Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi bemoan power shortage UDO ONYEKA AND SEGUN ADIO
he Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Min-
Vol. 31 N0. 555 115
ister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi yesterday decried the adverse effects of shortage of power supply in the
Confusion over Keshiâ€™s â€˜resignationâ€™ report
country. Okonjo-Iweala said the power situation needed to be improved for the economy to move forward. Also, Sanusi bemoaned CONTINUED ON PAGE 6>>
Tuesday, Tuesday,June February 7, 2011 12, 2013
Pope Benedict resigns ...cites poor health
PAUL ARHEWE AND JOEL AJAYI
Decision shocks the world AFTER HAVING REPEATEDL REPEATEDLY
WITH AGENCY REPORTS
EXAMINED MY CONSCIENCE
ope Benedict XVI yesterday announced his resignation from the papacy, citing poor health. The resignation, which will take effect from February 28, will make him the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. Announcing the resignation during a meeting of Vatican cardinals yesterday, the 85-year-old Pope said that at his age he could not continue to carry out all
GOD, I HAVE COME TO
THE CERTAINTY THAT MY STRENGTHS DUE TO AN ADVAN ADVANCED AGE ARE NO LONGER SUITED TO AN ADEQUATE EXERCISE OF T THE
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>
Attack on Emir: Police declare Imam, Islamic scholars wanted in Kano P.5
Special pullout on the housing sector P.19-38
Pope Benedict XVI
Bridging the housing gap
Army indicts General over Jaji church bomb blast ...says commander had foreknowledge of attack AMCON: Babalakin refutes owing any federal agency
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
LIKELY REPLACEMENT Within minutes of Pope Benedict’s announcement, speculation was rife about who would replace him. There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner - the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. However, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson has emerged as the early favourite, with Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, offering odds of 5/2, closely followed by Canadian Marc Ouellet at 3/1. Here are those in contention, their odds and some of their strongly held beliefs. 9/4 Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, 64 of Ghana Elevated to cardlinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Would like to see a black pope. Believes condoms should be used in marriage if one partner is infected with Aids. 5/2 Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68 of Canada Elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Belief that abortion is unjustifiable, even in cases of rape. 7/2 Cardinal Francis Arinze, 80 of Nigeria Elevated to cardlinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Extreme conservatism on birth control and abortion. 7/1 Archbishop Angelo Scola, 71 of Italy Elevated to become Archbishop of Milan by Benedict XVI Significant views: Wants to work more closely with Islam and support Christians in the Middle East. 10/1 Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, 70 of Honduras Elevated to cardinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: A moderate but is antiabortion and criticised Ricky Martin for using a surrogate mother. 12/1 Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 78 of Italy Elevated to cardinalate by Pope John Paul II Significant views: Blamed homosexual infiltration of
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the clergy for Catholic child sex scandals 14/1 Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 70 of Italy Elevated to cardinalate by Pope Benedict XVI Significant views: Strongly against abortion and expressed anger towards same-sex unions 16/1 Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77 of Argentina Elevated to cardinalate by John Paul II Significant views: Against abortion and euthanasia, is against same-sex marriage but calls for respect of gay people. Washed the feet of 12 Aids patients in 2001. 20/1 Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69 of Argentina Elevated to cardinalate by Benedict XVI Significant views: Said Christians in Iraq under Saddam Hussein were more free than they are now 25/1 Cardinal Christoph von Schonborn, 68 of Austria Elevated to cardinalate by John Paul II Significant views: Said use of a condom by an Aids sufferer could be seen as a ‘lesser evil’. 50/1 Archbishop Vincent Nichols of England and Wales Appointed as Archbishop of Westminster in April 2009 Significant views: Tried to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from placing children with gay people but appears more accepting of homosexuality.
Ailing: Benedict’s deterioration during the last few months has been particularly noticeable and, according to his brother, he has been considering stepping down for some time
From 1946 to 1951, he studied philosophy and theology at Munich University. And, in June 1951, together with his brother Georg, he was ordained a priest.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 his tasks adequately. He noted that carrying out the duties of being Pope – the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide – required “both strength of mind and body.” “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering. “However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me. “For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of
Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, yesterday Photo: AP
Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is,” he said. The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants. Benedict called his choice “a decision of great importance for the life of the church.” Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said the Pope had not decided to resign because of “difficulties in the papacy” and the move had been a surprise. He said that even Pope Benedict’s closest aides did not know what he was planning to do and were left “incredulous”, adding that the decision showed “great courage and determination.” The Pontiff will step down on February 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor will be chosen. Pope Benedict succeeded Pope John Paul, “one of history’s most popular pontiffs,” the spokesman said. Elected to the papacy on April
19, 2005 when he was 78, Benedict ruled over a slower-paced, more cerebral and less impulsive Vatican. The Pope’s leadership of 1.2 billion Catholics has been beset by child sexual abuse crises that tarnished the Church, one address in which he upset Muslims and a scandal over the leaking of his private papers by his personal butler. The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn’t have to be observed. There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious frontrunner – the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II. However, Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson, Nigeria’s Cardinal Francis Arinze, Canada’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Italy’s Angelo Scola have emerged as some of the leading candidates to succeed Benedict. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was quoted as saying he was “greatly shaken by this unexpected news”. The brother of the Germanborn Pope said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
resigns, cites poor health At the age of 14, he joined the Hitler Youth, as was required of young Germans of the time. Pope Benedict XVI attending a consistory with cardinals, who were shocked by the decision, yesterday Photo: Reuters
He left for Rome in 1981 to head the Vatican’s Congregation of Faith, becoming the guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy. PHOTO: BBC
trips and had been considering stepping down for months. Talking from his home in Regensburg in Germany, George Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a “natural process”. He added: “His age is weighing on him. At this age my brother wants more rest.” The Pope is not expected to take part in the conclave that will choose his successor, and will then retire to the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo when he leaves office. Father Lombardi said the Pope would then move into a renovated monastery used by cloistered nuns inside the Vatican, for “a period of prayer and reflection”. At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected. He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking. The Pope’s resignation on health grounds “is an eruption of modernity” into the Vatican, according to Ezio Mauro, Chief Editor of Italy’s La Repubblica daily. The Spanish daily, El Mundo, said that Benedict XVI would be
remembered as “God’s sweeper” – the man who tried to resolve the “numerous problems of the Church that did so much harm to its image”. A theological conservative before and during his time as Pope, he has taken traditional positions on homosexuality and women priests, while urging abstinence instead of blessing the use of contraceptives.
His attempts at inter-faith relations were mixed, with Muslims, Jews and Protestants all taking offence at various times, despite ongoing efforts to reach out and visits to key holy sites, including those in Jerusalem. A German government spokesman said he was “moved and touched” by the surprise resignation of the pontiff. “The German government has
the highest respect for the Holy Father, for what he has done, for his contributions over the course of his life to the Catholic Church. “He has left a very personal signature as a thinker at the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd.” Meanwhile, the Secretariat of the Catholic in Nigeria, SCN, said the resignation of the Pope was not politically motivated or triggered by pressure within the church. Making the clarification in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, the Secretary-General of the SCN, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, said even though the information about the planned resignation came as shocking and unexpected, “it is a privilege which the Pope is entitled to.” He explained that the law required that for the resignation of the Pontiff to be valid, it had to be freely made and properly manifested but did not require the acceptance of anybody or group to be effective. Father Madu said: “It came to all of us as shocking, unexpected, as you would expect, but not
totally strange. “The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is resigning for reasons of old age and failing strength, and not for any particular kind of terminal illness, moral or legal guilt or political pressure for that matter. “You realise that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Bishop of Rome by his Venerable Brother Cardinal Electors at the Conclave in Rome on April 16, 2005 and he took the name Pope Benedict XVI at the age of 78. “Before then he had worked in the Vatican Curia as the head of the strategic and tasking Congregation of Doctrine of Faith for 25 years during the Pontificate of his predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II. “He is a man who has spent many tortuous years in the administration of the Church at very demanding levels. Therefore, it is not strange that he should wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.” Giving a historical background to the issue, he said the proposed resignation of the Pope was not strange because following the tenets of the laws and practices of the Catholic Church, Popes had resigned in the past. For instance, he noted that Pope Celestine V who died in 1296, had resigned two years earlier in 1294 and Pope Gregory XII also resigned in 1415, adding that the current code of canon law promulgated in 1983 (canon 332 para. 2), also makes allowance for the resignation by the Roman Pontiff from the exercise of the Petrine ministry.
...resignation in order, church remains intact –Onaiyekan
atholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan says the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to resign on February 28 will not lead to crisis in the Catholic Church. In his reaction yesterday in Abuja, Onaiyekan called on all Catholic faithful in Nigeria to pray for the Pope and the church. “There is no panic or crisis in the Church because of the Pope’s decision to resign by February 28,’’ he told NAN in a telephone interview. “A successor will be announced soon; his resignation is in line with the Canons and Laws of the Roman Catholic Church,’’ Onaiyekan said. Also reacting to the Pope Benedict XVI retirement, the Director of Catholic Communication, Rev.
Monsignor Gabriel Osu, explained that the Holy father had already given his reasons for bowing out. His words: “He has given his reasons of old age and ill health. What can I add or subtract. We continue to wait for the Holy Spirit to show the way forward.” Osu added that it came to him personally as a surprise because such retirement had not happened for a long time. The catholic spokesman in Lagos, however, pointed out that it does not mean that the Holy Father had no right to retire, without prior consultation, if and when he felt that he could not carry on again. In an interview with NAN, Anglican Bishop of Enugu, the Rt. Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma praised the courage of the Pope to
step down. Chukuwma, however, called on the Vatican to set an age-limit of retirement for Popes to avoid what he called `”constrains associated with old age and failing health’’. `”We as Anglican bishops retire at the age of 70 or 65 voluntarily, Roman Catholic Bishops retire at 75. “I therefore strongly feel that in this circumstance to avoid further constrains for the Papacy, the Pope should retire at the age of 80, if Catholic bishops retire at the age of 75. “Anything more than 80 for the Pope, therefore, becomes a strenuous exercise because the task of being a Pope is so enormous,’’ he said. Chukwuma, who was born a Roman Catholic, attended a Catho-
lic seminary, but ended up as an Anglican cleric, also urged the Catholic Church not to elect Cardinals, who are above 70 years as Pope. “A Pope should be constitutionally allowed to spend at least 10 years in the Papacy, anybody that would spend less than or more than that should be discouraged.’’ The Anglican Bishop also praised the outgoing Pope for his dedication to promoting Ecumenical relations between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church during his papacy. “We have related well through the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and we are trying to have an understanding through our Liturgy and Sacramental issues.”
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Chairman, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (left) and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, at the Renaissance Capital 4th Annual Pan-Africa 1:1 Investor Conference in Lagos, yesterday.
L-R: Head, Operations, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2, Lagos, Mr. Bolaji Salu; Chief Advertising Officer, Mr. Seun Soyinka; Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Christopher Penninck and Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Adebisi Awoniyi, at the appreciation dinner organised by BASL for stakeholders in the aviation industry in Lagos, recently.
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L-R: General Manager, British American Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy, Mr. Thomas Omofoye; beneficiary of the 2012/2013 BATN/BATIA Scholarship Scheme, Miss Cynthia Duru and Operations Director, British American Tobacco Nigeria, Mr. Hugo Norman, at the presentation of scholarship awards ceremony in Oyo, recently.
L-R: Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Earnest Nwapa; Deputy Managing Director, Total Exploration and Production, Mr. Charles Ngoka and General Managing Director and Chief Executive, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, at the annual UBA CEO awards ceremony in Lagos, at the weekend.
Newswatch: Court begins hearing of substantive suit KAYODE KETEFE
Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos will today start the hearing of the substantive suit in the case instituted by two former directors of Newswatch Communications Limited, Nuhu Wada Aruda and Prof. Jibril Aminu. The two former directors claimed to be representing minority shareholders of the company. The hearing, scheduled to begin yesterday, was adjourned till today as a result of judges’ conference held in Ikoyi, Lagos. The conference had been organised by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, for Federal High Court judges. The presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, had at the last adjourned date, dismissed the interlocutory application of the two former directors seeking to stop the operations of the
Newswatch Newspapers Limited and to prevent the company from selling any of its fledgling titles (Daily Newswatch, Saturday Newswatch and Sunday Newswatch) to the public. Buba dismissed the application after thoroughly assessing it on its merit. The judge held that the interlocutory prayers being sought by the petitioners would not be granted because they failed to show special grounds that made them entitled to the prayers. “I have no doubt that the applicants will be adequately compensated by damages if they eventually win their substantive case. I, therefore, turn down the interlocutory prayers of the applicants. “Instead, I will accord the case an accelerated hearing. Accordingly, this matter must be heard and determined within one month,” Buba said. Aruda and Aminu had filed the substantive petition, accusing the new
management team led by Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim OFR of assuming control of the company “illegally” even though they admitted that there was a Share Purchase Agreement, which transferred the majority of the shareholding to Ibrahim. The petitioners are,
OBIORA IFOH ABUJA
he factions of the Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, have agreed to sheath their swords for the interest of the newly formed All Progressives Congress, APC. This is as Senator Rufai Hanga has said that he was willing to withdraw his case from court. Former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, also said the formation of APC by four opposition parties was in the interest of the country. Tinubu said this yesterday after meeting with the Rufai Hanga faction of the CPC in Abuja.
therefore, praying the court to quash the powers of the current management of the company elected by the majority of the shareholders. In their petition No.FHC/L/ CP/1367/2012 brought pursuant to sections 310 (a), (b) and (c) and
311(1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the applicants also prayed the court to, among others, set aside the Share Purchase Agreement on the basis of which Dr. Ibrahim assumed majority shareholding in the company. Those joined as the de-
fendants in the matter are Newswatch Communications Limited, Global Media Mirror Limited, Dr. Ibrahim, Newswatch Newspapers Limited and the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. The court will start hearing the substantive petition from today.
Tinubu reconciles CPC factions
The CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and All Progressives Alliance, APGA, last Thursday merged to form APC. Tinubu told journalists that the meeting was successful, adding that the parties were meeting in the interest of the people. He said: “How do you ask a politician not to meet? We are meeting in the interest of our various objectives. To me, I am working in the interest of Nigeria and particularly in the interest of APC.” On whether APC would
succeed, Tinubu said: “I am a committed individual and we are in a committed group founded by people of vision, conviction and great commitment. “It would succeed. Our rivals will not want it to succeed, they do everything, that is part of the political intrigues and environment particularly in Africa, but we worked hard at it in the interest of this country.” He added that the parties involved in APC were determined to make sacrifices in the interest of the country. According to the ACN leader, leadership entails the ability to carry others along,
resolve conflict and mobilise the people to do those things that are necessary for the progress of nations, communities and organisations. These, he added, were the things that had been achieved at the meeting which lasted for several hours. Meanwhile, Hanga said his faction was committed to the merger and would do everything to ensure its success in the interest of the country. He said: “For Nigerians, for the masses, for down trodden and for what we are suffering now, I am ready to do anything.”
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Army indicts General over Jaji church bomb blast OBIORA IFOH ABUJA
he Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday implicated the Commander of the Infantry Corps and Centre of the Armed Forces Staff Corps and Centre, AFSCC, Jaji, Maj.- Gen. Mohammed Isa, in the Boko Haram’s attack on the Protestant Church in the military formation. He said the commander had a foreknowledge of the attack in which no fewer than 20 people died. Ihejirika disclosed that Isa was briefed of the planned attack on the centre not less than 24 hours before the incident and did nothing to prevent it or informed his superiors in the Army. The COAS, who was forced to make public the statement against the backdrop of allegations of ethnic cleansing when he removed Isa from the military formation, said that detailed investigations had commenced to determine whether the intransigence was due to “negligence or a demonstration of further involvement in the bombings” in which several officers and civilians were killed. He explained that the recent retirements, promotions, recruitment and deployments in the Army were carried out in the best
military tradition, devoid of “ethnic, religious or other primordial coloration.” Ihejirika noted that the Army did not discriminate against any person on the basis of ethno-religious or other background. The COAS explained that the delay in the retirement of many officers due for it before December 2012 was caused by the inability of the Army Council to sit over recommendations of the appropriate Army Board on promotions and retirements. He said the Army Council, comprising the President as Chairman, the Minister of Defence, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Army Staff, needed to approve the promotion or retirement of any officer of the Army before such officer could carry on. He said: “The type of allegations making the rounds (allegation of lopsided recruitment, promotion, retirement and deployment in the Nigerian Army) are not unfamiliar to the Nigerian Army. “Every nation has its frontlines and I can say it is these frontlines that are being exploited by faceless groups to cause more problems for Nigerians. “I believe they (groups) would have identified the fact that the Nigerian Army is one of the few institutions that will stand
in defence of this country: come rain, and come sunshine. “Why do I say this? When we commenced operations in Maiduguri against the Boko Haram terrorist sect, text messages were sent round to the fact that the Chief of Army Staff (Ihejirika) has deployed a General of ‘Igbo’ extraction to avenge the killing of Igbo’s during the civil war. “But it is on record that the Boko Haram sect claimed that they were fighting to avenge the death of their leader and other members killed in various encounters. “From the operations that are taking place, are people being killed as alleged? Even though the op-
eration being conducted is coordinated by leadership of the Defence Headquarters, but it is being interpreted wrongly to whip up sentiments by making reference to the civil war fought and resolved many years ago. In fact, before some of them were born. “They choose to orchestrate the promotion and appointment of some Igbo officers, but they did not bother to talk of appointment generally. I believe that most of you here have come to find out whether the Army is still intact or whether there is turmoil in the Army as alleged by the faceless groups. “You have seen the hierarchy of the Army and you can speak for yourself
that the army is intact. I believe that while the officers were being introduced, the crème de la crème of the army, what I call the chief executives of the Nigerian army, I believe some of you were taking notes, on the number of Igbo officers. “You might wish to know that in my deployments, I have Maj.-Gen. Gani Wahab in 1 Division, Kaduna; I have Brig.-Gen. M. Ibrahim in 1 Brigade and Brig.-Gen. Iliya Abbah in 2 Brigade. And I seat here, I am very comfortable with that posting. “Concerning Gen. Olayinka Oshinowo (former GOC 82 Division, Enugu), who happened to have been mentioned in one write up as one of those short-
changed, it might interest the public to know that Oshinowo had missed his promotion before I became the Chief of Army Staff and that he was promoted to the rank of Major-General under my watch.” Earlier, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Attahiru read a statement responding to the allegations and denying any such allegation. He had said: “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no ethnic or religious consideration in this routine exercise in the Nigerian Army. “The motive of the writers appear to be to destabilise the Nigerian Army and negatively affect its cohesion thereby, creating chaos in the country.”
British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron (left) and President Goodluck Jonathan in London, yesterday.
Police parade suspects, declare Imam, Islamic scholars wanted AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST AND
even of the 15 suspected terrorists arrested in connection with last month’s gun attack on the convoy of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, were yesterday paraded at the Bompai headquarters of the Kano State Police Command. The attack left about seven members of the Emirate Council dead and others seriously injured. The police authorities in the state have also declared eight other members of the sect implicated in that attack wanted. Among the seven suspects paraded yesterday were four Kano indigenes and others from Sokoto and
Katsina states. The list of the suspected terrorists declared wanted by the Police revealed the involvement in the attack of an Imam of a Kano mosque, a member of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria from Jigawa State, two renowned Islamic scholars from Kano and another two prominent Jigawa State indigenes. The list containing the names of the suspects were made available to newsmen by the Police Command at a press conference addressed by the state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. He gave a detailed account of the attack on the Emir’s convoy on his way back to the palace after attending the closing ceremony of a Qu’ranic recitation competition at the Murtala
Mohammed Mosque. Idris recalled that the attackers, who came on motorbikes, had strategically taken positions at Isah Waziri Road, adding that the attackers announced their presence with a suicide bomb-blast which affected the lead car of the convoy. “Then the attackers shot sporadically at the Emir’s limousine, killing his driver instantly and two close aides of the royal father who tried to shield him. “At some distance from the scene, the attackers shot and killed the Interim Management Officer of Kombotso Local Government and his aides; as well as injured the two sons of the Emir, other palace guards and some innocent citizens,” he said. The police boss ex-
plained that the desperate search for the masterminds of that deadly attack led to the arrest of one Sani (35), who voluntarily confessed to the involvement in the attack on the Emir and other coordinated attacks in the state, including the killing of policemen at Kwanar Freedom, burning of primary schools at Gayawa and Sharada. He quoted the Boko Haram kingpin as saying that he was recruited into the terror group by an Islamic scholar and Imam of a popular Kano mosque (names withheld). “He usually order us to go for jihad and anybody who decides to pull out from the way of jihad will be killed,” Sani was quoted as saying, adding that a student of the state University of Technol-
ogy, Wudil, was also part of the terror gang who was usually in custody of firearms used for operations. The police boss added that after the attack, some of the suspects escaped from the scene but were intercepted by the police, and further investigation led to the arrest of others. Meanwhile, members of the Special Task Force, STF, in Plateau State yesterday clashed with some gunmen in Barki Local Government Area of the state during which two of the attackers were killed. National Mirror learnt that the gunmen had at about 8a.m. attacked and killed three people in Kassa village before the STF personnel arrived at the scene. STF spokesman, Capt. Salisu Mustapha, confirmed
in a statement yesterday that three of the villagers were killed by the gunmen while on their farms. He said: “STF personnel swiftly moved to the scene, but on sighting the troops, the gunmen opened fire on them. This led to a gun battle that resulted to the killing of the two attackers.’’ Mustapha said that STF personnel also arrested four of the gunmen, who were critically injured during the clash. He said three AK 47 rifles, one locally-made rifle and 21 cartridges were recovered from the attackers. The STF spokesman added that some gunmen also attacked Ropp District in Barki Ladi Local Government Area where they killed six cows and injured three others.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi bemoan power shortage CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
the power situation, saying that no bank would give a loan to a company that has no power to run its business. Both spoke yesterday in Lagos at the 4th Renaissance Capital Annual Pan African Investors’ Conference. The CBN governor revealed that the banks refuse to give loans to
many companies due to the poor power situation that affected the ability to repay. Sanusi said that companies do not get loans from banks because many of them cannot fulfill the demands of banks as their businesses are not doing well. “The issue is that the business environment is hostile especially to the real sector. It is not
entirely that the interest rate is high; it also has to do with infrastructure. If the right infrastructure are there, interest rates would definitely come down. The high interest rate is also meant to protect the banks and if the banks are not protected the entire economy goes down,” Sanusi said. According to the CBN governor, “Low interest
rate does not compensate for lack of power. It does not also compensate for lack of infrastructure. Yet we are concerned about interest rate but we cannot risk it now to lower interest rate until we are sure the condition is right for that.” Also speaking at the conference, the Minister of Finance said that if South Africa with population of about 50 million people
L-R: Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo; Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama and Vice-President Namadi Sambo, at a meeting on power in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Bill criminalises non-treatment of emergency cases GEORGE OJI ABUJA
new health bill undergoing public hearing at the National Assembly has criminalised the non-treatment of emergency cases by medical personnel under any guise. The new bill is entitled “Bill for an act to provide a framework for the regulation, development and management of a national health system and set standards for rendering health services in the federation and other matters connected therein 2012.” This is the third time the bill is coming up for consideration at the National Assembly. The process was started by the 4th National Assembly but was not concluded before the end of that session. However, the 6th National Assembly passed the bill but it was not assented to by President Goodluck Jonathan before the end of that Assembly in 2010. This prompted the bill being reintroduced this time around. Section 20 of the draft
bill, which is sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta North) and co-sponsored by four other senators, provides for N100,000 fine or six months imprisonment for anybody convicted of the offence. In the past, most medical personnel had refused to treat emergency cases, particularly accident victims on the grounds that there were no police reports accompanying such cases or for lack of monetary deposits. President, Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Osahor Enabulele, however, raised concerns that the criminalisation provision might be difficult to implement, given the financial involvements. For instance, he asked that in the event that there was nobody forthcoming to pay for the medical bills of emergency cases, “who pays?” The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, however, explained the way it was being done in other jurisdictions, saying governments set out special funds to take care of such cases. “The way it is done, espe-
cially in the United States, there is a special provision for free treatment by government,” the minister said, suggesting that Nigerian can adopt similar approach. The NMA president also made a case for the primary healthcare to be funded from first line charges or the consolidated revenue fund. To achieve this, Enabulele suggested the establishment of Primary Healthcare Development Board to manage primary healthcare. This was as the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu at the public hearing condemned the continuing rush by Nigerians to abroad, seeking medical attention even for illnesses that could be easily taken care of locally. He noted that besides the capital flight associated with such practice, it affected the development of health facilities locally. The Deputy Senate President said this while declaring open the public hearing. He said: “We can’t continue to go abroad for medical treatment. We will need to save all that money to put
in place the facilities in the health sector. “I am aware that Nigerians continue to go abroad for medical treatment. It’s not only the rich, even the poor do so because churches contribute money to send people abroad for treatment, families contribute money, communities contribute money to send their relations abroad for treatment . And we cannot continue that way. “We need to refocus our health sector, we need to reform our health sector so that all those money that are being spent going abroad for treatment are spent here in Nigeria and that our brothers and sisters who are experts all over the world would come back to Nigeria and establish to help us run a perfect healthcare system.” Meanwhile, different medical associations thronged the National Assembly yesterday to record their voices in the proposed bill. Some of the association members carried placards at the entrance of the National Assembly denouncing the bill or supporting it.
could generate over 40,000 megawatts of electricity, why not Nigeria with over 150 million people. Okonjo-Iweala said the biggest challenge facing the present administration is job creation and that to tackle that, the power sector must be up and running. The minister noted that the Goodluck Jonathan administration has done a lot to improve power generation, assuring that in a matter of months, the results would begin to show. “Nigeria’s economy has been growing on an average of seven per cent in the past few years. When we came in during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s second term, we had a growth of 2.4 per cent, but it has risen to seven per cent,” she said. Okonjo-Iweala noted that there is no country that does not have problems, but what the citizens want to hear is when the problems would be solved. She said: “We have actually started doing things rightly. We are beginning to keep the macro-economic challenge stable. Another challenge is that of fiscal consolidation. When we tighten, we direct investment to areas that need growth. “When this administration came on board the budget was spending 74 per cent for recurrent. Our desire is to get to 60 per cent of recurrent and 40 per cent of capital expenditure by 2015, but we have gotten to 68 per cent. “Another area we are working on right now is to bring down domestic debt. This year we would redeem over N100bn bond.” She said that power and agriculture are the ‘game changers’ in Nigeria. According to her, “the Minister for Agriculture is doing a good job. He has been able to transform the sector and very soon, more jobs would be created in that area. He has turned even what the small farmers are doing into business.” Also speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer, West Africa, Renaissance Capital, Mrs. Yvonne Ike, said that Africa especially Nigeria is going through a growth revolution. Ike said: “Despite the fact that about 40 per cent of
the continent’s population is still living below $1 per day; 133 million young people are illiterates and infrastructure deficit remained widespread, the continent still hold a lot of promise for the world order. Meanwhile, OkonjoIweala at another event in Lagos said that disbursement of funds for Federal Government‘s ministries, departments and agencies would henceforth be based on judicious usage of the previous allocations given to them. The minister said this at the Nigerian Navy base, Apapa, during the commissioning of tow boats newly acquired by the service. Lauding the leadership of the Nigerian Navy for putting into effective use, the allocation made available for procurement of boats which has engendered some sanity in the Niger Delta creeks, the minister maintained that the current administration of President Jonathan is poised to make more funds available for all its agencies once they show performance in their duties. Her words: “The Federal Government is happy to assist the Nigerian Navy because over time there had been successes in the discharge of their duties. The Chief of Naval Staff came to us (FG) with evidence of what they are achieving in the troubled Niger Delta and along Nigerian maritime domain and this has reduced illegal oil theft; the reason for which they need these patrol boats. When you are getting results like that, you are now encouraged to put more muscle and money behind it.” Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, also assured the service that the Federal Government is determined to reposition the armed forces for optimal performance in the country. Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, who thanked the Federal Government for the procurement of the boats, however, maintained that the Nigerian Navy requires a minimum of 40 boats to effectively curtail illegal activities on the nation’s waters.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Pensioners set for nationwide protests Feb 25 MESHACK IDEHEN
he Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has threatened to embark on a nationwide protest from February 25 in order to draw attention to the suffering its members are
undergoing. The National President of NUP, Alhaji Ali Abatcha, told journalists that a meeting between the union and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu, ended in a deadlock. He said the meeting was attended by the rep-
resentatives of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Ministry of Justice among others, adding the union is seeking the release of the one per cent check-off dues which members voluntarily contributed, but seized by the Pension Reform Task Team.
Abatcha said: “The meeting ended in a deadlock because none of our demands was met. We are also demanding the 53 per cent increment, which civil servants have been enjoying for the past three years, among others. “The minister told us
to come back by February 13 so that the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission can explain why the circular is yet to be released. For the check-off dues, the Ministry of Justice said we did not have the right to levy our members, but we told them it was not
levy but voluntary contribution. “We will not accept a situation where genuine pensioners suffer for their entitlements, which are not paid, while the chairman of the task team claims to be saving money for the government.”
Textile workers seek N500bn intervention fund OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA
s the Federal Government intensifies efforts to revive the moribund textile industries across the country, the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria has called for the increase of the intervention fund from N100 billion to N500 billion. This is even as the union said that while 38 companies have accessed the existing N100 billion intervention fund, it has also led to the resuscitation of the United Nigerian Textiles Mill in Kaduna. It will be recalled that the Nigerian textile subsector was vibrant in the past, with fixed investment of $4 billion. It was second to South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa. Apart from that, it also had 63 per cent capacity of textile manufacturing in West Africa and controlled 60 per cent of textile market in Nigeria with 175 fully functional textile mills, employing over 800,000 people. But due to infrastructure decay, the sector has slip-off the reckoning ladder with just 24,000 employees and 25 functional mills. Speaking at the Stakeholders’ Retreat on the Textile Sub-Sector of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan held in Abuja yesterday, the General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Mr. Issa Aremu, advocated an increase in the intervention fund from N100 billion to N500 billion. To achieve this, Are-
mu, who is also the VicePresident of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), urged the Federal Government to recapitalise the Bank of Industry. In his remarks, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said that part of the challenges confronting the sector was the inability of some of the different players to work together. According to him, there was a huge disconnect along the various value chains in the sector. He stressed the determination of the present administration to revive the sector and bring it back to its past glory. The Minister of State, Chief Samuel Ortom, said the aspiration of the government for the sector is to increase its share of domestic market from the present position of 12 per cent to 25 per cent by the year 2020. This increase, he said, would lead to creation of over 60,000 additional direct jobs and put food on the table for thousands of other Nigerians within the same period.
L-R: Managing Associate, Babalakin and Co. Mr. Oluwaseun Awonuga; Chairman, Bi-Courtney Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin and the company’s Head of Communications, Mr. Dipo Kehinde, at a press conference to refute claims of Bi-Courtney’s indebtedness to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in Lagos, yesterday.
Violence: Police detain three journalists over incitement AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO
hree journalists working with the Wazobia FM Station in Kano are being detained by the police for alleged incitement. The incitement was alleged to have resulted in the attack on two health centres in Kano city during which nine female health workers were killed and several others were critical injured. The detained journalists are Suleiman Gama,
producer of the Hausa programme, Sandar Girma, Yakubu Musa, presenter of the programme and Mubarak Malam, a reporter. The three journalists are being held at the state Crime and Investigation Department (CID) where detectives are quizzing them over the radio programme in which it was alleged polio immunisation was criticised as anti-Islam and western ploy to reduce the population of the North through infertility. The Kano State Com-
missioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, confirmed the detention of the journalists and described their action as irresponsible journalism, pointing out that thorough investigation were being carried out by his men. He insisted that the programme, which was aired a few days before the attack, was grossly inciting. It will be recalled that female health workers were killed last Friday when gunmen opened fire on two health centres in Kano city.
Nigeria appointed global financing group leader TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA
igeria has assumed the Presidency of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development. The Group is a platform of 65 member countries from both developed and developing economies, in conjunction with international organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which seek to promote the implementation and definition of
innovative financing mechanisms around the world. The country’s takeover of the leadership of the international body was announced at the weekend at the 11th Plenary of the 65 member-nation hosted by Finland, the immediate past leader of the group. With the development, Nigeria has become the focal country for initiatives on innovative financing for development as part of the broad global development financing framework for the attainment of interna-
tionally agreed goals on poverty reduction and protection of public good. A statement by the Head of Information Department of National Planning Ministry, Salisu Haiba, quoted the Minister, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, who led the Nigerian delegation to the meeting in Helsinki, as saying that as the President of the group, Nigeria will guide the affairs of the Group until December 2013 when the country will host the 12th Plenary in Abuja.
He explained further that Nigeria’s tenure would focus on a broad range of issues including, ensuring a proper prioritisation of development financing issues, deploying innovative financing to address food security and nutrition and strengthening measures against illicit capital flight and tax avoidance. Others are re-focusing the Leading Group to strongly influence the post-2015 millennium development activities of the United Nations and other
The nine victims of that attack in Angwar Uku and Hotoro areas were involved in the polio immunization exercise. The incident occurred at Shargawlle Comprehensive Health Centre in Angwar Uku quarters when gunmen stormed the place on a motorbike and tricycle and killed the victims. They also set the building ablaze. In another separate attack at Haye, Hotoro quarters, the gunmen opened fire on the health workers who were carrying out immunisation exercise.
regional or economic blocs as well as promoting globally the instrumentality of innovative financing for development. Expatiating further on the management, accountability and development priorities on innovative financing thrusts of the country’s leadership, Usman disclosed that Nigeria would establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to track and document the progress and effectiveness of the work of the Group on innovative financing.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
AMCON: Babalakin refutes owing any federal agency K AYODE KETEFE
B Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, chatting with pupils during his visit to his alma-mater, St. Anthony Catholic Primary School at Molete, as part of ICPC system study in the education sector, in Ibadan, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Apapa gridlock: FG to cut product supplies to tank farms FRANCIS EZEM
trong indications emerged yesterday that the Federal Government may have made up its mind to drastically reduce the supply of petroleum products to the South-West part of the country including Lagos, through the use of tank farms. This was part of mea-
sures designed to stem the worsening road traffic situation in Apapa, especially along the Apapa-Mile 2 Road, which is the major link to the two biggest seaports in the country, Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, to other parts of the country. Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Maritime Services, Mr. Leke Oyewole, who spoke in a telephone interview at the weekend,
disclosed that the government is making efforts at ensuring that product depots at Ejigbo, Mosimi and Ibadan worked at optimum capacity to reduce the supplies through the tank farms. The current move by the government may not be unconnected with the recent bitter experience of the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, who was held in the Apapa gridlock for over three hours.
illionaire businessman and the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Ltd; Dr. Wale Babalakin, yesterday denied being indebted to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, or any other federal agency. It will be recalled that armed policemen and bailiffs from the Federal High Court, Lagos over the weekend initially took interim possession and sealed-off the high rise NECA building on 43A, Afribank Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, which was believed to be owned by Babalakin. The possession was sequel to an ex-parte application filed by AMCON and granted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, against Roygate Properties Limited, which was also believed to be owned by the businessman. However, the law en-
forcement agents later refrained from further executing the ex parte order when it was discovered that there was a clerical error in the order bordering on the question of the identity of the property to be seized. In reaction to this development, Babalakin while addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, described reports of him or his company being indebted to AMCON (and any of its predecessor-in-interests) or any other agency of the Federal Government as a malicious distortion of facts. On the contrary, the business mogul claimed that Bi-Courtney is being owed a judgment debt of over N132 billion by the Federal Government and that an order of court by Justice Gladys Olotu, of a Federal High Court, Abuja had directed the Federal Government to deduct any claim it has against BiCourtney from this judg-
ment sum. While claiming that it is true that AMCON had obtained an ex parte order from the federal high court, he insisted that the order was given because the corporation had distorted the facts to the court by making false claims. Babalakin, who made available to journalists some court processes to support his claim added that he had filed a number of applications to quash the ex parte order fraudulently obtained by AMCON from the federal high court. According to him, the processes filed so far to arrest the allegedly dubious ex parte order included application for stay of execution, application for the discharge of the order, among others. He concluded that by the time the full facts are brought before the court, it would set aside the order on the grounds that it was fraudulently obtained.
Robbers kill two policemen, one civilian in Onitsha NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA
unmen suspected to be armed robbers yesterday unleashed terror on the residents of Fegge in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, killing two policemen on duty and one other person while several others sustained gunshot injuries. Eyewitnesses said the dare devil four-man bandit stormed Niger Street, Fegge, after successfully robbing a company and started shooting sporadically when policemen, led by the Divi-
sional Police Officer, DPO, Fegge Police Station, Mr. John Mark, engaged them in a gun-battle. The eyewitnesses, who said that the policemen were firing with caution to avoid killing innocent citizens, suffered two casualties as the robbers killed two of the officers. However, the robbers were said to have retreated when the fire power of the police became unbearable. At that point; “The robbers started shooting into the air to scare people away. In the process, a middleaged man was killed by
stray bullets while many others sustained gunshot wounds. Meanwhile, the bodies of the two policemen and the other civilian had been deposited at the mortuary when the Area Commander in charge of Onitsha, Mr. Benjamin Wordu, led a team of policemen to hunt for the fleeing robbers. When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, confirmed the incident, saying the command has spread its dragnet to arrest the fleeing members of the gang.
This Day in African American History
JTF releases 18 oil thieves to EFCC for prosecution OLUFEMI ADEOSUN
he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday said that the Joint Task Force, JTF, of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, Benin, has handed over 18 suspected oil thieves to it for further investigation and possible prosecution. The suspects, according to the commission’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, include Shedrack Ofosa, Mudia Owin, Ovie Joseph, Nnamdi Albert,
John Abuja, Lucky Egbegbe, Andrew Anthony and James Aker. Others are; Kadiri Aloysius, Paul Ojo, Oduwere Edobor, Esene Osaghale, Abubakar Isah, Steven Omoghwigho, Lucky Francis, Lucky Imuetinyan, Henry Ikweke, and Victor Ohweokeovwo. However, Lucky Okorie, Dodo Mohammed, Bose Osaji, were said to have been arrested in Warri and Benin by the EFCC operatives in connection with the alleged
offences. The statement further said that; “Apart from the three suspects, others were arrested at different locations in series of operations between October 2012 and January 2013. The command alleged that the suspects were arrested with different trucks, tankers, buses, cars, drums, jerry cans and pumping machines with which they transfer products and substance suspected to be adulterated kerosene and illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, AGO.
February 12: On this day in 1909— National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is Formed! The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed in 1909 in New York City by a group of black and white citizens fighting for social justice. On February 12, 1909, a “Call” was issued by a collection of 60 signatures for a meeting on the
concept of creating an organization that would be an aggressive watchdog of Negro liberties. Ida Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villiard, William English Walling and led the “Call” to renew the struggle for civil and political liberty. Today, the NAACP is a network of more than 2,200 branches covering all 50 states, the District
of Columbia, Japan and Germany. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, the NAACP is divided into seven regions and are managed and governed by a National Board of Directors. Currently the total membership exceeds 500,000. The NAACP is a notable example of how an organization committed to civic responsibility and political organizing can become a powerful instrument for social justice.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Parents withdraw pupils from school over Ilawe-Ekiti murder arents in Ilawe Ekiti, Ekiti South West Local Government Area of Ekiti State have withdrawn their children from schools in the community. This followed the unrest which greeted the murder of a timber merchant, Mr. Oluropo Eniafe, at his farmstead in the community at the weekend. The parents said they did not want their children to be trapped in the schools in case there was further reprisal attack in the community over the killing. Eniafe, who went to his farm on Friday, was discovered dead in a pool of his blood on Saturday morning by a search party. His death had since been greeted by unrest in the community because of the belief that the man was killed by the Fulani herdsmen who they said had been responsible for armed robbery attacks on Ado – Ilawe, Ilawe – Igbara Odo and Ilawe – Erinjinyan roads in recent time. Sources in the community said yesterday that the rampaging herdsmen and armed robbers might have killed the man in their bid to escape through the timber merchant’s farm. Some farmers in the community said yester-
day that they could not go to their farms for fear of attacks by the robbers. The mood at Eniafe’s residence at Afunremu area of Oke-Imedo in Ilawe-Ekiti was pensive as sympathisers thronged the place to condole with his widow, Funke, and four children. Recalling how the family received the sad news, the deceased’s younger brother, Mr. Boluwaji Eniafe, said the family raised a search party when the merchant did not return from farm on Friday. Boluwaji added that the search party discovered his brother’s corpse somewhere in the farm in the pool of his blood. He said: “My brother must have run into the armed robbers who were escaping after robbing. The robbers must have killed him based on assumption that he must have seen them.” The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Victor Babayemi Olu, said the two suspects arrested in connection with the matter were undergoing interrogation. The Alawe of IlaweEkiti, Oba Adebanji Ajibade, who described the incident as pathetic in a phone interview with journalists, called on the community to remain calm and not to allow the incident to cause mayhem.
“Many governors had passed through; some wanted to do it, time did not permit them. Some also wanted to do it, but politics and other distractions did not allow them. Some oth-
ers also wanted to do it; they dreamt about it but they have now woken up from their sleep; now, we dreamt about it, we woke up and we have actualised it.”
ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi flanked by state officials and the IBM team of ICT experts, during a visit to the governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday.
Ikoyi property: Firm slams N140m suit on Bianca Ojukwu WALE IGBINTADE
jukwu Transport Limited has filed a N140 million suit before a Lagos High Court against Mrs. Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, the widow of the late Chief Emeka OdumegwuOjukwu over a two-storey detached house located at No 29, Queens Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos. In the suit LD/1680/2012 filed before Justice Adedayo Oyebanji, Ojukwu Transport Limited is demanding payment of N40 million being expected
rentable value per annum of the said premises from September 27 until the defendant (Bianca) gives up possession of the property. Oyebanji adjourned the suit till March 25 for hearing. The claimant, represented by one of its directors, Dr. Ike Ojukwu, is also asking for N100 million as damages from the defendant. At the resumed hearing of the suit yesterday, counsel to the claimant (Ojukwu Transport Limited), Chief George Uwechue (SAN), informed
the court that Bianca was served with court processes. However, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu has not filed a defence against the suit, neither was she represented in court. In its statement of claim, the litigant said that by a letter of attorney dated May 4, 2012, it appointed Mr. Massey Udagbe of Massey Udegbe & Co as its agent to manage the property in dispute. The claimant added that the said property was earlier occupied by one of its directors, Dim Chuk-
We’ll check flooding in Oyo –Ajimobi
yo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday inaugurated the Secretariat - Bodija Bridge in Ibadan, with a promise to stop the wanton destruction of lives and property by flood. The bridge, which is in the heart of Ibadan, was one of the bridges washed away by the August 26, 2011 flood which claimed many lives and property. The bridge was also affected by the floods which ravaged Ibadan in 1964 and 1980 and had since been neglected by past administrations. Ajimobi said the bridge built at the cost of N485 million, was another testimony to his promise to the people that he would
•Inaugurates Secretariat –Bodija Bridge offer them his shoulders whenever they were wary and wipe away their tears whenever they cried. He recalled the unfortunate incident of flooding which washed away the water channel, disrupted the socio-economic lives of the people and caused untold hardship, including death. The governor, who re-christened the bridge “Restoration Bridge,” said immediately after the disaster, his administration
set to work. He said: “We began a systematic and aggressive exercise of widening water channels and dredging of
wuemeka Ojukwu, who relocated to Enugu State over 10 years ago. It added that the said property was left in a dilapidated and unsafe condition before it was handed over to Massey Udegbe & Co, the managing agent of the claimant. The plaintiff added that by a letter dated July 19, 2012 with reference number MUC/MAN. OTL/222, the managing agent informed Bianca of his appointment and requested her to hand over physical possession of the property but she allegedly refused.
rivers, so as to allow for free flow of water. “I am proud to announce that our vision of repositioning the state is being achieved daily as this government marches on.
Unions give NAMA 14-day ultimatum over conditions of service OLUSEGUN KOIKI
he two in-house unions in the Nigerian aviation industry yesterday issued a 14-day ultimatum to the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority, NAMA, to implement the approved conditions of service and salary structure for its employees. A memo sent to the Managing Director, Engr. Nnamdi Udoh, of the agency by the leadership of the Air Transport Staff Senior Services of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye and Abdulkareem Motajo respectively and made available to our correspondent insisted that if the memo was not attended to by the management, its workers would not hesitate to down tools. The unions in the memo alleged that in a bid to
thwart the implementation of the new policy, the management had commenced “its usual blackmail and subtle threat of workers and union leaders,” but said that they were unmoved by such tactics. “However, we have issued a general bulletin to the workers for a red alert preparatory to a showdown with management should it renege in implementing the new salary structure that was a product of tripartite discussions, negotiations and endorsement of the in-house unions and the management and approved by the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.” There have been tension between the management of NAMA and the in-house unions in the industry in the last couple of months with each accusing the other of plans to disrupt activities in the agency in particular and the sector as a whole.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
3rd Mainland Bridge: Motorists jittery over alleged defective piles •Urge FG to investigate
s the debate over the safety of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos continues, motorists in the city yesterday appealed to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, investigate the findings of the foreign experts over the defective 1,138 piles. There have been accusations and counter-accusations over the safety and strength of the nation’s longest bridge. While some senators led
by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who is representing Lagos East senatorial district, have expressed concern over the strength of the bridge, saying the underwater survey carried out on the bridge recently, revealed that the underneath of the piles on which the bridge stands, are on the verge of collapse. The Federal Ministry of Works on the under hand, debunked the claim, arguing that the bridge is safe and will stand the test of time. Speaking with National Mirror yesterday, some motorists expressed fear over the alleged defective piles,
appealing to the Federal Government to take the bull by the horn by setting up experts to carry out similar investigation with a view to forestalling an ‘impending’ danger. One of the motorists, Mr. Kazeem Kayode, who claimed to use the bridge every day, pleaded with the Federal Government to look into the defective 1,138 piles to ascertain the true state of the bridge. His words: “It is possible that part of the bridge’s underneath may be defective because, sometimes we see the effect of the water on the bridge at Idumota area. I imagine what would have
happened to the innermost part of the bridge. So, government should not discard the reports.” Another motorist, Mr. James Mba, said the issue should not be given political colouration, adding that the safety of the populace is the collective responsibility of all regardless of political affiliation. “The matter should not be seen as a false alarm or a political statement. When disaster occurs, it affects everyone regardless of religion, ethnic group or political ideology, so why should someone discard such important alarm,” he queried.
Ekiti govt, IBM partner to enhance service delivery A BIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI
kiti State government and the International Business Machines, IBM, have started a partnership targeted at strengthening and actualising the goals of the state government in Information Communication Technology, ICT, and e-governance. The collaboration is will cover such areas as Smart Governance (e-gover nment/e-workforce), Citizens Information Management System, CISM, project and e-school programme to enhance service delivery and the participation of the citizenry in a bid to take the state to greater heights. Permanent Secretary, Bureau of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Mr. Foluso Daramola, said yesterday that beneficiaries of the scheme include the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti and the Ministry of Labour that is coordinating the Social Welfare Programme for
Senior Citizens, among others. Daramola, who spoke at a press conference addressed by the state government and IBM personnel in Ado Ekiti, said that the project would also enhance communication among government agencies, members of the state executive council, as all memos would be treated electronically. The permanent secretary, who said that the state would benefit immensely as transactions would be more transparent, secure, reliable and available to all citizens to peruse, charged civil society groups in the state to take advantage of the programme and support the initiative. Also speaking, leader of the IBM team, Mrs. Remi Abere, said the programme was sustainable and that the programme would not be one that would die. Abere said that beneficiaries in the four-week training programme, especially teachers, would pass on the knowledge to their students.
L-R: Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola; coordinator, Schools Infrastructure Development Committee (o-School), Otunba Lai Oyeduntan and one of the participants of Capacity Improvement and Training Workshop for House Painters, Mr. Semiu Omotoso, from Iwo Local Government, during the closing ceremony and presentation of certificates and awards in Osogbo, yesterday.
N11.5bn fraud: Trial of Alao-Akala, others suffers setback KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN
he trial of the former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and two others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on allegation of N11.5 billion fraud yesterday suffered another adjournment as an Ibadan High Court judge, Justice Akintunde Boade, adjourned further hearing in the case till March 27, 2013. But lead counsel to AlaoAkala and Babalola, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, informed the court that his clients had filed an appeal against the ruling of the court that said that they have case to answer late last year. Others arraigned with Alao-Akala include his for-
mer Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Senator Hosea Agboola and a businessman, Mr. Femi Babalola. At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, lead counsel to the EFCC, Chief Godwin Obla, declared his readiness to go on with the trial except for the information he said he heard that the trial judge will be going on retirement very soon, thus wishing him happy retirement. Justice Boade said: “Just as you have said, I can’t hear this case, because I don’t want to embark on a journey I cannot complete, it is obvious that I will soon retire.” Fagbemi, who led Chief Nathaniel Oke, SAN, Chief Mahammed Usman, SAN, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, and about 10 other lawyers
also wished Justice Boade happy retirement. Similarly, Chief Richard Ogunwole, SAN, counsel to Agboola, also told the court that he too had filed an appeal against the ruling. It will be recalled that Justice Boade in the ruling, declared that Alao-Akala and two others, who are standing trial on allegation of N11.5billion fraud brought against them by the EFCC, really have a case to answer. The 11-count charge against them include conspiracy, illegal award of contracts, obtaining by false presence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act, and concealing the ownership of such property. Fagbemi had filed a preliminary objection to the charge, asking the court to
quash it as it did not disclose any substantial evidence to warrant the accused persons standing full trial based on the allegations. But Oblah told the court that the plethora of evidence adduced by the EFCC against the accused persons deserved an explanation, praying the court to discountenance the application seeking the quashing of the charge. Justice Boade in his ruling said the application to quash the charge was not meritorious and was therefore dismissed. According to him, the three accused persons have some things to explain, stressing that: “I am of the strong view that the proof of evidence is established against the accused persons.”
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Three die as lorry crushes motorcyclist in Anambra A
Chime yet to receive visitors, resume work DENNIS AGBO ENUGU
NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA
hree people lost their lives yesterday when a lorry rammed into a commercial motorcyclist carrying a teacher. The motorcyclist, teacher and the ‘conductor’ of the lorry died instantly. The accident occurred on the Enugu - Onitsha Expressway near the Building Materials International Market, Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anam-
bra State. A witness said the driver of the lorry with registration number ENUGU YG 702 ENU, tried to dodge a Volkswagen Gulf car which came out from a nearby filling station, but lost control and crushed the cyclist. The lorry somersaulted several times before rolling over to the road median and hitting the concrete slab dropped by the construction company handling the road project. At the scene of the incident, men of Federal Road
Safety Commission, FRSC, and those of the Anambra State Traffic Agency, ASTA, had a hectic time controlling human and vehicular traffic. The lifeless body of the ‘conductor’ was covered with sand in the rubbles of the road median, while those of the teacher and the cyclist were flung in different directions. Some sympathisers, who spoke with journalists, decried the rising casualty figures from accidents on the road, which they blamed on slow pace
of the construction. The Unit Commander, FRSC, Nteje Command, Sunday Joseph, confirmed the incident. He said his men had evacuated the bodies to the nearest mortuary. Joseph advised motorists to be extremely careful while plying construction zone areas and desist from dangerous driving and over speeding. The commander also said that the driver of the lorry ran away after the incident, as he was said to have escaped unhurt.
lmost a week after his return to Nigeria, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State is yet to entertain visitors or resume work. Investigation by our correspondent shows that the governor, who returned to Enugu from a medical vacation last Friday, is being restricted from public scrutiny just as his Lion Building office is yet to receive his presence. A government source told our correspondent that Chime would need to reapply to the Enugu State House of Assembly, indicating his readiness and fitness to start work before he would resume. The source, however, did not say when the governor would apply, but feelers from the Government House indicated that it might take one month or more before he does that. Those who have seen the governor closely are not ready to disclose his real condition, but there are speculations that he is still
looking frail. Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, has continued to act as governor. Chime returned to the Coal City last Friday after about five months of absence, amid huge cheering from supporters who he failed to address. He arrived in Abuja last Wednesday from London and got to Enugu at the weekend amidst cheers from the crowd of enthusiastic citizens, who had thronged the airport to welcome him. Chime, on arrival at the airport, acknowledged cheers from the crowd and shortly boarded a long convoy which took him to the state Government Lodge where another crowd waited to see him. On arrival at the Government House, the governor was ushered into the lodge where only VIPs went in to see him. Outside the lodge were scores of supporters, who gradually dispersed after the hope of being addressed by the governor was dashed.
Umeh appeals judgement removing him as APGA chair DENNIS AGBO ENUGU
Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi (third left), celebrates with some Super Eagles’ players shortly after their victory at the African Cup of Nations, AFCON 2013 in South Africa, on Sunday.
Amansea corpses not MASSOB members’ – Police CHARLES OKEKE AWKA
olice in Anambra State have denied allegation bodies recovered from Ezu River belonged to members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB. MASSOB had alleged that the corpses dumped in the river in Amansea, Awka North Local Government of Anambra State were those of its missing members allegedly killed by security agents. Addressing journalists yesterday at the state Police Command Headquarters, Awka, the Police Commissioner, Ballah M. Nasarawa, said the allegation was baseless and malicious. Nasarawa added that
• Senate investigation team arrives Awka today all suspected criminals arrested under the guise of MASSOB were duly charged to court for prosecution. He said: “The corpses were recovered from the river on the 20th January, 2013 and some were deposited at Amaku General Hospital morgue, Awka, from 20th to 28th January, 2013, and yet the faceless MASSOB members did not deem it fit to go and identify them only to come with unfounded allegation three weeks after.” The commissioner added that MASSOB was making the allegation of extra-judicial killing against the police because the command had made it impossible for the group to operate in Anambra State.
He said that there was no time any officer of the command arrested persons bearing the names mentioned by MASSOB in some newspapers as its missing members. In a related development, a Senate investigation team is expected to arrive in Awka today. The fact-finding team is also expected to visit Ezu River. Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Lawrence Ikeakor, has said that the result of autopsy being conducted on the retrieved bodies would be released immediately after it was completed. Ikeakor told our correspondent that among the 19 bodies due for autopsy, four were collected di-
rectly from the river, while four were exhumed from the mass grave. The commissioner, who refused to give the time-frame on when the autopsy result would be published, however, promised that the government would not keep the public waiting for too long. He said: “We have done the autopsy on a total of eight bodies. We are waiting for the police pathologists to come back and conduct autopsy on the remaining 11; that is what is holding the publication of a mid-term report. “This is a medical legal practice and once anything is before the pathologists, we allow all investigation comments to come from them.”
he National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, yesterday, approached the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, seeking to set aside last Friday’s decision by an Enugu State High Court. The High Court had ordered Umeh’s removal as APGA chairman and sacked the party’s National Working Committee, NWC. Umeh also filed a motion on notice before the Enugu High Court praying for an order staying the execution of the February 8 judgement delivered by the state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, in the suit brought against him by one Jude Okuli, pending the determination of the appeal he instituted against the verdict. In the motion filed by his lead counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), Umeh told the lower court that he had filed a notice of appeal against its judgement which raised fundamental
constitutional issues and questioned the competence/jurisdiction of the court to entertain and adjudicate on Okuli’s suit. Umeh said Umezulike had made an order of injunction against him as the national chairman of APGA as well as the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party. He said that unless by an order of the court, irreversible damage would be done to the defendant/appellant/ applicant as well as APGA if the judgement/orders of the court were not stayed pending the hearing and determination of the appeal. In a 21-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion personally deposed to by Umeh, the APGA chairman told the court that prior to the delivery of the judgement by the CJ, he had appealed against the proceedings of the court, including the order dismissing his application seeking to disqualify the CJ’s court from continuing with the hearing and determination of the suit for manifest violation of his constitutional right to fair hearing.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Dickson after our lives, LG chairmen allege EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA
mbattled chairmen of Ekeremor, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama local government areas of Bayelsa State yesterday alleged that Governor Seriake Dickson was after their lives. It was, however, learnt
that the chairmen have been impeached by their councillors, following the reports by the judicial panels constituted by the state government to investigate the allegations leveled against them by the councillors. Investigations revealed that the judicial panels were inaugurated last week by the state Chief Judge,
Justice Kate Abiri. Loyalists of the chairmen described the impeachment as a charade masterminded by Governor Dickson. Sources told National Mirror that the chairmen - Koku Gariga, Selekibina Sabo and Ineye Ingbaifugha - have gone into hiding following the alleged plan to
kill them. A source, who did not want his name mentioned, said: “The local government bosses are no longer safe in Yenagoa and other parts of Bayelsa State. So, they have to flee to avoid being killed”. It will be recalled that the Supreme Court ordered the local government chairmen’s reinstatement on De-
cember 14, last year. Trouble started for the chairmen when they insisted that they would serve their three year tenure, contrary to state government’s request that they should serve out only three months to complete the tenure of the sacked chairmen. The Bayelsa State local government election is
scheduled for March 23. Already, the state Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, has constituted separate judicial panels to investigate the allegations leveled against the chairmen by their councillors. The chairmen alleged that the governor instigated the councillors to impeach them.
Ex-militants accuse FG of default in N65, 000 allowance SAM OLUWALANA
Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio (right) and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, during the Sultan’s visit to the Akwa Ibom Government House in Uyo, yesterday
NUPENG, PENGASSAN meet today over planned strike SAM OLUWALANA PORT HARCOURT
he planned strike by the officials of the National Union of Petroleum (NUPENG) and their Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) colleagues, which is set to begin today, may be suspended as they are meeting today and tomorrow with the management of the Onne Free Trade Zone Authority and the management of the over 100 companies that operate at the industrial hub over the issue of unionisation of workers. Officials of both unions have met with the Minister of Labour on the issue and it was gathered that the matter may have been resolved by the minister. The two labour unions threatened last week to begin a warning strike beginning from today. According to the Zonal Chairman of NUPENG, Godwin Eruba, the union
leaders will be meeting with the companies in order for them to begin the process of unionisation of all workers that had showed interest in the step. Eruba said that the meeting with the Labour Minister in Abuja was also attended by representatives of VAM Nigeria Limited and CLEBOP Nigeria Limited – two companies that have been at the loggerheads with the their workers over their refusal to allow the workers join unions of their interest. However, the meeting, which has been scheduled for tomorrow, will be preceded by a meeting to be held today by the senior officials of the two unions. Eruba also said that workers of both unions will use today’s meeting to decide whether to embark on the warning strike or not. He said: “We met with the Minister of Labour and representatives of the two companies who have refused to allow unionism
among their workers. They were invited to the meeting by the minister and we shall jointly, with the officials of PENGASSAN, be briefing our workers today on the outcome of that meeting. The workers will then decide on how to proceed on the matter. Also a communiqué will be issued at the end of today’s meeting.” It will recalled that the unions jointly issued an
ultimatum to the Federal Government last week after which they threatened to begin a three-day warning strike begin from today. All efforts to get the Zonal Chairman of PENGASSAN, Otono to comment on the matter, was unsuccessful as he was said to be attending a meeting concerning the issue with some of his close management officials.
ormer militant leaders in the Niger Delta have claimed that their monthly N65, 000 allowance has not been paid since the beginning f the year. They called on the Federal Government to pay the monthly allowance so as to prevent their “boys from reacting.” The former militant leaders said they are afraid that the boys may react if the money was not paid tomorrow. They arose from their meeting held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with a resolve to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid. The meeting was held under the aegis of the Leadership Forum for Peace in the Niger Delta, which is the body of all former militant leaders. The Forum’s leader, Reuben Wilson, told journalists after the meeting yesterday that the Federal Government should not blame anybody if the “boys decide to misbehave at the expiration of tomorrow’s ultimatum because a hungry man is an angry man.” Those who attended the meeting came from all the nine Niger Delta states. Wil-
son said efforts had been made to make the Federal Government pay the allowances which was approved for former militants by the administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua. Wilson, however, accused the National Assembly of frustrating effort by the Amnesty Office to make the former militants fare well. He said: “We are aware that the Amnesty Office is trying its best, but the National Assembly seems bent on frustrating the efforts. We want the National Assembly to stop the practice for peace to reign. “During the meeting, the former militant were very specific on their demands as they expressed anger with the Federal Government over the non- payment of their paltry allowance. “We know that it is not the fault of the Amnesty Office. Let the National Assembly and the Federal Government release the money to the Amnesty Office so that it can pay the allowance. “We are not even happy with the N65, 000 stipend. It is not fair at all that the leaders are being paid the same amount as their followers. This is one of the things we want to discuss with President when we have audience with him.”
First phase of Ibom Airport to cost $250m OLUSEGUN KOIKI
hairman of the Ibom Airport Project Implementation Committee (IAPIC), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), has said that the first phase of the project would cost $250 million. The Akwa Ibom State Government appealed to the Federal Government to partner with the airport’s management in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility presently under construction.
The second phase of the project consists of the construction of second runway, international terminal, parallel taxi ways expansion of apron and construction of the MRO facility. Nkanga, who spoke to journalists after a tour of the airport at the weekend in Uyo, the state capital, explained that the project was borne out of the fact that the state government plans to make the airport a gateway to the South-South and a reference point for Nigeria in avia-
tion sector. He said the state received tremendous support from both the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) since it began the execution of the project a few years ago. Nkanga said the state government planned to develop the airport in three phases, adding that the first phase had been completed basically with a lot of overlapping of the items on phase one to phase two.
He said: “You can’t get that straight off from here, but I can say we estimated $250 million for the project then before we went into Phase Two. I won’t think we have exceeded that for now, but again, we have gotten to a stage now that investors would come in. “At the beginning, we looked at an airport that would assist our people to move out because we were coming from a point that if you wanted to come into this state, you have to go through the neighbouring states.
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SUPER TUESDAY Marginalisation: Jonathan has betrayed Yoruba’s goodwill –Okunrounmu
Senate in last push for disability bill
Mega party: Issues, problems and prospects Last week, a mega party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged from the coalition of four major opposition parties: Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU and FELIX NWANERI write on issues surrounding the emergence of the new party, its prospects and likely challenges.
he emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) last week Wednesday was like a bolt out of the blues; not because Nigerians were unaware of its coming, but because nobody expected that it would emerge that fast. Perhaps, what could have been a precursor to the emergence was the meeting of about 10 governors of the different opposition parties on Tuesday, where they all agreed that there was the need for a mega party to rescue Nigeria from the grip of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There had been talks between the major opposition parties, the ACN and the CPC about a possible merger. Earlier, in the run up to the 2011 general elections, there were talks of merger between the ACN and the CPC, but the talks collapsed on the eve of the election due to irreconcilable differences amongst the leadership of the two parties, although, the National Chairman of the CPC, Tony Momoh, in a chat with National Mirror said that what truncated the 2011 merger was sections of the Electoral Act 2010, which gave a 90-day ceiling to any merger between political parties before an election. The supposed alliance then had raised the hopes of so many Nigerians who felt that the ruling party has failed to meet the expectations that heralded the return of democratic government after a long spell of military rule in 1999. To these incurable optimists; with the ACN’s near total grip of the South-West and CPC’s strong presence in the North, an alliance between both parties in the presidential election would shove the PDP out of power. It was however a dashed aspiration when the union crumbled at the 11th hour over inability of the two parties to reach a consensus. The breakdown paved the way for the PDP and its candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan to win the poll in a landslide. What later ensued in the opposition’s camp was name calling and blames.
APC’s evolvement When the new talks began last year, it
TOP STORY was between the ACN and the CPC, but realising that the two parties cannot go it alone, the ACN spearheaded the attempt to involve the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and any other willing party to be part of the merger plans. The CPC and its national leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was said to have been aversed to the involvement of the ANPP and allegedly threatened to pull out if the ANPP was part of the process. Buhari’s allergy to the ANPP’s involvement was borne out of the suspicion of the party’s position, especially against the backdrop of the presence in the ANPP of some elements believed to be PDP moles. The fears are not misplaced, especially going by his experience after the 2007 presidential election, when his move to challenge the election of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal was truncated by the then leadership of the ANPP. But this hurdle was scaled when the
THERE HAD NEVER BEEN ANY MERGER IN
NIGERIAN POLITICAL HISTORY... WHAT EXISTED IN THE PAST WERE MERELY ALLIANCES
ACN, which appeared to be the most stable of the opposition parties, waded in and brokered a truce, having realised the danger posed to the merger without the ANPP. It first approached the ANPP leadership under Ogbonnaya Onu and secured the assurances of support from most members of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). The ACN after this met with the CPC leadership and Buhari and was able to convince them of the need to have the ANPP as part of the merger. It was at that meeting that it was resolved that the ANPP and some elements in the All progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) be part of the mega
party that emerged from the merger talks.
Defying odds Merger talks had previously been ongoing between the leaders of the three main opposition parties on informal level, thus fuelling the believe among critics that it was nothing more than a political jamboree of strange bed-fellows and as such the merger talks was dead on arrival, just as the 2011 attempt. But the critics were shocked when the three parties announced names of committees to handle the merger talks and iron out grey areas. Although arriving at the membership of the committees was not easy for the three parties, especially against the backdrop of the fact that they realised that each of the parties involved have moles from the ruling PDP amongst their ranks and files and therefore realised that there was the need to avoid falling into the trap that truncated previous attempt at merger. The CPC, in setting up its own committee took into consideration the intrigues and power play in the party and excluded all members of its Board of Trustees (BoT) and NEC. This was aimed at avoiding conCONTINUED ON PAGE 41
CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL MERGER Section 84 of the Electoral Act prescribes the conditions to be met for a successful merger of political parties.
Below is the section: 84. -(1) Any two or more registered political parties may merge on approval by the Commission following a formal request presented to the Commission by the political parties for that purpose. (2) Political Parties intending to merge shall each give to the Commission 90 days notice of their intention to do so before a general election. (3) The written request for merger shall be sent to the Chairman of the Commission and shall be signed jointly by the National Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer for the time being of the different political parties proposing the merger and shall be accompanied by:(a) a special resolution passed by the National Convention of each of the political parties proposing to merge, approving the merger; (b) the proposed full name and acronym, Constitution, manifesto, symbol or logo of the party together with the addresses of the National office of the party resulting from the merger; and (c) evi-
dence of payment of administrative costs of N100,000 or as may be fixed from time to time by an Act of the National Assembly. (4) On receipt of the request for merger of political parties the Commission shall consider the request; and if the parties have fulfilled the requirements of the Constitution and this Act, approve the proposed merger and communicate its decision to the parties concerned before the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of the receipt of the formal request. PROVIDED that if the Commission fails to communicate its decision with 30 days the merger shall be deemed to be effective. (5) Where the request for the proposed merger is approved, the Commission shall forthwith withdraw and cancel the certificates of registration of all the political parties opting for the merger and substitute therefore, a single certificate of registration in the name of the party resulting from the merger. (6) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2) of this section no merger of Political Parties received by the Commission less than 90 days before any general election in the country shall be considered by the Commission.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Marginalisation: Jonathan has betrayed Says President clueless about governance
Senator Femi Okunronmu is the Secretary-General of Afenifere and a member of the Yoruba Unity Forum. Today, he is not comfortable with the marginalisation of the South-West in the Goodluck Jonathan administration. In this interview with FEMI OYEWESO in Abeokuta, he bares his mind on the spate of corruption in the polity, merger of opposition parties and other salient issues. Excerpts: At the inception of this political dispensation in 1999, you were one of the vocal voices. But today, it appears that you have taken the back seat; why is this? Well, I should correct that impression; I have not taken the back seat in the Nigerian politics of today, but I have made a transition from being an active partisan politician to an advisory elder statesman. And today, I’m more effective, more active as elder statesman. I do not actively carry a party card. So, to that extent, I can criticise openly and objectively and advice on good governance generally regardless of which party is in power. So, I don’t consider that as “taken a back seat”.
country so as to allow for money they are going to take. And so every year they take more money; the kind of money we spend on the National Assembly today is scandalous. If you ask, what every senator or member of the House of Representatives takes home is unbelievable! Even the allowances they get are unbelievable, yet Nigerians are going famished. Again, aside from these allowances and take homes, they are still stealing money like a queen that is going out of fashion. Every National Assembly member uses the opportunity of his membership of any committee to steal money. Every time they want to investigate something, they use that opportunity to steal money.
Since you left the National Assembly as a senator, what have you been doing? As you know, I am the Secretary General of Afenifere and I have been playing a significant role in trying to bring about the unity of Afenifere and the unity of the Yoruba race and also in trying to reform the kind of governance that we have, not just in Yorubaland but also in Nigeria. I am also one of the leaders of the Yoruba Unity Forum, a forum that we put together between two and three years ago to act as a common meeting point for all Yoruba regardless of their political parties. The forum is begining to have an increasingly respectable and audible voice in national affairs.
Could that have explained why somebody like Farouk Lawan is being tried in the law court? Of course, Farouk Lawan used to be a man that we all believed was honest; we used to call him “Mr. Integrity” but now; don’t forget that I said once a lion tastes blood in the meat, it never get satisfied again. He was supposed to investigate the fuel subsidy scandal and he turned it to an opportunity to amass wealth for all of them. And I have been saying it that every time you ask all the committees in the National Assembly to investigate something, they see it as opportunity to make money. Every time they should serve the country, they see it as opportunity to amass wealth. So, that is what has happened but we cannot blame them because the executive is worse; the presidency is worse. So, all around them is corruption. When you see corruption all around you, will you be a saint not to be corrupt yourself ? That is why corruption has now become Nigeria’s name; the first, second and the last name of Nigeria is corruption. The only thing that people world over know Nigeria for is corruption. Corruption with impunity which is the worse! You steal money and nothing happens to you and you steal bigger and bigger money and nothing happens to you. Look at the pension scam; a man who admitted before the court that he stole more than N22 billion and what did the judge do, just sentenced him to two years imprisonment with the option of N750, 000 as fine. The meaning of that is that the imprisonment is just not meant to take place else, how could a man who have stolen over N22 billion not have been able to afford N750, 000 to pay as fine! Less than N1 milion, and we said we are fighting corruption in Nigeria! Jonathan should bury his head in shame that this is happening under his administration. The judiciary should also bury its heads in shame. In fact, judiciary is the arm promoting corruption more than any
Let’s look at the National Assembly that you left some years back. Will you say that things are being done appropriately? No! Things have degenerated since we left the National Assembly. My class in the National Assembly between 1999 and 2003; we were the very optimistic and idealistic class. We were just returning from the military to civilian rule, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had just assumed power as our civilian president and we were very optimistic that with Obasanjo as our president, given his experience, he would go to any length to sanitise the country, bring about good governance, wipe out corruption and make us proud to be Nigerians. So, that was our optimism. Unfortunately, Obasanjo was a letdown and since then, things have gone from bad to worse. In particular, his third term agenda. From that point, he immediately corrupted the National Assembly. Maybe, the starting point for corrupting the National Assembly is his third term agenda and you know, once a lion takes flesh, he begins to ask for more and more; in fact, he can never get satisfied until it eats a human being. Since that time, the National Assembly has become insatiable, looking for money. Every time they increase the budget of the
THE JUDICIARY SHOULD ALSO BURY
ITS HEADS IN SHAME.
other institution in Nigeria. In the judiciary, I don’t know how many of the judges in Nigeria today who are clean. All the judges care about today in Nigeria is to get their own share of what you have stolen; once they get their own share, they pronounce a light sentence on you and you can go away. So, the judges are making money; the executive is making money; the legislature is making money and so the whole society is corrupt. As if that is not bad enough, the message you are sending across to all Nigerians is that corruption is the only way to make it in Nigeria. Even the young children are getting that message. So, nobody wants to do legitimate work and earn an honest living; everybody is looking for a way to steal money. That is the way the country is! In all these, would you say that you are disappointed with the National Assembly? I am very disappointed with the whole National Assembly and particularly, the Senate. Even when I was in the NASS, mind you, it wasn’t all of us that were promoting integrity. I was in the minority and that was why I was persecuted most of the time by my colleagues who were in the majority. A lot of the people in the Senate as I said in one of my interviews which also landed me in trouble with the Senate; a lot of them were Abacha politicians. And there is no
IN FACT, JUDICIARY IS THE ARM PROMOTING CORRUPTION MORE THAN ANY OTHER INSTITUTION IN
way Abacha politicians would come to the Senate and begin to look for honesty and integrity. So, for saying that, they persecuted and suspended me for about one or two days; but that was the truth of the matter. A lot of them were Abacha politicians. Some of these Abacha politicians are still there in the NASS. I am highly disappointed! The Yoruba people are complaining that President Goodluck Jonathan administration is marginalising the race. Do you share this belief? Yes, you know I’m part of the leadership of the Yoruba Unity Forum and we had a press conference in Ibadan last Wednesday, documenting for the benefit of Jonathan, the extent of Yoruba marginalisation. In fact, it is going beyond marginalisation to the point of as if they are trying to excise us from Nigeria. I will start with a few specific examples. First, as everybody knows, because a lot of people have been saying it; if you look
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Yoruba’s goodwill –Okunrounmu Then look at the security agencies; we have identified all the security agencies and not even the small one was headed by any Yoruba man out of more than 12. The judiciary and all the agencies that are trying corruption, we identified all of them and only one Yoruba out of about 13 or 14 of them. So, in every area of governance, we are marginalised; we are just not there at all. Because of these, even Yoruba in service are being persecuted everyday because they have nobody at the top to fight for them. When Nigerians know that there is nobody to fight for you, they tend to kick you anyhow. That was what happened at the Ministry of Aviation when the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah decided to sack all the Yoruba anyhow. And she just sacked them and appointed Igbo persons. We documented all these even in all the agencies as well; even election related agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Population Commissions (NPC), Yoruba are not there. In every sensitive area of government, Yoruba are not there!
at the first to the 15th position of the topmost hierarchy of power in Nigeria, there is no Yoruba there. And that is bad because we are not there; it is bad because that also have effects throughout the government because these are the people from where all the other powers flow. They are the ones who appoint people to all the boards and corporations; they are the ones who appoint all the various agencies of government. That is where all the positions are shared. So, the Yoruba man is not where they are sharing all the positions, how can he be well taken care of ? That is why it is now that in the whole of Jonathan’s administration, Yoruba have been pushed to the back seat. If you look now beyond those 15 topmost positions in the hierarchy of power in Nigeria; go to the finance and economic sector of the country; before, they say some people control the political power while some control the economy. But now, it is the same people that control everything. In the finance and economic sector, we have identified 36 different agencies that control the finance and economy of this country. Out of those 36, only three (3) of them are headed by Yoruba. That is one out of 12 which is eight per cent and Yoruba are about 28 to 30 per cent of the total population of this country. Not only are we 28 to 30 per cent, but this percentage is just for about the most educated people, learned in their chosen professions; finance, engineering, medical and other disciplines. Yet you have these educated segments pushed aside in terms of the control of the financial and economic direction of Nigeria.
But there was a period the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF) took a decision that they would visit the president to address this issue. Didn’t the president make any commitment on this or that you did not raise the issue? Well, we visited him but unfortunately, that was not the only issue that took us to Abuja. So, we did not have the time to dwell extensively on that issue, so we asked him for an appointment so that we could come back and give him the details on this marginalisation. They promised us an appointment and since then, he’s been dragging his feet on granting us the appointment. It is because we were tired of waiting for that appointment that we decided to go public with our press conference. We should have had the appointment before the end of last year, but when we waited endlessly, the appointment never came. We asked and so we decided to go through the medium of a press conference. Would you now say that President Jonathan has been fair to the Yoruba race? Fair? What we have been saying all these while is that he is not fair. In fact, he has been treacherous to us because the Yoruba went out of their way to support him to become the president. Beginning from the period when late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was sick and he was not allowed to be sworn in as acting President. A lot of Yoruba activists led demonstrations and marched on the National Assembly to pressure on it and that was what forced the National Assembly to declare the Doctrine of Necessity that made them to pronounce Jonathan as Acting President. He owed his Acting Presidency to the Yoruba radicals and activists and that is number one. Secondly, when he decided to run for the presidency of Nigeria, he received the enthusiastic support of the Yoruba, especially the Awoists and the Yoruba Unity Forum. It was people like me that wrote out leaflets, handouts and took up radio announce-
YORUBA IN SERVICE ARE BEING PERSECUTED EVERYDAY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOBODY AT THE TOP TO FIGHT FOR THEM ments, saying that this was Awolowo’s prophesy coming true. We said Awolowo during one of his campaigns in the 1983 general elections in the South-South actually predicted that not before long, an Ijaw man would become president of Nigeria. We sat upon that that Awolowo had predicted that and that the Yoruba must support that Awolowo’s predictions. We all supported him. So, we campaigned for him. During one of the campaigns when he went to Ibadan, he made some political gaffs where he was criticising the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governors and called them rascals and that nearly backfired. So, when he saw that the horizon was negative, he sent some delegations to Ikenne to come and meet the Yoruba leaders. Again, we assuaged their feelings and said
“well, don’t worry, we will assuage our own people” and we assuaged and urged them to vote for Jonathan. So, we did everything to support him. In the actual elections, everybody knew that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could never win in Yorubaland, so we voted against PDP in the legislative election but when it came to the presidential elections, we voted for Jonathan. In what way can you show love for somebody more than that? Already, the tendencies were clear that we were not for your party; we were not for PDP but we were for you. So, we showed our love and affection for him by voting him as our president. When election results started coming out, it was Yoruba results that gave his election credibility because people who were declaring 99 per cent; everybody knew that they were rigging elections in those places. In some places where he won 98 per cent, those could not be real figures. But in Yorubaland where we had authentic voting, he won close to between 60 and 70 per cent of the votes in Yorubaland. Those were real elections. That was in fact, what gave his election international credibility that yes, people really voted for him. Are you saying that the president mismanaged the goodwill that made the Yorubas voted for him just like someone has said? He betrayed us; he betrayed the goodwill of Yoruba people. If that is the case, what then is the way forward? Well, the way forward is to continue to tell him to his face that you can fool a man once, but the man will rarely be fooled if you fool him the second time. We won’t tell him this so that it doesn’t look as if we are threatening him but just like our adage says; “inu l’oko eye n gbe”, meaning that what we will do remains in our minds. But we shall keep reminding him of how much we supported him. If he continues to marginalise us and take us for granted, and treat us as if we are not part of Nigeria, then we will wait for him. Do you think the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC), will be able to displace the Peoples Democratic Paty(PDP)? Well, whether they are able to displace the PDP or not, it is healthier to have a two strong parties so that people would have options of either A or B. It gives us a better democracy. Do you see any danger in the merger? There is always danger in mergers. We have had several mergers in the past which never worked. So, we are hoping that this one will work. The one we had during Awolowo’s time; the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) which was the alliance of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Nigeria People’s Party (NPP), Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP) and People’s Redemption Party (PRP). The four parties at that time that came together against National Party of Nigeria (NPN) didn’t work. Let us hope that this one will work. This one may work because people are just so disgusted with the PDP; anything but PDP. In Nigeria today, people will vote CONTINUED ON PAGE 44
Centenary unites Nigeria’s former leaders
ASO ROCK FILE with
Jonathan as head coach of ministers
t the swearing-in of two new ministers last week by President Goodluck Jonathan, one fact that was established was that they were brought in at a critical moment of the life of the administration, which would soon be halfway into its four-year term. While reminding the ministers of the enormous task ahead, the President challenged them to perform excellently in the discharge of their duties and make meaningful impact in the transformation agenda of his administration. The two new ministers are former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Chinedu Nebo from Enugu State and a lawyer, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN) from Kebbi State. Jonathan noted at the ceremony that though the two ministers were eminently qualified to serve the country at all levels, he added that background qualification is one thing but serving as ministers would be a different terrain since the challenges involved are not the same. The President stated that “from the synopsis we have heard about them, they are eminently qualified to serve this country at all levels. If it is political, they are eminently qualified to serve as councillors up to the President of the Federal Republic by their antecedents. But then background qualification is one thing but serving as a minister is another thing because the challenges are different.” While making an analogy of the situation in which the two ministers were brought in to serve in his administration, Jonathan referred to himself as the Head Coach of a football team while the cabinet members are the players. “One thing I believe is that you will succeed but to me it is a big challenge for me and you because if a coach of a football team sends his 11 players and decides to make changes getting close to half time,
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then he knows that there may be weaknesses in some areas and he is bringing people to strengthen the team to make sure they score goals,” he said. According to him, “Nigerians are expecting that if I am bringing ministers in at this time, they must be people that would strengthen the team and make sure I bring people that will score more goals than we are already scoring and if Nigerians don’t realise that they will feel that I am not a good coach. “Just like when the coach introduces sometimes ten minutes to the end of the game and you are introduced to the field, they expect you to score the next goal,” Jonathan told the new ministers The new ministers filled the vacancies created by the exit of Haliru Bello Mohammed who was removed as Defence Minister on June 22 last year and Prof. Barth Nnaji who resigned his appointment last August 28 as Minister of Power because of conflict of interest.
ast Monday, all the former leaders put their differences aside and gathered at the Presidential Villa where they all sat on the same table for dinner to kick start the centenary anniversary which would climax on January 1, 2014, The centenary anniversary marks 100 years of the British colonial administration’s amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates which make up the Nigerian nation. Present at the dinner, held at the Banquet Hall, of the Presidential Villa, were former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Olusegun Obasanjo with former military Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari and Abdulsalami Abubakar. Jonathan told the gathering at the dinner that the amalgamation of 1914 was not a mistake
but an act of God which brought together unique and innovative people who have worked together to create a strong and united nation. The President maintained that the nation would ever remain united despite the present challenges and would continue to witness greatness and development in all areas, as all Nigerians work together for its unity. Jonathan noted that though some Nigerians still have mixed feelings about the amalgamation of the country, he noted that the greatness of the country is in its diversity while the consciousness which has kept the nation together must be safeguarded. Jonathan, together with Buhari and two little children lit the centenary torch, which signalled the beginning of the anniversary. Gowon, who ruled the
country from 1966-1975 and deployed soldiers who fought and won the civil war which broke out during his regime, described Nigeria as a unique nation with diverse, strong and hard working people For Obasanjo, who has been critical of the present administration, every Nigerian must ensure that after 100 years of staying together, conscious effort is made to remain focused in the quest for making Nigeria a humane, just and progressive nation. Abubakar’s opinion was not different from the other leaders. He said that the nation should use the opportunity of the centenary celebrations to lay the foundation of a new nation which is in the same league of countries like India, China, Egypt, Ethiopia and Amenia having survived 100 years and more of coexistence in spite of daunting challenges.
Presidential Villa’s visitors
L-R: Minister of Power, Prof.Chinedu Nebo, President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Special Duties, Mallam Tanimu Turaki (SAN) at the State House after the swearing-in of the new ministers last week.
General Yakubu Gowon
Alhaji Shehu Shagari
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar
Senate President David Mark
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu
Speaker Aminu Tambuwal
Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha
Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
Chairman, SURE-P, Dr. Christopher Kolade
Group CEO, A.P. Moeller-Maersk Group, Mr. Nils Andersen
Kolade’s SURE-P gives account of subsidy savings W hen Dr. Christopher Kolade was announced as the chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) in January last year, there was no opposition to his appointment, because of his outstanding performance in both the private sector as well as in public service as an ambassador. He was at the Presidential Villa last week with members of his committee to present the 2012 report of the activities of SURE-P to President Goodluck Jonathan. Kolade disclosed that his committee spent over N70 billion within six months last year on infrastructural projects that were beneficial to the people. While reviewing the performance of the committee in the last one year, Ko-
lade noted that though his committee was inaugurated in February last year, its activities started last July when funds were released. According to him, out of the N180 billion released by the government for the activities of the committee, it could only spend N70 billion over the remaining six months of last year. The former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom further said that the focus of his committee for this year would be the provision of social safety nets for the people of the country as well as other projects that would make meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians, particularly in the areas of health and employment for the youths According to Kolade, the committee
will also focus on providing infrastructure, such as construction of roads and rails to boost economic activities in the country. While explaining that the activities of his committee was not a duplication of the work of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Kolade maintained that SURE-P was specially set up by the President to ensure that the funds saved from the removal of fuel subsidy was used in a special way to intervene in the provision of infrastructure and projects that would have impact on the lives of all Nigerians. On the allegation by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that the SUREP fund to states are being distributed to members of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and their cronies, Kolade
stated that such allegation has nothing to do with his committee, stressing that “what the political party said is not something that we know anything about, the money that we are using for our projects, the money that we are putting to the activities that this committee is overseeing are going specifically to contractors that are working on these projects, to people that are getting employed on these projects. If there is a situation between political parties where they are alleging that money is going from one place to another, they are not seeing it. Well that is politics; it has nothing to do with our committee.”
MORE POLITICS STORIES ON PAGES 41-43
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A case for Nigerians living with disabilities NURUDEEN ABATEMI-USMAN
NIGERIA DOES NOT HAVE ANY
Continued from yesterday
n the context of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), it encourages academic staff to review their learning, teaching and assessment methods to become more inclusive for disabled students. Having looked at South Africa and the UK, let us now look at what obtains at home. Unfortunately, Nigeria does not have any legislation currently safeguarding the rights of people with disability. It would be unfair to say Nigeria does not care for the disabled and it is important to note that she is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and its accompanying Optional Protocol. However, it is important to note that Article 4 of the UN Convention identifies general and specific obligations on states (including Nigeria) and parties in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities. One of the fundamental obligations contained in the Convention is that national law should guarantee the enjoyment of the rights enumerated in the Convention. Part of those mandatory rights are enacting and passing a bill, which must include the establishment of a monitoring commission. Again, it would be unfair to say that the Nigerian government is not sensitive to the plight of people living with disability.
LEGISLATION CURRENTLY SAFEGUARDING THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY Currently in the 7th Senate of the National Assembly, a bill titled an Act to Ensure Full Integration of Persons with Disabilities and to establish a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and vest it with the responsibilities for their education, healthcare and the protection of their social economic and civil rights is before the Senate. This bill, which is sponsored by me with the support of my colleagues, is an improved version of a similar bill sent to the 6th Senate. It brings together attainable standards from other countries, including the two cases examined above. This bill seeks to secure the rights of Nigerians living with disability; protect them, and reaffirm their faith in themselves, but most especially in their country, Nigeria. The Disability Bill has faced challenges such as funding. The commitment of donor agencies dependent on an initial commitment from the Nigerian government is commendable and appreciated.
This bill will address the issues of poverty; unemployment; education of children and young people with disabilities; access to security and assistive devices; access to housing, public health services and transport. I believe that nation can gain immensely from countries that have effective legislation and policy implementation regarding disability, not using them merely as case studies or examples, but as standards to be emulated. We should also learn from how other countries have been able to overcome some of the challenges in policy implementation. We recognize that even after the adoption of the new legislation, we will face implementation challenges probably similar to the case in South Africa, where robust legislative framework has been challenged by limited conceptual understanding; poor championing awareness; inadequate or inappropriate institutional arrangements; a general lack of capacity; and lack of allocated fiscal resources and commitment by government, and agencies responsible for such implementation. Nonetheless, we can seek to resolve some of these impediments via the sensitization and training of agencies responsible for implementation; strengthening of advocacy by disabled population; greater public sensitization about disabled rights; better oversight by National Assembly of agencies charged with implementing policy, etc. Finally, as we ponder the role of government in the promotion and protection of
disability rights, let me reiterate that our disabled brothers and sisters are just as valued and just as valuable as the non-disabled population. They are owed a duty of care and protection as citizens of Nigeria. We are a diverse nation that draws much of its strength from its diversity. It is time to realize that this diversity is not just in tribe and tongue or religion, but also in ability and disability. The Paralympics Games in London were a wonderful showcase of disabled athletes displaying almost superhuman talents. Who can forget Esther Oyema , our female weightlifter, lifting a record-breaking 135 KG, to take the gold medal for Nigeria? Not everybody can achieve such feats, but these achievements of our wonderful paralympians, remind all of us of that when given support, when given education, when given opportunity, our disabled population can reach their fullest potential and contribute greatly to the productivity and progress of the nation. I can say, in all sincerity that my colleagues and I in the 7th Senate are committed to improving the protection, rights and opportunities open to the disabled population. We are with you, we will fight for you. Thank you and God bless you all. Concluded Senator Abatemi-Usman is Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs
For Kayode Fayemi, life begins at 48 HAKEEM JAMIU
n February 9, Dr. Kayode Fayemi turned 48. The governor of Ekiti State fought a legal battle for 42 months to reclaim his mandate from usurpers. The legal battle saw him in court a record four times before he finally triumphed on October 15, 2010 at the Court of Appeal. On his assumption of office, Governor Fayemi promised to restore the lost glory of the state. Two years after this declaration, the state has witnessed an unprecedented turn around in many facets. Going by his 8-point agenda as the cardinal roadmap to Ekiti development, he has touched all aspects of the agenda considerably. Fayemi took his time and carefully identified what he wanted to do and how to do it before launching his agenda fully. He inherited a debt of N42 billion and many abandoned projects; gets a meagre N2.5 billion monthly from the Federation Account, the second lowest in the country. But with careful planning, prudent management and an avowed commitment to the welfare of the people, he has been able to deliver, within reasonable limits, the dividends of democracy to the people in an unprecedented manner. In two years, Fayemi has turned Ekiti State around. There is no town where a secondary school has not been renovated; 2,820 youths have benefitted from the Youth Commercial Agriculture (YCAD) while cassava bread was launched in the
FAYEMI TOOK HIS TIME AND CAREFULLY IDENTIFIED WHAT HE WANTED TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT BEFORE LAUNCHING HIS AGENDA FULLY state in August 2012. His administration has commissioned 103 kilometres of roads in two years. All the roads linking the state capital to other towns and neighbouring states are resurfaced with asphalt; this is apart from the 5- kilometre road construction in all the 16 local government areas of the state. Many rural roads have been opened up by the Bureau of Rural Development and Ekiti State Community and Social Development Agency (EKSCIDA), which is funded by the state government and the World Bank. EKSCIDA has executed over 180 micro projects in the last two years. Fayemi has done rural electrification of many communities in the state. Water is a basic necessity of life and the governor has been addressing the water problem with a multipronged approach. He has embarked on the construction of mini-water works in many towns like Okemesi, Ipole-Iloro, Efon, Ido-Ile and Maryhill in Ado-Ekiti. These are already supplying water to many towns around their locations. These were commissioned in 2012 October. In Ado-Ekiti, water has
been extended from Ureje water works to Mary-Hill and this has supplied water to Okeila, Housing, Afao Road, Odo-Ado and Adebayo, which have not seen water in the last 10 years. The second phase of the water supply is the sinking of boreholes in many communities as a stop gap measure pending the final laying of pipes to all towns in the state and the total turn around maintenance of the major dams of Ero, Egbe, Ureje and Itapaji to operate at maximum capacity. MDGs have sponsored the constituency project of some National Assembly legislators which is the sinking of boreholes in about 26 towns. Apart from this, some of the governor’s aides have assisted in repairing and sinking boreholes in such towns as Ilawe and Igbemo Ekiti. The Fayemi administration has attracted international assistance to the Ekiti State, which is one of the 12 states selected by the World Bank to benefit from the Urban Water Reform Project. Also there is an EU grant of N500 million yearly for five years which the state and two others will receive under the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme. Arrangement is almost concluded with the African Development Bank (ADB) to assist the state in terms of water infrastructure. As many as 20,000 elderly citizens were paid 5,000 naira monthly as social security. As many as 29,341 laptops have been distributed to students while 12,244 were given to teachers. The free health programme of the government captures about 60 percent of the popula-
tion while the free health mission has benefitted as many as 400,000 Ekiti indigenes many of whom have undergone free surgery for various ailments. The Ire burnt bricks which has been moribund for the past 21 years has been resuscitated and will start production in March. The company has the capacity to produce 20 million bricks in a year and will employ about 200 workers. One invaluable gift from the administration is the peace which has returned to the state. The peace is palpable such that the state is now attracting investors, especially since infrastructural development is going on at an alarming rate. The state owes this and many other good things to the visionary and result– oriented leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi. Little wonder then that he won the Leadership prize as ‘Governor of the Year’. The ACN, Ekiti State chapter as well as the party leaders and the good people of the state, are so proud of his performance that they have adopted him as their flag-bearer in the 2014 gubernatorial election. I join them to wish him a happy birthday! Jamiu wrote from Ado-Ekiti 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.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT
Tunde Bakare on the state of judiciary
he judiciary anywhere, is not only a fundamental state institution, it’s a strong foundational pillar of the modern state, and on whose good counsel both the executive and legislative arms of government rely in times of dispute. It is generally seen as the last hope of the common and a veritable bulwark against despotism in a democracy. But our experience in the past few years shows that our judiciary is not living up to expectation in terms of timely dispensation of justice and in the deployment of law for societal social reengineering. This point was well made recently at a press conference by the General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, who warned that if urgent action was not taken to arrest the drip in the judiciary Nigeria would be plunged into “irredeemable abyss”. He also stated that rather than the judiciary becoming the last hope of the common man, it had turned into “the last refuge of crooks ”.The loss of faith in the judiciary, he lamented, has been the reason why “young people carrying arms against the state via one terrorist group or the other ”. Pastor Bakare’s lamentation is understandable, coming on the heels of the outrageous
handling of John Abubakar Yusuf, the self confessed Police Pension Funds pilferer. His two year sentence with an option of N750, 000 fine, is generally seen as a miscarriage of justice for a man who owned up to a share of N3 billion out of N33 billion loot. This is particularly so given the damage political and bureaucratic corruption has done to the country and the current drive of the Nigerian state to rid itself of it. No matter the effectiveness of the executive and legislative arms of government in terms of establishing processes and institutions, or formulating legislations, a dithering or acquiescing judiciary would grossly undermine all such efforts and thus pushing the state to the brink, where impunity reigns supreme. The concerns expressed on the observable lapses in the nation’s judicial system are therefore, in order. However, while we recognize that the concerns are well founded, it is also important not to denigrate all the members of the bench. It is this same bench that had in the past produced judges that were the toast of other African countries like The Gambia and Botswana (that employed them), for exemplary conduct
BUT THE CHANGE CAN ONLY COME ABOUT THROUGH BOTH SYSTEMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL OVERHAUL and uncommon professionalism. And there are quite a few of those still serving that are of unimpeachable integrity who are determined to serve the cause of justice, though the popular imagination is that they appear to be in the minority and can hardly bring the desired change across the entire nation. This is not the type of judiciary that will meet our contemporary needs. We need a departure from this past and very urgently too. But the change can only come about through both systemic and institutional overhaul. It has become imperative to identify the bad eggs among the members of the bench and show them the way out. The standard for judicial appointments at the high court level should be strengthened to ensure that not only tested and capable legal practitioner make it to the bench, but also those that have high moral rectitude,
patriots that care and bother about the low moral health of the nation, and lovers of justice and fair play. Justice and freedom of democratic rights can only be advanced from the position of rich knowledge, experience and proven integrity. Therefore, the drive for merit in the recruitment of judicial officers must never be discounted on the altar of compromise or primordial sentiments. The time is now for the reengineering of the system to make it work better for the overall interest of the nation. Conducive environment for judges to work is imperative; their welfare must be enhanced and secured to insulate them, and of course, their support staff must be backed with the right ICT hard- and soft-wares to enable them provide effective complementary services. A nation’s bench and bar combine well to create an effective and efficient judicial system. And so, our lawyers have a role to play in giving us the type of judiciary we need. Many of the rot in the system are partly traceable to lawyers. So while the National Judicial Council braces up to tame the monster in the bench, the NBA must also seriously push to discourage wrong conducts among the lawyers.
ON THIS DAY February 12, 1999 President Bill Clinton of the United States was acquitted by the US Senate on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The charges arose from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Paula Jones lawsuit. The House of Representatives, in a largely partisan voting, had earlier on December 19, 1998 impeached him on the two charges.
February 12, 1998 The Russians bumped into a U.S. destroyer (Caron), a spy vessel, and U.S. cruiser (Yorktown). This incident took place towards the end of the Russian-American Cold War, and occur red in the Crimean Peninsula of the Black Sea. The Caron and Yorktown were moving about in the 12-mile-limit area designated to them by the Soviet Union.
February 12, 1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), an AfricanAmerican civil rights organization in the United States, was for med. Its mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. It has its headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.
Bridging the housing gap
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oube w- wru2 - teWss og N uwbe eu2 rog - t buweW- i o be erge t u- b uNi 2 rsh rog p Wb wrWs- - bWwrog N wup t p ob - l rb be e2 g rot w W- - ro sut Ws l wuh2 t bruo t W l WtrbmWoh tsWrp - i m Wogub wu2 l be sWwg - b t p ob p Wo2 NWtb2 w w be l wrt uNt p ob Wb l wi Wg w p Wro- l wu eri rbr. be wrol 2 b- rots2 hrog - b s wuh- Woh brp i w5 uw’ Ws2 p ror2 p Wo h ube w wuuNro g - m- b p - - Wo rbWwm 5 Ww t uo bro2 bu ro t w W- - ro l wrt - rbe w h2 bu wr- ro g t u- b uN l wut 2 w p o b Wo h rp l uwbWbruo w sWb h r- - 2 2 rsb o. rwuo p o b - bW’ e ush we W. t up 2 l 5 rbe h - rgo - Wo h - l t r Nrt Wbruo - be Wb Wrp bu Whhw - - t u- b i 2 b p u- b t uo t h be Wb be NWrs2 w bu h . s ul sut Ws i 2 rshro g b t e o usugr - p Wo be Wb e up i 2 rsh w- 5 rss e W. bu t uo b o h 5 rbe be . WgWwr - uN be rp l uwb h l o h o b i 2 rshro g p Wb wrWs- - t buw b - up l uro b be rg wrW 2 rshro g Wo h uWh - Wwt e o - brb2 b t Wp 2 l 5 rbe Wh - rgo Nuw Wi W- rt b5 u i hwuup e up i 2 rsb uN i 2 wo b i wrt ’ WbWt u- buN e r- t u2 sh o ub i 5 rh sm Whul b h W- Wo brt rl Wb h W- be l wrt uN i 2 wo b i wrt ’ - 5 W- Wo h - brss w p Wro - e rge w be Wo t p o b i sut ’ - h2 bu e rge o wgm t u- be w Ww Ws- u t up l WwWbr. sm N 5 t up l Wo r - l wuh2 t ro g - b s wuh- Wo h wuuNro g l wuh2 t b- bu t ul 5 rbe wr- ro g h p Wo h h2 bu be Wi - o t uN i W- ro h2 - bwr - - 2 t e W- - b s Wo h Ws2 p ro r2 p . o 5 uuh l wuh2 t bWw t u- bsmh2 bu be - wru2 - ro NNrt r o t r - ro bwWo - l uwbWbruo Wo h l wut - - ro g
- oub h Wwsr w e up u5 o w- e rl rWN2 ot bruo uN Wh n2 Wb N2 ohrog 5 e rt e p u- bW- l rwrog e up u5 o w- hu oube W. e r- e W- i o Whhw - - h s- 5 e w i m be p l sWt p ob uN p uwbgWg - m- b p -t e p h -l rb rb- l ub obrWs bu t wWb W 5 e rt e WNNuwh- l ul s be ul l uwb2 orbmbu l uus uNt e Wl suWoWi s N2oh - wn 2rwh bu p W’ hu5 o l Wmp ob- uo e up - uNbe rw -2l l uwbWp uwbgWg -m -b p t e urt uw5 e rt e Nrbbe rwrot up i wWt ’ b Woh be m l Wm ro ro- bWsp ob- u. w Wl wruh uNbrp 2 - 2 Wssm bu m Ww- Wb ro b w - b wWb i su5 l wt ob weWl - be i rgg -b ui -bWt s bu be e r- 5 W- W. WrsWi s Wb - up l wruh t wWbruo uNeu2 -rog -but ’ ro be e2g hrN ro rg wrWro be - Wo h - i 2 b Nrt 2sbr- ro - t 2wrog sWoh W- 5 s sW- brbsbusWoh h2 bube u2b hWb h l wu. r-ruo- uN ro be sW- b b5 u h t Wh - wr- ro g ro b w - b wWb - e W. p Wh o uo - o - uNbe p uwb be Woh t b 5 ert e . -b- u5 o w-er l er- r- h2 bube ouo W . Wrs uN sWoh ro be -bWb gu. wop obeWb gWg -m-b p ber- hu - r- bu l 2or -e rob oh rog i 2rsh w- Wi rsrbmuNsuog b wp suWoWi s N2oh - W- be i ube rohr. rh2Ws Woh t uwl uwWb W- be m NroWot rWs- t buwi t Wp p uw -eu wbb wp ro u2bsuu’ up p wt rWs i Wo’- beW b hrh e p u- b t up l w e o- r. Wbb p l b bu eW. bu g ubewu2g eW . p Wcrp 2p uN buwb2u2- l wut -- -u p brp - sW-brog i uu’ p uwbgWg - gW Whhw - - be eu2 - rog l wui s p 5 W- be t w b p Wom mWw- bu g b wbrNrt Wb - uN t t 2l Wot m mWw NWt rsrbr- Wb ’r ss w wWb - beW Wbruo uNbe WbruoWs u2 - rog 2 oh erWoh uw u. wouw6- uo- ob er- ro. Wwr i uwwu5 w- oh h 2l su-rog be l wul wbm N 2 oh 5 W- l sWoo h bu i N roWot h N wup h bu be i Wo’hhw--r og be p uwbgWg Wi sms Wh- bu h sWm- ro c t 2 bruo Woh ro h2 t bruo- N wup p l sum - 6 5 Wg - bu oWi s gWl ui . ru2 - smr- uo - 2 w 5 WmuN- us. rog t uobwri 2 buw- i uwwu5 srp rb h Wp u2 ob- bu t wW- h t u-b uNl wuat b- bWs-u l w . obbe eu2-r og t wr-r- Woh beW o’N2ssmWl uus eup i 2 rsh w- Nwup - t 2wrog p uwbgWg i 2 rsh uw i 2 m eup e -t e p 5 ers guuh uo l Wl w eWh sWwg smNWrs h bu uwube w -u 2wt - uN N2oh rog Nuwl wuat b- uN suog b wp N2o r- i r og i 2rsb bewu2g e u5 5 ert e wn 2rw be W . WrsWi rsrbmuNbrbs- bu be t uobwri 2buwm l o-r uo -t e p p W’ be h -r wh rp l Wt b h2 bu Wo2p i w uN NWt buw- rot s2hrog sWt ’ uN bw 2-b ro l wNt b er- Wt beW- Ws-u i o -2i at bbu ber- t Wo i t eWoo s s h bube wWs -bWb - t buwt u2shi be o c bi rgbW-’ Wi 2- W- gu. wop ob uNNrt rWs- eW. i o be Whp ror-bwWbruo wN2-WsuN p l sum e t uo- o-2- uN-bW’ eu sh w Woh c Woh p l sumw- bu t eWoo s N2oh - srp rbW ro Wl u-rbruo but uwo w erge . Ws2 sWoh uw bgu. wop ob o h Wt br. WwW- robu l wb- eu5 . w r- beW bruo- uo be l Wwb uN be l wrp Wwm p uwb t uo. wb erbe wbu2oWbbw ’ be hwr. w6- - Wbro w-u s. rog be t eurt WwW- bewu2g e be w-bwrt br. Woh bubW gWg ro-brb2bruo- beW b 5 w bu hr-i 2weu2-r ogl wui s p be N2oh - Woh -rp rsWw gwW . NWrsrog- uo hr-t wrp roWbuwm sWoh Wssut Wbruo -m-b p o be o c b N 5 l Wg - mu2w hWwsrog beW b NW . u2w- l u l s uN p Woe -mbe l Wwb uN be h wWs u wbgWg W o’ o 5 -l Wl w bW ’ - Wt up b p eW- Ws-u sWwg s m p wg ot mp rssruo uN rg wrW 5 ert e r- be t 2-buhrWo uNbe Wrw- uN l 2i srt uNNrt rWs- hrwt bsmuwrohr l we o-r . suu’ Wbbe . Wwru2- t e Wss og N2oh - uN eu2-r og l wu. r-ruo ro rg wrWWoh wt bsmt uoo t b h 5 rbe be Wssut Wbrog sWoh . o be sWi u2w 2or uo- eW. . rwb2 be 5 WmNuw5 Wwh Woh l wut --r og brbs hut 2p obew Wssml W-- h W. ub uNou t uoNrh ot ro be
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Life Camp Housing Estate, Abuja
New Housing Policy and the burden of implementation The new National Housing Policy, as conceived by the Federal Government, is yet another attempt to reposition the country’s housing sector to engender accelerated socio-economic development. Central to the policy document is the drive to increase the housing stock employing mass housing model. Stakeholders in the housing sector who spoke with DAYO AYEYEMI & OLUFEMI ADEOSUN hinged the workability of the new housing model on the sincerity of players in the sector and government’s determination to implement the document.
t the inauguration of a committee constituted by the Federal Government to produce a National Housing Policy for the country in 1985, the then Minister of Works and Housing had said, “Government plans to take positive steps to ensure that the less privileged members of the society, including the wandering psychotics who require confinement and rehabilitation, have access to dwelling houses.” Hitherto, the underlining principle behind this new template is the quest for mass housing in a decent, safe and healthy environment with infrastructural facilities provided at an affordable cost. Twenty five years after the policy statement, and with the coming into being of a new National Housing Policy, ordinary Nigerians are the more homeless with shanties and slums are becoming more prominence and the number of psychotics, which the minister aptly referred to, has assumed astronomical growth, just as millions of Nigerians are wandering the streets with nowhere to lay their heads. The UN-Habitat estimate, which is still the authentic reference material, puts the housing deficit in the country at 17 million units. It is also estimated that it would require production of 720, 000 units annually to bridge the housing deficit gap. The Federal Government
too is aware of the problem and has estimated through National Transformation Agenda (2011-2015) that it will cost about N60tn to bridge the gap, if put at the conservative price of N3.5million. It is against the backdrop that the latest attempt by the Federal Government to address the shortfall through the second National Housing Policy has been attracting rave review. For instance, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Mr. Chucks Omeife, said that the issue of policy or the lack of it, like in every other facet of the country’s national life, has not been the real issue, but the political will to make it achieve its desired purpose. According to him, the new
housing policy viewed against its details, is a complete document that has the potential of changing the face of housing production in the country. According to him,”The problem in the housing sector has not been availability of policy or lack of it, but implementation. The new policy housing policy is all inclusive as virtually everything regarding issue of housing provision is embedded in the document. The challenges have been government readiness to take the bull by the horn and seriously implement the details of the housing policy. This is not the first time Nigeria will make attempt to fashion out modalities for the provision of mass housing;
similar efforts had been made in the past without any serious impact made.” Besides, Omeife added that the issue of mass housing could only work if developers, who are central to its implementation, show some level of sincerity and be less dubious. For instance, he accused some developers of securing lands for the purposes of mass housing, only to re-sell in bits to individuals who in-turn sell to the people. “Those who put themselves forward as having interest in providing mass housing in the country are not sincere. They are more concern about what comes to their pocket other than the concerns for the millions of people who are without decent shelter. For instance, the various pilot schemes that have so far been done by the government pointed clearly to the level of avarice of some developers. “When government give land to developers for mass housing they in-turn sell in bits to private individuals who in-turn sell at exorbitant prices again. The issue of mass housing can only work if developers show some level of sincerity, because the major objective of mass housing is to bring down the cost of houses,” he argued. On whether the motive behind the new policy could be realised without first repealing the Land Use Act which places ownership of land within the precinct of governments, he also said, “The issue of Land Use Act does not impact negatively on the production of mass housing. Land is domicile with government and allocation of land for mass housing is done by government.” Giving an insight to the new housing policy success of its implementation, foremost estate surveyor and a member of the review committee, Mr. S.P.O. Fortune Ebie, said political will and sustained commitment at all levels in the public and privates sectors are imperative for execution success. He said, “As political will appears to be the document imperative, there is need to say that in Nigeria, we have all it takes (finance, manpower, sources of building materials, appropriate technology etc. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
New Housing Policy and the burden of implementation HOW CAN WE BECOME ONE OF THE LEADING
CONTINUED FROM 21 If properly harnessed, we can achieve a quantum leap in the provision of housing for our people. “How can we become one of the leading economies in the global society when we are not paying serious attention to housing delivery with its attendant backward and forward linkages that would accelerate our economic growth in real term?” Ebie who pioneered the development of Festival Town popularly known as FESTAC Town in 1977 Lagos under the administration of former Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo queried. Ebie, who is also the Principal Partner, Forture Ebie and Company, an estate surveying and valuation firm, noted that the main reason why the nation has failed in housing its people was the inability of the leaders and followers to develop and sustain determined will to rise to the responsibilities and challenges in the provision of mass housing for Nigerians. Ebie, fondly called “Mr Housing” in the sector, called for adequate funding by both public and private for the sector, adding that intergovernmental cooperation and partnerships are also required for successful implementation of the new policy. He said poser as to why the Central Bank of Nigeria has found it difficult to give housing sector intervention funds just as it has done in other sectors. He said, “In 2011, CBN gave N620 billion loan to distressed banks. Other sectors have received intervention fund from CBN. What has CBN done for the mortgage banks? How much has CBN
ECONOMIES IN THE GLOBAL SOCIETY WHEN WE ARE NOT PAYING SERIOUS ATTENTION TO HOUSING DELIVERY WITH ITS ATTENDANT BACKWARD AND FORWARD LINKAGES THAT WOULD ACCELERATE OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH IN REAL TERM?
pumped into the housing sector? He also government to institute periodic review and evaluation at all ties of government and their institutions as well as the private sector housing development participants, adding that there is need for the enhancement and amendment of relevant legislation, including the Land Use Act as well as omnibus housing law. He said there is need for advocacy in order to create public awareness and sensitisation of all stakeholders about the policy, canvassing capacity building among them. Other imperatives implementation success, he mentioned include, identifying, collection, collation and sharing of
Modalities on proposed Lagos Home Mortgage Scheme JOHNSON OKANLAWON
s the commercial hub of the country, the demand for good accommodation is ever increasing in Lagos States due to continuous number of business people and diplomats into the state. Hence, the state has planned out a modality that will allow low income earners to own houses through mortgage facilities. The state’s Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Dele Onabokun, said that to ensure low income earners have access to decent accommodation, government is considering payment options that will allow allotters to make a token down-payment and spread the outstanding for a period of 10 years. Onabokun said the scheme was the least the government could do to assist low income earners to own houses in the state. He expressed optimism that the plan would work, saying, “Although building materials are costly, there is no way the cost of finished houses will be cheaper.” According to him, the home ownership scheme that affords first time home buyers who are resident in the state the opportunity to own their homes. The features of the scheme include tenor minimum of 10 years and maximum of 20 years, facility amount will be subject to the 70 per cent balance of the cost of the type of
Houses purchased and an applicant would be required to make a minimum equity contribution of 30 per cent value of the property he/she intends to buy. Mode of operation of the scheme Interested Applicants must obtain a form from Ministry of Housing or download form from the Lagos State Government website (www.lagosstate.gov.ng). Applicants should fill the form and submit to Ministry of Housing accompanied with payment of N1,000 for the Application Form. Applicants who have submitted his/her application forms will be directed to any of the three receiving banks for pre-qualification. All applicants pre-qualified and recommended by any of the receiving Banks will be issued with Letter of Offer. Applicants are expected to pay the 30% equity contribution to any of the three collaborating banks. Applicants to submit proof of payment and an acceptance Letter to Ministry of Housing. Ministry of Housing refers documents to Ministry of Justice to prepare and execute Contract of Sales and Deed of Mortgage Agreements. Housing releases Letter of Confirmation of Allocation and keys to successful applicants.
best practices information; international co-operation; and improvement in data gathering, analysis and management leading to an efficient National Housing and Urban Development Data bank. Other are institutionalisation of stability ternurial and capacity wise of the ministry; formulation and approval of detailed sub-sectional policies such as land policy, housing finance policy, social housing policy among other. He said, “Preparation, presentation and approval of implementation strategies, including sectoral strategic Action Plans for the policies which will specify the comprehensive strategy for implementation of the provisions, with clear deliverables, timelines, roles and responsibility assigned, I.e. the imperatives of the Road Map and its approval are a must.” In her speech, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple, stated that areas currently receiving attention include funding availability, mortgage risk environment, access to financé, improved land titling processes and housing supply. The minister who was represented by a
Deputy Director in the ministry, Mrs Margret Okolo, chronicled some of the achievements of the ministry, adding that in May this year, and in collaboration with the Coordinating Minister on the Economy/ Finance, sponsored a round table on mortgage finance. According to her, it became clear to all stakeholders at the event that it was no longer time for talking but for concrete action. At the end, she stated that an implementation Task Team comprising the key institutions connected with housing and finance was constituted to launch some pragmatic initiatives in certain areas to jumpstart the process of housing delivery. She said, “I am happy to announce that the team has started work and in the next one year the result of their efforts will become more visible.” Earlier, the Chairman of Faculty of Housing, NIESV, Chief Kola Akomolede, had queried arguments that private sector should be left to take care of the housing needs of the nation and that government should not engage in the construction of houses directly because of the expensive nature of such venture.
Five steps to your new home
uilding a new home begins long before the foundation is poured. To avoid costly mistakes during the construction process, a building professional, Jackie Craven, at About.com Guide, said home builder must start with the following five important steps.
Plan your budget Begin now to think about how much you can afford to spend and how much building your new home is likely to cost. Chances are you will need a construction loan and a mortgage. It’s not too early to find out what size loan you qualify for. Also, knowing the approximate costs will help you modify your building plans to meet your budget.
Choose your lot Whether you are building your home in a suburban development or a site with sweeping ocean views, you will almost always need to choose the land before you select floor plans or other details. You (and any pros you hire) will need to investigate factors such as soil condition, drainage, zoning and building codes in the region.
Line up your team Unless you are a homesteader, you’ll need a team of experts to design and construct your house. Key players will
include a builder, an excavator, a surveyor and a home designer or an architect. Many homeowners begin by selecting the builder or contractor. That pro then selects other members of the team. However, you may also opt to hire an architect or designer first.
Pick a plan Many new homes are built using stock plans from a catalog. The builder or a home designer may make minor modifications in room size, window style or other details. A custom-designed home, on the other hand, is created specifically for the family which will live there. In most cases, custom-designed homes require the services of a licensed architect. Whether you opt for a stock or a custom design, you will be wise to choose a plan that will meet your needs for many years to come.
Negotiate a contract Be sure to get a written contract which has been signed and dated by both the builder or contractor and the architect or designer. A contract for new home construction will describe the project in detail and include a listing of all the parts to be included in the house. Remember to amend the contract if you or your team make any changes to the project later on.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Real Estate Today
Cutting cost of land, building documentation in Lagos FRANCIS EZEM
ver the years, the high cost and delays associated with processing and documentation of lands and buildings in Nigeria has constituted a major source of concern to land and building owners as well as other real estate stakeholders. It was probably against this background that the World Bank 2012 report on Doing Business indicated that the average cost of registration as a percentage of property value in Nigeria was put at 20.8 per cent. This compares to the average of 9.4 per cent in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Details of the report showed that property registration costs seven percent of the value of the property in Ghana, 5.6 percent of the value of the property in South Africa, five percent in Botswana and three percent in Sudan; among others. Lagos State, which is Nigeria’s economic capital with a population in excess of 16 million people and more than 30, 000 industrial and residential estates as well as 25 million units of houses, is not left out in this bracket. Historically, with the promulgation of Decree No. 6 published in the Federal Republic Official Gazette No. 14 vol. 65, 1978, Land Use and Allocation Committee was created. This was under the leadership of General Olusegun Obasanjo, the then Military Head of State. This decree vested the power to administer, manage and control state land in the military governor of each State. Under the provisions of this decree, the Land Use and Allocation Committee, established in each sate, was charged with the sole responsibility of advising the military governor on land administration and management matters. Subsequently, the Land Use and Allocation Committee has remained the power house in terms of the success of Decree No. 6. With the advent of civilian administration in Nigeria, Lagos State inclusive and specifically under Governor Lateef Jakande, Land became one of the major sources of revenue for Lagos Sate. Thus, successive administrations had over the years come up with one form or reform or the other on different land use procedure targeted at boosting the state’s revenue. This justifies the attention given to Land Use issues, which has also led to the introduction of form of checks and balances or the other. It was in the process of implementation of these reforms that lengthened the process of land and property registration with the attendant high cost. This, just like any other Nigerian thing has given rise to faking of documents in desperate efforts by some fraudulent land owners to evade payment of the various fees and charges as well as the emergence of touts, who have cashed in on this situation to make brisk businesses. Also, the emergence of Advanced Fee Fraud also called 419 led to an increase in the faking of land document, with which many were duped of their hard earned money. Some real estate experts also believe that some citizens both corporate and individual in turn have devised several means of averting some of these procedures and payments, which in turn compelled the government to tighten the noose. Only recently, the Lagos State Government gave a sixmonth deadline to corporate individual and persons who have purchased land without proper documentations in the state to do so or risk forfeiture of their plots to the government. Governor Babatunde Fashola had, shortly before signing the Land Use Act Title Document Regulations 2012 Bill recently passed by the House of Assembly into law in June this year, warned that the government would not entertain any explanations after the expiration of the deadline. According to him, the new law was the state’s response to problems associated with improper land documentation, aimed at enhancing the capacity of the state to render efficient land registration and processing services.
Sir Micheal Otedola Housing Estate, Odoraghusin, Epe
THE PRESENT LAND DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM IS SLOWED DOWN BY PHYSICAL SUBMISSION AND RETRIEVAL OF LAND INFORMATION FOR PROCESSING LAND TITLES,
C OF O. THE
BASE STATION IS READY AND WOULD BECOME OPERATIONAL ONCE SOME ISSUES ARE RESOLVED Fashola
It was also gathered that the governor has in line with the provisions of the new law ordered the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to prosecute any one that has applied for Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) with fake documents, which he said had become very rampant. “The essence of the law is to make acquisition of land easy for the people, put an end to recurring issues with land speculators. People with fake documents awaiting my approval should come forward to withdraw them or risk prosecution”, he warned. “Our officers at the Land Bureau are constantly inundated with forged applications by land owners seeking Certificates of Occupancy on their land. Some of them present receipts having dates earlier than 1978 to create the impression that they acquired their land before the state’s Land Use Act was promulgated”, he disclosed. Investigations also showed that even some corporate organisations have applied with fake Certificates of Incorporation and other relevant documents, issued from sources other than the Corporate Affairs Commission. Experts believe that such proven acts of forgery contravene the law of the state and that on conviction; culprits are liable to a prison term, asset forfeiture or both. “I therefore urge those who have applied for C of O with forged documents to honourably withdraw their applications or risk prosecution”, the governor warned. The state’s Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, while commenting on the ultimatum, said the government had provided a six -month window of opportunity to lands owners to regularise their documents.
According to him, the government would be left with no option than to confiscate any piece of land without Deed of Assignment and other documentation after the period. He had also warned that any one that applies for the governor’s consent on their lands with forged documents risks one year imprisonment, forfeiture of the piece of land in question or both as specified by the new law. But the state government is also not comfortable with the bureaucratic and attendant high cost associated with lands and housing documentations in the state. For instance, recently, Surveyor General of Lagos State, Mr. Joseph Agbenla disclosed that plans are underway to reduce the cost of land documentation in the state. According to him, the delay in the take-off of the state’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and digital mapping was due to challenges associated with logistics for the exercise. “Very soon, the GIS and enterprise mapping project will be on air. The delay is due to some logistic reasons beyond anybody’s control. The project has been completed and the necessary data had been uploaded; we are currently addressing the grey areas”, the surveyor-general said. It was gathered that the aim is to integrate data from the land registry, land information systems and GIS to have a robust land registry. He however assured that the GIS would go online before the end of the year, disclosing that existing pieces of information were being uploaded onto the system. “The present land documentation system is slowed down by physical submission and retrieval of land information for processing land titles, particularly C of O. The base station is ready and would become operational once some issues are resolved”, he noted.
Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Adopting alternative building technology to reduce housing deficit A
nywhere in the world where housing needs of the populace have been largely met, it has been through the use of alternative building technologies in large housing projects. In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa has been in the forefront of employing new technologies in the development of low income housing. With Nigeria’s housing deficit of over 16 million according to United Nation’s statistics, population growth rate of 2.5 per cent, urbanisation at 3.8 per cent coupled with high rate of environmental degradation and escalating cost of conventional materials for construction, many experts have suggested the use of alternative building materials such as modular system building and Moladi form wall to enhance mass housing. Private organisations such as Royal Sanderton Limited and Moladi Nigeria Limited recently introduced these new technologies, enjoining government to adopt them for mass housing production. To demonstrate its usability, Royal Sanderton have constructed two housing estates in Lagos namely: Royal Garden at Surulere and Royal Estate at Alausa, Ikeja with the building system. Also, Moladi Limited came for a demonstration in Abuja and Lagos two years ago, begging government to adopt the new technology. Although, the two firms emphasised that unless government embarks on large-scale housing production, the units may not be affordable. Also, Bolyn Nigeria Limited, a manufacturer of machine for the moulding of clay bricks for housing production, says the only way to reduce the nation’s housing deficit is by embrace the use of locally made material like clay bricks. Despite these opportunities, nothing much has been achieved by government as the nation’s housing gap continue to increase. A visit to the Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI ), by National Mirror in the quest to know the agency’s readiness in the area of research to help in the crusade for mass and affordable houses showed that the organisation has come up with some locally made machines for mass production of clay brick and interlocking bricks for housing production. Further investigation and interviews with stakeholders showed that the cost of the machines were on the high side at N4million per one. However, a modular home is a house built in one or more sections in a factory, then transported and installed on a permanent foundation at the home site. Modular homes are designed and constructed to meet all state or national building codes of home’s final location Once the main modules of the new home are constructed in the factory, complete with attached walls, floor, ceiling, wiring, plumbing and interior fixtures, they are transported to home site and placed on a permanent foundation by a crane. Modular construction allows for a quick turnaround between groundbreaking and occupancy, and most work is done in the factory, so weather delays, missing materials, and subcontractor no-shows are all but eliminated, saving time and money. It also has the benefits of design flexibility, quality control, energy efficiency and green building On the other hand, Moladi technology is primarily a reuseable machine made formwork system that allows walls to be cast stronger and faster. Its proponent says the principal focus is on the delivery of the “whole house”, saying a house consists of many components and the” assembly process” needs to be project managed in its entirety. That means windows, doors, roof, bath, toilet, paint, ceiling, glass and electrical hardware need to be planned ordered and supplied in order to avoid a “bottle neck” that would delay production leading to high cost. Emerging economies such as China, Brazil, South Africa and Singapore have adopted these technologies to pro-
For Nigeria to bridge the 16 million housing gap, there is need to change from conventional building methods to modern ones that encourage mass housing on a large scale and at cheaper rates. DAYO AYEYEMI, looks at some of these modern building systems and talk to experts on the possibility of adopting them for mass housing delivery.
Royal Sanderton Estate, Alausa
IF GOVERNMENT HAS PATRONISED LOCAL BUILDING MATERIALS BY CONSTRUCTING ITS
ESTATE WITH THEM, MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WILL BE EN-
COURAGED TO BUILD THEIR
HOUSES WITH THEM, BUT IT IS NOT SO duce high rise buildings on a large scale for their citizens. Popular technologies include:Structural Insulated Panels, Insulated ConcreteForms, Radiant Wall System, TimberFrame, Cob, Stabilised Mud Blocks, Straw-bale,Log, Adobe, Rammed Earth, Plastic Forms and Earth Ships. Speaking with the National Mirror on how best to solve the nation’s housing problem by adopting alternative building system, Managing Director of Wisdom Consult, Mr. Godwin Emeko, described building as an integral system, saying materials are added to complement the its strength when the frame is in place. He said adoption of modern building technologies and materials are not the problems but that there is need to encourage modern research to adopt them locally. He said there is need to prioritise materials that encourage light weight. Chairman of Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Mr. Ladipo Lewis, explained that the use of alternative building materials are widely accepted abroad especially by the private sector. For Nigeria to accept some of these materials, he said the local climatic condition and socio-cultural issues have to be considered. He noted that modular system of building thrived when constructing houses in large scale, where economies of scale will set in. He said, “I think there are opportunities for innovation in building but in practical terms, it has to be addressed in relation to our needs. When you build on a large scale, modular system thrives but if you cannot, it becomes a problem.”
He explained that government alone cannot solve the housing problem, saying there has never been anywhere in the world where government solves citizens’ housing problem. According to him, the only thing government can do is to create an enabling environment and allows the private sector to take the lead in housing provision. “Real estate is driven by developers. Hotels and commercial projects are built by developers; they only need conducive environment and housing units will be cheaper. We don’t have developers thriving in our environment unlike other countries where they thrive because of an enabling environment,” he said. He also bemoaned the operation of the mortgage system in the country, stressing that accessibility to housing in the developed countries has been through a virile mortgage system. Lack of virile mortgage system, he said has been responsible for high cost of houses in the country He said, “Poor mortgage system in the country has been a major reason why new houses are not affordable as people’s purchasing power is low. Low income has limited many people from achieving their dream housing.” In his contribution, Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos branch, Mr Sola Fatoki, stated that as far as government refuses to lead by example, it would be very difficult to embrace alternative building materials or technologies. “If government has patronised local building materials by constructing its estate with them, members of the public will be encouraged to build their houses with them, but it is not so,” he said. He blamed people’s apathy towards the use of mud for housing construction, saying research had proved that houses built with clay or mud are cheaper, soundproof, durable and have capacity to withstand harsh weather. “But if you build with mud now , people will look at you as a mad man. If you go to Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO),there are some locally made materials and machines that the agency has used to produce prototype buildings for people to see, but government is CONTINUED ON PAGE 24
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2013, year of consolidation for Sparklight Property –Adeyinka Chief Toyin Adeyinka, the Chairman of Sparklight Group is a man with nine lives, succeeding where others have failed in the real estate development. In this interview with DAYO AYEYEMI, he sheds light on various housing projects of the company, its private placement offers for consolidation, the need for research into locally made building materials for affordable houses and importance of NHF. What is the driving force of Sparklight Property? Thank You. Our vision is what drives Sparklight Property. The fact is that our vision is based on providing affordable housing to meet the housing deficit in the nation. It is more or less like a passion and that is why we are continuously looking for methods by which we could provide affordable housing for the teeming masses of this nation. How would you rate the performance of your organisation since inception? Basically, it has been a gradual growth; we started by taking a seed loan of N18,000 in 1985 and then coming to the level that we are now. So, it is a gradual growth and we thank God for what we have been able to achieve. Which was your first project as a developer? In housing, it is a small estate, a 20-family dwelling units at Oko-Oba in Agege, Lagos. What was the response of people to the project? Oh! It was sold out before completion because we saw the need for affordable housing at that time for the working class. I mean the emerging working-class that needed to be housed and that has been our focal point. We gear our products toward this end. From 20 flats to how many houses now? Indeed, every year we do an average of 200 to 250 family dwelling units. That is our level now, but we are hoping to improve with new transformation. Which year did you develop Oko-Oba housing units? Of course, you know that Sparklight Engineering is about 26 years, but Sparklight Property started in 1998. The Oko-oba housing estate was developed in 1999. Before then, we had developed Alade Shopping Mall, Allen Avenue, Ikeja in partnership with Pacific Holdings in 1995. Which one is the parent company? By virtue of my background as a structural engineer, I started a consulting firm, designing structures for architects, but later, we moved into construction, with the establishment of Sparklight Engineering in 1986. The company gave birth to Sparklight Property and the latter is now assuming the position of the mother of the group. How are you able to deliver 250 housing units yearly despite the harsh operating environment? It has to do with our slogan which is, “striving to do better than yesterday”. We continuously look for ways of bringing down our cost of production by introducing sound engineering and doing some research and development at our own level and taking advantage of our subsidiaries. We have a number of them providing services for us. We produce burnt bricks, we produce furniture, and then, we are affiliated with a mortgage bank that helps to provide mortgage to would-be house owners. Let’s look at the mortgage challenge; is the NHF working? Like any financial product, the NHF mortgage is not perfect, but I can tell you that it is the most viable long term mortgage finance in the country today. The
I THINK THAT IN THE PRESENT FINANCIAL CHALLENGE IN OUR NATION, WE COULD USE AGRICUL-
TURE AND REAL ESTATE TO DRASTICALLY IMPROVE THE ECONOMY AND CREATE EMPLOYMENT FOR THE MASSES. present executive management of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria has done a lot to streamline the process. There is also need on the part of Government to inject fresh capital into the bank. Stallion Homes Savings & Loan Ltd. has taken good advantage of the project to help most Nigerian working class to access NHF loan. Can we know some of the estates Sparklight has developed? We have the King’s Court Estate phase 1-4 in Abuja, Olaiya Estate in Badagry, Stallion Court at Oko Oba, Agege, Lagos, Sparklight Estate, Isheri, SparklightGateway Estate at Magboro and Rock View Estate located at Olusegun Obasanjo’s Hilltop in Abeokuta. Which categories of people are you targeting in these estates?
Our target is usually emerging middle class. I will not deceive you, right now, we have not been able to cater for the low-income people but we have our plans on the drawing board to come up with housing units that will be affordable for them. In our Sparklight Estate, Isheri, 15 years ago, we sold one bedroom apartments for as low as N850,000 only. All you had to pay and have access to the flat was 10 per cent and the balance is provided through the NHF. But of course, the prices of building materials are not the same again. They are not what they were 15 years ago, so this is another challenge. For us to be able to meet the housing demand, we have to look inward for building materials. We need to cut down on the use of sand crete blocks, we need to develop the clay bricks technology; we need to mass produce clay bricks in such a way that it will be cheaper. We need to study how it will be used in a way that it will be affordable and compete favourably with the sand crete blocks. This will also reduce the demand pressure on cement. What about the challenge of craftsmen? This is one of the reasons we decided to establish a technical school for the training of craftsmen. And some of the areas we have concentrated on for now are: bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry, welding and furniture making. The estate we are about to commission four months from now is built with bricks. Another thing is, government needs to do more in terms of research into building materials that will favourably compete with what is coming from countries like china and others because they are actually destroying our economy. They pollute our economy. One example is the issue of security doors that we use all over the place; I don’t see why we cannot come up with something in Nigeria that will compete with Chinese products. I am happy that a company like Nigerite Limited is taking a lead to come up with locally made building materials. Where are you expecting Sparklight to be in 5 years? You see, 2012 was a year of transformation for our company; despite the economic challenge that we had, I don’t know if you are aware that during that period, new directors were appointed. These include people like Chief Sola Dada, Dr. Diran Amosu, Mr. Abraham Smith and another Chinese. These are people who joined the board and injected fresh capital. With the level of success recorded last year, we see year 2013 as a year of consolidation. Of course, in 2012, we had a private placement offer which was extended to 2013 and will be concluded in another two months. After that, we intend to take the company public. So our goal in the next 5 years is to sustain our leadership position in the real estate sector. How much are you targeting? Actually, the private placement offer is for N1billion; 200,000 units of shares at N5.00. What is your assessment of the sector? I think it is at its infancy, and we have not gotten to 10 per cent of its potentials. What has been done in the past is about building houses that were geared toward the affluent without providing housing for the working class that is emerging; and the demand is swelling per day. We thank God for what Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria is doing; they are continuously supporting serious real estate developers who are committed through their Estate Developers’ loan. I think that in the present financial challenge in our nation, we could use agriculture and real estate to drastically improve the economy and create employment for the masses.
Real Estate Today
STORIES: DAYO AYEYEMI
takeholders in the housing industry are not happy that five years after land and mortgage related bills were set before the National Assembly for amendment and subsequent passage into law, these bills are yet to receive the attention of the lawmakers. These bills include: * A bill for an Act to provide for the repeal of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Act 1993 and to make comprehensive provisions for the Reestablishment of the FMBN and its Board of Directors and Matters Connected Therewith; * A Mortgage Institutions (Amendment) bill for the licensing and operations of mortgage institutions in Nigeria; * A bill to provide for the Amendment of the Insurance Act 2003 for and other Matters Connected Therewith; * A bill to amend the Trustee Investment Act to facilitate the investment of trusts and other funds in Nigeria in locally-issued securities; * A bill to enact the Residential Mortgages Act to modernise aspects of the law relating to residential mortgages in the FCT as a model for state governments; and * A bill to enact the Residential Mortgages (Tax Relief) Act to grant tax relief to mortgage borrowers and therefore encourage Nigerians to take up mortgages. It is certain that if these bills have been passed into law by the lawmakers, mortgages creation to enhance home ownerships among Nigerians would have increased. Studies have shown that Nigeria is currently having 16 million housing deficit which requires about N56 trillion to redress. However, some months ago during a courtesy call on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal by the Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Concerns over non-passage of housing bills by National Assembly
Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Mr. Gimba Ya’u Kumo, had appealed to the lawmakers to expedite action on the bills. Ya’u Kumo had, implored the House of Representatives to enact necessary legislations to facilitate the creation of mortgages in Nigeria and consequently increase the rate of housing delivery in the country. He noted that some of the bills have been awaiting the attention of the lawmakers since 2006, reiterating that the passage of the bills will ease mortgage and property transactions and streamline the registration and enforcement
of liens on mortgaged property in the event of loan default. He added that the employment generation and wealth creation potential of housing and homeownership are enormous. He pointed out that if the nations can jumpstart the housing sector to attain its GDP contribution target of 15 per cent under the Vision 20:2020 Project, incidences of corruption, widespread poverty and mass unemployment confronting it would undoubtedly reduce significantly. Tambuwal assured the FMBN management
during the visit that the lawmakers would resume work on the bills if that would impact positively on the chances of Nigerians to own residential houses. Tambuwal had lamented the fact that the majority of Nigerians do not have decent shelter, assuring that the House of Representatives would do everything possible to get the bills passed into law. Though he gave no time frame as to when the bills will be passed into law, he promised that the House would work assiduously towards their speedy passage.
Expert tasks CBN on mortgage banks
...Decries 0.76 contribution of mortgage to GDP
Governor, CBN, Sanusi-Lamido
ormer Managing Director of Shelter Afrique, Mr. Samuel Fortune-Ebie, has tasked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on intervention funds for the mortgage and housing sector. Speaking during a recent conference on the new national policy organised by the Faculty of Housing of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Ebie said if the CBN could give other sectors such as aviation and distressed banks intervention funds, there is nothing wrong if it can extend the gesture to the mortgage and housing sectors. He said, “Why has CBN found it difficult to give housing sector intervention funds just as it has done in other sectors. “In 2011, CBN gave N620 billion loan
to distressed banks. Other sectors have received intervention fund from CBN. What has CBN done for the mortgage banks? How much has CBN pumped into the housing sector?” Ebie fondly called Mr Housing also called for adequate funding by both public and private for the sector, adding that intergovernmental cooperation and partnerships are also required for successful implementation of the new policy. He added that there was need for the enhancement and amendment of relevant legislation, including the Land Use Act to boost housing provision. He also decried low contribution of mortgage sector to the Gross Domestic Products ( GDP), saying the present contribution of mortgage finance to
GDP at 0.76 per cent is not impressive. According to him, access to housing finance is expected to grow from present level of 0.5 per cent to 30 per cent by the year 2020 based on the mortgage sector mission under FSS2020 roadmap. However, it is no longer news that Nigeria has a deficit of 17 million housing units and requires at least additional 720,000 housing units per annum not only to replenish decaying housing stock, but to also meet rising demand and avert a further housing crisis by 2020. According to the National Transformation Agenda (2011-2015) of President Goodluck Jonathan, N60 trillion is required to provide 17 million housing units at N3.5 million per unit to bridge the gap.
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Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Procedure for registration in National Housing Fund DAYO AYEYEMI
he National Housing Fund (NHF) is a Federal Government introduced scheme, to which all public servants and employees in the organised private sector within the country are expected to contribute 2.5 per cent of their monthly salary to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, managers of the fund. Employees of various corporations who are active contributors to the scheme, can access the fund through their Primary Mortgage Institutions. Maximum of N15 million at the rate of 6 per cent interest repayable over a period of 30 years is obtainable under this scheme Requirements: The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is the manager of the National Housing Fund (NHF) All Nigerians in employment whether self employed or in paid employment are required by Act3 of 1992 to contribute 2.5 per cent of their salary income to the fund The procedure for registration is as follows: 1.The Federal Mortgage Bank of Ni-
geria (FMBN) will supply Employer Registration Form (NHF1) to employers or self employed. Employer is expected to complete the form and return to the nearest branch of FMBN. The apex mortgage bank will register the employer and issue an employer’s registration number. FMBN will then issue form NHF2 to employer for completion by employees. After completion, employee will return the form to the employer. The employer will return completed form NHF2 to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria. Thereafter, FMBN will register employees on form NHF2 and allocate employee participation number to each employee. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria will issue passbook to each of the registered employees where the monthly deductions of his/her 2.5 per cent basic salary will be posted by the employer. At this point, an employee is now a registered participant of the National Housing Fund. Employer will begin deduction of contributions at source. Such deduc-
A prototype of 3 bed rooms apartment
tions/contributions are remitted to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria alongside schedule of payment indicating the amount contributed by each employee. Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria will accept contribution and issue receipt. Benefits of contributing to NHF in-
Guides when buying land from Omo-onile DAYO AYEYEMI
and acquisition is a vital key in housing or real estate development. The involvement of any developer or home builder for housing programme begins with the acquisition of a landed property that would be sustainable for such development. Such land must have title documents whose ownership could be transferred to the allottees or eventual buyers and such property must be free of all encumbrances before it will be attractive for housing development. However, buying land from landowners popularly referred to as omooniles in the South West of Nigeria is not without sharp practices, as home builder may have to contend with many obstacles if not duped at the end of the transaction. On the other hand, land acquisition from omo-oniles is so simple but you have to take a precautionary measure not to fall victim of fraudsters who might sell government land or other people’s properties to unsuspecting buyers. To have a trouble-free transaction when planning to acquire land for housing development from omo-oniles, the President/Chairman of Council, Association of Housing Corporations of Nigerian (AHCN), Dr. Ifenna Chukwujekwu, urged such buyers to take some procedural measures. According to him, land seekers must request for the layout plan of the area to determine its status whether it falls under government acquisition or village excision. In addition, he explained that intending house developer should also
request the survey plan of the land to be purchased to determine its genuineness and its registration with the Surveyor General office, adding that buyer must ascertain whether a red copy of the survey plan duly signed and dated by registered surveyor is submitted. He said, “Request for other documents on the land. If the land has a title document such as Certificate of Occupancy or Registered Conveyance, you will need to conduct a search on the document to ascertain its mortgage status whether it has been used as collateral for mortgage. “You must ensure that you sight the original title document and that the property is free from any legal encumbrances before any payment is effected.” If the land does not have a title document such as C of O, Registered Conveyance or Deed of Assignment in a situation of global C of O, the AHCN boss urged buyer to engage a professional to conduct a search on the land from government’s ministry to determine the original status of the land. “Here, the search will determine the status of the land whether it is under government acquisition or village excision and its purpose for user residential, industrial, agricultural, public use such as recreation etc, ”he stated Besides all these, Chuwujekwu canvassed that land buyer must conduct an independent research and investigation on the original family or owners of the land by ensuring that he is dealing with all representatives of the family involved. When satisfied with your investigation and search carried out, he enjoined buyer to engage a property law-
yer to draft a purchase agreement that must be accepted by the two parties. He said, “After this, arrange to make payment. Ensure you are issued with the original family purchase receipt. It is always advisable to make payment with cheque for documentation purposes. “Ensure that the lawyer executes the stamp duty of the purchase receipt and agreement after payment to officially register the land with govern-
clude housing loan of up to 90 per cent of the cost of the house, interest on loans remains fixed throughout the life of the mortgage at 6 per cent p.a, long period of repayment of up to 30 years, contributions can serve as additional old age security.
ment.” After the payment, he appealed that buyer should apply for C of O, adding that if the land falls under government acquisition but has been seeded for village excision, he should start with its ratification. He said, “But if you are buying directly from the landowner, who originally has been allocated to villagers or some family before the Land Use Act of 1978, you will have to apply for Governor’s Consent to change the ownership in your name before C of O is issued.”
What to know about commercial and residential mortgage-backed security
ortgage-backed security: A type of asset– backed security that is secured by a mortgage or collection of mortgages. These securities must also be grouped in one of the top two ratings as determined by an accredited credit rating agency, and usually pay periodic payments that are similar to coupon payments. The mortgage must have originated from a regulated and authorised financial institution; and it is also know as a “ Mortgage –related security” or a “ Mortgage Pass Through” When you invest in a mortgagebacked security, you are essentially lending money to a home buyer or business. An MBS is a way for smaller regional bank to lend mortgages to its customer without having to worry about whether the customer have assets to cover the loan; instead , the bank acts as a middleman between the home buyer and the investment markets. Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) are a type of Mortgage– Backed Security that is secured by the loan on a commercial property. A CMBS can provide liquidity to real estate in-
vestors and to commercial lenders. As with most types of CMBS, the increase use of CMBS can be attributed to the rapid rise in real estate prices over the years. Because CMBS are not standardised there are a lot of details associated with CMBS that makes them difficult to value. However when compared to a Residential Mortgage Backed Security (RMBS), a CMBS provides a lower degree of prepayment risk because commercial mortgage are most often set for a fixed term. Residential Mortgage Backed Security (RMBS) is a security whose cash flows come from residential debt such as mortgages, home equity loans and sub-prime mortgages. This is the type of mortgage– backed security that focuses on residential instead of commercial debt. Holders of an RMBS receive interest and principal payments that come from the holders of the residential debt. The RMBS comprise a large amount of pooled residential mortgages. Culled from Investopedia
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Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
How Land Use Act hampers private sector participation in housing provision - Experts OLUFEMI ADEOSUN
rom available statistics, more than 17million Nigerians are homeless. Even though there is no statistical data to correctly gauge the state of housing delivery sector, experts say that the number of people without adequate shelter in the country would have increased given the ever increasing population, with little or no eﬀorts by the policy makers to bridge the gap. However, while the present administration is showing renewed interest to come up with polices which would elicit private participation in the housing delivery sector; the ubiquitous Land Use Act has been identified by stakeholders in the industry as a strong inhibiting factor. According to them, as long as the Act remains in the country statue books, government’s efforts at opening up the sector for private investment would remain mere rhetoric. The Land Use Act gives the state governments authority over the administration and allocation all lands within their jurisdictions. But, speaking recently, President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr. Agele Alufohai , said the decree setting up Land Use Act had outlived its usefulness. He said that the starting point for any administration that is serious about addressing some of the challenges in the housing sector was the repeal of the Act, adding that, “for any meaningful development to take place you have to repeal the land use act and make land available as you have in any other developed world.” For instance, the NIQS boss noted that all that the present administration need do to convince stakeholders in the built environment that it is desirous of bridging housing deficit gap in the country, is to muster the necessary political will to review the Act. Even though the process of repealing the Act is ongoing at the National Assembly, Alufohai urged the lawmakers to expedite action on it in view of its strategic importance to the growth and development of the housing sector. Asked if NIQS has made contribution to the National Assembly regarding the model that the country must adopt, he said that organisation, like all others in the housing sector, had submitted its papers detailing its positions. He said, “Government must transform policies that affect housing, especially the Land Use Act and the system of government-subsidised mortgages. We cannot claim to want to transform this country and maintain policies that all economic actors agree are holding us back. One probe I would recommend for the National Assembly to hold is a probe of why the Land Use Act has not been repealed despite agreement that it is barrier to investment in key sectors such as housing and agriculture. On why it has been difficult to review
A piece of land
SO LONG AS A REPEAL OR AMENDMENT TO THE ACT IS PERCEIVED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF WEAKENING THE POWERS OF THE GOVERNORS, THE DISCUSSION OF THE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
WILL CONTINUE TO BE MOTION WITHOUT MOVEMENT the Act despite various public outcries about it, he said,” Naturally, anything change is always difficult to effect. In every social stratum, you cannot rule out entrenched interest. Long before now, it ought to have been repealed. However, now that the country is going in the path of private investment, we don’t have any choice but to repeal it. He said that until government starts to make land a market issue such as we have in Singapore and Malaysia, the country would continue to grope in the dark while many more Nigerians would be without shelter. Also commenting on the issue, the Chairman, Sub-Committee on Low Income Housing of the Ministerial Team on Housing Delivery in Nigeria, Mr. Nya-Etok Ezekiel, an architect argued that there was nothing wrong in the law itself, but raised issues with the applicability, which he noted was subject to abuse. He said,” Housing can only be built on land and the extent of availability of land directly affects the extent of eventual supply of houses. To this end therefore, the Land Use Act being primarily an act which spirit is to make land available to Nigerians on equitable basis, is good, needful and proper in the spirit of
the law. Its challenge is in the eventual application and obvious abuse of the essence. On why it has become so difficult to review the law, he has this to say,” We have allowed personal interest and quest for power to over shadow national interest. It is within this context that the exercise of power of the governors in administration of land within their care, has made what should ordinarily
be a good law to become ineffective “Addressing this issue of the encumbrances in the needed ease of access to land and titling, has been perceived as the weakening of the powers of the governors. On the other hand, our inability to communicate the awesome benefits of easy access to land in the stimulation of any economy has left some wise and responsible governors not supporting the proposed amendments which they ordinarily would if well informed. It is therefore our responsibility as practitioners in the housing industry to bring out the imperative of housing and access to land to housing delivery, and the consequent positive effect on job creation and the general stimulation of the economy.” He said that the ongoing discussion on the floor of the House regarding efforts to review the Act would not yield any good result because some of the governors who were profiting from the status quo would influence the lawmakers negatively. “It is a general understanding that the governors have a direct and almost overbearing influence on the National Assembly members. So long as a repeal or amendment to the Act is perceived within the context of weakening the powers of the governors, the discussion of the assembly members will continue to be motion without movement. “If however, we are able to articulate the benefits of an amendment in the larger interest of the country or state in particular with respect to the stimulation of the economy, then chances are that the many reasonable, responsible and patriotic members in the National Assembly will see reasons to put national interest above personal, parochial and pecuniary interest, he also said.
Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Creation of mortgage system dependent on Mr. Bode Adediji is the immediate past president of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) and Principal Partner, Bode Adediji Partnership, firm of estate surveyors, valuers and property consultants. In this interview with DAYO AYEYEMI, the astute professional speaks on issues germane to the construction and housing sector for it to generate employment for the youth; essentials for virile mortgage system; and the need for pragmatic approach to the implementation of the new housing policy.
How would you rate the construction and housing sector in 2012? The construction and housing sector in 2012 was not particularly of any note. Why? Once you have the overall decline in the state of doldrums, the sector like estate becomes affected. On a basic note, in term of property development initiative, last year was not of it, in terms of capital value appreciation, nothing tangible happened in 2012; in terms of sales transaction here and there, and of course, because of the general illiquidity, nothing appreciable took place. But overall, one clear message which Nigerians should bear in mind, is that once the banking sector turns its back on lending, the first and the most significant victim of such policy or action is the real sector of the economy, comprising the manufacturing, real estate and construction. That is just the summary in 2012. What hope does this year hold for the sector now that we have the new National Housing Policy in place? I think the problems that beset this sector have even gone beyond mere formulation of housing policy. Sincerely speaking, you and I know that the problem that
FACED IS NOT THAT OF
FORMULATING POLICY , YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE ISSUE OF IMPLEMENTATION
Nigeria faced is not that of formulating policy, you have to look at the issue of scenario of the implementation. Yes, if the newly enacted housing policy is faithfully and practically implemented, there will be some respites here and there; but if it is just a document like its predecessor, we should not expect any good thing. However, I will say whatever we are going to see as either fortune or misfortune of the housing sector, real estate sector and construction sector in 2013 will largely depend on the health of the overall economy of the nation. If for instance both the macro and micro policy of the government are effective, if the performance in
the international oil market is favourable, and if the government can spearhead the restructuring of the economy to dwell more on the revamp of the economy more than any other issue, then, Nigeria has a lot of prospect in 2013. If however, the government still embarks on business as usual with so much talks but less action on the ground, I’m afraid we are even going to see worst consequences than we had in 2012. What are these worst consequences, which will frighten you and I? The first one ordinary men and women and journalists should not joke with even if the government joke with it is the youth unemployment. For as long as we do not synergise or embark on pragmatic collaboration between the public and private sector, no amount of policy delivery will have any influence whatsoever on the present scandalous unemployment landscape. On this note hang all other policies being it political policy, security policy and others, because a nation that is populated largely with idle youths cannot progress on major policies of security and nation building. So all of us must put hands on deck to ensure that we contribute towards ameliorating unsatisfactory unemployment problem. Do you think it is appropriate for government to intervene in the real estate sector by injecting fund the way it did in aviation and agriculture sectors? Thank you for raising that issue, I am not saying that housing sector is the most significant of all sectors of the economy, but unfortunately for us as a nation, I want to be quoted, from one regime to another in the last 20 – 25 years, we have Babangida’s era, no single leader in this country had the ability to understand the significant of the real estate sector on the overall well being of the national economy. That is why from year to year, allocation that government put on housing sector had always been very minimal. The allocation, when they consider it further to the issue of disbursement you can see the abysmal failure but, let us just simplify matter. Why do economies or nations that do well elsewhere in the world absolutely lay emphasis on the housing and construction sector, and country that stagnate year in year out are always found wanting? I have always been attending economy summit for so many years until I saw that there is a disconnect between what Nigerians say and what we end up doing. You do not need any major seminar, summit, brainstorming to know that if countries are going to drive their economy, those sectors that are responsible for the engagement of your most agile and most young in the population should be the one you give priority to. I want to be quoted, if governments of this nation in last 20 years had given 10 per cent of the attention they gave to trading to real sector, we would not be where we are today. And while did they do that? To import anything to this country, you don’t have to sweat; you have a ready market for it. But the implication is simple, a country you import from, their youth will never be idle. A country where you import into, their youth will never be employed. A nation that cannot feed itself internally has no business sitting in the community of countries of modern world. That is the truth. A country that is largely dependent on the importation of rice, wheat or anything whatsoever can never make it to any national candor among the committees of civilised countries anywhere in the world. Nigeria has come to a stage where people like us must speak the truth at all times. Let’s look at the issue of mortgage financing. You and other professional colleagues have emphasised the need for robust mortgage finance for housing development and enhancement of home ownership among Nigerians. Why is it difficult to invest the pension fund, unclaimed dividend and other idle funds in mortgage sub-sector? It goes to awareness and sincerity. Let me tell you, I have not come across any document that can transCONTINUED ON PAGE 33
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
credible judiciary -Adediji form the country from the current abysmal low level to the highest anyone can think of other than Vision 20:2020. The good thing about the document is that the ABC of transforming the nation is contained therein. Notable in this document is on how to introduce the regime of mortgage trading economy, and I believe that it is due to lack of understanding of what the eminent men and women put together in the paper by those in government that is responsible for the lukewarm attitude towards its implementation. So if you look at mortgage, it should be seen as an institution which help and impact on all spheres of life. I am expecting that with the experience the world had four years ago, countries like Nigeria by now should have paid adequate attention to mortgage institution. What happens? American economy had survived on a very formidable and virile mortgage system. It was the abuse of that mortgage system that led to the world’s collapsed economy. That is just to show you how strategic the issue I raised is. So what I am trying to say is that once the country is not serious minded about mortgage institution, housing and manufacturing sector, quote me anywhere, such country or government will never serious about anything. For instance today, if you are going to really introduce a regime of workable mortgage system, it is beyond pumping money, otherwise, if you look at major key sectors that government had tried to intervene in the past, what was their score? Zero! You have to look at anything you want to revive from the holistic angle. Without a fair and credible judiciary, we cannot actually prosecute the national agenda on mortgage system. If you don’t have a virile national bureau of statistics and various watchdog agencies, you cannot implement mortgage system because the issue of fidelity is sacrosanct to the help and longevity of any mortgage system to the extent that those who put their money down and lend those who borrow would not want to see someone trying to reap where he had not sown. And that those government officials who are going to implement these things, we must see that action of faith in whatever they are going to do. This refer us to the news about the pension fund director who stole N32billion and he had to pay N750,000 and go free. If I know that if I borrow N10million from mortgage institution and I can bribe my way through legal system and be asked to pay N10,000, no amount of money that government mobilises in that sector will see the light of the day. That is why I say the mortgage institution now, revamping of it has gone beyond just throwing money into it, you have to look at the system holistically, and issue of fidelity and the inclusiveness of implementation become sacrosanct. Don’t forget that Nigeria has a tendency that when you have a policy, implementation becomes a problem; and when implementation is not the problem, then, we end up in most cases, because of our politicians patronising,
putting square peg in a round hole at all time. These are the real issue that have tampered with fast tracking of the Nigeria social political and economy system over the past decades and until we address the sacred truth, we will continue to crawl in the dark. What is your response to the claim of cement glut by Dangote despite high price? You have just spoken of an issue that I will like us to look at from two sides. First and foremost, I will like to commend the effort and sacrifice of the young guy called Aliko Dangote, not because he is my friend but because he had become a major name in Nigeria. Where there is political will, there will be way. In the power sector today, as chaotic or uninteresting as it is, where there is political will to roll out energy into Nigeria system, quote me in the paper, there will be way. Where there is political will to refine oil in this country within three years without any external importation, there will be way. If you look at Nigeria, what should actually baffle everybody is this, and I want you to quote me; could God have made a mistake by over endowing Nigeria? And until we see the president who can actually answer the question, we will not solve one little of our problem. That is, could God have made a mistake by endowing Nigeria as a nation? The answer is no. But when we see vested interest, this is what affect my interest whether millions of Nigeria are suffering is irrelevant to me, until we have political will to crush those interests, we will just be crawling in darkness. Why I went to that digression is this, we were faced with a problem of industrial capacity in cement production before, when the government summoned political will and assisted in providing enabling environment to those who want to take risk in that sector, the issue of production had come and gone. However, we always want to see many of these strategic policies and programmes in isolation of other subordinate policy that, if you don’t show the same seriousness to rectify all the anomalies in all those supporting systems, the one you have cured will just go into vanishing victory. If you have 10,000 Dangotes in the country to produce cement, we only have a glut and glut does not respond to price crash. Two, if you have cement everywhere in the city today, and your National Assembly keeps mute on Land Use Act without even knowing all the noise everybody has made to ensure that this document is overhauled right from day one from Obasanjo regime, access to land cannot serve as an intention of people to build house; and so if without land liberally available, the gravity in cement production is a fact because it is just a simple economy of demand and supply. You have it supplied now, the demand is not there; when the demand is not there, that means there is a supporting instrument you have wasted time in doing.
Real Estate Today
Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Demolition of N3bn estate raises doubt about govt’s sincerity in resolving housing crisis T
he outrage and condemnations that trailed the demolition of 372 units of houses valued at N3billion in Minanuel Housing Estate in Abuja by the agents of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have not simmered, even after almost onemore than two month the dastardly act was perpetrated against the ordinary people in the country.
Since the agents of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) rolled out its bulldozers to pull down 372 units of houses already subscribed to by low income Nigerians in Minanuel Housing Estate, people have not ceased from asking questions as to the plausibility of the action. In this piece, OLUFEMI ADEOSUN, examines the implications of the demolition on the government’s quest to bridge the 17million housing deficit in the country.
Since the demolition, tongues have not seized to wag regarding the sincerity of the present administration to address the huge housing deficit, which is put at over 17 million units and the workability of the Public Private Partnership arrangement in addressing the infrastructure deficit in the country. While some stakeholders viewed the demolition exercise as part of a ground design to push ordinary people out of the FCT, others took a sweep at the present administration’s slogan of “Housing For All” as mere charade contrived to deceive ordinary Nigerians. Without prior notice, the Department of Development Control of the FCDA, had in the wake of the nation’s independent celebration, rolled out its bulldozers to pull down 372 units of houses on the excuse that the housing estate had been allocated to the National Assembly members. Apart from the protests that greeted the demolition exercise, stakeholders in the housing sector, including well meaning Nigerians have variously expressed dismay at the action of the FCT administration, describing it as sheer “economic waste of monumental proportions.” While the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed had belatedly come out to deny the charge of carrying out the demolition without serving notices, he had failed to convince Nigerians that pulling down the multi-million Demolished Manuel Estate in Abuja naira housing estate was the right decision for the NigeVEN UNDER THE MILITARY rian economy and for the administration of the FCT under his charge. Not even his defence that the demolition DICTATORSHIP THE UPREME was carried out with a view to protecting the sanctity of the Abuja Master Plan could assuage the outrage and OURT WARNED GOVERN condemnations that followed the demolition exercise. MENTS IN THE CASE OF ILI Even in the face of public outcry, the minister has also been quoted to have boasted that he had demolTARY OVERNOR AGOS ished over 124,000 houses since April 2010 when he came on board, the figure he said, was higher than the TATE VS JUKWU total of 36,000 houses demolished by all his predecesAND AGOS TATE VS sors put together. He seems to be having strong ally in the Minister EDERATION TO DESIST of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms. Ama Pepple. When she was confronted by journalists at the FROM RESORTING TO SELF recent World Habitat Day celebration in Abuja to comHELP IN THE RESOLUTION OF ment on the demolition, the minister tried to rationalise the demolition exercise. Tried as she could to parry ANY DISPUTE BETWEEN THEM the question, her body language suggested that she concurred with his colleague. AND CITIZENS However, the lawyer to the Minanuel Investment Limited, the developer of the housing estate, Mr. Femi and citizens. “In the light of the foregoing, we wish to submit withFalana(SAN) punctured the arguments in support of the demolition, even as he refuted the minister’s claim that out any fear of contradiction that the demolition of the notices were served on the developer, challenging him to 372 housing units belonging to our client by the FCDA through self help cannot be justified under the current come out with such if there were any. Falana had said, “By the virtue of the express pro- democratic dispensation.” Falana is not the only one who had come out to pubvisions of the Recovery of Premises Act, Abuja Cap 544,Laws of the Federation, no government, authority licly challenge the rationale behind the demolition, as or person has the power to eject any person from any the Chairperson of Real Estate Developers Association, property in the FCT without recourse to the rule of law.” Mrs. Binta Ibrahim,FCT chapter, who visited the deFaulting the manner of the demolition and the prem- molished estate had also described the demolition as an ise on which it was based, the human rights activist, economic waste, stressing that it would not in any way had also said,” since the demolition was not carried out help the transformation agenda of the present adminisby officers of the High Court of the FCT following a ju- tration. She wondered how the country could effectively addicial determination of any dispute between the FCDA and our client, the demolition is illegal in every material dress the issue of youth restiveness and insecurity, if the over 1,000 workers that are being laid off through this particular”. He added, “Even under the military dictatorship, the demolition exercise are let out on the society. She said,” This is total economic waste. The level of Supreme Court warned governments in the case of Military Governor, Lagos State vs Ojukwu (1986) and AG, La- waste we are witnessing here today will definitely not gos State vs AG Federation, to desist from resorting to help the transformation agenda of Mr. President. You self help in the resolution of any dispute between them cannot achieve economic stability with this kind of
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wastage. The number of workers that will be laid off as a result of this demolition, I am sure, will be more than 1,000. We are talking about peace and about security. I want to advise my members today that they should step down every development anywhere at the FCT so that we will not go back to square one.” Besides, the subscribers to the housing estate have not only staged series of protests at the National Assembly, they have also called for public inquiry into the matter The subscribers had alleged fraud in the exercise despite the insistence by FCT administration that it made frantic efforts to discourage the continuation of the structures with an allegation that the developers went back to site and resumed developments at a “frenzied speed.” In a chat with journalists in Abuja shortly after the demolition, the spokesman for the Minanuel Estate Subscribers Union, Mr. Festus Adebayo had called for an inquisition into the whole demolition exercise to unravel the truth. He wondered why the title documents of the land was declared fake even when another estate adjacent to it that was acquired in similar circumstances was not demolished. While insisting that there was need for the minister to be called to order as his action was inimical to the growth of the nation’s economy, he argued that the demolition exercise amounted to moving the real estate sub-sector of the economy backwards and sending many Nigerians out of jobs. He said, “We need to state clearly that Minanuel Estate is not in Kyami District, but is located in Gosa, Lugbe Extension 1, but for the purpose of this criminality , the area was re-designed as Kyami District. We wonder why the district will be re-designed even without the knowledge of those that have invested in the area. “How come that it is only Minanuel Estate documents that are considered fake while documents of Forte Royal Estate beside it, which was bought from the same NCR Associates with the same title, from the same person, is not fake and Forte Royal is still standing?”
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Real Estate Today
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
In coming to terms with the reality of the acute housing shortages in the country, the Federal Government, through its Transformation Agenda (2011-2015), has estimated that it would cost about N60tn to provide 17 million housing units, working on the conservative price of N3.5m per unit. In line with this policy statement, the Federal Housing Authority, one of the agencies through which government realises its programmes and policies in the housing sector, has evolved alternative model for the delivery of mass housing in the country. OLUFEMI ADEOSUN, in this report, examines the plausibility of this new approach in addressing the housing deficit gap.
Stakeholders task FHA on new housing delivery model
or a few decades, the Nigerian housing sector has been bedevilled by various anomalies ranging from policy inconsistency, lack of sustainable approach to housing production, to befuddling land allocation system. While the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme has not been sustainable, the fact that the various agencies through which it intends to implement these policies and programme lack proper funding has continued to consign housing sector to a perpetual state of flux. For instance, the Federal Housing Authority,(FHA) which is one of the agencies of government statutorily empowered to be provider of housing and facilitator of access to sustainable housing solutions in the country, has been overwhelmed with the enormity of the problems in the sector. A document obtained from FHA in Abuja detailed various obstacles to the realisation of mass housing in Nigeria. According to the document, some of the problems range from absence of the right technology to champion mass production of houses, lack of sustainable housing policy, lack of enabling environment, to massive importation of building materials. However, FHA Head of Public Communications, Mr. Tunde Ipinmiso, explained that these identifiable lapses had prompted the authority to look inward with a view to adopting a more pragmatic approach to housing production in the country, particularly since the new management team was constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan in May, 21 2009. He explained that the authority could not continue with the old order involving getting contractors and putting “block on block” in the face of serious housing deficit in the country. According to him, some of the new models aimed at achieving sustainable mass housing delivery to Nigerians include, Direct Development, Public Private Partnership, Public-Public Partnership, Cooperative Housing, Rental Housing, Regeneration, new Town Development and Site & Services. In totality, he said the newly developed sustainable mass housing delivery model would lead to the delivery of 112,000 units of housing across the country. He said,” Before the new housing model was developed by FHA, we engaged in direct construction. We
EVEN IF COMPANIES INVOLVED IN RECRUITMENT OF EMPLOYEES FROM THE UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL ARE STILL IN EXISTENCE IN NIGERIA TODAY, THEY ARE FEW AND IN BETWEEN, AS CAN BE SEEN FROM THE DWINDLING FORTUNES OF MOST COMPANIES award contracts; contractors build for us and deliver. But when the current management came on board, there was a realisation that with a housing deficit put variously at 16 to 17 million, putting block on block and all that, cannot get far.” Apart from that, he stated that the fact that the authority had seized from benefitting from government funding also contributed to its inward looking approach. “Moreso, that the organisation is no longer being funded by government, we have not got a dime in the last 10 years now neither for recurrent nor capital expenditure. So there was a need to take another look at what we do and how we were doing it,” he further explained. Commenting on the huge success of cooperative model to housing production, he said,”There is so much strength in the co-operatives. All over this country today, there are cooperatives and when peo-
ple come together, there is no limit to what they can do. So we can harness the resources and the energy that is in the cooperatives to deliver housing to them. There are proven cases of successes like that all over the country. We started this in 2007 around the country and we registered thousands of co-operatives and the enthusiasm is so much.” On Rental Housing, he also said,” There are many people who come to Abuja today who don’t really need to buy a house in Abuja, maybe they have come to spend the weekend. We proposed that if we have rental houses where people can just pay and you don’t have to be tied down to maintenance and all of that goes with housing.” According to him, as part of the agency’s efforts to increase housing stock, the authority has also got 1,000 hectares of land under the New-Town Development model from the Federal Capital Development Agency to build an estate in Bwari Area Council, Abuja. “The idea behind the establishment of the new town,”, he said,” is to decongest city the centre which is fast becoming choked-up and with mono-rail coming, it is going to be easy for people to work in Asokoro and live in Bwari and still meet up for work.” Also, under the PPP arrangement, the spokesman added that the authority is building close to 15,000 units of housing in Apo, explaining that ENL Consortium is delivering about 932 units while Bahaul House Limited is also delivering 500 units. He explained that with this multi-faceted approach, “we harness more than when we use only one platform.” The President, Association of Housing Corporation of Nigeria, Dr. E Chukwujekwe, said although FHA was central to mass housing provision in the country, it could not have meaningful impact without the support of the critical stakeholders. “The truth is that, Federal Housing Authority is an organ of government and housing delivery is capital intensive. For any organisation to live up-to the expectation, there must be financial empowerment. In as much as I believe that FHA has a responsibility to the people in the area of provision of mass housing, other government agencies like state housing corporations, Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria and other critical stakeholders should be involved in housing provision. All the tiers of government, including private sector, should also work together to tackle the problem of housing, “he said. Speaking on the new housing model being employed by the authority, he said the new approach would make significant impact if properly implemented, stressing that, “Certainly, if properly implemented, the new approach would go a long way in bridging the housing deficit gap in the country particularly the two PPPs, that is, the Public Private Partnership and the Public-Public Partnership models. These are the type of arrangement we have been advocating. The major problem in this arrangement is that it often lacks proper guidelines. I am aware FHA has developed a PPP and am confident that it will be successful with the calibre of the management team.”
Adopting alternative building materials, technologies to reduce housing deficit CONTINUED FROM 35 not patronising this agency,” he said. He further stated that if private developers and government adopt the use of modular system extensively in their estates, people would follow their example, saying there is need to popularise the use of alternative building materials available for mass housing. Renowned architect, Mr David Majekodunmi, expressed mixed reactions about the use of alternative imported materials, saying most of them would run out of time considering the local climatic condition. He stated that the best way to go is to popularise the use of locally made materials. According to him, roofing sheet that were produced by Nigerite 30 years ago
were nowhere to be found now, saying it shouldn’t be so. He said, “So let’s try the use of local materials before talking of foreign ones.” Building with modular system, Majekodunmi said it would be difficult to do social housing with modular system considering the present economic situation in the country. He explained that it is government responsibility to embark social housing by incorporating corporate bodies due to huge money that will be involved. He lamented that the cost of houses in Nigeria is on the high side, wondering how a fresh graduate on N50,000 salary per month can afford to build or buy
houses in 30 years. He queried, “Where are the likes of Baba Lateef Jakande? Can’t we have any government that can do social housing again? I know we have the resources but unfortunately, our governments are not concerned about the welfare of the people.” With the delivery of over 2.4 million subsidized housing units between 1994 to 2010, South Africa’s housing deficit though significantly reduced remains sizeable at between 2.2 - 2.5 million units. To contain the rise in demand for housing, the National Housing Department (NDH) in 2004 introduced sustainability to human settlement by establishing the Breaking New Grounds (BNG) initiative.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
NICON PROPERTIES LTD LIST OF AVAILABLE PROPERTIES FILLING STATION Description: A well landscaped, strategically located filling station with 4 PMS Pumps, 1 AGO, 1 DPK, with 6bedroom duplex, one station office, one Lube bay on land area of 1,600sqm 63 Accra Street Wuse Zone 5, Abuja Location: Price: N650m asking LIST OF AVAILABLE HOUSES ASOKORO Description: 8 nos 3 bedroom flats with 1 room BQ each and Swimming pool Asokoro, Abuja Location: Price: N1Billion asking Description: Location: Price:
A 2Nos. 5 bedroom duplex and a 6 bedroom duplex sitting on 1700sqm with C of O Nelson Mandela Asokoro, Abuja N800m
Description: Location: Price:
5 units of 4 bedroom detached houses with 1 room BQ each Asokoro, Abuja N850m
Description: Location: Price:
4 bedroom twin duplex with BQ Kwume Nkuruma Asokoro, Abuja 400m
Description: Location: Price:
5 bedroom duplex with I room BQ and 2 unit 3 bedroom flats good for embassy Hill Top House Asokoro, Abuja N450m
ASO DRIVE Description: Location: Price:
7 bedroom detached house with BQ with swimming pool (Vacant) Aso Drive, Abuja N800m
MAITAMA Description: Location: Price:
4 bedrooms Twin duplex, 2 sitting room with 2 rooms self contain Panama Street, Ministers Hill, Maitama, Abuja N350m
Description: 5 bedroom detached house Along IBB way Maitama Location: Price: N300m Description: 5 bedroom detached house with 2 rooms BQ Minister's Hill Maitama Location: Price: N280m GAMES VILLAGE Description: 4 Bedroom terrace duplex with ample land space for BQ Games Village Location: Price: N55m GARKI Description: Newly built 14 Nos. fully serviced 3bedroom flat on 1,346sqm KVA transformer and 80m borehole Garki 2 by old CBN with certificate of occupancy Location: Price: N1Billion asking Description: 3 bedroom Terrace Duplex (renovated) Area 2 Section 2, Garki Location: Price: N60m Asking KATAMPE Description: 6 Units of 3bedroom flats carcass (Roofing Stage) on 963,63sqm residential with C of O Location: Katampe Main Price: N 70m UTAKO Description: 4 bedroom detached duplex Location: Utako, Abuja Price: N75m APO Description: A fully detached 3bedroom bungalow, 2room apartment with private convenience Location: Bethel Estate, Lokogoma Price: N30m Asking Description: Location: Price: GUDU Description: Location: Price:
5 bedroom detached duplex with 2 room BQ Apo (Power House) N130m Asking Newly built filling station with 10 pumps Gudu N650m
WUSE DISTRICT Description: A detached bungalow and one storey building on 1hectre Location: Wuse zone 5, Abuja Price: N450m Description: Location: Price:
5 Bedroom semi detached house Wuse Zone 6, Abuja N250m
Description: Location: Price:
A block of 4 Nos. 3bedroom flats with a 3bedroom bungalow Wuse 2 N260m
Description: Location: Price:
A 5 Bedroom Duplex, 2 living room and 2 room BQ in built with C of O Wuse Zone 4, Vacant and New N260m
Description: Location: Price:
5 Bedroom twin Duplex with BQ Wuse II, Abuja N400m
For enquiry and inspection, please contact undersigned numbers:
NICON PROPERTIES LIMITED 63, Accra Street, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.
08067770999, 08033203414 Email: email@example.com www.niconpropertieslimited.com
SUNNY VALE ESTATE Description: 3Bedroom semi detached Location: Sunny Vale, Abuja Price: N25m GWARIMPA Description: Location: Price:
5Bedroom semi detached rd 3 Avenue Gwarimpa, N65m
Description: Location: Price:
4Bedroom duplex, 2room Bq and gate house Garimpa N60m
KARU Description: Location: Price:
3bedroom Bungalow, 2 units of 1bedroom Bq with gate house FHA Phase 1 Karu, near Primus Specialist Hospital N20m
LAGOS Description: Location: Price:
Newly finished 5bedroom duplex (All en-suite) with Bq Osborne Estate, Lagos N200m
Description: Location: Price:
A new 4bedroom duplex (all en-suite) Magodo Estate, Lagos N70m
Description: Location: Price:
1.6hectre of land and A Ware-house on 25,000sqm with office Admin block, Generator House, Security hut and workers Canteen. 2 Dedicated Transformer, bore-hole and water treatment plant. Amuwo Odofin, Industrial Estate, Lagos N1.2 Billion
Description: Location: Price:
2 wings of 5 bedroom duplexes, each with 2rooms BQ Eric Emmanuel Crescent, off Bode Thomas Street, Lagos N130m
LANDS FOR SALE Description: 3000sqm Commercial with C of O Location: Close to PDP Secretariat Wuse Zone 5 Price: N300m Description: 1500sqm Residential land Location: Opposite Sokoto State Governor Lodge Asokoro, Abuja Price: N200m Description: 1500sqm Residential land Location: Gwarinpa, Abuja Price: N35 Description: Location: Price:
2450.84sqm Residential land Gwarimpa N120m
Description: 1560.73sqm Residential land Location: Garki Price: N80m TO LET Description: Location: Price:
2 Blocks of 6 Nos. 2Bedroom flats Akin Olugbade, Street Victoria Island, Lagos N4.5m
Description: Location: Price:
2 blocks of 6 nos. 3 bedroom flats (12 flats) Akin Olugbade, Street Victoria Island, Lagos N5.5m
Description: Location: Price:
Fully furnished 6 bedroom detached house Katampe Diplomatic Extension N6m per annum
VARIOUS OFFICE SPACES TO LET 1. NIGERIA -REINSURANCE BUILDING CBD, ABUJA 2. NICON BUILDING 55 AKPAKPAVA STREET, BENIN 3. NICON PLAZA, CENTRAL BUSINESS AREA, ABUJA 4. NICON HOUSE, INDEPENDENT LAYOUT ENUGU 5. 118/120 Broad street Lagos 6. Marina Lagos 7. 1 Barracks Road, Calabar 8. F/14 Cathedral Drive Enugu
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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Mega party: Issues, problems and prospects CONTINUED FROM 13 flicts of interests. It settled for a 19-man committee, comprising of three members each from the six geo-political zones and headed by former Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Garba Gadi. Other members of the committee include: Sabo Nanono, Hadi Sirika, Okoi Obono Obla, Oscar Udoji, Ife Oyedele, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Mrs. Lucy Ajayi, B. D. Lawal, James Ocholi, Haruna Yerima, Adebayo Shittu, Prof. Buba Bajoga, Osagie Ehanire and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Tam David-West. The ANPP team was led by its presidential candidate in the 2011 elections and former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau. Other members of the team include: Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Gaidan, Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima; Zamfara State governor, Abubakar AbdulAzeez Yari, Ahmad Rufai Sani, Maina Ma’aji Lawan; former governors of Yobe, Sokoto, Borno and Kano states, Abba Ibrahim, Attahiru Bafarawa, Ali Modu Sheriff and Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya respectively, Suleiman AbdulRahman Kawu Sumaila, Peter Edeh, Gambo Magaji, AbdulRahman Adamu, Rear Admiral Lanre Amosu, Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, Salihu Momoh, Godfrey Yilleng and Chief George Morghalu, who served as the secretary. On its part, the ACN also set up a 19-man team led by former Minister of External Affairs, Tom Ikimi. Other members include: former governors of Ogun and Ekiti states, Olusegun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo, governors of Lagos and Osun states, Babatunde Fashola and Rauf Aregbesola, John Akpanudoedehe, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, George Akume, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Lawal Shuaibu, Audu Ogbeh, Achike Udenwa, John Odigie-Oyegun, Chris Ngige, Usman Bugaje, Hadjia Rabiat Eshak, Ibrahim Y. Lame, Yusuf Ali, and the ACN National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed. The talks elicited mixed feelings from Nigerians, with many sceptical about its workability, especially on the backdrop of assumptions that previous mergers never worked. But Momoh allayed the fears when he told National Mirror that there had never been any merger in Nigerian political history. He said that what existed in the past were merely alliances. His words: “Nigeria has never had any history of political parties merging. This is the first attempt at merger and every participating party would lose its name, flag, identity, logo, and then we will come out with one flag, one logo, one manifesto, one constitution and one name. So anybody who says merger has never worked in this country doesn’t know what merger is. However, I can assure you that this will work because Nigeria needs a salvage programme that has become imperative and inevitable. I am very confident that our traducers would be disappointed at the end of the day.”
Oppositions’ upbeat Members of the opposition parties have continued to express optimism of a possible defeat of the ruling PDP in the 2015 general elections with emergence of the APC. Senators elected on the platform of the merging parties last week endorsed the APC and urged all Nigerians to support
managed country and urged all Nigerians to ensure that the new party is allowed to end the tales of misery, anguish and pain, which the PDP has unleashed on Nigeria in the past 14 years.
Speaking in Abuja through its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the PDP said that the emergence of APC should give Nigerians robust debates on the economy and other issues of governance in the interest of Nigeria. Metuh said: “We congratulate the opposition for their successful merger and the formation of the APC. This is yet another victory to our democracy. It shows that our democracy has come of age. We hope that from now we will see robust debates on the economy and other issues of governance.” The PDP National Chairman, Bamangar Tukur, on his part said that his party would not lose any sleep over the APC, and dismissed the merger insisting that the PDP is the party to beat. He argued that no amount of conspiracy and alignment by the opposition parties can dethrone the ruling party. Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu said that the merger of opposition parties in the country cannot defeat the ruling PDP. His words: “I agree that no democracy grows without a credible opposition, but let me say that the PDP is a national party that cuts across all sections of this country and has touched the lives of the people positively. So, it will be difficult for these four or even all the opposition parties to defeat the PDP at the polls in 2015.”
Making of a two-party system the new party. Speaking through former governor of Benue State, George Akume, they said: “We, senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the following political parties, to wit: ACN, ANPP, APGA, CPC and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) met and discussed the ongoing merger talks among the progressive parties in Nigeria. “As representatives of the people, we senators of the earlier mentioned political parties have all agreed to work enthusiastically in support of this national rescue mission, which is a step in the right direction. “We call on all the members of our parties in our senatorial districts, our political associates and followers to work assiduously towards the realisation of this national redemption project. It is our faith in the collective worthwhile and noble endeavour will lead all Nigerians to realise the dreams of our founding fathers to have a country that works for all and sundry.” Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole gave the panacea for the success of the merger arrangement. He said: “All of us as leaders and followers should recognise that for a merger to be fruitful, a level of sacrifices will be required and everyone will be required to moderate his aspiration and people must be ready to submit their personal interest to bigger national interest. “I have no doubt that all those involved in the process recognise that these are the irreducible minimum and we are all determined to make those sacrifices. At the end of the day, it is all about Nigeria, not about individuals or party; it’s about giving our people an alternative base to choose from.” Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria (CRCN) President, Shehu Sani, challenged
THE NEWLY FORMED APC SHOULD LEAD FOR GENUINE DEMOCRACY AND
A NEW ORDER, FOR
SOCIAL JUSTICE, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND A CORRUPT FREE SOCIETY the major opposition parties to sustain the new merger party, saying it should not be a failed marriage. Saying that the APC came at a time Nigerians were yearning for potent change in the leadership of the country, Sani said: “As a nation and as a people we have regressed and sunk to irrelevance, poverty and disunity. Nigerians have in the last 13 years been subjected to hardships and arbitrariness under a succession of corrupt, manipulative, deceptive and suffocating governments. “The newly formed APC should lead for genuine democracy and a new order, for social justice, good governance and a corrupt free society. The APC should be a marriage that must not fail. It should be a marriage that will galvanise the people, seize power and bring about the much-needed change and development the nation so desired.” To Lagos ACN, the emergence of APC signified the end of the ruling PDP. Speaking through its Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, the party said that it was one of the few positive developments that have come to Nigerians in the grief-stricken, badly
The nation’s political landscape was awash with cries when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deregistered some non-performing political parties from the nation’s list of over 60 registered parties in accordance with provisions of the Electoral Act. Part V, Section 7 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 specifically confers the commission with powers to deregister any political party which breaches its registration requirement(s) or fails to secure a legislative seat in either the state or federal legislature. From the outcome of the 2011 National and state Assembly elections, only 11 political parties were able to grab at least one seat in either the Senate, House of Representatives and the state Houses of Assembly. The parties are the PDP, ANPP, APGA, Accord Party (AP), ACN, CPC, Labour Party (LP), DPP, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and Kowa Party. Only 20 of the 63 parties participated in the presidential poll, as many of them either endorsed the candidacy of President Jonathan of the PDP, Gen. Buhari of the CPC or Shekarau of the ANPP. The same scenario also played out in virtually all the 36 states of the federation. Nine did not field any candidate for the elections and this ordinarily translates to their automatic de-registration immediately after the elections in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act. But despite the fact that the law was clear on the matter, those who faulted INEC then, argued that deregistration of the parties was meant to stifle the opposition. While it is a common knowledge that CONTINUED ON PAGE 44
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Senate in last push for disability bill THE
PARLIAMENT After three unsuccessful attempts, the Senate last week threatened to deploy its veto powers against the president if he fails to assent to the disability bill which has passed second reading, writes GEORGE OJI.
ello Gwarzo, a four-term senator and a physically challenged person aptly captured the neglect and insensitivities of Nigerians to their physically challenged citizens when he said: “If the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, can budget N4 billion to build First Ladies building, they cannot think of spending N2 billion or N1 billion to cater for people with physical disability, it is a shame on this country.” Viewed against the background that he was not only a physically challenged lawmaker but the first senator to sponsor the first bill on disabled persons that failed to receive presidential assent, Gwarzo was justifiably angry at the Nigerian society for the neglect and insensitivities shown to physically challenged persons in the country. From Gwarzo to the other senators, the same chilling sentiments ran through the hallowed chambers last week as the lawmakers decried the bizarre treatment meted to the physically challenged persons in Nigeria. This was during a debate for an act to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities into the society and to establish a national commission for persons with disabilities. The bill was sponsored by Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman (Kogi Central). Unfortunately, not even the Nigerian constitution is sympathetic to the plight of this category of Nigerians as was pointed out by the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, when he observed that “our constitution did not make any provision to protect this class of people. Even section 42 that talks about non discrimination does not cover people with disability.” Generally, disability is seen as incapacity, inability to undertake some certain tasks which ordinarily one cannot do because of one thing or another is missing. It is not only physical, there is mental disability and sexual disability. From the contributions of senators during the debate on the bill, it came out clearly that as a nation, we have lived our lives neglecting one of the most vulnerable and critical segments of our society. And as was made manifest from members, a whooping 22.5 million Nigerians fall under this category of a nation of about 170 million population. Sponsor of the bill, Usman, explained in his lead presentation that he
FROM THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF SENATORS DURING THE DEBATE ON THE BILL, IT CAME OUT CLEARLY THAT AS A NATION, WE HAVE LIVED OUR LIVES NEGLECTING ONE OF THE MOST VULNERABLE AND CRITICAL SEGMENTS OF OUR SOCIETY was moved to initiate the bill because physically challenged Nigerians are daily confronted with several challenges, prominent among which is gross marginalisation, occasioned by discrimination on the basis of their infirmity, a situation he described as very sad. In his thinking, there is no other effective means but legislative and legal framework to ensure the protection of the rights of these people in our democracy. The bill, according to Usman, targets at completely outlawing the discrimination of people on grounds of disability in areas of employment, housing, transportation and also seeks to provide a means towards ease of physical infrastructure by the disable. Gwarzo, who spoke immediately after the lead presentation, started with a hypothetical question when he said, “I’ll start with questions: Are people with physical disability not supposed to be in this country: Are we not supposed to be Nigerians? Are we not supposed to stay in Nigeria?” Giving a synopsis of the bill since the commencement of the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria, the lawmaker recalled that in 2000, he first sponsored this bill, which was passed by the Senate. The second time the bill was again passed according to him, was in 2006; the bill was sponsored by Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadua. Then in 2009, Senator Bode Olajumoke sponsored the same bill, which was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives and it was sent for presidential assent but till date, nobody can say anything about the bill. He urged his colleague-senators not to take time in debating the bill since it was coming for the fourth time but instead to promptly refer the bill to the committee so that they can work on it and send it to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
Gwarzo’s final words was that: should the president fail to assent to the bill, then the National Assembly should veto the power of the president for the benefit of people with physical disability. Senate Leader, Victor Ndom-Egba, noted that the nation’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, tribe or disabilities. So the constitution clearly states that people with disabilities are Nigerians and so should not be discriminated against. He regretted that in the implementation of policies, we have observed the constitution more in breach than in compliance. He said if we take our public buildings and infrastructure, they are designed in manners that does not take people with disabilities into consideration. To further demonstrate his assertions, the lawmaker observed: “I want to start with this chamber and say that in the design of this chamber, people with disabilities were not envisaged.” He stated that disability is a challenge, not lack of ability and people with disabilities must be encouraged to exert themselves to the limits of their abilities, stressing that the rest of the society owe them that responsibility to encourage them. According to him, a nation is as strong as its weakest and to judge the moral strength of a nation is by looking at how that nation takes care of the most vulnerable of its people; the aged, infirm, disabled and children. Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi, made the point that the tragedy of disability was that you can be an able person and the next hour after you are disabled. Therefore, he was important that the Senate passed the bill on time. Senator Ehiege Uzamere pointed to Gwarzo, who was one of the two longest serving senators, and concluded that his return to the Senate was an indication that his people love him despite his dis-
ability. He regretted that we Nigerians ignore those we think that are disabled because for instance our parking spaces, nowhere is usually reserved for disabled persons. He said there was a time in America that the governor of New York was blind and yet was the governor. Again in not too distant time in the 60s or 80s, the governor of Oklahoma was disabled, he was cripple or so and he went to the campaign and told the American people, “look at what I will bring out of my head not my legs and the Americans voted 100 per cent for him.” Back home, Uzamere recalled that in 2007, the councillor from his ward, Uredo was prevented from contesting for the councillorship because he was disabled, but that he came out and insisted that he must take the forms and he must contest the election and he won. He concluded that it was time for us to look inwards and begin to accept people with disabilities and that as long as one’s brain and mental capacity is right, we should accept him. For Chris Anyanwu, the Senate must prove to all Nigerians that the National Assembly accept people with disabilities as full and integral members of this society by making the Assembly accessible to people who are physically disabled. She recalled many outstanding Nigerians who are physically challenged and in particular one gentleman called Idowu, who made the best arts in her house today drawing with his toes. The lawmaker urged that Nigeria should draw from the policy of President Bill Clinton of not leaving no American child behind. In her view, our policy should be that we should not leave any Nigerian person, whether he is a child or adult behind. She regretted that 22.5 million Nigerians are left behind simply because they are physically handicapped, and that does not show a nation with compassion and conscience. Ekweremadu said that when we are talking about disability, 90 per cent of the people in most communities are disabled. He said if you look around the chamber most of the lawmakers wear glasses and it is disability, meaning that every person can be a victim; both for the rich and the poor, it has no discrimination, any person can be disabled. He observed that if you look at the exploits of people with disabilities, they prove that they can be valuable human beings at different times and in different societies. For instance, he said most of the medals that come to Nigerian during Olympics are from people with disabilities. In America, during the great recession, the President of America at a time was on a wheelchair all through and he was able to pull America through that recession. In music, he said some of the best musicians we have ever had, from Isaac Hayes to Steve Wonder to Ray Charles were blind. In conclusion, the Deputy Senate President said we must not only protect the disabled but there must be an affirmative action to make provision for them in employment so that they will be able to use their God-given talents to improve the society.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
CONTINUED FROM 41 most parties existed only in the briefcases of their owners, which did not go beyond family members or group of friends, the merger of the opposition parties seems to have justified preference by most political analysts and stakeholders for a two-party system. To them, one of the ways such party system could be encouraged is through what INEC did with the deregistration of the non-performing parties. The voluntary coming together of the main opposition parties under the aegis of the APC, has more than anything, made it easier for the emergence of a two-party structure, as aside the ruling PDP and the new party (APC), others existing parties may just be on paper. A former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP), Prof. Pat Utomi, who had always campaigned for a two-party structure, is of the view that such system is the best for the country. “I prefer a two-party state. The closer we move to being a two-party state, the better for the country. But we must also be sensitive to freedom of expression. I think INEC can put a mile post that does not allow the clogging of the ballot paper with a thousand names in future elections. But then the way it is done should not restrain freedom of expression. I’ve always been a two-party state person, so I would generally support anything that will drive Nigeria towards a two-party arrangement,” Utomi argues.
Not yet Uhuru for the opposition Despite all the noise about the APC, there are likely hindrances on its way. The first of such problems reared its head immediately after the announcement of its birth, when one of the component parties, the APGA denied being part of the merger arrangement. The party described the participation of the governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha in the merger talks that produced the APC as ridiculous and unfortunate. A member of APGA’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and former Minister of Health, Tim Menakaya, who issued a disclaimer on the issue, said: “The merger of political parties, where the parties are expected to lose their identities, cannot be an ad hoc arrangement or decision of one person.” Noting that APGA has nothing against the formation of any mega opposition party, Menakaya added: “The issue of merger with other political parties is not on the agenda of APGA for now. Our concern at the moment is to restructure, nurture and build a strong party capable of winning elections across the states of Nigeria.” He called on all party members and the general public to disregard the misleading inclusion “of our party in the ongoing merger talks of opposition parties. It is not on the agenda of the party for now.” But in a swift reaction, the ACN announced the expul-
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Mega party: Issues, problems and prospects ments hinged on the fundamentals of individual freedom of association, we respect their position, and will like to describe as unfortunate whatever misconception the purported full involvement of APGA in the merger may have generated.” Assuring APGA that it is welcomed anytime it sorted out its internal process and was ready to join the new party, Mohammed said that it was not only parties that could join the APC, saying that progressive individuals and groups “are welcomed to the fold of the new party.”
More challenges ahead
Bisi Akande, ACN National Chairman
sion of the APGA from the new party. Clarifying the situation that warranted the inclusion of APGA, while reacting to a published disclaimer of the APC by APGA, the ACN, speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said it was an act of good faith based on available information and prevailing circumstances, rather than a deliberate act to mislead Nigerians or railroad APGA into the merger. Mohammed said that APC had absolute respect for the rights of individuals or groups on whether or not to associate within a democracy. He said: “We recognise the person and status of Governor Okorocha, who, as Imo State governor, has been a great player and figure in Nigerian political landscape as well as Senator Annie Okonkwo, a seasoned politician and respectable lawmaker. “We believe in their representation that APGA is interested in the merger hence we worked with them in good faith. They participated effectively and positively in the meeting of all governors of the parties concerned and in the meetings of the merger committees of the parties, leading to the communiqué released by all the governors endorsing the merger and the one by the merger committees announcing the formation of the APC.” The ACN added that recent events indicated that there was dissent in the rank and file of APGA and therefore, “since democracy is about choice, alignments and realign-
Another issue that would need to be thrashed out by the new party is that of ideology, manifesto and logo, especially as the parties to the merger were said to be strange bedfellows. But former governor of Yobe, Ibrahim, rubbished the strange-bed fellow mantra, saying that there was more than sufficient evidence of compatibility among the parties involved in the merger talks. Ibrahim said: “I believe the ideologies of the opposition groups are quite different from that of the PDP, which is more of conservatism, whereas the ideologies of members of the opposition parties are progressive in nature.” ANPP national chairman, Onu, promised that the new party would surprise Nigerians and those who think that the opposition was weak. Onu added: “I do not think that opposition parties involved in the talks have different views. Our manifestos are quite similar and the new ANPP believe in the unity of Nigeria. We believe in a stable, peaceful and prosperous country. We also believe that there must be responsible leadership to offer service to our people so that Nigerians can get the best from their government. I feel that this is one thing that binds all members of the opposition parties and there is a commitment that the time has come for us to provide this alternative platform that will help us get the desired change for the good of the nation.” Another contentious issue that would test the resolve of the new party is the issue of presidential candidate. There had been fears from many quarters that selecting a presidential candidate may upset the apple cart of the new party. But leaders of the opposition realised the trick nature of this issue and have so far resolved to leave it out of the present discussions in the new party. The big question now however, is can the APC swing the pendulum of victory to its side come 2015, especially going by the pledge of the ruling PDP to rule for 50 years? How well the new party resolved all the emerging differences that may be thrown up in the coming months would go a long way to determine the answer to that multi-million dollar question.
Marginalisation: Jonathan has betrayed Yoruba’s goodwill –Okunrounmu CONTINUED FROM 15 for anything but PDP and so that may work to the advantage of this new merger in APC. Does it means that APC is a better alternative to the PDP? It is not a better alternative; it’s between the devil and the deep blue sea. Already, we know that PDP is evil, this APC also, their leaders are not better than the leaders of PDP. But the entire political class in Nigeria today has being a letdown. There is no longer politics of principles, no politics of ideologies, no politics of service; everybody is trying to serve himself. Everybody is going to government to make money for himself. Even within this so-called APC alliance, we still have the sacred fact they still have to manage their individual parties. There is no democracy there. Most of them in power are not there to serve; they too have been stealing money just like the PDP has been doing all these while. The amount of money each person steals is the amount of money he has access to steal.
Those who have access to the federal purse are stealing billions, those who have access to the state treasury are the ones stealing maybe hundreds of millions. They are all stealing monies! What is your assessment of the Goodluck Jonathan administration? The man doesn’t seem to have a clue. First, he has no clue about governance. It appeared as if he does not even have any idea of what he wants to do. He never thought of becoming president and what he would do as president. He was just talking of transformation and I don’t even think he knows the meaning of transformation. The man is just being pushed around everywhere and to anywhere. The only thing he understands is that he wants to make money and he is making a lot of it. And because he wants to make money, he cannot tell people not to make money when they are making their own. So, a lot of people around him are making money and he cannot do anything. That is why people are stealing with impunity; they are emboldened to be stealing
money because they know that nothing will happen to them. His administration is corrupt like the ones before him. When Yar’Adua was coming in, he did not have money but Obasanjo made all the corrupt people within the party to fund Yar’Adua. That already incapacitated Yar’Adua from fighting corruption. How can you fight corruption when all those who funded your election were the most corrupt people. People like James Ibori and others. These were the people who funded the campaign as directed by Obasanjo when he showed them their files. Those who had wanted to contest, Obasanjo ordered them to give the money to Yar’Adua and so they funded Yar’Adua. When Yar’Adua got there, he imitated Obasanjo; he was talking beautiful grammar that he would fight corruption but as he was talking the beautiful grammar, he will go back to Aso Rock and dine with Ibori and other corrupt people whom he should put in jail. These were his closest people. Is that how to fight corruption? Again and of course, Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s deputy and he has learnt all
the tricks. So, when he got there like a typical Ijaw man, he decided to overdo all of them. He said all of them were jokers; he will beat all of them. So, it’s a competition among them that have been president, everybody trying to steal more money than the last one. So, that is what we have today; governance by stealing, armed robbers in governance. How would you rate governance in the South-West? In Lagos, the administration of Governor Raji Fashola has been excellent. Notwithstanding that he was imposed on them by Tinubu, yet, his performance has been excellent. Governor Ibikunle Amosun has just been there for two years, but the two years he has spent, I score him A. I cannot really rate the one in Oyo, Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Ogbeni Raufu Aregbesola of Osun State because I am not close to those places enough to see what they are doing and I just don’t want to overrate them by exaggerating their performances.
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Stampede at Hindu festival kills 37 in India
“There is no systematic torture in Afghan detention centers” –Afghan Commission Head, Abdul Qadir Adalatkhwa
Guinean army chief, ten others die in Liberia plane crash PAUL ARHEWE
WITH AGENCY REPORTS
leven bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a military plane that crashed in Liberia, with Guinea’s army chief of staff and top military officers among its passengers, officials said yesterday. The military officers were on their way to attend Liberia’s Armed Forces Day celebrations, when the plane went down between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. in Charlesville, near Liberia’s largest airport and some 45 kilometres (28 miles) south of Monrovia, the capital. “At 7:09 a.m., air traffic control cleared the flight to land at Roberts International Airport. That was the last known contact from the crew,” said a statement released by Liberian airport authorities. The grief-stricken residents of Charlesville stood with their arms folded in shock and disbelief among the smoking wreckage as a United Nations truck attempted to pull at the plane’s tire — the only whole remnant from the CASA Aircraft CN-235. “We saw the airplane. The plane actually exploded; the back tip of the plane was just smoking, and they (passengers) were trying to scramble to go to the front
Emergency workers inspecting site of the place crash, yesterday.
of the plane, but there was nothing for them to knock the window open with,” said MacDella Cooper who was among a number of residents nearby who ran to the crash site not far from a residential area and among palm trees. “The passengers on the plane were screaming ‘help’! help’! But nobody was around,” she said. “A few minutes later, there was a big explosion, and that caused them to all perish, but they were alive upon landing.” Guinea’s Army Chief of Staff
Gen. Souleymane Kelefa Diallo was among the dead. Guinea’s ministry of defense said that six members of Guinea’s military delegation and five crew members were killed in the crash. “I have the profound regret of informing the people of Guinea of the tragic military plane accident that happened this Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 around 7:30 a.m. in Liberia,” Guinea’s presidency said in a statement through its ministry of defense. “This accident cut short the lives of six
members of the delegation led by Gen. Souleymane Kelefa Diallo.” The charred bodies of the victims were deposited at the DuSide hospital, run by the Firestone Rubber Plantation company, near the airport. Liberian officials said the rescue efforts were ongoing. Guinea called for three days of mourning. Gen. Namory Traore has been appointed the interim army chief of staff, said a statement from the office of President Alpha Conde.
French, Malian troops regain control of Gao
rench and Malian government forces yesterday have regained control of this strategic northern city, after Islamic fighters invaded through the city’s harbour Sunday and fought a protracted battle for hours in the heart of downtown. The brazen assault came after two suicide bombers tried to attack military checkpoints on Gao’s outskirts. Sunday’s assault marked the first time the jihadists had penetrated the city of mudwalled buildings since they fled two weeks ago. French President Francois Hollande said yesterday his goal is that “not one space of Mali’s territory be under the control of terrorists.”
Hundreds of Gao residents gathered around the heavily damaged police headquarters in the center of the city early Monday where body parts lay strewn about. The al-Qaida-linked militants concentrated their attack on the police center in northern Mali’s largest city. “Yesterday we heard the gunfire and hid in our homes all evening,” said Soumayla Maiga as he stood with friends near the rubble of the police offices. “We were stunned when we came out and saw what happened.” The radical Islamic fighters from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, had ruled Gao for nearly 10 months before they were ousted
at the end of January. The black-robed jihadists, armed with AK-47 automatic rifles, returned to the city by crossing the Niger River in wooden
boats to launch their assault Sunday afternoon, said French Gen. Bernard Barrera, citing the Malian military. The gun battles lasted more than five hours.
Malian children watching from the heavily shelled police station in Gao, northern Mali, yesterday. PHOTO: AP
WORLD BULLETIN Kenya holds first presidential debate Kenya is holding its first presidential debate - between all eight candidates in next month’s tightly contested poll. Millions of Kenyans are expected to watch and listen to the live debate, broadcast on 42 local radio and TV stations, as well as YouTube. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces trial for crimes against humanity, are seen as the favourites in the poll. President Mwai Kibaki is stepping down after two terms in office. Disputes over the previous election, in 2007, led to violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 300,000 forced from their homes. Meanwhile, Kenya’s Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri summoned European Union (EU) ambassadors on Monday, accusing them of interfering in the election by making “inflammatory” remarks that could polarise the nation ahead of the 4 March vote.
Unity govt imminent in Tunisia -Islamist leader An agreement is imminent on a new national unity government for Tunisia to resolve the simmering political crisis brought on by the assassination of an opposition politician, the leader of the powerful Islamist party told the Associated Press yesterday. Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, said that a new government is expected to be announced in two or three days, as the country that kicked off the pro-democracy uprisings of the Arab Spring teeters on the edge of a political crisis. “We are on the road to an understanding following intense discussions Sunday with the political parties and the groups in the national assembly, which continue Monday,” he said. “We are moving toward forming a government of national union.”
AU troops in Somalia killed seven civilians – Report A joint Somali-African Union investigation into a case of civilian casualties found that African Union troops killed seven civilians, including five children. The investigation, though, found that the troops acted within internationally accepted rules of engagement during the mid-January incident. It said that the al-Qaidalinked group, al-Shabaab, attacked an African Union patrol near a village, and that the soldiers defended themselves appropriately. The force commander, Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, said he was saddened by the loss of civilian life, but he blamed the incident on al -Shabaab, saying that the group demonstrates little regard for the safety of the Somali people.
WORLD BULLETIN BBC journalists to strike over job cuts – union Journalists at the British Broadcasting Corporation are planning to go on a one-day nationwide strike next week over job cuts, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said yesterday. NUJ members at the BBC will walk out on February 18 and stage a work-to-rule from Friday, unless the broadcaster stops compulsory redundancies and redeploys those at risk elsewhere in the corporation, the union said in a statement. The redundancies form part of a five-year programme to cut 2,000 jobs at the publicly funded broadcaster. “The BBC is prepared to waste public money on needless redundancies rather than secure redeployment opportunities for those at risk,” NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said in a statement. The BBC said it was disappointed by the strike action and had scheduled a meeting with the NUJ later this week to try to reach a solution.
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Stampede at Hindu festival kills 37 in India
nxious relatives searched for missing family members in northern India yesterday during one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, unsure if their loved ones were caught in a stampede that killed 37 people or had simply gotten lost among the tens of millions of pilgrims. People thronged to the main hospital in Allahabad to see if their relatives were among 37 dead and 39 people injured in Sunday evening’s stampede at the city’s train station. Tens of thousands of people were in the station waiting to board a train when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, triggering the chaos. An estimated 30 million Hindus took a dip Sunday at the San-
gam — the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers — as part of the 55-day Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival. Sunday was one of the holiest days to bathe. People missing at the Kumbh Mela is the stuff of legend in India and at least a dozen films have been made on the theme. On Sunday, like most other days, volunteers and officials used loudspeakers to give details of children and elderly people who were “found” on the river banks, having lost their families in the crowd. It was unclear how many people were missing because of the stampede. Yesterday, state government officials and railway authorities told reporters that they had taken all precautions to prevent just
such a tragedy. Stampedes are common during religious festivities in India. During the Kumbh festival, platoons of policemen patrol the specially marked bathing areas to prevent crowding along the river banks in Allahabad. For the past few weeks, and especially on festival days, authorities made constant announcements asking people to move in orderly lines to the bathing areas. An official in the Uttar Pradesh state government in charge of the festival arrangements resigned Monday as the death toll mounted. State minister Mohammed Azam Khan said he had “moral responsibility” for the stampede and submitted his resignation although the incident took place
$1m offered in hunt for US police officer A record $1m reward has been posted for information leading to the capture of a fugitive former Los Angeles policeman suspected of targeting fellow officers and their families in three killings committed in retaliation for his 2008 dismissal. Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said on Sunday the reward, raised from private donations, police unions, businesses and city and county governments, is the largest sum ever offered in Southern California in a criminal investigation. The reward was posted as law enforcement agencies across the region pressed on for a fourth day in their search for the suspect, exLAPD officer and US Navy reservist Christopher Dorner, 33. Beck described it as the most extensive manhunt to ever be mounted in the Los Angeles area. Police also were investigating a taunting phone call that may have been made by Dorner to the father of the woman they believe he killed last week.
Five family members die in Mecca taxi crash
Three die during protest for man’s execution Three young people have died in violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir despite a curfew that continued for a third day yesterday following the execution of a Kashmiri man convicted in a deadly 2001 attack on India’s Parliament. Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in New Delhi early Saturday. Ahead of the execution, authorities ordered people in most of the Indian-held part of the disputed Kashmir region to remain indoors indefinitely in anticipation of anti-India protests. Despite the curfew, protests and clashes between troops and demonstrators broke out at a dozen places in the region Monday. Police and paramilitary soldiers fired tear gas and used batons to chase away rockthrowing protesters, police said.
outside the Kumbh festival area. Witnesses blamed police action for the stampede. “We heard an announcement that our train is coming on platform No. 4 and when we started moving toward that platform through a footbridge, we were stopped. Then suddenly the police charged us with batons and the stampede started,” passenger Shushanto Kumar Sen said. “People started tumbling over one another and within no time I saw people, particularly women and children, being trampled over by others,” Sen said. Police denied they had used batons to control the crowd.
An Indian family whose relative died in a stampede at a railway station cry and comfort each other as they arrive to take the bodies from a morgue, in Allahabad, India, yesterday. PHOTO: AP
Syrian rebels capture country’s largest dam
yrian rebels captured the country’s largest dam yesterday after days of intense clashes, giving them control over water and electricity supplies for much of the country in a major blow to President Bashar Assad’s regime. The rebels had already seized two other dams on the Euphrates River. But the latest conquest, the al-Furat dam in north-eastern Raqqa province, was a major coup for the opposition. It handed them control over water and electricity supplies for both governmentheld areas and large swathes of land the opposition has captured over the past 22 months of fighting. Also in northern Syria, a car bomb exploded border crossing with Turkey in Idlib province. A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said 10 people died and more than 40 were wounded and taken to hospitals. The official said it was “highly likely” that the blast was caused by a car bomb because of the large extent of the damage. The official requested anonym-
ity in line with government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to the media without prior authorization. The rebels have had their biggest success in the civil war across Syria’s north including Idlib, Raqqa and Aleppo provinces, all bordering Turkey. Rami Abdul-Rahman, a Britain-based anti-regime activist, said rebels took control of alFurat dam around midday after successfully pushing out a group
of Assad loyalist from the control room. Most of the regime troops in the area had stopped fighting on Sunday following the fall of the nearby town of al-Thawra, AbdulRahman said. The rebel assault on the dam was led by al-Qaida-linked militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which has been fighting alongside the rebels trying to oust Assad. Al-Nusra Front is considered the most effective fighting force on the anti-regime side.
A Free Syrian Army fighter sitting behind an anti-aircraft weapon in Aleppo, Syria, recently PHOTO: AP
ive members of the same family from Newport, United Kingdom have been killed in a taxi crash while on a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Shaukat Ali Hayat, 56, his wife Abida, 47, eldest son Mohammed Isshaq, 33, daughter Saira Zenub and Mohammed’s heavily pregnant wife, Bilques. One-year-old Mohammed Eisa Daniel survived the incident on Friday. A Foreign Office spokesman said consular assistance was being provided to relatives. It has been reported that the cab hit a concrete bridge, somersaulted off the road and ended up in a ditch. The family had been in Saudi Arabia as part of the Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims at any time of the year. They were travelling to Jeddah to meet relatives four hours away, the South Wales Argus reported. The newspaper said one of the family members killed was due to be married this weekend. Rescuers initially thought the whole family had died, but they found Shaukat Ali Hayat, 56, cradling one-year-old Mohammed in the wreckage. The child suffered a dislocated shoulder and a broken arm and ribs, said the paper. It quoted Shaukat Ali Hayat’s brother, Sma Hayat, 58, as saying his sibling was a “well loved and liked” teacher and writer of Islam. He also described Saira Zenub as a “very talented” locum pharmacist, while Mohammed Isshaq was hoping to do a PhD in neuroscience at university, having excelled in his studies. “This is one of the most shocking tragedies in Welsh history involving a Muslim family,” he added.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Community Mirror “If we bring to justice, those who engage in evil acts, it would serve as deterrent to others who are nursing such ill-feelings.” NASSARAWA STATE GOVERNOR, TANK AL-MAKURE
Extrajudicial killing: Police still silent on culprits’ fate FRANCIS SUBERU
ive months after the late Ugochukwu Ozuah, a groom was allegedly murdered by policemen attached to Anthony Police Division in Lagos, the Nigeria Police Force have continued to maintain absolute silence on the fate of the culprits. Since the culprits were arrested and taken to the Force
Headquarters in Abuja late last year; nothing has been heard on the matter. Tension was rife yesterday at the deceased’s residence in Gbagada, when the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone II, comprising Lagos and Ogun states, Mamman Tsafe, paid a visitto the family on the prompting of the Inspector General of Police,IG, Mohammed Abubakar. The AIG was in the com-
pany of the Area H Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kehinde Longe, the new Divisional Police Officer, Anthony Division, SP Uzoma Nwaoha, the DC Force Criminal and Investigation Department (FCID) and the DC Force headquarters and several other senior officers. Ozuah was reportedly shot dead barely five days after his wedding at Gbagada area, on September 24, last
year, at about 10pm, as he drove to convey his friend, Omene Irikefe to the nearest bus stop. Following the public outcry that greeted the incident, the IG had instituted a special investigating team led by DCP Chris Ezike, of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), but five months after the deceased’s death and three months after the arrest of the five suspects, the case seemed to
have stalled. Although the police initially exonerated its officers, subsequent investigations by the special team proved otherwise, prompting the IG to order the arrest of the five police officers implicated in the matter and subsequently moved them to the force headquarters at Abuja. Meanwhile, spokesperson for the family, the deceased’s elder sister, Mrs. Nkechi Chuba Nnoyelu, expressed the family’s disappointment that the IG only deemed it fit to pay their condolence five months after the incident happened. She said, “I am a bit disappointed that the condolence visit is coming five months later and it’s like opening old wounds that are in the process of healing. Initially, we thought that the meeting was to keep us abreast with the investigations. Some arrests were made by the police and we would
think that by now, the result would have been made open, rather we are being kept in the dark. And I am aware the investigation is over, the report written and submitted.” She urged the police to reopen the channel of communication with the family, as well as posit the way forward. But in his response, Tsafe said contrary to speculations that the trial of the case has gone cold, the IG sent the high powered delegation to assure the family otherwise, adding that the defaulters will be brought to book. He said: “The IG directed me to form a team under my supervision and he also commiserates with you and I can assure you that he feels your pain. The case is being effectively investigated and the culprits would be dealt with accordingly. The IG can never hide or condone evil and very soon, result of the investigations will be out.”
Ijako/Ajowa residents laud Amosun on crisis resolution FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
Young men crushing stone to earn a living in Tashan-Dawaki village of Dutse LGA in Jigawa.
Man kills wife over disagreement HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE
ragedy struck in Ibulesore, Ifedore Local government of Ondo State when a man, Ojo Toki allegedly killed his wife following minor disagreement. Toki, 45 and a staff of the Ministry of Agriculture in Igbaraoke, was said to have shot his wife, Mrs Adesewa Toki 40, during a quarrel. A source told Community Mirror, that the deceased who was until her death, a staff of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, was living with a family member on Ayetoro Street after packing out of the matrimonial home. The source said her husband usually visited the woman on daily basis to eat
in the house. Speaking on the incident, one of the deceased’s daugthers, Olamide Toki, described her father as a trouble maker, saying the cause of disagreement was very minor. She explained that her mother packed out of the matrimonial home to live with her younger brother’s wife, more than a year ago, pending when they would settle their differences. She said “My father usually comes to eat in the house every day but recently complained that my mother refused to give him food. “My father later went out for hunting and we also went to sleep and when he returned in the morning, I left them in the sitting room and wondered what trans-
pired that led to my mother’s death.” It was gathered that the suspect immediately left the scene of the incident but was later apprehended by the police at Igbaraoke Division. Confirming the incident,
the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Igbaraoke Division, Ogunmoyole Olu Ojo, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said the suspect has been arrested and will be transferred to the police headquarters in Akure for further investigation.
Ekiti trains Civil Defence officers JOHNSON OKANLAWON
s part of efforts at strengthening security network in the state, Ekiti State Government has facilitated the training of 140 officers and men of the State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in light weapons handling. Speaking at the passing out parade of the
officers at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp (NYSC) at Ise/Emure, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi noted that the training was to further strengthen the security of the state and assist the State Command of Civil Defence Corps to build virile security outfit that would complement the armed forces in combating.
he Ijako/Ajowa Community in Ado-Odo/ Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State has commended Governor Ibikunle Amosun for efforts at rebuilding the state. With particular reference to his leadership style that led to peaceful resolution of a land dispute in the area without bloodshed, the community expressed optimism that Amosun’s efforts at transforming the state would forever be remembered by future generations. The praises came following the peaceful resolution of an age long land crisis between the Ijako Community and Ajowa Tipper/Lorry Owners and Drivers Association of Nigeria (ATRODAN) among other Associations in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area brokered by the government. The resolution came after a peaceful meeting involving all stakeholders in the Egba territory, with all
promising to work for peace and progress of the state. Addressing various interest groups over the land, one of the community leaders, Alhaji Tajudeen Shafi commended the government for the role it played in the crisis that nearly resulted in bloodshed. He said there could not be meaningful development in the area should stakeholders fail to live happily with one another. “This is what governance is all about; developmental projects across the state have imposed confidence in the people of the state that their votes at the last general elections were not wasted”. Shafi, who is also the Chief Imam of Sango-Ota, urged people of the state to support the administration in order to guarantee steady development of the area. “We must continue to pray for the success of this administration as this does not have to do with political parties, but about the development of our dear state”.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
FOR YOUR SUCCESS
WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE
Today's Tonic (94)
Oh, God, you sell us everything for the price of an effort. –Leonardo da Vinci * * * MY NOTE: Effort is needed to make things happen. Those who keep making effort regardless of circumstances will ultimately make progress. Believe me, no one can amount to much in life by being passive. TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE
Pickpocket steals 44 phones at club
British man was found with 44 cellphones stuffed inside his bicycle shorts after allegedly stealing the phones from nightclub patrons, police said. Managers at Warehouse Project, a nightclub in Manchester, called police after a number of patrons complained their phones had been stolen. Police arrived
and agreed to search everyone as they exited the club. E v e n t u a l l y, the Mirror said, they found Iulian Cojocaru, 28, who was wearing bicycle shorts under neath his clothing and had stuffed 44 phones in them throughout the night. He pleaded guilty to 25 counts of theft, police said.
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Mum uses kiss to give jailed son drugs
olice say an upstate New York woman passed drugs to her son while kissing him when she visited him in jail. Sheriff ’s deputies in Yates County tell local media outlets 54-yearold Penn Yan resident Kimberly Margeson was visiting her son last week when she hid oxycodone pills and passed them from her mouth to his while giving him a kiss. Police haven’t said how the drugs were discovered. Margeson pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband. She’s free after posting bail. Authorities say her 30-year-old son also was charged with promoting prison contraband. He remains in jail on an unrelated felony weapon possession charge, and a lawyer for him couldn’t be contacted.
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‘We lost nine persons to Offa/ Erin-Ile communal clash’ WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN
he Offa community in Kwara State disclosed yesterday that nine indigenes of the town were killed in the recent bloody communal clash between it and Erin -Ile. National President of Offa Descendants Union (ODU), Chief Hamzat Adedeji, disclosed this in Offa while reviewing the incident. He added that 15 others were critically injured during the fracas. Adedeji urged all residents of Kwara State to embrace peace and resolve their differences through legal means, instead of carrying arms against one another. Decrying the devastating effects of the recent Offa and Erin-Ile communal clash, he said: “We are all guilty because lives and property have been lost to this needless crisis.” Meanwhile, the Oloffa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye, has expressed confidence in the ability of the state government and other stakeholders to amicably resolve the crisis. However, the spokesman of at Erin- Ile community, Alhaji A. K. Yusuf, accused the Offa people of frustrating past government’s efforts to resolve the crisis. He particularly alleged that the Offa people were encroaching on the ErinIle’s land without regard to the Unity Road constructed by the government to serve as boundary between the two communities. The Elerin of Erin-Ile, Oba AbduGaniyu Olusokun, expressed the preparedness of his people to embrace peace at all time.
Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed,
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Suleja bombing: Court dismisses suspects’ no case submission EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA
Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday dismissed a “no case submission” filed by six suspects standing trial over the 2011 bomb explosions that rocked parts of Suleja and Bwari. The suspects - Shuaibu Abubakar, Salisu Ahmed Umar Babagana-Umar, Mohammed Ali, Musa Adam and Umar Ibrahim had entered a “no case submission” to the five-count charge of alleged terrorism preferred against them by the Federal Government. They had argued that the evidence adduced by the prosecution was not sufficient enough to link them with the alleged of-
fence. But in her ruling yesterday, trial judge, Justice Bilkisu Aliyu, held that the prosecution successfully established a prima facie case against the suspects to warrant their trial. Accordingly, Justice Aliyu dismissed the application and ordered the defence counsel, Nuraini Suleiman and Kevin Emeka Okoro, to enter their defence and show why the court should not be persuaded by the evidence adduced by the prosecution. She said: “After going through all the arguments, it must be noted at this point that the court is to look at all the evidence presented to decide if they are enough to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons in order to warrant
them to enter a defence. “The evidence of the prosecution has disclosed a prima facie case against the accused persons - the accused persons should enter their defence to give explanations if they so wish. “The no-case submission has been dismissed.” Justice thereafter fixed March 12 and 13 for the accused persons to open their defence, even as she ordered the authorities of Kuje prison to allow the defence counsel access to the accused persons. It will be recalled that the State Security Service (SSS) had tendered in evidence 200 pieces of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and a black Honda Civic
marked AG 94 NMG to substantiate their case. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Thompson Olatigbe, said the accused persons allegedly caused the death of several persons when they detonated some IEDs at a political rally and at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Suleja and a village in Bwari respectively. While adopting their written address, counsel to the accused persons, Suleiman and Okoro, argued that the “prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.” In their estimation, no evidence was placed before the court to link the accused persons to the alleged offences.
Vice-Chancellor, University of Jos, Prof. Hayward Mafuyai (left) presenting a plaque to the Guest Lecturer and Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola, at the university’s Distinguished Annual Guest Lecture in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Flood: Nine Kogi LGs share N139m O YEWALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA
he Kogi State Government has shared N139.5 million among the nine local councils ravaged by last year’s flood. The Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Yabagi Bologi, told journalists yesterday during a press briefing held at the Government House in Lokoja, the state capital, that the councils were directed to spend the money on the
post-management of the flood disaster. Bologi said that the money, which was shared among the local government areas in three categories of A, B and C, were given to them to assist in the post-flood management. The local government areas in Category A got N20 million each while those in B got N15 million each and those in Group C got N10 million each. Those in Category A
are Ibaji, Lokoja, Bassa while Kogi, Ajaokuta and Idah are in category B. Igalamela-Odolu, Ofu and Omala local government areas are in Category C. The commissioner said the gesture was aimed at complementing the state government’s effort in providing assistance to the flood victims. Describing the gesture as first of its kind in affected local governments, Bologi said it was aimed
at ameliorating the sufferings of those affected by the flood. The state government, according to him, assured the flood victims of continuous support. The commissioner added that aside the N139.5 million shared among the nine local governments, other supports aimed at building damaged infrastructure, building of 1000 houses, schools, roads and other measures to reduce the effects of the flood on the victims would be prioritised.
Why NASS committee clerks are ineffective –DG PRISCILLA D ENNIS MINNA
he Director General, Research and Training, National Institute for Legislative Studies, Dr. Badayi Sani, has explained why Clerks of National Assembly committees are ineffective. Dr. Sani blamed the ineffectiveness on what he described as the capacity gaps in the system. Speaking at a two-day workshop for Clerks of the House of Representatives on “Enhancing the Performance of Committee Clerks” in Minna, the Niger State capital, the director general said the smooth running of the legislature, to a great extent, depends on committee clerks. Highlighting the importance of committee clerks in providing effective and competent assistance to legislators, he said that having a good knowledge of what their job entails would strengthen the institutionalisation of the legislature in the nation. Sani said it was against this back drop that the workshop was organised for all committee clerks in the House of Representatives to enhance their effectiveness in the discharge of their functions. Earlier, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Abubakar Maikasuwa, said that the legislative committee played crucial roles, particularly in providing a wide range of topics, identifying political and technical alternatives for the legislature to look into. Maikasuwa, who was represented by the National Assembly Director of Personnel Management, Dr. Ishaya Haba, said: “At the moment, the Nigerian legislature is relatively young, hence to function well, its activities must be properly coordinated by knowledgeable clerks that understood their job.”
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Boko Haram: NBA threatens to drag JTF before ICC, others INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI
he Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Maiduguri branch, yesterday threatened to seek redress at the International Criminal Court, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, the ECOWAS Court and the Federal High Court over the continued detention of suspects arrested for Boko Haram related violence without them be-
ing charged to court by the Joint Task Force, JTF, in Borno State. Chairman of the branch, Hussaini Hala, who gave this warning in a statement, condemned last week’s clampdown on protesting women by soldiers attached to the task force. Our correspondent had reported that soldiers attached to the task force had last week intercepted thousands of women protesting around the Post Office area the continued detention of
their husbands, sons and wards. The NBA chairman said: “The gathering of these women has vindicated the position of the NBA Maiduguri branch, when in August 2012; it issued a statement calling on the JTF to either release or charge to court suspects detained in their custody and for the government to take proactive steps towards assisting the people. He said the continuation for the detention of the suspects is illegal and
is against the 1999 Constitution, adding that any suspected criminal is innocent until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt. Hala alleged that since the coming of the JTF to the state in 2011, nobody has been charged to court in spite of the several people in their custody. “We are conscious of the fact that JTF has no constitutional power to prosecute any detainee. They have a duty to transfer them to the appropriate prosecuting
authority within a reasonable length of time, he said in the statement. The association alleged that in spite of the ceasefire declared by the Boko Haram sect, the JTF has continued to engage in acts capable of derailing the gradual peace that is returning to the state. The NBA in its resolution called on the JTF to immediately release all detainees in its custody on bail or charged them to court, saying that the sus-
We’ll sustain fiscal discipline, says Shema
Group flays Kaduna 2013 budget A ZA MSUE
atsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, has restated the commitment of his administration to sustain fiscal discipline for the growth and development of the state. Shema stated this yesterday when he signed into law the 2013 budget which the state House of Assembly presented to him for assent. He said the administration had been pursuing fiscal discipline since its inception in 2007 and that the policy would be sustained throughout his stay in government. He said those in government have been entrusted with the peoples resources and that his administration intends to justify such trust and be accountable in how their money was spent. Shema said the 2013 budget emphasises clarity on priorities, adding; “We give priorities as best as we can” in budget allocation and expenditure. In his remark, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Ya’u Umar Gwajo-Gwajo, said the lawmakers approved the N114. 17 billion out of the N114.58 billion presented to the house by the executive. Gwajo-Gwajo said the little difference was as a result of some errors discovered by the house during the budget defence process, which was adjusted accordingly. He commended state ministries and departments for their cooperation during the budget defence exercise and hope similar gesture would be accorded the house when the lawmakers commence their oversight functions.
pects have overstayed in the custody of the task force. “That if the JTF fails to heed to these resolutions within a reasonable time, the Nigerian Bar Association will, on behalf of the defenseless people of Borno State and without further notice, approach the federal high court, the ECOWAS court, the international court and the United Nations high commission on human rights to seek redress,” the NBA chairman said in the statement.
An accident scene on the Abuja-Lokoja Road at Gwagwalada, yesterday.
State creation not in Nigeria’s interest –Rep JAMES ABRAHAM JOS
ajority Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Mulikat Akande Adeola, yesterday said that the creation of more states in the country is not in the best interest of the people. According to her; “The creation of more states is not genuinely driven by the desire to meet the developmental aspirations of the citizenry, but to create access to leadership positions.”
Adeola spoke yesterday at the University of Jos while delivering a lecture titled; “The Politics of Accessing Leadership: The Nigeria context.” The majority leader, who represents Ogbomosho North, South and Orire Constituency in the House of Representatives, said the creation of more states means more ministers at the federal level, more governors, more ambassadorial appointments and more permanent secretaries at the state and federal levels. “The political class
should appreciate the bitter fact that genuine development does not necessarily involve mobilising primordial sentiments to support the creation of more states, but in the rational and prudent utilisation of scarce resources to improve on the socio-economic and political well being of citizenry.” She said many people in leadership positions get corrupt because of the influence of the society and their perception of public office. The lawmaker further condemned god-fatherism in Nigerian politics, stress-
ing that election in the country is not a fool-proof mechanism for the production of leaders into political offices, According to her, once a candidate do not belong to the right camp, he or she loose election. Her words: “As a political god-son or daughter, you are expected to be uncritically subservient to the godfather if you want to avoid his or her wrath and the god-father uses his immense resources and influence to make them win elections but at a considerable cost to the god-son.”
Northern govs lament killing of health officials PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA
he Northern States Governors Forum, NSGF, has condemned the killing of nine health workers while on routine polio vaccine immunisation of children in Kano State on Friday. It also expressed sadness at the killing of three North Korean doctors in Potiskum, Yobe State on Sunday.
In a press statement by the Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mallam Danladi Ndayebo, described the development as sad, unfortunate and regrettable. According to the 19 northern governors, the dastardly act constitutes a setback in the fight to eradicate polio and other preventable diseases.
The statement reads in part; “The killing of immunisation workers in Kano is certainly a setback in the fight to eradicate polio, but that would not put a stop to our resolve to end polio which is now only endemic in three countries Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.” The forum extended its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and the Govern-
ment and People of the Republic of North Korea. They commended the cooperation and understanding of North Korea and assured that the perpetrators of the murderous act would be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law. The forum then called on the security agencies to double their efforts in the discharge of their responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of citizens.
socio-political group under the umbrella of the Youth Initiative For Peaceful Development in Kaduna, YIPDK, yesterday kicked against the state 2013 budget, saying it favours only the southern part of the state. The group in a protest letter addressed to the Kaduna State House of Assembly and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, alleged that the estimated budget submitted by late governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, last year was full of sentiments. The letter, signed by the group’s president and secretary, Mallam Magaji Danyaro and Umar Yahaya respectively, called on the lawmakers to investigate the imbalance in the proposed projects in the budget. Danyaro further alleged that the constitutional laid down criteria and principles of budget were not followed in the current draft budget before the state assembly. The group, however, urged lawmakers to urgently correct the existing errors in the budget and prepare a supplementary budget that would reflect the three senatorial zones without bias. YIPDK said: “Kaduna Senatorial Zone 3 of the state which is the least in terms of revenue generation is surprisingly, the major beneficiaries of the capital project among the three zones. “We wish to draw the attention of the speaker’s attention on the need for justice, fair and equal opportunities based on constitutionally recognised political zones of the state.”
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Agbaje eyes NAIA Indoors 54
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he House of Representatives will host the Super Eagles’ players and technical crew at its plenary when the conquering team returns to the country. In a statement issued in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, described the team’s victory as sweet, reassuring and a reaffirmation of the superiority of Nigeria over other African countries both in football and other areas of human endeavour. The Speaker, who on
Super Eagles’ winger, Victor Moses (m) waltzing through Burkina Faso players during the AFCON 2013 final match on Sunday.
Victorious Super Eagles return today N
igeria’s Super Eagles, who won the 29th Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday, will return to a hero’s welcome in Abuja today. The team, expected to land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport at about 1:00pm aboard Arik Air airliner, will later be received and hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa. In a statement yesterday, Arik
Air’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Mr. Adebanji Ola, said the airline had dispatched an aircraft - Airbus A340-500 – to Johannesburg, to transport the team home. “The flight is scheduled to depart Johannesburg in the morning hours on Tuesday (today) and touchdown in Abuja at 1:00 p.m., same day. The Federal Government had approached Arik Air management to carry out this national assignment as it did in 2010, when the airline
Whatever happened in South Africa happened for a reason. But we will keep faith with our coach - Football Association of Zambia President, Kalusha Bwalya
Reps to host conquering Eagles
provided the aircraft that conveyed the Super Eagles to Durban for the World Cup in Luanda, Angola,” said the statement. National Mirror learnt yesterday that a nation-wide trophy tour of the team has been proposed. At the end of the AFCON South Africa 2013 on Sunday, the Federal Government’s Leader of Delegation, Senator David Mark, had enthused, “There is so much in store for them. They are an inspiration for the youth. They have lifted our spirit.”
Sunday saluted the Eagles, congratulated Nigerians over the AFCON 2013 win in South Africa. Tambuwal said the Eagles have not only regained the hearts of their supporters the world over with their mesmerising display, they have also lifted the spirit of the nation. He said the unity of purpose shown by the team and their handlers reaffirmed the notion that when all hands are on deck, achieving common objective will be a lot easier. Tambuwal urged football authorities in the country to double their efforts and ensure that the Super Eagles not only qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but win the trophy for the first time.
Godfrey has made me proud – Oboabona’s dad
amily members of Super Eagles’ defender, Godfrey Oboabona, were in joyous mood in their Akure home on Sunday night, following Nigeria’s third AFCON victory, after 19 years. Jonathan Oboabona, father of the Sunshine Stars’ defender, congratulated Coach Stephen Keshi for winning the trophy, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after the game. “We’re celebrating the Eagles’ victory here because God has been with us since the start of the competition. In fact, I don’t know what to say again, but I’m grateful
to God, Nigerians, the Super Eagles’ coach and in particular, the management of Sunshine Stars for giving my son, Godfrey, the opportunity to showcase his talent. “Godfrey has made us proud. He has written our name in gold and we will continue to support and pray for him,” the dad said. Also reacting, Godfrey’s brother, David Oboabona, hailed the team’s performance, saying, “I feel so great, it has happened again, after 19 years. We’re happy for Nigerians and everybody in the team, most especially the home-based players who are key to the Eagles success at the championship.”
…Adenuga splashes $1m on the team
elecommunications tycoon, Dr. Mike Adenuga, yesterday rewarded the victorious Super Eagles with a cash gift of $1 million (about N156 million). Adenuga’s donation came on the heels of the N130 million (about $800,000) earlier donated to the team by billionaire Aliko Dangote. Top officials informed MTNFootball.com that Adenuga received the Super Eagles in Johannesburg where he made his donation. Adenuga’s telecoms firm, Globacom, is the major sponsor of the Nige-
rian national teams. President Goodluck Jonathan will receive the team at a special reception in Abuja tonight and is expected to announce national awards and cash gifts for the squad. “We have emerged as the beacon of hope on the African continent by proving to Africa and the world that a strong Nigerian team put together and trained by a Nigerian coach can stand the test of time and successfully rise to the challenge of the most formidable opponent,” Jonathan said, while saluting the Eagles on Sunday.
Godfrey Oboabona of Nigeria battling with Aristide Bance of Burkina Faso during the AFCON final match on Sunday.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
UEFA Champions League
NSF fallout: Lagos rewards medalists
T UCL: Pirlo, others dare Celtic
uventus will literally enter the “lion’s den” today when the Old Lady takes on a Celtic side flying the flag for Scottish soccer. The Champions League last16 first-leg tie in Glasgow is the fifth meeting between the proud old clubs and the first since 2001 when Celtic pulled off a shock. Celtic, the lone Scottish rangers in the competition this season, beat Barcelona on a memorable night in Glasgow in the group phase and any disparity in the quality of the squads will be bridged by the roars of nearly 60,000 Glaswegians. Barca midfielder Xavier described a packed Celtic Park as a “marvel” following his side’s 2-1 defeat in November and former Juventus great Pavel Nedved knows what awaits the Serie A champion tonight. “I’m fully aware of the atmosphere that awaits us in Glasgow because I’ve been there and experienced it first hand,” Nedved, currently a Juve director, said yesterday as the team wound up preparation. “We’ll be stepping into a
lion’s den and I don’t think the team will need firing up. We’ll have to tough it out,” he added. Meanwhile, Celtic Manager, Neil Lennon, made 10 changes when his league leaders warmed up for the visit of Juve with a 3-1 victory at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. “The players rested have been in great form for what will be a titanic game,” Lennon said yesterday. “We want to be in a position where Juventus really have to knock on our door to try and win it and our away form has been healthy this season.” Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is the only survivor from that Juve team while new signing Nicolas Anelka, a veteran of many Champions League campaigns with Real Madrid and Chelsea, has warned his new teammates that they are in for a big test.
Champions Planet set for visitors
“Our consumers and visitors deserve the best in the house and we will do our best to offer this,” Senior Brand Manager Heineken, Jacqueline van Faassen disclosed, adding, “Marketing Director Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Walter Drenth, is due to unfold other plans that would prevail till the Champions League final day on May 25. The Heineken brand in Nigeria has for the past six years offered Nigerian football fans the opportunity to experience the UEFA Champions league in a premium viewing environment, while a raffle draw for consumers since 2006 has produced five winners who were sponsored to watch the Champions League final. Last year, five winners that comprised four men and a woman embarked on a fiveday trip to Munich where they watched the Bayern Munich and Chelsea final at the Alliance Arena.
s the UEFA Champions League enters round of 16 across Europe today, Heineken has lined up activities to thrill visitors to the refurbished Champions Planet in Lagos. National Mirror learnt yesterday that the Planet has been converted to the ultimate football fantasy with the top of the range football gaming technology in a premium viewing atmosphere to enable visitors consummate their viewing passion with captains of industry, legends of the game and celebrities in the entertainment industry in attendance.
Today’s fixtures Celtic
he Lagos State government has rewarded its athletes who won medals at the National Sports Festival hosted by the state last year. The cash reward ranged from N250, 000, to N150, 000 and officials said it was in line with the government’s resolve to appreciate athletes who did the state proud. National Mirror gathered that the state government has asked the medalists to forward their interest on employment, scholarship or vocational training for considerations, with relevant and valid credentials to the state’s Sports Council. Meanwhile, the state has unfolded plans to engage qualified coaches into its 36 sports associations. Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Sports Council, Bashir Agunloye, said yesterday that the interested coaches could apply through the council, saying however that they would be employed on contract. According to Agunloye, the
coaches will work in athletics, badminton, baseball/softball, basketball, boxing, chess, cricket, cycling, darts, deaf sports, fives, football, golf, gymnastic, handball and hockey associations, among others. “They will be mandated to help the sports associations to develop various sports at the grassroots,” he explained, adding that the state was determined to consolidate success recorded at the sports festival where Lagos came third behind Delta and Rivers states.
Gascoigne admitted, in stable condition
Reports said he became seriously ill on Saturday and doctors moved him from his hospital room to intensive care, although it is believed his life is no longer in danger. Former England and Tottenham Hotspur team-mate, Gary Lineker, who along with other friends of Gascoigne have helped pay for the cost of the clinic as the former footballer is virtually penniless, said that his friend is “struggling”. “Let’s hope he can hang on in there,” Lineker Tweeted yesterday. Gascoigne has also received personal and financial support from present England players such as Wayen Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard.
ormer England star Paul Gascoigne is in intensive care in the United States after being diagnosed as not well enough to begin his treatment for alcoholism, according to reports yesterday. The 45-year-old, capped 57 times but who has battled alcoholism for years and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2000, had been due to receive treatment at a rehabilitation clinic in Arizona at a cost of around $30,000 for a two-month stay there.
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Eagles’ victory shows change can be achieved –ACN
he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has congratulated the Super Eagles for winning the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years, saying the victory shows what Nigeria can achieve when it allows talent, rather than mediocrity, to lead the way. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the Eagles’ victory, coming just a little over a year after Stephen Keshi took charge of the team and started a rebuilding process, shows that transformation does not necessarily have to be an endless quest. ‘’The Super Eagles who failed to qualify for the last edition of the Nations Cup in 2012 rose to win the cup a year later. Keshi’s transformation agenda has produced positive results, even when not everyone believes in him. This is how it should be,’’ it said. ACN noted that while Nigerians were not too happy at the players’ performance in the group stage, they quickly rallied around them the moment they stepped up their game in the knockout stage, an indication that Nigerians do not need endless prodding to support a winning team, whether in sports or politics. “The Super Eagles, who were not among the pre-tournament favourites, won because the coach assembled his team based on talent rather than any extraneous considerations, and also because the team and its technical crew believe that when there is determination and self-belief, no mountain can be high enough.”
FIFA Confed Cup: Nigeria draws Spain, Uruguay IKENWA NNABUOGOR
igeria has been drawn in Group B in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup to be staged in June in Brazil, where Eagles will play Spain, Uruguay and Oceania champions, Tahiti. This will be the first time ever Nigeria will be participating in the tournament designed for continental champions. Eagles picked the sole ticket for Africa by virtue of winning the Africa Cup of Nations, beating the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final at the Na-
tional Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday. Nigeria became the last country to secure a ticket for the tournament with the other participating countries bagging their tickets earlier than now. Nigeria’s space was before now awaited since the draw for the competition was held at the Palácio das Convenções in the Anhembi Convention Center in São Paulo, Brazil on 1 December, 2012. Nigeria, drawn in Group B, will open their Confederations Cup account, engaging Tahiti at Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte on June 17. Keshi with the 2013 AFCON trophy
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Oshiomhole praises Super Eagles
Omeruo tipped for Eagles’ top role
ormer Nigeria U-23 defender, Akin Ademofe, has described Super Eagles’ Africa Cup of Nations debutant, Kenneth Omeruo, as a potential captain for the national team. Omeruo was a revelation at the AFCON 2013 finals after displacing captain Joseph Yobo in the Eagles’ defence and started four of the team’s six matches enroute winning the trophy on Sunday. According to Ademofe who previously played for Concord, Eagle Cement and Dolphins, Omeruo was long overdue for a spot in the Eagles’ rear, although the young lad only featured in the national U-17 team in 2009. “I think Kenneth has brought calm to the Eagles’ defence and I was impressed that he showed his quality from the first time he got his chance in South Africa,” Ademofe, who mentors Omeruo, said. “One wonders why the football authorities delayed in handing him a chance. But with the way things have gone for him now, it is only a matter of time that he would become the team’s captain.” Omeruo was honing his skills at Belgian top club Anderletch in 2010 when Chelsea scout and former Nigeria international, Emeka Emenalo, recruited the 19-year-old for the Stamford Bridge side and was loaned shortly after to Dutch Eredivise side Ado Den Haag where his consistency has attracted various scouts across Europe. He famously received applause from former African Player of the Year, Didier Drogba, after putting the dreaded forward in check during the AFCON 2013 quarter final between Nigeria and Cote d’ Ivoire which the former won 2-1.
Mba’s feat, eye-opener –Laloko Sunday Mba (on top) and Elderson Echiejile, came through the Pepsi Football Academy
ormer Technical Director of Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Dr. Kashimawo Laloko, has described the superlative performance of Super Eagles midfielder, Sunday Mba, as instructive on the country’s authorities to focus on youth development. Mba honed his skills at the Pepsi Football Academy where Laloko has been director since the academy’s inception in 1992. “It needs not be over-emphasised that the future of Nigerian football belongs to the youths,” Laloko told National Mirror yesterday. “Whether we are building the national U-17 or U-20 team, there are always available players to be recruited in academies across Nigeria but the selectors always prefer to pick their players from the streets, apparently because they cannot afford the time needed to do a proper
building,” he said. “At the stage we are now, we should not be found wanting when it comes to assembling players for all categories of the national team. “But we must not forget that they should also be given opportunity to expose their potential. The likes of Elderson Echiejile and Sunday Mba may have emerged as shining stars in the Super Eagles today. But what would they have become without an opportunity at that level.” Interestingly, the duo of Echiejile and Mba who are products of the Pepsi Academy were recruited to the national U-17 team that participated in the Africa U-17 Championship in 2005. But observers believed that despite the talent that they possessed, their inclusion in the championship train owed largely to position of Laloko as NFA’s technical director at the time, as the current Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has not had a flourishing relationship with the academy.
do State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has congratulated the Super Eagles on what he calls their well deserved victory at the Africa Cup of Nations Football competition that ended in South Africa on Sunday. “The Super Eagles have demonstrated that with team work, working closely together, we can lift our nation to an enviable level in the comity of nations,” a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, said yesterday. “They have made Nigerians proud and given us all something to rejoice about,” the statement added. Many Benin City residents celebrated late into the night on Sunday while others took to the streets bearing all kinds of food and drinks as they hailed the Eagles’ feat. Most of the residents who spoke to National Mirror agreed that the Eagles’ squad would evolve ahead of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers starting next month as well as the FIFA Confederation Cup scheduled for June in Brazil where Nigeria will square defending champion Spain, Tahiti and Uruguay in the preliminary rounds.
Our victory shows irrepressible spirit – Jang, Ita-Giwa JAMES ABRAHAM AND OKAY OSUJI
lateau State Governor, Chief Jonah Jang, yesterday said the victory of the Super Eagles in lifting the Africa Cup of Nations highlights the irrepressible bonding of diversity in the nation for a collective purpose. Jang stated this in his congratulatory message to Nigerians and the national team over the Sunday victory in South Africa. In a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, James Mannok, the governor stressed that it is also a celebration of Plateau State with players like Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Ogenyi
Onazi, Victor Moses and Sunday Mba, who scored the winning goal, who have their football roots in Jos. Also, former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Florence Ita- Giwa, has praised the Eagles for making the nation proud. Ita-Giwa said yesterday that the victory is a landmark one and an indication of what 2013 holds for Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan. Her words, “I am so delighted at this great feat of the Super Eagles winning the Nations Cup after waiting for 19 years. Keshi and the players have done us proud. This victory is a pointer to the numerous blessings that await Nigeria under President Goodluck Jonathan.” Eagles’ celebrating their victory in South Africa, on Snday
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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On the track with
YEMI OLUS email@example.com
UNIPORT honours IAAF boss, Ogba, others
he International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Mr. Lamine Diack, was conferred with an honourary doctorate degree by the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State during the institution’s 29th convocation ceremony at the weekend. Contrary to reports that Diack was in Nigeria to inaugurate the High Performance Training Centre in Port Harcourt, the Technical Director of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Omatseye Nesiama, disclosed that the Senegalese was in Nigeria on a threeday visit (February 7 to 9) to receive the award as well as assess the HPTC site. Nesiama also revealed that the visit gave Diack the opportunity to determine where the IAAF could assist Nigeria.
Agbaje eyes NAIA Indoors
ickinson State University freshman, Fred Agbaje, is hoping to land the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) indoor title when the championship takes off next month. Agbaje, who is also seeking to make up for his failure to compete for the Blue Hawks last season due to some hitches, has set the ball rolling with two stadium records to his belt over the weekend while competing in his second race as a member of the school team. The sprinter is ranked second in the 200m with a time of 21.84 secs and eighth in the 60m with 6.87secs, and both times are lower than the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Indoor Track and Field Stadium records of 22.60 and 6.90 set by Donte Smart. The athlete told National Mirror yesterday that he had worked to improve his times especially in the 60m where he hopes to make an impact. “I had a good meet on Saturday and although the times weren’t fast, they were enough to be stadium records and rank me second and eighth in the nation,” Agbaje said. “This season is going to be great and I’m really looking forward to the national championships holding from February 28 to March 2. It’s a good omen because this is just my second meet so far this season. “I’m hoping to improve my 60m time and get the qualifying standard for the 400m this coming weekend. I can’t really put the way I feel in words, seriously. I mean it took me forever to get me cleared to represent my school, and to be finally clear and start with record setting, I can’t ask for a better start for my school.”
“The University of Port Harcourt honoured Diack for his contributions to track and field in Nigeria based on the approval the IAAF for the establishment of a High Performance Training Centre located at the sports complex of the University of Port Harcourt last November,” Nesiama explained. “Of course, we will need help from them in terms of the manpower needed in certain areas. The centre would not be strictly Nigerian as it would also cater for the bulk of the English speaking countries. “This is an enormous task ahead of us. But we are trying to see how we can take off as soon as possible.” Two HTPC facilities currently exist in Africa in Eldoret, Kenya and Dakar, Senegal. Upon commissioning, the UNIPORT centre would specialise in Nigeria’s strength like the sprints, the quarter-miles and the jumpsn with a view to developing athletes. AFN President, Solomon Ogba alongside National Sports Commission (NSC) Director General, Dr. Patrick Ekeji, former AFN boss, Dan Ngerem and Nigeria Olympic President, Sani Ndanusa, were awardees of Fellows award of the University of Port Harcourt Sports Institution.
European prize attracts Grabarz
lympic high jump bronze medallist, Robbie Grabarz, who won the British Indoor title with a season’s best effort has turned his attention to the European Indoor Championships in Sweden next month. Grabarz, 25, comfortably claimed victory in Sheffield with a clearance of 2.31m before failing in an attempt to set a new British record. “It was only my second competition so to jump that high is pretty good. The target is to win in Gothenburg and I am looking forward to it. I’ve been training hard; I’ve not done too many competitions indoors so I know that when I come out I’m ready to go and today showed that.” There were victories for Margaret Adeoye (200m), Nigel Levine (400m) and Yamile Aldama (triple jump). Elsewhere, world indoor champion Aldama, won the triple jump, but the
40-year-old was disappointed with a winning distance of 13.44m. “It feels good to defend the title, winning is always good. I wasn’t happy with the distance but I’m coming back slowly after the (shoulder) surgery that I had at the end of September”, she said. In arguably the most competitive event of the championship, Levine secured the 400m final in a 46.73 seconds season’s best time. “I don’t feel in that much kind of a shape but it is what it is. I’m happy to get another national title, my third time,” the 2012 winner and Olympic semi-finalist said. Adeoye ran an impressive 23.22secs in the 200m to finish in first place, ahead of Olympic 400m silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu, who honed her speed-work with a swift 23.58 secs season’s best in second place.
In the 400m, Eilidh Child, who set a new Scottish record of 52.06 secs in Saturday’s heats, won the title in 52.13 secs. “It’s been a great weekend for me. I’ve had so many silvers at UK Champion-
ships before so it’s great to finally get a gold,” Child said. Fellow Scot Laura Muir, 19, also secured her place on the plane to Gothenburg with victory in the 1, 500m.
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NLC calls for reorganisation of NPL OLUFEMI A DEOSUN ABUJA
ollowing Super Eagles’ win at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for the reorganisation of the Nigerian Premier League. It said such reorganisation would enable the NPL have access to funds which would enable it get adequate resources and facilities to identify and train young talent which abound in the country. NLC President, Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, in a statement in Abuja yesterday, also called on government to review the lack-lustre attention sports had received in recent time to reposition the sports Industry to meet modern demands.
The statement read in part, “On behalf of the Nigerian workers we congratulate the Super Eagles of Nigeria on its victory at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations tournament’s final match which was played at the National Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa, 19 years after Nigeria last won the trophy. “Specifically, we urge the Nigeria Football Federation to urgently reorganise the Nigerian Football League by providing adequate resources and facilities that will identify young people from primary schools up to tertiary educational institutions for consistent trainings, community and inter school competitions where future national players are identified and engaged by both the Federal and State Sports Ministries.”
Nigeria’s attainment excites Okorocha CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI
mo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, yesterday congratulated the Super Eagles for beating their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Africa Cup Nations final in South Africa. He said the Eagles and their coaching crew led by Stephen Keshi have through hard work and dedication taken the nation back to its pride of place as African champion and giant of the continent. “The victory has no doubt raised our hope in
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
the Nigerian project and further underscored the need for Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of patriotism and teamwork needed for the nation to overcome its socio-economic challenges to stand stronger as the giant of Africa.” According to him, the unity of purpose and confidence displayed by the Keshi-led Super Eagles on the field of play clearly suggest that “Nigeria will definitely get back to the path of progress if we revive that spirit of peace, unity and togetherness which formed the bedrock of our nationhood.”
Sustain unity from Eagles’ victory – CAN JOEL AJAYI ABUJA
resident of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday admonished Nigerians irrespective of their religious and ethnic backgrounds to sustain the spirit of unity that led to the Super Eagles’ victory at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Oritsejafor also rejoiced with Nigerians on
the joyous occasion of the victory of the Eagles, which he described as coming at a most auspicious time of our collective efforts towards rebuilding the country. In a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, Kenny Ashaka, the CAN president prayed that as Nigeria ended a 19-year wait for another AFCON title before singing new songs of victory, God should also bring to an end Nigeria’s linger-
ing socio-political and economic problems. “I urge Nigerians to sustain the unity that led to the overwhelming support for the Eagles, irrespective of their religious and ethnic biases and to radiate same in their everyday dealings with Nigeria in whatever calling they find themselves. “I congratulate the Super Eagles’ squad, including the coach, Stephen Keshi, officials of the Nigeria Football Fed-
eration for their determination, resilience and hard work,” he said.
Most events featured at an Olympic Games Vol. 03 No. 555
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Beyond Super Eagles AFCON victory
t took my positive disposition to the performance of the Super Eagles in the African Cup of Nations in Souh Africa to convince my good friend in London, Yemi Ogunsina that we should not condemn the team after the first match against Burkina Faso at the group stage which ended 1-1. Like every other Nigerian already fed up with the team’s inconsistencies in international competitions, Yemi had concluded that, as usual, the players and officials were in the competition to participate and to collect estacode. Though that cannot be ruled out, but given the outcome of the event on Sunday night when the team eventually won the trophy after 19 years break, it does not matter who was there to enjoy or to exploit
At the XXIX Olympiad held in Beijing, China in 2008, a record 302 events were on the programme.
nconfirmed reports last night revealed that Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, has resigned from his job after leading the Super Eagles to their first Africa Nations Cup triumph in 19 years. According to the reports widely circulated in the media, Keshi has turned in his letter but he is awaiting a response from the Nigeria
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the opportunity offered by the competition. One significant thing about the victory was the frenzy of celebration which greeted the performance. It was as if the team has won the ultimate prize in the game, the World Cup. The preamble for the celebration came when the team secured the final ticket against another West African team, Mali in the semi final clash. The way football supporters celebrated the victory was massive. It was as if they were too much in a haste to see the final game or that it is better to celebrate the one at hand now in case the other failed to come. The victory celebration is also a demonstration of the bond that binds us together as a nation. The jubilation cuts across tribal, religious and party affiliations. Unlike the way the opposition has threatened President Goodluck Jonathan and the policies of his administration, nobody saw anything wrong with the performance, but to just savour the joy of victory. Nobody was left out in the celebration, even Nigerians in the Diaspora invaded the Internet to be part of the buzz that greeted the country’s emergence as the new African soccer champions. It is also necessary to note that the cohesion and the commitment of the players on the field of play must communicate something unique and special to the millions of those celebrating this achievement. The players not only played together as one, but they also stayed together as brothers not minding
NOT NECESSARILY BASED ON WHERE THEY COME FROM OR WHICH GEO- POLITICAL ZONE MUST PRODUCE THE GOALKEEPER AND HOW MANY OF THE PLAYERS MUST COME FROM THE
NORTH, THE SOUTH OR FROM HIS VILLAGE the six geo-political zones which politicians have capitalised upon to divide the country, frustrate excellence at the expense of mediocrity, all in order to protect their selfish interests. Coach Stephen Keshi is being celebrated today because he decided to be different in his approach by assembling the best the youth can offer, not necessarily based on where they come from or which geo-political zone must produce the goalkeeper and how many of the players must come from the North, the South or from the coach’s village. What won the trophy was the determination of the handlers to assemble the country’s best players both at
home and abroad to produce the best result. With the mission accomplished, we must seat down and analyse the performance that made Nigeria the toast of the football world again. If this same principle is to be applied in handling issues of national importance, the world, not only Africa, will soon begin to celebrate the talents of Nigerians in all fields of human endeavours. If we can be that organise to bring back the lost glory after 19 solid years, the lesson to draw from this accomplishment is that if the best of our electrical engineers are assembled to unravel the problem of power generation and distribution, it won’t take a decade for us to begin to enjoy the benefits of stable and uninterrupted electricity supply which has eluded us as a nation for the greater part of the centenary we are celebrating. The application of the same principles will ensure that our roads are fixed as necessary, dividends of democracy for the citizens, no matter the party to which one belongs. The coach has showed that investing in the youths is the best way to sustain this victory in subsequent competitions. Having won the Nations Cup, the journey to the World Cup campaigns should begins now. This is the time for the government not to just celebrate, but to sustain this tempo by investing heavily in this game in order to gainfully engage our youths and to arrest the growing unemployment. Imagine how the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Germany would have been struggling to cope with youth unemployment, but for their effective football league which provides gainful engagement for many of them. Keshi, who captained of the Super Eagles in 1994 when Nigeria won the trophy last in Tunisia grew with the system put in place by the Dutch, Clemence Westerhorf, who handled the team to make remarkable impact in the World Cup, is in the best position to keep this team together for the next competition holding in Brazil. So, while the celebration lasts, projecting beyond the victory needs not be overemphasized.
Confusion over Keshi’s ‘resignation’ report Football Federation (NFF). “I gave them (NFF) my letter of resignation immediately after the AFCON final game, but I haven’t heard from them yet,” Keshi was said to have informed a Johannesburg-based radio sta-
tion Metro FM yesterday. The reports came to many as surprise only hours after Keshi achieved history as the first indigenous coach to win the Nations Cup, as well as the second black African coach to win it after
Yeo Martial helped Cote d’Ivoire to triumph in 1992. However, the Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Ben Alaiya, said in text message last night dismissed the report insisting that Keshi remains the team’s coach.
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Published on Feb 12, 2013
Published on Feb 12, 2013
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