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Army buries 15 soldiers killed by Boko Haram

We’re winning war against terror, says FG

OMEIZA AJAYI AND SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN Ihejirika

Vol. 3 N0. 673

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he Nigerian Army has buried 15 of its personnel killed by terrorists in some parts of the North and in Sudan,

with a vow never to give up. Two of the slain soldiers were officers while 14 of them were killed in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Veteran journalist, Allah de Odunewu, dies at 86P.48

Friday, July 26, 2013

Senate takes over T Rivers Assembly

N150

GEORGE OJI, SAM OLUWALANA AND ROTIMI FADEYI

...urges immediate redeployment of CP Mbu

2015: Stop overheating polity, Jonathan warns politicians

he Senate yesterday backed the action of the House of Representatives by taking over the functions and duties of the crisis-ridden Rivers State House of Assembly. The action of the Senate is in line with the provisions of Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. The Senate also urged CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

Mark

N’Assembly passes 2013 budget amendment bill P.13

LEFT: Relations of officers and soldiers killed by terrorists grieving during the burial of the military officers at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, yesterday. TOP RIGHT: Coffins of the slain soldiers draped in national colours. BOTTOM: Vice-President Namadi Sambo with son of the late Trooper Kantoma Daniel, Jacob.

DAY 17

Lawyers fault lawmakers over decision on child marriage

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Court stops PDP convention, accuses party of recklessness

Spend quality time with your Dickson committee to focus on non-PDP statesP.2 children –NASFAT leader P.28 Strike: Govt, ASUU talks resume today P.7


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Court stops PDP convention, accuses party of recklessness OBIORA IFOH AND EMMANUEL ONANI

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n Abuja High Court yesterday restrained the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, its agents or privies from holding the scheduled August 31 special convention, pending the determination of a subsisting suit challenging the move. The order followed the decision of the party’s National Executive Committee, NEC, to hold the national convention, despite a pending suit seeking to restrain it from such. Delivering the ruling on the pending motion on notice filed by Abba Yale, Alhaji Yahaya Sule and Bashir Maigudu (card-carrying members of the PDP), Jus-

tice Suleiman Belgore held that the action of the party (defendant) to hold the convention was intended to foist a “fait accompli” on the court, as evidenced in the constitution of some subcommittees for the convention. Justice Belgore added that when a matter is before a proper court of record, no party is required to take any step or steps that will constitute an affront to the trial court, but rather allows it to reach a considered decision, whichever way it goes. While describing the PDP’s decision to hold its convention as “recklessness of the highest degree”, the judge warned that no “judex” (judge) will allow a party or parties in a suit to ridicule him or bring the sanctity of the court to dis-

repute or odium. The plaintiffs, through their counsel, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), had earlier approached the court for an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, and other officers from holding the scheduled “special convention”, which date was announced by the Chairman of the committee and former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana. They also urged the court to set aside or nullify all steps and processes that led to the appointment of the latter as national officers of the party. Besides, the plaintiffs asked the court to restrain Tukur “from performing any functions or duties assigned to the National Work-

ing Committee, NWC, of the defendant, following the resignation and removal of all members of the National Working Committee of the defendant set out in Article 29 (1) (b)-(1) of the constitution...pending the hearing and determination of this case.” However, members of the NWC, who were initially listed as 2nd -18th defendants, resigned their appointments, forcing the court to strike out their names at the instance of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ counsel had argued that the resignation of the NWC members “was an affront on the integrity of the court,” adding that “since the matter was still pending in court, the PDP would have allowed it to be decided by the court, rath-

L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan; Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN) and President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), during the visit of NBA members to the President in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

er than proceed to appoint members to act in the stead of those that resigned. “The PDP chose to pick unqualified people to constitute the NWC, which was initially composed by equally unqualified members who resigned. “A lot of injuries have been done by PDP, not to itself alone, but to the administration of justice. No person should be seen to be disparaging the court. “The defendant is not well-constituted and so cannot function. The action was deliberately taken to “undermine and disrespect the authority and power of the court,” the lawyer said. The counsel to the PDP, Emeka Etiaba, urged the court to dismiss the entire suit, saying that the former NWC members resigned their positions, and the party, “as a political party, sought to move on in a lawful manner, and in line with the constitution.” He noted that the PDP “has done nothing to diminish the cause of action in this case”. While urging the court to dismiss the suit, Etiaba prayed it to take cognisance of the fact that “PDP never sacked any of the former national officers.” In his ruling, Justice Belgore frowned at the steps taken in flagrant disregard to the suit pending before him, and granted “an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant (PDP) and its agents, includ-

Senate takes over Rivers Assembly

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the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to transfer the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, out of the state since his relationship with Governor Rotimi Amaechi had broken down irretrievably. In addition, the three senators from Rivers State were tasked to use their positions to promote peace and prevent an escalation of the crisis in the state. These were the resolutions reached by the upper chamber of the National Assembly following the debate and adoption of the report of its committee on states and local government administration which undertook a fact-finding

tour of the state last week. The three resolutions were compressed from 17 recommendations by the investigation committee, chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya. The decision of the Senate on the Rivers State crisis was arrived at yesterday after a three-hour closed door session by the lawmakers. In his remarks at the session, the Senate President, David Mark, explained that the action of the Senate was predicated on the first hand information it obtained through the fact-finding committee. He appealed to all the stakeholders in the state to work together to ensure that peace returns to the

state. Mark said: “We spent several hours this morning discussing in great detail the situation in Rivers State. We devoted so many hours because we believe it is important that we look at it from the prism of our own committee that went there to find out exactly what happened. And we are happy we sent our own team to investigate and report back to us. “Our final objective, and throughout our discussion, was to ensure that peace returns to Rivers State. That was the focus of the discussion this morning. Our appeal to all the principal actors involved is that unless there is peace in Rivers State they cannot ensure

development in state. We want development across the length and breadth of this country. Therefore, we use the opportunity once more before we go to prayers to appeal that all those involved sheathe their swords so that peace can reign in Rivers State. “The committee has not indicted any particular group of people. It has not indicted any section and I don’t think it has indicted any individual. The reason is because we want to ensure that there is peace. The Senate as a body wants to be an integral part of the solution to the problem in Rivers State. We remain neutral. We’ve not taken sides with any group and we are not going to take sides but

we will stand on facts. “When we eventually approve our prayers, those prayers will be based on the facts that are known to us and our neutral position. And we hope that all the parties involved would appreciate that what we want to ensure is peace in Rivers State. “All we want is that peace to returns to Rivers State. Let me add that the National Assembly will uphold and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as we all individually swore to do. And this we will do at all times and at all cost. Let me leave no one in doubt that the impunities of the past remain in the past. And the past is gone for good. All that is left

ing the national chairman and any group of persons acting on its behalf from convoking, convening or holding any special or ordinary convention, for purposes of electing its national officers, pending the hearing and determination of the suit before the court.” The judge stated that the PDP “has taken some steps to pre-empt what the court will do or will likely do; they have constituted some committees to conduct the convention.” He warned that “no party is allowed to do anything negative to foist a fait accompli on the court, parties who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, are obliged not to do anything to render the powers of the court. “They are liable to allow the court to decide the case, either way. “It is recklessness of the highest degree for the defendant to have swung into action while this case was pending. That action is to diminish the powers of the court.” He, however, refused the other two reliefs, which sought to nullify the appointments of acting NWC members and an interlocutory injunction restraining Tukur from discharging the functions of his office. The court fixed July 29, for hearing of motion. Meanwhile, an application by Tukur for joinder was granted even as the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

is for the proper lessons to be learnt from the past. “Minority members of the Rivers State House of Assembly cannot remove, and should therefore, never contemplate the impeachment of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly or anyone else for that matter and should perish the thought if they ever harboured it. “Our institutions of state must also uphold the constitution at all times and must not in any way encourage the impression that impunities of the past are possible today. This National Assembly, for the avoidance of doubt, would resist impunity and unconstitutionality. This is the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


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L-R: Co-Founder & Executive Director, Storm 360, Olisa Adibua; Publisher, Ovation International, Dele Momodu and Globacom’s Regional Director, Marketing Communications, Charles Jenarius, at the Live Performance on the Top 9 contestants in the X Factor singing reality TV show brought to Africa for the first time by Globacom on Tuesday.

L-R: Alhaji Abdulahi Zubairu of the Millennium Development Goal’s Office, Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and Prof. Chinyere Okunna with some of the 2,500 beneficiaries of monthly N5,000 stipend at the launch of the N375 million conditional cash transfer scheme at the Women Development Centre in Awka, yesterday

L-R: National Secretary, Afenifere, Mr. Jimi Agbaje; Secretary to Lagos State Government, Dr. Ranti Adebule; wife of Ekiti State Governor, Bisi Fayemi; Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Education, Dr. Obi Ezekwesili and President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Odumakin, during a stakeholders’ meeting on Senate plan to legalise child marriage held in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA

L-R: Executive Director, Wema Bank Plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise; Managing Director, Mr. Segun Oloketuyi and Executive Director, Mr. Moruf Oseni, at a media briefing on the bank’s financial results in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: AYO OLESIN

National News

Human rights lawyers flay Senate’s decision on child marriage DAYO AYEYEMI, KAYODE KETEFE, WALE IGBINTADE, TORDUE SALEM, OJO OYEWAMIDE AND KENNY ODUNUKAN

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ome prominent Nigerian and human rights lawyers have flayed the Senate’s refusal to outlaw child marriage through the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. Section 29 of the 1999 Constitution, which deals with the issue of renunciation of Nigerian citizenship, contains a provision in subsection 4(b) that any female person that is married will be deemed to be an adult. This provision, which has drawn criticisms of human rights activists over the years on the grounds that it encourages child marriage, came to the front burner of national discourse recently when the Senate Committee on Constitutional Review recommended it should be deleted from the constitution. But the Senate refused to delete the provision amidst

outcry by many stakeholders. Most of the lawyers berated the Senate for letting another opportunity slip by to expunge what they called “obnoxious provisions” to gender equality from the constitution. They include three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) - Mrs. Funke Adekoya, Mr. Adekunle Oyesanya and Mr. Rotimi Jacobs. But another SAN, Dr. Abiodun Layonu, said there is nothing wrong having a consent age of marriage that is lower than the usual 18 years for a girl. Others, who spoke against the Senate decision, also include the Executive Director of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELAI), Mrs. Funmi Falana, and the Executive Programme Director of Legal Assistance and Development Project, Mrs. Adaobi Egboka. Adekoya said: “The Senate’s refusal to ban child marriage means that the girls in those parts of the

country where it is currently practised will fall behind their mates everywhere. “When their mates are learning to calculate equations, they will be calculating cooking ingredients. When others are carrying books, they will be carrying babies. “This is unfortunate because Nigeria is a signatory to many international conventions that recognise the right of female child, and our lawmakers also have the moral obligation to protect the future of Nigerian children.” Layonu, however, said: “Yes, ordinarily a married woman is and should be deemed to be an adult, hence the age at which a woman may consent to marriage is normally fixed at an age when she can be regarded as an adult. “If marriage age is set at 18, whether in the constitution or statute, frankly, I think that is civilised and in accord with international standard. In some countries, 16 is the age of consent.” Jacobs said: “The legisla-

tors do not have the right to promote child marriage. It is only on Christian marriage that the legislators can debate and make amendment on. They cannot decide on customary marriages.” Oyesanya, said: “It is quite unfortunate that Senate is even debating on such issue. I am particularly surprised. Section 29 of the Nigerian Constitutions most of senators are relying on does not even allow them to sustain female child marriage. “I am personally against female child marriage. I believe it is an infringement on girl-child. It will certainly deny the child ability to get proper education and some other good things of life.” Mrs. Falana said: “The decision of the Senate not to amend and expunge the obnoxious Section 29 (4) (b) from the constitution is very embarrassing. “Nigeria is not only signatory to many international treaties on women’ rights and gender equality, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, it also has its

own Child Rights Act which about 26 states have enacted as the Child Rights Law at the state level. “It is very disheartening that our supreme law, the constitution, will retain the provisions that a woman is deemed of ‘full age’ once she is married. Apart from the problem of child marriage that this brings, there are also other aspects that people overlook. “Take, for instance, a girl of 13 years who is deemed “of full age” simply because she is married, will have full criminal capacity of an adult if she commits a crime whereas her male counterpart would not have such liability since he has not attained 18 years age. This is discriminatory. “Under the Child Rights Act and the Child Rights Laws of the states, marrying of a girl under 18 years is a crime, unfortunately, the provisions of the constitution overrides this in the event of conflict.” Egboka said: “The retention of the provision of section 29 (4) (b) means that

the whole thing about the entrenchment of gender equality in Nigeria has not taken roots. We are sending wrong message to the international community that we are not serious about respecting our obligations on treaties on women and child rights which we have signed. “It is sad that that the Senate has chosen to endanger the future of the Nigerian child and this is irresponsible.” A Lagos lawyer, Mr. Nnemeka Ameachina, said: “Under the Nigerian Constitution 18 years is the age of maturity but under the Common Law, the real age of maturity is 21 years. So, how can one say that just by mere marriage, one is automatically an adult? That provision is retrogressive. “So, if I marry a one-year baby, then such a baby is presumed to be mature, that is ridiculous, it does not make any sense. “The Senate is supposed to be manned by wise men. Marriage is meant for adult and not for children.”


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Army buries 15 soldiers killed by Boko Haram CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

North-East where the Joint Task Force, JTF, is currently enforcing the state of emergency, only one was killed in Darfur, Sudan. Two of the soldiers’ wives were about five and three months pregnant. The atmosphere was solemn as they wept uncontrollably. At the burial yesterday, which took place at the Military Cemetery, along Umaru Yar’Adua Airport Road in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan reiterated the commitment of his administration to strengthen the security forces. He explained that the Federal Government had

continued to evolve workable strategies in tackling insurgency, especially the threat posed by the Boko Haram Islamist sect. Represented by VicePresident Namadi Sambo, the President said: “The event today reiterates the fact that their sacrifices will not be in vain but the loss is a tale of regret.” He said rather than despair, the dead would be honoured through a befitting burial, adding that he had directed the Military High Command to ensure that the entitlements of the deceased soldiers were duly paid. Jonathan charged the military not to be daunted

by the loss but to re-strategise to urgently end the insurgency, adding that his administration would continue to strengthen and improve the country’s security capabilities. “As members of the Armed Forces, you must appreciate that the military profession is a hazardous job and in conflicts like this, there are bound to be casualties, including deaths. “Rather than despair and lose focus of our objective, it is incumbent on us to respect and honour the dead by giving them a befitting burial while still strategising to defeat the enemy,” he stated. The President assured

the families of the late military personnel, including those still serving, that the country would never forsake them. Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, eulogized the deceased for been unwavering in their attempt to safeguard the unity of the nation. Urging the bereaved families to take solace in God, Obada said the nation would eternally remain grateful to the Army for the numerous sacrifices of its men. Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Saa’d Ibrahim, recalled that following the presidential proclamation of the state of emergency

L-R: Member, Board of Trustees, Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo; BoT Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih; First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and President’s mother, Mrs. Eunice Jonathan, during a condolence visit to Dame Jonathan on the death of her mother, yesterday.

Court stops PDP convention, accuses party of recklessness CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

plaintiffs filed a fresh application to amend their originating summons. This is coming just as the PDP feared that its participation in the November 16 gubernatorial election in Anambra State might be seriously hampered, if a proper convention was not conducted within time to produce a substantive national secretary, who the law requires to endorse its candidate’s nomination and clearance forms. Though, Chief Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who appeared yesterday for PDP, raised the concern, the court said the bridge would be crossed at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, the PDP has charged the Governor Seriake Dickson-led reconciliation committee to focus its trouble-shooting attention

on the non-PDP controlled states. The Bayelsa State governor had declared during the inauguration of the committee in Abuja on Thursday that there was nothing untoward in a big political party like the PDP facing series of crisis. The governor also stated that while appreciating and resolving such crisis, it was necessary to follow the rules as stipulated by the party. Dickson, who is heading a 30-member reconciliation committee, noted that what could be wrong was to denigrate or destroy the institutions such as the office of the President, judiciary, legislature, military and security services. He noted that while his committee had a daunting assignment, ongoing reconciliation by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT,

Chief Tony Anenih, and efforts of past committees like the Dr. Akex Ekwueme’s should be implemented. “A large platform like the PDP cannot be devoid of several tendencies, conflict of interests and all manner of crisis. But as democrats, we must evolve ways of appreciating them and resolving crisis within the party without sniffing people. “I think this is what you have done by setting up the reconciliation committee. But all players in the political and non-political field must play by the rules of the game. “We must play the game within the ambit of national interest and not denigrate or destroy our institutions whether it is the office of the President, judiciary, legislature, military and security services, professional bodies, media, traditional and

religious instructions.” Dickson also said he would reconcile problems in non-PDP-controlled states, their primary focus. He, however, declined comments on the status of the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi and other PDP governors who no longer attend the PDP Governors’ Forum meetings. Earlier, while inaugurating the committee, Tukur noted that it was common to have the challenges which PDP was facing due to its size and charged them to focus attention on the states not being controlled by the party. “The leadership of the party is determined now more than ever to reclaim the dominance of PDP in the South-West. The same tragedy affected the PDP family in the South-East,” Tukur stated.

in the three North-Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, he had to deploy his men in the area. He, however, lamented that the soldiers died while trying to secure the nation and described the funeral as a warning signal to terrorists that the military would not give up on its mandate but would rather be more determined to secure Nigeria. Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, said his troops were ever more resolved to stamp out terrorism from the country. “For paying the supreme sacrifice, they have made us proud. Their efforts have contributed to the peace in most of the troubled places,” Ihejirika stated. While he admitted that there was no amount of compensation that could assuage the feelings of the bereaved families, the Army chief said he would ensure the prompt payment of their entitlements. He later presented national flags to the next-ofkin of the slain heroes. Meanwhile, officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, killed or incapacitated in the line of duty, were yesterday compensated by the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, under the Nigeria Police Group Personal Accident Insurance Scheme. Speaking during the presentation of cheques to the victims and their families at a ceremony at the Office of the Assistant InspectorGeneral of Police, Zone ‘5’

in Benin, Alhaji Hashimu Argungu, who represented the IG, reiterated the present administration’s resolve to ensure that the welfare of officers and men of the force received top attention always. Argungu said 27 beneficiaries were compensated in the scheme with an amount ranging from N100, 000 to N1m. He added that the beneficiaries were drawn from Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states, comprising the zone and urged the family members to make the best use of the money. He said: “For the accident they suffered in the course of duty and for some who died in the line of duty, on behalf of the InspectorGeneral of Police, I want to enjoin the beneficiaries to make proper use of the money so that the purpose for which it was meant will not be defeated. “This token is an appreciation of the officers and men affected and to cushion the effect of the accidents involving those still serving and for those who are dead, succour to their families. “The present police management team will continue to ensure that the welfare of the officers and men remain paramount so as to elicit the desired commitment to duty from the rank and file.” National Mirror reliably learnt that the total amount of insurance cover given out was N11.2m with the single highest beneficiary receiving N1m.

Senate takes over Rivers Assembly CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

stand of the Senate. And once more, I must emphasise that we remain neutral and we want to see an end to the crisis in Rivers State.” Also, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday assured that he would curb political excesses overheating the polity ahead of the 2015 general elections. Responding to concerns expressed by a delegation of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, led by its President, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN), Jonathan said that the rising political tension in the country was uncalled for.

“The political tension in the country is mainly built around the 2015 elections which should not be the case. It is quite disturbing. The year 2015 is still far off. I expect politicians to focus on the business of governance now. We must do what we were elected to do first. We will do our best to curb the overheating of the polity,” President Jonathan told the delegation, which included three former presidents of the NBA. The President also said that he had asked for a detailed brief on the security CONTINUED ON PAGE 48>>


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Hold politicians responsible for Nigeria’s woes –Akanbi ormer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, has blamed the problems facing Nigerians on politicians. Akanbi spoke in Lagos yesterday as the chairman of the ninth Annual Lecture organised by AELEX Law Firm. At the well-attended lecture with the theme; “In God’s Name: Politics, Religion and Economic Development,” the jurist said although there were some good politicians in the country, the majority of them were “crooked” and did not fear God. According to him, unless the politicians turn a new leaf and stop being self-centred, the country’s woes may continue indefinitely. The 81-year-old jurist added that he was worried for the country not because of himself as he had little more time to spend but because of the coming generation and his own children. He said: “Most of the problems we are facing are caused by the politicians. The problems are not religious at all but political. “Nobody will go to church and hears the priest telling him to take up arms against his countrymen. Nobody would go to mosque and hears the Imam telling him to take up arms against compatriots. As far as I am concerned, the Boko Haram people are not Muslims. “But the politicians would call on the name

of God and defy the same God through their actions. Most of them have no fear of God. “They should know that they will be accountable to God both here and hereafter on the way they have lived their lives. “I am not saying all the politicians are bad; there are good politicians, except that majority of them are bad, so many of them belong to the crooked generations. “They should have the fear of God. I am not speaking because of myself for, at my age, how much time do I have left? I am worried because of my children.” Also speaking at the event, the guest speaker, Professor Timothy Samuel Shah, an Associate Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkeley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, said any nation that did not allow religious freedom would find it very difficult to make real progress. He said: “It is sad that many people are doing many violent things in God’s name; many terrible things are being done in the name of religion. “In terms of economic development, the presence of vibrant religious communities in economic and civic life can limit the expansion of government and guard economic freedom. “The freedom of religious association contributes to social capital in terms of social network and social trust, which can facilitate economic exchange and reduce corruption, and in turn, promote economic growth.”

critical stakeholder in the country, considers the PIB as “a very critical piece of legislation” because of its far-reaching implications on the country’s oil and gas sector when passed into law. Alison-Madueke said the National Assembly was already working hard on the passage of the bill. She said: “There will always be different stakeholders’ whose views are brought to bear when there is a docu-

ment of such critical importance. “Once it enters the purview of the legislature, it is expected that different views will be heard and at the end of the day the expectation is that the document that comes out will represent a fairly win-win situation for all stakeholders for the betterment and for the good of the entire economy and the entire polity.”

K AYODE K ETEFE

F L-R: (Front row) Senior Manager, Research & Strategic Development, National Mirror Newspaper, Ganiyu Kayode-Balogun, Jnr. (2nd left); Editor, Mr. Seyi Fasugba and Arts Editor, Ms. Adenrele Niyi (3rd right) and contestants from the Miss Global Nigeria beauty pageant, during their visit to National Mirror House in Lagos, yesterday.

Reps probe BOI over N176bn disbursement

TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

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he House of Representatives has set up a panel to investigate suspicions that the Bank of Industry, BOI, disbursed N176 billon to banks without National Assembly’s approval. In September 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, lodged N176 billion in BOI to be disbursed to various banks. But the lawmakers said BOI disbursed the fund without the approval of the National Assembly under the Power and Airlines Intervention Fund as established by the CBN. The motion entitled: “The Urgent Need to Investigate the Use of Public Funds by the Bank of Industry Under the Power and Airlines Intervention Fund,” which informed the probe, was sponsored by Hon. Bimbo Daramola (ACN-Ekıtı). Raising the motion, Daramola pointed to the breach of the 1999 Constitution by BOI in the administration

of the said fund. He said: “As at September 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria, had disbursed public funds in the sum of about N176 billion to various banks, through the Bank of Industry, BOI, in Nigeria without approval of the National Assembly under the Power and Airlines Intervention Fund as established by the Central Bank of Nigeria. “There are indications that since September 2012, this practice had continued unabated.” The legislator said he was worried that “these disbursements were irregularly made by BOI to 13 deposit money banks, namely: Access Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, GTB Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, FCMB, Diamond Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC, First Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, UBA Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Mainstreet Bank Plc, and Sky Bank Plc.” Daramola, he was “worried from reports and preponderance of assessment studies that these transactions were not carried out

in a manner that is devoid of doubts and violating due private and public sector lending norms and I am concerned that this practice has generated bad-blood among the commercial banks, the banking public, equity investors and depositors”. He added that the execution of the initiative, if not monitored, was susceptible to widespread impunity, abuse of office, and moral hazards in the entire Nigerian economy. The lawmaker said the issue was capable of having a negative effect on the economy as it could worsen inflation, exchange rate and interest rate. Daramola called on the House to mandate an Adhoc Committee to “determine the real amount made available by CBN to BOI for this initiative till date and the situation surrounding subsequent releases”. He also urged the House to investigate and determine the modalities for documentations and approvals regarding all disbursements under the Power and Air-

PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

lines Intervention Fund, PAIF, by BOI from period up to September 30, 2012 to June 30, 2013, and establish the sources of these funds. Daramola, who is the deputy chairman of the House Committee on Millennium Development Goals, asked the Lower Chamber to investigate and establish the total sums disbursed through the banking system by the BOI and/or sponsoring commercial bank under PAIF, from period up to September 30, 2012, then to June 30, 2013. He also urged the House to “investigate and determine all businesses and/or other entities that are beneficiaries of the BOI’s disbursements as determined in (11), above; determine the terms and conditions under which the sums ascertained in (11) above were disbursed to the beneficiaries, and establish the status of compliance with these terms and conditions; determine to what extent all relevant statutes were complied with in these transactions; and determine the extent to which the objectives that informed this initiative have been met; and report to the House within three weeks”. All the prayers were adopted by the House.

Indicted firms not awarded fuel importation contract –Minister ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA

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he Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, yesterday dismissed reports that some of the companies indicted by the House of Representatives in the fuel subsidy scam have been awarded new contracts to import fuel. Alison-Madueke told journalists that it would be

difficult for any company indicted to be awarded new contract to import fuel since all successful companies were thoroughly screened before being selected. She said: “It is not possible. I believe you are referring to the listing of companies by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, for importation of fuel. All companies were vetted carefully and only compa-

nies that were cleared were put on the list.” The minister, who spoke after she attended the meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, said she was invited to the parley because of the importance of some of the legal policies in the oil and gas sector. Alison-Madueke also spoke on the progress made

by the National Assembly towards the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB. She said: “The bill is an amalgamation of 16 existing laws in the oil and gas sector which has now been refined and repositioned to hopefully take Nigeria in this sector into the next 30 years and beyond and we will like to see it move forward.” According to the minister, the NBA, which is a


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KEMI OLAITAN AND SEYI ANJORIN

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he lingering face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, over the non-implementation of terms of the agreement reached in 2009 may soon be over as the parties are billed to meet again today to find a lasting solution to the industrial action by the academics. Attempts to broker peace over the contentious agreement last week ended in a deadlock even as the universities also walked out on the National Assembly for what they alleged as indecent treatment of their delega-

News

Friday, July 26, 2013

FG reopens dialogue with ASUU today •UI lecturers insist on strike

tion. Giving this hint yesterday during an interactive session with the media at the “Dissemination of the World Bank Report on Nigerian Education and Skills Policy Note: Access, Equity and Quality Forum” organised by the World Bank Country Office in Nigeria, Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayatu Rufai, said the President and the government were concerned about the lingering crisis hence the urgent need to end the strike. Rufai said: “Government has no option than to make effort to resolve the strike.

Mr. President is concerned; everybody is concerned, so definitely effort will have to be made to have a suitable plan. “We are simply pleading with our colleagues in ASUU to please call off the strike, but we are meeting with them. We are meeting tomorrow, after the meeting you will know the resolutions.” Similarly, the minister disclosed that government had approved a comprehensive programme of rehabilitation for some federal and states’ tertiary institutions in the country as part of its sustained efforts at enhanc-

ing their infrastructure and other supportive assets required for quality education in the country. According to her, all the 51 federal and state polytechnics would benefit from the development initiatives through the rehabilitation of their laboratories to bring them to 25 century standards. She puts the initial cost of the comprehensive projects at N15 billion. While elaborating on the efforts of the government towards getting most of the out-of-school children back into schools as well as providing qualitative and trans-gendered access to education, the minister said

L-R: Coordinator/Secretary, Osun State Tourism Inspectorate Committee, Prince Taiwo Agbeniyi; Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Sikiru Ayedun; Head of Service, Mr Sunday Owoeye; Governor Rauf Aregbesola; Chairman, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Culture and Tourism, Hon Oladipo Soyode; and others, during the inauguration of the committee members in Osogbo, yesterday.

Court stops EFCC, IGP, others from prosecuting Capital Oil boss ISE-OLUWA IGE

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federal high court sitting in Abuja, yesterday stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and two others from re-opening investigations, arresting or prosecuting the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Patrick Ifeanyi Uba and his company over his alleged involvement in petroleum subsidy fraud. The two others, who were also perpetually restrained yesterday by the high court order are the InspectorGeneral of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who both wield prosecutorial powers over any citizen, individual or corporate, suspected to have committed crime. The trial high court judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, predicated his decision on three documents which had clearly exonerated Uba and his com-

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pany of any criminal complicity in the allegation of subsidy fraud made against them. The documents included a subsisting February 18, 2013 judgment in suit number: HC/CS/07/2013 which exonerated Uba and his company, a separate clean bill of health issued by the House of Representatives Committee which investigated fuel subsidy fraud in Nigeria and another letter dated February 12, 2013 written by the Police Special Fraud Unit, ‘D’ Department to the Minister of Finance, clearing them. Justice Kafarati said moving against Uba and his company as canvassed by EFCC in spite the documents exhibited before him would expose them to double jeopardy which is forbidden by law. The order of perpetual injunction was made yesterday by Justice Abdul Kafarati in his judgment in a fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/

CS/284/2013 filed by Uba and his company. Uba and his company had argued that it was wrong for the EFCC, IGP, AGF and any other agency of the government to want to prosecute them over the same issue on which a Federal High Court, FHC, in Lagos had exonerated them by virtue of its February 18, 2013 judgment in suit number: FHC/ CS/07/2013 and a report by the House of Representatives committee which investigated the fuel subsidy fraud. They also relied on a letter dated February 12, 2013 written by the Police Special Fraud Unit, ‘D’ Department to the Minister of Finance, clearing them of any criminal complicity in the allegation of subsidy fraud made against them. The judge upheld the applicants’ arguments and granted four out of the five prayers they raised in the suit, which challenged the decision by the EFCC to re-in-

vestigate the complaint that Ubah and his company were involved in the petroleum subsidy fraud. Justice Kafarati declared that the February 18 judgment, the House of Representatives’ committee report and the police letter of February 12 “collectively tantamount to a complete and final exoneration of any criminal offence with regard to application for receipt of subsidy payment under the Federal Government of Nigeria Petroleum Support Fund, PSF, scheme.” The judge declared that in view of the applicants’ complete exoneration from any reasonable suspicion of commission of any criminal offence under the subsidy scheme, the threat of detention, arrest and prosecution by the respondents or any other agency of the government, amounted to an infraction of the applicants’ fundamental rights enshrined in Sections 35 (1) (c) and 36 (5) of the constitution.

such sundry measures “will enhance our global competitiveness; ensure the mobility of labour and ultimately conserve the economic, social, political well being of the citizens.” Rufai explained that in order to actualise the transformation agenda of the present administration to create euphoria for the development of the educational sector, some issues needed to be efficient addressed. She listed these to include, strengthening the institutional management of education; teacher education and development, technical and vocational education and training; research mobilisation and utilisation, just as a coordinated approach is provided to address the challenges that will face the sector. World Bank Country Director, Mrs. Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, also urged the Federal Government to find ways of re-enrolling out-ofschool children back into the classrooms by addressing the level of poverty in the country. Marie-Nelly, who lamented the poverty level in the country and its negative implications for education of young Nigerians, projected that unless concerted efforts were made by national and sub-national governments to reverse the out-of-school syndrome, it will definitely keep increasing.

She also frowned at the gender disparity and demographic challenges facing most young children in Nigeria, calling for better legislation towards creating an efficient and enabling environment for the girl-child education. Meanwhile, members of the University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU yesterday said there is no going back on the full implementation of the 2009 agreement signed with the Federal Government. The National Treasurer of ASUU, Dr Ademola Aremu and the University of Ibadan Chairman of the union, Dr Olusegun Ajiboye, said this at a symposium entitled, “ Research and Development in Nigeria,” organised by the university chapter of the union held at the at the Paul Hendrickse Hall of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. Among those at the symposium were the National Treasurer of the union and former Chairman, UI branch, Dr. Ademola Aremu; the incumbent Chairman, Dr. Segun Ajiboye, Prof. Millicent Obajimi (former state Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association), Dr. Abass Abdulsalaam and Dr. Femi Afolabi among others. They maintained that no renegotiation can take place if the one signed in 2009 has not been fully implemented.

CLO flays dumping of human cargo in Onitsha CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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he Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, in Anambra State, yesterday condemned the alleged dumping of human cargo in Onitsha by agents of the Lagos State government. In a press statement issued yesterday on the matter by the state Chairman of CLO, Comrade Aloysius Attah, which was made available to journalists, the group described the action as wicked and a breach of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The CLO, which called for a holistic investigation in to the matter, urged the Anambra State government to rise up and address the issue frontally with its Lagos State coun-

terpart. The organisation recalled that the state is yet to recover from a similar incident that occurred some months ago when a group of people, with all manner of diseases, most of who are not indigenes of Anambra, were dumped in Onitsha in a careless manner. It will be recalled that about 67 persons were allegedly brought from Lagos and dumped in Onitsha last Wednesday, purportedly on the order of Lagos State government. The CLO, which said Anambra State cannot be a dumping ground, maintained that the incident is appalling and unacceptable, while calling on the government of Anambra State to ensure that the perpetrators of the contentious act do not go unpunished.


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South West

Friday, July 26, 2013

South-West PDP can’t lift Fayose’s suspension –Ekiti chair

•Nobody can stop me, says ex-gov OBIORA IFOH AND ABIODUN NEJO

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kiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described as null and void, the decision of the South-West Caretaker Committee of the party to lift the indefinite suspension slammed on former Governor Ayodele Fayose and three others. The state PDP Chairman, Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe, said this in a statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Mr. Femi Omolusi. This was as Fayose said yesterday that after paying N2 million for interest form,

the PDP could not stop him from participating in its governorship primaries. Ogundipe said the party at the zonal level did not have any role to play in the suspension of any member of PDP and lifting of suspension on any member. He said: “As far as Ekiti State PDP is concerned, Fayose, Tope Aluko (Secretary), Pastor Kola Oluwawole (Public Relations Officer) and Busola Oyebode (Woman Leader) stand suspended from the party and they will have to face disciplinary committee to be set up very soon.” The South-West PDP Caretaker Committee had in a press statement in Lagos

yesterday said that it had nullified the suspension placed on Fayose and the three State Working Committee (SWC) members. The committee said “it cannot fold its hands and allow individual interest to destroy the party as the 2014 governorship poll draws nearer in the state”. Meanwhile, Fayose said the state executive had been bought over by the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd) and vowed not to agree to any consensus arrangement. But in a swift reaction, Olubolade described Fayose as a drowning man desperate to drag others down with him. The minister, who spoke through one of his aides, Mr. Alaba Agboola, called on the

leaders and members of the Ekiti PDP not to be distracted in their quest to produce a credible candidate for the party and the good people of Ekiti State. He said: “The Ekiti people are sick and tired of the culture of executive violence characterised by assassinations and killings of political opponents as witnessed in our dear state in the past.” But fielding questions from journalists after a closed-door meeting with the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, Fayose said there were plots by some of the aspirants working in concert with some members of the state executive committee to impose a governorship candidate in the guise of consensus arrangement.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

LG autonomy: Council workers declare three-day warning strike KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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ocal Government workers will next week embark on a three-day warning strike nationwide to register their disapproval over Senate’s decision not to support autonomy for councils. The Oyo State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Bashir Olanrewaju, who made the disclosure while speaking with journalists in Ibadan yesterday, said the National Executive Council, NEC, of the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, gave the directive at a meeting held in Abuja. He said the union was bitter that the Senate could not throw its weight behind what it was believed to be

popular demand by Nigerians that local governments should enjoy full autonomy. Olanrewaju, who is also a NEC member of NULGE, disclosed said the warning strike will hold from Monday to Wednesday. He said: “The warning strike is to show our annoyance to the Senate. As the closest organ to the people, we had expected the Senate to equally support the current clamour for local government autonomy. The autonomy will ensure development of the grassroots. “We, however, believe that God will touch the hearts of our senators to eventually support council autonomy.” The chairman added that at the meeting the union reiterated its stand that local governments should enjoy full autonomy politically and financially.

Oil subsidy: Marketers stole N963.7m –Witness

n Ikeja High Court yesterday was told that an oil marketing firm, Rocky Energy Limited, forged the Certificate of Cargo Transfer purportedly issued by Inspectorate Marine Services Nigeria Limited. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Rocky Energy Limited, Adamu Maula, George Ogbonna, and Emmanuel Morah Downstream Energy Resources Limited for alleged N963.7 million subsidy payment fraud. Their offences border on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretences and forgery. The prosecution witness, who is the Branch Manager of Lagos Office of the Inspectorate Marine Services Nigeria Limited, Chidi Onyejekwe, told the court presided over by Justice La-

teefat Okunnu that the oil marketers forged various documents in respect of the off shore discharge of petroleum products at Cotonou from Vessel M T Katrina to MT D Rose Line. Okunnu adjourned hearing on the matter till July 29. But before the adjournment, the witness said he headed the team which investigated the transaction upon receipt of the EFCC’s letter in August 2012, adding that investigation showed that though the organisation’s stamp and signature appeared on the haulage report and certificate of product quantity, they did not emanate from the directorate. Led in evidence in chief by counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, Onyejekwe said work done by the directorate must have nomination letter from the suppliers or receivers’ acceptance letter via e-mail, records of exchanges, report of transaction and invoices signifying payment.

and Chief Molade OkoyaThomas, attracted several multinationals and captains of industry. Fashola said the money would be used by the awardees to further develop their schools, adding that the award was conceived to raise the standard of education through the promotion of healthy rivalry among schools. He said: “The award has enabled us to diligently monitor performances of

students, schools, and teachers and promote academic excellence in Lagos public secondary schools.” The governor added that the programme was part of efforts by the government to overhaul the education sector. He said: “In 2008 the pass rate of our pupils who made credits in five subjects including English and Mathematics was just 10.5 per cent. But by 2012 it had tripled to 38.5 per cent.

KENNY ODUNUKAN

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L-R: Asoju Oba of Lagos, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas; Lagos State House of Assembly member, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King; Special Adviser to the governor on Lagos Eko Project, Ronke Azeez; Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola; Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye; former Attorney-General of the Federation, Prince Bola Ajibola; Akran of Badagry, Aholu Whenu Toyi and Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe, during the Secondary Schools Performance Presentation 2012/2013 for the Governor’s Education Award at the Havens Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday.

Fear grips Ogun residents over cholera outbreak FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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here was apprehension among the residents of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, yesterday because of the rumour that cholera had spread beyond the two already identified communities in the state. This was as the state government threatened to deal ruthlessly with any private health facility which failed to normalise its certificate of practice. The threat followed the reported outbreak of cholera epidemic in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Wednesday. A statement issued yesterday by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun

Soyinka, directed all proprietors of health facilities operating in the state to validate their existence before July 29 or face severe sanctions. Soyinka also directed proprietors of private health centres operating in the state to register their workers ahead of a seminar being planned by his ministry or face sanction. The commissioner also asked private health facilities to normalise their registration as well as pay all their outstanding renewal practicing dues or risk being sanctioned. It was gathered that the decision to hold the seminar for health workers in private health facilities was coming against the backdrop of Soyinka’s promise to put all the

health workers on red alert following the outbreak of the decease. The commissioner also promised that the State Water Board would make alternative arrangement for water supply to curtail the

epidemic. Meanwhile, a visit to some private and public health institutions in the metropolis yesterday showed that many people were admitted for contacting the disease.

Lagos employs 1,200 teachers, splashes N256m on 128 schools MURITALA AYINLA

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overnor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday said his administration had employed more than 1,200 teachers to boost teaching and learning in public secondary schools. Fashola also issued a cheque of N256 million to 128 public secondary schools, as a re-award for excellent performance.

While handling over the cheques at the third edition of the Lagos Eko Project Awards, a World Bankassisted project, in Ikeja, the governor explained that each of the 128 schools selected from the 661 junior and senior secondary schools across the state would be given N2 million. The event, which was attended by the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ajibola,


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South West

Friday, July 26, 2013

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Lagos teacher arraigned for impersonating Fashola, Aregbesola’s wives KENNY ODUNUKAN

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53-year-old Grade 10 teacher, Mrs. Victoria Abosede Asogbon, was yesterday arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court for impersonating the Lagos State governor’s wife, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, and her Osun State counterpart, Mrs. Sherifat Aregbesola.

In a 10-count charge filed by the Lagos Attorney General before Magistrate Eniola Fabamwo, the defendant was said to have, at various times, presented herself as Mrs. Fashola and Mrs. Aregbesola through text messages to some individuals and collected huge sums of money and “Ramadan gifts” from them. According to one of the charges, Mrs. Asogbon was

said to have fraudulently collected N100,000 from the chairman of Agbado/OkeOdo Local Government after sending him a text message claiming that she was sent to collect the money by Fashola’s wife. Asogbon was also accused of sending a similar text message to the Education Secretary of Alimosho Local Government, Mr. Isaac

Many African varsities are degree mills –Ghanaian scholar MOJEED ALABI

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ormer Executive Secretary of Ghana’s National Council for Tertiary Education, Dr. Paul Effah, has described many of African universities as mere fast food outlets because of the quality of their products. Effah said many of them had almost become degree mills by withdrawing the professional qualities of academics. The Ghanaian scholar said this yesterday at the Covenant University’s eighth convocation lecture held on the institution’s campus. Speaking on “Repositioning African Universities for Excellence: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives,” Effah noted that many universities on the continent no longer fulfil their expected mandate of building future leaders and resolving human problems through inventions and innovations. According to the guest lecturer, as long as African universities do not take pride in

quality researches, they will continue to lag behind in the ranking of world universities. He noted that apart from the fact that a lot of the African universities’ personnel do not believe in research as part of the core responsibilities of the institutions, the few researches being run on the ivory towers are funded by foreign organisations. This practice of foreign sponsorships, according to him, allows the sponsors to dictate the target of the research works and also most often do not acknowledge the local contents used in the process. Effah also identified governance structure as part of the major factors hampering the development of universities on the continent. While acknowledging the important roles of private investors in education, he said their intervention had, to a large extent, rescued the sector from its total collapse “because government especially in West Africa have abdicated their responsibilities in the education sector, as well as

other sectors”. As a way out, Effah suggested that African universities should change their directions towards building institutions that could elevate meaningful research works, resolution of societal problems and teaching of moral uprightness as their core values. Speaking on behalf of the Chancellor and founder of the university, Dr. David Oyedepo, a member of the institution’s Board of Regents, Pastor Niyi Becroft, challenged the university to provide solution to the perennial traffic jams within the university host communities and the epileptic power supply which he said had rendered most of innovative minds useless in the country. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles Ayo, said the institution was working towards making the mandate of achieving one of the global first 10 universities in the next 10 years a reality. Parts of the efforts, according to him, are some of the innovations exhibited to mark the convocation ceremony.

Omoregie. She also allegedly collected three blackberry phones worth N105,000 from the chairman of Alimosho council under the guise of being sent by the governor’s wife. In yet another incident, Asogbon was said to have secured redeployment from Local Government Education Authority, Alimosho, to the Lagos State Basic Education Board through a text message purportedly sent by Mrs.

FRANCIS SUBERU

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he Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, yesterday disclosed that it would soon help to reduce the number of deaths on roads in the country. The NRC Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, and the corporation’s Managing Director, Mr. Adeseyi Sijuade, said this at the launch of the third Lagos - Kano - Lagos intercity passenger train service at Ebute-Meta Junction Station, Alago-Meji, Lagos. Baraje said with the full resuscitation of railway services in the country, the carnage on the roads because

of the pressure on the roads would be a thing of the past. According to him, there is carnage on the roads because they are overstressed beyond their capacities. Baraje said the resuscitation of railway services under the present administration had not only helped in reducing carnage on the roads, it also brought socio-economic benefits to Nigerians. He said: “With the flagoff of Lagos - Kano railway passenger service, NRC has once again put to action its commitment to enhancing its passenger carriage capability which goes a long way in bringing succour to the commuters in terms of cost, safety and health.

“The importance of unhindered carriage of freights and passengers by rail cannot be over-emphasised especially when economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability are considered. Lives are made more liveable and elongated with the movement of people by rail; even as the nation will be saved from the embarrassment and huge losses inherent in road accidents. “The Lagos - Kano railway route, no doubt, is bringing a lot of socio-economic benefits, such as providing employment, enhancing trade and commerce within and between our communities as well as taking pressure off our overstressed roads; thus reducing frequency of road accidents.

Law, 2011. Asogbon pleaded not guilty to the charges after they were read to her in court. The magistrate subsequently granted her bail in the sum of N1 million with two sureties. The court ordered the defendant to deposit N250,000 with the court as part of her bail conditions. The matter was however adjourned till September 2 for trial.

Ogun: Rep not suspended over guber ambition –ACN

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he Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, said its decision to suspend a House of Represntatives member from Ogun State, Hon. Abiodun Akinlade, had nothing to do with his governorship ambition. The Yewa South Local Government Chairman of the party, Olanrewaju Ayor, said this in a statement. Ayor said the party suspended Akinlade because of his open romance with the Labour Party which, according to him, is against the

rules and interest of ACN. He said: “Contrary to one of the suspended people who is supposedly expected to be more acquainted and familiar with the constitutional provisions by virtue of his membership of the House of Representatives; anybody, even a carpenter, tailor or any artisan, so far you fulfill the requirements is qualified to contest any political office even the Presidency, such person may just need to use any political party platform to actualise his or

her ambition. “It is therefore, shameful that such personality is now insinuating that he was suspended because of his interest to contest in the 2015 gubernatorial race. “It is clearly stated now that the party leadership of ACN in Yewa South Local Government did not suspend anybody from the party based on any interest or ambition but for gross misconduct and anti-party activities bothering on his open romance with a rival political party.”

Saturday Starter

What’s new with ‘My Oga At The Top’? Ever since Shem Obafaye, former Lagos State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, featured on Sunrise, a live interview programme on Channels Televisions that fateful Tuesday morning, his life has been an interesting mix of pain and joy. Saturday Mirror went on Obafaye’s trail to find out how he is faring in his new place of work in Ibadan, a city generally believed to be less ‘juicy’ than Lagos as far as postings and appointments are concerned. How is he doing away from family, friends and associates... far from the maddening crowd of Lagos and its ‘busy-body’ journalists? Check out our findings tomorrow in your favourite Saturday paper.

NRC promises reduction in road crashes •Launches Lagos – Kano passenger shuttle

Fashola to the Chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Gbolahan Khadijat Daudu. The Lagos State prosecutor, Babatunde Sunmonu, said at another time, Asogbon claimed through a text message that she was Mrs. Aregbesola’s sister and attempted to defraud Mrs. Daudu. These offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 378, 312 and 96 of the Lagos State Criminal

BBA

Update

•Sulu betrayed me -Angelo •Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe out! •Feza becomes the fool for Oneal’s love •Cleo, Feza make up over Oneal •Nando helps Annabel strategise

Fashion F ashion G Guest

Standing yourself out in unique collections makes you a fashionista

Lizzy Anjonrin x SeTalk

Celebrity I‘m not marrying Rashid Ladoja’s daughter for money

Bez

Missionary ary again? No way!

This column is x-rated


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South East

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

LG boss seeks Elechi’s intervention over impeachment ALIUNA GODWIN EBONYI

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hairman of Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Mr. Nicholas Eze, has urged Governor Martin Elechi to rescue him from his councillors. Eze specifically urged Elechi to intervene and avert the councillors’ increasing threat to impeach him. He recalled that the local government youths once frustrated an attempt by the councillors to impeach him. The alleged impeachment plot began barely three months after Eze was sworn in as the council chairman. Eze, who was the former vice-chairman, replaced Chief Obasi Nwode, who died in an auto crash

about three months ago. Nine of the 15 councillors were said to have been invited to a meeting at a hotel in Abakaliki, the state capital, where they were allegedly asked by some stakeholders to impeach the chairman. The councillors was also said to have suspended two their colleagues because of their loyalty to the chairman. The suspended councillors hail from same Isu community with the chairman. A source, who did not want his name mentioned, told National Mirror that the stakeholders wanted the chairman impeached because of his refusal to make “returns” to them. The source said the chairman also failed to

pay certain purported claims of contract sums. The source, who claimed that he attended the Abakaliki meeting, added that the chairman’s decision to slash the N17 million demanded for his predecessor’s burial did not go down well with the stakeholders. The source, however, accused a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Odefa Obasi, of mas-

terminding the failed impeachment. He said Obasi masterminded the plot so as to pave the way for the deputy chairman, Chief Njoku Nwelom, who hails from the same Oshiri village with him (Obasi) to become the council chairman. He said: “But if the impeachment fails, the stakeholders would make the local government’s ad-

ministration uncomfortable for the chairman to achieve anything. “The stakeholders also promised to give the councillors certain positions, including development centres coordinators or management committee membership of the development centres.” “Although the meeting was held in Abakaliki, the councillors headed for the local government council

headquarters with the legislators’ mace to carry out the impeachment. But one of us secretly informed some youths who mobilised to foil the plot.” But Obasi denied masterminding the impeachment plot, saying: “I don’t know of any impeachment plot, after all how many months has he to stay as the council chairman?”

Police arrest suspected gunman in Enugu DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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etectives have arrested a man, Chidiebere Okechukwu, for allegedly being in possession of illegal firearms and armed robbery. The suspect was arrested during stop-andsearch duty at New Market Junction in Enugu. The suspect, on sight-

ing the detectives at the New Market Junction, took to his heels. But he was chased and arrested. On searching his bag, a locally made pistol loaded with a cartridge was recovered from him. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the arrest, adding that investigation had begun.

Okorocha gives priority to development of rural communities CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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overnor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has said that his administration would pay more attention to the development of rural communities. Okorocha stated this in a meeting with senior government officials in Owerri, the state capital. He said in line with his administration’s policy to ensure rapid development of the rural areas, Community Government Council would now oversee the maintenance of schools for effective teaching and learning. The governor said henceforth, payment of pensions of retirees would now be under the purview of the Community Government Council.

Okorocha called on stakeholders to partner with state government in sports development particularly at the rural areas. The governor, however, said a task force would be set up to sanction individuals who attempt to deface or frustrate beautification of the environment. Okorocha said he may appoint sanitary inspectors to check indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the state capital and its environs. According to him, anybody caught indulging in such act would be made to face the full wrath of the law. Okorocha also announced his administration intention to launch new Imo by restoring the Owerri master-plan which involves industrial layouts, shopping malls and amusement parks, car parks and high-rise .

L-R: Enugu State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Kester Agbowo; representative of the Minister of National Planning Commission, Mr. Olugbenga Adegun and Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mr Sunday Onyebuchi, during the Commission’s Zonal Validation Workshop in Enugu, yesterday.

APGA threatens to sue INEC over Oguta rerun CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has threatened to sue the National Electoral Commission (INEC) if the commission goes ahead to conduct a fresh rerun election in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State. The commission had declared the July 29, 2013 re-run election in the local government area inconclusive following the cancella-

tion of results in eight polling units where it claimed were marred by violation. Addressing journalists yesterday in his office in Owerri, the state capital, APGA Chairman, Prince Marshal Anyanwu, said: “Contrary to the INEC’s conjured reason for the cancellation, the rerun election was the first time in the history of the state that election was conducted under free and fair atmosphere and also under the watchful eyes of thousands of security operatives.

“It will be political suicide for such election to be cancelled. “We will go to court if that happens. But we want Prof. Attahiru Jega-led INEC to leverage on the little creditability it has garnered so far to allow the indigenes of Oguta have a representative in the state House of Assembly. “Assuming that Jega and President Goodluck Jonathan are from Oguta and they don’t have a representative in Oguta for eight years, how will they feel? It will be inhuman to stall the

election because of eight units. They must wake up and embrace justice. “If Jega said that he needs assurance of safety before an election would be conducted, then it means no election should be conducted in 2015 in the Northern states where we have Boko Haram onslaught.” Anyanwu, however, appealed to Jega to have a rethink and conduct election in the remaining eight units without delay so that Oguta could have a representative in the House.

Alleged robbery: Court adjourns charge against suspects NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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n Ekwulobia Chief Magistrate’s Court in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State yesterday adjourned sine die, a two-count charge of conspiracy and robbery preferred against five accused persons. The accused persons, Kenneth Udemobi (58), Chigozie Akabudu (32), Jonnas Ezeanwa (52), Ezechukwu Onyeka (43) and Ikechukwu Ezeaka (42)

and others now at large, according to the prosecuting Police Officer, Stanley Nwodo (DSP), had on August 6, 2012, at Agulu Road, Ekwulobia within the Aguata Magisterial District, conspired to commit felony to wit: robbery. The prosecution also told the court that the accused persons had, on the same date and venue, unlawfully armed themselves with matchets, axes and other offensive weapons, attacked and robbed one Jimmy Okonkwo of

N300, 000. The offences are punishable under Sections 6(b) and 1 (2) (a) and (b) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. RII, Laws of the Federation 2004 as Applicable in Anambra State. The prosecution counsel therefore urged the court to remand the accused persons in the prison and order the police to transfer the case file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPPs) since the Magistrate Court has no jurisdiction to either

entertain or terminate the suit. Chief Magistrate F. N. Nweke-Onuchukwu refused to remand the accused persons because, according to her, after going through the duplicated police file before the court, she discovered that there was nowhere in the record that the names of the defendants were mentioned, adding that there is no cause to show that they were the actual persons that participated in the armed robbery charge.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South South

Friday, July 26, 2013

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JTF arrests 29 suspected oil thieves

•Destroys 61 illegal refineries EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio (right), presenting a plague to the Consul-General of French Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Francois Sastourne, during a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, Uyo, yesterday.

We lost a selfless mother –Jonathan ROTIMI FADEYI AND SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN

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resident Goodluck Jonathan has described his late mother-in-law, Mrs. Charity Obah, as a woman with rare attributes that was willing to share the little she had with everyone. Jonathan spoke yesterday when Vice-President Namadi Sambo led members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, to console him and his wife, Patience, over the death of her mother. The President, who said the family had been in sorrow since the news of her death, said his late motherin-law was dear to them as she was the one who raised Dame Patience from a tender age. While thanking the VicePresident as well as members of the FEC for finding

time to visit the family, President Jonathan said though Madam Charity Obah was gone, the support of friends and family members as well as their prayers would see them through the difficult period. “Our mother that died is quite dear to us, not just today that we are playing politics. My wife stayed with her till she grew up. This woman never complained and even for me as an in-law, I was free with her, she shares whatever she has. She used her savings from trade to support us. It is very difficult to have somebody with such rare attributes. “That was why when we heard about her death we were very pained. So that is the trauma we have been passing through and we thank you for coming to commiserate with us.” In his remark, the vicepresident said “as members of one family in the Federal

Executive Council, we were particularly saddened by the death of the mother of the First Lady, and we share in the grief of the first family. “It is sad for all of us because we are part of the family and we share in your grief. We pray God to give her peace in eternity,” Sambo said. The Chaplain of Aso Villa, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba led the prayers for the repose of late Mrs. Obah’s soul. The First Lady also paid glowing tribute to her late mother, describing her as a mother in a million. She said the late Mrs. Charity Obah, who was the younger sister of her biological mother, had raised her from a tender age and made her the person she is today. The First Lady also received state governors who came to commiserate with her over the death of her mother.

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, who spoke on behalf of other governors, urged the First Lady to take heart, while offering the deep condolences of the PDP family. Other governors present included that of Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Kogi, Katsina and Enugu States. Also present were ministers, heads of government agencies, wives of top government officials as well as Mrs. Bianca OdumegwuOjukwu, Nigeria’s ambassador to Spain. Meanwhile, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday commiserated with Dame Patience Jonathan on the death of her mother. In a condolence letter to the First Lady obtained at the Government House, Governor Oshiomhole described the late mother as a woman of character.

Man arrested for stealing own three-year-old sister TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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30-year-old man identified as Marshal Gabriel Adams, has been arrested for allegedly stealing and selling his three-year-old sister, Favour Gabriel Adams. Also arrested are a sixmember syndicate that specialises in stealing and selling children and a woman who buys the stolen children. Briefing journalists in Uyo yesterday, the Akwa IBom State Police Commissioner, Mr. Umar Gwadabe, said Marshall who is a brother to Favour had visited his

family house at Ibesikpo village in Ibesikpo/Asutan Local Government Area and took Favour away on the pretext that he was going to buy biscuit for her. However, when the family waited for the whole day without seeing Marshall returning with his sister, the matter was reported to the police at Eket. According to Gwadabe, who was represented at the briefing by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Etim Dickson, said investigation by the police led to the arrest of Marshall, the principal suspect and five other accomplices, including

a woman that bought Favour. Favour was later rescued on July 9, 2013 from her buyer, Madam Grace Okon, of No. 19 Ikot Ekpo Road, 8 miles, Calabar, Cross River State. Another victim, Master Etimbuk Ekop James, a three-year and four-monthold boy from Ikot Ineme in Essien Udim Local Government Area, was not so lucky as his abductors had used him for ritual purposes. Investigation reveals that one Eze Amati Okafor of Azofida village in Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, who was residing with one Ifiok James Akpan, a relative of Master Etimbuk,

connived with Okafor and abducted him, put him in a tricycle and rode to Agbo in Aba, Abia State. Nemesis, however, caught up with Ifiok when he was arrested at Ikot Inua village in Ikono Local Government Area where he relocated to. On interrogation, he confessed that Etimbuk had been used for rituals; he is helping the police on further investigations. Meanwhile, the police in the state have urged parents to strictly monitor their children and not to allow strange persons get close to them as cases of child theft are on the rise.

uthorities of the Joint Task Force, JTF, yesterday said it has arrested 29 suspects linked with alleged oil theft and other related crimes in the creeks of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States. The security agency said the operations that resulted in the arrests lasted between July 13 and 24, adding that the suspects were currently undergoing preliminary investigation pending when they would be handed over to relevant prosecuting security agencies. JTF Media Coordinator, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, who said this in a statement made available to National Mirror in Yenagoa, said 29 illegal refineries were destroyed in communities located in Delta State while 32 of them were also scuttled in Bayelsa State by troops of the 3 Battalion of Sector 1; 343 Regiment and 5 Battalion of the security outfit. Nwachukwu further said that in Delta State, troops of 3 Battalion of Sector 1 of the JTF and NNS Delta discovered and destroyed 11 open boats where suspected oil thieves operated with 55 large steel surface tanks, 20 dug out pits, 10 plastic surface tanks filled with stolen crude oil

and illegally distilled adulterated Automated Gas Oil, AGO, in Warri South West Local Government Area. “Twenty of the illegal distillation camps were discovered in Olaye Payse near Warri, while nine illegal refineries and seven boats were uncovered and scuttled along Abudu, Asugbor, Ogbukoko, Obogungun, Escravos , Agedegben communities, all in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State,” the statement also read. Nwachukwu said that in Bayelsa State, troops of the 343 Regiment and 5 Battalion of Sector 2 of the JTF in a patrol of the waterways destroyed five open wooden boats used by suspected oil thieves along Lagosbene, Sangana, Okigbene, Akamubugo, Forabagbene and Shigogbene communities in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw Local Governments Areas of the state. He continued: “In Rivers State, operatives of the Antiillegal oil Bunkering Squad of 146 Battalion of Sector 2 have uncovered an illegal crude oil loading point where oil thieves have tapped into a pipeline belonging to the Pipeline and Product and Marketing Company, PPMC, along Greens-Gojiri community near Bonny Island.”

Free detained students now, UNIUYO appeals to VC TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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he Students’ Union of the University of Uyo has made a passionate appeal to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. (Mrs.) Comfort Ekpo and the management of the institution to take urgent steps to secure the release of the 44 students arrested by the police on June 12, 2013. The students were arrested during a protest leading to the killing of one Kingsley Udoette, a 200 Level Zoology student of the university, allegedly by the police and the subsequent destruction of property by the rampaging students. The Students’ Union President, Comrade Lucky Imoy Inyang; the NANS VicePresident, Comrade Ubon Marcus and other students’ union leaders in a statement issued in Uyo yesterday, expressed ill-feelings over the

continued incarceration of the 44 arrested students, describing them as innocent. The students, who said the meeting was called because an earlier letter written on the issue by the SUG President to the Vice-Chancellor was neither acknowledged nor acted upon. He said the letter had demanded, among other issues that; “All our students in prison be released in the shortest possible time.” The students also insisted that since they were not briefed before the N2000 GST registration fee was introduced, it should be suspended until adequate consultations have been made with students. The body also resolved that; “In as much as there has not been any significant improvement in the condition of our hostels since accommodation fee has been increased, we want the fee to be reverted to at most N5, 000.”


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North

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

2015: Northern elders, Arewa group endorse Jonathan OBIORA IFOH AND A ZA MSUE

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he Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2015 election, promising to mobilise support for him. NEF said Jonathan “is credible and qualified to recontent.” The group, which led North/South New Nigeria Forum, Fresh Air Continuity Group of North-West and Northern PDP Youth on a solidarity visit to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, said that with the restoration of security to the North, the President had proved he has the interest of Nigerians at heart. NEF praised Jonathan for facilitating the release from prison, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, the Chief Security Officer (CSO), to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. The group also hailed the role played by Tukur for securing Al-Mustapha’s

It’s premature to campaign now –INEC

release. Speaking on behalf of NEF, Alhaji Dauda Birma, hailed Tukur’s role in convincing Jonathan to facilitate Al-Mustapha’s release. Birma said: “I know how much the chairman has been working hard to get Al-Mustapha released. I know that someone who has worked with a former Head of State and was incarcerated for 15 years cannot be released by mere pronouncements of the judiciary without the inter-

ference of the executive. “I must thank Mr. Chairman for getting the ear of the President for this gesture. I must also thank the Nigerian women; three staunch women sat on the judgement and we want to thank the Nigerian women. “Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership has been rated as the best administration so far. With what Jonathan has done in Maiduguri, I can affirm that the city is now safer than most parts of the country”.

Insisting that 2015 should be left for Jonathan, the group promised to mobilise voters to support him. While promising to deliver the group’s solidarity message to the President, Tukur said the time of divide and rule was over as the PDP believes in equity, fairness and justice. Another group, Arewa Peoples Patriotic Front, said yesterday that Jonathan and his vice, Ahlaji Namadi Sambo, would seek re-election in 2015, saying

any attempt by anyone to frustrate them from seeking re-election would fail. Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, the group national president, Mr. Mordecai Sunday Ibrahim, flayed the demand by some Northern elders that power must return to the region in 2015, stressing that the era of sectional politics is over. The group said Jonathan has constitutional rights to vie for second term in office, adding that only Nige-

NUJ blacklists publisher for allegedly blackmailing FCT minister OMEIZA AJAYI

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JAMES ABRAHAM

L-R: Plateau State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. John Clark; representative of the governor, Mr. Francis Bot and Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Habu Zarma, at the presentation of INEC’s strategic plan for 2012 to 2016 and stakeholders’ forum in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

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FG completes N800m Zamfara lead poisoning clean-up

JOS

he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned politicians in Plateau State to stop campaigning for the 2015 general elections or risk arrest. Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Hon Habu Zarma, said yesterday that campaign activities at this time are a violation of the Electoral Act. He spoke while presenting the INEC 2012 to 2016 Strategic Plan at a stakeholders’ meeting held in Jos, the state capital. Zarma said: “It has come to the notice of INEC that some politicians and registered political parties have started uncontrolled campaign towards the forthcoming general election, thereby heating up the polity. “The commission also observed that campaign posters were indiscriminately displayed at strategic location in violation of the Electoral Act. “This must stop as the commission has requested the security agencies to arrest offenders.”

rians could stop him with their votes, not Northern elders. Ibrahim said: “Prof. Ango Abdullahi and his team demanded that power must return to the North in 2015, but we want to know which of the North he is referring to. Not long ago, he was in this country when we were told of two Norths - the North and the core North. We have seen and are still seeing the effect of that balkanisation of the North.

OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA

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he Federal Government yesterday announced the completion of the clean-up and environmental remediation of lead contaminated sits at Bageda village in Zamfara State. The government had in January released over N800 million intervention fund to embark on remediation exercise in the eight affected communities. While over 4,000 children were said to have been diagnosed with various illnesses arising from the lead poisoning incidence, no fewer than 500 death were recorded at the initial outbreak The clean-up, which was initiated by the government in collaboration with the Zamfara State Government, was undertaken under the technical supervision of Terragraphics International Foundation. Terragraphics is a United States-based non-profit

organisation that advises governments on how to deal with lead poisoning in line with international standards and best practices. Addressing journalists in Abuja, Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadza Mailafia, announced that the clean-up exercise had been successfully concluded. She said: I am glad that, today, we have kept our promise. In January 2013 when the President agreed to release fund for us, I made the promise that we would deliver; that I would take it as a personal task, that we will be committed to seeing that the clean-up project was done in good time before the start of the rain. Today, I am glad to celebrate that we have maintained and we have achieved.” Mailafia, who said there was a serious lacuna in terms of education regarding the negative impact of unhealthy mining practices in the country, called

on the state government to sensitise its people on the health implications of lead poisoning. On the effects of lead poisoning on the society, the minister said: “You will live behind generation of impaired children and generation of potential criminals. “I don’t know whether we have so much money in this country that we can use to breed criminals. What are we saying? We are saying because of the negative effect of lead poisoning, there is the tendency that children would have cognitive impairment and exhibit behavours that are not in tandem with societal norms and values.” Having completed the clean-up, Mailafia said: “It is now the responsibility of the Federal Mines and Steel to evolve safer mining techniques.” Speaking earlier, Field Operations Director of Terragraphics International Foundation, Mr. Simba Tirima, urged both the federal and state governments to

evolved safer mining practices in order to avert cases of lead poisoning. Apart from having successfully supervised the remediation and certified the state for habitation, Tirima said the Foundation had trained 16 personnel from Zamfara and 28 from the Federal Ministry of Environment to act as first responders in the event of the occurrence of lead poisoning not only in the state, but also anywhere in the country. Mrs. Michelle Chouinard of the Medecines Sans Frontieres said about 4,000 children affected were screened to identify the degree of their illnesses arising from the lead poisoning incidence. According to her, at the outbreak of the epidemic in 2010, about 500 children were killed. She said now that the remediation exercise had been completed, the process of treatment of the children affected would begin at an accelerated speed.

he Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has blacklisted the Publisher of a Kadunabased magazine, Desert Herald, Mallam Tukur Mamu. NUJ National Secretariat announced that Mr. Manu had been perpetually put in its “black book” in accordance with Article 7(3) of its constitution, promising to place public notices disowning him and also warning members of the public against dealing with the publisher. The three-man committee headed by Gbenga Onayiga was set up last month by the NUJ National President, Mohammed Garba, to investigate allegations of blackmail and attempted extortion raised by Mamu against the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed. The committee was inaugurated on June 27, 2013, following a petition by the Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi, over an alleged blackmail, attempted extortion, defamation and libel by Mamu against the FCT Minister. The petitioner alleged that Mamu, in a telephone conversation and exchange of SMS demanded, N15 million from the FCT Minister through Nosike Ogbuenyi to stop the publication of a book entitled: “Rot in the FCT”. Submitting the report yesterday, Onayiga said several attempts to make Mamu appear before the committee to defend himself failed as he declined appearance.


Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

13

Politics Primaries: Acid test for PDP

Senate, life pension and raging controversy

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Senate passes 2013 budget amendment bill GEORGE OJI ABUJA

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he Senate yesterday passed the 2013 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill forwarded to it by President Goodluck Jonathan last month. The action of the red chamber was a reversal of its earlier position that it would not consider the budget until it resumed from its annual long vacation in September. The decision by the Senate to rescind its earlier position according to the its spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, was taken for the interest of Nigerians The approved budget, however, did not differ in any significant way from the main 2013 Appropriation Act. The Appropriation Amendment Bill mainly restored the cuts effected by the National Assembly from the original proposal

forwarded to the lawmakers by the executive arm of government. In the lead presentation report of the Appropriation Committee, the chairman, Senator Ahmed Maccido said: “The provisions in the bill for personnel costs have been restored.” According to him, “other than the position above, this bill does not differ significantly from the 2013 Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr. President.” Maccido added that in specific terms, the amendment bill as worked on by the Appropriation Committee of both chambers does not increase the aggregate expenditure from that contained in the 2013 Appropriation Act. The total amount approved in the 2013 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill by the Senate, albeit,

the National Assembly to be expended from the consolidated revenue funds of the federation was N4,987,220,425,601. Out of this, the sum of N388,053,200,000 only is for statutory transfers, N591,764,000,000 only is for debt servicing, N2,415,745,972,812 is for recurrent expenditure while the remaining N1,591,657,252,789 only is for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year ending, December 31, 2013. Meanwhile, the Senate also yesterday confirmed the nomination of seven career ambassadors and one noncareer ambassador that were sent to it by President Jonathan in accordance with section 171(1)(c) sub-section 4 of the 1999 Constitution. The career ambassador designates are; Mr. O.F Muoh (Imo); Mrs. T.J Chinwuba-Akabogu (Anambra);

Mr. Adamu Emozozo (Edo); Mr. A. Echi (Benue); Mrs. G.M. Quist-Adebiyi (Lagos); Mr. M. Dauda (Borno); Mr. Hakeem O. Sulaiman (Ogun) while Dr. Bolere Ketebu (Bayelsa) is the only non-career designate. This was as the red

chamber also yesterday approved the confirmation of 21 out of the 23 nominees as members of the Federal Character Commission (FCC). The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) nominee, Alhaji Musa Telle and his counterpart from Anambra

State, Mrs. Adaeze Gloria Idigo-Izundu were rejected by the Senate. Yesterday also marked the commencement of Senate’s 2013 annual vacation as the upper chamber will be resuming for plenary on September 17.

L-R: National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; acting National Deputy Vice-Chairman, Hon Chibudom Nwuchie and Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson delivering his acceptance speech, after being inaugurated as chairman national reconciliation committee, yesterday.

Child marriage: Ondo senator may lose return bid Voter registration holds September –Ekiti REC OJO OYEWAMIDE AKURE

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he senator representing Ondo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Akinyelure, may have lost the bid to return to the National Assembly in 2015 for endorsing child marriage. Akinyelure was among the lawmakers who reportedly voted for the retention of Section 29 (4) (b) which many have interpreted as giving legal backing to underage marriage in the 1999 Constitution. The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Petitions, however, told the people of his constituency that he voted for the clause in error. But it was leanrt that leaders of the Labour Party, LP, in Ondo State have started shopping for his replacement. An impeccable source within the party told National Mirror that about five people are already jostling for the seat.

“The meeting of stakeholders where Akinyelure goofed was organised to disgrace him. It was not meant to save his political career. “Some of those who are eying his seat sponsored most of the protesters that you saw at the Ondo State Cultural Centre,” the source said. Two members of the present cabinet of Governor Olusegun Mimiko and one of his siblings are said to be interested in the position. Mimiko gave the hint on Wednesday that his government and the LP in the state are still bitter about the erroneous endorsement of underage marriage by the senator. Mimiko, who described the endorsement of child marriage as inhuman, vowed to send parking any erring member of the National Assembly on the platform of the LP. Addressing the Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Ondo State, the governor, who spoke through his Senior Special

Assistant on Union Matters, Dayo Fadahunsi, said: “No reasonable person will want to say he supports such a clause because even at 18, they are still babies. We as government are totally against it. “The people of Ondo state are saying ‘No’ to early child marriage and when those who want to support such thing, if they are our representatives, we will ensure that such people are sent packing from because that is not what we asked them to go and do for us.”

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head next year’s governorship election in Ekiti State, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, Alhaji Alilu Husseni Pai, has said that the review of the voters register will come up in September. The REC, who made the disclosure in a chat with newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, said INEC has put all necessary arrangements and logistics in place to ensure hitch free elections in Nigeria.

Pai, who was among the heads of federal establishments in Ekiti, who visited the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, enjoined residents who have attained voting age but yet to register as eligible voters to prepare to take advantage of the September review. He also charged politicians and their followers to conduct themselves honorably at all times to ensure the sustenance of the nascent democracy which Nigeria is now enjoying. In a related development,

monarchs in the state have been charged to ensure that peace and harmony continue to reign supreme in their domains. This is to enable their people enjoy the infrastructural developments and other dividends of democracy being provided by the Kayode Fayemi administration. Adelabu gave the charge while playing host to a voluntary association of Grade B and C obas in the state under the auspices of Majority Obas of Ekiti Land (MOBEL) in her office in Ado-Ekiti.

Convention: Court ruling, handwork of fifth columnists –Lagos PDP OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU

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he Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has expressed shock at the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja which halted the August 31 miniconvention of the party to fill the vacant positions in the National Working

Committee, NWC, of the PDP. The party said that the ruling was the handiwork of the opposition and fifth columnists within the PDP. In a statement signed by the party’s state Publicity Secretary, Taofeek Gani and made available to National Mirror, the Lagos PDP wondered why mem-

bers of the party could be involved in this unnecessary distraction and actions potent enough to eventually taint the nomination of the party’s candidates for future election. Saying that the suit that culminated in the court ruling is “diabolical and in bad faith,” Gani said: “Not even the party’s presidential ticket is guaran-

teed the way the trend is moving. We are thus calling on the party’s founding fathers and leaders to stand up at this time and be counted. All contending interests must now aggregate for the common interest of the party and thus sheath all swords, including withdrawing all actions pending in the courts against the party.”


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Politics

he Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, faces an acid text as it puts machinery in motion to pick the candidate that will fly its flag in the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State, given the array of personalities who have indicated interest for the Awka Government House on its platform. Already, over 20 persons are said to have purchased the party’s Expression of Interest Form, pegged at N1 million. They include Mrs. Josephine Anenih, former PDP Woman National Leader and wife of the chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih; chairman of the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and former aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Andy Uba and the coordinator of Foreign Affairs at the PDP national secretariat, Agape Kramer. Others are a former member of the House of Representatives, Nicholas Ukachukwu; a former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, and PDP chairman in the state, Tony Nwoye; a former Senator, Emmanuel Anosike; Chairman, Gocuz Group of Companies, Obinna Uzor and an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Akachukwu Nwankpo. The seeming endless list also has Okeke Ugochukwu, Michael Okoye, Sylvester Okonkwo, Alexander Obiogbolu, Jerry Ugokwe, Walter Okeke, Charles Odunukwe, Chuba Ikpeazu, Eucharia Azodo, Donatus Okonkwo, Chuwuka Onyema, Onyenisi Obianuju, Adimachukwu Calista and Chinyere Udemba. How the party intends to pick one, out of the crowd and avoid the likely squabble that may arise, like in the past, is the biggest challenge that would be confronting the Bamanga Tukur-led national leadership of the PDP, which had boasted to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the state. The task would be Herculean because, unlike in some states where the PDP leadership usually have it easy whipping members into line, the peculiarity of Anambra politics and the huge war chest of most party chieftains in the state is likely to make it impracticable for Tukur and his team to organise a credible primary that will produce a candidate who will be acceptable to all, or at least, majority of party members in the state. This would be compounded by the fact that the various factions of the party in the state have before now been claiming to be the authentic leadership and scheming to hijack the selection process. There are three groups which have separate court orders claiming to be in control of the Anambra PDP structure, making the possibility of a crisis easy, if the national leadership of the party recognises any of them. Worst still, the party in the state is said to be divided along lines of loyalty to more than five major godfathers, including Senator Uba, his brother Chris; Ukachukwu (one of the aspirants), former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and businessman, Prince Arthur Eze. Perhaps, the biggest factor is that almost all the aspirants have huge financial muscles that will make a consensus arrangement impossible, should the party opt for it. Those pushing the idea argue that it is the only option open for the PDP to regain control of Anambra State, as resorting to

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Primaries: Acid test for PDP

The battle for the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the forthcoming governorship in Anambra State will make or break the party’s chance of reclaiming the state it lost to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in 2006, writes FELIX NWANERI.

Tukur

the old ways of doing things, will leave the party in the hands of the godfathers who will engage in another round of bickering till the election is over. The Presidency and the national leadership of the party, which is also thinking in this direction, have urged its members not only in Anambra, but Ekiti and Osun states to put their houses in order, ahead of the next governorship elections. The Ekiti and Osun polls will hold next year. President Jonathan, it was learnt, enjoined the warring chieftains in the troubled chapters to reconcile and present consensus candidates to prevent post-primary crises that may work against the party’s victory in the forthcoming polls. Though the proposal, which is part of efforts to ensure cohesion and foster peace in the PDP, tallies with the recent call for automatic tickets for the president and governors elected on the party’s platform in the 2015 election by Chief Anenih, the President is said to have recommended that any consensus candidate must have integrity, track record of performance in his profession and previous political appointment, popularity and grassroots appeal. A brilliant idea, no doubt, but some stakeholders in the Anambra PDP, who kicked against it, insist on the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, and BoT, giving the aspirants a level playing ground to enable party members choose a candidate of their choice. This, they said, will avoid the party’s mistakes of the past when the PDP rob itself of electoral fortunes due to the inability of its leadership to allow internal democracy prevail during primaries. Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who shared the view, warned against imposition, which he said was responsible for the PDP’s misfortune in the state in the last eight years. His words: “It is sad that the PDP had been pushed to the opposition because of the manner candidates were imposed on the party about eight years ago. We are aware of how the then APGA candidate, Mr. Peter Obi became the governor of Anambra State in 2007. Thereafter, it be-

Uba

Uzor

came difficult for the PDP to reclaim the state due to unbridled and highly repressive ambitions of some of its members. I hope that in the forthcoming dispensation, we shall have one candidate and check the excesses of some of our members who want to be governor at all cost.” Others chieftains of the party who warned against imposition, went a step further by urging members of the PDP NWC not to see the governorship primaries as an opportunity to amass wealth, as it used to be in the past. The admonition may have stemmed from the fear by political observers in the state that money will play a big role in who picks the PDP’s ticket. From the 23 aspirants, the party is set to rake in over N100 million from sale of forms alone. The PDP had pegged the fee for the governorship form at N6 million, with Nomination Form to cost N5 million while the Expression of Interest Form is N1 million. Six of the aspirants, who are females, will purchase only the Expression of Interest Forms for N1 million, whereas that for nomination would be given to them free in line with the party’s constitution. A former governor of the state, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who spoke on the issue, stressed the need for the leadership of the

party to be transparent in the selection process to avoid litigations. He and other chieftains of the party, who spoke during the recent meeting of the party’s NWC with stakeholders in the Anambra State chapter of the PDP in Abuja, insisted that the only way the party can reclaim the state is for its leadership to remain neutral in the selection of its standard-bearer and provide a level playing ground for all the aspirants for the emergence of a credible and acceptable candidate among the lot. Among those who attended the meeting were former Health Minister, Prof. A B C Nwosu; former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC, Chief Simeon Okeke; a Woman Leader in the party, Mrs. Bridget Obi and the Legal Adviser to one of the factions in the state, Chief Chucks Okoye, who particularly said the selection process could be easy and as well volatile, depending on how the leadership of the party handles it. Obi on her part, said: “In the past, officials would be sent from the national secretariat to the state to conduct the governorship primary, when they get to the state, they would proceed to different hotels and at the end of the day, they will come up with three different candidates for one seat. We don’t want the repeat of that kind of fraud.” The question against this backdrop is: How will the PDP guard against the repent of that sordid past? History of recent elections in the state has left a negative image for the party as the biggest house of potential decampees to other platforms immediately after its primaries, particularly for the governorship election. It is common knowledge that while most of the aspirants have in the past few months worked hard to clinch the PDP’s governorship ticket for the November poll; they have equally prepared alternative structures in other parties, in case their respective ambitions fail on the platform. The party’s National Chairman, Tukur, who proffered a way out at the stakeholders’ meeting, said: “We have no hidden agenda, we have no anointed candidate, we need peace and sincerity of purpose to win Anambra State back into the PDP big family.” He added that the party leadership will follow its constitution to the letter, assuring that the right approach which will promote peace and unity in the party would be followed. He, however, warned party members who are in the habit of going to courts at will on trivial issues to desist from such action, as the PDP will not hesitate to bring its constitution to bear on them. Will Tukur walk his talk given the pressure that is likely to come not only from the aspirants, but powers that be outside the state? The date - August 24, which the party has set aside for the primaries and possible run-off will determine the seriousness of the PDP’s quest to bring back the state that prides itself as “Home for All” under the big umbrella.


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Friday, July 26, 2013

15


16

Politics

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Senate, last week, stirred the hornets’ nest when it voted overwhelmingly for life pension for its principal officers in the ongoing amendment to the 1999 Constitution. OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU looks at the controversy trailing that decision.

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olitical actors in Nigeria and controversy seem to be Siamese twins. Controversy is like second nature to politicians in this country, in fact they thrive on it, from the topmost political office holder to the lowest in the ladder, and they have remained controversial just as well as their policies and actions. This perhaps explains the controversial decisions the nation’s lawmakers, especially at the National Assembly have been churning out. The latest of which last week was the overwhelming voting by the Senate in favour of the recommendation seeking life pension for the principal officers of the National Assembly, in the ongoing tinkering with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended). The amendment, seeking to alter section 84, is contained in a new subsection 5a, clause 8 which reads: “Any person who has held office as President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.” It beats political analysts how and when this clause was smuggled into the major areas begging for amendment in the country’s legal code. Rejecting important sections that almost every Nigerian hold dear, like the one seeking for financial autonomy for and direct payment to the local government councils from the Consolidated Revenue Fund among many others, the senators overwhelmingly voted in support of life pension for principal officers of the National Assembly. This was apart from the fact that some of the occupants of the offices, to wit: Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, are already enjoying some pensions from their previous endeavours. Take the case of the Senate President, David Mark, for example, he is an Army pensioner, having retired from the Nigerian Army as a Brigadier-General. He is entitled to his pension for life from the Army, even while he continues to receive jumbo salary as a federal lawmaker. If this amendment scales through, it simply means he would be receiving pension from both the Army and the National Assembly for life! Since the overwhelming vote for this clause, analysts have continued to condemn it, describing it as wrong, indefensible and reprehensible. To a school of thought, the review exercise was supposed to have elevated the senators from the level of pedestal lawmaking to strengthening the nation’s nascent democracy, but the Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution, headed by Ike Ekweremadu came short of the expectations. The school of thought felt that instead of delving into issues of germane national importance, the lawmakers turned the exercise into self glorification. Political analysts believed that what the Senate did last week

Mark

Tambuwal

was to re-introduce through the back door what was thrown out a few weeks ago, when the upper legislative chamber attempted to increase the remuneration of former Presidents. A bill passed to this effect by the National Assembly in two previous sessions did not receive the required Presidential assent. At the end of the Senate voting exercise last week, the Senate President, Mark, said that the voting was a historic exercise in the history of democracy in Nigeria. His words: “Today is a historic day in the history of democracy in this country. We have voted in what we believe and we voted for those issues that we think will ensure that democracy continues to mature and take a firm root in this country. Whatever emotions or sentiments people had to express we put them in practical terms.” More worrisome is the fact that if this amendment sees the light of the day and becomes law, it will take retroactive effect, thus giving no fewer than 16 former principal officers of the National Assembly, dating back to the aborted Third Republic of the Ibrahim Babangida military era of 1992/1993 the life pension benefit. Already, there was a furore ongoing over the jumbo pay packet of the federal lawmakers, which had attracted outrage from concerned Nigerians. A report last week by the London-based Economist magazine reportedly put the average earning of a Nigerian senator, excluding basic salaries, at N182 million while a member of the House of Representatives takes home N127 million per annum. The beneficiaries of the obnoxious amendment earn more, with the Senate President going home with N150 million every quarter or N1 billion annually. This excessive and unjustifiable earning is in a country where the per capital income is just $2,700 or equivalent of N432,000. A breakdown of lawmaker earnings across the world revealed that Nigerian fed-

eral legislators with a basic salary of $189,500 per annum (N30.6m) were the highest paid lawmakers in the world. The report also looked at the ratio of the salaries against the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, per person of each country. The basic salary of a Nigerian lawmaker, excluding allowances is 116 times the GDP per person of $1,600. Ironically, Kenya, which ranked second highest paid lawmakers in the world, earned only 48 per cent of what the Nigerian lawmaker earns. A breakdown of the details of the annual salaries of lawmakers in other countries are as follows: Ghana, $46,500; Indonesia, $65,800; Thailand, $43,800; India, $11,200; Italy, $182,000; Bangladesh, $4,000; Israel, $114,800; Hong Kong, $130,000; Japan, $149,700; and Singapore, $154,000. While the Nigerian economy is not larger than $300 billion, Nigerian federal lawmakers earn far more than their United States of America, USA, counterparts where the economy is in the region of $15 trillion and per capita income of $46,350 or equivalent of N7.4 million. It is therefore, according to political observers, smacks of insensitivity of the highest order and selfishness on the part of ranking federal lawmakers, some of who has been in the corridors of powers for more than 15 years and have also been in the present dispensation since 1999, to position themselves to enjoy life pension, when over 70 per cent of the Nigerian population live below the poverty line. Perhaps, it is pertinent to compare the legislature pension system in America with what the federal lawmakers in Nigeria are proposing. In the US, lawmakers compulsorily must contribute a percentage of their earnings as pension when they are in the Congress and Senate. Apart from this, before a lawmaker in the US could qualify for pension, he must have attained the age of 60 years or in the alternative must have put in 20 years in the Congress, if per adventure they

Senate, life pension and raging controversy

IN THE US, LAWMAKERS COMPULSORILY MUST CONTRIBUTE A PERCENTAGE OF THEIR EARNINGS AS

PENSION... BEFORE A LAWMAKER IN THE US COULD QUALIFY FOR PENSION, HE MUST HAVE ATTAINED THE AGE OF 60 YEARS OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE

MUST HAVE PUT IN 20 YEARS IN THE CONGRESS...

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

retire at the age of 50 years. The pertinent question the senators need to provide answer to is: Why should lawmakers, including their principal officers, who do not contribute any percentage of their salaries to any pension scheme, expect to be paid from the treasury after retiring from an assignment, which at best should be a parttime job? Another angle to the proposed amendment is the unnecessary and unduly increase in the cost of governance, which is already on the high side, as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has alleged that the National Assembly, made up of just 469 members, consumes 25 per cent of the federal revenue. The proposed amendment, if approved and passed into law, would also create unhealthy rivalry and bitter political contests in both chambers of the National Assembly among the ranks of the lawmakers. This is because every lawmaker would aspire to become a principal officer of either of the chambers by all means, thus leading to unnecessary heating up of the polity, while in the meantime, the purpose for which the lawmakers are elected would now be relegated to the back burners. Meanwhile, a member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Alhaji Muhammed Ali, has condemned the Senate’s decision to provide for life pension for its principal officers, describing the decision as self-seeking. He said: ‘’I don’t think they deserve it, judging from the kind of money they are earning at the expense of taxpayers. I think they are asking too much, Nigeria belongs to all of us. We are only opportune to be where we are. The action of the Senate is unacceptable.” Human rights lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, lamented the wide gulf between the earnings of the citizens and their legislators, whom he described as “the idlest, yet earn the most in the world.” He said many states are yet to pay the N18,000 stipulated as the minimum wage in the National Minimum Wage Act, saying: “We are running a parody of democracy in this country. It is a democracy for the rich. The people are getting poorer for building a nation, while the politicians are getting richer for doing nothing. Those who are not creating wealth in the country are sitting on the wealth of the people, and those who are creating the wealth, the workers, are being paid peanuts.” The National Publicity Secretary of the United Progressive Party, UPP, Chief Ogbuehi Dike, asked the National Assembly to jettison the idea totally. He said that most NASS leaders had worked and retired elsewhere and did not need to get another pension, adding: “You cannot come and work for four years or eight years and you will be asking for life pension. It will not do a country like Nigeria any good because our economy is not strong enough for such venture.” Also a non-governmental organisation, The League of Patriotic and Progressive Youths, also called on the Senate to reverse itself on the controversial decision. Speaking through its National Coordinator Asuzu Echezona, the group said that the proposal was “undemocratic, and defeated the essence of representative democracy,” and advised the Senate to redeem its image in the eyes of Nigerians by rescinding the decision.” Will the National Assembly have its way and push through this unpopular proposed amendment? Or will Nigerians stand resolute and deny the lawmakers their self-serving proposal that would end up pauperising Nigerians more than they have been impoverished? Time will tell!


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Friday, July 26, 2013

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OUK and hypocrisy of conspiracy against Ndigbo ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE

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n the game of love, it is given so that it wouldn’t be returned. But those who share in the love rendered return same to the giver most times. This is why people say that somebody is loved by history. In this clime, we have seen people rewarded with chieftaincy titles in their different villages, because of their act of benevolence to their kinsmen and women. At the national level, many have been rewarded with national prizes, because of their contributions. In like manner, we have to honour and appreciate one of our own, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu (OUK), former governor of Abia State. The Emetu Mba, Ahu Mba Ndigbo. What has spurred this treatise was Kalu’s comment in an interview recently that all his harangues about Ndigbo to be the president in 2015, are not borne out of self-seeking purpose. This shows that he is in love with Ndigbo, not for selfish reasons, but for justice to prevail. Kalu derives no pleasure in watching Ndigbo suffering in a country that their forebears sacrificed their bloods for. This is no flatter, but a compliment to self-sacrifice, not for self-need, but for the needs of Ndigbo, who know no other tribute in Nigeria than the third fiddle they are placed as, by those who do not mean well for them. Known as a politician and business mogul, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu is more than this. These titles were ascribed

to him due to the distinguished part of his social or public life that people know. But the man is more than what people think he is. In the cause of penning this piece, some persons that were interviewed, said that Kalu is a humanist to the heart and a secret donor to the needy and downtrodden that cut across the country, and that he does not like to amplify this area of his life. One of the persons was, however, pleading that Kalu should forgive all the persons that forced him to pull most of his businesses out of the country, which made over 20, 000 people lose their jobs. It may offend him that I am discussing this in the media; but like Ndigbo would say, there is nothing hidden under the sun. This is a man who has left the comfort of his zone to champion for the security and peace of Nigeria, and by extension, for the emancipation of Ndigbo in the political progress of the country by 2015, with his pet project called Njiko Igbo. This organisation now cuts across all divides of Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Kalu sees the emergence of an Igbo presidency in 2015 as his last plan. What a man with meek, practical and humane heart! He has never extolled himself for this selfless task, but keeps on saying that Ndigbo have men and women of honour that the cap of president would fit. He would tell anyone that he has no political aspirations for

KALU HAS TOLD THE AUTHORITIES TO STOP ANY ACT OF HYPOCRISY THAT MAKES A REGION FEEL MORE SUPERIOR THAN THE OTHERS now, but to show love to Nigerians and, to a large extent Ndigbo, in producing a president of this country. He is calling on Ndigbo to be very determined now than ever. The ex-governor is not only talking about Igbo to produce a president, but also that the marginalisation against his people has reached even to the local government areas, where some surrogates of the current presidency are mistaking appointments of some persons from the Igbo extraction to mean that Ndigbo have been included in the scheme of things in the country. The latter persons do not realise that the number of LGAs in Kano and Jigawa states are more than all the LGAs in the South-East combined. This is the issue Kalu has been tackling and wanted redressed. Who could believe that the SouthEast is the only region in Nigeria that has five states, whereas four of the other five regions have six states and one (North West) seven? What about

just 15 senators that the region has out of 109? Kalu sees these pitfalls in the political equation in the country as biased against Ndigbo. He sees the authorities undermining Ndigbo as hypocrisy of the highest order. As a man who loves Ndigbo, he would say that Ndigbo love themselves. This is contrary to the hypocrisy in the country that Ndigbo do not love themselves. He would challenge this surrounding-substance by asking if all the ethnic groups in the country love themselves. Why single out Ndigbo that they do not love themselves? Kalu sees this as hypocrisy and propaganda of unimaginable measure. Kalu has said that Igbo traders in the market love themselves, Igbo market men and women love themselves. OUK does not only talk, he equally offers solutions to problems in the country. Kalu has told the authorities to stop any act of hypocrisy that makes a region feel more superior than the others; he has told the authorities to create avenues that would make Nigerians to love one another; he has advised the authorities to allow Ndigbo to be president and not a select few from other regions because of fake population figures; he has said that the authorities should address the marginalisation inherent in the constitution for democracy in this country to thrive. Onwumere, apoet_25@yahoo.com, poet/author, wrote from Rivers State

Strengthening democracy with the judiciary BAKENNE FASIU ADEWALE

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he judiciary is touted to be the last hope of the common man; the hope of the oppressed and the taming agent of the oppressors. It is based on this fact that I give kudos to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Honourable Justice Aloma Maryam Mukhtar and her team on the recent disciplinary measures meted out to erring judges by the National Judicial Council (NJC), which President Goodluck Jonathan affirmed. Her courageous strides to get rid of bad eggs in the nation’s Bench deserve commendation and support of all patriotic Nigerians. The cleansing of the judicial institution in a country like ours requires extra spiritual confidence and unshakeable firmness to make things work. Again, I doff my hat for the courageous members of the NJC. Democracy is sweet, and the tool that can bring even development to all parts of the nation is a true democratic process, anchored on unfettered judiciary. Human, physical, structural and capital developments can only be achieved when democracy is perfectly placed. Many had lost hope in the judiciary before the re-birth of that arm of government on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Eminent lawyers like Messrs Joseph Dauda (SAN) and Femi Falana (SAN), had on several occasions called for comprehensive surgical operations on

IF PERMITTED, 21ST

FEBRUARY OF EVERY YEAR SHOULD BE DECLARED BY THE NBA AS JUDICIARY

DAY

the Bar and the Bench, accusing lawyers and judges of serving as conduit pipes for proceeds of corruptions. Mr Dauda, as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, was reported to have walked out on Justice Charles Archibong in protest against a particular ruling. If permitted, 21st February of every year should be declared by the NBA as Judiciary Day. It is the day light replaces darkness and the truth set many worried minds free. Democracy is supposed to entail free, fair and equal treatment of everyone in the polity, irrespective of creed, colour and ethnicity. Many a time, the political players who cannot stand the heat of their organisation or party directives run to the judiciary with frivolous excuses. They secure questionable injunctions and in some in cases, get dubious judgements that hinder democratic development. Even if Nigeria is not ready to practice capital punishment, our judges must rise to the occasion of giving judgments that will eradicate political, financial and moral corruption in our society. Where necessary, obsolete laws

that don’t conform to present situation must be expunged from our statute book or have them amended. Our judiciary must be ready to arrest the corruption menace in our society. Many politicians are playing the spoilers’ game by rushing to court on the eve of elections (party congresses or general elections) to stop such elections. Frivolous ex parte motions and injunctions, which are tools in the hands of election casualties, must not be granted without proper service and defence. Corrupt financial practices must be heard and dispose off within reasonable time (I suggest a maximum of nine months). This will serve as caution to others. The compulsory retirement of Justices Archibong and Thomas Naron will no doubt enhance our political and democratic development. It will bring to an end the era of using the judiciary to destabilise political parties and render parties constitution invalid. A situation where a political party gave an order based on the provision of its constitution, only for unprepared and lazy members to rush to court for an injunction restraining compliance of that order by now should be a thing of the past. It is only Justice Archibong (rtd) that can explain his thinking for and rationale behind sending three chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Ogun State to six months jail without being a party to the suit in his court and without being served notice or sum-

mons. It baffles the learned and the educated why Justice Archibong (rtd) gave several questionable rulings despite the Court of Appeal ruling to stay action on the original suit involving Bamanga Tukur, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Chief Bode Mustapha. Though compulsory retired, one wonders why Justice Archibong chose to free a suspected thief without taking his plea. It is hoped that the compulsory retirement of Justices Archibong and Naron will restore sanity in the judiciary and bring the expected development into our democratic system. While appreciating the CJN and members of the NJC for this clean-up exercise, it is hoped that others who are in the same boat with these compulsorily retired judges will sit up and immediately disembark from the sinful boat of corrupt practices to a more transparent one being paddle by Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar. Hon. Adewale, Tofintofin2003@yahoo. com, was former member of the Ogun State House of Assembly 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.


18

Editorial

Friday, July 26, 2013

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HEAD, GRAPHICS

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FG’s sabre-rattling on oil theft

ollow threats by the Federal Government of exposing and punishing culprits of oil theft in the country are assuming sickening dimensions. This is in spite of the volume of vital information at its disposal that points accusing fingers at the most probable perpetrators of the grand larceny. Last week in Abuja, at a briefing with members of the diplomatic corps, Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, threatened that his ministry would no longer entertain appeals from foreign missions to release ships and their crew members involved in ‘illegal activities’ on Nigeria’s territorial waters. It was, however, obvious that the minister was referring to oil thieves. According to him, “in the past, ambassadors have come to me or my permanent secretary to plead for the release of either their ships or the crew members caught in illegal activities”. This is a sad indication that the leadership of the Foreign Affairs Ministry has, perhaps, been playing the ‘lenient father’ to oil thieves. Can a Nigerian ship and crew involved in such crimes go scot free in other nations where laws are sacred? Recall that in May this year, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),

Patrick Akpobolokemi, revealed that influential Nigerians, including politicians, were behind piracy and oil theft in the country. Akpobolokemi told newsmen in Abuja that those into piracy were doing it on behalf of influential Nigerians. He refused to make their names public, saying political meanings might be read into the disclosure of the names, which again buttresses the fact that very highly placed persons in government might be behind the assault on the nation’s main source of revenue. While complaining not too long ago that Shell, one of the multinational oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, loses about 60, 000 barrels of oil per month to thieves in the region, the company’s Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu, had alleged the possible collusion of the security agencies charged with securing the area with local oil thieves. And just a couple of weeks back, the General Manager of Chevron, another major player in the nation’s oil industry in Escravos, near Warri, Delta State, Jide Ajide, voiced a similar suspicion as Sunmonu’s. Ajide stated, for instance, that the “JTF (Joint Task Force) has been here this year… I think more than 10 times. But if you go all around us here, you will see illegal refineries … It (oil theft) was brought really down

NO RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT WOULD TOLERATE SEVERAL YEARS OF THEFT OF THE MAINSTAY OF ITS ECONOMY AND

ALWAYS BE ‘PREPARING’ TO BRING THE PERPETRATORS TO BOOK three years ago, but this year, it has gone up”. Accusing fingers are also being pointed at Niger Delta militants, including those rehabilitated by the FG through its amnesty programme for restive Niger Delta youths. With all these pointers at its disposal, the FG, to public knowledge, has not brought any visible figure to book for oil theft, yet it has not ceased to cry wolf about the crime and its adverse implications on the nation’s economy. Last weekend, the government said it had approved the setting up of a legal task force headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, to commence the prosecution of about 500 suspects detained over oil theft. Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, who briefed news-

men, Thursday, after a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Aso Rock, said the task force was meant to arrest the daily theft of about 400,000 barrels of oil, which translates into losses of roughly N7.35 billion daily, based on international market price of $117 per barrel. The losses, according to Uduaghan, have resulted in drastic reduction in the revenue accruing to the FG, which is currently facing the risk of being unable to meet its financial obligations, including the payment of workers’ salaries. The government should realise that Nigerians are no longer fascinated with its spineless grandstanding and rhetoric about bringing oil thieves to book. No responsible government would tolerate several years of theft of the mainstay of its economy and always be ‘preparing’ to bring the perpetrators to book, without taking tangible and decisive steps to stop the crime. Had it been petty thieves that are involved in the economic sabotage, a lot of them would have probably earned the harshest of court sentences and imprisonment. Was a cow thief not amputated by the Zamfara State Government in 2000? The FG should either get serious with tackling the problem of oil theft or pocket its endless sabrerattling.

ON THIS DAY July 26, 1957

July 26, 1990

July 26, 2009

Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, was assassinated. Armas (November 4, 1914 – July 26, 1957) was a Guatemalan military officer who seized power in a CIAorchestrated coup in 1954 and ruled as the President of Guatemala from July 8, 1954 until his assassination in 1957. He was shot dead in the presidential palace by a palace guard, Romeo Vásquez, who was found dead a short while later in what was believed to be a suicide.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was signed into law by President George Bush. The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin and other such characteristics illegal.

The 2009 Boko Haram Uprising: The Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, a militant Nigerian Islamist group commonly known as the Boko Haram, attacked a police station in Bauchi, leading to reprisals by the Nigeria Police Force and four days of violence across several states in the northeastern part of the country. The violence left over 1,000 people dead, with around 700 killed in the city of Maiduguri alone, according to one military official.

Letters tothe theEditor Editor Letters to


Your

FRIDAY

Flavour

July 26, 2013

VOL. 2 No. 673

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12 PAGES OF ARTS, REVIEWS, LIFESTYLE AND BUZZ TO START YOUR WEEKEND

P. 22-23

TERH AGBEDEH

Critics

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…We cannot harass people at the theatre – GM

who has been doing business at the National Theatre for over two years also told our correspondent that homosexuals and prostitutes always gather at Nigeria’s centre of culture. Pleading anonymity, the photographer, however, said that he was not certain whether the cabin was being used for sexual activity. General Manager of the National Theatre, Mallam Kabir Yusuf, when reached by phone over the matter, said it was a joke. “Homosexuals at the National Theatre? That is a joke,” he said, “The blue cabin is not National Theatre, it is at Abe’gi”, he added. Reminded that Abe’gi, which is a section of the grounds where people come to drink and socialise is within the premises, he said: “In the grounds of the National Theatre, you have ev-

ery Nigerian, would you know whether this one is a homosexual or this one is not? Should we harass people enjoying themselves in the grounds of the National Theatre? When two people are sitting in the grounds of the National Theatre, we cannot go and harass them (if we do) the next thing you people will say is that we are harassing people at the national Theatre. We don’t know whether they are homosexuals, we don’t have evidence that they are homosexuals”. Director, Dance/National Choreographer at National Troupe of Nigeria, NTN, Mr. Arnold Udoka said he had never encountered homosexuals around the National Theatre. “If homosexuals or lesbians are around the theatre I think they are still in the closet. Our society abhors that kind of sexual attitude and it is a taboo and continues to be a taboo in

our society and our culture and even in what we are doing around here”, he said. Udoka insisted that the National Theatre is not the operating ground of homosexuals. “They may come here (the theatre) but I have never encountered any of them around the theatre. On Sunday evenings is the day we all go to church. Maybe they come around but I am not aware of their presence around the theatre”, he explained. The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer for the Lagos command, Damasus Ozoani, told our correspondent that since the men of the command have not seen people committing a crime at the National Theatre no arrests can be made. “On what grounds will the arrest be made? Unless the authority of the National Theatre comes out with so and so people

Arty News

National Theatre turns haven for homosexuals, prostitutes

P. 37

The alleged ‘love nest’

to say that they have committed a crime, then we shall look at the law and see what can be done. Besides, the National Theatre is a place of entertainment where different people go to all the time”, he said. Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed a bill on May 30 criminalising gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of a gay rights group. A section of the bill says that: “Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”. Gay sex has been banned in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people, since colonial rule by the British. Before the passing of the law in May, sodomy has been punishable by jail, but this bill legislates for a much broader crackdown on homosexuals and lesbians, who are more or less in hiding in the country. “Persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract, or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison”, the bill also says.

P. 36

Yusuf

Mirror Drive

omosexuals and prostitutes have taken over the grounds of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, which have been on the front burner over the planned concession by the Federal Government. Investigations by our correspondent at the National Theatre indicate that truly homosexuals and prostitutes have a free hand in conducting their business around the hallowed grounds of the number one Nigerian cultural centre, particularly on Sunday evenings. At any given evening in the period of the investigation since April, the grounds of the theatre were seen to be crowded with lovers necking, same sex couples – particularly male – conducting their business, and strangely enough, those who are interested are able to have prostitutes procured for them. A source, who did not want to be identified and who used to work with the National Theatre, but was laid off at some point, confided in our correspondent that the blue cabin left behind by the workers who fixed the leaking roof of the edifice is used for sexual activity. “If you want a man, I can get him for you or a woman, too. There is even space for you to do what you want with the woman. If you are ready now I can arrange for a woman for you. Or is it men that you like?” the source told our correspondent upon enquiry over whether homosexuals gather at the theatre. The source, who now resides in the more or less abandoned cabin at the theatre, is not the only person that spoke to our correspondent on the matter. One of the photographers

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elebrity restaurant, O’Jez, organisers of the monthly O’Jez Entertainment Awards, have concluded plans to hold a special tribute night in honour of veteran highlife musician, Fatai Rolling Dollar, who passed on last month aged 86. The event is scheduled to hold on Sunday, July 28 at O’Jez restaurant inside the National Stadium premises, Surulere, Lagos beginning at 7.00 p.m.

A

Rolling Dollar

O’Jez had last month cancelled the June award which was billed to hold on Sunday, June 30 to allow time to plan a more befitting honour for a man that was part of the O’Jez entertainment family for over a decade. Sunday’s event also coincides with the 41 days mourning of the fallen musician who was a Muslim.

uditions for an acting spot on the MTV’s hit series, Shuga, holds in Lagos today and tomorrow at Protea Hotel, Ikoyi. All interested candidates must be Nigerian, within the ages of 18 and 55 and must be fluent in English with no criminal record. Time is 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Football game for orphans

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T

omorrow and on Sunday, MUSON Centre, Onikan-Lagos will host Crystal Slippers, a new play by Thespian Family Theatre, based on ‘tales from yesteryears’. The intriguing 90-minute play, set in a contemporary Nigerian setting–enriched with choreography and songs, is directed by Abiola Segun-Williams. Cast includes:

Central cast of ‘Crystal Slippers’

Van Vicker, Gideon Okeke, Iyke Okechukwu, Florence Okechukwu, Shafi Akinrimisi, ‘Nedu of Wazobia fame, Lala Akindoju and Adesua Etomi. Time is 1.00 p.m., 3.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. for both days.

he charity football competition for orphanage homes –Konami 2013, will hold tomorrow in Lagos. The teams playing include University of Lagos Vs Babcock, Oxbridge Vs Bridgehouse, Team Lagos vs Team London and Ruby vs Platinum. Commentary will be provided by star comedian Koffi for the show which holds at Campos Mini Stadium, Lagos Island, Lagos. Kick-off time 9.00 a.m.

Mirror Mongers

Shuga TV Series Crystal Slippers at MUSON auditions

Special tribute night for Fatai Rolling Dollar on Sunday

P. 33

WEEKEND STARTERS


20

Artman In The House

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

African writers are discriminated

Adichie

Atta

U.S-based Nigerian writer and playwright, Sefi Atta, visited Nigeria to promote her latest book, A Bit of Difference at Glendora bookstore Ikeja, Lagos. During the interactive session with journalists, fans and other writers, as well as Atta’s mum and daughter, she provided answers to many questions. TERH AGBEDEH was at the event for Friday Flavour. Do you think that being based outside of Nigeria actually helps you look at the country almost like an outsider makes things that you like to write about more obvious? It is hard to tell; I have to say because I have never had any other experience. I think that I have seen a progression in my writing. In my first book I was writing as an outsider; slowly I have began to write like an insider now. And maybe it is because I come to Nigeria a lot more than I did before. I know it has some bearing but I don’t know how since I have never had any other writing experience. If I were here, I probably wouldn’t be writing the same type of stories. Having said that, I have read the works of African writers that are based overseas and I really don’t write stories like them either. I think I’m somewhere in-between, even though I have lived overseas for so long, I have always come home. This year has been a very

productive year for me and I have had opportunities to share my works, to be recognised. You have accounting background and now you are a writer, how do your books compare with those of the writers where you are based and how can one make a living from writing fulltime? I publish my books now in Nigeria. I didn’t plan to do so but over the years I realised that if you work hard on something, it is good to take control of the commercial side. There is a certain part of me that dies when I think of the business side of things but you need to take control over your work. There are old school publishers here probably better with editing than with promotion and new school publishing houses probably better with promotion than with editing. You have to choose then submit to them and hope for the best.

Are we discriminated against as African writers overseas? Yes, we are but in every field, there is always a downside and initially, I was shocked by it but now I really don’t care less. But you have got to have a value to sell yourself. Also, I know brilliant writers overseas who haven’t had the opportunities that I have had, been to the places that I have been. And yes, you can make a living as a fulltime writer. Do you write purely from your imagination or from the experiences of other people? I once told my cousin, Tade Ipadeola, who is a poet, that I don’t have no imagination and he said don’t ever say that again. I don’t think I was putting myself down but every story I write comes from somewhere. But I guess the imagination part is putting it together in a way that makes sense to me. So I take other peoples’


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Artman In The House

Friday, July 26, 2013

against overseas –Atta stories, I even take my story and put them together. That is how I used to do it as a child, I just had all those things that happened to me in real life, then put it together in the way that I felt that I was in control. I have been doing it for years. With this new work out, how do you feel about your writing? I have just entered the intermediary stage of writing even with four books behind me. It’s about time for me and I mention my writing now in dog years. I have reached the intermediary years and I think that my new work will be better developed than the last four that I have done. I love these ones, they are saying what I needed to say and what I had to say. In the next few books I will be writing about what I want to say. I will move on and develop in my next stage. It is easy to picture you as Enitan when one reads your book Everything Good Will Come. How much of that book is fiction or nonfiction? It is never that simple. I have had people say, ‘I know the family’. But my mum is not a religious fanatic if she were here she would tell you and my dad died when I was very young so it wasn’t that my parents divorced and I lived with my father. I am not a lawyer and I never dated an architect that broke up with me. I do rely on things that happen to me, things that happen to other people but I can’t write nonfiction. Every time I have to write a nonfiction piece, first of all I fall asleep, I get depressed; I find it difficult to gain weight normally, but when I’m writing nonfiction I gain weight in the period and they are usually badly written, I’m not very proud of them. I don’t write nonfiction, it’s hard for me. Would it be correct to describe you as a feminist or you just write from a feminine perspective? This started with the first book. I think all of us were branded as feminists. I don’t mind so long as you read my books and you don’t hate my guts. I still don’t know what it means. If I care about other women and I care about children, does that make me a ‘childrenist’? Am I a ‘manist’ if I care about men? People ask me that question the more that I write and then you realise that stories I tell are about Nigerians raised in a particular community and that broadens the description of the work that I do. If you were to write fiction from the American perspective, would you be able to do it without mentioning race in it?

Sefi Atta at the reading

I DON’T SEE HOW YOU CAN TELL A STORY THAT IS SET IN

AMERICA...

WITHOUT MENTIONING RACISM AND HOW IT IMPACTS ON US ON A DAILY BASIS

FACT FILE •

Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1964, to a family of five children.

Her father Abdul-Aziz Atta was the Secretary to Federal Government and Head of the Civil Service until his death in 1972; she was raised by her mother Iyabo Atta.

She attended Queen’s College, Lagos, and Millfield School in England.

In 1985, she graduated from Birmingham University and trained as a chartered accountant. She moved from England to the United States in 1994 with her husband, Dr. Gboyega Ransome-Kuti, son of Olikoye Ransome-Kuti. They have one daughter.

Sefi’s Lagos-based production company Atta Girl supports Care to Read, a programme she initiated to earn funds for legitimate charities through performance readings.

Her short stories have appeared in literary journals such as Los Angeles Review, Mississippi Review and World Literature Today. Her books have been translated to several languages.

No. I don’t see how you can tell a story that is set in America or anywhere else without mentioning racism and how it impacts on us on a daily basis. It is hard to do that. And I have to tell you, when I wrote this book and read a section of it at a reading, three people attacked me based on two pages. ‘You must be very sensitive’, one of them said. That is what I like about Nigeria, over there they are in complete denial about racism as if it does not exist and I have been there before. But if we take a moment to reflect that it is not a good thing when it happens to you. Nobody really calls you that word or any of these

obvious things, but it is very subtle and it is something I explore in this book. There are a couple of ways in which racism affects you and particularly to the artist in the book, who doesn’t want to be pigeonholed. Does the story progress? It depends. The first one progressed and after that I dream up the story before I start writing. But chances are that while you are writing, it changes so I have to make allowances for that. You talked about the kind of women that you write about being from a certain community, but Tolani in Swallow isn’t exactly from the same background as Enitan and Deola and you also said these ladies don’t have power… I think if you are a Nigerian reader you will know, I use community because it is a better word. The question of Nigerian women and power: I don’t think that all women are downtrodden, Nigerian women in a patriarchal community find ways in which to have power depending on what they have initially; financial independence, social independence. So I’m hoping that every chapter in my book is there to illustrate the ways in which women can find power within a bigger society and the choices that they have and take. Now, Tolani was working in a bank in Lagos and had no financial security Deola does, her father is a bank CEO. But there are ways in which Tolani was free and Deola wasn’t and vice versa. However, they all have the same sense of pride, the same flaws, response to anger whether or not. It is incredible to me how people think that just because they are born in a different area of Lagos, you don’t have the same level of pride. Of course you do. At what point do you feel that what you have written is good enough to be published? I think for me it is when I can read what I have written without wanting to die. When you do your first draft, sometimes it feels great and when you can go back six months later and it feels good. And if it happens, that is always a surprise. Writing is about process, it’s about rewriting and rewriting. The way I go about it is within the six months I go on to something else. But when I reach a point where I think, okay, I can live with it, then it goes out. Trust me, that never ends because I still pick up things and read them and say, I can believe I did that. Sometimes I go, that was good, but I don’t know how it happened.

21

HER WORKS Novels 2012 A Bit of Difference, Interlink Books 2010 Swallow, Interlink Books 2005 Everything Good Will Come, Interlink Books Short Story Collections 2010 News from Home, Interlink Books Stage plays 2012 An Ordinary Legacy, The MUSON Festival, MUSON Centre, Lagos 2012 The Naming Ceremony, New World Nigeria, Theatre Royal Stratford East, London 2011 Hagel auf Zamfara, Theatre Krefeld, Germany 2011 The Cost of Living, Lagos Heritage Festival, Terra Kulture, Lagos 2005 The Engagement, MUSON Centre, Lagos Radio plays 2013 The Wake, Smooth FM, Lagos 2007 A Free Day, BBC Radio 2004 Makinwa’s Miracle, BBC Radio 2002 The Engagement, BBC Radio Screenplays 2009 Leaving on Your Mind - quarter-finalist for the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest Some of her awards and recognitions 2009 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa 2006 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa 2006 Caine Prize for African Literature, shortlist 2005 PEN International David TK Wong Prize, 1st Prize 2004 BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize 2003 Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award, finalist 2003 Red Hen Press Short Story Award, 1st prize 2002 Zoetrope Short Fiction Contest, 3rd Prize 2002 BBC African Performance, 2nd Prize 2002 Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa, shortlist Visiting writer 2010 Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon 2008 Northwestern University 2006 University of Southern Mississippi Atta was on the jury for the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.


22

Critics

Friday, July 26, 2013

Theatre

Bringing theatre to the Mainland

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Play

The maiden edition of Theatre on the Mainland Series as organised by Wazobia Theatre House in collaboration with ASAP recently held at Vginis Main Hall, Yaba-Lagos. The debut edition witnessed the staging of Osaka the Porter. OLAYIWOLA AWAKAN

T

heatre with its numerous functions to the society has been a powerful tool for transformation. The advent of theatre in Nigeria many years ago was an indubitable undertaking that has helped to boost the now booming entertainment industry in the country. Stage heroes were raised to teach, educate, inform and entertain the Nigerian populace through good theatre in form of drama, dance, music and poetry. The indefatigable effort of a few pioneers like the Doyen of theatre, late Hubert Ogunde, Duro Ladipo, Bayo Odunneye and host of others then was what gave birth to the present film industry popularly called Nollywood. Conversely, the advent of technology and sophisticated screen production gadgets gradually chased the ever vibrant theatre industry off the scene for many years. Television and home video productions relegated stage craft to the background. Little do we know that the foundation of screen is stage! Some few years ago, in a bid to rekindle the theatre craft, stakeholders raised a campaign for sponsors to assist in organising standardised theatre productions to support upcoming theatre companies. One of the results in Lagos was the Theatre@Terra programme, where stage production companies like the Crown Troupe of Africa and many others were allowed, in partnership with Nigeria culture outlet, Terra Kulture, to stage productions every month. Also, MUSON Centre became a popular theatre house where lovers of theatre go to watch stage shows. Since then, stakeholders and audiences have embraced, en masse, the booming theatre industry. The only clause, however, was that the benefit tilted more towards those who reside on the Island. After much agitation that theatre ought to be brought to the Mainland, Wazobia

A scene from the theatre production

THE ACTORS INTERPRETED THEIR ROLES WITH...

DEXTERITY AND CREATIVITY AS THEY PERFORMED TO THE ADMIRATION OF THE AUDIENCE Theatre House recently combined resources with ASAP, a capacity building company to initiate the Theatre on the Mainland Series, where mainland inhabitants can also be served the dish of professional theatre. The maiden edition of the series was the premiere of Osaka the Porter on Sunday, June 30 in Yaba-Lagos, as written and directed by Ikenna Jude Okpala and produced by Olawale Olabanji. An atmosphere of laughter was activated by Jude McKelvin who explained the essence of the project. The theme song for the entire project was sung by a talented young man whose pseudonym is Lacos. That ushered in the actors who really interpreted their roles with lots of dexterity and creativity as they performed Osaka the Porter to the admiration of the audience. The piece is the story of a man who was born poor but struggled to survive by being a house-help. The humble man was available to do every and anything required of him. Osaka did not mind the humiliation he was subjected to; he only found pleasure serving the entire household even after the demise of his master. The family lawyer was invited by the wife of the departed to disclose the content of the deceased’s Will and to the astonishment of Jumoke and her mother, Osaka was named as beneficiary of N20m! However, a clause stated that the inheritance should not be disclosed to him until he gets married. The question of whether Osaka was ready for mar-

riage and who the spouse would be, kept the audience on the edge of their seats. The climax of the play came when both Osaka and Feyikunmi (Jumoke’s elder sister) get married. Eventually, the N20m as apportioned to Osaka was revealed and the reward for humility and hard work was pronounced. Technically, a simple set was constructed on the stage and the lighting was professionally handled with good sense of costuming. Close observation of the play from the title would make one think that it has a connection to the character and humble attitude of Hafiz Oyetoro (Saka) in relationship to his I Don Port MTN advert saga, but the writer refutes the notion. The play addresses topical social issues in a dramatic way with lots of humour. Themes of stigmatisation, affection, humility, hard work and the reward for loyalty are treated. According to the playwright and director, the inspiration behind the play is connected to the fact that some girls nowadays do not want to struggle with guys to make it in life, they want the ready-made guys. He further talked on the reason for creating the Theatre on the Mainland Series. “The basic idea is that for over 10 years now, there has been this campaign to bringing back theatre and the focus has been on the Island. If we want to promote theatre, it shouldn’t be based on one location, we are trying to bring it back to the mainland”, he said. To buttress the reason for creating the TOTM Series, the producer of the Project, Olawale Olabanji added thus, “Theatre on the Mainland is a project set up to incorporate the mainland residents into the tradition of real theatre. It is for people to enjoy quality professional theatre performances on the mainland”. According to him, the TOTM Series will always hold every last Sunday of the month. The next play in the series is Prof. Femi Osofisan’s The Engagement. Awakan is a Lagos-based playwright and freelance journalist.

Actors in Same Page Reloaded

Drama to celebrate When Michael Asuelime, the actor, playwright, producer and director, who likes to refer to himself as a storyteller set up BP Vision Ltd. 10 years ago, it was for excellence on stage. The company has been producing breathtaking, thought provoking, educative and family friendly entertainment as was the case with Same Page Reloaded on June 29 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. TERH AGBEDEH

T

he stage play, Same Page Reloaded was perhaps the most publicised, most talked about, most anticipated in the year. Written and directed by Michael Asuelime the publicity must have paid off as the Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Centre was filled for the three shows that took place at 2.00 p.m., 4.00 p.m. and for the command performance at 6.00 p.m. It featured remarkable performances by the cast including: Uzor Osimkpa, Okey Uzoeshi, Keira Hewatch, Ajibade Smart, Sparx, Carmillus-Ibe Orji, Michael Asuelime Jnr and Tosin Onanuga. Inspired by true life experiences, the plot is based on a couple who fall in love but are soon separated by career and assumptions. Their separation takes them through different paths in life, with two different but identical and unforgivable secrets. They find their way back together on the same page, and now, they have to find a way to keep the pages together. It reveals the many irreconcilable differences in the society with respect to marriage and the relationship between man and woman generally. The play cannot be said to be comedy although it is full of wit and humour personified in the character of Muyiwa, who is neither stupid nor intelligent. Every member of the cast justifies involvement in the production, which is one


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Critics

Friday, July 26, 2013

23

Book

Tales on two Nigerian soldiers JAPHETH OMOJUWA

“T

10 years of BP Vision of the biggest the director and his company have put up in the last decade. Among such productions are: Grey Area, Same Page and Journey of an African Woman. In each the undying passion of Asuelime is not only felt but also experienced fully. For the production of Same Page Reloaded every member of the cast got the opportunity to showcase brilliance in acting and singing resulting in the total entertainment of the audience. The production was a fitting 10th anniversary gift to the audience from Asuelime, who has registered his name as one of the best playwrights the country has produced in recent time. Thanks also go to Deborah Ohiri who served as music director for the play. Not only the actors, director and music director were at their best on the night, to give the script verve and help the audience understand it better, the set was an epitome of ingenuity. Designed to depict two apartments; one for the men and the other for the women, the two sections came with the best of props to perfectly portray the class of the main characters in the play. The lighting too was to create an excellent ambience, pleasing to the sight. Perhaps because of the celebratory nature of the production, the organisers said it attracted every form of support that was needed to produce a memorable stage production. The list included: Colours in Africa, a leading furniture company which provided the captivation and befitting furniture for the set; costume by a combination of leading clothing firms like Ouch!, Yomi Casuals and Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. Asuelime is a Nigerian from Edo State who since the age of nine, took to stage and even though he is a graduate of Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, he has been a part of the entertainment industry for over two decades as playwright, actor, producer and director. From a tender age, Asuelime attended productions like the Sikulu and Epitombi from South Africa, and several others by Nigerian playwrights. By the time he got into the university, he was writing, directing and producing several stage plays. He is also a public speaker with strong passion for the youth in leadership and is married with three boys, with one of them as part of this production.

he time has come for a new generation of men and women to take up the leadership mantle of this country” -Gen. Ibrahim B. Babangida; June 26, 1986. Soldiers of Fortune by Max Siollun and published by Cassava Republic Press, promises to tell the story of Nigerian politics from 1983 to 1993. It surpasses this promise by telling stories not just of events during that decade, but also of their origins and their later impact. Forget marketing and whether publishers want to sell their book, anyone who cares about Nigeria and the truth behind why it is where it is today, must have this book! The book is the dispassionate story of the Buhari and Babangida era. It is told without favouring any of the actors whilst remaining fair to all of them. Max Siollun starts by offering a perspective on the political atmosphere during President Shagari’s tenure. Siollun shows how one could literally touch the shadows of the military as they loomed on the horizon, even as the civilians continued to offer excuses to show the military that they were blessed with leadership. Although, General Muhammadu Buhari only had two years to make change happen, his rigidity alienated him and his government from the people he wanted to help. The most telling and enigmatic character in the book, however, is General Ibrahim B. Babangida. Soldiers of Fortune manages to reveal the realities of Babangida’s government from 1985 to 1993, and at the same time shows the human being behind the man that got Nigerians singing his praises for almost eight years. In fact, IBB beguiled the nation so much that one of the most powerful news platforms of the time, Newswatch, wrote these words about him: “He has the strong will of his own and he has the capacity and the savvy to mobilise others to his will. Thus far, he has made a monumental success of the efforts to impose himself on history by doing great things through raw courage and conviction”. The book is fair to Babangida; thiss is not in terms of calling a tyrant by a more poetic name, but rather in termss of showing almost conclusively that at IBB had only two choices available to o him on the matter of June 12 annullment: death or annulment. One unnderlying reality around June 12 thatt the author illuminates is the role e General Sani Abacha played. Abacha did more to kill June 12 than anyone else, even if the book does not make this conclusion explicit. This can be deduced from its rendition of the activities within the ruling government, the role of Chief Arthur Nzeribe’s Association for Better Nigeria, ABN, and even the note sent through Nduka Irabor that finally declared the elections annulled.

THE HARD AND SIMPLE TRUTH ABOUT

NIGERIA’S

CASCADING ACCIDENTS IS THAT THERE ARE MORE VILLAINS THAN THERE ARE HEROES The intrigues of June 12 form the climax of the book: and what a climax it is! Babangida had Pascal Bafyau (a Christian from Adamawa) as Chief MKO Abiola’s running mate. He warned Abiola to “forget about the presidency” if he selected Atiku instead of Bafyau. According to the book, “Abiola had to choose whom to offend: the president or his party’s godfather (Shehu Musa Yar’Adua who wanted Atiku Abubakar as Abiola’s running mate). At this juncture Abiola’s “dual” profile as a southern Muslim meant his hands were tied. As a southerner, he had to pick a northern running mate. As a Muslim, the expectation was also that he would pick a Christian running mate”. Abiola showed the first major sign that he would not be a willing puppet in the hands of either the military or even his Social Democratic Party, SDP, hierarchy by picking another person entirely, Babagana Kingibe. They both eventually contested against Bashir Tofa and his running mate Chief Sylvester Ugwu. The SDP governors influenced Abiola’s decision on Kingibe. A perceptive reader of the book can see that state governors did not just become powerful in Nigeria because they formed the now threatened Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF; they have always been powerful. Abiola’s decision created a gulf between him and the military. Things were never the same again. Nigeria is a cascade of accidents. The history of Nigeria is littered with happenstance; political accidents mostly. According to Siollun, every military coup –save may-

be for the Sani Abacha 1993 coup– was met with jubilation and increasing expectations. Each one failed relative to the public expectations that heralded it. The biggest failure of them all has to be the Babangida government. It promised everything, it almost delivered the ultimate until it eventually delivered nothing! It was eight years of selling the future and eight years of moving the future. It exemplified one fundamental reality about the future: it is the easiest thing to sell but when sold too often by the same person it becomes a tangible lie. You can’t sell a tangible lie. Not even if you are the best dribbler in the world. IBB’s eight years defines everything that Nigeria is today: Lots of promises, more than enough opportunities and plenty of unrealised ideas, which ended up pushing the country into a far worse position than it was in 1985. Of course, as a people we like scapegoats. It is as though being able to hold some names to a stake makes all the pain go away. Unfortunately, history, and Soldiers of Fortune, shows that even those we regard as heroes had their own days of playing villain. The hard and simple truth about Nigeria’s cascading accidents is that there are more villains than there are heroes. That is cliché, but what is not a cliché is that some of those heroes are in fact villains, depending on what part of the story gets told and who tells the story. When David Mark (Director of Strategic Studies at the National War College) said, “I’d shoot Chief Abiola the day NEC pronounces him the elected president”, he certainly did not see a future Nigeria where he would eulogise the values of democracy. That he is today the leader of the highest lawmaking organ in the country shows one fundamental sub-theme of Nigerians: our ability to forget. Is there need for one to ask for forgiveness from people who are quick to forget anyway? This tendency to forget explains the reason Sani Abacha has been touted as a hero by some Nigerians years after his death. The last sentence in the book does not mention Abacha, but anyone who lived through his 1993-1995 reign can begin to see that the gory details loom immediately after the last words of the book. Yet, if Abacha were alive today, he would be a candidate for the presidency. Reading through this book is enough for one to understand that in Nigeria, the word “impossible” would have as much “ meaning as “nothing”. m When one is done reading Soldiers of Fortune, different emotions d compete: either a tear shed by the co soul or just one little drop from the so eyes. Those that don’t shed a tear for ey Nigeria are the ones that understand N how much they have helped to drag h Nigeria into its present state -anN other country with more problems ot than solutions. What happened to th the dream of being a giant? th Omojuwa is a social commentator and activist. co


24

Inside FCT

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Abuja big boys explore FCT Queens’ camp JOEL AJAYI

F

or FCT Queens, the only female football club in the capital city of Nigeria, whose players’ wages have been left unpaid for over 18 months by the FCT Administration, the young female footballers are now exposed to the predatory exploits of Abuja ‘big boys’ who have turned the camp to a pick up ground for women. Indeed, Inside FCT reliably gathered that the socio-economic deprivations associated with prolonged delay in payment of their allowances has forced many of the once ‘bubbling football amazons’ into beggars all in their efforts to keep body and soul together. Some of them capitalise on the dark covers of the night to escape into the waiting cars of the big guys and are given mere pittance for ‘services’ rendered, even at great risks to their well-being. It is pathetic that the club formed 15 years ago and the pride of FCT in terms of sports development has lost its vigour and dashed the hopes of using it as a breeding ground for female soccer players that will do the nation proud in future competitions. Inside FCT’s visit to the camp of the FCT Queens inside the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Abuja, revealed that the players had been ‘abandoned’, without any hope that their allowances would be paid soon.

OMEIZA AJAYI

T

he United Nations Organisation Award of excellence in Public Service Delivery to the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, could not have come at a better time as it is an uncommon recognition to Nigeria as a country as well as to the FCTA led by Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed. The beauty of the award is that it was won by collective innovation and hard work of FCTA staff, but the glory goes to the people of Nigeria. It may be noted that this award of excellence is a keenly-contested competition that had 601 entries across the world. However, this is one of the most significant awards for a nation which is still struggling to shore up its good governance rating among the comity of nations. That the FCTA won the award for Nigeria is all the more instructive. The FCT Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, performance on its integrated mobile Primary Health Care initiative (known as Mailafiya) speaks volume as Nigeria is back on track on the international arena. Mailafiya has already been adopted by several other countries across

One of the affected players told our reporter under anonymity that many of the players no longer live in the camp but are out there trying to eke out a living in a city that is reputed to be one of the most expensive to live in globally. She said: “I think what the management is doing is very bad. Things are not working here anymore as we have not been paid our allowances for almost two years now, thereby forcing us to fend for ourselves. Sometimes, we contribute N40 to N100 to buy few things to eat and survive. We eat once a day, yet they expect us to put in our best with empty stomachs. “We have submitted a number of forms in expectation that we would be paid, but

all proved abortive while some of my team mates devised another means of feeding themselves with less stress. If you were in our shoes, what would you do?, she queried. One of the security officers at the camp gate, who declined to disclose his identity for fear of losing his job, said “the rate at which cars are entering this place is escalating on daily basis; big people are coming to pick some of them. “If you look at the person in front of the car, it will be one of the faces you know here, while some will go out dressed in seductive dresses only to return midnight or early the following day”. According to him, the security men are also facing the adverse effects of the

The trainer having a word with some team members

queens’ plight because previously, the players would go to the market, buy food stuff, cook and bring food to them. “But now, how can you ask from the person that has not eaten to give you food now? It is impossible”, he stressed. Another player who declined to give her name said, what has stopped her from joining her team mates in the nocturnal escapades is that her parents often come to camp on weekly basis with food items and money for her upkeep. “I can’t engage in the indecent acts because my parents live in Abuja. How about others who don’t have parents in Abuja or those whose parents have died? It is my mother that saved me from this shame. For instance, if one does not have money and food to eat, there is no doubt I would sell my body to get what I want. We are appealing to the FCT authorities to come to our aid before it is too late. Our sufferings are crippling us”, she moaned. From all indications, the helpless players are hoping that one day, God would hearken to their prayers and deliver them from the hands of the oppressors, just as He did for the Israelites after 430 year captivity of their Egyptian masters. As the FCT Administration is even planning to disband the club, Inside FCT authoritatively gathered that the question on the lips of the players is: Will the FCT Administration disband them without offsetting their outstanding allowances? As the saying goes, only time will tell!

Day FCT triumphed at UN Forum the globe and recognised at the just-concluded 2013 United Nations Public Service Forum in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Despite the international politicking especially against Nigeria’s emergence, nobody can dare take this away from Nigeria, as it is a prize for hard work, dedication, perseverance and patriotism. Interestingly, since the commencement of this global competition about 10 years ago by the UN, this is the first time that Nigeria will be winning it. The award, meant to encourage good governance and improve the standard of living of ordinary persons worldwide has indeed brought FCT and Nigeria in general to the front burner. It is interesting that the United Nations is bestowing this award on FCTA, considering the fact that the UN does not give out award for award sake. The Federal Capital Territory came second in the public service delivery category while South Africa came first and Senator Mohammed, , received that prestigious award at the 2013 United Nations

SINCE THE COMMENCEMENT OF THIS GLOBAL COMPETITION ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO.., THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT NIGERIA WILL BE WINNING IT Public Service Forum on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at the National Theatre in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. The award was given to him in recognition of the performance of the FCT Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, of providing mobile health care service (Mailafiya) to the rural dwellers of the FCT who, before now, had no access to such services. Worthy of note is the fact that there were only 43 winners in all the categories, with Africa accounting for only six comprising Nigeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa. Mohammed on receiving the award, expressed gratitude to God for making the day possible, and expressed his appreciation to the Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan for his unwavering support, as well as the FCT MDG team for its

uncommon innovation to put smiles on the faces of ordinary people. He seized the opportunity to express happiness for being able to use the FCT MDG programme, Mailafiya, to touch the lives of ordinary residents of the FCT in the past have suffered neglect. Mohammed remarked that the award, which is a certification of excellence, is the highest award given by the United Nations, in a bid to instil confidence in the donors and development partners. “It is only an ill person that knows the true value of effective health care delivery and the FCT Administration will continue to improve on this achievement in consonance with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan. “Our vision in creating the ‘Mailafiya programme’ is to establish a World Class model

of Primary Health Care delivery through an integrated data managed mobile health strategy especially in the inaccessible areas of the 8,000 square kilometres that comprise the Federal Capital Territory”, said Mohammed. The minister revealed that the programme has afforded the FCTA the opportunity to reach out to the under-served like the rural poor; adding that Mailafiya is now a household name in the 336 communities of the territory who have been enjoying this quality service. Mohammed disclosed that over 85,000 patients have benefited from the Mailafiya programme since its inception over four years ago. He seized the opportunity to appreciate the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki Moon for the special interest he has in Primary Health Care delivery and recalled Ki-Moon last visit to Nigeria where he commissioned a Primary Health Care Centre in Dutse-Alhaji, a suburb of Abuja. The Bahrain Forum was a real opportunity for Nigeria to showcase some of its achievements and for the first time, Nigeria seized the golden opportunity to register its name in the annals of the UN rather than letting it slip by.


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Call to Worship “O ye who believe! When the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off all business. That is best for you, if you only knew.” HE WHO) OFFERS THE PRAYERS AND LISTENS QUIETLY WHEN THE IMAM STANDS UP FOR SERMON, WILL HAVE HIS SINS FORGIVEN BETWEEN THAT FRIDAY AND THE NEXT.”(BUKHARI)

Qur’an 44 V3 - 6 We sent it i (this ( hi Q Qur’an) ’ )d down on a blessed Night. Verily, We are ever warning (mankind of Our Torment). Therein (that Night) is decreed every matter of ordainment. Amran (i.e. a command or this Qur’an or His Decree of every matter) from Us. Verily, We are ever sending (the Messenger). A Mercy from your Lord. Verily! He is the AllHearer, the All-Knower.”

Our girls deserve the best 26

Spend quality time with your children-NASFAT Leader 28

Quintessence of Itikaaf 30


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Yaum al-Jumu’ah, Ramadan 17, 1434AH Friday, July 26, 2013

Call to Worship

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Call to Worship

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Spend quality time with your children –NASFAT Leader

…Says bride must be matured enough to give her consent willingly AISHA TITILAYO

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he Women Leader of the Nasrul-Lahil-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Alhaja Nofisat Arogundade has urged Muslim parents to always create quality time to interact with their children as a way of ensuring proper parenting. She gave this advice during an interview with National Mirror saying that; “How much quality time you spend with your children is also very important. Once they are on vacation, you have to get closer to the children

and assess them if the school is really working to expectations. One of the parents should fix his/her holiday to coincide with the period the children are on long vacation so as to have time to have better interaction with them, study them and be able to know how they are growing as well as new developments in their lives since they have left home.” She advised She explained that there are some parents who might not have enough time for their children due to the nature of work they do and said that it will be permissible if these par-

ents find good Islamic school for their children as there were cases of people who gave their children to foster mothers during the time of the Prophet (SAW). “However, the school should be one that will be able to care for the child just as the parents would do or even do better.” Once this is established, she added that it is better to take the children to good boarding schools rather than putting them under the care of an ignorant house-girl who should have been under parental care herself. “The only thing is that you should be sure of

L-R: Mrs. Qudrat Omolara Dada; Rev Fr. Michael Umoh; Acting Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General, Dehab Ghebreab and National Missioner, Fatiul-Quareeb Society of Nigeria, Sheik Abdurahman Adangba at the U.S. Consulate General’s Annual Ramadan Iftar event held in Lagos on Wednesday.

where you are sending your child to. Is it a place that will give the child the type of religion you expect or you use your hard earned money in a school where they now tell you your child cannot pray Salat in that school, where there is no Islamic education and where the child is not free to practise Islam.” Sadly enough, some parents don’t even want their children to come home at all and will often query the child why the school has gone on vacation instead of the parents to be happy on seeing their children back from school after several months of being away from them. She concluded that parents should be aware of the fact they are shepherds and they shall account for the sheep put in their care. Reacting to the issue of child marriage, she reiterated the need for families to commit themselves to proper training of the girl child to meet adequately the societal obligations. “In Islam, consent of the bride is very critical to consummation of marriage and the bride must be matured enough to give her consent willingly.”

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ACT WISELY

man asked Prophet Muhammad “What kinds of deeds are best in the sight of God?” He replied, “To pray on time, to be good and kind to parents, and to struggle in the path of God” (Al-Bukhari). The reward for being good and kind toward one’s par-

ents was mentioned on several occasions by Prophet Muhammad (Saw), emphasizing that those who are obedient to their parents and to God also will be in the highest places in Paradise. “And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents.”

Perpetrators of violence will be punished –Umar AISHA TITILAYO

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he Acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar has said that anybody found culpable in the recent ethno-religious violence in Ibi and Wukari Local Government Areas of the state would be brought to book. Umar said this on Thursday when the delegation of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) led by its Secretary-General, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede paid him a courtesy visit in Jalingo. It will be recalled that there have been recurrent attacks on Muslims in Ibi

and Wukari since Nov. 2012. “Many lives have been lost while over 1000 houses belonging to Muslims and 37 mosques were said to have been burnt.” Receiving the delegation, the Governor, who has since set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the crises, said the culprits would be punished accordingly to serve as a deterrent to others who might be contemplating violence in the state. Umar said justice would be done to all concerned in the crises, stressing that only culprits would be dealt with within the ambit of the law. According to him, the

crises in Wukari and Ibi were of utmost concern to his government, since no meaningful development can be achieved in a chaotic atmosphere. Earlier, Oloyede said the recurrent violence being perpetrated against Muslims in Ibi and Wukari was unacceptable to the NSCIA. He said the deliberate attempt to force Muslims out of Wukari and some other parts of the state would fail. The NSCIA SecretaryGeneral urged the governor to take adequate measures to protect the lives and properties of Muslims in the state. He commended the governor for setting up a judicial commission of in-

quiry on the crises, noting that justice must be done to victims by bringing the culprits to book. The NSCIA demanded that Muslims who suffered losses in the unprovoked attacks should be adequately compensated by the government and urged the governor to ensure that everybody gets justice, noting that Islam demands that justice must be done to all, irrespective of religious differences. Oloyede prayed for the quick recovery of the ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai and urged politicians to always uphold fairness and avoid selective justice.

L-R: The Operations Manager, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Mallam Ma’aruf Ahmad presenting bags of rice for Iftar Saaim (feeding of fasting Muslims) to the Chief Imam of Zumratu Islamiyyah Society of Nigeria.


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Proper knowledge is key to piety –Arogundade What advice do you have for the Muslim The National Women Affairs Secretary of NASFAT, Alhaja Nofisat women this Ramadan period as regards Arogundade bares it all in this interview with our Reporter, AISHA combining going to work with attending to house chores as well as taking care of TITILAYO on coping mechanisms in Ramadan, parenting, child themselves so as to be appealing to their marriage and a lot more. husbands? We thank Allah for giving us the benefit of Ramadan; the month of rejuvenation, revert, the month of mercy. Ramadan is a great opportunity and during this period, abstinence from food is not the major issue but the volume of work during this month because Ramadan has to go with Quranic reading, we have many nawafils to observe. To prepare Iftar for many people if you can afford it i.e. you invite people to come and break their fasts in your house. In this case, you contract such out to caterers to do the job for you. As regards the normal food you eat in your homes, you can cook much during weekend and put in the freezer so that you can micro wave whenever you want to eat but you know that Ramadan puts extra pressure on women because they have to wake up to make the food, they will want to observe Nawafil as well and also read the Qur’an. There is usually Salat negligence on the part of women all in the name of preparing Iftar or taking care of the house. What do you have to say about this? It is rewarding because women still get extra rewards for preparing food for their husbands, knowing this alone keeps you going. But that doesn’t mean you should leave your Salat. You can even observe your Nawafil too since there is no specific number of rakat. You can even make your own Nawafil shorter so as to cover up for some other things you might want to do. Your food should have been ready before Arogundade the time for break of fast so that you can cation. Islam is a religion of knowledge. It just take your fruits, observe Magrib be- emphasizes education. By the time educacause time for Magrib is so short, then you tion came to the developing world, the cocan have your food. lonial masters made it a kind of exchange You need to plan your time very well. in which you renounce your religion and And for those that have grown up children, have education. This accounted for why you have to train them too so that they will our people felt that the white man should be able to assist along the line and they will go away with his education if they had to still be useful for themselves as married take another religion before they could get women. educated. Islam does not say we should not have What can you say about the attitude of education.. We also note that there is nothMuslims towards quality education? ing in science that has not been mentioned The very first verse of the holy Qur’an in the Qur’an. So it is something that we all that was revealed to the Prophet (SAW) is; have to take very seriously. ‘Read in the name of your Lord who creates’. We all know that Islam is emphasiz- What is your advice to parents? ing on education, you have to know God Allah promises never to give us a burbefore you can serve Him well. When you den that we cannot bear, we should all talk of education, some are of the opinion know that Islam has its own way of famthat you should only have the Islamic edu- ily planning. We don’t need to have the cation and not the western education but children that the family cannot take care we ask ourselves that if the Prophet (SAW) of and when Islam teaches us to wean our has enjoined us to go as far as China to babies for two years, by the time a woman seek knowledge, is it the Islamic education breastfeeds exclusively, in most cases, preghe referred to? Definitely No. we all know nancy doesn’t occur. If you want your chilthat no community can grow if they don’t dren to have the proper understanding of take education seriously. So, Islam encour- Islam and you want to take pride in them, ages education. Even when you look at the you need to get your priority right because Qur’an itself, there are so many things Islam says it is your duty and responsibilthat are there that the scientists are just ity to take care of your children. Then it is discovering after so many years that Allah wrong to have children that you just throw has revealed them to the Prophet (SAW) away and you don’t even know where the and mentioned in the holy Qur’an. Also of child is. Islam teaches us to take care of importance is that the first university in our children, you have to spend on them the whole world was in an Islamic country. i.e. it is the responsibility of the father to Architecture started with Islam. All these spend on the children and let them grow show you that Islam does not relegate edu- with love. The problem now is that because

NO COMMUNITY CAN

GROW IF THEY DON’T TAKE EDUCATION SERIOUSLY people have children beyond what they can take care of, they throw them away; some cage them, some abandon them, some even take them to relatives who in turn engages these children in child abuse; child labour and all sorts of things. Islam does not say that you should have children that you will not cater for; rather, Islam says it is your responsibility to take care of them. We have to emphasize it that it is the parents’ responsibilities to nurture the children to be pride of Islam. They should know that Allah will ask every caretaker about the people under his care. A man will be asked about the people of his household. You should nurture then to be good in this world and be able to attain al-Jannah (Paradise). Islam emphasized proper parenting. What is your view on taking kids to boarding school? You know we all should be responsible and we all have responsibilities. Taking children to boarding school depends on the type of that boarding school. There are some Islamic boarding schools. If because of the nature of work you cannot attend to your children properly, then you can take them to Islamic boarding schools. As we

have cases during the time of the Prophet (SAW), people who gave their children to foster mothers. The only thing is that you should be sure of where you are sending your child to. Is it a place that will give the child the type of religion you expect or you use your hard earned money in a school where they now tell you your child cannot observe Salat in that school, where there is no Islamic education and where the child is not free to practise Islam. So every parent should be responsible and take good care of the children. You being a shepherd for your family, you will be asked how you took care of your flock. So such boarding school should be one that will nurture them in the way you will take care of them at home, if not better. Any moral or psychological effect on children taken to boarding schools? I will be emphatic. My children did not go to boarding house because I have the time, I have chosen a job that will allow me to have time for my family and I never experienced boarding school myself except when I was in the university that I was outside my home. From what I’ve heard and read about boarding schools, I know they have regulated time; time for siesta, prep, etc which allows room for discipline. If there is a good boarding school, it is better than leaving the children to the care of an ignorant house girl who is supposed to be under parental care herself. You should be able to grade such school if it will be able to give your child what you want. How much time you spend with your children is also very important. Once they are on vacation, you get closer to the children and assess them if the school is really working to expectations. One of the parents should fix his/her holiday to coincide with the period the children are on long vacation so as to have time to have better interaction with them, study them and be able to know how they are growing as well as new developments in their lives since they have left home. We can also make sure that the Parents’ Teachers’ Association (PTA) monitors the quality of education given to their children. Education is holistic; moral, academic. How best should spouses relate? The best way to relate with each other is to have the fear of Allah because Islam says you should do to others what you want to be done to you. If it is a home built on the pillar of Islam, built on the fear of Allah, then everything around you will be with the fear of Allah. Even if someone offends you, you will be willing to forgive because Allah is a God of Love. We should all build a home with virtues of Islam, a home resting on the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) because he is the best example for us; how he related with his wives. The husband has responsibilities which are the rights of the wife and vice versa, you should endeavour to respect each other’s rights and not deny these rights. A Muslim home should be the best. It is also important to note that the husband is the head of the family and the wife should be submissive. This does not mean that the wife is a slave but we should have mutual respect for each other. When a wife has more than the husband, she should CONTINUED ON PAGE 32


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Call to Worship

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t is a fact that this world is very glittering. Man is desirously in the quest to amass its delicacies. This has most often than not made him to neglect or even forget his duties to his Lord. Unfortunately, he closes his eyes to the reality of departing the world which began the moment he was born. As he grows older, he gets nearer to his grave. He may not live to sixty years before he answers death’s summon. It puts all on equal footing. Every¬thing that lives must die. The male and female, the old and the young, believer and the unbeliever, the Muslims and the nonMuslims, the righteous and the unrighteous; the knowledgeable and the ignorant, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the healthy and the sick, the king and the subject, the oppressor and the oppressed are all equal before death. Nobody will die except that he is shown his place in Hell or Paradise. Every

Yaum al-Jumu’ah, Ramadan 17, 1434AH Friday, July 26, 2013

Quintessence of Itikaaf IT IS REALLY A FULFILLING TIME TO CAST AWAY ALL WORLDLY DISTUR-

BANCES. YOU BECOME A

TRUE SERVANT OF ALLAH person will suffer the pang of death in proportion to the quality of his deeds. While it will be light on the believers, it will be hard on the unbelievers. The depar¬ture of the soul from the body is very painful indeed. The time has come for man to return to His Lord and render ac¬counts of all his deeds. He

Blessed Night of Laelatul-Quadr

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he holy month of Ramadan is gradually coming to an end. There is a night in the month which is better than eighty-three years and four months; it is called LaelatulQuadr. Based on the teachings of the holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW), the night occurs during the last ten days of Ramadan, possibly on one of the odd-numbered nights. It happens to be a night of great importance and unprecedented blessings for Muslims. It must be noted that only the followers of the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) were favoured with a night of this great reward. It was reported that this night was granted in order to enable Muslims to equal the worship of any people who lived before us because people used to live long before unlike now where we live much shorter lifes. For example, if in a lifetime, a Muslim worshipped on Laelatul Quadr ten times, he would have equalled eight hundred and thirty three years of worship. Signs of this special night are but not limited to peaceful, neither hot nor cold night, clear moon shinning but with no rays, no shooting stars in the night and at sunrise the sun will rise without beams of light. Chapter 97, verses 1 – 5 of the glorious Qur’an reveals the details of this night. Part of it reads thus: “...Surely, We sent it down on the Night of Destiny. And what should make thee know what the Night of Destiny is? The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months. Therein descend angels and the spirit by the command of their Lord- with every matter. It

is all peace till the rising of the dawn.” This is the more reason why some Muslims use to observe I’tikaf during the last ten days so that the full benefits can be maximised. I’tikaf means staying in the central mosque for the purpose of worshipping Allah. It is the sunnah of the holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and he never abandoned this practice until his death. The essence of I’tikaf is the uncertainty that surrounds the exact day of LaelatulQuadr which has abundant blessings. Generally, the aims of I’tikaf are seeking Laelatul-Quadr, being alone with Allah, keeping away from people as much as possible so that one may be entirely focused on Allah, remembering Him for the purification of one’s heart, praying & reading of the holy Qur’an, protecting one’s fast from one’s selfish desires that could affect it and reducing one’s involvement in permissible worldly matters. Muslims should endeavour to observe two rakats of prayers on this night and seek Allah’s forgiveness and blessings thereafter. Laelatul-Quadr is key and Muslims should exploit the unprecedented blessings which it possesses. Sheikh Abdul Gannyy Umar Arikunkewu is the Founder/National Chief Missioner of Jublatu Rohfatu Llahi Islamic Society of Nigeria (JUBFAT) Sheikh Abdul Ganniyy Umar Arikunkewu is the Founder/National Chief Missioner of Jubatu Rohfatu Llahi Islamic Society Of Nigeria (JUBFAT)

Amir, JUBFAT Youth Wing, Bro. Mujeeb Adebayo, (left) presenting gift items to an official of the motherless baby home called Tunji Adebayo Foundation (TAF), Fagba, Lagos State while others watch.

must part with his beloved wives, chil¬dren, family and friends. He will bid this world adieu and proceed to that of loneliness in the grave. He will leave his wealth behind for others to inherit and travel with his deeds to the unknown abode. When a believer is about to die, angels of mercy will descend to him with their shinning faces. They will bring a shroud and perfume from AI-Jannah. Then, the angel of death will come, sit by his head and say: ‘0 you pure soul, go out to the forgiveness and pleasure from your Lord’. As the soul quits the body, they will not let it stay for a mo¬ment in the hand of the angel of death until they have taken and kept it in the white cloth they have brought. They will ascend with it to Allah (SWT) who will welcome it and ask them to keep it in the Illiyyin, special place for the righteous ones. As for the unbelievers, some angels will also come to him, but with stinking black c1othe. After the soul has departed from the body, they will keep it in the cloth they have brought and ascend with it to Allah (SWT). He will reject it and ask them to keep it in the Sijjiin, a horrible place for the evil ones. When man is eventually laid in his grave and covered with the earth, the soul is restored back to the body. Two angels will appear to him with an iron rod, which can pow¬der a mountain. They will ask him three questions: Who is your God? What do you know about Prophet Muhammad? What is your religion? If he fails to answer them

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satisfactorily, he will be severely beaten with the rod. His cries will be heard by all except men and Jinn. Thereafter, the soul will be suffering or enjoying until the resurrection day. The itikaaf during the month of Ramadan remains the only time when man is effectively able to rescue himself from the clutch of this glittering world and prepare for the world beyond. For those who know the value, they want every blessed day to be Ramadanic. This is impossible as life itself is transient, hence, the quintessence of taking the advantage of the period of itikaaf to further enrich the soul. Beyond the search for laylatul-qadr which is equivalent to one thousand months, it is really a fulfilling time to cast away all worldly disturbances. You become a true servant of Allah (SWT). You are able to devote your whole life to your Lord. You are able to interact with fellow Muslims in the masjid sharing things and having feelings for one another. You have more time for reading and reflecting over the Qur’aan. You have ample time to observe more and longer nawaafil. You feel the ebullience of spirituality. You must strictly note that itikaaf time is not for backbiting. It is not a place to go and sleep or while away the time. It is not a place to litter the masjid. It is a time to observe all its etiquettes. There should be proper organization of affairs, things and persons. Every itikaaf point must have coordinators. We must, however, be security conscious. All must not always sleep at night, there should be schedule of guards. There have been reported cases of unknown persons who come to steal different items in the garb of joining the itikaaf. Every participant should be known and identified. With the trend in the country, we must take security very important in the days and nights of the itikaaf, especially during resting time. Every stranger must be apprehended. I wish you all a successful itikaaf . Dr. Zafaran is the Director, Vanguards Academy

ZAKAT IS 2.5% OF YOUR TOTAL WEALTH KNOWN AS NISAB AFTER HAVING FULFILLED ALL OBLIGATIONS. PAY YOUR ZAKAT

Knowledge makes you immortal Hazrat Ali said in poems:

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lory is due to none other than to the learned. Guided are they and proofs to the seekers of guidance. Everybody is honoured proportionate to his knowledge, But the illiterate are disgraced, as enemies of the learned. Acquire knowledge, you will be immortal. All men are dead, only the learned are alive. The sage Ibn Aswad said: Nothing is more honourable than knowledge. While the kings rule over the people, the learned rule over the kings. Hazrat Ibn Mobarak was asked: Who are men? He replied: The learned, He was again asked: Who are kings? He replied: The ascetics. He was again asked: Who are the meanest? He said: Those who exchange the religion for the world. He did not consider anybody as a man except the learned, knowledge distinguishes men from the lower animals and it is only for knowledge that men are honoured. This honour is not due to a man for his physical strength, because a camel is physically stronger than a man. This honour is not for his large body as the body of an elephant is bigger than that of a man. This honour is

Reflections until Al Fajr with

Ustadh Abdulwaarith

Some poetry line, something on grace and a glimpse of Imam Al-Ghazali culled from Ihya Ulumddin

not on account of his bravery as a ferocious beast is braver than a man. This honour is not for his strength of too much eating as the stomach of an oxe is bigger than that of a man. This honour is not for his strength of sexual passion as a sparrow has got more strength for coition than that of a man. This honour of a man is on account of his knowledge and intellect. The Holy Prophet said: Whoever has been given the Quran and thinks that any one has been given something better, he has degraded what God has exalted. Once the saint Fathul Musolli was asked: Does not a sick man die for want of food, drink and medicine? The people said: Yes, He said: Such is the condition of heart. When the heart is not given wisdom and knowledge for three consecutive days, it dies. It is a veritable truth that the food of the heart is knowledge and wisdom.


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London and Dubai want Islamic finance crown

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L-R: Former Speaker Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Taofeek AbdulSalam; Prof. Isiaq Amao of FUTA; former chairman of Muslim Welfare Board, Alhaji Ibrahim Jimoh; Chief Imam of Akure Kingdom, Alhaji AbdulAkeem Akorede and Alhaji AbdulFatai Balogun during the 13th Ramadan lecture organised by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in Akure-Ondo State.

‘Embrace true Islamic virtues’ HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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uslims faithful have been urged to embrace the true virtues and teachings of Islam as prescribed in the Holy Qur’an by Allah and the teachings of the great Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) This call was made by Barr. Raji Asmomwiy Olayinka at the 2013 Ramadan lecture, organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Ondo State Chapter. Speaking on the topic; “Islamic Re- awakening: Embracing the Truth and Discarding Arrogance of knowledge”, the scholar enjoined all Muslims to seek knowledge in order to understand the virtues of Islam which will serve as a guiding light in understanding Islam. He noted that despite the blessings of God upon those dwelling in the modern day world which made knowledge readily available at their finger tips, most people still find it difficult to seek for knowledge in understanding the religion. He said that technological advances have facilitated the speed and ease with which information and content is created, recorded, shared and propagated across geographi-

cal locations spanning hundreds of thousands of miles which are in form of video, books, articles that can be accessed at anytime while people still see this as a task in seeking knowledge. The cleric noted that most Muslims intellects who should be involve in handling down knowledge to the younger generation in the country by playing a motivational role no longer openly identify with Islam because of economic reason. He cited an instance in a University within the country where only one lecturer was bold to attend an Islamic function in the school because most of the Muslim lecturers in the school lied about their religion in securing jobs. He made it know that all these are temporal measure put in place only to secure their daily bread in this world forgetting the hereafter and said Allah who created them knew what they will become even before their creation urging them to believe that Allah will always be there to provide for their needs if they believe in Him. He enjoined Muslims to seek for knowledge about their faith to understand the virtues and teaching of the Holy Qur’an as this will help them to understand the promise

of Allah for His faithful. He also encouraged faithful to move closer to their Creator and not to desist from good deeds saying Allah has a way of compensating our good deeds. “As human beings, we are always in hurry to reap the fruits of our good deeds but Allah knows best. I want you to believe that Allah rewards every good deed but just don’t be in a hurry for He knows what is best for us.” He also advised those seeking for knowledge not to be arrogant, as this could lead to destruction but urged them to learn to share, teach and impact on others. “Learn to impact positively so that people could see you as role models, teachers, trainers and motivators for the people to whom God message was

sent.” He however said it is very important for those seeking for knowledge to be humble noting that scholars are inheritors of the Prophet. Also speaking at the occasion, the Chief Imam of Akure Kindom, Alhaji AbdulAkeem Akorede urged Muslim faithful to continue to strive towards development of Islam and embrace peace at all times saying Islam means peace. The Chairman of the ocassion, Prof. Isiaq of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) urged the people to continue with good deeds even after the month of Ramadan and enjoined them to exhibit love within their community saying “Love for all, hatred for none” as being taught by Ahmadiyya doctrines.

ondon and Dubai are competing for the title of the biggest Islamic finance listing centre in the western world. But their financial firms are also cooperating in ways that a decade ago would have seemed unlikely. Dubai, in fact, this year launched its boldest challenge yet to London’s lead in Sharia financing. Dubai set out in January its plans to become the “capital” of the Islamic industry, with global rules to enforce standards on industries as diverse as Sharia finance, halal food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and charitable endowments. Plans for a UK sovereign sukuk may have been shelved, but the British government recently established an Islamic finance task force, intended to rejuvenate the UK’s Sharia-compliant industry. For HSBC, the British banking giant that is the biggest underwriter of sukuk worldwide, it helps to have a foot in each city, Simon Cooper, the bank’s regional chief executive, said last week. The British capital - described last month as the “eighth emirate” of the federation by Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, because of the large number of UAE nationals who travel there during the summer - is also presenting opportunities for the increasingly healthy UAE banking sector. “As far as London perspective, we’ve said we want to build up our wholesale banking operations, treasury markets and the private bank. That’s a key

component there,” he said. He added that the bank was a key supporter of Dubai’s Islamic initiatives. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the UK and the potential gains from Sharia-compliant industries are attracting companies including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. The lender has established a private banking centre at One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, one of the most exclusive addresses in the capital, where large numbers of the very wealthy reside. The 2.7 million Muslims in England and Wales represent the second-biggest religious group after Christians, according to official census data from 2011. Hussain Al Qemzi, who sits on the board of a Dubai committee tasked with overseeing the development of the emirate’s Islamic economy, has said that there is no reason why Dubai could not take London’s crown as the biggest listing centre for sukuk. Dubai’s government, Emirates Airline and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority have raised a total of US$2.75 billion through listings on the Nasdaq Dubai and the Dubai Financial Market, according to data from Bloomberg. So far, Dubai is way ahead London, which raised four times more than Dubai with $9.7bn in listings last year, has listed no sukuk at all this year. That said, Dublin’s efforts to swipe a greater share of the sukuk industry from London are bearing fruit the Irish Stock Exchange has listed $5.75bn so far this year.

Dubai Crown Prince launches Islamic banking centre

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heikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, just launched the Dubai Centre for Excellence in Islamic Banking and Finance as part of the drive to make the emirate the world’s Islamic economy capital. Students will be able to study for a master’s and foundation certificates in Islamic banking and finance through the centre, which will be part of the

Hamdan bin Mohammed e-University. “The launch of the Dubai Centre for Excellence in Islamic Banking and Finance is a significant boost to the Islamic economy sector in the UAE, and a major step forward in the economic development agenda of Dubai,” said Sheikh Hamdan, who is also the chairman of Dubai Executive Council and president of the e-University.

The announcement follows the unveiling of a plan in January by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, for the emirate to become the “global capital” of the Islamic economy. The wide-ranging initiative included a Sharia Council to oversee standards in Islamic finance, an arbitration centre to resolve disputes in Islamic contracts, and a drive to

boost production of Halal food in Dubai. The centre will represent a further cornerstone of the strategy, officials said. It will conduct research to “advance the professional and theoretical foundation for Islamic banking and finance”. The centre will also play a role in improving access to Islamic banking and finance education for the wider community in the Arab world.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Mirror Mongers

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gauging Ahmed Yerima’s libido I f there was a machine to measure libido (‘libidometre’..?), perhaps Senator Ahmed Yerima would be leading the pack of Nigerian politicians in this regard. This seems to be the impression of many Nigerians following the comments credited to him lately over underaged marriage. Many seem to be wondering why in Yerima’s 14 year-long sojourn in the corridors of power in this dispensation (eight years as a governor and six years as a senator) he has made more headlines over issues pertaining to sex than governance. Sometime in 2003, Yerima came to the consciousness of Nigerians when a popular tabloid dubbed him a ‘Super Stud’, in a cover story that narrated how four of his wives were pregnant at the same time! As if that was not enough, Yerima made headlines again for getting mar-

ried to the 13-year-old daughter of his Egyptian driver, whom he could not consummate his marriage with in Egypt because of the strict Child Rights laws in their country. In a similar fashion, Yerima is on the front burner again over yet another issue that has to do with exercising the power of libido. His comments over the debate in the Senate as regards the age of consent are sending several vibes around the country. Yes, he was credited to have also prescribed under-aged marriage as one of the ways out of the menace of prostitution and abortions. Yerima also ratified the concept of ‘Run Girls’ amongst university undergraduates by stating that politicians often ‘bring Coaster buses to convey students to their wild parties’. Of course, the senator said he would happily give away his six year old daughter in marriage, but MM gathered that at

the moment, four of his daughters are studying in universities abroad, giving credence to the cliché that some people may not be practicing what they are preaching indeed.

Uche Ekwunife’s campaign of posters

Shan George ‘in’ concert

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igerian actresses are trying their best to be relevant in the music industry. Of course, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jolade Ekeinde and even Tonto Dike have all walked this path, leaving variegated impressions. Shan George is also doing so now, and has been trying hard to get people react to her work. Or is it her works reacting to people? Well, she proved this last week while attending (and also performing) at a concert held in Abuja for Terry G’s new album, Book of Ginjah. Shan, a mother of two boys in their mid 20s, was donning ‘micro- mini’ shorts and black body-hugging top which spawned a lot of stares. But that was not as daunting as the sight of the actress being ‘fed’ some liquor by Skales, a rising rap artiste signed to EME recording label. He is after all as young as her sons.

Yerima

Shan George on stage

Shan being ‘fed’ some liquor by Skales

onourable Uche Ekwunife is upbeat again about becoming the next governor of Anambra State. At the moment, she is the only woman who has so expressed her desires for the plum job in the state. MM gathered that of the other contestants, she is the one whose posters are everywhere in Awka, in spite of the buzz that her party may have zoned their governorship to Anambra North, which seems to be a stumbling block for Uche who hails from the same location as the incumbent Governor, Peter Obi. In spite of the feelers that Uche Ekwun-

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Lessons on seeking expert advice

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vents in the recent past have shown that Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, who is reputed to have appointed hundreds of special advisers in one swoop, does not have the monopoly of seeking advice in the most uncouthly manner. Yes, not after Ikedi Ohakim (former Governor of Imo State) was prompted to name Okey Bakassi, Special Adviser right inside an event at the Nightshift Coliseum, Ikeja; and promptly followed by his successor, Rochas Okorocha who also named Uche Ogbuagu, another comedian as SA (Entertainment and Chief Comedian of the State) while the comedian was ‘emceeing’ his inauguration at Owerri. Seriake Dickson, the Governor of Bayelsa State (whose predecessor, Timipreye Sylva has accused of incompetence) proved this last week during the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant which held in Yenagoa. Like a jolt out of the blues, the governor who confessed to Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde on stage that ‘seeing you face to face today, I now know why they call you Omo Sexy, elevated the status of the new queen, to that of the Special Adviser on Tourism and Culture. Even if the queen, who is 18, has with her instant victory become experienced in tourism and culture issues to advice a governor, people are wondering if that would not distract her reign as a queen and vice versa. The organisers of the pageant have often tried in the past to decentralise the crown in anticipation of such distractions.

Ekwunife

ife is campaigning seriously, the buzz is also that she is also indirectly seeking the post of the deputy governor which, she feels should be appropriated to a woman. She has, however, been putting her mouth where her posters are in Awka.

ONE-SECOND Q&A

Dickson and MBGN 2013

ATIKU ABUBAKAR

The National Assembly has come under serious criticisms by Nigerians for attempting to amend the Constitution to favour the marriage of minors. Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar reacts to the issue: What’s your take on the ChildNotBride saga?

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Abubakar

s a father, I’ve never given out my daughters in marriage before university graduation. It’s a personal decision. I had earlier stated my personal choices on the child marriage issue; I have always supported our women and children. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not support any constitutional provision which creates ambiguities about the age of consent for marriage. It is, therefore, very inspiring to see young Nigerians active and organised on ChildNotBride. I’m proud to see an engaged generation at work.


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’Denrele Day Adenrele Niyi Denrele’s Day is a collection of witty & sincere articles inspired by a zany imagination

denrele@nationalmirroronline.net

P

08059100422 (SMS only)

lease pardon the lengthy headline, I tried but failed at brevity; the topic calls for thorough analysis. I am directly affected and the safety of my unborn daughters is at risk. This is my cry for help! Only a fortnight ago, I read the distressing news of a 16-yearold girl sexually assaulted by an adult neighbour but at the end of the news report, I seethed with rage (on the hapless girl’s behalf) at the outcome. The defiled girl’s father had sought legal redress –what naturally is expected of a protective and right-thinking parent– choosing the lawful penalty for such a heinous infringement of the right of another rather than arbitrary dispensation of jungle justice. The court had admitted the case and was in seating over it when ‘lo and behold’, the father made an absurd and incredulous turnaround requesting to drop the case. His reason?... The ‘paedophile rapist’ had offered to marry the girl and this, for baffling reasons, appeased the father to ‘gift’ his daughter in marriage (?) to a ‘paedophile rapist’ like a soiled rag made unsightly by filth. May I summarily point out that this case happened in Southern Nigeria several days before the Senate dumped on our laps the tinder-box of amending the legal marriageable of Nigerian females from 18 years to 0 month (#cough# i.e. in the process of amending the age at which a citizen could renounce his or her ‘Nigerianess’). In other words, if the amendment sails through as voted for by 60 senators in the ‘hallowed’ chambers, an unborn female child in Nigeria has her marital fate signed, and sealed (no pun intended) from the instant she is born with female genitalia. Perchance a marriage proposal is not forthcoming on her name-giving day, she is in enormous danger of being preyed upon by child-sexing deviants with the eventual legal recompense of marrying her –case closed. Thus, the assailant of a disadvantaged person is not only legally absolved of blame, but he is further awarded control of his victim’s life from then on. Talk about adding salt to injury; I now truly appreciate African-Americans’ soul-deep pain on hearing of the verdict of not guilty for the killer in the Trayvon-Zimmerman murder trial in the US. If this isn’t female stigmatisation and subversion of the rights of women in Nigeria, I don’t know what else is. It is pathetic enough that a father,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Anatomy of a paedophilic legislature

the God-ordained defender, provider and protector of a child– girl or boy– will so easily abdicate his blood-binding influence over a little girl for the title of ‘in-law’ and the monetary gratification accompanying the ‘sale’ of a young bride. But what scares me to bits and literarily ‘slaps the jinn out of me’ -to quote from a self-serving diatribe credited to Senator Ahmed Yerima on why the child bride legislature is not wrong, is the culpability of our high realm of government –lawmakers– to contemplate empowering some emotionally and sexually emasculated men to reinvent their ‘mojo’ by viciously ripping through a little girl’s hymen and traumatising her developing vagina walls in the repeated ordeal of spousal copulation. Let’s not even go into the horrors of pregnancy in so young a body and childbirth in such underdeveloped birth canal. Small wonder Nigeria has the world’s highest incidences of the undignifying female condition called Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF; with an estimated 400,000 to 800,000 cases and 20,000 new cases added each year. Modern science does not spend millions of donor money and many years researching the anatomy of the human body for kicks or because it is oil derivation money that must be expended one way or another! If science tells us at certain ages the female mind, emotion and body is not fully functional for a setting more suited for mature females, then you better believe it! If Senator Yerima’s argument were to be held up under the light of scrutiny on basis of faith, morals, physiology, psychology and culture, the sanctimonious insights supporting his viewpoint would be dimmed by the super nova illumination of superior counter views. Nevertheless, I’d like to bend a little by agreeing with our dear senator from Zamfara State that indeed, sexual promiscuity and decadence is eroding moral values among females. An illustration which capitalises on the contemporary high maintenance girlfriend culture

and personally irks me is a running advert on radio for a mobile money operator, whose name I would refrain from revealing. Whoever developed the advert concept and the company whose services it promotes must have agreed in totality with the underlying message: girls are now being financially sustained by their boyfriends/lovers rather than by parental figures. The male voice-over artiste laments about how he is unable to meet his girlfriend’s cheddah demands until he hears about the mobile money operator and viola! girlfriend is financially happy and ‘maga’ boyfriend is happy. I think it takes a subtle general swipe at women and I’m surprised feminist groups are yet to protest over this one like they did for ‘Mama Na Boy’! However, the key issue is that the explosion of libertine attitudes is two-way. Morally depraved men need like-minded women to fulfil their raging libido and vice versa... truth is for both genders, some happenings in their past is usually a catalyst to sexual deviance. So, baby girls and boys are not born with atendency-to-naughtiness genes (reality check homosexuals). Giving him some credit, Ahmed Yerima has implied that his over-riding desire for marrying his Egyptian driver’s daughter at age 13 was to protect her from evil sexual forces out there and this remains his motivation for pushing the no-age-limit to marriage. My dear legislator, I respect your benevolent gesture but perhaps you could consider this option as more palatable: Adoption! That’s what a goodhearted man, moved by Agape and not Eros, would do to protect a girl child at economic disadvantage; become her father figure not husband figure. You don’t look at a pubertal female and visualise her in your bed, while crooning to her in Wizkid’s melodic singing voice “sexy mama, oya ka marry mama, kia mo sa mama” (sexy babe, let’s get marry babe, quickly babe). When these kinds of sexual thoughts readily pop up in your head, then you, and no one else, should be on the receiving end of multiple ‘jinn’ removing slaps! Love and peace for the weekend. Footnote: Jinn: In Arabian and Muslim folklore jinns are ugly and evil demons having supernatural powers Maga: a Nigerian slang word for someone who is an unwitting financial benefactor. Cheddah: A slang word for money.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

CLAPPERBOARD with

Eddie Ugbomah www.edifosafilm.com

Nigerian artistes must fight for themselves

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he Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Theatre management are doing their best to stop Bureau of Private Enterprises, BPE, from giving out the National Theatre and the grounds for N28bn when the place is worth N164bn. But theatre management and Chief Edem Duke are not carrying stakeholders along; that is why Nigerian artistes and art writers must come together to stop the sale of our National Theatre. The artistes must get up and salvage the National Theatre and let the BPE know that we are aware of what is going on. I was informed about the political intrigues in the management of the National Theatre and when I tried to get facts from the General Manager, he was not forthcoming. The General Manager should not forget that we are relevant. For example, two Fridays ago, the National Theatre was a beehive of activities as movie practitioners –both old and young– under different names gathered for the Movie Makers Hall of Fame Induction event. GTop producers, directors, guild presidents and governors like Zik Okafor and Ajala Jalugo were there. So also giving their support was Prof. Hyginus Ekwuaze; Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Duro Oni and Prof. Babawale. Our Patron, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, was there. NigerianAmerican Titi Abiola, collected M.K.O. Abiola’s posthumous Certificate of Induction. The mother of the night, Ms. Patricia Bala came all the way from Jos to grace the event and was inducted into the hall of fame as a fellow, while Emeka Mba, Adeniran Gbinigi, Duro Oni, Fidelis Duker, Dejumo Lewis, Femi Robinson, Ajala Jalingo, Bob Davies, Zack Orji, Chico Ejiro, Kabiru Yusuf, Tarila Thompson and Andy Boyo were all inducted as members. Papers were presented by Prof. Ekwuaze, former Managing Director of Nigerian Film Corporation, NFC; Prof. Duro Oni; Prof. Babawale (presented by Mr. Idowu) and a speech delivered by Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi. A lot of people to be inducted did not show up and

NIGERIAN

ARTISTES DON’T KNOW THEIR

POWER, SO THEY END UP WAITING FOR HAND-OUTS AND PEANUTS some special guests failed to come too. The attitude of these people doesn’t surprise me; after all they got us cheap. Those who are fighting to grab National Theatre are spending fortunes but the hard work being carried out at the theatre by the management may not be appreciated if the theatre is not used or busy seven days a week. TVC, STV, AIT, Channels and National Mirror contributed to the success of the Induction Night, but how about the digital satellite TV stations in the country? They don’t care to support or encourage our activities yet they use our films and programme in more than 37 countries earning dollars and paying us peanuts in naira. The good news is that a Nigerian based in America has arrived and will go to the film village for the shooting of the epic film, “Adaka Boro”, so all is not lost yet. But the Nigerian artistes must all wake up and fight for their rights. Soon, all the political parties will be approaching the artistes for campaigns. The Nigerian artistes don’t know their power, so they end up waiting for handouts and peanuts. The directors, Board of Trustees have unanimously agreed to make Mr. President our Grand Patron as a sign showing our appreciation for his contribution to Nollywood. However, the atrocities other politicians are committing now –their lies and stealing, will soon catch up will all of us because as a film maker I have documented all their activities and recorded all their lies. We will make very big movies that would educate the Nigerian populist. This is one of the reasons we should have historical centres because if we don’t have places for research, these liars will get away with murder.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

People In The Mirror

Friday, July 26, 2013

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Reuben Abati buries mum in Abeokuta

L-R: Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Lemo; former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Minister of Works, Chief Adeseye Ogunlewe and Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikemeuna Okoye.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati recently pulled a crowd of top government functionaries, politicians, media executives and notable Nigerians to Ogun State for the two-day funeral ceremony (July 18 and 19) held for his late mother, Madam Maria Taiwo Abati. The church service which was held on Friday, July 19 at St. John’s Anglican Church, Igbein, Abeokuta, Ogun State was well-attended by invited guests.

Chorister of St. John’s Anglican Church in a special composition for the occasion

L-R: Ogun State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Yusuff Olaniyonu; Mr. Bolaji Odebiyi and Sunday Editor, ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Tunde Rahman.

L-R: Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Mrs. Abati and her husband, Reuben.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku (l) and wife of the Publisher of The Guardian Newspaper, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru.

Reuben Abati (m) and other family members during the dust-to-dust rite at the grave side.

Daily Editor, National Mirror, Seyi Fasugba (l) and Dr. Abati.

Daily Editor, The Guardian, Martins Oloja; former Editor, Mr. Lade Bonuola and former Sunday Editor, Mr. Fred Ohwawa.

L-R: Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ali Gulak; Presidential aide, Mr. Oronto Douglas; Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Mike Oghiadomhe and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun at the funeral service.

Chief Ayo Adebanjo (l) and Corporate Affairs Manager, Con Oil, Mr. Biodun Azeez. PHOTOS: BAYOOR EWUOSO

Akintayo and Adesoye family unite in wedlock I was a roll It ll call ll off who-is-who h i h in i the h academia d i when Dr. Olufemi Akintayo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Lagos, gave his daughter, Mofoluke out in marriage to her sweet heart, Oladipupo Adesoye at the St. Peters Anglican Church, Idimu-Lagos. Reception followed at the Ademoj Events Hall, Lagos.

Dr. Olufemi Akintayo, father of the bride, (3rd right) with dignitaries at the wedding ceremony.

Groom, Oladipupo and bride, Mofoluke, flanked by members of the bridal train.


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Arty News

D’Banj, Olamide, debut on ‘The Trek’

Friday, July 26, 2013

Stars come out for BBA eviction show

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STORIES: ADENRELE NIYI

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nticipation is on the rise in Abeokuta as the 8th leg of Star Music Trek will bring some of Nigeria’s favourite artistes to the famed town in Ogun State this weekend. Tomorrow, July 27, international award winning artiste, D’Banj makes his first appearance on The Trek in the Rock City having been missing from the seven other legs of the concert held around the country. Also, fast rising Yoruba rap star, Olamide is set to make his debut performance in Abeokuta. The artiste has promised fans who have been patiently awaiting his appearance on ‘The Trek’ not just a thrilling time, but hinted at lots of surprises in store for them as well. Sound Sultan, who last appeared on the Star Trek stage in FESTAC Town, Lagos, joins Dr. Sid who debuted in Lokoja to also perform for the second time on The Trek in Abeokuta. D’Banj has urged fans to come out to have fun at the venue “I’m reaching out to all my fans everywhere, not just in Abeokuta, but in Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Akure, Benin, Asaba, Warri and other cities, this is my open invitation to you to be my special guest. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Abeokuta Sports Club this Saturday”. “I’ve been watching performances from all the concerts since the The Trek started on June 8. I know our fans in Abeokuta cannot ‘carry last’! Abeokuta must ‘rock’ tomorrow”, Olamide stated. The 9th leg of the concert will hold in Agege, Lagos State; while the 10-Week,10-City ‘Trek’ will come to an end with a Grand Finale on August 10 at the National Stadium, Lagos.

Ukeje

Appiah

Olamide

Sunny Boy

he live Big Brother: The Chase eviction show holding this Sunday promises to enthral Africa going by the names of entertainers who would make an appearance on the live stage. Namibian rap sensation, Sunny Boy, is billed to perform his fusion of sounds from genres like Kwaito and hip-hop leading to the creation of his own unique ‘Hikwa Style’. Sunny Boy grew up dreaming of making music that touched people’s hearts and four albums later, the darling of the Namibian rap scene has been making hits consistently with hot numbers like Balance, Serious, Summertime and Heat It Up. The Namibian rising star has won a host of awards, including an NBC Music Award and Namibia Music Awards and lent his fame to greater causes, like the Namibia Red Cross Society and Special Olympics Namibia. In addition to Sunny Boy’s performance, film stars Jackie Appiah from Ghana and Nigerian actor OC Ukeje will also make a special appearance at the eviction show hosted by presenter extraordinaire, IK Osakioduwa on Sunday. DStv viewers were able to watch Appiah and Ukeje, respective winners of AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice 2013 awards, as judges in the Big Brother house for this week’s task. Appiah won the inaugural AMVC award for Best Actress (Drama) for her role in Perfect Picture, while Ukeje picked up the Best Actor award (Drama) for Two Brides and a Baby. It will be oodles of continental glamour and suspense with Sunny Boy, Jackie Appiah and OC Ukeje as BBA housemates Annabel, Elikem and Sulu face probable eviction.

Oluchi’s model contest berths in Lagos

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D’Banj

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

t was two days of buzz and excitement in Lagos when Nigeria-born supermodel Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi brought her Africa’s Next Top Model audition to Victoria Island. Oluchi, winner of the debut edition of M-Net Face of Africa Model Competition, is producing the franchise of America Next Top Model created by supermodel Tyra Banks, for Africans and to be filmed entirely on African soil. Speaking at the press conference organised on Monday, July 22 to herald the audition for eligible contestants which took place the following day, July 23, Oluchi expressed excitement at the onset of the reality series in Africa, with production to begin next month in scenic Cape Town, South Africa. “The African version of the franchise is long overdue and I expect the show to be a smashing success across the continent. My company, LuLu Productions will be partnering with Never Machine Productions with Gavin Wratten as Co-Executive Producer and also one of the big media houses to help make this show a big success. It would be coming with a lot of African spice”, she revealed. Eight countries had been selected for the casting call throughout Africa including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Tanzanian and Nigeria. Auditions have held

in nearly all the countries but Cape Town will host the last two legs of auditions on Sunday, July 28 and August 1. Explaining the choice of filming location for the series which is proudly supported by South African Tourism, Oluchi said she believes that South Africa has the professional experience having being involved in the modelling and fashion industry for a while. “But that isn’t saying we wouldn’t come to Nigeria or other African countries for the next season”. However, the show’s host and executive producer refused to divulge names of the judges for her

series but she hinted that Africa would see a lot of African and African-American supermodels like Iman, Duro Olowu and Tyra Banks, among others. In addition, awardwinning Nigerian fashion photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi will be part of the photography team to shoot exotic sessions on location in Cape Town. The original reality modelling competition has been successfully adopted in other countries like Britain, Ireland, Romania and Australia; Oluchi believes that Africa should not be left behind. According to her, it would further boost the continent’s image globally.

Maria Arrington, Scouting Manager Africa’s Next Top Model project (l) and Oluchi at the press conference in Lagos.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Friday July 26, 2013

37

Mirror Drive

Nissan financial year results improve E

arlier in the week, Nissan Motor Company Ltd. announced financial results of $4.13bn for the12-month period ending March 31, 2013. Nissan faced a range of challenges during fiscal year 2012, yet fourth quarter profitability enabled the company to achieve its full-year net income target. Nissan also generated strong free cash flow and strengthened its balance sheet during period under review. An online statement signed by the Marketing Manager, Stallion Motors, the sole distributor of the brands in Nigeria, Mr. Santosh Nair stated that Nissan filed the results with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, based on foreign exchange rates of JPY 82.9/USD and JPY 106.8/ EUR, the average rates for the fiscal year ending March 31. According to the statement,

the auto company had net revenues of JPY 9.63trn ($116.16bn) while it had operating profit of JPY 523.5bn ($6.31bn). Also, the company earned ordinary profit of JPY 529.3bn ($6.38bn) and net income of JPY 342.4bn ($4.13bn) in the same period. The statement further informed that in financial year 2012, global sales reached a record-high of 4.914 million units, up 1.4 per cent over same period in 2011. 10 new models were launched to global mar-

kets, including the new Altima in the United States; Sylphy in China and the Note in Japan. Nissan President, Carlos Ghosn said, “Fiscal 2012 was marked by both successes and challenges for Nissan. We ended the year with a sound balance sheet, record global sales, an improved brand, and an expanded presence in critical growth markets. Equally important, we have taken countermeasures that will enable us to navigate the headwinds that

Volkswagen Group increases deliveries

lie ahead and resume significant growth. As we enter the third year of the Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan, I am confident we have the right strategy in place to deliver on our business objectives”. Looking at the auto company’s sales performance in global markets, sales in the US were up 5.4 per cent to 1.14 million units. Sales volume in China, where sales of Japanese brands have been impacted by the island dispute, declined 5.3 per cent year-onyear to 1.18 million vehicles.

MAINTENANCE TIPS

How to refill your car battery

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he Volkswagen Group says it grew vehicle deliveries in the first half of 2013, handing over a total of 4.70 million vehicles to customers worldwide from January to June. The auto group says deliveries in the month of June were slightly up at 827,800. Group Board Member for Sales, Christian Klingler said that Volkswagen Group deliveries made satisfactory progress even though market conditions were not always easy in the period. Klingler added that the economic climate remains tense, especially in Europe, but said the group remains on course and are entering the second

half of the year with confidence. Group brands delivered a total of 1.87 million vehicles on the overall European market in the first half year. In Western Europe, excluding Germany, 0.97 million customers took possession of a new vehicles. 583,900 units were delivered in the home market of Germany. The Group handed over 313,000 vehicles in Central and Eastern Europe in the period to June, of which 149,900 units were delivered in Russia. The group emphasized that developments on the American continent were positive. In the North America region,

deliveries for the period to June increased by 12.3 per cent to 437,900 units, of which 303,900 were handed over in the United States. The Volkswagen Group delivered 450,500 vehicles to customers in the South America region during the same period, of which 332,800 were handed over to customers in Brazil. Group figures for the Asia-Pacific region were encouraging. 1.73 million Vehicles were handed over to customers there in the first six months, of which 1.54 million were delivered in China, the region’s largest single market. In India, 49,200 customers took possession of a new vehicle from the Group.

Across Europe including Russia, sales were 660,000 units, falling 7.5 per cent. In Japan, sales were down 1.3 per cent to 647,000 units. Strong results were reported in other markets, including Thailand, Brazil, and the Middle East; sales totalled 959,000 units, up 16.3 per cent over the prior year. Besides, the financial year 2013 outlook forecast indicated 5.3 million units, an increase of 7.8 per cent. Nissan plans to launch several new vehicles during fiscal 2013.

ne of the tasking and challenging works for auto users is to refill the car batteries they daily drive; auto users are apprehensive of acid water in the battery and so, resolve to give out such task to an auto battery repairer popularly called battery charger in the local parlance. Why do auto users need to refill their cars’ batteries or when is the appropriate time for refilling of battery? Auto drive in this edition of Maintenance Tips bring to our readers tips required in refilling a car’s battery. In many cases, you can refill a car battery to avoid the expense of getting a new one. When a battery seems to be malfunctioning, often all that is needed is to add a little to the electrolyte fluid in the battery. This project is easy to do, but make sure to heed all the warnings. The first step to take by an auto user is to unhook the battery at the negative terminal and place

it away from the battery. Then, check the battery; if there are white, fluffy deposits on the battery, rinse them off with 8 oz. of water mixed with 3 tsp. of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Keep rinsing until the mixture dissolves the deposits and stops bubbling. Allow the battery to air-dry. Be careful not to touch the battery when it is wet. After this, pry open the top of the battery with a screwdriver. The (raised or flat) patch that is pried off is known as the cap, and generally goes across the centre of the battery. At this stage, start at one end and then pry at the other to gradually loosen the cap. Lay the cap aside upside down and do not touch the underside of the cap. There may be more than one cap on your battery that you will need to pry off. Look inside the battery where the cap was attached using a flashlight, check for a rim, about an inch down inside the battery, or exposed plates (flat pieces of metal). If the liquid (called electrolyte) is not covering the plates or up to the rim, carefully, and very slowly, pour in enough distilled water to cover the plates or touch the rim.


Cocktail

38

x

Friday, July 26, 2013

FOR YOUR SUCCESS

WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE

Today's Tonic (186)

“If you do not like your work, success and happiness are not likely to be found.” –Leslie M. Lecron *** DO WHAT YOU LOVE To me, life is too short to waste on what you don’t love doing. Many of us put more consideration on money before passion. This is self torture in action! We should know that when we follow our passion and pay the required price, money will come as a must unless you don’t want it. What is it that you will like to do if money is not required for living? Please and please get busy with it now before it is too late! TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL deji.folutile@gmail.com Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Oddities

Crocodile bites man’s head during show

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crocodile trainer in a popular crocodile farm in Samut Prakan, Thailand got an unexpected surprise while performing one of his tricks on Sunday. Pravit Suebmee, 27, has been putting his head inside crocodiles’ mouths for eight years -- presumably without incident -- but last weekend, his head was bitten by a reptile during his act, prompting the audience to shriek in a ghastly manner.

The man was able to get his head out of the crocodile’s mouth before things got out of hand. Other than injuries on his face and neck, Suebmee was not seriously injured.

According to the owner of the far m, Uthen Youngprapakor n, the trainer must have slipped on the wet ground and startled the animal by brushing its cheek.

“This is the first time this has happened at our crocodile far m,” Uthen said. “I’ve regularly war ned the perfor mers to be careful at all times.”

Police laud homeless man’s honesty

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Kingston, N.Y., homeless man who turned in a wallet containing $485 he found on the street is being applauded by police and city residents. “Thanks to the decency and honesty of a person that most likely could have used the cash -- for food,

shelter or any other number of reasons -- the wallet and cash were reunited with its owner,” Detective Lt. Thierry Croizer posted for the department on Facebook. Hassel “Junior” Barber, 50, who sleeps in midtown Kingston doorways and is often seen searching for bottles and cans to convert

into cash, told police when he turned in the wallet “he felt bad that someone had lost money and knew that returning it was the ‘right thing to do,’” Kingston police said in a follow-up Facebook posting. Both postings can be found at tinyurl.com/UPIKingston-Police.

The scene where the crocodile bite the man.

PHOTO: UPI


Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

39

Business & Finance Banks need to develop and grow the depth of their core retail banking business to retain and amplify cheap deposits

With only 37,000 housing units to show in the 40 years of its establishment, the Federal Housing Authority has failed to fulfil its purpose

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Afrinvest Securities Limited, Mr. Ike Chioke,

MINISTER OF LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, MS. AMAL PEPPLE,

‘Rail links will bridge regional economic disparity’ AYO OLESIN

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nvestments in fast and efficient rail links between rich and poor regions have been put forward as the “winwin national re-distributive strategy” that could ultimately eliminate inter-regional growth disparities and ensure the peaceful coexistence that is required to sustain growth in Nigeria. Economist and Chief Executive Officer, Economic Associates, a Lagos-based think tank, Dr Ayo Teriba, said in a recent seminal paper made available to National Mirror, that wide gaps in the economic growth rate of the six geopolitical zones remains a critical challenge and establishment of rail links would “bring resource poor regions closer to needful inputs and ensure that benefits of growth are more evenly distributed across regions without hurting any of the resource-rich regions.” According to him, the South-South still had the largest gross regional product, N15.6 trillion (38.6 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP) in 2012, followed

...South-South accounts for 38.6% of nation’s GDP by the North West’s N8.4 trillion (20.65 per cent), South-West’s N8.2 trillion (20.26 per cent), and NorthCentral’s N5.7 trillion (15 per cent). He said the SouthEast’s N1.4 trillion (3.27 per cent) and North-Central’s N1.2 trillion (3.11 per cent) were the smallest GRPs in 2012, each being even smaller than the increase in Southwest’s regional output

that year. While acknowledging that the Federal Government, in its recently released Mid term Report, had outlined a strategic vision for the rail sector with a 25 year time frame, Teriba insisted that Nigeria needs to approach the nationwide rail development with a much stronger sense of urgency pointing out that railway terminuses had been his-

torically linked with the growth of major Nigerian cities and the emergence and growth of regional industrial clusters across the country. He said: “Since the collapse of the rail transport system in the 1980s, the markets surrounding the terminuses have either declined or died altogether, all major Nigerian cities, except Lagos and Abuja, have declined markedly,

CALABAR

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anaging Director of the Nigerian Export and Import Bank, Nexim, Mr. Robert Orya yesterday in Calabar revealed that the bank has so far disbursed about N86bn to support

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Arik Air Lag-Abj:07.15, 09.15, 10.20, 13.05, 15.20, 16.20, 16.50,18.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun). Abj-Lag: 07:15, 09.40,10.20, 12.15, 15.15, 16.15,17:10, (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun); 12.15, 15.15, 16.15 (Sun)Lag-PH: 07:15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.10, 17.15 (Mon-Fri) 07.30, 11.40, 15.50 (Sat) 11.50, 3.50, 17.05 Sun) Abj-PH: 07.15, 11.20, 15.30 (Mon-Fri) 07.15, 16.00 (Sat) 13.10, 16.00 Sun) PH-Abj: 08.45, 12.50, 17.00 (Mon-Fri) 08.45, 17.30 (Sat) 14.40, 17.30 (Sun) AbvBeni:08.00, 12.10 (Mon-Fri/ Sat)08.56, 12.10(Sun)

Aero Contractors Lag-Abj: 06.50, 13.30, 16.30, 19.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun), 12.30 (Sun) 16.45 (Sat) Abj-Los: 07.30, 13.00, 19.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat, 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 (Sun, 18.30 Sat) LagBenin: 07.45, 11.00, 15.30 (MonFri/Sat/Sun) 12.30 (Sun 15.30 (Sat) Ben-Lag: 09.15, 12.30, 17.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) 17.00 (Sat) L-R: Company Secretary, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Somuyiwa Sonubi; Chairman, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and Group Managing Director, Mr. Emeka Emuwa, at the bank’s 44th Annual General Meeting in Calabar, recently.

NEXIM disburses N86bn to support SMEs export trade RICHARD NDOMA

regional industrial clusters are dead; in the absence of rail transport, only parts of Lagos and Ogun States have sufficient proximity to the ports to sustain industry clusters. Revival of cities and industries requires a fully functioning rail transport system. Metal ores and coal production can only thrive in the presence of rail transportation. Nigeria

can extract additional growth by exploiting these two minerals that abound in the Northeast and the Southeast respectively.”

small and medium scale businesse, SMEs, export trade in the country. Orya made the remark while speaking through his representative Mr. Bashir Wali, at the Exporter Enlightenment Forum for South South Zone. He said that besides the said amount, NEXIM had issued guarantees worth about $300.5m for the support of export trade in the country adding that

such financial assistance has helped in the creation and sustenance of 54 direct jobs in addition to many indirect jobs that has generated over $1.2bn in foreign exchange earnings for the country. He however called for the promotion and diversification of the nation’s economy through the provision of finance, risk bearing and policy support to the non-oil sector.

BOI plans funding support for Nigerian entrepreneurs abroad

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According to him, NEXIM is currently collaborating other stake holders in the establishment of regional shipping company for movement of goods and passengers within the West and Central African sub-region adding that such efforts was going to boost regional trade and alleviate the problem of poor transportation infrastructure

which has made intra African trade non-competitive. The NEXIM boss also called for the promotion of non-oil export products as a strategy for employment generation in order to bring about economic growth adding that Managers of the nation’s economy should come up with policies that will enhance the development of key sectors that will be in line with the national objectives .

Matters arising from NIMASA-NLNG rift over shipping levies

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IRS 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 Kano-Lagos 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


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Business News

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

BOI plans funding support for Nigerian entrepreneurs abroad OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

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he Bank of Industry, Nigerian foremost development financing institution, has announced plans to support Nigerian entrepreneurs in the Diaspora who are willing to engage in manufacturing activities in Nigeria. In order to facilitate this, it said the bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, is considering setting up a special desk in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos to cater for the business needs of Nigerian in the Diaspora. The Principal Manager Strategic Planning, BOI, Mrs Betty Obaseki, announced the plans during a workshop for Nigeria in the Diaspora entrepreneurs in Abuja. She admonished them to come up with bankable business proposals in the manufacturing sector for funding, stressing that the bank was purposefully set up to boost the country’s GDP through manufacturing activities.

L-R: Director, Inspection Enforcement, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Mrs. Ronke Shoyoba; Vice Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ikeja branch, Prince Oba Okojie and Executive Director, Operations, Bank of Industry, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, during MAN’S business luncheon in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA

“To be able to benefit from BOI funding, you have to be involved in manufacturing activities in the country. We insist on this line of business financing to engender growth and improve our GDP so, you must engage in something that transforms the raw materials to finished products because what is common in Africa is that we have the raw materials in abundant but lack the technology and

this where the rest of the world is. “So to ensure growth in Africa and Nigeria economy, we have to ensure that we strengthen our entrepreneur establishments to transform our natural resources to finished products,” she said. Briefing the SMEs operators on the modus operadi of the bank, she explained that the bank used to finance solely large enterprises in the past, but add-

Aviation fuel scarcity: AON urges FG to license more independent marketers OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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n a bid to stop the perennial aviation fuel scarcity in the Nigerian aviation industry, the Federal Government has been advised to issue more licenses to independent marketers. This is because issuance of more licenses to interested independent marketers would not only make the product more available, but would also make it cheaper in the country.

Speaking with National Mirror yesterday, the outgoing Assistant Secretary of Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, Alhaji Mohammed Tukur, attributed the scarcity to the fact that the product is being supplied by only few fuel marketers in the industry. He maintained that if the government allows other independent marketers to supply the product, the era of scarcity of would be a thing of the past in the industry. He said: “The major reason

for the scarcity of aviation fuel is that, it is only one marketer that is supplying fuel at present. So, the government should allow more hands and allow other marketers to supply aviation fuel and with that I think this problem of scarcity of the product will be a thing of the past. “So, what the government should do, is to allow everybody to go and import the fuel to sell to airlines. If this is done, the era of aviation fuel scarcity will be a thing of the past.”

FG reiterates commitment to diversify economy

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he Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to diversify the economy from the reliance on the oil sector to the agriculture sector. Mr. Greyne Anosike, the Director (Press and Public Relations), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development stated this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday. According to the statement, the minister stated this when Prof. Oyewole Tomori, President, Nigeria Academy of Science, NAS, led a delegation to his office. It quoted Tijani as saying that the country should begin to marshal an economic plan as crude oil and gas dwindle in the global economic calculations. ‘’The repeated call for diver-

sifying the economy is not a political gimmick, but a purely economic forecast. ‘’Nations should begin to evolve long term master plans as oil begins to play less critical role in the affairs of nations in the next decade,’’ the statement said. It added that the minister observed that most countries have found alternative sources of energy and aggressively embarking on agriculture using modern technology. Its also said that the minister called on the association to evaluate the role it will play to resolve these challenges and come up with a comprehensive proposal to the ministry. The statement said that the association should take advan-

tage of its agricultural research findings to move the country forward. It stated that the Federal Government has started planning ahead with the approval of 13 airports across the country as perishable cargo terminals and creation of Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ). The statement quoted Tomori as saying that the association was in the ministry to help with evidence based data driven and scientifically verifiable materials that could help the agriculture sector. It said that the association was capable of evaluating facilities, survey available manpower needs and expertise in the area of documentation, cassava utilization among others.

ed that the focus had changed in the last eight years to funding small and medium enterprises because of their capacity to boost the country’s economy. She added: “This is what we try to encourage in the Bank of Industry; we are looking for Nigerians who have business plans to transform our natural resources to finished products. We don’t want to fund foreigners, though that does not rule out funding foreign companies that have 30 to 40 per cent Nigerian

ownership. To benefit from the loans, which she said only come through machinery financing, SMEs operators do not need to know anybody, maintaining that the only guarantee to loan is a bankable business proposals. She added, “We don’t give out money but we fund businesses by providing machinery. If you are coming to us, we will fund your equipment or machinery need and if you have working capital need you will approach the commercial bank for other financial needs.” Also speaking at the workshop, the Director of Operations, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mr. John Achukwu, stated that the role of the agency is to ensure that the machinery being imported to the country conform with standards. He said, “We are talking of Nigerians in the Diaspora coming to set up machinery for production in the country. First of all, we have to be sure of the integrity of the machines they are bringing. Also, if they are bringing products, we have to be sure of the quality of the products they are bring so that they will not be frustrated.”

Digital marketing awareness still low in Nigeria, says WSI KUNLE AZEEZ

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usinesses are not yet leveraging the huge potential offered by digital marketing in Nigeria as a result of low awareness on how the Internet marketing can boost their profitability, a digital market consulting firm, WSI West Africa, has said. The company has therefore expressed its commitment to unleashing the huge potential of digital marketing for businesses in Nigeria. Expressing the commitment during a media parley orgainsed to discuss inherent benefits of digital marketing and to announce its upcoming training programme in Lagos yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of WSI West Africa, Mr. Edirin Abamwa, the emergence of digital media communication tools has completely transformed the competitive landscape for companies of all sizes and sectors, making the Internet the marketing engine of the 21st century. According to him, “WSI thus remains at the fore front of this marketing shift through our advanced digital marketing strategy. Digital media offers incredible revenue potential. “Leveraging the latest and most advanced web technologies

available through WSI Axon will help clients stand out and establish a credible brand in the eyes of their customers.” Abamwa, however, noted that it was a sad fact that Nigerians business were slow to wake up to the reality brought by digital marketing, stressing that even those businesses who have the awareness seem to be lost over how to process. “It is in line with this that WSI Axon plans to organise a digital marketing training in September. Today, marketers are hungry for guidance and given the importance of digital media, orgainsations realise that if you are not active on the Internet today, you are not paying attention.” He said irrespective of the nature of a company’s or an individual’s businesses, WSI Axon has an approach that client can benefit from. Abamwa said the training will equip participants with the tools they needed to assess their organisations social media and digital marketing strategy and help them identify areas of improvement. “Through combination of case studies, best practice examples and exercises, participants will learn strategies for finding, engaging and encouraging brand advocates,” he said.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business News

Friday, July 26, 2013

41

Wema Bank raises N40bn fresh capital

AEAN to checkmate activities of dubious estate agents-Expert

AYO OLESIN

DAYO AYEYEMI

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ema Bank Plc has concluded its capital raising exercise that has seen the injection of N40bn fresh capital as it prepares to implement its strategic growth plan geared towards increasing market share and profitability over the next five years. The bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Segun Oloketeyi, who disclosed this yesterday at a media briefing in Lagos, where he gave highlights of the 2012 and half year 2013 financials, said the management was awaiting final regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission as regards the allotment of new shares created by the recapitalisation. The fresh funds, he said was raised through the support of shareholders and other strategic investors via a private placement

...returns to profitability involving private and institutional investors. Oloketuyi, who outlined the bank’s growth strategy said the transformation of the bank from a regional to a national bank would help it consolidate on the gains of the past three years where the management had been able to strengthen the balance sheet and return to profitability. Highlights of the 2012 results show an 11 per cent rise in total asset from N221.1bn in 2011 to N245.7bn, 18.2 per cent rise in deposits to N174.3bn up from N147.4bn. Similarly net interest income grew by 17.5 per cent from N10bn to N11.7bn while net fees and commission income rose by 63.5 per cent from N2.9bn in 2011 to N4.7bn in 2012. He said a bigger capital base would enable the bank acquire more risk assets pointing out that its ability to do business had been limited by its low capital base as it had to

keep within the prescribed Capital Adequacy Ratio for banks despite the fact that it was very liquid with liquidity ratio of about 60 per cent. The Wema Bank boss, who said that the target of the management was to create the most efficient retail and commercial bank with market share of about five percent by 2015, added that the focus of its operations would still remain the major commercial centres while the operation of its national franchise would be determined by business imperatives. He said the bank, which also plans to raise additional Tier 2 capital in the coming months, was not looking to be the biggest but it intends to grow to a respectable size to enable it manage costs efficiently and gain the required recognition in the market. “We will expand relative to capacity, skills and industry requirements,” he sa id.

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or many years, the estate agency practice has been brought into disrepute due to lack of control and regulation. But with the new initiative being promoted by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) through a newly registered body - Association of Estate Agents of Nigeria (AEAN), all estate agency practitioners is now under the umbrella of an independent organ to ensure highest standards in the housing industry. The goal of the newly registered body: Association of Estate Agents of Nigeria (AEAN), are to enhance professional knowledge of practitioners, and make the property market safer for the operators, especially to checkmate the activities of unscrupulous and dubious estate agents. Through the new move, three

different categories of membership have been adopted, open to all professionals and other interested Nigerians with a minimum of School Certificate Level of education. NIESV has also picked interim officers to pilot the affairs of body. The body is now led by Mr.Chudi Ubosi as chairman. Others are, Kunle Adedeji (vice chairman), Isa Jatto (Secretary), Gbenga Ismail (Assistant Secretary), Vivian Owel-Shama (financial secretary), Sam Uso-Akagha (Assistant fin. Secretary), Hassan Baba (publicity relations officer), Kene Onuora (Asst PRO), Adamu Kasimu (treasurer) and Emmanuel Alao (welfare officer). Specifically, membership categories are Certified Estate Agents (CEA) Registered Agents and Estate Brokers. CEA are strictly reserved for members of the NIESV, while other practicing agents and professionals can become members under any of other categories.

75 million Nigerians live in darkness, says report MESHACK IDEHEN

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L-R: Board Member, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Alhaji Umaru Liman Sure; Managing Director, Mr. Adeseyi Sijuwade and Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, during the flag-off ceremony of the third Lagos-Kano-Lagos intercity passenger service in Lagos yesterday. PHOTO: ADEMOLA AKINLABI

QoS: Telcos require N1.3bn to address BTS infrastructure KUNLE A ZEEZ

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elecoms companies operating in Nigeria would need an estimated N1.3 billion to address extant infrastructure deficit in the area of deployment of additional base transceiver stations, BTS, National Mirror has gathered. According to findings, all telecoms companies in Nigeria currently have an aggregate of 27, 000 BTS with a shortfall of 33 additional ones, which they require to build to be able to provide improved quality of services for their over 119 million active telephone users in the country. A BTS is a critical network component needed for improving phone service quality. The Minister of Communication Technology, who disclosed the shortfall in base stations recently, also attributed the deficit to why quality of service experi-

ence by the consumers has been below expectation. According to her, “As at the first quarter of 2013, we had about 7,000 base stations belonging to telecoms firms in Nigeria, whereas, this is grossly below what a country like Nigeria need to provide improver services to telephone users.” She added that, “Significantly more base stations need to be deployed across the country to meet national target of a five-fold increase in broadband penetration by 2018. By then, operators would need to have increased the number of base stations to 60,000 for better service quality.” She, however, lamented that of the existing 27,000 BTS, about 150 were lost in 2012 due to bombings and flooding; twice as many dependent base stations were also affected. Meanwhile, National Mirror findings revealed that the new 33, 000 base stations required by

the operators to meet up with the required 60,000 would gulp an estimated N1.3 billion. According to Corporate Services Executive of MTN, Mr. Wale Goodluck, “The cost of building a base transceiver station, from the point of securing the land for installation of the BTS and the time it goes lives is about $250, 000 (N39 million).” This was also confirmed recently by the Managing Director of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steve Evans. This means with N39 million to build a base station, operators would need to invest an estimated N1.3 billion to address the shortfall of 33, 000 base stations. However, President, Association Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo had stated that the slow pace of infrastructure deployment by the operating firms were not unconnected with a number of factors impeding their deployment roadmap.

power sector polls results conducted by NOI Polls Limited, has revealed that an average of 47 percent (75.2 million) Nigerians are indarkness saying that electricity supply has gone from bad to worse between April and June 2013. According to results from the poll made available to National Mirror on Thursday, 8 out of every 10 people interviewed said they generate their own power supply through alternative sources in order to compensate for irregular power supply by Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), while 69 per percent have experienced increase in their spending on alternative power supply compared to a year ago. Giving a breakdown of key findings from the poll NOI Poll Limited Director of Research, Dr. Bell Ihua,said 22 percent of Nigerians agreed power was very bad; 33 percent saw some improve-

ment in power supply, 20 percent said power generation and distribution remained the same with no difference in the past month. Ihua said the survey spanned from April to June 2013, explaining that of the three months, May had the highest amount of power supply. He said power supply slightly improved in May as less people had to generate their own power supply compared to other months. According to him, the survey further found that 8 in 10 Nigerians used other sources of electricity apart from the power supplied to households by PHCN. A situation which ties with the petrol pump price monitoring polls conducted by NOI Polls which revealed that Nigerians mainly use petrol for their generators. He added that several other reports with similar findings have been presented in recent times, saying what is left is to see decisive action from relevant agencies of government and key policy makers in the power sector.

MTN names Ikpoki to head Nigeria operations

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frica’s largest mobile operator MTN Group has named its Ghana chief executive to head up its key Nigerian business, in a job reshuffle sparked by the abrupt resignation of its chief financial officer. Nigeria is the second-biggest revenue earner for Johannesburg-based MTN, which has operations in nearly two dozen countries in Africa and the Middle East. Harvard-trained Michael Ikpoki is replacing Brett Goschen, who took over as CFO

after Nazir Patel resigned this week following an investigation into allegations against him, Reuters said. The company has said the allegations against Patel were over governance and would not impact its financial results. It has not given any other details. Serame Taukobong, chief marketing officer for MTN’s South Africa business, will take over as head of Ghana. MTN’s shares have dropped 2.8 percent since the announcement of Patel’s departure after close of trade on Monday


42

Maritime

DG, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi

The disagreement between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited over the payment of shipping levies, which led to suspension of gas exports has thrown up some issues and arguments. FRANCIS EZEM.

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hen on June 21 and 22, 2013, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) served detention notices on two vessels belonging to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) over alleged non payment of statutory shipping fees, most stakeholders never suspected that both agencies might be in for a very long and fierce battle over what ne would have ordinarily described as a minor disagreement. This feeling was informed by the relationship of both warring parties to the government and so, most people thought that one relevant government official would call both to a negotiating table but this was never the case. For instance, NIMASA is Federal Government’s apex regulatory body for the maritime industry charged with the responsibility of ensuring maritime safety and security, registration and regulation of ships to some extent as well as collecting some specified shipping charges, among several other functions. It is also saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act, 2003. Similarly, the NLNG is a joint venture partnership between the Nigerian government as represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Total Nigeria Limited and Eni International. Section 15 (a) of the NIMASA Act, 2007, which is also the agency’s enabling legislation provides that the agency should among other sources be funded from proceeds of three percent gross freight on all international inbound and outbound cargo from ships or shipping companies operating in Nigeria to enable it meet its operational cost. Also, section 42 (1) of the Cabotage Act 2003, provides for the establishment of a Cabotage Vessel Acquisition Fund (CVFF). The fund is designed to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity by providing financial assistance

Friday, July 26, 2013

MD, NLNG, Babs Omotowa

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Mohammed Adoke

Matters arising from NIMASA-NLNG rift over shipping levies to Nigerian operators. Ssection 43 (a) provides that a surcharge of two percent shall be paid on every contract sum performed under the Cabotage trade. Either way, payment of both levies, which unfortunately form the bedrock of the rift are critical to the survival of the agency and performance of its core statutory mandates. It was probably in the light of this that the Deputy Director of the agency in charge of public relations, Mr. Isichei Osangbi swore that the agency would not vacate the lid placed on NLNG’s gas export operations by its subsidiary firm, Bonny Gas Transport Limited until the last kobo was paid. This resolve may have also informed why relevant government officials stayed away from the matter apart from the fact that NLNG had sought an interpretation of relevant sections of the NIMASA Act as it concerns the three percent levy. On the one part, NLNG insists that it is not bund to pay both levies, a right it argued was conferred on it by sections six (8) and six (10) etc of the NLNG Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances Act and the NLNG Act, which provides that no export duties, taxes or other duties, levies, charges or imports of a similar nature shall be payable or imposed on exports of liquefied natural gas or other hydrocarbons produced by the company. The NLNG also relies on the provision of its enabling Act, which specifies that neither the company nor its shareholders shall in any way be subject to new laws, regulations, taxes, duties, imports or charges of whatever nature which are not applicable generally to the companies incorporated in Nigeria The joint venture gas firm had also cited section six (10) of its enabling Act, which states that the provisions of the National Shipping Policy Act (former National Maritime Authority Act 1987) and regulations made under it shall not be applicable to it, its contractors or shipping company (, Bonny Gas Transport Limited). Conversely, NIMASA has also insisted that the incentives granted under the NLNG Act were not meant to be an cannot be in perpetuity. While admitting that the NLNG Act confers some tax holidays on the

NLNG, the agency cited section two of the NLNG Act, which has an addendum, which limits the tax holiday of the company to 10 years or when the cumulative average sales price of liquefied natural gas reaches $3in million metric British Thermal Units (MMBTU) as calculated in the first schedule to the Act, which ever comes first. It was however gathered that as at January 2004, the New York Mercantile Exchange indicated that the price of gas stood at $9 per MMBTU. Experts have argued that from 1989 to 2004 is 15 years, which is five years above the statutory tax holiday of 10 years as provided by the NLNG Act. An official of the agency, who spoke on the condition f anonymity said: “The National Shipping Policy Act, which the NLNG’s wholly-owned subsidiary, , Bonny Gas Transport Limited and other chartered third party vessels are specifically exempted from by virtue of section six (10) of the NLNG Act has been repealed by the NIMASA Act, 2007, which specifically provides that the agency should be funded from the three percent of gross freight from all international inbound and outbound cargo from ships or shipping companies operating in Nigeria” He had noted that the NIMASA Act,

WE NOTE THAT NLNG HAS STARTED PAYING TAX TO THE

FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE WHILE REFUSING TO PAY THE THREE PERCENT GROSS OF FREIGHT AND THE TWO PERCENT

CABOTAGE VESSEL LEVY DUE TO

NIMASA

which makes no exemption of who pays the three percent levy, also argued that the legislation is clear on who is liable to that section as it specifies ships and shipping companies, which the NLNG subsidiary falls under. The source also said: “We note that NLNG has started paying tax to the Federal Inland Revenue Service while refusing to pay the three percent gross of freight and the two percent Cabotage Vessel levy due to NIMASA. NLNG cannot choose which Nigerian laws to obey or which taxes to pay. NLNG’s refusal to pay the accumulated three percent gross of freight and Cabotage levy over the years has drastically NIMASA’s revenue with which to carryout its core mandates of shipping development as well as maritime safety and security” Investigation shows that both the NLNG and NIMASA had over the years been on this issue without much success. This may have also informed NIMASA’s resolve to impound NLNG’s gas vessels until all the accumulated arrears had been paid. For instance, in 1997, the office of the Head of State and Commander in Chief through the Federal Ministry of Transport, had written the management of the gas company on the need to comply with the nation’s laws, among several others. Meanwhile, President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, umbrella body for retired indigenous ship captains, chief engineers and engineers, Captain Adu Adejimi, who commented on the lingering rift, noted that the whole issue revolves around obeying the nation’s extant laws. He had noted that though he might not want to be accused of subjudice, NLNG as a responsible corporate citizen should obey the laws of the land. It was however gathered that NLNG has so far paid $160 million (N25.6bn) to NIMASA in two instalments of $140 million and $20 million respectively. This was part of the out-of-court settlement in the contempt suit brought against NIMASA by the NLNG. which also informed the lifting of detention order on the company’s vessels to lift gas for export. Where the pendulum will swing in the substantive suit, which is expected t come up on September 9, 2013, only time will tell.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Maritime

Friday, July 26, 2013

43

Firm indicts FG, NPA over N4bn quay apron repair contract STORIES: FRANK EZEM

M

ore than seven years after the completion of the port reform programme, the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), have failed to provide certain common-user facilities as stipulated by the contract. The duo have over the years faced serious criticisms from terminal operators over their inability to provide and maintain common user facilities such as provision of light and water, access roads and repair of berths and quay aprons, among several others. Most recent of such accusations has to do with the controversy over the award of N3.7billion contract for the repair of the quay apron at the Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, awarded to Messrs Johnak Engineering Company Limited, which had since been abandoned. This is contrary to earlier claims by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Idris Umar during a ministerial briefing on the midterm achievements of the present administration in the transport held on June 3, 2013 in Abuja. The minister had claimed that the rehabilitation of the quay walls and quay aprons at the Tin

MD, NPA, Habib Abdulahi

Can Island Port, Lagos as well as those of Warri and Port Harcourt Ports were in progress. But Managing Director of Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, a member of the SIFAX Group and concessionaire in charge of Terminal C, of the TCIP, Mr. John Jenkings, who addressed the media on the activities of the company, decried the poor quality of work done on the project. According to him, repairs of quay walls and quay aprons are very important to the operations of the company but however re-

Umah

gretted that the project, which has already been abandoned has not been given the serious attention it deserves. “The contractor NPA awarded the contract to has not in our opinion given the assignment any serious attention”, he had lamented regrettably. He also said: “The contract is facing undue delay and the job being done is far from being satisfactory”. The managing director, who joined the company about two years ago called on NPA to prevail on the contractor handling the

Insecurity: Beam searchlights on private jetties, Master Mariners tell FG

W

orried by the worsening cases of insecurity in Nigeria, shipping technocrats under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners have made a strong case for the Federal Government to mount security surveillance at the various private jetties in the country numbering over 75. The association is an umbrella body for retired indigenous ship captains, chief engineers and engineers, most of who were trained abroad several years ago. Nigeria has no fewer than 75 private jetties spread across Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt Onne and Calabar, most of which are neither regulated nor monitored. These private jetties, some of which host ocean going vessels have been fingered in increasing cases of illegal midstream discharge from mother ships to smaller crafts, smuggling, illegal importation of arms, substandard goods and other forms of economic crimes. President of the association, Captain Adejimi Adu, who spoke in an interview, noted that time has come for the Federal Government or its agencies such as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to beam serious searchlights on the activities of these private

jetty operators. He said: “It is desirable and necessary not only for the purpose of complying with the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code but also to ensure the general security of the nation for the government to take the activities of the private jetties serious”. According to him, any nation that ignores or jokes with security does so at her peril and therefore be playing with the national economy, which portends a great danger. He noted that the high level of unemployment in the country, especially among the youths is currently breeding insecurity both offshore and on shore, which requires proactive measures on the part of the government and its agencies. “To this extent, the Federal Government should urgently look into the matter. NIMASA should too because most of these private jetties are being used for nefarious activities such as illegal arms importation, among several others and so there is urgent need for the government to further secure the nation”, he noted further. He had argued that the government cannot afford to keep mute at this time with the increasing

influx of illegal arms and illegal aliens, who continue to pose a security risk to the country. The government had sometime in 2011 granted approval to some private jetty operators to receive and handle deep sea vessels, which many stakeholders then expressed fears that it might be abused. For instance, President of Senior Staff Association of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Jimoh Umar had following the approval, raised the alarm over the impending security lapses.. “Neither NPA, NIMASA, the State Security Service (SSS) nor the Nigeria Navy was contacted or carried along in the granting of the approval”, Umar had said. It was probably in reaction to the criticism trailing the approval and the seeming uncontrolled theft of petroleum products both refined and unrefined, the government had to set up the Stevedoring and Jetty Review Committee. Part of the responsibilities of the committee was to take a critical look at the operations and activities of these private jetty operators as well as those of stevedoring contractors that operate in the maritime industry, which submitted its report last month.

repair of the quay apron and the quay wall to move up the job both in terms of quality and speed. Jenkings had earlier while highlighting the major challenges faced by the company listed the non –connection of the terminal to public power supply, which is supposed to be provided by NPA under the port concession agree-

ment. “One of the major challenges we are facing is that of non-connection of our terminal to public light. As a result of this, we have been relying on generators in the last six years to power the terminal. We have therefore invested so much to purchase generators along with the associated cost of diesel and maintenance, he had lamented.. He noted that though NPA was making plans towards rectifying the long-standing problem, the government should come to its rescue to minimise the additional cost of running generators to power the terminal on a 24-hourly basis. Jenkings, who declined to say precisely how much the company spends annually on providing alternative power to the terminal, he said: “We have a total of six heavy duty generating sets, which are made to run 24-hours of the day all through the six years we have been at the terminal and you know the cost implication of this, given the high cost of diesel in Nigeria”.

Maritime expert forecloses piracy eradication

A

maritime expert has said that expectation by many that piracy will be wiped out will continue to be unrealisable, insisting that the scourge will always remain a threat and can never be conquered. Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, South Africa, Mr. Johan Potgieter, said that the maritime domain was under great pressure, being misused, exploited and destroyed. Maritime threats include terrorism, piracy, pollution, oil theft, overfishing, smuggling, crime etc. Speaking at the Land Forces Africa conference in Pretoria last week, he pointed out that 92 percent of global trade, 70 percent of crude oil and 90 percent of African trade is seaborne. Inland waterways should not be neglected as they are also important means of transit. However, piracy costs the global economy $18 billion per year, according to the World Bank. In Southern Africa, there are major offshore oil and gas finds, with Mozambique possessing an estimated 130-280 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, for instance. However, exploiting such resources is difficult when there are security challenges like piracy, Potgieter said. Pirates and militants have attacked Kenyan oil explorers and attacks off oil-rich Nigeria are commonplace. Ensuring one’s maritime domain is safe is a difficult task, especially as Africa’s exclusive economic zone is twice that of its

landmass. In South Africa, Potgieter described the country’s maritime domain as its tenth province. In Southern Africa, there is not enough capacity to combat security threats, Potgieter said, as Namibia has inshore patrol vessels but no air assets, Angola has almost nothing to patrol its maritime domain and South Africa has too few resources. “Piracy will remain a threat until effective countermeasures are implemented,” Potgieter said. “I personally believe we will never conquer piracy,” he said, pointing out that in the Horn of Africa, pirates have moved to the periphery of the areas patrolled by international warships and that there is a “strong possibility” that pirates will move into southern Africa as counter-piracy forces become more effective. “Pirates are opportunistic thieves and will move where they see opportunity,” Potgieter cautioned. It is for that reason that South Africa established Operation Copper to patrol the Mozambique Channel with ships and aircraft in order to guard against pirates. This began in March 2011 following the presence of Somali pirates in the Mozambique Channel. In order to effectively combat piracy, Potgieter said that countries need to share information and intelligence and have in place mechanisms to prosecute pirates. He pointed out that 80% of pirates who are arrested end up walking free.


44

Agri Business

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

World Bank sets land transformation agenda for Nigeria, others TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

T

he World Bank has canvassed a 10-step agenda for Nigeria and other African countries which implementation could effectively end ‘land grabs’ challenges in the various countries and also help them grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects. According to a new World Bank report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” released on Monday in Washington, DC, the realisation of these socio-economic benefits from effective utilisation of the abundant land resource in the country is hinged on the extent they can modernize the complex

governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade. The report noted that Africa had the highest poverty rate in the world with 47.5 percent of the population living below US $1.25 a day. Reflecting on the report findings, World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, noted that despite abundant land and mineral wealth, Africa remained poor still, adding that “improving land governance is vital for achieving rapid economic growth and translating it into significantly less poverty and more opportunity for Africans, including women who make up 70 percent of Africa’s farmers yet are locked out of land ownership due to customary laws. The status quo is unacceptable and

reforms and investments to document all communal lands and prime lands that are individually owned; and regularizing tenure rights of squatters on public land in urban slums that are home to 60 percent of urban dwellers in Africa. In addition, the report also listed tackling the weak governance and corruption endemic to the land governance system in many African countries which often favour the status quo and harm the interests of poor people; and generating the political will of African governments to mobilize behind these land reforms and attract the political and financial buy-in of the international development community as other reform imperatives to realise the goals.

must change so that all Africans can benefit from their land.” The report indicated that more than 90 percent of Africa’s rural land was undocumented, making it highly vulnerable to land grabbing and expropriation with poor compensation. It however noted that based on encouraging evidence from country pilots in African countries such as Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda, Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity suggests an action plan that could help revolutionize agricultural production, end land grabbing, and eradicate extreme poverty in Africa. Specifically, the report suggested that Africa could finally realize the vast development promise of its land over the course of the next decade by championing

The Breton Woods institution projected that it would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector about $4.5 billion (about N720 billion) spread over 10 years to scale up these policy reforms and investments. In his remarks, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in Africa, Jamal Saghir, pointed out that “improving the performance and productivity of Africa’s agricultural sector is vital for broad-based growth, more jobs, investment, and substantially less poverty,” even as he described land governance as a proven pathway to achieving transformational change and impact that will help secure Africa’s future for the benefit of all its families.

FG approves N10bn for Cassava Bread Fund TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

P

resident Goodluck Jonathan has approved N10 billion as Cassava Bread Fund as part of the current drive by his administration to ensure a more resourceful utilisation of cassava through its processing into cassava bread and other nutritional derivatives in the country. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, broke the news late Tuesday at a meeting with Directors and Value Chain leaders during which he asked them to give account of their

Farming tractor

Palm oil producers seek intervention fund MESHACK IDEHEN

T

he Vegetable and Edible Oil Producers Association of Nigeria (VEOPAN) said it is appealing to the Federal Government to urgently approve its request for a N100 billion palm oil development fund in order to help revive the sector. The association said oil palm has remained a tree crop that Nigeria has comparative advantage in its production over any other country, adding sadly the country has so far lagged behind. National Chairman, of VEOPAN, Mr. Okey Ikoro, in a statement, said the intervention fund is needed to steer the sector back

to its glory days when it was one of the mainstay of the economy of Nigeria, with the country as the number palm oil producer in the world. lamenting that in the 1960s that Nigeria was the leading producer and exporter of oil palm produce and allied products, and accounting for 27 per cent of the global market with 167,000 metric tons in 1961, Ikoro disclosed that production has declined as at 2008 to 25,000 metric tons, while the world production increased from 629,000 metric tons to 33.3 metric tons within the same period. Blaming the current situation on the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities in the 70s, he said subsequent abandonment of other hitherto economic prod-

ucts like palm oil, cocoa, rubber and groundnut amongst others has led to some of the nation’s economic woes. “It is on record that Malaysia, which is the second largest producer of palm oil after Indonesia, started its journey from Nigeria. Today Malaysia earns $18 billion per annum from palm oil production and export, while Nigeria produces about 1.3 million metric tons of palm oil and imports 350,000 metric tons annually amounting to about $500 million in foreign exchange. “This is a situation that can be reversed by giving direct impetus to the development of the vegetable oil sector of the Nigerian economy. The oil palm can be grown massively in about 20

states of the federation. It is also the only sector capable of providing an alternative revenue generation base for Nigeria in this impending era of dwindling oil revenue,” he added. He explained that the requested N100 billion intervention funds will be used for the development of oil palm sector from nursery, cultivation, production, refining/ fractionation and extraction to all its value chain. Okey explained also that the fund will be disbursed through commercial banks and Bank of Agriculture at zero interest, with maximum of 2 per cent management fee; and a tenor of 7 years or more, to allow for the long period of gestation period involved in oil palm planting up to harvesting.

stewardships in the last one year. He disclosed further that the President had also agreed to launch Nagropreneurs’ Youth Employment Programme (YEAP) as part of the job creation component of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). The Nagropreneurs will be involved in the programme of creating employment through Agricultural Value Chains Adesina commended his staff for exceeding the targets set for them and advised them to work to exceed key Performance Indicators (KPI) for 2013. He admonished the top officials to streamline processes and reduce transaction cost with strict budgetary provision, adding that “as desk officers, we must work to reduce cost. There are rules in soccer, but you must score within 90 minutes” The Minister conveyed the President’s appreciation to the entire Agricultural workforce and informed them that the N10 billion approval was a way of encouraging them to work harder to ensure food security in the country. This is even as he told the staff that the dream of being self-sufficient in food production was a task the ministry must accomplish without any excuse. “We must meet our rice needs by 2015 and reduce to the barest minimum our food imports. Nigeria must remain big in size, in population, food sufficiency and manpower”, Adesina reiterated.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Friday, July 26, 2013

45


46

Capital Market

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Friday, July 26, 2013

Index sheds 0.71% as Forte Oil leads gainers DAMILOLA AJAYI

T

rading in equities continued on a bearish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as more investors took profit from the gain recorded last week. Specifically, the All Share index dropped by 0.71 per cent to close at 37,286.50 points, compared to the decrease of 0.87 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 37,554.73 points. Market capitalisation depreciated by N85bn to close at N11.808trn, lower than the depreciation of N105bn recorded the

preceding day to close at N11. 893trn. All the sectorial indices shed substantial part of their value. The Insurance index shed 1.51 per cent to close at 141.27 points, followed by the Consumer Goods index with 1.45 per cent to close at 1,052.37 points. The Lotus Islamic index lost 1.15 per cent to close at 2,614.52 points, while the banking index dipped by 1.11 per cent to close at 400.73 points. The NSE 30- index fell 0.92 per cent to close at 1,752.58 points, while the Industry Goods index declined 0.61 per cent to close at 2,249.24 points. The Oil and Gas index

dropped by 0.45 per cent to close at 205.73 points while the Alternative Securities Market index remained flat. Forte Oil Plc led the gainers’ table with N3.96 or ten per cent to close at N43.56 per share, followed by IHS Plc with 30 kobo or 9.74 per cent to close at N3.38 per share. Costain Plc rose by 12 kobo or 9.37 per cent to close at N1.40 per share, while MRS Oil Plc declined by N2.56 or 8.45 per cent to close at N32.86 per share. Neimeth International Pharmaceutical Plc appreciated by 11 kobo or 7.33 per cent to close at N1.61 per share.

On the flip side, Cap Plc fell by N4.83 or ten per cent to close at N43.47 per share while Continsure Plc dipped by 14 kobo or 9.86 per cent to close at N1.28 per share. University Press Plc declined by 47 kobo or 9.69 per cent to close at N4.38 per share while Trans-nationwide Express Plc depreciated by 14 kobo or 9.59 per cent to close at N1.32 per share. Nigeria Police Microfinance Bank Plc lost nine kobo or 9.38 per cent to close at 87 kobo per share A total of 312 million shares valued at N2.92bn were exchanged in 5,698 deals.

Fidson posts N206m profit, declares N180m dividend DAMILOLA AJAYI

F

idson Healthcare yesterday announced a profit after tax of N206m for the 18 months ended December 31, 2012, an increase of 274 per cent when compared to N55m recorded in the same period of 2011. The company’s turnover stood at N7.168 bn in the adjusted 18 months, compared to N7.128bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2011. Profit before tax increased by 152 per cent or N326m to N540m in

the review period, from N214m recorded in 2011. Speaking at the company Annual General Meeting in Lagos, the Chairman, Mr. Felix Ohiwerei, said to ensure that the company remained focused on succession planning and improved productivity, a considerable number of employees at all levels have received local and international training. According to him, given the substantial achievement in the fight against counterfeiting in the industry, the company decided to focus on brand building through

brand extension and repackaging. He said the company made a good progress in the construction of its biotech factory. The company’s Finance Director, Mr. Olatunde Olanipekun, pointed out that the improvements recorded were as a result of concerted efforts to raise performance and productivity. “The company is leaving no stone un-turned in ensuring that it performs optimally and do excellently well on all our deliverable, both in terms of production and sales

of products across the country. “We have an obligation to deliver sustainable and profitable growth to our stakeholders and we don’t intend to compromise on that obligation, despite the harsh realities of business operations in Nigeria”, he said. He pointed out that although a lot is happening in the country today and the flow of business operations is being hampered by the difficult economic environment, the company has devised strategies to weather the storm and make its growth sustainable.

Berger Paints launches KCC’s products into Nigerian market JOHNSON OKANLAWON

B

erger Paints Nigeria yesterday said it has launched products of KCC Corporation of South Korea into the Nigerian marine and protective coating market. The launch is sequel to the recent partnership agreement between both companies to jointly serve the Nigerian paint and coating market in the first instance and thereafter, the broader business community of West African States (ECOWAS). A statement from the company said under the partnership, Berger Paints will provide KCC with ease of access it re-

quires to operate in Nigeria as well as a strong platform to access the growing marine and protective coating market in Nigeria. The statement added that KCC Corporation will contribute advanced technology, technical and training support as well as research and development. The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Tor Nygard stated that the company decided to partner with KCC Corporation, the largest coatings manufacturer in Asia, to offer the growing Nigerian maritime market superior products that are comparable to competition.

He noted that the introduction of KCC brands was a demonstration of Berger’s commitment to providing customers with real choice and widest range of marine and heavy duty coatings that meet the specific needs of their vessels, ship, fleets, offshore and mainstream operations. The National Sales and Marketing Coordinator of the company, Mr. Yomi Odunaiya, noted that the introduction of KCC brands into the Nigerian market would deliver demonstrable and transparent improvements in performance, efficiency and cost saving for vessels and ship operators in Nigeria. According to him, KCC

product offering which include anti-fouling, Epoxy protective coatings, zinc rich coatings amongst others are of high performance which will deliver quantifiable added value for ship owners, indigenous and international oil and gas operators alike. He stressed that the company has enviable reputation of being the first in setting standards in the paint industry in Nigeria. It pioneered a wide range of special products in the dynamic and ever changing paint market in Nigeria, such as Berger Fire Retardant Texcote, textured wood finish, Berger Rufhide among others.

Source: NSE

Source: FMDA

Market indicators All-Share Index 37,286.50 points Market capitalisation 11.8 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

FO

39.60

43.56

3.96

10.00

IHS

3.08

3.38

0.30

9.74

COSTAIN

1.28

1.40

0.12

9.37

MRS

30.30

32.86

2.56

8.45

NEIMETH

1.50

1.61

0.11

7.33

CHAMPION

10.32

11.00

0.68

6.59

NAHCO

6.38

6.80

0.42

6.58

NASCON

11.92

12.65

0.73

6.12

FIDSON

1.90

2.00

0.10

5.26

UTC

0.81

0.85

0.04

4.94

CHANGE

% CHANGE

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CAP

48.30

43.47

4.83

-10.00

CONTINSURE

1.42

1.28

0.14

-9.86

UPL

4.85

4.38

0.47

-9.69

TRANSEXPR

1.46

1.32

0.14

-9.59

NPFMCRFBK

0.96

0.87

0.09

-9.38

IPWA

1.08

1.00

0.08

-7.41

MAYBAKER

2.90

2.70

0.20

-6.90

CORNERST

0.53

0.50

0.03

-5.66

ABCTRANS

1.13

1.07

0.06

-5.31

TOTAL

160.00

152.00

8.00

-5.00

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

24,888.90

10.35

25-Jul-13

182-Days

30,000.00

11.00

25-Jul-13

364-Days

60,000.00

14.97

25-Jul-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

139-Days

56,216.36

10.49

25-Jul-13

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$300m

N/A

$300m

24-Jul-13

$300m

N/A

$300m

22-Jul-13


Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

47

Community Mirror Let me also talk to my own brothers and sisters who are senators, who were blackmailed to do it. That is the fact, because it was in the open. SENATE PRESIDENT, DAVID MARK

OJO OYEWAMIDE

AKURE

T

he Zaki of Arigidi-Akoko in Akoko Northwest Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, has said he is still the choice of kingmakers and people of the town, despite the court judgement that removed him as monarch. Oba Olanipekun spoke at the celebration of the ‘Okota Festival’ promoted by the Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Otunba Gani Adams, who hails from the town. The monarch said the Court of Appeal never faulted his selection and appointment as Zaki-elect by the kingmakers. He stressed that the matter which was referred back to the State High Court for retrial by another judge was the approval and presentation of staff of office to him by the governor on November 5, 2008, after the court injunction of November 3, 2008.

I remain Zaki of Arigidi –Oba Olanipekun According to Olanipekun, the court noted that the injunction granted by the lower court did not affect the action taken by the kingmakers on October 28, 2008, even as he solicited the continued support of his subjects to win the battle while praying for the faithful of ‘Okota’ deity and those who graced the occasion. He debunked newspaper report that he is yet to file ‘Stay of Execution’ against the judgement of the Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure ordering him to vacate the seat. Olanipekun said his lawyers has already filed a ‘Stay of Execution’ and ‘Notice of Appeal’ in the Supreme Court of Nigeria on June 21, 2013 with suit no: SC 335/2013 against the judgment. The Court of Appeal Court, in its judgement delivered on the appeal filed by Pa. Salau Olanipekun, Head of Irara Chieftaincy Family, and Alhaji Yisa Olanipe-

… Appeals against court judgement

kun, against a lower court judgement had set aside the approval of the state government to the appointment of Oba Olanipekun as ‘Zaki of Arigidi’. Meanwhile, the National Cocoordinator of the pan Yoruba socio-cultural group and Chief Promoter of Olokun Festival Foundation, Otunba Gani Adams has expressed happiness at the revival of Yoruba culture especially in primary and secondary schools in the South West. Adams who was speaking while delivering his welcome address at this year ‘Okota Festival, in Arigidi-Akoko said he was happy that the OPC and Olokun Festival Foundation have served as a valid compass to the cultural revival and traditional journeys of the Yoruba people. “Most schools are now going

back to cultural activity. Today, pupils will come to schools with their own traditional clothes, songs and dance; in fact some of them come to schools with their local food. “I can attribute this development to the effort of Olokun Festival Foundation at reviving our culture. Our activities have been packaged to create awareness about our cultural values and interest . Our main goal is to ensure that decisions are made from our consistent campaign for cultural development in Yoruba land”, Adams said. He further said that “Our persuasive approach, stemmed from adoption theory, actually works for us. We believe that when we consistently create awareness about our culture, the society will decide to adopt it. He commended the monarchs

in Yoruba land for their immense contribution and blessing given to the cultural events that Olokun Foundation has created in their communities. Speaking on this year’s Okota Festival , Adams said the vision for the festival is to see that Okota River earns the world heritage status, saying “ when it comes , many foreign tourists will come to see the river, to attend our festivals , and to invest in our community,”even as he urged the people to continue to support the festival .. Highlights of the festival include lecture on “Culture and Civilization in Africa, the role of Okota Festival” delivered by Ambassador Oludare Ogunlana and Miss Okota Beauty pageants won by Miss Stephnora Boniface of Bircharm International University. gidi’.

Farmers get fertiliser in Katsina JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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armers in 11 local government areas of Katsina State have received 7,229 tonnes of fertiliser for the rainy season farming. The fertiliser was given to them as part of government’s effort to promote farming to ensure food security and economic development in the state. Chairman of the Katsina South Senatorial Zone distribution Committee, Lawal Usman, disclosed this while launching the 2013 farming season distribution in Faskari Local Government Area. Usman said 144, 593 bags of fertiliser were allocated to farmers in 11 local government areas which included Funtua, Sabuwa, Dandume and Faskari . He said other benefiting council areas are Kankara, Kafur, Danja, Bakori, Malumfashi, Matazu and Musawa, adding that a bag of the commodity would be sold for N1, 780. He said the fertiliser had already been supplied to each of the polling units and would be sold to farmers on individual basis. Usman said the timely allocation of the fertiliser is to enhance farming activities, even as he cautioned beneficiaries against reselling them. The transition council chairman of Faskari, Isiyaku Faskari-Ahmad, assured of equal distribution of the products to farmers.

A distressed building at Highway Police Barrack, Ikeja, Lagos.

PHOTO: FRANCIS SUBERU

Railways set to reduce carnage on Nigerian roads FRANCIS SUBERU

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he Chairman of Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje has said that with full resuscitation of its service, the carnage on our roads will be a thing of the past. According to him, there are carnages on Nigerian roads because they are overstretched beyond their capacities. Baraje said this in Lagos during a flag-off ceremony of the third Lagos-Kano-Lagos intercity passenger train service at Ebute-

Metta Junction Station, AlagoMeji, Lagos. According to Baraje, resuscitation of railway services under the present administration has not only helped in reducing carnages on the roads; it has also brought socio-economic benefits to the country. He said: “With the inauguration of Lagos-Kano railway passenger service, NRC has once again put to action its commitment to enhancing passenger carriage capability which goes a long way in bringing succour to commuters in terms of cost, safety and health.

“The importance of unhindered carriage of freights and passengers by rail cannot be overemphasised especially when economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability are considered. Lives are made more livable and elongated with the movement of people by rail; even as the nation will be saved from the embarrassment and huge losses from road accidents. “The Lagos-Kano railway route, no doubt is bringing a lot of socio-economic benefits, such as providing employment, enhancing trade and commerce within

and between our communities as well as taking pressure off our overstressed roads; thus reducing frequency of road accidents. “It is also expected that the service will strengthen social integration and inter-cultural relationships among our people.” In his speech, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Engineer Adeseyi Sijuade said the commencement of the Lagos-Kano-Lagos intercity train service will help decongest existing services and avail passengers a more comfortable and pleasant journey.


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ne of the leading and revered Catholic laity in Ondo Diocese, Prince Simeon Olusola Michael Akinnugba died on July 20, 2013 after a brief illness. He was aged 83-yearold. Pa Akinnugba J.P. was born to the royal family of Osungbedelola of Ondo Kingdom in the year 1930. He married Mama Veronica Akinnugba in the year 1959 and they both had seven children; two males and five females. His first son, Arch Bishop Macfonse Akinnubga is presently the head of Orthodox Catholic in West Africa while his second son, Marcusmore O.D. Akinnugba is an engineer based in Jos, Plateau State. Prince Akinnugba attended LA Primary School Ondo and Salvation Army School where he obtained a Stan-

Friday, July 26, 2013

Prince Simeon Akinnugba

dard 5 certificate. In the year 1948, he became a Catholic convert and was Baptised at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Oke-Paadi, Ondo town. Not long after, he was appointed a catechist, helping the church in the work of evangelism and helping to teach new converts the rudiments of Catholic faith. His entire life after his conversion was dedicated to serving the Lord in His church; touching the lives of virtu-

Rev. Dr. Aniekan Udoh

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ate Rev. Dr. Aniekan Udoh was a clergy and a popular media agent (CEO of A.U.U News Agency, Festac chapter, Lagos). He died on July3, 2013 at the Rock of Ages hospital OPIC estate Agbara, Ogun state after a brief illness. He was 57 years old. Wake-keep would be held on July 31, 2013 at his Lagos

residence on No.9 Fagbemi Street, Lagos Front Estate,

ally all Catholics and non Catholics he came in contact with. He was described by the Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Jude Arogundade as “a sheep of the old flock” and by a professor of the church, Rev. Dr. Akinseye as a theologian. Other priests who had condoled with the family and commented on his condolence register include Rev Dr. Jude Asanbe and Rev. Dr. Mathew Oladokun. During his life time, Pa Akinnugba helped the church translate many of its prayer books to Yoruba language among which are Iwe Adura Kekere, Katikisimu Kekere, Iwe Rosario Mimo among others which are still used in all Yoruba speaking states of the country till date. Ibiye-Agbara, off Badagry way, Lagos State. His corpse will leave Badagry general hospital mortuary for burial at his hometown, Ikot-Inwang, Urua Inyang, Ika Local Government Area of AkwaIbom State; on August 1, 2013. The late Mr. Rev. Dr. Aniekan Udoh is survived by wife, four children and relatives.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Alade Odunewu dies at 86

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distinguished father of Nigerian journalism, Alhaji Alade Odunewu, OFR, is dead, aged 86. The first son of the deceased, Alhaji Akanni confirmed yesterday that his father died at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. He will be buried today 3pm at the Vaults and Garden, Ikoyi, according to the Islamic rites. He was an informed commentator and acclaimed ‘dean of satirical journalism’ and one of the earliest Nigerians to receive formal training in journalism, having secured a Federal Government’s scholarship to study at Regent Polytechnic (now University of Westminster). The veteran journalist obtained a diploma in journalism and also won the New Statesman prize for best all round student. His career began at the Daily Times in 1950, he was recruited as a reporter. He later moved to the Tribune as editor/managing editor, 1956-57; Daily Service as editor, 1959-60 and Allied Newspapers as editor-inchief, 1960-64. He was Sunday Times

editor in 1964, before being uplifted as the editor, Daily Times, 1964-68 and editorin-chief, 1968-69. He later served as Chief Executive Officer of the publications division. So, it can be said that Odunewu held all the important positions in journalism: reporter, sub-editor, editor, columnist, editor-in-chief and CEO. He also held some of the most challenging public communications assignments: Commissioner of Information, Tourism and Culture in Lagos State, Public Complaints Commissioner and Electoral Commissioner at the national level. His achievements in both worlds were commendable. Odunewu’s voice of wisdom from his columns in various newspapers from the 60s till three years ago

rings loud again in his relaunched book, ‘Winners take all’. Sponsor of the Informed Commentary category of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, DAME, since inception in 1992, Odunewu was also the Chairman of the Nigerian Media Merit Awards, NMMA, where he appropriately sponsored the Best Columnist of the Year prize since 2006. Both award schemes have made unparalleled private sector contributions to the conscious effort to enhance professionalism in the media. Apart from the top media jobs, he was richly honoured by the profession; from the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, to the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, of which he was a past president, to the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, NPAN, to training schools like the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, the 1999 industry-led initiative of the late Tunji Oseni where he was named as one of the 14 icons of journalism development in 140 years of Nigerian journalism.

News CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

situation in Rivers State and assured the delegation that necessary action would be taken to ensure adherence to the rule of law in the state and the maintenance of law and order. Addressing other issues raised by the delegation, Jonathan said that his administration was implementing the right policies, programmes and projects to accelerate economic development and boost employment in the country. He called for patience from Nigerians, saying that the results of the present administration’s efforts in areas such as power supply would become even more apparent in due course. Jonathan also assured the NBA that his administration would ensure positive reformation and strengthening of Nigeria’s judicial system, including the resolution of issues related to increased funding for the judiciary. He reaffirmed his commitment to the progressive reformation of Nigeria’s electoral processes to guarantee that all votes cast in elections truly count and that elections in the coun-

Senate takes over Rivers Assembly try are accepted by all objective stakeholders as free, fair and credible. Jonathan urged the NBA and other professional associations in the country to find ways of interacting with government on a regular basis, saying that the associations are established not to antagonise government, but to contribute to national growth and development. He accepted the NBA’s invitation to open the association’s Annual General Conference at Tinapa, Cross River State, next month, promising to personally honour the invitation if his official schedule permits. Earlier, Wali called on the President to wade into the political crisis in Rivers State. Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting, Wali stated that it was necessary for Jonathan to intervene in the crisis and ensure that peace returns to the state and for law and order to prevail. “We talked about security. We pointedly talked

Mark

Amaechi

about Rivers State. We expressed our concern that we were very disturbed about what is coming out from Rivers State. We appealed to the President to do all that he can lawfully do to ensure that peace returns to Port Harcourt and law and order prevails. And at all times the principles of the rule of law must be adhered to. We made that clear to the president,” Wali said. The NBA president noted that the association also discussed other issues bordering on security, economy, rule of law, funding and the independence of the judiciary. “We talked about the is-

sue of the independence and funding for the judiciary. We talked about the rule of law because we believe that that is a strong issue in any civilised society and we talked about the economy. We appreciate the fact that the government is working. We have lots of reports. “But our concern is also that the impact on the average Nigerian. It is good enough to have the statistics, but we will like it to be moved to the next level where the average Nigerian gets the impact of what the government is doing,” Wali added. Meanwhile, the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party,

PDP, has called for investigations by security agents into the utterances of Governor RotimiAmaechi even as the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. LeyiiKwanee, has condemned what he described as selective form of investigations into the recent House of Assembly fracas, which resulted in various degrees of injuries to House members. The party in a statement said several unguarded statements and threats by Amaechi should no longer be taken for granted. It reacted to what it termed uncomplimentary remarks and aspersions cast on the person of President Jonathan by the governor while fielding questions from a BBC correspondent in London. In the interview, Amaechi had described President Jonathan as undemocratic and advised that he should change his leadership style or there will be problem in the country. The statement issued and signed by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media to

the Rivers PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, which was made available to National Mirror, stated that: “It’s becoming clearer by the day that Governor Amaechi is up to some mischief, which explains the reason why he is defying all wise counsel and proceeding with his acts of insubordination to constituted authorities, inciting and making unguarded utterances. “He must be a man on a mission and the earlier he is exposed and stopped the better for the entire nation.” In another development, Kwanee has condemned the summoning of some lawmakers by the Force Headquarters while other legislators who were involved in the brigandage are left to walk freely on the streets of Port Harcourt. Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, the Deputy Speaker stated that what could have been appropriate was for the police to invite all those involved in the fracas for questioning. “If they want to do a thorough work they should carry out an unbiased investigation,” he said.


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Spain train crash: Driver faces probe as death toll rises to 80

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To you and all, I repeat: Never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished. Situations can change, people can change – POPE FRANCIS

Egyptians brace for bloodshed as rival calls for protests PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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upporters of Egypt’s deposed president and his opponents predicted blood on the streets ahead of what could be a violent day of mass protests, summoned by the Muslim Brotherhood and the army in a struggle for the country’s future. In a dramatic escalation of rhetoric ahead of a day that both sides view as a potential turning point in Egypt’s history, ousted leader Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood accused the army of pushing the nation towards civil war and committing a crime worse than destroying Islam’s holiest site. The main anti-Morsi youth protest group replied that its supporters were taking to the streets to “cleanse Egypt”. Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew the country’s first elected leader on July 3, has called on Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday to show their support for action against “violence and terrorism”.

Morsi’s Brotherhood, organizing its own marches on Friday against Sisi, fears the army appeal is a harbinger of a crackdown to wipe out an Islamist movement that has won repeated elections since the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, head of the interim cabinet, said there was escalating violence by increasingly well-armed

protesters, citing a bomb attack on a police station. “The presence of weapons, intimidation, fear - this causes concern, especially when there are calls for many to come out tomorrow from different sides,” he told a news conference. After a month in which close to 200 people have died in violence triggered by Morsi’s downfall, many fear the protests will lead

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hood politician Farid Ismail accused the security services of readying militias to attack Morsi supporters, adding that Sisi aimed to drag Egypt into civil war. “His definition of terrorism is anyone who disagrees with him,” Ismail told Reuters. “We are moving forward in complete peacefulness, going forward to confront this coup.”

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shouting slogans during a protest in Cairo, recently. PHOTO: REUTERS

Togolese vote in parliamentary polls eople in Togo went to the polls in long-delayed parliamentary elections, yesterday. The vote is seen as an indication of what will happen in the presidential elections next year. Experts say it could expose weaknesses in the grip of the Gnassingbe family, which has ruled the West African country for more than four decades. Opposition groups have held mass protests over the government’s last-minute changes to the electoral code. They say constituency boundaries were manipulated to benefit the ruling party. Angry demonstrations caused the parliamentary vote to be postponed from October 2012.

to more bloodshed. One security official forecast violence beginning Friday night and stretching into Saturday. “The history of Egypt will be written on those days,” said the official, part of a security establishment that accuses the Islamists of turning to violence. Reiterating his group’s commitment to peaceful protest, senior Brother-

The polls have been rescheduled twice since then, as mediators struggled to bring government and opposition into agreement. President Faure Gnassingbe took power in 2005 following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years. He was re-elected in 2010, though there was deadly street violence in the run-up to the poll and complaints of vote rigging. Veteran opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio has joined Mr Gnassingbe in a government of national unity and says Togo is now in a “democratic system”. He is the son of Togo’s first President, Sylvanus Olympio, who was assassinated in 1963, four years before Mr Eyadema seized power.

Two opposition blocs, the Rainbow Coalition and the Let’s Save Togo Movement, are running against President Gnassingbe’s Unir (Unite) party. A total of 1,174 candidates are standing in yesterday’s elections, with 159 women among them. Tensions in the run up to the elections have been raised by a number of mysterious fires. The opposition has accused the government of using the fires as a pretext to arrest its activists. The head of ECOWAS 80-member observation Mission to Togo’s legislative elections, Ambassador Leopold Ouedraogo has called on all stakeholders, especially political leaders and their followers to conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure peaceful polls.

Body falls from Air France jet in Niger

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he body of a suspected stowaway fell from an Air France plane over Niger yesterday and was discovered lifeless in a western suburb of the capital, Niamey, officials said. A resident of the suburb was standing just a few meters from where the body fell at around 5 a.m. on Thursday, said Niger Interior Minister Abdou Labo. “The police discovered the lifeless body of a black person lying in blood,” Labo said, adding that blood had also been spotted on the left wing of the plane. Initial information indicated the body was that of a stowaway who fell from the landing gear, said an Air France spokesman, Christophe Paumier, in Paris.

Paumier said the investigation was in the hands of authorities in Niamey. The plane was coming from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, and was scheduled to continue to Paris, Labo said. Officials were holding the plane in Niamey so crew members and passengers could be interviewed, and investigators in Ouagadougou were also looking into “the conditions in which the passengers boarded,” Labo said. “At the moment, the plane is grounded on the tarmac at the airport and the flight to Paris is cancelled until the end of the investigation,” he said. Passengers were being rerouted to Paris on two flights due to land in Paris Friday morning, Paumier said.

WORLD BULLETIN South Africa’s serial rapist hangs self before trial A man suspected of being South Africa’s worst known serial rapist has been found dead in his prison cell hours before he was to go trial on charges that included sexually assaulting 34 children, prosecutors said yesterday. Sifiso Makhubo, 42, was facing a total of 122 charges for murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder by infecting his victims with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He was thought to have hanged himself with a blanket in his prison cell and authorities were investigating the circumstances of his death. The horrific nature and breadth of the crimes shocked South Africa, a country inured to some of the world’s highest levels of sexual violence. In the year to April 2012, more than 64,000 sexual offences, including rape, were reported among South Africa’s 50 million people. Of these, more than 25,000 were assaults on children.

Tunisian opposition leader assassinated Tunisian opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi has been shot dead outside his home in the capital, Tunis, reports say. Mr Brahmi, 58, led the nationalist Movement of the People party. It is Tunisia’s second assassination of an opposition party leader this year In February, prominent secular politician Chokri Belaid was also shot outside his house in Tunis. His murder sparked angry protests and prompted the resignation of PM Hamadi Jebali. An uprising in Tunisia in late 2010 kick-started a series of revolutions that spread through the Middle East and became known as the Arab Spring. Gunmen on a motorbike shot Mr Brahmi in front of his wife and daughter on Thursday morning, Movement of the People party officials said. “Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead outside his home in Ariana,” state television and the official TAP news agency reported.


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Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Spain train crash: Driver faces probe as death toll rises to 80

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olice put the driver of a Spanish train under investigation yesterday after at least 80 people died when it hit a sharp bend at speed and derailed near the northern city of Santiago de Compostela, in one of Europe’s worse rail disasters. Dramatic video footage from a security camera published on the website of El Pais newspaper showed the train careering into a wall at the side of the track as it came off the rails on the bend on Wednesday night. Police had put the train driver under formal investigation, a spokeswoman for Galicia’s Supreme Court told Reuters, without naming him. The Galicia government said the train had two drivers and one was in hospital but it was not immediately clear which driver was under investigation. Newspaper reports cited witnesses as saying driver Francisco Jose Garzon, who helped rescue victims, had shouted: “I’ve derailed! What do I do?” into a phone.

El Pais said one of the drivers was trapped in his cabin and told the railway station by radio that the train entered the bend at 190 kilometres per hour (120 mph). “We’re only human! We’re only human!” he told the station, the newspaper said, citing sources close to the investigation. “I hope there are no dead, because this will fall on my con-

science.” The disaster happened on the eve of a major religious festival in the ancient north-western city at 8.41 pm (1841 GMT) on Wednesday. Officials said several nationalities were among the 130 injured, of whom 36 including four children, were in serious condition. In what one local official described as a scene from hell, bodies covered in

blankets lay strewn around the train track next to overturned carriages as smoke billowed from the wreckage and bloodied passengers staggered away. Cranes were still pulling out mangled debris on Thursday morning, 12 hours after the crash. Emergency workers had stopped their search for survivors, the court spokeswoman said.

One official source said speeding was a likely cause of the derailment, but the public works minister said it was too early to say exactly what had happened. El Pais cited sources close to the investigation as saying the train was travelling at more than twice the speed limit for the sharp curve and Santiago’s mayor said the train was probably going too fast.

Rescue workers carrying victims on stretchers away for treatment, on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Classified space for sale

Militants execute 14 drivers in Iraq’s highway

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ust days after a mass jailbreak saw an estimated 500 convicts escape from Iraqi prisons, militants at an improvised checkpoint on Wednesday night killed 14 Shiite truck drivers outside of Baghdad, underscoring the rapid deterioration of security in Iraq. According to the Associated Press, the attackers created a police diversion by first firing on a nearby military base and communications tower before stopping the convoy of Shiite truck drivers. The gunmen stole the drivers’ vehicles, reports Agence France-Presse. “Militants blocked their way near Sulaiman Pek, checked their IDs and executed them by shooting them in the heads and chest,” Talib Mohammed,

the mayor of the town near where the attack took place, told Reuters by phone. Reuters reports that sectarian violence has been on the rise in Iraq: Sunni Islamist militants have been regaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shi’iteled government in recent months, invigorated by the civil war in neighbouring Syria, which has inflamed sectarian tensions in Iraq and the wider region. Last month The Christian Science Monitor’s Dan Murphy wrote about violence in Iraq and how it stacked up against other conflicts around the globe. He noted that Iraq is less violent than it was during the war, but the press “frequently wonders if the country could descend into war again. What if the war

never ended?” May was the most violent month in Iraq since June 2008, with 1,045 people killed. The next most violent month since 2008? This April, with 712 people killed. Death has stalked Iraqis in the form of car bombs on mosques and markets, assassinations of political figures, and organized massacres of security forces, prompting many to wonder if Iraq could plunge back into another sectarian civil war like the one that raged in the middle of the last decade, and claimed over 3,000 lives a month at its height. “Systemic violence is ready to explode at any moment if all Iraqi leaders do not engage immediately to pull the country out of this mayhem,” UN special representative to Iraq, Martin Kobler, said earlier this month. The website Iraq Body Count, which gathers statistics on confirmed deaths from violence in Iraq, reports a civilian death count of 759 so far for the month of July. That makes it on track to be one of the deadliest months this year, and since 2008.

WORLD BULLETIN Britain’s economy looking up amid royal baby, sporting triumphs Britain’s recovery from financial crisis sped up and spread through the economy in the second quarter, giving a boost to the government and to a swathe of companies which increased sales and profits. The pace of quarterly economic growth doubled to 0.6 percent between April and June, a contrast with worries just a few months ago about a return to recession. Spending by consumers and businesses helped make the country’s massive service industry once again the biggest driver of gross domestic product, leaving the government still waiting for its hoped-for recovery of manufacturing and exports. For now at least, many Britons do not seem too worried about wages growth, which has been outstripped by inflation. On top of a feel-good mood after a string of British sporting successes - in tennis, cricket, rugby and cycling - and the birth of a new royal baby, a heat wave in July has helped push up summer sales at British pub chains. “After five years, people are seeing that Armageddon has been narrowly avoided and while they realise the economic world is precarious, life is going on,” Tim Martin, chairman and founder of JD Wetherspoon pubs, told Reuters.

China says military aircraft near Japan on training mission A Chinese military plane Y-8 airborne early warning plane flies through airspace between Okinawa prefecture’s main island and the smaller Miyako island in southern Japan out over the Pacific, in this handout photo. A Chinese military plane Y-8 airborne early warning plane flies through airspace between Okinawa prefecture’s … BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese military aircraft that flew through international airspace near Japan’s southern islands, prompting Japan to scramble fighter jets, was on a routine training mission, China’s state media reported yesterday. Japan’s Defense Ministry said a Chinese Y-8 airborne early warning plane flew through airspace between Okinawa prefecture’s main island and the smaller Miyako island in southern Japan out over the Pacific at around noon on Wednesday and later took the same route back over the East China Sea.


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Friday, July 26, 2013

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Customs seizes N500m contraband in Katsina, Kaduna JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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ignificant seizures worth more than N500 million has been made by the anti-smuggling task force of the Nigerian Customs Service under the Katsina/Kaduna States Area Command. Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Mr. Yunusa Saka, made this known during his working tour of the command headquarters in Katsina. Saka said some of the seizures made include 2, 680 bags of foreign rice; two trailer loads of restricted drugs; one trailer load of vegetable oil; 60 second hand cars and 25 motorcycles used in smuggling bags of rice into the country. He said the task force was set up by the Comptroller-General of Customs in response to

security challenges and public outcry by local manufacturers and producers. He used the opportunity to warn “those who think they can intimidate us to submission by violently attacking our men that the interest of the nation is greater than any individual’s interest.” The deputy comptrollergeneral continued: “Smugglers are motivated by profit; they do not care what harm their activities can cause our people. We are ready and we will continue to resist illegal importation that will affect this country negatively.” He lamented that drugs smugglers were doing great harm to the country’s youths, who perpetrate evil when under the influence of drugs and the nation’s economy suffers for it. “Though, our capacity to deal with these elements is not in doubt, we want to appeal to their sense of reason-

SIM registration: NCC goes after service providers implicated here in Ilorin.” WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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fficials of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday stormed Ilorin, the Kwara State capital in search of machines used by Glo, Airtel and MTN for the just concluded registration of SIM cards. Head of Enforcement of the NCC, Mr. Efosa Ihehen, who led the commission’s team to the state, told journalists that though the service providers were not directly to blame for the offence, both Glo and Airtel readily handed over the agents through whom the default came about, but that MTN strangely did cooperate with the team. According tom him, two agents through whom the suspected machines were used had been picked up while a staff of the MTN office was picked up and handed over to the police to help unravel the whereabout of the machines and the agent that used them. Idehen said his team could not go after Etisalat in the state, because according to him; “They are not here but that does not mean that they are not in other places. We did not see any of their machines

He continued “We came into Ilorin in pursuit of three machines that have been implicated for pre-registration of SIM cards. We have been to the office of Airtel, Glo, we are here in MTN office. We have been able to arrest the agents of Glo and Airtel, but it has been difficult to get MTN to cooperate with us on this issue. “They have given us several reasons why they do not have the machine. But we have picked one of their staff who they have given to us as their contact persons here in Ilorin.

ing that smuggling does no good to any nation.” He observed that smugglers now resort to using motorcycles instead of cars for their smuggling activities as the nations’ borders were no longer porous as was the case in the past. He added that the cus-

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t least 10, 000 unemployed youths in Katsina State are expected to get employment under the Federal Government’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Employment Programme, SURE-P. State Chairman of the programme, Garba Kurfi, said this yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting organised for SURE-P coordinators at the state and local government levels. Kurfi said the Federal Government is to recruit 5, 000 youths under the programme, while Katsina State and the 34 local government

communities were not assisting customs officers to combat smuggling because they erroneously regarded it as their right. Shallangwa, however, noted that the complementary role of the anti-smuggling task force in the command had ensured checks and bal-

ances and commitment on part of the customs officers and men. He reiterated that what is not supposed to come into the country would be seized by customs and that after such seizure; the smugglers would be prosecuted as they are not above the law.

People queuing up to buy kerosene at the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company in Kaduna, yesterday.

PHOTO: NAN

NSCDC recues train passenger from suicide AZA MSUE KADUNA

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he Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Kaduna State Command has rescued one Sunday Moses, who attempted suicide by jumping out of a moving train into River Kaduna. Briefing journalists yesterday, state Commandant of the NSCDC, Alhaji Zakari Ibrahim Ningi, said the command received a distress call to mobilise its officers and save a pas-

SURE-P to provide 10, 000 jobs JAMES DANJUMA

toms have tightened security at the borders and made it impossible for those who do not wish the country well to bring in contraband goods. Also speaking, the antitask force team leader, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Hassan Shallangwa, lamented that many local

areas would employ 3, 000 and 2, 000 unemployed youths respectively. He said 3, 000 youths had already been recruited by the Federal Government and are now engaged in various jobs, and that the beneficiaries have been paid a monthly allowance of N10, 000 each. He said the employed youths have so far collected March to May allowances, while that of June would be paid in the coming days. Kurfi added that those employed were engaged in series of activities, including road maintenance, sanitation and security at designated centres in the 34 council areas of the state.

senger who jumped out of a moving train into River Kaduna. Command Public Relations Officer, Oguntuase Akin Michael, who spoke on behalf of the commandant said on receipt of the information, his officers were mobilised and deployed to the scene. Ningi noted that the rescue team on arrival dived into the river and rescued the suspect, who had become unconscious and was rushed to St. Gerard Catholic Hospital, Kaduna, where he eventually

regained consciousness. Ningi said the suspect insisted that he has no regret over his attempt to commit suicide even as he maintained he had no problem. Moses, while speaking with National Mirror confessed that it was the frustration he faced in getting his late father’s entitlements after working with the state government for years that pushed him into it. “I wish I did not survive it,” he said. Ningi added that the NSCDC officers had also

rescued many people, including a 40-day old baby in the recent two-storey building that collapsed in Kaduna. In a related development, Ningi said his men have arrested a motorcycle snatcher who gave his name as Suleiman Abubakar, for stealing a motorbike at Kawo Market. Ningi, however, called on residents to report movements of suspected persons and activities for the timely response of the corps to rid the state of criminals.

Kogi to probe new N2.9bn monthly wage bill WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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orried by the increase in its monthly wage bill, the Kogi State government has set up a committee to unravel the misery surrounding the sudden rise in the salary of workers and political appointees which now stands at N2.9 billion. While inaugurating the committee at the Government House in Lokoja, the state governor, Idris Wada, said the action had become imperative if the state wants to achieve economic growth and development. Wada said the state’s

monthly revenue both from the federation account and the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, presently stands at about N3.5 billion, thereby leaving a paltry N600 million for other government activities. The governor tasked the committee to peruse the workers payroll to ascertain their actual number and fish out ghost workers wherever they exist. He also called on the eight-member committee to help the state government find out why the monthly wage bill had been on a steady rise in the past years in spite of the embargo on recruitment into the ser-

vice. Governor Wada gave the committee one month within which to carry out the assignment and submits its report to the government. Chairman of the committee, Senator Shaibu Ado said a situation where as much as N2.9 billion out of a total of N3.5 billion monthly revenue was being expended on payment of salaries portends danger for the state’s development and future. Ado, however, pledged on behalf of other committee members to carry out the assignment with due diligence and with the fear of God.


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Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net


Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

53

Sport

I believe the Ivorians will fall again at home on Saturday, no matter the antics they employ against us

Bolt rues athletes’ doping

54

-SUPER EAGLES’ STRIKER, GAMBO MOHAMMED

Keshi seeks another record AFOLABI GAMBARI

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Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi (middle) with his players at the Felix Houphet Boigny Airport, Abidjan, yesterday.

CHAN: Eagles land in Abidjan, ready for Elephants EVEREST ONYEWUCHI

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igeria’s Super Eagles yesterday afternoon landed in Cote d’Ivoire ahead of the final leg, African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against hosts Elephants in Abidjan, tomorrow. The team of 18 players and officials was led by NFF Vice President, Chief Mike Umeh, and had on board, NFF Head, Technical, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme; President General of the Nigerian Football and Other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rauf Ladipo. and several other

P

actors in the football fraternity. The Air Afrique flight which conveyed the team from Lagos to Abidjan took about one hour, 30 minutes to land with showers of rain welcoming the team to the city. The plane landed at exactly 10:50 local time, (11:50am) Nigerian time at the Felix Houphet Boigny International Airport, where the Nigerians were received by members of the Ivorian FA, according to a statement from Ben Alaiya, Eagles’ Media Officer. On arrival, skipper of the side, Chigozie Agbim, sounded a note of warning to his teammates when

he said the good reception should not be translated to mean that the Elephants have given up. “We are wary and I have told my mates to take the game very serious because in football anything can happen. But we know we are here to pick the CHAN ticket and no team can stop us at this time,” Agbim said. Meanwhile, Chief Umeh and Dr. Ladipo are upbeat over Nigeria’s victory tomorrow. “Nigeria is here to win,” Umeh said, with Ladipo adding, “I am not used to failure and that is why I am here and the people of this city know exactly what I mean.”

…Don’t fear your opponents – Maigari

resident of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari, has told players of the Super Eagles’ Team B to fear no foe and believe in themselves as they confront their Ivorian counterparts in Abidjan tomorrow. Eagles are in Abidjan with a handy 4-1 lead from the first leg played in Kaduna and Maigari immediately charged the boys to go and conquer, and forget whatever antics the Ivorians have up their sleeves. “You should be pre-occupied with your own strategies and tactics to conquer, and not bother your

heads about what pranks the opponents would play,” he said. The NFF boss added, “It is also important to approach the match as if you have no advantage from the first leg in Nigeria. If you start thinking that you have a handsome credit, that would be a poor approach and the Ivorians will gain strength from that.” Maigari insisted that a professional approach to tomorrow’s crucial game would be key to delivering the ticket that would see Nigeria playing in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for the first time. “Go in there with the mentality

of a winning team and you would get the ticket. Nigerians are looking forward to your coming back with the ticket that will set the tone for another triumph for our country in South Africa early next year.”

Maigari

uper Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, has enjoined Nigerians to pray for the team as he seeks another record as the first to qualify the country for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) for the first time. Nigeria, who meets Cote d’Ivoire in the second leg final round qualifier for the championship scheduled for South Africa next January, has not participated in the continental event packaged by CAF for players plying their trade in Africa since it debuted in 2010. Keshi, who spoke to National Mirror shortly before the national team departed Abuja for Abidjan yesterday, said the 4-1 result of the first leg on July 6 in Kaduna was not enough for Nigeria to assume automatic qualification. “The result looks very comfortable but we have to also accept that in football anything

can happen, especially as our opponents would be expected to take all the advantage at their disposal playing at home,” the coach said. “Of course, we have perfected the necessary strategy that we need for this encounter and we believe we will prevail in the end. Nonetheless, I think we still need prayers of Nigerians as well as their patience to land the ticket to South Africa,” he added, stressing, however, that his wards were not under pressure to excel. Keshi had on Wednesday dropped six players from the squad that trained ahead of the Abidjan tie, one of whom is Kano Pillars’ striker Gambo Mohammed who opened scoring in the Kaduna rout but copped an injury earlier in the week. Interestingly, Dele Olorundare, who is the leading goal scorer in the Nigeria Glo Premier League with 11 goals, was among the axed players, although he was not injured.

W/Cup qualifier: Madagascar refs for Nigeria, Malawi cracker

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orld football-governing body, FIFA, has appointed officials from Madagascar to take charge of the crunch 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Flames of Malawi, at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar on September 7. Hamada el Moussa Nampiandraza, 29, and who became an international referee three years ago, will be centre referee for the cracker in which Nigeria must avoid defeat to progress to the 10-team, final elimination round. His compatriot, Velomanana Ferdinand Jinoro, a 32-year-old who became an international assistant referee last year, will be Assistant Referee 1, with 42-year-old Jean Thierry Djaonirina, four years as an international assistant referee, will be Assistant Referee 2. Seth Jaovanona, 37, and who became an international referee last year, is the Fourth Official. FIFA also appointed Egyp-

FIFA president, Blatter

tian Abdul Hamid Radwan as the Referee Assessor while former Ghanaian international defender, Anthony Baffoe, is the Match Commissioner. Patrick Beckles from Barbados, who was Security Officer for the Eagles’ last home game, against Kenya at the same venue in March, will repeat the role on September 7. Nigeria, African champions, with nine points, only need to avoid defeat against seven-pointer Malawi at the Canaan City, to be eligible for the September 16 draw in Cairo, Egypt that will set the group leaders against one another in a final knock-out race to Brazil 2014.


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Sport

Friday, July 26, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

AFN commits to grassroots YEMI O LUS

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Bolt rues athletes’ doping

…declares self ‘clean’

Bolt at his last outing in London during the Olympic Games

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amaican athlete, Usain Bolt, says the recent doping scandals in sprinting have set the sport back but insisted he is not a cheat. Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson are among a number of athletes to fail recent tests ahead of the world championships next month. “It’s going to set us back a bit,” Bolt admitted at a

news conference yesterday. “If you were following me since 2002 you would know that I have been doing phenomenal things since I was 15,” he added. “I was the youngest person to win the world junior title at 15, I ran the world junior record at 18, the world youth record at 17. “I have broken every record there is to break,

in every event I have ever done. For me, I have proven myself since I was 15. “I was made to inspire people and to run. I was given a gift and that’s what I do. I am confident in myself and my team, the people I work with and I know I am clean.” Gay and Powell, the second and fourth fastest men in history, are still waiting for the results of

their B samples, and Bolt said it was important not to speculate too much at this stage. The 26-year-old 100m and 200m world record holder, who warned that athletes to be careful with what they eat or drink, spoke in London where he competes today for the first time since his three gold medals at the Olympics a year ago.

Eko Grand Prix: We target more meets –Organisers YEMI OLUS

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equel to the impressive turnout of athletes at the 1st Lagos Open Championship/ Eko Grand Prix, national and Lagos State athletics coach, Tony Osheku, says plans are underway to organise two more meets before the end of the year. The first day of competition, which took place at the Sports Complex of the University of Lagos featured athletes in the Men and Women’s 100m, 400m hurdles, Men and Women 1,500m, Women’s High Jump, 100m Hurdles, 110 Hurdles and Men’s Javelin among other events. It was a mixed grill as young and older athletes competed side by side, considering the open nature of the event. “We have the Diamond League organised by the IAAF and Golden League introduced by the AFN but we wanted to have our own competition and decided to call it Eko Athletics Grand

Pri,” Osheku told National Mirror. “The turnout is impressive and encouraging. We had nine heats in the men’s 100m alone, so that says a lot. “The weather is also okay and we just pray it won’t be too windy

as the competition progresses.” The competition serves as qualifier for the World Championships taking place in Moscow, Russia next month. It was, however, uncertain at press time if the national men’s 4x100m team would com-

Athletes competing at the Lagos Grand Prix

pete today as the final opportunity to qualify before the July 29 IAAF deadline. Top athletes Noah Akwu , Isah Salihu, Biola Onakoya and Amaka Ogoegbunam are among the athletes competing in the Grand Prix.

resident of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, has reiterated the federation’s commitment to build a lasting legacy through adherence to grassroots development programmes. Ogba made this disclosure yesterday at the flag-off of the IAAF/ Nestle Kids Athletics programme in Lagos where he was represented at by the AFN Vice President, Alhaji Tunde Abdulkareem. “We believe that this partnership would produce future Olympians that will represent our nation in the nearest future,” the AFN boss said. Managing Director and CEO of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon, explained that

the new programme targeted 7-8years, 9-10years and 11-12years categories. “We are committed to supporting the development of grassrootss sports in Nigeria,” Gordhon assured. The Nestle-IAAF Kids programme hopes to make athletics the premium participation sports in schools while attracting and sustaining future sporting stars.

Ogba

Principals’ Cup: GTB gives Ogun schools N5m

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total sum of N5million was presented as cash prizes to the winning schools of the revemt Season One of GT Bank/Ogun State Principals’ Cup Competition. Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Olugbenga Otenuga, who spoke at the presentation ceremony in Abeokuta, where eight winning schools in the male and female categories got cash prizes, said Ogun State had produced talented pupils for age-grade competitions and festival teams. “Five of the pupils also took part in a screening organised by the Gateway United FC for the 2013/2014 league season,” Otenuga said. Commissioner for Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Barrister Olusegun Odubela, said both ministries had helped the pupils to see sports as complementary to academic activities. Principal, Community High School, Adesanolu, Mowe, Mr.Toyin Awobodu, who commended the sponsor,

pledged improvement in the Season Two which begins after the long vacation. Alamuwa Grammar School, Ado-Odo received N1million as the overall winner in the Boy’s Category, Remo Divisional High School, Sagamu got N750, 000, Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode N500, 000 and Community High School, Adesanolu, Mowe N250, 000. In the Girls’ Category, Orile Ilugun Comprehensive High School received N1million, Our Lady of Apostle, Ijebu-Ode, got N750, 000 while Community High School, Abule Iroko and Remo Divisional High School, Sagamu received N500, 000 and N250,000 respectively.

Gov. Amosun


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Friday, July 26, 2013

55

I can’t play pro in Africa, Asia –Oboabona JOEL AJAYI ABUJA

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Ejide

Ahead Mandela Challenge: Ejide gets Keshi’s plaudit AFOLABI GAMBARI

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uper Eagles’ Coach, Stephen Keshi, has hailed Hapoel Be’er Sheva goalkeeper Austin Ejide’s professional attitude on and off the field of play. Ejide, who has been deputy to number one Vincent Enyeama in the national team for more than a decade, has made 25 appearances for Nigeria since making his debut in 2001. The 29-year-old also enjoyed his most extensive run in the side during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations where he kept goal in all four matches that the Eagles played at the competition. “Nothing best explains Austin’s professionalism than the fact that he moved his wedding that was scheduled for June to July all be-

cause Nigeria participated at the FIFA Confederations Cup and he desired to represent the country,” Keshi said of the goalkeeper he has tipped to be in the post when Nigeria takes on South Africa in the Mandela Challenge in Durban on August 14. “His conduct deserved reward and I think he is best placed to be in goal against Bafana Bafana,” the coach added. Interestingly, Keshi said last week that he had excluded Enyeama from the South Africa trip to enable him rest before the crucial World Cup 2014 qualifier with Malawi in Calabar in September. “Vincent is still my number one. So I told Ejide to go out there and prove himself this time,” the gaffer explained.

Chipolopolo coach serves quit notice

Renard

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ambia Coach, Herve Renard, says his future at the post will be decided after the September 6 World Cup qualifier with Black Stars of Ghana in Kumasi. “After the game in September I will decide what I will do with my future,” the Frenchman, who alleged unfriendly posture by some Zambians against his reign, said he would reach a final resolve after the crucial Brazil 2014 quali-

fier, although he has a year left in his current contract. Zambia must beat Ghana to advance to the final third round playoff for a place in the Brazil finals, although the Black Stars lead Group D on 12 points, one more than Zambia heading into their final pool fixture. Recently, Renard came underfire from Zanaco coach Keagan Mumba for his 2014 CHAN and 2013 COSAFA Cup nationwide selection process that he described as moribund and hatched in a tavern. Mumba was later slapped with a three month ban for bringing the game into disrepute that ends in August. “I think there are some people in this country have targeted to destroy me because they have their own reasons,” Renard said.

uper Eagles’ defender, Godfrey Oboabona, has cleared the air on his imminent move to Europe, saying he will not subject himself to shady deals from foreign clubs. Oboabona told National Mirror that there were interests about him from various clubs in England, Germany and Spain since after his heroics at the last Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa. However, the Sunshine Stars of Akure player who prefers to talk less about his speculatedmove to abroad said that he was not in a hurry to secure transfer outside Nigeria. “I must tell you, a lot of clubs are indicating interest in me but I’m yet to get an official offer. I cannot just accept any offer from countries like Tahiti, Iraq, Kenya or any part of Africa simply because I want to play outside Nigeria. “I will not subject myself to trials by any club. If any club wants me to play for them, let them come on and I will consider their offer. Currently, I’m leaving everything to God because He is the one that knows it all. I can’t do anything without Him,” Oboabona said. On chances of Nigeria qualifying for the CHAN, Oboabona who is in Cote d’Ivoire for tomorrow’s game against the Elephants, expressed optimism that the Super Eagles would pick their firstever ticket for the tournament in South Africa.

Sneijder

No Chelsea move for me–Sneijder

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alatasaray midfielder, Wesley Sneijder, yesterday rubbished speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea this summer, according to reports. Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, was reportedly interested in reuniting with Sneijder, having signed the midfielder

from Real Madrid for Inter Milan in 2009. “I am always in talks with Mourinho. I am in contact with him right now,” Sneijder said. “But this has nothing to do with any transfer negotiations. We are good friends and keep in touch regularly,” the Dutch international added.

Madrid hands off Suarez Oboabona

Lukaku steers Blues’ win

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helsea completed leted its Asian Tour yesterday with ith a blaze of goals and Managerr Jose Mourinho will fly home satisfied with the early signs, particularly the attitude titude and promise shown by some of his young players. Romelu Lukaku has proved his goal touch has survived d the summer with four goals in 135 minutes nutes of football and trialist Bertrand Traore raore promises to be a midfield gem if he can be untangled from the red tape which is delaying his move. Kevin De Bruyne e impressed in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur mpur and in Jakarta Nathaniel Chalobah h was among those who caught the eye. The only concern n will be the lingering Achilles injury which has prevented Frank Lampard from rom playing in any of the games here but there have been many more signs off encouragement.

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ocal reports in Spain yesterday said Real Madrid has ceded want away Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to after Madrid dropped interest in the controversial player. The Gunners have offered over £40 million for the Uruguay international this week, amid talk of competition from Madrid. The reports said Madrid is no longer looking for a direct replacement for Gonzalo Higuain and will instead put its faith in youngsters Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez, who has just signed a new longterm contract.


WORLD RECORD

Oldest cultivated plant for food

Vol. 03 No. 673

Friday, July 26, 2013

N150

In June 2006, researchers from Harvard University (USA) and Israel’s Bar-Ilan University reported the discovery of nine carbonised figs dated to 11,200-11,400 years old, in an early Neolithic village called Gilgal I, near Jericho, Israel.

US and contentious Zimmerman court verdict T he recent protests (which turned violent in some cities) witnessed in many states in America following the Florida court verdict that cleared George Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer, of murdering an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin (17), seem a vivid indication that the purported abolition of racial discrimination and segregation in the United States is still suspect. Zimmerman shot the victim dead on February 26, 2012, allegedly based on unfounded suspicion which led to a physical disagreement. On April 11 the same year, he was charged with second-degree murder. But on Saturday, July 13, 2013, the day after proceedings on the trial began; the jury returned a verdict of not guilty for both second-degree murder and the lesser included charge of manslaughter. To most American Blacks, the court decision was devastating and unacceptable,

FRIDAY WITH Dozie Okebalama

dozieokeama@yahoo.co.uk 08164966858 (SMS only) hence the widespread protests that struck San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Boston, San Diego and Atlanta, among others. New York witnessed the biggest of such protests, according to reports. At a concert in Quebec City penultimate Sunday, popular American music star, Stevie Wonder, like many others, announced his boycott of Florida because of the not guilty verdict. “… Those being lost in the battle for justice… we can’t bring them back. What we can do is we can let our voices be heard and we can vote in our countries throughout the world for change and for equality for everybody”, the musician said. Standing elsewhere before his congregation the same Sunday, Reverend Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta also said: “Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead because he and other black boys and men like him are seen, not as a person, but as a problem”. The general mood of Black Americans was that the ruling was patently unjust. The US president, Barack Obama, appealed for calm reflection after the verdict. He said the case elicited “strong passions”, but that the US is “a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken”. But the judgement, like many others on similar cases in the past, is yet another reminder of America’s unfinished business on inhuman treatment and segregation against sections of its populace, particularly Blacks. The report: ‘A Century of Racial Segregation, 1849-950’ by the Library of US Congress is an insightful narration on the nagging problem and the thorny struggles for the abolition of same between 1849 and 1950. It

R

ITS MONSTROUS CAPACITY TO BATTLE INTERNATIONAL

TERRORISM, IS UNABLE TO TAME LOCAL HATE GROUPS relates how, with the abolition of slavery in America (with the passing on December 18, 1865 of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution by the country’s House of Representatives), three Constitutional amendments were passed to grant newly freed African-Americans legal status. Whereas the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, the 14th provided citizenship, while the 15th guaranteed the right to vote. Despite the amendments and civil rights Acts to enforce them, however, the country’s Supreme Court, between 1873 and 1883, handed down a good number of decisions that supported the injustice. This triggered, beginning from 1909, the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) by a small group of activists, and the eventual long-drawn struggle for the elimination of racial discrimination and segregation in the US. Perhaps, the most outstanding out-

Sport Extra

w eports yesterday said Newcastle striker, Papiss Cisse, has resolved his dispute with the club and has agreed to wear the club’s shirts branded with pay-day loan sponsors Wonga. The Senegal international had refused to wear the shirt bearing the name of the online loan company, claiming its business conflicted

IT WILL BE AN IRONY IF THE US, WITH

come of the struggle was the Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The said Act outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities and women; as well as ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at workplace and by facilities that served the general public. The law had earlier been recommended by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963 following a series of protests from the African-American community. Keen observers say discrimination and segregation in America are of two types: de jure (when backed by law); and de facto (when backed by concrete facts). While such acts backed by law have abated significantly, the de facto variants are still thriving, with hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and White Aryan Resistance (WAR), among others, stoking the fires. Even the emergence of Obama, a Black, as the US president has not scratched this brutal fact as yet. The KKK is an extremist reactionary group that is drunk with white supremacy, white nationalism, and antiimmigration, expressed through terrorism since the mid-20th century. Therefore, it is not improbable that Trayvon Martin was a victim of America’s hate merchants. The country’s AttorneyGeneral, Eric Holder says, however, that an investigation into the “tragic, unnecessary” death will continue, since federal civil rights laws could be relied upon to continue legal proceedings against defendants like Zimmerman set free at the state level. But as stated earlier, such reckless killings in the past, especially those perpetrated by hate groups, attracted the Zimmerman type of ‘scot free’ verdicts from US courts with no further consequences. Can the Obama administration make a difference this time? It will be an irony if the US, with its monstrous capacity to battle international terrorism, is unable to tame local hate groups whose members are local terrorists; alongside their complicit patrons in that country’s judiciary. Indeed, hate groups constitute the major reason the US has been unable to put its inglorious discrimination and segregation past behind it.

Lottery: Cisse, Newcastle resolve brand dispute with his Muslim beliefs, as earning interest is forbidden by Islamic law. Photographs published in a national newspaper earlier this week showing Cisse at Aspers Casino did little to strengthen his case with gambling also prohibited by his re-

ligion. Newcastle is now believed to have reached an agreement with the 28-year old to settle the dispute. The news will come as a major boost to Manager Alan Pardew, who was already looking to recruit

two strikers this summer before the Cisse problem emerged. Cisse, who was reported to be chased by Russian clubs Anzhi Makhachkala and Rubin Kazan, will now rejoin the Toon Army in Portugal for full training.

Musa Cisse

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