahmed, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Dutse, said the commission had fixed January 18, for the conduct of the polls. He said the amount budgeted by the commis- sion to organise the exercise had been released, adding that 10, 000 ad-hoc staff were recruited to conduct the election. He said the International Foundation for Electoral System had also trained the management staff of the commission, who conducted a step-down training for other electoral officers. The chairman said 22 political parties would participate in the polls and assured the electorate of free, fair and credible polls. he Chairman of the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka chapter, Mr. Olayanju Abolaji, yesterday said his members would not resume work after the New Year holidays. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview in Lagos that the decision was in line with the national strike declared by COEASU. The national body of COEASU had directed all its members to begin an indefinite strike on December 31 to press home their demands. Abolaji said that though the school would resume on January 3, the COEASU members in the institution who had already started their strike, would not be at their duty posts. “We had to swing into action by declaring an indefinite strike because the government was not keen on implementing our demands,” Abolaji said. He said the union was against the imposition of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) on the colleges of education. “The imposition of the IPPIS is the major issue in our demands as the government sent a circular directing the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to implement it in the colleges. “We are saying no to the implementation of the IPPIS,” he said. According to him, the union is also unhappy with the state of infrastructure in the colleges, poor funding and nonimplementation of the 2010 Federal GovernmentCOEASU agreement, among others. Abolaji said that the Federal Government and COEASU engaged in dialogue between September and December over the issues. “It is not enough for the government to call the union for dialogue without being sincere because not implementing our demands is a sign of insincerity”, he said. Defection: Citizens have right to associate –Abe T here is no provision in the country’s constitution that prevents the movement of persons from one political party to another, Sen. Magnus Abe, has said. Abe, a member of PDP, representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, made the statement against the background of a threat by PDP to sue its members, who defected to the APC. The PDP leadership had said it would ask the court to declare vacant, the seats of such members in the National Assembly, who recently joined the rival All Progressives Congress, APC. Abe told journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday that he would soon join APC in line with the freedom of association. He said the crises rocking PDP, which led to the defection of aggrieved members, justified his decision to leave the ruling party for APC. “I am going to cross to the APC; even if it means that it is only one senator that will defect, Magnus Abe will be that senator. “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of association. It says if there is division in your political association, you can cross,” he said. Abe added that the walkout of some PDP members during the party’s convention led to the formation of a faction, which joined APC. The legislator said that the country belonged to every Nigerian and urged the people to oppose the impunity carried out by some individuals and groups. “Have people not been crossing over to the PDP? How many governors have crossed from other parties to the PDP? “Governor Orji of Abia was not elected on the platform of the PDP and yet he is a PDP member today. Did his previous party hang him? “Politicians have been crossing over to the PDP, and suddenly, you can’t say people cannot cross from the PDP to other parties,” Abe said. 8 News National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Wednesday, January 1, 2013 NEW YEAR MESSAGES Nigeria’ll become more united in 2014 –Cleric F ormer Bishop of the Diocese of LagosWest, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Peter Adebiyi, has said that the present challenges confronting the country would result in a greater and more united Nigeria. Adebiyi, in his New Year message yesterday in Lagos, said that crimes, violence, air and road disasters, lack of love and joblessness would be a thing of the past in our country in the New Year. The cleric commended some political leaders in the country that had played their political game well, through good governance in their various states and at the federal level in 2013. “It is our opinion that as the activities and prepara- tion for the 2015 elections draw near, our leaders will soberly think about how to make life more comfortable for the entire Nigerian people. “In the year 2013, the politicians were busy with party politics, realignment and readjustments, to the extent that the real task of governance which they were voted in to do was grossly neglected. “Our political leaders must not forget, however, that the interest of the people they are to serve must take priority over and above their political interests and manoeuvres,” he said. Adebiyi also urged the Federal Government to address the problem of youth unemployment, poverty, corruption, poor power supply and other problems confronting the nation. “We must not also forget that more than 50 per cent of the population are children and youths in the primary and secondary schools and institutions of higher learning. “Their interests, however, also matter and should be attended to. Adebiyi said that 2013 came with several negative and positive challenges that the nation should learn from and urged politicians to shun politics of bitterness, which could give room to vices. He also urged governments at all levels to be compassionate on their subjects, saying that the year 2012 was a year of compassion. The cleric proclaimed Last minutes shoppers on Baogun Street, Lagos, yesterday. 2014 as a year that God was going to bring blessings unto the populace and urged Nigerians in the Diaspora to join hands with the government by living up to their responsibilities as good citizens. “I urge all Nigerians to be more prayerful in 2014. It is a year when we mark 100 years of forcing many nations around the River Niger, Benue Rivers and the banks of the Atlantic Ocean together, to form the country called Nigeria. “It is a most significant year and it surely calls for prayers and utmost dedication to nation building, from every one. “We congratulate all Nigerians and thank God for those who have the privilege to witness the end of the year 2013,” he said. PHOTO: ADEMOLA PFN cautions politicians against desperation SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN AND FEMI OYEWESO T he National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Rev. (Dr.) Felix Omobude, has congratulated the people and Government of Nigeria for living harmoniously to witness the New Year 2014. In a press statement issued in Benin City yesterday, Omobude, who assured the people of Nigeria of God’s continuous protection and blessing beyond 2014, cautioned the country’s political leaders, aspirants and followers against overheating the country with unbridled desperation for power. The PFN leader particularly advised Nigerians to look up to God with great hope and faith and added that Nigeria, as a country, has every reason to be thankful to God for keeping the nation together as one. While emphasising that Nigeria will survive as a nation and overcome her present challenges, the PFN boss urged her citizens to genuinely engage in things that promote national interest, unity and progress. He, however, cautioned Nigerian politicians against overheating the polity with their utterances, activities and deeds as he stressed that genuine democratic process should be allowed to prevail over per- sonal and selfish interest as the country moves towards another general election. Omobude, who is also the President-General of Gospel Light International Ministries, GLIM, called on Christians to be prayerful, go back to their core value as the pillar of truth and rise up in prayers against the forces of evil and violence that are instigating wanton loss of lives and property in the country. Also in Ogun State, the PFN yesterday warned religious leaders to be weary of the contents of their sermon in order not to pass inciting messages across to the worshipers during this yuletide season. PFN Chairman in the state, Reverend Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, who gave the warning in Abeokuta, the state capital, said leaders across all the religions must endeavour to allow their sermons dwell on messages that will encourage and sustain peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs in the New Year. In a statement issued yesterday in Abeokuta and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the PFN Chairman, Pastor Tolulope Taiwo, the body said the call became necessary in view of the fact that many worshipers see religious leaders as authority, hence “they need to be cautious of what they say in their sermons and in the public”. IG orders fool-proof security for New Year celebrations OMEIZA AJAYI ABUJA A s Nigerians join the rest of the world to celebrate the New Year today, the InspectorGeneral of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered fool-proof security across the country. He has also reassured Nigerians of the readiness of the police to effectively provide adequate security for the country this year. He said the force has reviewed its operational strategies with a view to avoiding the pitfalls of the past year. Speaking during the 2013 Security Assessment Meeting of the Police Management Team, yesterday at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, the IGP called on Zonal AIGs and Command CPs to ensure adequate safety and security in their areas of responsibility, with special attention on all places of worship. Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, told National Mirror that the IGP is positive that the multifarious strategies adopted by the police and the renewed collaboration with the public are bound to yield more dividends for the country. He said the police are making robust efforts at locking up all channels of violent crimes in the coun- try. According to him, the preservation of public safety, fight against terrorism, rape, violence against women and children, challenges of communal clashes, capacity building and general welfare of police personnel are the top priority of the force in the New Year. Mba said the IGP also thanked Nigerians for their tremendous support to the police in their sworn resolve to keep the country safe and united, adding that the police and other security agencies have continued to pay the supreme price in ensuring that they live up to their mandate of providing effective security for our nation. Abubakar, however, called on the public, particularly youths, to desist from any act capable of disrupting the peace of the society in the New Year and beyond. He equally advised parents and guardians to continue to provide appropriate mentoring to their wards. Meanwhile, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, has assured that all security outfits in the Federal Capital Territory are working together and are more than ever prepared to remain on top of any unexpected security breach. First Lady solicits more prayers for Nigeria T he First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, yesterday in Abuja, urged Nigerians, particularly women, to re-dedicate themselves to prayers, urging them to pray for peace, progress and development of the country. This is contained in a statement signed by the Media Assistant to the First Lady, Mr. Ayo Adewuyi. “I urge you to further put to the benefit of the nation, those virtues of intellect, determination, resilience, hard work, and care - the hallmarks of the Nigerian women. “Please strengthen your family bonds, because once the family is united and at peace, the society generally enjoys peace and prog- ress’’, the statement said. It quoted the wife of the President as praying that; “2014 will be a year of peace, prosperity, development and many good things in Nigeria.” The statement also restated the first lady’s devotion to the socio-economic wellbeing of the people, particularly women, the indigent and the vulnerable. It said that the first lady’s NGO would continue to initiate programmes that will make more women become aware of their human rights and obligations. “I seek your support and partnership for the rebirth and transformation of a new and improved Nigeria in 2014 and I wish you all a happy, prosperous and fulfilling New Year,” it said. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net News Wednesday, January 1, 2013 NEW YEAR MESSAGES Bamidele, Bejide, Arise greet Ekiti residents fast in the bid to move the ABIODUN NEJO ADO-EKITI E Fowl sellers awaiting customers at Karu Market, Abuja. PHOTO: ROTIMI Fashola urges Nigerians to focus on nation’s collective interest MURITALA AYINLA A s Nigerians join the rest of the world to usher in the New Year, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has urged them to de-emphasise their differences and focus more on the collective interest of the nation for it to overcome its challenges. Fashola said only unity of purpose among the citizens would help the nation solve its problems. The governor, who also bemoaned the selfish interest of some Nigerians, said such attitude had created an octopus that is threatening to devour the nation’s collective heritage. Fashola disclosed this in a goodwill message to Lagos residents, saying the problems currently bedeviling the country were mainly man-made and as such would only take an agreement among the people to resolve so as to remove the things they found unacceptable. Fashola, who noted that the country’s problems, whether economic, social or political, were rooted in ethnic and religious intolerance, said the panacea laid in the belief by citizens in the Nigerian Project and the resolution to determine the kind of country of our collective dreams. He recalled the situation in the country in the early sixties when the citizens saw themselves as just Nigerians, irrespective of their tribe, tongue and religion. The governor said: “We have, as a result of myopic self and group interests, created an octopus that is threatening to devour our collective heritage. That octopus is embedded in the twin evils of ethnic and religious intolerance. “Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Command Performance of Kakadu, the Musica, and it reminded me of the Nigeria of the early postIndependence era when it did not matter where you came from. It is a story that we all must imbibe in order to recreate that glorious era when we were all Nigerians, though tribe and tongue and religion may differ. It is set against the background of a newly Independent Nigeria brimming with hope, dreams and expectations. So, we have a reference base”. Fashola expressed his delight that the situation in Lagos had been that of religious harmony even in the midst of the challenges and difficulties that had bedeviled the country in recent times, adding that almost every family in Lagos has members of different faith living together in harmony. Ajimobi congratulates Oyo people, promises new lease of life G overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has congratulated the people of the state on the occasion of the New Year, promising that he would consolidate on his achievements to make life more meaningful to them in 2014. The governor, in his New Year message, assured the people of the state of new lease of life through aggressive infrastructural development which he said would cut across all the sectors of the economy. Governor Ajimobi said year 2014 would be used to solidify the ongoing pro- cess of physical and social infrastructural development in the state. He stated that his administration had been able to make significant improvements in peace and security, health services, wealth creation and economic empowerment, environment and habitat and good governance, as well as infrastructure, staff development and welfare. The governor also said that the year 2014 would witness the granting of interest-free loans to traders, including those affected by the on-going removal of illegal structures across the state. Chime urges robust commitment to nation-building DENNIS AGBO ENUGU G overnor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State has urged Nigerians to redouble their efforts at building a stable, secure and prosperous nation. The governor, who stated this in his New Year message, said citizens should learn from the mistakes of previous years and commit themselves to ensuring that improvements are made in all facets of the country’s socio-economic and political life. He urged Nigerians to eschew any acts that may impede the progress of the nation, adding that they should remain prayerful and continue to seek the will and guidance of God in all their endeavours in the new year. Governor Chime thanked residents of Enugu State, security agencies and various organisations for the support and cooperation they offered his administration in the 2013 and assured them that the government will not relent in its current efforts to entrench good governance and bring about the total transformation of the state. 9 minent politicians and leaders in Ekiti State have congratulated residents on the celebrations of the New Year which they describe as year of hope. In their separate New Year messages, they urged Ekiti people to take their destinies in their hands in the forthcoming governorship election billed for the year. House of Representatives member and Labour Party governorship aspirant, Hon. Opeyemi Bamidele, urged the people to use the celebration to reflect on the forthcoming 2014 governorship poll. Bamidele, who branded 2014 as a crucial year of decision for Ekiti, said people should use the festive mood to ruminate on their future and how to put in place a government that could represent the genuine interests of the populace. Also, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant, Ambassador Dare Bejide, urged the people to move on in the New Year with hope of having a vibrant and development oriented state. The PDP chieftain urged the people to remain stead- state forward, which he said the 2014 election presented to them as opportunity. And in his New Year message to the people, former National Assembly member, Senator Ayo Arise, urged Nigerians, especially Ekiti people, to remain hopeful for a better Nigeria in 2014 and be committed to the sustenance of the transformation strides of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government. Arise, who is the CEO of Quickwin Lotto, also called on the Federal Government to open up the Lotto industry to more participants so as to provide more revenue for the government and improve the living standard of the people in the New Year. “I felicitate with Nigerians, especially the good people of Ekiti State for witnessing the beginning of this New Year, 2014. “Most especially, I wish to assure members and supporters of our party, the PDP in Ekiti State that 2014 is the year our party will return to government in the State because God Himself, who is the ultimate judge will make manifest, His judgment of posterity, which is the most important judgment,” he said. Daniel advises Ogun voters on 2015 general elections FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA F ormer Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel yesterday called on voters across the state to be cautious in their choice of representatives for political offices in the 2015 general elections. Daniel said the call became necessary in view of the fact that the country would soon witness campaigns in preparation for the election. In a statement issued yesterday in Abeokuta by his Media Assistant, Ayo Giwa, the former governor emphasised that it is the followers that determine who lead them through the ballot, stressing that any wrong choice of political office holders could spell doom for their future. Daniel, who has been endorsed by the national leadership of the Labor Party (LP) as the leader of its Ogun State chapter, claimed that Ogun had become too advanced to be governed by ill-prepared politicians who would only resort to telling lies to voties rather than taking them on the path to progress. The former governor, however, commended President Goodluck Jonathan on the proposed National Conference, describing it as the only feasible solution to all the challenges confronting the country. He urged elder statesmen and leaders of thought across the country to show robust commitment to the nation’s political development. Daniel sympathised with the family of the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, over the death of their daughter, Iyetade. 10 South West WALE IGBINTADE T he Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday affirmed the conviction of two employees of Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Limited, manufacturer of “My Pikin” baby teething mixture, who were jailed for the production of adulterated syrup. The appellants, Adeyemo Abiodun and Ebele Eromosele, were on May 17 sentenced to seven years imprisonment each by Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting Lagos. They were prosecuted by the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Adminis- Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net My Pikin: Appeal Court affirms seven-year jail term tration and Control (NAFDAC). The court convicted them on counts of conspiracy and sale of the adulterated syrup, which caused the death of about 80 children in the country. The appellate court, in its lead judgement delivered by Justice Sidi Bage and unanimously adopted by two other justices namely; Tijani Abubakar and Shagbaor Ikyegh, held that the seven years jail sentence handed by the lower court was in or- der. The court, however, set aside the order of the trial judge on forfeiture of company’s property to the Federal Government. Justice Bage held that by the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution and Section 138 (1) of the Evidence Act, the prosecution sufficiently discharged this burden of proof by the provision of a Certificate of Scientific Evaluation from its laboratory, which clearly showed that the recovered products contained a toxic substance. The court held that in a criminal matter of this nature, “what is required of the prosecution is scientific evidence, that is, proof that the substance recovered, was tested scientifically and found hazardous’’. Justice Bage said: “I am satisfied that the issues formulated by the respondents in their brief, is all encompassing, and suffi- ciently satisfies the issues raised in the appellants’ brief. “The respondents in their brief stated that the appellants supplied batch 02008 of the teething syrup to Roka Pharmacy, which after recovery and scientific evaluation, was shown to contain a contaminant called dyethyleneglycol. “The appellants upon discovery of the harm caused by the product wrote a letter to Roka Pharmacy to stop sale and withdraw same from customers. At this time, about three and half cartons, 34 bottles of the products were left. “I cannot find any iota of denial from the appellants, that they were not present when the recovered samples were been packaged at the respondent’s office. They have also not challenged the accuracy or capacity of NAFDAC to carry out the scientific evaluation’’. The court held that the requirement of the law in a matter of this nature was the provision of a certificate of scientific evaluation. The court further ex- pressed satisfaction that the NAFDAC certificate, constituted sufficient scientific requirement to secure the conviction of the appellants. Justice Bage held that “in this regard, that the seven years sentence on the convicts by the trial court, is hereby affirmed” On the issue of winding up, the judge held that the order of the trial court which directed all assets of the company to be forfeited to the federal government was outside the provision of the law. The court stated that the Federal High Court may make orders for forfeitures, but such orders by the provision of the law, refers to finished goods. “The appropriate order the court would have made, was for batch 02008 of the product to be forfeited to the federal government and not the entire asset of the company. “This appeal therefore succeeds in part, and the order of forfeiture made by the trial court is hereby reversed. SMES: Ogun empowers 220 with N99.7m L-R: Ekiti State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wale Fapounda; the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Managing Director, Greenwich Trust Limited, Mr. Kayode Falowo; and Commissioner for Rural Development and Community Empowerment, Chief Folorunso Olabode, during the completion of the meeting for the Tranche II of the N25 billion Ekiti State Bond in Lagos, yesterday. Court remands two armed men arrested at Fayemi’s aide’s residence ABIODUN NEJO ADO-EKITI A n Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday ordered the two armed men arrested at the residence of the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Kayode Fayemi on Internal Security, Mr Deji Adesokan, remanded in prison till January 20. The accused persons, Afolabi Oyediran and Oluwafemi Sunday, were arrested at about 7:30pm on December 20, 2013 at the Irewolede Estate, Ado-Ekiti residence of the governor’s aide with a Barretta pistol loaded with eight rounds of ammunition. They pleaded not guilty to the two-count charges preferred against them. The charges are: conspiracy and illegal possession of firearms, punishable under sections 324 of the criminal code, Cap 16 Laws of Ekiti State and 3(1) of the Robbery and Firearm Act, Cap R11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Chief Magistrate Simon Ojo, who ordered the accused persons detained in prison custody pending the next adjournment date, said the offences could pose serious security threat to the state. The Chief Magistrate said that granting them bail at this “stage might not be appropriate because the offences are serious and the issue of security cannot be taken lightly”. Counsel to the accused persons, Mr Chris Omokhafe, while making case for bail, said “bail application is not a foreclosure of a case. It is not the finality, but a rudimentary legal way of making an accused person attends to trial. “The two accused persons have no criminal records. There are credible sureties to stand for them and we as lawyers will make sure they obey the Court if granted bail,” he said. Ajimobi dissolves boards of parastatals O yo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has dissolved the boards of all the stateowned parastatals. This dissolution of the boards of parastatals was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Ibadan by the Governor’s Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo. The development, according to the statement, was aimed at strengthening the parastatals for better service delivery. Ajimobi expressed appreciation to the outgoing members of the boards for their commitment and service to the people of the state. FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA T he Ogun State Government yesterday distributed N99. 75 million cheques to another set of 220 individuals who applied for loans under the ongoing Small and Medium Enterprises Scheme, SMES, in the state. The loan beneficiaries, who were drawn from 20 cooperative societies, represented the 5th and 6th batch that have benefitted from the N1billion SMES initiatives of the state government in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BoI). The scheme, which was tagged: “OGSG/BoI Loan Scheme,” has given out N413 million since its inception in May, 2012. No fewer than 720 individuals from 72 cooperatives societies across the state have, however, been empowered under the scheme. Beneficiaries have a sixmonth moratorium period before they started paying the principal with its seven per cent interest. Speaking during the distribution of the cheques yesterday, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru, explained that the OGSG/ BoI scheme was tailored towards creating 100, 000 direct and indirect jobs for the people by the middle of 2014. Ashiru said the scheme had already succeeded in creating over 3, 000 direct jobs and 12, 000 indirect jobs for the people since its inception in 2012. The commissioner said the state government decided to establish the scheme in partnership with the Bank of Industry, having recognised the difficulties associated with individual’s efforts at raising loans to finance business nationwide. He, however, urged the beneficiaries to ensure that the loan was judiciously spent on projects for which it was meant. Ashiru also advised them to ensure prompt repayment of the loan in order to provide opportunities for others. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net South East Wednesday, January 1, 2014 11 Police arrest three suspected ritualists in Enugu T he police in Enugu have announced the arrest of three suspected ritualists in Oji River. The spokesperson of the Enugu State Police Command, Mr Ebere Amaraizu, said in a statement in Enugu yesterday that the suspects were Festus Ajah, Precious Ajah and Solomon Ajah. Amaraizu said the sus- pects were arrested on December 23, 2013 at Umuonopu, Obune Inyi in Oji River. He said the suspects were nabbed following complaints that they were fake gynecologists, money ritualists and for obtaining money under false pretences. The spokesperson said police operatives recovered from the suspects a wrap of weeds suspected to be In- dian hemp, syringes, some drugs, red and white cloths and one rainbow incense, among others. In another development, the police also nabbed a notorious suspected kidnapper/murderer who has been on their wanted list for long. Amaraizu said the suspect, Uzoma Chukwuka, had been on the run after his alleged involvement in the kidnap of one Veronica Ogugor of Orjinator Ugwuoba in Oji River on June 26. The suspect was also alleged to have taken part in the murder of one Fredrick Onwuka of Nkpagu village before he ran away to Lagos. He said Uzoma was apprehended as he returned to his village after spending some months, unaware that the police were monitoring him. Meanwhile, the police have also arrested four persons for the alleged murder of one Uche Abonyi of Umuodu Umuogwu in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of the state. He said Abonyi was stabbed to death on December 27 for a yet to be identified reasons. “Following the death of the deceased, angry villag- ers revolted and allegedly burnt a car believed to be that of the suspects before police operatives intervened,” he said. Amaraizu said the police have recovered a machete, two expended cartridges and one small knife from the suspects. He added that the deceased had been deposited at Ikem General Hospital for autopsy. Enugu traders lament low patronage as residents leave for villages L-R: Senator Hope Uzodinma; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Vice-Chirman, South East, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd); PDP Chairman in Imo State, Eze Duruiheoma; Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha; Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and PDP National Women Leader, Mrs Kema Chikwe, presenting the party membership card to Ararume in Owerri, the Imo State capital, yesterday. Ebonyi LG boss reiterates determination to promote peace ALUNA GODWIN EBONYI C hairman of Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Hon. Jeff Moses Ogbu, has reiterated his determination to ensure peace and unity among stakeholders and coordinators of the four development centres in the council area. Ogbu said his administration would ensure improved development and provision of basic amenities to ameliorate the suffering of the people. Addressing people of the local government, the chairman said time has come for the stakeholders to participate actively in the development of the council. He warned youths to shun all forms of violence and assured them of his readiness to run open door policy. However, coordinators of the four development centres comprising of Ezza North, Imoha, Ezza West and Ezza North-East development centers pledged their support to the chairman to ensure adequate protection of lives and property. The coordinators - Messer Samuel Nweke Anayo, Emeka Nnoko, Kelvin Nweke and Kizito Nwankwo - praised the chairman for identifying areas where projects were need at the grassroots. Coordinator of Ezza North Development Centre Mr. Samuel Nweke Anayo, said that the assessment of communities and villages undertaken by the chairman would enable the administration to identify projects of priority. Coordinator of Imoha Development Centre, Mr. Emeka Nnoko, said: “It is very wonderful. Ezza North today is a new Ezza North and as far as our chairman is concern, we are going to work together.” Coordinator of Ezza West Development Centre, Mr. Kelvin Nweke, said that he would emulate the chairman to bring about a new Ezza North. To Kizito Nwankwo, Coordinator of Ezza North- East Development Centre, the assessment of projects needed by the people of Ezza North embarked upon by the chairman would assist him to get first hand information concerning the problem of the people. Imo PDP chieftain canvasses politics of selfless service A People Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain in Imo State, Mr. Ken Ojiri, has called on Nigerian politicians to see politics as a vocation for selfless service to their fatherland. Ojiri, who made the call yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abakaliki, urged political office holders to use their positions to change the people’s lives positively. He urged politicians to shun using of public office for self-aggrandisement. Ojiri said: “The only way to check the politics of do-or-die syndrome in the country’s political terrain is to make political office less attractive. “When people go into politics with the sole motive to serve rather than self-enrichment, there will be less tension and desperation among politicians.” The PDP chieftain said that the nation’s democracy would begin to yield more visible dividends if Nigeria had selfless people occupy- ing public offices. He said: “But as long as our politicians continue to see politics as ‘chop-I-chop’ with the interest of the larger society relegated to the background, our nation will never progress.” He hailed President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda, saying that the President had dem- raders in Enugu State yesterday lamented the low patronage of their wares as many residents leave for their villages for the New Year celebrations. A survey of some markets by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, revealed that some of the traders had yet to record any sale as at noon while the markets authorities had mandated the markets to close at 2:pm. Mr Emmanuel Ogbodo, a dealer on ladies materials at the Ogbete Main Market, told NAN that a few customers visited his shop but that none of them made a purchase. Mrs Margaret Umeh, a foodstuff seller at the Artisan Market, lamented that she had not made any sales since morning due to the mass exodus of the city dwellers to the villages. She also said that she had a short time to spend in the market as the authorities had mandated all shops to be closed at 2 p.m. “We were asked to leave the market once it is 2 p.m and I have not sold anything, which is too bad for me,” she said. Mohammed Sani, who deals on sunshades, said that since the Christmas day, people no longer pa- T tronise his shop as before. Mrs Nkechi Onyeka, who runs a restaurant at the Ogbete Main Market, said she anticipated low patronage since the market was billed to close early. According to her, she decided to cook little for the few customers who would come to eat. A Chicken seller at Kenyatta Market, Mr Chukwudi Eze, complained that in spite of the reduction in the price of chickens, buyers were not forthcoming. Also in the market, a hair stylist, Mr Edwin Amah, said he was happy at the turn out in his saloon as ladies who had various functions to attend flocked his saloon. However, one of the shoppers told NAN that she was not happy that the markets were being forced to close early. Mrs Ifeoma Okafor decried the short time allowed for the markets to be open and said that it would rob many people the opportunity to buy their supply for the holiday. Another shopper, Mr Sunday Ubochi, spotted buying some baby’s items, said that the order was normal. “It is a tradition in Enugu for markets to close for safety purpose. onstrated genuine commitment toward the nation’s socio-economic development. Ojiri appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Government, adding that the decay in the nation’s infrastructure over the years required time to fix them. The PDP chieftain urged state and local governments across the country to complement the President’s economic transformation agenda so as to achieve overall national development. Ojiri, however, hailed Jonathan’s approach in the tackling the security challenges confronting some parts of the country. According to him, the President has shown consistency and determination in an effort to arrest the security challenges. 12 South South Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Illegal refineries, bunkering have crippled economy, says Dickson EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA B ayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday lamented that the proliferation of illegal refineries and illegal bunkering activities in parts of the Niger Delta had crippled the nation’s economy. The governor said the economic sabotage has contributed to the pollution of the ecosystem, the environment and waterways and is hindering fishing expedition in the region. Dickson bared his mind in Yenagoa yesterday at the 2013 Nigerian Navy Ceremonial Sunset Ceremony held at the premises of the Central Naval Command. Represented by his Deputy, John Jonah, the governor described the navy as the main access base of the nation and reiterated government’s commitment to partner with the navy and other security agencies in checking the menace of oil thefts and illegal refinery camps in the region. Dickson said the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the state government were collaborating at curbing the scourge and also improve the access base of the economy. He said: “The treasure base is the commanding access base of this country and should be well protect- ed. If the maritime space is not well protected, the country would collapse. “Without security, nobody can think of development, as the society grows, the burden of security will also grow and we must protect the society .We must fund security to enhance socio-economic activities.” The governor assured the people of the state that his administration has zero-tolerance for crime, adding,” “We don’t have the mandate to carry arms. We shall encourage you to carry arms and fight this ugly menace ravaging our waterways.” Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sidi Usman, said some level of sanity had been effected by the navy, stressing that the rate of illegalities in the creeks was on the decline when compared to last year’s incidents. Usman lauded the Bayelsa and Delta State governments for supporting the command with the eradication of illegal bunkering in the waterways. He said: “In the past few months, the unrelenting efforts at protecting the nation’s economic interest in this part of the country and indeed all Nigerian coastal areas, demonstrated the versatility, dynamism and professional prowess in the navy.” National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net AKSU, AKNC workers to enjoy pension from A’Ibom govt TONY ANICHEBE UYO I ndication has emerged that some Akwa Ibom State government parastatals and agencies, including Akwa Ibom State University and Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation are to be included in the state government’s pension scheme courtesy of a new bill passed into law by the state House of Assembly. The bill, sponsored by Sir Udo K. Akpan, Hon. Emmanuel Akpan, Hon. Ekong Sampson and Hon. Ime B. Okon, came into force on December 5, 2013 and it repeals the 2012 Contributory Pension Law. Other organisations declared as civil service under the new law include Akwa Ibom State Agency for Adult and Non- Formal Education; Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Development Programme and the Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation. Others are; Akwa Ibom State Council for Arts and Culture; Akwa Ibom State Sports Council; Akwa Ibom State College of Education and Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic. Also included in the list are; the College of Agriculture; Hotel and Tourism Board; Library Board; State Secondary Education Board; Technical Schools Board; Unified Local Government Service and Uyo Capital City Development Authority. Contributing during the debate, a member representing Ikot Abasi Eastern Obolo, Hon. Aboh Udoyok, described the bill as timely, saying what is worth doing at all, is what doing well. He, however, called for the refund of funds so far contributed by workers under the contributory pension scheme. Hon Onofiok Luke, in his contribution said the House has lived up to its name as the people’s assembly by passing the bill into law, which is aimed at adding value to the lives of those who toiled hard in their service to the state. Akpabio counsels youths on continuity, performance A Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio (middle), in a group photograph with executive members of the Akwa Ibom Youth Caucus at the End of Year Get Together in Uyo, yesterday. 2014 budget: Akwa Ibom Assembly seeks public input TONY ANICHEBE UYO D etermined to ensure that individuals, professionals, religious and interest groups are offered the opportunity to have a say in what government proposes to spend in 2014, the House Committee on Appropriation and Finance has floated a public hearing as a means to achieve it. While calling on stakeholders to submit memoranda, the Committee Chairman on Finance and appropriation, Hon. Oniofiok Luke, said that “given the extent to which an appropriation law can go to decide our collective destiny as a people, it is proper to subject it to the participatory inputs of the entire people of the state”. The lawmaker, who represents Nsit Ubium state constituency in the state House of Assembly, said such input would be the fulcrum upon which the House will make ratifications on the bill before passing it into law. He assured stakeholders on the avowed commitment of the House of Assembly towards the attainment of a more people-centred fiscal system in the state, adding that the public hearing on the budget has further shown the pride of place accorded the ordinary citizens in the running of affairs in the state. Luke commended the state executive for the unprecedented hinging of the budget outlay on the International Public Sector Accounting Standard, IPSAS, where attention is placed on sectoral budgeting rather than on funding and individual performance of ministries and agencies. In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Sam Ikon, said the House has as a matter of priority, made the public to be constructively engaged in its activities as witnessed in the public hearing, adding that they will continually be on the side of the people on issues that affect their well being. The Speaker expressed the resolve of the House to remain committed to their mandate and to continue to partner and synergise with the state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio. Memos where presented by the commissioners for finance and that of economic planning labour, the NUJ, NBA, among others. kwa Ibom State youths have been charged to be guided by the need to sustain the uncommon transformation matrix in the state in their choice of the next governor of the state. State governor, Godswill Akpabio, who stated this on Monday at the end of the year get-together organised by Akwa Ibom State Youth Caucus in Uyo, noted; “This is the time to think of sustainability. “It is not enough to have the uncommon transformation; you must also sustain the uncommon transformation. The governor of the state should be somebody who will spread development across the state, somebody who is forgiving, a youth-friendly governor and if possible he should actually be a youth”. The governor commended youths in the state for peaceful exhibition and maturity which has placed Akwa Ibom State as one of the most peaceful states in the country. Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, said the youths constitute the period of insight into the future of Akwa Ibom State, harping on sustainable development as the aftermath of uncommon transformation. Earlier, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom Youth Caucus, Emmanuel Ekpenyong, had noted that the end of the year get-together was to avail youths in the state of the opportunity to take stock and seek direction for the future. He commended Governor Akpabio for enlisting many youths into the government and for empowering youths in the state and appealed for more economic empowerment for youths, saying; “The greatest legacy of this administration is the level of youth involvement in governance. “This alone has transformed the political sphere of our state.” Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Monday Ukoh, said the Akpabio administration has brought in a new phase of politics of forgiveness and of the youths, and called on the youths to believe in Governor Akpabio, who he said is working for the youths of the state. Wednesday January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 13 Politics Ekiti 2014: What marabouts failed to tell Bamidele 2014: Year of fireworks, brickbats, intrigues in House of Representatives 44 14 I’ve no powers to pronounce on legality of govs’ security votes –Judge ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday rejected an invitation by a rights activist, Chief Nkereuwem Akpan, to declare as illegal and fraudulent the monthly security votes drawn by state governors from their states’ statutory allocation. The trial judge, Justice Adamu Bello, who turned down the invitation in a judgment, cited want of subject-matter jurisdiction as reason. The court, which specifically held that it had no jurisdiction over the 36 state governors who constitute the majority of the defendants in the case, consequently struck out the case. The judgement in the matter which was entered yesterday after several postponements was the last delivered by the trial judge who bowed out of the High Court bench after clocking the mandatory retirement age of 65. The human rights lawyer, Chief Akpan, who was evidently dissatisfied with the position of the court vowed to reverse the decision at appeal, saying that he would pursue the matter to the Supreme Court. Akpan said: “We are going all the way to the Supreme Court – as far as I am concerned, those monies are being misappropriated. If you stop security vote nobody will want to be a governor anymore.” National Mirror reports that Akpan had dragged the 36 state governors, as well as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, before the court. He had specifically challenged the legality of the security vote being deducted by state governors on monthly basis. In the originating summons, the plaintiff outlined nine questions for the court to determine, among which was: “Whether by virtue of the extant, sacrosanct and combined unequivocal provisions of section 16(2), section 120 (and other relevant provisions) of the 1999 Con- stitution Cap C 23, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, any of the defendants have the power, without lawful authority, to deduct monies from the statutory allocation made from the Federation Account to each of the states of the federation or the Federal Capital Territory under the guise of “Security Vote”. He also asked the court to determine whether the policy of security vote is recognised either by the 1999 Constitution or any other law in the country and whether, going by the provisions of section 205(d) of the 1999 Constitution, “the criminal deductions so made by the defendants is not fraudulent, illegal, void and unconstitutional, and whether the 1st to 37th defendants (governors and FCT Minister) are not to that extent in breach of their oath to office for bare violation of the Constitution.” Saying that he was empowered by section 16 of the 1999 Constitution and section 51 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, as a citizen of Nigeria “to know the details of these gargantuan and mind bogging deductions and expenditure tagged as ‘security votes’ and wantonly misappropriated and otherwise illegally deducted by the 1st to 37th defendants from the statutory allocations that went to each of the various states of the federation and the FCT from the Federation AKURE A Detention of activist: CNPP seeks Dickson’s intervention TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE F ollowing the controversy over the continuous detention of its chieftain in Bayelsa State, Mr Tonye Okio, the South-West Zone of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, has sued for peace, appealing to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to intervene in the matter and ensure the release of Okio. It would be called that Okio was arrested on Oc- tober 26, 2013 and retained in detention since then over alleged defamation of Bayelsa State governor. A lot of controversies have continued to trail the arrest and detention of the CNPP chieftain. Speaking with journalists after an emergency meeting of the group in Lagos, the South-West Secretary of the CNPP, Mr. Austin Nnorom described the continued detention of Okio as a denial of his constitutional rights. “Whatever his offence, Okio’s continued detention may be sending the wrong signal at a time when the nation wants peace in all parts of the country. We sincerely appeal to the governor to use his good offices and also in the spirit of love and the new year to see to his release,” he said. Nnorom also urged the National Human Rights Commission to also intervene in the matter in the interest of peace. He said there is need for total peace across the nation as Nigeria will be entering a new phase in 2014. The CNPP scribe also called on the Judiciary Commission to set up a committee and look into the matter for early and fast resolution. He said: “Many Nigerians are accusing politicians of being responsible for the pockets of disruption of peace in some parts of the country. The 2015 general election is fast approaching and the race for ensuring a violence free election must be championed by politicians.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 43 Embrace peace, group urges Ondo PDP members OJO OYEWAMIDE Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi (right) addressing All Progressives Congress (APC) youths in the state who were on a solidarity visit to the Governor’s Office, Ibadan, yesterday. Account since May 29, 1999 till date,” the plaintiff also asked the court to determine “whether the defendants should not be compelled to return the monies illegally deducted and misappropriated as security votes.” He also asked the court to order the state governors and the FCT Minister to return to the states the sums they have already deducted and collected as security votes. Apkan further asked the court to declare that the EFCC and the ICPC are in breach of their statutory mandate for failing to investigate the security vote deductions made by the state group within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ondo State, Democratic Conscience Movement, DCM, has urged aggrieved members of the party to close ranks and embrace peace in order to win future elections in the state and move the PDP forward. In a statement issued by its coordinator, Victor Ajibowu, and Secretary, Kolawole Femi, the group said the PDP still enjoyed a considerable amount of acceptance from the people of the state but bickering among members had been robbing the party of electoral victory. It said: “The six-year government of PDP in Ondo State ably led by the late former governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, still evokes a feeling of nostalgia in many fronts owing to the landmarks of infrastructural development, the avalanche of quality personnel deployed to man strategic offices with outcomes being concretely felt till date. “It fills the heart with great sense of recall the robustness of legislative debate on the floor of the Ondo State House of Assembly. We can only re-enact the good old days by a consensus of mutual cooperation to rescue the state from its present logjam. ” The DCM vowed to rescue the party from those it described as fifth columnists, masquerading as PDP members and salvage it from centrifugal external forces bent on co-opting internal rebels to destabilise the party. Appreciating the people of the state for the love they displayed for the party in the last governorship election, the group said the PDP recorded a respectable result despite manipulation by institutions supposedly saddled with the enthronement of fair play. While commending some leaders of the party for their contributions, the group said: “We salute the courage of Barr. Jimoh Ibrahim, Chief Olusola Oke, Hon. Victor Olabimtan, Dr. Dairo, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, Gbenga Elegbeleye, Senator Olajumoke, Chief Fasawe, Kingsley Kuku, Eddie Olafeso and the Ebenezer Alabi-led Executive Committee among other leaders.” 14 Politics The House of Representatives in 2014 would be the most interesting in 60 years, since the pre-independence elections to the Nigerian federal parliament in 1951. The stakes are dizzyingly high, but the odds, would be unprecedentedly higher, writes TORDUE SALEM. Wednesday January 1, 2014 2014: Year of fireworks, brickbats, intrigues in House of Representatives T he House of Representatives will definitely be a pack of fireworks on resumption on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. The outgone year, 2013, set the tone for the pyrotechnics of the new year, when the sparring between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, got to a combustible peak last week when 37 lawmakers in the lower chamber of the National Assembly dumped the PDP, the platform under which they get to the House and defected to the APC. Though the PDP, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, in a knee-jerk reaction dismissed the defectors as a pack of irritants. But before the sun set on the same day, the wounded party went to court seeking to declare the defectors’ seats vacant in line with section 68(1g) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. A member of the House on the PDP divide, Samson Okwu (PDP-Benue), boasted that it was a matter of time before the legislators who cross-carpeted, would regret the cross-over. The opposition members have dismissed the argument by the PDP that there are no factions in the PDP and therefore the defections were unnecessary. The APC lawmakers have argued that the said section 68(1g), on conditions for defecting have been clearly met with the defection of the 37 members of the House. The change in the House was palpable and obvious, as motions, bills and other legislative items seen as having executive connection were shredded. But as if that was enough cataclysmic for the PDP to grapple with, more trouble is lurking in the corner in the new year, as there are indications that more lawmakers on the platform of the ruling party would in the coming weeks dump the PDP for the APC. Twenty-nine members of the House of Representatives, it was learnt authoritatively by National Mirror on Monday, would defect to the APC between January and February. A member of the House from Jigawa State, who is still in the ruling PDP told the newspaper that it was just a matter of time before the intending defectors perfected their act and dump the umbrella. National Mirror also gathered that about four lawmakers who have lost out in the party in Benue State have concluded plans to take the leap and join the bandwagon of defectors in January. A source who is one of the to-be defectors said: “Yes, we are still PDP members, but I can’t guarantee that in January we would still be there. It is not only in Jigawa, many other states too. We are not less than 29 moving in January.” National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Tambuwal Ihedioha THE APC NOW CONTROLS THE LOWER HOUSE WITH A MAJORITY OF 172 MEMBERS WHILE THE PDP HAS 171 MEMBERS, ALTHOUGH FOR THE APC TO CHANGE THE STRUCTURE OF THE HOUSE, THE PARTY NEEDS 181 MEMBERS He however, did not confirm if the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who is the only PDP lawmaker from Sokoto State on the platform of the ruling party, would defect to the APC in January. It would be recalled that 37 members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the PDP defected to the opposition APC making the APC the majority party in the lower House. With this development, the APC now controls the lower House with a majority of 172 members while the PDP has 171 members, although for the APC to change the structure of the House, the party needs 181 members. There are 360 members in the House. As things stand, should the 29 members planning to defect joins the APC in January, the party would have about 200 lawmakers in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, far more than the constitutionally required number to take over the House. The earlier defection of 37 members which was announced by Speaker Tambuwal was contained in a letter written and signed by the 37 concerned members, dated December 18, 2013, titled: ‘Communication of Change of Political Party’ and addressed to the speaker. The lawmakers, in the letter, explained that their action was as a result Gbajabiamila of the crisis in the PDP and in line with the provision of section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution. Tambuwal took a roll call of the defecting members who were welcomed by the APC leaders. The 37 lawmakers were made up of 11 from Kano, Sokoto (10), Rivers (8), Kwara (6) and one each from Bauchi and Katsina states. It means all the 24 lawmakers from Kano, 10 out of 11 from Sokoto (except Speaker Tambuwal), eight out of 13 from Rivers, all the six from Kwara, five out of 12 from Bauchi and 13 out of 15 from Katsina now belong to the opposition APC. Those from Kano are: Nasiru Sule Garo, Ahmad Zarewa, Aliyu Sani Madaki, Bashir Babale, Alhassan Ado Dogon, Munir Dangyadi, Aminu Suleiman, Abdulmumin Jibril, Musa Ado, Mustapha Bala and Muhtari M.C.; Sokoto: Kabiru Marafa Achida, Aminu Shehu Shagari, Isa Salihu Bashir, Abdullahi Mohammed Wamakko, Saalu Mohammed Nabunkari, Aliyu Shehu, Shuaibu Gwandu Gobir, Musa Sarkin Adar, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame and Umar Bature. From Rivers were Andrew Uchendu, Asita Honourable, Sokonte Davies, Dakuku Peterside, Mpigi Barinada, Pronen Maurice, Dawari George and Ogbonna Nwuke; while from Kwara we have Ali Ahmad, Zakari Mohammed, Ahman Pategi, Rafiu Ibrahim, Mustapha Mashood and Aiyedokun Akeem. From Katsina and Bauchi states were Nasiru Sani Zagon Daura and Yakubu Dogara respectively. The letter read: “We the underlisted members of the House of Representatives elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wish to inform you that we have joined the All Progressive Congress (APC). “This action is as a result of the division/faction in the political party that sponsored our election into the House of Representatives. (See House Resolution No. HR/36/2013, vide votes and proceedings of Tuesday, 17 September, 2013 as attached). “Furthermore, we write to inform you that following this division, the faction of the PDP, which we belong to, has formally merged with the All Progressive Congress, APC. “This communication is made pursuant to section 68 (1) (g) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, for your information, guidance and records please”. With the defection, Speaker Tambuwal, his deputy Emeka Ihedioha, House Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Chief Whip, Mohammed Bawa, Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor and Deputy Whip, Muktar may vacate their seats should they remain in PDP. Besides the defection headache, Jonathan would be faced with the possibility of removal from office. The House would later in the year pass a Bill to shorten the process of removing a President from office to allow for easy impeachment by the House and the eventual removal of the President by a two-third majority in the Senate. The House, being a more progressive and tough arm of the National Assembly would hold the ace in 2014 and grab the Presidency by its balls. A harbinger of tough times for Jonathan came on December 19, 2013, when the Finance Committee of the House sent out the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for ‘lying’ to them that she was sick and could not respond to 50 questions on the economy in 2013. There would be greater challenges for the Presidency in 2014, when the House would also present a damning verdict on oil theft in the Niger Delta. A pipeline protection contract is handled by the President kinsmen. Another report that would cause commotion in the hallowed chamber of the House of Representatives in 2014 is that of the Public Accounts Committee alleging that the Presidency squandered trillions, dispensing favours to cronies at the expense of development in the country. With a barrage of attacks from all angles, it is doubtful if the Jonathan Presidency would survive beyond 2015. Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net New Year Celebrations Japan I n Japan, thousands of visitors, some donning kimono, will pray, ring a bell and toss coins as offerings at shrines, wishing for health, wealth and happiness. Temple bells will ring the customary 108 times, for the 108 causes of suffering according to Buddhism, and welcome in the Year of the Horse. Japanese are hopeful about the economy for the first time in years after some signs of revival under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose easing lending North Korea I n North Korea, a group of tourists, including Americans, planned to watch fireworks in Kim Il Sung Square and watch the Pyongyang Bell strike midnight, said Andrea Exploding fireworks at Sydney Harbour in Australia to welcome the New Year Hong Kong How the world heralded 2014 I Australia, Newzealand E xploding fireworks sprayed from Sydney’s iconic opera house and Harbour Bridge at midnight yesterday as the world began ushering in a new year. Australia, New Zealand were first to usher in the New year, yesterday around 12 p.m., Nigerian time. More than one million people crammed the Sydney Harbour foreshore on a warm summer night to watch Sydney’s renowned annual pyrotechnics show, which appeared to live up to its billing as the city’s most extravagant. Fireworks launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House for the first time in more than a decade. Closer to the edge of the International Dateline, New Zealand bid farewell to 2013 two hours before Sydney with fireworks erupting from Auckland’s Sky Tower as cheering revellers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation’s largest city. United Arab Emirates D ubai, home to world’s tallest tower, is known for its glitz, glamour and over-the-top achievements, and this New Year’s Eve, the city will break another record by creating the largest fireworks show ever. Organisers will light up the city’s coastline with a flying falcon made out of fireworks that moves across a massive man-made palm-shaped island alongside a countdown in fireworks. Organisers also created a burst of light out of fireworks to imitate a sunrise and dazzle spectators with a United Arab Emirates flag that could also break records for being the largest ever made out of fireworks. The 6-minute extravaganza included 500,000 fireworks from 400 firing locations, all synchronized by 100 computers from stations across the city, said Barrett Wissman, cochairman of IMG Artists that is managing the event. Philippines I n the Philippines, more than 260 people had been injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, one of Asia’s most violent revelries. Department of Health spokesman Dr. Eric Tayag said he expected the number of injuries to rise sharply when Filipinos ignite powerful firecrackers to end a year marked by tragic disasters, including China C hina was planning to count down to the New Year with light shows at two spectacular and historic locations - part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai. In Beijing, one flower shop manager said he hoped the New Year brought more customers. “Since the government started its campaign to crack down on luxury spending and promote frugality, our busi- a Nov. 8 typhoon that left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 others missing. “Many here are welcoming the new year after losing their mothers, fathers, siblings and children so you can imagine how it feels,” said village chief Maria Rosario Bactol of Anibong community in Tacloban, the city worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan. “I tell them to face the reality, to move on and stand up, but I know it will never be easy.” ness with government agencies has been in decline,” said Mao Xiangfei. “In the past, government clients accounted for about 10 percent of our business, but now it’s zero.” But in one Chinese city, the celebrations were slated to be quieter as authorities in Wuhan in central Hubei province called off their annual New Year fireworks show and banned fireworks downtown to avoid making the smoggy air worse. n Hong Kong, tens of thousands will turn out to watch the fireworks display over the southern Chinese city’s famed Victoria Harbor. Pyrotechnics will be fired off near the Kowloon Indonesia I n Indonesia, New Year’s celebrations are widespread except in the city of Banda Aceh where Islamic clerics prohibit Muslims from celebrating New Year’s Eve. In the capital, Jakarta, 15 policies and pump-priming measures have been dubbed “Abenomics.” Among those upbeat about what the new year might bring is Junya Sakata, a 23-year-old Tokyo waiter looking forward to taking sommelier classes next year so he can move up in his career. “I hope the economy will keep improving, building up to the 2020 Olympics,” he said, which will be held in Tokyo. “So many things happened this year, but I was able to grow. Maybe next year I will find a girl- Lee, CEO of Uritours, a tour group specializing in travel to North Korea. “There were a lot of people out on the streets today for an outdoor dance event, and cars filled the streets,” peninsula and from the tops of seven skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island. A British colonial-era canon will be fired at midnight in a tradition dating from the end of World War II. tourism authorities estimate 2 million people will take part in street parties in 162 locations. Indonesian police deployed at least 92,000 policemen to safeguard the celebration across the country. People welcoming the New Year in New Zealand 16 New Year Celebrations Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Samoa and Christmas Island S amoa and Christmas Island in Kiribati were the first to welcome 2014. At 6 p.m. in Manila Tuesday, the two countries had already celebrated the New Year. Samoa, a South Pacific island nation located about 8,000 kilometers southeast of Manila, used to be one of the last places in the world to celebrate the New Year, being the last spot on earth to see the sunset. But it became the first place to see the sunrise on Dec. 31, 2011, by wiping a full day, Dec. 30, 2011, off its calendar in order to align itself with its Asian trading partners. Sydney’s iconic opera house and Harbor Bridge will sparkle with tons of exploding fireworks, while smog concerns have dampened such pyrotechnic displays in at least one polluted Chinese city, and Japanese temples will ring 108 times as Asia-Pacific countries become the first to usher in the New Year. Sydney officials promised that the Australian city’s annual world-renowned pyrotechnics show would be more extravagant than ever, with more than 1.6 million Revelers expected to line the harbour Tuesday for a view. Nigeria Female artistes dancing in Indonesia to welcome the New Year Russian president delivers New Year’s address T he New Year 2014 has come to Russia. Kamchatka and Chukotka residents and border guards at the easternmost point of the country, Big Diomede Island in the Bering Strait, became first to meet it. This year President Vladimir Putin addressed Russian citizens with his annual New Year’s speech from the city of Khabarovsk where Putin arrived to celebrate New Year with the victims of September floods. In his address the President praised the bravery of the citizens of Khabarovsk and bowed his head for the victims of recent Volgograd bombings. Mr. Putin said he was confident that Russia would fight Putin against terrorists until their total destruction. We are now standing on the verge of the New Year 2014. In a few minutes, we will make a step from the present into the future. Celebration of this wonderful holiday is one of our warmest and heartfelt traditions. It is passed from generation to generation, uniting all of us. This year we have faced various problems and serious challenges, including the inhumane terrorist attacks in Volgograd and the unprecedented flood in the Far East. In such times of hardship Russia has always been united and cohesive. This year, my dear friends, I am addressing you with my New Year’s speech not from the Moscow Kremlin but from the Far East where I have arrived to celebrate New Year with those who with honor and dignity faced the flood and with those who cannot yet celebrate the holiday at their own home. Together with these people I congratulate the entire country and raise a glass for our people and for the health of all those who selflessly fought with the disaster and those who showed mercy and generosity. Dear friends! We also bow our heads for the victims of brutal terrorist attacks. I am confident that we will continue to fight against terrorists until their total destruction. We will support all the victims of terror and will restore and construct everything that was planned to be restored and built. At the same time, we achieved a lot last year. Our country has become better and wealthier. We have aggressively defended our interests in international affairs. Today, we are sincerely bracing for the New Year. We are meeting it with hope and with dreams for the future. Wherever we are, the atmosphere of New Year’s Eve warms our hearts. We sincerely believe in the best, in luck, and in success. Each of us understands that prosperity does not come by itself but it is achieved through hard work and personal achievements, through efforts to bring everything that was planned to life. The fate of our country is shaped by these achievements, and the loving care for our family, children, and parents is inextricably linked with responsibility for Russia. These feelings and aspirations consolidate our unity. Only together we can be strong and ensure Russia’s progression into the future, and bring our plans and ideas into reality. Dear friends! In the upcoming year we have a lot to work on in the economic sphere; we have to work on improving our living standards, on ensuring people’s safety, on holding the Olympic and Paralympics Games at the highest level. New Year’s Eve is a time when we realize how close we all are. Let’s thank each other for understanding and support, for love and care. In the bustle of everyday life we rarely do it. But it is the support of our close friends and family that always gives us confidence and a desire to give them more than we received. P eople in Nigeria believe in celebrating their festivals with lot of pomp and splendor. The intensity with which celebrations are made can be deeply felt and experienced even if one is not a part of them. It is one of the best places to be in, if one wish to have a different New Year, which they would love to surrender in their memories for life. Even the climatic conditions during the time of New Year are too pleasant, which itself seems to be supporting the celebrations of the moment. Apart from the traditional events, the standard New Year celebrations are also hosted by the country in the form of big, bigger, and biggest parties in various pubs, discotheques, night clubs, etc. People from all group, irrespective of their age and background mutually drink, eat, dance, and celebrate all night, and as soon as the midnight arrives at twelve, everyone should out loud with cheer and grandeur. Everyone cherishes the special moment, and raises a hope to be more optimistic and better human beings in the coming year. Also, vows are taken by everyone to forget rivalries, turn foes into friends, and give a new buoyant start to life. Also, it is also the time when people irrespective of the fact that if they are in a party, in their house, or on the street, offer prayers to the supreme lord, to confer them with peace, prosperity, and growth in the coming year. It is followed by exchanging of wishes with friends, families, and all those present around. Usually, people love to shop and dine during the time of New Year, and various restaurants, hotels, and shopping malls offer special offers and discounts at that time to lure more customers. Dining restaurants and hotels prepare special dishes including traditional dishes during the time of New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve in Nigeria. Even if one wish not Fireworks in Auckland, New Zealand National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Views Wednesday, January 1, 2014 17 Putting 2013 in retrospective perspective PUBLIC DOMAIN DELE SETEOLU email@example.com (08033137577 SMS only) L et me mention that it has become the norm to review the outgoing year, but it is regrettable that the succeeding year is hardly better. This pattern has been the experience in Nigeria. The expectations on the in-coming year often turn to be misplaced by the objective realities within the year. Consequently, the populace is enmeshed in scepticism, despondency and alienation from state actors. The receding expectations from the state institutions and actors are heightened by the profligacy, recklessness and lack of focus of the governing elite. The country had been enmeshed in power struggle among factions of the governing elite. The internal power struggles within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led to the emergence of the new PDP led by Alhaji Karau Baraje. The highpoint of the schism is the declaration of five of its governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives for the All Peoples Congress (APC). There are speculations that some of its senator might follow suit. The development has altered the power structure in the House of Representatives, thus heightening fears of a possible lead- ership change in the lower house. Meanwhile, the defection has elicited intense debate on the legality and political propriety of the act. The defectors contend that they satisfy the conditions prescribed by the 1999 Constitution as there exist factions within the PDP. The case between the former governor of old Borno State, Mohammed Goni and the Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim-led Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) has been cited as legal precedent. The Nigerian populace is, however, worried by the seeming opportunism of political elite and their desperation for political power. Critics often cite the absence of ideology for party defection; but this argument is not necessarily correct. The PDP is a conservative party hinged on neoliberal ideas; it is a different issue whether its members conform to its dominant ideology. Similarly, the APC claims a centreleft ideology. The problematic is how the APC, a seemingly centre-left party intends to accommodate the far rightists from the PDP. Theoretically, a political party is not monolithic thus characterized by different ideological persuasions. In reality, the fundamentally different worldview of the APC and defectors from the PDP will likely be a precursor to crisis within the party. The struggle to control the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) resulted in the factions led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Jonah Jang of Rivers and Plateau states respectively. The Presidency seems to have intruded into the NGF to divide its rank and reduce the influence of the seemingly assertive body. Meanwhile, the crisis THE PLANNED SALE OF PUBLIC REFINERIES IS RIDICULOUS, ANTIWORKER AND ANTIPEOPLE. IT MUST BE RESISTED BY THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE. in Rivers State and the role of the Nigerian Police has raised debate on politicization of security agencies. The court decision on illegality of the House of Representatives to legislate for Rivers State has not been enforced. The attempt by 25 members to reconvene the Rivers House of Assembly was rebuffed by the obviously partisan Police. The federal government has drawn criticisms for its anti-corruption campaigns. The handling of allegation of financial misconduct against the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah and the poor handling of crude oil theft suggests the complicity of state actors in corrupt practices. The country is losing huge monies to crude oil thieves amidst the complacency of state actors, who are alleged to have connived with oil thieves, thus deepening the crisis of Nigerian state. The letters exchanged between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and serving President Goodluck Jonathan had raised several allegations and counter allegations bordering on political corruption among other issue. The issues raised are serious and should be investigated by security agencies and independent groups. The security deficit occasioned by the attacks by Boko Haram and Ansaru has led to the declaration of these groups as terrorist organizations by the United States. This development will likely make travelling by Nigerians herculean. Meanwhile, the constitution of presidential advisory committee on national conference has been roundly commended. The year was, however, jolted by a six month strike by ASUU occasioned by the non implementation of the 2009 ASUU/FG Agreement. The Nigerian state has repeatedly under-funded public education. It is regrettable that the country lost a former president of ASUU, Professor Festus Iyayi to the crisis. The presentation of 2014 budget was delayed as a result of ‘oil benchmark dispute’ between the House and Senate. Meanwhile, the country has been faced with yearly ritual of budget presentation and poor implementation. Besides, the budget has jettisoned medium and long term development plan that characterized economic planning before the advent of SAP. The country should adopt the medium and long term economic agenda and dump the strict annual ritual of neo-liberal budget. The power sector reform has led to the privatization of PHCN amidst protests by the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees. Similarly, the planned sale of public refineries is ridiculous, anti-worker and anti-people. It must be resisted by the Nigerian people. The contradictions within our political economy are huge thus dousing the urge for celebrations in the New Year. Corruption, leaders’ tenacity of office and 2015 BOBSON GBINIJE C hief Obafemi Awolowo in his allocutus delivered on 11th September, 1963 after Justice Sodeinde Sowemimo found him guilty of treason had this to say: “But after darkness comes the glorious dawn. It is therefore, with a brave heart, with confident hope and with faith in my unalterable destiny that I go from the twilight of power into darkness, unshaken in my trust in the providence of God that the glorious dawn will come on the morrow”. Power is all about authority and dominance. It has a perceptive, cognitive and volitional nature. It is the authority to control, command and enforce obedience. It comes in hydra and protean formats. It could be political, economic, domestic, social, religious and traditional etc. It could have democratic, despotic and monarchical colourations. But in whatever template it comes it has a tendency to be intoxicating, hence the altruism, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. As Nigeria approaches the 2015 general elections, power is currently undergoing political osmosis and strategic dynamics, all with a view to appropriating power to various interest groups and individuals. The questions therefore, arise: Will President Goodluck Jonathan contest the 2015 presidential election? Does he have a constitutional right to contest and what are his chances? Any law barring Mr. President from contesting the 2015 presidential election is un- PRESIDENT JONATHAN HAS SHOWN BY HIS LEADERSHIP INERTIA THAT HE IS NOT THE GRAND COMMANDER OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA known. He is therefore, free to contest that election. But leadership is an esteemed position of service demanding high standards of discipline and integrity. Leadership demands self-denial and self sacrifice. It requires a vision and a mission in service. Whoever wants to be a leader must be able to combine administrative astuteness and political shrewdness with moral uprightness. In Richard Nixon’s profile and reminiscences of men who have shaped the modern world, he noted: “Great leadership is a form of art requiring both force and vision to an extraordinary degree, the leader necessarily deals to a large extent in symbols, in images and sort of galvanizing idea that both persuade and move them. The manager thinks of today and tomorrow, but the leader thinks of the day after tomorrow. The leader represents a direction of history”. If we interrogate President Jonathan’s moral, political, socio-economic justifications to re-contest in 2015, there would be as many opinions in this matter as there are in- dividuals. But I know I will not be spared by PDP hierarchs and loyalists if I dare say that Mr. President has weak leadership credentials to qualify him to re-contest come 2015. The popular imagination is that Nigeria is currently locked in the horrendous cesspit of psychotic corruption and the political cabal has so apotheosized corruption that any fight against it is lost even before it starts. President Jonathan has shown by his leadership inertia that he is not the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is not in control, but only fronting for clandestine political cabals and goons. In the fight against corruption, in the education sector, in the provision of shelter, good roads, water, light, security, peace, medicare, transportation etc, we have very infinitesimally little to write home about. Indeed, there is consummate infrastructural decay, and poverty has become the companion of 90 percent of Nigerians. What a shame! His Nero-like and Machiavellian leadership style has precipitated religious schism, political mélange and social catharsis in most states of the federation, so much so that the peace, security, unity and progress of Nigeria are now being compromised. Some have argued that since Jonathan is from the Niger Delta, he must be allowed a ‘second term’ because this is the closest we Niger Deltans have gotten close to the zenith of political power in Nigeria and thus by whatever permutation we deserve a second term. They further opined that by power calculus the power of incumbency, which we now wield, must be put to good use and advantage. These are no doubt tenable arguments, but is Jonathan still a good material to represent the Niger Delta region in the light of his obvious colossal failings? The common denominator of good government is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving internal health, controlling HIV/AIDS, controlling malaria, cholera, achieving free and quality education at all levels, empowering women, promoting gender equality, ensuing environmental sustainability and effecting structural revolution across this country etc. Jonathan has not been able to do any of these things. The Guardian editorial of September 12, 2013 put such rationalization in perspective when it said of it, “the overriding consideration of these power mongers is the political patronage which this portends. It is after an opportunity to nominate only those who are rabidly loyal and subservient to them regardless of their suitability for the office. The primary mandate of such a nominee is to feather the nest of his patron to whom he is beholden and who he perceives as his god father”. Chief Gbinije wrote from Warri, Delta State Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such. Editorial 18 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net All the Facts, All the Sides A PUBLICATION OF GLOBAL MEDIA MIRROR LTD BARRISTER JIMOH IBRAHIM, OFR PUBLISHER FIDELIS LEMCHI OWOAMANAM ACTING MD/CEO SEYI FASUGBA DAILY EDITOR GBEMI OLUJOBI SATURDAY EDITOR DOZIE OKEBALAMA COORDINATOR, EDITORIAL BOARD CALLISTUS OKE EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF KAYODE BALOGUN JNR SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT KING ODODORU ACTING HEAD, GRAPHICS A FG and Nigerians in 2014 mid the consistent and widespread pummeling of President Goodluck Jonathan by critics and the opposition, allegedly for poor performance, the Presidency, last weekend, said the administration recorded tremendous success in many sectors of the Nigerian economy in 2013. Senior Special Adviser (Public Affairs) to the President, Dr. Doyin Okupe, was quoted as saying: “It is an incontrovertible fact that Nigeria, under Jonathan, has reduced its food imports by about 40 percent and increased its local production of rice, cassava, sorghum, cotton and cocoa in percentages ranging from 25 to 56 in the last two years. “For the first time since independence, the Nigerian agricultural sector is attracting unprecedented Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Over the past two years, the sector has attracted $4 billion in private sector, executed letters of commitment to invest in agricultural value chains, from food crops to export crops, fisheries and livestock. The number of private sector seed companies grew from 10 to 70 within one year”. Okupe hailed what he called the “major component of the reform”, the privatisation of the generation and distribution power infrastructure, as one the successful accomplishments of the government in 2013, among others. To many Nigerians, however, the country’s greatest achievement in 2013 was in the field of football. It is, perhaps, pertinent to draw the FG’s NIGERIA WILL BE 54 YEARS-OLD AS AN INDEPENDENT NATION THIS YEAR. YET THE COUNTRY ALMOST WHOLLY RELIES ON OIL AS THE MAJOR SOURCE OF REVENUE FOR DECADES NOW attention to just one aspect of Okupe’s claim: successful power sector reform and its impact on the economy, and place it side-by-side with the observation of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Lagos just last weekend. The group had said: “There are complaints across all sectors of high energy costs, especially high expenditure on diesel and maintenance of electricity generators. This has continued to take its toll on the bottom line of investors in the country”. The group, in addition, expressed worry over the disconnect between the growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 (at over six percent) and productivity, quality of life and employment. It said even though GDP growth in 2013 was strong at over six percent in line with International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) projections and FG’s estimates, other major global rankings released in 2013 rated Nigeria poorly. “Whereas Nigeria’s GDP ranking by the IMF was 37th out of 187 economies profiled, global competiveness ranking by the World Economic Forum placed the country at 137th of 183 economies…”, says the OPS. It also said the Human Development Ranking by the United Nations Development Programme placed Nigeria as number 153 out of 187 countries profiled. While nothing may be wrong for any government to blow its trumpet on its achievements, such claims are better appreciated when they translate to improved living conditions. Indeed, of what relevance is a flattering GDP growth that reflects no productivity, better quality of life and employment generation, for example? About the middle of last month, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had equally lamented that its members encountered numerous challenges ranging from deteriorating infrastructure in the operating environment to deepening weak domestic demand arising from lack of consumer purchasing power. Consequently, many manufacturers doing business in Nigeria were forced to move part of their operations to other countries, while others without the financial capacity to stay afloat were going under. The Vice Chairman, Toiletries and Cosmetics (T&C) Group of MAN, Mr. Ikpong Umoh, was quoted as saying that the hardship suffered by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country forced 130 manufacturing firms to folded up in few years. Is this the kind of ‘success’ the FG meant? Nigeria will be 54 years-old as an independent nation this year. Yet the country almost wholly relies on oil as the major source of revenue for decades now, with no visible plan by its leadership over the years to diversify the economy. The nation can’t even refine its crude oil. Presently, the FG has settled for the convenient, lazy option of selling the country’s virtually dead refineries instead of reviving them to serve Nigerians better. The nation is likewise being trailed by the grave threats of terrorism, violent crimes like kidnapping and dare-devil robberies, etc. The state of infrastructure is sickening. Unemployment, poverty and destitution are also rife. Corruption in high places, especially in the public sector, has attained indescribable heights, while culprits freely walk away, etc. Amidst all these, power hungry, unpatriotic and extremely selfish politicians are heating up the polity. These are some of the realities the FG should rededicate itself to redressing significantly, practically in 2014. President Jonathan’s purported commitment to accelerated economic development and stability would remain a fairy tale to Nigerians for as long as the security of life and property cannot be guaranteed, and the welfare and mournful living condition of the people are treated with utmost contempt and ignominy. ON THIS DAY January 1, 2009 January 1, 2010 About 66 people died in a nightclub fire in Bangkok, Thailand. The Santika Club fire occurred on in Watthana, Bangkok, Thailand, where New Year celebrations were taking place. A total of 66 people were killed and another 222 injured when fire swept through the nightclub during the New Year’s celebration as a band coincidentally called ‘Burn’ was playing. The fire broke out at about 12:35 a.m. A suicide car bomber detonated at a volleyball tournament in Lakki Marwat, Pakistan, killing 105 people and injuring over 100 others. The suicide bomber blew up his sport utility vehicle filled with explosives in the middle of a crowd that had gathered to watch a volleyball game. As of January 3, 2010, it was the deadliest bombing in Pakistan since the Peshawar bombing of October 2009. January 1, 2013 At least 60 people were killed and 200 others injured in a stampede after celebrations at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The stampede occurred as crowds departed a New Year’s Eve fireworks’ display in the early hours of January 1, 2013 near the Stadium. The incident was the second time in four years that a fatal stampede occurred at the stadium. Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 19 Health & Wellbeing Contraceptive Vaginal Ring phase 3 trial 22 shows positive result Healthcare still bogged down by poor funding DR. OSAHON ENABULELE PRESIDENT, NIGERIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION T hough the health sector like most other sectors of Nigeria’s economy is not immune from the challenges of the Nigerian system, I would say that the aggregate performance of Nigeria’s health sector in 2013 was not remarkably different from that of 2012 despite some efforts made to address the challenges carried over from 2012. It was clear from the onset that the unsatisfactory amount allocated to the health sector in the 2013 National budget and the slow process of release of funds was not going to impact on the quality of health of Nigerians. The poor funding of the health sector manifested in the country’s inability to give expression to some laudable initiatives in the health sector, including postgraduate Residency Training Programs. It was however not all gloomy in the health sector in 2013 as there were some progressive developments like the eventual reconstitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and other Health Professional Regulatory Councils as a result of the agitations and committed efforts of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA); medical professionals also led expert teams that undertook some highly skilled interventions such as Kidney transplantation, Stem cell transplantation, and Cardiac surgeries etc. HIV/AIDS still a major health problem EMPTY WARD: 2013 had its fair share of strikes by health workers NHIS NHIS: In the critical area of Universal Health Coverage for Nigerians through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), there were some developments, particularly the launching of more Community Based Social Health Insurance Schemes in various Nigerian communities, including the Federal Capital Territory. However, these efforts paled into insignificance considering that the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria is still less than 6%. Perhaps the non-passage of the National Health Bill with fundamental provisions for financing the health of Nigerians, the long delay in inaugurating the Governing Board of the National Health Insurance yet to make desired impact Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as well as the inexplicable delay in appointing a substantive Executive Secretary of NHIS slowed down efforts at expanding Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria. Now that a substantive Executive Secretary for the NHIS has been appointed it is expected that the application of more innovative and social-based health financing mechanisms in 2014, together with strong commitment and transparent leadership of the NHIS Management, will propel the administrative wheels of NHIS in 2014 towards accelerating the enrolment of more Nigerians into the scheme as well as boost financial access of all Nigerians to a minimum healthcare package. HIV/AIDS Nigeria still has a lot to do in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It is imperative that the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA) and his management team learn from experiences garnered in 2013 to hopefully devise better strategies of securing improved results in Nigeria’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in 2014. • Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria is still less than 6%. • Mother-To-Child-Transmission of HIV/AIDS still high • Nigeria must review dependence on donor agencies for HIV/AIDS control • No policy yet on research Besides seeking to improve the level of public education and access to Anti-Retroviral medications by PLWHAs, NACA needs to do much more to reduce the significant level of Mother-To-Child-Transmission of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Time has come for Nigeria to review her dependence on donor agencies so as to prevent the calamitous consequences of their eventual exit for whatever reason. I believe Nigeria is rich enough to make treatment of HIV/ AIDS truly free without relying on donor agencies. I therefore strongly advocate that Government should give a budgetary headline to TB and HIV at the hospital level if any meaningful impact is to be made in 2014 and subsequent years. I also call on the Government to thoroughly investigate the complaints by PLWHAs about the FGN supplied combination drug---Nevirapine, Lamivudine and Zidovudine. If the drug is found wanting, it should be withdrawn immediately. NMA is prepared to make her informed contributions in this regard. The war against Tuberculosis (TB) seems not to be enjoying the momentum desired. Rather than the government to invest more on the active treatment of CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 20 Health & Wellbeing Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Healthcare still bogged down by poor funding CONTINUED FROM 19 TB at the community level, they have found peace with investing funds (pre-eminently donor funds) in Multi-drug Resistance TB (MDRTB). An insignificant proportion of cases of MDRTB arise without first line drug management failure. There is therefore the need for agencies of government saddled with the responsibility of protecting Nigerians against TB to realize that the best weapon against MDRTB is effective prevention, early diagnosis and adequate provision of drugs for the management of Tuberculosis. Just like HIV/AIDS, treatment of TB deserves to be truly free. Research It is not surprising that there was no appreciable breakthrough in operational research. This may not be unconnected with the fact that Nigeria still has no strategic research policy, and probably does not consider research as a necessary tool for national development. In addition, investment in research by government, corporate bodies, and individuals is still at a low ebb in Nigeria such that potential Nigerian researchers and inventors are enveloped in a state of diffidence. Those who have the capacity to sponsor research in Nigeria do not believe in it. Although this is not peculiar to health but it is worse in the health sector. Infrastructure and equipment In terms of infrastructural development in the nation’s health institutions, the year 2013 witnessed some efforts to upgrade existing federal health infrastructure and equipment with the aim of improving the capacity of the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions. There were also efforts by some state governments to upgrade their state hospitals. However, these efforts were not significant enough, thus leaving the aggregate performance in terms of public health infrastructural upgrade and development in Nigeria below par. Again, the private healthcare sector did not witness signifi- cant push in terms of health infrastructural development. The Federal Government of Nigeria through the President has accepted the proposal of the Nigerian Medical Association for the establishment of a Hospital Development and Intervention Fund (HDIF) which will help provide a platform for the establishment of world class health facilities in both the private and public health sectors. The NMA has called on the Federal Government to urgently give effect to the active development and implementation of the proposal in the year 2014. It is sad to note that the operational Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines (MRIs) in Nigeria are concentrated only around Abuja town and a few other areas in some parts of Nigeria. So imagine what it will take a poor man with a disease condition requiring an MRI investigation to access it. That is if he can even afford the exorbitant cost outside the associated cost of transportation, feeding and accommodation in a land he has no one to look after him. New hi-tech equipment like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines were installed in some of the nation’s hospitals but can be accessed only in the cities. Medical Tourism On the issue of Nigerians still travelling abroad for treatment, it has become a status symbol for some, while for some others it is because of the ready availability of public funds to be spent. There are few germane cases. Nigerian doctors are doing a lot, and our people should have confidence in the system. It is better and easier to travel to Enugu or Ibadan or Benin to receive expert treatment than to travel all the way to Asia to receive the same services that are available locally. Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) The government needs to truly take matters concerning healthcare more seriously and allocate more funds to the health sector in addition to firmly instituting Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements in the hospitals/health institutions or the outright outsourcing of some services such as pharmacy, radiography, physiotherapy, e.t.c, so as to free funds for more critical services. Professionalism In terms of Health Human Resource, one unfortunate feature witnessed in 2013 was the unwarranted bickering, agitation, professional territorial and sometimes politically motivated quest for equality with medical doctors, by some allied health professional groups and hospital support staff in Nigeria. This undoubtedly impacted negatively on health service delivery. One hopes that in 2014 there will Mother-To-Child-Transmission of HIV/AIDS still high be greater harmony amongst the various healthcare workers in the public health sector with all stakeholders playing their role in a more harmonious way to ensure delivery of quality healthcare services to Nigerians. Despite the challenges of health human resource in Nigeria, including the extremely hostile workplace environment, I must state unequivocally that medical doctors had profound positive impact on the health sector in 2013. Nigerian medical doctors and dentists successfully undertook several high skilled medical and surgical interventions in 2013, amongst which were Cardiac surgeries and Kidney transplantation, as well as continued successes in Stem cell transplantation which witnessed a second successful cure of a 15 year old Nigerian student with Sickle cell Anaemia (HBSS), by a joint team of experts from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, University of Benin and the Nigerian Medical Association’s National Committee on Stem cell Transplant and Genetic engineering whose chairman, Dr. Godwin Nosakhare Bazuaye, a Consultant Haematologist (Pathologist) and Senior Lecturer with the University of Benin, headed the team of experts. I ALSO CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu TO THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE THE COMPLAINTS BY PLWHAS ABOUT THE FGN SUPPLIED COMBINATION DRUG – NEVIRAPINE, LAMIVUDINE AND ZIDOVUDINE National Health Bill Though the efforts of both chambers of the National Assembly to re-present the National Health Bill for passage and hopefully, accent by the President are appreciated, the slow pace of processing of the bill leaves much to be desired. Indeed, the high hopes of Nigerians that 2013 will witness the delivery of a National Health Act that will enable vulnerable Nigerians (including women, children, the disadvantaged and the elderly) and those in the rural communities, to have ready access to health care facilities/ resources, have dimmed. One prays that the National REVIEWER: Dr. Osahon Enabulele, NMA President Assembly and President Jonathan will move faster to deliver this long overdue pregnancy, for it remains one huge debt they owe Nigerians. I cannot ignore the fact that whereas many other public/ government parastaltals and banks are still wobbling and collapsing, the managements of most public and private hospitals in Nigeria survived the travails and extreme difficulties of the Nigerian system. This is an achievement in itself. But for the commitment of most of the chief executives, the impact of no water supply, moribund power supply, lack of good roads, suffocating poverty, high level of National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Nutrition for Health Chizoba Nwobu firstname.lastname@example.org 08065651922 (sms only) Health benefits of red wax jambu (bell apples) R ed Wax Jambu with botanical name Syzygium samarangense is ornamental plant species from the Myrtaceae family. It is also known as royal apple, love apple, java apple, wax jambu, rose apple or bell apple. It is a bell shaped edible fruit with almost crunchy smooth waxy skin. The fruit is often thirst quenching, with mild scented flavor and sweet-sour taste. The middle is usually seedless or made up of a large seed. Red Wax Jambu is tropical and subtropical tree plant native to Malaysia, India, and Indonesia. Today, the plant is grown worldwide including Nigeria (commonly known as “Nigerian apple”). It takes at least three years for the apple to germinate. The tree bears about 1000 fruits per harvest with minimum of two harvest seasons in a year. Red wax Jambu is encumbered with nutritional value and health benefits. It contains carbohydrates, proteins, water, vitamins and minerals with traces of vitamins B, K and E. They are good sources of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds naturally found in plants that have anti-inflammatory properties which tend to act as an antioxidant. Phenolic and flavonoids compounds, is responsible for the antioxidant activity. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize free radicals caused by various diseases such as cancers, arthritis, coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cold, flu, bladder in- Health & Wellbeing Wednesday, January 1, 2014 fections, etc. The main pigment responsible for the red colour in Red Wax Jambu is carotinoid called lycopene. Lycopene is linked to prevent heart disease and prostrate cancer. A study conducted by the Harvard researchers examined the relationship between carotenoids and the risk of prostrate only the carotenoid lycopene was associated with protection. The fruits are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral which maintains proper heart function and regulates normal blood pressure, neuromuscular function, suppresses calcium excretion in urine which can lead to kidney stones and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and stroke. It is also a good source of calcium. Calcium carries out the critical function of bones and teeth formation, nerves and muscles function, lowers blood pressure, and activates enzymes that convert food to energy. Calcium can also help prevent osteoporosis in adults and stunted growth in children. It is rich in magnesium which is essential to bone growth and production of cells, genetic materials and normal heart rhythm. Red Wax Jambu is a good source of vitamin A which is vital for protecting the eyes and normal vision and also lessens risk of night blindness and vitamin C, which helps to increase resistance against infectious diseases and scavenge harmful free radicals. They contain no saturated fats and sugar. Red Wax Jambu has insignificant amounts of cholesterol and sodium, as well. Research has shown to prevent the development of prostate and breast cancers. The study showed the potential risk of unpleasant breast cancer for ladies who consumed high-fat diets. The fruit is rich in fiber, a substance which has been proven to reduce cholesterol levels and aids digestion. Red Wax Jambu has an effect on the pancreas within diabetes victims and also behaves as a block from the conversion of starch into sugar. Researches have shown that the seeds, roots and barks have alkaloid called jambosin which helps lower sugar levels within the urine. The health benefit of the fruits to diabetics is attributed to this compound. While jambosine in the apples is still under further study, it is noteworthy that they have low glycemic index. This makes it one of the few fruits, including grapefruits and apples that are good for diabetics. According to studies, bell apples are good for digestion, and good remedy for digestive disorders, such as gas removal, diaorrhea, dysentary, indigestion and removes worms. It also removes respiratory disorders, dental problems, heart diseases and skin problems. Red Wax Jambu has volatile oils which help in medicinal applications. The fruit is recognized as a tonic for the brain and liver. A 2008 study published in “Advances in Biological Research” indicates that the fruit’s phytochemicals have mild antibiotic and antifungal properties. Consequently, red wax jambu are utilized traditionally but not clinically proven. An infusion of the fruit behaves as a diuretic and also an expectorant and cure for rheumatism. A syrup preparation of the flowers is considered to lessen a fever. Powdered leaves have already been applied on the bodies of smallpox sufferers for the chilling result. However, in accordance with medical research, both the seeds and roots are poisonous and really should be utilized using extreme caution. Red Wax Jambus are used for making wine and vinegar. The juice of ripe fruit is also used for preparing jams, jelly, sauces and other beverages. Apart from consuming the fruit raw, it can be added in salad dressings or dipped in a sweetishspicy sauce. The trees can be grown for aesthetic purposes and a source of income. 21 Contraceptive Vaginal Ring phase 3 trial shows positive result T he American Population Council has presented findings from a Phase 3 clinical trial that was designed to demonstrate the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of the Council’s investigational one-year contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR). The results, presented during an oral session at the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine recently showed that that the safety profile of the vaginal ring is consistent with that Vaginal ring of available combined hormonal contraceptives. The study Compiled by Franka Osakwe presented of Child Health and Hutoday (Study 300B) is part of an exten- man Development, Consive clinical trial package traceptive Discovery and that will be submitted as Development Branch. Study 300B was a multipart of a New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and center, open-label trial that Drug Administration. The involved more than 1,100 application will include healthy, normally ovulating two pivotal Phase 3 clini- women across 12 study sites cal trials conducted with in Australia, Europe, Latin more than 2,000 women America, and the United across 27 study sites world- States. Preliminary results wide. Study 300B evalu- suggested that the CVR -- a ated the contraceptive type of long-acting, reversefficacy, safety, and accept- ible contraceptive (LARC) ability of the CVR, and -- is as effective as other Study CCN006/300A evalu- combined hormonal conated efficacy and safety. traceptives in preventing The studies were conduct- pregnancy when used as died in partnership with the rected. Preliminary results U.S. Agency for Interna- also suggested that the safetional Development (US- ty profile is consistent with AID); the World Health that of available combined Organization (WHO); and hormonal contraceptives. In addition to evaluating the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy contraceptive efficacy and Shriver National Institute safety, Study 300B assessed SCIENCE wo m e n ’s acce ptance of the CVR. The study found that women were highly satisfied with the ring, found it easy to use, and indicated that they would recommend it to other women. The ring was also wellaccepted by their partners. “These results add to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of the Council’s investigational one-year contraceptive vaginal ring,” said Ruth Merkatz, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Development for the Population Council’s Reproductive Health Program. “If approved by regulatory authorities, the ring will offer a unique contraceptive option: a contraceptive that is effective for one full year, is under the woman’s control, and does not require insertion by a health care professional.” New candidate drug to prevent block, treat multiple stages of malaria life cycle N ovartis scientists have discovered a new drug target for treating malaria. The discovery, which is published online in the journal Nature, identifies phosphatidylinositol-4 kinase (PfPI4K) as the target of the imidazopyrazines, a novel experimental antimalarial compound class that inhibits the development of multiple malaria-causing Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the human host. The on-going research to develop imidazopyrazines as a new treatment for malaria is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Medicines for Malaria Venture. Each year malaria kills more than 660,000 people most of whom are African children. While current therapies are effective against the most common forms of malaria, recent publications suggest that the efficacy of the artemisinin-derivatives has been compromised in parts of South-East Asia. In addition, these therapies are only effective against the acute blood stages of the disease, thus leaving some patients at risk of relapse after initial treatment. Relapse prevention is especially important for P. vivax, which can form hypnozoites, dormant parasites that can persist in the liver for up to two years before reinitiating a blood-stage infection. “This new target for malaria provides an avenue to develop the next-generation antimalarial drugs that are capable of preventing, treating and blocking the spread of malaria, a key goal of Novartis,” commented Thierry Diagana, Head of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases. “Compounds that inhibit this new target have the potential to complement our current malaria drug pipeline, KAE609 and KAF156, and could provide a path toward elimination of the disease.” 22 Health & Wellbeing Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Immunisation: FG to provide 6,000 solar refrigerators in 2014 …Says private hospitals can charge administrative fee on vaccination MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA A s part of efforts to improve on routine immunization coverage in Nigeria, the Federal Government has said it would purchase 6,000 refrigerators for each of the 6,000 political wards in need of the device in the country this year. The exercise, government said, will commence in the first quarter of this year with the provision of 2,200 refrigerators for 2200 wards. Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Ado Mohammed, gave the assurance recently in Abuja while briefing journalists on the his achievements and challenges during his two years headship of the agency. He said the effort was to enable the agency strengthen its coldchain system and working logistics and consequently achieve 100 percent immunization coverage of the nation. He also promised the remaining figure would be provided before the end of the year. Meanwhile, private hospitals can charge administrative fee on vaccines they give to children who obtain their services, the NPHCDA boss said. Dr Mohammed however said such charges should be minimal. He also urged that private health institutions handling the exercise could consider it a social responsibility by offering it free. He said the vaccines are given to the private health institutions free by the Federal Government, noting that the token charged on any child must be handling charge by the private health facilities. According to him, until now, the nation’s health system had not engaged private providers as service delivery point for immunization programmes, adding that government recognized the strategic role that private providers could play in reaching children and provision of health services in the country. The understanding, according to him, made the Federal Government go into partnership with the private health providers and signing a memorandum of understanding, MOU with them. “That came up as a result of wide consultations that we’d had over several months across the country and we’d agreed on terms of engagement. So, we provide vaccine to the private clinic and the private providers and they will use it to immunize our children. And, we’ve agreed on terms of this engagement. “So, I want to use this medium to say that those private providers that we signed MOU with, all the vaccines we delivered to them are free of charge. And, they may charge some certain stipend as administrative charge, which should not be much because the Federal Government is providing the vaccine free. We are also providing the commodities free. We even want them to, as part of their social responsibility, also discharge their own obligation to Nigerians,” Dr Mohammed said. In a related development, the NPHCDA boss told National Mirror that the agency was studying a recent report of National Strategic Health Development Plan, NSHDP, which faulted immunization efforts in the country. Report of the 2013 Joint Annual Review and Mid Term Review of the NSHDP had said: “Despite efforts made by government and partners, (including the phased introduction of new vaccines: Pentavalent, Pneumococcal Conjugate, Rota Virus and second dose measles) the national routine immunization programme made poor progress between 2010 and 2012 with the number of unimmunized children increasing by 70 percent (999,257 children) in August 2012 as compared to August 2011. Reduction in the number of un-immunized children was seen only in two states.” Vagina infection can be prevented by careful hygiene –Expert D L-R: Tea and Spreads Assistant Category Manager, Unilever Nigeria, Ms. Ogechukwu.Anozie, Master of Ceremony, Ajibola Adebayo (Holy Mallam) and Tea and Spreads Category Manager, Unilever Nigeria, Ms. Vivian Ihaza at the closing ceremony of Blue Band Margarine Sponsored National Growth Challenge held in Lagos recently. r Celsus Undie, a urologist with Kelina Hospital, Abuja, has said that infection in the vagina and urethra could be prevented by careful hygiene. In an interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Undie said vaginal infection, often caused by sexual exposure, affect women’s reproductive tract. ``Real infection is often caused by sexual exposure. Occasionally, it is caused by fungi, commonest of which is candida albicans. Candidiasis is a very common infection in women. It causes itching and a creamy vaginal discharge. There is extreme discomfort when the vaginal wall gets inflamed, swollen and red. Candida albicans tends to grow on moist surfaces between the toes in men and in the cavity of the mouth in those who are immunocompromised,’’ he said. He said the disease also grew in the vagina of healthy women who had not been sexually exposed. He said fungal spores lived everywhere in the environment, adding that it was not correct to call it toilet infection. ``Vaginal infection is associated with urinary symptoms. If the infection has extended into the urethra, there may be no associated urinary symptoms whatsoever. The vagina and the urethra are close together and it is possible for infection in one part to extend to the other. Otherwise infection in one is not exactly the same as infection in the other. Healthcare still bogged down by poor funding CONTINUED FROM 20 illiteracy, insecurity in hospitals and violent unionism would have buried the public sector hospitals in Nigeria. This success can only be traced to the professional training and exceptional discipline of the Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of the public sector hospitals. For remarkable progress to be made in the health sector in 2014, it is important that the following challenges are concretely addressed: (1) The low level of political commitment to healthcare by most governments in Nigeria, especially as depicted by the frequent travels abroad to seek medical care by political and public office holders, coupled with the poor healthcare funding and poor sectoral allocation/release to the health sector at various levels of government. (2) Poor security and safety of healthcare workers in their workplace, and other Nigerians generally. (3) Infrastructural and equipment deficits and dilapidation in the healthcare sector. (4) Poor constitutional and legal framework for health in Nigeria, particularly the absence of a National Health Act that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the Local, State and Federal Governments with respect to the three levels of healthcare; as well as the roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals. (5) Poor funding and budgetary provisions for health; It is worrisome that despite the clarion call of the NMA for improved resource allocations to the health sector, the 2014 health budget is less than the 2013 health budget and far less than the stipulated 15% of the National budget as stipulated in the 2001 Abuja declaration of African Heads of State. (6) Poor Health Human Resource Development plans, including poor recruitment of health human resource by all levels of government, poor capacity building and role definition, blunted job descriptions, uncompetitive wages, unsatisfactory working conditions and poor motivation of the health workforce; as well as the inequitable distribution of the health workforce. (7) Worsening Mass poverty in Nigeria. (8) Poor percentage lack of Universal Health Coverage for Nigerians; (9) Pervasive quackery in the health sector; (10) Weak Primary and Secondary levels of care with a weak referral system and the impact of the federal system of government on healthcare delivery; (11) Poor data base, and poorly developed Information Communication Technology and Health Management Information System; (12) Unbridled and indiscriminate advertisement of herbal and medicinal products on the electronic and print media; (13) Unwieldy and unproductive number of Regulatory Councils in the health sector; with conflicting professional regulatory laws/Acts; (14) Illegal prescription of prescription-only medicines by persons who are not licensed medical doctors, dentists or veterinary doctors, as well as chaotic and unregulated drug and reagent procurement and distribution. (15) Poor development of health-related infrastructure such as power, roads/ transportation system, potable water, agriculture, housing and security. CONCLUSION The health sector of Nigeria in 2013 witnessed good and bad times in 2013. While there are viable solutions that can drive greater progress in 2014, including insulating the health sector from the vagaries and bureaucracies of the civil service by creating a separate Commission for the health sector as was done by removing critical sectors like the judiciary from the civil service, I am sanguine that with the expected passage of the National Health Bill, sincere and improved commitment by the political leaders to good governance and participatory leadership; coupled with the altruistic and constructive disposition of all health professionals, the health sector in spite of the poor allocation to health in the 2014 Federal budget may witness some improvements in the year 2014. Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror Mirror National www.nationalmirroronline.net www.nationalmirroronline.net 23 Arts Lounge M songs come My w with a message ––Boomerang Living Funeral sweeps 2014 AMVCA nominations 26 24 Ruminating over future of Nollywood in 2014 The venue was the Protea Hotel Ikeja. An audience comprising filmmakers, critics, legal experts and scholars gathered to discuss some of the pertinent challenges facing the film industry in Nigeria as 2014, another year of production beckons. NGOZI EMEDOLIBE T he annual international film forum jointly hosted by the Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP and the France-based International Federation of Film Producers Association, FIAPF, has marked its second edition at the Protea Hotel Ikeja. It was a gathering of hot heads in film business, cutting across the entire gamut of genres seamlessly working for the success of film business across continents. Carefully drawn up by the Association of Nollywood Core Producers, the forum since its inception last year has formulated topics which are broadly discussed by local and international professionals in the film making business as part of ANCOP’s contribution to the growth of the motion picture industry. With papers by professionals like Bertrand Moullier, of FIAPF, Sandra Oduwole, a lawyer, Prof. Banjo Sodipe, a copyrights expert and Emeka Mba of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, amongst others the forum treated issues that would come handy as Nigerian producers brace up for the challenges of a new year. Topics such as: ‘Film and Video Censors Board: Censorship or Classification?’, ‘The Pros and Cons of Co-production Treaties’, ‘Towards a standard Calendar for the Theatrical release of Nollywood Contents’, ‘Contents for Distribution’, and ‘Pathway from Nigeria’s Analogue to Digital transmission’ came on the front burner as a way of reawakening the passion of the practitioners in this direction. Emphasising the decision of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers in pioneering the collective good of Nollywood through its annual forum, the national president of the association, who is also the vice president of FIAFP, Alex Eyengho, averred that the forum was determined as always to crystallize essential ingredients that would enable the film industry in Nigeria enjoy its future like it is elsewhere in the filmmaking climes. “At the end of this forum, the positions of ANCOP and FIAPF on some key issues will be crystallized. For instance, the issues of copyright law reform and the need for the film industry to enjoy strong incentives and legal security at home and abroad to support its economic growth are very dear to us. We will also dwell extensively on the issue of ‘Chain of Titles’, which is a global benchmark in the film business. How are we applying this in Nollywood and other African countries in the business of film? What obtains in other climes outside Africa? There is also the issue of the muchdesired Collective Management Organisation (CMO) for the audio-visual sector in Nigeria. We are indeed concerned that governments and regulators throughout the world may all too easily think that the answer to all the challenges of rights’ exploitation in future may lie in collective management. In actual fact, unlike in the music sector, the audiovisual and film sector have few forms of exploitation (e.g. cable retransmission, home-copying) where collective management is of direct relevance or pertinence. The point must be made manifestly clear here that collective management is only one methodology through which the film industry may protect value from trading its Intellectual Property (IP) rights and may ensure revenues are duly collected. However, experts, as you can see in the programme of events with you, will do justice to these salient topics.” Sandra Oluwole, a lawyer, who handled the topic: ‘Chain of Titles and the Practical Uses of Rights’, took the audience through the series of contracts that actually confer ownership of a film work to anyone and pointed out that such could be broken down into the several component parts making up the work, from the script to the musicals to the performance and the complete work. Accrodng to her, “Each of these elements, including the completed film, are works protected by copyright law of the country in which the film was made. Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, the creator or author of the work is the owner. For example, Ms Adichie is the owner of all rights to her book. The music is owned by the composer. The sound recording is owned by the record label or the musician. Photographs are owned by photographers or media companies and paintings by artists. The actor owns his performance. However, she explained, “each of these owners has certain exclusive rights in the respective works which include reproduction, distribution and public per- L-R: Prof. & Mrs. Bankole Sodipo with Mo Abudu and Eze (Dr.) Harris Chuma (sitting behind). L-R: Amaka Igwe, Chief Gab Okoye (Igwe Gabosky), Bertrand Moullier, Edward Edion, Prince Emeka Mba, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi (Reps of DG, National Sports Commission) and Mr. Jare Ajayi (Executive Director, Reproduction Society of Nigeria). NIGERIA WITH ABUNDANCE OF UNTAPPED STORIES AND IDEAS IS A HAVEN FOR CO-PRODUCTION TREATIES formance. These rights are required by any filmmaker to make his or her film. If the filmmaker does not obtain a formal written assignment of or license of these exclusive rights from the creators or owners of these works which are used in his film, then he or she cannot be said to have good title in his or her film. The fact that money may have changed hands and the filmmaker has paid for same is not proof of ownership.” Bringing it down to the Nigerian film industry where such cases often erupt, especially in this age of digital exploitation, Oyewole added that ‘With worldwide attention on the Nigerian film industry Nigerian filmmakers are encouraged to develop a good understanding of the copyright laws and begin to secure ‘Chain of Title’ contracts for their films. The chain of Title contracts will prove ownership, help to limit and or avoid litigation and encourage investment in the industry”. With one more year still remaining for broadcast stations in Nigeria to join the digital platform, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Emeka Mba, took the audience through the state of preparedness of the country in this regard. He seized the opportunity to inform the forum that the Federal Government has considered the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) document and consequently formed the Digiteam Nigeria – a multi-sector team to work with the Commission to drive the Switchover process. Bertrand Moullier in his paper on ‘Co-production Treaties’ highlighted the potentials the Nigerian film producers have in terms of co production partnerships with other producers in other continents. According to him, Nigeria with abundance of untapped stories and ideas is a haven for co-production treaties. But this factor is however being undermined by the factors that bother on logistics, funding and blended crews. “To make it work, you need nationality rules and a functioning Certification Unit (e.g. BFI in UK, CNC in France”, he explained. How much this will rub off on the industry in the New Year will be determined by time indeed. 24 Arts Lounge MEMORABLE READS PRECIOUS OKUCHUKWU Gospel singer and TV presenter Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Protecting African films from digital exploitation PRINCE B UBACARR SANKANU F What book is your favourite? It is Satan Get Lost, one of the books by Bishop David Oyedepo. Who is your favourite author? I will give it to Bishop David Oyedepo, because of what he has been doing in the propagation of the kingdom of God. For him to have the time to write these wonderful books in spite of his tight schedule is quite commendable. His books are inspiring many Christians in the world. What makes Satan Get Lost unique? As a gospel singer, I see the book as a print version of what I am doing in music. The book explains to the Christian that he or she does not need to fear the devil again. Once you read and understand the book, you will be armed with the reality that Jesus Christ has already disarmed the devil for you. How much do you spend annually on books? I do not have the accurate figure. I buy when I have the resources and when I need it. But I can open my purse when it is a book that has to do with uplifting my spiritual well-being as a Christian. What other things do you read aside Christian literature? I read fiction, when I am less busy. But I am more of a Christian literature person. If you become an author what will you write about? I will like to do a book on testimonies, to teach fellow Christians that they should never ever give up hope on God. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net or Africans, the first and most important thing is serious business model that will take advantage of the New Digital Media Distribution technologies. If we look at the Nigerian film industry, which is pivotal to our work, the current business model of producers, marketers and distributors serves as stimulus package for pirates and all those parasites who survive on Intellectual Property Rights infringement. We need to synchronise the release of Nigerian movies in such a way that the loopholes can be identified and sealed effectively. We all know that new media technology lowered the entry barriers that made the new Nigerian film industry possible in the first place. The same digital technology is making copyright abuse easy for lazy parasites. It is a doubleedged sword. There are countries that are however amending their Copyright Laws to accommodate this new digital media challenges. In Germany for instance, now film rights-owners can ask Internet Service Providers (ISP) to provide the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of movie prates so their computers can be located and with the help of law enforcement agencies confiscated and presented as evidence in court. This Law has spill over effects across Europe and beyond. As a Diaspora-based Pan African stakeholders, we will benefit from this law and our Nigeria and continental brothers and sisters will be covered as well. I have initiated a ten-year Nollywood rebranding project (20082018) and the Pan African Film Copyright Protection Society (PAFPCPS) is one concrete milestone of this decade-long project that seeks to address this problem of rights abuse. The Pan African Film Copyright Protection Society (PAFPS) as the name implies is a Diaspora-based International voluntary non-profit member-based Organisation out to make life difficult for pirates who violate the film copyright of its members. PAFCPS is open to anyone who owns or holds rights for cinematographic and similar audiovisual works. The Organisation works beyond borders and beyond seg- VOICES ments. The pirates do not care whether a movie is Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Akan, Kiswahili, Ibibio, Edo, Nigerian, Ghanaian or South African. They will pirate any good work they lay their hands on. PAFCPS can only fight for admitted members and works that are registered with it. This makes it easy for it to work affectively. Once your work is registered with us, we will keep monitoring the distribution and release points for possible counterfeits and together with the concerned local law enforcement agencies we organise raids and support the prosecution of violators. Another important work of PAFCP will be in prevention through producer and consumer training and awareness. Right now, consumers are not nominated to pay for quality due to the current business model of Nigerian and Ghanaian distributions. The market is still flooded. Those who watch movies on TVs are not motivated to buy their own copies. The VCD/DVD market and the TV markets are competing with each other at the detriment of filmmakers who are partly to blame for their â€˜quickieâ€™ mentality. TV is good for publicity but so far apart from the image exposure, Nigerian/Ghanaian producers are not seeing the benefits. For example one hundred thousand people watching a particular Nigerian movie on TV does not mean one hundred thousand sold original CD/DVD copies. We have a paradoxical situation through which Nigerian movies and stars are getting popular but the actual sale of original VC/DVDs are either stagnating or dropping. When did you last hear that a Nigerian movie sold say, one hundred thousand verifiable original VCD/DVD copies? Even twenty thousand sold copies are celebrated as tickets to paradise. We should be rational and not allow ourselves to be carried away by the emotional hype and quick money. We have a lot of work to do. The key constraints we are facing are the attitudes and greed on the ground. You will hear stakeholders complaining about piracy but when you present them with a serious plan for addressing the issue, some of them will be dragging their feet and giving lazy excuses. Sitting down, complaining, gossiping and bad mouthing are easy but WE THE PRACTITIONERS HAVE TO BE SERIOUS AND HELP GOVERNMENTS FIND THEIR ROLES AS RELIABLE DEVELOPMENT AND REGULATORY PARTNERS THAT WILL NOT SUPPRESS OUR CREATIVE FREEDOM Sankanu taking tangible action seems difficult for them. We are however not relenting; I am an actor cum producer and distributor and I will never allow myself to be a slave of the movie pirates. The PAFCPS has the legal cover to operate across borders. We know governments cannot do everything and film business is no government business except in religious and political dictatorships. We the practitioners have to be serious and help governments find their roles as reliable development and regulatory partners that will not suppress our creative freedom. With saw Nigerian film stakeholders calling for government help and when government comes in, they start crying. They wanted government to solve the distribution mess without them changing their model of flooding the markets with DVD/ VCD every forth-night. The government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has created a $200 million intervention fund for the creative industry. I just did a review of all the Nigerian film stakeholders and I am sorry to say ninety-five (95%) of them do not meet the requirement to tap into this fund. So they either have to change their business models or the implementing agencies will have to lower their barriers. I am monitoring the situation. The good thing is no lousy person will now accuse the Nigerian Government of not supporting the industry. President Goodluck advisers made a smart move here. With this fund, they have silenced the big mouths and noisemakers that always look for someone else to blame for their own mess. Sankanu is a director at Pan African Film Copyright Protection Society, Cologne, Germany. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Arts Lounge Wednesday, January 1, 2014 25 ARTISTE UNCENSORED My songs come with a message –Boomerang Oluremi Bunmi a.k.a. Boomerang has been in the music industry since 2005 but her unveiling as an artiste and the launch of her debut album took place on September 29 last year. Titled: Sweet. Sexy. Sassy., the album has 17 tracks that speak to all lovers of music. TERH AGBEDEH T he experience of the launch of Oluremi Bunmi a.k.a. Boomerang’s first album, Sweet. Sexy. Sassy., has been not just exciting but also made her very excited. “It has been so exciting and I am so happy because it has been a long time in coming. It is out there now and I know that the next thing is to continue going from here,” she told our correspondent immediately after the event at Protea Hotel in GRA, Ikeja. It was not just that a former Lagos State commissioner as well as a former police boss were at the launch. Or even that it was by all standards, a very successful launch. It was all that and the fact that this long-standing desire of hers was being fulfilled. “I have songs in the album that are up to three years old but we worked on the album project for a whole year in the studio and I thank God it is done,” she said. Boomerang has been a part of the Walkerman Movement led by the comedian Koffi Idowu Nuel for some time, in fact, she said, she has been doing music professionally since 2005. “I have been in the industry for quite a while now I have been doing this professionally since 2005. People have been in the industry for less time than that and have gotten their break. I pray from here on, my break will come,” she explained. Of course, she is not in the music for the sake of it and her songs, which she said are ethnic-centric, are pack full with messages. “When I do songs, I try to put a message out there. So, if you listen to all the songs in the album you will see that there is something behind it,” she stated. But she has not left the Walkerman Movement, with which she has done two albums, for a solo career in music. “But this is my own album. We are a family that decided to come together and do an album, we did that album but we are all individual artists who can also do solo albums,” she explained. The artiste, who also does other things on the side including jewellery and T-shirts, said there is ethnic MIDWEEK JUMP Olowogbowo begins 2014 with carnival T he six cows tied to the stake at the end of Broad Street, Lagos in the last week are now hanging from a grill spiced and ready for the Olowogbowo Carnival that holds on the very first day of the year. Every year at this time the residents of the Olowogbowo community are happy to hold this famous carnival amid so much fun. In fact, it is a time when The cow barbecue culture in her music, there is pop, a fusion of reggae, soul and rap, “everything is just together”. Boomerang said she would pick many of the songs as her favourite in the album that also has an intro and whose videos have been enjoying airplay. Boomerang said some of the songs to watch out for in the album include: Credit, FlirtyFlirty, Take Me, Olowo Ori mi and Yepa! “Music has always been a part of my life, when I wrote my first song I was barely 10. So when the time came for me to go fully into music I got the support of everyone at home including my parents,” she said. The Ondo State native had her early childhood in the United States of America, U.S.A. and is known by other appellations like: Bmg, Akanchawa Duchess, Rap Mayoress and Queen of tha clan, is the only female member of the musical ensemble, Workerman Movement. She has been at it for all of 10 years and has already released two albums with her label mates as well as collaborations with other entertainers. The sonorous vocalist sings in English, Yoruba, raps and does a bit of Jamaican patoi. The album features family, soul-lifting and inspiring tunes, groovy ballads female emancipative themes and content driven ideas and features artists like: W4, Sossick, Yemi Alade, Oritsefemi, Kiss, Butafly, Godwon, Q.A, Lowkeyz, Olujazz, Likkle Tee, Omalicha of Rhythm FM, and Westsyde. Among the producers of the songs are: Sossick, Lowkeyz, Ex.O, Joelex, Heartbeat, EL. Magnifique and Lord A. Boomerang many of the people who call Olowogbowo home but live abroad choose to come back home to be a part of the festivities that add up to the festival. Many of them, whether home or abroad, mark their calendars by it and to miss it is to miss out big time. Today, like every year on this day, there will be a lot of eating, drinking, dancing and networking on Broad Street. There will be a lot of colours from the aso ebi and carnival garb. The colour can also be gleaned from the decorations that will begin from Apongbon to the end of Broad Street. Participating carnival trains from different parts of Olowogbowo will strive to out-do one another in costume and float designs during the day and night. October 1 begins awards haul T he trailer for Kunle Afolayan’s latest movie, October 1 has won the prestigious International Movie Trailer’s Festival’s, IMTF award in the Best Fiction Trailer Category. The trailer premiered at the Lights! Camera! Africa! film festival late last year in Lagos. The film itself parades a crop of Nigerian and British actors including television soap Cock Crow at Dawn’s Sadiq Daba and Pirates of the Carribbean’s Da- Afolayan vid Bailey, Afolayan said, will The organisers reportedly sent Afolayan a letter on Monday to inform him of the win which amounts to $250. Afolayan will also be emailed a digital garland that he can use on his website or other online media by end of January, the letter from California, U.S.A.-based award organisers further said. The list of winners for this year’s contest signed by Murray Suid, a co-founder of the award, IMTF showed other winners. All winners except for the People’s Choice Award, were determined by the award’s seven-member jury. Each judge, Suid stated, voted independently and did not see the other judges’ ballots. Other winners are: Grand Prize: Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution by Matthew Van Dyke, People’s Choice Award: Battle of Surabaya by Aryanto Yuniawan, Documentary trailer: Istanbul United by Olli Waldhauer and Farid Eslam and Web series trailer: Still by Jonathan Holbrook. The rest are: Book trailer: Can You Hear the Music? by Dennis Farris, Best student trailer: The Unearthing by Tristan James Jensen, Micro trailer: Land of the Little People by Yaniv Berman and Trailer shot with a mobile: Magic Bullet by Errol Schwartz, among others. 26 Arts Lounge Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net FAR AND NEAR Living Funeral sweeps 2014 AMVCA nominations L ematographer (Idhebor Kagho); and Best Lighting Designer (Godwin Daniel). The award ceremony will hold on March 8 to celebrate all who have contributed to Africa’s film-making industry over the last 12 months. The announcement was made by AfricaMagic representatives (Vimbai Mutinhiri and Lawrence Maleka) during its 10th Anniversary celebration event at the Landmark Village in Victoria Island, Lagos. Living Funeral was first premiered in Lagos (October 2013) and later in Asaba, Delta State (December 2013). Since its release, it has had tremendous reviews from entertainment as well as public service critics. The film tells the inspiring story of Yvette, a young woman coming to terms with her battle with breast cancer. It portrays the incredible journey of hope, bravery and despair told through the iving Funeral has been nominated in eight out of 27 categories at the annual AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards, AMVCAs. The film, produced by Pink Pearl Foundation, a public service charity organisation, it is dedicated to creating awareness about Breast Cancer. Directed by Udoka Oyeka and produced by Mrs. Orode Ryan-Okpu, who is Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, it is also to sensitise the public to embrace early detection. The short, but touching film is shortlisted as: Best Movie 2013 (Orode RyanOkpu and Udoka Oyeka); Best MovieDrama (Orode Ryan-Okpu and Udoka Oyeka); Best Movie Director (Udoka Oyeka); Best Actress in a Drama (Stephanie Wilson); Best Supporting Actress in a Drama (Liz Ameye). Others include: Best Writer-Drama (Akpor Kagho); Best Cin- L-R: Mr Chidi Uzomah, Actor; Mrs Orode Ryan-Okpu, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Pink Pearl Foundation; Miss Stephanie Wilson, Actress and Mr Nobert Young, Veteran Nollywood actor, during the premiere of “Living Funeral”, a cancer film to create awareness about Breast cancer at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi eyes of the lead character’s sister (played by same actress – Stephanie Wilson) and her hard-hearted mother (Ameye) who struggled to come to terms with her daughter’s illness. To help her family deal with their grief, Yvette holds a mock funeral while still alive. The film stars Nollywood veterans, Liz Ameye (Benson), Norbert Young and fast-rising actress, Stephanie Wilson. Living Funeral is evidence to the or- FAS 2013 explores film adaptation goldmine 2Flame Entertainment empowers Abia youths TERH AGBEDEH NGOZI EMEDOLIBE T he maiden edition of the Film Adaptation Seminar, FAS 2013, organised by film critic, Augusta Okon, took place on December 6 with an intellectually stimulating and richly enlightening discourse. The seminar with the theme: ’Film Adaptation: A goldmine and reading drive in Nigeria’ assembled some of the finest minds from the designated spheres. Among them, Mr. Segun Oyekunle, MD/CEO of Abuja Film Village International, who delivered the keynote address. Other speakers who did justice to the subthemes include: Mr. Tunde Olaoye (writer/director of Married But living Single) on ‘Exploring the art of making film adaptations in Nigeria’; Mr. Victor Okhai (founder In-short international film festival) on ‘Film Adaptation: Exploring Possibilities in Nigeria’. Others to speak were: Dr. Adebola Ademeso (film scholar and Senior lecturer Lagos State University, LASU) on ‘Literature and Cross section of participants at the event Film: The Nexus of transmutation in Nigeria.’ To wrap it up was the legal practitioner, Folarin Dalmedia, who spoke on ‘Understanding the legal framework for film adaptation’. It was the general consensus that film adaptations stemming from Hollywood constituted about 70% of its film producing records and has served as a good platform for authors, filmmakers and publishers to obtain commercial success and sustain the reading drive. The seminar dwelt on several issues unveiling the clogs impairing the progress of film adaptation within the country and certain solutions were subsequently proffered, ranging from taking a portion of a story and developing same. This was the case in The Passion of the Christ, which dwelt on the death rather RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR T he Cross River State Government has commenced the process to privatise the state’s carnival reputed to be the biggest in Africa. Governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke and leader of Seagul band, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa disclosed this at the commissioning of the Seagul Mas Camp [new Headquarters of Seagul Carnival band erected by ita-Giwa in Calabar. The duo stated that the initiative when fully implemented will help in the sustenance of the biggest ever African street party rather that looking up to the state for sustenance. Imoke and Florence Giwa maintained that as stakeholders in the management of the carnival, they became worried that the in-coming administration in 2015 might not have the enormous capacity and passion needed to sustain the festival. They said it N o fewer than one thousand youths will be empowered by 2Flame Entertainment, at its talent hunt than the nativity/lifetime of Christ, authors should therefore go for scriptwriting/screenwriting training to acquire the skills needed to adapt their works. Screenwriters are also to enhance professionalism via training, which can bring about specialisation in adaptations among many other decisions. Guests included: Hope Opara (President Eko International Film Festival), Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner NLNG 2007 & 2012 first runner up Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature), Chief Dr Remi Ohajianya (Two term Chairman Actors Guild of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter), Femi Onileagbon (Chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors Lagos Chapter), Iquo Eke (2013 NLNG longlist nominee), Myne Whitman (founder of Naija stories. com) in attendance. C’River State to privatise carnival Imoke ganisation’s dedication to increasing public awareness through education about symptoms, prevention, diseases processes and the importance of regular examination for early detection. The AMVCAs were created to acknowledge and reward the sterling contributions made by deserving pan African filmmakers, actors and technicians in the overall success of film and television industry on the African continent. has become pertinent for them to bring in the private sector to contribute in the management of the festival adding that based on the indices on the ground, the government alone cannot adequately run the carnival because they are aware that previous governments had gone extra miles to sustain the event. The senators averred that the move became necessary because they want the bands to take over the leadership and ownership of the bands. The governor urged Giwa to ensure that Seagul Mas Camp was not only stocked with ‘small chops’ but that its library is also stockpiled with books, video tapes and journals that can be acquired to showcase the history of the various carnival shows. He said: “People should be able to come to Mas Camp to read books and watch videos that can help in the showcasing of the Carnival ceremonies.” Imoke also said that very soon the government was going to establish a Carnival City. show. Lucky Igbokwe, chairman of the group has said in an interview with the press. He said that the talent hunt was targeted at students of Abia State origin in the tertiary institutions who have a knack for the entertainment industry. “This talent hunt is in continuation of our support for the several empowerment programs of the state government to the youths. The greatest challenge facing our society is unemployment because the rate our high institutions churn out graduates annually is over-stretching existing infrastructure. So we feel the best way to give back to society is to seek for budding talents in the entertainment industry and expose them to the larger world,” he said. Igbokwe said that the entertainment industry was one veritable sector that had the capacity to reduce unemployment in the country. He said that 2Flame would partner with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to make the talent hunt a huge success. “Quite a number of Nigerian students are talented but their progression in the industry has been impeded by dearth of funds and sponsorship. The empowerment will not only be restricted to students because we also have plans to assists budding talents in the state who are out of school. Such people will be given scholarships because we believe artistes perform well when they are educated and the good thing is that people can combine education and entertainment,” he added. 2Flame Entertainment organised the first Abia Youth Alive Music Concert in partnership with the Ochendo Youth Foundation. Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Ameobi aims for top six National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 27 Sport Mourinho is the best coach in the world. He is not God, but he almost is. – CHELSEA STRIKER, EDEN HAZARD 30 Nigerians can’t force Osaze on me –Keshi S uper Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, has dropped the strongest possible hint that Cardiff City striker, Osaze Odemwingie, will not make his final squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup just because he’s wanted by the majority of the fans. Keshi told supersport. com that Nigerians can’t force Osaze or any other player on him based only on sentiments. Odemwnigie has not played for Nigeria since February 29, 2012 when the Super Eagles were held to a 0-0 draw by Rawanda at the Stade Régional de Nyamirambo in a 2013 Africa Nations Cup qualifying game. The 32-year-old has since expressed his desire to return to the Eagles in time for the World Cup finals in Brazil later this year. “I was in the Nigeria squad for the last World Cup finals in South Africa and I would love the chance to go again,” Odemwingie told WalesOnline in November. “I believe I have a chance and when it comes I would be delighted. I haven’t been selected lately because the coach is making changes to the squad and it affected all the older players so the situation wasn’t friendly. “Playing for my country in Brazil would mean so much to me. No player will be in the squad unless they do well for their various clubs. Brazil is even more popular footballwise so it will be great if it happens,” he added. Recently, there has been a clamour from a large section of Super Eagles’ supporters for the recall of the striker who believe his experience could be invaluable for the team’s expedition to Brazil. Keshi has however categorically stated that he will not invite Odemwingie or any other individual based on the sentiments of the supporters. “I will not invite Osaze (Odemwingie) or any other player just because Nigerians want that player in the team. I cannot do that,” Keshi told supersport.com. He reaffirmed his earlier position on the situation explaining that the former Lokomotiv Moscow attacker will have a fair crack to force his way into the team. “Right now, I can’t say categorically that he (Odemwingie) will be a part of our final World Cup squad. “He is one of the players we have listed (for inclusion into the preliminary squad for Brazil 2014) but I don’t know if he’s going to come back or not. “We will see how it goes. If ’s he’s playing good (for Cardiff City), we will see how it goes,” he said. President Abdel Aziz CHAN: Mauritania raises $1.6m for team M auritania has raised $1.64million via a television fundraising campaign to support the participation of the country’s home-based national football team in the third African Nations Championship (CHAN). The event is due to kick off in South Africa on January 11. Many state and privately-owned companies as well as individuals responded positively to the appeal. Last Sunday, Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, appealed to his compatriots to support their national team to perform well at the tournament. Mauritania is in group D with DR Congo, Gabon and Burundi in the first round of the tournament meant for footballers in Africa’s domestic leagues. Odemwingie in action for Cardiff City Nigeria to host World Peace Wrestling T Power Uti wenty international professional wrestlers are expected to feature at the inaugural World Peace Wrestling Project scheduled for Nigeria in April this year. The World Peace Project is a collaborative venture between the current World Wrestling Champion, Power Uti of Nigeria and a Canadian firm, Quick Connect, to seek global peace. Uti, who made the announcement at a news con- ference yesterday in Lagos, said the wrestlers would come from 15 countries. The countries are the United States of America, Canada, Britain, Germany, Brazil, Peru, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Mexico Others from Africa include host Nigeria, Cameroun, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Uti as saying that the round robbing con- test would be held in seven Nigerian cities. “For now, only Abuja and Lagos have accepted to host us, but we are still discussing with others on the project of using sports to achieve global peace. Our concept of using sports for global peace has been on for a long time. “But we are only actualising it because of our understanding of the role sports can play in interna- tional harmony,” he said. Uti, who is currently a pastor with Living Faith Ministry, popularly called “Winners Chapel”, said the project included an international peace walk by the wrestlers. It will also involve a global peace seminar and an affirmation for the use of sports for global peace. In his contributions, the Chief Executive Officer of Quick Connect, Mr. Victor Osazua, said the partnership would also be used to create employment for Nigerians. 28 Sport Wednesday, January 1 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net GLO 2012/2013 season: The The 2012/2013 GLO Premier League was not all about postponements which almost frustrated the actors. But there were still some exciting moments. From tales of home teams’ invincibility, foreigners leaning on the league for continuity and launch pads, to a commendable number of players gunning for the top scorer’s award, the past season was one to remember. IKENWA NNABUOGOR captures the development. N ever in the history of the domestic league has it experienced postponements like the 2012/2013 season which eventually began way behind schedule. Few years ago, the organisers of the home front re-modelled the league after most European league, having run a format which began early January and finished late November. But this past season with his attendant problems ranging from sponsorship rows between two telecoms giants, court battles to stop the newlyformed League Management Company amongst others issues threatened the 2012/2013 season. At the end of the battle, Globacom won the sponsorship war and the season eventually began four months behind schedule, investing a whopping N2.6 billion (around $41 million) and sealing a fouryear contract. A tale of an abridged league to make up for the unprecedented postponements, with a view to keep in line with the Europeans leagues, was told by the LMC which met with nationwide criticisms, following the body to quash the idea and let the league run on its full course. The main actors ��� the players grew impatient and tired of the situation as the 2012/2013 season suffered, leaving some of the actors with the choice than looking elsewhere. Three-horse race The season finally on March 10 saw League champions Kano Pillars not hiding their intentions of retaining the league title they won the previous season. But they never went down with a fight as the likes of Enyimba and Bayelsa United giving them the stiffest oppositions of their lives. The departed coach Baba Ganaru-led side proved their champions’ stuffs opening their season with a 1-0 victory at Wikki Tourists in the opening fixture. Though, the Kano-based side didn’t show enough promise away from home, claiming one more victory on the road and showing great invincibility at home to retain the league title. Statistics showed a keenly contested race among the three contenders, though Pillars barely appeared worthy champions. They lost a total of 15 games, all on the road and claimed a paltry three draws throughout the season. Their defence was also not that of the worthy champions, having leaked 40 times. Goals aggregate of plus six showed that they only scored 40 goals. In the early stages, sixtime champions Enyimba were not in the frontline, neither were they in the three-horse race as poor results and poor players’ welfare conspired to make the two-time CAF Champions League champions look like also-rans. At some point, they wallowed in the mid-table waters as their performances, especially at away appeared to make them look ordinary. Drastic measures were slammed by the sponsors as the players were slashed, forcing the Aba Millionaires to pick up the pace and eventually catapulted themselves to the top bracket, giving Pillars and Bayelsa United a good Victor Namo Victor Namo Rabiu Ali 2012/2013 Glo Premier League Final Standings Coach Baba Ganaru Team MP W D L F A D P Kano Pillars 38 20 3 15 46 40 +6 63 Enyimba 38 18 8 12 32 19 +13 62 Bayelsa United 38 19 4 15 42 39 +3 61 El Kanemi 38 18 6 14 41 33 +8 60 Enugu Rangers 38 18 4 16 47 37 +10 58 Warri Wolves 38 15 10 13 42 33 +9 55 Gombe United 38 18 1 19 38 46 -8 55 Sharks 38 15 8 15 35 32 +3 53 Dolphins 38 15 8 15 32 34 -2 53 Kaduna United 38 17 2 19 37 45 -8 53 Heartland 38 16 4 18 39 32 +7 52 Sunshine Stars 38 15 7 16 39 35 +4 52 Nasarawa 38 15 7 16 37 42 -5 52 Lobi Stars 38 15 7 16 35 40 -5 52 Nembe City 38 16 4 18 31 47 -16 52 Akwa United 38 14 9 15 41 46 -5 51 Kwara United 38 13 11 14 32 32 +0 50 ABS 38 14 8 16 35 43 -8 50 Wikki Tourist 38 15 4 19 40 41 -1 49 Shooting Stars 38 13 7 18 41 46 -5 46 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Sport Wednesday, January 1 2014 good, the game and the suspense run for their money. Newly-promoted Bayelsa United, with their five foreigners proved a hard nut to crack and only few points separated the frontliners as Pillars breasted the tape despite losing in the last league fixture. The Yenagoa-based side didn’t also fare any better away and had been a little bit sharper in front of goals at away, they, indeed, would have clinched the league title, making the third club after defunct Leventis United and Udoji United, to achieve the feat. Goaledor’s race The race to the top scorer’s award this past season was as interesting as well as stiff among the top contenders. Victor Namo of Nassarawa United claimed the title with 17 goals. The former Kano Pillars striker was nowhere near the reckoning for the title as he was not in the picture in the early stages. Last season remains the best for the sleeping giant who had previously not hit the double figures in his professional career. Namo only managed a handful of goals while he played for Pillars, Mighty Jets and Yobe Desert Stars and exploded for Nassarawa United this past season, etching his name in the annals of Nigerian soccer as one of the leading scorers. The Plateau State-born striker won the race with 10 of his goals coming from the spot. Former Sunshine Stars’ bulky striker Dele Olorundare led the pack of early contenders for the top scorer’s title, with the likes of Bishop Onyeudo and Warri Wolves’ youngster Etebo Oghekaro breathing down his neck. Olorundare led the chart as the first round of the season finished and the 23-year marksman left the local scene to pursue a pro career with Turkish second tier side Tavsanli Linyitspor, leaving the race for Namo and company to finish. From Glo Premier League to Super Eagles Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi continued to cap more domestic league players following the impressive performances of Azubike Egwuekwe, Ejike Uzoenyi, Sunday Mbah, Godfrey Agbim and Gabriel Rueben. This past season also witnessed a bigger number of players from the local scene donning the national colours. Previously, the national team was largely made of players from the domestic league as few players traded their game abroad. But Keshi changed all that as he breathed new and fresh life into GLO Premier players who believed they needed to take their game abroad for a chance with the Super Eagles. Sunshine Stars’ right back Solomon Kwambe led the pack of ‘second generation’ local league players to play for the national team. Joining Kwambe in the Eagles’ squad were Sunshine Stars’ team mate Kunle Odunlami, Pillars’ duo of Gambo Mohammed and Rabiu Ali, Wolves’ Oghenekaro and, Enyimba’s Henry Uche. Completing the list are Heartland’s exciting left back Benjamin Francis, Rangers’ duo of Emeka Eze and Chibuzo Okonkwo, Lobi Stars’ defender Sango Umar. Since the departure of Godfrey Oboabana, Egwuekwe, Mba and lately, Francis have continued to flag the Glo Premier League’s flag at national team level. Oboabana, former Sunshine Stars’ captain, rode on the Eagles’ wave to grab a lucrative contract at Turkish side Rizespor as he continued to maintain his regular shirt in Keshi’s side. Egwuekwe and Mbah are next in the line to leave for their pro careers abroad as both players’ places for CHAN seriously in doubt. Egwuekwe recently told the local media that he was not sure of making the CHAN list as a horde of European clubs are closing up on the six-foot plus striker. Also on his way out of the GLO Premier League is Mbah, who is reported to have flown to France to tie up a deal with Bastia. Mbah had signed a contract with the other Bastia side, CA Bastia, playing in the French second tier but backed out almost immediately citing contractual disagreements. Veteran Ezeji Enyimba’s Victor Ezeji reached a milestone this past season as the first and only player in the history of the domestic league to have spent 18 years in the league. Victor Ezeji Nduka Irabor Medrano Tamen Ogbenekaro Eteno The tricky striker, a fivetime league champion with Enyimba and Dolphins, marked his 18th year in the league with a number of appearances and two goals for the Aba Millionaires. From a humble beginning at Eagle Cement in the 90s, Ezeji went to become a household name and even earning a few caps for the Super Eagles. The University of Port Harcourt graduate had a brief spell in Tunisia at Club Africain before returning to the local scene to continue where he left off. He was also top scorer in the league, claiming the award in 2004 season to cap the season with Dolphins with a double. Foreign invaders The 2012/2013 witnessed an unprecedented number of foreigners with Bayelsa United paying salaries of five of them. But El-Kanemi Warriors’ Cameroon striker Rapheal Boumsong takes the biscuit as the most influential foreigner this past season. Boumsong, no relation of Cameroon-born France international Jean-Alain Boumsong, cracked in 11 goals in his first season, to run away with the League Bloggers Award Best Foreign Player. The youngster was by a mile the best foreigner, to put in the shade the achievement of compatriot Tamen Medrano two seasons ago. Medrano also retraced his steps to Sunshine Stars where he achieved so much two seasons ago after political crisis cut short his spell at Egyptian side Petrojet. Medrano re-joined Sunshine on a short contract to keep fit while awaiting his return to Egypt. Other foreigners of note were Rangers’ Cote d’Ivoire central defender Pierre Coly , who alos grabbed the healines for the wrong reasons; Benin Republic international Junior Salomon of Bayelsa United, Cameroon defender Joel Djondang of El-Kanemi Warriors as well as Rwanda international Stiv Nzigamasobo of Rangers. Chad international Hassan Hissien was also impressive on the wings for fourth-placed El-Kanemi Warriors. Coach Salisu Yusuf Dele Olorundare 29 30 Sport Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Arsenal hit by injury crisis A rsenal manager Arsène Wenger admits he is facing a potential injury crisis ahead of the New Year’s Day encounter against Cardiff City, which striker Olivier Giroud will definitely miss because of an ankle problem. Midfielders Tomas Rosicky (calf) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) both face fitness tests as does England forward Theo Walcott, who picked up a shoulder problem in the 1-0 win at Newcastle. The full-back Kieran Gibbs definitely misses out because of a calf strain, while fellow defenders Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen have both been laid low by illness. Midfielder Aaron National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Ramsey is expected to be unavailable for around three weeks with the thigh problem suffered in the win at West Ham on Boxing Day, while the German playmaker Mesut Özil is also sidelined, with the club awaiting results of a visit to a shoulder specialist. Wenger said, “You need a good memory because we have plenty of problemsy. Ramsey and Özil are out. Lukaku says top four finish is a certainty E Wenger verton striker Romelu Lukaku believes his team are certainties to secure a top four finish this season if they maintain their ruthless streak and he has not ruled Roberto Martinez’s side out of an improbable push for the Premier League title. Lukaku got back to scoring form as he fired the winner in Sunday’s 2-1 win against Southampton at Goodison Park, with the loanee Chelsea striker in a bullish mood as he prepares for the second half of the season. “You can say we are outsiders for the title now, you don’t need to be shy about that”, Lukaku told reporters ahead of Everton’s game at Stoke on New Year’s Day. Hazard: Chelsea are underdogs E den Hazard hopes that Chelsea’s underdog status in the UEFA Champions League could work in their favour once again. The Blues were classed as outsiders in the 2011/12 competition, but after seeing off Barcelona in the semi-finals, they went on to lift the trophy following a penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich. Jose Mourinho’s side face Turkish champions Galatasaray in the first knock-out round of this season’s competition, although Hazard believes that there is no pressure on Chelsea to win the tournament this time around. “We still have a young squad. Nobody’s calling us favourites for the Champions League this season”, he said. “Maybe it’s good. In 2012, when Chelsea won the Champions League, they weren’t favourites either. We’re already a strong team, but I think we still need two years to win the trophy. With some reinforcements, that must be possible. “In the European Super Cup final we played a draw against Bayern Munich, the strongest team in the world. So everything is possible. But first things first, we’ve got to beat Galatasaray with Didier Drogba, an icon at Chelsea”, he added In the Premier League, the Belgian bagged the equaliser as Chelsea came from behind to beat fellow title hopefuls Liverpool, and Hazard thinks the goal should prove some of his doubters wrong. He said, “Unfortunately the goal did not count double because it was in a big match. But I silenced those who said I only score against weaker opponents. That gives me pleasure. I try to score in every match. Lukaku Hazard Moyes: RVP ‘not far away’ M anchester United striker Robin van Persie is back in training and is ‘not too far away’ from making his comeback for the Premier League champions. Van Persie, 30, was United’s top scorer last season but has missed their last five games with a thigh injury. It is the second spell the striker has spent on the sidelines already this season but manager David Moyes believes the Nether- Ramsey for three weeks and Özil has seen a specialist last night, I haven’t got a report yet. We lost Gibbs at Newcastle with a calf strain. “We have as well Monreal and Vermaelen, who are not sure to be ready because they come just back from illness, then we have uncertainty about Rosicky, Wilshere and Walcott. We lost Giroud with an ankle problem at Newcastle”, he added. lands international could be back soon. And he is looking forward to reuniting Van Persie with Wayne Rooney in attack as the Englishman, who missed Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich with a groin problem, is set to return against Tottenham on Wednesday. Moyes said: “Robin has started some light training, and he might not be too far away either. We haven’t often had them as a strike partnership, so I look forward to getting them back together.” Ameobi Ameobi aims for top six S hola Ameobi claims Newcastle United are entering the New Year full of confidence and believes they can achieve ‘something special’ in 2014. The Magpies are currently eighth in the Premier League after losing just two of their last 10 outings and Nigerian striker Ameobi insists they have a strong platform to build from. Alan Pardew’s men fell to their first defeat in five on Sunday as Olivier Gir- oud headed Arsenal to the summit as the first half of the season reached a climax. Defeat at St James’ Park at the weekend ended a four-match unbeaten run for Newcastle, which began at Old Trafford on December 7 when Yohan Cabaye saw the visitors to a 1-0 victory over defending champions Manchester United. Newcastle also beat title contenders Chelsea and bigspending Tottenham ear- lier in the season, as well as earning a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, and Ameobi believes their position reflects the progress made in 2013. “Our confidence is sky high at the moment and that’s probably highlighted by the fact we were disappointed not to have got something from the Arsenal game”, he said. “We’re going into 2014 thinking we can achieve something special and that’s pretty incredible when you look at where we were 12 months ago. It’s great to have a squad that’s together and wants to get better.” After battling against relegation last term, eventually finishing 16th, Ameobi insists Newcastle have the credentials to stake a claim for a top six spot and place in Europe. Newcastle will aim to return to winning ways on New Year’s Day when they visit The Hawthorns to face a managerless West Bromwich Albion side. Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 31 Business & Finance There is no sector that has done more in the past five years to push the case of the real economy than the banking sector. – Outgoing Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede We have created 1.6 million jobs in the past 12 months. 431,021 jobs were created in the first quarter of 2013, showing an upward trend in job creation and an increase of 11.69 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2012. – MINISTER OF FINANCE, DR. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA Oil labour unions defer strike, plan meeting with FG on privatisation UDEME AKPAN WITH AGENCY REPORT T he nation’s petroleum industry may witness stability as two unions have deferred plans to start an indefinite national strike on today over government plans to privatise its four refineries. The unions -Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENGtook the decision yesterday to enable stakeholders consider the issues involved. Bloomberg that confirmed the development stated that the unions officials have scheduled to meet and examine the issues involved in the privatisation with government officials on January 7, 2014. It stated, “The manager-level Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, with 15,000 members has scheduled talks with petroleum and labor ministry officials for January 7, said its President Babatunde Ogun. The agency stated, “The bluecollar National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, or Nupeng, hasn’t set a date for discussions, though it will “engage” with government before deciding on strike action. It quoted Ogun a stating that, “If the government does not back down” PENGASSAN may call strike action which will start by halting the loading of crude cargoes and a gradual shutdown of oil and gas production. The refineries scheduled for privatisation are located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Warri, Delta State and Kaduna, Kaduna State. Available statistics showed that the government controls the plants through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; NNPC. The NNPC stated, “The refineries have a combined installed capac- ity of 445,000 bpd. A comprehensive network of pipelines and depots strategically located throughout Nigeria links these refineries. The corporation stated that the PHRC is made up of two refineries, located at Alesa Eleme near Port Harcourt with a jetty (for product import and export). It stated that the jetty is located 7.5km away from the refinery complex. In 1983, the Port Harcourt refinery with 60,000 bpd nameplate CDU capacity and the tankage facilities were acquired by NNPC from Shell. The NNPC stated, “Subsequently, a new 150,000 bpd export refinery was built in 1988 and commissioned in 1989. Therefore, the current combined installed capacity of PHRC is 210,000 bpd. It also stated, “NNPC, through its subsidiary, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, supplies only to bulk customers. They, in turn, meet the needs of millions of customers across the country for products ranging from gasoline and jet fuel to diesel, fuel oil and liquefied petroleum gas. T he Council of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria, CPN, has underscored the imperatives of Information and Communication technology in facilitating the accomplishment of Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020. ADVERT HOTLINES: For advert bookings and information, please contact the following: LAGOS: 01-8446073, 08037272933 08094331171, 08023133084, ABUJA: 08033020395, 08036321014 08029002500 Arik Air Lag-Abj:07.15, 09.15, 10.20, 13.05, 15.20, 16.20, 16.50,18.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun). Abj-Lag: 07:15, 09.40, 10.20, 12.15, 15.15, 16.15, 17:10, (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun); 12.15, 15.15, 16.15 (Sun) Lag-PH: 07:15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.10, 17.15 (Mon-Fri); 07.30, 11.40, 15.50 (Sat) 11.50, 3.50, 17.05 Sun) Abj-PH: 07.15, 11.20, 15.30 (Mon-Fri) 07.15, 16.00 (Sat) 13.10, 16.00 Sun) PH-Abj: 08.45, 12.50, 17.00 (MonFri) 08.45, 17.30 (Sat) 14.40, 17.30 (Sun) Abv-Beni:08.00, 12.10 (MonFri/Sat)08.56, 12.10 (Sun) BeninAbj:09.55,13.30 Aero Contractors Lag-Abj: 06.50, 13.30, 16.30, 19.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun), 12.30 (Sun) 16.45 (Sat) Abj-Los: 07.30, 13.00, 19.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat, 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 (Sun, 18.30 Sat) Lag-Benin: 07.45, 11.00, 15.30 (Mon-Fri/Sat/ Sun) 12.30 (Sun 15.30 (Sat) Ben-Lag: 09.15, 12.30, 17.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) 17.00 (Sat) 14.00 (Sun)Lag-Owe: 7.45am, 2pm daily IRS People queue to withdraw money from ATM in Okene, yesterday. ICT critical to achieving Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020, says CPN KUNLE A ZEEZ FLIGHT SCHEDULE The auspicious target set by Nigerian government is designed to encapsulate a policy target to make Nigeria one of the 20 leading economies in the year 2020. Speaking in a paper during an e-Business conference orgainsed by the Nigeria Internet Group in Lagos, the Chairman of Council of CPN, Alhaja Sekinat Yusuf, said ICT was a key driver of economic growth. ‘70% of Nigeria’s imports physically examined’ 32 She also noted that broadband is probably the single most important, cross-cutting development in ICT at this time, stressing that choosing the right policy responses can have an immense impact both for the public and the private sectors. She said: “Nigeria has a formidable challenge in joining the exclusive list of 20 most developed economies by year 2020 and IT would be crucial to becoming a Lagos-Abuja 7.30 8.30 7.45 8.45 09.30 10.30 10.30 11.30 12.30 13.30 14.30 15.30 16.30 17.30 Lagos-Kano 08.00 09.15 10.30 11.45 14.30 15.40 18.15 19.30 Los-Maid&Yola (Mon-Thur) 09.30 11.30 Fri- Sun 10.30 12.30 KanoLagos 07.30 08.45 14.00 15.15 17.30 18.45 Kano-Abj 10.45 11.30 Abj-Lagos 09.00 10.30 11.00 12.00 12.00 13.00 member of the club. “Therefore, promoting Broadband Technology in Nigeria cannot be done without encouraging entrepreneurship and facilitating small and medium enterprises, SMEs, especially among young people. We need to do more in reinforcing the role small and medium enterprises play in the digital economy and promoting the development of local content and application.” Why electricity consumers should expect more outages in 2014 35 Nigeria can’t afford to do business as usual in agriculture –Akinbamijo 46 32 Business & Finance Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net ‘70% of Nigeria’s imports physically examined’ FRANCIS EZEM S trong indications emerged that the Nigeria Customs Service carries out complet physical examination on over 70 per cent of imported consignments into the country, citing high level of dishonesty of most importers operating in the country as its major reason. Managing Director of Global Scan Systems Limited, one of the service providers, which contract just expired under the Destination Inspection scheme, Mr. Fred Udechukwu, had shortly before the end of the contract raised the alarm that less than five per cent of the company’s installed scanning capacity was being utilised due to the service’s preference for physical examination. Udechukwu, who expressed fears over the ability of the customs to take over the DI scheme and sustain it wondered how a service that prefers physical cargo examination, which wastes time and hampers trade could manage a scheme that thrives on Computerised Risk Management System and scanning technology for imported goods. Area Project Manager at the Apapa Port command of the service, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf, who briefed newsmen in company of the Custom Area Controller in charge of the command, Mr. Charles Edike, disclosed that over 70 per cent of consignments go through the red channel, which comprises both the deep and light red. “Out of this 70 percent, 40-45 per cent go to deep red, which is physical examination while 2025 percent goes to members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, and the rest 10 percent goes to documentary list, which is made up of Single Goods Declaration, SGD, documents with government interventions such as waivers and diplomatic cargoes”, he said. According to him, while the light red signifies scanning, the cargoes which go through the deep red channel, which is made up 40-45 percent of the consignments that go through the red channel, go through physical examination, adding that the goods that go through physical examination are determined by the risk selectivity engine not by any human action. It was also gathered that four factors determine whether a consignment goes for scanning or physical, which include the type of product, the source or country of origin of the product in question, the integrity of the importer and the classification of the product, which combine to influence the risk selectivity engine. It was also gathered that consignments such as used engines are usually rooted through the physical examination channel because the scanner will identify the consignment as suspect, which makes it better for such consignments to be routed through the deep red channel, which is for physical examination. Yusuf, who is an Assistant Comptroller in the service noted L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema; Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson and Group Chief Executive Officer, Computer Warehouse Group Plc., Mr. Austin Okere, during the historic listing of the company on the exchange in Lagos recently. FG to cut down on wheat importation by 20% –Adesina T he Federal Government will cut down wheat importation by 20 per cent and save over N127 billion from its annual wheat import bill of over N635 billion as from 2014, Agriculture and Rural Development minister, Akinwumi Adesina has said. Adesina disclosed this yesterday in Lokoja during a two-day training workshop on cassava bread organised for Master Bakers from the North Central zone. He said that government had concluded plans to implement its policy of 20 per cent substitution of wheat with cassava flour in bread production, to reduce the bill. The minister, represented by Mrs. Toyin Adetunji, his Technical Adviser on Cassava Value Chain, said the policy was expected to save Nigeria over N127 billion. He said the Master Bakers’ training was part of measures aimed at developing cassava industry, create jobs and boost the income of the people. Adesina said the policy was also aimed at diversifying the country’s economic base from oil to non-oil sectors. According to him, with a production capacity of 40 million metric tonnes per annum, Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, with Brazil, Thailand and Indonesia trailing on. “The challenge to us as a nation is that Thailand, which is the third largest producer of cassava, controls over 80 per cent of the world market of cassava starch. “Hence, there is need for us to play our role as a leading producer nation.’’ The minister said that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved N10 billion as cassava bread development fund. He said that the training, which currently had a total of 770 master bakers across the six geo-political zones, was expected to train a minimum of six bakers from each local government area of the country. In their separate remarks, Mr. Dare Arotiba, the ministry’s coordinator of Agriculture Transformation Agenda, ATA, in Kogi, and Mr. Simeon Abanilo, Chairman, Master Bakers in the state, commended the initiative of the government. that more often than not the compliance level of most importers in the country is very low and so the selectivity engines automatically sends their consignments to the deep red, which implies physical examination. “You know that the system has an audit trail, which profiles the risk associated with an importer because as the importer makes his documentation, the system records some credits for him until such a time when the system will route his cargo to green lane on the basis of honest declarations he has made in the past”, Yusuf also said. Airport cab operators, FAAN, bicker of relocation OLUSEGUN KOIKI T he Airports Car Hire Association of Nigeria, ACHAN, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, may be entangled in another round of crisis over the relocation of the former by the agency. National Mirror gathered that FAAN had sent a notice of relocation to the car hire operators to relocate from the current site they have been using since 1978 for expansion purpose, but ACHAN are angry that the agency did not provide them with another suitable alternative before the relocation notice. FAAN was supposed to have effected the relocation order since Monday, December 30, 2013. A source close to the agency said that FAAN had communicated to ACHAN through two letters from the offices of the FAAN Regional General Manager, South West and the Deputy Chief Security office, DCSO, in-charge of MMIA. The letters, which were made available to our correspondent, claimed that a directive from the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah had directed that the cab operators should relocate to FAAN fire Service Officers Mess located adjacent to the present park of the cab operators. Some members of the car hire association, who expressed surprises over the development, said they were caught napping when their leaders informed them about it. They claimed that apart from the fact that the new location would be too small for them to park their cabs, they also complained that their place has no facility to either serve as office accommodation or waiting room for their members or intending passengers. The operators insisted that they were not against any infrastructural development project in the airport and their relocation, but claimed that as stakeholders and revenue client of FAAN, they should be given enough considerations by providing them with alternative space that would guarantee safety and security of their lives and properties as well as that of their passengers. One of the operators who does not want his name in print, said, “We were very surprise when our Chairman called us this morning and relayed to us the message he got from FAAN on Monday evening. According to him FAAN is asking us to relocate from here with immediate effect. “If this order has to be carried out, they should have told us long ago. We have over 200 cars most of which we bought on hire purchase. We also pay an annual fee of N37,000 to FAAN on each of the vehicles each year. We are an annual rent-paying tenant. We believe they have to give us at least six months notice to plan the relocation. “With what they are doing, the issue of safety and security of our lives, properties and that of our passengers are threatened. By the time they sent us out of the airport and touts are allowed to come in to exploit the situation, there would be a lot of challenge to security in the airport.” 11 ships waiting to discharge fuel, other commodities at Lagos ports T he Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, yesterday said 11 ships were waiting to berth at Lagos ports. NPA said this in a document, ``the Shipping Position’’, made available to newsmen in Lagos. It said the ships were laden with petroleum products and other commodities. The document showed that four of the ships were laden with petrol, while the remaining had diesel, kerosene, avia- tion fuel, bulk wheat, new vehicles and general cargo on board. The NPA also said that 78 other ships laden with different cargoes would also sail into the ports between Dec. 31 and Jan. 21. The ships will arrive with petroleum products, new and used vehicles, containers, general cargo, wheat, fresh fish, lubricating oil, sugar, rice, base oil, fertilisers, steel products and gypsum. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Business & Finance Wednesday, January 1, 2014 33 Broadband: NBC to strengthen collaboration with NCC KUNLE A ZEEZ T he National Broadcasting Commission has promised to strengthen collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission towards ensuring that the broadband plan targets being championed by the government is achieved. Director-General, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba, who made this known in Lagos said NBC be- lieved that the era of broadband, which is being ushered in by Nigerian government through the Ministry of Communication Technology and the NCC, will bring greater opportunities to broadcasters, especially in the area of managing convergence. According to him, “The future of broadband is exciting for us in the broadcasting sector and we would need a lot of major collaborations with the NCC to ensure that, together, we ensure broadband penetration.” Mba, who commended the government for the broadband intuitive, however, advised on the need for proper management of spectrum. “We all know that there are some spectrum bands currently being occupied by the broadcasting players for their transition which would be freed up come 2015 when Nigeria transit from analogue to digital broadcasting. Yet, the available spectrum must be well and judiciously managed between the telecoms and broad- L-R: Chairman, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, Export Action Group, Mr. Olu Olabisi; Manager, Tin Can Port, Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Longe; Chief Statistician, Mr. Ike Nwakpuda and Head, Sectoral Unit of NACCIMA, Mr. Kola Ademolu, during the group’s visit to Tin Can Port in Lagos recently. Cash machines raided with infected USB sticks R esearchers have revealed how cyber-thieves sliced into cash machines in order to infect them with malware earlier this year. The criminals cut the holes in order to plug in USB drives that installed their code onto the ATMs, the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, reported yesterday. Details of the attacks on an unnamed European bank’s cash dispensers were presented at the hacker-themed Chaos Computing Congress in Hamburg, Germany. The crimes also appear to indicate the thieves mistrusted each other. The two researchers who detailed the attacks have asked for their names not to be published The thefts came to light in July after the lender involved noticed several its ATMs were being emptied despite their use of safes to protect the cash inside. After surveillance was increased, the bank discovered the criminals were vandalising the machines to use the infected USB sticks. Once the malware had been transferred they patched the holes up. This allowed the same machines to be targeted several times without the hack being discovered. To activate the code at the time of their choosing the thieves typed in a 12-digit code that launched a special interface. Analysis of software installed onto four of the affected machines demonstrated that it displayed the amount of money available in each denomination of note and presented a series of menu options on the ATM’s screen to release each kind. The researchers said this allowed the attackers to focus on the highest value banknotes in order to minimise the amount of time they were exposed. But the crimes’ masterminds appeared to be concerned that some of their gang might take the drives and go solo. To counter this risk the software required the thief to enter a second code in response to numbers shown on the ATM’s screen before they could release the money. Operator commends Jonathan support for tourism P resident of Tabor Tours, a Jerusalem-based tourism firm, Mr. Joseph Tabor, the yesterday, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his support for pilgrimage and promotion of tourism in Israel. Tabor made the commendation in Jerusalem on the occasion of the investiture and award of Jerusalem Pilgrim, JP, title to 360 Nigerians, who had completed their 2013 pilgrimage to Israel. He said that Jonathan’s pilgrimage to Israel in October was a clear demonstration of his com- mitment to encourage Nigerians to do the same. “As a sitting president, he took time off to come to Israel this year and performed the pilgrimage, which is very rare indeed. “The pilgrimage was a clear demonstration of the president’s commitment to encouraging many Nigerian citizens to perform the pilgrimage, which promotes tourism. “Not many countries in the world give so many of their citizens the opportunity to perform the pilgrimage to Israel through government support like in Nigeria.’’ Tabor noted that Israel has a Christian population of just two per cent. He said that the Bilateral Air Services Agreement signed between Israel and Nigeria during Jonathan’s visit would further enhance pilgrimage and tourism between the two countries. One of the new JPs, Mr. John Odih from Delta, said that he was highly elated, adding that it had been his lifetime ambition to become one. casting players,” he said. The spectrum that would be freed up after the migration of broadcasting companies from analogue to digital broadcasting is called ‘digital dividend’ which has been said to be very useful in deploying broadband/ telecoms services. Since 2011, the NCC has been driving various initiatives aimed at ensuring broadband availability in the nooks and crannies of the country. Though, broadband penetration is currently estimated at about six per cent, the Federal Government, in the National Broadband Plan approved by President Goodluck Jonathan early 2013, targets a five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2017, to 30 per cent. Ahead of the availability of ‘digital dividend’ spectrum, the NCC has indicated its plan to license the 30MHz of 2. 3Ghz frequency spectrum to a wholesale wireless access operator. The NCC, last week, placed a minimum offer price of $23 million (about N3.6 billion) on the spectrum band to be auctioned to a sole provider of wholesale broadband services in 2014. According NCC, a reserve price, which represents the minimum amount an item is on offer in an auction, has been fixed at N3.6 million for the 30MHz of 2.3Ghz frequency spectrum sale scheduled to be concluded by Q1 201. This was contained in the timetable obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, umpire in the imminent contest. The winner of the single 2.3 GHz spectrum will become the sole wholesale seller of broadband services to other service providers in the Nigerian market; the regulator said underscoring plans to foster penetration of high speed Internet services across the country. The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, had recently told a telecoms forum in Lagos that the Information Memorandum, IM, for the race was billed to be released in a “few days.” HASAL Microfinance Bank launches new product TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA H ASAL Microfinance Bank Limited has launched its Microfinance Club House, a new account which allows high profile individuals to save a minimum of N10 million, for onward lending to genuine SME entrepreneurs and others at a cheaper rate to empower the active poor and generally improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians in the grassroots. The Microfinance club house is a fund management product of HASAL Microfinance Bank Limited, which seeks to mobilise tenured funds by sourcing for long-team funds to balance with the demand deposits; and redistribute wealth by empowering the economically active but poor persons at the bottom of the economic pyramid through creation of risk assets. Briefing the media on the innovative account at the Bank’s 5th year Anniversary Cocktail Party in Abuja, the Managing Director, Mr. Rogers Nwoke, said the initiative was in furtherance of the Bank’s vision to impact positively on the poor and vulnerable groups in its areas of operations by pooling funds from the rich on mutually beneficial terms to provide improved access to credit at a cheaper rates to the needy in line with the nation’s financial inclusion strategy. Nwoke explained that if the rich in the society embraces the product by saving in the Bank, HASAL MFB would be better positioned in its current drives to create more channels to more customers in need of money to grow their businesses and by implication, help in curbing the menace of unemployment, poverty and other socio-economic deprivations being experienced by Nigerians in the grassroots. Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who was the Guest of Honour at the social forum, has stressed the need for Nigerians to imbibe the culture of saving as a strategic option of supporting MFBs in their efforts to improve lending to the active poor to eliminate poverty and ensure sustainable growth of the economy. The lawmaker, who described the lack of saving culture among Nigerians as one of the banes of national development initiatives, urged the people in the grassroots to patronise the MFBs as a way of forging a symbiotic partnership for wealth for wealth creation and broad-based, peopleoriented economic growth in the country. Hon. Ihedioha said: “As a politician it is hard for us all to save money, any money that enters our hand we tend to spend it and that’s not the best way to live, we all should start saving money so that MFBs like HASAL MFB can easily lend to people and this account is the best way for us all to do just that.” 34 Business & Finance Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Pay pensions promptly, union urges FG MESHACK IDEHEN T he President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP,, electricity sub sector, Mr. Temple Ubani has urged the Federal Government to promptly effect payment of pensioners in the electricity sector. He said that is the only way by which the government can ensure that its efforts aimed at easing the sector’s industrial disharmony would succeed. Speaking yesterday, Ubani said the government must urgently resolved the biometric issues that has been used as the excuse for the delay, as members of the union are aware that payment of monthly pensions is not domiciled within the purvey of the National Secretariat, but with the Nigeria Electricity Management Company, NELMCO. According to him, while privatising the defunct PHCN, the Federal Government approved the transfer of non-core assets and liabilities as well as employees, rights and obligations of the moribund monopoly to NELMCO. He noted that development has made it possible to avert the series of protests, similar to the peaceful demonstration carried out at all pension pay centres nationwide that would have engulfed the power sector since the handover of PHCN to new investors earlier his year. Speaking on the incomplete biometric exercise, Ubani said “our partnership with NELMCO and the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, to conduct a biometric data exercise for all the existing pensioners between March 6, 2013 and March 9, 2013 were adjudge to achieve only 90 per cent. “We have requested the Federal Government through the BPE to conduct a mop up exercise to capture all those who missed out at the first exercise so that the second and the final exercise would capture all our members for peace and harmony to prevail.” The NUP president emphasised that his union inaugurated the pension harmonisation and electricity rebate review committee on March 26, 2013, comprising eminent members of the union to work together as team, stressing also that the report has been submitted to government. “We are worried over the continued delay in payment of 120 per cent arrears of pension arising from various increases that had in recent times poses a big challenge to us, though the union is not resting on its oars, as the struggle continues”, he said. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Overland Airways recommences flights to Minna OLUSEGUN KOIKI O ne of the indigenous airlines, Overland Airways yesterday said it is recommencing its daily scheduled flight services from Minna Airport to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Thursday this week. The airline also said that plans are underway to commence flights from Minna Airport to Ilorin Airport on the same day. The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Capt. Edward Boyo toljd journalists that the resumption of flight services on the Minna Abuja, Minna - Lagos and Minna - Ilorin routes was part of airline’s objective of improving interconnectivity and facilitating social and economic ties across the country. He informed that the flight to Minna would depart Abuja at 7.30am and arrive Minna at 8.00am while flight from Minna to Abuja would equally depart at 5:50pm and arrive Abuja at 6.20pm daily except Saturdays and Sundays. On the Minna - Lagos route, Boyo said flights would depart Minna at 8.30am and arrive Lagos at 10.50am, while flights from Lagos to Minna would depart at 3.00pm and arrive Minna at 5.20pm daily. Flights from Minna to Ilorin would depart at 8.30am and arrive Ilorin at 9.30am while the return flight would depart Ilorin at 4.20pm and arrive Minna at 5.20pm daily, adding that the airline has also introduced additional morning flight from Abuja to Ilorin and afternoon flight from Lagos to Ilorin. He said, “Minna is an important city in the North Central zone of Nigeria, and by linking it with Abuja, Lagos and Ilorin, Overland Airways will bring comfort and pleasure to the people of Niger State and the neighbouring states of Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi and Kwara. NTDC lauds Heritage Bank for supporting tourism T Shoppers buying vegetables at the popular “Oja-Oba” located at the heart of Ado-Ekiti, during their last-minute preparations for new year celebrations yesterday. Scientists say warming climate may cut cloud cover DAYO AYEYEMI WITH AGENCY REPORT O ne of the great unknowns of climate science is what effect clouds have in accelerating or slowing warming. A new study sheds a disturbing light on their possible impact. According to Climate News Network, Australian and French scientists believe they have cracked one of the great puzzles of climate change and arrived at a more accurate prediction of future temperatures. The news is not good, according to Steven Sherwood of Australia’s Centre for Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales. He says if carbon emissions are not reduced, then by 2100 the world will have warmed by 4°C. Researchers have been warning for 20 years on the basis of computer models that under the notorious business-as-usual scenario in which everybody goes on burning coal and oil, then as carbon dioxide levels double, global temperatures could rise by between 1.5°C and 4.5°C. According to the report, pessimists could cite one extreme, optimists the other, saying the range of uncertainty was a recognition that there were still some big unknowns in the machinery of climate, and one of those unknowns was the behaviour of the clouds in a warmer world. More warmth means more evaporation; more vapour could mean more clouds. Low-level clouds reflect sunlight back into space, and help cool the climate a bit. This is what engineers call negative feedback. But if more water vapour actually led to less cloud, then more sunlight would reach the surface and the world would warm even more: positive feedback would be in play. Climate models cater for such possibilities, but cannot choose between them. What Sherwood and his colleagues from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris did was to start with some real-world observations of what happens when water vapour gets into the atmosphere. They report in Nature that updraughts of water vapour can rise 15 kms to form high clouds that produce heavy rains, or the vapour can rise just a few kilometers before coming back to the surface without forming rain clouds. When this happens the process actually reduces the overall cloud cover because it dessicates the clouds above: it draws away water vapour from the higher regions in a process called convective mixing. he Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, yesterday commended the support of Heritage Bank to tourism development in Nigeria. This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos. The statement said: “The Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, applauded the support of the Heritage Bank Plc for its identification with the cultural values and norms of Nigerians.’’ She said that the bank had set itself apart as the only bank in Nigeria, which celebrated the past glory of the citizens and worked towards establishing a solid economic platform. Mbanefo said the bank had been identifying with the cultural aspirations of Nigeria as a nation by promoting the arts, crafts and culture of the people. “Heritage bank has always been supporting various tourism events and projects which venerate and spotlight the cultural essence of the people,’’ the directorgeneral said. She said that the current facelift given to the NTDC headquarters was financed and sponsored by the Heritage Bank, stressing that this was commendable. “I commend their assistance and support toward face-lifting the NTDC headquarters into a world class Nigerian tourism showroom,” Mbanefo said. She urged Nigerians to patronise Heritage Bank for financial support in promoting the nation’s culture, norms and values. Etisalat promises to support SME growth in Nigeria KUNLE A ZEEZ O ne of Nigeria’s telecommunications service providers, Etisalat, has restated its commitment to the development Small and Me4dium Enterprises by supporting of the Nigerian youth through empowerment and identifying with their goals and passion. The telecoms compant made the pledge during recent 2013 Nigeria Leadership Summit, held in Lagos. The three-day summit, organized by Anabel Leadership Academy, in conjunction with Etisalat Nigeria, started on December 9, with a two day conference tagged “Let’s get to work”, put together for the youth and entrepreneurs. The summit ended with a grand finale that was attended by prominent Nigerians including former Commonwealth Secretary General and renowned diplomat, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who led the launch of the ‘Empower Nigeria Initiative’ and ‘One Million Jobs for Nigeria Project.’ Speaking on the Empower Nigeria Initiative, Head, Business Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Bidemi Ladipo said that Etisalat had always supported youth entrepreneurship programs across the country, citing examples of the annual Market Access and EasyBusiness Millionaire Hunt, a scheme designed to provide grants of up to N20 million in support of SMEs, as some of the ways Etisalat supports entrepreneurship development. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 35 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Energy Week Why electricity consumers should expect more outages in 2014 email@example.com 07031546994 Based on government planning and pronouncements, many consumers of electricity expected to end year 2013 on a good mood as a result of improved supply. But UDEME AKPAN who investigated the state of power plants, transmission infrastructure, distribution and marketing in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the nation reports that consumers should expect more darkness in 2014. Afam power station I t was an English theologian, Thomas Fuller who stated in his travelogue A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine and the Confines Thereof – that ‘the darkest hour is just before the dawn.’ This aphorism, originally meant to raise hope in the midst of adversity has a literary meaning that cuts across England and other parts of the globe. But none literarily speaking, it clearly depicts the experience of electricity consumers who are waiting to usher in year 2014. It other words, the nation’s landscape looks darker than before, barely a few hours to the New Year as a result of inadequate and unstable supply of electricity. The reasons are not farfetched. First, it is fuelled by the vandalism of Nigerian Gas Company, NGC western axis pipeline which is supposed to deliver commercial gas to the stations for power generation. Consequently, the major pipeline has been constrained from delivering gas to the plants, including Egbin station which remains the nation’s biggest single power plant with over 1,000 megawatts, mw. The development has impacted negatively on the sector. For instance, it has reduced the nation’s generation from 4,600megawatts, mw to 3464mw which is about 6,446mw below the 10,000mw estimated daily national. Investigations in Lagos and Delta States showed that the rehabilitation of the facility may take several weeks to be completed, particularly as it was badly damaged at many locations. An authoritative NGC source who confirmed the development stated, “We thought the problem could be fixed before the end of 2013. But we later realised that it is not possible as we have to carry out maintenance at several locations. He stated, “This means that consumers would have to live without electricity for much longer than initially expected. In- deed, we need their understanding as we continue to do our best ensure much gas is supplied to the plants.” In any case, the challenges are not limited to generation. Contrary to expectation, they also affected transmission despite the involvement of Manitoba Hydro International Limited, MHI of Canada that has the mandate to reduce eliminate losses and maximise the transmission of electricity for distribution nationwide. But investigations showed that the nation still records several transmission losses which have culminated in low transmission. This has attracted the comments of many people, including government officials. For instance, the THIS MEANS THAT CONSUMERS WOULD HAVE TO LIVE WITHOUT ELECTRICITY FOR MUCH LONGER THAN INITIALLY EXPECTED. INDEED, WE NEED THEIR UNDERSTANDING AS WE CONTINUE TO DO OUR BEST ENSURE MUCH GAS IS SUPPLIED TO THE PLANTS Chairman, Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation, Mr. Atedo Peterside said, “Transmission is the “life-blood” of this entire electricity “eco-system” and it is also potentially the “weakest link” at present. I am reliably informed that, currently, stranded capacity due to transmission evacuation constraints is in the region of 100 MW. He said, “The ability of TCN to catch up with generation availability and also keep pace with future expansion will depend on its continued access to financing for its huge capex needs and also its ability to execute and rigorously monitor project implementation to high professional standards. Peterside stated, “The latter will inspire confidence and open the door to even more funding. Conversely, if that confidence is lost early on, then “third party financing” will dry up and the burden of financing TCN’s expansion will fall on the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN). He stated, “Unfortunately, the Board of TCN has not yet gotten its act together. Since the appointment of a Chairman CONTINUED ON PAGE 36 36 Energy Week Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Why electricity consumers should expect more outages in 2014 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 and some initial board members was first announced some months ago, so much time appears to have been lost in squabbling over who does what, when and how. If TCN does not deliver the goods in 2014, there will be a “crisis of sorts” when the ten NIPP power plants come on stream. The same can be said for the Gas Supply and Gas Transportation arrangements. The nation has also done badly in the area of distribution. Specifically, distribution has been grossly affected because of many issues, including vandalism of facilities like transformers and cables. The sector is also crippled as a result of the inadequate meters that should deliver electricity to all parts of the nation. In its recent research, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC uncovered that many consumers did not have meters to enhance power consumption. Consequently, the Commission issued a 14-day ultimatum to electricity distribution companies, DISCOs that are in violation of its Order to submit a list of all customers who paid for meters since January 2011, and commence metering them with immediate effect. The Commission expressed its utter dismay that all DISCOs have been in complete violation of the order as it relates to customers who have made payments within the given time frame, and have not been identified for immediate metering. It should be noted that NERC had earlier issued an Order on CAPMI – Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation. CAPMI was a response by the regulator to address the lingering issue of non-issuance of meters by the electricity companies. CAPMI allows for any interested and willing customer to advance money to their electricity distribution company and in return will be given electricity credit until the cost of the meter has been recovered by the customer. More than that, there are also problems associated with inaccurate billing of consumers in different parts of the nation as well as corruption of officials that extort consumers on regular basis. For instance, in November 2013, electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory have threatened a showdown over alleged sharp practices by former employees of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria who continue to issue crazy bills to residents. Specifically, residents complained about high billing, arbitrary disconnections without notice, inadequate power supply, refusal to provide metres to houses even after payment of high fares, intimidation by people suspected to be fake PHCN staff, and illegal confiscation of metres from houses. Investigations showed that widespread anger and discontent has reached boiling points in the six area councils against the former PHCN staff who were furthermore accused of persistently sustaining their previous operational technique despite the sale of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, the retirement and the sack of some employees by the Federal Government. Many residents complained about the constant epileptic power supply or IF TCN DOES NOT DELIVER THE GOODS IN 2014, THERE “ CRISIS OF SORTS ” WHEN THE TEN NIPP WILL BE A POWER PLANTS COME ON STREAM . T HE SAME CAN BE SAID FOR THE GAS G AS S UPPLY AND T RANSPORTATION Jonathan ARRANGEMENTS Nebo Alison-Madueke Amadi absence of electricity which lasts sometimes for three months and the distribution of inflated bills by former PHCN staff without considering the fact that no electricity was supplied for a long period. The story is not different in Lagos. For instance, electricity consumers who live in two-bedroom flats that used to pay about N5,000 monthly tariff now pay between N12,000 and N15,000, depending on the policies and practices of the dis- tribution companies, DISCOs. Consumers who live in three-bedroom flats and duplexes pay between N16, 000 and N20, 000 per month against about N7, 000 they used to pay. These bills include Value Added Tax and “meter maintenance charge” even though most consumers do not have meters. Industry sources said that PHCN officials had deliberately blocked the issuance of pre-payment meters after a noticeable drop in revenue as users would Power Station Available Capacity (Mid-Sept, 2013) Installed Capacity Kainji +Jebba 509 1,338.4 Shiroro 450 600 Afam 75 776 Geregu 138 414 Sapele 90 1,020 Ughelli (Delta) 340 900 Egbin 880 1,320 Omotosho 42 304 Olorunsogo 168 304 TOTAL 2,692 6,976.4 Source: NCP not need to pay for services not rendered as it is the case with the controversial estimated billing system. Even with the handover of the firms to private investors, the situation has not witnessed much improvement in all parts of the nation. Many consumers continue to groan under the excesses of some corrupt officials. At present, no one knows when solutions would be found. But there are strong indications that it would take a very long time and more commitment of stakeholders. However, the nation and its people cannot afford to fail at least for a reason. As one government official noted, “Nigeria’s Power Sector Reform Roadmap has caught the attention of the whole world because of the “big bang” approach that was adopted, whereby all the 11 Discos were being privatised in one fell swoop and all the Gencos were being privatised in two distinct phases (9 old PHCN Gencos, followed by 10 new NDPHC Gencos). He stated, “In so doing, we have set high standards and helped introduce global best practices at great speed into a sleepy, corrupt and inept industry where workers historically felt it was appropriate to be disrespectful to their customers while exercising monopoly powers and where favoured contractors periodically held PHCN to ransom by seeking cost escalation and abnormal profits rather than completing projects that would deliver the nation from darkness. There is therefore a great need for many stakeholders, particularly operators to take the bull by the horns. For as he stated, “The sector is undergoing major transformation, after decades of incompetence and graft, must be made to rapidly adopt high standards in order to signify to all the participants that it is no longer “business as usual”. In any case, the “win-win” aspect of the reforms arises from the better alignment of goals between players and the consumer, as the disciplined pursuit of revenue and growth by the Discos and Gencos should translate into many more hours of continuous electricity for the consumer who only pays for electricity supplied and consumed.” National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Energy Week Wednesday, January 1, 2014 37 OPEC basket price rises to $109.35 per barrel UDEME A KPAN T he price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC basket of 12 crudes has risen from $108.76 to $109.35 per barrel, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). The Secretary General of OPEC Dr. Abdalla S. El-Badri said the cartel is optimistic about global economic growth for 2014. He said, “Our forecast is for growth of 3.5 per cent, higher than the 2.9 per cent expected for 2013. Nevertheless, on a regional basis, there is a mixed picture. El-Badri said that the European economy had reached a “turning point” and there were “signs of hope. There are certainly signs of a recovery in some countries – in the UK, for example. He said there remain challenges in terms of high unemployment and high debt levels, particularly in a number of Euro-zone countries. The Secretary General said, “So, the economic recovery remains fragile; but we do see the Euro-zone returning to positive growth in 2014. In the US, there are some positive economic indicators with some stronger numbers for manufacturing and services, as well as rising exports. He said that the consumer spending was somewhat subdued in the third quarter and there are some headwinds. El-Badri said, “It is also hoped that the US government does not see a repeat of the recent debt stand-off. Overall, however, we anticipate stron- Oil vessel ger US growth in 2014, at 2.5 per cent, compared to the 1.6 per cent expected this year. He said, “In Japan, the country continues to enjoy government-led support measures and a growth revival. But there remain challenges for the government in its ongoing recovery and fiscal consolidation efforts. El-Badri said in China, even though the country’s economic growth for 2013 slipped from a predicted 8 per cent at the start of the year to 7.6 per cent today, the numbers are still clearly positive. He said, “India, too, has seen its predicted growth lowered. It now stands at 5 per cent for this year. We hope that this slowdown is just a short-term issue and not a long-term trend. El-Badri said, “And in developing countries, we have generally seen some concerns regarding the impact on their economies of an expected reduction in US monetary stimulus. This could affect the flows of investment to developing countries and, accordingly, reduce demand for their exports. However, as a whole, we expect growth to remain fairly robust in the developing world. He said looking ahead; we could say we view the global economy in 2014 with ‘cautious optimism. The Secretary General said that the world demand growth is forecast to increase by 900,000 barrels a day this year and then one million barrels a day in 2014. He said, “Non-OECD countries are projected to lead oil demand growth again in 2014, with an increase of 1.2 million barrels a day. OECD consumption, however, continues to decline with a drop of 200,000 barrels a day, although this is a lower rate than in previous years.” El-Badri said in terms of supply, there is evidently enough to meet demand in 2014, just as there has been in 2013. He said, “In 2014, non-OPEC supply is expected to rise by 1.2 million barrels a day. This increase comes from North America, Brazil, as well as additions from some other producers. In terms of OPEC crude production, currently it is just over 30 million barrels a day. The Organization continues to make sure the needs of its consumers are met. Moreover, spare capacity remains at comfortable levels. And we see these healthy levels remaining for the foreseeable future.” Japan to take LNG spot cargo from Nigeria’s Bonny Island J apan, the world’s largest buyer of liquefied natural gas, is set to receive a spot cargo from Nigeria on Dec. 29, according to ship-tracking data. The Stena Blue Sky, with a capacity of about 143,000 cubic meters, is sailing to a terminal facing the Sea of Japan, transmissions captured by IHS Fairplay on Bloomberg show. The data doesn’t show the vessel’s final destina- tion. It loaded the super cooled gas at Nigeria LNG Ltd.’s Bonny Island facility and departed Dec. 1. Japan’s two terminals at Niigata and Joetsu have a combined annual capacity of 19.23 million metric tons, and receive term shipments from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Qatar and Russia, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Asian LNG buyers typically import spot cargoes from December to March to meet peak heating and power demand during winter in the northern hemisphere. Also, Korea Gas Corp. (036460), which buys more liquefied natural gas than any company globally, received a spot cargo from Nigeria at Incheon yesterday, according to ship-tracking data. The Methane Rita Andrea, with a capacity of about 145,000 cubic meters, arrived at the Kogas-owned Incheon Commodity Units Price Change % Change Contract Time(ET) Crude Oil (WTI) USD/bbl. 98.63 -0.66 -0.66% Feb 14 07:29:45 Crude Oil (Brent) USD/bbl. 110.99 -0.22 -0.20% Feb 14 07:29:20 TOCOM Crude Oil JPY/kl 71,250.00 +810.00 +1.15% May 14 01:29:56 NYMEX Natural Gas USD/MMBtu 4.37 -0.06 -1.36% Feb 14 07:29:38 Source: Bloomberg Source: Oilprice.com terminal on South Korea’s northwestern coast, transmissions captured by IHS Fairplay on Bloomberg show. The vessel loaded the super cooled gas at Nigeria LNG Ltd.’s Bonny Island terminal, where it departed Dec. 3. Asian LNG importers typically purchase more spot shipments from December to March to meet peak heating and power demand during winter in the northern hemisphere. South Korea has no long-term LNG supply contracts with Nigeria, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Asian nation was the largest buyer after Japan in 2012, with imports of 36.8 million metric tons, according to the industry-funded International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers in Paris. 38 Energy Week Faith Nwadishi is a representative of the Nigeria civil society organisations on the board of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI. In this interview with CHIDI UGWU, she speaks on the imperative of civil society partnership with NEITI, the benefits of NEITI audit reports and sundry issues. Below are excerpts: Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Nigerians should query govt on $400bn oil revenue –Nwadishi MANY CITIZENS ALSO DID NOT HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT WAS THE REVENUE, THE VOLUME OF REVENUE THEY WERE GETTING FROM THEIR Why has it become imperative for the partnership between the Civil Society groups and NEITI? The civil society campaign was what actually brought about the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI globally. It was the objective of Publish What You Pay, PWYP as a coalition of civil society organisations to ask companies to publish what they were paying to countries. This was because there was this research that was conducted which revealed that a lot of resources in these countries did not have development that can be put side by side with the quantum of money they were receiving from their extractive sector. Many citizens also did not have information about what was the revenue, the volume of revenue they were getting from their natural resources. So civil society organisations at that level in the name of publish what you pay campaign decided to launch a campaign to ask companies to publish what they pay to government?. That again was because of the incessant crisis that often happens between communities and companies. The host communities did not have access to revenues that governments were receiving. So it was easy for companies to say they had paid X amount to the government. In 2002, the then British Prime Minister at the World Sustainable Development conference thought that PWYP was an initiative that countries should voluntarily sign on to rather than leaving it for civil societies. The countries were asked to voluntarily sign on so that they can also on one hand publish what they were getting from companies and then countries would verify the amount. That was how the whole EITI initiative started. So, it was a civil society driven initiative and that is why civil society is key and central to its implementation. In any country where the civil society participation is not full, not independent, and effective that country cannot even be admitted as an EITI country. And if peradventure they were admitted as an EITI country at the point of validation such country may lose its membership. Two months ago, Cameroun almost lost its membership as an EITI country because of the way EITI representation on the board was made. So, it is correct to say that for any country implementing EITI civil society partnership on the EITI process is key to its success. How much have we achieved in this regard, considering the fact that there is wide spread corruption especially in the oil and gas industry? The campaign has been successful to the extent that you have data. It is data availability on one hand and the usage of data on the other hand. If your data like we are talking about the letter of CBN Governor to the President and all of that. Even the 2012 protest on fuel subsidy, all these information had always been reported in the NEITI report for Nigerians. And because of the fact, that citizens and especially civil society are not able to use this information, get it out to the public and hold people accountable you will not have the other side of it. If you say have data, it is just there people are not using it. It is important that citizens maybe facilitated by the civil society should get hold of this information analyse it and put it in the public space in such way that the citizens can understand it and use it to hold people accountable. That we have been not able to have good metering system has been in the NEITI report. Also, that agencies are not meeting up with the legislative mandate that created them has been in the NEITI report, that there has not been synergy between the NATURAL RESOURCES. SO CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AT THAT LEVEL IN THE NAME OF PUBLISH WHAT YOU PAY CAMPAIGN DECIDED TO LAUNCH A CAMPAIGN TO ASK COMPANIES TO PUBLISH WHAT THEY PAY TO GOVERNMENT Nwadishi relevant agencies and all that has been in the NEITI report. So it is there, the other hand of it for us to reduce corruption and to be able to fight the inequalities and make amends is for citizens to hold these agencies accountable. Now, one other thing that comes out from the NEITI report is that there are recommendations for remediation but these things are never done. Everybody is talking about the CBN letter to the President. It happens but a while nobody will think about it. But beyond that, what are we doing There is an inertministerial task team by NEITI, but because of the fact that in the inter-ministerial task team you have low cadres staff as representatives it is difficult for you to implement. The President had even agreed that top management staff should be in that team, but we have not been able to inaugurate that. And on that inter-ministerial task team myself as civil society representative on the board is a member of that, this because if civil society have issues around the report and they need to get a ministry or an agency to give an account, my duty is to be able to facilitate that dialogue to happen but people are coming forward. People are not using this data. The NEITI has said that 13 years between 1999 to 2011, we have generated over $400 billion from the oil revenue alone, what have we done with that, where has it gone to. There is a report that going out soon by NEITI, it is another audit that was carried out called the physical allocation and statutory disbursement fund, it is looking at key agencies, states, what happens. Because part of the report is what goes to the federation account and second is where it goes to after it get out of the federation account. And if it gets to the destination, what do you do with it. That is a very interesting report that people should be looking forward to. For instance, you have education fund that gets 2% of profits from every company. And you have a report that says it has received over $3 billion from oil and gas sector only. And you know that every company that is registered on CAC makes profit and pays 2 per cent of its profit to education task fund. So why are we having education problems in this country. So, this is the kind of questions you should be asking with the data we are generating. I think the next step is to utilise that data to hold people accountable. When we get to that level the fight against corruption really will become meaningful and we will take root. Which specific areas are civil society organisations going to be focusing on in its campaign next year? In 2014 we want to see the remedial of the recommendations in the NEITI reports. We also want to see synergy between agencies that are in the EITI process, between 1999 and there have been a lot of recommendations. So, we want to see the implementation of those recommendations. And see that things are done differently. Qatar signs petroleum framework with Total E&P F urther to the signing of a framework agreement in early May, Total is pleased to announce that QPI is now a shareholder of Total E&P Congo, holding 15per cent of its capital. “The conclusion of this agreement, which is an important milestone, builds on Total’s already wellestablished partnership with Qatar and at the same time strengthens our commitment to the development of the Congolese petroleum industry,” commented Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of Total. This transaction, whilst demonstrating the quality of Total E&P Congo’s assets and the expertise within its organization, is also in line with the Group’s strategy of active portfolio management. The $1.6 billion increase of Total E&P Congo’s capi- tal will consolidate its financial capacity at a time when it is progressing the development of the Moho Nord deep offshore project. Present in the Republic of the Congo since 1968, Total E&P Congo is the country’s leading oil producer, operating 10 of the 22 fields developed, and accounting for nearly 60% of national output. Total E&P Congo’s equity production averaged 113,000 boe/d in 2012. Total E&P Congo has also launched the development of the Moho Nord field, consisting of the MohoBilondo Phase 1bis and Moho Nord projects, on the Moho-Bilondo license which it operates. First oil is expected in 2015, with output reaching 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) in 2017. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Energy Week Wednesday, January 1, 2014 FG inaugurates inter-ministerial task team on NEITI reports F ederal Government has moved into action to reduce or completely eliminate under payments, remediation and unreconciled differences in the extractive industries. These are to be accomplished through the expanded Inter Ministerial Task Team on implementation of Reports of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The inauguration performed by the Secretary to the Federal Government of Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim on behalf of the President charged the reconstituted Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) with the primary mandate of developing an efficient framework for ensuring that those corrective measures in the Audit reports were adequately addressed. The Task Team comprises high ranking officials from NEITI, Representatives of Agencies responsible for Custody, Management, Monitoring or Regulation of Revenues from Extractive Industries. Senator Anyim Pius Anyim stated that “the Administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, fully supports and endorses the carrying out of regular NEITI Audits as well as the prompt implementation of the remedial issues arising there from. Government considers them as vital tools in the committed task of accelerating the much needed reforms in the Extractive Industries Sector of the economy. This is indicative of Government’s firm belief that transparency in the sector would definitely impact positively on other sectors, thereby limiting wastage, significantly reducing corruption, as well as increasing overall revenue”. Senator Anyim affirmed that “Mr. Presi- dent directed that the NEITI Process be integrated into the Administration’s Economic Agenda. Accordingly, Mr. President approved the reconstitution and strengthening of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team to enable it effectively discharge those obligations”. He further drew attention to its expanded membership, as well as the elevation of the membership such that high ranking officials with requisite authority to effect and influence corrective decisions on observed lapses are now involved. The Reconstituted Task Team’s has the responsibility to work closely with NEITI and ensure prompt recovery of all outstanding revenues due to the Federation from NEITI Audit Findings; The team has the responsibility to examine the Findings and Recommendations in NEITI Audit Reports and give advice to affected relevant Agencies on appropriate steps to address the issues. It has the responsibility to identify any bottlenecks to the realization of (1) above and make any necessary recommendations to Government through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The team has the responsibility to undertake any other measures desirable to ensure that recommendations by NEITI add value to ongoing reforms in the industry. It also has the responsibility to advise the Federal Executive Council on any issue in NEITI Audit Report Findings that needs the Council’s intervention. Senator Anyim urged the members of the reconstituted Task Team to remain resolute and carry out this important national assignment with determination, while ex- Anyim hibiting the highest level of commitment and professionalism capable of creating the desired impact of EITI Implementation in the country. He stressed that Government on its part would support the IMTT in every way towards ensuring that there is a transparent extractive sector in which revenues are fully accounted for and utilized for the benefit of all citizens of the country. Ledum Mitee, Chairman, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI who doubles as the Chairman, Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) who spoke on behalf of the reconstituted IMTT members stated that “We are humbled by this great national assignment that we have been charged with and assured that the members drawn from very expansive experience around the extractive industry will be able to live up to the task with the purpose of trying to breathe life into the recommendations that come out of the NEITI Audits Reports”. Cartel puts 2014 oil demand at 29.6 million bpd T he Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC has put the global 2014 oil demand at 29.6 million barrels per day, bpd. The cartel stated, “The demand for OPEC crude in 2014 is also unchanged from the previous report at 29.6 mb/d, representing a decline of 0.3 mb/d compared to 2013. It maintained that with 2013 coming to a close, it is time to review the performance of the world oil market over the last twelve months, in terms of crude oil prices, the global economy, global oil demand, and nonOPEC supply. The Organisation stated that this is combined with a look ahead to 2014, to highlight expectations and uncertainties for the coming year. It stated, “This year, the OPEC Reference Basket experienced significant quarterly swings. After reaching close to $115/b in 1Q13, the Basket price came down steeply to around $96/b in the second quarter, before regaining strength to rebound sharply in the third. The organisation stated that over this period, the increase in crude oil prices was driven by numerous outages, supply disruptions and improved macroeconomic indicators, while lower refinery appetite, production increases, high inventories and economic run cuts pressured prices. It stated, “Geopolitical factors impacted El Badri prices in both directions. At the same time, speculative activities continued to magnify the upside and downside movements in crude oil prices. The cartel maintained that the spread between ICE Brent and Nymex WTI changed notably over the course of the year. It stated, “After reaching as much as $23/b, the Brent-WTI spread narrowed steadily to trade at close to parity around mid-July. This was primarily due to the availability of new pipeline capacity, which relieved the supply glut in the US pricing hub of Cushing, Oklahoma. The organisation maintained that from early 3Q13 on, the spread widened rapidly as refinery maintenance cut demand, resulting in a built-up of inventories at Cushing and the US Gulf Coast, weighing on WTI prices at a time when Brent values were being pushed higher by supply disruptions. It stated, “However, the spread is likely to be less pronounced into the coming year, as additional pipeline capacity to the US Gulf Coast becomes available. After a relatively weak start in 1Q13, the global economy has gained traction again. The Euro-zone has gradually moved out of recession, the US managed to expand at a healthy level despite fiscal adjustments, and Japan has benefitted from its substantial stimulus efforts. The cartel stated that although growth in the emerging economies has slowed, China’s economy has accelerated in the second half of this year and India’s outlook looks likely to improve after the poor performance seen for most of this year. It maintained that, “Global GDP growth is estimated at a modest 2.9% in 2013, strengthening to 3.5% next year, mainly as a result of momentum in the OECD economies. However, many challenges remain ranging from the outcome of postponed fiscal negotiations in the US, the future monetary policy of major central banks, the resilience of the Euro-zone recovery, and continued reforms in the emerging economies to improve structural issues. 39 Oil market in December 2013 T he OPEC Reference Basket in November fell below $105 per barrel b for the first time since July. A key factor behind the decline in the crude oil prices was reduced refinery crude intake due to scheduled turnarounds, as well as dismal margins. All Basket component values saw losses in November, but at varying levels. Crude futures prices also declined in November for the second month in a row. High crude inventories and rising supply in the US weighed heavily on Nymex WTI. The positive outcome at the IranP5+1 talks in Geneva also impacted the market. The Basket began to improve at the end of the month and into December to stand at $107.72/b on 9 December. World economic growth for 2013 and 2014 remains unchanged at 2.9per cent and 3.5per cent respectively. The forecast for the major OECD economies assumes a continued recovery, leading to higher growth in 2014 at 1.9per cent, compared to 1.2per cent in the current year, both unchanged from the previous report. China’s recent stimulus efforts and rising exports confirm this year’s forecast of 7.8per cent; growth is expected to continue at this level in 2014. While recent indicators point at some improvement, the forecast for India remains at 4.7per cent for 2013 and at 5.6per cent in 2014. Most recent advances in the OECD and China confirm the on-going recovery in the global economy. World oil demand growth in 2013 has been left broadly unchanged at 0.9 mb/d, while the forecast for 2014 remains at 1.0 mb/d. The bulk of next year’s growth is expected to come from the non-OECD, which is seen increasing by 1.2 mb/d, while OECD demand is projected to contract by 0.2 mb/d, which represents an improvement from the current year. China’s demand growth in 2014 is expected at 0.3 mb/d, in line with growth in 2013. Demand growth in OECD Americas is expected at 0.1 mb/d, while OECD Asia Pacific consumption is projected to contract by 0.1 mb/d. Non-OPEC oil supply is expected to increase by 1.2 mb/d in 2013, up slightly from the last report. In 2014, nonOPEC oil supply is forecast to grow by 1.2 mb/d. Output growth is expected to come mainly from the US, Canada, the Sudans, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Colombia, while oil supply from Norway, Syria, the UK, and Mexico is seen declining. In 2014, OPEC NGLs and non-conventional oils are forecast to grow by 0.15 mb/d over the current year to average 5.95 mb/d. OPEC crude oil production averaged 29.63 mb/d in November, a decrease of 193 tb/d from the previous month, according to secondary sources. Oil product markets remained relatively weak worldwide in November. The top of the barrel continued to show a poor performance, despite some positive signs of increasing seasonal demand for naphtha. However, tightening market sentiment fuelled by some refinery outages and run cuts helped to limit potential declines in margins in Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, falling US middle distillate inventories, amid increasing seasonal requirements and lower US crude prices, allowed US margins to CONTINUED ON PAGE 40 40 Energy Week Oil market in December 2013 CONTINUED FROM 39 show a healthy recovery. In the tanker market, spot freight rates for dirty vessels saw gains across various classes with VLCC rates encountering the strongest growth. VLCC, Suezmax and Aframax spot freight rates increased by 40per cent, 18per cent, and 5per cent, respectively, over the previous month. The improvements were driven by winter demand, higher Asian requirements, and increased delays in the Turkish straits. Clean tanker freight rates were mixed in November, with West of Suez freight rates increasing by 10per cent, while East of Suez freight rates remained weak, dropping by 9per cent from a month earlier. Preliminary data showed total OECD commercial oil stocks declined by 2.5 mb in October, indicating a deficit of around 10.1 mb compared to the five-year average. Crude inventories reached26.4 mb above the seasonal norm, while products fell to 36.5 mb below the five-year average. In terms of days of forward cover, OECD commercial stocks stood at 58.5 days, 0.7 days more than the five-year average. Preliminary data for November shows that US total commercial oil stocks fell by 26.4 mb, but still indicated a surplus of 9.2 mb above the five-year average. Crude inventories indicated a surplus of 40.8 mb, while products showed deficit of 31.6 mb. Demand for OPEC crude in 2013 is estimated to average 29.9 mb/d, unchanged from the previous report and 0.6 mb/d lower than the 2012 level. Demand for OPEC crude in 2014 is also unchanged from the previous report at 29.6 mb/d, representing a decline of 0.3 mb/d compared to 2013. With 2013 coming to a close, it is time to review the performance of the world oil market over the last twelve months, in terms of crude oil prices, the global economy, global oil demand, and nonOPEC supply. This is combined with a look ahead to 2014, to highlight expectations and uncertainties for the coming year. This year, the OPEC Reference Basket experienced significant quarterly swings. After reaching close to $115/b in 1Q13, the Basket price came down steeply to around $96/b in the second quarter, before regaining strength to rebound sharply in the third. Over this period, the increase in crude oil prices was driven by numerous outages, supply disruptions and improved macroeconomic indicators, while lower refinery appetite, production increases, high inventories and economic run cuts pressured prices. Geopolitical factors impacted prices in both directions. At the same time, speculative activities continued to magnify the upside and downside movements in crude oil prices. The spread between ICE Brent and Nymex WTI changed notably over the course of the year. After reaching as much as $23/b, the Brent-WTI spread narrowed steadily to trade at close to parity around mid-July. This was primarily due to the availability of new pipeline capacity, which relieved the supply glut in the US pricing hub of Cushing, Oklahoma. Source: OPEC Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net IPMAN ends sale of kerosene at N50 per litre nationwide STORIES:UDEME AKPAN T he Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN has ended the sale of kerosene at N50 per litre nationwide. The National President of the Association, Alhaji Abdulkadri Aminu, who flagged off of sales of kerosene at N 50 per litre in Lagos had promised the the exercise would continue. But investigations in Lagos and its environs showed that most independent marketers did not have the product to sale to consumers. Consumers were seen waiting in long queues in a few stations that sale the product at arbitrary prices in the area. A source said IPMAN was compelled to stock the sale of the product because of lack of commercial stocks. Recently, Aminu had said that the sale of kerosene to the common people at the approve government price of N 50 has been one of the project of IPMAN in conjunction PPMC and NNPC. He said, “The association has been at the vanguard of ensuring that the product that is meant for the local people should be sold at approved price. This has also be the focus of the Minister of Petroleum, today we are graceful to God that we have seen it happening this particular exercise I want to assured every Nigerians that it’s going to be sustained. The National President said that the sales of kerosene will be launch in other states of the country, adding that any members found selling above the regulated price would be sanctioned. He said, “From here we are going to kerosene queue Kano, Sokoto, Enugu, Jos, Yola, Maiduguri and other states. This is the first time l am coming to visit our retail outlet and i can assured that the exercise is going to be continuous. ``The chairman of South West zone had been directed to go to other states within the southern states to launch the products,” he added. Aminu said that the monitoring team we be inaugurated to ensure conformity in all the IPMAN outlets nationwide. He said that issues of scarcity of kerosene have to be addressed, adding that the whole world has diversified from kerosene to gas. The IPMAN boss said that IPMAN has already venture into gas utilisation, saying that most Nigerians had switch from kerosene to gas which is the future of the world. ‘‘I want to assure Nigerians that a lot has been done by government to ensure that gas has come to stay, if you go to Benin we have CNG, in Lagos NIPCO has 5,000 metric tonnes of LPG. He said, “It is possible and true that kerosene can be sold at N50 per litre in this country. NNPC has been trying and we need more from the corporation. In as much as the product is available, IPMAN is ready to sell at N50. Aminu said, “We are trying to create awareness between the people and the essence of gas usage, advantages, and prices. But it is an issue that can not be it is an issues that has to go on gradually but for the meain time we have to give succour to the people which is what we are doing now. He said, “What we are going now is a bridged we intend to close between the gas availability and people utilisation which we help us a lot in deforestation exercise. Aminu said, “The plans of IPMAN are to ensure that availability of kerosene is available by given sufficient kerosene while we are commission 20-stations for one month. NIPCO intensifies work on station re-modeling A n indigenous oil marketing company, Nipco Plc has intensified efforts to remodel its stations nationwide. The firm which started the project a few weeks ago stated that it is targeted at achieving optimum service delivery to consumers of petroleum products Managing Director of the company, Mr. Venkatapathy Venkataraman said the stations were being re modeled in line with international best practices in the oil and gas industry. He said the exercise which had seen the company giving a general facelift to its stations was also aimed at providing some val- Petrol ue addition services to motorist aside from the conventional product dispense. The Managing Director said that the feat which ultimately will increase Nipco share of the retail market currently at about 10per cent is also in line its corporate mission of meeting the needs of stakeholders in the sector. He said that the exercise which will be extended to the over 150 retail outlets of the company will make customers who patronise our stations to enjoy fuel and non fuel related services, a feat that could shore up the ratings of Nipco as a reliable marketing organization. Venkataraman said a department in the company charged with the remodeling will ensure that customers get value for their fuel purchase and other services rendered at the stations through routine checks. He said disclosed that in the new outlets a standard workshops and service centre are in place to make motorist have a one stop chop for all automotive related endeavours. On Liquefied Petroleum Gas [LPG] skid, which is the latest technology in dispensing of gas with a dual purpose of re-filling for domestic cooking and auto for vehicles, the MD the company had deployed some acro0ss the country to bring gas close to the populace. The skids, he noted have electronic filling machines and helps to deliver accurate quantity of gas, a scenario that had made the company’s skid outlets customers delight . He said in pursuit of promoting gas usage , Nipco has stock of all LPG accessories like cylinders ,burners ,regulators ,hose ,etc which are currently on sold at very competitive rates across the nation . According to him, one novel idea of the organization is the massive stocking of smaller size of cylinders with burners targeted at the low income group at reasonable prices to improve accessibility affordability by this group. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Wednesday, January 1, 2014 New Year Celebrations 41 New Year in United State of America I n cities around the world, the first seconds of the New Year are marked by fireworks. But dropping a ball on New Year’s Eve is a wholly American tradition to count down the last fleeting moments. The first ball dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve remains the most famous. For New York City, a crystal ball marks the New Year, but in other towns and cities across the country, other objects are dropped. With the creation of standard time, time balls were invented so that sailors could adjust their chronometers, or timepieces, while at sea. With a telescope, they would scope the harbor and watch for a time ball to drop at a specific time, usually noon or 1 p.m. The first time ball was installed in 1829 in Portsmouth, England. The U.S. Naval Observatory followed suit and began dropping a time ball in 1845 in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Soon many port towns and cities adopted the practice. It was one of these time balls that became the inspiration for Walter Palmer, The New York Times’ chief electrician, who reimagined the maritime timekeeping ritual as a unique finale to the city’s end-of-the-year party. In 1904, New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebrations moved up to the New York Times building at 46th St. and Broadway. Crowds had previously gathered at Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, near Wall Street, to hear the bells ring at midnight. In lieu of chimes, The New York Times Company produced a midnight fireworks spectacle to lure more New Yorkers north. That proved effective but also disastrous when hot ashes, the remnants of the fireworks, rained down onto the streets. When the New York Police Department banned fireworks, New York Times publisher and owner Adolph Ochs approached Palmer to find a new light display. He sought to combine the time ball tradition with electricity for an unforgettable welcome to 1908. Upon Palmer’s design, Ochs commissioned the Artkraft Strauss sign company to create a 700-pound ball made of iron and wood with 100 25-watt light bulbs attached to its surface. At midnight, the ball descended down the repurposed mainmast of the battleship USS New Mexico, with a system of pulleys. The ball was redesigned as new technology and materials became available, Jeffrey Straus noted. As president of Countdown Entertainment and executive producer for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, Straus organizes television and Web broadcasts of the Times Square. Over the decades, aluminum has replaced iron and halogen lamps and then light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, re- placed incandescent bulbs. Some balls have had rhinestones, strobe lights or rotating pyramid mirrors. Computer controls were added in 1995. What distinguishes the current ball from earlier predecessors is the multitude of lights and crystals. At 11,875 pounds and 12 feet in diameter, the Big Ball has 2,688 Waterford Crystals that refracts the light of 32,256 Philips LEDs. ...Argentina T raditionally, New Year celebrations in Argentina involve a late dinner, with close friends and family members in attendance. Bursting firecrackers is another important part of it. There are few other popular, prominent, and interesting traditions usually followed by most of the people in Argentina. One such out of the ordinary and unusual tradition asks to run around a house with a suitcase in hand, with a belief that doing so will ensure more of travelling in the coming year. There is one more tradition of eating beans on New Year, which is done with a belief that doing so will ensure safety to the present job, or will open up gates for new and better job in the coming year. There is another popular tradition of going for swimming in private and public pools, rivers, and lakes. This tradition is considered to be very close to the heart of the natives of Argentina. Turron and pan dulce which are being served as the customary dishes on New Year is also a part of customs and traditions in Argentina. ...Mexico M Revellers at Times Square New York, USA Buddhist monks receiving New Year gifts from the public in Thailand ost Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve by having a late-night dinner with their families. Those who want to party generally go out afterwards. If you’re in Mexico, you can still enjoy festivities in the street. In Mexico City there is a huge street festi- val on New Year’s Eve, celebrations center around the Zocalo. You can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: “Feliz año nuevo!” People embrace and make noise and set off firecrackers. Dancers welcoming the New Year In South Korea 42 New Year Celebrations Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Beliefs behind New Year rituals in some cultures From the resolutions and fireworks to the religious observations, New Year days occupy special places in the hearts of many people, owing to certain beliefs that have transcended down generations of humanity. NGOZI EMEDOLIBE O rdinarily the New Year day is like every other day. It lasts 24 hours and can be broken down into dusk and dawn, but spiritually-speaking, it is seen in many faiths as the moment that decides what the remainder of the 363 days making up a year would look like. The fact that it is the first day of the week, of the month and of the year, places a burden of optimism or pessimism on certain people over it, and they respond with equal fervor in seeking the face of their creator. That is why in Nigeria, which is largely a very religious nation, made up of mainly Christians and Muslims, the eve of a New Year ushers in a divided mix of appreciation. While the Muslims are not under the obligation that the New Year Day means the first day of the month following the calendar in Islam, a few of their adherents, all the same, subject themselves to the belief that January 1 means a new dawn. In actual sense, the Islamic calendar sees January 1, 2014 as the twenty eight day of the second month in Islamic calendar. But in contrast the Christians with their largely universal and adaptable culture begin the ritual of New Year from the eve which is observed in the churches. The idea behind this is to be in a solemn mood as the eve transmutes to the New Year Day. Church services conducted usually revolve around presenting oneself to God for guidance and protection all through the New Year. Some also advance their projections in the year and ask God for favours. One ritual that is common for most people during New Year days is the act of making resolutions. Resolutions are thought necessary to shape one’s life and make atonements for the ills of the past. Some people who hope to break off a bad habit or practice usually utilise the opportunity of the New Year day to do so, and most times, they also back it up with prayers. In Nigeria, one fundamental ritual that has followed New Year days over the generations is the practice of using firecrackers to herald the day. This is largely done as a way of celebrating the idea that one survived the ending year against all odds. Some however use firecrackers to ‘send away’ (‘knock out’ in the local parlance) the year especially when it is seen as one that brought some bad fortunes. That is the case for people who either lost loved relatives or got enmeshed in bad business deal. Once the day comes, it is marked with merriment which comes in the form of choice dishes and wine, with close family members and friends who would be spending a national public holiday that comes with the event. Elsewhere, New Year days also hold similar significance albeit the fact that it comes at various times following the various time zones in the world. Beginning with Australians, who are one of the first to witness the New Year day, it starts at midnight when they start Nigerian Christians prefer to go to church Children wear bear furs during New Year ritual dances in Comanesti, Romania In South America, a shaman performs a ritual for good luck as he prays in front of an image for the New Year. Fireworks explode over Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world THE FACT THAT IT IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, OF THE MONTH AND OF THE YEAR, PLACES A BURDEN OF OPTIMISM OR PESSIMISM ON CERTAIN PEOPLE , AND THEY RESPOND WITH EQUAL FERVOR IN SEEKING THE FACE OF THEIR CREATOR to make noise with whistles, rattles, car horns, and church bells to ring in the New Year. In Austria, New Year’s eve is called ‘Sylverterabend’, which is the Eve of Saint Sylvester. They make a spiced punch in honor of the saint. Decorations and champagne are part of the celebration. Evil spirits of the old year are chased away by the firing of ‘moroars’, called ‘boller’. Midnight mass is attended and trumpets are blown from church towers at midnight, when people kiss and hug one another. Belgium has a similar ritual as their New Year’s eve is called ‘Sint Sylvester Vooranvond’, or Saint Sylvester Eve. People throw parties and at midnight everyone kisses and exchanges good luck greetings. New Year’s Day is called ‘Nieuwjaarrsdag’ and sees children write letters on decorated paper to their parents and god parents. They also read the letters to them. Natives of the United Kingdom hold dear the custom of ‘first footing’, where the first male visitor to the house, after midnight, is supposed to bring good luck. The man brings a gift like money, bread, or coal, to ensure the family will have plenty of these in the year to come. The first person must not be blond, red-haired, or women as these are supposed to signify bad luck. In London, crowds gather in Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus to hear the chimes of London’s big Ben as it announces the arrival of the New Year. The French New Year is ‘Jour des Etrennes’, or Day of New Year’s Presents. Dinner parties are thrown for the entire family, where presents are exchanged. In Germany, people drop molten lead into cold water to tell the future from the shape it makes. A bit of food eaten on New Year’s Eve is left on their plate until after Midnight, as a way on ensuring a well stocked larder in the coming year. In Athens, Greece, January 1 is an important date because it is St. Basil’s Day, as well as the first day of the year. St. Basil was known for his kindness to children. Stories tell how he would come in the night and leave gifts for children in their shoes. People gather, have special meals and exchange gifts in this spirit. In Hungary the people burn effigies, or a scapegoat known as “Jack Straw”. The scapegoat represents the evils and misfortunes of the past year. Burning the effigy is supposed to get rid of the bad luck and usher one into a more blessed New Year. The Indian New Year’s is started with a festival called ‘Diwali’. Cards and gifts are usually exchanged and people finish off any uncompleted work before the clock chimes. For the Japanese, ‘Oshogatsu’ is an important time for foamy celebrations, when all businesses are usually closed. To keep out evil spirits they hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses. The rope stands for happiness and good luck. When the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to laugh, which is supposed to bring them good luck in the New Year. The Dutch people usually burn Christ- mas Trees in street bonfires and let fireworks ring in the New Year, while in Poland, the day is known as St. Sylvester’s Eve, in honour of Pope Sylvester I. Legend, who was the Pope that foiled the plans of a dragon to devour the world in the year 1000. For the Scottish, the ‘Night of the Candle’ is important and sees people prepare for New Year by cleaning their home and purifying it with a ritual or burning juniper branches carried through the home. The ‘First Footer’, the first person to set foot into your home on New Year’s Day decides the luck of the family for the coming year. South Africa’s New Year is rung in with church bells ringing and gunshots being fired. On New Year’s Day there is a carnival atmosphere across major streets with lots of merriment. South American countries like Brazil and Mexico fondly make a dummy or straw person which is often placed outside the home and burned at midnight to herald the New Year, while in Spain, everything including theatre productions and movies, are stopped at Midnight on New Year’s Day. As the clock strikes midnight everyone eats twelve grapes. They eat one grape for each toll to bring good luck for the next twelve months of the New Year. Sometimes the grapes are washed down with wine. In Wales, it starts around 3:00 to 4:00 am on New Year’s morning, when the boys of the village go from house to house with an evergreen twig to sprinkle on the people and then each room of their house, to bring good luck. On New Year’s Day the children travel the neighbourhood singing songs and are rewarded with coins and chocolates. In all the cultures, the utmost concern belying the rituals is to usher in an era of good luck in the New Year. This may seem like superstition, but it has held the communities closer to the creators over the generations. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net HAKEEM GBADAMOSI, A ZA MSUE AND ADEOLU ADEYEMO T hree states, Osun, Kaduna and Ondo yesterday presented the 2014 Appropriation Bill to their respective state Houses of Assembly. In Osun State, the 2014 fiscal year budget christened “Growth Enhancement and Development” totaling N216 billion was presented by Governor Rauf Aregbesola to the state House of Assembly. While presenting the budget through his Special Adviser on Budget, Mr. Bade Adesina on the floor of the House, Aregbesola put the total recurrent expenditure at N97,608,280,660 while capital expenditure was N119,136,932,600. The over head cost was put at N17,969,297,750 and the consolidated cost was N52,493,953,200. The governor, who further pointed out that this year budget was smaller to that of last year which was N234,269,308,820, explained that “the short fall in the prices of crude oil and the oil theft in the country were Politics Wednesday January 1, 2014 43 More states present 2014 budgets Osun budgets N216bn, Kaduna N198.6bn, Ondo N162bn responsible for the reduction in the budget compared with that of 2013.” He however assured that his administration would intensify more efforts on the execution of projects that would improve the standard of living of the people in the state, as according to him, “the budget cut across all the sectors of the state’s economy and was prepared in line with the six points Integral Action Plan of his administration. The governor, who charged the lawmakers to accelerate debate on the budget so as to be passed into law in no distant time, affirmed that he would not let the people of the state down. The Speaker of the House, Hon. Najeem Salaam, however pledged not to waste time on the debate of the budget, maintaining that the state lawmakers would act fast to see that things are in order. Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State also presented his first budget of N198.6 billion before the State House of Assembly. The budget tagged “Budget of Peace and Continuity” consists of Capital Estimate of N124.4 billion and Recurrent Expenditure of N74.2 billion. Presenting his first budget since assumption of office following the death of late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa on the floor of the House, Governor Yero stated that the budget would complete ongoing projects he inherited from his predecessors and sustain the current peaceful atmosphere enjoyed in the state. Yero said further that, since Kaduna State was an agrarian state, the government has committed a total amount of N7.6 billion on agriculture, under which livestock and fishery will gulp N33 million and N13 million respectively. At the presentation which lasted for more than an hour, Yero said that education was only second to security in the proposed budget, hence the government has budgeted a total sum of N14.2 billion for the education sector. He said the budget would also be spent on infrastructure upgrade, manpower development and establishment of for new science secondary schools in the state. The budget with a deficit of N38 billion, which is an accumulation of both internal and external debts, is aimed at easing the lives of the state citizens. In his response, the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Shehu Usman Tahir said that the proposed budget was a reflection of the needs and aspirations of the good people of Kaduna State. He however assured the executive arm of a critical examination of the budget with a view to its speedy passage. Similarly, at a post bud- get briefing, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ben Bako, in company of his Finance and Economic Planning counterparts, said the N38 billion deficits in the budget was as a result of debt accrued from previous administrations, as far back as 1965. He said the state used N18 billion to service some of the said debt last year. Also in Ondo State, Governor Olusegun Mimiko presented the 2014 budget estimate of N162 billion to the state House of Assembly, which is N9.5 billion higher than 2013 budgets which was N152.5 billion. According to the governor, the budget was meant to further consolidate on the gains of the last four years. The governor said that the objective of the 2014 estimates is the consolidation of the modest gains achieved by his administration in the last five years by delivery of most of the ongoing projects already initiated. The 2014 budget, according to the governor, has N68.81 billion as recurrent expenditure estimates, while N92.312 billion was earmarked for capital expenditure. Mimiko said the projection of the budget was based on some of the assumptions contained in the 2014-2016 fiscal strategy document of the Federal Government which include the assumption on oil benchmark price of $77.5 per barrel. The governor said N43 billion would be used as statutory allocation to finance the budget, putting the internally generated revenue, IGR, at N15 billion, Value Added Tax, VAT, N10 billion, rolled over fund, N7 billion, mineral derivation fund N20 billion, SURE-P N5 billion. Others include the N23 billion bond; NNPC fund, N2 billion; loans/leases N15 billion; grants/credits from development partners, N6 billion; refund from Federal Government on repair of federal roads, N2 billion: excess crude account, N10 billion; education endowment fund, N3 billion and sundry income/divestment, N1 billion. Mimiko explained that N35.371 billion of the N69.681 allocated to recurrent expenditure had been earmarked for personnel cost, with the overheads gulping N5.184 billion, recurrent grant to parastatals and tertiary institutions N7.457 billion and special programmes N13.469 billion. He said the fund for capital expenditure had been allocated to various programmes of government with rehabilitation and construction of state highways having N10 billion, improvement of Akure Airport, N2 billion, cocoa revolution programme N2 billion and N1.5 billion for wealth creation. I’ve no powers to pronounce on legality of govs’ security votes –Judge CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 L-R: Kaduna State Commissioner for Finance, Malam Ismaila Aliyu; Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ben Bako and Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Madami Garba, during the news conference on 2014 Budget Break Down in Kaduna. yesterday. Aliyu warns against executive interference in legislative affairs PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA T he Niger State governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu has advised the executive arm of government not to interfere in the affairs of the legislative arm, as such is an undemocratic move which could turn the legislature arm into ‘rubber stamps’. Aliyu, who gave the advice during the signing into law of the state’s 2014 Appropriation Bill of N98.8 billion passed by the House of Assembly, said embarking on such act will also breed dictatorship. While challenging legislators at both the national and state levels to embark on their oversight visits on projects executed by the ministries and agencies of government without waiting for the end of the year to do so, Aliyu pointed that it was the responsibility of members of the public to monitor the implementation of budget and ask questions where the budget is not being implemented. The governor also told the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state to begin the mobilisation of the people as the country approaches another election year. Commending the state House of Assembly for the quick passage of the budget, the governor debunked allegations that some local government areas in the state were not captured in the 2014 budget, insisting that all the 25 councils in the state were carried along. Speaking earlier, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Barr. Adamu Usman, said the House did not tamper with the proposal brought by the executive because the medium term expenditure frame work for the state was duly followed. governors and the FCT Minister. He also asked the court to order the two anti-graft agencies to immediately commence investigations into the security vote deductions, and prosecute the governors and the FCT Minister once their immunities expire upon leaving office at the end of their term or removal from office. In his judgment, Justice Bello held that the plaintiff has the locus standi to file the case as a matter of public interest, but held that the court has no jurisdiction over the major parties in the case, being the state governments and the FCT, the 1st to 37th defendants. Justice Bello stated that the Federal high Court cannot adjudicate over matters involving the states, adding that the presence of the EFCC and the ICPC, which are agencies of the Federal Government, among the defendants cannot confer the court with jurisdiction because they (EFCC and ICPC) are ancillary parties. He said: “There is no doubt that the FHC has been empowered to interpret the 1999 Constitution as it affects the Federal Government and its agencies. The 1st to 37th defendants are neither the Federal Government nor its agencies. This court does not have the power to exercise jurisdiction over 37 out of the 39 defendants. I cannot assume jurisdiction over the main parties in the suit. The suit as a necessity should be struck out and is hereby struck out.” W C 44 Politics Wednesday January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Ekiti 2014: What marabouts failed to tell Bamidele I t is no longer news that the member of the House of Representative, representing Ado/Irepodun-Ifelodun Federal Costituency 1, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, also known as MOB, is interested in governing Ekiti State come 2014. There is nothing outlandish about such an ambition. But what many have found curious and laughable are the reasons being bandied by MOB for entering the ring to slug it out with his friend and political folk, who occupies the seat at the moment, Kayode Fayemi. He is not necessarily vying to fill a yawning gap or to continue from where the incumbent has stopped or necessarily to heed the call of his party or his people or to bring about an unheard of change in governance. No. MOB’s ambition to govern his state is not responding to any of the variables for they don’t gel right now. If in doubt, check out his manifesto. Among other things, he is going to restore the recognition of the status of certain former governors (which is already restored); he is going to complete some projects of his predecessors (already completed or nearing completion) and he is going to conduct the local government election, even if the court rules against it. Rather, MOB says he is heeding the call of a god that has given his “approval (for him) to go ahead and succeed.” The marabouts he had consulted have seen the vision of him occupying the seat of power in Ekiti in his lifetime. But here is the gimmick: the marabouts have hidden vital information from MOB. Or let us assume that they did not see up to that extent. They failed to say when and how their subject would achieve the goal. Yes, MOB will govern Ekiti State according to the reading of the marabouts, but they have failed, or refused, to say when and how. INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI B orno State governor, Kashim Shettima yesterday presented a budget proposal of N178.5 billion for the 2014 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly, with education, health and agriculture taking lion share of N65.2 billion naira, which represented 36.7 percent of the total budget. Presenting the Appropriation Bill, tagged ‘Budget of Consolidation and Progress’, Governor Shettima said that government budgeted N121.7 billion for capital expenditure and N56.7 billion naira for recurrent expenditure. He told the lawmakers that the budget was expected to be financed from a statutory allocation of N139,897,818,000.00 and internally generated revenue, IGR, of N30,783,287,000.00 while capital receipts for the year is estimated at N121,784,069,000.00. He explained that the budget was a drop from last year’s budget of 184.3 billion, which also had a capital expenditure of By when, they could not tell if he was going to govern Ekiti State in 2014, 2018 or 2022. By how, they failed to tell MOB on which platform he would be realising his ambition and who would sponsor him. They failed to see or tell MOB if he would be the immediate successor of the incumbent or a successor’s successor or if he would even be invited midway of a term to come and continue. The marabouts also failed to say whether MOB, who was born progressive and who cut his teeth from the Bola Ahmed Tinubu political school would graduate into APC or jump the ship midway. They failed to say if he would realise his ambition on a majority platform or that of a minority. Rather, according to MOB’s personal interpretation, they are based on “political analysis.” This, perhaps, is not the only way where the marabouts failed MOB. They also failed or forgot to tell him that what they saw was not for him alone. No, the marabouts, known for their diabolical tendencies of entangling the front hair with that of the back, failed to customise the vision for Bamidele. Instead, they kept making the same foretelling to as many as came to them -for a fee. You come, you pay and you get your own Bamidele vision, as simple as the night and day. Check the list of those who have declared their ambition to vie for the governorship seat of Ekiti come 2014 and you will discover so many who have linked their ambition to what the soothsayers have seen concerning them and then begin to wonder why someone of MOB’s trajectory would fall for such cheap prank. It is the duty of the seer to see and feast on his phantom prediction. On the THE MARABOUTS HAVE HIDDEN VITAL INFORMATION FROM MOB... THEY FAILED TO SAY WHEN AND HOW THEIR SUBJECT WOULD ACHIEVE THE GOAL... BY WHEN, THEY COULD NOT TELL IF HE WAS GOING TO GOVERN EKITI STATE IN 2014, 2018 OR 2022. BY HOW, THEY FAILED TO TELL MOB ON WHICH PLATFORM HE WOULD BE REALISING HIS AMBITION other hand, it is the duty of any discerning mind to sift which is true, separate the wheat from the chaff, but a willing prey would readily covet such prediction without subjecting it to a litmus test. Is it real? Is it for the good of the people? Is it timely? Is it a journey to salvation or perdition? Neither MOB nor any of these preys ever cared to ask such pertinent questions. For all they cared, the marabouts prophesies have tallied with their inordinate ambition and they must proceed headlong. After all, those who the gods would kill, he would first make mad. As for those seers, it is their season to feast on willing preys. They will demand for partridge and porridge, money and moral, conscience and courage. They will ask you to burn bridges, despise your mentors, kill, maim, destroy and wreak other forms of havoc on the innocent but gullible people. They will tell you to whip up all forms of sentiments, dine with your enemies and rubbish all your friends. You will have to sell your conscience, buy those of gullible others in return, use and dump followers, bite any finger feeding you, moan and mourn, lay ambush and spy on your opposition to be able to surprise and attack them. As if those are not enough, they will mandate you to make and carry sacrifice in the middle of the night to where the three footpaths meet for the devil to chow. You must not forget to shed human blood and sprinkle on the sacrifice. You will have to dance in the market naked for seven market days and you will have to wear white apparel plus a white cap to match whenever you want to launch your ambition. • Dipe is the Director of Publicity and Media, Ekiti State All Progressives Congress, APC. Shettima presents N178.5bn budget proposal to Assembly Shettima N132.1 billion and recurrent of N52.1 billion. A breakdown of sectoral allocations showed that N19.7 billion was budgeted for Universal Basic Education, UBE and secondary school education, N14.3 billion for tertiary education, N15.3 billion for healthcare delivery, N15.9 billion for agri- culture, animal and fisheries development, N20.5 billion for roads, bridges and transport, N7.3 billion for water resources, N7.5 billion for housing and rural electrification and N7.4 billion for poverty alleviation and youths empowerment. , It also indicates that N4.6 billion has been earmarked for trade and investment, N7.2 billion for home affairs, information, culture and tourism and N5 billion for environment among others. Shettima pointed out that all projects and programmes to be embarked upon are designed to create jobs through a policy of engaging residents of benefitting communities for sourcing of labour, technology and materials except where they are absent. He said: “This budget of “Consolidation and Progress” will insha Allha, make very positive impacts on the lives of our people. As a rule, all ministries and parastatals are to create jobs. Citizens in benefiting communities of projects and programmes are to be first point of consideration for local sourcing of labour, technology and raw materials except where the required are not available locally. “The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice is to ensure that this policy is built into all contact documents signed between government and contractors. Our aim is to create many avenues for human empowerment so as to continue our fight against poverty and unemployment. Government is very much aware of the fact that resources are scarce, needs are endless even as we still battle with isolated security challenges that we must overcome. We have entered into a covenant with the people of Borno State to be their leaders, to serve them and be the keepers of their trust and expectations. I believe, as I know you all do, that the great- est burden on a man is trust. We cannot afford to fail our people neither shall we abdicate from our responsibilities.” Saying that the task before his administration is the rebuilding of the traumarised state and improve the living standard of the people, Shettima said: “We do not have any other time but now. As leaders, Mr Speaker, honourable members, we hold the key to Borno’s recovery, continued progress and future. No one holds the key but all of us and we must be unwavering in our duties as the 2014 budget provides.” He thanked the Assembly for the cordial working relationship between it and the executive, noting that both arms have since 2011, “created and maintained a relationship of mutual respect, functional interdependence, dedication to duty and commitment to the recovery, growth and sustainable development of Borno State.” National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Capital Market Wednesday, January 1, 2014 45 Equities gain 47.2% in 2013 JOHNSON OKANLAWON I nvestors in equities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange have cause for better smile this year, as their investments yielded higher returns compared to the preceding year. In the year, the benchmark index of equities gained 47.2 per cent as at yesterday, December 31, 2013, compared to 35.5 per cent recorded in the same period of 2012. Market capitalisation rose N4.352trn to close at N13.226trn, compared to N2.341trn recorded in 2012 to close at N8.874trn, from the opening figure of N6.533trn. On the sectorial indices, the Oil and Gas Index recorded the highest increase of 122.26 per cent for the year to close at 339.88 points, from 152.92 poinst at which it opened the year. Also, Lotus Islamic Index followed with 61.84 per cent to close at 2,546.59 points, from 1,769.07 points, while the NSE 30-Index appreciated 42.7 per cent to close at 1,907.17 points, from 1,336.07 points it opened the year. The Banking Index and the Consumer Goods Index gained 31.86 per cent and 31.14 per cent to close at 447.84 and 1,100.25 points respectively. The Insurance Index recorded the least gain with 29.02 per cent to close at 152.87 points, from 118.49 points in the beginning of the year. Among various initiatives that drove the market was the introduction of market making, which is aimed to deepen the Nigerian capital market and make it the gateway to Africa capital markets. Apart from restructuring various sectors, the Ex- change has also reviewed its listing requirements to encourage new listings and introduced new products. The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismark Rewane noted that the market as it is today is moving towards efficiency, saying that a market is first and foremost efficient before it becomes sophisticated. In the course of the year, the market witnessed the inauguration of two overthe-counter markets – the NASD OTC and FMDQ OTC – among other initiatives. According to Rewane, all of them were aimed at increasing liquidity in the market and promoting efficiency. “Now, all of these features of over-the-counter markets and others are in place to ensure that there is a higher turnover and better mobilisation of sav- ings,” he said. He explained that some of the notable developments that have helped the market to evolve include the fact that it is better regulated and participants are more willing to provide needed data and information. The first thing to note, he said, was that the market is well-regulated; the Securities and Exchange Commission is doing a good job, “so we have had very limited reports of abuse. Also, participants are now compliant in terms of releasing data and information,” he said. Rewane, however, said the market was still price inefficient. “In essence, the pricing mechanism of the market is still inefficient, not because the market is inefficient; it is just because the structure of the market is evolving towards perfection,” he noted. No going back on new capital base –SEC JOHNSON OKANLAWON F ollowing reactions from operators in the Nigerian capital market on the new minimum capital requirements, the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday reaffirmed that the decision was the outcome of extensive consultations with stakeholders within and beyond the Nigerian capital market. Under the new regime, broker/dealer is to raise its capital base to N300m from the current N70m, a broker to N200m from N40m, while that of dealer was increased to N100m from N30m. A statement from the SEC said that the new capital regime is the outcome of a process which commenced in 2010 with the setting up of a technical committee chaired by a former Executive Commissioner, Operations at the SEC. The statement explained that the committee featured representatives of the capital market industry trade groups such as the Association of Stock – broking Houses of Nigeria, ASHON and the Chartered Institute of Stock – brokers, CIS as active members. It said, “The new minimum capital regime which was recently announced on the basis of a September 2013 SEC Board decision was a finalisation of the work of that industry – wide committee. “It bears reiterating that an enhanced capital base for the operators in the Ni- gerian capital markets is long overdue. It is an inevitable logical step in the industry reform effort being led by the SEC and which has the buy – in of all industry stakeholders.” According to the SEC, the reform has led to unprecedented market recovery with market capitalisation and the All Share Index attaining and exceeding the pre 2008 peak global financial meltdown figures, thereby positioning Nigeria within the top 10 bracket of the world’s best performing capital markets for the third year running. “This recovery process can only be sustained with the strengthening of market operators through enhanced capital, better technological infrastructure, qualitative human capi- tal, improved operational set up which provides for seamless and efficient linkage between the front, middle and rear offices as well as a corporate governance structure which moderates the often pernicious link between ownership and control. “The new capital requirement is inspired by current international best practice which requires that operators hold capital which is commensurate with the size of risk which they bear in the market place. Indeed the new capital regime, when depreciation in the value of the naira is factored in, merely takes the Nigerian capital market back to the 2004 baseline capital situation,” the statement added. World indexes finish vintage year, more seen in 2014 U nited States stocks were set to close 2013 at record levels, with world equity markets close to six-year peaks yesterday, while benchmark bond yields were poised for their first annual rise since 2009 in anticipation of stronger global growth in 2014. Ultra-easy monetary policies and an improving economic outlook led to a stellar year for stocks. Equity strategists see the gains continuing into 2014 as economic growth improves even as the Federal Reserve steadily trims its bond-buying stimulus. “Things still look pretty solid at the end of 2013, and 2014 will be a better year with less fiscal drag,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. “The other thing is a better global economy. Exports will be better. Europe is coming out of recession. Growth in Asia is expected to re-accelerate.” Wall Street was on track for its best year since 1997 with a 29 per cent gain. More than 450 of the stocks in the S&P 500 are set to end the year higher, the most since S&P started collecting that data in 1980. Japan’s Nikkei finance/ markets/index ended up 56.7 per cent and European shares gained 16 per cent. Reuters polls show European stocks are expected to hit new highs in 2014, while Chinese, US and other major stock markets are also seen posting solid gains. By contrast, the Barclays US Aggregate Index of investment grade bonds is on track for its worst year since 1994, as interest rates rose in anticipation of reduced Fed stimulus and higher-yielding stocks attracted more investment flows. Source: NSE Source: FMDA Market indicators All-Share Index 41,329.19 points Market capitalisation 13.22 trillion Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY OPENING CLOSING CHANGE OANDO 22.00 24.25 2.25 % CHANGE 10.23 ZENITHBANK 24.87 27.40 2.53 10.17 AFRIPRUD 3.02 3.32 0.30 9.93 NEIMETH 1.15 1.26 0.11 9.57 UBCAP 1.89 2.07 0.18 9.52 MAYBAKER 2.24 2.45 0.21 9.38 CCNN 10.78 11.75 0.97 9.00 NEM 0.69 0.75 0.06 8.70 DANGFLOUR 9.50 10.25 0.75 7.89 UBA 8.34 8.90 0.56 6.71 CHANGE % CHANGE LOSERS COMPANY OPENING CLOSING FO 108.30 97.75 -10.55 -9.74 LEARNAFRCA 2.07 1.97 -0.10 -4.83 AIICO 0.88 0.84 -0.04 -4.55 JOHNHOLT 1.17 1.12 -0.05 -4.27 LIVESTOCK 4.45 4.30 -0.15 -3.37 TRANSCORP 4.50 4.35 -0.15 -3.33 CADBURY 60.88 59.01 -1.87 -3.07 DIAMONDBNK 7.50 7.35 -0.15 -2.00 MANSARD 2.50 2.45 -0.05 -2.00 OKOMUOIL 44.79 44.00 -0.79 -1.76 Primary Market Auction TENOR AMOUNT (N’mn) RATE (%) DATE 91-Day 22,057.31 11.50 07-Nov-13 182-Day 30,000.00 11.59 07-Nov-13 182-Day 47,786.39 13.05 07-Nov-13 Open Market Operations TENOR AMOUNT (N’mn) RATE (%) DATE 178-Day 86,709.13 12.35 07-Nov-13 175-Day 95,368.69 12.35 07-Nov-13 - - - - Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED MARKET DEMAND AMOUNT SOLD DATE $350m N/A $343m 04-Nov-13 $400m N/A $399m 30-Oct-13 46 Executive Discourse Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Nigeria can’t afford to do business Africa’s future as far as banishing hunger and ensuring food security are concerned can only be sustainably guaranteed when adequate attention is given to the place of research and innovation in agricultural systems. In this interview with MESHACK IDEHEN, the newly appointed Executive Director of the Accra, Ghana, based Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, says that preparations for future food security must immediately commence. In what capacity were you functioning before becoming the executive director of this forum? What exactly is the mandate of FARA? The endorsement for this appointment was made on the 20th of July 2013. Prior to this, I have been with the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I served as the head of agriculture and food security for the last seven years. I have also been privileged to occupy positions such as the director of Inter-African and Sanitary Council based in Yaoundé, Cameroun, I was the chief animal research officer of the AU inter-Africa bureau for animal resources in Nairobi, Kenya. My professional experience and capacity has before this appointment also seen me being an animal research scientist and nutritionist. I was engaged in the International Livestock Research Institute in Ethiopia and in Kenya. I have also served as a visiting scientist to the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine based in Edinburgh, Scotland for a number of years. My research work dates back to 1986 and terminated 2006, that is 20 years. I am multilingual, fluent in four European languages and five African languages. As for the question on the mandate of Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa, FARA, it is important for me to make the description between the secretariat of FARA and FARA de Forum. In the main, the secretariat of FARA services the interest of the forum, while FARA de forum is the agglomeration of all the stakeholders in agricultural research for the continent. It is a delegation that is composed of a crosssection of stakeholders, with the head of Agricultural Research Council, Professor Abubarkar, being a Nigerian. We also have two representatives of the Director General of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, IITA, based in Ibadan. There is also the Director General of the International livestock Research Institute, Dr. Jimmy Smith. You recently led your agency on a visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. What does your visit mean in regards to boosting agriculture in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general? Solving Nigeria’s food challenge is actually solving 25 per cent of African’s challenge, because the demographic information available to us today shows that Nigeria’s population is a quarter of the continent. So whatever we can do to support the programme of the minister and his co-workers in the ministry, especially in the context of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, ATA, is equally a deliverable for us in FARA. Specifically, we were in Abuja to meet with the minister because an invitation was received to have an exchange with the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina. As things presently are, Nigeria is a leader on the continent in many fronts, and the country plays a leadership role in peace and security, in democracy, in supporting infrastructure across the continent, and in supporting institutional mechanism that are in place by the AU. Nigeria Akinbamijo IF WE LOOK AT NATIONS THAT HAVE BROKEN THE FOOD INSECURITY BARRIER OF LATE, SAY IN THE LAST 30 YEARS, WE WILL FIND COUNTRIES LIKE BRAZIL AND CHINA; THESE TWO COUNTRIES PAID THE HEAVY PRICE OF INVESTING IN AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAIN plays a very critical role in the economic life of the continent, so it is my desire to have Nigeria to continue to play an important role in the domain for agricultural research and development in the continent. Putting it in perspective however, it must be said that this is the very first mission that I will be undertaking after taking office, and it is very interesting for me in particular because I am a Nigerian and I thought it right that I should commence my engagement with the international community from my home country. I came to see the minister as the head of a delegation of FARA de Forum. This visit means a lot in terms of boosting agriculture development in Nigeria and on the continent. From what I am beginning to see over the last couple of years and this is not peculiar to Nigeria, investment in agricultural research had been down. Across the continent today, the key supporters of African research and development have been the European and American countries. Now however, we feel Nigeria should now come to the fore and support the effort of FARA de Forum and the secretariat in its drive to have a food secured Africa. It should be noted that late President Bingu wa Mutharika in his tenure as the chairman of the AU made a pledge which we still try to uphold, even though the former Malawian president did not live to see it. With the visit, alongside other outreaches and networking we are making across the continent, the forum is hoping for an Africa where no child will go to bed hungry. Through and by that visit, it has become a win-win scenario for both FARA and the government of Nigeria to actually now step-up collaborative engagement in the quest to providing research tools for our stakeholders in agriculture and food security. What is the vision of FARA in relations to the value chain approach of Nigeria’s agriculture sector managers? As an animal scientist that have made his mark when it comes to livestock research and livestock integrated systems, I am particularly delighted that the minister has chosen to pursue the value chain approach because that is the way to go. If we look at nations that have broken the food insecurity barrier of late, say in the last 30 years, we will find countries like Brazil and China; these two countries paid the heavy price of investing in agricultural value chain. Brazil is a model to emulate. if you go to China, it is another scenario where you have demand approach to research from farm to fork, which means that you disaggregate every segment of the chain from the farm until it National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Executive Discourse Wednesday, January 1, 2014 47 as usual in agriculture –Akinbamijo reaches the table. In other words, as part of the vision for value chain approach, we need to adopt what I referred to as demand driven research as opposed to the supply driven research. When we look at the table and see what the demand on the dining table of Nigerians is and what will be the demand facing Nigeria 50 years from now, it then behooves on us to see to it that if Nigeria is not to be a food insecure nation by then. Preparations has to be on board as from today, because what that does mean for us is that we are now looking at the trend of the daily lives, the evolution in the demography of Nigeria, the migration that we see from the rural to the urban scenarios, the kind of demands people are making which is beginning to appear like the middle class is increasing and the demand for high protein commodities are on the rise. Now the question facing us is, when all these are considered is if we will be able to meet this demand. How do you think Nigeria and other African countries can deal with the issues of post-harvest loss? There are a few things we still have to do. It is on record that about 45 per cent of the foods we produce do not get to the table because of post-harvest loss, and one of the key issues in the reduction of post-harvest loss is definitely the issue of value addition, processing and transformation of products. When we look at the value chain, there are issue when you have to deal with the inputs, agro-dealership, fertilizers, seeds, access to credits and enhancing the capacity of the farmers not to do business as usual, because just like Albert Einstein said, if you do the things you always did, you will get the results you always got, and we know it that the result we always got is not the result that will sustain drive. At the moment, food import bill on this continent is in excess of 40 billion US dollars annually. We in this continent have the capacity to reduce this bill because this is the money we do not have, so it is incumbent upon us that we do anything we can to reduce this bill. We have the technology, we have the competence and we have the resources. If we have these three and they are judiciously harnessed I can tell you that the dream of the minister of elimination post-harvest loss, making Nigeria wheat secure and meeting Nigeria’s demand for wheat will become a thing of the past and definitely be surpassed because we have the technology, resources and competence to do so. Nigeria is also a signatory to the West African productivity programme and all of these are converging towards addressing the food insecurity through combating harvest loss, especially using the value chain approach. Talking of wheat brings into focus the question of cassava and its usage in bread and confectionaries making. What would you say is the role and place of cassava in the whole issue of guaranteeing food security for Nigeria and the continent, and what is FARA doing in that aspect? Now I want to digress a little to my own area of interest in research. Let me start by saying that cassava is no longer a food crop, with the kind of technology that is emerging from a segment of FARA, which is the international technology center. Let’s take the example of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, IITA, where there has being tremendous input in the cassava value chain. What that means for us as a people is that the growing of cassava is now a business not just the production of Garri and Akpu, and with this business beginning to emerge, we can see that IITA is now developing technology that can handle 10 tonnes of cassava per day. What that tells me is that we are not just meeting our requirement for cassava, we now know that there is cassava been integrated in the bread that we eat in Nigeria which was not the case 5-10 years ago. With the progressive inclusion of cassava in our diet in this country of over 160 million people, that means if we eat 40 per cent inclusion of cassava, there will be a time when we will need to import cassava to meet our needs because the demands is becoming overwhelming. FARA is now in a stage where there is rapidly growing supply of innovations and technologies to meet this demand. We also have not lose sight on the fact, because as a proactive organisation, we are also aware and working towards solution, knowing that cassava coming through will generate a lot of biomass in terms of wastes. What do I mean? 10-20 tonnes of cassava peelings (waste) per day tells me that there is going to be enormous production of cassava peels. Now to the uninformed mind, peels of 20 tonnes of cassava is a waste products, but I can tell you that such a biomass is a raw material for a totally different line of industry which can be harnessed in animal nutrition. Nigeria is a high consumer of poultry and we also produce poultry so how do we meet the need of the poultry industry. Cassava peels are high-energy compliments and can be fed to non-ruminants and ruminants alike. In my opinion, I see a great potential of developing animal nutrition industry emerging from the cassava sub-sector, the cassava value chain itself. For FARA, we are beginning to see how we can optimise our resources, optimize the crops and the whole value chain of just one commodity where the waste product becomes the raw material of another chain. We at FARA can help develop the necessary institutional support. For example we can contribute to high level IN MY OPINION, I SEE A GREAT POTENTIAL OF DEVELOPING ANIMAL NUTRITION INDUSTRY EMERGING FROM THE CASSAVA SUB-SECTOR, THE CASSAVA VALUE CHAIN ITSELF. FOR FARA, WE ARE BEGINNING TO SEE HOW WE CAN OPTIMISE OUR RESOURCES capacity development in terms of human resources we can facilitate exchange peer to peer capacity development from other neighbouring or non-neighbouring facilities, we can bring a network of centres of excellence that are offspring research in terms of molecular biology and high level research in the domain of agriculture. How would you describe the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda? The plans that are being put into place by the honourable minister of agriculture of Nigeria are laudable and I actually describe it as a trailblazer for the continent. That is why we at FARA will do everything possible to support this whole agricultural transformation agenda that can become a model for people to follow. I know very well that there are countries within the South-South co-operation, the Africa-South America collaboration, and Africa-China collaboration who are very well informed of what the minister is doing. The agricultural transformation agenda issue that Nigeria is embarking upon is not only to Nigeria; Ethiopia is also undertaking a reform of its agricultural sector. I said earlier that if we do what we always did, we will get the results we always got and the result we always got has not yet translated into keeping Africa food secure, it has not translated into making Nigeria food secure. How is Nigeria and Africa faring in the global food aid programmes? Nigeria and Africa in general are still the largest destination of food aid in the world and we want to change this statistics and in changing this statistics, it means Nigeria cannot afford to do business as usual where agriculture is concerned and not to do agri-business as usual is the hallmark and the very centre of what the minister is leading in the agricultural transformational agenda. We are now beginning to see the impacts of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in the sector, it is beginning to yield the envisaged dividends, we are beginning to see that you can actually quadruple the productivity of many of our commodities if we only adopt the right technology, if we provide the enabling agro-inputs in terms of improved seeds, fertilizer, access to credits and access to know-how. If we are able to do all of these, we will certainly see a totally different agricultural sector in Nigeria. And what that will ultimately serve, there are two things; one is that we will get to the triple win scenario. Normally people talk about a win win-win scenario, but there is a new and upcoming paradigm that describes a triple win scenario in which we will address the issue of food insecurity, within the same context address the issue of youth unemployment and also address the issue of environmental degradation. What are the cardinal programmes the country’s agric sector is grappling with? There are three cardinal problems facing Nigeria that must be addressed using a silver bullet, and this silver bullet in my opinion is the agricultural transformation agenda that is now in place in this country. In my capacity as the executive director of FARA, I can attest to it that Nigeria is on track, the minister is doing the right thing and if we see that the whole agricultural system in this country is getting transformed, it’s little wonder because the impacts is there, its speaks for itself, so for us at FARA will do everything possible to ensure that this transformation agenda becomes a success. Now what will we be bringing in into system? We at FARA will provide the necessary support from the continent wide perspective to ensure that the agenda becomes a success; we will provide all necessary enabling networking scenarios that will support the post-harvest scenario with technology that may be able to import some technologies and adapt them in this case. FARA is a gateway of agricultural innovation in the continent; we are best placed to advice and support Nigeria in whatever innovation the country seeks to bring into the sector. 48 Capital Market Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at December 31, 2013 1st Tier Securities 1st Tier Securities Sector Company name No Of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded Value of Shares(N) Sector Company name No Of Deals Quotation(N) Quantity Traded Value of Shares(N) Wednesday, January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 49 Community Mirror We have no choice than to work closely with the police; we are happy that our state has been very peaceful. Corps begins peace and unity advocacy 50 OYO STATE GOVERNOR, SENATOR ABIOLA AJIMOBI Plateau bans street begging JAMES ABRAHAM JOS T he Pateau State Government has banned street begging and putting of sick persons along the roads within Jos and Bukuru metropolis. The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Yiljap Abraham who disclosed this said the decision was taken at the Executive Council meeting at Government House and chaired by Governor Jonah Jang. According to the commissioner, the need to ban street begging had become necessary in view of the security risk it poses as well as health hazards to those plying the trade. His words: “The state government has observed with dismay the influx of beggars from unknown destination to most streets in the state and is not comfortable as some of them pose security threat to people of the state. “We are also banning individuals from putting up sick persons on the road for money, as these persons should be taken to hospitals for medical attention. “The street is not the best place for them; rather, they should be taken to hospitals for medical attention. “We are demanding that such practice stop henceforth and all those involved should take note or face wrath of the law.” Yiljap further said that Governor Jang has approved the naming of streets and houses within the Jos greater Master Plan and vowed to complete all abandoned projects in the first quarter of 2014. Aide tasks council on market reconstruction ADEOLA TUKURU ABUJA F ollowing a fire incident that destroyed properties worth over N50 million in Kuje market, Abuja,the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Sen. Jibril Wowo has urged the chairman of Kuje Area Council, Shaban Tete to rebuild the market to acceptable standards. He said this during an inspection visit to the market in Gwargwada, a community in Kuje Area Council. Wowo who sympathised with the council, said while the incident was destructive, it has created an opportunity to provide a better market for people of the area. He said the inferno has no doubt affected the economic life of the owners, even as he noted that Allah showed mercies and prevented loss of life,as he called on the market union to remember to thank God for that. He tasked the council’s administration to rebuild the market to meet contemporary business environment status for ease of access and other safety measures. He noted that Kuje Area Council is one of the first choices for most visitors to Abuja and this calls for responsive strategic thinking to face the challenge. Wowo commended the council, federal fire service and residents who put out the fire, thereby preventing a major disaster. Governor sets up committee on fraud PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA N Coordinator, Aro Foundation Free Healthcare Services, Dr. Musa Bello (left) attending to a patient at the Bi-Annual Aro Bamgbose Free Healthcare Services in Omu-Aran, Kwara State, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI A member of the Benue House of Assembly, Hon. Avine Agbom has condemned insinuations that criminals rather than Fulani herdsmen are responsible for killing Tiv peasant farmers in several villages. Agbom representing Makurdi North constituency, noted that it is unbecoming of anyone to attribute the disturbances and subsequent killings of innocent citizens to Lawmaker blames herdsmen for farmers’ death criminals and further exonerate Fulani herdsmen of involvement, as this could lead to persistent skirmishes. He further buttressed that on April 8, 2013 four villages were attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen who on the other hand are being referred to as criminals from Mbalagh, Mbayegh and Yandev respectively where over 30 persons were brutally murdered. He stated that there are evidences that the carnage was unleashed by Fulani herdsmen and wondered why anyone would claim ignorance of the matter. He condemned the Nigerian Army 72 Airborne battalion, Makurdi for the alleged killing of three unarmed protesters on April 14, 2013 and disclosed that a suit has been filed against the state and federal gov- ernment after bodies of the deceased were deposited at the Federal Medical Center Makurdi, FMC. He said that due to these incessant Fulani invasions more than 33 schools have remained shut for three years, while the teachers have been transferred to other schools. “So, for Governor Suswam to say that Fulanis did not kill Tiv farmers is a figment of his imagination”. iger State Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu has constituted a four man committee to investigate the allegations of fraud against the chairmen and vice chairmen of Borgu and Rafi local governments. Chairmen of the affected councils are currently on suspension pending completion of the investigation by the committee. The Committee headed by Justice Aisha Bawa Bwari, is saddled with responsibility of determining the award of contracts, level of execution of the contracts, as well as amounts paid to contractors for jobs. Other terms of reference are to determine loans obtained by the local governments and what they were spent on. It is also to find out the revenue accruing to the councils and how it was spent. The committee is expected to submit its findings in March, as Governor Aliyu noted that the state took the action following several petitions against officials of the two councils. Similarly, the governor has set up a committee to look at possibility of banning street begging and Almajiris in the state, and is headed by the Commissioner for Information, Prof. Yahaya Kuta. He charged the committee to determine the implication of banning street begging and almajiri and also recommend if it could be made state-wide. Aliu 50 Community Mirror Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Corps begins peace and unity advocacy DANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE A Non-Governmental Organization, Community Watchdog Corps says creating and implementing programmes and policies by government and nongovernmental organisations that will take youths off the streets is one sure way of establishing national peace, security and unity of Nigeria. The organisation is therefore reaching out to the youths through its peace and unity advocacy campaign for the North- East tagged “taking the youths off the streets” which is scheduled to begin in Bauchi by February 2014. The Corps MarshalGeneral, Prince Ogunmodede Akinloye in a release made available to Community Mirror in Gombe said the National Executive Council of the organisation is also expressing sympathy over the wanton destruction of lives and property occasioned by terrorists’ activities in the North-East. While it called on its member to live up to the tax of reducing crime in the country, it commended President Jonathan for extending the State of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states mostly affected by the insurgency. The organisation also expressed sadness over the attitude of some leaders whom it accused of fomenting trouble and instigating insecurity. It called on well meaning Nigerians to join hands with the organisation and other security agencies of government to fight the unprecedented level of crime confronting the country. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Youth organisation urges improved governance FRANCIS SUBERU On the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution, the organization maintained that the only means of ameliorating the social, economic and political backwardness of the country is to walk away from the old order and create a conducive and people oriented constitution that suits the time. The organisation is therefore calling on all well meaning Nigerians to wake up to the challenges of countering the activities of terrorist and other perpetrators of social ills in Nigeria. A youth organisation, the Champions Youths Development Association of Nigeria (CHYDAN) has urged government at all levels to improve the quality of governance in 2014 so as to reduce security challenges. CHYDAN expressed hope that government’s eradication of poverty, unemployment, provision of social amenities among others will improve security in 2014. This was contained in a New Year message made available to reporters in Lagos by CHYDAN’s President, Mr Umar Isma’il. The association encouraged governments at all levels to improve on the welfare of security personnel, while the military opera- tions against bad elements in all regions of the country should be sustained. “As we move into 2014, the youths want to live in decent houses and not uncompleted building with criminals. The youths want to see the arrest of identified suspected Boko Haram members and not arrest and killing of innocent persons. “We call on the Federal Government to check the inflow of foreigners through border towns in the north and also establish more security agencies, especially on our sea borders to adequately police the nation’s water ways,’’ Chydan said. On the killings of eight persons in Apo Quarters, Abuja by security agent, the association called on the Federal Government to apologise to families of the deceased. Yuguda donates xmas gift to women EZEKIEL TITUS BAUCHI A A cyclist conveying wheel barrow on Turum Road in Bauchi, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN Commissioner empowers orphans, women FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA M ore than 1, 000 orphans, school pupils and 250 women last week benefitted from the foundation, launched by the Ogun State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo. The organisation, Kokumo Oladipo Memorial Foundation empowered the women with two tricycles popularly known as Keke Marwa, five motorcycles, 100 crates of soft drink and cash; while the over 1, 000 orphans and the less privileged children were given money and educational materials to support their schooling. At the event which was attended by three local government council chairmen including those of Ado/Odo/ Ota Local Government chairman, Remo North Local Government chairman and Sagamu Local Government chairman as well as elder brother of the state governor, Alhaji Abidoye Amosun, was held at Makun High School, Sagamu. Speaking on the rationale behind the empowerment, Bashorun Oladipo said he decided to launch the foundation in remembrance of his late father who died while he was at a tender age thereby leaving him and his four other siblings to the mercies of the people around. The commissioner said his father died in 1976 when he was in class four in secondary school, while his mother died while he was in primary four. The Commissioner, a former Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003 said it was only by God’s grace that he was educated; urging wealthy Nigerians to emulate the “giving spirit” of an American donor, Bill Gate and support the needy in the society. He expressed optimism that when the needy and the less privileged are taken care of and lifted from deprivation and lack, the society and the entire country will progress. “Bill Gate did not empower but he believed he could put his money in some places that can reduce maternal - child mortality and also fight malaria. If you pull a life up, you have saved a generation,” Bashorun Oladipupo said. pparently determined to alleviate the sufferings of women in politics in the state, Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State has donated N20million worth items to Christian women in politics in the state. The materials including wrappers, food items and a bull were distributed among members of the forum. At the public distribution of the items yesterday in Bauchi, chairperson of the forum Mrs. Sarah Yohanna told newsmen that Yuguda’s administration has placed the plights of women as top among its agenda. Sarah noted that the gesture was a pointer to the fact that Governor Yuguda is committed to carrying women along in his administration. According to Sarah, Governor Yuguda has done a lot to alleviate poverty among women folk in the state in all ramifications. Sarah maintained that women in the state are prepared to actively participate in politics as 2015 elections gather momentum. Physically challenged plead for annual donation M embers of the Deaf Supporters Group, DSG, Lagos have pleaded with political leaders and well meaning Nigerians to make annual donations and grants to the group in order to lift members of the group from abject poverty. The appeal was contained in a release of December 24, 2013 and signed by the group’s national president, Afolabi Dahunsi and its general secretary Amuda Ibrahim. DSG in the release noted that majority of its members who have been trained and acquired various skills that can make them self reliant are finding it hard to start up businesses. According to the release; “though we organise various skills acquisition training for our members, yet there is need to provide them with some token capital to set-up their own small scale ventures.” The group expressed appreciation to all well wishers who supported the group in the course of the year. The release read in part: “The national executive and members of the Deaf Supporters Group hereby greet all our leaders – political, economic, and spiritual leaders as well as other nigerians including all person with disabilities happy new year 2014.” National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net Wednesday, January 1, 2014 51 52 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Israel releases Palestinian prisoners before Kerry visit I srael freed 26 Palestinian prisoners yesterday, days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was due back in the Middle East to press the two sides to reach a framework peace deal. Israel agreed to release a total of 104 Palestinian prisoners as part of a U.S.- brokered package that in July revived peace talks after a three-year break. Tuesday’s release was the third of four groups to go free. On Friday, an Israeli official said plans would be announced after the release to build 1,400 homes for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, territory Palestinians CHANGE OF NAME t OYEBEFUN: Formerly known and addressed as Dr. Christiana Opeoluwa Oyebefun, now wish to be known and addressed as Dr. Christiana Opeoluwa Odunsi. All former documents remain valid. General public take note CHANGE OF NAME t ONUNKWO: Formerly known and addressed as Onunkwo Anthony Okwuchukwu, now wish to be known and addressed as Uzochukwu Anthony Okwuchukwu. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t ENIOLA: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Bilikisu Eniola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Bilikisu Oluwakemi Oyewole. All former documents remain valid.General public take note. ZANGO: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Sarah Zango, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Sarah Nathaniel. All former documents remain valid. General public take note CHANGE OF NAME t BADMUS: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Badmus Titilope, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Lasisi Titilope Kafayat. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Police Authority and general public take note CHANGE OF NAME CHANGE OF NAME t ADENEKAN: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Adenekan Mariam Adebayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Adebayo Mariam Olubukunola. All former documents remain valid. Insight Solicitors and general public take note. t CHANGE OF NAME t AYODELE: Formerly known and addresed as Miss Ayodele Motunrayo Omolola, now wish to be known and addressed Mrs. Adebola Motunrayo Omolola. All Former documents remain valid. General public take note. BABATUNDE: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Babatunde Oluremi Adeola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ajewole Oluremi Adeola. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Local Government Service Commission and general public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t NDUBUISI: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Ndubuisi Annastesia, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ekoh Ann. All former documents remain valid.General public please take note. OBINZEH: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Obinzeh Cynthia, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Willie Ugochi Cynthia. All former documents remain valid. Imo State University, NYSC and general public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t OGBE: Formerly known and addressed as Ogbe Promise Nkemjika, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Orji Promise Nkemjika. All former documents remain valid. Nigeria Police Force and general public should take note. CHANGE OF NAME CHANGE OF NAME t t OKUONGHAE: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Joy Abieyuwa Okuonghae, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Joy Abieyuwa Patrick Onah. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. PUBLIC NOTICE SELABOY FOUNDATION FOR SUSTAINANCE AND PROMOTION OF FAMILY AND SOCIETAL VALUES The general public is hereby notified that the above named foundation has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja, for registration under Part “C” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Joseph Selaboy 3. Tchad Tchoukeu Ahmed Aime THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 2. Clara Njwi Ebai Selaboy 4. Sadisu Muhammad Sadisu i. To promote and sustain family and societal values; ii.To embark on programs aiming at youth and children development as well as women empowerment; iii.To promote agricultural activities and environmental education in communities; iv. To assist in providing healthcare to communities and individuals; v. To improve the communities development for the benefit of the inhabitants; vi.To encourage the goodwill and involvement of the wider community; vii.To foster community spirit and encourage involvement in developmental and social projects and activities Any objection to the Registration should be forwarded to the Registrar-General Corporate Affairs Commission Plot 420 Tigris Crescent off Aguiyi Ironsi Street Maitama Abuja within 28 days of this publication. SIGNED: FOR THE SELABOY FOUNDATION: AIMÉ A. TCHAD TEL: 070 35022002 PUBLIC NOTICE CITY OF PRAISE INTERNATIONAL GOSPEL CENTRE The general public is hereby notified that the above named church has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja, for registration under Part “C” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Pastor Chris O. Ogiemwonyi - President Obasohan Hope Imuetinyan Ogiemwonyi Imuetinyan Deacon Osatohamwen Noghama Edina Peter THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1. To provide a ministry of the word of God through the planting of churches, organizations and institutions in order to reach any person irrespective of race, colour and nationality. 2. To propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all parts of the world. 3. To liberate man from satanic bondages and stronghold mentally, spiritually and in all totality. 4. To heal the sick, broken hearted and put smiles on the faces of men through God’s word. 5. To raise disciples to disciple others. Any objection to the Registration should be forwarded to the Registrar-General Corporate Affairs Commission Plot 420 Tigris Crescent off Aguiyi Ironsi Street Maitama Abuja within 28 days of this publication. SIGNED: PASTOR CHRIS O. OGIEMWONYI, PRESIDENT seek for a state along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Jailed before or just after the first Israeli-Palestinian interim peace accord was signed 20 years ago, the inmates boarded buses for home outside Ofer prison in the West Bank as Israelis protested in East Jerusalem CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t against the amnesty. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greeted the men at his headquarters in Ramallah. “We promise you this will not be the last time and there will be more groups of heroes coming to us frequently in the near future, God willing,” Abbas said. ADEYEMO: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Adeyemo Joyce Emily Funmilayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Owoeye Joyce Emily Funmilayo. All former documents remain valid. Federal University, Oye-Ekiti and general public, take note ARAPASOPO: Formerly called Miss Arapasopo Gbemisola Bukola, now wish to be addressed and known as Mrs Owolabi Gbemisola Bukola. 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All former documents remain valid Ekiti State Hospital management Board and general public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t OBI: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Obi Agatha Chibuzo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Nwokocha Agatha Chibuzo. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t OLATUNJI: Formerly known and addressed as Barakat Titilope Olatunji, now wish to be known and addressed as Barakah Titilope Olaleye. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. OLAIFA: Formerly known as Miss Olaifa Busayo Lucia, now wish to be called and addressed as Mrs Alani Busayo Lucia. All former documents remain valid, Osun state Teachers Establishment and Pension Office (TEPO) and general public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME t OGUNYEMI: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunyemi Olufisayo Faramadeoluwa now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ayorinde Olufisayo Faramadeoluwa. All former documents remain valid. General public take note CHANGE OF NAME t SONOIKI: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Sonoiki Omoseeke Mojisola, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Kolade Omoseeke Mojisola. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t AGUNLOYE: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Agunloye Bosede Esther, now to be known and addressed as Mrs Ajayi Bosede Esther. All former documents remain valid. Hospital Management Board Ado Ekiti and general public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t OGUNFOWORA: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogunfowora Bukunola Ronke, now wish to be known as Mrs Falako Bukunola Ronke. All former documents remain valid. valid. Nigeria Police Force and general public note. CHANGE OF NAME t OSHO: Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Osho Oluwatomisin Sekinat, wish to be known and address as Mrs. Majekodunmi Oluwatomisin Sekinat. All documents remain relevant. General public take note. PUBLIC AUCTION NOTICE This is to inform the geneal public that there will be Auction Sales of unserviceable vehicles belonging to Anambra State Board of Internal Revenue by Anambra State Government from Thurs 9th Jan 2014 by 10am prompt at BIR HQ Awka. Interested buyers should inspect the Alloted items during working hours. ANNOUNCER ROMANUS OKAFOR. Government Licensed Auctioneer; 08033767788. National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t MOMODU: Formerly known and addressed as Momodu Aruna. Now want to be knownand addressed as Solo Joshua Haruna. All former documents remain valid. General public please take note. Formerly known and addressed as Segun Kayode, now wish to be known and addressed as Olusegun Abiodun Joseph Kayode. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. ADEWUYI: Formerly known and addressed as Adewuyi Adenike Sandra, now wish to be known, called and addressed as Giwa Adenike Sandra. All former documents remain valid. General public should please take note. CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t ADEYEMI: Formerly known as Mrs. Anthonia Olaitan Adeyemi, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Anthonia Olaitan Somide. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. Formerly known and addressed as Miss Salako Asisat Omotayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs AdamsSalako Asisat Omotayo. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. KAZEEM: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Kazeem Abolanle Ruth, now wish to be known, called and addressed as Onabanjo Abolanle Racheal. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. SODOLA: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Sodola Tawakalitu Odunola now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Owolabi Tawakalitu Odunola. All former documents remain valid. General public take note CHANGE OF NAME t PELERO: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Pelero Seun now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Fayomi Oluwaseun Iyabode. All former documents remain valid. Yewa North Local Government, Ayetoro and general public take note CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t AKOMOLAFE: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Esther. O. Akomolafe, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Amos Omolola Surprise. All former documents remain valid. General public take note. CHANGE OF NAME t OLUWADARE: Formerly Miss Oluwadare Abosede Funmilayo, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Akinboye Deborah Funmilayo. All former documents remain valid. Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission and general public take note. MUKAILA: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Mukaila Kubura Adijat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Soaga Kubura Adijat. All former documents remain valid. General public take note CHANGE OF NAME t ADEDOYIN: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Adedoyin Adenike Kikelomo, now wish to be known as Mrs Awoyomi Adenike Kikelomo. All former documents valid. Ogun State SUBEB and general public note. CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t CHANGE OF NAME t SALAMI: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Salami Oluwafunke Sadiat, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs AmudaAjiboye Oluwafunke Anike. All former documents remain valid.Ogun State Ministry of Education Science and Technology and general public take note EKEKWO: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Ekekwo Amarachi Grace, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ononiwu Amarachi Grace. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and the general public please take note. Ogbu: Formerly known and addressed as Miss Ogbu Ginika Edith, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs Ani Ginika Edith. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and general public please take note. 1x1 Advert Space For Sale PUBLIC NOTICE DIVINE FORCE MINISTRY INTERNATIONAL This is to inform the general public that the above named Ministry has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission for registration under part ‘c’ of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Edwin E. Titus 2. Evyline E. Titus 3. Praise E. Titus 4. Gospel E. Titus 5. Favour E. Titus THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1. To preach the wholeness of Christ with full demonstration of the inherent power of the Holy Spirit to all Nation 2. To establish Churches and fellowship Centers where the need is and according to the leading of the Holy Spirit Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to the Registrar-General Corporate Affairs Commission, Plot 420, Tigris crescent, off Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja within twenty-eight (28) days of this publication. SIGNED: SECRETARY PUBLIC NOTICE ROHI AND SHAMMAH MISSION NON-INDIGENES FORUM, OGUN STATE This is to inform the general public that ROHI AND SHAMMAH MISSION, LAGOS has applied for registration under part ‘C’ of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990. This is to inform the general public that the above named forum has applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission, for registration under Part C of the Company And Allied Matters Act 1990. THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Pastor Johnson Ibeh 2. Pastor (Mrs.) Johnson Ibeh 3. Stanley Ibeh 4. Mr. Nonso Nwaulu THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: 1. Winning souls for Christ 2. Deliverance 3. To help the less privileged & abandoned person in the society. PUBLIC NOTICE THE TRUSTEES ARE: 1. Chief James Okwok 2. Dr Donald Oghenovo 3. Prince Benjamin Mbah 4. Alhaji Basir Umar 5. Mr Emmanuel Adegbenro 6. Mr Thomas Godwin 7.Mr Kufre Umoefon THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: – President – General Secretary To foster unity and understanding among members. Any objection to the Registration should be forwarded to the Registrar-General, Corporate Affairs Commission, P.M.B 198, Garki, Abuja within 28 days of this publication Any objection to the registration should be forwarded to The Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission,Plot 420 Tigris Crescent, off Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, within 28 days of this publication. SIGNED: BARR. (MRS.) N.U IGBOKWE SIGNED: GENERAL SECRETARY Wednesday January 1, 2014 National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net 53 World News Iran to implement nuclear deal in late January I wanted to tell girls in Egypt and everywhere else that they are not alone, we all have the same problems, but we cannot stay silent, we have to speak up. 54 –Egyptian Rapper, Myam Mahmoud South Sudan’s rivals set for peace talks PAUL ARHEWE, WITH AGENCY REPORTS T alks between South Sudan’s government and rebels were expected to commence yesterday in Ethiopia, mediators said. The two sides are expected to reach an agreement on the cessation of hostilities, they said. The talks are the first since conflict erupted two weeks ago between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. At least 1,000 people have died and more than 121,600 are believed to have fled their homes. By sending a delegation to Addis Ababa, Riek Machar has agreed to one of the mediation’s key demands - but not the other. The rebel leader told me he would not order his troops to stop fighting. This is something, he said, that can be discussed in Ethiopia. Regional leaders had wanted a cessation of hostilities and talks to begin by 31 December. The attack on Bor was a clear attempt by Machar to show his military power, which will strengthen his hand in any negotiations. He also said his delegation will be led by Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of the South Sudanese hero John Garang. As a Dinka, she may help Machar challenge the allegation that his rebellion is primarily from his Nuer ethnic group. It is interesting that Mr Mach- T housands of people caught up in fighting in Central African Republic blocked the runway of its international airport yesterday, demanding more aid and the resignation of the president. Families and other refugees chanted anti-government slogans near a makeshift camp where they President Kiir. ar is now admitting that the “white army” - an ethnic militia - is “part of” his army. This will not do much for his popularity in many parts of South Sudan. East African leaders have been leading mediation efforts to end the crisis. On Monday, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni threatened the rebels with military action if they failed to agree to a ceasefire by the end of Tuesday, and begin talks. Representatives of Kiir and Mr Machar would meet in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to defuse tensions in South Sudan, the Ethiopian government said in a statement. “The two sides are expected to reach an agreement on the ces- sation of hostilities and peaceful resolution of the current political crisis,” the statement added. Earlier, Machar told the BBC he would send a delegation to the talks, claiming his forces had captured the key town of Bor. But while he had agreed to negotiate, he said he would not order his troops to stop fighting. He had previously demanded 11 detainees accused of being coconspirators in a coup plan be freed before negotiations. Machar, who was deputy president until he was sacked in July, denies there was a plot - alleged by Mr Kiir. The fighting initially broke out in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and has now spread to many parts of the country. The situation in Bor is fast-moving, but a government minister confirmed that the town had fallen to Machar’s forces, reports the the BBC’s James Copnall from Juba. A UN spokesman said Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, had come under attack at day break, not far from the town’s UN compound. Machar said his delegation to talks would be headed by Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of John Garang, who led South Sudanese rebel forces against Khartoum for many years. BBC said as a Dinka she may help Mr Machar challenge the allegation that his rebellion is primarily from his Nuer ethnic group. Thousands block CAR flights in plea for help have taken shelter since clashes erupted between mostly Muslim Seleka fighters and Christian militias early in December. Many had arrived in the morning, still loaded with luggage, fleeing a second night of heavy shelling in the capital Bangui. “We are going to stop the take- Children, displaced from violence, taking shelter at the airport in capital Bangui in Central African Republic, recently. PHOTO: REUTERS off and landing of planes to draw more attention from the international community,” said camp resident Rene Kaimba. An Air France flight was cancelled on Tuesday while aid and U.N. flights were also affected, said aid workers. French troops, sent in to try and control the violence in their former colony, surrounded the crowd. Some called for the country’s interim President Michel Djotodia to step down. He seized power in March alongside Seleka, a loose coalition of rebel forces. Central African Republic remains one of Africa’s poorest states for all its mineral resources. It has seen five coups and several rebellions since independence from France in 1960. “The Central Africans have suffered too much and been here almost a month without a solution,” said M. Igor Kamdom, another displaced person at the camp. “That’s why we invaded the runway, so that the President Djotodia resigns.” French and African troops have struggled to stop the violence that has killed more than 1,000 people this month after Christians, who have long complained of abuses by Seleka forces, launched reprisal attacks. Humanitarian workers say that ongoing violence is making it difficult to protect the more than 800,000 that have fled their homes across the country. Milan-based aid group Emergency said a children’s clinic had run out of blood and appealed for donations. WORLD BULLETIN France announces troop withdrawal from Mali France is to reduce the number of its troops in Mali over the next three months by 60%, the French defence minister has said. Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is visiting Mali, said a force of 1,000 would be left in place. France intervened militarily in January to oust Islamist militants who had taken over the north of the country. A UN force in Mali, Minusma, was due to number 12,000 by now - but is still less than half of that. At the height of the crisis, France had a force of about 4,500 in its former colony. In July, France handed over responsibility for security to Minusma - which has incorporated West African troops who backed the French offensive. But France’s timetable to withdraw most of its forces by the end of the year has slipped. Zimbabwe to introduce New Year ban on foreign owners Zimbabwe will from New Year’s Day ban foreigners from owning a majority stake in a host of businesses from bakeries to beauty salons, a cabinet minister said yesterday. Foreigners will only be allowed to own minority stakes in the affected businesses if they have local partners, and will be given between four and five years to comply with the new law. “We are saying from January 1, 2014, we will not be issuing foreigners licences in areas reserved for locals,” indigenisation minister Francis Nhema, told a news agency. “Foreigners who are already operating in those areas reserved for locals should seek indigenous partners to buy shares,” said Nhema. “Likewise locals are free to seek foreign partners as long as the local retains their majority shareholding.” French priest kidnapped in Cameroun freed Georges Vandenbeusch, the French Catholic priest kidnapped in northern Cameroun last month, has been released, the office of President Francois Hollande said yesterday. Hollande thanked Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities for their work in securing his release and highlighted the “personal involvement” of Cameroonian President Paul Biya, according to the brief statement. The 42-year-old priest had chosen to remain in northern Cameroon, a zone where Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram is known to operate, despite the security threat. His November 13 kidnapping was the latest in a series of attacks on French targets in Africa since France launched a military intervention in Mali in January to oust al Qaeda Islamists there, who had forged links with Boko Haram. 54 World News WORLD BULLETIN US hails Guantanamo prisoners release The US has hailed the release of the last three Chinese Muslim Uighurs from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay as a “significant milestone”. They were flown to the Slovakian capital Bratislava, where the US said they were “voluntarily resettling”. None of them are terror suspects, the Slovakian interior ministry said. Guantanamo now holds 155 prisoners, down from more than 750. Many have been there more than a decade, and dozens were cleared for release years ago. The US says it refuses to repatriate Uighur detainees to China because of the risk they could be mistreated. China has cracked down hard on Uighur dissidents who oppose rule from Beijing. Slovakia - a member of the EU and Nato - also accepted three inmates from Guantanamo in 2010. Since 2001 the prison on Cuban soil has housed suspects detained by US forces during operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. A US Department of Defense statement named the three Uighurs as Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper. Turkish minister says fending off ‘mini-coup attempt’ Turkey’s government said, yesterday, it was fending off a “mini coup attempt” by elements in the police and judiciary who served the interests of foreign and domestic forces bent on humbling the country. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the ruling AK Party had in the past survived military coup plots and attempts in the courts to outlaw it. It would not now yield to a corruption investigation that he said targeted the government but was already damaging the national economy. “These latest formations in the judiciary and the police, we can’t call it a coup, but a mini coup attempt. This is what interests foreign investors,” he told broadcaster CNBC-e, echoing suggestions by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of a foreign interest in the crisis. “Maybe the clearest indicator of this was the fall in share prices,” added Babacan, who is in charge of the economy. Chinese doctor tried for trafficking babies A Chinese obstetrician is on trial for stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers, a court and state media report. Zhang Shuxia was accused of selling seven babies. She told the parents their infants were sick, and convinced them to give them up, reports said. Ms Zhang admitted the charges in a court in Fuping, Shaanxi province. The case emerged after two parents went to the police, suspecting their child had been abducted. Ms Zhang sold seven babies to child traffickers between November 2011 and July 2013, including a pair of twins, an indictment posted on Weinan Intermediate People’s Court’s verified microblog said. Six of the babies were rescued, but one baby girl died. Wednesday January 1, 2014 W orld powers and Iran have agreed to start implementing in late January an agreement obliging Tehran to suspend its most sensitive nuclear work, an Iranian official was quoted as saying yesterday. There was no immediate confirmation of the agreement from the six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - or the European Union, which oversees contacts with Iran on behalf of the six. The reported agreement follows nearly 23 hours of talks between nuclear experts from Iran and the six powers held in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday. The seven countries have met several times since striking the breakthrough accord on November 24 to iron out practical details and decide when the deal would be implemented. An Iranian nuclear negotiator, Hamid Baeidinejad, said a date was agreed on Tuesday. “Based on the conclusions the talks held with ...expert delegations, the implementation of the Geneva accord will start in the third ten-day of January,” Baeidinejad was quoted as saying by Iranian Press TV. “The two sides managed to reach an understanding on the implementation of the agreement and now, their views and interpretations are the same,” he said. A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton had no immediate comment. Western diplomats have said in the past that January 20 was a possible implementation date, because that is when EU foreign Iran to implement nuclear deal in late January L-R: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif shaking hands at the conclusion of their press conference in Tehran, Iran, recently. PHOTO: AP ministers next meet in Brussels and could agree on the lifting of EU sanctions. Western countries led by the United States fear that Iran’s nuclear work has military goals and have imposed years of sanc- tions on Iran in an effort to force Tehran to curb its nuclear programme. Iran denies seeking to build an atomic bomb and says its nuclear work is aimed at power generation and medical re- T search. Under the November 24 agreement, Iran will suspend its most sensitive uranium enrichment efforts and, in return, Western governments will ease some economic sanctions. Cameron calls on parties to continue efforts P oliticians in Northern Ireland must continue their efforts to secure agreement on divisive issues, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said. Months of talks on the issues of parades, flags and the legacy of the Troubles ended without a deal. Cameron said the talks had “achieved much common ground” nevertheless. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Irish government would work with Downing Street and Stormont to support further efforts to achieve greater peace. Meghan O’Sullivan and Richard Haass Meghan O’Sullivan and Richard Haass chaired a series of round-table talks Former US diplomat Dr Rich- Syrian death toll passes 130,000 –Monitoring group he death toll in Syria’s civil war has risen to at least 130,433, more than a third of them civilians on both sides of the conflict, but the real figure is probably much higher, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday. The conflict in Syria began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against four decades of rule by President Bashar al-Assad’s family, but turned into an armed insurgency whose sectarian National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net dimensions have reverberated across the Middle East. The anti-Assad Observatory, based in Britain but with a network of sources across Syria, put the number of women and children killed in the conflict so far at 11,709. It said the death toll among rebels fighting the Assad government was at least 29,083. Deaths among the Syrian armed forces and fighters supporting Assad were at least A man running as a Free Syrian Army fighter stands on a back of a truck after clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Hama province , Syria. PHOTO: REUTERS 52,290, including 262 fighters from the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah and 286 from other non-Syrian Shi’ite groups. Both Sunni and Shi’ite militants from the region have joined the fight on opposite sides. Many Sunni Muslim nations support the rebels, who are led by Syria’s Sunni majority. Shi’ite Muslim states back Assad, who is from the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ism. The Observatory said at least 17,000 people are being held in government prisons while more than 6,000 government supporters are in the custody of Islamist rebels. It said the actual number of people killed and imprisoned is likely to be at least 50,000 higher, but said it could not verify those cases because the identities of the victims were hidden or missing. The United Nations does not give regular casualty counts for Syria and has said for months that more than 100,000 have been killed. ard Haass, who chaired the talks, said that while a final agreement had not been reached, “significant progress” had been made and there was a “basis” for change. Although he is flying home without a deal, Richard Haass believes his efforts haven’t all been in vain. The former US diplomat reckons he has made significant progress, especially on potential new institutions to deal with Northern Ireland’s troubled past. Dr Haass hopes the Stormont parties can move these matters forward in the months ahead. That said, the Stormont politicians don’t have a great track record in resolving tough issues without outside assistance. So there’s good reason for scepticism about their ability to deliver progress now Dr Haass and his talks co-chair Professor Meghan O’Sullivan have declared their involvement in these negotiations over. New Year’s Eve had been set as a deadline for agreement. The proposed deal won broad support from Sinn Féin, the largest nationalist party, but others including the unionist DUP said unresolved issues over parades and flags meant more work was needed before consensus could be reached. Dr Haass said: “We very much hope that the parties reflect on this, discuss it with their leadership and then come back with a strong endorsement. Over the next week we will know a lot more.” National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net North Wednesday, January 1, 2014 2015: Sambo meets with North-West PDP stakeholders A ZA MSUE KADUNA V ice-President Namadi Sambo, yesterday met with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stakeholders in the North-West zone to halt more defections to the All Progressives Congress, APC. The vice-president, convener of the meeting, also reviewed the challenges and prospects of the PDP in his region and has planned to halt moves by the APC to take over Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara States in the 2015 elections. Sambo’s meeting, which started about 12.00am yesterday at the Kaduna State House of Assembly in Kawo, was attended by former House of Representatives Speaker, Gali Na’Abba, son of former Head of State, Mohammed Abacha and other prominent PDP chieftains in Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara States currently governed by the APC. Speaking on behalf of the delegations, Ambassador Aminu Wali said the defection of Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has brought a fresh air to the party. Wali said former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, has being contacted to join the PDP along with his supporters. Wali said: “The delegation felicitates with VicePresident Namadi Sambo on the occasion of the New Year and briefed him on the political situation in Kano. The stakeholders expressed their willingness to further develop more strategies and tactics to forge a common front so as to ensure peaceful political activities and compliance to due process.” However, the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Olisah Metuh, said it will be impossible for APC to take over the Presidency and other elections in Nigeria come 2015. Metuh, who stormed Kaduna on the directive of the PDP national secretariat to assess the political situation in Kaduna and others NorthWest states, said there is no vacancy for opposition. His words: “APC is a not a party that will take over Nigeria in 2015 and even beyond, because it is a party build along ethnic, religious lines. It will be impossible for them to win any elections. PDP remains the party for Nigerians, a truly national party”. Crashes: Kogi records 27 deaths in August T he Kogi State sector of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, on Monday said that it recorded 27 deaths from auto crashes across the state in August 2013. State Sector Commander of the corps, Mr. Olakunle Matajo, announced this while addressing journalists in Lokoja, the state capital. He said that the deaths were recorded from the 26 crashes that occurred in the period under review. Matajo said 87 people sustained injuries, adding that many of the accidents were fatal, but minimal compared to figures from the previous months. He attributed the crashes to over speeding, dangerous driving, overtaking and violation of traffic rules. The commander also said that 1, 327 motorists and commercial motorcycle operators were arrested for violating traffic rules. He warned motorists to change their attitudes and be careful while driving on the highways so as to minimise road carnage. He also cautioned them to adhere strictly to traffic regulations. Matajo identified impatience and disregard for traffic regulations as the bane of safe driving. 55 SSS arrests Pastor, 15 others for currency counterfeiting WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA T he Kogi State Command of the State Security Service, SSS, yesterday said it has arrested a pastor and a 15-man syndicate responsible for printing and circulating fake naira notes. State Director of the SSS, Mr. Mike Fubara, who disclosed this while parading the suspected fake currency printers and distributors at the headquarters of the SSS in Lokoja yesterday, said the major breakthrough came as a result of painstaking investigation by his men. He said the investigation took his men over four months before they could break the syndicate, adding that the investigation also took the operatives to Ikorodu in Lagos State, before success was achieved. Fubara said the 16-man syndicate led by Reverend Godson Akubuiro, who specialises in printing and circulating fake currency notes, was arrested in Ikorodu. He added that Reverend Akubuiro, who is also a prime suspect in the case, is also the General Overseer of the Mountain of Breakthrough Deliverance Ministry (a. k. a. Land of Solution) located at Plot 7, Mountain of Breakthrough Avenue, Koya Estate, Igbo Olomu, Agric, Ikorodu, Lagos State. Fubara noted that the gang members have been arrested and are being investigated after which they would be prosecuted. He pointed out that the security agencies are battle ready to stem the tide of fake currency notes in circulation in the country. While speaking in an interview with journalists yesterday, Reverend Akubuiro said he was tempted by the devil and fell along. He explained that he was called by God in 2000 and that he has been working for God until when a friend, one late Hamza, introduced him to printing of currency notes. He added that he had earlier met the deceased to tell him what can be done to make more money and the late Hamza told him about this business and later died. Borno budgets N178.5bn for 2014 fiscal year INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI B Kaduna State Governor, Mukhtar Yero (left), with the Speaker, state House of Assembly, Hon. Usman Tahir, during the presentation of 2014 Budget in Kaduna, yesterday. Katsina pensioners lament delay in payments JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA S cores of pensioners in Katsina State yesterday lamented the delay in the payment of their November and December pension by the state government. Some of them who spoke on the issue said though their pensions came on regularly basis in the previous months, but that the ones of No- vember and December had been delayed even up till the eve of the New Year. They said the delay was even as the state government had released the sum of N193 million for the payment of December 2013 pension and other benefits to retirees. Speaking on the issue, however, the state Head of Service, Muhammad Aliyu said; “Those yet to get their pension should know that there is a problem with the account numbers they presented for the payment of their pension.” He said in line with modern methods of pension payment, pensioners had been asked to present account numbers where their monies would be lodged. He said that some of the pensioners, however, presented old ac- count numbers that had more or less than the required NUBAN 10 digits, which is what commercial banks use for their transactions. “This made it difficult to lodge the monies of those with such problem in their account numbers,” and that; “Those affected have been asked to come forward and rectify it so that they can continue to get their pension.” orno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has presented the sum of N178.5 billion 2014 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly. Presenting the bill to the state House of Assembly yesterday, Governor Shettima said the budget consist of N56.7 billion and 121.8 billion as current and capital expenditure respectively. He said the budget is expected to be financed through the statutory allocation of N139.9 billion and internally generated revenue of N30.8 billion, while capital expenditure for the year is estimated at N121.8 billion. The budget tagged; “The Budget of Consolidation and Progress,” is to consolidate on the success of the 2013 budget with a view to complete ongoing projects. Shettima said; “In the 2014 fiscal year, government intends to deploy a holistic approach on the implementation of its developmental projects and programmes, so as the achieve the desired targets of not only revamping the economy but also making Borno State one of the greatest and most viable federating units in Nigeria”. The state ministry of works and transport has the highest allocation of N20.6 billion, followed by the ministry of health and higher education with N15.4 billion and N14.5 billion respectively. OBITUARY This is to announce the passing of our beloved father, Dr. Fred N. C. Onyemelukwe, who died on the 13th of October 2011. Signed: Mr Songoli C. C Onyemelukwe. WORLD RECORD Tallest sand sculpture Vol. 04 No. 756 H Wednesday, January 1, 2014 appily, 2013 is past and gone with it all the fumes and furies. Last year is now history, including all events that happened thereof. And like all history, those events remain the bases for interpreting any future dynamics and direction of politics. It is even more apparent in the case of Nigeria where the line between politics and propaganda remains blurred. It is pertinent to know that the country would on January 14 be celebrating 100 years of amalgamation between its northern and southern parts. Going down memory lane, one can posit that the survival of the country all these decades remains nothing short of a miracle, even when ardent and destructive centrifugal forces are relentlessly working to tear it apart. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for some Nigerians to compare the present situation in the N150 The tallest sand sculpture is 22.43 meters (73 ft 7 in) and was achieved at the 12th Gotone China Zhoushan International Sand Sculpture Festival in Zhujiajian, Zhoushan City, Zhejiang Province, China, on 29 September 2010. As we herald 2014 Okay Osuji (firstname.lastname@example.org) 08034729256 (sms only) country with the deranged days of military interregnum. While the latter curtailed even the most basic of freedom, it was still possible to predict the security situation, unlike now that the country is being held at the jugular by religious jihadists and political mandarins, hell bent on returning Nigeria to an ugly status quo. And in doing so, they have engaged in betrayals and bloodcurdling subterfuges against their parties and President Goodluck Jonathan. All that matters is victory, even if it comes at terrible human and economic costs. Probably, all those behind the increasing spate of violence in the land may have calculated that after winning the war, they would then embark on the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure. But that could turn out to be a pyrrhic victory, as no one is certain how the present debacle will end. Unfortunately, there is a familiar ring to what is happening in Nigeria today and that prophesied in Revelation, the last book of the Bible about the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse symbolising Conquest, War, Famine and Death. All over the country one can readily see the imprimaturs of these agents of destruction who have employed every shenanigan to cause mayhem. They reckon that this would put pressure on the Jonathan administration and make it lash out indiscriminately as to incur the wrath of the masses, or creep into its shell and earn scum of the opposition. The present situation shows that the die is cast and there is no hiding MUCH AS POLITICS IN NIGERIA LACK DISCERNIBLE IDEOLOGIES, THE PLAYERS HAVE COME TO SEE IT AS TRADABLE COMMODITY THAT CAN BE BOUGHT AND SOLD AT WILL place anymore. As everyone knows, politics is part war and part propaganda, and only those versed in the art of war can come out victorious. In view of the prevailing scenario, it will be in the interest of the administration to come out and defend its own corner of the ring. Definitely, the evolving politics will be nothing short of bedlam, given that this is the last year before the general elections in 2015. Expectedly, all opposition forces and guns will be arrayed against the administration for maximum effect, and it would be foolhardy for the government to be holed up in Aso Rock bunkers hoping to stay out the massive artillery fire. Like all wars, generals with the biggest guns and efficient tactics come out triumphant. No one is predicting easy victory for any side, even with the spate of defections from the PDP to APC. Every war commander would tell you that it amounts to group suicide to fight a bruising war with scores of defecting soldiers whose loyalties are not only suspect, but who still harbour a mal- leable mentality and likely to return to their former garrisons at the drop of a hat. That is what may likely happen this year. This prediction is informed by the fact that some now celebrating their new found party may become disillusioned as to want to return to the PDP, especially if promised ticket for another term. Definitely, the political atmosphere would be interesting to watch with all the ferments and unpredictability. As for the legislature, the country is becoming too tired of their ineptitude and lack of presence in the lives of ordinary Nigerians. The National Assembly has become a Leviathan and big sinkhole for rent seeking and graft. Many Nigerians have come to see it as retirement home for failed former governors and other top functionaries to enjoy their loot far from the prying eyes of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), rather than hallowed chambers where laws for the wellbeing of the country are deliberated and passed. Observers have noted that the unwieldy nature of the legislature is responsible for the increasing cost of governance and should be trimmed. This is without exception even in the states. The rancorous nature of our politics stems from the fact that legislators now stake their positions for cash through blackmail. Some who have defected or planning to do so, are known to have been promised financial rewards or even political offices for the act. By promoting and fostering such bazaar-like culture, they are unwittingly portraying themselves as footloose and ready to trade their mandate for the highest bidder. Today, some who won their positions on different party platforms have not only decamped to other parties but are gleefully waiting for any opportunity to jump into another moving train. Much as politics in Nigeria lack discernible ideologies, the players have come to see it as tradable commodity that can be bought and sold at will. So, 2014 will be an interesting year to watch. Sport Extra S uper Eagles and Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel, will be up against the pair of Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Galatasaray’s Didier Drogba, who bothy play for Cote d’Ivoire, for the 2013 CAF African Glo-CAF Award: Mikel battles Ivorien Toure, Drogba Player of the Year Award whose ceremony is due in Lagos on January 9. Mikel helped Chelsea to win the UEFA Europa League in May last and also played a big role as Nigeria won a third Africa Cup of Nations 2013 in South Africa. It will be the second successive year that Drogba and Toure will make the final three nom- inees for this award. Both Toure and Drogba have won it twice each. The Super Eagles have also been nominated along with Burkina Faso and Ethiopia for the Na- tional Team of the Year, while Nigerian coaches, Stephen Keshi and Manu Garba, are in the race for Coach of the Year along with Paul Put of Burkina Faso. Mikel Printed and Published by Global Media Mirror Ltd: Head Office: Mirror House, 155/161 Broad Street, Lagos Tel: 07027107407, Abuja Office: NICON Insurance House, Second Floor, Central Business District Area, Abuja Tel: 08070428249, Advert hotline: 01-8446073, Port-Harcourt Office: Suite 115, NICON Hotel, 6, Benjamin Opara Street, Off Olusegun Obasanjo Rd, GRA Phaze 3, Phone: 07032323254 Email: email@example.com. Editor: SEYI FASUGBA. All correspondence to PMB 10001, Marina, Lagos. Printed simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja and Ondo State. ISSN 0794-232X.