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Ozekhome’s kidnappers demand N150m ransom

Ministers jittery over looming cabinet shake-up

...Kukah pleads for unconditional release SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

Ozekhome

Vol. 3 N0. 696

AYODELE OJO, SAM EFERARO AND OBIORA IFOH

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idnappers of human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozek-

home (SAN), and his driver are demanding about N150m from the lawyer’s family before they can release them. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

TOLA AKINMUTIMI, ROTMI FADEYI AND SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN

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s the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting holds

Jonathan

today, ministers are jittery over an imminent cabinet reshuffle following the sack of the Minister of Youth Development, Inuwa Abdulkadir, by President Goodluck Jonathan on CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Lawmakers stop Suntai’s resumption ...says he’s medically unfit to govern Aides allege strange behaviour

NMA takes stand on health condition this week

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espite his return to the country after 10-month medical treatment abroad, trouble is far from over for Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State as the state House of Assembly has prevented him from resuming duties. To the lawmakers, the indices on ground show that Suntai is medically unfit to govern the state. Suntai had on Monday transmitted a letter to the Assembly on his readiness to resume office. But the House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Haruna Tsokwa, yesterday declared that the deputy governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, remains the Acting Governor until ailing Governor Suntai is able to come out and address the Assembly. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4>>

Cashlite policy’ll curb electoral, financial crimes –Sanusi

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L-R: President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Okey Wali (SAN); Mr. Ndukwe Nnawushi (SAN); Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice C.C Nweze; Lagos State Governor and Guest Speaker, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN), during the Section on Legal Practice of the 53rd NBA Annual General Conference, in Calabar yesterday.

Lagos stops Lekki-Epe road concession deal

Three killed, five injured in Ibadan inferno EFCC arrests 17 Oyo officials over alleged N1.7bn scam

...as Assembly approves N7.5bn supplementary budget

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PDP crisis: Commissioner shot, escapes assasination

FG urges ASUU to end strike, releases N30bn P.6

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Ajimobi

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News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Ministers jittery over imminent cabinet shake up CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Monday. Speculation about a cabinet reshuffle by the President had reached fever pitch since the beginning of the year, but there has not been any major shakeup although some ministers have swapped positions. Some of the ministers, including Senator Idris Umar (Transport) and Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs) were sighted at the Presidential Villa yesterday apparently to hold consultations with key confidants of the President. Although such visits to the Presidential Villa are normal, it was gathered that most of the ministers are not sure of their fate, because of the termination of the appointment of Abdulkadir. Although, no reason was given for the decision to relieve Abdulkadir of his appointment as a minister, it was, however, gathered that the decision was taken because of his alleged romance with the newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, a political party believed to have the backing of former VicePresident Atiku Abubakar. Abdulkadir was said to have given his support to the registration of the PDM and pledged his allegiance to the party and that he had to be sacked to serve as deterrent to other ministers perceived not to be fully

loyal to the President. Inside sources at the Presidency also said that more ministers may go, especially those found to have performed below the expectation of the President. In the last couple of months, ministers have been presenting reports on the performance of their ministries to the President, which would serve as a basis to measure their achievements National Mirror learnt that nominees of some Northern governors, who are having strain relationships with President Jonathan, may also be asked to go. Some of the ministers have already shifted their allegiance to the President having dumped the governors that nominated them because of the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Also, some ministers, who have governorship ambition, are likely to be affected by the imminent sack. Meanwhile, former minister Abdulkadir yesterday expressed his appreciation to President Jonathan for the opportunity given to him to serve the nation. This is even as he advised officials in the ministry to continue to support government policies aimed at exploring the productive capacities of Nigerian youths for national development. A statement by the Acting Director of Press in the

Ministry, Mr. Olusola Abiola, quoted the ex-minister as saying that his tenure afforded him the privilege to contribute his own quota to the development of about 60 million youths in the country Abdulkadir, who reminisced on his tenure when he handed over to the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, as directed by the President, in Abuja, said the short stint he had in the ministry enabled him to “appreciate greatly the numerous challenges facing the Nigerian youths”. He also disclosed that he learnt a lot from the seasoned administrators and technocrats in the course of discharging his duties

and advised the officials of the ministry to continue to discharge their responsibilities in a manner that will continue to advance the policies of the Federal Government for the sector. At the brief ceremony which was attended by the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Affia, the former minister admonished the officials to always be steadfast as public servants in their service to the nation. Olaopa thanked the minister for his contributions to the development of the ministry despite his relatively short tenure. It would be recalled that Abdulkadir was uncer-

emoniously relieved of his appointment on Monday through a scantily worded statement by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim. Meanwhile, youth leaders of coalition of civil society organisations and students have commended President Jonathan for sacking Abdulkadir, accusing the former minister of mismanaging the National Youth Council election. Speaking with National Mirror in Benin, Edo State, leader of the South-South Youth League, Comrade Omobude Agho said the sack may not be unconnected with the minister’s intervention in the electoral

process. He said: “Although the President did not give any reason for sacking the minister, but I can categorically tell you that he (Jonathan) received mountain of petitions from different youth organisations after the minister mismanaged our recent election in which he tried to impose his own candidates on Nigerian youths. “President Jonathan came into office through a free and fair election and that is what we were expecting when we travelled for the election. Having failed to impose his own candidates on Nigerian youths, we petitioned the Presidency calling for his immediate sack.”

L-R: Former President, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Mr. Michael Itegboje; Registrar, New York Institute of Finance, Ms Currie Marcia; Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Ade Bajomo; MD/CEO, NYIF, Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald and President, CIS, Mr. Ariyo Olushekun during NYIF’s visit to the Exchange yesterday.

Lawmakers stop Suntai’s resumption CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Tsokwa, who addressed a press conference in Jalingo yesterday, said that the House was thankful to God that Suntai had returned to the state. He said that the leadership of the Assembly has not been allowed access to the governor since he returned on August 24 and he had not been seen in public. The Speaker expressed worry that “a cabal” was working relentlessly to cause confusion in the state in order to hijack the state politically. Tsokwa described the group orchestrating and replicating the Yar’Adua saga as “desperate and selfish politicians” that do not have the interest of Taraba at heart. “As elected representatives of our people, we will

be failing in our duty to the electorate and to God Almighty if we allow this development to continue. “Our request is very simple. We want our dear governor to resist the temptation of those who want to use him to achieve their selfish interest and come out to address the people of the state. “If, on the other hand, the governor is not fit to address the people, then it means that the governor is not fit to run the affairs of the state and the House will have no hesitation in granting him leave to go back for further treatment. “In making this request, we have no other motive than the love of our dear state as well as the wellbeing of our dear governor and the happiness of his family.

“We affirm that Taraba belongs to all, irrespective of their religious affiliation, and therefore call on our people to demonstrate love for the state and live in peace with one another,” Tsokwa said. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, said it will meet this weekend to take a stand on the state of health of the governor. The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, has also called on the Taraba State House of Assembly to set up a medical panel to examine the state of health of the governor. National Mirror reliably learnt that in spite of transmitting letter to the State House of Assembly on his readiness to resume duties, the governor’s health status is still suspect.

A source said the governor’s behaviour has been strange since his return from the United States of America where he had gone to after his aircraft crashed in Yola, Adamawa State, in October 2012. “Since his return, the governor has been behaving strangely. Sometimes, he laughs abnormally. The governor has not been able to communicate well,” a source in Jalingo, the state capital told National Mirror. It was learnt that Suntai’s aides had taken over the running of governance in the state while the Deputy Governor, Umar Garba, who has been acting governor until Monday has been relegated to the background in the running of the affairs of the state. NMA President, Dr.

Osahon Enabulele, who declined to comment last night on the suitability of the ailing governor to continue in office, disclosed that the issue would be discussed at the next meeting of the association on Saturday. “The NMA has always advocated the need for a panel of experts to monitor the health of public office holders but this has not received necessary support of stakeholders,” he said. He also said Suntai’s health and his return to the country on Sunday has further re-emphasised the association’s position and clamour for Nigeria to have a Surgeon General to oversee such issues of public health, a position which he said, Nigeria is not considering. “I don’t want to be subjective on this (Suntai’s)

matter. The NMA will make a statement not just on his case alone but in similar matters we’ve had in the past. “You will remember that Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State went for some time just like his Enugu counterpart, Mr. Sullivan Chime. “These are some of the contemporary national issues that the NMA will be discussing at its meeting on Saturday after which a statement will be made on our position,” Enabulele said. The CNPP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, however insisted that Suntai’s true state of health must be established while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja. Okechukwu was reactCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Photo News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Joao Lima; Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and Country Representative, Melinda Gate Foundation, Dr. Mairo Mandara, at a 3-day workshop on the point of intersection between Nigeria and Brazil on Agricultural Transformation Agenda in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

L-R: Group Head, Business Services, Heritage Bank, Mr. Wumi Adeniyi; Executive Director, Enterprise/Institutional Banking, Mr. Robert Mbonu and 2nd Vice Chairman, CIBN Lagos State Branch, Mr. Kola Abdul, at the Lagos Bankers’ Nite in Lagos, recently.

L-R: Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Mr. Folusho Philips; Company Secretary, MTN Nigeria, Ms. Uto Ukpanah and Director-General, NESG, Mr. Frank Nweke jnr., at the Dialogue on Global Guide on Sports Sponsorship organized by the United Nations Global Compact in Lagos, yesterday.

L-R: Chairman, Centenary Committee, Nigerian Ports Authority, Rivers State, Dr. Margret Osakwe; Port Manager, Mrs. Carolyn Ufere and Traffic Manager, Mrs. Ngozi Ezeoke, at a news conference on Rivers Port Centenary Celebration in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

National News

Lagos terminates concession of Lekki-Epe Expressway MURITALA AYINLA

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he Lagos State Government yesterday terminated its concession agreement with the Lekki Concession Company for the Eti-OsaLekki-Epe expressway. This was even as the state House of Assembly approved the 2013 supplementary budget of N7.5bn to enable the state government fund the acquisition of the existing concession right of the expressway. With the development, residents and motorists may no longer pay the toll to access the multibillion naira road or abide with a new toll fee that may be fixed by the state government. The decision of the government followed the approval of the lawmakers to allow the government the right to acquire the existing concession rights and toll revenue benefits held by the LCC, the concessionaire. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola had in a supplementary budget proposal letter to the State

...as Assembly approves N7.5bn supplementary budget

House of Assembly dated August 19, 2013, requested the House to amend the 2013 budget, owing to unforeseen developments in terms of the state’s internally generated revenue. Fashola in the letter had said: “The proposal for further amendment is largely predicated by the need to fund the acquisition of existing concession, right and toll revenue benefit held by the Lekki Concession Company, LCC, the concessionaire for the Eti-Osa-LekkiEpe expressway. “This will effectively accelerate the transfer of ownership of the road to the state, leaving the state with wider policy options with regards to that important infrastructure. “In order to address these issues, we have proposed the two-prong approach, namely, re-ordering some expenditure provisions and also direct supplementation of the year 2013 budget. “This will entail increase in the overall budget size by N7.5bn. This is against the background of a projected shortfall of N22.5bn in bud-

geted internally generated revenue, IGR, which now need to be covered by the additional borrowings.” The House, however, gave its approval for the requests in the proposal read on the floor by the Clerk, Ganiyu Abiru. The Commissioners for Budget and Economic Planning, Ben Akabueze, Ayo Gbeleyi (Finance), and Obafemi Hamzat (Works and Infrastructure) came to defend the proposal before the House approved the amendment of the budget and re-ordered the existing revenue heads. National Mirror noted that with the latest amendment, the revised budget had increased from N499.605bn to N507.105bn. IGR was reduced by N22.5bn and external loans of N30bn. Both have been added to Bond Issue Requirement, which now total N87.5bn. The House approved N7.5bn to the existing internal loans of N44.419bn which now total N51.919bn and also reduced the Re-

current Expenditure from N229.729bn to N214.729bn. The capital expenditure was supplemented from N269.876bn to N292.376bn. The supplementary, the governor noted, would commit the government to increase capital expenditure by four per cent and a reduction in recurrent expenditure by the same four per cent of the budget. The Lekki-Epe Expressway was initially concessioned for 30 years to allow LCC recoup the N50bn expended on the construction of the project, following which the assets would be transferred to the Lagos State Government. The project is designed to deliver essential road infrastructure and services and ease the historic traffic congestion along the Lekki peninsula corridor. The state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said the state government had so far committed N10bn to the 49.6klm road project. The concession agree-

ment was executed on April 24, 2006, and then on August 25, 2008, Governor Fashola signed four supplemental agreements with LCC to enable the company have access to long term funding for the construction of the Expressway. In 2008, LCC received full commitment for the cost of the construction phase of the project, securing a N50bn long-term financing package with several bluechip local and international financial institutions, on terms that are acknowledged as ground-breaking for the Nigerian market. The local investors in the projects include Stanbic IBTC, First Bank of Nigeria, and African Infrastructure Investment Managers, AIIM. But toll collection on the road had generated criticisms and protests by some resident and human right activists on the axis, accusing government of charging fees to access their homes. They had argued that it was fundamental role of

the government to provide infrastructure. In reaction to the criticism, the state government had on December 30th 2010 suspended the collection of toll. But, Governor Fashola on November 14 2011, lifted the suspension in order to meet up with the state’s growing expenditure. The toll fee for the vehicles Commercial (Danfo) minibuses- N80 Saloon Cars – N120 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), minibuses and pickup trucks – N150 Light Trucks and two-axle buses – N250 Heavy trucks and buses with two or more heavy axles –N350 among others charges. Fashola said the decision was sensible and necessary in order to maintain much needed and growing investor confidence in Lagos economy, adding that the decision was to maintain the state credit rating and reduce its credit risk. This, he said, is critical to maintaining the stream of emerging investments required to create business opportunity and jobs for young people.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Lawmakers stop Suntai’s resumption CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

ing to the alleged moves to allow Suntai resume duties as governor. The CNPP spokesman pointed out that the constitution stipulates that a medical panel should be set up to determine the health status of the governor in such circumstances. Okechukwu said that the constitution also provided for Suntai’s personal physician to be on the medical panel to certify the true state of his health. “We thank God that the man survived the accident, but in spite of that, the constitutional provision must be strictly adhered to in

such circumstance. “The House of Assembly should immediately set up a medical panel to investigate the matter and to determine if Suntai is capable or incapable of carrying out his constitutional functions. “If Suntai is found to be sound, for God’s sake, he should continue with his functions, but if incapable, he should hand over to the acting governor,” he said. Okechukwu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, insisted that the constitutional provisions should be adhered to at all times. He said that the constitution made it clear what

should be done to ascertain the medical fitness or otherwise of a governor or the president. The Chairman, InterParty Advisory Council, IPAC, Mr. Yusuf Tanko, also said that the governor’s health status must be established before any action could be taken. He, however, said that if it was established that Suntai could not carry out his duties, the acting governor should take over his functions. Citing the case of the late President Umaru Ya’Adua, whose deputy took over his duties when he was incapacitated, he insisted that

the constitution should be adhered to totally. Tanko said the right thing should be done so that “we should not be seen to be panel-beating a bad situation,’’ stressing that the right decision devoid of any personal interests should be taken. “Democracy suffers when there is discord between the electorate and the elected,” he added. An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, similarly urged the Taraba Assembly to urgently set up a panel of medical experts to ascertain the true state of Suntai’s health.

L-R: Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar; Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim; Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba and Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Aminu Koko, at the First Offshore Patrol Vessels Africa Conference in Lagos, yesterday.

Obono-Obla, however, noted that there was nothing wrong for a governor to communicate to the Assembly that he wanted to resume his duties as the governor of the state. He said Section 189 of the Constitution empowered the Assembly to take action in this case to find out whether Suntai was capable of handling his responsibilities. Another lawyer, Mr. Max Ogar, advised those against Suntai’s resumption as governor to seek constitutional interpretation from a competent court. He noted that there was nothing wrong with someone who wished to resume office after being away on grounds of ill-health. Ogar, however, warned that Suntai should not be allowed to resume in his current state of incapacitation because people would use his name to carry out fraudulent activities. Meanwhile, a social political group, Taraba Justice Forum, has called on the Taraba State Assembly to commence impeachment process against Suntai over his health status. The group also called on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene now before the situation degenerates. The group declared that the stage-managed arrival of the governor had vindicated the position of the forum on the governor’s state of health and its demand an

inquiry and action by the state Assembly in line with the constitution. In a statement by its General Secretary, Mr. John Ambulus, and made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja, the group said the poor medical condition of the governor could no longer be hidden and that President Jonathan should intervene as a matter of urgent national importance. “The president now has a sacred duty to intervene in this matter. The commander-in- chief should not allow this matter to degenerate. There is the need for intervention as this is ridiculing the ruling party and the Presidency,” the statement said. “We also appeal to the National Assembly to act now instead of waiting for the situation to spiral out of hand before taking action,” the forum said. The group said that for the past five months it has been calling the attention of the nation to the bad state of health of the governor and for the invocation of section 189 of the constitution, noting that “nobody listened to us all along.” “Now the truth is out of the bag. After 10 months of treatment, the result is what the whole world saw yesterday. With the way the governor was smuggled in, it is clear he is not medically fit in all consideration of the phrase,” the statement said.

Ozekhome’s kidnappers demand N150m ransom CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

The demand came yesterday on the heels of an intercession by the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, who implored the captors to release them unconditionally and unhurt. Kukah, who described Ozekhome as his friend, said the lawyer did not deserve such, having used his resources to better the lives of the poor. Ozekhome was reportedly kidnapped at Ehor on the Benin-Auchi-Okene highway last Friday by gunmen who allegedly blocked the road before picking out the lawyer, his driver, a politician and traveller, Mr. Athanacius Ugbome. The kidnappers escaped in Ugbome’s car after kill-

ing four police officers attached to a patrol team led by the Divisional Police Officer of Ehor that attempted to rescue the victims. But the Edo State Police Command, which was yet to make any arrest as at the time of filing this report, could not confirm or deny the ransom demand. Speaking yesterday on behalf of the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo, the command’s spokesman, Mr. Moses Eguavoen, said that no arrest had been made. He added, however, that the police were on the trail of the kidnappers and were closing up on them. “Investigation is still ongoing in the case. We are closing in on the kidnappers. All I can assure you is that we will get them soon.

“It is not to my knowledge that the kidnappers have demanded any amount of money. It is also not in our strategy to confirm to you whether the kidnappers have reached out to the family or police because such information could be detrimental to the lives of the captives,” Eguavoen said. Kukah said: “Sure, these are sad times for our country, but the kidnapping of Ozekhome carries a distinctive ironic ring to it. Here is a fine gentleman in every sense of the word, a hard working professional who has worked assiduously with his bare hands right up to the top of his profession. “His patriotism and deep commitment to justice saw him at the forefront of the

fight against tyranny and dictatorship in the darkest days of our country. “He sacrificed his life, family and career and was a victim of some of the ugliest phases of the brutality of those in power. He did all these to give our country in particular and a new generation of young Nigerians a better future. His humble beginnings and his hard work should be seen by the young generation as ideals to be emulated. “His country through the legal profession recognised his contribution by elevating him to the enviable position of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. The recognition only renewed his commitment to justice and the cause of the poor. “It was early this year that he pleaded with me to

join a foundation he was setting up for the cause of the poor. I was quite happy to oblige him because I have believed in his cause for the downtrodden. He has made all these sacrifices for the future of these same tragic youths who are now his captors. “Coming at the dawn of the democracy and freedom he struggled for, this is at worst, a second crucifixion for a great patriot. True, no citizen deserves to be denied of his freedom in a democracy except those who have broken the law. Nothing, therefore, could be more ironic than for this great son of our country to be forcefully snatched from the highway in a democracy. “In the name of God and all that is noble, I call on his captors to release him

unconditionally and immediately. I call on our young people to renounce this violent, ungodly and evil act. I believe the future of our youth does not depend on the blood money that comes from kidnapping, popular and commonplace as this ignoble cause has become.” In a related development, a group of youths took to the streets on Tuesday in Benin to protest the kidnap. Carrying placards with various inscriptions, the protesters pleaded with the kidnappers to release Ozekhome and others unhurt and unconditionally. The protesters gathered at Ring Road, moved from the gates of the Edo State House of Assembly through Reservation Street to NUJ Press Centre to the Government House.


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News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We’re at a critical stage with Boko Haram –Presidential Committee AZA MSUE KADUNA

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he Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North yesterday said it has reached a critical stage with Boko Haram members to lay down their arms. Chairman of the Committee, Kabiru Turaki, called on the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and other northern leaders to help them seal a final deal with the sect. Turaki, the Minister of Special Duties, said this during the committee’s meeting with the ACF leadership at the forum’s headquarters in Kaduna. The minister, who faulted the pull out of some dialogue committee members, accused them of benefiting from the insecurity and insurgency facing the nation, saying northerners should stand up against terrorism. Turaki while commending the ACF and other prom-

inent northerners in their efforts to persuade Boko Haram members to accept dialogue, said 90 percent of the work has been done. He said: “We are here to solicit for your support and prayers. We are at a critical point where we need your prayers and that of the Nigerian nation. “We must appreciate that even though this is a Nigerian problem, except we as northerners take a very proactive position, we need to come out and tell the world that we as responsible stakeholders. “As the highest political leadership in the north, we need to say enough is enough and then lend our voices collectively, we should be seen as northerners, who show more concern about this. We must show more concern than other concern citizens of this country. “That is why as a committee, we are surprised that some people who have been given the opportunity to come and serve in this

committee, who claimed to be concerned northerners, have refused to take that opportunity, but claimed not only to have access to this group, but claimed to have solution and a roadmap, but have stayed away. It only means two things. “It is either what they are saying to the public that they have link to these people who have a workable roadmap is highly untrue or they are unpatriotic. Or they are people who are benefiting from the continued act of insecurity and insurgency in this country. Whichever way it is, it is really unfortunate. “At the beginning, we had a herculean task which was how to reach these people. Mr. President said we should do magic and thank God; we have a lot of magicians. So, we spent a lot of valuable time trying to establish links after which we had to build confidence in the face of some of the experiences some of these people informed us.”

“They told us that in the past, attempts were made to dialogue with them which they took to be genuine, but they ended up being traps that was set for them. So, the greatest huddle we had was to convince the group about the sincerity of members of this committee and the clear intention of government. “We told them that considering the calibre of the membership of this committee, it is a clear demonstration of sincerity on the part of government. I cannot imagine how Dr Lemu or Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, will sit down and allow himself to be used by another person. “I am happy to say that we have made appreciable progress. We feel that whatever we are doing, we must come here because this is the umbilical cord of the northern political leadership. We have always been conscious of what to report to you in the course of this interaction.

L-R: Former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu; former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho (rtd) and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, at the public presentation of the book, ‘Delicate Distress’, in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Security forces intensify search for Shekau’s grave OMEIZA AJAYI

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ndications emerged yesterday that security forces in Maiduguri, Borno State have intensified the search for the grave of ‘slain’ Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, with a view to exhuming his body and properly ascertaining his demise. Competent military sources told National Mirror yesterday that even before the recent announcement of the death of Shekau by the Joint Taskforce, JTF, in Maiduguri, there had been surreptitious moves by intelligence operatives within the JTF to track his grave around the border areas between Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroun. As reported earlier by National Mirror, the JTF had rushed to make the announcement in order to claim credit for the achievement since it had been ordered to hand over its operations to a new army division established in the state. The Defence Headquarters had, on Sunday, August 18, announced that the command of the ongoing internal security operations in the North-East will enter a new phase the following day as the control of the mission reverts to the Army Headquarters. “Accordingly, a new army division has been created and will take off to continue the counterinsurgency operation with immediate effect. “The Nigerian Army will now be solely in charge of the operations, but still under the routine

Jonathan urges ASUU to end strike, releases N30bn for allowances CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday, urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to end the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the union as the Federal Government has released N30 billion for earned allowances. Jonathan said this while commissioning Federal Government-

sponsored transformation projects at the Federal University of Technology, FUTO, Owerri, Imo State. The President, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayat Rufai, revealed that N30 billion has been released for the payment of earned allowances in all public universities. He said there was no need for the union to continue to prolong the strike as there was no longer need for such action.

The President, who used the occasion to commission some projects in the university in line with the Federal Government’s commitment of providing quality education in the country, added that the projects were based on the assessment exercise conducted by the government in the universities. Jonathan urged the university administration to engage in research for national development while stressing the need

for proper maintenance of completed projects. Vice-Chancellor of the intitution, Prof Chidozie Asiabaka, in his speech, expressed joy at the completion of the structures. He noted that the building projects have gone a long way in tackling the dearth of basic infrastructure in the school. “The dearth of classrooms, lecture theatres, power supply, student hostels, office accommodation, library space and

facilities was the major challenge my administration faced when I assumed office two years ago,” he said. The vice-chancellor noted that with the intervention of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, the university now have 1, 000 sitting capacity lecture theatre, Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies Building, Department of Physics building and the School of Engineering, among others.

guidance of the Defence Headquarters. “A General Officer Commanding, GOC, in the rank of major-general is being proposed to command the new division which will have its headquarters in Maiduguri. He is due to take over the command and the assets of the headquarters of the JTF. “The new division is to continue with counterterrorism operations in the North-East which comes under its area of responsibility,” DHQ spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade,” had stated. He said the development was in line with the plans laid out for the conduct of the operations to execute the mandate spelt out in the State of Emergency declaration by the President. He said the first phase of operation was executed by a JTF composed of troops drawn from the services of the armed forces as well as other security agencies who conducted ‘Operation Boyona.’ However, our correspondent reliably gathered yesterday that while the JTF had perfected its plans on how to locate the grave, the new division was slowing down the process as it did not want the glory of such a ‘big find’ to go to the defunct JTF. “The JTF had perfected the plan and it seems like they were almost about locating the area but the DHQ decided that the army alone should continue with this operation. At least, you will recall that I told you the last time that the JTF hastened to make that announcement partly because it needed to take that glory. “Having been on the ground for three years, you were not expecting such a glory to have gone to a division that was just being established. “So, for obvious reasons, the plan to locate Shekau’s grave is being delayed,” said the security operative. Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, could not be immediately reached on phone while the text message sent to him was never replied.


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EFCC arrests 17 Oyo officials for alleged N1.7bn scam OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA

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he Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a syndicate of fraudsters implicated in the stealing of N1.7 billion pension funds. The funds, according to a statement by the spokesman of the commission,

were meant for retirees of Oyo State Primary schools. The commission said that the 17 fraudsters were arrested separately by detectives. According to the commission, principal suspects involved in the scam are: Muili Hakeem Aderemi, former Executive Secretary, Oyo State Local Government Pension Board and

Iyabo Giwa- former Treasurer, Oyo State Local Government Pension Board. Others are Adeshina Jimoh Ayoade, former Cashier, Oyo State Local Government Pension Board; Oguntayo Banji, former Internal Auditor, Oyo State Local Government Pension Board and Adebiyi Olasunbo Musendiq, former Administrative Officer, Oyo

State Local Government Pension Board. The rest are: Muili Adedamola; Salewa Adedeji; Kareem Rasheed; Johnson Bosede; Adeduntan Johnson; Olomide Olaide; Oyebamiji Akinlolu; Adewale Kehinde; Saka. M. Ikeola; Oluokun Funmilayo; Oyetunji Taiwo and Olujimi Philip Adebayo. The commission said

investigations showed that all the pension offices in the 33 local governments in Oyo State were affected by the scam. The commission said: “The Pension Board received a total sum of N4, 140,020,501.72 from both the Federation Account and the Oyo State Government between September 2010 and February 2011.

“Out of this amount, a total cash withdrawal of N1.711, 894, 667.05 was fraudulently made by the suspects. “Items recovered from the suspects include buildings, poultry farms, power generating sets and undeveloped plots of land. The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”

Consumers paying for PHCN inefficiency –FG CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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Nigerians at the Notting Hill Carnival in London, the United Kingdom, yesterday.

PHOTO: NAN

I’m still in charge -Odimegwu, NPC boss OMEIZA AJAYI

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hairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, Eze Festus Odimegwu has dismissed claims of his being suspended by the Federal Government, describing such reports as mischievous. He attributed the rumour to those he said are deliberately working to stall his effort to reposition the commission and deliver to Nigerians a credible census figure that can be relied upon for national development. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State had recently claimed to have reported Mr. Odimegwu to President Goodluck Jonathan on the grounds that he made certain statements that were unsubstantiated. He also urged the president to relieve the NPC boss of his position. Odimegwu on his part had described the 2006 census figures as cooked up faulting the population fig-

ure of some states, including Kano. However, an Abuja-based national newspaper yesterday in its online version reported the suspension of Mr. Odimegwu and citing unnamed presidency sources as confirming the suspension of the NPC boss. Our correspondent however gathered that Mr. Odimegwu was merely issued an administrative query for issues which were not immediately disclosed. The NPC boss in his reaction said the blackmail was the handiwork of some people who are jittery about his ongoing reform efforts at the Commission. He said as a man who does not depend on “hand outs” from people to survive, he would not be perturbed even if he were to be suspended. “There is nothing wrong. It is the propaganda of those who are jittery concerning the reforms we are bringing to the NPC. What they are saying is not true; it is blackmail.

It is propaganda and that is their wish. You should know that if wishes were horses, beggars would be riding every day. “It is not true, that is even commendable to us

because it shows that a lot of people are frightened because of their past. They are screaming and it’s not true and even if it’s true, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

he Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has admitted that consumers are paying inefficient price for electricity, but attributed the development to the unavailability of power. NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, who spoke in Lagos at a public forum between civil society groups and the commission, assured that tariff would reduce as generation increases. Amadi said: “Power is unlike telecom where all you need to do is deregulate and you say come and buy spectrum which government auctions. Investors build their mast and become operational. “But in power, the investor has to determine the market, who will buy the power before beginning any investment. And it takes more than a year or two to get a plant going.” He said for the electricity

sector to grow, there should be intense investments in the sector which must also be afforded a time gap to mature, saying: “One megawatt of electricity costs one million dollars to produce.” Amadi expressed the commission’s readiness to regulate the privatised Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He said: “We are ready, we are a learning organisation and by next week, we are going to have a retreat to analyse what we have done and how to bridge obvious gaps. “Forums like this are meant to build the capacity of CSO to interact with the sector and built trust. It is fantastic that we have had two tariff increases without a major outcry, it shows that our interaction is working mainly because of credibility”. Speaking earlier, the representative of the civil society coalition in the South-West, Adewale Adeoye, noted that energy provision is factor the economic development and well being of Nigerians.

Nollywood group petitions EFCC, SFU over Akpabio’s N50m largesse NGOZI EMEDOLIBE

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new twist has emanated over the N50 million largesse donated by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State to the Nigerian movie industry, otherwise called Nollywood. The Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP) is alleging massive fraud in the disbursement of the fund. It has invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) to investigate the matter. According to a copy of the petition obtained by National Mirror, dated August 19, 2013 and ad-

dressed jointly to the EFCC and SFU, the group is asking the agencies to invite the National President of the Association of Movie Producers, Zik Zulu OKafor; the National President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria, Andy Amenechi; the Secretary General of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Yakubu Abubakar and Stephanie Okereke Linus-Idahosa, a Nollywood actress and member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria for obtaining the fund and disbursing it without the consent of the industry’s stakeholders. Part of the petition read: “On June 15, 2013, news broke out that some Nollywood stakeholders

under the auspices of a non-existent ‘Guild of Nollywood Stars’ visited Governor Akpabio in his office in Uyo for the purpose of collecting the N50 million pledge to Nollywood. “Members of the visiting group were Mr. Zik Zulu Okafor (President, Association of Movie Producers, AMP), Mr. Andy Amenechi (President, ‘Directors Guild of Nigeria’, DGN), Mr. Abubakar Yakubu (National Secretary of a faction of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN), and actress and member of AGN, Mrs. Stephanie OkerekeLinus Idahosa. “The governor presented to the visitors a prototype post-dated (25-062013) Zenith bank cheque

number 00063639 with Akwa Ibom State Government as the account name, issued in favour of Guild of Nollywood Stars. “We also gathered that the governor, in his usual generosity, gave each of the visitors N500, 000 cash. “Expectedly, the massive publicity given to the entire episode by the press generated heated debates. In fact, it polarised the industry till today. “Suspecting fraud, ANCOP immediately raised the red flag when it queried the use of a non-existent ‘Guild of Nollywood Stars’ to access the N50 million pledge, by those who visited Governor Akpabio.”


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Osun rescues Oyo over payment of LAUTECH workers’ salary ADEOLU ADEYEMO OSOGBO

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L-R: Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori; Chairman, Omoluabi Garment Factory-Sam and Sara, Hon. Adeniyi Oyemade; Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Timi of Ede, Oba Muniru Lawal, during the commissioning of the garment factory at Abere in Osogbo, yesterday.

Nine APC, PPN, PDP lawmakers defect to LP in Ogun

FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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even members of the Ogun State House of Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) as well as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday in Abeokuta, the state capital, defected to the Labour Party. Two members of the National Assembly - Hon. Abiodun Akinlade, representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency on the platform of APC and Razak Adewusi representing Yewa North/ Imeko-Afon Federal Constituency - also defected to LP. The defectors were received by the Deputy National Chairman of LP, Joseph Akinsanya, while inaugurating the state, local government and the ward

membership registration committee of the state chapter. The inauguration of the membership registration committee was attended by the LP National Vice-Chairman, Ganiyu Dauda and the party’s chairmen from Oyo and Ondo states. The lawmakers who dumped APC included Remmy Hazzan (Odoogbolu Constituency), Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo (Ifo Constituency II) and Samson Onademuren (Ijebu NorthEast Constituency). Those who dumped PPN included Simon Adeleke (Imeko/Afon Constituency), Joseph Adegbesan (Ijebu North II Constituency) and John Obafemi (Remo North Constituency). Abiodun Akovoyan (Ipokia Constituency) also dumped PDP for LP. Addressing the party sup-

porters, LP National Deputy Chairman, Akinlaja them to be vigilant against infiltrators who may want to play the role of moles against their desired to wrestle power from Governor Ibikunle Amosun in 2015. Against the speculation that LP had zoned its governorship tickets to Ogun West Senatorial District, Akinlaja warned the party leadership in Ogun against gagging aspirants, stressing that it is legitimate for anyone to aspire to any position within the party. Stressing that the national leadership of the party had no anointed candidate, the National Deputy Chairman urged the supporters to allow the leadership to “finish building the house before allocating rooms to occupiers”. Commenting on the defection, Akinlade, who

OPC denies involvement in Ekiti APC clash ABIODUN NEJO ADO-EKITI

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he Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) yesterday absolved its members of involvement in the violent clash between supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi and those of the House of Representatives member, Hon Opeyemi Bamidele. Fayemi’s supporters and those Bamidele clashed during a burial reception last weekend in Iyin-Ekiti. Many people were injured in the violence.

OPC Coordinator, Chief Niyi Adedipe, who claimed that he was a victim of the clash, said it was unfortunate that members of the group were branded as thugs. Adedipe, in a chat with journalists in Ado Ekiti, denied reports that OPC was involved in the clash. He said: “I didn’t attack anybody or caused the problem. I was invited by the Caretaker Chairman of Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government, Mr Femi Awe. We were not there to foment trouble and I only went there with two of my aides. “As I am speaking to

you now, my driver, Friday, is still at the Ekiti State Police Command clinic at Okesa in AdoEkiti due to machete cut inflicted on him by Bamidele’s supporters. Even my bus, which they vandalized, is still at the police headquarters. So, I was not in any way involved.” Adedipe said the police had even arrested two men in connection with the vandalisation of the group’s 18-seater bus during the fracas. The coordinator urged members of the public see OPC in good light against the backdrop of

is also the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Science and Technology, said that Ogun LP is different from other political parties because of the avalanche of lawmakers that followed him to defect as well as other NASS members who have adequate knowledge of Nigeria’s constitution and well familiar with governance to benefit the electorate. Akinlade said that their coming together into LP would make it possible for them to collectively defeat Amosun in the next governorship election. Akinlade, however, dismissed the rumour that his governorship ambition had set him on a war path against his Yewa kinsman and former PPN governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka who is also eyeing the 2015 governorship seat.

the group’s good deeds, reminding Nigerians that “OPC fought relentless against the military juntas of Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Sanni Abacha for the entrenchment of democracy.”

Fayemi

he Osun State Government has rescued its neigbouring Oyo State over the payment of the outstanding July salary of workers of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Osogbo. Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola ordered that the outstanding salary be paid with immediate effect. LAUTECH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Solomon Olufemi Fadiora, said in a statement that “the directive by Aregbesola was to assuage the workers of LAUTECH hospital who are yet to be paid their July salary by Oyo State Government.” Fadiora said: “The directive came after the plight of the hospital’s workers was brought to the notice of the

Osun State governor. Aregbesola took the decision so as to ease the hardship that the unpaid salary has brought on the staff of the hospital pending the time the issue will be resolved by the two owner states. “The Oyo State Government was supposed to assume payment of salary of the personnel of the hospital for the second half of the year as from July running to December in line with joint ownership between the two states, an arrangement that was not followed by the Oyo State Government. “Notwithstanding the hiccups being experienced, the joint ownership by the two states still subsists and the management of the hospital commended the perseverance of the staff.” He, however, urged the workers to go about their duties as a way of appreciating Aregbesola’s gesture.

Oyo Assembly passes bond bill into law KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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he Oyo State House of Assembly has passed a bill for the state bonds, notes and other securities issuance into law. The House passed the bill yesterday after the consideration of a report of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Finance and Appropriation presented by the Chairman, Hon. Olusegun Olaleye. The House Speaker, Hon. Monsurat Sunmonu, lauded the committee for doing a thorough job. She said the House was cognisance of its respon-

sibility, hence the need to scrutinise the expenses of government to ensure prudency and accountability. Addressing journalists on the essence of the bill, Olaleye said it was meant to ensure prudent management of bond for the development of infrastructure across the state. According to him, the law avail the government to have an effective debt management agency that would manage both the income and expenditure of the fund. He added that it would also give the House the power to receive a quarterly report from the state Commissioner for Finance on how the fund is being managed.

…Tasks federal, private firms over unpaid taxes ADEOLU ADEYEMO OSOGBO

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he Osun State Government is set to go after all federal and private establishments in the state that are yet to pay their taxes. Acting Chairman of the state Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Olufemi Balogun, said yesterday that all unpaid taxes by the establishments would be recovered by the body. It will be recalled that the state government recently shut the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTHC) Complex over

N3.1 billion unpaid taxes. Addressing journalists in Osogbo, Balogun asked the federal and private establishments to remit all taxes duly deducted from their workers’ to the state. He said: “The revenue agency will soon deploy its men to conduct investigation on federal, state and private establishments so as to recover all unpaid taxes due to the state and defaulters will face the wrath of the law.” According to him, the Internal Revenue Service would publish names of tax defaulters and the amount owing the state.


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Hypertension: Lagos intensifies campaign against salt intake MURITALA AYINLA

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L-R: Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, State Council of Obas, Onitaji of Itaji-Ekiti, Oba Idowu Adamo Babalola and Speaker, State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, during the inauguration of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and the presentation of vehicles in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday.

Three killed, five injured in Ibadan inferno KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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ragedy struck at Orogun Junction along Iwo Road/Ojoo Expressway in Ibadan yesterday as no fewer than three people were reportedly killed in an inferno involving an NNPC tanker loaded with fuel. The report also said that at least five other people sustained varying degree of injuries arising from serious burns when the tanker was trying to offload fuel from another one. The fire also torched about eight shops while two Sport Utility Vehicles were not spared as they were burnt to ashes for the two

hours the inferno lasted. Smoke covered the air as most shop and car owners parked away from the scene of the inferno made frantic efforts to retrieve their property for fear of being destroyed. An eyewitness, Dr Ayo Osisanwo, while speaking with journalists, said the unfortunate incident occurred when an NNPC truck was offloading fuel from another truck which had fallen off the road, but was still loaded with fuel. He said the inferno started in the process of transferring the fuel to an empty tanker. National Mirror leant that three persons were reportedly feared dead in the process as fuel drained into the

area and exploded, burning properties and other things found on its path. The five injured persons were rushed to an undisclosed hospital in the area with an Oyo State ambulance dispatched to the scene. A detachment of men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, the police and personnel from the fire service stormed the scene, but ran out of water while efforts were made for reinforcement. As the fire raged, there was a gridlock as the expressway was blocked, leaving only one lane for both incoming and on-going traffic. The lane was totally blocked

Naval chief warns of increased sea criminality, others SEGUN ADIO

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hief of Naval Staff, Vi c e - A d m i r a l Dele Ezeoba, has warned on increase in sea criminality and maritime security breaches in the Gulf of Guinea unless navies of the West African sub-region pull resources together to confront these challenges. Ezeoba said this yesterday at the opening of the Offshore Patrol Vessels Africa Conference at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria, Island, Lagos. About 15 heads of African and foreign navies as well as 35 nations are participating in the conference, said to be the first of its kind in Africa. According to the naval chief, no meaningful

economic development would be achieved in the sub-region that is predominantly dependent on the maritime sector for its foreign earnings, unless adequate policing is put in place. His words; “One of the major implications of the emerging security equations is the increasing demand for maritime policing functions. Regrettably, the increasing necessity of policing operations, particularly within the past decade has revealed the huge capability gap of African navies and coast guards in their ability to efficiently discharge their constitutional mandate,” he said. Vice-Admiral Ezeoba then recommended regular Offshore Patrol Vessels and other necessary

platforms to the participating states for effective, efficient and sustainable policing functions due to their sea qualities, endurance and versatility. In her address at the event, Minister for State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, assured the Nigerian Navy that the present administration would give all the political support needed to assist the navy to fight security threats in the nation’s maritime domain. In her words; “All I can assure you is that the present administration is fully aware of the need to effectively police our maritime domain to ward off sea criminals from our territorial waters and the administration is poised to support the navy to meet this mandate,” Obada said.

consequently as all road users tried to escape from the scene. At the scene of the incident, there was panic as pedestrians were seen wailing uncontrollably while passersby lamented the incident. Eyewitnesses added, however, that the situation became worse when the firemen ran out of water and had to wait for supplement. It was while waiting that the fire went wild and engulfed the surrounding shops, numbering about eight and some other houses around. In fact, some vehicles were burnt beyond recognition including two SUVs.”

s part of the moves to greatly reduce the rate of hypertension among residents of Lagos State, the state government has intensified its campaign against high consumption of salt. Hence, the state government also warned residents to be wary of fast food meals, the super seasonings and other foods items preserved with salt in order to tame the scourge of high blood pressure, which, according to it, remains the highest killer disease. According to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, hypertension affects every part of the body, saying that it is unfortunate that most people with high blood pressure are not aware of their health status. He said: “Hypertension affects from the head to the toe. Basically, there are two types of hypertension namely; essential hypertension and secondary hypertension. It is unfortunate that most people who have hypertension don’t know that they are hypertensive. “Hypertension is certified to be the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, the heart diseases that lead to death. Stroke is a complication, heart diseases are complication and kidney failure is a complication. “That is why it is very

essential for us as a government to do something that will reduce the problem.” Idris added that anyone with very high salt intake has a tendency to be hypertensive, saying that it is medically recommended that salt intake should not exceed five grammes daily, if one must take it all. “If you take a lot of salt, chances are that you will have hypertension and if you reduce the intake of salt, you reduce the risk of having the disease. This is because reduction in salt intake reduces blood pressure by five per cent, death from stroke by 16 per cent and coronary heart diseases by 12 per cent.” On his part, the Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. David Oke, cautioned residents to be wary of food items preserved with salt. He said: “Salt draws water and when you have too much of salt in the blood, there is more water in the blood than necessary. So the more salt you take the more fluid you have in your blood and the higher the blood pressure. “Tin foods are always preserved with salt, the same way sardines, vegetables, fast food joints are. Stock fish also known as Panla are preserved with a lot of salt. Other food such as plantain chips, corn beef, potato chips, have too much of salt in them.

125 Ekiti monarchs get car donation from govt ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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bout 125 traditional rulers in Ekiti State yesterday received official cars from the state government to facilitate the administration of their domains and enhance the performance of their duties. State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who presented various categories of cars to the monarchs based on their class, described the traditional rulers’ roles as veritable “as key stakeholders in the development of the state.” The governor, while presenting the cars to the monarchs shortly after inaugurating the Onitaji of Itaji Ekiti, Oba Idowu Adama Babalola, as the chairman of the state council of traditional rulers in the state, however, cautioned royal families in the state against incessant litiga-

tions over chieftaincy tussles. Fayemi lamented that such legal tussles were slowing down development in such communities, as he canvassed amicable resolution of such differences at appropriate quarters in the communities. The inauguration of the new traditional council led by Oba Babalola followed the expiration of the two-year tenure of the immediate past chairman, the Owa Ooye of Okemesi Ekiti, Oba Adedeji Gbadebo, on August 1. The governor urged the new council to build on the legacies of its predecessor with a view to consolidating on the development of the state, assuring that his administration would soon begin the second phase of the free healthcare delivery services in the palaces put in place to ensure healthy living for the monarchs and their

people. In his response, the new chairman of the council appreciated the governor’s developmental strides and promised to continue with the good deeds of his predecessors. Speaking earlier, Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Aderemi Ajayi, expressed joy that the crop of talented royal fathers in the state were achievers who had excelled in their various fields of endeavour, saying such had manifested in “their approach to issues, robust debates and quality of advice they gave to government.” He advised the monarchs against bringing disrepute to the throne saying; “royal institutions are our heritage that must be recognised and accorded the necessary aura of respectability for the preservation of our culture.”


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LG poll: No going back on Option A4, Ebonyi insists ALIUNA GODWIN EBONYI

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he Ebonyi State Government yesterday vowed not to give up on Option A4 earlier passed into law by the state House of Assembly. The Option A4 is to be used for the conduct of the September 28, 2013 local government election. The government’s decision followed the earlier injunction issued by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt in which it restrained the State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) from

conducting the election as a result of the plan to make use of Option A4. The court on, August 7, 2013, issued an injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), EBSIEC and the House of Assembly to conduct the local government poll. In suit No FHC/PH/ CS/214/2013, the applicants, comprising the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Mr. Okechuku Obor and Mrs. Ebere Samuel Uche Udeogu, prayed the court to, among orders, grant a stay of all matters to which their application

relates (the organisation and conduction of the local government election inclusive) pending the determination of the substantive application for judicial review or until the court directs otherwise. Addressing journalists in Abakaliki, the state Attorney-General/ Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ben Igwenyi, declared the government’s readiness to transfer the case to the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki to enable the parties involved argue out their motion. Igwenyi assured that the matter would be dis-

posed of, before September 28 to enable EBSIEC go ahead with the conduct of the election. He said: “We sent three lawyers to Port Harcourt to appear in court and they are back. We are going to file a motion to vacate the order. The law is that when an expert order is made and served, the other party can ask for the vacation of the order to enable the motion to be taken on merit. “We are going to file the motion within one week to vacate the order to enable the two sides argue out the substantive motion.

“It is one man judgement, we are not going back on Option A4 because nothing is wrong with it. The best election ever held in this country on June 12, 1993 was done under Option A4. There is no room for rigging in Option A4. No room for people to snatch ballot papers and to thumbprint elsewhere. In option A4 you see people queuing behind the candidate of their choice. “It is only in Option A4 that voters can be captured in camera queuing behind the candidate of their choice. Opposition parties are just trying to

hang on something. PPA does not have any office in Ebonyi. The man that is parading himself as the chairman of PPA is somebody that cannot win even in his family meeting election.” The commissioner, however, called on supporters of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the people of the state to remain calm, as well as shun all forms of violence. He assured of the government’s determination to conduct the election on September 28, adding that the poll would be free, fair and credible.

FRSC plans to end persistent traffic jam in Onitsha NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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L-R: South-East Chairman of Campaign for Democracy, Mr. Uzor Uzor; Ogirisi Igbo of Igboland, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka and Zonal Supervisor, Civil Awareness and Economic Empowerment Initiative, Mr. Steve Ugwu, during a news conference on the Anambra State governorship candidates’ debate in Onitsha, yesterday.

Imo Assembly resumes sitting after three months •Denies legalising abortion CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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embers of the Imo State House of Assembly yesterday resumed sitting after three months recess, just as the lawmakers denied passing a law legalising abortion. It will be recalled that the lawmakers embarked

on the recess as a result of the leakage of the Assembly’s roof. Yesterday’s sitting, which was conducted at the Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu Convention Centre in, Owerri was ushered in with prayer. Moving the motion to adopt the Centre as a temporary place for legislative business, the Majority Lead-

er, Hon. Adaku Ihuoma, urged the House to adopt the Centre pending the completion of the rehabilitation of the Assembly complex. The motion was, however, adopted by the House. During the plenary session, the Speaker, Benjamin Uwajumogu, read a message denying the report that the House had passed a law legalising abortion.

Uwajumogu said: “It is not true. We only passed a law to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms violence including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices, discrimination against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.”

he Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has promised to partner special marshals and prominent individuals to end the persistent traffic jam within the Onitsha metropolis. The Onitsha Unit Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Anthony Metta, spoke yesterday after the Corps’ sensitisation campaign to women at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Inland Town, Onitsha. Metta said: “Just as you have noted that major internal roads leading to markets in Onitsha are becoming nightmare for road users, we are planning to partner with special marshals and prominent indigenes to bring solution to this challenge”. He said the Corps would work out modalities to mount traffic controllers as well as open diversion routes to free Awka and Oguta roads from the frequent road traffic jam.

Army to source uniforms from local materials DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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he Nigeria Army will henceforth source its uniform from local materials. It has also stepped up efforts to improve its health sector and accessories for troops to enhance their performance. The Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) Lt-Gen. Azubuike

Ihejirika, spoke yesterday at the 16th edition of the Combat Service Support Training Week holding at the auditorium of the headquarters of the 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, Enugu. Represented by the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj-Gen. A.A Olaniyi, Ihejirika said that the Army Ordinance Corps had gone into research for the production of indig-

enous fragmentation jackets. He, however, admitted that no Army could have all required resources. The COAS said the theme for this year’s Combat Service Training Week: “Re-Appraising the Combat Service Support Corps for Improved Support to the Nigerian Army in the Face of the Current Security Challenges” was apt, especially as the Federal Government tackles

security challenges confronting the nation, particularly North-East. He said that he was happy over the caliber of resource persons invited to deliver and discuss the selected topics. Ihejirika added that he was equally glad to note that a cross section of senior and middle level officers of the various Combat Service Support Corps were participat-

ing in the training workshop. The COAS said: “Let me also stress the need to encourage creativity and ingenuity among our officers and soldiers in our quest to enhance our capabilities and improve the way we conduct operations, particularly in the face of limited resources, bearing in mind that there is no Army that can have all the resources required”.

The commander also gave out FRSC hotlines to the women in case of emergency, urging them to advise their children and husbands against taking of alcohol and other stimulants before driving as well as limit their speed while driving. Metta said: “FRSC is a disciplined organisation and my office is open for any complaint since we are here to serve, build a bond and trust with the motoring public and other road users. “Safety is everybody’s business, which is not restricted to FRSC alone, but in everything we do whether on the road or at home, the idea and measures for safety should come first.” Chairperson of the women, Mrs. Ngozi Anyaora, commended the FRSC for the sensitisation campaign and the humane manner its regular marshals discharge their duties. She also commended Corps Marshal of the federation, Mr. Osita Chidoka, for the discipline and neatness of the officers and men of the Corps. Anyaora, therefore, appealed to the Corps to assist in checking persistent traffic jams on major internal roads in Onitsha, especially in this Inland Town. Highlight of the sensitisation was the demonstration on how fire extinguishers should be preserved and used during any fire incident on the road.


12

South South

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Rivers PDP crisis: Commissioner escapes assassination •Party chieftain warns over expulsion of members

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he Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Fred Igwe, who was one of the state officials expelled by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday, narrowly escaped assassination hours before he was kicked out of the party. Igwe was on Sunday attacked by gunmen on his way back to Port Harcourt around Akpajo-Eleme, in the

outskirts of the state capital. According to police sources, Igwe was returning to Port Harcourt after visiting his home town in Eleme Local Government Area of the state. A source close to the commissioner, who also confirmed the incident, said he (Igwe) was simply lucky to have been able to wade through the attack spot as bullet holes left on his vehicle

by his assailants suggested that they were determined to snuff the life out of him. He also added that the family decided to shield the news from the public for 48 hours for security reasons. “It was around 7.00pm and he was returning from his village. He is fine now, although he sustained injuries from the attack. The attackers sprayed his car with bullets, but we thank God he

miraculously came out of it alive,” the source said. Confirming the incident, spokesperson of the Rivers State police command, Angela Agabe, said the commissioner sustained minor injuries in the attack. According to her; “He was coming from Eleme when he ran into a black spot around Akpajo. His car was sprayed with bullets and he sustained minor injuries.”

National President, Christian Association of Nigerian, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan and his wife Roli, during an interdenominational thanksgiving service to mark the 22nd anniversary of Delta State at Effurun.

Controversy trails Bayelsa deputy gov’s whereabouts EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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ontroversy is currently trailing the whereabouts of the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, John Jonah, since his boss, Governor Seriake Dickson, embarked on vacation on August 15. There were indications yesterday that the deputy governor may have abandoned his duty and jetted out of the state following the absence of his principal. National Mirror gath-

ered in Yenagoa, that the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Prof. Edmund Allison-Oguru, has been holding forte for the governor at public events. It was also learnt that government activities in the state has been at a lull since Dickson proceeded on leave. Top government functionaries in the state are yearning for the governor to resume duty to enable events bounce back to life. The state House of Assembly had earlier approved the governor’s

request to proceed on his annual vacation. But, in a reaction yesterday, the deputy governor denied claims that he had abandoned his duty post and jetted out of the state. Jonah, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Ebi Evinson, said his boss did not abandon his office and travelled out of the state in the absence of the governor. The media aide said it was only last week that he (Jonah) travelled to

Calabar for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, South-South meeting and returned to the state capital, Yenagoa at the weekend. He said: “That’s not correct. It’s not true that he has abandoned governance and travelled out of the state. The information is not correct. He only travelled last week and came back on Saturday after the PDP South-South meeting in Calabar. He is in the state and has been coming to his office to perform his duties.”

Uduaghan, Oritsejafor predict brighter future for Delta

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elta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday in Warri, predicted a brighter future for Delta State. At an inter-denominational thanksgiving service held at the Living Faith Church, Warri, to mark the 22nd anniversary of the creation of the state, Governor Uduaghan said the challenging days of the state were over for good, adding that the future of the state was brighter in

the years ahead. According to Uduaghan, despite the challenges the state has encountered, Deltans deserves to celebrate peace and development being witnessed in the state. “A state that was synonymous with violence before now is now known for peace,” the governor said at the service attended by eminent citizens and former military administrators of the state. He said the state was moving fast and that developmental projects were going on in different parts

of the state. He specifically said the transformation of the Eneheren Junction in the city, would be replicated in other busy junctions in the state. “I did promise and prayed to God that we are finishing strong and we will finish well and strong,” the governor said, challenging the people of the state to use whatever position they are holding to work in the interest of the state and to the glory of God. Also, he tasked the citizens to work hard for the growth of the state, saying

he alone cannot do it. The governor continued: “We have moved very fast in the last 22 years. Delta State is overcoming its challenges. The state is now the most peaceful in the country. We are moving on in terms of development. The image of Delta State is changing for good.” Uduaghan, who had earlier taken the first reading from Psalm 138: 1 to 8 added that; “As a governor, I cannot do everything. If you have a responsibility, use it well for the good of Delta State.

However, the party leadership in the state has been warned not to embark on activities that will destroy the party, but rather to close ranks for the success of the party in the 2015 general polls. The warning was handed down to the party leadership yesterday by a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasbry Amadi, via a telephone interview with journalists. Amadi, who was reacting to the expulsion of some cabinet members of the Rivers State government, said President Goodluck Jonathan, as the leader of the party, should call some people he described as sympathisers of the party to order. He urged him to put in place a machinery to re-position the party and strengthen it in order to perform creditably well in the 2015 general elections. In a related development, the Commissioner of Works in the state has condemned his expulsion from the party. He said the said expulsion is against the constitution of the party and will not stand. “I heard about my expulsion from the PDP yesterday at about 12.00 noon when some of my friends called to inform me that I have been expelled from the PDP.

“The question I will like to ask is this, the so-called expulsion of valuable assets of the party, is it in the interest of the PDP or in the interest of people who are the leaders of the party, who do not understand the importance of party politics. “I think they need to go back and understand that the calibre of people which they claim to have expelled from the PDP will enable PDP succeed in this state. “The PDP committee did not invite me, but I heard that there was some newspaper adverts and I do know that I cannot be invited through newspaper adverts. “I can be reached by any other form of communication but not through adverts. I don’t think that I am under any obligation to run to anywhere on seeing newspaper adverts. “I think that the expulsion is unconstitutional and the national leadership of the party will not allow it to stand. I see no reason why the kangaroo expulsion in Port Harcourt will stand because the provisions of the law and constitution are clear. “That only the national working committee can expel a public officer. I don’t see why we should be bothered about that.”

Kidnapped company workers regain freedom EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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he five kidnapped workers of Beks Nigeria Limited and M. Sidom Limited, abducted last Friday, have regained their freedom in Bayelsa State. The victims were set free at Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area of the state. There were indications that some ransom may have been paid to secure the freedom of the construction workers. It was learnt that the kidnappers demanded N30 million from the management of the firms before they would be released. The Bayelsa State Police Public Relations Officer, Alex Akhigbe, confirmed the release of the abducted workers. They were kidnapped last Friday at Opuama in

Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. The incident was said to have paralysed activities of the firms as members of their staff had been evacuated from the site amidst apprehension. National Mirror was informed by a close source that the gunmen reportedly invaded the speed boat conveying the victims at about 2.20am last Friday and whisked them off to an unknown destination. The identities of the three kidnapped staff that were made available to our correspondent include Anukuru Godwin, Samuel Edeh and Jackson Ibani. A security source that does not want to be named, said the companies were contracted by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to construct shore protection and reclamation at Opuama waterways.


Wednesday August 28, 2013

Fetish objects: I’ve been battered, but more careful –Olasehinde

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

13

Politics

2015: North doesn’t deserve Presidency –Ukpabi

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Parallel congress: Uba brothers face PDP disciplinary committee OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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or holding a parallel congress of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship primaries in Anambra State, factional candidate, Senator Andy Uba and his younger brother, Chris, have been summoned by the leadership of the party to face a disciplinary action for their roles in the controversial primaries. Others to face the disciplinary committee include the factional chairman of the party in the state, Ejike Oguebego as well as Chief Benji Udeozor and Mrs. Tonia Nwankwu. In a statement issued by the Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Tony Okeke, the PDP said: “In view of their participation in the breach of our constitution referred to above, the following per-

sons are hereby invited to appear before the National Working Committee, NWC, for a preliminary hearing at the PDP National Secretariat, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja on Wednesday, August 28, at 10a.m. prompt to show why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.” The party added that “it condemns in the strongest possible terms the organisation of a parallel

APC aspirant chides Okorocha for endorsing Ngige OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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ne of the All Progressives Congress, APC, aspirants to the Anambra State governorship seat, Godwin Ezeemo has lambasted the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, for endorsing Senator Chris Ngige for the party’s sole slot, saying that the governor was being mischievous. Ezemo, however, urged the party to use the window of the November 16 governorship election in the state to prove its strength and belief in internal democracy by ensuring that the party conducts a free and fair primary election to pick who will fly its banner. The aspirant, who submitted his expression of interest form to the APC leadership yesterday in Abuja, noted that conducting an acceptable free and fair primary in Anambra State will be the party’s first test to prove to Nigerians that it is well positioned

for a change, stressing that it should not encourage the method of shutting out candidates through the hand picking process. While describing Okorocha as being mischievous in his purported adoption of Ngige as the APC candidate at the party’s last National Executive Council, NEC, meeting, Ezeemo assured that he will be ready to face any candidate at the primary, warning that the APC performance in the Anambra governorship election would be determined by the way it handles the September 2 primary election between him and Senator Ngige. His words: “The SouthEast leader of our party has not adopted any candidate, what he did was to urge one candidate to step down for another. For me, I am convinced that I can face any candidate for the Anambra governorship seat. The Imo State governor was only been mischievous in making the statement that the party has adopted Ngige for the race.

primary election to elect a candidate for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State other than the one conducted by the party on August 24.” The party said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the only governorship primary election recognised by the party was the one conducted by the electoral panel

under the leadership of Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema which was appointed by the party. “The organisation of another primary election other than the one referred to above is a clear breach of our party’s constitution and is therefore totally unacceptable and cannot be condoned.”

The party also called on the Inspector General of Police to forthwith commence investigations into the illegal procurement of sensitive party materials for the illegal governorship primary election by persons who paraded themselves as working for the PDP. Two gubernatorial candidates, Chief Tony Nwoye

and Uba, emerged at the weekend at the parallel congresses. While the national headquarters of the party recognised Nwoye as the candidate and winner of the Saturday primaries with 498 votes, Uba won the other congress recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

L-R: Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle; Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon Suraj Adekunbi during the First Yewa Descendants Union Day in London, at the weekend.

Umeh explains absence at APGA congress FELIX NWANERI

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he National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, yesterday said his absence at the Anambra State congress that produced the party’s candidate for the November 16 governorship election was informed by his resolve to give the exercise the cred-

ibility it deserved. Umeh, who was reacting to the anxiety generated by his non-attendance, said even though he was a statutory delegate from the state, he stayed away from the congress because it would not have been proper for him to be the overall referee and also a player in the exercise. In a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Stan Okeke, Umeh, who congrat-

ulated the winner of the contest, Chief Willy Obiano, noted that his landslide victory was an affirmation that he was the unanimous choice of the party for the office of governor of the state and therefore enjoyed the support of all major stakeholders of the party. He also pointed out that Obiano possessed the requisite credentials, including quality education, experience and exposure to deliv-

Groups plan debate for candidates NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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he Ogirisi Igbo Foundation and three other civil society groups have set machinery in motion to conduct an open debate among governorship candidates in the November 16 governorship election in Anambra state. The civil society groups include the Campaign

for Democracy, CD; Civil Awareness and Economic Empowerment Initiative, CAEI, and Civil Liberation Initiative, CLI. The founder of Ogirishi Igbo Foundation, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, who disclosed this to newsmen in a pre-debate press conference held in Oba near Onitsha, yesterday, noted that the debate, which would run between the months of September and October,

would hold at the Rojenny Tourists Village, Oba. The South-East zonal chairman of CD, Dede Uzor A. Uzor, stated that the concept was to deepen democratic tenants and make the electorate hold public office holders to their words, saying that the days of bread and butter politics were over in Anambra, adding: “Our people now want people with ideas and zeal to move the state and Nigeria forward.”

er good governance to the people of the state. Umeh called on the defeated aspirants to embrace Obiano and support him and the party at the poll, noting that everyone would be accommodated by the party. He pledge that he would be back to lead the party’s campaign ahead of the governorship election, emphasizing that since his reconciliation with Governor Peter Obi, both of them have been working together to ensure that APGA wins the governorship election, with the support of other major stakeholders of the party. The APGA national chairman expressed satisfaction that APGA, true to its character, was able to organise a primary which has been generally applauded by the Nigerian public and advised other political parties to ensure that they field only one candidate each at the election.


14

Politics

Hon. Fola Olasehinde is a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly representing Ose state constituency. Two months ago, she was suspended by the House for allegedly keeping fetish objects in her former apartment. In this interview with OJO OYEWAMIDE, the lawmaker tells her side of the story. Excerpts:

Wednesday August 28, 2013

Fetish objects: I’ve been battered, but more careful –Olasehinde Says, ‘I’ll challenge my suspension in court’

How has it been since your suspension by the Ondo State House of Assembly? Since my suspension, I have been more God-fearing, more careful, maybe battered but not bitter. At the same time, I have been able to appreciate God and men. I have been able to identify more with God and know more about human beings. I have been closer to my family in the last two months than I had been in the last few years. Your former landlord, Reuben Kolawole Ogunbadejo, alleged that fetish objects were found in the apartment he rented out to you. What is the truth of the matter? I thank God for the fact that there is people’s court and that there is judiciary. I have, by the special grace of God, been vindicated by the certified true copy I got from court on June 25 that there was an earlier or prior forced opening of the apartment on June 4 where the landlord, the bailiff of the court, the lawyer of the landlord and his family were present and the bailiff already wrote under the inventory that nothing was found in the apartment. I thank God that the document was discovered. We would not have been where we are or been saying what we are saying today if we didn’t find that document duly signed by four people, four parties, that is, the landlord, Chief Ogunbadejo, his lawyer, Adeyemi, the court bailiff and the police officer that accompanied them on June 4, saying they did not find anything in the apartment and they signed against it. So, that alone is enough to make me sleep and close my two eyes. Are you saying you were not the owner of the fetish objects allegedly discovered in the apartment? That is what I am saying. I am not the owner. The landlord already went there on June 4 to force open the apartment that he rented to me. That is why I am surprised that nine days later, they now broke the news to the whole world that they found fetish objects. What happened between June 4 and 14? He had nine days; why didn’t he cry out. Even if he had cried out, he had already signed nothing was found in that apartment. Now coming out again to say that there were fetish objects, my brother, we should try and look at it. He is an educated person; he is an elder statesman. So, it could not have been that he was under duress or forced to append his signature on the document that he signed. If they had seen anything, they ought to have written it. Look at the document. Don’t you see that they wrote that they did not find anything? If he had found those fetish objects, he should have listed them. In as much as he did not list them, they could not have been there and he closed his eyes, and then after nine days came back and

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Olasehinde

said he had found things. He also claimed that when you moved out of the apartment, you left with the keys… The apartment was given to me and I had been living in that apartment since 2009. He gave me quit notice, that at the end of the 2012 tenancy year, I should vacate his apartment. And that date was October 21, 2012. I am sure he must have been monitoring me to know that the apartment was going to be vacated. That is one. Two, a week to the time I finally move out, I put a call through to him that we were about leaving the house. He said I should keep the keys with my neighbour because we share the same water system. It is a twin duplex; the borehole is on my own side of the apartment. There was no way I could have left the house and taken the keys. That means my neighbour did not use water for nine months. Is he saying he went to dig another borehole for the other twin duplex? I gave the keys to the neighbour. There is no way I could have left with his keys. He said I should leave it with the neighbour and I did. I believe it was a stage-managed thing. They had quietly gone there earlier, nine days before they decided to put something else in the apartment and called the whole world. They had earlier gone there and found nothing. They later decided to put things there and called the whole world, the Labour Party leaders, my colleagues at the House of Assembly, journalists, everybody and few people from my constituency to witness the forced opening. Was there any disagreement between you and the landlord? None I can really pinpoint to now. But I paid him on November 1, 2011 and two weeks later he came back to give me quit notice. It was two weeks after taken his rent for the year 2011 to 2012 that he said I should quit after the expiration of the tenancy by

October 2012. I think maybe for that, there was anything. But there was no altercation. I think I only met him twice or three times during the period of my staying in his house which lasted for about three years. Both of you hail from Ose Local Government Area. Why do you think the landlord would have sought your downfall? That is what baffles me because he is an elderly man. He is going down the ladder and I am just climbing. I don’t know why he did that, either he did it on his own or he was used. In one of his interviews, he said he did not know where I moved to. But he knows that I am a member of the House of Assembly representing Ose. He never explored all these. All he did was to blow the whole issue. He said you did not pay his rent regularly. Could that not have been the source of the problem? I moved into the apartment in 2009. Automatically before you moved into somebody’s apartment, you would have paid. I

I THINK I MUST GIVE GLORY TO GOD THAT THEY ONLY ASSASSINATED MY

CHARACTER, NOT MY

PERSON. IF NOT, I WILL NOT BE HERE TODAY TO BE ABLE TO DEFEND

MYSELF. DEFINITELY

I AM GOING TO MAKE HIM TO FACE THE COURT OF LAW

don’t know what he meant. I don’t understand his meaning of regularly, if somebody’s rent is due in October and you get your money like seven days or two weeks later. It was only in 2010 that I didn’t pay him immediately. The same month I was supposed to pay was the same month of October I lost my husband and I was not in Akure. And I felt that I had other bigger problems as at that time to face than to rush to Akure to come and pay for rent. I just lost a soul mate; I just lost the father of my children. It was on October 29, 2010. His rent would be due on October 30, 2010. So, you see, I had to get my priorities right. I must put my family first; take care of the immediate situation that I found myself rather than rushing back to Akure to pay Chief R.K Ogunbadejo. I was in the middle of electioneering when all these things happened. My primary election was some few months away. When I came back to Akure middle of November 2010, I paid him. Instead of N700, 000 that was supposed to be the yearly rent, I gave him N400, 000. I said to him on or before the end of November, 2010, I would give him the balance which I did. May be he has his own dictionary that gives him what he meant by regularly. But why do you think he gave you quit notice? The reason behind that quit notice, I do not know. I paid him via a cheque for 20112012 tenancy. He came personally to collect it. This is my bank statement of account that shows when he cashed the cheque. So, you see where that ‘regularly’ now is in dispute. For a rent that would lapse 20th and you got your money 24 hours later, ‘regularly’ should be kept for a better use. Two weeks after I paid my rent for 2011, he sent his lawyer to my office. That is why I said I don’t know any other thing except that he gave me quit notice. Why then did he take you to court? I don’t know. I can’t think for him because I was not privy to it; I was not notified; I was not served; I was not given notice that we were going to court. Because if you are going to take me to court, you should tell me that this is what I have done to you. Even if you don’t tell me personally, the court paper should be served on me and from there I would be able to read and know this is the reason this man took me to court. But there was nothing like that. I never had the privileged opportunity to know the reason he took me to court. But I know that he brought a quit notice for me two weeks after he had collected his rent for 2011 to 2012 and that at the end of that tenancy I should vacate. When I got it I said okay. I started making frantic efforts to see that I got out of the apartment. Fortunately for me, by the first week of August, I got alternative accommodation in Alagbaka Government Quarters. Even though we were busy campaigning for the re-election of my oga, I still found time to shuttle between Ose and Akure to make sure I moved to the new apartment. The moment they finished one room durCONTINUED ON PAGE 44


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

From the Civil Service

15

PRISONS PERSONNEL FURIOUS OVER ALLEGED ILLEGAL SALARY DEDUCTIONS P.41

Niger Delta Ministry offers subsidised plots of land for staff CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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he cooperative arm of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has called on staff to avail themselves of the opportunity to own their own houses through the acquisition of landed properties in Kabusu area, near Mararaba, a suburb of the Abuja. According the notice, which was conspicuously displayed at the Federal Ministry Secretariat in Abuja, the payments for the landed property is to be made by instalments, which makes acquisition easier for staff. A staff, who simply identified himself as Okey, said there are plots for all cadre of staff, adding there are size of 100/100, 100/50 and 50/50 plots of lands. “There are plots for everybody. We have 100/100, 100/50 and 50/50 which I suppose would provide for all cadre of staff. And it is located at by pass Mpape via Mararaba at Kabusu area, just 25 minutes drive from city centre” he said. Meanwhile, Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Peter Orubebe has described the United Nations Develop-

ment Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria as a valuable Partner in progress for its unflinching support for the entrenchment of peace, progress and sustainable infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region. Elder Godsday made this remark when the Representatives of UNDP, led by the outgoing Country Director, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetse accompanied by the incoming Country Director, Bernado Cocco paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja recently. The Minister said that UNDP was greatly instrumental to the design and development of the Niger Delta action plan, the success of which was achieved through the focus and purposeful leadership of the outgoing country Director, Mamonyane Lekoetje. Orubebe reiterated Mr. President’s commitments and determination to keep Nigeria one. “God has a purpose for bringing all Nigerians together; our culture, language, people and diversity are very important. Nigeria as a country will not disintegrate. Mr President is determined to support the electoral institutions. 2015 elections will

be free and fair. President Goodluck Jonathan’s election slogan of one man, one vote will be upheld”, he said. While welcoming the new Country Director, Bernado Cocco and pledging the Ministry’s willingness and support to work with him, Orubebe wished the outgoing Country Director well and success in her new appointment as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Represen-

tative for the Republic of Gambia. Speaking earlier, the outgoing Country Director, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje expressed satisfaction with the Ministry for acknowledging the immense roles played and contributions of UNDP in the design and development of the Niger Delta action plan which validation was highly accepted and successful. She stated that Niger Delta region being the

‘Goose that lays the golden egg’ of Nigeria economy deserved attention in terms of holistic and sustainable infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region. She further said that UNDP was in the region for its assistance in pollution control which in most cases has led to the contaminations of means of livelihood of the people stressing that its control cannot be over-emphasize. She urged the incoming

Country Director, Bernado Cocco to recognise that the Ministry of Niger Delta projects are UNDP flagship projects in Nigeria. She encouraged him to ensure that they are properly coordinated and attended to promptly. Also, stressing that all issues regarding to the Niger Delta action plan which require approval from relevant authorities are well articulated and vigorously pursued to its logical conclusion.

Bayelsa State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Michael Awoli (left) and State Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, Mr. Austen Pabor, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on birth registration in Yenagoa, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Civil servants want end to dichotomy between HND and degree holders UBONG UKPONG ABUJA

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ivil Servants have said that the unfriendly policy in the country’s civil service placing Higher National Diploma (HND) holders below their counterparts holding university degrees would continue to earn condemnation unless it is reviewed to end the dichotomy. This policy since its in-

troduction in the country some years back, has not enjoyed good comments from those affected, as well as HND holders outside the civil service, even students, as they see it as a draconian policy that has continued to dampen the spirits of the holders. Although the dichotomy long existed within the academic environment, where the university system devalued the polytechnic cer-

tificates during offers of admission, undermining the higher numbers of years spent to secure it, holders did not mind it until the disparities were taken to the civil service domain. Even presently, the dichotomy has so played out that many secondary school leavers underrate the polytechnic education, hating the certificates with passion, except for those who for some reasons had

The sham called Friday work in Nigerian public service P.16

no choice but to accept the polytechnic admission. For them, certificates awarded by the polytechnics were of lesser values in Nigeria and those who have them do not mind going back to the university even if it were to start afresh. Some of those in the civil service shared their unpalatable experiences and disappointments with National Mirror with much re-

grets that they wasted good numbers of years studying even more than the university graduates, only to be awarded certificates that were relegated to the background by the country. For Stanley Eze, a HND holder civil servant with one of the government agencies in the country, “it is becoming increasingly frustrating in the service unless you acquire additional certificates at mas-

P.41

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

Apprehension in Customs over promotions

Ministry of Education signs MoU with African varsity Rufai

ters level. “This means that while the degree holder will continue to progress in his career, for those of us holding the HND, it is an apology if you cannot acquire additional certificate from the university.” He regretted that it was even worst with those in the security services, as their ranks have made the disparity to become too

Dikko

P.41


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From the Civil Service

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FEPSGA to build sports centre ...as Ondo, Benue bid to host 2013 games JOEL AJAYI

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L-R: Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye; Governor, Babatunde Fashola and Lagos State Establishments, Training and Pensions counterpart, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase, signing into law the Lagos State Public Service Staff Development (LSPSSDC) bill at the Lagos House rcently.

The sham called Friday work in Nigerian public service MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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he growing rate of apathy to work on Fridays is fast-becoming a norm in Nigerian public service. National Mirror has watched keenly how government workers’ lackadaisical attitude to work on this day impacts negatively on productivity in public service, with the common notion that Friday is a “half-day” increasingly becoming rooted in public workplace. It is not uncommon to see workers on this day resume duty at 10am against the official 8.am while they ‘disappear’ around noon. The few who come to work use the day for different unofficial transactions which include trading, planning for social events to include weddings, house-warming among numerous others. In summary, many government offices on Fridays are ‘homes’ where ‘family meetings’ hold to achieve ‘pressing family needs.’ In contemporary practice, Friday, as ‘half-day’, demands a corresponding deficient commitment from most workers in the country. A civil servant once said jokingly while on board a car on a rainy Thursday morning: “I am very disappointed today. What I am going to do at the office now at 11am? It would have been better should this rain had fallen on a Friday morning. There wouldn’t have been

any need for me to leave my bed even at this time.” This is the ugly situation in our country where most citizens still live on less than a dollar per day. In spite of the fact that Juma’t service is observed globally on this day, except it is otherwise amended in our nation’s constitution, Friday remains a working day in the country. So has it been since independence. National Mirror observations over the years showed that many workers don’t resume office after the Juma’t service. In most government offices, very few workers, including management staff, leave any of their personal effects in the office while going for Juma’t. Funny enough, many non-Muslims too spuriously go for ‘Juma’t’ in their homes shortly after the Muslim faithful leave for prayers. A public servant who does not want to be named told our reporter: “There are several problems associated with working on Fridays in Nigeria. First, coming to work on Friday is like wasting one’s time. In my office, hardly would you see any of my “Oga at the Top” around on that day. Many of them leave the city on Thursday evening to unite with their families. If you want to prove me wrong, go to the airport on Thursday evening, or on Friday’s morning and see how the place is congested with heads of government ministries,

agencies and departments. Those who live in Abuja stay with their families and hardly come to office on Fridays. So, what do you want to do as a junior staff when there is no superior to guide your work or give you any assignment to do? We have our own families to look after too. So, if you like you come, if you decide, you stay at home.” Another civil servant and resident in Abuja, Mr. Williams Adebobola, told our reporter: “Life begins on Fridays for socialites in every town across our nation. Look around everywhere, even in the Ministry, how many of the agencies have major events on Fridays? They all know very few people would attend; so they run away from such embarrassment. That is why you see many of those ‘Ogas at the Top’represented at events on that day. They are busy doing something different from the official engagements somewhere. For me, I would only suggest that the National Assembly cancel Friday’s work because it doesn’t make any sense. If we have a government who is very serious about Agriculture, Fridays and Sundays could be recognized as religious service day while government encourages the citizens, especially its employees to engage in farming on Saturdays where possible. So, these three days could be fully seen as weekend. That will

not stop essential services such as banking among others to go on. However, there is a feature associated with Fridays in most cities in the country, perhaps around the globe, especially, where there is good population of Muslims – there is usually heavy traffic in the afternoons. In Abuja, for instance, most motorists would not like to drive through the city because of vehicles that are parked along the roads. It seems it has become a habit that everyone comes with his or car into the city on Fridays. And, by 2pm, the highways will be witnessing heavy traffic as workers zoom back home to continue the weekend. Meanwhile, the experience in the private sector absolutely differs from what obtains in the public sector. All days from Monday to Friday are considered full-work days. Muslim faithful go for Juma’t service on Friday’s afternoon and return to office. Workers can only leave office for other purposes on the permission of their superiors who also abide by operating regulations in such settings. There is limitation to unofficial transactions in private offices while such thrives in most public offices. Besides, attendance is taken seriously in private workplace while such is treated with disdain in most government-owned offices. Most workers in priCONTINUES ON PAGE 41

he President, Federation of Public Service Games FEPSGA, Victor Orji, has disclosed that arrangement have been concluded to build a sports complex and resort centre in Abuja for the benefit of all the sporting loving civil servant in the country. The sporting complex would afford civil servants an opportunity of “walking out” after a stressful day at work. This was even as he announced that Benue and Ondo states are jostling to host the 2013 edition of Public Service Games saying that both state governors have accepted to host the games. Speaking at a dinner, award ceremony and fund raising in Abuja, he noted that the sports complex and resort would go a long way in assisting the country develop a robust civil service He also described the award ceremony as a token appreciation to some states governors, philanthropists and athletes who made the 2012 FEPSGA games successful. Some of the awardees are: Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state, Rotimi

Amaechi of Rivers state, Mike Omeri the Director General of National Orientation Agency NOA, Dr. Ade Abolurin, Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Yemi Kale the Statistician General of the Federation among the others. Meanwhile the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF)Alhaji Goni Aji, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Head of Civil Service Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, said that lack of regular exercise is a letter to bad health urging the entire public not to toil with their health adding that after a serious work in the office, there is need for individuals to be involved in one or more sporting exercise for their well-being. Aji said the programme which is one of the key pointers for improving the quality of life of Nigerians through sport is reflecting positively in the number of Nigerians that participate in sports for recreation through Monthly ‘walking/ jogging exercise’. He said that if Nigeria is to be among the 20 top GDP earners in 20-2020 FEPSGA must be encouraged to help civil servants in the country keep fit as they are the engine room of any country.

Civil servants want end to dichotomy between HND and degree holders CONTINUED FROM 15

glaring. Some paramilitary officers, who agreed with him totally, said that their spirits have remained dampened since this policy, which they said was unnecessary and demeaning. A former Acting Comptroller-General of Immigrations, Rilwan B. Musa,while addressing Immigration personnel early this year, in a bid to console those affected and ginger their spirits to work, had said that there were moves for government to review its stands on the matter. He said that on assumption of office, he met and discussed this grieve with the Head of Service of the Federation, seeking possible ways of reducing the tension brought by this policy, which he assured to give it a thought. He equally said that he met with the minister of

Interior, Abba Moro, as well as the Board over the issue, hoping that something positive was underway to address the situation. His successor, David Paradang, is also very concerned about the development, which has continued to discourage the affected personnel. In the paramilitary, different ranks were even introduced to make the dichotomy very clear. This places the HND holders on inspectorate cadre and they could never cross to the superintendent cadre and above, which were earmarked executive cadre, occupied only by university degrees holders with effect from the introduction of the dichotomy policy. For Interior minister, Patrick Abba Moro, this should not be an issue, as people chose to go for HND CONTINUES ON PAGE 41


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Jonathan-Akande tango PUBLIC DOMAIN

DELE

SETEOLU

deleseteolu@nationalmirroronline.net (08033137577 SMS only)

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he description of President Goodluck Jonathan administration as a kindergarten one by the interim national chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, expectedly got a rebuff from the President’s media chief, Dr. Reuben Abati. He dismissed the comment as rude and disrespectful of the highest office in the land. Last me Saturday, the prime time breakfast programe on Channels Television, Sunrise, featured the interim National Vice Chairman (South West) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr Adedeji Doherty; immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Mr. Rotimi Fashakin; and two other guests to dwell on the controversy. Chief Doherty viewed the comment by Chief Akande as un-African and a terribly bad example for the younger generation of Nigerians. Responding, Mr. Fashakin claimed that the APC chairman had written letters to the president on the state of the nation that were ignored. Alhaji Lai Muhammed, the spokesman of the APC, featuring on Channels TV’s programme Politics Today, last Sunday posited

that the office of the APC national chairman was too important to be ignored. More so, he noted that Chief Akande was a former governor of Osun State and an elder statesman. He maintained the Presidency over reacted to the letter. But Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs insisted that the Presidency received numerous letters of eminent Nigerians, and was not obliged to respond to all of them. He accused the APC of politicization and unfair assessment of the tenure of President Jonathan. The reactions of FG officials on the issue are excessive, and they equally dwell on character assassination, mudslinging and innuendos. Even if, the APC national chairman had described the Presidency in derogatory terms, it is worse to respond in crude, condescending language. The state officials should be tolerant of public criticisms and appreciate that the public official is vulnerable to ‘firing’ in the public space. The Presidency’s response to Chief Akande’s comments should have been civil and polite to demonstrate its maturity. Dr. Doyin Okupe is known to be a rash and temperamental person. His demeanor and often repeated desperation to defend the Presidency has been viewed in the public domain with dismay and contempt. He should extend courtesy, civility and decorum when interacting with the publics on national issues. Dr. Okupe should bear in mind that the Presidency will not likely be right on every national issue and that the executive should be responsive and amenable to alternative ar-

I AM DEEPLY WORRIED ABOUT THE STATE OF THE NATION AND THE QUALITY OF THE

PRESIDENCY.

guments on Nigeria’s political economy. I am deeply worried about the state of the nation and the quality of the Presidency. The ministers have performed poorly and the threat of cabinet reshuffle has failed to spur better performance. For instance, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Allison Madueke has been indicted in several reports of the National Assembly and independent, non state bodies. She has shown poor capacity to supervise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other agencies under her. She has not been able to check the theft of our crude oil. Her ministry was indicted in the fuel subsidy scam by the House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee. Interestingly, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Okonjo Iweala, has put at $7 billion the annual loss to crude oil theft. This was corroborated by managing director, Shell Petroleum, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu. The energy sector is still enmeshed in crises despite the Jonathan administration’s power sector reforms. The country still waste billions of cubic metres of gas through flaring; and its daily public electricity supply is less than 3,000 mega-

watts. The privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has been characterized by both the failure of licensees’ to meet acquisition deadlines and face off between the Nigerian Union of Electricity Workers and the management of PHCN on severance benefits. The PHCN issue also signifies the mass transfer of a strategic sector of the economy to private concerns and foreign interests. The Presidency appears to lack ‘correct strategies’ on how to deal with the country’s security deficit. The Boko Haram sect continues to wreak havoc amidst the occasional successes of the military joint task force. The Presidency has shown clumsy policy direction on amnesty for members of the sect. The Northeast of Nigeria has been perpetually vulnerable to attacks, and the announcement of Shekau’s death by the JTF seems a political decision to justify its ‘performance’. The Presidency has also failed to rescue the real sector, relying on the figures of MAN and NACCIMA. It lacks ideas on how to address the massive joblessness in the country. Coincidentally, there appears to be a linkage between the low job level and security deficit in the country. The insurgency in the North has been partly attributed to pervasive poverty in the region and consequently, the vulnerability of the active social categories to the manipulative schisms of renegades. The Presidency should re think its leadership style and begin to decisively act on crucial national issues.

Interrogating the Tobacco Control Bill BOLA AKINOLA

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ublic health advocacy is one of the flagship campaigns of the modern day’s public advocacy. It can actually be traced to as far back as 1493, when Rodrigo de Jerez, a crew member of Christopher Columbus’ voyages to America, smoked on his return to Europe. For this act, the Spanish Inquisition jailed him for three years. The modern form is more structured and pro-active with many people applauding the campaigners’ efforts in ensuring the public has a right to good health and regulatory authorities are alive to their responsibility in the area of policy implementation. In Nigeria, groups like Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT), Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Journalists Action Against Tobacco and Health (JATH), Doctors Against Tobacco, have been very impressive in their advocacy activities. They have been able to put operators and regulators on their toes, ensuring nothing is taken for granted. Using pro-active watchdog methodologies, these groups have ensured that operators adhere to standards. The bar in public health advocacy in Nigeria was actually raised some few years back, when an anti-tobacco bill, was sponsored by Senator Olorunnibe Mamora. Currently, there are two tobacco bills waiting to be enacted: a 2012 bill sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and the Nigerian Tobacco

THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA TODAY DIRECTLY EMPLOYS

2,000 PEOPLE AND ABOUT 300,000 PEOPLE

ABOUT

INDIRECTLY Control Bill, sponsored by Hon. Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu of the House Representatives. As with all tobacco issues worldwide, emotions have started pouring. Having looked at the issues raised, it is pertinent that the National Assembly is cautious on the issue. Certainly, the fact that tobacco products are harmful and have effect on the health of a nation is real. We cannot also undervalue the fact that the health of the nation is the basis for any development. But we need to put things in perspective, so as not to mistakenly lead the ‘lamb to the slaughterhouse’. Nigeria is currently in dire strait. The current administration came in with a lot of promises, but you and I know that many of those promises are largely unfulfilled. Jobs have not been created and with the current state of the economy, it is very unlikely they will be created. Should tobacco be regulated? Certainly it should, but we need to be careful in dealing with the form of regulation. If the issue is treated wrongly it will mean result in pushing the cats out for the dogs. In a situation where we do not have

the capacity to deal with smugglers, borders are porous borders and proclivity for criminalizing tobacco trade is high, we will simply leave our public health to faceless cabals difficult to contain. The tobacco industry in Nigeria today directly employs about 2,000 people and about 300,000 people indirectly. If this bill is passed, the country will have before it over 300,000 employable people, whose livelihood has been taken away from them. This looks like creating a monster we will not be able to tame. There is also the issue of the ban of philanthropy and referrals in the tobacco industry. Why do we have to throw spanner in the works of the very laudable Public-Private Partnership? Is it wise for us to do away with this company that has shown a lot of commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Month after month, we see CSR activities of tobacco industry players in the media. Looking at those activities, one sees that they are targeted at areas that are strategic to our aspirations are as a people. Do we now cripple the activities of an organization that has contributed this much and intends to keep contributing to the society? These are questions for the NASS to ponder on. We should also understand that the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration invited British American Tobacco to Nigeria. The company has invested over $200 million in its operations in the country. Should such investment be lost? What

about the revenue the FG stands to lose? These taxes include import and excise duties; PAY;, corporate tax; and export duties, which in the last six years have added over N60 billion to the coffer of the government. Why shrink the revenue sources of the country given the harsh economic realities the whole world is currently facing? The emotions many people have attached to tobacco issues seem to be blurring the reality of the situation. While it is desirable to have a well regulated tobacco industry, the current bill in the House of Representative needs a rethink. We should appreciate the fact that there is nothing officially done that will kill the demand for tobacco, at least in the mean time. The safest approach will be to allow the companies that can be regulated by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC) run regulated businesses in Nigeria. There is need for a deep reflection before Nigeria finally gets a law to control the tobacco industry. Bola Akinola, a social commentator, wrote from Akure, Ondo State Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


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On proposed scrapping of SIECs

he recent scrapping of the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) by the House of Representatives has once again re-ignited the controversy about the nature of Nigeria’s federalism. The House recently revisited Section 197 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) when in a vote of 331 votes in favour, 16 against and 11 abstentions, abolished SIECs. If the same position is taken by the Senate and the 36 state Houses of Assembly, it means that elections into Local Government Councils would, under the reviewed Constitution, be managed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The lawmakers gave as reasons for their decision the protection of the integrity of the electoral process at the LG level and to respond to public complaints on the partisanship of SIECs. It is noteworthy that this raison d’être merely reechoes the agitations of some stakeholders over the years for the abrogation of SIECs as a result of their manipulation for selfish political gains by state governors. There is no denying the fact that the concerns that spawned these agitations were far from being frivolous. Public experience on the conduct of SIECs

WE BELIEVE THERE ARE BETTER WAYS OF CURBING THE MEDDLESOMENESS OR HIJACK OF SIECS BY STATE GOVERNORS in many parts of the country for over a decade now would readily lend credence to the theory of their being unconscionably manipulated by state governments. Allegations of rigging at all costs to favour the government in power have been dogging municipal elections in the country. Nigerians are always confronted with unbelievable incidents of a party controlling a state winning 100 percent of the state’s LG polls, as if no opposition party is in existence. Among the most scandalised in recent times are the Lagos, Edo and Ekiti states LG elections. The need and calls for the reformation of the electoral process at the grassroots are thus well-understood. What remains questionable, however, is whether the dismantling of SIECs is the appropriate measure to address the nagging problem. The country operates a federal system of government, which presup-

poses the separation of powers between a centralised government and the component federating units (states), with each entity purportedly having defined identity and self -determined powers on governance. Our thinking, therefore, is that though the country is a federalist hypocrite in practice, the abrogation of SIECs would add to the charade. It is an infraction on and a negation of the spirit of federalism. It may be added that similar arguments against SIECs have been used to discredit the establishment of state police, for example. Such an argument had been used ad naueam that many now wonder if “angels” only exist at the federal level. Incidentally, public experience does not bear this out. The electoral umpire, INEC itself has not been shown to be above board in the conduct of its own elections, going at least, by the results of governorship elections that have been overturned through judicial interventions. These include the governorship polls in Osun, Ekiti, Edo and Ondo states, among others. Nigerians have been harping on how lopsided the country’s practice of federalism has been in favour of the government at the centre, which has an exclu-

sive legislative list comprising of as many as 68 items as against 30 items in the concurrent legislative list (for both state Houses of Assembly and the National Assembly). The abolition of SIECs would further aggravate the existing extant disproportion in the federal/state power sharing equation. In the light of the foregoing, therefore, it is imperative that all arms of government, especially the legislature at the federal level, should embark more on measures that can strengthen the country’s democratic institutions. We believe there are better ways of curbing the meddlesomeness or hijack of SIECs by state governors, like seriously involving INEC, eminent persons and credible civil society organisations in polls conducted by SIECs. The judiciary should also be alert to ensure not just the sanctity of election results, but seeing to it that the determination of election disputes takes due cognisance of fair play and strict adherence to electoral laws and regulations. These, in our considered opinion, appear some of the ways to control the problem of undue manipulation of SIECs by political parties and governments in power at the state level, not outright abrogation of state electoral institutions.

ON THIS DAY August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. The march was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States’ history and called for civil and economic rights for African-Americans. It took place in Washington, D.C. The late Martin Luther King, Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in which he advocated racial harmony.

August 28, 1988 Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment to make the Qur’an and Sunnah the ‘supreme law”, but the bill was defeated in the Senate. The Qur’an is the central religious text of Islam which Muslims consider the verbatim words of God. The word Sunnah means a smooth or direct flow path. The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad includes his specific words, habits, practices, and silent approvals.

August 28, 2011 Hurricane Irene strikes the United States east coast, killing 47 and causing an estimated $15.6 billion in damage. Hurricane Irene was a large and destructive tropical cyclone which affected much of the Caribbean and East Coast of the US during late August 2011. Irene is currently ranked as the seventh costliest hurricane in US history. The ninth named storm, Irene was the first major hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Health & Wellbeing Facts you should know about headache disorders 22

No end in sight to health workers’ strike 21

60m women on oral contraceptive pills SAM EFERARO

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bout 60 million married women of reproductive age are currently using oral contraceptives popularly referred to as “the pill. “ In Nigeria, it’s one of the two most popular family planning methods and the first choice in many states like Delta and Ogun. if statistics are anything to go by, the pill is actually becoming the preferred choice by more women across the globe. But how safe is this method? What are its benefits to a woman who does not want to be saddled with the burden of unwanted pregnancy? Oral contraceptives are tablets taken by a woman to prevent pregnancy. They contain hormones which prevent the woman from releasing an egg. Without an egg to be fertilised, a woman cannot become pregnant. Since their first introduction almost 56 years ago, oral contraceptives have continued to receive a lot of attention both by the public and researchers. Indeed, publicity has focused on the discovery of some rare but serious side effects traceable to them. However, their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy was never at any time in doubt. According to an old edition of the Population Report, a publication of Johns Hopkins University, no other medication in history has ever been so scientifically scrutinised like oral contraceptives. In fact, right from its introduction, users have often been warned of side effects such as headaches, nausea, cramps, irregular menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness, or weight gain, some of which could be temporary. The pill has also been linked with some serious conditions such as an obstruction of a blood vessel caused by a blood clot (referred to medically as

A counselling session at the Family Planning Clinic

thromboembolism), stroke, heart disease and breast cancer, among others. However, the pill has since gone through many changes to make more women around the world rely on it for their contraceptive needs. For instance, the dose of the active ingredients, oestrogen and progestin have been reduced considerably into what is now popularly referred to as the “lowdose pills” which have reduced unpleasant side effects such as nausea, dizziness,. They are also thought to minimise the chances of developing certain circulatory system diseases like thromboembolism. It has however been proved that most women who use oral contraceptives experience no serious negative side effects mentioned above. When taken correctly,

WOMEN WHO CAN’T USE THE PILL Contraceptive pills may not be suitable for a group of women. These, include a woman who: • Is likely pregnant • Is above 35 years and smokes cigarettes • Has high blood pressure • Has cancer • Has liver disease (yellow skin or eyes) within the past year • Has blood clot or swelling in the leg • Has bad headaches (migraines) very often • Has diabetes • Is breastfeeding, especially infants under 6 months or infants feeding on breast milk only. (should consider using progestin only or “mini” pill).

the pill is said to be 97% to 99% effective. According to the experts, it is not only safe but reversible. When a couple want to have another child the woman simply has to stop taking the pill to regain her fertility. But that is not the only advantage. It is now known that oral contraceptives have important positive effects in addition to contraception and health benefits for mothers and children. First, women who use the pill do not develop ovarian and endometrial cancers as often as women who do not use it. Not only that, oral contraceptives, offer protection against other diseases including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), benign breast disease, uterine fibroid tumours and ovarian cancer. Pill users also benefit from protection against ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), a condition which could be life threatening. Experts also say oral contraceptives regularise menstrual periods and reduce menstrual cramps. A woman on the pill is also not likely to suffer from iron deficiency anaemia as her menstrual flow is expected to be reduced.

THINGS TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY A- Abdominal pain (severe) C- Chest pain (severe, shortness of breath) H - Headaches (severe), dizziness, weakness, numbness. E - Eye problem (blurring or vision loss), slurred speech or problem recalling words S - Swelling or severe leg pain.


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Health & Wellbeing

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

No end in sight to health workers’ strike SAM EFERARO

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here seems to be no end in sight to the current crisis in the health sector as health workers at the states and local governments today join the 8-day old strike by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), which has since crippled health care delivery in Federal health institutions. A five-hour closed door meeting between Federal Government and the striking health workers on ended inconclusively on Monday and was expected to continue yesterday even as the striking union accused the

health minister of insensitivity towards their plight. As at yesterday, most patients were unattended to in major hospitals in different parts of the country. A statement signed by Com. Dr. Ayuba P. Wabba, National President Medical &Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN); Com. Marcus I. Omokhuale, SecretaryGeneral Medical & Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria; Com. Adeniji A. A National President National Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Association Institution and Com. Yusuf Badmus W.G. ZAg. General Secretary National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives had

directed the workers to embark on an indefinite strike with effect from 12 midnight of 21st August 2013. This follows the allegation by the union that the Federal Government had failed to resolve the longstanding issues with it. The contending issues included: none- skipping of salary CONHESS 10, national health bill, consultancy and specialist allowances and call/shift duty and other professional allowances. While pleading with Nigerians for whatever inconveniences their action may cause Nigerian citizens, the union however heaped the blame on the door step of the Minister of Health,

Professor Christian Onyebuchi It stated, “While we sincerely apologise the inconveniences this action may cause Nigerian citizens, the Minister of Health Professor Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu should be held responsible.” Explaining that “at a meeting called by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity on Monday the 19th of August, 2013. The Minister of health or his representative refused to attend the meeting. The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) had on 22nd July issued a 21 day ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement the recent ruling by the

National Industrial Court (NIC) on the 2009 agreement between the union and the government. The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Nwogu had referred the dispute to NIC after failing to resolve the contending issues between the federal ministry of health and JOHESU, in June 2012. The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Emeka Wogu however expressed hope that the dispute would be resolved after yesterday’s meeting. “There is hope that workers will go back to work. Government and the union are desirous of bringing this strike to an end,” he told newsmen on Monday..

Minister’s exit won’t affect us – NPHCDA boss MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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An empty ward at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) yesterday

he Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Ado Mohammad, has said that the recent resignation of the Minister of State for Health, Dr Ali Pate, had not impacted negatively on the agency. He told National Mirror at the weekend that activities at the agency are of “a team work; the Minister of State is one person. We have the leader of the team, who is the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu. The Minister of State was working within a team and that team is still intact,” he said. Dr Pate superintended the NPHCDA, whose Executive Director he was between 2008 and 2011 when he was appointed Minister by President Jonathan, during his two years as Minister. He resigned on July 24 this year to take up a Professorial appointment at Duke University’s Global Health Institute, based in Washington DC.

The Bauchi-born former Minister was however allegedly frustrated out of office by the nation’s civil service’s bureaucracy. He was also reportedly quit the nation’s cabinet consequent upon the feud between him and the Minister of Health, Prof Chukwu. In his new appointment, Dr Pate will participate in a university-wide Africa initiative and will also serve as Senior Adviser at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr Muhammad said of immunization, which attracted Dr Pate the most while in office: “Nigeria is making good progress on immunization and this is not unconnected with the fact that one year and few months, we’ve put a lot of machineries in terms of making sure that we create demand for services. In terms of ensuring that we have vaccine availability; not only vaccine availability, but only bundled so that as vaccines leave the agency, it goes with injection devices. “We also have been able to entrench into the immunization system what is known as accountabil-

ity framework. The accountability framework is to demonstrate that it is no more business as usual. People are being held accountable for their failure, inability, action or inaction. We are beginning to see this translating into result. We have also introduced new vaccines such as Pentavalent vaccine; we have also been able to introduce within few months Med-A vaccine and we are beginning to see return on investment. If you compare where we are about two years ago to where we are now, immunization coverage has risen from 12 percent to 78 percent as of June, 2013, and it is still work in progress. We are making good progress. “What this means is that less children will be dying from preventable diseases, more children will be reached for immunization and we are reducing the number of unimmunized children in Nigeria. As of this month, we’ve been able to reduce the number of unimmunized children by 51 percent. So, we are making good progress,” the agency’s boss added.

UNFPA, USAID Strengthen Collaboration on FP access for women

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he United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, two of the longest-serving development agencies addressing population concerns, have announced new efforts to strengthen their collaboration to advance reproductive health, including voluntary family planning, worldwide. With fewer than 900 days remaining until the end of 2015, the deadline set by the international community to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the two agencies will build on their work and expertise, accumulated over 40 years, to ensure women who want contraceptives can access them through: • Coordinating supply planning to prevent organizations distributing contraceptives on the ground from running out of these

life-saving commodities. • Addressing funding and technical assistance gaps to allow the two agencies’ country teams to help smoothly implement voluntary national family planning and reproductive health plans. • Joint analyses of progress and evidence-based recommendations for future direction—leading to improved collaboration between the two agencies’ country teams as they strive to achieve the MDGs, particularly MDG 5 (Improve maternal health), and to input into the post-2015 development agenda. “As the world’s leading organizations in advancing family planning and reproductive health, USAID and UNFPA have a special role to play in helping countries achieve MDG 5, to improve maternal health,” said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. “We must leverage

Best three babies at the grand finale of the contest to mark the World Breastfeeding Week organised in Lagos by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in collaboration with UNICEF recently

our history, comparative advantage and close collaboration to accelerate results and work to ensure sustained interventions under the emerging post-2015 agenda.” This announcement is part of

UNFPA’s and USAID’s joint commitment to support recent global initiatives in reproductive health, including Family Planning 2020 and the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women

and Children. By combining their distinctive comparative advantages and skills on the ground, UNFPA and USAID will support a more effective and efficient supply of reproductive health commodities and services.


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Myths and facts in dentistry

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Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

YTH: The cause of toothache is a worm `akokoro` that is in the mouth which causes dental caries (decay) and it can be killed with some powder. FACT: This is so untrue, dental caries (decay) is caused by an interplay of factors from the bacteria present in the mouth regularly. These are invincible and cannot be seen. There is no such `Worm` in the mouth. The road shows often performed where by powders are put in the mouth and gargled – only to have spittle of saliva gathered in bowls with `worms` floating inside is not only criminal but a deceitful and wicked practice. NAFDAC and the police should ensure such items are not marketed while offenders are prosecuted. Massive information and health education drives are essential. MYTH Children born with protruding teeth are a curse from the gods just as the eruption of an upper teeth indicates that the child will become stubborn or antisocial. FACT: Eruption of teeth follows a sequence of event over a period of time, the milk teeth erupting anything from six months upwards to two and a half years and sometimes up to three years has no spiritual connotation attached to it. Such children should not be seen as evil. Sometimes due to developmental instances, teeth may be retained in the jaw sockets and may fail to erupt. It could be associated with defects in the child’s biochemical make-up. Excessive cell division of the tooth can also lead to extra teeth formation usually in the corner of the mouth and back teeth. MYTH: (Silver amalgam fillings) Amalgam tooth fillings can cause kidney damage or cancer because of the mercury content hence `white` colored fillings are better. FACT: Whilst the dental amalgam contains silver, copper, tin and indeed mercury to help in the mixing of the tooth filling, silver amalgam has been subjected to several criticisms and there has been no proof that the presence of mercury in the content (very minimal) has any effect to cause kidney damage or cancer. White filling materials like composite and glass ionomer have improved aesthetic advantage, especially in the anterior part of the mouth. Also, Silver

ORAL HEALTH CARE Dr. Samuel Awosolu Samawosolu@yahoo.co. 08108155239 Amalgam has stood the test of time and remains dependable, reliable and fits for purpose. The removal of silver amalgam fillings to be replaced by `white` or tooth colored materials is not a sound decision. This does not offer significant advantage in function protection. It is, at best, a psychologically motivated, expensive and needless exercise. MYTH: Fluoride included in toothpastes dentrifices, tablets, water foundation cause cancer of the bone hence, it is better to use herbal toothpastes. FACT: The protection against tooth decay offered by fluoride is a scientific fact. Fluoride is indeed taken up in the Bone and teeth. It occurs naturally in fruits like apple, tea, and in exceptionally large concentration in certain geographical locations. In such places, excessive fluoride may indeed be absorbed into the bone structures, weakening the structure. In areas of high fluoride concentration in the water, it may be sufficient to use non fluoridated toothpastes. Herbal toothpastes naturally do not contain fluoride though recent formulations are being companied/formulated to include the prescribed concentration of fluoride often in the form of Sodium fluoride. The effects of fluoride have the most benefits in growing children and adolescent populace. The benefits far out weighs the preceded danger of its inclusion in toothpastes, water, etc.

THE PROTECTION AGAINST TOOTH DECAY OFFERED BY FLUORIDE IS A SCIENTIFIC FACT.

FLUORIDE IS INDEED TAKEN UP IN THE

BONE AND TEETH.

Breakthrough in DNA Editing Technology

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cientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found a way to apply a powerful new DNA-editing technology more broadly than ever before. “This is one of the hottest tools in biology, and we’ve now found a way to target it to any DNA sequence,” said Carlos F. Barbas III, the Janet and Keith Kellogg II Chair in Molecular Biology and Professor in the Department of Chemistry at TSRI. The breakthrough concerns a set of designer DNA-binding proteins called TALEs, which biologists increasingly use to turn on, turn off, delete, insert or even rewrite specific genes within cells -- for scientific experiments and also for potential biotech and medical applications, including treatments for genetic diseases. TALE-based methods had been considered useful against only a fraction of the possible DNA sequences found in animals and plants, but the new finding removes that limitation. Barbas and his team report their finding on August 26, 2013 in an advance online edition of the journal Nucleic Acids Research. Useful Tools Molecular biologists have long dreamed

of being able to manipulate DNA in living cells with ease and precision, and by now that dream is nearly a reality. TALE-based designer proteins, introduced just a few years ago, are arguably the most userfriendly and precise DNA-directed tools that have yet been invented. Designer TALEs (transcription-activator-like effectors) are based on natural TALE proteins that are produced by some plant-infecting bacteria. These natural TALEs help bacteria subvert their plant hosts by binding to specific sites on plant DNA and boosting the activity of certain genes -- thereby enhancing the growth and survival of the invading bacteria. Scientists have found that they can easily engineer the DNA-grabbing segment of TALE proteins to bind precisely to a DNA sequence of interest. Typically they join that DNA-binding segment to another protein segment that can perform some desired function at the site of interest -- for example, an enzyme fragment that cuts through DNA. Collectively the Barbas laboratory and others in this field have already engineered thousands of these powerful TALE-based DNA-editing proteins.

Marijuana not a ‘Safe Drug’ –Researchers

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he nature of the teenage brain makes users of cannabis amongst this population particularly at risk of developing addictive behaviors and suffering other long-term negative effects, according to researchers at the University of Montreal and New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Of the illicit drugs, cannabis is most used by teenagers since it is perceived by many to be of little harm. This perception has led to a growing number of states approving its legalization and increased accessibility. Most of the debates and ensuing policies regarding cannabis were done without consideration of its impact on one of the most vulnerable population, namely teens, or without consideration of scientific data,” wrote Professor Didier Jutras-Aswad of the University of Montreal and Yasmin Hurd, MD, PhD, of Mount Sinai. “While it is clear that more systematic scientific studies are needed to understand the long-term impact of adolescent cannabis exposure on brain and behavior, the current evidence suggests that it has a far-reaching in uence on adult addictive

Marijuana leaves

behaviors particularly for certain subsets of vulnerable individuals.” The researchers reviewed over 120 studies that looked at different aspects of the relationship between cannabis and the adolescent brain, including the biology of the brain, chemical reaction that occurs in the brain when the drug is used, the influence of genetics and environmental factors, in addition to studies into the “gateway drug” phenomenon.

Even mild stress may hamper emotion control –study shows

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Fluoride protects the teeth against decay

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ven mild stress can thwart therapeutic measures to control emotions, a team of neuroscientists at New York University has found. Their findings, which appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, point to the limits of clinical techniques while also shedding new light on the barriers that must be overcome in addressing afflictions such as fear or anxiety. “We have long suspected that stress can impair our ability to control our emotions, but this is the first study to document how even mild stress can undercut therapies designed to keep our emotions in check,” said Elizabeth Phelps, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science and the study’s

senior author. “In other words, what you learn in the clinic may not be as relevant in the real world when you’re stressed.” In addressing patients’ emotional maladies, therapists sometimes use cognitive restructuring techniques -- encouraging patients to alter their thoughts or approach to a situation to change their emotional response. These might include focusing on the positive or non-threatening aspects of an event or stimulus that might normally produce fear. But do these techniques hold up in the real world when accompanied by the stress of everyday life? This is the question the researchers sought to answer. To do so, they designed a two-day experiment in which the study’s participants employed techniques like those used in clinics as a way to combat their fears.


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Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Facts you should know about headache disorders Key facts • Headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. • It has been estimated that 47 percent of the adult population have headache at least once within last year in general. • Headache disorders are associated with personal and societal burdens of pain, disability, damaged quality of life and financial cost. • A minority of people with headache disorders worldwide are diagnosed appropriately by a health-care provider. • Headache has been underestimated, under-recognized and under-treated throughout the world.

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hat are headache disorders? Headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system. Headache is a painful and disabling feature of a small number of primary headache disorders namely migraine, tension-type headache, and cluster headache. Headache can also be caused by or occur secondarily to a long list of other conditions, for example medication overuse headache. How common are headache disorders? Globally, it has been estimated that prevalence among adults of current headache disorder (symptomatic at least once within the last year) is 47percent. Half to three quarters of the adults aged 18–65 years in the world have had headache in the last year and among those individuals, more than 10% have reported migraine. Headache on 15 or more days every month affects 1.7–4percent of the world’s adult population. Despite regional variations, headache disorders are a worldwide problem, affecting people of all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas. What is the burden due to headache disorders? Not only is headache painful, but also disabling. In the Global Burden of Disease Study, updated in 2004, migraine on its own was found to account for 1.3percent of years lost due to disability (YLD). Headache disorders impose a recognizable burden on sufferers including sometimes substantial personal suffering, impaired quality of life and financial cost. Repeated headache attacks, and often the constant fear of the next one, damage family life, social life and employment. The long-term effort of coping with a chronic headache disorder may also predispose the individual to other illnesses. For example, depression is three times more common in people with migraine or severe headaches than in healthy individuals. Types of headache disorders Migraine, tension-type headache and medication-overuse headache are of public health importance as they are responsible for high population levels of disability and ill-health. Migraine • A primary headache disorder. • Most often begins at puberty and most affects those aged between 35 and 45 years. • It is caused by the activation of a mechanism deep in the brain that leads to release of pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head. • Migraine is recurrent, often life-long, and characterized by attacks. • Attacks include features such as • headache of moderate or severe intensity;

• nausea (the most characteristic); • one-sided and/or pulsating quality; • aggravated by routine physical activity; • with duration of hours to 2-3 days; • attack frequency is anywhere between once a year and once a week; and • in children, attacks tend to be of shorter duration and abdominal symptoms more prominent. Tension-type headache (TTH) • TTH is the most common primary headache disorder. • Episodic TTH is reported by more than 70% of some populations; chronic TTH affects 1-3% of adults. • TTH often begins during the teenage years, affecting three women to every two men. • Its mechanism may be stress-related or associated with musculoskeletal problems in the neck. • Episodic TTH attacks usually last a few hours, but can persist for several days. • Chronic TTH can be unremitting and is much more disabling than episodic TTH. • This headache is described as pressure or tightness, like a band around the head, sometimes spreading into or from the neck. Cluster Headache (CH) • A primary headache disorder. • CH is relatively uncommon affecting fewer than 1 in 1000 adults, affecting six men to each woman. • Most people developing CH are in their 20s or older. • It is characterized by frequent recurring, brief but extremely severe headache associated with pain around the eye with tearing and redness, the nose runs or is blocked on the affected side and the eyelid may droop. • CH has episodic and chronic forms. Medication-overuse headache (MOH) • MOH is caused by chronic and excessive use of medication to treat headache. • MOH is the most common secondary headaches. • It may affect up to 5% of some populations, women more than men. • MOH is oppressive, persistent and often at its worst on awakening. Social and economic burden of headache Headache disorders are a public-health concern given the large amount of associated disability and financial costs to society. As headache disorders are most troublesome in the productive years (late teens to 50s), estimates of their financial cost to society – principally from lost working hours and reduced productivity – are massive. In the United Kingdom, for example, some 25 million working- or school-days are lost every year because of migraine

Headache disorders are among the most common disorders of the nervous system

HEADACHE DISORDERS ARE A PUBLIC-HEALTH CONCERN GIVEN THE LARGE AMOUNT OF ASSOCIATED DISABILITY AND FINANCIAL COSTS TO SOCIETY.

alone; this financial cost is matched by TTH and chronic daily headache combined. Headache is high among causes of consulting medical practitioners as onethird of all neurological consultations were for headache, in one survey. Yet, many of those troubled by headache do not receive effective care. For example, in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, only half of those identified with migraine had seen a doctor for headache-related reasons in the previous 12 months, and only twothirds had been correctly diagnosed. Most were solely reliant on over-thecounter medications. Treatment Appropriate treatment of headache disorders requires professional training of health professionals, accurate diagnosis and recognition of the condition, appropriate treatment with cost-effective medications, simple lifestyle modifications, and patient education. The main classes of drugs to treat headache disorders include: analgesics, anti-emetics, anti-migraine medications, and prophylactic medications. However a large number of people with headache disorders are not diagnosed and treated.

Barriers to effective care Lack of knowledge among health-care providers is the principal clinical barrier. Worldwide, on average only four hours of undergraduate medical education are dedicated to instruction on headache disorders. The minority of individuals with headache disorders worldwide are professionally diagnosed; 40% for those with migraine and TTH, while for MOH it is only 10%. Poor awareness extends to the general public. Headache disorders are not perceived by the public as serious since they are mostly episodic, do not cause death, and are not contagious. The low consultation rates in developed countries may indicate that many sufferers are unaware that effective treatments exist. 50% of people with headache are estimated to be self-treating. Many governments, seeking to constrain health-care costs, do not acknowledge the substantial burden of headache on society. They might not recognize that the direct costs of treating headache are small in comparison with the huge indirect-cost savings that might be made (eg, by reducing lost working days) if resources were allocated to treat headache disorders appropriately.


Wednesday, June 28, 12, 2013 2013 Wednesday, August

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23

Arts Lounge

After my film, many will do genotype test –TK

COSON signs landmark agreement with PRS of London

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Book Party of poetry, exile and tribute TERH AGBEDEH

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enultimate Sunday, the fifth CORA Book Party held in Lagos in honour of the 11 poets long-listed in the Nigeria Literature Prize –they got to talk about their works. Organised by the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA in conjunction with the Nigeria LNG Limited, NLNG, which funds the prize, the gathering, though not very well attended, was as entertaining as it was enlightening. Announced on August 12, books that made the long list are: Afam Akeh’s Letter Home and Biafran Nights; Iquo Eke’s Symphony of Becoming; Obi Nwakanma’s Birthcry; Ogochukwu Promise’s Wild Letters; Amatoritsero Ede’s Globetrotter and Hitler’s Children; G’ebinyo Ogbowei’s Marsh Boy and Other Poems; Obari Gomba’s The Length of Eyes and Tade Ipadeola’s The Sahara Testaments. Others are: Okinba Launko’s Seven Stations up the Stairways; Amu Nnadi’s Through the Window of a Sandcastle and Remi Raji’s Sea of My Mind. Okinba Launko is Femi Osofisan’s pen name, the only poet whose voice was not heard at the gathering. CORA Secretary General, Toyin Akinosho may have made reference to the wide spread of the long-list while reading CORA’s statement at the event, but there is no doubt that out of the 201 entries received every poet on the longlist, whether at home or in the Diaspora, got there on merit. It was that merit on reference when the poet and essayist, Odia Ofeimun, known to be a critic of the long-list particularly for poetry in the past, endorsed the poets that emerged this year. “This contest is defining Nigeria in a good way. The best is coming out of Nigerian writing”, he said. No one can forget the first time the CORA Book Party held in 2009 with none of the 11 poets celebrated then eventually becoming winner; the prize was not awarded that year owing to low quality of entries. Informed from Ofeimun’s statement and the good account the poets gave of themselves either while they read or during the discussion moderated by the lawyer and writer, Deji Toye, history will not repeat itself when the time comes for the shortlist in October. The crux of the said discussion was on the theme of exile. And when Ogochukwu Promise stated that Afam Akeh, Amatoritsero Ede and Obi Nwakanma, the three Diaspora poets who linked up to the discussion via Skype, should come back home, there

L-R: Ogbowei, Gomba, Eke, Amu-Nnadi, Promise, Raji and Ipadeola

THERE ARE BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN NIGERIA; IF WE PUT OUR RESOURCES AND POTENTIALS TOGETHER WE CAN FIX

Akinosho

was no going back on the issue of exile. Promise confessed that at some point she had thought about leaving the country as well but had thought better about it. “Do you run away from the problem or stay to fix it? I choose to stay. In spite of the problems, there are beautiful things in Nigeria; if we put our resources and potentials together we can fix Nigeria. In the face of all the problems, do you abandon ship? Is that the way out? We should try to get people to see that we can make Nigeria better. If we develop our community and families, we can overcome”. But before Akeh, Ede and Nwakanma had the opportunity to respond, Raji, who is sharing this limelight with two of his teachers, Ogbowei (secondary school) and Osofisan (university), said he was comfortable either abroad or at home. “I have never left and I have never stayed”, the professor and Dean of the

NIGERIA

Faculty of Arts at the University of Ibadan stated. He explained that he never left because he is immersed in oral intelligence and never stayed because of existential issues here. Reacting, Akeh said those living abroad take Nigeria wherever they go as “Nigeria is never far away from our minds”. Ede said exile was not a conscious choice for them and, “if I come back home, will I find the tools to teach with?” Promise was, however, insistent that they should come home so that together they could all find the tools. Lukman Sanusi, who runs Bubbles FM out of the United Kingdom that beamed the event in real time on the internet said that indeed, most of the ‘exiles’ would want to return home. But he mentioned many issues, including security, as being a restraint to that desire. Still on the subject of exile, Francesca Y. Emanuel said that whether displaced internally or not, “we are all Nigerians”. She went on to urge the poets to define what their role should be in society, whether to write the truth or mediate it by being neutral in the pre-

sentation of views and letting the readers make a decision. Before the ‘exile’ discussion, there was music from the poet, musician and actress, Aduke, as well as singer and drummer, Wura Samba; the poets also got a chance to read from their works and talk about it. Eke said she drew heavily from the folklore of her Ibibio people to enrich her poetry. “We need to be true to what our realities are otherwise, we will be filled with disillusionment”, she stated. Amu Nnadi explained that because writing is a product of a person’s society, learning and experiences “you can’t take politics away from my writing. My poetry is politics, really; I do not restrain myself. Sometimes, subtlety works”. Raji said Sea of My Mind was his sixth collection of poetry, while Gomba said writers need money and time and that it would be a great thing to find more institutions like NLNG to support writing. Ogbowei who had spoken first and whose writing is based on the Niger Delta struggle, declared that “if the issue of the Niger Delta is not treated seriously, we’re likely to have full-blown war!” Ipadeola, whose collection, like that of a few of the other poets is eclectic, said it is like “taking knowledge everywhere and not just a representation of any tradition”. The gathering may have been to meet, greet and feast with the 11 long-listed authors as Akinosho stated, but Ofeimun also got a share of the accolade as most of the poets being celebrated said he had been instrumental to their making an appearance on the podium.


Arts Lounge

24

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ARTISTE UNCENSORED

VOICES

After my film, many will

Piracy: Let’s not blame NCC yet

Award winning Nigerian cinematographer, Tunde Kelani (TK) is wellrespected for his sterling screen productions. He doesn’t just shoot films –he tells gripping stories and addresses topical issues and societal imbalances. Still fresh off the success of his last film, Maa’mi, TK is working on another potential blockbuster titled Dazzling Mirage which deals with the sickle cell anaemia condition and carriers. Dazzling Mirage will be juxtaposing love, illness and sacrifice in a cinematic mix that is guaranteed to get cinema goers misty eyed. The filmmaker reveals more during a recent interview with ADEBIMPE OLATUJA. Excerpts:

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

YINKA OGUNDAISI

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ome will argue that the retailers don’t have the necessary resources to successfully prosecute the pirates. That is precisely why the NDEF stipulate that National Distributors must have presence in all the geo-political zones, while the Regional Distributors have theirs at each state capital of their zones to give their authorised retailers the necessary support in the fight against piracy wherever and whenever it happens within their territories. Another argument could be that the roadside traders will not have adequate interest in fighting piracy in their domains on behalf of the major distributors, but this will only demonstrate an insufficient knowledge of the provisions of the NDEF and how it is programmed to operate. Every licensed community retailer is an authorised agent of the NFVCB in the assigned territory. The foremost responsibility of each retailer is to monitor and ensure that there is no piracy of movies in his/her territory, particularly movies that he/she has not invested in by buying the distribution right for the territory from the main central distributor. Where the retailer condones any copyright infringement within his/ her territory or fails to monitor or report any illegal activity in his/her territory, the Board can withdraw the license of that retailer. Now because the NDEF is yet to be fully implemented, it is the same community retailers that ought to prevent piracy in their domains that are themselves the main vehicle of piracy across the country, selling more pirated movies than the legally-acquired ones. There is a provision for the NCC, Police, EFCC, State and LGA agents to regularly go into the shops of the community retailers to inspect their books and ensure that they are retailing only the legally-acquired movies. They can only start to do this if the NFVCB, which is legally empowered to create these retailers throughout the country, registers and licenses them; attach each to a specified geo-

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Ogundaisi

THE BASIS UPON WHICH

NCC CAN

MEANINGFULLY FIGHT PIRACY HAS TO BE PROVIDED BY THE

NFVCB

graphical territory such that there is no inch of Nigeria’s geographical spread that is left out uncovered and then formally inform them and the general public. The summary of all these is that the basis upon which NCC can meaningfully fight piracy has to be provided by the NFVCB and till that is done, I believe we should not blame the NCC for not being effective in the fight against piracy. It is also important to appreciate the position of the NFVCB; with the size of our country, the Board needs financial support to carry out the delineation of community retailers territories nationally (just as INEC did before the 2011 elections), carry out extensive publicity and promotions of the NDEF so that it can carry all the stakeholders along in the registration and licensing of the community retailers across the country. That is why I suggested earlier that if the Federal Government’s grant of N3bn is to achieve the desirable impact, the bulk or almost all of it should be expended on funding the necessary infrastructure that will effectively strengthen our DTH (Direct-To-Home) distribution network. In plain English, it means providing the Board with adequate financial wherewithal to conclude the implementation of the NDEF. Mr. Ogundaisi is a seasoned film practitioner and the originator of the film distribution framework.

Why is Dazzling Mirage generating a lot of buzz lately? Beyond the film itself, we are paying attention to the theme of sickle cell. This is what should be happening throughout the whole country; this ailment is very prevalent in Nigeria, we should do a lot more than we’re doing at the moment. Ask anyone about sickle cell disease in Nigeria, and you would be surprised that they know virtually nothing about it. I think the first step is to create the awareness. Besides the film, which is a form of entertainment, it’s important also that we develop the necessary awareness concerning this scourge. What prompted you into making this movie? Besides the entertainment aspect of it, the theme behind it is more important. The project is designed to create necessary attention; provide information and education about sickle cell disease. I think it will be irresponsible of me as an African filmmaker to ignore the areas of needs of the people, and this ailment is one that is prevalent in Nigeria. Presently, we have more than 40 million carriers; therefore, the information should be available everywhere and that’s the aim of this project –to create awareness about sickle cell. This film is going to be more collaborative because it is adapted from a novel by Yinka Egbokhare and the screen play adaptation is handled by another woman, Ade Sholanke, in London. There are other inputs because it’s important for us to research, so we teamed up with Sickle Cell Foundation in Lagos and a number of individuals who are knowledgeable about the sickle cell disorder. During the development of the script, we were able to bring together a lot of young people who are volunteers on the project and these are a crop of young and talented Nigerians who are good at what they do. We’re also looking at web and graphics animation and social media, which are part of the project as well. You have a very robust cast –one of the biggest in your production; what informs the choice of cast for Dazzling Mirage? Dazzling Mirage is an interesting and challenging story; likewise inspirational. It’s also a confirmation that Nigeria is blessed, because, we have the human resource, talents and our people are naturally creative. These are people who I have always wanted to work with. I wish that I could work regularly because we have a rich pool of talented people who are just waiting for the opportunity to work. I have gone out of my way this time to really search round; pay attention and give prominence to people who I have never worked with. I also retained people who have shared successful moments with me, so it is chemistry and combination of what has been and what is to arrive; all for something that is going to be a unique experience. The language of the film is a departure from the Yoruba language you adopt in films; can you

I THINK IT WILL BE IRRESPONSIBLE OF ME AS AN

AFRICAN FILMMAKER

TO IGNORE THE AREAS OF NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE explain why you went to English again? The theme of the film informed that because we want the message to spread. It’s not a localised disorder; it is an African or ‘Black people’s’ problem but it spread to the Diaspora as well. When the colonial masters sold Black people to slavery, they took the sickle cell trait along with them so they have the problem too, but fortunately for them, they have understood the problem. They create more awareness and they engage in selective mating like, people who are not A+ should make sure they marry those who have the A+ blood type. However, if you carry out a research, you’ll find out that selective mating has never worked anywhere. Now, America has created lots of sickle cell centres and spends a lot of money on management and information on sickle cell, and they’ve recorded huge success. In earlier years, the life expectancy of a sickle cell patient was just 14 years, but at moment, the life expectancy is 60 years. It shows that they’ve managed to contain it. I think its food for thought for Nigeria. Some faces in the cast are becoming more regular in your films, like Khabirat Fadipe, Bukola Awoyemi… what informs that? For starters, I forgot to mention that Dazzling Mirage is set somewhere in Yoruba land. The language of the film will be English, though there wouldn’t be any doubt as to where this story is coming from. Having some familiar faces on this production is natural progression, because we are interested in each other’s progress as we advance in our careers. Occasionally, we can tap into each other’s resources for mutual progress. On a lighter note, Bukola Awoyemi (also playing Bukky in the film) acted with another member of cast, Segun Adefila, in the movie Arugba and they promised to get married in that film after their education. It’s like a continuation and I think they will get married in Dazzling Mirage, (laughs). It will be interesting if it works. I don’t know if the audience can remember that they had an ‘unfinished business’ in Arugba, but perhaps, they will be able to recognise that these people finally get married in another film. Funding is a major challenge to African filmmakers, how have you been able to overcome this? This film is a rounded and serious one. We put the budget, temporarily, at an estimate of N40 million and I think we are barely half-way because Lagos State government has given us part funding. My sister, Oyinda Adeshina’s company, Hygea, has been of great help; they actually gave us a soft


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Arts Lounge

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

25

MIDWEEK JUMP

do genotype test –Kelani F

Scotland set for Africa in Motion fest

rom October 24 to November 3, Scotland’s biggest celebration of African cinema returns for its eight consecutive year at Filmhouse Cinema and also returns to the Glasgow Film Theatre, GFT, for the second year (following the Festival’s Glasgow debut in 2012). For the first time this year expands into Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, CCA, plus several ‘pop-up’ cinema venues. Taking the theme “Twende: Africa on the Move” (“twende” is a Swahili word which translates as “let’s go!”), a diverse programme of documentary and fictional films will cap-

At least, they know now that we are here and that Panasonic cameras and equipments are not new to us in Nigeria. This is where I really commend the ingenuity of our industry, because they have decided to stick to one brand above others. For the prize range and my budget, I think the Panasonic gadgets are appropriate and match the situation of the Nigerian film maker. Maa’mi had issues of pirates feasting on it, how prepared are you to guard against piracy with this new film? In fact, Maa’mi has not been released on DVD and that is where our investment has been left hanging. We can’t even talk about marketing of Dazzling Mirage; I think the objective is to get the film made while we develop various platforms for marketing. We are working hard at it and I think by the time the film is ready, we would have completed all the necessary plans for marketing.

Kelani

loan to start up the project in the first place. However, we need extra funds to complete this film. Presently, we need N20 million to complete the film, and it’s really giving me nightmares. What technical expertise are you deploying into this film? The film will benefit from the advancements in media technology; essentially, we have everything we should need. We have appropriated the technology to suit us, our environment

and more importantly, our pocket. All the departments are in place and we are going to be innovative as we go along. We will essentially be filming with Panasonic cameras and other high-level technologies that are available to us. Panasonic officials recently visited Mainframe, does it have anything to do with this film, and what were the benefits and outcomes of the meeting?

What should your fans expect and what do you think will be different from your past works? After Maa’mi, I announced that we’ve started another series, which people call Nollywood 2, Nollywood hub, or whatever you call it. This is going to be another unique experience because we have actually started another series from Maa’mi; these will be a crop of new films that will surpass the previous Nollywood. They will be of good quality and standard to start life in cinemas and they can stand side-by-side with Hollywood films. In Dazzling Mirage, my hope is that people will appreciate the film; I can also sum it up with our slogan which says, ‘Be Sickle-Smart.’ After watching the film, many will go for their genotype test.

ture Africa’s richness and beauty through movement, literal and metaphorical. From the movement of people across regions and borders with films about immigration and asylum, through political, cultural and social movements, to movement in its more literal form with films about sport, dance and street life in African cities. The film programme as always will be accompanied by a wide range of events including directors’ Q&As and master classes, workshops, music performances and a visual art exhibition. The full programme will be announced on September 23.

Toni Kan, Igoni Barrett, others teach writing workshop

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he writers Toni Kan, Azafi Omoluabi-Ogosi, Ayodele MoroccoClarke and Igoni Barrett will, from tomorrow teach writing in the second edition of the Writers’ Studio Workshop in Yaba, Lagos. A statement by the organisers said the workshop, which runs till August 31, will be taking a look at the elements of the story, from both fictive and non-fictive perspectives. “This workshop provides an opportunity to explore specific writing techniques which help budding writ-

ers discover new aspects of their creativity. In a handson, practical manner, participants will get feedback on their work and engage in writing exercises and discussions,” the organisers said. Toni Kan will take Elements of a Story, MoroccoClarke will tackle Work in Progress: Turn a Good Story into a Great Story and Omoluabi-Ogosi will dwell on Manuscript Preparation, Submission and Publication. The last day will feature An Evening with the Short Story Writer Igoni Barrett.

Female artists ‘pray’ for Nigeria

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esterday, August 27, the Thought Pyramid Art Gallery, Wuse 11, Abuja, opened a five-day group exhibition of works by seven eminent female artists titled “Prayer for Nigeria”. The exhibiting artists are: Angela Amami-Isiuwe, Victoria Udondian, Ngozi Akande, Klaranze Okhide, Stella Awoh ,Okiemute Ejoh and Juliet Ezenwa Maja-Pearce. The exhibition is titled af-

‘Prayer for Nigeria’ 2013

ter one of the works of Juliet Ezenwa called ‘Prayer for Nigeria’. Juliet believes that the recent challenges Nigeria has been facing could be solved by Nigerian women and children praying for the nation. The work itself comprises of a collection of acrylic collage paintings on canvas portraying groups of women and children deep in fervent prayer. The exhibition closes on Saturday, August 31.


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Arts Lounge

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FAR AND NEAR

FG to support study of Sango KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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he Federal Government recently reiterated its commitment to continue to provide necessary support for the growth of culture in the country by assisting in the study of Sango’s leadership and heroic attributes as basis for national orientation. The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, gave the commitment in his address delivered at the commencement of the World Sango Festival, held at the ancient Aafin Oyo. He said given the history of Sango, not only in the old Oyo Kingdom but throughout Yorubaland, his ministry will provide substantial support for efforts to expand the celebration of the festival as part of grand agenda in culture and tourism. He said: “The ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation under my watch and leadership will support your genuine efforts to promote the study of Sango, the celebration of the festival in his honour and appropriation of the virtues of leadership demon-

strated by Sango. “The Federal Republic of Nigeria is blessed with the global phenomenon now called the Yoruba Religion. The Yoruba Diaspora is an ever expanding world, next to the Jews in terms of relevance and number. Sango indeed is at the heart of this expanding world of the Yoruba and competing favourably with other religions to explain spiritual and physical mysteries”. In his speech, His Royal Majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, called on Yoruba sons and daughters to promote their tradition and culture so that the race can stand out in the world. Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi enjoined parents to always teach their wards the Yoruba language, saying “research has shown that children that speak Yoruba fluently understand other languages easily”. The monarch who said the festival will be celebrated for one week, also admonished parents to teach their children how to dress appropriately, especially in Yoruba attires; maintaining that ‘you don’t need to be half-naked before you are appreciated’.

Cassava Republic releases 1st crime book TERH AGBEDEH

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airobi Heat by Mukoma Wa Ngugi is the first book in the Cassava Crime series from the publisher, Cassava Republic Press. “This novel re-imagines the classic Noir genre in a fresh and surprising way, setting the trend for exciting African crime writing with African characters and settings”, said a statement from the publisher to announce the release of the book. The statement further said that the book is a gripping mystery thriller set in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, this book will compel readers to turn page after page until the end. Mukoma Wa Ngugi is a Kenyan writer and poet whose works have appeared in Tin House Magazine, Brick Magazine, Kwani?, and Chiumurenga. He has a BA in political science and English from Albright College, as well as an MA in creative writing from

Boston University and an MA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves as the coordinator for the Toward an Africa without Borders organisation and is also a columnist for the BBC’s Focus on Africa Magazine. First published in South Africa, the U.S.A. and Kenya, Nairobi Heat brings its fastpaced storytelling to Nigeria in this beautifully crafted edition from Cassava Republic Press.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

COSON signs agreement with PRS of London ADENRELE NIYI

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opyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, the nation’s sole government approved collective management organisation for music and sound recordings, celebrated the landmark reciprocal representation agreement just signed between COSON and the United Kingdom based PRS for Music, a foremost global CMO. The agreement formalises the mandate to COSON to manage in Nigeria the extensive repertoire of world music controlled by PRS for Music, while PRS for Music will ensure the collection of royalties on behalf of COSON, its members and affiliates for the use of Nigerian

music in the UK and other territories where PRS operates directly or through its affiliates. The details of the agreement negotiated over a period of two years were concluded during a recent visit to London by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji who is elated by this watershed development. The signing was carried out by Director, PRS for Music International, Ms. Karen Buse and Chief Tony Okoroji. Reacting, Chief Okoroji said: “The signing of the agreement between COSON and PRS for Music is proof that the world has taken notice of the significant progress COSON has made with respect to the collective management of copyright in Nigeria. Nigerian artistes can now feel confident to churn out

world hits knowing that wherever in the world their music is utilised, there is a worldwide network heavily protecting their interests”. Also highly elated, Mr, Efe Omorogbe, CEO NowMuzik and manager of several top Nigerian artistes such as 2Face Idibia, Timi Dakolo, J. Martins, Seyi Shay, Sunny Neji, Dammy Krane, Tunde and Wunmi Obe, etc said; “This is wonderful! Many boasted that it could not be done; Now, it is done... let the music pay!”. Besides the recent agreement, COSON has also signed reciprocal representation agreements with several other CMOs in different parts of the world and today possesses the fastest growing global collective management network in Africa.

L-R: Chief Tony Okoroji and General Manager, COSON Chinedu Chukwuji celebrate the landmark agreement at COSON headquarters in Lagos.

U.I drama school celebrates 50 years ADEBIMPE OLATUJA

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he department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, as the first theatre department in sub-Saharan Africa, will today, August 28, flag off activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the university’s School of Drama. The three-day event takes place at the campus of University of Ibadan (U.I) Oyo State Theatre Arts as a university course was started at Ibadan in 1962. The first student of the department was the inimitable Kola Ogunmola who produced “Lanke Omuti”, an adaptation of Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard. To mark the 50th anniversary, the alumni and students are celebrating the event with a series of programmes, including play production, an international conference, workshops and a homecoming dinner. Today, current students of

the department will present TIME, written by Chukwuma Okoye and directed by Yinka Smart-Babalola. Scholars and theatre practitioners who are going to present papers and direct workshops including Professor Patrick Ebewo (Tshwane University, South Africa); Dr. Sola Adeyemi (Greenwich University, UK); Dr. Tiziana Morosetti (Oxford University, UK); Dr. Dani Lyndersay (University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago); Professor Duro Oni (Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos) and Dr. Esohe Molokwu, a consultant with the United Nations. Keynote speakers are Professor Abiola Irele of Kwara State University, who played the role of Lakunle in the first ever production of Wole Soyinka’s Lion and the Jewel in 1958; and Professor Segun Oyekunle of the Nigerian Film Village, Badagry, Lagos. There would be workshops on Costumes and Make up, Writing and Directing for the Stage,

Television and Film, Dance, Children’s Theatre, Theatre for Development, and Emerging Industries. To conclude the programme Friday, a grand homecoming dinner holds at the University of Ibadan campus with headlining performers such as Baba Dee, Laffomania, Zeal Dance Troupe, Samson and Mary-Jane Duet, and The Margins of Art and Entertainment. “The anniversary will not only bring together past students of the department, it will launch a new phase in the development of theatre in Nigeria”, according to the secretary of the organising committee, Mrs. Pamela Arnold Udoka. “The Arts Theatre will be refurbished to befit the status of the University”, she added. Head of the Theatre Arts department, Dr. Chuks Okoye is also planning to launch an appeal to re-equip the departmental library that was destroyed in a fire in 1994.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twist beclouds Rooney’s transfer

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Sport

The era of congress and elections for the Nigerian league is over. This is just the reality - SPORTS MINISTER, BOLAJI ABDULLAHI

UAE 2013: ‘Golden Eaglets must be tough’

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Emeka Inyama at Eagles’ training

NFF scores self high EVEREST ONYEWUCHI AND JOEL AJAYI

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hree years into the tenure of its board, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under President Aminu Maigari, has scored itself high in achievements. Executive Committee Member and spokesman of the board, Chief Emeka Inyama, said yesterday that the NFF was focused on bequeathing uncommon legacies to Nigerian football. Doing an appraisal of their tenure, Inyama said despite the first 18 months the Maigari-led executive committee spent dealing with “pointless litigations and distractions” the NFF still has six trophies in its silverware shelf. These include three competitive tournaments and three from prestigeous friendly matches, aside several major accomplishments. The six trophies are the Africa Cup of Nations diadem, which Nigeria won for the first time in 19 years earlier this year in South Africa; the African Youth Championship (AYC) in 2011; the African Women Championship (AWC) in 2010 and glittering trophies from memorable defeats of Argentina (June 2011), Catalonia (January 2013) and South Africa (August 2013). “The only reason why we didn’t roll out the drums on Monday, on the third anniversary of the administration, is that we are not flippant people and also, we are fully concentrating on the three very important

...set to harmonise academies

2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches that we must prosecute successfully in the next couple of months,” said Inyama, who himself added a year on Monday. He equally gave credit to their board for actualising the dream of building a world-class NFF Headquarters by cooperating with the Presidential Task Force on Super Eagles qualification for the 2010 World Cup and the National Sports Commission (NSC). Inyama, also Chairman of the Nigeria National League (NNL) noted that the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has benefitted immensely from the uncommon vision of the Maigari administration. “Recently, the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, applauded the NFF for its innovation and support for the League Management Company (LMC), which is surely turning around the Premier League for the better. “We gave the Super Eagles’ Coach total support in a rebuilding process that has sealed a fact: that home-based professionals will never again be mere training materials in the senior team, or any of the National Teams for that matter,” he added. The former Abia State Commissioner for Sports also opened a window on what the Maigari team intends to achieve within the next one year that draws the curtain on

its first term. “Now, we are looking to qualify Nigeria for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and to ensure that the boys are not just there to make up the number. FIFA has agreed with our proposal for the body to fund Regional Technical Centres across the federation; we are set to harmonise the activities of the various academies so that we can continue to present credible U-17 National Teams; we will soon unfold a unique programme for the development of the women’s game and we look forward to winning several more trophies, beginning with the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, among other programmes.”

ria (NAN). Ugbade, the Eaglets’ skipper at the maiden edition of the U-17 World Cup in China in 1985, added, “The group matches are not going to be easy because it is like a preview to the tournament and what you see at the group stages is the exact of the championship.” Also speaking on the chances of the Eaglets, Amuneke admitted that there would not be easy games. “In the World Cup there are no easy games and there is no easy group. We are looking forward to the challenge. We have to prepare ourselves well,” Amuneke told BBC Sport. He added, “The most important thing is that we get ourselves ready psychologically, physically, tactically and mentally.”

olden Eaglets’ Assistant Coaches, Nduka Ugbade and Emmanuel Amuneke, have agreed that the team must be tough to overcome its group opponents at the FIFA U-17 World Cup holding in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in October. The duo spoke yesterday, following Monday’s draw that placed Nigeria in Group F that comprises defending champions, Mexico, Iraq and Sweden. “Matches in the group will be keenly contested like it is the World Cup itself. It is good having the defending champions fighting for placement alongside the Eaglets in the group stages: because keenly contested matches will be displayed all through the group matches,” Ugbade told the News Agency of Nige-

Isaac Success

Refs get warning, undergo tests JOEL A JAYI ABUJA

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s the FIFA Fitness Test for Referees began in Abuja yesterday, Nigerian referees have been warned to desist from match-fixing and any other acts of corruption. A respected Referees’ Instructor, Sunday Okayi, gave the charge as about 54 men of the whistle got ready for the two-day exercise, ending on August 29. He warned that henceforth

any referee caught corrupting the game, will be severely punished. Okayi told National Mirror that the selected referees would undergo physical test, blood test, heart test and mental test, among others so as to certify them fit and ready to discharge their duties, adding that if anyone failed, he or she would be disqualified “If you are not fit to take any match you would not be appointed to officiate a match, and we have made

it as part of the law that if anyone of them is involved in match fixing or takes bribe, no doubt that person must face the wrath of law and possibly go to jail,” he stressed. He warned club officials to stop sponsoring hooligans and thugs to intimidate and harass referees in course of discharging their duty and also appealed to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to look into the possibility of increasing referees’ indemnities and allowances.


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Sport Tit bits...

Ribery Bayern Munich winger, Franck Ribery, admits he has regularly flirted with the prospect of signing for Chelsea. Ribery made the revelation ahead of Friday’s European Super Cup clash with Champions Cup winner Bayern, saying the Blues had been after his heart. “We often talk. He wanted me to go to Chelsea. We have a good relationship and respect between us,” he said, stressing, “But I want to beat him in the Super Cup.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

How Brazil imp

Twist beclouds Rooney’s transfer

Inspirational midfielder, Clare lar football and to demonstra The 36-year-old former Nethe the UEFA Champions League plays for Botafogo in Brazil,

Mata

Reports yesterday said Tottenham Hotspur is planning a bid for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata. Spurs Manager, Andre VillasBoas, has made a daring attempt to snatch the Spanish international after losing out to his London rival in the chase for Willian. The White Hart Lane side believes unsettled Mata would be interested in making the move across the capital.

Buffon

Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, admits he considered leaving the club two summers ago. “My head was elsewhere,” Buffon, who needed back surgery after the 2010 World Cup, said. “I thought the time had come for me to change, to leave Juventus. But the telephone call from Conte was important and, from that moment, I was even more of a Juventino than I was before.”

Rooney

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anchester United striker, Wayne Rooney, will not be handing in a transfer request, according to latest reports. However, despite the chances of an Old Trafford exit having receded with this latest development, some issues between the England star and the club remain unresolved. Rooney was left “angered and confused” about his position at

Old Trafford after manager David Moyes hinted the striker would not be his first choice this season, while he continues to be unhappy at claims at the end of last season from Sir Alex Ferguson that he’d submitted a transfer request. He has though told friends he will not disrespect the club, the manager, the team or the fans by asking for a move. Chelsea has failed with two bids for the England star and

looked set for a third with manager Jose Mourinho saying on Monday night that Rooney had 48 hours to decide his future. “We are not so silly as to try to do something if somebody didn’t start it,” Mourinho said. “The person that started the story has to finish the story. For the good of everyone it is time to finish the story. One way or another he has to say ‘I want to leave’ or ‘I want to stay’.”

Arbeloa Real Madrid fullback, Alvaro Arbeloa has urged fans and Iker Casillas’ allies to get behind current number one goalkeeper Diego Lopez. Casillas was again benched for Sunday’s win at Granada, a decision by coach Carlo Ancelotti which has shocked a large section of the Real support and many club identities. “No matter who we play in goal, what matters is the shirt he wears. The important thing is that Real Madrid is united,” the defender said.

Is Brazilian football really that different from game? The difference is the discipline, the leve tion. There’s much more discipline in Euro here’s there’s much more raw talent–more Not that I’m saying over there in Europe th ity or that here they’re not tactical. That’s the pitch things are even more different. play in Europe you won’t spend more tha ling to games, and that’s in the Champions play domestically you probably won’t sp hour and a half travelling. The travelling h Porto Alegre to Bahia it’s four-and-a-half h side of things is really tough. Even the d between the north and south of the coun These are the biggest challenges when it c Brazilian football.

You’ve won the Rio state championship and lenging at the top of the Brasileiro… We’ve got quality and we’ve got lots of the young lads that are proving the differ of the progression they’re making. It’s not very often, so many players evolving so qu squad you can make changes and still send we know we haven’t got a squad like the on mio and Internacional have. That’s why th got who are playing more often have to pr We don’t have the squad to be making chan

Xavi

Barcelona midfielder, Xavi, has defended coach Tata Martino for entering the Gareth Bale debate. Martino lambasted Real Madrid over the latter’s intention to shell out a world record €100 million for the Tottenham star. “What Tata Martino said about Bale is true, but that’s the way the market is,” Xavi said when asked about Martino’s comments.

Do you feel a bit Brazilian as lots of people Of course it’s a real compliment for peo yes, I do feel a bit Brazilian. The facts prov players come from here, while there can’t the world where you go out on the street a ple wearing their clubs’ shirts. Whoever th ever their social situation, they’re proud colours. In Suriname where I was born, p the Brazilian national team, and the Dutch watching the 1986 World Cup with my dad outside and calm me down after Brazil lost ing with anger, because it was Zico’s last to he was what football was all about.

Rami enters City radar

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alencia defender, Adil Rami, has become a target for Manchester City, according to reports. The Eastlands side eyes Rami to shore up his leaky defence before the transfer window shuts. The France international, who started Valencia’s first two games of the season, has already said he is keen on a move to what he called “a bigger club” and could be available for around £7m.

Devils, Blues chase Mangala

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eports yesterday said that Manchester United and Chelsea are going head-tohead for Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala. United Manager, David Moyes, sent scouts to watch 22-year-old centre-half Mangala in a 3-0 win at the weekend over Maritimo, where Barcelona was also represented. Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, tried to sign Mangala in June when he first returned for a second spell in charge of the Stamford Bridge club. But Porto insisted Mangala is not for sale, although the club may struggle to resist offers in excess of £12m for the France international.

Ozil faces Madrid exit

What’s your role been in the club’s progres From the outside you might just see t there are a lot of minutes that have gone b with them, asking them questions. When to a younger player, any player in fact, yo

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eal Madrid midfielder, Mesut Ozil, has given the biggest indication on his want away plot out of the Spanish club. Ozil stormed off down the tunnel after being substituted during Real’s win of Grenada on Sunday, fuelling rumours his Madrid career may well be over. The German international, who was replaced by young Brazilian Casemiro in the second half of the game, has been linked with a move out of Spain. He could also be surplus to requirements once Gareth Bale completes his move to the Santiago Bernabeu, although Coach Carlo Ancelotti has yet to signify interest in offloading the talented player.

Seedorf


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brazil 2014: Essien makes Ghana return

proved my game –Seedorf

ence Seedorf, made the move to Brazil in search of reguate his undoubted quality. erlands international, who holds the record of winning e with Juventus, Real Madrid and AC Milan and currently spoke to FIFA.com on the present and the future

say? ople to say that]and, ve that the very best t be many places in and see so many peohe person and whatto wear their club’s people really follow h one too. When I was d, he had to take me to France. I was cryournament. For me,

m the European

el of tactical applicaope than here, while e individual quality. hey don’t have qualon the pitch, but off When you live and an four hours travels League. When you pend more than an here is longer. From hours. The logistical difference in climate ntry has an impact. comes to adapting to

d you’re up chal-

youngsters, but it’s rence for us because t something you see uickly. Normally, in a d out a strong XI, but nes Corinthians, Grehe young lads we’ve rogress very quickly. nges all the time.

ssion? the 90 minutes, but before that, chatting n you ask a question ou make them start

to think. Am I going to start telling them everything that they have to do? On the pitch I might because things are different out there but, off the pitch, your approach has to be one that makes them grow in stature. And I can still grow too, like everybody else. I also had to make a lot of progress in a short space of time and it wasn’t easy. What do you usually tell the Botafogo’s younger players? Positioning out on the field, for example. When we’re playing, I really shape my body to receive the ball–even before it gets to me. And the other players do the same, because nobody can see everything that’s happening out on the pitch. How far can you keep improving? There’s no limit. I’m taking penalties too now. Throughout my whole career, during the season at least, I never took penalties–just in final tournaments and things like that. It’s a new thing for me being the team’s first-choice kick-taker. I can improve my positioning too. I’m now playing in my favourite position, the one where I feel I’m best able to express all my qualities, but I’ve only ever played here for two seasons in my whole career. The rest I played as a midfielder, but deeper. Does playing closer to goal make any difference to you? For me, winning isn’t just about lifting the cup, the trophy– it’s about giving your maximum, on and off the pitch. If a guy has five good games and then starts to go out, drink, sleep late, live the wrong kind of lifestyle, then his performances will always suffer. At the very least, you have to compete. Does your future lie in coaching? Definitely. The way I speak is the way I’ve always felt throughout my career. I’d never have won anything if I hadn’t had all those ingredients. Every season that didn’t go well was because one of those things was missing. Even when we didn’t win, more often than not we finished second, and you can’t win all the time, can you? But we never stopped competing, right through to the end of the season. I’ve already got my UEFA A coaching licence. Now I’m doing the final part of my UEFA Pro licence.

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Toriola

Quadri

Lagos Classics: Toriola, Quadri outsmash opponents YEMI OLUS

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ix-time Olympian, Segun Toriola, yesterday demonstrated his resolve to excel at the maiden Lagos International Table Tennis Championship as he defeated compatriot Ibrahim Yakubu 11-5, 12-10, 11-7 to advance to the next round of the money-spinning competition. Toriola’s compatriot and Portugal-based Aruna Quadri also defeated fellow Nigerian Olufemi Alabi 11-3, 11-8, 11-3 to send his fans asking for more. Nigerian-born Saka Suraju of Congo Brazzaville defeated Kehinde Oladele 11-9 11-7 , 11-8 while number two seed, Mihai Bobocica of Italy, sent Emanuel Joseph of Nigeria packing with 11-2, 11-2, 13-11. In the women’s matches, Han Xing of Congo Brazzaville defeated Effionwan Ntiero of

Nigeria 11-2, 11-5, 11-4. Former African champion and veteran, Funke Oshonaike, outclassed Itoro Akpan 11-0, 11-9, 11-7 while Offiong Edem defeated Onyiyechi Mba 11-9, 11-4, 15-17 asAmmadine Litobaka of Congo DRC overpowered Nike Aroyewun 11-6, 11-7, 11-9. Meanwhile, top seed Omar Assar of Egypt also started on a bright note, dismissing Nigeria’s Mayowa Babatunde 11-7, 11-2, 11-9 to advance to the next round. “It is a very good experience for me to be in Nigeria because this is my first time,” Assar told National Mirror. “I admire the people as well as the organisation and I wish to come to Nigeria every year to play in the competition. “I respect every player and coach here and I look forward to a very good performance in all my matches.”

US Open 2013…

When will you begin your coaching career? My objective at the moment is to give it my all to finish my career in style, on a high. I’ve never believed in finishing at small teams, dropping to the fifth division, things like that–I don’t think I’d be able to handle it. Brazil has the best football of any country outside of Europe, and I wanted to keep on playing at a high level. I knew that it’d be different and difficult, but I needed a challenge.

Serena eases past Schiavone

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efending champion Serena Williams yesterday powered into the second round of the US Open after a convincing rout of Francesca Schiavone, the world number one needing just an hour to thump the former French Open champion 6-0 6-1 at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Williams, who is chasing her 17th Grand Slam title and fifth US Open crown, was delighted with her performance. “I’m really excited,” the 31-year-old, who now takes on faces Galina Voskoboeva, said. “I knew playing a former Grand Slam champion the first round was a tough draw so I just tried to be super serious. “In this sport you never know what can happen. That’s why you have to enjoy every moment, enjoy every win.”

lack Stars’ Coach, Kwesi Appiah, yesterday named a strong squad that includes Chelsea returnee Michael Essien, AC Milan’s Kevin Prince Boateng and Marseille’s Andre Ayew to face Zambia in next week’s 2014 World Cup qualifier. Essien, who had pleaded to be excluded from the country’s squad to fight for his position at club level over the past two years, is a shock inclusion. But returnees Jordan Ayew and Sulley Muntari were excluded even though they had made themselves available for the country. The Black Stars squad, which is its strongest in years for the country, also includes top performers Kwadwo Asamoah of Juventus, captain Asamoah Gyan and in-form Belgium-based youngster Frank Acheampong. Russia-based striker Abdul Majeed Waris has been recalled after recovering from injury.

Youth Games put off JOEL AJAYI ABUJA

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rganisers of the maiden National Youth Games yesterday announced postponement of the weeklong event due to what they called funding gap. National Mirror learnt that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) had not made provision for the competition in its 2013 financial year. Chairman of the Main Organizing Committee (MOC), Alhaji Alhassan Yakmut, said the FCT had not indicated readiness to host the competition. “It is a tripartite arrangement between the NSC, the FCT and the private sector and once the final approval is received from the FCT, the NSC would provide intervention funds for the games to hold,” Yakmut explained. “The Youth Sports Festival will now hold between December 6 and 15 when schools would be on the long term break.” Asked why the events for the games were reduced, Yakmut said: “It is to allow states to come with the contingent that they can cope with. The technical requirement for the events will be demanding and so there is no need to encourage the states to participate in such events.”


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Sport

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nigeria Premier Nig League

Cricket

with

IIKENWA NNABUOGOR ikenwa.nnabuogor@gmail.com

Injury costs ThankGod Al-Ahli contract

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Gambo Mohammed

Can Pillars win the three-way horse race?

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t has been a fierce race among the three front liners – Kano Pillars, Bayelsa United and Kwara United - in the log as the Glo Premier League approaches the home stretch. With eleven games remaining in the league before the Week 28 fixtures, it appears the fight for the league diadem will surely go down to the wire as just lean points separate the defending champions, Pillars and the title contenders, which also includes the resurgent six-time kings, Enyimba. Pillars are definitely not sitting pretty atop the log with 45 points, same as second-placed Bayelsa United, who have fewer goals aggregate. Pillars travel to Owerri tomorrow for a date with the wounded Heartland, who will only sink deeper into the relegation waters should they fall again at the hands of Kano-based side. Pillars, on the other hand, can also capitalise on Heartland’s free fall to consolidate their zenith position. But the Naze Millionaires will not give the defending champions the favours and will be at their best at least to grab maximum points to pacify their disappointed home fans. Bayelsa United are also on the road on another tricky date with Sunshine Stars and will do themselves a world of good should they grab a win. Sunshine Stars have lost their two most prized players – top scorer Dele Olorundare and Super Eagles de-

fender Godfrey Oboabana - to Turkish clubs. They will also be further depleted with the departure of striker Azuka Izu, who travelled to Turkey last weekend for a trial. This game could go either way! But the top beneficiary of the top two clubs’ away trips is Enyimba, currently fourth on the log with 43 points. They welcome Gombe United in Aba and could go top of the table should they win and hope Pillars, Bayelsa United and Kwara United in third place, lose on the road. Enyimba failed to go top of the log losing to an odd goal at Kwara United last weekend. With Olorundare off the race for the top scorer’s award, Bishop Onyeudo is now expected to hit the target in this tie to brighten his chances of grabbing the award. The Enyimba returnee is currently on 10 goals. Very little will change in the mid-table and in the basement after the fixtures in the mid-week, but it will be interesting to see embattled Heartland, Sharks and Lobi Stars to win their games to step up the move away from the relegation waters. Wolves’ striker Etebo Oghenekaro, who is one of the leading scorers in the Glo Premier League, with nine goals, will be expected to hit the target again in their home tie against Kaduna United and step up the chase for the top scorer’s award.

ibyan top side AlAhli Tripoli has pulled out of signing the Warri Wolves’ central defender Ike ThankGod following a thigh complaint. ThankGod was meant to go through a routine medical check when it was found out that the former Heartland strong man was still feeling pains in his thigh. The Wolves’ hard man had had a running battle with his release from the Warri-based side and was confident he would pen a contract after both clubs agreed on a 100 000 USD transfer fee. But the deal hit the rocks when medicals revealed he was carrying a thigh complaint. ThankGod, who returned to the country Monday afternoon, told National Mirror that his agent convinced the club owner to sign him and treat him of the minor

injury but the pleas fell on deaf ears. “It was a tough experience for me seeing a deal almost sealed but for this minor injury which the club would have treated,” ThankGod said philosophically. “What pained me most was the fact that it took time for Wolves to release me after so many negotiations by both parties but see how it ended. “But that’s football for you. The team has left for Portugal for pre-season training ahead of the new season that starts next month. I would have been part of the trip but God knows best. “My coach Solomon Ogbeide, who has always kept in touch with me, is glad to welcome me as we get set for the Federation Cup final next month in Lagos.” ThankGod is expected to rejoin his mates in Warri later this week. ThankGod

Okonkwo finally signs for Libyan club

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angers’ left back Chibuzo Okonkwo has finally signed a contract at Libyan Premier League side Asswehly Sports Club, National Mirror can exclusively report. The former Heartland star signed a year’s loan on Monday night after flying into the North African country last Friday. Close sources revealed to our correspondent that the deal brokered by a top Egyptian agent had been on some time and it needed the 25-year-old defender to arrive to ink the contract. The former youth international, it was gathered, will pocket 70 000 USD for the deal. It is however noteworthy that Okonkwo’s transfer was between his original club, an Nsukka-based local side, Oak Zeel, and the Libyan side. He was only on loan to Rangers. Okonkwo arrived in Misrata, the base of the club, North West of Libya from Ghana last Friday, to begin final negotiation with the club before he finally penned the deal on Monday night. This puts to an end his long search for a club outside the shores of Nigeria since he started attending trials just before he made the Dream Team III team to the Olympic Games in Beijing five years ago. He has been presented officially to the press and other members of the club and he’s expected to begin training with the soon. Okonkwo attended trials at a dozen club and early this year, he was close to signing for Finish club Inter Turku but the club pulled out after the former Bayelsa United dilly-dallied in signing the contract papers.

Okonkwo

Glo League Fixtures Week 28 ABS

vs

Akwa United

Sunshine Stars

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Bayelsa United

Sharks

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Wikki Tourist

Heartland

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Kano Pillars

Enugu Rangers

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Lobi Stars

Nasarawa United

vs

Dolphins

Enyimba

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Gombe United

Nembe City

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Kwara United

Warri Wolves

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Kaduna United

3SC

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El Kanemi Warriors


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Business & Finance A few months ago, we issued a competency framework for the banking industry to make sure that for certain groups of professionals and duties in the bank, people have the right qualification.

Nigeria’s real GDP growth rate has averaged seven per cent since 2004, but poverty reduced by only two per cent during the same period, raising questions about the quality and sustainability of such growth

Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu

STATISTICIAN-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION (SGF), MR. YEMI KALE

Customs threatens to shut non-trade-compliant port terminals FRANCIS EZEM

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wo months to the end of the extended Destination Inspection contract, the Nigeria Customs Service has said it will close down any port terminal caught in activities that hamper trade facilitation in the country. Barring any further extension, the DI contract will end in November this year after which the service will inherit the assets of the four service providers contracted by the Federal Government in 2006 and also take over every aspect of cargo clearing at the nation’s seaports and land borders including scanning services currently handled by these service providers. Comptroller General of the service, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, who spoke at a one-day stakeholders forum to sensitise them on the introduction of the Nigerian Trade Hub also called the ‘The Ruling Centre’ in Lagos yesterday, took a swipe at shipping companies and some terminal operators for the delay in clearing cargo at the nation’s seaports. The Trade Hub, which is designed to facilitate trade, will also see to the introduction of Pre-Ar-

rival Assessment Report (PAAR) to replace the current Risk Assessment Report (RAR), an advisory note issued by the service providers under the DI contract on the risk level associated with any imported consignment into the country. According to the CG, efforts made by the service to transform Nigeria’s imported goods clearing processes have been thwarted by the activities of the shipping companies and some terminal operators, who he accused of not having sufficient plants and

cargo handling equipment that would facilitate speedy goods delivery. He said, “Shipping companies and terminal operators are the greatest problem of cargo clearing in Nigeria. I will go to the highest authority to get approval to fight them. If they are Nigerian companies, we penalise them while the foreign ones among them will be deported” He also advised the Federal Government to take a cue from what some of the indigenous companies are doing under the

current port concession pprogramme and give more concessions to the indigenously owned, arguing that the foreign firms fuel capital flight. While reacting to complaints on the alleged excesses of some Customs officers posted from the headquarters in Abuja popularly called ‘CG Boys’, who have also refused to take instructions from the area controllers of their commands, the customs-boss, who was rumoured to have been sacked denied any knowledge of such boys.

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s part of measures to deliver on its mandate, the agency set up in Nigeria to collect Nigerians’ biometric database for the issuance of National Iden-

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IRS

Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Mr. Roberts Orya,(4th left) Minster of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama, (6th left), Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Director, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Suleiman Barau and other members of the new NEXIM board at their inauguration in Abuja recently

Biometrics: NIMC targets 774 enrolment centres nationwide KUNLE AZEEZ

Arik Air

tity Numbers, NINs,the National Identity Management Commission says it was prepared to establish National Identity Number enrolment centres in the 774 local governments in the country for effective grassroots NIN registration exercise. To achieve the target, the Director General, NIMC, Dr. Chris Onyemenam, said the Commission would establish col-

laboration with all the 774 local government areas in the country under, the aegis of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON. Stressing the need for the collaboration while speaking at the pre-summit meeting of first Local Government Areas Summit on the National Identity Management System in Abuja. Onyemenam said

NIMC was in a hurry to set-up enrolment centres and commence local government NIN registration quickly, hence the need for this collaboration. He said: “We are established by Act No. 23 of 2007 to foster on orderly development of an identity sector and build a modern identity management system for Nigeria, we do four important

things, the first has to do with the creation of national identity management database, manage identity authentication and verification service infrastructure, establish registration centres in every state capital and with your cooperation and support in every local government area, and then we can begin to talk of issuing national identity card.”

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

Airline operator asks FG to end aviation fuel scarcity

NSA seeks special fund for national statistics development

FG, IOCs stilll at loggerheads over PIB

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Business Finance

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Airline operator asks FG to end aviation fuel scarcity OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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he Federal Government and the Ministry of Aviation have been called upon to intervene in the perennial Jet A1 (aviation fuel) scarcity and skyrocketing price, which is crippling the activities of indigenous airlines. The Managing Director of the Med-view Airlines, Alhaji Muneer Bankole made the appeal yesterday at the airside of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos during the delivery of another Boeing 737-500 aircraft to beef up its domestic operations. Bankole noted that the skyrocketing price of the fuel and its scar-

city is seriously affecting the performance of the airlines in the sector and stressed that this was a national issue, which needed urgent attention. He said, “The issue of aviation fuel is a national assignment, which needed attention of the presidency, minister of aviation and that of the minister of petroleum. “The fuel scarcity does not affect us alone, but all the domestic airlines as we are all struggling to meet up with it. Please, help us tell the Government. “ On the arrival of new aircraft, he said that the aircraft was needed to increase its fleet from three to four aircraft, adding that the aircraft would be deployed to its Kano route.

He said, “It has been a pride of this company and for Nigeria today to see a domestic airline within a short space of time growing as you have seen. We are proud to tell you that we spoke with you in January and we promised you that in another six to eight months we will give you two more aircraft, this one of them acquired by MedView. “It is an aircraft that we purchased, we call it lease purchase and we have 737-800 coming in very soon. So, these are the two aircraft to add to this fleet and before the end of the year a bigger aircraft will come in to join up to be doing the international and regional operations, which you are aware this company has been

L- R: Guest Speaker and Past President of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN), Mr. Abiola Popoola; Head of Human Resources, Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Ms.Marie Owoniyi and Chairman, Ikeja Personnel Practitioners Consultative Association (PPCA) Mr. Henry Awodele (MCIPM), at the award ceremony, in Lagos

Eastern Electric loses technical partner/reserve bidder status for Enugu Disco UDEME AKPAN

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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panco Limited of India, the technical partner of Eastern Electric - the reserved bidder for Enugu Electricity Distribution Company has lost its status as electricity distribution franchisee having been stripped of all projects in its home country India. The effect of this on Spanco’s operation, which is barely one year old, is that Spanco is as at today neither an operator, licensee nor franchisee of any electricity network anywhere in the world. This may have by implication, dealt a serious blow to Eastern Electric, as it no longer has any valid technical partner; a situation which may have nullified its status as reserve bidder for Enugu Disco except it is allowed by the Bureau for Public Enterprises to get another technical partner. Easter Electrics’ second listed technical partner is National Rural Electric Co-Operative Association (NRECA) a United States based NGO, which does not operate any electricity dis-

tribution network. The preferred bidder for the disco, Interstate Electrics had failed to meet the August 21 deadline for payment of the 75 per cent balance of the bid price, a situation that would compel the BPE to invite the reserved bidder to pay. However, as it stands, Eastern Electric is not qualified as a reserved bidder because its technical partner on which implementation of all roll-out commitments are predicated is no longer in operation. Without a technical partner, Eastern Electric cannot operate any Disco having had no experience of such. Indeed, it was to avoid such situation arising, according to sources, that BPE required an owner operator as a technical partner to a bidder and not a mere franchisee. “It is thus curious how Spanco a mere franchisee to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd of India with barely one year operational experience was qualified as technical partner to Eastern Electric”, another source queried.

The Times of India reported that Spanco has virtually exited from the franchisee business as it is holding just two per cent stake in the franchise while Essel Utility has 95 per cent shares. The remaining three per cent is held by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), a US-based private equity. Spanco’s negligible stake has assumed importance as Essel is asking SNDL vendors to get their dues totalling over Rs10 crore ($2.6 million) from Spanco. A vendor on the condition of anonymity told Times of India: “This is ridiculous. How can a company having 95 per cent stake in the business ask us to get our dues cleared from the one which has practically exited from the franchisee. The vendors, who had approached Spanco were told to offer 30 per cent discount if they wanted payment and those who did were then asked to increase the discount to 50 per cent,” he rued. Another vendor charged that Spanco did not have any intention of paying its bills and hence was demanding impossibly high discounts.

designated by the Federal Government.” He informed that plans are underway by the airline’s management to commenced daily Lagos-Accra route very soon, adding that Darka, Senegal and Librreville, Congo would be added to it immediately after the opening of the Accra route. Bankole further disclosed that the airline was on the verge of getting its Operational Interna-

tional Air Transport Association Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. On the total passengers airlifted so far by the airline, Bankole emphasised that as at December, 2012, it had carried over 30,000, saying that as at now, no fewer than 270, 000 had been airlifted. He said that the airline currently carries out its maintenance checks with its European partner, Mytech while it also has certified engineers in its company.

NGE wants intensive exploration of non-oil sources LEONARD OKACHIE

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he Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has urged the Federal Government to intensify the exploration of agriculture, tourism and other non-oil sources, in order to avert the catastrophic consequences of a future without oil. This was contained in a seven-point communiqué jointly signed by the the NGE Secretary, Isaac Ighure and President, Mr. Femi Adesina at the end of a four-day conference held in Asaba, Delta. The 9th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference which held from August 21 to August 24, with the theme “Nigeria Beyond Oil: Role of the Editor’’ was attended about 300 editors from all over the country and was chaired by former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba. The keynote address was delivered by the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (GCON), represented by the Chief Operation Officer of the

Group, Engineer Joseph Makuju while the Delta State Governor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (CON) was the Chief Host. In his welcome address entitled, ‘Diversify or Die’, Adesina painted a graphic picture of the dire consequences awaiting the country in the face of dwindling sustainable oil revenue. The editors said that it is imperative for Nigeria to embark on deliberate and sustained diversification of its economy, weaning itself from dependence on oil and gas as a major revenue earner. Financial institutions and funding agencies, the Guild said, should provide increased funding to non-oil sectors, especially agriculture, small and medium enterprises and manufacturing. The editors also called for an integrated approach to diversification of the economy by involving all sectors, curbing corruption and wastage, and improving governance to ensure the survival of the country beyond oil.

Cassava bread fund: FG inaugurates committee MESHACK IDEHEN

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he Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said the ministry has inaugurated the ministerial oversight committee on cassava bread fund, following a presidential approval to that effect. According to the agric minister, the cassava bread fund will go a long way to reduce the huge cost usually incurred by the Federal Government on the importation of wheat, which is currently estimated at about N635 billion annually. In a statement on Tuesday, Adesina explained that the 16-man committee includes the representatives of Master Bakers Association of Nigeria, (MBAN), the Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, and the National Cassava Processors and Millers Association of Nigeria. Others on the committee are

Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company (DADTCO), Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture, the Budget Office of the Federation and officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. While urging the committee to be transparent and accountable in the use of the fund, the minister said that the committee also has the task of building a fresh roots supply chain for cassava processing plants and supporting large/medium High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) mills. Other responsibilities of the committees, according to the minister, are supporting small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) that are producing high quality cassava flour (HQCF) and master bakers on the 20% HQCF cassava bread production; including on social marketing of 20% cassava bread and pre-emptive measures against cassava brown streak disease.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Business Finance

Court orders Nigerian Breweries to pay ex-worker N20m WALE IGBINTADE

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he Court of Appeal, Lagos division has ordered the Nigerian Breweries to pay N20 million as damages to a former staff, Kudus Balogun for the loss of his left arm while assembling bottles for labeling at the Nigeria Breweries, Iganmu Lagos. The lower court presided over by Justice Dolapo Akinsanya had in her judgement delivered on January 27, 2006 awarded the sum of N3 million in favour of Balogun. Dissatisfied, Nigeria Breweries appealed against the judgement and urged the appellate court to hold that the N3 million awarded was too high. But, the appellate court in its judgement delivered by Justice Rita

Nosakhare Pemu held that the amount awarded was not too high but rather it was too low. Justice Pemu noted that Balogun who was 20 years old when the incident occurred ought to have been paid far more than N3 million. Consequently, Justice Pemu held that in line with Order 19 Rule 11(1) of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011 the Nigeria Breweries should pay N20 million to Balogun. The court added that the N3 million awarded the respondent (Balogun) by the lower court was grossly inadequate. She stated that since there was no yardstick to guide the court in the award of general damages, such discretion ought to be exercised judicially and judiciously.

The respondent, (Balogun) was employed on October 21, 1994 as a casual worker and seven days later (October 28), while he was lining up Maltina filled bottles without label on the machine, one of the bottles suddenly exploded and injured him on his left hand. The explosion shattered his arteries on his left hand which required several operations in order to join the arteries and the veins together. The Nigerian Breweries offered him N27, 516.75 as compensation for permanent disability which he accepted, believing that it was for post operation recovery. However, Balogun claimed that he was not told that the money was all he was entitled to for the loss of his left hand.

FG lauds Calabar port operators ...assures on agreement implementation TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he National Planning Minister, Dr Shamsuddeen Usman, has commended the operators of the three privatised Calabar Ports for running them profitably despite obvious challenges. Usman, who gave the commendation when he led members of the Policy and Monitoring Committee of the National Council on Privatisation on a visit to Old Calabar Port, New terminal A and New terminal B operated by Shoreline Logistics Nigeria Limited, Intels Nigeria and ECM Terminals Limited respectively, explained that the purpose of the tour was to establish how the privatised ports were performing under their new management.

The Minister said: “In spite of the difficulties, all the three ports are operating profitably. When people say that the whole privatisation process were messed up, we can say confidently that it is not true because we have seen most of the companies performing better than before. However, we admit there are challenges. It is those challenges that we have come here to see and devise ways of tackling them” Usman assured the operators that the issue of security was already being handled by the Federal Government and that a dredging management outfit had been set up to handle routine dredging. While welcoming the team to their various stations, the representatives of the firms had enumerated

their challenges including poor security, shallow draft of the ports and inadequate road networks. They told the team that the approach of the Calabar channel is 6.4 metres, whereas the concession agreement required Federal Government to take the draft to 9.5 metres, a commitment which the Bureau on Public Enterprise (BPE) had agreed would be achieved on start of business. Confirming the development, the executive director, marine and operations at the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Engineer David Omonibeke stated that, the newly set up channel management department would soon begin operations towards finding a sustainable solution to the issue of dredging.

GIABA to train financial institutions on anti-money laundering JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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he Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has commenced a regional training for financial and regulatory institutions on the revised FATF recommendations in Lagos today. A statement from the group yesterday said in February 2012, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) adopted the revised FATF 40 recommendations, which place enormous obli-

gations on financial institutions and designated nonfinancial businesses and professionals (DNFBPs). According to the statement, the revised standards place premium on the adoption of risk-based approach to AML/CFT compliance function. It explained that the standard is designed to assist financial institutions not only to implement AML/CFT measures on a risk-sensitive basis, but also to ensure prioritization of actions in addressing issues relating to customer due diligence,

record keeping, politically exposed persons, correspondent banking among others. “The primary objective of the workshop is, therefore, to enhance the capacity of financial institutions to enable them fulfill their obligations under the revised FATF recommendations. “The conduct of this training is as a response to the low performance of the financial sector as showed by GIABA’s first round of mutual evaluation of member States (MS),” the statement said.

TENDER NOTICE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA ON BEHALF OF DMO NIGERIAN TREASURY BILLS Notice is hereby given by the Central Bank of Nigeria on behalf of DMO that the Federal Government of Nigeria Treasury Bills of 91, 182 and 364-day tenors amounting to N22,970,708,000, N40,000,000,000 and N90,000,000,000, respectively would be issued by Dutch auction on Thursday, September 05, 2013. All Money Market Dealers should submit bids through the CBN TEMENOS INTERNET BANKING between 9.00a.m and 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 04, 2013. Each bid must be in multiple of N1, 000 subject to a minimum of N10, 000. Authorized Money Market Dealers are allowed to submit multiple bids. A bid may be for authorized Money Market Dealers own account, Non – Money Market Dealers or interested members of the public. The result of the auction would be announced by 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 04, 2013. The Bank reserves the right to reject any bid. Allotment letters would be issued for successful bids on Thursday, September 05, 2013, while payment for the successful bids should be made to your account with Central Bank of Nigeria not later than 11.00am on Thursday, September 05, 2013. The Bank reserves the right to vary the amount on offer in line with market realities prevailing as at the period of auction of the Nigerian Treasury bills. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES OFFICE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA ABUJA.

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NSA seeks special fund for national statistics devt TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he Nigerian Statistical Association has advocated a public-private sector arrangement that would help in creating a special fund for the development of Nigerian statistical system. The fund would aid the use of statistical data as vital tools for planning and implementation of developmental policies in the country. Giving the advice during an interview with National Mirror in Abuja, the President of the Association, which is the umbrella body for statistians in the country, Dr. Mohammed Tumala, believes that creating such a Special Fund through enabling law would enable both private and public sector stakeholders contribute to it and affords the opportunity for using such monies for statistical projects at all levels of government and support the ongoing national agenda of building a reliable and constantly updated statistical da-

tabase for development. Citing the experience of the Education Tax Fund now Tertiary Education Tax Fund (TETFUND) which has grown to become a huge funding pool for development to justify the association’s position on the need to have the Fund for statistics development, Tumala, who is also a Deputy Director in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), noted that it had become imperative for both the public and private sectors to collaborate on the proposedFund since statistical data is key to socio-economic and political activities at all levels of the polity. According to him, if Nigeria had taken the initiative of exploring all avenues for the development of the Nigerian Statistical System with all stakeholders coming together to create such a Fund, there would not have been any basis for the country to keep depending on development partners in its efforts to finance critical statistical projects or become jittery as most of the

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 donors now indicate their desire to reduce their financial support for such projects in developing countries. Tumala said: “Government is not the only user of statistics. When you make policies, these policies affect business. You cannot set up a business where policies are not stable and are not investment- friendly and one of the things that make foreign investments inflow slow in Nigeria is the lack of information. So, imagine a Nigeria with information being available for you to take any decision then sky will be the limit for such a nation. “I think what has been done recently is why can’t we, although it may initially be a burden on the business world but then they will also benefit from it, establish a Fund for the development of Nigerian statistics. We need some level of independence because of the way the statistical system will operate, at least to nurture it to a certain stage. For instance, in some countries information flows seamlessly. If you are a businessman, you don’t need anybody to come to you to provide information, information flies on the IT highway.

L- R: GMD/CEO, Stanbic IBTC, Mrs. Sola David-Borha; MD/CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola and GMD/CEO, FCMB, Mr. Ladi Balogun after their investiture as a fellows of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos, over the recently.

ICAN to encourage local participation in federal, states project MESHACK IDEHEN

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he President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Kabir Mohammed, said the Institute will work with relevant authorities to ensure professionalism and encourage local participation in major projects in Nigeria. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mohammed said no professional in any field could acquire the needed experience without first participating in the activity, saying local firms need to be given such opportunities. He said Nigerians should be given opportunity to participate in what they bid for; explaining

there are no way you can build capacity and reach the level you require without getting the relevant experience. According to the ICAN president, the instutite would do that through the council, just as the council will also further consider the move before approaching the relevant authorities. Mohammed also reiterated the resolve of ICAN to maintain the standard of the profession, adding that the regime would do everything within its powers to reach out to areas the institute was not properly represented. He said,” We intend to continue with the standard and actually to surpass the expectations of stakeholders. ICAN is a brand that is well known all over Afri-

can countries. We want to build and expand on this. I have also tried to reach out to areas that we do not have proper representation. “We have a student special programme in place whereby ICAN can reach areas where there is severe shortage of chartered accountants, particularly in the south-eastern part of Nigeria, south-south and northern parts of Nigeria. “We have a programme in existence, but we want to build on that. We want to bring much more awareness on that. It is a programme whereby ICAN reaches out to stakeholders to ask people that are qualified to sit for ICAN examinations,” the ICAN president added.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

CBN to commission Enterprise Development Centre in Calabar RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR

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rrangements have been concluded by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the Cross River State govt on the commissioning of a N500 million ultra modern Enterprise Development Centre, EDC in Calabar, set up to train youths to acquire entrepreneurship skills within the south south Geo-political zone. Special Adviser on Investment Promotion to Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River, Mr. Gerald Adah who disclosed this while on inspection tour yesterday said the CBN established the EDC in the state to reduce the increasing rate of unemployment in the zone. According to him, the building which was originally called

DESAM house was bought by the Cross River State government for N500million adding that when the project kicks off, youth will undergo training of various kinds in order to make themselves self reliant and not to depend on the government to employ them. ``The youths will be adequately sensitised to key into this programme, this will help them to be self employed and reduce the search for white colar jobs. ``The earlier we tackle unemployment, the better for the country’s economy, because if the youths have jobs, it will reduce the rate of crime in the society``, he said. The Special Adviser said that the enterprise centre was cited in Cross River to serve the south south geopolitical zones in enterprise development.

Etisalat sponsors science camp for girls KUNLE A ZEEZ

N

igeria’s fourth largest telecoms firms, Etisalat, partnered with the Working to Advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation, through sponsorship of their science camp for girls. The company said the initiative was in further demonstration of its commitment to empower young people through quality education, Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications company. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp, with the ‘Robotics and Renewable Energy for Africa’, took place and the Laureate College Mafoluku, for girls between the ages of 13 and 17. According to a statement, the camp, which witnessed handson activities, lectures, tutorials and experiments, all led and presented by female facilitators from Nigeria and the United States,

provided an avenue to engage the girls and develop their interest in STEM careers and fields. “Over 30 girls aged between 13 and 17 attended the camp and were educated on how robotics, computer science and programming could be used to solve significant problems in Africa, focusing on electricity generation and water purification, amongst others. “The participants were mostly drawn from government public schools across Lagos such as Airforce Secondary School, Gbaja Girls’ High School, Clegg Girls’ High School, Top Grade Secondary School, Bolade Senior Grammar School, Laureates College and Bosgram College. “Projects developed and presented by the girls included light-sensor robots to solve green energy challenges such as trash sorting, water purification systems, and renewable energy systems including solar cars and Windmill systems. Leading teams received trophies while every team member was presented with a STEM certificate,” the statement said.

Insurance firms told to develop annuity products

A

former President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Dr Wole Adetimehin, on Monday urged insurance companies to develop annuity products. Adetimehin gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. Annuity is a regular payment to a retiree from a particular date up to a period or for as long as he lives. According to him, taking up annuity product is a sure way of securing one’s future after retirement. “So the products need to be avail-

able to enable the retiree buy into it. “The companies also need to go out and aggressively market annuity products. “This is because the products will help to shape the life of the elderly, especially those who had been in active service,” he said. Adetimehin said that those who worked for themselves should also see annuity products as a worthwhile investment for their future. According to him, under the annuity contract the person can pay the premium to the company on quarterly basis or annually.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

35

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Energy Week

udemea@rocketmail.com 07031546994

FG, oil companies still at loggerheads over PIB The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, has been at the National Assembly for the past eight years without much progress. UDEME AKPAN reports that it may not be passed into law soon as interest groups, including the Federal Government and International Oil Companies, IOCs have disagreed over some contentious issues in the bill.

Oil vessel

S

takeholders in the oil and gas industry were full of optimism when President Goodluck Jonathan presented the repackaged Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to the National Assembly in July 2012 at least for some reasons. First, the presentation made it for the nation to have only one authentic copy of the PIB in circulation. Before then, there were many variations of the bill in circulation. Second, Jonathan asked for expeditious consideration and passage of the bill. Furthermore, since the legislators were familiar with the various issues, it was expected that it would not take a very long time to pass it into law. But this was not to be. Barely after one year after the presentation, is the PIB still before the National Assembly. It has been there since 2008 when the administration of the late President Musa Yar”Adua first presented it to the legislators. From all indications, the PIB may not be passed into law this year as the National Assembly has just completed its public hearing on the bill. More than that, major areas of conflict among interest groups, especially the Federal Government, International Oil Companies and indigenous operators have not yet been resolved. A few days ago, the IOCs expressed fears that the passage of the PIB in its present state would

WITH THE PROPOSED PIB, REDUCED INVESTMENTS WOULD NOT OFFSET NATURAL

NIGERIA’S PRODUCTION WOULD FALL 25PER CENT THROUGH 2022 WHICH IS MORE THAN 500 KBD.

DECLINE AND

reduce oil production by 25 per cent. The Chairman of Oil Producers Trade Section, OPTS, Mr. Mark Ward stated that: “With the proposed PIB, reduced investments would not offset natural decline and Nigeria’s production would fall 25 per cent through 2022 which is more than 500 kbd. He stated that Fiscal regimes which are the inter-play of royalties, taxes, incentives and recovery of costs and no single element can be taken in isolation when evaluating the impact on investments. Mark who made this observation at the National Association of Energy Correspondents Association conference on PIB in Lagos remarked that: “The PIB does not balance these fiscal elements. Generally speaking, the terms proposed increase royalties, increase taxes and lower allowances or incentives all at the same time. Additionally a 10per cent profit tax is introduced to fund the PHCF and limitations are placed on deductibility of foreign costs.

He said that all this comes on top of many other existing levies and taxes we pay, such as the NDDC levy, NCD levy and Education tax, adding that: “The cumulative effect of this is that a combination of higher royalties and taxes with reduced incentives to an extent that investors would be discouraged from investing in the deep waters. Mark stated that no new deepwater investments are economically viable and they will not go forward, 90per cent of new JV gas production will not happen and 30 per cent of new JV oil production will not materialise. The chairman remarked that: “As part of our analysis of the PIB, we also compared the proposed fiscal terms with 20 other countries. What we see across the board is that when a country has relatively high royalties, they balance it with relatively lower taxes or higher taxes with lower royalties with incentives in both cases providing some balance.

He stated that the PIB does not have this balance, meaning that it would be difficult for Nigeria to attract the required foreign capital to offset decline let alone grow production. Mark regretted that the development was taking place when the global energy landscape was witnessing radical changes. He said that: “As you know, new technologies are unlocking shale oil and gas in the US with Russia and China expected to follow. Closer to Nigeria, there have recently been significant gas discoveries in East Africa and West Africa is opening new areas with attractive terms up and down the region. He stated that on the market side, recent refinery upgrades are reducing the need for light crudes like Nigeria’s Bonny crude putting pressure on crude sales. All these advances are creating direct competition for investments dollars with Nigeria. He noted that the treatment of gas in the PIB is an even more difficult story as gas was extremely important for the nation. Specifically, he said that: “It has the world’s 9th largest gas reserves and we believe that these vast reserves can underpin economic growth and diversification to Nigeria through more power generation, more gas based industrial CONTINUED ON PAGE 36


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Energy Week

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG, oil companies still at loggerheads over PIB CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 activities such as fertilizer plants to boost agriculture, petrochemical industries and also high value exports. He stated that although the average domestic gas prices have recently risen to $1 per mmbtu, this is grossly inadequate when compared with development costs which include not only the development of the resource, but also the infrastructure needed to move the gas to market. Mark remarked that: “The $1 in perspective, this is equivalent to $6 per barrel of oil. Additionally, infrastructure is still very much in its infancy and therefore costs are mostly higher than oil developments depending on many factors. He added that if oil were priced at $6 per barrel there would be no new oil developments. PIB makes matters worse by increasing the tax rate from 30 per cent to 80per cent and by significantly reducing incentives for investments. Mark stated that: “PIB focuses on a punitive approach to enforce domestic obligations. Given the capped price and the undeveloped infrastructure leading to high overall development costs, we believe that an incentive based approach to domestic obligations is the best way to achieve the development which Nigeria so clearly needs. He maintained the OPTS has non-fiscal concerns which further creates uncertainty for the industry and impedes investments, including licenses and leases and contract sanctity. Mark stated that: “Dispute resolution - Access to independent arbitration is a key part of a secure investment environment, and a globallyaccepted practice. PIB should seek to do the same as also is provided in the current law. PIB as proposed has government regulators providing the final decision on business disputes. He remarked that the IOCs firmly believe in the future of the Nigerian Oil & Gas sector. Most of the international companies have been present in Nigeria for 50 years and have made major investments critical to Nigeria’s current production. Mark stated that they have intention of being in Nigeria for decades more to come but noted that the investment dollar as directed by the shareholders of the major investors will flow to where companies can get a competitive return commensurate with the risk. He remarked that with the current proposed fiscal terms and changes to many fundamental business practices, Nigeria will not attract investments at the level and pace needed to offset the natural decline. Mark stated that: “What the PIB must do is to provide fiscal terms which allow investors to add value to both shareholders and Nigeria. An appropriate balance must be achieved in the context of an attractive, competitive fiscal structure. He also stated that: “The investment returns in isolation and in a global competitive context must be taken in to account. In addition it should provide an environment where non-fiscal obstacles and issues are addressed. If you do this, investments will flourish and both oil and gas production in Nigeria can grow

Alison-Madueke

Jonathan

ONE

OF THE MAJOR CHALLENGES IN THE

INDUSTRY TODAY IS HOW WE SHALL ARRIVE AT A CONSENSUS ON THE

PETROLEUM

INDUSTRY BILL WHICH HAS BEEN AT THE N ATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR SEVERAL YEARS significantly…a win-win situation for all. The Country Chair/Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu noted that the government needed to ensure that the PIB provided increased air of freedom for operators to concentrate on core operations with minimum interference. He said: “All we need is for the government to replicate what it has done in the telecoms industry, which allows investors, including MTN, to run operations as seamlessly as possible in order to fast track the development of the industry. Sunmonu had earlier surmised that the nation has great potential, which should be properly harnessed to maximise value for all stakeholders, including operators, communities and the entire nation. He said the slag in exploration and production as a result of the PIB had impacted in many negative ways on the industry and government which needed more funds to catch up in the coming years. He noted that the tax provisions in the PIB is ‘uncompetitive’, stressing that they are capable of stifling investment and making offshore oil and gas projects unviable. Sunmonu who believed that a good bill should, “take local business challenges into consideration as well as the impact on existing investments, ”remarked that: “What we have seen of the draft PIB to date does not indicate a bill that fits these criteria. And this is the opinion not only of the major players in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, but, as I mentioned earlier, industry analysts as well. What we have seen and what we know of the current draft PIB requires significant improvement to secure Nigeria ’s competitiveness, and attract the required level of

investment to enable exploration to increase Nigeria’s reserves and then foster development of the projects to monetise them.” Sunmonu, who argued that an unbalanced bill could hinder investment stated: “The PIB will likely render all deepwater projects and all dry gas projects whether for domestic or export markets non-viable, added that many opportunities will be lost. The Country Chair who noted that the opportunity to monetise some of the world’s best gas reserves will be lost also stated that the opportunity to kick start the power sector “the key to economic growth using easily accessible gas will also be lost.” The Shell boss remarked that the PIB needs to address long term industry issues, including funding, particularly as funding requirements have constrained production growth in the industry. He stressed that the nation needs a strong national oil company, capable of partnering with others to enhance its competitiveness. He remarked that: “While the economy in general is on the path of diversification it should not be denied that the oil and gas sector remains the driver of this process providing not only the funds to enable the diversification but also the gas that could and should be used to regenerate the power sector to provide reliable electricity which is the backbone of industrial growth. Spaces for Change noted that the environmental laws as documented in the PIB are weak and not capable of making much impact in the industry. For instance, they maintained that: “Asking operators in consultation with the Min-

Yakubu

istry of Environment to come up with an environmental plan does not deal with questions of the gap between the policies and practices which has been the problem. The body maintained that: “The provisions relating to gas flares gives by one hand and takes from the other. After banning gas flaring from end of this year, it creates room for exceptions to be granted by the minister. That is not effectively different from what is happening under the current regime. It turns gas flaring into discretionary permit granting. Environmental justice advocates believe that the gas ban should be absolute. They also insist that operating companies should not only be made to get insurance covers to cover cases of environmental disasters arising from their operations and this should be a condition precedent to the operation of any license. The report noted that the new PIB vests enormous powers on the Minister of Petroleum Resources, especially by placing all the newly created agencies and regulatory institutions under the control and supervision of the minister. It documented that: “Section 5 of the bill provides that the Minister of Petroleum Resources shall be responsible for the coordination of the activities of the petroleum industry and shall exercise general supervision over all operations and all institutions in the industry. However, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Andrew Yakubu maintained that the various issues in the PIB constitute the major challenges in the industry. As he puts it: One of the major challenges in the industry today is how we shall arrive at a consensus on the Petroleum Industry Bill which has been at the National Assembly for several years. It is by being able to have a harmonised position on the bill that we can expect an industry legal framework that would support the growth of the oil and gas industry for many years to come.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

37

OPEC daily basket price stands at $107.58 per barrel UDEME AKPAN

T

he price of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC basket of 12 crudes has risen from $106.95 to $107.58 per barrel, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). The relatively high price raises hope that OPEC member nations, including Nigeria would be in a position to generate adequate foreign exchange for the implementation of their 2013 budgets. The cartel stated in its recent market report that; “World economic growth for 2013 has been revised down to 2.9 per cent from 3.0 per cent, mainly due to lower GDP growth estimates for the US in the first quarter, as well as the slowdown in China’s economy. It maintained that the 2014 global growth forecast remains unchanged at 3.5per cent. US growth in 2013 has been revised down by 0.2 percentage points (pp) to 1.6per cent and remains at 2.5per cent in 2014. The organisation stated that the forecasts for the Euro-zone remain unchanged, with a contraction of 0.6per cent expected this year and growth of 0.6per cent in 2014. It stated that: “Japan’s growth for this year has been revised up to 1.9per cent from 1.8per cent, given the continued momentum, but is still expected to slow to 1.4per cent in 2014. India and China are currently impacted by decelerating total investments and declining exports. The cartel stated that growth for China has been revised from 7.7per cent to 7.6per cent this year and remains at 7.7per cent in 2014. India’s 2013 and 2014 growth

El- Badri

expectations are unchanged at 5.6per cent and 6.0per cent, respectively. The organisation stated that: “World oil demand growth in 2013 was revised marginally higher to stand at 0.8 mb/d. The revision is based on actual and preliminary data for the first half of the year, due to adjustments to all of the OECD regions, as well as some in the non-OECD, especially Latin America and other Asia. It stated that the forecast for global oil demand growth in 2014 remains unchanged at 1.04 mb/d. Non-OECD countries are projected to increase by 1.2 mb/d, while OECD is expected to see lower contraction at 0.2 mb/d compared to the current year. The cartel stated that Non-OPEC supply is expected to rise by 1.0 mb/d in 2013, following a minor upward revision, mainly due to historical revisions, as well as higher-than-expected US output. It stated that in 2014, non-OPEC oil supply is forecast to grow by 1.1 mb/d, supported by projected increases in the US, Canada, Brazil, the Sudans, and Kazakhstan. The organisation maintained that OPEC NGLs and nonconventional oils

are projected to increase by 0.2 mb/d in 2013 and 0.1 mb/d in 2014. It stated that in July, total OPEC crude oil output averaged 30.31 mb/d, according to secondary sources, representing a drop of 0.10 mb/d from the previous month. The cartel stated that: “Product markets exhibited a mixed performance in July. In Asia, refinery margins remained relatively healthy as cracks strengthening across the top and middle of the barrel, supported by the strong regional seasonal demand. In contrast, refinery margins in the Atlantic Basin fell pressured by development in the crude markets. The bottom of the barrel crack spread suffered a sharp drop across the global, caused by weaker demand in both the bunker and power sectors. It stated that in the tanker market, OPEC spot fixtures in July averaged 14.35 mb/d and OPEC sailings stood at 24.36 mb/d. Arrivals at most reported routes increased, except in west Asia which declined by 3per cent. The cartel stated that dirty tankers spot freight rates increased on higher activity and tighter tonnage availability for certain dates, as well as various port delays. It stated that Suezmax experienced the highest gains. Clean spot freight rates were mixed, with east of Suez spot freight rates down 12per cent, while west of Suez rates increased by 8per cent from a month ago. The organisation maintained that: “Total OECD commercial oil stocks rose by 13 mb in June for the fourth consecutive month, but remained slightly below the five-year average. Crude stocks were in line with the fiveyear average, while product inventories showed a deficit of 6.4 mb with the seasonal average. In term of forward cover, OECD commercial stocks stood at 59.1 days, 1.2 days more than the fiveyear average.”

…To reduce shipments as demand weakens

T

he Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce shipments through to early September as summer demand for driving fuels ebbs, tanker-tracker Oil Movements said. The group, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will cut ex-

ports by 320,000 barrels a day, or 1.3 percent, to about 23.6 million barrels a day in the four weeks to September 7 from the period to August 10, the researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“It’s getting toward the end of the season for east and west,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. The cuts are “mainly eastbound,” he said. Refiners typically trim imports at the start of the third quarter while performing maintenance as summer

Energy & Oil Prices

Source: Bloomberg

OIL ($/bbl) Nymex Crude Future Dated Brent Spot WTI Cushing Spot

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

85.95 111.01 85.54

0.41 0.90 -0.74

0.48% 0.82% -0.86%

07:42 07:52 10/29

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

310.55 275.30

-0.97 -0.38

-0.31% -0.14%

07:37 07:41

OIL (¢/gal) Nymex Heating Oil Future Nymex RBOB Gasoline Future

NATURAL GAS ($/MMBtu)

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

11:19

New York City Gate Spot

3.77 3.43 3.57

-0.03 0.09 0.11

-0.84% 2.69% 3.18%

07:43 10/29 10/29

ELECTRICITY ($/megawatt hour)

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

% CHANGE

09/24

Nymex Henry Hub Future Henry Hub Spot

Mid-Columbia, firm on-peak, spot Palo Verde, firm on-peak, spot

32.95 35.23

-0.40 -0.76

-1.20% -2.11%

10/26 10/29

BLOOMBERG, FIRM ON-PEAK, DAY AHEAD SPOT/ERCOT HOUSTON

30.25

2.04

7.23%

10/26

Source: Oilprice.com

demand for gasoline and diesel fades. Brent crude traded today at about $109.90 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, having climbed to a four-month high of $111.53 on August 15 as labor strikes constrain exports from Libya. Middle Eastern shipments will drop by 1.8 percent to about 17.3 million barrels a day to September 7, compared with about 17.6 million in the month to Aug. 10, according to Oil Movements. That figure includes non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen. Crude on board tankers will decline 5.7 percent to 472.2 million barrels on September 7, data from Oil Movements show. The researcher calculates volumes by tallying tanker bookings, and excludes crude held on vessels for storage. OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.


38

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tension mounts as electricity workers prepare for takeover CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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here was palpable tension at the office of the Abuja Distribution company following the preparation to hand over the Company to the successor company as the privatisation process draws to an end. Our correspondent who visited the company at the beginning of the week observed that most workers were apprehensive though they still maintained they were still in charge as their severance benefits are yet to be paid. Their anxiety may not be unconnected to fears that some of them may not be retained by the new owners of the company. The Federal Government has started working towards handing over the privatised Electricity Generation Companies, GENCOs, and the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, to their new owners within the next couple of weeks. The handing over is scheduled to take place after the resolution of outstanding issues associated with the privatisation, especially the completion of payment of severance benefits to workers and accurate metering of electricity consumers. Despite the declaration by federal Government that about 10 companies met the payment deadline as the close of business, workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) maintained they were still in charge of their offices. It was learnt that the office of the Abuja Distribution Company was yet to be taken over by the successor company despite the touted completion of payments. Investigations reveal that as at the close of work yesterday the status quo was still being maintained with the staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) still carrying on their normal duties. Some of the workers, who spoke to our correspondent at the premises of Abuja DISCO on condition of anonymity, said no sign of the new owners were noticed within the premises, adding that the investors are yet to complete their payments. “They have not taken over, in fact, we

Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo

have not seen anybody here, and how can they think of taking over when they have not paid. None of us have received a dime, so we are still in charge,” he stated. Presidency sources said Thursday night that only about 10 bidders were able to pay as at the close of business fuelling speculations that the successor companies might have commenced moves to take over after paying the 75% balance of the bid price. The preferred bidders were expected to pay the balance of 75 per cent of the respective bid prices of the five generation companies and 10 distribution companies totalling $1.67bn (N258.5bn) as at the August 21, exactly six months after the initial 25 per cent of the bid prices was paid as stipulated in the privatisation schedule. Bidders who fail to pay the balance will forfeit the 25 per cent deposit. Investigations showed that only West Power and Gas, the preferred bidders for Eko Distribution Company; North South Power Limited, which won the bid for the Shiroro Generation Company; Integrated Power, the preferred bidder for Ibadan and Yola Discos; Vigeo Power that bid for Benin Disco and Amperion Power that won the bid for the 414 megawatts Geregu Generation Company have made payments to the Bureau for Public Enterprises. Others include, Mainstream Energy, which won the concession for Kainji Hydro Electric Plc that runs Jebba Pow-

er Station and Kainji Power Station and Transcorp/Woodstock Consortium that won the bid for the Ughelli Power Plant. Mainstream had obtained a $170m medium term syndicated acquisition facility from Guaranty Trust Bank to fund the concession which involves a $50.7m bid fee plus commencement fee of $237.8m. Transcorp, led by former managing director of UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, raised the $225m (N36bn) from local and international lenders. It was learnt that West Power had fully paid the $101.25m (N15.7bn) being the 75 per cent outstanding payment required for it to acquire the disco. West Power and Gas is a consortium promoted by Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, a major contractor in Lagos State; Mr. Charles Momoh, a businessman; and Mr. Ernest Orji, who is managing Director of Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos. North South Power, led by Mr. Olubunmi Peters, also paid the $82m (N13.2bn) balance for the Shiroro Power with funds raised from UBA Group, while Vigeo Power, led by Chief Gbolade Oshibodu, paid $96m (N15.3bn) balance for Benin Disco. Oshibodu confirmed the payments in a telephone interview with National Mirror. A Director of Integrated Power, Dr. Olusola Ayandele, also confirmed the payment. “We have paid the 75 per cent balance for Ibadan and Yola. I can confirm that we do not owe.” Other preferred bidders which status could not be confirmed include, Kann Consortium for Abuja Disco with a total bid of $164m; Interstate Electrics Limited, which bid $126m for Enugu Disco; NEDC/ KEPCO for Ikeja Disco at $131m; Aura Energy Ltd for Jos Disco at $82m; Sahelian Power SPV Ltd for Kano Disco at $137m; 4Power Consortium for Port Harcourt Disco at $124m and CMEC/Eurafric for Sapele Power Plant at $201m. Attempts by our correspondent to get official comments from BPE Head of Communications, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, and those of other staff in the department were unsuccessful as their phones were switched off.

Prices of cooking gas continue to rise in domestic market UDEME AKPAN

T

he prices of cooking gas have continued to rise in Lagos and its environs as a result of inconsistent supply and rising demand. A visit to Apapa showed that although vessels were still discharging, the quantity available were insufficient to meet rising demand in the area. A source who preferred not to be named stated that: “The quantity discharged was not sufficient to meet demand because huge population, and by extension consumers in the area. He said that: “It may take many days for another vessel to bring cooking gas to Lagos because of the distance. Consequently, prices may continue to rise. A market survey conducted at the weekend showed that some major and independent marketers did not have the product to

sale. The survey showed that some marketers that have the product for sale at exorbitant prices. For instance, major marketers, including Total sale 12.5 kg at between N3, 800 and N4, 000. Twenty five kg and 50kg go for about N7, 800 and N15, 000 respectively. The survey showed that while gas plant owners, including Nipco still sale the product at N200 per kg, some over ambitious marketers have gone ahead to impose higher prices. For instance, at N200 per kg, the prices of 12.5kg, 25kg and 50kg should be N2, 600, N5, 200 and N10, 400 respectively. Investigations showed that the prices would likely continue to rise in the coming days as no vessel was seen discharging at Apapa where Nigeria LNG vessels usually discharge to major dealers of the product. National Mirror learnt that the demand for cooking gas has continued to rise as

many consumers shift to the use of the product following increased awareness that it is cheaper, safer and cleaner than other substitutes. Investigations showed that the high demand is driven by the speculation that the Lagos State Government was about banning the consumption of firewood and coal because of their environmental consequences in the state and its environs. National Mirror learnt that many middlemen have seized the opportunity to exploit consumers through the imposition of arbitrary prices. The situation became worse in June when NLNG which supplies the product to plant owners for bottling and distribution, has issues with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA. Spokesman of NLNG, Mrs. Anne-Marie Palmer-Ikuku who confirmed the development at the said: “We have since started to supply the product.”

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

WAGP moves to prevent pipeline vandalism

T

he West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo), operator of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) has concluded plans to hold a regional forum as part of measures designed to prevent the vandalism of its pipelines before the end of the year. The forum is targeted at creating awareness on the need to protect the pipeline from frequent vandalism in West Africa. The firm stated that it is pleased to announce the resumption of gas transportation services in the West African subregion. WAPCo shut down the pipeline in August last year after the line was severed by a ship’s anchor in Togolese waters. The WAGP has now been repaired, recommissioned and back in operation. The Force Majeure notice earlier issued in the wake of the pipeline incident, August 28, 2012 was formally lifted on 11th July 2013 and WAPCo resumed gas transportation on July 12th, 2013. Meanwhile, the company is pursuing measures to forestall a re-occurrence of the pipeline breach incident. Accordingly, WAPCo recently held a workshop with external subject matter experts who reviewed and recommended broad strategies on improving the effectiveness of the Pipeline Protection Zone, PPZ, established by the governments of Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. WAPCo continues to work in collaboration with the maritime authorities and the security agencies in the four counties to protect the pipeline from third party damage. WAPCo transports natural gas from Nigeria to the VRA in Ghana, CEB in Togo and CEB in Benin, based on Gas transportation agreements between these entities and the shipper, (N-Gas). The West African Gas Pipeline Company limited (WAPCo) is a limited liability company that owns and operates the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP). The company has its headquarters in Accra, Ghana, with an office in Badagry, Nigeria, and field offices in Cotonou - Benin, Lome - Togo, Tema and Takoradi, both in Ghana. WAPCo is a joint venture between public and private sector companies from Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana. The company’s mandate is to transport natural gas from Nigeria to customers in Benin, Togo and Ghana in a safe, responsible and reliable manner, at prices competitive with other fuel alternatives. WAPCo is owned by Chevron West African Gas Pipeline Ltd (36.9%); Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (24.9%); Shell Overseas Holdings Limited (17.9%); and Takoradi Power Company Limited (16.3%), Societe Togolaise de Gaz (2%) and Societe BenGaz S.A. (2%). The West African Gas Pipeline Authority based in Abuja is the regulatory body for WAPCo. The 678 kilometer West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) links into the existing Escravos-Lagos pipeline at the Nigeria Gas Company’s Itoki Natural Gas Export Terminal in Nigeria and proceeds to a beachhead in Lagos.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NDDC builds complex for NYSC in Otuoke STORIES: UDEME AKPAN

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embers of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) undertaking their primary assignment in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, now have a modern living quarters built for them by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The 44-chalet complex, which would house at least 88 corps members, has been completed and was fully fitted with air-conditioners, water heaters and other conveniences. Taking the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Dr. Christy Atako, round the new corps members lodge, the Director, Bayelsa State office of the commission, Dr. Princewill Ekanem said that the facility was customised to meet the needs of young men and women serving their country for one year. He said that the complex, in addition to the chalets, has one large conference room and an Information Communication Center (ICT). Atako expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done in the building and gave kudos to the contractor for working within the scheduled time for the completion of the project. She said that the NDDC was in the process of identifying completed projects that would be commissioned in the coming weeks to erase the wrong impression that it was not doing enough to develop the Niger Delta. A representative of the NYSC members, who would be the direct beneficiaries of the first class accommodation, Mr. Michael Abisha, commended the NDDC for the project, which he said would go a long way in helping them to serve to the best of their ability. He, however, appealed to the NDDC to add sports facilities to the complex to further en-

Atako

hance its value. The NDDC boss also inspected the 16-kilometer internal roads network being constructed by the commission at the Federal University, Otuoke. According to Engr. Onduku Abraham of the NDDC Project Monitoring Service, the roads traverse the new layout of the campus and would provide access for students and staff of the new Federal University. He noted that the roads were being built on swampy terrain and were expected to be completed in 72 weeks. The project engineer, Boma Israel Amakuru assured the Ag. Managing Director that the internal roads would be completed on schedule and according to specifications. He said that: “We don’t have any problems with the surrounding communities and the NDDC has so far funded us adequately.” The NDDC boss had earlier addressed staff of the Bayelsa State office at their temporary accommodation in Yenagoa. She charged them to see themselves as agents of change in the Niger Delta. “Together, we are going to work towards creating a new and improved image for the NDDC,” she said.

In a related development, the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka campus now has a 176-room modern hostel, two large lecture halls, a business education centre and staff offices, built by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The projects, which have all been completed, would be commissioned next month. Atako, who inspected the facilities yesterday, said that the commission’s intervention in the education sector was holistic as it did not end with providing physical infrastructure. “We have been giving post-graduate scholarships as well as partnering with relevant institutions to raise the quality of education in the Niger Delta,” she said. She further said that the commission placed a lot of emphasis on education because of its inherent value in societal development, noting that it was important to provide adequate accommodation to enhance the learning process. The Registrar of DELSU, Mr. Ejiroghene Udjo, said that the university authorities lacked words to express their appreciation to the NDDC for providing critical infrastructure for the university, noting that lack of facilities often led to students’ unrest in universities. Udjo said that the NDDC hostel came as a big relief as the accommodation facilities for students at the Abraka campus was already stretched to the limit. “Before now, we could only accommodate 4,500 students in this campus. But with the new NDDC hostel, our carrying capacity will increase to about 5,200.” He said. The acting MD of NDDC had earlier addressed staff of the commission at the Delta State office in Warri. Atako charged them to brace up for a new wave of change in the commission by etching the vision and mission of the interventionist agency in their hearts.

Electricity investors need better market to operate –Amadi

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nvestors would have to find the market environment attractive or they will not invest, according to the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi. He made the remark at a one day forum with Journalists for Democratic Rights and Human Rights Community (JODER) held in Lagos. Amadi did not mince words when he said that high population coupled with past government‘s failure to invest in the sector has brought the country to the sorry state it has found itself. He said that the country has seen a way of changing the situation through investors. ‘’ Power production needs investments that spans years, contracts are signed, funds are injected into the market and someone has to agree to buy for certain number of years’’. He explained that one megawatt of electricity capacity costs about a million dollars; hence investors in partnership with their local and foreign collaborators are needed. He explained further that the Commission foresees an electricity industry where there will be adequate power supply which would lead to lower pricing.

Presently, the reverse is the case, which is why the public outcry on the tariff has been heard. Amadi said the real question was on making the market friendly for the right investors. On the Commission’s part, effective regulation is regarded as one that listens to the voice of the people. According to him, NERC seeks the active participation of the civil society groups. The representative of the South West civil society coalition, Adewale Adeoye declared that there is a significant link between human right and energy provision that makes the civil right content of the energy sector imperative. Adeoye informed that JODER called the meeting because it needed to engage the Commission to work out avenues for redress to several complaints of human rights violation experienced in the sector. ‘’We have seen a situation where Nigerians cannot challenge the authorities in the power sector even when their rights are brutally violated’’ he said. The groups left the meeting with a resolve to form a coalition that would curtail exploitative actions by the new owners. The NERC has as its goal the provision of electricity availability, affordabil-

ity, safe and reliable supply as reiterated in a new partnership with Civil Societies groups in Abuja. This was at a forum organised in collaboration with a civil society group; ‘’Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) on the 22nd of August, 2013. The interactive meeting was aimed at bridging the gap between the Commission and the consumer. The Commission Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi was categorical in describing as false the notion that the tariff has been set up solely to benefit investors, rather the Commission is working at providing the much needed electricity. ‘’We are very clear about our obligation to the people because we are here to work for the consumer’’. Amadi appealed for trust ‘’ We want to create a relationship of trust’’ he said. This being the reason it endorsed the Freedom of Information Bill (FoIB) because NERC recognises the peoples’ right to know. According to him, civil society groups were consulted in the process leading up to the new tariff, and are still being consulted because of the high regards the Commission accords them.

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Nigeria loses $100bn to foreign crude tankers

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he Nigerian economy lost over $100bn in five decades by allowing its crude oil to be carried exclusively by foreign owned tankers, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Ernest Nwapa has said. Speaking on Friday at the launch of two brand new 45,000 metric tons tanker vessels-MT Abiola and MT Igbinosa by an indigenous firm, Ocean Marine Tankers (OMT), Nwapa said the country also lost opportunities to build a virile national carrier fleet on the back of the hundreds of millions of barrels exported every year and equally missed opportunities to train and utilise youths especially from maritime communities of the Niger Delta in formal shipping activities. He expressed happiness that the trend began to change with the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan and emboldening of relevant officials and agencies to insist that indigenously owned tankers should carry Nigerian crude. Explaining that the Minister of Petroleum Resource, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke in 2012 directed, that the Crude Lifting Guidelines issued by the Board must count in the selection of companies to lift Nigerian Crude, the Executive Secretary said one of the key requirements included ownership of tankers or Nigerian equity in tankers that will carry the crude. “In 2012, the guidelines were not fully implemented. The excuse was that there was no Nigerian owned tanker but the message was sent around the world that the Jonathan government was insisting that a portion of Nigerian crude must be carried by Nigerian tankers.” Since then, over four other credible groups had demonstrated to the Board various models they plan to adopt to ensure compliance with Crude Lifting Guidelines issued by the Board in 2012, he said. Sequel to the guidelines, the Minister of Petroleum Resources will soon come out with regulations to enforce relevant provisions of the Nigerian Content Act, which stipulate that Nigerians owned tankers must be utilised significantly in the transportation of crude oil. The Executive Secretary commended Ocean Marine Tankers Limited for showing the world that Nigerians can own crude carriers, describing the company’s efforts as a clear demonstration of the confidence investors have in the current administration and a strong belief that government will protect any investment made in line with our laws, policies and aspirations. He promised that the board will ensure that any company that invests in crude tankers which meet the technical requirements will be utilised for transporting Nigerian crude. Nwapa also reported that the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act had resulted in the domination of the industry landscape by Nigerian companies, with tremendous impact on the national economy, such that other sectors are repCONTINUED ON PAGE 40


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Energy Week

Nigeria lost $100bn to foreign crude tankers CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39 licating the models established in the oil and gas sector. He said there are measurable impacts in engineering to fabrication, oil field services, well technology and drilling rigs, marine vessel services, equipment assembly and component manufacture and logistics. Noting that upgrade of facilities have injected billions of naira into the economy, he listed other areas of increased Nigerian participation include boat building and ship repair, coastal trade under the Cabotageregime, insurance, banking and legal services and crude oil and product sales. The two vessels would be used to supply crude oil to Warri and Kaduna refineries. Nigerian naira flat, oil firm dollar sales support

FG moves to check low quality lubricants

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he Federal Government is set to tackle fake and low quality lubricants in the nation. Preliminary discussions, it was learnt has started between officials of Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria, LUPAN and the Ministry of Industry. The engagement which took place between the institutions is targeted at ensuring that fake and low quality lubricants are eliminated in the nation. The Executive Secretary of the Association, Mr. Emeka Obidike who disclosed this in an interview with National Mirror stated that there were so many fake and low quality products in the country. He said that while some of the lubricants were locally produced, others were imported into the nation with no known address or manufacturers. Obidike said that a laboratory analysis has already showed that they were not produced based on specified or approved mix of additives. Consequently, the Executives Secretary remarked that the fake and low quality lubricants constituted serious sources of damage to automobiles, generators and other appliances. Obidike maintained that the lubricants have flooded the domestic market to the extent that unsuspected buyers prefer them to high quality products produced by LUPAN members, apparently as a result of their relatively cheap prices. He remarked that the proliferation of the fake and low quality products constituted a serious disincentive to investors who have already invested in the local production of lubricants in the nation. Obidike said that this has affected the operations of LUPAN members who set up plants, employ and train labour, thus assisting the Federal Government to tackle unemployment in the nation. The Executive Secretary who called on the government to ensure the lubricants are eliminated from the domestic market also made a strong case for introduction of policies, capable of discouraging their penetration in the domestic market.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Nigeria’s oil fields boost Afren production UDEME AKPAN

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ome Nigeria’s oil fields have increased Afren Plc oil output by 13 per cent. The latest report of the firm stated that the period witnessed a significant increase in output from the Ebok and Okoro fields, offshore Nigeria. The report stated that: “The Group’s financial results reflect the consolidation of First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Company Limited (FHN) following the completion of the acquisition of an additional beneficial interest in FHN in the period and the early adoption of IFRS 10(1). It stated that the post period end, Afren further increased its beneficial interest in FHN and commenced sales from the Barda Rash field in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The report stated that on the exploration front, the oil discovery at OPL 310 opens a new oil basin in an under-explored region with targeted resources believed to be in excess of pre-drill estimates (78 mmboe). It stated that: “We continue to make good progress on our exploration and appraisal (E&A) work programme targeting opportunities across the portfolio. The report stated that prior period results have been restated to reflect the consolidation of FHN, following the adoption of IFRS 10 and IFRS 11. It stated that strong operating cash flow driven by a 13 per cent. year-on-year increase in net production to 47,653 boepd; on track for full year guidance of 40,000 - 47,000 boepd The report stated that completion of

Imomo, Chairman Afren plc

drilling at Simrit-3. Multi-zone testing programme underway to confirm the resource potential and the eastern extent of the Simrit anticline. It stated that: “Active exploration programme with ongoing Ogo-1 sidetrack and upcoming Ufon-1 well on OML 115 in Nigeria. The report has it that: “Completion of farm-out (subject to Nigerian Ministerial Consent) of a 30 per cent. economic interest in OPL 310, offshore Nigeria, to Lekoil Limited. It stated that the acquisition by FHN of 16.9 per cent. economic interest in OML 113. Synergies expected with OPL 310 development. The report stated that: “Agreement for sale of CI-11 block and Lion Gas Plant for total consideration of US$26.5 million, of which US$15.3 million will be settled in cash.

The Chief Executive of Afren Plc, Mr. Osman Shahenshah said that: “Afren continued to deliver strong operational results during the first half of 2013. We recorded a year-on-year increase in underlying net production of 13 per cent. principally from our green field developments offshore Nigeria. He remarked that: “Our exploration campaign continues to deliver results, following the play opening discovery announced at OPL 310 offshore Nigeria, where further exploration drilling is ongoing. Elsewhere, we are continuing with exploration drilling and testing operations at the Ain Sifni PSC in Kurdistan. With high quality production underpinning both our strong financial position and exploration programme, we are well placed to realise numerous growth opportunities over the remainder of this year.” Afren is an independent upstream oil and gas exploration and production company listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the Financial Times Stock Exchange Index of the leading 250 UK listed companies. Afren has a portfolio of assets spanning the full cycle E&P value chain. Afren is currently producing from its assets in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and the Kurdistan region of Iraq and holds further exploration interests in Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Congo Brazzaville, the Joint Development Zone of Nigeria - São Tomé & Príncipe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania and South Africa.

Cartel approves $400,000 for flood victims in Sudan

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he OPEC Fund for International Development, OFID has approved a $400,000 grant in humanitarian aid to assist families in Sudan affected by severe flooding that has destroyed homes and public infrastructure. The grant, to be channeled through the Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Organisation, ArabRCRC, will reportedly be used to procure urgently-needed relief items. Persistent floods, which began early this month, have displaced nearly 150,000 people in Sudan’s nine states, with Khartoum, the River Nile, West Kordofan and El Gezira states said to be worst-hit. The risk of waterborne diseases remain high, after the damage caused to water supply and sanitation systems in these areas, posing threats to public health.

Oil rig

However, the situation is expected to worsen with additional rains forecasted, prompting aid agencies to focus on needs of displaced families. “The ArabRCRC will use OFID’s grant to purchase non-food items such as plastic sheets, mosquito nets, jerry cans, medical supplies, tarpaulins, cooking sets, buckets and blankets,” a statement extended to Sudan Tribune reads in part. Sudan and OFID have reportedly been partners since 1976. In 2007, for instance, OFID reportedly extended a grant to the ArabRCRC to aid the country during a similar crisis. Over the years, however, the institution has also provided public sector loans in support of the Sudan’s agriculture, energy and transportation sectors, as well as balance of payments support. OFID has also financed private sector

and trade activities in the Sudan. The OPEC Fund for International Development, (OFID) was established as a multilateral development finance institution to promote cooperation between Member States of OPEC and other developing countries, OFID was conceived at the Summit of the Sovereigns and Heads of State of the OPEC Member Countries (MCs) held in the Algerian capital, Algiers, in March 1975. The Solemn Declaration, issued by the Summit, ‘reaffirmed the natural solidarity which unites OPEC MCs with other developing countries in their struggle to overcome under-development, and called for measures to strengthen cooperation with these countries.’ In this spirit, OFID was established in January 1976, as a collective financial facility to consolidate the assistance extended by its Member Countries namely Algeria, Gabon, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. OFID’s resources are additional to those already made available by OPEC MCs through a number of bilateral and multilateral channels. The resources of OFID consist mainly of voluntary contributions by OPEC MCs and income derived from OFID’s investments and loans (interest and service charges).


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

From the Civil Service

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ministry of Education signs MoU with African varsity EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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he Federal Ministry of Education, has signed a Memorandum of Undastanding, MoU, with the African Virtual University,AVU. The new Charter provides a veritable platform for the establishment of open and affordable distance learning institution, which will ultimately ease access to education by Nigerians and the larger African continent. While underscoring the importance of the agreement, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, who signed the MoU on federal government’s be-

half, noted that the future of any country, including Nigeria, revolved round access to quality education, which she said government was very conscious about. The Rector of AVU, Dr Bakary Diallo,signed for the university. Rufai had said at the signing ceremony, which took place at the conference room of the ministry in Abuja, that:”Here in Nigeria, we are committed to providing access to higher education and maintaining quality. “This is why in the Transformation Agenda of the administration under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, education and human capital development is a key component.

“In line with this and its actualisation, we developed the 4-Year Strategic Plan for the Development of the Education Sector: 20112015”,she pointed out. She explained further: “in developing the Strategic Plan, attention has been focused on the development and rehabilitation of infrastructure across the sector.” Rufai added that “the University of Port Harcourt has become a Platinum member of the AVU and has made necessary arrangements for the construction of its Open Distance and e-Learning Centre and also inaugurated a Course Development Team to participate in course development and review.

“I am pleased that the AVU has an on-going Business Plan which is aimed at developing services that is aimed at building the capacities of member institutions. We must work towards ensuring that we take full advantage of this for the good of the continent”,the minister said. The AVU Rector, Diallo, remarked that the project will strengthen the AVU and its network of institutions, all in a bid to deliver and manage quality information and communication technology, ICT, integrated education as well as training opportunities. Nigeria is the eighteenth country to ratify the AVU charter.

Apprehension in Customs over promotions UBONG UKPONG ABUJA

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ersonnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), have commenced expressing serious apprehension over delay in the release of the promotions which they have been expecting. About three months ago, around May, the Service commenced promotions examinations for its personnel across the country, to give them the opportunity to go up the ladder in their career with the Service. The examination exercise, National Mirror gathered, went on smoothly throughout the country and the scripts had since gone to designated quarters for marking. For some of the staff, es-

Civil servants want end to dichotomy between HND and degree holders CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16

when they were aware of the policy. He told Interior correspondents in Abuja recently during an interactive session that once you have chosen to graduate as HND holder, then you ordinarily know where you would belong in the civil service. He made it clear that if you want to occupy executive position in the service, it was advisable to pursue only university programmes, which only could guarantee your career progression. However, holders believed that there were needs for government to put an end to this policy and find better ways of addressing the country’s educational misfortunes.

The sham called Friday work CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16

vate setting resume work at 9am and close at 5pm, while majority of those in public setting resume office at 8am and close at 4pm. The pertinent question to ask is: what is the solution to government employees’ laissez-faire’s disposition to work on Fridays?

Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr. Seyi Sijuwade (left) and Board Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, at the inauguration of the newly procured locomotive engines and telescopic cranes in Lagos recently.

Prisons officers furious over alleged illegal salary deductions UBONG UKPONG ABUJA

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peratives of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) are again expressing great furry over alleged illegal deductions in their salaries since June. Recently, it was reported that the personnel were furrious over such deductions on their salaries by the Service to run the Prisons Officers Wives Association (PROWA) schools. The personnel are now on rampage again that

after the above alleged deductions, the Prisons authourities have proceeded to further deduct their salaries since June, without any form of explanations. A source told National Mirror that the Service had allegedly carried out these deductions in June and July, and has vowed to do it again with August salary and even beyond. The alleged deduction, National Mirror gathered, was forcefully implemented nationwide by the authourities. According to a source

close to Prisons headquarters, the Service was seriously looking for money to attend to some financial issues of interest to it, and had no option than resort to forceful deduction on staff salaries. The Source further revealed that the authourities allegedly chose to hide the said deduction under the Prisons Cooperative (PRISCO), as it could not create a different sub-head for it in the pay slip to avoid questioning. Although when contacted, the Prisons Head-

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quarters through its Public Relations Officer and a Deputy Controller of Prisons, DCP Fatinikun, denied any deductions. He challenged any personnel to produce their pay slips from January to July and compare them to see where there was a new deduction introduced. “Anyone that said there was a deduction should present his pay slip in January, February, March and that of June, July, and let us know how much was deducted”, Fatinikun told CONTINUED ON PAGE 42

pecially those that enlisted between the years 2009 and 2010, who were given the opportunity to be uplifted, they were quite excited as this would be their first promotion experience in the Service. They were desirous of dropping their present ranks for a new and higher one, which ordinarily, as practised in every establishment, would be accompanied by a concomitant financial package and even additional duties too in some cases, for all those that would make the lists. National Mirror’s investigation revealed that the establishment was working assiduously to release the promotion lists in this month of August. However, it appeared that some personnel, already had certain information that the promotion was due for release in early weeks of August, which disappointment was now causing serious anxiety among them. For them, this nonrelease of this promotion after about three months of the examination, was responsible for this anxiety, which many have even commenced spiritual exercises to see that the process was fair and just. The basis of this apprehension, National Mirror further learnt, was the past experiences associated with such exercises in the establishment, which some alleged, were not equitable and just. For instance, about a year ago, it was learnt that there was a promotion exercise, where some officers were said to have been promoted on the basis of about one slot each to a state, and several deserving and desirous personnel were not favoured. Again, apprehensions were also on the ground of alleged tribal, regional and religious sentiment that often characterised procedures of the Service, as sources close to Customs headquarters revealed that the north had often benefited from the sentiment. “In Customs, if you are not a Hausa, northerner or married to a Hausa, sorry, because you don’t belong. You are on your own. Even when you are a Hausa, your religion must count and you know what I mean,” the CONTINUED ON PAGE 42


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From the Civil Service

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

‘Cooperative societies to tap into N200bn SME funds’

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ooperative Societies established under the Ethics and Value Office in the Presidency will tap into the N220 billion Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) micro-finance. The fund, launched by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of CBN, for Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) was set up to develop Micro-finance and small scale businesses in the country. The Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Value, Mrs Sarah Jibril, announced this at the inauguration of the Environmental Ethics and Safety Corps in Abuja on Tuesday. Jibril said that the cooperative societies would be

expected to use the funds to develop community farms to boost food production. She called on women to be modest in their dressing in order to promote good cultural values, and urged families to take the lead in the campaign against immodest dressing. “It is unethical to dress in immodestly; it is inhuman, cultural and environmental pollution to dress exposing parts of your body; in fact you are polluting our social site,’’ she said. Jibril said that her office was collaborating with Education Research Council to develop civil and ethics curriculum in schools in order to promote good ethical values.

She also canvassed for the employment of ethical officers in the Federal Ministry of Environment. “We just celebrated the National Ethics Day and we are moving on to celebrate it at the international level. “We have established laboratories in the six geopolitical zones to disseminate information for people to see the impact of good values and ethics,’’ she said. The aide urged new members of Environmental Ethics and Safety Corps to campaign against social vices, adding that the highest percentage of crime being committed in the country today was financial crime. In his remarks, Perma-

nent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office (EFO), Alhaji Goni Sheikh, described the involvement of youth in environmental issues as a `welcome development’. Represented by Mr Shaibu Yakasai, Director, Pollution Control, Sheikh said that the objectives of Vision 20:2020 would be difficult to achieve without environmental sustainability. Sheikh said that his office had been intervening in some parts of the country to address erosion, flooding and other ecological problems. “We need to reach the people in rural areas and we are ready to partner with you to create friendly environment,’’ he said.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG will implement National Council on Health’s resolutions – Perm Sec

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lhaji Sani Bala, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, on Tuesday said Federal Government would implement all resolutions reached at the 56th National Council on Health meeting. He said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the sideline of the 56th National Council on Health meeting tagged: ``Health Sector Now and Beyond 2015`` . Bala said that policies articulated, debated and formulated during the meeting would be effectively implemented. “The National Council on Health meeting is an annual event that the Minister of Health meets with all the commissioners for health, their officials and delegates and other development partners in the health sector, the UNICEF, WHO, and so many other NGOs. “During which policies

on health are articulated, debated and formulated “Some of them implemented immediately after being sanctioned and approved by the council. “Some of them require the endorsement of the Federal Executive Council. “So, this is the highest policy making body as far as the health sector is concerned in Nigeria. “By the time the policies cut across so many issues, almost all the health sector related issues are going to be debated during this meeting and there are lots of memos. “We have over 100 memos from the Minister of Health, commissioners from the states and other agencies like the NHIS, NAFDAC and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and all these affect the healthcare delivery in Nigeria. “And we are going to faithfully and effectively implement all the policies that will be adopted at meeting.

Prisons officers furious over alleged illegal salary deductions L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Dr. Habiba Lawal; Gender and Conflict Advisor, Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, Dr. Chitra Nagarajan; Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina and UN Women Country Representative, Dr. Grace Ongile, at the launch and dissemination of the National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

LGAs absent at 4th Kaduna Cultural Festival to be sanctioned, says Yero

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he Kaduna State Government on Tuesday warned that it would sanction any local government council that failed to participate in the ongoing 4th state Festival of Arts and Culture. Gov. Mukhtar Yero, who gave the warning in Kaduna while inaugurating the event, said the government would sanction the councils as the administration would not tolerate laxity from any of its officials. He directed the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Gambo Lawal to take note of the absentee local councils. The governor noted that the festival was meant to promote culture, peace and transformation in the state. He therefore stressed the need for the people to uphold their indigenous culture, ``rather than borrow foreign cultures with their attendant negative conse-

quences on the society’’. The governor announced that groups and individuals that excelled during the festival would be rewarded. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the five-day festival has as its theme, “Culture, Peace and National Transformation”. Yero explained that the festival was part of the state government’s efforts at ensuring peace, economic development and transformation. The governor noted the important role of tourism in national development and reiterated the state government’s commitment towards investing in the sector. Earlier, the commissioner for culture and tourism, said the event was aimed at promoting creativity in the fields of art and culture, as well as ensure continued adaptation of traditional skills.

Anambra Govt. acquires land for integrated waste management facility

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he Anambra Government has acquired 50.9 hectares at Nkwelle-Ezunaka in Oyi Local Government Area of the state for the establishment of an integrated waste management facility. Mr Joseph Ibuzo, the Director of Ecology and Environment in the state Ministry of Environment, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Tuesday that the land was ready for use and that the government had fully paid compensation for it. Ibuzo said that construction work would commence in the first quarter of 2014 and that all the waste in Onitsha and its environs, and even beyond would be collected at the facility when functional. We will even receive waste from other places as long as it is not nuclear waste; the waste will be put on a certain machine

which has electronic and magnetic gadgets. “We will sort them into different crates both left over and vegetable materials, the metals will go to its own wing for cleaning and sorting, including used cannibalised cars or motor parts or equipment parts that are dropped by the highways. “Also, the electrical electronics equipment, you notice that many computers are arriving in the state, laptops, desktops, batteries; the bad ones will no longer go to the dump site, but to the waste management facility for recycling,’’ he said. Ibuzo said that the waste management facility would consist of a composting facility, a material recycling centre and an engineered and operated landfill that would be designed to accept residual waste and minimise environmental and social impacts.

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National Mirror over a telephone conversation. However, a source told National Mirror that, “these people just keep cutting our money illegally. They don’t know where to hide it under so they decided to put it under PRISCO. “As at May, my deduction for PRISCO was N1000, but from June and July, it went up to N2000 as it is reflected on my pay slip, and this is what is happening to every other staff. You can confirm from our pay slips. “If they claim that there were no deductions, what explanations can they give over these reflections on PRISCO since June, which had no circular?”, the

source questioned. National Mirror learnt that there is serious grumbling and furry nationwide over these alleged illegal deductions that had continued since Mr Zakari Ibrahim took over leadership of the Service as Controller General of Prisons (CGP). Personnel are disturbed over this alleged new dimension of what they described as hand-twisting methods by the new leadership. A source expressed fears that one day, as civil servants, they may have to discard rules of the paramilitary service and take to the streets in protest, if alleged illegal deductions on their salaries were not ended.

Apprehension in customs CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41

source alleged. Watch out for the promotion list when it is released and compare it with the previous lists and you will know what I am talking about”, the source added. However, it was hoped that things

would change for the better during this exercise, as they have expressed faith in their kind hearted Comptroller General (CG), Inde Abdullahi Diko, to ensure that it would be a promotion galore in the Service for them this season.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Wednesday August 28, 2013

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2015: North doesn’t deserve Presidency –Ukpabi For 35 years, Senator Chris Ukpabi has been an active participant in the Nigerian politics. He was the only senator elected on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, from the South-East in the Second Republic. He also had a stint with the National Republican Convention, NRC, as Abia State chairman in the Third Republic. In this interview, the chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, speaks on the crisis in the party, Jonathan administration and why power must rotate among the zones. AYODELE OJO brings excerpts:

Looking at the situation in the PDP, what would you say is the cause of the crises we see everyday? I wouldn’t call it crises. It is a question of somebody wanting to occupy a position and another wanting to occupy same. And that is life. Somebody can’t tell you I want to be president or governor and you just allow him; no, that is not democracy. The very moment you say you want a position then there would be disagreement naturally. And as a mature political grouping we disagree to agree. Don’t you think the crises is a cause for alarm in view of the emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC? There is nothing like that. I can tell you there is no cause for alarm. I am telling you that we will settle the matter. Anybody who thinks we are down and out because of this crisis must be joking. They will be making a big mistake. In fact for me, we will be stronger than ever. Didn’t you see those days when Chief Akin Omoboriowo and the rest of them would kick themselves and still come back together? That is what you call politics. Do you see anything unique about the Goodluck Jonathan administration that you think Nigerians should appreciate? He is humane and then he looks at matters very dispassionately. He gets along with people. He has come to show Nigerians that politics is not do-or-die. Take for instance, a number of times people have tried to mess him up. They use languages that are not very complimentary but he has not reacted. This is a man who has all the powers. If he says kill, it happens and if he says spare, it happens. But he decides to follow the part of peace and love for every human being that comes around him. That is very unique. But his critics see this as weakness. It does not show any sign of weakness. It is not for you to start hitting people back because there is strength and valour in making sure that the man who has insulted you is shown kindness. He on his own will regret. That is why the religious side of it is better. You don’t take revenge; leave God to do the rest for you. And anybody who says that is weakness may not know the will of God for you. At the last National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the PDP, President Jonathan said by early next year Nigerians will begin to appreciate what he has been doing. In your assessment, what are the things the President has done? I want to first say that there is no President, governor, chairman of local government that can handle all the problems around them. They come in, do their bit, and move on. That is the background on which I will lay out some things he has done. Look at the railway system that has been moribund for so many years. Many people from my own place, who speak Hausa today do so because they are offspring of those who worked in Railway Corporation. And that has helped in binding the country together. Now from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, it is only a small place in Aba, that is left, it would have been completed. Look at the Lagos to Kano route, people can now use it. And the more you use these rails the more our roads last longer. It makes me remember those days when we were in secondary schools. We will just jump into the train, sometimes we don’t pay. We get to the next station we stop. Look at electricity; he has taken it to a whole new level. I was reading one of the reports and it stated that from

Ukpabi

THEY HAVE RULED FOR MORE THAN 38 YEARS. OTHERS ARE ALSO ENTITLED TO BE THERE. YOU CAN’T RULE FOR 38 YEARS AND EXPECT OTHERS TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT YOU.

NOBODY WILL TAKE IT

1999 till Jonathan came into office we were still using only 2000 megawatts. But only two years in office we now have 4500 megawatts and he has promised and put in motion, things that would be done to make Nigeria within a short time enjoy uninterrupted power supply. What can be better than that? Go into agriculture. We are almost 60 per cent self sufficient in the production of rice, but not only that look at the job it has brought. It is something to be glad about. If you know the amount of money we used in importing rice in the past, you will know that he has done so well. There are a lot of areas that Jonathan has shown he is ready to work. Last year, as someone from the South-East, we were afraid where we would be in a position to get to our villages. The roads were so bad, but he set up a team, incidentally the chairman of that team is my friend and they had to do the roads. Now I can drive from Abuja here to my place in the East without any problem of bad road. Look at the Second Niger Bridge, our people were jubilating and praising God when Julius Berger mobilised to the site to start work. Most of these things have been left all along and this young man is doing them, why don’t we appreciate him for once. I am sure people can travel through our airports in recent times and you would be proud to say you are a Nigerian. Before now it was an eyesore but today it is very beautiful. These are things Jonathan would be remembered for within such a short time, just two years. I was reading somewhere where somebody was scoring him low, unfortunately, for those writings, they were hooking the failures of the past administrations on him. How can you? If you are looking at past administrations then blame those responsible for that and praise him for what he has done within such a short period. Looking at the PDP, do you think the party has been firm enough in instilling party discipline in the light of certain acts of its members? What I can tell you is that there is no where you can have 100 per cent perfection. As far as I am concerned, they are doing the best they can. Don’t forget that there are chain things that if you go to the extreme, more problems are going to emerge. But as far as party discipline is concerned there is the constitution and I don’t expect anybody to go above that. You have spoken so much about Jonathan’s performance but Northern leaders are agitating for power shift to the North. What is your take on this? It is a laughing matter. They are merely playing out a script which had been handed over to them by that our re-

spected leader from the North, Sarduana of Sokoto. That is the script they are playing out. On October 12, 1960, that highly respected sage said this nation called Nigeria is their own private property bequeathed to them by their great grandfather, Usman Danfodio and that they will resist any change in power. Take note, he said they will resist any change in power. That the minorities of the North will be manipulated while the Southerners will be regarded as conquered territory. This is the script they are playing out. Unfortunately they cannot do that. How can they be talking about this now after how many years of Nigeria’s independence? They have ruled for more than 38 years. Others are also entitled to be there. You can’t rule for 38 years and expect others to continue to look at you. Nobody will take it. Now these 38 years they maintained that they are military. But I want to tell you this, whether civilian or military, they are Northerners. There is a popular Latin adage which when translated says “the gown does not make a mock.” What you are is what you are, whether you are wearing “babariga” or not. If you are wearing “Khaki”as a General or you are wearing “Babariga” as a civilian you are from the North. But in any case, they are the ones pushing for North and South, as far as I am concerned the Northern issue ended during the Southern and Northern protectorates. For me today, we have six geopolitical zones and we should operate on that. So power should rotate among the zones... Of course, powers should rotate among the zones. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like North and South. I stand to be opposed by anybody. There are six geo- political zones because they are entities of their own. It should rotate among the zones and not North and South. This North and South thing is an imaginary demarcation. But then proponents for power shift will say South- South has taken their turn, hence power should shift to another zone in 2015? But Jonathan has not done second term. The constitution empowers him to do that. Section 137 subsection 2 allows him to go for second term. It is only when you have been voted into that office twice that you are not qualified to vie for the office. But he has only been voted into the office once. So you are supporting him to go for a second term? Yes, why shouldn’t I. If as a PDP member, I refuse to allow the man go for a second term, the entire PDP should get out of the stage and allow the opposition because we will be shooting ourselves in the leg. What do you make of the Governors’ Forum? To begin with, the Governors’ Forum is a mess. I don’t recognise it. Let them go and do their job as governors. They just gang up to whittle down the powers of the president. The question is what is it they are adding to the polity? And why must there be Governors’ Forum? Are they the owners of this country? I was in this game when most of them were in secondary schools. They can’t just come and tell us they have Governors’ Forum, just to dictate to us. Are we not part of the stakeholders in the country? Do you see the APC as a threat to the PDP? APC is a good opposition and there is nothing that goes on well without a good opposition. What opposition does is check and balance. So the PDP is not scared of APC? Who are those in there? They have Buhari, Tinubu… How many times have they failed in elections? Let’s talk about something else. They are not a threat because what they know we know too. What do they know? I won’t tell you. What they know we also know and they know that we know it. Is it the rigging machinery? I am not talking of rigging. I am talking of the political game.


44

Politics

ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA

A

full panel of the Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, no longer had the legal powers to challenge the electoral victory of Governor Olusegun Mimiko in the last gubernatorial poll held in Ondo State. The apex court held that the party, in law, was dead, having surrendered its registration certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and that a dead litigant could not maintain a case against the living. The ACN is one of the political parties challenging the electoral victory of Governor Mimiko in the last gubernatorial poll in the state and the separate judgements of both the gubernatorial election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal which okayed the INEC’s declaration. The apex court however fixed tomorrow for judgement in the remaining appeals maintained by the gubernatorial flag bearers of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olusola Oke and the ACN, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) challenging the verdicts of the lower courts which upheld the electoral victory of Governor Mimiko in the last gubernatorial poll held in the state. The consolidated judgement will also touch on the issues raised in the cross appeals filed in the matter. The panel headed by Justice Walter Onnonoghen fixed the judgement date yesterday after taking arguments from opposing parties in the case. The apex court is also expected to pronounce on the legality of its sitting on appeals during vacation. The court, had yesterday, suo motu (on its own), asked parties in the case to address it on the legality of sitting on the appeals during vacation. It had said that pronouncing on the issue was necessary to avoid unnecessary controversy after the case might have been decided. Though it agreed that the rules of the court forbids it, the apex court yesterday said that it had sat during vacation on cases including a political matter involving former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Charles Soludo. But before the substantive appeals and

Wednesday August 28, 2013

Ondo guber poll: ACN is dead, so can’t challenge Mimiko’s victory – S/Court Rejects plea to substitute party with APC Fixes tomorrow for judgement on appeals

Akeredolu

Mimiko

cross appeals in the matter were argued yesterday, the seven-member panel of the summit court had struck out the name of the defunct ACN from the proceedings. The court specifically held that the political party had no legal powers to challenge the electoral victory of Governor Mimiko, the party having become extinct. The summit court also turned down a separate request by the ACN to substitute its name in the proceedings with the APC. The court, in a unanimous ruling, held that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the request by the All Progressives Congress, APC. The ACN, it would be recalled, had surrendered its registration certificate to INEC as condition to merge with a couple of opposition political parties in the country and be registered as APC. The withdrawal of the certificate of registration automatically made the ACN to become extinct.

Although lead counsel to ACN, Chief Oluwole Aina, yesterday contested the assertion that the party was dead, he later agreed and appealed that the court substitute the name of ACN for APC, a request which was turned down. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar had recalled some serving justices of the Supreme Court from vacation to review the verdict of the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which declared Governor Mimiko as the winner of the last gubernatorial poll held in the state. The apex court, had earlier, fixed September 24, this year to review Governor Mimiko’s victory at the poll. Ordinarily, the Supreme Court does not sit on appeals while on vacation. But Justice Mariam re-fixed hearing on the appeals following protests from some quarters that the September 24 would be outside the mandatory 60 days to deter-

‘I’ve been battered but more careful’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 ing the renovation, I moved in, because I felt if I waited for the whole renovation work to be done, the aim of moving out of the Ijapo apartment on or before 31st of October would be defeated.

May be he went to court because he did not see the keys to the apartment? He said I should give the keys to my neighbour which I did. The neighbour is his tenant; he is not just anybody on the street. It is a compound that has two houses. It is a twin duplex; he is the owner of the two duplexes. This is a landlord-tenant issue. Why and how did the Assembly come into it? That is another big question. I do not know; I do not know how to answer your question. I don’t know why he had to go to my working place where I get my livelihood. I don’t know what prompted him to do that.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

I don’t know why the House of Assembly had to suspend me. I don’t know the minds of the people. In our Code of Conduct for members which was fortunately printed by the Ondo State House of Assembly, scope 2 section 2 of the code reads thus: “The code shall apply to honourable members in all aspect of their public lives. It does not seek to regulate what members do in their private and personal lives.” I don’t know why the House suspended me.

The committee set up by the House to investigate the matter was given two weeks to conclude its assignment. But it is now more than two months. What could have been happening? Like I said earlier, they all know what is in their minds. They have their own mindset. I have not been able to communicate with them freely like I would have normally done as a non-suspended member. But

mine the election petition appeals. On October 20, when the Supreme Court adjourned hearing in the case till September 24, there was palpable tension in Ondo State, as itt was generally believed that the date announced by the Supreme Court fell outside the 60 days provided for hearing and determination of the appeal by the constitution. According to the political parties involved “the Apex Court is expected to deliver its judgement within 60 days and since the appellate court has made its own ruling on July 1, the Supreme Court judgement should fall between August 28 and 29.” For instance, an Akure-based lawyer, Morakinyo Ogele, who spoke on the matter had said that the date chosen by the Supreme Court fell outside what the constitution upholds. He clarified that “Section 285 (7) makes it mandatory for the Supreme Court to hear the case within 60 days of the judgement of Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal gave its judgement on July 1, hence the Supreme Court has up to August 29 to give judgement in the appeal. Meanwhile, members of the opposition parties were frustrated as they alleged that there was a foul play over the date fixed by the apex court on their appeals. The youth leader of the defunct ACN, Mr. Enas Mohammed, suspected that the presidency’s support for Mimiko could be responsible for the imminent constitutional crisis in the state. Already, the Tribunal and the Appeal Court had earlier ruled in favour of Mimiko. The lower court based its judgement on the ground that the evidences tendered by the opposition parties, which was on the illegal injection of names into the voter register were genuine, but seen as a preelection matter. Though, the Appeal Court disagreed with the tribunal on its judgement that it is a pre-election issue, but still ruled in favour of Mimiko on the ground that the evidences were not substantial enough to nullify the October 20 election results.

if they say two weeks, they ought to have kept to the time frame. It is left for them to explain why they exceeded the two weeks. When they called me on July 1, I went there with the certified true copy I got from court for them to see. I don’t know now why they want to cry more than the bereaved.

son because they cannot cry more than the bereaved. The bereaved is my landlord in this case. Of course, I am going to challenge my suspension because it is my right and I must do it for the benefit of the mandate that was given to me by the people of Ose Local Government Area. They have deprived them adequate representation for the past two months for no just cause.

Now that the period given to the committee has lapsed, do you intend to take any action against the House? Well, the matter has even gone beyond me to my utmost joy. My family had to rally round me to say we have to put my father’s name right back on track and my husband’s name on track. For their names to be dragged into this matter is really unfair. Now the House of Assembly has given me the opportunity to be able to now see that they have some motive in suspending me. Definitely, I am going to challenge them. They have to be able to give me a good rea-

Do you also intend to take any action against the landlord? Certainly yes, he has his own children. If he can look at another person’s child and decide to be used or he used himself, turning a landlord-tenant issue to a national issue, even international issue, attacking my family for just being your tenant, I must act. I think I must give glory to God that they only assassinated my character, not my person. If not, I will not be here today to be able to defend myself. Definitely I am going to make him to face the court of law.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Capital Market

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

45

FBN Holdings posts N55bn profit, turnover hits N195bn JOHNSON OKANLAWON

F

BN Holdings yesterday announced a profit before tax of N55.1bn for the half year ended June 30, 2013, an increase of 3.2 per cent when compared to N53.5bn recorded in the same period of 2012. The company’s gross earnings rose to N194.9bn in the half year, up 7.7 per cent from N180bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2012. According to the result presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, net interest income increased by 3.6 per cent to N112.7bn in the review period, from N108.9bn recorded in 2012 half year.

The company’s noninterest revenue stood at N44.1bn, up 2.4 per cent in the half year, from N43.1bn posted in the same period of 2012, while operating income rose to N156.9bn, from N152bn in 2012 half year. Analysis of the company’s balance sheet showed total assets of N3.4trn in the half year, down 2.3 per cent from N3.5trn recorded in the first quarter ended March 30, 2013, but up 6.1 per cent from N3.2trn recorded from December 31, 2012. Speaking on the result, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Alhaji Bello Maccido said that the performance of the group remained resilient over the first half of 2013. He noted that the regu-

latory environment across portfolio of businesses has continued to evolve, as authorities take measures to strengthen the various subsectors within the financial services industry. Maccido explained that the company has sustained efforts to refine its approach and responses to the regulatory developments, focusing on the strong natural synergies and crossselling opportunities that exist between banking and the other financial services sectors. “We have intensified efforts to leverage our unique offering to forge deeper relationships with our customers as we navigate the evolving terrain. “We have made progress with the launch of our

Banc assurance as well as, more recently, the launch of the FBN Life mobile insurance product; and will be driving product uptake in coming periods,” he added. He stressed that the holdings company is uniquely positioned to benefit from existing and emerging opportunities across its core Nigerian market, as well as the other high growth markets it operates in. “Ultimately, the focus remains on extracting and unlocking value from the exciting portfolio of businesses within the group, increasing efficiency and deepening share of wallet, thus improving profitability and return to shareholders,” he said.

Index slides 0.13% as NSE, CIS partners NYIF on capacity building OLAONIPEKUN AWEDA

T

he benchmark index of equities continued on a bearish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as more investors sold their holdings. Specifically, the All Share index fell by 0.13 per cent to close at 36,480.24 points, compared to the drop of 0.14 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 36,526.74 points. Market capitalisation depreciated by N2.05bn to close at N11.567trn, compared to the decline of N16.01bn recorded the preceding day to close at N11.569trn.

Stock analysts at Meristem Securities Limited said the market may close this week marginally in the red as no obvious catalyst justifies any significant upside. On the gainers’ table, Jos Breweries Plc rose by 20 kobo or 9.95 percent to close at N2.21 per share, followed by Vono Products Plc with eight kobo or 9.88 per cent to close at 89 kobo per share. On the flip side, NCR Plc declined by N1.87 or 10 per cent to close at N16.83 per share, followed by Champion Breweries Plc with N1.56 or 9.95 per cent to close at N14.12 per share. A total of 317.96 million shares valued at N2.66bn

were traded in 5,110 deals. Meanwhile, the Exchange and the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers have urged the New York Institute of Finance to assist in training its members. Speaking during a visit of the Managing Director, NYIF, Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald, to the Exchange yesterday, the doyen of stockbrokers, Alhaji Rasheed Yussuff, noted, that stockbrokers need regular training. He pointed out that the institute was instrumental to training of financial gurus that make New York what it is today, adding that the brokers are expecting the same training not only

in Nigeria but also in Africa. “It is our expectation that such should be the result here. We know you have access to intellectual capital which includes training, marketing, trading and sharing ideas and that is what we need,” he said. Yussuff explained that the innovative and intellectual potential of Nigeria makes her represents the light of the world, adding that there is no reason why NYIF and CIS will not partner to bring out the full potentials of the country. Speaking at the event Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald described their partnership as an historic success.

European stocks sheds most in 2 months on Syria strike threat

E

uropean stocks suffered their biggest daily drop in two months yesterday as the threat of a military strike against Syria prompted investors to take profit on some of this summer’s best performers and to buy insurance against future losses. United States allies were drafting plans for air strikes and other military action against Syria, causing investors to ditch stocks in favour of assets less exposed to global economic conditions, such as German and US government bonds . The euro zone’s bluechip Euro STOXX 50 index closed down 2.6 per cent, its biggest daily drop since

June, leaving it at 2,749.27 points, its lowest level in a month. Volume on the Euro STOXX 50 was the highest since August 16 as 66.7 million shares were traded, 15 per cent more than the index’s 90-day average. The cost of buying options to protect against future market swings, as measured by the Euro STOXX 50 volatility index or VSTOXX, jumped 23.8 per cent, the most since February, to one and half month high of 22.17 points. The head of equity derivatives strategy at Societe Generale, Paris, Vincent Cassot, was quoted as saying that the prospect of an imminent reduction to the

Federal Reserve’s assetpurchase programme was the underlying driver of market volatility, which he expected to rise further in the run-up to the U.S. central bank’s policy meeting on September 17-18. The Fed’s stimulus, along with other bond-buying schemes by global central banks, has helped lead a 34 per cent rally in the Euro STOXX 50 since June 2012. The index has pulled back 3.6 per cent since midAugust as investors positioned for a cutback in the Fed’s programme. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended down 1.7 per cent at 1,202.36

points, trimming its gains since the start of July to 4.4 per cent. Automotive and banking stocks were the worst hit, skidding around 3.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively. The sectors have led the European equity rally this summer as improving data prompted investors to switch into companies focused on the European economy. Europe’s earnings momentum, however, remains negative at minus three per cent. That is an indication that despite a recent batch of better-than-expected company results, analysts continue to downgrade their profit forecasts.

Source: NSE

Source: Afrinvest

Market indicators All-Share Index 36,480.24 points Market capitalisation 11.60 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

JOSBREW

2.01

2.21

0.20

VONO

0.81

0.89

0.08

MULTITREX

0.61

0.67

0.06

TRANSCORP

1.30

1.41

0.11

UBCAP

1.22

1.31

0.09

RTBRISCOE

1.50

1.60

0.10

ABCTRANS

0.81

0.86

0.05

MANSARD

2.15

2.26

0.11

PZ

35.00

36.50

1.50

JAPAULOIL

0.50

0.52

0.02

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

NCR

18.70

16.83

CHAMPION

15.68

14.12

1.87 1.56

UTC

0.72

0.65

0.07

INTENEGINS

1.35

1.22

0.13

ROYALEX

0.55

0.52

0.03

SKYEBANK

4.20

4.00

0.20

CADBURY

52.90

51.00

1.90

OKOMUOIL

46.49

45.00

1.49

NEM

0.73

0.71

0.02

IKEJAHOTEL

0.81

0.79

0.02

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

20,647.81

11.10

21-Aug-13

182 Days

30,000.00

12.25

21-Aug-13

-

-

-

-

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

167-Days

96,311.93

10.64

29-Aug-13

-

-

-

-

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$300m

N/A

$300m

26-Aug-13

$300m

N/A

$290m

21-Aug-13


46

Executive Discourse

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Financial inclusion agenda is a continuous The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, in the last three years, been at the vanguard of revitalising Nigeria’s Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through a combination of monetary policy and financing initiatives. Last week, the apex bank took another bold step to lift the enterprises out of financial conundrum by launching the N220bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) which is seen as a timely intervention in the sub-sector. At the forum, the Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, interacted with journalists and other stakeholders on the new funding initiative. TOLA AKINMUTIMI was there. The launching of the N220bn MSMEs Fund today by your bank is seen by stakeholders as another worthy initiative that is expected to help in improving the performance of medium and small enterprises. What is your projection of this fund for micro finance banks, in terms of how would it impact on our economy within the next three to four years? Well, if you look at the structure of the Nigerian banking industry, you will notice that there is a very big gap in terms of institutions that serve different segments of the economy and the deposit money banks after consolidation became very big banks, focusing on large multinational corporations and investing in government bonds, treasury bills and so on. The small scale enterprises basically did not have banks anymore that will bank them. The micro finance banks can fill potentially that gap along with the original banks but they have substantial constraints. If you deal with the micro finance banks, you will probably find that the interest rates are too high, that the tenures are very short and the reason is that apart from the capital that the owners put in, the source of finance is very short term and the high interest on inter-bank borrowing. What this Fund hopes to achieve is to provide wholesale finance. Like in Kano, the government has set up 37 micro finance banks. These micro finance banks will be able to access long term, low interest money from this Fund and they are therefore able to lend long term at lower interest. As they lend to their customers and repay and build a track record of performance, they can then access larger and larger amounts at lower rate of interest and for longer tenor. This is the kind of model that works for Peoples’ Bank of China and it worked extremely effectively and this is exactly how we plan to manage this Fund. There is also

Sanusi

IF YOU ARE THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF A MICRO FINANCE BANK, YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH A PROGRAMME, YOU HAVE TO PASS THE TEST, IF YOU FAIL THAT TEST TWICE, YOU ARE REMOVED. THROUGH THE VARIOUS POLICY MEASURES, WE WILL KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE

next 5 to10 years. This is how every country develops such that in 5 to 20 years, you will look back and you will be surprised at where we are compared to where we started.

WHO ARE MANAGING THESE INSTITUTIONS CAN

We worked with the Kano State Ministry of Agriculture on tomato and one of the major challenges we have on tomato production is that 40 per cent to 50 per cent of their output gets lost between the farm and the market because of the lack of access to the markets. The solution that we found was first of all, give them the right seeds and improve their yield. Kano State Government is working on the irrigation but we have also got a processor to come and set up a processing plant on location. When that plant is ready, what happens is you reduce the losses from 40 per cent to less than 10 per cent and you are able to get better prices. Also, you have got output that is in multiples of what they used to have and the tomato is of a different quality and then you have the kind of tomato that can generate paste and I think what this says is that finance does not work as an island in isolation. If you want to provide finance, you have got to have the ecosystem around it, it is not just providing loans to farmers. If you lend a tomato farmer, you’ve got to address the question of does he produce enough per hectare? Is the tomato suitable

BE TRUSTED WITH MONEY an interest component rebate for women. So, women businesses who bought from micro finance banks and financial institutions are able to access this Fund for interest rate subsidy to make sure that they do not pay more than 9 per cent interest on their loans. Given the past experiences on this type of support for MSMEs and considering the fact there have been several efforts to stimulate the MFBs, do you think this new initiative would succeed? In 2005 or 2006, President Obasanjo had launched what is called the National Microfinance Policy that was the beginning of everything. The Central Bank was the implementing agency of the policy and this was the beginning of the guidelines for setting up of micro finance banks, the regulation of micro finance banks and so on. This fund is actually one of the elements in that policy. This is part of the continuous process of bailing out the finance sub-sector and also developing its

achievements. Now, we have got the MFBs, like I said, what is left is to look for a sense of giving them technology and re-strategizing their software. We are looking at certain regulations. We have done competency requirements and we now do tests. If you are the managing director of a micro finance bank, you have to go through a programme, you have to pass the test, if you fail that test twice, you are removed. Through the various policy measures, we will now know that the people who are managing these institutions can be trusted with money. Now, we are bringing the money to put in their hands. So, the financial inclusion agenda is a continuous journey, it is not a destination, we keep moving from one point to another and what is important is that every time, month, year we come with new initiatives, new products, new services, new channels to bring more people into the financial system. I met some work that has been done by my predecessors, I built on it and the next governor will build on it in say in the

Access to market is very crucial. Is it possible to interface with everybody that wants to be a stakeholder and get access to the market?


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Executive Discourse

47

journey, not a destination -Sanusi WE WILL WORK OUT THE DYNAMICS BUT HOPEFULLY TODAY YOU GO TO A COMMERCIAL BANK OFFERING

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PER CENT AND TODAY

MFBS THEIRS IS PROBABLY 30 TO 40 PER CENT. YOU ARE WITH

NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE NEAR THOSE INTEREST RATES for producing paste? Can it be delivered to market without perishing in good time and does he have a price support? Because when you produce off season, if you know tomato, immediately after harvest it is very cheap, because you have to sell because of pressure within but then in the dry season, it is very expensive. Another question to ponder on is, can you have a constant price throughout the year and then have farming and cropping twice a year? If you work with the government, if you work with the Ministry of Agriculture, banks, Central Bank, Ministry of Water Resources, you are able to address those problems. And of course, the issue of rural roads and packaging and so on but this is one example of how it can work and it is working. Let me give you one result. Before now, bank lending is practically zero to tomato production. Today as I speak to you, we have written commitment from banks for N6 billion that will go to the farmers in Kano subject to certain issues being completed. So, if we get this out, we are looking for banks committed to this project. If we are able to get the processor, the price, the seeds, we will get N6 billion to tomato cooperatives and that basically transforms an entire community and entire labour, we are working together. How low is the interest rate going to be and how will states have access? Let me clarify this. The CBN will not be lending directly to say farmers or businesses. What this Fund does is it provides funding to the participating financial institutions. So, if you are a micro finance bank, for example, in Benin, you can come to this Fund, we assess you, give you money at low rate of interest, long term and you undertake that you will lend at low rate of interest. We will work out the dynamics but hopefully today you go to a commercial bank offering 21 per cent and today with MFBs theirs is probably 30 to 40 per cent. You are not going to get anywhere near those interest rates. Obviously, these small businesses that are highly profitable and highly risky can go to financial banks that charge a little higher, but the greatest challenge is not even the interest rate but the tenor. If you give somebody money for two, three months, how much can he or she remit? You don’t transform economic activities whether it is agriculture or small scale industry if you are not able to provide lon-

ger term funding. The way we plan it is you start with a small amount, relatively low rate of interest and relatively longer term, when the MFB repays, and we assess its track record, it is then entitled to move to another level where they can get a larger amount, a lower rate of interest and a longer term. It is a merit-based, incentive based system where the micro finance institution will earn the right by performing to get even better credit terms from the fund. In China, they have what they call the Bronze Card, Silver Card then the Gold Card and each card gives you an access to a larger amount, lower rate of interest, longer tenures. With the women, the interest rebate will make sure that they do not pay anything more than 10 per cent. So, it is single digit. I don’t want to make a pronouncement to you because I have people who are working on the technical team, and I don’t want to run ahead of myself, they will give you all the details. If you look at the spread of micro finance banks, we noticed a few years ago that we had concentrations in Lagos and

the South West and then say in the North. One of the major constraints was that the host state governments and local governments had not set up micro finance institutions. The reason why Kano has 37 MFBs today is because the government put in the money, because you need to get a private sector to put in the N10 million or N20 million for a licence and if you don’t get them, you simply don’t have an essential development. Some state governments have to use their balance sheets to set up these institutions and bring development. So, these are the learning points we have taken and the steps we have taken to unlock the market and increase access and distribution. I have the permission of my staff to confirm that the target rate of interest is the maximum of 9 per cent to micro finance banks. I will like to say two things. We have, I think about a thousand MFBs which means there are weaknesses in terms of regulatory capacity because we cannot reach 1000 institutions and because they are not systemically important, our staff tend to be engaged with the large

deposit money banks. One of the interesting things we have seen, especially with working with the Kano State Government in setting up micro finance institutions, is that the state government itself can serve a regulatory function. If we give money to MFBs under the state at a certain rate of interest on the condition that this will be on lend at no more than 8 per cent, the supervising ministry in the state will make sure that MFBs do not cheat the citizens, and if they are lending at a high rate, they should report to us. So, with that you will have many eyes on the institution because you now have interest because the state itself is interested in delivering these loans at these rates of interest to the citizens. We will not deny the micro finance banks the healthy margin. So, if we give them money and as they begin to improve by the time they are lending at 13 to 14 per cent, whatever their losses are, the numbers will work out. If we give them money at X rate and say that you cannot charge more than X per cent above that rate and the state or local government knows if there are complaints. What are the other targets to this fund other than the 9 per cent target rate as regards to job creation and poverty alleviation? Like I said, finance works with the ecosystem. A lot of what happens when you bring finance depends on what else is on the table. For example, if we bring finance to farmers in Kano, how much they can produce depends on whether the Kano State Government also provides irrigation, whether they get fertilisers, whether they get seeds. So, the idea that finance is the solution to economic solution is always a problem, I think one of the things we have learnt with NIRSAL and with a number of projects is that if we begin to remember that we need everybody on the table. For example, in the CBN we have had dozens of meetings where you have got commissioner for agriculture, minister of water resources, fertiliser, agric businesses and seed producers, processors, bankers, the CBN and said okay, what do you need to fix these problems? Everybody that has a stake in this “problem” is involved. And therefore we can now pronounce that if this works, in three years you are going to move the production of tomato in that area of Kagawa from 300,000 metric tonnes to 1 million metric tonnes and you are going to produce 100,000metric tonnes of paste. Now, 100,000 metric tonnes of paste are today one third of the total tomato paste imported into Nigeria is going to be processed from one location in the country. So, you can imagine what you can achieve but then you have got to bring stakeholders in irrigation, seeds, fertilisers, processors and finance to the table. This is a key element but it is not the solution. The governors have to work with us, the Federal Government has to work with us, the tariff regime and all of those fiscal policies and incentives have to be in place. We’ve seen with our SMEs financing facility how communities have been able to leverage their operations.


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Capital Market

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at August 27, 2013 1st Tier Securities

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Insurgents kill six ‘Civilian JTF’ in Borno INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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L-R: Gwom Rwey of Zawan, Chief Christopher Mancha; Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang and Catholic Archbishop of Jos/ President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, at the 11th General Assembly of the archdiocese in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Cashlite policy’ll curb electoral, financial crimes –Sanusi AUGUSTINE MADUWEST KANO

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entral Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday listed financial and electoral crimes and other forms of corruption as some of the country’s problems the cashlite policy intends to reduce, if not completely eliminate. According to him, other problems associated with physical cash movement which will be tackled by the policy include robbery, kidnapping, revenue leakage and inefficient treasury management, as well as

election rigging. Sanusi, who spoke yesterday in a keynote address at a sensitisation programme on the bank’s cashlite policy, called for support for the policy. He urged the Nigerian public and stakeholders generally to support the policy in which the CBN is playing a leading role in its development and implementation. He said; “The cooperation among our respective stakeholders including operators, merchants, and government is extremely important, if we are to ensure the improved efficiency of Nigeria’s payment system to contribute to

the country’s economic and social development through increased financial resources.” He said; “The bank is also enlarging the financial contact points to include areas such as Post Offices, motor parks and corner shops, adding that the legal frame work needed to support this policy is also before the National Assembly and will fortify the implementation once accented by the appropriate authorities.” He said the apex bank is not unaware of security concerns regarding the policy by stakeholders, adding that to this end the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum has been

inaugurated to ensure that the level of awareness on vulnerabilities that exist on the e-channels is raised. According to him, the sensitisation exercise is part of the journey embarked upon to reposition the country’s financial system to address foreign challenges and transform Nigeria into a first world economy, which requires the cooperation of all parties. Concluding, Sanusi said the cashlite policy will guarantee Vision 2020 requirement, modernise the country’s payment system, reduce the cost of banking services and improve effectiveness of monetary system.

Death toll in Benue attacks rises to 30 HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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he death toll in Monday’s attacks in Benue State has risen to 30, reports said yesterday. More people were reportedly killed in the crisis at Ukum Local Government Area while numerous residents of the area have fled their homes in the wake of unending feud. Our source, an indigene of the area, who escaped being lynched by the whisker and who had relocated to Makurdi, the Benue State capital, told National Mirror that the crisis emanated from a political

tussle arising from the last elections in the area. He accused a prominent politician from Abako, a neighbouring town that shares boundary with Taraba State as the brain behind the sectarian killings. He further revealed that efforts should be made to bring him to justice. The source said the politician is the leader of a notorious gang called ‘Ngenev Youth Group’ that has been terrorising the area, killing and destroying properties belonging to innocent people in the area. The politician, was also alleged to have a gang who now engage in robbery operations and those who

dare to report his nefarious acts to the police are visited and killed while their homes are set ablaze. Just few hours ago, information filtered in that the men of the underworld led by Tarmen invaded TseGbanyan and set ablaze many houses, leading many to flee the area. It was also learnt that one retired police inspector, Samuel Akosu, was killed in the process while the whole area was now said to be deserted. Many were also said to be looking for their children. Reports said the nefarious activities of this group has hampered and crippled the economy of the area.

When contacted yesterday, the local government Chairman Mr. Teryima Nguher, in a telephone interview, confirmed that only 13 persons were killed, saying he has taken steps to restore normalcy in the area. Reacting to the rising death toll, Benue State police spokesman, Daniel Ezeala, said only 11 people were killed, adding that the police have pursued the militia group out of the area while full investigation into the matter has commenced. He stressed that efforts are being made to restore peace and order in the disputed area in the state.

ix members of a vigilance group also known as the ‘Civilian JTF’ were yesterday killed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Damasak town, Mobar Local Government Area of Borno State. Damasak is about 187 kilometers away from Maiduguri, the state capital and share the border with Niger Republic where some of the insurgents were believed to have fled to after they were dislodge from their camps by the special forces. The victims, who were also traders residents in Maiduguri, according to witnesses, were shot dead in a house where they pass the night around 1.00am by four gunmen. The slain vigilance members were Ismail Alhaji Bunu, 36; Malam Goni, 27; Buzu Bukar, 27; Mohammed Modu, 20; Aliyu Ji-

brin, 30 and Bukar Bako, 20. It was gathered that five of the victims were traders who deal in women necklaces while one of them was a driver, who convey them to the town’s market every Monday. A member of the group, Kariyama Mohammed, who also went to Damasak, but did not pass the night in the same house with the victim said; “We travelled together to Damasak to trade in necklace, but I did not sleep in the same house with them. It was in the morning that I learn of their death. According to another resident of the town, the assailants, who are four in number shot their victims dead when they were fast asleep before they fled into the bush. Our correspondent saw the bodies of the victims packed in a pickup van at Sector 1 Headquarters off Baga Road.

Catholics meet, ask for prayers to end insecurity JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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he 11th General Assembly of the Catholic Archdiocese yesterday kicked off in Jos, the Plateau State capital, with a call by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, to all Christians to be united in prayer to end the insecurity in the country. Kaigama, in his keynote address to the assembly, said it’s time for all men of goodwill to rise up and end the tide of insurgency sweeping across the country, which he said is at the verge of tearing the country apart. He, however, said that with prayers, God can turn the situation around as He had demonstrated in countless circumstances. The archbishop said that the theme of this year’s assembly; “Growing in Faith; Personal Encounter with God,” which is being celebrated in the Year of Faith as declared by Pope Emeritus, Pope Benedict IX, was an indication that with faith and total submission to God, Nigeria must overcome all the troubles and tribulations. He said the problem with Nigerians is that they only approach God when they are in trouble, adding that God should be worshipped both in good and in bad times.

Kaigama said the trouble shooting efforts he has been making in Plateau State is beginning to yield fruits as all the ethnic nationalities in the state have resolved to embrace peace and live together. Kaigama continued; “It is very easy for our faith to become pharisaic or indifferent as some Christians see God as a policeman and approach Him only when there is trouble or a fire officer whose duty is to put fire out of our lives. “In this year of faith, let us renew our faith and commitment to God, be confident in Him and trust in Him, which is the hallmark of a Christian.” In his address on the occasion, Plateau State Governor, Mr. Jonah Jang, said that God did not make a mistake in situating Plateau in the centre of Nigeria, adding that Plateau, irrespective of the trial times it is undergoing today, will continue to play the role of ‘Home of Peace’ to all Nigerians, irrespective of creed, tribe or religion. Jang expressed appreciation in the role being played by the Church through the archbishop in ensuring that peace reigned once again in the state. The governor emphasised the need for all Christians to be united in prayers as that is the only weapon they have to solve all gone problems.


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North

Thursday, August 28, 2013

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Gombe doctors shun nationwide strike

Armed bandits attack FRCN editor, cart away vehicle, others

DANJUMA WILLIAMS

MARCUS FATUNMOLE

GOMBE

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hairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Gombe State, Dr. Jauro Degiri, says the state chapter of the association is not participating in the ongoing strike embarked upon

by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) over some demands from the Federal Ministry of Health. Addressing a press conference yesterday in Gombe, Degiri said that doctors were discharging their responsibilities. He said all outpatient clinics were functioning at

the Federal Medical Centre in Gombe and that all specialist services were functioning as well. Degiri said: “The hospital will continue running some emergency services and we want to assure the general public that whatever service we cannot render as a result of the ongoing

strike, we can always advice and direct our patients to where they can be attended to.” He appealed to the general public not to panic as doctors are working round the clock to ensure that patients do not suffer untold hardship as a result of the strike.

ABUJA

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group of yetto-be-identified armed bandits have stormed the private production studio of ace broadcaster and the Federal Radio Cooperation of Nigeria (FRCN) Health

7,000 benefit from vocational centre in Katsina JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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ver 7, 000 people, including the handicapped and less privileged, have so far befitted from the skills acquisition training offered by the Katsina Vocational Training Centre (KVTC). KVTC, which was founded in 2000 by former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), M. D. Yusuf, has also trained over 2,000 National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) personnel on various vocational skills. KVTC Director, Danjuma Katsina, identified some of the skills taught in the centre to include, GSM repairs, woodwork, tailoring, knitting, computer training and repairs, dye and finishing, soap and pomade making. Katsina said for past 13 years, the centre had graduated thousands of beneficiaries on various skills acquisition with most of them now on their own and generating wealth as well as providing employment for others. He also said arrangements had been concluded to graduate additional 1, 500 trainees on September 7, while another batch of trainees had been registered to begin training. According to him, KVTC would provide tools to the beneficiaries during their graduation ceremony.

AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO

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he Kano State Government has spent over N1 billion as its counterpart fund in the establishment of Kano–Niger Republic Bilingual College in Niamey. The state governor, Alhaji Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso,

L-R: Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda; Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Education, Hon. John Dyegh and a member, Hon. Simon Mwadkwon, during the committee members’ visit to the governor in Bauchi, yesterday.

2015: Group advocates power shift in Kogi MARCUS FATUNMOLE AND WALE I BRAHIM

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group, Ebira Renaissance Group (ERG), has called for power shift in Kogi State as one of the major ways to address what it described as the poor socio-economic development of the state. ERG, which made the call during its inauguration at the Federal College of Education in Okene, asked politicians from Kogi Central and West Senatorial districts to bury their distrust and work together in the interest of the state ahead of the 2015 general election. ERG Coordinator, Pastor Joseph Suleiman, said the group should not be seen as a political party as its interest is

the development of Ebira land and its people. Suleiman, however, said the group was willing to work with politicians, irrespective of their party affiliation, as long as they have the vision to develop the state. He said: “The Ebira of old were people of character. They never traded their integrity for bloodstained wealth. These are the values that we intend to rediscover and rekindle for the good of all.” Suleiman stressed that the group would work with stakeholders in the Ebira Project to bring about positive value reorientation among the people. Chairman of the occasion, Vice-Chancellor of Sokoto State University, Prof. Nuhu Ya’qub, urged Ebira people to

work constructively and peacefully with people of other Senatorial zones to actualise their mission of power shift in 2015. He said: “Ebira people must not play second fiddle in 2015, but they must not do so violently.” Ya’qub, who lamented that education in Ebira land was no longer taken seriously, said members of the ERG should be commended for their mission of value reorientation. Meanwhile Governor Idris Wada yesterday dismissed the perception that he is not in charge of the affairs of the state. Wada described the perception as wrong and the handwork of his detractors The governor spoke at a media parley to mark

Kano-Niger Republic bilingual college takes off who made this known during a send-off ceremony for the first batch of 101 pupils of SSS 1 to Niger Republic, said the money was spent in constructing hostel, multipurpose hall, kitchen, four staff quarters, clinic and wall fencing of the college. The state government,

he added, provided a bus, a pick up van, two sets of uniform for each of the pioneer pupils as well as provided English teaching staff, while the Nigerien authorities provided land for the project in addition to running the school. Kwankwaso said the idea

behind the establishment of the school was to consolidate bilateral relations, expose Kano children to French language as well as create unlimited opportunities for them in French and English speaking countries. He said: “With an annual increment of 200 students,

22nd anniversary of the state creation in Lokoja. He said: “The detractors, who have not seen any good thing about my administration, wanted me to abandon all the 40 projects I inherited from the administration of my predecessor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. “I believe in continuity. It will amount to defrauding the people of the state if all the uncompleted projects are abandoned. What will now happen to the resources that have been committed to them?” On the debt owed the pensioners, the governor admitted that the outstanding was the accumulation of money accrued to the senior citizens from the inception of the state, adding that efforts were being made to pay the money. 100 from Niger and 100 from Kano, it is our vision that in the next six years, when the college will graduate these very students, they will have a population of 1,400 students. The Kano State Government and that of the Niger Republic will take full responsibility of the scholarship of the students.”

Editor, Godwin Odemijie. The armed bandits carted away items worth millions of naira. The incident occurred recently in Abuja at the studio used mainly for the production of radio and television programmes, jingles and documentaries, among others. The items carted away included a black pilot Honda jeep marked EJ 760 ABJ with Chassis Number 2HKYF18553H002941, three laptops, two digital cameras, two still cameras, undisclosed amount of money and other valuables. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Wuse Division, J.G. Bakyu, confirmed the incident. He assured that detectives would soon arrest the suspects. The DPO said: “Yes, we are aware of the incident; we have sent signal to other states and we are also working on all the theories behind the incident. “We recovered three stolen vehicles a few days ago, but unfortunately, Godwin’s vehicle was not among them. I assure you that we are working hard and will surely recover all the stolen items.” Narrating the incident yesterday in Abuja, Odemijie said: “I was in my office at No. 13 Tamale Street, Wuse Zone 3, (Royal Plaza) at about 6:30 pm, trying to shut down my computers and preparing to close for the day when suddenly one young man slid the main entrance door open, drew out a gun while two others followed and asked me to lie down. “I was lying face down when the searched the entire office and carted away things they considered having monetary value and which they could easily pick. They did not pick the cameras with the cartons; they only picked the cameras and left the cartons empty. Up till now, I cannot quantify the value of the cash they took from the office. “I am therefore appealing to well-meaning Nigerians with any useful information about the vehicle, especially the old HP laptop and other items stolen to contact the nearest police station or any nearby Radio Nigeria office.”


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53

World News

US ready to launch attack on Syria

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LEONARD OKACHIE,

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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unisia has designated the hardline Salafist Ansar alSharia movement a “terrorist group”, blaming it for the killing of two secular politicians. PM Ali Larayedh said he had proof it was behind the killings of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, which plunged Tunisia into political turmoil. “Anyone belonging to it must face judicial consequences,” he added. The group, which emerged after the 2011 revolution, seeks the implementation of Islamic Sharia law across Tunisia. Mr. Larayedh also said the group was supporting an armed jihadist cell which the Tunisian army has been hunting for months in the remote Mount Chaambi region along the Algerian border. The Tunisian army launched an offensive in the region last month after eight soldiers were ambushed and killed by gunmen suspected of links to al-Qaeda. “We have discovered proof that the Ansar group is responsible for the assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi and the attacks at Mount Chaambi,” Prime Minister Larayedh told reporters on Tuesday. He said Ansar al-Sharia was “liaising with AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)”, while pledging that Tunisia would fight against the group “whatever the sacrifices”. “This organisation is implicated in the terrorist operations

“We have the materials to defend ourselves. We will surprise others” – SYRIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER, WALID MOALLEM

Tunisia declares Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group

The group’s annual congress was banned in May, leading to violent clashes.

in Tunisia,” Mr Larayedh said. “It is responsible for a weapons storage network, it is responsible for planning assassinations, and attacks against security and army posts,” he added. Ansar leader Seif Allah Ibn Hussein, also known as Abu Iyadh, is currently in hiding after an arrest warrant was issued for allegedly inciting an attack on the US embassy in Tunis in September 2012, which killed four people. Members of Ansar al-Sharia clashed with security forces in

May after the authorities banned the group’s annual congress for “inciting violence against state institutions”. The assassinations of Mr Belaid and Mr Brahmi within six months of each other plunged Tunisia into a political crisis. The moderate Islamist Ennahda party - elected after the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011 - stands accused by its opponents of failing to rein in radical Islamists in the country. Since coming to power, it has faced growing unrest - particu-

PHOTO: REUTERS

larly among the youth - over a faltering economy and a rising radical Islamist movement. The Ennahda-led coalition faced mass street protests after the 25 July killing of MP Mohamed Brahmi, the leader of the small left-wing Popular Movement party. In February, the government led by Islamist Hamadi Jebali was brought down after prominent secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid was also assassinated. Police later said the two men were killed by the same gun.

Liberia’s university to ‘admit’ some failed students

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iberia’s main state-run university has agreed to admit 1,800 school-leavers who failed this year’s admission exam, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says. Ms Sirleaf told the BBC she

Liberian president, Sirleaf

had held talks with officials at the University of Liberia over the failure of every single candidate who took the exam. Nearly 25,000 school leavers failed the test, with officials saying they did not have a basic

grasp of English. Liberia is recovering from a brutal civil war that ended a decade ago. Ms Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2011 for her efforts to end the conflict that killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed the West African state’s infrastructure. She told the BBC Focus on Africa programme that the university, one of two state-run universities in Liberia, had set a higher standard for admission this year, leading to the mass failure. Ms Sirleaf did not say why the university, based in the capital Monrovia, had agreed to admit 1,800 students after discussions

with her. Responding to critics who accuse her of failing to improve education standards since she was elected president in 2005, Ms Sirleaf said: “I’m sorry, they’re just dead wrong.... There’s no quick fix.” School enrolment had “quadrupled” under her government, she said. “The second phase now is quality education. That’s a more difficult task,” Ms Sirleaf told the BBC. “You’ve got thousands of teachers in our school system, some of them with only a high school education. You don’t turn that over in three or four or five years,” she added.

WORLD BULLETIN Darfur peacekeepers missing in Sudan floods

Four peacekeepers are missing in Sudan’s Darfur region after being swept away by floods, a UN official has said. The peacekeepers were escorting an aid convoy when a “powerful current” swept them away, Rania Abdulrahman told the BBC. Another two peacekeepers were found alive by a rescue team, she said. More than 300,000 people across Sudan have been affected by floods that have killed nearly 50 people in August, the World Health Organization has said. The region around the capital Khartoum had been particularly badly hit and was experiencing the worst floods in 25 years, it said. A Sudanese man wades through floodwaters in Khartoum. Photo: 3 August 2013 Floods have killed nearly 50 people in Sudan this month. The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Unamid, is one of the largest in the world, with about 20,000 soldiers and police. The peacekeepers were en route to Misterei, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south-west of the regional capital Geneina, with a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy when a flash flood hit, Ms Abdulrahman said. “The incident occurred while the peacekeepers attempted to pull out their truck which was stuck in the mud of a river valley,” she said. The seven WFP staff members who were in the convoy - five Sudanese and two foreigners - are all safe, WFP spokeswoman Amor Almagro told AFP news agency. The UN has not released the nationality of the missing peacekeepers.

Zimbabwe outlines plans for ‘Disneyland in Africa’ Zimbabwe plans to build a “Disneyland in Africa” at the world famous Victoria Falls to boost tourism, a government minister has told the BBC. The government would spend more than $300m (£193m) on the theme park, said Tourist Minister Walter Mzembi. Zimbabwe is trying to rebuild its tourism industry after a decade of conflict and hyperinflation. President Robert Mugabe was elected for a seventh term in peaceful but disputed elections last month. Zimbabwe is not leveraging the Victoria Falls enough, Mr Mzembi told the BBC on Tuesday, describing it as a “sleeping giant”. “It’s a wake-up call for us... we must built new a new tourism facility with an impact,” he said. “We think it should be modelled along the size and the kind of vision that is on Disneyland, including hotels, entertainment parks, restaurants, conferencing facilities. This is the vision and we need people who can run with it.”


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World News WORLD BULLETIN

Government requests to Facebook outlined in report

Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report, released yesterday for the first time, offered details on official requests from 74 countries. The US made by far the most requests, asking for information on between 20,000 and 21,000 users. UK authorities requested Facebook hand over data on 2,337 users. “We will continue to be aggressive advocates for greater disclosure,” Facebook said. “We hope this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations,” wrote Facebook lawyer Colin Stretch. “And while we view this compilation as an important first report - it will not be our last.” Unlike other countries, which had an exact figure, the US data was given as a range due to it being forbidden for companies to disclose how many requests they have had. “In coming reports, we hope to be able to provide even more information about the requests we receive from law enforcement authorities,” Mr Stretch added. The report covers the the first six months of 2013, ending 30 June, and is the first time Facebook has released data relating to these kind of requests. The company said it hoped to publish similar reports every six months from now on, and hoped the report highlighted the “stringent processes” involved in the obtaining of user information.

Rwandan refugee found ‘tortured’ in Uganda A Rwandan refugee who went missing in Uganda last week has been found tortured and unconscious, a Ugandan official has said. Pascal Manirakiza’s abductors had “dumped” him at a cemetery near the capital, Kampala, the official said. Mr Manirakiza was one of four Rwandans who told the BBC last month that they were seeking asylum in Uganda. They accused the Rwandan army of forcibly recruiting them to fight in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The army dismissed their claim, saying they must have made up their stories to get asylum. Last week, the UN called for an investigation into the “disappearance or abduction” of three Rwandan refugees from Uganda. Mr Manirakiza was being guarded at a hospital where he was receiving treatment, he said. It was hoped that he would regain consciousness in a few days and that he would be able to shed light on who had abducted him, Mr Asiimwe said. M23 rebels in Goma, eastern DR Congo - December 2012 Rwanda denies recruiting for the M23 rebels Last week, another of the refugees about whom the UN had expressed concern, Joel Mutabazi, an ex-Rwandan presidential guard, was placed under the protection of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s office. He had earlier been arrested by Ugandan police on a warrant issued by Rwanda.

Wednesday August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

US ready to launch attack on Syria • Such action will have catastrophic consequences- Russia

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merican forces are “ready” to launch strikes on Syria if President Barack Obama chooses to order an attack, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says. “We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfil and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take,” Mr Hagel told the BBC. The White House said the US would release intelligence on last week’s suspected attack in the next few days. The UK Parliament is to be recalled on Thursday to discuss possible responses. Prime Minister David Cameron said the world could not stand idly by after seeing appalling scenes of death and suffering caused by suspected chemical weapons attacks. A good number of Syrians, in particular those supporting the regime, believe the visit of the UN chemical weapons investigation team is nothing but a move to justify a military attack on Syria. The opposition, however, thinks that these visits will lead to some evidence being unearthed, proving that chemical weapons have been used against civilians by the Syrian regime. Above all, fear and discomfort are palpable among those living in the capital. People are haunted by the possibility of a Western military strike on Syria, discussion of which is dominating the headlines of satellite channels. “I don’t want Syria to become another Iraq... Enough bloodshed,” cried one Syrian woman. “We, and thousands like us

UN chemical weapons inspectors spent nearly three hours in the suburb of Muadhamiya in western Damascus on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

across Syria, will face any country that tries to attack us,” threatened a young man, pointing at his weapon, which he uses to protect his neighbourhood. “These are Syria’s problems and it is up to us, Syrians, to solve them.” The crisis follows last Wednesday’s suspected chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus, which reportedly killed more than 300 people. French President Francois Hollande said France was “ready to punish” whoever was behind the attack, and had decided to increase military support for Syria’s main opposition. Meanwhile the Arab League said it held Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the attacks and called for UN action. Syrian opposition sources have said they have been told to expect a Western intervention in the conflict imminently.

“There is no precise timing... but one can speak of an imminent international intervention against the regime. It’s a question of days and not weeks,” AFP news agency quoted Syrian National Coalition official Ahmad Ramadan as saying. “There have been meetings between the Coalition, the [rebel] Free Syrian Army and allied countries during which possible targets have been discussed.” Russia and China, allies of the Syrian government, have stepped up their warnings against military intervention, with Moscow saying any such action would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has said he rejects “utterly and completely” claims that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, and his government has blamed rebel fighters. On Monday, United Nations

Sri Lanka police dog ‘weddings’ condemned by minister

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ri Lanka’s culture ministry has strongly condemned a mass “wedding” of police dogs which they say offensively used traditional Buddhist symbols. Police “married” nine pairs of dogs on a platform decorated with white cloth and flowers in a ceremony resembling a traditional marriage.

The “brides” wore mittens, shawls and hats while the “grooms” wore red ties. Police have defended the “wedding” saying that it was done to promote the domestic breeding of sniffer dogs. But in a statement they also apologised for their actions. Culture Minister TB Ekanayake said that police officers had

Police have insisted that the wedding was not in any way intended to resemble a Buddhist ceremony.

“contemptibly devalued” traditional weddings in a devoutly Buddhist country. He said that he was incensed that the dog couples were placed on a Buddhist poruwa - a stage used in traditional Sinhalese weddings. “This is not acceptable according to our cultural norms,” Mr Ekanayake told reporters. “We are people who really value out traditional weddings - which are only done at auspicious times alongside the chanting of stanzas and [other] poruwa rituals. “The police have demeaned all this by conducting this in the Kandy - the city of the [famous Buddhist) Temple of Truth. I totally condemn this.” Mr Ekanayake said that such an incident had never happened before in Sri Lanka and that he had written to the the inspectorgeneral of police asking him to conduct a full inquiry.

weapons inspectors were fired on while investigating one of the five alleged chemical weapons attack sites around Damascus. Mr Hagel said the US Department of Defense had provided President Obama with “all options for all contingencies”. “He has seen them, we are prepared,” he told the BBC’s Jon Sopel, adding: “We are ready to go.” Jay Carney says the US is weighing an “appropriate response” to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria Mr Hagel said that intelligence currently being gathered by the UN inspectors would confirm that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack last week. “I think it’s pretty clear that chemical weapons were used against people in Syria,” he said. Our correspondent says he left little doubt that he believed the Assad government was responsible, and was ready to execute the orders of his commander-in-chief. White House spokesman Jay Carney later said that a separate report on chemical weapons use being compiled by the US intelligence community would be published this week. Mr Carney said that Mr Obama had a variety of options and was not limited to the use of force, adding that it was not Washington’s intention to remove Mr Assad.

Mexico mudslides, flash flooding kill 14

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ore than a dozen people have died in eastern Mexico, in landslides triggered by heavy rain caused by tropical depression Fernand. Thirteen people were killed when mud engulfed their homes on hillsides in Veracruz state. Another man drowned after being swept away by fast-flowing floodwaters in neighbouring Oaxaca. Fernand made landfall near the Atlantic port city of Veracruz on Monday and weakened as it moved north-west. Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte has asked the federal government to declare an emergency in 92 municipalities, so they can receive recovery funds. Veracruz Civil Protection Director Noemi Guzman Lagunes said almost 300 people had been moved to shelters. Officials said damage had affected 10% of highways and major roads in Oaxaca. The US National Hurricane Center said Fernand had packed winds of 85km/h (50mph) when it made landfall, but weakened quickly once it hit land. Fernand, which had started off as a tropical storm before weakening to a tropical depression, was the fifth named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. The season runs from 1 June to 1 November.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Community Mirror I believe that those who kill by the sword should also die by the sword EDO STATE GOVERNOR, COMRADE ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE

Pandemonium as police, OPC clash in Lagos FRANCIS SUBERU

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here was pandemonium at Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos yesterday afternoon when the police from Ishaga Divisional Headquarters engaged in clashes with a faction of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC. Community Mirror gathered that trouble began when policemen on patrol stopped an OPC bus that was heading towards Agege, where they planned to launch a unit of the organisation in the local government. It was said that some unruly

members of the group flouted police orders and when threatened with arrest, allegedly started firing their guns sporadically into the air. The police responded by firing tear gas canisters; even as the altercations sent panic among residents and passersby. At the end of the altercation that lasted for an hour, six members of the factional group were arrested. When contacted, one of the factional leaders of OPC, Otunba Gani Adams said those involved in the rift are not his members. He said; “those who clashed with the police are not our mem-

bers. They belong to Dr. Fasehun’s faction. Our findings revealed that they are launching a political party called Unity Party at Amao Street in Agege. It was on their way to the place that they clashed with the police. “We were in Osun Oshogbo last week and throughout our stay, there was no report of any violence. We never clashed with any law enforcement agency. Presently, the national leaders of OPC are currently with me and we are holding the national coordinating meeting. I can say those who clashed with the police are not our members.

“It is unfortunate that at this level of our political history, some people still believe they can lead a group they cannot control. It is unfortunate that Dr. Fasehun cannot control the people he thinks he is leading. We are law abiding and we will never take laws into our hands.” Fasehun could not be reached for comments, but a member of his group who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that there was an altercation with the police, while they were on their way to launch a branch of OPC at Agege Local Government Area, but said the dispute was resolved

almost immediately. He said none of them was arrested and that Dr. Fasehun was not at the scene when the incident occurred. Attempts at reaching the Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Command, DSP Ngozi Braide for comments proved abortive as her cell phone was answered by one of her aides who said she was in a meeting.

Taskforce to embark on sensitisation of street traders MURITALA AYINLA

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Plateau State cultural dancers performing at a festival in Abuja, recently

Man, 25, defiles three-year-old girl PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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he Police in Niger State have arrested a man, Saliu Lawal for allegedly defiling a three year old girl, Hummi at Anguwan Daji, Chanchaga Local Government Area of the state. Lawal, 25, a bricklayer, was alleged to have lured the girl into his house and defiled her. Community Mirror learnt that the victim’s cry attracted passersby to the scene. Eyewitness account said when Lawal saw people, he took to his heels, but was apprehended and handed over to the police at Chanchaga Divisional Police Headquar-

ters. Musa said, “The cry of the child attracted some passersby who arrived at the scene and apprehended him. “ Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Richard A. Oguche said the command is waiting for the medical report on the child and additional evidence that will help in prosecuting the suspect. According to him, the suspect, said to be a serial rapist, has also admitted to have committed the crime. “Investigations are almost completed, we are just waiting for the medical report on the victim and the suspect would soon be charged to court.

NSCDC parades suspected pipeline vandals JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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he Plateau State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, has paraded seven suspected pipeline vandals including a female farmer, identified as Hannautu Iliya. State Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr. Vincent Bature who paraded the suspects at the Command’s headquarters in Jos, said their activities led to contamination of a river in Bassa Local Government Area where they were apprehended. According to him, “The River

in Bassa is now highly polluted, even the fish are dying, the cattle cannot graze and all the Fadama rice being produced there is now destroyed. Nobody can use that water.” He further disclosed that Hannatu Iliya, was caught with cans of diesel by the river side and later a discovery of more cans was made in her house, adding that other items recovered from the suspects included 88 cans of diesel, a Ford bus and a Suzuki motorcycle But Hannatu Iliya pleaded for forgiveness claiming it was her first time, having been widowed for four years ago.

orried by the constant traffic gridlock on major roads caused by street trading, the Lagos Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences said it would no longer embark on outright arrest of street traders without notice, but rather would now sensitise them on the dangers before enforcing the law. Prior to this disclosure, the taskforce had arrested erring street traders and hawkers while taking them to its Alausa headquarters. But chairman of the taskforce, Mr Bayo Sulaiman, who made the disclosure in Alausa, Ikeja, said the law enforcement unit had now adopted the strategy of sensitising them on dangers of the menace. According to him, the government believed that embarking on market-to-market campaigns on the hazards of street trading would engender behavioural change and curb the menace. Sulaiman, however stressed that enforcement of the environmental and traffic law would still be applied should perpetrators refuse to leave the roads after repeated warnings and sensitisation campaign. His words: “We have changed our tactics on street trading. We have now adopted more pro-active strategies. We go to the areas where we have complaints of street trading and invite the leaders, and warn them on the many dangers involved. “We also go the markets, and use the Public Address System, PAS, to tell them of the dangers in what they are doing. “It is when the sensitisation and warnings have failed that we now enforce the law. Again,enforcement and sanctioning of offenders will only be used as a last resort’’, he said.


WORLD RECORD

Light sensitivity Vol. 03 No. 696

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

N150

Working in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1942, Maurice H. Pirenne detected a flash of blue light of 500nm in total darkness, when as few as five quanta or photons of light were available to be absorbed by the rod photoreceptors of the retina.

Let a thousand flowers bloom

Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend”- Mao. hen the late Chairman Mao Zedong of China uttered those immortal words, the political climate in his country was in total ferment. It was also during the Cultural Revolution which led to the disgrace, imprisonment and deaths of millions of Chinese, accused of counter revolutionary activities. As they say, politics is war by other means. In executing this war, the gladiators are minded by the fact that the end justifies the means. Today, Nigerians are witnessing something akin to such type of high wire politics, where all combatants are deploying their big guns to dislodge and inflict maximum casualties on the opposing sides. In the heat of these intrigues, nothing is sacrosanct or off limits, including

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Okay Osuji (okayosuji@nationalmirroronline.net) 08034729256 (sms only)

subterfuge, backstabbing, open rebellion, defections and even betrayal. Given that the country is currently locked in a low intensity war with the murderous Boko Haram sect, their politician counterparts are doing everything possible to keep roiling the already muddy political waters, by openly antagonising their parties or striking out with new outfits in the quest for raw power. In the past weeks, we have been witnessing a lot of these political buccaneering which have now climaxed with the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC), an amalgam of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Not to be outdone in this registration game, acolytes of the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar have hurriedly registered a party to be known as the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), even when it maintains that it is still a pressure group within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Though, Atiku strenuously denies having any hand in its registration, we all know that given the antecedents of the ‘Turaki of Adamawa’, it won’t be long before he appears in full glare to use the gambit as a tool for political negotiations. As if that is not enough to engage our curiosity, another quango by the name, Voice of the People (VOP), applied to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration as a political party. Those behind it are believed to be Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) Murtala Nyako (Adamawa),Babangida Aliyu

ONE QUESTION TO ASK IS WHETHER THESE PARTIES WILL SURVIVE BEYOND

2015 OR HAVE BEEN HURRIEDLY CONTRIVED

PRESIDENT JONATHAN?

TO UNSEAT

(Niger), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers). Increasingly, political observers are coming to associate the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal with this new party, even when he is openly keeping a safe distance from it. For those who have been following political developments in recent times, it will come as no surprise that Tambuwal has become a political Nicodemus, who wants to be publicly seen fraternising with the PDP and then having a liaison in the dark of night with the VOP. Even when the political motive behind all the shuffling is the same; which is the deposition of the PDP from power in 2015, it is pertinent to see them as mutually exclusive in their eventual outcomes. On paper, the APC has a more organised political machine to mount bruising challenge to the PDP, but that is dependent on producing a presidential candidate that would be a veritable game changer, and imbued with an indomitable political sagacity to rally Nigerians into seeing him as al-

ternative to President Goodluck Jonathan. Fortunately, the voters know the history and antecedents of those now on display as potential flag bearers. And whether they will be swayed by all the noises and promises of yet to be unveiled economic programmes remain to be seen. It is such dilemmas that have kept the likes of Tambuwal in suspended animation. He is constantly being touted as the last minute knight in shining armour of the APC, if perchance Gen. Muhammadu Buhari fails to sail through. Interestingly, he is also dancing to the drum beats of the VOP in pursuit of the same goal. Maybe, the fear of not having any formidable presidential candidate may have informed the present advertisement blitz in some national dailies praising the political ingenuity and administrative wizardry of Rabiu Kwankwaso. Probably, in the event of Tambuwal declining the offer, the Kano State helmsman would be drafted to fill the void. On face value, all these permutations are meant serve the ultimate purpose of those who have not hidden their contempt towards the Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency. Any political observer would at a glance see the single thread running through all these plots, that of fielding a presidential candidate from the core north for the purpose of sweeping the northern votes. One question to ask is whether these parties will survive beyond 2015 or have been hurriedly contrived to unseat President Jonathan? While the APC is making efforts to expand its political base beyond the Southwest and North central geopolitical zones, it would remain a Sisyphean task for the PDM and VOP to metamorphose beyond it present narrow remit. This brings us to ask whether the promoters are serious of capturing power in 2015, or merely jockeying for a future political settlement with the PDP. We all know that INEC recently deregistered some parties for not meeting the statutory requirements for their continued existence. Maybe, some of these new parties will eventually join this league after the 2015 poll. For now, let them contend, for the more the merrier.

Sport Extra

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orld number one, Tiger Woods, is not sure he will be fit enough for the second leg of the FedEx Cup after a back problem hampered his challenge at The Barclays on Sunday. The 37-year-old col-

Golf: Injury threatens Woods FedEx Cup run lapsed in pain after playing a shot from the fairway at the 13th hole in New Jersey after suffering from a back spasm. Although he recovered his composure to almost

force a play-off with eventual winner Adam Scott, finishing one shot behind in a four-way tie for second, Woods said his present state was less assuring. “I’m not feeling my

best right now,” he said yesterday. Woods, who attributed the situation to a soft hotel bed, had struggled all week, with the pain flaring up on the final day at

the 12th. “It actually started the hole before, my little tee shot there started it and 13 just kind of accentuated it. I wish this didn’t happen,” he added.

Wood

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