FG running short of cash, Okonjo-Iweala insists
Inflation rate drops to 8.4% in June, lowest in 5 years
TOLA AKINMUTIMI AND TORDUE SALEM
Vol. 3 N0. 666
he Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday
insisted that the Federal Government is experiencing shortfalls in funds required to implement the CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>
Jonathan wades into Tukur, Gana face-off No anointed candidates for NWC, says party chair
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Senate rejects single term, LG autonomy ...okays life pension for Senate President, Speaker, others
ASUP calls off 81-day old strike
ASUU rejects post-UTME test P.4
Al-Mustapha not Brig-Gen –Army
Three terrorists die in shootout with JTF P.52
National Youth Service Corps Batch ‘B’ members during their passing out parade in Jos, Plateau State, yesterday.
N150 GEORGE OJI AND TORDUE SALEM
he Senate yesterday rejected the proposed six-year single tenure for elected presidents and governors as the lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against it. The single tenure proposal was shut down with a vote of 86 to 14 and one abstinence. Interestingly, the Senate yesterday recorded the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Major marketers petition FG over N65.1bn fuel subsidy debt UDEME AKPAN AND CHIDI UGWU
ajor marketers of petroleum products have petitioned the Federal Government over the delay in the settlement of N65bn fuel subsidy debts. The marketers, including Mobil, Total, MRS, Forte Oil and Conoil, speaking under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, said that the delay in the settlement of their subsidy bills had affected their operations. They stressed that the delay had led them to a point where they could not import petroleum products anymore. In a letter sent yesterday to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iwela; the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke and Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley, MOMAN urged the Federal Government to clear the outstanding debt. The association also urged the government to respect the 45 days window for settlement of subsidy bills as agreed upon with the fuel importers. MOMAN Executive Secretary, Mr. Timothy Ola-
wore, who confirmed the development, stated that the letter was the second to be sent to the authorities on the matter. “There is a need to point out that it took a long time for the government to make previous payments. So far, only N9.4bn has been paid for 2013, a development which puts a lot of financial burden on our members. “The implication of the non-payment of our claims is that it is affecting our bottom line and this will lead to a reduction in petrol importation and eventually the downsizing of workers.” Olawore argued that the majors were not out to blackmail the government, noting that the banks were no longer willing to extend credit facilities to enable members import fuel. He said: “If the banks don’t give us the facility, and government is not paying us, what else can we do? Of course importation will stop because our ability to continue with the process has been weakened. “Also, interest charges have eaten deep into our meagre reserves, and there may be no other option than to start staff rationalisation.” But this could have a negative impact as available data showed that the majors are the second largest importers of petrol,
after the NNPC, while the independent marketers complement imports with whatever quantity they could bring in. The Federal Government had tightened procedures for subsidy payments after a legislative probe last year revealed widespread fraud in the system. “At the peak of the crisis, government promised to pay us as soon as the probes were over. But it took a long time before they started to pay, and this led to the accumulation,” Olawore added. Also, to check the galloping interest charges, government and the marketers agreed on a 45-day payment schedule from when the
claims were compiled to the point of payment. “But they (government) are not following the 45 days agreement. From January 2011, when the subsidy crisis started till early June, nothing was paid to us until we started making noise and they started paying from mid-June,” Olawore said. Ministry of Finance officials declined to comment on the development. Also, the PPPRA Executive Secretary could not be contacted as his line was not available; but a source in the agency stated that PPPRA was not the cause of the delay. He said: “We always ensure that we complete
our verification within the stipulated time. It is not our direct responsibility to pay fuel importers.” Investigations showed that the independent marketers had also complained about the inability of the government to settle their debts, which a source said was also huge. Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has urged the managements of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, and the PPPRA to sustain the steady supply of products. IPMAN has on its part assured that its members would ensure there is no
hitch in the products distribution and retailing chain to consumers in the hinterland in order to discourage artificial scarcity. National Secretary of the association, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, who said this in a statement yesterday Abuja maintained that, “the National executive Committee of IPMAN is working relentlessly with all its members to sustain the distribution and retailing chain”. Osatuyi noted that the intervention scheme of the PPMC products distribution through Coastal Private Depots Operation has created room for adequate supply of petroleum products.
L-R: Prime Minister of Mozambique, Mr. Alberto Maquina; President Goodluck Jonathan; Prime Minister of Ethiopia/AU Chairman, Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn and Chairperson, AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, during a breakfast meeting at the African Union Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Abuja yesterday.
Senate rejects single term, LG autonomy CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
highest number of attendance in recent times with 101 members present. For any of the new proposals in the draft constitutional bill to scale through, the constitution requires a two-thirds majority, which translates to 73, in a Senate that has 109 members. The upper chamber, in a historical fourth attempt to amend some sections of the 1999 Constitution, also voted against the proposal to make the local government council autonomous through the abolition of the joint states/local government account. It voted 59 in support and 38 against, with two abstinences to shoot down the proposal. The lawmakers, however, voted in support of financial autonomy for the state Houses of Assembly, the State Independent Na-
tional Electoral Commissions, SIECs, the state auditors- general and the state judiciaries by approving first line charges for them, whereby they derive their funds from the states’ consolidated revenue funds. However, the proposal to separate the office of the attorneys-general of the federation and those of the states from the minister and commissioners for justice respectively and accord financial autonomy to the attorneys-generals failed to scale through. This was also as the proposal to provide for a mayoral status for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, suffered a serious setback with the senators opposing the proposal with 57 yes votes to the 39 no votes, with two senators abstaining from voting. However, the Senate overwhelmingly okayed a
proposal for drafting an entirely new constitution. It also took a new step towards strengthening its legislative powers of ensuring timely passage of laws by passing the clause that makes bills sent to the president to become automatic law at the expiration of 30 days if the president does not assent to the bill or return it to the National Assembly. “Where the president neither signifies that he assents nor that he withholds assent, the bill shall at the expiration of 30 days become law,” the proposal stated. The Senate also resolved the lingering issue of whether or not president’s assent is required before a new constitution comes into effect. They voted against a presidential assent when the lawmakers had okayed the proposal.
“For the purpose of altering the provisions of this constitution, the assent of the president shall not be required.” The proposal to remove the National Youths Service Corps, Public Complaints Commission, National Security Agency Act and the Land Use Act from the constitution to enable their easy amendment failed as the lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against the recommendation. The proposal to legislate the marriageable age at 18 years failed to scale through. Former Zamfara State governor, Senator Ahmed Yerima, reminded his colleagues that such proposal goes against Islamic religion, which does not allow any age bar on marriage. After a heated protest by the former governor, Senate President David Mark
had to bend backwards to revisit the issue, leading to the senators now voting against the proposal after it had previously been approved. Attempt to rename the Nigerian Police Force to the Nigerian Police Service was frustrated with 63 senators supporting against 33 others who opposed the change. The proposal on the remuneration of past presiding officers of the National Assembly, including the Senate President and his deputy as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his deputy expectedly sailed through. The proposal, which scaled through with a yes vote of 86 to 13, with only one abstention states: “Any person who has held office as President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker
of the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.” On devolution of powers, the Senate approved the proposal for the contraction of the exclusive legislative list and expansion of the concurrent list by removing some items from the exclusive list and transferring same to the concurrent list. In addition to the existing items on the concurrent legislative list, the following items have been added to the list: arbitration, environment, healthcare, agriculture, public complaints, railways, road safety, stamp duties, wages, youths and pension. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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L-R: President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Alh. Ariyo Olushekun; Chairman, Annual National Workshop, CIS, Mr. Albert Okumagba, : Managing Director, Heritage Bank Limited, Mr. Ifie Sekibo and Executive Director, Heritage Bank Limited, Mary Akpobome, during the courtesy visit of the council members of CIS to Heritage Bank limited head office in Lagos, yesterday.
L-R: Deputy Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; Kenyan President, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice Chairman, UBA Plc, Ambassador Joe Keshi, during a luncheon organised by UBA Plc in honour of the Kenyan President in Abuja, on Monday
L-R: Special Adviser to the Osun State Governor on Culture and Tourism, Mr. Oladipo Soyode; Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun; his wife, Olori Adeola and Brand Category Manager, Grand Oak Limited, Mr. Abiodun Ayodeji, at a stakeholders’ forum and press briefing on the 2013 Osun Osogbo Festival in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI
L-R: President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr. John Alufohai; Chairman, Lagos Chapter, Mr. Olayemi Shonubi and Past President, Mr. Olusegun Ajanlekoko, at the 5th Annual Distinguished Lecture of the Lagos Chapter of the Institute in Lagos yesterday.
ASUP calls off strike
• ASUU rejects post-UTME test, says FG not serious about education EMMANUEL ONANI AND JAMES ABRAHAM
he Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, has suspended its over 81-day old strike. The decision of ASUP to suspend the strike was announced by its President, Mr Chibuzor Asomogba, at the end of the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja yesterday. “We have decided to suspend the strike from tomorrow, July 17,” he said. The strike commenced on April 26. The decision of ASUP was sequel to a meeting the executive members held last week, with the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai and the Senate and House of Representatives’ joint committees on education. The alleged failure of government to implement past agreements, full implementation of the Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure, CONTISS 15, as well as obvious disparity between degrees and higher national diplomas, were some
of the reasons it advanced to justify the strike. In a related development, Prof. Rufai has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to return to classes, in the interest of students and the country. This is even as she expressed optimism that the ongoing strike will soon be a thing of the past. “We are talking and we would continue to talk. We have the intervention of our distinguished Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Education, which we appreciate, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation was also there which we dearly appreciate. “So, we have started discussing and we would continue to discuss. But I believe that very soon we shall see an end to the strike. “We also have to seize this opportunity to plead with our colleagues in ASUU that whatever we can do to have our students back in session, the Federal Government is ready to do, so let them just call off the strike and let’s have our students back in
session, but of course we will continue to discuss,” she stated. But ASUU yesterday chided the government over the way and manner it is handling the ongoing strike, which began three weeks ago. The union also said it would reject the ongoing post UTME test for the 2013/2014 admission year, saying that the conduct of the test would undermine the strike and subsequently water down academic excellence and integrity since academic staff were not involved. University of Jos, ASUU Chairperson, Dr David Jangkam who addressed journalists expressed concern that government has refused to tell Nigerians why it has not fully implemented the 2009 agreement which it freely entered with the union, a development which he said portrays government as unserious with education in the country. He said: “It is curious that government has refused to tell Nigerians why it has not fully implemented the 2009 agreement with
ASUU on the principles of collective bargaining. We are aware that the Federal Government is not serious about education generally and in particular university education, precipitating the collapse of the education sub sector. “Meanwhile, their wards, kids and kins are in nursery, primary, secondary schools and universities outside the shores of this country, where huge public resources are siphoned by the officials of government for their upkeep in foreign lands. “Nigerian scholars are migrating to other African countries in their numbers, while Nigerian students pay $3 billion annually as tuition fees and other charges in other African universities. In spite of all these glaring statistics, the Federal Government has refused to implement the 2009 agreement which was aimed at addressing the phenomenal and monumental rot in the education sector in general and universities in particular. The union has vowed to resist these anti people policies at all cost.”
Reps summon Adoke over alleged Malabu scam
he House of Representatives yesterday summoned the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke to explain his alleged clearance in the sale of an oil bloc, OPL 245 deal to Malabu Oil. The Minister was alleged to have written a letter to an anti corruption group, Global Witness in the United Kingdom, saying that he was cleared by the House investigative panel on the controversial oil bloc, which is yet to be debated. His summons followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by the minority whip, Hon. Samson Osagie, who said the privilege of the entire House had been breached by the letter. Ruling on the motion, the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said: “This matter was brought to my attention earlier by Hon. Samson Osagie and I asked him to go and compare note with the deputy leader (Leo Ogor), who is the chairman of the com-
mittee and they came to a near conclusion that the attorney general must be referring to our own report which has not been debated.” In the said letter entitled: “Re: Matters arising from the sale of OPL 245 oil concession: Request for immediate action to recover the $215million of assets being disputed by EVP and Malabu and that are currently frozen in the UK high court”, the AGF claimed that the House of Representatives’ probe committee was satisfied with the transaction and there was no infraction on the constitution or any other Nigerian law. Part of the letter read: “In view of the foregoing, I wish to reiterate that the settlement relating to OPL 245 did not breach the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and/or any extant law. The transaction was completely transparent and received the approval of relevant authorities and persons.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Senate rejects single term, LG autonomy
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
However, the proposal to remove aviation and prison from the exclusive list and transfer same to concurrent list failed. The Senate also voted in support of the proposal that every pre-election matter must be filed not later than seven days from the date of occurrence of the event and that every court adjudicating on such matters must deliver judgement in writing within 180 days from the date of filing of the suit.
It also okayed the proposal that an appeal from a decision in a pre-election matter shall be filed within 14 days from the date of delivery of the judgement, appealed against while such appeal must be heard and disposed of within 60 days from the date of the filing the appeal. Mark thanked the senators for what he described as the historic decisions they made through their votes and the efforts of the constitution review committee in
completing its assignment in good time and coming up with the very far-reaching recommendations. He said: “Today is a historic day in the history of democracy in this country. We have voted in what we believed in and we voted for those issues that we think will ensure that democracy continues to mature and take a firm root in this country. “I want to thank you because I believe that the committee worked very hard to
be able to get us where we are now. “Whatever emotions or sentiments people had to express we put them in practical terms.” In a related development, the House of Representatives yesterday suspended consideration of its report on the review of 1999 Constitution. The suspension was due to indecision on a method to adopt and complaints by over 20 lawmakers that they were yet to be served
Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayatu Rufa’i (left) with the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, at a workshop for Nigerian universities on the establishment of Africa Centres of Excellence Project in Abuja yesterday.
copies of the document. The lawmakers shelved the adoption of the report after the Chairman of the ad hoc Committee on the Review of the Constitution and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, made a 40-minute delivery of an overview of the proposed amendments. Earlier, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, had ruled that debates on the report would not be allowed, except comments, reactions and observations on clauses. Barely a few minutes into consideration of the report, Hon. Razaq BelloOsagie (ACN-Edo), noted that members might not be able to contribute meaningfully as some of them were yet to have copies of the report. Hon. Bitrus Kaze (PDP-Plateau) had raised another observation on the procedures adopted for the consideration, saying members ought to be allocated time to debate and make contributions. Tambuwal, however, ruled him out of order, insisting that the report
had gone beyond the debating stage. The House was confused as to whether to return to the tested procedure of consideration of bills or follow through on its adopted methodology of allowing the vote of Nigerians across Nigeria as contained in the report stand. But when the atmosphere was getting too charged, the Speaker, who chaired the Committee of the whole, announced the deferment of the consideration of the report. He said: “At the commencement of this process, Hon. Bello-Osagie drew our attention to the fact that some of us do not get copies of the report, and most of those that got, it was this morning. The consideration of the report is hereby deferred till tomorrow (today).” The House Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution had two weeks ago presented its report before the House, proposing the stripping of immunity for the President and other executives and sundry proposals.
FG running short of cash, Okonjo-Iweala insists CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
2013 budget. Okonjo-Iweala also stated that an amendment to the 2013 Appropriation Act is necessary even as she disclosed that the capital component of the budget has been implemented by 67 per cent. This means that about N670bn has already been spent. The minister spoke before the House of Representatives’ Committees on Appropriation, Finance and Legislative Compliance where she debunked allegations that the Executive had jettisoned the budget as passed and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan in the first quarter of this year. She also sought the legislators’ approval to divert the fund accrued to the illegal Excess Crude Account, ECA, which is deemed illegal, to a Stabilisation Fund embedded in the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF. Okonjo-Iweala, who fielded a barrage of questions on the economy in general and the 2013 budget in particular, insisted that the executive was seeking
an amendment and not a supplementary budget. There has been a lingering disagreement between the National Assembly and the Presidency over some proposed amendments to the 2013 budget. While the National Assembly is asking the President to send a supplementary bill to cover fresh requests, the executive is sticking to its position that it wants an amendment. She explained that shortfall in budgetary funds was due to oil theft and vandalism of oil and gas installations leading to the loss of about 400,000 barrels of oil per day amounting to N160m. “What we are asking for very clearly is an amendment. We cannot ask for supplementary budget when we are having revenue shortfall, when we don’t even have the revenue base to spend more,” Okonjo-Iweala insisted. She said there is shortfall in oil revenue as a result of ‘quantity shock’ and oil theft as well as drop in revenue from Customs duties, which had constituted a challenge to the implementation of the budget.
Okonjo-Iweala explained that in spite of this challenge, the implementation of the budget was moving on smoothly with N600bn capital component released in the first and second quarters and with cash backing of N585bn. She said the implementation of the capital budget stands at 67 per cent so far. The minister, however, said the economy was performing well with the external reserves at $47bn, SWF standing at $1bn and the ECA balance at $5bn. The minister also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Finance, on the directive of President Jonathan, has opened a special account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for constituency projects. She said N50bn has so far been deposited into the account. She explained that the Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, has been assigned to oversee the implementation of all constituency projects in the country and will henceforth certify all contracts. Okonjo-Iweala said that all monies appropriated for constituency projects
would be warehoused in the account pending the preparedness of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to execute the projects. She said the President has directed that constituency projects be given priority attention. Meanwhile, the nation’s Composite Price Index, CPI, which measures the average change in price level, ebbed further to 8.4 per cent in June; its lowest rate in five years as general price levels rose much slower than in the previous month. The headline inflation rate was 0.6 percentage points lower than the nine per cent rate recorded in May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, which released the latest figures in Abuja yesterday. The NBS attributed the decline in the headline index to the slower rises in all Classifications of Individual Consumption According to Purpose, COICOP, classes, which resulted in the muted rise of the core sub-index as well. However, the NBS noted that the slower rises contrast-
ed with changes in the Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages Class prices, which increased at a faster rate compared to May, as the country is deep into the planting season. This, the Bureau reported, caused food supplies to remain tight as inventories decline, creating upward pressure on prices. The NBS stated that on a month-on basis, increases in price levels in the headline index moved roughly at the same pace in June as in the preceding month, leading to the composite CPI increasing by 0.59 per cent in June compared with 0.67 per cent in May. Similarly, the Urban CPI was recorded at 145.5 points in the month under review, revealing an 8.4 per cent year-on-year change. This was a percentage point lower than the 9.4 per cent recorded in the preceding month just as the corresponding Rural National CPI recorded an 8.3 per cent yearon-year change, lower from the 8.6 per cent recorded in May by 0.3 percentage points. According to the NBS, “On a month-on-month basis, the Urban All-item in-
dex picked up slightly from the previous month’s rate of change by increasing by 0.7 per cent (compared to the 0.6 per cent recorded in May), while the Rural All Items index increased by roughly the same rate as in May; 0.5 per cent. “The percentage change in the average Composite CPI for the 12-month period ending in June 2013 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period was recorded at 10.4 per cent. The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the Urban index was 12 per cent, while the corresponding Rural index was 9.2 per cent,” it added. A further analysis of the Composite Food Index showed that in the month under review, the Composite Food Index increased yearon-year by 9.6 per cent to 147.5 points in June, indicating 0.3 percentage points higher than the 9.3 per cent recorded in the preceding month. On a month-on basis, the Bureau reported that the food sub-index increased by 0.7 per cent between May and June.
PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA
he Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the commission had started scrutinising relevant documents and information submitted by the All Progressive Congress, APC, for registration. Jega said this while fielding questions from journalists at a one-day workshop organised by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, and Democratic Governance for Development Project, DGD, in collaboration with InterParty Advisory Council, IPAC, on revalidation of reviewed code of conduct for political parties in
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
INEC’ll make decision on APC registration public soon –Jega
Minna. He also said that at the end of the exercise, the outcome would be made public to Nigerians. The INEC chairman explained that the current effort in reviewing the code of conduct was to make politics violence-free. He said: “INEC and all political parties in the country have accepted and validated the new document to serve as an instrument for governing the conducts of political parties’ activities in the country.” Jega noted that the main change adopted in the new code of conduct was the expansion of the
central working committee of IPAC from two to seven members, thereby giving opportunity for many parties to be represented. The INEC chairman said that contrary to 2011 election code of conduct where punishments were not stipulated for offences committed by any political party, the reviewed version spelt out what punishments to be given out for any erring party. He said: “Already, we have 20 out 25 political parties in the country present at this workshop that had signed the validation of the new code of conduct as a generally accepted
document for guiding political parties in 2015 general elections. And we are optimistic the remaining few will sign the document within the next one week.” In his address, the Secretary General of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Buba Galadima, explained that APC had submitted all that was needed to the electoral body two weeks ago. He then expressed hope that the new party would be registered by INEC as soon as it concluded work on all documents and information provided by the party as well as on the revised vision of the code of conduct.
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NICON, others partner NURTW on motor insurance cover
ICON Insurance Limited, the flagship of insurance companies in the country, has entered into partnership agreement with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, to provide third party motor insurance cover for all the vehicles owned or operated by its members nation-wide. NICON will provide the cover in conjunction with five other insurance companies. The cover, tagged: “Group Third Party Motor Insurance Scheme,” is in compliance with Insurance Act 2003 which makes it compulsory for owners or operators of motor vehicles in the country to insure against third party liabilities. Section 68 (1) of the Insurance Act 2003 states that, “no person shall use or permit any other person to use a motor vehicle on a road unless a liability which he may thereby incur in respect of damage to the property of the third parties is insured with an insurer registered under this Act”. Sub-section 4 of the Act
states that, “a person who contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N250,000 or imprisonment for one year or both”. The President of NURTW, Alhaji Najeem Usman Yasin, said at the flag-off of the scheme in Kaduna recently that the cover would help in ensuring that all members of union would be on the side of the law and in case of any event giving rise to a liability against a third party, the scheme would take care of the situation. The Regional General Manager (South-West) of NICON Insurance Limited, Mr. Sunny Beyioku, who represented the company at the ceremony, said NICON was determined to take insurance cover to the grassroots. He said the scheme would provide third party motor insurance cover for all classes of vehicles. According to him, premium is payable through the purchase of scratch cards designed for the scheme from its official bank.
FG redeploys Perm Sec over health workers’ protest MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA
P L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communication Technology, Mr. Henry Akpan; Minister of Communication and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson and Co-Chairman, Chief Ernest Ndukwe, after the inauguration of the Broadband Council in Abuja, yesterday.
AU renews commitment to HIV, TB, malaria fight MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA
frican leaders, under the aegis of Africa Union, AU, have renewed commitment to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Although many of the leaders still struggle to fulfil earlier declaration commonly known as 2001 Abuja Declaration, they expressed belief at the AU+12 Special Summit on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which ended in Abuja yesterday, that the earlier commitments were still realisable. Part of the earlier commitments requires that leaders of each nation on the continent dedicate 15 per cent of national annual appropria-
tion to boosting health. But according to World Health Organisation’s report, only one country has achieved the goal. Over a decade after the earlier declaration, the leaders agreed to take ownership and improve financing of the fight against killer diseases, most of which are widespread and have burdened the continent. At a briefing at the end of the summit, President Goodluck Jonathan, chairperson of the AU and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, spoke on behalf of AU member countries. Part of the new reso-
lutions are: Scale up the implementation of the earlier “Abuja Commitments;” step up the mobilisation of domestic resources to strengthen the health system; ensure that strategies are in place for diversified, balanced and sustainable financing for health, in particular AIDS, TB and malaria through development of strategic health investment plans and strategies for innovative financing, including from the private sector. The meeting requested that AU Commission work out modalities for the establishment of an African Centre for Diseases Control and noted that the way forward would be in line with and support the implementation
of the African Union healthrelated programmes as contained in the Commission Strategic Plan 2014-2017. Fielding questions from journalists, President Jonathan said a lot of research and development to help produce vaccines on the diseases was in progress on the continent. He said: “Research and development is going on in all countries of Africa including Nigeria. People are using local herbs to improve the immune system. “While we are getting our drugs from other countries, within the continent too, a lot of research work is still going on. But you know in terms of medical sciences, before you can get anything that is globally accepted and will not be controversial, the process is always high.
resident Goodluck Jonathan has approved the redeployment of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Fatima Bamidele, to the Ministry of Finance. This is contained in a statement by the Director (Communications) in the Office of Head of Service, HOS, of the Federation, Mr. Tope Ajakaiye. The statement quoted the HOS, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, as directing that the processes for handing and taking over should be completed on or before today. It was gathered that the redeployment might have followed a series of complaints against her by members of the Health Workers Union who recently protested that she be removed from office. The Central Working Committee of the union had last week locked down the premises of the ministry and called on the Head of Service to “post the Perm Sec (Bamidele) out of the ministry”.
The Chairman of the Central Working Committee, Matthias Ogbalor, said agreements reached in the long-running dispute with the ministry could not be implemented. He said: “We found out that management has been deceiving the union for almost two years now.” According to him, an estimated N4.6 billion in budget funding was returned, when the demand of the workers were not met. The workers claimed the money included arrears on course allowances, death benefits and other accumulated debts. “Go to the store, there is nothing there. There is no material to work with. And we have a lot of arrears to collect. People who were promoted have not been paid promotion arrears because there is no money,” one of the protesting workers said. Bamidele could not be reached then for comments, the ministry did not react to the workers’ protest while its press office has refrained from issuing an official statement.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Subsidy protest: Ex-police officer shot indiscriminately –Witness KENNY ODUNUKAN
n Ikeja High Court was yesterday told that the dismissed police officer, Segun Fabunmi, accused of killing a protester during the January 2012 fuel subsidy protests snatched a gun from his colleague and started shooting indiscriminately. Fabunmi is facing a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm. The defendant was charged to court for the alleged murder of one
Adedamola Daramola and for also inflicting grievous bodily harm on Abubakar and two other protesters - Egbujor Samuel and Chibuzo Udo - by separately shooting at them. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the prosecution witness, Kunle Alabi, who was led in evidence by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan, said himself and some other persons were reading newspapers at Yaya Abatan Junction in Agege when policemen arrived in two patrol ve-
hicles. Testifying before Justice Olabisi Akinlade, Alabi, an engineer, said he had barely walked into his house when he heard sound of gunshots. He said: “Everybody was running. I ran into my building, stood by the door and was peeping from there.” Alabi said that he saw Fabunmi snatched a gun from a fellow police officer and started shooting indiscriminately.
He added that two boys were shot by Fabunmi. Alabi said Ademola Abbey, popularly known as Adedamola Daramola, was also shot. He said: “The boys around carried them to the hospital and by the time they came back, it was with Ademola’s body.” Under cross-examination, Alabi said he saw Fabunmi shoot into the crowd, but could not tell whether it was the defendant’s bullet that killed the
deceased. Alimi Abubakar, the prosecution’s second witness, said he was at the vendor’s stand when the shooting began. Abubakar said: “After the police officers, who arrived in two vehicles, dispersed the crowd playing football, they began heading towards Yaya Abatan junction.” He said: “One of the police officers shot into the air and then into the ground and subsequently the police officer’s gun
was snatched by Fabunmi who shot straight at us. “A bullet hit my leg and I struggled to crawl into a nearby mosque from where I saw Fabunmi pursuing some people into Abeokuta Street, a few metres away.” He added that when Fabunmi got to Abeokuta Street, he shot again. Justice Akinlade, however, adjourned the matter till October 25 and November 21.
Elechi demolishes kidnappers’ den A LIUNA G ODWIN EBONYI
overnor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State yesterday demolished kidnappers’ den in Ohuakwu Local Government Area of the state, following reports that the place was being used for keeping victims of abduction. Addressing journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, Elechi, represented by the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Mr. Chukwuma Nwandugo, said the demolition would send a warning to criminal elements and their accomplices. He stressed that the exercise was meant to ensure that the state is free from kidnapping activities and other related crimes. The police had earlier raided the kidnappers’ den before the arrival of the governor’s team. It will be recalled that wife of the Deputy Lead-
er of the state House of Assembly, Mrs. Winifred Ogbu, was kidnapped last Friday in Abakaliki by a six-man gang. Ogbu was later held hostage in a three-bedroom mud house located in an isolated part of Umezabi community until she was rescued by a police team after a tip-off. The police engaged the suspected kidnappers in a gun battle which left one of them dead. The police spokesman, Sylvester Igbo, said demolishing kidnappers’ den would serve as a deterrent to other criminals. He, however, identified Onicha, Ohaozara, Afikpo South and Ezza North local governments as areas where kidnapping is prevalent. Igbo said the police had begun investigation to ascertain the owners of the building demolished by the state government.
Lack of quorum stalls Kalejaiye’s trial E MMANUEL O NANI
he trial of Otunba Kunle Kalejaiye (SAN) was stalled yesterday because of the inability of the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) to form a quorum. Kalejaiye is facing charges of alleged professional misconduct preferred against him by the Nigerian Bar Association
(NBA). The petition, which was filed in 2008, is in respect of the proceedings at the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which heard a petition by then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in the 2007 election, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, against sacked Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. The matter was adjourned till September 11.
L-R: Administrator Rotary Club of Lagos, District 9110, Rotn. Olufunmilayo Adeniyi; Sergent at Arms and Strategic Adviser, Rotn. Lateef Afodun; First Class President of Lagos West, Rotn. Elizabeth Bakare and Secreatry, Rotn. Tolu Onalaja, during a press briefing in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA
Alleged forgery: Leadership journalists ask court to summon Jonathan ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA
ontroversy over a request by the Group News Editor, Mr. Tony Amokeodo and the Political Correspondent, Mr. Chibuzor Ukaibe, of Leadership newspapers for an order summoning President Jonathan Goodluck to appear in court each day the forgery case instituted by the Federal Government against them is heard yesterday stalled hearing in the suit. A Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), defending the Leadership journalists had, before yesterday, applied for subpoena ad testificandum (summon to appear and testify) against President Jonathan to testify in the matter and attend court each day the matter comes up, but the trial judge, Justice Usman Musale, has been silent over the request. The definite trial of the journalists was fixed for yesterday, but Falana said it was unlikely his clients
would get justice in the case except the court granted the request. At the resumed hearing of the case, the Federal Government, represented by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the court to allow him open trial by calling witnesses, but Falana insisted that he needed to have everything he would use to prosecute his case before trial could start. Falana told the court that he had filed another motion asking for an order to suspend further proceedings in the matter indefinitely to await the conclusion of Jonathan’s tenure so that he would have time to testify and prosecute the case properly. Falana premised his motion on the grounds that the fundamental right of the accused persons to fair hearing could not be guaranteed by the court as their application for the issuance and service of subpoena ad testificandum on President Jonathan has not been granted by
the court. He said: “By virtue of Section 308 of the 1999 as amended, this honourable court lacks the vires to issue and cause to be served, a subpoena ad testificandum on the President and Commanderin-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to testify as a witness for the accused persons in this case. “The accused persons are inhibited from obtaining the attendance of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to testify as a witness for the accused persons in this case”. But Awomolo said the accused persons’ motion on notice was not ripe for hearing and that the suspects should wait for the prosecution to try its case and when it is time for the accused persons to open their defence, that they could raise the issue of their star witness. Falana cited Section 36 (6)
of the 1999 Constitution about the need for the accused to be availed with adequate preparation and the necessary facilities to defend themselves, saying that there should be a level playing field before the court. Awomolo, however, claimed that there was a level playing ground before the court, asking the court to allow him to call his witnesses for the commencement of the trial while Falana could later bring the issue of calling the President as a witness. Justice Musale, however, told the lawyers that he would rise for 10 minutes to enable him deliver his ruling on whether or not the journalists’ application was ripe for hearing. After a couple of minutes, the judge summoned Awomolo and Falana to his chambers. He thereafter resumed sitting and informed the parties that he needed some time before he could deliver his ruling and consequently adjourned the matter till today.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Tension in Ado-Ekiti as hoodlums attack PDP secretariat ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI
ension yesterday gripped residents of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, as some hoodlums attacked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat at the popular Ajilosun area of the city. The incident followed
a division among the PDP chieftains over the consensus committee inaugurated by Mr. Makanjuola Ogundipe-led executive to handle the selection of the party’s candidate ahead of the 2014 governorship election. The hoodlums, who disrupted a press briefing to be addressed by the PDP Public Relations Officer, Pas-
tor Kola Oluwawole, and the Director of Media and Publicity, Chief Gboyega Aribisogan, descended on some officials of the party and left them with various degrees of injuries. Dangerous weapons like guns, batons, cutlasses, broken bottles, knives and charms were displayed by the hoodlums believed to
be sponsored by two politicians. Among those injured were party’s Legal Adviser and former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Kola Adefemi; and Auditor, Mr Olatunji Olanrewaju. They were left in the pool of their own blood. Journalists, who were already seated for the me-
dia event, were not spared of the terror as the hoodlums also attacked them. As the disturbance lasted, bottles of Coca Cola drinks arranged in a truck parked nearby became willing tools for the hoodlums. The incident led to the disruption of traffic on the ever-busy Ado – Ikere Road.
Govt may stop importation of fabrics for school uniform FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA
ndication emerged yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, that the Federal Government may soon stop manufacturing industries from importing fabrics for school uniforms. At a stakeholders’ workshop on National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the launch of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, said the decision was initiated as of the major steps to revitalise the MSMEs sub-sector of the economy. Aganga, who identified public and private sectors as the two drivers for any nation’s economy, added that investment in small and medium enterprises remain the only panacea to Nigeria’s unemployment woes. He said the Federal government may draft a policy to make the production of school uniforms from local fabrics compulsory towards ensuring the survival of MSMEs. While promising that his ministry would make a proposal available to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the need to ensure the production of school uniforms from “made-in-Nigeria fabrics,” the minister added that the government planned to create five million jobs through MSMEs by 2015. Aganga said: “School uniforms should be made from Nigerian products. There is no reason why school uniforms cannot be made, even from adire textiles.
Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Indabawa (left) and DPO, Sango Police Station, Mrs. Funmilayo Makinfenwa, riding a motorcycle at the inauguration of police public partnership project in Ibadan, yesterday.
Task force returns N7m seized goods to owners MURITALA AYINLA
he Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit has returned seized goods worth over N7 million to their owners. Some of the goods include jewelry, clothing materials and household items, among others. The goods were seized on Friday from traders who converted a portion of the road for trading at Idumota area of Lagos. It was learnt that the task force decided to release the items in the spirit of Ramadan and after the traders had pleaded passionately. The task force, however, warned traders in places like Berger and Agege who normally convert a portion of the road for trading to desist from such act. The task force chairman, Bayo Sulaiman, decried the rate at which traders convert roads to market places. He said: “This is the first time we will be doing this by releasing seized goods to their owners and this will be the last time we will be doing it. When we seize goods, we don’t always release such to their owners.
We can’t bankroll complicated health cases anymore –Fashola MURITALA AYINLA
agos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday said the state would no longer offer free medical service for terminal diseases such as kidney failure and other complicated health cases. Fashola, who said the state government had gone a step further to provide best medical facilities that are not available in some
African countries, urged residents to be health conscious. He assured that the state would soon commission the cardiac and kidney centre to solve some of the problems that have made many Nigerians good health seekers abroad. Speaking while commissioning the Trauma and Burn Centre at the Gbagada General Hospital, the governor urged the medical professionals to
be committed, saying hospital and the infrastructures do not give health on their own, but the level of commitment of the healthcare providers. He said: “The rate at which our population is growing is not commensurate at which our resource are growing. So, we can provide free health care for anti-natal care, we can provide treatment of malaria for certain segment of society. But we cannot
provide for complex surgery, kidney, cancer, complicated childbirth free. This is what I think that citizens must sign up and be their own insurer from where the free health stops to take on and in a way that is cheap and convenient.” Fashola said the centre, which commenced operation in April, 2013 and had attended to 351 patients, adding that most of the patients were between ages 15 and 49.
The governor said: “The centre has provided healthcare service to 351 patients. Out of which 86 were admitted. The most common injuries were burns which constituted 24 per cent.” The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said the centre was established following the government’s inability to adequately provide the needed healthcare for the Ijegun fire victims and others.
FG committed to tackling unemployment, poverty –Minister KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN
inister of National Planning Commission, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, yesterday reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to tackling unemployment, poverty and income inequality. Usman, who spoke at the 2013 Conference of Directors of Planning, Research and Statistics (DPRS) in the Public Service held in
Ibadan, said the problems had constituted a serious concern President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. He said: “The current administration is fully committed to the sustained formulation and implementation of strategic plans and the various plans are already undergoing major reviews to meet the dire needs of the populace, especially the teeming unemployed youth.” Usman specifically listed
the plans undergoing to include the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, Aviation Sector Roadmap, Gas Master Plan, Housing Sector Roadmap, Power Sector Roadmap, Solid Minerals Roadmap, the Education Sector Plan and National Health Sector Plan. The minister urged the 36 state governments to collaborate with the Federal Government in this direction by developing regional medium-term strategic plans in line with the
Transformation Agenda and Nigeria’s Vision 20: 20:20. He said: “In its effort towards institutionalising strategic planning in Nigeria, the National Planning Commission (NPC) has encouraged the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and governments at the sub-national to develop their own strategic plans. “NPC is equally working closely with the States in cascading the perfor-
mance management system to the sub-national level. In this regard, the National Planning Commission conducted the first training session on M&E for officials of the Oyo State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget in 2013. Oyo State is also one of the pilot states that the Commission has identified to provide technical support and guidance for the development of Nigeria’s successor medium term strategic plans.”
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Fashola promises to revamp 59-year-old Sabo-Onike Industrial Estate MURITALA AYINLA
agos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday said his administration would redevelop the 59-year-old Sabo-Onike Industrial Estate with the
provision of Independent Power Plant, IPP, to increase productivity. The governor said it was part of efforts to rejuvenate the manufacturing sector in the state. Fashola made the promise when he visited the estate to assess the state of
the industrial estate. He said the state would do all it could to provide the power plant and address other challenges confronting the estate. The governor added that the state would revive the estate in order to create employment for teem-
ing Nigerians. He said: “It is possible to create steady power supply here, which is the problem faced by some of the manufacturers we spoke with. They are doing business, they are producing, but they could only do so with cheaper
power. “We have done something like this in Isolo where we put a very big power unit and provided meters for all of the people. So, their cost of production has come down significantly and they are happier. So, that is one solution. We are looking at our IPP, we are com-
missioning big generator. One big generator can come here and serve the whole estate.” Fashola said those whose businesses had outgrown the place would have to be relocated, adding that state government would go and plan on the way forward for the estate.
Oyo floats medium term strategic plan
G L-R: Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye, with two Chinese nationals, Mr. Song Jiang She and Zhang Wen Xue, who were rescued from their abductors in Sagamu area of the state, yesterday.
Osun introduces alternative to asphalt ADEOLU ADEYEMO OSOGBO
sun State Government has introduced a new technology through which road-paving could be done without using asphalt. The Special Adviser to the governor, on Works and Transport, Mr. Oladepo Amuda, disclosed this while speaking with journalists during an on-the-spot assessment visit to Ejiwumi Street in Osogbo, the state capital, where the technology was first demonstrated. Amuda said the new technology was not to compete with asphalt, but to create an alternative that would make roads to be stronger.
The special adviser said Osun was the first state in the country to discover the new technology said to be environmentally friendly and cost effective in comparison with alternatives. He said: “The new technology introduced by Osun State government is the first of its kind in Africa and Osun is the first state where the new technology was first being demonstrated. “This will be called O’Road Plus in Osun because of its advantages and since it is cheaper than the use of asphalt and it can last for about 20 years. “The state government brought the new technology through a company called Dirt Glue from the United
States of America. The new polymer technology in road pavement is a liquid concentrate that is diluted with water and sprayed on the road instead of asphalt. “We are all familiar with the use of asphalt in road paving but henceforth, probably what we will be using is this Dirt Glue chemical. “The chemical will be mixed with aggregate of specific gradient. When I say gradient, I am not talking about the slope. The grading I am talking about is the component of the sizes of sound and crossed stone materials and it has an envelope within which we follow under that specification. “In this new technology, it is being mixed directly
from the quarry to the given specific all-in aggregate that will be spread on the stone base to a thickness of a minimum of between 50mm and 75mm on top of the stone base. “After these materials have been spread on the road and then a water tanker that has been mixed with the Dirt Glue chemical would be spread over the material. The material would be pulverised again. Then, we will use roller to compact it so that it will give us a smooth surface.” The Managing Director of Dirt Glue Enterprises Nigeria Limited, an arm of Dirt Glue USA, Mr. Niyi Fadaunsi, said the new technology would save money.
overnor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has approved the process of preparation of the successor medium term strategic plan expected to span 2014 to 2016. Ajimobi disclosed this while speaking at the opening of the 2013 conference of Directors of Planning, Research and Statistics, DPRS, in the public service held in Ibadan on Monday. This, the governor said, was in line with the resolutions of the Joint Planning Board, JPB, and the National Council on Development Planning, NCDP, held at Benue State in December 2012. He described timely and reliable statistics on social, economic and environmental conditions as key factors for development, evidence-based planning and policy decisions which require reliable and sound statistical basis. Consequent upon this, Ajimobi said his administration had enacted a law to reposition the state statistical system, with the aim of transforming the Department of Macro Statistics and Research in the Ministry of Economic
Lagos research, development council holds stakeholders’ workshop
2012 by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and chaired by Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, will present its activities to the public and engage stakeholders in an interactive session on strategies to strengthen and foster Research and Development, R&D, in the state. According to Bamiro,
the vision of the council is to become an instrument for the transformation of Lagos State into an innovative, knowledgedriven community where the citizens acquire the capability to thrive in the globally competitive world economy. He said the primary roles of the council in-
he Lagos State Research and Development Council, LSRDC, will next Tuesday hold a stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop at the Lagos E-learning Centre on Broad Street, Lagos Island. LSRDC was established by the Lagos State government to galvanise
growth and development through research. The sensitisation workshop is targeted at government, academia, research and development agencies, the private sector and students. At the workshop, the 10-man research and development council inaugurated in September
Archbishop Martins hosts Oke-Are Seminary old boys
he Catholic Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, His Grace Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, will on Sunday host the old boys of his alma-mater, St Theresa’s Catholic Minor Seminary, Oke-Are, Ibadan.
The event will be a special Summit/Launch of the Oke-Are Seminary Old Boys Association of Nigeria, OSOBAN, souvenirs at the Holy Cross Catholic, Lagos. Martins decided to host the Annual Summit of
the Lagos branch of the association following his enthronement as the archbishop of Lagos Catholic Archdiocese, after his elevation from his erstwhile post as the bishop of the Abeokuta Diocese.
His movement to Lagos therefore practically made him a bona-fide member of the Lagos branch of the association. The cleric will thus be formally conferred with the membership of the associa-
cluded strengthening tertiary institutions’ basic and applied research capabilities, funding R&D ideas that would lead to the introduction of commercial products, in addition to funding R&D projects that foster strong domestic and international industry and academic partnerships.
tion at this summit. A thanksgiving mass to herald the event has been scheduled for the same church, Holy Cross Cathedral at 10:00am after which the summit/launch of the OSOBAN souvenirs will hold.
Planning and Budget to the State Bureau of Statistics. He also said the process of appointing a Statistician-General for the state was on to drive the system and acknowledged that proper planning was a success factor in any administration. Ajimobi commended the National Planning Commission for involving the top management of the state Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget in the review of the National Implementation Plan, NIP, and the development of the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, NIIMP. He expressed the hope that the experience gathered from the exercise would improve them for better performance in their various state assignments. The governor also said that his government was looking forward to a successful conduct of the state GDP computation at the earliest possible time. He said: “We continually desire partnership with the National Planning Commission, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs and our esteemed development partners, in our journey towards the total transformation of our state.’’ Ajimobi noted that the theme of the conference; “The Imperatives for Developing National, Regional and Sectoral Plans: Lessons Learnt from the Implementation of the Transformation Agenda,” was relevant and germane to the development of the country. He said: “It will no doubt equip planners at the Federal, states and local governments with requisite skills and information to develop strategic plans that are in consonance with the objectives of revamping the economy of this nation.’’
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Rocket launcher, bombs recovered in Imo CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI
L-R: Enugu State Commissioner for Human Capital Development, Mr. Godwin Ogenyi and the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed, during Ogenyi’s visit to the police boss, yesterday.
Anambra awards N5.5bn contracts for Awka, Onitsha, other cities CHARLES OKEKE AWKA
nambra State government has approved contracts for developmental projects worth more than N5.5 billion for Awka, Onitsha and other major cities. The Commissioner for Culture, Information, and Tourism, Chief Joe Martin Uzodike, disclosed this to journalists after the weekly Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Awka. Uzodike said the contracts included the con-
struction of the 6.3-kilometre Ekwulobia - Ezinifite Road in Aguata, awarded at the cost of N765.5 million with completion period of 30 weeks, the 5.2-kilometre Isuofia - Umuona - Nanka Road with a spur to Aguata awarded at the sum of N587.4 million with completion period of 30 weeks, and the 4.4-kilometre Abube Square Nando to Afor Igbariam Road with contract sum of N636.5 million and completion period of 28 weeks. The commissioner said the State Executive Coun-
cil also approved the contract for the reconstruction of Bida Road and Okwei Street, Onitsha at the contract sum of N1 billion, while the 4.82-kilometre Ndiowu Road with a spur to Orumba North Local Government Area was awarded at a sum of N630 million, with completion period of 28 weeks. Uzodike also announced that the council approved contract for the construction of three pedestrian bridges between the Niger Bridge head and Zik Roundabout, Onitsha, worth N435 mil-
Police, prison officials in shootout CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI
here was stampede in Owerri, Imo State, yesterday as armed policemen stormed the prison and shot sporadically in an attempt to recover a tricycle involved in an accident. The incident, which occurred on Okigwe Road in Owerri Municipal Council, threw the state capital into panic as motorists abandoned their vehicles and ran for safety. Although no one was injured in the shooting, a senior prison official, who craved anonymity, told our correspondent that the policemen numbering over 10 invaded the prison premises to recover a tricycle under the care of the prison officials. He disclosed that the tricycle popularly known as keke, “was involved in an
accident close to the prison gate. The rider and the occupants were rushed to the hospital by our men, but after some hours, the policemen came to take away the tricycle without asking after the owner. “Our men told them that they can’t release the tricycle without informing our boss and an argument ensued but when our senior officer came out, the policemen started to insult him and insisted on taking away the tricycle. This resulted in a shootout between the police and our men but no casualty was recorded”. But a witness said some of the officers were engaged in fisticuffs and tore one another’s uniforms while those carrying arms were shooting sporadically. Efforts to speak with the state Controller of Prisons on the issue were not successful as he was said not to be available.
But the Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Musa Katsina, said there
lion and the 2.4-kilometre Umudioka to Ogbunike Road, with spur to Girls’ Secondary School, Umudioka, for N337.5 million with completion period of 30 weeks. The commissioner said the council approved the reconstruction of the one kilometre Umuagu Ufuma Road phase one in Orumba North for N121.5 million and reviewed the total cost for the 22-kilometre Amansea - Ebenebe - Ugbenu - Ugbene, Oba Ofemili Road project to accommodate new bridge project. was no shootout between the policemen and the prison officials. He said what happened was only a brawl among the junior officers.
olice have recovered a rocket launcher and other active explosive devices buried in the ground during the NigeriaBiafra Civil War in five local government areas of Imo State. The explosives include old wartime ammunition recovered from old military trench at Okigwe Local Government, five primed Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, found at the scene of a robbery attack at one of the new generation banks in Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government, 10 live wartime military bombs recovered along the road at Ogbaku in Mbaitoli counicl, six live old wartime military bombs recovered at a building site at Ohuba in Ohaji/Egbema council, IED found from a generating plant at Okigwe axis, and fire extinguisher constructed into IED recovered by Imo State CID. Others include four IEDs and one rocket launcher,
Physically-challenged persons excluded from partisan politics –Group CHARLES OKEKE AWKA
hysically-challenged persons under the aegis of the Association for Comprehensive Empowerment of Nigerians with Disabilities, ASCEND, have decried their lack of participation in politics at the state and national levels. The leader of the association, Cosmas Ikechukwu Okoli, a Lagos-based rights
Reconcile now, Imo indigenes urge Okorocha, Orji GEORGE OPARA ABIA
mo State indigenes residing in Abia State have called on Governors Rochas Okorocha and Theodore Orji to iron out their differences for peace to reign between both states. The people said they had petitioned Okorocha on the need to resolve the face-off between him and Orji on the closure of loading bays of the states’ transport companies. The Imo State indigenes urged the governor to make peace with Abia State and ensure that the state transport company resumes operation soon. According to them, Imo
indigenes in the Abia State are passing through a lot of hardship commuting between the two sister states. They bemoaned the suffering they undergo especially on Aba - Owerri route, which forms one of the prime business routes for the people of both states. The people said the crisis should not have been allowed to escalate to level of closing the loading bays of the transport companies of the two states. Imo State indigenes urged Okorocha to reach out to his Abia State counterpart to make peace and resolve the crisis amicably, adding that they were feeling the heat of the unnecessary crisis. Speaking with jour-
five electromagnetic old wartime bombs and six hand-held grenades recovered from road construction site at Orlu, old wartime military bombs and two exploration bullets found at Egbema in Ohaji/Egbema council, four primed IEDs and one hand-held grenade recovered from an abandoned vehicle by armed robbers on Okigwe Road, Owerri and bags of gun powder. Speaking with journalists yesterday in Owerri, the state capital, the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Musa Katsina, who disclosed that the efforts were in continuation of the onslaught on crime and criminals in the state, said the explosives were recovered by the “Operation Sweep” which was formed to rid the state of explosives. He said: “We are determined to sweep and cleanse Imo State of explosive ordinance like bombs and other Improvised Explosive Devices, including components and weapons buried during the Nigeria Civil War.”
nalists on Monday, Chief Jonathan Ikoroha, said the crisis was “uncalled for and unwarranted”. He said he wrote the letter to Okorocha following complaints from Imo State indigenes over the hardship they were passing through commuting between the two states as a result of the crisis in the transport sector. Ikoroha, who is the acting chairman of Aba North Council of Abia State, urged Okorocha and other South-East governors to emulate Orji by appointing non-indigenes into government positions to cement the brotherly relationship instead of engaging in actions capable of dividing the states.
activist, said in Awka yesterday that they had concluded plans to endorse a candidate for the Anambra State governorship election. According to him, the candidate will cater for the interest of his members and the entire masses creditably. He said the endorsement would take place soon at a special rally in Awka. Okoli spoke with journalists on the issues of how they have fared in politics over the years, especially as it relates to what they plan to do during the Anambra State gubernatorial election fixed for November. He said his members had realised that the only way to stop the marginalisation of persons with disabilities and the attendant social, economic and political exclusion was to mobilise persons with disabilities to participate actively in politics. This, Okoli said, was the overriding consideration for the formation of the organisation in 2006. Flanked by key national officers of ASCEND, Okoli regretted that so far, there had not been any person with disability elected or appointed into any high political office in the country.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Controversy trails Bayelsa CNPP election EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA
L-R: Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on FCT, Hon Emmanuel Jime; Vice Chairman of the Committee, Hon Rafael Egbokwe and Minister of State for FCT, Chief Olajumoke Akinjide, during a visit to the FCT Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA
Laws to sustain climate change initiatives underway – Uduaghan
elta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has said that proper legal structures were being put in place to sustain the drive towards reducing the effects of climate change. Uduaghan dropped the hint yesterday at a stakeholders’ forum on Territorial Approach to Climate Change (TACC) with the theme: “Delta beyond oilopportunities in climate change” held in Asaba, the state capital. He said the legal structure was necessary for the state and its people to key into the Green Economy Initiatives of international agencies. The governor said putting up proper legal structures would ensure that government would be properly guided to continue with efforts to make the environment friendly and enable the government access funds from international agencies for economic development. Uduaghan, however, said individual attitudes
contributed adversely to the degradation of the environment. He said: “Some persons recently arrested for defacing newly constructed roads and walkways are being prosecuted in the court of law. “We have to help ourselves when it comes to dealing with issues of climate change. It breaks my heart when people cut down trees, we should as much as possible try to preserve the trees as they do more for the environment than just provide sheds.” Urging the people to be conscious of those things they take for granted and desist from clogging the drains with refuse, the governor said though the 2012 flood disaster was devastating, it was a blessing in disguise as it created awareness that climate change is real. Uduaghan recalled that the state government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nation Development Programme
a few years back, adding that his administration had begun discussing with an energy giant, Philips, to set-up factories in the state in order to produce energy-saving bulbs and other items, as well as create jobs for youths. The governor, however, inaugurated Delta Schools Climate Club and asked members to take the cli-
mate change awareness campaign to the people, saying: “No native doctor can stop the impacts of climate change.” He said: “I congratulate these children for accepting to be members of the club in their various secondary schools. It will help them understand what climate change is all about and also educate others.
ontroversy is trailing the election of Bayelsa State chapter of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), following alleged imposition of a new executive by some governor’s aides. Members of CNPP have vowed to resist the imposition, which they described as undemocratic. Sources said CNPP planned to hold the election on July 9, but suspended it because some of its officials travelled. The sources alleged the insistence of the Special Advisers to the Governor on Inter-Party Matters, Stephen Diver and Domestic Affairs, Richman Ndakwe, for the adoption of a chairmanship candidate from Sagbama Local Government Area of the state. The four aspirants vying for the CNPP chairmanship position are Wennis Oweitongue (Alliance for Democracy), John Sukare (All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA), Lucky Akpeli (National Conscience Party) and Edwin Tare (Democratic Peoples Party).
Incidentally, Governor Seriake Dickson hails from Toru-Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area. Members of the CNPP are strongly calling for a free and fair election to elect popular members of the executive that would not be hijacked by the state government. National Mirror learnt that the state government was backing Lucky Akpeli of the National Conscience Party for the CNPP chairmanship position. But Akpeli, who is a worker at the state House of Assembly, was rejected by CNPP members because he is a civil servant. They said Akpeli’s aspiration was at variance with the state government policy discouraging civil servants from dabbling tnto politics. When contacted, Akpeli debunked the allegation against his aspiration, describing those behind is as uninformed and ignorant of the provisions of the article establishing CNPP. He said: “If they have any case against me, they should write my employer. If my employer is not against my aspiration, then they don’t have a case.
Amnesty Office to facilitate jobs for 30,000 ex-militants
he Presidential Amnesty Office yesterday said it would facilitate jobs for the 30,000 former militants enlisted in the amnesty programme. Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Kingsley Kuku, spoke at the unveiling of the Post-Training Agenda for the former militants in Abuja. Kuku said: “It is imperative to create a new department that will facilitate jobs for our trained youths to prevent them from going back to the creeks.
“The purpose of unveiling the post-training agenda is to create a rehabilitation department that will facilitate and create an avenue for jobs placement and engagement for our trained youths before the amnesty programme ends in 2015.” He said the amnesty office was worried about the former agitators’ fate after post-training and that was why it created a new department that would begin the process of placing them for jobs to ensure peace and stability in the Niger Delta.
Kuku recalled that 14,029 ex-militants out of the 30,000 who enlisted in the amnesty programme were trained in various universities and vocational skill centres since the inception of the programme in 2009. The special adviser said the beneficiaries were enrolled in local and international skill centres since the proclamation and implementation of the amnesty programme by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. He said: “Like I mentioned earlier, 30,000 peo-
ple were enlisted in the amnesty programme. Of this number, over 14,000 have been deployed to universities and vocational skill centres both within and outside the country.” Kuku said that of the 14,029 trainees, 6,875 were enrolled in vocational skill centres in the country, while 4,425 persons were sent to various vocational training centres abroad. He added that 1,077 people were deployed to various universities in the country, while 688 were enrolled in universities abroad.
Bayelsa youths threaten to disrupt oil exploration project EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA
ome aggrieved Ijaw youths yesterday threatened to shut down an oil exploration site of OPL 227 at Agge community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over what they described as lopsided employment issues. It was learnt that the oil exploration project was
awarded to some companies by the Federal Government. Investigation by National Mirror revealed that the threat was issued by the aggrieved youths of Kou clan over alleged anomaly of employment slots allocated to seven communities by the oil exploration firms. It was gathered that the communities - Amazor, Osumabio, Azamabiri, Orobiri, Agge Town Bush and
Ogbeite - were aggrieved that the employment opportunities included non-host communities. A former militant leader, John Isiayei, claimed that the modality adopted in allocating the employment slots to non-host communities was viewed as an insult to the Kou clan. Isiaye recalled that the non-host communities to the OPL 227 previously had excluded the Kou clan in
employment opportunities provided by the Chevron in Agabiri; Agip in Letugbene; Texaco and Conoil in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. He said: “If they had left us out of the opportunities provided in the past during recruitment of youths into Chevron and others, they should not be beneficiaries of the OPL employment slots. “For peace to reign, we demand that the com-
pany should correct this anomaly and request a JIV team comprising Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy, Nigerian Navy, Directorate of Petroleum Resources and our community representatives to conduct a verification tour to the project site”. The media coordinator of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt- Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, however, advised the Kou youths to re-
solve their differences with the oil servicing firms amiably. Nwachukwu blamed the tensed situation on the breakdown in communication between the youths and the companies. According to him, lack of understanding over the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the companies and the communities caused the problem.
Wednesday July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
When memories of Abraham Adesanya came alive
APC: Waiting for INEC’s approval
Jonathan wades into Tukur, Gana face-off over PDP convention No anointed candidates for NWC, says party chair
OBIORA IFOH ABUJA
resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday summoned to the presidential villa the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and chairman, PDP special national convention, Prof. Jerry Gana over the faceoff that led to the cancellation of the August 31 rescheduled date of the convention. The meeting which was still holding as at press time yesterday was expected to be
a platform for the President to settle the humiliation that Gana and his secretary, Senator Ike Ekweremadu suffered last week when they were locked out at the residence of the National Chairman on his directives. A Presidency source told National Mirror that the President will overrule the National Chairman over the cancellation of the August 31 date earlier proposed by the Planning Committee for the South-West convention and special National Convention. The party’s NWC at its
meeting on Monday suspended the Gana committee for overreaching their duties. “In view of the anomalies and breaches of the constitution of the PDP observed in the actions so far taken by the Special National Convention Planning Committee, the NWC has directed the Committee to put on hold all activities relating to the Special SouthWest Zonal Congresses and the Special National Convention pending the regularisation of the anomalies and breaches so as to forestall a repeat of the events
that affected the party’s convention in 2012.” But the Villa source said President Jonathan wants to restore peace to the party and he is also disposed to the party conducting the conventions as planned. “President Jonathan called for a truce between Tukur and Gana as the matter could degenerate to a full crisis situation. It is certain the August date for the convention will stand but the President is insisting that discipline must be maintained in the party and the party leadership must be supported to instil discipline
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi (left) explaining some points to the General Manager, Oyo State Housing Corporation, Mr. Samuel Adekunle (right) and members of the State Executive Council during their visit to Ajoda New Town Development Authority, Ibadan yesterday.
in the PDP,” the source said. A PDP source told National Mirror that Tukur “had to be brutal because, he sensed that his office is being undermined. How can the committee change a date of the conventions, sells forms, solicit funds from the Villa and draw lists of the membership of the sub-committees without consulting the NWC. “NWC noted that lists of membership of the sub-committees were filled with persons that have no business in the party, where people are now using the sub-committees to settle relatives. One of them listed two of his immediate brothers. While NWC members who are committee members were subjected as just ordinary sub-committee members while their cronies were awarded with juicy subcommittee chairmanship.” Meanwhile, Tukur yesterday disclosed that the leadership of the party has no special or anointed candidate for the position of National Secretary, Publicity Secretary or any other position. In a statement by his Special Assistance on Media, Mr Oliver Okpala, Tukur said that the party will take a practical step to ensure that the forthcoming con-
vention and congresses of the party will be transparent and credible in line with the party’s avowed creed for internal democracy. He said that the leadership of the party will not have any hand in deciding who wins at the congresses or the special national convention, since it is going to be transparent, free, credible and fair, adding that any candidate who wins must have done so on his or her own merit. “Those to be members of the new NWC of the party to fill the vacant positions will emerge from due process and will be those the party delegates will chose at the congresses and special convention,” he said. Reacting to the insinuations that he has hand in the unfolding and unfortunate event in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Tukur said that “it is the desire of the PDP that peace returns immediately to the Rivers State House of Assembly in particular and the state in general.” He called on all Nigerians to join hands and ensure that peace returns to Rivers State House of Assembly, insisting that without peace “our much coveted democracy will be meaningless.”
PDP scribe: Lagos kicks against Oladipo’s nomination Awka elders want indigene to govern Anambra OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU
he Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has kicked against the nomination last weekend of Prof. Wale Oladipo as the replacement for Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as the National Secretary of the party. The party dissociated itself from the purported South-West caucus meeting, which allegedly nominated Oladipo to replace the Acting National Secretary of the party, Dr. Remi Akitoye. The Lagos PDP, speaking through its Publicity Secretary, Taofeek Gani, said that it became imperative for it to make this clarification
following the endorsement of the Acting National Secretary of the PDP for the office of the National Secretary by the National Executive Council, NEC, of the party, noting that revisiting such decision at this time will amount to a betrayal of leadership. The South-West zonal Caretaker Committee of the party had last Saturday held a caucus meeting at Ibadan where they nominated Oladipo. The party said: “The present occupier of the office of the Acting National Secretary, Akitoye, was endorsed by the NEC of the party. The NEC is a higher authority, higher than the zonal Executive Committee. This hierarchy of authority must be understood
by all. Taking actions outside the decisions of the NEC would be tantamount to making ultra vires decisions and the Lagos PDP cannot be part of this.” While unequivocally condemning the resolution at the said caucus meeting, the Lagos PDP urged the national secretariat of the party to discountenance same, admonishing the party’s leaders in the South-West to desist from actions that can present them as fifth columnists within the party. The party added that the bigger fight in the zone is against the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and thus called on the leaders to aggregate their strategies and resources against the opposition rather than antagonising one another.
he council of elders in Awka have pleaded with the people of Anambra State to allow their kinsman to be the next governor of the state. The elders made the plea in Awka yesterday when they received Mr Emmanuel Nweke, an APGA governorship aspirant from Umuogbunu village in Awka. Chief Patrick Nwachukwu, the Chairman of the Ezi-Awka Elders Council, expressed delight that an indigene of the town had indicated interest to contest the election. Nwachukwu, who is also the head of Umuogbunu village, said the town had made a lot of contributions toward the development of the state and deserved to produce the next governor.
“It is the desire of Awka town to have one of our sons as the next governor because it has not happened since the creation of the new Anambra. “His aspiration is good for Awka. We shall be glad if he becomes the candidate of his party and goes ahead to become the state governor. “We have heard his good plans for the state, and going by the much he has done as a private and accomplished individual, we believe Anambra will be better for it,” he said. He expressed the belief that Nweke would use his wide exposure and experience to govern every part of the state as his constituency, noting that the people of Awka were naturally large and kind hearted.
In his remarks, Mr. Emmanuel Nwoye, the Secretary General of Umuogbunu Town Union, said: Awka had not been given. “He has our blessings; we have yearned to be governor for a long time. We know him, he has the capability to govern and bring growth and development to the state. “Our appeal is that the people of Anambra should consider this unfair situation and give us a chance,” Nwoye said. In his speech, the aspirant said he would take the state to the next level if given the opportunity to serve. On Monday’s Appeal Court judgement on APGA, Nweke described it as a welcome development, adding that it had addressed the leadership tussle in the party.
Wednesday July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
When memories of Abraham Adesanya came alive As associates of the late Afenifere leader, Pa Abraham Adesanya remembered him penultimate week, the issue of national dialogue once again came to the front burner. SINA FADARE, who covered the event, reports.
or years to come, the memory of the late leader of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural leader, Afenifere, Pa Abraham Adesanya, will remain evergreen in the minds of his political associates and those who cherished his forthrightness, doggedness, dedication to a cause and service to humanity. Against this backdrop, the National Association of Ogun State Students, University of Lagos chapter, last week organised a memorial lecture with the theme: the Place of the Yoruba in Nigerian Politics and Development to honour the maverick politician. The occasion that attracted politicians and associates of the late political icon was chaired by the former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba. Osoba said that until Nigeria returns to the 1963 Constitution in which true federalism and regional development was guaranteed, any amendment to the current 1999 Constitution will be a mere exercise in futility. According to him, any constitution that does not give room for the development of each region according to its pace is a mere booklet of no significant value. “All we are asking for is a constitution that is in resemblance of 1963 where each region can pursue any developmental agenda that is desirable to its heart without any hindrance. What is the business of the central government in Abuja with the primary education in Yoruba land? Let us be ourselves and respect our culture of self help,” he said. The former governor noted that Yoruba would always advocate egalitarianism as a way of moving the country forward, pointing out that it was a philosophy that guaranteed freedom of everything without compromising the nation’s interest. He argued that what Yoruba was demanding basically was not any assistance from the Federal Government, but self-actualisation, self-development and selfrealisation, which he said were “our rights.” “The Yoruba position is to ask for our rights. We are not asking for assistance, what we are asking is self-actualisation, self-development, let us be ourselves,” he said, arguing that from time immemorial, the Yoruba people had always been involved in self-help and self-development projects. Osoba noted that Adesanya was a man who lived his life for the cause of Yoruba nation. “He
is a man of impeccable character who called a spade a spade no matter whose ox is gored. His legacies will always remain evergreen, especially among those people who had close contact with him,” he said. Delivering a keynote address, Prof. Alade Fawole of the department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, IleIfe, lamented that majority of Yoruba leaders who find themselves at the helm of affairs are mere birds of passage who failed to better the lots of the people. “We are unfortunately saddled with perfidious men and women who engage in all manner of crookedness to gain political power for self-aggrandisement. The Yoruba people were at some point compelled to endure political ‘area boys’ and inconsequential characters that were fraudulently imposed on them as leaders,” he explained. In his lecture titled: “The place of Yoruba in Nigeria’s Politics and development,” Fawole regretted that “this state of affairs is lamentable and unacceptable in an age when men and women of foresight the world over are leading and energising their societies to make giant strides in all areas of human endeavour, we are being reduced to the bottom of the pit by insensate characters in an era of cutting-edge technological breakthrough and great advances in the fields of medicine and science and in good governance.” He pointed out that there is still hope at the end of the tunnel if all stakeholders can realise their mistakes and harmonise their potential for the betterment of the people. His words: “Collective development of the Yoruba nation will remain a mirage and a pipe-dream unless and until there is a pan-Yoruba political development agenda to which all subscribe. In doing the above, there is urgent need for policy coordination and harmonisation to leverage on the unique features, comparative advantages and special competences of each of the states for the sake of collective development.” The don argued that education that gave the race a pride of place in contemporary Nigeria should be revisited with all vigour and seriousness if there will be any meaningful development. “Education as the bedrock of the development and evident sophistication of the Yoruba must be accorded due priority through
HIS LEGACIES WILL ALWAYS REMAIN
EVERGREEN, ESPECIALLY AMONG THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAD CLOSE CONTACT WITH HIM the harmonisation and adoption of policies and programmes that would benefit all without putting unhealthy burdens on any particular states. “I am a firm believer in the notion that Nigeria can no longer develop from the centre but rather from the sub-national units. Since the states standing by themselves are not viable enough to initiate and sustain durable individual development, only a sort of regional agenda, may be along the current geo-political zones, would be the most viable route,” he asserted. One of the discussants, Mrs Modupe Fashina, enjoined Yoruba leaders and politicians to eschew bitterness and work together in the interest of the Yoruba nation. The former deputy chairman of Eti-Osa Local Government equally called on leaders to shun craze for wealth acquisition, even as she appealed to the youths to imbibe Yoruba tradition and culture as they relate to respect for elders. The leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr. Frederick
Fasehun, lamented that the Yoruba nation was now at crossroads, saying the Yoruba people were no longer part of the system as it was during Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s era. “Awolowo left legacies like Baba Adesanya, Bola Ige, Papa Adekunle Ajasin, but are we emulating those legacies?” he queried. He, however, suggested that the Yoruba nation should hold its national conference if the country was not prepared to hold one as a way of moving forward. In his contribution, human rights crusader, Mallam Shehu Sani, said Yoruba people have been playing and will continue to play a significant role in the political development of Nigeria as a nation because of their exemplary endowments. “The Yoruba people are a people gifted with political suavity and cult-like organisational ingenuity. They are men of determination, vision, perseverance, commitment, resilience and courage. They are calculative, dogged and great fighters in the temple of justice, yet they are not easily dragged into a fight without a cause. They are sophisticated, educated and highly cultured,” he noted. He regretted that 14 years of democracy have brought more calamity to Nigerians instead of happiness, adding: “Nigeria remain much fragile and unstable than it was in the early years of independence: federal roads are in the worst state in history, joblessness remain pervasive, insecurity and terrorism became threatening, violence became a daily occurrence, corruption devalues lives and demean our collective
existence, impunity threatened our instability and constitutional assault and disrespect for the sanctify of life became a norm.” Sani argued that if the death of Adesanya will not be in vein, Afenifere that used to be the vibrant and megaphone of the Yoruba should at this point go back to the drawing board and mend fences within themselves in order to replay those active roles they displayed when Nigeria was being hijacked by some political opportunists. “Afenifere is the foremost Yoruba socio-cultural group. It had always being the mouthpiece of the Yoruba and I hope it continues to be, but reports of factions within its rank and the emergence of other Yoruba socio-cultural platforms will no doubt whittle down its power and ability of the Yoruba to speak with one voice. It must be repositioned to continue to play its leading roles in solving national challenges.” He challenged Yoruba to wake up to its national call in order to refocus the nation to the path of honour and credibility. “The place of Yoruba in Nigerian politics is a place of serving as check and balance and demanding accountability. It is a place of foremost developmental catalyst and evolution of new political stratagem. Yoruba are endowed with everything that a nation needs to survive. It must thus continue to play its leading role in the nation’s politics,” he noted. In her welcome address, Adesanya’s daughter and former Minister of State for Defence (Navy), Mrs Modupe Adelaja, noted that the family was delighted to see the high turnout of Yoruba leaders who came to honour her father, urging them to keep up the pace and the tenacity of purpose in order to achieve the best for the common man. Among other personalities at the event were the Ogun State deputy governor, Chief Segun Adesegun, who represented Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Chief (Mrs) Bola Obasanjo, who represented her husband, former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Rear Admiral Toye Sode (rtd); Chief Segun Korede, who represented Chief Reuben Fasoranti; Senator Biyi Durojaiye, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu and Mr. Jimi Agbaje. Others were Chief Tunde Onasanya, Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Chief Tunde Fashina, Dr. Ebun Sonaya, Senator Gbenga Ogunniya, Senator Olorunnibe Mamora, Dr. Abiola Ogunkelu, Mr Gboyega Oyewole and the children of Adesanya, Mrs Adelaja, Segun, Samuel and Emmanuel Adesanya.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday July 17, 2013
In a matter of days, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will make a final decision on which party owns the acronym, APC. OBIORA IFOH takes a look at the controversial registration and why the commission may ignore the litigation in awarding the right to one of the feuding parties.
APC: Waiting for INEC’s approval
ith the Tuesday visit of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to the national headquarters of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja, all seem set for the registration of the mega party. Even, the pronouncement of the INEC team led by the Director of Political Party Monitoring and Liaison, Shittu Ibrahim, who was conducted round the APC offices by the interim national officers points to the fact. APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, told journalists that the party has already been approved but that with the visit of INEC, what remains is the official proclamation of the party, while boasting that they have always been confident that “no power under the sun will stop us from becoming a political party.” He said: “From the beginning of this merger negotiation, we have gone to various conventions, we have made joint applications and we have been exchanging correspondence with INEC, but they have never visited us before. So, today, INEC came to see us in our home, and they are happy we have got a home. When INEC team met us through our attendance register, they discovered that we belonged to a party of gentlemen, APC. “INEC has never faulted what we did, when we wrote the first joint application, we have completed the merger phase of the exercise. INEC now needs administrative investigation to show that what we have done was according to the laid down procedures and because of that, they kept writing to us and we were replying them. Today they came for verifications as to whether we exist, and where do we exist? We have proved to them that we exist like gentlemen and in a befitting accommodation.” Also, the National Secretary of APC, Alhaji Tijani Tunmsa, responding to the allegation that INEC was going ahead with the registration in spite of the litigation by rival APC groups said: “I am not aware of any other group and we have not gotten any court notice. Actually, we should be the one taking them to court, because we are the main APC and our papers and application are before INEC awaiting registration notifications. Our documentation is okay, near perfect. We are expecting INEC’s notification, telling us that we have been registered.” The merger of leading opposition parties was hinged on the fact that with the existing party structures, it will be difficult to wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. And ahead of the 2015 general elections, the leading opposition parties in Nigeria took positions on how to wrest power from the government in power, the PDP. One of such positions is the collaboration of these parties through the instrumentality of merger in a bid to form a strong and mega political party, capable of truly fighting for political powers.
Three of Nigeria’s leading opposition parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC set out the journey of the merger arrangement. They also accommodated a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP. Within these parties are about 10 state governors supporting the alignment but with enforcers in the likes of former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, former military leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman of ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who history will remember as the one who triggered off the plans for the present mega arrangement. On February 6, 2013, the opposition parties came up with a coinage, APC, after it had extracted words from the names of the parent parties and a process of registration was set in motion but nothing was communicated to the INEC. In the process, two new political groups including the African Peoples Congress and the All Patriotic Citizens had within the month of March applied to INEC, to be registered as political parties adopting APC as their own acronym; thus began the battle for the ownership of the acronym. When the Buhari/Tinubu-led APC eventually approached the INEC for registration as a political party adopting the same acronym, it became obvious that it is only the courts that will decide on the matter. Barely six days after, All Progressive Congress of Nigeria (APCN) threatened to take INEC to court to secure an order restraining it from registering any group with such an acronym. APCN stated that it commenced its registration process with INEC with a letter of intent sent to the commission on March 5, 2013, same time as the controversial African Peoples Congress which is also laying claim to the APC, adding that INEC in a reply signed by its former National Secretary, Abdulahi Kaugama, dated March 15 advised the group to change the name claiming that a group had earlier come with the same acronym for registration. According to the National Secretary of the group, Oguzie Ikechukwu, the group acted in compliance with INEC’s advice and re-applied for registration on March 28 as All Progressive Congress of Nigeria (APCN). But INEC again advised the group to still change the name for the same reason that another group with a similar acro-
NO POWER UNDER THE SUN WILL STOP US FROM BECOMING A POLITICAL PARTY nym had approached the commission for registration. Wondering why INEC couldn’t register his group as a political party even when it has changed from APC to APCN, Ikechukwu disclosed that the party had also in another letter to INEC dated May 22 asked the commission to furnish it with the name of the group it claimed had earlier applied for registration under such an acronym relying on the Freedom of Information Act INEC had few days earlier also rejected the application of the African Peoples Congress for not complying strictly with the commissions’ guidelines, a decision the group immediately challenged in court for which the matter is still pending. The APC’s application for registration also suffered same fate by the commission when it did not come with names and addresses of their national officers, as required by Section 222 (a) of the Nigerian constitution, rather the group submitted an application that was signed by only the national chairmen, secretaries and treasurers of the merging political parties. This observation was quickly addressed when the party recently supplied the list of all their national leaders. On the list are Chief Bisi Akande (Chairman); Senator Annie Okonkwo (Deputy Chairman, South); Aminu Masari (Deputy Chairman, North); Alhaji Tijani Tumsah (Secretary); Mallam Nasir el-Rufai (Deputy National Secretary); Hajiya Sadiya (Treasurer); Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary and Mr. Isa Madu Chul (Deputy National Publicity Secretary). Others are the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso; National Vice Chairman for South-West, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; National Vice-Chairman, South-South, Chief Tom Ikimi; National Vice-Chairman, North Central, Gen. Abdullahi Aboki; National Vice-Chairman, South-East, Dr. Ayim Nyerere; National Vice-Chairman, North-West, Mr. Salisu Fagge; and National Vice-Chairman, North-East, Umaru Duhu, among others. While the drama of the registration unfolds, accusations and counter-accusations
have been flying from across the divide, both claiming the biases of the INEC. Recently, a group of concerned Nigerians made up of some past presidents of National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS and former Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, accused the Presidency of being behind the controversies trailing in the registration of the APC. Spokesperson of the group and former Vice President of the NLC, Comrade Sani Lukeman, also claimed that the documents recently paraded by the African Peoples Congress which unveiled its constitution, logo and emblem were forged with discrepancies in both the signatures of the acting National President and the General Secretary. The group specifically identified one of such forged documents as INEC FORM PA 1, alleging that instead of the sea green colour which was yellowish green, the one reportedly unveiled by the African Peoples Congress was ‘’green in colour.’’ According to him, the controversial APC also claimed to have submitted its application for registration on March 1, 2013, while the date reflected on it showed the document was signed on March 12, 2013, wondering how it could be signed about two weeks after its submission. But in a statement by the Legal Adviser, African Peoples Congress, Kingsley Nnadi, the party accused INEC of effectively aligning with All Progressives Congress, insisting that INEC is sufficiently aware of the fact that their group is legitimately pursuing a judicial review of the commission’s decision to reject its application for registration in the court of law, yet its actions convey an outrageous aversion to the tenets of the rule of law. “Beside the commission’s secret manoeuvres to fast track the registration of the All Progressive Congress, INEC with its involvements and deployment of its staffers to private assignments of the merger party, has descended even further to becoming ‘emergency consultant to the All Progressive Congress on accelerated party registration. “Jega is well-versed in the electoral law and the process of law for that matter, to know that a matter pending in court should be left alone until decided by the court. Jega should not comply by the tenets and orders of court only when it is convenient. “If at the end of this black market registration process, the court rules in favour of the African Peoples Congress, Jega and his INEC would have led Nigerians into an avoidable political landmine. He would have set the stage for anarchy and chaos. It therefore becomes imperative that wellmeaning Nigerians should call Prof. Attahiru Jega and his racketeering officials to order before darkness falls.” The latter’s frustration was on the understanding that INEC was going ahead to confer recognition to the APC in a matter of days, disregarding the subsisting legal processes. Their fear was even more pronounced with the formal inspection of the national headquarters of the APC in Abuja by the electoral umpire. In a matter of days, the APC will be registered by INEC but it is believed that the legal fireworks will definitely continue.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I Will Abiolas ever get justice?
gt Rogers confessed in open court that he was instructed by Hamza Al-Mustapha to kill Kudirat, giving details of how Shofolahan and others were involved. In a sick country, with sick people who lack every sense of history, it’s jubilation time for the ‘innocent’ Mustapha and his cohorts. It is shameful that the police and prosecution bungled the case. But it’s even more shameful that a man and his wife got killed for demanding their rights, and Baba Fasehun was at the forefront of the Free Mustapha choristers. So the Abiolas will never get justice? Bentop Adeboboye, Ibafo, Ogun state
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On the acquittal of Major Al Mustapha
saw the acquittal of Major Al Mustapha of the murder if Kudirat Abiola coming. In the past two years, the campaign for his freedom has been quite vociferous. Eventually, l knew that a politically-correct judicial decision would soon exculpate him. And I say this with due respect to the Appeal court that freed him. I have reported the judiciary for 31 years to know how these things happen. In 1979, during the Awolowo v. Shagari case at the Supreme Court, it was a political, cum juridical decision. That was why the court said it should not be used a judicial precedence. The then Attorney-General came out to explain that the Supreme Court had to make such a decision in favour of Shagari due the exigencies of the moment. Also, few years ago, the Supreme Court made a very pervert decision on this Kudirat matter in the appeal of Mohammed Abacha for bail. In a patently absurd political verdict, the Supreme Court discharged
and acquitted Mohammed Abacha when the substantive matter was not before it. So, the acquittal of Al Mustapha followed such politicallycorrect verdicts, perhaps to bury the hatchet of the perfidy of the Abacha era. I congratulate Al Mustapha for his freedom. The 14 years he spent in prison should have thought him some lesson because all the evidence of that murder is in the public domain. He should reconcile with his conscience and go and sin no more. On Sunday, October 13, 1996, at about 5 pm, l left my office at the Concord Press just to stretch my legs, having been busy for about three hours writing two out of my four weekly columns. As I stepped out of the gate of Concord at Airport Road, Lagos, a cream colored Peugeot saloon car that was parked some meters away, revved into motion towards me. Immediately, three guys came out, pointing guns at me, stating “you are Richard Akin-
nola”. Momentarily, l was tempted to run across the road, but before l could gather my thoughts together, they had pushed me inside the car and zoomed off in a swift operation which nobody noticed. Eventually, we arrived at 15, Awolowo Road, ikoyi, the SSS interrogation centre. Before l was moved to the cell, I saw the operatives returning their guns and bullets back to the armory and signing off. Some Days later, after l had struck a kind a friendship with one of them, l asked him if actually those bullets were meant for me and the guy said yes. He said their intention was for me to run and them they would have shot me and driven off. Their intention was not to detain me, but to waste me, to use his words. Interesting, their boss, Al Mustapha’s grouse was my publication of evidence that showed that the Abacha government killed Pa Alfred Rewane. If I had been killed then, some people who are today dancing on the grave
God will surely judge
udgement can be manipulated for political convenience but the ultimate acquittal comes from God. Beneficiaries of such ‘arrangee’ freedom should not mock the death of their innocent victims because as long as they rely on air, water and light which all come from God the ultimate JUDGE, nemesis will surely catch up with them. Tai Akanbi, Olambe, Ogun State
Still on Madam GEJ...
he Noble laureate did not, in any way, insult Madam Patience Jonathan. The “Domestic Appendage” expression as used by the Noble laureate simply means that she is not an elected official and has no constitutional role to play in the polity. She has no right to shut down a state capital simply because of her presence. She belongs to the domestic front. Just how insultive are these? How difficult is this ‘grammar’ for an average primary 6 pupil to understand? How does that suggest, in general, that women are ‘domestic appendages’, as several commentators have tried so hard to make us believe? Nigerians should please watch the video. “A wise son (or daughter) heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.” - Prov 13:1. If a Wole Soyinka (Aged 79) cannot correct (or even abuse) a Patience Jonathan, I wonder who can. Madam GEJ truly needs to be called to order. Kayode Adeniyi, Lagos
of Kudurat Abiola would also have said Mustapha is innocent. In a country where Ken SaroWiwa can be hanged by Abacha for murder and Al Mustapha is a saint, “for lack of evidence” despite the plethora of evidence, is a sick country. Some people may not know, the free Mustapha campaign, which began about two or three years ago, is a well- funded advocacy campaign, which embarrassingly also included a known Yoruba leader as the chief campaigner. What l know is that there is no evil done that would not suffered by the evil doers. It’s a question of time. God is still on the throne. Richard Akinnola, Lagos
…Only God is wise
ajor Hamza Al Mustapha’s creator merely taught him a lesson in humility, namely that there will NEVER any power and wisdom that surpass the power and wisdom of the ONE and ONLY powerful and wise. The next days and weeks and years will determine if the ephemerally powerful and wise Al Mustapha learnt any lesson from 1998 to 2013 when he was ordered to climb down from the high horse that he rode for the five years that his mortal master, General Sani Abacha, also rode our nation from 1993 to 1998. Let’s wish the freed man happiness in his freedom. Afolabi Gambari, Broad street, Lagos
Rivers of thuggery and mockery
Members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, filling a bad portion of Abeokuta /Oshodi, Express way, Ile Zik bus stop, Ikeja, yesterday. PHOTO: ADEMOLA AKINLABI
Injustice pervades the world
n one week, two judgements disturbed me. One was the acquittal of Major Al-Mustapha in Nigeria over the killing of the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola over the June 12 palaver. The other was that of George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watchman who was acquitted by a Sanford, Florida jury in the US over the shooting to death of a 17-year-old Travon Martin. Both men were found guilty in the courts of people, but not by the justice systems of both countries. That is the power of the judiciary, the supremacy of the rule of law in the land of the
am wondering if Dr. Frederick Faseun is still worthy to be called a Yoruba leader. With this statement on the release of Al Mustapha, we now
Letters to the Editor
living. We can only suspect travesties, disagree and condemn the judgements, we do not have the power to overturn them. Of course, we have the right to worry if we will always get justices in the face glaring injustices (which I cannot categorically say were the cases in these two instances, because I’m not a lawyer or a judge), but I’m very worried that people who get killed by extra judicial means lose it all, even though, the ultimate justice rests with God Almighty. I’m worried that there is no rectitude for the unjustly assassinated
one. The dead is gone with his or her cross to heaven. I’m worried that a close one or even, one can fall a victim of point blank assassination and the assassins in whatever circumstances will walk free forever. I’m not saying these two guys are guilty. I do not have the power to say so. But, I’m just worried that injustice pervades our world and that only God is the ultimate Judge who gives the right judgements. So, never lay claim to any right because your right may be wrong, even, before the law courts of the world. Bayo Adeyinka, UK
know where these characters belonged to in those days of the June 12 struggle. Faseun and others were truly working against the interest of the Yo-
rubas when they were wining and dining with Abacha. Well, God will judge everyone according to their deeds. Aliu Mohammed , Lagos
Et tu, Fasehun?
t will amount to a sheer waste of penmanship if what happened in Rivers Sate House of Assembly provokes a condemnation and counsel from any sane human being. Why? Because for as long as the earth remains, it will be impossible to extol a pop group to a deaf man, He cannot hear you. Whatever your rendition is, these thugs called politicians cannot hear you. But because of our love for this country, we still have to speak, but austere with words. The shame is not just perpetrated in Rivers Assembly, a big bulk of those who lead in all the states in Nigeria are thugs. With very negligible and minimal exceptions, you’ve got to be a thug to be on top in Nigeria. You must be masterful with machetes, artful with guns, skillful with cudgels and cutlasses, and riotous with the mace. What a shame! A nation this big, this blessed, this bountiful, this brimmed-up with intellectuals in men and women of substance, sagacity and decency, yet swimming in desecrating rivers of thuggery and mockery. What a shame! What a shame!! What a shame!!! Fola Ojo, USA
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Reflection on Sino-Nigerian Relations PUBLIC DOMAIN
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he recent President Goodluck Jonathan’s state visit to China has informed this article. The president had travelled to China to attract direct foreign investment to Nigeria in the context of his Transformation Agenda. The Nigerian government discussed with the Chinese business community and investors on steel sector, agriculture, industrial and portfolio investment. China has emerged as a major global economic player and regional influential in the Pacific. It is the most populous country on earth with a population of 1.3 billion people. The country’s economy is built on massive small and medium scale businesses that are supported by the state. It is self sufficient in food production, and exports same. The Chinese economy has been predicated on a strong state role in the expropriation and distribution of its resources. China plays a major role in Africa trade relations; the regions crude oil deposit has been a major attraction to the Asians. She is a major importer of Nigeria’s Bonny light crude and
has been involved in the natural resource struggle in Africa. Nigeria’s trade liberalization policy has assisted the penetration of Chinese goods and culture into its economy and society. Similarly, the Chinese language, Mandarin, is being taught by Confucian institutes in different parts of Africa. Quite recently, the reported plan to introduce the Chinese language in Lagos schools led to controversies on the political intent of China and its implication for indigenous languages. China has a foreign reserve of $3 trillion; state controlled banking sector and equally state dominated power sector. The country is building nine universities to compete with the Ivy League universities in the United States. It produces about 1.140 million megawatts of electricity as against Nigeria’s 3, 000MW. The Chinese banking investors have offered to inject $6 billion into the Nigerian economy to develop its housing sector. The fund will be assessed by Chinese construction firms thus excluding Nigerian engineers and firms. The Nigerian state should assert itself to insist on local technical participation in the design and building of the housing estates. Nigeria should protect its vital interest through the supervision of Chinese investment in the country. China had pursued an inward economic policy to protect its industries against Euro-American competitors when it was developing. On the contrary, the unbridled entry of China into Nigerian economy will
CHINA PRODUCES ABOUT 1.140 MILLION MEGAWATTS OF ELECTRICITY AS AGAINST
NIGERIA’S 3, 000MW
likely increase our dependence on foreign countries and further de-industrialize the economy. The local industries should be protected through tariffs and interest regime to develop an industrial base for the country. Nigeria should rethink its wholesome application of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on trade liberalization. In China, the interest regime is single digit unlike the Nigerian economy that charges double digit. The interest regime in Nigeria increases the cost of investment, pricing on goods and anti-industrialization. The country should adopt single digit interest rate to support and strengthen its manufacturing sector. Nigeria has been seeking foreign direct investment in the economy when the Chinese economy emerged on the basis of local small and medium scale businesses. The production base of Chinese economy is hinged on internal capital accumulation as against foreign direct investment. FDI will further peripheralize the Nigerian economy and create new contradictions in its political economy. Nigeria should learn from the heavy state presence in the Chinese economy. I had urged
on this page that the country will less likely develop amid state withdrawal, structural distortions and underdevelopment. The state in a peripheral economy such as Nigeria, should play a superintendent role in its economy rather than abandon it to the market. The state should be involved in capital accumulation to address its socio-economic crises. The market ought to be subordinated to the state as against the neo-liberal policy of the ascendancy of the market. China has not abandoned its economy to the market and considers electricity a strategic sector hence the state involvement. Nigeria should review its wholesome privatization of the power sector. The state should not compromise its sovereignty through the abduction of control in the strategic power sector. The Chinese banking sector is also state controlled unlike Nigeria where the private sector dominates financial activities. The Chinese government is thus able to control interest regime to foster capital development. It is disturbing that the state actors in Nigeria are emotive about neo-liberal economic option that impoverish and alienate the populace. The neo-liberal policy has been least successful in Africa including Nigeria. The governing elite should consider the eastern model of development as a strategy for economic autonomy. The country’s uncritical implementation of Bretton Woods’s ideas has been detrimental to its politics and economy.
Okonjo-Iweala and governance in Osun SUNDAY AWOPEGBA
r. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, has a knack for courting superfluous controversies. Though highly self-opinionated, her coruscating brilliance is not in doubt. She speaks candidly on any aspect of economics that catches her fancy. One may have deep reservations about her soaring prognoses on the Nigerian dodgy economy and even dislike the somersaulting policies of the government she is a part of; certainly one can’t deny that the former World Bank technocrat often ardently means whatever she gives voice to. It is in this context that I view her recent remarkable appraisal of governance in the State of Osun. This should remind us of the useful lesson evident in the idiomatic expression that it can be counterproductive to throw out the baby together with the bath water. The Minister’s considered utterances sometimes embody unassailable facts. I commend Dr. Okonjo-Iweala for adding her notable voice to those of many others who have conscientiously spoken about the unprecedented improvement evident in the socio-economic condition of the State of Osun since the advent of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola Administration. Media reports quoted the Finance Minister as saying that Governor Aregbesola is a model for good governance, having demonstrated clearly that good governance in Nigeria is feasible. She made the remarks in the address she read at a two-day workshop organised by the World Bank last June at Iloko-Ijesa for volunteers in the Federal Government’s
THE TRANSITION THAT HAS BEEN WITNESSED IN OUR STATE FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS NOW HAS SOOTHING
EVIDENCE OF CONCRETE TRANSFORMATION Youth Empowerment and Social Support Operation (YESSO). It must be remembered that the unimaginable success of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) necessitated the existence of YESSO. About a year after the introduction of the scheme in Osun, the World Bank reportedly began to study the programme and later submitted that OYES provided a practical platform for mass employment. It recommended the idea to both the Federal Government and states in Nigeria. In the said address read by her representative, the National Coordinator of YESSO, Mr. Peter Papka, Okonjo-Iweala rightly observed that the initiatives of the ACN government in Osun gave comforting assurance that it is very possible to level the perilously imposing mountains of youth unemployment across the country. That the State of Osun comes first as the state with the least unemployment woes in Nigeria is a reality that can no longer be ignored by those who incessantly carpet its government. Before Aregbesola became our governor, those of us who live and make our living in Osun know that the state was ridden by youth unemployment, infrastructural decay and economic
stasis. Poverty stalked and menaced the people. But that is no longer the case. The transition that has been witnessed in our state for the past two years now has soothing evidence of concrete transformation. Youths whose lives were steadily wasting away have been rescued, given training in useful skills and empowered to start small businesses. Farmers have their own happy stories to tell. Under the aegis of the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme, agro-allied businesses have received a massive boost. With the computer tablet, free school uniforms, free daily feeding for pupils in Elementary Class 1-4, building of ultramodern schools across the state, and increase in funding, the education system of Osun as we used to know it has changed significantly. Infrastructural development enjoys adequate attention now. Old roads are being rehabilitated and newer ones are springing up. A few weeks ago I read in the papers that all the nine state hospitals are already being renovated. That is in addition to the marked changes in healthcare services. Indeed, great things are taking place in Osun. Those who can’t hear, see them; those who can’t see, hear them; and hardly is there a single household in the ‘Land of the Virtuous’ that doesn’t benefit from the policies of the present government. One other way to test for the genuineness and effectiveness of the policies of the Aregbesola Administration is to invoke the methodology prescribed by the seasoned British economist, Dudley Seers. According to him, to understand whether a state or country is developing or not, three main questions need to be asked: First, “what
has been happening to poverty?” Second, “what has been happening to unemployment?” Third, “what has been happening to inequality?” He contends that if we notice tangible declines in all of these key areas, doubtlessly the entity can be said to be in an era of development. However, he cautions that if one or two of those core issues have an organic tale of misfortune, or if the three are becoming more unbearable, it would amount to sheer lunacy to describe that misery of biblical proportion as development. Surely, Okonjo-Iweala had issues of unemployment, poverty, and inequality in mind when she lauded Governor Aregbesola as an exemplar of good governance. The capacity of the Osun people to live dignified and meaningful life has been (and is still being) made possible through a consistent and focused implementation of programmes that squarely address poverty, unemployment, and social injustice. This is a fact that a high-ranking PDP apologist has affirmed dispassionately. And I see this as another clinical deconstruction of the two-for-one-penny fable of secession and Islamisation that some calcified minds wickedly spawned against Ogbeni, but to no avail. Awopegba wrote from Iloko-Ijesa, Osun State Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.
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Removal of immunity clause from 1999 Constitution
lamour for the removal of immunity clause from the country’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) again raised dust recently with reports that the House of Representatives’ Adhoc Committee on the Review of the Constitution recommended the expunging of the constitutional clause shielding the President, Vice, State Governors and their deputies from all criminal proceedings while in office. The suggestion was said to be contained in the Reps’ committee’s report laid before the House in Abuja by its chairman and Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha penultimate Thursday. But the proposal, which was one of the major highlights of the committee’s report, would need the nod of the Senate to become a reality. Ihedioha, according to reports, revealed that the removal of the immunity clause enjoyed the overwhelming support of Nigerians during the Reps’ tour of the 360 federal constituencies nationwide late last year. The removal of the immunity clause in Section 308 of the Constitution has been a contentious subject-matter right from the commencement of plans by the National Assembly to tinker with the 1999 Constitution. There are strong indications, for example, that both the Presidency and most state governors are not in support of the idea. Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on
THE SAID CLAUSE IS NOT THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM, BUT THE
WEAK APPLICATION OF THE LAW AND COMPROMISED DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, in his response to the latest development, reportedly detested the move. “...The president, vice president, governors, and their deputies really need immunity”, he insisted. Section 308 (1) of the 1999 Constitution and its subsections say no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom they apply while still in office. The officers shall also “not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies shall be applied or issued”. It is thus obvious that the framers of the Constitution inserted Section 308 to institute order, decorum and the least distraction for occupants of the offices covered by the provision. The
challenges that routinely confront holders of the offices and the degree of concentration they require to govern well must also have been duly considered, as unwarranted distractions that can cripple government business at the federal and state levels; especially considering the bitterness and rancour trailing the country’s politics. But of a truth, the line of reasoning in some quarters, despite the popular agitation for the removal of the immunity clause, is that it will be ridiculous for the Nigerian President or the governor of a state to enter the dock as a witness or for interrogation, in view of the psychological and emotional trauma the process can inflict on him or her, as well as the setback such a development will rub off on the performance of constitutional duties. Advocates of immunity removal often harp on the expansive possibilities of abuse of Section 308. They say the section has been the licence that makes sitting presidents and governors indulge in unspeakable criminal acts, including massive corruption as was reported in many states between 1999 and 2007. It is equally felt that the immunity clause makes the affected chief executives behave as if they are above the law; since once they vacate their offices, it becomes almost impossible to bring them to justice. However, while arguments for immunity clause
removal seem quite convincing, against the backdrop of the mockery past public office holders, especially ex-governors indicted by anti-graft agencies for involvement in monumental corrupt escapades, are making with the nation’s judicial process. Yet, it would appear the demerits of expunging immunity from the Constitution outweigh the advantages. Our thinking is that the problem has to do mainly with the nation’s toothless criminal justice system that lets go of indicted public officers even after they had left office. With a prosecution and judiciary committed to dispensing undiluted justice in good time, for instance, no president or governor will be daring enough to indulge in crime and impunity while in office, knowing the consequences that will follow once stripped of immunity. But the inefficiency and inherent ‘technicalities’ (often consciously contrived) in court processes are still there. Again, the nation’s anti-graft agencies are not demonstrating enough diligence and activism in the investigation and prosecution of high profile crimes. Only when these nagging realities are addressed can an objective appraisal of the immunity clause be possible. The said clause is not the root of the problem, but the weak application of the law and compromised dispensation of justice.
ON THIS DAY July 17, 2009 Jakarta double bombings: At the JW Marriott and RitzCarlton Hotels, bomb explosions killed nine people, including four foreigners, when separate bombings five minutes apart hit the two hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. Three of the seven victims were Australians, two from The Netherlands, and one each from New Zealand and Indonesia. More than 50 people were also injured in the blasts masterminded by suicide bombers who checked into the hotels.
July 17, 1998 A diplomatic conference adopted the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The Statute was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998 and it entered into force on July 1, 2002. As of February 1, 2012, 121 states were party to the statute.
July 17, 1979 After his overthrow, followed by an insurrection, Nicaraguan President, General Anastasio Somoza Debayle, resigned from his position and fled to Miami, Florida, United States. Anastasio (1925 – 1980) was the 73rd and 76th President of Nicaragua from May 1, 1967 to May 1, 1972 and from December 1, 1974 to July 17, 1979. He was the last member of the Somoza family to be President, ending a dynasty that had been in power since 1936.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Health & Wellbeing HIV has become blessing to me –Girl living with HIV tells world leaders
WHO targets ART for 26million HIV patients
22 A ISHA TITILAYO
or Muslims, the fear of adverse health consequences may not be a tenable excuse for not obeying the Quaranic injunction on fasting during the holy month of Ramadan – especially if you are in good health. Rather, doctors say it could be what you need to stay healthy long after the exercise. In an exclusive interview with Health&Wellbeing, Dr, Khadijat Ikotun, the medical director of Crescent Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos disclosed that apart from the spiritual benefits of fasting due to Muslims that participate in the Ramadan fasting, the health benefits could be enormous. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to abstain from eating, drinking (including water), and engaging in sexual activities in day time. Not only that, they are also expected to temper negative emotions such as anger and addiction. According to Dr. Ikotun, this not only draws them closer to God, but also benefits their body both physically and mentally. She tells Health&Wellbeing some of the benefits: First, she says, fasting breaks down the body glucose - a sugar found in the bloodstream which serves as the body’s main source of energy and when this happens, she explains, there is a breakdown of fats. “The fats stored in the kidney and muscles are also broken down to release energy. This, by extension, helps to reduce blood pressure as clogging of arteries by fat particles is prevented.” Also, the breakdown of fats helps the body to detoxify the toxins stored in the system through heavy consumption of processed foods which normally contain lots of additives. According to the experts, organs involved in the detoxification process such as the liver and kidneys, among others, benefit directly from the exercise. “Fasting helps to maintain a healthier lifestyle and also helps to slow down the aging process and gives an increased life span as fasting keeps our organs youthful” Dr. Ikotun also noted that fasting helps to improve the blood lipid profile as well as decreasing cholesterol in the blood. “The digestive organs rest during fasting,” she says. “There is production of digestive secretions at reduced rates which helps to maintain balance of fluids in the body.” Also of importance is the fact that fasting has an impact on obesity as in-
Fasting is good for your health! –Experts •Burns off body fats •Helps in detoxification of body system •Resolves problem of inflammatory diseases and allergies •Promotes healthy lifestyle
The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111
NO FOOD: Fasting promotes healthy lifestyle.
THOUGH THIS MAY NOT BE RECOMMENDED AS THE MAIN WEIGHT REDUCTION METHOD THE RAMADAN FAST NONETHELESS OFFERS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO SHED SOME EXCESS WEIGHT YOU HAVE IGNORED FOR SOME TIME dividuals are able to reduce the risks of heart disease during the period Other medical experts agreed with her. For instance, it is believed that fasting resolves the problem of inflammatory diseases and allergies such as
arthritis and certain skin diseases such a psoriasis. Also, some experts assert that fasting may promote healing of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis. Of course, even a layman knows that fasting could be an avenue for a rapid weight loss. Though this may not be recommended as the main weight reduction method the Ramadan fast nonetheless offers a unique opportunity to shed some excess weight you have ignored for some time. Also for those with addiction problems, ranging from cigarette, alcohol, caffeine and other substance abuse, fasting opens the way for kicking such addiction. It has been observed that fasting reduces craving for processed foods. It promotes desire for natural foods, especially water and fruits thus promoting a healthy lifestyle. Fasting however does have some
negative health effects. It may cause dehydration – loss of body fluids and experts say this may lead to headaches or even migraine in some people. Dr. Ikotun says fasting may also increase the pain of peptic ulcer, which is why ulcer patients are usually advised not to engage in fasting. The doctor also advises, pregnant women, nursing mothers, malnourished people, people with renal or liver problems and those on cancer treatment not to fast. She however advises people who engage in fastin g to alw ays l imit stre nu ou s activitie s du rin g th e pe riod an d try to re strict th e amou n t of w ate r th e y take at th e poin t of bre akin g th e f ast. “ T h e y sh ou l d drin k fre sh fr u it an d ve g e tabl e ju ice s. By drin kin g ju ice s du rin g f astin g , it su ppl ie s th e body w ith a sou rce of n atu ral su g ars wh ich h e l ps to main tain e n e rg y l eve l s an d preve n t hypog lycae mia (l ow bl ood su g ar), Food sh ou l d be re in trodu ce d sl ow ly.” T h e Me dical D ire ctor al so advise s pe opl e w ith diabe te s to monitor their blood sugar on regular basis and break their fast if it gets low. Still wondering if the Ramadan fast is all about abstinence from food? Doctors say it is good for your health... and they should know!
Health & Wellbeing
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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FG inaugurates 12-man team Fashola commissions new Eye on universal health coverage foundation Head office MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA
n compliance with World Health Assembly’s resolution urging member nations to provide universal health coverage for their people, the Federal Government yesterday set up a 12man technical committee to help work towards the goal. The committee is expected to work on frameworks that will culminate in Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage later this year. Setting up the committee in Abuja recently, Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, said it had increasingly been acknowledged worldwide that the most important strategy to improve the health outcomes of any nation “is to provide to its citizens an unfettered access to health services when the need arises.” He added that “Over the years, various stakeholders in Nigeria have espoused the need for providing access to equitable and affordable health services to our population. Unfortunately, these efforts have not yielded optimal results. Achieving this goal goes beyond rhetoric and symbolic demonstrations, but requires decisive action, especially providing adequate resources to finance healthcare for all. “At the recently con-
cluded 66th Session of the World Health Assembly, following approval of Mr. President, I informed the assembly about our efforts to move towards universal health coverage in Nigeria. In the end, in recognition of the consensus of member nations, the assembly approved a resolution urging all member states to aspire to provide universal health coverage for their people”. The Minister, represented by General Manager of Planning and Research, of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr Kenneth Korve, said the country was taking a number of steps to ensure all its citizens were covered under health insurance scheme. He added: “This meeting today is in furtherance of Mr. President’s directive for us to chart the way towards ensuring universal health coverage for Nigeria through a cohesive, comprehensive, realistic and coasted roadmap…The work of the technical Working Group to be inaugurated today is expected to set in motion, the implementation of series of activities that will culminate into a Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage as directed by Mr. President. “A major outcome expected from this Summit is a detailed and coasted roadmap
that will put us on track towards providing universal health coverage for Nigerians in a sustainable manner. The committee chaired by Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Fatima Bamidele, has four weeks to submit its Terms of Reference which include: “To review the Draft Concept Note of the Universal Health care Summit; identify relevant topics under UHC for technical papers and documents to be developed and collected, if existing; to identify and contact experts/resource persons to develop technical papers.
President, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele, has been elected Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth Medical Association, CMA. He is to superintend over the West African Region for the next three years. His election followed a change in the leadership of the CMA at 23rd Triennial conference and Council meeting held from July 4-7, 2013, in Trinidad and Tobago. Enabulele said of his election: ‘’The CMA has its own vision, mission and aim which are driven by the Executive led by the CMA President. For
me as Vice President, my brief is to superintend over the West African Region and my first objective is to galvanize the countries within the West African Region and then set an agenda focused on strengthening the National Medical Associations, Healthcare and the wellbeing of the people within the West African Region’’. Other officials on the new leadership of CMA are: Dr Solaiman Juman, a Consultant ENT surgeon and former President of the Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association who emerged as new CMA President; Dr Oheneba Owusu-Danso, of the Ghana Medical Association and a Consultant plastic, aesthetic and hand surgeon as Secretary; Dr Pho-
of the Eye Foundation Hospital Group Dr. Adekunle Hassan stated that with the new building, the Foundation aims to do more to reduce the number of blind persons in the country. The Chief Medical Director also disclosed that the new building would be the centre and place of comfort and hope for all those who wish to save their sight before it is stolen from them. He acknowledged the support and contributions of local and international institutions that syndicated the funds with which the New Head Office Complex was built, amongst which are Duestche Bank Germany
Eye Fund, The French Development Agency and The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Local banks which supported the building fund included First Bank Plc, Diamond Bank and Zenith Bank. In his remarks at the occasion, former minister of health and social services Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi commended the Chief Medical Director and his team for the courage and vision in establishing the New Head Office Complex in these challenging times. He charged them to continue to do more to provide first class eye care services to Nigerians.
Founder and Chief Medical Director, Eye Foundation Hospital Group Dr. Adekunle Hassan, the Awujale of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, Lagos Deputy Governor Mrs Adejoke Orelope Adefulire and former Health Minister, Prince Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi at the commissioning of the new Eye Foundation Head office.
Enabulele elected Vice President, Commonwealth Medical Association MARCUS FATUNMOLE
agos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). last week commissioned the ultra modern head office building of the Eye Foundation Hospital Group, the leading eye care service provider in Sub Saharan Africa. The New Head Office Complex Building on Four Floors is the first eye specialist hospital of its kind in Nigeria which, according to its management is designed to provide the desired environment for both staff and patients. In his welcome address at the occasion, the Founder and Chief Medical Director
phi Ramathuba, a clinical pharmacologist and delegate of the South Africa Medical Association, who was elected Treasurer; while Dr Gordon Caruana-Dingli, a general and breast surgeon from the Medical Association of Malta automatically became the Immediate Past President and member of the executive. The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) was founded in 1962 and is made up of National Medical Associations from at least 42 Commonwealth countries from the various continents of the Commonwealth, including United Kingdom, South Africa, Nigeria, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and India.
New HMO promises innovative health care financing AISHA TITILAYO
new health maintenance organisation, Avon HMO recently joined the growing list of health insurance service providers in the country with a pledge from its management to raise the standard of health care delivery services with a new approach to managed care and health care financing in Nigeria. Speaking in Lagos recently, Avon HMO’s CEO, Mrs. Simbo Ukiri, said the company aims to be the preferred choice for healthcare solutions and will set new standards in the industry, new standards by way of real value to clients, enrolled members and providers; as well as new standards in service delivery. According to her, Avon HMO has adopted a com-
pletely different approach. “We want our clients, enrolled members and partners to know that we listen, and that we have the right people, skills and technology to meet their healthcare needs at the right price and in the most responsive and efficient manner. We don’t simply sell health plans; we give clients and members access to healthcare solutions that are relevant to their needs, improving quality of life and promoting soundness of mind and body which accelerates productivity and enhances the creation of wealth.” This launch will set the tone for how Avon HMO plans to engage with key stakeholders and partners, including governments and senior public officials; leading corporate organisations; key SMEs as well as Health care professionals and providers.
“We share NHIS’s passion under the leadership of Dr. Abdulrahman Sambo, for our country Nigeria, to achieve universal health insurance coverage. Working together with all stakeholders, we believe this is possible sooner rather than later. We want to add meaningful value to the many people who will use our services, so that we are touching lives, even as we do our part to improve Nigeria’s healthcare industry.” Avon HMO offers health insurance plans, health risk assessment, occupational health management, employee well-being and other services to individuals, families, groups, companies and the government. Its full range of carefully designed health plans provides increasing levels of care which cover typical ailments and procedures that are treatable within and outside Nigeria.
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Health & Wellbeing
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
AU SPECIAL SUMMMIT ON HIV/AIDS, TB AND MALARIA
by Marcus Fatunmole
WHO targets ART for 26million HIV patients
he World Health Organization, WHO, has said about 26million people were being targeted with Antiretroviral Therapy, ART, across the world. It said it wanted ART to increase from its current 17 million to 26 million people, globally. Director General of WHO, Margaret Chan, made this known at the just-concluded African Union Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Abuja. Chan, who was repre-
sented by the global health agency’s Representative in Nigeria, Dr Gama Vaz , made the declaration at the launch of the “Treatment 2015”, a new plan for HIV treatment, prevention and control. She said: “In the Global Treatment Report that was launched by the WHO Department last week, we have seen encouraging result. Globally, close to 10 million people are now accessing ART out of which 7.5million people were receiving the HIV treatment in their conviction compared with only 50,000 that we had be-
fore. This is a tremendous progress. As a result, there were close to 40 percent fewer deaths in 2011 compared to 2005. Life expectancy has also increased, for example, between 2005 and 2011 in South Africa, the life expectancy at birth increased from 54 to 60 years. In addition, the rate of people acquiring HIV fell by 50 percent or more in several countries in the African region. Sub-Saharan Africa, the region most seriously affected by HIV is making the fastest and the most impressive progress on the global
scale. “Over the last couple of years, we have seen some important developments. We have now seen strong evidence on individual and population benefits of ART. New ART regimes are safer, simpler, more efficacious and more affordable. Moreover, newer testing and modern technologies for diagnosis and patients’ follow up are and will continue to become available,” Chan explained. She added that there had been progress in the reduction of mother-to-child-trans-
mission in the African region. Chan however decried there remained major concerns with some countries not being able to close the gap. She continued: “Switching to the new 2013 WHO guidelines on the use of ART medicines for HIV treatment and prevention would save additional three million lives, globally by 2025, over and above what can be achieved in 2010 guidelines. 3.5 additional new HIV infections are due in the same period. The guidelines provides an opportunity
of decreasing the number of people dying from it or being infected by HIV by more than one third compared to what we could hope to achieve before. “When fully implemented, a number of people eligible for ART will increase from current 17 close to 26 million people globally. Such scale up can only be achieved if every step of the treatment is optimized. In most of our countries, more than half of people living with HIV are unaware of the infection.”
HIV/AIDS: UN releases new strategy on zero infections, deaths
new strategy that will help in achieving zero new infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths has been released by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). UNAIDS, an innovative partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, said in the strategy in Abuja, at the weekend, that the new policy represented a major paradigm shift in both prevention and treatment of the disease, globally. The new framework is expected to accelerate action on reaching 15 million people with antiretroviral treatment by 2015 - the goal set by United Nations member states in 2011. Entitled “Treatment 2015”, it offers countries and partners both practical and innovative ways to increase the number of people accessing antiretroviral medicines. These medicines will not only enable people living with HIV to live longer and healthier lives, they will also help prevent new HIV infections. “Reaching the 2015 target will be a critical milestone,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.” He added that “countries and partners need to urgently and strategically invest resources and efforts to ensure that everyone has access to HIV prevention
and treatment services.” Developed in consultation with a range of stakeholders, Treatment 2015 takes into account the new consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection released last month by the World Health Organization (WHO). The guidelines recommend that people living with HIV start antiretroviral therapy (ART) much earlier. Treatment 2015 emphasizes the importance of HIV testing and counselling as a gateway to expanding access to antiretroviral therapy and that further efforts are required to normalize HIV testing. It highlights that community testing campaigns have proven to be particularly effective in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. “We have to work hard to defeat HIV and end it as a public health threat, and it will require concerted effort from all partners to get there,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Treatment 2015 outlines three fundamental pillars essential to reaching the 2015 target; Demand––increasing demand for HIV testing and treatment services; Invest ––mobilizing resources and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of spending; and Deliver ––ensuring more people have access to antiretroviral therapy.
Executive Director, National Health Care Development Agency, Dr Ado Mohammed presenting an award as the best performing Governor in immunization in the North-Central zone to Kogi State Governor, Capt. Idris Wada on Saturday.
Tobacco use kills more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined –WHO
he World Health Organization, WHO, has reiterated its warning on the use of tobacco products, with its recent report stating that the use of tobacco kills more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Country Representative of the global health agency, Dr Gama Vaz, said this recently at the official release of the maiden edition of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in Abuja. According to him, WHO estimates that six million people die from tobacco use annually, and more than 600,000 people are exposed to second-hand smoke. If current trends continue, by 2030, approximately 80 percent of the eight million projected annual deaths from tobacco use will occur in low and middle-income countries. “Tobacco use remains one of the leading preventable
causes of death, killing up to one half of all its users. Tobacco use causes disease, disability and premature death and has no known health benefit. In wealthy countries, strong public health tobacco control policies and preventive programmes have been put in place but these are still weak in developing countries where the tobacco industry is still thriving… A release made available the WHO stated that globally, 12 percent of all deaths among adults aged 30 years and over were attributable to tobacco. “In Africa, tobacco-attributable mortality is about three percent. While these numbers seem relatively low, Africa is set to see a big increase in tobacco use over the coming decades, as the tobacco industry continues to undermine tobacco control policies in the region. Even as rates of smoking are
leveling off or declining in the developed, tobacco use in Africa is increasing at the alarming of 4.3 percent per year. Without more action by African nations to discourage smoking, the percentage of smokers will rise from an average 16 percent to 22 percent by 2030.” It therefore implies that if the current smoking patterns continue unabated, they will accelerate the growth of tobacco-related non-communicable chronic diseases which include lung cancer, respiratory problems, heart attacks (which compound the already heavy burden imposed by communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria). Other diseases caused by smoking are: stroke, blindness, cataracts, pneumonia, periodontitis, aortic aneurysm, atherosclerotic periph-
eral vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and other respiratory effects. Smoking also leads to reduction in fertility among women. Even though there are national guidelines aimed at controlling trading in and consumption of tobacco products, they have been subjected to criticisms for being flexible, incomprehensive and outmoded given the fast-rising strategies involved in the sustenance of production and consumption of tobacco products. They include adoption tax and price measures to reduce tobacco consumption; banning tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship; creating smoke-free work and public spaces; putting prominent health warnings on tobacco packages and combating illicit trade in tobacco products.
Health & Wellbeing
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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ECHOES OF AU SPECIAL SUMMMIT ON HIV/AIDS, TB AND MALARIA
HIV has become blessing to me Among millions of HIV patients around the world, Miss Gloria Asukwo has a unique experience which has endeared her to leaders of nations, health experts and other prominent personalities. The latest of her touching but enthralling narration came at the just concluded AU Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in Abuja. Health Reporter, MARCUS FATUNMOLE, captures her account.
–Girl living with HIV tells world leaders
y name is Gloria Asukwo. I was diagnosed with HIV when I was 12 years old and in primary six; going to JSS I. Everybody would ask how that happened. Yes, I got it through blood transfusion. That was 12 years back. Then, the stigma was so much that I just couldn’t manage it. The drugs were too expensive for my parents to afford. Each time my dad brought money for me to get the drugs, my mum would say ‘why are you giving her the money? We know that she will soon die. The mistake has been made, just allow her (to die). Why is she taking the drugs? Why are you wasting our money?’ She later went to the Reverend in our church; the Reverend announced my status to the community and told the church saying: ‘Yes, we know that it is a mistake which Prof Osotimehin (the then Minister of Health) is aware of. We know that it is a mistake, why can’t you take this girl to one of the General Hospital in Abuja and abandon her? When it is her time to die, she will die.’ My father called the attention of the Reverend and said: ‘Reverend, you have four daughters, if you can take one of them and abandon her at the hospital until she dies, it will give me the courage to take my daughter there and abandon her too. My mum used her own money to build a separate apartment for me and I was separated from everything in the house. I had to break the window and jump out of the house one day because the stress and the stigma were too much for me at that tender age. You can imagine how that could have been. I escaped to an unknown village called Opi, near Nsukka, Enugu State. I had to go to one of the parks here in Abuja, Jabi, with only N800.00 on me. I just wanted to go somewhere I could die and leave this world. I kept telling myself that I was not worth being in any the country and in fact, the world at large. It was at the Opi bush that I stopped my drugs. I knew I couldn’t afford the drug. Then, we were buying it for N15, 000.00. (lists different tests she also had to undertake running into several thousands of naira,) I can’t afford all those things, I was not working,
Gloria (m) raising the new WHO treatment plan at the weeekend.
I was just a student. I stayed in that place and kept asking God for my time to die. Before going to Enugu State, I went to NTA, and offered to tell them my story. I told them I was HIV positive and that I wanted to tell the whole world so that when I die, everybody would know what killed me. The people at NTA pleaded with me and offered to veil my face at Wuse General Hospital so that people would not see me; I declined and insisted my face should not be covered. I just wanted to tell the whole world that I am HIV positive and then die. That was where I shared my story and ran away. But, to God be the glory, I saw one doctor, Anthony Agwu, a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He asked if I didn’t have parents. I responded with tears. He later took me to the university, sat me down and demanded I tell him the whole story. He asked if I wanted my parents to know that I was HIV positive so I lied that I didn’t have parents and that I wanted to stay where I was. He took me to his house, gave me a room with instructions never to tell his family. I lived with him while he took me back to school. That was how I finished my secondary school in Nsukka. In 2006, this man came back and told me that he was aware the drug was free and requested that I should try and go for it. As God would have it, I came back to Abuja and I didn’t go back to my parent’s home. I stopped at Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital where I met one Dr Ajayi and told him I needed the free drugs. The doctor passionately asked me where I had been, I told him I’d been in school in Nsukka, I lied that I had been taking my drugs because I felt he might refuse to give me the drugs if he knew I was no longer on any medication. Dr, Ajayi asked
MY MUM USED HER OWN MONEY TO BUILD A SEPARATE APARTMENT FOR ME AND
I WAS SEPARATED
FROM EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE several questions but in the end he placed me on the antiretroviral drugs. I learnt that Prof. Osotimehin and Dr Pat Fatomilola had been busy looking for me all over the place. It was Dr Ajayi that later informed Dr Fatomilola about my appearance at the hospital and where I was staying. They informed the Radio Nigeria Health Correspondent, Mr Godwin Odemwingie, who came and met me at the place. Mr Odemwingie, came and asked for the person that brought me to where I was, I told him I came on my own. But, I explained to him the person that had been taking care of me all that time. That was how they brought me back home. In that process, in 2006, my condition became worse when I was diagnosed with typhoid and because I had stopped the drugs for a number of years before taking them again. I was operated and today, I’m still on first line of treatment. What I am trying to say here today is that God, together with the treatment, has kept me alive. If there were no free drugs, by now I would have been forgotten and my name would have perished. I will also say that this HIV has become a
blessing to me. But for HIV, today, I will not have been sitting down with Ministers and these dignitaries on the high table. I will also say if not for HIV, I would not be travelling around the world as I am doing now. These are some of the things that made me say HIV has become a blessing to me. I am pleading that the HIV drugs should be accessible, especially to the youth and women because we are the most vulnerable. We don’t have anywhere to go. Tomorrow, they may chase us out of our houses and ask us where we contracted the virus. Many people still believe today that it is only through promiscuity that one contracts the virus though we know we can get it in so many ways. With adequate access to the drugs, we can get the three “zeros” –zero-related death, zero- new infection and zero-stigma. Without this, we can’t achieve the goals. Without this, young people will not have the courage to come out and say they are positive with the virus. They would rather keep quiet and continue living with the virus. But, when all the requests I have made are made available namely access to treatment, free education, employment, non-discrimination, I tell you, we would achieve those three zeros. Today, I am dreaming of beconing a medical doctor and I am sure HIV has nothing to do with my future. I am sure I will overcome it. I am standing here to say that I need you all to help me achieve my goal. I also need you all to help find the cure of HIV because I want my name to be great so that they can say Gloria Osukwo finds a cure to HIV. I am also pleading for scholarship in any of our universities so that I can pursue my dream and achieve my goal. Thank you.”
Wednesday, 12, 2013 2013 Wednesday, June July 17,
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I’m not in entertainment for money –Mimi
‘Africa’s’ Viviane Sassen excites at 2013 Venice Art biennale
WS@79: A literary icon unmasks for students TERH AGBEDEH
s early as 10.00 a.m. last Saturday, the grounds of Freedom Park, the thriving culture hotspot in Lagos, was agog with activities as eager students from Secondary Schools across the country competed in reading, debate, essay, dance, spelling bee and drama. They had gathered in honour of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who turned 79 on that day. In the evening, activity shifted to Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, for the stage production of two plays by the literary legend, The Trials of Brother Jero and Childe Internationale. Wole Soyinka, addressed in the literati community by acronym ‘WS’, may not have been in attendance like it has been the case in the last 10 years for his birthday celebration on July 13, but he loomed large on the minds of everyone present like the literary umpire he has always been for Nigeria. The event tagged WS79 is part of the Open Door Series WS project, an international cultural exchange programme, which reconvened in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Sunday. Organised by the Lagos-based multimedia company, Zmirage, it has been on for four years and the theme of this edition was: Memoirs of our Future. On Sunday in Abeokuta, the Nobel Laureate further pleaded with governments at all levels to ensure Nigerians were provided with qualitative education to pave the way for an economically sound nation. There is no doubt that WS is in love with Nigeria for which he has written a song and has themed many of his plays on as reflected in A Dance of the Forests, among others. As was the case at the event in Abeokuta, he has never failed to speak up for the people. But Soyinka also had something to say to the 79 students he was hosting as part of the activities marking his 79th birthday (the students had been chosen after taking part in a national essay competition). He told Nigerian students, especially those residing in violence-prone areas of the north, not to be discouraged by activities of Boko Haram. WS called their attention to the life of a 16-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head on October 9, 2012 by Taliban fighters over her campaign for girl-child education in Pakistan. The Pakistani girl last Friday addressed the maiden United Nations Youth Assembly, where she called on world leaders to provide free education to all children and further vowed not to relent in her campaign.
Not only that, Soyinka broke the silence on the long told story that he graduated with third-class division, explaining that he graduated from the University College, Ibadan with a Second Class Upper. The Nobel Laureate explained that he had kept silent over the years on the matter but decided to open up for the sake of the children as a mark of respect for them. “You are not a complete human being if you are not educated, schooled or cultured. No matter what goes around you, you must insist on your education”, he told the students. For over 50 years, Soyinka, who said at the event that he would have loved to be an architect or a trained musician or pilot, has been active in the affairs of the country whether in his writing or playing an activist role. This was the case when he took over a radio station in south west Nigeria, when he met with Odumegwu Ojukwu over the impending civil war or when he took on the late Sani Abacha, among many other occasions. “I would have loved to be an architect, or a musician, but not an amateur but a trained one, and if I have the opportunity to sit behind a pilot in the plane, I would have loved to be an airplane pilot”, he told the students. Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, whose state supported the event, described Soyinka as a “world citizen’’ and encouraged the students to be steadfast in their educational pursuits. He advised participants in the essay competition to emulate the life of Wole Soyinka and be more studious, promising the commitment of the state government towards supporting the celebration of the life of Soyinka. Amosun commended the organisers and said his administration is also committed to the celebration of prominent Nigerians whose lives have remained sources of inspiration to the younger generation. Interestingly, Soyinka said he would have become a journalist but for flunking a Daily Times test. “When I left school, I wanted to be a journalist. I actually sat for an exam to be absorbed in Daily Times… but after the exam, I was told that I wrote a short story and not a news story. So, I was not taken. Thank goodness, I did not become a journalist”, he said. Prizes to five winners of the essay competition held on Saturday at the Freedom Park. The first winner was Motolani Akinpelu of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oke Bola, Ibadan, while the second prize went to Cosmos Andrew Adedero of Mount Saint Gabriel Secondary School, Makurdi, Benue State. Tomisin Adebisi and Chukwu Winke of Lead City High School Ibadan, Oyo State and Dority International School, Aba, Abia State
Prof. Soyinka (middle) flanked by the finalists of the essay competition
LAUREATE PLEADED WITH GOVERNMENTS AT ALL LEVELS TO ENSURE
WERE PROVIDED WITH QUALITATIVE
EDUCATION... FOR AN ECONOMICALLY SOUND NATION jointly emerged third, while Odiakosa Alfred of St. Charles Secondary School Onitsha, Anambra State, came fifth. The book titled: Memoirs for our Future will be presented to the public by Soyinka, who wrote the foreword, on July 20 in the United Kingdom. Others events that celebrated Soyinka in Lagos included the Fifth Media Lecture Series of the Wole Soyinka Centre
for Investigative Journalism on Saturday morning at the Bola Akinyemi Hall of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Victoria Island, Lagos. Professor Biodun Jeyifo of Harvard’s African American Studies Department, spoke on the theme: The Freedom of Information Act and the Dictatorship of Corruption and Mediocrity. Other speakers included: Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa – Member, House of Representatives, Ikorodu Federal Constituency; Dr Chidi Odinkalu – Chairman, National Human Rights Commission; and Mr. Peter Carter – Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission. The organisers said this is to allow for a robust, educative and intellectually stimulating session whose recommendations will thereafter be published and forwarded to key stakeholders. To crown it all, the world premiere of the stage play, Eni Ogun took place at the Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Written and directed by Wole Oguntokun, it is based on three of Soyinka’s memoirs, Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981), Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (1994) and You Must Set Forth at Dawn (2006).
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
7 challenges facing independent filmmakers ELLIOT GROVE
oming back from the Cannes Film Festival this spring, I ran into two veteran British film producers who between them had produced nigh onto 60 features, been nominated for or won several Oscars and who by any standard are considered to be highly successful. They both were very negative about the future of the film industry and the prospects of making films like they had been over the past 30 years. “Independent Cinema”, is dead they argued. I beg to differ. No segment of the media industry has had as many changes since the Millennium as the film sector. Technology and film production has changed. Film distribution has changed. On top of that, rapid currency fluctuations have played havoc with film producers’ cash flow forecasts. Here are the seven basic challenges facing fimmakers since the Millennium, and what I believe to be an effective strategic position to take for success. (a) The digital revolution has flooded the marketplace Fact: Cheaper digital production methods have helped create more product than buyers. Strategy: Make certain your movie is genre specific. Genre is the only way that a film buyer and the marketing manager of a distribution company can quickly visualise the movie poster, trailer and marketing campaign. Never forget that distributors buy genre, not drama. (b) Online distribution is becoming commonplace Fact: On Valentine’s Day 2005 the co-founders of Youtube.com registered the name at www.whois.com. Youtube revolutionised film distribution and has changed the way consumers watch movies and television. The impact of illegal online distribution has also had the same impact on the film industry as it has the music industry. Strategy: Develop a hybrid distribution strategy that encompasses traditional cinema/DVD/television releases with online distribution. (c) Hollywood is bankrupt of ideas Fact: The gaming industry has influenced story telling techniques and filmmaking techniques. These new storytelling techniques dominate. Strategy: Successful filmmakers are most likely artists who consider them-
VOICES selves visual storytellers using moving images to tell their stories. Incorporation of gaming techniques both in terms of storytelling and visualisation will make movies stronger. And what of apps? Where a new video game can now cost $20m to develop and market, an app can be built for next to nothing. (d) Cinema distribution is still healthy but it is different somehow Fact: Not only has image and sound capture been dramatised by advances in digital technology like DSLR, but cinema distribution has been affected too. Britain now has the world’s first fully digitised cinema chain –The Apollo Cinema. A digital screen does not need expensive 35mm film prints, films can be emailed to a cinema screen’s hard drive and films can be scheduled easily with a click of a mouse. Cinema exhibition has also benefited from 3D technology. Like it or not, screens will be demanding 3D product. In America it is estimated that there will be an astonishing 25 million homes equipped with 3D TV screens by 2013. Television networks are struggling to find enough HD content for their HD channels, let alone their new 3D channels like Britain’s Sky 3D. Strategy: Successful filmmakers will learn how to communicate with television and cinema owners to deliver saleable content in the format which will deliver maximum revenue. (e) You can’t fund them like you used to Fact: The Euro economic malaise has translated into public sector budget cuts, dampening the political appetite for using public money to fund films. Strategy: Filmmaking should be commercially viable without the need for public funding and film budgets need to stand the scrutiny of investors seeking cost-effective production, as well as a reasonable rate of return. (f) Producers struggle to get development funding Fact: Development funding is hard to get. Yet without proper development, movies will continue to suffer from weak storylines. Strategy: Until the script is fully developed, a movie should not be made. (g) Film producers don’t necessarily need to be involved with social media. Fact: Social media is here to stay and a strong social media strategy is something that is becoming an essential part of a film’s package. Paranormal Activity may have cost a mere $15,000 to make. What Paramount bought was not the film, but the social media strategy that the filmmaker Orin Pelli developed around his film. Strategy: The film industry will embrace any filmmaker, writer, director or producer who has a strong and clearly defined social media strategy. Mr. Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival, an independent film festival and film school, that operates throughout major world cities.
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Immunity clause vs. impunity clause
he Nigerian state in the last couple of weeks has witnessed an unprecedented level of thuggery and gangsterism from members of the elite class. One of the amendments sent to the National Assembly under the recent constitutional review is the recommendation cum amendment to remove the immunity clause conferred on some political office holders like the president, vice president, governors and deputy governors according to section 308 of the 1999 constitution. The section of the constitution protects these aforementioned offices from prosecution while in office. When one relates it to the Nigerian scenario, one discovers that even when such political office holders leave office, most of them are never prosecuted and you find them betrothing the political and economic landscape of the country with so much impunity and disregard for constituted authority. When the issue of removing the immunity clause from the 1999 constitution came up (which we all know was a product of a military junta), many observers reasoned that there was a need for the country to review some of the aspects of the constitution with a view of preparing a peopleoriented constitution that will protect the interest of all Nigerians without fear or favour. Sadly, what we have seen so far is the popular Animal Farm quote of “all animals are equal but some are more equal that the others”. Today, as I mentioned earlier, there are several former governors still facing corruption charges in our courts five or more years after leaving office. In some cases, these indicted former office holders are never even prosecuted or convicted with the several criminal charges levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. A sorry case in question is that of former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, who got a perpetual injunction against prosecution from a Nigerian court and eight years after leaving office, he has not been prosecuted. Even if he is innocent or guilty, there is that challenge that he might never be prosecuted, convicted, acquitted or exonerated of the barrage of accusations against him while in office. It was also in this country that an Appeal Court sitting in Asaba discharged and acquitted the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, of a 141 charge case filed by the EFCC. Ironically, Ibori was found guilty and sentenced in a London court on just two charges. What these has brought to the front burner is the poor work done by prosecution in the charges filed against these politicians; I beg to ask why you should a prosecution file one hundred and something charges against an accused person when they know such charges cannot be proven to a level of conviction. One has to juxtapose these issues with the call for the immunity clause to be removed and those who support its reten-
A SOCIETY THAT HAS GOOD GOVERNANCE, WHOSE LEADERS ARE ACCOUNTABLE, WILL NOT BOTHER ITSELF WITH WHETHER TO REMOVE OR TO RETAIN AN IMMUNITY CLAUSE tion. The argument is that removing it will allow those at the helm of affairs in the country to be distracted from performing their statutory roles with frivolous litigations from the public. There have been several instances where governors have complained that their poor performance should be attributed to electoral petitions against them. So, when you relate these excuses with removing the clause, you can imagine the level of impunity in the political space. The overall effect of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution is that elected officers mentioned in Subsection(3) of that section are protected from arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, civil and criminal proceedings while their tenure lasts. And if there has been a case standing against any of them before being elected into office, such a case shall terminate or at least be put in abeyance during the continuation of their tenure in office. Nigerian courts have reinforced this provision in IMB Securities PLC V Bola Tinubu (2001) 45 WRN1; where the court held that the defendant who was then a state governor was immune from legal proceedings. On the contrary, this section does not prevent these officers from suing other people; see Jonathan V Jones Abiri & Anor Suit No. FCT/CU/505/07 or the recent civil case filed by Governor Babatunde Fashola against the Jonah Jang Faction of the NGF. Ironically, it was in 2007 at Davos Switzerland that the late Nigerian president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua said that “nobody in Nigeria deserves the right to be protected by law when looting public funds”. He went further to argue that the immunity granted public office holders breeds corruption. It is also on record that several countries have jettisoned the idea of immunity for their elected leaders. If one sum up all the arguments of those on this divide one will get only an answer and that is, immunity promotes corruption. In conclusion, it is important to draw our attention to the fact the removal or retention of the immunity clause will not stop corruption, but rather begin to focus on good governance because a society that has good governance, whose leaders are accountable, will not bother itself with whether to remove or to retain an immunity clause.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I’m not in entertainment for money –Mimi She is one of the emerging faces in the movie industry and could be described within the confines of three endeavours: modelling, presentation and acting. However, Mimi Orjiekwe says her venture into the industry is more about passion than any other reason. NGOZI EMEDOLIBE
orn as Mimi Ifunanya Orjiekwe, her steady rise in Nollywood could be attributed to a mixture of talent, looks and of course, serendipity. Maybe even divine in arrangement; she has always been at the right place at the right time. As a student of Caritas University, Enugu, where she studied Business Administration, Mimi noticed she had more than a fleeting passion for entertainment and first tried to express this interest in a beauty pageant. This resulted in her emergence as Miss Business Administration. Pushing further, she went on to be one of the top three at the Miss Anambra beauty pageant, a feat that availed her inroad into Nollywood with a first movie role. Her love for entertainment according to her is as old as herself. “I have always had a flair for entertainment and I think it was natural that I gravitated towards that point. I am not in it for the money, but I need the money anyway because there is money to be made and I need to pay my bills. I love the world of entertainment and I am open to growth and getting more knowledgeable in the business”. How has she managed to handle acting and modelling? “It is something I enjoy doing. First, I would trace it to my days at Caritas University. While I was in school, I was always conscious of myself and I emerged the winner of the Miss Business Administration beauty contest back in the university. Already, I had the hunch that I would end up being part of one beauty contest or the other while growing up as a young girl. I also have the height for such contests and that factor is very important when it comes to beauty contests. My passion was further fuelled when I was discovered by a certain agent who works for a modelling agency and I took part in the Miss Anambra beauty contest. At the same time, my venture into beauty contests also opened doors on the movie scene as I got my first movie role after I was discovered at a beauty contest”. Since then, the sky appears to be the stepping stone for this actress, with roles in productions like The Undergraduates and Ghost in the Palace amongst others. “I have done series of movies and the first major one I did was Royal Madness. I was in that movie with Majid Michelle and Van Vicker, the first time I worked with both of them; they are good people. Jim Iyke was also on set and you can imagine what the movie set must have been like. I got a challenging role and it brought out the best in me. The movie is quite popular and most people don’t even know that
I was part of the movie. But I think now that I have the face, they can pick me out”, she recollected. Surprisingly, Mimi has been charting her skills along the line of Angelina Jolie, the American action film star, whom she has grown to admire right from childhood. “I have always admired Angelina Jolie and the role she played in the movie titled Tomb Raider. I love action films; I also love Halle Berry and the sex appeal she brings to acting. I also love Genevieve Nnaji and her mode of delivery”. Family always plays a very positive role in the lives of most artistes; Mimi is a classic example in this regard. She is the only female child in the midst of three male siblings, who grew up under the influence of parental love. “Being the only daughter, I always got attention from my par-
I LOVE THE WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT AND I AM OPEN
TO GROWTH AND GETTING MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE IN THE BUSINESS
ents and they pampered me too. I’m the third child and the only daughter of my parents, with three brothers. So, you know what it is being the only daughter? I’ve got it all and I couldn’t have asked for a better family. Being the only daughter doesn’t mean I’m a spoilt child. My parents monitored me and they are still monitoring me to make sure I get the best in life”. While she has many movie projects up her sleeve as one of the merging faces in Nollywood, she is excited about the growth in the industry, which she says has been transforming lately.“Nollywood is seriously evolving, and also at a fast pace. New and more talented people are coming into the industry and even our old people are getting better. Yes the competition is tough, but I can’t help it”.
MIDWEEK JUMP Champagne for Achebe
n recognition of his sterling contribution to the development of African literature, the late Professor Chinua Achebe will be honoured posthumously in Lagos tomorrow. The organisers said the event, titled: ‘A Toast to an Extraordinary Life - Chinua Achebe’, will be a gathering of literary icons, distinguished personalities from the academia, private sector and other walks of life. “It promises to be an evening of readings, reminisces, tributes, music and non-stop champagne”, said a statement signed by Mr. Dennis Okosun for the organisers. Supported by luxury champagne brand, Moet & Chandon, the event will take place at Kongi’s Harvest Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos. Achebe died on March 21 at 82. While he lived he was a novelist, poet, professor and critic. He was best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is perhaps the most widely read book in modern African literature. His later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987) and the very controversial There was a Country: A personal history of Biafra released last year.
Grant for African publishers
he Lagos Book & Art Festival, LABAF, which has held every November in the last 14 years is calling for applications for grant from publishers across Africa for this year’s edition of the Publisher’s Forum, which heralds the fiesta. Deadline for the application is July 22. A statement from the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, which puts together LABAF, said that up to eight publishers from sub-Saharan Africa will be selected for the invitation programme. Also, the invited publishing houses will present their publications at an African Collective Stand at the book fair. “The grant comprises of travel costs to Lagos, participation in a workshop on November 13 and 14, a stand at LABAF and accommodation with daily allowance during the workshop and the Book Fair from November 12 to 17”, the statement said. The grant will also cover costs for the transportation of books and other materials to be exhibited. Nigerian publishers are however not eligible to apply but priority will be given to smaller and innovative publishing houses with a range of publications that are of interest to the Nigerian, as well as to the African book market. “Publishers producing mainly text books will not be considered. Publishers who have not yet participated in LABAF will be given precedence. The grant is restricted to one person per publishing house and is not transferable to a fellow employee”, the statement further clarified. Interested publishers can apply through Goethe-Institut in Nigeria.
“Unknot Your Tie” with Omo Baba
oday, July 17, Rodizzio Entertainment Company presents a relaxing comedy night with award winning and ‘handsome’ comedian, Olufemi Fagade, popularly known by his stage name, Omo Baba No 1. The exciting evening of jokes, dining and wining holds at Rodizzio Restaurant and Bar, Ikeja-Lagos. Entry is free for dining customers.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
FAR AND NEAR
Post-Achebe: Ogidi celebrates Nwafor fest
Forum plans Igbo cultural centre for Nollywood NGOZI EMEDOLIBE
he Igbo Film Forum, a socio-cultural group, interested in changing the fortunes of Igbo heritage through films has concluded plans to build a resource sanctuary, Igbo Cultural Centre in Nollywood, as a means of evoking interest in the production of Igbo language home videos. According to a press statement made available to Arts Lounge by the President of the Igbo Film Forum, Harris Chuma, the event will hold on September 28 alongside the Ndi Igbo in Nollywood Yam Festival. The Igbo Film Forum is targeting to raise N50m to pursue this goal at the event. “The Nigerian movie industry otherwise known as Nollywood has registered its presence on the world stage with an assertiveness that cannot be ignored. Central to its evolutionary process is
the initiative taken by producers of Igbo extraction in pioneering an industry that paradoxically evolved in response to a harsh national socio-economic condition... In Nollywood, other ethnicities are using the medium to promote language, preserve and propagate their cultures while the pioneers (the Igbo) are unrepentantly silent. “The Igbo nation has an enviable cultural heritage which dates back to its origin more than 6000 years ago. It encompasses the various customs, practices and tradition of the Igbo. Nollywood serves as electronic database for the preservation and propagation of language and culture... The sure way of ensuring the survival of Igbo language is to produce more of films in our dialects and active promotion of Igbo cultural heritage”, the statement reads in parts. The event will take place at Zaaz Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
Ekiti cultural troupe gets top-notch equipment
kiti State has kitted its cultural troupe with newly-acquired multi-million naira stateof-the-art equipment, as replacements for the assets inherited when Ekiti was carved out of Ondo State on October 1, 1996. Erelu Bisi Fayemi, wife of the state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, inaugurated the new items in Ado-Ekiti, last Friday in her capacity as the chairperson of a 50-member technical consultative committee on arts, culture and tourism. The Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, represented Governor Kayode Fayemi, at the occasion. The new items were: Technical equipment, public address system, computers, as well as assorted costumes. Speaking at the occasion, an elated Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Chief Ronke Okusanya, said that the rejuvenated cultural troupe was her brainchild when she was then Commissioner for Information and Culture in Ondo State. In her address, Erelu Bisi Fayemi said that the state government would spare no effort at positioning the cultural troupe to compete
favourably with the best anywhere in the world. She said that the state government would continue to support the troupe in bringing more laurels for the state. “As a technical consultative committee, part of our achievements has been ensuring that a strong legal and policy framework was put in place to reposition arts, culture and tourism. This has led to the creation of Council for Arts and Culture in the state. “We also created a platform for Ekiti sons and daughters at home and abroad to get together at least once a year to celebrate and showcase our rich arts and culture. This gave birth to Ekiti state Festival of Arts and Culture, also known as EKIFEST”, Fayemi said. She also disclosed that the second edition of EKIFEST would hold in December with a wider scope. In a 10-minute sketch presented at the occasion, the overwhelmed cultural troupe highlighted additional areas of need, which included hazard allowance and a lorry to convey the new equipment to locations within and outside the state.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA
‘Two Friends’ (2010) C-Print
‘Africa’s’ Viviane Sassen excites at 2013 Venice Art biennale ADENRELE NIYI
t the Central Pavilion of the ongoing 2013 Venice Art Biennale, Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen, whose work is heavily influenced by Africa where she spent part of her youth, presents a curated selection of her pieces that is exciting art pundits. The images are mainly of African forms, probing questions of intimacy and mystery, while simultaneously situating the human body as sculpture, draped in dramatic shadow and striking colour. Viviane was born in Amsterdam, but until the age of five she lived in Kenya with her Dutch parents. She claimed a connection with the African continent ever since. In interviews, she talks about how she has always felt like she belonged a little bit in Africa and a little bit in the Netherlands. “Being in Africa feels like coming home”, she says. “Although I know of course that I’ll never be African. I feel more natural and lively there. I feel more extroverted”. In 2007, Viviane was awarded the Prix de Rome and in 2011, the ICP Infinity Award for Applied and Fashion Photography. Besides being much
lauded for her independent photographic art, Viviane is also a prominent fashion photographer who has produced campaigns for fashion houses such as Carven, Stella McCartney-Adidas and Missoni. The 55th Venice Biennale exhibition, which includes Sassen’s work, has been organised by Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni to embody the festival’s theme, ‘Il Palazzo Enciclopedico’; ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’. The Biennial has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its foundation in 1895, it has been in the avant-garde, promoting new artistic trends and organising international events in the contemporary arts. Some of them include: the International Film Festival (Venice Film Festival); the International Architecture Exhibition; the Festival of Contemporary Music and Theatre and the Festival of Contemporary Dance. Almost 90 countries are participating at this year’s biennial running from June 1 to November 24 and Nigeria is one of the eight first timers; other debutantes are: Bahamas, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Kosovo, Kuwait, Maldives, Côte d’Ivoire and Paraguay.
arely few months after the people of Ogidi community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State hosted President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries at the burial ceremony of their late kinsman and literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, the community is again hosted other dignitaries from all walks of life for their 2013 annual Nwafor Cultural Festival. During the week-long festival which marks the end of the planting season, assorted types of masquerades, including the terrifying and beautiful ones, are paraded Explaining the importance of the annual cultural festival, a university don and former Chairman of Anambra State chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Philip Atanmuo, said the occasion started with the Ikpuani performance– an initiation into the masquerade world/manhood. According to Atanmuo, “we regard this ceremony as more important than even Christmas celebration, to the extent that all indigenes of the community at home and in the Diaspora usually return home during the festivities, including Achebe who was a member of the Ime Obi cabinet in the community”. Throwing more light on Achebe’s involvement in Nwafor Festival, Atanmuo recalled that in Achebe’s childhood, he was among those who gathered the canes used for flogging at the event. In his own remark, another prominent indigene of Ogidi and Chairman of Odinani Igbo Cultural Organisation, Dr. Ikechukwu Obumneme Okoye, described Nwafor fest as a period to thank God for the year’s cultivation/end of farming season and the beginning of another farming season. According to Okoye, “Our tradition and culture are not foreign as people think; our fore-fathers were the custodians of this culture and tradition”. He recalled that late Achebe was a member of the cultural organisation. Also contributing, Chief Azubuike Okafor, a Lagos-based businessman, described Nwafor festival as a period when Ogidi indigenes returned home en-masse to feast, interact and exchange pleasantries with relatives and friends.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
For me, Wimbledon is a forgettable experience. I just want to look forward to the US Open
Rooney figures in Mourinho’s plan
- AMERICAN TENNIS STAR, SERENA WILLIAMS
U-17 W/Cup: Amun raises hope on Eaglets
former coach of the Golden Eaglets, Fanny Amun, yesterday described the current team as a strong force, capable of winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Amun told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the squad was impeccable and in a good shape to do the country proud at the tournament. The former coach added that he was anticipating a good run from the team, because of their antecedents. “This U-17 team is a strong force, in spite of losing on penalties in the African championship; we can see the hunger and passion to win in the boys. “But we remain hopeful because they have done marvellously well, prior to this, so I have high expectations from them, but no pressure,” the erstwhile secretary of the NFA, said.. Amun, who was at the helm when the Eaglets won the 1993 edition of the U-17 World Cup, stressed that new crop of players must be produced on a regular basis. “When there is no progression from the U-17 to the U-20 then it’s a cause for concern. These boys are young and capable of playing at the next level.”
Coach Stephen Keshi (l) and his players praying before the commencement of training in Abuja, yesterday morning
CHAN qualifier: Be ready for war in Abidjan – Keshi EVEREST ONYEWUCHI
uper Eagles’ boss, Stephen Keshi has demanded total concentration from his players ahead of the final leg CHAN qualifier against Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan on July 27, noting that the match will be like war against the West African neigbhours. Speaking before training began yesterday morning at the FIFA Goal Project ground in Abuja, Keshi who started his foreign playing career with Stella FC of Abidjan, said the Ivorians are passionate about football and will do anything to defeat Nigeria, hence the need to forget the 4-1 win in Kaduna and concentrate on the return leg. “The win in Kaduna is history and if you have been following the
JOEL AJAYI ABUJA
T Isaac Success
he Director of Facilities and Maintenance at the National Sports Commission (NSC), Alhaji Shehu Ibrahim, has assured that the pitch of the Abuja National stadium main bowl will be ready to host the last group World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and
…Echejile visits mates
media you will see that they have been making remarks that they can also beat us well. We must be ready for their antics and forget the past,” Keshi was quoted in a statement issued by Media Officer, Ben Alaiya. The team is training at the Goal Project because the Ivorians had already informed CAF that the return leg will be played on artificial turf. Twenty three players trained yesterday morning with only Godfrey Oboabona exempted by the coaching crew because he had had a hectic schedule with his club, Sunshine Stars. He will join his teammates this morning, as the players battle for the 20 shirts available for the Abidjan trip.
Also on Monday evening, FC Braga of Portugal defence ace, Elderson Echejile, was at the team’s Bolton White Apartment camp to wish his mates and the coaching crew a good outing in Abidjan.
…Eagles plan for artificial turf antics
uper Eagles’ officials are preparing for the hosts’ antics since CAF has notified Nigeria that the CHAN return leg match in Abidjan will be played on a synthetic pitch. “We learnt from the leadership of the NFF that the game will be played on artificial turf and I must say we were delighted, because we will give our all on such a pitch but we are keep-
‘Abuja stadium ready in Sept’ Malawi in September. Ibrahim, who gave the assurance on Monday while speaking with National Mirror at National Stadium in Abuja, noted that by the middle of August the stadium would be put into light use. “As you can see the work is 90 percent complete and by the middle of the next month (August)
Echejile came in at dinner time and went straight to see Keshi, before spending sometime with most of his mates. “It’s to encourage them to excel when they play the Ivorians and I believe they can defeat them right there in Abidjan”, he said smiling.
the work will be completed,” said the director, who added that the stadium would wear a new look to host the Super Eagles’ clash with the Flames. “In the next two weeks the stadium will be put into light use and from September the pitch will be 100 percent complete and we want to use it for the Malawi
ing our plans close to our chest,” Team Coordinator, Emmanuel Atta, said in a statement from the Nigeria camp. Coach Stephen Keshi and his assistants were calm over the information because according to Team Secretary, Dayo Achor, “anything they want to throw at us we are sure we have capable hands led by Keshi to counter them.” game.” On the subsequent maintenance of the facility, the director said, “The stadium will not go back to square one because arrangements have been made with the contractor to maintain the pitch for the next six months, which is February next year, after which we must have put in place proper measure for the maintenance of the pitch.”
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Moyes nets Nani for Devils
Arteta Arsenal midfielder, Mikel Arteta, says it’s about time the Gunners began to match the Premier League’s biggest clubs in the transfer market. Manager Arsene Wenger is understood to be pursuing Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Real Madrid’s Gonazalo Higuain as part of a summer spending spree, and Arteta believes it will help Arsenal become title contenders once again. “I think we can take the best shot at the EPL title this term,” he said.
Jovetic nears City switch
Sergio Busquets has extended his current Barcelona contract, according to the club management. The 25-year-old has signed fresh terms to keep him at Camp Nou until June 2018, with the option to extend the deal by a further year, as the new contract would include a buyout clause of €150 million.
Chelsea midfielder, Eden Hazard, admitted bringing Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney to Stamford Bridge would be brilliant. Rooney has long been rumoured with an exit from United, despite the protests from United Manager David Moyes, with speculation linking the England international to Jose Mourinho’s Blues. It is just as well that the move has received a ringing endorsement from Belgium international Hazard.
Keisuke Honda has said he would be honoured to sign for AC Milan amid reports the Serie A club is eager to wrap up a summer deal for the Japan international. Honda, 27, currently plies his trade in Russia with CSKA Moscow having joined the club from VVV-Venlo in 2010, but he has recently been linked with an exit. Milan has declared readiness to improve in the new season.
Siqueira Everton has stepped up its move for Granada left back Guilherme Siqueira. Reports revealed last month that the 27-year-old is Manager Roberto Martinez’s preferred option to replace Leighton Baines in the event that Manchester United is successful in its pursuit of the defender. It is understood that Everton officials met Siqueira’s representatives last week to discuss the finer points of a £4million move from La Liga to Goodison Park.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Rooney figures in Mourinho’s plan
helsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, has refused to rule out signing Wayne Rooney with the Portuguese gaffer keen to bolster his squad before the transfer window closes. The Manchester United striker has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge after requesting to leave the Premier League champions, although his manager David Moyes has repeatedly denied the England international will be sold. “This is a period when the big clubs and their managers are connected with everything. Until August 31, that’s the oldest story in football, rumours and rumours,” Mourinho said. “Until August 31 we will see if we can sign anyone who can improve our squad, but my focus and ambition is to work with these guys. I can say it’s a pleasure to work with them. I was missing this fantastic working relation. Not just for them, but for me. After a week I’m still the happy one because my boys were fantastic.” Mourinho, who has taken a hands-on approach to training in Bangkok this week, also named his team for Chelsea’s friendly against Singha XI. Romelu Lukaku will start the game alongside England internationals Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.
Bavarians not Catalans–Robben
ayern Munich winger, Arjen Robben, insists his side will not attempt to emulate Barcelona under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola. Robben, 29, has made it clear the Bavarians will continue to improve in their own robust style, while stressing the need to ensure last season was not a one off. “We have our own
qualities. We have shown that we can win prizes our way. It’s up to us to make the next step and become better,” the Dutch international said yesterday. Robben struck the winning goal in Bayern’s 2-1 Champions League final triumph over Borussia Dortmund last term, completing an historic treble for the Bundesliga champion.
anchester City is on the verge of sealing the £28million signing of Fiorentina striker, Stevan Jovetic. However, City suffered a setback in their pursuit of Alvaro Negredo after Sevilla President, Jose Maria del Nido, warned there is now only a one per cent chance of a deal going through. New City boss Manuel Pellegrini is anxious to sign the two strikers to fill the gaps left by the recent departures of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. City has been in talks with Fiorentina over Jovetic for some time, but it is understood the two clubs have finally agreed an initial fee of £23m that could rise by £5m in bonus payments. Fiorentina has previously stipulated that it would not sell the Montenegro international, 23, for less than the £28m buyout clause in his contract. City still hopes to sign Negredo as well but have been unable to reach a compromise deal over the Spain striker amid concerns that Sevilla is trying to ramp up the price beyond £20m. Del Nido confirmed yesterday that the two clubs are some way apart in their valuation, saying: “Either they pay what we ask or the player stays with Sevilla for another three years.”
anchester United’s Manager, David Moyes, will keep hold of Nani at the club after convincing the winger that his future lies at Old Trafford. The 26-year-old has been told that the new manager regards him as central to his plans for United’s first team and will underline that importance with a lucrative contract extension. While the exact details of Nani’s new deal have still to be clarified, the winger is said to be delighted with Moyes’ commitment to offer him more playing time following an injury-hampered campaign in which he made just 10 Premier League appearances last term, the lowest total of his six seasons as a United player. Nani was deeply frustrated with both his lack of playing time last season as well as what the wide man perceived as Sir Alex Ferguson’s lack of trust in him, telling friends that he did not want to see out the final year of his Old Trafford contract. He was part of a group of players, including Antonio Valencia, Chicharito, Anderson and Anders Lindegaard, who then manager Sir Alex Ferguson was prepared to offload. The Portugal international, who was prevented from flying to Asia and Australia for the first leg of United’s preseason tour by the after-effects of a nose operation, is due to begin training under Moyes this week.
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Ivanovic wants Suarez
helsea defender, Branislav Ivanovic, admits he would happily welcome controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez into Stamford Bridge dressing room despite being bitten by the Uruguayan only three months ago. Suarez, who was banned for 10 games in April after sinking his teeth into Ivanovic’s right arm during a 2-2 draw at Anfield, still has six games of his ban to serve but has made it abundantly clear this summer that he wants to leave Liverpool. “Whatever happened on the field with Luis finished there. He’s one of the best strikers in the Premier League and I don’t have any problem with him or doubt about that,” Ivanovic said. Real Madrid and Arsenal are interested in Suarez but Jose Mourinho is also keen to boost Chelsea’s firepower, although he would prefer to prise Wayne Rooney away from Manchester United.
Ivanovic himself has attracted interested from mega-rich French clubs Paris St Germain and Monaco but insists he is not in a hurry to leave Stamford Bridge. He joined Chelsea in January 2008, after Mourinho had been sacked but has enjoyed his first week of training with the returning hero.
o s s to mo League Atletic to sign Villa in an in ing to his th Both A ham h the Spa “We Premie but th and w my pe been ag “Fro view, t anythin third in in the They b win the Atle Radam for a r this su la as a for th scored Villa games f ing from mer of Spain’s with 56 ances.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Cricket: NCF boss sure of promotion
J OEL A JAYI ABUJA
bregas won’t leave Barca’
arcelona Coach, Tito Vilanova, has doused speculation g midfielder Cesc gas to Manchesnited, insisting the r-old wants to stay he Catalan club. English champion ade an opening offer 0 million for the forArsenal captain, who iled to hold down a ar first-team place returning to Camp
ving already seen o depart to rejoin r boss Pep Guarat Bayern Munich,
Barcelona is keen to avoid losing another world-class La Masia graduate this summer. Vilanova is confident Fabregas is still motivated by the prospect of proving himself at his boyhood club and has no thoughts of returning to the Premier League. “I am aware that we have received offers from other teams. I talked with him and he told me he wants to stay. Cesc doesn’t contemplate the possibility of going to another club,” the coach said.
Aminat Olowora (in yellow trunk) on the track
Entries rise for Olowora tourney YEMI OLUS
ormer Barcelona striker, David Villa, says he was ready ove to the Premier e this summer, before co Madrid made a bid n him. a, 31, joined Atletico nitial £1.8m deal, ris£4.4m if he sees out hree-year contract. Arsenal and Tottenhad been linked with ain international. had a move to the er League in mind hen Atleti appeared ithin three days all ersonal terms had greed,” Villa said. om a career point of they weren’t lacking ng. They finished n La Liga and will play Champions League. beat Real Madrid to e Copa del Rey.” tico, who sold striker mel Falcao to Monaco eported £50m earlier ummer, could use Vila direct replacement he Colombian who 32 goals last season. a scored 48 times in 119 for Barcelona after joinm Valencia in the sum2010 for £34.2m. He is all-time leading scorer goals from 92 appear-
N Confed Cup: Blues rues Ramires absence
helsea yesterday apologised to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) after a miscommunication cost the Blues midfielder Ramires a place in the Brazil squad for the recent Confederations Cup. CBF president Jose Maria Marinhad questioned Ramires’ commitment to the national team, following his absence from two friendly matches against Russia and Italy last season. “Contrary to media reports, Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Ramires was not available to play for Brazil in friendly matches against Russia and Italy in March of this year due to injury,” a Chelsea spokesman said.
ine clubs have signified intention to compete in the female category of the 1st Aminat Olowora Football Competition which kicks off at Epetedo Senior High School, Lagos Island on July 29. The weeklong event will end on August 4. Organiser of the competition, Aminat Olowora, a national athlete who won three gold medals for Lagos State at the last National Sports Festival, told National Mirror yesterday that arrangement had been concluded to make the maiden competition a success. According to her, the registered teams are Green Star FC, Real Dynamo FC, Super Star FC, Apapa Golden Queens, Young Talent Academy, Goddey FC, Damilola Taylor Academy, Jagunmolu Queens and HKT Football Club. The 19-year-old long distance runner is also hosting a table tennis championship from July 28 to August 9 while a 5km run will be held on September 22 which is the same day as the final
of the boys’ football event whose preliminaries have been concluded. Olowora, however, appealed to sponsors to partner with her with a view to helping her to fulfill the dreams of the young athletes. “I want to use these competitions to encourage the youths,” she said. “I was a table tennis player and represented Nigeria at the African Junior Championships in Egypt in 2007. I used to play football for my school, Aunty Ayo Girls Comprehensive Secondary School and represented them at the Principal’s Cup two years ago when we got the third position. “I am engaged in this venture as part of my dream even although I’m not financially buoyant to do so. Initially I just wanted to do it in my area which is Lagos Island but I decided to extend it across other local governments in order to encourage more people.” Greater Tomorrow and Damilola Taylor Island Academy will vie for the third place while Goddey FC and Damilola Taylor FC will battle for the top prize in the boys’ September 22 final.
resident of Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), Engineer Emeka Onyeama, has assured that the Nigeria cricket team will qualify for the League Division Five at the 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Six tournament in New Jersey, USA. Onyeama told National Mirror yesterday in Abuja that the federation had motivated the team to succeed at the qualifiers scheduled to begin on July 21. “Our team won all our four friendly games in the UK some days ago and with the level of maturity and skills, I believe we are going to win the tournament for the first time,” the NCF boss said. “Getting into division five means a lot as it signifies that Nigeria would now be ranked amongst big countries like Norway, Afghanistan, Australia, Pakistan and India,” he added.
COSAFA 2013: Bullets aim flight over Bafana
ambia will seek an end to its two-match Cosafa Cup agony against South Africa in today’s semifinal showdown in Ndola. Strangely, these two regional superpowers have only met three times in the same competition with Bafana edging its northern rival by two-to-one wins. Bafana has won its last two successive Cosafa Cup meetings after losing the first encounter in the 2005 semifinals. Zambia lost 4-3 on postmatch penalties in the 2007 final in Bloemfontein after a scoreless draw under coach Patrick Phiri. A year later, Herve Renard stumbled at the semifinal stage, again in South Africa, this time in faraway Thulamahashe at the semifinal stage losing by the lone goal. Renard believes his mix of veteran and new talent can finally pick up Zambia’s first Cosafa Cup win over Bafana, eight years after South Africa won 9-8 on post-match penalties at Mmabatho after a 2-2 draw. “It will be important to win something one year after winning the Africa Cup. It will be very important,” Renard said.
National Mirror learnt that the Nigerian team would depart to New Jersey on July 18, even as he said the National Sports Commission was committed to seeing the country excel. Other countries billed to participate in the competition include Bahrain, Argentina and Kuwait.
Oba Cup: Lagos FA harps on registration YEMI OLUS
spiring clubs for the 2013 Oba Cup championship have been urged to meet the registration deadline as the Lagos State Football Association (LSFA) insists it will not exceed the required number of clubs for the event. According to the FA, only early comers will be registered for the Skye Bank-sponsored competition scheduled to kick off on July 22. Chairman of the Lagos FA board, Seyi Akinwunmi, said that the State FA would adhere strictly to the rules. “We have given the competitors enough time to register the willing clubs in their divisions and we believe they would comply,” he said. Meanwhile the board has allocated slots for the five divisional football associations in the state to ensure smooth organization of the championship. Chairman of the LSFA Technical Committee, Mr. Dotun Coker, said Ikeja and Ikorodu divisional FAs will each have 32 clubs, Epe and Badagry 16 teams and Lagos division 64 clubs. “Three teams each will qualify for state finals from Ikeja and Ikorodu division, Epe and Badagry will present two qualifiers each, while Lagos division will have six qualifying for the state finals,” Coker explained. “The sixteen clubs clubs that qualify for the state finals will contest the trophy that will be presented by the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akinolu, who has pledged his presence at the final,” he further said.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Venus eyes US Open return
ormer world number one, Venus Williams, has set sight on the US Open appearance if her recovery from a lower back injury that forced her to skip Wimbledon allows her to play in a tune-up event before the next grand slam next month. The 33-year-old, who missed the grass-court major after 16 consecutive appearances, last played in May when she lost in the first round of the French Open. The injury also prevented her from rejoining the Washington Kastles, the World Team Tennis franchise she played for last season. “I’m feeling better, I’ve been working hard and rehabbing,’’ Williams told the media at the weekend before the two-time defending champion’s season opener, attended by first lady
Michelle Obama and Billie Jean King. “I just have to take my time until I feel 100 per cent. It’s just difficult to play tennis when you have an injury. It’s hard to be confident when you’re not prepared. “I’m going to wait until I’m prepared and hopefully come back some time before the U.S. Open.’’ Asked if she had a specific return date in mind, the older of the Williams sisters said: “I’m just keeping my options open. With injuries it doesn’t always work out as you planned. When I’m back on the court, I’ll be ready and prepared to play. The hard court major and final grand slam of the year begins at the Flushing Meadows on August 26.
Hingis delivering her speech at the awards
Tennis gave me the world –Hingis
ormer world number one, Martina Hingis, headed a distinguished class of inductees enshrined into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode over the weekend. The five-time Grand Slam champion was joined by Australian tennis legend Thelma Coyne Long and influential tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell and Ion Tiriac in receiving the highest honour in the sport. At 32 years old, Hingis became the fourth-youngest player to be inducted after Tracy Austin (30), Bjorn Borg (31) and Hana Mandlikova (32). The Swiss told the assembled crowd in Newport how she was honoured and moved to be enshrined and went on to deliver a heartfelt speech that underlined the importance of tennis in her life. “I could repeat the words said so many times before here, our sport has given me everything in my life, and it would be the truth. But maybe I can add something special, something to give you a little bit more insight about who I am and what this all means to me,” she began. “I was born behind the Iron Curtain, and my mother wanted to tear the curtain apart for me. That is the reason I played tennis as a little girl. In 1980, my mother had not many choices
for giving me a better life and a chance for freedom to see the world. She chose the game of tennis as a way out of the world and the prison we lived in. “She also gave me the name Martina after Martina Navratilova who was a great legend and a symbol of freedom in our country back in Czechoslovakia. “As the wall came down in ‘89, also, thanks to this great land of yours, I was already on the way to where life would take me, so thank you, mom, again, you gave me life, you gave me love, you gave me tennis. You gave me everything you could give me. “Thank you, tennis. You gave me the world, and now I honestly am out of words, because there are no words to explain
what I feel as you chose to give me a place here for eternity.” Hingis was joined by influential tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell and Ion Tiriac in delivering warm words after being honoured. Six other individuals were posthumously enshrined in the Master Player Category as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2013. They are Daphne Akhurst and James Anderson (Australia), Wilfred Baddeley, Blance Bingley Hillyard, and Charlotte Cooper Sterry (United Kingdom) and Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling of Germany. The International Tennis Hall of Fame has honoured 234 people from eleven different countries since 1955.
Nadal, Djokovic listed for Cincinnati
Djokovic (l) and Nadal
rganisers of Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati yesterday announced that world number four Rafael Nadal would top the list of invitees for the Masters event, with world numbers one and two, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, and number five Roger Federer also included. Nadal’s participation in the Cincinnati Masters came in doubt as he was expected to play only one of these two events to save his troublesome left knee. The Spanish star had also skipped Sony Open in Miami after
winning BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells earlier in the season, the only hard court event the 12-time Grand Slam winner has played so far this year. However, confirmation of Nadal’s participation in the Western and Southern Open is good news for the tournament organisers and tennis fans. The 27-year-old, who has been on break since losing in the first round of Wimbledon last month, was sighted on Monday on the court practicing with doubles specialist, Nenad Zimonjic, from Serbia.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Business & Finance The common pests that are devastating to rice include quelea birds, locusts and grasshoppers. That is why government has procured this powerful pesticide and chemicals for the control of the pests in order to boost our local production”
We consider it of utmost importance to always explain to the consumers that the tariﬀs they pay are fair, reasonable and necessary to guarantee continuous improvement in electricity supply to Nigerian homes and businesses. NIGERIAN ELECTRICITY REGULATORY COMMISSION (NERC) CHAIRMAN, DR. SAM AMADI
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina
Power supply drops as Shell shuts Afam plant UDEME AKPAN
lectricity supply that witnessed a little improvement in the past few days has dropped again following the shutdown of Afam power plant. The plant, which has an installed capacity of 776 megawatts, was shut yesterday because of oil theft which culminated in the rupture of the Trans Niger Pipeline, TNP that feeds the plant. The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture, which confirmed the development stated that the pipeline was shut as a result of lack of gas. The Corporate Media Relations Manager of the firm, Mr. Tony Okonedo said yesterday that: “The shutdown of the TNP system, comprising the 28inch and 24inch streams resulted in the deferment of 150,000 barrels of oil per day, and also led to tank tops and non-evacuation of condensate from Okoloma Gas Plant which supplies Afam VI Power Plant with feed gas. He explained that SPDC had to shut down Okoloma Gas Plant yesterday as it could not continue to produce gas without the evacuation of condensate. Okonedo stated that: “Afam VI Power Plant was available at 624MW capacity, but supplying only 105MW to the national grid due to reduced gas volume at the time of shutdown.
He maintained that the latest leak on the TNP occurred on the 24inch stream at Owokiri on 11 July. A Joint Investigation Visit comprising government agencies, community and civil society representatives and SPDC personnel found that unknown persons had installed a 6inch crude theft valve on the facility. Okonedo remarked that SPDC repaired that leak, and is working to remove other crude theft points that were discovered in the process. The 28inch TNP had earlier been shut in for removal of similar oil theft connections. The company is striving to repair the TNP as quickly as possible, and restore operations that will enable power generation to resume at Afam VI.
He stated that: “SPDC is deeply concerned about the negative impact of incessant crude theft activities on lives and environment in the Niger Delta, and also the loss of electricity to businesses and households across the country. The total daily loss from the TNP shutdown alone comes to about $15 million (N2.4 billion).” Investigations showed that the pipeline has suffered several attacks in recent times which affected gas supply to the power plant. The Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mutiu Sunmonu had warned recently that continuous oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger-Delta will continue to have adverse effects
on the nation’s economy. Sunmonu, who spoke at the launch of Shell’s Partnership and Beneficiary Network, last month noted that the federal government would not generate enough revenue as a result of oil theft in the country. He hinted that even the Minister of Finance had confirmed its negative impact as it was affecting the state allocations and the capital market. “The impact of the crude oil thieves and illegal refineries in the Delta is that the Nigerian economy is now in crisis situation. About few weeks ago, I got a frantic phone call from the Minister of Finance. She said ‘MD when are you going to open our pipelines’.
s the Central Bank of Nigeria extends application of the cashless economy scheme to six other states of the fed-
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Aero Contractors Lag-Abj: 06.50, 13.30, 16.30, 19.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun), 12.30 (Sun) 16.45 (Sat) Abj-Los: 07.30, 13.00, 19.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat, 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 (Sun, 18.30 Sat) LagBenin: 07.45, 11.00, 15.30 (MonFri/Sat/Sun) 12.30 (Sun 15.30 (Sat) Ben-Lag: 09.15, 12.30, 17.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) 17.00 (Sat)
L-R: Group Executive Director, Gas and Power, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. David Ige; Deputy Director, Gas, DPR, Mr. Oliver Ojiako and President, Nigeria Gas Association, Engr. Saidu Mohammed, during a business forum and 14th Annual General Meeting of the association in Lagos, recently. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA
Cashless: CBN partners E-PPAN to drive mobilisation in six states KUNLE A ZEEZ
eration, the apex bank has entered into a deal with Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria, E-PPAN, to in carrying out massive mobilisation and sensitisation for the success f the scheme in the new states. In the second phase of the cashless economy initiative, after the Cashless Lagos experiment, the CBN is extending the
policy to Abia, Anambra, Kano, Ogun , Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory. Speaking in a statement, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, E-PPAN, Mrs. Onajite Regha, said the mobilisation will include series of interactive sessions with non-organized markets, trade associations, market leaders and
other stakeholders. According to Regha, if the greater percentage of Nigeria’s population embraces the alternative forms of payment, the move to transform payment life style could be far-reaching, and will ultimately bring more of the money in circulation into the banking sector, lowering bank costs and improving the transmission
of monetary policy. She said further that the experience the association gathered during the cashless Lagos mobilization, will also come to bear as they move out into the other states as the main purpose of the awareness campaign will be to educate the grass roots on the various alternatives to cash such as the mobile payment, Point of Sales, PoS, internet banking, electronic transfer so on..
Lagos-Abuja 7.30 8.30 7.45 8.45 09.30 10.30 10.30 11.30 12.30 13.30 14.30 15.30 16.30 17.30 Lagos-Kano 08.00 09.15 10.30 11.45 14.30 15.40 18.15 19.30 Los-Maid&Yola (Mon-Thur) 09.30 11.30 Fri- Sun 10.30 12.30 Kano-Lagos 07.30 08.45 14.00 15.15 17.30 18.45 Kano-Abj 10.45 11.30 Abj-Lagos 09.00 10.30 11.00 12.00 12.00 13.00
NAMA threatens to dismantle illegal telecom masts in four weeks
NDIC canvasses amendments of existing Act
Hope of PIB passage renewed as Senate begins public hearing
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
NAMA threatens to dismantle illegal telecom masts in four weeks OLUSEGUN KOIKI
he Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, yesterday threatened to dismantle all illegal telecom masts mounted in various strategic places in the country. The agency said that most of the masts erected in the country contravene safety and therefore issued a four-week ultimatum to owners of telecommunication masts situated at sev-
eral locations across the country to dismantle them or face appropriate sanctions from the agency. An online statement signed by the General Manager, Public Affairs, NAMA, Mr. Supo Atobatele stated that the directive become imperative following the inherent danger posed by these structures to air navigation in the country. Atobatele explained that the agency has engaged the services of Seas Electrical and Computer Services Ltd to effect the pulling down
of affected structures at the expiration of the ultimatum. He added that the firm has been mandated not only to identify and report, but also to reduce height or dismantle as applicable. The statement reads in part, “NAMA Act section 7(1) c and d of its establishment Act no.48 of 1999 is empowered to prohibit and regulate the installation of any structure, which by virtue of its height or position is considered to endanger the
safety of air navigation and also prevent interference with the use or effectiveness of all apparatus used in connection with air navigation. “In accordance with the act, any person or organization intending to erect telecommunication masts, hoist balloons, construct hangers or other high-rise structures within the Nigerian airspace is required to obtain Aviation Height Clearance Certification/ No Objection from NAMA before commencement.”
CBN proposes financial literacy curriculum in schools TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA
he Central Bank of Nigeria yesterday unveiled plans to promote the introduction of financial literacy into the nation’s primary school curriculum as part of the long term objectives of building a financial culture in them and creating a well informed financially liter-
ate manpower base for the country. Disclosing this at the inauguration and meeting of the Financial Literacy Steering Committee in Abuja, the Governor of the apex bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said already, preliminary visits undertaken to assess the receptiveness of the idea in some primary schools indicated that pupils would
naturally imbibe financial literacy if it is integrated into their academic curriculum. According to him, as part of the efforts to achieve the goals of financial literacy among young school pupils in the country and expanding the frontiers of the financial inclusion drive to the grassroots, the bank would set aside some days as fi-
nancial literacy days during which officials of the bank would visit schools to educate the pupils in very simple language on what financial literacy entails and how they can imbibe saving culture. Sanusi said: “We are working at how to ensure the integration of financial literacy into primary school curriculum in the country.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Biometrics: IT firm targets solving Nigeria’s ID problem KUNLE AZEEZ
igeria’s Information Technology design house, Innovectives, has introduced a multi-technology mobile solution for identity management in to the Nigerian market. The company said the introduction of the solution would help in addressing the concerns being raised about the poor level of identity capturing in developing countries such as Nigeria. According to a statement from the company, the device was assembled in North America, but was conceptualised and designed in Nigeria to meet local needs. The lightweight and portable device has builtin technologies for fingerprint, iris and facial readers, biometrics recognition capability, 1/2D barcode capturing, smart card and Near Field Communication reader for Identification and Payment and 8MP
Camera for document scan. Speaking on the solution, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Emmanuel Agha, explained that unlike the biometric registration and authentication devices currently used by organizations for identity capturing and management, the device is all in one. “The device is efficient, fast, secure and affordable”, he said, adding that low power consumption capability was added to the machine because of the erratic power system experienced in most developing countries, as the sensor generates initial image size of 800 x 750 pixels (resolution of 500ppi). “The device is capable of capturing four fingers within three seconds after sensors are initiated on the USB. It is also capable of saving the fingerprint into the tablet and on a smartcard as well as transfer the fingerprint data into a back-end server for future comparison,” he added.
FG inaugurates Broadband Council, tasks members on success TENDER NOTICE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA ON BEHALF OF DMO NIGERIAN TREASURY BILLS Notice is hereby given by the Central Bank of Nigeria on behalf of DMO that the Federal Government of Nigeria Treasury Bills of 91, 182 and 364-day tenors amounting to N24,888,896,000, N30,000,000,000 and N60,000,000,000, respectively would be issued by Dutch auction on Thursday, July 25, 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, July 24, 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, July 24, 2013. The Bank reserves the right to reject any bid. Allotment letters would be issued for successful bids on Thursday, July 25, 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, July 25, 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.
TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA
he Federal Government yesterday inaugurated the Nigeria’s National Broadband Council and urged its members to ensure successful implementation and achievements of the approved National Broadband Plan 2013 -2018 for the country. The Nigeria’s Broadband National Broadband Plan has as one of its core policy goals, ensuring that the infrastructure necessary to provide adequate, wellspread broadband services is available and accessible to all citizens at affordable rates and by implication, contribute immensely to national development on a sustainable basis. The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, while inaugurating the Committee in Abuja, explained that the Council was set up to ensure that the country has not just a well articulated plan but also a well executed plan that would
enable Nigeria to explore the immense opportunities availed by functional broadband to national advantage in the increasingly dynamic technology-driven global system. While commending the President for approving the Broadband Plan, she explained that his desire was to see that the plan is properly implemented so that the socio-economic benefits that were articulated in the policy document accrue to the country. The Minister said: “The role of the council is to ensure that we not only have a well articulated plan but we also have a well executed plan as well and that is really the charge for the Council. “Let me just quickly read out the Terms of Reference of the Council; which include, providing periodic progress report on the evaluation of the plan; facilitating the coordination and collaboration of various stakeholders during plan implementation; ensuring that relevant agencies, corporations and
institutions are actively engaged and monitoring all the programmes in the plan and highlighting the adjustment areas if any. “The nominations to the Council took all of the above objectives into consideration and we went through a very careful process to select the individuals that were nominated into the council. The council has both institutional and individual representation and, of course, government representation”, Johnson added. She explained that the goal of the broadband plan is to have pervasive mobile broadband access to 80 per cent of the population and fixed broadband access to roughly 20 per cent of the population mostly cities by the year 2017. The Minister said that with this goal in mind and with the credibility and the composition of the nominees to this Council, she had no doubt that the Council and the Ministry can, by working closely, achieve the objectives of the broadband plan.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
NDIC canvasses amendments of existing Act UDO ONYEKA
he Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that the proposed amendment of its enabling Act would provide a robust legal framework that will empower the Corporation to take prompt actions in protecting depositors’ interest and contributing towards the safety and soundness of the financial system. The NDIC Managing Director/Chief Executive, Alh. Umaru Ibrahim said this in Lagos at a retreat that was organised for the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions on the proposed amendments to the NDIC Act 2006. Ibrahim’s assertion came on the heels of the pledge by the Chairman, Senate Committee on
Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Bassey Edet Otu, that the Committee would work relentlessly towards ensuring the passage of the proposed amendments to the NDIC Act, given the importance the Senate attached to the soundness and stability of the nation’s banking system. Senator Otu said the Committee would make wide consultations with relevant stakeholders in the financial sector and members of the public toward securing well-informed position in carrying out the amendments, adding that other policy-making organisations and individuals would in due course be consulted in processing the amendment bill. The NDIC Chief Executive said although the National Assembly had earlier repealed the NDIC Decree No. 22 of 1988 and
enacted the NDIC Act 2006 to address some of the identified weaknesses in the Corporation’s law, a lot of inadequacies had since come to the fore in the implementation of the 2006 Act which now underscored the need for the proposed amendments. He listed some of the legal challenges confronting the Corporation in discharging its mandate, including excessive litigations on its role as liquidator of failed banks, lack of proper understanding of the distinction in the legal status of the NDIC as a corporate entity and its role as liquidator, execution of court judgements against the assets of the Corporation for the liabilities of failed banks and difficulties associated with the recovery of judgement debts owed to failed banks.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Mainstreet Bank deploys Finacle application KUNLE AZEEZ
ne of the commercial banks in Nigeria, Mainstreet Bank Limited, has successfully deployed Infosys Finacle version 10.2.0.9 core banking application to drive the banks technology transformation, deliver superior customer service and help customers achieve their financial goals. Finacle, a comprehensive, integrated, modular and agile business solution addressing all the core needs of banks, is being implemented and supported by Infosys and Computer Warehouse Group, Infosys sole Business Alliance Partner in Nigeria with offices in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and Cameroon. According to a statement, CWG said Finacle provides all the building blocks of business functionality, which will enable Mainstreet Bank users to configure products and processes flexibly to
adapt to a dynamic environment. “With a 360 degree single source view into customer accounts, Mainstreet Bank will have the ability to empower customers with relevant information and deliver right fit, real-time services through the preferred usage channel.” Speaking on the application deployment, Executive Director, Operations and Information Technology, Mainstreet Bank, Mr Anogwi Anyanwu, who spearheaded the Mainstreet Bank team in the implementation of the Finacle version 10, expressed optimism that Finacle version 10 would improve the operations capacity of the bank. He said he was positive that with the successful implementation of Finacle, Mainstreet Bank is now well positioned to provide world class services to its customers.
Airtel supports 600 SME owners in South-South KUNLE AZEEZ
infuse confidence especially in the youth and motivate them to embrace entrepreneurship as one sure way of confronting the problem of unemployment in the country as well as eradicating poverty in the region. Srivastava said, “It is interesting to note that efforts like this forum arose as a direct response to the yearnings of the youth who rather than wait for the so-called white collar jobs, are determined to take their destinies in their own hands by using their talents and skills to design a future of hope and fulfillment for themselves.” He assured that Airtel would always welcome every opportunity to continue its role as a catalyst; nurturing the entrepreneurial dreams and aspirations of Nigerians and creating wealth across the country.
igeria’s telecommunications operator, Airtel, has pledged its commitment to the growth and development of the nation’s economy through a sustained empowerment of the Small and Medium Enterprise operators (SMEs). Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, Airtel Nigeria, Deepak Srivastava, made the commitment in his welcome address at the Entrepreneurial Forum organised by the company for over 600 SME owners from the Niger Delta region in Port L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance Dr. Danladi Kefasi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Harcourt, Rivers State recently. Amb. Martins UhomoIbhi and Acting Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Alh. Kabir Mashi, during sensitisaAccording to Srivastava, who tion workshop for local staff of embassies on Pay As You Earn (PAYE), in Abuja recently. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA was represented by the Chief Sales Officer, Mr. Inusa Bello, Airtel believes that scaling up capacCountry Director, Dr Hussaini very robust and strong with ity building for the sector would TOLA AKINMUTIMI Abdu, told National Mirror that different kind of support from ABUJA the five year CSP with the focus DFID, global fund and others, and India to increase investment in Nigeria’s chemical industry ctionAid Nigeria, the local ‘fighting poverty in the midst today we are known with one of ndian Deputy High Com- pesticides, fertilizers, pigment, arm of the an international of plenty’ helped the organisa- the major organisations on HIV missioner to Nigeria, Mr solvents and other industrial non-governmental organ- tion to touch the lives of mil- AIDS particularly at the commuSuresh Makhijani yesterday chemicals. isation working in over 40 coun- lions of the rural poor in many nity level and preventive and ele- said that there were plans by “No doubt, there has been tries to alleviate poverty and injus- areas, adding that the next CSP ments of HIV AIDS, we’ve done Indian companies to increase some investment by Indian chemtice among the poor, has committed would be designed to consolidate tremendously well on that. investment in Nigeria’s basic ical industries in Nigeria, which about N12.5 billion to its Country on the outgoing CSP’s achieve“Our interventions on wom- and agrochemical industries. has created sizeable number of jo Strategy Programme interventions ments on poverty alleviation. en’s right has been quite robust Makhijani said this in Lagos bs. over the last five years even as it is Abdu disclosed that on a yearly and also very strong particularly while declaring open a two-day “In fact, Indian companies are set to begin the implementation of basis, the organisation had spent that we are taking women’s right Indian Chemicals Exhibition and considered to be the second larganother phase by January 2014. at least N2.5 billion on the key tar- discuss beyond the everyday pop- Buyer-Seller Meet. est employer of Nigerian workThe NGO has over the period in- get focus of the CSP namely, de- ular political issues. The News Agency of Nigeria force. “Presently, more of Indian tervened in the country’s education, mocracy and governance issues; Our work on education (NAN) reports that the exhibi- chemical companies are ready health, women’s rights, democracy health and health including ma- is very big and we have also tion was organised by Chemex- to come and invest and increase and governance issues and other laria, tuberculosis, HIV AIDS and done tremendously well espe- cil, an India government spon- the number of their products in poverty-alleviating areas with posi- maternal health, education, par- cially in northern states, work- sored export promotion council. the Nigerian market, `` he said. tive impacts on the lives and insti- ticularly basic education which ing on girl child education. The Envoy said that the newly Makhijani said that the number tutions that have benefitted from is moulded around primary and “On the current CSP, we have developed Indian basic chemical of companies participating in the such supports, especially in the junior secondary school educa- so far on every year put an aver- and agrochemical, would soon ongoing exhibition has increased rural communities nationwide. tion, conflict and human security, age of N2.5 billion. So, if you put find their ways into Nigerian from 35 as at 2012, to 80 this year. Reflecting on the activities of the food and agriculture, and lastly four years, we have put in N10 market. He said the countries bilateral civil society organisation dur- on women’s rights. billion and with one year to go, The Deputy High Commission- relations have been ``excellent`` ing the period under review at He explained: “I think we’ve we are talking of about N12 bil- er listed such products to include all along, adding that the future of the sidelines of its Partners Fo- done so well particularly in our lion to N13 billion intervention adhesives, cosmetics, toiletries, their cultural and socio-economrum held in Abuja last week, the intervention on health has been in the last five years”, Abdu said. soaps, detergents, pesticides, bio- ic cooperation would be brighter.
ActionAid commits N12.5bn to Nigeria’s programmes
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Energy Week W
hen the late President Musa Yar’Adua-led administration sent the first edition of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, to the National Assembly in 2008, there were strong indications that it he did not think that it would take long to pass the bill into law for some reasons. First, the administration was eager to make a comprehensive legislation as existing laws were outdated, having been made several years before or immediately the nation’s political independence in 1960. Second, many stakeholders, especially government officials, lawmakers and operators in the oil and gas industry also expressed interest in the PIB. But this was not to be. Unfortunately, the bill has outlived many legislators and even administrations without much progress. In fact, each administration that got the mantle to preside over the affairs of Nigeria had to start fresh work on the PIB. For instance, the President Goodluck Jonathan administration forwarded a revised edition of the PIB to the National Assembly in July 2012. The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke who confirmed the development to State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting stated that: “There is no other Petroleum Industry Bill for 2012. We have seen various adaptations appearing in the media, particularly online, that did not come from the Federal Government of Nigeria and we are unaware of who posted them on these sites. Alison-Madueke, who described the PIB as a viable document offering, incentives for crude oil production stated that: “We have a fiscal regime by royalty and tax which is now predicated on production as opposed to terrain and investment as was previously done. Royalty by production as we have outlined in the bill will capture the output of company as opposed to its location; it will create a fair balance between small and big operators operating in the same terrain, it will give operators the opportunity to make fair returns during field decline, and it proposes lower rates on condensate from large fields as well as ultra deep water fields.” Barely one year after, the PIB is still far from becoming legislation. Investigations showed that the hope of some stakeholders were dashed following prolonged delay of the bill. However, such interest seemed to be rising again, especially as the Senate has concluded plans to start public hearing on Thursday, this week. This is coming barely some weeks after the House of Representatives also held public hearing on the bill. This has attracted the comments of some stakeholders, including the National President of Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, OGSPAN, Mr. Colman Obasi who commended the Senate for planning the public hearing. As he puts it: “The Senate has taken a step to plan the hearing. It is indeed an opportunity for all parties to make concrete inputs into the bill. Obasi expects the diverse interests of
Hope of PIB passage renewed as Senate begins public hearing The Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, has been on the drawing board since 2008, thereby causing many observers to doubt its progress and the commitment of stakeholders, especially legislators. UDEME AKPAN, however, reports that the beginning of public hearing at the Senate has renewed hope of its imminent passage.
An oil production facility
WE HAVE A FISCAL REGIME BY ROYALTY AND TAX WHICH IS NOW PREDICATED ON PRODUCTION AS OPPOSED TO TERRAIN AND INVESTMENT AS WAS PREVIOUSLY DONE stakeholders to play at the Senate, particularly as some parties have already indicated where they stand on the various issues. For instance, the International Oil Companies, IOCs believed the provisions of the PIB would make the expected legislation to be uncompetitive when compared to that of other oil and gas producing nations. The Country Chair and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu who painted a vivid picture of what an ideal bill should look like stated at a conference in Abuja that: “What we have seen of the draft PIB to date does not indicate a bill that fits these criteria. And this is the opinion not only of the major players in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, but, as I mentioned earlier, industry analysts as well. What we have seen and what we know of the current draft PIB requires significant improvement to secure Nigeria’s competitiveness, and attract the required level of investment to enable ex-
ploration to increase Nigeria’s reserves and then foster development of the projects to monetise them. Sunmonu who tagged the PIB as unbalanced remarked that: “The PIB will likely render all deepwater projects and all dry gas projects – whether for domestic or export markets – non-viable, added that many opportunities will be lost. The Country Chair who noted that the opportunity to monetise some of the world’s best gas reserves will be lost also stated that the opportunity to kick-start the power sector – “the key to economic growth – using easily accessible gas will also be lost. He noted that the PIB needs to address long term industry issues, including joint venture funding, particularly as funding requirements have constrained production growth in the industry. Sunmonu stressed that the nation needs a strong national oil company, capable of partnering with others to enhance its competi-
tiveness. Sunmonu stated that: “While the economy in general is on the path of diversification it should not be denied that the oil and gas sector remains the driver of this process providing not only the funds to enable the diversification but also the gas that could and should be used to regenerate the power sector to provide reliable electricity which is the backbone of industrial growth. Sunmonu who encouraged increased partnering with the government stated that oil and gas companies have to be clear on what they need for continued investment in the nation. He challenged investors to emerge with specific issues they need rather than condemn the Bill in its entirety. The Chairman of Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Mark Ward, who spoke at a recent conference in Lagos remarked that the fiscal terms in the PIB are not favourable which would likely encouraged commercial oil and gas production without significant investments in the next 10 years. The Chairman of the Indigenous Oil Producers, Abdul Razaq Fadahunsi, noted that the provisions of the bill would likely impact negatively on indigenous CONTINUED ON PAGE 36
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 operations. Fadahunsi who observed that the PIB was partly planned to boost indigenous participation noted that: “the document negated that laudable motive, because there was no clause in the bill that sets aside any acreage category for indigenous participants.” Participants at a recent e-conference of Spaces for Change in Lagos noted that the PIB is weak in the area of transparency and accountability. Consequently, the body documented that: “The new bill authorises the newly created regulatory agencies to receive gifts, including money or other property upon such terms and conditions as may be specified by the person or organisation making the gifts provided such gifts are not inconsistent with the objectives and functions of the Act.” It also documented that there is no distinction between a gift and bribe in the PIB. Specifically, it stated that: “Because of the difficulty of drawing a line between a gift and a bribe, a blanket ban on receiving gift by any of the agencies is not only appropriate, but will go a long way in inspiring confidence in the proposed reforms. Independent studies and probes, such as the KPMG report, the Faruok Lawan, Aig Imokhuede fuel subsidy probes, all the NEITI reports have shown, transparency and accountability are the core issues with the current set-up. Failing to tackle the current transparency concerns will leave a big question mark on the proposed legislation.” More than that, it faulted the proposed Fund because there is presently no distinction between it and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). According to the report, “The bill does not indicate how this differs from NDDC, except in terms of source of funds. By also making provisions for communities to be punished by withholding their entitlements under the fund in case of disruptions, it negates the very constitutional basis of criminal justice by dishing out collective punishment.” Spaces for Change further noted that the environmental laws as documented in the PIB are weak and not capable of making much impact in the industry. For instance, they maintained that: “Asking operators in consultation with the Ministry of Environment to come up with an environmental plan does not deal with questions of the gaps between the policies and practices which has been the problem.” In the area of gas flaring, the body maintained that: “The provisions relating to gas flares gives by one hand and takes from the other. After banning gas flaring from end of this year, it creates room for exceptions to be granted by the minister. That is not effectively different from what is happening under the current regime. It turns gas flaring into discretionary permit-granting. Environmental justice advocates believe that the gas ban should be absolute. They also insist that operating companies should not only be made to get insurance covers to cover cases of environmental disasters arising from their operations and this should be a condition precedent to the operation of any license.” The report noted that the new PIB vests enormous powers on the Minister of Petroleum Resources, especially by
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Hope of PIB passage renewed as Senate begins public hearing
placing all the newly created agencies and regulatory institutions under the control and supervision of the minister. It documented that: “Section 5 of the bill provides that the Minister of Petroleum Resources shall be responsible for the coordination of the activities of the petroleum industry and shall exercise general supervision over all operations and all institutions in the industry.” These and other issues should not be perceived as ordinary comments. The National Assembly should review them in order to produce a comprehensive bill and acceptable bill to the nation without further delay as the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR data showed that the nation’s oil and gas industry has failed to attract massive investment in the past few years, apparently as a result of the non passage of the bill to guide investors.
BECAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTY OF DRAWING A LINE BETWEEN A GIFT AND A BRIBE, A BLANKET BAN ON RECEIVING GIFT BY ANY OF THE AGENCIES IS NOT
ONLY APPROPRIATE, BUT WILL GO A LONG WAY IN INSPIRING CONFIDENCE IN THE PROPOSED REFORMS
Total rules out gas flaring on new projects
otal Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited has ruled out gas flaring on new projects in order to improve the state of environment in the Niger Delta. The firm which made this known in its latest report stated that: “The launch of Ofon phase 2 in 2014 plus the OML 100 Flare Out project will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by over half, by reinjecting the gas produced, processing it into LNG or using it to generate electricity. It stated that in addition, all new projects sanctioned after 2000 prohibit flaring under normal operating conditions. The report also disclosed the contributions of the firm in other areas, especially power supply. It stated that: “For over 20 years, Total has promoted access to energy in Nigeria. Since the installation of two gas turbines on an operating site in 2005, over 100,000 people now have access to electricity within the EGI communities. The firm stated in its latest report that Total’s societal policy in Nigeria aims to
minimize the impact of our industrial activities and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. It stated that over half the societal investments of Exploration & Production are devoted to implementing sustainable policies, developed in close consultation with the Nigerian authorities and local population. The report stated that Total’s longstanding commitment to educational projects in host nations promotes the emergence of local skills likely to be incorporated into our industrial projects. It stated that: “In Nigeria, Total has set up and supported, since 2002, the Institute of Petroleum Studies (IPS), which trains around twenty engineers each year in partnership with the IFP. On average, 20per cent of these graduates are recruited into our company. The report stated that: “As a major economic player in the country, Total makes sure that it integrates an increasing proportion of local contractors into its industrial activities. The proportion of activities performed on Nigerian ter-
ritory is constantly increasing. During the development of Akpo, 28per cent of the construction was performed by local companies. The USAN project has taken this level closer to 60per cent, and all the basic engineering for the Egina project will be carried out locally. Moreover, more than 80per cent of employees at the affiliate are recruited locally. It stated that building good relations with the local people is one area in which the subsidiary continuously improves its approach. Consultation with local communities, which relies on the Community Liaison Officers (CLO), is also a determining factor in implementing successful societal programmes. The report also maintained that: “To obtain in-depth knowledge of the local situation and assess the societal impact of its projects, Total has teamed up with the Irené research programme run by the ESSEC (École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales - French business school) to monitor the development of societal performance indicators in the Niger Delta.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
OPEC may cut output to accommodate US entry into oil market UDEME AKPAN
WITH AGENCY REPORT
he price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC basket of 12 crudes has risen slightly from $104.81 to $104.82 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). This means that major oil producers and exporters, including Nigeria would still be able to generate enough foreign exchange to execute their budgets this year. The Federal Government had earlier based its revenue generation for 2013 budget implementation at the reference price of $79 per barrel. Available figures showed that prices have been in excess of the reference price since the beginning of 2013. But there are indications that the cartel may cut its oil production to accommodate the output of non-members, especially United States. The advent of the United States has already caused panic among stakeholders. For instance, the The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has admitted that the increasing development of shale gas as major source of energy in
the United States is a major challenge to Nigeria’s oil industry. Shale gas is usually recovered from rock formations using hydraulic fracturing or horizontal drilling techniques. There are widespread views that the development of shale gas has resulted in less reliance on Nigeria’s crude by the United States, which has been a major importer. The development has also led to speculations that Nigeria’s oil boom may be coming to an end. Expectedly, the issue formed a major part of the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Yakubu’s, keynote address at the Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja yesterday, with the oil executive expressing concerns over
the development. He said that while shale gas production had grown from eight to 32 per cent of US domestic requirements, imports from Nigerian LNG had dropped from three to one per cent. “There is no doubt that shale gas is a challenge to us,” Yakubu said. The NNPC boss, however, said Nigeria had repositioned its export strategy following the emerging threats, adding that the country had found other comfortable markets to cushion the challenges of shale gas availability. The GMD added that though there had been no attempts to explore shale gas in Nigeria, the country had the potential. “There has not been any targeted exploration of shale gas in Nigeria, but we have reliable geological information that Nigeria has the potential of having 600 tcf of gas among which is expected to be shale gas. “So, really we are not nervous about shale gas and we believe that in addition to the current resources, we have significant potential of also being part of the global scene in terms of energy mix should shale gas decide to pose a threat,” he said. He insisted that the Federal Government was not jittery of being displaced in the global energy mix by the shale gas. The NNPC boss said: “We are conversant with the fact that shale gas in future will require very high technical course because of the depletion rate in the reservoirs compared to oil and gas. “So, inasmuch as we understand that shale gas is becoming a challenge, we also are mindful of the threat that will slow down the development of shale gas.”
Crude rises for second day as manufacturers increase demand
est Texas Intermediate crude rose for a second day as manufacturing in the New York region expanded in July at the fastest pace in five months. Brent oil settled at a three-month high. Prices climbed 0.4 percent as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index advanced to 9.5, the highest level since February. Oil also rose as Islamists in Egypt, which controls the Suez Canal, called for mass protests to demand the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Mursi. Prices fell earlier after U.S. retail sales rose less than projected. “Crude’s been adjusting to the economic data,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC, an Austin, Texas-based energy consultant. “The manufacturing number is more forwardlooking. It reinforces the story of modest growth with future upside.” WTI for August delivery gained 37 cents
to settle at $106.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 15 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. The contract climbed $1.04 on July 12, capping a 13 percent rally over three weeks. Brent for August rose 28 cents to $109.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the highest settlement since April 2. Volume was 7.9 percent below 100-day average. Brent’s premium over WTI narrowed to $2.75 from July 12’s $2.86. The spread was $1.99 on July 10, the smallest based on closing prices since November 2010. The July manufacturing index was higher than last month’s 7.8. Readings greater than zero signal expansion in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of 50 economists called for a reading of 5. The U.S., the world’s biggest oil-con-
suming country, accounted for a fifth of the world’s demand in 2012, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
Crude Oil (WTI)
Crude Oil (Brent)
TOCOM Crude Oil
NYMEX Natural Gas
Demonstrations in Egypt, which may target military sites, are building on efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to squeeze the army after it pushed Mursi from power on July 3 following a wave of protests against his rule. A combined 2.24 million barrels a day of oil were shipped from the Red Sea to Europe and North America in 2011 via the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline, Energy Department data show. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) said price risks for Brent crude in the second half of the year have changed “to the upside” amid production losses in some Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries nations and political threats to supply. Reductions in output from Libya, Iraq and Nigeria have the potential to limit availability, the bank said today in an emailed report. Hedge funds increased bullish bets on WTI to the highest level since May 2011, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said July 12. Money managers boosted their net-long positions on WTI, or wagers that prices will rise, by 6.9 percent to 281,918 futures and options combined in the seven days ended July 9, the CFTC said in its Commitments of Traders report.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Firm promises $5m jetty for pipe mill UDEME AKPAN
hell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) has reconfirmed its commitment to build a jetty worth $5 million in support of the pilot pipe mill being promoted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB). The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Ernest Nwapa stated this when he received members of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) who came on oversight visit to the Board in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The jetty would be used for shipping raw materials and finished products from the 250 metric tonne pipe mill being located in the same precincts with the Shell Gbaran Ubie’s gas plant and the National Integrated Power Plant. The construction of the jetty is part of the wide ranging industry support for the pilot pipe mill and other developmental initiatives of the Board, Nwapa said in a statement by the NCDMB Public Affairs Officer, Obinna Ezeobi. He explained that the pipe mill would create over 1,000 direct jobs and several thousand indirect jobs for Nigerians as well as provide an invaluable platform for training Nigerians. The mill will also supply pipes for the over 2,000 kilometers of new gas pipelines to be laid in the gas master plan, replacement of aged existing pipes, as well as supply pipes for the numerous fertiliser, LPG and gas-to-power projects planned for the
next few years. Nwapa reassured the Senate Committee, led by its chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, that the Board was focusing on developing local capacity which will ensure that industry jobs are executed incountry and employment is created for qualified Nigerians. He stressed that the existence of local capacity and manufacturing of compo-
nents of industry equipment was a sure way to grow the Nigerian Content, generate employment and reduce dependence on importation for industry operations. Other initiatives of the Board, according to him, includes the on-going plan by the Board to establish the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industrial Parks in close proximity to the oil fields to spur small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow their capability in manufacturing through partnerships with multi-nationals and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). “We intend to use the industrial park model to establish physical infrastructure and create enabling environment for lowcost manufacturing of equipment components, with a view to maximise utilisation of Nigerian made goods in the oil and gas industry; and to integrate community entrepreneurs into oil and gas value chain,” he said. In his remarks, Paulker reminded the Board that it has an important role to play in the development of the economy, especially in increasing the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry and developing indigenous capacity. He described the Nigerian Content Act as one of the most important legislations passed by the legislature in the past few years, promising that the senate will support the Board in every possible way to ensure that stakeholders comply with the provisions of the Act. On his part, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, charged the Board to closely monitor activities of the international oil companies and ensure that they comply with the Act.
PSI condemns privatisation of core sectors of Nigerian economy MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA
s the probe on privation policy by the National Assembly rages on, the Public Service International (PSI) has condemned the privatisation of core sectors of Nigerian economy, saying such policy ‘is anti-people and anti-labour’ General Secretary of the international public workers’ union, Rosamaris Panavelli, made this known to journalists during her visit to Abuja at the weekend. She also called for a halt to all forms of privatisation processes in the country, as, according to her, many places where public private partnership used in the energy, health and other sectors have been found to increase tariff and lower quality of services and also lower working conditions and salaries for the workers. Panavelli, instead of privatisation, called for public-public-partnership which she declared had been shown to be cheaper and more effective than the PPP in societies where it had been practiced. She, opined that, “improved funding of the public services under democratic system that includes the inputs of workers is the best way to building strong, prosperous and inclusive societies”. She however, urged all tiers of government to look critically at the ideolo-
gy of neo-liberalism and put the interest of the Nigerian masses above the capitalists through enhanced public service delivery and halt all forms of privatisation in general. She noted that: “One of the consequences of the Public Private Partnership model to development is the erosion of workers remuneration, working conditions, and trade union rights. With rising unemployment, the employers feel stronger to give low real wages and discountenance taking adequate steps
to safeguard occupational safety. This is reflected in Nigeria where the take home pay of most public sector workers can hardly take them home. It also accounts for increasing industrial unrest.” Panavelli decried challenges of workers in Nigeria which she listed to include poor funding. Privatisation and outsourcing, she stressed, were more of the policies that had created or deepened problems not only for the workers, but also for the task of delivering quality public services. She, however, commended Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, for his efforts in improving workers welfare in the country. She urged the minister that more could be achieved. “Harmonious industrial relations rooted in social dialogue and pluralism can only flourish when each party, and particularly the workers who do not have the institutional powers of coercion which government has, can trust the other to implement agreements reached. “This is one of the reasons why PSI will urge the federal government to ratify the ILO Convention 151 and 154 which are geared towards promoting collective bargaining in the public services,” she pleaded. PSI is a global union federation with affiliates representing more than 20 million public services workers in over 150 countries across the world.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Academy partners with NEITI on metering
he Nigerian Academy of Science says it will come to the aid of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to find solutions to the issue of measurement of Nigeria crude through evidence based research on introduction of metering infrastructure in the oil and gas industry. The President of the Academy, Professor Oyewale Tomori made the pledge in Abuja when he led the Academy on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed. Tomori explained that NEITI’s persistent concern through its Audit Report that there is no reliable scientific mechanism to measure the quantity of crude produced in Nigeria, is a national issue that requires the intervention of Nigerian Academy of Science. The Academy which is made up of renowned scientists from major fields of natural, physical, applied and environmental sciences has promised to mobilise its members to carry out an in-depth research in collaboration with NEITI. The goal of the Academy will be to come out with a scientific mechanism that will introduce a metering regime to guarantee that Nigeria’s crude being extracted by companies are adequately measured to check the continued loss of revenue. Tomori said that the decision to collaborate with NEITI is as a result of exceptional demonstration of courage, integrity, knowledge and professionalism by the Agency that has earned it international recognition. He explained that the Nigerian Academy of Science is proud over the recent award to Nigeria through the work of NEITI as the best extractive industries transparency implementing country out of 50 countries at the global conference of EITI in Sydney, Australia. The Executive Secretary of NEITI described Nigerian Academy of Science as a reservoir of knowledge whose support to NEITI could be of tremendous value. She identified the introduction of a metering infrastructure in the oil and gas industry as NEITI’s position in its audit reports which requires knowledge and technology based on research to implement. “A situation where Nigeria continues to rely on figures by companies who are in business for information to determine quantity of crude produced is inappropriate and unacceptable”, the Executive Secretary added. Ahmed explained that NEITI’s position has always remained that except and until adequate metering technology is introduced to measure accurately the quantity of crude that Nigeria produces, the Nation will continue to loose huge revenues through manipulations, to companies operating in the industry. She welcomed the decision of Nigerian Academy of Science to intervene in the implementation of this and other findings of NEITI that requires evidence based research to move forward, in an industry that is technology driven.
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
TCN restores electricity supply UDEME AKPAN
Mr. L. O. Kanwi of TCN receiving letter of commendation for preventing system failure from CEO, Mr. Don Priestman (r) in Abuja recently.
However, the company has apologised to the Federal Government and the good citizens of Nigeria for the inconveniences caused by the power outage and reiterates it’s commitment to always promptly rise to the occasions, like this. TCN emerged from the defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) as a product of the merger of the Transmission and Operations sectors on April 1, 2004.
Being one of the 18 unbundled Business Units under the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the company was issued a transmission License on 1st July, 2006. TCN licensed activities include: electricity transmission, system operation and electricity trading which is ring fenced. The firm is responsible for evacuating generated electric power from Generating Companies and wheeling it to Distribution Companies.
TCN has eight Transmission Regions and a National Control Centre, NCC. Each of these is headed by a General Manager (Transmission), who is responsible for the running and maintenance of transmission and transformation facilities in their areas of operation. The Transmission Regions are Lagos, Osogbo, Kaduna, Bauchi, Benin. Shiroro, Enugu and Port Harcourt and the National Control Centre (NCC) located at Osogbo.
LEE Engineering begins work on flowstation maintenance
n indigenous company has started the rehabilitation of Ogbotobo flowstation rehabilitation in Western Niger Delta. The flowstation, belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) operated Joint Venture was attacked by unknown vandals recently. A top company official who preferred not to be mentioned stated that the rehabilitation was targeted at ensuring that the facility was put into use in the coming weeks. Shell stated that the operations at the flowstation were suspended in the security crisis in 2006, and SPDC plans to restart the facility to support resumption of oil production from the entire Ogbotobo field. The Corporate Media Relations Manager of the firm, Mr. Tony Okonedo who confirmed the development in a statement stated that: “Ogbotobo Flowstation, with a capacity of 45,000 barrels of oil per day was producing about 10,000 barrels when it was shut down. He stated that the contract was awarded to an indigenous firm, LEE Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited, and covers replacement of the station’s pow-
Agency seeks National Assembly’s support for PIB
he Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has restored power supply to most parts of the Federation, after a nationwide outage which affected many parts of the nation last week. The firm which confirmed this in a statement stated that the development was caused by system high-voltage that made many transmission equipment to explode at Ayede in Ibadan, Oyo State; Osogbo, Osun State; Ganmo in Ilorin, Kwara State as well as Shiroro, Niger State, resulting in Grid System collapse. The company’s General Manager (Public Affairs), Mr Dave Ifabiyi said it’s engineers worked tirelessly to replace the damaged equipment. He stated that the damaged facility tripped the 330 kV Transmission Lines from Osogbo in Osun State to Ikeja- West in Lagos State; Benin in Edo State to Omotosho in Ondo State; Omotosho to IkejaWest and Egbin to Ikeja-West in Lagos State as well as Okpai in Edo State to Onitsha in Anambra State. Ifabiyi stated that TCN regrets that repair efforts to restore power supply took awhile, due to the enormity of the incident.
er generation and distribution system. Okonedo remarked that the It was planned to resume operations at Ogbotogbo Flowstation once the power system is up and running. “This is a major step toward fulfilling our aspiration to re-enter fields that we left in the West in 2006 due to insecurity,” said General Manager, Operated Onshore and Shallow Offshore Projects, Toyin Olagunju, at the contract signing ceremony on July 5. “A significant aspect of the contract is that it is being executed by an indigenous contractor thus promoting SPDC efforts to grow Nigerian capacity in the oil and gas sector. We will support the contractor to deliver the project on schedule in a safe and secure manner.” Chairman of LEE Engineering, Dr. Leemon Ikpea said: “I thank SPDC for the opportunity to be a part of their production delivery goal. As our practice, LEE Engineering will strive to work safely in the delivery of the project.” The management of SPDC has recorded recent attacks on its pipeline. For instance, the SPDC restated its determination to continue to operate safely and in an
environmentally friendly manner, even as it decried the sabotage and crude oil theft activities that led to the recent fire and explosion on the 28” Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP). It stated that a joint investigation team comprising regulators, communities, independent observers and SPDC found that this incident occurred as a result of unknown persons installing a valve to steal crude oil from the line. The firm stated that: “SPDC has repaired the valve point and removed six other crude oil theft connections in its continuing efforts to maintain the integrity of
the line. Also, the 24” TNP, which was shut down in a precautionary response to the fire on the 28”TNP has been reopened for production. The Managing Director remarked that: “Suggestions that we reacted slowly to the fire and spill are false. At the earliest opportunity, we quickly mobilised teams to respond to a crude theft spill on the 28” TNP on June 10 and the explosion and fire on June 19. We conducted an assessment of the risks and decided, with the support of the JTF to enforce a restriction of access to the site for safety reasons. Our response and the actions we took at Bodo West were in the best interest of lives and the environment.” Sunmonu also dismissed suggestions that the TNP is not safe to operate. The line is operated in line with the company’s Pipeline Integrity Management System (PIMS), ensuring regular inspection and maintenance. He stated that: “The dominant cause of failures on the TNP has been third party damage resulting from sabotage (hacksaw cuts, drilled holes, etc) and illegal crude theft. In the past three years, a total of 25 leaks have been recorded on the facility – 23 of which were due to sabotage and two operational pinhole leaks.”
he Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has called on the National Assembly to ensure that contract transparency is clearly embedded as key provisions in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Defending its position in a Memo to the National Assembly at the Public Hearing on the PIB by the House of Representatives, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mrs Zainab Ahmed explained that the issue of contract transparency is already a law in the United States through the recent Dodd – Frank Act. The European Union has also recently endorsed similar legislation for adoption by all EU Member countries. She affirmed that “In conformity with the global trends and EITI principles which Nigeria is a signatory, NEITI is proposing the creation of a register that will contain comprehensive information and data about holders of oil, gas and mining licenses. Such a register should also contain information on corporate entities of all those that bid for or invest in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, the identities of the beneficial owners of oil blocks and licences including all exploration and production contracts”. Ahmed disclosed that the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) recently aligned with the trend by formulating executive principles to promote openness in the award of oil, gas and mining licenses. The EITI principles also cover transparency in developing contractual obligations that guide businesses in the oil and gas industry. On the contentious issue of confidentiality clause, which determine the nature of information that companies can share with the public on their operations, the NEITI Executive Secretary observed that section 174 of the PIB contains contradictory provision on the issue of confidentiality clauses. “This created mix signals on what information shall or shall not be made public by the companies. NEITI is therefore of the position that the process of maintaining confidentiality of industrial information by the companies should be clarified in the legislation”, she said.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Leveraging on Nigeria’s 639m metric tonnes of coal reserves CHIDI UGWU ABUJA
he economic stagnation in many developed countries and the enduring challenge of electrification in the developing world, make it necessary for countries to consider clean, but also affordable and reliable electricity generation. Over the past 30 years, the amount of electricity produced from coal globally has more than tripled. For instance, Coal-fired power plants generate 52 percent of the electricity in the United States. The International Energy Agency reports that by 2017, coal will become the world’s largest source of energy with 1.2 billion extra tons of coal consumed each year during the next five years. Nigeria is not left out in this quest for coal fired power plants hence, Federal Government last weekend, announced plans to tap the 639million tonnes of coal reserves in Nigeria in order to generate an additional 4,000megawatts of electricity. The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, while inaugurating an eight-member Coal to Power Committee, headed by Sanusi Garba, stressed the need for Nigeria to urgently diversify from fuel to power saying no nation can survive on only one or two sources of energy. Other members of the committee are; Mr. Jonathan Ogbonna, Co-Chairman,and Dr Albert Okorogwu the secretary to the committee. They also included Mr. Farouk Yusuf, Mr Imo Ekpo, Mr Clement Oke Mr. Abayomi Awodipe and Prof Paulinus Okeke. According to the panel’s terms of reference, it is to review the status and adequacy of available
studies and project documents relating to the establishment of coal-fired power plants. It also has to examine the impediments to the development of coal-fired power plants in the country and make recommendations towards facilitating investment in the coal to power generation. The panel would as well, examine the status of bankable feasibility studies initiated by the federal ministry of power and advice it on the strategy of completing the initiative. It would also, liaise with other stakeholders’ to review current initiative of private investors on coal to power and advice on areas of possible support and collaboration with the ministry. The committee in addition, was mandated to make any other recommendations towards facilitating the utilisation of coal for power generation in the country. It was given the time frame of nine months to submit its reports to the minister. Nebo listed the world average
for generation mix as Coal 41 per cent, Gas 21 per cent, Hydro 16 per cent, Nuclear 13 per cent and Oil 5 per cent. He noted that the contribution of coal to power in world was huge, adding that coal contributes 93 per cent to power generation in South Africa and China 79 per cent respectively. Nebo further said that countries such as Poland, Australia and USA have 87, 54, and 45 per cents likewise, as the total contributions coal-to –power generates in these countries. According to him, Nigeria is blessed with abundant deposits of coal found in 13 states of the federation. He stressed that some commercial quantities are found in Enugu, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Gombe states. Nebo noted that proven coal reserves amounting to about 639 million tons and inferred reserves in the region of 2.75 billion tons are found in the country. Nebo stated that undeveloped virgin coal assets require detailed exploration work, noting
that development of infrastructure and other coal fields were currently being mined on skeletal basis. He explained that Nigeria’s generations mix currently were 70 per cent thermal plants, and 30 per cent hydro power, stressing that Nigeria’s thermal plants were entirely on natural gas as fuel. Nebo noted that, in line with the global practice, there was an urgent need to diversify the nation’s fuel for power generation. The chairman of the committee, Mr Sanusi Garba, on behalf of the panel assured that the committee would deliver as expected adding that they would not disappoint Nigerians. Much as the federal government’s interest in developing coal for electricity generation is laudable, Analysts have warned that Nigeria be wary of climate pollution from coal power. Some environmentalists have indicted coal-fired electric power generation as a major source of air pollution and contributor to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. According to these pundits, coal plants are major sources of toxic air contaminants, including mercury, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and particulate matter. The study shows that in Alberta each year this pollution contributes to over 4,000 asthma episodes, over 700 emergency visits for respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, and around 80 hospital admissions, with chronic exposures resulting in nearly 100 premature deaths. “Doctors agree that coal is a health hazard from start to finish,” says Farrah Khan with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. “Coal-fired power plants put Albertans’ health at risk, especially the health of our children.”
Shell may sell more oil blocks in Nigeria
oyal Dutch/Shell is considering a further reduction in its oil production in the eastern Niger Delta, where decades of spills and oil thefts have damaged the region’s environment and the reputation of the company. Nigeria’s government wants more of its oil and gas owned either by the state oil company or local firms, raising concerns among foreign oil majors they may lose smaller assets for nothing if they don’t sell now, industry experts say. Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum De-
velopment Co. of Nigeria Ltd. (SPDC), announced a strategic review of its business on Friday, saying it would consult with its international and Nigerian partners over the future of the 28 leases that produce some 750,000 barrels a day of oil. Shell has already sold eight Niger Delta licences for a total $1.8 billion since 2010. Earlier this week U.S.-based Chevron Corp said it would sell five Nigerian shallow-water oil blocks. Foreign oil companies have suffered from widespread oil theft and at-times difficult relationships with local commu-
nities, driving up the costs of operating there, while a longdelayed energy bill is stuck in parliament, adding to industry uncertainty. Shell’s review of its Niger Delta oil licences came alongside a decision to go ahead with two other investments in the West African country - the Trans-Niger Pipeline loop-line (TNPL) and Phase Two of the Gbaran-Ubie gas project, which together will cost around $3.9 billion. The pipeline investment is aimed at better protecting it against the thefts and sabo-
tage it suffers. As recently as Thursday this week, Shell shut the Trans-Niger Pipeline after an explosion and fire at what it called a “crude oil theft point”. The Gbaran-Ubie gas project is slated to maintain supplies to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas plant and to the GbaranUbie power plant. SPDC Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu said: “Today’s announcements demonstrate our long term commitment to Nigeria by clearly signaling our intent for the strategic direction of Shell in Nigeria.”
70 youths benefit from PTDF scholarship award
o fewer than 70 persons are billed to travel to the People’s Republic of China to study for degrees in various oil and gas engineering courses under the Federal Government Post Amnesty Rehabilitation and Empowerment Programme. The programme which is coming on the heels of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS) is designed to empower youths not only to compete favourably, but also to participate fully in the activities of the oil and gas industry in the country. Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Secretary of PTDF, Mr. Oluleye Oluwole, said the fund was encouraged by the huge success recorded in the training of scholars at MSc and PHD levels hence it decided to give opportunity to youths for undergraduate programme. The Executive Secretary, who was represented by the General Manager, Legal and Secretarial Services, Mr. Balarabe Ahmed, said the programme was designed by government to engage the youths meaningfully and steer them away from militancy and mischief making. He enjoined the students to exhibit high sense of responsibility and discipline during their study, adding you will do your country proud by excelling in your studies so that you can come back to Nigeria to participate in the oil and gas industry and contribute to national development. The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr. David Shikfu Parradang, who was represented by the Mrs. Garba Yauwa, a Senior Inspector of Immigrations (SII), took the students on immigration services and how to handle their travelling documents. He advised the students not to answer any question they do not understand during immigration check at both arrival and departure of any airport. Also, the DG of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, warned the students not to export the culture of exam malpractice, adding that such unwholesome practice would dent Nigeria’s image abroad. He said the programme has duration of four years adding that over 600 Nigerians are currently studying overseas under the scheme. He, however, warned the students that the scholarship award does not guarantee automatic employment by PTDF at completion.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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‘Nobody seems to have interest Sani Shehu is the National President, Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), in this interview with CHIDI UGWU, he speaks on the prospects and challenges in the mining industry. Excerpts: Nigeria’s mining industry is said to be underdeveloped which is why production is low, what is your association doing about it? Well, the Miners Association of Nigeria is an industrial association, it is a group of business entrepreneurs that has interest in mining business, so the growth of the mining industry is critical to our growth but there is a limit to what we can do to grow the sector even in the circumstances we find ourselves. Now the circumstances are such that nobody seems to have interest in funding the sector. Mining is a capital intensive venture; in other parts of the world there are special financial institutions that fund the sector for a long time. A mining project can be funded for almost 30 years and once it is successful, the dividends are can be enjoyed to infinity. And the interest rate is charge very low over there but here in Nigeria, almost all the financial institutions minus some develop banks like Exim Bank, and recently Bank of Industry that is indicating interest, no bank is willing to fund mining projects. So, given our circumstance you will agree that we have a lot of limitations. But all the same, miners on their own have been trying to fill that gap between foreign investors and local players to be able to create activities in the mining sector. We have repeatedly been talking to government to make a kind of funding intervention and as is the case in other sectors, like agric, textile even the petroleum industry has been able to get some financial intervention from the government. So that is what we have been doing, But we must commend the government for setting up Solid Mineral Development Fund, but we are not comfortable that the several months after the fund has been establish it has not been funded. Can you elaborate on the Solid Minerals Development Fund, which you said it has not been funded yet after several months of coming into existence? What I am saying is that, it took a long time of consistent advocacy for the establishment of the fund. stakeholders in the industry, one of which is the Miners Association of Nigeria, have been calling on the government to set up this fund so that since the industry does not have any specialised funding agency, let the Solid Minerals Development Fund be a kind of pioneer agency that will begin to fund the sector and we expect others to queue up, but what I am saying is this, after the President has given a listening ear and finally responded by establishing the board, now after four months, I think it was established in February or March, the fund has not been funded to be able to start effectively. We are appealing to government to as a matter of urgency fund the SMDF, give it a kind of seed capital if like, to be able to further generate other funding intervention in view of its statutory responsibility. And so if that is done, the popular insinuation that the fund is just there for name sake would have been proven wrong. The Japanese government allegedly gave $32 billion grant for the development of Nigeria’s mining sector, how well would you say this money has been utilised? As far we are concerned, we are yet to see this fund it was just said and up till now we cannot with certainty say that the Japanese aid has come yet. I think the pronouncement was made recently, so I think we should wait and see. What is your assessment of the activities of Nigerian Promotion Commission with respect to the development of the mining industry?
GOVERNMENT HAS TO ASSIST ENTREPRENEURS IN MINING TO BE ABLE TO OPEN UP THEIR MINE FIELDS SO THAT THEY CAN EMPLOY PEOPLE TO WORK FOR THEM AND BY SO DOING, THEY WILL
OFFER EMPLOYMENT AND PAY ROYALTIES AND OTHER TAXES TO THE GOVERNMENT Nigerian Promotion Commission has been trying because I know in 2011, I travelled a lot to several countries and each of these countries I went I noticed the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission is present trying to woo investors. And realising efforts they have been making we have resolved to have a meeting with them to discuss areas of collaboration, because it is one of the government agencies that is vibrant in terms of wooing investors into the country. Many are of the opinion that mining industry would provide solution to Nigeria’s growing unemployment problem, what
is your take on that? That is a mere aspiration; it depends on a number of variables that must be addressed. Yes, mining sector has the potential to offer massive employment to Nigerians but it cannot just happen. We need a push, in the aspect of intervention from financial institutions then we can say from the government. Government has to assist entrepreneurs in mining to be able to open up their mine fields so that they can employ people to work for them and by so doing they will offer employment and pay royalties and other taxes to the government. The artisanal and small scale miners also need to be reorganised to be able to mine according to the rule, manage associated risks in informal mining and also employ labour. So for mining sector to offer the kind of employment you are talking about government has to invest in it. I think that is the major condition. Apart from that, some of these sites are not accessible, the minerals may there, but the roads are so bad. We call on the government to identify these sites and even if it is just to grade the road to able to allow the miners to reach the sites. Also, as part of job creation, the small scale miners should be assisted and pushed to a level of medium scale miners. This is because each time a miner moves from one state to another, he will employ more labour, make more production and pay more revenues to the government. If this is done, our collective aspiration of mining sector to generate massive employment and bring more revenue to the government will be realised. Nigeria’s minerals spread is significant with about 34 iden-
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in funding mining sector’ tified minerals deposits distributed in the country’s richly endowed geology, how best can these be put to use? Well, I think we should do what other countries are doing, there are so many minerals in Mali, but what they did was to concentrate on a prioritised mineral. Mali concentrated only on gold, but we know that there are manganese, columbine and so many other minerals in Mali, but what they did was to concentrate only on gold. And I think the wisdom is maybe after exhausting gold, they will identify other minerals of advantage and start exploiting it. But here in Nigeria, it is not realistic to concentrate on one or two minerals because we have them in abundance and all the deposits are very rich but perhaps it will help us if we identify a specific number of minerals, just like what the Federal Government did, even though we have about 34 minerals in commercial quantity, they have identified seven as strategic minerals. So, what needs to be done is to really work on these seven minerals by sustained government investment. And also other agencies of government can be encouraged to invest in the sector. This kind of investment may not be possible without adequate budgetary allocation to the ministry in charge of mineral resources because mining is a real governed profession, I mean it is governed by law, and the supervisory ministry must be supported to perform its statutory function effectively. This cannot be achieved with the lean budgetary allocation that we see every year. Government must make a decision if they really want to develop mining, they have to come with aggressive funding support and also a large increase in the budgetary allocation of the ministry in charge of this solid mineral. If that is done, I think things will change for the better. A major thrust of the new mineral policy is the emphasis on private sector participation and improvement of the local communities where these minerals are mined from, what is your take on the new legislation? The new legislation is a very good document but you know in Nigeria we never lack policies and legislation. Our challenge is the implementation and this mining regulation which I think is one of the best mining regulations in the mining world. But I am happy that community relationship has been given attention. You see, no matter what, a miner has to mine in a particular community and these people suppose to be carried along because they are critical to a sustained mining operation. There is need for the provisions of the law to be strictly adhered to so that communities will benefit from mining activities in their respect communities and the investors will also have peace of mind without thinking of any rancour that is likely going to happen. The issue of Niger Delta is still very fresh in our minds, we are happy that it is gradually becoming a history. But let the challenge that was experienced in the Niger Delta not be replicated in the mining industry. And so, issues like community development agreement, issues like community social responsibility on the part of miners, issues like local participation in mining operations which are properly addressed in the new mining regulation should be translated into reality. And perhaps I should appeal to my colleagues the miners to be able to carry their communities along in the mining operation by so doing we will have a peaceful and sustained mining operation devoid of any rancour. What can foreign investors expect from Nigeria with respect to other incentives being offered by the government to prospective investors in the mining sector? I think foreign investors are protected by the Mineral and Mining Act. They are given a number of incentives, I understand they have right to repatriate their profit and their total capital whenever the need arise. So, they are not under any compulsion to say you can only repatriate a certain percentage of their profit. I also think there are a number of tax holidays and in event of importing their mining equipment it is duty free. There are more that I may not recall now, but even these are good enough incentives to at-
method of settling disputes, that is number one, number two, we also use sensitization as a means of sending our messages, of the dos and don’ts of the mining provisions and by extension MAN. There are challenges here and there. There challenges among the miners over a mining title, some will apply and others will come and work without authority, there are challenges between the miners and the mining communities, you know, there are challenges here and there, but what we do is we treat all these challenges and issues as family issues. We mediate; we have a number of committees whose duty is to mediate among members. And these issues we are not always in a hurry to make it public. But they exist. Our mediation process has proven to be very effective, so the answer is yes, there are erring members but we treat such issues in our own way.
THERE MUST BE A SUSTAINED AWARENESS AND SENSITISATION
PROGRAMME FOR THE BANKERS.
THEY ALSO NEED TO GET IN
TOUCH WITH OTHER BANKERS OVERSEAS TO SHARE IDEAS ON THE ADVANTAGES OF FUNDING AN ECONOMICALLY VIABLE SECTOR LIKE THE MINING SECTOR
tract foreign investment. Every profession is guided by certain ethics to check the activities of members, but over the years I have not heard that a miner was sanctioned, does this suggest there are no erring members in your midst? What we do, we as much as possible use mediation as a
If you are given to market the Nigerian mining industry to potential bankers who may be willing to invest in the sector but lack adequate knowledge of what to expect, how would address the issue? The first thing I will do is to draw a kind of programme for the bankers. There must be a sustained awareness and sensitisation programme for the bankers. They also need to get in touch with other bankers overseas to share ideas on the advantages of funding an economically viable sector like the mining sector. The government also need to package a carrot for them as an incentive, government can say okay we are going to provide like N500 billion as a kind of guarantee fund for miners to be able to access their loan for a given period. If that period elapses the bankers would have had idea about what the mining industry is, they would have idea about the associated risks involved, they would also have idea about a number of things. And this knowledge will give them the opportunity to repackage themselves towards so many mining specific projects. So that after that time, banks will no longer be afraid of the sector. They will instead, given the experience they have gathered, embrace the sector and make it a growing partner in the area of their business. Where do you see Nigeria’s mining industry say in the next five years? Well, in the next five years, all things being equal, Nigeria’s mining industry is going to be a giant industry full of foreign direct capital. Remember, just about two to three weeks ago, the Canadian and Australian financiers have been able to release some funds in order to bridge the gap between the World Bank intervention $122 million loan and the future massive intervention that is expected from the World Bank. So in between this period and the period of that big funding the Australian and Canadian financiers have been able send about $2 million just to sustain the tempo. And also remember that the President is currently in China, and if you are following his engagements in China, you notice that a lot agreements and understanding have been reached part of which of course is the development of mining sector. The Americans and European investors are also eyeing Nigeria as a country of high mining potentials. On the whole, in the next five years, we are expecting high level of activities, we are also expecting these mining pillars to come to Nigeria and partner with the local operators. We are also expecting state government because we are sensitising state governments, mining is not all about foreign investors, it is about foreign and local investors. We have very rich people in Nigeria who are not clear about what mining is all about. We are trying to encourage these categories of people also to try mining. I know recently Dangote made a pronouncement that he would invest something in mining. So, in the next five years, there will be aggressive investment both from foreign and local investors. We expect the artisanal and small scale miners to have been more enlightened and so the incidence of informal and illegal mining to have reduced drastically. We also expect the banks to have understood the sector and invest in it.
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US stocks little changed amid earnings, production data
nited States stocks were little changed, after benchmark indexes extended records yesterday, as industrial production rose in June and investors watched earnings from Coca-Cola Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Coca-Cola fell 3 percent as volumes missed estimates. Cintas Corp. dropped 4.1 percent after the uniform maker forecast earnings for the current fiscal year that were below analyst estimates. Goldman Sachs retreated 0.4 percent even after profit beat analysts’ projections. Johnson & Johnson added 1.1 percent as profit more than doubled and the company boosted its earnings forecast. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.1 percent to 1,680.58 at 9:48 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 13.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,470.48. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 3.6 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day. “Guidance has driven earnings expectations down quite considerably lately so any earnings surprise this quarter will be to the upside,” said Patrick Spencer, head of U.S. equity sales for Robert W. Baird &
Co. in London. “Corporations will continue to borrow money cheaply and use that for high dividend payments and stock buybacks, which will give a great foundation to the market.” The S&P 500 (SPX) extended its all-time high yesterday after better-than-estimated earnings from Citigroup Inc. overshadowed a disappointing retail sales report. The gauge has risen for eight straight days, the longest winning streak since January. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke bolstered the rally last week after he backed sustained monetary stimulus. Bernanke will deliver his semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress this week, starting tomorrow at the House Financial Services Committee. Central bank stimulus has helped fuel a rally in stocks worldwide, with the bench- Obama mark U.S.index surging 149 percent from its March 2009 low. Fed policy makers have the labor market or an increase in inflabeen debating in the past six weeks on the tion. A report yesterday showed the cost of timing and pace of any cuts in the central bank’s $85 billion in monthly bond pur- living in the U.S. rose in June as gasoline chases. Bernanke has said any reduction prices increased the most in four months. will be tied to sustained improvement in The consumer-price index increased 0.5
EU offshore wind installation rate doubles as Siemens leads
British Prime Minister, David Cameron
he installation rate of offshore wind turbines in Europe doubled in the first half of the year, with Siemens AG (SIE) machines taking the bulk of the market. A total of 1,045 megawatts of capacity of wind turbines were connected at sea, compared with 523.2 megawatts in the yearearlier period, the European Wind Energy Association said today in an e-mailed re-
port. Siemens (SIE) took 83 percent of that, followed by Bard Holding GmbH with 10 percent and Suzlon Energy Ltd. (SUEL)’s Repower unit on 7 percent. Countries including the U.K. and Germany are relying on offshore wind to help them meet their carbon reduction and renewable energy goals. At the same time, installations risk tailing off without clearer rules and targets beyond 2020, according to the Brussels-based EWEA, which said just one new project has reached financial close in the past six months. The sole financing, “together with a lack of orders being placed for offshore wind turbines, substructures and components, reflects the regulatory uncertainty in key offshore markets including Germany and the U.K.,” EWEA Director of Policy Justin Wilkes said in the statement. “To attract investment to the sector governments need to provide a stable regulatory framework and the EU should set a binding renewable target for 2030.” About half of this year’s installed capacity has been in the U.K., with 513.5 megawatts, according to EWEA. Denmark connected 352.8 megawatts to the grid, Germany installed 105 megawatts, and Belgium had 73.8 megawatts.
Brazil ethanol producers get $167m aid to combat drought
razil is preparing to disburse 380 million reais ($167million) of subsidies to ethanol mills in the northeast by 2014 to renew sugar-cane crops and help growers recover from the worst drought in five decades. Companies in the region will be eligible for 20 centavos of government funds for every liter of fuel they sold in the domestic market during the 2011-12 harvest season, Cid Jorge Caldas, director of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply’s sugar cane and agroenergy department, said in a telephone interview yesterday. Some planters in particularly hard-hit regions including northern Pernambuco
state and southern Alagoas have seen more than 40 percent of their crops wither due to lack of rain, he said. “If we don’t intervene then there’s going to be supply problem” for ethanol in the region, Caldas said. “For the last three years this drought has been getting worst and this last year was especially brutal.” The funds will be disbursed to about 45 mills that will be required to prove how much ethanol they sold in the 201112 harvest by providing receipts, he said. The government authorized the subsidies in May and a notice published in the country’s official gazette July 10 approved disbursement of the funds.
percent after a 0.1 percent gain the prior month, Labor Department figures showed. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.3 percent rise. Separate data showed that industrial production rose in June by the most in four months, signaling U.S. manufacturing is improving heading into the second half of the year. Output at factories, mines and utilities climbed 0.3 percent, the biggest advance since February, after being little changed in May. Profit at companies listed on the S&P 500 rose 2 percent last quarter, down from a projection of 8.7 percent in December, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Coca-Cola declined 3 percent to $39.77 for the biggest drop in the Dow. Secondquarter revenue and volumes missed forecasts, with the company citing “ongoing challenging macroeconomic environment and unusually poor weather.” Goldman Sachs dropped 0.4 percent to $162.37 even as the bank reported earnings that topped analysts’ estimates on a jump in fixed-income trading and investmentbanking revenue.
Dollar weakens on outlook for Bernanke testimony
he dollar fell versus the yen and euro amid speculation Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will seek to damp investor expectations of a reduction in stimulus when he speaks to Congress tomorrow. Europe’s 17-nation currency snapped a two-day drop against the dollar even after a report showed German investor confidence unexpectedly fell this month. India’s rupee rose to a two-week high after its central bank raised interest rates. Australia’s dollar climbed against all of its 16 mosttraded peers as investors pared bets the Reserve Bank will cut borrowing costs after the minutes of its last meeting released yesterday. Bernanke said July 10 the U.S. economy still needs stimulus. “Most of the dollar move is positionrelated right now,” Mike Moran, a senior currency strategist at Standard Chartered Plc in New York, said in a telephone interview. “The market is clearly overextended in long dollar positions. The risk-reward certainly doesn’t favor being long dollars going into the meeting.” A long position is a bet an asset will rise in value. The U.S. currency depreciated 0.3 percent to 99.55 yen at 9:22 a.m. New York time, after weakening as much as 0.6 percent. The dollar lost 0.3 percent to $1.3104 per euro. The 17-nation euro was little changed at 130.51 yen. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Global FX Volatility Index, a measure of currency fluctuations, was at almost a one-month low. The gauge was little changed at 10.55 percent after dropping to 10.47 percent on July 9, the lowest since June 18. The average this year is 9.32. The rupee gained after the Reserve Bank of India increased the marginal standing facility rate and the bank rate to 10.25 percent from 8.25 percent late yesterday in Mumbai, according to a statement on its website. The monetary authority also said
it will conduct open-market sales of government debt totaling 120 billion rupees ($2 billion) on July 18, a step that would drain cash from an economy expanding at the slowest pace in a decade. The Indian currency appreciated 1 percent to 59.3200 per dollar, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. The currency, which fell to a record 61.2125 on July 8, touched 59.1250, the strongest level since July 1. Sterling slid against most major peers after a report showed U.K. consumer-price inflation accelerated less in June than economists forecast. The currency fell 0.1 percent to $1.5087 after increasing 0.3 percent earlier. It depreciated 0.6 percent to 87.02 pence per euro after touching 87.05 pence, its weakest since March 13. Indonesia’s rupiah declined versus all of its 31 most-traded peers, extending losses beyond 10,000 per dollar on a closing basis for a second day, on concern demand for exports from Southeast Asia’s biggest economy will wane as regional growth slows. The rupiah declined 0.3 percent to 10,103 per dollar after touching 10,118.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
10 brokers to join NASD today JOHNSON OKANLAWON
ore authorised brokers will soon be talking to investors in non listed securities, as NASD Plc approves 10 professional stockbrokers today. Before now, no fewer than 40 stockbrokers have registered as membership with the NASD Plc, an alternative trading network that seeks to ease secondary market trading of all non-quoted securities in the West African region. Speaking to National Mirror yesterday, the Managing Director of NASD Plc, Mr. Bola Ajomale said 10 brokers will be added to the 40 existing members. Asked on the volume of trades that have occurred in the last 15 days, he said, “The operations have started and a lot of deals have lined up. We have almost 2,000 companies registered
with the Corporate Affairs Commission and 200 companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commision coming to the market.” According to him, NASD has provided platform where investors on unlisted securities could discover prices for their shares and get liquidity. He said, “You can use the NASD platform to get the buyers and investors can place their bid for the public. We bring both the seller and buyer to the same platform where they can trade efficiently and transparently.” Ajomale clarified that NASD doesn’t require companies to list its shares, but it requires an individual investor in the company to sell willingly to brokers. He however advised investors to seek professional advice from a trusted financial adviser before carrying out trades on the OTC market.
On the regulation of companies, he said,”We do not ask companies to do what the regulators do not ask them to do. We don’t sanction companies, but they must comply with the rules and regulations of the SEC and Companies and Allied Matters Acts.” The Chairman of SEC, Mr. Sulleyman Ndanusa had during the take-off of the NASD Plc OTC market a forthnight ago explained that it would provide opportunity to enable all public companies be traded; thus engendering the demands of corporate governance, transparency, and trust among others. Ndanusa noted that the launch of the NASD OTC was a major building block for the rapid transformation of the Nigerian economy via the provision of stable long term funding for industries and infrastructure. The SEC chairman declared the commission’s
total support for the NASD OTC market. “It is of interest to the SEC and when fully operational, will function to expand opportunities for all market participants, investors and for the rapid development of the economy. In particular, it will offer the opportunity for trading on wide range of instruments including unlisted securities and derivatives like options and futures. This will further deepen the Nigerian capital market; bringing about healthy competition that will make for openness and greater transparency and efficiency in our markets,” he said. The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said he was excited with the coming on board of NASD OTC market, saying this would complement the activities of the Exchange and provide more liquidity for investors in the Nigerian capital market.
Index rises to 0.44% as IPWA Plc leads gainers DAMILOLA AJAYI
rading in equities continued on bullish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as more investors took position on stocks. Specifically, the All Share Index rose by 0.44 per cent to close at 37,885.66 points, lower than the increase of 0.90 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 37,720.32 points. Market capitalisation gained N5bn to close at N11.99trn, lower than the appreciation of N11bn re-
corded the preceding day to close at N11.94trn. The Oil and Gas index led the sectorial indices with 2.95 per cent to close at 182.38 points, followed by the Consumer Goods index with 1.04 per cent to close at 1,073.27 points. The NSE 30- index rose by 0.56 per cent to close at 1,788.07 points, while the Lotus Islamic index appreciated by 0.52 per cent to close at 2,618.95 points. The Banking index gained 0.22 per cent to close at 423.17 points. The Industry Goods index shed 1.07 per cent to close at 2,255.48 points
.The Insurance index declined by 0.45 per cent to close at 141.35 points, while Alternative securities market index remained flat. IPWA Plc led the gainers’ table with nine kobo or ten per cent to close at 99 kobo per share, followed by Wapic Insurance Plc with nine kobo or ten per cent to close at 99 kobo per share. MRS Plc appreciated by N1.90 or ten per cent to close at N20.90 per share, while IHS Plc gained 26 kobo or ten per cent to close at N2.86 per share. Forte Oil Plc closed
at N2.03 per share, up by N22.37 or 9.98 per cent. On the flip side, Jos Breweries Plc lost 11 kobo or ten per cent to close at 99 kobo per share, while Ikeja Hotel Plc shed nine kobo or 9.47 per cent to close at 86 kobo per share. Cutix Plc declined by 18 kobo or 9.09 per cent to close at N1.80 per share, while Custodyins Plc dropped 14 kobo or 8.14 per cent to close at N1.58 per share. Cornerstone Plc fell five kobo or 8.06 per cent to close at 57 kobo per share. A total of 856.5 million shares valued at N4.50bn were traded in 6,391 deals.
Naira gains to snap three-day decline on oil sales
he naira rose for the first time against the dollar in four days, as oil companies in the country were said to sell dollars to meet local expenses. The currency advanced 0.4 per cent to N161.10 per dollar, the biggest gain on a closing basis in two weeks. The naira has declined 3.1 per cent this year while the price for Bonny Light crude, one of Nigeria’s main grades, dropped 2.4 per cent in the same pe-
riod. “There were some foreign-exchange sales from oil companies today that supported the naira,” said Samir Gadio, a Londonbased emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Limited. Oil companies are the second-biggest source of dollars after the Central Bank of Nigeria, which offers foreign currency at auctions on Mondays and Wednesdays to maintain exchange-rate stability. The central bank sold
$300m on Monday, the same amount as in two previous auctions. Nigeria’s foreign-currency reserves fell two per cent this month to $47.1bn as of July 12, according to data compiled by the bank. “Given increased foreign exchange sales in recent months, foreign exchange reserve accumulation has come to a halt, although reserves remain relatively high,” Ridle Markus and Dumisani Ngwenya, Africa strategists at Absa Capital in Jo-
hannesburg said. “Although ongoing CBN supply and the current tight monetary policy remain supportive of relative stability in the naira in the near term, we see potential for further depreciation in upcoming months,” they said. Yields on the government’s local-currency bonds due January 2022 declined two basis points, or 0.02 percentage points, to 13.62 per cent, according to Monday’s prices compiled by Bloomberg.
Market indicators All-Share Index 37,014.14 points Market capitalisation 11.73 trillion
Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY
Primary Market Auction TENOR
Open Market Operations TENOR
Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at July 16, 2013 1st Tier Securities
1st Tier Securities No Of Deals Quotation(N)
No Of Deals
Value of Shares(N)
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Community Mirror Criminals live and operate among members of the society and they can be stopped by security agents with good intelligence network. DELTA STATE GOVERNOR; EMMANUEL UDUAGHAN
Four arrested for pipeline vandalism FRANCIS SUBERU
our suspected pipeline vandals have been arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism Unit, Force Headquarters Annex, Lagos. The suspects, identified as Ismailia Adetoro, 40, Raufu Odeniyi, 39, Oyedeji Salim, 22,
Anambra to tackle flooding, AIDS CHARLES OKEKE AWKA
he Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has said that all necessary measures are now in place to protect the state against flooding. Governor Obi was speaking at an interactive session with stakeholders on flood at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka. He said all structures built on water channels were being demolished and blocked drainage reopened to ensure free flow of water. He advised the people to avoid dumping of refuse in drainages and other acts that abuse the environment to avoid the huge loss suffered during last year’s flood. Secretary to the Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze disclosed that the State suffered N26 billion losses following last year’s flood, while the N500million interventions from the federal government has been distributed to the affected communities. Gov. Obi also announced that the government is to spend about N1billion on procurement of HIV testing kits for distribution to all hospitals and health centres in the state. He lamented that Anambra has high prevalence of AIDS and HIV because previous administrations failed to make any efforts at checking the spread and assured that his administration will take proactive measures to reverse the trend. He therefore warned that the government will soon commence demolition of all brothels and other centres that encourage prostitution, while urging the people not to discriminate against those living with HIV and AIDS, but to show them love and compassion.
Tobi Olalekan, 25 were arrested at Sagamu area in Ogun State. The police also impounded a truck with registration number XP453SMK containing 33,000 litres of PMS. Confirming the arrest, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin, said on June 27, 2013 there were reports that the suspects were siphoning petroleum products from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation pipeline. The police, led by DSP Onaghise Osayande, was sent to the scene and they were arrested, just as they were about leaving the spot after loading their truck with petrol.
“Ismailia, also known as ‘Commissioner’ has been on our wanted list. Investigation revealed that in spite of helping the police to track down pipeline vandals; he was also actively involved in vandalism. The fight against vandalism is a collective responsibility of every Nigerian and we should be proud to help law enforcers protect our natural resources which are there for our development.” One of the suspects, Ismailia, said he decided to go back to crime when police failed to review the compensation, he was paid as informant. “I was a pipeline vandal for many years, but when I discov-
ered the danger, I decided to stop. I volunteered to alert the police anytime I discovered any illegal act in Sagamu. I did and in return, was generously compensated. But the truth is that I have a family with so many responsibilities, and what they were offering cannot foot the bills. My vulcanizing business is no longer booming, this was why I reconsidered going back to pipeline vandalism. “I called Alhaji and asked him to include me in his next deal; unfortunately it was in the process that the police arrested us. I am sorry and ready to help the police, if they set me free. It was the devil and family pres-
sure that landed me in this problem. I am sorry.” Another suspect, Oyedeji said he woke up in the bush and had no choice, but to join them. “I am a motor assistant and, at the end of every trip, I will sleep inside the truck. On that day, they never alerted me that we were going on any trip; I woke up and saw we were in a bush in Sagamu. I helped them to load the truck because I had no choice but to help my Oga.” Yet, another suspect, Olalekan, who pleaded for mercy, said he was lured into the business because of the easy money. “I am sorry, but the quantity we took was not much”.
Nomads migrating to grazing reserves in Dadin Kowa town of Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area in Gombe State recently.
Oko-Oba residents demand removal of police boss FRANCIS SUBERU
embers of the Joint Community Development Association, CDAs, of Wards A, B, and C in Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, LCDA, comprising of 25 CDAs have petitioned the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone II, Maman Tsafe and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko, asking for the transfer of the Divisional
Police Officer in Charge of Oko Oba Police Division, Mr. Akintade Akinfunmi Williams. In a petition made available to Community Mirror and signed by 35 members of the association, the CDAs are demanding the removal of the DPO, Mr. Akintade Williams on four basic grounds, which are that Akintade has an established relationship with land speculators in the area to dispossess owners of their plots. They also said he is hostile to members of the public.
The community leaders alleged that the DPO usually mishandles fire arms in the public; even as they said he does not grant audience to leadership of the Police Community Relations Committee, PCRC, and leaders in the area. The petitioners, who had initially written to Umaru Manko on March 6, 2013; said they were disappointed the petition was not given urgent attention, necessitating the recent one addressed to the AIG on July 1, 2013. The CDAs noted that aside the
aforementioned, the DPO is not physically fit to handle the division. The petition read in part: “Apart from the enumerated facts, the DPO is not physically fit to head the division. For weeks, he was in hospital and locked up the DPO’s office so that officer sent to relief him will not have access to it.” They, therefore, implored the AIG Zone II, to ensure his transfer from the division; even as they claimed he is a security risk in the community.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
FOR YOUR SUCCESS
WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE
Today's Tonic (180) Stop working for a living and start working for a “giving.” –Kenneth Copeland * * * Giving Is The Secret! The secret of the universe is giving. It is more blessed to give than to receive. The secret of getting what you desire is to give away what you desire. Givers never lack. The best way to truly posses something is to give it away. You can never lose by giving. Giving is what makes God, God. Humanity takes, but divinity gives. If you want to function like God and live a powerful life, find something of real value to give out every day to your fellow beings. TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE
T Treasure seekers k findd 15 ggold ld coins from 1715
Florida boat crew seeking sunken treasure from a 1715 shipwreck said they found 48 gold coins buried in the sand. Capt. Greg Bounds of the Capitana, which hunts for jewels off the coast of Wabasso Beach on behalf of salvage company 1715 Fleet Queen’s Jewels, said he was exhilarated to find the 48 gold coins Saturday, WPTV, West Palm Beach,
Fla., reported Monday. “A lot of times, it’s beer cans, fishing weights, just garbage,” Bounds said. “You go out every day, hoping that it’s gonna happen, and a lot of times it doesn’t,” Bounds said. “But when it does, it’s just amazing, the feeling that you get.” Brent Brisben, owner of 1715 Fleet Queen’s Jewels, said there is a lot of treasure to find in the area.
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U.S. $34m command headquarters in Afghanistan may never be used
he U.S. military has reportedly spent $34 million to build a new complex in Afghanistan – but is unlikely to ever actually use the facility. Voice of America reports that the unused site came to the attention of a congressional oversight committee that reviews projects in Afghanistan. “I don’t know if [Secretary Chuck Hagel] will provide a formal response. I do not have one at this stage,” said Defence Department spokesman George Little when asked about the project. “I think it is going to take us a little bit of time to review the findings and to coordinate with the SIGAR.” SIGAR stands for the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which described the base as a “potentially troubling example of waste.” Special Inspector General John Sopko told Congress that some U.S. commanders
opposed the 20,000-squarefoot installation’s construction in 2010. But a year later, a British firm was nonetheless hired to build it. Originally, it was planned to serve as a regional command headquarters in the country’s southern region. Technically, it was designed to house 1,500 staff. But now, commanders say it’s unlikely to ever be occupied by military personnel. Sopko said that as U.S. forces begin to leave the
country, they will be left with two options: destroy the facility or hand it over to Afghan officials. And as of today, at least one person who spent time at the facility thinks demolishing it makes more sense. “Helmand province and [the Afghan capital] Kabul may as well be two different countries in a lot of practical ways,” Marine Corps Times writer Dan Lamothe told VOA. “The
The empty $34m command and control centre in southern Afghanistan.
government is so far removed from the everyday lives of the people in Helmand that I do not see how Kabul would keep track of something like that.” Lamothe says the project reminds him of another recent failed venture in the country during which a police station was built with a new septic system. However, the toilets eventually had to be shut down because no one knew how to operate the system.
Wednesday July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Zimmerman verdict: Los Angeles protest turns violent
WITH AGENCY REPORTS
resident, Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms Tina Intelmann, has called on the Nigerian Government to respect and fully comply with its Rome Statute obligations. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by the court, following the inability of Nigeria to execute an arrest warrant on Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who visited Abuja from July 14 to July 16. Al-Bashir, who was indicted by the ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur, reportedly left Abuja on Tuesday morning after attending the Abuja + 12 AU Summit on HIV and AIDS. He is accused of allegedly masterminding genocide and other atrocities during the Sudan’s Darfur conflict, charges which he has repeatedly denied. In her letter to the Foreign Minister of Nigeria, Olugbenga Ashiru, the ICC president reminded Nigeria of its commitment as a State Party to the Rome Statute, to cooperate with the court. ``The Assembly had repeatedly expressed concerns regarding the negative consequences that failure to comply with decisions of the court had on the court’s capability to carry out its mandate.’’ The ICC president deplored the visits of persons subject to arrest warrants of the court to
–IRAN’S PRESIDENT-ELECT, HASAN ROUHANI
Al-Bashir: ICC urges Nigeria to comply with its laws President returns to Sudan
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir walking out of a hotel in Abuja, on Sunday.
any State Party. Meanwhile, President alBashir has left Nigeria, where his presence at an African Union HIV/AIDS summit defied International Criminal Court (ICC) calls for his arrest on charges of genocide and war crimes, officials said yesterday. His press secretary and Nigerian hosts both denied reports in the local media that he had left early fearing arrest.
Monday was the main day of the two-day summit. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, chairman of the African Union, was the only leader who was at a breakfast for them at the presidency on Tuesday morning, an official there said. But Nigeria’s presidency said two others, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, had also stayed on for the second day.
Egypt’s interim government sworn in Seven killed during protest in Cairo
new interim Egyptian government was sworn in yesterday, with army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ousting of Mohammed Morsi, becoming deputy PM as well as defence minister. Hazem al-Beblawi is the new PM, under the interim President Adly Mansour. The swearing in followed an-
“Syria will overcome its current crisis”
other night of violence between security forces and Morsi supporters that left seven dead. A spokesman for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood called the interim government “illegitimate”. Morsi was ousted on 3 July in what many have said was a military coup. The army said it was fulfilling the demands of the people after
Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shouting slogans as they protest on the Sixth of October Bridge in Cairo, recently. PHOTO: AP
mass anti-Morsi protests. The swearing-in ceremony was shown live on state television. Gen Sisi already held the defence portfolio, but now also becomes interim prime minister. Mohammed Ibrahim, who had been appointed interior minister by Morsi, keeps his post. Nabil Fahmy becomes foreign minister and Sherif Ismail is the interim oil minister. Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, a Christian, is the interim trade and industry minister. There are three women ministers, including Maha el-Rabat, who takes the health portfolio. There were no posts for any figures from Islamist parties in the new government. The Brotherhood had said it would not take part. Its spokesman, Gehad el-Haddad, told Reuters news agency: “It’s an illegitimate government, an illegitimate prime minister, an illegitimate cabinet. We don’t rec-
“President Bashir returned normally to Khartoum after participating in the summit in Abuja to resume his work in Khartoum,” his press secretary Emad Said told Reuters. Bashir, who is accused of orchestrating genocide and other crimes during the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region in which some 200,000 people were killed, arrived in Nigeria on Sunday, to the chagrin of human rights campaigners. ognise anyone in it.” The interim government’s transition plan will see a panel formed by next week which will draw up amendments to the constitution and a timetable for new elections. The swearing-in ceremony comes amid continuing deadly violence. More than 400 people were arrested and seven killed in overnight clashes in the capital, Cairo. The battles erupted after protesters, mostly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, blocked the Sixth of October bridge, a major route over the Nile and through the capital, and the nearby Ramses Square, a transport hub. Police fired tear gas to try to break up the blockade. Protesters responded by throwing stones. Other clashes broke out in the Giza district, in the south-west. The head of Egypt’s emergency services, Mohamed Sultan, said two people had died on or around the bridge and five in Giza.
Dead body found in Mali is French hostage
French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that a body found in northern Mali was that of hostage Philippe Verdon and vowed the killing would not go unpunished. The French geologist, who was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from a hotel while on business in northeastern Mali in November 2011, was already believed to be dead. Confirming his death on Monday, Hollande said: “Those responsible for the death of our compatriot must be identified and brought to justice.” “The remains will be transferred to our country as soon as possible and autopsies will allow us to know the cause of death.” Verdon’s captors announced in March that the 53-year-old had been executed in response to France’s military intervention in Mali. Hollande had said earlier that a body believed to be that of Verdon had been found 10 days earlier in northern Mali and that officials were doing “everything possible” to confirm the identity.
Prominent gay rights activist killed in Cameroun
A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroun was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by “anti-gay thugs,” Human Rights Watch said. Friends discovered the body of Eric Ohena Lembembe at his home in the capital, Yaounde, on Monday evening after he was unreachable for two days, the rights group said in a statement yesterday. One friend said Lembembe’s neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron. Lembembe was among the most prominent activists in one of Africa’s most hostile countries for sexual minorities.
Eight killed in ethnic clashes in Guinea
At least eight people have been killed in ethnic violence in southeastern Guinea which entered a second day yesterday, witnesses said, underscoring tensions in the West African nation ahead of parliamentary elections. In Nzerekore, Guinea’s second largest town, ethnic gangs prowled the streets and witnesses reported shooting. The violence erupted on Monday after a man accused of being a thief was killed in the nearby town of Koule, residents said. “Everything is closed: the market, banks, shops. People have stayed at home,” said Ousmane Balde, a resident of Nzerekore, which lies some 980 km (612 miles) from the capital Conakry. A second source, who asked not to be identified, said he had seen at least eight dead at the city’s hospital.
Migrant boat capsizes off Australia’s Christmas Island
A boat carrying about 150 suspected asylum seekers has capsized off Australia’s Christmas Island with several casualties reported. The Australian border agency said four bodies had been found and 144 survivors had been picked up by navy ships, 70 nautical miles (130km) from the shore. Christmas Island is located about 1,600 miles north-west off the mainland. Several boats carrying migrants heading for Australia have disappeared in recent months. After making a distress call, the boat was picked up and escorted by one of two navy ships carrying out the rescue. However, it tipped over in bad weather on its way to Christmas Island, with a large number of people entering the water. A Royal Australian Air Force plane deployed a number of life-rafts, and the two ships were able to pull 144 migrants alive from the water. In a separate incident on Saturday, 88 asylum seekers were rescued after their boat sank off the same island. A baby boy died in the accident and eight people went missing, presumed dead. The boat, which set off from Indonesia, was reportedly carrying asylum seekers from Iran, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Wednesday July 17, 2013
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Zimmerman verdict: Los Angeles protest turns violent
People jumping on a car during the protest in Los Angeles, on Monday.
os Angeles officials have appealed for calm after protests turned violent over the acquittal of a neighbourhood watchman who killed a black teenager. Fourteen people were arrested amid vandalism and assaults in a south-west district of the Californian city. The city’s police chief said his officers would adopt a tougher approach to any further disturbances. George Zimmerman, 29,
was cleared on Saturday of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida last year. Federal officials are now investigating potential civil rights charges against Mr Zimmerman, who said he opened fire in self-defence. Los Angeles police said about 150 people splintered off from a peaceful vigil in the Crenshaw area on Monday, some of them jumping on cars and breaking windows at fast-food outlets. Several protesters vandalised a Walmart in the neighbourhood. Aerial broadcast news footage showed troublemakers kicking and punching people on the street. Police, who brought 300
officers to the scene, declared an unlawful assembly, and most of the demonstrators then dispersed. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a late-night news conference after cutting short a trip to the US East Coast because of the disturbances in his home city. “The trial that we saw in Florida has ignited passions, but we have to make sure that it will not ignite the city,” Mayor Garcetti said. He was joined by Police Chief Charlie Beck, who said: “This will not be allowed to continue.” Meanwhile, in Oakland, California, protesters briefly shut a highway during
rush hour on Monday evening. Police made several arrests amid disturbances in the centre of the city. Rocks and bottles were thrown at Oakland police officers, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The newspaper also reported that a waiter trying to shield windows at a restaurant was struck in the face with a hammer. It was the third night of protests in the state of California over the Trayvon Martin case.
Snowden applies for asylum in Russia
ugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, officials say. The Federal Migration Service confirmed he had completed the relevant paperwork at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been for the past three weeks. Snowden is wanted by the US for leaking details of government surveillance programmes. He has no travel documents so has been unable to take up asylum offers from a number of Latin American states. “He reached the conclusion that he needs to write an application for temporary asylum, and this procedure has just been done,” said Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer with strong links with the Kremlin who helped Mr Snowden with the paperwork. “For now he is not going to go anywhere. For now he plans to stay in Russia,” he said. Kucherena said the fugitive had stated in the application that he faced possible torture and execution if he returned to the US.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Ramadan 8th, 1434 AH
Avoid provocative statements –NSCIA advises CAN leader AISHA TITILAYO
n the spirit of Ramadan, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has implored Christian elders, the federal government and well-meaning Nigerians to appeal to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor to avoid the use of provocative utterances. This call was made in a press release signed by NSCIA’s Acting-Director of Publicity, Muhammad Kabir Kassim, following an assault publicly hauled at one of the high ranking members of NSCIA, the Etsu of Nupe, where Pastor Oritsejafor made an attempt to label the
highly revered monarch as an abductor in reference to a 24-year woman who voluntarily embraced Islam and came into the protective custody of the royal highness through a judicial process against the avowed threat of her father. Explaining further, NSCIA stated that the woman had addressed the press severally on the matter in which she explained how she embraced Islam and even concluded that no deprivation of such protective custody could force her renounce (Islam) her newly found faith. Another of such issues was about the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who had meticulously ed-
ucated Nigerians on the current global Islamic Banking to the satisfaction of many people including some welleducated and understanding Christians who are not mischievous. NSCIA also included that whereas Nigerians, across religious lines appreciate the Islamic Banking; Oritsejafor kept fanning an ember of discord by claiming that the Islamic Banking was targeted at Nigerian Christians. “He seems to have forgotten that the whole idea of Islamic Banking in Nigeria was initiated as a matter of policy by Lamido’s predecessor in office, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo and that the operating officer in charge of that window is Tunde Lemo, also a
Christian and both are alive in Nigeria today. If Islamic Banking is aimed at Christians in Nigeria, against which religion is it aimed at in Europe, America and Asia, where it is championed by Christians, Buddhists and Hindus? However, NSCIA noted that being silent must not be taken for timidity and that its response would not have been necessary but to let Nigerian public know the true facts of the matter. “We regard the unwarranted utterances of Pastor Oritsejafor as his personal opinion and not those of the respected CAN because both religions’ apex bodies (NSCIA and CAN) had closely interacted with mutual respect for quite some time now.” NSCIA added.
L-R: The Administrative Secretary, Zakat and Sadaqat Foundation (ZSF), Mallam Ma’aruf Ahmed, Chairman, ZSF, Prince Sulayman Olagunju; Mr. AbdulRazaq Salaudeen; Administrator, Avi Ceena International School, Ikeja, Lagos, Mr. Darwish Foudeh and Executive Director, ZSF, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib; during the presentation of a tricycle (Keke Marwa) to Salaudeen at the 8th ZSF’s Zakat distribution at the Syrian Club, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Yuguda earmarks N88m for widows EZEKIEL TITUS BAUCHI
overnor Yuguda of Bauchi state has earmarked about N88 million to cushion the effects of Ramadan fasting among widows and divorcees. The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Child Development, Hajia Talatu Mohammed Barwa made the disclosure while briefing newsmen in her office, saying the gesture would also go a long way to promote religious activities in the state. She added that about 200 Tafsir mosques were designed to enjoy the foodstuffs provided by the
ministry which is targeted at women, children and divorcees. Barwa maintained that the administration of Yuguda had placed serious priority on women’s plights and specially committed to eradicating poverty among the lessprivileged women saying government has been doing everything possible to ensure women are not marginalised. According to her, about 2,850 women were also trained on skill acquisition on sewing, dying, knitting with additional donation of funds as takeup grants to enable them start their business for self reliant.
Tambuwal, Dabiri, FCT Minister grace MMPN lecture
A Consul-General, United States Consulate-General, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins (middle), presenting a tricycle (Keke Marwa) to Mr. Mukaila Aderoju while Executive Director, ZSF, Imam Abdullahi Shuaib, watches at the 8th ZSF’s Zakat distribution at the Syrian Club, Ikoyi, Lagos.
L-R: Alhaji Usman Bugaje; Dr. Jubril Oyekan and Secretary-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA),Prof. Isiaq Oloyede at the just concluded Nigerian Muslims and Democracy Conference held in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
lhaji AminuTambuwal, Hon. AbikeDabiri-Erewa and Sen. Bala Muhammad were among the prominent Nigerians expected at the 8th Ramadan lecture of the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) in Abuja. MMPN chairman, Abdur-RahmanBalogun said that the lecture would hold at National Mosque Hall, Abuja on Saturday July 20. Lecture on “Islam in a multi-religious society” will be delivered by an Abuja-based Islamic scholar, Ustaz Nurudeen AbdulMalik. He saidTambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives would be the Special Guest of Honour,
while Dabiri-Erewa, Chairperson, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs would be the mother of the Day. The statement also listed FCT Minister as the Chief Host and Alhaji Muhammad Bello, Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) as the chairman of the occasion. Balogun said in the statement that the choice of the topic was to proffer solution to the current challenges in the country as it affects Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He said all stakeholders including religious groups, security agencies, scholars in various fields and students have been invited to grace the occasion.
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Ceasefire: Muslim body hails FG, Boko Haram initiative AFOLABI GAMBARI
he Muslim Association of Nigeria (MAN) has commended the proposed ceasefire agreement between outlawed Islamic group Boko Haram and the Federal Government. President of the as-
sociation, Alhaji Yusuf Sulayman, who spoke in Lagos yesterday ahead of the 10th National Ramadan Public Lecture on July 21 at the MAN Centre in Lagos where Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola would be the Chief Host, said the ceasefire would ensure co-exis-
tence among Nigerians in the Northern region of the country. “Our nation has suffered human and material losses as a result of the crisis,” Sulayman said. “We, as an association, believe that the ceasefire is a welcome development which will bring peace and
stability to the troubled region as business activities that were paralysed will resume and those displaced will return to their homes while investors’ confidence would be boosted.” The MAN president, however, urged the government to evolve
measures that would reduce poverty rate in the Northern region by empowering youths in the area. “Federal Government should create more jobs and put in peace measures to reduce unemployment among the teeming youths,” he counseled.
National Missioner of MAN, Alhaji Sulayman Eleshinmeta, will deliver a lecture title: Same sex marriage: the Islamic perspective while guest speaker, Dr. Saheed Timehin, will deliver a lecture titled: Nigeria and Transformation agenda: The Islamic way forward.
Gaidam distributes poverty alleviation items to women INUSA NDAHI DAMATURU
overnor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State has distributed poverty alleviation items to empower women under the Subsidy, Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SUREP) initiatives, even as he also launched the sales/ distribution of 8,530 bags of grains at subsidized rate across the 17 local government areas of the state. Distributing the items yesterday at the Media Centre of the Government House in Damaturu, the state capital, Gaidam said his administration is committed to the plight of the people, hence the decision to approve N98.8 million to purchase the poverty alleviation materials in order to empower the over 2,710 beneficiaries. He said the government had subsidized the poverty alleviation materials and asked the beneficiaries to pay N50 per cent of the cost. On the grains which cost the state government about N100 million, a bag of Sorghum/millet, which is sold for N8,000 in the open market, the government directed the Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Idi Barde Gubana, to sell each bag to the beneficiaries for N1,500. Gaidam, however, urged the commissioner to ensure that the grains are sold to actual beneficiaries and warned that anyone found diverting the products would be dealt with. The governor asked the beneficiaries to utilise the materials and the soft loans given to them which is aimed at enhancing their living standard. In her welcome address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajja Asma’u Kabir Kolo, said the disbursement of the poverty alleviation materials and soft loans to the beneficiaries, particularly the less privileged women, widows
and women living with HIV/ AIDS was aimed at improving their living condition. She said the materials distributed included 500 sawing machines, 200 knitting machines, 50 refrigerators and 100 grinding machines. According to the commissioner, the items cost the government over N26 million addition to the N42 million earlier approved for the establishment of poultry farms across the state. Hajja Kolo also said N100,000 each would be given to women as soft loans to start their own poultry farms, even as 50 widows would be given N30,000 each to enhance their living conditions.
L-R: Chairman, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, Mallam Suleiman Yahya; Managing Director, Mr. Kayode Oluwasegun-Ojo and Vice Chairman, Mr. Denis Hasdenteufel, during the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the company at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, yesterday.
‘I didn’t accuse Nasarawa govt of insensitivity’ IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA
resident of Tiv Development Association (TIDA) in Nasarawa State, Mr. Solomon Pevkyaa, has denied a report that he accused the state government of insensitivity over the incessant attacks on his kinsmen by Fulani herdsmen. According to him, the report was the handiwork of some mischief markers who are out to smear his reputation as well cause disaffection between him and the government. In a statement made
available to journalists yesterday in Lafia, the state capital, Pevkyaa noted that Tiv community had never had it well until the inauguration of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura’s administration. He said: “The report was the handiwork of some elements who are bent on smearing my reputation as well to cause disaffection between me and the state government. “The leadership of Tiv community in Nasarawa State will continue to collaborate with the current administration to succeed.” Pevkyaa, who com-
mended the swift response of Al-Makura to the crisis between the Tiv /Fulani in Awe Local Government Area of the state and the prompt release of relief materials to victims of the violence, said that the conveyance of a peace meeting between Nasarawa and Benue state governments was a clear manifestation of the governor’s commitment to the protection of lives and property of the people. Pevkyaa urged Tiv community to continue to remain law-abiding and avoid actions capable of jeopardising the fragile peace in the state.
Katsina opens N1bn account with Jaiz Bank JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA
he Katsina State Government has opened an account with N1 billion at a local branch of Jaiz Bank. Speaking yesterday during the opening of the account, Governor Ibrahim Shema said the decision was aimed at encouraging the bank to have strong footing in the state. Shema said the decision was replication of what the
state government does as way of encouraging commercial banks to set up branches in the state. He said Jaiz Bank was founded by people of good reputation. The governor expressed government’s determination to partner with the bank and other financial institutions for the betterment of the people and state. He, however, called on the bank not to rest on its oars in looking for partners and
investors as doing so would facilitate its expansion across the country. Chairman of the bank’s board of directors, Umar Mutallab, said being first non-commercial bank in the country, it commenced operations in 2012 with share capital of N13 billion. Mutallab said the bank plans to establish branches in five states, including Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa and Benue, as well as extend to other states of federation by 2017.
Kogi owes pensioners N9.8bn WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA
he Kogi State Government currently owes its retirees over N9.8 billion. Chairman of the State Pension Board, Mrs. Florence Olufunke Adewumi, who disclosed this to journalists in Lokoja, said that some pensioners were being owed arrears of 10 years. She said that until the inauguration of Governor Idris Wada’s administration, pension matters were given little attention by previous governments. Adewumi said the accumulated pension arrears had become liability to the current administration. She, however, said the state government had reviewed the board’s monthly allocation from N20 million to N50 million so as to facilitate the payment of the pension on pro-rata basis. The chairman said the pension board has 7,322 pensioners on its payroll, with a liability of N9.8 bil-
lion as at June, this year. Adewumi stressed that the liability would continue to increase as more civil servants retire, unless the state government quickly evolve the policy of contributory pension scheme for its workers. The pension boss said such a scheme would enhance the capacity of the state government to meet up with its responsibilities as it would engender investments and growth in the revenue of the board to cater for more pensioners. Adewumi said going by the revenue profile of the state government, she did not foresee any improvement in the lot of the pensioners in the near future, unless the contributory scheme is evolved or the government access a bond with the aim of settling the pension liabilities. Blaming past administrations, she said in the late 90s, pension allowances were not paid to retired civil servants for over four years with no just reasons.
AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO
hree suspected terrorists died yesterday in Jigawa State during a shootout with members of the militaryled Joint Task Force, JTF. The JTF spokesman, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Kano, said assorted arms and ammunition were recovered from the terrorists suspected to be members of Boko
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Three terrorists die in shootout with JTF Haram. He said: “On Tuesday 16 July 2013 at about 0005 hours, following extensive intelligence build up, a combined team of the JTF involving the NA of the 3 Brigade in Kano and the Kano State DSS conducted a pre-dawn raid at a house occupied by members of the terrorists group in Abunabu village of Guri Local Government, Jigawa
State. “In the resulting shootout, three terrorists lost their lives while four AK47 rifles, five magazines and 164 rounds of 7.62mm special (ammunition for AK47 rifles) were recovered after a thorough search of the house.” Iweha recalled that the JTF had earlier alerted that following the declaration of a state of emergency in
some parts of the NorthEast region, some fleeing elements of the terror network, following ongoing military action against them, will be seeking refuge in other parts of the country, especially areas with little security presence. He, however, promised that the JTF would not relent in ensuring the safety of the good people of Jigawa State and the states
within the area of operational responsibility of the Brigade. Iweha disclosed that to forestall any attempts by terrorists to hibernate in councils, the JTF had increased the number of its personnel in towns in addition to increasing the number of patrols especially in identified flash points. He said: “While counting on the support of the members of the communities we
operate in, we continue to solicit for their cooperation in the provision of useful information which will aid our operation. “We would like to also assure members of the communities of the treatment of such information provided with utmost confidentiality. “We wish members of the general public a successful and peaceful Ramadan.”
Employment scam: NSCDC arrests fake security outfit’s officials JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA
The scene of an accident where drums of chemicals fell from an articulated vehicle on Bukuru Express way in Jos, yesterday.
Al-Mustapha not a Brigadier-General, says Army AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST AND OMEIZA AJAYI
he Nigerian Army has denied social media reports on the elevation of the former Chief Security Adviser to the late General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza AlMustapha, to the rank of a Brigadier-General. The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, who made the rebuttal in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, described the report as false and misleading. Attahiru said there were in-house administrative procedures to be followed on such issues. Some online portals had been awash with reports of Al-Mustapha’s promotion and expected return to the Army Headquarters today but without a direct attribution to official military or government sources. But Attahiru urged the public to disregard such information. He said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an erroneous
publication being circulated on the internet about the decoration of the former Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, General Sanni Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, with the rank of a Brigadier General following his recent acquittal by the court. “The Nigerian Army, as a professional force, wishes to state that all administrative procedures are guided by extant administrative rules and regulations such as the Armed Forces of Nigeria Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service, among others. “The Nigerian Army wishes to advise the media to always cross-check facts before going to the press to avoid misinformation, misrepresentation and sensationalism in its reportage.” Chief of Staff, Directorate of Army Public Relations, DAPR, Col. John Agim, had on Monday said that Al-Mustapha’s case would be handled by the Army Headquarters Administration. He said: “With regards to Major Al-Mustapha’s release, well, I want to con-
firm that he is still in the Army and the case is going to be handled by the Army administration in line with the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service.” Meanwhile, Al-Mustapha yesterday embarked on a visit to Islamic and religious leaders of various Islamic sects in Kano, apparently to thank them for their prayers and solidarity during his almost 15 years’ incarceration. During the visit, he called on the Al-furquan Mosque in Nasarawa GRA where the Chief Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Bashir Umar, prayed to God to continue to guide and protect Al-Mustapha, while urging him to give all his heart to God who made it possible for him to regain his freedom. He said: “See all the persecution and tribulation you suffered as the will of Allah. What you should do now is to totally submit yourself to God. Prophet Yusuf had similar trials but at the end he was compensated by Allah with greater position. “So, try to forget all that
has happened to you and forgive whoever must have a hand in it. Allah in His infinity mercy shall surely fulfil all His plans in your life and reward you abundantly.” Also, the Head of Tijjaniyya Movement in West Africa, Sheikh Isyaku Rabiu, urged Al-Mustapha to surrender his life to God and forgive whoever he believed had offended him. Rabi’u, who is also a business mogul, recalled how the Sani Abacha family tried to ensure that he regained his freedom. He said: “I am aware of how prayerful Maryam Abacha was. She prayed fervently to ensure that someday, you will be free and we thank Allah that the day has finally come.” While at Qadiriyyah House in the heart of the city, the leader of the Qadiriyyah Movement, Sheikh Qaribullah Nasiru Kabara, counselled AlMustapha on the spirit of forgiveness, adding that he would continue to pray that God grant him good health and the wisdom to succeed in life.
he Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Katsina State has arrested some officials of a security outfit, the National Task Force, NATFORCE, for engaging in employment scam. Parading the suspects yesterday, the state NSCDC Commandant, Musa Ibrahim Zabura, said the NATFORCE officials had defrauded “more than 500 candidates from all over the federation of which about 85 per cent of them are Katsina State indigenes”. Zabura said the outfit had scheduled phoney induction training at the Federal Secretariat Complex, but those called were “without appointment letters or any other relevant documents to prove their legality to operate as a security outfit”. He said the security of-
ficials had, prior to the call for induction training, collected N24,000 from each of the candidates, which amounted to more than N12 million. The commandant said the NSCDC acted based on letters “received from the state government on the need to check the activities of NATFORCE,” adding that some of the officials managed to escape when their colleagues were arrested. Zabura said the secretary general and the accountant of the outfit were taken to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to be charged for extortion, impersonation of the Federal Government and conspiracy to commit fraud. He said: “No one should engage himself in the act of recruiting anybody in the name of government without proper documentation and legislation.
Offa indigenes express support for dethroned Olofa WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN
cores of Offa indigenes from many parts of the country yesterday thronged the palace of Olofa to pledge their support for their monarch, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II. The development was sequel to the decision of the Ilorin Division of the Appeal Court dethroning the monarch and ordering the installation of another person in his stead. At the palace were Islamic clerics, students’ union bodies, market women associations, various associations and traditional chiefs who said they objected to the judgement of the Appeal Court.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Balogun of Offa, High Chief Oseni Olaniyi, and the Ojomu of Offa, High Chief Joseph Bayo Akinola, said the decision of the court was at variance with the tradition and custom of the town that the obaship of Offa was not rotational. According to them, the contending ruling houses of Anilelerin and Olugbense are from the same progenitor. They also contended that the only official position was that the two houses could send names of their candidates to the kingmakers out of which a choice would made and forwarded to the government for approval to fill the stool of Olofa.
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Most powerful jet engine
Vol. 03 No. 666
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
A General Electric GE90-115B turbofan engine achieved steady state thrust of 568,927 N (127,900 lb) during final certification testing at Peebles, Ohio, USA, in December 2002.
Between Nigeria and Egypt
rapped in the Kafkaesque world of Nigerian politics, the elite have been caught between reflexive militarism on the one hand and the gentle art of political compromise on the other. Since 1999 when the country returned to democracy, Nigerian politicians have been ever more ready to align with our grim praetorian past than embrace the genteel and civil art of politicking. No day passes without news of rancour among them, all in the bid to aggrandize power. In doing so, no effort is spared in trying to inflict maximum damage on the opponents, and by extension the polity. Such bewildering twist of political irony cannot be exculpated from our long romance with military dictatorships that lasted for a cumulative 26 years. Brought up in a culture of impunity, the Nigerian politician has become a good
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student of a deranged past foisted on the country by erstwhile military rulers who adroitly elevated brutality to an art form. While the military overlords maimed, killed and sacked entire communities through the instrumentality of guns and bayonets, their civilian counterparts are re-enacting such sordid shows by employing innocuous tactics such as assassinations and executive bullying. The nation’s curse is compounded by the fact that former military leaders and their acolytes are still part of the political bandwagon, either as chief executives, legislators or advisers, thereby infesting their wanton ways on the country’s style of governance. Their jackboot mentality has crept into all facet of our political life that even the language of legislation and execution tries in every way to mimic their military diktat. All one needs to feel this jungle mentality is to stand by the roadside on any highway and watch the traffic go by. Before long, your eyes and ears would be assaulted by the deafening staccato of noises from the serpentine convoys of state governors, their wives, ministers, commissioners, special aides, mistresses, police commissioners, party officials and all manner of self styled overlords trundling in the most menacing of fashion. Then enter into any of the government offices and you wonder if you are in a cantonment, as desk clerks all through to the most senior officers’ bark out orders as if on military parade. Even the media has caught this shameful bug, whereby newspapers and elec-
THE NATION’S CURSE IS COMPOUNDED BY THE FACT THAT FORMER MILITARY LEADERS AND THEIR ACOLYTES ARE STILL PART OF THE POLITICAL BANDWAGON tronic stations assault their readers with magisterial headlines laced with military lingos. It therefore, has not come as any surprise that the language being employed by Aso Rock and those governors opposed to President Jonathan in the ongoing ferment are couched in the most banal of barracks jargon. Any foreign visitor to the country would be forgiven if he or she is under the impression that Nigeria is at war. Egged on by their rabid supporters, both sides in what is now verging to hateful propaganda look like bulls in China shop trying to smash everything in their path. Sadly, the picture does not look bright now or in the future for political civility, as the approach of 2015 seems to add more fodder to an already combustible situation. Presently, Nigeria looks like Egypt in turmoil. But whereas, citizens of the latter are more willing and ready to take on the shenanigans militating against their country’s wellbeing, their Nigerian counterparts would only sit by the sides and continually bemoan their fate. Reasons
for such complacency are not farfetched. For example, Egyptians know they have a country worth fighting for and that in spite of the present chaos, they are hopeful of a new dawn. They are enamoured of the fact that despite the venal ways of their politicians, those elected to serve could be removed from power any time they walk on the wrong side of history. In two years they have been able to bring down two presidents turned potentates. Today, Hosni Mubarak and Mohammed Morsi will be wondering how they got into the eye of the storm. Even when their military are trigger happy and power hungry, they are not oblivious of the fact that the masses are ready to take to the streets to depose them should they stay a day longer than required. Egyptians have paid the price for political freedom and would be naïve to let any pretender take away the initiative of ordering their country and politics from them no matter the cost. Most importantly, they are united in a cause and not even religion or any other schism is strong enough to break their ranks. Incidentally, their Nigerian counterparts are a miserable contrast. For 52 years, they have been on the receiving end, even as the pains being inflicted by their political masters continue to increase by the day. The rape and pillage of the country and economy know no bounds, yet they are dumb struck and impotent to do much than wail, curse and point accusing fingers at each other. Curiously, Nigerians still look on their politicians to fix all that has gone wrong with the system, even when they see them as nothing more than kleptomaniacs and dunderheads. This is so because all those now crying over the dysfunctional nature of the system are not united by a common cause. Rather, they feel a sense of individual and sectarian loss and would readily change their stance whenever they are allowed a space in the thieving milieu.
resident Goodluck Jonathan will tomorrow inaugurate new headquarters of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The ceremony will take place at the National Stadium, Abuja and will mark the first time that the feder-
Jonathan set to commission NFF Headquarters ation, founded in 1945 as Nigeria Football Association, will be having a permanent home. Jonathan will be joined at the event by Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, and a number of other cabi-
net ministers, with the NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, serving as host. The 27-room facility, which also boasts a penthouse that will serve as the NFF President’s Office, sits beside the FIFA Technical
Centre and the FIFA Football Turf. “We are looking forward to receiving President Jonathan as the event would again underscore his interest in football and the Nigeria youth,” Maigari said
yesterday. “The NFF and the entire Nigeria football family are grateful to Mr. President and the Sports Minister for their support at ensuring the completion of the project,” he added.
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