Benin Airport shut over N39m tax debts
Oshiomhole, FAAN trade blames over closure
SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN AND OLUSEGUN KOIKI Oduah
Vol. 3 N0. 676
he newly-renovated Benin Airport was shut down yesterday, leaving many passengers stranded as the Edo
State Government and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, engaged in a tussle over CONTINUED ON PAGE 48>>
Sack request: Tukur blasts northern govs Nyako, Wamakko, Kwankwaso, Lamido visit Shagari P.7,13
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Shortage of doctors S hits Lagos hospitals
...patients groan, medical personnel overworked INEC decides on APC’s registration tomorrow P.4
ome units in government hospitals in Lagos may be forced to shut down due to an acute shortage of medical doctors in the state, National Mirror investigations can authoritatively reveal. A survey conducted at many of the hospitals over a period revealed that hundreds of patients that besiege the general hospiCONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>
UK minister flays £3000 visa bond plan P.7 FG voids Customs officer’s compulsory retirement P.6
Some of the victims of Kano attacks in hospitals. TOP RIGHT: A damaged vehicle. BELOW RIGHT: Kwankwaso visits victims in hospital.
Outrage trails Kano bomb explosions
Stop life pension for FG deploys more troops to Borno public officers –MURICP.51 Akpabio, SSG hold secret talks
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Outrage trails Kano bomb explosions AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST,
SINA FADARE AND AZA MSUE
utrage yesterday trailed Monday’s bomb explosions in Kano, which claimed more than 30 lives, even as military and police authorities confirmed that only 12 people died. Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and others described the explosions as an attack on Nigerians, designed to cause crisis in the country. Kwankwaso, who visited the scene of the attack yesterday, described the incident as devastating, stating that it was an attack on Nigeria. “This attack on Sabon Gari is an attack on Nigeria because Muslims and Christians are involved. Several people of different ethnic extractions have either lost their lives or are critically injured. Whoever did this thing targeted Nigeria,” Kwankwaso stressed. He promised that the state government would continue to work with security agencies to maintain peace and protect lives and property. The governor appealed to the people to continue to support security agencies to make the state safer and to go about their normal ac-
tivities calmly. Kwankwaso, who visited Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano, to commiserate with the victims, promised that the state government would bear the cost of their treatment. He, therefore, directed the state commissioner for health to ensure that the victims get the best of treatment in public or private hospital in the state. The governor extended heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the incident, praying Allah to stand by them in this moment of sorrow. The Igbo apex body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in Kano in a statement signed by its leader in the state, Chief Michael Tobias Idika, called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the safety of Nigerians anywhere they are residing in the country. The statement said: “On Monday, July 29, between 9 and 9:30p.m., terrorists invaded Sabon Gari, an enclave carved out for non-indigenes and planted Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, which exploded almost simultaneously at Enugu/Igbo Road, near International Hotel; and on New Road, directly opposite the popular Ado Bayero Square precisely at No. 38, 39, 40 and 41. “At 41 New Road, the Christ Salvation Pentecostal Church was also
bombed at the peak of evening worship. Ohanaeze’s account can confirm 39 deaths in New Road and six in Igbo/Enugu Road; and also unspecified numbers of people who got injured. The team of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano State chapter arrived at the scenes at about 9:30p.m. and witnessed the moving of dead bodies and the wounded by security agencies, mostly the Army. “Ohanaeze Ndigbo, however, can recall that this is not the first time terrorists invaded Sabon Gari, particularly on New Road. In fact, on that same spot where the latest incident happened, several attempts have been made to terrorise Nigerian citizens. “As a reputable organisation, we call for adequate se-
curity of lives and property in northern Nigeria. “Ohanaeze Ndigbo also commends the spirited efforts of the Assistant Inspector- General of Police, David Omojola, the officer in-charge of Zone 1, who was accompanied by the Commissioner of Police, Musa Daura, to the scene of the incident for on-the-spot assessment. The group registered its deep feelings over the unprovoked attacks on Sabon Gari, Kano, dominated by Ndigbo. It called on President Goodluck Jonathan to make haste and protect the lives of citizens resident in the northern part of the country, particularly in Kano with undisputed status of boosting economy and politics in Nigeria.
“To all the departed souls and the wounded in this grievous attack, we register our deep sympathy and only hope that those in authorities, including security agencies, would brace up and take decisive action to end this carnage - man’s inhumanity to man.” Another community leader and veteran journalist, Prince Ajayi Memaiyetan, said of the development: “What happened is that for the past two months, we in Kano have been enjoying the peace of the graveyard. We are waiting for security agencies to give us details on what really happened. “I was at Festing Road when I heard the first blast and I had to manoeuvre to run for dear life. The truth is that the security was not as effective as before be-
cause of the lull in attacks.” In Kaduna, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, said the bomb explosions amounted to desecration of Ramadan. ACF, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, described the incident as shocking, stressing that the killings of innocent people had no place in all religions. ACF maintained that violence could never resolve perceived grievances, besides inflicting pains and self-immolation and destruction of people, stressing that perpetrators should embrace dialogue offered by the government for peace. The statement reads in part: “ACF is shocked and sad over the reports of four CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>
L-R: Chairman of Board, Infrastructure Concessions Regulatory Commission, Senator Ken Nnamani; Vice-President Namadi Sambo and Director-General, ICRC, Alhaji Aminu Dikko, at the inauguration of the new board of the commission in Abuja, yesterday.
Shortage of doctors hits Lagos hospitals CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
tals everyday now have to queue for hours before receiving medical attention. Doctors complain of being overworked, with many of them staying on duty for over 24 hours at a stretch. National Mirror investigation revealed that the state government has not employed any resident doctor in the last two years at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, leaving the care of thousands of patients in the hands of medical officers, who are mostly general practitioners. A resident doctor is a medical doctor receiving advanced training in a specialist field. In the teaching hospital setting, the resi-
dent doctors usually attend to the majority of patients and render specialised services under the supervision of consultants who are fewer in number. Repeated visits to LASUTH, however, revealed many departments are without resident doctors. At the department of medicine, for instance, many of the units which should be supervised by resident doctors are being run by medical officers. In one of the units, the only consultant, who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed that he was running the unit with just two medical officers, which he described as “grossly inadequate”. “In a department like
my own, there should be at least three to four consultants, two to three senior registrars per consultant, three to four registrars and three to four resident doctors per consultant,” the consultant, who pleaded anonymity, told National Mirror. This, he said, has increased the workload of the few doctors on ground with one doctor attending to no fewer than 40 patients or more daily. “We need at least a triple of the number of doctors in this unit,” he said. National Mirror learnt there are currently 24 doctors at the surgical out-patients department, a situation one of the doctors said was inadequate for all the
units. “There is so much pressure on us,” the doctor said, and bluntly refused to speak further. Some doctors, bogged down by the pressure of work, were not ready to spare any time for interviews. Some also told National Mirror they were civil servants and would not talk without the permission of the hospital authorities. A female doctor at the paediatric department simply walked this reporter out of her unit even when our correspondent pretended to be a mother requiring information about hospital admission. “Look, I have so many children to attend to. If
you want any information go to the information unit. The right people to tell you what you want are there. Please leave,” she said. A nurse at the medical out-patient unit also confirmed the pressure of work on the doctors. She told National Mirror that majority of them were being so overworked that they did not have time for break. They send attendants to buy biscuits and soft drinks to eat. “Many of them resume work at 8a.m. and close around 7p.m. Some even work continuously for three days without going home. Some of them will even delegate their duties, telling nurses around to attend to some of the patients
and prescribe necessary drugs simply because of the stress and workload on them. “Others who will not delegate will just attend to patients in a hurry and release them,” she added. Further investigation at the obstetrics and gynaecology, O&G, department in LASUTH also revealed that there are only five doctors in the department. The department caters for scores of women who visit the department daily for specialised care. A source at the department told National Mirror that the doctors could only attend to only 10 new patients and about 30 followups daily. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
L-R: Executive Director, Joseph’s Company, Mr. Tosin Sokan; Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr Sam Amadi and Programme Coordinator, Miss Wosilat Jubrila, during a meeting of NERC Management and Joseph’s Company on Youth Empowered Programme in PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA Abuja, yesterday.
L-R: Anambra State Governor Peter Obi; Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, during the signing of MoU on erosion control and education assistance in Anambra State.
L-R: Managing Director, Shell Oil Exploration Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Chike Onyejekwe; President, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Mr. Egbert Imomoh; former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Don Etiebet and Managing Director, Emrald Energy, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah, at the 37th Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual International Conference in Lagos, yesterday.
L-R: Former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana; Managing Director, Siemens Limited Nigeria, Mr. Michael Lakota and Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, during the Ministry of Power/Siemens Power Generation Forum in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA
Akwa Ibom guber: Akpabio, SSG hold secret talks TONY ANICHEBE UYO
here was a twist in the face-off between Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, and the Secretary to the State Government, Umana Umana, as the governor yesterday paid an unscheduled visit to the house of the latter in Uyo, the state capital. Akpabio, who arrived Ibom International Airport about 3pm from Abuja, went straight to Umana’s Ewet Housing Estate home. The governor was at the SSG’s residence in company with his brother, Sir Emem Akpabio, and some of his commissioners. Shortly on arrival at the Umana’s house, the governor went into a closed-door meeting with the SSG. The meeting lasted for an hour. Though what the two men discussed at the meeting was not clear at press time, fillers from the parley showed that Akpabio
was in Umana’s house to apologise to him over the manner in which he was humiliated out of office on Monday. After the meeting, the SSG saw off the governor. Both men embraced before Akpabio and his entourage left Umana’s house about 6:30pm. When contacted, the SSG’s spokesman, Iboro Otongaran, said he was yet to be briefed on the outcome of the meeting. He said: “The only information I can confirm is that both Governor Godswill Akpabio and the SSG met in Umana’s house. The outcome of what they discussed I don’t know.” A team of mobile policemen led by one A. Akinola, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, had on Monday sealed off Umana’s office. Akinola is said to be the Camp Commandant of the police security unit at the Government House, in Uyo.
Civil servants working within the office were barred from entering or leaving the office which is a few metres away from Akpabio’s office. The workers were searched and asked to vacate the premises. Both Umana and Akpabio were said to be in Abuja at the time of the incident. About an hour before the police raided the SSG’s office, a security official from the Government House met with the Permanent Secretary in the office of the SSG, George Akpabio, and asked him to immediately assume his ‘new post’ in the Ministry of Transport. The permanent secretary was said to have asked the security official: “Just like that? Is that how they move a permanent secretary?” But the security official reportedly said the instruction was from the Head of Service, Mrs. Ce-
cilia Udo Essien. The decision to remove the SSG, according to sources, may have been connected with his interest to contest the 2015 governorship poll. The governor is said not to be pleased with Umana’s plan as he had always said only God would determine his successor. During the groundbreaking ceremony of the Eket-Ibeno Road last week, the governor had told the oil-bearing communities of Ibeno that he had not anointed any candidate for the 2015 governorship race. Akpabio said after the celebration of the creation of the state in September, he would begin the tour of the local governments that make up the Eket Senatorial District to consult with the people on his successor. He said: “I want the best for you. I cannot be going this way while you are going the other way.”
INEC takes decision on APC’s registration Thursday –Official
he policy making organs of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will meet on Thursday to take final decision on the registration of the All Progressives Congress, APC. The Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the INEC chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja yesterday. Idowu said the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and the commissioners would meet as empowered by the law to take the decision. On June 12, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, submitted an interim application to INEC for the registration of APC. Idowu said that the process of registration of the merger groups as APC was ongoing as there was no infringement of
any provision of the law on the issue. He said: “The stipulated 30 days after the application for registration has not lapsed so the commission has not broken the law. As at today we are speaking, the process is on; no law has been broken.” On allowing independent candidates in the 2015 general elections, as being suggested in the ongoing constitution review exercise, the CPS said it was not yet a law. Idowu said since it was not in the Electoral Act, INEC as political umpire, would not do anything that was unconstitutional. He said: “The law that we have now does not allow for independent candidates; it is not even on the radar. But if the law is amended to reflect participation of independent candidates, then it becomes a law.” The CPS said until that was done, the commission did not have such plan in its 2015 agenda.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Shortage of doctors hits Lagos hospitals CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
It was a pathetic situation at the Lagos Island General Hospital when National Mirror visited the surgical out-patients department. There was a long queue of patients either waiting to be booked for a surgical operation or waiting to take their turn to be taken to the theatre. One of the patients, who identified himself simply as Friday, was seen pleading with doctors to attend to him as he complained of a bladder problem and obvious urinary incontinence. Another patient, Mrs. Nike Ademola, with an undisclosed ailment lamented openly that she had been sitting in one spot since 8a.m. when she was called
and was yet to be attended to at 3p.m. National Mirror noted that there are just one consultant and one doctor in the unit. Both could not be reached for interview. A source, however, confirmed that the doctors are always so overwhelmed by the number of patients they see daily that it now seems “they have developed thick skin to the cries of patients.” “Doctors in that unit are usually overstressed. By the time they attend to about 25 patients, they are worn out already. Most of the time, they work for two days at a stretch. Their case can be described as an abnormality that has become normal in the system,” he said. The situation is not
different in other departments of the hospital visited by National Mirror. At Gbagada General Hospital, a young man, Ayoola, narrated how his wife was rushed from a private hospital in Ketu at exactly 5.20a.m. and could not see a doctor until it was almost 9a.m. “Kemi was about seven months pregnant and was draining. She started complaining of pain yesterday around 10p.m. so I took her to a nearby clinic. But the doctor called me aside and said he had to refer her to a government hospital because he suspected that the baby was dead based on the kind of odour from her body. She needed to see a specialist to treat the infections which he described as
“sepsis.” “The doctor actually advised that I took her to either LASUTH or Gbagada immediately but I pleaded that we wait till the morning because there was no transport around that time. I was, however, lucky to see a friend who agreed to take us in his car by 5a.m. “At the Gbagada General Hospital, we were directed to the O&G department from the emergency unit but there was no doctor to attend to us with my wife reeling in pain. I tried to look for a doctor and I saw one man sleeping on a table who turned out to be the only doctor on duty in that unit. A nurse pleaded with me to leave him alone because he had been the only doctor on duty and he had
L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Investment, Mr. Dauda Kigbu; Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku and Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, during the 2013 Ministerial Platform in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA
Outrage trails Kano bomb explosions CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
bomb explosions which killed and wounded many people yesterday in Kano. These kinds of killing of innocent people have no place in all religions and in decent societies; and amounts to desecration of the month of Ramadan. They should, therefore, be condemned by all those who cherish core values of inhumanity like freedom, justice and common decency. “It is still the considered opinion of ACF that violence can never resolve any perceived grievances, besides inflicting pains and self-immolation and destruction of innocent people. Only constructive engagement can address
concerns positively. “Many examples abound across the world that supports this contention. That is why ACF would not be tired of asking perpetrators of violence to avail themselves to the offer of dialogue by the government for the good of all. “This is because there is no alternative to peaceful coexistence needed for the socio-economic development of this large country that holds a lot of promises to generations to come. Let us give peace a chance. “Our heart goes to the government and people of Kano State, is with those who lost their loved ones, is with those who have been wounded and is with those
who lost properties. May God provide them with the fortitude to endure the irreparable losses and the means for replacement of the properties many folds.” JNI under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto said the multiple attacks was a designed plan to cause crisis in the North. In a statement made available to National Mirror, JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, called for calm and restraint. JNI also called on security agencies to fish out perpetrators and punish them in accordance with the laws of the land. The statement reads in part: “Jama’atu Nasril Is-
lam, JNI, under the leadership of Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the President-General, once again received with bewilderment the news of the orchestrated multiple bomb blasts which were reported to have occurred yesterday night at Sabon Gari, Kano, Kano State, resulting in collateral damages and many lives lost. “We strongly condemn the inhuman and ungodly act in its totality as it is reprehensible. “JNI is perplexed that this act of unleashing terror on human lives continued unabated, despite CONTINUED ON PAGE 48>>
‘worked himself out,’ to use her exact word. “I wonder why government should allow that to happen. Anyway I had to start shouting and begging that they should not allow my wife to die before a doctor eventually came to attend to her at 9a.m. “I must, however, commend the doctors and the nurses. The doctor actually told me my wife would have died if he had not referred her.” National Mirror also visited the dental department of the hospital where there was no single doctor on duty. It was gathered that only three doctors out of the total six in the department had all gone for a seminar. The other three were reportedly on leave. The department currently does not have a consultant. The only nurse on duty was heard telling patients to come back the following day. A lady who complained of severe tooth pain was advised to take Paracetamol and come back the following day as there was no doctor around to attend to her. The nurse also advised some other patients with serious cases to try other hospitals for proper medical attention. Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile, confirmed the dearth of doctors in Lagos public hospitals, saying lack of adequate medical personnel had become a general problem at LASUTH in particular. “Over two years now, doctors have not been employed at LASUTH, those on ground are not trained to be promoted to be registrars and registrars not trained to be senior registrars. As a result, there is a general lack of senior registrars within the system and this really affects the system. “Many departments are affected by this in the sense that where there should be two or three senior registrars you have only one or no registrar at all. The lack of adequate medical personnel is a general problem at LASUTH. “Doctors are really overworked, you know an overworked doctor is a stressed doctor and we all know what can happen to decision making during stress-
ful situations. The patients will always be at the receiving ends of such a terrible situation. “Lagos State, being a ‘centre of excellence’, is supposed to have many of these consultants for the people to enjoy their benefits. The underlying fact is that a consultant is supposed to have at least two or three senior registrars so that he will be able to expand his work for the work to be appreciated. Also, under each senior registrar, there should be about two or three registrars.” He added that within a unit of a consultant, there should be a minimum of 10 doctors learning under him. But in the case of LASUTH, there is a consultant without a registrar or a senior registrar without a registrar, hence the consultant will not work effectively, the work will be hampered. Such cases can be very difficult, and this accounts for why doctors have been crying for more people to complement the work the consultants are doing. “A consultant will always need the registrars to rally round him to take care of the patients when he performs a surgery instead of him being tied down to see one patient.” Asked about the number of consultants, senior registrars and registrars needed in a hospital like LASUTH, Dr. Faduyile said: “LASUTH is big, it is the highest rated in Lagos State, so it depends on the outlook of the government on the number of consultants, senior registrars and registrars it wants. It depends on the number of specialties the government wants to have. “For example, it is possible the government decides it is not taking neurosurgeons, which means people in Lagos that need neurosurgical treatment are doomed to die or they go to another place.” Efforts by National Mirror to get the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Jide Idris, and his counterpart in Information, Lateef Ibirogba, to react to the development was unsuccessful as they did not pick their calls or reply text messages requesting for interview or asking direct questions on our findings in the state hospitals.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Rifles, cartridges, others tendered against Lebanese suspects ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA
rohibited firearms ranging from different types of rifles and cartridges were yesterday admitted in evidence against the three Lebanese businessmen facing trial before a federal high court in Abuja over their alleged involvement in terrorismrelated offences. The Lebanese - Mustapha Fawaz, 49; Abdallah Thahini, 48; and Talal Ahmad Roda, 51; - are charged with their companies - Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park Resort. The ammunition admitted in evidence were one single barrel horse bar; 10 pieces of cartridges; 17 air rifles; green handle pellet gun, one disassembled air rifle barrel and two cartridge belt holders.
Others are 158 rounds of cartridges, pellets for riffles in plastic container and an empty rifle bag. Prosecution witness seven tagged DSS 7 and also an exhibit keeper with the State Security Service, SSS, who brought the ammunition, said they were seized from the accused persons. Earlier, prosecution witness 4 had stated during examination-in-chief that on May 27, 2013, a large cache of arms including 17 AK 47 rifles, 10, 921 live rounds of AK 47 ammunition,76 hand grenade, among others, were recovered from No 3, Gaiya Road, Kano belonging to one Abdul Hassan Tahil, who is presently at large. He added that also on May 31, 2013 when another search was conducted, a black metal box was recovered from the underground containing five pistols, four silencers as well
as other items. Under cross-examination led by the accused persons’ counsel, Robert Clark, SAN, the witness said none of the accused persons were present when the search was conducted. He added that an external labourer was hired to dig the spot where the arms and ammunition were recovered from. He further stated that all exhibits recovered were captured on audio, video and still pictures and all are available to be presented as exhibits before the court. Another witness, who was tagged DSS five, testified that when a search was conducted at Wonderland Amusement Park, Abuja, 107 items were recovered, including one single-barrel and a firearm licence. Testifying, prosecution witness nine, who was em-
ployed to dig the spot on May 28, 2013, where the firearms were recovered, said while he was digging, he saw a mat and when it was opened, he saw some coolers which when opened contained guns. According to him; “I saw a big cooler, after bringing
them out and opening them, I saw guns inside like that of the police. I heard them saying there were bombs inside and some elements I didn’t know.” He further said that the officers of the SSS were surrounding him while he was digging.
As to whether he knew who could have kept the ammunition recovered there, the witness said he did not know who kept them there. The trial judge, Justice Ademola Adeniyi, later adjourned the matter till today for continuation of examination.
Why Reps passed 2013 amended budget –Lawmaker TORDUE SALEM ABUJA
he House of Representatives passed President Goodluck Jonathan’s amendment to the 2013 Appropriation Act last week to avoid an aggravated crisis in the country, it was learnt yesterday. President Jonathan had in March returned to the Senate and the House of Representatives the 2013 budget as he signed it, but the House threw out his proposals on the basis that the proposals were unconstitutional and must come in form of a supplementary budget. The House, however, made a u-turn on Thursday, December 20, 2012 and passed the 2013 budget of N4.987 trillion as against the N4.924 trillion presented by
Jonathan, which represents a difference of N63 billion. Chairman of the Committee on House Services, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, at a press briefing yesterday, explained that the National Assembly passed the amendment because the executive had reworked its earlier proposals into specifics. “What we must understand is that it was not that same document that we threw away that was passed. As soon as we rejected that for failure to meet the test, I guess they must have learnt their lessons, maybe with the advice of the AttorneyGeneral of the Federation and Minister of Justice, they brought another document. “Now, in this document, the sections they clearly wanted to be amended were
specified. They brought the principal Act, which is the 2013 Appropriation Act that has been signed by the President, and said ‘okay’, hold this section and replace this section with this; put this fund here, replace this one with this; reduce this one from here, and include it there.” Dogara said. He added that; “The thinking of the House was that in order not to run through serious crisis since we were going to go on our annual recess, we should help them to perfect this document and just pass it in the interest of Nigerians. I believe that all the parties have learnt their lessons, and these mistakes would never be repeated in the future.”
FG voids customs officer’s compulsory retirement FRANCIS EZEM
M L-R: Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim and Managing Director, Nigeria LNG Limited, Babs Omotowa, during a visit by Omotowa to the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government in Abuja, yesterday.
FG orders enforcement of currency declaration
ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA
n a move to accelerate the removal of Nigeria from the list of countries still having issues with the Financial Action Taskforce, FATF, regarding anti-money laundering/counter financing terrorism regimes, the Federal Government has directed the immediate sanitisation of the country’s international airports, particularly the enforcement of currency regime declaration by travellers. The government has also constituted a cabinet committee under the chairmanship of Vice-President Namadi Sambo, to ensure that Nigeria was completely removed from the list. The vice-president
during the maiden meeting of the committee said the present administration strongly believed that with the measures already put in place regarding laws and regulations, Nigeria, should not continue to remain on the public statement of the FATF. He noted that in a deliberate attempt to accelerate the delisting of Nigeria from FATF books, the President had constituted the high powered committee, charging members to work assiduously to ensure that the committee discharged its mandate effectively. Sambo said the President remained committed to the delisting of Nigeria from the list of countries that still have issues with FATF. The vice-president
said; “I urge you all to work hard towards ensuring that we maintain the integrity of our financial system through effective implementation of laws and regulations against financial improprieties.” Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on FATF, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, noted that the presidential committee had made considerable progress in ensuring that Nigeria was removed from the FATF list, particularly in areas of strict implementation of rules and regulations in the financial system. The Financial Action Task Forces is expected for an on-site visit to Nigeria in September in order to facilitate the delisting of Nigeria from their books.
oves by the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, to compulsorily retire an Assistant Comptroller-General, Dr. David Agbaje, have suffered a major blow as the Federal Government reversed the action. Agbaje had in a letter dated July 25, 2013 and addressed to the Minister of Finance and Chairman, NCS board raised the alarm over moves by the ComptrollerGeneral to compulsorily retire him illegally on alleged health grounds. However, a letter from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in response to the letter of complaint held that Agbaje’s retirement from the nation’s civil service should commence from October 13, 2017 when he is expected to attain the mandatory 35 years of pensionable service in line with Rule 020810(1) (11) of the Public Service Rules of 2008. The letter with reference number HCSF/FPO/FIR/ RR/64697/T3/Vol.1/10 and signed by one Mr. Kehinde Adeyemi, Director, Organisation Design and Development on behalf of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation reads in part: “I am directed to refer to the letter of clarification forwarded to this office by Dr. David Olusegun Agbaje, Assistant
Comptroller-General, GL 16 in the Nigeria Customs Service in respect of his years of service. “I am to state that from available records, the officer worked briefly as a clerical officer at Western Nigeria Marketing Board from March to November 1976. He thereafter resigned his appointment to further his education. The import of his resignation was that the eight months period of service which was not confirmed was brought to an end and could not be reckoned with for pension purposes.” The letter, therefore, held that Agbaje’s service commenced with effect from October 14, 1982 when he was employed as assistant lecturer GL. 08 by the Ondo State Polytechnic, which he subsequently transferred to Customs in 1992. The letter also cited Rule 020810(1) (11) which stipulates that the ‘compulsory retirement age for all grades of in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service, whichever is earlier’ and that ‘no officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service, whichever is earlier’, respectively. Dr.Agbaje had in his letter complaint entitled ‘Appeal for rescue from a second unlawful retirement’ said: “Further to my letter of June 21, 2013 on my persecution and illegal retirement,
I wish to inform you that a second letter of retirement within one month has just been prepared for me on a false premise in furtherance of my persecution by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi.” He had alleged that the customs boss ordered a fabrication of six years to be added to his years of service to facilitate his retirement with effect from 2011, which was based on claims that he worked with the defunct Western Nigeria Marketing Board as a clerical officer for eight months between March-November 1976. He had also disclosed that he did not enjoy any study leave since he was not qualified for one, a development that also compelled him to fund his education himself. The embattled ACG, who pleaded for prompt action on the issue, insisted that his retirement should be effective 2017, as he still has four years to be in the service of the nation. National Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said in a telephone interview that he was not aware of the reversal of the compulsory retirement. Adeniyi, a Deputy Comptroller, insisted that the last he heard on the issue was Agbaje’s retirement. “I have not heard of the reversal, you are just telling me and so you probably have heard before me,” he said.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
UK Business secretary flays £3,000 migrant bond plan
ritain Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has urged the government to scrap plans to make certain overseas visitors to Britain pay a £3,000 bond to obtain tourist visas because it sends out the “wrong message” about the United Kingdom. In his second attack of coalition immigration policy within 48 hours, the business secretary told the Financial
Times that Number 10’s determination to press on with the visitor bond pilot in November was disappointing as he urged the prime minister to change course. “It is very disappointing and it has not been agreed across the coalition and it seems to send the wrong message that Britain is closed for business,” Mr Cable said. There was an international outcry in June when it
emerged that the government was planning to ask some visitors from India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to pay a £3,000 cash bond in return for a visitor visa to allow them to stay in the UK for up to six months. The Home Office said the scheme would deter people from overstaying, but governments in Delhi and Abuja expressed “strong displeasure” about the plans. “The operation for the
visa scheme, together with the bonds on these Commonwealth countries is simply having the effect of driving bona fide visitors who want to spend and to do business in the UK to France and Germany,” Mr Cable added. This is the latest intervention from a restive Mr Cable who on Sunday took aim at two government policies, warning that George’s Osborne’s mortgage guarantee scheme could stoke a
housing bubble while also dubbing a mobile billboard campaign telling illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” as “stupid and offensive”. His willingness to speak out is sparking some concern in senior Liberal Democrat circles, with one senior aide on Monday complaining that the business secretary seemed to be struggling to find any coalition policy he could defend.
Mr Cable’s remarks are particularly embarrassing for Nick Clegg, the party leader, who originally proposed a visitor bond as a way of making his party appear tough on immigration. However, the policy has proved deeply unpopular with many others in the parliamentary party. “The Liberal Democrats agreed for a bond scheme as an additional route for people who have been turned down, it was never meant to apply to everyone,” said Mr Cable.
FG withdraws troops from Mali today
he Federal Government will begin the withdrawal of Nigeria’s troops from the Peace Support Operations in Mali today. A statement from the Defence Headquarters signed by its spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said: “The troops are mainly those not accommodated in the structures of the newly formed United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).” By implication, a few of Nigeria’s troops would still remain in the war-ravaged country. Olukolade said: “Those withdrawn are to join the ongoing internal security operations in the country.
This followed the rehatting and takeover of the mission from African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) by the UN. Some of the soldiers will be redeployed immediately. “Meanwhile, Nigeria’s commitment and contribution to the Mali operations will be sustained in other forms. This will involve input of sizable men and materials to continue in the UN Mission. “Accordingly, Nigeria will be providing a fullfledged Level 2 Military Hospital with full staff compliment; a Signal Squadron as well as Staff Officers in the Force Headquarters. A troop of the Mobile Police Force is also remaining in the mission.”
NLI, First Bank partner on grooming emerging leaders
he Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI) is partnering with First Bank of Nigeria Limited to enhance capacity-building among youths through the Future Leaders Seminar scheduled to begin from October 20 to 23 in Lagos. The seminar is a programme established for grooming emerging public and private sector leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 years based in Nigeria or the Diaspora. The event includes a three-day residential seminar sessions aimed at creating a growing global network of credible and accomplished communityspirited Nigerian leaders committed to taking responsibility for driving positive change in Nigeria. NLI’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yinka Oyinlola, said: “Past participants in the seminar inducted as NLI Associates have achieved prominence as top corporate executives, public service and political leaders as well as leading re-
formers in the civil society sector. “NLI Associates continue to exhibit value-based leadership in their spheres of endeavors with the promising future as force for good in Nigeria.’’ According to First Bank Head, Marketing & Corporate Communication, Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, the bank views its partnership with NLI as a strategic platform for enhancing youth empowerment and capacitybuilding among future leaders. Ani-Mumuney said such youth development interventions form an integral part of the bank’s social responsibility initiatives.
our governors yesterday met with the Second Republic President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, on the nation’s unity, security and socioeconomic development. The governors are Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano), Sule Lamido (Jigawa) and Murtala Nyako (Adawama).
Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir (left) and Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-Gen Nnamdi Okore-Affia, during the presentation of the National Youth Development Strategy Implementation Framework programme in Abuja, yesterday.
Amalgamation: Braithwaite warns FG against centenary celebration
FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
residential candidate of the defunct National Advanced Party (NAP), Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, yesterday asked the Presidency to drop the planned centenary celebration of Nigeria’s amalgamation. Braithwaite, who spoke as guest lecturer at this year’s Jesus Carnival, 37th Diocesan Anniversary of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion and 170th year of Christianity in Egbaland, urged Nigeria’s
leaders to use the occasion of her centenary to destroy the nation’s last inglorious relics. The rights activist, who described such a celebration as a disgrace to the present generation, urged Nigerians to take their destinies in their hands, stressing that the reality of the amalgamation is bond to expire in 2014. He said: “Instead of clinking glasses of champagne celebrating and venerating a bad history of enslavement, this generation should use the occasion of the nation’s centenary to fi-
nally destroy its last inglorious relics and simultaneously birth a modern and progressive nation.” In what also appeared as reiterating the calls by many Nigerians for the convocation of Sovereign National Conference (SNC), Braithwaite said that the reality of the 1914 amalgamation, both in legal and political context, is deemed to cease when it assumes 99 years except the people concerned voluntarily agree to its terms and modify them. He predicted that whether or not the current ad-
Wamakko, Nyako, others meet with Shagari over nation’s unity, security The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the closed-door meeting held at the personal residence of the former President at Sama Road, Sokoto, lasted for about one hour. The three visiting governors had earlier met briefly in another closed-
door session with their host, Wamakko, at the Government House. Addressing journalists at the Sultan Abubakar International Airport in Sokoto, Nyako said that the visit was to seek fatherly advice from the elder statesman.
He said: “We had met among ourselves and observed that there are lots of problems currently bedevilling the nation.’’ Nyako identified the problems to include insecurity, overheating of polity, poverty and unemployment, among others.
ministration buys into the imperatives of a Peoples Conference to agree on the national and political direction of Nigeria, “the current generation would themselves surely, hopefully in an orderly, but firm manner, resolve this core issue of their own destiny.” Braithwaite also called on the leaders to learn from the on-going revolutions in Egypt, warning that “the charade and fraudulent elections contrived willynilly, per se is not a guarantee of security of tenure of office for an unfit and insensitive government.” “That is why we are going round the region meeting with prominent northern leaders with a view to fostering unity, understanding and national cohesion. “This is also with a view to finding plausible solutions to the problems for the country to forge ahead,’’ Nyako added.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Infrastructure: Nigeria needs $2.9trn in 30 years –Minister Ogun achieves 61% budget performance –Commissioner K O EMI LAITAN IBADAN
he Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamusdeen Usman, yesterday painted a gloomy picture of the challenges facing the country. Usman disclosed that the country needed $2.9 trillion to close the infrastructure gap over the next 30 years. The minister, who is also the vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, NPC, made the disclosure at the SouthWest validation workshop on the draft National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, NIIMP, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. Usman, who spoke through the Secretary to NCP, Ntufam Fidelis Ugbo, said the amount was the required investment to close infrastructure gap between
2014 and 2044. According to him, the country currently spends between $9 billion and $10 billion per annum on infrastructure. The 30-year NIIMP plan, Usman said, would cut across various sectors of the economy and accelerate economic activities for the teeming populace with infrastructure investments per zone increasing to 2,900 as against the current 10 infrastructure investment level. The minister added that NIIMP became necessary in view of the country’s huge infrastructure gap, which had slowed down economic growth, reduced the impact of efforts in reducing poverty and unemployment and made life more difficult for Nigerians. At the workshop which
had stakeholders from the six states in the South-West zone in attendance, Usman listed benefits of NIIMP to include enhanced economic growth, prioritised projects and programmes, efficient allocation of resources, enabling environment for investors, positive externalities and investors guide. He added that the bottom line would be to build strong and inclusive growth and create jobs for Nigerians. Also speaking at the workshop, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said infrastructure was key driver of economic growth and development and an enabler of competitiveness. He said it was expected that the build-up in infrastructure capacity would be driven mainly by private capital through Public Pri-
vate Partnership, PPP, arrangement guided by the approved national policy on PPP. Ajimobi, who spoke through his deputy, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, said his administration, through its transformation agenda, was determined to ensure economic growth, employment and wealth creation, as well as create an enabling environment for investment. He said: “To achieve these goals, the state government focuses its attention on human capital development, healthcare and skill acquisition, wealth creation and poverty alleviation, infrastructure and urban renewal, development of agriculture and agri-business, rural development and integration, security of lives and property.”
FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
gun State government yesterday said it had achieved over 61 per cent budget performance within the first half of 2013. The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mrs. Oluwande Muoyo, said this in Abeokuta, the state capital, at a press briefing on the midyear budget performance. Muoyo, who described the mid-year budget performance as “fair,” also attributed the improved performance to the aggressive and collective commitment of Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s administration to the state Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, which, according to her, now stands at an average of N4 billion monthly. She said: “I am here to report a cumulative overall half-year budget performance of 61.26 per cent. Our IGR now stands at a monthly average of N4 billion as
against N750 million in 2011. “We must appreciate the key stakeholders that have committed themselves to the mission to rebuild our dear state. However, there are still a lot to be accomplished.” The commissioner, who expressed the confidence that better progress would still be achieved in the third quarter and fourth quarter, noted that it was an improvement over the performance in the previous years. The state House of Assembly had in December 2012, approved N211.8 billion as the 2013 budget. At the briefing, however, Muoyo explained that the government was making steady progress in its development agenda as encapsulated in the government’s five cardinal programmes of affordable and qualitative education, healthcare delivery, agriculture production, industrialisation, among others.
Falana faults constitution review, seeks SNC agos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has said that the ongoing constitution amendment by the National Assembly did not enjoy the popular support of Nigerians. Falana, who disclosed that the lawmakers were only seeking the interest of their class, said what Nigeria needed was constitutional conference to produce a workable constitution for the country. The lawyer spoke with journalists at Ilawe-Ekiti after a programme tagged: “Reading Parent Initiative,” organised by the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB. He said: “My view is that the ongoing constitution amendment is not a popular programme; it is selfish, self-serving arrangement by the ruling class for their own
selfish interest. “Whether you like it or not, we are still going to write the constitution of Nigeria. “What is going on is a selfserving arrangement by the people at the National Assembly. If they have taken the interest of Nigerians at heart, you are not supposed to be voting against what you got from the field.” The lawyer, who said the convocation of Sovereign National Conference, SNC, could not be negotiated, described the 1999 Constitution “as Decree Number 24 of 1999 authored by General Abdulsalami Abubakar,” and unworkable. Speaking earlier, Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, reminded parents of the existence of the child rights law in the state which forbade children of school age from hawking during school hours. She warned that parents of such children risked jail.
few. Others, who spoke during the protest, also kicked against the level of impunity in the country. They advised politicians, especially those heating the polity over 2015 presidential poll, not to allow their personal ambition to destroy the country’s unity. They also called on the Na-
tional Judicial Council, NJC, to probe the Court of Appeal ruling, which discharged and acquitted Major Hamza AlMustapha, the former Chief Security Officer, CSO, to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, of the murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, the wife of the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Bashorun MKO Abiola.
ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI
L L-R: Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, RS 2.14, Mrs. Modupe Amobi; Special Marshal, Mr. Jude Awoniyi; Lagos Island Unit Commander, Mr. Saddiq Abdulrahman and Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Obalende/ Ikoyi Branch, Comrade Femi Onasanya, at a seminar for drivers at Obalende area of Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA
agos State government yesterday made some traffic adjustments to eliminate gridlock on the Ikeja Maryland route. The government also said it would soon meet commercial drivers’ unions on the modality to adjust to the traffic regulations in the state, adding that it was ready to
orried by the state of the nation, human rights activists and some civil society organisations under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society, CCS, yesterday held a “Save Our Democracy” rally in Lagos.
Lagos tackles gridlock on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way implement the scientific way of managing gridlock efficiently with fewer traffic personnel on the road. Yesterday, the government mounted some temporary barriers and opened some turning points as well as Expansion Return Loop, ELP, to aid the smooth flow of traffic in the area. Speaking after inspecting the free-flow of traffic
on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way during the peak period, the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, said the move was in response to the constant traffic snarl experienced by the motorists in the area. He said: “The change on the barriers mounted on the road won’t be permanent but we are very optimistic that it would yield result. It
might look crazy, it might look beautiful but what is certain is that it is going to work. “We have used it in Otedola Bridge area, the Muson Centre area on Lagos Island, so we have no doubt that it is going to work. The advantage of this strategy is that it doesn’t need anybody to man it; its self- enforcing. It doesn’t use energy.”
Groups hold ‘Save Our Democracy’ rally in Lagos The activists called on President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to provide solutions to the crises bedevilling the country. The rally/protest walk, which took off from the Testing Ground bus stop on Agidingbi Road, Ikeja, terminated at the Governor’s Office,
Alausa. The protesters also condemned those fanning the embers of disunity in Nigeria and warned political jobbers not to truncate the nation’s democracy. The Coordinator of the group, Mr. Raji-Rasheed Oyewumi, said the rally was
about protecting the country’s democracy. He said: “We want to warn those in power to be careful and to sensitise Nigerians to the need for active participation in the polity.” Oyewumi said Nigeria needed a democracy that would benefit all and not a
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
N2.6trn lost to flood in 2012, says NEMA KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN
he National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, yesterday said the country lost N2.6 trillion to the flood that ravaged 23 states of the federation last year. The agency also said that at least 5, 970 houses were submerged in 256 local government areas with about 2.1million people displaced.
It said no fewer than 363 deaths were recorded out of the seven million people generally affected by the flood. NEMA South-West Coordinator, Mr. Iyiola Akande, who spoke yesterday in Ibadan, while giving his key note address at the Zonal Awareness Flood Campaign Towards Early Warning and Early Action for MDAs, NGOs, CBOs and FBOs, said the workshop was coming against the backdrop of NIMET’s public announcement of
Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, SRP, early in the year with stakeholders brainstorming on how to ensure the prevention of flooding, using the predictions of NIMET. He said; “The prediction painted a more serious picture of what the nation is to expect this year 2013, when compared to the devastating effect of the 2012 flood that ravaged about 23 states.”
Oyo State Commissioner for Environment and Habitat, Mr. Lowo Obisesan, lauded NEMA for being proactive through the workshop, stating that with a lot of efforts on the part of all the stakeholders, flooding would not only be controlled but be prevented. Obisesan, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Modupe Omonigbe-
hin, insisted that; “If we are all ready to give what it takes, if rivers and streams are allowed to go through their channels without obstruction, we can be rest assured that flooding would be prevented.” He said flooding could not be compared with earthquakes, hurricane or volcanic eruptions in terms of scope, time and impact and the fact that flooding
could be predicted unlike other natural disasters identified above should be appreciated to enable us prepare ahead. Obisesan remarked that the one-day workshop “is a welcome development as it confirmed the fact that NEMA is proactive towards preventing flood in the country and this is in line with the thinking of the Oyo State government.”
SSS, protocol officers bicker over journalists’ stolen laptops OLUSEGUN KOIKI
he State Security Service, SSS, and protocol officers attached to the Presidential Lounge of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, MMA, Lagos, are presently at loggerheads over the missing laptops, cameras and other equipment belonging to aviation correspondents. National Mirror gathered that the head of the SSS at the lounge, confided in the leadership of the aviation journalists that the missing items should be traced to the door steps of the protocol department, headed by one Mr. Afolabi Oduniyi. Our correspondent gathered that the head of the SSS in the lounge, on Monday, through a phone call to the leadership of the journalists
at the airport, said that the keys to the press centre of the lounge was retrieved from him several months ago, adding that he had to surrender the keys to Oduniyi after the SSS Lagos State headquarters in Shangisha, told him to do so. He insisted that the missing items should be traced to the door step of the leadership of the protocol department as the keys were already with him before the items got missing, stressing that as at the time the keys were collected from him, all the items were still intact. It will be recalled that aviation journalists discovered at the weekend that their working tools were missing from the presidential lounge when they attempted to recover them after 18 months of seizure.
PDP National Secretary aspirant promises to transform party KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN
n aspirant to the post of National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, has assured of transforming the party if elected into the position in the forthcoming special convention of the party. The former Ambassador to Germany gave the assurance in Ibadan yesterday while addressing leaders, stakeholders and national delegates of the party from the six states of the SouthWest of Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Ogun. He said with the present challenges facing the party in all the states of the federation, the party requires someone with the pedigree he possessed that will work assiduously to bring it back to its track, especially in
the South-West with the coming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States in 2014. The Ekiti State-born politician and administrator, who was accompanied to the meeting by members of his campaign organisation led by its Chairman, Dr. Musa Modi and supporters across the country, said he has the capacity to unite the warring factions in the party, promising to run an all inclusive administration. According to him, as a leader of the party who has witnessed the high and low fortunes of the party, he is poised to change the fortunes of the party through the promotion and participation of every stakeholder in the running of the party such that it will continue to regain its rightful place among the parties in the country.
L-R: Osun State Commissioner for Environment, Health and Sanitation, Prof. Olubukola Oyawoye; her Ekiti State counterpart, Dr. Eniola Ajayi and the Director, Environment Health and Sanitation, Osun State, Alhaji Wale Ogungbemi, at the National Emergency Management Agency’s South-West Zonal Flood Awareness Campaign in Ibadan, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Ekiti crisis: PDP, ACN sign peace pact two-day meeting became necessary following the clash between the PDP and the ACN members in the state last Monday, where indigenes of the community sustained varying degrees of injury in addition to the vandalisation of people’s property. Ojo, who lamented the incessant clash among the two parties, reiterated that the community would resist attempt by any group, party or individual to cause mayhem in the town and prevent people from exercising their franchise during the forthcoming 2014 governorship election. Oba Aladejare, who condemned the new wave of political thuggery being introduced into the town by
those he described as “overzealous politicians,” said the community would tackle any group or individual that could threaten the people’s security and cause a breach of public peace, would be resisted by all and sundry. The monarch lauded the men and officials of the Ekiti State police command and the military for their prompt intervention, which brought the crisis under control as he appealed to them to forgive inconveniences or injuries they might have suffered during the fracas. He said parents of the thugs who were involved in the crisis and their sponsors would be summoned by the traditional council and EDL for questioning.
he Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Efon Alaaye in Ekiti State have signed a peace pact to prevent a recurrence of the political violence that rocked the community last week. President-General of the Efon Development League, EDL, Chief Patrick Ojo, said the pact signed by the leadership and members of the two political parties, was to ensure the sustenance of peace that is characteristic of the community. Ojo told journalists at the palace of the Alaaye of Efon, Oba Emmanuel Adejare, where the Oba-in-Council,
chiefs, EDL, Efon Council chairman and other stakeholders met with the leadership of the two political parties that the community would not experience the breakdown of law and order again in the area. He said: “We know what they wanted to do is to heat up the system so that our people will not be able to vote in 2014. But we have held a meeting with the leadership and members of the two dominant political parties. A peace pact had been signed and whoever flouts the agreement will be dealt with. Efon is known for peace, we will not tolerate anything that will disrupt this or affect the development of the town.” According to him, the
Lagos launches e-ticket for BRT buses
ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI
agos State government yesterday made history with the launching of the first electronic ticket for commuters using the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, in the state metropolis. With the e-ticket, passengers can pay as low as N20 depending on the distance of their journey as the machine would only debit the credit load based on its usage.
The e-ticket, National Mirror learnt, would also serve passengers of the ferry services operated by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) and the proposed lite-rail service currently under construction. Commissioning the eticketing at the CMS Bus Stop in Lagos yesterday, the state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, described the initiative as the newest way of alleviat-
ing poverty among the residents of the state. He said the innovation was also another clear demonstration of the all-inclusive nature of the administration of Mr. Babatunde Fashola in the state. Orelope-Adefulire, who said the e-ticketing would solve some of the problems associated with the old ticketing system of the BRT buses, saying that government is determined to continuously improve on the
transportation system of the state. She said: “It is part of the integrated model transportation we are doing in Lagos. With this, we have made the transportation system more friendly and efficient for the people of Lagos State. Commuters will save a lot of money using this card because they don’t have to pay for the charges of the entire route destination. They will be charged based on where they alight from the bus.”
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Group praises Obi, Umeh for ending APGA crisis
L-R: Director, African Heritage Institute, Enugu State, Dr. Ifediora Amobi; discussant, Dr. Ngozi Nwakaeze and representative of the state governor, Mr. Gabriel Ezechi, at a seminar organised by the institute in Enugu, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
No plans to call off strike Thursday –ASUU
CHARLES OKEKE AWKA
he Nsukka Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday denied reports that the strike embarked upon by the union as a result of non-implementation of the 2009 agreement it reached with the Federal Government would be called off on Thursday. The Nsukka Zone, comprising all the federal and state universities in the South-East, also denounced all the examinations being conducted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, UNIZIK, by a faction of
ASUU which is against the strike. While denouncing the move to call off the strike and the examinations going on in UNIZIK under the supervision of ASUU-NAU Progressives led by Prof. Maduabuchi Dukor, the Nsukka Zone also called on the Chairman of National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie to render the account of the Annual Stabilisation Fund for the universities estimated at over N100 billion. Addressing journalists yesterday on issues relating to the strike at the Multi Purpose Hall of the permanent site of Nnamdi Azikwe University, the Zon-
al Coordinator of Nsukka Zone, Dr. Chidi Ozuagwu, said the union was embarrassed by the rumour that the industrial action would be called off on Thursday when the Federal Government had not met its demands. Osuagwu said the rumour was unacceptable to the union and its members. He said: “In the light of these rumours, we wish to state that unless the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement is fully implemented, the strike will continue. “We therefore wish to call on well-meaning Nigerians to disregard such rumour. Nigerians should rather impress on govern-
Imo: Villagers threaten hunger strike over poor roads CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI
he people of Nekede, Eziobodo and Ihiagwa communities in Owerri West local Government Area of Imo State have threatened to go on hunger strike over the deplorable condition of roads in the area. The aggrieved villagers, mostly women, also threatened to protest naked if the Federal and state governments continued to neglect the residents, saying that the communities had been cut off from the rest of the state. According to the people, though the communities jointly host two federal tertiary institutions, the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede and the Federal University of Technology and other Federal Government institutions, the state and Federal governments have neglected them. The women’s spokesperson, Mrs. Eunice Chima,
said: “Since the government decided to be insensitive we will mobilise women and march naked to the Government House. “We are tired of excuses each year. The state government has been playing hide and seek with one contractor who was said to have been awarded the contract by the previous administration and each year the road continues to deteriorate and this has affected commerce and exposed the residents to untold hardship.” With the deplorable condition of the roads, motorists have also hiked transport fares thereby multiplying the woes of the people, especially students of the two higher institutions in the area. The fare from Ihiagwa to Owerri which used to be N100 is now N200 while Owerri to Polytechnic is now N150 from N50. The construction of the Nekede - Ihiagwa Road was
earlier engulfed in crisis as the contractor, Hadel and Enic, sued the state government when the contract was revoked by Governor Rochas Okorocha. However, the contractor had denied reports that the
ment to implement the agreement for a better Nigerian university education system.” The Chairman of the UNIZIK branch of ASUU, which is part of the strike, Prof. Ike Odimegwu, said the examinations being conducted during the strike were not valid and would not be counted at the end of the crisis. He said: “Our position is that there is no university exam going on here. What we have here is a motor park exam and nobody would count on those exams to graduate. Those exams are not valid and they will not become exams tomorrow.” pending suit was responsible for the delay in the construction of the road. But a source close to the Government House disclosed that the contract for the construction of the road had been awarded, adding that work would commence immediately after the rains.
human rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, yesterday hailed the resolution of the crisis which almost tore apart the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. This is contained in a statement issued in Awka by its Chairman, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi. Umeagbalasi commended Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, for resolving their differences. He said with the reconciliation, “hope has dimmed for the criminal political class from staging a comeback to Anambra politics”. Umeagbalasi called on party members, including the former factional Chair-
Youths urge Muslims to embrace peace could only progress when ALIUNA GODWIN EBONYI
uslims in Ebonyi State have been advised to make peace, shun violence and refrain from crimes and other social vices. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abakaliki by the National President of the Christian and Muslim Youths Foundation for Peace and Unity, Alhaji Idri Musa. Musa called on Muslims across the country to pray for the peace and success of the present government. He advocated mutual cooperation between Christians and Muslims in the country, saying that Nigeria
We’ll contribute to Ngige’s campaign fund –Anambra women DENNIS AGBO ENUGU
he Anambra Women Organisation, AWO, has pledged to contribute money to support in Dr. Chris Ngge’s governorship campaign. The women also promised to mobile their over 122,000 members in 346 wards, including non-indigenes, to vote for him in the scheduled November 16 governorship election. The group made the pledge when Ngige visited the women yesterday at Ezinifite in Aguata Local Government Area of the
state to inform them about his governorship aspiration. The women said they would fulfil the pledge because within 32 months, Ngige, as governor, wiped their tears through free education, payment of accumulated teachers’ salaries, construction of roads, etc. The Chairperson of the group, Mrs. Gladys Obieke, who led the women to sing Ngige’s praises, said Anambra State was once more in a situation requiring his prudent leadership. In his response, Ngige said he was impressed by
man, Chief Maxi Okwu, and others elected with him during the April 8 National Convention in Awka “to be fully integrated and carried along”. He said: “We thank the duo of Mr. Peter Obi and Chief Victor Umeh for coming together again. “We also thank their lordships and other concerned Igbo sons and daughters, including Mr. Raphael Uwazuruike of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and Mrs. Bianca OnohOjukwu for their roles in resolving the crisis. “It is our call that all the group-members of the party, including Chief Maxi Okwu and his National Working Committee, NWC, members should be fully integrated and carried along.”
the organised manner the group was formed and pledged to incorporate its members in government if elected. He said: “I did not fail you before and I will not fail you even this time. Anambra State needs solid foundation which I started the blueprint and 80 per cent of it has not been actualised. “Roads’ construction in Anambra is my brainchild; we did erosion control roads and hired the best road contractors. I refused to share money and told them I wanted to use it to pay pensioners.”
there was mutual understanding and cooperation among the people. Musa, however, decried activities of some people which had led to the destruction of lives and property of innocent Nigerians. He called on Muslims and Christians to join hands and support President Goodluck Jonathan to enable him succeed in his agenda of providing dividends of democracy to the people. The president of the group, who said Nigeria was known for peace and unity, appealed to youths to always be of good conduct and avoid activities that would create insecurity in the country. He said: “I call on all Nigerian Muslims to rededicate themselves to Almighty Allah and also uphold the virtues of piety, fairness and sympathy for the less privileged in the society which the Ramadan fast teaches and promotes. “We also urged the Muslim Ummah to take advantage of this period to offer special prayers during this holy month for consistent peace, security, unity and healthy co-existence among Nigerians.” “May the Almighty God answer our prayers during this period and after reward us bountifully and grant Nigeria as a nation sustainable peace, security, unity and harmonious co-existence for the interest of all.”
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Cultism: Court grants Bayelsa youth leader bail EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen.Azubuike Ihejirika (middle) inaugurating a residential building at 2 Brigade Barracks in Port Harcourt, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Edo Assembly makes kidnapping punishable by death SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN
t will no longer be business as usual for kidnappers in Edo State as the House of Assembly passed into law a bill that makes abduction punishable by death. Titled: “Bill for a law to prohibit kidnapping and other matters connected thereto,” the document was passed into law on the floor of the Assembly after which Speaker Uyigue Oghogho Igbe directed that copies of the bill should be sent to Governor Adams Oshiomhole for his assent. It was learnt that the bill was expeditiously passed into law after undergoing first and second reading and a review by the House Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. The speed with which the bill was passed was due mostly to the menacing manner kidnappers
are overrunning the state, killing and maiming their victims even after collecting ransoms from their families. Speaking on the floor of the Assembly, the Minority Whip, Hon. Kingsley Ehigiamusor, who represents Igueben constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the bill would prohibit kidnapping and enhance sanctity of lives. Other lawmakers who spoke on the bill included Victor Edoror, Elizabeth Ativie, Patrick Osayimwen, Paul Ohonbamu and Abdulrazak Momoh. They all stressed the importance of the bill that they said that it would put an end to “an unholy occupation in which the youths engage to make quick money.” According to the lawmakers, the offence of kidnapping has taken an alarming trend and
mortal proportion in Edo State with the dangerous dimension of taking citizens’ right to life besides taking away their fundamental human right of freedom of movement. They added that the bill also prescribes death for those who in one way or another facilitate kidnapping. Speaking with National Mirror on his mobile telephone, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Henry William Idahagbon, said he was yet to get a copy of the bill. While reviewing the situation in neighbouring Delta State, where Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan refused to assent similar bill after it was overwhelmingly passed by the state House of Assembly, Idahagbon said he could not read the mind of Governor Oshiomhole to know whether he was
volving in examination malpractices, but when they appeared before the panel investigating the allegation, 20 of them were guilty of the offence. The provost said that the institution decided to send them home so as to serve as a deterrent to others. He said 180 students were also rusticated for similar offence though they were not directly involved in the malpractices. As a way to ensure that
there is sanity in the institution, Enoh said the management decided to rusticate the student and asked them to return to school after spending one year at home. He, however, added a lecturer was also sacked for allegedly collecting monies from students for grades. The provost said the lecturer was sacked following his refusal to obey the management’s warning asking him to stop such act.
College expels 20 for exam malpractices RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR
he Cross River State College of Education in Akamkpa has expelled 20 students for their alleged involvement in examination malpractices. The College’s provost, Prof. Anthony Owan Enoh, disclosed this to journalists in Calabar. He said about 200 students were accused of in-
predisposed to assent the bill or not. He said: “To answer your question, I cannot read the mind of my governor to know whether he would sign it or not. But even if the governor may find any reason not to sign the law, it could still become an act if two-third majority lawmakers sign it after 30 days of its passage.” Meanwhile, the Assembly has confirmed the nomination of Ms. Olayemi Kerry as the Managing Director of the state Information, Communication and Technology Agency along six other nominees as directors after their screening by the Committee on Rules, Business and Government led by the Majority Leader, Hon. Phillip Shaibu.
arely five weeks in the police detention, a youth leader in Bayelsa State, Nengi Ikiba, was granted bail yesterday by the High Court sitting in Yenagoa. The court, presided over by Justice N. Aganaba, granted Ikiba bail after listening to an oral application by his counsel, Ayei Okpa. Okpa had told the court that Ikiba should be viewed as an innocent individual in view of the law and in accordance with Sec 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution. The counsel prayed the court to grant Ikiba bail in the spirit of Section 35 of the constitution. He said: “The court should also take into cognisance that the offence my client is accused of is a bailable offence and even the charge itself is watery”. The court adjourned the matter till September 30. Ikiba, a native of Nembe and presidential aspirant in the forthcoming national election of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), was arrested by the police on June 19 for alleged involvement in cultism. The state Commissioner of Police, Tonye Ebitibituwa, told journalists that Ikiba had confessed of being a leader and founder of a notorious cult group called “Icelander.” But the youth leader claimed he was forced at gunpoint by the police to make the confession and insisted that he was detained
following his refusal to step down for a governmentsponsored candidate in the election scheduled for August 10, 2013. Ikiba, however, vowed not to step down for the government-sponsored, adding that he had obtained and filled his form for the election while in detention. The youth leader said he would travel to Patani in Delta State for the screening of aspirants. . He said: “If they were not afraid of me, why would they be pulling these stunts? They called me several times to step down, but I refused. They said they would deal with me and the next thing is that I found myself in the police net.” According to Ikiba, the development would not hinder him from contesting the election, claiming that the government was frightened by his popularity. The youth leader said persons behind his travails had claimed he was not a core Ijaw man and should be disqualified from the race. He said: “I am from the same constituency with President Goodluck Jonathan in Ogbia Local Government Area. If they are saying that I am not core Ijaw, what they are saying in effect is that the President is not core Ijaw. “At this time when all of us are supposed to unite and work for our President, some people are dividing us. I am going to contest and win the election in a way that nobody has won before. I cannot be intimidated by anybody.”
River CP gets court’s order to arrest Speaker if… SAM OLUWALANA
ivers State Commissioner of Police has been told by the court to arrest, investigate and prosecute the state House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, if he is found to have run foul of the law. This order was given by the Port Harcourt High Court presided over by Justice Adolphus Enebeli. Justice Enebeli said that the police have the constitutional right to arrest, investigate and prosecute the Speaker in connection with any crime he commits.
In a judgement, the judge dismissed the case brought by the Speaker of the House seeking to restrain the police from arresting and investigating him in connection with an allegation he raised on a plot to assassinate Governor Chibuike Amaechi. Reacting to the judgement, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commended the judiciary and called on the InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP) to arrest the Speaker to substantiate his claim on the alleged assassination plot. According to PDP, the judgement had vindicated those who accused the
Speaker of raising false alarm. In a statement issued by Mr. Jerry Needam, Special Adviser on Media to the state PDP Chairman, Hon Felix Obuah, the party said: “The court’s ruling is a signal to false alarmists to be cautious as the judiciary is not meant for shielding crimes or providing cover to suspects. “The ruling also strengthened the confidence of the people in the judiciary.” It is an indication. Urging the police to be thorough in their investigation, Needam said the allegation of a plot to kill Amaechi was weighty.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Jonathan grants dialogue committee two months extension ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA
resident Goodluck Jonathan has granted a two-month extension to the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of the security challenges in the north, PCDPR, headed by Special Duties Minister, Tanimu Turaki.
The two months extension is coming a day after three deadly explosions rocked the city of Kano as suspected members of the Boko Haram sect hit the Sabon-Gari area of the state, leaving about 30 people dead. Turaki, who disclosed this to State House correspondents yesterday, however insisted that the
committee was in frank discussion with members of the sect, stressing that there was a ceasefire agreement with the terrorists’ group. With the extension, the committee which was inaugurated in April, now has until September to complete its assignment and submit a report to the President.
“We have been given extension by Mr. President for another two months. Now, we have been able to work on the critical terms of reference, but we are now working on two major ones for that matter, the issue of dialogue which is most fundamental and the issue of victims’ support,” Turaki said. However, there are indi-
cations that the President may not be happy with the progress recorded so far by the committee, considering recent violent attacks in the country even as Turaki denied yesterday that he was summoned by the President over the development. Speaking on the explosions in Kano despite of the claim of ceasefire
Appeal tribunal frowns at Nasarawa govt over tax debts
Vigilance group foils cleric’s assassination INUSA NDAHI
embers of the Borno Vigilance Youth Group, BVYG, have foiled the assassination of an Islamic cleric (name withheld) by a suspected Boko Haram member at the Bulunkutu Central Mosque, in Maiduguri, the state capital. The BVYG members, who foiled the assassination were said to have seized sect member’s rifle and handed him over to the Joint Task Force, JTF, at about 1.15pm on Monday. The slain suspect, according to Isa Ibrahim, one of the youths that participated in the manhunt of the Boko Haram suspects, walked into the mosque in a white flowing gown with a hidden AK 47 rifle, attempted to kill the cleric before he was overpowered and arrested. Ibrahim said: “As we collectively patrol the streets of Bulunkutu and Gomari Wards, we sighted one person in a white flowing gown, walking towards the mosque to pray. But one of us alerted us that the suspect is carrying a rifle under this flowing gown; and we rushed towards him to confirm whether or not the picture in our procession coincides with the identity of the suspect. On comparing the photo and his face, he was one of the Boko Haram suspects we had been looking for since June.” Ibrahim said the suspect wanted to undermine the youths’ ability to arrest him as the car he used was parked 75 metres away from the mosque in when the cleric was leading an afternoon prayers. He added that; “The idea behind parking the car away from the mosque was to flee the scene after the assassination, to evade arrest by either the Joint Task Force, JTF, or police.”
agreement with members of the deadly group, Turaki said it was unfortunate that at a time when serious efforts are being made by government in many fronts to make sure that the security issues are sorted out, some people who do not wish this country well are trying to pull the hand of the clock backwards.
L-R: Deputy Director, Kaduna State Ministry of Information, Hajiya Zulai Musa; Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Sufiyan Baballe and Manager, Child Survival and Development, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Dr. Shehu Umar, at a seminar on polio reporting in Kaduna, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Borno massacre: Defence Headquarters deploys more troops OMEIZA AJAYI
ollowing last weekend’s massacre of 22 people by members of the Boko Haram sect in Dawashi and Mainok areas of Borno State, the Defence Headquarters DHQ, yesterday announced the deployment of more troops to the state in order to boost the ongoing effort at getting rid of the fundamentalists in the area. “More troops and equipment are being deployed into the operation to ensure better coverage and protection of communities in the operational area,” the Defence Headquarters stated.
It said it was on the trail of those it referred to as “few bands of marauding insurgents.” The DHQ recalled that a large scale shooting and murder by terrorists of over 22 people and the infliction of injuries on over 18 members of the Borno Youth Vigilance Group, BYVG, in Dawashi and Mainok in Borno State was reported last Saturday. It said a number of other innocent civilians mostly women, children and the elderly were killed in the unprovoked attack. According to the DHQ; “The incident which followed separate attacks on the group and the two com-
munities are consistent with the new pattern of operations by the terrorists after the loss of their camps.” Defence spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said the terrorists resorted to laying ambush or attacking innocent civilians is a ploy meant to intimidate Nigerians who have rejected the activities of the terrorists in their communities. He added that the JTF had been directed to ensure that the perpetrators of the recent incidents are tracked; saying the manhunt for them is in progress accordingly. Olukolade also enjoined citizens of the area to maintain a high level of vigilance and continue to cooperate
with security forces in the operation. In order to avoid a repeat of the incident, he said members of the vigilance group in particular are being counseled to endeavour to work only under the strict guidance and protection of the security forces on ground in their localities. “The Defence Headquarters appreciates the determination of Nigerians, particularly individuals and communities who have offered assistance and are working in support of the counter-terrorism operations in spite of the desperate activities of the few bands of marauding insurgents,” he added.
‘FG not responsible for N2.148bn Kwakuti Gwada road’ PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA
iger State government has debunked the speculation making the rounds alleging that the Federal Government is responsible for the construction of the 66.8-kilometre road project that is about N2.148 billion from Kwa-
kuti-Kaffinkoro-Gwada road in the state. State Commissioner for Information, Prof. Mohammed Kuta Yahaya, stated this while inspecting state government projects in the state. He said the clarification is necessary to put the record straight as some members of the public, particularly op-
position politicians are alleging that the project is being executed by the Federal Government. According to him, the road work was from the N9 billion bond of which 60 per cent of the project had been completed, leaving the asphalt over lay that would be completed at the end of the rainy season.
He said; “We have seen the dissecting of the rural areas with the construction of this road, it will facilitate the movement of goods and services. He also said that the economic lives of the people in the towns and villages along the road will receive a big boost when the job is completed.”
he tax appeal tribunal sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, has frown at Nasarawa State government agencies over their attitude and approach towards paying accumulated tax owed the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS. Chairman of the North Central Zone of the tax appeal tribunal, Abraham Ndana Yisa, expressed the tribunal’s displeasure during its sitting in Jos, yesterday. Three agencies of Nasarawa State government, Nasarawa State University, Nasarawa State Tourism Corporation and Nasarawa State Investment and Property Company Limited are currently in default of tax remittances to the Federal Government valued at over N80 million excluding interests and penalties. The FIRS has dragged the defaulting agencies before the north central zone of the tribunal sitting in Jos. The three agencies had appeared before the tribunal for the fourth time and have failed to show any commitment to the payment of the debts. Counsel to the FIRS, Nasiru Ahmed, urged the tribunal to invoke the provision of section 34 of Value Added Tax, VAT, cap 6 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, to compel the defaulting agencies pay the principal sum and its accumulated interests and penalties. However, Nasarwa State Director of Tourism, Ramalan Aminu Abubakar, argued that it was not the fault of the state government, saying government had leased out the Lafia Hotels to a private company called Summerfield Hotels Ltd that has refused to pay.
Wednesday July 31, 2013
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PDP’ll rule Nigeria for 100 years –Kazaure
Tukur blasts Northern governors over call for his sack Says Aliyu, Lamido, Kwakwaso, Wamakko, Nyako overheating the polity
OBIORA IFOH ABUJA
he National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday blasted Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Kwakwaso (Kano), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) over call for his sack. Tukur said one would have expected the governors to make comments with decorum, humility and caution, as leaders whom the general public look upon as role models. He added that they were expected to show respect to constituted authority and the elders including him, for
his immense contribution to the peace progress, development and advancement of the country. Tukur, in a statement made available to National Mirror by his Special Assistant on Media, Prince Oliver Okpala, called on the governors as party faithful and responsible citizens, holding exalted positions to desist from any action that tends to overheat the polity and truncate the nation’s nascent democratic structure. He said: “There is no doubt that the governors peripatetic vision have contributed in no small measure to overheating the polity. “The governors are hereby advised to embrace peace and desist from dramatising the few problems
within our democracy as this can send a wrong signal to Nigerians and the international community.” Tukur said the PDP, as a political platform upon which the governors were elected, has an internal mechanism for resolution of conflicts and grievances, advising them to avail themselves
of this mechanism before seeking audience or making public utterances capable of overheating the polity. “More importantly, the PDP has a reconciliation committee entrusted with the task of conflict resolution in the party. “The governors by their action and utterances have
shown contempt to this committee by not deeming it necessary or worthy to take their grievances to the reconciliation committee. “One would have expected the governors to express their grievances privately to the party leadership or the reconciliation committee instead of going public
with their grievances before seeking audience with other Nigerian leaders.” The four governors had visited, President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obansanjo and two former Military Heads of State, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalami Abubakar demanding for the removal of Tukur as condition for peace in the PDP.
No division in Lagos PDP, says Shelle FELIX NWANERI
he Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has dismissed impression that there is a division in the party, boasting it will change the tide of electoral performance in the state in 2015. The party insisted that Lagosians are tired of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, government. The state chairman of the party, Olatunji Shelle, who stated this at a press briefing, said effort by the current state executive to enhance unity at the various levels of the party has enabled the Lagos PDP to overcome the issue of division. He said: “To all our leaders and members, we want you to spread the message of renewal to everyone at the ward and local government areas that there is no division among our leaders anymore and should disregard any tale to that effect as the tale is intended to rekindle acrimony and disaffection in Lagos PDP.” Admonishing members to be conscious of the antics
of those who are not happy with the peace and progress the party has recorded so far, Shelle said “the rumour of division is nothing but evil we must guide against because it is not in the interest of the party.” He particularly described as falsehood, stories being peddled by some people that the Lagos PDP executive is facing dissolution. According to him, “we want to say here that there is nothing like that except the figment of imagination of those peddling such rumour.” He added: “For the avoidance of doubt, we want to emphasise that the current state executive of the party in Lagos Sate was properly constituted like any other subsisting and legitimate PDP exco throughout the country. We followed all constitutional guidelines as required by the PDP constitution that led to the congress which also produced the current state executive.” Shelle also described as huge joke, the insinuation that the Lagos PDP executive will not be allowed to participate at the forthcoming South-West congress of the party.
L-R: Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, at a Ministerial Platform in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Delta Central: 10 aspirants jostle for Ewherido’s seat SOLA ADEBAYO WARRI
here are indications that subtle campaigns by some political parties to elect the successor of late Senator Pius Ewherido, who represented Delta Central Senatorial District of Delta State in the Senate until his death on June 30, might have begun in the state. Already, three major political parties in the state, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Democratic Peoples Party, DPP and Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, are jostling to produce Ewherido’s successor. The late senator won the 2011 National Assembly on the platform of the DPP. Although the Senate is yet to formally declare his seat vacant as required by law to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to fix the date for the bye-elec-
tion, National Mirror gathered that the three political parties had begun nocturnal activities to fill the vacancy created by the death of Ewherido. To this end, 10 persons across the three political parties are being touted to be interested in the seat. The ruling party in the state, PDP has four aspirants. Those waiting in the wing to continue from where Ewherido stopped in the PDP include Chief Ighoyota Amori, who was roundly defeated by late Senator in the 2011 election. Others on the platform of PDP are the member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2011, Hon. Alims Agoda; Political Adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Chief Fred Majemite and Chief Andrew Oru. Former Governor James Ibori and Uduaghan are reported to be supporting Amori, who is presently senior political adviser to the
state governor. For now DPP topped the contenders with five aspirants. The son of a business mogul and renowned accountant, Chief David Dafinone, Ede; a Warri-based businessman, Chief Richard Odibo, former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Napoleon Gbinijie, one Chief Agharome and one Mr. Abel Edijala, are the contenders on the platform of the DPP. But it was learnt that the leader of the party in the state and DPP governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, is disposed to Odibo to fly the flag of the party in the election. Findings by National Mirror showed that Ogboru was afraid that if Ede Dafinone combines his status as a federal lawmaker with the wealth of his father, he may be difficult to tame not to contest the 2015 governorship election. It was learnt that a prom-
inent banker, Chief O’tega Emerhor, is angling to seek nomination on the platform of the main opposition party in the country, ACN. Emerhor, who dumped DPP for the yet to be registered All Progressive Congress, APC, following irreconcilable difference with Ogboru, is said to be reaching out to notable Urhobo ethnic and political leaders to achieve his aspiration. DPP’s Chairman in the state, Chief Tony Ezeagwu told National Mirror on phone yesterday that the party would retain the seat as a mark of honour to the departed senator. “Our member, who died has been buried and we have put the past behind us, so that by the grace of God we can win the bye-election. The greatest honour we can do to Ewherido is to ensure that DPP retains his seat and we are working hard to retain that seat,” Ezeagwu added.
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PDP’ll rule Nigeria for 100 years –Kazaure Ambassador Ibrahim Musa Kazaure is the Vice Chairman(North West) of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He was a senator in the Third Republic, a former minister for Special Duties and that of Labour and Productivity during late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s tenure and Goodluck Jonathan’s reign as acting president respectively. He expressed his opinion on the forthcoming 2015 elections, crisis within the PDP, efforts at curbing corruption, among other national issues. Excerpts: The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and Northern Elders Forum, NEF, have insisted they would not support President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015. What is your take on this? I am not a member of Arewa Consultative Forum and Northern Elders Forum and they are not a political party. My comment on this is that every Nigerian, both young and old has right to air his views. It’s a constitutional provision for you to say this is what you want or this is what you don’t want. I have no problem for anybody to raise an eyebrow over what ACF or the NEF said. They have the constitutional right to choose Mr. A or Mr. B, or to say they are not going to do this or that. So they have all the right. They are Nigerians and have right to say what they want. After all, they are not members of the PDP. Don’t you think their stand has to do with the agitation of the North to produce the president in 2015 considering the rotational agreement within the PDP? The constitution of the PDP is very clear. So, I don’t think there is any problem here. If the President wants to contest, he’s welcome to do so, and anybody that wants to contest should be welcomed too. The constitution of the PDP says there is no automatic ticket, therefore whoever wants to contest can come and contest. All the previous elections had primaries, as there was a contest. So, I don’t think there is any problem. The President has the right to contest and any Nigerian also has the right to contest against him. The PDP’s constitution did not say only the President should contest, and I’m challenging anyone to say there is automatic ticket. There is no automatic ticket in PDP as there would be primaries and the primaries have to be done in a free and fair manner. But the chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, Chief Tony Anineh recently called for automatic tickets for President Jonathan and first-term serving PDP governors. Are you not comfortable with the idea? Chief Tony Anenih is my leader and I respect him so much. He has the right to say what he said and we in the PDP, the foot soldiers, also have the right to say what we can say. I don’t want to join issues with leaders because that is not how I was brought up.
IT IS ONLY PDP THAT HAS THE CAPACITY AND TENACITY TO HOLD POWER AND TO RULE A
NIGERIA. THERE IS NO OTHER PARTY THAT CAN RULE NIGERIA EXCEPT PDP. I AM TELLING YOU IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS TO COME, PDP WILL STILL BE IN GOVERNMENT. AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PARTY, YOU MUST NATION LIKE
EXPECT PROBLEMS I was brought up to respect leaders when they speak, but when they go out of context, as a PDP man, I would chip in no matter the consequence. That however does not mean that I am insulting my leaders. I am saying the truth and defending the constitution of PDP. Some Nigerians have called on President Jonathan to contest even as opposition parties have lamented that he has not performed up to expectation. Do you see Jonathan as worthy of another term? I am the Vice Chairman of the PDP North West, and as a leader of the PDP, I will not castigate my leaders but for the opposition, you don’t expect them to say the PDP government has performed to expectation. No matter what you do, your opposition cannot say you have done something, and as the vice chairman of the PDP, I have little contribution on whether we have done enough for Nigerians to appreciate. But if you go to the PDP states, you can definitely say it differs from other states that are not PDP. The PDP governments at the states have performed very wonderfully. I don’t want to personalise performance but
the PDP government in general has done what is supposed to be done. So, you are supporting President Jonathan for second term? He has the right to do so. The constitution of Nigeria has given him that right to contest but that does not stop others from contesting. This is something I want to make clear to Nigerians. Looking at the constitutional amendment, do you support removal of immunity for the President and governors? If you remove immunity, there would be no government. I still remember what happened to some of the legislators, governors and president when I was younger. In any country, when you say governors or president have no immunity, then there would be chaos; there would be no government and especially in Nigeria if you remove immunity, nobody would like to contest for positions. For me, that immunity clause should be left as it is. Governance is a conviction, and you can be a good person if you want to. You can be a good president, governor or lawmaker and leave office without being
corrupt. Corruption does exist in places like the United States of America, United Kingdom and in every nation. So, removing immunity does not remove corruption, and I plead with Nigerians to leave that clause as it is and let’s forge ahead. A time would come when in Nigeria everyone would follow the rule of law; you would ask someone to do something unlawful and he would refuse to do it. I don’t think removing immunity is what would keep political office holders from being corrupt. What about autonomy for local governments? I’m indifferent as far as local government autonomy is concerned. I’m not saying the local government chairmen are not responsible but what I am saying is that in every accounting system there should be checks and balance and it differs from state to state. Take for example in my state (Jigawa), the money for the local governments is given to the chairmen and the state governor doesn’t take a dime from the it. I don’t know about other states. My job is to promote PDP and not to promote local government autonomy. But for me, there must be checks and balance at the states. The PDP has been faced with crises and efforts have been made to reconcile feuding members through several committees, but they are yet to yield the desired outcome. What is your take on this? Politics is crisis itself; politics means crisis, and you have to know that we are a big party. The PDP is the biggest party not only in Nigeria but in Africa. You don’t expect not to see wrangling in a place where so many people want to have positions. CONTINUED ON PAGE 16
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‘No automatic ticket for Jonathan in 2015’ CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 But to be honest, we don’t have crises in PDP. Every year, they say we have crises but we still win elections because it’s only the PDP that can rule this country. Any party other than PDP that wins elections in this country and tries to rule would end up throwing in the towel. It is only the PDP that has the capacity and tenacity to hold power and to rule a nation like Nigeria. There is no other party that can rule Nigeria except the PDP. I am telling you that in the next 100 years to come, the PDP would still be in government. And when you look at the party, you must expect problems. It’s just like everybody wants to hold to his position and that position they are holding are being eyed by other people that want to be there also. So, I doubt if the PDP has any crisis. There were so many committees that were formed but that does not mean anything; that does not mean we are in crises. You see, you can’t step on my toes and not expect me to feel pain. That is exactly what is happening. The opposition however cannot do anything in this country, whether APC, Codeine, or Fansidar, whatever it is, they will still come back to PDP. All those opposition members that you see were mostly from the PDP at some point in time. It is when we vomit the bad ones that they go somewhere and form another party or group. There is almost nobody that is in another party that was not at sometime, a PDP member. They left because they could not get what they want, but for me, I will never leave PDP. You see, you don’t fight from the outside; you fight within. So, opposition parties to me are just jokers. They cannot do anything and PDP will still win elections. But what about Rivers state, the division among PDP state governors, the problem between Bamanga Tukur and Governor Murtlala Nyako? Don’t you think these could affect the political fortunes of the PDP? When you say Rivers State for example; have you ever heard where five defeated 27? That too, I don’t see as a crisis. If one wants to go into politics, he must be ready to face challenges. You don’t come into politics without some form of harassment, attack and so on. I still say it, and we are PDP: what happened in Rivers State is unfortunate in the sense that some people somewhere that is strong wanted to put their hand into that crisis, and because they are not politicians, they forgot and took war into their house. To me, there is no big deal on what is happening because those that are concerned, those with PDP in mind, went and resolved the crisis. And the people who went there to solve the crisis are Nigerians that you cannot do away with politically. So, I don’t think the issue in Rivers State is a crisis that should make one to lose sleep. It’s a crisis that was magnified. There is no reason for the crisis when you look at it critically. It was a crisis that came without reason. In Adamawa, it’s a case of two elephants fighting in which it’s the grass that suffers. They are all gentlemen and know what is right and wrong. My call is for them to sit down on a roundtable and iron issues. And if somebody is playing
preparedness of making power available to Nigerians. But by my assessment both the government and people are not ready for power availability and I don’t know who is deceiving who. I have been on a blue line but my house has yet to see electricity for two hours since the past three months. This problem of power cannot be solved unless the country gets someone that is serious and who has this country at heart.
politics, he should know the limit of the consequences of his actions. He should know what he is supposed to do so that he doesn’t worsen the situation. They should go back, sit down and see reasons because they are all PDP and our elders, and I would not sit here and judge. But I know it would soon be resolved amicably. Do you see the All Progressives Congress, APC, posing serious challenge to the PDP in 2015? Believe me, a politician like me, born in this region and politically polished, under polished politicians, trained and moving with polished politicians; APC, or whatever name it is called, does not give me anxiety. I know APC is a combination of ANPP, ACN and CPC. Even if you still change the name, the people are still there and they were alive and present when PDP defeated them. If you look at the votes for the opposition parties, do the arithmetic and you would see that they are not even up to half of PDP votes. I know people call it rigging but remember that in politics you can only rig where you are strong, you don’t rig where you are weak. The PDP doesn’t fear any party. If people think that they are afraid then they are not politicians. But people like me that was born and brought up in the party that was politically excellent, and the people I am with are politically excellent, do not have any fear at all. Someone that stayed with the likes of Aminu Kano, Sule Lamido, Abubakar Rimi, was with NEPU, PRP, and so on would not fear contesting an election with any opposition party. I only pray that we live to see 2015 and you will know that PDP is a party to be reckoned with. What of the influence wielded by major stakeholders of the APC like Gen. Muham-
madu Buhari and Bola Tinubu? I want you to note today; all these people that you are mentioning will never be president in this country. Buhari is our brother, leader and as I said earlier, I don’t want to castigate our elders. But if I were him, at this age, I will not contest election. If I were him, to be defeated three times - in the history of politics, I have never seen a candidate that was defeated three times and he still wants to contest. I’m sorry if I offend some people on this matter, but that is me and anyone can say anything about it. But I know that any party that Buhari leads would not win election. Bola is a friend and I think he can be electable but only within his domain. But I doubt if he can win elections around the eastern, northern and South-South areas of the country. How do you see the government’s war against terror as it relates to Boko Haram insurgency? To be honest with you, I am not in government; I’m not a security man and I don’t want to be one. So, this question should go to the security people. What of your assessment of the government in addressing the problem of power supply? I have been talking about this power issue but unfortunately both the government and the people, including myself, are not serious in addressing the issue of power supply. We are either not ready or we don’t want to tackle the issue of power in Nigeria. We have been talking about it for some time now and even I have been talking about it when I was Minister of Special Duties. Something could have been done at the time but unfortunately, we were cut on the way. I am not in government now and I don’t know the arrangement and
ANY PARTY THAT BUHARI LEADS WOULD NOT WIN ELECTION. BOLA IS A FRIEND AND I THINK HE CAN BE ELECTABLE, BUT ONLY WITHIN HIS DOMAIN. BUT I DOUBT IF HE CAN WIN ELECTIONS AROUND THE EASTERN, NORTHERN AND SOUTHSOUTH AREAS OF THE COUNTRY
Do you see government really addressing corruption and youth unemployment? As I told you earlier, corruption has so many forms. Even refusing to come to work on time and closing at a designated time is a form of corruption. It is not only stealing money from government coffers that is corruption, and every country of the world has some form of corruption. The magnitude of corruption in Nigeria is however what bothers us as a people. White men usually say how much money do you need that would be enough for you? For somebody to steal N20 billion or N50 billion is outrageous, and for God’s sake, what do you do with such money? Corruption would always continue because perpetrators are not punished, like cases of seizing a corrupt person’s money or houses without him facing punishment. I know instances where corrupt officers are heroes in this country. You remember what happened this year, where somebody stole N57 billion and up till today nothing is done to that man as he has become a king. To be honest with you, we need a courageous leader to address this problem. To end corruption, you have to have the political will and determination to tackle same at all levels. Without this, we would continue to be a corrupt nation, but we can solve or minimise the problem when we have leaders that are really committed to tackling corruption. It is not every Nigerian that is corrupt as there are those that can be exempted. But these type of people should first be given power. And it’s not the issue of jailing people for 90 or 150 years for example, which is madness. As regards youth unemployment, when you look at states in the North- West, we are really trying to minimise the problem. Take for example the kind of progammes the PDP is coming out with. This will reduce unemployment but because the problem has been there for long, fully addressing it would take time. But with the way the system is being run, the issue would soon be a thing of the past. There are speculations that you are one of those eyeing the governorship seat in your state when Governor Lamido leaves office in 2015. Is there any truth to this matter? It’s good that it’s a speculation and you know most speculations are always not correct. I am a Muslims and God knows tomorrow. It is left to Jigawa people to choose who will lead them. You have to leave this question as God knows what he has arranged. In fact, we in Jigawa do not care or bother about who becomes the leader. We would follow that person, but our prayer is that such person would be as good as Sule Lamido or even half of Sule Lamido. The governor has satisfied what in the next 25 years should be done. Any person coming in will just build on what he has done.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
State of Nigerian democracy PUBLIC DOMAIN
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he faceoff between President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers State governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has led to friction in the state House of Assembly. A faction of the House attempted to sack the Speaker and other principal officers, thus provoking violent confrontation between pro- and anti- Amaechi members of the House. Video clips on the violence on the floor of the House showed how five members purportedly sacked the Speaker and physically assaulted another member of the House. The assaulted member is receiving treatment in a London hospital and the police are quizzing the Mr. Chidi Lloyd, Majority Leader of the House for his role in the attempted murder of his colleague. The ugly and despicable events had drawn comments from a broad spectrum of Nigerians and the political elite. The dominant opinion condemned the brigandage in the House, and insinuated the complicity of the wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan, in exacerbating the crisis. The Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, had described Dame Patience Jonathan a mere
domestic appendage of power and called on President Jonathan to call his wife to order. It is significant to note that four Northern governors visited Mr. Amaechi and relied on this occasion to ask for state police. This call negated the earlier decision of Northern Nigeria Governors’ Forum on state police. The governors had insisted on a centrally controlled police system as against central and state police structures. The South West governors also visited the governor of Rivers State and advised him to meet with the President on the security situation in his state. The Rivers State crisis has attracted the attention of three former heads of state, Generals Abubakar Abdulsalami, Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo, who asked the belligerents to sheathe their swords. The crisis has been described as a threat to the country’s democracy amidst the misdemeanor of political elite. Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controls the Presidency, dominates the National Assembly, is in control of majority of states and controls about two thirds of the of the local government councils. The crisis within the ruling party therefore, could be said to be a threat to democracy. The crisis was spawned from the crisis in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), where the Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Jonah Jang faction claimed to have won the NGF chairmanship election with 16 votes as against 19 of the Amaechi faction. The disputed NGF election has raised debate on how a candidate that scored fewer votes
THE PRESIDENCY HAS INCREASINGLY
SHOWN INTOLERANCE, AUTHORITARIAN TENDENCY AND REPRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR THAT CAST DOUBTS ON ITS CLAIM TO AN UNBIASED ORGAN would claim victory. The NGF under Amaechi had been outspoken on major issues in the polity like sovereign wealth fund, excess crude account and local government autonomy. The NGF might not likely be correct on every issue, but it served as a counter force to the Presidency on critical national issues. The Presidency’s interest in the NGF might be to weaken it to reduce its influence on the political economy of the country. The emergence of PDP Governors’ Forum led by the governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, is another strategy to reduce the influence of the NGF and promote a strong, overbearing Presidency. Critics insist that the NGF is not constitutional and should be scrapped. The issue is not its constitutionality, but the contexts that led to the fractions within the NGF. The Presidency has increasingly shown intolerance, authoritarian tendency and repressive behaviour that cast doubts on its claim of an unbiased organ. I concede, however, that the gover-
nors repress chairmen of local government councils in their states. The failure of some of the state governors to conduct local government elections is a case in point. The foregoing crisis, which has been described as a threat to democracy, has raised conceptual issues. Critics argue that the country is not a democracy, but operating a system that hinges on civil rule. I differ on this conception. The country operates a democracy, but defaults on democratization. The democracy context of its political system includes structures and institutions of government, periodic elections, majority rule, and independent judicial organ. Democracy is essentially about the political superstructure of the state, functions, powers and limitations. Democratization is the interface of the political superstructure and economy. It explains how the socio-economic contexts impinge on political outcomes. This concept relies on the level of human development in a state to measure the level of democratization. The politics of warfare and increasing internecine struggle for power negate the idea of democratization. The socio-economic conditions in the country are inhibitive of political participation and inclusion. The economic crises and resultant state policies before 1999 created a repressive state that harassed and intimated political opposition and groups to accept state defined economic agenda as appropriate and unassailable. Beyond the theoretical debates, the political elite should exercise restraint in their struggle for political power and de-emphasize people’s interest.
History and Ibrahim Gambari BADEJO ADEDEJI NURUDEEN
ronically, the recently released memoirs of Ambassador Oladapo Olusola Fafowora entitled Lest I forget: Memoirs of a Nigerian Career Diplomat, reflects a degree of forgetfulness and inaccuracy of recollection. For a book based on the power of memory, it is interesting that Fafowora, 71, muddled up historical facts and misrepresented some realities of the past. I must state that my primary interest in this discourse is scholarship as an international relations scholar. Perhaps, the most fascinating section of the book is ‘Night of the Long knives’, which deals with Fafowora’s premature retirement from the country’s Foreign Service in 1984 at the age of 43 with 17 more years to go in his career. It is worthy of note that Fafowora never accused Prof Ibrahim Gambari of being responsible for his untimely retirement. However he claimed to have it on good authority that Gambari leaked the news of his retirement to Tunde Thomspon, a senior diplomatic reporter with The Guardian newspaper. I have read Thompson’s bookPower and the Press on the gale of retirements and ambassadorial re-postings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his account Thompson did not mention his source (as the ethics of journalism demands). But given that Fafowora is not a journalist and the fact that this issue happened almost 30 years ago, I see nothing wrong in naming his sources, which he failed to do. It is unfair to hang an innocent man for allegedly leaking information when the act was per-
FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH, FAFOWORA HAD RIGHTLY OBSERVED IN HIS BOOK THAT NEITHER GAMBARI NOR
THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN
AFFAIRS WAS PART OF HIS
SUDDEN RETIREMENT FROM SERVICE petrated by a military Head of State, who could approve a name written in pencil. In my candid opinion, Fafowora’s enemies in this matter are General Muhammadu Buhari, Lawal Rafindadi and MajorGeneral Joseph Garba, who regrettably were influenced by ethnic considerations. For what it is worth, Fafowora had rightly observed in his book that neither Gambari nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was part of his sudden retirement from service. Gambari as Foreign Minister had to abide by this decision on the governmental principle of collective responsibility despite the glaring non-involvement of the Foreign Affairs ministry. For an idea of Gambari’s personality, there are books written by distinguished diplomats that provided useful clues. Ambassador Olujimi Jaloso wrote in his autobiography, In the shadows: Recollections of a Pioneer Diplomat that his last assignment before retirement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave him the best chance to know Gambari’s personality. He described Gambari as dynamic, but much
misunderstood, who having settled down to his job, learnt quickly and indeed was determined to succeed and would have left quite a creditable and enduring mark on Nigeria diplomacy but for the needless military coup of 1985. Jolaoso, a pioneer diplomat and ranking ambassador, worked directly with Gambari as Foreign Minister. Similarly, Prof Gabriel Olusanya, former Director-General of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and Nigeria’s ambassador to France, in his book, Memoirs of a Disillusioned Patriot confirmed that he had a harmonious relationship with Gambari as a minister, different from his experience with Gambari’s successor, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi. I can also cite the autobiography of Prof Jide Osuntokun, Abidakun, in which he gave an account of Gambari’s fellow-feeling. According to Osuntokun, when he was recalled home as Nigeria’s envoy to Germany, Gambari while commiserating with him on the death of his brother, advised him in connection with his recall and shared with him his own experience in similar circumstances. On the issues of Gambari’s visit to Fafowora in New York in 1982 where he had sought his assistance to be included as a non-permanent delegate to the 1982 UN Special Session, and Gambari’s observation in his report to former President Shehu Shagari on Nigeria’s Mission in UN not attending meetings of Islamic states’ delegation (in spite of our country’s huge Muslim population), it is proper to view these from an intellectual perspective. In my opinion, the secularity of this coun-
try should mean dealing in equal measure with religious groupings in the UN. Fafowora, as a career diplomat with vast experience in foreign policy formulation and implementation indeed should have seen things from the view point of taking advantage of the opportunity to be in equal partnership with different religious groupings because we have a lot to gain in trade and multilateral diplomacy. For whether we like it or not, the huge Muslim population in our country will always draw us into partnership with Islamic states. And truly foreign policy implementation at the level of United Nations should be more inclusive; all regional groupings and interest-based groups should be courted in order to achieve a country’s aspirations. In this case Gambari did nothing unusual as a scholar in promoting Nigeria’s interest in the comity of nations. It is instructive that Shagari appointed Prof Gambari as the DirectorGeneral of NIIA in October 1983, a confirmation of his belief and confidence in Gambari. To be continued Nurudeen, firstname.lastname@example.org, wrote from Lagos 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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All the Facts, All the Sides A PUBLICATION OF GLOBAL MEDIA MIRROR LTD BARRISTER JIMOH IBRAHIM, OFR PUBLISHER
COORDINATOR, EDITORIAL BOARD
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SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT
MDAs and reckless spending
he profligacy dogging public spending in the country was again elucidated a fortnight ago when the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, alleged illegal spending by federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). Coming at a time when the Federal Government is battling with revenue generation agencies over their non-remittance of funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) and massive oil theft, Okonjo-Iweala’s revelation has only validated the intractable and pernicious extent corruption has unleashed its fangs on the Nigerian public sector. Just last week, the finance minister announced that N34 billion out of about N58 billion fraudulently deposited in illegal bank accounts by MDAs had been recovered, courtesy of an ongoing probe of these establishments. This newspaper had, early last week, reported how investigations of illegal spending by MDAs of tax deductions from contracts and other payments meant for the federal treasury stalled government’s planned closure of the bank accounts of erring revenue collection agencies. The Federal Ministry of Finance which threatened to close the accounts thought
ARE THERE NO HEADS AND MEMBERS OF STAFF OF THE
REVENUE AGENCIES PERPETRATING THE FRAUDS?
twice because of shocking findings that some MDAs were really misusing part of the deductions to ‘run their establishments’, obviously in addition to the huge annual budgetary allocations at their disposal. Quite recently, DirectorGeneral of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, in a report titled ‘FGN 2013 budget: Fiscal consolidation with inclusive growth’, also noted that the non-remittance by revenue agencies of the funds they collected on behalf of the government posed a grave threat to the implementation of the 2013 budget. Okogu’s position was confirmed by the report of an investigation conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, which stated that about 60 major revenue collectors for the FG spent the revenues they collected on their operations or simply failed to remit the
monies to the CRF. The committee said out of the N3.06 trillion collected by the agencies in 2009, only N46.8 billion or 1.53 percent was remitted to the government; and of the N3.07 trillion they garnered in 2010, only N54.1 billion or 1.76 percent was remitted compared with N3.17 trillion collected in 2011 out of which N73.8 billion or 2.33 per cent was remitted. For 2012, however, out of the N189 billion said to have been collected as at October last year, only N80 billion was remitted, leaving N109 billion in the agencies’ ‘illegal custody’. Okonjo-Iweala says revenue generation agencies have been carrying on in breach of the statutory provision that they remit 25 percent of the funds generated to the CRF. “We pleaded with them, dialogued with them, but it was not working… The objective of this conspiracy against the national interest is clear: to keep government monies indefinitely in accounts earning interest for individuals at the expense of the Federal Government and the Nigerian people”, she stated. The kid gloves treatment the superintendents of this impunity are getting only validates the spineless anti-corruption war being waged by the government in the Nigerian public
sector. The same government boasts repeatedly about public sector reforms. Still, all that the nation gets are reports such as those credited to the Okonjo-Iwealas and Okogus without corresponding hints that the crooks behind the gross misconduct have been apprehended or brought to book. Are there no heads and members of staff of the MDAs and revenue agencies perpetrating the frauds? Is the profligate spending the handiwork of ghosts? Are there not banks that are complicit in the crime, among others? How many of the culprits in the corruption chain have been punished to deter others? The astonishing gale of corruption in the country supports the widespread clamour for the scrapping of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). If public treasury could be so mindlessly looted on daily basis and all the FG does is shouting and whistle blowing about breaches without firm actions to halt the trend, the nation’s leadership should sincerely examine itself. It is not impossible that the menace enjoys support from the highest quarters.
ON THIS DAY July 31, 2012 Michael Phelps broke the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the greatest number of medals won at the Olympics. Michael Fred Phelps II (born June 30, 1985) is a retired American swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 medals. Phelps also holds the alltime records for Olympic gold medals (18, double the second highest record holders), among others.
July 31, 1992 China General Aviation Flight 7552 from Nanjing Dajiaochang Airport to Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport crashed after taking off, killing 108 of the 116 people on board. The flight crashed into a pond past the runway after taking off. Eight of the 10 crew members and 100 of the 116 passengers died. The number of fatalities was reported as 107 by the Chinese media, but most international organizations and media reported 108 fatalities.
July 31, 1991 The United States and Soviet Union jointly signed the START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), the first to reduce (with verification) both countries’ stockpiles. The treaty was a bilateral agreement between the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on July 31, 1991 and entered into force on December 5, 1994.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Health & Wellbeing ‘It’s dangerous using glasses not recommended by professionals’
World Hepatitis Day:
WHO calls for action 21
Why Nigerian mothers shun exclusive breastfeeding –Investigation BREAST REASTFEEDING INITIATIVE IS VERY INITIATIV
IIMPORTANT MPORTANT IN NIGERIA.
AS A PROD PRODUCT OF THE HUMAN B BEING, THE BREAST MI MILK IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE IMPORTAN HUMAN CHILD
Women should be enabled to practise exclusive breastfeeding.
MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA
ailure by most Nigerian nursing mothers to comply with the global directive on exclusive breastfeeding is largely attributable to high rate of poverty, cultural practices and increasing pressure from workplace, National Mirror findings have revealed. This is even as decline in compliance rate from 17 to 13 percent remains unchanged since 2008 when the National Demographic Health Survey was last carried out. The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with other stakeholders recommend that for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition, all women should be enabled to practise exclusive breastfeeding and all infants should be fed exclusively on breastmilk from birth to 4-6 months of age. Thereafter, children should continue to be breastfed, while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods, for up to
two years of age or beyond. UNICEF has expressed worried over the continued decline of exclusive breastfeeding among Nigerian women and frowned at the “widespread roadblocks to improving breastfeeding rates and unethical marketing by makers of breast milk substitutes, poor national policies that do not support maternity leave, and a lack of understanding of the risks of not breastfeeding”. The organisation stressed that if breastfeeding were promoted more effectively and women were protected from aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes, more children would survive and thrive, while lower rates of disease, malnutrition and stunting would be recorded. Preparatory to this year’s commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week, (August 1-7) National Mirror surveyed three states of the country namely Lagos, Abuja and Ondo to monitor compliance with exclusive breastfeeding by nursing mothers. Our findings also confirmed the steady de-
cline of the practice. In Abuja, Mrs Folashade Adebisi who currently nurses a set of twins said she gave her first child exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months but could not do same for her second baby as a result of her office demand. “Unlike my first child, it was difficult to give the baby breast milk all alone during the period because of my work,” she said, adding that this would also affect her present set of twins who are just seven weeks old. Yet, she’s beginning to see the good effect of exclusive breastfeeding on her six-year old boy. She says the boy performs better at school and has better intelligent quotient than his peers who were not breastfed for so long. “He hasn’t come second in class since he started school; he is usually the best in class,” she said. To Lagosian, Mrs Bimbo Olalekan most mothers would like to comply but said such policy might be difficult to follow in the face of growing demands on the mothers to make meaningful economic contributions to their families. “It is a good thing that can help the child and the mother, but the nature of our nation’s economy does not allow the mothers do that. If government wants us to feed our babies for six months with only breast milk,
it should make maternity leave for the mothers six months so that they can have enough time for their babies,” she urged. In Ondo State, a mother who did not want her name in print said mothers “need good atmosphere, good nutrition and right frame of mind to feed a baby for six months. A mother who does not feed well will find it difficult to feed a baby for such a period of time without complementary meals.” Besides, a general observation and experience by National Mirror in most states in the country showed that cultural practices such as the use of traditional herbal preparation such as ‘agbo’ and other liquids are still on the increase. This is contrary to the exclusive breastfeeding regulation which does not allow other forms of complements, including water, in the first 4-6 months of life. Some mothers however claim that high demand of babies for food, especially at night, often force them to complement their feeding with other liquids apart from the breast milk. WHO describes breastfeeding as “an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. Review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the optimal way of feeding infants following which infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond. To enable mothers establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for this six months period, WHO and UNICEF recommend initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life; exclusive breastfeeding, meaning that the infant only receives breast milk without any additional food or drink, not even water; breastfeeding on demand – that is as often CONTINUED ON PAGE 21
Health & Wellbeing
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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World Hepatitis Day:
WHO calls for action SAM EFERARO
he World Hepatitis Day was marked globally on Sunday amid call by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on governments around the world to act against the five hepatitis viruses that can cause severe liver infections resulting in 1.4 million deaths every year. According to the organisation, some of the hepatitis viruses, most notably types B and C, could also lead to chronic and debilitating illnesses such as liver cancer and cirrhosis, and in addition to, loss of income and high medical expenses for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. An inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection, WHO has identified five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types, according to the organisation, are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. Hepatitis B in particular, is rated as a major global health problem because of its deadly impact as it puts people at high risk of death from liver cirrhosis (a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury) and cancer. WHO says hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV. Viral hepatitis in general is referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ because most persons do not realize that they are infected and, over decades, slowly progress to liver disease. Many countries are only now realizing the magnitude of the disease burden and devising ways to address it. “The fact that many hepatitis B and C infections are silent, causing no symptoms until there is severe damage to the liver, points to the urgent need for universal access to immunization, screening, diagnosis and antiviral therapy,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security and the Environment. According to a public service publication by Roche Nigeria Limited written by Dr. Ebere Anomneze, a Gastroenterologist at the Mount Pleasant Hospital, Lagos and Dr. Joe Ibojie of the Department of Haematology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, at least 75% of the Nigerian population must have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus at one time or the other in their life. Experts say Hepatitis B is a virus which infects cells in our body, causing inflammation of the liver in the process. Drs Anomneze and Ibojie say most adults with the disease would notice a short, mild, flu-like illness sometimes associated with nausea and vomiting. Occasionally, they say, the acute infection would be severe with jaundice (indicated by the yellowish colour of the white part of the eyes) abdominal pain and a darkening of the urine. Although it can be very deadly, the doctors say it’s not everyone that contracts this disease that would be severely affected. According to them, between 85 and 90% of adults who are infected with hepatitis B would recover fully and never troubled by the virus again. 10-15% are however unable to eliminate the virus from their system to become “chronic’. Also, about 90% of babies infected at birth would become chronic carriers. Hepatitis B is known to be a major cause of liver disease. “The association between Chronic Hepatitis B (CHB) and liver cancer in African patients have been
shown to be as high as 75%,” the publication says. “The frightening aspect of this association is that the rate at which the disease progresses from CHB to liver cancer is very fast in our environment.”Available statistics have revealed that primary liver cancer is quite a problem in Nigeria, affecting between 51 and 69 out of every 100,000 adults in a year. Indeed, liver cancer is said to be the commonest form of cancer in Nigerian which further justifies claim that Hepatitis B, a common cause of liver cancer is indeed a serious problem in the country. Doctors, however, say hepatitis B infection needs not result in death if detected and treated early before the liver is damaged. Early detection through blood test or early recognition of the symptoms and signs and subsequent early treatment in the hospital is therefore important to save their patient’s life. Vaccination remains to best way to prevent it. This year, in the run up to World Hepatitis Day, the Organization is releasing its first-ever country hepatitis survey, covering 126 countries. The WHO “Global policy report on the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in WHO Member States” identifies successes as well as gaps at country level in the implementation of four priority areas. The priority areas are raising awareness, evidence-based data for action, prevention of transmission, and screening, care and treatment. The findings show that 37% of the countries have national strategies for viral hepatitis, and more work is needed in treating hepatitis. It also highlights that xxxxxx
•Hepatitis B can be prevented by reaching every child with immunization programmes that include hepatitis B vaccine. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. In addition, infections can be prevented by protecting against mother-to-child transmission of the virus and ensuring the safety of blood, transfusion services, organ donation and injection practice (treatment can include antiviral medications if needed). •Hepatitis A and E can be prevented by avoiding contaminated food and water; in addition, there is an effective WHO approved vaccine for hepatitis A. •Hepatitis medicines are now included in the WHO Essential Medicines List, which Member States are encouraged to adopt. Essential medicines are selected based on disease prevalence, safety, efficacy, and comparative cost-effectiveness. The WHO Model List can be used by countries as a guide for the development of their own national list.
DOCTORS HOWEVER SAY HEPATITIS B INFECTION NEEDS NOT RESULT IN DEATH IF DETECTED AND TREATED EARLY BEFORE THE LIVER IS DAMAGED while most of the countries (82%) have established hepatitis surveillance programmes, only half of them include the monitoring of chronic hepatitis B and C, which are responsible for most severe illnesses and deaths. “Many of the measures needed to prevent the spread of viral hepatitis disease can be put in place right now, and doing so will offset the heavy economic costs of treating and hospitalizing patients in future,” says Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases at WHO. “The findings underline the important work that is being done by governments to halt hepatitis through the implementation of WHO recommended policies and actions.” The challenges posed by hepatitis were formally acknowledged by the World Health Assembly in 2010 when it adopted its first resolution on viral hepatitis, and called for a comprehensive approach to prevention and control. This has promoted a new era of awareness with more governments proactively working to address the disease. According to WHO, Hepatitis B, C, and D are spread by infected body fluids including blood, by sexual contact, mother-to-child transmission during birth, or by contaminated medical equipment. Hepatitis B and C have a greater health burden in terms of death because they can cause life-long infection (called chronic infection), which can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. In fact, chronic hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer. WHO-approved vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and B, while screening of blood donors, assuring clean needle and syringes, and condom use can prevent bloodborne and sexual transmission.
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Health & Wellbeing
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
881 communities to benefit from FCT Health Insurance Scheme –Akinjide OMEIZA AJAYI ABUJA
he Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has expressed its resolve to extend its Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS) to 300 communities in the territory. The Scheme is currently in 20 communities with 861 others yet to have access to health insurance, but the Administration has pledged to cover all the communities before 2015. The CBHIS which began in August last year in Kuchibuyi village of Bwari Area Council is in collaboration with the empowered communities of the FCT Millennium Development Goals initiative. Director, FCT Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme, Dr Grace Aganaba who stated this recently at the Ministerial Flag-Off of the Scheme for 300 communities said the FCTA was partnering with the National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS in order to achieve the desired speed in meeting the Presidential Mandate for “Universal Coverage Health for All” by 2015. Flagging off the second phase of the scheme at the Emir’s palace in Karshi Village, Minister of state in the FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide expressed the concern of the FCT Administration at the wide disparities in health and health services between the territory’s rural and urban areas.
“This situation results from the challenges of access to health centres, low capacity and scarcity of funds coupled with the difficult terrains of some communities”, Akinjide said. She also identified the issue of low purchasing power among rural households because of the out-of-pocket option to health-care financing in FCT, as in other parts of the country as part of the challenges in FCT rural healthcare. Akinjide added that as a result, the occurrence of illness, which is often sudden and requiring direct payment, further restricts access of rural households to health services. “It is for this reason that the FCT Administration is driving the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme into the rural areas”, she said. The scheme which is a social security system guarantees the provision of needed health services to its benefi-
ciaries on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals. If rightly implemented, the scheme would also protect its subscribers from the burden of paying for healthcare directly from their pockets. “It works through registered co-operatives, whereby
members contribute N150 as monthly premiums, which translates to N1,800 yearly. “The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will pay for all children under 5 years as well as pregnant women for three years under the pilot scheme. The Community Based Health Insurance Scheme is there-
fore, an off-shoot of the NHIS, which was formally launched in July 2005. It represents a bold attempt at providing an effective alternative source of funding for health services in Nigeria. “The pilot scheme will cover 50 communities each from the six Area Councils. So far, there are about 10,000 families
that have shown interest in the scheme and we are grateful for the interest they have shown”, Akinjide stated. Emir of Karshi, Alhaji Ismaila Mohammed on his part, pledged to continue to rally his subjects to embrace all community development initiatives of the FCT Administration.
L-R: Special Adviser to Gov. Fashola on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina; Sales Manager, Hypo, Division of MultiPro Entreprises Ltd, Mr. Jude Nzeata and Permanent Secretary, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Alhaja Riskat Akiode, representing the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, during the grand finale of the Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Programme in Lagos recently.
Experts advocate milk consumption as boost for Vitamin D
enowned Clinical Chemist, Prof. Frits Muskiet and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, have again stressed the need for adequate milk consumption by Nigerians as a good source of Vitamin D. Speaking at the 8th Olu Akinkugbe WAMCO Nutrition Seminar held in
Lagos recently, the two experts disclosed that even the abundant sunshine available in this part of the world may not guarantee enough Vitamin D, adding that the consumption of milk could help individuals to boost the body’s Vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D has been associated with many health benefits including it’s crucial role in the absorption and metabolism of calcium
and phosphorous, which have various functions, especially the maintenance of healthy bones. It is also known to be an immune system regulator while it helps nthe brain to keep working well in later life Howeve, Prof. Muskiet disclosed that factors such as smoke, staying indoor for too long, skin type, age, clothing among others could result in lack of Vitamin D.
He therefore advised parents, especially mothers, to give children “an excellent start” right before and during conception through adequate milk consumption. Speaking on the theme of the Nutrition Seminar; “Optimizing baby’s development through nutrition before, during and after pregnancy” aligns with a key millennium goal aimed at improv-
ing maternal health and reducing infant mortality, at the launching of FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s Frisomum Gold, the first maternal milk in Nigeria, Prof. Muskiet explained that foetal growth and development are influenced by the nutritional and health status of the mother in the period before she conceives and her state of health at the time of conception.
Why Nigerian mothers shun exclusive breastfeeding –Investigation CONTINUED FROM 19 as the child wants, day and night; no use of bottles, teats or pacifiers. The world bodies stressed that “breast milk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life. “Breast milk promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea or pneumo-
nia, and helps for a quicker recovery during illness… Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers; it helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, increases family and national resources; and, it is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.” UNICEF notes that human milk is the ideal nourishment for infants’ survival, growth and development, adding that exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life stimulates babies’ immune systems and protects them from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections – two of the major causes of infant mortality in the developing world – and improves their responses to vaccination.
However, UNICEF expressed conviction that in unhygienic condition, breast milk substitutes carry a high risk of infection and could be fatal in infants, emphasizing that only slightly more than onethird of all infants in developing countries are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Assistant Director, Nutrition Division, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Roselyn Gabriel, told National Mirror in an exclusive interview of government’s discomfort over the trend in Nigeria. She also explained steps being taken to reverse the development. She said: “Breastfeeding initiative is very important in Nigeria. As a product of the human being, the breast
milk is very important to the human child. We were hoping that as a programme, we should have exceeded the rate that we are right now. Breastfeeding rate, some years back was 17 percent. Now, it is lower this year; it is 13 percent. That means there is a lot of work that we still need to do in order to get to the level that we will love to be. However, I believe the ministry is still not satisfied, neither do I. We still need to do more. That is why this year’s theme advocates the need to stick to exclusive breastfeeding. The theme is: “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers”. We have in-country slogan for the year which is “Exclusive Breastfeeding, Support the Mother, Support the Child.” That is our slogan in the country. But the theme
is generally given from Geneva and it becomes a theme for the whole of the year. As an in-country programme, we are also entitled to come up with programmes which gave birth to the in-country slogan. Mrs Roselyn noted the only time a child should be given anything other than the breast milk is when the child is sick and is given prescribed drugs from the health facility. “But, apart from that, the child is wholly on breast milk from the mother for six months from the day of deliver to six months,” she noted. Speaking on the effects of introducing complementary meals, she stated that “The effects are that you are introducing a lot of other things into the child. For instance, breast milk
alone can reduce the rate of sickness in the child, but when you start introducing other things like water and agbo, then, you are introducing other things into the bowels of the child. And, we know the lining of the child’s stomach is not yet strong enough to be able to absorb most of those things. And, there are sometimes introduction of death through use of dirty water or food not being properly prepared, then, you introduce diseases into the child like diarrhoea for instance. Diarrhoea is a killer disease in children. When you give other things like water and agbo, you are introducing dirt and other forms of diseases will accompany what you are offering the child.”
Health & Wellbeing
Many Nigerians live with challenges of eye diseases, some of which are self-induced. Principal Optometrist with the Health and Human Services Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Dr Okonokhua Ozy, provides insight into the causes, types, prevention and treatment of prevalent eye diseases in this interview with MARCUS FATUNMOLE, Excerpts:
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
‘It’s dangerous using glasses not recommended by professionals’ instance, I am aware that often times, they organize this free cataract surgeries for some categories of people. A lot of them fail to turn up. You know that surgery is not something you can compel somebody to do. Surgery is something that you provide for somebody who is motivated for it. Since some of them benefit from the condition that they are in, which is the blindness and the benefit they derive is that they go along the streets begging for cheap money. They are not highly motivated to go for surgeries. Those who are highly motivated to go for surgery, they usually benefit from such medical intervention that is provided.
What are the causes of eye diseases? Eye diseases are many and varied. If we are going to look at the causes of eye diseases, we need to identify the particular eye disease we want to be talking about. For instance, cataract is one of the disease conditions that affect the eye. Cataract is a senile disease principally, which means it happens to people who are old. But we also have some other types of cataract that may come up as a result of secondary condition – may be the use of drugs like steroids – which can predispose one to have cataract. Also, excessive exposure to sunray can hasten cataract. Can you elaborate more on other forms of eye diseases and their causes? There are diseases that affect the front of the eye; there are some diseases that affect the back of the eye. There are some diseases that affect the way you see. If we start with the diseases that affect the front of the eye, maybe we start with the simple one such as conjunctivitis; that is the one we call Apollo. Conjunctivitis affects the front of the eye, principally. It only affects the vision a little bit. It is viral in nature – it is caused by a virus. This virus is self-eliminated; meaning that it can die by itself, even when you don’t treat it. It is just that the secondary effect of the virus is what we normally have. It makes the bacteria to grow more in the eye once it is there. That is a simple example of disease of the eye that affects the front of the eye. There are diseases that affect the eyelids; that make the eyelid swollen. This, at times, can result in a boil; people often have different interpretation to this. There are diseases that affect the back of the eye. These are different types of retinopathy diseases that we have inside the eye. There is also another one we call glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness, globally. The unfortunate aspect of glaucoma is that it does not give the patient any sign. It is only the doctor that can detect the presence of glaucoma in the patient’s eye. We call it the ‘silence thief of sight’ because the patient does not know that he or she has glaucoma, except a test is done in the clinic. Glaucoma does not have a particular cause but there are predisposing factors that make a patient more prone to having glaucoma. One of such predisposing factors is short-sightedness. A patient who is short-sighted is most likely to develop glaucoma, especially if the short-sightedness is high. We have also found that it is more common in blacks than it is in whites. It also tends to run in the family. These are some of the things we want to associate with glaucoma, which is one of the things that happen at the back of the eye. Then, there are other visual defects or impairments. We have short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism etc. These are conditions that prevent a patient from
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seeing clearly whether at far or near. Some affect the lid, some affect the cornea, and there are some that affect the whole part of the eye. Is it possible for a child to be born blind? Yes. In that case, it is a congenital blindness; that means it was as a result of defects in the development while the child was in the womb. It is very possible that a child can be born blind. You will check the history of the pregnancy of that particular child. There must have been some problems that took place when being conceived in the womb. It is just like a child coming out deformed. It is possible that the eye can be deformed just like the leg, ear or the head can all be deformed. What are the treatments for eye disease? Apollo for instance, I am liberally using the word Apollo here, doesn’t need any treatment. But, the bacterial infection that comes in because of the presence of that virus is what you need to treat. Like any viral infection like flu, in seven days, it goes whether you treat it or not. But, it makes room for other bacteria to grow. It is that bacterial infection that we need to treat. That is the way of treating Apollo. Other disease conditions like glaucoma as I mentioned before, cannot be treated. Glaucoma is only managed. You only manage the symptoms of glaucoma, you don’t treat it. As for cataract, the treatment for cataract is surgical intervention. There is no other means of treating cataract for now except to remove the opaque lens from
GLASSES ARE MEANT TO BE PRESCRIBED AFTER A TEST HAS BEEN DONE BY THE RELEVANT PROFESSIONALS the eyes and replace it with intraocular lens. For other conditions like visual impairments that I mentioned earlier, shortvision or long-vision, those ones we treat primarily with the use of glasses, contact lenses; depending on the patient’s choice. There have been instances where persons assumed to be blind regained their sight through free operations by well-meaning Nigerians and government. Don’t you think we need more of these free surgeries, especially from government? Yes, the government is trying the best it could. Also, a lot of professional bodies are doing as much as they can. I know for instance of the Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, the Nigeria Ophthalmic Association, the Ophthalmic Nurses Association of Nigeria among others have come together at various points in time to see how they can put resources together to provide free services for persons who are in need of these services. Those with cataract for
What would you describe as the effect of people gluing their eyes on computers and television screens today? First and foremost, the computer screen or monitor emits a kind of ray that induces strain on the ocular muscles. The tendency is that when somebody is on the computer screen for a long period of time, their eyes can get fatigued faster than somebody who is in the larger field looking at distance object. The computer screen is a source of ocular strain which in turns is referred to as a headache for the person. That is one thing we have been able to identify the computer screen for. To a smaller degree, the handsets, the palm top, the Ipad and all that smaller devices also emit this type of ray which induce strain on the ocular muscles. That is as far as it goes for those devices. But, that is not to say that these devices are of no benefit. It is the long term use and duration of time you spend on the system that predisposes you to this type of strain. Simple thing to do is that if you stay on the computer screen for like 20 to 30 minutes, just look away from the screen for a minute or two so that you can allow that eye to recover itself from whatever strain its under. What is your opinion on people who use glasses that are not recommended? It is a very dangerous trend when you just walk to the market and you pick up a pair of glasses that is not recommended; you are going to do more damage to your eye. It is like buying drugs not prescribed. Glasses are meant to be prescribed after a test has been done by the relevant professionals. But, what you find is that somebody just wakes up one day and goes to pick a pair of glasses at the roadside and starts using. You may be using a magnifier that will in the long run damage your eye. So, the best thing is to avoid such glasses and first and foremost go to a registered and recognized, licensed eye care provider preferably an optometrist who is trained in that specialty to do for you a refraction. It is after that refraction has been done that you can now pick up your prescription which you are now aware of. If for instance I know that I am using a certain prescription, and I see it at the roadside, nothing stops me from buying it. But, make sure you’ve done a test before you go to pick up any prescription from anywhere. In that way, you will not run the risk of damaging your eyes in the long run.
Wednesday, 12, 2013 2013 Wednesday, June July 31,
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Arts Lounge Last viewing as Ife art travels
I was born to do comedy –Odega
Experimenting with marketing tool for Nollywood I HAVE NEVER SEEN
A COUNTRY WHERE
orothee Wenner is a German documentary filmmaker with an intimidating CV and is currently a festival delegate for the Berlinale, the international film festival in Germany as well as juror of the African Movie Academy Award, AMAA. Her latest film titled: Drama Consult released in 2012 had a Nigerian premiere last Wednesday in Lagos to a full hall and acclaim. Victor Okhai, a Nigerian filmmaker and founder of the In-Short documentary film festival said it is a new experiment with a three dimensional reality in the sense that a movie was projected on the screen and the story continues afterwards. “The question is, what has resulted there from transported from the movie to reality?” The reality is that a lot of damage has been done to Nigeria’s image abroad, particularly when it comes to doing business. Wenner, who also wrote the script for the documentary, said she had seen over 1000 films about Africans coming to Europe as refugees and when she had the privilege of coming to Nigeria every now and then for the AMAA, she became acquainted with the reality on ground. “I am not saying I know everything, but I have spent quite some time and I am impressed by the dynamism that I find here in Nigeria and so I thought that this might actually make a very interesting film. How Nigerians do business is different from the way Germans do business”, she said. Wenner who said many of her countrymen and women have a hard time speaking English served as translator to the protagonists in the film when shooting that lasted 21 days shifted to Berlin. One of the protagonists, Dolapo Ajayi (real estate developer), said bridging the gap that exists between business people in the two countries is a long term project. “So much damage has been done to the perception of how we conduct our business here overtime that it cannot just be repaired with just one film. So, it is just the beginning of a process”, Ajayi said. Jude Fejokwu, one of the consultants for the project who went along with the protagonists said he met with two business people who listened to his business model. “In one I am waiting for myself and in the other I am waiting for someone then we can talk”, he said. Fejokwu added that the trip was an interesting experience but agreed with Ajayi that the country has a bad reputation since old habits die hard “but things will be slow but after a while, you are going to overcome”. For Femi Ladipo, the shoemaker who has never travelled out of the country before, this was not an easy experience
MEN WEAR SUCH EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTIFUL SHOES
Cast of Drama Consult with the movie director Dorothee Wenner (2nd right) and director of Goethe-Institut Lagos, Marc-André Schmachtel (middle).
A scene from Drama Consult.
but things got better for him as the trip continued. “Right now, I am still discussing business with the people I met in Germany like the leather man who called sometime ago to tell me that he has some stuff for me. It is work in progress and I am sure we will get there”, he said. Biyi Tunji-Olugbodi, the other consultant said she now has a deal with Nigerians in the German Diaspora looking for a trustworthy investment route in the country. “(Change of) perception will be a gradual thing but I tell them we are not that bad in Nigeria. On the other hand it was a great privilege for me to have worked on the project and the fallout is that I am presently consulting for Femi. For me, that is more than any other thing”, she said. Sam Aniama said when he was approached for the project, he had reservations as he wondered why he would want to be a film actor but it turned out to be a very nice experience. “As time went on, everything started coming together. It was a very good experience and I am encouraging every one of you who comes across this kind of opportunity, don’t let
it go by”, he said. Filmmaker and executive director of the iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival, iREP, describes Drama Consult as a fresh and ambitious approach to introducing two distinct world views and cultures through the prism of its humanity. He explained that the film did not suffer from not having included Nollywood in its choice of industry/ vocations; “Nollywood is an emerging industry and its achievements, thus far, is something we can be proud of but the cultural nuances that defines its storytelling and style is even more remote to the consciousness of the average German than the vocations selected”. This model can be adopted to make money particularly for filmmakers in Nollywood who are in business and would definitely want to make more returns but Wenner insists that she didn’t make the film with profit in mind. “It is not a financial profit that I was aiming for, but I think that what I wanted to achieve… it is a nonconventional documentary to highlight what really makes business run or not. For us, this was the
most important aspect. I had wanted this film to be a starting point for talking about what is always there when we embark on a journey like this”, she said. That is already happening because the filmmaker said Drama Consult is now partnering with DIZ which is the organisation for technical cooperation and also in charge of improving and enhancing business in Nigeria. “I hope a lot of businessmen come and say this is what we have been looking for”, she stated. Asked what the criteria for selecting the protagonists was, Wenner said the challenge was in the selection because “there were more interesting protagonists that we could have put in the movie”. “I wanted to have something with cars because cars work in Nigeria and in Germany. I was fascinated with the presentation that Dolapo Ajayi did when he came up and said that there are 18 million housing units missing in Nigeria. When I pitched this number to people I was trying to link them up to in Germany, they said that was great. There was a lot of interest. With Femi it was one of my dreams because when I came for the first time to Nigeria I had no clue how fashionable a lot of Nigerians are; I have never seen a country where men wear such extraordinary beautiful shoes. And I thought this aspect is very anti stereotype; looking at Africa as a fashion continent. By the way, it’s also good business”, Wenner said. She explained that the audition drew people from different backgrounds including: film, architecture, gardening and food, all kinds of field with very interesting projects “but I honestly had to look at my characters because it is not a conventional film so we did takes on camera to see how they do in front of the camera. This was particularly difficult because in Nigeria a lot of people know how to act very well”. Drama Consult initiates a cultural expedition from Nigeria to Germany. The protagonists are real life businessmen from Lagos. Dolapo Ajayi, a real estate developer; Sam Aniama, an experienced spare parts dealer specialising in Volkswagen and Mercedes vehicles, and Femi Oladipo a start-up entrepreneur who manufactures shoes for fashionable Nigerian customers. Two consultants; Biyi Tunji-Olugbodi and Jude Fejokwu complete the list.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Border Blues: Why must Africans jump through hoops for a visa? VOICES
s life’s delights go, visa-related red tape is right up there with root canals and Rick Ross. But it’s an integral part of life for holders of African passports. We are all-too-familiar with the tediousness of ticking one’s way through a relentless list of visa requirements ranging from your great-grandmother’s fingerprints to a sample of unicorn blood. It’s just gotten even more outrageous for our West African brothers and sisters – if you’re a Nigerian or Ghanaian hoping to visit the UK after November 2013, prepare to part with a bond of £3,000 in order to get your visa. Immigration struggles feature prominently in Chimamanda Adichie’s new novel, Americanah, in which a romance is torn apart by border blues. One character of Nigerian citizenship finds himself living underground in London after overstaying his tourist visa, while another feels “suddenly, guiltily grateful that she had a blue American passport in her bag. It shielded her from choicelessness”. It is this feeling that appeals to most Africans I know who have applied for European or North American passports, driven not by a desire for a different identity, but for a different degree of convenience. Anyone would be grateful to be rid of that nervous discomfort you feel as you approach the visa desk, the uncertainty about whether this stranger behind the counter will be pleasant or obnoxious, helpful or unreasonable, and the knowledge that there’s little you can do about it either way. Well, there is always at least one option. You could stay home. That was the choice made by Bousso Dramé, a Senegalese woman who won a language competition organised by the French Institute in Dakar. Her prize was an all-expenses paid trip to Paris, to take part in a documentary film-making training along the themes of human rights and global citizenry. As it turned out, the French Institute would have been well advised to offer that training to its own employees, and to those of the French consulate who
treated Dramé with so much contempt that she eventually turned down the trip and wrote a public letter to explain her decision: “It is high time for Africans to respect themselves and to demand they be respected by others…An all-expenses-paid trip, even the world’s most beautiful and enchanting one, is not worth the suffering that my fellow citizens and myself endure from the French Consulate…the pain of enduring these kinds of behaviour unfortunately widespread under African skies. As a matter of coherence with my own value system, I have, therefore, decided to renounce that offer, despite being granted a visa. Renounce symbolically. Renounce in the name of those thousands of Senegalese who deserve respect, a respect they are being denied within the walls of these French representations, and on Senegalese soil moreover”. Her letter made the rounds on the internet, instantly striking a chord with Africans all over the world. Many of us have no doubt experienced the urge to tell certain consulates exactly where to stick it, but for various reasons –work or study obligations – we instead take a deep breath and suck it up. Oppression thrives on this dynamic, the knowledge that we need or want something the oppressor has, and in our efforts to get it, will swallow the bitter pill of disrespect. So when Dramé spat it out, sacrificing a prestigious trip that she had desired in defence of dignity, her action assumed heroic status. A flurry of online comments added up to a resounding ‘bravo’, a seemingly universal consensus on the need for Africans to stand up against the institutionalised racism that oozes from foreign consulates. But absent from most of this conversation was a consideration of how we as Africans treat each other when it comes to immigration. According to the African Development Bank, ADB, “Africa is one of the regions in the world with the highest visa requirements. This situation is even more restricted for Africans travelling within Africa, as compared to Europeans and North Americans”. TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK Paula Akugizibwe, a writer and activist, was born in Nigeria to parents of Rwandan and Ugandan origin.
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We need Awo
hen one rates the quality of leaders we have today, I begin to wish we can bring back the late sage Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo -a man who believed in education. When you juxtapose that with the educational sector today, you will understand why it is said that Awo was the president we never had. I was privileged to have benefited from Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s free and qualitative education policy which he introduced in 1955 in the old Western Region and still continues till date in all the western states. According to Awo, “education must be a priority of any serious government because when you educate citizenry you develop your nation”. The FG-ASUU demand for a progressive increase in the allocation to education sector to the tune of 26% in line with international standards advanced by UNESCO is quite pertinent in this discourse. The importance of education in the development of any society cannot be overemphasised. Hence, it beclouds my imagination when the federal government finds it difficult to accede to this particular demand in the face of the fact that the president is a member of the academia. Looking at the 2013 budget, the Ministry of Education is allocated N360,822,928,272 (total recurrent) and N71,937,785,489 (capital) making a total of N432,760,713,762. This figure represents a paltry 8.67% of the total budget put at N4, 987,220,425,601. This is quite mediocre compared with the budget of Ghana that in the last 25 years or more has consistently dedicated at least 30% of its annual budget to education. Recapitulating the status of education in Nigeria in the 1960’s (when the schools were mostly run by their original owners, the church) and comparing it with what obtains today, one would agree that the standard has truly fallen. Things have really fallen apart as Chinua Achebe would say. Our present educational system is a disaster that has stifled creativity and hampered the emergence of excellence. The worst of it is that the menace transcends right from our primary to tertiary institutions, perhaps because the government has not yet given adequate attention to education as it ought. The issue of accommodation problem coupled with exorbitant school fees has led our young ones into prostitution and some nefarious activities. In the last three weeks students within Nigerian universities have been on strikes as I write this column; what callous neglect by the Government. And some of them have their wards to study abroad. I think it is high time these politicians and their ASUU/NUT counterpart are compelled to have their wards study in our universities. If not, we will continue to experience the unnecessary inces-
BY 2020, NIGERIA WILL BE FILLED WITH A MASSIVE NUMBER
“LEARNED ILLITERATES” I.E. OF
ILLITERATES WITH EDUCATIONAL CERTIFICATES sant negligence. The demand by ASUU, even though genuine, is also germane and counterproductive considering the effect of the strike on the students. There is an absence of reading culture among students, unabated spread of cultism, poorly produced handout and more; seriously, the mode of admission into our higher institution contribute to this. Now some universities have started their post UME examinations. One experiences a situation where before or during an admission/examination, unqualified students buy their way through to be admitted or come out with higher grades, while honest, brilliant and dedicated students are denied admission, promotion or merited grades simply because they fail or refuse to “settle”. It is no longer news as earlier noted that, nowadays female students indulge in prostitution in our higher institution as they are compelled to “pay” with their bodies if they can’t meet up with the financial demands. The federal government has continued to lament about the successive massive failures recorded in the West African Examination Council (WAEC), The National Examination Council (NECO) and the University Matriculation Examination (UME). Cases also abound where many Nigerian graduates/students couldn’t defend their qualification. During a recent Police recruitment exercise, most of the applicants presented their school certificates with many having credit in English Language; but when asked to read simple English in the dailies, they could not. Some of them even failed to write or spell their names correctly. With these ugly trends in our educational system, I perceive an impending danger that by 2020, Nigeria will be filled with a massive number of “learned illiterates” i.e. illiterates with educational certificates. Conclusively, I wish to state that the academic community cannot be forgiven if it forfeits the education of our children on which our hopes for the future rests. Hence, I urge the education stakeholders under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in coalition with Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, to see their occupation to be more of a vocation for the service of God in humanity.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I was born to do comedy –Odega Francis Odega’s career as a comic has advanced since he joined the movie industry in the late 90s. However, this was after he overcame the initial challenges in Nollywood. NGOZI EMEDOLIBE
WHILE GROWING UP, I NOTICED THAT I
WOULD BE TALKING AND PEOPLE WOULD
e is fondly called ‘Odega’ in the home video industry and true to type, he likes making descriptions with satire. A typical example is imagining that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy has meant bad business for thieves; so much that they would soon begin to look for ‘Brazilian hair’ more than a woman’s purse! This is the kind of creative imagination that has made his name one of the most formidable in the industry, especially as regards comic roles in home videos, which has so far availed him more than 100 movie and television credits in productions like, Clinic Matters, Osuofia in London, Alaba Boys, Emotional Blunders, Under the Sky, Mama Gee Goes to School, and Baby Police amongst others. He is one of the actors happy with the progress of the industry at the moment. “The industry may not be producing as many as we used to, but that is a healthy development. Right now, Nollywood is making better films which can compete favourably with the ones from other places. I am optimistic that things will even get better, because at the moment we are getting mentions in foreign lands, which is a sign that our rating is getting better. However, some Nigerians, no matter how we try will never see anything good about the industry. There are people who will naturally tell you that they do not watch Nollywood movies. It is out of sheer prejudice, which has never stopped the industry from going to where it is going”. Getting involved in the entertainment business, for Francis Odega, is like tapping into his endowment. According to the comedian, his arty nature is one trait that runs in his family from Aniocha, in Delta State. “Everyone in my family does one form of art or the other. That is why I believe this is what I was born to do. My siblings are not involved in art professionally but they have the talent. Honestly, I did not set out to become a comedian. But while growing up, I noticed that I would be talking and people would be laughing and sometimes, my friends will ask me why I have not thought of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. That was how it all began. I actually studied Economics at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. That does not mean that my degree is not relevant. I will advise anybody wishing to pursue a career in this industry to arm himself or herself with education; it helps”. The challenges of rising in the movie industry according to Francis can be frustrating but one needs the spirit of perseverance to succeed. “It is not an easy road. Success comes with a combination of factors like grace of God, hard work
BE LAUGHING and talent. No one component of these factors can make one succeed without the others. I came into Nollywood at a period when you will have to attend auditions and also convince the directors and producers that you can do the role. People in my kind of business, comedy are few and once you are good, word will get around that you can do it. With that, scripts will naturally come your way”. Are there additional responsibilities on the part of the comedian in helping a movie script come to reality? “Absolutely, the comedian in our context does more than just knowing how the story will end. He is expected to come up with the body language and the dialogue to bring out the plot. It is not just enough to say one’s lines; it must be said in a way it would make someone laugh, because that is the essence of one’s job as a comedian. That is why they are paying you”. Although Odega would not divulge what comedians earn from movies, he insists the fees are just a part of the pecks that come with his job. “It is not just about the money. There are other benefits that come with my career. Honestly, when I walk into a bank, I get treated specially. Sometimes, they do not allow me to be on the queue. People will recognise me and try to treat me nicely”. Although he has walked through the hard way to become successful, he has one advice for the younger ones wishing to pursue a career in his field. “Once you are able to do things in a way people are marvelled, it is a gift. All you need to do is interact with people who can help to showcase what you have. And trust God as you work hard”. Odega
MIDWEEK JUMP Entries for speech writing competition close tomorrow
ntries for the ‘I Have a Speech’ writing competition for young Nigerians will close tomorrow. Conceived by Ita Hozaife, it is to teach young Nigerians about leadership and character while enhancing their reading, writing and communication skills. Run by Hozaife’s Lagosbased company, Ink Marks Limited, the competition is for Nigerians aged between 10 years and 18 years. Hozaife said a child may enter the competition by answering the question, “What would Mrs. Abimbola Fashola say about Leadership to young people?”. The writers of the 20
Hozaife in the midst of two of the winners at the last Reel Kids Awards
best entries chosen will participate in a leadership and speechwriting workshop scheduled for August 19 to 30. A panel of judges will select the top three places from speeches written by the participants at the end of the workshop. The writer of the overall best speech will be honoured at a special event to mark Nigeria’s 53rd Independence Day and the speech read by Mrs. Fashola, wife of the Lagos State Gover-
nor.Speech entries with contact details clearly stated can be sent by email to myspeech@ ink-marks.com. Hozaife is involved in other projects like: iRead With The Stars (Book Reading Club), Sound Ideas Sound Scripts (Radio Drama Workshop), and Reel Kids (Film Workshop) among others.
AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards is back!
ollowing the successful first edition of the AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards, MultiChoice and AfricaMagic announced the call to entry for the second edition. The official announcement of the 2014 AMVCAs was made last Sunday night on Africa’s reality show, Big Brother. This
after Big Brother invited 2013 AMCA award winners, Ghanaian actress Jackie Appiah and director Akin Omotoso, to judge a movie task that was presented by the housemates last Thursday. The AMVCAs were created to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution made by Pan African filmmakers, actors and technicians in the success of the continent’s film and television industry. This year, a total of 28 awards in 26 categories will be awarded ranging from acting and directing to scriptwriting and cinematography, with nine of those categories being voted for by the viewers. Other areas in which honours will be given are editing, make-up, sound, lighting, including the
most anticipated of the whole ceremony, the Industry Merit Award and the Trailblazer of the Year Award. Last year the two awards were awarded to veteran Nigerian actor Olu Jacobs and Nigerian actress Ivie Okujaiye respectively. “It is a pleasure for us to announce the launch of the second AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards after the resounding success of the first one. AfricaMagic is committed to recognising, nurturing and rewarding the excellence and artistry that exists within our movie and television industry”, said M-Net Africa MD Biola Alabi. The inaugural AfricaMagic Viewers’ Choice Awards ceremony took place in Lagos on March 9, 2013.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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FAR AND NEAR
Last viewing as Ife art travels ADENRELE NIYI
efore the travelling exhibition, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria departs the country’s shores, again, for the Swedish Museum for World Culture, Stockholm, Sweden, it would be a culturally enriching experience to visit the exhibition hall of the National Museum, Onikan-Lagos. Since May 18, 2012, the exhibition of an assemblage of extraordinary art objects from the ancient kingdom of Ife, have been viewed in museums in Spain, Great Britain and the United States and received with high appreciation. This historical exhibition consists of 109 pieces of art, cast in metal or sculpted from stone and terra cotta; many preserved in the original state as produced by the master craftsmen and bearing signs of wear and tear before discovery. The national treasures are in the care of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, NCMM, and the federal
government institution is collaborating with the Museum for African Art, New York and Funda ión Boyin, Spain, to bring the grandeur of one of West Africa’s earliest cities to the world. Traditional custodian of the precious artefacts, His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwade, CFR, has likewise given his support. To announce the trip to Sweden, NCMM organised a press briefing at the National Museum yesterday, July 30, with the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke in attendance, as well as Director General, NCMM, Mr. Yusuf Abdallah. Also present were Chief Registrar and Director of Exhibitions for the Museum of African Art, New York, Amanda Thompson; Director of Museums, Mrs. Rose Bodam and Curator, National Museum, Mrs. Edith Ekunke. In a speech delivered at the briefing, Chief Edem Duke stated that the exhibition would further strengthen ‘our partnership and collaboration with other cultural
A part of the exhibition hall
institutions and countries in our efforts to promote our rich cultural heritage’. A visibly delighted Amanda Thompson praised the cultural virtues of the Nigerian artworks saying this “...proves Nigeria to be one of the greatest art centres of all time”. Ms. Thompson further
New TV series to encourage payment of tax TERH AGBEDEH
ast Friday in Lagos, the media got a taste of the new television drama series by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS titled: Binding Duty at a screening event at the Ikeja GRA. The series, produced by Ohi Alegbe and directed by Ihria Enakimio, speaks for payment of tax, the consequences of those who fail, among many other issues. It features veteran actors and actresses like Tyna Mba (who stars as Doorshima Jang, the FIRS director), Nobert Young (Reuben Ajayi), Bimbo Manuel, Gloria Young, Eric Obinna, Langley Evru and Tony Afokhai, among others. Short Cut and Born to Win, both spread over two episodes of about 30 minutes each were screened at the event. In Short Cut the viewer will see the everyday Nigerian story of trying to cut corners. The CEO of Midas Ventures (Taiwo Obileye) gets caught in the FIRS net because his accountant patronises touts even though the company is known to pay its taxes regularly. Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse so the CEO, his accountant and the company must pay for their sins with fine and perhaps jail term. But that is not the only plot in Short Cut. There is,
for instance, FIRS’s cleansing of the Augean stable in the sack and arrest of staff standing in the way of progress for the organisation, among other plots that deliver the two episodes. Born to Win is based on the story of Charles (Joachim Keke) arrested for a traffic offence he has to spend a night in detention because the officials will not be bribed. Charles moves to a bigger crime upon his release resulting in the roping in of his benefactor sister and her company when he forges a tax clearance certificate to obtain a fraudulent contract. A FIRS team eventually comes calling at about the same time that the police nab the young man. The production crew includes: executive producers, Ifueko Omogui-Okauru and Kabir M. Mashi; coordinating producers, Emmanuel Obeta, Wahab Gbadamosi and Nneka Ifekwuna; director of photography, Abraham Adetutu and artistic director, Austin Awulonu. Ifekwuna, who is also an assistant director at FIRS, said at the screening that Binding Duty was to create awareness about tax administration in the country. She emphasised that the tax agency was poised to do more and that television stations across the country would begin airing the series soon.
expressed pleasure at working with the museum staff and project officers of NCMM who would be travelling to Sweden with the treasures to ‘ensure their safekeeping’. The exhibition will open in Stockholm on September 6, 2013.
Face of Peace Africa: Equity Concepts partners Panache NGOZI EMEDOLIBE
E Fatima Anyekema (mezzo-soprano vocalist) performing alongside the MUSON Orchestra.
MUSON Symphony Orchestra in grand concert
he MUSON Symphony Orchestra, which is notably Nigeria’s only professional symphony orchestra, renowned for its high standard performance of various repertoires staged an extraordinary concert on Sunday, June 30 at the Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. It was a concert of two parts with a wide range of musical selections from the popular classical era through the romantic and the nationalistic 20th century. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Exsultate Jubilate by the virtuoso, W. A. Mozart were the first works and they were performed with so much spirit. Other featured works were the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by Luigi Boccherini. The second part of the concert started off with a wind orchestra playing Lift
Thine Eyes, a trio by F. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Romance for Cello and Orchestra by Johann Strauss Jr., the highly applauded Habanera from the Opera ‘Carmen’ by George Bizet and finally a medley of six short piano pieces composed by Bela Bartok titled the Romanian Folk Dances. The two-hour concert was conducted by Thomas Kanitz, MUSON Artistic Director and Orchestra Conductor; he also featured on the cello. The guest vocalists who highlighted the event were Ranti Ihimoyan, a soprano and Fatima Anyekema, a mezzo soprano. The MUSON Symphony Orchestra performed brilliantly with the last piece being a climax point and a very clever way to end the show. The internationally acclaimed MUSON Diploma School Choir also gave much light to the well-organised show.
quity Concepts Entertainment has signed a pact with Panache Global Entertainment, a UK-based event management company and organisers of Face of Peace Africa, a forum, which gives opportunity to empower African ladies between the ages of 18 and 30 to make a positive impact on the society. This was done, according to the partners to achieve a result-oriented project from now onwards. This development is coming on the heels of the hosting of the Ambassador Charity Comedy Concert, held at the Oriental Hotel a few weeks ago, which gathered many media and entertainment personalities. According to the agreement, Equity Concepts would undertake extensive study of the African Entertainment industry in order to make the Face of Peace Africa one of the most competitive brands on the continent. Rowland Okorie, the chief executive officer, of Equity Concepts, who got the franchise of some foreign productions to kick-start the Know Your Movies game show in Cannes, France in June, said this development is a confirmation of the innovativeness of the entertainment company. “We are a growing force in TV content production, concept creation for multimedia platforms, music production and promotion, event and artistes’ management amongst other services. We have worked as a media and production team at Nigerian Fashion Week, Headies (The Hip Hop World Award), Top Celebrities Achievers Award, Nigerian Next Super Model, CAMA Awards, Yes! Magazine annual lecture and many other great events”.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Criticising Stephen Keshi over the loss in Abidjan is diversionary. Let’s allow him to concentrate
Casillas joins Bale chorus
- SPORTS ENTHUSIAST, DAYO LAWAL
Delta flickers gear up for Africa Cup –Coach
Enyimba dedicates award to Orji
hairman of the Enyimba International FC of Aba, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu, has dedicated to the state governor, Chief Theodore Orji, last weekend’s award as the Coolest Nigerian Football Club by the Businessday Generation Next Survey. The survey and award ceremony were collaboration of Businessday Newspaper and HDI Youth Marketeers, a brand support and marketing company. The survey polled over 15, 000 youths in different parts of the country to determine the best brands that appeal to the over 70 percent youth population of the country. Enyimba emerged the most popular brand among this demographic segment of the country ahead of Kano Pillars and Ocean Boys. Receiving the award on behalf of the Enyimba Chairman at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Harry Iwuala, the Marketing Consultant to Enyimba FC described it as very deserving and a reciprocation of the passion and commitment of the Abia State governor to uplifting Enyimba
oach Micheal Itinagbedia of the Delta female hockey team has said that his ladies are preparing hard to represent Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations in Kenya, in September. The Delta team automatically qualified to represent the country at the continental championship after emerging winners at three national tournaments. The championships were the 17th and the 18th National Sports Festivals held in Port Harcourt in 2011 and Lagos in 2012 and the last National Open Championship held in Abuja in April. “You see, our success at these competitions instantly gave us the ticket to represent the country at the upcoming African Cup of Nations. “My girls have worked very hard to excel at these national competitions, so I believe that we are ready to take on the best in the sport continentally,” Itinagbedia said. According to him, the Delta team has gained some experience as winner of previous national competitions, to ensure its success at the international competition. The coach assured that the team would put up a good performance because the Kenya competition would serve as a continental qualifier for the 2014 Hockey World Cup scheduled for the Hague, Netherlands.
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Fed Cup: ‘We will teach Nasarawa lesson’ E
nyimba FC striker, Chimezie Amanfor, has boasted that his side will teach football lesson to Nasarawa United in today’s Federation Cup quarter-finals duel at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta. The 2011 Federation Cup runners-up defeated Glo Premier League side, 3SC, 3-1 in the round of 16 in Abuja while Nasarawa United pipped Sunshine Stars 1-0 in Lokoja to pave the way for the tussle for a semi-final spot in the competition. Amanfor said for his side to have survived the onslaught of the Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Remo Stars, in the
The Fixtures Kaduna:
round of 32 in Lokoja means that no other team can stop them from winning this year’s Federation Cup. “We prefer to talk with our legs on the field of play not outside the pitch. On Wednesday (today) history will be made by the better side of the two. “I believe we’ve played our toughest game in the ongoing Federation Cup against Remo Stars in the round of 32 in Lo-
koja,” Amanfor said. He added, “Nasarawa United maybe banking on the experience of their coach, Alphonsus Dike; we, too have ours in Salisu Yusuf. They forced us to 1-1 draw in the league, I think they’re ordinary even on their home ground in Lafia.” Winners of the Federation Cup knockout games will book places in the last four of the competition.
Blame ex-internationals for their woes –Minister JOEL A JAYI ABUJA
he Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has said that most of the Nigeria ex-international footballers are in financial distress because of their failure to plan for life after retirement during their heyday. Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the presentation of a book titled “Me, Football and More” written by former Green Eagles’ striker, Segun Odegbami , the minister said instead of the ex-players to wait on individuals and governments for help, they should be-
gin to emulate people like Odegbami and try to transform themselves. He said, “This is important to those who played football recently. Some of them fall sick they cannot even foot their medical bills; some of them are homeless, some are roaming around with nothing to do and each time people keeping saying government has abandoned the ex-footballer. “My argument is always that these athletes abandoned themselves long ago: in fact some of these footballers the kind of money they earn today Odegbami will faint, yet no sooner they stop playing they end into poverty.”
Abdullahi added, “Certainly if Segun Odegbami can survive after football for many years, I think every sportsman, every athlete has responsibility upon himself or herself to think of life outside and beyond sports.” Earlier in his remark, the Chairman of Daar Communication Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who was represented by his managing director, Mr. Tony Akiotu, commended the intellectualism of Odegbami, saying that the book would inspire the generations unborn and nourish more players to attain Odegbami’s exploits.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Shirt row: Cisse Me explains U-turn sea
Kalou West Ham United is to meet Salomon Kalou’s representatives in London this week in the hope the club can persuade the former Chelsea forward to move to Upon Park after agreeing a fee of £2.7million with his French club, Lille. Kalou moved to France in the wake of Chelsea’s Champions League success in 2012 under the Bosman ruling and is contracted until 2016. The Ivorien forward is settled at Lille and has already rejected prospective moves to West Bromwich Albion and the Turkish club, Trabzonspor, this summer.
Nicolas Anelka’s impressive pre-season form continued as he scored one of West Bromwich Albion’s goals in a 3-1 win over Atromitos. The well-traveled Anelka has now scored three goals for his new club and was joined on the scoresheet by Saido Berahino and Markus Rosenberg. Thanasis Karagounis had given Atromitis an early lead.
Suarez with the ball
Barnes wants Suarez dispensed
Swansea forward, Michu, believes he can improve on his impressive Premier League debut season, thanks to the arrival of Wilfried Bony at the club. The Spaniard excelled in his first season in England with 18 league goals, but was forced to play much of the campaign as a lone striker, rather than from a deeper role that he is naturally suited to. Last season, the Swans attracted offers for the talented Michu but nothing concrete surfaced thereafter.
Arsenal has entered discussions with Malaga over the transfer of Nicklas Bendtner. The Spanish side wants the Gunners’ Danish striker and has offered defender Jesus Gamez as a sweetener in the deal. Bendtner spent last season on loan at Juventus and tried to move to German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt, but a disagreement over wages caused talks to break down.
Gustavo Wolfsburg hasreiterated its desire to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who has been linked with a summer move away from the treble-winner. Gustavo, 25, faces huge competition for a place in Pep Guardiola’s first team, but the holding midfielder has said he wants to stay in Munich and force his way into the coach’s plans. Latest reports said Chelsea has joined the race for the player.
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Casillas joins Bale chorus R
eal Madrid captain, Iker Casillas, yesterday described want-away Gareth Bale as one of the top four players in Europe. The Spanish club is far from giving up its pursuit of the Spurs star as Casillas issued a thinly veiled invitation. Madrid-based newspaper Marca claimed on its front-page yesterday that Spurs Chairman, Daniel Levy, is demanding a fee of £126m, which would shatter the world-record fee for a footballer - the £80m Real spent on Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009. “We are talking about one of the top three or four best players in Europe and it’s normal that his name is being discussed because he has all the qualities a footballer needs,” Casillas spoke from the Madrid’s preseason camp in USA. “The controversial nature of the transfer is natural of a player like Gareth, but we are speaking about a very good, decisive player. I’m sure we’ll get him on before the transfer window shuts.”
iverpool legend, John Barnes, has asked the club to sell wantaway striker Luis Suarez “soonest” to enable the Reds to find a suitable big-name replacement. The Uruguayan has not hidden his desire to leave the club this summer, with Arsenal and Real Madrid leading the chase for his signature. “We’ve seen in the past when transfers go down to the last minute that it doesn’t help anybody,” Barnes, who played for Liverpool between 1987 and 1997, said. As far as Suarez is concerned, if he’s not going to be happy, then he has to go because it will be hard to know what his mental state is going to be if he doesn’t get his wish.”
ewcastle striker Papiss Cisse has broken his silence on his row over new club sponsor Wonga, revealing he consulted Islamic teachers before deciding to pull on the Magpies’ new shirt. The Senegal international, who earns £40,000 a week, missed the club’s training camp in Portugal over the row, but insists he is now ready to concentrate on his game, and was spotted training with gear carrying the Wonga branding. “I have had some useful discussions with my Club, my family and Islamic teachers in the last few weeks. After a huge amount of thought and reflection I have made the decision to follow my teammates and wear the kit,” he said. “Now I think it is important for the team and the fans that we concentrate 100 per cent on football. “Since then it has been great to be training with my teammates again. I feel great and ready to go, and cannot wait to be out there and to play my part for the team.”
move abroad and could regret the switch to Real Madrid. “I doubt he’d find it easy. Many have failed when they have moved overseas,” Pleat said. “I think it might be better if he stayed, continued to work and maybe next summer leave if that is his wish.”
Muller rues cup miss Mueller
ayern Munich midfielder Thomas Mueller has admitted he and his team-mates ‘got it wrong’ in last week’s DFL Super Cup final. Borussia Dortmund exacted a degree of revenge for their UEFA Champions League disappointment at the hands of Bayern back in May by running out 4-2 victors at Signal Iduna Park to take the trophy. Mueller believes that the result simply
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…Too young to go–Ex-Spur’s boss areth Bale is ‘too young’ to move abroad and would be making a mistake by leaving Tottenham for Real Madrid this summer, according to David Pleat. Former Tottenham Hotspur Manager, David Pleat, has warned Gareth Bale he is too young to
underlines the need for his team to continue improving under the guidance of their new boss. “It clearly means we were doing something wrong. I’ll need to take another good look at the whole thing,” he said. The Germany international stopped short of proclaiming his team’s season dead and buried, however, insisting the result is one Bayern can easily recover from.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Wed
essi relives tough ason
arcelona star, Lionel Messi, hass described the “Goal ward he won ass “reof a complicated cated n”, saying he hopes e the hurdle in the eason. the end of 2012, 12, had eclipsed the he ls registered in a calyear by Brazill legele in 1958 and also 5 converted by Gerorward Gerd Muller 2. struck 91 in total ub and country ry in nd set anotherr hismark by scoring ng in secutive Liga games ames rca stormed to o the with 100 pointss to the remarkable e d set by Real d the previous He also began 2013 his fourth straight n d’Or. he missed much of tter part of the camafter picking up a esome hamstring against Paris Saintain in the Champieague, and was far fully fit as Barca
bowed out in the semifinals to Bayern Munich. “It was a complicated season “Despite winning La Liga, I will still live to remember the season as most complicated,” the Argentina international said after picking up his latest award at the Barca training ground last week.
andowski mmits to club
Ferdinand banks on experience
anchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, believes experience will be key to the club’s chances of success under Manager David Moyes. The Premier League champion will start this season under a new manager for the first time in more than 25 years
G Totti shuns MLS lollies
oma llegend, d F Francesco Totti, has focused attention on Serie A after rejecting an offer to move to Major League Soccer. Totti, 36, was contacted by Marco Di Vaio of Toronto FC and the former Italy international asked him to join the club, who play Roma in a friendly on August 7. “All I have on my mind right now is Roma. The club, with the signings it has made, is trying to build a side on a level with the best in Europe and you can only win things when you have strong players,” the former Italy international said. Earlier this month, Totti indicated that he could retire from the game at the end of the forthcoming season.
following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. “There won’t be anyone like Sir Alex, and you can’t expect anyone to fill his boots exactly the same way,” Ferdinand said. “We can’t draw comparisons with
them yet, we need to give the new manager time. “But I think the manager’s fortunate he’s got someone like Giggsy among others like myself who have been here for many years and know the fabric of the club.”
Bayern president faces tax charge erman prosecutors have charged Uli Hoeness, president of European football champions, Bayern Munich, with tax evasion after a lengthy inquiry. Lawyers for Mr Hoeness have one month to respond to the charges before a court in Munich decides whether the
orussia Dortmund striker, Robert Lewandowski, has vowed to verything for the club eason despite the unnty surrounding his
Poland international ng been linked with e to Bayern Munich, gh BVB’s determinao hold on to its star rd means he is likely out his contract with lub, which expires ummer. will give everything ortmund, no matter When I stand on the and play, I think of I will do my best and ccessful. I hope that cup was not the last y,” he said yesterday.
Ferdinand (2nd left) and team mates in the Far East
case should go to trial. The former footballer reported himself to the authorities earlier this year over an undeclared Swiss bank account. Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund to win last season’s Champions League. News of the secret bank account caused a stir in Germany with even Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman saying she was disappointed in the former West Germany international. Neither he nor officials have disclosed how much money is involved, but German media suggest he deposited millions of euros in a Zurich-based account over 10 years. He is said to have failed to pay capital gains tax. Ken Heidenreich, a spokesman for Munich prosecutors, declined to give details of the indictment yesterday, citing tax secrecy laws. “We have filed the charges to the Munich state court,” he said. “The defence now has one month to pronounce itself.” In May, Bayern’s supervisory board backed Mr Hoeness to remain in the job despite the investigation against him.
Ndlovu bags Sundowns job
imbabwe legend, Peter Ndlovu, has been appointed team manager at his former South African club Mamelodi Sundowns. Although Sundowns have kept a lid on the issue, reports in South Africa said Ndlovu would replace Mike Ntombela who has now moved up take over the technical director’s post. Former Bafana coach,
Trott Moloto, who held the head of technical position, has now moved to become the chief of scouting. Ndlovu, who travelled with Sundowns to Ghana for their pre-season camp and has been working closely with Sundowns’ first team throughout the team’s stay in West Africa, had been assistant coach of the Zimbabwe national team until recently.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Nigeria Premier Nig League
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
IIKENWA NNABUOGOR firstname.lastname@example.org
Wolves step up chase, Pillars on red alert
Injury denies Ogbu Yanga deal
anzanian top side Yanga FC have failed to sign Heartland striker Brendan Ogbu as a result of injury, National Mirror can exclusively report. Ogbu was supposed to sign a six-month contract reportedly worth 150 000 USD with the Tanzanian champions but injured his ankle while on a training session with the club. Ogbu, who returned to Nigeria last weekend, told National Mirror that he
would return to the Tanzanian capital to sign a contract as soon as he got well. He’s currently in Enugu undergoing treatment. “The deal is still on and I will be going back there to pen my contract once I’m okay,” Ogbu added. “We have an agreement that they will still keep my space and I will return there as soon as I’m fit again to play. “Everything was set for me to sign an official contract before the injury put paid to the deal. It was re-
Medrano on transit at Sunshine
amerounian midfielder Tamen Medrano has rejoined his former side Sunshine Stars on a short term deal pending when he will return to Egypt as soon as normalcy returns to the North African nation currently engulfed in a fresh political crisis. Medrano signed a contract with Egyptian side Petrojet and was yet to kick a ball before the crisis started forcing the league to be stopped. “I’m just on a short term contract with Sunshine Stars and I will only re-
turn to Egypt when things improve politically,” he said. “I have settled in nicely here, reuniting once again with my team mates. I have played in the last four games since I arrived and I’m happy to be here.” Medrano was voted the best foreign player two seasons ago. He played a huge role in Sunshine’s impressive run in the Confederation Cup campaign last season. He had earlier tested with clubs in Romania and Germany before penning a contract at Petrojet.
ally sad for me but that’s football. Contrary to media reports that the 2012 Federation Cup hero signed a contract at the biggest club in Tanzania, National Mirror can report that both parties reached an agreement to have the former Rangers striker on their payroll before injury put paid to the move. Ogbu, who was in Egypt earlier on trial could be moving to an unnamed club in Russia should they agree to a contract.
he interesting thing about Week 23 fixtures remains the fact that the two frontline clubs – log leaders Kano Pillars and second placed Warri Wolves are playing at home as the Glo league resumes after a break following the Federation Cup knock out games. Pillars, on top of the log with 39 points, cannot afford to slip when they entertain Federation Cup giant-killing Akwa United home on Saturday and anything short of victory could see them overtaken by the resurgent Wolves, who are trailing by just a meagre two points. Pillars welcome back their star Rabiu Ali who was away on international duty with the B Team of the Super Eagles that picked the CHAN ticket for the first time since inception. But they will be without top scorer Gambo Mohammed who copped an injury and will be out for six weeks according to reports. Pillars will be happy that Mohammed’s transfer move to Tunisia’s Club Africain fell through as they will count on his goals and assists to retain the league title they won last season. Smoking Wolves, trailing Pillars on 37 points, have shown enough character shrugging off an early in-
Glo League Scorers’ chart 11 goals:
9 goals :
Week 23 Fixtures Saturday Wikki Tourists
Kano Pillars’ star, Rabiu Ali
different start to be among the title contenders. They have refused to leave their feet on the throttle and will also be at their best to send back Rangers back to Enugu empty-handed. Super Eagles Team B striker Oghene, who had netted nine goals at last count, will be rejoining the team after helping Keshi’s men claim CHAN ticket in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire last weekend. They have also opened their arms to central defender Ike ThankGod, who just returned from Libya after three weeks sojourn. Oghenekaro Etebor, who is also in the race for the league top scorers’ award will only do himself a world of good with a sniff at goal to keep the chase interesting among other contenders like Sunshine Stars’ Dele Olorundare and Enyimba’s Bishop Onyeudo, who are on 11 and nine goals, respectively. Third-placed Bayelsa United will be on the road to bottom-placed Wikki Tourists and look good to compound the hosts’ woes. Wikki suffered exodus of players in the mid-season transfer windows following their dismal performance but the reverse was the case of their visitors who fortified their team with tested foreign players. The newly-
promoted Yenagoa-based side, on 35 points, will settle for a draw in a worst case scenario. Enyimba’s latest resurgence could be dealt a major blow as they visit El Kanemi on Saturday. The six-time champions, who rallied back to fire themselves to fourth position with 35 points going into the round of Week 23 fixtures, will have a mountain to climb in Maiduguri and it will take something extra-ordinary from the People’s Elephant to grab maximum points on the same ground where the likes of Rangers, Heartland and Pillars failed. El Kanemi are on sixth place with 34 points. Knocking on the door to a possible third place after their round of fixtures is fifth placed Kwara United, who entertain troubled Sharks at home on Saturday and a victory and possible Enyimba and Bayelsa United’s away defeats, will definitely catapult the Afonja Warriors to third place. Dolphins, on eighth place with 33 points are also in a pole position to propel themselves to top four with a seemingly easy home tie against 12th-placed ABS. But they will only hope one or two clubs drop points to achieve the feat.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Business & Finance We believe that the economy can only grow if banks motivate the growth and Fidelity Bank participates extensively in all sectors of the economy. We risk our money to help develop industries, agriculture and recently we have focused on SMEs. Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi
The Federal Government, in order to really deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, has made it mandatory that every MDA must design a working tool, known as service charter, wherein all services rendered by any MDA are listed and publicly displayed to serve as a guide for stakeholders MINISTER OF NATIONAL PLANNING, DR. SHAMSUDEEN USMAN
Nigeria secures N480bn investment through sugar master plan -Aganga ... earns N305bn from non-oil export
he Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga yesterday said the country has attracted $3billion (about N480bn) investment into the sugar sector since the beginning of the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan. The Approval of the NSMP by the Federal Executive Council on the 19th September 2012 has raised the country’s profile, making it to rank among the top five importers of sugar in Africa. Aganga, who spoke during the Ministerial Press briefing to mark the end of the year’s 2013 series, also noted that the gains made through the development of the manufacturing sector had led to reduction on dependence on oil and gas with the country recording N305bn from non-oil export within the first quarters of 2013. However, this figure is at variance with the official Merchandise Trade Report by the National Bureau of Statistics which puts the total earning from non-crude oil exports at N421.47bn during the period under review The minister who said the FDI inflows of $7.03bn was rated the first in Africa in 2012, also
explained that the country is targeting production of 1.7 metric tonnes of sugar per annum. He said, “Nigeria is among the top five importers of sugar and only produces about three per cent of domestic consumption. However, on the 19th September 2012, the Federal Executive Council approved the NSMP and implementation commenced January 2013. “NSMP has stimulated investments of $3bn thus far. NSMP is targeting the production of 1.7
metric tonnes of sugar; creation of 117,181 direct jobs; generation of 411.7MW of electricity; total forex saving of up to $565.8 million annually from savings from sugar production and fuel importation.” The minister said history had shown that no country can become rich by exporting raw materials without also having an industrial sector. He, however, said there had been significant improvements in balance of trade with reduced importation and increased export
value. “The country recorded a 43 per cent decline in imports between 2011 and 2012, resulting in savings of about N4.2tn in foreign exchanged. “In Q1 2013 industry contributed 66.9 per cent of the FGN’s non-oil earnings. Import as a percentage of total trade fell from 35.7 per cent in 2011 to 20 per cent in 2012,” he added. In order to boost industrialization and create wealth, the minister said the federal government had developed the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
WITH AGENCY REPORT
bsa Group Limited, the Johannesburg-based lender acquiring most of parent company Barclays Plc African assets, said
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L-R: Learning Advisor, NNPC– NAPIMS, Mrs. Clementina Arubi; Manager, Public and Government Affairs, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Mr. Ernest Omo-Ojo; Manager, Deep Water Production Geosciences, Esso Production Nigeria Limited, Mr. Goodluck Adagbasa and Managing Director, Danvic Concepts International, Mr. Mayowa Afe, during the 4th edition of the University Assistance Programme Training Workshop, sponsored by Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited in Abuja recently.
Barclays’s Absa plans to expand in Nigeria with N19bn JOHNSON OKANLAWON
it’s interested in entering the Nigerian market as it boosts its presence across the continent. The bank needs a competitive advantage before it can enter the country, Absa Chief Financial Officer Mr. David Hodnett said, adding that the bank could take advantage of its experience in corporate banking.
Absa plans to spend 1.25 billion rand ($127m) by 2015 on refurbishing branches in Africa, Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos told investors in Johan nesburg. The bank said in December it would buy the bulk of Barclays’s African assets in an all-share deal worth 18.3 billion rand. Absa isn’t looking at any of the nation-
alised Nigerian banks, Hodnett said separately at a conference call. AMCON had recently announced the beginning of the final process for the sale of the three bridge banks, indicating it would start with the sale of Enterprise Bank and then followed by the other two – Keystone Bank and Mainstreet Bank.
The corporation expects to complete the sale of the three banks by September 2014 and plans to sell 100 per cent stake in each. AMCON had said it would appoint financial advisers to manage the sale of the banks nationalised and recapitalised in 2011. According to the Managing Director, AMCON, Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi, the advisers will solicit expressions of interest from prospective investors.
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Blumberg Grain plans N40bn investment in agric sector
‘Over 60,000 barrels of crude stolen from SPDC lines daily’
Consumers groan over high electricity tariff
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Blumberg Grain plans N40bn investment in agric sector TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA
lumberg Grain, one of the world’s largest food security companies has unveiled plans to invest $250 million (about N40 billion) in a food processing company in the country in demonstration of its confidence in and support for the ongoing Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). The investment is projected to generate at least 1,000 jobs in the increasingly rapidly expanding agricultural sector’s ATA. According to a statement by the Acting Director, Press and Public Relations of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Greyne Anosike, the minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and Blumberg Grain Chairman and Chief executive Officer, Mr. Philip Blumberg, signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) last week that will see the giant multinational food security company investing in a large scale food storage facilities in the country.
Adesina said he was excited that a company with the reputation and resources of Blumberg Grain chose was coming to establish its West African production operations and processing facilities in Nigeria. While noting that the initiative is a mark of confidence in the structural reforms of our agricultural sector, the minister said by manufacturing storage warehouses in Nigeria, farmers, agro-processors and financial services industry would be able to reduce post-harvest losses, improve market access and incomes across agricultural, value chains. “Our goal is to make Nigeria a global powerhouse in food. This investment will further enhance Nigeria’s regional position in agriculture”, the minister said. Specifically, the investment is expected to lead to the development of a Blumberg Grain Manufacturing Plant and Export Hub that in addition to significant job creation will increase exports of “Made in Nigeria” manufactured prod-
ucts; make Nigeria the region’s agribusiness centre for food safety and security; and utilize Nigerian companies to provide raw materials and local content for production. Other benefits of the multi-million dollar investments are: empowering local distribution and construction partners to generate additional business and employment; creating an Agricultural Institute to assist farmers in generating higher crop yields; and maintaining a focus on youth employment in the agricultural sector through job creation, training and skills transfer. In his remarks at the LOI signing ceremony, Blumberg said Nigeria represented one of the largest agricultural markets in the world, and provided a significant opportunity for his company to establish a major presence in West Africa. He explained further: “We have been encouraged and impressed with minister Adesina and his staff, and state government officials’ assertiveness in attracting
and supporting our investment programme. “Our commitment is both a response to the G8’s New Alliance for Food Se-
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, 057,310,000, N60, 000,000,000 and N90, 000,000,000, respectively would be issued by Dutch auction on Thursday, August 08, 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, August 07, 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, August 07, 2013. The Bank reserves the right to reject any bid. Allotment letters would be issued for successful bids on Thursday, August 08, 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, August 08, 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.
commitment to promote a business enabling environment for both domestic and international private sectors.”
Siemens partners FG on power generation CHIDI UGWU ABUJA
inister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, yesterday reiterated federal government’s commitment towards public private sector partnership (PPP) policies, saying, government is encouraged by developments in the power sector. The minister who spoke at the Federal Ministry of Power / Siemens power Development Forum held at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, noted that the negative results of the last forty plus years of government involvement in running of the sector had made it imperative to open up to private investor involvement. “The results of the last 40
plus years of government involvement in the running of the power sector has made it imperative to join the global trend and best practices by opening up the sector to private investor involvement” he said. He recalled that both 434MW Geregu 1, and 434 Geregu 11, which are due for commissioning, were built by Siemens stressing that the company had made very significant contributions to the growth of Nigeria’s power sector. This is in addition to being a strategic force behind the 450MW Azura-edo power plant which has been described as the best in class power plant and the first independent power project being developed 100 per cent by the Nigerian power sector to
add to the national grid. The Managing Director of Siemens, Mr. Michael Lakota stated that the collaborative effort was to stimulate project development by private sector which he impact positively on the development of power infrastructure. Speaking during the occasion, the Chairman Independent Power Producers association of Nigeria, professor, Jerry Gana expressed delight saying such partnership would encourage building of more power plants in the country. Gana, who described Siemens as world class technology suppliers, noted that more independent power producers would go into partnerships with Siemens in order to build power stations in Nigeria.
Unions plan to picket Arik, Bi-Courtney, others over labour issues OLUSEGUN KOIKI
T TENDER NOTICE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA ON BEHALF OF DMO NIGERIAN TREASURY BILLS
curity and Nutrition program which aligns members’ support to Nigeria’s agricultural objectives as well as to the country’s own
here are strong indications that any moment from now, activities may be grounded at some major companies in the Nigerian aviation industry as in-house unions and association are perfecting plans to disrupt their operations over the inability of their managements to allow their workers join the unions or associations of their choice. National Mirror gathered that industry unions led by the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, the National Union of Air Trans-
port Employees, NUATE and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, will meet this week to discuss the issue. Some of the major companies to be affected by the action of the unions and association include Arik Air, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, BASL, Max Air, Kabo, Dana Air, Med-View, IRS and Chanchangi Airlines among others. National Mirror learnt that the unions and association are also seeking the support of their their parents unions; National Labour Congress, NLC,
and the Trade Union Congress, TUC to make their action effective. The unions, our correspondent, also gathered are unhappy about the situation as most of the domestic airlines and organisations in the sector disallow their staff from joining its activities unlike their foreign counterparts, which encourage their staff to join any unions of their choice. Confirming the development in an interview with our correspondent, the re-elected National President, NAAPE, Engr. Isaac Balami said that there was no going back on the plans.
FirstBank delights customers with anniversary promo UDO ONYEKA
irst Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank), said it has launched a mega savings promo to mark its 120th year anniversary, coming up next year. The savings promo tagged “Big Splash Promo: 120th Anniversary Special” is expected to raise the bar of savings promos in the financial services industry, with the array of prizes to be won and the number of prospective lucky beneficiaries. According to a statement
by the bank the promo is unique in every sense of the word. FirstBank’s Head of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake AniMumuney, said the promo is coming at a time of two great historical milestones for the Bank and Nigeria. “Firstly, the Bank will mark the anniversary of 120 years of providing superior banking services; and secondly, the Centenary celebration of Nigeria as a nation. So in this campaign, which is the fifth edition, our motive is to reward our customers for their patronage and loyalty
to the brand over the years and to promote a savings culture among the youth. “We are also celebrating Nigeria and Nigerians as the story of Nigeria will not be complete without FirstBank and vice versa, she said. The statement said the savings promo will run for 12 months, starting from this month and offer additional incentives and improved rewards for winners in terms of bumper gifts and cash rewards reminiscent of the Bank’s 120 years history of providing financial services to Nigerians.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
‘Over 60,000 barrels of crude stolen from SPDC lines daily’ UDEME AKPAN
hell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC has raised alarm over oil theft as it becomes obvious that over 60,000 barrels of crude oil are stolen from its pipelines on daily basis. The Country Chair/ Managing Director of Shell Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu who confirmed the development at the Society of petroleum Engineers conference in Lagos yesterday stated that: “At some point this year, over 60,000 barrels of crude was being stolen from SPDC lines every day.’’ He said that activities of illegal refineries are extremely damaging to the environment, while significant proportion of the stolen crude used in the illegal refineries is disposed of in the environment. Sunmonu stated that: “The scale and complexity of this problem is beyond the control of any company, as we discuss these is-
sues today let us be honest, let us consider genuine ways that can help to stop these problems. He said that: “Personally, I believe the perpetrators of these crimes needs to be arrested and prosecuted, until there is deterrent, the industry doesn’t stand a chance against illegal bunkering of the scale we are seeing today. Sumonu said that Shell companies in Nigerian run extensive training programmes to build human capital development as an enabler to grow the Africa’s oil and gas production. He said that the company had also includes awards of post graduates scholarship in engineering and related fields. The country chairs said that the company is at the vanguard of development the local content, adding that several FEED engineering training, vocational training, entrepreneurship development programmes and training of wire line engineers for Nigerian service provider had been initiated to grow the sector.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Sunmonu who was represented by the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Mr Chike Onyejekwe. The country chair said that the impact of the activities of crude oil thieves and illegal refineries on the environment in the Niger Delta and the Nigerian economy is now a crisis situation. He said that Nigeria depends on the oil industry for approximately 95 per cent export earning and 80 per cent of government revenue. According to him, ``Government aspired to increase oil production to 4 million barrels per day, grow reserves to 40 billion barrels, and earn as much revenue from gas as oil by 2020. ``But in order to achieved this, we must urgently tackle oil theft in the country, at some point this year, over 60,000 barrels of crude was being stolen from SPDC lines every day,’’ Sunmonu said. He said that activities of illegal refineries are extremely damaging to the environment, while significant proportion of the stolen crude used in the illegal refineries is disposed of in the environment.
L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema; Executive Director, Market Operations Technology, Ade Bajomo and Executive Director, Business Development, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, at a forum on new trading possibilities in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Telecoms: Nigeria’s teledensity grows 4% in 1Q KUNLE AZEEZ
eledensity in the Nigeria’s telecommunications industry grew by 4.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, according to statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission. In the new industry data by the telecoms sector umpire, teledensity increased from 80.85 at the end of 2012 to reach 85.25 at the end of April, 2013. The NCC data specifically revealed an increase in teledensity from 80.85 in December 2012 to 81.78, January; 83.29 per cent in February; 83.77 per cent in March and 85.25 per cent at the end of April, in the first quarter. Teledensity is the percentage
of connected lines in relation to the population at a given period of time and its growth is proportional to the growth in subscriber base. Correspondingly, active telephone subscriptions in Nigeria increased from 113.1 million to reach 114.4 million, 116.6 million, 117.2 million and t 119.3 million in January, February, March and April respectively. However, the total connected telephone lines (active and inactive) in the country now stand at 164.8 million at the end of April, 2013, having increased from 161.9 million, 159.8 million and 154.5 million in January, February and March in the first quarter. Highlights of the data also revealed that telecoms firms continue to spend on network expansion
to be able to accommodate more subscribers on their networks. The latest official data also showed that installed capacity has reached 237.4 million as at April 2013. The figure stood at 237.3 million; 226.6 million and 226.6 million in January, February and March respectively. Installed capacity is the total number of telephone lines which telecoms networks have build their network capacity to accommodate at a particular period of time. Going by the latest data, industry analysts said telecoms operators had built their networks to conveniently accommodate up to 72.6 million additional subscribers, since total connected lines is still around 164.8 million, of which 119.3 million are active.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
NTDC charges African countries on tourism development RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR
irector General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC), Mrs. SallyMbanefo, yesterday in Calabar charged African nations to re-invent a renewed sense of collaboration with the aim of harnessing the vast tourism potentials available in the continent. Presenting a paper at the 3rd Calabar International Conference organised by Primetour International, Mbafeno, called for a combined measure of tourism development and natural attractions enhancement and protection by African countries stressing that such cooperation can translate into expanding the economy of a given nation. The DG, who was represented by a Deputy Director in the commission, Mrs. Mariel Rae-
Omoh, stated that these collaboration should incorporate dissemination of information, continuous cooperation with mass media, the travel press and related agencies while a unified Tourism Development Fund should also be established to pool resources for tourism development across Africa. According to her, African tourism growth will serve as a veritable tool for alleviating poverty, creating wealth and generating employment for youths and empower the women. Also speaking at the occasion, Managing Director of the Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr. Michael Williams, identified lack of capacity as the problem facing tourism. Williams pointed out that there it is necessary for constraint training of players in the industry.
Lagos appoints Heritage Bank as revenue collector DAMILOLA AJAYI
eritage Bank has been appointed as a Lagos State Revenue Collection bank using the state’s electronic banking system of revenue collection and monitoring payment platform. This is coming on the heels of similar mandates from other corporate organisations and institutions such as the Nigerian Customs Service, Oyo State Government, PHCN Eko Distribution, PHCN Ikeja Distribution and DSTV/Multichoice. A statement from the bank yesterday said the state’s mandate empowers the bank to receive from the public on behalf of the state, payments, fees and levies
such as withholding tax, PAYE and ministerial miscellaneous. Others are land use charge, business premises registration charge, capital gain tax, tax on account in hotels, tax on drinks in bars, tax on other transactions, vehicle licensing/fine/ fees and FRSC number plate fees, among others. With its recent globally acclaimed 50-day world record successful deployment of the Finnacle 10 banking software as well as other on-going massive investment in building a nimble electronic banking system backbone, Heritage bank has remained at the forefront of effort to establish a robust branchless banking and highly technology-driven economy, while promoting business efficiency across many frontiers.
How to achieve seamless shipping sector in Nigeria –Dikko
omptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Dr. Abdullahi Inde Dikko has that Nigeria Customs has mapped out strategies to achieve seamless import process in the country. Speaking at a colloquium tagged, “Seamless Shipping in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges” organised by the Maritime Correspondents’ Organisation of Nigeria (MARCON) in Lagos yesterday, the Customs boss said the service has developed a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) mechanism to eliminate bottlenecks in the nation’s import system. He said even though progress had been made by concessionaires and service providers in their efforts to reform and modernise the nation’s shipping processes, the full potentialities of trade facilitation as envisioned under the Re-
vised Kyoto Convention were yet to be realised. Dikko, who was represented by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Deputy Comptroller, Wale Adeniyi, assured that the PAAR mechanism would entrench a regime of costeffective and timely clearance of consignments at the ports. “It is gratifying to note that we now have in place a robust platform and a fully automated application system to build on. With its capacity for shared intelligence and risk management, the development of the PAAR application system will signal the dawn of a new era in fostering compliant trade in a secure environment”, he said. According to him time had come for stakeholders in the sector to work together with a view to delivering on the initiative.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Afam power plant
Consumers groan over high electricity tariff As consumers of electricity continue to groan in different parts of the nation over poor supply and high service charge, CHIDI UGWU reports that the intervention of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, targeted at increasing availability of meters will help to reduce their pains.
lectricity consumers in different parts of the nation are worried as a result of the increase in Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)’s service charge. Consumers feel it is unfair for them to pay more because electricity supply has not witnessed meaningful improvement in recent times. A close look at the new Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO 2 released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, residential customers in Abuja increased to N702 in 2013 from N500 in 2012. This increment will also jump to N986 in 2014 and N1, 384 in 2015. The industrial customers who fall under the category of Industrial D3 paid N102, 767 last year, and N123, 321 this year and will pay N173, 169 in 2014 and N243, 168 in 2015 as service charge. In every class of customer, there are progressive increases in the service charge on a yearly basis notwithstand-
ing the location. The tariff schedule showed that consumers would have to pay higher on two fronts. Every year, the fixed cost will go up. Similarly, energy cost or cost per kilowatt hour of electricity will also go up. Analysts have argued that this yearly tariff adjustment for the inflation-hit masses would worsen the economic situation of many consumers. For instance, an Abuja based retiree and landlord, Mohammed Omale, wondered why the government had to introduce the policy. As he puts it: “Why should government engage in daylight robbery of the people, all in the name of transforming the power sector? Why should government agencies subject us to paying through our noses for services not rendered?” The development has attracted the comments of some stakeholders. For instance, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has expressed concern over the issue. The NLC President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, pointed out that the
multiyear tariff structure may have been designed mainly to attract new investors into the sector. Comrade Omar said the new tariff was exploitative and saddening that the reviews are not accompanied by commensurate improved service in power supply. He noted that electricity service delivery had plummeted over the years with consumers being compelled to pay exorbitant tariff rates for poor service. He called on the Federal Government to direct NERC to immediately review downward the entire multi-year tariff structure in the interest of the people. However, NERC Chairman, Sam Amadi stated that: “NERC is committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. The MYTO was designed and executed with utmost transparency and full participation of relevant stakeholders. Several public hearings and consultations were organised in Abuja and Lagos to afford consumers and other stakeholders to full opportunity to par-
THE MYTO WAS DESIGNED AND EXECUTED WITH UTMOST TRANSPARENCY AND FULL
PARTICIPATION OF RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS.
SEVERAL PUBLIC HEARINGS AND CONSULTATIONS WERE ORGANISED IN ABUJA AND LAGOS TO AFFORD CONSUMERS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS TO FULL OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN TARIFF SETTING
ticipate in tariff setting, which many stakeholders took advantage of. In addition, NERC arranged and held special meetings with those organised groups, including residents associations, estate developers, small and medium scale enterprises, industrial and commercial interest groups and trade unions that reciprocated our genuine effort to engage with them. We note, that particularly, the chairman of NERC made a comprehensive presentation to the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress in Jos, Plateau State. Amadi stated that the recent major review started with a consultation paper published in May 2011, claiming that the financial and technical assumptions of the MYTO were validated by relevant public and private institutions. According to the NERC boss, full efficient cost recovery was mandated by the Section 76 of EPSR Act 2005, adding, all businesses to remain in business and grow must cover their costs and provide a reasonable return, stressing that without a cost-reflective tariff, no utility provider will enter any market, however large the market. He pointed out that the absence of a cost-reflective tariff is a key reason for the failure of the power sector to serve Nigerians for the past three decades. The commission seemed to be committed to improving electricity supply in the nation. For instance, it has issued a 14-day ultimatum to electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) that are in violation of its order to submit a list of CONTINUED ON PAGE 36
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Consumers groan over high electricity tariff CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 all customers who paid for meters since January 2011, and commence metering them with immediate effect. In a letter dated July 19, the commission expressed dismay that all DISCOs have been in violation of the order as it relates to customers who have made payments within the given time frame, and have not been identified for immediate metering. NERC had earlier in the year issued an Order on– Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) a response by the regulator to address the lingering issue of non-issuance of meters by the electricity companies. The commission explained that CAPMI was designed to allow for any interested and willing customer to advance money to their electricity distribution company and in return will be given electricity credit until the cost of the meter has been recovered by the customer. The order, amongst other things, stipulated that all distribution companies forward to NERC data of all customers who paid for meters but had not been supplied. The DISCOs were further warned that failure to comply with the 14-day ultimatum would also compel the Commission to institute enforcement procedures that may result in the removal of a Chief Executive Officer of an electricity distribution company. The commission stated that: “NERC wants to make it clear that since 1st June 2012 when the second edition of MYTO 2 came into force, it has conducted two Minor Reviews and published its findings on 1st December 2012 and 1st June 2013, as required by the law. A Minor Review under the Multi-Year Tariff Methodology published by NERC in 2012 involves an examination of interest rates, exchange rates, inflation rates and available generation capacity during the preceding 6 months; and if these report a change of plus or minus 5per cent individually, such change will be applied to the tariff published for each distribution company. It stated that two Minor Reviews conducted by NERC did not result in any in-
crease in tariff because the indices stated above and the fundamentals of the MYTO, as shown in the methodology and the financial model available published in full on NERC’s website have not significantly changed. The commission maintained that: “We must state that the commencement and results of both Minor Reviews were announced via various national print and electronic media, including some that have carried various provocative statements that bear absolutely no connection with the truth. It stated that the changes that some customers have belatedly noticed in their electricity bills were announced by the commission on June 1, 2012. The commission maintained that: “The MYTO stipulates tariffs for the 5-year period from 1st June 2012 to 31st May 2017 based on the expected cost of generating, transmitting and distributing the electricity for homes and businesses during these years. This means that the tariff order issued to every distribution company has an approved tariff for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.” It stated that: “Except there is a Minor Review of the MYTO, which takes place semi-annually, with results announced on 1st December and 1st June each year, each distribution companies is authorised to collect only the approved tariff announced by NERC. An examination of the tariff tables for the respective eleven (11) distribution companies that were nationally published last year shows all the tariffs for the period 2012 – 2017. The total electricity tariff paid by all consumers in Nigeria comprises a single monthly fixed charge and a variable energy charge that is based on consumption. The commission remarked that for residential customers who use either single-phase meters or three-phase meter (R2), the fixed charge approved under MYTO is N500 for 2012 and N700 for 2013. Accordingly, on 1st June 2013, their fixed charge changed from N500 to N700 as prescribed in the MYTO. It stated that this happened without any further action from the commission. NERC is
AS A REGULATOR, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE BASIS FOR ANY SUSTAINABLE IMPROVEMENT IN THE NETWORKS IS THAT WE CAN ATTRACT INVESTMENT TO INCREASE THE GENERATION CAPACITY,
TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION NETWORK committed to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. The commission stated that the financial and technical assumptions of the MYTO were validated by relevant public and private institutions, including acclaimed experts and academics. It maintained that the two Minor Reviews so far conducted have confirmed the soundness of the commission’s financial and technical assumptions and particularly the fact that as required by Section 76 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, Nigeria’s electricity tariffs enable operators to recover the cost of their operations plus a reasonable return on capital. It stated that the MYTO has two components of tariff for most electricity consumers: the fixed charge and energy charge. In the past, consumers paid for Meter Maintenance Fee. The commission abolished the Meter Maintenance Fee, MMF in 2011 to make tariff in the industry fair and reasonable. Fixed charge is a component of electricity tariff all over the world. The commission stated that it is charged to recover some of the capital costs for producing and
supplying electricity. In designing the fixed charge, NERC ensured that poor consumers on R1 are not given fixed charge and that most of the residential consumers are subsidised. It maintained that the current N700 fixed charge for R2 residential customers actually recovers only a small fraction of the actual fixed cost of supply. It maintained that: “As a regulator, we understand that the basis for any sustainable improvement in the networks is that we can attract investment to increase the generation capacity, transmission and distribution network. The reality which we all know is that without tariffs that cover the prudent costs of producing and supply electricity in the country, there will be no such investment. The ultimate need of the consumers of electricity in Nigeria is that they have access to stable electricity. The objective of the tariff review in 2012 was to ensure cost recovery as a way of guaranteeing stable electricity in the nearest future. The commission also stated that: “We regret that the distribution companies have not been committed to meeting their obligations in the MYTO. NERC recognises that the quality of service has not seen significant improvement, especially in the area of metering and accurate billing of customers. We have responded with regulations to enforce correct billing of unmetered customers and the new CAPMI metering policy. We will continue to enforce these regulations and interventions to improve quality of supply before the preferred bidders take over the networks. Our expectation for significant and sustained improvements in electricity supply and quality of service lies in the expected take-over by the privatisation preferred bidders who have better incentives and commitment and have made enforceable promises to invest continuously in providing better services to consumers. These investments and commensurate improvements will not all be made in one day but over the coming months, years and decades following the entry of new investors and managers of our distribution companies.”
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Indicted firms not involved in fuel importation – PPPRA UDEME AKPAN
he Federal Government has denied the continued involvement of fraudulent companies in the nation’s fuel importation programme. The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley stated in a telephone interview that it was wrong for Reuters to have stated so in a recent report. Stanley insisted that no company indicted in the subsidy fraud as reported by Reuters is included in the latest allocations. He said that: “No company that was indicted in the subsidy claims report can import petroleum products under the new dispensation. In fact, even if we were foolish enough to include any of them, they will get stuck because the Ministry of Finance will not pay them. He stated that: “Finance is resolute in cleaning up the subsidy mess, and has not even finished paying off the genuine claims. So it will be a big risk for any company indicted to go importing fuel, when it has not yet been cleared, and no business man would want to tie down his/her money indefinitely.” Reuters in its report listed Nepal, Fresh Synergy, Ibafon and Techno, as the “four companies that failed to cooperate with parliament’s probe and were named as suppliers which the parliamentary report showed collectively claimed for subsidies of nearly $60 million.” The report further added: “At least three other companies awarded third quarter allocations - Masters, Matrix and MRS - were also ordered to account for their shipments or refund falsely claimed subsidy money in
another government report released last June. “Matrix provided documents to Reuters showing it had since been exonerated by Nigerian authorities. “The other firms declined or did not respond to repeated requests for comment by email and telephone. It was not clear if these companies had since repaid their debts or been cleared.” However, Stanley clarified that all of the companies mentioned were cleared in the subsidy report, saying: “Masters has been cleared by the Special Fraud Unit, SFU; Nepals issue with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is closed out. In fact the company now has a depot at Ogara, the PPPPRA team inspected it, the Deport was dully certified by the De-
partment of Petroleum Resources, DPR, having met all the necessary requirements for depot operations; and MRS was never indicted. “So all the companies that have been cleared by the SFU and EFFC which meet the requirements to participate in the Petroleum Subsidy Fund, PSF, which include being a registered Nigerian company, ownership of a certified and registered depot and a host of others, are free to participate.” Stanley added that it is on the basis of this criterion that the foreign suppliers, including Vitol, Mercuria and Trafigura, which were mentioned as being excluded from the list of over 40 companies given approvals to import cannot participate. Stanley stated that: “Vitol, Mercuria and Trafigura cannot be part of the domestic supply programme because they are not registered Nigerian companies; and they have never participated in PSF before and cannot participate in it.” He reiterated that the current administration has plugged all the leakages and avenues for corruption in the subsidy claims, adding that the process has been fortified with the current tracking system introduced by the Agency for monitoring fuel imports. The PPPRA, the Executive Secretary, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, said: “We are very much happier with the current allocation process; it is much more transparent and you cannot find any of those briefcase carrying companies on the list anymore. He said that: “The truth is that Stanley is not reinventing the wheel, but actually implementing the PPPRA Act to the letter. That is all that he is doing, and it takes a leader that is determined and disciplined to insist on obeying the books to the letter.”
OPEC daily basket price drops to $105.28 per barrel UDEME AKPAN
WITH AGENCY REPORT
he price of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC basket of 12 crudes has dropped from $105.44 to $105.28 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). Despite the drop, member states would still be in a position to generate adequate funds to execute their budgets as the cur-
rent price is in excess of their 2013 budgets. However, crude shipments from member states will decline from near their highest in a year as summer demand passes its peak, tanker-tracker Oil Movements said. The group, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will cut exports by 410,000 barrels a day, or 1.7 percent, to 23.95 million barrels a day in the four weeks to August 10, the researcher said yesterday in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador. “We’re already over the peak,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by phone from Halifax, England. “There was a late summer surge but that’s it. From here to September the direction of shipments will be down.”
Refiners typically trim imports at the start of the third quarter while performing maintenance as summer demand for gasoline and diesel ebb. Brent crude traded for about $107 a barrel yesterday on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London, having slipped almost 4 percent this year. Middle Eastern shipments will drop by 2.2 percent to 17.6 million barrels a day to Aug. 10, compared with 18 million in the month to July 13, according to Oil Movements. That figure includes nonOPEC nations Oman and Yemen. Crude on board tankers will increase by 1.7 percent to 495.6 million barrels versus 487.4 million, data from Oil Movements show. The researcher calculates the volumes by tallying tanker bookings. Its figures exclude crude held on vessels for storage.
Crude Oil (WTI)
Crude Oil (Brent)
TOCOM Crude Oil
NYMEX Natural Gas
Saudi Arabia pumps more oil to United States
audi Arabia’s shipment of crude oil to the U.S. rose last year and Iran boosted Asian shipments to counter falling sales to its European customers, OPEC reported. The Kingdom exported 1.42 million barrels a day of crude to the U.S. in 2012 compared with 1.31 million a year earlier, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its Annual Statistical Bulletin today. Iran shipped 1.84 million barrels a day to Asian customers up from 1.39 million barrels in 2011. Saudi exports to Europe rose to 991,000 barrels a day in 2012 from 890,000 in 2011. Iran’s shipments plunged to 162,000 barrels a day last year from 741,000 barrels a year earlier. Exports from all OPEC nations rose to 25.3 million barrels a day in 2012 from 23.5 million, the report showed. OPEC stated in its annual bulletin released yesterday that in 2012, world crude oil production increased by 3.4per cent over 2011, with the bulk of the increases coming from North America, Africa and the Middle East. In contrast, crude production in Western Europe and Latin America showed some decline. Crude oil production in OPEC Member Countries was up 7.6per cent to 32.4 mb/d in 2012.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Conoil builds seven new mega filling stations
Oil exploration declines as operators await passage of bill STORIES: UDEME AKPAN
he exploration of petroleum has continued to decline as a result of delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB into law. The low exploration characterised by the use of some rigs for exploration gives a clear indication that only a few firms were searching for crude oil and gas in the nation. A source in the Department of Petroleum Resources who preferred not to be named stated that: “Only a few rigs are being used presently for exploration of oil and gas. Most oil firms are awaiting the completion of work on the PIB. He said that: “The situation may continue to deteriorate as the PIB may not be passed soon as a result of the remaining works to be done at the national Assembly. Another report by Baker Hughes showed that rig count fluctuated between 15 and 22 in the first half of this year. The latest authoritative Financial Derivatives Company Limited report stated that: “Baker Hughes rig count fluctuated between 15 and 22 in H1’13. On the average, the report puts the Nigeria’s rig count in July and the remaining part of the second quarter of the year will be at about 19, meaning that many In-
he Nigerian content initiative has provided great opportunities for allied sectors of the Nigerian economy particularly the local IT companies/OEMs to key-in on the provisions of the NOGICD Act, build capacity in-country development without compromising quality, standard and safety as well as receive a boost in line with the provisions made by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board within its mandate to empower and provide the required
ternational Oil Companies, IOCs and their indigenous counterparts may not still increase their exploration activities. While the nation continues to witness low exploration, investigations showed that other nations in the Gulf of Guinea, including Ghana have recorded increased exploration in the past few years. The development is partly as a result of increased investment that is said to be driven by good policies, incentives and legislations as well as socio-political stability. However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the international oil companies, IOCs, have disagreed over some of the key provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, presently before the National Assembly. The PIB, which seeks to introduce needed reforms in the oil and gas operations, will also increase the government’s control and earnings from the energy sector, especially in the offshore territories where the NNPC believes Nigeria is being shortchanged by the oil firms. The Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Mr. Abiye Membere who expressed the position of government at the last Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja stated that it was necessary to focus more attention to offshore instead of mainly deep
offshore as proposed by the IOCs. He said: “We do not know why the IOCs intend to focus more on that terrain now, especially considering that we have a lot of reserves onshore.” It should also be noted that it costs more for stakeholders to design and execute projects at high risk at the deep offshore than offshore. But the IOCs think differently. For instance, the Managing Director of Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Mr. Guy Maurice, said that there was a great need to focus on the deep offshore because the IOCs had many pending projects in the area. He said that the deep offshore had the promise of yielding more finds and by extension, output in the future, which had become more certain as a result of new technologies. Maurice said Total had the experience and capacity to succeed in its deep offshore campaigns and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s quest of increasing crude oil reserves from about 37 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels in 2020. Also, the Vice-President and Managing Director of Addax Petroleum Nigeria, Mr. Cornelis Zegelaar, said the PIB should encourage increased funding of projects, insisting that commercial oil finds were waiting to be made in the deep offshore and other areas.
he nation’s foremost petroleum product marketing company, Conoil Plc is consolidating its lead in fuel retailing with the construction of seven new mega stations to increase its retail network across the country. The commissioning of the stations has been scheduled for the last quarter of the year. The mega stations are strategically spread across the country and located in high traffic areas in Onitsha (Anambra), Port Harcourt (Rivers), Makurdi (Benue), Jibia (Katsina), Jebba (Kwara) and two in Lagos. As the pioneer of new generation brand of fuel stations in Nigeria, the new outlets are built in accordance with global trends in petroleum product retailing, keeping pace with technological advancement worldwide with special emphasis on delivering convenience to motorists. To foster customer loyalty, the new multi-functional retail outlets leverage technology to deliver improved service efficiency at the forecourts. In line with its tradition, the stations are designed to serve as one-stop retail outlets equipped to offer motorists a wide range of quality services and convenience besides the regular business of selling petroleum products. According to a statement released by the company, the new mega stations are anticipated to grow sales and revenue by over 65
Indigenous firms position for competitive local patronage policy to encourage local patronage by the oil and gas industry. This was made known by the Executive Secretary, Engr. Ernest Nwapa who was represented by the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Tunde Adelana at a one day industry stakeholder’s factory tour of Omatek Computers Factory which showcased the development of local ICT manufacturing in Lagos recently. According to the Executive Sec-
retary, an essential first step by the Board was the identification of indigenous OEMs and their current capabilities through an intervention in September 2012 to inaugurate the Information and Communication Technology, (ICT) Forum of the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum, (NCCF) as a common platform for all local IT companies and professional bodies. Nwapa further disclosed that the ICT Forum of the NCCF was
for all the local IT vendors/OEMs and their stakeholders to share ideas and strategies on how to fully benefit from the opportunities in the oil and gas industry and properly position themselves for competition in IT related services, noting that the Board through this forum shall issue and enforce ICT guidelines to support the indigenous OEM’s efforts in locally assembled brands/IT services in relation to local patronage.
percent and will, in line with the company’s objectives, transform customer’s fuelling experience to an absolute delight. The outlets will also give fillip to the company’s mission to provide top quality products and convenience services that will keep customers satisfied. Conoil has always been audacious in its initiatives and has a sterling reputation for reliability and consistency. When completed, the new stations will complement the company’s plan for massive importation of refined petroleum products. The expansion project represents the second phase of the company’s comprehensive fouryear plan which started two years ago. It would be recalled that, eight years ago, Conoil changed the face of fuel retailing with the introduction of mega filling stations in Lagos, Abuja, Yola and Port Harcourt. The Lagos business sector alone boasts of eight of these stations with one each in GRA, Ikeja; Lekki; Alapere, Ketu; Apapa; Tollgate, Ikeja; Seme; Sele; Okota and Agege. There are also several others in Abuja, Yola and Port Harcourt. The company aims to continue to deliver the best performance through its extensive network of retail stations, through which it distributes petroleum products and offer an exclusive range of convenience retail products. In its statement, the company added: “Through our expansive distribution network, we aim at delighting many homes and make life more convenient for a variety of our customers. We touch the lives of a broad spectrum of the populace in many ways, by providing kerosene for domestic use, automotive fuel and lubricants for vehicles and solvents for industrial consumption and wellstocked convenience stores for everyday needs.” According to the company, “We are reputable for setting new standards with ground breaking initiative and world-class facilities. We will always strive to keep our customers happy”. The Chief Executive stated, “in pursuant to the compliance of the NOGICD Act on Information Systems, Information Technology and Communication Services, the Board identified quality standards as a key area for development which is imperative on indigenous IT companies to engage the services of IOCs in line with the Nigerian Content philosophy of new developments and innovations to move indigenous technology beyond mere discussions and lead it to measurable impacts.”
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Stakeholders hail proposed EU oil, gas anti-corruption law CHIDI UGWU ABUJA
takeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry have hailed the European Union (EU)’s recent decision to enact a law that will make oil, gas, mining and logging firms declare payments to governments, as part of efforts to end poverty in resourcerich nations. Some analysts said the new legislation which mandates companies to report payments at project as well as country level, beginning at a threshold of 100,000 euros ($130,600) is good for Nigeria. The new arrangement establishes rules ensuring that these companies disclose payments to governments (e.g. taxes on profits, royalties, and license fees) on a country and project basis where payments have been attributed to specific projects. Oil and gas resources are often located in countries with high disposition of corruption. Revenues from the sector are too often vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement, the oil and gas industries have the potential to bring great wealth to countries if they are managed properly. “It is a known fact that the Nigerian oil and gas industry in particular, had acted in ways that were inconceivable, corrupt and embarrassingly inefficient for
WITH AGENCY REPORT
much too long. For example, Nigeria scored 27 out of a maximum 100 marks and is listed 139 of 176 countries on Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index of 2012,” noted John Nwaonu, a public affairs analysts based in Abuja. Nwaonu said the nature of the petroleum industry makes it a natural focus for enforcement authorities from developed economies, adding, “perhaps, this law may act as gradation to complaints of weak transparent regime in the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).” The EU agreement goes further than the U.S. law (Dodd-Frank Act) in that it includes the logging sector and covers large unlisted EU companies, as well as listed firms.
In July 2010, the U.S. Congress passed Section 1504 of the DoddFrank Act, a measure requiring companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to publicly report how much they pay governments for access to oil, gas and minerals. It is a powerful tool that allows investors to properly assess risk and citizens to see the value placed on their natural resources. Together with the U.S. rules, the EU rules will cover 90 percent of the world’s major international extractive companies. The disclosure requirements will act as catalyst for change in developing countries. Citizens and local communities in resource-rich countries will finally be to know what their governments are being paid by in-
ternational oil companies for exploiting oil and gas fields, mineral deposits and forests. The agreement will bring in a new era of transparency to an industry which is far too often shrouded in secrecy and help stem the tide of tax evasion and corruption as well as create the framework so both companies and governments can be held accountable on the use of revenues from natural resources. Existing EU Accounting Directive regulates the information provided in the financial statements of all limited liability companies which are registered in the European Economic Area (EEA). The same disclosure requirement has been incorporated in the proposal to revise the
Nigeria to ship 63 oil cargoes in September
igeria has concluded plans to ship many crude oil cargoes to the global market in September, this year, according to the latest loading programme. The exports will comprise 12 consignments of Qua Iboe grade, seven of Agbami, five each of Brass, Akpo, Bonga and Forcados, four of Usan, three each of Amenam, Erha, Escravos and Antan, two each of Yoho and Okono, and one each of Abo, EA, Okwori and Pennington. The cargoes range in size from 250,000 to 1 million barrels. Bloomberg stated that: “It remains unclear whether Nigeria will export Bonny Light in September, four traders with knowledge of the loading program said. No shipments for this grade were planned for August. It stated that Taiwan’s CPC Corp. bought two cargoes of Nemba crude and one of Cabinda for September-loading, three people with knowledge of the matter said. The company bought 3 million barrels of Angolan crude through a tender, the people said. The agency stated that Indian Oil Company bought two cargoes of Qua Iboe for September loading, according to three trad-
Nigeria transforming into gas nation – Alison-Madueke
M Oil vessel
Agbami oil field
ers. The lots are 1 million barrels each, they said. It stated that the Benchmark North Sea Forties crude was bid higher with no trades done. Russia plans to ship less than 1 million barrels a day of Urals from the port of Primorsk for a third month, with shipments set to drop to the lowest in more than five years, a preliminary loading program showed. Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation reduced its official selling price of benchmark Es Sider crude for August to 20 cents less than Dated Brent, compared with a discount of five cents for
July. Bloomberg stated that the Royal Dutch Shell Plc failed to buy Forties for loading from Aug. 15 to Aug. 19 at a premium of 65 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to a Bloomberg survey of traders and brokers monitoring the Platts pricing window. The company made the same bid for the grade yesterday. Vitol Group wasn’t able to buy Forties for loading from Aug. 17 to August 21 at 75 cents above Dated Brent, according to the survey. That’s 5 cents a barrel higher than the last cargo to trade in the window on July 23.
There were no bids or offers for Brent, Oseberg or Ekofisk. Reported crude trading typically occurs during the Platts window, which ends at 4:30 p.m. London time. Brent for September settlement traded at $107.32 cents barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at the close of the window, compared with $107.42 in the previous session. The October contract was at $106.46, a discount of 86 cents to September. Platts will keep the sulfur deescalator unchanged for Forties at 20 cents a barrel in August for the second month in a row, the company said in a statement on its website. Socar Trading SA didn’t manage to sell 600,000 barrels of Azeri Light for Aug. 10 to Aug. 14 loading at a premium of $3.25 to Dated Brent, according to the survey. The Baltic Sea port Primorsk will handle 38 Urals cargoes of 100,000 metric tons each in August, or 898,516 barrels a day, according to a loading programme obtained by Bloomberg News. That’s 0.8 percent less than July. Prior to June, Primorsk had loaded more than 1 million barrels a day every month since at least March 2008, when Bloomberg began tracking the data.
inister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has said the petroleum sector has witnessed great strides in the drive towards repositioning the Nigeria as a gas exploration and production country to harness the benefits of the gas as energy of the future. Alison-Madueke, made the assertion during the presentation of the ministry’s MidTerm score-card at the 2013 Ministerial Platform recently where she highlighted the gains of the gas revolution to include the massive boost in gas to power supply for electricity generation up to 5GW (gigawatts), establishment of commercial framework for gas, massive development of gas infrastructure across the country and the stimulation of gas-based industrialization with the Ogidigben Gas City in Delta State as the flagship project with a capacity to create 100,000 jobs at the construction stage. In a presentation titled: Moving the Oil and Gas Industry to the Next Level, the minister explained that Nigeria with gas reserves of 182Tcf (trillion cubic feet) as at the end of 2012 compared with total crude oil reserves of 36.8 billion barrels for the same period is more of a gas country than a crude oil country and that the global shift to the use of gas as a cleaner energy makes the emphasis on gas development as directed by President Jonathan an imperative action for sustainable long term economic development of the country. Alison-Madueke further explained that the massive gas infrastructure development across the country is aimed at getting gas to industries and that Abuja and the Northern part of the country will be linked with gas pipelines for rapid industrialisation by 2015. She listed some of the completed and ongoing gas infrastructure projects to include Escravos-Oben Pipeline, expansion of Oben-Lagos Pipeline, Calabar-Ajaokuta and Ajaokuta-Kano Pipeline Systems among others. The minister however explained that the transformation into a gas nation is being harnessed with huge achievements in the crude oil sector where production has been sustained at an optimal level in spite of the crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism challenge.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Let single regulator take charge of oil and gas industry – OGSPAN STORIES: UDEME AKPAN
stakeholder has tasked the Federal Government to place the nation’s petroleum industry under a single regulatory agency for proper supervision. The Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria (OGSPAN) is a body incorporated under the Nigerian laws to protect the vested interests of companies and individuals that provide services to the oil and gas industry stated that the measure would bring about effective regulation. The Petroleum Industry Bill proposed to create the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency to cater for the upstream and downstream petroleum sectors. But OGSPAN stated that petroleum activities are interwoven; from exploration to exploitation, production to terminal operations, refining to marketing. It stated that for proper tracking and execution of these activities in timely and prompt manner, it is advisable to have a one stop shop, as a regulator. The body maintained that: “It is imperative to state that most countries that hitherto had multiple regulators are presently making regulations that would fuse these regulatory bodies into one because of the complexity and high cost of operations. A case in point is Australia and Alberta government in Canada.” OGSPAN stated that the Alberta government in October 2012, introduced a legislation that would put a single regulator to oversee all future oil, gas, oil sands and coal development in the region because they came to realise that the multiple regulatory regime is onerous. It stated that this piece of legislation that
has created the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) just came into effect in June 2013. The body stated that: “Other countries having single regulator are Norway, Brazil, Angola, Mexico, etc. Nigeria should not be seen as taking two steps forward and 10 steps backward as the case in this proposal. We should have a single Regulator that will be so empowered to discharge its functions creditably. “Multiple regulators at this time of our history and at a time when Mr. President is looking at ways of merging and scrapping organisations with similar or overlapping functions is an aberration; from the backdrop that most organisations in Nigeria today have overlapping functions, President Jonathan when elected into office set up the Orosanya Committee whose mandate included, but not limited to the harmonisation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) having similar and overlapping functions. This committee had since
through its recommendation streamlined and advised for the merging of MDA’s with duplicating roles or similar functions.” The body stated that having dual regulators in the oil and gas industry run contrary to the policies and principles of the present government and negates the essence of their transformation agenda. It stated that the creation of dual regulators will result in the wastage of scarce resources being expended on two Regulators for activities that can be effectively managed by one regulator. Let us not polarise the oil and gas industry as this is not the case in other sectors of the Nigerian economy, i.e, electricity, telecommunication and banking; just to mention a few that have single regulators. It stated that the creation of double regulators will be a serious disadvantage to the oil and gas service providers, as this would further strangulate people that are barely surviving in a highly sophisticated industry where the local content act has not fully bore the expected dividends; in ensuring that most of the services hitherto carried out by foreigners are now domiciled with Nigeria and Nigerians. It maintained that multiple regulations will result in most service providers paying double for a permit/license that could have been issued by one Regulator. OGSPAN maintained that a typical example would be a waste management company who offers services to both upstream and downstream sector. It stated that in order to discharge its functions he may need to obtain a permit from the Upstream Regulator to treat drill cuttings/mud from upstream operators and another permit from the Downstream Regulator to treat hazardous wastes such as waste oil, sludge, etc.
NEITI calls for clarity on host community fund
he Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has called on the National Assembly to use the opportunity of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to ensure uniformity in addressing the problems of communities located in mineral producing areas including petroleum. The Chairman of NEITI, Ledum Mitee made the call at the Senate while presenting NEITI‘s position on the PIB and on the proposed host community fund provided for in the draft legislation. “NEITI, however, believes that the preferred option is for the communities to be directly impacted by the funds through a process which operates in the minerals sector in Nigeria, whereby the communities enter into an agreement with licensee or lease-holder, as the case may be, and agree as to terms and conditions regarding the fund”. Mitee stated that NEITI’s position remains that the petroleum host community fund should function according to the same or similar mode that is provided for under the existing Minerals and Mining Act. Beyond this the NEITI chairman called for clarity in the mode of administration
of the fund to ensure direct impact on the benefiting community. He drew the attention of the Senate to a provision in Section 2 of the PIB which states that, “The entire property and control of all petroleum in, under or upon any lands within Nigeria, its territorial waters, or which forms part of its Continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone, is vested in the government of the Federation”. He explained that though that Section of the PIB conforms to the provisions of Nigerian’s constitution, there is the need to recognise other tiers of government such as states and local governments as well as Nigerian citizens as co –stakeholders. He argued that vesting the petroleum resources in the country should be in the citizens of Nigeria to give a true sense of belonging. He added that, it will also be a reminder to government that it was accountable to the people for the utilisation of the revenues derivable from the petroleum resources. Ledum Mitee therefore conveyed that NEITI’s position remains that the Section of the PIB should be redrafted to read thus: “The entire property and sovereign
ownership of petroleum within Nigeria, its territorial waters, the continental shelf, the Exclusive Economic Zone and the extended continental shelf shall vest in the sovereign state of Nigeria in trust for and on behalf of the People of Nigeria”. He joined other stakeholders to call for creation of strong independent regulatory institutions and deliberate effort should be made under the legislation to limit the powers of the Minister to policy formulation, monitoring and oversight.
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FG endorses UNIPORT’s petroleum refining & petrochemicals conference
he Federal Government has endorsed the University of Port Harcourt second International Conference on petroleum refining and petrochemicals because of its expected impact on the development of the downstream sector of the industry. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is said to have endorsed the event scheduled to hold at the prestigious Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt from August 28-29, 2013 due to its importance to the petroleum industry and the nation. Alison-Madueke who was informed about the event organised by the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) in collaboration with world-class Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals instantly endorsed it in Abuja last week. The minister’s endorsement was communicated to the organisers after she briefed about the elaborate plans to hold the world-class conference for which many international scholars and project experts have also offered to deliver papers. A statement issued by Prof. Godwin Igwe, the Director of the Centre for Gas, Refining & Petrochemicals (CGRP) of the university said that the theme of the conference is, “Creating wealth through diversification, transformation and development of our refineries and petrochemical industries”. According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited (IEPL), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA), among others have shown tremendous interest in the conference. Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Reginald C. Stanley; Group Coordinator of Corporate Planning & Strategy (CP&S) and Director of NNPC Transformation, Dr. Tim Okon; Director General/CEO, NOTAP, Federal Ministry of Science & Technology, Dr. Umar Buba Bindir; and Mr Manish Mundra, Managing Director of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals have accepted to speak at the conference. Igwe stated that the conference has four sub-themes namely: Need to develop non-fuel downstream sector; opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs on sustainable refinery and petrochemical products; funding indigenous research & development in developing countries; and economic growth on the back of the petrochemicals sector. He stated that the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, and Chairman of the Governing Board of CGRP, Engr. Tony Ogbuigwe who is also the Group Executive Director of Refineries and Petrochemicals at NNPC, have promised that the international conference would meet global standard.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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‘Manpower development: Nigerian More than 53 years after the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria, the country which is currently the sixth largest producer in the world neither has ships to lift the products nor the needed manpower such as seafarers to work on board the foreign vessels that lift the crude. President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, the umbrella body for retired indigenous ship captains, chief engineers and engineers, Captain Adejimi Adu, in this interview with FRANCIS EZEM warns that foreigners would also take over coastal trade due to lack of manpower. Less than two weeks to the expiration of a 90-day ultimatum by the US to Nigeria to comply with the International Ships and Ports Security code. What do you think will be Nigeria’s fate if she fails to meet the deadline? The genesis of the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) Code will even tell you where the United States is coming from. The genesis was the bombing of the World Trade Centre by terrorists. The US in preserving or taking the security of their people serious, they look at all the countries that trade with them and Nigerian is one of the countries that trade with the US particularly with our oil. So ships that call at the seaports of countries that are not compliant with the ISPS Code will not be allowed to come to the US. The implication of this is that vessels that load from Nigeria will not be allowed to enter the US and you know that this has serious implication of the Nigerian economy, given that she depends on oil export to fund the economy and US is the biggest buyer of the oil and even some other imports that come from the US will be prevented from coming and this will be a big blow to the entire economy and the image of Nigeria and you know the influence of US worldwide and so if US is your enemy, you can be sure a lot of her allies will follow suit you can also be sure that if they enforce the ban, a lot of the European Union members will follow suit and this will be serious for Nigeria. How do you rate Nigeria’s ability to meet this deadline? Right now the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency that has taken over the responsibility of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Ports Safety and Security (PICOMSS) is working hard. As I know, their Recognised Safety Organisations (RSOs) are around and are currently doing a reassessment of the ports and terminals and I am sure, within one week, the report will be out and I believe that all gaps will be closed because it is only a few terminals that have not met the security requirements. You know NIMASA held a stakeholders forum about four or five weeks ago where they unveiled their action plans and they have put that plan into practice and so I believe they will meet the target. Still talking about ISPS Code compli-
ance, you know Nigeria has so many private jetties, most of which receive ocean going vessels and many of them are not regulated. What is the security implication of this? No not all the private jetty operators host oceangoing vessels and to that extent, the ultimatum may not affect them rather terminals and ports that receive oceangoing vessels. But having said that, I think the government should look into the activities of these jetty operators. I also think NIMASA should do be doing something about that though I cannot speak for them, but it is necessary, it is desirable that they do something about that not only because of the ISPS Code but because any country that jokes with her security jokes with the economy. Right now you know what is happening in the country. The un-employment is breeding insecurity both offshore and onshore. So these private jetties are being used for nefarious activities such as importation of arms and ammunition and so despite the ISPS compliance thing, there is need for the government ensure that the country is further secure in order to prevent smuggling, illegal immigration into the country and importation of narcotics and arms and ammunition. Over time, your category of master mariners is getting old and nothing is being done to address this. Do you not foresee a serious threat? A very serious threat, I cannot agree less with your observation and if you will recollect, the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners has been in the forefront canvassing for manpower development in Nigeria. We have submitted so many papers and unfortunately, we did not get any response from the government whether the Federal Ministry of Transport or any other agency of the government. We have tried to advise on how to go about but there is no response from the government. Just like you observed, those of us that are the old brigade, who are fortunate and have gotten away with government scholarships and have gone to the best institutions and got the best in terms of training facilities in terms of the ships owned by the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) but today, there is no Nigeria –owned shipping company that owns oceangoing ships and have space where cadets can do their practical training so it is a big problem
MAN ORON, IT IS A SHAME THAT AN INSTITUTION THAT WAS SET UP IN 1978, THAT IS ABOUT 35 YEARS AGO, AS WE SPEAK, THAT TALKING ABOUT
INSTITUTION CANNOT ISSUE A CERTIFICATE THAT CAN BE RECOGNISED AT HIGHER LEVEL BY ALL COUNTRIES OF THIS WORLD and we have tried to advise the government on how to go about it and they did not listen to us. But we are still available and any day they call on us we will come because it is our fatherland and we are ready to assist. How would you assess the role of Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron in addressing this problem? Talking about MAN Oron, it is a shame that an institution that was set up in 1978, that is about 35 years ago, as we speak, that institution cannot issue a certificate that can be recognised at higher level by all countries of this world. Yes, granted that I understand that they can issue Officer of the Watch (OO) Certificate, which is the least of the officer cadre certificate. They have not been able to do class two or class one, which is the master mariner certificate or the class one for the Chief Engineer. So if you have been there for 35 years and you cannot achieve that, I think it is a serious embarrassment now we have also ad-
vised on how to go about it. You know, Nigeria when our performance in football was going down, they brought a foreign coach. So you see, you need money to make money. If you are going to develop human beings in these specialised areas, you need money to do that. That school is bereft of standard lecturers. Those that are qualified and would want to teach there, they will not pay them what is commensurate with what the task requires. So Nigeria has sent people to World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden and other higher institutions in the world. These people are to be tapped but the condition in that school is not conducive for people who may be ready and who can deliver to come there and lecture. For the way forward, I believe that the government can seek the assistance of the International Maritime Organisation in recruiting the right lecturers both Nigerians and foreigners and also have this school linked to recognised institutions in the world such as the World Maritime University or any of the colleges in the
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
maritime industry at brink of collapse’ THE NLNG IS DOING VERY WELL BECAUSE IT IS NOT GOVERNMENT THAT DETERMINES WHO WILL BE THE
GOVERNMENT CAN REPLICATE THIS
NLNG ARRANGEMENT IN MERCHANT SHIPPING BY HAVING SOME INTEREST BUT LEAVING THE MANAGEMENT IN THE HANDS OF CAPABLE PRIVATE SECTOR PEOPLE
United Kingdom so that they help and mentor them towards getting their boys certificated. In my own school, I started with the School of Navigation, University of Southern ton before I went to John Moore University, every examination we did was subject to external assessment, we had external assessors, who were independent, and they were not biased because they were independent of the school. So for us to move forward, all the courses even the syllables need to be reviewed and if you are going to conduct exams, you bring in credible people who will bring credibility into the system, into the regime of examinations and before you issue any certificate, you evaluate the candidate. That is the way to go about it. We have talked and talked and it seems we are talking to a lamppost. I know for a fact that NIMASA is taking some Nigerian cadets abroad for training in some schools in India, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Canada etc. The bane of this manpower development is a training berth on vessels. You see, this is a course where anything less than 70 percent is a failure, yes if you score anything less than 70 percent, you fail and it is a combination of theory and practical. You know I told you we the old brigade were lucky. I told you we trained on NNSL vessels and there also other vessels belonging to indigenous shipping companies such as the Green Lines, Brass and the Folawuyos that gave berth
and accommodation for training facilities. The only company that we have now that has vessels that can train is the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) but their capacity is limited. We have made suggestions to government and we still have that on record and we are still ready to send it again if the will listen to us. There are so many shipping companies that have been benefiting from this country for over 50 years how do you make them contribute to this manpower development thing? You can either do it by fiat or preferably give them incentives, they have vessels that go foreign and so they can help. Look the training that we are talking about is not the OOW that Oron can do. The Indigenous Ship owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) is saying that they want to lift crude oil and the Cabotage Act says that the vessels to be used in the coastal and inland trade must be built in Nigeria and manned by Nigerians. So where are the Nigerians? Conscious efforts have not been made to develop them. It is one thing to send people to school, if they don’t have vessels on board which they can train, it will be a disaster, in the past a lot of these people have gone to school and when they don’t have vessels to train, it is a disaster because they will be dropouts. I will advise that NIMASA in its current efforts should go a step further either by persuasion or payment to liaise with these shipping companies to train these guys so that they can get to the pinnacle of their career. If care is not taken, Nigeria will need to bring in foreigners to man even coastal vessels. There are various areas of specialisation, you have the Dynamic Positioning Vessels (DPV), there is a special training for that. So I will expect the government to bring people from our association, the Institute of Marine Engineers and get people together to give them a format on how to move forward. It is really bad because there is no indigenous Marine Engineer
with class one certificate that is less than 50 years. We really need to tell ourselves the truth. We will not continue to depend on foreigners I remember when we were cadets on board NNSL vessels, there were also Indians, Britons etc but as we were coming up, they were eased out and this create a lot of job opportunities for our people. We also said at one of the seminars we did on manpower development that the government can resolve a great percentage of the un-employment problem through the maritime industry. A lot of people have also canvassed the re-floating of the NNSL. Do you subscribe to this? It is dicey because of what Nigeria has become. Here in Nigeria government’s property is nobody’s property. After the demise of the NNSL, the Nigerian Unity Line (NUL) was set up with one ship and so many employees sitting in the office collecting salaries and allowances and what do expect?, it collapsed. What I will recommend is that government should create the
enabling environment, it can also invest but government should not have a controlling share. Let the private people do the day-day running of the company. The NLNG is doing very well because it is not government that determines who will be the managing director. Government can replicate this NLNG arrangement in merchant shipping by having some interest but leaving the management in the hands of capable private sector people. Nigeria gave scholarships to people to study in World Maritime University, Sweden and other institutions and so many of them are still available to run a successful merchant shipping company. That way we can compete, Nigerians can participate in the lifting of crude oil etc. Such a shipping line can also provide training berths for Nigerian cadets. It is not for government to run it because we have a lawless atmosphere in Nigeria. The best the government can do is to put the right environment in place and allow private people to run it.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Thomson Reuters reaffirms outlook; Europe remains challenging
homson Reuters (TRI.N) (TRI.TO) on Tuesday posted a 2 percent rise in second-quarter revenue on the strength of its legal and tax and accounting businesses and reaffirmed its forecast for 2013. The global news and information company expects revenue to grow in the low single digits for the year, and sees underlying operating profit margin between 16.5 and 17.5 percent. Revenue from Legal, which includes its WestlawNext product, increased 5 percent to $846 million lifted by new products aimed at helping law firms manage litigation and their business. Tax and Accounting revenue rose 7 percent to $288 million. “Everything that is in our control remains on track,” Chief Executive James Smith told Reuters. “We expect the second half to remain better than the first half.” He said the trends continue to remain positive. But added: “Unfortunately, so do the challenges fac-
ing the financial industry as a whole and particularly in Europe.” Smith has previously said he expects net sales at the Financial & Risk division to turn positive in the second half of this year. On Tuesday he called meeting that goal challenging and said it “comes down to a handful of contracts with larger banks - we are that close.” Net sales, which strip out cancellations, is an important metric because it points to future revenue. Net sales generally lag revenue by about 12 months. Banks are still cutting costs, especially those in Europe which has been dogged by an economic downturn. Thomson Reuters has been making progress in Asia and Japan, where net Thomson Reuters Adjusted earnings for the quarter sales for its financial division have were roughly flat from the year ago at turned positive in the second quarter. $569 million, or 48 cents per share, ahead The Americas has also improved. of analysts’ expectations of 44 cents, acTotal revenue from ongoing business cording to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. rose 2 percent before currency changes Revenue at Financial & Risk, which acto $3.1 billion, which is in line with anacounts for 53 percent of total revenue at lysts’ expectations.
Obama to propose ‘bargain’ on corporate tax rate, infrastructure
resident Barack Obama will propose a “grand bargain for middle-class jobs” on Tuesday that would cut the U.S. corporate tax rate and use billions of dollars in revenues generated by a business tax overhaul to fund projects aimed at creating jobs. His goal, to be outlined in a speech at an Amazon.com Inc facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is to break through congressional gridlock by trying to find a formula that satisfies both Republicans and Democrats.
Efforts to reach a bipartisan “grand bargain” on deficit reduction have been at an impasse for months. Senior administration officials said Obama is not giving up on a big deficit-cutting package, but given that no agreement appears on the horizon, he is offering a new idea to try to follow through on his 2012 campaign promises to help the middle class. “As part of his efforts to focus Washington on the middle class, today in Tennessee the president will call on Washington to work on a grand bargain focused on middle-class jobs by pairing reform of the business tax code with a significant investment in middle-class jobs,” said Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer. A spokesman for John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, criticized the idea even before the release of the plan’s details, saying it further backs Obama’s policies on taxes and spending “while leaving small businesses and American families behind.” Obama wants to cut the corporate tax rate of 35 percent down to 28 percent and give manufacturers a preferred rate of 25 percent. He also wants a minimum tax on foreign earnings as a tool against corporate tax evasion and increased use of tax havens.
American dream slipping as homeownership at 18-year low
he U.S. homeownership rate, which soared to a record high 69.2 percent in 2004, is back where it was two decades ago, before the housing bubble inflated, busted and ripped more than 7 million Americans from their homes. With ownership at 65 percent and home values rising, housing industry and consumer groups are pressing lawmakers to make the American Dream more inclusive by ensuring new mortgage standards designed to prevent another crash are flexible enough that more families can benefit from the recovery. Regulators are close to proposing a softened version of a rule requiring
banks to keep a stake in risky mortgages they securitize, according to five people familiar with the discussions. Lawmakers currently shaping housing finance are seeking to reduce the government’s role in keeping rates affordable for riskier borrowers while ensuring homeownership is within reach of minorities and first-time buyers who could be needed to sustain the housing recovery as borrowing costs rise from record lows. Who will be able to buy property depends on the balance they reach, according to Anthony Sanders, a professor of real estate finance at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia.
Thomson Reuters, fell 1 percent to $1.6 billion because of lower revenue mainly in Europe. Eikon desktops totaled about 61,000 at the end of the second quarter, up 30 percent from the end of the last quarter. That rate is slower than the 38 percent rise in the first quarter.
French ban on Mercedes cars provokes German fury
ban by France’s socialist government on the registration of several top-end Mercedes-Benz models has infuriated the German luxury carmaker and forced Brussels to step in to try to defuse the growing dispute. Sales of thousands of the most prestigious Mercedes cars have been halted in France since Paris last month refused to allow the registration of four new models that include a refrigerant in their airThe issue escalated late last week when the government invoked an EU “safeguard procedure”, allowing it to act unilaterally to prevent a serious risk to road safety, the environment or public health. It acted after a French court had ordered a 10-day stay of execution for Daimler while the registration block was reviewed. “The registration of Daimler/Mercedes vehicles classes A, B, CLA and SL remain banned in France as long as the company does not conform to active European regulation,” the environment ministry said. Daimler said the French decision – Paris is to date the only EU country to issue a ban – was “absolutely inexplicable” and added it would take further legal action as a result. Officials in Brussels said on Monday they were consulting with Berlin and Paris on the issue and would bring the two sides together in September in a bid to resolve it. The dispute has highlighted the marked contrast between the state of the car industry in the two countries. PSA Peugeot Citroën, and to a lesser extent Renault, have suffered heavily from a big slump in demand for their mainly small and medium-sized cars. Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen have, meanwhile, surged ahead, profiting from their premium models that have proved highly popular in emerging markets. France was riled last month when Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, blocked an EU move to impose tough-
er curbs on auto emissions that would have hit German makers of big cars. The Mercedes issue revolves around an airconditioning coolant called R134a which the EU outlawed from January for new model approvals because it is a highly potent global warming gas. But KBA, the German automobile authority, allowed Daimler to continue to use R134a – as all pre-existing models are allowed to do until 2017. Daimler argues that the replacement coolant is dangerously flammable. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, was already contesting the KBA decision when France decided to act. Jean-Claude Bernard, head of the Association of Mercedes-Benz dealers in France, said the action was politically motivated “to please the greens and damage a German manufacturer” He added: “This coolant is used in 95 per cent of cars in France with air conditioning. If it is so dangerous they should take them all off the road.” He said 5,000 deliveries had been hit to date and orders were down 20 per cent.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
hile the 787 Dreamliner’s flying woes may dominate headlines, the payments Boeing (BA) makes to soothe disgruntled buyers of the new plane are typically handled in much quieter fashion. But the first European customer for the 787, LOT Polish Airlines, is taking its demand for compensation public. The issue surfaced after an earnings conference call last week in which Boeing Chief Executive Officer W. James McNerney declared settled all the customer-payment requests from the 787’s three-month grounding. “There were some instances where we had obligations to customers, and those have all been satisfied,” McNerney told investors and reporters during the July 24 call. “And you can see by our quarterly results that there was no significant impact to our operations as we work with our customers to remedy the situation. He added: “We think they are all behind us now.” The Polish airline begs to differ. “Maybe this did not have any impact on the profit side of Boeing, but in fact we were not satisfied at all financially,” LOT spokesman Robert Moren says in a telephone inter-
Disgruntled airline speaks up about Boeing 787 payout
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
view conducted on Monday. “Those [costs] are not probably gigantic money for Boeing, but for us—while we are in the process of restructuring—it’s quite substantial.” LOT is scheduled to receive its fifth 787 in Warsaw on Tuesday. Airline officials met with Boeing executives earlier this month to submit claims arising from the January grounding, which rendered useless two new
U.S. stocks rise on profit forecasts before Fed statement
nited States stocks climbed as companies from Eastman Chemical Company to Aetna Incorporated raised their forecasts for full-year profit and investors awaited results from the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting. Eastman Chemical gained 6.1 percent and Aetna added 0.8 percent as earnings topped estimates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent to 1,690.80 yesterday in New York. “The expectations for U.S. earnings had come down already and for the most part, companies are hitting them OK,” Veronika Pechlaner, who helps oversee about 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) as investment manager at Jersey, Channel Islands-based Ashburton Ltd., said in a phone interview. “A pickup in second-half earnings will be crucial to move further from here on. Bernanke Markets will be sensitive to economic announcements again this week and particu- 12.1 percent a month earlier. The median projection of 31 economists surveyed by larly to what the Fed has to say.” The S&P 500 is heading for a 5.3 per- Bloomberg called for a 12.4 percent advance. Investors are also watching earnings recent advance this month, its biggest gain ports. Of the 301 companies in the S&P 500 since October 2011, as companies from that have posted quarterly results so far, 73 Facebook Inc. to Visa Inc. reported betterpercent have exceeded analysts’ estimates than-estimated earnings. The benchmark for profit and 55 percent have topped sales index surged 150 percent since March 2009, projections, data compiled by Bloomberg driven by three rounds of bond purchases show. by the U.S. central bank. The gauge fell in June, after seven months of increases, on concern the Fed will begin to reduce its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. The Federal Open Market Committee, apan’s industrial production (JNIwhich has said it may start paring stimuPYOY) fell in June by the most lus should the U.S. economy meet the censince March 2011, when the nation tral bank’s forecasts, starts a two-day meet- was hit by a record earthquake, as autoing today. The Fed will probably maintain makers cut output (JNIPMOM) for a secits benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent, ond month after a surge in April. economists predict. Policy makers will beOutput declined 3.3 percent from the gin to reduce the central bank’s bond-pur- previous month, the Trade Ministry said chase program in September, a Bloomberg yesterday in Tokyo, after climbing in survey of economists shows. May by the most since December 2011. Home prices rose in May by the most in Production slid 4.8 percent from a year more than seven years as the recovery in earlier in June. The jobless rate was 3.9 U.S. residential real estate gained momen- percent, the lowest since 2008, a separate tum, a report showed today. The S&P/Case- report showed. Shiller index of property values climbed This report adds to challenges for 12.2 percent from May 2012, after advancing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who must
787s already operated by the airline while Boeing redesigned the lithium-ion battery system that was suspected in a January fire aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked in Boston. Boeing spokesman John Dern says the company remains in “close contact” with its customers, “but the details of those discussions are private.”
LOT has resumed flights with its 787s and plans to deploy the plane on all four of its longhaul markets—Beijing, Chicago, New York, and Toronto—by Aug. 10. Moren said that the airplane has proven popular with passengers and sales are higher than on other models, even though the 787 still has reliability issues that are being remedied slowly. “We take this as a childhood-age sickness, it will go quickly away,” he said. “The Dreamliner will become a profitable aircraft for LOT.” Payments by airplane manufacturers for such new-plane issues always come with a certain amount of legalistic haggling, veering into the public domain only when it potentially serves the interest of a financially squeezed airline. In March 2012, for example, Boeing reacted swiftly to deny a statement from the Indian government that the company had agreed to pay $500 million over 787 delivery delays to Air India. “We don’t comment on deals that we’ve done, but I can tell you that we’re not writing anybody a check for $500 million,” said Jim Allbaugh, then-president of Boeing’s commercial airplanes unit.
German inflation unexpectedly remained unchanged in July
ermany’s consumer price index, calculated using a harmonized European Union method, rose 1.9 percent from a year ago, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said yesterday. That exceeds economists’ forecasts for a slowdown to 1.8 percent, according to the median of 24 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices increased 0.4 percent from June. “Prices rose a bit more than expected but overall, everything is still under control,” said Heinrich Bayer, an economist at Deutsche Postbank AG (DPB) in Bonn. “The increase is typical for the season, if you keep travel costs in mind. Overall, the price climate is rather calm, without any drivers, except food prices.” Food-price inflation accelerated to 5.7 percent in July from 5.4 percent in June, the statistics office said. Energy costs rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier, down from 3 percent in June. The Bundesbank forecasts German inflation will average 1.6 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2014. The Frankfurt-based central bank reduced its 2013 growth projection for Germany last month to 0.3 percent from the 0.4 percent it predicted in December, citing a worse-
than-expected first quarter and warned that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis still poses risks to the economic recovery. German non-harmonized inflation remained unchanged at 1.9 percent in July, with prices rising 0.5 percent from June. Consumer price gains in the 17-nation euro area accelerated to 1.6 percent in June from 1.4 percent the previous month and 1.2 percent in April as energy prices rebounded, data from the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg showed July 16.
Japan output falls most since 2011 in June after May surge
decide whether to proceed with a consumption-tax increase that threatens to arrest a rebound in the world’s thirdlargest economy. Weakening production would undermine his calls for higher wages to bolster his reflation efforts after temporary boosts from monetary and fiscal stimulus. “The fall in production is likely temporary and will be offset by the expected July increase,” said Masaaki Kanno, chief Japan economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo and a former Bank of Japan official. “I don’t think there has been a change in the underlying trend for industrial output.”
The decline in industrial output was steeper than any economists forecast in a Bloomberg News survey where the median of 29 estimates was for a 1.5 percent drop. Production is expected to rise 6.5 percent in July from June, then drop 0.9 percent in August, according to a survey of companies by the ministry. Abe’s polices have weakened the yen about 12 percent against the dollar this year, bolstering exporter profits and pushing up stocks. The Topix Index of shares advanced 1.6 percent percent as of yesterday. in Tokyo even after yesterday’s production figures, and was heading for the first gain in five days.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
NSE to launch new trading platform, X-Gen in Q3 DAMILOLA AJAYI
new trading platform, X-Gen, a veritable platform which would provide opportunity to network for key stakeholders and participants in the capital market will be launched in the third quarter of the year. The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema disclosed this yesterday at a workshop in Lagos, that the system would enable the Exchange to host other exchanges across the region. He said it is important to note that one of the goals of the workshop
was to engage the stakeholders on the new trading platform and the various support systems that will facilitate the end-toend automation of the market. “The Nigerian Stock Exchange is excited about the possibilities that this new charter opens for us and we are quite confident that X-Gen will usher new solutions, new securities business models, and new market participants into the African capital market space”, he said. According to him, the new system will improve transparency, market access, audit trail and provide efficient price discovery in the market. He added that the new
participants or investors flexibility in our market, unparallel level of transparency in our market,” he said. He explained further that X-Gen will enable more retail participants into the market, since they have the various devices to use like smart phones which are easily accessible. Meanwhile, the expo equally provided an opportunity for the NSE technology partners to showcase their products and services around market data - Neulogic Technologies, BBT, Microsoft Incorporated, SIL Technology, MainOne Cable, Infoware, Zanibal and Dell Incorporated.
system will revolutionize the way all stakeholders currently interact with the markets. The Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology of the NSE, Mr. Ade Bajomo, said that the new trading platform is about changing the experience of business in the market. He pointed out that the new trading platform supports global investor participation and offers features such as direct market access and automated trading. “It is highly scalable to cater for wider participation of growing middleclass and investing segment of the population. “We want to offer the
trong half year earnings reported by some companies this week on the Nigerian Stock Exchange has continued to reflect in the value of stocks. Specifically, the All Share Index which dropped throughout last week rose further yesterday by 0.65 per cent to close at 37,806.45 points, compared to the increase of 1.11 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 37,562.50 points. Market capitalisation rose by N78bn to close at
N11.973trn, lower than the rise of N132bn recorded the preceding day to close at N11.895trn. The Industrial Goods index led the sectorial indices with 2.39 per cent to close at 2,341.25 points, followed by Lotus Islamic index with 1.52 per cent to close at 2,673.74 points. The Consumer Goods index appreciated by 1.32 per cent to close at 1,067.65 points, while the NSE 30-index increased by 0.72 per cent to close at 1,771.56 points. The Banking index, Insurance index added 0.23 per cent to close at 404.83 points and 140.95 points
respectively, while the Alternative Securities Market remained flat at 965.70 points. Champion Breweries Plc led the gainers table with N1.21 or 10 per cent to close at N13.31 per share, followed by Stanbic IBTC Plc with N1.55 or 9.95 per cent to close at N17.13 per share. Pharma Deko Plc rose by 18 kobo or 9.73 per cent to close at N3.03 per share, while IPWA Plc increased by nine kobo or 7.83 per cent to close at N1.24 per share. Courtville Plc was up by five kobo or 7.14 per cent to close at 75 kobo per share.
BA Capital Plc yesterday announced a profit before tax of N1.22bn for the half year ended June 30, 2013, a better result when compared to N237m recorded in the same period of 2012. In its unaudited financial statement presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Group recorded gross earnings of N1.87bn, an increase of 260 per cent over the N521m recorded in 2012. Commenting on the
results, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa said, “in line with the Group’s commitment to deliver competitive returns to its shareholders, we remain dedicated to improving customer experience across our strategic business units”. He further stated that the group’s financial and investment services offerings continue to sustain market leadership with plans to further entrench their footprint through the introduction of innovative products and services during the
course of the year. According to him, the group’s trustees business continues to be a leading and dominant player in its market. He noted that the investment banking business recently successfully completed the Rights Issue for a major NSE listed company and is currently fund raising for majority of the shortlisted bidders for power generation assets. “The securities trading business has significantly increased its market share as investment in people, research and
Market indicators All-Share Index 37,806.45 points Market capitalisation 11.97 trillion
On the flip side, Airservice Plc lost 48 kobo or ten per cent to close at N4.32 per share, while Transnationwide Express Plc fell by 13 kobo or 9.85 per cent to close at N1.19 per share. IHS Plc dipped by 27 kobo or 9.82 per cent to close at N2.48 per share, while Vono Products Plc declined by 13 kobo or 9.35 per cent to close at N1.26 per share. Red Star Express Plc depreciated by 40 kobo or 8.25 per cent to close at 4.45 per share. A total of 315.6 million shares valued at N3.45bn were exchanged in 5,915 deals.
UBA Capital posts N1.22bn pre-tax profit in Q2 JOHNSON OKANLAWON
Equities sustain hold, rises 0.7% JOHNSON OKANLAWON
execution technology deepens. “The asset management business has grown its funds under management and is also expected to excite the investing public with competitive return on investments on the diverse portfolios under management particularly in the area of mutual funds management,” he said. Olaoluwa added that as the group continues to invest in improving its strategic business units, the outlook for the year remains extremely bright and sustainable.
Primary Market Auction TENOR
Open Market Operations TENOR
Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at July 30, 2013 1st Tier Securities
1st Tier Securities No Of Deals Quotation(N)
No Of Deals
Value of Shares(N)
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Benin Airport shut over N39m tax debts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
tax debts amounting to N39.6m. The Edo State tax authorities had claimed that FAAN owed N14.9m, while the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, owed N24.7m in backlog of tenement rates and other charges but the aviation agencies insisted that they were exempted from paying such taxes. The circumstances that led to the closure appeared unclear with both the state government and FAAN trading blames. Already, at least 10 daily
flights operating in and out of the airport by local carriers, including Aero and Arik Air, have been suspended, leaving angry passengers stranded mostly in Lagos and Benin. An Arik Air flight that managed to land in the afternoon could not take-off from the airport owing to the shutdown. Giving his own account of how the airport was shut, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole in an address at the Government House yesterday denied that the state government shut down the airport as it
lacked such power under the laws. The governor said that the state government served an administrative order on FAAN after obtaining same from a duly constituted court of law, informing the airport manager of the tax debts. He said that instead of dialoguing with the tax officials, the manager allegedly took the laws into his hands, descending on the officials of Edo State Board of Internal Revenue, who served the notice on him and thereafter, shut down the airport so as to turn the
heat against the state government. Oshiomhole said: “When the airport manager was served the notice, he in turn shut down the lounge and other offices. He shut it down so that nobody will go in or come out of the airport. “Just to put it on record, the Edo State government did not shut down the airport. It was done by the manager who wanted to use it as a shield against the tax of his workers that he has not paid. “The logic of the rule of law is that everybody is under the law. No-
L-R: Group Managing Director, Daar Communications, Mr. Tony Akiotu; Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi; former Green Eagles player, Chief Segun Odegbami; another Super Eagles player, Victor Ikpeba and Commandant, Nigerian Army Resettlement Centre, Oshodi, Air Commodore Ayuba Buhari (rtd), at the presentation of a book on Segun Odegbami, “Me, Football and More,” in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Outrage trails Kano bomb explosions CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5
visible number of uncountable security check-points mounted all through Northern Nigeria. “As it is becoming more and more glaring to the right thinking person, there is a grand design to push the entire North into deeper crises and by extension the Nigerian federation.” The pan Yoruba sociocultural organisation, Afenifere, called for a tougher stand in order to curb the sporadic insurgency. The group in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, regretted that the brutal killings of innocent citizens by the dreaded group and the parade of 42 suspected members of the sect nabbed in Lagos with warning from the Directorate of State Security, DSS, that deadlier attacks are on the way is a signal to the government that it cannot afford to handle the issue with kid’s glove. It said that it appeared
that the government was being lured into some false sense of security so the sect could re-strategise for more devastating attacks. Afenifere, therefore, called for the disbandment of the Turaki Committee with immediate effect, saying it had outlived its usefulness. It also called for a probe of the chairman of the panel to ascertain where his hoax ceasefire came from. “It must be clear to the government by now that what is required at this point is to strengthen the military and allied forces in hunting down these elements by spreading the dragnets nationwide given new maps being drawn by their activities,” the group said. Afenifere urged the Federal Government to “take all constitutional measures necessary to maintain law and order in any new corridor that the sect may be opening while intensifying the on-going military action in the states under
emergency. Evil must be confronted not appeased.” Meanwhile, authorities of the Nigerian Army and the Kano State Police Command yesterday confirmed the death of 12 persons in Monday’s terrorist attack on Sabon Gari, a vastly nonindigenous community of the state with arms cache. This figure, however, contradicts the situation at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, where officials told National Mirror yesterday that 24 corpses were deposited in the mortuary, comprising 20 men and four women. Apart from this, corpses from the Sabon Gari attack were equally deposited at the mortuary of the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital and the stateowned Nasarawa Hospital where many of the injured victims were admitted. Also, a senior police officer attached to Sabon Gari Division, who did not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent that 19 corpses were evacuated
from the streets of Kano and deposited in the mortuaries on the night of the attack. Of this number, six were killed when the terrorists hit the ever-busy Enugu Road, while 13 bodies were discovered on New Road where a Pentecostal church was hit with bomb. In what looks like a harmonised information between the police and the Army authorities apparently to downplay the impact of the attack, the security agencies in separate statements put the death toll at 12. Police statement on the incident by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Magaji Majiya, reads: “Multiple explosions at Enugu Road by Igbo Road and New Road at about 21:00hrs, the incident occurred at Tarven Mary Cool Spot and Zuma Cool Spot respectively as result 12 persons were killed on the spot, 12 injured while 19 vehicles parked at the scenes of the attack were damaged.
body is above the law. The airport manager assaulted the revenue board officials. He also assaulted a cameraman. “I am obliged to pay my tax and I am liable if I don’t pay. The fact of being a governor does not preclude me from paying my tax.” Oshiomhole also accused the police of unfair treatment in the matter, saying that the Inspector-General of Police ordered the state commissioner of police to arrest the Chairman of Edo State Board of Internal Revenue, Chief Oseni Elamah, over the disagreement. He wondered why the police would arrest a law abiding citizen in place of another who commits a criminal offence of not paying his tax and not remitting the duly paid taxes of others. Efforts to get the reaction of the Airport Manager, Mr. Sunday Ayodele, were not successful as he refused to pick calls to his mobile telephone. However, FAAN said it was the Edo State Government that “forcefully entered the premises of the Benin Airport and shut out all workers and airport users at the airport, including air passengers and airline operators, claiming that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria had not paid relevant taxes, including tenement rate, to the state government.” In a statement yesterday, FAAN’s General manger, Public Affairs, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the action was “in contravention of the laws setting up the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, operators of the airport. “Sub-section 25, Section IV of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Cap. F5) of 2004, establishing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria states clearly that ‘The Authority shall be exempted from the payment of taxes and tenement rates and any arrears whatsoever in connection thereto.’ He described the action of the Edo State Government as “not only unlawful but provocative” because it is a well known fact that all airport lands are acquired by the Federal Government and are exempted from paying charges to the States where they are lo-
cated. “The unlawful closure of the airport by the state government and the invasion of the airport’s restricted area by unauthorised individuals is a security breach which no responsible government should be seen to be encouraging, especially in view of the present security situation in the country. “We wish to assure all passengers, airline operators and other airport users that the authority is taking urgent steps to ensure that the airport is re-opened for normal flight operations immediately, even as we regret any inconvenience caused them by this unannounced and unlawful closure of the airport,” the statement added. The General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Abdulkareem Motajo, said that by the Act setting up the agency, FAAN was not liable to pay any tax to any state government. He, however, said that what brought about the closure of the airport wouldn’t have started today, saying that correspondences would have exchanged hands between the two parties. He said: “I want to believe there were some correspondences between FAAN and Edo State Government and at such instance, one would have expected that the issue would have been resolved amicably or legally one side should have taken the case to the court of competent jurisdiction so that the issue is adjudicated upon and the party is told to do what is right. “Now, to have gotten to this level of government closing down the airport, inconveniencing passengers, I think it is totally wrong, but I don’t want to blame the either side. However, we are not privy to what has happened to the two sides before today.” It will be recalled that about two months ago, a private helicopter flying the governor to Awka, the Anambra State capital, was recalled midair by the FAAN authorities who alleged that Oshiomhole’s pilot did not file the necessary flight details before taking-off. The governor later abandoned the trip after being delayed for about two hours.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Community Mirror Suspects remanded for robbery, attempted murder
“I am not asking you to tell lies about my government, rather be truthful and factual in all that my administration stands for. ” OGUN STATE GOVERNOR; SENATOR IBIKUNLE AMOSUN
he Police at Bode Thomas Division have arrested a woman in Surulere area of Lagos State for allegedly setting her 11-year-old maid ablaze, for stealing a piece of meat from the soup pot. The maid identified as Ita Bassey-Eno who reportedly escaped death by the whiskers, is currently at the Burns and Trauma Centre of the Gbadaga General Hospital, where doctors are battling to save her life. Although, a nurse at an undisclosed hospital in Surulere , Mrs Nkese Iroakazi, reportedly denied
Woman set maid ablaze for stealing meat
the allegation at the police station, the ailing girl was said to have stated that her madam poured kerosine on her and struck a match. The incident occurred at No. 7 Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, after Ita rushed out of the apartment, apparently in an attempt to douse the fire in a nearby gutter. Unfortunately, she collapsed before she could reach the gutter. One of the residents was said to have put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, before Ita Bassey was rushed to the hospital. A resident who simply identified herself as Morakiyo told Com-
munity Mirror that: “I was alighting from the bus when I saw people gathered in front of the building. When I got there, Ita was on the floor, as the flame had been put out. “Two men who attempted to carry her into a car could not because her skin had peeled off. They had to place her on a slab before she was rushed to the hospital. “From what I gathered, the girl is barely one month old in Lagos. She was brought from her village in Akwa-Ibom alongside another girl called Happiness. Since then, none had seen them going to school.
“We heard that while Happiness was in the sitting room, there was a shrill cry from Ita and before the former knew what was happening, Ita rushed out of the kitchen to the road shouting for help. How could someone who has children of her own treat another’s like this? It was even the residents that alerted the police who then arrested Mrs Iroakazi”, Morakiyo said. A doctor who works at the hospital where Ita is currently receiving treatment but pleaded anonymity told Community Mirror that the victim’s condition is critical, saying she suffered 95 degree burns.
“It will take a miracle for her to survive. In any case, we are trying all we can to ensure she gets back on her feet and it will entail some surgeries because her private part is badly damaged. Presently she wears pampers”. Ita was seen with bandages all over her body, except the face and feet. When a nurse approached her to administer treatment, she groaned in excruciating pains. Police sources said the suspect would be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba for further investigations.
Youth leaders accused of diverting cement EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA
Workers at a food canteen in Ojuelegba, Lagos, preparing Amala.
PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI
Why houses with openly spread clothes will be sealed –Commissioner MURITALA AYINLA
agos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello has said the sealing of houses where clothes and other personal effects are openly spread remains the solution to curb environmental nuisance. This was even as reactions have continued to trail government’s policy to seal up such houses, especially those along major highways and roads. Many residents flayed the government’s move, saying that landlords should, be ordered to provide places for such in their houses. Mr. Bello, bemoaned the indis-
criminate display of clothes on balconies, fences and house fronts, saying in spite of several warnings to desist from such acts, more houses still have clothes openly hung on their frontage. The commissioner said, hence all the environmental law enforcement agencies particularly, Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, will remove such clothing and seal the houses where they are displayed. He also urged the residents to create spaces in their homes to spread their clothes rather than doing so in places not friendly to the environment. The commissioner said that major roads and bridges were not the
right places for the spreading of clothes, adding that LAWMA and other waste collectors had been mandated to confiscate such as refuse. But speaking with Community Mirror, some residents who flayed the new policy, said they resort to openly spreading their clothes because some landlords did not provide places to do so. According to Mrs. Iboronke Anibaba who lives at Apongbon, on Lagos Island, she and neighbours could only spread their clothes on their balconies, even though their house is located close to Apongbon Bridge. She said:” Everyone knows how clumsy houses on Lagos Island are,
where do we hang our clothing if not in front of houses? There is no space except on our balconies. We don’t even have a backyard, let alone parking space for our vehicles. “ Another resident, Mrs. Bukola Jeje, said the policy cannot stand the test of time, if the landlords are not ordered to provide alternative places for the tenants to spread their laundries. “The question is where we spread our clothes and wares, in our rooms or kitchens? Of course, it defaces the buildings itself but do we have options when houses are built? The buildings are so close to each other that we only find a place to put our heads at night.
he Chairman of Bayelsa State Post Flood Management Committee, Chief Francis Doukpola has alleged that five youth leaders have been arrested for diversion of cement to their respective communities. Doukpola said, the bags of cement supplied by the committee was meant to alleviate the effect of last year’s flood in Ogbia,Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas of the state. The chairman, who spoke at an interactive session with journalists, said his committee was still investigating the alleged involvement of the suspects. The state government had disbursed N500m to the Committee to tackle post flood management in more than 400 communities.,even as the committee claimed that the fund will not be sufficient for the work. He went on:”Out of the 130,000 bags of cement supplied to the over 400 communities affected by flood, those apprehended were discovered to have diverted them for other use. This is against the spirit of the flood management efforts in the state.” The chairman said the committee was currently conducting a study on the proper method of drainage management in the state capital,Yenagoa. According to him, more than 13 water channels have been identified and a flood gate was being proposed to regulate the inflow of water into the Epie Creek in Yenagoa.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Suspects remanded for robbery, attempted murder OJO OYEWAMIDE AKURE
Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital has ordered three men to be remanded in prison for robbery and attempted murder. The three, Mohammed Onifeni, 35, Ibrahim Abdulrahma, 30, and Jimoh Abdlmaliq, 30, were charged for robbing their vic-
tims of cash and valuable items. The prosecution alleged the accused on March 5, 2013, robbed Mr. Dayo and Mrs Olateju Olatigbe of N25, 000, a car, two suits and phones while armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons. They were said to have attempted to murder the couple while armed with guns and dangerous weapons at No 28 Uka Street, Owo.
The accused were also alleged to have robbed another couple, Dr. Charles and Mrs. Bukola Omolase of their car, two HP Laptops, Jewelleries, a DSTV decoder, a DVD players, two Blackberry phones, a Nokia phone and N13 ,000, while armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons. The prosecution also alleged that the accused robbed and attempted to murder Mr. Orobuto
and Ronke Taiwo of a car, Home theatre, two laptops, four phones, two digital cameras, one video camera, clothes, a pair of sandals and N65, 000. According to the prosecution,the offence contravened section (1) (2) (a & b) of the Robbery and Fire Arms (Special provision ) Act, Cap R11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; section 320 of the criminal Code, Cap 31, Vol. 1, Laws
of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006, and section 6 (B) of the Robbery and Firearms (special provision ) Act, Cap R11, Laws of the Federation of Nigerian, 2004. The police prosecutor, Ayodele Atandeyi, asked for adjournment to enable him effect the arrest of one Fatima Yakub who allegedly received the stolen goods. He also said he would need to duplicate the case file and forward it to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice. The Magistrate, Mrs. Charity Adeyanju, ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody pending when the duplicated case file is sent to the Ministry of Justice for legal advice. The Magistrate, who adjourned the case till August 29, 2013, also ordered the arrest of Fatima Yakub, while she discharged one Usman Abdulrahman because there was no evidence against him relating to the robbery allegation.
Katsina gets 3,000 boreholes JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA
Scene of an accident that occurred under the Flyover Bridge of Zone 4 in Abuja at the weekend
Classified advert space for sale
T PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA
he Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema has said his administration has drilled 3,000 boreholes across the state to provide potable water to the people. Shema stated this at the inauguration of a five-day hand pump maintenance training organised by Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA, in collaboration with the state Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, RUWASSA. The governor, represented by the Chief of Staff, Salisu Majigiri, said the government attaches priority to the provision of safe drinking water because of its importance in ensuring cleanliness and healthy living. He said the government had fulfilled its obligations with development partners and other stakeholders, assuring that no efforts will be spared in making water available to all and sundry.â€? Earlier, the Executive Director of RUWASSA, Mamman Gege said, the training was part of collaborative efforts between the agency and JICA to provide 92 hand pump boreholes in five local government areas of the state.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Ramadan 22nd, 1434 AH
Stop life pension for public officers –MURIC AISHA TITILAYO
igerian leaders have been asked to stop the habit of wasting public fund and shelve the proposed life pension for public officers or face the wrath of the masses. The Muslim Right Concern (MURIC) gave the warning yesterday following the recently approved proposal which put the President of Senate and his deputy, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy as well as all past Presidents and Speakers on life pension. The beneficiaries of this largesse allegedly include the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his vice as well as all past holders of those two exalted offices. In a press release signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, MURIC inquired how anyone would justify the arrogation of such stu-
pendous luxury to so few when more than 80% of the Nigerian population are living below poverty level, with an average Nigerian living on less than $1 per day and Nigeria’s per capita income less than $300? “MURIC rejected the proposal which it describes as horrendous, preposterous and gluttonous.” MURIC revealed that the proposal is coming at a time when the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Okonjo Iweala, is warning that the Federal Government may no longer be able to pay salaries as from October 2013. “The approval by the honourable members in the Upper and Lower Houses is, to say the least, callous, self-serving and insensitive. This development further cements the hypothesis that 1% of the Nigerian population is consuming 85% of the wealth of this nation leaving just 15% for the vast majority
of 99% of the population. It is a clear demonstration of man’s inhumanity to man. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. How can the National Assembly do this when it refuses to approve a token sum of N20, 000.00 as monthly relief package for unemployed graduates? How can the NASS do this when N18, 000.00 minimum wage has not been approved or paid to most workers in the country?” The yearly budgetary allocation to education has always been between 3% and 13%, falling criminally short of the 20% recommended by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The consequence of this is the quality of education which continues on a downward slide, which also accounts for why lecturers are on strike yet the Federal Government is dillydally-
Officials of Golden Penny Nigeria Limited and the Coordinators of Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation, Ajeromi/Ifelodun Local Government, Alhaji AbdulRahman Muhammadul-Awwal (2nd right) and AbdulJelil Bakare (right), at an Iftar Saaim (Feeding of fasting Muslims) programme supported by Golden Penny Nigeria Ltd.
Observe night prayer at home- Nyako
ov. Murtala Nyako of Adamawa has urged the Muslim community in Adamawa to observe the Ramadan Tahajjud (night) special prayer at home in view of the curfew in the state. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the curfew imposed by the army due to the declaration of state of emergency on the state in May starts from 11p.m. to 5a.m. The governor made the call in a statement issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs,
Malam Ahmad Sajoh in Yola yesterday. “All lawful guidelines relating to the curfew should be obeyed.” Similarly, authorities of the 23 Armoured Brigade, Yola, advised Muslims in the state to observe the night prayer at home for security reasons. A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the brigade, Lt. Ja’afaru Nuhu, reminded the public that the state was still under state of emergency and the 11p.m. to 5a.m. curfew still in force.
ing on an agreement it freely entered into with ASUU four years back. “How can we trust a government that reneges on its pledges, a government to whom 16 is higher than 19 and 5 superior to 22? Worst still, how can we now trust any pledge in the 2015-related manifesto?” MURIC therefore challenged the Federal Government to react to rumours making the rounds about our earnings from oil. “Is it true that Nigeria produces 2.4 million barrels of crude oil per day? Is it true that we make $244 million daily after selling each barrel at $93.61? Is it also true that Nigeria is expecting about $81 billion as total earnings from oil alone this year 2013? How much is $81 billion if we convert it to Nigeria’s currency? If the answer is N12.8 trillion why do we still have problems in this country when the total budget for this year 2013 is just N4.9 trillion? Shouldn’t we be having excess funds? Where is the rest? Government owes us an explanation.” Moving further, MURIC asked “Why is Nigeria the 20th poorest country in spite of the abundance of natural resources? Why are we the 26th hungriest nation in the world? Why can’t we enjoy constant power? Why are our hospitals at best glorified clinics and our roads playgrounds frequented only by suicide drivers?”
Council earmarks N8.6m as Ramadan gifts
he Dandi Local Government Area in Kebbi State has earmarked N8.6 million for the provision of foodstuffs and clothing materials to needy Muslims. Alhaji Yakubu Umaru, the chairman of the council, made the disclosure yesterday in Kamba in Dandi Local Government area. He said the items, which include rice and textile materials, would be presented to the less-privileged in the area as part of efforts to assist them to complete the Ramadan fast.
Similarly, the Bagudo Local Government area has also provided relief materials to more than 20,000 residents living with disabilities, as Ramadan gifts. The chairman of the council, Alhaji Mohammed Samaila, told newsmen that the gesture was aimed at alleviating the suffering of the beneficiaries. Samaila said the Council Zakkat Committee would also donate relief materials to the needy. He urged Muslims to give out parts of their wealth in line with Islamic injunctions for distribution to the poor through the committee.
Kano residents condemn blast
ano residents on yesterday condemned the bomb blast that occurred Monday evening, saying it was in-human and a means of distraction from concentration to worship. Some of the respondents cursed the act, praying God to reveal the hideouts of the perpetrators. A resident of Sabongari area of the state, Mrs Benedicta Ade, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the incident came to them as a shock.
She condemned the act, saying it was a means to upset the peace of the area which had been restored and maintained during the past months. Malam Sabo Halilu, an Islamic scholar at Fagge ward in the metropolis, also condemned the act, describing it as against any religion. “No religion allows this kind of act, this is pure terrorism, so we will use the holy month to pray for God to expose whoever is engaged in doing these,” he said.
Cleric calls for peaceful co-existence
heikh Nura Khalid, the Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters Mosque, has urged Nigerians to live in peace and harmony wherever they found themselves. Khalid, who gave the advice in Abuja yesterday, said we were all one irrespective of your sociopolitical, religious and economic background. “We should not allow few people, who are not re-
sponsible and respectful to destroy our nation in the name of religion or whatsoever reason. He urged all Muslims in the country to use this period to devote their time to the worship of the almighty Allah and emulate the virtues of the holy Prophet. According to him, security is a collective responsibility and should not be left in the hands of the government alone.
Don urges scholars to correct misconceptions about Islam
r. Abdur-Rahman Olayiwola, the Head of Political Science Department, Lagos State University, Ojo, has called on Muslim scholars to mobilise available resources to correct misconceptions about Islam. Olayiwola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ibadan that there was need for the ap-
plication of Islamic teachings to promote citizen’s welfare. “Islam is a religion and a complete way of life which encourages the practice of democracy in all its ramifications. He urged Muslims to participate actively in politics and governance, saying they must demonstrate piety and fear of God in the performance of their duties.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Wednesday July 31, 2013
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Israel, Palestinians seek peace deal within nine months
“We should be looking for other avenues of progress, other ‘grand bargains’ that can be for middle class job growth”
–WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIST, GENE SPERLING
Mugabe vows to step down if defeated PAUL ARHEWE,
WITH AGENCY REPORTS
imbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has said he will quit after 33 years in power if he loses in today’s election. “If you lose you must surrender,” the Zanu-PF party leader said. His remarks came as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party accused Zanu-PF of doctoring the voters’ roll. Zanu-PF denied the accusation, saying it was the responsibility of the electoral commission, which released the roll only on the eve of polls. The BBC’s reporter in the capital, Harare, has seen the document and said it features the names of thousands of dead people. Some names also appear twice or three times with variations to their ID numbers or home address. Mugabe will be facing Tsvangirai in the presidential ballot. Meanwhile, heavily armed riot police were deployed in potential election flashpoints in Zimbabwe on the eve of the election. State radio said thousands of
...As Zimbabwe holds presidential poll today
officers had been sent to the central Midlands province yesterday, while trucks of police carrying automatic rifles and grenade launchers patrolled in the restive Harare townships of Highfield and Mbare. The run-down districts of the capital are hotbeds of support for Tsvangirai and were at the centre of several weeks of
post-election violence in 2008, in which 200 people linked to his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were killed. This year’s presidential and parliamentary elections have been marked by allegations of threats and intimidation by security forces, but there have been no reports of violence. About 6.4 million people are
eligible to cast their ballots in the first round of presidential and parliamentary elections. With no reliable opinion polls, it is hard to tell whether 61-year-old Tsvangirai will succeed in his third attempt to unseat his 89-year-old rival, who has run the southern African nation since independence from Britain in 1980.
Kenya jails nine Somali pirates for attacking German ship ‘Mandela’s health
Kenyan court in the coastal city of Mombasa sentenced nine Somalis yesterday to five years in prison each for attempting to hijack the German merchant vessel MV Courier in the Gulf of Aden in March 2009. The men were arrested by international anti-piracy forces before being handed over to Kenya to be prosecuted, as Somalia was not considered able to try them properly. Although the number of at-
tacks has fallen markedly since 2011 thanks to tougher security aboard ships and increased Western naval patrols, piracy emanating from the Horn of Africa nation may still cost the world economy about $18 billion a year, the World Bank said in April. Prosecutors told the court the men attacked the ship armed with a rocket launcher, an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, a SAR80 carbine rifle, and other weapons. “The suspects used violence to
Suspected Somali pirates standing in the dock inside a courtroom in Kenya. PHOTO: REUTERS
hijack the vessel, and took control of it, putting in fear the lives of those aboard,” prosecutors said in the charge sheet. Kenyan officials said 18 crew on board survived the ordeal. The nine suspects were held in custody at one of Kenya’s maximum security prisons during the trial period. They all denied the accusations. While handing out the sentence, the court noted that the accused had already served a long term in jail while the trial was in progress, and therefore were given shorter jail terms. “I am satisfied with the evidence presented by the prosecution, which proves beyond reasonable doubt that an act of piracy was committed,” judge Stephen Riech said. Riech ordered the nine to be deported to Somalia after serving their sentences. Last month another nine Somalis were handed a similar sentence at the same court, after also being found guilty of hijacking a ship in the Gulf of Aden in 2010.
continues to improve’
outh Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela, who has been in hospital since 8 June with a recurring lung infection, “continues to show improvement”, a government statement said yesterday. But the 95-year-old remains in a critical if stable condition, it said. President Jacob Zuma urged people to continue to pray for him and thanked those who did good works in his name. The country’s first democratically elected leader, Mr Mandela is considered the father of the nation. He spent 27 years in prison after taking up arms to fight against the apartheid regime. Known by his clan name Madiba, he became South Africa’s president in 1994 after white minority rule ended and stepped down five years later. In his statement, Zuma called on those in the business community to support a project by one of Mandela’s funds to build a children’s hospital.
Ousted Egyptian leader Morsi in good health –EU’s envoy EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said yesterday that Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi is “well”, but that she does not know where he is being held. Baroness Ashton said she had two hours of “frank, in-depth” discussions with Mr Morsi on Monday, without giving further details of the conversation. Morsi had access to news and followed developments, she added. She is the first foreign diplomat to meet Mr Morsi since he was detained after being overthrown on 3 July. Lady Ashton’s second visit to Egypt in 12 days comes after more than 70 Morsi supporters were killed in clashes with security forces on Saturday. She held talks with the interim leadership, including army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and representatives of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. The ousted leader’s allies said they were planning a major protest in Cairo on Tuesday, and the interim government has warned that any violation of the law will be dealt with “firmly”. Security officials also threatened to dismantle the main protest sit-in at a square near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the capital’s north-east, where Saturday’s deadly clashes erupted. Lady Ashton told the BBC that after a night journey involving a helicopter ride and other forms of transport, she met Morsi at a military facility. She said the deposed president was in “good health” and “good humour”. “He had been told about half an hour before I arrived that I was coming. He was, I think, pleased to see me,” she said. “He is there with two advisers. They are there together. It is a military place. The people around him do care for him. I looked at the facilities.” She described the talks as “friendly, open and very frank” but refused to elaborate further on their content.
Ex-prime minister Keita leads in Mali’s poll
Malian former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita holds a comfortable lead and could win an outright first round victory in a critical presidential election, the West African nation’s minister of territorial administration said yesterday. “After one third of votes counted, one candidate, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, has a wide margin compared with the other candidates,” Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly told journalists in the capital Bamako. “If maintained, (it means) there will not be a need for a second round,” Coulibaly told a news conference in Bamako.
World News WORLD BULLETIN
Veteran Pakistani politician elected president
Mamnoon Hussain, a veteran Pakistani politician and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s trusted ally, was elected president yesterday in a vote by legislators for the largely ceremonial post of head of state. Hussain, 73, will be sworn in on September 9 at the presidential palace due to be vacated by incumbent Asif Ali Zardari, who is stepping down at the end of his five-year term. Ousted in a bloodless coup in 1999, Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party swept back into power in a May vote that marked the first transition between civilian governments in a country ruled by the military for more than half its history. The new president was elected by an electoral college made up of members of the two houses of parliament and assemblies in Pakistan’s four provinces. Given its dominance in parliament, the PML-N was guaranteed a walkover even before the main opposition party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), announced it was boycotting the vote to protest against a change in the election schedule.
Spain’s train driver ‘on phone’ before crash
The train driver in last week’s crash in Spain was talking on the phone when it derailed, investigators said yesterday. The train was travelling at 153km/h (95mph) at the time, investigators at the Court of Justice of Galicia said. Francisco Jose Garzon Amo was speaking to members of staff at the state-owned railway company, Renfe, they added. Crash investigators had opened the train’s “black-box” data recorder to find the cause of the crash, which left 79 people dead. Moments before the accident the train was travelling at a speed of 192km/h (119mph), the court said in a statement. Investigators say the brakes were activated shortly before the crash. The speed limit on the sharp bend where the train derailed was set at 80km/h (49mph).
South Korean climbers found dead in Japan’s central Alps Three South Korean climbers who went missing on a Japanese mountain range have been found dead, BBC has resported. The three were part of a group of 20 who were climbing Japan’s central Alps. Several of them were reported missing on Monday. The three climbers were found on routes between the 2,931-metre (9,616 ft) Mt Hoken, and the 2,728-metre (8950 ft) Mt Hinokio yesterday, reports said. Most other climbers have been confirmed safe, but at least one remains missing. “We found three people early this morning. They were not breathing and their hearts had stopped beating,” a police officer told AFP news agency. Police said the three were still being taken down the mountain and would need to be examined by a medical examiner, AP news agency reported.
Wednesday July 31, 2013
srael and the Palestinians will seek to reach a peace agreement within nine months and negotiators will meet again within two weeks after holding a “positive” first round of talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday. Senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held their first talks this week since 2010, but focused largely on the framework for negotiations rather than the substance of their dispute. Speaking after the meetings, which included a session with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as well as direct talks between the two sides without U.S. officials present, Kerry said he believed peace was possible despite the obstacles. “I am pleased to report that in the conversations we have had last night and again today, we have had constructive and positive meetings,” he said, flanked by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat. “I know the path is difficult. There is no shortage of passionate skeptics. But with capable, respected negotiators ... I am convinced that we can
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Israel, Palestinians seek peace deal within nine months
L-R: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat , U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni shaking hands at a news conference at the end of talks at the State Department in Washington, yesterday. PHOTO: AP
get there,” he added. “All of the core issues, and all other issues, are all on the table for negotiation.” Kerry, who has prodded, coaxed and cajoled the two sides to resume negotiations in a flurry of visits to the Middle East during his less than six months in office, has urged Israelis and Palestinians to strike “reasonable compromises.”
The United States is seeking to broker an agreement on a “two-state solution,” in which Israel would exist peacefully alongside a new Palestinian state created in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands occupied by the Israelis since a 1967 war. The major issues to be resolved in the talks include borders, the future of Jewish
WikiLeaks: U.S. judge acquits Manning of aiding the enemy 250,000 State Department dip•Guilty of other charges lomatic cables and other docu-
nited States army Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy when he shared classified documents on U.S. military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan with WikiLeaks. He, however, was convicted of lesser charges, including espionage. Military judge Col. Denise Lind issued her verdict yesterday. She found Manning guilty of five espionage counts, five theft charges, a computer fraud charge, and other military infractions. The aiding the enemy charge was the most severe and carried the possibility of life in
prison. Manning, though, isn’t likely to avoid prison time. His sentence hearing will begin today, and the charges he was convicted of could mean decades behind bars. Prior to the verdict, dozens of Manning’s supporters gathered outside Fort Meade. Some of them wore “truth’’ T-shirts and waving signs in support of Manning, reported Al-Jazeera, reported he Arabic news site. Manning, 25, of Crescent, Okla., admitted to sending more than 470,000 battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq,
Manning being escorted by security officers from a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Monday. PHOTO: AP
ments to WikiLeaks, an international website notorious for publishing state secrets. The website’s organizers also have offered support for Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who shared classified documents that exposed the United States’ collection of millions of cellular phone call records and other intelligence activities. Manning’s supporters and defense team argue that he did not directly hand over documents to al-Qaida and other enemies of the nation. Manning says he sent the information to expose war crimes and deceit. Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. David J.R. Frakt, a visiting professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Associated Press that a conviction on the most serious charge, if upheld on appeal, “would essentially create a new way of aiding the enemy in a very indirect fashion, even an unintended fashion.” During the court martial hearing, prosecutors painted Manning as a traitor and said Al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden before he was killed in 2011, were able to view the documents WikiLeaks published.
settlements in the West Bank, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
Taliban free 248 in Pakistani jailbreak
aliban militants have freed 248 prisoners in an assault on a prison in north-west Pakistan, officials said. Militants armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and bombs blasted down the walls of the jail in the town of Dera Ismail Khan and streamed inside, reports said. A gun battle lasting several hours went on into the early hours of Tuesday. At least 13 died, including six police. Correspondents say it is a huge embarrassment for authorities. The attack was similar to an assault on a prison in nearby Bannu in April last year, in which almost 400 prisoners were freed. The Taliban assault comes on the day parliament is electing a new president. We will never know if the timing was deliberate, but it has hugely embarrassed the government, and once again highlighted the ability of the militants to strike at will. Suggestions the authorities had advance warning of the attack, but did not act on it, only make matters worse. No high-profile Taliban members were being held at the Dera prison, but at least 30 militants freed in the assault are described by the authorities as “hardened” Taliban fighters. The attack rekindles memories of a 2012 jailbreak in the nearby city of Bannu in which about 400 prisoners escaped, including Adnan Rashid, a radicalised former member of the military who recently wrote an open letter to child activist Malala Yousafzai explaining why she was attacked by the Taliban.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Terrorism: We don’t need GSM network yet –Borno INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI
he Borno State Government has said that it is not interested in the restoration of GSM network services in as much as it will distablise the relative peace being enjoyed by residents. The state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Zanna Umar Mustapha, spoke yesterday while receiving
members of the Senate Committee on Defence, Police, Army and National Security (SCDPANS) in Maiduguri, the state capital. Mustapha commended the committee, led by its chairman, Senator George Sekibo, for its concern on how to end the Boko Haram insurgency in the North. He said the committee had demonstrated a sense of nationalism by revisit-
ing the state to assess the security situation. The deputy governor said: “We, as the government and the people of Borno State, want to use this opportunity to thank the SCDPANS, the Joint Task Force (JTF) and members of the vigilance youth group popularly called Civilian JTF for their commitment to stamp out terrorism in the state. Your efforts are highly commendable as
we are witnessing tremendous improvement on the security challenges. “The 6:0am to 9:0pm curfew has been relaxed to 11pm and if restoration of GSM network will affect the relative peace we are enjoying, it is better we go to Adamawa or Yobe to make calls and come back to Maiduguri.” Mustapha, however, acknowledged some pockets of killings by suspected Boko Haram sect in Mai-
nok village, Biu and Kukawa council areas, but assured that the government would soon restore peace to all parts of the state. The deputy governor called on all to use the Ramadan fast to pray for the peace and unity of the state. Earlier, Senator Sekibo told the deputy governor that the team came to reassess the security situation, meet with relevant agencies and stakehold-
ers with a view to collectively review the challenges confronting the state. He said with what the team saw, the declaration for the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states had started yielding positive result. It will be recalled that telecommunication services were cut off the declaration of the state of emergency in the three states.
PDP chieftain tasks traditional rulers on crime fighting JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA
Representative of Plateau State Deputy Governor, Mr. Solomon Maren (left) and Commissioner for Water Resources, Mallam Idi Waziri, at a workshop on rural water supply and sanitation sector reform programme in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN
Dankwambo approves deposition of Pindiga Emir
DANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE
overnor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State has approved the deposition of Emir of Pindiga, Alhaji Adamu Haruna Yakubu, who was recently suspended for alleged misconduct. According to a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Abubakar Sule Bage, the deposition was in the public interest. The statement said Alhaji Ahmed Jauro, Galadiman Pindiga, has been directed to oversee the affairs of the Emirate pending the appointment of a new Emir. The governor also approved the dissolution of the Council of King makers of Pindiga Emirate and appointed a new council under the chairmanship of Alhaji Ahmed Jauro, the Galadiman Pindiga with six other members. The other members are
District Head of Kaltanga, Magajin Garin Pindiga; Turakin Pindiga, Gambo Garba, Gimba Marafa and the Chief Imam of Pindiga. The suspension statement issued earlier read: “Following the persistent complaints received from the people of Pindiga Emirate on the activities and conduct of Alhaji Adamu Haruna Yakubu, the Emir of Pindiga, the government has set up a committee to investigate the allegations raised against him”. Governor Dankwambo, however, said that his administration had been fighting poverty by providing friendly environment for the people to create wealth for themselves. Addressing journalists after inspecting vehicles purchased by his administration for onward distribution to members of the public under its wealth creation programme, the governor said wealth creation is not a function of idleness. He said that his admin-
istration had been creating wealth for the people through offering opportunities that will in turn bring food in their tables in the last two years. Dankwambo said: “What we have attempted or have started doing since we came was to see how opportunities can be created for our people so that they will solidly be in place to create wealth and to have opportunity to better their lives. “These vehicles will be used by the people of Gombe; they will own them in one form of financing
arrangement or the other, including the outright purchase from the government. “What government is doing in the area of transportation is to see how we can modestly improve the dignity in which people move around in town and also improve and enhance the living standard of the people. “When you have decent taxis and buses and other modes of transportation, people can move in a more dignified way and we will be more organised.”
raditional rulers in Katsina State have been called upon to be adequately involved in the fight against crime. A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Usman Alaliya, stated this in an interview with journalists, saying that traditional rulers were closer to the people, hence the need for their adequate involvement in the fight against crime. Alaliya said: “Involvement of traditional institutions in monitoring activities around them, including the influx of people to their respective domains, could help avert security challenges.” He said information dissemination and surveillance efforts should be made in such way as to incorporate community, religious, security and relevant government establishments for prompt response to suspicious movements. The PDP chieftain, however, recalled that colonial administrations as well as subsequent governments in the country made proper use of traditional institutions for peaceful
Kogi earmarks N2bn for SURE–P projects WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA
he Kogi State Government has earmarked N2 billion for the execution of projects under the Subsidy, Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). The state Deputy Governor, Yomi Awoniyi, stated this yesterday shortly
after the SURE-P Committee meeting held in Lokoja, the state capital. Awoniyi said the projects would provide jobs youths. He said that the Youth Advancement Programme, which is a component of the SURE-P, had so far employed 4,000 people across the state. He said N651 million had been released to the 21
local government areas of the state for the execution of projects. The deputy governor, who spoke through the committee’s spokesman, Mr. Ali Atabor, told journalists that the committee would soon begin an inspection of the 327 projects across the 21 local governments. He said: “The inspection to the projects by the
co-existence. Alaliya stressed the need for collaborative efforts between individuals and organisations in tackling security challenges confronting as many of the crimes perpetrated in the urban areas were usually planned outside the targeted areas. He called on security agencies to identify flash points for robust surveillance. Alaliya also asked the security agencies to be proactive by foiling planned attack on the people and public institutions. Advising youths to shun violence, the PDP chieftain called on parents to provide adequate moral training of their children. He also called on stakeholders to provide necessary skills and empowerment programmes that would enable youths become self-reliant.
PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur
Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of the State SURE-P is to ensure the judicious use of the 70 per cent of the funds already released to the councils.” The committee added that Governor Idris Wada had approved the renovation of some tertiary institutions as well as rehabilitation of general hospitals in the state.
Country with greatest risk to food supply
Vol. 03 No. 676
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Nigeria: 47 years after 1966 coups
n July 29th 1966, a group of junior army officers stormed the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan with a murderous mission to execute their Commander-in- Chief, the late Major General Johnson Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi. Gaining entry into the mansion, they went on rampage and assaulting everyone in sight. Not even the region’s governor and Ironsi’s host, Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi was spared the mindless bloodletting that eventually followed. Before then, on January 15th, 1966, five army majors led by Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu had staged a military coup that sacked the government of the late Prime Abubakar Tafawa Balewa with its bloody consequences. Incidentally, the later putsch was seen in some quarters as ethnically motivated with the intention of imposing a regional hegemony over the country. As a result
According to the Food Security Risk Index 2010, released by the risk analysis and rating firm Maplecroft, which evaluates the dangers to the supply of basic food staples for 163 countries, Afghanistan is the country at greatest risk to disruption of its food supplies.
lgerian referee, Haimoudi Djamel, was yesterday appointed by FIFA to officiate the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier between Ghana and Zambia on September 6 in Kumasi where needs a clear win to advance to the final round.
Okay Osuji (email@example.com) 08034729256 (sms only)
of the emotions and propaganda that followed in those dark days, proponents and opponents of both incidents drew a line in the sand. The ensuing riots and mob action of those desiring to re-impose the status quo posed mortal threats to lives and properties, especially of persons from the old Eastern Nigeria, thereby leading to their exodus from the northern parts of the country. The unabated mayhems led to a welter of events that was to put the country’s very existence on the line. Then out of the blues, came the intervention of then Ghana’s strongman, Lt. General Joseph Ankrah, who not only invited both Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon and Lt. Colonel Odimegwu Ojukwu, the main antagonists to his country, but also chaired a reconciliation meeting in far away Aburi. The aim of the meeting was to find an amicable solution to the festering crisis and way out of the impending storm. It was the inability to implement agreements reached at that Aburi Conference that led to a horrendous war of epic proportions, which lasted for 30 months and consumed more than a million lives. The resultant effect is that, 47 years after, the relationship between the country’s ethnic nationalities has continued to be defined by that war. Sadly, there is nothing to indicate that we have learnt any lessons or even accepted to live together as one people with a common destiny. Looking back now, one can safely hazard that the deaths of Tafawa Balewa and Aguiyi Ironsi were an exercise in futility, because those who profitted from the misadventures have not in any way demonstrated any sense
DEFINITELY, NIGERIA’S REDEMPTION WILL REMAIN A FARFETCHED DREAM UNTIL THE CITIZENS CONFER TO DETERMINE THE TYPE OF COUNTRY AND POLITICS THEY WANT of altruism in their actions. Rather, over the years, we have been treated to commentaries and fictions in all manner of media of how they performed mythical feats on the battle fields and even single handedly brought the civil war to an end. Even though the country survived an inglorious disintegration, it is still early in the day to claim that the litany of woes confronting it has ended. At the end of the civil war in 1970, the government of Yakubu Gowon declared a policy of “no victor, no vanquished”, probably with an abiding intention to put the massive agonies behind and build a new and committed amity among those who found themselves at the opposing ends. But it is doubtful whether the reconciliation was carried out with the utmost of good intentions or as a ploy to buy goodwill and consolidate authoritarian power. Records show that the undercurrents and ill will that preceded that civil war and were kept at bay in order to fight a common
cause resurfaced at the end of hostilities, as once comrades-in -arms turned overnight enemies. The number of coups and counter coups among military factions became a subject of legends. At a time, it became very easy for Nigerians to openly predicate the timing of a coup and it came to pass. We are yet to come out of such predicaments, given that the rivalry amongst them at the time not only poisoned the nation’s political space, it has left those now carrying the can little room for manouvre. It is doubtful whether the country is ready to put the lingering antagonisms brought about by events of 1966 behind it. The present political altercations are traceable to them. How? Because every action of those days was not with the intention of righting any wrongs done to anyone or groups, but to consolidate regional hegemony to the detriment of other contending parties. From the creation of the present number of states to exercise of leadership, one vaunting aim stood out: the concentrating of power in the hands of a few elite by designing a political architecture that permanently favours a section of the polity. The effect is that the country’s politics is permanently in ferment with those having a historical sense of entitlements feeling angry and desolate anytime they are out of the nation’s power loop. The inability of the country to face up to the challenges of leadership cannot be divorced from the stultifying stupor in which successive leaderships have plunged it. Definitely, Nigeria’s redemption will remain a farfetched dream until the citizens confer to determine the type of country and politics they want. The present reality has not served our collective purpose neither has it helped to build the country of our dream, 47 years after military Turks upstaged the applecart in search of ephemeral glory. In their quiet moments, those of them still around would now be wondering whether all their shenanigans were worth the blood and sweat.
W/Cup 2014: Djamel named for Ghana, Zambia cracker Reports from Zurich indicated that the 42-year old arbiter, who handled the final match at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa earlier in the year, is regarded as the right man for the cru-
cial encounter and will be assisted by compatriot Abdelhak Etchiali and Moroccan Achik Redoaune, while Algerian Mohamed Bichari will be the fourth official. Kenyan Nicholas Mu-
sonye, who is Secretary General of the Council for Central and East Africa Football Associations (CECAFA), has also been appointed Match Commissioner as Moroccan Mohamed Bahou will be
Referees Assessor. Djamel was the referee when Ghana beat Congo 3-1 in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, also played on November 6, 2011 at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi.
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