$49bn scandal: NEITI says NNPC should be held accountable CHIDI UGWU ABUJA
overnment agencies in the oil and gas sector that fail to live up to their man-
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dates should be held accountable by Nigerians, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has said. NEITI is a global coalition of governments,
Telcos to face prosecution over customer abuse
companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountability in the management of revenues from natural resources exploitation. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>
Tuesday, Tuesday,June December 7, 2011 17, 2013
INEC demands N93bn for 2015 elections T GEORGE OJI ABUJA
he Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday said that it would require about N93bn to conduct the next general elections in February 2015. Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru
Polls to hold in February
No voting in states under emergency rule
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Ajimobi at 64, pleads for forgiveness Survey, C of O now N95,000 in Ogun
EFCC to arraign Ajudua for defrauding Bamaiyi of $8.3m P.8
L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Shehu Shagari and former Head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, arriving for the launch of the emblem for the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Insults, abuses on govt, â€“FG invitation to coup Yakassi calls for serious anti-graft war
Lagos to try erring fire cracker dealers, users
Harvard University evacuates students amid bomb alert
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Insults, abuses on govt, invitation to coup –FG HENRY IYORKASE, UBONG UKPONG, AND ADEOLA TUKURU
he Federal Government yesterday claimed that those heaping abuses
and insults on President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his administration were calling for a military coup. Supervising Minister of Defence and Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, made the
claim at the third annual lecture and award ceremony of the Nigerian Pilot newspapers and Nigerian NewsWorld magazine held in Abuja. The minister, who represented President Jonathan at the ceremony,
warned that the insults and abuses could cast aspersions on the office of the President, his administration and government officials and give the military enough grounds for an unnecessary interruption of the civil gov-
L-R: Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Dupe Adoki; Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, at a news conference in Lagos yesterday.
ernment. Maku told the gathering, which attracted eminent Nigerians amongst whom were state governors, lawmakers and top politicians, that they should remember the circumstances under which former President Shehu Shagari was removed from office in 1983. Stressing that Shagari was wrongly overthrown; he said that that military interruption of the constitutional authority was caused by such actions as currently engaged in by some politicians in the country. “When Shehu Shagari was overthrown in 1983, there was a lot of noise that government was not doing anything,” he said. Maku noted that those who peddled the falsehood were actually not interested in the development programmes that the administration of Shagari was executing, such as the Ajaokuta Steel project, which was
the effort of that administration. He added that those who were insulting President Jonathan were doing so, not because they were not seeing what he had achieved, but because of their selfish ambitions in 2015. “The abuses and insults have nothing to do with performance. It has everything to do with ambition; if I pull down a governor, I will become the next governor,” he added. Maku said this was true given that this administration had built “an unprecedented 10 power plants in three years, 32 major roads already, dredging of the River Niger, increased the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country tremendously, which is acknowledged world over, as well as other key development projects and infrastructures that are still being provided.
some of the multiple registrations and allowed only one, stressing that when the people checked their names and found out that they were not in the voting centres they preferred, they concluded that their names were not in the register. He cautioned against the use of figures to analyse the outcome of the election, particularly on the allegation of wide-scale disenfranchisement. “You cannot say that because only a fraction of the registered voters turned out to vote, INEC should take responsibility for the low turnout.” Reacting to the suggestion by the Nigerian Country Officer for the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, Mr. Udo Jude Ilo, that the commission should outsource its logistics responsibility for the distribution of election materials, Jega agreed that the idea was a welcome one, but disclosed that the commission had experimented the practice in the past when it engaged the services of the road transport union. He, however, added that the commission had to jettison the idea when it found out that the transporters sabotaged it
for their own political interests. On the issue of early voting for election officers, security agents, election observers and others, Jega assured that as the country moved close to 2015, INEC would think seriously about that. He explained that the commission had been hesitant about adopting the idea due to concerns that Nigerians would not welcome the practice as could lead to the abuse of the process. On the suggestion that government should fund political parties, Jega described the suggestion as a welcome one since it was also the practices by other developed democracies of the world. He however suggested that appropriate scientific formula must first be put in place to ensure equity and fairness before deploying the practice. On the issue of sensitisation, the INEC chairman noted that the responsibility must not be left for the commission alone but must also be borne by the political parties who have the responsibility of explaining their manifestos and programmes to the voters.
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INEC demands N93bn for 2015 elections CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Jega, who revealed this during a stakeholders’ meeting at the National Assembly, assured that preparations for the elections were in top gear, adding that the commission projected to spend $7.9 (about N1, 264) per voter for a total of 73.5 million voters. He said that the projection represented a reduction of $1 or 10 per cent (N160) when compared with the $8.8 (N1,478) that was projected in 2011. Jega said the commission was anxious to meet its funding requirements ahead of the elections. He also said the reason for the choice of February was to give the commission ample time to address the likely challenges that might arise from the elections before the actual hand over to the new government in May. The elections will however not hold in the three states under emergency rule for security reasons, INEC boss said. Jega noted that even though the Electoral Act allowed INEC up till April to conduct the election, INEC would prefer early conduct of the elections.
“The law permits us to hold the elections from January to April but we will prefer to hold them early in either January or most preferably in February,” he said. The stakeholders’ meeting, which had in attendance, representatives of the registered political parties, members of the civil society organisations and community-based organisations, was organised by the Senate Committee on INEC with the support of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and the British Department for International Development, DFID. The INEC chairman said that the Commission would not be able conduct the 2015 general elections in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where a state of emergency is in force due to high level of insecurity arising for terrorist activities. Jega said that the decision by the commission was to avoid contravening the law. The Federal Government had in November extended the emergency rule in the three states by six months. Jega, however, said that the commission was hope-
ful that the security situation in the affected states would improve before the 2015 general elections. “We are working very closely with security agencies and our hope is that the security challenges in these areas will be long addressed before the 2015 elections. “We hope that these challenges will be solved or dramatically reduced before 2015. What is clear is that, we cannot conduct elections under a period of emergency. “If there is generalised insecurity, how can we hold elections? It will be disrupted or people will not come out. Ideally, elections should not hold under a period of emergency,” he said. Jega said security was a systemic challenge, but stressed that the commission was working hand in hand with security agencies to ensure adequate security in 2015. He also disclosed that INEC would in January; launch the SMS service alert which would enable registered voters crosscheck their status on the INEC’s voters register without physical recourse to the commission. On how the service will
function, the INEC boss explained: “You will type in your name and the last five digits of your pin number and send to an SMS code that will be made available by INEC, then you will get an automatic message that will tell you whether or not you are properly registered as well as your registration centre. Jega said the move was part of the innovations the commission was planning to introduce ahead of the 2015 general elections to improve upon the last ones. The INEC chairman also disclosed that the commission would not use the addendum register for the 2015 elections, noting that INEC was currently reviewing the voters register and would only use the electronic register for the conduct of future elections. Reacting to complaints that many registered voters were disenfranchised in Anambra State during the November governorship election, Jega dismissed the allegation, noting that the commission uncovered about 93,000 cases of multiple registrations in the state. He explained that what INEC did was to delete
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
L-R: Chairman, Governing Council, National Teachers’ Institute, Mr. Ali Birnin-Kudu; Director-General, Dr Ladan Sharehu and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Macjohn Nwaobiala, at the opening ceremony of the Nationwide Capacity Building Workshops for Primary School Teachers in Abuja yesterday.
L-R: Entrepreneurs and business leaders: Bukola Alabi, Tobias Igwe, Tony Elumelu and Titus Igwe, during the Future Award Best 100 presentations at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, recently
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L-R: Chairman, ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Koffi Diby Charles; President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, and Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu at the opening of the 71st Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire yesterday.
L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; winner of Culture Reporter of the Year Award, Mr. John Nnamdi and Public Affairs and Communications Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Mr. Clem Ugorji, at the 2013 edition of the Campuslife Student Writers Awards sponsored by Coca-Cola Nigeria Lagos, recently.
Telcos to face prosecution over customer abuse KUNLE A ZEEZ
ith the apparent failure of financial sanctions to compel telecoms operators to provide quality services for the over 121 million active telephone lines in the country, the Federal Government said it would resort to prosecution of those that fail to improve service quality and engage in customer abuse, starting from December 31. In addition, any telecoms operator that fails to meet the QoS Key Performance Indicators by the end of this month would be prevented from further sales of Subscriber Identity Module, SIM, cards. Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, disclosed this during a press briefing organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Council in Lagos yesterday. “From December 31, any mobile operator that fails to meet the QoS Key Performance Indicators targets will be prevented from new expansion and no SIM
…may be barred from further SIM card sales cards sales,” she said. The new ultimatum for operators followed 18 months of grace giving to the operators during which the NCC lowered its KPIs standard for them to improve services. This 18 month grace expires by December 31. In addition, the minister said “non- provision of good service to subscribers would now be attracting necessary court actions where the management of the companies would be prosecuted by the CPC, where cases of consumer abuse by the operator is established.” According to her, while ministry had been working hard to provide an enabling environment for the deployment if Information and Communication Technology infrastructures such as base stations, fibre optic cables, poor quality of service has continues to subsist. She noted that the plight of telecoms subscribers who continue to bear the brunt of poor QoS had informed the collaboration between the ministry, the
NCC and CPC to work together to deliver appropriate customer redress by telecoms subscribers which include, but not limited to rebate on airtime, usage irregularities, in accurate billing and opportunities to opt out of unsolicited Short Messaging Services. “Subscribers are daily faced with poor network service delivery that make it impossible for consumers to receive calls, induces drop calls with lack of sustainable calls, unsolicited text messages at odd hours, unsolicited telemarketing calls, deceptive broadband sped adverts by some service providers and failure of service delivery, without compensation to consumers”, she noted. The minster also pointed out that mobile phones users were short changed through “insufficient customers care lines, unrelenting sales promotion despite poor network service delivery, non compensation to consumers for loss of airtime and poor service delivery, network insecurities characterised by uncon-
trollable interruptions on networks by unidentifiable third parties.” Though telecoms operators have, in last few years, listed a number challenges confronting their operations ranging from vandalism, high cost of right of way permits, vandalism, among others, the Johnson said the ministry has been addressing the challenges, stressing that the operators were expected to have also improved their service delivery. She said to tackle quality of service issues in the industry, the ministry has been working with the Ministry of Works’ and state governments to develop new RoW guidelines that would be more favourable to the operators, protecting their infrastructures, as well as bringing together the state and federal authorities to address multiple taxations and multiple regulation challenges to enhance service delivery across the nation. According to the minister, “Using excuse of the problems in the operating environment for poor quality of
service by the operators will no longer be acceptable,’ the minister stressed that working with the ministry and NCC, CPC will deploy its full regulator powers to ensure that customers receive appropriate and commensurate redress for the poor services they are getting from the operators. “Nigerian (telecoms) consumers will not be short-changed and the standards that companies abide by other countries must be adhered to here regardless of the complaints by the operators,” she said. Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, confirmed that has been gross consumer abuse in the telecoms sector, stressing that “It is no longer business as usual as far as consumer protection is concerned in Nigeria.” She warned the operators to put their house in order, as CPC has power to persecute any erring operator that indulges in consumer rights abuse. “Under the Consumer Protection Council’s Act, CPC has the power to sanction, prosecute and compel any product or service pro-
vider to as answer a lawful inquiry, disobedience of which are all criminalised. In addition, CPC can make orders in the interest and protection of consumers and disobedience is also criminalised by law. “While NCC can impose fines or even revoke the licence of an offending operators, CPC can, in addition, commit such recalcitrant offender to jail terms for contravening any consumer protection enactment,” she said. In such cases, Atoki said that the offending companies and the directors could face prosecution. National Mirror gathered that in that in the last two years, telecoms operators had been fined for various contraventions to the tune of N1.93 billion in sum. The operators incurred the sanctions between May 2012 and May, 2013 for violations ranging from breach of KPIs on quality of service; breach of promotional and lottery directive as well as the contravention of the regulation forbidding sales of pre-registered Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) cards in the country.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
$49bn scandal: NEITI says NNPC should be held accountable CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
enues from natural resources exploitation. Speaking at the sidelines of a civil society forum, the representative of NEITI and board member of the coalition, Ms. Faith Nwadishi, said the audit reports of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, had always revealed the shortcomings of oil firms in the sector, especially the NNPC. She said the recent revelation by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, that about $49.8 billion of crude oil sales proceeds were unaccounted for should, therefore, provoke public probe of the accounts and records of the NNPC, stressing that over $400bn was generated from the oil and gas sector in Nigeria between 1999 and 2011. Nwadishi, who doubles as Chairperson, National Stakeholder Working Group Civil Society Committee, said the campaign against corruption in the system had been made successful by the provision of data, but noted that the usage of this data was
vital to stemming fraud. She added: “For instance the letter by the CBN and the 2012 protests on oil subsidy were captured by the NEITI report for Nigeria. And because of the fact that citizens, especially civil societies, are not using this information or getting it out to the public in order to hold people accountable, then we may not get the desired outcome. “You say you have data but it is just there and people are not using it. So it is important that citizens, maybe facilitated by the civil societies, get hold of this information, analyse it and put it in the public space in such a way that the citizens can understand it and use it to hold these agencies accountable. “Again, one other thing that comes out from the audit of NEITI is that there are recommendations for remediation. But these things are never done. Now everybody is talking about the letter of the CBN governor, but you will be surprised that after a while everything will die down. “That we are not able
Needs implementation committee for varsities constitutes monitoring teams
he Needs Assessment Implementation Committee for Public Universities has constituted monitoring teams to oversee execution of various infrastructure projects on the campuses of the 59 federal and state universities, which are beneficiaries of the N100 billion intervention fund from the Federal Government. The constitution of the monitoring teams by the committee, chaired by Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State was the high point of a meeting held last week at the Benue Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja. The meeting, chaired by Governor Suswam was attended by the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, representatives of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Education and Dr Macjohn Nwaobiala, Permanent Secretary, Federal Minister of Education. Also in attendance were
the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, and leaders of industrial unions in the university system (NASU, SSANU and NAATS) with the Acting Executive Secretary of TeTFund as Secretary. In order to effectively monitor implementation of the projects, the committee constituted a national monitoring team with Governor Suswam as Chairman. Members of the Committee include the ministers of education and labour, Senator Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, representing the Senate Committee on Education, Hon Jerry Alagbaoso representing the House of Representatives Committee on Education, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education, Executive Secretary NUC, Chairman Board of TeTFund, Presidents of ASUU, NASU, SSANU and NAATS while Mr. Ifiok Ukim, Head of Legal Services at TeTFund will serve as Secretary of the team.
to have good metering system in this country has been in the NEITI report. That agencies are not meeting up with legislative mandates that created them have been in the NEITI report. That is, there has not been synergy between the relevant agen-
cies and many more, has been in the NEITI report. So it is there.” The CBN had alleged that the NNPC failed to remit $49.8bn (about N8tn) to the Federation Account between 2012 and July this year. The allegation was swiftly refuted by the
corporation, which claimed that the CBN was not familiar with crude oil sales accounting procedures. The Senate has, however, constituted a committee to look into the allegations. Executive Secretary, NEITI, Mrs. Zainab
Ahmed, said there was dire need of CSO partnership in pushing for the implementation of audit report findings and recommendations. “This has been a major challenge for NEITI, the oil, gas and mining industries and for our economy,” she said.
L-R: Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Kingsley Moghalu; Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi and Special Adviser to the President, Projects Monitoring and Evaluation, Prof. Sylvester Monye, during the meeting of the Economic Management Team in Abuja yesterday.
Insults, abuses on govt, invitation to coup –FG CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
other key development projects and infrastructures that are still being provided. The minister said that there was no basis for the daily abuses. Maku also affirmed that the country for the first time had a President that was democratic and believed in the rule of law, being the only President that had sat down for 13 hours non-stop to discuss with a trade union. He also took a swipe at the journalists, stressing that on a daily basis, the media was awash with information thought to be highly fictional than factual. Also, the Chairman at the occasion Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko Yakasai, urged government and the judiciary to take the war against corruption seriously. “We know this problem has been with us for
a long time and this leadership only inherited it, all the same, Nigerians would like to see a more proactive engagement in this war if this nation is to make any meaningful progress towards political stability and economic advancement”, he advised. In a related development, social critic and ex-Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, yesterday said that the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, had lost track in image management. Tsav was reacting to Abati’s treasonable action threat against the All Progressives Congress, APC, over its call on the National Assembly to initiate impeachment proceeding against the President. The ex-police boss viewed the utterances as unbecoming of a presi-
dential spokesman and wondered if he was assuming the position of the Attorney-General of the Federation or the Inspector-General of Police, adding that the call was an abuse of office and dictatorial. He said even where it was glaring that the President had committed insurmountable impeachable offences; it was only the lawmakers in the National Assembly that had the audacity of commencing the process and did not need anyone outside the purview to comment on the matter. Tsav, therefore, warned Abati that he was chewing beyond his nose and reminded him to confine himself to the area of image laundering rather than dabbling into political issues where he lacked knowledge and capacity to withstand. The ex-police commissioner recalled that
during the hey days of Abati at The Guardian, he used to admire him as one of the very few finest journalists this country could boast of but since he became the spokesman to the President, he derailed and lost focus. He also explained that what was paramount now was for the President to address key issues raised in the petition of ex-president Obasanjo against Jonathan and exonerating themselves of the weighty allegations instead of beating about the bush. “Frankly, Abati as mouthpiece of the Presidency should have told President Jonathan to clear himself of the claims raised by his godfather for him to still earn the respect of Nigerians, emphasising that so long as the issue is not addressed, it is considered admittance of guilt.”
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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15, 316 Nigerians in prisons abroad –Official
he Director of Consular and Immigration Services in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulazeez Dankano, yesterday said no fewer than15, 316 Nigerians are in various prisons abroad with the largest number of 752 in the United Kingdom. Dankano told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that many of the prisoners were in the Asian-Pacific region for drug-trafficking related offences. NAN reports that the figure is an increase of more than 6, 000 over the official figure published by the ministry in June this year.
“This figure cannot be exact because some countries’ laws do not allow them to reveal such information. “Sometimes our missions go through serious challenges to get the information,” Dankano said. He said that Nigeria and Thailand are currently implementing a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA), which has seen the repatriation of about 400 Nigerian prisoners since 2008. According to him, the PTA allows the return of a prisoner to serve out his sentence in his home country where both jurisdictions are in agreement.
Dankano listed the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and India as other countries with which Nigeria had concluded bilateral PTA but have yet to sign the agreements. “The three agreements are ready for signing and at a convenient time for the countries, they will be signed,” he said. He said the agreement with India was concluded last month, following the visit of a high-level Nigerian delegation to New Delhi, to negotiate some outstanding agreements with the country. On United Kingdom, Dankano said Nigeria has
an existing PTA under the Commonwealth scheme that had facilitated the repatriation of only one prisoner. “Under that (Commonwealth) agreement, the prisoner has to consent before repatriation can be done as that is the practice in international human rights laws. “The Commonwealth scheme is still open and convicted prisoners can opt to come back through that scheme or through the bilateral PTA that will soon be signed,” he said. The director said about 300 Nigerians in UK prisons are qualified for repatria-
tion under the bilateral PTA and that the United Kingdom government would defray the cost of bringing them home. Dankano said 22 Nigerian prisoners in Hong Kong had indicated their willingness to return home to complete their terms. “I went to Hong Kong recently and met with each of the prisoners and they indicated their interest to come back home and complete their prison terms. “Hong Kong is a special administrative region under China, so we had to seek the Chinese government’s approval before going into the negotiations.
“We got the approval, did the negotiations and in the New Year we will find a convenient time to sign the agreement and bring back the 22 Nigerians,” he said. He added that under the transfer agreement; “The consent of the convicted persons is required before repatriation, in addition to the consent of the authorities in both states.” The ministry official said there are 665 Nigerian prisoners in various prisons in India and the ministry was yet to determine how many of them are qualified for transfer to Nigerian prisons.
‘EFCC has less than N2m in its account’
he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday in Abuja said it urgently needs capital injection for its continued operations; saying it has less than N2 million in its accounts currently. Secretary to the Board of the EFCC, Mr. Emmanuel Aremo, said this at the public hearing on the bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA). Aremo said the poor financial position of EFCC was made known to the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes during an oversight visit. He added that EFCC had been so cash-strapped to the extent that it had less than N2 million in its account. “If we can pay salaries this month; that will be all; that is the position under which we operate,” Aremo said. Aremo kicked against the bill seeking to establish the NFIA. He argued that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in the EFCC was discharging its responsibility efficiently without complaints from financial institutions. Aremo said if granted autonomy, the FIU would become exposed to desperate politicians capable of securing court injunctions to frustrate its operations. “All the FIU needs is adequate funding to continue its work. This NFIA bill is unnecessary and should be jettisoned”, he said. The Director, Legal Services, Central Bank of Nige-
ria, Mr. Amusa Ogundana, who represented the CBN Governor, said the apex bank supported the establishment of the NFIA. Ogundana, however, suggested that some portions of the NFIA bill should be deleted because it imposed supervisory and regulatory functions on the agency. “CBN is wholeheartedly in support of having this bill sail through. “We believe it will strengthen the administrative and operational performance of the agency”, he said. However, a representative of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Joseph Sunday, said FIU lacked legal status. Sunday, NDLEA’s Director of Prosecution Services, said they supported the bill because it would empower FIU to effectively disseminate financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies. Mrs. Blessing Egbefor, representing the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said the bill, when passed into law, would strengthen the fight against financial crimes. “NAPTIP supports the bill, so that the FIU can discharge its administrative and operational functions with greater autonomy”, she said. The Nigeria Police, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Services (DSS) and the ICPC were among other agencies that supported the bill.
L-R: Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; representative of the Chairman, INEC, Dr Nuru Yakubu and Vice-Chancellor Sokoto State University, Prof. Nuhu Yaqub, during the seventh lecture of the Electoral Institute in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA
National health bill will be ready before Xmas –Senator MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA
he national health bill will be ready before December 25, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has said. Okowa gave the assurance yesterday in Abuja at the inauguration of the boards of management of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital Bauchi; the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki and the National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna. While urging the new boards to use the opportunity given them to make significant contributions to the success of their respective institutions, the Senator said: “Before the Christmas, we hope that we will be able to deliver the national health care bill in the Senate and it will move
to the House of Representatives for concurrence.” On the impending strike by doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Okowa appealed to both the Federal Government and the doctors and other aggrieved professional bodies in the sector to embrace mutual understanding. His words: “As long as we continue to waste our time on in-fighting between one association, or one union or the other, we’ll definitely be dissipating energy in the wrong direction and we will not be providing the best of care to Nigerians. In his address, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, appealed to the boards to provide oversight functions on the management of relevant health facilities to ensure the implementation of government policies; the effective and efficient utilisation of
resources; the observance of extant laws and regulations; and to ensure accountability for funds and performance. These functions, according to him, are their roles and not the day-to-day administration of such institutions. He also urged them to help their respective institutions devise better means of revenue generation in ways that would not affect the populace negatively. Chukwu urged the boards, which included the wife of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Mrs. Josephine Elechi that they should help “look at the issue of incompetence and negligence being leveled against health care providers: medical doctors and non-doctors. Meanwhile, the minister has said stakeholders in the sector, including Senator Okowa, would meet with the doctors to appeal
to them to shelve their planned strike. The doctors had threatened to down tools tomorrow over some demands they claimed government had not met after repeated promises. Chukwu said: “Why would I be held responsible for the strike? Ok, I am now saying they should work, so that nobody will say I asked him for going on strike. “Seriously speaking, there is no basis to hold me responsible. When I now imagine that each group feels I am not doing well for them; I know I am doing the right thing. It would have been absurd if only the non-doctors were accusing me; they would have said I am biased. “If my colleagues are accusing me, this means I am for the truth. I don’t look at people’s face; what I want is in the interest of all Nigerians.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Boko Haram: Over 1,200 killed after state of emergency PAUL ARHEWE, WITH AGENCY REPORTS
he United Nations yesterday said over 1,200 people had been killed in some parts of Northern Nigeria in Boko Haram-related
violence since a state of emergency was declared in May. The UN said the figure related to killings of civilians and the military by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. It also includes insurgents
killed by security forces repelling attacks. This is the first time independent casualty figures have been issued since emergency rule was declared. Thousands of people have been killed since 2009, when Boko Haram launched its campaign to install strict
Islamic law in northern Nigeria. The figures, released yesterday, did not include those killed during military operations, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), told a news agency.
“The humanitarian situation in North-East Nigeria has been increasingly worrisome over the course of 2013,” the UN said. There have been 48 separate Boko Haram-related attacks in the region since emergency rule was declared, its statement added. “Information on the situation is scarce”, with figures of those displaced by the conflict and those who have fled to neighbouring states “hard to gauge”, Ocha said. In May, a state of emergency was declared in Borno
state, of which Maiduguri is the capital, as well as Adamawa and Yobe, while there has been a massive military deployment to the worst-affected areas. Attacks by Boko Haram are continuing despite the big military offensive. The military initially switched off the mobile network across the region, apparently to block Islamists from co-ordinating attacks. Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri in 2002 and the city was also the scene of its first uprising in 2009.
‘FG lacks political will to implement various panels’ reports’ OTHMAN SALIHU KANO
A Members of the Campaign For Democracy (CD) in the South-East protesting against some unresolved kidnap cases in Onitsha, Anambra State, on Sunday.
Jonathan asks public officials to wear armed forces remembrance emblem ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA
resident Goodluck Jonathan has directed all government officials as well as visitors to wear the Armed Forces Remembrance emblem to public offices. Speaking yesterday at the inauguration of the emblem at a ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Jonathan said that the directive would last till January 15, next year when the ceremony would be rounded off with the laying of wreaths to honour fallen heroes.
The President said that he would personally wear the emblem and also implored all government officials and other Nigerians to put it on. He noted that wearing the emblem would go a long way to appreciate the sacrifice members of the armed forces had made to ensure the peace, unity and progress of the nation. Jonathan said: “I will like to encourage all Nigerians to procure and wear these emblems with pride throughout this period. For those who have the opportunity to have interaction with me within this
period, if you do not wear it, please do not feel embarrassed if they turn you back.” The President commended the courage of the armed forces in defending the sovereignty of the country as well as maintaining the peace and security of the country. He noted that the armed forces had also rises up to the challenge of terrorism in the country. “The Armed Forces had been able to rise up to the security threat to the nation, devoting significant part of their lives to the security of the nation, as some of them even paid
the supreme sacrifice,” Jonathan said. He noted that the theme of the celebration: “100 years contribution of the Armed Forces to Global and National Peace and Security” was relevant, particularly with the achievement made by the armed forces over the years. The President called on all Nigerians and private organisations to support the worthy cause by donating generously to the launch of the emblem in other to show appreciation for the sacrifice made by fallen heroes and to encourage those who are still in the service.
Rivers accuses NJC of interference in CJ’s appointment SAM OLUWALANA
he Rivers State Government has decried what it described as meddlesomeness of the National Judicial Council (NJC) in the matter of appointment of the state’s Chief Judge. The state government, in a statement signed by its Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Worgu Boms, explained that
Governor Rotimi Amaechi had acted within the context of the Constitution by appointing the former President of the Customary Court, Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumanu, as the Acting Chief Judge without recourse to any third party, as the Constitution only provided for the most senior judge in the state judiciary. The statement reads: “What can be seen, clearly, is that the governor needs no recommendation from anyone as to whom to ap-
point neither as Acting Chief Judge nor approval of anyone to validate whomsoever he has appointed. “The guide provided by the Constitution to the governor is that contained in the phrase: ‘the most Senior Judge of the High Court’ which the governor has interpreted and acted on and which, as stated, remains valid and subsisting not having been set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction.” The statement accused a member of the NJC of
kicking against the appointment of the Hon. Agumanu instead of his “anointed candidate,” adding that the Acting Chief Judge is the most senior among his peers in the state as he was sworn in as a High Court Judge before he was seconded to establish the state’s Customary Court. Boms also accused the NJC of deviating from the norms by threatening judges in the state with sanction, whereas it has always treated similar cases in other states differently.
retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Bashir Albasu, has decried the situation where reports and suggestions of judicial panels, commissions of inquiries and other various committees are not implemented by the Federal Government. Albasu, who is the District Head of Albasu Local Government of Kano State, expressed the concern yesterday when he delivered his goodwill message during the North-West Zonal Consultative Forum on the Development of a National Policy on Public Safety and Security held at the Thair Guest palace in Kano. He claimed that the Federal Government lacked the political will to implement the implementations of various paper works and strategic modules for the betterment of Nigeria, saying he had been part of three of such committees in the past, including the Vision 2010 and Vision 2020 committees as well as Review on the Nigerian Police Force. According to the retired senior police officer, the government had been reminded that nothing would be achieved without the basic political will, which is conspicuously missing in the progress of the Nigerian State. He said that the government ought to do more by summoning the political will to achieve durable security for the nation. The district head also
lamented that even the last reports on the Review on the Nigerian Police Force could not be implemented three years after, noting that until something is done to implement such comprehensive reports, stakeholders would begin to see them as time wasting ventures. Albasu, however, revealed that he was excited at the formation of the committee to develop the new policy on national safety. Also speaking at the forum, Lead Speaker, Prof. Femi Odekunle, who is a member of the committee, observed that their main focus was to provide roles and action guidelines for the security agencies, corporate entities, communities and individuals with regard to public safety and security. He equally hinted that they were shouldered with the responsibility to assign roles and responsibilities to both formal and informal stakeholders in matters pertaining to public safety and internal security. Prof. Odekunle added that the committee would ensure the streamlining and synchronising of the rules of engagement of security agencies in public safety issues and recommend an efficient resources mobilisation in matters relating to public safety and security. Part of the committee’s duties is also to suggest a roadmap for security agencies and other stakeholders towards the attainment of optimum public safety and internal security in the nation.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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$8.3m fraud: EFCC to arraign Ajudua for defrauding Bamaiyi KENNY ODUNUKAN
L-R: Ogun State Deputy Governor, Prince Segun Adesegun; Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Director-General, Lands, Mr. Olusegun Osinowo and state Chief Judge, Mrs. Olatokunbo Olopade, at the launch of the state’s Homeowners Charter by Governor Amosun in Abeokuta, yesterday.
Libel: Court orders Compass to pay Fayemi N2bn ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI
n Ado-Ekiti high court has awarded N2 billion as damages against the Western Publishing Company Limited, publishers of Compass newspapers in a libel suit instituted by Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. In his judgement yesterday, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, ordered the newspaper outfit to publish a retraction and apology to Governor Fayemi in three national dailies (including the Compass) and on Internet. The judgement was in respect of a publication
published by the Compass newspaper in its Saturday, August 25, 2012 edition, where it alleged that the governor was deducting N1 billion illegally from the local government account in the state. Mr. Remi Koleoso, of the Abuja Bureau of the newspaper, who wrote the story, was also joined in the suit. Justice Akintayo averred that the conduct of the defendant (Compass newspapers) was below diligence, saying Governor Fayemi had proved the six ingredients of libel, among which are, the personality involved, nature, mode of the publication and failure of the de-
fendant to show remorse. He held that the cost awarded must be adequate to repair the pecuniary damage, since the conduct of the defendant was below diligence. Justice Akintayo also awarded another N50, 000 as cost of the suit and 10 per cent interest rate on the imposed fine starting from the day of judgement till the fine is paid. Speaking, Chief Press Secretary to the governor and a prosecution witness in the case, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, said the judgement would serve as a lesson to “those who like to engage in reckless and malicious allegations.” Oyebode advised jour-
nalists to always cross check their facts before publications, adding that; “Governor Fayemi cherishes his name and integrity, hence he had to approach the court to redress the damage done to his reputation by the Compass newspaper’s publication. “We are happy that the court has finally given its judgment in the case which has again established the truth,” Oyebode said. It will be recalled that Governor Fayemi had through his counsel, R. O. Balogun and Co, sued Compass newspaper for libel and sought N10 billion as damages for the publication.
Ajimobi at 64, pleads for forgiveness
yo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has pleaded with whoever he might have wronged in the course of his governance of the state to use the occasion of his 64th birthday anniversary to forgive him. This was just as he promised to rededicate the remaining part of his life to the service of humanity and put in all his best to ensure that the state is turned around for the better. The governor stated this while speaking at his 64th birthday anniversary celebrations held at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan yes-
terday. The occasion had earlier been preceded by thanksgiving services at the Government House Chapel and Government House Mosque, where special prayers were offered by Christian and Islamic clerics. The ceremony was witnessed by eminent personalities including the Aare Musulumi of Ibadanland, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, Ambassador Olusola Saanu, Chief Kola Daisi, other eminent personalities, politicians, religious leaders, market men and women, as well as the ordi-
nary folks across the state. Governor Ajimobi, while thanking God for sparing his life to witness the day, expressed appreciation to the people for giving him the opportunity to serve them as governor and for their continued support which has resulted in the successes so far recorded by his administration. The governor, who pledged not to let the people of the state down, said he would continue to ensure the good of humanity and the continued development of the state. At the occasion, speakers after speakers eulogized Governor Ajimobi for rais-
ing the ante of governance in the state and for rescuing the state from the ruins of the past. For instance, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana Odugade I said he was proud of the governor as a true son of Ibadanland, stressing that the kind of development currently being witnessed in the state was last witnessed 60 years ago. Also, a prominent Ibadan indigene and former diplomat, Ambassador Olusola Saanu, thanked Governor Ajimobi for not disappointing the people of the state who willingly gave him their mandate in 2011.
he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on February 12, 2014 arraign the serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, before an Ikeja High Court over fresh charges of defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd) of $8.395million. EFCC in a fresh charge dated October 14, 2013, alleged that Ajudua, along with others still at large, had committed the crime between November 2004 and June 2005. Ajudua and Charles Orie are already being prosecuted since 2003 by the EFCC for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen, of US$1.69 million (about N270 million). The anti-graft commission has instituted a 13 count charge of conspiracy and fraud against Ajudua. Ajudua is the only defendant in the fresh charge as others who allegedly committed the offences along with him are said to be at large. Other suspects, who were said to be on the run, are Alumile Adedeji (a.k.a Ade Bendel) and one Mr. Kenneth and Princess Hamabon William.
Ajudua, along with other suspects, were said to have defrauded Bamaiyi at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, where he and the other fraud suspects were on remand for various crimes. EFCC claimed that the suspects had fraudulently collected the money from Bamaiyi in parts, falsely claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison. The anti-graft agency also alleged that Ajudua and others fraudulently claimed that $1 million out of the total money collected from Bamaiyi was for financial assistance for the treatment of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole’s father. Justice Oyewole was then presiding over Bamaiyi’s case in court. The suspects were said to have told Bamaiyi that Oyewole’s father was admitted at Saint Nicholas in Lagos and that the $1 million was meant to assist the judge in treating his father. The arraignment earlier scheduled to come up before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, failed yesterday as Ajudua was absent from court.
Osun to create 27 new council areas ADEOLU ADEYEMO OSOGBO
sun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday presented before the state House of Assembly, an executive bill for the creation of new 27 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state. Presenting the bill before the House of Assembly in Oshogbo, Governor Aregbesola argued that the creation of the councils is essential because the existing local government areas in the state are too large and this has made governance largely ineffective as expected. The governor pointed out that the bill which proposes 27 new Local Council Development Areas will coexist with the existing 30 local government areas recognised by the constitution. “The bill would also seek the approval of the parliament for the creation of the office of council managers
for the new local council development areas and the council managers would be civil servants in the employment of the Local Government Service Commission from Grade Levels 14 and above. “The parliamentary system of government is being proposed in the new local area councils, whereby the party with the majority seat will elect who chairs the area council while the administrative head of area council will be called “council manager, and funds accruable to the present councils areas will be shared with the proposed ones.” Aregbesola, who also added that the bill was to re-engineer the local government system in the state to serve as a pacesetter for other states in the country, sought for its express approval for rapid development to take place in the state and as well to bring government nearer to the people.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Survey, building plan, C f O now cost N95, 000 in Ogun FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
L-R: Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III; and Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao, at the governor’s 64th birthday anniversary in Ibadan, yesterday.
Fire cracker: Lagos to try erring dealers, users under Explosive Act MURITALA AYINLA
he Lagos State Government yesterday warned dealers of fire crackers popularly called “banger” to embrace the stipulated safety measures in their business, just as it warned users of the items to be safety conscious. The state government also said it would try any person found culpable in the damage caused by indiscriminate usage or storage of the explosive as terrorists under the Explosive Act. Speaking with National Mirror, the state AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed, said the government would not condone indiscipline and
unsafe business model that often claim lives and property of the residents. No fewer than 12 buildings were last year razed by the fire while 10 vehicles were burnt at Jankara Market on Lagos Island after a building containing a stockpile of fire crackers caught fire, killing at least one person and injuring 40 others. But speaking on the efforts to avert the recurrent of the incident, Ipaye said people must take extreme caution in dealing with explosives. He said: “We have warned that people must take extreme caution. Fire crackers are explosives and their importation, storage handling and use are strictly controlled by regulations issued under the Explosive Act. For instance, you cannot import fire crackers without special permit and you are not supposed to
store in residential building.” The commissioner said it is forbidden for the dealers to display them like any other goods in the market. He said: “Handler should understand the user instruction. Hence, it is not supposed to be trade freely among other goods that may be combustible in the open market. For those who don’t know about this danger, it is best to keep off so they don’t run foul of the law.” On his part, Dr Wale Ahmed said government agencies had been deployed across the state to monitor the sales and storage of the firecrackers. He said: “We just want to advise members of the public that they should take cognisance of the fact that Yuletide season in Nigeria concise with harmattan
and the harmattan encourages spread of fire a lot. Things catch fire and burn easily because of the nature of the weather. “We want to advise the general public to limit the use of the fire crackers and to use them in the open place and avoid using them in enclosed places and also avoid throwing them under vehicles. They should remember that ‘banger’ is for play and it is also fire. So, throwing it at each other or under vehicle should be avoided. “We want to celebrate and during the course of celebration, we should avoid harming or injuring ourselves. Then, for people who are selling or storing fire crackers without licence is illegal and relevant government agencies will be out to monitor selling and storage of the items.”
Ekiti HoS cautions workers against partisan politics ABIODUN NEJO ADO-EKITI
s the 2014 Ekiti State governorship election draws near, civil servants have been cautioned against participating in politics and rather adhere to the ethics of the service as enshrined in the constitution. The state Head of Service, Mr. Olubunmi Famosanya, reiterated the need for “every civil servant to operate within the parameters of the service rules. It needs be stated that engaging in political activities is
an act of misconduct or serious wrongdoing” Famosanya, who spoke yesterday at a press conference in Ado-Ekiti, to herald the 2013 Civil Service Week in the state, said: “The ethics of the civil service and Service Rules and Regulation emphasise political neutrality, structured line of communication, hierarchy, anonymity, transparency and accountability”. However, he said the civil servants should not shy away from performing their civic responsibilities of registering as voters and following up the registration
“by coming out enmasse to vote for the candidates of their choice during the 2014 governorship election and the general elections that would follow in the subsequent year”. The HOS praised the civil servants for their support and loyalty to the government and dedication to duty, which he said was responsible for the landmark achievements of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s administration. He said: “We all feel proud to be partners in progress with the government. Nevertheless, we
should continue to eschew partisanship, dishonesty, indolence and negligence in all their paraphernalia”. Famosanya, who claimed that the civil service in Ekiti State achieved a lot in the last one year despite the visible challenges, said the industrial harmony achieved through dialogue and understanding was contributory to successes. He regretted that some civil servants that benefited from the N1.5billion revolving housing loans were not using the money for the purposes spelt out in their application forms.
ig relieve came the way of property owners in Ogun State yesterday as the government announced a drastic reduction in amount payable to obtain necessary property title documents across the state. At the launch of a programme entitled: “Home owners’ charter” held in Abeokuta, the state capital, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said property owners seeking approval for survey, building plans and Certificate of Occupancy (C of Os) would have to pay N95, 000 to obtain them. Amosun said the home owners’ charter was designed to eliminate the bureaucratic bottleneck often associated with procuring land titled-documents in the state before the inauguration of his administration in May 29, 2011. He said: “Under the Home owners’ charter, we have created a simple, seamless process with a “one stop shop” in each area. You only need to visit the Home owners Charter Centre and all the relevant ministries
will be available there. Instead of taking the trouble of coming to the secretariat in Abeokuta, we will now be coming to meet you in your various locations.” The governor, who lamented that greater number of property owners in the state had no legal documentation to confirm ownership, stressed that the situation “is too widespread to be ignored, but must be directly addressed with all urgency it required.” In the new arrangement, the governor explained that prospective property owners, including those who had built on land already acquired by the government and are afraid of approaching the government for approval would have to pay unilateral fees of N95, 000 as against the N430, 000 under the normal processing. Amosun said: “The Home owners’ charter presents an opportunity for all those who have built on private land without obtaining building plan approval and who are therefore unable to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy to regularise their status at a huge discount on what they would normally be required to pay.
Court strikes out Atuche’s application to quash N25.7bn theft charge KENNY ODUNUKAN
n Ikeja High Court yesterday in Lagos State struck out an application by former Managing Director of Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank), Francis Atuche, in which he seeking to quash the N25.7 billion theft charge preferred against him and others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Justice Lateefat Okunnu held that Atuche should wait for the outcome of his pending appeal against the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the charge at the Appeal Court. The judge consequently adjourned the matter till March 10, 2014 for continuation of trial. Atuche and his wife, Elizabeth, are standing trial alongside a former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu, for theft. Atuche’s counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), had
in an application dated November 27, 2013 asked the court to quash the charge, citing lack of jurisdiction. The application was premised on a judgement delivered by the Lagos Division of Court of Appeal on November 21. The appellate court had in the judgement struck out the theft charges preferred against a former Managing Director of Finbank Plc, Okey Nwosu and others. The Court of Appeal in Nwosu’s case held that the Lagos High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charge because it emanated from capital market transactions. The appellate court held that such capital market-based matter was an exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. Idigbe argued that Nwosu’s and Atuche’s cases were similar, stressing that the lower court had a judicial duty to follow the decision of the appellate court.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Rival students’ groups clash in Awka over supremacy CHARLES OKEKE AWKA
embers of two rival students’ bodies - the National Union of Anambra State Students (NUASS) and Anambra State Students Association (ANSSA) - yesterday clashed over supremacy in Awka, the state capital. It was gathered that trouble began when a group of students who identified themselves as union leaders in Anambra State stormed a hotel, venue of an event organised by some students
and started attacking their colleagues who were just getting set for the function billed for the day. It was learnt that the Anambra State Governorelect, Chief Willie Obiano; Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Dr Edozie Aroh; and House of Assembly member, Val Ayika, were lucky to have escaped the fracas as they were said to be still on their way to the venue of the event when the clash broke out. Sources said the fracas occurred during the programme which was being hosted by the Anambra
State Students Association (ANSSA). The proramme was billed to address the issue of disbursement of bursary to Anambra State students and the setting up of a scholarship board. Members of the rival student’s union body later stormed the venue of the event and started attacking the organisers and accused them of impersonating the original group with the aim of lining their pockets. It was gathered that no fewer than eight students were injured and many personal effects, including lap tops and phones were
destroyed during the fracas, which caught guests and the hosts by surprise. The two rival groups, howver, were led by one Ngini. It was learnt that Ngini has been accused of attempt to divide the student body by leaving the organisation to register a parallel body. Both groups are claiming that they were duly registered by the appropriate government agencies. Ngini, however, called on the police authorities to intervene and arrest those he claimed were responsible for the fracas.
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APGA members, youths protest Okorocha’s silence over Agbaso CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI
ver 5000 youths and members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State yesterday stormed Owerri, the state capital, to protest what they described as the continued delay by Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration to reinstate the former Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso, who was impeached for alleged involvement in N485million road contract scam. The protesters, who blocked the entrance to the Government House thereby making it impossible for the governor to move out for the day’s assignment, demanded the immediate reinstatement of Agbaso, who they claimed had been cleared by the Economic Financial Control Commission (EFCC) of complicity of the crime for which he was dethroned. They also demanded the governor’s resignation because of his defection to the
All Progressives Congress (APC). Singing solidarity songs, the protesters, carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “N458million: Agbaso is innocent,” “EFCC traced the money to Okorocha’s accounts in Dubai and Lebanon,” and “Give us our mandate since EFCC has cleared him,” among others caused traffic gridlock at Wetheral Road and Okigwe Roundabout. Addressing journalists, the leader of the group, Hon. EugeneMzma, urged the governor to resign from office, saying: “That is what we are saying; we want back our mandate. We thought it was a crime case against the former deputy governor, but now we know better that the whole thing was a sham, a total deceit.” Mzma, who is also exofficio member of APGA, added: “Okorocha should tell all Imo people where the N1.3million the government dashed to J-Pros International and the other monies are.”
Accountants, auditors asked to support anti-graft fight ALIUNA GODWIN EBONYI
A L-R: Representative of the Zonal Director, NTA Enugu Network Centre, Mr Oladele Yakubu; representative of the Controller of Prisons, Enugu State Command, Mr Julius Ezugwu and Zonal Director, FRCN Enugu, Mr. Chigozie, at the Association of Heads of Federal Establishments (AHFE) End of the Year Party in Enugu, yesterday.
500 people get free medical treatment in Anambra
o fewer than 500 members of Ugbenu community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State received free medical care. The free health care was provided by a non-governmental organisation, Top Forum International, in
partnership with Mrs Rebecca Udorji, representing Awka North in the House of Assembly. The Secretary General of the organisation, Mr Patrick Nweke, told journalists yesterday at Ugbenu Health Centre that the intervention was a Christmas gift to the people.
Nweke said the medical mission diagnosed the people on arthritis, malaria, typhoid, blood pressure and sugar level, among others. He said the medical mission comprised gynaecologists, paediatricians and specialists in family medicine, adding that they came with some relevant
drugs. The secretary general said: “We are making arrangements to widen the scope depending on the financial support we get.” In her remarks, Udorji said this was the first time this kind of project was being embarked upon in this community.
Anambra poll: Tribunal says no petition yet
he Anambra State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has yet to receive any petition from aggrieved candidates, 16 days after the winner of the election was declared, according to an official. The tribunal’s secretary, Mrs. Deborah Musa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Awka, the state capital, that since December 1, 2013
when Chief Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was declared winner, only two motions had been filed. She said the motions, filed by counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that of APGA, sought to inspect the materials used during the election. Mrs. Musa said: “But they still have time to file their petitions based on the
21-day time frame provided for by the Electoral Act, 2011.” She, however, expressed the readiness of the tribunal, headed by Justice G.K. Kaigama, to entertain any petition and ensure fair hearing. Obiano polled 180,178 votes to emerge the winner of the election while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Tony Nwoye, garnered 97,700
votes to place second. The APC candidate, Senator Chris Ngige got 95,963 votes while Dr Ifeanyyi Ubah of Labour Party scored 37,495 votes to place third and fourth respectively. The second, third and fourth candidates had alleged irregularities in the conduct of the November 16 election and boycotted the November 30 supplementary poll.
ccountants and auditors across the country have been urged to show commitment in their services and fight against corruption by operating within the ethics of the profession. Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Ebonyi State, Mr. Sunday Ituma, spoke during the Institute’s lecture and luncheon with the theme: “Corruption in Nigeria: Are Accountants and Auditors Accomplices?”. He, however, asked the accountants and auditors to show transparency in their duties. Ituma said that the best way accountants and auditors are to exonerate themselves from involvement in corrupt practices is to work according to the ethics of the profession. He said: “We are required by the ethics of our profession to reject corrupt advances made by our employers; to help in upholding the integrity of the body and contribute in the fight against scourge.” “ICAN members should also join in enlightening the
public on the need to shun corrupt practices and stop promoting corrupt individuals.” The chairman said that corruption had robbed Nigeria of opportunities to attain its real potentials despite the enormous resources at her disposal. According to him, the body was in touch with higher institutions in the state such as the state University, Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, etc to ensure that accounting students join the body on graduation. Ituma stressed the need to ensure that accounting courses undertaken by these institutions conform with ICAN standards. In a remark, the guest lecturer on the occasion, Prof. Austin Nweze, decried the high level of corruption in the country, claiming that it had permeated the country’s leadership. Also speaking, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Fidelis Mbam, who was represented by Chief Cajetan Oketa, said that the state government would collaborate with the body to ensure that more indigenes enroll into it.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Jonathan orders new NDDC board to complete projects ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA
resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said that the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) must ensure completion of on-going projects for the benefit of the people of the Niger delta before new ones are awarded. Jonathan, who spoke yesterday when he inaugurated the board at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, said a body like the NDDC should not go into a voyage of contracts procurement. The President said the Niger Delta people feel that the commission was not really doing what they
are suppose to do. He told the new board members that there are many challenges in the commission, stressing that there are so many issues to be tackled. “There are so many ongoing projects. A body like the NDDC should not just go into a voyage of contracts procurement, but should ensure that ongoing projects are completed for the people to benefit before new ones are awarded.” There are just too many ongoing projects and we believe that you don’t even have enough manpower to manage such ongoing projects,” Jonathan said. He told the new board to ensure that things are done differently, saying that the former board at a
time were quarreling over money. The President charged the board and the management of the commission to be committed to ensure that the people of the area benefit from the resources, saying that he would not accept any aberration from the conventional and acceptable way of managing resources of the people. He urge the governors from the region to meet regularly to make sure that they also play their role regularly in terms of overseeing what is happening in the NDDC. Jonathan also admonished the new board and management to work together and be committed to the development of the Niger Delta region.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Board, Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, said himself and members of the board and management would work to improve on the performance of the commission. According to him, the board would ensure that there are positive changes in the commission in order to redeem its image. He noted that the NDDC can become the veritable vehicle for the upliftment of the people of the Niger Delta, which could be used to transform their lives from deprivation to prosperity and hope. Ewa- Henshaw noted that the new board would focus on major infrastructural developments that would open up and integrate the sub-region.
Court orders exhumation of four bodies slain by police SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN
he Magistrate of the Coroner’s Court in Benin City, Mr. F. E. N. Igbinosa, has ordered an immediate exhumation of the bodies of the late Mr. Samuel Imaikop and three others that were killed by the police on November 24 at the Benin Bye-Pass for autopsy. The court said the exhumation is to determine the cause of their death. Igbinosa gave the order at the hearing of the case instituted by the Imaikop’s family against the Edo State Commissioner of Police and the Nigeria Police at the Magistrate Court on Sapele Road, Benin City, which commenced after much agitation by the family and members of the civil society groups. Speaking at the hearing, the family counsel, Mr. B. A. Iluobe, said it was surprising that the police was not even represented at the hearing after being served the court summon at the Headquarters of the Edo State police command. Iluobe said; “I served the application immediately it was presented. We went with them to the police to ensure they were
properly served. It is my supposition that the purpose of service is for the parties to be informed of cases against them in court, the days and time. “If a party decides to abandon his case and refuse to come to court, that is a clear case of arrogance. They are not ready to defend; they don’t have a defence.” But the prosecutor, Inspector Ada Johnbull, who rose in defense of the Commissioner of Police, pleaded that the case be adjourned to allow the police get proper perusal of the summons and respond appropriately. In his judgment, the judge expressed dismay at the commissioner’s absence, who he said was summoned since December 12, but made no effort to respond or attend. He therefore ordered that the bodies of the four men be exhumed for autopsy that would be carried out on each of them. He also ordered that the medical reports of the autopsy be made available to the court when it resumes sitting on December 24, 2013. He also directed the police to make the bodies available for autopsy by way of showing the location of the burial to the family before adjourning the case.
Six wanted for murder of polytechnic worker EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA L-R: Rivers State Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru; Secretary, Eleme Development Authority, Prince Awalanta Ejire and the One-Eh Eleme the X, King Samuel Ejire, during a courtesy visit on his majesty before the inauguration of Eleme Local Government chapter of Save Rivers Movement at Eleme, at the weekend.
We’ll return Rivers’ oil well if voted in –APC SAM OLUWALANA
he All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised the people of Rivers State that it will ensure the return of all its oil well ceded to other states, if voted into power in the 2015 general elections. This was even as the senator representing Rivers South-East gave reasons why the Governor of the state, Hon. Rotimin Amaechi, ditched the PDP for the APC. Rivers State Acting Chairman of the APC, Da-
vid Ikanya, told the gathering at Eleme, during the inauguration of executive officers of the newly formed Save Rivers Movement, SRM, at Eleme Local Government Area, that should the party comes into power in 2015, it would correct all the injustices of the past. He decried the injustice that have been done against the people of the state, saying the party would return all the oil wells that hitherto belonged to the state, but that has been forcefully transferred to other states.
“If voted into power in the next election, we shall ensure that all oil wells belonging to the state, which have been forcefully taken over by other states, are returned to the people of the state. We shall correct the injustice,” he said. Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Down Stream) Senator Magnus Abe, has said that Governor Rotimi Amaechi, joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rescue the people of Rivers State from injustice, persecution and alienation that has become increasingly
worrisome in recent times. Speaking at the Eleme inauguration ceremony, Abe lamented that Governor Amaechi and some well meaning leaders of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, tried repeatedly to draw the attention of the National Working Committee, NWC, the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan to the injustice that was being meted out to the governor and the people of Rivers State to no avail.
ayelsa State police command yesterday declared six persons wanted over the murder of Moses Frank, a staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Ekeowei, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. Until his death, he was the Financial Secretary of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics of the institution. The victim was assassinated on November 8 at Agudama-Epie, Yenagoa, by yet to be identified gunmen. In a statement issued yesterday by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Alex Akhigbe, the command said the wanted suspects
include Kuro Orubie, Oviemuno Olomu, Nicholas Akpolco, Diepreye Walson, Godday Obiyai and Godday Ogoro. While noting that all the wanted persons were indigenes of the state, Akhigbe alerted the public that if the suspects were seen, they should be arrested and handed over to the nearest police station or lodge a report directly to the office of the Commissioner of Police. It will be recalled that some staff of the polytechnic had earlier been invited for interrogation on the murder of Frank. The bereaved family of Frank had accused the police of shielding the suspects linked with the murder of the former polytechnic worker.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Maiduguri airport may resume operations soon as Shettima intervenes
orno State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday held separate meetings with the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the officials of the Nigeria Customs in Lagos over the four months closure of the Maiduguri International Airport and clearance of 400 containers of agricultural equipment imported by his state government. Similarly, the governor directed the Secretary to the State Government to
undertake a courtesy visit on Arik airline headquarters in Lagos today to discuss resumption of flight operations to Maiduguri from Lagos and Abuja. At his first meeting held at NAMA headquarters, Shettima told the agency’s Managing Director, Mr. Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, that he was there to appeal for the re-opening of the Maiduguri International Airport which was shut two weeks ago so that flights could resume operations for socio-economic mobility. The governor noted the
airport is very critical to Borno people as one of its major links to rest of Nigeria and the world. He said the state government, in collaboration with security agencies, had already taken measures to ensure enhanced security of the airport and its facilities as well as increased surveillance of roads to secure the lives of land and air passengers. Shettima also said the government was ready to support NAMA to ensure successful flight operations. The governor also
noted that being a transit airspace, the Maiduguri airport is critical to International travellers departing from other parts of Nigeria. NAMA Managing Director, Udoh, said the governor’s visit was a testimony to his concern and commitment to progress of Borno State. He, therefore, assured that NAMA would begin the repairs of some ailing facilities at the airport tomorrow, indicating that the airport would be opened immediately after the completion of the reno-
vations. Udoh said the repairs would be accelerated in line with the governor’s request. The M.D however called for security assurance which governor had earlier promised. Udoh stressed the importance of the Maiduguri airport as a connecting route to other country which makes it a strategic airspace not only to Borno people, but to the country at large. NAMA had closed the airport on December 2, 2013 following attacks by
Boko Haram insurgents on Army and Air Force bases located metres away from the Maiduguri International Airport though there was no direct threat to the airport. Meanwhile, Governor Shettima was at Apapa Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service during which he met with senior Custom officials for five hours and monitored procedures to fast track the clearance of about 400 containers of numerous agricultural equipment imported by his state Government.
No plan to end strike –ASUP JAMES ABRAHAM JOS
Kwara State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed (left), congratulating newly sworn-in commissioner, Alhaji Musa Abdullahi of the Ministry of Energy, at the Government House in Ilorin, yesterday.
PDP crisis: Stakeholders call for Tukur’s sack LIVINUS MENEDI YOLA
eoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders in Adamawa State have called for the immediate sack of the embattled National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, for alleged breach of the party’s constitution. The stakeholders, who spoke through the factional PDP secretary in the state, Chief Phinea Elisha, premised their call “gross breaches of the party’s constitution by Tukur and fomenting the current crisis in the party by ascribing to himself the sole powers of National Working Committee and National Executive Council following the dissolution of some state executives, including that of Adamawa without the ratification of such actions by the respective organs of the PDP.”
The stakeholders, who comprise all the elected 21 council chairmen and the state executive under Alhaji Mijinyawa Kugama, said after a meeting yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan “needs no any soothsayer to tell him that Tukur is a failure.” Elisha said: “The internal crisis bedeviling PDP since Tukur came on board is a pointer that he will surely kill and bury the party before the 2015 general election. “If all the former presidents of this country and the 13 governors under the banner of the PDP, including the past chairmen of the party can unanimously called for Tukur removal, the President needs not to waste time before he takes immediate action.” Elisha said the stakeholders were aware that Tukur had begun renting crowd to mount pressure
on Mr. President not to remove him. He said: “No matter of the number of crowd rented by Tukur, he will not survive being removed. Tukur’s tenure has expired as the national chairman of PDP. “There is only one PDP in Adamawa State despite the fact that Bamanga Tukur wants to use his office to divide the party. Nigerians are aware of the pronouncement by the Federal High Court Abuja that there is only one PDP. “Tukur wrote us a letter that National Working Committee (NWC) has perfected the congresses that brought us to office. Although we were elected on March 17, 2012 and the approval came on 29 Aug 2012, on October 17, 2013 the same Tukur said that NWC had dissolved our executive, but did not follow the party’s constitution which stated that the dissolution must be rati-
fied by NEC of the party which we are still waiting for. But chairman of the PDP faction loyal to Tukur, Chief Joel Madaki, called on Jonathan to retain the party’s National Chairman.
s the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) enters into two months, the union yesterday said it has no plans to call off the industrial action until the government meets its demands. ASUP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Clement Chirman, who spoke with journalists in Jos, the Plateau State capital, expressed concern over the government’s attitude towards resolving the issues since the strike began two months ago. According to him, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union met at the Labour House in Abuja on December 12, 2013 to appraise the progress made so far on the negotiation with government and concluded that the government was not seriousness about resolving issues with the union.
Chirman noted that “the seeming preference for university education over polytechnic education in Nigeria by government is disappointing considering that polytechnic graduates have competed favourably well with their university counterparts at workplaces.” He said: “The polytechnics are demanding only N20 billion as against the universities whose demands run into trillions of naira, yet the government has maintained a cold attitude to our relatively small demand. “The government has deliberately refused to sign and release the White Paper of the visitation panel to the federal polytechnics about one year after the visitation. Government has also refused to discuss where it will get the funding for the implementation of the approved CONTISS-15 Migration, which amounts to about N20 billion. The government only approved, but did not give the financial backing.”
Ahmed swears-in three new commissioners •Promises govt of inclusiveness
overnor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has promised to run an allinclusive government and provide purposeful leadership to uplift the living standard of the masses. He spoke yesterday in Ilorin, the state capital, while swearing in three new commissioners. The commissioners are Alhaji Ademola Banu, Mr. Ajibade Kamaldeen and Alhaji Musa Abdullahi. Ahmed said that the recent defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Peoples Dem-
ocratic Party (PDP) in the state was because of the desire to run a government of inclusiveness and to execute people-oriented programmes for the people. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the three new commissioners are members of the state executive council dissolved by the governor on Oct.10. They retained their portfolios with Banu going back to the Ministry of Finance; Kamaldeen, Justice and Abdullahi, Energy. He said that their re-
appointment, two months after the executive was dissolved, was based on their previous performance records. Ahmed also said that their re-appointment was due to “their commendable contribution to the development of the state and socio-economic the well being of the people’’. He, therefore, called on the commissioners to rededicate their services to the course of offering more purposeful leadership for the improvement of the well being of the people.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Issues in Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan
ike a hurricane, the 18-page letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, titled ‘Before it is too late’ to President Goodluck Jonathan swept across the land moments after the existence of that letter was broken by an online news medium, premiumtimes,com.ng. More worrisome was the sundry issues raised in the letter which borders on the cohesion and unity as well as the corporate existence of the Nigerian nation. Through the letter, vintage Obasanjo, who is known for his bluntness on issues of national concern, has generated mixed reactions from the citizenry, especially the political class.
Why an open letter Obasanjo, in his letter gave 10 reasons why he resorted to writing an open letter to the President. According to the former President, he was “constrained to make this an open letter to you for a number of reasons.” Among the reasons given by Obasanjo for making the letter open were “the current situation and consequent possible outcome dictate that I should, before the door closes on reason and promotion of national interest, alert you to the danger that may be lurking in the corner;” that none of his four or more letters that have been written to Jonathan in the past two years or so has been acknowledged or elicited any response; that the people close to the President or the President himself have been asking: what does Obasanjo want?; that the situation that the country was getting into has a semblance of the situation Nigeria got to during the late General Sani Abacha era. The former President also said that other reasons for his making the instant letter open included that everything must be done to guard, protect and defend the nation’s fledgling democracy, nourish it and prevent bloodshed; that the nation must move away from advertently or inadvertently dividing the country along weak seams of North-South and ChristianMoslem; nothing should be done to allow the country to degenerate into economic dormancy, stagnation or retrogression. Others are that some of the country’s in-
Encomiums, as Senate joins world to honour Mandela
Why I have not decided on Senate race –Orji
Former President Obasanjo’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan titled: “Before it is too late,” raised sundry issues that are capable of threatening the corporate existence of the Nigerian state if not appropriately handled. OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU and FELIX NWANERI examine matters arising from the contentious epistle and the reactions the letter has generated.
TOP STORY ternational friends and development partners are genuinely worried about the signs and signals that are coming out of Nigeria; that the country should be in a position to take advantage of the present favourable international interest to invest in Africa an opportunity, Obasanjo said would not be open for too long. Obasanjo identified five leadership positions that being Nigerian President bestowed on Jonathan and these include: the leadership of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; the headship of the Federal Government or national government; the Commander-in-Chief of the military, the Chief Security Officer of the nation, and the political leader of the country. He added that for these five capacities in which the President has found himself, he must hold himself most significantly responsible for what happens or fails to happen in Nigeria.
Issues raised Top among the issues raised by Obasanjo was that of President Jonathan’s second term ambition. The matter has dominated
the political scene since the President’s first year in office though he is yet to make an official pronouncement on his stand. But, hitting the nail on the head, the former President advised Jonathan to respect the single term pact he entered into with the PDP governors in 2011. His words: “Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015. I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and the measures on the ground do not tally with your statement. You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me. And only a fool would believe that statement you made to me judging by what is going on. I must say that it is not ingenious. “You may wish to pursue a more credible and more honourable path. Although you have not formally informed me one way or the other, it will be necessary to refresh your memory of what transpired in 2011. I had gone to Benue State for the marriage of one of my staff, Vitalis Ortese, in the state. Governor Suswam was my hospitable host. He told me that you had accepted a oneterm presidency to allow for ease of getting support across the board in the North. I decided to cross-check with you. “You did not hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one-term
CURRENT SITUATION AND CONSEQUENT
POSSIBLE OUTCOME DICTATE THAT I SHOULD, BEFORE THE DOOR CLOSES ON REASON AND PROMOTION OF
NATIONAL INTEREST, ALERT YOU TO THE DANGER THAT MAY BE LURKING IN THE CORNER
of six years for the president and that by the time you have used the unexpired time of your predecessor and the four years of your first term, you would have almost used up six years of your first term and you would not need any more term or time. Later, I heard from other sources including sources close to you that you made the same commitment elsewhere, hence, my inclusion of it in my address at the finale of campaign in 2011…” By this, Obasanjo practically confirmed the single tenure pact that informed the support of Jonathan’s transition from acting president to president by the PDP governors and his subsequent victory in the PDP’s presidential primaries and the 2011 polls, which the likes of the Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu have persistently insisted on, of late. Obasanjo’s “confirmation” of the agreement is therefore expected to energise those clamouring for the return of power to the North in 2015 in the days ahead. On the crisis in the PDP, Obasanjo did not only blame Jonathan for the squabble, he went further by labelling him a disloyal party man, when he said: “Many of us were puzzled over what was going on in the party. Most party members blamed the National Chairman. I understand that some in the Presidency tried to create the impression that some of us were to blame.” He added: “The situation became clear only when the National Chairman spoke out that he never did anything or acted in any way without the approval of concurrence of the party leader and that where the party leader disapproved, he made correction or amendment, that we realised most actions were those of the chairman but the motivation and direction were those of the leader. “It would be unfair to continue to level full blames on the chairman for all that goes wrong with the party. The Chairman is playing the tune dictated by the Paymaster. But the Paymaster is acting for a definite purpose for which deceit and deception seem to be the major ingredients.” But, some analysts, who spoke on the issue, said while it is indisputable that the President is the leader of his party and as a result, should take the bulk; the crisis in the PDP predates his administration. The PDP, they contended, usually gets polarised close to every general elections, and that the current squabble, which had caused the defection of five of its governors to the All Progressives Congress, APC, was CONTINUED ON PAGE 41
Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji, spoke with journalists after the flag-off of Enugu-Port Harcourt highway in Umuahia last week. He speaks on critical issues including moves to draft him into the 2015 senatorial race, why he absorbs non-indigene civil servants back and where he hopes to leave Abia financial-wise before his exit. OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU brings excerpts. There was a lot of excitement expressed recently by Abians when the Enugu-Port Harcourt road was flagged-off in your company with the Minister of Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen. How exactly do you feel? I feel very happy and as the Minister of Works, Arc. Onolememen said, President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation train, have landed in Abia State. This express road from Aba to Enugu to Port-Harcourt has been a torn in our flesh; it’s a very vital road for the entire South-East, especially Abia. This is because it is Abia that the road cuts into two and the portion of Abia is the worst hit. So the situation has affected us adversely in terms of the economy of the state and we have been making pleas to the president, for quite some time now to come to our rescue. We have gone as a delegation of SouthEast governors, delegation of traditional rulers and of other prominent stakeholders. But today the deal became materialized with new equipment on site and with reputable contractors to handle it, especially the portion of Abia State. The contract will be handled by the Arab Contractors and Setraco will also handle some portion. It was a happy moment not only for me but for the whole of Abia people and you can see how they trouped out to savour the joy of the occasion. You can see how the people expressed their feelings that they appreciate what government is doing. This road that is being commissioned is one of the priorities and most essential thing our people want from Mr President and once this road is completed it will help to boast further the good image of government. What is the guarantee of delivering the project by 2015 as the Works Minister promised? Of course the minister said it all that the money to finance the project is on ground, so it is left for the contractors to work and work and ensure they finish on time. What the minister said is an assurance that the project will be funded without any hitch. It is not only awarding contract and not funding it but there is full guarantee that this one will be funded and once it is funded as promised it will be realised on time. The completion period is 40 months but do you think it’s realistic? Yes I think it’s realisable given the fact that the funding will not be a problem and the fact that the construction companies doing the job have a name they will want to protect. Of course the period seems to be a long time but I think they need such duration so as to do a quality job. When you want to deliver quality job you do not hurry on it. It could still be realised before 40 months since the funding is there but I think the 40 months duration is for double
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Why I have not decided on assurance that it will be delivered come rain, come shine.
One of the critical issues you took up recently was recalling the non-indigene workers to re-apply for employment. At what point did you decide to do this given the wage bill of your state? I try the best I can to do things at the appropriate time. Let us not forget why we took that policy, it was a policy of circumstance, it was a policy we couldn’t run away from if we must survive that period, if the civil service must survive. At the time we took that policy, it was the time of minimum wage controversy which was N18,000 and we have a commitment to our civil servants that once we make a pronouncement,we have to live by it, we are bound to honour it. We came back and did our calculations and saw that with the number of civil servants that we had we couldn’t have coped with the situation, given our income. If we had not done what we did, it means I will have serious industrial unrest on my hands on daily basis. And when you take a look at our civil service, you will see that almost three quarter of our civil servant population are not from this state and allocation as you know is given on state basis. Some people have forgotten so soon that when some states in the South East had a similar problem, what they did was to disengage those that were not from their state. The records are there. During the time of Okwesilieze Nwodo in Enugu State, it was done and others did it and I am sure it helped them to overcome the challenges of the moment. What I did was to do peer review and see how far we can go and it worked for us. It is sad some people had a wrong impression of our action and said we disengaged every non-indigene to go. Do you know that as at now when we checked we still have not less than 2,000 people who are non-indigenes in our state service? It was not all non-indigenes that were disengaged. For instance, wives of clergy men and bishops among few others were still retained. Of course, if you disengage their wives and they come here and pray for you, you will be in for trouble (laughs). The number that we disengaged was not much, but people cashed on it to play propaganda, especially those who will not see any good thing done by this administration. When we took the action, it generated so much heat and controversy but we had no choice then but it was in our best interest. The truth is that Abians were happy that we were able to pay them; of course you know we pay the highest in the country now as far as the minimum wage is concerned and I paid arrears too. I am sure there may be some states that have not started paying the minimum wage. You can see that we have industrial harmony and peace in the state. There was a time all the states in the South East went on strike but Abia was the only state that refused to join in the strike because they know we were treating the civil servants well. But the funny aspect of it was that even before we took that decision I told my colleagues (South East governors) what I wanted to do and there was no reaction from any of them. I did not take them by surprise and there was no contrary opinion from them that I should not do it. It’s surprising that when I finally did it some of them started talking. I had ex-
pected that within the period that the policy took effect some of those people would have been absorbed in their state civil service but that was not the case. When Abians were sent back, we received them and engaged them, all of them back to service, so why couldn’t my colleagues engage theirs? You cannot be rejected in your state also. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that our internally generated revenue, IGR is improved upon and now that we are witnessing significant improve-
I WANT TO BE BETTER FOCUSED TO FINISH MY ASSIGNMENT AS
THE GOVERNOR WHILE ALLOWING
DECIDE THE FATE OF MY FUTURE. IF IT IS
THE WISH OF
WILL SPEAK AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME ON THE ISSUE, TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN
ment in our IGR, we felt the best thing for us to do is to bring them back from their different states to come back so that we are sure that when we employ you, we will be able to pay. We don’t want to employ people that we cannot pay so that you have the danger of going on strike due to inability to pay. We felt now is the appropriate time for them to come back because we are sure we have the capacity to pay them. There are calls from various quarters that you go to the Senate after your present tenure. How are you reacting to it? Yes, there are clarion calls from people, individuals and groups, stakeholders within and beyond Abia Central insisting I must run the senatorial race. But the truth is that I have not indicated interest, despite the serious temptation I am getting on the issue each passing day. The other day it was all the members of the state House of Assembly, traditional rulers etc, they held a meeting and passed their resolution insisting I will be the unchallenged candidate for Abia Central on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which is the area I will represent should I run. Just few days ago it was the turn of Umunneato. UkwaNgwa bloc have also done their own, mobilized massive crowd in Ngwa High School, Aba, insisting that I had no choice than to
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Senate race –Orji TO CUT THE LONG STORY SHORT, I WANT
TO LEAVE A STATE WITH STRONG FINANCIAL
BASE, FINANCES THAT WILL BE GENERATED MORE FROM WITHIN THE STATE
accept the wishes of the people. In their own words, they said they will conscript me into the race. They wanted me to give them immediate answer, but I said no, because I have to go home and think over it, one has to be ready because it is not an easy position. I was told the Ariaria people want to do a one million march on the same issue. Some groups even outside my senatorial zone want to draft me into their own zone to run. It has been a massive show of love and appreciation from the people who are happy with what we are doing. But my plan now is to concentrate first and finish my projects. I want to be better focused to finish my assignment as the governor while allowing God to decide the fate of my future. If it is the wish of God, I will speak at the appropriate time on the issue, to run or not to run. You recently signed a memorandum of understanding MoU with 2 biggest companies.....? (Cuts in) Hope you are referring to Honeywell Group of Companies owned by Oba Otudeko? Yes You see, we have had a lot of bitter experience where some people are pretenders but come in the name of investors while they have other intentions. And when they come
and you discuss with them and they tell you what they want like land or some other things. They will tell you in two months or three months time that they will start, but you will realise to your chagrin that they disappear as soon as they got what they requested from you. It has happened to us in the new market, it happened to us at our housing estate located in Amokwe and in some other places, so that taught us a lesson. What we do now is that before you say you are an investor coming to Abia, we will do a very diligent study on you. Of course, you know that Honeywell is a strong and viable company and the owner of the company has a solid background. We approached him and told him some of the resources we have which he can tap into its investment opportunity since his group of companies are into some of them. He indicated interest in two areas, one of them is cement and we have the resources in large quantity both in Arochukwu and in Abiriba. He also indicated interest in agriculture. The man (Otudeko) came in person, with his technical crew, he did not send anybody and they discussed with us, we did feasibility study and we later signed the MoU. I believe that the MoU is a binding one that will materialise. We have set up a committee that will pursue the implementation of the MoU. So it is in our best interest, the best interest of Nigerians and as an indigenous investor, we can always reach him. Instead of them going to invest outside the country, it is better they come to Abia to invest; it will favour not only Abia but Nigeria the more. When there are jobs, criminality will reduce and there is every assurance that he will make his money. There is another investor who is doing a market for us in Aba, he is a very serious investor, and he already moved into site and started work even before we signed the MoU. He is going to do a shopping mall in Aba because of what Aba is to us. Let me use this medium to invite investors to Abia because the place is safe and the opportunities to invest in are many. What do you want to see the economy of the state look like in terms of its strength by the time you are leaving office? I want Abia to be economically vibrant and strong. We want to make Aba a brand so that anything that is made in Aba will be seen as one with international standard. We all know the value of Aba, things of great quality that are manufactured in Aba, but because of our mentality that it is locally made, people disregard it even when it is better than some of the ones that come from abroad. People don’t patronize goods made in Aba enough, the reason why they now put a foreign label on them. But it is wrong and
that is the reason we want to make Aba a brand so as to be proud of what we manufacture here. It was how Japan started but today you cannot ignore what comes out from there. So to cut the long story short, I want to leave a state with strong financial base, finances that will be generated more from within the state. It is the reason we are establishing markets, encouraging indigenous manufacturers, funding them, sensitizing them as well as empowering them. There is power which Geometrics is putting up in Aba, there is also the energy project in Alaoji, all are targeted for Aba and its environs, so when all these are on ground, coupled with the security we have on ground, there will be no reason for people not to invest or to produce something. We have sank so much in Aba and I can tell you it’s bigger than the money we have spent anywhere in Abia. The money we have put in Aba in terms of its environment, opening the channels, rehabilitation of roads and construction of new ones, infrastructural development, etc, we have not put such money in any other place in the state. But the problem in Aba is that because of the nature of the place you don’t see the effect of the money immediately, some will take time. The population of Aba is over 2 million; they are people from all the states of the federation and beyond. And like a commercial city, their behaviors are different from the attitude of the people in Umuahia, who are mainly civil servants. We are sinking money on daily basis in Aba and we will not stop. I have mobilized more contractors in Aba than anywhere and if you go there now, you will see them working. I have a permanent contractor who is opening up all channels in Aba and that was why during the last rainy season there was no complain that the place was over flooded. Can you give us an insight into the ASUBEB report that was recently submitted to you? The chairman of the panel gave us a report but I am yet to finish reading it. He gave the amount of money that went into ASUBEB and said the problem with the place is in its management. I told them to investigate the place from 1999 till 2012, which includes my period. The chairman said from their investigation that the period they had the worst expenditure was the period before mine. It was a period money was not accounted for, contracts were given to people that could not be traced etc. They are still doing forensic accounting to find out where all the money was diverted to. It’s after the forensic exercise that we can get the final authentic report on the issue. You won the best governor’s award on security and health performance. What do the awards mean to you? They mean a lot to me and my cabinet and make one wants to do more. I have lost count of the awards we have won in almost all the sectors both from the country and outside. It shows people are appreciating what we are doing and I have vowed to stop at nothing in the development of Abia State. Our legacy projects are scattered everywhere in the state and Abians are happy for it. People are celebrating us for what we have done and are still doing. Just go to Abia website and you will be shocked at what we have been able to achieve. As I speak, we still pay the highest minimum wage in the country, the reason we don’t have any problem with labour.
Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan: Group calls on PDP govs to speak up OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU
he Northwest Solidarity Forum, NSF, which membership was drawn from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the seven states in the zone, has called on the PDP governors to speak up on the controversial letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan. The group’s zonal Leader, Alhaji Abubakar Danfulani, said in a statement issued yesterday that the silence of the governors was worrisome to the Forum, explaining that there was the need for them to intervene in a measured manner that will engender reconciliation. In the statement titled: “Obasanjo’s letter: Where are the PDP governors?”, the Forum said it was concerned about the content of the 18-page letter, “which borders on issues of governance and exposes details of such other issues which should not have been meant for the public space.” It said: “While the Forum is still pondering the motivation behind the declassification of the letter by Chief Obasanjo, it is quite surprising that none of the governors of PDP has deemed it necessary to intervene in the matter through measured comments that will engender reconciliation. “The silence in the camp of the PDP governors is worrisome to us. It gives the Forum the impression that the governors may be sympathetic to the cause of Chief Obasanjo, since he was said to have been responsible for the election of no fewer than 18 out of the 23 of them (out of which five have now defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC). “But is that enough reason to keep mute and stand the risk of being complicit in the grand plan by the former President to expose the underbelly of President Jonathan’s administration to attacks by the opposition elements?” Saying that at the stage things are, PDP governors who believe in the survival of the Federal Government and the PDP cannot afford to sit on the fence or keep mute, the NSF added: “They cannot afford to pander to the whims and caprices of an individual who has a personal axe to grind with President Jonathan at the detriment of the Federal Government and the ruling PDP. “They must stand up to save the government and the party from the grand conspiratorial alliances that are being maliciously coupled by Chief Obasanjo with a view to undermining the Federal Government under the watch of President Jonathan. “The salvation of our nascent democracy, the political careers and future of the governors should give them a sense of urgency and commitment to the task of working together to pursue peace and success for the Federal Government and the ruling party now and during the 2015 general elections.”
US intervention to stop crude oil theft
ASO ROCK FILE
Obasanjo’s ‘Before it is too late’ letter to Jonathan
hat was the title of the letter of appeal that former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan where he made serious accusations about the conduct in his administration and style of governance of the country. When the letter became public knowledge last week, Jonathan was out of the country and so was Obasanjo, they had both attended the memorial service held for former South African President, Nelson Mandela held at FNB stadium in South Africa where several heads of states and governments were also in attendance. In the 18-page open letter, the former President had accused Jonathan of ineptitude, promoting corruption and pursuing agenda that could destroy the country, among other sundry allegations. The letter has also generated a lot of reactions from Nigerians who believed that both leaders have the responsibility to pursue national interest and ensure the progress, development, peace and unity of the country. The Presidency has said that Jonathon would personally respond to the allegations raised by Obasanjo But in a swift reaction shortly after the letter came into public domin, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati in a press statement described Obasanjo’s letter as unbecoming, self-serving and highly provocative While acknowledging that “it has indeed received the said letter from Chief Obasanjo,” the Presidency said: “We however find it highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former Head of State and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the President and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership. “While many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving,
hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land, President Jonathan has directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Chief Obasanjo over it. “The President himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges levied against him and his administration by the former Head of State.” But the day after the letter was released to the public and in a move that surprised many, Obasanjo visited Jonathan at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, where they had a private breakfast together. They were both in Nairobi for the 50th independence anniversary celebration of Kenya which was held at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani, Nairobi. But those who know how to read between the lines are not impressed by the breakfast meeting as a sign that all is well when they go memory lane in the case of former Senate President, late Chuba Okadigbo and former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Audu Ogbe.
or a developing economy like Nigeria, the issue of crude oil theft has become a great burden which has affected the revenue of the country to a great extent. In July last year, President Goodluck Jonathan at the opening of the Maritime Sector Presidential Retreat said it was embarrassing that Nigeria is the only country where crude oil is stolen and that those who are involved in the act should hide their heads in shame. He also vowed that his administration was working very hard to tackle the menace of crude oil theft. Also at the retreat, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that the country loses over N2 trillion annually in capital flight to foreign countries following the inability of the indigenous ship owners to fully participate in lifting of the over 150 million tons of cargo from the country including crude oil exports. The seriousness of the issue of crude oil theft made Jonathan to seek the assistance of the United States President Barack Obama to tackle the menace. In response to the request, a high powered delegation arrived the country last week and met with Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa. The delegation was led by the United State Assistant Secretary of State for Defence, Sharon Burke, who said she was so delighted to come to Nigeria for first hand assessment of the issues regarding crude oil theft in the country She said: “We are very delighted to
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo flanked by President Goodluck Jonathan and Benin Republic President, Boni Yayi after a worship service at Aso Villa Chapel during one of his visits to the State House.
Bamanga Tukur and the virus in him or those who think that the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur would step down from his exalted position, they had better have a rethink as he has said he would not vacate his office because of pressure from aggrieved governors in the party. Tukur also agreed that he is a virus that has positively affected the fortunes of the party. “They even say that I am a virus. Yes, I agree that I am virus, but a virus for discipline; a virus for good governance, virus for positive change and virus for all things that are good,” Tukur said after meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa last week Thursday. The seven aggrieved governors had listed the removal of Tukur as one of the
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
conditions for them to remain in the party after they staged a walk out at the convention of the party on August 31 to form a new PDP The governors also known as the G7 include Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Rabiu Kwakwanso (Kano). While Amaechi, Kwakwanso, Nyako, Wammako and Ahmed had already defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Aliyu and Lamido said they are still in the PDP. The PDP Chairman said that there is no basis for him to resign as he was not bothered by the various accusations leveled against him by both the G7 governors and members of the opposition political party. “Do you resign when you know that you are doing good things?” Tukur asked journalists.
come here on behalf of President Obama. I am here with colleagues from the Department of Energy, the White House and the Department of State and United States Force for Africa. We were told to come and listen, to listen to people and understand the nature of the oil theft, revenue loss and what the problem was and we have had opportunity to speak with great range of people and we have had a great deal of ourselves”. “We will be returning home, digest the information we have gotten, we will review our notes and discussions and then present our findings to Mr. President.” United State Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle said the delegation has been in Delta State and Abuja and also met with top government officials and some oil companies.
Presidential Villa’s visitors 1.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex BAdeh 2. Commander, Presidential Air fleet, Air Vice Marshal Uko Ebong 3. United States Assistant Secretary for Defence, Sharon Burke 4. Unites States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Estwistle 5. Chairman, Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Tony Anenih 6. Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrews Yakubu 7. National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur 8. Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Muntasar Abdelsaid 9. Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu 10. Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso 11. Sokoto State governor, Aliyu Wamakko
N40bn for another phase of NASS renovation, upgrading
he Federal Executive Council last week approved N40 billion for expansion, upgrading and renovation of existing structures at the National Assembly. During the period of the project, the two chambers of the National Assembly would be shut down for a period of 12 months But there is no cause for worry, according to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, the lawmakers would still be able to perform their legislative duties in the large committee and conference rooms inside the premises of the Assembly complex. The entire project which would last for 40 months is under the national priority projects of the Federal Government and was awarded to Julius Berger. The minister explained that the project was specifically for the construction of Phase III Part III and upgrading of the Senate and the House of Representatives chambers.
According to him, the new project of the National Assembly would include the provision library, budget office, printing press, clinic, restaurants, banquet hall, places of worship, plenary hall (auditorium), TV/radio/ press facilities, fitness room, administrative offices, technical rooms, and meeting rooms. Muhammed also said the upgrading of the two chambers would also ensure the installation of new electronic voting system The Minister of Information and supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku also disclosed that FEC approved a memo brought by Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke for the establishment of a national laboratory in Owerri, Imo State for the testing of petroleum products including crude oil.
MORE POLITICS STORIES ON PAGES 41-44
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Our egregious variant of politics CHIEDU UCHE OKOYE
epresentative government is the most popular type of government in our today’s world. Military rule is largely viewed as an aberration, and it is fast going out of fashion. There are places, especially in the Middle East, where Islamic theocracy blends with monarchical type of government to evolve into another undefined type of government. But then, the wind of liberal democracy blowing across our world has swept away some military dictatorships and one party dictatorships. Nigeria is now an acknowledged liberal democracy. Before 1999, Nigeria was ruled for the greater part of her post independence years by jackboots and brass-hats, who ruined our economy, entrenched corruption in the country, and trampled on our fundamental human rights. While Sanni Abacha stole our country blind, General Ibrahim Babangida’s most atrocious perfidy was his annulment of the result of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, considered to be the freest and fairest election in our political history. His cancellation of that election threw our dear country into turmoil; and many human rights activists died while fighting to revalidate the annulled mandate. Gracefully, democracy again berthed in Nigeria in May 1999, and it has been an ongoing concern for over 14 years, the longest ever recorded. Our 14 years of unbroken
democratic leadership is a milestone that calls for celebration, our country men having suffered under oppressive military dictatorships. Now, Nigerians have become familiar with democratic culture. They participate in periodic elections to vote in new leaders. But, our brand of politics is egregious. Politics is the means by which politicians try to acquire political power legitimately. What shaped our peculiar politics are cultural factors and our ingrained moral values. Since 1999, when the fourth republic dawned, our manner of politicking has become fossilized. In our past, politicking had got to do with the proposition of ideas and ideologies. There were politicians who belonged to the left of the centre, the extreme left, and the right of the left-right ideological continuum. They would woo the voters with their party manifestoes and programmes of action. In the first republic, Chief Obafemi Awolowo identified with democratic socialism. As the leader in the Western Region government, he implemented free primary education policy, which was in harmony with his party’s ideology. Today, many prominent people of Yoruba extraction occupying exalted positions in the federal government owe their successes in life to Awolowo’s benefaction and socialist welfarism. The NCNC had its political ideology too, and its leader, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, an orator, dazzled audiences during his barnstorming with speeches that showed
HERE, IN NIGERIA, WE WORSHIP THOSE WITH
ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH, BUT FEEL CONTEMPT FOR MEN WITH PROBITY his party’s economic and political leanings. Sadly now, our type of politics is not issue-based. Our politicians seldom talk about issues that affect us, not to talk of offering solutions to them. When they are compelled to appear on television for debate, the debate session would degenerate into a shouting match. One cannot make out what they are talking about. In our new politics the name of the game is money. In the run up to the 2013 Anambra State governorship election, one of the contestants, a man whose company was under receivership, gave kerosene, motorcycles, cars and monetary gifts to people so as to sway them to his political party. Giving money to people during party rallies is the in-thing now. Our politics has been bastardized and monetized. Giving money to the voters has dislodged soliciting for the people’s votes using party manifestoes and taking principled positions on issues. It is our politicians’ desperation for power that informed their resort to politicking based on dishing out money to people. Clinching political power offers them unlimited access to our common financial tills. Our perception of power is warped
and perverted. Political leaders see their occupation of exalted political offices as an opportunity to amass wealth. Here, in Nigeria, we worship those with ill-gotten wealth, but feel contempt for men with probity. Against this background of moral unscrupulousness, many electoral umpires can compromise their moral principles and work ethics for pecuniary rewards. So, politicians do collude with electoral officials to perpetrate electoral fraud. Those entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the sanctity of elections pervert the electoral processes. It is believed that all Nigerian politicians participate in rigging elections, but those that are outrigged in elections cry foul and call for the cancellation of the polls. During the 2013 Anambra State governorship election, the electoral officer in charge of Idemili North Local Government Area failed to distribute election materials to towns within its jurisdiction. It is believed that he received inducement from some politicians. The culture of election fraud leads to the emergence of social misfits as our leaders. The ultimate sovereignty in a country resides with the people. But election malpractices lead to the subversion of the people’s political will. We should articulate ways of eradicating these political malfeasances that undermine our political growth and development. Okoye wrote from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State
Aregbesola and Osun renewal YOMI OBADTAN
he government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola from inception three years ago promised to be a peculiar people-centred one. The popular imagination today is that the governor has lived up to his promises. The six integral components of his Action Plan - battling poverty; banishing hunger; ameliorating unemployment; restoration of healthy living; promotion of functional education, and enhancement of communal peace and progress - remain the compass that guides the working and actions of the government. For about eight months after he was sworn in, Ogbeni did not appoint commissioners as elected governors are wont to do. For reason, hear him: “I used the first eight months to save enough funds for the projects and programmes of the government, our predecessor took a bank loan that grounded the financial wheel of the administration to the tune of N18.6 billion…” That simple financial reengineering made the governor to stand out from the pack of Nigerian leaders. The impactful developmental strides of the administration as witnessed in the whirlwind of development, progress and transformation sweeping through the length and bread of the State of Osun, tell the story of a visionary and astute leader. Mention must also be made of the empowerment component of the administration’s Action Plan. Within 100 days of the life of the administration, 20, 000 youths were
engaged under the Osun Youths Empowerment (O-YES) scheme. Each beneficiary was placed on N10, 000 per month. The governor astounded critics of the scheme when he engaged another batch of 20, 000 youths to bring the total to 40, 000 youths. The O-YES scheme has since received the endorsement of the World Bank, which prodded the Federal Government to adopt it in its own drive to empower our youths, and it has expressed its intent to support the scheme financially. Today, the FG has the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) programme to its credit. Complementing the O-YES programme is Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O-REAP), an interventionist scheme aimed at motivating the people to embrace farming. It is all embracing, with emphasis on training, provision of extension services, clearing of farm lands, assessing loan facilities and subsidizing farm inputs, all by the state government. There is also the Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QIIP) for agric farmers to boost food production in the state and thus enhancing food security. So successful are these interventionist measures that the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria has adjudged the state as the best among the states with low incidence of unemployed youths. The revolution going on in the state’s education sector has attracted the attention of the world. One component of it is the introduction of Opon-Imo (tablet of knowledge), an educational iPad that is packed with all subjects taken at secondary with instructional and tutorial materials. This
THE REALITY ON GROUND TODAY IS THAT AREGBESOLA HAS DONE WHAT NO GOVERNOR HAS DONE SINCE THE CREATION OF THE STATE
21 YEARS AGO
innovation has earned the state and Governor Aregbesola international award and recognition. Today, Opon Imo has become an international phenomenal with many nations keying into its application. Aregbesola’s school reclassification policy, though misconstrued in many quarters, its efficacy has been generally acknowledged. Reclassification of the state’s school system into Elementary, Middle and High schools, is a mission borne out of a long sighted vision of the governor to transform primary and post primary education in the state. The initial opposition has given way to popular acceptance. Programmed to slow down the good job of the governor was the controversy over the source of funds for financing the education lifting projects. Many object to sukuk, the Islamic bond that made the funds possible. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) alleged that assessing the bond was a ploy to Islamicise the state. Why should this be an issue when the British government recently openly declared it was set to obtain the same Islamic loan? The Federal Government of Nigeria has also indicated its willingness to assess such funds to fi-
nance transport projects in Nigeria. Despite these unwarranted distractions Ogbeni is on course. His urban renewal programme is having salutary effects on urban dwelling. Road projects covering one kilometer radius are earmarked for selected ancient urban areas like Ile-Ife, Ilesha, Osogbo, Ikirun, Ila Orangun, Ejigbo, Ede, Iwo and Ikire. Roads in Osogbo, the state capital, have been upgraded to the extent that the opposition now enviously accused the government of concentrating development in the ancient town! The projects are financed in collaboration with the UN-Habitat with the state providing counterpart fund of N100 million. To provide a buffer for property owners affected by the exercise, the Aregbesola administration paid out N333.9 million in compensation to some of the affected claimants. An attempt to blackmail the state government over the properties that gave way to the urban renewal by the political opponents failed as the people show their understanding and appreciation to the government effort towards the urban renewal. The reality on ground today is that Aregbesola has done what no governor has done since the creation of the state 21 years ago. Obaditan wrote from Osogbo,Osun State Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.
Tuesday December 17, 2013
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SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT
The 9th ministerial conference of WTO
he 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) took place in Bali, Indonesia not long ago. The meeting sought to revive the longstalled Doha Round by reaching a possible trade deal at the four-day meeting. The conference intended to break trade impasses and finalize a package of global trade agreement that includes trade facilitation, development and agriculture. Meanwhile, the Doha Round trade talk was launched by the WTO to assist poor countries overcome barriers in global trade and prosper through the free flow of goods. In 2008, the Doha Round was stalled by a wide disparity in opinions on farm subsides, tariffs and non-agricultural market access between developed countries and their developing counterparts. Despite the failure to finalize trade deal documents at the Doha Round, trade leaders had expressed optimism that the areas in dispute would be resolved at the Bali meeting, based on the projection that a trade deal would boost global gross domestic product by $960 billion; increase exports by $570 billion and create 18 million jobs in developing countries. The trade deal was to produce a rules-based multilateral trading system that would be acceptable to both developed and developing countries, assist the weak grow strong and contribute to regional and global stability. The extent of success of the Bali meet-
ing cannot be truly determined as yet, but reports claimed a deal was struck on the vexatious issues of agricultural subsidy, trade and development. It is expected that developing countries with low valueadded commodity exports, poor economies of scale and poor trade infrastructure would benefit. Meanwhile, some experts in international economic relations view the WTO as a symbol of second round of slavery for Africa. They argue that WTO documents were signed without concrete and wide discussions by critical partners in Africa. Besides, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT), which WTO replaced on January 1, 1995, was said to be more progressive than its successor (WTO). The GATT reportedly dealt with tradable and protected weak states in some measures, or at least offered lee-way over national frameworks of economic planning and access to tariffs. It also recognized the need for Most Favored Nations, (MFS); and reciprocity. The WTO decisions are, however, binding on all nations whether or not they participated in the decisionmaking process, provided the countries signed the WTO document. The WTO extends to all sectors, including patent and copyrights, education and other services. This implies that that key social services in Africa will not likely be met due to the over pricing of essential ser-
December 17, 2005 Anti-World Trade Organization protests took place in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries.
DEVELOPMENTAL AND ECONOMIC CRISES REQUIRE AN AFRO CENTRIC FRAMEWORK, BASED ON SELF-RELIANCE AND COMMITMENT TO THE POPULACE vices. Furthermore, the triumph of the WTO had meant the hegemony of the United States, which is the key player in the WTO system, with the European Union (EU) and Japan as allies. The US has also been severally accused of violating WTO rules and preferring to pay fines, whereas it expects other countries to comply with WTO rules. It is apparent that the WTO has no sufficient space for development on its agenda. The fear is that the organisation could vitiate a nation’s economic framework for development, deny third world countries revenue- tariffs through custom and excise, slow down national growth, weaken the competitiveness of the infant industries and pauperize third world nations, including Nigeria. Indeed, the core capitalist states are likely to be celebrating the WTO as the triumph of capitalism. This seemed the apprehension that sparked the massive anti-WTO
ON THIS DAY December 17, 2009 MV Danny F II sank off the coast of Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of 44 people and over 28,000 animals. Danny F II (originally Don Carlos) was a cargo ship built in 1975 as a car carrier. It was renamed Danny F II when it was rebuilt as a livestock transporter in 1994. The ship capsized and sank off Lebanon on December 17, 2009, carrying 83 people, 10,224 sheep, and 17,932 cattle. Thirty-nine people were rescued and nine human bodies recovered.
protests that took place during the organisation’s 6th ministerial meeting which held from 13 to 18 December, 2005 in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The foregoing thus suggests the need for paradigm shift in Africa’s, nay Nigeria’s development concerns. First, the Western development framework is not anchored on equity as such. Therefore, it should not be the springboard for resolving Africa’s economic crises. Again, development strategies should respond to the historical and cultural specificities of different economies. Africa’s developmental and economic crises require an Afro-centric framework, based on self-reliance and commitment to the populace. The African reality is that its development process should be appreciated and understood by its populace. But it would seem the WTO is deepening the economic domination of the North and victimhood of the South. The states in Africa cannot do meaningful trade without expansion in production and improvement in the quality of production (a shift from non-processed agricultural products to shift to agro-allied concerns and manufacturing). For Africa, the state should be central to the practice of the market, as well as the latter’s control and regulation. The state itself should not be led by foreign interests, but should respond to local contestation of social forces for people-based development.
December 17, 2010 Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. The act became the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring. Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi (March 29, 1984 – January 4, 2011 ) was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides.
Non-compliance with CPS worries stakeholders SUPER TUESDAY
Rising concern over audits that keep airlines grounded
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
FLIGHT SCHEDULE Arik Air
As Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, strategise on financial inclusion, experts say collaboration among stakeholders the way to go, UDO ONYEKA, reports.
he operations of financial system are crucial to people’s savings, credit, payment and risk management needs. More importantly, the inclusiveness of this system tends to benefit the poor and other disadvantaged groups in the society. The heightened interest in Financial Inclusion, FI, by Nigeria can be traced to its effect on financial development and economic growth. For instance, many studies have shown that financial development tends to increase economic growth and reduce inequality and poverty. This is because improvements in the financial sector is expected to aid savings, capital formation and ease the external financing constraints that companies and entrepreneurs face which then lead to higher growth. Increased savings can be engendered by including the poor and disadvantaged groups in the formal financial system, considering their large numbers. According to Dr Afolabi Olowookere of African Centre for Shared Development Capacity, University of Ibadan, this small saving group represents a means of financial diversification, which can enhance financial stability and economic growth of a country. He said it has been shown that in countries
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Imperative of expanding financial inclusion with low levels of financial inclusion, households and small firms resort to informal financial services and these can be counter-productive. Olowookere said considering the benefit of financial inclusion, many economies including Nigeria have come to recognise the potential of inclusive financial systems, which is now becoming an important political issue to financial markets regulators and operators. According many experts, Nigerians financial sector has witnessed significant developments in recent years as both regulators and private operators have instituted policies and strategies for its expansion. Although many of these efforts have always been targeted at financial inclusion, experts believe that what remains, however, is for the impact of the country’s financial sector development to reflect in the growth of the real sector. For instance, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Mr. Goodie Ibru, said over 80 per cent Nigerian enterprises still describe poor access to finance as the most difficult problem they face. National Mirror gathered that Nigeria ranks low in indicators of financial inclusion, even among its peers. For instance, the World Bank Global Findex data shows that only about 30 per cent of Nigerian adults have accounts with formal financial institutions. This value is below those of
Airlines to earn $12.9bn net profit in 2013 –IATA 21
Lag-Abj:07.15, 09.15, 10.20, 13.05, 15.20, 16.20, 16.50,18.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun). Abj-Lag: 07:15, 09.40, 10.20, 12.15, 15.15, 16.15, 17:10, (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun); 12.15, 15.15, 16.15 (Sun) Lag-PH: 07:15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.10, 17.15 (Mon-Fri); 07.30, 11.40, 15.50 (Sat) 11.50, 3.50, 17.05 Sun) Abj-PH: 07.15, 11.20, 15.30 (Mon-Fri) 07.15, 16.00 (Sat) 13.10, 16.00 Sun) PH-Abj: 08.45, 12.50, 17.00 (MonFri) 08.45, 17.30 (Sat) 14.40, 17.30 (Sun) Abv-Beni:08.00, 12.10 (MonFri/Sat)08.56, 12.10 (Sun) BeninAbj:09.55,13.30
Lag-Abj: 06.50, 13.30, 16.30, 19.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun), 12.30 (Sun) 16.45 (Sat) Abj-Los: 07.30, 13.00, 19.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat, 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 (Sun, 18.30 Sat) Lag-Benin: Kenya and South Africa, which have values of 07.45, 11.00, 15.30 (Mon-Fri/Sat/ 42 per cent and 54 per cent respectively. Sun) 12.30 (Sun 15.30 (Sat) Therefore as parts of its efforts to address Ben-Lag: 09.15, 12.30, 17.00 the problem of low level of financial inclusion, (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) 17.00 (Sat) 14.00 Nigeria has put together a National Finan(Sun)Lag-Owe: 7.45am, 2pm daily cial Inclusion Strategy, which is designed to increase the number of Nigerians that are included in the formal financial sector to 70 per cent by the year 2020. To achieve this laudable objective, financial experts have said that collaboration among financial sector stakeholders is very crucial. Olowookere said that an important section in this Strategy considers the issues of monitoring and evaluation, adding that this is to measure and ensure that the Strategy has the desired impact by collecting a comprehensive data from financial industry stakeholders twice a year. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi financial consumer protection efforts and financial literacy initiatives of the CBN would help bring people on board the formal financial system, especially when the financial system is sound. He said the key mandate of the CBN is the promotion of a sound financial system, which would instill confidence in users of financial services. Sanusi said “as regulators, we have a responsibility to maintain public confidence
Lagos-Abuja 7.30 8.30 7.45 8.45 09.30 10.30 10.30 11.30 12.30 13.30 14.30 15.30 16.30 17.30 Lagos-Kano 08.00 09.15 10.30 11.45 14.30 15.40 18.15 19.30 Los-Maid&Yola (Mon-Thur) 09.30 11.30 Fri- Sun 10.30 12.30 KanoLagos 07.30 08.45 14.00 15.15 17.30 18.45 Kano-Abj 10.45 11.30 Abj-Lagos 09.00 10.30 11.00 12.00 12.00 13.00
CONTINUED ON PAGE 20
Anxiety mounts over worker’s rights after power sector reforms 23
Mortgage banks move to meet Dec 31 recapitalisation deadline
Business & Finance
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 in the financial sector by addressing all factors that would undermine the sector’s long-term stability, without which it would lose its relevance as a medium of economic interaction and payments. Maintaining public confidence demands ensuring that the sector keeps up with all pertinent global developments to make sure it remains relevant to the needs of the public from which it derives its mandate. “A stable financial system is also a precondition for economic growth and development, hence financial inclusion especially when promoted in the broader context of economic inclusion, can raise financial conditions and improve the standards of lives of the poor and the disadvantaged. Access to affordable financial services would lead to increasing economic activities and employment opportunities for rural households with a possible multiplier effect on the economy”, Sanusi said. He said the CBN in collaboration with other stakeholders launched the financial inclusion strategy in October 2012. The overall goal of the strategy is to reduce adult exclusion rate from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent in 2020, the achievement of which is expected to support the empowerment of many Nigerians, facilitate their involvement in economic activities and enable them contribute to national economic growth and development. Sanusi said the CBN strategy on financial inclusion defines clear objectives and sets specific targets across five primary products and services namely payments, credits, savings, pensions and insurance through a broad range of coordinated interventions with high priority on the following areas: transformation of the Know Your Customer,KYC regulation into a simplified risk-based tiered framework, development and implementation of a regulatory framework for gent banking and development and implementation of a national financial literacy framework. Others include implementation of a comprehensive consumer protection framework to safeguard the interest of consumers of financial products and services, to continue to pursue adoption of mobile payment system and other cash-lite policy efforts and implementation of credit enhancement schemes/programmes to empower micro, small and medium enterprises, SMEs. Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, said financial exclusion retards economic growth as SMEs are denied credit, as only large corporate and guaranteed wage earners in the public and private sector have access to credit. Ibrahim said there need for appropriate regulation regime to support financial inclusion, adding that “the ability of the market to respond to this demands depends not only on providers developing sustainable and low-cost ways to providing such services, but also on having an enabling regulatory and supervisory environment backed by an effective deposit insurance system”. He said that the NDIC supports financial inclusion through guaranteeing deposits, especially small savers. According to him, “This is the direct link between deposit insurance and financial inclusion. Deposit insurance is vital to financial inclusion because the poor need assurance that the services of the depository institutions are safe and available at
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Imperative of expanding financial inclusion
FINANCIAL INCLUSION ESPECIALLY WHEN PROMOTED IN THE BROADER CONTEXT OF
ECONOMIC INCLUSION, CAN RAISE FINANCIAL CONDITIONS AND IMPROVE THE STANDARDS OF LIVES OF THE POOR AND THE DISADVANTAGED all time. “NDIC is also a supervisor that enhances financial inclusion by providing consumer protection through supervision of banks, continuous education and trust and policy formulation and oversight. “The corporation also provides incentive for rural banking and prosecutes erring and reckless directors and management of banks.” He said financial inclusion, consumer protection and financial literacy are complimentary to each other and that in order to attract the unbanked poor to the formal financial systems, there is a need to educate this segment of the society with regards to various financial products and services available from formal financial sector. According the NDIC boss, financial literacy is key for the attainment of National Financial Inclusion Strategy’s objectives, adding that to safeguard of the interest of consumers and sustain confidence in the formal financial sector, adequate consumer protection is necessary.
According to Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access, EFInA, a financial development organisation that tries to promote financial inclusion in Nigeria, in its survey of adults of 18 years and above in 2008, 2010 and 2012 shows that the level of financial inclusion in the country is low. The outcome of the organisation’s 2012 survey shows that although 60.3 per cent of Nigerians are financially served, only 43 per cent are formally included and that males 47.4per cent are more financially included than females 38.3 per cent. EFInA said inclusion in the formal financial sector varies across the geo-political zones in Nigeria in the following order; North West 22.5 per cent; North East 25.7 per cent; North Central 48.2 per cent; South East 52 per cent; South South 52.3 per cent and South West 57.7 per cent. It said Nigeria performs relatively lower than South Africa, Namibia and Botswana in financial inclusion but the proportion of adults that are formally included has increased from 23.6 per cent in 2008 to 36.3
per cent in 2010 and 43 per cent in 2012. This implies that the number of financially included adults in Nigeria increased by 10.5 per cent between 2008 and 2012. The organisation however said that the level of financial inclusion in Nigeria is still low, “adding that the level is even lower for groups such as women, less educated and poor households. According to EFInA there are many reasons why the poor and other disadvantaged groups may be excluded from formal financial services. For instance, it said this group is often considered as not viable by formal financial service providers and therefore not considered when designing financial products. The financial organisation therefore said that in order to include this group in the formal financial sector financial services providers such as banks should consider the group and to develop products that would be attractive to them, noting that the level of inclusion should be regularly monitored. EFInA informed that for a large and developing society like Nigeria, it is crucial to ensure that measures of the extent of financial inclusion encompass different parameters that properly reflect the complexity and diversity of the country. For instance, although measures and data provided by international organisations have the advantages of providing standardised crosscountry comparisons, they may not reflect the peculiarities of the local economy. “Therefore, it is pertinent to keep on developing new kinds of identifiable indicators based on the evolving needs of the financial inclusion programme”, EFInA said. In order to lower the level of financial exclusion in the country the CBN said The National Financial Inclusion Strategy has identified some key stakeholders that will be involved in the implementation and allocation roles and responsibilities. The stakeholders according to the apex bank include: Federal Government, CBN, National Pension Commission, National Insurance Commission, National Communications Commission, Operators in the financial sector and Development Partners among others. It also said the Financial Services Regulation and Coordination Committee, FSRCC, which will be reporting to the National Executive Council on the state of financial inclusion in the country and will be responsible for coordinating initiatives across various regulatory bodies, give strategic direction for the implementation of the strategy and secure buy-in of government at the highest levels. A Financial Inclusion Secretariat has been set up in the CBN to coordinate stakeholder activities towards increasing financial inclusion, collect and analyse financial inclusion data, track and monitor progress on financial inclusion and address capacity building initiatives. “At the Bankers Committee Retreat held in Calabar, in December, 2012, Borno State was adopted for the Pilot Implementation of the Financial Inclusion Strategy. This was owing to the high financial exclusion rate in the state. “The bank, in partnership with the Borno State Government and Bankers’ Committee launched the Pilot Phase in February, 2013”, the CBN said.
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Business & Finance
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
‘Piracy reports ploy to hike Nigeria cargo insurance premium’ FRANCIS EZEM
he Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said it is ever committed to providing safety and security on the nation’s maritime domain in line with its core mandate but regretted that some foreign media reports on piracy, sea robbery and hijacks were being hyped for ulterior economic reasons. Director-General of the agency, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who played host to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Marine Transport, hinted that the agency has undertaken certain crucial steps towards fighting sea piracy and other forms of illegalities on the nation’s territorial waters. According to him, as part of the commitment in reducing the trend to the barest minimum, the agency is currently collaborating with relevant security agencies and has also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Nigerian Air Force to complement an existing MoU with the Nigerian Navy, among others. He however told the legislators to ignore some foreign media reports on the activities of pirates and other criminals on Nigeria’s waters, which he said were either designed to undermine the agency or for other selfish economic benefits such as
arbitrary increase in insurance premium on Nigeria-bound cargoes by some foreign interests. “Not all reported cases of hijacks, piracy and robbery on our waters are genuine. Some of these cases are hyped to undermine us and shore-up insurance premium to Nigeria. I am not saying that piracy does not occur in our domain, but it is exaggerated. We are working tirelessly to reduce piracy and illicit crimes on our waterways to the barest minimum through these collaborative efforts”, the DG assured. He also said that based on its four-point agenda, the agency is committed to repositioning Nigeria to become the best maritime nation in Africa by the year 2020. While fielding questions from the legislators on 2013 budget implementation, he hinted that the budget performance of the agency in terms of revenue generation showed an improved performance as at October 31, 2013 compared to the figures of last year, insisting that the agency would meet its target before the end of the fiscal year. Chairman of the committee, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi while speaking during the visit, observed that the agency has been spending more on capital projects rather than overhead, describing the trend as a necessity for all sectors of the Nigerian economy if the nation is to move forward.
Dana Air needs to settle some issues before commencing operation –NCAA OLUSEGUN KOIKI
he Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has said that the grounded local carrier Dana Air needs to “close some open items” discovered during the audit of its operations before it will be allowed to return to air services. This is as the agency emphasized that in a bid to improve safety of the Nigerian airspace, it will henceforth carry out audits of the indigenous airlines annually in line with international best practices. The Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu disclosed this yesterday in a statement to Journalists in Lagos. Akinkuotu in the statement said that the audit of the airline, which commenced Monday last week was concluded on Friday, but described the audits on the airline “as good and healthy. “The DG described the exercise as painstaking, professional and transparent, involving the NCAA Flight Standard Group, FSG, in conjunction with their foreign
partners.” He explained further that the agency would meet with the management of the airline where their action plan towards closing the open items would be reviewed and agreed upon, stating that further consultations would thereafter take place to determine possible date of resumption of flight operations. Also, NCAA declared that henceforth all the indigenous airlines would be audited annually including Dana Air, adding that a schedule audit programme would be drawn up for all the airlines on yearly bases. He argued that the essence of this was to ensure safety in the sky and also to avoid hitches in flight operations of the airlines. NCAA had on Sunday 6th October, 2013 suspended the total operations of Dana Air following its air return on Port HarcourtLagos route. NCAA had said then that it would immediately commence audit of the airline in line with its safety oversight functions, but it took it over nine weeks to commence the audit.
Mr. Ugwuanyi, who said the visit was in line with its oversight function, commended the agency for its strict budget implementation and pledged to continue to support NIMASA in order to ensure maximum efficiency in the transformation of the maritime industry. The Committee also applauded the Nigerian Seafarers De-
velopment Programme, NSDP, of the agency, describing it as a veritable tool for wealth creation and pledged its unflinching support for youth development in the industry. While speaking on the Coastal and Inland Shipping, Cabotage, Act, Ugwuanyi said the committee had noted the concerns of the agency towards an amendment
to the law to make it more adaptable to the Nigerian maritime realities. “We have noted your concerns about the Cabotage Act and have already made a presentation to the House Committee on Rules and Business. Very soon, the amendments will be presented to the House for consideration”, he assured.
L-R: Chairman of Board, Enterprise Bank Limited, Sir, Ogala Osoka; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Ahmed Kuru; wife of former Enterprise Bank Chairman, Mrs. Theresa Onwuka and her husband, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, at a dinner the incumbent chairman organised in honour of his predecessor in Lagos at the weekend.
FG urged to partner NEPAD on industrial development EMMANUEL OGBONNAYA
he Federal Government has been urged to explore the viability of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, as a veritable channel of optimising capacity utilisation in Nigeria’s quest for industrialisation. The call was made by the Executive Director of the African Heritage Institution, AfriHeritage, Dr. Ifediora Amobi, at a workshop organised by the Institution tagged, “ Strengthening the Effectiveness of NEPAD in Nigeria: The Way Forward”. Amobi who bemoaned the state of NEPAD Nigeria since its establishment 12 years ago noted that, the country had been devoting huge financial commitment
to the initiative but yet to take advantage of the infrastructural development aspect of it which could have helped the country to surmount its industrial challenges. On the role the legislature must play towards realising the agenda, Amobi called on the National Assembly to see the current unemployment in the country as a great challenge that calls for pragmatic actions. He expressed his belief that the communiqué to be issued at the workshop would provide the lawmakers the additional impetus for accelerated legislature to drive for the enactment of the “Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the NEPAD Commission and Other Related Matters”. In his address, the chairman
of the occasion, Senator Sanusi Daggash gave kudos to AfriHeritage for organising the workshop to sensitise the public about NEPAD and create awareness towards improving the operations of the body. The former Minister of National Planning remarked that the developmental ideal as contained in NEPAD’s objectives was real but with operational challenges. He further attributed the challenges being faced by the body in Africa and indeed Nigeria to frequent changes in government and lack of accountability of public office holders. According to him, “NEPAD needs to be strengthened but the practicability is a big problem in Nigeria. Africa needs people with character and strength to get its aims fulfilled.”
Multiple taxation, bane of economic development –KWACCIMA boss
he Kwara Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, KWACCIMA, yesterday identified multiple taxation, poor access to loans, high lending rates and epileptic power supply as some of the factors limiting economic growth in the country. KWACCIMA President, Chief Hezekiah Adedeji, identified the obstacles at the 46th Annual General Meeting of the body in Ilorin. Adedeji said that the organised private sector had crucial role to play in the nation’s economic development and democracy. He called on government at all
levels to give the necessary support to the private sector. Adedeji said that the support would not only create a robust economic base, but fight social ills through the creation of employment for the large number of unemployed youths. In his paper presentation, a former Special Assistant to the Kwara Governor on Youth Empowerment, Alhaji Saka Babatunde, described youth unemployment as menace that required radical and drastic approach. He called for holistic measures to address unemployment, stress-
ing that unemployment was an obstacle to economic growth and national peace. Babatunde said that the state government would soon embark on an internship and training programme with identified private organisations to solve the problem of youth unemployment. He said that the programme would be in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment and the private sector. Babatunde said that the state government would design incentives to encourage private organisations to take and train interns.
Business & Finance
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Airlines to earn $12.9bn net profit in 2013 –IATA OLUSEGUN KOIKI
he International Air Transport Association, IATA, has forecasted that global airlines are expected to return a net profit of $12.9 billion for the 2013 financial year. The figure, IATA said is expected to rise to $19.7 billion in 2014. IATA said both are improvements on the September forecast, which anticipated an industry net profit of $11.7 billion in 2013 increasing to $16.4bn in 2014. The upward revision reflects lower jet fuel prices over the forecast period as well as improvements to the industry’s structure and efficiency already visible in quarterly results this year. Passenger markets continue to outperform the cargo business, which remains stagnant both on volumes and revenues. IATA said it expects 2014 to
be a second consecutive year of strengthening profitability (beginning from 2012 when airlines posted a net profit of $7.4 billion). Industry net profit margins, however, remain weak at 1.1 per cent according to IATA of revenues in 2012, 1.8 per cent in 2013 and 2.6 per cent in 2014. Within this aggregate forecast for the entire industry, performance of individual airlines and regions will vary considerably. The anticipated $19.7 billion profit in 2014 would come on projected revenues of 743 billion. While this would be the largest absolute profit for the airline industry outstripping the $19.2 billion net profit that the industry returned in 2010. IATA noted that 2010 revenues were $579bn. The net profit margin in 2010 was 3.3 per cent, some 0.7 percentage points higher than the 2.6 per cent expected for 2014. “Overall, the industry’s fortunes
are moving in the right direction. Jet fuel prices remain high, but below their 2012 peak. Passenger demand is expanding in the 5-6 per cent range—in line with the historical trend. Efficiencies gained through mergers and joint ventures are delivering value to both passengers and shareholders. And product innovations are growing ancillary revenues,” said IATA’s Director-General, Tony Tyler. “We must temper our optimism with an appropriate dose of caution. It’s a tough environment in which to run an airline. Competition is intense and yields are deteriorating. Cargo volumes haven’t grown since 2010 and cargo revenues are back at 2007 levels. The passenger business is expanding more robustly. Some airlines will out-perform our estimates and others will under-perform. But, on average, airlines will only make a net profit of about $5.94 per passenger in 2014,” said Tyler.
L-R: Group Deputy Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Obinna Nwosu with Minister of Interior, Comrade Patrick Abba Moro and Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, David Parradang at the commissioning of the Applicants Waiting Lounge of the Immigration Service’s Ikoyi Passport Office donated by the bank recently.
AfDB approves $185m for Trans-Sahara Highway UDO ONYEKA
frican Development Bank, AfDB, said it has approved the release of $184.79 million for the proposed 9,000-kilometre, multinational Trans-Sahara Highway, TSH. The approval is contained in a statement posted on the bank’s website yesterday. It noted that the bank had approved the release of the amount during its meeting on December 11, held in Tunis. According to the statement, the project involves the construction and asphalt of 565 kilometres of road to link the main axis and the Chadian branch of the TransSahara Highway. The bank also said that part of
the amount would be used for the construction of a 543-metre-long bridge on River Niger at Farié, with three kilometres of access road. It would also include the construction of infrastructure to ease transport and transit at the Algeria and Niger and the Niger and Chad borders. “The project will facilitate overland trade and regional integration between the Arab Maghreb Union, AMU, ECOWAS, Economic community of Central African States, ECCAS, in general and Algeria, Niger and Chad, in particular. “The project’s specific objective is to improve the TSH’s overall level of service and the living conditions of inhabitants of the
project impact area.’’ The statement noted that the project was designed to put infrastructure at the centre of economic, social, political and security stakes of the continent, with the highway located on the AlgiersLagos and Dakar-Djibouti transAfrican corridors as identified by the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, PIDA. It said the project would be executed in line with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, objectives of linking major cities of AU member states by 2020. “The project is expected to improve TSH service and increase traffic and trade between North Africa, West Africa and Central Africa, as well as reduce the cost of transport and logistics.
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Primlaks signs MoU with Fortis MFB, GEMS 4, to aid entrepreneurs
he Primlaks group has taken another significant step towards its vision to positively impact the lives of 100 million Nigerians by 2020 by signing a pact with GEMS 4 and Fortis microfinance bank to enable 129,000 indigent women in eight states across the country become successful entrepreneurs. Essentially, the MoU will provide a value chain opportunity in the marketing segment for women at the grassroots to become economically independent, through a cooperative scheme that will grant them access to Primlak’s diverse products. Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja weekend, Piyush Nair, executive consulting adviser to the Primlaks group, noted that what the partnership seeks to do is to create more women entrepreneurs who can boldly reshape
their circumstances by leveraging on available opportunities. He stated that for more than 40 years, the Primlaks group has been a major player in diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy particularly in critical areas of food, shelter and light. “Today’s event is by no means an ordinary one. It is the culmination of concerted efforts by forward looking and visionary partners to provide a platform for women especially at the grassroots, to enjoy a better life and contribute towards building their homes and families,” he said. He pointed out that over time it has been demonstrated that access to funds, resource building activities and a good understanding of the channels of distribution, were key constraints to the advancement of professional and grassroots women.
Sterling Bank partners Audax on computer education UDO ONYEKA
terling Bank, in partnership with Audax, a software development company, at the weekend organised the Computer Science Education, CSE, in Nigeria. The training known as Hour of Code, is aimed at deepening awareness of Computer Science Education among children and youth. According to a statement by the bank the training comprises free one-hour sessions on the building blocks of computer codes writing, open to registered attendees between the ages of 6 and 16. “The programme had three blocks of one-hour sessions with over 50 participants per session and was essentially, a one-hour Introduction to Computer Science; designed to demystify “computer codes” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker,
creator and an innovator of any computer code. “The children who attended the programme were given the opportunity to write a code of their choice and required to complete the task within an hour.” The bank’s statement commended Audax for initiating the programme, saying that “the children who took part raised our hope that we still have in Nigeria, a crop of children with potentials to be among the best in the world in the area of computer education, if given the right exposure and encouragement.” The partnership with Audax, according to the Bank, was informed by the belief that teaching children programming skills is essential to developing their problem solving, creative and communication skills, helping to foster an interest in technology that can result in profitable and rewarding careers.
Rice dealer hail FG’s policy to encourage local production GEORGE OPARA ABIA
ice dealers in Aba, Abia State have commended the Federal Government’s policy aimed at encouraging local rice production in the country which saw to increased duty on imported rice to 110 percent. The chairman of Rice Dealers Association of Aba, RDA, Chief Ifeanyi Okeke who made the commendation while speaking with newsmen during this year’s annual get together of the association said the federal government’s decision would not only stop rice importation into the country and encourage local production, but would also conserve foreign exchange. As a way of encouraging local production and discourage
importation of rice, the federal government at the beginning of this fiscal year, increased duty on imported rice to 110 percent. This has led to sharp increase in the price of rice as a 100kg bag, which hitherto sold for between N10, 000 to N12, 000, now goes for between N14, 000 and N15, 000. Chief Okeke said as a way of supporting the federal government’s measure which he stated was a welcomed one, his members were going to be involved in local rice production as a cooperative. “Federal Government’s decision is a welcome one, although it has brought sharp increase in the price of the commodity, but through this policy, they want to encourage local production of rice and we are ready to assist in this direction.
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Jobs & Career
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Having almost successfully concluded the power sector reforms with the handing over of the country’s electricity generating and distributing companies to private sector operators, stakeholders say long term gains can only be sustained if workers in the sector are accorded their rights and privileges, writes MESHACK IDEHEN.
Anxiety mounts over worker’s rights after power sector reforms
espite the successful handover of the power sector companies, members of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and those of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Corporations, SSAEAC, say the sufferings and challenges faced by members before the power sector reform got to the point it is now, will not be forgotten in a hurry. NUEE and SSAEAC through their leaders, Mr. Joe Ajaero and Mr. Bede Opara, have also insisted that one of the major stumbling blocks to the reforms was the fears of what becomes of their members when the reforms have been finally concluded. Those expressions of anxiety by the electricity workers union leaders draws home the fact that the specialised and highly trained former government workers inherited by the new core investors need to be carefully and professionally handled in order to save the gains the power sector reforms is expected to achieve. In that regards, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, recently held an interactive session with stakeholders on how to promote industrial harmony, productivity and national development in the post-reform era of the electricity sector, including on how to grapple with issues and challenges that are arising. According to the Director General of NECA, Mr. Segun Oshinowo, the need to hold the interactive forum was due to the agreement amongst power sector operators, that the much anticipated stable power supply under the private sector driven new era would be a mirage in the absence of industrial peace. Oshinowo, at the session pointed out that the success of the reform in the electricity sector should be measured only by the regularity or stability of steady and quality electricity supply to long suffering, high bill paying consumers, adding for now, that the private owners can only be excused because it is still early days after the handover. According to him, it is not unusual for the new electricity sector operators to suffer hiccups and challenges that will come with any transition. The main concern, he observed, should be how to sustain whatever gains that will be made by the reforms, through the promotion and sustenance of industrial harmony in the sector. Based on that submission, stake-
holders, including from outside the power sector agree that the main players that are crucial in the power sector, which are the former and present workers should be accorded their dues in terms of welfare and acknowledgement and recognition. In the same vein, Labour Activist and President of Progressive Leadership Organisation International, (PLOI) Mr. Emmanuel Ezueme, told National Mirror that the former workers in the power sector are capable of scuttling the march to progress, as the incumbent ones, including the thousands that will be retained or absorbed by the new companies hold the aces, as far as moving the sector forward was concerned. Ezueme pointed out that issues like those of the workers of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) that have been issued severance letters but yet to be paid needed to be immediately addressed, in order to avoid a situation where one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch. According to the labour activist, the reality in Nigeria today is that right from day one; the consumers have been expecting improvement in power supply. That steady supply needed by consumers, Ezueme noted, can only be guaranteed when the workers that operate the generating, distributing and marketing departments of the new power companies know they have, and
will be well treated. “If we are going to have regular electricity supply somewhere down the line after this reform, it is only possible that such will materialise when the sector critical operator which are the former and present workers are made to feel wanted, and when the not so well treated colleagues are not put in the position to be able to negatively influence the current workers through lamentable welfare and other related experiences”. Harping on employees’ welfare as a panacea toward solving the nation’s electricity supply woes, United Kingdom-based Human Rights Activist, Dr. Mike Uyi, points out that recognition and reward go a very long way towards enhancing productivity and change management. For him, what the power sector is grappling with following the reforms is how to deal with change of orientation for the new workers or those that will be absorbed into the new companies, in order to ensure a deviation from the past. He maintained that the only way to ensure that the fears, worries and anxiety expressed by past and present workers in the electricity sector can be effectively and sustainable addressed, when good examples and precedents are set that can set the workers on the path of change. Registrar and Chief Executive Offi-
POWER SECTOR IS A CRITICAL
SECTOR WHERE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO CONSTRUCTIVELY ENGAGE EMPLOYEES AND ADDRESS THEIR CHALLENGES IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN PROFITABILITY AND POSITIVE BOTTOM LINE IN THE LONG TERM
cer of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, (CIPM), Mr. Sunday Adeyemi, and his counterpart in the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria, (ISM), Mr. Adeyemi Mapaderun, in their comments on the matter, explained that the best way to confront this was to effectively engage the by looking critically and unbiased at demands. According to them, the power sector is a critical sector where it was important to constructively engage employees, and address their challenges, in order to maintain profitability and positive bottom line in the long term. “The belief is that private sector is far more effective and efficient than the public sector. That is one of the reasons that informed the transformation, that if we have gotten it right with the telecommunication sector where workers seldom express these anxieties, then we can get it right also in the power sector. “If we have got it right with pension and management and administration issue,s which are in the hands of the private sector, then the same formula should work for the electricity. Ordinarily, it should but it will only happen that way if we make sure that all the variables, all the key factors and parameters that have to be tended are actually tended to. “The physical assets have been handed over to the new owners. From a dispensation where we have one octopus employer, we now have probably close to 20-25 different employers, different entities. In which case, the dispensation has changed. “We are talking of multiplicity of employers as against just one monolithic employer, which is good. But we must realise that in the old dispensation, they have their culture, their traditions, their practices and their systems. Those are things that you cannot change overnight and those things are paramount to the realisation of the hope of regular supply of electricity. Now they require the human asset to work on the physical asset so that we can have regular electricity. “The human assets that they require, have been used to a highly unionised environment where they look up to their union to represent their interest in promoting their welfare. The first thing is that, we now have new employers, those new employers must first of all recognise the right of the employees which include the right to be unionised which is in line with International Labour Organisation, ILO, convention 87 and it is in line with the labour law in Nigeria. “Failure to recognise that rights of workers will throw a spanner into the entire template of guaranteeing regular power supply in this economy. The right to associate with union of their choice, the right to engage in collective bargaining must be recognised by the new employers,” they added.
Jobs & Career
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
How to find seasonal jobs T here is ample evidence from jobs and career experts that certain seasons like Christmas, New Year and Easter provide certain types of jobs in abundance. The challenge however is how to beat the rush, due to the large number of job seekers also seeking seasonal jobs. If you want to get a distinct advantage over other would-be seasonal workers, plan your job search carefully, using these tips. Know where to look-The best opportunities for seasonal job seekers will be at the large discounter’s shops and manufactures, amongst other businesses, which will be heavily favored by cost-conscious consumers during holiday season. Be prepared to look past retail
sales jobs for other opportunities. Big stores need extra workers on the floor, but they also need extra workers in their shipping facilities and overnight stocking positions. Opportunities also exist outside of retail, in areas like catering and with shipping companies. Start early-Employers already know how many people they will need, so start searching today. Even if a job doesn’t begin for another month, it’s best to lock in an opportunity sooner rather than later. Dress the part-When you’re looking for any kind of job, show up dressed in businesscasual attire, at the very least. Even if the seasonal work for which you’re applying is
outdoors, wear neat slacks, polished shoes and a collared shirt. Be prepared-If you are stopping into an establishment to shop for seasonal work, be prepared to fill out an application and participate in an impromptu interview. Bring your own pen, necessary documentation to prove you can work legally, a resume if you have one and all contact information for your professional references. Be sure you block off enough time to meet with a few supervisors should the opportunity arise. Know what you want-If you are applying for seasonal work, know precisely what you offer to a potential employee -and what you want in return. Determine what hourly rate is
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acceptable to you, what hours and days you’re available, if you’ve got the wherewithal for a particular position (some may involve lifting heavy boxes or standing for the greater part of your shift), and if the location is viable in terms of fuel costs and transportation options. (Will you always have access to a reliable car or a convenient subway or bus line?) You don’t want to make a commitment only to leave an employer in the lurch during the hectic holidays.
DN Meyer rewards loyal, long serving employees MESHACK IDEHEN
he Board and Management of DN Meyer Plc has said it will continue to recognise and reward loyal employees because the company’s employees form the bedrock of its success. Speaking when the company hosted its retiring and long serving workers to the end of year party and award presentation in Lagos, the Chairperson of the Establishment Committee of the Board of DN Meyer Plc, Erelu Angela Adebayo, said the company’s encourages longevity that enhances productivity. She noted that DN Meyer through its long years of being in the forefront of its sub sector in the nation’s economy, has always emphasized the place of
Workers on duty
he University of Lagos leads the way on available job vacancies this week, with the position of Director of Advancement up for grabs. The advancement of the university will provide the impetus for a strong cohesive and well ocherestrated effort to generate public and private support through the initiation, coordination and management of all advancement, fund raising and endorsement issues. Reporting to the vice chancellor, the DOA will also work closely with the university’s leadership, its constituencies and volunteers to coordinate alumni relations amongst other duties. He will also provide the strategic vision and collaborative leadership to plan and execute and effective and comprehensive advancement and development programme, and provide leadership for the planning and implementation of programmes and projects that strategically engages alumni in support of programmes that produces tangible benefits to
Be flexible-The best way to make sure you stand out from other seasonal talent is to present yourself as flexible -- but only if you really are. A hiring manager revealed that demanding a specific schedule from prospective employers is a sure way to jettison your chances at landing a job. Temporary workers must be prepared to be flexible, whether it is hours or type of work. Either can vary as the holiday season progresses. Source: Yahoojobs.com
its workers occupies in the immediate and long term development initiatives of the firm. According to her, DN Meyer will continue to put former and present employee’s welfare in the growth plans of the company, adding there was no doubt the recognized and retiring workers will continue to be exemplary representatives of the company. In all, the recognised and retiring workers have put in more than 200 years of work in the company, with one retiring after 30 years. Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Adeola Omosebi, said DN Meyer considers employees welfare as an integral part of its growth plans.Omosebi added training and constant retraining is part of part has kept the firm as a champion in its sector of the economy.
Job vacancies alumni and current students. Qualifications and experience required are a bachelor and advanced degrees, a 10 year fund management experience in a public or private enterprise amongst other skills and qualifications, while applications can be sent after visiting the university’s website. Also on offer this week are various positions from an FMCG company that is based in Lagos and branches all over the country. Some of the positions on offer are those for an operation manager, a quality control manager, a business development manager, chief accountant, sales and distribution officer, factory operatives, technical service office and a general manager. Other openings in the FMCG are those for marketing officers, finance officers, procurement and logistics officer, help desk officer, an executive director, operations, sales representatives, account officer, a business manager and security
personnel. To apply for all the positions, interested candidates can send resumes to hr.admin@ chemtechgroup.com. Ringo Telecommunications Limited, a major player in the ICT industry said the post for a general manager in charge of sales, a sales manager, admin manager, a marketing communication, manager and a product procurement manager is available. Also on offer from Ringo Telecommunications are the position for construction and building coordinator, a human resource manager, a personnel development manager, accounts manager, compliance manager, quality assurance manager and inventory manager amongst other openings. Applications are to be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org. ng Still from the ICT sector, the Nigeria Internet Registration Association has need for a chief operating officer, head of corporate service, head, finance and administration and head
of business development. email@example.com is the address that interested candidates can send their resumes and applications by visiting the website at www.nira.ng A chief financial officer, a general manager operations, a general manager, revenue cycle service and a general manager, technology are some of the offers from a new player in the now deregulated power sector. To apply, candidates are urged to visit www.gtnhr.com, or send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org to access all other available openings, alongside needed skills, qualifications and experience. The position for a Base Superintendent (www.findjobafrica. com) who is to be based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State is also on offer this week. Description for the job position includes focusing on ensuring that all the operational locations/facilities, including office and residential accommodation,
of the company remain functional and in usable condition for optimal productivity. Responsibilities include are participating actively in developing strategic base plan for resources management to support project and other needs of the company, ensuring cleanliness and orderliness of company bases and other locations and monitoring and inspection visits to all operational locations/bases and company facilities at least weekly. From www.findjobafrica. com is the opening for a Financial Management Consultant that will be required to be based in Ikoyi, Lagos. The ideal candidate will be responsible for setting up and managing financial management and accounting systems in various organisations and programmes. S/he will be also be required to provide support in strengthening the internal control processes as well as overseeing and reviewing the preparation of financial reports and budgets.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Real Estate & Environment email@example.com 08033312578
Mortgage banks move to meet Dec 31 recapitalisation deadline It has become a game of survival of the fittest as over 90 registered Primary Mortgage Banks, PMBs, in Nigeria are bracing for the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s, December 31, 2013 deadline for compliance with new minimum capital base of N5 billion. DAYO AYEYEMI writes.
hether the over 90 registered Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) operating in Nigeria’s housing finance sub-sector will survive the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, deadline for compliance with new minimum capital requirements is just a matter of 14 days from now. In a few days, everything hidden shall be exposed as CBN will announce the names of PMBs that meet its deadline for consolidation December 31, 2013. For this reason, players in the mortgage sector especially promoters of PMBs have not only engaged in battle for survival to escape the consolidation hurdles, but have begun hide and seek game to beat CBN’s deadline. CBN is expected to have verified capital raised by most mortgage banks before 31st of December, 2013. The CBN had in March 2013 extended the deadline for compliance with new minimum capital requirements with the Revised Guidelines for Primary Mortgage Banks, PMBs, from April 30, 2013 to December 31, 2013. The development, which came then through a circular signed by the Director, CBN’s Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Mr. Olufemi Fabamwo to all PMBs directors and shareholders extended the deadline. According to CBN, the shift in date is meant, “ to afford all affected PMBs sufficient time to exercise any of the options for capital raising, business combination and downscaling. All PMBs are once again strongly advised to conduct due diligence and seek professional advice in exercising any of the options and to conclude the processes before the new deadline in order to allow sufficient time for capital verification and necessary regulatory approvals’’. The circular also stated that, “all directors, particularly the Managing Directors/ CEOs of all PMBs are again reminded that prior approval of the CBN is required before the disposal of assets of the bank, as they will be held jointly and severally liable for any asset stripping.” Under the fresh guidelines, mortgage firms were categorized into National and State mortgage firms, while the National PMIs are allowed to operate in any or all parts of the federation after the payment of
One of the Abuja housing estates
INADEQUACIES OF LONG-TERM HOUSING FINANCE SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY REMAIN
VISIBLE WHILE HOPE OF MANY LOW-INCOME
NIGERIANS SEEKING ROOFS OVER THEIR HEADS IS FADING BY THE DAY a new N5 billion minimum paid up capital, the State’s PMIs are restricted to only one state at the payment of N2.5 billion. When contacted on phone on his members’ preparedness to meet CBN deadline, President, Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria, MBAN, Mr. Femi Johnson told National Mirror that only CBN can determine that, saying the apex bank has all the figures of most PMBs. He said he might not known the number of members that have met the N5billion consolidation, saying a lot of them might find it difficult to say the truth about their status. He said, ‘‘I don’t know the numbers of mortgage banks that have met the deadline, but I know some will not meet it. CBN has all the figures. It is impossible for all to meet the deadline, though a lot of people will meet it. It is the CBN that will audit the account of the mortgage banks to know if they meet the consolidation deadline. “Not all will meet it, people will tell you stories and some that are not able to meet it will definitely become MFCs. It is the CBN that will determine that.” When contacted also, MBAN Executive Secretary, Mr. Kayode Omotosho, has this to say, “Don’t let us talk about it now until De-
cember 31. It is when the deadline elapses that we will know those who meet it and those who fail to meet the deadline. They are all prepared and it is CBN that will determine that.” Nigeria has a population of over 160 million people with massive housing deficit of between 16 and 17 million units, with a N56 trillion financing requirement. It also has low mortgage penetration, which accounts for less than 2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP. As at last count, real estate contributes less than 0.5 per cent to GDP between 2011 and 2012; whereas annual growth projections in the real estate sector are put at a conservative 15 per cent-17 per cent per annum from 2010 to 2020. From available data, the total assets base of the Nigerian mortgage banking industry stood at N357.1 billion as at December 2011, while the four largest PMBs listed on the nation’s capital market accounted for 39 per cent of industry’s total asset and 54 per cent of loans. Despite several policies, strategies and reforms to reposition the mortgage banking industry in the past, inadequacies of long-term housing finance system in the country remain visible while hopes of
many low-income Nigerians seeking roofs over their heads is fading by the day. Factors affecting the mortgage market include underwriting standards, high cost of property transaction, lack of a secondary mortgage market, housing supply deficit, weak capital, poor legal framework, titling challenges, high cost of funds, absence of mortgage refinance company and dearth of long term funds. To revamp the sector, government is planning to increase the number of mortgage loans from the current 20,000 loans to over 200,000 loans within the next five years. One of the new initiatives to make this happens is the establishment of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company, NMRC, which is set up to be a secondary mortgage bank that will refinance mortgages originated by mortgage banks and commercial banks. The World Bank has already put down $300 million as a 40-year loan with a low interest rate to the company. The company is primarily owned by Mortgage Banks and Commercial banks, with a start up capital of N6 billion and it will be private sector owned and operated. To prepared for the CBN deadline, MBAN had last month held a national conference in Lagos, which featured financial strategies to boost long-term funding in the sector, technology alternatives to aid reduction of cost, and other issues relevant to the provision of sustainable and affordable housing finance in Nigeria. Speaking at the MBAN summit, the Managing Director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Gimba Yau’ Kumo, disclosed CONTINUED ON PAGE 26
Real Estate & Environment
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Mortgage banks move to meet Dec 31 recapitalisation deadline CONTINUED FROM PAGE 25 that the nation has developed a new mortgage sector policy orientation with market based incentives and solutions. Kumo’s disclosure was buttressed by the Deputy Director FSS2020, CBN, Mr. Oluwatoyin Jokosenumi, an engineer, who pointed out that Nigeria must overcome its complex multi-sectoral challenges rooted in institutional legacies and real economy inefficiencies in order to revamp the housing financé sub sector. He maintained that the obnoxious Land Use Act must be removed from the Nigerian Constitution for easy amendment, while the nation must guide against ineffective land acquisition and housing delivery systems in the sector According to him, there must be coordination issues between real estate development and use of government incentives, noting that years of neglect and inaction in the sector had opened a financing gap in Nigeria’s housing sector in excess of $340 billion. Going forward, he stated that Nigeria has taken the challenge of housing as one of the key planks of the Vision 20:2020 programme, pointing out that mortgage finance is also a major sector of attention in the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020) initiative. Part of the FSS 2020 mortgage sector objectives, according to him, was to create conducive regulatory environment for housing finance in which the private and public sectors are equally active. He hinted that the capital market with appropriate securitization and price discovery mechanism, which could be used to exploit the potential of mortgage finance is already in existence in Nigeria, disclosing that capital market is one of the key sectors undergoing further reforms under the FSS 2020 programme. The aspiration of the FSS 2020 for mortgage sector, he said was that by the year 2020, Nigeria would have developed a mortgage market that is safe and profitable; a market that would have provided access to housing finance to over 30 per cent of Nigerians in all social classes in urban centres to own their own houses. “A market that has multiple long-term funding sources including full integration
THE TRUST OF THIS CONFERENCE IS TO ARTICULATE THE CURRENT CHALLENGES TO THE EFFECTIVE INTEGRATION OF HOUSING FINANCE TO THE CAPITAL MARKET AND TO DEVELOP INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS AND
ADEQUATE WORK-ROUND GOING FORWARD with the Nigerian capital market where the value of listed mortgage backed securities will be at 20 per cent of the market capitalization of equities; a market that would account for about 15 per cent of the gross domestic product of the country, stimulating construction activities with attendant multipliers and providing up to 10 per cent of the population with jobs,” he said. The change implication, according to him, was that access to housing finance should grow from present level of 0.5 per cent to 30 per cent over the next 10 years, while capital market products for the fi-
nance of the mortgage sector including mortgage backed securities should grow from the present zero percent to 20 per cent over the next 10 years, and that the contribution of mortgage finance to the gross domestic product of Nigeria to grow from 0.76 per cent to 15 per cent in the next 10 years. He disclosed that FSS 2020 strategic objective for mortgage was to establish a safe and profitable mortgage market in Nigeria by setting up appropriate infrastructure/ institutions and re-modeling existing ones; introduce a new framework to strengthen property/security rights; use the mechanism of the mortgage market to make affordable long term finance available to
all classes of Nigerians to own their own homes and build wealth; and enhance the use of market mechanisms to improve the housing delivery system. Justifying the hosting of the conference, President of MBAN, Mr. Femi Johnson, said it was meant to explore strategies to expand the frontiers of mortgage banking in the country in line with global best practice. According to him, the forum would feature financial strategies to boost long-term funding in the sector, technology alternatives to aid reduction of cost, and other issues relevant to the provision of sustainable and affordable housing finance in Nigeria. He said, “The trust of this conference is to articulate the current challenges to the effective integration of housing finance to the capital market and to develop innovative solutions and adequate work-round going forward.” He noted that other emerging economies like Chile and Malaysia have tremendously benefitted from the integration of housing finance into the capital market through the establishment of a secondary mortgage facility He explained that the basic principle of a secondary mortgage facility is to tap capital market investors as the long-term funding source for the mortgage market, thus helping to mitigate interest rate and credit risk. He said, “The successful take-off of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation would mark a wholesale shift in mortgage funding in Nigeria from the depository saving institutions and pooled fund toward mortgage securitization.” Having come so far, he said yet much still need to done to build a befitting housing finance system that will cater for housing need of all categories of Nigerians, maintaining that a secondary mortgage market would thrive only when there is an effective and efficient primary market in place. He said, “Mortgage banks should therefore not relent on their efforts to stimulate demand and build primary market that worth its salt. “As an association, MBAN and other network of mortgage banks, as well as other stakeholders in the mortgage sector are committed to ensuring that housing finance in Nigeria is equipped to keep pace with the present demands, and the imminent challenges of the future.”
RMB, Stanbic IBTC, Oando unveil $182m the Wings’ development DAYO AYEYEMI
essrs Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Standard Bank have launched $182-million office complex project, raising the bar in commercial and retail property development in Lagos. Designed by the firm of Stauch Vorter Architects, the high profile high-rise office towers named “Wings”, is located along Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, in Lagos with estimated April 2016 completion date. RMB Westport, Nigeria, Oando Plc, Vante Property Asset
management Services, Standard Bank, midwifed the ambitious project, which sod turning was done recently. According to report from 3Invest, to ensure the project is successful, both RMB and Stanbic IBTC have committed $100m development and long-term debt funding for the complex. At the ground breaking to commence construction of the office complex, Michael Larbie, RMB Nigeria chief executive and Regional Head, West Africa, disclosed that RMB Westport would be leading the development management team responsible for new project, assuring that the same level of success
that the team achieved in developing Ikeja City Mall would be experienced at The Wings. “The Wings represents our commitment to use our expertise and resources to support landmark projects in Nigeria. With the launch of RMB Nigeria, earlier this year, we expect to structure and fund more projects in real estate and, indeed, across other sectors of the Nigerian economy”, he said. Hence, our goal is to deploy resources across the different sectors of the economy to enable us participate and benefit from the investment opportunities in such areas as property, infrastructure development, resources, manu-
facturing etc”, he added. In their remarks at the ground breaking event, Group Chief Executive Officer of OandO Plc, Jubril Adewale Tinubu, which will be the anchor tenant occupying one of the towers, expressed gratitude to the equity providers and all other stakeholders, while Sola DavidBorha, CEO, Stanbic IBTC, explained that their involvement in any project is based on their understanding that the client is resilient, focused and dependable. “We are pleased to be part of this project”, she added. Wings Office Towers is an Agrade commercial building in Victoria Island, Lagos, compris-
ing two towers and a total of approximately 25 500m2 lettable office space. Victoria Island is situated between Lagos Island and the Lekki Peninsula in the Lagos Lagoon – one of Nigeria’s most exclusive addresses. A number of key milestones have been achieved so far, including the drafting and execution of key transactions documents; regulatory approval for the project and an extension of the land lease. Next steps include: further deployment of local partners’ equity contribution to the project; the transfer of the project land into the in-country development company; and the conclusion of senior debt agreements.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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I don’t think I need to worry about being grouped with Nigeria. I am focused on a great outing in Brazil – BOSNIA STRIKER, EDIN DZEKO
Agbaje set to lift Ososo community 30
Greek clubs chase Nsofor IKENWA NNABUOGOR
reek clubs, Olympiakos and PAOK Salonica, have reportedly made enquiries about the availability of Super Eagles’ striker, Obinna Nsofor, for possible transfer during the January window.
National Mirror learnt that there are three other clubs waiting to have the signature of the former Inter Milan star, who has had limited chances at the multiple Russian champions, Lokomotiv Moscow. Nsofor has played sparingly under Belarusian coach, Leonid Kuchuk, only appearing
Nsofor (r) in action for Lokomotiv Moscow
three times in league fixtures.. It’s also speculated according to reports credited to Russian media that PAOK and an unnamed club in Qatar are thinking of launching a bid for the 26-year-old. It’s understood that renowned Russian agent, Cristos Savvidis, who also brokered the deal that took former Flying Eagles’ midfielder, Michael Olaitan, to Veria from Nigeria a few years back, is pressing all the right buttons in the bid to lure Nsofor to Greece. Turkish Super League club, Antalyaspor, are also on the alert and are understood to have approached individuals claiming to represent
the former Inter Milan forward. Nsofor still has contractual obligations with Lokomotiv Moscow until the summer of 2015. To lure Nsofor to the Toumba Stadium, PAOK will have to face competition from an unnamed Qatari club. Though, reports suggest that a Qataribased agent has been mandated to lure the former Enyimba star to the Middle East, no concrete interest has been tabled so far. Nsofor had declared to National Mirror few weeks back that if he continued to sit on the bench for Lokomotiv, he would have no option than to try elsewhere. It appears he could be dumping the Russian side.
Emenike sets 2014 agenda
igeria striker, Emmanuel Emenike, has outlined his ambition to achieve success at club and international level in 2014. Emenike was joint-top scorer when Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa last February and scored three goals as they sealed a place at next year’s World Cup in Brazil. At club level, he scored his sixth goal of the season in Fenerbahce’s 4-0 thrashing of Akhisar Belediyespor last Friday. And Emenike believes if he is to prove he is one of the best strikers in Africa he has to show it at the World Cup in Brazil. “Next year will be a big one for the Super Eagles because the World Cup is football’s biggest stage,” Emenike told BBC
Sport. “Brazil is that place where I hope to make my mark and prove myself as a striker that can perform at major tournaments. “I will be doing everything for the team as usual. I am confident as a team Nigeria will be stronger in Brazil.” Emenike is also determined to shine at club level in Turkey. “With Fenerbahce there’s confidence in the squad. We think we can do something good this season by winning the Turkish League title,” he said, adding, “We are top of the league, we lead the team in second by eleven points but we are in December and can’t relax.”
Clubs, LMC may clash over abridged league
igeria Premier League clubs and the League Management Company (LMC) are headed for another collision over plans for an abridged season. Majority of the clubs kicked against such a plan last season and this forced the LMC to jettison it. The clubs’ argument is that such a format would mean drastically reduced funding by their financiers.
The new 2013/2014 league season will begin in February immediately after the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) in South Africa. The season will also be expected to end in May to allow for the preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Faced with a tight schedule, the LMC are now likely to split the 20-team championship into two groups with the top two clubs from each group clashing in a
...Baribote prices Nembe N300m
round-robin playoff to determine the league champions. Club managers recently met in Abuja to insist on a formal notification on the yearlong extension granted the LMC by the NFF congress in Warri. Meanwhile, Nembe City could go for N300million after a relegated club made enquiries to this effect recently.
It was learnt that Nembe City owner and former league boss, Victor Rumson Baribote, placed the N300m tag on his club after a relegated club sought to see if they could buy up the top-flight spot to stay up. However, talks fell through after the demoted club’s offer of N35million fell far short of Baribote’s asking price.
CHAN: Iheanacho leaves Eagles’ camp for Man City
ictorious UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Eaglets revelation, Kelechi Iheanacho, has left the Super Eagles camp preparing for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for a trip to England for contract talks with Manchester City. Coach Stephen Keshi was quoted by team’s spokesman, Ben Alaiya, yesterday, as saying that he had to sanction the departure of the player after his father, James Iheanacho, personally telephoned on Monday afternoon requesting the release of his son for the trip to England. “Initially a young man came declaring that he was the agent of Kelechi, but I declined to deal with him until I heard from the family because the boy is still a minor. It was soon after my rejection that I got a call from his father who told me that they had gotten travel-
ling visa to the United Kingdom and that I should oblige him with his son’s release. I did and told the young man to go and do the nation proud at whichever club he finally chooses to settle down with,” Keshi disclosed. Keshi acknowledged that Iheanacho is a talented player, but also cautioned that the player should be handled gently and professionally as he navigates his professional career. Meanwhile, the Eagles presently in camp for the CHAN 2014 tournament will tomorrow play their second practice match against Niger Tornadoes of Minna at the Mainbowl of the Abuja National Stadium. Their first game against Prison FC of Abuja, ended 4-1 at the weekend. Another game has also been scheduled for Saturday in a bid to toughen the side for the CHAN tourney.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Nasri bemoans ‘away slide’
anchester City m i d f i e l d e r, Samir Nasri, admits the team’s baffling away form could be the only obstacle blocking a powerful title charge. City has a 100 per cent league record and has
Neymar gets Iniesta backing B
scored 35 goals in its eight games at the Etihad Stadium. But the side has lost four from eight games on the road, although it still nicked victory at Munich in the Champions League last week. “We were confident against Bayern Munich away from home.Now we have to do the same away from home in the EPL. “But when you play a big game it is always easy to get the motivation. Big players always respond when you say, ‘it is a big game’. “We have come back to three points behind Arsenal and next week they play Chelsea, so we have to put pressure on them. “We just try to do our job but we know we have an offensive team. When we have got chances we score.”
arcelona m i d f i e l d e r, Andres Iniesta, says he hopes Brazilian striker Neymar’s scoring streak continues, as the club picks up form with two wins in a week. Neymar continued to win over Barcelona fans, scoring both goals in a hard-fought 2-1 win ove r Vi l -
UEFA Champions League: Tough for City, Arsenal …Easy for Chelsea, Man United
anchester City has been drawn to face Barcelona in the round of 16 of the Champions League slated for February. Arsenal has been drawn against current holder Bayern Munich while Chelsea, the 2012 winner, faces Galatasaray and Manchester United will meet Greek side Olympiakos. Elsewhere, AC Milan faces Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen meets Paris St-Germain, Schalke faces Real Madrid and
Zenit St Petersburg will meet last year’s runner-up Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea and Manchester United have the advantage of playing the second leg at home after winning their groups, while City and Arsenal will have to travel away for the second legs of their ties. The ties are yet to be scheduled, but the first legs will be played on 18, 19, 25 and 26 February, with the retur n legs on 11, 12, 18 and 19 March.
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Aguero blow for City Aguero
anchester City Manager, Manuel Pellegrini, yesterday said he expects Sergio Aguero to miss at least a month with a calf injury suffered at the weekend. The club’s top scorer pulled up hurt early in the second half of the game where the host demolished Arsenal 6-3. “Maybe the doctor can tell you, but
at this moment we don’t know how w long it will be,” the Chilean gaffer said. d. Aguero and summer signing Allvaro Negredo have struck immediate e success as a partnership this season, n, scoring 20 Premier League goals beetween them. Pellegrini has Edin Dzeko as backkup while Stevan Jovetic, whose last apppearance came in the Capital One Cup p in October, is available after injury.
larreal on Saturday, as Lionel Messi continued his recovery from a troublesome hamstring problem in Argentina. Iniesta said the t e a m must
Wenger admits Suarez addiction
Mourinho, Pellegrini and Moyes
UCL round of 16 fixtures Man City
rsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, has reaffirmed his admiration for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. Wenger tried but failed to buy Suarez in the summer after the Uruguayan demanded a move from Anfield. Suarez has since settled his differences with the Reds and is now one of the most feared player’s on the planet with 14 goals in his last eight Premier League games. Wenger admitted he was still a huge admirer of Suarez. “I think that every defender in England hates playing against Luis,” Wenger said. “He has a strong, provocative per-
sonality. From the information I gathered on him it appears that on a day-to-day level he is really easy to work with. “Also that he’s respectful and he loves training and turns into a demon when he’s on the pitch.
he said yesterday. “We’re improving, and we’ll continue to improve. N e y m a r c a n de-
build on the performances g o i n g forward. “ I t w a s very difficult but we did a lot to secure the result,”
c i d e matches. We want to try and make sure that the player’s goal scoring streak lasts as long as possible. “Now we have to close out the Copa del Rey tie and try to win the three points at Getafe.” Neymar will, however, miss the Catalans’ La Liga clash at Getafe next weekend, after he picked up his fifth booking of the season in the win over Villarreal.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Tit bits... Balotelli AC Milan President, Silvio Berlusconi, has held talks with several senior players over the weekend, including Mario Balotelli. It’s understood Berlusconi advised Balotelli to stop tracking back and to play “closer to the goal”. “I’m sorry for the exit of the Italian clubs from the Champions League,” Berlusconi said, adding, “I want you to do everything to perform well in the competition.”
T Natio The National Council of Sports meeting will aim at developing young athletes
Council on Sports meets JOEL AJAYI ABUJA
two-day extra-ordinary meeting of the National Council on Sports yesterday began in Abuja with a mandate to review the 2013 progress report and other issues relating to development in Nigeria, including fixing a date for the next National Sports Festival (NSF). Director General of National Sports Commission (NSC), Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, who declared the meeting open, noted
what he called positive developments and harvest of successes since the last National Council on Sports meeting held in Ilorin Kwara State. Elegbeleye argued that the NSC has recorded a milestone with the maiden National Youth Games held in Abuja recently when over 3, 000 athletes were discovered. “The committee set up at the last Council meeting to look at modalities for the organisation of the National Sports Festival has since submitted its report to the Hon. Minister of Sports,” the director general said. “A memo on the need to review the National Sports Policy will also be forwarded after this meeting,” he added.
Tottenham striker, Jermain Defoe, is ready to move to Canada after he agreed terms with Toronto FC. Reports said Defoe will become the highest paid player in MLS history, although it is not yet clear if he will move in January or the summer. The England striker still hopes to be at the World Cup and would either remain in Spurs or elsewhere for the rest of the season.
Dempsey Seattle Sounders striker, Clint Dempsey, says he is ready to return to Fulham on-loan. According to reports, Dempsey wants to remain fit ahead of the World Cup and the move would suit him and the Cottagers, especially if Dimitar Berbatov gets his wish and leaves the West London club in January. Dempsey had first played for Fulham before switching to Tottenham Hotspur from where he again moved to Sounders last summer.
Fawole, Coker shine in NB Chess AFOLABI GAMBARI
ormer national junior champion, John Oyeyemi Fawole, and Labake Coker have won the male and female sections of the 36th Nigerian Breweries Plc International Chess Championship. The seven round Swiss event pairing took place at the Mobolade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos. Fawole secured six out of maximum seven to place top in the Masters category and won the star prize of N250, 000 and the trophy. Bomo Kigigha, Femi Balogun and Unwana Ekpoikong were joint second, with international Master Bunmi Olape also in line for consolation cash prizes. Fawole’s defining moment in the event started in round five
with a brilliant Bg5 Nadjorf Variation of the Sicilian win against Miedo Denunu after an initial setback loss to former champion Kigigha in the earlier round. In the female section, Coker’s brilliancies in the middle play played a key role of winning the trophy for the first time after several years of efforts. She was joint first with Toluwani Racheal with five points each but came top on tie break. Okemakinde Toluwani and Emmanuel Akintoye are joint third with four points each and shared the prize money. Meanwhile, Public Relations Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Kufre Ekanem, has commended participants for their conduct during the event and urged them transform the lessons of chess skills in their human endeavor.
“The sponsorship is further demonstration to our dedication to being a responsible
corporate citizen committed to winning with Nigeria,” Ekanem said.
A total of N1, 520, 000 prize money was won in all the seven categories of play.
L-R: Liaison Officer, NSC, Mrs. Tayo Oreweme; NCF President, Lekan Adeyemi, 2013 champion, John Fawole; Vice Admiral Jubril Ayinla and Kufre Ekanem during the prize presentation to Fawole in Lagos on Sunday
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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On the track with
YEMI OLUS firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherono defends cross-country title
orld 5000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono overcame last month’s third position in Atapuerca to take top honours at the ‘Cross Internacional de Venta de Banos’ in Spain over the weekend. It was a noteworthy victory for the 22-year old in the 34th edition of the race, as she became the first runner to take back-to-back victories in the small town situated just to the north of Valladolid in northern Spain since Ana Isabel Alonso in 1987. The Kenyan covered the
6.775km course in 23:08 and she finished three seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh, who posted a creditable 30:35.91 10,000m PB this summer and placed ninth in the same event at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. Gorreti Jepkoech edged out in-form Rebecca Cheptegei from Uganda for third while Iris Fuentes-Pila was the first Spaniard to cross the line in fifth, 32 seconds behind the winner. Two Kenyans, albeit from contrasting backgrounds, battled it out for top honours in the men’s
race which was decided in a sprint finish. Cyprian Kotut, a subone hour half-marathon runner, made a stellar debut in what appeared to be his first international cross-country race as he defeated steeplechase specialist Jairus Birech by one second, although the initial results gave the two Kenyans an identical time. Kotut and Birech, who were later credited with times of 31:58 and 31:59 respectively for the 10.575km course, finished a long way ahead of the first domestic runner
Ivan Fernandez, who finished third in 32:32. Kotut became the fifth successive Kenyan winner of the men’s race and he joins an illustrious list of past champions as the roll of honour of this race includes Fita Bayissa (1993), Sileshi Sihine (2002-03) and Kenenisa Bekele (2004).
Kiprotich voted Uganda’s best
arathoner Stephen Kiprotich was crowned Athlete of the Year at the Uganda Athletics Federations (UAF) annual awards gala at Serena Hotel last weekend. The 24-year-old beat Mumbai Marathon winner Jackson Kiprop; mountain runners Geoffrey Kusuro
“Athletes from about six secondary schools from four villages are taking part in the competition, although I can’t give the specific number of participants for now. “The boys and girls will take part in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and possibly 4x100m and 4x400m. My coach, Adu Uremu, is one of the individuals who will give them pep talks, while the AFN president is sending in a representative, as well as a student leader from a university and few persons from other walks of life.” Agbaje said the foun-
and Phillip Kiplimo; to win his second straight Athlete of the Year award. Kiprotich has been the country’s most prosperous athlete over the last two years. His year started with victory at the Granollers Half Marathon (1:01:15) in Spain back in February. Two months later, he took sixth position at the Virgin London Marathon after clocking two hours, eight minutes and five seconds. On his second appearance at the World Championships, Kiprotich stormed the Russian capital and scooped gold in a time of 2:09:51 with much help from Kiprop, who finished tenth. That feat was not only the country’s second gold in his-
tory of the event but also ensured Uganda finished 12th on the medal table. He is also the reigning Olympic marathon champion, as he won Uganda’s first Olympic gold medal since 1972. “I am happy to have won this award again. I salute my coaches and fellow athletes for their input and I thank President Yoweri Museveni for his support,” the winner said. Kiplimo, who won the World Mountain Running Championships gold in Poland in September, finished second. Kiprop finished third overall with sprinter Dennis Opio and long distance runner Stella Chesang taking the Best Upcoming Athletes’ gongs.
Bolt, bus race in Argentina
Agbaje set to lift Ososo community igerian sprinter, Fred Agbaje, will launch an athletic competition to discover and encourage kids in his rural Ososo, Edo State home on December 27. The competition, targeted at teenagers from 12 to 18 years, is an initiative of the Frederick Agbaje Foundation. “About ninety percent of all I need are in place and the support I have received so far are from individuals and close friends,” Agbaje, who is in his third year at Dickinson State University, USA disclosed.
dation was inspired by his effort to enlighten the youth on the benefits of pursuing their sporting dreams while acquiring quality education. “The first reason is to give back to the society. Secondly, to enlighten young folks and their parents that sports and education are inseparable. Thirdly, to inspire and empower young folks, fourthly, to let them know there is no limit to their capabilities and lastly to reintroduce track and field to the rural villages.”
amaican athlete Usain Bolt beat a bus to the finishing line in an 80m race in Buenos Aires with ease, as the 59 bus didn’t even get out of third gear before the race ended. Bolt took on the public transport vehicle, which was complete with passengers, down the 9th of July Avenue. The sprinter warmed up with a massage and some stretching, before he got ready for the
event. He started off quickly, before realising he was miles ahead and even laughed, before comfortably sealing his victory. Bolt shook hands with the driver afterwards and performed his signature celebration, before taking on some real athletes in a 120m sprint which he also won. “One of my main goals is to go to the Rio Olympics to defend my titles
Bolt (r) crossing the finish line before the 59 bus
and it’s never been done three times so, for me, that’s me trying to set the bar as high as possible; to just push the barrier.” Bolt, who was presented with the male IAAF Athlete of the Year award last month, has now won the male award for the fifth time in six years, beating Brit Mo Farah in the process, defended both his 100m and 200m titles at the World Championships in Moscow.
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Real Estate & Environment
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Lack of maintenance culture responsible for infrastructure decay –IFMA
..seeks inclusion of maintenance culture in school curriculum STORIES: DAYO AYEYEMI
or the umpteenth time, International Facility Management Association, IFMA, Nigeria Chapter, has blamed decadence of infrastructure facilities in the country on lack of maintenance culture. Speaking after the Annual General Meeting of the association in Lagos, IFMA president, Ms. Iyabo Aboaba, said the bane of the society is the inability to imbibe maintenance culture in various stages of development, adding that this has affected all spheres of both personal and national lives. She said, “Actually, the bane of the society is lack of maintenance culture; it affects every sphere of our life. We do not know when to do what until the decay is so great that it affects everything. “In the past, we did have maintenance culture when we had the colonial masters but now, we leave everything undone and when you see something to correct, we abandon it.” For this reason, she disclosed that IFMA is seeking the inclusion of maintenance culture in the nation’s education curriculum. According to her, the chairman at the association’s last award din-
ner had chastised IFMA to pursue the inclusion of maintenance culture in the curriculum of the elementary and secondary education in Nigeria. On what has happened since the message, Aboaba explained that the association has met with the Ministry of Education on how to involve the culture of maintenance in the school curriculum, adding that the process is lengthy but ongoing. She assured that in the next six months, something tangible would come out of the process. Justifying the need for the policy, the IFMA president said, “It is a long overdue. Maintenance culture is something we need to teach our children from the schools, starting from age seven before they get to nine. “If you buy equipment, from time to time check it and refurbish if you notice anything for it to last. Do not let it decay.” On the possibility of having a bill on Culture of Maintenance, she said the process has commenced and that the association is pursuing it through its contact person in the National Assembly. Aboaba, while addressing members during the annual general meeting, chronicled some of the achievement of the association in the year under review, thanking them for confidence re-
posed in her, soliciting for their continuous support for the strive to give the country a culture that will enhance the lives of generation to come. She remarked that as the years went by, the association has consolidated on the slow but steady progress of the focused pursuit of excellent delivery in facilities management. Some of the achievements of the association, she stated was the fact that other professional bod-
ies are besieging the association’s secretariats for enquiries daily, formation of Ilorin branch, and an improved figure in the association’s books over the previous year. She reminded members the need to open up more branches in order to expand the scope of the profession in Nigeria. She said, five general meetings at which various lectures were delivered ranging from health to wealth were held.
“Also in the year 2013, two facility tours were embarked upon. In April, we visited the newly refurbished National Theatre, Iganmu and in August, we visited Elektrint Nigeria Limited, “she said. Some of the challenges faced, she said, “We have long drawn battle fuelled by the society we live in over the land purchase on which our secretariat will be built. It has been a challenge which I can assure you we are giving our best efforts to overcome.”
L-R: President, International Facility Management Association, IFMA, Mrs. Iyabo Aboaba; Executive Secretary IFMA, Mrs. Sade Ainohuodion and Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Lekan Akinwumi, during the Annual General Meeting of IFMA, held at the Chapter’s Secretariat, Yaba, Lagos.
Government agencies tasked on comprehensive Energy Efficiency Policy
elevant government agencies have been urged to synergise in order to develop a comprehensive energy efficiency policy for Nigeria. The policy, according to the communiqué issued after the Third National Energy Efficiency Summit (NEES 2013) held in Abu-
Energy saving bulbs
ja recently should be consistent with the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy. After careful deliberations, participants at the Summit observed that there is lack of synergy between government agencies embarking on initiatives and programmes to promote energy
efficiency in Nigeria Besides, they also observed that the nation lacks a comprehensive policy to promote energy efficiency. They also noted that there is conflict of mandate, responsibility and activities among government agencies implementing energy efficiency initiatives in Nigeria. For these reasons, the stakeholders are advocating synergy among government agencies to avoid duplication of functions. The summit noted that energy efficiency is one of the key drivers of sustainable development and economic growth of any nation, suggesting that statistical data should be used to convince stakeholders that energy and monetary savings are achievable through the use of energy efficient devices. This year’s summit focused the roles that energy efficiency best practices and energy conservation will play in the course of implementing the Power Sector Reform of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Reform has expressly identified the adoption
of national policy on energy efficiency as one of the strategies to achieve its objectives. The summit also served as platform to create awareness on the importance and gains of energy efficiency in meeting national development and environmental sustainability. In order to ensure the smooth take-off and sustained drive to promote energy efficiency in the country, the summit recommended that incentives should be put in place to encourage stakeholders to adopt energy efficiency best practices. The summit observed that the power currently generated in Nigeria is inadequate for the country’s population estimated at about 170 million people; and that there is need for Nigeria government to put in place minimum energy performance standards, MEPS, for end-use appliances. The observations read, “The introduction of incentives to encourage Nigerian to buy energy efficient appliances is critical to the realization of the objectives of the on-going GEF-supported
energy efficiency programme in Nigeria. There is need to institutionalize energy efficiency as a matter of national priority. Most of the renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes in Nigeria are not based on longterm vision. “Over 70 per cent of lamps currently imported into Nigeria are compact fluorescent lamps, CFL. Many of the CFLs sold in Nigeria markets do not last up to their specified life span (6000 to 8000 hours). Empirical data is required to advice consumers on which brands of CFLs to buy. There is need for an efficient lighting technology to be adopted in order to utilize effectively the electricity resources of the country.” The summit urged that local manufacturers of electrical appliances should be fully involved in the programmes and initiatives to promote energy efficiency, appealing that the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, should be further strengthened to ensure strict compliance with minimum energy performance standards of end-use appliances.
Real Estate & Environment
Christmas is here again! It is this time of the year one decorate his home, sits with the family, sing Christmas carol and deck the Christmas tree. But expert at www.boldsky.com, said that no Christmas tree is complete without beautiful lights and ornaments on it.
ecorating the Christmas tree will help to make this symbol of Christmas all the more special for you and the family. Decorating the Christmas tree will also add to the festive season and thus bring in the joyous feeling of Christmas. Decorating the Christmas tree can be done successfully if you go according to these following tips: Lights: Lights are the most important part of the Christmas tree. As mentioned earlier, no Christmas tree is complete without lights. Fairy tale lights are the traditional form, but this year goes in for neon lights which will make your tree look brighter and beautiful. Ornaments: Christmas ornaments are a must for your Christmas tree. If you are looking at something unique, there are many which is booming in the market. This year, glass ornaments have become the lat-
est fashion. So, decorating the Christmas tree with glass ornaments is worth the try. Cotton: To give out that snow flake look, place big blobs of cotton on the leaves when you are decorating the Christmas tree. Place the cotton lightly on the tree so it gives you that natural look. Gifts: You can either place real or artificial gifts on the tree or below the Christmas tree. The presence of gifts always sets an excitement for children. Something Traditional: Every year you should place a traditional ornament when decorating the Christmas tree. The traditional feeling of these ornaments will make your festive season all the more special. Handmade Decorations: If your children are creative with their hands, make sure they come up with their own Christmas tree decorations. It will add to the beauty of the tree and make them feel all the happy.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
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Real Estate & Environment
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Government should concentrate on provision of mass housing –ERCAAN Mr. Ikwuagwu Emeka George is the Vice-Chairman of Lagos State Branch of Estate Rent Commission Agent Association of Nigeria, ERCAAN. He is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Holmes Vim Properties Lagos. In this interview with newsmen, he gives reasons why the association is backing the one-year-rent policy of Lagos State Government, need for mass housing and why middle-income earners may not have access to high quality properties. What is your association is all about? Ours is Estate Rent Commission Agent Association of Nigeria. It is an association charged with the responsibilities to regulate the activities of estate agent operation in Nigeria. It is duly registered and recognized by the state and Federal Government. ERCAAN is to estate agents what the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, is to estate surveying and valuation practitioners. Every practicing estate agent in Nigeria is expected to be a member of this association, which was formed to checkmate and stem the dubious activities of estate agents. It has also been recognised by Lagos State Real Estate Transaction Regulatory Authority, LASRETRAD, a new state body charged with the responsibilities to regulate practice of estate agents in Lagos. Why is the association backing the Lagos State Government’s one-year rent policy? The Lagos State’s one-year rent policy is very achievable. The policy is already achieving its goal because landlords now know that they cannot collect more than one-year rent in Lagos State. We the estate agents have taken our time to educate the landlords on the new policy. Those of them that insisted on two years rent collection initially have now come to realised that it pays more to collect one year rent than to allow their houses to be locked up without tenants for months or even years. They have no option than to succumb to the policy of the government, which is good for them because you cannot collect all the money you used in building your house at a time. It is a gradual process and you recoup your investment. The policy will be gradually popularised; it is a question of time. Lagos tenants are happy with the policy; we estate agents are also happy and comfortable with it. So I am advising the landlords to fol-
group, which monitors how investment funds manage the risks of climate change says many are exposing their investors to massive future losses. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project, AODP, asked the world’s thousand largest asset owners what they were doing to guard against the possibility that their investments in fossil fuels could, in future, become worthless. According to Climate News Network, together, the owners manage more than $70 trillion of funds. The project found that only 27 of the 460 investment funds replying to its request are currently addressing climate risk at what it considers a responsible level. Only five of the 460 achieved
will need to concentrate its attention on the provision of mass housing for its citizenry. This will force the Lagos shylock landlords to comply with one-year rent policy. If government accommodates most income earners, there is every tendency that Lagos landlords will be begging people to become their tenants in their houses. This is true because if they don’t beg them their houses will be locked up with no tenants to live in and maintain them. Again, let the government help the landlords and reduce charges on soil test, cost of processing of Certificate of Occupancy; land use charges tax, remove “Omoniles”, construct roads and drains so that the cost of building will not be too high for them. I am quite sure that once these charges are reduced the Landlords will be willing to collect even six months and low rent from their tenants. So at our association level, we advise landlords to collect one-year rent as stipulated by the government policy because it is good for them, the tenants and even us the estate agents.
LAGOS TENANTS ARE HAPPY WITH THE POLICY; WE ESTATE AGENTS ARE ALSO HAPPY AND
COMFORTABLE WITH IT.
SO I AM
ADVISING THE LANDLORDS TO FOLLOW SUIT AND COOPERATE WITH THE NEW POLICY low suit and cooperate with the new policy. What are the factors that will make the policy works? In this case there is more work to be done by the government in other to properly implement this policy and make it works. First, government should integrate all agents in the Lagos by working hand in hand with ERCAAN as grass root channel to property owners in decimation of information. In terms of mass housing provision, the government
What are the benefits of the policy? Let me use this forum to tell the stubborn landlords who are insisting on collecting two years rent that they are on their own. This is true because for us, one-year rent collection makes the job easier for agents and the business. Again, some people who are desperate to get accommodation are the people encouraging the collection of two-year rent. They should stop. When they are so desperate they will not bother whether the landlord is asking for two years rent or not against the government policy, which is very good and helpful to the tenants. Why do you think that middle-income earners may not have access to high quality properties? With the cost of high quality properties in some parts of Africa especially in Nigeria, middle income that depends wholly on their megre incomes may not have access to high quality properties. This is true because according to Knights Frank Africa Report release early this year said that demand for high quality commercial and residential properties will continue to grow across Africa on the back of the continents growth and rising wealth. The strong growth is expected to continue and is creating wealthier populations. Take for instance in Nigerian property markets, oil companies, banks and telecommunication companies have established demand for high quality properties as official and residential homes. If you talk of homes, they are also on high demands by these organizations because of their strong financial strength. Again high cost of building materials is also another reason why the middle class may not have access to such high quality properties.
Climate threatens retirement savings the AODP’s top AAA, with an additional 29 rated A or above. Only these groups, says the Project, “will survive a carbon crash in any kind of good shape.” Of the 1,000 asset owners approached, 80 per cent are either D rated (abysmal) or X rated (doing nothing). A further 540 funds did not disclose sufficient information to allow a rating. “A majority of the world’s investment industry are clearly acting contrary to the interests of those whose money they represent – this is an outrageous situation” says Sharan Burrow, an AODP board member and general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.
“It must be remembered that much of the money being held by these organisations is the product of workers’ lifelong savings.” The survey looked at several categories of investment behaviour, including transparency, risk management and low carbon investment. Asset owners examined came from 63 countries, in all regions of the world.
Solution neglected Those the AODP approached included over 800 pension funds, 80 insurance companies, 50 sovereign wealth funds and 30 foundations or endowments. The survey findings are published in the Project’s second Global Climate
Investment Index. The risk to investors from climate change is that a stringent and effective global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions - which does not yet exist - would mean massive amounts of coal, oil and gas reserves, listed as assets by energy and mining companies, would have to be left in the ground. As a consequence, the value of investments in those companies would fall sharply which, among other things, would lead to considerably lower levels of retirement savings for individual stakeholders. While the AODP says many investment funds are threaten-
ing investors with potentially massive losses through exposure to climate risks, it believes the Index shows the world’s investment system can drive the transition to a low carbon economy. Julian Poulter, the executive director of AODP, said: “While we can see some leaders emerging, many haven’t acknowledged their dangerous and foolhardy addiction to investments riddled with climate risk, let alone checked themselves into rehab.” But he added: “What is clear is that the world has an investment system capable of driving the low carbon transition - If all the funds we surveyed had a triple AAA rating, we would be well advanced on meeting the global climate challenge upon us.”
Real Estate & Environment
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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RUWES: 600 homes in Taraba now powered by solar OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA
he Renewable Energy Programme of the Federal Government has begun to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians who are not connected to the country’s national grid as no fewer than 600 homes in Mutum Biyu area of Gassol Local Government in Taraba State are now being powered by solar energy under the Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES) project. RUWES is a part of the rural energy projects initiated by the Renewable Energy Programme of the Ministry of Environment on behalf of the Federal Government. The Programme was formerly launched by the Supervising Minister of Environment,
Mr.Darius Ishaku, an architect, in Abuja at the weekend. Addressing Journalists as part of the programmes the for the three days RUWES event, the Coordinator, Renewable Energy Programme, Mrs. Bahijjahtu Abubakar,an engineer, stated that over 1.3million women had enlisted into the programme with the target of 2million by February 2014. She explained that the programme was not only aimed at reducing the various health hazards many rural women were exposed to in the process of cooking, but also to enhance their economy as well as protecting the environment from the negative effects of climate change. “Since this programme began in February 2012, we have registered over 1.3million wom-
en and our target is to enlist 2million people by February 2014. Apart from harnessing the various renewable energy resources that are available in this country, the programme is aimed at reducing the various health hazards that our women are exposed on a daily basis in the process of fulfilling their obligations to their families. “Besides, it would also help them economically as it helps to conserve the money they daily expend of firewood,” she explained. Speaking on the new solar system in Mutum Biyu, she noted that with more funds, the project would be extended to other communities in the country that have no access to the conventional energy source. An environment enthusiast and Chairman, House Commit-
tee on Media and Public Affairs Hon. Zakari Mohammed spoke on the role of the media in helping to expand the frontier of renewable energy in the country. He said the world was gradually moving away from the conventional sources of energy, adding that “Nigeria which has all the renewable natural resources should not be left behind. He said, “the world is moving to renewable energy and we have all of that in abundance in terms of natural resource. As a people all that we need to do is to be focused and we as media professionals have critical roles to play because from all that is happening, it is very clear that our people do not have sufficient
Be watchdogs over public infrastructure, Fashola urges residents DAYO AYEYEMI
Solar-powered borehole at Donga, Taraba State
NSE, COREN mull new strategies for checking building collapse OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA
s the spate of building collapse continues unabated in the country, the Nigerian Society of Engineers in conjunction with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria(COREN) are poised to evolve new strategies to check the menace. Part of the new strategies, the NSE President Mustafa Shehu, said involved a review of modalities used in inspecting viability of projects under construction. Shehu who spoke at the weekend, while announcing the commencement of the 2013 International Engineering Conference and Annual General Meeting in Abuja, lamented that there was a growing concern about building collapse and the adverse economic implication for the country.
According to him, the mere fact that the unscrupulous jobbers who engaged in unethical practices that led to building collapse devised various strategies to evade is being cut necessitated the need for constant review of strategies by the regulators. He said, “People raise a lot of concerns today about building collapse in many parts of the country, let me say the NSE is always beefing up its strategies and of recent we have strengthened our collaboration with our colleagues in COREN. “Most times when we visit projects sites we look out for competencies of the engineers deployed to such places, if they are professional engineers, we also look out for the architects, soil and a number of other factors.” The conference has as its theme: “Strategies for Transforming Agriculture and Water Resources Sectors of the Nigerian
Economy”. On the imperative of the year’s theme, he explained that the imperative of agriculture to the growth and development of the country and its decline in the recent compelled the body to look into it with a view of fashioning out a way out. He stated, “You will recall years back agriculture constituted the premier source of our national income, this crucial sector that offers employment to about 70percent of our population provided sufficient raw materials for our manufacturing outfits food for consumption and for the international market. The current reality is that the sector is “The current reality is that the sector is experiencing a downturn and need to be urgently revitalised to enable us feature conspicuously on the world stage again as a dominant agricultural nation.”
information about this. “If you look at it from the economic, health angle and job creation potentials, Nigerians will embrace it because Nigerians are not lazy people. Thus when you tell them how much it will improve their economy and how much money they will make out of it, how many jobs it will create and how much years they will be adding to their age, Nigerians will embrace it.” On the need for a legislation to enable the programme assume the status of an agency; Mohammed stated that the House would look at the proposition, stressing that as it is being constituted at present, the sector would not attract the expected investment.
overnor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has residents of Badagry to be watchdogs over their road infrastructure and other facilities in order to sustain them. The governor stated this at the handing over of Phase II of the Market Street in Badagry. While recalling the state of the roads before, he noted the poor condition of some roads like Joseph Dosu and Market Street which he said their rehabilitation had critically impacted on the development of Badagry. Fashola, who also promised that a sea port will be constructed at Badagry soon, urged them to use the roads and other facilities according to their purposes rather than for trading, car wash or mechanic workshop. He emphasised that streetlights were purposely erected on the new road in order to ensure safety of lives and
properties. He stressed that the state government had commenced a housing estate at Ajara while work is ongoing at Badary shoreline. He noted that government had also completed a High and Magistrate Court construction with work still ongoing at Ajara Iragon. Fashola enjoined the people of Badagry to cooperate with government by paying their taxes as infrastructural amenities is the result of payment of taxes, adding that the more taxes paid the more government can do. He also urged the people of Badagry to make land available so that the State Government can also construct Oba’s palaces for them like it has done in Epe, Ikorodu and Lagos Island. He used the occasion to urged Lagos residents to get registered with Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRA) so that the social amenities being provided by the government will go round.
Ogun promises 1,300 housing units to citizens in 2014
gun State Ministry of Housing has promised to build a total of 1,300 housing units for citizens in 2014, and also provide 750 hectares, 90 out of which would be made available for private development. The Commissioner for Housing Mr. Daniel Adejobi who made this known while defending the ministry’s budget before the members of the state of House of Assembly in Abeokuta, said this was in fulfilment of government promise to provide affordable and qualitative housing for the citizenry. He said a total of N4.3billion naira would be spend in the next fiscal year. Breaking down the budget, Mr
Adejobi said that N100million would be expended on recurrent expenditure while N4.2billion would be spent on capital project. He noted that over N92.2m would be expended for settling of the various verifiable land owners that fall within the expected 750 hectares at 12 locations, Agbara Industrial park, Kobape Residential Estates and many more. Meanwhile, the Special Adviser Ogun State Housing Corporation, Mrs. Jumoke Akinwunmi proposed N4.9 billion as budget of the agency for next year. The Special Adviser said that N393 million would be expended on recurrent while N2.5 billion would be spent on capital projects.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The ongoing audits of some indigenous airlines by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has come under searchlight as professionals in the sector say the industry regulator was wrong in grounding airlines before conducting audits of their operations. OLUSEGUN KOIKI writes.
Rising concern over audits that keep airlines grounded
he rising fear of financially and stressed airlines possibly compromising air safety by not being able to spend required amounts on aircraft main terrace or on personnel welfare led the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to put the indigenous airlines under the scanner. The Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu exactly on Sunday, October 6, 2013, announced the suspension of Dana Air and commencement of immediate comprehensive operational and mechanical audits of the airline. Akinkuotu said that the audit of the indigenous airlines would start with Dana Air while other airlines would follow suit. The process, which eventually began with the airline last Tuesday according to NCAA, after the arrival of other safety inspectors from America and Europe is going to examine the entire spectrum of operations. Based on the findings, NCAA said it would come out with a corrective action list for it and other indigenous airlines with a time-bound compliance period. The indigenous carriers are definitely going through hard times with several of them not being able to pay salaries for several months, which analysts in the sector say will definitely have impact on safety. While NCAA took a further step in November with the grounding of Chanchangi and IRS Airlines due to inadequate equipment, some experts condemned the grounding of the airlines especially Dana before the commencement of audits. Stakeholders say the grounding of the airline was unnecessary for any form of audit, saying that as a regulatory agency, rather than the abrupt announcement of the grounding of the airline for audit reasons, NCAA as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, ought to have sent in the checklists to the airlines at least six months before the commencement of the exercise. Some also claimed that NCAA was under pressure to ground the airline, suspecting that the essence of the suspension was to pave way for the commencement of a national carrier, which the government had planned to start before the end of the year. The General-Secretary of Aviation Round Table, ART, Mr. Sam Akerele, in an interview with our correspondent described auditing of airlines as an open system, which indicates the areas the auditor would want to focus on. For instance, he explained that when the country went through the ICAO audit in 2006, the organisation sent in its checklist, which indicated areas its team would focus on, adding that it is also the same with the International Air Transport Association, IATA. He however wondered why the agency would first suspend an airline for over two months before the commencement of au-
THE NCAA NEEDS TO TALK WITH THE AIRLINES; TELL THEM WHERE THEY ARE WEAK AND WHERE THEY NEED TO IMPROVE SO THAT
WE CAN HAVE AN INDUSTRY. IF YOU FEEL YOU
ARE A REGULATOR, YOU WILL REGULATE THEM OUT OF BUSINESS AND YOU WILL NOW REGULATE NOTHING dit, decrying that such would affect confidence of the flying public in the sector and put operators under needless pressure. Akerele described auditing of the airlines as good for the system, but warned that it should not be punitive and urged the regulatory body to parley with the airlines and assist them in the improvement of their operations, rather than force them to close shops. Besides, he lamented that NCAA has refused to publish the results of the previous audits even when stakeholders and professionals in the sector demanded same, maintaining that the inability of NCAA to publish past audits negated international bet standards. He said, “When we went through the ICAO Audit in 2006, they sent their checklist in advance of six months, which indicated where they want to check and you will give them answers. It is an open system even in IATA. They will want to know how many people you have trained, maintenance of the aircraft, insurance, bank balances, engineering staff, and others. They will tell you all the items. It is good to audit, but it should not be punitive. “The NCAA needs to parley with the airlines; tell them where they are weak and where they need to improve so that we can have an industry. If you feel you are
a regulator, you will regulate them out of business and you will now regulate nothing and you yourself would die because it is not good to have only two or three airlines flying and they don’t even last for more than three years on the average. “It is very wrong to ground Dana. Even if you suspect an aircraft has been having too many air returns in recent time, it is that aircraft that you should ground and you should ground it on the reasonable time of a week or two that they should fix the problems so that they can go back to operations. “When you ground the whole airline, money is no longer flowing to the airline, the staff will not get paid, then, they start cutting corners and the staff may even start selling the spare parts because they need to survive. So, it is wrong and very wrong to close the airline before audit. What happened to Slok Airlines? You said the pilot went down the weather minimum for the country, instead of them to punish the pilot because the aeroplane cannot fly itself; they banned the whole fleet because they are being manipulated by their political master. This is wrong.” He however insisted that the Nigerian airspace was safe; but reiterated that the civil aviation industry “is generally not safe.” Besides, the former Director, Airwor-
thiness Safety Standards, Mrs. Folashade Odutola recalled that the Nigerian aviation industry had embarked on audit exercises in the past years without necessarily grounding the operations of the airlines. She specifically said that before an airline is suspended, enough safety evidences ought to have been found against it or such airline operates in violation of the terms and conditions of its Air Operator’s Certificate, AOC. She added, “Perhaps, the NCAA has found out that and that is why it grounded the airline in its entirety. After the Bellview Airlines accident, the then Minister of Aviation, Prof. Babalola Borishade set up a taskforce in which I was the Chairman to verify the status of airlines in Nigeria, which we did critically. “We used the IATA Operational Safety Audit, IOSA, to check the activities of the airlines and we based our decision to ground or not to ground on the outcome of our investigations. We didn’t ground the airlines because we wanted to audit them. Grounding of an airline should be based on facts and figures unless there are some other information that are not available to the public.” Also, the immediate past Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Dr. Steve Mahonwu, told our correspondent that the technical audit of all the airlines will provide the needed data on the equipment, the capacity of the airlines to carry out effective maintenance of the aircraft and their manpower. Mahonwu said that it was also necessary to carry out economic audit of the airlines, maintaining that that the failure of the airlines to provide better remuneration for their workers had contributed in no small measures to the failings of the airlines in ensuring safe operations. He identified ageing fleet as one of the major bane of the Nigerian civil aviation industry, insisting that they equally lacked the financial wherewithal to carry out effective and scheduled maintenance on their ageing equipment. He added, “Airline workers, including those that operate the flights are not paid well and some airlines owe their staff and this is affecting them. When a pilot is flying, he will be thinking about how to take care of his family. That is the reason many of the air accidents are associated with human errors because these people are not being taken care of adequately these days like in the time past’’.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Jed Air to acquire five Dash 8 aircraft, signs agreement with Canadian firm STORIES: OLUSEGUN KOIKI
ne of the fastest growing indigenous airlines, Jed Air said plans are underway to acquire five Dash 8 Q-300 series aircraft in the coming weeks. The airline said that the acquisition of the aircraft would further boost its scheduled and chartered flight operations in the domestic market. Jed Air is one of the leading carriers in cargo, oil and gas logistics. Its Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Nogie Meggison told aviation correspondents yesterday at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos that the carrier was set to raise the stakes in aviation and related services. Meggison explained further
that the airline had signed a joint venture agreement with a Canadian airline, Voyageur Airways. The collaboration between the two carriers led to the arrival of a Dash 8-300 series aircraft for the operations from Voyageur Airways. The turbo prop aircraft from Canada was received at a private terminal at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos. Meggison told journalists that the arrival of the aircraft was in preparatory to the visit of the management if the Canadian Firm into Nigeria next week. Meggison informed that the Canadian team would be led by the Vice President of Voyaguer Airways, Mr Cory Cousineau, adding that while in Nigeria, the team is expected to pay a facility visit to the concerned oil and gas
companies that would be utilising the aircraft for their services. As part of the agreement, Voyageur he said would provide the aircraft, maintenance and technical expertise while JedAir would operate the equipment and provide crew and ground handling for the aircraft operations. He said, “We are in the business to make great difference and we are proud to be associated with Voyageur Airways.” The Director of Commercial Services, Voyageur Airways, Mr. Cory Cousineau said, “we are excited about the agreement between Voyageur and JedAir. It is a milestone in our African Operations and we will be positioning our aircraft in Nigeria in the first quarter of this year.”
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Airside email@example.com 08186007273
Oduah, where are the 30 aircraft for indigenous operators?
ometime last year, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah told the media that arrangements have been concluded by the Federal Government in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to acquire 30 aircraft in the first phase for indigenous operators to boost their services beginning in 2013. Oduah said that government was already in talks with major aircraft manufacturers like Airbus, Bombardier and Boeing, but warned that beneficiaries of the gestures would have to meet some stringent programmes as laid down by the Government. She emphasised that contrary to old practices of giving out intervention funds to the airlines, which they allegedly misused, the aircraft will be bought and afterwards distributed to the
domestic airline operators, but most stakeholders doubted the implementation of such programme. in the lofty programme. However, as the year winds down, the ministry still assured Airside and other stakeholders that the aircraft would be brought into the country this quarter, but Airside, a former ardent believer in the programme is gradually becoming pessimistic about the 30 aircraft acquisition, just like most analysts in the sector as there are no signs of any arrival of aircraft yet despite all the assurances and noise. Although, we still have 14 more days to go in 2013, let’s see if the ministry will perform one of the wonders of the world with the arrival of the said aircraft any moment from now. The countdown has already begun.
Remodelled Lagos Airport with leaking roof
T Jed Air aircraft
Emirates saves 3,800 tonnes of fuel in 12 months from Flex Tracks programme
he giant United Arab Emirates, UAE, airline, Emirates says it has saved at least 3,800 tonnes of fuel in the last one year from its Flex Tracks programme, just as it said that it has also reduced CO2 emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes within the same period. This, the airline said was made possible through its partnership with an Australia’s air traffic management provider, Airservices Australia. The tonnes of Jet A1 are saved on its daily flights to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, saying that the fuel saved could fill the tank of a Holden Commodore 65,000 times and the CO2 saved would fill the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall 830 times. Besides, the airline late last week celebrated its 10th year partnership with the Australian firm. An online statement signed by the Emirates media agent in
Nigeria stated that the groundbreaking initiative highlighted the practical benefits when airlines implement smart air traffic management and use powerful tailwinds to reduce fuel burn, CO2 emissions, and journey time. Designed to make the best use of high altitude jet-stream winds, Flex Tracks the statement said help airlines dramatically increase an aircraft’s speed and reduce fuel consumption on long-distance flights by identifying tailwinds and avoiding strong headwinds. For the smart traveller, Flex Tracks delivers shorter journeys. This year the system has reduced Emirates flying time to Australia by an equivalent of 16.5 days. The advantages include reduced fuel and maintenance costs. Airservices Executive General Manager, Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood said, “Airservices publishes Flex Track information for airlines flying into and out of Aus-
tralian airspace to enable them to make the most of prevailing weather patterns and winds. This allows aircraft to improve flight time and reduce fuel usage, delivering environmental benefits and reducing operating costs.”
he commencement of the airports remodelling exercise embarked upon by the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah was with joy and happiness for most stakeholders in the sector and users of our airports nationwide even though some fervent critics of the minister raised some questions about the quality of materials used. But most stakeholders and professionals in the sector including Airside heaved a sigh of relief that at least in over 30 years, some of our airports were witnessing some facelifts. However, Airside might be tempted to concur with those that raised the eyebrows concerning the quality of materials used in refurbishing and
expanding some of the airports especially the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos and even the Lagos Airport General Aviation Terminal. While the latter has been commissioned for over a year ago, the former, is yet to be commissioned, but sadly almost every part of the terminal is leaking and staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, have to disgracefully put buckets on the floor whenever it drizzles to prevent the water from splashing on the floor. Airside thinks the minister and the contractors should take a look at this and please do the ‘needful’ before a passenger slips and injures himself.
Egypt Air partners NGO to build specialist hospital
gypt Airlines in collaboration with the Help to Heal, Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation said plans are underway to build a specialist hospital for the treatment of children living with cancer in Nigeria. The airline said such facility will help in preventing early deaths in children as a result of the ailment. General Manager, Egypt Airlines, Mr. Khaled Elrafie who disclosed this development to newsmen during a cancer awareness campaign in Lagos, affirmed that cancer was a killer disease, which not only kills the child if not
quickly detected, but also renders the family hopeless. Elrafie pointed out that it takes over N2m in treating a child with cancer related illness, stressing that an average Nigerian family could not afford such amount of money. He stressed that the reason behind Egypt Air and Help to Heal, Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation was to see how best to treat children with cancer in the country without the family paying any amount of money. According to him, the Oba of Lagos had already given the land where the hospital would be built,
noting that the hospital would be just like the specialist hospital in Egypt meant for the treatment of children with cancer. He said, “We are looking at building new hospitals in Nigeria specifically for treating cancer in children. We have the same hospital in Egypt, so we are trying to do the same here in Nigeria. So we are creating awareness about what we want to do as well as raise fund for the project. Let me tell you that the hospital in Egypt started the way that we are doing right now, it was built through fund raised for the hospital.”
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Non-compliance with CPS worries stakeholders The recent disclosure by the National Pensions Commission, PenCom, that the South-West Zone of the country is ahead of others in terms of compliance with the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, underlines raised the need to make CPS implementation more appealing nationwide. MESHACK IDEHEN writes.
ast week, the National Pensions Commission, PenCom, disclosed that the South-West Zone of the country comprised of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Osun states are the leaders as far as compliance with the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was concerned. That disclosure, according to analysts, is evidence of the “wonderful job” the present leadership of the commission is doing in its quest to take pension administration to greater heights. For finance expert and fund manager, Mr. Austin Ikponwonsa, PenCom, despite the numerous challenges it was grappling with, has to a large extent, performed creditably well within the relatively short time the incumbent administration in the commission has spent in office. However, Ikponwonsa, who is the Managing Director of Brookwells Associates, says the commission, with the recent announcement, needs to initiates moves and develop concepts that can make its mandate; particularly the CPS become more acceptable and implementable in other zones in the country where it was having challenges. For him, it is noteworthy that all the states in the South West geo-political zone have enacted laws to establish the CPS for civil servants, while almost all of them have commenced the implementation of the scheme which guarantees pleasant retirement for their workers. Urging zones that were still wasting time in adopting and implementing the CPS to wake up to their responsibilities to their employees, he said it was indeed worrying and baffling to stakeholders in the nation’s pension industry that Lagos State has remained the most outstanding, considering that it was also the first state in the federation to embrace the scheme, and the first to enact the law that enabled it to start implementing the scheme in 2007. Indeed, the Director-General of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, explained recently that the choice of Lagos State to host the commission South-West Zonal office stemmed not only from its pre-eminent position as the economic nerve centre of the country but was also justified by its record of being one of the pioneers in implementation of the CPS. Lagos State, just like most south west states, and very much unlike other
CEO Stanbic IBTC Pension, Demola Sogunle
GENERALLY, THE LEVEL OF IMPLEMENTATION IN THE SOUTH EAST
ZONE RAISES CONCERN WHEN VIEWED AGAINST THE FACT THAT THE DECISION TO ADOPT THE
CPS WAS TAKEN BY THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF STATES AT ITS MEETING OF JULY, 2006 AND SO FAR, 21 STATES ACROSS THE FEDERATION HAVE ENACTED THEIR LAWS
Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel
states in the country, according the PenCom, had fully implemented the CPS with a total of 45,730 employees registered and pension contributions remittance of N46.50billion as at July, 2013. Furthermore, the state had issued retirement benefit bonds of N18.9billion to its retirees and these bonds have been fully redeemed and proceeds paid into the employees’ individual RSAs; while 2,242 employees from the State have retired under the Scheme as at August, 2013. Citing the case of Osun State, has also adopted the CPS and enacted its law in 2009, a member of the Pension Fund Administrators Association (PenOp), Mr Edzi Umahi, said the discouraging performance of the CPS in non-south west state was not the commission problems, saying it was clear PenCom was working hard daily to ensure compliance.
According to him, it was the negative attitudes of some state’s chief executive officers that was responsible for the poor performance of the CPS in those areas, adding also that the commission should not be hesitant to wielding the big stick against defaulting states where and where necessary. Osun State, according to the pension industry regulators, has made significant progress in its implementation of the CPS, having so far registered 45,106 employees under the scheme. It had also remitted N4.15billion as pension contributions, while the sum of N1.9billion had been remitted into the retirement benefits bond redemption fund account despite the fact that the state is yet to renew the Group Life Insurance Policy for its employees in 2013 and had also not carried out an actuarial valuation to determine accrued pension rights of employees. Taken together, Finance Analyst, Mr. Segun Adesegun, told National Mirror the domination of the South West states
in the implementation of the CPS is alsoa reflection of how poor the scheme has fared in other parts of the country. Insisting the commission needs more support from the government and industry stakeholders to take the message of the CPS to resisting parts of the country, Adesegun said the commission should urge state governments in the North and South East to adopt the scheme in the best and long term interests of its workers. He pointed out that the South-East Zone is yet to take its rightful place in terms of the adoption and implementation of the CPS, considering that no state among the five in the zone (south west) has attained full implementation status and worse is that three states, Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu have not even made efforts to enact the law on the CPS. According to him, even Imo State which enacted its law on the CPS in 2008 has suspended its implementation, while Anambra State had only recently enacted its law on the CPS, with the state now expected to carry out the next steps, which include setting up the administrative structures, appointment of PFAs, registration of employees by the PFAs, remittance of pension contributions, conducting an actuarial valuation to determine issues in the coming months. The situation of the CPS in the North, according to him, is even worse, where National Mirror gathered that it was only Niger State that has attained full compliance with the CPS out of all the states in the North-Central Zone. “Generally, the level of implementation in the South East Zone raises concern when viewed against the fact that the decision to adopt the CPS was taken by the National Council of States at its meeting of July, 2006 and so far, 21 states across the Federation have enacted their laws” PenCom said. It would be recalled that the Pension Reform Act, which was signed into law on 25th June 200 seeks sought to address in a comprehensive manner, the perennial problems associated with pensions in both the public and private sectors; a situation that led to the establishment of the CPS and created the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to regulate, supervise and ensure the effective administration of pension matters in Nigeria. Amongst its key objectives, PenCom seeks to ensure that every person who has worked in either the public or private sector receives his/her retirement benefits as and when due; establish a uniform set of rules and regulations for the administration and payment of retirement benefits in both the public and private sectors; stem the growth of outstanding pension liabilities. The commission has also said the CPS will promote economic growth through diversification of pension fund investment across financial and productive sectors; and assist improvident individuals by ensuring that they save to cater for their livelihood during old age thereby reducing old age poverty.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
80% of products approved performing well, says NAICOM MESHACK IDEHEN
he National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) said that about 80 per cent of industry products are performing well in the market following an evaluation of the various insurance products approved for insurance companies in 2012,. NAICOM said this while presenting an update on the performance of products approved for insurers during the out gone year 2012. The commission said in a statement by the Head of Corporate Affairs of the commission, Mr. Salami Rasaaq, on behalf of the Commissioner for Insurance, Fola Daniel, that In order to align the industry with the trends in the emerging market that NAICOM has been encouraging insurance companies to design and market attractive products capable of meeting the need of the customers so as to increase sales and enhance market development. According to NAICOM, the world is witnessing paradigm
shift from simple to complex society due to technological advancement. The dynamics of the environment changes the consumer’s wants and needs in respect of insurance products. “Following the trends of the emerging market, the Commission encourages the insurance companies to design and market attractive new products to entice customers with the aim of increasing sales and market development. Companies are to subsequently submit updates on the product performance on quarterly basis after approval has been granted to them by the Com-
mission to sell the products,” he stated. “The report reveals that about 80 per cent of the products approved for the year 2012 are performing well,” the commission said. The report by NAICOM, according to the statement, indicates that new products were approved for 12 insurance companies in 2012, with the affected underwriting firms being International Energy Insurance Plc, Unity Kapital Assurance Plc, Finsurance Company Limited, Crusader General Insurance Limited, Crusader Life Insurance Limited. Others are Industrial and General Insurance Plc, Wapic Insurance Plc, Wapic Life Assurance Limited, Mansard Insurance Plc, Old Mutual Nigeria Life Assurance Company Limited, Leadway Assurance Company Limited, and ADIC Insurance Limited. Informing that majority of the affected companies have generated substantial premium income from the approved products, NAICOM noted that some companies seems to be having challenges marketing the approved products.
Leadway Assurance to focus on growing retail insurance business
eadway Assurance Company Limited has said the company is taking on and coaching new Independent Business Associates (IBAs) to focus on the retail insurance business, as part of efforts towards entrepreneurial engagement, insurance penetration and awareness creation, the insurance company has informed. Head of Retail (General Business Commercial), Mr. Tunji Amokade, told journalists that Leadway is taking advantage of the huge potential in the insurance market to invite entrepreneurial members of the public to join its retail commercial team via a platform known as the op-
portunity. He said with insurance penetration in Nigeria at less than one per cent, particularly for retail business, that Leadway recognises the huge potential in the retail insurance market and plans to work with over 1,000 associates within the next few months, coaching them to grow market share in the retail insurance business territory. He explained that while the new associates may not necessarily have prior experience, they must train to become IBAs, over the next year, adding the IBAs will receive training on practical insurance, sales leadership and personal effectiveness in the class-
MD Leadway, Oye Hassan
room and on-the-job throughout their career. According to him, this is being done in collaboration with BPMSE Consulting to accelerate acceptability and growth through the distribution of best-for-value retail insurance solutions for the individual and SMEs.
Union wants gratuity rights embedded in new pension law
he Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has said it is calling on government at all levels to take advantage of the 2013 Pension Reform Bill to prevail on the legislators at the National Assembly, so that gratuity can be unambiguously restored in the new pension law. Chairman of Rivers State Council of TUC, Mr. Chika Onuegbu, told National Mirror that the controversy trailing the payment of gratuity under the contributory pension scheme now being operated in the country arose because the payment
of gratuity was not clearly stated in the Pension Reform Act 2004. Onuegbu said government at all levels should take advantage of the 2013 Pension Reform Bill to clearly and unambiguously restore gratuity. The payment of gratuity should be compulsory and unambiguous. In fact the state governments should not wait for the 2013 Pension Reform Bill, they should immediately amend their various state pension laws in order to clearly and unambiguously restore gratuity. Gratuities, according to him,
are still being paid to contributors under the new pension dispensation in the country but under a different arrangement. He explained a retiree can withdraw a lump sum from the balance standing to the credit of his retirement savings account, provided that the amount remaining after the lump sum withdrawal shall be sufficient to procure an annuity or fund programmed withdrawals that will produce an amount not less than 50 per cent of his monthly remuneration as at date of his retirement.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Travel insurance: tips on finding the best deals
ravelling is fully integrated in business and other parts of everyday lives; hence it pays to shop around for the best deals on travel insurance prior to holidays and business trips. Here are a few tips to help in that regards. Never buy from a travel agent, tour operator or airline--This will almost certainly cost you more. Be sensible about the excess-That is the amount that you, the policyholder, have to pay towards any claim. If, for example, you claim for £600, and the excess is £150, the insurer pays out £450. If you set the excess high, the policy will be cheaper, but may not be worth having. Check what is already covered by your home insurance policy or bank--Home policies often include insurance for personal possessions when away from home, so you can opt out of having baggage cover and save money. You may also have a credit card or current account that includes travel insurance but check that the cover is sufficient for your needs – such “free” insurance can sometimes be very basic. Choose annual cover if you travel more than three times a year-- if you travel three times or more a year then getting an annual policy that covers the entire year’s travel for one fee is likely to cost you less than buying separate single-trip policies. Look out for age limits and medical exclusions---Many policies, particularly the cheapest, will not insure anyone aged over 65, however fit and active. Most standard policies will also not cover any pre-existing conditions. So, for example, if you are asthmatic and suffer an attack on holiday
that requires medical treatment, your policy will not pay out. Tell your insurer about any ongoing medical conditions and answer questions honestly-- Some insurers may then agree to cover certain conditions for a small extra premium or, if your condition warrants it, refer you to a specialist insurer. Even horse riding is adventurous---Many policies exclude “risky activities”, which can be horse riding, scuba diving, jet skiing or mountain climbing. If you are going on a skiing holiday make sure the policy includes comprehensive winter sports cover. Independent travellers should opt for scheduled airline failure cover--If you tend to make your own flight and accommodation arrangements, rather than booking a package, its important your insurance includes scheduled airline and end-supplier failure cover, which protects you if an airline, Villa Company or ferry firm goes bust after you’ve booked your holiday. Note that even fivestar policies may not cover airline failures. Get an EHIC card---If you are heading to Europe, get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which gives you access to state-provided healthcare, at a reduced cost or sometimes free, when temporarily visiting an EU country, and also Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Some travel insurance policies will waive the excess for medical claims if you use your EHIC to get medical treatment while travelling in the EU. The easiest way to apply for, or renew, an EHIC – which is valid for up to five years – is at ehic.org.uk. Source: moneysupermarket.com
Steps that can cut car insurance burden
he major crime most drivers commit against their personal finances is failing to shop around for the best premium and simply accepting your insurer’s renewal quote, which is likely to be much higher. Younger drivers can also grab themselves potentially much cheaper car insurance by opting for one of the new blackbox policies, these put a spy in your car to monitor your driving and reward those who are careful and don’t drive at dangerous times. Whether you are male or female, old or young, follow these five steps to secure cheaper insurance policy for your car: • Compare prices Use an online comparison service to do the hard work for you. Put in your details and check the prices that come up. You can alter the excess that you are willing to pay and the mileage you will drive and get new quotes. Also check the insurers that don’t feature in
comparison sites, the big two are Direct Line and Aviva. This is Money’s car insurance search is powered by MoneySupermarket and will search more than 130 insurers for you. Try it out here. • Haggle! The car insurance market is notoriously competitive. Once you’ve been on This Is Money’s comparison and found your cheapest price (below), get on the phone and start bargaining! • Avoid paying monthly charges Direct debit installments generally come hand-in-hand with high interest rates. An alternative is to borrow the money on a 0 per cent purchase credit card and then clear it within a year. [Check the best 0% purchase credit cards here] Think outside the box An accelerated no-claims bonus, such as Admiral’s Bonus Accelerator, could give you a year’s no claims bonus after just 10 months.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Index rises 2.2% as bulls regain vigour JOHNSON OKANLAWON
he benchmark of equities turned green on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as investment in some companies with hopes of good earnings lifted the major indicator. Specifically, the All Share Index gained 2.22 per cent to close at 39,695.34 points, as against the decline of 0.03 per cent recorded on Friday to close at 38,831.59 points. Market capitalisation rose N277bn to close at N12.703trn, as against the decrease of N3bn record-
ed on Friday to close at N12.426trn. The NSE 30-Index appreciated 1.20 per cent to close at 1,810.83 points, but the Banking Index fell 0.45 per cent to close at 403.98 points. The Insurance Index lost 1.36 per cent to close at 147.43 points, while the Consumer Goods Index dropped 0.83 per cent to close at 1,068.50 points. The Oil and Gas Index shed 0.22 per cent to close at 302.80 points, while the Lotus Islamic Index appreciated 1.77 per cent to close at 2,780.07 points. The Industrial Index added 3.45 per cent to close
at 2,472.59 points, while the Alternative Securities Market remained unchanged. Dangote Cement Plc led the gainers’ table with N20.00 or 10 per cent to close at N220 per share, followed by Evans Medical Plc with 16 kobo or 4.78 per cent to close at N3.51 per share. Continental Insurance Plc added five kobo or 4.55 per cent to close at N1.15 per share, while African Prudence Insurance Plc increased 11 kobo or 4.55 per cent to close at N2.54 per share. Ikeja Hotel Plc was up three kobo or 4.35 per cent to close at 72 kobo per share. Conversely, Custodian
Insurance Plc lost 18 kobo or 8.57 per cent to close at N1.92 per share, while Unilever Plc fell N2.87 or 4.99 per cent to close at N54.61 per share. Air Service Plc dipped 18 kobo or 4.75 per cent to close at N3.61 per share, while Courtville Plc declined three kobo or 4.62 per cent to close at 62 kobo per share. Cadbury Nigeria Plc depreciated N3.00 or 4.55 per cent to close at N63.00 per share. A total of 265.1 million shares valued at N2.858bn were exchanged in 3,974 deals.
Ivory Coast plans post-default return in $500m sale
vory Coast plans to sell $500m of bonds in the first half of next year, returning to international markets three years after defaulting on $2.3bn of debt. The world’s largest cocoa producer will sell fiveyear bonds, Emmanuel Ahoutou, cabinet director for Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, told Bloomberg. The government will seek a credit rating after the Washington-based International Monetary Fund said last week that it has no objections to the government’s plans to sell debt, Ahoutou said. “The $500m will be used to fund public investments over the period of 2014 to 2015,” Ahoutou said. “The IMF is monitoring the management of the public debt
policy.” Ivory Coast is emerging from more than a decade of political turmoil following a civil war in 2002 and former President Laurent Gbabgo’s refusal to hand over the presidency after losing the 2010 election. The government defaulted on the debt in January 2011, less than a year after the bonds were sold. The former French colony joins African nations in selling a record amount of debt this year to finance energy and infrastructure projects in the world’s poorest region. The yield on African sovereign debt has risen 146 basis points, or 1.46 percentage points, since the end of April, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes. The Federal Reserve said in May that it’s consider-
ing reducing the amount of government bonds it buys to stimulate the economy, pushing yields on emerging-market debt higher. “The rational is probably to issue before the Fed starts to taper” stimulus, Samir Gadio, an emergingmarkets strategist at Standard Bank Group Limited’s London unit, said. According to him, the Eurobond should be well received by international investors, considering the strong economic rebound under way and the country’s decent external and fiscal metric. Ivory Coast’s economy will expand more than 8.5 per cent this year, faster than the average five per cent growth for sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary
Fund. The government plans to sell as much as $67m in stakes in banks and agriculture companies it owns in the first half of 2014 to reduce the burden on the state’s finances, Bruno Kone, a government spokesman, said this week. Foreign donors pledged $8.6bn last year to fund highways, railroads, a third bridge spanning the lagoon in Abidjan, and an expansion of the ports at Abidjan and San Pedro. The bonds will be sold in the first six months of 2014 and listed on the NYSE Euronext, Ahoutou said. Nations in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa have sold or plan to issue $7bn of debt this year, more than the amount in the past five years combined.
Euro, stocks lifted by manufacturing data in US, Europe
he euro rose against the dollar yesterday on a surge in business activity in the euro zone in December, while global equity markets were lifted by United States manufacturing output and a strong rise in new orders in Europe. American manufacturing output rose for a fourth straight month in November as production increased almost across the board, in the latest suggestion the US economy is gaining steam. Production at US factories advanced 0.6 per cent last month, building on October’s 0.5 per cent gain, the Federal Reserve said. The manufacturing increase combined with a
jump in mining and utilities output to boost industrial production 1.1 per cent, the largest increase since November 2012, the Fed said. In Europe, Markit’s Flash Euro zone Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a regional gauge of business activity across thousands of companies large and small, rose to 52.1 in December from 51.7 last month. It was the second-highest reading since mid-2011 and beat a median forecast in a Reuters poll for 51.9. The index has been above the 50 mark that denotes growth the entire second half. New orders rose for the
fifth month, suggesting the recovery should continue into 2014. European shares rose more than 1 percent, while the Dow and the Nasdaq also hit that benchmark before paring some gains. US equities finished their worst week in nearly four months last week, a pullback sparked by concerns the Fed may begin to wind down its stimulus at a two-day meeting of policy-makers that ends on Wednesday. “It’s the stronger economic data showing that tapering won’t have as dramatic an impact on the economy as first thought,” said Alan Lancz, president, Alan B. Lancz & Associates
Inc, an investment advisory firm in Toledo, Ohio. Lancz also said that money managers who had been sitting on cash are putting their money into equities to show they haven’t missed the rally. MSCI’s all-country world stock index rose 0.65 per cent, while the FTSEurofirst 300 closed up 1.2 per cent to a provisional 1,257.84. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 140.65 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 15,896.01 points, the S&P 500 gained 12.81 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 1,788.13 points and the Nasdaq Composite added 30.988 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 4,031.963 points.
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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 not unexpected. Another political school, which however took side with Obasanjo, accused the President and the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur of hijacking the party’s machinery, imposition of their candidates as officials and going after dissenting members, including governors such as Chibuike Amaechi. They also faulted the inability of the President to cash in on the intervention of some elders of the party like Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Tony Anenih and two former national chairmen of the party, Senators Amadu Ali and Barnabas Gemade to resolve the crisis. Another issue is the threat to the polity by some ethnic chauvinists and presidential aides who have continued to make unguarded statements over the 2015 elections. Though the former president did not mention names, his fear may have stemmed from recent comments credited to Jonathan’s kinsmen like the Special Adviser to the on Niger Delta/Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku and leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), Mujahhid Asari-Dokubo that there would be no peace across the country if the President was not reelected for a second term in 2015. Kuku, had in April, in far away Washington, United States, warned officials of the U.S. State Department led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau of African Affairs), Donald Teitelbaum, that there would be “dire consequences” in the Niger Delta, should Jonathan fail to secure a fresh term in 2015. Shortly after the warning, Asari- Dokubo, a kinsman of the President reechoed the position, saying the current insecurity and tension in the country would be a child’s play if Jonathan fails to win a second term. He said: “I want to go on to say that, there will be no peace, not only in the Niger Delta, but everywhere if Goodluck Jonathan is not president again, by 2015, except God takes his life, which we don’t pray for. Jonathan has uninterrupted eight years of two terms to be president, according to the Nigerian Constitution.” But, despite the condemnation that trailed his comment, the NDPVF leader insisted that he owes nobody any apologies and even dared the House of Representatives and Northern leaders to arrest him if they can, threatening that his arrest will bring an end to Nigeria as a nation. And in what could pass for a damning verdict on the fight against corruption in Nigeria, Obasanjo accused the Jonathan administration of not doing enough in the fight against graft. The former president declared that the present government lacks the will to fight corruption, because those who are involved in it are strongly entrenched. While it is agreed that systemic corruption in the country has remained a major impediment to the country’s development, most citizens are of the view that the President must show serious commitment, zeal and determination in the war against corruption by fully supporting the relevant anti-graft agencies - Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission, ICPC, morally, financially and technically to prosecute indicted former and serving public officials including serving ministers in his cabinet.
Issues in Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan
Mixed reactions Reactions trailing Obasanjo’s letter have been mixed. While some see the letter as the cry of a frustrated political godfather, whose influence on governance has been eroded by his stooge, others have risen above political parochialism to commend the former President for raising very salient issues. Acknowledging the receipt of the letter, the Presidency reacted after the media became awash with its contents, describing it as “reckless and baseless.” A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said: “We have noted the publication on several websites today of a letter recently written by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The Presidency acknowledges that it has indeed, received the said letter from Chief Obasanjo. “We however find it highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former head of state and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the President and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership.” The statement added that “the president himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges levelled against him and his administration by the former head of state.” Reacting to the contents of the letter, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, called on other leaders of the country to speak up now to save the nation. Although Abubakar said he was incompetent to speak on Obasanjo’s letter to President Jonathan, because he was not privy to the communication, it was expedient for leaders consulted by the former president before the publication of the letter to intervene and reduce the tension created by the weighty allegations. His words: “Our priorities for Nigeria are forging lasting solutions to our chronic unemployment, providing safety and security for all, and vastly improving our failing education systems. President Jonathan’s government has consistently failed to address these critical concerns. “That said, it is on record that I have firmly fought for a democracy where the voters choose their future leaders, not political party bosses. If the incumbent Presi-
THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF WILL, AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME,
OFFER A FULL PERSONAL RESPONSE TO THE MOST RECKLESS, BASELESS, UNJUSTIFIABLE AND INDECOROUS CHARGES LEVELLED AGAINST HIM AND HIS ADMINISTRATION BY THE FORMER HEAD OF STATE dent insists on continuing to destroy his own party with vindictive internal wars and thinks his record of rising youth unemployment, never-ending violence, corruption and scandals is worthy of another term, then he is welcome to run. We are confident Nigerians will exercise their democratic right to choose new leadership in 2015.” But the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, speaking through its President, Udengs Eradiri, faulted the allegation that the Jonathan government was training snipers to kill perceived political opponents. He said: “Obasanjo is one of the respected statesmen in the country. They are in the best position to sit down and resolve issues. The manner in which he presented the issues could be inimical to society, if not properly managed, could create more harm than good. He raised issues of training snipers to kill people. Goodluck as an Ijaw man we know does not kill; he is not in his attitude to kill. This kind of statement is worrisome. “This regime has not killed anybody. As Ijaw people we do not take pleasure in taking other people’s lives. We are not happy that this letter that could have been a private one of the President is now in the public domain. At their level we thought it should have been a private discourse especially in the person of Obasanjo.” Former Aviation Minister, Femi FaniKayode said: “OBJ has finally closed GEJ’s chapter with his letter. Jonathan is finished- mark my words. Abati should shut up and let his boss speak for himself on this one. “The Ebora Owu has spoken and the
issues that he has raised are too serious to be ignored or to be responded to with amateurish and cheeky insults and slurs from a mere staff of the Presidency. The President should find the courage to personally answer the charges and address the message rather than get his aides to attack the messenger. As Baba said, Jonathan is ‘bleeding Nigeria to death’. It is time for change.” National Publicity Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rotimi Fashakin described the letter is something that came out of deep frustration on the part of the former president. He said: “There were many better persons that could have stepped into the presidency in 2007, better than the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and Jonathan. Obasanjo thought he would have his third term by ruling by proxy from Ota through his stooges, but Jonathan has not proven to be a willing servant.” “What happened was that Jonathan had succeeded in uprooting Obasanjo’s erstwhile acolytes in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Unfortunately, Jonathan is leading the country to the precipice and it is a matter of time before we fall over. The letter shows how precarious the Nigerian situation is. Jonathan is more or less like the king of Otuoke in Aso Rock rather than the President of Nigeria.” The National Chairman of the United Progressive Party, UPP, Chekwas Okorie, said: “Because so many issues are involved, I am not going to hastily react on the letter. However the issues raised by the former president are very serious and could affect the corporate existence of Nigeria if not properly handled.” The Secretary General of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, Chief Willy Ezugwu, on his part said Obasanjo cannot absolve himself of the nation’s problems, given his role in the emergence of Jonathan on the national scene. His words: “Obasanjo is a hypocrite, he caused it. He knew what he did; he brought them to the national level under corruption. Is it because Jonathan is not allowing him (Obasanjo) to control the Presidency that has made him to open up? We all know how the companies belonging to Nigeria were sold during his time. All our leaders have failed us; it did not start from Jonathan.” For the Convener, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, Obasanjo’s letter raised some serious issues which could not be ignored. He said that the allegation that the Presidency was planning to set up “a killer squad” was particularly worrisome, when viewed against the background of the litany of unresolved assassinations in the past. “This, to me, is very, very serious. And given the way the government has been behaving from the time Jonathan came into power in an acting capacity; the way and manner he, INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) and others were complicit in rigging the election, I, as a Nigerian, has to be worried,” he said. The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, also gave their support to Obasanjo. NEF, through its spokesman, Paul UnCONTINUED ON PAGE 44
PARLIAMENT The Nigerian Senate last week held a special plenary session in honour of the late South African leader, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, during which senators paid glowing tribute to the late African National Congress, ANC, chieftain, writes GEORGE OJI.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Encomiums, as Senate joins world to honour Mandela
t was a day like no other. First, the motion by the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba entitled, “Demise of Nelson Mandela,” which was co-sponsored by the remaining 108 senators. Second, the motion was the only business the Senate treated last week Tuesday. Lastly, it was one motion that nearly all the senators were very willing to contribute to, but for the intervention of the presiding Senate President, David Mark who decided to halt further contributions. Being the sponsor of the motion, Ndoma-Egba (Cross River North) was the first to open the floodgate of eulogies to Mandela by the lawmakers that day. The leader in his lead presentation noted that the Senate received with shock, the news of the death of Mandela who was born on July 18, 1918 to the Thembu family and died on Tuesday December, 5 at the age of 95 as a result of recurring lung infection. He noted also that the late Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied Law, and living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its youth league. According to Ndoma-Egba, Mandela rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign, where he was appointed superintendent of the organisation’s Transvaal chapter and presided over the 1955 congress of the people. He added that working as a lawyer, Mandela was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and in 1962 was convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, sentenced to life imprisonment and ended up spending 27 years in prison before his release. Ndoma-Egba described Mandela as a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, whose dogged determination helped end apartheid in South Africa. He observed further that Mandela was the first to be elected in a fully representative democratic election and indeed the first black South African to hold the office of President, a position he held from 1994 to 1999 before he voluntarily decided not to recontest. Mandela also served as President of ANC from 1991 to 1997 and internationally, Mandela was the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999. He disclosed that he was aware that during his tenure as South African President, Mandela invited several other political parties to join the cabinet, even as he set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses. He added that his administration introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty and expand healthcare services. “This was also as Mandela’s government
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focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality and fostering racial reconciliation,” the Senate Leader said. Ndoma-Egba said he was further aware that Mandela’s sterling qualities endeared him to the people of South Africa, following which, he was held in deep respect within the country and as well gained international acclaim for his activism, which earned him over 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. According to the him, Mandela’s message of reconciliation, not vengeance is a great source of inspiration to the world, stressing that after his release from prison, Mandela said: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” This, quote, Ndoma-Egba noted, will remain a reference point in the lessons of forgiveness for generations to come. Mandela, he further noted, declined to run for a second term as President, an uncommon feat given the disposition of most African leaders, which eminently qualified him as an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation until his death. Ndoma-Egba observed that he was convinced that Mandela was indeed, the hero of the century, having dedicated his entire life to the emancipation of the oppressed across the globe politically, socially and economically. The other contributors to the motion were all of the opinion that Mandela is a rare gem that never appear twice in a life
time. The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) said as a person, he considered it a big honour that he existed when Mandela was alive, noting that it takes a generation, to produce a person like Mandela. He counseled that people should not waste their time comparing Mandela with any African, dead or alive “because no matter how we tried there can never be another Nelson Mandela.” For Ningi, Mandela was simply an extra ordinary person, essential breed and a human being par excellence, whose inclusiveness, forthrightness, fairness, intellectual ability brought to the fore. According to Ningi, “I have not heard nor seen anybody in history that was incarcerated for 27 years and when he was out, extended his hands of friendship, even to his incarcerators.” For Senator Nkechi Nwogu (Abia Central), while noting that Mandela preached peace all through his life on earth, the late Madiba’s life is, “a great lesson for us political leaders, administrators and parents.” Senator Eta Inang (Akwa Ibom NorthEast), “there is nowhere in my life time have I seen a man who is honoured in life and death as much as Nelson Mandela. He was sent from heaven to humanity to teach how life should be. God honoured him and he honoured the world and South Africa.” Senator Kabir Garba Marafa (Zamfar Central), said that the world should not mourn but rejoice for the life of Nelson Mandela because he lived a life worth honouring. The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (Enugu North) observed that Mandela’s death brought the whole world together. According to him, being a black
THE GREATEST ATTRIBUTES AND LEGACIES OF MANDELA IS HIS FORGIVENESS... THAT HE WAS ABLE TO FORGIVE PEOPLE WHO PROSECUTED HIM AND THREW HIM INTO JAIL AND CONDEMNED HIM TO DEATH AND SAID LET’S FORGET THE PAST AND MOVE FORWARD, MEANS THAT IS AN ATTRIBUTE THAT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT OF MOST HUMAN BEING ACQUIRE LET ALONE PRACTICE IT
man was something black people all over the world must be very proud of. He said the death of Mandela did not come to anybody as a surprise because over the last months there had been rumours of his death. For Ekweremadu, what really surprised everybody was that a man that was jailed for 27 years lived up to 95 in spite of the hardship of prison conditions. According to the lawmaker, the question that the world should find answer to is, was Mandela’s struggles really worth it? The Deputy Senate President said he was convinced that there is a course to benefit from Mandela’s struggles. Again, Ekweremadu said, the issue is the lessons to learn from the death of Mandela. According to him, “one of those lessons is that at all times we must hold on to the convictions we have in life. Mandela believed in a free society, he believed in equal opportunity for his people, for which he suffered. It is a good lesson to us that we must always hold firm to our life convictions.” Going down memory lane, Ekweremadu noted that at one point Mandela was branded a terrorist, revealing that, “at one point he applied for a visiting visa to Canada and he was denied that visa because he was branded a terrorist.” The lawmaker recalled that when Mandela and his co freedom fighters were tried and convicted, he (Mandela) was asked to plead for leniency. He said at a time people expected him to follow the leeway out, to ask that they are forgiven, but he did not do that, he stood his grounds and they were given the maximum sentence of 27 years. Mandela, he said, spoke for four hours and within those four hours he maintained that they were right in their struggle and criticized the apartheid regime to no end. The Senate President in his wrap-up remarks observed that the mere fact that all senators sponsored the motion was a clear indication of the great respect all the senators have for Mandela. And that the fact that the world in the last few days stood still for Mandela attested to his greatness. Mark was of the view that “the greatest attributes and legacies of Mandela is his forgiveness. That is the sum total of his greatness. That he was able to forgive people who prosecuted him and threw him into jail and condemned him to death and said let’s forget the past and move forward, means that is an attribute that extremely difficult of most human being acquire let alone practice it.” According to Mark, most people who struggle for power and when they pray, their prayer will always be God let me have the opportunity to get the position so that I can deal with people who are against me. But that kind of prayer is not one that make you become the defining factor for everybody. Mark noted that Mandela was determined to see and work for a united South Africa. He recalled that when Mandela was released from prison and it became obvious that he was going to become the President of South Africa, many whites in anticipation of vengeance, sold their properties, sold their factories, sold their farms, in fact sold whatever they had at give away price CONTINUED ON PAGE 44
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
ast week, Mallam Aminu Waziri Tambuwal led the pack with a barrage of attacks on the Federal Government over myriad cases of corruption. He followed up a few days later with allegations that crude oil thieves in the Niger Delta were backed by people in government and other high-profile personalities in the country. Tambuwal condemned the continuing and brazen theft of crude oil in the area while inaugurating an ad hoc committee on oil theft headed by Usman Adamu (PDPJigawa). He urged the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to scrutinize the security agencies in the country with a view to identifying culprits in the illicit trade. “It will be foolish to think of the culprits in terms of area boys who break pipelines. We must realise that without the protection of highly placed people, without the connivance of officials and experts in the sector, the activity of illegal bunkering would have been curtailed long ago,” he said. He also urged for the need to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to monitor the transportation and purchase of stolen oil – and act in conjunction with other international law enforcement agencies for criminal prosecution of the perpetrators under the procedure of Mutual Legal Assistance. The Speaker said oil and gas accounts for about two-thirds of government revenue and more than 90 percent of export earnings in Nigeria, but lamented that illegal bunkering has caused Nigeria to lose an estimated $5 billion (N780 billion) yearly, amounting to $400 billion since the country’s independence. Inaugurating the committee, Tambuwal urged members to specifically take another look at the report by the Royal Institute for International Affairs which alleged that Nigeria’s oil was being stolen not just from pipelines, but also from tank farms, export terminals, refinery storage, ports and even wellheads. “Officials and private actors disguise theft through manipulation of meters and shipping documents. Proceeds are laundered through world financial centres and used to buy assets in and outside Nigeria, polluting markets and financial institutions overseas, and creating reputational, political and legal hazards”, he said. He said oil theft in the country has reached an industrial scale with over 100,000 to 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily, leading to the loss of billions in oil revenue. “No country can endure such blatant rape of its resources by a few criminals who seem to grow bolder by the day. And no self respecting parliament can watch this kind of gross sabotage and not intervene. “We must therefore end the kind of impunity that makes people think that our nation is a lawless place where people can get away with anything. We are here to prove that this nation has the ability to make things right and to make people pay for their crimes. “We cannot begin to quantify the full economic and political damage that the activities of oil vandals have caused. For a nation that needs all the resources it can get to
Corruption: Leveraging on Tambuwal’s tirade to claim the House Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal went gloves-off against the Presidency over the prevailing corruption in the country. Tambuwal’s hard stance against official graft has continued to resonate with the public. But his criticism of government could just herald an expected change in the structure of the House, TORDUE SALEM writes.
WE ARE HERE TO PROVE THAT THIS NATION HAS THE ABILITY TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT AND TO MAKE PEOPLE PAY FOR THEIR CRIMES take care of its growing population of angry poor youth, this kind of rapacious theft of the commonwealth is nothing short of a disaster. “So long as we allow these oil bunkerers to remain in business, so long will our people go without the basic needs of life. Since oil is our main source of wealth as a nation, we must do everything possible to defend the integrity of the process of oil production and sale in the international market. “We need to put in place the right kind of legislation to improve the monitoring of on-shore and off-shore areas in order to discourage vandalism. We need to establish a robust regulatory framework to plug all loopholes through which all sorts of official and unofficial corruption thrive in the oil sector,” he said. In his speech, the Chairman of the fiveday probe panel, Adamu lamented that a total of 350,000 barrels per day was lost to illegal bunkering in 2012, representing an increase of 45 percent over the figure of 2011, and 67 percent over that of 2010 stating that the trend for 2013 is even more alarming. He said the menace of oil theft and its global support system has continued to blockade the growth of the country’s high economic growth trajectory, lamenting that efforts made at combating the menace locally is made more complicated because of the international slant of the crime. Adamu said that unless the government summons the will to fight the menace, the
situation will further worsen the country’s economic woes. He said: “The rising level of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism particularly in the Niger Delta region has reached and assumed higher dimensions. The ugly development has made operators in the Nigeria oil and gas industry one of the most expensive in the world. “Attacks on production facilities have led to several shut-downs and declaration of force majeure by the international oil companies (IOCs), ultimately resulting in loss of revenue to the government.” The17-member panel is expected to find a lasting solution through legislation to the problem of incessant crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism in Nigeria which has now reached an industrial scale. The Committee will specifically determine how deep pipelines are buried and if they are accessible to oil thieves; determine how stolen crude oil is transported; identify the owners of illegal vessels; ascertain the status of impounded vessels and recommend the confiscation of barges used for illegal bunkering. Other critical areas the committee will address are the challenges faced by the organisations involved in terms of securing the country’s pipelines and tackling illegal bunkering; determine the roles of the various organisations in tackling illegal bunkering; ascertain countries aiding and abetting the crude oil criminals; and recommend preventive measures and lasting solutions to the menace. The battle to upstage a tottering Presidency in the House has gone manifold. ProJonathan bills and motions are no longer welcomed as the lawmakers have refused flatly to lower the bench mark for the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, leading to the possibility that there won’t be any budget for 2014. Another trouble rages from the House, as its Committee on Public Accounts, begin probe into allegations that the Office of the
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF and the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, spent over N100.561billion from the Service Wide Vote Account being kept by the Presidency for emergencies between the period of 2004 and 2012 without accountability. This was contained in the audit queries issued by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, AGF to the Office of the SGF and the ministry within the period under review and presented to the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Solomon Adeola Olamilekan for investigation. According to the query, several releases were made to the office of the SGF totalling N94,005,343,963.81 between the period of 2004 and 2012 from the Service Wide Vote. The breakdown of the disbursements are as follows: 2004: N255,958,528.13; 2005: N1,532,179,551.70; 2006: N19,157.972.00; 2007: N1,451,468,535.80; 2008: N26,247,716,599.54; 2009: N42,568,850,413.24; 2010: N3,791,265,906.58; 2011:N10,189,067,264.53 and 2012: N7,949,679,192.29. The SGF, Senator Ayim Pius Ayim was expected to appear before the Committee last week Thursday to defend how the money was expended over the years but could not make it “due to official engagements” and would appear tomorrow for the defence with relevant documents already demanded by the Committee. Besides, the Ministry of information was said to have received the sum of N6,558,048.,253.13 from the same vote between 2004 and 2012. The breakdown is as follows: 2004: N108,464,985.19; 2005: N251,142,635.00; 2007: N4,412,262,691.94; 2009: N167,500,000.00; 2010: N153,093,712.00 and 2012: N1,180,584,271.00 respectively. However, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Dr Sade Yemi-Esan, stunned the members of the Committee on Friday when she told them that the ministry had no single document on the releases made to it between 2004 and 2009 totalling over N4.6 billion but agreed with the figures quoted for between 2010 and 2012. Olamilekan expressed deep concern over the reckless manner by which the Service Wide Vote accounts were being abused over the years by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, saying that between N900 billion and N1 trillion were withdrawn from the account between 2004 and 2012 with nothing to show for it. He threatened that the Committee would not hesitate to recommend for the scrapping of the account or be reduced to five percent of what it used to be now. The enquiry headed by an APC lawmaker who has spent 14 years in the Green Chamber, is expected to serve its own devastating punches against the government of the day. The House with its rich history of antagonism against the executive has in clear terms morphed up against Jonathan’s presidency, and with Tambuwal’s unequivocal stance against the same regime, it’s a matter of time before the President will be in for an intense battle.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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LP may sanction Ogun exco C’River swears-in new LG chairmen, councilors FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
he last may not have been heard of the war of supremacy ravaging the Ogun State chapter of the Labor Party, LP, as the National Working Committee, NWC of the party allegedly endorsed former Governor Gbenga Daniel as the leader of the party in the state. This was coming barely 48 hours after members of the Simeon Olabode-led state executive council of the party announced the expulsion of Daniel from the party in Ogun. Following the purported expulsion of the former governo, Daniel, in a press statement issued same day, signed by three of his political associates and made available to journalist in Abeokuta, the state capital, claimed that he was yet to pick the membership card of the party. Strong indication how-
ever, emerged in Abeokuta yesterday that the national leadership of the party may have concluded plans to sanction members of the state executive committee under Comrade Olabode, for alleged anti-party activities and embarrassment caused Daniel. National Mirror gathered that at the meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party held in Akure, the Ondo State capital last Sunday evening, the leadership of the party described as great embarrassment, the purported expulsion of Daniel and others from the party. Also, a statement issued and signed yesterday by the Media Assistant to former Governor Daniel, Ayo Giwa, a copy of which was made available to National Mirror, said that the National Chairman of LP, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, on behalf of the party’s NEC, apologised to Daniel over the purported expulsion.
RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR
he Cross River State government yesterday in Calabar sworein new 17 local government chairmen and councilors who emerged victorious in the last September local government elections in the state. The council chairman for Bakassi, Mrs Edisua Usang Iso, is to be sworn-in in January. The state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke made the newly sworn in officers to take an oath not to be involved in any form of secret cultism before being allowed to take the mantle of leadership to serve the people as either an elected councilor or chairman. The elected officers who took their oath of office alongside the oath of renunciation of their membership from any form of secret so-
L-R: Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Minister for Aviation and All Peoples Congress, APC, chieftain, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode; and governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, during a breakfast meeting, in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 ongo said that the letter was a fair and true representation of the issues plaguing Nigeria. His words: “Those in high position should be examples to younger people. If there was an agreement that Jonathan will do one term, as Obasanjo has clarified it in the letter, it should be honoured.” He also aligned with the former President over the allegation that Jonathan allowed himself to be possessed by a section of the country. “We have said it before that it is disingenuous for Edwin Clark to talk and act as if he owns the Presidency because his son from Ijawland is the President,” he said. Need for response While the main opposition party - APC said that Jonathan should respond to Obasanjo’s letter, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, said that all the issues raised by Obasanjo should have been discussed between the duo without making it public knowledge. Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, APC urged the Jonathan administration not to take Nigeria back to the dreaded and calamitous
ciety or cultism which the governor at several fora warned that any such involvement by a public official was inimical to the growth and well being of the state, were told that any official who involves himself in any form of cultism would have succeeded in setting a bad precedent for the younger generation to emulate. Also speaking, the Secretary to State Government, SSG, Barr. Mike Aniah said renunciation of membership of cultism at public glare became necessary because in recent times the “dare devil cultism” had been the bane of good gov-
ernance which the electorate had always yearned for. He said that before the present administration came on board, the administration had given its words to the electorates, promising to protect lives and property, stressing that what the present administration was striving to achieve is in tandem with its earlier promise to the people of the state. The SSG warned the newly sworn –in officers not to aid and abet cultism and advised them to dissociate themselves from acts that would cause the public to lose confidence in them, stressing that the offices were only given to
Encomiums, as Senate joins world to honour Mandela CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42 and ran away. He said now those people are regretting their actions because, they found out that the man simply did not do all that, and that Mandela was a very humble person who wanted South Africa to move forward. “As soon as the man came out, the first statement he made upon becoming a President was forgiveness, South Africa should be a united country, whites, blacks, irrespective of religion we must work together to see that we have a country,” Mark recalled. Mark in addition reminisced that before Mandela came out from prison, his incarcerators went to him and dangled the carrot and gave him all sorts of conditions, but he did not change his mind, he said ‘no, I will come out on my terms and conditions; on the quality of the human race, blacks and whites.’ He said they kept him there as long as they wanted and he was prepared to remain there, noting that, “when they were arrested, he was the one who came out and said I am the leader of the group. Because God wanted him alive, otherwise they could
Issues in Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan days of the late Gen. Abacha, when perceived opponents of the government were targets of rampaging murderous gangs and Nigeria was turned to a pariah nation through unbridled human rights abuses. Mohammed said the party was constrained to take the allegations very seriously because it emanated from no less a personality than former President Olusegun Obasanjo. “The allegations cannot and must not be swept under the carpet, otherwise Nigerians will know who to hold responsible if perceived opponents of the administration come to any harm,” he said. The ACF through its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, equally agreed that the letter contained facts and not fiction. It however faulted Obasanjo for allegedly leaking the letter to the public. Sani said: “While it may be indecorous for the former President to leak altercations between him and a sitting president well known to be his political scion, it is more indecorous for the Presidency to resort to uncouth language for replies. “On the whole, except, perhaps, the as-
them in trust. Imoke had in several fora, after assuming the mantle of leadership in the state seven years ago said his administration policy trust was to rid the state of all forms of cultism, thus making members of his cabinet including himself to renounce membership of any form of cultism. He said that cultism has never brought any good instead; it was an agent of retrogression that was capable of taking the state back to the dark days of thuggery and brigandage which would only drag backwards the clock of development.
pect of Mr. President training and arming snipers, most of what the former President has written are what most Nigerians already know.”
Leaving the issues Rather than address the issues raised in the expose, most stakeholders have concentrated on the propriety or otherwise of the messenger and left the message unattended to. The letter raised fundamental issues that are yet to be addressed by commentators, especially those disparaging the former President. Many have wondered if it is not true that the Federal Government has been using the instrument of state to harass perceived enemies of the administration. Cases abound where the police has displayed partiality in handling issues that affect perceived enemies of the Jonathan Presidency. Fresh are the cases of the police disrupting the meetings of the group of seven aggrieved governors of the PDP; the impunity displayed by the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu
have killed him there and if they had killed him there, nobody would have bothered.” According to Mark, the important lesson is that the Western world that classified Mandela as a terrorist and a communist are the ones that are now falling over him and pouring all sorts of encomiums on him, noting that: “It is a lesson we all need to learn. Those who say Hosanna Hosanna today are those who will say crucify him tomorrow, but his own is the other way round, those who said crucify him are the ones saying Hosanna Hosanna today.” Mark concluded that, “there won’t be another Nelson Mandela, but certainly, there are things he has done that we can copy and emulate. Even though we cannot have a Mandela that will unite the whole of Africa, we can have a Mandela in our own small communities and if we become Mandela in our own small communities, so many Mandelas will become the Mandela that Nigeria needs and a Mandela that will make the country strong and united.” The Senate accordingly observed a one minute silence in honour of Mandela, just as it condoled the people and parliament of South Africa. in his lack of respect for the Chief Security Officer and governor of the state, Governor Amaechi, to the extent of preventing the governor entrance into the Government House. On corruption, the Oduahgate is still fresh in the memory of most Nigerians with all attempts by the government to sweep it under the carpet. The country’s rating in the corruption index by the global corruption watchdog, Transparency International, TI, is still very much disheartening. The rot in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources continues unabated, with the government lacking the political will to deal decisively with it. The list is endless. However, the days ahead will be interesting as analysts wait to see how all of these will pan out. However, one thing is certain: Nigerians are watching and 2015 is on their minds. As one analyst, put it: “It is hoped that the Jonathan Presidency will address these fundamental issues and tell Nigerians what actually are the true positions of things, or else, Jonathan may be the last President of a united Nigeria. God forbids it.”
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
I think we should come to a point in Nigeria when we should not be repeating our mistakes.
Bank staff arraigned over fraud 46
CATHOLIC BISHOP OF SOKOTO DIOCESE; MOST REV. MATHEW HASSAN KUKAH
Pastor machetes wife for not attending church service FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
pastor of The Apostolic Church, Ode Remo in Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State has been arrested by the police for inflicting machete cuts on his wife. The pastor, identified as Daniel Samuel, was said to have accused his wife, Patience-Udoji of not attending prayer meetings in the church. The 42 year old Pa-
tience was accused by her husband of placing priority on selling firewood and food items near the Redemption camp on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway rather than attend church programmes. Patience was said to have concentrated interest on her business to augment the monthly housekeeping allowance of N15, 000, as it could not take care of the family needs. Dissatisfied with the situation, Pastor Samuel allegedly went to his
wife’s stall at the camp and engaged her in heated argument, leading to the machete cuts to her neck. Community Mirror gathered that an elder brother of Mrs. Samuel with other district pastors had earlier scheduled a meeting to enable the couple resolve the dispute before Pastor Samuel attacked his wife. But the pastor denied attacking his wife and rather claimed the attack was by some unknown assailants, even as she was rushed to the Federal
Medical Center (FMC), Idi – Aba, Abeokuta. It was further gathered that doctors at the hospital demanded that the matter be reported to the police before any treatment could commence. The development however, forced Pastor Samuel to lodge complaint at the Owode - Egaba Divisional Police headquarters. On investigation, the police detained the cleric who later confessed to the crime. The Police Public Rela-
Divisional Head, Human Resources and Change Management of First City Monument Bank Limited, Felicia Obozuwa (middle) with Children of Heritage Homes Orphanage, at a Christmas Party organised by FCMB in Lagos on Saturday. PHOTO: BAYOOR EWUOSO
Tears, anger as police demolish buildings in Badagry MURITALA AYINLA
here was tears and confusion at Mowo Phase II, Atinpomere in Badagry as the police demolished a total of 600 structures in a bid to recover 975 plots of land allegedly taken over by land grabbers. The operation led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, Osu Ekpo in charge of Area’K’ Police Command was carried on orders of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar. Properties worth billions of naira were destroyed in the commu-
nities comprising three villages. But the residents claimed they obtained Certificate of Occupancy from the police only two years ago, even as they purchased the said land almost a decade ago. Although none of the residents could produce Certificate of Occupancy, ‘C of O’,even as they claimed they had obtained necessary building approvals before erecting their structures. But sources in the police debunked claim, accusing the residents of occupying the land meant for the construction of estate for police senior officers. As the bulldozers moved in, residents ran
helter-skelter and trying to take away their belongings. Some wept uncontrollably, others carried their children away from fallen bricks. A police source who did want his name mentioned, said the residents had since been warned to vacate the land so as not to fall victim to land grabbers. He added that the operation was on the order of the Inspector-General of Police,IGP. According to him: “We were here two years ago to inform the residents to vacate the land but they refused to comply. The communities had on different occasions removed the police signposts on
the land. The Baale was so clever that he built his house away far from the disputed land but others did not comply but kept developing their structures on land they have no title document. Meanwhile, one of the evicted residents, Yakub Waheed said he bought the land twice from different lad grabbers who showed up shortly after he erected the building. He added that the notice given to them was too short. “We know government also has hand in this demolition. There is nowhere to go now. I don’t know where to take my children and wife to”, he said amid tears.
tions Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed the incident, stressing that Pastor Samuel will soon be charged to court. Adejobi further explained that the pastor will be charged for false information and assault causing grievous bodily harm. “The Pastor is with us,
he initially lied that his wife was attacked by unknown persons but later confessed after interrogation. He will soon be charged to court,” he said. The hospital consultant, Dr. Ojeblenu said the woman will be placed on close observation due to severity of the injury.
Wife kills husband over N100 WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN
n Ilorin based housewife has killed her husband her husband with a club following a scuffle over N100. The woman ‘Marriam’ was said to have reunited with her deceased husband after separation, even as the marriage produced four children who are all dead. On the fateful day, Marriam demanded for N100 from the husband who said he did not have, thereby leading to a quarrel and ensuing fight between them. Sources said before neighbours could make peace, the enraged wife
hit the husband on the head with a heavy stick. Sympathisers at the scene rushed the man to a nearby clinic where he was later confirmed dead. Community Mirror gathered that when news of the death was confirmed, the wife attempted to commit suicide in their apartment. Neighbours who became suspicious of the silence in the room however forced the door open and saw her in a pool of blood, apparently from self inflicted injuries, even as they called in the police. Sources also said the body of her late husband had been deposited the hospital mortuary for autopsy.
Two killed, as rival street urchins clash FRANCIS SUBERU
wo persons, including a popular hotelier at Ijora Badia in Lagos State have been allegedly killed by policemen as two rival factions of hoodlums clashed in the area. One other person, simply identified as ‘Baba’ was severely injured by suspected members of ‘Badia Boys’, who engaged their counterparts from Railway Line Area. Angry women, numbering more than 50 and led by mother of the slain hotelier and other street urchins, had invaded Badia Divisional Police station with broken bottles and other dangerous weapons. It took some sporadic shootings into the air by the
police to prevent the angry mob from setting the station ablaze. The policemen were drafted to the scene to restore normalcy, when bullets from one of the guns reportedly hit the hotelier, identified as Chicco and another person A resident, who identified himself as Adeola said that a hotelier identified as Omojuwa was celebrating the fourth year remembrance of his late father, when the incident happened. He said there was a clash over territorial control between hoodlums from Badia and Railway compound respectively, leading to intervention of the police. It was gathered that prior to the arrival of the police, a member of the railway line boys, identified as Baba was severely injured in the clash including Chicco.
WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN
wo staff of the Ilorin branch of the Stanbic IBTC Bank have been arraigned before a Magistrate Court on charges of conspiracy, forgery and advanced Fee Fraud, known as ‘419’ The staff, Ojo Adegbule and Fanada Oluwaseun were said to have criminally conspired between them to fraudulently and dishonestly originate a Stanbic IBTC Bank withdrawal
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Bank staff arraigned over fraud
slip no. 9122436 on January 1, 2013 and another, 6577193 on February 5, 2013. They were accused of using the said slips to separately withdraw N2 million totaling N4 million from Mrs. Balogub Feyikemi Eunice account no. 0003801401 domicile at Unity Road, Ilorin branch. The police First Information Report, FIR, with which they were charged, said their offence was con-
trary to section 97, 364 of the penal code law and section 3, of Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences act. The FIR added that the police CID conducted investigations as well as a forensic laboratory examination which revealed that “Ojo Adegbule and Fanada Oluwaseun, being staff of Stanbic Bank fraudulently originated the slips as stated on the
two dates and defrauded the woman of N4 million. The charges also held that the conduct of the Stanbic IBTC negates the Central Bank of Nigeria rules guiding withdrawal of huge sums of money. The police also said their investigations revealed that Fanada Oluwaseun being a cashier fraudulently paid N2million on January1, 2013 and another N2million on
February 5,2013 to Ojo Adegbule, a fellow bank staff from the savings account no. 0003801401 belonging to Mrs. Balogun Feyikemi Eunice, adding that the men fraudulently failed to retro scope the person that cashed the money as required by CBN rules. The charge said investigations revealed that the Stanbic IBTC staff was found to have fraudulently distorted the CCTV footage
of the bank to cover up the withdrawal of the money. Meanwhile, one of the accused, Fanada Oluwaseun was said to be at large. Before adjourning the case to January 16, 2014 for hearing, Magistrate M.F Abikoye granted Adegbule bail in the sum of N250, 000 and two sureties in the like sum but that the sureties must be public officers resident in Kwara State.
Police to arrest firework users in Edo SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN
he Edo State Police Command has announced a ban on fireworks during the Christmas festivities. Speaking at the weekend, the Police Public Relations Officer,PPRO, DSP Moses Eguavoen said not only users of fireworks, risked being arrested but also vendors of the products. Eguavoen said, “This is to inform the general public that the ban on the sale and use of fireworks is still in force. The police command is therefore, advising the public, parents, guardians, children, traders, and workers, not to indulge in the use of fireworks before, during and after the Christmas and
New Year celebrations, as hoodlums may want to hide under this unwholesome practice to perpetrate their nefarious act.” He said, “There will be continuous manhunt for both buyers and sellers of fireworks by operatives of the command and all defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted. The command remains committed to and steadfast in its efforts at reducing crime and criminality to barest minimum, particularly as we approach the end of the year.” The ban has been applauded by some residents of Benin City, who claimed that fireworks have been used in the past by criminals to create fears and confusion before robbing law abiding citizens.
Commissioner threatens to shut dirty markets UDUAKABASI PATRICK PORT HARCOURT
he Rivers State Commissioner of Environment, Mr. Nyema Weli has told traders selling at the Rumuokoro Market that, the ministry would close down the market if it is not kept clean. Weli disclosed this during the monthly sanitation exercise in Port Harcourt, even as he told the traders that, he was not impressed with the level of sanitation in the market. He maintained that, the abattoir should be kept clean,saying that meat sellers should endeavour to maintain the environment where they spend most of their days. “This market is your executive office because it is where you get money to take care of all those who depend on you”.
The commissioner who also went to Rumuokoro mini market told the traders to keep the market clean as they are integral part of the economy. “The women selling in the market are our mothers because we depend on what you sell for food and if they are contaminated, it is going to affect the society as everyone will become sick”, he said. He advised the men of Rumuokoro not participating in the exercise to always be a part of the monthly sanitation, since it is their duty to always keep their environment clean. He thanked the people for coming out and being a part of the sanitation. He said the task of ensuring a cleaner community does not lie solely on government but a collective responsibility.
Pupils of Malam Aminu Adam Tsangaya School at Yelwa in Bauchi State, yesterday.
Mrs. Shettima donates food items to widows INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI
he wife of Borno State Governor, Hajiya Nana Kashim Shettima has distributed food items and wrappers to 100 Christian widows in Maiduguri and Jere metropolis. Distributing the items to the beneficiaries at Government House, Maiduguri, Hajiya Shettima said the distribution of the items is a way of translating into action the aims and objective of her pet project, ‘Support
for Women Orphans and angaya,’SWOT,foundation in the state. She said “as a foundation, we don’t have any political, religious or gender inclination, but to serve humanity. Reaching out to the needy is considered the most useful and appropriate, since we all know that we live by what we get, we believe we will make lives better by what we give”. She said peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means, adding that wom-
en are peaceful, home builders and backbone of the society,as she called on them to pray for the restoration of peace and inculcation of good behaviors in their children. Earlier, chairman of the SWOT, Alhaji Mohammed Bello said that Hajiya Nana Kashim Shettima has sympathy for the masses, especially widows, orphans and Tsangaya/Almajiris. Alhaji Bello however said, the gesture is part of her passion and love for the less privileged members of the society, more especially
during festivities such as Sallah and Christmas. He said each beneficiary is going home with a bag of rice, spaghetti, cooking oil, two set of wrappers and N2, 000 as transportation. In her vote of thanks, the president of the Borno State Christian Widows Association, Mrs. Asabe Ladagu thanked Hajiya Shettima for assisting them. She prayed for continued God guidance and long live for Governor Shettima and his wife and the total restoration of peace in the state.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
UK’s mission in Afghanistan accomplished –Cameron
“I am worried about signals that Russia is about to modernise missile systems it has deployed in Kaliningrad.” – LITHUANIA’S DEFENCE MINISTER JUOZAS OLEKAS
South Sudan foils coup attempt PAUL ARHEWE
WITH AGENCY REPORTS
oldiers loyal to a former vice president attempted to overthrow the government of South Sudan, the country’s president said yesterday, as sporadic fighting between factions of the military gripped the capital in the latest violence to hit the world’s youngest nation. Flanked by government officials, President Salva Kiir —who put on fatigues with an army general’s epaulets — said in a televised address to the nation that the military had foiled a coup orchestrated by “a group of soldiers allied with the former vice president.” The soldiers had attacked the South Sudanese military headquarters near Juba University late Sunday, sparking sporadic clashes that continued yesterday, he said. “The attackers went and (the) armed forces are pursuing them,” Kiir said Monday. “I promise you today that justice will prevail.” The government is now “in full control of the military situation” in Juba, he said, ordering a dawnto-dusk curfew in the city. Details of the attempted coup remained sketchy, but South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told The Associated Press Monday that troops within the main army base raided the weapons store in Juba but were repulsed. Some politicians had since been arrested, he said, but could not confirm if former Vice President Riek Machar —who he said led the attempted coup —was among those in detention. Benjamin said the coup was plotted by
“disgruntled” soldiers and politicians led by Machar. An Associated Press reporter saw heavily armed soldiers patrolling the streets of Juba Monday amid the gunfire emerging from the city’s main army barracks. The streets were largely empty of civilians, with most Juba residents staying indoors. EgyptAir reported that it had cancelled its flight to Juba on Monday, saying the airport there was closed. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan yesterday reported the sound of mortar and heavy machine-gun fire, saying hundreds of civilians had sought refuge inside U.N. facilities. Tension had been mounting in South Sudan since Kiir fired Machar as his deputy in July. Machar, who has expressed a willingness to contest the presidency in 2015, said after he was fired that if the country is to be united it cannot tolerate a “one man’s rule or it cannot tolerate dictatorship.” His ouster, part of a wider dismissal of the entire Cabinet by Kiir, had followed reports of a power struggle within the ruling party. At the time, the United States and the European Union urged calm amid fears the dismissals could spark political upheaval in the country. While Kiir is leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party, many of the dismissed ministers, including Machar, were key figures in the rebel movement that fought a decades-long war against Sudan that led to South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Machar, a deputy chairman of the ruling party, is one of the country’s most influential politicians. The local Sudan Tribune
• State of emergency declared
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir sitting in his office in capital Juba, yesterday. Photo: Reuters
newspaper reported on its website that military clashes erupted late Sunday between members of the presidential guard in fighting that seemed to pit soldiers from Kiir’s Dinka tribe against those from the Nuer tribe of Machar. In a message to American citizens Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Juba said it had received “reports from multiple reliable sources of ongoing security incidents and sporadic gunfire in multiple locations” across Juba. “The U.S. Embassy has not been able to confirm that gunfire and insecurity have fully ceased,” the message said. “The embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens exercise extra caution at all times. The U.S. Embassy will continue to closely monitor the security environment in
South Sudan, with particular attention to Juba city and its immediate surroundings, and will advise U.S. citizens further if the security situation changes.” Hilde Johnson, special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for South Sudan, said in a statement that the U.N. mission in Juba was “deeply concerned” over the fighting that broke out late Sunday and which continued yesterday. “As the Special Representative of the Secretary General I urge all parties in the fighting to cease hostilities immediately and exercise restraint,” the statement sad. “I have been in touch regularly with the key leaders, including at the highest levels to call for calm.”
African migrants protest, abandon Israeli detention centre
African migrants being held in Israel’s Saharonim detention facility
ore than 100 African migrants have abandoned an “open” Israeli detention centre to try to march on Jerusalem in protest at a law allowing authorities to keep them in custody indefinitely, activists said yesterday. Israel views most of the more than 50,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants who have crossed its border on foot from Egypt since 2006 as illegal job-seekers overburdening its low-income areas. It has sought to encourage most of them to leave. Many migrants say they are fleeing persecution, forced military conscription or dictatorship in African countries. The centre in southern Israel was opened last week after parliamentary approval of a law allowing the open-ended detention of migrants in the facility pending resolution of their asylum requests, implementation of deportation orders or voluntary repatriation. The detention centre, which housed about
400 migrants who had been moved from another holding facility, allows detainees to leave during the day but requires them to return at nightfall. Cheska Katz, of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants rights group, said that 135 men, mostly from Sudan, decided not to return to the center on Sunday night and instead set out for Jerusalem, about 75 km away. “They aren’t trying to elude the authorities. Their aim is to reach the Knesset (parliament) and ask for their freedom and to be recognized as refugees,” the activist, who is taking part in the march, said by telephone. One of the detainees on the march, Mubarak Ali, told Israel Radio: “We want them to know that we are still in a prison ... (although) they call it open detention.” An Israeli immigration official told the radio station that the protesters had up to 48 hours to return to the facility or face detention in a standard jail.
WORLD BULLETIN France criticises CAR leader after government reshuffle France yesterday criticized the dismissal of three ministers by the interim leader of the Central African Republic as having broken the agreement on how the transitional government would work and said the move could trigger sanctions. Michel Djotodia, in charge of the former French colony since seizing power in March, dismissed three members of his government this weekend following a wave of Muslim-Christian clashes which have left hundreds dead. Djotodia has lost control of his former fighters, whose abuses have sparked the creation of Christian militia forces. Under the terms of a U.N. resolution on December 5, France has deployed 1,600 troops to try to stop the violence.
Heavy fighting reported in Republic of Congo The British government said yeterday it was advising against all travel to the Republic of Congo because of reports of heavy fighting in the capital city. “Due to reports of fighting in Brazzaville you should stay at home and avoid movement unless necessary,” the warning said. Radio France Internationale reports the situation in downtown Brazzaville is tense Monday. Armed groups loyal to former Col. Marcel Ntsourou are engaged in fighting with military forces. Ntsourou was sentenced in September to five years hard labour for his role in a March 2012 explosion at an army depot, which left nearly 300 people dead. The blast was felt across the river in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, roughly 3 miles away. “There is no British Embassy in the Republic of Congo and the level of consular assistance the Foreign and Commonwealth Office can offer to British nationals is limited,” the British government said.
18 students injured as school bus, truck collide in Libya Five students were in intensive care and 13 others had minor injuries after a school bus-truck collision yesterday in Libya, the Libya Herald reported. The bus was carrying the students from their homes in Ajdabiya to Brega when it collided with a large truck near the Eastern Gate checkpoint, said Abdul Latif Abughrara, a witness. Five of the students were admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Ajdabiya and the rest were treated for minor injures, the Herald said.
US security agency considers amnesty for Snowden The US National Security Agency is considering offering an amnesty to fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden if he agrees to stop leaking secret documents, an NSA official said. The man in charge of assessing the leaks’ damage, Richard Ledgett, said he could be open to an amnesty deal. Disclosures by the former intelligence worker have revealed the extent of the NSA’s spying activity. But NSA Director Gen Keith Alexander has dismissed the idea. Ledgett spoke to US television channel CBS about the possibility of an amnesty deal: “So my personal view is, yes it’s worth having a conversation about. “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high, would be more than just an assertion on his part.” But Gen Alexander, who is retiring early next year, rejected the idea of any amnesty for Mr Snowden. “This is analogous to a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10, and then say, ‘if you give me full amnesty, I’ll let the other 40 go’. What do you do?” File picture of the NSA headquarters The NSA has been making efforts to be seen as more transparent
South Korea conveys security summit over North execution South Korea’s president has convened a meeting of security officials after the shock execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle. Ahead of the meeting President Park Geun-hye warned of possible “reckless provocations” by the North and called for increased border vigilance. Last week’s execution of Chang Song-thaek left the region in a “grave and unpredictable” situation, she said. Mr Chang, a key figure, was executed for allegedly planning a coup. The move - together with the recall of a North Korean business team from China prompted concerns that Mr Chang’s associates were being purged as part of a campaign by Kim Jong-un to consolidate his power. Several North Koreans - calling clandestinely to friends in the South - have reported that indoctrination sessions have increased and that people are being required to write letters of loyalty in support of the country’s leader. There’s an overall “state of fear” said one defector with several contacts inside the North. At least one organisation operating undercover there has suspended all projects in the wake of the execution.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
UK’s mission in Afghanistan accomplished –Cameron U
K troops can come home from Afghanistan knowing it was mission accomplished, David Cameron has said as he visited the country. The prime minister met forces stationed at Camp Bastion in Helmand, a year before the last British combat forces are due to leave the country. Cameron, who ate breakfast with troops, said a “basic level of security” had been achieved. They could “come home with their heads held high”, he added. Senior military figures are braced for increased activity as more troops pull out and expect elections being staged next year to be a particular focus for insurgent groups. Asked by reporters if personnel were coming home with the message “mission accomplished”, the prime minister, accompanied by former England footballer Michael Owen, said: “Yes, I think they do.” He added: “To me, the absolute driving part of the mission is a basic level of security so it doesn’t become a haven for terror. That is the mission, that was the mission and I think we will have accomplished that mission and so our troops can be very proud of what they have done.” Around 5,200 British troops are now based in Afghanistan, down from 9,000 at the start of the year. There have been 446 British deaths since operations began in 2001. Cameron, who has made a pre-Christmas trip to Afghanistan every year since becoming prime minister, said: “The timetable for the withdrawal of British troops is a plan that we will stick to. I said, back in 2010, that after the end of 2014 there would not be British troops in a combat role and we will stick to that. “We are not going to abandon this country. We are going to go on funding the Afghan National Army and police into the future. “We will have a development programme into the future and, of course, we are providing what the president of Afghanistan asked me for, which is an officer training academy in Kabul which will help provide the backbone of the Afghan National Army for the future.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron shaking hands with some UK troops in Afghanistan
“So, we have more than played our part in helping to rebuild this country and making it safe. “Our commitment goes on into the future but our troops have done enough and it’s time for them to come home.” Cameron took a helicopter to a forward operating base, Sterga 2, in the Nahr-e Saraj part of Helmand,
where he had lunch with a small group of soldiers. Lance Corporal Bill Hay said: “I’m most surprised by the fact he’s actually coming out here. Most of the time, people will only get as far as Bastion. So I’m quite chuffed and interested that he’s pushed further.”
Harvard University evacuates students amid bomb alert
arvard University in the US state of Massachusetts, yesterday evacuated its campus amid an “unconfirmed report” of explosives at four of its buildings.
Harvard Yard Photo: Flickr
The university’s Twitter feed said there were no reports of an explosion and no indication that any bombs had been placed on campus. Authorities later reopened two
of the four buildings. Final exams, which were under way at the elite college, have been cancelled in the affected buildings. Harvard said in a statement: “The Harvard University Police Department this morning received an unconfirmed report that explosives may have been placed in four buildings on campus: the Science Centre, Thayer, Sever and Emerson Halls.” The campus was being cleared “out of an abundance of caution”, added Monday’s statement. Are America’s frequent lockdowns at schools and colleges an overreaction to the threat of mass shootings? “There’s a lot of helicopters about,” Anna Fifield, a Harvard fellow, told the BBC. She also said all gates into Harvard Yard had been closed following the threat, and “frustrated” students were requesting entrance to cordoned off areas. Amid an ongoing investigation, two law enforcement sources told CNN on Monday afternoon they believed the report of
explosives to be a hoax. As of yesterday afternoon, Thayer and Emerson Halls were reopened to students. A search of two other buildings remained ongoing. It is the latest security threat to a US school in recent months. In November, another Ivy League institution, Yale University in Connecticut, was locked down for nearly six hours following a report of an armed man, which was later found to be a hoax. In February, a gunman was reported on the campus of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That alarm, too, later proved false. Amid the ongoing threat of mass shootings at US schools, such alerts are an almost daily occurrence, though most tur n out to be nothing. A BBC investigation found that, just in the month between 9 November and 9 December, US schools or college campuses were placed on “lockdown” on at least 130 occasions.
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U.N. seeks $6.5 billion for Syria crisis in 2014
he United Nations appealed for a record $6.5 billion for Syria and its neighbours yesterday to help 16 million people, many of them hungry or homeless victims of a conflict that has lasted 33 months with no end in sight. The Syrian appeal accounted for half of an overall funding plan of $12.9 billion for 2014 to help 52 million people in 17 countries, announced by U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos at a meeting of donor countries in Geneva. “This is the largest amount we have ever had to request at the start of the year,” Amos told a news conference, referring to the worldwide appeal. The money requested for Syria, covering food, drinking water, shelter, education, health services and polio vaccines, was the largest U.N. appeal ever for a single crisis. Well over 100,000 people have been killed in a civil war that has uprooted millions of people, devastated many cities and wreaked havoc on the economy and basic public services. Syria’s currency has plummeted by 80 percent since the revolt began in March 2011, and destruction of the
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
water network has left 10 million people - almost half the pre-war population - relying on the United Nations to chlorinate water. “There are parts of country where for 2223 hours a day people aren’t getting electricity. Fuel is scarce,” said Amos, who visited Damascus briefly on Saturday to meet ministers. “Even if the violence were to stop tomorrow we would have to maintain help on the humanitarian front,” she said. A Free Syrian Army fighter reacts while residents try to put off a fire after what activists said wa … Amos was cautious about chances of a breakthrough at peace talks between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and his opponents that are scheduled to begin in Switzerland on January 22. “Obviously the expectations have to be modest in this point of time,” she said. The United Nations estimates that 250,000 Syrians are living under siege as winter bites, most of them encircled by government forces, but also including 45,000 in two towns in the north that are besieged by anti-Assad rebels.
S’Africa moves on after Mandela’s burial
n a public holiday dedicated to reconciliation, South Africans started coming to terms with the loss of Nelson Mandela yesterday, unveiling a giant statue yesterday to honour his struggle for equality. A day after the democracy icon was buried with full honours in his boyhood village nearly 1,000 kilometres (560 miles) away, a nine-metre (30 foot) bronze likeness was unveiled on the lawns of the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria. This is where generations of apartheid heads of state signed many of the racial laws Mandela spent most of his life fighting against, but also where he was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president in 1994. Last week, up to 100,000 people stood there in hours-long queues to file past Mandela’s open casket as he lay in state for three days. President Jacob Zuma presided over the unveiling of the giant statue of a smiling Mandela in mid-stride, arms stretched out in a welcoming gesture, sporting a trademark “Madiba shirt”. Zuma said the outstretched arms denoted that “South Africa is now a democratic country, he is embracing the entire nation, he is advancing to the nation to say: ‘let us come together, let us unite’.” For 50 million compatriots, Mandela was
not just a statesman and president, but a moral guide who led their polarised country away from internecine racial conflict. The 4.5-tonne statue is the largest of many erected around the world in honour of the antiapartheid hero. Many show Mandela with his fist raised defiantly in the air. “When one looks at comrade Madiba’s statue out there... it is almost like we are hitting the last nail in the coffin of apartheid,” Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), told the ceremony -- using the clan name by which the statesman was fondly known. “Now our father is up there saying to the world we have defeated apartheid.” The towering statue had been planned long before Mandela’s death. Built at a cost of some eight million rand ($800,000), it replaces a statue of Barry Hertzog, an Afrikaner nationalist who was prime minister of South Africa from 1924 to 1939. Zuma thanked a representative of the Hertzog family who attended the ceremony for their permission to move the Afrikaner’s statue elsewhere in the gardens. And he announced the Union Buildings would become a national heritage site, “to write a new and inclusive narrative for our country”. “While we acknowledge the past, we also em-
•His giant statue unveiled phasise that we are now one nation and that our national symbols need to reflect that unity in diversity,” the president said. South Africans of all hues gathered at the Union Buildings to follow the unveiling on big screens as a 21-gun salute rang out and air force jets flew over in a “missing man” formation usually reserved to honour a fallen pilot. “Reconciliation, peace, that’s what this is about,” said Afrikaner Retha Jansen, 63, who came to be part of history. Zuma stressed that
for true reconciliation to be possible, injustices from the past still have to be corrected. “We have always understood that true reconciliation would not take place successfully in the midst of glaring socio-economic disparities” in one of the world’s most unequal nations. American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said in some ways the inequality was, in fact, even deeper than before. “Blacks are better off, whites are much better off, economically,” he told AFP at the Union Buildings.
Helicopters carrying the South African flag fly over a 9-meter bronze statue of South African former president Nelson Mandela which was unveiled yesterday on the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Photo: Getty Images
Jealous husband stabbed wife 15 times, ran her over with car A husband has been jailed for 17 years after he killed his wife by stabbing her at least 15 times then running her over with his car because he thought she was having an affair with a neighbour. Minta Adiddo sent Akua Agyeman a Christmas card as she was being treated in hospital, blaming the attack on ‘devils’, the Old Bailey heard. The 32-year-old mother of two died two months after the brutal stabbing, which was witnessed by her five-year-old daughter. Adiddo, 38, was today given a life sentence after being convicted of murder, with a minimum term of 17 years. The Sainsbury’s worker from Enfield, North London, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, although he denied murder. The court heard he suspected his wife was having an affair with their neighbour Oledapo Etti-Williams in October 2012. Mr Etti-Williams denied it, but said they exchanged three to four ‘sometimes flirtatious’ texts a day - and phone records showed they had sometimes sent as many
as 80 messages in one day. On November 5, Adiddo stabbed his wife with a large kitchen knife in their bedroom while their one-year-old daughter slept in a cot next to them. Ms Agyeman managed to escape through the living room window, waking neighbours with her screams.
But her husband chased her down and stabbed her again in the street as she lay on the ground, leaving her with 15 separate stab wounds. When he realised she still wasn’t dead he got in his car and tried to run her over, almost ploughing into shocked witnesses who were tending to her.
L-R: Jailed: Minta Adiddo has been convicted of murdering his wife Akua Agyeman
Ms Agyeman’s last words as she lay injured were to ask if her children were all right. She fought for her life in hospital for nearly two months, but she was so badly injured that she would have been permanently paralysed if she had survived. Adiddo fled the scene but was arrested after police spotted him driving his car shortly the next day still wearing his blood-stained shirt. In a phone call to a relative he admitted stabbing his wife and said he planned to kill himself before police caught up with him. When Ms Agyeman was in the the Royal London Hospital, Adiddo sent her a Christmas card ascribing his behaviour to ‘Satan’ and ‘devils’. ‘I know the devil used Williams to destroy our family,’ he wrote. ‘Please, please, please, I need forgiveness from you - open yourself to God.’ In victim impact statements read to the court, Ms Agyeman’s family said the ‘vibrant, sociable and intelligent’ 32-year-old was ‘irreplaceable.’
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Man receives invitations after spending Xmas alone for 9 years
n 85-year-old London retiree said he has been overwhelmed by the response to the newspaper ad he placed to find someone to spend Christmas with. James Gray, a retired butler, placed an advertisement in the Irish Post earlier this month, after he spent Christmas alone for nine years. By December 12, he had received one letter from a woman who said she was spending the holiday with someone else, the Irish Post reported. “This time of year is so hard if you are old and alone
because it feels like everybody else around you is enjoying themselves,” he told the Post at the time. But over the past few days, he has been inundated with letters from readers. Many have offered to have Christmas dinner with him, the Post said, and he has received thousands of messages of support. “It is so touching to me, after all these years alone, to see this response from people,” he said. “I’m so appreciative of the offers. I should have done this years ago.”
Firefighters mistakenly battle blaze with jet fuel instead of water
ashington State authorities are investigating an incident that happened at the fire training academy in North Bend on Oct. 25 when firefighters sprayed jet fuel instead of water on a fake airplane crash. The massive mistake caused a huge fireball that left two firefighters with minor burns. “When the firefighters put water on a fire that had been deliberately de-
veloped for training the fire got bigger instead of smaller,” said Bob Calkins of the State Patrol. The cause of the mistake may have had something to do with the academy’s oil/water separator. The device, which recycles the water used that’s used in training exercises, may have not properly filtered the jet fuel from the water that was used in previous training sessions.
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Groom dies in accident after wedding reception
illiam Riley Knight and his new wife Nikki were heading back to a hotel after their wedding reception when the car in front of them skidded off the road and ended up in a ditch in Crown Point, Ind. The 49-year-old pulled over and went back to help, leaving his new wife in the car. He didn’t make it back. As William helped the motorist, 42-year-old teacher Linda Darlington, up the embankment, they were struck and killed by three passing cars. “One of the first vehicles was coming eastbound and struck both individuals,” said Lake County Sheriff John Bunich. “A car right behind them, the first vehicle, also struck the two, and unfortunately a third vehicle that was eastbound also struck the couple.” Police do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident. “He was a good Samaritan
trying to help this woman in distress,” said sheriff’s office spokesperson Patti Van Til. “It’s a very sad, tragic situation. He helped her up the steep embankment and helped her to the side of the road when they were struck.” Angie Lowe met William when he was a child taking
part in her theatre group. He grew up to serve in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for about 12 years. “He grew into an incredible man. He loved his country, he loved his family. He loved his friends, he loved his craft. He loved doing whatever he was doing, he threw his whole self in,”
William Riley Knight and his wife Nikki
Lowe said. “The wedding was the best last night anyone could have spent. He was the happiest I’ve seen him. And so was Nikki. . . The love, the humour that came out in those two. And what was more important was the promise of a future that was just going to be all theirs.”
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Workers want perm sec sacked over allowances OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA
ew hours after the House of Representatives queried the Ministry of Environment over the N2.6 billion allegedly domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, members of staff of the ministry have demanded the sack of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Taiye Haruna, over his failure to defray their backlog of
areas and allowances. The staff, numbering about 150, barricaded the headquarters located in Mabuchi, Abuja, early yesterday morning preventing other management staff from either going in or coming out. Some of the placards carried by the staff read; “Head of Service, Please save our ministry from collapse”, “HOS must sack Taiye Haruna now”, “Justice must be done”, “We no
longer have confidence in our union.” It will be recalled that the staff had made similar demand about two months ago when the Head of Service, Alhaji Goni Aji, visited the ministry. Some of the grouse of the protesting staff against the permanent secretary include his alleged failure to pay their allowances, poor attitude to staff welfare, particularly his reluctance to give
them Christmas and New Year packages. Citing examples, one of the protesters who volunteered to speak with our correspondent but who did not want his name mentioned, specifically alleged that the accounting officer of the ministry withhold monies meant for the upkeep of the ministry. For instance, he attributed the level of filth and stench pervading the min-
istry to the failure of the minister to release funds meant for simple items like toiletries. Asked if they would shield their sword if the issue of staff welfare raised by them is addressed, he retorted, “We are tired of the high-handedness of the minister. “All we are demanding is the sack of the permanent secretary and the dissolution of our union officials. Our representa-
tives have sold out and we no longer have confidence in them. However, after a protracted demonstration, the permanent secretary, who had earlier had a frantic discussion with their representatives, came down to placate the protesting staff. After a few moment of resistance, the staff agreed to select a 10-man committee to dialogue with the ministry.
Katsina records increase in school enrolment JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA
rimary school enrolment in Katsina State has increased from 388, 000 to more than 1.2 million in six years, with the figure expected to increase in the coming year. State Commissioner of Education, Prof. Aminu Kurfi, who stated this yesterday, said the figure was made possible through quality budgetary allocation to the sector. He said increase in primary school enrolment has led to the increase in the number of primary schools’ structures, from
over 270 to more than 400 within the last six years. Kurfi said some of the primary schools were expanded into one-storey buildings to give room for increase in enrolment of pupils. The commissioner said the state recorded substantial increase in the number of students that passed their final-year examinations compared to the previous years. According to him, 24 per cent of final-year students scored five to nine credits in this year’s examinations and that the state government would make effort to build upon that record in 2014.
Gombe to issue vehicle loans to civil servants DANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE
ombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, yesterday said his government is considering the issuance of vehicle loans to deserving civil servants as a way of stimulating them for higher productivity. The governor was reacting to a request made by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Gombe
State chapter, during a oneday workshop it organised in conjunction with the Office of the Head of Civil Service of Gombe State held at the Gombe State University auditorium. Represented by his Deputy, Mr. Tha’anda Jason Rubainu, the governor said his administration will do everything possible to ensure that civil servants in the state benefit from the dividends of democracy.
L-R: Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, National Planning Commission, Alhaji Zekeri Lawal; Coordinator, Programme Operations, Sure-P, Mr Alfa Toma and the Technical Adviser, Mr Meekam Mgbenenwena, at a workshop on Development Performance Management Plan for Sure-P Project Implementation in Kaduna, yesterday.
16, 470 displaced persons still in camps –NEMA
he National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Sunday that 16, 470 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were officially registered and are living in various camps across the country. The figure was contained in a statement signed by the Senior Information Officer of the agency, Mr. Sani Datti, and made available to journalists yesterday. The statement quoted the Director-General of
NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sidi, as saying at the sixth dialogue of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, that the displacement in Nigeria was rather volatile. The Geneva dialogue was on the protection of displaced persons. Sidi said 2.3 million persons were displaced and took refuge in the camps opened by governments across several states in the country, at the peak of the 2012 flood disaster. He attributed the
causes of the displacement to both natural and human factors. The director noted that recurring floods and drought were the major natural hazards. “Land use conflicts between pastoralists and sedentary farmers, ethno-religious crises and emerging terrorism, constitute the main sources of human-induced displacements,” he said. According to him, the Federal Government had developed a mechanism
Islamic group preaches peace, tolerance at Xmas carol DANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE
n Islamic youth group in Gombe State under Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Zagzaggi was among groups that made presentations and songs in praise of Jesus Christ at the 2013 end of the year children’s Christmas carol held at the First Baptist Church,
Gombe. Making the presentation on behalf of Gombe State Chairman, Mallam Musa Magaji, his representative, Mallam Abubakar Ahmed, said their leader, Sheikh AlZagzaggi has tutored members of the group to embrace Christians and treat them with enormous love as fellow brothers and sisters in conjunction with the teaching of the holy Qur’an.
He described as false and un-Islamic the action by some Muslims who engage in the maiming and killings of non-Muslims as well as destroying their hard-earned property in the name of Islam. According to him, this is barbaric and unacceptable to Islam and blamed failed and unpopular politicians for organising such crises to achieve per-
sonal political goals. The speaker, who cited some verses in the holy Qur’an to buttress his argument and that of their national leader, said it may interest Christians to know that the holy Qur’an enjoined Muslim clerics to extend annual tithe to Christians in dire need of it, but noted that Christians are usually excluded during Zaka’at sharing.
The speaker, who expressed satisfaction with the programme and which he said was very rich and educative, especially in the upbringing of children, added that many people are dragged into religious violence due to lack of knowledge about the Bible and the Qur’an. He said the hearts of such people would be cleansed and made whole
for disaster risk reduction, coordinated by NEMA, for preventing and mitigating forced displacement. He said the agency, in collaboration with the UNHCR in 2013, organised training on humanitarian/ IDP protection for NGOs chief security officers of government agencies. This, he said, was in the agency’s effort at improving the management of the IDPs in the camps, adding that 45 persons were trained under the train the trainers programme.
and sincere if they would realise that the two books were almost the same in message being conveyed to followers of the two religions. He hinted that the group has achieved enormous success in the true message to its Christian counterparts and it would be working towards the release of the cassette which it sang at the occasion.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Shiloh 2013: A celebration of great miracles and prophecies The 15th edition of the worldwide annual event, Shiloh 2013, organised by Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners’ Chapel was recently concluded at the weekend with great miracles, testimonies and prophetic utterances as LEONARD OKACHIE, reports.
Bishop Oyedepo ministering at the programme
he Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo at the weekend closed Shiloh 2013 with prophecies for 2014. The annual prophetic gathering of Christians held at Canaan Land, Ota, headquarters of the church in Ogun State where thousands of Christian worshippers gathered to experience healing and deliverance. The event tagged “Exceeding Grace” which started Tuesday, December 10 attracted participants from different states across the country, including worshippers from 48 nations. Highlights of Bishop Oyedepo’s prophecies for 2014 are: Throughout 2014, indescribable order of manifestation shall be your portion; the year 2014 shall be your most colourful year ever; everyone under the sound of my voice will appear before the Lord at Shiloh 2014; the pro-
Versity of Canaanland
AS EXPECTED THIS YEAR’S SHILOH WITNESSED ALL KINDS OF MIRACLES AND
TESTIMONIES, INCLUDING DEDICATION OF NEW BORN BABIES.
phetic agenda for the year 2014 is EXCEEDING GRACE 2014. While announcing that Shiloh 2014 comes up 9th- 13th December 2014,Bishop Oyedepo further prophesied: “2014 shall be a year of Exceeding Grace for you and your family; everyone that sees this Shiloh, will be here next here Shiloh; between now and next Shiloh, no evil shall touch you and your family; the first 3 months of next year will be colourful for you in Jesus name. “Every sickness, curse and spell drops off today as I rear my altar of sacrifice; from today, your begging comes to end; your struggles have finally come to an end; by the year 2014 every-
thing you lay your hands to do shall prosper exceedingly; as you take the shot of the anointing, sickness, pain and discomfort is neutralized in your system; and let’s declare Nigeria blessed.” According to a statement by David Oyedepo Ministry International (DOMI) Radio over 3.5 million worshippers across 173 nations were electronically captured to have joined this year’s Shiloh programme. Addressing the congregation in his teaching series entitled: “Unveiling the Exceeding Riches of His Grace”, Bishop Oyedepo highlighted the importance of giving, adding: “Giving is the gateway to the blessings of God, because every seed sowed to promote God’s kingdom engenders longevity, it is a platform for supernatural fruitfulness. (Malachi 3:10).” Quoting Malachi chapter 1: 5-7 and other sections of the scriptures, the General Overseer identified love, sacrifice and tirelessness, cheerfulness as ingredients that God cherishes in seed sowing. He also said that mercy remains the cheapest means of encountering the grace of God, stressing:“Nothing motivates healing virtue like mercy. Every other thing may fail but the mercy of God will not. For it is of
the Lord’s mercy that sickness and affliction cannot consume us. God’s mercy is inexhaustible.” Interestingly, it was a colourful moment on Thursday , being the third day of the convention, as the church joined their Kenyan members to celebrate Kenya’s golden jubilee anniversary. The Living Faith Family from Kenya who were at Shiloh 2013 were called to the altar for a brief celebration which was rounded up by a proclamation of blessing on Kenyans by the General Overseer and Presiding Bishop of the church, Bishop David Oyedepo. As expected this year’s Shiloh witnessed all kinds of miracles and testimonies, including dedication of new born babies. Living Faith Church Worldwide was founded by Bishop Oyedepo in 1981 and Church has since become a global network of churches with congregations in 34 countries. The beginnings of the church can be traced back to May 1981 when David Oyedepo said he received an 18-hour vision from God. According to him, in the vision, God spoke to him saying, “Now the hour has come to liberate the world from all oppressions of the devil, through the preaching of the Word of faith; and I am sending you to undertake this task”. The international headquarters of Winners Chapel is called Faith Tabernacle. It covers about 70 acres and is built inside an over 10,500-acre church complex called Canaanland, the international headquarters of the ministry in Ota, a suburb of Lagos.
The building took 12 months to be completed. The foundation laying took place on August 29, 1998 and the dedication of the building took place on September 19, 1999 with 97,800 people in attendance. The structure was said to have been built without any debts and within a year of the beginning of the work. Faith Tabernacle as from 1999-2008 was the largest church building in the world. It has a seating capacity of 50,400 people and an outside overflow capacity of over 250,000, with four services every Sunday. Cannanland was procured in 1998 and was initially 560 acres but presently it is over 10,500 acres and will take about 120km to navigate around it. The publishing house that grew out of Winner’s Chapel known as Dominion Publishing House was founded on December 5, 1992 and has published over 60 books, most of which were written by David Oyedepo. Many educational institutions are linked to Winner’s Chapel, including Covenant University, Landmark University Omu Area Faith Academy and Kingdom Heritage Model School. In addition there is a ministry training college called The Word of Faith Bible Institute. Every year in December, the church hosts the global event called Shiloh. The purpose of the event is to usher the visitation of God to his people. , there were millions in attendance in all the satellite viewing locations and the church website also experienced a huge hit. The event holds mostly first week in the month of December.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Kaduna: Making potable water available to all Water scarcity has long been a fact of life not only in Nigeria but across developing countries. Efforts to provide clean and safe drinking water in the poorest communities have posed a daunting challenge. In Kaduna State, the administration of Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero is taking steps to improve access of potable water to all. AZA MSUE writes on efforts to improve water supply to Zaria and environs.
xperts have noted that the importance of drinking water cannot be underestimated because it is an essential component of life. Without water, there would be no plants, oxygen for animals to breathe and the planet will look completely different than it is. This explained the saying that “water is life”. Water scarcity has become a recurrent dilemma in both urban and rural areas, as people on daily basis are faced with untold hardship trying to get the commodity for domestic use. In Kaduna State, the difficulties being faced by residents for decades searching for water would soon be a thing of the past, as Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero has launched the startup of the African Development (AfDB) Bank component of Zaria water supply expansion and sanitation project to alleviate the hardships. Although started by previous administrations many years ago, the Zaria water project is yet to be completed for the residents to heave any sigh of relief especially during the dry seasons. According to the governor, the project is one of the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) projection of reducing by half, the number of people without access to potable water by 2015. Yero stressed that, the essence of governance is to provide quality service to the citizens, hence he will remained focused in mobilis-
Water pipes at the treatment plant
ing resources for the implementation of people oriented projects across the state. To this end, Yero said the African Development Bank (AfDB) has declared for the development of expansion network distribution and provision of sanitation facilities for schools and other public places in Zaria and six other local government areas. He said no meaningful development can be achieved where access to potable water supply remains difficult to the people. Addressing residents in Zaria while inaugurating the project, GovernorYero said: “Government has expended the sum of N3.5bn, on the first NUWSRP from January to September, 2013 for the completion of ongoing rehabilitation works and distribution in Kaduna, Zaria, Kafanchan /Kagoro, Zonkwa and Saminaka water supply systems. This is part of our commitment to providing sufficient water supply to urban and semi urban towns”. Yero further noted that:”Facility from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)is not yet effective with regards to construction of reservoirs in Zaria and other LGAs that will benefit from the Zaria Water project. However, we hope to conclude the agreement soon, so as to speed up the completion of the Zaria regional water supply project.” “The 150 million litre regional water supply scheme being constructed by the government at Ka-
Section of Zaria water works
NO MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENT CAN BE ACHIEVED WHERE ACCESS TO POTABLE WATER SUPPLY REMAINS DIFFICULT TO THE PEOPLE. keyi village, near the existing water works is meant to increase water supply, to meet the ever increasing demand for this vital resource. We are aware that increasing the production capacity alone will not yield the desired result, without addressing the distribution network, transmission mains and service reservoirs. We are therefore partnering with the African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank to consolidate the gains of the multi-billion Zaria Regional Water Supply Project” He maintained that the water scheme has the potential to serve five other local governments of Sabon Gari, Kubau, Soba, Kudan and Giwa. Also, the project has sanitation component to it, in which sanitation facilities are to be provided at public places and schools in addition to hygiene promotion activities. “In all, work has reached about 97 percent completion for the construction of the 150Million Litres Daily (MLD) Zaria new water treatment plant. The project awarded at a cost of N15.7billion in 2008, has now been reviewed to N24.6billion which was as a result of changes in original scope of work and additional components. The project is intended to serve 2.2 million people by 2025 and all those residing in 23communities in seven local government areas of the state.” He added:”In the area of provision of rural water supply, the state government approved the construction of 46 solar powered boreholes and 680 hand pump boreholes for a total cost of N1, 22 billion. This is an interventionist measure to further
address the scarcity of water in many communities” The governor noted that the government awarded contracts in December 2012 to drill 20 hand pump boreholes in each of the 34 state constituencies and at least one solar powered borehole in each of the 23 LGAs at a total cost of N1, 22 billion. The sum of N176.13 billion has been paid
Zaria water plant tower
which represents 14.52 percent performance. The completion performance is 80 percent as at November 2013” “I understand that the project is expected to be completed by 2017, however, I urge the task manager of African Development Bank to speedily review and clear documents forwarded to them, so that we can complete the project within two years. At the state level, we are putting machinery in motion to promptly grant all approvals that the project management team may require.” “We cannot afford to be distracted in this noble effort at liberating our people from the sufferings occasioned by scarcity of water. What we need at this advanced stage is cooperation and support to be able to impact positively on the lives of our people. This administration will remain focused and committed to completing all ongoing projects initiated by the previous administrations. We want to leave behind a legacy worthy of emulation by future generations.” Yero, however called on the residents to continue to promote peaceful coexistence in all parts of the state saying that peace is undoubtedly the bedrock of success in the drive for sustainable development. “No meaningful development can be achieved in an atmosphere of mistrust and rancour. We have to be our brothers’ keeper. I am therefore appealing to individuals and groups to join hands in moving our dear state forward.”
Largest sand dollar Vol. 03 No. 745
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The largest sand dollar measures 12.73 cm (5.01 in) in diameter and was found by eight-year-old August Balicki (USA) in Treasure Island, Florida, USA, on 2 April 2011.
Tobacco regulation: Why Nigeria must tread softly T he global war against tobacco consumption is assuming new dimensions. Thoughts on the control and regulation of tobacco have been polarised along “pro-” and “anti-” tobacco lobbyists. Suffice to say that both schools of thought have successfully identified sufficient scientific evidences to support their claims, making it difficult for policy makers to sift through critical details on the subject. The challenge of the policy maker is not the scientific evidence available, but the cause and effect of “cracking the whip” harder on tobacco usage, and whether it is the most appropriate mechanism of dealing with the tobacco usage conundrum. The European Union and some states in the USA were among some of the first to have instituted strict tobacco control measures. Some of the tools employed to protect the public from
the “devastating” effects of the use of the product, included ban on advertisement and imposition of high taxes on tobacco products. However, after decades of deploying such draconian mechanisms, their efficacy has been called to question. Where there has been a marginal fall in the consumption of the product, this could not completely be attributed to the strict control; which is why a further interrogation of the nexus between regulation and consumption has been proposed. In New York for instance, an average of $12 tax per pack on cigarettes even grew the illicit trade far beyond the imposed measures, meaning the state government lost out on projected tax revenue put at about $80 billion, without deterring consumption. What this means is that the tighter regulations with the pious objective of saving the youth practically drive the trade. This is because smugglers, a sure source of alternative supply, don’t check IDs for minors before selling. Ireland, one of Europe’s pro-control countries, got a raw deal. The Irish Times once reported that close to 29 percent of all tobacco products in the country were illegal and the loss to the treasury about 250 million annually. More than that, the country still had to spend more resources to go after smugglers. Why spend so much money on something that has proved hard to eliminate? In Pakistan, a developing country with tight control on tobacco usage, the story is one out of four cigarettes sold is either smuggled or counterfeited. With a tax rate per packet of cigarette hovering around 70 to 80 percent,
NIGERIA HAS CASE STUDIES (EXPERIENCES OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES) TO LEARN FROM. SHE MUST AVOID THE PITFALLS OF OTHER COUNTRIES research has it that the government will lose close to $1 billion by 2017. The consistent increase in tax on the industry of the 5-year period from 2007 to 2011 of about 60 percent seldom translated into decline in consumption, which remained constant over the period. The result is the shrinking of the revenue bases of both the government and industry players. The European Union Parliament recently relaxed some proposed tighter regulatory directives spearheaded by governments in the region. The move, according to some analysts, is victory for pro tobacco lobbyists. Here is the thing that drives the rethink: both pro tobacco lobbyists and anti-tobacco crusaders want the same thing, which is reduction in the negative effects of tobacco. However, they propose different approaches. The “war” on the negative externalities will not be won when changes in regulations are perceived as victory for one group and defeat for the other. What is obvious is draconian approach to control has done little over the past decades in dealing with the problem. Painfully, the cost on the UK government, for example, is about £2 billion.
This leaves one no choice than question the extent to which the World Health Organization’s framework convention on tobacco control has helped the situation. It is not yet Eureka for countries that have ratified the convention. For instance, Article 6 of the Convention proposes price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco. The evidence from across Europe shows that demand and consumption has been on the ascendency, driven by illegal/ black markets, where the dangers sought to be prevented are more onerous. It is said in management science that winning strategies are never changed but improved upon, while failing ones are changed. So, another approach to solving the tobacco usage conundrum is needed. It is quite progressive that the EU is beginning to engage the industry to identify other ways by which the menace could be dealt. For Nigeria and Africa with fewer resources to go after smugglers, peddlers, illicit traders, and most of all fight the nuances of draconian policies, one thing is needed: reviewing the current policies on tobacco control. Maybe a rethink on strict and tight regulations including high taxes is necessary, and engagement of the industry players an imperative for resolving this current seemingly intractable challenge. Retrospectively, high cost of dealing with externalities of the implementation of the extant policies, loss of revenue to governments and industry, increase in drug and tobacco related crimes and increase in tobacco consumption, have been the throw up from many decades of fighting tobacco consumption. This realization is the impetus for the shift in the focus of the debate. Africa (including Nigeria), which has always been a laggard on policy designs for some of her developmental challenges, might miss out on an opportunity to shorten its learning curve on the tobacco conundrum. Nigeria has case studies (experiences of developed countries) to learn from. She must avoid the pitfalls of other countries. Cudjoe is an Abuja-based public affairs analyst
Under-performing Villas-Boas gets Spurs sack
ottenham Hotspur Manager, Andre Villas-Boas, yesterday parted company with the club after almost 18 months in charge, following a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool at White Hart Lane in the English Premier League. “The club can announce that
agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services,” a statement posted on the club’s official website read. “The decision was by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties. We wish Andre well for the
future.” The 36-year-old was appointed Tottenham’s head coach in July 2012, having been sacked by Chelsea four months earlier. He led the club to its highest points tally of the Premier League era, but missed out on qualification for the UEFA Champions
League to arch-rival Arsenal. Villas-Boas later oversaw an overhaul of the first team squad in the summer, with Gareth Bale departing to Real Madrid and new players arriving, including Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Paulinho.
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