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NERC, power firms agree to postpone Transitional Electricity Market CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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ndications emerged that the process of transition to a market-based power sector as envisaged under the privatisation

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programme had run into a hitch. This is because the inauguration of the Transitional Electricity Market, TEM, which will usher in the enforcement of all Power Purchase Agreements slat-

Vol. 4 3 N0. 787 657

ed for March, may be postponed indefinitely in line with the consensus reached at a stakeholders meeting held yesterday. Participants, who included the chief execuCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Boko Haram kills 39, burns 2,000 homes in Borno Lawyers slam mass murders in Middle Belt

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Thursday, February July 4, 2013 13, 2014

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Jonathan finally sacks Oduah, Orubebe, others Politicians lobby for Chief of Staff post

ROTIMI FADEYI

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resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday sacked four ministers, including the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, who had been enmeshed in a scandal over the N255m armoured cars purchased for her by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. Other affected ministers CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

Students of the Lagos State University protesting in Lagos, yesterday.

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Bribery allegation: Reps to summon Lai Mohammed Mark saves Saraki, Abe, others from expulsion

Seven burnt to death in tanker explosion

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Extradition: Kashamu loses bid to stop trial by United States P.8

Lagos records 20,683 births in 10 months

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Bribery allegation: Reps to summon Lai Mohammed GEORGE OJI, OBIORA IFOH AND WOLE OLADIMEJI

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he House of Representatives may summon the Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Lai Mohammed, over allegation that some of its members in the House were induced with money to defect to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The opposition party had in a statement issued by Mohammed on Tuesday decried the monetary inducement as ‘political horse trading’ carried too far in order to gain more members. Mohammed alleged that $2m was offered to each senator who returned to the PDP, $1m to each member of the House of Representatives and $10m to each ‘leader’ who abandoned the APC for PDP. He also said that the price tag for the federal legislators from Rivers State was even higher at $5m each. Mohammed may appear

before its Ethics and Privileges Committee. Raising a point of order on the breach of his privilege yesterday, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers, PDP) said the allegation by Mohammed was an infringement on his integrity. He urged the House not to dismiss the allegation adding that there was need to get to the root of the matter. Chinda noted that it was the interim publicity secretary of APC that made the allegation citing a national newspaper which carried the news on its front page to buttress his claim. “I implore the House to direct the Committee on Ethics and Privilege to investigate the matter and bring the culprit to book,” he said. He noted that there was a similar allegation by the Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-Makura last week. Mohammed said that AlMakura had alleged that N5m were offered as bribe to lawmakers in his state to defect to PDP. He warned that House

integrity was being called to question and it could not afford to keep quiet on the issue. Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, therefore, directed the ethics committee to investigate the matter and report back to the House in two weeks. Reacting to the issue of allegation of bribery, the

House Deputy Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, stated that nobody accuse anybody of bribing 37 PDP members to defect. “Today APC is crying wolf. When 37 PDP defected to APC were they saying that they were bribed? It is very unfortunate that APC is singing in different tune because they now find themselves where they actually

belong. Secondly I think it is important they stop this political rascality,” he said Also yesterday, the PDP replied APC over the bribery allegation. The party nonetheless stated that they are expecting more defections to its fold from the opposition. PDP which said the APC has reached its peak and is

experiencing diminishing returns, urged the National Assembly to insist that the APC withdraws the allegation and apologise to the legislature and the entire nation. The statement signed by spokesman of the party Chief Oliseh Metuh, said “whilst we ordinarily CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

L-R: President Goodluck Jonathan; Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, at the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Why Jonathan finally sacked Oduah, Orubebe CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

include Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs), Elder Godsday Orubebe (Niger Delta) and Dr. Yerima Ngama (Minister of State, Finance). On Monday, the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, resigned his appointment suddenly amid speculations that he had fallen out with the President and powerful politicians in the ruling party Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, however said the resignation was based on Oghiadomhe’s intention to pursue other political ambitions. The sack of the four ministers came on a day President Jonathan insisted that his administration was fighting corruption in the country as he performed the swearing-in of the Chairman and members of National Population Commission, NPC, as well as and two special advisers before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council, FEC,

meeting. Except for Oduah, other ministers including Olubolade, Orubebe and Ngama were present at the FEC meeting yesterday before the decision was announced. While Olubolade and Orubebe left the council chambers before the end of the FEC meeting, Ngama, who was in attendance until the meeting ended, declined to speak to State House correspondents on the issue. Before the sack of Oduah yesterday, the President had on October 23 last year set up a three-man panel of inquiry headed by former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, to investigate the purchase of the N255m armoured cars. Members of the panel include National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sam Dasuki (rtd) and Air ViceMarshal Dick Iruenaberi (rtd). The President had on November 24, last year on his return from London after attending the Honourary International Inves-

tors’ Council, HIIC, meeting confirmed the receipt of the report of the panel. However, details of the recommendations of report were not made public before Oduah’s sack yesterday. While briefing State House correspondents on the development after the end of the FEC meeting yesterday, the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said the President announced further changes in the FEC. He said: “Clearly what the President did today was to allow ministers who have indicated interest in pursuing further goals in the polity, in the economy and in the life of the country to be allowed to go. “Those asked by the President to go include the following: The Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama; the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olukolade (rtd); the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe and the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah. “In announcing their ac-

ceptance in their decision to participate in the polity, the President thanked them for the great job they had done in helping the government to realise the goals that had been achieved under the transformation agenda. “The President believes that they have done so well for this administration and was generally happy with what they have done, particularly in their various sectors to help the administration realise the goals we have seen today in the results we have arrived at under the transformation programme of the government. “The President also further explained that contrary to some insinuations in some quarters, that our colleague, the former Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Ogiahdomhe, was asked to go because of alleged involvement of NNPC alleged fraud. The President explained that contrary to these insinuations, which came from the social media and were also replicated in some regular media, Chief Ogiahdomhe left to pursue

further interest in politics. “The Office of the Chief of Staff does not supervise the NNPC, it has no direct correlation with the NNPC and he said if Chief Ogiahdomhe left because of the NNPC alleged fraud, then it will suggest that they would have been people that were involved with him and those people too would have gone. “So contrary to these speculations, the President asked him to go when he offered to resign to pursue interest in politics. Politics is very vast so the President made it very clear that the resignation of the former Chief of Staff has anything to do with alleged misdemeanor in NNPC but rather purely the decision of the former Chief of Staff to withdraw his services to participate in politics.” It will be recalled that Jonathan had on September 11 last year at the FEC meeting announced the sack of nine ministers. The ministers included Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs),

Ruqqayatu Rufai (Education), Shamsudeen Usman (National Planning), Ama Pepple (Land and Urban Development), Hadiza Mailafia (Environment) and Ita Ewa ( Science and Technology). The shake-up also affected three ministers of state. They were Olusola Obada (Defence), Zainab Kuchi (Power) and Tijani Bukar (Agriculture). Meanwhile, pending the appointment of substantive ministers for the vacant positions created in the cabinet yesterday, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, will supervise the Aviation Ministry while the Minister of State for Niger Delta will take over supervision of the ministry. The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Capital, FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, is to supervise the Ministry of Police Affairs while the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIweala will take full charge of the Ministry of Finance.


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Photo News

Thursday, February 13, 2014

L-R: Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Distribution Company of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Uzoigwe; Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi; Chief Executive Officer, Benin Distribution Company of Nigeria, Mrs. Funke Osibodu and Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Mr. Mack Kast during a ower sector stakeholders meeting between in Abuja, yesterday, PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

L-R: Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie; Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Alhaji Bature Masari and Vice Chancellor, Kaduna State University, Prof. Barnabas Qurix, during the signing of a memorandum of understanding on network of African Students Entrepreneurship Development Programme in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE, Mr. Ademola Olorunfemi (left) recieving an award from the National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Prof. Adisa Bello, during the inauguration of the 11th National Chairman of the of the institution in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio (right) and Flag Officer, Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Harry Ngonadi, during a courtesy call to Government House, Uyo, yesterday.

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Anti-graft bodies must prove performance –Jonathan ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA

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resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said the anti- graft agencies, including the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC and Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, must show a proof that they are fighting corruption in the country. Jonathan spoke during the swearing of the chairman and members of the National Population Commission, NPC, as well as special advisers, shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting. The president, who said he was aware that the antigraft agencies are working and fighting corruption in the country, however, said that the agencies must convince Nigerians about

…explains Odimegwu’s sack

their activities. He said: “ICPC and EFCC must make Nigerians believe that they are working. I know what you are doing, but not everybody knows what you are doing. “Ordinarily, these are agencies whose activities are not supposed to be made too loud because you don’t celebrate a situation where you send 100 or 200 Nigerians to prison. “But the society is so funny, that these days, anybody who wants to claim any element of credibility at all, will go to the television and attack government for corruption. The President’s body language shows that he is not fighting corruption, or he is not ready to fight corruption and sometimes is even the very corrupt people that are making these statements because if you

attack government you are insulated, you become an angel. If you want to be an angel, just attack the government, so whatever you have done is covered.” According to the president, while his government had been accused of not fighting corruption, the list of 250 convictions recorded by the EFCC was a high number that showed that his administration was waging serious battle against corruption. “Recently, the EFCC published the list of about 250 people they have convicted, and that is a huge number of people and they said the government is not fighting corruption. How many countries have convicted half that number of people within a space of time? But before the publication, so many people did not believe that

the EFCC are even going to work.” Jonathan stated that even though he frowned at a situation where Nigerians are convicted before trial on television, the anti-graft agencies should be able to tell Nigerians whenever they secure conviction so that people appreciate them. Jonathan admonished the chairman and members of NPC that the commission was very critical. He charged them and all those holding public offices to be mindful of the statements they make in order not to create problems for the society. He explained that the former chairman of the commission, Festus Odimegwu, was relieved of his appointment because of certain statements he made that brought credibility prob-

lem to the commission. It would be recalled that Odimegwu had faulted the census figure of 2006, saying that the figures were not credible. Though the President admitted that Odimegwu was ‘a fine gentlemen and very cerebral’, he said that an institution like the NPC must be one that people must have confidence and belief in. The President said: “He is a fine gentleman, everybody knows him, very cerebral. But an institution like the National Population Commission must be one that people will believe in whatever you do. And if you make pronouncements that will create credibility problem to that institution, the best thing is for you to step aside for some other person to step in, because the credibility of that institution is critical.” He added: “Perception

in most cases is stronger than real; no matter what you do, if the perception is wrong; then the society will not follow you.” Jonathan maintained that knowing the population of the country would ensure adequate planning and economic growth which would impact on the lives of Nigerians. He noted that when a nation like Nigeria where population is growing faster than the economy, it is important to know the population figure so that governments at federal, state and local levels would be able to plan. “You cannot plan based on what you don’t know; but if you know, you can plan for it. If we know the total number of children we are expecting, then you will know how to expand the facilities you have in your basic education institutions,” Jonathan said.


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NERC, power firms agree to postpone Transitional Electricity Market CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

tive officers of Generation Companies, GENCOS; the Distribution Companies, DISCOS; the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, all agreed that the March date for the declaration of TEM is unrealistic. NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, who briefed journalists along with representatives of all the GENCOS and DISCOS shortly

after the meeting, said the CEOs agreed with the NERC’s submission that it would not be realistic to start TEM next month because of the fact that some of the market and non-market Conditions Precedent, CPs, were yet to be finally resolved. Amadi said there was a resolution at the meeting to approach the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, to seek his approval to allow for the review of the

interim rules. “Let me say that CEOs agreed with NERC’s submission that it will not be realistic to (declare) TEM next month, because of the fact that some of the market and non-market condition precedents are yet to be finally resolved. He noted that CPs were to be met before declaring TEM especially the critical ones saying,” particularly the issues of loses that is being reviewed by the DIS-

COS and GENCOS and the issue of tariff review.” Amadi stated the decision would be communicated to the Minister of Power shortly. “So we have agreed to go to the minister and communicate that NERC will review the Interim Rules and get back to the CEOs at the next meeting,” he said. The outstanding CPs according to Amadi includes the full operation of the market system, for instance,

L-R: Secretary-General, Muslim Community, Oyo State, Alhaji Mursiq Siyanbade; Chairman, Alhaji Ishaq Sanni and Vice-Chairman, Alhaji Mufutaudeen Oloyin, at a news conference on the forthcoming Oyo State Muslim Unity Day in Ibadan, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

and the Scada system for checking transmission. “The ATC & C loss studies are yet to be completed by DISCOS, so this will help for the tariff review before declaring TEM,” he added. The non-market rule based CP is the gas supply, which he hoped would be improved upon by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources following completion of repairs on vandalised gas pipelines. The CEO of Egbin Generation Power Plc, Mr. Mike Uzoigwe, who spoke on behalf of the Gencos said, “Generation is improving and GENCOS will increase capacity as they get more gas supply.” He noted that Egbin GENCO was generating 400mw due to gas constraints but gradually move to 600mw and total capacity as at Tuesday stood at 1,000mw. Meanwhile the DISCOs represented by the CEO of Benin Disco, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, said they were in line with NERC guidelines embarking on customer enumeration to check the residence to ensure proper categorisation as that would help to reduce losses incurred. Oshibodu noted that

DISCOS are working with NERC and the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company, NELMCO, to review and clear all metering payments in arrears before the institution of the Customers Advanced Payment Metering Initiative, CAPMI. The CEO of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, Mr. Mack Kast said, “We have a strong team in place now. We are focused on expanding the system, to do this we need more cash.” Kast noted that with the proposed $1.5bn annual investment, transmission would improve significantly between 2017 and 2020. Amadi however refused to be drawn into giving a specific date for the TEM declaration. “We will not give date for that anymore as we will be working till the CPs are met, then we can call on the Minister to declare TEM,” he said The NERC chairman noted that the meeting, which is held on a monthly basis, allows for all the stakeholders to meet and look at problems arising from the operations and together proffer solutions.

Bribery allegation: Reps to summon Lai Mohammed CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

should not dignify this sinking party, notorious for lies, deceit and propaganda with a reply, we are compelled to do so because their action is a direct attack on the basic fabric of our democracy”. PDP said that all “well meaning Nigerians are indeed worried by the statements and actions of the APC which are clearly aimed at destroying our democracy and plunging the nation into chaos. “In alleging that lawmakers were being financially induced, the APC seeks to cast doubt in the minds of Nigerians regarding the integrity of duly elected persons, politicians and the entire democratic institution.” The statement noted that while at a point, in the mind of some sections of the public, the PDP got to its lowest level, because of defections of lawmakers from their fold, the PDP never assaulted their integrity. The ruling party maintained that there is no

doubting the fact that the PDP under its new National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu is reaching out to all its members including those that defected in a reconciliation drive that is already yielding dividends. Meanwhile, some PDP senators yesterday asked the Senate President, David Mark to invoke the powers conferred on him by the 1999 constitution and the rules of the senate to declare the seats of the five senators who announced their defection to the APC on Tuesday vacant and order their immediate expulsion from the senate. The senators in question are Senators Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), Magnus Abe (Rivers South east), Wilson Ake (Rivers East) and Aisha Jummai Alhassan (Taraba North). According to the PDP senators, the combined effects of orders 14(1) of the senate standing order, sections 68(1)(g) and 1& 2 of the

1999 constitution, as well as section 18 of the Legislative Houses, Powers and Privileges Act, together with some well established judgments of the Supreme Court make it imperative for Mark to act decisively by declaring the seats of the defected senators vacant and order their expulsion from the senate. The demand of the PDP senators, which was separately articulated by Senators Eta Inang and George Thompson Sekibo was thunderously applauded by all the PDP senators, leading to some momentary uproar in the senate. The Senate President while acknowledging the propriety of the arguments of the PDP senators however said he would refrain from acting on their request because as he told the defecting senators, the previous day, he was bound by the rules of the senate not to make any pronouncements on the matter. It was Inang who first

raised the issue by way of point of order. Citing order 14 of the senate standing order on privileges, the lawmaker stated that the continued stay in the senate by the five senators who had announced their defection from the PDP to APC amounted to the deprivation of his privileges as senators. The lawmaker cited three different Supreme Court judgments to the effect that by their actions, the five defecting senators had become strangers on the floor of the senate since there was no division in PDP to necessitate their defection as required by the law. In calling on Mark to declare the seats of the defecting senators vacant and directing their immediate expulsion from the senate, Inang referred to section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 constitution, which empowers the Senate President to take such actions. He also exhibited a certified true copy of the judgement of an Abuja Federal

High Court, to the effect that there is no division in the PDP to justify the said defection. “I therefore call upon you, the Senate President to declare the seats of the defecting senators vacant and order their immediate expulsion in accordance with the constitution and the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police Vs. Atiku Abubakar, dated April 24, 2007,” Inang said. The submissions of Inang attracted wide jubilation from his colleague senators from PDP who urged him on chanting “go! go! go ahead!” leading to an uproar. Spurred by the requests of his colleagues, Inang was determined to cite further cases, but was stopped by Mark who noted that, “Whatever you have cited is enough.” After he successfully battled to restore some san-

ity in the senate, Mark said, “I believe you were in this chamber here yesterday when I explained that this matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction and I refused to rule on the matter. My ruling on this won’t be different because it is the same subject matter. This matter is before a competent court, I shall not make any pronouncements on it.” Not deterred by the ruling of Mark on the matter, Senator Sekibo also rose on a point of order to press on the Senate President not to abdicate his duties conferred on him via sections one and two of the constitution as well as order 53(5), stressing that, “The constitution requires you to declare the seats of these senators vacant now.” Sekibo’s submissions elicited even more applause from the PDP senators, who cheered and chanted, even as it failed to persuade Mark to change his opinion on the matter.


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Oduah: The many controversies of a minister OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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tella Oduah was appointed the Minister of Aviation in July 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan. Before the appointment, Oduah was the Coordinator of the Neighbour 2 Neighbour political campaign machinery used to secure victory for President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election. Oduah’s tenure had been dogged by controversies from day one, as several aviation unions and professionals kicked against her appointment, saying that for the sector to grow, it required a professional to be in the saddle as a minister. But like a cat with nine lives, Oduah survived the onslaughts and gradually warmed herself into the hearts of some of the hitherto critics, who after few months in the position made a 360-degree turn and

hailed her performance. Immediately she was appointed as a minister, she commenced the remodelling of all the federal government’s airports in the country, but as usual with controversies as the quality of works done on them had attracted criticisms. However, crisis started for Oduah when in October 2013, the media exposed her part in the acquisition of two armoured cars BMW7 series for her at allegedly hyper-inflated prices of N255 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. The two vehicles were procured for the minister by the agency on credit while the First Bank of Nigeria Plc stood in as a guarantor for the agency with Coscharis Motors Limited. She reportedly compelled NCAA to acquire the vehicles for her use. More so, the document with the ref. number NCAA/DG/PROC/07/8/ COSCHARIS and dated 13th

August, 2013, which was made available to our correspondent was signed for the Director-General, NCAA by the former Acting DG Mr. Joyce Nkemakolam. Since the agency procured the vehicles for the erstwhile minister, it has not been able to meet its statutory obligations to most of its staff. The agency is currently cash strapped as it is unable to carry out carry out trainings of its technical staff both in the country and abroad. Moreso, apart from the two armoured vehicles, both NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, around the same period procured additional two armoured cars for Oduah. Although, Oduah denied her involvement in the scam and in her defense before the National Assembly said she only advised them to “do the needful,” but the excuse was not accepted by the majority.

She was found guilty by both the House Committee on Aviation and the Senate Aviation Committee and President Jonathan was advised to “review her appointment.” Just as the scandalous purchase of two BMW cars were yet to die down, Oduah was caught in a web of certificate scandal. Oduah was accused of forging a Master’s Degree certificate, which she reportedly claimed was issued to her by a so-called St. Paul’s College, United States of America, USA, but the institution fervently denied having a graduate school or issuing a post-graduate degree. But, in a bid to save her job, Oduah in late January went round the country to woo several senior staff of the agencies’ workers, stakeholders, unions, airline operators and even state governors to her side. At one of such gatherings in Lagos on Sunday,

L-R: Ministerial nominees: Alhaji Wakili Mohammed, Mr. Bawa Bwari; Mr. Mao Ohabunwa and Senator Philip Aduda during their screening by the Senate in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

Politicians lobby for Chief of Staff post OUR CORRESPONDENT

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oliticians have started lobbying for the position of the Chief of Staff to the President. The post became vacant following the resignation of Chief Mike Oghiadomhe on Monday. Already, intense pressure is being mounted on President Goodluck Jonathan by some politicians who are interested in the job, but the President is yet to make up

his mind as to who to appoint, according to reliable sources It was learnt Jonathan is taking his time as he is likely to choose a seasoned politician who could use his political clout to secure victory for the President if he eventually decides to seek a second term in 2015. Though Oghiadomhe was a close ally of the President, the need to ensure that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the President are not defeated at the

poll makes it imperative the Chief of Staff to go to pursue his own political interest. Presidential source also said that the President is taking his time to ensure that only someone he can trust and rely on occupy the seat According to the source, the President cannot be hurried into taking decisions because he is a person that always thinks deep on issues before arriving at a final decision in order to avoid mak-

ing costly mistakes. Already, the name of the chairman of the Daar Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali have come up among those likely to be considered by the President. Others include the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Bala Mohammed; a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye and Adetokunbo Kayode , SAN.

26th January, 2014, Oduah had boasted that no one, not even her “detractors” could remove her from the office. She said, “I was the minister of aviation yesterday, today and I will be there even tomorrow either any one likes it or not. I may not have gone to school, but I have native intelligence.” Apart from the two controversies above, it was also established that Oduah was collecting funds from all the agencies on a monthly basis. In FAAN, Oduah was accused of making N300m deductions monthly, the Nigerian Aviation Management Agency, NAMA; N200m while the sum of N150m was regularly deducted from NCAA. Although, she suspended the monthly collection of N150m in NCAA following the armoured cars scandal, but the sum was re-introduced last December. The monthly deduction from the coffers of the agency, previously under the heading ‘Safety and Security,’ stopped in the wake of the N255m bulletproof cars, resurfaced under another heading; ‘Publicity.’ Reacting to her sack yesterday, the President, Aviation Round Table, ART, Capt. Dele Ore, congratulated President Jonathan for the bold move. Ore said that although, the damage has been done, but the removal of Oduah would go a long way in repositioning the sector. He hoped that with her removal, NCAA would allow to do its oversight functions properly without interference from any quarters. He said, “It’s a bold step in the right direction. It might be belated as the damage has been done, but henceforth, we hope that the sector will move in the right direction and NCAA will be able to do its job professionally. We also hope that all the funny policies will be upturned by the incoming minister.” On the usual clamour for appointment of aviation professional as aviation minister, Oduah said that anyone could be a minister in the sector inasmuch the appointee is ready to move the sector forward without selfish gains as we had it with Oduah. “Whosoever that is appointed, can’t be worse than Oduah. We need people who can listen to other people’s

views. Those who will not take offence to constructive criticisms; it doesn’t take a superman or a superwoman to be an aviation minister. Whosoever that is appointed, we will extend our hands of fellowship to the person. We need someone who will have the interest of the nation at heart and not a selfcentred person.” Reacting to the sack of the Minister yesterday, a civil activist and executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Comrade Auwal Ibrahim, said there was nothing to celebrate about the belated removal of the minister, since the reasons for her sack may not be unconnected with the President’s electioneering campaigns where Oduah and other ministers may have been relieved of their appointments to play key roles. “We are not too sure whether the sack of the minister was based on the demand and the terms of civil society groups as the INEC has just released the timetable for elections. So, they may have been asked to go and help the President in the elections ahead by getting involved in his re-election campaigns. “If the reasons are adduced, we will know whether the decision by the President is laudable or not. It can only be seen as to be in the interest of the public if the minister is not just only relieved of her appointment, but also made to face the full wrath of law for violating the guidelines on public procurement. We are waiting to hear what led to her removal from the President. He owes Nigerians the duty to tell us why Princess Oduah is removed”, the CISLAC chieftain said. Also reacting, the Head, Zenith Travels, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo said that her sack has been in the offing since the MBW and certificate scandals. Ohunayo noted that her reply to the National Assembly that she only instructed NCAA to “do the needful” was not convincing enough, adding that the ministry did not handle her issues as expected. He however commended her for the remodeling projects and the unveiling of the aviation master plan, hoping that her successor would continue from where she stopped.


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Natioinal News

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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NITEL, MTEL sale: Reps to probe non-remittance of proceeds WOLE OLADIMEJI ABUJA

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he House of Representatives yesterday mandated its committee on communication to investigate the whereabouts of the proceeds realised from the sales of non-core assets of the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and the Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL). The House, after a debate

on a motion raised by Hon Ali Yakubu (PDP-Yobe), resolved that the committee should investigate entire process, which was kickstarted in 2005, and report back in three weeks. While speaking on the motion, Yakubu noted that since the exercise had been concluded, there was no remittance of the proceeds from the NITEL and MTEL’s non-core assets sales to the Federal Account.

The lawmaker drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that the Federal Government had, through the Bureau for Public Enterprise, commenced the process of liquidating the non-core assets as far back as 2005. Yakubu explained that in repositioning NITEL and MTEL, the Federal Government appointed a liquidator to take over and sell all the non-core assets of the two companies.

He noted that the noncore assets of the two companies run into billions of naira. The lawmaker said: “The liquidator had actually commenced the sale without remitting the amount realised to the appropriate account.” Yakubu alleged that the billions of naira realised from the sales might have been fraudulently frittered away without proper accountability.

A scene of tanker explosion in Ekiti State, yesterday.

APC senators’ move to stop ministerial screening fails .As Obanikoro, Wakil, Gusau enjoy privilege GEORGE OJI ABUJA

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fforts by the senators elected on the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform to abort the screening of the new ministerial nominees at the Senate yesterday were frustrated by the Senate President, David Mark. Apparently acting on the directive by the leadership of the APC not to screen the nominees, Senators Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central) and Anthony Adeniyi ( Ekiti South) raised a point of order to stall the exercise. Rising under Order 14 of the Senate, Ojudu said that because the curriculum vitae of the ministerial nominees were just circulated among the senators yesterday, the screening should be deferred till further date to enable the senators have enough time to study the documents. But Mark immediately dismissed Ojudu’s position, saying: “I know you very

well and I do know that it will not take you long to go through the documents. As a result, I do not think it is necessary to postpone the exercise.” Besides, Mark said that the screening would not end in one day, stressing that it would enable Ojudu more time to go through the documents. Not satisfied with Mark’s explanations, Senator Adeniyi cited sections 118, 119 and 120 of the Constitution to argue that the law required the appointing authorities to furnish the Senate with the clearance certificates of the nominees as well as the assets declaration certificates of the candidates before the Senate could go ahead with the screening. This position did not satisfy Mark as he said: “To me, we can go on and on with these side attractions, but at the end of the day come back to screen the nominees. Let us avoid all these delay tactics and proceed with this screening be-

cause the business at hand is a serious one.” With the above explanation, the Senate President arrested the situation and the screening took off. Senator Musliu Obanikoro, who was in the Senate between 2003 and 2007, was the first to be screened and was given the privilege by Mark to coordinate his presentation in line with his wish since the Senate was going to extend the usual courtesy of bow and go to him as a former colleague. In a brief presentation, Obanikoro recalled that he contributed to many bills and motions, including the Ocean Surge Motion, Abuja National Stadium Velodrome Motion, the Anticasual Labour Bill and the Consolidated Pension Bill, among others. Hon. Mohammed Wakil, who was the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003, was also extended the privilege of bow and go by

the Senate. The anti-climax of the screening was with the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Aliu Mohammed Gusau, who was also asked to bow and go by the lawmakers. The rest two other nominees, Mrs. Akron Etim Eyakenyi from Akwa Ibom State and Mrs. Lawrence Labaran Mallam from Kaduna State, were barely subjected to routine screening as they were asked to also bow and go after a few questions. It was only Ambassador Amonu Wali who was subjected to rigorous screening through some questioning on his stewardship as Nigerian Ambassador to China. Answering the question as to How Nigeria could develop economically as fast as China, Wali said the country must be willing to imbibe the virtues of discipline, hardwork, commitment, dedication and patriotism.

He said: “The House will be failing in its duties as a parliament saddled with the responsibility of ensuring probity and ac-

countability in government transactions, if it does not act now in a matter that involves a national asset like NITEL and MTEL.”

CAN wants source of Boko Haram’s weapons investigated OLUFEMI ADEOSUN

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he Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday called on the Federal Government to investigate the source of the sophisticated weapons and ammunition being used by Boko Haram sect, gunmen and Fulani herdsmen in the northern part of the country. CAN, in a communiqué read by its General Secretary, Dr. Musa Asake, after its first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja, urged the Federal Government to expose those behind the Boko Haram menace for prosecution. The Christian body said it was worried that the list of the Boko Haram victims had become endless. CAN said: “As Fulani herdsmen get increasingly sophisticated with each attack, NEC called on the Federal Government to investigate the source of the weapons and ammunition used in their various attacks and to expose their sponsors. “CAN recorded the death

of over 100 Christians in one month - between January 6 and February 6 this year. It noted that no fewer than 30 people sustained various degrees of injuries. “Recently, these evil men disguised as soldiers, went inside a Catholic Church, while the church was in session, locked the doors and killed the worshipers.” The association called on the Federal Government to come up with efficient and enduring system to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and other violence attack by Fulani herdsmen. CAN said: “The Federal Government should come up with an efficient and enduring system that can overwhelm the resurgence of Boko Haram, gunmen and Falani herdsmen who are prowling villages, shooting and killing innocent Christians and that at a time we should have been enjoying peace through articulated and sustained security programmes, the scourge of Boko Haram, gunmen and Fulani herdsmen has continued to pose serious problems to Christians, particularly those living in the northern part of Nigeria.

Inflation rate stabilises at 8.0% in January TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he nation’s Composite Price Index (CPI), which measures the average change in price level or inflation rate grew at 8.0 per cent year-on-year in January, the same level it attained in December 2013. The January inflation rate, further sustained the single digit trend achieved all through the previous year. According to the National Statistical news released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday in Abuja on the CPI, food prices have risen at about the same rate year-on-year over the past three months at 9.3 percent, with prices of yams, potatoes and other tubers increased at relatively the same rate over December and January. The Bureau reported further that prices rose at a faster rate in meat, fish, dairy and fruit classes adding however that price in-

creases in the food sub-index were weighed down by moderate increases in the vegetables, and oils and fats classes. “After edging higher (year-on-year) in the second half of 2013, the rate of inflation of the Core sub-index eased in January 2014. There were moderations in various classes which contributed to the index, including actual and imputed rental prices, garments, solid and liquid fuels, some household furnishings, reflecting an easing of demand following the end of year prices”, the report added. According to the NBS, the Urban composite CPI was recorded at 152.2 points in January, representing an 8.2 percent increase from levels recorded in January 2013, noting that the Urban composite index was however higher by 0.1 percentage points from the 8.1 percent year-on-year change recorded in December.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Extradition: Kashamu loses bid to stop trial by United States ISE-OLUWA IGE

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egal moves by the chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Buruji Kashamu, to stop the United States from extraditing him for prosecution over criminal offences allegedly committed by him

offshore, has hit the rock. This is because a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday threw out a suit seeking to block his extradition. Buruji had specifically approached the high court to register in the Nigerian court some judgements entered in his favour by courts in the United King-

dom. The decisions cleared him of alleged criminal offences over which the United States government is reportedly seeking his extradition. Had the high court registered the judgements in Nigeria, the verdicts would have become valid in Nigeria and sufficiently

blocked the US from extraditing him. Justice Gabriel Kolawole of Federal High Court, Abuja in a ruling, yesterday dismissed Kashamu’s ex-parte application, with which he had sought leave to register the two judgements he said were entered in his favour by UK courts.

The judge described Kashamu’s application as an abuse of court process on the ground that he applied to the court outside the period allowed by Nigerian laws. The judge held that he could not extend the stipulated period within which the judgements from foreign courts could be registered. “I doubt that the period of six years, which the law provided for registration could be extended. I find myself unable to exercise my discretion to grant the prayer. “This is a process that constitutes an abuse of court process. The application fails and it is hereby dismissed,” Kolawole held. The decisions arose in

the suits - Governor of HMP Prison, Brixton Vs Government of The United States of America Ex parte Buruji Kashamu & Government of the United States of America Vs Buruji Kashamu and delivered on the 6th and 10th October, 2000 respectively. Kashamu had, in the application by his lawyer, Alex Izinyon, SAN, filed pursuant to Order 6 Rule 14 (1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Rules), 2009 Section 10 (a) of the Foreign Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Cap. F.35 LFN 2004 sought to register the two judgements from the foreign courts. The Attorney-General of England Wales was named as the sole respondent in the application.

N1bn fraud: Ajudua wants Bamaiyi charge for money laundering WALE IGBINTADE The premises of NIPOST at Marina, Lagos after a downpour yesterday.

PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

We’ll reject non-aviation professional as minister –Unions OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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ew hours after the removal of erstwhile Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, leading industry unions have threatened to reject the appointment of non-aviation professional as a minister for the sector by President Goodluck Jonathan. The unions; Air Transport Staff Senior Services of Nigeria, ATSSSAN;

the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, in a joint press statement said they would not support the appointment of a non-professional to lead the sector. It will be recalled that the three unions had in 2011, before the appointment of Oduah, threatened to paralyse activities in the sector if an aviation professional was not

appointed by President Jonathan, but the Presidency disregarded their agitation and went ahead with the appointment of Oduah. But, few days after the appointment of Oduah, the unions, especially the leadership of NUATE changed their tune, castigated other unions for insisting on the appointment of a professional to lead the sector. The unions yesterday in a statement signed by their

Presidents, Engr. Isaac Balami for NAAPE; Comrade Benjamin Okewu, ATSSSAN and Comrade Safianu Dauda for NUATE, said with the exit of Oduah, another opportunity has arisen yet again for the country to have a new aviation minister. The unions urged President Jonathan to seize this opportunity to right the wrongs of the past by appointing a seasoned professional as a minister for the sector.

FG moves to avert gas poisoning, flooding MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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he Federal Government yesterday said it is putting measures in place to control the threat of poisonous gas and flooding that may occur, following eruption from the weak volcanic Lake Nyos in Cameroun. This was contained in a release signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Boade Akinola, yesterday. The release also quot-

ed the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, who inspected the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam site in Taraba State, as saying that the measures are initiated to help avert a similar incident which occurred in August 1986. Lake Nyos released poisonous gas and caused extensive flooding resulting in the death of about 1, 700 people in 1986. About 4, 000 herds of cattle, 330 sheep and thousands of other livestock in the villages of Cham, Nyos and Subum just downstream

of the lake, the statement said, were affected by the disaster then. “Since then, there had been some international intervention and supportive efforts to the Camerounian government to de-gas the Lake,” the release said. States where government currently directs it efforts, according to the statement are: Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Kogi and Delta States. “The Federal Government has embarked on the construction of a buffer dam that would

accommodate the poisonous water. The dam is located between Kashimbila and Gomovo town on River Katsina Ala, Takum Local Government, Taraba State; close to the country’s border with Cameroun,” the release said. “Ochekpe further said that the Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam had an airstrip, constructed to facilitate the evacuation of people who are living in the area to a safe place, if the lake eventually breaks before the dam is completed.

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mbattled Lagos lawyer and socialite, Chief Fred Ajudua, yesterday urged an Ikeja High Court to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to charge a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, (rtd) for money laundering. Ajudua stated this in a fresh application filed by his lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, challenging the competence of the 14 counts of fraud preferred against him for allegedly defrauding Bamaiyi of about $5.9m (about N1 billion). Ajudua was said to have defrauded Bamaiyi through false claims that the money represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison. The application stalled Ajudua’s scheduled arraignment as his lawyer insisted that the application must be resolve before his arraignment. In the application, Ajudua stated that since Bamaiyi’s petition and statements to the EFCC, disclosed self-confession to various crimes, including conspiracy, aiding and

abetting, money laundering and corrupting of public officers hence they should be charged together. Part of Ajudua’s prayers is that the court should compel EFCC to prosecute Bamaiyi and others, and also quash the “frivolous charges” preferred against him (Ajudua). The application reads in part; “An order directing and compelling the prosecution/respondent to prefer a criminal charge and/ or arraign the under listed persons for the offences of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, money laundering and corrupting of public officers namely; Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd.), Lawal Danladi Yaro, Abdullahi Garba, Martha Bamaiyi, Garba Tagda, Mohammed Abubakar, Lt.-Col. Timothy Chechet, Sam Kwendo Bandi.” Ajudua’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, in the written address filed in support of the application stated; “Clearly, as can be seen above, the General was from his admission and confession in those statements engaged in diverse acts of criminality and whether it is the act of attempting to give gratification to these public officers through his agents or payments exceeding N500, 000 in cash.”


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South-West

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Confab: South-West delegates tasked on Yoruba interest KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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hairman of the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, Mr. Wale Oshun, yesterday charged potential Yoruba delegates to the forthcoming national conference

not to betray the race at the conference, warning that the consequences would be dire should any of them flout the directive. He handed down the warning at the Yoruba Constitutional Conference held at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Build-

ing, Secretariat, Ibadan. President Goodluck Jonathan was equally warned by the former Minister of Defence and a prominent Yoruba leader, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd.) to expunge the idea of no-go-areas in the modalities of the conference.

Oshun told the gathering attended by traditional rulers and notable Yoruba leaders, including Senator Olabiyi Durojaye, Akinrinade, Chief Segun Odegbami, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, Chief Niyi Akintola, SAN, Barrister Bisi Adegbuyi, Mr. Tunde Fagbenle

and Mrs. Dupe AjayiGbadebo among several others, that irrespective of the platform a delegate emerges from, every Yoruba delegate would be regarded as a member of the Yoruba ethnic nationality. He said; “We affirm our resolve to regard any Yoruba nominee, irrespective of nominating platform, as Yoruba ethnic national and all potential Yoruba delegates should know and be fully aware that whichever platform threw them up, the consequences of betraying the Yoruba cause would be dire. “We would not, because we disagree with many of

the modalities, play into the hands of detractors by abandoning the conference as being suggested in some quarters, but, those wishing to mainstream or sell their kith and kin should better not accept their nominations, this should be taken as a forward warning.” He described the ceremony as essentially a stepping stone to the proposed national conference, stating that; “Our expectation today is that our joint deliberations will guide and lead us in determining and redefining our stance about the proposed national conference.”

Lagos records 20, 638 births in 10 months

A L-R: INEC National Commissioner (Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti), Prof. Lai Olorode; INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega; Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Obas, Oba Adamo Babalola; INEC Deputy National Commissioner, North Central, Dr. Nuru Yakubu and Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ekiti State, Alhaji Hussaini Halilu Pai, at the Election Stakeholders’ Meeting, in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday.

Seven burnt to death in tanker explosion ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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t least seven people were on Tuesday burnt to death at Aramoko Ekiti in Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti State in an inferno that followed a tanker explosion. The explosion occurred when the tanker was involved in an accident. Sources said the tanker swerved off the road while negotiating a sharp bend, rolling downhill and crashing into two buildings. The victims of the explosion, according to sources, included a retired head teacher, two other residents of the affected buildings, two unidentified persons and two occupants of the

truck. The inferno wreaked havoc on the two buildings as well as two cars and a motorbike parked in front of the buildings. Sources said other residents of the affected buildings were lucky to escape being killed in the inferno. According to them, the damage had been done before men of the State Fire Services, who eventually put out the fire, arrived the scene. While the tanker driver, who was said to have escaped death alongside one other occupant, is being detained at Aramoko Divisional Police Station, the charred remains of the victims had been deposited at the morgue of the Ekiti State University Teaching

Hospital, Ado Ekiti. Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, who visited the scene yesterday, fought back tears on seeing the gory sight. The deputy governor lamented that the recklessness of some truck drivers had always resulted in untimely death of innocent Nigerians. She urged traders and hawkers to desist from plying their wares along the road, saying such was one of the best ways to prevent loss of lives on the road. Although, it is a federal road, Adelabu said: “I want to assure you that the state government will do something about it within the next two weeks. This death is painful and we have to do something quickly to avert

reoccurrence.” The monarch of the town, Oba Olu Adeyemi, regretted that the Federal Government had awarded the construction of a road that would link Ado Ekiti from Ita-Ure near Efon Alaaye that would bye-pass Aramoko, Erio, Igede and Iyin Ekiti during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. Oba Adeyemi said: “The road that passes through our town is not only hilly, but winding and this has been causing a lot of accidents. I want to believe that if there is a bye-pass, some of these accidents would be prevented. And I urge the Federal Government to revisit the contract to save my people from untimely death.”

299 Lagos retirees get N1.2bn FRANCIS SUBERU

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he Lagos State g ove r n m e n t y e s t e r d a y presented retirement bond certificates worth N1.2 billion to 299 retired civil servants under the state Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS.

The bond certificates were distributed to the retirees at the NECA Building, Alausa in Ikeja by the Director-General, Lagos State Pension Commission, LASPEC, Rotimi Hussain. The director-general said the N1.2 billion for the 299 civil servants was for the accrued rights for past

service to the state prior to the commencement of the CPS in 2007. He said with the payment of the money, the state had continued to set the pace for stakeholders in the pension industry, saying that the state had been the only state to have paid N22.7 billion to 4, 199 retirees who retired from

the public service from inception of the CPS till date. According to him, the government began the first presentation in October, 2010 when 102 retirees were paid N412.87 million as this had risen to 3, 900 retirees who had received N21.49 billion as at 2013.

t least 20, 638 babies were born across Lagos State public hospitals between January and October 2013, state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, disclosed this yesterday said. The commissioner, who also assured that the state government would meet the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, going by the decline in the number of maternal mortality recorded in the state, charged residents to continue to patronise Primary Health Centres, PHCs, located across the state. Briefing journalists at the state secretariat, the commissioner said out of 20, 638 babies born in the state’s public health centres between the period, 11, 312 of the

babies were born through normal delivery while 8, 800 babies were delivered through Caesarian Section, CS. Idris said the 8, 800 babies delivered through CS would have died with their mothers if the state had not put in place facilities to enable the CS operation. While acknowledging that the state had not yet met the Millennium Development Goals of maternal mortality reduction, the commissioner reiterated that more strategies would be adopted to change the attitude of the residents from patronising quacks doctors and illegal medical homes. Such patronage, he said, was responsible for higher cases of maternal mortality in the past.

N19bn loan: Assembly drills Amosun’s commissioners for three hours FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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gun State House of Assembly’s Committee of the Whole House yesterday drilled the duo of Commissioners for Finance, Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in the Works and Infrastructure Ministry, Lekan Adegbite, on the need to approve the N19 billion fresh loan being sought by the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun. The exercise, which held at the Committee Room of the Assembly complex, saw

the two commissioners, explaining the nitty-gritty of the previous loans already obtained by the Amosun administration as well as the repayment plans to justify the approval of the fresh loan. At the drilling yesterday, which had in attendance the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Yusuf Olaniyonu, however, succeeded in disabusing the minds of the state lawmakers over insinuations that the state had already accumulated a debt profile of over N200 billion.


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South-West

Thursday, February 13, 2014

43, 000 driver licences ready for collection in Lagos FRANCIS SUBERU

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orty-three driver licences are ready for collection in Lagos State. The state government has, therefore, called on applicants for the new Universal Drivers Licence (UDL), especially those that have completed their processing by August 2013, to visit the Licensing Centres where they applied to collect them. Commissioner for Transportation, Mr.

Kayode Opeifa, who made the call, said he received the brief from officials of the state Motor Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) while inquiring on the progress made so far on the scheme. The commissioner noted that the state government had increased the number of the licence processing points from six to 12 so as to cope with the volume of applications. Opeifa assured that the state would resolve the challenges posed by the inadequate Data Capture Machines by the Federal

Road Safety Corps (FRSC). He, however, asked those who are yet to renew their licence to do so in order not to create unnecessary pressure on the existing facilities towards the June 2014 deadline. It will be recalled that the Universal Drivers License was introduced in 2011. Similarly, the government said all transportation agencies in the state such as Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), State’s Drivers Institute (LASDRI) and the Motor

Vehicle Administration Agency (MVAA) are still offering their services to members of the public every Saturday except on the last Saturday of each month, which is dedicated to the monthly environmental sanitation. According to Opeifa, the clarification became necessary so that members of the public who are not opportune to transact business with the agencies during the week could avail themselves of the opportunity on Saturdays between 10.00am and 2.00pm.

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Man held for allegedly impersonating IGP, ministers FRANCIS SUBERU

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34-year-old fish farmer, Victor Kekong, has been arrested for allegedly impersonating the InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP). The suspect was also accused of using the name of the Co-coordinating Minister of Finance and other prominent Nigerians as well as forging various other documents for the purpose of defrauding innocent Nigerians. Parading the suspect, the Lagos State Police Command’s spokesman, Ngozi Braide, said other incriminating documents found on him include Federal High Court Certificate of Legality, Central Bank of Nigeria cheque, Ministry of Tourism contract award certificate, anti-drug and money

laundering clearance certificate. Braide said the suspect, who lives at no.5, Sand Avenue at Ifako, confessed that all the documents found in his house were counterfeited. The suspect confessed that he had impersonated an American in the past in a bid to perfect a fraudulent act. Victor explained that nemesis caught up with him when he was intercepted by policemen from Area G. A 55-year-old graphic artist was also paraded for being in possession of fake United States Dollars. Braide said that the suspect was arrested after a tip-off by members of the public about his illegal business at Alade Market, Ikeja. She said that the two suspects would be charge to court soon.

Shake-up in Nigerian Navy as 75 officers are redeployed SEGUN ADIO

A L-R: Member, Board of Directors, Odu’a Investment, Chief Sharafadeen Alli; Group Managing Director, Dr. Adebayo Jimoh; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Chairman, Board of Directors, Odu’a Investment, Chief Isaac Akintade, during Alaafin’s visit to the Odu’a Museum and Hall of Fame in Ibadan, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Sacked 32 Ondo Poly workers committed no crime –Rector OJO OYEWAMIDE AKURE

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ector of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Mr. Igbekele Ajibefun, yesterday caused a stir at the Industrial Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, when he said that the 32 workers sacked last year by the management committed no offence. The embattled workers are praying the court to reinstate them, alleging

that they were victimised without justifiable reason. Ajibefun, who was the second witness presented by the polytechnic’s management, said the workers were relieved of their appointments not because they violated any rule, but the polytechnic no longer needed their services. This was, however, contrary to the earlier submission of the Institution’s Registrar, Tale Akinlabi, who claimed that the workers were

sacked owing to certain misdeeds. The Rector could not answer when asked by the counsel to the complainants, Femi Falana (SAN), who was represented by Kehinde Solomon, what criteria used in arriving at the sacking of the 32 workers. In the sack letters given to the 32 workers, including 10 academics and 22 non-teaching staff, it was stated that they were only relieved of their jobs due

to the reorganisation of the institution. The polytechnic’s management, which was expected to present 23 witnesses, quickly closed its defence after presenting only the Rector and the Registrar. The Presiding Judge, Justice Ndidi ubaka, ordered the two parties to file their written addresses within the next 21 days and adjourned the case till April 8.

Court dismisses suits challenging installation of monarch KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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n Oyo State High Court sitting in Oyo town has dismissed two separate suits challenging the appointment of Oba Stephen Olufemi Oyeniyi Oparinde as

Akibio of Ilora in Afijio Local Government Area. The presiding judge, Justice O. O. Olatunji, dismissed the two suits and described them as incompetent. Refusing jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter, the judge said: “Jurisdic-

tion is blood that is given to the survival of an action in court of law and without jurisdiction, the action will be like an animal that has been drained of its blood”. In suit No. HOY/51/09, both the state governor, the Commissioner for

Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice sought for an order dismissing the action of the claimants, Oyetunde Oyekola and Ajibi Oyekola, both of Aduloju Ruling House of Ilora.

major reshufflement took place yesterday in the Nigerian Navy as about 75 senior officers were redeployed, while some new appointments were made. A statement by the Director of Naval Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, stated that the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, approved the appointment and redeployment with effect from February 14 to 27, 2014. According to the Naval spokesman, the redeployments are within the Navy, Defence Headquarters and Tri-Service institutions. The exercise involved 29 Rear Admirals, 28 Commodores and 18 Captains. In the new postings, Rear Admiral EO Ogbor, formerly Chief of Policy and Plans Naval Headquarters, is now Chief of Administration Defence Headquarters, while Rear Admiral S. A. Akinwale, Director of Logistics at Defence Headquarters, is the new Director Project Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate. Also Rear Admiral

AOA Ikioda is new Chief of Policy and Plans; Rear Admiral IE Ibas, Chief of Logistics and Rear Admiral I. A. Oyagha, Chief of Training and Operations, all at the Naval Headquarters. A former Director of Naval Information, Rear Admiral Obiora Medani has been appointed as Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, while Rear Admiral SH Usman moves from Central Naval Command to the Logistics Command as Flag Officer Commanding. Rear Admiral PA Agba is the new Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command, Yenagoa. Other senior officers redeployed include Rear Admiral IA Ajuonu, Group Managing Director /CEO Navy Holdings Limited, Rear Admiral OE Ekwe, Admiral Superintendent Naval Dockyard Limited, Rear Admiral DO Osuofa, Navy Secretary while Rear Admiral AB Afolayan resumes as Director of Medical Services. Also Rear Admiral OP Ozojiofor is the Director of Training at the Defence Headquarters while Rear Admiral A Shettima is the Managing Director, Naval Hotels and Suites Limited.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South-East

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Okorocha suspends commissioner for allegedly slapping official CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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overnor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State yesterday suspended the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Mma Love Onyechere, from the state executive council for allegedly slapping a member of the Local Government Service Commission. It was gathered that the

commissioner, who was suspended indefinitely, slapped the Local Government Commission official during the All Progressives Congress (APC) registration exercise last week at Uhube after a minor misunderstanding. A source, who did not want his name mentioned, told National Mirror that the matter was reported to the governor shortly after the incident. The source said: “The

governor was furious over the matter immediately it was reported to him. I am sure that the incident may be the reason for the commissioner’s suspension.” Although no reason was given for the suspension of the commissioner, but in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Anthony Anwuka, claimed that she was suspended indefinitely from participating in the activi-

ties of the state executive council. According to the SSG, the Commissioner for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr. Uche Ejiogu, was directed to take over the running of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. The SSG said that the decision to suspend the commissioner was taken after Tuesday’s executive meeting presided over by Governor Okorocha.

Rector, Federal Polythecnic, Oko, Prof. Godwin Onu (3rd left) with members of the Presidential Committee on Needs Assesment of the Polythecnics during their visit to the institution, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

2015 general elections’ll be violence-free, says Ebonyi REC ALIUNA GODWIN EBONYI

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he Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi State, Mr. Sylvester Ezeani, has assured that the 2015 general elections would be violence-free. Ezeani said that there would be no fraud and other related criminal activities during the conduct of the poll. Addressing journalists in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi

State capital, Mr. Ezeani assured of the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to demonstrate transparency and ensure that no political party violates the election guideline. He, however, called for collaboration among security agencies and other relevant stakeholders to achieve free, fair and credible election. Ezeani said: “Elections are about choice and for

these choices to reflect the aspirations of the people for improved standard of living, they must be based on accurate and reliable information about the three key elements in electoral process - the candidate, the issues and the political parties.” Urging Nigerians to have confidence in INEC, the REC said chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Attahiru Jega, had assured that the next year’s polls would be devoid of ma-

nipulations by political parties. Ezeani said: “INEC, under the leadership of a veteran academic and administrator, Prof. Attahiru Jiga, had asked that all stakeholders in the electoral processes should work hard and play their parts to ensure the success of the general elections. “Prof. Jega had assured that INEC under him would continue to do its own part creditably and transparently.”

FUTO VC restates commitment to academic excellence CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, (FUTO), Prof. Chigozie Asiabaka, has reiterated his determination to make the

institution second to none in academic excellence and manpower development. Asiabaka said that the mantra, which is “Quest for Excellence” would assist to accelerate the manpower power development of the 34-year-old institution.

The VC spoke during opening of the institution’s Guest House in Owerri. The Guest House was opened by the university’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Dr. Emma Enemuo. Asiabaka challenged

workers and students to always think of the common good of the institution, stressing that the structure commissioned marked the beginning of several projects to be executed and commissioned by his administration.

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Police arrest two suspected kidnappers in Aba, rescue victim GEORGE OPARA ABIA

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wo suspected kidnappers have been arrested by police in Abia State. The suspects - Reuben Okezie, 24, and Lekwa Uzor, 25, were alleged to be members of the gang that had been terrorizing Aba, the commercial hub of the state in recent times. This is even as police rescued one Kalu Emenike who was kidnapped at the Ogbor hill axis of Aba on Monday. The two suspected kidnappers were believed to be members of the gang that kidnapped the Chinese national, Miss Tang and one Achilefu, the farm manager of the former Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Eric Acho Nwakanma. There has been an upsurge in kidnapping in recent months in Abia State. The development necessitated the police to device a more sophisticated approach to rest the situation. The new approach paid off on Monday when a team of policemen, led by the new Area Commander for Aba, Mr. Tunde Mobayo, and the officer in-

charge of Anti-Robbery Squad, Anari Anari, stormed the hideout of the hoodlums and arrested Okezie. It was learnt that the suspects and others still at large met while serving various prison terms at the Aba prisons for robbery and when they regained freedom, they regrouped and formed a kidnap gang. It was also gathered that during interrogation, Okezie did not only confessed to the crime, but also mentioned other members of the gang, including Uzor, who was arrested the following day. The rescued man, Emenike, according to sources, was driving in his car when the gunmen abducted him, but one of his cousins, who was riding with him in the car, alerted the police. As the police team gave the abductors hot chase, the suspects dropped off their victim and fled because they could not withstand the heat. The police rescued the man and took him back to his house on Omoba Road where he was reunited with members of his family.

NMA urges verification of practitioners’ licences

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he Abia State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) yesterday called for the verification of practitioners’ licences to fish out quacks. The Chairman of the chapter, Dr Onwuchekwa Nwokocha, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba. Nwokocha spoke against the back drop of the use of hospitals as feeder posts for social miscreants engaged in child-trafficking in the state. He said the verification would help save residents from many quacks operating without proper certification. “The public should also know that some of the people who practise medicine now are not medical doctors.

“And so, I urge the people to verify the status of the doctors they consult. “We have a website, a medical register and an office in Aba where people can check on the status of doctors,’’ he said. Nwokocha charged the people to volunteer useful information which could help the body to check practitioners against “medical negligence”. “It is members of the public who think they have been treated unfairly by their medical practitioners that should petition to let the NMA know the quacks in practice. “Members of the public who have one complaint or another against medical practitioners or quacks should report to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) directly or through the NMA,” he said.


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South South

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

C’River denies annexation of community RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR

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he Cross River State government on Wednesday refuted media reports that some of its villages had been illegally annexed by Cameroon on the orders of boundary demarcation

officials. Speaking to newsmen in Calabar, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS to Governor Liyel Imoke, Christian Ita, said the matter widely reported in some of newspapers was false. He, however, stated that though ‘a pillar’ on the

boundary between the two countries had been reported missing in Danare community in the state, there had been no outright annexation, but likely enchroachment. “Yes, one pillar is missing, but there is just nothing to the story. They are still searching for it.

When you are doing demarcation, it is not as if you have one straight line you just go. “They (officials) are still looking for the pillar and even the National Boundary Commission officials are there. This is just unnecessary sensationalism. The petition

from the Danare community did not say they have been ceded.” The CPS added: “The petition was that if the stone is not seen, Cameroon may likely encroach. Nothing has been ceded and Cross River State has not lost any community in the Central or North-

ern Senatorial District to Cameroon. “The Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Commission and the United Nations are there and boundary matters are no small issue. It is very clear; the state has not lost a single community to Cameroon,’’ Ita said.

Crime: Jungle justice festers in Calabar RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR

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L-R: Coordinating Chairman of South-South for Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly, SNPA, Chief Edwin Clark; Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, at the opening ceremony of the 4th General Conference of SNPA in Asaba, yesterday.

New Rivers CP, Ogunsakin, warns officers on graft, indiscipline SAM OLUWALANA

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fficers and men of the Rivers State Police Command have been warned to clean up their act or be summarily dealt with. The new commissioner of police in the state, Tunde Ogunsakin, who handed down the warning, said there would be zero tolerance for bribery, corruption

and other vices that are at variance with the ethics and conducts expected of members of the force. The former commissioner in charge of the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, who took over the command following the redeployment of Joseph Mbu, sounded the warning in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Wednesday. He said he would not tolerate any form of indis-

cipline and corruption in the command, adding that every police officer must be totally committed to the force. The commissioner stated that his administration would continue to promote the welfare of policemen as a way of encouraging commitment, adding that any officer who abandons his duty post without proper excuse would be summarily dealt with. He also advised that in-

tegrity and personal discipline should be the watchword of all the officers and men at all times. His words: “I have zero tolerance for corruption. If you are lack in integrity and are found corrupt, you will be dealt with summarily. You must exhibit a high sense of confidence and integrity in the profession. Be bold, firm and courageous.’ “No act of indiscipline will be tolerated in this command.

Oloibiri communities allege neglect EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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ommunities in Oloibiri, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are lamenting an alleged neglect by the government, saying that the area could not feel the impact of its historic significance in the economy of the nation. Otuabagi, Oloibiri is the town where the first oil well was drilled in Nigeria 58 years ago by Shell Petroleum Develop-

ment Company, SPDC. The Immediate past chairman of Otuabagi Council of Chiefs, Amangi Daniel, narrated the plight of the community yesterday at Otuabagi when South Africa’s former Minister for Development, Jay Naidoo and former Executive Director of the Environmental Rights Action, ERA, Nnimmo Bassey, visited the site of the first oil well. Daniel regretted that several promises by past

administrations to develop the area and accord it a befitting status had yielded no fruit. He noted that the relics of pollution with oil exploration were still evident in the area, despite the peaceful disposition of the setting. Earlier, the former South African minister, Naidoo, said he was in Nigeria “to feeel the pulse of the communities in Niger Delta”, as well as appraise the level of development in the region.

He said interactions with locals in the oil bearing communities indicated that the people had not benefitted enough from the oil industry. He words: “I had expectations to see the benefits of oil wealth on the people who sit on the huge oil reserves, but I was both disappointed and shocked to find out that the people still faced basic developmental challenges and environmental pollution caused by oil spills.

ollowing the rising wave in crime in Calabar in recent times, residents have now taken over the security of the town. In the past few weeks, robbery and other violent crimes have been on the increase, forcing residents to form vigilance groups to combat hoodlums. A resident, John Obot, said they decided to apply a system called ‘tit-for-tat’ to enable them match up with the thieves, stressing that the police are unable to provide the needed security for now. He said the people of ‘Canaan’ (as Calabar is often touted), resorted to protecting themselves apparently due to the inability of the police to tackle the increasing crime wave within the Cross River State capital.

In the last two weeks, no fewer than fifteen armed bandits caught perpetrating crimes like handbag snatching have been killed through jungle justice by angry mobs. Some of the apprehended criminals were set ablaze. Few days ago, two armed robbers were killed along Mayne Avenue/Atu/ Marian roundabout and their operational vehicle, a Volkswagen (Vento) car set ablaze. Another criminal was also killed along Okpo Ene Street and his corpse dumped at Abasi Obori market. At Anantigha, two robbers operating in a tricycle (keke) were killed and their tricycle torched while another notorious criminal was almost lynched along Uwanse Street, but was lucky to have been rescued by the police who whisked him away.

Akpabio promises speedy dispensation of justice

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he Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed its readiness to address issues militating against the speedy dispensation of justice and smooth operation of the judicial system in the state. Akpabio, who stated this on Monday during an enlarged meeting of key officers of the judiciary, members of State House of Assembly Committee on Justice and Public Petitions, Police Officer inCharge of Legal and State Anti-Robbery Squad at the Governor’s Lodge, Uyo, promised to address the inadequacies militating against quick dispensation of justice for the mutual benefit of the three

arms of government. The governor observed that prosecution of many cases in the state had been slowed down by judicial budgeting and other impediments. He said that interacting with key operators would enable government seek better ways of improving the operations of the system in the state. He lauded the judiciary officers for their good performance despite the inadequacies in the sector, and implored them to ensure that justice was done. Akpabio stressed that it was better for one criminal to be set free than for hundreds of innocent people to suffer for a crime they did not commit.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Politics

National confab: The intrigues, concerns The modalities and methodologies for the proposed national conference have been generating a lot of controversies, particularly the purpose, timing and number of delegates to be nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan. OBIORA IFOH, GEORGE OJI, ROTIMI FADEYI, TORDUE SALEM, OMEIZA AJAYI and UBONG UKPONG look at these concerns and the consequences of proceeding with the confab in an incongruous polity. dialogue, we will have monologues. Public detonators are monologues, Boko Haram is a hyper active secession by their expelling people in some states, purging it of the people who they believe doesn’t share their ideologies,” he had said at an event in Lagos.

National Assembly’s sovereignty and conference legitimacy

Jonathan

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arely nine years after the nation witnessed a major political conference in 2005, which rather had some sore points, most Nigerians had continued to clamour for a true conference that will seek to address some crises bedevilling the polity. Two major fallout of that conference were resource control by the Niger Delta as well as the vexatious power elongation. Today, these issues and their attendant consequences are still very much present, threatening the corporate existence of the nation, hence the unabated clamour for a ‘sovereign’ national conference. However, it was not until October 1 last year, during his Independence Day broadcast to the nation, that President Goodluck Jonathan acquiesced to demands for a national conference, though short of the ‘sovereign’ demanded for.

Why not a sovereign conference? There have been stringent calls for a national conference, with some Nigerians advocating one that would be “sovereign”. The National Assembly had often kicked against such agitation believing that sovereignty lies with it as the representative of the people. However, proponents of a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, have often clarified that real “sovereignty” lies with the people. The proponents of an SNC may have drawn their inspiration, among other factors, from the 1989 Benin Republic National Conference, where a “national conference of civil society organisations” successfully declared itself ‘sovereign’ in place of the then existing state power. The

Okurounmu

conference overturned the country’s constitution and supplanted the authority of President Matheu Kerekou, thereby spearheading elections that consequently brought in a new President. Though, one of its strong proponents, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, had in 2012 relaxed his demands, stating that the government can even decide to remove the word “sovereign” and just facilitate a national conference that will save Nigeria from imminent but avoidable collapse. “We can even remove the word sovereign; there is need for national dialogue because if we don’t have a national

THERE IS NEED FOR NATIONAL DIALOGUE BECAUSE IF WE DON’T HAVE A NATIONAL DIALOGUE, WE WILL HAVE MONOLOGUES. PUBLIC DETONATORS ARE MONOLOGUES, BOKO HARAM IS A HYPER ACTIVE SECESSION BY THEIR EXPELLING PEOPLE IN SOME STATES

Since 1979, whether under military or civilian administration, the country has had political conferences to address the problems that have bedevilled the country since 1951 when the first elections were held. In 1979, the then Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo, organised a Constitutional Conference to produce an organic document that would serve as a guide to thorough nationhood and prosperity. That conference sadly ended up in fisticuffs and some members of the Constituent Assembly, including late scholars, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman and Prof. Segun Osoba, came out with a Minority Report, leading to a stalemate in the exercise. Other conferences followed and more constitutions were produced, as agitation from civil societies, the media and politicians persisted on a need for a ‘Sovereign’ National Conference or a Conference of Ethnic Nationalities. The proposed talk shop organised by President Jonathan to fashion out a peaceful co-existence of divergent interests in Nigeria has been challenged by the National Assembly. The National Assembly since 2005, when the first Political Conference was held, has argued that the 1999 Constitution empowers it in sections 4 and 9 to make laws and work out the constitution for the well-being of the people of Nigeria. While section 4 empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the good governance of Nigeria, section 9 empowers it to amend or make constitutions for the country. The Constitution does not however allow for a referendum or a plebiscite on constitution making to involve every Nigerian directly. What the Constitution allows, is for representatives of the people at the National Assembly to make or amend constitutions involving the people through the state Houses of Assembly and local councils with the expectation that the people would willy-nilly be carried along through the wrung.

Concerns over the President’s men dominating the confab Besides the unconstitutionality of the national conference, the modalities for its convening have raised a lot of dusts that one is left wondering whether the actual conference has any chance of success. The Federal Government has declared that Jonathan will only directly nominate 46 out of the 492 delegates, but analysts have stated that a careful study of the modalities for nomination of delegates is deliberately skewed in favour of the President, to the extent that at the end, he would have handpicked no fewer than 150 delegates. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14


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Politics

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 According to the modalities, the President would nominate 37 elder statesmen, one each from the 36 states and the Federal capital Territory, FCT. There is also the possibility of the President nominating another 20 delegates, six of which would be at least, women. Jonathan would not only also nominate six youths (outstanding youths and role models) one each from the six geo-political zones of the country, but would also nominate six eminent jurists who are not currently serving on the Bench while as the Governor-General of the FCT, he would also nominate a delegate for the territory through the Minister of the FCT. State governments are expected to nominate three delegates, one from each senatorial zone and where any state governor fails to nominate delegates, the President would be expected to nominate the required number from the state. If the All progressives Congress, APC, in charge of 16 out of 36 states in the country goes through with its boycott threat, the President would also end up nominating 48 delegates for the APC-controlled states. With this development, there are concerns that with about a quarter of the delegates coming from the side of government, the outcome of the conference would eventually be tilted in favour of government as the President is also expected to appoint the chairman, deputy chairman and the secretary of the conference. Rather than the proposed conference being that of the Federal Government by the Federal Government for the Federal Government, stakeholders in the Nigerian project and civil society organisations, CSOs, are calling for a conference where about 90 percent of the delegates would be non-state actors.

Concerns over proximity of conference to 2015 general election At the announcement of the proposed national dialogue last year, one major concern that most Nigerians expressed was what informed the government’s decision to fix the discourse for a period when political activities would have climaxed. To the opposition elements, it was another ploy by the government to shift attention of the public from its failure in delivering democratic dividends and hoodwink the electorates into believing that it cares for them. For instance, former Minister of Information, Tony Momoh, though acknowledged the need for a national conference, faulted the timing, saying that 2014, being a year before the general election is not ideal considering the number of political activities and programmes that Nigerians would be involved in. He said: “There would be so many political activities, including party primaries and conventions. Preparation for a general election in Nigeria is usually so time-consuming that there should not be any other intervening programme as important as the national conference. I support the dialogue considering the challenges facing our nation but the timing is wrong.” But a delegation of leaders of pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, re-

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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National confab: The cently told President Jonathan that they believed the proposed national conference is more important to Nigeria than the 2015 general elections. Spokesperson of the group, Yinka Odumakin, while commending the “initiative on a national dialogue to bring together the peoples of Nigeria to discuss their union,” said the group was in support of the conference. “Things are not running smoothly ahead of 2015 and unless we sit down and discuss we are not going nowhere,” he declared.

Concerns over un-proportional representation Shortly after the announcement of the conference composition by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, last month, there was a barrage of protests by stakeholders over un-proportional representation. The Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, led the pack. The lawyers’ association did not waste time to express its grievance over the allocation of a mere one slot to it, in spite of what it considers as its strategic relevance to the constitutional process. Consequently, the National President of NBA, Okey Wali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, fired a protest letter, dated January 31 and entitled, “Re: Nomination of NBA to the National Conference: A Letter of Protest,” to the SGF. “In view of the fact that so many issues will be addressed at the conference, it is only fitting and proper for the umbrella association of all lawyers in Nigeria, NBA to have more than one delegate to the national conference,” NBA wrote. The same streak of protests has been expressed by other groups, individuals and communities. For instance, the South-East geo-political zone has also taken its protest to the Federal Government, complaining about its low representation arising from the proposed equal representation of the six geo political regions of the country in the conference. The South-East, which has only five states is feeling marginalised by the arrangement because it would be under represented. To assuage the South-East, the SGF has assured them that the shortcoming would be redressed by President Jonathan in the application of his discretionary nomination conceded to him in the composition of the conference. Practitioners of African traditional religion have also complained about their total exclusion from the conference. They asked the Federal Government to consider giving three slots to represent their interest. Also, the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, IPAC, through its chairman, Mr. Yunusa Tanko, described the composition, structure and membership of the national dialogue as lopsided, stressing that the exclusion of political parties from the dialogue was an aberration that should not be allowed to stand.

EACH OF THE DELEGATES WILL BE

PAID N120,000 DAILY

FOR ACCOMMODATION, FEEDING AND TRANSPORT TO AND FRO THE VENUE

Wali

He said: “The political parties are going to talk about how they feel the country should be governed, especially as it concern their own political agenda, but by the time you alienate them from that particular process, you make a decision without their own input, they will only come and juxtapose whatever position you must have taken.” He added that political parties are the major drivers and custodians of any democratic process and should therefore be part of the process of a national dialogue.

Concerns over N7bn budget for the conference The whooping N7 billion budgeted for the conference has come under scathing criticisms from Nigerians of all shades and hues. Part of the worry of most Nigerians is that the amount was not captured in the 2014 budget proposal and there are therefore concerns over where government would raise the money from. When compared to the fact that a similar

conference conducted by the former President Obasanjo in 2005 cost the nation only N1 billion, a lot of Nigerians consider the amount to be a huge waste that should rather be spent for development projects that will be more beneficial to the larger country. What is perhaps more worrisome to many Nigerians is that the amount would be spent by only 492 persons to take care of their accommodations, feeding, transportation and other incidental expenses for just a period of three months only. Investigations revealed that each of the delegates will be paid N120,000 daily for accommodation, feeding and transport to and fro the venue. Some prominent Nigerians who are opposed to that amount include the APC national leader, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The three-time presidential candidate, who is opposed to the whole idea of the conference believed that the N7 billion would have been better utilised for other purposes by the Federal Government.

With NASS, national conference General Muhammadu Buhari is a former military head of State and three-time presidential candidate in the present democratic dispensation. In this interview with JAMES DANJUMA expresses his opposition to the national dialogue. Excerpts:

critical stage in our democratic political development and our experiences from 1999 to date, everybody knows about it, we are now facing insecurity, massive unemployment, break down of infrastructure, power, the railway line is just starting to breathe again, the roads, water ways etc, there is so much to do and this country is blessed with so much resources; so it is high time that committed Nigerians are given the opportunity once more to rebuild their country and this is what the APC is trying to do.

General you just received your membership registration of the APC. What is your call on Nigerians? My call on Nigerians is to register and become bonafide members of the All Progressives Congress, APC and participate in the eventual processes leading to the elections from ward up to the centre. This is very important because we are at a

What is your take on the time table recently released by INEC? I had the privilege of listening to Prof Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National electoral Commission, INEC, in a 15-minute BBC Hausa programme. But let us look at what happened in 2003, 2007, 2011 when we all ended in the Supreme Court because of serious rigging and let us


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Politics

Thursday, February 13, 2014

intrigues, concerns ence. Such funds are to be accounted for.”

THE YEARNING FOR SELF DETERMINATION BY SOME ETHNIC GROUPS AND NATIONS IN

NIGERIA WILL

NEVER GET ANY CONSIDERATION

Falana

Another strong opponent of the N7 billion budget for the conference, Senator Abubakar Sadiq Yar’Adua (Katsina Central), said that the National Assembly would not approve the proposal in the 2014 budget. Speaking while fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja last week, Yar’Adua said he would mobilise his colleagues in the National Assembly to oppose the proposal and ensure that the parliament does not approve of it. “What provision has been made in the Appropriation Bill for any money to be spent on the conference? Where will the President get the money from? We will not approve it, I will oppose it,” the lawmaker boasted. A social commentator, Mr. Mike Ikwue told National Mirror that his concern was that the money would be used to enrich a few Nigerians at the expense of others, saying: “A handful of Nigerians will become millionaires in a few months’ time. This is not unconnected with the billions

that have been budgeted for the proposed national conference.” Perhaps in response to the concerns of many Nigerians that the N7 billion is not captured in the 2014 budget estimates now before the National Assembly, the Federal Government has come out to assure Nigerians that the amount was captured in the budget and that the government was optimistic that it would receive the expected approval from the lawmakers. This is as some Nigerians have come out in defence of the N7 billion budget, which they describe as fair enough. Mr. Frank Odita, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, an ardent supporter of the dialogue said: “It is better you have a surplus than having a shortfall. That is my opinion. Look at the number of people coming for the conference, they will be accommodated, they will eat, after which there will be a referendum and you cannot go back to ask for money to do all that. So it is better that enough fund be budgeted for the confer-

‘No-go area’ philosophy: Complete suppression of right to self-determination Observers of the Nigeria’s ethno- political landscape have canvassed that there was no basis for a national conference in Nigeria if there were areas precluded from discussions by government. Anyim had at press briefing to announce the modalities for the dialogue said that the unity of Nigeria, its indivisibility, were never subject of discussion at the conference. He had to unequivocally state government’s position on these issues, knowing fully that these were often areas of interest of various groups calling for national conference. What this means is that the yearning for self determination by some ethnic groups and nations in Nigeria will never get any consideration. There is no gain saying the fact that various ethnic groups and people who now form Nigeria never had hand in amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates by Lord Frederick Lugard in 1914 that gave rise to Nigeria. Records abound on series of agitation by several ethnic interests that they would prefer to go their own way and do their own things outside the Nigerian nation, but their agitations are often met with stiff resistance by the Nigerian government. The Igbo people after the 1967 failed secession attempt under Biafra, has continued to seek self determination. Analysts have argued that although some Igbos in government may not openly agree with such demands as pursued by the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MOSSOB, if by any means granted, it was also not true that such Igbo would prefer to remain in Nigeria. Apart from the Igbos, the Ijaws, Ogonnis, the Bakassi people, among others had

unnecessary –Gen. Buhari reflect briefly on what happened from the bye elections from 2011 to local government elections, to some states elections, especially Anambra State. Haven’t we collected enough experience and haven’t we expended enough resources to make sure that by now INEC can conduct credible elections at least in a state? This is giving us a lot of fears. If election is to be conducted for the whole country in 2015 and by the performance from 1999 to date, what has been happening in the fields, Nigerians have cause to get worried and the government will have no excuse if enough resources and security is not made available by the time of the next general elections. Perhaps you may wish to give us your take on the planned national conference? I have been consistently against the national conference. Firstly, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as I un-

derstand, gives room and the right to the National Assembly to initiate the change or the amendments of the constitution. Individual members, if their constituencies appeal to them, are to go and lobby other members to get the rest of the National Assembly to get what part of the constitution they want amended. Now can we afford N7 billion, which was not in the budget to be put for a national conference when there is an institution, the National Assembly, which is constitutionally empowered to do it? Do we have the resources, that luxury? And I am made to understand that there are some federal workers that didn’t get their salaries by Christmas last year. The government is saying we have N7 billion to throw around. Personally, I am not for the national conference. It is the duty of the National Assembly, it is in place and it is capable of doing it, let it do it and let us save resources for other things.

Buhari

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at one time or the other sought self determination. While some like Biafra have dragged Nigeria before the International Court of Justice, ICJ, to enforce their rights to self determination, others have variously declared their own republics, hoisted their flags and faced serious clamp down from the Federal Government. Having been ceded to Cameroun, the Bakassi people had opted neither to belong to Nigeria nor Cameroun, announcing the take off of their own republic but could not survive the heat from the Nigerian government. Analysts are of the opinion that this is the root of the Nigerian problem, stressing on the need to remove ‘no go areas’ from the conference and subject Nigeria to that acid test to see whether there would be basis for patriotism if the indivisibility and unity of Nigeria is voted for or against. It was believed that if allowed, there would be so many conditions given to continue as one, indicating that after 100 years of nationhood, the people may not still have had any reason to appreciate that amalgamation, thus making it the essence of any national conference in the country. Speaking in Abuja at a conference organised by the Ethnic Nationalities Movement, chairman of a socio-political group, The Patriots, Professor Ben Nwabueze, insisted that the right to self-determination must be subjected to a debate even as he criticised the Federal Government for side-tracking ethnic groups, which he described as the real stakeholders with the lowest number of representation.

Obasanjo’s 2005 Political Reform Conference The National Political Reform Conference, NPRC, inaugurated on February 21 and concluded on July 24, 2005, was an example of a non-sovereign national conference. Before its inauguration, there were scepticisms about its value and mission. After inauguration, there were fears of its possible break up. Established by then President Obasanjo, allegedly without legislative consent, its agenda included: reform of the political party system, electoral, judicial and legal reforms, civil society reforms, Police/Prison system reforms as well as Inter-governmental relations. Conversely, there were no-go areas or non-negotiable issues, which the Conference was ordered not to debate. The only no-go area was the indivisibility of the country. In other words, the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country was non-negotiable. It was expected that Nigeria would come out stronger through a frank and forthright dialogue over its problems. Unfortunately, this was to be done without negotiating the framework for our existence as a nation. After extensive deliberations and treating more than 700 memoranda submitted by Nigerians, the Justice Niki Tobi-led conference arrived at near unanimity on 187 recommendations out of 189 subjects decided upon. The conference was not exactly concluded due to a walk out by Niger Delta delegates after other participants refused CONTINUED ON PAGE 16


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INEC removes 107,470 multiple registrants from register ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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he Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said yesterday that no fewer than 104,470 multiple registrants had been removed from the Election Register to be used for the June 21 governorship in Ekiti State. INEC chairman, Profes-

sor Attahiru Jega, said that the commission would commence prosecution of multiple registrants in Ekiti State before the election date. Jega, who spoke at the Election Stakeholders’ Meeting in Ado Ekiti yesterday, allayed fears of bringing people from neighbouring states to register as voters in the continuous voter’s registration exercise billed for March 12 to 17

Women demonstration grounds commercial activities in Bauchi EZEKIEL TITUS BAUCHI

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housands of women yesterday staged a peaceful demonstration in Tafawa-Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State calling for the immediate release of seven youths arrested and detained since the 2011 general elections. The peaceful protest led to the grounding of commercial activities with several market and shops closed. The women, dressed in black apparel, blocked major roads early in the day, praying God for His intervention in the released of the detained youths. It would be recalled that

a Bauchi High Court had last week unconditionally released some youths arrested in the aftermath of the post 2011 elections violence and they have since joined their respective families. Leader of the group, who is the chairperson of the women wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Asabe Johnson, said that the aim of the peaceful rally was to offer prayers to God to intervene in the immediate release of the seven youths who have been in detention since 2011. Asabe added that their continued detention has forced their families into poverty with their children expelled from schools.

National confab: The intrigues, concerns CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

to accept the increase in revenue derived from the oil industry from its current 13 percent to 25 percent and later to 50 percent in the next 10 years.

Is three-month time frame enough? Critics have said that the March to May time frame for the conference, as announced by government was too short to discuss the affair of the nation. The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, for instance said that it was sceptical about the time frame, as the three months proposed by the government will not give room for robust deliberations. It noted n a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, that the solution to the nation’s problems does not lie with the national conference, even as it said it

would support the dialogue as long as it would help to ensure a united Nigeria. Also, Lagos-based lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, insisted that the three-month duration was not practicable, saying: “I do hope that the government, the state government and other interest groups are going to take cognisance of the interest of minority groups in the country. Not ethnic minorities’ alone. There are other minority groups in the country. People are economically disadvantaged and physically disabled. But you expect a conference where people are meeting themselves for the first time, who have had no previous discussions, to come together and within three months, 90 days, arrive at decisions by consensus. It is not practicable. It is not realisable and I do hope that this is the decision of the government.”

in state, saying the commission’s device would detect multiple registrants from any part of the country. Ekiti State which erstwhile had 764,726 voters now has 657,246 registered voters following the removal of multiple registrants from the election register. As part of its readiness for the Ekiti election, INEC said the permanent voters’ cards which would be used by voters in the state were ready for distribution and use by owners. Jega ordered the removal of campaign billboards

and posters in the state as they flouted provisions of the Electoral Act which allows such only 90 days before election date. Promising to make the Ekiti election the best to be conducted by INEC, Jega assured of improved logistics and security arrangement for the election, adding that only legitimate and constitutionally recognised security agencies in the country would be allowed on election duty. Jega appealed to the stakeholders: “Let us leave this hall with the commit-

ment to ensure that this election will be the best, the freest and the fairest election in the country.” The meeting had in attendance the leadership of various political parties, traditional rulers, security agencies and political groups. Describing as “spurious and unsubstantiated” allegations by some politicians that some INEC officials were compromising their positions ahead of the Ekiti governorship election and the 2015 general election, Jega said said: “If you have

any evidence about any of us being partisan with any political party, come out with it, but don’t distract us with your spurious and unsubstantiated allegations.

L-R: Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; National Secretary, All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Tijani Tumsah; and Former Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Bello Masari, during a courtesy visit of the party leaders to the Governor, in Ado-Ekiti yesterday.

APC registration exercise, a success –Pedro HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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he ongoing membership registration of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State has been described as a success, which went beyond expectation. The chairman of the registration committee in the state and former deputy governor of Lagos State, Mr Femi Pedro stated this

yesterday in Akure, the state capital while assessing the ten day registration exercise in the state. Pedro who commended the people of the state for their turn out during the exercise noted that all materials for the registration exercise was exhausted in less than 48 hours in all the 18 local government area of the state. He said: “We visited all the local government areas

across the three senatorial districts of the state and we noted that people trooped out in their numbers, willing to be part of the moving train.” He said the APC is gaining ground in the state and this is noticeable through the massive turn out of the people of the state for the registration saying the peaceful conduct of the exercise signifies the unity within the party which will

translates to victory in 2015. Pedro however disclosed that the congress of the party will commence in all the states across the country in March while the national convention will hold on April 26. He enjoined all and sundry to join APC which he said was a winning party saying this will help to salvage the country from the current bad leadership in the state and the nation as a whole.

Osun crisis: Tinubu in close door meeting with govt, CAN representatives

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he seeming cold war between the flagship Christian body, Christian Association of Nigeria , CAN, Osun State chapter yesterday brought the national leadership of All Progressives Congress, APC, to the state, to meet officials of the body and representatives of government. Led by the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu, leaders of the ruling party in the state, met

the state CAN officials behind close door for several hours on the controversies that has dogged wearing of hijab in schools established by the missionaries. Though the outcome of the meeting could not be obtained when filing this report, speaking with newsmen after the meeting held in Osun Government House, Okefia, Osogbo, the APC national leader, Senator Tinubu said leaders of the party were in the state

to ensure that the issue relating to education of young ones in the state is not allowed to cause misunderstanding between government and CAN. His words: “We are here to let people understand that issue of education of our children should not be allowed to cause problems. There should not be problem at all because welfare of our children is involved and that is what we stand for.” Senator Tinubu added

that “as parents, we must display leadership. Therefore, our faith should equally guide us as to put things right in other to avert crisis in our educational programme in Osun State”. On the proposed National Conference, Tinubu said apart from being ill-timed, the conference was also a ploy by the President to divert attention of Nigerians from issues that affect them as another election year comes in.


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

17

Of politicians, survivalism and sagacity EXISTENTIAL HUMANISM

FRY

NDUBUISI Professor Ndubuisi is of the Dept of Philosophy, UNILAG fryndubuisi@nationalmirroronline.net (08023016709 SMS only)

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he Nigeria political scene has become more perplexing as we approach another election year. Our politicians are out to outplay and outwit each other, and hoodwink the electorate that are less sophisticated to engage in proper exegesis of issues at stake. What is common among our political actors is the Machiavellian dictum that the end justifies the means. We the bystanders are watching and clapping, hailing and celebrating the supposed adumbrates and custodians of our destiny as they perfect their intrigues. And deceit. How else can we appreciate the deluge of political defections ongoing in the polity and the multitude of reasons given for this? Earlier, the All Progressives Congress (APC) welcomed with fanfare the five rebel PDP governors; this was followed by the defection of 37 members of the House of Representatives from the same party; 11 senators also from PDP have signaled their readiness to follow

suit. Not to be outdone, the PDP celebrated a big catch in the persons of Attahiru Bafarawa and Ibrahim Shekarau, former governors of Sokoto and Kano respectively. The defection of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the APC appears the biggest blow to the ruling party. Reactions to the development have been mixed. For the PDP, the defection of Atiku is a political voyage from which he would return to beg again for readmission. Rationalising his decision to quit the PDP, Atiku deposed that the party made it impossible for him to realise his ambition to be on the driving seat to lift Nigerians, adding that nobody, no matter how rich or powerful, can bring about the needed change in the country without being in government. He lamented the magnitude of poor governance in the country, which he said accounted for its low level of development and mass poverty of the people. There is freedom of association in the country, including joining a political party or defecting from it. It was in this spirit that a chieftain of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, stated that those that have defected from his party or have joined it from other parties have the right to do so. Reacting specifically to the defection of Shekarau and Bafarawa, he reasoned that once the ideals championed by a political party are not accepted to a member he has a right to defect. He said Atiku has learnt from history, which was why he acted

THERE ARE ETHICAL ISSUES INVOLVED IN

POLITICIANS’ EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT TO BELONG TO POLITICAL PARTIES AND RIGHT TO DEFECT WHEN NECESSARY swiftly. Meanwhile, the ruling party has been battling to put its house in order. Its new national chairman , Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, recently revealed that the party was being remodeled to the status of African National Congress of South Africa, stressing that the leaders of the party must project and promote the virtues of grassroots politics and internal democracy. He has ruled out the imposition of candidates in the forthcoming primaries of his party. I dare say that there are ethical issues involved in politicians’ exercise of the right to belong to political parties and right to defect when necessary. If the defection is based on principles and propelled by the higher urge to serve, then it is worth being talked about. Contrary to the reasons being bandied by defectors, self serving personal interests are paramount to the decision to defect. Politics has come

to be seen as the most lucrative business in the country, and so nobody wants to be sidelined. We must be bothered about defections that are informed by personal or group ambitions. At the centre there is only one presidential position, just as we have only one governorship position at the state level. Because of the enormity of powers wielded at the centre and the immense privileges the governors enjoy, every notable Nigerian wants to see himself either as a president or governor. In all these, the masses are left in the limbo. Atiku has every right to defect to any party of his choice. That he eventually left was expected. He had complained earlier of being marginalized. He said he was left out of several crucial meetings of the party in spite of his position and status. But what is difficult to understand is his insistence that he had not had platform to impact on people’s lives while in his former party. He was briefly a governor, a vice president for eight years. If he couldn’t affect the lives of average Nigerians in these exalted positions, then one may be skeptical and cynical about his new agenda. The great socio-political lesson in the political defection is the absence of principles among out politicians and political parties. There is a wide difference between touting a slogan and being faithful to it. Our political scene may take some time to mature if we continue with this voyage of trial and errors.

National confab: A case for traditional worshippers

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t was with utmost pleasure I welcomed the news that the traditional worshipers in Nigeria had protested against their exclusion from the forthcoming national conference. It was reported that a former Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Wande Abimbola and the National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples’ Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, were among the notable voices that made strident call on the Federal Government to promptly rectify this anomalous exclusion. Furthermore, the president of International Council for Ifa Religion and Dean, School of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof Idowu Odeyemi, anchored the press conference that sensitised Nigerians to their cause. Odeyemi, who claimed to have obtained the consent of Abimbola and over 200,000 practitioners of ATR in Nigeria, called on government to promptly allocate at least three slots to the practitioners of African religion. It was obvious the exclusion of traditional worshippers was an emanation of our discriminatory mentality against the traditional religion. To say such discrimination is not only unfair but also baseless is stating the obvious. It was the traditional religion that spawned the Yoruba concept of “Omoluabi”, which is one of the strongest behavioural social ethics in the world. To call somebody “Omoluabi” in Yoruba land in those days was the pinnacle of positive ethical ascription; it means the person was an embodiment of moral perfection. On the contrary, people swear today with the both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran

IT WAS OBVIOUS THE EXCLUSION OF TRADITIONAL WORSHIPPERS WAS AN EMANATION OF OUR DISCRIMINATORY MENTALITY AGAINST THE TRADITIONAL RELIGION and still tell lies glibly. Anybody who is well-acquainted with proceedings in our courts of law would attest to the fact that many witnesses have been caught lying on such oaths! Moreover, most of the politicians who are stealing our money without compunction are adherents of the two modern and enlightened faiths of Christianity and Islam. Conversely, when the traditional faiths held sway in Yoruba land, for instance, sellers would leave their merchandise on the roads and signify the price and unit for sale with coded language conveyed by pieces of stick or even cowries (which was a legal tender then). Prospective buyers, who were the adherents of Ogun, Sango, Oya, Obatala, etc, would be so conscientious and Godfearing that they would appropriate the correct quantity of goods for the indicated price, and dutifully placed the money by the bulk of the goods. Entire stocks of goods had been known to be sold in absentia like this by the sellers who would only return to

start counting the mound of money! That is a virtue of commercial honesty exhibited by the so-called people of primitive religions. To me, my enemy is not the worshipper who anoints his sigidi with palm oil in the corner of his room and directs his benedictions to Olodumare through the agency of Obatala. My enemy is not the woman who consults Ifa oracle for divine guidance before starting any new project, rather my enemy is the pastor who is entrusted with public office who mismanages it for self aggrandisement; my enemy is the Imam who loots the public treasury dry! I am a Christian, though a skeptical one, who queries every doctrine that I am uncomfortable with. May be my pastor would excommunicate me this time around for daring to speak up in favour of these “heathen” traditionalists. Why should a son of light be the advocate of “people of darkness?” But the principle of fairness, equity and fair play embedded in the more sophisticated and popular religions also imply that those belonging to other faiths should be treated fairly. The 1999 Constitution states that Nigeria shall not adopt any religion as state’s religion. Furthermore, the constitution forbids all kinds of discrimination on the basis of religion et al. The interpretation of these is to the effect that all religions including the traditional one should be treated fairly, impartially, equitably and respectably. It is therefore, very difficult to justify our government’s persistent failure or conspiratorial refusal to recognise the traditional religion. In the instant case, six “Muslim”

CRITICAL STROKES

KAYODE

KETEFE

kketefe@nationalmirroronline.net 08032147720 (SMS only)

leaders and six “Christian” leaders, (each representing each of the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria), are already conference delegates with no single slot given to adherents of the traditional faith. Whether we like it or not, the traditional religionists are also stakeholders in the Nigerian project and their views also matter if we are really contemplating a genuine national conference that would give birth to a people’s constitution. Nigeria belongs to all of us. Happily, this anomaly can still be corrected, but what is more important is for us to officially imbibe the permanent policy of all-inclusiveness in our treatment of religious stakeholders. We cannot call ourselves truly civilised if we are intolerant of the views of others different from us in their religious, political, or ideological convictions. Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


18

Editorial

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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RIGHTEOUSNESS...!

Doctors and new malaria treatment policy

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ith many doctors nationwide still flouting the new malaria policy by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMH), Nigeria’s drive to arrest the prevalent malaria scourge might not after all achieve the desired objective. The new policy emphasizes appropriate laboratory tests before administering treatment. A recent report said two factors were mainly responsible for doctors’ noncompliance with the policy namely, their materialistic instincts, which make them place more premium on personal gains than effective treatment, and the logistics involved in the tests. But none of the two factors seems strong enough to warrant a variation of the policy or its outright disregard. In any case, the policy requirements of the FMH on diagnostic tests are the benchmarks introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO), whose concern on tackling the global malaria scourge, especially in Africa, made it come up with far-reaching recommendations, one of which is early and accurate diagnosis, all of which are essential for effective disease management and surveillance. In WHO’s estimation, high-quality malaria diagnosis is important in all settings as the contrary could result in significant morbidity and mortality rates. Consequently, WHO recommended prompt diagnosis either by micros-

copy or malaria rapid diagnostic test (RDT) in all patients suspected of suffering from malaria, before treatment is administered. Perhaps more importantly too, WHO acknowledges that diagnostic testing improves the management of all patients with febrile illnesses, and may also help to reduce the emergence and spread of drug resistance by reserving anti-malarials for those who actually have the disease condition. Paradoxically, however, while WHO is reportedly recording commendable progress in diagnostic testing and malaria treatment in other countries, Nigeria, where malaria is very endemic, is undermining the positive strides with the care-free attitude of many of her health professionals. Available records say, for example, that there are over 100 million people at risk of malaria in Nigeria every year; with the resultant economic loss put at N132 billion. The very serious health challenge this poses is seen in the fact that malaria accounts for about 63 percent of all visits to public health facilities; 30 percent of hospital admissions; 29 percent of childhood death; 25 percent of infant mortality and 11 percent of maternal mortality in the country. According to WHO’s 2013 report on malaria, the numbers of RDTs and ACTs are increasing, as is the reported rate of diagnostic testing

VARIOUS TIERS OF GOVERNMENTS IN THE COUNTRY SHOULD AT LEAST CARRY PART OF THE BURDEN OF TREATMENT OF MALARIA PATIENTS in the public sector in the Africa, which increased from 37 percent in 2010 to 61 percent in 2012. As a result, there has been a decrease in the number of suspected malaria cases treated presumptively with anti-malaria drugs. However, millions of people with suspected malaria still do not receive any diagnostic test, while many people with confirmed cases do not receive appropriate treatment with quality-assured antimalarial medicines. But WHO believes that the right implementation of universal diagnostic testing in the public and private sectors would substantially reduce the global requirements for antimalarial treatment. As at 2012, for example, 41 of 44 countries with ongoing malaria transmission in Africa and 49 of 55 countries in other regions had reportedly adopted the policy of providing parasitological diagnosis for all age groups. This represents an increase of six countries in Africa

ON THIS DAY

February 13, 2004

February 13, 2008

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond, ‘white dwarf star BPM 37093’. Astronomers named this star “Lucy” after The Beatles’ song: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. A white dwarf, also called a degenerate dwarf, is a stellar remnant composed mostly of electron-degenerate matter. They are very dense.

Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, made a historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the ‘Stolen Generations’. The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments.

since 2009. Malaria diagnostic testing is provided free of charge in the public sector in 85 countries around the world. From 2010 to 2012, the proportion of suspected malaria cases receiving diagnostic tests in the public sector increased from 37 percent to 61 percent in Africa; and from 44 percent to 64 percent globally. Most of the increase in testing in the continent is attributable to the increased use of RDTs, which accounted for 40 percent of all cases tested in the region in 2012. The number of patients tested by microscopic examination increased to peak at 188 million in 2012, with India accounting for over 120 million blood-slide examinations. Going by the prevailing compromise of the WHO policy prescription of ‘Test, Treat, Track’ on malaria by many Nigerian doctors, among other health professionals, it would seem the country is not prepared as yet to wage a serious war against malaria, even when many other parts of the world have won the battle. This is sad! Therefore, the relevant authorities and all stakeholders in the nation’s healthcare delivery system should demonstrate greater commitment to combating the ailment. The best bet for them is to insist on what is best for the country. The stakes are very high. Various tiers of governments in the country should at least carry part of the burden of treatment of malaria patients.

February 12, 2012 The European Space Agency (ESA) conducted the first launch of the European Vega rocket from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Vega (Vettore Europeo di Generazione Avanzata or Advanced Generation European Carrier Rocket) is an expendable launch system in use by Arianespace jointly developed by the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. Its development began in 1998.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

IN CONJUNCTION WITH

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

19

Education Today

AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI (ABUAD)

A prestigious university in Africa with a visionary founder and leader - Dr. Lalla Ben Barka, Assist. D.G UNESCO, Paris

ABU mourns two lecturers killed in auto crash ‘Vacuum left behind will be difficult to fill’

The nation’s university community is again thrown into mourning following the death of two senior lecturers and one post graduate student of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in an auto crash last Friday. Our correspondent in Kaduna, AZA MSUE who visited the university captured the sad mood the incident has thrown members of the university community and sympathisers.

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t was an atmosphere laden with emotion. On the faces of people were evidence of sorrow and pains, and some could not even hold back tears. They were mourning their loved ones who were killed in a motor accident four days earlier. Prof. Samuel Kafewo from Kogi State and Dr. Martins Adegba both of the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts as well as a postgraduate student of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria were killed last Friday in a motor accident at Jere town along the AbujaKaduna Expressway. They were coming back to Zaria from Abuja where they had official engagement earlier on the day when the incident took place. Another lecturer from the same department was lucky to survive the accident but he is now receiving treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja. When National Mirror visited the university on Monday, students, lecturers and other sympathisers were in groups discussing the incident, which they described as unfortunate. They also recounted the last moments they had together with the deceased. Some of them, especially the final year Theatre and Performing Arts students, told National Mirror that the two lecturers were their supervisors and were still not done with them before they died. They said the two dons were not only caring and loving but were also very committed and focus. The students however, stressed that even though they could not query God why He allowed them to be taken away

Ayegba

suddenly, the development had started creating vacuum that would be very difficult to fill. One of them, Fwangkes Kenret in his tribute to the professor said, “My HOD, my supervisor, you are gone too soon. I found it unbelievable that you have gone. But the reality is that you are no more and this is very painful to me personally. Who will now stand to defend my project work? I know that no amount of tears can bring you back. Yet, I have cried and cried, but I just have to let go. Prof, sleep on.” A social media friend of the deceased professor, Abdullahi Yunusa who was at the scene to pay his last respect said: “Dear Prof. Sam, though our paths never met physically during your lifetime, we did exchange regular notes on literary lines via the social media. The news of your death has left me heartsick. The outpouring of emotions and testimonies since your untimely exit has really shown your kind of person. May your soul finds eternal rest in God’s bosom and grant your family the fortitude to pull through this trying period.”

Kafewo

THE OUTPOURING OF EMOTIONS AND TESTIMONIES SINCE YOUR UNTIMELY EXIT HAS REALLY SHOWN YOUR KIND OF PERSONS Similarly, another final year student, Adewonuola Bankole poured encomium on the late Martins, saying “My dear supervisor, rest in peace. If only the pain in our hearts can bring you back to life, Oga Martins, I am very sure you will be alive again; the little I know about you is your kindness!” Lorna Nayina is also a student of the institution. He has this to say of the late Martins. “Doc Martins, as I used to call you! We just spoke and you were appreciating me over and over again! But I did not know that would be the end together. It was sad to hear that you had died three hours after. We love you, but Jesus loves

u more. Adieu Sir!” Some of the colleagues to the late dons expressed surprise at the development. They described their death as a loss not only to their families and the university community, but also to the education sector in general. The branch Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Kabir Aliyu said the deceased were committed academics and colleagues who worked hard to improve the standard of learning in the university. He explained that the duo and the postgraduate student as well the injured colleague had all gone for a programme aimed at improving their department. “But we didn’t know some of them would never return alive. It is very painful. While we pray for the repose of the soul of those that died, we wish those injured quick recovery,” he said. Also the institution’s Director of Information, Dr. Ismaila Shehu, who described the incident as shocking and unbelievable, said the university was still in shock over the incident.


20

Education Today

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

UK education fair holds in Abuja, Lagos

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L-R: Director, Co-curricular activities, Basic Education Services, Ministry of Education, Lagos State, Mrs. Babs Akinyeye; Head of unit, Schools’ Clubs, Mrs. Taiwo Agagu and Assistant Director, Basic Education Services, Mr. Babatunde Omibeku during the training of students for this year’s state schools’ debate on Tuesday.

No room for illegal schools in Lagos -Commissioner

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he Lagos State government has vowed not to spare any private school in the state that is contravening the guidelines on the establishment and operations of private schools in the State The state Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye stated this in a release following the recent closing down of three private schools that were illegally operating in the state. She said government would

not hesitate to close down any illegal school in order to maintain standard in the state. On the schools that were shut, the commissioner listed them to include Honesty Private School, Surulere; Heibenah Montessori Schools, Ijeshatedo and Elyon Ambassador Private School, Oshodi. She said the schools were operating in residential/converted structures wherein some shops were attached to the building in question without provision for special rooms and

other required facilities. She noted that two of the affected schools did not provide required records upon demands from officials of the state Ministry of Education while the third one provided records that were not updated. Oladunjoye pointed out that the building of one of the schools, Honesty Private School, is almost half sunk with visible large cracks on the walls while a container was also used as a classroom for Primary III pupils, a situation that

We won’t call off strike - COEASU TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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he Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has vowed to continue with its ongoing nationwide strike until the Federal Government meet its demands. The strike has entered seventh weeks today.

The union took the decision according to its leadership because the Federal Government has not taken any concrete step to answer its prayers. Arising from its recent National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo, the union said all its discussions with the Federal Government since the commence-

Deputy Governor, Zannah Mustapha (3rd left) with some top government officials on an unscheduled visit to Yawulari Primary and Islamic School, Biu Local Government, last Sunday. PHOTO: INUSA NDAHI

not only endanger the lives of students at the school but could apparently impact negatively on them during harsh weather. She noted that the affected schools were advised to relocate to suitable places long before they were sealed-up by the officials of the ministry. She advised private schools operators to always abide with the rules and regulations guiding the establishment and operation of schools in the state so as to guarantee standards in the sector.

ment of the indefinite strike on December 18 had failed to yield positive results. Outside the national officers of the union, 53 chapters’ chairmen and secretaries of the union nationwide also attended the meeting. Accusing the Federal Government of insincerity over the whole issue, the union urged it to desist from playing politics with education, which it describes as bedrock for development. It will be recalled that since September 13, 2013 when the union declared oneweek warning strike, COEASU had been making certain demands from the Federal Government, failure of which led to the ongoing strike. These demands include the migration of lower cadre officers from Lecturer I to Assistant Lecturer; the release of the White Paper on the 2012 Visitation Panel conducted on the federal colleges of education, the attempted imposition of strange policy on payroll system, the need for the conduct of the Needs Assessment in all colleges of education and the harmonisation of the conditions of service of lecturers to stem brain drain, among others.

ll is set by the British Council, a charitable arm of the UK government to hold this year’s education fair in Nigeria. No fewer than 50 institutions ranging from secondary schools to universities from the country are expected to participate in the annual fair scheduled for Lagos and Abuja. It is 11th in the series. While Abuja version will take place on February 19, Lagos will play host to the fair between February 21 and 22. A release by the council’s Communications and Marketing Manager, Mr. Desmond Omovie said the exhibition would serve as a good platform for Nigerian youths who want to study in the UK to meet with representatives of schools from the country. He added that they would also have the opportunity of getting direct advice on various opportunities available to them if they study in the UK. The UK education system according to him has evolved to meet the challenges of the 21st Century as it is built on a tradition of innovation that encourages independently minded people to learn not just what to think, but how to think.

Kogi restates commitment to adequate funding of primary education WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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ogi State government has restated its commitment to provide adequate funding to reposition the primary education in the state. The state governor, Capt. Idris Wada (rtd) who stated this in a chat with journalists in Lokoja, the state capital during the second anniversary of his administration last week, said the idea was to further boost the subsector by providing children with solid educational foundation. He said that was why the state had to earmark a sum of N700 million out of the total N6. 057 billion budgeted for education under the current fiscal year for the development of the subsector. Wada added that additional N2 million had been set aside for renovation of some of the dilapidated infrastructures in both primary and secondary schools across the state. Describing education as the bedrock of sustainable development, the governor promised that his administration would continue to give education development topmost priority in its transformation agenda.

Wada


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US Consulate calls for Fulbright entries on Yoruba teaching

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he Public Affairs Section of the United States of America Consulate General in Lagos is calling for applications for its Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) programme in Yoruba language for the 2015/2016 academic year. The FLTA programme which is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York is a 9-month non-degree programme funded by the US Department of State in Washington DC. A release said the programme was to offer young foreign teachers who major in English Language, English Education or Linguistics an opportunity to teach Yoruba language and culture to students in American universities and colleges. The programme also gives an opportunity for participants to refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency and extend their knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States by engaging in non-degree studies while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at the US colleges and universities. The FLTA grant covers the grantee’s round trip airfare to the US, a settlingin allowance, monthly stipend, housing allowance, health insurance, and tuition scholarship for their coursework. Provisions will also be made for participants to attend a Fulbright FLTA summer orientation in the country prior to the commencement of their programme. During the FLTA programme, fellows are invited to participate in special Fulbright enrichment seminar and conference for professional development and networking opportunity. But the grant according to the release does not cover travel of family members, thus successful applicants will not be allowed to travel with spouse and children or relatives to the US even at their own expense. Application is to be completed online by logging onto https://apply.embark. com/student/fulbright/filta/27/ through e-mail address and personal password to be used throughout the process.

Ibadan school celebrates 53rd anniversary

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he Methodist High School, Ibadan, Oyo State will celebrates its 53rd anniversary today at the new school hall by 10:00am. The National President of the school alumni association, Dr. Fadeyemi Akinrinmade said the event would feature the re-launch of the new school hall which is under conduction. The event will also showcase a brief get- together, where alumni are expected to fine tune possible ways to the lost glory of the school.

Education Today

Thursday, February 13, 2014

FUTA lecture reveals benefits, harmful effects of Moringa STORIES: TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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oubts and myths surrounding the use of Moringa tree and leaf were demystified at a public lecture recently held at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). The lecture organised by the university’s Centre for Research and Development (CERAD) with the topic: “Uses and potentials of Moringa products for health improvement and wealth creation” was delivered by a former staff of the university and National Secretary, Moringa Development Association of Nigeria (MDAN), John Tolani. While revealing that Moringa tree has many health benefits such as curing of multiple diseases affecting both human beings and the animals, the lecturer noted that there were also some side effects of the wonder tree. According to him, Moringa tree is endowed with chemicals that can help fight or neutralise diseases in the body as its consumption provides heavy concentration and combination of nutrients that the body needs daily to be healthy. “Moringa also eliminate toxin which is pollutant substance from the body,” he added. Tolani however, warned that the root bark (outermost layer) is known to be toxic and may be harmful for human consump-

Tolani

tion. He revealed that feedbacks from a few users have indicated diarrhea, hypertension and mouth and throat sores as some of its possible side effects. Tolani specifically cautioned children and pregnant and lactating women not to use the plant and its product without appropriate guidance by health experts. He warned that people should be wary of the source when buying processed Moringa products because of possible adulteration and contamination. Speaking on wealth creation potential of the tree, the guest lecturer confirmed that Moringa is a powerful tool in the hands of whoever wants to create businesses and has

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high return on investment. According to him, if the best agronomic, processing and marketing practices are adopted, the inputoutput ratio is substantial. This implies that an investment of N1 may yield up to N3.5 and this is achievable within 18 to 24 months in case of leaf powder and tea production. In his remark, the Vice-Chancellor of FUTA, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola represented by his deputy in charge of development, Prof. Tolulope Akinbogun affirmed the importance of being in good health for optimal performance and productivity. According to him, there is no doubt that the well-being of man today is being threatened by what and how he eats and since unhealthy person or nation cannot be maximally productive, there is need for people to be sentised and educated on how to remain healthy. Earlier in his address, the Director, CERAD, Prof. T. I. Ofuya commended the university’s management for its continuous support to his centre in its activities. He said the series of seminars and lectures organised by the centre had helped tremendously in educating students of the institution as well as the public on the way to create wealth now and in future. He pledged that the centre would partner relevant institutions including Tolani’s MDAN to further deepen research works on Moringa for the benefits of users. Other high profile academicians at the event included the Vice-Chancellor of Wesley University of Science and Technology, Ondo (WUSTO), Prof. Tola Badejo; the CERAD’s Board Chairman, Prof. Femi Ajibola, among others.

Ekiti spends N12.7m on adult education, JAMB forms

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he distribution of scratch cards for the procurement of this year’s Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) forms by Ekiti State government has brightened the hope of no fewer than 2,500 students with academic requirement for admission into higher institutions. Beneficiaries are out-ofschool youths and repeaters, who were registered by the Agency for Adult and Non-formal Education (AANFE) – an agency of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology – to retake the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE) supervised by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO). The state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who inaugurated the distribution of the free JAMB e-registration scratch cards at Olaoluwa Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti on Monday, said the gesture would assist students with credit pass in six subjects including Mathematics and English Language pursue a course of study in either the varsities, polytechnics or colleges of education. Besides, the governor said it

Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Prof. Modupe Adelabu (left) presenting the 2014 JAMB/UTME syllabus and other materials to Miss Oluwatomiwa Mercy at Aramoko-Ekiti on Monday

would also help to take the financial burden off the shoulders of the parents and guardians of the beneficiaries. Represented by his deputy, Prof. Modupe Adelabu, the governor described the programmes as a demonstration of his administration’s determination to ensure equal opportunity and education for all and for Ekiti to keep its record as the state with the least number of out-ofschool children in the country. He restated that his administration would not in any way toy with the development and train-

ing of youths, who he described as the future of the state. The governor enjoined beneficiaries to gainfully utilise the opportunity of the free JAMB/ UTME registration to secure admission into any of the tertiary institutions within and outside the country. In his remarks, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Mr. Kehinde Ojo said the programme had offered hardworking youths a second chance to attain their dreams of pursuing higher educational qualification.

Going down the memory lane, the commissioner said 72 per cent of the 1, 910 applicants scored above 180 in the 2012 JAMB exam while 75 per cent out of the 2, 100 applicants scored above the 180 cut off mark last year. The commissioner, who expressed the hope that the 2, 500 applicants seeking admission this year would record above 90 per cent, urged all stakeholders including teachers and parents to closely monitor and guide the beneficiaries to success so that government’s investment on them would not be a waste. Also speaking, AANFE’s Chairman Chief David Adeyanju said the agency had kept faith with its mandate since it was established in 1996. He listed such mandates to include among others; the creation of awareness on the importance of literacy among the citizens and the provision of functional literacy and remedial education for the out-ofschool youths in Ekiti State. He however, thanked Governor Fayemi for his support for the agency in the past three years, saying government has so far spent about N12.7 million on the programme and the management of remedial schools.


Education Today

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Murtala Mohammed, Abacha alma mater to revert to boarding OTHMAN SALIHU KANO

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A cross section of new students of Crawford University during their matriculating ceremony.

Crawford varsity warns fresh students against indiscipline Makes church attendance mandatory

TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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he Vice-Chancellor, Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State, Prof. Samson Ayanlaja has warned the newly admitted students of the institution not to indulge in any act of indiscipline. The students were 203 in all. He said the university was very firm at maintaining discipline among its students and other members of the university community. The vice-chancellor, who gave the warning at the 9th matriculation ceremony of the university last weekend, also disclosed that attendance at church services including Sunday school was compulsorily for every student of the institution. He warned that failure by any student not to attend these services could lead to suspension. According to him, Crawford University is founded on Christian principles and values. Its emphasis is on the training of devout and well-grounded leaders, entrepreneurs, industrialists and other profes-

sionals who would meet the challenges of this time and serve as agents of change in the society. “So, every student is expected to uphold the tenets of faith of Apostolic Faith routed on honesty, integrity and the fear of God and that is why it is compulsory for all students to attend church services as stipulated in the time table. “The university believes that hearing God’s words constantly will give the students enabling power to resist peer pressure and bad behaviour. So, you must be in church every Sunday by 8.50am for Sunday school and be seated five minutes before the commencement of evening service. God gives wisdom, success and promotion and you need Him more than anything else. Therefore there is no condition for you to be in hostel during church service,” he stressed. On indiscipline, the vice-chancellor said no student should indulge in examination malpractice, indecent dressing, stealing, among other vices. But he urged them to make judicious use of the facilities on campus to achieve

their dreams as students of the university. He pointed out that the university had over the years developed academic programmes and facilities comparable to those in the developed countries of the world. “So, you are expected to make proper use of both materials and human resources at your disposal to your own advantage,” he advised. Speaking further, he said: “You are advised to obey the rules and regulations of this university which include shunning of vices so as not to tarnish your family names and good image of this university. The university does not compromise on standard. “Ensure you inculcate the habit of using the library and you must ensure your cumulative gradient point average (CGPA) is not below 1.0 so as not to be withdrawn from the university on academic ground.” The vice-chancellor promised that the university would also provide all the necessary things that would make their studia at worthwhile experience.

Obasanjo, Jega, others for AANI public lecture

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ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Aloma Mukhtar, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, are among the high profile personalities expected at the inaugural lecture organised by the Lagos chapter of the Alumni Association of the National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, (AANI). The lecture scheduled for

Obasanjo

Tuesday March 11 at Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos will be chaired by Obasanjo. It is themed: “Building cred-

ible electoral process for democratic sustainability.” A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay is expected as the lead speaker, while other eminent Nigerians like the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega; Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and Mr. Fola Adeola, are among the discussants at the event. AANI was formed in response to the need for govern-

ment and the Nigerian society to constantly tap from the rich mix of high-level manpower nurtured at the 35-year-old National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. According to the Chairman of AANI, Lagos, Mr. Victor Banjo, due to the general public concern, AANI feels duty bound to work with other Nigerians to draw attention to the issues and create a forum for public discourse which should lead to solutions borne out of our collective experience and desire.

he first high school in Kano, established in 1927, Rumfa College which has produced two Heads of State, late Generals Murtala Mohammed and Sani Abacha is planning to revert to a boarding school. The National President of Rumfa Old Boys Association, RUMFOBA, Alhaji Nu’uman Barau Danbatta revealed in an interview with our correspondent in Kano on Tuesday. Danbatta, who is Chairman of Unity Bank Plc and a retired Federal Permanent Secretary disclosed that of all the first general schools in the Northern region and other parts of the country, including Barewa College, Zaria, Bida College and Kings College, Lagos, only Rumfa College do not operate a boarding school. According to him, the association was making concerted effort in collaboration with the school management and support of the Kano State Government, to re-introduce boarding facilities in the school. Danbatta further disclosed that because government alone cannot spearhead educational problems, there was the need for individuals and corporate organisations to contribute to the development of the sector. He explained that as someone who has been in the system as a former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, he noticed the dearth of qualified teachers in the core subjects.

Army conducts promotional exams for officers JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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he promotion examination that will enable officers of the rank of Lieutenant to move to the next rank of Captain is being conducted by the Nigerian Army. The Lieutenant-Captain Practical Promotion Examination (LCPP) which began last Sunday will end tomorrow. About 248 candidates, all male drawn from various army formations across the country are participating in the exam. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division, Major-General John Nwaoga who spoke with journalists at the Division’s headquarters in Jos shortly after addressing the candidates described the examination as crucial in the ongoing efforts by the new Chief of Army to put the officers on both physical and mental alertness for greater effectiveness. The Acting Commander, Training and Doctrine (TRADO) Mina, Brigadier-General Aaron Danpome who is also the Examination President charged the officers to take the examination with the seriousness it deserves.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Education Today

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Incompetent teachers: A nation’s burden E

do teachers kick against competency test”. This is a news items in the Friday, February 7, 2014 edition of the National Mirror. This was the response of the Edo teachers under the aegis of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Edo State chapter to the plan by the state government to commence a competency test of all teachers in the state beginning February 8, 2014. The chairman of the state NUT chapter, Mr. Mike Uhunwangho said teachers were unanimously rejecting the attempt by the Edo State government to subject them to a fresh competency test on the grounds that they have spent years in the profession! The position taken by the Edo State teachers and their umbrella teachers union is not new. A similar scenario played out in Ekiti State in 2012 following Governor Kayode Fayemi’s attempt to administer a competency test on teachers in the state as a first step towards reversing the downward slide in the educational system in the state. The NUT has frustrated attempts of several state governments to screen their teachers. It is simply obeying the first law of nature-self preservation! All you need to do is look back at what happened in Kwara and Kaduna States some years earlier. The result of the Kwara State experiment was shocking but extremely revealing. Only 75 of the

Education as I see it

by Tosanwumi Otokunefor

info@alphaedufoundation.org 08030904461 (email/SMS only)

WHEN TEACHERS ARE INCOMPETENT, NO AMOUNT OF INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT WOULD PRODUCE THE HIGH CALIBRE MANPOWER REQUIRED TO POWER OUR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTAL GOALS 19,000 teachers scored the pass mark in a test designed to assess the competence and proficiency of primary four pupils in literacy and numeracy! A similar trend was replicated in the Kaduna State experiment. There is therefore no doubt that teachers in Nigerian primary schools, the foundation of the Nigerian education system are largely incompetent. According to Mr. Obong Obong, the Secretary-General of NUT, the majority of the teachers that have been declared incompetent in these exercises have been professionally certified and duly registered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) thus revealing the shortcomings of the teacher’s registration pro-

cess. They are graduates of the various teachers training institutions of the nation including the teachers training colleges and universities. These same teachers had previously obtained credits in the relevant subjects in the Senior School Certificate Examination and other prequalification examinations. But now, the majority cannot pass a primary four level assessment test! That most of our public primary school leavers cannot read and write is no longer a secret. We should now probably understand why the majority of our secondary school leavers fail to obtain the relevant credits in five subjects including English language and Mathematics in the SSCE.

In the same vein, it should no longer be surprising that examination malpractice has continued to flourish without hindrance. Our teachers are grossly deficient! But placing the blame solely on the teachers would probably be wrong too! Most of the teachers in service were hired because of their association with government officials notwithstanding their incompetence. The teachers training colleges and universities that previously found them worthy in character and in learning have a major share in the responsibility of the saga of incompetent teachers in the service. The National Universities Commission and the National Teachers Board that regulate the operation of these institutions and provide assurance of their standard also have their share of the blame for incompetent teachers in the nation’s basic educational institutions. The TRCN that affirm their certificates cannot escape blame either. But beyond the blame game, the nation must resolve the problem of incompetence among teachers in service. NUT must not be allowed to continue to provide a sanctuary for those that are destroying the very foundation of the nation. When teachers are incompetent, no amount of infrastructural development would produce the high caliber manpower required to

power our national developmental goals. Presently, there is no alternative to the teacher’s competency test used to assess the quality of teachers in our basic educational institutions. However, additional tests may be administered on the pupils and students to provide additional information on the effectiveness of the teaching and learning processes. A state of emergency should be declared by the Federal Government and a meeting of the commissioners of education and other educational stakeholders should be immediately convened by the minister of education to discuss the modalities for resolving the problem. First, the competency tests currently conducted by some states should be adopted as a national policy. Secondly, the teachers training colleges and the universities must be repositioned to provide adequate instructions to prospective teachers in order to improve the competency of their successors on the job. A Nigerian Teachers Certification Council (NTCC) that would ascertain the quality of the products of the teachers training institutions, distinct from the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), should be established immediately. Finally, the teaching profession should be made more attractive in order to attract candidates with higher intelligence into the profession.

School proprietors commended on quality TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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he Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga has commended owners of private schools for their strong contributions towards the development of education in the state. He said the private schools were really filling the gap in making quality education accessible to the people where government could not reach. He gave the commendation when he paid a courtesy visit to Uncle Bayus Private School, Ikorodu last week. The governor’s aide described private schools as indispensable partners to the government in the business of education at all levels. He particularly applaud-

ed the proprietor of Uncle Bayus Private School, Hon. Adebayo Iduwo and members of staff on their commitment and focus to raise the standard of education at the secondary school level. “I am highly impressed by the high standard of infrastructures and facilities on ground at Uncle Bayus. I believe it will go a long way in the quality of teaching and learning. This is the kind of thing government expects from private institutions at all levels and not just to be collecting school fees without giving the right training to students. The expectation is that private schools should be able to impact knowledge on students such that they will be favorably competing with their peers around the world,” he stressed. While urging all private school owners to see their

coming into the sector as a call to service rather than as a way of making money, Olukoga assured them that government would continue to create enabling environ-

ment for them to operate. He also advised the students to give their studies a deserved attention and never to indulge in any form of vices including ex-

amination malpractice and hooliganism. “You should also cultivate the habit of asking questions on the topics you don’t understand well in

class,” he counselled. In his address, the school’s director, Hon. Iduwo promised that the school would not compromise standard.

Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Education, Otunba Fatai Olukoga (middle) with pupils and teachers of Uncle Bayus Private School, Ikorodu during his courtesy visit to the school.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FEDPOLY Ado students set for JCI convention YAKUBU TEMITOPE

FEDERAL POLY, ADO EKITI

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he Junior Chamber International (JCI), Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti chapter is set to hold this year’s convention and investiture. The Chairperson of the Club, Adebola Mariam made this known at the unveiling ceremony of the logo of the event to the Campus journalists and other students of the institution last week. She said the event slated for February 15, would also feature award presentation, alumni reunion, dancing competition, lectures from different motivational speakers and inter- secondary school essay competitions among students in Ekiti State. Also speaking, the Chairman Planning committee, Oladiji Temitope said the programme would be rewarding to participants.

Don harps on media, schools partnership HAMEED MURITALA UNILORIN

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he Head of Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Mr. Mahmud Abdulraheem has called for more collaboration between Nigerian journalists and the academic institutions in the country, saying such alliance would benefit both parties immensely. He made the call when members of the Organising Committee of the 2014 Press Week of the Kwara State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), paid him a courtesy visit in his office recently. The journalists were led by the state council’s chairman, Mallam Abiodun Abdulkareem. Mahmud observed that partnership between journalists at an association level and the academics could lead to the generation of ideas that could help develop journalism professionalism and the economy. He promised that his department would be inviting journalists from time to time for talk and share of experiences with their students.

Head, Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, Mr. Mahmud Abdulraheem (middle) with some of the lecturers of the department and members of Kwara State NUJ during their visit to the department.

UI students mentored on entrepreneurship HAMMED HAMZAT

300L, EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT, UI

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o fewer than 200 students of the University of Ibadan attended a mentorship conference organised recently by the founder of Jumpstart Academy, Omotola Akinsola. It was held at the institution with many high profile professionals as resource personnel in attendance. The conference with the theme “Leverage the multi-million naira advantage,” was designed to instil in students the culture of entrepreneurship, community service and other opportunities that could make them economically relevant

even now that they are still in school. In her address, the organiser and social enterprise expert, Omotola said the conference had provided a platform through which the youths were mentored by successful individuals in different professions. “The idea is that after listening to these successful men and women in the society on how they were able to overcome in the face of storm in the country, the students are expected to take a cue from them in their chosen fields,” she said. One of the resource personnel at the forum a Law graduate from the Obafemi Awolowo

University, Ile-Ife, Tolulope Moody said while human beings remain the most difficult creature on earth, they are also with potentials to change things for their betterments. He noted that for someone to become a successful entrepreneur in the country and elsewhere around the world, such an individual must set realistic goals and work towards achieving them. Another speaker who graduated from Harvard School of Business, United States and the Lagos Business School, Arousa Osemwegie said there was no excuse for failure in life. According to him, those who want to be successful in life

must not be distracted from the set goals but must be determined and committed to the realisation of such goals. He however, urged them to make good use of whatever they gain from the conference to achieve their aspiration for life. In his own, a founder of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Gbenga Sesan also told participants to set target for themselves and pursue it with vigour to achieve greatness. One of the participants, Samuel Ajayi, a 400-level Physiology student said he would make use of the knowledge gained to drive his entrepreneurship spirit to fruition.

FUTMINNA computerises operations FAITH OLANIRAN

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he Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMINNA) has introduced new software called Phinnx for the operation of its academic and other activities on campus and to be accessible on electronic devices of members of staff and students of the institution. The software via Phinnx web is targeted at computerising the research, collaborative and academic needs of tertiary institutions across the country. The

first goal of the project is to reengineer campus communication and collaboration. Two students of the university, Olofu Mark and Oguntade Temitope were brain behind the innovation. While Olofu is in 400 level, Information and Communication Technology, Temitope just graduated with a degree in Mathematics/Computer. The duo told National Mirror in a separate interview that they spent most of their times solving problems that border on performance, reliability as well

as ease of use of the software. They explained that Phinix application would make users faster on internet than many other known applications in the country as operations are expected to be processed in units of milliseconds. The team is expected to use the next few months to make their system bug-free within FUTMINNA before they will open it up to other institutions of learning. National Mirror learnt that the core features of the software include video conferencing on

mobile phones, tablets and personal computers. The inventors noted that through the innovation, a course instructor for instance will have the opportunity of reaching out to students or any other users using their phones, tablets and computer screen as notebooks wherever they may be. They identified other features of the package to include course and assignment managers, messaging system, screen and code studio that would be able to support computer programming on mobile phones and tablets.


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Campus News

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Stakeholders worry over declining ethics in varsities CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he declining ethical standard in the nation’s universities became a source of worry to discussants at a two-day training workshop organised by the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) for its administrative, executive and secretarial staff. The participants at the forum themed: “Ethical re-orientation and capacity building for effective and efficient service delivery,” observed that unethical practices in the ivory towers hindered effective service delivery among the university staff. Speaking, the Deputy Registrar/Coordinator, Centre for Agriculture Research (CAR), FUTO, Alhaji M. Ahmed said such unethical practices among administrators in the tertiary institutions in the country had destroyed the value system in the university community. Speaking on “Administrative procedures, work ethics and confidentiality”, the deputy registrar regretted that the disintegration of value system in the nation’s universities has taken huge toll on the registry where great impact is made on the strategic direction of behaviour and management of the university process and structure. He accused most universities of incorrect recording of staff and student data, frequent loss or manipulation of records, staff seeking gratification to do their jobs, leniency, nepotism and favouritism, saying if these were left unchecked, they would hinder the achievement of the much talked-about Vision 20: 2020. In his own paper, “Understanding the University Act, Statute and Regulations: Tonic for effective and efficient service delivery,” Mr. Herbert Mezieobi described the university as a complex organisational entity which he said places a constant demand on the operators to be regularly updated themselves in order remain relevant and result-oriented. He observed that most university though lacked understanding of the workings of the university system, a situation; he said invariably leads to non-adherence to established rules, regulations, norms and procedures on the part of the staff in daily running of the business of the university. Mezieobi enjoined the staff not only to imbibe the provisions of the law, but to embrace the positive and core values inherent in them as significant instrument of transformation.

L-R: Director -General, Europe Business Assembly, Prof. John Netting; Vice-Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria, Prof. Vincent Ado Tenebe and a guest during the Leaders, Science and Education Summit in UK recently.

Ex-VCs advocate quality training for varsity students DHIKRU AKINOLA AND KEMI BUSARI 400LPOL SC, OAU, ILE-IFE

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he quality of training in Nigerian universities determines how fit the products will be as drivers of national development, three eminent Nigerian professors, Nurudeen Adedipe, Olufemi Bamiro and Shedrach Akindele have said. They spoke at one-day workshop on the university quality assurance system at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife on Monday. Prof. Adedipe, who is the foundation Vice-Chancellor of the then University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) (now FUNAAB) said the university would not be able to perform optimally if it is not provided with human resources that are skilful, committed, determined and equipped with necessary tools to work with. He said quality control remained central to the academic community in search of knowledge, truth and the common good of the society. He noted that there were some self regulatory processes such as examination and theses defend within the university system. Speaking on the role of quality assurance in building a word class university,

He said the two situations would continue to prevent economic growth and admission of brilliant students, respectively. “For how long shall Nigeria continues to say some states are educationally disadvantaged when schools like Harvard University in the US for instance goes for the geniuses and not admitting on the basis of where they come from like Nigeria,” he said. In his own contribution, the Dean of Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof. Shedrach Akindele said to ensure sustainable standard of education, scholarship and infrastructure in the country required systematic review of educational programmes. He noted that every university must be known for standards it stands to project and pursue it will all vigour. According to him, we need as a country to carry out periodic assessment of quality of graduates we produce in our universities. Earlier, the Chairman of the University Quality Assurance and Monitoring Committee (UQAMC), OAU, Ile-Ife, Prof. Muiz Durosinmi said quality assurance of each university must tally with its mission and vision.

AAUA VC urges students to be law abiding HAKEEM GBDAMOSI AKURE

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tudents of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), Ondo State have been urged to remain focus on their academic pursuits and be law abiding in and outside the campus.

Asiabaka

Prof. Bamiro who is the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan observed that when he joined UI as a lecturer several years back, he went to class with chalk as they were using chalkboard. “Immediately after class,” he recalled, “the first port of call was the toilet to wash my face of chalk particles.” So, what happens to students as regards the quality of training they are receiving according to him should be central to every university. Adequate attention needs to be given to calibre of graduates, being produced by every university on yearly basis. According to him, churning out graduates without gainful employment is like sitting on a keg of gunpowder. “But in the other hand, how can the huge number of unemployable graduates in the market be absorbed,” he asked rhetorically. Bamiro said Nigeria would continue to depend on foreign technical-know how as long as it continues to neglect quality education. The professor faulted both the Federal Government claims to be creating jobs when major projects are being handled by foreigners as well as the use of quota system to admit students into the federal-owned institutions.

The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Femi Mimiko stated this during

this year’s edition of the Vice-Chancellor/Students’ Forum which is an annual interactive session between the management and student leaders to deliberate on issues affecting students for purpose of addressing them Mimiko pleaded with the students to sustain the current peace enjoying on campus, saying things work well only in the atmosphere of peace.

He commended the students’ leaders for the mature manner at which they suppressed the violence that would have engulfed the university few weeks ago. He also commended them for not joining issues with the management and members of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) of the institution over the ongoing crisis. The VC however, warned

the students against being lured into doing what could lead to the disruption of their academic pursuits under whatever circumstances, saying, “Whosoever that commits infractions on campus will be called to account for the actions as this university is governed by rules and regulations. The VC assured that all issues raised by the students at the forum would be given attention.


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Still on ‘flag-off’, ‘commission’ as verbs T

HISDAY headline of February 4 welcomes us today: “Airtel invests N234b on (in) network optimization” DAILY Sun Front Page of January 29 goofed in one of its sub-headlines: “Senators serve defection notice…write (write to) Mark on intention to leave PDP, 8 back out” “Averting another health workers (workers’) strike” (DAILY Sun EDITORIAL Headline, January 29) THE GUARDIAN Homes & Property of January 27 fumbled: “Planners flag-off (sic) OAU master plan (master-plan) review project” I still do not understand this sub-editors’ obsession with ‘flag off’! Except in international motor racing competitions where officials actually flag off the events, it is utterly absurd to apply it in other environments. For the extract in question, ‘begin’ should have been elegantly appropriate. “With the recapitalization that took place in 2007, the paid-up capital of insurance companies in this market is the highest in (on) the continent.” (Source: as above) “Morocco (Moroccan) coach blames defeat on late substitution” Also from DAILY SUN Sports of January 27 comes this: “Morocco (Moroccan) captain salutes Eagles’ resilience” Finally from THE GUARDIAN under review is this full-page advertisement headline blunder: “The irrepairable loss & painful exit” Spell-check: irreparable! Next is The PUNCH Politics Today of January 27: “The invitation extended to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, (needless comma) by the All Progressives Congress and the appointment of Adamu Mu’azu as national chairman of the Peoples Demo-

cratic Party, (another useless punctuation) appears (appear) to have put the famed political strategist in a fix….” “Lets (Let’s) go to God in thanksgiving” (Full-page advertisement by Nka Nkaiso Akwa Ibom) DAILY SUN of January 27 committed a few blunders; “Fashola commends LG boss over (for) fire station” “Civil Defence Corps reads riot act (the riot act) to black marketers in Niger” “…doles out millions of naira as start up (start-up) grant” “C & I Leasing’s 9 months (months’) profit hit (hits) N219.7m” “Your appointment is proof beyond reasonable doubt that hard work, perseverance, loyalty and service ultimately pays (pay).” (Full-page advertisement signed by HE Rt. Hon. Bala James Nggilari, Deputy Governor, Adamawa State) THE NATION ON SUNDAY of January 26 clashed with grammatical principles in its news review: “…writes on the incessant clash (clashes) between two ethnic groups in the state” “You served with distinction and impacted (impacted on/upon) lives.” (Full-page advertisement) “Bukky Osunkeye shift (shifts) focus” “Last week Saturday….” (Last Saturday or Saturday, last week) “…he explains factors that inspires (why?) him to write.” The Guardian Editorial of January 23 nurtured falsehoods: “…the onus is on Nigeria to define its own interest and protect same (the same).” “Dufry signs 10-year airport duty free (du-

SOME EXPRESSIONS ARE FIXED (STOCK) AND CANNOT BE CHANGED IN ANY FORMAL

WRITING: BE SPOILING

(SPOIL) FOR A FIGHT/ ARGUMENT—NOT BATTLE!

ty-free) concession pact with FAAN” “I do not react to rumour (rumours).” “I do not belief (believe) that….” DAILY Sun front and inside page headlines of January 23 fumbled: “Igbo, North spoil for battle over Ihejirika” Some expressions are fixed (stock) and cannot be changed in any formal writing: be spoiling (spoil) for a fight/argument—not battle! Still on ‘arrest’ and its continual diseased usage by the media: “Police arrest man, 36, over (for) theft of 9-month-old baby” “…the pilot projects were flagged off (begun).” “Today…the lights went out soon after the fanfare of commissioning (inauguration)….” (DAILY Sun EDITORIAL, January 23) “New Customs Comptroller takes over in Ogun…reads riot act (the riot act) to smugglers” “Edo police rescue 70-year (70-year-old) man from kidnappers (kidnappers’) den” Next is DAILY SUN of January 24 which also disseminated a few headline infractions: “Turbanning ceremony” Spell-check: turbaning

“Akpabio commends PDP over (for) peaceful transition” “PDP faithful pass vote of confidence on (in) Jonathan, Dickson” “Court remands pastor in prison” Get it right: remand in custody (not prison)! ‘Remand in custody’ is when a court sends someone to prison pending further trial or investigation. So, a suspect is remanded in custody—not in prison. “Mayhem in LASU…VC smuggled out of campus” Haba DAILY SUN! The VC was ferreted out and not smuggled out of campus! Please, my dear reader, once again check out the meaning of ‘smuggle’. “Police arrest 15 over (for or in connection with) attempt on Akunyili’s life” The PUNCH double-page headline of January 24 equally contained the same impropriety: “Police arrest landlord over (sic) death of youth (youth’s death)” The PUNCH Editorial of January 24 abused the English language: “…which are routinely diverted for purposes other than what they are legally meant.” What is the essence of ‘diversion’? The sentence should have ended at ‘diverted’! Is this padding or illiteracy? “…but what percentage of the component is owned by Nigerians with regards (regard or as regards software) to software and hardware?” “Brazil (Brazil’s or Brazilian) president assures on stadiums” Who did the woman assure? “Don’t forget the present governor was the deputy to late (the late) Yakowa and we have already made plan (a plan or plans) from 2011 to 2015.”

ABUAD Social Justice programmes seek to transform work environment - Babalola ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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he founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, said yesterday that the institution’s Social Justice programmes were targeted at transforming the country’s work environment. Babalola, who is a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the institution’s curriculum on Social Justice was a multi-disciplinary approach “that can effectively solve the prevailing local and global economic, social, political and other challenges facing the world today”. The legal luminary spoke in Ado Ekiti during the opening cermony of the maiden certificate programme in Social Justice organized by the institution for selected security agencies across the coun-

Fayemi

try. According to him, the Social Justice Programmes have degree and certificate programmes, adding that “the Certificate Programme on Social Justice is designed for targeted working class groups covering a large spectrum of employ-

Babalola

ees in both private and public sectors”. He said that the Certificate programme was an off-shoot of the Bachelor Degree in Social Justice that would soon kick off in ABUAD, having secured the requisite accreditation from the Nigeria

Universities Commission to run the course. The ABUAD founder praised Police Affairs Minister, Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade; and Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar; for sponsoring the programme which he said would improve the competency, skills and academic attainments of the men of the Force. Babalola lamented that paucity of manpower in the Nigeria Police was responsible for the loopholes in the country’s policing system and increasing crimes in society. He said: “The Nigeria Police as of today has not been able to meet the United Nation’s manpower standard which prescribes that an officer should police 400 citizens. “The total number of police personnel in Nigeria is not more than 370,000 and how can these adequately police a country that has a population of about 160 mil-

lion? Therefore, there is need to employ more hands to boost the strength of the Nigeria Police”. The Minister of Police Affairs, represented by Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed from the Federal Ministry of Police Affairs, described the programme as a unique multi-disciplinary one that would further expose police men and officials to modern policing system and how to be civil in the discharge of their duties. Ekiti state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who was represented by Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Wale Fapohunda, said the promulgation of the Child Right Act, Gender based Violence Prohibition Law and Equal Opportunities Law by the Government were primarily targeted at entrenching social justice in the state.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sport How I almost retired –Djokovic 30

I have done my best to achieve the coaching diploma. I can only wait for what the future has -FRANCE LEGEND, ZINEDINE ZIDANE

Tech Assistant: Nigerian coaches back Keshi

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resident of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association (NFCA), Bitrus Bewarang, yesterday, said the idea of getting a new technical assistant for the Super Eagles is a distraction. Bewarang said in a statement in Abuja that bringing up the issue when the team is preparing for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil might be a major distraction to the coach. The statement said that Coach Stephen Keshi had met all the targets set for him by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)

and should be allowed to see through his programmes at the World Cup. “I doubt if that speculation is actually from the NFF because I know that the NFF presently has the interest of Nigerian coaches at heart. I also know that the NFF has the aim of ensuring that the Super Eagles surpass all their records at

the previous World Cups,” Bewarang said. The NFCA boss added, “So, the NFF should not be thinking of hiring any technical assistant for Keshi now, instead, it should respect Keshi’s wish of returning his former Assistant, Sylvanus Okpala.”

Keshi

I want to be in Brazil – Nwofor S

C Heerenveen striker, Uche Nwofor, is close to returning to competitive football with his club and keen to play himself back into reckoning for a World Cup place. Nwofor told supersport.com that he is now “fit again” and “working hard” to get back into top shape at the Dutch club. The former Nigeria U-20 forward said he is more concerned with playing his way into the Super Eagles squad for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil than talk on about their opponents at the Mundial. “I am fit again and I am working hard to meet up with my mates. We are pencils in the hand of God, if the opportunity (to be part of the World Cup squad) is given then I am ready to serve my great country,” he said. The former Enugu Rangers man suffered an injury in Heerenveen’s 0-2 loss to FC Utrecht in November and was replaced by Yanic Wildschut. The injury has limited Nwofor’s appearances for SC Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie to just three games so far this season against Vitesse Arn-

hem, NEC and FC Utrecht. Nwofor’s last appearance for Nigeria was in an ternational against Africa in l a s t honson

i n g ame South Au g u s t year in our of NelMandela at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban where the African champions won two-nil. The 22-year-old forward came off the bench to score both goals including a cheeky back-heel finish. “Right now I don’t want to say anything more (about our opponents) than making the list. Other things come after making it to the World Cup.”

Nwofor


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Canada 2014:

Dedevbo to parade killer squad JOEL AJAYI ABUJA

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s part of his strive to make Nigeria excel in this year’s FIFA U-20 Women World Cup billed for Canada between August 5 and 24, Falconets coach, Peter Dedevbo, has promised to parade only players who can match their opponents. Nigeria qualified with the highest goal margin without conceiving any goal in their last qualification game against South Africa. Coach Dedevbo who spoke exclusively to National Mirror in Abuja expressed confidence that his team would do a lot more to prove themselves at the forthcoming competition. “I have submitted my proposal and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is working on it. Personally, I want the team to resume camp in April to enable us have enough time to prepare and embark on training tours. It’s left for the federation to choose where we can camp,” he said. “Before we resume camping, I expect five new players to join the team while I will be expecting at least two or three players that will do well during the forthcoming U-17 Women World Cup. The assurance I’m giving Nigerians is that we are going to parade a fearful team in Canada.” It would be recalled that the Falconets led by Coach Edwin Okon got to the semi-final stage of the 2012 U-20 Women World Cup hosted in Japan. Nigeria and Ghana are the two African countries to square up with other 13 countries when the 7th edition of the biannual tournament gets underway later in the year.

Dedevbo

Musa Yahaya (left) during the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE last year

Yahaya set to sign Spurs deal IKENWA NNABUOGOR

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here are strong indications that the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner, Musa Yahaya, could be signing a long term contract with the top English side, Tottenham Hotspur in the next few days. National Mirror learnt yesterday that the 16-year old midfielder is billed to arrive London on Saturday to complete a four-year deal subject to passing a medical. The Mutunchi Academy Kaduna player will be accompanied on the trip by his father, one of his agents, Mohammed Babawo, and coach of his first childhood

club that nurtured him, Auwal Yusuf. Members of the entourage have been issued visas to the United Kingdom. Yahaya is still a minor, and as such he cannot sign a professional contract, but he will signing a professional contract for four years when he clocks 18. He will be offered a great opportunity for development at the famed Spurs youth sides that nurtured a good number of players who went on to represent England at international levels, notably Glen Hoddle and Ledley King. Tottenham Hotspur beat Arsenal and Ajax Amsterdam in the race for the signature of the highly rated starlet, who netted four times at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

UCL: Champions Planet relocates to Ikoyi

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head of the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League which resumes next week, sponsor Heineken has announced the relocation of the Champions Planet from Victoria Island to Ikoyi. Officials in Lagos said yesterday that the new Planet would be opened to visitors from February 18 when the first leg of the round of 16 matches will be telecast live to consumers and subsequently other matches all way to the final on May 18. The Heineken Champions Planet has over the years provided viewing experience for fans to enjoy the UCL matches alongside captains of industry, legends

of the game and celebrities in the entertainment industry. “Our visitors deserve the best and we intend to give them premium taste in the new house every season,” Heineken Brand Manager, Kehinde Kadiri, said yesterday. According to Kadiri, the Astroturf Mini Football Pitch in the Planet had been upgraded to suit the new environment. “It will be different from what people enjoyed in the past six years,” he added. Meanwhile, the Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Walter Drenth, is billed to officially declare the Ikoyi Planet open on February 28.

Podols rues London switch


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Yobo returns for Mexico friendly S

ski

n h Podolski

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rsenal striker, Lukas Podolski, admits he regrets leaving Bayern Munich for the London club. Podolski feels he rushed into a return home and that he should have stuck it out longer in Bavaria, and perhaps he would have broken into the first team under Jupp Heynckes. “I believe that if Jupp Heynckes had arrived one or two weeks earlier in 2009, I would probably still be at Bayern now,” he said yesterday. “He was desperate to keep me. From a purely sporting perspective, returning to Cologne was certainly not very helpful.” On talk of a January move to Schalke, he added: “That was a myth. There was absolutely no truth to it. The coach told me as such, and I knew there was no truth in it.”

uper Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, has listed Skipper Joseph Yobo in his squad of 23 for the international friendly against Mexico in Atlanta, USA on March 5. Yobo, who is back in the keenly-followed English Premiership, this time with Norwich City, on loan from Fenerbahce FC of Turkey, last played for the Eagles at the 29th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa, which Nigeria won. Also returning are Israel-based defender, Juwon Oshaniwa, 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ejike Uzoenyi and Canada-based striker Bright Dike. New faces include former junior internationals, Ramon Azeez and Shehu Abdullahi, and Belgium-based strikers Imoh Ezekiel and Michael Uchebo. Centre - back Kunle Odunlami, who made CAF’s list of Best Eleven at the recent CHAN in South Africa, is also called. The Full Squad List Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille FC, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel) Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco FC, France); Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough FC, England); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Joseph

Yobo (Norwich City, England); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars) Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain); Shehu Abdullahi (Kano Pillars); Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers) Strikers: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Victor Moses (Liverpool FC, England); Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce FC. Turkey); Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona, Italy); Bright Dike (Toronto FC, Canada), Imoh Ezekiel (Standard Liege, Belgium); Michel Uchebo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium)

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he Navy Sailing Club, Ojo will host the maiden edition of its Valentine’s Day Race and Ball Dance tomorrow. Coordinator of the race, Grace Daramola, told National Mirror yesterday that the race, aimed at fostering stronger family ties and promoting water sports among children of club members, was packaged by wives of members of the club. “It is our goal to use the valentine day race and ball dance to foster close ties,”

‘Kogi United good for NPL’ AFOLABI GAMBARI

D Yobo

Sailing Club hosts Val Ball IFEANYI EDUZOR

Kogi United Coach, Fatai Osho

Daramola said. “It is also to promote water sports as most of our children are involved in swimming and kayaking. “We are organising the race to inculcate discipline in our children through community interaction and also to appreciate our husbands.” Daramola corrected wrong claims that the sailing club fostered only relaxation spots, saying there were more benefits derivable. “When families come together on a day like the valentine day and relax, it helps to promote family values,” she submitted.

irector of Abuja Football College, Titiloye Kumbi, believes the Nigeria National League side, Kogi United FC, has the quality to campaign in the Nigeria Premier League following the academy’s 2-0 loss to United on Tuesday in Lokoja. It was the last tune-up game for the Fatai Osho-coached Kogi side as the team goes into its first NNL match of the season against Ranchers Bees at the Confluence Stadium on Saturday. “Kogi United really showed that they are ready for the league and I’m optimistic that with little improvement, they will win the league,” Kumbi said yesterday. “I think they just need to make the state government proud by getting good results and the sky would be their limit,” he added. Coach of the academy, Lawal Ahmed, also corroborated Kumbi, saying the young Kogi team had attained experience through time and would be ready to excel. Meanwhile, Kogi United Coach, Fatai Osho, has called on all football fans to troop en masse to the stadium to support the home team on Saturday. “We need a great start to the new season and I believe we can get it,” Osho said.

T/tennis: Quadri wins, Makanjuola loses in Kuwait

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igeria’s representatives at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, tagged Kuwait Open started their campaigns on mixed fortunes after Aruna Quadri recorded an emphatic 4-0 win over Egypt’s Mohamed Elsobky, while Kazeem Makanjuola fell by same margin to France’s Benjamin Brossier. Quadri who played in Group nine started the encounter against the southpaw Egyptian on a shaky note but he prevailed

to win the first game at 13-11. The next three games went in his favour at 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 to record a whooping 4-0 win. But it was not the same for his compatriot, Makanjuola, who is making his debut in an ITTF World Tour losing 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11 to his French opponent. However, Quadri is in position to progress to the main draw as his last group match holds today against Russia’s Alexey Liventsov to decide the winner of the group.

In the doubles’ the duo of Quadri and Makajuola got a bye to the round of 32 of the qualifying round and they are expected to tackle the Germany’s pair of Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther on Thursday February 13. “I did not play like I expected before the match. I won but I was not on top of my game,” Quadri said, adding, “I think I will play better in my next game as I will keep improving in every match.”


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Sport

Serena

Serena withdraws from Indian Wells

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

How I almost retired –Djokovic

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he long-running 13-year boycott of the Indian Wells Masters by the Williams sisters goes on after Serena announced that she had considered and rejected an appeal to return to the tournament. Williams had hinted at the Australian Open that she might actually play Indian Wells, sending the hopes of organizers to a temporary high. “After careful consideration, I will not return to the Indian Wells BNP event this year,” the younger Williams said yesterday, adding, “I send my best wishes to everyone involved with the tournament.” Tournament Director, Steven Simon however took the turn of event in his stride. “We wish her the very best of luck in the year ahead and hope that she will decide to play here next year,” Simon said. The Williams pair and their family claimed racism in 2001 when the sisters were booed by fans over a late match pullout. Ever since, the pair have kept their distance from what at is actually a required event on the WTA A circuit and have escaped sanctions year after year. Indian Wells, a joint ATP-WTA tournament, starts on March 3 and features the women’s elite while the e entire top 10 on the men’s side is also entered tered in that field.

Djokovic

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orld number one, Novak Djokovic, has admitted that he had retirement on his mind few years ago before he finally found the formula to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Djokovic, who came short of defending his Australian Open championship for the fourth straight time last month, shared his affair with tennis and the a d an breaku p

Federer sulks over Nadal’s ‘indiscipline’

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ormer world number one, Roger Federer, has openly attacked rival Rafael Nadal for what he believed a breach of rules committed by the Spaniard during their semifinal showdown at the Australian Open last month. Federer, who lost to Nadal in three sets 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3 in their semis match, accused the latter of using more time during injury break but surprisingly only given a twopoint deduction throughout the course of their 33 matches. “Rafa is doing a much better job today than he used to,” Federer, who only won 10 times in 33 head-to-head encounters with Nadal, said. “I’m not complaining much about the time. But I think I’ve played him three times. He’s gotten two point penalties over the course of our rivalry. I just think that’s not

quite happening. “I mean, we know how much time he used to take. But either you have rules or you don’t. If you don’t have rules, it’s fine. Everybody can do whatever he wants to do.” Federer believed following the rules is a must as a professional tennis player, whether he’s a Grand Slam caliber player, top-10 contender or a journeyman in the ATP Tour. “Not just a guy on Court 16 because the guy had a brutal rally, you have to give him a time violation just because you can. On center court, they’re always going to be afraid, the umpires, to take those decisions. I just like to challenge them a little bit.” The Swiss Master also urged officials to be strict on the rules set because it would

that could have happened four years ago out of his frustrations stemming from his failure to beat the top two stars at that time. “I always enjoyed a lot of support from my family, my club and the government,” the Serb said. “But in 2010 my relationship with this sport was of both hate and love. “I was losing a lot when facing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and I seriously thought about packing it all up. Then I told myself that I had to survive these feelings and I had to win Wimbledon, which has always been the main goal

Federer

amount to nothing if not observed properly. “I just felt I had to mention something,”

of my whole life. Djokovic blew his chance of becoming the first player in the Open Era to win five Australian Open title after bowing out to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka in their epic quarterfinal showdown at Melbourne Park. Despite the setback, however, he felt happy for the Swiss to finally have his breakthrough win and join the circle of Grand Slam winners.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Business & Finance Transmission Company of Nigeria required about $2.4bn to increase its power transfer capacity, make the network more stable and reliable, and improve efficiency of electric power transfer by reducing transmission technical losses.

We have consistently made the point that with adequate funding and support, we could automate our data collection processes to enable us to get real time data, which can be resorted to when there is a controversy.

– Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki

– CHAIRMAN, NEITI, MR. LEDUM MITEE

Trading houses to buy oil majors’ $3bn Nigeria assets –Sources UDEME AKPAN

WITHAGENCY REPORT

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ajor commodity trading houses, Glencore and Mercuria are among the shortlisted consortia expected to make final bids on Nigerian energy assets worth around $3 billion that three oil majors are selling, sources close to the process say. Reuters, which confirmed the development yesterday stated that trading houses have been marketing Nigeria’s crude oil and importing fuel for decades. The agency stated that new upstream acquisitions would help cement their relationship with Africa’s biggest oil producer, a key supplier to Europe and India. It stated, “Shell is selling its 30 percent stake in four oil blocks, with France’s Total and Italy’s Eni also set to profit from their 10 percent and 5 percent shares. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC owns the remaining 55 percent. The agency stated that Shell is also in the process of selling the 97-km (60-mile) Nembe Creek oil pipeline, which has been regularly attacked by oil thieves. It quoted sources as stating, “Final bids for the stakes in the blocks are due on Feb. 18, Total,

Eni and Shell declined to comment. Bidders are bound by a confidentiality agreement and all firms as well as other parties mentioned in this story either declined to comment or did not respond. The agency stated that Shell has already made $1.8 billion from asset sales in Nigeria since 2010 as several oil majors choose to cash in on onshore fields in the Niger Delta, where divestment is

increasingly popular due to oil theft and a government drive to increase local ownership. It maintained that oil majors are still keen to keep the largest and most profitable Niger Delta fields and infrastructure, and want to expand in Nigeria’s deep offshore areas. The agency stated, “There is high demand for assets in the Niger Delta, which holds a large portion of Nigeria’s 37 billion barrels

of oil reserves. The oil is highquality, relatively easy to drill, and some Nigerian companies have said they can better handle the security challenges faced by oil majors. It maintained that Shell has kept the specifics of the assets it is selling secret, but information from a confidential company document and from sources involved in the process reveals new details.

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he National Pension Commission, PenCom, said it has so far transferred N8.11 billion into the Retirement Sav-

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L-R: Chairman, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie; Founding Partner, Udo Udoma and Belo-Osagie, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and Group Managing Director/CEO, UAC Nigeria Plc, Mr. Larry Ettah, at Udo Udoma and BeloOsagie’s 30th Anniversary lecture titled: What Next in Lagos yesterday.

N8.11bn transferred into retirement savings of NSITF contributors –PenCom MESHACK IDEHEN

FLIGHT SCHEDULE

ings Accounts, RSAs, of 107,695 employees. According to the commission, the amount transferred is the money of contributors to National Provident Fund, NPF and National Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, made, and that the move is in compliance with the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2004, PenCom said in a statement on Wednesday that it received 3,408 requests for the transfer of

NPF/NSITF contributions which amounted to N232.69 million into the contributors’ RSAs during the third quarter of last year. PenCom stated upon revision of the applications, that the commission approved the transfer of N71.35 million into the RSAs of 1,094 applicants, adding that the remaining 2,314 applications were rejected due to incomplete documentation, zero balances and duplicated applications.

Lagos- Abuja (Mon-Fri): 07.00, 08.50, 12.00, 16.30. Abuja- Lagos (Mon-Fri): 09.00, 14.00, 15.00, 18.30. Lagos-Yola (Mon-Fri): 8.50am. Yola-Lagos (Mon-Fri): 13.00. Lagos- PHC (Mon-Fri): 17.00. PHC-Lagos: 19.00. AbujaYola: 11.00. Yola-Abuja: 13.00. Lagos-Abuja (Sat): 08.00, 08.50. Abuja-Lagos (Sat): 10.00, 15.00. Lagos-PHC (Sat): 17.00. PHC-Lagos (Sat): 19.00. Lagos-Yola (Sat): 08.50. Yola-Lagos (Sat): 13.00

“As at the end of the third quarter, the sum of N8.11 billion had been transferred into the Retirement Savings Accounts, RSAs, of 107,695 NPF/NSITF contributors,” PenCom said. In Section 42(1) of the Pension Act, the NSITF was directed to establish a company to undertake the business of a Pension Fund Administrator in accordance with the provision of the Act. Thus, the NSTIF establish Trustfund Pension Plc.

Electricity generation hits 4,200mw as NNPC increases gas supply

Driving local Valentine’s sales production of lull hits gifts IT devices in shop owners Nigeria

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Electricity generation hits 4,200mw as NNPC increases gas supply UDEME AKPAN

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he nation’s epileptic power situation occasioned by low gas supply may witness a little improvement as generation has risen from about 3,000 megawatts, mw to 4,200mw. A report by the Ministry of Power, which indicated the increase attributed it to a significant increase in gas supply to thermal plants following the completion of gas pipeline maintenance. Consequently, the capacities of thermal plants to generate power have increased. For instance, the Egbin plant, which is the biggest in Africa that generated about 700mw has increased generation to over 800mw. An authoritative source in the

firm that generates about 40 per cent of Nigeria’s total output said, “We used to generate 700mw because of lack of gas. We are now doing over 800mw. He said, “With adequate supply, we can deliver over 900mw of electricity because the Egbin plant has the capacity to generate over 1,000mw. But investigations showed that despite the improved gas situation, many consumers, including households and companies were yet to experience improvement in power supply. The situation is said to be fuelled by transmission losses, especially as the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN have not been able bring its expertise to bear in the transmission of electricity distribution.

The poor supply of electricity is also said be a direct function of distribution challenges some of which are caused by equipment vandalism. Apparently feeling the mood of consumers in different parts of the nation, many Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs have appealed for consumers understanding. For instance, the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC the two Discos covering Lagos State and some parts of Ogun State thanked their customers for their support and understanding. In a statement jointly issued statement, the firms stated, “We acknowledge the inconveniences caused by the current power situ-

ation and regret the strain on the lives and businesses of our customers. The situation, which is being experienced across the nation is due to the short- fall in gas supply, grid limitations and sabotage of the system. They said, “We however wish to assure our esteemed customers that EKEDC and IKEDC are working tirelessly to ensure that the allocated power is equitably distributed amongst our esteemed customers. We are also working with relevant bodies and agencies charged with generation and transmission of power to ensure the journey towards the era of sustainable, effective and stable supply is achieved soon. The firms stated that the companies have started making necessary investments toward strengthening their distribution networks for seamless and efficient power evacuation from the

grid and subsequent delivery to customers. They stated, “We are working in conjunction with our technical partners to come up with a robust metering system that will serve customers effectively. This system will eradicate the complaints of estimated billing and check energy theft being perpetrated by people tinkering with the prepaid meters. The power sector requires an overhaul of existing infrastructure, investment in new technology and capacity building to enable us moves to a position of stable power supply and we are making the required investments to make it happen. The firm also stated, “We have also put in place a lot of investment programmes to enable us reduce losses; so that we keep as much of the energy received as possible. The initiatives to assist us improve power supply through embedded generation is seriously being worked upon.”

NEPC challenges NIS awardees to maximise export potential EMMANUEL OGBONNAYA

T L-R: Immediate Past National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Mr. Ayo Fanimokun; President, Mr. Ademola Olorunfemi; National Chairman, Prof. Adisa Bello and Deputy National Chairman, Mr. U.P. Ugochukwu, during the inauguration of the 11th National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

Dana Air resumes flight operations to Port Harcourt OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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ne of the nation’s leading indigenous carriers, Dana Air said plans are underway to recommence daily flight operations from the Murtala Mohammed Airport Two, MMA2, Lagos to Port Harcourt. The airline also said that unlike the once daily flight it was operating to the airport before it suspended operations, it would be recommencing operations twice daily. Dana said that the essence of the relaunching of operations to the airport was to further expand its operations within the country. The airline spokesman, Mr. Sam Ogbogoro in a statement stated that the re-launch of its flight services between the Lagos and Port Harcourt route was coming on the heels of the recent addition of a Boeing 737-500 series aircraft as well as the successful outcome of an operational audit

conducted on its entire operations by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Flight Safety Group, FSG, in partnership with their foreign partners. The Head of Commercial, Dana Air, Mr. Obi Mbanuzo in the statement said the airline was responding to passengers’ demands as well as its primary objective of re-integrating major cities into its route network to offer convenience to the travelling public. Mbanuzo also added that tickets are now available for sale at fares starting from N12,600 at www.flydanaair.com and at designated sales points nationwide. He stated, “Our schedule has been developed to enhance both business and leisure trips as guests now have the option of catching an early flight between Lagos and Port Harcourt with ease of onward connectivity to Abuja or beyond to keep appointments and return same day using our service. Dana Air will offer choice as it operates two daily

flights between both cities using the Boeing McDonnell 83 and Boeing 737-500 aircraft series to service the route.” He further noted that Dana Air’s route network expansion plan is predicated on service standards which the airline had clearly maintained since inception as the goal of the airline is to enhance the service options available to the travelling public throughout Nigeria.

he Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, has challenged the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) awardees to take advantage of their products quality certification to expand their capacities into export ventures. Making the call in Lagos yesterday at an export business roundtable for NIS certified manufacturers, the Director/CEO, NEPC; Olusegun Awolowo noted that the programme was part of the agency’s strategy of re-iterating the need to diversify our dependence on oil to non-oil in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda. He said that despite the challenges encountered by some manufacturers who venture into export, their companies have been making a mark in international markets. “I wish to emphasise that this event has been organised with the aim of bringing together repu-

table companies that had won the NIS certification mark with a view to ensuring that they participate in export business to maximise their potentials,” he said. The NEPC boss who was represented by the director of product development, Henry Otowo, stressed that the huge export potentials of Nigerian manufactured products as revealed by the recent NEPC sponsored exhibitions held in Lome, Togo, Accra, Ghana, and Niamey (Niger) has made the roundtable a necessity. “The feedback from our participation at fairs staged in three countries of the West African region in the last quarter of 2013 showed high levels of on-the-spot sales, which is an indication of the appreciable acceptance of Nigerian products by consumers,” he revealed. He specially praised the efforts of SON and NAFDAC as regulatory agencies that were instrumental in certifying products for the NIS awards and doing work on quality assurance enforcements respectively.

Expert advises FG to deregulate supply of kerosene

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n oil and gas expert, Mr. Ifedayo Jimoh, yesterday advised the Federal Government to deregulate the supply of kerosene to curb corruption in the downstream sector. Jimoh, who is the Managing Director, Oceanport Oil and Gas Ltd., gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos. He said that the deregulation

was necessary because Nigerians were paying more than the approved price for kerosene. “The Federal Government can stop the manipulation of the price by portfolio marketers by total deregulation of the product,’’ he said. Jimoh said that although the government was subsidising price of kerosene, majority of filling stations were selling at more than N100 per litre instead

of the approved price of N50. He said that deregulation was the best solution to stop the exploitation of Nigerians. According to him, middlemen and other players in the industry are taking advantage of government’s gesture to exploit Nigerians. Jimoh said that the deregulation would open up the market and give consumers many options.


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Business & Finance

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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NIMC concludes facility testing for e-ID cards KUNLE A ZEEZ

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he National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, said it had carried out User Acceptance Test on the National Identity Smart Card facility to ensure that it conforms to international standards and best global practices in tune with the defined objective of the identity management project.

The User Acceptance Testing is aimed at meeting the complete requirements as provided by Datacard Group to NIMC, while demonstrating the comprehensive function of the system, which include communication with other sub-systems in NIMC, identifying each citizen by installing personal data and applications on the chip and physical customization of the card to suit each individual. It also includes complete

SEC begins clampdown on illegal fund operators TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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s part of its reform initiative to restore integrity to the nation’s securities market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has commenced sanctioning illegal operators in a national exercise targeted as sanctioning culprits. One of the first casualties of the regulatory onslaught on illegal fund operators is New Nation, a company that is involved in several business engagements, including IT training, whose premises were sealed up in 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in a raid involving officials of the Commission in various locations across the country. The Acting Director Enforcement; SEC, Mr. Eric Elujekor, described the organisation as an illegal fund manager that was not registered with the SEC but existed with the sole aim of deceiving the public. Elujekor disclosed that the SEC had previously sealed off some offices of the company in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Sokoto in the past. He recalled: “It is a company that has so many offices. When we got knowledge of what they say they want to do, we invited the

person in charge to tell us what he was doing. He came here and told us that he had 21 pillars and that was the term he used. And those pillars represent a project that they intend to do and all these pillars are under a conglomerate they called New Nation. “What he said is that at the end of the day when they are able to get people to participate in these pillars, Nigeria will be a New Nation. All the pillars are operating under different names like Women In oil which is a limited liability company on its own, another is called Global Defender which is a limited liability company we have Grey and Strong which is also a limited liability company”, Elujekor added Speaking further, he said the exercise was carried out to ensure that no activity would take place in their premises again and to, as a point of fact, inform the general public to be wary of such organisations and not part with their hard earned money to scammers. SEC officials confirmed that illegal fund management company’s business operations had been located in Lagos, Bauchi, Birni Kebbi, Port Harcourt and other cities and that some of the officials, who had given useful information about the activities of the company, were arrested.

Salary: NLC urges FG to close gaps

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he Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, yesterday, advised the Federal Government to address the salary disparity in the public service. The NLC President, Malam Abdulwaheed Omar, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja. He said “we in the NLC cannot understand why people on the same grade level receive different salaries simply because they are not working in the same organisation. “A situation where some government organisations go home with huge salaries, while others collect peanuts is not acceptable to us. “Government must, there-

fore, ensure parity in the pay of workers to the level that it is comparable to that of their contemporaries.’’ Omar said a committee had already been inaugurated to look into the issues with a view to addressing them. He urged government to narrow the gap in the salary structure to ensure that workers were paid wages that would guarantee them a decent life. The NLC boss said that where workers were poorly paid, the government should expect poor output. He noted that unless the disparity was addressed, government may find it difficult to fight corruption in work places.

delivery of the validated system. Speaking in a statement, the Director General of the Commission, Dr. Chris Onyemenam, said the test case “was necessary to check the Factory Acceptance Test, FAT, and the System Acceptance Test, SAT configuration. Explaining the process of the FAT and the SAT, the Director General noted that ‘test data’ was used to encode on the chip of the e-ID card before it can be printed. “The Smartcard chip encoding applications allows for personal information to be encrypted on the chip of the National Identity Card according to the card profiles, while the machines was used to write names on the card,” he said. He added that the process by which the chip on the card is encoded and data are written on it is called chip encoding. The NIMC boss explained further that the applications cur-

rently encoded on the chip include ICAO/ePassport application, which enables the card to be used as a travel document and the eID application, which is the holders Identity. Others include the PKI application, which ensures that the card conforms to international security standards; the MOC application, which will be used for authenticating and verifying the holder; and the EMV application which allows the card to be used as a payment solution such as an Automated Teller Machine card. According to him, the test case processes were followed carefully to ensure that the National Identity Smart Card are up to global standards and certification before it can be introduced into the market. He said: “The successful SAT, and the subsequent successful UAT were done following a successful EMV Key Ceremony.

“The ePKI Key Ceremony was conducted recently, thus making sure the NIMC have completed the full circle of tests and functional systems deployment to ensure the proper and standardised issuance of the National Identity Smart Card.” The DG added that the next step following the successful User Acceptance Test is the field-testing of the Card, which will commence immediately across Nigeria and globally. The Director General assured that all things being equal, the field tests will take no more than two weeks and by the grace of God, will be very successful. He also assured that persons who have enrolled for their National Identification Number, NIN, will soon be issued their National Identity Smart Card, and called on those yet to be enrolled for their NIN to visit any NIMC enrolment centre close to them to do so.

L-R: GMD/CEO, UBA, Mr. Phillips Oduoza; Mrs. Faith Ikpobe; Mrs. Jumai Oduoza and Deputy Managing Director, UBA Plc, Mr. Apollos Ikpobe, during the annual UBA CEO Awards ceremony organised to reward star performers in Lagos recently.

Arik Air boosts Cotonou, Dakar routes OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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rik Air said it has extended two of its existing routes as the airline continues its expansion programme for the regional West African services. The airline said that starting from March 10,2014, it would add Cotonou to its daily route network by operating the Lagos-Dakar flight via Cotonou, Benin Republic. Also, it said it would from March 10 extend its daily AbujaAccra service to Dakar. Online media statement by the airline’s spokesman, Mr. Ola Adebanji stated that the Lagos-Cotonou-Dakar route would operate daily with the outbound flight departing the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA,

Lagos, at 7:15 pm and arrive at Cotonou International Airport 30 minutes later. He added that the flight would leave Cotonou at 8:30 pm and arrive in Dakar at 11:00 pm. In-bound flight departs Dakar at 11:45 pm and arrives in Cotonou at 4:15 am (next day). The flight leaves Cotonou at 5:00 am arriving Lagos at 5:30 am. The Abuja-Accra-Dakar service, which will also operate daily departs Abuja at 5:00 pm, local time and arrives Kotoka International Airport, Accra at 5:50 pm, local time. The flight continues on to Dakar departing Accra at 6:50pm, local time, arriving Leopold Sédar Senghor International Airport, Dakar at 10:05 pm, local time. The flight thereafter departs Dakar at 1:50 am, next day and

arrives in Accra at 5:05 am, local time. At 6:00 am, the flight departs Accra and arrives in Abuja at 8:50 am, local time. As a result of these developments, Arik Air will be the only carrier offering daily nonstop service to Dakar from Accra and Cotonou each respectively catering for the needs of both the business and leisure passenger market segments. The two routes will be operated using the Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft configured to sit 10 Business Class and 64 Economy class passengers. These routes shall be upgraded to the larger Boeing 737-700 aircraft from the upcoming summer season onwards providing freight forwarders of an additional two tons of belly cargo space to facilitate import and export of commercial goods.


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‘Cargo security critical to achieving Nigeria’s hub port dream’ FRANCIS EZEM

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he Federal Government has said that Nigeria’s desire of emerging a hub seaport for the West and Central African sub-region can only be achieve when stakeholders eliminate all forms of delays and losses to cargo at the ports and terminals. ‘Elimination of delays, losses to cargo critical to Nigeria’s hub seaport dream’ Adopt rules, measures to end cargo loss, delays in Nigeria Minister of Transport, Mallam Idris Umar, who spoke at a one-day stakeholders round table on ‘Cargo exposure to risks of damage, loss and delays at Nigeria’s Ports and terminals’ organised by the Cargo Defence Fund in Lagos, noted that current efforts by the government at making Nigerian ports a transshipment

hub for the sub-region may not be achievable without relevant stakeholders support and cooperation. The CDF is an initiative of the Nigerian Shippers Council to help indigenous importers and exporters pursue claims, protect them against the antics of some fraudulent local and international business transactions and also educate and enlighten them on how best to go about their import and export businesses without having their fingers burnt. According to him, it has been established that there is increase in occurrences of damages, losses and delays to cargoes at Nigerian ports and terminals, which calls for collective and collaborative actions to ensure that cargo exposure to these risks are reduced to the barest minimum. While commending the organizers of the event, Umar noted

that the roundtable will no doubt provide a forum for enhanced dialogue and interaction that will guide the Ministry to the creation of rules, guidelines and regulations to define rights, responsibilities, liabilities, obligations and duties of all players in the industry. According to him, the forum should also dwell on issues relating to procedures for claims, procedures for joint cargo surveys, documentation for claims and penalties or sanctions for noncompliance in line with international best practices. “Eradicating unwholesome practices that presently cause losses, damages and delays at our Ports and terminals will make them attractive for patronage not just to Nigerian importers and exporters but the entire sub-region and therefore truly function as the desired transshipment hub”, the Minister said.

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Group says state of power supply, joblessness deplorable MESHACK IDEHEN

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he President of Business Club Ikeja, BCI, Mr. Suleiman Tella, said the current power supply in the country is highly deplorable, and that the situation has had severe impact on the manufacturing sector and on Nigerians. He said also that declaring a state of emergency on job creation for the teeming unemployed youths in the country is the only solution to the problem of unemployment, saying such move will mean a boost for the nation’s human capital development index to thrive and drive the economy. Tella, who spoke with journalists yesterday, called on the Federal Government to tackle the problem of unemployment in the country headlong, adding that the appalling state of power

Marine surveyor urges importers to use tamperproof seals on containers

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L-R: Guest Lecturer, Mr. Louis Chete; Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Abayomi Adebayo and Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Prof. Olufemi Taiwo, during the seminar on Potential for Diversification of the Nigerian Economy in Ibadan on Tuesday.

CBN urged to intensify surveillance of DMBs credit TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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new study has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to intensify its surveillance of the credit portfolios of Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, in the country as a strategic option of achieving effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of their services in the financial markets. The report titled ‘An Analysis of Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism and the Real Economy in Nigeria’ published on the CBN website also urged reporting financial institutions to continue to supply adequate and quality information than they are currently doing to the regulatory authorities for a much more timely, systematic and vigorous exam-

ination of their operations than hitherto and to ensure improvement in the financial market. The paper, which is authored by Eddy Ndekwu also argued that in order to achieve improved effectiveness and efficiency of the apex bank’s monetary policies, there was need to fine-tune and structurally integrate these monetary policy instruments into the credit channel of the monetary policy transmission mechanism. While commending the CBN for its sundry initiatives to ensure macroeconomic and price stability over the past few years, the report pointed out that there was no way the Bank could achieve most of its desired objectives without working collaborating with the government, especially such as when the fiscal operations component of macro-

economic policy appears a relatively stronger policy handle, by accommodating monetary policy by keeping its MPR low and unchanged for a considerable period of time, depending on the severity of an economic downturn. The report stated: “Financial markets cannot achieve on its own for effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of their services without the regulating and guiding hand of government. This is the main reason why credit quality improvement in the financial market requires that the reporting financial institutions supply adequate and quality information to the regulatory authorities for a much more timely, systematic and vigorous examination of their operations than hitherto.”

supply in Lagos and around the country should be addressed. He said the new investors in the power sector must meet the necessary power supply target that would boost the potential of manufacturers in 2014, saying also that the group is dissatisfied with the dwindling power generation capacity, which is far below the target set by the Federal government for the new owners. The BCI president said it was disheartening to manufacturers in Lagos that despite the huge sums of money that has been sunk into the revamping of the power sector that no significant improvement has been felt by Nigerians. According to him, the club is now praying that the power sector, which is now in private hands lives up to expectation as power represents a major challenge to the real sector and informal sector of the economy.

hief Executive, Seaguard Marine Service Ltd, Lagos, Mr. Monday Ogadina, yesterday advised importers to use tamperproof seals on containers to discourage pilfering. Ogadina, who is a maritime surveyor, said at a forum in Lagos that the sector was losing about 65 per cent of its income to pilferers due to inappropriate sealing of containers. He said that the use of padlock after examination of cargoes should be discouraged. “Statistics have shown that 65 per cent of importers’ income is lost to pilfering. “But when an importer uses tamperproof seal, the rate of pilfering is reduced to about 10

per cent,’’ Ogadina said. He said that goods were expected to be in perfect condition on arrival at the port or warehouse. According to him, this is not the case as many importers have lost billions of naira to inappropriate locks or poor handling before or during off-loading. Ogadina advised shippers to appoint cargo surveyors that would help to check their cargoes in terms of size, weight, content, packing and handling before loading on board a vessel. “Cargo surveyors are loss managers who issue and generate claim documents for quick compensation whenever a loss is occurred.”

CTO tasks Nigeria, others on digital broadcasting switchover KUNLE A ZEEZ

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he Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, CTO, has urged Nigeria and other African countries on the need to ensure they include rural communities in their digital switchover schedules. CTO Secretary-General, Prof. Tim Unwin gave the charge during the ongoing CTO’s 9th Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum Africa in Arusha, Tanzania. The three-day events which started on Tuesday and will ends today (Thursday) is being attended by African broadcasting policymakers and industry leaders to discuss the region’s migration plans to digital terrestrial broad-

casting as the June 2015 deadline draws closer. Unwin urged the broadcasting policymakers in the region to ensure that the most marginalised, especially those living in isolated rural areas, people with disabilities, the elderly, and less affluent groups, are included in their switchover plans for digital broadcasting. Organised this year by the CTO, in collaboration with the Government of United Republic of Tanzania, through its Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, the Forum is taking place on 11 - 13 February 2014 on the theme of “Achieving Africa’s Digital Migration.”


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Info Tech

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Driving local production of IT devices in Nigeria Local production of Information Technology devices in Nigeria by foreign companies has remained a mirage over the years. However, a Ghana-based IT devices manufacturer, RLG Communications, has set up the first phone and laptop manufacturing plant in Nigeria, a development that has huge economic benefits for the country. KUNLE AZEEZ reports.

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igeria is currently adjudged one of the fastest-growing telecoms markets in the world, coupled with a large market of over 170 million population, which is a factor that has continued to drive Information Technology investors into the country. Directly linked to the growth in the industry is the availability of various Information technology and Communication devices such as phones, tables and laptops all of which are imported into the country by foreigners as finished good and to be sold in Nigeria. Meanwhile, as these foreign devices manufacturers sell their IT products, they repatriate money realised to their home countries, underscoring Nigeria as continuous benefactor of economic losses, as the foreign firms’ pattern of business result in huge capital flight for the country. On several occasions, foreign IT devices manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Blackberry, Tecno among others in the category of mobile phones and tables; and companies such as HP, Acer, Dell and others had mulled setting up assembly/production plants in Nigeria but none of them has been able to demonstrate such commitment in the Nigerian economy. Nigeria currently has about 156 million total connected mobile lines which are being used through the availability of mobile devices, even as a telephone line is believed to have been used not less than three devices as different times. In other words, though the line remains the same, subscribers do change their devices from time to time, creating big market demand for IT devices. However, the loss of economic value to wanton importation of IT devices has been assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria even as a large chunk of over $25 billion said to have been invested in the telecoms sector has left the country’s economy through capital flight, since it is understandable that most of the telecoms equipments are imported from abroad with little or no local contents. Studies and experts have also shown that Nigeria, ostensibly because of its being the largest market, has remained at the leading consumer of mobile devices and this will continue in years to come.

Johnson

Chairman, RLG, Mr. Roland Agambire

THE RLG FACILITY HAS CAPACITY TO PRODUCE 5,000 MOBILE PHONES AND 2,500 LAPTOPS PER DAY FOR NIGERIANS AND IT IS FORTIFIED WITH OTHER FACILITIES SUCH AS TRAINING CENTRE, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT LABORATORY AND CORPORATE BUILDING, BIO-GAS TECHNOLOGY, AMONG OTHERS Director, Hand Held Products for Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Emmanouil Revmatas had told National Mirror that 40 per cent of total smartphones sales expected in Africa in 2014 would be sold in Nigeria. According to him, “With the rate of smartphone uptake in the Africa’s most populous country and the drive to make broadband available to more Nigerians, studies have shown that Nigeria will be the largest consumer of total smartphones sales in African next year. “Nigeria has a great potential for data-enables phones uptake. Studies have shown that, of the total smartphones to be recorded in Africa in 2014, Nigeria will have no less than 40 per cent of consumption,” he said. National Mirror learnt that though the government realised the economic imperatives of foreign IT manufacturers that do businesses in Nigeria to set up assembly plants in the country, there, however, is apparent lack of political will to make this possible. This is why stakeholders in the country have continued to commend the decision by Ghana-based RL Communications, a phone-manufacturing firm, to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria where it would be producing both mobile phones and laptops in Nigeria has been hailed as a laudable effort that would help in transforming the Nigeria’s economy. The RLG $50 million Information and Communication Technology, ICT, factory

which was recently commissioned in Ilesa, Osun State and named Adulawo Technology City, would bring great fortune not only to the people of the state built the whole of Nigeria as RLG said it has come to produces devices for all Nigerians. Earlier last year, before the commissioning of the factory, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, had noted that the RLG victory, which is a joint venture between the company and Osun State government for the manufacturing of laptops, tablets and mobile phones would “create a lot of value for the economy.” In addition, the minister stated then that another company called MiFonea, which is based in Mauritius with operations in 14 other African countries, is at an advanced stage of entry into this market with a plan to setup a $30 million facility to assemble feature phones and smart phones. But beyond setting up a factory to manufacture devices, the RLG factory would bring many economic opportunities for Nigeria in the area of technology transfer, employment generation, bio-gas technology, among others. Speaking during a facility tour of the ultra-modern RGL factory recently, the Country Director of the company, Mr. Tosin Illesanmi, said the decision to set up the factory was made to provide opportunity for some of the 5, 000 youths trained in Osun State sometime in 2011-2012 to

use their acquired IT skills to manufacture IT devices for Nigeria. This, he said, was in addition to having stable power situation in the area, which has also informed the siting of the factory in Ilesa, where the government of the state also provided the company with a land to build its factory. “We would not have come to Nigeria to do business without skilled and well trained people to work with. But since we have trained many people in Osun, we felt we are good to come to Nigeria to do business and the quality of the training we gave them will transform into the quality of product that RLG would be producing,” he said. Conducting journalists round the facility, National Mirror saw that the factory has employed over 100 young Nigerians, who resume and close at the factory and close daily handling two production lines- one for mobile devices and the other for laptops. The RLG facility, Illesanmi, said has capacity to produce 5,000 mobile phones and 2,500 laptops per day and it is fortified with other facilities such as training centre, research and development, R&D, laboratory and corporate building, biogas technology, among others. Ambitiously, RLG, which currently has five regional distributors for its products in Port Harcourt, Lagos, Benin, Abuja and Kano with a Service Centre in Osogbo, said it was also rolling out what it called ‘Enterprise Kiosks, which will be given to those that RLG had trained who will be able to do repairs of RLG devices and other brand of devices, as well as having stock of RLG products. “Due to the power situation in the country, we have designed the Kiosks with solar technology and we have first of 1,000 of such to be delivered. The value the kiosks will give to the beneficiary is worth N800, 000. In the Kiosk, they will do repair and also sell RLG products. There is therefore a repayment scheme that will be facilitated by a microfinance institution. To us, this is empowerment for Nigerians,” Illesanmi said. He said RLG is in talk with some of the telecoms firms in Nigeria to strike phone-manufacturing deal with them while we also avail ourselves the opportunity to key into the various ICTrelated projects of government institutions and private orgainsations across the country. “In particular, we know there is a universal clamour for ICT to drive education all over the world and in Nigeria, we would ensure we work with stakeholders and the general market at large to produce IT devices that can help drive education even as we keep training Nigeria in the latest IT skills that make them competitive as global citizens,” he said. Industry watchers say with its establishment in Ghana, Zambia and now in Nigeria and its gradual incursion into other Africa countries, RLG may emerge as one of the IT companies that shape the face of ICT exploits in the Africa continent through its inventions to drive RLG as an African brand made for the global market.


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Tech Box

2.3GHz spectrum auction Nokia launches 6-inch smartphones process on course –NCC A STORIES: KUNLE A ZEEZ

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igeria’s telecoms umpire, the Nigerian Communications Commission, has assured stakeholders in the nation’s telecoms sector that the ongoing auction process of 2.3GHz spectrum band was on course as planned. The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who stated this in Abuja said, “We have a timetable that we follow and I can assure you that we have been carrying out all activities regarding the auction in line with the time table which we have rolled out.” A spectrum auction is a process whereby a government uses an auction system to sell the rights (licences) to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum and to assign scarce spectrum resources. According to Juwah, who as-

sured industry stakeholders the auction process would be as transparent as possible; the Commission had prepared Information Memorandum on 2.3GHZ spectrum auction, which every interested stakeholder can read to have better understanding of how the whole exercise will be run. “We don’t do things haphazardly at NCC. We follow rules, regulations and enabling laws to carry out our activities in order to continue to instil investors’ confidence in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector. We would continue to ensure transparent regulatory regime as well as engendering conducive environment where a level -playing ground is provided for all players to thrive,” he said. The challenge of low broadband penetration that the NCC decided to address through its ongoing activities to license fresh spectrum that will be used in deploying broadband services

which will help businesses and individuals in the area of efficiency and productivity. In spite of the over 10 terabytes of bandwidth capacity available in the country, made possible by the landing of international submarine/ fibre optic cables such as Glo 1, Main One and the West Africa Cable System, broadband internet penetration is still at 6 per cent. Throughout 2013, consultations on the best approach to license the remaining block of the 2.3 GHz spectrum in a way that will produce maximum economic value for government and the telecoms consumers, whose demand for broadband services has refuse to wane in recent years. Licensing of the remaining 30MHz of the 2.3GHz spectrum, it was leant, is predicated on demands by operators for additional spectrum to enable the provision of wireless broadband services in line with international trends.

global mobile devices manufacturer, Noki, has introduced its first 6-inch Lumia smartphones into the Nigerian market; the Lumia 1520, Nokia’s top of the range Windows Phone and the affordable Lumia 1320. To compliment the launch of both devices, Nokia has kicked off the Storyteller Competition, which would allow people share inspirational stories of friendship and get the opportunity to win an all expense paid trip to London. According to the company y, with a 6 inch 1080p Full HD screen, the Lumia 1520 has an enhanced start screen featuring an additional 3rd column of live tiles, allowing people to get to their favourite apps faster with

less scrolling. It also features a 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilisation, oversampling technology and zooming capabilities, which can easily capture and edit high quality pictures and tell better stories. Speaking on both devices, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Nokia West and Central Africa, Mr Olumide Balogun, noted that the introduction of the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 will revolutionise the Smart phone market and boost Nokia’s competitive edge in the “phablet” category. He said both devices are designed with the latest “Lumia Black” software, which is an update of the windows 8 operating system.

Ericsson supports local innovation

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s the deadline for the Ericsson Application Awards looms, Ericsson said it has received a significant number of entries for the global competition from the sub-Saharan Africa region. Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Shiletsi Makhofane, said Africa is a mobile continent and mobile application development is becoming one of the continent’s next big industries. He said new behaviour and emerging technologies are changing how work is organised, even as he said that this year’s competition focuses on apps that will define the next generation of working life. The theme of the 2014 competition is Apps for Working Life, in support of Ericsson’s vision of

the Networked Society in which, through a combination of mobility, broadband, the cloud, applications and services, anything and everything is connected. According to Makhofane, the competition, whose deadline for application submissions is February 28, 2014, “will also address how apps can help in daily working life both now and in the future; how do we contribute to making the next generation of working life an environment where people can better innovate, collaborate and balance life outside work?” Kenyan team, MedAfrica, won the 2012 global Ericsson Application Awards for the mobile application which seeks the health of communities and regions in Africa by increasing access to health-care related information and services.

MTN, Shoprite sign partnership

L-R: Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Mr. Guy Clarke; Information Technology Manager, Hullblyth Nigeria Limited, Mr. Femi Ogunsusi and Product Manager, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Mr. Abu Etu, at a customer forum organised by Vodacom in Lagos recently.

Telecoms firms decry insecurity in the North-East

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elecoms companies in Nigeria have lamented that the insecurity in the Northeastern part of the country is preventing them, from carrying out their operations in the region effectively. The operators in 2012 had more than 30 of their base stations bombed by suspected terrorists and since then, the insecurity in the region has remained unabated. The increasing spate of the insurgency in the region covering has led to the declaration of state of emergency by the Federal Government in such states as Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the declaration which continue to subsist. National Mirror learnt that the increasing spate of insecurity in the area continues has been pre-

venting telecoms operators from carrying out repair effort of most of the base stations that were damaged during the unprecedented bombings of telecoms base stations by insurgents. Though about 30 base stations were damaged during the 2012 attack, some of the base stations were control towers, whose damage also affected several other base stations connected to the control towers. Between 2012 and now, telecoms firms have been facing continuing insecurity challenges, which have prevented them from carrying out major repairs on their damaged facilities. Telecoms companies in Nigeria currently have about 27, 000

base stations across the country. Of the figure, MTN has over 10, 000 while the other telecoms firms share the remaining 17,000. According to MTN’s Corporate Service Executive, Mr. Wale Goodluck, “In total, about 106 base stations belong to MTN in the NorthEast are not working now because of the attack and the prevalent insecurity in the area which prevents us from maintaining those not damaged.” Also in telephone interview, the Chairman, Association Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo also confirmed that the endemic insecurity level in the region has been affecting the operations of ALTON members in the region.

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Nigerian telecoms service provider, MTN, has partnered with Africa’s biggest grocer, Shoprite Retail Supermarkets, to avail subscribers its products and services at all Shoprite outlets nationwide. MTN, in a statement, said this new move is in continuation of its drive to enhance service delivery to its customers across the country. With this partnership, customers can top up their airtime with the MTN VTU Plus service and purchase data bundle in a more convenient manner while doing their regular shopping. Customers also have access to MTN’s product and services in a more structured and serene ambience. Speaking at the formal launch of the service, MTN Sales and Distribution Executive, Mr. ‘Tsola Barrow, said the partnership with the leading retailer across the country is a product of MTN’s commitment to explore different

ways of taking service closer to its customers and improving customer experience. “The MTN-Shoprite partnership is built around providing our customers with a good shopping experience by providing airtime within the environment where they shop for their groceries and personal items,” Barrow said. Also speaking at the launch, Financial Director, Shoprite Retail Supermarkets, Nigeria, Mr. Mubanga Muche, said that Shoprite is pleased to be partnering with MTN because offering customers everything they want under one roof is the vision of the retailer. “We are very excited about this partnership as we continue to improve on the shopping experience of our customers. Customers can practically do all their shopping under one roof, including purchasing airtime with so much ease,” Muche said.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Brands & Marketing

Thursday, February 13, 2014

37

Valentine’s sales lull hits gift shop owners Barely 24 hours to Valentines Day, expectations of high sales of gift items are being dashed as gifts shops owners bemoan poor sales. ADEJUWON OSUNNUYI reports.

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alentine’s Day is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world with gifts being purchased and given to loved ones. For most shop owners, the Valentine season is considered as a period of making brisk sales as they stock their stalls with gift items such as red flowers, alcoholic drinks, red dresses and under wears, hampers and Valentine Cards anticipating higher patronage. However, with this year’s Valentine day around the corner, and barely just a day to the red-letter day, most traders have been lamenting low patronage. A visit to the expansive Ikeja City Mall, Lagos on Tuesday, February 11 by National Mirror correspondent showed that though the number of shoppers at various shops within the mall was quite intimidating, but retailers complained that most of them were merely on window shopping as only few of them were actual buyers. Some shop attendants at the mall complaining about the low patronage of gifts and souvenirs ahead of the Valentine’s Day celebration said customers hardly came around to buy valentine gifts, saying patronage for the past few days had been bad. Though market survey reveals significant price increase of gifts and souvenirs in the open market but it seems to have remained constant at shopping malls as most of the retailers of electronic, cloths, wines among others already have fixed price from the beginning of the year. However, most of the shop attendants complained that demand has been sluggish. A market survey showed that items such as fresh roses cost about N1500, while heart-shaped cakes goes for about N2,000, UK cards from N500 and valentine hampers starting from N5,000. According to a female clerk at Shoprite, Ikeja City Mall, who pleaded anonymity, most people come into the mall, move around the shelves but only few of them make purchases. She however noted that there has been significant purchase from shoppers who belong to the upper class of the market segment. “Many people walk in, buy few things and walk out but we observe that some upper class customers make huge purchases while some people just window shop,” she said. Madam Helen Ngege, a shop owner within the mall told National Mirror that she had not sold any of her Valentine items since she opened her shop in

A man buying valentine card in Lagos

the morning, adding that customers only asked of prices of items but did not buy. She said she only hoped patronage would improve on the D-day. At Perfect Party shop, one of the shops where special Valentine gift items are sold at the mall, an attendant who declined giving her name said she was hoping patronage would improve before Friday, saying: “As you can see, most of these stock were specially purchase for the Valentine season and we must sell them before Friday. We have invested in these products and if they are not bought by Friday, we would lose some of our investment.” She said most people only asked of the prices and leave without buying, saying “They often ask of the price and when you tell them, they either make a quick u-turn promising to be back soon or in some cases pointedly complained that the price is too high”. Mrs. Bisi Jolaoso, a shop owner at Shoprite, Adeniran Ogunsanya St., Surulere, attributed the lull in sales to the resumption of schools in January affecting the incomes of families who had to pay school fees whilesome tenants also pay their house rentsat the beginning of the year. “There are a lot of Valentine items we

T HE

have in stock, but people are only coming in trickles to buy,” Jolaoso said. She noted that women were buying the gift items more than men, adding that most of the items being bought included shirts, ties and cufflinks for men. In its bid to lure more customers to do more shopping, National Mirror observed that a Promo by Ikeja Shopping mall tagged Special Valentine promo in which shoppers are encouraged to be one of the 13 lucky winners to win fantastic prices from any of the stores by simply making shopping of about N25,000 or above and qualified for a raffle ticket, only very few tickets were seen dropped in the box at one of the entrants. According to the promo, while the grand price is for winner to make a trip to either South Africa or Kenya, the winner could also take $1,500 in lieu of the trip. Second and third winners are entitled to $900 and $600 shopping spree respectively. According to Mr. Benjamin Ogunniyi, one of the shoppers, though most Nigerians are aware of the importance of the day, the present economic situation in the country might rob them from participating as they would have loved to. However, aside from the high cost, there are those who said they did not see anything unique about Valentine’s Day,

GREETING CARDS ARE NO MORE AS

MARKETABLE AS THEY USED TO BE IN THE

1980S . I

GUESS IT IS MAINLY BECAUSE

OF THE EMERGENCE OF

GSM

SOCIAL MEDIA

AND THE

hence no need of making any special shopping. Ms Bolanle Yeye, a student, for instance, said she did not see anything unique about Valentine’s Day because she was more concerned about her studies. She said she heard most of her colleagues talking about it but had given very little attention to it and would not mind if she did not receive any gift from anyone. Mr. Alex Fadesemi, a teacher said although he was aware of Valentine’s Day, he was yet to decide on what to buy for his wife, but was sure he would definitely surprise her with a gift. Meanwhile, greeting cards which have been the traditional item identified with the day might have been the worst hit as sellers complained bitterly that over the years there have been low patronage as sending of text messages as well as the social media might have drastically reduced its patronage. “The greeting cards are no more as marketable as they used to be in the 1980s. I guess it is mainly because of the emergence of GSM and the social media,” Solomon Ude, a card seller at Ojuelegba noted. Ude said that the new options available on the internet, particularly those based on the social media, have been killing the market for cards. He said that cards were expensive, because of the cost of materials, so people are no longer patronizing them as before. “Most card sellers are beginning to move to other businesses because people are losing interest in cards too quickly,” he said.


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Brands & Marketing

Thursday, February 13, 2014

BATN lauds Lagos lawmakers over balanced Public Place Smoking law ADEJUWON OSUNNUYI

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he recent passage into law of the Lagos State Public Place Smoking Bill has drawn commendations from British American Tobacco Nigeria and sundry stakeholders who described the new law as balanced. They praised the new Law for accommodating the views of all stakeholders whilst also maintaining its responsibility to protect the citizens of Lagos State from the effects of second hand smoking. The Public Place Smoking Law which was passed by the Lagos State House Assembly on Monday the 20th of January 2014, has been sent to the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola for assent. The Head of Regulatory Affairs of British American Tobacco, Mr. Sola Dosunmu, welcoming the passage of the law, said it express-

ly seeks to protect the non-smoking public from tobacco smoke and also guarantees the adult cigarette smokers’ right to continue to enjoy the smoking of a legal product in private places, open places and in other designated smoking areas in hotels, bars, nightclubs and tertiary institutions. According to Dosunmu, “We have studied the law and we particularly like the fact that it is not excessive or discriminatory. It is balanced and respects choices.” He praised the Lagos State House of Assembly for taking on board the views of the owners of hotels, bar, lounges and café owners who advocated for the inclusion of designated smoking areas in the law. To Dosunmu, also commendable was the introduction of six months grace period for these owners to implement any changes envisaged under the new law as to do otherwise would have crippled their businesses even though he

was of the view that a 12-month grace period was more realistic and in tune with international standards. Debunking the insinuation that the tobacco industry was opposed to the passage of the law, he reiterated that the tobacco industry has always advocated the passage of balanced, evidenced led and workable laws. This he opined, the Lagos State House of Assembly has to a large extent achieved by the passage of this Law. The law stipulates the penalties for smoking in a “no-smoking area” at N10, 000 fine or imprisonment for a term not less than one month and not exceeding three months or both. The Law also stipulates the penalty for non-compliance by owner/occupier of a “no-smoking area” at N100, 000 or six month imprisonment or other non-custodial punishments that the judge may deem fit.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Temperature indicator bottle hits Nigerian beer market TERH AGBEDEH

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igerian Breweries has introduced Star Lite, Nigeria’s first ever lite beer packaged in a temperature indicator bottle. Introduced in Lagos at a special trade event for key partners and distributors, it is a first of its kind innovation in the beer market. There was excitement in the atmosphere complimented by a dance performance by the DNMT crew dancing to upbeat contemporary tracks as the new Star Lite was revealed. Guests could not hide their awe as Walter Drenth, Marketing Director of Nigerian Breweries

Nokia unveils first 6 inch Smartphones in Nigeria ADEJUWON OSUNNUYI

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L-R: Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited, Mr. Ben Langat; NBC Port Harcourt Commercial Territory Dealer, Princess Ngozi Okpala; NBC Apapa Territory Commercial Dealer, Mrs. Raymond Akwumuka and National Commercial Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, Mr. Matthieu Seguin, at the 2014 NBC Commercial Convention in Lagos, at the weekend.

Why Diamond Bank dumped TPT ADEJUWON OSUNNUYI

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acts have emerged over the decision of Diamond Bank Plc in parting ways with its public relations agency, TPT International. In late 2012, Diamond Bank Plc had appointed TPT international as its PR agency. TPT, it was gathered, emerged the preferred agency based on its creative direction during the pitch and its clear interpretation of the brief. Indeed, it was a very keen contest according to our sources, as all the agencies gave a good account of themselves. While TPT International had been handling the bank’s account for about a year ago, findings revealed that in recent time,

the bank has “not been satisfied” with the performance of the Magodo, Lagos based PR agency. A source in Diamond Bank, confirming the break in relationships, noted that there had been series of complaints about the agency from the media, which the lender was not pleased with. The agency had emerged from a highly competitive pitch process that involved four top leading PR agencies selected for the pitch, which included; The Quadrant Company Nigeria, Mediacraft Associates and C&F Porter Novelli. Diamond Bank’s media relation business now resides with John Ehiguese-led Mediacraft, which was said to have come second at the pitch that brought in TPT.

TPT started business in February 1998 with only one client, Rothmans of Pall Mall and has since grown into the leading public relations solutions provider to top brands that spread across various sectors of the Nigerian economy. In recognition of its performance, it has been named the PR Company of the year several times in the last 10 years in various awards organised for PR agencies. Those on its list of clienteles include the Federal Government of Nigeria, Cross Rivers State, BAT, Pfizer, FinBank, Lagos Lotto, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Procter & Gamble West Africa, British Council, MTN Foundation, Starcomms, Mastercard, IBM, Promasidor Nigeria Limited and many others.

took them on a journey through the production of the refreshingly new beer. The new Star Lite is made with 100 per cent natural ingredients and contains up to 40 per cent less calories compared to standard lager beers. The all new ice cold filtered and extra cold brewed Star Lite comes with a special cold protection crown cork that locks in the coldness inside the bottle. Speaking at the exclusive launch event, Dren said, “STAR continues to set the trend in innovation.” “This is just the beginning”, he said, “There’s so much more in store for 2014 and we will be announcing them in the most unpredictable ways.”

okia has announced the introduction of its first 6-inch Lumia smartphones into the Nigerian market; the Lumia 1520, Nokia’s top of the range Windows Phone and the affordable Lumia 1320. To compliment the launch of both devices, Nokia has kicked off the Storyteller Competition which would allow people share inspirational stories of friendship and get the opportunity to win an all expense paid trip to London. With a 6 inch 1080p Full HD screen, the Lumia 1520 has an enhanced start screen featuring an additional 3rd column of live

tiles, allowing people to get to their favourite apps faster with less scrolling. It also features a 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilisation, oversampling technology and zooming capabilities which can easily capture and edit high quality pictures and tell better stories. Speaking on both devices, Mr. Olumide Balogun, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Nokia West and Central Africa noted that the introduction of the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 will revolutionize the Smart phone market and boost Nokia’s competitive edge in the “phablet” category. He said both devices are designed with the latest “Lumia Black” software which is an upadate of the windows 8 operating system.

CSR: Etisalat, Thistle Praxis partner to lift education sector

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s part of its commitment to advancing educational development in Nigeria and Africa, fastest growing and most innovative telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria, recently co-hosted experienced leaders in the education sector to engage in frank, productive and solution-oriented conversations at the just concluded 4th edition of Thistle Praxis Consulting Sustainable Conversations in Lagos. Speaking at the event, the Director, Leadership and Organisation Development, Etisalat Nigeria, Rabi Isma, said that Etisalat is committed to the sustainable development of education-oriented initiatives that brings private and public sectors together to talk

and share positive ideas on how to address critical global challenges, especially in Africa where the factors hampering the development of education are diverse. “At Etisalat Nigeria, we believe that education is the bedrock of development. We are passionate about equipping today’s populace with the educational skills and knowledge required to ensure a sound future for Nigerians. We believe that a sustained strategic approach must be embraced, rather than flash-in-the-pan projects that ultimately do not contribute as much to the wellbeing of the educational sector in particular and the nation in general,” she said.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Brands & Marketing

Thursday, February 13, 2014

39

Glitz, glamour at the annual UBA CEO Awards 2014

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L-R: Regional Business Manager, Mr. Moses Ogbodo; Sales Director, Nigerian Breweries, Mr Hubert Eze and Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries.3 Mr. Walter Drenth, at the launch of Lite Star in Lagos recently.

New TVC to drive Chivita’s fruit juice campaign C hi Limited’s new communication campaign for Chivita Premium fruit juice is attracting interest in marketing communication circles and amongst consumers. The television commercial, which has duration of 45 seconds, urges consumers not to settle for less than the best. The radio jingle however rhetorically asks consumers if they would settle for less than 100 per cent fruit juice and the response to the question is obviously negative. Chivita fruit juice campaign has attracted the attention of communications experts for its adherence to the principles of great advertising as well. This is no mean feat when skepticism over the claims that

the fruit juice in the package retains its natural flavour and contains no added sugar, no preservative and no added colours are considered In the words of a banker who is also mother of four children, Mrs. Ogechi Eze, “The new television commercial from Chivita Premium fruit juice is a brilliant effort. Generally for me, a television commercial or radio jingle has to score high in two areas to be memorable: sheer entertainment value and thought-provoking ability”. For Rotimi Balogun a company executive, “the radio jingle comes with some elements of news and credibility, a factor in great advertising”. Chivita Premium fruit juice beat the odds to become a major player in the juice market in Ni-

geria, winning loyal consumers across different age groups and taste with its variant offerings which include Apple, Orange, Pineapple and Orange -Mango and Orange-Pineapple through its great advertising. It has become the generic name for juices in the Nigerian market According to the Chi Limited’s Managing Director, Mr. Roy Deepanjan, “For us at Chi Limited, we take into cognisance the fact that an advert should address a need, demonstrate how the product meets the need, and do it in a compelling, memorable way. It is our desire that the new television commercial and radio jingle resonates with our consumers’ point of view and delivers a message that they can easily relate with; and they can trust.”

t was a night of fun, entertainment and rewards on February 8 when UBA employees from Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world converged with other stakeholders at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, to celebrate exceptional members of staff in the just concluded 2013 financial year. The annual UBA CEO Awards ceremony as it has come to be known is held every year to celebrate staff members that perform exceptionally well in the past financial year. Since 2008, when the first edition of the UBA CEO awards was held, it has become a landmark celebration in the annual calendar of the financial institution. GMD/CEO of the UBA Group, Mr. Phillips Oduoza, said the awards ceremony was most deserving because of the hard work and dedication to duty by staff members during the year. According to him though the full year financials of the bank are yet to be made public, the bank going by its third quarter results did very well in 2013. “It is only proper for us to gather and publicly celebrate our star performers in the presence of all stake holders and customers who have been a pillar of support” he said. Oduoza, who gave out letters of commendation plaques and cash rewards, to the award recipients, noted that the event was part of the best-place-towork policy initiative of UBA and a people strategy geared towards engaging, motivating and rewarding employees. The award categories on the night include; Most Profitable Regional Bank in Nigeria based on absolute Profit Before Tax

figures, Most Profitable Division based on absolute Profit before Tax figures, African Country with the highest deposit growth, Branch with the highest NonPublic sector deposit in Nigeria, Regional Bank with the highest trade volume in Nigeria , Country Subsidiary with the highest trade volume in Nigeria and African Country with the highest absolute Profit before Tax. Customer focused awards were also given at the awards including; the Marketing staff with the best service culture in Nigeria, the Non-Marketing staff with the best service culture in Nigeria as well as the country subsidiary with the best service culture in Africa outside Nigeria. Oduoza assured that UBA has continued to post strong financial performance in 2013, despite the increasingly challenging environment due to the dedication and contribution of its exceptional workforce. “Our first, second and third quarter financial results shows the bank’s resilience. Our African subsidiaries are increasingly adding value to our operations currently contributing about 25 per cent of balance sheet size and on target to hit 50 per cent contribution to balance sheet.” Responding on behalf of the award recipients Regional bank Head, Akwa Ibom, Chukwuekezie Magnus, commended the board and management for placing great premium on its people. Magnus said, “UBA is the one of the best places to work because the bank provides a non-discriminatory, robust and effective career management framework for its staff.”

Brands should give consumers compelling experiences

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rand should not only be adept at the art of Customer Relationship Management but it should also fit in into the customers’ lives. The information gather from identifying preferences, habits and behavioural pattern of the customers should utilize judiciously. This is because there should be a closer look at the broad context within which consumers purchase a particular product or patronize a service. Beyond brand offerings and marketing strategies to deepen market penetration, companies should also take a key consideration of how their brands fit into the lives of their consumers. Consumers would not also have affinity with such brands. Consumers need to have a compelling experience that builds brand loyalty in their minds. It is

the experience consumers have that builds in brand on their minds. The totality of the experience that the consumers have goes a long way in entrenching the brands on their minds. The customers experience should be consistent as this is the only way brands can touch consumers’ lives. This way, consumers have an expectation of what the brand is going to deliver every time. Customers have different preferences when they patronise a particular service. The different scenarios that play out during customer purchase should not be underestimated. This is one major reason why there is the need to have a proper understanding of the customers’ needs and expectations. A brand cannot just provide generic services to customers

Brand X-Ray with Ayodeji Ayopo Tel: 08023448199 E-mail: mayomipo@yahoo.com without factoring their individual differences into the process. When there is detailed understanding of customers experiences, a company develops creative and innovative ways to exceed consumer expectations. One thing that is equally important is meeting the supportive needs of the consumers. Some consumers have specific reason for purchasing a product and all these should be looked into to create unique and compelling

experiences for the consumers. When brands revolve round consumers lives, relationship is strengthened as unique brand is created. Information provided by consumers will be used to touch base with them thereby building strong affinity with the brand. It also provides veritable avenue to understand customers’ preferences and understudy other altitudinal disposition. Companies will also be able to integrate their busi-

ness integration process effectively by including the needs and expectations of the customers. Customers’ experience of any brand is very important and when companies focus on this, it enhances customers’ satisfaction and ultimately increases patronage. Insights generated from the interaction with customers go a long way in having in depth understanding about the needs and expectations of the customers. Customer loyalty is also strengthened while customers maintain both physical and emotional attachment to the brand. This gives the brand a significant edge in the market place. It is also a potent tool to gain competitive advantage by proactively integrating customers’ experiences into the brands’ life.


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Bank of England points to 2015 rate rise, blurs guidance T T

G20 to focus on four ways to boost economic growth

he Bank of England said on Wednesday British interest rates could start to rise from record lows in little more than a year as a rapid recovery brings the economy closer to operating at full steam. Governor Mark Carney - forced to ditch a previous version of rates guidance after it was overtaken by a sharp fall in unemployment – also announced the Bank would now follow a much broader range of measures of slack in the economy in making rates decisions. The BoE slashed interest rates to 0.5 per cent at the height of the financial crisis in 2009. The economy bounced back strongly last year but remains smaller than before the crisis and Carney stressed any increase in rates would be gradual. “The message to businesses, to households is that the Bank rate is going to follow a path that is consistent with jobs, with incomes and with spending growing in a sustainable way,” he said. “We are going to calibrate it carefully. We are not going to take risks with this recovery.” The central bank said a view in financial markets that rates could rise in the second quarter of next year - around the time of a national election - was consistent with its goal to keep inflation close to its 2 per cent target. It also pointed to market expectations that its interest rate would

stand at 2 per cent in three years’ time, a timeframe supported by a Reuters poll of economists taken after the BoE announcement. Sterling hit a two-week high against the dollar and British government bond prices fell after the Bank’s announcement as investors added to bets on a rate hike next year. The Bank said it will focus on 18 separate measures of the spare capacity in Britain’s economy, including business surveys and the number of hours worked, something economists said would make it hard to guess the BoE’s next moves. The array of indicators contrasted with the guidance adopted by the BoE last August when it said it would consider whether to raise borrowing costs only once unemployment fell to 7 per cent. The jobless rate has since tumbled to 7.1 per cent. The BoE forecast said yesterday it will reach 6.5 per cent in early 2015. “When Bank Rate does begin to rise, the appropriate path so as to eliminate slack over the next two to three years and keep inflation close to the target is expected to be gradual,” the Bank said. The BoE for the first time estimated how much slack is in the economy - around 1.0-1.5 per cent of gross domestic product, lower than some other economists’ estimates. Deputy Governor Charlie Bean said rates would need to rise be-

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron

fore the spare capacity was completely used up, or the central bank would risk being behind the curve. The BoE’s dilemma is shared with other central banks in advanced economies that are healing from the crisis. The U.S. Federal Reserve is struggling with how to scale back exceptionally stimulative monetary policy without slowing the recovery too much. The BoE’s latest approach to explaining the policy path ahead represents a partial return to the situation before the adoption of forward guidance last year. Then, economists scrutinised small changes in the Bank’s inflation forecasts for signals about whether policy was too loose or too tight.

Germany domestic demand to drive 2014 growth

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erman economic growth will gather speed this year as domestic demand strengthens, but foreign trade will weigh on the export-oriented economy for a second straight year, the Economy Ministry said yesterday. Europe’s largest economy, which grew strongly during the early years of the euro zone cri-

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

sis but has since slowed, will expand by 1.8 per cent this year, the ministry said in its annual report. That is more than four times faster than in 2013. Berlin had previously forecast growth of 1.7 per cent for this year. Shipments abroad will climb by 4.1 per cent, after a subdued performance in 2013. Imports will rise even more - by some 5.0 per cent - so foreign trade will deduct 0.1 per centage points from gross domestic product, GDP, growth, the ministry said. That should slightly reduce Germany’s current account surplus. A smaller surplus would deflect some of the criticism that Germany relies too much on exports for growth and has not done enough to foster domestic demand, which would help struggling euro zone states. Businesses and consumers at home will be the economy’s bright spot this year. Private consumption, which boosted growth in 2013, is expected to increase by

1.4 per cent as German workers benefit from an increase in employment to a record 42.1 million this year and a nominal 2.7 per cent jump in earnings. Given such favorable conditions, private households should spend noticeably more on consumption and home building, the ministry said. Moderate inflation and low interest rates at banks should also discourage traditionally frugal Germans from saving rather than spending. Separately, GfK market research group said on Wednesday that the spending of private households would climb by 1.5 per cent in real terms in 2014, compared with an increase of 0.5 to 1.0 per cent for the European Union as a whole. Investment is also expected to rebound after falling in 2013. The Economy Ministry forecasts spending on equipment will rise by 4.0 per cent while spending on building will increase by 3.2 per cent.

he world’s financial leaders will focus on four ways to boost global economic growth when they meet next week in Sydney but the discussion may be overshadowed by emerging market concerns over U.S. monetary policy, a G20 official said. Finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 biggest developing and advanced economies, G20, will discuss what changes to fiscal and monetary policies and what structural reforms could make the world economy grow faster than now. The four areas of focus under Australia’s chairmanship will be investment, employment, trade and competition. “The ministers will decide in Sydney on a number of objectives to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth ... and the degree of ambition they want: if there should be some numerical outcomes or not,” the official, involved in preparations for the meeting, said. “You would have a number of scenarios - if we continue with

current policies we will go this way, if we do a number of structural reforms and we close the output gap faster we could take a different route, etc.,” the official said. The talks may be complicated by turmoil in emerging markets, which started in January because of market concern that economic growth in the world’s second biggest economy China would be slower than expected and that the U.S. Federal Reserve would tighten policy more quickly than thought. As capital flowed out of emerging markets, the central banks of Turkey, South Africa, India and Brazil raised interest rates to curb a currency depreciation that could lead to higher inflation. The policy moves will do nothing to help economic growth in these countries. “If you want to have investment you have lower interest rates, but if you want to keep capital you have to raise interest rates - they are caught in a no-win situation,” the G20 official said.

India retail inflation slows to two-year low, output falls

I

ndia’s retail inflation slowed to a two-year low in January, providing some relief to the ruling Congress party ahead of national polls, but a third straight fall in industrial output in December offered little hope for an economic rebound. Opinion polls ahead of the elections -expected between April and May- predict major losses for the ruling party, in part for its failure to control inflation and revive an economy that is growing at around its slowest pace in a decade. Cooler food prices helped bring down the overall retail inflation to 8.79 per cent last month, its lowest level since January 2012. But core retail inflation remained sticky at around eight per cent, which new Reserve Bank of India, RBI, chief Raghuram Rajan has deemed uncomfortably high. Persistently high inflation prompted Rajan to raise interest rates last month, the third hike since September, even though economic growth has been stuck around a decade-low of 4.5 per cent for four quarters. He is due to review rates in April. “We will continue to see some comfort on the inflation trajectory front in the next couple of months,” said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes bank in Mumbai. “The risk of a rate hike in

Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh

April does not exist unless there is a very sharp negative surprise in core CPI (retail inflation) data in the next reading in March.” Last month, a central bank panel proposed revamping its policymaking structure by setting a long-term retail inflation target of 4 per cent, plus or minus 2 per cent. In the intermediate term, it proposed the goal would be to bring it down to 8 per cent by January 2015 and 6 per cent by January 2016. Food inflation slowed to 9.90 per cent, sharply lower than 12.16 per cent in December, helped by a 13 per cent fall in vegetable prices as supplies improved following a bumper harvest.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

41

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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42

Capital Market

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Equities slide 0.4% as naira falls to lowest since 2011 JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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rading in equities closed on a bearish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as more investors sold their holdings. The All Share Index dropped 0.43 per cent to close at 40,278.61 points, compared with the decline of 0.48 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 40,453.61 points. Market capitalisation shed N56bn to close at N12.911trn, lower than the depreciation of N62bn recorded the preceding day to close at 40,453.61 points. 7UP Plc led the gainers’

table with N7.67 or 10.23 per cent to close at N82.64 per share, followed by Transnational Express Plc with 23 kobo or 9.91 per cent to close at N2.55 per share. UBA Capital Plc gained 17 kobo or 7.62 per cent to close at N2.40 per share, while UAC Properties Plc added N1.06 or 5.30 per share to close at N21.05 per share. Courtville Plc was up four kobo or 5.19 per cent to close at 81 kobo per share. Japaul Plc lost four kobo or 6.78 per cent to close at 55 kobo per share, while GNI Plc dropped five kobo or 6.67 per cent to close at 70 kobo per share.

Costain Plc depreciated 10 kobo or 4.95 per cent to close at N1.92 per share, while NEM Insurance Plc shed four kobo or 4.94 per cent to close at 77 kobo per share. Mansard Insurance Plc fell 12 kobo or 4.80 per cent to close at N2.38 per share. A total of 354.9 million shares valued at N5.92bn were traded in 5,091 deals. Meanwhile, naira declined for a second day to its lowest since 2011 as investor inflows were said to have slowed and foreign-exchange demand remained strong after the Central Bank of Nigeria lifted limits on sales of dollars. The currency dipped

as much as one per cent to N165.63 per dollar, the lowest intraday level since October 2011, before trading 0.3 per cent lower at N164.55 per dollar. The CBN had on January 24 removed the weekly limit of $250,000 that may be sold to a bureau de change to shore up liquidity in that segment of the foreign-exchange market. “Investor inflows have clearly slowed under the cloud of tapering,” Gregory Kronsten and Bunmi Asaolu, strategists at FBN Capital Limited said. “Demand at the central bank’s foreign-exchange auctions has not eased since the end of the holiday season.”

Source: NSE

Source: FMDA

Market indicators All-Share Index 40,278.82 points Market capitalisation 12.911 trillion

Nestle trails at home as global shares rally

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estle SA, which agreed to sell part of its stake in cosmetics maker L’Oreal SA, has underperformed most of its global units, with shares traded in Switzerland trailing those from India to Israel and Pakistan to Nigeria. “In the smaller emerging markets, Nestle is a high-quality company with strong brands that would be attractive to investors seeking exposure to consumer products,” Patrik Lang, head of equity research for Bank Julius Baer and Company, said. According to him, flight

of capital from emerging or frontier markets is the main risk to investing in a Nestle subsidiary. Nestle SA’s 5.2 per cent gain was less than half the Swiss Market Index’s 12 per cent increase. By comparison, Nestle Pakistan Limited rose 105 per cent while the Karachi All Share Index, shown in the lower panel with the national benchmarks, increased 57 per cent. Nestle Nigeria Plc rallied 39 per cent versus 21 per cent for the country’s all-share gauge, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Israel’s Osem Investments Limited and Nestle India Limited each advanced more than twice their domestic benchmarks, while the Sri Lanka unit’s 27 per cent gain was six times the broad measure’s increase. Nestle Malaysia was up 12.5 per cent versus the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index’s 11.9 per cent. The parent outperforms in analyst ratings compiled by Bloomberg. The Vevey, Switzerland-based company had a consensus score of 3.9 out of a maximum 5, based on 37 recommendations through February 10.

Stock Updates Nestle India’s rating was 2.3 with 40 ratings, Nestle Nigeria’s 1.9 from 17 analysts and Nestle Malaysia’s was 2.7 based on 11 ratings, the data showed. The maker of Gerber baby foods, Nescafe coffee and Purina pet products owns majority stakes in most of those units, according to regulatory filings. Its holding in Parisbased L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, will be cut to 23.3 per cent from 29.4 per cent after a 6 billion-euro ($8.2bn) buyback by the Paris-based maker of Maybelline mascara.

Heineken sees 2014 sales increases as profit drops

H

eineken NV expects sales to advance this year after reporting a decline in 2013 profit amid weak consumption in central and Eastern Europe. A statement from the company yesterday said the volume will improve on an organic basis in fiscal 2014, and sales will advance as a gradual economic recovery helps trading in some of its markets. Group organic beer volume fell 2.7 per cent last year and consolidated organic revenue slid 0.9 per cent. Central and eastern Europe have been particularly difficult of late for Heineken, which cut its outlook for the year at the time of its thirdquarter results in October. The maker of Strongbow cider and Amstel beer also

cited a delayed economic improvement in countries including Nigeria and Mexico at the time. Annual net income before some items fell by 4.6 per cent to 1.59 billion euros ($2.2 billion), matching the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 17 analysts. “Our first read of the results leaves us feeling a little more positive on Heineken,” Jonathan Fyfe, an analyst at Mirabaud Securities in London, wrote in a note. “After a particularly tough year the outlook for 2014 looks more positive.” Heineken rose 3.2 percent to 48.62 euros in early Amsterdam trading. The shares had fallen four per cent this year through yesterday. Europe’s beer market

is struggling for growth as already-high levels of consumption and waning consumer confidence due to government austerity measures drag on sales. Companies from Unilever to Diageo Plc have pointed to political uncertainty and slowing growth in some key emerging economies, previously seen as a panacea to counterbalance the more developed markets of the US and Europe. “2013 was a challenging year as slower economic growth in a number of key markets and adverse regulatory developments impacted performance,” Heineken Chief Executive Officer Jean-Francois van Boxmeer commented in the statement, saying the com-

pany saw improved volume in western Europe in the second half of the year. Heineken said it expects volume growth in developing markets in Africa Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America compared with lower consumption in Europe. “Emerging markets are for our industry, intrinsically and inherently still markets for growth due to young and growing populations,” van Boxmeer said. The company will step up marketing and selling spend to drive sales in Europe, and sees new restructuring opportunities on top of planned cost savings, including further centralising of procurement and business services in Europe.

GAINERS COMPANY 7UP TRANSEXPR UBCAP

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

74.97

82.64

7.67

10.23

2.32

2.55

0.23

9.91

2.23

2.40

0.17

7.62

19.99

21.05

1.06

5.30

COURTVILLE

0.77

0.81

0.04

5.19

WEMABANK

1.00

1.05

0.05

5.00

IKEJAHOTEL

0.74

0.77

0.03

4.05

FCMB

3.80

3.90

0.10

2.63

PAINTCOM

1.95

2.00

0.05

2.56

122.00

125.00

3.00

2.46

UAC-PROP

MOBIL

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

JAPAULOIL

0.59

0.55

-0.04

-6.78

GNI

0.75

0.70

-0.05

-6.67

COSTAIN

2.02

1.92

-0.10

-4.95

NEM

0.81

0.77

-0.04

-4.94

MANSARD

2.50

2.38

-0.12

-4.80

EVANSMED

3.13

2.98

-0.15

-4.79

INTENEGINS

0.89

0.85

-0.04

-4.49

PZ

38.00

36.31

-1.69

-4.45

RTBRISCOE

1.37

1.31

-0.06

-4.38

CUSTODYINS

2.30

2.21

-0.09

-3.91

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Day

22,057.31

11.50

07-Nov-13

182-Day

30,000.00

11.59

07-Nov-13

182-Day

47,786.39

13.05

07-Nov-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

178-Day

86,709.13

12.35

07-Nov-13

175-Day

95,368.69

12.35

07-Nov-13

-

-

-

-

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$350m

N/A

$343m

04-Nov-13

$400m

N/A

$399m

30-Oct-13


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Capital Market

Thursday, February 13, 2014

43

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at February 12, 2014 1st Tier Securities

1st Tier Securities Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)

Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)


44

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

We couldn't believe our victory –NGT 2 winners STORIES: LEONARD OKACHIE

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inners of the season two of Airtel-sponsored Nigeria’s Got Talents (NGT) reality show, Robot for Christ, have expressed shock over their victory, saying that it is a testament that God’s ways are not that of men. It was a moment of conquest, happiness and fulfilment for the dance duo of Efe Nosakhere and Ewere Etinosa, when they were declared winners by NGT presenter, Andre Blaize at a grand finale held at the weekend at the Dream Studios in Lagos before the three celebrity judges, Dan Foster, Kate Henshaw and Yibo Koko and thousands of guests. The Benin-based entertainment duo, who are students of Benson Idohosa University, Edo State, beat nine other finalists to the N10 million grand prize. Singer and instrumentalist Daniel Azuka better known as ‘A-String’ emerged as the first runner up while drummer David Adekoya Aduragbemi got the second runner up spot. Other finalists including Akorede Odukale (KoreSax), Maduka Chukwudi (Laff Doctor), C.I Squad, D’Natural, Kolawale Emannuel (E-Flex), Elevatorz and Praise Puppets. Expressing surprise over the feat, Etinosa told Young and Next Generation thus: “Sincerely, we were shocked the moment we were declared winners. We were not expecting it. People said we were the least expected among the finalists, but that is a proof that God’s ways are not the ways of man at all. He uses the irrelevant things to make His name known. Little David killed giant Goliath; it is like that.” Interestingly, Nosakhere and Etinosa, who are also product of Marie Dance Academy, Benin, same academy that produced winner of the maiden edition of Nigeria’s Got Talents, Amarachi Uyanne. “We are very happy. We are grateful to God and our management (Marie Dance Academy).Our life has changed and we have to really change our lifestyles. We will keep on dancing and improve on our dancing skills. We are going to groom more dancers” maintained the duo who said they planning to produce a dance video. Etinosa admitted that NGT 2 had been their biggest challenge in their career so far, stressing, “There are parts where you will be happy and there also parts on stage where your heart is beating as twice as normal. The worst experience I had was the day light refused to come on, while we were on stage. We had our costumes and our light was supposed to come on, but my switch was bad. Nosakhere’s own okay. I hit

L-R: CEO/MD, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya; NGT2 winners, (Efe Nosakhere and Ewere Etinosa) Robots for Christ; Head of Marketing Communication, Malta Guinness, Femi Adelusi and Group MD, Optima Media Group (OMG), Rotimi Pedro.

and hit mine, but it refused. All the same, the audience and the judges liked it, but I was not happy.” Meeting in 2011 to form the group, Nosakhere disclosed that Robots for Christ was an inspiration he got from a movie entitled Step Part 3 , in which the main actor is Robotic dancer. “Our style is Robotic; we are in a Christian university.So, in dance group in school we use our dance to praise Christ.When people watch our dance they say, okay, these guys are dance ministers. “Robots for Christ is gospel dance group. If you watched our dance throughout the competition you would see that ministered thorough it. We wanted people to see how we can use our dance talent to entertain and minister at the same time,” he said. Meanwhile, the event lived up to book makers’ billing as the only non-discriminatory reality show per excellence with

series of fun-filled, exciting and breath taking performances from the 10 finalists who sought to convey a message of unity in diversity and Bash, a stand-up comedian who captivated both guests and audience with rib-cracking jokes. Earlier in his address, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, SegunOgunsanya, while congratulating the finalists for putting in their best, said the foremost telecoms operator shares in the dreams of the Nigerian youths hence the creation of worthwhile platforms such as the NGT to identify, nurture, reward and celebrate the talented.

“As an innovative company, we value talent and will always go any distance to identify and celebrate talented Nigerians. We are extremely delighted to be associated with Nigerian talents because we are passionate about creating credible platforms that celebrate and reward innovation and originality. The Airtel brand is not just red, bold and jazzy but youthful, exciting, unique and full of fun,” he said Similarly, the Group Managing Director of Optima Media Group, Rotimi Pedro said the whole idea of the multitalent reality is to create a platform that would help to discover talented individuals, put them on stage in the hope they would cut a career for themselves. He also revealed that Got Talent franchise has a global franchise currently in 53 countries making it the most widely travelled and most watched by households.

NGO decries commercial sperm donation by youths

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he Chairman, Global Prolife Alliance, an NGO, Dr Philip Njemanze, has decried the high rate of young men’s involvement in commercial sperm donation. Njemanze, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, advised them against commercial sperm donation to prevent fertility problems later in life. He said that most times, young men were being given stimulating hormones or drugs to make them to produce more sperm. Njemanze stated: “The boys donating sperm now for N50,000. Each time

you give out a part of yourself, it has a detrimental effect.What happens is that sperm can be got from masturbation, but after a while, there will be a detrimental effect. ``Because you needed N50,000 today, tomorrow you need more money and you will need more money and tomorrow they start giving stimulating hormones. ``This will eventually have a telling effect on your ability to have good sexual life when you need your own children, no more for donation.So, it has a very detrimental effect and I believe that we should stop all this now.`` According to him, these stimulating

hormones can have serious consequences such as hormonal imbalances in men. Njemanze said that hormonal imbalance could also cause depression, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, weak libido and prostate problems, adding that fertility problems might set in. He said that most young men who were selling their sperms claimed they got involved as a result of poverty and financial challenges. Njemanze urged healthcare providers to educate the public on the dangers of commercial sperm donation.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Young & Next Generation

Thursday, February 13, 2014

75,000 children die annually in Cote d’Ivoire –UNICEF T he United Nations International Emergency Children's Fund, UNICEF has said no fewer than 75,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire die annually of preventable diseases before the age of five. UNICEF Spokesman in Cote d’Ivoire, Loius Vigneault-Dubois told newsmen in Abidjan that the deaths were mainly due to ailments such as malaria, diarrhea and blood infections. Vigneault-Dubois also identified chronic malnutrition as a major cause of the high rate of deaths among children in the country. ``Children in Côte d'Ivoire are also faced with chronic malnutrition, a condition that makes many children look smaller than other well-fed children of their age,’’ he said. The UNICEF official said that ur-

gent steps were necessary to tackle issues concerning the social improvement of the child and reduce the mortality rate. He said that UNIICEF and the Ivorian government had adopted a 30 billion CFA intervention plan on child health and education. ``UNICEF and Cote d’Ivoire have adopted a plan for the health and education of the child with a budget of 30 billion CFA for 2014 and 2015. ``Health takes 44 per cent of the budget while education has 27 per cent. Our goal is to reduce infant and maternal mortality,’’ he said. Vigneault-Dubois said that part of the plan was also to build new schools and implement programmes that would strengthen the capacities of health workers to perform efficiently.

45

MTN organises Valentine party for youths KUNLE A ZEEZ

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igeria’s telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria, said it has concluded arrangement to treat young Nigerians to a night of love and music in commemoration this year’s Valentine celebration. This event tagged the ‘Valentine Rave Party’ is scheduled to take place tomorrow- Valentine’s Day - at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites. The company, in a statement, said the event promises to be a blast as it boasts a slew of Nigeria’s best artistes have been lined up to delight fans. It said: “Acts scheduled to perform at the event include Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, KCEE, Chidinma and others. “The event would also feature the best and finest of Nigerian DJ’s like DJ Jimmy Jatt, DJ Caise, DJ Neptune, D.J Big N amongst others.

“Indeed the Valentine season has become a grand occasion where love is given and received. “Lovers and friends express love for each other in different ways and brands, like MTN, take the opportunity to reward their customers.” According to MTN, “With this event, the telecommunications giant is once again providing a platform where young Nigerian youth can express friendship and share love in the midst of f good music and entertainment.” The telecoms firm added that Valentine season is a perfect time to share and give love to those around us and obviously, that is what MTN has set out to do- reward its teeming young customers to an exquisite night of good music and fun. It added that it has consistently been at the fore-front of providing consumers with entertaining experiences at concerts and entertainment aficionados note that this is an event that is worth to looking forward to.

SCIENCE FOR KIDS

Why is Valentine's Day celebrated on Feb. 14? W

Corps members at a parade.

Corps members donate to orphanage in Calabar S ome members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on Tuesday in Calabar donated food items and toiletries to Infant Jesus Orphanage. The corps members belong to the Community Development Service (CDS) Group on Charity and Welfare. They donated three bags of rice, three cartons of tinned tomatoes, six packets of Maggi, salt and groundnut oil to the home. President of the group, Mr Desmond Ikenna, said that it was important to care for the needy in the society, adding that the children were future leaders of tomorrow. Another member of the group, Ms. Philomena Etuk, advised the children not to be discouraged by the circumstances of the time, but to always have

positive outlook to life. Ms. Blessing Bisong, an official of the NYSC, who accompanied the corps members, thanked the children for welcoming them. Bisong advised the children not to see themselves as being forgotten or abandoned, but to always look unto God for better tomorrow. According to her, the NYSC would always remember the less privileged in its activities. In her speech, Ms. Patience Okon, head of the orphanage, thanked the corps members for their goodwill and initiative. The donation was part of the activities marking the passing out parade of 2013/2014 `Batch A’ corps members in the state.

e celebrate Valentine's Day, because until 1969, it was one of the many Saint's Days observed by the Catholic Church. It was dedicated to the patron saint of romantic causes, St. Valentine. Although it was removed from the Church's calendar in 1969, the religious meaning coupled with Valentine's Day's roots in Roman paganism have allowed it to continue as a holiday for everyone. Early Christians saw Valentine's Day as a way to honour St. Valentine, of whom there were actually three. The Catholic Church recognizes three saints by that name, all who were martyred on February 14. The St. Valentine the day is named for was, most likely, a priest in the 3rd century who performed secret marriages when the Roman Emperor Claudius II thought single soldiers were more likely to enlist in the a r m y. That St. Valentine was imprisoned and executed on February 4, 270. It is believed he was responsible for giving the jailer's blind daughter back her eyesight, and before his execution, he sent

herss a note saying, "From your Valentine." The phrase is still widely used on valentines today. It wasn't until 1537 that St. Valentine's day was declared an official holiday. England's King Henry VIII, known for his ways of disposing of wives, declared February 14th a holiday. It was another century and a half before religious devotional cards became nonreligious cards to reflect the change in the holiday. In 496 A.D., February 14, was declared in the name of St. Valentine by Pope Gelasius. It remained a Church holiday until 1969, when Pope Paul VI took it from the calender. On February 14, the ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage so honouring her was thought to be a fertility rite. At the feast held the next day, the women would write love letters and stick them in a large urn. The men would pick a letter from the urn and for the next year, pursue the woman who wrote the chosen letter. This custom lasted until the 1700s when people decided their beloveds should be chosen by sight, not luck. –coolquiz.com


46

Media

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

I leave everything in God's hands –Obadina’s widow SSTORIES: LEONARD OKACHIE

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s killers of Deputy Editor, Saturday Newswatch, Mr. Toyin Obadina are yet to be tracked down, his widow, Mrs. Abiola Obadina has said that she has surrendered everything to God, adding that she is trying hard to take the sorrowful incidence off her mind. Mrs. Obadina, who was in a depressed mood, when National Mirror visited her residence at Adamo in Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area, Lagos, recently said: I’m trying to take it off my head, but you are trying to bring it up again. It is only you journalists and the police that can know what happened. I have been sleeping on drugs. There is no way I can sleep without the drugs, at least, for now.” Late Obadina was attacked by suspected armed robbers along the Itoikin-Old Ijebu-Ode Road on Friday night, January 31, after the day’s work, while driving to his residence in Parafa area of Ikorodu, Lagos State. The thieves were said to have waylaid him while driving in his Toyota Yaris car, collected money and other valuables on him before shooting him twice in the stomach. Unfortunately, efforts of doctors at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos State to save him proved abortive as he died eventually as a result of injuries sustained from the gunshots, at the early hours of Sunday, February 2. However, there have been divergent views over his gruesome killing. While some are speculating that he might have been assassinated, others as reported in some sections of the media, said he was traced by his killers, when he withdrew sum money from the bank through the ATM at the wee hours of the night. But, Mrs. Obadina denied the reports, saying that her husband was simply attacked: “No, it is not true. How

can a sane person withdraw money around that time? The money they collected from him, he must have withdrawn it from Lagos, when it was not yet night. My husband will never withdraw money around that time. “The only journalist that I spoke to, called me on phone. He didn’t come to my house, neither did he come to where I was before. We didn’t even talk up to five minutes and he wrote in the newspaper that my husband asked me that he wanted to eat porridge. How can somebody that was just operated upon eat porridge? So, they should be careful about what they are writing." Asked how she heard about the tragedy, the widow who was reluctant to speak, maintained thus: “His killers were not tracing him. Somebody used my husband’s phone to call me at the scene, that my husband had been attacked. Immediately, one of my neighbours followed me to the spot to pick him. “We rushed him in that my neighbour’s car to Ikorodu General Hospital, from where we were referred to LASUTH. At LASUTH, the doctor that was going to perform the operation insisted that he had to say on how the whole thing happened. I was standing beside him, that was how I got to know little about what really happened. “He told the doctor point blank that he was coming from Lagos, while his attackers were coming from the opposite direction (Old Ijebu Ode Road).And in this our area (Adamo), there is neither bank nor ATM, except at Ikorodu Round About. “It was after they finished production that Friday night that they attacked him. When I called him at about 10:30pm he told me he was at Mile 12, that there was a slight traffic. It was later that night that I received a call from his phone that he was shot.” While his killers are yet to be revealed, Mrs. Obadina disclosed that the Divisional Police Officer at Shagamu Road, where his car was taken to, visited her immedi-

Ilo announces grant for broadcast journalism

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he Ilo Family in partnership with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism has announced the VinMartin Ilo grant for broadcast journalism. The grant, an annual $3,000 award for a report by a broadcast journalist adjudged outstanding based on set criteria, is in commemoration of VinMartin Obiora Ilo’s 50th birthday. Currently a Director of the South East operation of Daar Communications, owner of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio station, Vin Ilo has made his mark in the broadcast profession. With 31 years experience on the field, Vin has over time brought value to the profession having worked with both government and private-owned establishments. In proposing the grant administration to the Centre, Mr. Jude Ilo, representing the

family said, the grant would be made annually, on Vin’s birthday – 30 January, to honour the veteran and give back to the profession through the development of young journalists. In her acceptance message, Motunrayo Alaka the Centre’s Coordinator, noted that with eight years experience in award making in the Nigerian media, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism can confirm that the broadcast media needs urgent intervention. According to her, it has proved difficult to find a worthy winner for the broadcast category (radio or television) of the Centre’s award for investigative reporting for the past four years. The maiden call for application for the grant will be made alongside that of the 9th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting on 4 October 2014.

Late Obadina

ately after the incidence, but hasn’t got any other information. “The police took his car to the station; I don’t know anything about the car for now. The DPO followed us to the hospital,” she stressed. Left with two daughters ( 12 and nine years old) and a five-year old son, the widow who resigned as an accountant in a firm, to set up her own private business, insisted that she is not thinking about anything concerning their future, "I know that for their father to die this way, it is God’s will. I surrender everything to God.” She said that the family is yet to decide on the burial arrangements of her Abeokuta-born husband, who marked his 50th birthday last November.

NUJ advocates more media representation at confab

Garba

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he Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has advocated for more media representation in the forthcoming national conference. According to the President of the union, Malam Mohammed Garba, journalists in the country had sacrificed a lot for the nation’s unity and development. He said a forum such as the national conference will create another opportunity for the media to contribute to the `Nigerian project’. Garba, in an interview with

the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), remaked that slots given to the media was not enough for experts in the sector to make adequate contribution. "I feel that the slots given to the NUJ, NPAN, NGE, NAWOJ and BON are not enough, if you consider what media practitioners have contributed to the development of this nation. ``I believe that there is a lot that the media, through its representatives, can contribute to the success of the conference, so we will reach the government to request for increase in representation from the media,’’ he said. On the nomination of its delegate to the conference, the NUJ president said the national executive had consulted extensively and had decided to nominate two of its past leaders. Garba said that stakeholders in the media sector would make efforts to ensure that inputs from the media were adequately reflected in the outcome of the conference.

He said that the union was proposing a pre-confab forum for stakeholders in the media sector to brainstorm on common issues that would be presented at the conference. Garba, however, hinted that welfare of journalists and making the media environment in Nigeria friendlier, would top the agenda for media delegates to the conference. He called on Nigerians to support the conference, adding that there was no better opportunity for Nigerians to discuss the progress of the nation than the proposed conference. He called on those opposed to the conference to close rank with the Federal Government and come up with meaningful suggestions on its success rather than outright condemnation. He said that the NUJ was in support of the modalities and framework for the conference, saying that the structure of the conference as presented so far was satisfactory.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Media

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thomson Foundation to train Quill Awards winner LEONARD OKACHIE

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romasidor Nigeria Limited, makers of Cowbell Milk, is collaborating with Thomson Foundation of the United Kingdom to train the best of the winners of the Promasidor Quill Awards in a five-week training programme in the UK. In-coming Chairman of Promasidor Nigeria Chief Keith Richards,, disclosed this at a joint press conference between the company and Thomson Foundation in Lagos, remarking that the essence of the partnership is to have a champion of champions among the winners of the seven categories of the awards go for a training programme in the United Kingdom (UK). The Thomson Foundation was founded by Roy Thomson in 1962 to champion free, fair and open media in the developing world. The foundation since inception has played vital role in journalism standards around the world and has helped some key media organisations achieved media excellence through

training, consultancy and expert advice. Some of them include Al Jazeera, British Council, South African Broadcasting Corporation, Indian Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, UN agencies, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Xinhua News Agency among others. Chief Executive of Thomson Foundation, Mr. Nigel Baker, said they were very proud to work with Promasidor Nigeria on this initiative, adding that it will open new opportunities for journalists in Nigeria. He said the beneficiary journalist would have the opportunity of participating in a five -week course in the UK which would put him on the cutting edge of the profession. Baker said the Thomson Foundation started more than 50 years because of the passion the founder, Roy Thomson had for the media, remarking that over the years the foundation has worked in more than 100 countries in the world training journalists on ethical standards and quality reporting. The Promasidor Quill Awards was instituted as a way of rewarding excel-

lence in journalism in Nigeria for dedicated news reportage on industry, education, and corporate social responsibility & nutrition issues all year round. The awards tagged ‘Promasidor Quill Awards’ initially covered five categories among which are the Brand Advocate of the year, Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report of the year, Most Educative Report of the year, Best Report on Nutrition and the Best Photo Story of the year. Following the company’s engagement with stakeholders and its consultant on feedback from the first edition they have increased the number of categories from five to seven in a bid to accommodate more entries. The new categories are Best Report on Children and Future Writers Award for upcoming writers. Winners from the maiden edition had received state-of-the-art tools for the trade as well as a 6 - week certificate-awarding course at the School of Media and Communications of the Pan African University, Lagos in order to further equip them with new knowledge to do more. Entries for the 2014 edition have opened and would close by the end of April.

L-R: Head, Legal and Public Relations, Mr. Andrew Enahoro; in-coming Chairman, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Chief Keith Richards, Chief Executive, Thomson Foundation, Nigel Baker and in-coming MD/CEO of Promasidor Nigeria Olivier Thiry, at the event recently.

PPFA trains journalists on reproductive sex IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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Non-Governmental Organization, NGO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, PPFA, yesterday commenced another two-day training for journalists on sexual reproductive health media reporting in Nasarawa State. Addressing participants during the training at the NUJ Press Centre, Lafia, PPFA country director in Nigeria, Dr Francis Eremutha said the vision of the training was to create the healthiest generation ever by increasing access to the full range of integrated sexual and

reproductive health services. According to the country director, who was represented by Dr. Stephen Angbas, the NGO hopes to archive its vision through advocacy and innovative services delivery in order to catalyze significant changes in communities where it works. Eremutha however challenged journalists in the country to write more sexual reproductive health information on newspapers as he stressed that the print media is of significant import due to its enduring and accessibility globally on the internet. In a paper presentation, a veteran journalist and publisher of a community tabloid in the state, Mathew Kuju

urged the PPFA to sponsor jingles on radio and television stations as well as adverts strips on newspapers and magazines on sexual reproductive health rights as according to him “this will in no small measures put such issues on the front burner of public discourse.” Another paper presenter, Mrs. Sarah Igbiam, posited that accessibility to family planning units will enhance healthy birth-spacing and smaller families which will improve women’s health, improved the wellbeing of families because of the mother’s survival, better nutrition and education for children as well as prevention of high risk of pregnancies.

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Media Abroad

U.S. falls to 46th in world press freedom rankings

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he U.S. fell below El Salvador and Romania in the world press freedom rankings released on yester-

day. The U.S. fell 13 positions to 46th place in this year's World Press Freedom Index, which has been produced annually since 2002 by the Paris-based Reporters without Borders. The fall has been attributed to an ``overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs’’. The organisation however said the main reason the U.S. dropped so far in the rankings was because of its dogged efforts to ``track down whistle-blowers and the sources of leaks’’. A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released simultaneously also condemned government surveillance, saying the practice poses a great threat to press freedom. It said this is because the U.S. does not allow journalists to have privacy while doing investigative reporting or grant their sources anonymity. The World Press Freedom Index said the whistle-blower had been made into the enemy. ``The trial of and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of National Security Agency (NSA) analyst Edward Snowden were warnings. ``They were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that will clearly be in the public interest,’’ the report said. The index also cited the U.S. Department of Justice's secret seizure of the Associated Press phone records as another example of ``a disturbing retreat from democratic practices’’. Britain also fell on the rankings, with analysts blaming it on ``the disgraceful pressure’’ it put on the Guardian newspaper in relation to its stories on NSA surveillance. Its detention of the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald also counted against it. The report said Britain’s ranking of 33rd was a drop of three positions. ``2013 will go down in history as the worst year for press freedom in the U.S.,’’ New York Times journalist James Risen said at a press conference introducing the index in Washington.

Obama


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North

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Boko Haram slays 39, raze 2,000 houses in Borno •Christian lawyers slam killings in Middle Belt INUSA NDAHI AND AZA MSUE

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unmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram sect on Tuesday evening stormed Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, killing 39 residents including members of the youth vigilance group popularly known as civilian JTF. Some 2,000 houses were also torched in the attack which also claimed some security personnel. The gunmen succeeded inflicted

serious injuries on victims who are now receiving treatment at the General Hospital, Bama, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH and other healthcare centres across the state. Konduga, with a population of over 10,000, is about 45 kilometres drive from Maiduguri, the state capital. It is located near the notorious Sambisa Forest which allegedly harbours terrorist camps. Last year, the local government witnessed deadly attacks in which terrorists ambushed residents, in-

cluding some worshipers at mosques, killing 50 of them after setting the worship centre and other residential houses ablaze. The gunmen, according to the Vice Chairman, Civilian JTF, Tijjani Peter, also set razed shops and 50 vehicles, before displacing thousands of residents after abducting some of them, mostly youth and women, including students of Government Girls Secondary School, Konduga. Tijjani admitted that “we had a prior knowledge about three days ago that some

terrorists were sighted by residents in a nearby bush of Konduga, but it is unfortunate that after alerting the security operatives, no action was taken. “It was only yesterday that we started hearing sounds of gunshots and explosives at about 4pm, we tried our best to repel the attackers as three of them were killed by my colleagues, but they later overpowered us, killing many residents. “In fact, the casualty figure could have been worse than this, but many resi-

Plateau State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Silvanus Dongtoe (left) and Provost, Federal College of Forestry, Dr. Shola Adepoju, during a familiarisation visit to the institution in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

APC ‘ll take-over of NASS by March –el-Rufai AZA MSUE KADUNA

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he All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday declared that the party would take over the National Assembly leadership both in the Senate and House of Representatives before the end of March. APC’s Interim Deputy National Secretary, Nasir ElRufai who revealed this in Kaduna, said efforts to stop or block 11 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP defecting senators to APC by Senate President, David Mark, would not yield results. Speaking with journalists after acquiring his APC membership card at registration unit 015 at the Yobe State Liaison Office on Kat-

uru Road, Kaduna, El-Rufai said some lawmakers in the House of Representatives who defected to PDP on Tuesday had problems with their state governors. El-Rufai stressed that the forthcoming APC national convention would ensure that only principled and trustworthy individuals are elected. He admitted that the Kaduna State chapter of the APC is enmeshed in leadership crisis, saying it would soon be resolved. The former minister alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had concluded plans to write the Ekiti State governorship result before election, warning that such a plot would fail. El-Rufai said: “God will-

ing, (in) the Senate and House of Representatives, before the end of March, there would be changes in the leadership. We are hoping that APC will form the leadership there. “This is democracy and there is no way you will force somebody to do what he is not interested in. There are those who will be lured with money or positions, but we don’t have such a thing because we have no government, and so we cannot lure anybody to join APC with positions or money. “Whoever wants money and materialism can join PDP. We have a different political ideology. There are those who will defect from PDP to APC and vice versa. This is politics and it will continue to happen

up till election time. Our appeal to masses is to keep their eyes on those people who have started showcasing their attitudes.” The former minister of the Federal Capital Territory added: “We are aware that PDP is working to rig the election. In fact, they even planned to write the result in Ekiti State even before the election holds. We are working to see that it does not happen. I will not disclose our strategy so that that the opposition will not know, but I assure you that we are not going to allow them to succeed.” El-Rufai added: “As you can see, the problem or power tussle in Kaduna has not affected the registration exercise in the state.

dents were alerted that the town will be attacked in which many of us ran into the bush to hide. We only left the aged and underaged with some of us, but all to no avail,” he stated. Tijjani, however, said “at about 7pm when the air force jet arrived in the town, the terrorists went into hiding inside the town where the sounds of gunshots and bombing subsided, but when the airstrike stopped, the terrorists resurfaced at about 8pm and wreaked havoc till 2am on Wednesday. The District Head of Konduga, Alhaji Zanna Masu Yale, whose entire palace was bombed, said the terrorists also burnt the Konduga Central Mosque, health care clinics, maternity home, agric zonal office nearby his palace, before setting ablaze the Konduga College of Business and Management Studies, as well as security formations in the local government headquarters. National Mirror gathered that virtually all government structures were destroyed by the gunmen who eventually fled into the bush. A resident, Mallam Baba Abubakar, said the gunmen stormed Konduga at about 4pm in two armoured patrol carriers, five camouflaged Tata Hilux vehicles in army colours, five motorcycles with other sophisticated weapons, as well as Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, overpowered the security operatives on guard and dealt with residents. Abubakar, who said he escaped into the bush, but have to come back to the ghost town on Wednesday morning to pick up his pieces, said, even the military operatives ran away from their check points when they discovered that they could not confront the firepower of the terrorists. “More than seventy percent of the people of this town have fled after the attack,” he stated. Governor Kashim Shettima, who visited the town, ordered the immediate release of N100 million to the victims. Shettima, who shed tears profusely upon seeing the 39 dead bodies waiting for mass burial at the destroyed central mosque, described those behind the dastardly

act as satanic, barbaric and anti- Islam. He also appealed to the fleeing residents to stay as government would provide them with bags of rice, grains and other foodstuff as an emergency intervention, even as he added that all the houses burnt down would be rebuilt by the state government. The governor, in an interview with journalists in Konduga, for the first time admitted that the Boko Haram sect is more sophisticated than the security operatives in the state, hence the perennial deadly calamities befalling the state. “Honestly, we as government believe that our security agencies are doing their best in fighting the Book Haram sect, but I have to be frank with you, the terrorists are much more motivated than our security operatives. “As I am talking to you now, I just received another call/message that the town of Izge of Gwoza Council area of the state is under deadly attack by Boko Haram. But we will not be deterred, as we will do everything possible to ensure the restoration of peace in our dear state. Shettima vowed not to leave Konduga until trucks loaded with food items arrived the troubled area from Maiduguri, based on the directives he gave to some of his aides. He, however, went round the affected areas where he distributed money to victims so that they can buy food or water to drink. Spokesman of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Mohammed Dole, confirmed the incident, but pleaded that the casualty figure is yet to be ascertained as they were still compiling details. However, the Police Commissioner, Lawal Tanko, who also accompanied Governor Shettima to Konduga, as well as the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 12, AIG Gana confirmed the incident. Meanwhile, the Christian Lawyers’ Fellowship of Nigeria has, CLASFON, yesterday said the unabated and indiscriminate killing of innocent Nigerians, especially women and children by militia groups in some communities in the Middle Belt region was unacceptable.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Community Mirror Pregnant woman jailed for drug trafficking

For constituency delimitation, for several reasons, we are not sure we can finish in good time before 2015.

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CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PROF. ATTAHIRU JEGA

Father who killed daughter regains freedom WALE IGBINTADE

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fter series of adjournments, a Lagos High Court has finally struck out a murder case against one Gbolahan Babatunde for beating his daughter to death. The trial judge, Justice Opesanwo held that since the defendant was rearraigned on October 29, 2013 the case had suffered eight adjournments as the prosecution failed to call any witness.

The court held that since anyone charged with an offence is considered innocent until proved guilty, it will no longer be in the interest of justice to adjourn the matter for the ninth time. Justice Opesanwo stated that the trial has dragged on for years due to lack of diligent prosecution and inability of the prosecution to produce witnesses in court. “Given the failings of the prosecution, it

is improper to further punish the defendant with detention in addition to the punishment he has brought upon himself by the pathetic circumstances of this case”, the court held. Striking out the case, Justice Opesanwo stated that the court decision will not prevent the prosecution from filing fresh charge against the defendant any time it was ready to go on with the trial. Earlier, state counsel,

Mrs. C. K. Tunji-Carrena prayed the court for an adjournment on ground that the investigating police officer, IPO, they intended to call as witness was unavailable. But, the defence counsel, Mr. O Ajanaku opposed the application, adding that it was a ploy on the part of the prosecution to further delay the trial. Ajanaku added that the court had on several occasions indulged the prosecution and yet they failed to proceed with the

trial on the excuse of nonavailability of witnesses. The defence counsel told the court that his client, Babatunde unintentionally caused the death of his own daughter. According to him, the deceased was trying to escape from the defendant, who wanted to discipline her after she misbehaved, but regrettably hit her head against the door. Ajanaku stated that the defendant whom he described as indigent

later called for help from neighbours to take the daughter to hospital, where she later died. He therefore urged the court to strike out the matter pending when the prosecution will be ready to prove its case against the defendant. Reviewing the history of the case, Justice Opesanwo noted that the defendant, who was first arraigned in 2012, had been in prison custody since he was arrested in 2009.

Monarch empowers youths in Lagos FRANCIS SUBERU

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Students of Saint Dorcas School during inauguration of the school’s skills acquisition centre at Ijegun, Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

monarch, Oba Babatunde Ogunrounbi of Shasha Kingdom in Lagos State, has empowered youths with items worth more than N500, 000 in order to generate employment and reduce poverty in the community. While presenting the items, Oba Ogunrounbi said he was moved because of the plight of jobless graduates and artisans who ought to contribute to the meaningful development of their society if empowered.

“I know what it means to be poor, I struggled to go to school and I am grateful to God because of the privileged given to me. I know what is happening at the grass root and I cannot stand it when people are suffering in my community”, he said. While calling on wealthy Nigerians and philanthropists to assist in empowering people, the Oba said government alone cannot transform the society, as the community is the bedrock of the society. The items donated are, generators, sewing machines, hair dryer, coolers, and bags of rice.

Septuagenarian petitions IGP over demolished building DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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se ptuagenarian and retired teacher, Mr. Fidelis Nnenanya, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, IGP, General Officer Commanding 81 Division of the Nigerian Army and Enugu State Police Commissioner alleging threat to his life and family by one Sergeant Josephat Okika. Nenanya also alleged

that Okika had mobilised other soldiers to invade his family compound at Amaudala, Nkume town in Uzo-Uwani Council Area in December 2013, and demolished his one storey building, with a threat to subsequently deal with the family. In a Save-Our-Soul letter sent to the top security chiefs and signed by M.I. Ukwueze of MbaAnabaragu Chambers, Nsukka, Nenanya said that sources had informed him that his arrest and

subsequent invasion of his house by soldiers was sequel to a petition by the Okika family accusing him of malicious damage and threat to life. “A team of soldiers had on December 6, 2013 arrested Nenanya at Umulokpa Council headquarters. When he enquired of his offence, he was severely manhandled by the soldiers who whisked him into their van. When they got to Nkume, they also arrested his brother, Alphonsus Ijegala. The

diabetic and hypertensive man and his brother were later granted bail at about 10.30pm. “As if the humiliation and insult and were not enough, they again invaded their victim’s house on December 7, 2013 while completely demolishing his one storey. This is an abomination before the spirit of equity,” he noted in the petition. He alleged that the more than 21 soldiers who invaded his house were led by Sgt. Josephat Okika

Jude and Okika Sunday, all soldiers from the same family. Other civilians were also said to have aided in the demolition, as they came with dangerous weapons including hammers, chisels, chemicals, acid, wielding machines and axes. While urging the IG, GOC of 82 Division as well as the Commissioner of Police to immediately intervene, arrest, investigate and prosecute all those accused of involvement in the dastardly act,

the septuagenarian said the manner and way in which the soldiers intimidate and harass innocent citizens has instilled fear in many, including the Divisional Police Officer in Umulokpa who is afraid to call them to order. When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu, PPRO, Ebere Amaraizu denied knowledge of the petition but promised to get back by the time he gets detail of the incident.


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Community Mirror

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Meeting of proposed merger ends in deadlock HAKEEM GBADAMOSI

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A ruptured oil pipeline at Egbebiri in Yenagoa Local Government Area, yesterday.

PHOTO: NAN

Pregnant woman jailed for drug trafficking K AYODE KETEFE

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Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has sentenced a 28-years-old pregnant woman, Saudat Wasiu, to three months in jail for drug trafficking. Justice Mohammed Yunusa pronounced the judgment after the accused pleaded guilty to the one-count charge

of dealing in 3.9 kg of Cannabis Sativa, also known as Indian hemp. Immediately she was convicted, Mrs. Wasiu broke down in tears and pleaded for mercy. Amidst sobs, she said that she had been deserted by her family members when her plight began and urged the court to be liberal in sentencing her, stressing that she had suffered enough. Justice Yunusa

sentenced her to three months imprisonment, but made the sentence to start from December 4, 2013, when she was first arrested. The judge said “The convict is hereby sentenced to three months imprisonment, which date is to start running from the time of arrest. She is therefore cautioned and adviced to desist from crime in her interest and that of the society at

large.” Saudat was arres ed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, on December 4, 2013, at the NNPC area, Ejigbo with about 3.9 kg of the narcotic concealed in a white rice sack. The offences are said to contravene the provisions of section 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

Protests trail school handover in Abia GEORGE OPARA ABIA

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he Ehere community in Obingwa Local Government has dragged the Abia State Government to court following government’s handing over of the Secondary Technical School, to an individual. Defendants in the suit are the governor, Commissioner for Education, Abia State Government, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Harris Obodorukwu and Rev. CHANGE OF NAME

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Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Ihuoma Izima Rita, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ifeoma Igbokwe Rita. All former documents remain valid. Abia State Polytechnic Aba and General public take note. Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Achi Mary Nnenna, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Isaac Nnenna Mary. All former documents remain valid. Aba South LGA, Abia State LGSC and General public take note.

(Mrs.) LovinaObodorukwu. It will be recalled that Abia State Government had in 2012 while returning some public schools, handed over the Secondary Technical School, Ehere to one Chief Harris C. Obodorukwu said to hail from Sapele in Delta State. In their originating summons, the community through their lawyer, C.C.Elele wants the court to declare that the purported return of the school to Chief Obodorukwu, without taking the interest of

the community which donated the land into consideration, was null, void and of no effect. A declaration that the 1st - 4th defendants have dully paid compensation to the 5th and 6th defendants for their alleged involvement in the development of the school and therefore, that the government has no right or power to hand over the said school to the 5th and 6th defendants. The community also wants the court to declare that the imposition and collection of any form of

Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Ukaegbu Oluchi Gift, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Ekpendu Ezionyinye Gift. All former documents remain valid. UNDSS and General public take note.

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Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Okeke Jacinta Chioma, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Nnadi Jacinta Chioma. All former documents remain valid. NYSC, Abia State Polytechnic Aba and General public take note.

Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Okafor Eberechukwu Stephanie, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Okakpu Eberechukwu Stephanie. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and General public take note.

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CHANGE OF NAME t Formerly known and addressed as Emeka Kenneth Enemuo, now wish to be known and addressed as Ezekiel Chukwuemeka. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.

Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Ibeh Ifeyinwa Precious, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Orhoro Ifeyinwa Precious. All former documents remain valid. NYSC and General public take note

Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Ugbaja Beatrice Chinaza, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Beatrice Chinaza Sunday. All former documents remain valid. Aba South LG, Abia State LGSC and General public take note.

CHANGE OF NAME

fees or levies on children, wards and students of the claimants and that of children of other parents in the said school against the free education policy of the state government was a nullity. The counsel’s statement of claim wants the court to declare that the purported transfer of all natives of Ehere who are teachers in the school and the threatened sack of the said teachers by the defendants on account of their protest of the handover was illegal and against the rule of fair hearing.

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meeting called by the Ondo State Government to resolve the crisis among oil producing communities over merger has ended in deadlock. It was gathered that delegates from the Ilaje area disrupted the meeting presided over by the Special Adviser to the governor on union matters, Dayo Fadahunsi. The government had earlier invited the two constituencies in Ilaje Local Government Area to select five delegates each to harmonise all interest and perspectives on the matter, following the insistence of Chevron Nigeria Limited that the people come under one umbrella. However, it was gathered that the meeting which started at the office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, barely commenced when representatives from the two communities insulted each other over their different positions on the matter. In his opening remark, the former Head of Service, HOS, Ajose Kudehinbu, expressed regrets over the inability of Ilaje people to resolve their differences until government intervened. A sources disclosed that one of the delegates from Ugboland, Felix Ojaekomo, observed that the former HOS was trying to use his position to influence government’s decision on the matter, while the former chairman of the local government, Banji Okunomo, said government was right to have called the meeting, as it was the only one that can clarify its coastline. The source said that Okunomo insisted that CHANGE OF NAME t Formerly known and addressed as Ojo Stanley, now wish to be known and addressed as Douglas Ndufor Dike. All former documents remain valid. General public take note CHANGE OF NAME

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SEIWARI: Formerly known and addressed as Seiwari Ayibatari John, now wish to be known and addressed as Ebiwari Ayibatari Ayibakenimi. All former documents remain valid. University of Portharcourt and general public take note.

since everyone was from Ilaje community and occupying the coast, all the communities are affected. Also speaking, the member representing Ilaje Constituency 11 in the state House of Assembly, Gbenga Edema argued that the merger being canvassed was a standard operating policy embarked upon by Chevron. Later, the situation was said to have degenerated into a crisis leading to fisticuff among those opposed and in support of the planned merger. Fadahunsi who confirmed the development, said the meeting was called to enable the two constituencies harmonise their positions on the merger. “We called the meeting in line with Chevron’s demand that all associations should come under one umbrella for administrative convenience. The first meeting was yesterday.. “The Ugbo people presented their preliminary submission, likewise Mahin, Aheri and Etikan, the Ugbo people did not support the merger, while the others supported it, it was at this point that they started exchanging words and when the situation got tense, we adjourn the meeting,”he said. Speaking on the development, the people of constituency said government should go ahead with the planned merger as they in support of it. Okunomo, who spoke on behalf of the people said, “We are in total support of what the state government and Chevron are doing, it is in tandem with acceptable norms, we also condemn the attitude of our brothers from Ugbo. “With their stand, we are sliding towards crisis, government should promptly resolve the issue to prevent a repeat of the Ijaw/Ilaje crisis, we also warn Chevron not to relate with any group on issue of offshore production until the merger is completed”, he said. CHANGE OF NAME t Formerly known and addressed as Miss. Kalu Precious Uzoma, now wish to be known and addressed as Mrs. Achionye Precious Uzoma. All former documents remain valid. General public take note.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

51

World News

‘Iran prepared for decisive battle with US, Israel’

It does seem a time to move forward and the sense is that Zimbabwe is moving ... We need to respond (by removing sanctions).

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–EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF, CATHERINE ASHTON

China to improve highways, infrastructure in West Africa PAUL ARHEWE,

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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he People’s Republic of China is considering the possibility of assisting ECOWAS improve its infrastructure in furtherance of its commitment to contribute to the integration and development of the region. The Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the country’s embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Shanginq, reaffirmed this commitment during a courtesy call on the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, on 11th February 2014 at the ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja. Mr.Zhou identified infrastructure as an important spur for development which enjoys the greatest attention by his country and which explained why a 10 member Chinese delegation of construction experts and economists is in the region for wide

A cross section of the members of ECOWAS Technical Committee on Political Affairs, in Accra, Ghana, recently.

ranging consultations on how the region can be supported to improve this sector. The outcome of the consultations by the Chinese delegation, led by a senior engineer with the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) highway consultants, Mr Fu Jiawei,

will guide both parties in deciding on the next steps in this process, Mr Zhou said. While welcoming the delegation, ECOWAS President paid tribute to the CCCC team and the government and people of China for its assistance to Member States and the Community.

South African police clash with ANC supporters

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outh African police fired rubber bullets yesterday at stone throwing supporters of the ruling ANC who tried to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance party as they marched in central Johannesburg. The incident is a sign of rising tensions in South Africa before general elections on May 7, which are seen as the biggest political test yet for President Jacob Zuma and his African National Congress (ANC), which has been in power for 20 years since the end

of white apartheid rule. Police, between the lines of rival supporters, opened fire briefly at ANC members clad in the party’s yellow T-shirts. A police spokesman said petrol bombs were also thrown at officers who responded with stun grenades as well as rubber bullets. Four people - wearing t-shirts bearing the ANC logo - were subsequently arrested for public violence and illegally carrying dangerous weapons during the march, police said. Thousands of supporters from

African National Congress (ANC) supporters flee after they tried to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance party as they marched in PHOTO: REUTERS central Johannesburg, yesterday.

both parties were brought in by bus; the DA to march in what it said was a protest about high rates of unemployment in Africa’s largest economy and the ANC to defend its headquarters in Johannesburg. After the brief clash with police the marchers turned around and the protest ended, with DA members saying they had decided to call things off to prevent further violence. Commentators have viewed the march by the DA, the country’s biggest opposition party, as an action or provocation deliberately designed to expose what the opposition says is the ANC’s intolerant nature. “Will every voter now get the point about what an undemocratic and violent and intolerant organisation the ANC is,” DA leader Helen Zille told local TV news channel eNCA. “We knew we were not getting to our end destination from the start, because the ANC came with missiles, petrol bombs, bricks and stones.

He said that the construction of regional highways remained the priority of the Community as it would help the realisation of the giant strides attained by the Community through the Common External Tariff agreed by regional leaders last year as well as the trade liberalization programme and its flagship protocol on the free movement of persons, residence and establishment.

‘CAR carrying out ethnic cleansing of Muslims’

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nternational peacekeepers have failed to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Central African Republic, a human rights group says. Militia attacks have led to a “Muslim exodus of historic proportions”, according to a report by Amnesty International. Aid groups have warned of a food crisis, as many of the shops and wholesalers were run by Muslims. The UN’s World Food Programme has started a monthlong aid airlift. The roads are too dangerous to transport food without a military escort, WFP spokesman Alexis Masciarelli told the BBC. This is why the UN agency is taking the more expensive option of flying food in from neighbouring Cameroon. The first flight carrying 82 tonnes of rice arrived on Wednesday, with a further 1,800 tonnes of cereal to follow in the coming weeks.

WORLD BULLETIN

British Commission hosts fundraising for Taylor’s Foundation The Damilola Taylor Foundation Nigeria will hold a Fund Raising Reception and Dinner today to promote it programme of activities. The event will be hosted by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Peter Carter. The goal of the evening is to raise 500 Million Naira to allow the Foundation to launch its projects to combat Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation in Nigeria’s six Geo-Political Regions. The Damilola Taylor Foundation Nigeria is a direct offshoot of the Damilola Taylor Trust in the UK. The Trust, a registered charity, was founded by Damilola’s father, Richard Taylor OBE, in memory of his son. It supports Government initiatives on youth crime and assists in developing the potentials of underprivileged young people. It has developed an excellent track record and established its reputation as a leader in community youth projects. This record has earned the Trust us the recognition and endorsement at the highest levels in the UK. Taylor now wishes to extend this good work to Nigeria, Damilola’s home country. He will attend the reception and dinner. Christine Ohuruogu, the British Olympic champion, will also attend the event as an Ambassador for the Damilola Taylor Foundation.

EU lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, but not on Mugabe The European Union is to further ease sanctions on Zimbabwe next week, but will keep a travel ban and asset freeze on President Robert Mugabe and his wife, EU sources said. But the EU has held out an olive branch to Mugabe, inviting him to take part in an EU-Africa summit in Brussels in April and granting him an exemption from sanctions to visit Europe. The moves reflect a cautious easing of EU policy towards Zimbabwe 12 years after it first imposed sanctions in protest at human rights abuses and violations of democracy under Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980. EU states were divided in their response when Mugabe, 89, won a fifth term as president in an election last July that was endorsed as free by African observers but denounced as fraudulent by the opposition. The overhaul of the EU’s policy, after a review, is designed to encourage positive change in Zimbabwe while retaining some leverage over Mugabe to pursue reforms.


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World News

WORLD BULLETIN Turkey vows to go ahead with new airport despite court order Turkey has vowed to press ahead with building what could become one of the world’s busiest airports in defiance of a court order halting the project over environmental concerns. A court last month suspended work on Istanbul’s third airport after local residents and environmental groups filed a lawsuit arguing that the project would cause serious damage to the environment, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. But Transport Minister Lutfi Elvan said the suspension would not interfere with construction of the airport in a heavily forested area near Terkos Lake, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Istanbul. “This was a decision only for a temporary suspension pending the environmental impact approval report. In no way will it affect the construction of the airport,” Elvan told reporters. Environment and Urban Development Minister Idris Gulluce said his ministry would appeal the decision, saying “we believe that there is a factual mistake”, without elaborating. “No one should come to the conclusion that the airport (construction) will be prevented and Turkey’s world-famous project will be halted,” he said. The court requested an expert report on construction plans and is expected to make a final decision on the fate of the project within a year. The Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-MapaKalyon Consortium, a Turkish joint venture, won a tender for the project last May after bidding 22 billion euros ($30 billion) for a 25year lease to build and operate the planned airport.

Italian PM in showdown with party boss Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta failed to resolve differences with centre-left leader Matteo Renzi yesterday after a showdown that could lead to a change of government within days. The two met in Letta’s office in Palazzo Chigi a day before a meeting of the 140-strong leadership group of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) that is due to decide whether the largest party in the coalition will continue to support the prime minister. Days of repeated criticism by Renzi of the Letta government’s failure to pass significant economic reforms have raised expectations that the prime minister will stand aside. However Letta has resisted calls to go and after a meeting that lasted more than an hour, there was no sign of a change in the position of either, according to a source in the prime minister’s office. Letta, a low-profile moderate appointed in April to lead a government patched together after last year’s deadlocked election, has kept his unwieldy coalition together but has struggled to pull Italy out of its worst postwar recession. He promised to unveil a package of measures on Wednesday and his office confirmed that he would hold a news conference in the afternoon.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

‘Iran prepared for decisive battle with US, Israel’

Iran Armed Forces chief, Hasan Firouzabadi

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rmed forces chief of staff General Hassan Firouzabadi has warned the Islamic republic’s arch-foes that Iran is prepared for a “decisive battle” if attacked, Fars news agency reported yesterday. “We are ready for the decisive battle with America and the Zionist regime (Israel),” Fars quoted Firouzabadi as saying. He also warned neighbouring nations not to allow any attack to be launched on Iran from their soil. “We do not have any hostility towards regional states, but if we are ever attacked from the American bases in the region we will strike that area back,” he said. Washington has many military bases in the region, including in Bahrain, Kuwait, the

United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. US Secretary of State John Kerry said late last month that if diplomacy with Iran fails, “the military option of the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do”. But Firouzabadi accused the US of bluffing. “Over the past decade, they brought their forces but came to the conclusion that they can’t attack us and left,” he said, dismissing the US military threat as nothing but a “political bluff ”. President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday the West should not have and delusions about using a military option. “I say explicitly, if some have delusions of having any threats against Iran on their tables, they need to wear new glasses. There

is no military option against Iran on any table in the world,” he said. Iran is due to resume talks on Monday in Vienna with the P5+1 -- Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany -- aimed at reaching a comprehensive nuclear accord following a landmark interim agreement struck in November. Western nations have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian programme, allegations denied by Tehran which insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful. Neither the United States nor Israel has ruled out military action to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, if diplomacy fails.

Syrian conflict: UN sends more aid into Homs

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ore aid has been sent into the besieged rebelheld Old City of Homs by the UN after hours of talks aimed at saving a truce between warring parties. More than 200 civilians were also evacuated out of the Old City on Tuesday, Homs Governor Talal Barazi told a news agency. They will join the hundreds who have left since the truce was agreed on Friday, but hundreds more remain. The regime has said it will allow an extension to the current ceasefire. It is due to end late on Wednesday. Earlier, UN vehicles towed trailers of food into the city - dozens of bags of flour, rice, vegetable oil, sugar, salt and other commodities. The BBC’s reporter, in Homs, says every precaution was being taken with the latest delivery. Red Crescent vehicles were attacked on their way to the Old City at the weekend, and their workers were briefly trapped. The “humanitarian pause” in the Old City of Homs is a rare glimmer of light in a dark and devastating war. The UN says the mission has already helped a “significant” number of people to leave the besieged area and a “limited” amount of aid is getting through. The UN’s resident humanitarian co-ordinator, Yacoub El Hillo, told me they were “baby steps” that, he hoped, could lead to the “giant steps” that were needed. But a rare truce also meant to build trust is exposing deep enmities. The longer the mission goes on, the more sensitive it becomes. Some pro-government forces are vehemently opposed to an operation that is allowing fighters to escape an area that has been the focus of heavy fighting for nearly two years.

Judge sets November trial for US marathon bombing

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federal judge yesterday set a November trial date for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar

L-R: Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Tsarnaev over the objections of defence attorneys who said that will not give them enough time to prepare.

Judge George O’Toole Jr. said he believes a Nov. 3 trial is realistic and fair. Tsarnaev’s lawyers had asked for a trial date no earlier than September 2015. Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty for Tsarnaev, want the trial this autumn. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal counts in the April 15 bombings that killed three people and injured 260 others. Several of those injured in the bombings were in court on Wednesday, but Tsarnaev was not. Prosecutors allege that the 20-year-old Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, planted two

homemade pressure cooker bombs near the marathon’s finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police a few days later. Defence attorney Judy Clarke said federal prosecutors have been “sluggish” in responding to requests to turn over evidence and there are a “tremendous amount of logistical hurdles” for the defence to be ready for trial in November. In particular, Clarke cited 2,000 pieces of physical evidence that are still in the FBI’s lab near Washington, D.C., that the defence hasn’t been able to examine.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

North

Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Ex-Kaduna deputy gov picks APC membership card A ZA MSUE KADUNA

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ormer Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, James Bawa Magaji, yesterday registered as a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in his Fadan Kaje Ward, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area, LGA. Speaking shortly after his registration amidst cheers from hundreds of

supporters, Magaji predicted that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state will become the opposition in 2015. He said people who want a change in the country and Kaduna in particular, should identify themselves with the APC. The former deputy governor added that from the outset, APC is leaving no one in doubt about bringing a change in Nigeria and Africa through pro-

gressive, people-oriented and purposeful leadership. Magaji, who was the deputy governor between 1992 and 1993, remained the youngest deputy governor in Nigeria’s history when he became deputy governor at 32 while former Governor Dabo Lere was 51. Their ticket pulled the biggest surprise at the poll which defeated Prof. Ango Abdullahi/Stephen Shek-

ari’s ticket of the defunct SDP despite the fact that SDP had more local government area chairmen. He said: “If you compare what is happening in Kano, with Kaduna, you will agree with me that we need a change. We need a government that will give it a push towards the development of the decaying infrastructure,” he said. “From the way things are going, we have people in power who don’t care about

the common man. People are suffering despite our enormous resources. Some of us feel that we must rescue our state from collapse,” he said. Magaji continued: “Many people have been asking where I’ve been hiding that we should come out and rescue them. So, with the level of suffering in the land, there are many things APC will do, but most importantly, the schools and industries

we run in the past have collapsed, poverty is on the increase. “Our people have suffered untold hardship in the last 15 years of very corrupt, indolent, incompetent and sophomoric leadership of the PDP despite huge accruable revenues to the country between 1999 to date, which doubled total accrual to Nigeria between 1960 and 1999, when PDP came to power,” he said.

Trado-medical practitioners demand inclusion in national confab WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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wara State chapter of the Association of African Traditional Medical Practitioners yesterday lent their voice to the call by the national body of the association asking for a slot in the national dialogue nomination list. Leader of the group in the state, Chief J. J. Ayedele, while speaking in Ilorin yesterday supported Prof. Idowu Odeyemi of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, who earlier protested the noninclusion of traditional medical practitioners in the list.

He said: “My belief is that since Christians and Muslims are given the opportunity to be part of the dialogue, we should be allowed to use our knowledge of the traditional religion and medicine to address the way forward for Nigeria. “This will help to proffer the best solution to the present problems facing Nigeria and consequently get out of the woods,” Chief Ayedele added. He argued that before the advent of Christianity and Islam, traditional religion practitioners were being consulted on issues to find solutions to the myriad of problems confronting man that were working at the time.

Wada grants 22 prison inmates amnesty WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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ogi State Governor, Idris Wada, yesterday granted amnesty to 22 imprison inmates serving different jail terms in different parts of the state under his prerogative of mercy. Wada, who disclosed this in a state-wide broadcast to the people of the state yesterday, said this was done in accordance with the provision of section 212, sub-section 1 (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. He added that the State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy was acting in consonance with the provisions of the Kogi

State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy Law, 1995, when it visited various prisons in the state, where condemned convicts and other categories of prisoners are being kept and serving various terms of imprisonment. The governor said after intensive study and scrutiny of the records of the inmates and a digest of the recommendations received on the behalf of the inmates, he said he came to the inescapable conviction and conclusion that ‘some of the inmates come within the warm embrace of my prerogative.’ The governor therefore granted amnesty to those on the death row for more than 20 years, saying that they be released from prison.

Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Sagir Saleh (right) and Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Tasiu Mohammed, at a workshop for medium and large scale cotton farmers in Bauchi, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

PDP’ll sweep LG poll in Plateau, says party chairman JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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s local government election in Plateau State draws nearer, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday expressed confidence that its candidates will sweep the poll, leaving nothing to the opposition. The state electoral body, PLASIEC has fixed October 25 for the poll. PDP state Chairman, Dr. Haruna Dabin, addressing

party supporters in Pankshin Local Government Area at the campaign flagoff of the party’s candidate in the chairmanship election, Mr. Samuel Goar, said the party will clinch the local government election in the state, adding that the party is not ready to concede any seat to the opposition. “We must rise to the challenge and work assiduously to clinch all elective positions in the state leaving nothing to the opposition.

“It is something that could be realised if only we put our acts together as a team; democracy is all about number if only we could draw the voters to our side,” Dabin said PDP as the largest party, has the potential to attract voters to its side with its ‘transformation agenda’ which is putting smile on the faces of the citizenry. He charged the people of Pankshin to ensure that Goar wins the chairman-

ship election alongside 20 other councillorship candidates in the council. Also speaking, the Speaker of the Plateau House of Assembly, Hon. Titus Alams, called on the people to ‘demonstrate politics of sportsmanship’ and allow a peaceful conduct of the council election. Alams said no development could take place where there is chaos; we all want to develop to catch up with other developed societies.

Belgore dumps APC for PDP in Kwara WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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he 2011 gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Kwara State and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mohammed Dele Belgore, SAN, yesterday defected with his supporters to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Belgore, who commands a large followership of progressives in the state, had been the strongest rival of Senator Bukola Saraki and his politics while the latter and his followers were in the PDP before defecting to the APC recently. The senior advocate at a colourful ceremony in his Ilorin GRA campaign office said the decision to defect became necessary because the leadership of

the APC has let him and his supporters down. This he said was by the way and manner they handled the defection of members of the PDP to the APC in the state. Belgore said the declaration was symbolic because people have waited with baited breath “for us to make a pronouncement on our political future. The expectations and the anxieties are

understandable, given the happenings in the APC which we laboured so hard to nurture to a party of choice in Kwara from its ACN days.” He said hope had risen now with the birth of the APC; “Our struggle for socio-economic development in our state, which we began in 2010, would be better served under a stronger and broader political platform.”


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Insight

Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

The West and genesis of Nigeria is facing threats and criticisms from some members of the international community for recently passing a law that forbids homosexuality and same-sex marriage. But EVEREST ONYEWUCHI and PAUL ARHEWE write that Western countries are playing double standards, especially as they fail to appreciate African cultures, traditions and values.

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igerian politicians, always cacophonous, hardly speak with one voice on serious national and even international issues. But in the face of growing perverse sexual orientations of people in the West that is gradually creeping into our society, members of the National Assembly (NASS) surprisingly rose in defence of our culture, essence and being. In 2011, 26 senators from across the political spectrum sponsored a private member’s bill that seeks to prohibit marriage between persons of same gender, solemnisation of same and for other related matters. The senators are Domingo Obende, Ehigie Uzamere, Adegbenga Kaka, Robert Borrofice, Pius Ewherido (late), Yusuf Nagodo, Mohammed Magoro, Emmanuel Paulker, George Sekibo, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Nenadi Usman, Helen Esuene and Babafemi Ojudu. Others include Oluremi Tinubu, Olugbenga Ashafa, Obadara Olugbenga, Joshua Dariye, Saleh Sani, Hope Uzodinma, Ayogu Eze, Smart Adeyemi, Ahmad Lawani, Paulinus Nwagu, Mohammed Goje, Barnabas Gemade and Boluwaju Kunlere. Two years after the bill passed through the two Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), President Goodluck assented to it on January 7 this year, thus, the bill has become an Act of the National Assembly and among other punishments, stipulates 14-year jail term for same-sex marriage couples. By President Jonathan’s bold action, Nigeria has drawn the ire of some western nations who have warped sexual orientations that encourage lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Antagonists of the anti-gay law have described it as obnoxious and draconian. Some like Canada, United States of America and Britain say the enactment of the law is a direct encroachment on the rights of homosexuals in Nigeria. The views of these opponents are that the law will make the country a barbaric state and relegate it to be slave to tradition, morality and religion. The fierceness with which western countries are pushing for the adoption of gay practices in all parts of the world, especially in cultures that abhor it, makes it look as if the world’s existence depends on a practice that is known to have sent many to their untimely graves. Westerners and those opposing Nigeria’s and indeed, Africa’s anti-gay laws do not know or fail to appreciate African culture and chronology of events guiding Nigeria’s stance against sodomy and gay practices. Nigerian society, since the colonial era, has always stood against homosexuals.. National Mirror found out that in 1916,

Newly wed gay couple in California, United States

Photo: Latimes

MEDICALLY, HOMOSEXUALS ARE KNOWN TO BE AMONG THOSE WHO FIRST CONTRACTED

ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS), THE

WHICH TOOK A RAPID

SPREAD AMONG SAMESEX PARTNERS

southern part of the country enacted laws that criminalised these practices. It is in sections 214 and 215 of the Criminal Code Act which is now in chapter 77 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990. Similarly, in northern Nigeria, the penal code in 1960, which became a chapter in the laws of Northern Nigeria, had provisions against sodomy and other gay practices. These laws have given credence to the new same-sex prohibition Act. It is seen that the recent law is a reinforcement of the previous ones. What this implies is that since laws against such practices have existed since 1916 it becomes wrong to claim that Nigerian government is vio-

Protests against French President Francois Hollande’s proposal to allow same-sex marriage drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets in Paris, recently. Photo: Mario Murillo Ministries

lating the rights of its citizens in contemporary times. Medically, homosexuals are known to be among those who first contracted the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which took a rapid spread among same-sex partners. Initially, the terminal disease was referred to as homosexual ailment, when it was called Gay-related Immune Deficiency (GRID). Some commentators have argued that the move of the West is sinister, as they continue in pushing for the wide recognition of gay lifestyles that bring no positive contribution to humankind, but only diseases and deaths.

Nigeria has, however, replied the Western nations that are threatening the country for playing double standards with their crying foul over the new law. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, recently, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, told reporters that President Jonathan signed the bill into law as a way of protecting Nigerians and democracy. She did not fail in adding that the criticisms of the West are based on “double standards.” “What happened in Nigeria is democracy in action and it will really be unfortunate that people who are talking about democracy when they now see democracy work, they want us to go against democ-


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Insight

Thursday, February 13, 2014

55

Nigeria’s anti-gay law racy,” the minister said. “Is democracy for pick and choose? When it suites them they want us to do good governance and democracy, but when it does not suit them they want us to go against the democracy that has been put in place. “The National Assembly took a decision; the National Assembly is the face of democracy in Nigeria. They are the representatives of the people, they form the voice of the people and they have spoken,’’ she added. Majority of Nigerians from different walks of life have lauded President Jonathan for assenting to the law, with religious leaders from various faiths backing this singular popular act. A bishop of the Living Faith Church, David Abioye, in his commendation said, “The decision against same sex marriage is pace-setting for nations in Africa and other nations of the world. We commend the President for signing the bill into law. Same sex marriage is against ethics; it is against tradition; it is against culture, humanity, the will of God and everything. Not once will that evil rise up its head in this country,” Abioye said. Archbishop of the Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, also gave his approval of the government‘s stance. In his words, “The position of the Catholic Church has always been clear that the designs of God are very clear to us. God created man; male and female He created them and told them to go and multiply and the church has stood by that natural plan of God. As a catholic, obviously I am against homosexuality; therefore I’m against same-sex marriage. My position all along has been that strictly speaking there is no such thing as same-sex marriage because marriage by definition is between a man and a woman. Anything else, you can call it whatever you like. Don’t call it marriage because marriage is between a husband and a wife.” Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, is also puzzled by the amount of opposition and pressure from the western world. In his words, “There was a public hearing by the National Assembly and we are not aware of their opposition to this bill. What happened was that a lot of Nigerians appeared and made submissions in favour of it. So it is a surprise that after the bill has been passed, we are now facing this opposition by the international community.” While airing his view recently, the governor likened gay marriage to pedophilia. He insisted that gay marriage offends the cultural norms of Nigerians. Uduaghan said the way it is viewed as taboo for an adult to sleep with a 10-year-old girl in Ireland, is the same way Nigerians view gay marriage. “Whenever a couple come together, they are not coming together by themselves, it almost involves their different families and if it is known that in that family there are married gays, the danger is that the taboo emanating from that might even affect

RUSSIA HAS MADE IT KNOWN TO THE WORLD THAT IT WILL NOT ALLOW GAY PRACTICES IN ITS

SOCIETY, AS IT SEEKS TO PROTECT CHILDREN AND PRESERVE ITS FAMILY TRADITION

Anti-gay protest in France recently

others who are straight and that is not right,” he said. The double standards of the West are traced to the huge pressure placed on Africans to forgo a rich cultural heritage that forbids homosexuality and lesbianism. The politics behind this western campaign to expand gay practices has reflected a scenario where less pressure is mounted on few western countries that have decided to single themselves out and preserve traditional decorum. For example, Russia has made it known to the world that it will not allow gay practices in its society, as it seeks to protect children and preserve its family tradition. President Vladimir Putin recently had to allay the fears of athletes and sports lovers visiting the Eastern European country for the ongoing Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, by assuring that they won’t be punished by the country’s existing anti-gay laws. In addition, some states in the USA are still against gay marriage. As at January 2014, only 17 states and the District of Columbia have constitutionally legalised same-sex marriage. In 31 US states, there still exist constitutional amendments banning recognition of gay marriages. Virginia State adopted a referendum in 2006 that outlaws gay marriages. Virginia has upheld for over 400 years that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is because the state has continued to uphold the important role father and mother play in families. Recently, a mass protest was held in Paris, marching to force abolition of the law allowing gay marriages in France. It is interesting to note that Britain has not legally approved gay marriage, but waiting to put into effect from March 29 this year, the law passed by its parliament, when homosexuals will become recognised in England and Wales.

Historically, homosexuality was a criminal offence for over 300 years in the United Kingdom. It was only decriminalised in 1959; not based on the grounds of human rights, but because the son of the then Prime Minister, Nicholas Eden, and the son of Lord John Wolfenden, Jeremy Wolfenden, were gays. It was reported that Nicholas Eden was among the first set of people that died of AIDS. The former colonial master created anti-sodomy and homosexuality laws in Nigeria and failed to repeal them whereas the Britons were decriminalizing their own domestic laws. What duplicity! The western world is still against pedophilic practices, which is seen as a psychiatric disorder whereby an adult defiles and have sexual intercourse with a minor. This pedophilic practice was termed together with homosexuality and lesbianism as psychiatric disorder, but the later was removed from the category of the debasing practice. American Psychiatric Association included homosexuality in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a sociopathic personality disorder or perverse psychosexual disorder, but this was expunged in 2000. National Mirror has learnt that as part of the campaign and propaganda against the Nigerian government, some western countries have started to sponsor activists and protesters to march and write petitions from foreign countries against the law. One of such propaganda is the one signed by some faceless Nigerians from the United States in which they wrote that the anti same-sex law “ignores the fruits of many decades of scientific research which proves decisively that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality. Fourth, the law threatens to reverse the gains made by programmes aimed at fighting the HIV-

AIDS epidemic in the country.” It was also gathered that some Nigerians have started utilising the situation for some cheap advantages to travel abroad. The volume of applications from Nigerians seeking asylum in some western countries is reportedly increasing. The Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria confirmed to our correspondent that it had received several applications from Nigerians seeking asylum. In addition, the Canadian Embassy in Nigeria in a report said it had not really received any increase from Nigerian applicants in recent times. However, it said applications for asylum would be granted, only in Ottawa, on arrival in their country. “We cannot grant asylum to anyone here on any grounds, that is the prerogative of Ottawa. Such a Nigerian must have already satisfied regular visa requirements and must have travelled to Canada. He or she as the case may be, can now apply to stay back for fear of persecution upon return to Nigerian.” The Embassy said it would investigate to verify if actually applicants are gay or just making a claim, when such applications are received. National Mirror contacted the Australian Embassy, about its view on the anti-gay law in Nigeria and the Second Secretary of the mission, Tom Beamish, replied, “The Australian Government is concerned that some provision of the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act appear inconsistent with a number of human rights enshrined in international conventions, including the rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly.” He added, “Australia condemns all discriminations, violence or harassment against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. We have previously raised our concerns with the legislation with the Government of Nigeria prior to signing into law, and will do so again now that it has been enacted.” The argument of many commentators are that the hypocrisy and double standards of the West are pronounced when they continue to discriminate against some practices based on sexual orientation, like polygamy, incest and pedophilia and want the world to adopt homosexuality and lesbianism, even in cultures that detest it.


WORLD RECORD

Largest linked race - most pairs (single venue)

N150

Vol. 04 No. 787 Thursday, February 13, 2014

The largest linked race by most pairs (single venue) was 1,601 pairs in “La Carrera de Padres e Hijos,” organized by Kinder México, at the Hipódromo de las Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, on 29 April

Oshiomhole on non-negotiability of Nigeria’s unity

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have heard people refer to Nigeria in many terms, some complimentary while others, depending on the feelings of those passing the verdict, are very disparaging. I have also heard people passionately call her ‘our little Jerusalem’, ‘a place of sanctuary’, ‘one that stands taller than her every challenge each and every time’. Yet, at other times, it is not uncommon to hear those at the wrong end of the country’s shortcomings refer to her as a ‘mere geographical expression’ that parades nothing good, but a collection of incongruent nationalities. But of the many descriptions, one that tends to seat well in my heart, despite its tendency for misinterpretation, is the assertion that Nigeria is a barrack of some sort! Don’t be in any hurry to crucify me for daring to admit that the barrack moniker

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he future of Bafana Bafana Coach, Gordon Igesund, will be decided today in Johannesburg as the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) board meets to review the dismal outing of the country at the re-

Guest Columnist

Ernest

Omoarelojie

thrills me. I am making the appeal here given the mental picture of depravity which we all have of the average Nigerian barrack as made possible by those given the responsibility to keep our uniformed men and women well quartered. For their roles, our barracks tend to be citadels of the absurd, places fit only for animals of lower intelligence. Whereas our dear country is, in more ways than one, similar to this barrack, it certainly is not the one I have in mind. For all intents and purposes, my barrack is one that is an eternal edifice; one that will outlive everyone in uniform - soldier, policeman, navy, air force or whoever has any reason to have it as an abode. Indeed, the barrack I mean here is the one every average soldier sums up as “soja comes, soja goes, barrack remains.” In this Nigerian barrack, you and I will live in and leave behind, very intact or as Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole puts it, the indivisible entity whose unity is non-negotiable. Despite the debilitating odds that appear to push nay sayers into venting their anger with calls for the fragmentation of Nigeria, the country will remain one barrack that will outlive all of us. This is the point we must appreciate even as those that ought to know better are stoking the flames of discord just to heat up the polity. We must realise quickly that we have many things to lose in the event of breakage. If nothing else, history is replete with examples. The case with South Sudan is very instructive. Evolving development

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO HEAR THOSE AT THE WRONG END

OF THE COUNTRY’S SHORTCOMINGS REFER TO HER AS A

‘MERE GEOGRAPHICAL EXPRESSION’ THAT PARADES NOTHING GOOD…

in the world’s newest country, laid bare the fact that those who masterminded its birth were motivated more by selfish interests than patriotic fervour. The reasons are not far to seek because the actors are today battling the same ghosts they fought against in the name of self determination. Let me point out quickly here that this piece is not against those fighting for equity or fair play. It is about the need for all of us to be wary of politicians, who disguise their selfish interests in patriotic colours, while making calls that are motivated more by inordinate ambition. Since Nigeria came into existence decades ago, history has it on records that genuine patriots have in their numbers harped on the need for all of us to continue working for her unity. In the first instance,

they make the call, convinced that God did not make any mistake in pulling together the different ethnic divides that make it up as one. To that extent, they were not and are still not wrong in asking that we pull more the strings of unity than those that divide us. This is the point Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, made recently when he reminded Nigerians that as part of the well deserved honour accorded those who paid the ultimate price for the unity of the country, all of us must learn to understand that its unity is non-negotiable despite all the odds. The import of the statement by Comrade Oshiomhole is better appreciated when juxtaposed against the backdrop of recent statements coming from some political elites. In the past few weeks alone, a number of them are associated with comments which seem to suggest that they are working earnestly for the fragmentation of the country, sadly, for very selfish reasons. For instance, in one of the interviews granted one of the country’s major newspapers, a leading politician from the south south was unequivocal in stating that Nigeria may cease to exist if President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is not allowed to contest the 2015 elections. If the truth must be told, he needs to be reminded that though every individual is entitled to his or her opinion, he or she must be mindful of the fact that no opinion should underscore the supremacy of the country over and above the ambition of one individual or region. This is the point Oshiomhole made clear in his statement that governors and presidents will come and go, Nigeria will remain because we will fare better as one. Clearly, we can tell from events unfolding right now in South Sudan that the people are being taken for a ride because they failed to be discerning. For that reason, they were not able to differentiate between the seeming patriotic fervour of the present political protagonists and their selfish interests. For that same reason, they succumbed to the actors’ guile manipulations. Omoarelojie wrote from Benin City

Sport Extra

CHAN 2014 fallout: Igesund knows fate today cent CHAN finals where it crashed out in the group stage. Reports in South Africa said yesterday that Igesund will present a report to SAFA’s International Board and Technical

Committee before learning of his fate later in the day, although some sections of the media said the coach could still get a reprieve as preparations get underway ahead of the 2015 Africa Nations Cup finals to be hosted

by Morocco. SAFA, which expressed dismay over Bafana’s performance at the CHAN, has since said it wished to rest the matter “as quickly as possible”, amidst speculations that Igesund

might be spared the hammer after SAFA President, Danny Jordaan, hinted that there was no vacancy at the Bafana top post. “Our coach has a running contract,” Jordaan had declared.

Igesund

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Binder1thursday,february13,2014  

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