Issuu on Google+

Newswatch removes Ray Ekpu, others from Board

NUPENG strike: Oil workers meet FG today

...says ex-directors do not have sufficient shares SAM OLUWALANA Dele Giwa, Founder, Newswatch

T

he Newswatch Communications Limited has announced the sacking of Messrs Ray

Vol. 2 N0. 431

Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade from the Board of CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

IG redeploys 18 CPs

Alison-Madueke

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jonathan’s Nigeria (Part 1):

N150

Federation of unequal opportunities

...as nation awaits FG board appointments Stakeholders ask for justice

P.4,6

AYODELE OJO

DEPUTY EDITOR, POLITICS

A

s the nation awaits the constitution of the boards of federal parastatals and agencies, there is growing anxiety in the polity over what insiders described as “appointments tilted towards the North.” National Mirror reliably learnt that appointments to the boards may be announced this week. A top member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, expressed worries that this exercise would follow the existing pattern CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

Namadi Sambo, Vice-President (Kaduna) NORTH

Senator David Mark, Senate President (Benue) NORTH

Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker House of Reps (Sokoto) NORTH

Lamido Sanusi, Governor, Central Bank (Kano) NORTH

MD Mohammed, IGP (Zamfara) NORTH

Ibrahim Lamorde, EFCC Chairman (Adamawa) NORTH

Sen. Bala Mohammed, Minister of FCT (Bauchi) NORTH

Mohammed Adoke, AGF and Minister of Justice (Kogi) NORTH

Mohammed Dikko, Comptroller-General of Customs (Katsina) NORTH

Fola Daniel, Commissioner of Insurance (Kwara) NORTH

Andrew Yakubu, GMD, NNPC (Kaduna) NORTH

M.K. Ahmad, DG PENCOM (Gombe) NORTH

Kabiru Mashi, Chairman FIRS (Katsina) NORTH

Justice Aloma Muktar, Chief Justice of Nigeria (Kano) NORTH

Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser (Sokoto) NORTH


News

2

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Marginalisation of Yoruba: An One peculiar feature of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in the distribution of public offices is the exclusion of the Yoruba such that Nigeria is fast becoming an unequalled federation. National Mirror’s Deputy Editor (Politics), AYODELE OJO, provides an insight into the marginalisation of the South West.

T

he framers of the Nigerian Constitution had all segments of the nation at heart when the Principle was enshrined in the nation’s law book. The essence of inserting the Principle in the Constitution was to give equal opportunity to all ethnic nationalities and geographical zones in the country. Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution provides that: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few state or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.” But a cursory look at the distribution of public offices among the geo-political zones in the Goodluck Jonathan administration reveals an unequalled federation.

A skewed federation Nigeria is grouped into six geo-political zones South South: In the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the South South occupies strategic positions. The President being from the zone has strategically placed the people of the zone in vantage positions. Apart from him, the zone produced Grade A ministers, chairmen of powerful federal commissions, Chief of Staff to the Presi-

?

ZONES South West Zone South East Zone North West Zone North East Zone North Central Zone South South Zone

dent, until recently, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and headship of heavy budget agencies among others. South East: The zone is also a beneficiary of the lopsidedness in the distribution of public offices. The zone produced the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Minister of Finance and de facto Prime Minister, Minister of Power, Health Minister and Labour Minister. At the federal legislature, the South East is number two in both chambers of the National Assembly; Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. The zone also produced the Chief of Army Staff as well as man several strategic positions in government.

North West: This zone is the major beneficiary of the present government in the distribution of public offices. The VicePresident, the head of the nation’s judiciary – Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Grade A ministers (Defence until lately, National Planning, Education, Mines and Steel Development), Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Inspector General of Police, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and National Security Adviser, NSA, among others are from the North West which vot-

ed mainly for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the April 2011 presidential election. There are seven states – Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Jigawa, Zamfara and Katsina – in the North West. Buhari defeated President Jonathan in all the seven states in the presidential poll. North Central: The head of the federal legislature, the Senate President, the Clerk of the National Assembly as well as Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice are also from the zone. North East: The Head of Civil Service, Alhaji Isa Bello (Adamawa); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde (Adamawa) and chair-

Jonathan’s Nigeria: Federation of unequal opportunities CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

of appointments that were skewed towards a particular section of the country. “There is a growing trend of federal appointments being tilted towards the Northerners and that of the board appointments won’t be an exception going by the information available. Juicy appointments are being reserved for Northerners to further placate them ahead of the 2015 elections,” a source said. The North is angling for the Presidency in 2015. The Yoruba are not likely to be accorded priority in the constitution of the new mem-

bers of the boards just like they have been treated with the appointments made so far by the Goodluck Jonathan administration where the South-West was sidelined in strategic sectors. In the top hierarchy of the nation’s executive, legislative and judiciary, the Yoruba have no say. President Goodluck Jonathan, from Bayelsa State, South-South, heads the executive arm of government and supported by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, from Kaduna in North-West zone. The two leaders of the National Assembly – Sen-

ate President, David Mark and Speaker Aminu Tambuwal of the House of Representatives are from the North. Mark is from Benue State in North Central while Tambuwal is from Sokoto State, North West. Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, is from Kano State, North- West. A member of the PDP Board of Trustee, BoT, said that the Yoruba have no voice in the composition of the new boards as no public officer from the South-West was part of the selection committee which adversely affected the consideration

of the Yoruba in prime positions in the constitution of the boards of federal boards and agencies, which may be announced next week. “The President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and a few others decided on the allocation of boards appointments. Unfortunately, the Yoruba have nobody to represent their interest. This is why the South-West was also neglected in vital appointments,” a former member of the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, told National Mirror

yesterday. PDP National Chairman, Alhjai Bamanga Tukur was also reported to have influenced some board appointments for the Northerners. The SouthSouth and South-East were also given consideration in the appointments, according to sources. Piqued by the marginalisation of South-West in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, prominent Yoruba leaders have renewed call for the redistribution of public offices and also asked for justice in Nigeria. A high-powered delega-

tion of eminent Yoruba leaders, under the aegis of Yoruba Unity Forum, YUF, had met with President Jonathan recently where they pointedly told him that the Yoruba race is being marginalised. The 22-member delegation led by Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Gbonigi bluntly told Jonathan: “Mr. President, our people are quick to point out the unalloyed support which they gave to your election as president across party lines and how they now seem to be completely shunted off the mainstream of powers in the Nigerian polity.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

3

unequal Nigerian federation Legislature

Goodluck Jonathan, President (Bayelsa) SOUTH

Justice Dalhatu Adamu, Ag. President, Court of Appeal (Niger) NORTH

Justice Ibrahim Auta, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (Borno) NORTH

South-West

Alhaji Isa Bello, Head of Civil Service of the Federation (Adamawa) NORTH

Umaru Ibrahim, NDIC boss (Kano) NORTH

men of some federal agencies and bodies are from this zone. South West: In all the three arms of government: Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, the Yoruba of the South-West are not represented. The distribution of public offices at the federal level was skewed against the geo-political zone such that prominent Yoruba leaders have cried out that the race is marginalised under the Jonathan administration.

of the nation’s judiciary, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar is also from the North West. The only opportunity the people of the South-West had to be in the power bracket was when the House Speakership was zoned to the region. But the zone lost the slot as political horse trading gave the position to the North West.

Nigeria’s power house In Nigeria, there are six critical positions that influence governance in all aspects of the nation’s life. These positions are: The President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). Unfortunately, the South-West is missing in the power equation as no Yoruba occupies the headship of any of the three arms of government. In the executive, President Jonathan, from Bayelsa State in the South South holds sway while his deputy, Architect Namadi Sambo is from Kaduna State (North West). Senator Anyim Pius Anyim runs the secretariat of the Federal Government as the SGF; he is from Ebonyi State in the South East. At the federal legislature, the North controls the National Assembly. Senator David Mark is the chairman of the National Assembly by virtue of his position as the Senate President. The North also produced the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal from Sokoto State (North West) is the Speaker. The head

?

Minister of Finance (South East), Minister of Petroleum Resources (South South), Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice (North Central), Minister of Power (South East), Minister of Aviation (South East), Minister of Niger Delta (South South), Minister of Defence until lately (North West) Niger, Minister of Works (South South) and Minister of Education (North West).

Federal Executive Council (FEC) In the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the South West has equal representation in terms of number per state (one minister for each state) and geographical representation (one minister per zone). But in terms of influence, the seven ministers from the South West are not that favoured in terms of placements. Of the more than 10 first class/Grade A ministries, the Yoruba only head one; Agriculture. There are seven ministers from the South-West of which there are three females. The three females are Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from Oyo State, Erelu Olusola Obada, Minister of State for Defence from Osun State and Mrs. Omobola Johnson from Ondo State. She heads the newly created Ministry of Information Technology. Also, most of the seven ministers from the zone have no political clout except Ms. Akinjide and Obada. Lagos was allotted the Ministry of Trade and Investment, occupied by Dr. Segun Aganga who is from Edo State; Ekiti has the Ministry of Police Affairs; Foreign Affairs and Agriculture went to Ogun. Other zones grabbed the key ministries:

Judiciary The marginalisation of the Yoruba is well pronounced in the judiciary as the zone is missing in the top hierarchy. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Muktar is from the North; both the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Dalhatu Adamu (Niger) and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta (Borno) are from the North. The President of the Customary Court, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the DirectorsGeneral of the Law Reform Commission and National Judicial Institute are also non-Yoruba. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, and Solicitor-General of the Federation are also northerners. Adoke is from Kogi State in the North Central. The North also dominates the National Judicial Council (NJC). The CJN is the chairman of the NJC. The PCA, Chief Judge of Federal High Court; President of the Customary Court of Appeal; one Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal and some others NJC members are northerners.

In the legislative arm of government, the Yoruba are also missing. In the last administration, the South-West was a bit lucky as the zone produced the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the person of Patricia Etteh and Dimeji Bankole. But in the Jonathan administration, the zone has taken the back seat. The highest position the zone has is the consolatory position of Majority Leader of the House. A breakdown of principal officers of the National Assembly shows another lopsided equation: Senate President (North Central), Deputy Senate President (South East), Senate Leader (South South), Deputy Senate Leader (North East), House Speaker (North West) and Deputy Speaker (South East).

State House In the seat of power, the State House, the Yoruba equally have no place. In a clear case of marginalisation, the South West has no representation as the Chief of Staff is from the South South, Deputy Chief of Staff (North), Principal Secretary to the President (North), National Economic Adviser (South East) and the National Security Adviser was from the South South until the removal of Gen. Andrew Azazi who was replaced by Col. Sambo Dasuki from Sokoto State.

Federal Commissions Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution talks about the establishment of 10 Federal Executive bodies (Commissions), namely: Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB ); Federal Character Commission (FCC); Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC); Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC); Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); National Population Commission (NPC); Police Service Commission (PSC); Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Of the 10 sensitive bodies none of the chairmen of the federal commissions listed in Section 153 of the constitution is from South-West. The allocation of the commissions’ chairmen is as follows: CCB – North East; FCC – North Central; FCSC – South East; FJSC – South East; INEC – North West; NPC – South East; PSC – South South; RMAFC – South East; ICPC – South South; and EFCC – North East.

National Defence Council (NDC)/ security apparatus The nation’s NDC is made up of the President, Vice-President, Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and other members as the President may appoint. The only representation the South West has in the nation’s security command is the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin from Osun State. The zone produced none of the three service chiefs. The Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar is from Zamfara State, (North West) while the Director CONTINUED ON PAGE 14


4

Photo News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza (left) and Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbazazi, during the visit of UBA to the Prime Minister’s Office in Kampala, Uganda, recently.

Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar (right) and Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio during the governor’s Sallah visit to the Sultan in Sokoto.

L-R: Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Obateru Akinruntan; Awardee, Emeritus Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe; his wife, Folashade and Chairman, Governing Council of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), at the 60th anniversary of Mellanby Hall University of Ibadan and Chairmen Personality Lecture titled: “Security in Today’s Nigeria,” held in Ibadan, yesterday.

L-R: Traditional Ruler of Awka, Chief Gibson Nwosu; Tradtitional Ruler of Aguleri community, Chief Christopher Idigo; Igwe of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe; Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and Special Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Godfrey Muotolu, at the inauguration of the state’s Traditional Rulers’ Council secretariat in Awka, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

National News

NUPENG strike: Oil workers to meet with FG today

•ANPP urges dispute resolution OBIORA IFOH AND MESHACK IDEHEN

T

he National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said they had been invited to meet with the Federal Government today in order to prevent the looming total strike by the union. The invitation, according to NUPENG, followed threats by the union to embark on an indefinite strike meant to compel the Federal Government to meet with the demands of its members. Confirming the invitation to National Mirror yesterday, the Secretary General of NUPENG, Mr. Isaac Aberare, who spoke on behalf of the

union’s president, Mr. Igwe Achese, said the NUPENG’s representatives will meet with the Ministers of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, and that of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu. Aberare said that the situation has not changed as far the conditions given by the union to the government was concerned, saying that the outcome of today’s meeting would determine the next line of action by the union. Explaining the position of NUPENG on the dispute, Aberare said it takes two to tango, saying: “The hard position the government has taken on the disagreements with the union could por-

tend grave situation for the country’s economy.” He said the union insisted and appealed to the government to meet its financial obligations to oil marketers, saying it is possible the government may be using the delay in releasing payment for some oil marketers to achieve other objectives, and that the delay in the payment had impacted badly on workers. Aberare dismissed a claim by the Federal Government that it had paid over N400bn as subsidy arrears between 2011 and 2012, adding NUPENG was disturbed about selective payment of subsidy claims by the government since the real depot owners were yet to be paid and their workers owed salaries and allowances. The NUPENG secre-

tary added: “The union is again urging the government to publicly announce to Nigerians the names of oil marketers that have been paid the subsidy arrears.” He, however, said that NUPENG would go ahead to call a nationwide strike without notice if the subsidy money was not paid on time to oil marketers. Listing other areas of grievances the union intends to discuss with the government, Aberare explained that NUPENG was concerned about the diversion of crude oil to open market, alongside the failure of the government to commence the Tur n-Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s refineries in order to boost the supply of petroleum products in the country.

He said the need to repair the nation’s roads, especially those in the East-West, which he alleged government failed to address, was another bone of contention beween the two parties. Aberare said NUPENG would table all the issues before the minister at the meeting. He also listed the issues of oil and gas workers continuous casualisation and the mismanagement of workers pension by some companies operating in the sector as other grouse the union have with the government. Meanwhile, the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) has called on all parties in the impasse to consider the suffering of Nigerian masses and resolve the dispute. The party said that

Nigerians should not be sacrificed on the unbending posture of the government, oil workers and the organised labour. In a statement by ANPP’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, the party noted that the current scarcity of petroleum products in Abuja, the nation’s capital, may spread nationwide as the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday served a fourday notice to embark on a nationwide strike should the Federal Government fail by Thursday to effect payments of outstanding subsidy money to fuel importers and depot owners. ANPP, however, urged the government to carry out its privatization policy with human face.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

5

Newswatch removes Ray Ekpu, others from Board CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Directors of Newswatch Communications Ltd. Their removal from the board is sequel to the Share Purchase Agreement signed by them, which required them to have “appropriate shares” to be on the board of the company. Section 7.0 of the said

Share Purchase Agreement states: “Both parties agree that the founding members of the company retiring could take up appointments as consulting editors, up to a period of two years, or membership of the board, where appropriate”. The company, which is currently restructur-

ing for a turn-around, said the collective shares of Mr. Ray Ekpu and the three others put together is 6.1% of the company’s total shares , which does not meet the requirement of Companies and Allied Matters Act(CAMA) and the spirit of the SPA and therefore not appropriate for them to occupy a four-

member board seat. Reacting to the news of their removal from the board, the Executive Chairman and Publisher of Newswatch, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, OFR said since Mr. Ray Ekpu and the other gentlemen signed the SPA, they are” knowledgeable and old enough to know the implication

of the documents they signed and as such cannot eat their cake and have it”. Ibrahim added that by law, only a minimum of 10% shareholders can legally demand for a board seat in any company. He advised Ekpu and co. to approach the company to buy more of the unal-

loted shares in order to retain board seats. “Having voluntarily retired from the company, and having their benefits paid”, he stated. They can only attend the Annual General Meeting with other shareholders whenever it is called. Ibrahim also wished them best of luck in their future endeavours.

Girl, 11, diagnosed with breast cancer

A

medical mission in Anambra has detected breast cancer in an 11-year-old girl, according to one of its officials. The mission, sponsored by the Anambra Indigenes Association in the U.S., has been providing free medicare to the people of the state in various localities since its arrival on Aug. 6. The coordinator of the team, Mr John Obegolu, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area, that the girl had been slated for surgery. Obegolu said the detection solved a mystery around the girl, whose parents had concluded that she had a spiritual attack. He said that most of the health issues being experienced by Nigerians could be avoided if they were well-informed. He said that it had become necessary to teach local women the need for

early breast cancer detection and prevention to enhance their healthcare. Obegolu said the association was determined to effect changes in all aspects of healthcare for the people of Anambra. Also speaking with NAN, a member of the team, Mrs Nkem Aboh, advised women to go for mammogram test, a procedure that uses radiation to diagnose the internal parts of the body. Aboh said the amount of radiation was very small compared to the benefits of detecting breast cancer on time. She said that only between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of breast cancers was caused by genetic disorder. Aboh said women of any age could be diagnosed with breast cancer, saying, however, that older women had higher incidence than younger ones.

Black market booms as fuel scarcity persists in Abuja, yesterday.

CBN reviewing ‘Cash-less Lagos’ before expansion - Director

T

he Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, said it was conducting an assessment of the ‘CashLess Lagos’ scheme, to determine when to introduce it in other parts of the country. The Director, Banking and Payments System Department of the CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria,

NAN, in Lagos yesterday. Fatokun said the success of the pilot scheme of the policy would assist the apex bank to determine what to do in the next phase of the scheme. He said that an assessment of the policy carried out recently, had revealed that the policy had recorded some successes. According to him, the success of the pilot scheme will also assist the regulator

in implementing the policy nationwide. Fatokun said that the CBN had identified some challenges facing the policy, which would help in identifying future problems. He expressed optimism on the preparedness of the CBN to confront whatever “setback” that might arise in the implementation of the policy in other states. The director, however, did

not disclose when the policy would start in other states but said that only the board and management of the CBN could determine that. He said: “Once we get it right in Lagos, we will get it right in other states. An assessment is being done to see how well we have performed in Lagos but the truth of the matter is that we are not doing badly. We are doing well.

Jonathan mourns Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi ROTIMI FADEYI ABUJA

P

resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday expressed sadness and shock at the death of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President described Zenawi’s death as a major loss for Africa. Jonathan said Zenawi was a great African statesman and a friend of Nigeria.

...pays official visit to Senegal “He was a great African statesman, who is also a friend of Nigeria, a nation-builder and a great servant of the Ethiopian people. “On behalf of himself, the Government and the people of Nigeria, President Jonathan extends his deepest sympathy and condolence to the people of Ethiopia, especially members of late Prime Minister Zenawi’s family. “President Jonathan further notes that Prime

Minister Zenawi will be remembered for his vision and integrity,” adding that “he held strong convictions about establishing a just and prosperous society for his people, a cause to which he devoted his considerable energies, and which deservedly earned him respect and honour among a grateful Ethiopian nation,” the statement added. Jonathan also acknowledged the late Prime

Minister’s vision for a united and strong Africa, a cause he pursued with remarkable honesty and passion. Indeed, his role, along with other African leaders, as the fulcrum of the African renaissance project, has ensured for him a prominent place in the annals of African history. “The passing away of Prime Minister Zenawi at this time when Ethiopia and, indeed, all of Africa, stand to benefit from his

wisdom and experience in building a stable and prosperous continent is a great loss that will be hard to remedy,” he said. Jonathan assured the people of Ethiopia that the Government and people of Nigeria share in their loss and expressed hope that the government and the entire Ethiopian nation would be comforted by the enduring legacy of service that Prime Minister Zenawi left behind. Meanwhile, President will today pay a two-day official visit to Dakar,

Senegal. The President would be received at the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport, Dakar by Senegalese President, Macky Sall. A statement issued yesterday, Dr. Abati said both leaders would hold a tetea-tete at the Presidential Palace, Dakar, on how to deepen cordial relations and promote trade between the two countries in the West African subregion. Jonathan is expected back in Abuja tomorrow.


6

National News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG, Boeing to reposition aviation sector –Minister OLUSEGUN KOIKI

AVIATION CORRESPONDENT

T

he Federal Government yesterday said the world number one aircraft manufacturer, Boeing Company of the United States of America, has agreed to collaborate and partner with the Ministry of Aviation. The Federal Government said the purpose of the collaboration was to reposition the sector and make it a reference point on all aviation matters in the continent through a systematic approach that will enhance and sustain the nation’s safety record. The partnership is also aimed at developing the industry as the hub on the continent and repositions the industry as the main engine of growth for the

Stella Oduah

nation’s economy. A statement signed by the Special Assistant, Media to the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, Mr. Joe Obi, said the declaration was contained in an eight-Point Programme of Action between Boeing and the ministry, which was brokered by a team of Nigerian officials on the Investors’ roadshow to the US led by Oduah and top management of Boeing Corporation of USA. Under the programme, Oduah said Boeing is to play a major role in the establishment of Maintenance Repair Organisations (MROs) in the country, establishment of Boeing Training Hub in Nigeria, carry out technical assessment of all aircraft operated by domestic airlines, fleet renewal and acquisition programme for the airlines, and develop an aviation database for the country. The statement stated further that the scope of point programme of action also covers the development of an Integrated Air Navigation System (based on Performance Based Navigation), Optimisation System Support

Fuel crisis grounds Abuja as work resumes MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

T

he week-long fuel crisis in the nation’s capital has paralysed socio-economic activities in the city, even as work resumes nationwide, today, after the Eid el-Fitri celebrations. National Mirror findings around the city revealed that the celebration merely provided succour to the city’s residents, many of whom, since last Friday, have been forced to remain in their homes, as the fuel crisis in the city gets worse. All major roads in Abuja were virtually empty since work ended last Friday. Transport fares across the city have also been more than doubled, with commuters refusing to leave their homes, thus sparking fear of workers inability to resume at their offices today. Long queues are recorded daily at the very few petrol stations that open for services in the city; even as street urchins and other persons engage in illegal sale of the product in different sizes of jerry cans, on the

roads. Mr Stephen Olayemi, a public servant, said his car had been grounded since Friday, as a result of fuel scarcity in the town. Mrs. Mulikat Idris, a businesswoman, told our reporter that it would be hard for her to resume work if the problem was not addressed. Meanwhile, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG) had vowed on Monday that it would commence a blockade of fuel supply nationwide today if the Federal Government failed to meet its demands immediately. The demands had led to the FCT being cut off from fuel supply for a week. The Federal Government, however, was reported to have ordered the importation of 1,000 tankers into the country for the distribution of Petrol Motor Spirit (PMS) to the affected parts of the federation. It will be noted that more than 75 percent of Abuja residents, including public and private workers reside in the satellite communities, many of which are no less than 45 kilometres to the city centre.

for Airports and Airlines as well as assess existing spare parts and material mart in Nigeria with a view to proposing a business partnership case for the establishment of an integrated spare parts super market in Nigeria. Under the technical assessment of aircrafts operated by domestic airlines programme, the action plan, the minister said indicates that the company will assess the technical and operational conditions of all aircrafts

operated in the country and advise the ministry on measures that will ensure sustainable safety in the nation’s airspace. The action plan includes a comprehensive assessment of the mechanical, technical, electrical, avionics, etc of all commercial aircrafts through a physical inspection of the aircrafts and report findings. Boeing is also to provide a diagnostic kit for early warning signals on the physical and operational

conditions of domestic carriers and provide a check list for mitigating systems collapse, adding that it will also assess existing fleet capacity of the domestic carriers and propose an appropriate model for fleet acquisition, management and renewal. On the MROs, Boeing is to carry out a comprehensive assessment of all existing MRO platforms in Nigeria and report on their capacities in relation to all classes of mandatory maintenance checks,

propose partnership models for the establishment of an integrated MRO platform for mandatory checks up to C-Checks and advise on infrastructural and operational requirements to mitigate shortcomings. He stated that Boeing’s team was led by Director of Sales (Africa), Mr. Lawrence Polliver, who he said expressed satisfaction with the ministry’s roadmap for the revival of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

President Goodluck Jonathan; Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and his Deputy Governor, John Jonah with the first set of beneficiaries of the Bayelsa State scholarship programme after their interactive session with the President yesterday.

Lawmaker seeks revocation, reallocation of oil blocs GEORGE OJI ABUJA

A

lawmaker, Senator Eta Inang, representing Akwa Ibom North-East, has called for the revocation and reallocation of oil blocs ownership in Nigeria to reflect equality of zones, states and oil bearing areas. Speaking against the backdrop of the recent call by the Kano State Governor, Mallam Rabiu Kwakwanso, for the abrogation of the present oil derivation sharing formula, the lawmaker wandered why such a call should come

from the governor. According to Inang, the north is presently the only zone benefitting from oil block allocations in this country despite the fact that none of the hydrocarbon deposits is being exploited from the region. “Of all the oil that we are mining, who are the owners of the oil blocks? How many persons in the SouthSouth have oil blocks? It is the TYs, the IBBs and the Mai Daribes that own the oil blocks mostly from the North-East followed by the North-West. “I want the President, the Minister of Petroleum

and the Federal Character Commission to come round a table so that we can talk about the ownership of oil block in this country. “No single person from Akwa Ibom State owns an oil block. They own the oil block, they produce 100 percent, and they give the 13 percent and keep the 87 percent that is what is causing problem for the country. “Let us revoke the entire oil blocks and reallocate them on the bases of equality of zones and states. Let us reallocate it using the quota of those who are from the oil bearing states.

Let them have some percentage of the oil block. “Those who are from solid mineral states, let’s have some percentage of the solid mineral mining block,” the lawmaker said while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja at the weekend as part of activities marking his 50th birthday anniversary. In any event, Inang wondered why the north should not develop the mining deposits in their region with a view to plugging part of the resources to the center and benefiting from the 13 percent derivation formula as well.

IGP redeploys 18 police commissioners OMEIZA AJAYI

B

arely a week after he ordered the redeployment of nine Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs), the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, again yesterday ordered the redeployment of 18 commissioners of police to various commands and formations of the force, across the federation. This was contained a statement signed by the Force Deputy Public Rela-

tions Officer, Frank Mba, who also added that the new postings are with immediate effect. The statement added that Mr. Abubakar directed the affected officers to ensure an effective policing of their new areas of jurisdiction in line with the administration’s reform policies. While he advised the newly deployed Commissioners of Police to act as agents of positive change and guard against all acts inimical to the fundamental rights of the citizenry, Mr. Mohammed equally

“enjoined citizens of the affected states to give the new command helmsmen maximum support so as to guarantee their success in their assigned roles.” Among those affected are Godfrey E. Okeke, Adamawa State; Sunday A. Ogbonna, CP Admin ‘C’ Department FHQ; Mgbakor C. Ogugua, CP Criminal Central Record FCID Annex Lagos; Mark A. Idakwo, Provost Marshal, FHQ Abuja; Mohammed Iyanda Sule, CP Gombe State; Edgar Tam Nanakumo, CP Inspectorate ‘E’ Department

FHQ, Abuja; Partick D. Dokumor, CP SARS FCID; S.L. Gambo, CP Sokoto State. Others are; Y.G. Ardo, CP MSD ‘F’ Department; Adisa Baba Bolanta, CP Imo State; Tonye E. Ebitibituwa, CP Kebbi State; Mbu Joseph Mbu, CP Oyo State; Abdullahi Yuguda, CP Borno State; Mohammed Ibrahim, CP Special Protection Unit (SPU); Sylvester A. Umeh, CP Border Patrol; Suleiman O. Lawal, Deputy Commandant, Police Academy Kano; Idris Faruk Umar, CP Anti-Fraud, FCID and Olufemi A. Adenaike, CP Kaduna State.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

7

Warri Refinery closure: Fresh fuel scarcity looms SOLA A DEBAYO WARRI

A

nxiety has heightened over the prolonged closure of the Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, Ekpan, Warri, Delta State. WRPC was shut on July 26 for the maintenance of its component units. The management of the pioneer crude oil refining plant had sought approval of the headquarters of its parent body, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for the shutdown of the estab-

lishment for two weeks. The WRPC management had told the NNPC and oil dealers operating at Warri Depot, operated by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of NNPC that the maintenance works would not extend beyond two weeks. But findings by our correspondent showed that the plant was yet to come on stream yesterday. It was gathered that maintenance works were yet to be completed, three weeks after the exercise commenced. It was also learnt that

in-house engineers and technicians as well contractors were still battling to repair the malfunctioning major units in the refinery. The fate of the refinery has heightened fears of looming scarcity of petroleum products in the areas serviced by the complex nationwide. The plant services states in the South and some areas in the North, especially Abuja. Already, acute shortage of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly known as petrol, has hit Abuja and its environs. The fears of possible extension of the situa-

Ocean surge: Five people still missing MURITALA AYINLA

A

t least, five people are still said to be missing in the ocean surge which swept away occupants of shanties erected at the Kuramo Beach in IruVictoria Island Local Council Development Area of Lagos on Saturday. Bodies of 10 out of the 15 occupants initially declared missing have been found at the shore, days after the tragedy, bringing the total number of the dead to 11. When our correspondent visited the place yesterday, the once boisterous beach had been deserted, despite the public holiday for the Eid-el-fitri celebration. Armed policemen who took over the entrance of the beach prevented journalists from taking pictures. Speaking with journalists, the Chairman, Iru-Victoria Island Local Council Development Area, Mr. Abayomi

Gov. Fashola

Daramola, said he was happy he ordered demolition of shanties at the place two months ago, owing to the extension of illegal structures on the beach. According to him, more lives would have been lost in the tragedy, if he had not demolished some of the shanties at the beach. The chairman added that about 5,000 people hitherto lived on the shore before the June demolition exercise. He said: “We decided about a month and a half ago to move into the village to see how people were living there. During our visit in the early hours of a particular morning, we found out that thousands of people were living there in a deplorable condition. “We then decided we needed to clear some of the shanties and see how to improve the conditions of the place. We ejected a lot of the people resident in the village. When we took the step at the time, there were lots of protests and complaints.” Meanwhile, two of the bodies recovered on the shore around the IMB end of the Bar Beach on Monday were evacuated from the shore yesterday by their relatives. The Chairman of Sanitation and Management Committee of Bar Beach, Mr. Effiong Ekenem, who confirmed the evacuation, said some of the victims’ bodies were

found at the Bar Beach. However, relatives of the dead have been mourning the loss of their loved ones in the tragedy. Mrs. Saidat Oke, who lost her husband, Mr. Joseph Oke, a security officer, said she still found it difficult that the man was gone. Oke lost his life while trying to safe others. The widow described the incident as a rude shock, even as sympathisers tried to console her. Saidat said: “I was at home when my phone ranged and I was informed about the death of my husband. Since then, I have not been myself. In fact, I cannot explain how I feel at present.”

tion in Abuja to other areas serviced by the plant were palpable yesterday. Specifically, oil dealers operating in Warri Depot were apprehensive that the prolonged shutdown of the plant had rubbished the contingency plan ahead of the July 26 closure of the refining complex. It was gathered that the stock of petroleum products was almost exhausted as at yesterday, a development which has compelled the Area Office of PPMC to embark on rationing among oil dealers from within and outside Delta State. The situation was compounded by the recent lifting of 5,000 metric tonnes of kero-

sene from the reserve in Warri to an undisclosed destination. The action was allegedly authorised by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani AllisonMadueke. The refinery suffered a major technical fault in the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit, FCCU, regarded as the heart of refining operation, Topping and other strategic units of the plant, recently. This is the third time this year that the refinery would be shut down for maintenance. The plant suffered a similar fate in January and June, owing to the malfunctioning of its major component units.

The refinery component of the plant, commissioned in 1978, is currently operating at less than 40 per cent of its installed capacity of 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The petrochemical complex epileptically produces polypropylene and carbon black. Neither the management of NNPC nor WRPC was prepared to comment on the report. However, the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, in Delta State, Chief Akpos Edafevwotu, yesterday urged the NNPC to expedite action on the repair of the refinery.

America, Nigerian navies hold joint training in Lagos SEGUN ADIO

A

United States of America’s warship, HSV2 SWIFT, has berthed at the Apapa Port in Lagos to train Nigerian Navy personnel in some modern naval techniques. The joint training is part of the regional maritime awareness training programme agreed upon by Nigeria and the United States. The ship is on a port visit to the state.

While in the country, the warship’s company will give out medical assistance to some residents of the state at the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu. The exercise will be preceded by a courtesy call on the monarch today.

The Information Officer of Western Naval Command, Lt. Commander Jerry Omodara, told our correspondent that several activities had been lined up for the visiting Navy. He said the joint training by the two navies would be of mutual benefit to both parties.


8

South West

Wednesday, August 22 , 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

S’West PDP chides ACN over call for Okupe’s resignation KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

T

he South-West chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday came hard on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), insisting that it must first ask the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji and the House of Representatives Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, to resign before the party can be taken serious on national issues, especially those bordering on corruption.

The party, in a statement issued in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, by its Zonal Publicity Secretary, Hon. Kayode Babade said; “If anyone must be sacked or asked to resign from office, they are the Lagos Speaker, who is facing trial for alleged theft of over N7bn public fund. The PDP also said the ACN Leader in the House of Representatives was convicted by the Supreme Court of Georgia, United States of America for defrauding his client of $25,000.” The party said it was ridiculous that the ACN could

claim that Ikuforiji, who has been charged to court because investigation on his case had been concluded and a prima facie case established against him, cannot be asked to resign. The PDP said the same ACN is clamouring for the sack of Dr. Doyin Okupe, the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, over what it called yet-to-be substantiated report of his investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged contract scam. “While we will not de-

fending anyone for committing crime, we must state that we will no longer sit back and allow hypocrites in the ACN to harass, blackmail or intimidate our members. “With the zeal and vigour they have been approaching this issue, it is obvious that there are more to it than meets the eye and what we can conclude is that some people are afraid of the man, Dr. Doyin Okupe and are out to distract him. “If not, what has the former Benue State governor, George Akume, who is now

the ACN Leader in the Senate done since 2007 that he left office on the alleged contract scam involving Dr. Okupe? “A man of Dr. Okupe’s standing took your money in 2006, eloped with it and you are now talking about it in 2012, six years after, that to us put a lot of question marks on the claim. “Again, you claimed the man was being investigated by the EFCC and his arrest and interrogation was not reported in any newspaper prior to his appointment as SSA Public Affairs to the President? “All these do not simply

add up and certified fraudsters, ex-convicts, identity and documents forgers in the ACN should know that Nigerians can no longer be fooled by their antics. “On this issue of Dr. Okupe that the party has been flogging over and over, the ACN should simply keep quiet. “More importantly that this same ACN is playing the ostrich on the criminal trial of Ikuforiji, conviction of Gbajabiamila for swindling his client of $25, 000 and other illegalities being committed by its governors in the South-West.”

2014 guber race: PDP pushes for popular candidate in Ekiti ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

T

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State believes that only a popular candidate could unseat the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) government in the 2014 governorship election. Former National Assembly member, Senator Ayo Arise, who spoke yesterday in the state, said what the PDP needed to do was to present a formidable candidate acceptable to the three senatorial districts and not any zoning arrangement. Arise, who represented Ekiti North senatorial district between 2007 and 2011, said proponents of zoning of the governorship position were unknowingly preparing the party for a big loss in the election. The PDP chieftain, who spoke in Oye Ekiti during the conferment of honours on some prominent indigenes of the community, including Arise; Obafemi Awolowo University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tale Omole; NDLEA Director General, Mr. Olufemi Ajayi and the Chief Medical Director, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, Dr. Patrick Adegun by the Oloye-in-Council . He told journalists that for the PDP to occupy the Government House in 2014; its preoccupation should be to strengthening the party and unite for the task ahead rather than agitating for zoning which could bring it down. Arise urged the party to allow interested aspirants to participate in its primary ahead of the 2014

governorship election, for the emergence of a generally acceptable and popular candidate who could win election. His words: “In Ekiti, zoning is not a straight forward thing, but if that is the position my party is ready to take to field a candidate for 2014 governorship election, I am going to abide by it. But, I want to believe that allowing all interested aspirants to vie and a credible candidate emerge through primary, remains the best option. “The question of ambition is a legitimate right of all PDP members, but procedure must be followed for the candidate to emerge through a primary. We have to guard against factionalisation and ensure that the party is united for us to be able to win the contest,” he said. The former legislator said establishment of state police would help the nation in its bid to combat and end the Boko Haram menace. His words: “Though, at the initial stage, the governors might use them against the opposition during election. But, the future of the country must be paramount to us and it must be planned for. I want to believe that with time, things will change. “The Federal Government may check the excesses of the state police by retaining the federal police and allow it to serve as watchdog. Again, the constitution should be fashioned in a way that would allow only the federal police to conduct all elections, with this, we will get it right,” Arise said.

L-R: Initiator/National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Miss Ijeoma Okolie; Principal, Cornerstone Model College, Apata, Ibadan, Mr. Adedeji Adeleye and representative of Oyo State NYSC Coordinator, Mr. Bamidele Ayeni, at the Awakening of Print Readership in Secondary School Students programme in Ibadan recently. PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

FG to upgrade sickle cell centres

TOBORE OVUORIE

W

ith annual infant deaths of 10,000 caused by sickle cell in Nigeria, the Federal Government yesterday announced plans to upgrade sickle cell centres in all the six geo-political zones of the country. Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who disclosed this at a book presentation by Dabma Sickle Cell Foundation titled; “Sickle Cell Disorder: Early Warning Signals” said that the upgrade was part of

the strategies to holistically tackle the burden of the disorder in Nigeria. Chukwu, who was represented by the Desk Officer for Sickle Cell Disorder, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Alayo Shopekun, said the centres would be dedicated to the management, control and prevention of SCDs in the country. The minister, who lamented the plight of people living with SCD noted that the disorder has been associated with poverty, maternal mortality, newborn and child mortality and HIV/ AIDS, particularly in those with history of frequent

blood transfusion. He identified other problems faced by sufferers such as stigmatisation, bias in terms of job selection and absenteeism from schools or workplaces because of frequent admission to the hospital, failure of children to grow well, cost of medication, depression and psychological challenges, among others. “The foregoing picture for this hereditary disorder therefore calls for urgent attention” he added. He further announced that a national guideline on the control and management of the disease was at an advanced stage to ensure

that care provided at the health centres are informed and conformed with international best practice. His words again: “The special centres for SCD has been provided with machines to ensure that diagnosis of the disorder is accurate and that suspected newborns are screened for the disorder and interventions and follow up could be instituted to ensure survival and improved quality of life for such children.” “Database on the disorder is expected to be set up to provide information for effective planning and policy decision on the disorder”.

Aregbesola flags off 2012 Diaspora Investment Summit

H

ope has risen for new business opportunities in Osun State as the 2012 edition of the Trade and Investment Mission organised through the collaboration of the state government and Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation in Europe (NIDOE) is to begin in Osogbo today. The mission, expected to draw over 200 delegates across the globe, will take

place at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Abere, Osogbo. The summit will be declared open by Governor Rauf Aregbesola. It will feature a businessto-business session during which interactive sessions involving business matchmaking with trade and investment presentations would be made. The summit is being sup-

ported by the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora and would be concluded with deals signed between new partners. Other groups partnering with Osun and NIDOE are Nigeria in Diaspora Organisations in Asia (Singapore), Africa (Ivory Coast), Nigerian Professionals and Business Network, Canada, Osun Indigenes in the U.K., Central Association of Nigerians in the U.K., and the

House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs.

Gov. Aregbesola


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South West

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

9

Man held with N27m drug at Lagos airport OLUSEGUN KOIKI

T

he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday announced the arrest of a drug suspect who hid 8.5kg in metal pipes at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. The seized drugs worth N27m The 26-year-old suspect,

Mr. Afunaya Thaddeus Izunna, was arrested at the weekend onboard Ethiopian Airline. The suspect was said to be on his way to New Delhi, India. The suspect’s antics came to the open when the officials of the antinarcotic agency insisted in searching the metal pipes inside his luggage. An online statement signed by the Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr.

Mitchell Ofoyeju, stated that the drug was one of the highest seizures recently recorded at the airport. He said: “This is one of the largest seizures recorded at the Lagos airport in recent time. It was a clever mode of concealment, but I am glad we were able to detect it and the suspect apprehended. The case is under investigation.” Ofoyeju said the suspect,

who is married with two children, confessed to the crime. The suspect was quoted to have said: “I am a trader. I sell phone accessories at Ikeja to take care of my wife and two children. It was a friend that gave me the metal pipes that I should take them to India for a fee. I did not know when, how and where it was packed. “I was only given the bag

containing the pipes. Unfortunately, when I got to the airport during screening, NDLEA officers discovered the drug and I was arrested. This is my first time of smuggling drugs. I hope my wife will understand and forgive me.” Chief Executive of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, expressed delight over the arrest and seizure describing it as a good signal. Giade said: “This is a

spectacular seizure because the drug was carefully concealed in a way that makes detection difficult. “The significance is that a warning signal has been sent to the enemy camp that one of their best tricks is not good enough. This has been my position and order to the officers that drugs should be intercepted regardless of the mode of concealment.”

Commissioner decries slow pace of Osun development at 21 WALE FOLARIN OSOGBO

A

L-R: Osun State Commissioner for Information, Hon. Sunday Akere; Special Adviser to the Governor on Youth, Sports and Special Needs, Mr. Biyi Odunlade and Hon. Abiodun Awolola of Egbedore Constituency in the state House of Assembly at the press conference on the 21st anniversary of the creation of the state in Osogbo, yesterday.

Don wants recovered funds invested in education KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

A

university teacher, Prof. Ayodele Samuel Jegede, yesterday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to invest recovered funds from corrupt Nigerians in education. Prof. Jegede, who is the Head, Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, stated this while acknowledging the contribution of former Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Sina Kawonise, for renovating some offices in the department.

He said all the billions of naira and dollars starched away in foreign countries by corrupt former governors and public office holders, but already recovered, rather being kept in government accounts where they would further grow wings and disappear should be invested for the development of education. “The latest of such funds are those from James Ibori running into several billions of dollars. Another is from Erastus Akingbola and many more found culpable of corrupt practices while serving in public institutions.

“The recovered funds should be invested in education in order to build young Nigerians who can make the dream of the founding fathers come to reality. It should not be sent back to state governments or be kept in federal government vault because it may soon disappear. I am saying all recovered funds from fraudulent practices should be dedicated to a project. Jegede said. He urged leaders to be passionate about developing the country and shun personal interest for national interest. The university don

said virtually all former governors have one graft case or the other hanging on their neck, saying this portends danger for the future of the country. Urging the leaders to contribute to their almamater by addressing decay in education system, Jegede thanked Kawonise for his love for creating environment conducive to impart knowledge. He urged the President to make the country conducive for all social institutions, stating: “Policies of government in Nigeria have been failing owing to the elitist approach adopted in their formulation.”

Osun Osogbo: Seaman’s team visits Ataoja

A

team from Grand Oak Limited, makers of Seaman’s Aromatic Schnapp, has visited the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Olanipekun Larooye, in the build-up to the forthcoming Osun Osogbo festival. The team presented Seaman’s Schnapps to the monarch. The king, in return, of-

fered blessing to the company and the brand as well. Seaman’s Royale has various programmes lined up to make this year’s Osun Osogbo festival exciting and memorable. The brand’s franchised roundabout at Lakeview, Ilogbo and Mayfair will adorn a new look thus creating exciting sights to behold, especially at night.

However, Seaman’s Ayo Olopon Championship will hold on August 21 at the Ataoja Palace, Osogbo. Winners will be given many exciting prizes and branded gift items. During the Seaman’s Ayo Olopon Championship, there will be side attraction games where spectators will have the opportunity of winning branded gift items.

Aregbesola

s the people of Osun State prepare to celebrate the 21st anniversary of its creation, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere, believes that the state has not matched its age in terms of development. Addressing journalists yesterday in Osogbo on the programmes outlined to commemorate the anniversary, Akere said that human factor has affected the development drive envisioned by the founding fathers of the state. According to him, leadership at times has been a cog in the wheel of progress of the state, while the followership too has con-

tributed to the slow development being experienced by the state. He said: “In the last 21 years of existence of Osun State, the human factor has affected the developmental drive envisioned by the founding fathers of the state. It will not be out of place to submit that leadership, at times, has been the cog in the wheel of progress of the state, while the followership too has a fair share of providing the degeneration by which the development of the state was slowed down.” The commissioner, however, commended the pioneering effort of Brig-Gen. Leo Ajiborisa, the four-year tenure of Chief Bisi Akande and the on-going effort of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in transforming the state.

I won’t abandon Mimiko’s projects –Akeredolu HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

T

he Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has assured the people that none of the ongoing projects initiated by the administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko would be abandoned by him, if elected on October 20. Akeredolu allayed the fears of the people that he would abandon the projects initiated by Mimiko. Speaking during his ongoing tour of the four Akoko areas of Ondo State ahead of the governorship election, he said it was necessary to put the records straight and correct some misinformation ditched out to the people by the ruling government.

The ACN governorship candidate told the people that governance is a continuum process, saying his administration would not, under any guise, abandon or scrap any of the projects that would impact positively on the masses. Akeredolu said: “The good people of Ondo State should not entertain any fear that we are going to scrap or abandon any of the project that are ongoing or completed by the Labour Party-led administration. “We are going to complete all the ongoing dualisation of roads in Akure, Owo and Ondo towns and other roads across the state, while all the industries established by the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin that are now moribund would be revived by the ACN administration.”


10

South East

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tension in Onitsha as police sack motor park owner NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

T

here was tension yesterday in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, as stern looking armed policemen took over the Nwugo Luxury Bus Motor Park in a manner that could be described as a renewed hostility between two factional groups.

The policemen, believed to have been deployed from the Onitsha Police Area Command headquarters, stormed the park at about 3.30am and allegedly drove away workers of Ugochukwu and Sons, the firm believed to be bonafide owner of the property, following the April 19, 2012 Onitsha High Court judgment. The policemen allegedly reinstated the rival

Micmerah International Agency as the owner of the property. According to a source, who did not want his name mentioned, the policemen stormed the place following a report that some group of hoodlums were planning to attack the park. The source said that the policemen stormed the park to prevent likely break down of law and order in

the city, adding that the lingering crisis between Chief Mike Emerah of Micmerah International Agency Limited and Ugochukwu and Sons Limited had taken a different dimension. Addressing journalists on the incident, the Director of Jasper Football Club and Manager of Nwugo Park, Chief Chukwudi Ezechukwu, said he received information from his secu-

rity men that about 50 policemen had taken over the park at about 3:30 am, adding that the policemen were allegedly accompanied by some hoodlums armed with dangerous weapons. Chief Ezechukwu said the policemen were seen in company of thugs suspected to have been hired by the Micmerah group to suppress court’s order on the issue. He wondered why the policemen could allow themselves to be roped into the crisis, saying: “The policemen, accompanied by armed thugs, arrived at park, chased away Ugochukwu staffers, broke into some offices while they started shooting sporadi-

cally in the air apparently to scare us away. I had to tell my people to leave because we don’t want to take laws into our hands and we don’t believe in violence. We believe that the matter will be resolved in court”. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the police, adding: “Despite the fact that I went personally to see the Area Commander and showed him copies of the court judgment and orders, he still went ahead to deploy policemen to take over the park, ignoring the court ordeer. This is fragrant abuse of court process and I know, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is not aware of this development”.

Nsukka residents urge FG, NUPENG to avert nationwide strike

R Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (right) during the commissioning of a project at 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze Barracks, Owerri, recently.

Varsity pensioners reject scrapping of old pension scheme DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

T

he Federal Universities Pensioners Association (FUPA) has kicked against the suggestion that the Federal Government should phase out old pension scheme and replace it with pension fund administrators. Rising from their national executive meeting, FUPA members, in letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, said forcing them to accept pension fund administra-

tors would aggravate their problems. The letter, made available to journalists in Enugu, was signed by the national president of the association, Dr. Ayuba Kura, and secreatry, Mr. Jonathan Iyoo. The pensioners hinged their opposition on the “harrowing experience we had during the few days the insurance companies were handling pension matters.” According to them, the experience was “bitter, degrading and dehumanizing, to say the least as gratuities

were not paid for years and monthly pensions were paid most irregularly.” They pleaded to the government that “we should not be subjected to the whims and caprices of insurance actuaries, who will not show their faces when receiving pensions fund, whose interest earning potentialities of the premiums collected, reign supreme in their mind rather than the welfare of the poor and rapidly ageing pensioners.” They insisted that pensioners of federal universities, who retired under the

old pension scheme governed by the Pension Act No. 102 of 1979, could not and should not be subjected to practices under the new pension scheme. Endorsing the present system whereby pension funds were disbursed through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the universities without complain, they tying their fate to pension fund administrators would mean sentencing them to death after retirement.

esidents of Nsukka in Enugu State have appealed to the Federal Government and the striking oil workers to bend backwards and reach an agreement. The residents, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday, said this would help to avert a nationwide strike. They said any nationwide strike at the moment would further impoverish the masses in the country. NAN reports that members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have been on strike over the payment of outstanding subsidy arrears. Few days into the strike in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), NUPENG has gone on to be calling for the strike’s extension to other parts of the country on Thursday.

Mr James Nnaji, a civil servant, said any strike at the moment Nigeria was going through security challenges would put more pressure on security agents, and would adversely affect Nigeria’s economy. “Government should do everything possible to meet NUPENG’s demands today, for it to shelve the proposed strike. “Any nationwide strike, now that the country is struggling to contain the security challenges, will have adverse effect on the economy. “The proposed strike, if allowed, will bring the economy to a standstill, since the transport sector will be paralysed. “NUPENG officials should, in the interest of the country, shun attempts by some `money bags’ to use them to achieve their selfish desires.

Ihedioha denies plot t to destablise Imo

Anambra to invest N25bn in profitable companies

CHRIS NJOKU

CHARLES OKEKE

OWERRI

D

eputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, yesterday reacted to the allegation by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) linking him to a plot to destabilise Imo State. Ihedioha described the allegation as untrue and unfounded.

He said in a statement signed by his Personal Assistant on Media, Chibuike Onyekwu, that contrary to wrong impressions being created, he is a God-fearing and committed leader who has attracted strategic federal presence to Imo State. He said as the Deputy Speaker, who takes his legislative duties and office serious, he could not be involved in petty partisan politics much less engaged

in conspiracy or acts that could cause pain to the people of Imo State.

Ihedioha

AWKA

A

nambra State Governor Peter Obi has said that his administration would invest about N25bn in profitable companies before he leaves office in 2014. Obi said investing the fund would help sustain the healthy financial status of the state when his tenure expires.

Addressing traditional rulers, women leaders and town union presidents drawn from the 177 communities yesterday at the commissioning of the state Traditional Rulers Council secretariat of the in Awka, the governor said his desire to save funds and invest in profitable companies was meant to reposition the state for robust development. He urged the people to

unite and shun acts capable of generating crisis among them. Stressing that he planned to leave worthy legacies, Obi said: “We have to develop the state, but everybody has to make his own sacrifice. “We are not lacking money, I have mandated all the commissioners to move out and do their jobs well. Anambra is state we are developing.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South South

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

11

FG will probe Benin jailbreak, says Minister OMEIZA AJAYI AND SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN

T

he Federal Government said yesterday it was going to probe the circumstances surrounding the Sunday jailbreak at Oko Prisons, Benin City in Edo State. The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, disclosed this yesterday during an unscheduled visit to the prison. He said that the government would sack and pros-

•Four inmates arrested, eight still on the run ecute those found to have aided the inmates to escape. At a close-door meeting with the management of the state prison officials, Moro blamed the Prison Controller, Mr. Jimoh Ewulo, for not being proactive enough to prevent the jailbreak. Sources told our correspondent that the minister expressed disappointment over the conflicting reports on the incident emanating from Ewulo’s office and

that of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olayinka Balogun. Moro was also said to have observed that the opening in the prison wall through which the inmates escaped was caused by a blast. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Prisons Service yesterday disclosed that four out of the 12 inmates, who escaped in the jailbreak had been recaptured while eight others were still on the run.

All the affected inmates were awaiting trial as at the time of the incident. The Deputy Controller of Prisons and Public Relations Officer of the service, Kayode Odeyemi, said that it was working in close collaboration with sisteragencies to ensure that the remaining inmates were recaptured. He said: “A total of 12 awaiting trial inmates escaped from the prison, while four out of the es-

caped inmates have been recaptured. Concerted efforts by prison officials in collaboration with other security agencies are on to recapture the other eight inmates who are still at large.” The incident, which occurred about 1am on Sunday, has caused ripples between the Nigerian Prison Service which suspected that explosives were used in breaking the prison wall and the police which accused prison officials of paying little attention to

their environment. At a press briefing on Monday, Balogun had faulted claims that there was an explosion at the prison. He said: “It is untrue, misleading and unfounded that there was bomb blast at Oko Prisons or that gunmen came from outside to invade the prison. The command wishes to reaffirm that there was no invasion of any kind, and there was no bomb blast. The escape bid was purely the handiwork of prison inmates.”

Mass employment, solution to insecurity –Cleric TONY ANICHEBE

UYO

C

reation of jobs is the best solution to the challenges of insecurity facing the country, a cleric has said. The Senior Pastor of Christ Embassy, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Emeka Nnabuko, said this in Uyo yesterday at an event to herald the Reach Out Nigeria, RON, programme of the church. Nnabuko advised President Goodluck Jonathan to be strong and tackle mass unemployment to

curb violent crimes. He said: “Mass unemployment, desperation by many families of young men and women to put food on their tables, are responsible for high rate of insecurity in the country. “The biggest problem is that offenders are not punished. So long as men and women can break traffic rules, so long as men and women can do certain things and we use African methods of begging, the tribal method of saying ‘he is our person,’ we are not about to stop whatever we are doing.”

L-R: Senator James Manager; Administrator, Umeh Need Road Forum, Mr. Afahokor Duncan and Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, at the forum’s first anniversary at Emevor in Isoko North Local Government, Delta State, recently.

$15m bribe money: Lawyers divided on FG, Delta’s claims EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

M

ixed reactions have continued to dog the $15m bribe money allegedly offered to former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, by former Delta State Governor, James Ibori. Ibori allegedly offered the money ostensibly to compromise investigation into money laundering offences against him. The Delta State AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Charles Ajuyah (SAN) had filed a motion challenging the order of temporary forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a federal High Court sitting in Abuja on July 24. The Delta State Government’s argument is predicated on the fact that Ibori

offered the bribe when he was governor of the state. But some senior lawyers such as Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), the Abuja branch Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mazi Afam Osigwe, Chiefs Awa Kalu (SAN), Solo Akuma (SAN), and Israel Olorundare (SAN), who spoke with our correspondent yesterday, were sharply divided over who between the Federal Government and Delta State should lay claim to the bribe money. While Ahamba and Osigwe opposed Delta’s claim to the bribe money on the grounds that Ibori had earlier denied knowledge of the said money, Kalu, Akuma and Olorundare supported it, saying the money belonged to Delta State, more so that it was offered as bribe when Ibori held sway as governor of the state. Ahamba said: “Delta

State Government has to establish how James Ibori got the money out of Delta treasury. This is important because Ibori denied ever giving the money to the former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu and there was no hearing where it was conclusively decided that Ibori actually gave the said amount of money to Ribadu. Until this fact is established, the money becomes bona vacantia (no body’s money) and so belongs to the Federal Government.” But Olorundare said: “If the money is from Delta State definitely the money has to be returned to Delta State. Nuhu Ribadu did the proper thing at that time and there should be no controversy about that at all. The Federal Government cannot lay claim to it because it belongs to Delta State and should be returned to Delta State.”

60% of varsity lecturers don’t have PhD –Jonathan EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

P

resident Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that 60 per cent of lecturers in Nigerian universities had no Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, degree. Jonathan said the prerequisite qualification for any academic in the university system must be a PhD holder, stressing that the Federal Government had initiated a post-graduate scholarship programme for at least 400 graduates in the country.

The President spoke in Yenagoa at an interactive session with 100 students who are beneficiaries of his scholarship programme in four private secondary schools across the country. He noted that the state government would sponsor the university degree of the students to enable them fit into society. The students drawn from rural and poor background secured the scholarship in June 2006 when Jonathan was governor of Bayelsa State.

Jonathan warned that Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and his aides must not have a say in the selection of beneficiaries of the scholarships for 200 secondary school students who are indigenes of the state, noting that the selection process should be fair. The President regretted that the former administration in the state abandoned the scholarship programme, warning that the programme should not be misconstrued as a ploy to secure second term for Dickson in 2016.

Oyerinde: Ugolor dying in police custody –Counsel SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

T

he continued detention of the human rights activist, Rev. David Ugolor, by the police despite a court ruling ordering his release may have a fatal effect on him. His counsel, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, raised the alarm yesterday, while re-

viewing Ugolor’s situation in the police detention. He told our correspondent that Ugolor’s health was failing. Ugolor, the founder of the African Network on Environment and Economic Justice ANEEJ, is being held by the police in connection with the assassination of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, the principal private secretary to Governor

Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State. However, Afolabi spoke at the office ANEEJ, read out a new petition he sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bello Adoke (SAN), on the legal implication of the refusal by the police to obey a lawful order of a court of competent jurisdiction.


12

North

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Jonathan needs to sack bad aides to succeed –Akume GEORGE OJI ABUJA

I

f President Goodluck Jonathan must succeed, he must first of all do away with many of his aides giving him wrong advice. The Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, who said this while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja during the Sallah break, said the negative perceptions that the President was not performing well were the handiwork of his aides who did nothing than to engage in selfaggrandisement. He said if Jonathan must succeed, he must bring on board people who would make positive contributions to his govern-

ment. “I have seen it all and I want you to know that Jonathan must shed excess load and bring people who will help him. He is a minority like any of us. Some people are deceiving Jonathan, they are reaping where they did not sow. Let us do the right thing and let this country to be,” the former Benue State governor said. He also spoke on the need for all Nigerians to join forces and ensure that the present democracy succeeds. Akume said if the country disintegrated, it would be tragic and traumatic, adding that Nigeria would be worse than Sudan. He said: “Nigeria as a complex society structur-

Akume

ally, if we break up today, Nigeria will be worse than Sudan. We don’t want that.

We are a large country. I will never support the break-up of this country. There are certain things Jonathan and his people may not know. We should never think of breaking up this country because it will be too traumatic and tragic to control.” Akume also blamed the plot to remove him as Senate minority leader on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He expressed confidence that the plot would fail at the end of the day and that the

minority parties would wax stronger from the crisis. He said: “So I want to say that it is a normal thing in a democracy for the majority party to try to destroy the minority leadership. We don’t think they will succeed after all most of them who are hanging there did not win election, I will keep saying they did not win election. I am happy that the party made that statement. “So if their intention is to create confusion in the minority in the Senate,

they cannot succeed because the Action Congress of Nigeria, CAN, is a solid party, a party that believes in the sanctity of democracy. “Some people think they could destroy and weaken minority leadership in the Senate. But I believe in the sanctity of democracy. I have said it all, whether they are coming from the so-called majority party; they did not win election so they do not believe in the sanctity of one-man onevote.”

Court remands farmer for robbing woman of N10,000 WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

A

n Ilorin Chief Magistrates’ Court has remanded a 20-year-old farmer in prison for robbing a woman of her handbag containing N10,000 and pieces of rope valued at N400. The man, Idrisa Hassan living in Bode Saadu, the headquarters of Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State, was said to have robbed the woman, Mrs. Fatimah Aiyegbami of Ile Ogbo Compound, Kankatu, Ilorin, at SabonGada village near Ilorin. His victim was said to be on a business trip from Bode Saadu when the accused, wearing a dark mask, attacked her and dispossessed her of her handbag containing the money. According to police First Information Report, FIR, Hassan was, on the day of the attack, hiding in a bush and on sighting the woman, he came out and jumped on

his motorcycle which he used to block the way. He allegedly threatened the woman before dispossessing her of her belongings. But in the process, the mask fell off, giving the victim the opportunity to see his face clearly. However, luck ran out of the accused days after the crime was committed when the victim spotted him in the market at the same village. Not only that, Hassan was also wearing the same pair of trousers he wore on the day of the crime. This made the woman to raise the alarm which led to his arrest. The trial Magistrate, Abdulraheem Bello, before remanding the accused at the Oke Kura Federal Prison, said though his court did not have the competence to try an armed robbery case, it would not prevent Hassan from answering the charges against him. He adjourned the case to September 6.

Wife of the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Kankara Local Government Area, Hajiya Maryam Abdulhadi (left) presenting food items to people in the area to mark Sallah celebration in Kankara, Katsina State, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Let’s unite against terrorists, cleric urges Nigerians JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

T

he Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, has described the group of terrorists behind the killings in the country as an enemy of both Christians and Muslims, hence the need for adherents of both religions to unite against the sect. Kaigama made the call

yesterday while delivering a keynote address during the 10th Annual General Meeting of the dioceses held in Jos. He decried the terror being visited on innocent worshippers in the North by members of the sect and urged them to embrace peace. The cleric who spoke on the topic; “The challenges of Christian faith in a crisis-ridden society: “The

Nigerian experience,” called on Christians not to be discouraged but remain steadfast in their faith and belief in God because the Nigerian society was going through turbulent times. “But we need to make sure that the Christian faith is not in crisis,” he said. The cleric said there was the need for Nigerians to understand that they were one irrespective of ethnic

or religious differences. Calling on the Federal Government to do everything possible to stop the deadly activities of the sect, Kaigama also urged Nigerians to rid themselves of hatred and “hasty generalisation and fight against the deadly terrorist group to stop the killings in the name of Islam or Christianity as God is not thirst for human blood”.

Flood: NEMA, Environment Ministry must be ready –Ex-Minister HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

T

he Second Republic Minister of Communication, Chief Isaac Shaahu, has called on the Environment Minister, Mrs. Hadiza Mailafia, to find immediate solutions to the flood disaster which may soon occur in some

states. He said the Environment Ministry and the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, must work together to minimise loss of lives and destruction of property which might arise from the disaster. Shaahu, who spoke with our correspondent yester-

day in Makurdi, Benue State, said if urgent steps were not taken to avoid the consequences of the impending flood, many communities might lose their yet-to-be harvested farm produce. He called on NEMA offices in the disaster prone states to be vigilant and react quickly to emergency

cases. The former minister lambasted the Benue State Environmental and Maintenance Agency for not taking proactive measures to prevent flood in the state. Shaahu called on the Federal Government and the state government to set aside a substantial amount of money to fight flood in

the state and to give adequate compensation to the victims so that they would able to cater for their family members. He decried the situation whereby victims of floods are often left on their own to suffer the agony. Shaahu urged the government to give money and relief materials which

would be able to cushion the effect of the predicted flood disaster on the less privileged, who were usually the victims. He therefore urged inhabitants of the river boundaries particularly at Buruku, expected to be affected by flood, to prepare to relocate to another area to minimise loss.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

13

Politics

Nigeria: An unequal federation

14

Ogun PDP accuses Oyinlola of plot to hijack party FELIX NWANERI The Chairman of the Ogun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Adebayo Dayo, has raised the alarm over plot by the National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinola to hijack the party’s structure in the state ahead of the 2015 general elections. Dayo stated this while faulting claims that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has recognised the congresses purportedly held by a faction loyal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. N In a statement issued in Abeokuta, Dayo said it was laughable that Oyinlola could constitute him-

self into the party’s NWC, adding: “This is one of Oyinlola’s several desperate attempts to hijack the structure of the Ogun State PDP for his master in order to achieve some invidious plot ahead of the 2015 general elections. “It is also laughable, to say the least, for one single individual to constitute himself into the NWC and claim that it has endorsed the congresses when the body has not met since the contemptuous exercises were purportedly held. “It is common knowledge that the NWC meets every Wednesday, yet Oyinlola wrote a letter on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 to the Police and SSS where he claimed that a new State Executive Committee of the PDP has just been inaugurated in spite

of the subsistence of my exco. Besides, it is public knowledge that the two congress monitoring committees that were sent by the NWC had in their reports said there were no congresses in Ogun State on August 4, 2012. “Up till now, they have not been able to dispute

the reports. Then, the questions begging for answers are: when were they elected? Who elected them? Can you build something on nothing?” He therefore urged the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar and the Director-General of the State Security

Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyong, to ignore Oyinlola’s claims and avail themselves of the various correspondences and court judgements that he had sent to them, affirming his executive as the only authentic management body for the party in the state.

Dayo also urged the security agencies to guard against being lured into taking actions that could be contemptuous of the judiciary, adding that party will press contempt of the court charge against Oyinlola, Dipo Odujirin and their supporters.

Airhiavbere’s petition will send Oshiomhole packing – Group FELIX NWANERI

A

Benin-based pro democracy group, The Rainbow Caucus, has condemned the response of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State to the petition of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 14 governorship election in the state, Major Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) that he was not academically qualified to contest the poll. Addressing newsmen yesterday in Benin City, president of the group,

Airhiavbere

Mr. Okharedia Ihimekpen lampooned Oshiomhole’s “vexatious defence,” describing it as an insult to Edo people who pride themselves as one of the most educated people in Nigeria. He wondered whether Oshiomhole’s lawyers were blind to section 177 subsection (I) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and section 106 sub-section (d) of the Electoral Act which stipulates the minimum basic academic qualifications to contest the office of a governor of a state in Nigeria. Ihimekpen, who is also the Director of Publicity of the PDP in the state, insisted that “Oshiomhole should apologise to Edo people and resign from office as his certificate scandal will not only send him back to the classroom, at least to obtain the relevant minimum qualifications of a primary six and senior school certificate to be in politics, its revelations will send him to jail.”

R-L: Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido and Bauchi State deputy governor, Alhaji Sagir Saleh, during a visit to the governor in Jigawa, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Northern govs inaugurate committee to tackle Boko Haram

W

orried by the protracted security challenges confronting the North, the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) yesterday inaugurated a 40man committee that will engender reconciliation, healing and also improve security situation in the region. Chairman of the forum and governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Baban-

gida Aliyu said the Northern governors are determined to put an end to the cycle of violence that has led to the loss of several lives and properties in the region. In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, the forum said it has left no one in doubt about its concern for the general welfare of its people and would therefore do all that is humanly

possible to engender the most desired peaceful coexistence, unity and development in the entire region. It said the committee comprises very eminent personalities from diverse backgrounds, with the mandate to fashion out strategies to address the disturbing state of insecurity, and proffer practical and enduring solutions to the Forum.

ACN asks NASS to intervene in Salami’s case SINA FADARE

A

ction congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on the National Assembly to intervene on the unlawful suspension of Justice Ayo Salami, for him to be reinstated according to the

recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC). The party disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan adamant on the issue is sending a wrong

signal that the Presidency does not have regards for the rule of law but that of the “rule of jungle.” ACN pointed out that the action of the Federal Government on the NJC’s directive that Salami be reinstated has demonstrated that it does not value the principle of separation of

Among members of the committee include Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, Prof. Tijjani el-Miskin, AIG Hamisu Ali Jos (rtd), HRH Ibrahim Sulu Gambari and Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah. Others include AVM Mukhtar Mohammed, Gen Martin Luther Agwai, HRH Nde Joshua Y. Dimlong, Sheikh Ahmad Lemu and Mrs Aisha Oyebode.

powers which is the hallmark of any democratic process. The party urged the National Assembly not to stand by and allow President Jonathan and “some misguided scoundrels in pursuit of personal vendetta to destroy our judiciary.”


14

News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Nigeria: An unequal federation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 General of State Security Service (SSS), Ita Ekpeyong is from Cross River, (South South). The National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki is from Sokoto (North West).

Revenue generation and heavy budget agencies A painstaking look at the various revenue-related agencies and extra ministerial departments paint a picture of total neglect of the South West in the distribution of the headship. The North, South South and South East monopolised the positions leaving the Yoruba to their fate. The highly coveted Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is in the hands of the North-West; the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Kabiru Mashi, is from Katsina, North West. As expected, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Millennium Development Goals Office are in the grip of the South South. The South East heads the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Electricity Regulatory Commission/Power Holding Company of Nigeria (NERC/PHCN), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), and Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA). The North also has its fair share of the distribution of key agencies of government. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from Kano (North West) heads the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) while Abdullahi Dikko from (North West) is the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The North is also in the headship of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF – North West), Education Trust Fund (ETF – North East); National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS – North East); National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA – North Central), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA – North West), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) are Northerners.

National Economic Council (NEC)/National Economic Management Team (EMC) Today, these are two all-important bodies that oversee the nation’s economy. From the available facts and figures, the South West also took the back seat in the nation’s economy. The NEC is a creation of the 1999 Constitution (Section 153) with “power to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various governments of the Federation.” The NEC, according to the Third Schedule, Part 1 of the Constitution, comprises of (a) the Vice-President, who shall be the chairman; (b) the Governor of each state of the Federation; and (c) the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Herein, the North has a say with the Vice President, CBN governor and 19 out of the 36 state

Obasanjo

governors. Except the six state governors, the South West still lag behind in the economic management of Nigeria. In the 24-member EMC saddled with the responsibility of finding solutions to the economic challenges confronting the nation, the Yoruba race also have a low representation. The EMC is chaired by President Jonathan while the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (South East) acts as coordinator of the team. Other members include: Vice-President Sambo as Vice Chairman, Minister of National Planning (North West), Minister of Trade and Investment (South South/SW), Minister of Power (South East), Minister of Petroleum Resources (South South), Minister of Agriculture (South West), Minister of Works (South South), Minister of Education (North West), Minister of Health (South East), Minister of State for Finance (North East), Minister of State for Health (North East), Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN – North West), Chief Economic Adviser (South East), Special Adviser, Monitoring and Evaluation; Director General, Budget (South East), Director General, Debt Management Office (South-East); Director General, Bureau for Public Procurement (South East), Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (North), Honorary Adviser on Agriculture and Governor of Adamawa State (North East), Honourary Adviser on Finance and Governor of Anambra State (South East), Honourary Adviser on Economy and President, Nigerian Economic Society, Mr. Atedo Peterside (South South). In the influential 24-member EMC, the South West only has two representatives: Aganga (Trade and Investment Minister) and Akinwunmi (Agric Minister). The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Umaru Ibrahim, is from North West (Kano). The only slot the South West has in the nation’s economic position is the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) who reports to the Minister of Finance.

But why? What must have informed the lopsidedness in the distribution of public offices in which the South West was technically edged out? Did the Yoruba sin against the Jonathan administration?

Fasoranti

Gbonigi

The Yoruba through former President Olusegun Obasanjo facilitated the geometric rise of President Jonathan in politics. Obasanjo was instrumental to his becoming the governor of Bayelsa State and Vice President. In the April 2011 presidential election, the Yoruba voted massively for the Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even more than many of the zones which the president has now accorded priority attention in the distribution of offices. Jonathan won in five of the six states (Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti, with exception of Osun) of the zone during the election. Even though the PDP lost the zone to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in other contests, it is expected that the race should have been compensated in the distribution of public offices to strengthen the party in South West. But this has not been the lot of the Yoruba. As at today, there is no clear explanation as to why the Yoruba are being marginalised under the Jonathan administration.

Yoruba leaders kick Speaking on the marginalisation of Yoruba in the administration of President Jonathan, the leader of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti said the development appears that the Yoruba are not wanted in the federation. “Yoruba are being marginalised in the present administration, no doubt about

that. It appears that they don’t want us in the federation. But we have made representation on the matter to the president. I hope something will be done on this. The marginalisation of the Yoruba is very glaring. I don’t think it is deliberate; I only hope it is one of those things that needed to be corrected,” Fasoranti told National Mirror. Founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun also shared the same sentiment in an interview with National Mirror. His words: “It is very apparent that the Yoruba are being marginalised in the distribution of political and public offices in the country under President Jonathan. To me, the situation is like an official policy of the Jonathan administration to marginalise Yoruba because today, there is no Yoruba holding sensitive position in his government. You can check this out in the presidency, legislature and judiciary. “The South-West is being marginalised and unfortunately some of us who are saying this are being told that we are only crying wolf. But going by the electoral support President Jonathan was given by the South-West in the 2011 presidential election, the marginalisation of Yoruba in his government is sheer ingratitude to the race.” A former Bishop of the Anglican Church, Rt. Rev Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi admitted that the race is short-changed in the power equation in the country. “There are very clear evidences that Yoruba are being marginalised. It is very clear and this has been documented and a letter written to that effect to the President,” he told National Mirror. Gbonigi, however, blamed Yoruba politicians for the development. His words: “We need to examine ourselves; where were the Yoruba politicians and top civil servants in the executive when the appointments were being made? What were they doing when the appointments were being made? What do they say; why didn’t they ask for Yoruba rights? “We have met the President on the marginalisation of Yoruba and we hope the issue would be addressed. The president is a human being like us. I’m not blaming him for what has happened; we should blame ourselves for not asking for our rights.” Chief Ayo Adebanjo, one of the disciples of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in an interview with National Mirror believed that when there is division in the race, there will always be denial of rights. He said: “I don’t believe that the Yoruba should be begging for appointments. We must get ourselves fortified. There is a lot of dissension in the race and political parties. If the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was conscious of the race, they wouldn’t have colluded to deny the Yoruba the Speakership of the House of Representatives zoned to the South-West. “We need to be united to fight for our rights. If we are divided, there is no way we will get what belongs to us. If it were to be in those days of Awolowo when we were formidable, they will come and beg us. We can’t be divided and be asking for our rights. We don’t need to beg Jonathan. They must respect our feelings as a race. But we need to convince ourselves to forget personal interest for public interest.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

15


16

Editorial

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

All the Facts, All the Sides A PUBLICATION OF GLOBAL MEDIA MIRROR LTD BARRISTER JIMOH IBRAHIM, OFR  PUBLISHER

STEVE AYORINDE

MD/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

YELE AKINROLABU

ED OPERATIONS

SEYI FASUGBA

DAILY EDITOR

BOLAJI TUNJI

SUNDAY EDITOR

GBEMI OLUJOBI

SATURDAY EDITOR

LANRE OYETADE

GENERAL EDITOR

DOZIE OKEBALAMA

COORDINATOR, EDITORIAL BOARD

ADESOYE ADEKOYA

CONTROLLER, PRODUCTION

CALLISTUS OKE

EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

ISE-OLUWA IGE

ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF

KAYODE BALOGUN JNR

SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

FRANK OBOH

HEAD, GRAPHICS

Power sector reform and electricity workers’ grievances

W

ith the launch by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government in August 2010 of the ‘Roadmap to Power Sector Reform’; and ongoing spirited efforts by the Federal Government to revamp the power sector - the FG has almost concluded arrangements for the privatization of 17 of the 18 companies unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) except the Transmission Company of Nigeria that would be concessioned – a bitter disagreement between the FG and PHCN workers now seems to be the cog in the wheel of progress. The workers’ complaints ranged from alleged government’s arbitrary handling of the reform process without carrying them along to unpaid benefits and salaries. Roughly two weeks back, PHCN workers embarked on strike to press home their grouses. Though the industrial action was largely unsuccessful because of some proactive measures taken by the FG, reports indicate that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are warming up to join the fray, as usual, in support of electricity workers. Of all other contentious issues, it would seem the disagreement revolves around the payment of pension. The PHCN was said to have been maintaining a more or less in-house pension scheme known as ‘Superannuation Fund’, where 25 per cent of each work-

er’s monthly salary is purportedly deposited, while beneficiaries are supposed to be paid their pensions from the fund. The Minister of Power, Prof. Bath Nnaji, however, said the Superannuation Fund, which according to him, had representatives of the PHCN management, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC) and the pensioners as signatories, was in deficit of N85bn. He said the 25 percent deducted from workers’ salaries was not paid into their retirement accounts; a development he said a panel headed by a former AuditorGeneral of the Federation is currently investigating. Working with the Pension Reform Act of 2004, the government had asked each worker to open a Retirement Savings Account (RSA) where the government would contribute 7.5 per cent and the PHCN 7.5 per cent, bringing the total to 15 per cent; but the directive was reportedly not complied with. Nnaji said the unions now want the workers to be paid 25 per cent of the benefit at the point of severance as was probably the case under the old policy of Superannuation Fund. The workers, Nnaji stated, want the FG to contribute 25 per cent instead of 7.5 per cent as its share of the pension fund, a demand that is strange to the Pension Reform Act 2004. Should the FG take up the burden of paying 15 per cent (that is its own 7.5 per

THE NUEE AND SSAEAC CAN MAKE THE POWER REFORM

PROJECT WORK, NOT BY MAKING IMPOSSIBLE AND RIGID DEMANDS, BUT BY YIELDING GROUNDS WHEN IT BECOMES ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY cent and the PHCN’s 7.5 per cent), Nnaji said it would cost the FG N144bn, while the 25 per cent being demanded by the workers would cost N443 billion. “Where do we get that kind of money,” he asked. Besides, there seems to be a dispute over who the true signatories to the Superannuation Fund were. The Superannuation Fund itself was said to have been nonfunctional since 1991, while another report said it was diverted. There is no doubt that the FG might have taken some sensitive steps to ensure power sector reform that did not go down well with both the PHCN workers and their unions. Likewise not in dispute is the seeming iron cast determination of the FG to record remarkable improvements in the nation’s power supply. Reports, last week, indicated that for the first time in the nation’s

history, the country generated 4,307.7 MW of electricity plus another 170MW to serve as spinning reserve, all totaling 4,477.7MW. Considering the huge failure the PHCN and its forebears have been, the FG cannot afford to waver in its resolve to reform the power sector for good. Indeed, without decisive decisions, it might be extremely difficult healing the PHCN of its chronic ailments of non-performance and monumental corruption. Nor are the ongoing challenges surprising, considering the roles of vested interests. But since the FG has persevered in negotiating with PHCN’s workers’ leaders since the past 14 months, we urge it to be patient in allaying their fears and meeting their legitimate demands. However, notwithstanding the position of the aggrieved labour leaders, the FG should treat the pension demand with exceptional caution and ensure the dispute is resolved in conformity with the 2004 Pension Reform Act. The nation cannot afford to have two sets of pension laws, one for PHCN staff and the other for the rest. The NUEE and SSAEAC can make the power reform project work, not by making impossible and rigid demands, but by yielding grounds when it becomes absolutely necessary. Efforts should also be intensified to locate the ‘missing’ Superannuation Fund to pacify its beneficiaries. A revived power sector is for the benefit all Nigerians in the long run, including the grieving electricity workers.

ON THIS DAY August 22, 2007

August 22, 2003

The Storm botnet, a botnet created by the Storm Worm, sends out a record 57 million e-mails in one day. The Storm botnet has been used in a variety of criminal activities. The Storm botnet or Storm worm botnet (not to be confused with StormBot, which is a non malicious TCL script) is a remotely controlled network of “zombie” computers (or “botnet”) that have been linked by the Storm Worm, a Trojan horse spread through e-mail spam.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building. On November 13, 2003, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously removed Moore from his post as Chief Justice. Moore’s supporters saw his removal as the suppression of belief in the sovereignty of God.

August 22, 1972 The defunct Rhodesia was expelled by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its racist policies Rhodesia was, between 1965 and 1979, an unrecognised state located in southern Africa in an area that in 1980 became the Republic of Zimbabwe. With its government based at the former colonial capital of Salisbury, its territory consisted of the former British colony of Southern Rhodesia.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Views

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

17

‘Secessionist’ tendencies in Nigeria PUBLIC DOMAIN

DELE

SETEOLU

deleseteolu@nationalmirroronline.net (08033137577 SMS only)

T

he adoption of anthem, flag and coat of arms by some states of the federation has raised national apprehension of likelihood of secession plans. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had accused the Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of secession plan after he recently launched the state’s anthem, flag and cost of arms. Ironically, the Bayelsa State, a PDP stronghold, has equally launched similar symbols to reflect the history and culture of the Ijaw nation. Interestingly, the other South-west states of Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos bear coats of arm, flags and anthems. The fear of secession arose against the backdrop of security deficit and sectarian violence in the country. The Boko Haram sect has been visiting violence on target individuals and institutions; and insisted on the implementation of Sharia law in the country. This group has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to convert to Islam or resign his post. There are fears that the group is linked to Al-Shabab and Al-Qaeda hence the high degree of violence it has the

capacity to unleash in parts of northern Nigeria. The sectarian violence, especially in Plateau State is largely provoked by the indigeneship and settler question between the Birom and Hausa-Fulani ethno-nationalities. The recurring killings have heightened tension among ethnic nationalities to the extent that the country’s stability is in jeopardy. The recent pronouncements in Ogoniland and Bakassi have further heightened fears on the future of this country. The Ogoni people had declared self government against the background of perceived exploitation of its resources and devastation of its eco-system. The recent United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report on Ogoni posits that its cleaning would require $35 billion over the next three and half decades. The Nigerian state, however, has not reacted to this report thus provoking protests and agitations by the affected population. Similarly, the Bakassi people have declared independence against the backdrop of the perceived neglect of this sub-territory by the Nigerian state, and disgusted also by their cession to Cameroon. Critics argue that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo ceded the enclave to Cameroon on account of the International Court of Justice judgement, but without recourse to the National Assembly. Again, the state actors have not responded to the Bakassi declaration of independence. Meanwhile, the South-west states have re-

THE CREATION OF STATE SYMBOLS BY THE FEDERATING UNITS SHOULD NOT HEIGHTEN FEAR OF SECESSION acted to the alleged secession plan. The governors of Osun and Ekiti states, Aregbesola and Dr. Kayode Fayemi respectively, argued on the rights of federating units to possess the paraphernalia aforementioned. Dr. Fayemi also argued that the federating units in Nigeria’s First Republic had these attributes in consonance with federal principle. The creation of state symbols by the federating units should not heighten fear of secession. The country’s federal experience has been perverted by the military to the extent that political power, influence and resources are largely vested in the central authority. This is an aberration and inconsistent with the co-ordinate status of the central and federating units. The past military administrations had created somewhat unitary system that eroded the powers and relevance of federating units. The possession of state symbols is partly a re-assertion of how the federation ought to be. The federating units are not subordinate to the central authority and have the leverage to pursue political and legal actions to ventilate their identities. It is also noteworthy that these states are not challenging the sovereign status and territorial

integrity of the Nigerian state. Ironically, our nation has contributed to deepening the national question through its rigid opposition on the sovereign national conference and its preference for a constitutional reform process. The Senate retreat held a few weeks ago denounced a sovereign conference and reiterated the viability of the constitutional reform process in addressing critical national issues. It is doubtful that this reform process would radically alter the structure and context of the country’s political economy. The National Assembly representation is rather too narrow to discuss and forge national consensus on critical issues that threaten to disintegrate this country. The centrifugal forces in Nigeria are dangerously threatening its survival amidst the arrogance and incompetence of state actors The state’s arrogance on non-negotiation of its unity is misplaced, unhistorical and hollow. The Nigerian state is negotiable and should be reconstructed for its sustainability and viability. The Nigerian federation should be stronger when the critical partners re-negotiate the terms of co-existence. I am a federalist and would prefer the Nigerian state as constituted in line with globally dominant tendency where more states are aggregating as against disaggregation. The state continuity, however, should be hinged on major restructuring that fosters fairness and equity among the federating units and social class categories in the country.

How MD Abubakar will reform Nigeria Police EMEKA OPARAH

M

.D. Abubakar’s appointment as IGP came at a particularly interesting time, in a manner of speaking. There could not have been a better way to test the credentials and capabilities of a police chief than now, when terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery have literally turned Nigerians into refugees in their own land. So, many would not envy Abubakar as he confronts these triumvirate of evils. Thankfully, he seems to have risen to the challenge quite sure-footedly with some steps he has so far taken. Perhaps, I was most delighted by his open refusal to swear in two new AIGs recently for what he described as indiscipline. The two AIGs, Dr. Julius A. Ishola and Dr. Alex E. Okeke, from the Veterinary and Medical Departments of the Force, had worn their new ranks to the IGP’s conference room, venue of the ceremony. Apparently miffed by their action, which smacked of impatience and disregard for procedure, the IGP refused to decorate the duo with their new ranks-since they had jumped the gun and were already wearing it anyway. Earlier, a week into his appointment, the IGP had earned public acclaim when he ordered the immediate withdrawal of police checkpoints across the country. That in itself was a masterstroke, which resonated highly with Nigerians, who have long been suffering the dire consequences of policemen on the road. The argument has long been that the checkpoints predisposed the

THE POLICE NEED OPERATIONAL VEHICLES,

TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, TRAINING AND WHAT HAVE YOU TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE men in black to bad behaviors, including extortion and disruption of traffic without any positive impact on crime prevention and control. So, one is tempted to ask, is this how this reform-minded IGP will change the Nigeria Police Force? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because indiscipline is one of the challenges facing the police; but no, because indiscipline is not the only challenge the police are facing. As a matter of fact, the other challenges are direct forebears of indiscipline, which means, if they are resolved, indiscipline will be curtailed if not totally eliminated. So, what are these challenges? Thankfully, the Police Reform Committee, headed by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, AIG Parry Osayande (rtd), has just delivered what can be described as a blueprint for transforming the police. Top on the agenda is motivation, which encompasses remuneration, welfare and promotion. The police are unquestion-

ably poorly paid. All the stark evidences are there for all to see. Aside those who perform illegal duties or provide orderly services to top politicians and businessmen, the rest are incapable of sustaining themselves and their families. Of all the figures that have been bandied and are still being bandied, the IGP’s monthly salary, as revealed by the Osayande Committee, is N711, 498 compared to N1.336m of the DG of SSS and N1.5m of EFCC chairman. It is said that the entry package of police officers in the UK is the highest in the country. The idea is to attract intelligent graduates to the police. It goes without saying that any employer who offers peanuts as salary will have monkeys working for him. And the attitude of Nigerian policemen has amply demonstrated so much. When last did you enter or drive past a Police Barrack? And when last did you enter an Army Barracks, Naval or Airforce Base? While the others are tolerable, the Police Barracks across the country are an eye sore, mostly. This has to be changed urgently. The buildings have to be renovated and made more habitable. In addition to providing decent accommodation for the junior officers, the issue of promotion should be addressed quickly to give most of the officers and men back their groove. The next subject is spirit de corps in the force. This has to be revamped expeditiously, if discipline is expected to return to the force. If you extrapolate the number of political office holders in Nigeria (including Local Government Chairmen, as well as corporate executives and other High

Net worth Individuals (HNIs), we might be looking at over a million ‘policemen’ on guard and orderly duties. But do we have a one-million man strong police force? One only hopes some of the folks parading in police uniform are not private armies. The Osayande Committee recommended the abrogation of the eponymous Ministry of Police Affairs, which it suggests has done nothing to better the affairs of the police, literally. The committee recommended that the Police should be empowered to determine its priorities, draw its budget based on its needs and be held accountable for the use of the funds. The operational efficiency of the policy is dependent not only on disciplined and well-paid officers and men, but also on adequate modern equipment to work. The police need operational vehicles, telecommunications equipment, training and what have you to be the best they can be. Have you wondered why Nigerian police put up outstanding performance when they go on peace-keeping missions or training abroad? It’s all about motivation, remuneration, welfare, facilities and training. Oparah wrote from Lagos Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


18

Mail Mirror

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Nigerian war mongers beware W State creation is fun

ar mongers in both the north and south of Nigeria, most likely born after 1970, should note that the first civil war, majorly caused by the intransigence of Chukwuemeka Odumegu Ojukwu in insisting to have a Biafra Re-

public for the Igbo, ended in his defeat. Biafra was defeated mainly because Great Britain through Shell BP, America via Exxon Mobil, Texaco, Chevron, and Italy through AGIP/NAOC, sided with Nigeria led by Yakubu Gowon.

vided the fighting power in that civil which began in 1967 and ended in the first month of 1970. The Hausa Fulani northerners were just opportunists, who reaped where they did not sow. Ask T.Y Danjuma; General Gowon, Joe Garba, Jerry

Most importantly, Western Region whose constituents were Yoruba, Bini, Ijaws, Urhobo, Isoko, Ukwuani, Ika Igbo and Itsekiri, with the minority people of the Middle Belt states of Benue, Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna, pro-

I

I

have only one question for Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State: What concession does his government have for private motor cyclists who ride to their offices on motor cycles in Lagos Island, is there any special concession for them? Kindly clarify this. Thanks.

Naka,

Engr. Tunde Ajala, Ikeja, Lagos

Condolence on the death of Onojovwo

Nigeria’s poor Olympic outing

O

n behalf of the Media Team of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, I write to commiserate with the entire management and staff of your newspaper on the death of Mr Dafe Onojovwo, the former Coordinator of the Editorial Board of and later consultant to National Mirror newspapers. We received the news of his demise with shock and disbelief; but we thank God that he lived a fulfilled life. Dafe Onojovwo was a thoroughbred professional and a columnist of first magnitude. His weekly column in The Punch, where he was the Chairman of the Editorial Board, and the Daily Independent, on the same position, up to the National Mirror, constantly reminded the government of its responsibilities to the citizens and brought hope to many Nigerian homes. His footprints in journalism are, indeed, ensured on the sands of time. We note that Mr Onjovwo was a humble man and one of the most respected members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm. We pray for God to grant the entire staff of National Mirror, his family and friends the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Funmi Wakama (SSA Media & Communications) to Ogun State Governor

Ike Madu, Onitsha

On new Lagos traffic law enforcement

am strongly in support of the creation of additional states in Nigeria, and we should not stop until all the 774 local government areas become states. In the next exercise Benue, Kaduna, Taraba should be split into two each. I do not understand why the Senate is thinking of confirming the viability of the existing states first before taking a decision on the new demands. Paul Ayuu, Benue State

Useni, Joshua Dongoyaro etc, they would probably tell you they were used and dumped. I doubt if any right thinking Nigerians and foreigners would side with the current northern insurgents this time around. So, why would anybody be beating the drums of war?

N Members of the Katsina State Cultural troup during a festival in Abuja recently.

T

he way presidential politics is approached in Nigeria, you will think the old tripodal configuration of North, West and East still stands. When Bashir Tofa and Lawal Keita recently told Ndigbo to keep in check their 2015 presidential ambition that was the

On the 2015 presidency point they tried to make. If Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba ruled for eight year, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from the North ruled for three years plus and with his demise Dr. Goodluck

Jonathan completing his term and going ahead to win his own mandate, why would the Igbo not be allowed to succeed Jonathan, assuming he has no second term ambition? The point must be

CAN asking Jonathan to resign

I

t is a big surprise that the northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has thrown caution to the winds by joining all the anti-Jonathan elements to ask our president, President Goodluck Jonathan to resign. Why would a dog eat another dog? Everybody knows that the main agenda of the northern insurgents that have created a big security deficit in the country, especially in the north of the country, is

PHOTO: ADEMOLA AKINLABI

to make Nigeria ungovernable and so force the President out of office. To me the CAN leadership in the North is confused and clueless as to what its mandate is(if it ever had any). It is also painful that it is working at cross purposes with the national leadership of the Christian body. I will ask this simple question: If Jonathan resigns, do they in CAN think the incoming Muslim government would favour the Chris-

Letters to the Editor

tians in the North. If our memories are not short, the rash of the introduction of Sharia jurisprudence in the North during the first

made clear to the Hausa/ Fulani of the North that Nigeria does not belong to them. Nigeria is a six zone federation and each of them must have equal access to central power. Michael James, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

term of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo should make us Christians circumspect in our predilections. David Santos, Lokoja, Kogi State

Assault on journalist

W

ith the kind of eye-popping actions pastors on display these days, I can’t help but wonder if it weren’t better to worship the lord in one’s home. How can a socalled man of God be so

wicked to subject his fellow human being to such horrendous treatment? That pastor belongs to the hottest part of hell. Believers, beware of pastors in wolf clothing. Tobore, Lagos

o Nigeria should weep for the country over its poor outing in the just concluded London Olympic Games. Nigeria is a failure in everything. There is deficit governance, deficit infrastructure provisioning, deficit power supply, deficit education service delivery and deficit everything. This country has completely lost everything. Only a Sodom and Gomorrah treatment can save this nation. It is that terrible. David Ukwu, Ogwashi Uku, Delta State

…Where is our faith?

W

hatever happened to our prayers and prayer warriors? How about our millionaire, jet-setting Pentecostal pastors? Were they praying for us or just preying on us? While a lot of countries were preparing hard for the Olympics, we resorted to praying. Only prayer backed with action can do the magic. Rufus Orindare, Ikire, Osun State

Send your letters or mails to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mirrorlagos@yahoo.com and info@nationalmirroronline.net or, 07033375481, 08035640907 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject letters or photographs. Psuedonyms may be used, but must be clearly marked as such.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

19

Health & Wellbeing HPV vaccines cannot be free –NCCP Coordinator

Facts you should know about GERD

55

21

18m Nigerians are chronic carriers of Hepatitis B Virus –Experts TOBORE OVUORIE

A

ccording to experts, no fewer than 18 million or 12 percent of Nigerians are chronic carriers of Hepaptits B, a viral infection that attacks the liver. A gynaecologist, Dr. Daniel Adjekpemevor says majority of these are women, most of whom do not know they even have the dreaded disease. Worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that no fewer than two billion people are infected with the virus. Just what manner of disease is Hepatitis B? Hepatitis B is an infectious inflammatory illness of the liver caused by some viruses known as Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in medical parlance. Originally known as “serum hepatitis”, the disease has in the past caused epidemics in parts of Asia but still ravaging Africa. The virus is transmitted by exposure to infectious blood or body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids, while it has also been detected in the saliva, tears, and urine of chronic carriers. Perinatal infection (an infection caused by a bacteria or virus that can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery) is a major route of infection in endemic (mainly developing) countries. But then, other risk factors for developing HBV infection include working in a health care setting, blood transfusions, and dialysis, acupuncture, tattooing, and extended overseas travel. Researchers have also discovered that previous histories of tribal marks/tattoos, and previous contact with somebody with hepatitis infection were significant predisposing factor to HBsAg infection. The risk of transmission of HBV has been known to be high in people who are in contact with chronically infected persons. It is also worthy to note that HBV cannot be spread by holding hands, sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, kissing, hugging, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding. According to medical experts, the acute illness causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice and, rarely, death. Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause cirrhosis and liver cancer—a disease with poor response to all but a few current therapies. Like other viral caused ailments, it’s without a cure but is preventable by vaccination. HBV infection still remains a public health issue in Nigeria as vertical transmission is still a major route of transmis-

sion in low resource areas. This is made worse by the fact that routine antenatal screening for hepatitis B infection is not yet practiced in many Nigerian hospitals. Though it remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country, there’s yet no specific data on the prevalent rate of the infection among pregnant women in Nigeria. Pregnant women reporting late for antenatal care has been discovered to be a major route for the spread of the virus to babies. For instance, a Demographic Health Survey (DHS) by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003 showed that in developing countries in Africa, 68% of women report for at least one ante-natal visit. This study by the World Health Organization reported that at least 70% of women reported for antenatal care four or more times in Nigeria, 74% of these women who accessed antenatal care in Nigeria are from the urban areas while 44% are from the rural areas. The study showed that women presenting for antenatal care in Nigeria are most likely to wait until the second trimester and a relatively substantial proportion present only in the third trimester when the spread of the virus to the baby would have taken place. Screening for HBsAg is routine in pregnancy in most developed countries of the world. It is even a recommendation all over the world to screen pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen routinely in pregnancy. However, this is not same in Nigeria, as screening of antenatal women for

Symptoms Most of the time people do not notice any symptoms. •30% of people with hepatitis B don’t show symptoms. • These symptoms can last for months before a person may notice changes. •Most noticeable symptoms include: •fatigue •nausea • joint pain • jaundice • appetite loss • abdominal pain •fever •weakness

hepatitis B virus is not a routine practice. Dr. Felix Osia of the Federal Medical Centre, Namoda, Zamfara in an interview with National Mirror revealed that recent medical researches showed that as a result of the non/poor screening of pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen routinely in pregnancy, vertical transmission of the virus occur in up to 10% of the country’s neonates population while the infection occur in the first trimester and in 60% to 90% of babies in the third trimester. Even though Nigeria approved the inclusion of hepatitis B vaccine in its National Program on Immunization (NPI) in 1995, while it became widely available in 2004, immunization coverage for Hepatitis B is still not optimal in low resource settings in Nigeria. For instance, a recent study in Nigeria showed that the Hepatitis B vaccine coverage rate in low resource settings is currently about 41%, this, Dr. Efunbo Dosekun, Consultant Pediatrician, Outreach Children’s Hospital, Festac noted “poses a real threat to the health and lives of children in such environments”. “The consequences of the problems of low pick up rate of HBV infection due

to poor screening and the low vaccination rate are that vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus has become the major route of transmission of the virus in Nigeria. This has a major impact on the babies when born because of the risk to developing chronic liver diseases later in life. Acute hepatitis in pregnancy has been shown to induce premature labour and such prematurity comes with its attendant effects”. “The Apgar scores are often lower in the newborns of HBsAg carriers, and there is a higher risk of intra-ventricular hemorrhage as well, which is probably related to the higher incidence of preterm delivery. “Again, some fetuses that contact the hepatitis B antigen early in embryonic development become immunologically tolerant to the antigen, leading to a chronic HBV infection caused by the inability to eliminate the virus, so you see why early ante-natal attendance and submitting babies for immunization after birth by mothers is far better and cheaper” she added. As the way forward, Dr. Adjekpemevor opined that hepatitis B screening in pregnancy should be made a routine practice in Nigeria.


20

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

The Health Beat Sam Eferaro

eferaro@yahoo.co.uk 08094082123 (sms only)

I HIV positive women should have their babies tested for the virus and counselled

How HIV positive mothers can care for their babies

I

ncreasing access to testing followed by treatment, care and support can help to reduce stigma by demonstrating that HIV is not a ‘death sentence’ and that many people infected with HIV can lead relatively healthy, happy and productive lives. 3. All pregnant women should talk to their health-care providers about HIV. All pregnant women who think they, their partners or family members are infected with HIV, have been exposed to HIV or live in a setting with a generalized HIV epidemic should get an HIV test and counselling to learn how to protect or care for themselves and their children, partners and family members. The most effective way to reduce transmission of HIV from the mother to the child is to prevent women from becoming infected with HIV. Access to family planning services and condoms for women and men are critical to prevent HIV transmission. In many countries, pregnancy is the only time when women seek health services. This provides them an important opportunity to receive an HIV test and counselling whether in high- or low-level epidemic areas. If a woman is found to be HIV-positive, she should have access to counselling, referrals, HIV care and treatment, and other health-care services. Health-care and support services for the mother will help reduce the risk of HIV transmission to the baby. The HIV-positive woman should be encouraged to have her partner and other children tested and counselled. If any test results are positive, HIV care, treatment, and other prevention and healthcare services should be offered. A pregnant woman infected with HIV can take antiretroviral drugs. This can

help improve her own health and also reduce the chances of her child becoming infected. The risk of transmitting HIV to infants may be reduced to less than 2 per cent if pregnant women receive comprehensive counselling, health care and antiretroviral treatment during pregnancy and through the first six months after childbirth. This is often part of a comprehensive programme called Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT). An HIV-positive mother of a newborn should be provided with information and skills to select the best feeding option for her baby. She should receive nutrition and health-care counselling for the newborn and herself and be supported in having her child tested and treated for exposure to HIV. She should be informed that babies born to HIV-positive women who have not taken antiretroviral medicines during pregnancy have about a 1 in 3 chance of being born with HIV. Without intervention, half of the babies infected with HIV die before they are 2 years of age. A pregnant woman infected with HIV needs to know that: taking specific medicines (antiretroviral drugs) during pregnancy can help improve her health and reduce the risk of passing the infection to the infant Prenatal and post-natal care – visiting a skilled birth attendant for checkups before and after the birth of the baby and receiving care during pregnancy and childbirth – can help reduce the risk of passing the infection to the infant starting HIV-exposed newborns on cotrimoxazole or Bactrim between 4 and 6 weeks of age and continuing it until HIV infection can be definitively ruled out can help prevent ‘opportunistic’ infections (infections that take advantage of a weakened immune system) there are various infant feeding practices, each with advantages and risks.

Living off the sick

’ve been closely associated with the pharmaceutical industry for the past 30 years or so. I’m not unaware that this is one industry that is looked upon with unwarranted and mostly undeserved disdain. No doubt, it’s a most misunderstood industry as many people consider pharmaceutical companies as exploitative, uncaring and ever ready to exploit human frailness in their quest for profit. I think this is rather unfortunate. In my opinion, If there’s any industry that deserves respect and gratitude for its quest to preserve, nurture and prolong the human life, it is the pharmacy industry. This is one industry that, more than any other, concerns itself with maintaining the sanctity of life, an industry that is constantly at war with man’s most dreaded enemy, diseases and an industry that concerns itself with the task of searching for a way to help mankind overcome the challenges posed by raging diseases both old and new. But this piece is not exactly about the pharmaceutical industry. Have you bought a drug lately? From “simple” antimalarials to the complex ones for the management of serious ailments such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, hypertension or HIV/AIDS, the prices are high up and fast going beyond the reach of the man-on-the-street. Ask any insulindependent diabetic or an asthmatic who must keep one or two inhalers at hand to prevent attacks, especially in this cold season, It’s becoming more difficult to stay in control. These days, there’s hardly any time you visit a public hospital in Lagos, for instance and you won’t see one or two fellows roaming about with drug bills, begging for assistance. Of course, the pharma companies are usually the first to get the blame. Each time, we blame them, especially the multinationals, for making so much money and jerking up drug prices without much thought for the patient. Those of us close to the pharmaceutical companies however know this may not be the real picture. We know, for instance, that drug prices can be reduced by as much as almost 30 - 40% if the government cares and chooses to intervene. Like every other industries in the country today, the pharmaceutical industry has its fair share of double taxes, high duties, tariffs and all sorts of levies charged by governments at all levels. Of course such charges are passed on to those who buy the drugs, the patients. As legitimate as this is, what governments elsewhere in the world do is to reduce or cancel outright such levies for life saving drugs and other essential

YOU ARE THEREFORE ON YOUR OWN IF YOU COME DOWN WITH CANCER OR ANY OF SUCH DISEASES THAT REQUIRE MANAGEMENT WITH EXPENSIVE DRUGS commodities. I remember some years back when virtually all diabetes drugs were brought in from Egypt. It turned out that the Egyptian minister at that time was diabetic and in an effort to make life easier for other diabetics, he ensured that government levies for diabetes drugs were removed and the prices automatically went down – so much that Nigerian business men explored the situation and brought in cheap drugs. Not so in our beloved country Nigeria. Cancer patients, for instance, not only have cope with the excruciating pain and drastic therapies often associated with the disease, they also have to cope with the high cost of cancer drugs. You are therefore on your own if you come down with cancer or any of such diseases that require management with expensive drugs. At the moment, only people living with HIV/AIDS enjoy a subsidy on their medications – and that is no thanks to our government alone. HIV/AIDS enjoys immense support and grants from international agencies. No matter what they say about our health care, truth is, our government does not seem to have any plan for citizens who come down with con-communicable diseases most of which are not only incurable but require expensive drugs to keep the patients alive. That’s why some of them are not even covered by the national health insurance scheme. Indeed, We’ve heard of cancer patients disposing of their property to be able to meet the cost of tests and medicines required to alleviate their pain. We’ve also heard of citizens dying needlessly just because they cannot afford to pay for the drugs and care they need to survive. If the government will not come to their aid, it should, at least, waive the high taxation and levies. Government does not have to live off the sick.

It’s good to be back


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What is government doing about cancer control? The normal practice for us in Nigeria is for women to have their babies most of the time in churches and other places other than the hospital. You’re sick, you’ll first go to the pastor with that lump in the breast and the pastor will tell you in his own spiritual ability that go and fast and pray. One week has gone while you don’t know what that lump started off with or where; it may have been close to a blood vessel and the man says go and fast and pray. In one week, it has now eroded and gone into the blood vessel. Both the woman and the pastor don’t understand the value of timing. But the woman who saw that lump and went to the hospital immediately and had a self breast examination or had a clinical breast examination and possibly mammography done will live longer than the one who has gone round all the churches. Kindly join us in passing the message across to the public as well because the government cannot do it alone.

HPV vaccines cannot be free –NCCP Coordinator Dr. Patience Osinubi is the Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP). In this interview with TOBORE OVUORIE which took place during a cervical cancer awareness campaign in Lagos recently, she explains why cancer treatment, particularly Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines cannot be free and speaks on the way forward. Excerpts: Abuja more than four times, in Calabar, Uyo, we have gone to all parts of the country and we announce way ahead of the scheduled dates that we are coming. We are even doing another one again and the minister wants to have nationwide cancer awareness campaigns this year. It’s the same process; we’ll find out that you’ll come back next year and say this because people will not show up. Here’s free service, so people should utilize it. But you’ve still not answered my question… You’re obviously a Lagosian

Have you taken the campaign to the grassroots where, I believe, it’s mostly needed? Right now as I am talking to you, my team, the Cancer Control Programme has been in Isoko community in Delta state.

You are right… So, how many has the Lagos state government procured? Edo state has procured it for their people,

The town? I mean the interior; not the town part, they’ve been there doing awareness. There are journalists there, but we don’t know if they will publish it or not to create the awareness, we’ve carried all our men from Abuja and gone there. They’ve tried to give free service and if you take statistics of the people who came and the statistics of the people who did not come, tomorrow when those who did not come have cancer, they’ll say Federal Government of Nigeria. Do you understand the irony in some of the things that we say? So, what are you saying in essence? Take advantage of the free services the Federal Government is providing! You earlier said you make announcements via the radio and television way ahead of your arriving a place for awareness campaign. Don’t you think traditional rulers and newspapers are your best bet for creating the needed awareness? First and foremost, remember I told you that there is a nationwide cancer awareness campaign coming up soon, in recognition of what you just said, we have this logo that if Mohammed won’t come to you, you have to go to Mohammed and that is why all our campaigns are done in the market. We’ve never had a campaign in the hospital; we’ve gone and pitched tents in the middle of the market. Why? So that that woman will not say she is going far to go and do her screening. Leave your pepper for 10 minutes and walk to the car park and go and do your screening. So, what happens to those who don’t have a car park or market? For those people who don’t have car

21

We are the leading state even in that wise… Yes, but Lagos state has only done that to some extent, but the federal government only did that to demonstrate that is the way to go. They did it to let them know that that is the direction to go.

Dr. Osinubi

park, who don’t have market, right now, we are procuring what we call mobile cancer screening vans. It’s purpose is for communities that have no radios, TVs, but they have town criers because for sure their leaders have a way of communicating information to them, we intend to work with those people. For instance, if we’re coming to your community, we would have given notice, come to see your leader and alert them to tell you people that we are coming. They’ll communicate it to you in your dialect in order to erase whatever suspicion from your minds on our arrival. If we do get the traditional leaders to talk to their people, to encourage them to come there, and we carry all these equipments to that place and they don’t show up, how is Federal Government then to blame if at the end of the day some of these people get cancer? You said earlier that the FG has screened 1,400 girls for HPV. Don’t you think this is rather too small in a country with 160 million population? We cannot do this thing alone; we need

WE ARE NOT DENYING THE FACT THAT WE’VE NOT BEEN ABLE TO REACH MANY

NIGERIANS BECAUSE TREATMENT IS EXPENSIVE to come to some realisation, even the state and local government can’t do all these alone. I know people are always saying Federal Government but if we are really sincere, in the last four years there has been dramatic progresses in more awareness, we now relate more with the public, before, we wouldn’t even talk to you but now we do, we now organize more campaigns, offer free screening, I mean all these are free but how many people show up? Even you the journalists that come to cover our events we have to plead with you to go and screen. We’ve done these in Ondo,

That’s government’s campaign so what are you doing about treatment? We are not denying the fact that we’ve not been able to reach many Nigerians because treatment is expensive. Government is trying to reduce the price of treatment. Those drugs that people are going to collect in India, we’re going to try and see the ones that are most efficacious among them and work with NAFDAC to get those drugs brought into Nigeria at the same or relatively small difference so that nobody needs to get on the plane to go to India for medication. You’ve mentioned the screening being free several times but why is the vaccine not free so that the Nigerian female population will be well catered for? Yes screening is free but the vaccine will be free in future when GAVI would have come to the aid of Nigeria through procuring the vaccines in large volume and give it to us at a very minimal sum. Until GAVI agrees to include Nigeria in their list which is something we are about negotiating, HPV vaccines cannot be free. In future it will become part of NPI. Since the vaccine for the time being cannot be free, can’t the Federal Government put it under NHIS? Yes, that’s a great suggestion you’ve made; I agree with you it can be incorporated into NHIS since it’s such a minimal amount. We would do something in that regard.


22

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Follow WHO standard, research ethics committees told TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

H

uman research ethics committees in health institutions in the country have been advised to always be guided by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO), recommendations on human subject protection. Chief Medical Laboratory Scientist, Nigerian Institute of Medical Re-

search (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, Mrs. Ngozi Otuonye, gave the advice in Lagos at a three day-mentorship programme and capacity building organised for research ethics committees from some health institutions in the country, including Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Mainland Hospital, Yaba and NIMR recently. It was organised by NIMR in conjunction with Nigerian HIV Vaccine Microbicide Advocacy Society and

funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP), a partnership between the EU, Norway, Switzerland and developing countries and other donors, as well as the pharmaceutical industry on clinical trials and the development of new medicines and vaccines for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. According to Otuonye, Nigeria deserves to move along with the developed

countries of the world in biomedical researches done in accordance with the best clinical, laboratory and manufacturing practices. She, however, lamented inadequacies in ethics research system, poor medical infrastructural facilities, lack of fund, as well as undue government interference. According to her, these had taken huge toll on the quality of medical research involving human subjects, as well as

the management of some diseases including HIV, TB and malaria in the country. Speaking on the importance of Human Research Ethics Committees in the secondary and tertiary health institutions, Otuonye, who was also the coordinator of the mentorship programme said it would help in the conduct of research without trampling on the rights, dignity, safety and well-being of researchers, as well as

target people. On his part, NIMR’s Director- General, Prof Innocent Ujah while declaring the workshop open, told participants to use the knowledge to be acquired through the training to make more impact on their job and the development of the health sector. He said their priority should always be to protect the dignity and fundamental rights of people they are dealing with in the course of their job.

NPHCDA to hand over completed projects in Kogi MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

T

he National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has expressed its readiness to hand over all completed Primary Health Care centres, which were constructed by the agency in Kogi State to the state government with immediate effect. This decision was disclosed to the state Governor, Capt. Idris Wada, by the Executive Director of the agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad recently when

he paid a visit to the governor in Lokoja, the state capital. He said apart from handing over the newly constructed centers to the state, the agency was ready to offer technical assistance to the state to enable it run the centers, even as he called on the state government to intimate the agency with developments in the provision of Primary Health Care services in the state. Mohammad also called on the state government to redouble effort in its routine immunisation exercise and revealed that

the state ranking was low with 46% immunization coverage. He however commended the governor for his support whenever the Agency carried out immunization programmes in the state. In his remarks, the governor, represented by the state Deputy Governor, Architect Yomi Awoniyi, said the state government had taken the gesture as a clarion call and promised that the state would soon put all necessary logistics and efforts in place which he believed would yield result and improve the state ranking in immunisation coverage.

Hundreds receive free healthcare screening as LUTH turns 50 TOBORE OVUORIE

I

n a bid to reduce the prevalent rate of certain major ailments in the country, the Lagos University Hospital (LUTH), in conjunction with Pfizer pharmaceuticals offered free health screening for residents of Idi-Araba and Mushin respectively to commemorate the hospital’s anniversary and Pfizer’s 55th year of operating in Nigeria. Hundreds of Nigerians benefited from the free screening exercise which were majorly for HIV, glaucoma, hypertension, breast examination, malaria parasite, cervical/prostate cancer screening, weight and blood pressure screenings. Speaking in an interview with National Mirror, Prof. Olugbemiga Ogunlewe, Coordinator, LUTH 50th anniversary committee dis-

Prof. Olugbemiga Ogunlewe, Coordinator LUTH 50th anniversary addressing residents of Idi-Araba before commencing the free screening exercise Photo: TOBORE OVUORIE

closed that the event was meant “to bring treatment to the people of Idi-Araba and Mushin”. According to her, anyone tested to be with any of the conditions screened for would be referred to LUTH and may not be required to pay for management/treatment. “Some may not pay, some would get reduced costs for treatments while those for surgery would be highly subsidised.

“Most people don’t have the opportunity to go to the hospital so we’re bringing health care services to them. We know that some ailments if caught early can be treated easily while most people do not remember to take care of themselves” she added. According to Dr. Enrico Liggeri, Country Manager, Pfizer, the firm decided to mark its anniversary by creating screening opportunities in Lagos.

L-R: Consultant, Public Health, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Oni Idigbe; Director–General, NIMR, Prof. Innocent Ujah and Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) Masters’ Trainer, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Dr. Linus Odawo at the closing ceremony of SLMTA’s training in Lagos recently. Photo: TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

Breastfeeding: More aggressive awareness campaign needed –MWAN TOBORE OVUORIE

T

he National President, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Dr Dumebi Owa has called for a more aggressive breastfeeding awareness campaign to increase breastfeeding rate in the country. She made the call recently in Lagos at a breastfeeding lecture organised by the association for nursing mothers at the Ebute Metta Health Care Centre. Owa said that if mortality rate of under-five children in Nigeria were to decrease, it was imperative that the breast feeding culture was improved. She said that the benefits of breast feeding were enormous for both mother and child as it created bonding between them and, provided immunity against diseases and made babies healthy. Owa lamented the vanity of modern women who refuse to breastfeed their

babies due to the fear that their breasts would sag. “Researches have shown that pregnancy makes breasts sag. It is a natural phenomenon but it is a price worth paying for having a healthy baby. “Women should not have a lackadaisical attitude towards something that would give their child life and protection from killer diseases” she said. She also advocated for the creation of a breast milk bank where lactating mothers could donate breast milk after thorough screening which could be given to new borns who have lost their mothers at birth. The President said to achieve this, the cultural myth that giving breast milk to another woman’s child not being good must be broken. “Lactating mothers also need to be educated on the importance of having a breast milk bank as obtains in developed countries. “A mother giving out her breast milk to be used by a

baby who needs it is helping to save that child’s life. “The cultural myth in our society about giving your milk to a baby that is not yours not being ideal has to be broken” she noted. She also advocated for creches to be created in workplaces to enable the mother adequately breast feed the baby. Dr Temitayo Ishola, Medical Officer, Ebute Metta Health Centre while educating hundreds of pregnant women and nursing mothers at the lecture on how to breastfeed effectively and take care of their breasts added that “the benefits of breast feeding included proper and healthy growth of babies’ teeth as well as increasing their Intelligence Quotient”. Ishola, however, warned nursing mothers against breastfeeding their babies while they (the mothers) are asleep as this could cause too much milk to get into the baby’s mouth thereby causing tooth decay or suffocating the baby.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

23

Arts Lounge

O leaders don’t Our li listen to musicians – Andrew

25

George Benson to headline Smooth Luxury Concert

26

As the jostle for the substantive replacement of Emeka Mba as the Director General of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) heightens, stakeholders set agenda for whoever emerges as the new helmsman of the board.

THERE IS NEED TO THROW THE POSITION OPEN TO ATTRACT CANDIDATES WHO POSSESS THE METTLE TO TAKE THE INDUSTRY TO THE NEXT LEVEL

NGOZI EMEDOLIBE

S

o far, the circumstances that led to the ouster of Mr. Emeka Mba as the boss of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), are still shrouded in uncertainty. While the man at the centre of the storm has chosen to remain mute over what transpired, there seems to be many sides to the story at the moment. Expiration of his tenure, wrong documentation of his appointment letter, misunderstanding with the Minister of Information and Communications and resignation in order to take up higher endeavours in life, are some of the issues speculated. Of these lot, having a misunderstanding with his supervising Minister, Labaran Maku and resigning to take up higher challenges sound more plausible, considering that he was just in the third year of his second (four year) tenure. While the movie industry has gradually gone beyond the exit of Emeka Mba, who is temporarily being relieved by Patricia Bala, the most senior official at the board, earnest lobbying for the position has continued by some stakeholders in the industry. The vacuum has also given way for a re-assessment of the Emeka Mba-years. What did he do wrong and right? And how would his successor avoid his pitfalls and perform even better? Arts Lounge checks show that opinions are divided about Mba’s performance as the helmsman of the board. Gab Onyi of Gabosky Films, in a conversation with Arts Lounge for this article, said Emeka Mba left office honourably to pursue another endeavour’ and has by so doing left a solid framework for whoever is going to take over as his successor. “I have followed him closely and I can tell you that he tried his best and has left a solid framework for whoever is going to come in as his successor. But I tell you, we in the movie industry will chal-

Filmmakers at work

Achieving a more vibrant Film and Video Censors Board

lenge anybody who comes to start something new, because that is going to take the industry back by 20 years. The framework he laid is good to go with and anyone taking over should continue from there and consolidate. I am sorry, but I would challenge whoever comes to begin something that is on the contrary”. When reminded that he was an avid critic of Mba, while he was in office. “I was not challenging Emeka Mba as a person; I was only challenging the (framework) policy and that brought about some modifications, which are okay for the industry now”. For Madu Chikwendu, the regional secretary of Federation of African Filmmakers (FEPACI), assessing the role of Emeka Mba would only be left for history since opinions would depend on how the policies of the board affected various filmmakers during his reign. He is also of the opinion that contrary to previous appointments of substantive directors-general, finding a replacement for Mba should take a transparent posture to attract suitable candidates who would embrace the challenges of the emerging tendencies in Nollywood. “There is

need to throw the position open to attract candidates who possess the mettle to take the industry to the next level, considering the potentials in the industry. It could come in the form of an examination to ascertain the fitness of the various candidates”. While many Nollywood stakeholders feel gladdened that cinema houses are springing up to ensure that movie works reach more of the targeted audience, Chikwendu wants whoever emerges as Censors’ Board helmsman to approach this development cautiously so that cinema exhibition does not experience the glut that followed the boom of home video sales a few years ago, which the industry is yet to recover from. “We must not allow cinema exhibition to develop the way it likes. This tragic error was made with video distribution. The rules and standards must be put in place. There must be clear rules of engagement for those in the business of cinema. Technical standards must also be established in the light of murmurs by experts that the use of cinema projectors have been largely discontinued all over the world occasioned by the digital cinema initiative launched by Hollywood. My per-

sonal research confirms that leading projector manufacturers like Christies and NEC no longer manufacture cinema projector. They now concentrate on digital projection systems. Nigeria should not be a dumping ground for discarded technology. Clearly then, regulation of cinema must be the primary focus of the any new administration at NFVCB. Naturally we expect that the first step will be the restoration of order with regards to the stillborn New Distribution Framework. This initiative was never given a chance. The NFVCB does not require reinvention. Let Minister, Labaran Maku commence a transparent selection process now”. Veteran filmmaker, Eddy Ugbomah, however, sounded indifferent about the development. According to him, “Mba completed his term and left even though stakeholders shouted; those who put him there protected him until he left”. The National President of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCOP), Alex Eyengho, told Arts Lounge that Emeka Mba’s tenure at the board was marred by hypocritical tendencies of some industry

stakeholders who lured him into the politics of the film industry. “The new woman is just there on acting capacity; she is a civil servant in the system. I expect whoever emerges as the new substantive DG to hit the ground running. The person should be ‘non-partisan in Nollywood affairs’; this was one major minus for Emeka Mba. The new person must beware of sycophants in Nollywood. In my opinion it will be good for whoever emerges to convene a stakeholders’ meeting of the various groups in order to feel the pulse of the industry. By so doing, the person will get a direction of what the immediate needs of the industry are”. Emma Oguguah, the acting national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, also sees better days for the industry if the new head of NFVCB partners with all the guilds in the industry. “He needs to continue the good works of Mba. He must see and act as a partner with us so we can place the industry where it should be”. Emeka Mba’s reign spawned several criticisms in fact. Aside the distribution frame work which almost polarised the industry, several people chastised him for allowing MultiChoice (his former employers) to hurt the sales of home videos through the establishment of Africa Magic channel on the bouquet of the pay TV outfit. However, he once refuted this accusation saying, “it is the choice of a producer to deal with Africa Magic or not. I left Africa Magic (MultiChoice) not necessarily on a cheerful note, because I disagreed with some of their policies. At the point I left, I felt they had nothing more to offer me and I had nothing more to offer them. I was partly responsible for establishing Africa Magic, I take pride in that; but the criticism doesn’t make sense”, Mba had fired back at his detractors.


24

Arts Lounge

VOICES

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

OLA BALOGUN VS NEXIM BANK

Let’s tread carefully sir! YINKA OGUNDAISI

D

r. Ola Balogun is by all accounts and standards, an eminent and accomplished professional. To the majority of stakeholders in what is known today as Nollywood, who may not be aware of his pedigree, Dr. Balogun is first among his equals because of his laudable and numerable achievements in the Nigerian creative and entertainment industry. Few knew that he pioneered the audio visual unit of the National Museums and Archives and fewer still knew that the first set of successful Yoruba celluloid films were directed by him. It was on the sets of his film, Money Power that the celebrated actress, Clarion Chukwurah and Juju music superstar, Sir Shina Peters met to initiate their short-lived romance. Almost all of the eminent persons in the Yoruba film industry that are now regarded as colossus had their tutelage of film productions under him. No one who has been in the industry since the 80s will consider him or allow anyone to treat him as a nonentity! I was attracted to his write-up in The Guardian of Friday, August 10, 2012 tiled NEXIM What Agenda, largely because of his name; next because of the subject matter, and finally, because of my long-established interest in the affairs of our creative and entertainment industry. Regretfully however, the entire body of the piece was reeking of and dripping with emotions; it was all I could do to make headway of our legend’s real complaint(s)! I know that for those who consider ourselves the real stakeholders of industry, the vision we had had of the future is opposite of what the industry has today become. I also know that for veterans like Dr. Balogun, the initial disenchantment has now transformed into active

MUSINGS Procession “Today ….if I die Today I’ll die no more”. My date is nigh And all fruits ripe Not time is it now But all must bow The debt must be paid To others relay Now should be abated Unprepared so not accepted I owe you The debt two decades by six and one will pay A procession. © Tobore Ovuorie 2012

WHATEVER RESERVATIONS ABOUT ANY PUBLIC OFFICIAL IN THE HANDLING OF HIS OR HER

DUTIES...RECOGNISE THAT THE OFFICIAL IS... A FELLOW HUMAN BEING disillusionment. However, if we are to come to grip with our challenges, we must as a condition dispense with sentiment to put our problems in their right perspectives. This piece therefore is not so much a rejoinder but my own objective assessment of our situation and by implications, the wheat and the chaff of my respected older colleague’s write-up. Three issues stood out of Ola Balogun’s piece. First was his legitimate question; “NEXIM What agenda?” Second was his opinion of the NEXIM boss’ interview published in The Sunday Guardian issue of August 5, 2012 and thirdly, the all important matter of what the artistes must do to access the FGN intervention fund. This third issue goes beyond the write-up and NEXIM ‘conditionalities’ to access the intervention fund, but is also at the heart of the present raging controversy on the business side of our industry. As a prominent stakeholder in the industry, a Nigerian and an eminent one at that, Dr. Balogun has all the rights to enquire from a national institution like NEXIM, its agenda for the disbursement of the Federal Government intervention fund for an industry he has spent practically all his life developing and promoting. But I want to pick issues with the manner of his asking the question. Whatever reservations anyone may have about any public official in the handling of his or her duties, it is important we recognise that the official is first and foremost a fellow human being with blood running in his or her veins. As an elderly person and highly educated one, I believe Dr. Balogun can very well have made his points without going personal. I also had issues with the same NEXIM when, to the consternation of all of us, they announced their funding support for the film, Dr. Bello by Tony Abulu. But as I later reflected in my article subsequent to our encounter, NEXIM had its valid reasons for opting to fund the film just as I suggested that despite any misgivings anyone may still have, we should at least praise Dr. Robert Orya for doing something rather than just sitting on the fence! We all agreed to disagree but my points were made albeit with NEXIM having and sticking with its option! On the Guardian’s Sunday issue interview granted by the NEXIM boss, Dr. Balogun had the rights to be affronted by whatever he chose to consider the manner Dr. Orya conducted himself, but this same rights also extended to Dr. Orya himself to laugh, frown, dance or sing during the interview. It was all his privilege! I was dismayed to read Dr. Ola Balogun making an issue out of a

fellow Nigerian’s native name. It was not necessary and outside whatever he had in mind to make. Dr. Orya’s pronouncements at the interview pointed at the workings of his mind and the way he hoped to manage his organisation and particularly the FGN’s intervention fund. If any of what he said is at variance with what anyone feels is on the ground, the right thing to do is to highlight such variances for debate. But to start ridiculing his native name appeared to me not to be complying with a true gentleman’s rules; and from what I know of Dr. Balogun’s antecedents, he is an epitome of a gentleman, however it is defined. Could it therefore be that there is yet an unstated reason/s for the uncharacteristic venom? NEXIM’s core mandate, as I wrote in my earlier piece on why they chose to support Tony Abulu’s Dr. Bello, is to promote indigenous Nigerian products for exports. The epidemic level of piracy now tormenting Nigerian movies has made it suicidal for any fund provider, especially a bank to commit their funds into either its production or distribution. Yet, NEXIM must find a way to achieve its core mandate. Which was why according to the bank, they decided that if there was no indigenous Nigerian movie that could be safely promoted for export, they might as well create one as a model, hence their funding support for Tony Abulu’s film meant for distribution offshore but all the same a Nigerian product that NEXIM can associate with and tout as the evidence of achieving their mandate. NEXIM has also repeatedly said that their funding support covers all aspects of productions, distribution and capacity building. All they require is a viable business proposal. Now this is a challenge that I believe we should focus our attention on and for now I am aware that proposals on infrastructural development which require their funding support is already with them to study and react to. I would suggest we allow the next few weeks to indicate whether Dr. Orya’s public pronouncements to support all viable business proposal in our creative/entertainment industry is for real or just another way of politicking. However, whichever way the matter turns out, it is my earnest appeal that in our public discourse, we must as a rule separate the chaff from the wheat, if we are not to swallow poisonous morsels. By whatever nomenclature NEXIM has chosen to brand their package of funding support for the industry, let us keep our eyes on the ball as the sports psychologists would say and not be distracted by antics of those within or out-

Ogundaisi

side the field. The last issue in Dr. Ola Balogun’s piece is what he saw as the demeaning demand for artistes to submit to corporate management imperatives to access fund. His position is not surprising considering that all over the world, artistes believe that as stars, they ought not to be measured or administered in the same way as other mortals are treated! It is the bane of management practitioners not only in Nigeria but in any part of the globe. The artistes’ combustible temperament may perhaps explain why the NEXIM boss has identified the need to engage in continuous communication with stakeholders in the industry as his priority, which can perhaps justify the regularity with which activities of his organisation and also his person now feature in the media. Because it has not always been this way, it is generating more than a glance but as someone rightly posited, no matter how strange something is, with enough time it will soon assume the colour of normality. Like corpses that do not like the embalming fluid, artistes detest paperwork particularly menial and tiring chores of filling form CO1 and CO2 as mandatory business demands. But the reality is that just like the corpses, despite their antipathy, will be embalmed to keep from decaying, artistes too have no choice than to imbibe the culture of standard management practices to make progress and dough from their talents. It is also important to stress that the FGN’s intervention fund is in form of a loan, not a gift! The handlers therefore cannot afford not to take all the necessary steps to ensure what they give out returns not only intact, but with profits. That is the only way the intervention can be meaningful and achieve its objectives. If it is by filling not just forms C01 and C02 but all the way to form C10 that we will have access to it, we are better advised to do so. Getting heated up emotionally will only give us something to do; it won’t take us anywhere, just like sitting in a swinging chair! Ogundaisi, a seasoned Nollywood practitioner and an advocate for lasting reforms in the local movie industry, wrote this in reaction to Ola Balogun’s piece in The Guardi an Newspaper issue of Friday, August 10, 2012.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ARTISTE UNCENSORED

Our leaders don’t listen to musicians –Andrew

Arts Lounge

25

MEMORABLE READS

KOKO KALANGO Director, Garden City Literary Festival (GCLF); founder, Rainbow Book Club

THE PMAEN WE HAVE HERE IN ABUJA CANNOT BE COMPARED TO WHAT OPERATES IN LAGOS

Andrew performing on stage

Adebowale Andrew, better known by his stage name Sir ‘Debo Andrew, is currently making waves in the entertainment industry in Abuja with his juju-styled highlife band; a trade which continuously hoists him to prominence. MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

B

orn in Ikaramu-Akoko of Ondo State, Sir Andrew’s decision to leave the socially-passionate city of Lagos for the socially-sedate Abuja has more than paid-off for him. Speaking with Arts Lounge during the recent launch of his newly-acquired musical instruments in Abuja, Andrew confirmed that coming to the city was one of the wisest decisions he had taken in life. He stated that the relocation

was necessitated when the competition in Lagos was becoming too much for him to cope with. On the other hand, calls and information from Abuja projected a city fertile for the rapid growth of talented music artistes. Andrew believed the capital city needed people like him who could add glamour to its ambience and lift the spirit of its leisure-starved residents. Though he wasn’t born into a family of songsters, Andrew said music had been in his blood from childhood. “I have a brother, a musician, in my village. We call him ‘Shashasha’, a former member of the Orlando Owoh band (a popular traditional highlife band from South West Nigeria). I always would follow him to the performance stage and from there, I learnt how to play the guitar. That was how I started developing more interest in music. Later, I moved to Lagos where I produced my first and second albums titled My Arrival (2003) and No Condition is Permanent (2005) respectively. If everything goes as planned, the third album will be released before the end of this year”, he said. Now in Abuja for over four years, how does he hold sway in the industry? Andrew revealed he attends different events in and around the city. He also performs at the impressive NICON Luxury Hotel at least twice a week. “Despite all these engagements”, he said, “I still make time out to honour invitations in various parts of the country. This is the kind of engaging performance schedule we had been praying for and God is making it to happen. We are into all categories of events and our performances speak for us”, he added. Andrew believes his 25-year experience on the job, though marked with some challenges, is quite fulfilling as well. He is also of the opinion that the industry is crowded by some individuals who see it as a gold mine and are only after fame and quick wealth. “The truth is that if God gives you music as your destiny, you will prosper in it”, he remarked, stressing that an individual’s mindset is crucial to how successful he or she becomes in whatever endeavour. Sir Andrew has a watchword which, according to him, has been helping him up the ladder of progress. This he framed in a statement thus: “Whatever you are doing and you do very well to the satisfaction of your clients and admirers, no matter the challenges you encounter, you will excel”. Though, this father of four no more lives in Lagos, he is still nostalgic about one thing in the City of Excellence; the Lagos chapter of the Performing Musician and Employees Association of Nigeria (PMAEN)! He claimed that since he arrived in Abuja, the city’s chapter of PMAEN had remained uncoordinated unlike that of Lagos which he joined in 1999. “I don’t understand what is happening to them here; it’s confusing everybody. You don’t know who the real Association President is. Maybe it is because I am still relatively new in the city. All I know is that the PMAEN we have here in Abuja cannot be compared to what operates in Lagos”, he asserted. Another area that also bothers the Juju artiste is the effectiveness of music in national orientation and integration. He reasons there is a major stumbling-stone in achieving this goal. “The problem lies mainly with our leaders; they don’t listen to what we, the musicians, are singing about. Take an example of Idris Abdulkareem and the song he released about Nigeria sometime back titled, Jagajaga; is it not happening today? Back then, they thought he was saying nonsense. Consider Fela Kuti’s Suffering and Smiling, is it not happening today? If you tell our leaders the truth, they will not listen to you. Yet, we shall continue to do our best”, he declared.

What are you reading right now? I try to read my Bible everyday but I’m not that faithful; I read my Bible in French to keep the language alive. The last book I read is The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo. Which is your favourite book? Things Fall Apart is one of my favourite books. So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba is another. I have read Things Fall Apart in French and I think the translator did a fantastic job. How big is your personal library? I don’t know how big my personal library is but I collect autographed books; I don’t give those out. From time to time I give out some books because I know they are going to help rather than decorate my home with them. How was your hunger for reading developed? I have always said the strongest mentoring is not to bring a blackboard and put it in class or a pulpit. The things that I have learnt did not come to me from people preaching at me. It’s from the home, the life that is being lived out, the values. That is, watching people live their lives; speaking the truth, standing up for what they believe, not compromising on values.


26

Arts Lounge

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Soyinka Literary Prize: Lagbaja for awards night T

FAR AND NEAR

op artistes have been lined up to entertain at the Grand Awards Night of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa scheduled for September 8 in Lagos. Leading the pack is masked artiste, Lagbaja expected to thrill the audience with his Afro-Calypso genre of music, a product of various influences ranging from traditional Yoruba music to Jazz. Also expected to add colour to the night is the Segun Adefilaled Crown Troupe (a dance ensemble) and the sensational allfemale folk singers Nerfetiti The fourth edition of Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in

Africa is sponsored by telecommunications company, Globacom; the Grand Awards Night event will be held at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Organised by The Lumina Foundation, had 402 entries from 26 African countries and organisers have said three short-listed candidates for the grand finale will be announced soon by the board of trustees. Organisers likewise confirmed that former President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufour will grace the occasion as Chairman. Also confirmed for attendance is Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola as host,

while Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State is expected to be the Special Guest of Honour. The biennial award, named after Wole Soyinka, foremost African author and Nobel Laureate, was established by the Lumina Foundation in 2005 to honour the best literary work produced by an African; the first edition was held in 2006. It awards Africa’s great writers and causes their works to be appreciated while celebrating excellent writing, promoting scholarship and making books available and affordable by subsidising the publication of books in the top list of the judges.

Benson

George Benson to headline Smooth Luxury Concert OYINKAN SOMORIN

I

t has been confirmed that legendary American musician, George Benson, will headline performances at the third Love Music, Love Life Luxury Concert scheduled for Saturday, October 13 in Lagos. Organised by Nigeria’s urban radio station, Smooth 98.1FM, the annual concert series which began in 2010 has seen performances from renowned artistes such as Angie Stone, Gerald Albright and Richard Bona featuring Mike Stern complimented by Tiwa Savage, Bez and Pure & Simple. In 2011, the concert featured Asa, Pamela “The Saxtress” Williams and Jimmy Dludlu. This year, people will again gather to enjoy a rare performance from the 10-time Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist, as he and his acclaimed band grace the stage at the Eko Hotel and Suites for the first time ever in Nigeria. In a career that spans five decades and more than 30 recordings as a bandleader, Benson first came to prominence playing soul jazz with the likes of Jack McDuff. Benson then launched a successful solo career, alternating between jazz, pop, R&B singing and scat singing. By the

mid to late 1970s, he began to put his vocals on tracks such as This Masquerade and On Broadway, which both won him Grammy Awards. While his triple-platinum album, Breezin, topped the Billboard 200 Chart in 1976. Having previously been almost unknown to the younger audience, Benson’s breakthrough pop album Give Me the Night made it into the pop and R&B Top Ten with the song Give Me the Night (produced by Quincy Jones and written by former Heatwave keyboardist Rod Temperton). The guitarist accumulated three other platinum LPs and two gold albums. He also recorded the original version of Greatest Love of All for the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic, The Greatest, which was later recorded as a cover by Whitney Houston. In 2009, Benson recorded the album titled Songs and Stories, with Marcus Miller, producer John Burk, and session musicians David Paich and Steve Lukather. His newest album, Guitar Man, is a 12-song collection that includes a mix of jazz and pop standards. Benson has used his jazz roots as the foundation for an engaging mix of pop, R&B, and other shades that add up to a style that appeals to a broad mainstream audience.

The students on stage

CMD’s sophomore class stages Barrie Stavis’ The Man Who Never Died TERH AGBEDEH

T

he second graduating class of the Centre for Media Development (CMD), will stage the play, The Man Who Never Died by Barrie Starvis this Saturday at the school’s premises in Ogudu area of Lagos State. Distinguished guests expected at the performance include the new Archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins. Actor Nobert Young, who has been teaching the students theatre basics since the school run by Rev. Fr. Mike Umoh opened in January, said one of the reasons the play was picked is because of “the constant poor state of the Nigerian worker”. Speaking at a sneak preview of the performance organised for the media

penultimate Tuesday, he further stated that this class was bigger than the first which graduated in April so he wants to do a play that will involve everybody. Young, who played the role of Ed Rowan in this very play as a student at the University of Ibadan (UI), apart from wanting to see the play as a spectator, said he also picked it because the students will learn a lot from it since it is a difficult play. The theatre veteran said in an interview shortly before the first graduating class staged the play titled: The Bribe by Dr. A.S.A. Uyovbukheri, that what the CMD is doing is empowering the youths, “giving them something else so that they are equipped to face the labour market. That is basically what we do here, empower youths”. Young is assisted by Daddy Ejidoh, himself, a theatre veteran.

Mr. Ambrose Igboke, the administrative manager for CMD had told Art Lounge then that the place was a fully integrated media centre founded and run by the Lagos Archdiocese of the Catholic Church with four fundamental pillars including media services and training. “We do television/radio productions, musicals, documentaries, jingles. The digital radio studio is functional and we have produced two musicals from it already. We ran a Lenten/Easter programme on Metro FM 97.7, a programme produced from the CMD studios. So, it’s active and running; fully functional with the latest digital instruments installed”, he had said. When our reporter visited, the students were attending a media lecture in one of the centre’s ultramodern classrooms taught by Rev. Fr. Umoh.


27

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adegoke happy with goal return

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

EAfter everything, I have resolved to put the Olympics 2012 behind and move on positively - NATIONAL TABLE TENNIS PLAYER, ARUNA QUADRI

30

Kalu gets compassionate leave

S

uper Eagles striker, Uche Kalu, who lost his father last week while on the trip to Niger Republic for a friendly with the Menas has been permitted to leave camp to attend to his grief. Spokesman for the team, Ben Alaiya, said yesterday that the striker was allowed to travel to his native Abia State to participate in his late father’s funeral plans. Kalu has emerged as a force in the Eagles’ attack since

Stephen Keshi took over the reigns last November and although he has yet to score a goal in as many games, he has provided several assists to lift the team. National Mirror, however, learnt that he had been asked by Keshi to return to camp early enough to join in the preparation for the trip to Liberia where Eagles will square the Lone Star in the first leg of the final round of the AFCON 2013 qualifier next month.

Battle of Monrovia: Keshi set to unveil warriors Sporting Braga of Portugal defender Elderson Echiejile is expected to be among the foreign-based Eagles in the new list

AFOLABI GAMBARI

S Oparanozie

Japan 2012: Falconets set for Brazil AFOLABI GAMBARI

R

eports from the Saitama camp of the Falconets in Japan yesterday indicated their readiness for the second Group B game against Brazil today as the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup progresses. National Mirror learnt that the Falconets’ coach, Edwin Okon, had admonished the players not to underrate their opponents after their easy win over South Korea on Sunday, making them the group leaders. “The Brazilians are no easy meats and I expect you to recognise this fact,” Okon told the players after training yesterday. “In this competition, a game can change any time and I want you to remain focused till the last minute,” he added. Meanwhile, defender Josephine Chukwunonye and

striker Desire Oparanozie who suffered knocks in the last game have been declared fit for today’s encounter which will be their third in this competition.

uper Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, yesterday declared that the official list of the team that will engage Lone Star of Liberia in Monrovia in an Afcon 2013 qualifier scheduled for September 8 will be released tomorrow in Abuja. Spokesman for the Eagles, Ben Alaiya, told National Mirror yesterday that the list had been forwarded to the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which

…Glo drums support

L

eading telecommunications company, Globacomm has tasked the Falconets to go get victory over Brazil today as prelude to winning the trophy. The company, which gave this task in a statement congratulating the Nigerian team yesterday over his Match Day 1 victory over South Korea on Sunday, also urged the team to exhibit cohesion in the approach to defeat the Brazilians. “The Falconets’ performance on Sunday suggested that the team is on the rise and we believe they need encouragement as they face Brazil in this explosive encounter that will determine the group leaders,” the statement said. “Therefore, nothing short of a 100 per cent performance will do as they confront the Brazilians in the quest to guarantee a quarter final spot.” Globacom advised the Falconets to surpass the silver medal they won in Germany two years ago, adding that the company would support the Moses team’s pursuit of glory in the Asian nation.

would in turn give final approval before the list was made public. “But what Nigerians can be sure of is that only players who feature regularly for their clubs will make the list,” Alaiya explained. The home-based Eagles had commenced camp a fortnight ago prior to their friendly with the Menas of Niger Republic last week in Niamey and have declared their readiness to contest with the foreign legion for spots in the final team list of players to face the Liberians in the cru-

cial encounter where only a win would be good for Nigeria. Meanwhile, former Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mallam Idi Farouk, paid a visit to the Eagles in their Bolton White Apartment camp in Abuja yesterday. “Mallam Farouk came as a friend and supporter of the team,” the spokesman said. The Eagles are hard pressed to win a ticket to the South Africa 2013 Afcon finals after failing to appear at the Gabon/Equatorial Guinea finals in January this year.

Moses earns Martinez praise

W

igan Manager, Roberto Martinez, has praised Victor Moses for remaining focused despite the transfer hurdles he has faced in recent weeks as speculation persisted on his move to Chelsea. “I’m delighted Victor’s here, I’m delighted he showed he’s desperate to perform for our team,” Martinez said yesterday. Moses has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea but Martinez said Wigan was yet to receive an offer that matched the club’s evaluation of the player. “You could go through every dressing room in the country and you’ll always get one or two players who don’t know where their future lies,” he said. “I don’t understand why we put our players in this situation. The transfer window is a fantastic part of our game, but it should close before the official games start. “I think it’s disrespectful to the fans and very unfair on the human part of the footballers.”


28

Sport

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I’ve lived childhood dream–Song

B

arcelona new signing, Alex Song, has said that he fulfilled a childhood dream by clinching a move to Nou Camp and wants to build up a trophy collection. The Cameroon international finalized his £15m move away from north London yesterday, signing a five-year contract. After seven seasons with Arsenal, in which the club was unable to land any silverware, Song is relishing the prospect of joining a team that has made trophy-winning a habit, albeit one deposed as Spanish champions by Real Madrid last term. “I am very happy to be here as this is the best team in the world,” the 24-year-old said. “Playing at a club like Barca is something I wanted when I was young. I hope the team will continue to win as this is a winning team.” Song believes his former Arsenal teammate Cesc Fabregas, now established as a key figure at the Camp Nou a year after moving from the Emirates Stadium, can help him settle. “I know Cesc very well and I slept at his house on Sunday. He’s a very good friend and he will help me to integrate.” Song joined his new team-mates for the official team presentation at the Joan Gamper Trophy on Monday night at the Nou Camp where the Catalan club faces Sampdoria and received a standing ovation from the Barcelona supporters, having become the club’s second major signing of the summer following the capture of Spain full-back Jordi Alba from Valencia.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Neville faults Devils over Kagawa

F

ormer Manchester United defender, Gary Neville, says the club failed to utilize new signing Shinji Kagawa effectively as it slipped to defeat at Everton on Monday night. The Japanese international started the Red Devils’ Premier League opener in the attacking midfield position that he flourished in for previous club Borussia Dortmund. Neville was impressed by parts of Kagawa’s play at Goodison Park, but says the 23-year-old’s team-mates did not provide him with enough opportunities to test Everton’s backline. “United kept possession at times but I don’t think there was a rhythm in their play and I don’t think they got the ball into Shinji Kagawa enough,” the former Old Trafford star said. “Kagawa was in good positions but United just didn’t pass the ball through to him, instead they took the safe option and passed it out wide; they were a bit sluggish. “It was only after Everton’s goal that he came into the game; he then showed qualities that weren’t in evidence earlier in the match, through no fault of his own.”

RDM hails Hazard Dawson

Rangers eye Dawson

I

t was understood yesterday that Queens Park Rangers have bid about £5.5m for Tottenham Hotspurs defender Michael Dawson. The centre-back was not in Spurs’ 18-man squad for their defeat at Newcastle United on the opening day of the Premier League season and faces a tough task to regain a place. Manager Andre Villas-Boas has made William Gallas his new captain, Younes Kaboul started alongside the former Arsenal skipper and Jan Vertonghen was signed this summer. Spurs therefore has four centrebacks and Dawson could be viewed as fourth choice at White Hart Lane. In contrast, the former Nottingham Forest player, who joined Spurs in 2005, could be guaranteed first-team football at QPR. Rangers were hammered 5-0 at home by Swansea City on Saturday in a horribly disjointed performance and Hughes, who has already signed seven players this summer, has decided he needs to strengthen the centre of his defence before the transfer deadline at the end of August.

C

helsea Manager, Roberto Di Matteo, has expressed delight at seeing new signing Eden Hazard make a positive first impression on Sunday, but believes the youngster can do even better. Hazard will be back in action for the Blues against Reading today, with the midweek encounter allowing him to make his Stamford Bridge bow. The home support will be expecting big things from the talented 21-year-old, and Di Matteo is backing the Belgium international to deliver. “He left his mark on the game,” Di Matteo said of the player’s outing at the JJB Stadium on Saturday. “In pre-season, he showed that kind of quality in training. Now, in the Premier League, hopefully there’s more to come from him.”

Hazard

Kagawa

Bassong lands in Norwich

Huddlestone

N

orwich City has completed the signing on Sebastien Bassong on a three-year contract from Tottenham Hotspurs for an undisclosed fee. The Cameroon international announced on his Twitter account that a deal had been done, and Norwich have now confirmed that a transfer has been pushed through. Canaries boss Chris Hughton has wasted little time dipping into the market for defensive reinforcements after suffering an opening day nightmare at Fulham. A 5-0 defeat at Craven Cottage has forced his hand, with Bassong drafted in to provide competition for places and Premier League know-how. The 26-year-old centre-half, who arrives in Norfolk after four years in England, was snapped up by Newcastle in the summer of 2008 before moving on to Spurs after 12 impressive months on Tyneside. Hughton believes Bassong will prove to be a useful addition to his ranks, as he continues to mould a squad inherited from predecessor Paul Lambert.

Mod

Real M hoped t plete the of Totten Hotspur at press were se tween th stalled l Repo isted ov plus 5 m though Levy, wa variable The r strength euro ha dilemm

Pele

Brazili legend, insisted can surp Barcelon Lionel M as one o players. “Neym than bot He has t But he h yesterda he does ing certa “Mara left foot a very stro less a co

Kaka

Liverp ahead o chester the race Madrid m Kaka. Kaka United M son this wary ab due to h Liverp Madridis ment alr for Kaka

Cahi

Spurs to offload Huddlestone

R

eports claimed yesterday that Tottenham Hotspurs is ready to loan out Tom Huddlestone with Stoke the front-runners for his signature. Huddlestone, who missed most of last season through injury, has been informed he will be allowed to go out on loan to get some regular firstteam football under his belt. The England international underwent two ankle operations last season with his last game for Spurs coming against Manchester City last August. Huddlestone is now back to fitness and played on Spurs’ pre-season tour of America, but it appears he is down the pecking order at White Hart Lane. Huddlestone was left out of the squad for last weekend’s opening day defeat at Newcastle and Manager Andre Villas-Boas is happy to let the former Derby man go out on loan.

Forme striker, T opened account weeken was del New Yo from-be Timbers Cahill stroke o up at 2-2 goal wa the Aust thrilled t “I didn said, reg caused whistle w his left fo

Rein

Liverp goalkee Reina, fe this wee clash wit ing Prem Manche the visito


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

dric

AFOLABI GAMBARI

Madrid to come signing nham rs midfielder Luka Modric s time yesterday as talks ensationally reactivated behe two clubs after things ast week. orts said an agreement exver a 30 million Euros fee million Euros in bonuses, Spurs Chairman, Daniel ants to bring forward the e fees. eports also said the h of the pound against the as caused a late minute a for Real.

mar can become better th Messi and Maradona. the qualities to do so. has to mature,” Pele said ay, adding, “Sometimes s not act properly regardain responsibilities.” adona only played with the and in the air he was not ong and Messi is more or opy of him.”

a

pool is of ManUnited in e for Real midfielder

has been offered to Manager Sir Alex Ferguweek, but the Scot is out signing the Brazilian his injury record. pool is also keen and Soy sta says Reds manageready have a deal in place a.

ll

er Everton Tim Cahill, his MLS t at the nd and ighted to have helped rk Red Bull to a comeehind 3-2 win over Portland s. l volleyed home on the of half-time to tie the game 2 and even though the as slightly controversial, tralian international was to contribute. n’t hear anything,” Cahill garding the goal which some confusion when a was blown just as he put oot through the ball.

na

pool per, Pepe eels that ekend’s th reignmier League champion ester City will be tough for ors.

29

Pepsi Academy targets evolution

Tit bits...

ian Pele, has Neymar pass na star Messi and Diego Maradona of the game’s greatest

Sport

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

S

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (l) and NFF President Aminu Maigari during the former’s donation of the new Federation Cup to the football house in Lagos last month

Fed Cup 2012: Lagos commits to Legends Awards

AFOLABI GAMBARI

L

agos State government yesterday reiterated its commitment to the celebration of football legends during the annual Federation Cup final that will be staged in the state from this edition scheduled for August 26 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi, who made this assertion to National Mirror, said the past heroes would be accorded due respect as long as the state hosts the finals. aside the players, coaches and administrators that have distinguished themselves in the oldest football tournament in the country would also be honoured by the

NPL tasked on status IFEANYI EDUZOR

T

he Nigeria Premier League Board (NPL) has been called upon to respect the statues of the league by allowing the decision of the management of Ocean Boys Football Club to withdraw from the 2011/2012 league season. Former Secretary of IBB Homers Football Club, Hon. A.S. Luya, told National Mirror that the team management’s decision was final and deserved respect. “The leadership of NPL had earlier said that all matches played home and away and its points for Ocean Boys,” he said, adding, “We must respect rules at all times.” “Nigeria Premier League has come of age and is highly respected because many African countries have been following the way and manner with which the board is handling the league. “Therefore it must be seen to live up to its responsibility of upholding the game’s status.” Luya said the withdrawal of Ocean Boys would balance the league table and make the title chasers to prepare well ahead of their Week 38 match on September 7.

state. “This year, we want to look at those who made the competition what it was in those days and what it is today,” Oshodi said. “They excelled in this tournament which dates back to the 1940s and made great strides in the competition,” the commissioner added. “We also plan to honour coaches and administrators but I wish to say this is just the beginning and we would like to see how it goes.” Oshodi expressed the belief that Lagos was placed strategically to re-ignite the passion attached to the Federation Cup formerly known as Challenge Cup, saying the state has the capacity to popularize the finals as did London with the old Wembley and the FA Cup competition. “As you are aware, the support for any team will always be there because people from all part of the country are resident in Lagos State,” Oshodi further said.

till savour the euphoria of its 20th anniversary, the Pepsi Football Academy (PFA) yesterday unveiled plans to developed its centres across the country in tune with the evolution of world football. The PFA, founded in November 1992 as the premier football academy in Nigeria, has produced notable footballers that include Super Eagles players Peter Odemwingie, Obafemi Martins, Onyekachi Apam, Elderson Echiejile and Henry Uche, among others. According to the academy’s Director, Dr. Kasimawo Laloko, a meeting with coordinators of the centres has been scheduled for Septem-

Pepsi U-17 players celebrating after winning the recent international tournament in Abeokuta.

Gwar makes Israeli switch

N

ber 1 in Abeokuta. “We have directed that the coordinators come with full reports and relevant documents,” Laloko told National Mirror, adding that the meeting will also review activities in the year. “The regional U-14 and U-17 competitions will be on the agenda while the review of the 20th anniversary celebrations and the programme as it affects the centres is also on the card,” he further said. Laloko, who described the meeting as urgent, said it would address a sustainable future as the PFA enters its third decade. National Mirror learnt that the contingent for the meeting would arrive in Abeokuta on August 31 and depart on September 2.

igeria Premier League leading scorer, Sibi Gwar, left Lagos last night to begin a new career in Israel with top side Bnei Yehuda, according to his agent, John Bright Okafor. The Israeli club also has Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dele Aiyenugba, on its wage list. Gwar, who plays for Niger Tornadoes of Minna has scored 16 goals so far in the Nigerian top flight league. The player’s move has, however, doused media speculation that he was nearing a switch to Enyimba of Aba “I read in the media that Sibi is about to join Enyimba,” Okafor said yesterday, adding that nothing could be farther from the truth. “Sibi would have gone since but he wanted to honour the Super Eagles’ call. He is going there for medical and not trials. He has done enough in Nigeria league and it was time he moved on.” Gwar has featured for Lobi Stars, Enyimba and Kwara United in the Nigerian league. Last week, he made his full international debut in the Super Eagles goalless draw against the Menas of Niger Republic in Niamey. Gwar


30

Sport

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nigeria Premier Nig League with

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Cricket

IIKENWA NNABUOGOR ikenwa.nnabuogor@gmail.com

Adegoke happy with goal return 3

Pillars target league title

K

ano Pillars are poised to clinch the league title this season, targeting a win in their last league game when they visit Sunshine Stars this weekend. A win in the game could install the Kano-based side as league champions should title contenders Rangers and Lobi Stars lose their home and away ties against Sharks and Kaduna United, respectively. Pillars are currently top of the log with 65 points, same point with second-placed Lobi Stars and a point adrift of Rangers Pillars, league champions in 2009, have vowed to wrestle the league title from Rangers and Lobi Stars and promised to go for broke against the CAF Champions League campaigners. Pillars have also threatened to shoot down the Sunshine Stars and continue with their smoking form in the Federation

Cup as they also eye a double. Top scorer, Gambo Mohammed, who has reportedly penned a deal with Turkish side, Samsunspor, believes will the league title will be a parting gift for him. Mohammed, who is also leading scorer in the Federation Cup, is expected to leave for Turkey for his pro career after playing their crucial game against Sunshine Stars in Akure. Defender Eugene Obi is also optimistic his side will prevail this weekend to claim their second ever league title. Obi is confident Pillars will not lose this great chance slip by and vowed to make the most of the opportunity. Rangers, on the hand, face a rather tame opposition from Sharks at home and could be running away with the league title for the first time in 28 years should Pillars and Lobi lose their games

SC left back says he’s delighted with the number of goals he has scored in the league which draws its curtains this weekend. The former Enyimba star has put away seven goals from his left back position. Adegoke also said his goal against former club Enyimba at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, when the two old rivals clashed in Ibadan in April, was a continuation of scoring tradition against his former clubs. It was Adegoke’s trademark left foot free kick that settled the tie for the struggling Oluyole Warriors as they managed a slim 1-0 win over Enyimba. 3SC had lost two games on a trot going into the Enyimba game before their home fans and Adegoke helped put smiles on the faces of victory-hungry home fans. Adegoke told National Mirror that he was delighted to continue his tradition of scoring against his former clubs, a trend

Mutiu Adegoke

Ogbu delighted with Supersport United opening

Tornadoes’ youngster thrilled with Eagles invite

N

H

Gambo Mohammed

eartland striker Brendan Ogbu says he’s delighted with the career opening offered by South African top side Supersport United as he set to begin a trial soon. Ogbu has concluded plans to storm South Africa for the trials as the former Rangers striker is expected to get his visa from the South African Consulate in Abuja. Ogbu was in Abuja to keep a date with the Consulate officials and was told to come back in a week’s time to pick the visa. His agent South Africa-based Mohammed Lawal, who brokered the deal told National Mirror Ogbu will arrive the Rainbow Nation soon to start the trial. Supersport United, multiple league champions in the Professional Soccer League (PSL), last won the league title three seasons ago, are in the hunt to a target man as they are determined to get back to title winning ways. Mohammed hinted that Supersport coach, Gavin Hunt is excited at the arrival of the Enugu-born striker as he expects to fortify his attack following the

he said, started some seasons ago. “I scored against Enyimba when I played for 3SC in the early 2000s and since then I have kept the tradition,” Adegoke recalls. “I also scored against 3SC when I played for Enyimba and I will also be looking forward to scoring against Dolphins when we meet them this season. “Interestingly, all the goals came from free kicks and my effort against Enyimba last weekend was a delight to watch. “I saw the goal again on TV and I couldn’t help but watch it over and over again. I received calls from all over the country, congratulating me for the goal. Adegoke rejoined the Ibadan-based side this season after an injuryplagued side at champions Dolphins, who released him at the end of last season despite adding the league silverware to his personal cabinet.

Brendan Ogbu

departure of Liberian striker Anthony Laffor to rivals, Mamelodi Sundowns this summer. Ogbu told National Mirror he would be at his best to attract a good offer from the top side, to kick start his pro career. “I’m happy to be given this opportunity to show what I can do at Supersport United,” he said. “Arrangements are almost concluded to travel and I can’t wait to begin the trial. I hope to impress and get a contract. “It will be great to start my pro career in South Africa which will be a great launch pad for me to go on to bigger things.”

iger Tornadoes Okey Azubike says he’s thrilled with the rare opportunity to play for the Super Eagles. The 18-year old midfielder was specially spotted by Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi and handed a shirt in a local friendly against Abuja-based side Mountain of Fire FC. The game was one of the build-up games ahead of the international friendly against the Menas of Niger Republic played last Wednesday. The former academy player attracted Keshi’s interest in one of the league games for his Minna-based side, where the youngster dazzled the opponents with his ball skills, precise passes and brain. He would go on to repose the confidence Keshi had in me by posting another commanding performance in the national colours as the make shift Eagles team won 2-0. “I would never forget the game in my life and the memories will live with me forever,” the youngster said emotionally. “It was a rare chance for me to wear my national colours and I knew it would open a lot of doors for me in future.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

31

Business & Finance Manpower crisis looms Nigeria’s aviation industry - MD Bristow Helicopters Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters, Captain Akin Oni,

We shall soon commence the registration of importers of cables into the country in order to develop data base of stakeholders DIRECTOR GENERAL OF STANDARD ORGANISATION OF NIGERIA, JOSEPH ODUMODU

42-43

Nigeria’s telecoms FDI grows 39% to $25bn KUNLE A ZEEZ

P

rivate investment, including Foreign Direct Investments in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector increased by 38.8 per cent in the last three years, National Mirror has learnt. The industry’s FDI, which stood at $18bn in 2009, grew significantly to reach $25bn currently. The $7bn FDI increase represents about 38.8 per cent growth in the total investment inflows into the country telecoms sector. From a private sector investment of about $50m in 1999 and following the liberalisation of the telecoms sector in 2001, the industry, by end of 2009, attracted more than $18bn in private sector investments, including FDI. The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission Dr. Eugene Juwah, who confirmed the current FDI, said

expansion of telecom facilities in the country has increased the inflow of foreign direct investment from $18bn in 2009 to $25bn to-date. According to him, “In 2009, the foreign direct investment that has come into Nigeria stood at $18bn, today it is $25bn.

So there has not been a significant slow down as such. The foreign direct investment continues in form of expansion. “We are just talking about poor quality of services. What you need to clear poor quality of service is further investment. You have to expand

the existing facilities the service providers have and the money for that comes mainly from external sources.” He said specifically for broadband, “We hope that significant money for broadband will come from external sources.” He further noted that

though Nigeria had done well in the telecommunication industry with the present record of over 100 million subscribers in mobile telephone, it had not done well in the area of data services. On broadband technology, he said: “Broadband is a technology that we cannot do without. It is a technology that if we miss will cause us a huge developmental loss. It is also a technology that should not be left only to profit makers like telecommunication service providers.”

S

ADVERT HOTLINES: For advert bookings and information, please contact the following:

LAGOS: 01-8446073, 08094331171, 08023133084, 08034019884 ABUJA: 08033020395, 08036321014

Air Nigeria International (Lagos - London) Los- LGW (VK293): Tue, Thurs, Fri & Sat 11.55pm LGW-Los (VK292): Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun 10.50am

Arik Air Los-Abj: 07:15, 09:15, 10:20, 15:20, 16:20, 16:50, 18:45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) Abj-Los: 07:15, 09:40, 10:20, 12:15, 15:15, 16:15, 17:10, (Mon-Fri/Sat); 12:15, 15:15, 16:15 (Sun) Los-PH: 07:15, 11:40, 14:00, 16:10, 17:15, (Mon-Fri) 07:30, 11:40, 15:50 (Sat) 11:50, 3:50, 17:05 (Sun) Abj-PH: 07:15, 11:20, 15:30 (Mon-Fri) 07:15, 16:00 (Sat) 13:10, 16:00, (Sun) PH-Abj: 08:45, 12:50, 17:00 (Mon-Fri) 08:45, 17:30 (Sat) 14:40, 17:30 (Sun) Abj-Ben: 08:00, 12:10 (Mon-Fri/Sat) 08:55, 12:10 (Sun) Ben-Abj: 09:55, 13:30 (Mon-Fri/Sat) 10:50, 13:30 (Sun)

Aero Contractors

Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Union Bank Nigeria Plc, Mrs. Funke Osibodu (left) and Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema during a meeting in Lagos recently.

Shoprite to spend N32bn on Nigeria property development outh African supermarket chain Shoprite said yesterday that it will spend $205m (N31.7bn) on property development in Nigeria to overcome a lack of infrastructure and capital-

FLIGHT SCHEDULE

ise on rising consumer spending. Africa’s top retailer, which reported a 20 per cent jump in full-year earnings, is pushing aggressively into underdeveloped, fast-growing markets on the continent, with a focus on Nigeria - Africa’s most populous country - and oil-rich Angola.

But its expansion, like those of other South Africa, retailers, has been hampered by the lack of shopping malls in most of the continent, Reuters said in a report yesterday. “I think we are going to see more and more of these property investments in the rest of Africa because many of these markets have great op-

Nigerians spend N200bn on cigarettes -Investigation

32

portunities but little or no infrastructure,” said Ron Klipin, a portfolio manager at SA Stockbrokers. Shoprite said it plans to open nine new stores in Nigeria by the middle of next year, bringing its total to 13, and 21 new stores in Angola. Wal-Mart Stores Inc has been slow in its Africa expansion a year

after taking 51 per cent stake in domestic retailer Massmart, underscoring the lack of retail infrastructure. Shoprite missed forecasts with a 20 per cent rise to 607 cents in fullyear profit on Monday, as nagging unemployment and rising debt levels put pressure on consumer spending.

Los-Abj: 06:50, 13:30, 16:30, 19:45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) 12:30 (Sun) 16:45 (Sat). Abj-Los: 07:30, 13:00, 19:00 (Mon-Fri/ Sat) 10:30, 14:30, 19:30 (Sun) 18.30 (Sat) Los-Ben: 07:45, 11:00, 15:30, (Mon-Fri/Sat/ Sun) 12:30 (Sun) 15:30 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) Ben-Los: 09:15, 12:30, 17:00 (Mon-Fri/ Sat/Sun) 17:00 (Sat), 14:00 (Sun) EXCHANGE RATES WAUA

234.6271

USD

155.84

CHF

159.2642

SDR

235.0535

CFA

0.2924

GBP

244.1701

EURO

191.3715

OIL / GAS FUTURES ICE BRENT

$123.39

-0.78

NYMEX

$108.45

-0.11

OPEC BASKET

$122.86

+1.16

NATURAL GAS

$2.83

-0.03

Dana petitions FG over continuous suspension of AOC

Consumers raise fresh concerns over new electricity meters

34

35


32

Business Finance

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Nigerians spend N200bn on cigarettes – Investigation AEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI

N

igeria cigarette sales have hit an estimated N200bn a year, National Mirror investigation reveals. Currently, a global monitoring agency, Tobacco International estimated that Nigeria consumes 20.6 billion sticks of cigarette annually out of which an estimated 5.3 billion sticks is imported. But National Mirror calculation reveals that at an average price of cigarette at N10 per stick of cigarette, about N200bn is being spent on cigarette in Nigeria. According to Tobacco International report, Nigeria had been a market for the exports of 1.17bn cigarettes from South Africa in 2003, but shipments decline to 38 million sticks in 2010 as a result of massive local production by the British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) and Phillip Morris (Altria). BATN opened a $150m tobac-

Kerosene vendors at Garki market in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

co factory in Ibadan, Oyo State on June 17, 2003 to support its operations in West Africa. BATN also upgraded its Zaria factory with a new GDX1 machine capable of producing 7,200

FG urged to establish competition commission KUNLE A ZEEZ

T

he Computer Protection Council of Nigeria, CPC, has called on the Federal Government to fasttrack measures in establishing a competition commission to checkmate some business practices capable of dampening healthy competition and abuse consumer rights in the country. CPC made the call in an interview with National Mirror while speaking on the sideline of a recent merger arrangement involving three telecoms companies in Nigeria and its implications for the industry and on the telecoms consumers. The telecoms companies in the emerging merger deal involving a fresh investment of $200m (about N31bn) include Starcomms, Multi-Links and MTS and expected to produce a major telecoms player to be known as CAPCOM. According to the Head, CPC, Lagos Chapter, Mrs. Obidike Ngozi, the merger was capable of bringing about the emergence of mega operator with monopolistic tendency and proclivity to abuse the consumer rights since the arrangement would reduce consumer choice. She, therefore, argued that

since CPC was not statutorily empowered to assess such a merger to ascertain its anticompetition tendency and violation of consumer right, there was a need for the Federal government to set up a Competition Commission. “We need a Competition Commission to be established in Nigeria. We need it in this country, like it is the case in other developed and developing countries around the world. Although some stakeholders have been trying to push for its establishment but up till today, we have not achieved it as a country,” she said. Explaining the relevance of such a commission, Ngozi said, “As CPC, for instance, we do not have the power to stop or appraise the merger arrangements between or amongst companies, even if it connotes the emergence of a monopoly in the economy with the attendant demerits on the consumers. However, ours is to see how we can protect the consumers. “But a Competition Commission with be vested with such power as to analyse and assess any merger arrangement, considers it implications for the society and if possible stop such an arrangement, where it is found that it could have dire economic implications in the country.”

sticks per minute. Phillip Morris (Altria) also partially acquired the International Tobacco Company (ITC) based in Ilorin, Kwara State to boost local production.

But with the National Tobacco Control Bill which is awaiting being signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, anti-tobacco activist at Environmental Right Activist, Mr. Oluwafemi

Akinbode told National Mirror that this estimate is expected to decline when the bill is eventually signed by the president. A media report had quoted the Director, Africa Programs of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CFTK), Mr. Joshua Kyallo, of saying that, “no fewer than one billion people will be killed globally by tobacco in the 21st century.” According to Kyallo, “Every year, tobacco kills more than five million people worldwide and majority started smoking as children. If current trends continue, it will kill one billion people in the 21st century. The tobacco industry’s insidious and even illegal practices are directly responsible for this evil. “The Campaign for TobaccoFree Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll around the world. We advocate public policies proven to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.”

NASI tasks indigenous airlines to review business plans OLUSEGUN KOIKI

T

he Nigeria Aviation Safety Initiative (NASI) has challenged domestic airline operators as a matter of urgency embark on strategic review of business plans to survive the current economic environment in the country. NASI said that this was necessary as the fortunes of the operators have been dwindling in the last couple of years due to high debt profile, high cost of operation and strangulating government policies. Speaking on behalf of the group at the weekend was its President, Capt. Dung Pam in a position titled, ‘NASI on Safety

and Industry Solutions’ made available to journalists in Lagos, insisted that for the airline operators to have access to airport slots, new developing markets in the industry and other accrued benefits, it is important for them to form a strategic merger. Pam added that the distress in the airline business in Nigeria began with the loans the entities took from banks, which according to him led to huge debt profile on their part. The size of the debt, he said led to the intervention of Asset Management Company (AMCON) in 2008, urging the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to close the gaps in its oversight functions especially the safety and economic regulatory aspects.

He said, “Nigerian airlines must consolidate in order to harness the synergies needed to survive the competition. Nigerian airlines should immediately embark on strategic review of their business models to aid in choice of strategic options. They should seriously consider strategic mergers and acquisitions to facilitate access to intangible assets such as new markets, airport slots, supply chain integration and increased corporate versatility. “As far as I’m concerned the distress in the airline industry started with their unsustainable loans resulting in a spiralling debt profiles, necessitating the intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the asset management company (AMCON) in 2008.

NAGAFF lauds Single Window Cargo Clearance System

T

he President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. Eugene Nweke, has said that the Single Window Cargo Clearance System will enhance transparency in the maritime sector. He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that the system was a migration from the former Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA). NAN reports that the Single Window process will help in fast-tracking clearance of goods at the ports.

Nweke said that before now, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) made use of ASYCUD, adding that the Single Window initiative had the capacity of taking care of all necessary information from the manufacturer to the destination. “Single window would enable us to know who is on board and the data about the product would be disclosed online. Nweke said that the ASYCUDA concept would enable the trading public to do the right thing, adding that if any stakeholder refused to comply, the system would take note of it. The Chairman of Association

of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Apapa Chapter, Mr. John Ofobike, urged the stakeholders to comply with the Single Window initiative. “Government initiative in bringing up the Single Window process is to support 24 hour operation in the maritime industry. “The idea is to smooth the Nigerian ports operation to be one of the best in the world in term of service delivery,” Ofobike said. He appealed to the government to enlighten stakeholders before implementing the Single Window policy.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

33


34

Business Finance

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dana petitions FG over continuous suspension of AOC OLUSEGUN KOIKI

T

he management of Dana Air yesterday appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan and Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah to lift the suspension placed on the airline since June 4, 2012 after the IjuIshaga plane crash, which killed over 163 souls onboard and on ground. The accident occurred on June 3, 2012. The Federal Government through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced the suspension order barely 24 hours after the crash. A petition signed by the Managing Director of the airline, Mr. Jacky Hathiramani and

made available to National Mirror said that the lifting of the suspension on operations of the airline would be in line with global best practices and international regulations guiding air accidents. Although, the petition regretted the loss occasioned by the crash, but noted that in the history of the Nigerian aviation industry, no other airline that had suffered a similar accident had responded in the ways and manner that the management of Dana has done. The airline said that despite the suspension of its AOC, its management had continually pay the monthly salaries of N110m monthly to its 558 directly-employed Nigerian staff, stressing that if the AOC was

not restored, the staff risked losing their source of livelihood. It warned that the continued suspension of the AOC by the government would send wrong signals to other potential investors in the country, maintaining that its suspension is against international best practices. The petition reads in part, “If the airline’s AOC is not restored immediately, the over 558 directly-employed Nigerian staff, plus countless others indirectly affected, including their families and dependants, risk losing their source of livelihood and being thrown into the cold aviation labour market. This excludes the large number of third party suppliers and agencies that also depend on the airline’s operations for the sustenance of their business.”

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Nicon Luxury Hotel proposes game reserves

T

he Marketing Manager, Nicon Luxury Hotel, Victoria Garden City, Lagos, Mr. Opeyemi Pelemoh, has said that the management of the hotel would soon establish game reserves to boost patronage. Pelemoh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that the reserves would be opened between December and January as part of efforts to upgrade the hotel. Some of the animals expected to be in the reserves are

chimpanzee, gorilla, lion, hyena, monkeys and others. He said tourism would improve if stakeholders utilise the potentials in the sector. “Hotels are everywhere but the facilities that are put in place are important,’’ Pelemoh said. Pelemoh noted that tourism has a way of contributing to the development of nations. He urged the Federal Government to provide enabling environment for investors in the hospitality industry.

Sokoto to explore crude oil deposits – Wamakko

G

overnor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State, said the state government had concluded plans to explore its abundant crude oil deposits. Wamakko stated this on Monday in Sokoto while receiving the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who paid him Sallah homage. “We will soon write the Federal Government on the issue with a view to complying with the necessary guidelines. “The oil deposits, when fully explored and exploited, will certainly boost the socio economic status of the people of the state as well as the nation’s economy.’’ The governor promised that the state government would soon commence implementation of a new salary structure for traditional rulers in the 23 local government

areas of the state. “A committee set up to look into the remunerations of traditional rulers in the state had completed its assignment. “ We will soon come up with a white paper on the new salary for the traditional rulers and send a bill to the House of Assembly to legalise the package,’’ Wamakko said. He commended the traditional ruler for their unalloyed support and cooperation to the state government, adding that arrangements had been concluded to introduce a special irrigation programme to boost food production. The sultan said the visit was to felicitate with the governor on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast. He commended Wamakko for giving special attention to the traditional rulers.

APBN wants government to focus on technical education Trading activities resumes at Breadfruit Market in Lagos, yesterday.

PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA

Cement manufacturers target 20 million tonnes TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

C

ement manufacturers in the country have set a target of at least 20 million tonnes this year, up from about 12.8 million produced in the preceding year. This is about 2.5 million tonnes more than the current local demand of about 17.5 million. Disclosing this when he led a delegation of the association on official visit to the Ministry of Works last week, the President, Engineer Makoju, said with improved investments in plant and other operational inputs, the country which has a total installed capacity of about 28 million tonnes yearly can now look for the export markets for exploration in cement sales. According to him, for the

first time in her history, Nigeria has from the beginning of the current year stopped importation of cement as supply by local manufacturers has been surpassing the actual needs of the local market. He, therefore, proposed the use of cement as a major input for road projects, adding that extensive researches carried out by cement manufacturers showed that unlike in the asphalt used to have cost-benefit advantage over cement in road construction materials, cement now could offer the country a better mileage in road projects cost as well as durability. He explained: “In 2002 total local cement production was only two million tonnes and in that year we were talking about of a local demand of eight million. Importation was at its peak, around 2007 six and

seven million tonnes. As we are speaking here today, I am happy to report that last year, total local production has gone to 12.8 million tonnes in 2011 from two million in 2002 and as we are meeting here today, we are projecting that total local production this year will be 1920 million tonnes. “The total local demand is projected at 17 million tonnes. So, the local production is in excess of local demand. I am so happy to say that for the first time in our history, from January till date there has been no importation of cement into the country. We are now in a situation of where we don’t need to depend on imports but on local production. The total installed capacity, when you put all the total local production together today, we have 28 million tonnes of installed capacity.

MESHACK IDEHEN

P

rofessionals in the country under the auspices of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (ABPN), said they want the Federal Government to focus on the establishment of world class technical and vocational training centres in the country, rather on the establishment of new and conventional universities. The outgoing President of the association, Mr. Olusegun Ajanlekoko in an interview with National Mirror on Tuesday said there is a dearth of skill and quality manpower to support established professionals in most sectors of the economy. Making particular reference to specific sectors of the economy like those of the real estate, telecommunications and manufacturing, the APBN president said many companies have failed to achieve maximum capacity utilisation, due to lack of voca-

tionally trained experts that can assist in driving their business expansion. According to Ajanlekoko, “there is a great lacuna in the educational system in the country in regards to the production of skilled manpower for the economy, in that the present system does not produce enough skilled manpower with hands on experience”. The APBN president said many industries in the real sector of the country’s economy are suffering from the challenges of lacking vocationally trained skilled workers like fitters and welders, electrical and mechanically vocational workers and other with technical expertise, saying further that government institutions like the Industrial Training Fund,(ITF), and the National Directorate Of Employment,(NDE) that were established for such purposes, and having the capacity to produce such categories workers have not live up to expectations.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

35

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Energy Week

udemea@rocketmail.com 07031546994

Power plant

Consumers raise fresh concerns over new electricity meters As the Federal Government continues to tackle labour related challenges that threaten to scuttle the smooth privatisation of unbundled Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) companies, UDEME AKPAN and JOHN UWE report that consumers who have not been able to secure new meters groan under the weight of heavy estimated bills.

A

n automobile dealer dealer, Mr. Mr Tony Eke has lived in Ikosi area of Lagos for the past seven years. Until January this year, he used to pay about N3, 000 per month for electricity. With the review of power tariff, his monthly estimated bill has increased to about N6, 500 per month. Determined to ensure he is properly billed, Eke paid N25,000 fees for the installation of new single phase electricity meter in June this year. Last week, he confessed that the new meter has not been installed at his two-bed room apartment. His words: “The new meter has not been installed but the high bills continue to come. The Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) says one thing and does another.” Eke is not alone. His neighbour, Mr. Godwin Amadi who operates a furniture outfit along Demurin Street in Ketu, Lagos was unsure of his monthly electricity consumption whose officials never cared to read his obsolete meter estimated that he should pay between N5, 000 and N12, 000 monthly.

He always paid though he felt overover exploited, particularly in times of prolonged power outage for a reason. Nnadi never wanted to be disconnected as his business meant so much to him and his family. However, determined to find a lasting solution to the problem, the carpenter paid N 55, 000 for a double phase electricity meter in December, last year. Contrary to his expectation, the important facility was not installed at his premises within a few weeks as the PHCN promised its officials would. It took several telephone calls and visits to get the facility fixed after several months. Eke and Nnadi belonged to the privileged class. Investigations showed

that many consumers who paid have not yet gotten the facility in Lagos and other parts of the nation. The consumers said this is painful. But what is more painful to them is that they are meant to pay for supply they believed they did not consume. In other words, they are subjected to paying high estimated bills against their will. Contrary to the present realities, authorities said that the new meters should be easy to get. For instance, Eko Electricity Distribution Plc maintained that “We are dedicated to ensuring our customers enjoy great customer service. The meters are readily available for installation within one month of payment of N25, 000 for single phase and N55, 000 for double phase.” It cautioned that, “There is absolutely no additional payment to be made.” The firm urged customers to report fraudulent activities, including extortion to the Anti corruption and Transparency unit of the company for verification and action. Investigations showed that the unit has received sev-

THE NEW METER HAS NOT BEEN INSTALLED BUT THE HIGH BILLS CONTINUE TO COME. THE POWER HOLDING COMPANY OF NIGERIA (PHCN) SAYS ONE THING AND DOES ANOTHER

eral complaints from members of the public. The spokesman of the firm, Mr. Godwin Idemudia stated that “We still have commercial stocks of the new meters to install for customers. Once consumers fill the form, pay and show evidence of payment, we always commence the process of installing the facility for them without additional charges.” The Federal Government is not unaware of the developments. For instance, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is opposed to excessive billing of customers. The commission expects distribution companies to obtain an actual reading of all meters and base bills on such actual meter reading. In cases where a distribution company is unable to obtain an actual meter reading, due to its inability to gain access to the meter, the distribution company is expected to depend on the customer’s own reading. Distribution companies are to ensure that the estimate accurately reflects the customer’s expected usage for the period and shall not under any circumstances artificially inflate it. The commission does not allow distribution companies to disconnect customers arbitrarily. Customers can only be disconnected after 10 working days from the date of delivery of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 36


36

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Consumers raise fresh concerns over new electricity meters

Jonathan

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 bill to the supply address or a delivery address provided by the customer. The Commission puts the penalty payable by the distribution company for unlawful disconnection, is a minimum of N1,000 to a maximum of N2,000, for each day the customer remains disconnected. Apparently to prevent these and others, the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi tasked consumers to strive and get the new meters installed for them, particularly as those without the facility would likely pay more for electricity. NERC confirmed that it is in the process of developing methodologies on estimated billing and connection fees for electricity distribution for customers. The commission has reviewed the existing methods currently

Nnaji

Amadi

THE COMMISSION HAS ENGAGED STAKEHOLDERS, ESPECIALLY CONSUMERS NOT TO ONLY FURTHER ENLIGHTEN BUT ALSO GUIDE THEM ON HOW TO GO ABOUT GETTING SOLUTIONS TO VARIOUS CHALLENGES used by the distribution companies in estimating non-metered customers, as well as connection fees in connecting new customers to the distribution supply network. The chairman who disclosed that draft methodologies have been developed and published since June 1, 2012 for comments and contributions added that many stakeholders have already submitted written comments on both methodologies. The commission has

engaged stakeholders, especially consumers not to only further enlighten but also guide them on how to go about getting solutions to the various challenges. The commission believes these are part of its functions. As contained in Section 32 (d) of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005, NERC has the responsibility to ensure that the prices charged by licensees are fair to customers and sufficient to allow

Stakeholders hail impact of Nigerian Content Act CHINEDUM EMEANA PORT HARCOURT

S

takeholders in the country’s oil and gas industry have expressed delight at the effect of the Nigerian Content legislation at opening up opportunities for indigenous operators to be established in the industry thus, promoting funds retention and creating employment opportunities among others. Mr. Larry Azubuike, Business Development Manager of Fedoz Nigeria Limited said before the coming of the Nigerian Content Act, over 80 percent of monies generated in the country’s oil and gas industry were whisked away to nourish other economies. He added that the passage of the law has created opportunities for local companies in the oil and gas sector that was not available before. “The benefits are quite enormous be-

Oil vessel

cause from our research and study over time it was glaring that before the enactment of the Nigerian Content law that over 80percent of monies generated in the oil and gas was carted away, what we call capital flight. But with the emergence of this Act, indigenous companies are going to leverage on this Act, try to put themselves together, develop a structure that will enhance performance, which will then bring about efficient and effective quality service delivery for indigenous contractors in the industry.” Azubuike, who is also Fedoz’ Nigerian Content Officer added that the emergence of the law sent strong signals to stakeholders in the industry that there is need for an improvement in the equitable participation of Nigerians in the industry. Mr. Solomon Ewaneyi, managing director of Solewant Nigeria Limited,

pipe and metal protection firm, noted prior to the coming of the Act Nigerian companies were mere Benefits of NC act to indigenous companies representatives and agents of other companies around the world, but now things have changed. “They will get the projects, and indigenous companies will come and execute and install but right now what we are seeing, we are now seeing direct indigenous companies becoming major players in the servicing of oil and gas facilities. “What I am saying is this, when it was an initiative, every oil major, the international oil companies were flouting the rules, but since it has become law, we now have our phones ringing, we have them coming to us requesting for coat, requesting for our services and that we are providing with excellent service”, Ewaneyi said. For Mr. Anthony Soligbo of Emval, a firm involved in providing wellhead services to oil majors, the Nigerian Content Act has been a catalyst aiding Nigerian companies to win contracts that they were shut out from in the past. He said these fresh opportunities are helping to create more jobs for Nigerian youths. “With more jobs, we have more openings and we are engaging more people. We are taking more students on industrial attachment and taking on youth corpers and engaging about 50 percent of them after their service year”, he said.

Akinniranye

the licensees to finance their activities and to allow for reasonable earnings for efficient operation. For instance, it maintained that, “In pursuant to the authority given under Section 76 of the EPSR Act 2005, the Commission established a methodology for regulating electricity prices called the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO). The MYTO provides a 15 year tariff path for the Nigerian electricity industry with limited minor reviews each year in the light of changes in a limited number of parameters (such as inflation and gas prices) and major reviews every 5 years, when all of the inputs are reviewed with stakeholders.” Investigations showed that the new electricity tariff regime took off on June 1, 2012 with only 8.42 per cent of the total households in the nation being billed correctly. The Committee on public inquiry commissioned to review issues that have to do with meters and billings has already reported that only 2.4 million consumers are being billed correctly. The report added that only 2.9 million (or 55.94%) of households have meters out of the 5,172,979 customers captured in the records of operators of the Nigerian electricity system. This figure amounts to 18.65 percent of Nigeria’s total households put at 28,900,492 as provided by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2006. However, the figure excludes those enjoying electricity illegally who are not registered by the Discos. The report revealed that only 2,434,541 or 8.42 per cent of the total households are currently being billed correctly by all Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), nationwide. It added that only 2,893,701 (or 55.94%) of households have meters out of the 5,172,979 customers captured in the records of operators of the Nigerian electricity supply industry. The figure represents 18.65 percent of the nation’s total households put at 28,900,492 as provided by records from National Bureau of Statistics in 2006. The figure excludes those enjoying electricity illegally who are not registered. The Committee chairman, Mr. Bamidele Aturu remarked that of the number of households with meters, 701,385 (or 22%) have meters that are CONTINUED ON PAGE 37


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

37

OPEC basket price stands at $112.11 per barrel the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme. Rhetoric from Israeli politicians has increased this month suggesting Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities ahead of U.S. presidential elections in November. Such an attack could bring about the closure of the Gulf of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil exports flow. Senior Israeli officials have said no final decision about whether to attack Iran has been taken and the military hierarchy is unhappy about any attack without full U.S. backing. Oil demand has been sluggish this year because of the global economic slowdown, but with Europe and the U.S. heading towards winter, low gasoil inventories may provide fundamental support to crude, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a weekly note. Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke will speak at a symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on August 31, and some analysts had expected him to set the scene there for a third round of quantitative easing (QE3). But the chances of QE3 have receded, economists say, as U.S. economic data has improved, removing one possible support for oil and commodity prices. Oil prices slipped last week after a source said the White House could tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to prevent high energy costs from undermining the success of sanctions against Iran. But the idea was firmly rejected by the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the adviser to industrialised countries on energy policy, as well as Japan and South Korea.

UDEME AKPAN WITH AGENCY REPORT

T

he price of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), basket of 12 crudes has risen from $110.65 to $112.11 per barrel, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). The rise in oil price raises the hope of many oil producing and exporting nations, including Nigeria to generate foreign exchange for the implementation of its 2012 budget. The budget was pegged at crude oil price of $72 per barrel. Reuters that confirmed the general rise in prices said, “Brent crude oil rose to about $114 per barrel on Monday, supported by tight North Sea supplies ahead of the closure of a major United Kingdom oilfield for maintenance and on expectations of more demand before the northern hemisphere winter.” The agency stated that Britain’s largest oilfield, Buzzard, which is the single biggest contributor to the Forties crude oil stream and usually sets the price of the Brent benchmark, will be shut next month and suspend output until midOctober. It maintained that production from key North Sea oilfields is due to fall by about 17 percent in September, helping push up prices for nearby crude. But the shortfall should be temporary, and trad-

El--Badri

ers expect pressure to ease after the maintenance is completed. The agency stated that Brent for October was up 20 cents at $113.91 a barrel by 1345 GMT after falling more than $2 on Friday on expectations the United States might release some of its reserves. U.S. light crude oil was down 26 cents at $95.75. It quoted an analyst, Mr. Carsten Fritsch, as stating that “But there are plenty of reasons why oil prices should fall. The supply outages in the North Sea, which are currently lending support to the Brent price, are merely temporary in nature.” Brent has risen by about a third in two months, boosted by supply concerns and a dispute between Iran and the West over

Consumers raise fresh concerns over new electricity meters CONTINUED FROM PAGE 36 not working, while 2,956,069 households have no maters at all. The committee whose members recommended that government should provide the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) with N50billion to procure meters for electricity consumers stated that, “It was further established that the CEOs were responsible for inefficiency and unaccountability that permeate the system. For instance, the monies for meters are paid through draft by customers to the

CEOs and there is no feedback as to whether they get the meter or not and how long the customer stays before getting meter”. The committee also confirmed that electricity consumers are being over billed by the Discos through estimated billing. It maintained that customers in “Lagos, Enugu, Yola, Kaduna, Makurdi and Abuja Distribution Companies alleged that delay in supply of meters to customers and blatant refusal to obtain correct meter readings which resulted in estimated

billing were deliberate”. Investigations showed that it would be impossible for the PHCN to find solutions to all the challenges, especially inadequate meters and crazy billing in a short term because of inadequate facilities, bureaucracy and other flaws usually associated with the public sector. There is however hope that as ownerships, structures and systems continue to evolve, these and other self imposed problems could be solve in the medium and long term. Source: Bloomberg

Energy & Oil Prices OIL ($/bbl) Nymex Crude Future Dated Brent Spot WTI Cushing Spot

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

92.83 114.02 92.73

0.10 0.95 -0.14

0.11% 0.84% -0.15%

07:31 07:41 08/13

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

302.95 299.07

1.12 0.00

0.37% 0.00%

07:31 07:30

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

2.75 2.78 2.96

0.02 -0.06 -0.03

0.62% -2.11% -1.00%

07:30 08/13 08/13

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

33.09 59.29 44.42

4.45 3.34 -15.75

15.54% 5.97% -26.18%

08/13 08/13 08/13

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

NATURAL GAS ($/MMBtu) Nymex Henry Hub Future Henry Hub Spot New York City Gate Spot

ELECTRICITY ($/megawatt hour) Mid-Columbia, firm on-peak, spot Palo Verde, firm on-peak, spot BLOOMBERG, FIRM ON-PEAK, DAY AHEAD SPOT/ERCOT HOUSTON

Source: Oilprice.com

MAN makes case for improved funding of mining sector The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called for improved funding of the mining sector of the economy. The President of MAN, Sani Shehu who made the call in Abuja said increased funding will enable stakeholders to boost investment in the sector. He said the there was serious underfunding of the sector at the moment. Referring to the Natural Resource Fund, Shehu said “If I could remember, it was reported that over N700billion of this fund that was meant to develop natural resources had been diverted for purposes other than developing the natural resources; that N40billion got missing and about N171billion is now available.” Shehu said it is the turn of Solid Minerals this time around. He said “So, we appealed to the President, in his spirit of economic diversification, to direct that this chunk of this recovered money should be channeled to the Solid Mineral Development Fund as take-off grant so that in few years to come, mining will serve as a formidable additional source of revenue to the government.”


38

Energy Week

Samsung partners Bayelsa on local content; to open fabrication yard

S

amsung Heavy Industries and Bayelsa State Government have agreed to partner in order to promote Nigerian content in the petroleum industry. The alliance, strengthened when the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, received a high powered delegation of Samsung Heavy Industries from Seoul, Korea aimed at deepening and widening the capacities of indigenous personnel to play active roles in the industry. Specifically, the delegation led by the Senior Vice President, Mr. J. H. Chung discussed and concluded plans to establish a fabrication yard in Bayelsa State, to cater for potential Liquefied Natural Gas and Off-shore business in Nigeria, and to train Bayelsa youths in Samsung’s Geoje shipyard in South Korea. The firm has also sponsored a team of 20 youths from Niger Delta, to its fabrication yard in Geoje, Korea, for training in several areas of welding, cutting, sandblasting and painting, and upon graduation, certificates of completion, and excellence, was issued to the participants. Available records showed that it is Asia’s major construction company, providing the quality technology. The firm is said to have recorded the lowest accident rate in carrying out its activities, because of its strict safety management standards set out. These are the standards the company is transferring to Nigeria’s economy, via capacity building. It is the intention of Samsung and their Nigerian affiliate, to partner with Bayelsa state government in youth empowerment, and skills development in the first instance. The second stage will consist of the construction of a world-class mega fabrication yard for LNG carriers, and maintenance. In addition, the yard will be capable of fabricating large off-shore structures and offer employment to the trained youths. It is believed that at full capacity, this facility will employ approximately 10,000 indigenes and also stimulate other secondary and tertiary businesses in the state. This welcome gesture by the government of Bayelsa is in furtherance to the leadership’s commitment to reposition the state and improve the capacity and economic relevance of the indigenes.

Akwa Ibom counsels indigenes on Mobil oil spill UDEME AKPAN

T

he Akwa Ibom State Government has tasked indigenes of the state not to take laws into their hands in the process trying to get compensation. The state governor, Mr. Godswill Akpabio is said to have told communities in ExxonMobil operational areas to be law abiding as the government will assist to ensuring that justice is done. The intervention of the state is said to be based on the need to maintain peace in the state. Since the accident occurred, the people, especially fishermen and farmers have been clamouring for compensation. Meanwhile, Mobil Producing Nigeria has started investigating the oil spill which occurred near its facility offshore the state. Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the state oil firm, said on that relevant government agencies had been notified of the spill. Spokesman of the firm, Mr. Nigel Cookey-Gam said “Mobil Producing Nigeria ... confirms that oiling from an unknown source has been sighted along the shoreline near Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State.” He said “An emergency response team was immediately dispatched to the shoreline, and samples of the substance were collected for fingerprinting to determine its source, which remains unknown.” Sam Ayadi, a fisherman in Ibeno, said by telephone that no one had been able to go fishing since the spill was first noticed on Sunday. “The fishermen are still off the waters due to the spill. We cannot return yet. We are waiting for Mobil to open to discussions with us about what happened,” he said. Oil spills are common in Africa’s top energy producer. Stretches of the Niger Delta, a fragile wetlands environment, are coated in crude. Thousands of barrels are spilled every year, and lax enforcement means there are few penalties.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Independent marketers to take final

A filling station

UDEME AKPAN

M

arketers of petroleum products, under the auspices of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), are set to take a final decision on its planned strike today. The association’s Second National Secretary, Mr. Mike Osatuyi who confirmed the development said, “We are waiting for the holiday to end so that we can decide on the next line of action. We had earlier given the government an ultimatum to pay the outstanding subsidy or face a major strike this week.” He said IPMAN has not been invited to engage with the government on the subject. Osatuyi said the fuel stocks of IPMAN members have been depleted because they do not have funds to embark on importation of products. The Federal Government may open its doors for negotiation with more oil marketing firms this week as part of its plans to ensure disagreements, capable of fuelling fuel shortage are resolved in the downstream sector of the nation’s petroleum industry. Investigations showed that the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi OkonjoIwela who started meeting with the firms last week would continue to meet some of them who indicated interest to dialogue with the government. The minister’s spokesman, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu who

confirmed the development in a telephone interview said “The engagement with oil marketing is ongoing. The coordinating minister of the economy has expressed her willingness to meet and address the various issues with marketers.” Nwabuikwu said that the engagement aimed at ensuring that adequate supply of petroleum products are maintained in all parts of the nation said “There are basically three classes of oil marketers. There are those who have no case whatever to answer. There are also those with minor as well as major cases.” He said those with minor problems will easily be resolved. But those with major problems who have been asked to make refunds to the Federal Government are those instigating one problem or another in the sector. The minister who started meeting with representatives of OANDO Plc, Sahara Energy, Folawiyo Petroleum and Nipco Plc last week explained that government was willing to listen to all marketers with genuine claims and attend to such as a way of forestalling any crisis that might be caused by some indicted marketers that have embarked on cheap blackmail of government in the downstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry. She said, “We are talking about the fact that they have outstanding claims which have not been paid and that is the basis of the dialogue and as I have said to you earlier, yes they have outstanding claims, we also have claims outstanding against them and that is what the dialogue is all about. The minister remarked that, “So, we will dialogue with

NNPC/Chevron partners Seabulk on content

C

hevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), operator of the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture has expressed its support for Seabulk Offshore Operators Nigeria Limited (a wholly Nigerian owned Marine Transport Company) in the recent acquisition of a DP2 PSV (Dynamic Positioning Platform Supply Vessel). The vessel, built in the USA (2011), was acquired to support CNL’s Joint Venture drilling campaigns as Liquid Mud Cuttings vessel combined with Gravel Pack Operations. At the launching of the boat christened “AL KAT” (TBN SEABULK VICTOR), held at Eko Support Services Ltd Base, near the Harbour Control Tower, Apapa Ports; Raymond Wilcox, CNL’s General Manager - Nigeria Content Development explained that the charter is another proof of the company’s continued support for Nigerian Content Development. He said, “CNL is pleased to have supported Seabulk Offshore in achieving this significant milestone and this reiterates the company’s commitment to the Nigerian Content Development aspirations of the federal government”. As part of its strategic Nigerian Content empowerment process, CNL contracted Seabulk Offshore Operators Ni-

geria Limited to provide support vessel services to its JV drilling operations both in offshore and onshore locations in Nigeria. The one-year contract is the first of its kind to a wholly Nigerian company in a service industry dominated by foreign investors. Mr. Pere Nduku, General Manger of Seabulk thanked CNL for awarding the contract to Seabulk. He committed to superior performance saying “Nigerian companies can deliver on their promises given the opportunity. In our pursuit to aggressively expand our fleet and meet the demands of our clients, the Company has fully purchased and added to its fleet, a state-of-the-art DP2 Platform Supply Vessel built in the USA in August 2011.” The vessel has advanced technology features with a large deck and liquid mud-carrying capacity. Her shallow draft enables her to operate in near coastal offshore locations and shallow water depth ports, such as Escravos. Her dynamic positioning (DP2) is critical to its safe operations. The vessel is 100% manned by certified and experienced Nigerian Seafarers/Officers and Dynamic Positioning Operators (DPO), per International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) requirements for a DP2 vessel and will be Nigerian flagged as soon as all relevant formalities have


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

decision on strike each other on these claims and hopefully at the end of this, we will be able to come to some agreement about the net claims that will be paid and then we will be able to move on. We are very willing to listen if there are genuine people that want to talk with government.” The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Review of the Fuel Subsidy Payments, Mr. Aigboje Aig -Imokhuede, stated that the findings of the committee indicated that recommendations in the report as they affected the four marketers were not of any degree of severity in the fuel subsidy payments and expressed the hope that if the issues of their claims are resolved, it would significantly impact on the volume of products in the market. He explained: “I think from what I have come to understand about the industry is that it is clear from what we saw in the report is that the four marketers, may be there are two or three others that are not here account for a significant portion of the genuine importers of products that are imported into the country. However, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke said fuel shortage would not occur as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has enough stock of petrol in its reserves to meet the nation’s consumption for the next 45 days. The minister who made this known at the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted Board of the NNPC appealed to petrol marketers to cooperate with the government as issues surrounding the dispute are being resolved by the ministry of finance. A survey showed that a litre of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was sold at N250 across the city with more petrol stations running out of fuel stock. She said, “Ministry of Petroleum Resources has noticed the queues at our filling stations particularly here in Abuja. I want to assure the Nigerian public that the NNPC and PPMC have no scarcity of products and that in fact, we have 40-45 days stock of consumption in our reserves at this time.” Investigations showed that the long queues that emerged last week have disappeared in Abuja and its environs. Residents said the situation was mainly a function of rumour and speculation that the nonpayment of some marketers would constrain them from embarking on new importation. The government has already listed 21 oil marketing companies having cases to answer over fuel subsidy payments to include, Alminnur Resources Limited; Brilla Energy Limited; Caades Oil and Gas Limited; Capital Oil and Gas Industry Limited; Conoil Plc; Downstream Energy Source Limited; Eterna Plc; Euraafric Oil and Gas Limited; and Lumen Skies Limited. Others are Majope Investment Limited; Matrix Energy Limited; Menon Oil And Gas Limited; Mob International Services; MRS Oil and Gas Limited; Nasaman Oil Services Limited; Natacel Petroleum Limited; Ocean Energy Trading and Services; Pinnacle Contractors Limited; Sifax Oil and Gas Company; Tonique Oil Services Limited; and Top Oil and Gas Development Company Limited.

development

Fawthrop

been completed with the associated agencies. CNL and Seabulk Offshore have been strategic partners over the years and since the Seabulk Offshore transitioned into a wholly owned Nigerian Company, it has continued to provide professional

39

PIB proposes national petroleum products strategic stock UDEME AKPAN

T

he Federal Government has proposed the creation of a National Strategic stock for petroleum products in the nation. The government that proposed the creation in its new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) maintained that the institution shall administer and ensure compliance, distribution and storage of the national strategic stocks of petroleum products in accordance with regulations made by the Minister on the advice of the Agency. The body is to determine the amount Alison-Madueke to be charged as a levy for the financing of the national strategic stock, which shall form part of the retail price of each petroleum product; and designate, in conjunction with the appropriate authorities and national security agencies, the strategic points across the country where the national strategic stocks shall be distributed and maintained. It stated that “The Agency shall monitor -the prices of petroleum products applying in the domestic market to ensure that there is no pricing collusion or manipulation; and any activity of any operator in the downstream petroleum sector that, in the opinion of the Agency, is likely to adversely affect the prices of petroleum products.” The Agency is expected to inspect the metering of pumps and other facilities at retail outlets to ensure they conform to existing national standards. It is to inspect all facilities at retail outlets to ensure that the products conform to such quality standards as set by the Agency and inspect any facility used in the storage and transportation of petroleum products in whatever quantity, whether used legally or oth-

erwise. He draft of the PIb documented that, “A person shall not - obstruct or assault any officer of the Agency or any person authorized by the Agency in the exercise of the powers conferred on to the Agency under this Act; refuse any officer of the Agency access to any premises, facilities or retail outlets, or refuse to submit to a search of any premises, facilities or retail outlets by any authorised officer or agent of the Agency refuse to acknowledge the receipt of any summons by the Agency issued and duly delivered to any person; or fail to comply with any lawful demand, notice, order or requirement of an officer or authorised person of the Agency in the execution of the officer’s duties under this Act.” It stated that a person or company shall not - engage in refining, marketing, distributing or operating any petroleum or gas processing plant or transmitting facilities, terminal or premises without a valid licence; remove, destroy or damage any pipeline or other works or installations utilised for the purpose of supplying petroleum products. It also maintained that, “Any person who violates the provisions of section 226 of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to payment of a fine which shall be as prescribed by the Minister in a regulation made pursuant to this Act.” The PIB further documented that where an offence has been committed under the provisions of section 227 of this Act, the affected company or person shall discontinue the supply of petroleum products until any damage, alteration, malfunction or loss has been rectified and all safety issues have been resolved.

Oboh orders establishment of SERVICOM in NDDC

M

anaging Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr. Christian Oboh has ordered the immediate establishment of SERVICOM Desk in all the directorates and department of the commission. He gave the directive during a sensitisation workshop on SERVICOM for Management and staff of the Commission with the theme, “SERVICOM as a tool for improving service and project delivery in the region”. Oboh disclosed that the directive became imperative in view of the commitment of the present Board towards improved service delivery. “We will ensure that every department key into this process, through the establishment of SERVICOM unit, I encourage all directors and heads to quickly establish a desk office of SERVICOM in their directorates and departments”. Oboh declared, stressing that “it will serve as a feed for us, to enable us evaluate ourselves, and asservices to International Oil Companies including CNL. Furthermore, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) was represented by Mr. Wole Akinyosoye, the General Manager – Planning, Research & Statistics. Also, in attendance were Mrs. Jane Ashimi, Deputy Manager, Community Development, Public Affairs NAPIMS representing the Group General Manager NAPIMS; Mr. Morrison A. Fiddi; Mrs. Bisi Soji-Oyawoye, Manager Nigeria Content Development, CNL; Mr. Austin Uzoka, Manager Nigeria Content, SNEPCO and other directors and senior executives of Seabulk. As part of its strategic Nigerian Content empowerment process, CNL contracted Seabulk Offshore Operators Nigeria Limited to provide support vessel services to its JV drilling operations both in offshore and onshore locations in Nigeria. The one-year contract is the first of its kind to a wholly Nigerian company in a service industry dominated by foreign investors. Mr. Pere Nduku, General Manger of Seabulk thanked CNL for awarding the contract to Seabulk. He committed to superior performance saying “Nigerian Companies can deliver on their promises given the opportunity.

Oboh

certain our status”. The NDDC boss expressed delight that sanity was being restored in the system as against what it was in the past, adding. “We will continue to press till we get to where we want to be, we will improve on what we are doing now, and we promise you that we will deliver more projects”. Also speaking the Senior Special Assistant to the President and National Coordinator, SERVICOM, Mr. Sybrika Obriki charged organisations to ensure that the satisfaction of stakeholders as well as customers remain paramount. This, he said could be achieved by upholding the principle of accountability and transparency. To NDDC, he said “you must look at areas where you are not doing well, your service should be at that level where your customers are satisfied, and your budgeting system must be all inclusive”. The Secretary to Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim represented by Mr. J.A. Onyeke, commended the NDDC for the workshop, expressing optimism that knowledge acquired would assist the Commission deliver better service. Some members of the NDDC Governing Board have embarked on a tour of the commission’s project in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states. The team, led by the Bayelsa State Representative on the Board, Edi Orubo inspected the Buguma-Edo-Abonemma road, Buguma Shore-Protection, the reclamation of 150 hectares of land in OguBolo and RSUST hostel project in Rivers State.


40

Energy Week

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NNPC moves to boost gas for power generation

FG to intensify battle against oil theft, illegal refining

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has stepped up efforts aimed at making available more gas for electricity generation in the country. A source who preferred not to be named in the apex oil company said such efforts included improved maintenance of facilities, especially pipelines for the delivery of the product to power stations. It also included improved security to prevent vandalism. These and others aimed at enhancing the efforts of government to ensure that adequate feedstock is supplied to the plants. Recently, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke said the Federal Government delivered more gas to power stations such as such as Egbin, Sapele, PHCN, Delta IV and Olorunshogo Power Plants. Alison-Madueke said major milestones in the project which has helped power generation to reach an unprecedented 4.2GW. She noted that underpinning the improvement in gas supply which precipitated the noticeable increase in volume of power generations are aggressive infrastructure expansion and gas supply development initiatives. Spokesman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Fidel I. Pepple who confirmed the development in a statement quoted the Minister as stating that “Since the roll out of the plan, we have achieved major milestones in the expansion of the Escravos-Pipeline System - the major gas supply artery to the power plants. This is part of the most extensive expansion ever undertaken on this pipeline network since it was built 30 years ago.” She listed the items completed in the critical pipeline segments to include the 27kmX24inch permanent gas supply pipeline from Itoki to Olorunshogo via Ewekoro all in Ogun State, the 56kmX24inch Escravos-Warri gas pipeline doubling the pipeline capacity and enhancing gas evacuation from Escravos as well as the 130kmX36inch Oben to Geregu pipeline. The Minister said, “The net impact of all these is the addition of 120million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcf/d) to the grid and the permanent elimination of the challenges of low gas pressure that has plagued the Olorunshogo PHCN and NIPP power plants. We are also now well positioned to supply gas to the existing Geregu Power plant and all anticipated future expansions in that axis.’’ The Minister explained that in addition to the pipeline projects, major works on the Utorogu and Ughelli gas plants have reached completion. Earlier in the year both plants recorded an all-time low combined output of 300mmcf/d as a result of some maintenance challenges. With the repairs, the combined capacity is now 360mmcf/d which is a net addition of 60mmcf/d. She said “Specifically, with these interventions, we are now able to supply gas to the full requirements of Egbin, Sapele PHCN, Delta IV, Olorunshogo both PHCN and NIPP plants and Omotosho PHCN power plants. In addition, we are able to meet the requirements of two out of three turbines in Geregu and one out of two turbines in Sapele NIPP.’’

UDEME AKPAN

T

he Federal Government is set to wage serious battle against oil theft and illegal refining in the country. This is fuelled by its desire to increase government revenue which has suffered a setback as a result of increased illegal activities in the Niger Delta. A top official on the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who preferred not to be named, said the government has empowered securities agencies to launch renewed efforts aimed at clamping down perpetrators of the acts. Investigations showed the nation is cursed with many illegal refineries in the region which thrive on stolen crude oil in the region. It was learnt that from a few plants that emerged in the Niger Delta some years ago, illegal refineries have spread like epidemic to some other parts of the nation, including Imo River. A source said worried about incessant attacks of Joint Military Task Force, eager to exterminate their activities, many promoters of illegal plants have migrated from their bases in the Niger Delta to other locations, especially Imo and its environs. Promoters of the plants are said to be involved in illegal bunkering and vandalism oil pipelines to steal crude oil for the sustenance of their operations. Consequently, the activities of many oil companies have

Sunmonu

been affected. The Shell Petroleum Development Company maintained that, “The unrest has turned into a worrying criminal movement, which feeds on massive thefts of crude oil. Heavily armed and well-organised groups attack oil and gas facilities in the delta, shut down operations, kidnap staff and sabotage pipelines.” It documented that, “Barges take stolen oil to tankers waiting offshore for export. There is also a massive illegal refining business based on stolen crude oil. All these have reduced the amount of oil SPDC is producing, created environmental and social problems from oil spills and reduced government revenue that could be used to develop infrastructure

and services.” It may be difficult to state accurately the volume of oil lost to the oil thieves, particularly because of the challenges associated with data collection in the nation. Shell stated that, “How much oil is stolen is difficult to estimate and varies according to the source. In 2010/2011, there were 237 reported incidents of crude oil theft from SPDC facilities that involved vandalism, spills, fire or arrests (there were 187 in 2009/2010).” The firm confirmed that authorities arrested 145 people and seized among others 18 tankers, 22 vehicles, 16 barges and 35 locallymade boats in 2911. The firm remarked that, “These almost certainly represent a small fraction of the true scale of the problem.

In early 2006, a series of attacks forced SPDC to shut down most of its operations in the western delta. As a result of these and other attacks, Nigeria has lost a substantial amount of its oil production. In September 2007, SPDC began restarting its western delta operations.” The operator who hinted that criminal gangs kidnapped 19 SPDC employees and contractors during the same period remarked that, “One fatality was recorded in December 2010 when a contractoremployee was killed during an abduction related incident near Imo River in the Eastern Delta Operations. However, the Federal Government’s Amnesty program in the Niger Delta is generating a more enabling environment and this has resulted in a significant increase in Nigeria’s oil and gas production and provided better access for inspection and maintenance of assets.” Shell also added that, “This is a huge amount – and the effects of this industrial scale theft are devastating for both the people and the environment. This is evident from the thick smoke from illegal refineries that line the shore. The land, the shorelines and the water are heavily polluted with oil as a result of these activities. The scale of these operations is not hidden. The perpetrators of these crimes have set up barge building yards and storage depots for the stolen crude. This is not petty theft undertaken by desperate individuals struggling to make a living. These are well-funded crimes that may be connected with an international syndicate”.

BP to sell refinery, retail network for $2.5bn

B

ritish Petroleum has reached an agreement to sell its Carson, California refinery and related logistics and marketing assets in the region to Tesoro Corporation for $2.5 billion in cash (including the estimated value of hydrocarbon inventories and subject to postclosing adjustments) as part of a master plan to reshape BP’s fuels business. In a statement, the company stated that, “Together with the intended sale of Texas City, this will allow us to focus BP’s operations and investments exclusively on our three northern US refineries, which are crude feedstock advantaged, and their large and important marketing businesses.” The firm said subject to regulatory and other approvals, Tesoro will acquire the 266,000 barrel per day refinery near Los Angeles as well as the associated logistics network of pipelines and storage terminals and the ARCO-branded retail marketing network in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. The sale also includes BP’s interests in associated cogeneration and coke calcining operations. The closing is expected to happen before mid2013.

BP will sell the ARCO retail brand rights and exclusively license those rights from Tesoro for Northern California, Oregon and Washington and continue to produce transportation fuels at its Cherry Point, Washington refinery. BP will also retain ownership of the ampm convenience store brand and franchise it to Tesoro for use in the Southwest. In February 2011 BP announced plans to refocus its refining and marketing business on its northern US refineries and find buyers for Carson and the Texas City Refinery in Texas. The firm said “We are pleased to be delivering on the plan we announced last year and when complete we will have a smaller, but well-positioned and very competitive portfolio of refining and marketing businesses in the US. It maintained that, “BP remains committed to supplying US customers with the fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals they depend on while at the same time delivering long-term growth and profits to our shareholders. We are investing heavily in the capabilities of our businesses in line with that commitment.” BP is nearing completion of a multi-billion dollar upgrade at its

Carson refinery

Whiting Refinery in Northwest Indiana. The largest private sector investment in Indiana history, the project will transform Whiting’s crude processing capabilities and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2013. The company is also upgrading the Cherry Point Refinery to produce cleaner burning diesel fuel and investing in a cleaner gasoline project at its joint-venture refinery near Toledo, Ohio. BP has invested more in the United States over the last five years than any other oil and gas

company. With more than $52 billion in capital spending between 2007 and 2011, BP invests more in the US than in any other country. The company is the second largest producer of oil and gas in the US, a major oil refiner and a leader in alternative energy sources including wind power and biofuels. BP provides enough energy each year to light the entire country. With 23,000 US employees, BP supports nearly a quarter of a million domestic jobs through its business activities.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

41


42

Executive Discourse

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Manpower crisis looms in Nigeria’s aviation Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters, Captain Akin Oni, speaks on many burning issues in the oil and gas and aviation industries. He is worried about the ongoing poaching of technical personnel in the sectors by competitors; inconsistent government policies and outlines plans for expansion and maintenance of aircraft and helicopters in the country’s aviation industry, in this interview with OLUSEGUN KOIKI, Excerpts: The Petroleum Industry Bill presently before the National Assembly, as an operator in the oil and gas business, what are the benefits of this bill to your business? As at present, it is very clear and obvious that the companies in the country are not exploring, they are not going into frontier areas as we were doing in the past. Exploration activities actually happen in deep water, they need helicopter operations for them to asses those places. So, as soon as the PIB is passed, and we pray it’s passed, we expect to see more exploration activities, which will lead to higher number and utilisation of aircraft to support operations.

tive landscape, if you want to reduce the number of expatriates that we bring into the country and the immigration issues, we have responsibility to grow Nigerians, but when they don’t train, that is when you see organisations poaching from the others. It is easier to play the poaching game. We train a pilot with $250, 000, if I don’t want to train, all I have to do is to increase the salaries by $10,000 and I will stop the people from moving across, but it is a game. If I increase by $10, 000 and they did the same thing, we will all lose out at the end of the day and Nigeria losing out ultimately.

Training of technical personnel has been a major challenge in the sector, how much is your company investing in training of its personnel?

Still on the poaching, I know that some airlines who conduct training for their technical personnel have a kind of agreement, which ties them to the company for a specific period of years; don’t you have that in Bristow Helicopters?

In 2011, we had a budget of $4.7m for training and the sum has increased substantially in 2012, but I can’t remember the exact figure. Let me just do some analysis for you here so that you can get an idea of what we budgeted for training this year. Each of the pilots we send to United States cost us in the region of $250,000. So, four of them will cost us $1m by the time they start flying on the line and come back after a year’s training to our organisation. We have to send them back to either the US or to other countries where they will do the conventional on helicopter flying. By the time they come in and are very ready to fly in the line and earn revenues, we would have spent a lot of money on them. So, a huge amount of the money that we spend is cued towards training of our personnel. The rest of that goes into the recurrent training for pilots and engineers who are already in the system. If I add that, we are looking at the range of $7m on training per annum. That is purely pilots, we have not added engineers and if you look at that, the large some of this $7m is on training of Nigerian pilots. That is why I get extremely sensitive and angry when they are poached by other companies. Can you elaborate on your concerns about poaching of technical personnel in the industry? For me, it is the responsibility of every organisation to embark on training of its technical personnel like the pilots and engineers. Yes, it is expensive, but if you don’t train, we will all come to the crisis that they currently face in the fixed wing sector. If we continue to train and others don’t train, you will only have a small pool to pick people and as Nigerians, we are not in any position to complain about experts coming in when we want to keep the industry going. So, if you want to change the competi-

The fact is that all the pilots we train sign a bond with us and we put pressure on them by getting their parents or guardians to sign those documents. Most of them come back and go through the initial training period, but the time you want to poach is when they become senior first officers on the job because we will naturally progress them through the technology, expose them to the most sophisticated helicopters in the world. So, if I want to poach, that is the time I will come and that is the time we are losing them to our competitors. How can this manpower deficit be resolved? We are almost in a crisis situation in the Nigerian aviation industry and that is why we have expatriates dominating the sector because we don’t have capable Nigerians and that is the truth. People talk about salaries, without infringing in any of the rules; I can table before you the salaries of expatriates and that of Nigerians. The only difference there is the accommodation that we provide for them, basic pay and what have you; we pay almost the same. In fact, some Nigerians get a lot more. Training will remain a challenge until we build the organizations to do it. How many people can you train in NCAT, Ilorin? Where else can you take them to in Nigeria? The air force in the past used to provide their own personnel, but right now, they are struggling themselves. The manpower challenge is a crisis that is coming and unfortunately, no one is looking at that direction now. Some few years ago, the immediate past Commissioner of Accident Investigation Bureau, Dr. Sam Oduselu held a conference, which included all the stakeholders with white papers, but unfortunately, somebody dumped the white pa-

Oni

IF WE CONTINUE TO TRAIN AND OTHERS DON’T TRAIN, YOU WILL ONLY HAVE A SMALL POOL TO PICK PEOPLE AND AS

NIGERIANS, WE ARE NOT IN ANY POSITION TO COMPLAIN ABOUT EXPERTS COMING IN WHEN WE WANT TO KEEP THE INDUSTRY GOING pers. Look at it today, we only have Zaria and Ilorin, any other person who trains today will have to go to South Africa, U.S, UK, Kenya and Ethiopia, but the question we should ask ourselves is why we can’t do the same. If you depend on Zaria and Ilorin to produce the manpower we need for Nigeria with the limited resources that they have there, we’ve got a long way to go. Manpower is a train wreck that is com-

ing. We can see it. With all the money that we spend on training today, we cannot meet our requirements to run our service on a day-to-day basis. For as long as that gap is there, we have to bring in foreigners. Presently, what is your own share of the oil and gas market? Our share of the market is probably about 35 per cent and that makes us the


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Executive Discourse

43

industry –MD Bristow Helicopters all our maintenance in Nigeria. It is a known knowledge that helicopters are far more difficult and complex to maintain than fixed-winged aircraft. We do all the Checks from A to D in Nigeria. In terms of facilities, I believe we are probably the most equipped for helicopter operations and light jets. We have the people, the tools, the equipment and the necessary backings to do everything in Nigeria. I will give you a few examples; there was a temptation two to three years ago when we were introducing the biggest commercial helicopters we use for oil and gas, we had to build a new hangar in Lagos to do our work and we just completed another hangar in Port Harcourt to accommodate the maintenance of these large aircraft. As I speak, there is an ongoing D check on X92 helicopter in Lagos and we hope to start the same thing in Port Harcourt totally. We are equally looking at extending our hangar in Port Harcourt, but we have the capabilities to do all our checks in Nigeria and you can come to our hangar facilities one of these days to see how we do our works. We are lucky in the area of maintenance because we do everything in Nigeria here. If we need to bring people outside the country for us to assists us with the rebuilding of the aircraft, we do that, but we never move our aircraft outside Nigeria for maintenance. There are complaints from players in the industry on duties paid on imported aircraft, helicopters and spare parts, what is your comment on this?

major player in the industry, but some few years back, we lost a substantial part of our contract to Calverton Helicopters. We are back, but it is still a sizeable chunk. Before we lost the Shell Petroleum market, we were in the region of 50 per cent. What is the age range of aircraft in your fleet? In the last three or four years, we have virtually replaced our SMX medium helicopters that we operate. In our fleet, if you look at the SMXs, the oldest in that fleet is about five years old, the X92 fleet oldest would be about four years. The 416 are the oldest ones, which we plan to start replacing now. An X92 costs in the region of $29m and we are looking at procuring a sizeable number of that, which I can’t tell you for now because it is a competitive intelligence. There are lots of concerns about the maintenance of Nigerian aircraft, where do you maintain your machines? We are unique in Nigeria at the moment when it comes to the maintenance of our aircraft. We at Bristow, we do

This doesn’t happen in the rest of the world, but it happens in Nigeria. Unfortunately, it kills growth in the industry. For instance, if you import an aircraft like the X92 that we have, the duty on the aircraft is about 14 per cent of that amount. You are spending about $30m to acquire the aircraft and you will be spending over $4m on Customs duties. That is why a lot of Nigerians cannot go into this business because you are killing the opportunity for entrepreneur to come into the industry by enforcing that. We are one of the few countries that say you have to pay import duties on aircraft. Aircraft are mobile resources that can move around. The same applies to spare parts. A few years ago, I think it was during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, it was waived for the airlines, but it was again re-introduced. I believe it is a matter of time; somebody is going to wake up very soon and do the right thing. Somebody has to have the courage to do the right thing and remove the pressure on Nigerian airlines from competing with the airlines that are coming in and taxes and duties are a big challenge to operators in the industry. The people we are competing with like the British Airways, Delta and others don’t do that. I’m not going to name any airline that are currently going to the long haul, they are not competing, they have been given the boxing gloves, but at the same time, their hands are tied. The removal of the duties reduces the pressure. If you want an airline to bring an aircraft into Nigeria and as soon they come in, you take $4m away from them,

I BELIEVE IT IS A MATTER OF TIME; SOMEBODY IS GOING TO WAKE UP VERY SOON AND DO THE RIGHT THING there are lots of things one can do with that massive amount. If you give me $4m, I can put two hangars up in Lagos and start a maintenance business, but if you take that away, it’s a problem for the operators. Can you name some of your clients and the number of helicopters in your fleet? Earlier, I joked about a divorce between Shell and Bristow Helicopters some years ago, I want to tell you that we have reconciled. We presently have a contract with Shell although not on the scale we had before, but we do have a contract with them. We’ve moved on, we also have contract with Total, Mobil and others. We also do a lot of ad-hoc work with some other companies and we’ve been very lucky. On our fleet size, we operate 29 helicopters, one fixed wing; an executive jet, which we operate for Shell. What other challenges you are facing in your operations both in aviation and oil and gas industries? The oil and gas industry and our im-

pact there is more on transportation side. The challenge that we faced a few years ago was the militancy in the Niger Delta because that is the core area of our business and thankfully, there has been a lot of improvement there, which took a lot of weight off us. The biggest challenge for us then was security and it is still security. The same places that we used to go, we could not go because of security. And even on the road in Port Harcourt and Warri and other places, we are restricted on what we can do. Security remains a big expense for us in terms of how we move our people around, our assets, but things have improved since the amnesty and I pray it continues to improve so that we don’t ever go back to that situation again. It’s very expensive and it could kill the industry. In the aviation industry, the biggest challenge we have seen is infrastructure and the next one that is very close to it is financing. When you fix infrastructure, a lot of things are fixed. The level of deterioration of infrastructure today in the industry is unacceptable and there is no reason for it. However, that is a different discussion entirely. The next thing is financing. If you fix financing, you can fix some of the issues the airlines have, but not so much from the helicopter sub-sector because the finance is more from the oil and gas industry. We get paid regularly and relatively better than the airlines. Everybody in the country I conversant with the issue of infrastructure, why is facilitation through the airport is so difficult? I went to Tanzania last year, although, they don’t have the singing and dancing airports we have here, but it works. We are not asking for the greatest and the latest infrastructure in the world, but let people walk normally as human beings and not step on each other.


44

Global Business

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

India consumer prices rise at slowest pace in 4 months

I

ndian consumer prices increased at the slowest pace in four months in July as the climb in energy costs moderated. The consumer-price index rose 9.86 per cent from a year earlier, compared with a revised 9.93 per cent in June, the Central Statistical Office said in New Delhi Monday. The Reserve Bank of India left interest rates unchanged last month to tackle inflation risks such as energy tariffs, a drop in the rupee and the impact of a weak monsoon on crops. The monetary authority faces a policy dilemma since economic growth is the weakest in nearly a decade even as price pressures remain a challenge, according to Morgan Stanley. “Even if inflation moderates, it is near 10 per cent and that is high from the Reserve Bank’s perspective,” Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Financial Services Ltd. in Mumbai, said before the report. The central bank is unlikely to reduce interest rates again this year, he said. The rupee, which has tumbled about

Duvvuri Subba Rao

18 per cent against the dollar in the past 12 months, strengthened 0.3 per cent to 55.595 per dollar in Mumbai. The BSE India Sensitive Index rose 0.4 per cent, while the yield on the 8.15 per cent government bond due June 2022 declined to 8.23 per cent from 8.24 per cent on August 17. Prices in the fuel and light category

climbed 7.36 per cent last month from a year earlier, yesterday’s statement showed, compared with a previously reported 10.34 per cent in June. Food and beverage costs rose 11.53 per cent, while clothing, bedding and footwear advanced 11.02 per cent. Indian consumer inflation is the fastest in the Group of 20 major economies

after Argentina, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Wholesale inflation eased to a 32-month low of 6.87 per cent in July while remaining the highest among the largest emerging nations, a report showed last week. Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subbarao has said the pace of price gains is above a threshold level that may be about five per cent. Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn said two days ago that inflation is currently the dominant threat. The Reserve Bank left borrowing costs at eight per cent on July 31 for a second meeting, breaking with a wave of cuts from China to Brazil. Economic expansion weakened to a nine-year low of 5.3 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier. The consumer-price gauge was created last year and the government started giving year-on-year data beginning in 2012. Subbarao has said that while it is too new to be used as the only headline measure of inflation, it can’t be ignored and arguably reflects the most updated economic structure.

UK posts deficit as tax receipts plunge Trucking stocks offer bet on US

B

ritain unexpectedly posted a budget deficit in July as corporationtax receipts plunged, partly due to the closure of the Elgin gas field in the North Sea. The shortfall, which excludes government support for banks, was 557 million pounds ($878m) compared with a surplus of 2.84 billion pounds a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in London Monday. The median of 17 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey was for a surplus of 2.2 billion pounds. Tax revenue fell 0.8 per cent and corporation tax plunged 19.3 per cent. Government spending rose 5.1 per cent. While the drop in revenue was largely centred on company taxes, the UK’s struggle to climb out of a recession has raised concerns that that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will miss his forecast for a deficit of 120 billion pounds in the current fiscal year. Osborne has resisted demands to ease the pace of his fiscal squeeze, saying his plans have helped to insulate Britain from the euro-area debt crisis.

consumers for holidays

H

George Osborne

“The figure highlights the huge challenges facing the UK in restoring stability to its public finances,” British Chambers of Commerce Chief Economist David Kern said. “To maintain credibility, we need to persevere with spending cuts, but supplement them with forceful policies to boost growth.”

Commodities headed for bull market as U.S. drought withers crops

C

ommodities are poised to enter a bull market led by surging grain futures amid the worst US drought in half a century and on mounting optimism growth in the US and stimulus from China will boost demand. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials rose as much as 1.2 per cent to 677.29 in London, the highest since May 3, and was up 1.2 per cent at 2:14 p.m. in London. The gauge has jumped 21 per cent from this year’s lowest close of 559 on June 21. A gain of more than 20 per cent is the common definition of a bull market. The worst US drought in a half century sent soybeans to an all-time high of $17.1275 a bushel yesterday, while corn reached a record $8.49 a bushel on August 10 on the Chicago Board of Trade. The Department of Agriculture has slashed its corn harvest

forecast by 27 per cent since June, after declaring more than half of US counties as disaster areas while drought conditions stretched from California to New York. “The grains have been the strongest performing subsector in commodities the past few months, and that has purely been driven by supply-side considerations and the U.S. drought in particular,” said Sudakshina Unnikrishnan, a London-based analyst at Barclays Plc. Oilseeds and grains are the best-performing commodities this year among 80 tracked by Bloomberg. Soybeans jumped 42 per cent in 2012, the biggest increase on the GSCI, as the drought parched crops in the US, the top producer last season. The GSCI’s 4.8 per cent gain lags behind a 9.1 per cent advance in the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities.

oliday sales probably will grow at a slower rate this year than last. That may present an opportunity for investors prepared to wager they’ll be better. Most investors aren’t betting on a strong shopping season in the U.S. because of unemployment that’s remained above eight per cent since February 2009 and ambiguity about future tax rates, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago, part of the BMO Financial Group which oversees about $60bn of assets. Even so, now is the time to consider a trucking-stocks strategy because these conditions may offer a favourable riskreward, he said. “Everyone associates retail stocks with the holiday season, but trucking companies may be a smarter play for a positive surprise from the consumer,” Ablin said. Truckers are an interesting opportunity because their shares have trailed the market since 2009, he said. Retail sales, excluding restaurants, vehicles and gasoline, rose 0.9 per cent last month from June, the biggest gain since January, based on data from the Census Bureau. Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica Incorporation in Dallas, estimates they may increase an inflationadjusted 2 per cent to three per cent in November and December, the traditional holiday rush, compared with 2.7 per cent last year. “It’s not doomed and gloom, but it’s not a robust forecast, either,” Dye said, adding that holiday sales rose as much as 4.7 per cent on an inflation-adjusted basis in 2005. Weak consumer confidence is hurting discretionary spending and probably will continue through the rest of this year because of anaemic job growth and the looming fiscal cliff, he said. The

Obama

U.S. faces higher taxes and reductions in spending on defence and other government programmes that will take effect at year-end unless Congress acts. The Bloomberg US Asset-Heavy Trucking Index with 14 companies including Knight Transportation Incorporation and Werner Enterprises Incorporation has lagged behind the Russell 2000 Index by about 51 per cent since December 31, 2008. In the same period, the Standard & Poor’s Retail Select Industry Index has led the broader S&P 500 by 146 per cent. Trucking stocks continue to trail the Russell 2000 and now are at the same key support level as a year ago, in part because earnings for several companies -- including Werner and Con-way Incorporation were weaker than investors anticipated, said Jim Stellakis, founder and director of research at New York-based research company Technical Alpha Incorporation.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Global Business

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

45

Platinum hits six-week high on South Africa unrest Wall Street slips as

P

latinum prices hit their highest since early July on Monday after an outbreak of violence at a mine in major producer South Africa sparked a 5 percent rally last week, fuelling the metal’s biggest week-on-week rise since February. Thirty-four people were killed in clashes between police and rival unions at number three platinum miner Lonmin’s Marikana mine in South Africa. Tensions flared after police shot 34 dead on Thursday after moving in with automatic weapons against workers armed with spears, machetes and handguns. Spot platinum peaked at $1,477.50 an ounce, its highest since July 5, on Monday, but retreated from highs after workers started trickling back to work at Lonmin. The metal was up 0.2 per cent at $1,467.99. A quarter of the workforce returned to the Marikana platinum mine early on Monday, where clashes last week evoked memories of apartheid-era violence. South Africa produces 75 percent of world supply of platinum, so any threat to output can have a significant impact on prices. Lonmin alone mines around 60,000 ounces of the white metal a month. “With such a large percentage of production coming from one - unstable it seems - country, we could begin to see

Gold bars in display

some kind of political risk premium being priced in,” Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank’s head of commodity strategy, said. “The big issue in terms of supply threat is obviously if it spreads, but I think for now it may have further to go both outright but also relative to gold, as such a move will attract momentum traders back in.” While dealers say availability of plati-

num remains plentiful after a recent dearth of demand from European carmakers, the main consumers of the white metal, speculation that the action could start to affect other mines is causing a price reaction. “Depending on how long hostilities at Lonmin last and if the unrest spreads to other miners on the Western Limb, the (platinum market) surplus of circa 150,000 ounces could easily be wiped out,” Deutsche Bank said in a note. “The current adverse economic conditions for platinum producers in addition to the increased interruptions from violent strikes and protests are resulting in increased production risks for platinum in South Africa,” it said. Platinum’s climb in early trade also benefited sister metal palladium, which rose to an eight-week high at $608.50 an ounce. It was later down 0.7 per cent at $598. Platinum’s rise narrowed its discount to gold to less than $150 an ounce from above $230 an ounce a week ago. The gold/platinum ratio, which measures the number of platinum ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold, dropped to 1.1 on Monday from a peak of 1.17 last week, its highest since 1985.

Banks use $1.77trn to double treasury purchases

New York Stock Exchange building

T

he gap between United State bank deposits and loans is growing at the fastest pace in two years, providing lenders with more funds to buy bonds and temper the biggest sell-off in treasuries since 2010. As deposits increased 3.3 per cent to $8.88trn in the two months ended July 31, business lending rose 0.7 per cent to $7.11trn, Federal Reserve data showed. The record gap of $1.77 trillion has expanded 15 per cent since May, the biggest similar-period gain since

July, 2010. Banks have already bought $136.4bn in Treasury and government agency debt this year, more than double the $62.6bn in all of 2011, pushing their holdings to an all-time high of $1.84trn. Faced with a slowing US economy, unemployment above eight per cent for more than three years and regulations forcing them to hold more and higherquality assets, banks are lending at below pre-recession levels. The bond purchases help explain

why even after rising this month, Treasury 10-year note rates are about half the 3.5 per cent median forecast of 43 economists in a Bloomberg survey a year ago. “Bank deposits continue to explode and in turn they continue to buy Treasuries as the economy loses momentum, inflation is trending down, Europe continues to hang over our heads and political uncertainty reigns” said Michael Mata, a money manager in Atlanta at ING Investment Management Americas, which oversees about $160bn. “There is no reason for interest rates to climb in any meaningful way any time soon.” While the gap has narrowed to $1.75trn as of August 8 as lending of $7.12trn trailed $8.87trn in deposits, the gap is more than 17 times the $100bn average in the decade before credit markets seized up, Fed data showed. Commercial and industrial lending reached a peak of $1.61trn in October 2008, a month after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. As the credit crisis deepened, loans tumbled to $1.2trn two years later, before recovering to $1.46trn August 1.

investors pause after weeks of gains

U

nited States stocks edged lower on Monday as investors took a breather after Wall Street posted six consecutive weeks of gains. In addition, the European Central Bank threw cold water on hopes for further easing soon to stimulate the economy. In response to a German magazine report this weekend about ECB bondbuying, a central bank spokesman said it was misleading to talk about decisions that had not yet been taken. Limiting market losses was a major acquisition in the healthcare industry. Aetna Incorporation said it would buy Coventry Health Care Incorporation for $5.6bn. “Following six straight weeks of gains for the S&P 500 and Dow industrials, stocks enter the new week in an overbought condition,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird. “Investor sentiment has turned more optimistic in recent weeks. This could be problematic, given that sentiment is approaching extreme optimism at a time when the seasonal headwinds begin to surface,” he said. Bittles said the summer rally has broadened, with the best gains coming the past two weeks as the number of S&P 500 industry groups moving up improved to 77 per cent last week from 72 per cent the previous week and 69 percent two weeks ago. But, he added, “September’s legacy as the weakest month of the year for stocks is well documented.” The Dow Jones industrial average was down 38.23 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 13,236.97. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 5.30 points, or 0.37 percent, at 1,412.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 14.41 points, or 0.47 percent, at 3,062.18. Coventry shares jumped more than 19 per cent to $41.61 after Aetna said it will pay $41.10 per share for the company, putting the deal at about 20 per cent premium to the stock’s Friday closing price. The deal is the latest in a string of multibillion-dollar acquisitions in the US healthcare sector. The S&P 500 closed its sixth week of gains on Friday, closing in on four-year highs, as investors wait for the ECB to take steps to control the euro crisis in September. Last week the index broke away from the 1,400 level where it had stalled for much of August.

Toyota faces 20% drop in Japan industry sales as aid ends

T

oyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Company can thank government aid for helping auto industry sales grow faster in Japan than any major market this year. As state subsidies are about to run out, so may the euphoria. Japan vehicle sales, after surging about 53 percent in the first seven months, will drop as much as 20 per cent next quarter as the payouts expire, analysts at BNP Paribas SA and IHS Automotive said. Toyota is counting on a cheaper version of the Prius hybrid to sustain demand, while Nissan Motor Company has said it will offer support to dealers.

About 88 per cent of the 300 billion yen ($3.8bn) budgeted for subsidies has been consumed as buyers snapped up cars, underpinning an economic recovery that economists now forecast will fade. The end of state aid of as much as 100,000 yen per vehicle will be compounded by the government’s plan to double the national consumption tax, prompting additional calls from carmakers for stimulus measures. “The government will have to come up with ways to offset the negative impact of the consumption tax increase,” said Yoshiaki Kawano, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Tokyo. Should the

subsidies end by next month, sales in the three months starting October 1 will drop as much as 20 per cent, he said. After a government rebate ended in September 2010, vehicle deliveries plunged 29 per cent in the following quarter, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. In the year ended March 1998, domestic deliveries dropped 14 per cent after the nation’s sales tax was increased two percentage points to five per cent in 1997. Count Nobuhiro Miyazaki, manager of a Toyota dealership in central Tokyo, Toyota has introduced the lower-priced Aqua among those concerned. hybrid compact


46

Capital Market

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confidence restored in bridged banks, says AMCON JOHNSON OKANLAWON

C

onfidence has been restored in the bridged banks and they are now competing like any other banks in the country, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria’s Executive Director, Finance and Operations, Mrs Mofoluke Dosunmu, has said. The bridged banks Keystone, Enterprise and Mainstreet – are the defunct BankPHB, Spring Bank and Afribank. They were among the banks rescued by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Speaking on the performance of the banks, which were bridged by the corporation about a year ago, she said that the segregation (healthy and unhealthy) among the banks has fizzled away. “In the first place we have confidence back in the industry. Before you had a kind of segregation in the market, some banks were healthy, some were not healthy. “Now you don’t have that anymore. Because what we saw was that initially when the banks (bridged banks) started they did lose some depositors funds. But when the customers saw that

anytime they walk into those institutions they can get their money back, they started banking with them,” she said. Besides, she noted that the bridged banks have been able to reduce their costs of funds because current account balances now constitute a higher proportion of their deposits unlike a year ago when term deposits, which were at high interest rates formed the bulk of their deposits. “They’ve (bridged banks) decreased their reliance on term deposits. If you look in terms of percentages from what you

had before - where you had current account deposits being only about 30 per cent, now it’s almost 50 per cent. “So that has reflected in the confidence back in the banks. It has reduced the case of frauds and it also reflects in their other income like fees and commissions because people don’t just put money in current account, they actually do business with the institution, which result in things like COT, fees, commission,” she explained. Moreover, she noted that there have also been some drastic cost cutting steps taking by the institutions.

Source: NSE Source: NSE

UBA targets energy, infrastructure financing in East Africa JOHNSON OKANLAWON

U

nited Bank for Africa Plc, is to consolidate its business in East Africa, by positioning strongly in the emerging energy industry and providing the much needed financial bridge for infrastructure financing in the region. The Group Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Phillips Oduoza said this while addressing leaders of the organised private and public sector in Nairobi , Kenya. According to him, the bank would explore areas of collaboration with key players in private and public sectors as part of efforts to engineer growth and development of the

economies of these countries where it presently operate. He said that the bank would be providing financial advisory services, infrastructure financing particularly in the emerging energy sector and efficiency in revenue collection in the region. “Energy is one of the strengths of UBA and we hope to build capacity by bringing in people who have expertise in energy transactions. “We have knowledge in structuring oil and gas transactions and we shall train our people here in the region on financing oil and gas deals, no matter the volume and magnitude of the transactions” he added. He explained that being a big player in Nigerian oil

industry for decades, the bank has been playing big in the downstream sector of Uganda and Tanzania oil industry by financing oil imports and is keen on going for big deals that would involve firms in the exploration business. Oduoza listed tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, inter-African trade and utilities as some of the bank’s target business areas in the region. Just recently, East Africa has become abuzz with activities around the exploration of oil and gas as well as development of this sector after reports of oil finds in Kenya and Uganda and large deposits of gas in Tanzania. Oduoza also reiterated the commitment of the bank towards market integration of the East Afri-

can Economy by facilitating not only regional trade but also intra-African trade. “For two African countries to trade, a letter of credit has to be issued through a corresponding bank in Europe or Asia , this is not only costly but also time consuming. Having UBA present in the two countries ensures a fast and less costly transaction,” he said. The meeting was followed by signing of partnership agreements between United Bank for Africa Kenya Limited, Airtel, Africa Air Rescue and Rapid Communications that will see UBA roll out products that target the retail segment through innovative platforms, in the East African economies.

S&P 500 tops highest closing level in four years

U

S stocks advanced, sending the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index past the highest closing level in four years, amid speculation euroarea leaders will make progress in resolving the region’s debt crisis. Urban Outfitters Incorporation rose 17 per cent after posting second- quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates. Nordson Corporation gained 11 per cent after forecasting fourth-quarter profit that exceeded projections. Best Buy Company fell 6.7 per cent after reporting results that trailed estimates and suspending its earnings forecast as sales of computers and

televisions dropped. The S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 1,421.10 points, surpassing the four-year closing high of 1,419.04 reached on April 2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 7.39 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 13,279.03, topping the highest closing level since 2007. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 5.2 per cent below the 30-day average. “Markets are still consolidating and reacting to the fact that European markets were up overnight,” Frederic Dickson, who helps oversee about $32bn as chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Company in Lake Oswego, Oregon, said in a phone

interview. “Spanish debt yields fell a little ahead of the meetings in Europe coming up.” The S&P 500 has climbed 11 per cent since June 1, as economic reports beat forecasts and amid investor optimism that global central banks will take actions to stimulate growth. Trading volume and volatility have dropped this month as vacationing traders await policy clues from the Federal Reserve’s summit at the end of the month and a European Central Bank meeting in September. Stocks worldwide rose yesterday on mounting speculation leaders will make progress on Greece’s

debt crisis this week. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro- area finance ministers, visits Athens tomorrow to listen to a request by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for a two-year extension to the country’s fiscal-adjustment program. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on August 23. Spain’s two-year note yield fell for a sixth day, with the yield dropping nine basis points as the government sold 4.51 billion euros ($5.6b) of bills, meeting its maximum target.

Market indicators Market indicators

All-Share Index 7,342,308 points All-Share Index 22,191.14 points Market capitalisation 23,066.74 trillion Market capitalisation 7,084 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

AGLEVENT

1.20

1.26

0.06

5.00

INTBREW

6.61

6.94

0.33

4.99

CAP

24.12

25.32

1.20

4.98

REDSTAREX

2.62

2.75

0.13

4.96

BERGER

6.93

7.27

0.34

4.91

ETERNA

2.35

2.46

0.11

4.68

CADBURY

15.25

15.95

0.70

4.59

BAGCO

1.56

1.63

0.07

4.49

IKEJAHOTEL

1.12

1.17

0.05

4.46

AIRSERVICE

1.57

1.64

0.07

4.46

CHANGE

% CHANGE

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CONTINSURE

0.63

0.60

0.03

-4.76

GTASSURE

1.75

1.67

0.08

-4.57

UTC

0.92

0.88

0.04

-4.35

STERLNBANK

1.07

1.03

0.04

-3.74

ROYALEX

0.55

0.53

0.02

-3.64

OANDO

13.99

13.61

0.38

-2.72

DANGFLOUR

6.30

6.13

0.17

-2.70

DANGCEM

112.40

110.00

2.40

-2.14

UNILEVER

35.50

35.00

0.50

-1.41

DANGSUGAR

4.55

4.50

0.05

-1.10

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Day

30,647.81

13.50

23-Aug-12

182-Day

20,000

15.50

23-Aug-12

364 -Day

-

-

-

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

178Days

14,231.30

15.50

23-Aug-12

118-Day

50,282.86

14.08

23-Aug-12

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$200m

N/A

$126m

15-Aug-12

$180m

N/A

$147m

13-Aug-12


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

SEC to investigate banks on illegal funds operation JOHNSON OKANLAWON

T

he Securities and Exchange Commission is set to investigate alleged connivance of commercial banks in Plateau in illegal funds management. The SEC’s Head of Enforcement and Compliance, Mr Eric Elujekor said that in order to restore the customers’ confidence in financial institutions, the commision

Capital Market

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

would carry out a thorough investigation. Elujekor , who led the sealing of two illegal fund outfits, Green Planet Association International Bukuru and Wiscom Ventures in Jos, said that commercial banks connivance had to be investigated. He said, ``Investors who volunteered information to SEC officials have said that they were encouraged to part with their monies because they saw bank officials in those offices receiving money.

``They said that the bank officials after receiving their money now go to personally deposit it with their banks. So it is something that we need to investigate.” He noted that the outfits were illegal because majority of them were not licensed by SEC, saying that some of them were licensed as funds managers but as fund managers “if you want to mobilise fund and invest, you have to register the fund with SEC. Even those we reg-

istered as fund managers never registered the fund they are floating,” he added. A statement from the SEC yesterday explained that operators of some of the illegal funds outfits resisted all attempts by the commission to seal their premises, forcing the commission officials to beat a retreat. The statement stressed that at one of the illegal operators -Guarantee Global Resource (House of Wealth), one of the investors, Adams Saleh, said that they were on queue waiting to be paid interests on their investment.

Asian stocks advance as China moves to ease cash crunch

T

he Woodside Petroleum Limited logo Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for a three-month high, as China moved to alleviate a cash crunch ahead of US reports that are expected to show the world’s biggest economy is improving. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of computer chips, gained 1.5 per cent in Taipei. Asia Pacific Breweries Limited jumped 4.8 per cent in Singapore after Heineken NV raised its offer for a controlling stake

Woodside corporate head office

in the maker of Tiger beer. PICC Property & Casualty Company advanced 7.3 per cent in Hong Kong after China’s biggest nonlife insurer posted higher first-half earnings. The MSCI Asia Pacific

Index added 0.4 percent to 121.20 as of 7:36 p.m. yesterday in Tokyo, heading for its highest close since May 8. About 10 shares rose for every seven that fell in the gauge. The measure advanced in the

European stocks gain as Spain’s borrowing costs drop

E

uropean stocks advanced as Spain’s borrowing costs fell at a debt sale, while investors awaited bilateral meetings between the leaders of euro-area countries to gauge their progress in tackling the fiscal crisis. Mining stocks posted the second-biggest gain of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index as Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton Ltd. each added at least 1.5 percent. Straumann Holding AG slumped to its lowest price in nine years after earnings missed analysts’ projections. The Stoxx 600 climbed 0.4 percent to 272.58 at the close of trading. The gauge rose to its highest level since July 2011 last week, its 11th consecu-

Merkel

tive week of gains, as optimism mounted that the currency zone’s central bankers and politicians will act to protect lenders and as U.S. consumer sentiment and leading economic indicators exceeded forecasts. “We’ve got enough noises coming out of governments and central banks to suggest they are going

to do something; they just need to figure out how to do it,” Karen Olney, head of thematic equity strategy at UBS AG said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Asset allocators are saying it’s time to maybe reduce our underweight in European equities.” The volume of shares changing hands on the

past three weeks on expectations China will ease monetary policy and amid signs the U.S. economy is strengthening. “U.S. economic data has been better, with the housing sector turning around,” said Shane Oliver, Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which has almost $100bn in assets. “Eventually, Asian exports will rebound. Asian equities aren’t overvalued after recent gains and Chinese equities are dirt cheap. China’s economic slowdown remains a key concern.”

Stoxx 600 was 15 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Spain’s borrowing costs fell at an auction of 12- and 18- month securities today. The yield for bills maturing next August slipped to 3.07 percent from 3.92 percent at a debt sale on July 17. The yield for the notes maturing in February 2014 slid to 3.34 percent from 4.24 percent. Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, visits Athens tomorrow to listen to a request by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for a two-year extension to the country’s fiscal-adjustment program. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on August. 23.

47

Groupon shares extend plunge after barclays downgrade

G

roupon Inc. tumbled as much as 6.7 percent, extending a decline that pushed shares to a record low last week, after analysts at Barclays Plc cut the price estimate and rating for the shares. Chicago-based Groupon dropped 3.2 percent to $4.50 at 10:09 a.m. in New York, and earlier sank to $4.34. Through yesterday, the stock had lost 77 percent since an initial public offering in November. Barclays downgraded its recommendation on Groupon’s shares to the equivalent of a sell and lowered the price estimate to $4 from $15. Groupon is one of sev-

eral Internet stocks, including Facebook Incorporated to come under pressure after the lifting of lock- up periods, which bar insiders from selling shortly after initial public offerings. The company makes money by selling discounts -- known as Groupons -- from businesses such as restaurants and nail salons. It then splits the revenue with the retailers. Groupon earlier this month reported second-quarter revenue that missed estimates due to economic weakness in Europe. A lock-up for Groupon shares expired on June 1, the company said in a May regulatory filing.

Emerging-market stocks drop amid China policy, Europe concerns

E

merging-market stocks fell on concern China will hold off easing monetary policy as property prices rebounded and after the Bundesbank criticized the European Central Bank’s bond repurchasing program. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index retreated 0.2 per cent to 969.21, with 350 stocks declining compared with 224 advancing. Brazil’s Bovespa stock index rose, led by real estate company Gafisa SA and as online retailer B2W Cia. Global do Varejo advanced for a third day. Soho China Limited (410), a property developer, lost 3.5 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index slumped to the lowest level since July 31. The People’s Bank of China has no plan to cut lenders’ reserve-requirement ratios in the short term, the central bank’s Financial News said in a commentary. Chinese new-home prices climbed in 49 of 70 cities tracked by the government, the most since May of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said August 18. Germany’s Bundesbank stepped up its criticism of the European Central Bank’s plan to embark on potentially “unlimited” government bond purchases.

“Markets may be down because investors have priced in China pumping in some more liquidity into the system,” Win Thin, global head of emerging-market strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman & Company said by phone from New York. “The property price report may make the PBOC a little more reluctant to add to easing measures.” The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index exchange-traded fund, the ETF (EEM) tracking developing-nation shares, was little changed at 40.45. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Emerging Markets ETF Volatility Index, a measure of options prices on the fund and expectations of price swings, advanced 1.8 per cent. The Bovespa gained 0.3 per cent with Gafisa increasing 5.7 per cent to the highest since May 7. B2W advanced 3.7 per cent. A report last week showed retail sales in Brazil unexpectedly increased, while the central bank said on August 17 that the country’s seasonally adjusted economic activity index (VXEEM), a proxy for gross domestic product, rose 0.75 per cent in June from May, more than analysts had expected.


48

Cocktail

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oddities

Woman, 72, robbed twice in one day

P

olice say a western Pennsylvania woman had her checkbook stolen and as she went to the police station to report the crime, her purse was swiped. Seventy-two-year-old Harriet Sweger says she was first robbed by a woman who bumped into her and grabbed her checkbook at a grocery store.

The McKees Rocks woman says she was driving to a police station when she stopped to ask for directions and had a man reach into her car and grab her purse. Police in Stowe Township, Allegheny County say they have a suspect in the purse snatching but didn’t release a name.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Alcohol-drinking students happier and more accepted –Study

R

esearchers completing a new study on alcohol consumption have discovered that college-age students who binge drink are happier than those who don’t. Those who engaged in binge drinking tend to belong to so-called highstatus groups: wealthy, white, male and active in fraternity life. And those who did not belong to the high-status groups could achieve similar levels of social acceptance

through the act of binge drinking. In fact, the study results suggest that students engaged in the heavy drinking practice to elevate their social status amongst peers rather than to alleviate depression or anxiety. “The present study offers another insight into the nature of a seemingly intractable social problem,” the study released on Monday reads. “It is our hope that by drawing attention to the important

social motivations underlying binge drinking, institutional administrators and public health professionals will be able to design and implement programs for students that take into account the full range of reasons that students binge drink.” The Washington Post reports that the study’s co-author and Colgate University associate professor Carolyn Hsu presented some of the

findings during the American Sociological Association gathering in Denver last week. Interestingly, the study results compiled from surveying 1,600 college students also continues to support past evidence suggesting that binge drinking leads to a number of problems affecting the mind and body, including alcoholism, violence, poor grades and risky sexual behavior.

Cure for baldness could be for sale soon

A

lotion that cures male-pattern baldness could be for sale in as little as two years. University of Pennsylvania dermatologist George Cotsarelis says the lotion works by inhibiting a single enzyme, prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), which he says is the “major” enzyme connected to hair loss. And the cure would also extend to men of all ages who have already lost their hair. “We really do think if you remove the inhibition, you get longer hair,” Cotsarelis told the journal Science

Translational Medicine. Cotsarelis and his team of researchers first applied the lotion to mice and found that it was effective in both stopping hair loss and in regenerating follicles that had already ceased to produce longer hairs. “During normal follicle cycling in mice, Ptgds and PGD2 levels increase immediately preceding the regression phase, suggesting an inhibitory effect on hair growth,” the study reads. “We show that PGD2 inhibits hair growth in explanted human hair follicles and when

applied topically to mice.” Cotsarelis says he is currently shopping the lotion to several U.S. drug firms and hopes the product can be sold publicly in the near future. He says that there are already prescription antiasthma drugs available, which work by reducing PGD2 levels. The presence of those treatments should help accelerate the baldness cure’s availability in stores. The transition from discovery to potential product has already been a rapid one, as the study results were only first announced in March.

A man with a bald hair.

PHOTO: AP


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

49

Community Mirror Minister’s remark elicits condemnation

“I welcome any alliance that will drive PDP out of power in 2015 because with PDP at the centre, Nigeria cannot witness any meaningful development.” FMR GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE, ALHAJI LAM ADESINA

50

Group asks Amosun to scrap office of First Lady FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

A

pressure group in Ogun State has called on Governor Ibikunle Amosun, to scrap the office of the First Lady

Address human rights violation in SARS –CD

in order to give credence to report of the Truth Commission. The group, ‘Ogun State Synergy Group’ said it made the call after careful study of the recommendation which stated that office of the First Lady is illegal. In a statement issued and signed by its Media and Publicity Officer, Same Ogunfuyi, the

group stated that in as much as Governor Amosun believes in the competence of the commission headed by retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Pius Aderemi, scrapping the office would make the public, to see the governor as genuine in his mission to rebuild the state. With specific reference to the

recommendation that Yeye Olufunke Daniel, wife of the immediate past governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel be prosecuted, the statement further explained that denying his wife the glamour attached to the office of First Lady, would enable the citizens to be convinced that Amosun was not trying to malign and bring down

the former governor at all cost”. Ogun Synergy Group also advised Amosun to ensure adequate implementation of developmental projects in all the three Senatorial districts in order that his administration might not be seen as wasting tax payers’ money haunting the former governor.

NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

T

he Campaign for Democracy, CD, has called on Mr Ballah Nasarawa, Anambra Police Commissioner to address human rights violations at both the state headquarters of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Awkuzu and other units. In a press statement issued to newsmen in Onitsha, Anambra State, jointly signed by Dede Uzor A. Uzor and Dr. Jerry Chukwuokolo, Chairman and Secretary of the group respectively, CD expressed concern that the inhuman treatment and environment at the state SARS Headquarters as well as other SARS unit commands are becoming unbearable where humans are treated like animals. The statement added that police officers and men attached to the office had allegedly engaged in all forms of corrupt practices, including charging from N20,000 to N50,000 for bail, even when it is clear to every Nigerian that bail is free. CD wondered why the crop of officers and men of SARS in the state had refused to follow the directive of the Inspector-General Police, stressing that out of the four cells in the office, which was formerly the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) office, none is fit for human habitation under any guise, since a person is presumed innocent until proved otherwise by a competent court. “In the four cells, the statement continued, cell 1 contains 52 men arrested through raid and other minor crimes in a small closet, while cell 3 and 4 contain 35 alleged hardened criminals, who had spent over two months or more without any court trial, just as Cell 2 has three female, who are living in a highly deplorable condition befitting a woman”.

Passengers perching dangerously on a moving train in Lagos, recently.

Widows, children protest attack on union leader NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

W

idows whose children are beneficiaries of scholarship scheme of the National chairman, Board of Trustees of Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, MTUN and Autobike Owners Association of Nigeria, AOWAN, Chief Jimmy Okonkwo, who narrowly escaped assassination by gunmen, are now protesting the attack on him. In a demonstration in Agulu, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, the widows criticised those responsible, for allegedly attacking and robbing Okonkwo, their mentor at Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area. The widows, numbering about 50 and children, had marched to

the hospital where the victim was admitted while praying for his quick recovery. Condeming the attack, spokesperson of the widows, Mrs. Janet Okeke, described the attempt on his life as devilish, adding that Okonkwo has shown enough kindness to widows. According to Okeke, “Okonkwo is paying our children’s school fees, my four children are on his payroll and he supported the widows with seed money for trading. “Onwa Agulu as Okonkwo is popularly called had always given financial and material donations to church and community, God will punish those wanting to kill him, we always benefit from his philanthropy”. She called on the InspectorGeneral of Police, IGP Mr. Mohammed Abukabar, Governor

Peter Obi and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ballah Nasarawa, to ensure that the suspects are arrested and prosecuted. In their various remarks, Ichie Nnaemeka Nwankwo, said news of the assassination plot on Chief Okonkwo has shattered him, adding that the victim is a man with big heart who loves to help those in need. “Tell President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to intervene because this assassination attempt has brought anxiety on our people”, he added. Okonkwo Ejiofor, a student said, “they want to frustrate me because my father is late but they will not succeed. Chief Okonkwo also gave us monthly stipends to help keep body and soul together, these attackers will not see any good in their lives”.

It would be recalled that Chief Okonkwo was attacked on August 6, 2012 by armed men while coming out of a bank at Ekwulobia,even as he robbed, and his car damaged . The Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Ekwulobia Police Division, Mr Sunday Adama, confirmed the incident, adding that the Police are waiting for the victim to recover before embarking on manhunt for the suspects since the victim confirmed knowing six of his attackers. Meanwhile, one Ilozo, a commercial bus driver and suspect is now helping the police in their efforts to unmask the culprits. Ilozo’s interrogation at the state Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Awka followed his voluntary statement to the police and apology to the victim, few days after the attack.


50

Community Mirror

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Minister’s remark elicits condemnation

A

community leader in Badagry Local Government area of Lagos State, Chief Edwin Akwaeze has called for the sack of the Minister of Youth Development , Inuwa Abdulkadir, saying that aside the Nigeria civil war never has there been any time the country has lost many as that being experienced in the north due to activities of religious fanatics. “The country was taken aback recently, when the Minister of Youth Develop-

ment said that those serving in the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, scheme must be deployed to states where the Boko Haram insurgency is prevalent. Such pronouncement is not only shocking, it is also embarrassing, as the insistence that a constitutional amendment is required before young men and women are deployed only to safe places areas for them to discharge the mandatory one year national service is devoid of logic and common sense, he said”.

He said that this level of insensitivity leaves one with no other option than calling for his removal from a government that is grappling with too many challenges, even as he stated that minister’s comments that redeployment should only be on health grounds or for those married portrays him as blind to the realities in the country. Akwaeze insisted that the minister is expected to offer the best of advice to government on issues like this. Averting tears and

bloodshed by rescinding the policy directive must therefore not be misconstrued for weakness on the part of government. He said, it is known that many influential people in government and society influence the postings of their children and wards and so should not worsen the plight of the less privileged who have invested their meager resources in training their children. “Many Nigerians cannot tell where their next meal comes from let alone the

high priced NYSC deployments and redeployment. It is worthy of note that nobody is excited over the N5million given to each family of the 10 NYSC members killed in post election violence in some northern states in 2011. No amount of compensation is worth the tears and agony of losing a child, ward or relation in very avoidable circumstance”, he said. He said the statement confirms fears of many Nigerians that President Goodluck Jonathan’s ad-

ministration has been hijacked by persons working against its interest. The community leader said, it is not convincing enough to tell Nigerians that the decision to expose thousands of youths to danger is a for good of the country, even as he maintained that government that cannot guarantee the safety of a Senator and hundreds of others who lost their lives in gruesome circumstances should spare some thought to exposing more people to danger.

Baby born with strange ear

Lagos to promote agriculture in schools

LATEEFAH IBRAHIM-ANI-

MURITALA AYINLA

MASHAUN

A

two-day-old baby of Mr and Mrs Kabir Branco, delivered last Friday of Ramadan at Sekinah Hospital, Alapere Lagos, has been found with an Arabic inscription of “Allah” on his left ear. The baby boy was born through cesarean session in the early hours of Friday which coincided with the 29th day of Ramadan. The father, Mr Kabir Branco, said the inscriptions were noticed two days after birth by a visitor who came to felicitate with them, which every person especially, those with knowledge of Arabic confirmed. According to Director of the hospital and member

of the West African College of Surgeon, Dr Buhari Adedayo, the baby’s mother registered early and the scan did not detect the baby’s sex early. ‘’Few weeks to the birth, the mother was told to carry out another scan which reflected she had a massive fibroid. The doctor said the baby’s ear was unusual large and he would find out if it is a form of deformity or miracle. “We thank Allah she delivered safely. I was to take her to a pediatrician to check the baby’s breathing but it eventually picked up”, he said. Meanwhile, the mother, Kaotharah Branco, said she usually had nightmares during the pregnancy but thanked Allah she and her baby are well.

T

A woman destitute soliciting for alms at Bere area of Ibadan, Oyo State. PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

The ear lobe

he Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives is set to promote agriculture in secondary schools by educating them on measures, procedures and basic principles of farming. Speaking at the flaggingoff ceremony of summer school coaching, organised for Senior Secondary School Two, SS2, students in the state at the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric YES) premises, Araga, Epe, Commissioner for Agriculture and Co-operatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, disclosed that the programme was put together to groom and prepare them towards becoming successful farmers. He lamented that part of problems encountered in the past was the unavailability of qualified and well equipped farmers that eventually lead to the dwindling agricultural sector. He said: “Virtually all the 36 states in Nigeria have brought innovations into agriculture in their various states”.

Agency disowns lawyer in Anambra CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

T

he Anambra State Waste Management Authority has disowned an Onitsha based lawyer, just as it has concluded plans to prosecute those involved in offences like throwing wastes in unauthorised places and refusal to pay

sanitation fees. The prosecution of the alleged offenders which will take place in some designated magistrate courts in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi among other key cities that were approved by the state Chief Judge. Announcing the development, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the ASWAMA,

Dr Anthony Okoye, said they will hire a prosecutor to prosecute all suspected offenders to be arraigned at the designated courts. Speaking on the issue of the lawyer who allegedly issued pre -court action notices to some suspected sanitation offenders under guise that he has been appointed by ASWAMA, Okoye denied ever appointing any-

one in Onitsha to handle the cases that will be sent to the courts. He warned the public to discountenance the pre-action notices given to them for lack of proper authority. His words “we have not mandated anybody to prosecute on our behalf, however in Onitsha, an agency has been mandated to collect sanitation levy and any-

thing to do with prosecution is entirely in the purview of ASWAMA,” The Managing Director also announced that they have arrested man in Awka, for allegedly engaging in illegal collection of sanitation fee, to curtail the activities of impersonators who extort money from the public under guise that they are agents of ASWAMA.

Dr Okoye urged the public to buy waste disposal buckets, adding that their enforcement team will soon begin the enforced compliance of sanitation regulations, even as commended Governor, Peter Obi for assistance to ASWAMA, especially in the releaseof funds, which has enabled them to keep the environment clean.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

North

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Appointment of new judges to ensure justice, says Shettima INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

B

orno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has said that the newly appointed eight high court judges and 10 magistrates in the state are to ensure speedy dispensation of justice and also to decongest the prisons. The governor disclosed this yesterday while addressing inmates at the Maximum Security Prison, Maiduguri, when he paid them a Sallah homage

marking the celebration of Eid-El-Fitr. He said the visit became necessary to identify with the inmates, as according to him, they are also human beings that need to be recognised by his government. He added that most of them, after serving their jail terms, will equally contribute to the development of the society. His words: “We are here to celebrate with you, we have brought two bulls for you to slaughter with assorted bags of rice, millet,

spaghetti, vegetable oil, among others, and I urge you to be law abiding and pray in your respective cells for peace to come back to our troubled state. In fact, let me tell you that you are more secured here than most of us outside there, as you can sleep with your two eyes closed. ‘My advice for you is to utilise the opportunity of the training schemes taking place here so that when you come back to the real society, my administration will support you to become self-

reliant,” Shettima stated. The Governor also confirmed that some of the detainees, particularly those awaiting trial and prisoners that have served more than 10 years, without being convicted by a lawful court, needed to have their cases reviewed. He said his Special Adviser on Legal Matters, Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawan, should come out with some modalities on how to reduce their jail terms for various offences allegedly committed in the state.

51

Two killed in Biu separate mosques’ attack INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

T

wo persons were yesterday reportedly killed in Biu, Borno State by gunmen. The killing came barely 24 hours after a bombladen car refused to detonate in Maiduguri, the state capital. Biu is 187 kilometres south of Maiduguri and is the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency. A resident, who did not want his name mentioned yesterday said: “Two gunmen joined our Mosque for the early morning prayers, and as the prayer was ongoing, one of us (worshippers) was shot at a close range and he slumped and died. Two hours after the incident, another local Islamic cleric was trailed

to the mosque by separate gunmen that opened fire at the worshippers. The worshippers had to run for safety, but the cleric was shot dead, before men of the Operation Flush II rushed to the scene and condoned off the place to prevent further attacks and killings.” He said the killings in Maiduguri, had spread to other areas and continued to claim the lives of people in Biu without reason. Confirming the separate incidents yesterday in Maiduguri, the spokesman of the Borno State police command, Gideon Jibrin, a Deputy Superintendant of Police, said that it was true that suspected gunmen attacked two separate Mosques in Biu on Monday and yesterday.

Bauchi council boss vows to checkmate hoodlums EZEKIEL TITUS BAUCHI

D Chairperson, Bauchi State Council of the Federation of Muslim Women, Hajia Uwani Sanni (left) and her Plateau State counterpart, Wasilat Abdusalam (right), during the donation of relief materials to Plateau State flood victims in Jos, yesterday.

Conspirators behind Kaduna unrest, says governor’s aide A ZA MSUE KADUNA

T

he Special Adviser to Kaduna State governor, Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, on Christian Matters, Rev. Joseph Hayab, has said that the violence witnessed in the state in the past was caused by conspirators and not Christians and Muslims. Hayab said this yesterday while speaking with journalists in Kaduna as he called on followers of the two religions to reject being used by few individuals who promote violence and instability in the state. He said Governor Yakowa would assist victims of post-elections violence with N310 million, advising residents to compliment govern-

ment peace efforts by living in harmony with one another. His words: “Kaduna State is suffering from the antics of conspirators. These conspirators are scattered across the religions and tribes. They spread rumours to Christians and Muslims. “They are bent to divide us Christians and Muslims. Christians and Muslims should reject these few conspirators because Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa wants peace, unity and the development of the state. “I can tell you that what is happening in Kaduna State is purely the business of conspirators. Let’s put them to shame because Christians and Muslims want peace.” Hayab said if the Fed-

eral Government would use the Lemu-led post elections violence committee report to assist victims in the state, it will further address their sufferings. “Kaduna State gov-

ernment is giving assistance of N310 million as compensation to victims of the post-elections’ violence for their houses and places of worships so that they will start a new life,” he added.

isturbed by the menace of hoodlums in its domain, the Bauchi Metropolitan Council has promised to curtail the activities of the dreaded ‘Sara Suka’ in the area. The council’s Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Umar Aliyu, speaking in an interview with journalists yesterday regretted that the activities of the thugs is causing panic among the residents. According to him, the Sara Suka hoodlums have been unleashing mayhem on innocent people without any provocation.

He said the local government deemed it imperative to checkmate such despicable acts in order to protect the lives and property of the populace. He said they were given directives by the state government to deal decisively with the culprits who attacked, killed and maimed people during the month of Ramadan. Aliyu, who ascribed the rate of crimes among youths to unemployment and poverty, pledged that the council will engage the teeming restive youths of the local government in various jobs and occupations with a view to curtailing the menace.

Sokoto’ll explore crude oil deposits – Wamakko

S

okoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, said the state government has concluded plans to explore its abundant crude oil deposits. Wamakko stated this on Monday in Sokoto while receiving the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who paid him Sallah homage. “We will soon write the Federal Government on the issue with a view to complying with the necessary guidelines. “The oil deposits, when

fully explored and exploited, will certainly boost the socio-economic status of the people of the state as well as the nation’s economy.” The governor promised that the state government would soon commence the implementation of a new salary structure for traditional rulers in the 23 local government areas of the state. “A committee set up to look into the remunerations of traditional rulers in the state had com-

Gov. Wamakko

pleted its assignment. “We will soon come up with a white paper on the new salary for traditional rulers and send a bill to the House

of Assembly to legalise the package,” Wamakko said. He commended the traditional ruler for their unalloyed support and cooperation to the state government, adding that arrangements had been concluded to introduce a special irrigation programme to boost food production. The Sultan said the visit was to felicitate with the governor on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.


52

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

World News

Bank staff wins £18,500 for injury sustained carrying £1,000 coins

54 WORLD BULLETIN Liberian president suspends son as apex bank deputy governor Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has suspended one of her sons from the post of central bank deputy governor for failing to declare his assets, her office has said. Charles Sirleaf was among 46 officials suspended for not making the disclosure to anticorruption officials, it said. He was one of three sons appointed to top posts by his mother following her re-election last year. Critics accuse Mrs Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace laureate, of nepotism. She has appointed her son, Fumba, as head of the National Security Agency and another son, Robert, as a senior adviser and chairman of the state-owned National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).

South Africa mine drops threat to fire workers Mining giant Lonmin has dropped its threat to fire workers who failed to return to work at a South African mine after deadly clashes last week. The decision came after the South African government appealed to the firm to withdraw the ultimatum for workers at the Marikana mine. Last week, police shot dead 34 strikers at the mine. The country’s parliament has held a special debate on the killings, amidst a national outcry. President Jacob Zuma had already declared a week of national mourning and promised to appoint a commission of inquiry into the shooting.

Togo authorities fire tear gas to disperse protesters Togolese authorities fired tear gas yesterday to disperse a protest by several thousand people in the capital Lome, the latest such move in the volatile build-up to parliamentary polls expected in October. The streets of the capital were tense after the tear gas was fired and demonstrators scattered, with some protesters burning tyres and erecting roadblocks. It was the first of three days of planned protests by Let’s Save Togo, a coalition of opposition and civil society groups. It was not immediately clear whether the marches set for Wednesday and Thursday would go ahead. Several previous demonstrations have also been dispersed with tear gas.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

E

thiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a regional strongman in the volatile Horn of Africa who ruled with an iron fist for over two decades, has died in hospital in Brussels after a long illness, officials said yesterday. Meles, a former rebel who came to power in 1991 after toppling the bloody dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam, set Ethiopia on a path of rapid growth and played a key role in mediating regional conflicts, but also drew criticism for cracking down on opponents and curtailing human rights. The 57-year-old -- a key Western ally in a region home to AlQaeda-linked groups -- had not been seen in public since the G20 summit in Mexico in June. European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said Meles had died in Brussels, but the Ethiopian government said only that he had died abroad. “Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away yesterday evening at around midnight,” said government spokesman Bereket Simon, adding he had been “struggling to be healthy in the last year.” “He had been recuperating well, but suddenly something happened and he had to be

T

“Egypt is the cornerstone of the region and has a special stature in the Arab and Muslim countries... and we want relations of friendship and brotherhood with it” – Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister dies, deputy takes over

Officials moving a portrait of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi shortly after an announcement of his death was made in Addis Ababa yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

rushed to the ICU (intensive care unit) and they couldn’t keep him alive,” he added. Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, 47, who has also been foreign minister since 2010, will take over interim power, Bereket said. Unlike many core members of the ruling party, Hailemariam does not hail from the far

north of the country but from the Southern Nation, Nationalities and People’s Region, the most populous of Ethiopia’s nine ethnic regions. World leaders offered high praise for Meles -- British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed him as “an inspirational spokesman for Africa” -- but rights groups said his death offered

a chance to end a brutal crackdown on basic freedoms. Meles was regularly singled out as one of the continent’s worst human rights predators, and Amnesty International called on new leaders to end his government’s “ever-increasing repression”. Human Rights Watch called for the next administration to repeal a much-criticised 2009 anti-terrorism law, under which multiple opposition figures and journalists, including two Swedes, have been jailed for lengthy terms. Ethiopia has declared a state of national mourning, but has not fixed a date for a funeral, said Bereket, adding that “everything is stable” in the country. Diplomats and analysts in Addis Ababa say it has not been clear how the government has been run since Meles was reported to have been hospitalised in June. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga told the BBC that Meles had been “a great leader” but said he also “fears for the stability of Ethiopia upon his death.”

Profile of Ethiopia’s new leader

he death of Ethiopia’s powerful leader pushed his relatively unknown successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, into the spotlight yesterday, and he may be merely a placeholder or might hang on to become Ethiopia’s next longtime leader, as a report from the Associated Press has shown. Ethiopia’s communication minister said government policy would remain consistent under Hailemariam, the former deputy prime minister and foreign minister who is now acting prime minister pending his swearing-in before an emergency session of parliament. The ruling party controls 546 of the 547 seats of parliament, all but ensuring Hailemariam’s ascension to prime minister. The country’s armed forces pledged allegiance to the country’s constitution and vowed to defend it during the post-Meles

Zenawi era. Meles died Monday of an unknown illness at age 57. He had ruled Ethiopia since the 1990s. Hailemariam was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs in September 2010, right after the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s fourth successive election victory. A few weeks after the vote the party’s congress promoted Hailemariam as a deputy chair of the party. Although Hailemariam appears likely to soon take the oath of prime minister, the ruling party congress is scheduled to meet in late September and will decide if he will remain in the post until the 2015 elections. Political observers say the party congress could see fierce competition for the post. One analyst said he doubted Hailemariam could win over the military and

Hailemariam Desalegn

intelligence leaders. “I believe he will face a great challenge of being taken seriously by his subordinates for three reasons. First as he never exercised real power at national level, there is little established

fear and respect about him,” said Jawar Mohammed, an Ethiopian political analyst now studying at Columbia University in New York. “Second most of his subordinates are going to be individuals with longer experience and personal stature than him, which means they will overshadow him.” Negasso Gidada, a former Ethiopian president, said he does not know Hailemariam well. “But they must know him well and have a confidence in him that they appoint him a deputy prime minister. I have no reason to doubt that,” says Negasso, now the country’s largest opposition leader. The ruling EPRDF, a coalition of four parties has always appointed key members of Meles’ Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front to key posts, including foreign affairs.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

World News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Syrian forces kill 23 rebels in Damascus G overnment forces stormed a rebel-held town outside Damascus yesterday after days of fierce fighting, killing dozens of people including at least 23 fighters, according to activist groups and a rebel spokesman. In Aleppo, a Japanese TV reporter was killed Monday while covering the fighting in Syria’s largest city. She was the first foreign journalist to die in the city since clashes between rebels and regime forces erupted there al-

most a month ago. In neighboring Lebanon, where the civil war in Syria has been spilling across the border, security officials said clashes between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad have left two dead and as many as 45 wounded in some of the most serious fighting in Lebanon in several months. The army said the injured include nine Lebanese soldiers. Damascus and its suburbs

have witnessed a dramatic spike in fighting over the past month. And regime forces were further stretched when a major battle for control of the northern city of Aleppo erupted around the end of July. Before that, the fighting had been concentrated outside the big cities during the 17-month-old uprising. It has proved difficult for Assad’s forces to quell the rebel challenge in the big cities, a sign that the regime’s grip on power

Syrian boys looking at a destroyed tank near a damaged mosque in the city of Azaz, Syria on Monday.

PHOTO: AP

over the country is loosening. The Local Coordination Committees activist group and a rebel spokesman said regime troops entered the opposition-held town of Moadamiyeh at dawn from four points, raiding homes in search of anti-Assad fighters. The rebel spokesman, who asked to be identified by his first name only, Ahmed, said three men in their late 20s and early 30s were shot dead execution style in the town soon after its fell to regime forces. He also said 23 fighters from the Free Syrian Army rebel group were killed when government forces stormed the town at dawn. Later, activists said dozens of bodies were found dumped in a building’s shelter in the town. The LCC said they appear to have been killed execution style. But Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said it was not clear whether they were people who had been killed in the shelling, or whether they had been shot dead. The reports could not be independently verified. Moadamiyeh, west of the capital Damascus, had been under siege for more than two weeks. Its capture followed days of intense fighting and shelling by government troops.

US army chief’s plane hit by Afghan rocket attack

A

n insurgent rocket attack on a US air base in Afghanistan has damaged the plane of America’s top military officer while he was on a visit there. Gen Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not near the plane at the time but two US maintenance crew were slightly injured. The attack happened late on Monday night at the US air base in Bagram. He was in Afghanistan to discuss a growing number of attacks against NATO soldiers by Afghan security personnel. Gen Dempsey had arrived on Monday in a C-17 transport aircraft which was parked at Bagram. A statement from NATO’s Isaf force said shrapnel from “an indirect fire round” had damaged the plane as well as a NATO helicopter. The general was in his room at the time of the attack, according to officials. “He was nowhere near the aircraft. We think it was a lucky shot,” NATO spokesman Col Thomas Collins is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. Gen Dempsey had left Afghanistan by yesterday morning

using another plane. There have been insurgent attacks against the heavily fortified base, located about 30 miles (50km) north of Kabul. In May 2010 militants launched a coordinated assault on Bagram, injuring several NATO troops. Two US soldiers were killed in a similar attack in June 2009. Gen Dempsey’s visit to discuss so-called “green on blue” killings came after an incident on Sunday in which an Afghan in a police uniform shot dead a

General Dempsey

NATO soldier. The victim was the 10th US soldier to die in such an attack in two weeks

Nato forces are due to withdraw combat troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with only training troops remaining.

Netanyahu condemns hate attack on Palestinians

I

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday strongly condemned a brutal hate attack on young Palestinians last week in Jerusalem, describing it as a combination of “racism and violence.” “In the state of Israel we will not tolerate racism nor the combination of racism and violence,” he said in remarks relayed by his office. The attack in Jerusalem’s central Zion Square, a busy late-night meeting place in the heart of the city’s bar and entertainment district, took place early on Friday. Dozens of Israelis targeted

four cousins from Israeli-annexed Arab east Jerusalem. Press reports said hundreds of onlookers failed to intervene. One victim, Jamal Julani, 17, remained in a serious condition in hospital on Tuesday. Netanyahu spoke to the director of the hospital to ask about “the victims of this terrible incident in Jerusalem,” his office said. “This is something that we cannot accept -- not as Jews, not as Israelis. This is not our way,” he said, pledging to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly. The premier noted that “the

entire state and all of its leaders come out together against such phenomena.” “This is what makes us unique in the environment around us and this will continue to make us unique. I hope that one day our environment will change as well. But we will be persistent in our complete opposition to racism and violence,” he said. Police have arrested seven suspects since the incident -- six aged between 13 and 17 and one 19-yearold -- and by Tuesday Jerusalem courts extended the remand of six of them, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

53

WORLD BULLETIN Assange supporters target British govt’s websites The Anonymous cyber-hacking group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a series of attempted attacks on British government websites, in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Anonymous said on Twitter it had launched the attacks in support of Assange, who is holed up in the London embassy of Ecuador, which has granted him asylum as he bids to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations. A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said its website “has been experiencing some disruption. “This is a public information website and no sensitive data is held on it. No other Ministry of Justice systems have been affected.” A similar attack was made on the website of British Prime Minister David Cameron, but it failed to bring the site down, a Downing Street spokesman said.

Cuba convicts 12 of corruption in nickel industry A Cuban court has convicted a dozen people of corruption including high-ranking government officials, an executive at a state-run nickel company and workers at a Cuban-Canadian joint concern, official media announced yesterday. In a case involving a contract for the expansion of the Pedro Soto Alba nickel and cobalt processing plant at the Moa mine, the sentences range from four to 12 years, Granma said. The court in the eastern province of Holguin took into account “the gravity of these acts and their harmful consequences in one of the strategic activities for the nation’s economy, and the conduct of the accused, characterized by the loss of ethical values and deception,” the bulletin read. The announcement was the first official confirmation of a probe that since last year has been the source of rumour and private discussion by diplomats on the island.

26 alleged neo-Nazis on trial in Germany Twenty-six alleged neo-Nazis are on trial in Germany on accusations they were responsible for a spate of attacks on leftists in western Germany. Prosecutors say the men, aged 19 to 54, kept files on left-wing activists including addresses, license plate numbers and photographs. Starting in 2009 until their arrest in March, they are accused of attacks that included attempting to set fire to cars, throwing stones through windows and street fights. They’re also accused of spraypainting neo-Nazi graffiti, damaging 40 election campaign signs, and putting stickers reading “Rudolf Hess Street” in tribute to Hitler’s deputy over street signs. Charges in the trial that opened in Koblenz state court yesterday include membership in a criminal organization, arson and robbery with potential penalties ranging up to 15 years in prison.


54

World News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Bank staff wins £18,500 for injury sustained carrying £1,000 coins

A

bank cashier has won £18,500 from her former employers after injuring her back lifting heavy bags of coins, Daily Mail has reported. Mary Deller said she was asked to carry two bags of cash - each containing 500 in £1 coins - without being given health and safety training at a branch of NatWest in Cheriton, Kent, The 26-year-old said that as she lifted the bags - which weighed a total of just over 21lbs, or 1.5 stone - she felt a ‘click in her back’ and ‘intense pain’. Miss Deller, of Folkestone, Kent, said she has been ‘crippled with pain’ since the incident in September 2010 but took painkillers and continued to work for a week before phoning in sick. Her doctor sent her to a specialist spinal surgeon, who diagnosed two bulging discs - a painful condition caused by discs in the spine moving out of line.

She said she had been unable to work since the injury, and last week received a payout of £18,500 in an out of court settlement with the bank to cover her lost earnings. Miss Deller, speaking today, said: ‘Lots of customers had been in during their lunch break to bank bags of coins, which had started to mount up behind the till area. ‘I bent down to pick up two lots of coin bags, which had 500 £1 coins in, to put on a nearby trolley. ‘I felt a click in my lower back and then an intense pain. At the time I thought I’d just pulled a muscle and carried on as normal. ‘I managed to carry on working for the next week, but my back was still painful and I was starting to rely on painkillers to get me through the day.’ ‘Eventually I couldn’t get out

of bed because it hurt so much and my doctors signed me off work for eight weeks.’ Miss Deller said she was prescribed seven different kinds of tablets, including anti-depressants, pain killers and anti-inflammatories. She said the medication left her feeling light-headed and depressed. Mary Deller received a £18,500 payment for lost earnings after claiming NatWest never trained her how to pick up heavy items safely She went on: ‘I just don’t feel like me anymore. I used to be really active and loved nights out dancing and exercising at the gym but now I’m hobbling around in constant pain.’ Miss Deller insisted she was never taught how to lift heavy items properly by NatWest. She added: ‘I wasn’t given any health and safety induction

Deller

or manual handling training or even just any general hints and tips about how to lift things without hurting myself.” Sophie Davies, a workplace accident specialist at Irwin Mitchell - which helped Miss Deller in her case to recover lost earnings and costs for specialist medical treatment - said it was crucial that employers provide health

and safety training to staff. She said: ‘Unfortunately we see many cases like Mary’s where people have been injured because they haven’t received any proper health and safety training by their employer.’ A spokesman for NatWest refused to comment on the payout, stating: ‘We do not comment on individual cases.’

Astronomers see star devouring planet

A

How it works: A tiny laser pulse is fired towards an object

PHOTO: TED

Researchers build camera that takes a trillion pictures per second

M

IT researchers have created a camera which can take images so fast - one trillion of them in just a second - that it can capture light as it travels across objects. Nothing can go faster than the speed of light, which thanks to the work of scientific legends such as Leon Foucault and Einstein, we know to be 299,792,458 metres per second in a vacuum. But developers at MIT have managed to catch up, with their camera taking so many images that, when you play them in sequence at super-low-speed, you can see a light beam as it travels from A to B. The fascinating video below was demonstrated at a TED tech-

nology conference in Edinburgh. It shows a burst of light traveling the length of a one-litre Coke bottle, bouncing off the cap, before then reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom. First of all pointing out that Coca Cola did not sponsor this experiment, Media Lab Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar explained the physics behind the experiment to the TED crowd in Edinburgh. In order to get a grip on how short this time is, an oft-quoted example is that a femtosecond is to a second what a second is to about 32 million years. The laser, turned on and off, sends out a small beam of light, measuring in length just a milli-

metre. The light is directed at a Coca Cola bottle in a darkened room, and the camera then film the light as it (relatively) slowly enters the bottle through the plastic bottom, moves to the far end while scattering light within the bottle, and then bounces off the bottle cap. This is the first time light has publicly been filmed moving, and could have huge repercussions in everything from photography to medical revolutions to shopping. If the technology can become cheap to produce commercially, people could carry scanners to the supermarket and check the ripeness of their fruit and vegetable, as the scanner can beam light into, say, a tomato.

stronomers have found evidence for a planet being devoured by its star, yielding insights into the fate that will befall Earth in billions of years, BBC has reported. The team uncovered the signature of a planet that had been “eaten” by looking at the chemistry of the host star. They also think a surviving planet around this star may have been kicked into its unusual orbit by the destruction of a neighboring world. Details of the work have been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The US-Polish-Spanish team made the discovery when they were studying the star BD+48 740 - which is one of a stellar class known as red giants. Their observations were made with the Hobby Eberly telescope, based at the McDonald Observatory in Texas. Rising temperatures near the cores of red giants cause these elderly stars to expand in size, a process which will cause any nearby planets to be destroyed. “A similar fate may await the inner planets in our solar system, when the Sun becomes a red giant and expands all the way out to Earth’s orbit some five billion years from now,” said co-author Prof Alexander Wolszczan from Pennsylvania

State University in the US. The first piece of evidence for the missing planet comes from the star’s peculiar chemical composition. Spectroscopic analysis of BD+48 740 revealed that it contained an abnormally high amount of lithium, a rare element created primarily during the Big Bang 14 billion years ago. Lithium is easily destroyed in stars, so its high abundance in this ageing star is very unusual. “Theorists have identified only a few, very specific circumstances, other than the Big Bang, under which lithium can be created in stars,” Prof Wolszczan explained. “In the case of BD+48 740, it is probable that the lithium production was triggered by a mass the size of a planet that spiralled into the star and heated it up while the star was digesting it.” The second piece of evidence discovered by the astronomers is the highly elliptical orbit of a newly discovered planet around the red giant star. The previously undetected world is at least 1.6 times as massive as Jupiter. Co-author Andrzej Niedzielski of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, said that orbits as eccentric as this one are uncommon in planetary systems around evolved stars.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Health & Wellbeing

55

Facts you should know about GERD W

hat is GERD? GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Gastroesophageal reflux refers to the acidic content of your stomach flowing backward into your esophagus ( the tube that carries food from the back of the mouth down to the stomach). When this happens, you experience a burning discomfort or pain in your chest. This condition is also known as heartburn but its only relationship to the heart is that its symptoms may be mistaken fir heart problems if a person is not familiar with the pain or discomfort he or she is experiencing. How does GERD occur? At the bottom of the esophagus is a ring like muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter. When you swallow food, this muscular ring opens to let food pass into the stomach, where a natural form of acid is produced to help digestion. The sphincter muscle then closes to prevent the acidic stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. If this muscle is not able to do this job, the acidic stomach contents flow backwards and because the esophagus does not have the protective lining of the stomach, these acidic contents can cause a burning discomfort. What are the symptoms of GERD? The main symptom of GERD is a burning stomach or pain in the lower chest, usually close to the bottom of the breastbone. Often, this is accompanies by an acid or sour taste in the mouth. You may also have belching and a feeling of bloating or fullness of the stomach. These symptoms tend to occur after large meals and especially with activity such as bending or lifting after meals. The symptoms may be made worse by lying down or by wearing light clothing. GERD is very common during the last months of pregnancy, affecting about half of all women. The growing weight of the baby pushes on the stomach and this may cause the lower esophageal sphincter to allow the backflow of stomach contents. How is GERD diagnosed? GERD can usually be diagnosed from your medical history, including your description of your symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order a barium swallow (a contrast medium,’ that helps depict the esophagus and stomach in an x-ray, or an upper endoscopy. In an upper endoscopy, a lighted tube is inserted into your mouth and carefully positioned to help view the lining of your esophagus. This procedure can help rule out the presence of ulcers and other problems that might cause the symptoms. How serious is GERD? Gastroesophageal reflux disease can be uncomfortable but it responds well to treatment and is usually not a serious problem. But if your symptoms occur frequently, there is a possibility that esophagitis, or inflammation of the lining of the esophagus will develop. In severe esophagitis, bleeding and ulcers and an increased risk of cancer can re-

sult. Your doctor may decide to regularly evaluate the lining of your esophagus with periodic upper endoscopy, to help you avoid these problems. How is GERD treated? The simplest treatment for GERD is to minimize the intra-abdominal pressure associated with meal times. This involves reducing the portion size of meals and avoiding lifting and bending after eating. Losing excess weight will also help eliminate pressure on

the sphincter muscle and help alleviate your symptoms. Women who are experiencing the symptoms of GERD while pregnant may try eating smaller meals of greater frequency, which will re3duce the pressure on the sphincter muscle and keep food in the stomach to soak up stomach acid. Over-the-counter (non-prescription) antacids (tablets or liquid) taken as directed before ar after meals and at bedtime may help prevent symptoms. It

is also an important and effective part of treatment to avoid substances that are known to make symptoms worse. These include tobacco, alcohol, coffee, aspirin and acidic, spicy or greasy food. Some examples of foods and beverages to avoid include: • Citrus fruits and juices • Tomato-based foods and sauces • Onions • Chocolate • Peppermint and spearmint. Anithistamins, birth control pills, as well as some medications used in the treatment of asthma and heart disease may aggravate the symptoms of GERD because they decrease the strength of the lower esophageal sphincter. \To help avoid symptoms that tend to occur at nights, try using more than one pillow o raising the health of your bed, so your head is positioned higher than your stomach. If the measures described above don’t help, your doctor may prescribe medication. Prescription medications can help reduce stomach acid as well as promote stomach emptying. Medications used in the treatment of GERD usually work in just a few days, or even more quickly. Symptoms may recur however, especially if your weight increases or your use of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, or spicy and greasy food increases. How to prevent GERD Avoidance of smoking, alcohol and the foods and beverages known to increase the symptoms of GERD is the best prevention of this condition. Eating smaller meals can also help reduce the pressure on your stomach. Avoiding meals or snacks within 2 to 3 hours before bedtime can help prevent nighttime symptoms. Exercise is also good for gastrointestinal health. A good walk after a good meal will help digestion. It’s a habit that will dependably help you feel better. –Courtesy Novartis

Free medical screening for journalists at West African Health confab TOBORE OVUORIE

M

edia practitioners and stakeholders who will be covering the eight edition of West African Health Conference and Exhibition (WAH Nigeria 2012) would have the benefit of getting free comprehensive medical checks, according to the organisers of the event. The organisers have also announced that the journalists will have the opportunity to also take home medical devices designed for home use. Exhibition Coordinator of WAH 2012, Mr. Solomon Sobade, while disclosing this in a statement this week, said the journalists would be screened

for Cardiovascular diseases, kidney and liver function, HIV, malaria, among others. “Journalists in Nigeria have become endangered specie of professionals because they are exposed to various degrees of risks that compromise their total well-being,” Sobade said. According to him, the media has and would continue to play critical role in the general health and by implication, wealth of the country and continent, but added that this could only be done effectively if the practitioners are in perfect state of health themselves. “It is common knowledge that media practitioners in the country and Africa as a whole are not well remunerated. So it is usually a huge challenge for them to

pool resources from their meagre salaries together against other competing needs to do medical checks. We only see them run to the hospitals when they are down,” he said. Mr. Sobade further disclosed that a special media training session on medical and health conference coverage would also hold during the event which holds between September 5-7, 2012 at the new Expo Centre of Eko Hotel and Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos. Already, hundreds of high-profile health institutions, laboratories, medical equipment investors, consultants, representatives of governments have confirmed places at the event that would be hosted by Nigeria’s minister of health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu.


WORLD RECORD

Oldest father

Vol. 02 No. 431

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

T

N150

The oldest ever man to father a child was reportedly Les Colley (1898 - 1998, Australia), who had his ninth child a son named Oswald to his third wife at the age of 92 years 10 months. Colley met Oswald’s Fijian mother in 1991 through a dating agency at the age of 90.

Suffering in the land

he socio-economic situation in the country is getting worse by the day, while the litany of woes is stretching beyond the limits of collective endurance. The entire vista is choked with persons and institutions out to hold Nigeria to ransom through a warped notion of self importance and entitlement. For now, the country is gripped in a state of suspended animation with contending forces battling to take possession of its soul. By the time it is over, survivors would have noticed that they merely inhabit an empty shell. The pains are all over, from north to south and brought about by actions and inactions of the political leadership and their compradors. No single day passes without it reminding us of the folly of living a lie of assumed peace and concord. And in trying to paper over the cracks, more fissures have appeared in the most benign and inauspicious corners of the Nigerian empire. Before now, the country

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

had been faced with the most mortal danger to its corporate existence instigated by some strange elements, hell bent on foisting their weird version of nihilism as state ideology. Having been caught in a warp, the Federal Government finds itself continually reacting to the onslaught of these fanatics, rather than constructing effective ripostes to contain their menace. The unintended consequence of these simmering battles is that the economy is in a tailspin with the festering political sore spreading beyond the wildest of places. In such a confused milieu, all manner of actors are resorting to self help to assert or even reassure themselves of their place in the scheme of things. And this is very absurd, because the condition that produced Biafra 45 years ago, is slowly reenacting itself under a different scenario. Suddenly, the Ogoni people are strenuously arguing and demanding for an independent country devoid of any hegemony of Nigeria. Curiously, they have unfurled a flag, which they want the international community to recognize as genuine. Not to be outdone, Bayelsa State, President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state, has started imitating the ‘secessionists’ and has gone ahead to design an emblem and more so, an anthem. Also, the Bakassi people have declared independence from Nigeria, even when the United Nations and international community see them as part of Cameroun. Though this is not the first time we are witnessing such creeping irredentism given that many states in

IT HAS BECOME A SITUATION OF SOULLESS AND LOVELESS MARRIAGE BY WEARY PARTNERS TOO AFRAID TO WALK OUT OF THE RELATIONSHIP South west Nigeria had already launched such mementoes. But even when skeptics are wont to deride such antics as nothing but mere charades, they are very instructive to the extent that they have exposed the tenuous relationship that for long held the various ethnic nationalities to a capricious and predatory existence within the Nigerian conundrum. It has become a situation of soulless and loveless marriage by weary partners too afraid to walk out of the relationship. And because of a lack of character and indecision, the benighted companionship continues to endure to no end. When this scenario is extrapolated to the Nigerian environment, it becomes clear why nothing works for the general good. Rather, all manner of “vultures” are engaged in a feeding frenzy on the country’s resources to their heart’s content, thereby producing a coterie of idle filthy super rich, who are cohabiting with a sea of powerless

and deprived humanity. The fuel subsidy scandal has exposed a cozy and complicit relationship between politicians and some robber barons that over the years helped themselves from the common patrimony. Is it any wonder that the stirrings and protests are assuming more deadly dimensions with the increasing incidences of kidnappings for ransom? Devoid of any conscience and morality, some fringe groups and individuals are now employing this atavistic tactics to make money. Incidentally, many of those being kidnapped and subjected to such indignities are harmless law abiding citizens, whose only crime is that they worked hard to afford the basic necessities of life. But why should some people choose this path of infamy to make a living? The answer may not be unconnected with the creaky nature of our country which has subjected the very many to a Hobessian state, where life is short, nasty and brutish, while encouraging a culture of lawlessness and impunity at the highest levels of economic and political governance. Then throw in a situation where 80 percent of the population live below the international accepted poverty line of $2 a day, and only three out of every 10 Nigerians are in any form of gainful employment, then one sees a country sitting on a combustible mix of anarchy and mayhem. The lack of enabling environment is not helping matters either, as investors continue to shun Nigeria in spite of her proverbial oil wealth, for more saner and organized climes of other African countries. Is there any wonder the country’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranking is falling to abysmal all time low? It would be recalled that the average life expectancy of a Nigerian male at Independence in 1960, was 60 years and female, 65 years. Today it stands at 45 and 50 years respectively. Painfully, the parlous economic situation is not helped by the lack of creative and inventiveness on the part of executive and legislative branches of government where narrow selfish interests seem to be an overriding reason why they are clinging to power.

Sport Extra

B

ritish Mo Farah will lead a glittering cast at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on Sunday. Farah, who won the 5,000 and 10,000 gold medals at the London Olympics, will race over two miles in the concluding

Diamond League: Farah seeks fresh glory in Birmingham event at the Alexander Stadium. Steve Ovett’s record of 8:13.51 set in 1978 is likely to be under threat from the Somalian-born Briton, who will line up against Kenyans Sammy Mutahi

and Mark Kiptoo. A long jump competition will see Olympic champion Greg Rutherford take on Americans Mitchell Watt and Will Claye, who took silver and bronze in London, as well as triple jump champion

Christian Taylor. British sprinters Adam Gemili and Christian Malcolm will compete in the 200m alongside Americans Ryan Bailey and Wallace Spearmon. Perennial rivals Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and

American sprinter Carmelita Jeter go head-to-head once again in the highlight of the women’s events. Farah is however expected to extend his glorious London 2012 run at the Birmingham event.

Mo Farah

Printed and Published by Global Media Mirror Ltd: Head Office: Mirror House, 155/161 Broad Street, Lagos Tel: 07027107407, Abuja Office: NICON Insurance House, Second Floor, Central Business District Area, Abuja Tel: 08070428249, Advert hotline: 01-8446073, Email: mail@nationalmirroronline.net. Editor: SEYI FASUGBA. All correspondence to PMB 10001, Marina, Lagos. Printed simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja and Ondo State. ISSN 0794-232X.


Wednesdasy, 22 August, 2012