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Soyinka, groups condemn N4bn budget for First Ladies’ House

Singer, Big Brother housemate, Goldie, 28, dies in Lagos

Protest, a wakeup call –Fashola

TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE AND MURITALA AYINLA Dame Jonathan

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obel prize winner, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and members of civil society groups yesterday condemned the N4bn

earmarked for the construction of a mission house for the African First Ladies in the 2013 budget. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

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N195bn scam:

Pension boss, Maina, –Police on the run Jonathan denies protecting him ROTIMI FADEYI AND OMEIZA AJAYI

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olice authorities yesterday declared that they had been unable to arrest the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, as he was still on the run. Maina had been summoned by the Senate to defend himself over his alleged involvement in the N195bn pension fraud. He was recently declared wanted by the Police Headquarters in Abuja following an arrest warrant personally signed by the Senate President, David Mark. As a result of the inability of the police to apprehend him, the Senate had on Wednesday given a twoday ultimatum to President Goodluck Jonathan to sack

South African amputee athlete, Oscar Pristorius, charged with murder P.55

Corps members protest, hold deputy gov hostage P.46

Cross-section of 2012 Batch ‘A’ NYSC corps members during the passing out parade in Lagos yesterday.

Reps mob deputy speaker over dictatorial conduct

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Lawmakers want use of foreign currencies banned

America Airlines, US Airways in $11bn merger

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PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA

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Tukur wants S’West PDP to wrest power from ACN P.5


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Reps mob deputy speaker over dictatorial conduct TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

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eputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, yesterday escaped a physical attack by his colleagues for what they considered his faulty ruling on a bill under consideration. The lawmakers, who accused the deputy speaker of “dictatorship”, had charged at him after he stepped out of chambers, brandishing clenched fists in his face before he was spirited away by aides. The drama had begun on the floor of the House where the angry lawmakers accused Ihedioha of making “a skewed and dictatorial” ruling on a “Bill to Amend the Industrial Training Fund Act of 1971.” The lawmakers, who considered his favourable ruling on the piece of legislation, which was twice rejected by a voice vote, rushed out of the chambers and waited for Ihedioha by the main exit door where he was confronted. The bill, sponsored by Hon. Chudi Uwazuruike (PDP-Imo), seeks to amend the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, empowering it to

design, set up and operate guidelines for the training and certification nationwide at state, local government and ward levels and to establish area registries for maintaining up-to-date registers of certified artisans and technicians in all fields and in all parts of the federation. The sponsor of the bill argued that if passed into law, the legislation would set standards for artisans to expand the scope of industries. But as soon as the sponsor rested his arguments, majority of the members began to oppose the bill. The opponents argued that the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, was already doing what the bill sought and, therefore, it was unnecessary and a waste of the parliament’s time to consider its referral to the committee for a public hearing and third reading. When Ihedioha called twice for voice votes on the bill after an exhaustive debate, and the opposing voices drowned the voices for it, the deputy speaker gave it to those in favour, sparking an uproar. Ihedioha, however, gave the ruling after a brief consultation with the deputy

clerk. Hon. Ali Madaki (PDPKano), who led the onslaught against the deputy speaker, had raised a point of order, reminding him that according to the House Standing Rules, in a situation like that, the presiding officer should have divided the chamber, but Ihedioha ignored the point of order and ruled that “this bill has been referred to the Committee on Industries.” The protests against his ruling by a majority did not dissuade Ihedioha who went ahead and move for the adjournment of the plenary session as the law-

makers stormed out and ambushed him at the exit. Hon. Tijjani Abdullahi Jobe (PDP-Kano), who led the lawmakers, charged at Ihedioha saying: “You cannot continue this type of attitude in this House. You have to respect our opinion because we are all representatives of the people.” The lawmakers, who supported the bill, including Hon. Friday Itulah (PDP-Edo), Hon. Patrick Ikhariale (PDP-Edo), Hon. Sekonte Davies (PDP- Rivers) and the sponsor of the bill, Uwazuruike tried to intervene, but Hon. Aisha Ahmed (PDP- Adamawa)

who also opposed the bill on the floor said: “We cannot sit here all day and our opinion will not be taken into consideration by the presiding officer. “Nobody was elected as presiding officer from his constituency; we all voted here on the floor. This is bad and it has to stop,” she said. The deputy speaker walked past them, but as he was leaving the main building, otherwise known as the White House, for his office in the new building, he was once again blocked by his angry colleagues who told him pointedly that they were displeased with his

L-R: Esema of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; Mrs. Florence Guobadia; Prof. O.O.Akinkugbe and President Olusegun Obasanjo, at the 1st Dr. Abel Guobadia Memorial Lecture in Benin City yesterday.

Pension boss, Maina, on the run –Police CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Maina, who is also a director in the Ministry of Interior, or risk having a rocky relationship with the lawmakers. The senators’ ultimatum expires today. Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, told National Mirror that the police were still searching for Maina. He, however, appealed to the public to assist the force with information that could lead to his arrest. The police spokesman said: “If you are conversant with policing tradition, you will understand that the declaration of any person wanted is usually necessitated by a need. “In this instance, he was declared wanted because he went into hiding and made it difficult for the force to execute a warrant of arrest that was legitimately issued against him. “And the police remain irrevocably committed to

finding him and as soon as we lay our hands on him, we will arrest and take him before the Senate as mandated in that warrant of arrest. “On the allegation that he was still having policemen guarding him, Maina has no police officer on his entourage to the best of my knowledge. “And again media practitioners are responsible members of the society and even in that declaration and in the press release that we issued declaring Maina a wanted man, we did say that if any citizen had information that could help us in executing that order, the person should please pass that information to the appropriate authority. “So if you have information that could help us in executing this warrant of arrest, we will be glad to receive it from you.” The police spokesman also refused to comment on the suit instituted by Maina

handling of the matter on the floor. At this point, Ihedioha descended into the arena and shouted at his colleagues saying: “Keep shut! keep shut! Your input motives in everything we do on the floor of the House. We don’t have any interest in this bill.” But the lawmakers replied: “The way things are done in this House is wrong, you cannot continue to treat us this way.” At this point, the deputy speaker, who was still fuming in anger shouted again: “Don’t portray us in the way we are not.”

alleging undue harassment. “We will not go into those things because they have nothing to do with us; we will not be pulled into unnecessary controversies. “But the point remains that the National Assembly as represented by the Senate has issued a warrant of arrest and that warrant of arrest has mandated us to arrest him and we are focusing on that task and we are irrevocably committed to discharging that statutory responsibility,” he said. Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday said that President Goodluck Jonathan was not backing the embattled PRTT chairman against the Senate which on Wednesday gave a twoday ultimatum within which to sack him. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the fate of Maina could only be de-

cided following a laid down civil service rules. He said the procedure was that only the Head of Service of the Federation could take a decision concerning a civil servant, according to civil service rules. Abati noted that the Senate had constitutional right to summon anybody since nobody was above the law, stressing that “as a man that believes in the rule of law, the President believes that laid down procedure should be followed in addressing issues.” The presidential aide added that the Senate had the constitutional power to summon anybody and that if such person failed to appear before them, the lawmakers were also empowered to issue warrant of arrest against the person. “The President has not in any way stood in the way of the Senate in inviting Maina. You will recall that the police even declared

him wanted. “Maina is a civil servant. If he has done something that amounts to a breach of civil service rule, the appropriate office to do the right thing and ensure that due process is followed is the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation. “Nobody should suggest that the President is backing Maina. It is not an issue for the President. “There are laid down procedures for handling situations like this. The President believes in due process. It is a matter for the civil service to handle. The President does not have to be disciplining civil servants personally.” The Senate had on Wednesday ordered the immediate sack of Maina and recommended that the pension boss should be prohibited from all acts relating to public duty. The Senate in a unanimous decision also resolved that he should be immedi-

ately arrested, investigated and prosecuted. Maina had repeatedly refused to appear before the committee to explain his stewardship as the Acting Director, Customs, Immigration and Prison Pension Office, CIPPO administration and management. Adopting these stern measures, the senators said they were irked by the flagrant disrespect shown by Maina to the parliament and his display of arrogance and the larger-than-life attitude and image he showed during the public hearing. Mark said the Senate was pushed to the wall before it took the action, saying the lawmakers gave the CIPPO boss a long rope to hang himself and he did so. “The Senate has given him ample time. Maina is just an individual who perhaps said much more than he can manage and he has crucified himself. That is the bottom line of this, CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


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Photo News

Friday, February 15, 2013

L-R: Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao, during the Sultan’s visit to the Alaafin over his burnt palace in Oyo, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

L-R: Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama; his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Lady Valerie Ebe, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, during the opening of the 2013 1st quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Tuesday

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: Chairman, National Association of Catholic Diocesan Directors/Secretaries of Education, Rev Fr. Richard Omalade; Archbishop Valerian Okeke; Rev. Fr. Ikechukwu Ani and Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, during the presentation of the ‘Merit Award for Outstanding Performance’ to the governor at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha, yesterday.

L-R: Commissioner, Government and Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Abba Ibrahim; Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi; Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo; Commissioner, Finance and Management Services, NERC, Mr. Patrick Umeh and General Manager, Market Competitions and Rates, Dr. Haliru Dikko, during a visit of NERC PHOTO: NAN Chairman to the minister in Abuja, yesterday.

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NULGE draws battle line with governors over council autonomy SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN AND IJEOMA EZEIKE

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he battle line appears to have been drawn between the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, and the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, over the current move by the National Assembly and the Presidency to grant autonomy to the third tiers of government. National Mirror learnt in Benin yesterday that the leadership of NULGE is perfecting moves to challenge the subtle move by some state governors to thwart the agitation for the autonomy. Speaking on the contentious issue with our correspondent, the President of NULGE in Edo State, Comrade Patrick Okeralen, said sensitisation rallies are being planned for the six geopolitical zones to draw attention to the attempt by the governors to subvert the will of the people. He said: “If you look

at all the public hearings that were done in each of the zones outside the one sponsored by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, you will agree with me that the people are resolute that local governments should be given a pride of place; that is to say, they should be given autonomy. Out of the millions of people in this country, how can state governors that are just 36 say otherwise and insist on jeopardising our interest? We will resist it.” Complaining against what he called the manipulations of state Houses of Assembly by some governors, Okeralen said autonomy remains the only way forward to grassroots development in any democratic society. “Invariably, what other states are doing, apart from River State, is usually to take what the Federal Government gives without adding the 10 per cent internally generated revenue before allocating to the councils. “Usually, what is left af-

• NUT accuses NLC of betrayal ter subtracting the teachers’ salaries is not able to cater for staff salaries, who are suppose to be the major beneficiaries of the local government system not to talk of development,” he added. Meanwhile, the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, has accused the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, of betrayal over its stand on the issue of granting

autonomy to the councils. It described the labour body’s position on the issue as shameful. President of the NUT, Comrade Michael Alogba Olukoya, who expressed disappointment over a recent media report credited to the leadership of NLC where it urged the National Assembly not to give in to pressure on the local government autonomy, said the leadership

of NLC should be fighting the cause of NUT. He spoke at a press conference in Abuja yesterday during which he warned that primary education in the country would collapse if local governments are granted autonomy. He said: “The NLC President was the immediate past president of NUT and cannot pretend not to know the position of our union on this matter. We are not happy

hearing him saying that the National Assembly should not give in to pressure. We expect him to be our spokesperson. The press must have quoted him out of context.” Comrade Alogba further argued that the fallout of local government autonomy would include non-payment of salaries of primary school teachers nationwide as well as non-remittance of 7.5 per cent counterpart funding by the councils

FG, others share N575bn in January TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he three tiers of government shared a total sum of N575.46 billion in January. This is made up of N467.63 billion as Statutory, N62.7 billion from Value Added Tax, VAT, N35.5 billion from Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, as well as the N7.6 billion refunds from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corpora-

tion, NNPC. A breakdown of the distributions showed that the Federal Government got N264.43 billion from statutory allocation, which represents 52 per cent, while states and local governments received N109.7 billion and N84.635 billion respectively. The oil producing states shared N49.98 billion as the 13 per cent derivation. Briefing journalists at the end of the Federal Accounts Allocation Commit-

tee, FAAC meeting yesterday, Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Lawan Ngama, disclosed that the gross revenue of N651.265 billion received for the month was higher than the N581.3 billion received in December 2012 by N70.2 billion due to the significant increase recorded in the Petroleum Profit Tax. The improvement, he said, was as a result of upward review of estimates and payments by NNPC and other oil companies.

The minister said that N35.5 billion from the SUREP was also shared as part of the monthly allocation. Ngama explained that N148.7 billion was transferred to the Excess Crude Account, ECA, from the January revenue. However, N3.45 billion was also taken from the ECA as augmentation for the revenue shared for the month. Meanwhile, the cumulative accruals to the ECA also increased to $9.2 billion at the end of the month.


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Soyinka, groups condemn N4bn budget for First Ladies’ House CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Soyinka and other human right activists described the inclusion of the project in the budget as a mind-boggling fiscal misappropriation. They urged other African first ladies not to allow their names soiled with such “shameless avarice”. The activists said this during a protest march organised by Women Arise for Change Initiative, which was attended by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo; wife of the late Beko RansomeKuti, Abosede; daughter of the late Afro Beat king, Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, and others. Armed with placards of varying sizes and inscriptions, the over 100 protesters converged on the premises of the Lagos State Television, LTV, Agidingbi, Ikeja,

and marched to the Lagos House, Alausa. Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “N4bn will create jobs, so we say no to mission house;” “N4bn budget for mission house, we say no to fiscal rascality.” Soyinka, whose statement to other African First Ladies was read by the President of the Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, before the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, called on the African First Ladies to dissociate themselves from the project. He said: “There is no such thing as an African First Ladies Mission in the Nigerian appropriation list. “Any claim remotely like it is the conspiracy of sycophants, jobbers, masters of impunity, a desperate clique that unfurls a continental

umbrella as cover for private aggrandizement. He said if the African First Ladies failed to distance themselves, their names would be dented. “Your names have been invoked as the ultimate beneficiaries, and thus, you are vicariously implicated. “In the name of St. Valentine and the love I bear for you all, please dissociate yourself from this display of shameless avarice. “I shall not go so far as to ask you to denounce what you probably know nothing about, but if you ever get to hear of it, distance yourselves from the gross impropriety.

“Assist this nation in crushing the increasing acquisitive impudence of individuals and institutions that do not exist in our constitution, yet insist on fattening on national resources,” Soyinka added. Keyamo said the Office of the First Lady is not enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria in the first place, stressing that “it is sad that illegality thrives in Nigeria.” “The allocation of such fund to an office that is not recognised by the 1999 Constitution is unconstitutional, null and void. And this is significant that it is women that are protesting against this act.

“It is sad that Abuja has since become the capital of corruption. The stories that come out of the Federal capital Territory, FCT, daily are not palatable at all. “The illegality and immorality of the action is that there are many MDAs in Abuja that do not have a permanent place to operate from, they still use rented apartments. And these are institutions that are represented in the constitution of the country,” the lawyer added. Okei-Odumakin demanded that “President Goodluck Jonathan must direct the FCT minister to withdraw this budget allocation and sack him for this assault on

public morality.” She also called for the scrapping of the Office of First Lady. “Four billion naira could help millions of school age children to receive better education, equip rural clinics with drugs and do society a host of other good.” Responding, Fashola commended the protesters for the peaceful protest, describing their action as part of democratic features. He said: “This is what I think is the discharge of your own responsibilities of participation in the country’s democratic journey. For nothing, I will deliver this letter today.

Pension boss, Maina, on the run –Police CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

he has crucified himself,” Mark said. The Senate President dared anybody coming to the rescue of Maina to do so, stressing that anybody associated with him would not go scot-free. “The executive now has to choose between Maina and the Senate, that is the bottom line. If they chose to go along with Maina, fine, we will react accordingly. There is no running away from that one. It is a

test case. “If Maina remains, then the Senate will react appropriately and I don’t think we are short of ideas nor are we short of what we want to do. We know the step to take,” he added. Mark noted that nobody was bigger than the nation’s democracy, stressing that the red chamber had been extremely patient with Maina, had been very understanding so that when it reacts, Nigerians would appreciate the steps that the parliament had taken.

Singer, Big Brother housemate, Goldie, 28, dies in Lagos DENRELE NIYI

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opular Afro pop singer and ex-Big Brother Africa housemate Goldie is dead. She was aged 28. The ecclectic music diva who just returned to the country from the United States where she attended the Grammys Awards last weekend died few hours to midnight yesterday at Reddington Hospital in Victoria Island, Lagos. According to sources, Goldie, whose real name is Susan Oluwabimpe Harvey, was so full of life upon her return from the U.S. She reportedly died in the arms of her best friend Denrele Edun and her death

was confirmed to National Mirror by her record label, Kennis Music. Details of her death were still sketchy as at time of this report sources close to the late award-winning singer that ‘something went tragically wrong’. Born in 1984, the native of Ikole-Ekiti, Ekiti State enjoyed appreciable followership and success in her music career for which she won several awards, and accolades including Exquisite Lady of the year (ELOY) Best Female Artiste award 2011 and City People Best Female Artiste of the year 2009. Goldie had also been inducted as a Federal Celebrity Special Marshal alongside other notable Nigerian celebrities.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right) being administered with ash by the Primate, Church of Nigeria (Angllican Communion), Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, during Ash Wednesday service at the Basilica of Grace Church, Gudu District, Abuja, on Wednesday. PHOTO: NAN

Tukur charges S’West PDP to wrest power from ACN OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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he National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Bamanga Tukur has charged the leadership of the party in the South-West to wrest power from the opposition parties, particularly the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the zone. The National Chairman said that when PDP was formed in 1998, it was primed to be a party that will ensure a greater Nigeria. He, however, said that with the reconciliation that is going on in the party, his dream has come true. Speaking at the meeting on the conflict resolution and repositioning of

the party organised by the Board of Trustees of PDP in South-West, Tukur said that the meeting is expected to reunite the various interests of the party in the zone. He said: “We should not allow the present predicament in the South-West to dissuade us from the leadership role that you are known for. “The amalgamation of opposition into the All Progressive Congress, APC, is nothing to worry about, we don’t have headache, so we don’t need APC. “We should not dissipate our energy over the APC rather we should work towards rebuilding the nation and our party. The leadership of our party is intact. There is no crisis as peddled in the

media, people only tend to give us names; we will not support those who want us to separate.” Speaking earlier, the former Vice National Chairman (South-West) and the convener of the meeting, Shuaib Oyedokun said that the meeting is the beginning of the better things for the zone. He said that South-West is the melting point in the Nigerian politics and that it could also be the breeding point where if not taking seriously will cause serious bleeding for the nation. “This meeting is not to usurp the power of the zonal leadership. This forum is meant to bring together all of us so that we have frontal solidarity to make the South-West greater.

“We want to work hard to ensure peace and to export peace to other zones so that the leadership of Bamanga Tukur will succeed.” The National Vice Chairman (South-West), Segun Oni said that the meeting is the beginning of a new journey for the party in the South West. “We have come together to make a better Nigeria. We all yearn for a better South-West but what we have is a zone where the ACN is currently destroying our legacies. Our people are looking to us for direction particularly in the coming elections in Ekiti and Osun states.” For former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, in his keynote address titled CONTINUED ON PAGE 48>>


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Post offices to drive financial inclusion pilot scheme AYO OLESIN

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he pilot scheme of the national financial inclusion strategy will utilise post offices to spread banking services to the people of Borno State rather than rely on the conventional bank branches. The strategy will take off today in Maiduguri, the state capital. The Bankers’ Committee had explained on Tuesday, while announcing Borno State for the pilot that the successful implementation of the project in the state would help in guiding banks in replicat-

ing it in other states. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Bank Limited, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, said in Lagos yesterday that due to the current security situation in Borno State and the high cost of setting up bank branches, the promoters of the financial inclusion strategy had opted to utilise post office branches since they were already on the ground. Justifying the choice of the state for the pilot programme, Kuru said studies had determined that only 2.5 per cent of indigenes of the state earned above the national

minimum wage of N18,000 monthly, while about 87 per cent of the population lived in rural areas. The overall target of the programme is to raise the level of financial inclusion in the state; where only about 280,000 out of a population of five million people currently have access to financial services, to a level where women, youths and rural dwellers, who are currently excluded, will be integrated into the financial system. Apart from using the post office structure, Kuru said the promoters of the project would rely heavily on indigenes of the state, who would be adequately

trained and have their capacity enhanced. He said: “If we succeed with the project in Borno, it will be extended to other states of the federation; and we are convinced that we will succeed.” The project, according to him, is a joint initiative of the Federal Government, Borno State Government, the Bankers’ Committee, relevant security agencies, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Consumer Protection Council, CPC.

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Ban foreign currencies’ use, Reps tell CBN TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

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he House of Representatives has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to ban domestic transactions with the dollar to strengthen the naira. The motion was sponsored by Hon. Karibo Nadu, who regretted the deliberate weakening of the naira with the official use of the dollar in local transactions. He said: “Every country has its currency, which serves as a means of exchange, a symbol of identity, a source of pride, and a sign of fiscal independence and economic stability. “Without equivocation, the naira is Nigeria’s currency and the only means of exchange for domestic transactions known to law in Nigeria. “There is a growing trend in the use of some foreign currencies, especially the US dollar for payments of school fees, hotel bills, real estate, rents and purchase in bars, nightclubs, luxury goods shops, etc in Nigeria. “The trend has led to the high demand of foreign currencies especially the US dollars in Nigeria and it is contributing seri-

ously to the weakening of the naira against such currencies, with its resultant negative effects on our economy.” According to the lawmaker, the naira is not acceptable as a means of exchange in the United States of America and other countries whereas the use of their currencies continues is rampant in the Nigerian economy. The motion was passed after the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, called for a vote on it. But before it was passed, Hon. Arua Arunsi said in his contribution that the motion was timely, but called for a bill for a law to ban the trend. But in his contribution, the Minority Whip, Hon. Samson Osagie, said it was impossible for the Federal Government to ban the use of the dollar for local transactions. He, however, advised the government to initiate a way to raise the value of the naira. Osagie also advised the CBN to guide against the use of foreign currencies for transactions in the country. The legislator observed that the low value of the naira was encouraging its abuse.

World Bank selects Nigeria for health coverage study TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA L-R: Deputy Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Udeoji; Inspector-General, Mohammed Abubakar; DIG Suleiman Fakai and DIG Marvel Akpoyibo PHOTO: NAN during the inauguration of Police Force Insurance Auditorium and Transit Camp in Abuja, yesterday.

Jonathan, Aregbesola, NSGF task Nigerians on lessons of Lent ROTIMI FADEYI AND PRISCILLA DENNIS

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resident Goodluck Jonathan has expressed gratitude to Nigerians for praying for the peace, progress and unity of the country. Jonathan spoke at the Basilica of Grace, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, at the beginning of Lent, the forty-day fasting and prayer by Christians. According to the President, who was with his wife, Patience, and mother, Eunice, Lent is important because it helps Christians to reflect on their lives and seek God through active

sacrifice of fasting and prayers. Earlier, the Primate of the Anglican Church, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, said every Christian should take Lent seriously because of the virtues of humility, sacrifice and love for others “which the Lent teaches”. Also, Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has urged Christians to pray for peace and progress in the country during the season. The governor in a message issued by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, charged Christians to follow the example of Jesus in the

desert by giving up luxuries and practising selfdiscipline. Aregbesola called on Christians to commit themselves to making those virtues including brotherly love, tolerance, humility, service to others, honesty, fairness and equity more manifest in their daily lives. On his part, the Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, asked Christians to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner during the Lenten season to maximise the spiritual and physical benefits inherent in the season. Aliyu, who is the Chairman of the Northern States

Governor Forum, NSGF, in a statement on behalf of the 19 governors signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo, identified good intention, prayers and firmness of purpose in the pursuit of good deeds as conditions for reaping the benefits of the holy season.

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he World Bank has chosen Nigeria as one of the 22 countries for a study on Universal Health Coverage, UHC, which will focus on solutions to difficult challenges in health policy implementation. This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by the bank. The bank said the study, entitled: “Toward Synergy and Collaboration to Expand the Supply of and Strengthen Primary Health Care in Nigeria’s Federal Context, with Special Reference to Ondo State,” would focus on Ondo State. The Breton Woods institution released the set of 22 case studies of countries that have significantly expanded access to healthcare in the last decade, with the aim of helping countries make more in-

formed health policy and programme choices. The statement reads in part: “The study has come at a time when a growing number of countries tackle the fiscal challenge of providing Universal Health Coverage, UHC, for their citizens. “The researchers looked systematically at countries’ experiences with a set of parameters related to achieving UHC, including designing and managing benefits packages, expanding coverage to the poorest and excluded populations, providing quality care, and health financing.” The countries include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guetamala, India and Indonesia. Others are Jamaica, Kenya, Kysygz Republic, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and Vietnam.


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N107m contract scam: FG has no case against me –Ogbulafor EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, has indicated his intention to file a “no case submission” in response to his trial by the Federal Government. The disclosure was made by Ogbulafor’s counsel, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), yesterday, shortly after the prosecution closed its case against him and two others. Prosecuting counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had hardly concluded his case when Gadzama told

the court that “the 1st accused person will file a no case submission before the next adjourned date.” In closing the case after the last prosecution witness was cross-examined, Awomolo said: “My Lord, the prosecution has laid before the court the bone and flesh of the case and we are ready for the accused person’s no case submission.” Justice Bello adjourned the criminal case to February 28 for adoption of arguments in respect of the no case submission. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is prosecuting Ogbulafor with Emeka Ebilah and

Jude Nwokoro on a 17-count charge of conspiracy and award of fictitious contracts to the tune of N107 million. Ogbulafor allegedly committed the offence while he was the Minister of Special Duties. The offence is contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000. At the last adjourned date, the prosecution witness, Basil Momodi, told trial judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, that some of the contracts awarded by Ogbulafor were verified and approved by the Federal Government. During cross examination by counsel to the 2nd ac-

cused, Dr. Awa Kalu (SAN), he stated that the Budget Office actually certified the projects, even as he said some payment vouchers were made to the companies after verifying the projects. Some of the 17-count charge dated June 17, 2010 read thus: “That you Vincent Ogbulafor (M) and Emeka Ebilah (M) in the Month of March 2001, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the FCT High Court, being public officers, to wit; Minister In Charge of Special Duties and Secretary/Member of the National Economic Intelligence Council (NEIC) respectively, did use your positions to confer corrupt advantage upon yourselves

L-R: Lagos-based lawyer Mr. Festus Keyamo; revolutionary artiste, Ms. Yeni Kuti; Commissioner for Information, Mr.Adeyemi Ibirogba; Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola; State Attorney-General, Mr. Rahman Ipaye; President of Women Arise (WA), Dr.Joe Okei-Odumakin and Dr. Beko’s widow, Mrs. Abosede Ransome-Kuti, during a protest against the N4 billion budget allocated for the Mission House in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA

the sum of N82, 631, 03. 41 from the Federal Government of Nigeria in the name of a company HENCHRIKO NIG. LTD as payment for non-existence contract purportedly executed for the Federal Government and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences

Act 2000. “That you Vincent Ogbulafor (M) Emeka Ebilah (M) and Jude Nwokoro (M), in March 2001 or thereabouts, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of the FCT High Court, did conspire with Emmanuel C. Bosah (now deceased) to make a false statement to the NEIC contract debts verification panel.

Nigeria still committed to polio eradication –Senate GEORGE OJI ABUJA

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he Senate has reiterated Nigerian’s commitment to the eradication of polio in the country despite the killing of 10 health workers by some suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Kano State last week. The lawmakers accordingly asked the Federal Government not to be intimidated by the killings. Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, spoke during the debate on the motion on the killings of the health workers. The motion was sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. Ekweremadu said: “The government should not be intimidated, we should not be intimidated and nobody should be intimidated in the effort to eradicate polio in Nigeria.” He called on religious lead-

ers to embark on enlightenment of the public on the need to eradicate polio and to provide security for health workers engaged to administer vaccines meant for the prevention of the disease. Ekweremadu said: “There is the need for all of us to do all we need to do, including our religious leaders to help to enlighten the public on the need to eradicate this disease and then to provide security for those who are involved in the effort to eradicate it.” The lawmaker, however, blamed the killings on the increasing incidence of crimes in the country without a corresponding increase in the number and sophistication of the nation’s security personnel. He said: “A situation where we have 350,000 policemen in a country of over 160 million people is grossly inadequate and that is why criminals are having a field day.

NIA demolishes Abuja estate in spite of court order OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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he Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) has ignored a court order restraining it from forcibly possessing an Abuja disputed property until the final determination of the case. The agents of NIA yesterday moved bulldozers into the property located on Plot No 3, Karsana District, Gwarinpa in Abuja completely destroying the estate housing over one hundred buildings. The demolition incidentally was going simultaneously when the matter came up before Hon. Justice Danlami Senchi of Court 25 of the High Court. Though the matter was further adjourned till April 22, 2013, the interim

injunction earlier granted by Justice H. B. Yusuf on this same matter is still subsisting. Counsel to the property developers, Mr. Ehi Uwaifoh told journalists at the court premises that NIA action was an affront to the judiciary. He said: “In defiance of the order of court and fact of the pendency of the matter before a court of competent jurisdiction, the Director General of NIA sent operatives to break into the site on a demolition spree, there was no court order or even permit by the FCDA. It is a show of brute force, shooting sporadically, arresting construction workers in the site.” In October 2012, an Abuja High Court Judge, Justice H. B. Yusuf issued an interim order stopping the NIA, a regional manager of the

United Bank for Africa, Alhaji Sanni Usman and two others from entering or carrying out any activity on a disputed property located on Plot No 3, Karsana District, Gwarinpa in Abuja. The judge, who gave the exparte order after listening to arguments canvassed by counsel to an estate developer, Jenew Nigeria Limited, also warned against taking any step whatsoever on the property pending the determination of an interlocutory application before him. Others restrained by the order of the court from taking any step in respect of the property are Dankwari Brothers Enterprises Limited and Mr. Charles Nwakama. The court order was served on all the parties involved.

This Day in African American History

February 15: On this day in 1968— Henry Lewis Becomes the First Black American to Lead a Symphony Orchestra! Henry Lewis was born in Los Angeles, California, and began studying piano at the age of five. He later learned to play the clarinet as well as several string instruments. At the age of 16, he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic, becoming the first black instrumentalist in a major orchestra. After six years as a double-bassist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, he played with and conducted the Seventh Army Symphony while serving in the United States Armed Forces. He gained national rec-

ognition in 1961 when he was appointed assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, a post he held until 1965. In 1968, Lewis became the music director of the New Jersey symphony and transformed the local group into a nationally recognized orches-

tra that performed more than a hundred concerts every year, including outreach programs for local communities. In 1972, he debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera, conducting Puccini’s La Boheme. From 1960 to 1979, he was married to famed opera singer Marilyn Horne, who considered him her “teacher and right hand.” After retiring from the New Jersey Symphony in 1976, Lewis continued to tour as a guest conductor for twenty years until his death from a heart attack at the age of 63. Henry Lewis gained wide respect as a conductor, instrumentalist, and pioneer in the classical music world.


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South West

Training: Junior police officers not happy with IGP FRANCIS SUBERU

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unior police officers from the Lagos State police command ordered to proceed on a six-week training preparatory to their promotion from constable to corporal, have expressed displeasure over the selected venue for the training. National Mirror gathered that the InspectorGeneral of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday ordered that the officers should immediately move to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, for the training which will commence on Monday, February 25, 2013. The officers were miffed that the order came without any provision for the officers; even as they said past officers who

underwent such trainings were usually told to proceed to the police college nearest to their commands. One of them said: “How do they want us to get to Maiduguri now?. The training is starting on Monday and the order just came. No adequate provisions. No accommodation in place, yet they want us to report as ordered. “In our case, we should have been told to move to the Police College at Ikeja, Lagos. That is the nearest to us, but they rather want to punish us by saying we should go to Borno State. When contacted for comment, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Lagos State Command, Ngozi Braide, was not reachable as several calls to her cell phone were not answered.

Ekiti dissolves, reconstitutes LG councils ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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kiti State government yesterday dissolved and reconstituted the caretaker committees of the 16 local government areas of the state. The dissolution of the councils’ caretaker committees followed the expiration of their tenure. They had been in office since February last year. Their dissolution followed a letter written by Governor Kayode Fayemi to the state House of Assembly. Fayemi had in the letter to the assembly notified the lawmakers on the need to reconstitute the committees so that there would be no vacuum at the councils. The House consequently gave the governor the approval to reconstitute the councils. The new committee chairmen, who would be inaugurated today, are Hon. Tope Olanipekun (Ado Ekiti); Mr. Ropo Famubode (Ekiti West); Hon. Tajudeen Awe (Irepodun/ Ifelodun); Dr Adio Folayan (Efon); Hon. Bode Agbeleye (Ijero); Mr. Michael Adesoji Bamidele (Ikere) and Mr. Fasoyin Oluwadare (Ise/ Orun). Others are Hon. Febisola Adewale (Emure); Hon.

Ademola Atobaje (Ekiti East); Mr. Femi Awe (Gbonyin); Mr. Alatise Yemi (Ekiti South West); Mr. Adeleke Michael Adeyeye (Moba) and Chief Dele Olatuyi (Ikole). The remaining are Prince Bamgboye Adegoroye (Ilejemeje); Mr. Kehinde Ogunlade (Ido/Osi) and Hon. Akindele Ogungbuyi (Oye). The lawmakers described the emergence of caretaker committees at the councils as a child of necessity. According to them, the ongoing litigation on the composition of the State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, was responsible for the advent of nonelected council chairmen at the local government areas.

Friday, February 15, 2013

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Oil subsidy: EFCC gets order to forfeit marketer’s assets KENNY ODUNUKA

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n Ikeja High Court yesterday granted an order allowing the interim forfeiture of assets belonging to an oil marketer, Mr. Oluwaseun Ogunbambo. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, obtained the order from the court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, through an ex-parte application. Though, the anti-graft agency did not specify the worth of all the assets it sought the permission of the court to freeze, it alleged that Ogunbambo was being prosecuted for fraud amounting to N4.5 billion. The affected assets, mostly bank accounts in a bank in the United Kingdom and five Nigerian banks, also included a landed property at 2, Olamijuyin Avenue,

Parkview Estate, Ikoyi Lagos. The UK bank account bearing the name of his England-based company, Seatac Petroleum Ltd; was said to be having £1million standing to its credit. Five of the bank accounts were bearing the names of his companies, Fargo Petroleum Gas Ltd; Arnage Oil & Gas Ltd and Seatac. Also, the account of one company, Nassaman Oil Service Ltd, belonging to Mamman, the son of the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmadu Ali, was among the assets frozen as it was linked with a fraud by Ogunbambo. EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Francis Usani, moving the application for forfeiture yesterday said; “The property and bank accounts set out in the schedule hereto, property of the persons currently standing trial for con-

spiracy to obtain money by false pretence, obtaining the sums of over N4.5 billion by false pretence, forgery and uttering of a documents in charge numbers ID/116C/2012, ID/133C/2012 and

ID/122C/2012, all pending in this judicial division (Ikeja), be in the interim forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria pending the determination of all the pending proceedings against him.”

NACCIMA lauds Ajimobi for transforming Ibadan

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he National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, has commended the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, for what it called the transformation of Ibadan into a modern state capital, which will facilitate the industrial growth of the state. NACCIMA President, Mr. Ademola Ajayi, gave the commendation when he led other members of the association on a cour-

tesy call to the governor in his office in Ibadan, on Thursday. “Our observation is that this state is moving very fast on the path of transformation. We also noticed that Oyo State, and particularly, Ibadan, the state capital, is getting cleaner and neater. We also want to congratulate you on the inauguration of the SecretariatBodija Bridge which will further ease the movement of the people of the state and improve on their living standard.

L-R: Member, Wemabod Board of Directors and former Secretary to Ogun State Government, Deacon Poju Adeyemi; Chairman, Board of Directors, Wemabod Estates Limited, Dr. Bayo Adewusi; Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun and Managing Director, Mr Olumide Ologun, during a courtesy visit on the governor in Abeokuta, yesterday.

Osun acquires helicopter for aerial surveillance, emergencies

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s part of its determination to make Osun inhospitable for criminals, the state government has acquired a new helicopter to beef up its Swift Anti-Robbery Squad, SAS, in the aspect of aerial surveillance. The helicopter, a French Five-Plus-One passenger Eurocopter AS-355N, is a 2006 model with twin engines. A statement by the Di-

Aregbesola

rector, Bureau of Communications and Strategy in the Office of the

Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said the latest security acquisition, under a lease agreement with OAS Helicopters, Lagos compliments the state’s investments on adequate protection of lives and property of the citizenry. Last August, the state government launched the SAS outfit with five Armoured Personnel Carriers, APC, and 25 patrol vans. It has since

acquired another set of 100 patrol vans to ensure that all the nooks and crannies of the state are well covered. The helicopter is also to provide emergency services for the Osun Emergency Management Agency and the O-Ambulance in cases of medical emergencies and other forms of evacuations. At the launch of the SAS last year, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, prom-

ised that the government was working hard to ensure aerial surveillance which would make it impossible for criminals to escape from the state the moment any crime is committed. The governor said once the state is wellsecured from the activities of bandits, the state would become attractive to investors, thereby catalysing the rapid growth of the economy.


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South West

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ajimobi’s attacks on Ladoja unwarranted –Lawmaker KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Theophilus Oyewole, has taken a swipe at Gover nor Abiola Ajimobi’s administration over its attacks on for mer Gover nor Rasheed Ladoja. Oyewole, who alle ged that Ajimobi prostrated to Ladoja to obtain his support to stabilise his gover nment, said the gover nor’s cur rent approach portrayed him as an ing rate. The le gislator, a member of the Accord Party representing Ona-Ara state constituency, said this yesterday at the party office where he received members of the Action Cong ress of Nigeria, ACN, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, into his party. Oyewole said the

stability in the politics of the state should be credited to Ladoja for having the interest of the state at heart. He said: “Ajimobi prostrated for us to enter into a working accord with Senator Ladoja. He had thought that Ladoja would not ag ree because people have told him that he is not going to ag ree. “Since the accord, we have worked with him to stabilise his gover nment but his actions now are pointer that he does not appreciate our ef forts. Any river that forgets its source will dry up.” The lawmaker promised that more ACN members would defect to Accord Party as the present gover nment lacked the right leadership. He also picked holes in the ongoing demolition exercise in Ibadan, the state capital, saying disem-

powering the people for beatification was wrong. The sacked Chairman of Ona-Ara Local Gover nment, Mr. Akanni Nurudeen, said the influx of people from ACN into Accord Party was an indication that the ruling party was unpopular.

Fayemi raises HOS, Perm Secs’ pension

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Ajimobi

Ondo Assembly suspends member HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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ndo State House of Assembly yesterday suspended a member representing Ifedore state consistency, Hon. Bamidele Oloyelogun, for alleged “un-parliamentary behaviour”. Oloyelogun’s suspension was announced at a sitting of the House presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Samuel Adesina. Though the House

was in recess, it reconvened to ratify the appointment of the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Folashade Aguda-Taiwo. The Assembly also set up a committee headed by Afolabi Akinsiku to investigate the allegations levelled against the lawmaker. However, Oloyelogun refused to pick his calls put just as he did not reply a message sent to his mobile phone to comment on his suspension.

kiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has said that the Head of Service and Permanent Secretaries who retired before 1998 would receive 50 per cent of what the present Permanent Secretaries would get as pension. Fayemi made this disclosure at the launch of the state’s first civil service journal entitled: “The Fountain Bureaucrat,” He said it was unacceptable that the retirees got less than the present minimum wage of N19,320 given the quality of service they rendered to the state from its creation in 1996. Fayemi, who noted that there was no technical precedence or pension guideline on the increment, said it was the least the government could do to appreciate the service they had rendered. He added that the increment would help to address the gap created by the “impecunious pension” which they had been receiving since retirement. While saying that the production of the jour-

nal was in line with the overall agenda of his administration to transform Ekiti State from a rural economy to an urbanised society, the governor said it would serve as a veritable tool to actualise the set goal. Fayemi added that the publication would as well preserve the originality of the values which the public service stood for and would deepen the understanding of the obligations expected from the public service for effective service delivery. Commending the explorative nature of the journal which features writings on various issues in the Civil Service Transformation Strategy, the governor urged workers to take advantage of the publication to develop their latent potentials for self-actualisation and corporate growth. He assured that his administration would continue to provide enabling environment for intellectual development of the workforce in the areas of capacity building, accommodation and welfare.

Stay away from politics, Sultan warns monarchs KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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he Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday urged traditional rulers to shun partisan politics to preserve their dignity. Abubakar said this during a visit to Oyo town to sympatise with the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III. The Sultan, however, said monarchs could support their friends in politics, but must not do it brazenly. He said: “Once you put your two eyes and mind in partisan politics, we lose respect. Government

believes in us and in the traditional institution and that is the reason we have to be apolitical.” Abubakar said politicians would come and go, but the traditional institutions would remain. The Sultan stressed the need for bilateral visits among traditional rulers to strengthen the cord of brotherhood existing among them. He said: “It is left for us to strengthen the ties existing between us by being good leaders.” Abubakar also reminded public office holders to be just and fair in the distribution of dividends of democracy. “For those in leader-

ship position, there must be justice. It is the bedrock of any development. Electoral victory should not be the end of politicians’ contact with the people,” he added. The Sultan then urged Oba Adeyemi to regard the January 8 fire disaster that ravaged part of the ancient Oyo palace as the will of God and a divine blessing in disguise. The Alaafin stressed the need for monarchs to rule and administer their subjects with justice and fairness, noting it was by doing this that the necessary peace and development would be achieved in the country.

Christian ministers, leaders, Gbile Akanni meet in Lagos

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he Gboko, Benue State-based Bible teacher, Mr. Gbile Akanni, is hosting an interactive session with Christian ministers and leaders at a three-day crusade holding in Lagos from February 14 to 16. The crusade has the theme: “It’s time to seek the Lord.” The meeting with the Christian leaders will

hold at 9a.m. today and tomorrow at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja, while the regular crusade holds in the evenings from 5p.m. at the same venue. The crusade is organised by Peace House, the discipleship and evangelistic platform of Akanni’s Christian ministry with headquarters in Gboko and outreach points in var-

ious parts of the country and the African continent. The leader of the Peace House team in Lagos, Mr. Moses Ogianyo, said the meetings had been planned to check the “severe attack by the kingdom of darkness through its various activities such as false doctrines, worldliness, direct persecution,” among others directed against the church.

DID You ou

Politics 2015: Changing the mood of the contest Nigerians must unite to ensure that credible candidates emerge in 2015 elections. We must all come together to save our country. –Chief Marthin Onovo, former Action Alliance (AA) presidential candidate, I am keen on all efforts aimed at sustaining our democracy and ensuring that the masses benefit accordingly. –Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters. I believe it is time for us to stop being sentimental about the choice of public office holders. We must say no to all ethnic and religious sentiments. –Alhaji Ado Shuibu Dansudu, National Coordinator of the Arewa United Consultative Forum

HEAR? R? •Tonye goes gaga •Kim Kardashian storms Nigeria •Remi Aluko demands big shows

Jazmine

...In cloud nine

Living

Kidnappers ‘feast’ on women in Lagos •How I escaped being slaughtered by kidnappers –Housewife •Adductors demand N60m for kidnapped woman’s release

Saturday Starter

Rumble in the House of God All is not well with the body of Christ in Nigeria. The Catholic membership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has suspended its participation in CAN activities at the national level and is threatening to pull out totally. What does this portend for the future of Christendom in Nigeria, and indeed the future of Nigeria itself, particularly these days when terrorists ride on religious differences to wreak havoc?

x SeTalk

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Sex 101: What’s true and what’s not?


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South East

CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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he Anambra State Government has intensified its war against illicit drug business. Governor Peter Obi disclosed this yesterday after his meeting with the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Ahmadu Gaide, at the Governor’s Lodge in Awka, the state capital. Governor Obi said no efforts would be spared in ensuring that trade on illicit drugs was eradicated across the state. He regretted that while

Friday, February 15, 2013

to police: Stop indiscriminate We are intensifying war against MASSOB arrest of our members illicit drug –Anambra NWABUEZE OKONKWO

his administration is pursuing comprehensive health programme to uplift the lives of the people, some individuals, in their quest for material wealth, were exposing innocent citizens to health hazards through the sale of hard drugs. He assured that the government would embark on a sustained onslaught against those involved in the illicit business. The governor added that the state would soon embark on mass sensitization of the public on the

dangers in patronising illegal drugs and publication of names of all the individuals involved in drug business. Earlier, the NDLEA Chairman, Alhaji Gaide, said the visit to the governor was to solicit the state government’s support in the fight against hard drugs, following the discovering of methamphetamine laboratory in a residence at Nanka in Orumba North Local Government Area. Alhaji Gaide, who explained that exposure to the drug could cause cancer and

other health hazards, reiterated the NDLEA’s determination to protect the country from being a transit route for illicit drug distribution and hard drug production. He said: “Hard drug is often linked to kidnap, armed robbery and other violent crimes.” The NDLEA boss expressed confidence that collaborating with the Anambra State Government in the fight against illicit would help create necessary awareness that would save the people from the consequences of the menace.

Enugu State Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi (left) and Chairman, NYSC State Governing Board, Mr. Chijioke Agu, at the NYSC 2012 Batch ‘A’ passing-out ceremony in Enugu, yesterday.

NMA wants ASP prosecuted for brutalising doctor

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he Ebonyi State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday called for the immediate prosecution of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) who allegedly brutalised a doctor. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the officer (name withheld) allegedly assaulted Dr Chukwujekwu Okafor for talking to his wife who came to seek medical attention at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Abakaliki. The police officer allegedly beat up Okafor and sprayed tear gas into his eyes. Okafor’s colleagues protested the police officer’s brutality and it took the intervention of the FMC Chief Medical Director, Dr

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Paul Ezeonu, to calm them down. Speaking on the issue, NMA chairman, Dr Chidi Esike, said that the association would ensure the prosecution of the police officer. Dr. Esike said: “The policeman alleged that our member was talking with his wife who is a Muslim, claiming that non-Muslims are not supposed to talk to married Muslim women. “He is supposed to tell the world what his wife was doing at the hospital where people will definitely talk to her.” Speaking to doctors and other workers of the hospital, Dr Chidi Nwigwe, chairman of the hospital’s Medical Advisory Council (CMAC), called for the immediate dismissal of the

police officer. “We assure you that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring that justice takes its due course in the matter. “I, therefore, urge you not to take the law into your hands but rather allow it to take its due course,” he said. Dr Kennedy Oti, the President, Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA) chapter, condemned the attack on the doctor. “He was mercilessly beaten, attacked with tear gas and had his head hit severally on the wall by the police officer,” he said. The Assistant Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigative Bureau, Mr Fave Cemali,

assured the aggrieved doctors that the command would handle the matter accordingly. “The attack on the doctor is inappropriate and unjustifiable and we will handle it appropriately,’’ he said. NAN reports that discussion had commenced between the hospital’s management and the Ebonyi police command to resolve the matter.

Ebonyi State Governor, M. Elechi

ONITSHA

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embers of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) yesterday asked the Anambra State Police Command to stop what they described as the indiscriminate arrest of their colleagues on trump-up allegations. They, therefore, demanded the immediate release of four of their members Mr. Joseph Ugwuoke, Luke Okeche, Alisiofor Vincent and Sunday Isiwu - who were allegedly arrested on Wednesday by a police team attached to the area command in Onitsha along Oguta Road by Modebe Avenue. In a press statement issued yesterday by its Deputy National Director of Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, MASSOB wondered why the police have chosen to “terrorise” their members, even when they are not found committing any offence. The statement reads: “On Wednesday, February13, 2013, the above mentioned four of our members were riding commercial motorcycle at different locations in Oguta Road and Modebe Avenue when some policemen accosted and whisked them off to the area command’s head quarters, Onitsha, where

they are currently being detained.” The statement said that the arrested MASSOB members were charged of wearing face caps with the Biafra insignia, adding: “This is a typical example of what happened in Ezu River where people were killed by the police on trump-up allegations and thrown into Ezu River or Lagoon”. MASSOB said that effort by its lawyer to secure the bail of the arrested members failed as the police kept torturing and forcing them to admit in their statements that they were the killers of the two policemen who were shot dead early this week in Onitsha during an armed robbery attack. The MASSOB’s statement reads: “The attempt by the police to force our innocent members to accept killing the policemen under duress is unacceptable to us and condemnable in all its ramifications and it is shameful to the police that while we demand the release of the nine bodies floating on the Ezu River, the police are still busy arresting, detaining and torturing our members to admit what they did not do. “Once again, we are giving the police up till Monday, February 19 to either release them on bail or charge them to court, failure which MASSOB shall assist the police in making Onitsha commercial city inhabitable”.

Enugu Assembly probes Ibeagwa Nike communal crisis

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he Enugu State House of Assembly yesterday inaugurated a seven-man ad-hoc committee to look into the crisis in Ibeagwa Nike community in Enugu East Local Government Area. Constituting the committee on the floor of the Assembly during plenary in Enugu, the Speaker, Hon. Eugene Odo, asked members of the committee to look into the remote and immediate causes of the crisis. Odo said: “For the past five months now, there has been a lot of arson, shooting, destruction of houses and mass exodus of people from Ibeagwa Nike as a result of intra-communal clashes. So, we have decided to constitute an ad-hoc committee to look into the crisis bedeviling Ibeagwa Nike com-

munity. This committee will have one month to turn out its report before the plenary session of the house. “I want to implore you to look into the entire crisis, the remote and immediate causes of the crisis in Ibeagwa Nike and report accordingly.” The committee has as its chairman the Leader of the Assembly, Hon. Sunday Ude-Okoye, while Hon. Abel Chukwu, Mrs. Theresa Egbo, and Hon. Okechukwu Nwoke will serve as members. Other members include Dame Nkechi Omeje-Ogbu, Hon. John Anichukwu and Hon. Mathew Ugwueze. NAN gathered that youths from the community were at daggers-drawn with their traditional ruler over alleged indiscriminate sale of their communal land.


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South South

Friday, February 15, 2013

Six Akwa Ibom LGs reject inclusion in proposed Oil Rivers State

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ix coastal local government areas in Akwa Ibom State have rejected their inclusion in the proposed Oil Rivers State. The local government areas are Eket, Esit Eket, Onna, Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi and Nsit Ubium. The local government areas stated the position when their chiefs, accompanied by Senators, House of Representatives members from Akwa Ibom State and some major stakeholders visited the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, at the National Assembly in Abuja. According to the leader of the delegation, His Royal

Majesty, Obong E.C.D. Abia, those agitating for the inclusion of the six coastal local governments in the proposed Oil Rivers State did not represent the interest of the people. Abia said the memorandum presented to the National Assembly by the agitators for the proposed Oil Rivers State was misleading and mischievous. He said: “The document was misleading and mischievous, the agitators of the memorandum employed outright falsehood and distortion to advance their demands. “The area of land and wealth thereon which the

people of Ibeno and Eastern Obolo local government who now wish to belong to the proposed Oil Rivers state have caused to be drawn or made to form part of the proposed Oil Rivers State does not belong to Ibeno or Eastern Obolo.” Abia chronicled past decided judicial cases on the controversial lands, which were in favour of the six coastal local government areas, to buttress his submission. He added: “The six coastal local government areas of Akwa Ibom State were not against the Ibenos and Eastern Obolo’s desire to

join the proposed Oil River State since they now claim to be Ijaws, but that they should not do so with our land and wealth’. In his remark, Senator Ike Ekweremadu assured the Akwa Ibom State delegation that issue of state creation would follow due process, which would be supported by a referendum to avoid the errors of the past. He stressed that no state would be created unless it is supported by all the local government areas involved, while commending the peaceful manner the Akwa Ibom monarch approached the issue.

Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (left) and Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, when the team visited the governor in Asaba, yesterday.

Obasanjo hails Oshiomhole for developing Edo

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ormer President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday praised Governor Adams Oshiomhole for transforming Edo State, even as he advised the governor to learn from him and opt for a private-sector driven economy. Chief Obasanjo, who spoke at the Edo State Government House during a courtesy call on the governor on his way to deliver the 1st Dr. Abel Guobadia Memorial Lecture, explained that when God gave him a second chance to become President of the country, he learnt from his past experience. He said: “I can see the signs that this state, which was run down, is now being run up.” The former President said he learnt from his experiences as Head of State to

run a better economy when he was elected President in 1999. Obasanjo said: “I was Head of State and I see that there was no way to manage Nigeria economy except by indigenisation and we went for indigenisation. “But the truth is that indigenisation did not succeed the way we wanted and I became an apostle of genuine private sector-driven market economy. I hope Governor Oshiomhole is learning the lesson I have learnt so that this state, I can see the signs, which was run down, is now being run up.” In his response, Governor Oshiomhole said he learnt from the style and courage of the former President when it comes to taking major decisions. He told the visiting former President that his

administration was refocusing and re-inventing governance to give the people confidence so that democracy could work, saying: “Indeed, it is working and we are able to deliver on some critical areas of infrastructure.” He commended the former President on the launch of the Obasanjo Foundation, saying the former President had demonstrated that as an elder statesman, “he can continue to contribute to national and international efforts in dealing with the basic needs of the under-privileged and to create a platform for sustaining constructive engagement on development options and strategies to lift the level of development in Africa.” Obasanjo, who spoke to journalists after the visit,

said the government must expose corruption as it would not help covering it up. He said that he has flogged the horse of corruption internally and externally with some people agreeing with him and others abusing him. “Some people do all sorts of things, but the point is that when you have a problem and you attempt to cover it, you are not solving the problem. If anything, you are complicating the problem,” Obasanjo said. On security, the former President said: “Even security, I have talked about it, I have been called names. I have gone out on fact finding. I have found out what is there and what is not there. I have talked and reported, I have nothing more to add.”

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NAFDAC seals 23 stores for selling fake drugs TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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he National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shut about 23 medicine stores in Oron and Abak local government areas of Akwa Ibom State for selling counterfeited drugs. As a result, many dealers of other medicine stores have not opened shops for fear of being shot by NAFDAC task force. Sources told National Mirror that some of the drug stores shut were involved in the sales of Anagen injection, which had long been banned by NAFDAC. The agency also sealed stores involved in the production of counterfeited ointments. NAFDAC, however, warned medicine dealers and vendors against the sale of drugs in markets and motor parks and other places not approved by law. A NAFDAC official, who did not want his name mentioned, asked medicine stores owners to operate within the stipulated guidelines as strict measures would be taken to protect the health of the citizens.

However, some medical doctors commended NAFDAC for its effort towards eradicating production and sales of fake drugs in the Nigerian market. One of them, Dr Indongesit Okon, who spoke with National Mirror in Uyo, pointed out that through the activities of NAFDAC, the production and sales of fake drugs had been brought to the nearest minimum. Okon said: “If you observe very well, you will notice that people are becoming more conscious about the drug they are buying, whether the drug is fake, whether it has NAFDAC registration number or if the drug is expired or not. So I strongly commend NAFDAC for creating the awareness and it should be encouraged to continue in the good work.”

NAFDAC boss, Paul Orhii

N15.6bn Bayelsa flyover project takes-off EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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raffic congestion in Yenagoa metropolis, Bayelsa State, may soon ease off, following the construction of two flyovers valued at N15.6 billion by the state government. One of the flyovers valued at N9.8 billion is being constructed along Tombia Road/Edepie Junction, while the second flyover valued N5.8 billion will be sited at a roundabout along Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega filling station. Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, who spoke yesterday in Yenagoa at his monthly press briefing, said N3 billion draft had been paid to the contracting firm, Julius Berger, as mobilisation fee for both flyovers. Dickson said that he was told by the construction firm that the projects would be completed in two years.

The governor also paid a mobilization fee of N950 million to Rafol construction firm for the dualization of AIT Road at Elebele. Dickson, however, said that the state government would still prune the over 8,000 non-academic staff in the public primary schools, stressing that the “ghost workers” syndrome was still existing in the state civil service nominal roll. He said: “The monthly salary wage bill of N3.8 billion is still on the increase. There are still ghost workers in the nominal roll. We have to save funds for projects in the state.” “I don’t mind being called a tight-hand governor. I can tell you that I do not owe any contractor. We have to save to embark on projects.” Dickson added that the contractor, Gitto, handling the abandoned Five Star Hotel in Yenagoa would return to site as its cheque was ready for payment.


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North

Friday, February 15, 2013

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Slain health workers’ families get N24.45m AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO

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he Federal Government, Kano State Government and business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, have donated N24.45 million to the families of nine female health workers killed by gunmen in Kano. Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso announced his government’s donation at a meeting with family members of the victims at the Government House in Kano. Kwankwaso said the

gesture was to enable them cushion the effects of their loss. He also announced that the Chairman of Dangote Group, Dangote, donated N500,000 to each of the bereaved families and N250,000 to each of the injured. The Federal Government made its donation to the families through a delegation led by the Minister of State for Health, Alhaji Ali Pate. The minister, who was on the visit with five Emirs, was received by the acting Governor of Kano State, Dr. Umar Ganduje. Ganduje told his guests

that the governor was in London to assess the health condition of the Emir of Kano, Aljaji Ado Bayero. Pate said the delegation was in Kano to condole with the government, people of Kano State, and the families of the affected health workers. The minister recalled that three health workers had earlier lost their lives in Borno in similar circumstances as well as the

murder of doctors at Yobe General Hospital. He said: “It is an unfortunate tragic attack on innocent people trying to protect children. But we won’t be deterred by this evil act and that is why we are praying to Almighty Allah to touch the heart of the perpetrators to have a change of heart.” Receiving the cheque from the leader of the delegation, the acting governor

admitted that the attack on the health workers was a blow to the state’s campaign against polio. Ganduje said it came at a time when Kano was almost achieving the desired goal in polio immunisation. He said: “We are still going to pursue our target of eradicating polio by December 2013.” According to him, the incident would mark a turning point in the polio eradi-

cation effort. The acting governor said it would be approached as a normal medical or health programme without celebration or attracting any form of attention. He said: “Hospitals in the state would be put in major shape with all required equipment needed for polio vaccination where those for polio would just walk in like any other patient and get immunised.”

Kwara College of Education graduates protest in Ilorin WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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cores of graduates of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti yesterday sealed off the premises of the Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin. The College of Education is an affiliate of the University of Ado-Ekiti, running sandwich and regular degree programmes. The students, who said they were 2012 graduates of the institution, disclosed that they had not been issued their results, which would qualify them for mobilisation for the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, programme. Though the protest was peaceful, a detachment of regular and mobile policemen mounted sentry on the roads leading to the campus of the college to forestall a breakdown of law and order. The protesters also disrupted ongoing first se-

mester examination of students of the college as they barricaded entry and exit from the campus. The irate youths also made bonfires in front of the college gates. Some of the protesters carried placards bearing derogatory inscriptions denouncing the administration of the suspended Provost of the institution, Dr. Ibrahim Abdulrahaman. When contacted, the Acting Provost, Dr. Gabriel Ajiboye, said the “college has an understanding of a certain amount of money it should be paying to the University of Ado-Ekiti based on the number of students admitted in the school.” He added that the school had paid some money but the college was still indebted to the university. The President of the students in the Ilorin outreach, Muritala Suleiman, accused Abdulrahaman of being the architect of their woes.

L-R: Bauchi State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Mohammed Dhamina; Deputy Governor, Alhaji Sagir Saleh; the governor’s wife, Hajiya Mariya Yuguda and Chairman, Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, inaugurating the broadcast complex of AIT and Raypower FM station in Bauchi, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Security challenges, part of democracy –CAS INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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he Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, said the current security challenges facing the country were a clear manifestation of democracy. Badeh said democracy gave people the right to express themselves, adding that Boko Haram members chose to express themselves through arms.

The CAS spoke yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Kashim Shettima at the Government House Maiduguri. He said he was in the state for a familiarisation tour of Air Force formations. Badeh said the security agencies and the Air Force were determined to restore peace in the state and the country at large. The CAS also said the

Air Force would continue to support democratic government and assured Shettima that his men would work with the state government to return peace to Borno State. Responding, the governor said the state had passed through difficult moments in its history, adding that the worse was over. Shettima said the state was now on its path to peace, noting that the root

cause of the crisis was poverty. He said his administration was aggressively addressing the issue of poverty through job creation. The governor commended the military for supporting the government, particularly the Air Force. Shettima said the state had gone through many crises such Rabeh invasion, Maitatsine, adding that it would definitely come out of the current crisis.

Stolen funds enough to give free education – Aliyu

Kano nine: Court grants journalists bail

PRISCILLA DENNIS

AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST AND A ZA MSUE

MINNA

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iger State Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu has said that money being stolen in the country could be used to give scholarships to students at all levels of education. Aliyu also stressed the need for the review of the revenue allocation formula with the Federal Government getting 38 per cent of funds accruing to the Federation Account and the balance shared between the 36 states and 744 local gov-

ernments. The governor, who said this while receiving officials of the National Association of Northern States Students, who paid him a courtesy visit. He explained that the country had enough financial resources to fund free education for all its citizens from primary up to university level. The governor argued that with adequate planning and blockage of financial leakages, corruption could be reduced and money saved to give free education to all Nigerian children.

He said: “The incidence of diversion of public funds into private pockets by individuals in the nation, some running into trillions of naira, is really worrisome. “Instead of allowing the monies enter into private hands, such monies could comfortably pay the scholarship of students in schools at all levels of education in Nigeria.” Aliyu decried the current situation in which the Federal Government receives the largest chunk of money from the Federation Account and unable to put it to proper use.

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Kano Chief Magistrates’ Court has granted bail to the two journalists arraigned by the police for airing inciting programme believed to have influenced the gun attack which claimed the lives of nine female health workers. Chief Magistrate Ibrahim Bello admitted the accused, Yakubu Musa, and Mubarak Sani, to bail yesterday when the case came up for hearing.

The magistrate adjourned further hearing on the case to March 13. When the case was mentioned earlier, the prosecutor, Sergeant Sadiq Na’Abba, said the charges against the defendants included criminal conspiracy, inciting disturbances, intentional assault, and obstruction of public servant in discharge of public function. Others are deformation of character and injurious falsehood, contrary to sections 97, 85, 114, 399, 148, 392 and 393 (1) of the penal code law.

They were said to have conspired to air a programme on radio which discredited the polio immunisation programme, defamed the character, reputation and personality and insulted the district head of Tarauni. According to the first information report of the case, the programme was meant to instigate the public against the immunisation programme which resulted in the attack and killing of nine immunisation personnel at Filin Cashew and Hayen Hotoro.


Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

13

Politics The problem with PDP –Tapgun

Lagos LG poll: Sigh of relief for ACN

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PDP should not take APC for granted –Saraki GEORGE OJI

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he former governor of Kwara State, Olusola Saraki has cautioned the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to take the emergence of the All Progressing Congress (APC) for granted. While acknowledging that the coalition party would face initial challenges, Saraki maintained that the primary intention of APC is to wrest power from the ruling party and as a result, the PDP must take APC seriously. “So, my initial feeling is that they are going to have challenges. But at the same time as a party, we should not take them for granted. That they have come together means that what we are having is more like a two-party thing and like in any democracy you just have to take it seriously. All

they are doing is to wrest power from the PDP and the party must take it seriously,” Saraki said. The lawmaker, who expressed this view yesterday while fielding questions from Senate correspondents in Abuja, however reiterated that the APC would face some initial challenges and that the seriousness of the merger would be truly tested after the first six months if they continue to remain together as one political party without going their separate ways. According to the lawmaker, the easy path is to pronounce the merger, but the more difficult path is for it to work. “They will have challenges because it is just a pronouncement when you have to talk about the development of the party, its principles etc, that is where the challenge comes.

Then you can ask me the questions six months down the line when I begin to see the chapters in states where we have the CPC, ACN, ANPP etc. In a place like Kano let me see how this APC will work whether it will remain APC or A will go one way, P will go one way and C will go the other way. If APC can stay together in Kano then I will tell you that we need to sit up,” he said.

The immediate past Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) stated that even though it is still too early in the day to hazard any guess as to whether or not the merger would work, but going by previous experiences in Nigeria, there are strong chances that the merger would fail. “My feeling, going by previous experience is that A will stay one place,

P will stay another place and C a different place. But it is good for democracy because we as the ruling party it will keep us on our toes. It is like a marriage and you hope that it does not work because if it works it is a greater challenge,” Saraki said. Leaders of five political parties in Nigeria, including the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive

Change (CPC), All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) last Wednesday dissolved into a new political association called APC. Last week, the opposition senators met in Abuja and endorsed the merger. The senators are those elected under the platform of the ACN, ANPP, APGA, CPC and the Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP).

ACN holds S’West caucus meeting over merger ADEOLU ADEYEMO OSOGBO

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eaders and chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in South-West will today converge on Osogbo, the Osun State capital, to jaw-jaw on the merger of opposition political parties in the country. The meeting will also map out strategies on how the party will retain its dominance in the zone. National Mirror learnt that the meeting would attract prominent figures in the party from the zone while all the governors of Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Lagos and Ekiti being controlled by the ACN will be in attendance. Also expected at the crucial meeting are the National Chairman of the ACN, Bisi Akande, former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, and erstwhile governors of Ogun and Ekiti states, Olusegun Osoba and Niyi Adebayo. Informed sources said

the sharing of political offices in the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) will be part of the issues to be discussed. Speaking on the meeting, the ACN’s Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy in Osun, Kunle Oyatomi confirmed that “the special meeting of the South-West caucus of the party would be hosted by the state chapter of the party.”

L-R: Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Prince Sunny Aku, Abia State Governor Theodore Orji and Chief Cyprian Nwankwo at a public event in Umuahia yesterday.

Katsina Assembly to transfer LGs to Daura Emirate Council JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

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atsina State House of Assembly is to enact statute that would support transfer of seven council areas under the Katsina Emirate Council to the Daura

Emirate Council. The local governments proposed for transfer are Kankia, Ingawa, Kusada, Bindawa, Mani, Mashi and Dutsi which are currently under Daura senatorial zone but with deductions made from their coffers

CSOs decry irregularities in Edo council primaries CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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coalition of Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has decried irregularities in the just-concluded local government primaries of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Etsako West, Edo State. The group said the exercise which held on February 9 failed to comply with the party’s constitution, guidelines and other sundry rules

guiding the conduct of primary election in the state. Comprising Transparency Movement (TM), Centre for Gender Rights Initiative (CGRI), the Movement for Transparency and Protection of Peoples Rights (MTPPR), the group alleged that state machinery was apparently deployed to favour an anointed candidate. In a statement signed by Omowole Adeshina of the MTPPR, Ngozi Chigbue of the Coalition of Civil Society on Election Obser-

vation and Priscilla Akau of the CGRI, which was made available to National Mirror in Abuja, the CSOs alleged that one of the aspirants, Hassan Kadiri, who is a political appointee, occupying office was allowed to contest, against the screening criteria used by the ACN in Edo State. “There was no compliance with party constitution, guidelines and other sundry rules guiding the conduct of primary election in the state.”

to Katsina emirate. To ensure actualisation of the transfer, the Speaker of the House, Ya’u Umar Gwajo-Gwajo, has given five-day notice to the legal drafting department of the Assembly and sponsor of the motion to come up with relevant constitutional provision to make the process valid. The motion which was moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Abdullahi Ibrahim Mahuta (CPC, Malumfashi) seeking amendment of the state Local Government Law to provide legal power to traditional rulers, was unanimously adopted by most members of the House. Gwajo-Gwajo, while announcing resolution of the House after deliberation, said the request of the motion could not be made pos-

sible without legal framework that would back up the action of the House. Earlier in his submission, Mahuta said the move is intended to correct the imbalances where Katsina Emirate has 29 local governments in its domain, while Daura Emirate has only five local council areas. Mahuta, opined that the fund deducted from the coffers of the affected seven local governments councils should be transferred to Daura Emirate Council. According to the Minority Leader, the people of the affected local governments have similar cultural norms with the people of Daura Emirate in addition to weather condition, agriculture, rainfall and sharing patterns of business activities.


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Politics

The battle for the soul of Ikoyi/ Obalende Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos State has been put to rest with the verdict of the Local Government Election Appeal Tribunal, which upturned the verdict of the lower tribunal that gave victory to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU writes on the development.

Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Lagos LG poll: Sigh of relief for ACN

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he verdict of the Local Government Election Appeal Tribunal which upturned the ruling of the Local Government Election Petition Tribunal that gave victory to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Babajide Obanikoro, the son of the former High Commissioner to Ghana, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, in Ikoyi/Obalende Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, surely did not come to the leadership of the PDP in Lagos as a surprise. The verdict of the appeal tribunal, which was keenly expected by Lagosians, threw up a lot of questions; although it also gives the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) a breather from what could have been the most embarrassing political faux pas and challenge to its hold on the state. The verdict also saved the ACN the prospect of having the PDP, its rabid enemy take charge of the LCDA where its national leader and former governor of the state, Bola Tinubu and some of its leaders reside. Perhaps, it would be right to say that the PDP leadership in the state saw it coming, following the upturn of the party’s victory in another local government where the lower tribunal awarded it victory, Badagry Local Government Council. Also, feelers to the latest annulment of the PDP victory at the lower tribunal was given by the state chairman of the PDP, Olatunji Shelle, when he addressed a press conference on Monday, January 28, where he inundated the public about an orchestrated plan by the ACN to ensure that the PDP lost at the appeal tribunal. Shelle had said: “The appeal tribunal of five sitting Lagos High Court judges has begun to overturn the judgements in the few areas where we had won at the tribunal. The cases of the Badagry Local Government chairmanship and four councillorship seats have now been overturned on appeal. “It is more disappointing that the appeal tribunal is rather political than judicial as it deliberately misapplied the provisions of the Local Government Elections Tribunal Law which stipulates that petitions be filed and heard within unrealistic 30 days. Unlike the similar provision in the Electoral Act 2010 which not only stipulates a reasonable 180 days and express sanction of striking out, the Local Government Tribunal Law has not prescribed any sanction for its default. In fact it empowers the tribunal to suo motu enlarge the time limit.” The PDP state chairman said that his party filed the petitions within the stipulated time and wondered why it should be punished for an offence it knew nothing about. Shelle added: “We are aware and now convinced that same fate will befall all our pending petitions. This is the directive from an unseen hand to the appeal tribu-

Tinubu

nal. This action is very undemocratic and can lead to breakdown of law and order.” Discerning watchers of events in the state were therefore not surprised when the appeal tribunal on Thursday, January 31, nullified the judgement of the lower tribunal which declared Obanikoro as the authentic winner of the October 22, 2011 local government election and affirmed the election of Adewale Adeniji of the ACN as the chairman of Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA. The five-man panel of judges that sat at the appeal tribunal, led by Justice Opeyemi Oke, held that the Lagos Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) was right to have returned Adeniji as the winner of the election. It further held that the failure of the lower tribunal to hear and determine Obanikoro’s petition within 30 days and not giving a specific order for extension of time had robbed it of its requisite jurisdiction. In the lead judgement read by Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson, which the other four justices concurred with, the tribunal dismissed Obanikoro’s petition, describing it as “incurably bad,” saying that the failure of the lower tribunal to hear and determine the petition within 30 days contrary to provisions of Section 14 of the State Local Government Election Tribunal Law, had rendered the entire proceedings “a nullity.” Nowhere in the Centre of Excellence was the local government election of October 2011 keenly contested as it was in Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA. Obanikoro had laid claim to victory in that election, based on reports from his foot soldiers that were on the streets monitoring the exercise. The result of the election in the LCDA became controversial when LASIEC failed to announce it on time, delaying more than 24 hours without any cogent reason. The PDP cried foul, as it claimed to have won the election going by the results collated by its agents from the various polling units in the LCDA, which is literally referred to as ‘Tinubu land.’ In spite of call on the ACN from many quarters for it to practice what it preaches, the LASIEC declared Adeniji as the winner of the election, without actually announcing any figure for the candidates. Obanikoro resorted to the tribunal, with what he said was more than enough documentary evidence to reclaim what he

Obanikoro

IT IS MORE

DISAPPOINTING THAT THE APPEAL TRIBUNAL IS RATHER POLITICAL THAN JUDICIAL AS IT DELIBERATELY MISAPPLIED THE PROVISIONS OF THE

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS TRIBUNAL LAW

called his ‘stolen mandate.’ He had dragged LASIEC, the ACN and Adeniji before the lower tribunal, maintaining that he was the lawful winner of the election, having polled the highest number of votes. At the tribunal, after over eight adjournments, Obanikoro was declared the duly elected chairman of the Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA with a total vote of 6,780 to Adeniji’s 6,248. The retired Justice Dolapo Akinsaya-led tribunal, in a unanimous ruling, voided the return of Adeniji, the ACN candidate as the winner and asked LASIEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to him and issue same to Obanikoro. That ruling on October 4, 2012, shocked the army of ACN members and supporters who had thronged the tribunal at Ikeja, but gladdened the heart of PDP members and supporters. Perhaps, Obanikoro would have been sitting atop of the LCDA today, but the appeal tribunal dashed his hope by upturning his victory at the lower tribunal. Reacting to the judgement immediately after it was delivered on January 31, Obanikoro said that he was greatly aggrieved, as he had just been robbed of the mandate freely given to him by the people of Ikoyi/ Obalende LCDA on October 22, 2011. He said that he was disappointed with the appeal tribunal judgement, which according to him, was purely based on more of technicalities than the facts of the petition. He said: “I am totally against the judgement and highly disappointed that the merits

of the case were not looked at. They just based their decision on time and did not even bother to find out how we got to where we were.” He added that “while at the tribunal, we filed a motion for extension of time, but the tribunal judges said that since they had dismissed Adeniji and ACN’s preliminary objections, there was no need to move that motion. It is now unfortunate that the appeal tribunal judges now used that against us. The court had ordered us to withdraw our motion, which we did, now they are using it against us. I think it is totally biased, I think it is unfair and I think it promotes disobeying the law. It is totally uncalled for and it is a shame on democracy and a shame on the judiciary as well.” Expectedly, the ACN on its part urged the PDP to accept the verdict of the appeal tribunal in good faith. Speaking through its state publicity secretary, Joe Igbokwe, the party said: “Whatever the decision of the court is final and I think as law-abiding citizens, we have to accept the decision. That is my appeal to the opposition. They should not take laws into their hands; they should accept the judgement in good faith and move on.” In an interview with National Mirror, Igbokwe added that the “verdict was a plus to the judiciary, a plus to the nation’s nascent democracy, a plus to the ACN and a plus to Lagosians.” However, despite the outcome of the appeal filed by the ACN and Adeniji, analysts opined that the PDP and its candidate, Obanikoro have proved that the ACN can be defeated in an election, if the party puts its house in order. Despite losing out in Badagry Local Government and Ikoyi/ Obalende LCDA, pundits believe that the days ahead looked brighter for the PDP in its fight to wrest political power from its perennial and bitter political rival, the ACN. It is also expected that the PDP would have learnt lessons from its present travails as it prepares for future elections and in its bid to rule Lagos in 2015. What would however be surprising to political analysts in the Centre of Excellence is if the remaining petition pending at the appeal tribunal on Agbado/Oke-Odo LCDA turns out differently from the fate that befell Badagry Local Government and Ikoyi/Obalende LCDA. For the ACN, the judgement was a big relief.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ambassador Fidelis Tapgun was governor of Plateau State between January 1992 and October 1993. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain was Nigeria’s ambassador to Kenya before he was appointed Minister of Industry by former President Olusegun Obasanjo between July 2005 and January 2007. In this interview with JAMES ABRAHAM, he says Jonathan should convene a National Conference without further delay and also speaks on other national issues. Excerpts: How do you view the growing agitation for convocation of a national conference as solution to the many problems bedevilling the country? First, I think it is important for us not to mix up the two issues surrounding the call: Sovereign National Conference and or National Conference. They are two different things. It is the Sovereign National Conference that the National Assembly is quarrelling with because they think they are sovereign already as elected representatives of the people. And they don’t think it is proper for another sovereign body such as the conference to be put in place. While I agree with that line of thinking, I think it is obvious that there is need for another body to complement the National Assembly for the good of the generality of Nigerians. For instance, as the national lawmakers are currently reviewing the constitution, can Nigerians say they are coming clean on the way and manner they were going about the exercise? And from the look of things, Nigerians cannot be faulted. Just imagine that they have listed every issue they feel are causing problems and have requested the good people of this country to make their suggestions. Surprisingly, the National Assembly itself did not feature on the list. And everyone knows that the National Assembly is one of the arms of government Nigerians have been quarrelling with because they think the system we are operating is too expensive. Again, people have argued that even if they are sovereign, they are not totally sovereign because anything they do, they have to take it back to the people for confirmation. This is one of the reasons the people are saying that the constitutional review should be subjected to a referendum. With the National Assembly in place, there is nothing wrong in setting up another body to look at these thorny issues again, especially since the National Assembly is not coming clean on the task. The existence of such body doesn’t erode their powers or their election. If that body is in place, it will complement and cover every lapses of the National Assembly. In the National Assembly, not every ethnic segment is represented but the convocation of the National Conference will address this anomaly. It is important to note that National Assembly members represent political parties and not Nigerians. Such a platform as the national conference will afford all Nigerians an opportunity to talk to each other frankly concerning every aspect of our coexistence. So you are in support of a national conference? That’s what am saying; we have given them the mandate to carry out the assignment but they are not coming clean on the assignment. So, why should Nigerians continually be denied a more elaborate and inclusive platform like the national conference? But you earlier mentioned that the system we operate at the National Assembly is too expensive and at the same time you are calling for another body in the form of a national conference. Don’t you think the system will now be super-expensive to operate and a waste of resources? No. The national conference is just for a time. Unlike the National Assembly, they will cease to exist after completing any assignment that may be given to them. So the question of gulping additional resources does not arise. I think the time is ripe for the President to

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The problem with PDP –Tapgun

the battle of supremacy between the governors and the party on one hand and between the President and the governors on the other hand. And because the arrangement confers on the governors some measure of control, they are now creating problem in the system as powerful people. So it is a problem that requires the cooperation of everybody, including the President, the governors and the party chairmen to get it solved. From the look of things, it is very difficult. But let me tell you the truth. The problem was from the beginning. You know how the PDP came into being; it was an association that accommodated everyone. The progressives were there, the conservatives were there as well and even those that were non-challant found their way into the party, because everybody was eager to get the military out of power. So, there was no coherent manifesto of the PDP and we were able to win elections because of mass movement. And since that time, it has been difficult to harmonise the different members and make them imbibe the spirit of the party manifesto. There is actually a manifesto now to give the party a direction, but nobody is looking at it. It is through the manifesto that you get the anchor upon which the party is based and of course what you want to do for the people. For me, there has not been any coherent manifesto for the party to work on.

Tapgun

BECAUSE THE ARRANGEMENT CONFERS ON THE GOVERNORS SOME MEASURE OF CONTROL, THEY ARE NOW CREATING PROBLEM IN THE SYSTEM AS POWERFUL PEOPLE call a national conference without further delay. As one of the founding members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are you satisfied with the state of affairs in the party? Nobody will be happy to see the house he struggled to build just collapsing. You know the problem we are facing in the PDP was started in 1999. They started it and didn’t know that it was going to result to the situation which we now have at hand. You were around during the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) days and saw how they operated. We were part of the second one, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC). During those good old days, everyone was subject to party supremacy – National Assembly members, governors, President, state Assembly members and so on were under the party. The party dominated. During the NPN days, I knew it was the party chairman that was the boss. During the time of SDP, it was the same. There was no way we governors then would go and sit with Chief Anthony Anenih on the same table. Even, there was no way the governors will rub shoulders with Baba Gana Kingibe on the same table. As a governor, you sit far away with other members of the party. And as a state governor, you are not allowed to talk without the permission of the chairman. So, the chairman was the overall leader of the party and he gives directives about what we do. At the state level, it was also like that because state party chairmen were also in charge to the extent that a governor has to go to the state party chairman’s office if he wants anything done. But everything changed at the inception of the present democratic experience in 1999. The presidential candidates decided to make the governors their coordinators. And when the presidential candidate of the party eventually won, the governors then became the eyes of the president in their respective states and the party chairmen were relegated. The president now mandates the governors to nominate people for appointment, which was an aberration. From that point, the governors became the focal point in their states and not the party. This practice was sustained over time and this has resulted to

What do you consider the way forward? Well, I believe it is something that will take time to stabilise. First and foremost, they should understand that the interest of the country should be put above personal interest. Again in resolving the problem, there must be a spirit of give and take. So, efforts must be made to return power to the people at any given stage in the electoral system or nomination of candidates for representation of the people. If you go to the various states now, the party chairmen exist just in name. The governors are the ones who control them because it was introduced from the beginning and it has been established. And that’s why we keep saying that free and fair election should be institutionalised in this country from the grassroots for people to elect their leaders. That has been the cries of the people. Whether party officials, local government chairmen, the people should freely choose. Unless this is done, Nigerian democracy will have no meaning for a long time. Do you have confidence in the ability of the Bamanga Tukur-led national executive of the PDP to solve the crisis in the party? I think he has what it takes to resolve the matter in the party, but perhaps, it won’t happen overnight. One thing that will help him to succeed is returning the party to the path of free and fair elections. Because there has been imposition in the party and of course they come so that they too would be imposed on the people. It is not good for the people and this country and our democracy. Allow the people to contest no matter how many they are. Allow the people to choose their leader. During the SDP days, the former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida brought this Option A4 method of election. You just go and stand behind the picture of somebody of your choice during election and the record is taken and the results announced. It was what we did during my time and everybody attested to its credibility. I will appeal that it should be brought back because it will help to solve some of these problems we are complaining about. It is unfortunate that some people who feel that its applicability is no more viable in the current dispensation have branded it undemocratic. I don’t know what is undemocratic about it. The Option A4 method is the most democratic method of election that I have ever seen. If they do not practice it in America, that does not mean that we cannot adopt it in Nigeria. If we have found it to be credible, why don’t we use it? Do you have any fear about the emergence of the All Progressive Congress (APC)? I don’t have any fear about that and I am sure the PDP is not losing any sleep over that.


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Editorial

Friday, February 15, 2013

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

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GBEMI OLUJOBI

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SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

FRANK OBOH

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HEAD, GRAPHICS

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El Rufai’s blasphemy controversy

iscretion is the key to religious harmony in any country and Nigeria cannot be an exception. We Nigerians are living in a palpably multicultural and extremely volatile state, where ethno-religious sentiments run very high; this fact of our existence demands that leaders weigh their contributions to national discourse. The ‘golden rule’ was violated by Mallam Nasir el Rufai, a former federal minister and arguably one of the nation’s current remarkable personalities. El Rufai had tweeted recently to the effect that “if Jesus criticises Jonathan’s government, Maku/Abati/ Okupe will say he slept with Mary Magdalene.” Though the statement was originally made within the context of the high decibel protestations of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s top media managers to the accusation by Dr. Oby Ezekwesili of unconscionable depletion of $67 billion foreign reserves by this administration and the immediate past’s, the content and the context of that tweet, expose the poor judgement of the former FCT minister. The same type of tweet by a Christian might be dismissed as misguided, but sacrilegious if from a Muslim. This

is the context in which the stance of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on el Rufai’s conduct should be seen. His subsequent attempt to play down the gravity of the implications of his poor judgement equally ended badly because he misjudged the gravity of the psychological wound he has inflicted on Nigerian Christians by his denigration of Jesus Christ. Definitely, his faith does not encourage Muslims to make derogatory statements about the faith of other people. Muslims are known to take extreme measure to protest attempts at insulting their faith. We are all living witnesses to how the content of a November 16, 2002 features article on Miss World Beauty Pageant to be held in Nigeria that year authored by a Lagos-based journalist spread deaths and destruction across parts of the North. The offensive article triggered riots in parts of the North that led to more than 200 dead, 1000 injured and 11, 000 rendered homeless. The newspaper’s offices in Kaduna were torched. Another serious fallout of the development was that the then Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi, in a radio broadcast, issued a fatwa on

THERE IS A LAW AGAINST INCITING STATEMENTS IN THE

COUNTRY, HE SHOULD BE INVITED AND CAUTIONED AGAINST CONDUCT LIKELY TO CAUSE BREACH OF PEACE the author of that article, which made it abiding on all Muslims wherever they were to consider killing her a religious duty. Though the Federal Government and some Muslim leaders ruled the fatwa a nullity, the damage was already done. The journalist had to flee the country. Outside Nigeria, riots have erupted over cases of blasphemy. The Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten’s publication of editorial cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad on September 30, 2005, which led to violent protests in Africa and the Arab world, is an example. The point being made here is that religion is a very emotive thing and people go to any length to protect their faith. The denigration of other people’s faith must there-

fore, be discouraged. Nigeria is not only a secular state, her constitution protects individuals’ right to freedom of worship. While we acknowledge the fundamental right of all Nigerians to freedom of speech, the right should be exercised with considerable restraint because where one’s right ends that of another begins. More importantly, the current health of the nation is too tenuous as it is, all Nigerians must watch it and refrain from acts capable of further jeopardising the fragile peace and stability of our country. The Nigerian Muslim leaders, especially the leadership of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, should take more than a passing interest on the matter. They should reprimand el Rufai, if only as a moral deterrence. There is a law against inciting statements in the country, he should be invited and cautioned against conduct likely to cause breach of peace. For the Christian leaders, a time like this calls for prayers to overcome the tactics of the devil. Rather than be incensed by the misguided actions of the few, they should pray for character renewal and tolerance among all Nigerians; only in this way can will have an enduring peace.

ON THIS DAY February 15, 1971 The United Kingdom and Ireland completely decimalised their currencies. The day became known as Decimal Day. Under the old currency of pounds, shillings and pence, the pound was made up of 240 pence with 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound. Under the new system, the pound was retained but was divided into 100 new pence.

Letters to the Editor

February 15, 1938 A total of 60,000 Japanese soldiers invaded Northern China with planes and tanks in what is seen as an attempt to conquer China. The Japanese were attempting to complete the same type of conquest that was led by Kubia Kahn, the Mongol emperor. The location of this attack covered approximately 20 miles, from the Yellow River to the Henan Capital provincial.

February 15, 1933 The Mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak was shot by Giuseppe Zangara, who was attempting to assassin President-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The mayo was seriously wounded in the attack and died on President Jonathan March 6th, 1933. The murderer Zangara was arrested shortly after and then charged of murder. He was convicted and sent to the electric chair on March 20.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Views

Friday, February 15, 2013

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As Kingsley Kuku clocks 43 BEKERES APERE AND BROWN OGEI

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on. Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku is one prominent name in the struggle for social justice and economic emancipation of Niger Delta people. An advocate of non-violence, he decided to go into politics to use the instrumentality of government to achieve the goals of the struggle. One of the greatest dividends of this is the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP). The relative stability in the nation’s oil production drive is attributable to the successful management of PAP. With Nigeria currently producing 2.7 million bpd of crude oil as against 700,000 bpd at the peak of the Niger Delta crisis in January 2009, the nation and its Joint Venture Partners are currently making production surplus of approximately two million bpd. Since Hon. Kuku mounted the saddle as Chairman, PAP in January 2011 and doubles as Special Adviser on Niger Delta to Mr. President, he has shown great vision in and commitment to the assignment entrusted unto him. The Amnesty chief is a very good team player and has been able to assemble a crack team of technocrats and professionals that have blended very well with the civil servants deployed to the Amnesty Office. One of the fundamental tenets of management is that once the leader gets the strategy right, every other thing falls into place. This is what Kuku has done. The Amnesty Office records show that 26,358 former militants in the Niger Delta were successfully demobilized

and rehabilitated in the first and second phases of PAP. The recent approval of additional 3642 undergoing same process in the third phase, the total has climbed to 30,000. With the successful demobilization and rehabilitation of the former combatants, Nigeria has entered history books as one of the few countries in the world that achieved such feat. Recently, President Jonathan visited the National Energy Skills Centre in Trinidad and Tobago where no fewer than 70 beneficiaries are being trained. Ten of the trainees that have performed excellently were granted scholarship by the host government. It is also noteworthy that no fewer than 100 graduate trainees have been offered direct employment in various public and private establishments. The Amnesty Office, however, is putting finishing touches to mentoring programmes that would see many of the graduates becoming self-employed and employing other Nigerian youths. Some factors are responsible for the success recorded by the Kuku-led amnesty programme. He had been involved in the Niger Delta struggle and that gave him a deep understanding of the situation in the region. So, in managing the process, he gets the youths emotionally involved to appreciate the essence of the programme and what they stand to gain when they undergo the training and acquire the requisite skills. Essentially, the selection of skills and programmes for the repentant militants is a critical component of managing the process. Vocational and specialized training in boat building, underwater/pipe-

ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL TENETS OF MANAGEMENT IS THAT ONCE THE LEADER GETS THE STRATEGY

RIGHT, EVERY OTHER THING FALLS INTO

PLACE.

THIS IS WHAT

KUKU HAS DONE

line welding, ICT, seafaring, piloting, and marine engineering, among others, are suitable for the Niger Delta environment. Hon. Kuku is also visionary because such skills are relevant to the emerging hydrocarbon industry. The amnesty chief also frequently visits the various centres to keep track of the progress of the trainees. This does not just give a strong lubricant for recipients to take their studies seriously, but also provides enormous psychological support for them. Perhaps, this feat explains why the rain of endorsements of Kuku’s leadership style continues to pour in torrents, including the recent vote of confidence passed by the Joint Committee on the Niger Delta of the National Assembly. As KK, as he is fondly called, turned 43 yesterday 14th February, the question is no longer about what he is capable of doing as a leader, it is about what he would not do

as a leader. Regarded in some circles as ‘an activist in government’, many believe that his past has prepared him for the present and the future. Born on February 14, 1970, Hon. Kuku hails from Arogbo, in Ese Odo LGA of Ondo State. The town is the traditional headquarters of ljaw people in the state. He obtained a Bachelor of Education (English Language) from the then Ondo State University in 1995. In his university days, he was the National Mobilization Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). Kuku also holds a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the University of Cambridge and is also a member of the International Dispute Resolution Institute. As pioneer spokesman of Ijaw Youth Council, he is said to have demonstrated unusual capacity in the face of many challenges, particularly while working on several peace efforts in the Niger Delta. Elected to the Ondo State House of Assembly 2003, where he served just one term, Hon Kuku was also appointed Special Assistant/Head of Conflict Management Unit at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Port Harcourt, Rivers State and a member of the Presidential Committee on Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Niger Delta, both positions he held till 2009 when he was appointed a member of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty. The 2011 winner of the prestigious Maritime Man of the Year Award is on the threshold of making history. Aperes and Ogei wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State

A new dawn is here HANNATU MUSAWA

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ebruary 6, 2013 was a magnificent day for Nigeria. As the sun rose over the eventful day, Nigerians all over the world celebrated the thrashing our Super Eagles gave Mali’s Les Aigles to reach the final of the African Cup of Nations in South Africa. But prosperity was not done with us, for as the jubilations rang out, news that several of our most significant opposition political parties, including the All Nigeria Peoples Party, Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change, and the All Progressive Grand Alliance had merged to form one party gave cause for much more celebration. As the news of the newly formed All Progressives Congress trickled in, the social networks went crazy. Nigerians young and old, far and wide, expressed their delight at the possibility of this new coalition party. Opposition victories have been hard to come by in the last decade in the country and this new coalition not only gives the vast majority of worn-out Nigerians a tremendous sense of achievement, it gives millions of people new hope that their cause was right and a new determination that change will finally show its face in Nigeria. For many of us, this week has been a time to be proud; a time for reflection

TO CONSOLIDATE THE EXCEPTIONAL SUCCESS THAT THE MERGER REPRESENTS, THE

APC MUST NOW PASS THE CRUCIAL TEST WITHOUT ALLOWING THE DEMONS OF THE PAST TO RE-EMERGE

on the possibility of a new dawn, a time where our country has the chance to sow the seed of success in overcoming the great turmoil that our electoral and political process has thus far represented. Now, as Nigerians look towards 2015, it is beginning to look like we may be standing at the beginning of a new chapter in our history; one that will hopefully be defined by a prosperous democracy incontrovertibly built upon the will of the people. Nigerians have really been put through the ringer. Apart from dealing with the dearth of security, employment, healthcare, education, striving to provide for our families and rising crime to name a few, we have been lumbered with a political leadership that is solely focused on

personal interests rather than on solving our widespread problems. And even though there are over one thousand and one things that Nigerians would ideally like to see done differently, the one general consensus of what people want right now seems to be a change of government. A very smart man known as Albert Einstein once described insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ It would be difficult not to agree with him. If having the same party in power since 1999 translates into a reality where we still have no stable electricity, no unity, no security, no peace, no job opportunities, no development and hardly anything good, then how on earth can anyone expect a different result in terms of the way the country is governed if the same party keeps hoisting itself into power? It would naturally follow that in order for our life to change from the nightmare we are living into a more structured dream, we must change; the country must change and government must change. And for the first time in a very long time, a vehicle with the ability to translate that nightmare into a dream and then into reality is being presented to Nigerians. That vehicle is this newly formed united merger. However, now that the first leg of the task has been achieved, this marks the point at which the real work needs to be

done. To consolidate the exceptional success that the merger represents, the APC must now pass the crucial test without allowing the demons of the past to reemerge. The demons which defy stepping up to the challenge of putting personal interest aside in order for the party to operate in the interest of all the people of this nation. The party must set the objective of making Nigeria a place livable for the right of the many. The coalition must work in partnership with each other to create a dynamic, broad and competitive platform for progressives, for minorities, for women, for children, for the poor and for every interest. The party must be fashioned as an entity that seeks to restore trust in Nigerian politics, cleanse Nigerian politics and decentralizes it so that people can once again have hope that politics can be about the service to the public. To be continued Musawa, a lawyer, lecturer, columnist and human and woman rights activist, lives in London Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


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Mail Mirror

Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Super Eagles, Keshi and NFF

S Ghost workers syndicate in federal bureaucracy

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he Nigerian bureaucracy is unarguably a haven of corruption. Imagine the scandalous discovery of 45, 000 ghost workers in just 215 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) covered by the Ministry of Finance’s newly introduced Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System. There is a total of 536 MDAs. What this shows is that by the time the rest 321 MDAs are covered, more ghost workers would be uncovered. Minister of State, Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, said this first discovery has saved the FG N100 billion in salaries and wages. By the time the entire MDAs are captured, more money would be saved. While Nigerians thank the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her team for their innovativeness, the question now is what about the billions of naira stolen from the treasury in the past before this new innovation? There is the need to fish out the ‘ghost workers cabal’ in the federal bureaucracy and recover the stolen loot from them. What we need to do is arrest all staff in the salary and internal audit departments of the MDAs. By the time they are grilled by the security agents they will sing like the canary birds. Audu Bamayi, Abuja

President Jonathan

uccess has many parents, failure is an orphan, the saying goes. This aphorism is well captured by the continuing euphoria over the surprised emergence of the Super Eagles of Nigeria as Africa’s champion in the just concluded South Africa 2013’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON). Since their return from South Africa with the trophy last Tuesday, who is who in political and corporate Nigeria have been falling over themselves to do honour to the senior national soccer team and their coaching crew. President Goodluck Jonathan led the show of gratitude with national honours, cash and land to their entire assemblage. And of course, the ruling PDP is harvesting unmer-

ited political dividends from the entire development, saying the success of the team is a proof of the efficacy of the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President. Bunkum and arrant nonsense. I ask, what about the big flop at the 2012 London Olympics? What about the declining quality of life in the country? And about the commonplace corruption involving the mighty and the lowly in political Nigeria? Are they also evidence that the present administration has no clue on how to lift the country from the morass of decay? The Super Eagles and Skippo have proved what determination can do to a team. I must admit that a good number of our leaders and some

members of corporate Nigeria did provide the psychological boost that propelled our boys to success. The same cannot be said of the leadership of NFF. At every opportunity, they left nobody in doubt that the Keshi- coached team was a no do gooder. Skippo showed them in his purported ‘resignation’ that he gave no damn. We have not heard the last of the crisis of confidence. Mark my words, Skippo is a marked man! But Nigerians will rise up for him. The God playing cabal in the NFF should better be told that Nigerians are going to be showing more than a passing interest in how football is run in the country. It is time to believe in ourselves.

Children of school age cleaning a car in traffic in bid to eke a living.

It is a surprise that this ‘complex thing’ is also becoming a feature of the management of football in Ghana. At least, the Black Stars coach, Kwesi Appiah who like Keshi was an ex Black Stars, said so as much when he told the international media that he was scorned and treated with disdain by some football personalities in Ghana. I am ending this piece by calling on Nigerian football managers to believe in their own. Keshi should be encouraged. All observable lapses can be corrected with the right training. Up Super Eagles, Up Nigeria!

F

Letters to the Editor

(1900 GMT) the See of Rome, the See of St. Peter will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.” The 85 year old Pope Benedict is expected to go into isolation for at least a while after his resignation. I do know that temporal affairs are distinct from spiritual affairs, but the dignified exit of the Catholic Pontiff is an exemplary conduct; it shows

him as a master of his situation and circumstances; and it proves that there is a limit to the mortality of man beyond which he cannot go. Perhaps, the action of the Pope could force a rethink on the Holy See, particularly on the need to place a limit on the retirement age of a Pope. If cardinals have 75 years as their retirement age, the Pope should also be subject to the same rule given that man must necessarily surrender to the

A

s the 2015 date for the general elections is fast approaching, it is time to make it known to our politicians that it is the turn of Abia South Senatorial zone for the governorship. This is the only way all the three senatorial districts would have had their turn. By 2015, Abia North and Central would have produced a governor for eight years each. So, 2015 is the time for Ugwa/Nkwa people to occupy Government House, Umuahia to balance the equation of our zoning system. Any aspirant coming outside Abia South is wasting his/her time and resources. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umuahia, Abia State

Sadistic killing of health workers in the north

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forces of mortality. The world has changed, the responsibilities of the Pope have equally expanded. The world Catholic family is spread across many countries. Only a man with the zeal and zest, and more importantly with ‘youth’ on his side, would have the energy and drive to carry the burden of the head of over one billion Catholics worldwide.

hy would anybody slit the throats and behead foreign doctors helping to raise the quality of healthcare delivery the way the three North Korean doctors in Potsikum, Yobe State were butchered? And why kill nine female nurses participating in an immunization exercise in Kano State that will help to save lives? What did the authorities do to prevent this national shame? These are the questions the Nigerian police, the Kano and Yobe state governments must answer. As a human being, I was shocked that one of the doctors was beheaded after his death. Nigerians have been turned into barbarians that do not know the value of life. That security guards were not provided for them, given the pervasive insecurity in Kano State, shows poor thinking on the part of the Kano authorities. The same could be said of the Yobe authorities, which never bothered to ask for security escort for the health workers carrying out the immunization exercise, especially given the known opposition of some Muslim to immunization. The IGP did not link the evil acts to any security lapses on the part of the police. It is convenient to say so, but many Nigerians will not agree with him. If the killers of the female health workers came on motor cycles and tricycle to carry out the act, identification is possible. Secondly, in the era of mobile phones, mobilizing the security agencies to the site of crime ought to be an easy task. President Goodluck Jonathan must know that developments such as these ones are giving his government bad publicity.

Sylvester Mark, Ibadan, Oyo State

Pastor Kenneth Onye, Kubwa, Abuja

Comrade Andrew Julius, Kebbi, Nasarawa State

PHOTO: BAYOOR EWUOSO

The worthy example of Pope Benedict XVI rom the blues came the announcement last Monday that the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, had decided to step down effective February 28. The reason he gave for this decision is that he no longer has the strength to fulfill the duties of his office. “…With full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St Peter ... As from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours

It’s Abia South’s turn for 2015 governorship

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16 PAGES OF ARTS, REVIEWS, LIFESTYLE AND BUZZ TO START YOUR WEEKEND

St Valentine’s Day: The Lagos edition TERH AGBEDEH

EDITION ONE TO REMEMBER Iyanya, Praiz, Timi Dakolo, Waje and Ice Prince for an unforgettable evening of music, dance and drama in celebration of love and lovers. South African group Jozi, which worked with Darey on the remix of the hit track ‘Asiko’, is also on the bill. “I’m more than happy that Kim Kardashian is joining us for this firstof-its-kind concert. Millions of Nigerians follow Kim on her different shows, especially Keeping up with the Kardashians, and we thought it’d be a good idea to have her co-host ‘Love…Like A Movie’ with me”, Darey said. Apart from Darey’s friends and collaborators from here and abroad, the concert will also feature The KITONB Project, an extreme theatre company from Italy known for electrifying aerial manoeuvres and choreography. “It’s an opportunity for lovers of

love and life, and all those who believe in the beauty of romance to enjoy an excellent evening that’ll stay in their memories forever”, Darey said. “Love…Like A Movie” is theatrical valentine concert, produced by Soul Muzik as an exhibition of performance varieties, using the interpretation of powerful emotions, music, cross-culture dance and acrobatic performances, lights, moving images and customized sets. It is directed by Angelo Bonello, who came to Nigeria with a 40-man crew last week as pre-production kicked off at the Eko Hotel Convention Centre. A day before Darey’s concert, Classic FM 97.3 will present what it has tagged: ‘Valentine with Maxwell’. The show will be headlined by Grammy awardwinning American R&B, funk and neo soul singer, Maxwell. Also to perform

are: Black Magic, Omawunmi, Bez and Yinka Davies. This event will hold tomorrow at the Ocean View grounds, Eko Hotel and Suites. Organisers said the tickets for the event are still on sale at different locations in Lagos. Only two months after the concert featuring Banky W and his band mates at EME, the label will host another one at The Civic Centre on Ozumba Mbadiwe in Victoria Island, Lagos, today. Titled: ‘R&BW: The Grand Love Concert’, it is not only to present his new album, R&BW , it is also to serenade lovers. Banky W will be joined by some of R’n’Bs biggest names, including Wande Coal, Darey, Tiwa Savage, Bez, Blacky and Faze. Other performers include Lynxxx, Sound Sultan, Iyanya, Praiz, Omawumi, Waje, J Martins, May D and Chidinma. “Love…Like A Movie”, R&BW: The Grand Love Concert and Valentine with Maxwell, among many other events dedicated to St. Valentine’s Day that have brought Lagos to a standstill in a loveydovey way this weekend will make this year’s edition one to remember.

WEEKEND STARTERS Prince of Anthony hosts stakeholders

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rince of Anthony, a hotel 1960 brand, also known as “the pearl of hotels on the mainland” will tomorrow host a stakeholders’ meeting with business owners and top flight individuals residing in Anthony Village, at 27, Oyedele Ogunniyi Street, Anthony Village, Lagos. This meeting will be an interactive session, between the residents and management of Prince of Anthony where relevant information will be exchanged and the first-class facilities available in the new complex will be presented to those in attendance, with the aim of fostering a mutual relationship, with all present.

Actors in a previous performance of the concert

MUSON holds first 2013 concert

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he Musical Society of Nigeria, MUSON, will hold the first concert of the year on Sunday at the Shell Nigeria Hall. Titled The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the opera was first staged last October during the MUSON Festival 2012. The opera will feature

the MUSON Symphony Orchestra and the MUSON Choir conducted by MUSON Artistic Director, Thomas Kanitz. This encore performance, which is driven by a huge public demand, will be the second time the opera is being performed anywhere in West Africa.

In the ‘Artmosphere’ of love

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he second edition of Artmosphere, the music, poetry and performance event will take place around the ambience of love. Organised by WriteHouse Collective, a creative enterprise, culture and

arts firm, and IbridgeHub, a place for people with great ideas to meet, learn and work, it is titled: “Loving Life”. This edition of the monthly event holds tomorrow at NuStreams Conference Centre,

Valentine tea fiesta

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he annual Va l e n t i n e event organised by Motbensonz and Top Tea will take place on today at Club Octopus Reloaded, Alagomeji, Yaba. Perfor mances

are 2face, Solidstar, Chidinma, Niyola, GT D Guitarman, Jay Aims, ClassiQ, Femi Knight, Yeka Onka, Mr Byno, Korede Bello and so many more. Hosts for the evening are Gbemi

Alalubosa GRA Extension, Ibadan, Oyos State from 3.00 p.m. to 6 .00 p.m. Tade Ipadeola, 2009 winner of the Delphic Laurel in Poetry 2009, as well as spoken word artists like Michael Asuzu and Servio Gbadamosi, and others will be in attendance.

Cave Bar’s 2nd anniversary

C Gbemi

(Beat FM) and Dotun (Cool FM). Red carpet starts at 6.00 p.m.

ave Bar on Joel Ogunnaike Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos has put everything at its disposal to ensure a grand second anniversary billed for tomorrow. The club will be hosting its clients at an evening of fun that will avail live music, comedy and dance. The occasion has been carefully planned by the club’s CEO, Shina Eddo to delight patrons.

Denrele’s Day

EVENTS DEDICATED TO ST. VALENTINE’S DAY IN LAGOS WILL MAKE THIS YEAR’S

P. 24-25

Banky W

Inside FCT

Maxwell

P. 26

Kim

P. 34

Escape

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here is a magnet in Nigeria that pulls the very best the world has to offer to her. Leading lights from all walks of life the world over have been here. Most of them come with the sullied mindset of the country’s bad image abroad but leave dying to come back no doubt impressed by the sights and sounds. St. Valentine’s Day, which ceremonies started yesterday and will last till Sunday, has given the delectable Kim Kardashian the opportunity to experience hospitality the Nigerian way in the ambience of love. Kim has already confirmed even on the social online network, Twitter, which she swears by that she would be here and will be arriving tomorrow. The world famous television celebrity is to join Darey Art Alade, 2face and Flavour, among many other Nigerian stars for a Valentine concert titled: ‘Love…Like a Movie’ on Sunday at The Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos. Visiting Nigeria for the first time, Kardashian will co-host the concert with Darey and take part in an exclusive VIP pre-event dinner to be attended by Platinum ticket holders. Known and admired worldwide for her role in E! Network’s reality TV series Keeping up with the Kardashians, Kim, who is in the second trimester of her pregnancy for beau, Kanye West, will be arriving the country from Brazil. Her Nigerian fans worry that the globetrotting Kim should slow down but are happy to welcome her in Lagos. Aside of the aforementioned stars, Ms. Kardashian will also join other Nigerian music superstars as P-Square, 9ice,

P. 32-33

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flavour

Mirror Mongers

VOL. 3 No. 558

19


20

Artman In The House

Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

I am more fortunate than an A medical doctor by training and a writer and politician by interest, Dr. Wale Okediran has excelled in all of these fields. A former General Secretary and National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Dr. Okediran has written books which turned heads in the Nigerian and African literary circles. Plus, his passion for writing and writers knows no bounds. In this interview with Friday Flavour’s IZUCHUKWU OKEKE and IJEOMA EZEIKE in Abuja, Okediran narrates the journey into writing and discusses sundry issues affecting literature in Nigeria. Excerpts: Writing is art but in school you read the sciences. At what point did it occur to you that you could be a writer? Actually, I wasn’t the one who thought I could be a writer; it was my friends and readers. While in secondary school, I developed a love for reading and luckily, I went to a secondary school that had a good library. I used to spend most of my time in the library and along the line, I joined the school’s press club. Gradually, that continued until I went to the university and though I was admitted for Medicine, I still had the passion for literature and writing. I ended up as the Editor-in-Chief of our campus newspaper. From there, I contributed to newspapers on opinion pages particularly The Guardian (Nigeria) and other newspapers. It was about this time that some of my friends said that I seemed to be writing more than I could publish. It was very simple; people think there was magic to it. It is like everything that has happened in my life; I didn’t plan anything, they just happened. I remember when I was about to go to University of Ife; when I wanted to fill the form, my father asked me what I wanted to study and I said journalism, he said there is no money in journalism. He told me to go for a science course instead of arts. But you can never run away from the intrigues of nature. Although I was reading Medicine, I kept writing throughout my seven years in Ife. To give myself a little confidence, I entered for a correspondence writing course with a foreign institution. It was a 12-course programme, but by the time I was midway to the course, the tutors told me that I could write very well. However, I waited to complete my course as a medical doctor before I started writing fully. Given the tight schedule of doctors, how do you find time to write especially when you started out fresh? I have my writing hours. When I started practising medicine newly, I would work from morning till 8.00 p.m. and get home around 10.00 p.m. Then I would write for about two or three hours before sleeping. I had become so passionate about writing that even when I did well in the hospital, if I didn’t write it wouldn’t look like it ended a bad day. Luckily too, the United States Information Service, USIS, had a good library in Ibadan at that time. I used to go to their library every Wednesday afternoon to go through the books and journals. These gave me a wider worldview to situate my writings. Meanwhile, when I started writing, I had my own share of rejections because it is not easy to get publishers in Nigeria. But I am more fortunate than an average writer. My first book was Rainbows are for Lovers and the day the book was launched, I was treated like a king by my publisher. After that kind of treatment, I was expecting huge royalty but was surprised it was so small; that was my first lesson about writing. The best thing about writing is the joy you derive from writing the works people read and enjoy and

Okediran

SOME NOLLYWOOD ACTORS ARE PAID MILLIONS JUST TO

APPEAR ON BILLBOARD, BUT WRITERS ARE NOT RECOGNISED sometimes, that is where it ends. If you are looking for money, I don’t think you can get it from writing. After Rainbows are for Lovers, 10 other novels followed. My latest book is the Tenant of the House where I featured my experience as a member of the House Assembly. Actually, when I was in the House, I kept a diary of my daily events. The book has been wonderful, the reception has been better than what I expected. Initially, I thought it would be badly received because there are so many things in the book. In fact, I did not write it as prose initially, but my publisher advised me that I would be sued if I presented it the way it was originally. Also, I write biographies now. I have published one for my friend and colleague in the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; the book is titled, Fearless. I hope to write more biographies subsequently. Using you as a case study, what challenges does the Nigerian writer contend with? The first thing is managing the family challenges; your spouse, children, because writing is a painstaking job. The time you take to write sometimes affects your immediate family, so everyone needs to understand, especially your spouse. Another is finance; writing does not give money, but you need financial stability to be successful as a writer. My personal involvement with the writers’ community became important because we are in a society where people don’t support literature. We lack sponsorship; corporate organisations are not ready to sponsor

us. Some Nollywood actors are paid millions just to appear on billboard, but writers are not recognised and that is another aspect of writing that is challenging. Of course, one has to improve oneself as a writer. You have to attend some workshops and book programmes despite that you make little or nothing from your writing. For a Nigerian writer, sometimes you have to publish yourself, you have to market yourself and sell your books by yourself. The challenges indeed are enormous. How then do you combine practice of medicine, politics and writing? What sustains you primarily is your interest. Then you have to know how to manage your time; what to do or what to sacrifice for the other. At a point, I had to hand over my hospital to a colleague to continue running it. The first and only writers’ residency project in Nigeria is attributed to you. How was this dream conceived and sustained? When I was the ANA president, it occurred to me that we didn’t have any writers’ residency programme in Nigeria where writers could go and reside for as much as six weeks to finish their ongoing works. With some of my colleagues, we decided to establish Ebedi Writers’ Residency in my state. We started it in 2010 and until date, it is still welcoming writers. We have had about 20 writers who had been resident writers in Ebedi, among whom were four Ugandan ladies. Right now, we have about three inmates. We also have a plot of land where we will put up a permanent structure. Many people have commended the project. Many writers who have gone there found it an enthralling experience, because it is far away from the noise and tumult our city life has become. Writers who went there have had opportunity of completing their works and coming out with a book. So, we are appealing to corporate organisations to


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Artman In The House

Friday, February 15, 2013

21

average writer –Okediran FACT FILE

Making her acceptance speech in Nsukka where she declared that the novel is not dead.

Okediran on a hockey field

come to our aid to steady the noble project. The attitude of Nigerians to literature often rates from poor to appalling. As an experienced writer, what do you think is responsible for this and what do we do to arrest it? I think the reading culture is not interesting for so many reasons and the first is the long years of military rule which have seen books pushed to the background. Mundane rather than intellectual issues are discussed and there is lack of merit displayed everywhere. There has been a lot of erosion of values. People are now running after money and how to get to power by all means. Because of these, we hardly have people reading. Readership advocacy in schools is almost at a zero level. There is also the problem of production of books. Few years ago, we had newsprint making factories in Nigeria and cost of production of books was low. Later, all those newsprint companies disappeared. Printers and publishers have to start importing newsprint. Also, we have parents who grew up not having interest in books; that is how it is passed to children. Parental influence on children is very important and of course, we have a lot of distractions like the internet and football, especially the English Premiership, social media like Facebook and so many other things. The solution is to visit schools and read to students and also activate teachers’ interest in the books. Government at all levels has to make sure we have libraries and find a way of making books affordable to citizens. We also have to find a way of making publishers to publish general books, because most of them are more interested in producing only text books. Gone are the days when some publishers say they are the ones who discovered so-so writers. And we also need to start turning our books to film script. Those people who cannot read, by the time they watch the episodes of a particular book, it will wet their appetite to read it.

Wale Okediran was born in April, 1955, in Oyo State Nigeria.

He qualified as a medical doctor from Obafemi Awolowo University (then University of Ife, Ile-Ife) in 1980.

Okediran hails from Iseyin, in Oyo

He worked in government and private hospitals for several years before he went into private practice in 1987. He remained active in private practice until 1999 when he went into active politics and was appointed chairman, Oyo State Hospitals Management Board.

Okediran contested for a seat in the House of Representatives, where he represented his constituency from 2003 to 2007.

He has 10 books to his name, among them; The Boys at the Border (Spectrum Books, 1991); The Rescue of Uncle Babs (Macmillian PLC, 1999); After the Flood, inspired by the flood disaster in Ibadan in 1987; Dreams Die at Twilight (Malthouse Books, 2004) and Strange Encounters (HEBN Publishers, 2004).

The book Weaving Looms was shortlisted for Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2008.

In 2010, Tenant of House and Coconut by Kopano Nalwa jointly won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.

What do you think needs be done to make ANA more relevant in the promotion of books and literature in Nigeria? The first problem with ANA, as I see it, is funding. Organisations like Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, pay their membership dues from source. The money is deducted from their salaries for these associations. But in the case of ANA, many of our members are just eking out a living. The money is not there and that is why we need the literary awareness campaigns. During my time, we had a German NGO which gave us money to do a literary campaign. This was because ANA has a very good spread. It is the biggest NGO in the country and that alone puts us on an advantage. If any organisation works with us, it is easy to reach all the corners of Nigeria. We are already doing a lot of literary awareness campaign anyway. The other way to make ANA relevant is by organising workshops and campaigns, for both members and non-members. We were able to organise seminars and colloquiums, either on literature or scholarship, but at that time, it was limited to ANA members because of the limited funds we had. I believe that as we mature and where funds are available, ANA should open up to both member and non-members. Every chapter should organise a monthly reading session. The plan is that people can come, read from their manuscripts and critique will follow. And, of course, some of our writers are luckier than others, some are more fortunate to get published easily, not because they are really better than others. Opportunities from such meetings will help promote everybody at the same time. In recent times, there has been controversies in the writers’ circle about literary prizes. Many argue that some of the books that win don’t merit it. What is your take on this? All over the world, literary prices are emotional things, even the Nobel Prize. People have criticised judges simply because somebody won and another did not win. I agree that there is a lot of subjectivity in literary prizes and that is why I keep encouraging my

L-R: Prof. J.P Clark, Okediran and Pa Gabriel Okara

Okediran with Professor Chinua Achebe during the latter’s last visit to Nigeria.

Okediran, 5th from left, at the Pan African Writers Conference (PAWA) in Ghana

Okediran with some of the delegates at a Wrtiers’ Conference in Navisha Lake Resort in Kenya

writer-colleagues not to look at the prizes as the ultimate result in this endeavour. As a writer, the priority should be to get a very good work. Even me, I have my share of disappointments in prizes. My books that won were not ones I thought would –judges are subjective, that’s it. But it is not limited to literature. So, a good writer should not put his mind on any prize. There are books that did not win prizes and they have continued to be relevant till today, as much as there are books which won prizes, yet, no one hears about them now. Which of your books do you regard the best? Aaah, it is very difficult to say. I would say the Weaving Looms because it was set in my home town and Tenants of the House which has made me known nationally and internationally. Incidentally, the American edition of Tenants of the House has just been released. Then, there’s After the Flood because it has been very prophetic. But in all, I would choose Tenants of the House ahead of others. What do you do for leisure? I’m a sports man; I still play hockey.


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Critics

Friday, February 15, 2013

Event

Nigerian theatre soars at FESTINA 2012 TERH AGBEDEH

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he weekend of January 25 to 27 will forever be remarkable not just for the National Theatre, Lagos, but also for its General Manager, Mallam Kabir Yusuf, as well as for the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, NANTAP. The two organisations and the one man, among many other stakeholders in Nigerian culture, featured prominently at the Festival of Nigerian Plays, FESTINA 2012 held that weekend. The 2012 edition of the Festival of Nigerian Plays, FESTINA 2012, which ought to have held long before January, took place in collaboration with the National Theatre, opening with Lekan Balogun’s Beyond the Sunset, while Elechi Amadi’s Isiburu and Arojah Royal Theatre’s presentation of Call For Me My Osheni took the stage on day two. Fred Agbeyegbe’s Human Cargo closed the event that honoured Mallam Kabir Yusuf as FESTINA Ambassador on day three. Just after the opening ceremony, Beyond the Sunset, written by Lekan Balogun and directed by Williams Ekpo, took centre stage with thespians, up-and-coming and established – like Patrick Diabuah, Habeeb Ayodeji, Paul Alumona, Jennifer Osammor and others. The play dwells on Olisa, a man who is married with beautiful and intelligent daughters but soon becomes desperate for an heir, a male child. Not that he does not have a son, but he wants a whole child and not the physically and mentally challenged child that he says, “his wife has given him”. Isiburu, a dance drama piece written by Amadi Elechi and directed by Ebi Pre Bai, also playing the role of the main character, Isiburu, was the first of the two plays on day two, Saturday, January 26. With as many as 11 dance artistes, four lead singers and 10 members of cast complemented by about five instrumentalists and several crew members, Isiburu sure packed a punch. In the evening of day two, Jerry Adesewo’s Abuja-based Arojah Royal Theatre, ART, took centre stage with Call Me My Osheni written by Seyi Adigun, produced by Jerry Adesewo and directed by Zubairu Jide Attah, it is a music and drama piece, which engages contemporary issues with a particular focus on the spread of HIV/AIDS from an ultimately emotive perspective through the avenue of poetry. Human Cargo, reminiscent of the slave trade and its demise, and written by renowned veteran playwright,

NANTAP MUST BE COMMENDED FOR MOVING BEYOND JUST RHETORIC TO THE STAGING OF SUCH A SUCCESSFUL THEATRE FIESTA Fred Agbeyegbe, was a perfect curtain closer for FESTINA 2012. Apart from the drama, NANTAP conferred the title of FESTINA Ambassador on Mallam Kabir Yusuf, in recognition of his contribution to efforts at reclaiming the lost glory of live theatre. To hear his contemporaries tell it at the event, he sure has done a great deal at his post. Welcoming guests, including the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, NANTAP President, Gregory Odutayo said the festival was designed as a platform for the presentation of some of the best works of NANTAP members to the world. “Theatre cannot be complete without the audience, which is the reason NANTAP has set out aside 2012-2013 as a period for building theatre audiences”, he declared. In that, Odutayo is correct and he and his team at NANTAP must be commended for moving beyond just rhetoric to the staging of such a successful theatre fiesta that drew audiences from all walks of life. This effort, in tandem with everyday activities in the sector, will add up to putting theatre in the front burner of national consciousness. It is instructive that not only is NANTAP interested in taking theatre to Abuja, it also invited ART, which more or less defines theatre in

the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to be a part of FESTINA. If NANTAP continues in this direction, perhaps involving many more theatre groups around the country in the next edition, hopefully very soon, the whole country will awaken to theatre. Duke, speaking at the event, aligned with NANTAP when he wished that the time will come when “we would have combined the creative energies with enterprise in order to increase the patronage and attendance at the theatre, which will rub off on everyone”, while calling on the media to celebrate theatre practitioners. “What everyone witnessed on Sunday night is a demonstration of the fact that theatre is yet well and alive in Nigeria. I feel fulfilled being here and having been part of tonight’s event”, he said. He commended NANTAP for the investiture on Yusuf, saying it celebrates a man “who has refused to be indolent not just in his professional career but has continued to work hard to improve the collateral that Nigeria has entrusted to him”. The minister explained that the challenges of the National Theatre and the dilapidation of the last three decades have not been Yusuf ’s fault. “In him I see a commitment in bringing back the glory of the National Theatre and I tell you all that the changes that will begin to happen in and around the National Theatre in the next several months will gladden our hearts”. In all, FESTINA 2012 was a success, thanks to the efforts of many including the planning committee headed by Steph Ogundele, also the festival coordinator, while Deji Etiwe Sulayman worked as festival director. One only wishes NANTAP many more successes as it continues to forge ahead in the preservation of theatre in Nigeria.

L-R: Yusuf Nuhu, Edem Duke, Oyema Ogochukwu and Kabir Yusuf at the event.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Film

A scene from the movie

Tarantino unleashes Django on the world Django Unchained is the seventh film from auteur and Spaghetti Western master, Quentin Tarantino. The film, starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo Di Caprio, Christopher Waltz and Samuel L Jackson is an epic Western set two years before the American Civil War. AYOMIDE TAYO

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rapped in Quentin Tarantino’s patent ultra- violence style and dialogue, Django Unchained is the story of a former slave who tries to rescue his wife from one of the notorious plantations in the old South in America with the help of a German bounty hunter. It is a tale of slavery, revenge and freedom set in an era when it was unheard of to see a black man ride on a horse. Christopher Waltz, who plays the role of the eloquent German bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz, might just be the best actor to star in a Tarantino movie. He sinks his teeth into the charismatic role of the bounty hunter who treats Django (Jamie Foxx) as an equal and teaches him a few tricks of the gun slinging trade. For now, no one reads Quentin Tarantino’s lines better than Waltz- well maybe with the exception of Uma Thurman, his muse. Leonardo Di Caprio, who spots a Southern accent, is the charismatic Monsieur Candie who is the owner of Candie Land plantation where Jamie Foxx’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) is as a pleasure girl. Together with his head house negro Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson)


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Critics

Friday, February 15, 2013

23

Book

Unmasking one of the Kutis A new book, Seun Kuti: Inside Kalakuta and Within Afrobeat, sheds light on the life of Seun Kuti, highlighting not only his talent, but also the mystery that characterises the Kuti family.

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TODAY WHERE A BLACK MAN SITS IN THE WHITE HOUSE AS THE LEADER OF THE MOST POWERFUL NATION EARTH IT IS KIND OF HARD TO FATHOM SOME OF THE SCENES IN THE MOVIE they maintain an iron grip on the plantation by feeding runaway slaves to dogs or putting them in ‘hot boxes’ for 10 days, whipping their backs and showing the scars to guests. The role of Stephen is brilliantly played by Samuel L. Jackson. Stephen is arguably the veteran’s most annoying character since his role as an armed thief in the comedy classic, Coming to America. Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington interpreted their roles well, although they were slightly outshined by the trio of Christopher Waltz, Leonardo Di Caprio and Samuel L. Jackson. Lately, Quentin has been taking on heavier themes since Inglourious Basterds, the 2009 World War II war movie which takes on race superiority. Django Unchained is all about slavery and racism. In today’s world, where a black man sits in the White House as the leader of the most powerful nation earth, it is kind of hard to fathom some of the scenes in the movie- one of the most shocking being a scene of two black slaves fighting to death cheered on by Monsieur Candie. Yet, despite all the evil things done to black people in the movie, the director creates outlets for justice. The scene where Jamie Foxx whips one of the white men who whipped his wife silly before he empties bullets in his chest is cathartic, not just for Django, but viewers who watched as Kerry Washington’s face was scarred with a hot iron. In the beginning, the freed slaves who had been walking in the freezing cold blasted the head of their former owner. This balances the scale of injustice. Throughout the movie, Django is a strange creature. Many people don’t know how to treat him or react to him.

Some black slaves can’t comprehend he is a free man and some envy him, while white slave owners don’t believe that a free black man exists. Jamie Foxx riding on a horse is a metaphor which says that he isn’t your average Negro as he looks down on black slaves who are forced to march. Ironically, the person who identifies that Django isn’t your simpleton Negro is the racist Monsieur Candie himself. The clash of egos between Django and Stephen is a portrayal of the clash between the proud independent Negro and the subservient negro. Feminists might balk at Broomhilda’s character for not doing much apart from being the woman who must be saved. I do feel that Kerry Washington’s character should have been more involved in the plot. As expected, the dialogue in the movie is compelling and the soundtrack is spectacular, ranging from soul to rap. Of course, the violence is over the top- which Tarantino movie isn’t? In Django Unchained, Quentin cuts his annoying habit of unnecessary dialogue which has been one of his most infamous trademarks (watch Reservoir Dogs). Since his 2007 flop, Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has rebounded with heavier movies. This one is his latest spectacle which tackles the issues of slavery and freedom through his trademark strengths- glorification of violence and forceful dialogue. Quentin brings back the old movie Spaghetti Western genre with the heavy gun play. It is captivating from the word go and it doesn’t let go until everything goes BOOM! Ayomide Tayo writes for Nigerian Entertainment Today; this piece was first published on the NET website.

igerian book shelves seem to be suffering from the lack of researched materials on the entertainment industry. And this is an ugly situation which should be stemmed forthwith, if the future generation would have anything to rely on for historical purposes. This is where the book, Seun Kuti: Inside Kalakuta and Within Afrobeat, a 244-page book authored by Uzor Ngoladi is well-suited, having picked on one of Nigeria’s most impressive young men in music. The book, whose foreword was written by Sandra Izsadore, one of late Fela Kuti’s closest professional allies, is an expository narrative about the life of Seun and the several people and things that have influenced his thinking and advocacy. It opens with an inkling into the life obtainable in the strange nation called Kalakuta Republic as the author narrates his first experiences as he sets out to do this story. The drama Ngoladi portrayed in telling this story will obviously intrigue his readers who, by this action, are allowed to share in his emotions. According to the author, after several attempts delayed by Seun’s incessant foreign trips, he was able to pin him down following an appointment that took him to Seun’s place of abode in Ikeja, Lagos. But on that fateful day, the author met Najite who posed a great challenge to him in a manner he did not find funny. From the narrative about how Najite Kuti, one of Fela’s wives, who made the encounter miserable for him without knowing the import of what she was doing, readers will discern that amongst the ‘Kalakutans’, life is unconventional. The idea to offer space to Sandar Izsadore also makes this work tick. Many works had previously quoted Fela Kuti as admitting that two women- his mother, Funmilayo Kuti and Sandra Smith Iszadore mattered most in his life. Getting a person who touched the life of the late Afrobeat king to pen a few pages of this work is highly commendable. For readers meaning to know Seun and

FOR READERS MEANING TO KNOW

SEUN KUTI AND WHAT DRIVES

HIM, THIS BOOK... UNEARTHS NOT ONLY HIS PROFESSIONAL LIFE BUT ALSO HIS PRIVATE LIFE what drives him, this book is an additional essential as it also unearths not only his professional life, but also his private life. For instance, Seun Kuti does not see Afrobeat as a meal ticket, but a political consciousness to liberate the people from the shackles of oppressive leaders. In many of the pages, the books highlights how he has turned down shows being bankrolled by such leaders. According to the account, Seun would not allow his managers to even mention the amount of money being offered in order not to be tempted, imagining what the money would help him solve. This is a clear indication that he is following the footsteps of his late father, whose life was characterised by freedom fights against the oppressed people of Africa. Particularly intriguing about this book is the format the author also chose to present this work. In order not to adulterate facts, he used interviews, where the respondents’ comments are written verbatim. While this is commendable, it also goes to stress that the author, in spite of employing drama in doing this work, is keen on making facts sacred. Interestingly, the various interviews conducted are with people who are either friends with Seun or are his professional colleagues in the band. Particularly interesting are the interviews of his manager (who left his family in England to be part of this advocacy called Afrobeat) and Baba Ani (the oldest band member, who explained how he has been able to ‘descend low’ to follow a boy he watched grow from the cradle as his leader in a game he started long before he was born). Another highpoint of this book is how it threw light on the Kutis and the HIV toga which has dogged the family for long. While the late Minister of Health, Olukoye Ransome Kuti admitted that his brother Fela was killed by the infection, Seun Kuti, in this book, also attributed his mother’s death to complications arising from HIV. However, the book falls short on two fronts. Some of the pages are riddled with typographic errors, an obvious concern about the editing and the author also failed to interview Femi Kuti, whose comment is important in a work of this nature. In spite of this, one fact has been proven: Seun Kuti is a true son of Fela.


Inside FCT

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Friday, February 15, 2013

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AFCON 2013: NSC, NOA give residents a memorable final ...as Super Eagles’ superlative performance is lauded

Spectators crowded before the giant TV at the National Stadium, Abuja.

GEORGE OJI, JOEL AJAYI AND AMINAH IBRAHIM

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he finals of the 29th Orange African Cup of Nation, AFCON 2013, has come and gone and that Nigeria won the tournament is no longer news. For the first time in recent history, two government agencies, the National Sports Commission (NSC), and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), came together to ensure that residents of the Federal Capital Territory, who either do not have the means to install satellite television device to watch the finals or lack electricity supply, were provided an opportunity to watch the tournament live. Arrangements were made by both agencies to install two giant screen televisions on one of the expansive fields at the National Stadium Abuja where residents gathered on that glorious Sunday, February 10, to witness history. Before the tournament day proper, there was widespread publicity on radio and TV stations reminding FCT residents about the facility, urging them to troop out enmasse and avail themselves the opportunity. Enthusiastic residents, mainly the less financially endowed, trooped to the venue from within the city and its environs; they came from as far as Suleja, Kubwa, Deidei, Kuje, Karu, Mararaba, Ado, Masaka, Nyanya and others. As early as 4.30 p.m., many people had trooped to the venue for the football match that was officially billed to commence at 5.00 p.m. There were stand-up comedians who kept the enthusiastic spectators lively as they dished out rib-cracking jokes mixed with music interlude. There were also some professional dancers who entertained the people with their titillating dance steps; wriggling and jiggling their waists. Officials of NOA gave out miniature Nigerian flags, which the spectators waved intermittently in the air to show solidarity and patriotism. The agency also used the opportunity to give out some educational and informative materials to the people, including pamphlets, T-shirts, face caps, biros, etc. Director General of NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri, who was present at the occasion seized the opportunity to drum the message of support and patriotism to the people. Dressed in the national colour of greenwhite-green, the D.G also used the occasion to solicit support for the present administration. “If I say do the right thing, you will say transform Nigeria and if I say transform Nigeria you will say

WHEN EVENTUALLY NIGERIA SCORED, THE PLACE ERUPTED IN WILD JUBILATION AND IT TOOK ORGANISERS A WHILE TO CALM SPECTATORS do the right thing”, Omeri implored. As he went through the lines, the people responded in loud and deafening voices. As he spoke, the people applauded and cheered intermittently. “Your country men are in South Africa, they have gone there to teach the world football. When they were going, I had the opportunity to talk to them, I told them that in the past, we have always complained and that it was time for Nigerians to be positive; if they are positive, they will bring the cup to Nigeria. When they started it seemed so difficult, but the Nigerian spirit, which is the real Nigerian factor worked for them. Again, when I spoke to Steven Keshi I still repeated the advice I gave them earlier to be positive”, the D.G said. “We need to be positive about this country; Nigeria may be a disappointment now, but it would not be forever. Believe in your country, be positive about it and have patience. Those of you who do not have employment, government is working hard to create the opportunities for our young people to find opportunities and talent. It is difficult, but it will work. We believe in Nigeria, we are positive about it. We say no to terrorism! and no to all manners of kidnappings! We want to be brothers and sisters again. Our country is beautiful and romantic”, Omeri concluded. Thereafter, the comedians and dancers continued performing. Because of the rib-cracking jokes and beautiful dance steps exhibited by the entertainers, many people did not know when the waiting period elapsed. In a twinkling of an eye, it was time for the tournament proper. As the football match progressed, expectedly, there were as many commentators as there were spectators; each person bringing his or her own perspective to the commentary. When eventually Nigeria scored at the 69th minute, the place erupted in wild jubilation and it took the organisers a while to calm the people for viewing to continue. In all, it was an evening full of fun and entertainment.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the historic win, scores of Abuja residents have continued to praise the victorious Super Eagles for their outstanding performance in the just ended AFCON. The team won the continental football trophy after a 19-year dry spell ending what many football analysts called a jinxed era in the annals of football in the country. Ecstatic residents have said the game will be an event to be remembered for a long time. With crowds in their colourful uniforms holding Nigeria’s flag lined along the Airport Road from the City Gate to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport to cheer the Eagles, the FCT metropolis and the satellite towns literally brought traffic to a standstill. The players were met with a victory song, “Stand up, stand up for the champions” as Captain, Joseph Yobo, emerged from the arrival hall of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja with the glistering gold plated trophy. Not less than 100 high-capacity buses were used by FCTA in conjunction with Sports Writers Association of Nigerian (SWAN), to conveyed people from town to the airport free. Different cultural troupes were drumming and dancing in joy. Some residents told Inside FCT that the team deserved the heroic reception they got but a lot need to be done to sustain the victory. Abdul Adeboye, a resident of FCT said that, “I think government needs to use this victory to encourage local coaches and players and improve sports facilities on ground so that this kind of victory can be sustainable in the future”. Another resident who simply identified himself as Benjamin Christopher said: “It is a welcome development we have being awaiting for long. The way forward is for Nigerians to organise, look inward for more local coaches and local players”. For David, a civil servant at the Federal Secretariat, the team has brought honour to the country, adding however that they should “try more because I believe come 2015 in Morocco, we will win it”. As for Joshua Oscar, a vendor opposite NNPC Towers, he decided not to open shop in order to welcome the Super Eagles for making him proud to be a Nigerian. “I told my colleagues at Area 1 Distribution Centre that I will like to have a glimpse of the cup as well as players like Mikel, Moses and others. I don’t want people to come and tell me the story; whatever I lost today means nothing in the spirit of celebration”, he said.


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Inside FCT

Friday, February 15, 2013

25

Calm, order restored to Wuse

...as FG vows to lighten burden of commuters EMMANUEL ONANI

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othing foreshadows the resultant positive effect of mustering political will by a government than the recent decision by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), to uproot, dislodge, dislocate and eventually “transplant” Abuja green buses from Wuse market junction to the core of Zone 6. Indeed, some residents have yet to reconcile with the new order that has been created from the chaotic and rancorous atmosphere that hitherto assailed the centrality of Wuse, in the federal capital city. Suddenly, but commendably, the characteristic disorder and disequilibrium that manifested in the traffic gridlock around the area, the indiscriminate display of wares by brisk businessmen and women, the acrobatics of magicians - all of which conspired to create a feeling of “inertia” - bowed to the audacity of political will to change the status quo ante belum. Like a bolt from the blue, elemental forces, acting at the behest of the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, moved against ingrained and institutionalised lawlessness. That Wuse had descended to the arena of “old Oshodi” was stating the obvious. Those who had urgent business to transact in Abuja avoided Wuse axis like a plague. Traffic officials’ expertise got literary overwhelmed by the inherent ‘craze’. Now, calm and equanimity operate side by side in the axis. This teaches a lesson that the success of any government resides in its capacity to activate the needed political will as a catalyst for positive change

WE KNOW THE PAIN BOTH PASSENGERS AND MOTORISTS ARE GOING THROUGH...

WE ARE DETERMINED TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR ALL and development. A high-ranking official of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), who spoke in confidence with Inside FCT pledged that more drastic measures will be taken to restore beauty to the city. “We know the pain that passengers and motorists are going through since we cleared the disorder that commuter buses and taxicabs used to create in Wuse. We are determined to make things better for all”, he said: A driver, who gave his name simply as Chidi, lamented the development as he drew attention to the danger in parking along the expressway. “Please, you people should help us talk to government to always consider the plight of the masses in their decisions. Why didn’t they give us another park before chasing us from Wuse? “Well, our association - Self-Employed Commercial Drivers Association is seriously discussing with government now; maybe something good will come out. For a commuter, Mrs. Pauline Ogar, “Passengers are suffering because they have to trek a long distance to enter buses going to Nyanya, Mararaba, Kubua and other satellite towns. It is not fair”.

Commuters trekking in Wuse because of scarcity of buses.

PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

Refuse dump at Garki village

Poor sanitary system: Garki cries for help JOEL AJAYI

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n spite of the Federal Government’s efforts to make the FCT one of the most attractive cities in the world, through holistic improvement of infrastructure and provision of basic amenities, an environment that engenders good health is being hampered by lack of effective sanitation system. Yet, an adage says ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’. Currently, it appears that the city is faced with myriad of challenges characterised by unhygienic conditions, lack of infrastructure and lack of portable water, amongst others which have made life totally frustrating for the masses. Indeed, many spend more of their meagre resources on drugs for ailments that daily threaten their survival and productivity as artisans and traders. Garki village remains one of the dirtiest areas in the FCT despite its proximity to some highbrow areas like Asokoro, Garki II, Area 3 and Area 11. A first-time visitor to the village would be welcomed by offensive odour oozing out of gutters, make-shift toilets and other outlets that have suffered prolonged neglect by sanitary authorities. Any open place in the district is a mini-toilet for some residents. In some streets, blocked sewages are putting some residents in check as they try to access their homes. Everyday, residents helplessly and grudgingly contend with mountains of refuse, which have become an eyesore, as they continue to eke out a living in the city. However, Garki village contrasts sharply with the scenery of such areas like Asokoro, Wuse, Garki II, Maitama and others which are close by. Some Garki residents who spoke to Inside FCT said the situation was lifethreatening and called on the FCDA to do something to improve the quality of life and reduce mortality rate in the area. A resident, Mrs. Fatimah Abduraheem, complained that their numerous appeals to the present administration have not yielded positive results. “It seems as if the FCTA has forgotten that human beings live here not animals; it is obvious that we are living in isola-

tion because if we are not, we wouldn’t be treated like this. Look at everywhere, there is water scarcity, power is epileptic so street lights are out of the question and there are no good roads too. “With the inability of FCTA to solve this problem, we have to hire some people to do this cleaning work for a fee. I am appealing to this present administration to create an enabling environment through infrastructure and social amenities for people to pursue their legitimate goals”, Fatimah emphasised. Another resident who simply identified himself as Salisu Musa said; “this situation is affecting us; it seems the government has forgotten we are part of this country. Disposal trucks carry human waste from areas like Asokoro and Maitama which explains why those places are always neat and hygienic; but there is no such arrangement for us in Garki village. If you look at the population of the people living in Garki village, they are double of people living in the Asokoro”. For Emmanuel Okoh, the monthly sanitation observed in other cities, towns and villages, is not properly done in Garki as a result of polythene bags blocking drainages. Mallam Aminu Muhammed, another resident quipped: “I think the FCT administration is not doing enough in this area; what it means is that our lives as a Nigerians do not matter to them. If this is happening in the FCT, you can imagine what will be happening in the suburbs”, he disclosed. From all indications, the helpless residents are hoping that if adequate provisions are made for health and sanitation projects in the FCDA’s N253bn 2013 budget, their fate may change from being an endangered group to people who perform their civic responsibilities and are treated as human beings in their fatherland. However, will the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, give attention to Garki’s urgent need and save the entire FCT from decay and other socioeconomic features of a poorly planned and developed capital city? This is the big issue the authorities in the FCDA should address to avert another form of ‘Soweto’ in a land of abundant promises.


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Friday, February 15, 2013

Nollywood’s saints of the Centenary

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hings appear turbo-charged in Nollywood. As usual, the industry is refusing to sing in one tune in spite of the decision by Federal Government to extend a hand of fellowship to the creative industry to take active part in the centenary celebrations which kicked off with a dinner two weeks ago. At the middle of the crisis is the thank-you-for-coming envelops distributed by actor, Kanayo .O. Kanayo, who MM gathered, was the points man of the Centenary Committee’s fraternity in Nollywood. The bone of contention is that those who missed out are calling for the head of the actor, whom they accused of handing out only N50,000 after

collecting N250,000 on their behalf. While KOK has refused to speak on this, several groups in the industry have come up with petitions to the government calling on the Centenary Committee to extend her interactions with the industry to the guilds. Most regrettable is this statement in circulation over the soiree: “Both the senior and junior members of the industry lobbied, begged, swore and cried to get KOK’s attention and convince him to include their names on his sharing list. It was a manifest embarrassment to Nollywood as portrayed by all those who participated in the show of shame. Has Nollywood become so cheap?”. It seems so with the scarcity of movie roles! Kanayo

Nyako

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damawa is unique as one of the most multicultural and multiethnic states in the country. At the last count, over 200 ethnic groups have been identified, while the state can also boast to have produced virtually all the important positions of authority in the country save for the president. Perhaps that is why the current governor, Murtala Nya-

ko’s every little move is being challenged both in Yola, the capital and Abuja. Ripples of the rancour are also indirectly affecting the relationships between the state and powers that be in Abuja. When the governor tried to transfer the services of his wife, who is a federal judge, to Adamawa, the interpretation was that Nyako was preparing his wife to be the state’s Chief Judge and it was vehemently opposed. Now the buzz is that he is also preparing his son to take over from him with some special assignments which MM gathered are being saddled on the son. Is Nyako Jnr. getting set for the Government House in Yola?

ONE-SECOND Q&A

Fraudsters and La Casera consumers

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After Sullivan’s return Clash of Adamawa T gladiators he almost five months of uncertainty which wafted from Enugu State Government House over the health of the Governor, Sullivan Chime, came to a bumpy end last week. It did not matter that it took the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio to tell the people of Enugu State when their chief executive officer would return or that no official handover note was passed to the House of Assembly, empowering the Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi to superintend in the interim. But what is bugging people in the Coal City at the moment, MM gathered, is the future of the governor. With the disclosure that he went to treat cancer of the nose and was never really admitted into any hospital making the rounds, a

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section of the people in Enugu are tempted to wonder why his aides were telling lies all the while, maintaining that the governor was ‘enjoying’ his accumulated leave in Europe. For deceiving the public, people are asking that his aides should resign.

Chime

here is something Prahlad Gangadharan, chief operating officer of the La Casera Company, needs to know urgently to save the company from future embarrassment. Fraudsters have turned their attention to the company and much has been going on in this regard, latching onto the commercial success of their brand, La Casera Apple drink, which came into the Nigerian market in 2001. MM gathered that almost a year after a promo ran by the company for her trade partners tagged: “Gathering of Champions”, which availed prizes such as cars, cash and electronic appliances, fraudsters are now capitalising on the MTN Connect platform to prospect for victims to dupe. How do they do this? Messages are sent through MTN Connect to mostly MTN subscribers, urging the subscribers to send ‘YES’ back to the number for an important message at the cost of N5.00. Afterwards, a message comes in reading: Congratulations! Your number won N300,000 in the ongoing Lacasera Drink Promo. Your number is among the 15 lucky promo winners. Code number is 0103. Call Mr. John on 08167750576. For those who are curious about the ‘victory’, a call to Mr. John avails a man with an Indian accent, asking for names, location, next of kin and account details where the booty would be forwarded to. Of course some may have been defrauded already under this guise which is why MM urgently asks that the company to plug this loophole to avoid consumers telling ugly apple stories.

BABAFEMI OJODU

The situation the Nigerian state has found herself in the past couple of years has been eliciting reactions about the role of the ruling class in bringing about a change. Senator Babafemi Ojodu, a journalist who has spent the last few months as a senator, shares his frustration in this regard: Is it not possible to build an alliance of a few people across the different levels of government to bring about the required change in Nigeria?

T Ojodu

hat was the challenge I gave myself when I came in. But again, attempting that has also been difficult. People are looking for one gain or the other, which are personal. People are still more concerned about the problems of survival, managing and increasing what they have. So, collaboration becomes so difficult. As I said earlier, the kind of journalistic urgency and deadline attitude that one brings to the job, I did not see it in other people, and for me, that makes it much more frustrating. I think people’s psyche have been battered for too long to have that attitude of wanting to stand alone and be deprived of benefits and perks that are accruable to those who kowtow and massage the egos of those in power.


Yaum al-Jumu’ah, Rabi Al-Thanni 5, 1434AH Friday, February 15, 2013

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27

Call to Worship

On the authority of Anas bin Malik, the servant of the Messenger of All, the prophet said: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” RELATED BY BUKHARI AND MUSLIM

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earn about Muslim culture by visiting the Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai’s largest mosque and the only one open to non-Muslims. Jumeirah Mosque showcases many aspects of rich Islamic culture. It is a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture and is one of the most photographed sights of Dubai. It is open to non-Muslims for special tours to give insights into Islam. The Jumeirah Mosque is a dominant landmark of Dubai city. Built in the medieval Fatimid tradition, this stone structure is a tribute to modern Islamic architecture. While strolling through the Mosque at sunset, you will be washed in shadows by this elegant formation. It is built in the medieval Fatimid tradition combined with modern building materials. Considered to be one of the most attractive mosques in Dubai, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding organizes visits to the Jumeirah Mosque for non-Muslims, aimed at promoting cultural understanding and firsthand experience as an insight to the Islamic religion. It is particularly attractive at night when subtle lighting throws its artistry into relief. A non-Muslim visitor once said; “This is my top experience thus far. It was hugely educational and worth the visit!! You don’t need to be fully covered up - as they have berca’s and scarves there. The guide was hugely knowledgeable and entertaining.”

Quiz Corner debuts NOTE: Islamic Schools can be part of The Quiz Corner by encouraging their students to be part of this as they stand the chance of winning valuable gifts. Also, Islamic organizations, corporate bodies and well-meaning individuals can be part of this through gifts and promotional items. For further information, please contact SEKINAH LAWAL on: 08055102994 or email: sakinah207@yahoo.com.

Valentine: The Islamic perspective 28

Amazingly educational visit

Q; 17: 23-24 Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.} View of the Haram Mosque, Mecca

Be part of Mirror’s MusliMart We are introducing a Muslim Shoppers’ Guide, showcasing Islamic fashion, halal foods, finance, arts and music, inspirational and motivational CDs, books, events, conferences, Muslim social diaries, seminars, matrimonial, household items, medical/health materials etc. For further information, contact +234-8055102994 or email: sakinah207@yahoo.com

Always remember death is a must 28

Absolute oneness (1)

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neness, whether relative or absolute, is an attribute that defines the uniqueness of the entity that possesses it. While relative oneness can be possessed by anything unique in any respect, absolute oneness is a feature of Divinity alone. Oneness can be, at times, as profound a concept as the enigmatic concepts of Infinity and Zero. The prime number ‘One’ can actually be intriguing enough to put the most competent of human minds to the most formidable of challenges. The Qur’an introduces us to two special attributive names of God that relate specifically to God’s absolute oneness. These names are Ahad and Waahid. While in general terms, Ahad and Waahid both, could loosely be translated as ‘One’, but more spe-

Every Friday with

Khalifatul

Ahmadiyya cifically Ahad can be translated as ‘One’ and Waahid as ‘Only’. Hence, when the Qur’an informs us that its Author is Ahad and Waahid, essentially what we are being told is that God, in the absolute sense, is the ‘One and Only’. These two attributive names, in conjunction, describe the Absolute Oneness of CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

JOMAF calls for use of Hijab in public schools 29


28

Call to Worship

Yaum al-Jumu’ah, Rabi Al-Thanni 5, 1434AH

Friday, February 15, 2013

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Valentine: The Islamic perspective I I , O . ur society has become sick. It is being treated with what exacerbates its condition. People never want to know the basis for what they do. The evil minded is declaring virtue as vice. One who tries to eschew indecency in all ramifications is declared wanted. Those that commit it with impunity are glorified. They argue that as long as both parties to sex outside marriage concur, it is nothing but socialization and satisfaction of natural cravings. Hence, permissiveness is promoted while any form of moral or ethical code is ruled against. The expression for illicit relationship is annually celebrated across the world in the name of Valentine. This was said to be a celebration of love. Valentine today is nothing but a promotion of promiscuity, exhibition of shamelessness and a celebration of street madness of love. Islam is never against loving fellow men. Its context is that one must love Allah (SWT) and His Messenger. It is from this that every other love must spring. This love must be in obedience to the provisions of Islam. So, there is nothing like a specified day for sharing love. It is shared by the Believers every moment of their lives as they remember their fellow brothers and sisters and pray for them. Islam abhors promotion or support for any kind of

N SLAM LOVE IS NOT THE SAME THING AS SEX

evil. Therefore, attempts to justify Valentine as a day or moment of sharing love or feelings of love is not acceptable in Islam. This is because love in Islam is for Allah and His Messenger. Hence, a Muslim only loves and hates for the sake of Allah (SWT). This so-called love being clamored at Valentines is nothing but infatuation, hypocrisy, fornication and adultery. It is a day declared by Shaytan to win people into hell. So, it is a falsity to explain it away that “if you can avoid fornication and the like, you can send cards to your brother or sister, Dad or Mum, friends and so on”! It is a blatant unjustifiable justification of an evil. Islam is never against giving or taking of gifts but it abhors its association with Valentine. The craze of giving cards, candy, flowers or any other form of gift; the intermingling, playing the so-called love in the streets – hugging, romancing and the like – are vehemently rejected by Islam. The fact that it is a pagan practice having, shrouded in mystery, myths, licentiousness, immorality, faking, promiscuity, fornication and vivid un-Islamic practices is enough an

Always remember, death is a must

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here is always a beginning and an end for both all things. Death will come when it will. A Muslim is welcomed into this world at birth by purification of his body so also is the bidden farewell at death by the washing, shrouding of his body and praying over him. The depths of the earth are made a grave for him in order to preserve his dignity. It is imperative that the reflection of death should be ever present in the minds of men. However prolonged this worldly life may be, it is mortal and must end. However great may be the possessions of this world, one day they are bound to be left behind. According to Chapter 56, verses 60 – 61 of the holy Qur’an, “death is not the end of man’s life; it only opens the door to another. We have ordained death among you and We are not to be overcome, that We may change your state and make you grow into what you know not”. Majority has forgotten that they will die one day. If they have not, they would have obeyed Allah’s injunctions and dictates of the holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW). The eternal life is immortal; its blessings are everlasting. In view of this, it needs no explanation to a man of sense that one should opt for something which is everlasting. Almighty Allah says:” O those who keep faith! Let not your goods and your offspring make you heedless towards the remembrance of Allah. And if a person does this, he will be among such people as are the losers. And whatever Allah has provided you with, spend out of it before someone’s death approaches and he should say; O my Creator! Why didn’t you grant me few days respite so that I could give away in charity and be counted among those who are righteous. Allah certainly grants no respite to any man when the time of his death approaches and Allah is well-Aware of all your deeds”. The occupation of gathering wealth and valuablegoodsandthecareof familyandoffspringare those things which become the cause of indifference in carrying out the commands of Almighty Allah. Take heed lest you should depart with full

awareness that you are leaving behind your family and offspring and all your goods and valuable possession. Today you have time enough. So do what you must. Furthermore, Allah reveals to us in the holy Qu’ran that “Tell those who are running away from death that one day they will be trapped unaware and produced before Almighty. They will be called upon to answer for their action by Him Who is All-Knowing”. The Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said that; “The best among us is the one who can control his baser self and remains attached to things that may prove helpful to one’s post existence. One cannot be prepared for anything unless one spends every moment of one’s life in contemplating what the process of preparation requires. And anyone who lives a deceptive life is a victim of the worldly temptation and he is forgetful of the day he will die”. Also, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) instructed a companion who complained that he had no love for death that he should remember death amply. It will end your pleasures in other things. It is laid down in another tradition that death should be remembered abundantly. One who reminds himself of death frequently, his heart becomes alive and death becomes easy for him. It is evident that Almighty Allah loves Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) who happens to be the last of the Prophets; he still tasted death. If he is dead, who else will not die? Although, he saw death coming and had opportunity of living a little bit longer but he preferred the will of Allah to be done. In conclusion, the Qur’an not only speaks of a life after death; it also shows that the basis of the life is laid in this our life on earth. The Hereafter is not a mystery beyond the grave; it begins in this life. For the good, the heavenly life, and for the wicked, a life in hell, begins even here, though the limitations of this life do not allow most people to realize this. Sheikh Abdul Ganniyy Umar Arikunkewu is the Founder/National Chief Missioner of JubatuRohfatuLlahi Islamic Society of Nigeria (JUBFAT)

evidence that a MUSLIM must never be a party to this so-called Valentine. He must not in any way regard it as a day of sharing love, he must not mark it with anything, and he must not buy or send or take any gift to mark the celebration. It is forbidden to participate in it in whatever form because it is a form of shirk. It is an ancient pagan celebration by the Romans to commemorate the death of Romulus, the Founder of Rome, who was said to have been suckled by a she-wolf for a day. So, they earmarked every mid-February to mark the event. A Muslim does not celebrate the birth of any mortal, not even the Prophets, how much more a mysterious, idolatrous person? It is sinful to imitate the pagans or nonMuslims in their practices. The Prophet has in this wise said, “Whoever imitates a people has become one of them”. Thus, on the Last Day, if such people are sent to hell, the imitator will follow them. The name Valentine was said to refer to one of the Christian so-called martyr(s). He (or they) was thus given the title Saint by the Catholic Church. Participating in Valentine in any way is a form of intellectual subjectivity. This is so as there are a lot of myths and untrue stories revolving around it. Celebrating it therefore subjects one’s commonsense to falsehood, superstition, doubts and contradiction. In Islam, love is not the same thing as sex. It is part of faith to love for your fellow brother what you love for yourself. Love is a key to paradise. In other words, if people do not love themselves for the sake of Allah, they will not enter paradise. Whoever wants to enjoy sex in addition to loving can only do so through an Islamic marriage. The failure of our homes and society in proper definition of love and sex has given birth to the scourge of prostitution, the so-called unwanted pregnancies and abortion. We now see uncultured women dating other men other than their husbands. The resultant effect is that many men are wrongly led to rear bastards as children. Prostitution has gained an unprecedented prominence. Our society has a lot of avenues where prostitutes are patronized. In the universities, the so-called ‘big

men’ come around or send their acolytes to get them the ‘sweet ladies’ for the daily or weekend relaxation. It is easier to locate these whores in our major streets today as they pose to look for customers or be picked by a strange man to an unknown destination. Some of these ‘babes’ are cunningly smart as they deal with such men in different ways. Marriage has become a bondage and fornication a lawful pastime. We now live in a world of free sex. An average modern youth has had several sexual experiences. The prelude to most marriages these days are pre-marital sex. This is further sustained with extra-marital relations by the husbands and sometimes by the wives. Any woman who is impregnated outside a legitimate wedlock is guilty of child abuse and violation of child’s right. She has wrongly carried a baby in her womb and has also denied it a legitimate birth. These days, abortion is on the increase. There are several reports of young babies found on dumping grounds. People are just callous and inhuman. Where lies the mercy of a human who kills an innocent baby. The available knowledge which should have been used to protect life is used to waste life. Some of the medical personnel are culprits as some of them take the advantage to enrich themselves. They act against their conscience and the ethics of their profession. Besides, the modern society steals, buys and sells infants. The nurses lie that the baby is dead only to sell to the childless couples. Some purchase these babies only to criminally kill them to make charms or talisman. If there is true love, people will realize that they are from Allah and that they will one day return to Him. This will guide all their activities as individuals and groups. Dr. Zafaran is the Director, Vanguards Academy

Alhaji Qasim Badrudeen; Sheikh AbdMajeed Ayinla and Sheikh Sulaiman Adangba at the maiden public progamme of Joint Muslims’ Action Forum (JOMAF) in Osogbo, the State of Osun recently.

F-L:Prof. Lakin Akintola; Dr. Femi Abbas and Ustaz AbdRasheed Buweab at the Joint Muslims’ Action Forum (JOMAF) programme in Osogbo.


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SEKINAH L AWAL

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uslims in the South-West under the umbrella of Joint Muslims’ Action Forum (JOMAF) have called on government at levels to allow the use of Hijab (head scarf) by female Muslim students in all public schools and also demanded for Sovereign National Conference (SNC), through which a true constitution would emerge. The Forum at its maiden public progamme in Osogbo, the State of Osun at the weekend tagged “The Nation Prays,” was of the

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Call to Worship

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JOMAF calls for use of Hijab in public schools view that “it is through true constitution that restructuring of the polity that will guarantee equal rights of the citizenry would be achieved.” The event, held at the open field of the Government Technical College was attended by clerics across the zone, traditional rulers, Islamic organisations, students and youths organizations. Prof. Lakin Akintola of the Lagos State University (LASU), and The Nation newspapers columnist, Dr. Femi Abbas who were among the guest speakers on the occasion

asserted that “calling for and demanding for rights peacefully is not a sin. The duo urged those in authorities to create an enabling environment through which rights could be demanded unhindered to allow for peace and tranquility in the country. Earlier in his remark, JOMAF Chairman, Alhaji Kola Usaamot urged government to look into the appointment of teachers, lamenting the dearth of Islamic Studies’ teachers across board. “We wonder who will teach our students religious knowledge

when the subject teachers are not recruited,” he said. The Chief Missioner, Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Abdurrahman Ahmad urged Aregbesola to ensure that rights of citizens are always protected irrespective of political and religious affiliations as citizens’ demand for their rights should not be seen as public disturbance. “The continuous demand of rights by the Muslims should not be seen as act of militancy because we have been civil enough in going about it and we never close the chapter of

dialogue to achieve this purpose,” he said. Prof. Akintola chided government inconsistency in tackling HIV/AIDS scourge. “How can a government that is sincere in prevention of further spread of the deadly disease be encouraging naked dressing and forbid usage of hijab in schools,” he said. The gathering used the opportunity to seek for Hijrah public holiday, teaching of morals in schools as well as adequate representation of Muslims in public offices in accordance with their populations in various states. While praying for peace, progress and development of the country, Dr. Abbas urged Nigerians to work toward achieving the aforementioned, saying “it would amount to hypocrisy for people to pray for peace and at the same time behave in a manner capable

of breaching the peace.” The gathering thereafter threw their weights behind the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on state policies that they said were in conformity with divine injunctions as they harped on equal rights for the citizenry, promising to keep on supporting him in as much as he governed well and gave everybody his rights. In his response, Governor Aregbesola expressed appreciation to the gathering, assuring them that he would not relent in his efforts at giving every citizen his due as dictated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His administration, he said, is poised to implement policies that would uplift the state and the nation at large and enjoined them to continue praying for the country.

DCCN honours Sambo

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he Da’awah Co- hammadu Sa’ad Abubaordination Council kar are expected to grace of Nigeria (DCCN) the occasion as Host and will today honour the Special Guest of Honour wife of the Vice-Presi- respectively. L-R: Aragbiji of Iragbiji Oba AbdRasheed Olabomi (l) and L-R: President Osun Muslim Community, Sheikh Saludeen Olayiwola and PresiOther recipients of dent, Federal Republic of Akirun of Ikirun Oba Rauf Adedeji at the maiden public dent-General, League of Imams and Alfa, Sheikh Mustapha at the maiden public the Award are wife of the Nigeria, Hajiya Amina progamme of Joint Muslims’ Action Forum (JOMAF) in Osogbo, the State of Osun progamme of Joint Muslims’ Action Forum (JOMAF) in recently. Osogbo, the State of Osun recently. Namadi Sambo at GMT Governor, Alhaja Sherifat Hotel & Event Centre, Os- Aregbesola, Chancellor, ogbo-Osun State for her Fountain University, Oscontribution to the pro- ogbo, Dr. Sheikh Ahmed state in no small measures in society a great deal by invest- the religious extremist, Boko motion and advancement Lemu and posthumous HAKEEM GBADAMOSI ing more in their moral and Haram could be linked with of Islam in Nigeria. moulding the characters of for the late NSCIA’s SecAKURE religious upbringing instead the wrong and inadequate tomorrow’s leaders. DCCN, in a press re- retary-General, Dr. Abdul call has gone to the “Nigeria is at this cross of the billions of naira we will religious education which lease signed by the Sec- Lateef Adegbite, late forOndo State govern- road of insecurity and moral later spend on inadequate se- he said could be corrected if retary General, Ahmad mer Military Governor ment to employ more decadence because our chil- curity foisted on us by moral- those who teach religions are Jumba, said that the of North Central, Group teachers in the fields of Ara- dren are not being adequately ly-bankrupt children.” knowledgeable about what Governor of the State of Captain Usman Jibrin bic and Islamic Studies to fa- taught the lessons of religions. Abdul Afeez also pointed they are supposed to impart to Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Areg- (Rtd). The conference cilitate the teaching of these We would have assisted our out that the insurgency of children. with the besola and the Sultan of subjects in the state-owned Theme: “Islamic IdentiSokoto/President-Gensecondary schools. eral, Nigerian Supreme ty & Cultural Renaissance The Muslim Students SociCouncil for Islamic Af- in Nigeria” has Dr. Usman ety of Nigeria (MSSN) Ondo fairs (NSCIA) Alhaji Mu- Bugaje as Guest Speaker. State chapter who made this call during a conference organised by the body, lamented the inadequacy of Islamic and Arabic subjects’ teachers in most secondary schools in the state. The conference, which was attended by about 700 participants drawn from 29 secondary schools across the 18 local councils of the state said employing more teachers would “definitely assist thousands of students that wish to offer the two subjects in our secondary schools.” Speaking at the conference, the chairman of the event and National Amir of the MSS, Surajudeen Abdul Afeez said employing more teachers for the two subjects The Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Dr. Oluranti Adebule (5th right); the National President, Nigeria Association of Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Prof. M. A Muhibudin (4th right); the State Chairman of the association, Dr. Lateef Adetona (6th right) and others during a courtesy visit on the SSG by members of the association at “would have assisted the the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja-Lagos.

Employ more Arabic teachers –MSSN

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Call to Worship CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27

God. Both names Ahad and Waahid denote two different aspects of the Oneness of God. The name Ahad suggests that God is ‘One’, thus highlighting the absolute oneness of His Being, implying that, in all respects, there is only one Being Who is God. The name Waahid, on the other hand, suggests that God is ‘Unique’, thereby highlighting His singularity in terms of His attributes, which means to say that, for instance, there is none as merciful as Him, none as forgiving as Him, none as beautiful as Him, and so on. We read in the Qur’an: “Say, He is Allah - The One” (Ch.112:V.2). In this verse, God’s name Ahad has been used. We also read: “And your God is the Only God. There is no god but He.” (Ch.2:V.164). In this verse, God’s name Waahid has been used. The essence of worship is simply an extreme form of Love. In English, the expression ‘adoration’, otherwise a synonym of ‘worship’ is freely used, to express extreme love. When the intensity of love soars to levels where the beloved also becomes the most sought of all, the most adored of all, and the most loved of all, love assumes the form of worship and that beloved becomes an idol. We read in the Qur’an: “And among mankind there are some who take for themselves objects of worship other than Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who believe, excel in their love for Allah” (Ch.2:V.166). The Arabic term for

Yaum al-Jumu’ah, Rabi Al-Thanni 5, 1434AH

Friday, February 15, 2013

Absolute oneness (1) PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH) WAS ALL LOVE AND HIS LOVE WAS ALLENCOMPASSING “the sought” is Maqsood, the Arabic for “the adored” is Ma’bood, and the Arabic for “the loved” is Mahboob. Interestingly, the Promised Messiah (as) has proposed all these three terms as synonyms of the Arabic word ilaah, translated generally as deity. Hence, the statement “laa ilaaha illallah” meaning “there is no god but Allah” could have at least three meanings: there is none sought but Allah, there is none worthy of worship but Allah and there is no beloved but Allah”. Absoluteness is an inherent and intrinsic feature of being God. Since God is the only Being who is absolutely absolute in all respects, it therefore follows that in the absolute sense, there is none worthy of being sought but Him, there is none worthy of being worshiped but Him and there is none worthy of being loved but Him. At this juncture, one is reminded of the historic testimony given by the bitterest of the enemies of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), during his days in Makkah. The Quraish would often say of the Holy Prophet (saw), “Ashiqa Muhammadan rabbahu”, meaning “Mu-

hammad is in love with his God”. Now this happens to be the testimony coming from the enemy and yet a testimony of manifest admiration. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was all love and his love was all-encompassing, yet the love he harboured in his sacred heart for Allah was infinitely greater than the love he had for anyone else. Among the Sahaba or the Companions of the Holy Prophet (saw), Hadhrat Bilal (ra) seems to stand out as an exceptional case. He was a slave to Umayya, a chieftain of Makkah. Upon learning that Bilal (ra) had accepted Islam, Umayya subjected Bilal (ra) to the most severe form of torture. He made Bilal (ra) lie bare-backed on the scorching midday desert sand and placed a heavy stone on his chest and then while lashing him would demand that Bilal (ra) accept the idols of the Makkans. Bilal (ra) would respond by cries of “Ahad, Ahad”, meaning “One. One.” Love is an amazing force. On the one hand, it fills the heart with an urge to seek the beloved, while on the other it instills in the heart a concurrent sense of fear as well. Love generates a very unique sense of fear the fear of losing the loved one. Hence, when the Qur’an speaks of the ‘fear of Allah’, what is meant is not the fear of harm. The concept of the ‘fear of Allah’ is, in reality, the fear of losing Allah or in other words, of being distanced away from Him due to His dis-

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pleasure. Thus, when we read in the Qur’an “Me alone should you fear” (Ch. 2:V.41), it is the fear of God’s displeasure that is being mentioned. In the Qur’anic terminology, this unique form of fear - the fear of losing the Beloved - is called “Taqwa”. One who treads the path of Taqwa is called a Muttaqi. When the love for God surpasses the combined love for everything else and when the fear of losing Him exceeds all other fears combined, then it can be assumed that the Muttaqi is on the path of discovering the splendours of God’s Absolute Oneness. On the philosophical plane, the question of God’s Absolute Oneness, has haunted and mesmerised mystics of all religions, throughout the ages. This perplexing question even led some mystics to the concept of Pantheism, a concept that suggests that since everything that exists is part of God, hence ‘All is God’ and since all that exists is God, there is therefore no duality in Existence. In Arabic, the term for Pantheism is Wahdatul Wajood, meaning Oneness of Existence. The Persian parallel term is “Hama Oost”, meaning everything is Him. By adopting and endorsing the concept of Pantheism, proponents of this particular school of mysticism were led to conclude that they had, on the intellectual plane, successfully resolved the issue of Duality of Existence. TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Ahmadi Muslims celebrate centenary year

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he three-day, 89th Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Bangladesh concluded recently in Dhaka with a powerful and faith-inspiring address by the 5th Khalifa, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The Khalifa addressed the event from the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London via satellite. The Jalsa attracted close to 10,000 delegates, with nearly 6,000 participating in Dhaka and more than 3,500 attending in London. During his hour-long address, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad spoke extensively about the peaceful response of the Jamaat in the face of decades of sustained and brutal persecution. His Holiness spoke of his sorrow at the way terrorists and extremists continued to sully the name of Islam in order to fulfil their own political agendas and vested interests. He also used the occasion to congratulate the Jamaat in Bangladesh on its centenary. The convention had been due to take place in a large stadium in Gazipur, however, two days before the event began, thousands of extremists, led by fanatical clerics attacked the site and set the entire venue alight. Commenting on the attack, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “We are not sorrowful because we have been subjected to such cruelty and persecution. We are not sorrowful that the venue for our Jalsa Salana was burnt. Our real sorrow lies in the fact that such evil acts are perpetrated in the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsaw who was sent as a source of mercy and compassion for all of mankind. Our real sorrow lies in the fact that such hate-filled attacks defame the pure name of Islam.” He said that terrorists and extremists were causing huge damage to Bangladesh and were preventing its progress. He said that “socalled” religious clerics were taking advantage of innocent people by radicalising them

and brainwashing them through misinformation. He said such clerics were motivated only by greed and a lust for power and so it was the duty of Ahmadi Muslims to inform people of Islam’s real teachings. Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said that a spirit of sacrifice was necessary to rid Bangladesh of its extremist elements. He continued by saying that Ahmadi Muslims would lead the way in bringing about a peaceful revolution, not just in Bangladesh, but in all countries where persecution, hatred and inequality were rife. He said: “We may be relatively small in terms of our numbers, but the day will surely come when this peaceful minority, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, will eliminate all forms of cruelty, hatred and oppression from the face of the earth. And we will achieve this not by means of any force or oppression but through love and peace.” In an inspiring and emotional message to Ahmadi Muslims, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “Governments can place restrictions or pass laws against our community, however they can never remove the creed of Islam from our hearts, that ‘There is no God except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger’.” Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad thanked the current Bangladeshi Government and segments of its media and civil society for displaying a degree of support to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, however, he added regretfully, they did not have the power to take firm action to root out terrorists and extremist clerics. Concluding his address by again referring to the sacrifices that Bangladesh’s Ahmadi Muslims were making for their country, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said: “O Ahmadi Muslims of Bangladesh, persecution should never dishearten you or make you fearful. The sacrifices you are making today will come to be etched in the history of Bangladesh.”

World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad addresing the congregation at the 89th Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Bangladesh

Cross section of the Jamat at the 89th Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Bangladesh

Politicians should fear Allah –Quareeb President

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s politicians warm up for activities leading to the 2015 General Elections, they have been advised to play according to the rules having in mind the fear of Allah in all their activities. This advice came from the National President of Alfatih-ul-Quareeb Islamic Society Alhaji Odedele Mustapha represented by the National General Secretary, Alhaji Bode Sanusi on the occasion of the 1434 Maulud Nabiyy celebration held recently at Ikeja LG Secretariat, Ikeja-Lagos. He saluted the courage of the Governor of the State of Osun Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

for declaring a public holiday in the State of Osun to mark this year’s Hijrah day and enjoin all other governors to follow this noble step as it is long overdue and more than deserved. He also called on all citizens to obey government and carry out their civic responsibilities as required of them in other to assist government to serve the citizenry better. “The National Assembly should urgently embark on legislative processes that will make our criminal codes more corrective and punitive for corrupt officials as a way of stemming the current wave of corruption in the Nation.”


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J. Martins makes new ‘African’ video

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ultiple award winning song writer, singer and producer, J. Martins is living up to responsibilities saddled on him, first as a United Nations Ambassador for Peace and as a responsible Nigerian youth. Many of his songs, among which are Good or Bad, Oyoyo, Eva, Fine Fine Love and E No Easy among several others, celebrate Africa as a people with one colour, one voice and above all, one God. J. Martins’ latest Pan African video, first from him in 2013, aptly dubbed; Good Life was shot by music video expert, Sesan in Abidjan, DRC Congo

and South Africa, alongside a nine-man crew. The song provokes the will to thank God ultimately for the grace of life. It is delivered in smooth English and Pidgin rhythm. “Good Life is a sequel to the single I did titled Good Time. And Good Life means that God means well for you, irrespective of what you’re going through at the moment. We all go through different travails, but the fact that the grace of life is still available to you means we have a life so Good. You may be complaining of hunger, joblessness, financial hard times, but when you

see those whose legs are hung at the orthopaedic hospitals, you’ll realise that you have a good life after all”, Martins explains. The chorus of the song was taken off the music of a group; “they are called the ‘Les Garagistes’ from Ivory Coast. It’s a group of four men and they’re also part of the video. I fell in love with the song at age one. I made the decision to work on the song but I had to go all out to get the original owners of the song for the copyright and get all papers signed last year”, he says. The video is hoped to be released before end of this month to the waiting fans of J. Martins.

Nollywood divas endorse momo.com

Enter the musical world of S Square NGOZI EMEDOLIBE

ADEBIMPE OLATUJA

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tarting from this February, fans of the world’s third largest film industry, Nollywood, can watch out for an entertainment website; www.momo.com.ng. pioneered by Movie Moments . Billed to launch on Monday, February 18, Movie Moments seeks to become Nollywood’s premiere news source where Nollywood enthusiasts can access latest information, movie trailers, photo shoots, locations occurrences and gossip. The announcement of the upcoming launch on social media was warmly received by Africa’s leading woman Genevieve Nnaji; current president, Actors’ Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Ibinabo Fiberisima and Nollywood sweethearts, Funke

Doris Simeon

Funke Akindele

Akindele, Doris Simeon and Nse Ikpe-Etim. “Welcome to the industry, I have high expectations about the launch of Movie Moments, well done”, Genevieve said. “It keeps getting better and better; the industry is booming”, expressed Fiberisima, the first female president of AGN, whose aim is to see to the growth of Nollywood. “We have waited for this for years and can only hope that Movie Moments is a trendsetter”. Movie Moments Ltd is a wholly Ni-

gerian Nollywood media and awards company founded in 2012. It seeks to be the premier destination for everything Nollywood when it launches next Monday. Funke Akindele also said the launch of Movie Moments was a welcome development, while actress Simeon has ‘high hopes and faith that Movie Moments would close the void that has been in the reportage of Nollywood’. “I am eagerly looking forward to the February 18 launch date”, Nse Ikpe Etim conclusively said.

Miss Safety launches short film …signs costume deal

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Ofodile

eigning Miss Safety International Nigeria, Juliet Ofodile, will launch a short film on safety come March 20.The short film focuses on road signs and will be available on DVDs to give to different road users around the country. The short film is being produced by Madu C. Chikwendu’s Kraftman Production with state of the art video equipment. According to the queen: “I was inspired by the general lack of awareness about road signs in the country. A lot of road users do not understand the significance of something as simple as say Zebra Crossing. With the increasing importance of the visual medium, we feel it’s very important to

take advantage of this and produce a film that can talk to people and enhance consciousness about road safety”. The occasion will also be an opportunity to launch the special Miss Safety Air Fresheners and Stickers which carry different safety messages. This is in line with the vision of Miss Safety Beauty Pageant which is basically designed to create awareness about issues of safety in all its ramifications. In related development, Kraftman Production, organisers of Miss Safety Beauty Pageant, has signed an exclusive deal with Lagos based designer, Matedo Couture. The deal ensures that Miss Safety is exclusively and exquisitely clothed by Matedo Couture. The deal also covers the two runners Up, Miss Safety Eros (Amaka Nwakalor) and Miss Safety Unitate (Ifeyinwa Edozie). Miss Safety Beauty Pageant was founded in 2012 by filmmaker Madu C. Chikwendu. The inaugural coronation ball took place on December 9, 2012 with third-year University of Lagos undergraduate, Juliet Ofodile beating other beauties to clinch the coveted crown.

he Nigerian music industry is set for something new as the duo of Humphreytex and Magnificent, both popularly known as S square come out with their new video and debut album. Their first album and video titled, Face Reality and Go Low respectively, the group said, have been carefully put together to meet the expectations of teeming fans across Nigeria and beyond. According to their producer and manager, Akpos Okeren, all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a successful outing. Akpos, an American trained engineer said that their music will be second to none when it is out in the first quarter of this year. He said: “These guys are fantastic and I think it has to do with God’s talent in them. Nigerians will surely appreciate them when you hear the “S Square” sing. I am sure they are out to change the Nigerian music industry for the better and the future is very bright. They both began their music career eight years ago”. The manager also said that their music style known as “Dance all” has no bearing with that of P Square, but tilts towards the Wizkid’s style, maintaining that despite the name, the young musicians are not out to imitate anybody. “The album is also on the social network (Facebook and Twitter) and it has attracted many fans and admirers all over the world, particularly in United States and UK”, Akpos further said. Humphreytex, from Delta State, is an undergraduate of Delta State University , Abraka, while Magnificent is currently studying at the Delta State Polytechnic, Oghara.


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Escape

Outside view of the terminal at night

Friday, February 15, 2013

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Walking through Heathrow’s famous Terminal 5 London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, constructed and commissioned in 2008 by British carrier giant, British Airways, is arguably the best terminal in the world equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. OLUSEGUN KOIKI visited the terminal recently and was taken round for first-hand information.

Check-in area of Heathrow Terminal 5

One of the lounges in the terminal

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he Federal Government of Nigeria is expending billions of naira on remodelling 22 airports and construction of new terminals for passengers and cargo use, while collaborating with foreign investors from China for the construction of additional six cargo terminals in six airports across the country. The Nigerian government’s priority is to bequeath to the nation –most especially the travelling public– comfortable, safe and convenient airport environments. Interestingly, air carriers in foreign countries are also taking centre stage in big-budget airport development. Moreso, global air travel has gone beyond airlifting passengers from point A to B. Today, airlines are striving to outwit one another with provision of comfort for their teeming passengers. For instance, last May, Delta Airline commissioned the Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr. International Terminal, Atlanta at a cost of over $1.4 billion, specifically

dedicated to its services. Before then, British Airways, BA, which has been flying to Nigeria for 75 years, had constructed and opened for operations in 2008 the highly commended Heathrow 5 terminal in London exclusively for its travelling clients. When this reporter visited the terminal recently, courtesy of British Airways, for a two-day Business Travel Show 2013 in Earl’s Court, London, United Kingdom, it was an opportunity to experience firsthand the facilities installed by the airline for travellers’ comfort. BA opened the terminal with the largest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom. The terminal is currently used exclusively as the global hub of British Airways and from 2012, became the home of International Airlines Group at Heathrow, when Iberia moved to the terminal. The Terminal 5 building is on a 260 hectares (640 acres) located on the western side of the airport, between the western ends of the northern and southern runways. The


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Escape

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Travel News

In the spirit of Seollal IZUCHUKWU OKEKE

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Dining area for priority passengers of the terminal

FACT FILE •

Terminal 5 is an airport terminal at London Heathrow Airport, serving the UK capital city of London.

Britain’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, officially opened the terminal in a ceremony on March 14, 2008.

The main building in the complex is the largest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom

The building itself is light, airy and modern –more than 30,000 square metres of glass have been used to glaze the 40m high and 396m long main terminal building.

The building cost £4.3bn (pounds) and took 19 years from conception to completion, including the longest public inquiry in British history.

It is capable of handling 35 million customers a year at its full capacity

site was previously occupied by the former Perry Oaks sewage works and lies to the east of the M25 motorway. Two artificial watercourses, the Longford River and the Duke of Northumberland’s River, originally ran through the middle of the site. The building is so vast it is possible to fit 50 football pitches over Terminal 5’s five floors, but moving around could not be simpler thanks to improved flow through the building, clear signage and location of departure gates. Terminal 5 consists of a main terminal building (T5A) and two satellite buildings (T5B and T5C) linked by an underground track transit system. T5A and T5B have been in operation since the terminal opened and T5C opened in May 2011. Moving round the facilities further showed the investments of the British Airways at the terminal. The Public Relations Manager, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa, Helena Flynn said that the terminal was created with the basic premise of making air travel easy through one of the world’s busiest airport hubs –London Heathrow. Flynn said that customers flow through the airport in a logical, linear manner, saying that the majority, about 80 per cent, have checked in online or at one of the 96 check-in kiosks within the departures hall while the travellers carrying hold luggage are able to drop their bags at one of over 100 desks before moving straight on through security. For those passengers travelling in Club or First Class, there are dedicated check-in kiosks and fast bag drop areas towards the south side of the departures level. The transfer area is located within

the heart of the building and 90 per cent of the airline’s transferring customers connect through the one terminal meaning-less distance to travel and a faster arrival at their next flight. She added, “British Airways has invested £330 million in designing and equipping its parts of the terminal. This figure includes £60 million spent on the lounge complex, as well as significant investment in IT systems, staff accommodation, ground vehicles and equipment, storage and maintenance facilities, plus staff training and familiarisation. Also, the Public Relations Manager, Africa, Camilla Barrett said that close attention has been paid to minimising the impact on the environment during the construction of the terminal. According to her, 85 per cent of waste on the project has been recovered and materials have been recycled and re-used throughout the building process. It was observed that a super-strength concrete was used for the construction of the airfield, which means less is required. This, alone, has saved 60,000 tonnes of CO2. Waste heat from an existing combined heat and power plant is being piped to the Terminal 5 energy centre to provide the building with 85 per cent of its heat on demand. This saves around 11,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Barrett explained that inside the terminal proper, the lighting is controlled digitally. Individual lights can be turned on, off or dimmed, adding that the baggage systems and escalators benefit from variable speed drives, slowing down the systems when not in use. The terminal itself is glazed on all facades, reducing the need for artificial lighting. South-facing facades benefit from louvres, angled in such a way as to prevent the summer sun penetrating the building. Energy-efficient fittings are found throughout the terminal building and only centrally chilled water is used to cool the building, limiting the need for individually chilled air conditioning units and refrigerators throughout the building. “Water from Terminal 5’s rainwater harvesting and groundwater boreholes is being used, reducing the demand on the public water supply by 70 per cent. The harvesting scheme re-uses up to 85 per cent of the rainfall that falls on the terminal’s campus. “When aircraft arrive on to a stand, they can be attached to a system, which pumps air into the cabin. When used with fixed electrical ground power units, the aircraft engines and auxiliary power units can be completely shut down, cutting out unnecessary emissions”. Overall, Terminal 5 is a unique airport technically constructed for the comfort of millions of passengers who pass through it annually.

he Lunar New Year of the Orient fell, once again, on Thursday, February 7. Like in the previous years, the embassy of Republic of Korea opened its door to their friends and well-wishers in Abuja to come and celebrate on the day. Called Seollal in Korean language, the Korean New Year has become a time to remember in Abuja, as folks who associate with Koreans living in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, turn out to celebrate Seollal after the Korea Cultural Centre introduced the celebration in the city two years ago. The audience at this year’s celebration is a testimony to how popular the event has become in the city. The occasion offered opportunity for guests to meet and interact with Korean people and their culture. So, they filed into the hall of event in gay Korean attires and participated in activities of the day, like Korean folk games and music. In Korea, this event is a major holiday– a time of the year when folks leave abode in various cities and pay a visit to their ancestral homes, to felicitate with family, pay homage to ancestors and respect to parents. Speaking while declaring the event open in Abuja, the Director of the Korean Cultural Centre, Mr. Mr. Kwon Yong Ik said it was the pleasure of Korea to share its cultural heritage with Nigeria. “We believe that all culture is one. There are values everywhere and we are happy Nigerians have come to love our cultural heritage and are willing to share it with us on a day like this”. The Director explained further that in Korea, Seollal is the main New Year celebration. “We celebrate the general New Year on January 1 in accordance with the solar calendar, but the Lunar New Year, celebrated since the days of our forefathers, takes pre-eminence in our calendar”. He said that on Seollal Day, people return to their hometowns to pay homage to their families. “It means that most Koreans would have left the various cities where they reside to the villages where they will perform ceremonial rites and also pay homage to their ancestors in commemoration of the Seollal. “For the day, we embark on activities that have strong cul-

tural relevance to our country. A number of such activities we would show you today”, he said. The family is the centre of attraction during Seollal celebration, which comprises both living members and ancestors up to the last four generations. This is because Koreans believe that though ancestors are dead, their spirit still remain on earth. Hence, these souls which act as guidance for the living need to be appeased on Seollal. The first activity to mark the Seollal is greetings; children take turns to greet elders and in return, the elders give them gifts. Like previous years, children among the Abuja audience were taught how to do the Seollal greetings. This was done by Mr. Kwon Yong Ik and his wife—who took to the stage, where they sat in traditional Korean sitting style –feet tucked beneath laps and children knelt before them to offer the traditional deep bow, known as Sebae, with their forehead touching the ground. In return for the greeting, they handed each of the over 30 children New Year gifts (an envelope containing an amount of money). Music performance by Abuja based Philharmonic Music Group followed after the greeting. The group performed some Nigerian and Korean operas and songs to the delight of the audience. After the music, guests retired to the Taekwondo hall of the centre for traditional familyoriented games that are associated with the Seollal. Two of such games were played and those who participated went home with various prizes such as branded shirts, traditional hand fans (taekwanv) and money. The audience also competed in Yutnori, a fun filled and easy-to-learn game that requires team work and Jegichagi, a weighted shuttlecock kicked to keep it aloft. Taekwondo, a game that is native to Korea, was also not left out as participants took part in mock taekwondo contest. After that, the audience retired to have a dinner which comprised of traditional Korean dishes. The 2013 Seollal celebration was indeed fulfilled. Most of the guests voiced it was eagerness to be regular participants at the annual festivities. “If I am Abuja next year, I will love to be here”, said Mrs. Paula Gomez, a Spanish resident in Abuja who attended with her family.


34

Denrele’s Day Adenrele Niyi Denrele’s Day is a collection of witty & sincere articles inspired by a zany imagination

denrele@nationalmirroronline.net Follow on Twitter@MizNiyi

H

Friday, February 15, 2013

Postmortem of Val’s Day

CLAPPERBOARD with

...Is it unofficially ‘World Sex Day’?

i! How was your Valentine’s Day celebrations *wink; wink*? Mine rocked in a rollicking ambience. It really took off on Thursday evening after a hard (emphasis on HARD) day at the office. I was in high spirits and refused to be daunted by the unusual work load which piled as the day progressed. At a stage, I began to suspect everything and everyone was conspiring to give me the ‘sweatiest’ day of my life– climbing stairs, going in and out of meetings and attending to other production details. Phew! Despite donning my colourful Valentine gear, I suddenly felt so ‘unsexy’ from heavy perspiration. Enough of me gushing over how tiring the work pressure was; back to the Valentine round up. A couple of surprises kicked off my Val mood; first, my oga’s wife sent me a surprise cake– the least expected avenue from which a gift was to emanate. She is officially my valentine for 2013 for her generous and warm spirit; thank you Mrs. Ayodele Ojo. Then the man after my heart decided to surprise me at work with ...wait for it... a Cartier watch! Y e s ! y o u heard right! C a r t i e r. There I was thinking he would be out of town for yesterday’s celebration when he already had this delightful surprise up his s l e e v e s . I’m not sure which made my heart melt more, the gift or seeing him (every girl loves to be spoilt so allow me to indulge). Anyway, to meet up with my production deadline, I will be unable to give you details of the after work adventures I plan to get up to. But for me, yesterday sure wound down as a gleeful Valentine experience. However, while not conceding to any shenanigans of my own, I recollect getting into a conversation with Jumoke, a jetsetting cousin who works with one of the multinationals in Lagos. The gist revolved around how we planned to spend Valentine’s Day. In the course of analysing what the day meant to each of us as individuals, she made a sensational statement that made me think hmmm... na so e bi?. She said something to the effect that many impressionable, ‘untouched’ young girls would be giving up their ‘flower’ (for those wondering what the heck I mean, that’s the prudish slang for virginity) to their ‘boyfriends’ last night (or morning, afternoon, whatever hour!). That’s

Eddie Ugbomah

IF VALENTINE’S DAY WERE REALLY ABOUT LOVE, IT WOULD

REVOLVE AROUND HUGGING STRANGERS OR SCREAMING YOUR LOVE FROM THE ROOFTOPS how contorted our general representation of the day is, she argued. Anyway, I tend to lean in favour of her summation, although I do know the more matured minds have outgrown February ‘for-teen’ celebrations. Therefore, my heading is a direct question to her categorical declaration that “Valentine’s Day is World Sex Day”. Using Adenrele’s naughty imagination, I visualised ‘World Sex Day’ and the picture I got was a horde of testosterone charged humans bed-hopping in a mating frenzy like rabbits on heat. To lend some credence to my opinionated cousin’s statement, I stumbled on a decadent Va l e n - tine’s Day cake that both cracked me up and disturbed me– a cake f i g u re of two lovers ( m a l e and female if you please) in bed mid-copulation. I like how Dion Rabouin, one of the foreign journalists I admire, puts it: “If Valentine’s Day were really about love, it would revolve around hugging strangers or screaming your love from the rooftops, not buying cards, candy and jewellery. The whole holiday just exacerbates the ridiculous notion we have that you show someone you care by spending money on them. The worst thing about Valentine’s Day is that it’s perversion of something I truly love -- love”. On that basis, I’d like to opine too that love is not sex and vice versa. The history of Valentine’s Day is obscure and further clouded by various fanciful legends, but none of these tales make references to sex. One version attributes the celebration to a certain catholic priest named Valentine, who was martyred for love. Get it? The priest died for love, not from sexual related ailments. I applaud the spirited campaigns by various concerned stakeholders at this season to warn against sexually transmitted diseases, particularly the merciless HIV/AIDS. In other words, use your church mind during and even after February 14. I rest my case.

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www.edifosafilm.com

100 years of what?

S

ince the idea of celebrating Nigeria at 100, many ideas have been mooted by different people but some of these people are just looking for another way to steal. Recently, there was a meeting at Sheraton Hotel Lagos where Senator Pius Anyim and Chief Edem Duke spoke with some people plus the Nollywood people. I was invited by SMS to attend this meeting; I did not attend because the invitation came rudely from the biggest Nollywood ‘impersonator’ who has turned the presidency to his home and office. These kids cannot exploit me and I expect whoever wants my contribution should approach me directly. I remember how these kids did their worst to sidestep me to cause a grudge between film’s old and young stakeholders. Whatever anybody says in Nigeria, you can’t wish me Eddie Ugbomah, Ola Balogun, Oba Dosunmu, Jab Adu and Francis Oladele out of Nigeria’s movie industry. It is pity Pa Ogunde, Ade Love and Adamu Halilu are dead, but the show must go on. Since 2010 to 2012, I spent my money to produce a talk show titled “History of Motion Pictures in Nigeria”. Most of the worthless TV stations were offering me N15,000 to N25,000 per episode. Only AIT paid N100,000 per episode and screened it till late 2012. People in this country have no respect or appreciation and that is why we don’t have database, library or archives for films and documentaries in this nation. One thing I will do is give these boys a fight for their money. I will quickly appeal to the federal and state governments not to use these boys to steal money. With a 15-man team of old and new guys personally picked by me, we will give lobbyists a race of their life. Some are running to OBJ (Olusegun Obasanjo) who was a young man during Independence so his facts are from tales and his personal experiences. I hope Baba Iyabo won’t allow these kids to use his good name or hard-earned reputation to steal from his friends. My group made up of reliable and de-tribalised stakeholders will surprise the country with the thee-hour docu-drama of Nigeria at 100; it will remain on people’s minds forever. I have made films people cannot forget which has motivated today’s film producers. My group is interwoven because art has no language and is a very important part of this nation. The two ministers we might need are the Ministry of Information and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation –not their money but materials, logistic and encouragement. We need the Police and the entire Armed Forces’ support. One sure thing is that we can do with-

I AM GLAD THAT AS THE HEAD OF

THESE CRUSADERS,

I AM DE-TRIBALISED AND I DON’T OWE ANY MILITARY OR POLITICAL PERSON A FAVOUR out anyone who refuses to support us or cooperate with us, but they will be sorry for not supporting us. We won’t pay the security people because we are making a Nigerian state movie. We will need security support so that we don’t disgrace Nigeria with our amateurish guns, uniforms, improvisation and wrong presentation, but if they refuse to help or dare give us astronomical charges, we will give them improvisation and they will regret forever! I am happy the Senate will continue their argument that government should go shopping for money. This is why every TV house owner is crying about NTA getting billions of FG subventions and NTA still enters the market to compete with them for adverts. My headache is that it is so hard to achieve anything without government’s touch, but I am appealing that both Federal and State government should give logistic not cash or political influences. Many companies, multinationals, telecommunications, banks can help us raise N350m for this historical epic. There will be the usual court threats when this docu-drama comes out. I am glad that as the head of these crusaders, I am de-tribalised and I don’t owe any military or political person a favour. Most of my military and political friends have done little or nothing to aid my growth and achievement so they can’t accuse me of being an ingrate. All the nasty activities like nepotism and corruption will be exposed so that we can correct these anomalies now. We talk of unity while we go behind to finance kidnappers, terrorist, tribalists and corruption. If we fail to get honest people to fund us, we will shoot the movie on loan payable after release. It will be an achievement for any actor, cinematographer that is invited to give their unbiased support to this movie. Imagine a film that will cover 100 years of the turbulent life of Nigeria. It will be a 50,000man crowd with major stars in the film “100 years of Nigeria, so what?” The film will be edited and released aboard, so we need all hands on deck. People have to keep an open mind so as to avoid corruption and tribalism.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

People In The Mirror

Friday February 15, 2013

35

Fuji icon, Ayinde Barrister honoured by fan club Last Friday, memories of late Fuji legend, Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister Balogun, were re-awakened in Lagos by Ayinde Barrister Legacy, ABLE, a fan club which is set to achieve greater strides in its quest to immortalise the late Fuji icon. ABLE organised a ‘Barry Day’ colloquium, tagged: “Music as a Commentary on the Society Life and Times of Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister (MFR)” at the Sheraton Hotels and Tower in Ikeja in honour of the music icon, who died on December 16, 2010 aged 62. The event was replete with big names in the music and public sector.

Officers of the ABLE Club. L-R: Lola Ola-Jimoh; Bola Akinjobi; President, Kayode Bello and Matron, Mrs. Bolanle Taiwo, during the colloquium.

L-R: Alhaji Wasiu Lawal; Alhaji Sikiru Lawal and Chairman, Ojo Local Government, Alhaji, Yinka Durosinmi at the event.

L-R: Representative of the Minister of Sports, Mr. Lanre Onilu; Gbonka Lekan Alabi and King Sunny Ade.

L-R: Debbie Martins, Toun Olukorede, Ifeoluwa Balogun and her brother, Adefemi.

L-R: One of the wives of the late Fuji legend, Yetunde Balogun; daughter, Modinat Ashabi and Alhaji Abiodun Yusuf.

L-R: Queen Salawa Abeni; Chief Olusegun Osoba and Adewale

L-R: Otunba Kola Oyadeji; Otunba Adisa Osiefa and Guest Lecturer, Prof. Kunle Lawal.

Obesere and Queen Salawa Abeni.

Stars party with 2kay at Industry Nite On Wednesday, February 6, Grafton Entertainment and Port Harcourt’s wave making artiste, Mr. 2kay stormed Lagos for a special edition of Industry Nite in celebration of his relocation to Lagos. The event, which held at GET Arena, Victoria Island was well-attended by the likes of Mode 9, Chidinma, Ruggedman, Jaywon, Tee-y Mix, Illbliss and Suspekt, among others. 2kay, alongside guest artistes, performed his hit singles at the event to an appreciative crowd.

2kay and Ruggedman on stage

Suspekt (L) and Illbliss

Jaywon on stage

Puffy T (L) TY Mix

Chidinma

Mode9 and 2kay

PHOTOS: OLUFEMI AJASA


Friday February 15, 2013

36

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Mirror Drive

Beauty on the roa Stories: Stor St orie ies: s:

OLUSEGUN KOIKI

T

he 2013 Hyundai Veloster is a coupe with the multiple functions of a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) –good for both on-the-road and off-the-road ride and can equally function like any sports car. Welcome to the world of Hyundai Veloster, a hot hatch car with its three asymmetrical doors, chic exterior and fun design cues. Its aesthetic interior and exterior structures has no comparison in its category. The 2013 Veloster is an innovative and unique entry in the compact coupe segment; It is a sleek hatchback that is highly functional and includes a convenient rear passenger-side door. The Veloster is powered by a 138-hp 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct-injection and variable valve timing combined with a six-speed manual transmission. A 201-hp tur-

bocharged bo b och char harge ged d version vers ve rsiion ion off the the he 1.6-litre 1 6-l -lit lit itre re engine powers the Veloster Turbo and is also mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Optional for non-turbo models is a six-speed dual-clutch autoshift transmission, with a conventional six-speed automatic available for the Turbo. Safety equipment includes six airbags, traction control, stability control, tyre pressure monitor, and a Blue Link telematics system. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch LCD touch screen, Bluetooth handsfree phone system and a tilt-andtelescopic steering wheel. The Turbo adds 18-inch wheels, front fog lights, heated leather seats and proximity key entry with push button start. Available options include a panoramic sunroof, backup warning sensors and a navigation system with rearview camera. No doubt, Veloster is an entirely fashionable funky hatchback three-door sport-like sedan (one

driver on tthe he d he rive ri iverr side siide and and d two two on on the th he passenger side) designed for drivers who want something uniquely different and stimulating. At the unveiling of the car in Lagos recently, the Director, Sales

Aerial view of the Veloster

and Marketing, and Market Mark etin ing g Hyundai Hyundai nd daii Motors Mot otor orss Nigeria, Mr. Jatin Nadkarni said that the 2013 model of Hyundai Veloster has taken different forms from the previous model. He said: “Before we decided

bring to b ring ri ng in in the the Veloster, Velo Ve lost ster er we have hav ave e carried out our research and discovered that Nigerians will be attracted to it and so far, we are not disappointed with the sales as auto shoppers who have seen it fell in love with it instantly. “From the driver’s side, the Veloster looks like a regular twodoor but when turned 180 degrees

Veloster interior


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FROM THE DRIVER’S SIDE, THE

VELOSTER LOOKS LIKE A REGULAR TWO-DOOR BUT WHEN TURNED 180 DEGREES THROUGH, IT LOOKS LIKE A FOUR-DOOR through, it looks like a four-door - thanks to the perfectly normallooking rear door”. The heart of the matter, though, is the the new 1.6-litre Gamma (in

than its other rivals at 125.6 horsepower per litre. The twin-scroll turbocharger is included to minimise turbo lag under heavy acceleration thanks to a two-vane design that allows exhaust from cylinders one and three to spin the first vane, while two and four are preparing to spin the vane on their side of the turbine. The turbocharger is integrated into the exhaust manifold, rather than further down-line, with its position helping to cut down on mass and improve heat transfer to the system. In short, boost is good.

Standard and optional features

ad Hyundai-speak) H yund daii speak) k) turbocharged tur urbo boch char arge ged d and direct injection four-cylinder that manages 201 horsepower at 6,000 rpm on regular-grade fuel. Peak torque of 195 lb-ft. comes on at 1,750 rpm and continues onward for a flat power band. According to Hyundai’s math gurus, the Veloster Turbo claims a more-dense power to size ratio

Mirror Drive

Friday February 15, 2013

The Veloster Turbo comes wellequipped with standard leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 450-watt Dimension Premium Audio system with eight speakers and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth Smartphone connectivity with voice recognition, 18-inch alloy wheels, aluminum pedals and electroluminescent gauges. Also standard is a seveninch gigh resolution touch-screen with Pandora internet radio capability via iPhone, Gracenote advanced voice recognition and album cover art via iPod, ECO Coach, photo slideshow and video playback via RCA cable. Those looking for a completely tricked-out hot hatch can opt for the Ultimate Package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, rear backup warning sensors, automatic headlights, a navigation system with rearview camera and a 115V outlet.

Occupant Safety Standard safety gear on the Veloster Turbo includes dual front, side and side-curtain airbags, traction and stability control systems, brake assist and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

37

Porsche to celebrate 50 years of 911

F

or five decades, the 911 has been the heart of the Porsche brand. Few other automobiles in the world can look back on such a long tradition and such continuity as the Porsche 911. It has been inspiring car enthusiasts the world over since its debut as the model 901 at the IAA International Automotive Show in September 1963. Today, it is considered the quintessential sports car, the benchmark for all others. The 911 is also the central point of reference for all other Porsche series. From the Cayenne to the Panamera, every Porsche is the most sporting automobile in its category, and each one carries a piece of the 911 philosophy. Over 820,000 Porsche 911s have been built, making it the most successful sports car in the world. For each of its seven generations the engineers in Zuffenhausen and Weissach have reinvented it, time and time again, demonstrating to the world the innovative power of the Porsche brand. Like no other vehicle, the 911 reconciles ap-

parent contradictions such as sportiness and everyday practicality, tradition and innovation, exclusivity and social acceptance, design and functionality. It is no wonder that each generation has written its own personal success story. Ferry Porsche best described its unique qualities: “The 911 is the only car you could drive on an African safari or at Le Mans, to the theatre or through New York City traffic”. In addition to its classic yet unique lines, the Porsche 911 has always been distinguished by its advanced technology. Many of the ideas and technologies that made their debut in the Porsche 911 were conceived on the race track. The 911 was committed to the performance principle from the start and motor racing is its most important test lab. From the very beginning it has been at home on circuits all over the world, earning a reputation as a versatile and dependable winner. Indeed, a good two thirds of Porsche’s 30,000 race victories to date were notched up by the 911.

ŠKODA produces 15 millionth car

Š

koda Auto Company said it has produced its 15-millionth car since it began vehicle manufacturing in 1905. The lucky 15 millionth car is the silver third-generation ŠKODA Octavia, which was rolled out from the auto company’s main plant in Mladá Boleslav. Skoda says the vehicle will be used as a VIP sedan at the ŠKODA Technology Centre in esana. The company said the 15 million car threshold underlines the dynamic growth of the brand. At the beginning of 2012, ŠKODA had produced the 14-millionth car. In the past six years alone, one third or approximately five

million vehicles rolled off the assembly lines. The car manufacturer wants to increase worldwide sales to at least 1.5 million units per year by 2018. In 2012, ŠKODA sold 939,200 vehicles – more than ever in one year. “The entire ŠKODA team is very proud of the million jubilee”, says ŠKODA chairman of the board, Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland. “15 million produced cars are a symbol for the great development of the ŠKODA brand. We have been building vehicles for 118 years and automobiles since the year 1905. Thus we are among the automobile brands

with the richest traditions in the world”, says Vahland. In the coming days, the new ŠKODA Octavia will be launched in the Czech Republic and Germany, while other markets will follow in a few weeks. The ŠKODA Octavia is the brand’s core product and outsells other ŠKODA models by far”, says the ŠKODA boss. In 2012, the Octavia accounted for about 44 per cent of the brand’s worldwide sales. Like no other car, the Octavia symbolises the rapid success story of the brand over the past two decades. Since 1996, about 3.75 million Octavias have been delivered to customers.

MAINTENANCE TIPS CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

The user of the motor vehicle should locate the hose clamps that attach the fuel hose to either the fuel line or the steel/plastic tubes the fuel line is connected to. Unscrew a tightening screw on one of the clamps. Slide the clamp down the hose and put it aside. If it is not damaged, it can be reused and place your small bucket or container beneath the fuel hose and firmly pull the hose off of the connecting tube. In most cases, petroleum will leak when the hose is disconnected,

How to replace fuel hose

so place your bucket or container beneath the end of the hose and allow the remaining fuel to drain and wipe any spilled fuel up with rags. After doing this, the driver should find the other end of the

Fuel fuse

fuel hose and remove it in the exact same way, but should expect some leaking fuel on that end too. After this, you should clean off any gunk on the connecting tubes with your rags. Push one end of the new fuel hose into a connecting tube and slide clamps over the end of the tube that is not attached, and then push the unattached end of the tube into the other connecting tube. Both ends of the fuel hose should now be connected and in place. You can now slide a clamp over

the hose and position it where the hose and connecting tube meet. You can use your screwdriver to do this and turn the tightening screw in a clockwise rotation, tightening it firmly. Repeat this procedure on the other end of the fuel hose too. After this stage, you can now turn on any fuel tank valve, or if applicable, replace the fuel pump fuse. Start your vehicle or small engine and check for leaks. If any leaks are found, the fuel hose may need to be repositioned or you can tighten the clamp a bit more. Concluded


Cocktail

38

xx

Friday, February 15, 2013

FOR YOUR SUCCESS

WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE

Today's Tonic (97)

“The first price life offers is always the cheapest.” –Richard Gaylord Briley *** Make Hay While The Sun Shines! It is easier and cheaper to be a student at a young age than to be a high school student at old age. It is cheapest to treat a disease at the starting stage than at a later advanced stage. It is cheaper and wiser to work hard at a young age than at old age. The message I am trying to pass across is this: do things when they are cheapest and wisest to do. Do not wait to do tomorrow what can be done easier and cheaper today. Control that weight now! Watch your diet now! Start saving money now! Start that school now! Start that business now! Reconcile now! Handle that problem now! PROCRASTINATION IS COSTLY AND DEADLY!!! TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL deji.folutile@gmail.com Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Oddities

Thailand breaks hula hoop dancing record

N

early 4,500 Thai contestants celebrated after setting a world record for the most people dancing with hula hoops simultaneously in one place. Guinness World Records adjudicator Seyda Subasi-Gemici said Tuesday that 4,483 people had swung hula hoops to dance music for seven minutes

without interruption. The event drew 5,000 participants to an open-air stadium at Thammasat University, but 517 contestants dropped off after they failed to keep their

hoops up. The event, organized by the Public Health Ministry’s Department of Health, was aimed at creating health awareness among Thais.

The previous world record was set in Taiwan in 2011, when 2,496 participants swung hula hoops in a continuous motion for 2 minutes.

Captain Cook’s pistol fetches $227,000 at auction

A

pistol owned by British explorer Captain James Cook, who first claimed Australia for Britain nearly two and half centuries ago, sold on Thursday for A$219,600 ($227,100), above the top estimate set by auctioneers. The brass pistol, an early 18th century Continental Flintlock holster pistol with a 13-bore barrel made by Dutch gunmaker Godefroi Corbau Le Jeune, had a pre-sale estimate of A$100,000 to A$200,000.

One of a rare handful of personal effects remaining from the explorer, the gun went to a private buyer in Victoria, Australia, said Cassandra Hilber, at Leski Auctions. “There was a lot of interest from New Zealand as well,” she added. Cook reached the coast of Australia in April 1770, the first recorded European to encounter the continent’s eastern coast, after mapping the coastline of New Zealand. In August, he planted the Brit-

ish flag on Possession Island in northern Queensland. It is not known if Cook was carrying the pistol when he first stepped on Australian soil. Cook made two later exploratory expeditions to the Pacific and was killed in Hawaii in 1779. The pistol remained in the Cook family for more than two centuries before being purchased by former Melbourne Lord Mayor Ron Walker at an auction in Edinburgh in 2003.

Participants performing in a hula hoop competition at Thammasat University, Pathumthani, Thailand. PHOTO: AP


Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

39

Business & Finance It is time for our seaports to start working and they must start working for honest and hardworking Nigerians not for those who are working to make things more complicated Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

We are just talking about poor quality of services. What we need to clear poor quality of service is further investment EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN, NIGERIAN COMMUNICATION COMMISSION, EUGENE JUWAH,

Nigerians spent over N1trn on importation of fake products in 2012 - SON N

igerians spent buy them but are paid ican will remove his dispose the tyres but in burn them as we will be tyres, even if they have Nigeria; so they bring polluting the environover N1trn on to help dispose them of ment; nor can we throw not covered 10,000 km, them to us,’’ he said. the importation by foreign countries. The director general them into the sea; we Odumodu said that for safety reasons. of fake and sub-stanOur people go to said the agency was must protect the aquatdard products last year, all countries have chalthe Director General lenges with disposing those sites where they saddled with the chal- ic life,’’ he said. Odumodu, however, keep tyres to pick them; lenge and task of how of Standards Organisa- off expired tyres. actually they don’t buy to dispose of the seized said the agency was ``The life span of tion of Nigeria (SON), tyres and had resolved discussing with invesDr Joseph Odumodu, a tyre in Europe and them. ``I am even told that not to burn them be- tors on the possibilAmerica ranges behas said. Odumodu disclosed tween four years and they pay them to help cause of the impact on ity of setting up tyre shredding plants in the this on Thursday in five years, and an aver- them dispose of the the environment. ``We don’t want to country. an interview with the age European or Amer- tyres and where do they News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He listed the imported items to include electrical accessories, switches, batteries, used refrigerators and air conditioners and other environment degrading materials and junks. Odumodu said the agency seized and evacuated about 20 trucks of fake energy saving bulbs, substandard iron rods and fake tyres. He expressed concern at the rate at which fake tyres are imported into the country, and said that most im- L-R: Executive Director, South, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Lanre Adesanya; Managing Director/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Yemi porters of second hand Adeola; Managing Director Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr. Ola Oresanya and General Manager Admin/ Special Duties, Mrs. Abimbola Jijoho-Ogun; during a courtesy visit to LAWMA Office in Ijora by Sterling Bank in Lagos Monday. tyres ``do not usually

Aero Airlines staff arraigned over N64m ticket fraud OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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ome staff of Aero Airlines were yesterday arraigned before the Magistrate at the Murtala Mohammed

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Airport (MMA), Lagos domestic wing for engaging in ticket racketeering against the airline to the tune of N64m. A source close to the airline confided in our correspondent that the bubble burst when the newly recruited Internal Auditor/Supervisory Officer, Mr. Mike Amu stepped on a pin code of

the airline, which later proved to be a code used to perpetuate fraud by one of the staff recruited about two years ago. The accused staff, simply identified as Michael was said to have resided in London, United Kingdom for six years before he was recruited by the airline without any security background check

NEXIM restates commitment to devt finance agenda

40

on him. The source told our correspondent that no fewer than nine staff of the airline were immediately rounded up by the airline’s management, but two were later left off the hook by the airline after thorough investigation. Seven staff were to supposed to appear be-

fore the Magistrate Court at the airport, but six appeared while the seventh person (female) was absent at the hearing yesterday. One of the staff accused of the fraud was the Chairman, Air Transport Senior Staff Services of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Aero Branch, Comrade Akintayo Akingbeyin, but ATSSSAN management insisted he was roped into the fraud.

Port users in a dilemma as Apapa gridlocks return

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Arik Air Lag-Abj:07.15, 09.15, 10.20, 13.05, 15.20, 16.20, 16.50,18.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun). Abj-Lag: 07:15, 09.40,10.20, 12.15, 15.15, 16.15,17:10, (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun); 12.15, 15.15, 16.15 (Sun)Lag-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) AbvBeni:08.00, 12.10 (Mon-Fri/ Sat)08.56, 12.10(Sun)

Aero Contractors Lag-Abj: 06.50, 13.30, 16.30, 19.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun), 12.30 (Sun) 16.45 (Sat) Abj-Los: 07.30, 13.00, 19.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat, 10.30, 14.30, 19.30 (Sun, 18.30 Sat) LagBenin: 07.45, 11.00, 15.30 (MonFri/Sat/Sun) 12.30 (Sun 15.30 (Sat) Ben-Lag: 09.15, 12.30, 17.00 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun) 17.00 (Sat)

IRS Lagos-Abuja 7.30 8.30 7.45 8.45 09.30 10.30 10.30 11.30 12.30 13.30 14.30 15.30 16.30 17.30 Lagos-Kano 08.00 09.15 10.30 11.45 14.30 15.40 18.15 19.30 Los-Maid&Yola (Mon-Thur) 09.30 11.30 Fri- Sun 10.30 12.30 Kano-Lagos 07.30 08.45 14.00 15.15 17.30 18.45 Kano-Abj 10.45 11.30 Abj-Lagos 09.00 10.30 11.00 12.00 12.00 13.00


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Business News

Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NEXIM restates commitment to devt finance agenda TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) has restated its commitment to its statutory mandate of promoting development finance at key sectors of the economy in order to ensure broad-based growth of the nation’s economy. The Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Roberts Orya, speaking with journalists recently pointed out that NEXIM Bank’s strategic roles as a Financial Development Institution (FDI) were crucial to the attainment of the broad policy objectives of the ongoing transformation of the Federal Government, especially in leveraging the import-export potentialt of the mining, agricultural, manufacturing and entertainment industries’ for global competitiveness. While describing the present administration’s drive to ensure that various DFIs are empowered to effectively contribute to the national transformation agenda as desirable for the economy, Orya

L-R: Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Bank Limited, Mr. Gboyega Dada; Executive Director, Mrs. Louisa Olaloku, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer; Mallam Ahmed Kuru; Divisional Head, Human Capital Management, Chioma Nwabuoku; Executive Directors, Mr. Aminu Ismail and Mr. Niyi Adebayo, at the bank’s Breakfast meeting with media in Lagos, yesterday.

explained that the injection of billions of naira into Bank of Industry, NEXIM Bank, Bank of Agriculture, Federal Mortgage Bank and others are a pointer to government’s desire to fully empower the DFIs for their financial engineering roles in the economy.

Esso to award three new contracts UDEME AKPAN

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he Federal Government has authorised Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, EEPNL to award three new contracts in the upstream sector, involving exploration and production of petroleum in the country. The approval received through the Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation, NNPC would enable the firm to award three engineering, procurement and construction contracts for Erha North Phase 11 project. The General Manager, Public and Government Affairs of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, promoters of the project, Mr. Paul Arinze who confirmed the development in a statement stated that: “Esso Exploration

and Production Nigeria Limited, EEPNL, operator of Oil Mining Lease 133, has received approval from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to award three engineering, procurement and construction, EPC, contracts for Erha North Phase II project. He said the EPC awards represent a significant milestone in the development of Erha North Phase II and demonstrate continued cooperation between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and EEPNL to grow the business and support the Nigerian government in meeting national goals. Arinze stated that:“The contracts are in line with Erha North Phase II project objectives, which include significant national content contributions, and will bring direct and indirect benefits to the Nigerian economy through project spending and employment.”

He explained: “As a DFI, NEXIM takes developmental rather than a purely financial-return maximisation approach. It has consistently focused on the identification, development and financing of projects that leads to national objectives being met The Exxon Mobil Erha North Phase 2 is a deepwater project that is targeted to start production for completion in 2015 with 50,000 barrels a day of crude output. Exxon Mobil, the secondlargest producer in Nigeria, is the operator of a joint venture in which it holds a 40 percent stake, with state-owned NNPC holding the rest. The Erha North Phase 2 and the Satellite Fields Development Project are said to be valued at about $6 billion. The government and other stakeholders believed that the successful execution of the scheme would go a long way towards boosting local content, employment, capacity building and domiciliation of relevant technologies in the country. The Erha north phase II project is said to have suffered four bids validity extensions in the last four years

FTZ oil, gas workers suspend planned warning strike MESHACK IDEHEN

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he Joint Action Committee of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (NUPENG), and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association, (PENGASSAN) said on Thursday that they have suspended the planned warning strike scheduled to begin on Thursday. According to the oil and gas workers, the suspension of the warning strike was based on a communiqué signed after meet-

ing of the leadership of NUPENG and PENGASSAN with Federal Government represented by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu. The Chairman of NUPENG and PENGASSAN Joint Action Committee, Comrade Chika Onuegbu, in a statement to National Mirror, said the communiqué was signed between NUPENG, PENGASSAN, the Federal Ministry of Labour and officials of Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone. Onuegbu said in the statement also that a follow up meeting will

be held between PENGASSAN and NUPENG and the OGFTZ Authority, adding the oil workers decided to shelve the strike with the hope that the Federal Government and the Authorities of the Onne Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone will honour the agreement and communiqué. “We will monitor on a monthly basis, the progress on the implementation of the communiqué. We want to state clearly that if we notice any insincerity on the part of the Federal Government or the Authority of the OGFTZ or the investors;.

through encouraging private sector development. “NEXIM has consistently provided financial products not readily provided by other financial institutions such as equity, longerterm finances, venture capital, and so on. It has also undertaken

and managed a higher risk profile while playing a catalytic role and providing additionality thereby encouraging export-oriented investments which move the economy in the desired direction”, he added. Reflecting on how the bank has fared in the past two years in its supporting various sectors with funds, Orya disclosed that through its various operational interventions,NEXIM has generated or sustained direct jobs of over 14,358 as at the end of August last year. In addition, he explained that between August 2009 and August 2012, the bank’s facilities have enhanced the potentials of beneficiary projects to generate estimated foreign exchange in the sum of $189.2m annually. According to him, loan recovery and pragmatic remedial assets management has continued to be a major focus of the management, which had resulted in a cumulative loan recovery of N1.3bn in the four-year period under review.

Telecoms: Nigeria, bright spot for investment, says report KUNLE A ZEEZ

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igeria remains a haven for telecoms investment as a result of the growth projections envisaged in the next few years, according to a latest study by Pyramid Research. Like other emerging telecoms markets, the study identified Nigeria to be ‘the bright spot’, even as the world faces an uncertain and challenging global economic landscape. The study, ‘Pyramid Perspective 2013: Top Trends in the Global Communications Industry’ provides information on top trends in telecoms landscape in Africa and Middle East (AME), Asian Pacific, Europe and Americas. According to the study, economic growth in emerging markets is expected to be nearly quadruple the economic growth in developed markets. Telecoms service revenue in emerging markets will increase five times faster than in developed markets. The study predicts that this trend will make mobile service revenue in emerging markets in 2015 larger than mobile service revenue in developed markets for the first time ever; noting that nearly 90 per cent of the 2 billion subscribers to come online in the next five years will reside in emerging markets. “Exposure to emerging markets has become a critical factor for success in an industry characterized by stagnation in

developed markets, intense competition, consumer choice and disruptive business models,” the study said. The study said that mobile subscribers in the AME region will surpass the 1 billion mark in the first quarter of 2013, making it the second region to reach this milestone after Asia-Pacific. Of the anticipated one billion mobile subscription mark, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Turkey for AME, will account for 35 per cent of that mark. Managing Director, Pyramid Research, Daniel Amparan, in his summary of the study, said the year 2013 will also accelerate the rate at which emerging marketbased players take advantage of financially challenged developed market assets to bring much needed capital, but also commercial innovation and expertise. It will also be a year of important milestones. “By year’s end, mobile subscriptions will reach 7 billion, on par with the global population. Mobile subscribers in the Africa & Middle East region will surpass the 1bn mark in the first quarter, making it the second region to reach this milestone after AsiaPacific,” he said. Amaran said consolidation has progressed most quickly in recent years in markets where subscriber growth has slowed, competitive pressures are squeezing margins and upcoming capital requirements are high.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Business News

Friday, February 15, 2013

Warren Buffett buys food giant, Heinz for $28bn

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nited States billionaire Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth $28bn (£18bn). Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and private equity firm 3G have agreed to take over the food company, famous for its ketchup and baked beans. In a statement, Heinz called the deal “historic”, and the largest to date in the food industry. Shares in Heinz soared in early trading in New York. They rose nearly 20 per centto more than $72 a share. The takeover has been approved by the company’s board, but still needs to be voted on by shareholders. “The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders,” said Heinz chairman, president

and chief executive William Johnson. “We look forward to partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, both greatly respected investors, in what will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Heinz.” The deal will marry one of the best-known brands in the food industry with one of the US’s most famous businessmen. Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, having amassed a multi-billiondollar fortune over decades of investing. His investment expertise has earned him the nickname “the sage of Omaha”. “It is our kind of company,” Mr Buffett told CNBC. “I’ve sampled it many times.” “Anytime we see a deal is attractive and it’s our kind of business and we’ve got the money, I’m ready to go,” he

said. 3G Capital also owns the fast-food chain Burger King. The deal will offer shareholders $72.50 a share, a 20 per cent premium on the company’s previous all-time high share price. Berkshire Hathaway will contribute $12bn-$13bn in cash to the deal. Heinz has been operating in the US market since it was founded in Pittsburgh in the late 19th Century. Heinz says it sells 650 million bottles of its ketchup worldwide every year, and it is the biggest seller of baked beans in the UK. The BBC’s Mark Gregory said the deal was not just for old times’ sake, and that Heinz now does much of its business in fast growing, developing economies. In the UK and Ireland it employs approximately 2,500 people.

Minister, others for broadband expansion forum KUNLE A ZEEZ

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he Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson and other key industry players have been confirmed as line-up speakers at the Nigeria’s Broadband Expansion Programme (BbExPro). With the theme ‘Access to Funding as a Critical Requirement of Extending Broadband Internet Access to Nigerians’, business workshop is scheduled for March 5 – 7, 2013 in Lagos. According to a statement by the Program Coordinator, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, Director of Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF, will address the workshop on ‘Opportunities of and Application of USPF to Expanding Broadband Services’ On the resource speakers list is Dr. Olunifesi Suraj, who will speak on‘Mapping the Broadband Investment Opportunities in Ni-

Pensioners vow to disrupt NIPOST’s activities MESHACK IDEHEN

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he Chairman of the Lagos chapter of Nigeria Union of Pensioners, (NUP), NIPOST branch, Mr. Yomi Akindutire, have said pensioners are appealing to the Federal Government and the management of NIPOST to pay their over seven years arrears. Akindutire said also that their pensions is for them to live and not for burial, adding pensioners would continue to disrupt NIPOST activities until the management settles all unpaid pensions and arrears, especially after the deadlock meeting between the pension-

ers and the management of NIPOST in Abuja, recently. Speaking with journalists on Thursday, he explained that NIPOST management was not in any way prepared to settle their seven-year unpaid pension arrears, or reach an agreement with the retirees on the issue. According to him, the meeting held in Abuja between both parties was deadlocked, because the management of NIPOST did not come forth with any settlement plan for the pensioners, saying also that the pensioners have told NIPOST management that they should pay those who retired in 2005 and 2006 six months arrears and those who retired in

2012 should be paid November pension before terms of gratuity can be discussed. He said the Federal Government and the management of NIPOST should realise that pension is for survival and not for burial, lamenting that NIPOST did not take any decision on the terms of payment which left the pensioners with no choice than to continue with the protest until further notice. The pensioners chairman said that the pensioners would be ready to discuss and reach agreement with the management if the terms were agreed on, while also confirming that two pensioners died in Lagos in the early days of the protest.

geria’ while Mr. Sam Obafemi will lead discussion on ‘Business Processes and Business Performance.’ Other confirmed speakers and participants are drawn from MainOne, Ericsson, AFINBO/AFL, Junisat, among others. According to Omo-Ettu, major keynote speakers at the closing ceremony of the workshop on March 7, 2013 include the Minister of Communication Technology and the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, D. Eugene Juwah. Others are Chief Executive Officers of MainOne Cable Company and Ericsson Nigeria. He explained that various commercial Presentations aimed at featuring key broadband products and services which are already on offer in Nigeria or about to be introduced to the market are also on the line up of major presentations at the workshop.

Lagos Govt shuts 15 firms over tax default

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L-R: Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Mr. Peter Muriuki; Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company, Mrs. Yanju Olomola; Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Mrs. Joy Emordi, and Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Ify Umenyi, presenting the Product Excellence Award to Coca-Cola Nigeria at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Consumer Awards in Abuja recently.

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he Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has sealed 15 companies in the last one month for failure to remit N47.4m personal income taxes of workers. The Head of its Distrain Unit, Mrs Folasade Coker- Afolayan made the disclosure on Thursday in Lagos. She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the companies were sealed between Jan. 9 and Feb. 6. According to her, five of the defaulting firms were shut in January over tax liabilities of N25.2 million. She said the other 10 companies were sealed in February over tax debt of N22.2 million. “The enforcement happened between Jan. 9 and Feb.6,” she said.

Coker-Afolayan said that these taxes were for a period of one year to six years. She reiterated that tax payment was a civic responsibility of everyone, explaining that the proceeds were being used by the government to provide infrastructure. “Tax is a major source of government revenue. It enables it to provide infrastructure and improve the citizens’ standard of living,” she said. Coker-Afolayan said that the LIRS would continue to sanction tax defaulters. She advised companies to remit taxes promptly to avoid embarrassment and stressed that it was a criminal offence to break government’s seals on sealed companies.

Telecoms: NCC, operators appeal to subscribers on infrastructure protection KUNLE A ZEEZ

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he Nigerian Communications Commission and telecom service providers have again called on telecoms subscribers to join hands with the operators in protecting telecoms infrastructures sited in their areas. The appeal was made yesterday at the 54th edition of Consumer Outreach Programme of the Commision in Ikorodu, Lagos with the theme ‘Protection of Telecom Infrastructure.’ Speaking at the event attended by residents and other stakeholders in the Ikorodu

community, Executive Commisioner, Stakeholders Management, NCC, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, said the theme became imperative as telecoms infrastructures have a direct and indirect impact on the spread of telecom services to the nook and crannies of the country as well as the Quality of Service being experienced by the consumers. Describing telecom infrastructures as the blood that sustains the industry, Itanyi, said without telecoms infrastructure, there would be no telecom service, stressing that protection of telecoms facilities in every locality is a collective responsibility.


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Maritime

Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Port users in a dilemma as Apapa gridlocks return

Cleared Apapa-Mile 2 Road

Congested Apapa - Mile 2 Road

Less than seven months after, most of the trucks cleared out of Apapa –– Mile 2 Road and other port access roads have all returned, causing worse gridlocks that has turned the roads in to a nightmare for port users, reports FRANCIS EZEM.

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hen the Apapa ––Mile 2 Express Way, which houses the two biggest cargo seaports in Nigeria was in May last year cleared of trucks that usually blocked the road, many stakeholders were concerned about the sustainability of the feat. This was because for several years, most port access roads have been in a terrible state of dis-repair, which makes them a nightmare to road users. This development had also over the years taken its toll on these two biggest seaports in Lagos, the Lagos Ports Complex and Tin Can Island Ports both in Apapa, as efficiency has been reduced to the lowest ebb. Chairman of Presidential Committee on Port Reform and Decongestion, Professor Sylvester Monye, who briefed the media shortly after the evacuation of the trucks, had noted that any truck that was found on the road henceforth would be impounded and crushed. He had assured that the committee in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation would make sure that the sanity that has returned to the roads is sustained. But the presidential aid failed to install any facility for the crushing of the trucks. Less than six months after, the trucks have returned in full force. In fact it is worse now since the gory traffic situation is back. As usual, hapless port users are at the receiving end. Only recently, Minister of Transport, Mallam Idris Umar, was held at the Tin Can Island Port end of the road for over three hours. The minister was in Lagos to declare open the one-day stakeholders forum on the newly approved Integrated Port Community Information System (IPCIS), a brainchild of the Nigerian Ports Authority. The minister, who had gone to Apapa to inspect some port access road projects in Apapa could not come back to Eko Hotels, Victoria Island until about 2pm to declare the event originally slated for 10am open to the amazement of stakeholders. The embattled minister, who offered unreserved apologies to the waiting stakeholders said: ““The Nigerian ports operate like a disorganised market, at a time one could not hide his frustrations that the business of the ports was conducted in the

THIS TIME AROUND, GOVERNMENT WANTS TO BRING ABOUT A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM ASSOCIATED WITH THE HEAVY TRAFFIC ON THE ROADS IN

APAPA AND THE NEGATIVE

EFFECT IT HAS ON THE SEAPORTS most unorganised manner, which will no longer be tolerated. ““The Presidential committee on port decongestion and reform came here with a single mandate from the president, which is that the ports must be made to work for honest Nigerians who are prepared to do business, anything short of this is not acceptable to the government””, he further warned. While challenging the NPA to take up its role as the landlord of the ports, he restated the commitment of the government towards revamping the operations of the ports towards improved service delivery, port efficiency and increased revenue generation. It is on record that the government, especially in the last one year has taken concrete steps at making the ports work. In addition to sacking the truck owners, who have converted the various roads as their park, the government also reduced the number of agencies at the seaports from over 14 to six with a view to making them efficient. In line with this, agencies such as National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria and several others were asked to leave the seaports. Government had also created an arrangement in which trucks coming to the port to lift or drop containers are given tally to ensure that only those whose consignments are ready would come in. Expectedly, some of these measures, including clearing the trucks off the roads worked within a limited time frame. This obvious reality confirms the earlier position of the leadership of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners to the effect that addressing the problem of the traffic situation in Apapa goes beyond the cosmetics approach adopted by the government. President of the association, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, who has been at the receiving

end both from the Lagos State Government and the maritime authority over indiscriminate parking of trucks, said worldwide, the practice is to provide a holding bay near the port, where the trucks could park while waiting to either pick or load container. In addition to this, he also said in developed world, shipping companies are meant to provide holding bays for their empty containers, regretting that most of the shipping companies operating in Nigeria do not have such facilities. ““Most of the time, a truck needs to drop an empty container and pick another one, because there is no place to drop it, the driver queues on the road not because he wants to be but because he has no alternative””, he said. While taking a swipe at the Bureau for Public Enterprise for a wholesale of Nigeria’’s seaports, Ogungbemi wondered why a seaport will not have a container holding bay. While reacting to the issue of the removal of the trucks from the roads, he had noted that it was for a short time, arguing that the trucks would soon return to the roads not because they want to do so but because the basic problem that compels them to park on the roads have not been addressed. Many stakeholders believe strongly that apart from the deplorable state of these roads, remains a major issue in addressing the traffic gridlock that characterise Apapa area of Lagos, which houses the two biggest seaports in the country. These two seaports, unarguably account for over 95 percent of Nigeria container and bulk cargo traffic. In addition to the presence of these two seaports in Apapa, there are several other off-dock facilities like bonded terminals where imported cargoes are handled. Additionally, the area plays host to scores of petroleum product storage depots, also called tank farms. The presence of these tank farms attract a lot of tankers coming to load products, especially given

the incessant cases of petroleum pipeline vandalism, which makes the movement of products through pipelines very difficult. Obviously, the cargo throughput of these two ports, which were used as a benchmark for the construction of the road has grown by over 90 percent. The building of these tank farms and their subsequent attraction of scores of fuel tankers was not taken into consideration when the roads were constructed. These obvious facts more than ever justify calls for lasting solutions to the issue of gridlocks on Apapa roads that ordinarily should be without any hindrance because they connect the ports, which are merely cargo transit areas. It is in this light that recent promises by the government to introduce long term measures to solve the perennial traffic situation in Apapa would bring relief to port users. Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on maritime services, Mr. Leke Oyewole, who spoke in a telephone interview, hinted that government was working on long term measures to address the issue. According to him, apart from directing the contractors handling the road rehabilitation project to expedite action on the projects, efforts were also being intensified to complete the truck part project as quick as possible. ““You recall last year that the presidential committee on port reform with the cooperation of the Lagos State Government cleared the Apapa Mile 2 Road of trucks, which blocked most port access roads and therefore make the ports inaccessible””, he noted. ““This time around, government wants to bring about a permanent solution to the problem associated with the huge traffic on the roads in Apapa and the negative effect it has on the seaports””, he further stated. According to him, part of these measures it to fix the Ejigbo and Mosimi pipelines so that they would perform at optimum capacity and therefore reduce the distribution of products through the tank farms, which would reduce the number of trucks on that road. It is expected that government would match its words with action in order to make the ports work.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

STORIES: FRANCIS EZEM

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takeholders, especially freight forwarders and clearing agents have raise the alarm over arbitrary powers given to valuation officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, which they claim is in tandem with the policy of the current management in order to make huge revenue out of which its gets seven percent. The valuation unit of the service, under which the valuation officers serve is the department charged with determining the true value of any imported good in line with the import HS Code and the prevailing Federal Government Fiscal policies. Some freight forwarders and agents, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, disclosed that it has become fashionable for the current management of the service headed by Mallam Abdullahi Dikko to place valuation officers over and above the Customs Area Controllers under which they serve. According to the sources, most the valuation officers, who are identified as ‘‘Abuja Staff’’ report directly to the Comptroller General of the service, as they do not take orders from their area controllers. The sources also disclosed that the reason for this is to enable the management realise its revenue

Maritime

Friday, February 15, 2013

Agents raise alarm over atrocities of valuation ofcers

Container Block Stacks at Apapa Port

target, which it has placed over and above the trade facilitation and security of the country, arguing that the only language of the current management is that of revenue, nothing else. ““The reason for this is not farfetched because the CG is desperate to make the revenue against all odds and he believes that the

CACs might not cooperate with him in that regard, which also accounts for why he re-deploys them incessantly within two or three months of being posted to any command””, the source argued. ““You will also recall that when any CAC is posted to any command, the headquarters second an orderly to him, who would

APM Terminals pioneers satellite container positioning system

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s part of measures to enhance speedy delivery of imported goods at its terminal located within the Lagos Ports Complex Apapa, APM Terminals Apapa Limited says it would introduce a satellitebased system of positioning containers for examination at the port. Managing Director of the firm, Mr. Dallas Hampton, who spoke in Lagos, said the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) for containers, which is first of its kind in the world, is a multi-level container inspection facility for physical examination of containers by Customs operatives. Both the GPS and the multi-level racking container inspection system are part of the third phase of the modernistion and upgrading of the Apapa terminals which is costing the company US$135 million and which also includes terminal yard redevelopment and expansion, new staff amenities and customer service building and acquisition of additional container handling equipment. According to him, the equipment will ensure 99.5 percent accuracy of container location and inventory in the terminal yard. ““Manual systems cannot achieve much more than 90 percent accuracy. The GPS system

Shonekan

will also enable the use of further technologies such as NAVIS Prime Route and Expert Decking which are advanced real time IT systems that can improve terminal yard efficiency””, he said It was also gathered that these systems combined will enable the terminal to have completely pedestrian free yards and provide truck service times for receiving and delivery which are less than 45 minutes on average. Hampton said the Global Positioning System will be installed once ongoing civil works are complete and will become operational early next year. He also disclosed that his company is building a $10 million (N1.6 billion) facility for physical inspection of containers by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service. The facility, it was further gath-

ered is the first of its kind in the world, which will utilise a multilevel racking system operated by yard cranes. Investigation showed that the desperate desire of the officers and men of the service to carryout physical inspection on most of containers left the company with only one option of making such investment. ““The multi-level facility is designed to reduce the footprint of the current inspection area and enable better use of what is effectively scarce terminal land for holding containers - which is after all the primary purpose of a container terminal yard, as opposed to allocating huge areas of the terminal to Customs inspection. Nigeria is unique in that up to 70 per cent of containers undergo Customs inspection in the terminal –– most countries in the world do less than 10% at this point. ““As container volumes grow one of the real constraints on capacity in the port system in Nigeria is the ever increasing demand for physical inspection by Customs. Most of the inspections are cursory formalities and do not involve much more than opening and closing the doors so a multilevel racking system for positioning containers can be used””, he said.

monitor his activities but it seems that did not have the desired effects, so the valuation officers have to be made answerable to the Customs headquarters in Abuja””, he further disclosed. The aggrieved agents argued that these valuation officers, who behave as thin gods practically suspend the HS Code and impose

43

duty on imported goods based their own state of mind. ““These officers, knowing the enormous powers given to them to determine the value of any consignment sometimes mount imaginary roadblocks with which they extort money from importers and their agents because there is no authority superior to them at the command and most importers might not want to go to Abuja to complain while their consignments accrue demurrage””, they also alleged. The agents attributed the variations in the value of goods cleared at the various ports to the issues of imposing duty at the whims and caprices of the valuation officers, arguing that there should have been a level of uniformity in the value given to identical goods in terms of volume, value and other yardsticks. ““You will find out that it might cost you less to clear a Mercedes Jeep of the same model and year of manufacture at Onne Port for instance that at Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports both in Lagos. This accounts for one of the reasons some importers agitated for benchmark on vehicles last year””, they alleged. It was further gathered that the powers of the area controllers have been deliberately whittled down that they are not allowed to redeploy an officer from one department to the other within the command.

Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority installs electronic gate system

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he Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has introduced an E-Gate System which will electronically monitor all vehicles especially trucks that enter and exit the ports of Ghana. The move is to facilitate cargo clearance at the ports and eliminate fraudulent agents and documents from the system. The Marketing and Public Affairs Manager of GPHA, Mr. Kumi Adjei-Sam, made this known in Accra. He said the E-Gate system involved the installation of optical camera recognition systems which would electronically capture the particulars of the vehicles, as well as the number and other physical characteristics of containers. He said all Forwarding Agents were also being registered and issued with electronic ID cards to eliminate fraudulent agents. Adjei-Sam indicated that vehicular inflows into the country was on the increase as according to records, an average of 250 vehicles are delivered every day at the GJT alone making it about 1,500 vehicles per week. He said the GPHA was currently undertaking a number of

other innovations to facilitate cargo clearance through the ports and some of these include the installations of Container Terminal Management Systems, Vessels Cargo Management Systems, Automatic Ship Identification System and Enterprise Resource Planning. He said additionally the GPHA had recruited several IT specialists and trained all staff at the operational document processing areas to ensure the successful implementation of the systems. The Marketing and Public Affairs Manager said there was now 100 per cent coverage of the port with CCTV cameras to improve security and minimise theft. He disclosed that nine traffic lights would also be installed at strategic areas in and around the ports to control and regulate vehicular traffic. Six of these had already been installed and are already in use. Adjei-Sam announced that work would soon commence on the traffic lights at the Tema end of the motorway and all the roundabouts on the access road from the port to the motorway, as well as the community 3 junction, to address the traffic congestions in those areas.


44

Capital Market

American Airlines, US Airways merge to form world’’s biggest carrier

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merican Airlines and US Airways yesterday announced plans to merge, in a deal that would form the world’’s biggest airline. The move had been widely touted after the two boards were said to have met on Wednesday. The merger will bring American Airlines closer in value to rival Delta Airlines, with an estimated market valuation of $11bn. This marks the conclusion of talks that started back in August 2012. The lion’’s share of the new company will be owned by American Airlines’’ bankruptcy creditors, who will have 72 per cent of the company. The carrier will be run under the American Airlines brand,

but the chief executive will be the current US Airways boss, Doug Parker. ““The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace,’’’’ he said in a statement. ““Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to go.”” The companies said they expected to make savings of more than $1bn a year. But the Senate Commerce Committee chairman, Jay Rockefeller expressed concern about the two airlines joining forces. ““Industry consolidation has created stronger and more financially viable air-

lines, which are necessary for our country’’s long-term economic growth,”” Rockefeller said. ““But it has also resulted in fewer choices for consumers, higher air fares, and reduced air service to small-and-medium sized communities. ““Any further airline merger must be carefully evaluated to make sure it is in the best interest of the travelling public by creating more competition, more options, and lower fares.”” However, analysts say it should be good news for customers. ““Hopefully service will improve,”” said aviation expert, Scott RichardsonBrown. ““The route network will open up and hopefully that will be beneficial to customers. ““There’’s always that con-

cern about pricing... but historically mergers don’’t actually lead to ticket prices going up.”” But he added: ““The reality is that the aviation market in the US has been losing money for years so ticket prices need to rise just because people can’’t be flown around the world at a loss.”” American Airlines’’ parent company filed for bankruptcy protection more than a year ago. With a history stretching back 80 years, five years’’ ago, American had grown to be the world’’s biggest airline. It was a pioneer of the loyalty programme for frequent fliers and also brought in the system of sliding prices according to demand. But deep losses pushed the company into bankruptcy, with the company blaming labour costs and the unions blaming poor management.

Equities shed 0.04% in bearish trading JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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quities trading continued on bearish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as more investors sold their holdings to take profit from the gains recorded the previous week. Specifically, the NSE All-Share Index fell by 0.04 per cent to close at 33,342.02 points, compared to the decline by 0.40 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 33,355.54 points. Market capitalisation depreciated by N4.32bn to close at N10.66trn, lower than the drop of N42.3bn

recorded the preceding day to close at N10.7trn. On the sectorial indices, the NSE 30-Index lost 0.22 per cent to close at 1,594.40 points, while the Oil and Gas Index fell further by 0.50 per cent to close at 184.11 per cent. The Consumer Goods Index shed 1.30 per cent to close at 967.52 points, while the Insurance Index dropped 1.62 per cent to close at 166.62 points. The Banking Index dipped by 2.14 per cent to close at 407.88 points, while the Lotus Islamic Index declined by 0.19 per cent to close at 2, 115.32 points. Custodian Insurance Plc

led the gainers’’ table with 21 kobo or 9.77 per cent to close at N2.36 per share, followed by DN Meyer Plc with 14 kobo or 9.40 per cent to close at N1.63 per share. Royal Exchange Plc gained 10 kobo or 8.13 per cent to close at N1.33 per share, while Dangote Cement Plc appreciated by N7.00 or five per cent to close at N147.00 per share. Okomu Oil Plc rose by N2.93 or 4.99 per cent to close at N61.63 per share. On the flip side, Prestige Insurance Plc lost 11 kobo or 9.82 per cent to close at N1.01 per share, while Fidson Healthcare Plc shed

19 kobo or 9.74 per cent to close at N1.76 per share. Unilever Nigeria Plc dropped by N5.00 or 9.62 per cent to close at N47.00 per share, while Wema Bank Plc dipped by 18 kobo or 9.57 per cent to close at N1.70 per share. Unity Bank Plc depreciated by 11 kobo or 9.48 per cent to close at N1.05 per share. Transaction volume in equities dropped by 50.9 per cent, as a total of 706.48 billion shares worth N3.93bn were exchanged in 7,561 deals, compared to 1.43 million shares valued at N5.59bn were traded in 9,653 deals the preceding day.

Honeywell Mills Flour posts N1.7bn prot in Q3 JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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oneywell Flour Mills Plc has declared a profit after tax of N1.72bn for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012, a decline of 0.3 per cent when compared to N1.71bn recorded in the same period of 2011. The company’’s revenue rose by 18.2 per cent to N33.04bn, from N27.9bn recorded in the third quarter of 2011, while cost of sales stood at N27.6bn in the review period, from N22.9bn recorded in 2011. According to the result presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, gross profit increased by 9.8

per cent to N5.48bn, from N4.99bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2011. Further analysis showed operating profit of N2.54bn in 2012, from N2.45bn recorded in the third quarter of 2011, while taxation stood at N823m, from N806m recorded in 2011. The company’’s balance sheet showed net assets worth N18.4bn in the third quarter, an increase of three per cent, from N17.8bn recorded in 2011, while total liabilities dropped by 85.3 per cent to N4.16bn, from N28.3bn recorded in 2011 third quarter. The company’’s total assets appreciated by 29.8 per cent to N59.9bn, from N46.2bn recorded in the

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Friday, February 15, 2013

2011 third quarter, while inventories stood at N6.65bn, from N4.96bn in 2011. In the second quarter of 2012, the company recorded improved earnings as the revenue increased by 17 per cent, from N18.7bn in the 2011 half year to N21.9bn. The company’’s profit before tax rose to N1.79bn, from N1.32bn recorded in the 2011 half year. Commenting on the results, the company’’s chairman, Dr. Oba Otudeko, attributed the improvement to the highly experienced board and a very professional management team who are all working hard to continuously grow the business. He said, ““Despite the

obvious challenges in our business environment, the result reinforces the positive outlook for our company’’s full year results and the sustainability of its current growth momentum well into the foreseeable future.”” According to Otudeko, property, plant and equipment assets appreciated by 83 per cent, as the company nears the commissioning date of its new ‘‘Twin Mills Facility’’ encompassing state-of-the-art milling equipment with additional capacity of 1,000MT/day, three additional grains storage silos and handling equipment and automated warehousing facilities with high-tech inventory management systems.

Source: NSE NIBOR QUOTES 13 FEBRUARY 2013 & 14 FEBRUARY 2013 20.00 19.00 18.00 17.00 16.00 15.00 14.00 13.00 12.00 11.00 10.00 9.00 8.00 7.00 6.00 5.00

1 3 -Fe b -1 3

1 4 -Fe b -1 3

Source: Afrinvest

Market indicators All-Share Index 10,667.7 points Market capitalisation 33.4 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

% CHANGE

CUSTODYINS

2.15

2.36

0.21

9.77

DNMEYER

1.49

1.63

0.14

9.40

ROYALEX

1.23

1.33

0.10

8.13

DANGCEM

140.00

147.00

7.00

5.00

OKOMUOIL

58.70

61.63

2.93

4.99

GLAXOSMITH

49.98

52.47

2.49

4.98

NNFM

19.29

20.25

0.96

4.98

RTBRISCOE

2.31

2.42

0.11

4.76

EVANSMED

1.28

1.34

0.06

4.69

WAPIC

1.29

1.35

0.06

4.65

CHANGE

% CHANGE

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

PRESTIGE

1.12

1.01

0.11

-9.82

FIDSON

1.95

1.76

0.19

-9.74

UNILEVER

52.00

47.00

5.00

-9.62

WEMABANK

1.88

1.70

0.18

-9.57

UNITYBNK

1.16

1.05

0.11

-9.48

AIICO

1.28

1.16

0.12

-9.38

NASCON

9.79

9.20

0.59

-6.03

FO

15.80

15.01

0.79

-5.00

MBENEFIT

0.60

0.57

0.03

-5.00

CADBURY

40.60

38.57

2.03

-5.00

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

39,057.21

12.75

7-Feb-13

182-Days

50,000.00

15.30

7-Feb-13

364-Days

67,219.06

16.90

7-Feb-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

84-Days

101,097.58

13.50

14-Feb-13

844-Days

69,166.00

12.00

14-Feb-13

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$120m

N/A

$120m

13-Feb-13

$180m

N/A

$180m

11-Feb-13


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

North

Friday, February 15, 2013

45

SUBEB warns LG auditors, finance heads against fraud IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wammako, Deputy Governor, Alhaji Muktari Shagari and District Head of Binji Local Government Area, Alhaji Kabiru Binji, during his inspection of projects in the local government, on Wednesday. PHOTO: NAN

FG flags-off N22.7bn Lokoja-Benin road dualisation project •As Minister assures on speedy completion of Abuja-Lokoja highway OLUFEMI ADEOSUN ABUJA

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s part of efforts to open up the country’s arterial roads and boost economic activities throughout the nation, the Federal Government yesterday flagged-off the dualisation of section one and two of the Lokoja-Benin Expressway. While section one of the project, Obajana to Okene; estimated to cost N11.663 billion will be handled by CGC Nigeria Limited, the second section, Okene to Auchi, also valued at N11.086 billion, will be dualised by Mothercat Nigeria Limited. This was even as the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, assured that the taking over of the dualisation of the Abuja-Lokoja highway by the

Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, would accelerate speedy completion of the project. Onolememen, who spoke during the flag-off ceremonies of the two sections of the dualisation project, noted that the move was in continuation of the on-going dualisation of part of the Route A2, Abuja-Lokoja, and a part of the fulfillment of the present administration of opening up the six-geopolitical zones of the country through motorable arterial roads. His words: “When the project is completed, Mr. President would have delivered on his promise to link the six geopolitical zones with dual carriageways; and with availability of funds, it is expected that this project will be completed

Gombe to establish three more specialist hospitals DANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE

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verwhelmed by the high number of patients visiting the Gombe Specialist Hospital for medical treatment, the Gombe State government is to establish three more specialist hospitals in the state. State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, stated this yesterday after visiting the Gombe State Specialist Hospital in the state capital to assess facilities where he met an unprec-

edented number of patients in different sections of the hospital. The governor, who was taken round the hospital by the Chief Medical Director, Dr. James Madi, also told the governor that patients from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and many neighbouring states visit the hospital. The governor instructed that three hospitals in different parts of the state be identified for immediate upgrading to the standard of a specialist hospital so as to reduce the pressure on the one in Gombe.

within the next 30 months.” While he urged the two contractors handling the project to make use of local human resources, he appealed to the leaders of the two states, Kogi and Edo, to take possession of the project through effective supervision. In particular, he admonished local communities along that axis not to bug down the contractors with “frivolous litigations,” stressing that the road project was structured to improve their economic activities and ease

vehicular movement. “To this end, we call on traditional institutions and the good people of Kogi and Edo States to give the contractors all the necessary support for the full realisation of this project.” Speaking during the flagoff of the first section of the road, the governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, lauded the renewed commitment of the present administration to road infrastructure.

NDLEA seizes 326.2kg Cannabis Sativa in Kogi OYEWALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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etermined to curb the use of illicit drugs in Kogi State, the state Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has seized 326.2kg of Cannabis Sativa and arrested seven suspected dealers in the last few days. State Commander of the NDLEA, Alhaji Idris Bello, who disclosed this yesterday while parading the suspects at the state command headquaters in Lokoja, said the state command will not rest on its oars and will continue to intensify efforts at information gathering and operational readiness to combat the drug scourge in the state. Bello said the officer who was on patrol along the Lokoja-Abuja high-

way stopped a commercial bus with registration number BE 800 AGL with seven passengers, adding that when the vehicle was searched, dried weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa was concealed in two Ghana-Must-Go bags. He said one of the passengers, Eze Francis, admitted the ownership of the cannabis sativa. The commander said the passengers claimed that armed robbers attacked them on the way and that the driver ran into bush, stating that one of the passengers drove the bus from the scene of robbery towards Abuja before being arrested by the NDLEA patrol team. “However, preliminary investigation revealed that the vehicle was a stolen property of GKO Group of Company Limited, Effurun in Delta State.”

asarawa State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, has threatened to penalise any erring head of finance or auditor in the Local Government Education Authorities, LGEAs, across the state that is found to be defrauding the state government. The Executive Secretary of the board, Abdulkarim Mohammed, gave this threat yesterday on the occasion of a one-day parley organised for heads of finance and audit section in Lafia, the state capital. He said there is an entrenched systemic corruption in the management of finances in the LGEAs across the state, resulting in the loss of huge sums of money without any commensurate output.

His words: “I am aware of the syndicate of fraudsters at the LGEAs, conniving with some staff of the board and the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to perpetuate fraud with the meagre resources given to the education sub-sector. In line with Governor Umar Tanko Al-Makura’s zero-tolerance for corruption, no loophole will be left for the fraudsters to defraud government of any kobo.” The SUBEB boss warned that EFCC searchlight is everywhere and heads of finance departments must therefore be honest and transparent and ready to render account anytime they are called upon, saying; “We must free our minds as individuals from corruption, bribery and other sinister motives that are inimical to the growth and progress of the education sector.”

Jos crisis: Catholic Archbishop inaugurates reconciliation centre JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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etermined to entrench lasting peace in Plateau State, the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, yesterday inaugurated a dialogue, reconciliation and peace centre in the ancient city Speaking at the occasion, Archbishop Kaigama said the goal of the project is to create a rallying point for organised dialogue between different stakeholders in peace building efforts and to promote a neutral space between political, ethnic and religious groups in the state. The archbishop, who condemned the schism between Christians and Muslims in the state and the revenge mentality among youths, called on the people of the state to learn to forgive and forget and stay in peace with each another He said the centre would develop friendship, heal hearts that are broken as a result of the crisis and also enhance respect for human dignity. According to Archbishop Kaigama, the centre will provide the opportunity for mixed-group experiences in dialogue, trust and reconciliation, which will equip participants for

further peace building in their communities. It will be a place where the victims of conflict and violence and the perpetrators of same would be brought together to be helped to understand one another, to discuss their differences, listen to each other and live alongside each other. The archbishop further said that there are more things that bind us together as Nigerians than those things that divide us. Though political, religious and ethnic differences may divide us, we are bound together by our common humanity to realise all our hopes and dreams, because that is what God expects from us. Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Dr N. P. Kazi, said in recent times, we have been calling for peace in the state for a long time. He urged the people of the state to embrace peace and learn to be their brothers’ keepers. The occasion was attended by the Chief Imam of Jos, Sheikh Balarabe Dawud, the Emir of Wase, Mohammed Haruna Ardo, members of Fulani communities in the state, civil society groups, community leaders, youth groups, among others.


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News

Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NYSC 2012 BATCH ‘A’ PASSING OUT PARADE

Deputy Gov held hostage by Corps members CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he passing out ceremony of the 2012 Batch ‘A’ corps members deployed to Imo State, yesterday turned rowdy when the corps members held the Deputy Governor, Sir Jude Agbaso, hostage, preventing him from delivering President Goodluck Jonathan’s address at the ceremony. The protesting corps members, who vent their spleen on the deputy governor, accused the state government of nonpayment of

their monthly stipends. Trouble started when the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Kenneth Emelu, who is also the chairman of the state NYSC governing board finished reading his address and invited the deputy governor to come and deliver speech of the President. His invitation attracted the anger of the corps members who disrupted the presidential speech and compelled the deputy governor to come from the VIP podium to the open field to address them.

Officials of the state NYSC, led by the state Cocoordinator, Mrs. Chinwe Ojukwu, were equally not spared by the corps members as they accused them of being insensitive to their plight. The governor, who eventually secured the attention of the corps members, said the Federal Government under an arrangement with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, would this year recruit young professionals that would work on a variety of United Nations programmes in various parts

of the globe under the UNDP. This, according to the governor, would give such youths exposure and make them serve as Nigerian ambassadors, not only in the international civil service, but also in many other respects. The Federal Government, he said remains resolute in tackling the issues of insecurity and corruption headlong and ensure that there is a conducive atmosphere for sustainable economic growth that will result in the greater Nigeria we all dream and hope for.”

26 bag Enugu govt awards DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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wenty-six members of the 2012 Batch ‘A’ National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, that served in Enugu State in the out-going service year have received the state government’s award of honour. Out of the number, 10 received the state Governor’s NYSC award for excellence that goes with a cash prize of N100, 000 for the first position, while the second to the 10th position received N80, 000 each. Eleven other corps members received the NYSC state Governing Board Chairman’s merit award with cash prize of N60, 000 each while

the remaining five corps members received commendation certificate for their various contributions to the development of Enugu State. Six corps members, however, had their service year extended for various offences while eight will be remoblised to start service afresh for abscondment. It was equally a sad service year in the state as four of the 2, 791 corps members that passed out yesterday lost their lives during the service year. Enugu State Acting Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, who was at the passing out parade, said the 26 deserving corps members were rewarded in order to encourage hard work reward excellence.

Five die in Lagos TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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National Youth Service Corps member protesting the non-payment of their allowances in Lafia yesterday. INSET: Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Dameshi Luka (left), addressing the protesting corps members. PHOTOS: NAN

Protest in Nasarawa over non-payment of allowances IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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he Batch ‘A’ members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, serving in Nasarawa State yesterday staged a protest over the non-payment of their allowances by the state government. The protest, which was staged in Lafia, the state capital, was reported to have started around 7.00 am. The protesters barricaded the only expressway

FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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t least 10 out of the 3, 715 ‘2012 Batch A’ corps members posted to Ogun State are to repeat their service year for contravening the rules and regulations of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC. Ogun State Director of

linking the South-East and the North, leaving commuters stranded for four hours. They blocked the road from the Nasarawa State Polytechnic end to Stadium Junction in Lafia metropolis, resulting in a gridlock on both sides of the expressway connecting Lafia with Jos and Makurdi. Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the Batch ‘A’ corps members, who were originally

meant to serve in crisis prone states, but were redeployed to Nasarawa, eventually completed their service in the state without reflecting in the wage bill of the state government. Some of the corps members, who did not want their names in print, said if the state government failed to reciprocate the gesture by paying their allowances, they would not wait to collect the entitlements. State Deputy Governor, Dameshi Barau Luka, who

10 to repeat service year in Ogun the NYSC, Mrs. Theresa Anosike, revealed this yesterday in her remark at the passing out parade of the Batch ‘A’ corps members posted to the state which held at the M. K. O. Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, the state capital.

Anosike said 3, 715 corps members were deployed to the state by the mobilisation department of NYSC, of which 3, 491 were able to complete their service year successfully. The director also said that 24 corps members were

addressed them on behalf of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, who was said to have travelled to Abuja, said the issue never came to the notice of the state government. His words: “When we received the information, we went into action to know why, because the present administration has never broken the procedure of their payment, and throughout, we have been working with the NYSC director to find a solution to the problem.” punished for various offences, which she said ranges from absenteeism, abscondment as well as insubordination. She stressed that 10 out of the affected corps members will be remobilised to repeat their service year, while 14 others have their service extended for between two to four months.

ive out of 4, 528 corps members posted to Lagos State by the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, under the 2012 Batch ‘A’ died within the last one year. Also a total of 28 others have their service year extended as punishment for various alleged offences, including absenteeism. State Coordinator of the scheme, Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi, disclosed this yesterday at the Iyana-Ipaja Orientation Camp of the NYSC, where a passing out parade ceremony was held to dis-

engage members of Batch ‘A’ corps members that had been serving in the state in the last one year. Six of the corps members who distinguished themselves by impacting positively on the lives of the local people in their Community Development Service, CDS, projects, were honoured with the state awards during the ceremony. Although, Mrs. Adeyemi did not disclose the condition in which the five corps members died, she said those that would face disciplinary actions would serve as deterrent to others, who would not want to obey rules and regulation guiding the scheme.

...Three, one official in Kwara WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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hree of the Batch ‘A’ corps members for 2012 who served in Kwara state lost their lives during their service. This happened even as the state office of the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) also lost the Head of its Public Relations unit, Elizabeth Ndueso who only two weeks ago was redeployed to Abuja in an autocrash Ndueso who had been serving in the state for about nine years was reportedly coming back to pack her belongings on Wednesday and got involved in the fatal crash that claimed her life around Kabba in Kogi state. She was said to purposely hand over to her successor and park her belongings when the vehicle in which

she was traveling collided with another one leaving her sustaining serious injury. She reportedly died the following day at the hospital where she was receiving treatment making her the fourth casualty of the accident as three other occupants had reportedly died instantly. State Coordinator of NYSC, Ngozi Ezekwe who disclosed the death of the three corps members during the passing out parade of the batch at the Ilorin Metropolitan Square on Thursday said the NYSC regretted the loss. She prayed that God grants the bereaved family of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss while urging the remaining members of the batch passing out to caution their drivers against reckless driving as they return to their various destinations.


Friday, February 15, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

47

Community Mirror “I like to say this, if you are involved in any act of kidnapping, don’t come near Bayelsa State.” BAYELSA STATE GOVERNOR, SERIAKE DICKSON

Pandemonium as transport unions clash FEMI O YEWESO ABEOKUTA

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here was pandemonium recently at the popular Ita Oshin and Kuto garages in

Abeokuta metropolis of Ogun State, as commuters scampered for safety, following the deadly clash between factions of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, trying to gain control of motor

garages. At least seven persons were injured, while more than 20 vehicles were damaged in the melee that saw a faction employing the use of sophisticated guns, charms and cut-

lasses. Eye witness account told Community Mirror, that factions led by one Alhaji Lateef Oriola, had attacked and injured drivers at the parks, in the bid to take over as the new state

A man dearing the ‘no urinating’ order at an illegal refuse dump

Graduate drivers pass out from institute A ZA MSUE KADUNA

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total of 96 of the 2,000 Dangote Graduate Drivers Training Scheme have passed out from the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State. Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Director General and Chief Executive of NITT, Alhaji Aminu Musa, said there was need to train operators of transport to become professionals as is done in the developed countries. He commended the Dangote Group of Companies for giving NITT the opportunity to undertake the training as well as its intervention in the transport sector. Alhaji Yusuf said he was confident that the effort would bring sanity in the transport and logistics systems in the country, and help in uplifting the standards in the road transport sector. He stated ‘’at the commencement of the programme, 99 gradu-

ates from different academic background registered out of the 100 shortlisted. However, we are graduating 96 as two absconded, while one withdrew due to ill health. The transport and logistics industry is fast growing and plays a major role in Nigeria and the global economy.’’ The NITT boss also commended participants for their unwavering determination, hard work, resilience and endurance throughout the training, especially the only female participant on the programme. He reminded the participants that the training exercise has given them the necessary skills to develop careers in transport and logistics, while challenging them to make the desired difference. Alhaji Yusuf also implored the Dangote Group of Companies to consider providing unique kits for the graduates to identify them as professionals in logistics and transport and to distinguish them from other, adding that NITT was

set to receive the next batch as all necessary arrangements had been concluded. In her speech, Rector of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria, Captain Mrs. Chinyere Kalu, commended the Dangote Group of companies for initiating the programme for graduates. Captain Kalu said, the involvement of graduates in the nation’s

transport system would go a long way in bringing sanity and curbing the rate of road accidents on our highways. Earlier, the Group Chief Human Resources Officer of Dangote Group, Mr. Paramjit Pabby, said the graduates are expected to run company’s newly formed super fleet with professional touch by putting to practice all they had learnt.

Prison inmates freed on health grounds TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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ine inmates awaiting trial at Uyo prisons has been reunited with their family after being released from custody. The accused persons, who had been in custody without trial for periods ranging from six month to four years, were released by the Akwa Ibom State Chief Judge, Justice Idongesit Ntem Isua during a visit to the prison. Among the inmates was one af-

fected with HIV and a mentally retarded person, the other two were freed on medical ground. The Chief Judge explained that it was against the law for accused persons to remain in custody beyond period of their trial, even when they had not been convicted. Some of the inmates were, however, transferred to prisons close to their local governments of origin. The development brings to 43 the total number of inmates set free by the Chief Judge.

chairman of RTEAN. The faction was said to be acting on the orders of one Sodiq Abubakar ,who is national chairman of the RTEAN and who recently installed him as the new state chairman, against present incumbent , Alhaji Mugisu Akinpelu. The Oriola led group was said to have overwhelmed Akinpelu’s faction before order was restored by the police. Community Mirror, further gathered that there had been bitter internal wrangling in the union in the past four years, which has led to several court litigations before the recent mayhem. A union source, also disclosed that attack on the garages by Oriola’s faction, followed his displeasure at a recent court judgment on the matter. Speaking at his residence in Abeokuta, Alhaji Akinpelu alleged that Oriola was a land speculator who never belonged to the transport union,even as he claimed that offices of the union at Kuto and Ita – Oshin were vandalized, saying that Oriola connived with some members of the outlawed Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, to destabilise the working arrangement at the garages. He also revealed that his members got wind of the attack and informed the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, as well as State Security Service, SSS, whom he claimed ambushed the attackers. Akinpelu however, called on the government to provide adequate security to his union to forestall breakdown of law and order. Meanwhile, a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi said, the police rescued five injured persons who were rushed to hospital for treatment. In the statement, Adejobi said that the Commissioner of Police, Ikhemefuna Okoye, had warned all warring factions to maintain law and order, as the command would not tolerate any act of violence. Okoye, who allayed fears on security in the state, further assured that the command would thoroughly investigate the clash and bring anyone culpable to face wrath of the law. When contacted, the General Manager of Ogun Parks and Garage Development Board, PAGADEB, Alhaji Ayo Ogunsolu, absorbed the government of any involvement in the fracas, even as he advised the factions to settle their differences amicably, warning that government would bring anyone disturbing the peace in the state to face the law.


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Tukur charges S’West PDP to wrest power from ACN CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

“Yoruba Nation: The last road to victory”, he charged the leaders not to shy away from airing their challenges. He said: “Let everybody speak up now or forever

hold his peace. Let us ventilate all the identifiable ills that are mitigating against the progress of our people. “Nothing should be hidden. There are no go areas. Nothing is sacrosanct. Every embittered voice must be heard. Every aggrieved

must present his own case so that there will not be any lingering hostility or doubt in any camp.” Though former President OlusegunObasanjo was absent but among the dignitaries that were present include George, Prof. TundeAdeniran, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, Oyedokun, Senator Clement Awoyelu, Senator Bode Olajumoke, Chief YekeenAdeojo, Chief Richard

Akinjide and Prince OlagunsoyeOyinlola Others include Chief TajudeenOladipo, Chief Fadahunsi, Chief OgundokunAbiola, Sen. AkinlabiOlasunkamni, Hon. AlabaOjomo, Otumba Johnson Fasawe, Dr. OlusegunAgagu, OtunbaGbenga Daniel among others. Meanwhile, the Presidency yesterday accused Yoruba leaders in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,

and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, for not getting high political appointments in the President Goodluck Jonathan administration. Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja before the commencement of South-West PDP meeting, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. DoyinOkupe, said: “The issue of marginalisation of the

South-West was a political misadventure and political conspiracy brought about by the Yoruba themselves. “If you will recollect, the Yoruba was supposed to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which is the number four position. Due to political mishandling of the leadership of the Yoruba and also the sabotage of the Yoruba people by Yoruba leadership elsewhere.


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World News

Pope hit head during Mexico trip –Vatican

“The longer the conflict continues, the greater this danger will become, a point that should not be lost on policymakers in Russia and elsewhere”

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–British Foreign Secretary, William Hague

ECOWAS seeks quick restoration of order in Guinea-Bissau

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he President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has urged all stakeholders to play their part towards a speedy restoration of constitutional order and democracy in Guinea-Bissau. Receiving a delegation of Guinea-Bissau Ministers and the Commander of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB), Col. Gnibanga Barro, at the Commission, the President called for the urgent implementation of the roadmap for political transition including the holding of free and fair, transparent and credible elections in the country. He also underscored the need to fast-track the completion of the ECOWAS-supported defence and security sector reform in the country, adding that the ECOWAS and other partners, including the Africa Union, the EU, the UN and CPLP, Community of Portuguese Language Speaking Countries, were solidly behind efforts to end the crisis in Guinea-Bissau ECOWAS and the four organizations are expected to send a joint mission to the country this month to review the situation on the ground. Ouédraogo told the visiting delegation led by Guinea-Bissau’s

Tunisia’s premier to field new govt or resign

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unisia’s prime minister will continue to oppose his own political party and seek to form a government of technocrats by Saturday to solve the country’s crisis or resign, he announced yesterday. Hamadi Jebali said he will hold talks with representatives of all political parties on Friday to see if there is sufficient support for his solution to end the crisis exacerbated by a political assassination last week. He will announce the results of the meeting the following day. Jebali’s initiative, while supported by the opposition, puts him on a collision course with the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party, which dominates the government and insists on sticking with a cabinet of political figures.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Honourable Faustino Fudut Imbali that the 42nd Ordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government taking place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire 27-28 February 2013, is expected to discuss the report of the joint mission to help chart a way forward in Guinea-Bissau. The Minister thanked ECOWAS and the other partners for their continued support and pledged that the national transitional government, civil society organizations and other stakeholders

would play their role to ensure the return of democracy and constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau. ECOMIB was deployed in Guinea-Bissau in March 2012 under a Mission Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the roadmap for the country’s defence and security sector reform programme, signed between the country and ECOWAS, when President Ouédraogo visited there in November 2012. With over 600 soldiers and police officers from Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Senegal, ECOMIB is charged with securing Guinea-Bis-

sau’s transitional arrangements, with the replacement of 600 Angolan soldiers deployed in March 2011, pursuant to an agreement between Angola and Guinea-Bissau. The initial six-month mandate of the Mission, which expired on 17 November 2012, has been extended by a further six months. Also on Minister Imbali’s delegation to the ECOWAS Commission were his counterpart in charge of National Defence and Combatants for National Liberation, Brig.-Gen. Pilav Celestino de Carvalho, as well as the ECOWAS Special Representative to Guinea-Bissau Ansumane Ceesay and Alexandre Batista, Military Adviser in the Office of the Special Representative.

WORLD BULLETIN Minister defends hiring Egyptian president’s son Egypt’s aviation minister says the hiring of President Mohammed Morsi’s son to a highly-paid government job was justified, dismissing accusations of nepotism. Wael el-Maadawi told the state MENA news agency that Omar Morsi went through regular procedures before he was hired by the state holding company for airports and aviation. An airport official familiar with the appointment said yesterday that Omar, one of the president’s five children and a recent university graduate, got the internallyadvertised job in a department that usually hires with a starting monthly salary of $5,000. Such a figure is unheard of for new graduates in Egypt, where the starting salary for a government job can be as low as $75. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to the media.

Zimbabwe sets referendum for March 16

ECOWAS team meeting on the conflicts in Mali, Guinea Bissau last year.

Ivorian sets himself ablaze at Rome airport

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n Ivorian man about to be deported from Italy has set himself alight at Fiumicino airport in the capital, Rome, Italian media has reported. A customs official extinguished the flames, but the young man is believed to be badly burnt.

The airport said the man had not passed through security and was in the main international departure terminal at the time, AP news agency reports. Many migrants enter Italy, illegally crossing the Mediterranean from Africa. The incident happened at about 10:30 local time (09:30 GMT).

Italian police pushing back immigrants from Tunisia as they wait at the port for food in Lampedusa. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The man from Ivory Coast reportedly hid the fuel in his suitcase. According to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, a police officer noticed the man had covered himself with the liquid and had a light in his hand. He ran towards the man but was unable to stop him. A nearby customs official, Tiziana Garner, told the Corriere della Serra newspaper that she spotted that the officer’s arm was on fire and helped him remove his top. She then realised the Ivorian man, believed to be aged 19, was on fire and used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, the paper reports. The man and the officer have been taken to hospital and the area of the airport where the fire happened has re-opened to the public, AFP news agency says.

Zimbabwe’s constitutional affairs minister says a referendum on a new constitution has been “tentatively” set for March 16 to be followed by fresh elections later in the year to end the nation’s shaky coalition government. State radio reported Thursday that Eric Matinenga, an aide of former opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said President Robert Mugabe is expected to officially proclaim the date in a government notice on Friday. Voting is scheduled for one day, a departure from the routine two days of polling, state radio said. Matinenga called for the suspension of sweeping security laws in the run-up to vote on the constitution. Under those laws, police clearance is required for political gatherings. Advocacy groups say such a hasty poll prevents adequate voter education on the rewritten constitution. The draft constitution was completed on Feb. 6 after three years of disputes, bickering and delays. Democratic reforms to the constitution were a key demand of regional mediators after violent and disputed elections in 2008. Crisis in Zimbabwe, an alliance of rights and democracy activists, said Thursday the proposed date left far too little time to complete countrywide distribution of the draft and permit voters to become familiar with it, raising fears over the credibility of a rushed vote. All the country’s political leaders have called for a ‘Yes’ vote to allow the constitution to be accepted and signed into law by Mugabe without any further changes. An estimated $200 million has still to be found to pay for the constitutional referendum and the parliamentary and presidential elections, possibly three months later.


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World News

WORLD BULLETIN

Iraqi top judge removed over ties to Saddam’s party The Iraqi panel tasked with purging government ranks of former members of Saddam Hussein’s party said on Thursday that it has removed the country’s top judge from his post because of alleged ties to the now-dissolved Baath party. The removal of Chief judge Medhat al-Mahmoud from the leadership of the Supreme Judicial Council and the Supreme Federal Court was not expected to spark a political outcry, unlike some previous dismissals of politicians and government officials. The deputy chief of the country’s Justice and Accountability Committee, Bakhtiar Omar al-Qadhi, said the decision taken Wednesday was based on “strong evidence” supplied by parliament. “We received an official document from the parliament showing that he was one of the former regime’s henchmen,” al-Qadhi told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

NGOs mustn’t meddle in Russia’s affairs –Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday warned foreignfunded non-government organizations against meddling in the country’s affairs. Putin also angrily lashed out at recent U.S. criticism of the Russian-led post-Soviet alliances. Speaking at a meeting with top officials of the main KGB successor agency, Putin mentioned what he described as “recent nervous statements about integration processes in the former Soviet lands.” While Putin didn’t name any names, he appeared to refer to a statement by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said in December, while still in the job, that Russian-led regional alliances represent an attempt to restore the Soviet empire. Putin has described the existing economic and security groupings of ex-Soviet nations as precursors to a stronger Eurasian Union, which he pledged to form by 2015.

Iran mourns slain senior military commander Prominent Iranian politicians and clerics led mourners at a funeral yesterday for a senior commander of the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guards who was killed this week while travelling from Syria to Lebanon, local media said. The semi-official Fars news agency identified the slain commander as Gen. Hassan Shateri, and said he was in charge of reconstruction projects in southern Lebanon. He was killed on the road linking Damascus with Beirut on Wednesday, it said. The exact details surrounding Shateri’s death — such as where he was killed and who killed him — were still murky two days later. Fars did not specify whether the slaying took place on the Lebanese or Syrian side of the border, although an Iranian official in Damascus said Shateri was killed inside Syria. Guards spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif was quoted by Fars as saying “mercenaries and supporters” of Israel were responsible.

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Pope hit head during Mexico trip –Vatican P ope Benedict XVI hit his head during his March 2012 trip to Mexico, The Vatican said yesterday, but denied the accident had any “relevant” role in his resignation. It was the latest revelation of a hidden health issue to emerge from the Holy See since the pope’s shock announcement, and adds to questions about the gravity of the pontiff ’s condition. On Tuesday, the Vatican said for the first time that Benedict has a pacemaker, and that he had its batteries replaced just three months ago. Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported Thursday that Benedict hit his head and bled when he got up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar bedroom in Leon, Mexico. The report said blood stained his hair and sheets. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed the incident but said “it was not relevant for the trip, in that it didn’t affect it, nor in the decision” to resign. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported earlier in the week that Benedict had taken the decision to resign after the Mexico-Cuba trip, which was physically exhausting for the 85-year-old pope. Earlier yesterday, Benedict held a 45-minute, off-the-cuff reminiscence about the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s, blaming the media for

what he called the media’s distorted interpretation of the church meetings at the time for many “calamities” that plague the Catholic Church today. It was the second day in a row that Benedict has sent very pointed messages to his successor and the cardinals who will elect him about the direction the church must take once he is no longer pope. While his farewell remarks on Wednesday were in many ways bittersweet, Benedict was more combative yesterday as he addressed an audience hall full of thousands of priests. Benedict was a young theological expert at Vatican II, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the Catholic Church into the modern world with important documents on the church’s relations with other religions, its place in the world and the liturgy. Benedict has spent much of his eight-year pontificate seeking to correct what he considers the misinterpretation of Vatican II, insisting that it wasn’t a revolutionary break from the past, as liberal Catholics paint it, but a renewal and reawakening of the best traditions of the ancient church. He nailed that point home yesterday, blaming botched media reporting of the council’s deliberations for having reduced the work to “political power struggles between various currents in the church.”

Pope Benedict XVI greeting the faithful at the end of the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, on Wednesday. PHOTO: AP

Because the media’s interpretation was dominant and “accessible to all,” it fuelled the popular understanding of what the council was all about, he said. That led in the years that followed to “so many calamities, so many problems, really so many miseries: Seminaries that closed, convents that closed, the liturgy that was banalized.” In what will be one of his final public remarks as pope, Benedict said he hoped the “true council” will one day be understood. “Our job in this ‘Year of Faith’ is to work so that the true council, with the strength of the Holy

Valentine’s Day under attack in Pakistan

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onservatives in Pakistan tacked up posters urging people to boycott Valentine’s Day yesterday, saying it’s a western-inspired event that’s spreading vulgarity in their country. Romantics fought back with an arsenal of flowers, pink teddy bears and heart-shaped balloons. “Here in this part of Pakistan we are faced with bomb blasts, and we don’t have much opportunity to enjoy and celebrate so to me it is one of those few occasions to celebrate,” said Taimur Hassan, a 29-year-old man working in the north-western city of Peshawar. He was out buying a gift

for his girlfriend, and looking for something different than a stuffed bear he got her last year. That’s exactly the type of behavior many of Pakistan’s conservatives are worried about. For them, Valentine’s Day is nothing but an occasion to encourage illicit relations between the country’s young — unmarried — males and females. It’s a sign that Western culture and values are eating away the fabric of Pakistan’s traditional, Islamic society. Valentine’s Day, they say, is not a Pakistani holiday and not part of the culture here. In the southern city of Karachi, billboards implored people to “Say no to Valentine’s Day.”

University students affiliated with Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e-Islami rally against Valentine’s Day, holding a banner reading “spread the culture of PHOTO: AP modesty,” yesterday in Peshawar.

The “no” was encapsulated in a black heart, and the sign said the holiday reflects insensitivity and ignorance of Islam. Tanzeem-e-Islami, the organization that put up the billboards, called on the interior ministry to suspend cell phone service on the holiday that celebrates love. Group spokesman Muhammad Samee said many young people use mobile phones to send Valentine’s Day greetings and suspending the service for the day would save people from “moral terrorism.” Attitudes toward Valentine’s Day, named after a Christian saint said to have been martyred by the Romans in the 3rd Century, vary across the Arab world, with some devout Muslims opposing the holiday as a Western celebration of romantic love that corrupts Muslim youth. Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a hardline Pakistani cleric, warned that young people who celebrate Valentine’s Day will be celebrating children’s births in November. “In Islam, there is a concept of respecting and loving mother, sister, wife and daughter for 365 days a year,” said Ahmed, who thinks the holiday breeds vulgarity across the country.

Spirit, is truly realized and that the church is truly renovated.” Just hours earlier, Benedict delivered another pointed message during an emotional Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, his last public liturgy before he resigns as pope Feb. 28. In his homily, Benedict lamented the internal church rivalries that he said had “defiled the face of the church” — a not-too-subtle message to his successor and the cardinals who will elect him. Those rivalries came to the fore last year with the leaks of internal papal documents by the pope’s own butler.

Chavez undergoes alternative treatments

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enezuelan President Hugo Chavez is undergoing “complex” alternative treatments more than two months after having cancer surgery in Cuba, the country’s vice president has said. Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday did not give details of the alternative treatments the president was receiving. “Today our commander is undergoing alternative treatments. They are complex and difficult treatments that must, at some point, end the cycle of his illness,” Maduro said in comments on state TV. Chavez has never said what type of cancer he is suffering from, and critics accuse the government of excessive secrecy over his condition. The 58-year-old socialist leader has not been seen in public since he went to Havana for the operation on December 11, his fourth surgery for cancer in 18 months. The government, which rejects allegations it has not been transparent about Chavez’s health, says he has completed a difficult post-operative period and has started a “new phase” of his recuperation. It has not given details of this new phase.


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Transition

Fatai Agbabiaka

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Lady Celina Muo

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he death has been announced of Prince (Barrister) Fatai Adeyemi Obalola Agbabiaka, who died in India on February 3, 2013 after a brief illness at the age of 56 years. Agbabiaka was born into the royal family of Sunminu Agbabiaka on July 21, 1956. The young prince had his primary education at Ansar Ud Deen Primary School and Ansar Ud Deen College, both in Isolo in Isolo Local Council Development Area (LCDA). An alumnus of the prestigious University of Lagos, he graduated in Economics before obtaining another degree in Law and was subsequently called to the Bar. He worked at the Lagos State Ministry of Finance and later Ministry of Education before he finally moved to NIMASA, where he retired to fully establish his legal practice when he founded the law firm of Fatai Agbabiaka and Co. Agbabiaka joined politics in 2006 and won the ticket to contest for the Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency seat under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2007 general elections. He also vied for the same constituency seat in 2011. A consummate administrator and philanthropist, Agbabiaka, who has since been buried on February 5, 2012 is survived by a wife and six children.

he Ezeamaluchi Muo family of Ihuowelle Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area of anambra State; has announced the death of their Matriarch, Lady Celina Muo, aka Erico. Lady Muo was born on March 7, 1935 to late Mr and Mrs Gabriel Umeweni, also of Igbo-Ukwu and completed her primary school education at the Catholic Primary School Igbo-Ukwu, an enviable attainment in the village of those days. She later got married to late Sir Ezeamaluchi W.O Muo, a distinguished educationist and Headmaster Special Class, in 1952. Lady Celina Muo was a devout Catholic who combined entrepreneurship with managing the home-front while the husband pursed his career as was the norm in those days. She was also a religious and community leader, playing leadership roles in various Catholic organizations, and the Umuada (daughters) and Iynomona (wives) associations. She stood for the truth and justice, fought for the oppressed and spoke truth to power in her local community. She is survived by nine children and other relations including Professor M.C Muo of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Ik Muo of Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye and Ebelle Umeweni, an Aba based business-

Peter Adamu Adaji

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he patriarch of Adaji family of Ikanekpo, Ankpa District of Ankpa Local government Area of Kogi State; Knight Peter Adamu Adaji has died at the age of 87

years. Sir Peter Adaji, who joined the Honoured Order of the knights of Saint Mulumba rose to the position of fourth degree knight before passing on to eternity. Late Sir Peter, has since been interred at Ikanekpo, Kogi State. Baba Adamu who retired in 1984 after a successful service in the teaching profession as a special headmaster, is survived by wife, Rosaline Egbunu Adaji and six children. He was equally blessed with several grandchildren, amongst who are Knight Martin Adaji of the National Troupe of Nigeria and the DG Kogi State liaison office Kaduna, Mr. Raphael Adaji.

Nkechinyere Onwuchekwa

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kechinyere Onwuchekwa passed on peacefully at Cornell Health Services Hospital in Surulere, on at age of 84 years. She was the second daughter of the late Mazi William Chikezie Onwuchekwa. She began her education at Methodist Primary School in Ozuakoli from where she graduated top of her class, to continue her education at Elelewan Girls Secondary School, Elelewan as one of its pioneer students. She had to transfer to CMS Grammar School on Broad Street in Lagos to finish her secondary school education because there were no 5th and 6th forms at the school in Elelewan. She again graduated with distinction in her Cambridge examinations, and was thereafter admitted into School of Pharmacy in Lagos where she graduated with a licentiate in Pharmacy in 1953.

Irawo Adamolekun

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r. Irawo Adamolekun was shot dead on Friday January 11, 2013 at Anthony Village end of Ikorodu Lagos by an unknown gunman. The 27-year-old doctor was killed in his car, in broad day on his way back from work. He has since been buried after a funeral service at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. He is survived by his parents and a sister.

man. She will be buried in Igboukwu, Anambra State, on Friday February 22, 2013.

She then began her life-long career as a pharmacist in the Nigerian Civil Service, first with the Federal Government of Nigeria and later with the Lagos State Government, after its creation, retiring as the Acting Chief Pharmacist of Lagos State in 1981. Her retirement years were occupied managing her hotels Vion Hotel and Midtown Hotel, both in Olodi Apapa, until 2006 when she settled into a quiet life of being a loving mother to all. Service of Songs was held for Nkechinyere at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos while funeral service was conducted at the same venue by Venerable S. Igein Isemede, Vicar and Archdeacon of Ikoyi, followed by interment at the Atan Cemetery on University of Lagos Road in Yaba.

David Idah

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he Keffi Old Boys Association (KOBA) set 22 (1970-1974) has expressed sadness over the demise of the former principal of Government College, Keffi, Mr. Mr. David Onilokwu Idah who passed on at the age of 82. Mr. Idah was the first Nigerian Principal of the famous college, Keffi between 1973 to 1975. The KOBA set 22 who under tutelage of the late Idah who was the principal of the college at that time, said in a statement in Kaduna, that members of the set were devastated with the news of the death of their

mentor and father. According to the statement signed by the chairman of the set, Dr. Godwin O. Obute, the late Idah contributed immensely to the upbringing of the members of the Set 22 during their formative years in the college. “As young students in our formative stages of life, he played a very crucial role in our progress of excellence. We still hold our heads high and are, indeed, proud of him for being the very first Nigerian to become the principal of our esteem Alma mata, Government College, Keffi.


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- SPANISH TENNIS STAR, RAFAEL NADAL

Wheelchair players decry NISports strike

Delta to build house for Keshi –Uduaghan EVEREST ONYEWUCHI

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…As Eagles’ backroom staff tackles coach

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uper Eagles’ backroom staff are disappointed that Coach Stephen Keshi has not fought for them after they missed out on the Federal Government’s largesse on Tuesday. Keshi, his assistant coaches and players were rewarded by President Goodluck Jonathan with national honours, plots of land in Abuja and monetary gifts for winning the 2013 AFCON. But the backroom staff like equipment manager, security, medical and media staff attached to the team were only given N2million each. One of the backroom staff told MTNFootball.com, “We worked hard for this team, but when it came to reaping the reward of our hard work, we were virtually left out. Keshi has still not deemed it fit to make it known to the Presidency that he did not win this trophy only with his coaches and players, but some of us who had to work round the clock to ensure everything was in place for the team.” Another backroom staff added, “If anybody could convince the President to consider us, that person would be Keshi because he now has direct access to President Jonathan.”

Sport

It’s really nice to be bac back with the Chile tournam tournament. But let me w hasten to add that I won’t rush things

Sodje’s stolen SUV recovered

he Delta State Government will build a befitting house for Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi. The state has also allocated a plot of land in Asaba, the state capital to the victorious coach. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan announced these in his office yesterday when the Super Eagles paid him a courtesy call in Asaba before being hosted to a Valentine reception last night. The governor said it is important for the youths to have mentors to enable them channel their talent positively and charged sport heroes to give back to the society through the mentoring programme. According to Uduaghan, “The state government is working out a programme to ensure that our sporting heroes help mentor our younger ones to become great sportsmen. Sport is one of the key points in the actualisation of the Delta beyond oil policy and the state will continue to support sports to enable the youths utilise their skills.” While congratulating the Eagles for winning the AFCON 2013 championship, Uduaghan commended Keshi for his resilience and patience in giving his best even when people doubted the ability of the team to deliver. He promised the state government’s continuous support for the Eagles and prayed that the team would continue to excel in all their future competitions. Responding, Keshi expressed his gratitude to Nigerians for their support throughout the competition and promised that his team would continue to improve and ensure that Nigeria takes its pride of place in African football map.

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FIFA ranking: AFCON glory shoots Nigeria up Sunday Mba of Nigeria (L) battling for the ball with Djakaridja Kone of Burkina Faso in the final match.

SAYO OGUNDEJI

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uper Eagles’ victory in the justconcluded 29th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has shot Nigeria up to the 30th position in the latest ranking released by world soccer governing body, FIFA. In the February ranking released yesterday, Nigeria gained 22 places, left her previous 52nd pre-AFCON spot to land at 30th. Surprisingly, pre-tournament favourites, Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire and Black Stars of Ghana, who crashed out in the quarter-finals and in the classification game respectively, are still ahead of the Super Eagles. Also, the Malian Eagles, who lost 4-1 to Nigeria in the semi-finals, retain No.25

in the ranking. By the ranking, Cote d’Ivoire, who lost to Nigeria 2-1, at the quarter-finals stage, retains the premier position in Africa, followed by Ghana, Mali and Nigeria in fourth place. In a press release sent to National Mirror yesterday, FIFA said, “The February edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking is dominated by the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. By claiming their third title, Nigeria (30th, up 22) have not only ended a 19-year drought since they last won the tournament, but have also climbed 22 places to 30th – their best ranking since August 2010.” Meanwhile, World champions, Spain, continue to reign supreme as they maintain number one position on the log ahead of Germany (2nd), Argentina (3rd), and England (4th).

wheelchair basketball coach, Augustine Chima, and players preparing for the 2nd Victor Ochei International Open Championships say the strike by workers of the National Institute for Sports (NISports) have stalled their training. The competition will hold between February 18 and February 28 in Lagos, with three West African countries, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic, expected to participate. They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos that since the workers started the industrial action two weeks ago, the institute’s facility they used was locked. Head Coach, Benue State Wheelchair Basketball Association (BSWBA), Chima, said the strike had denied them training at the NISports court. Chima said they were having difficulties training since they had no place to train. “Since the strike, we have not been able to carry out any good training session, even our trials have not been conducted up till now,” he said. The coach said the situation had negatively affected his athletes who, he noted, had lost form for the championships. A player, Kester Benjamin, said they were asked to go to the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Yaba, but they find it difficult moving to the place because of their physical challenges. “Our conditions have made it difficult for us to be able to go to Yaba for training. To transport oneself to that place from our base at the National Stadium is a near impossible task,” he said.

No going back on foreign coach, says NFF

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he Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said yesterday in Abuja that there was no going back on its plan to hire a foreign technical director for the national teams. A board member and Chairman of NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Emeka Inyama, said there had not been any rebuttal to the arrangement

since Musa Amadu, the General Secretary of the NFF, disclosed the plan in 2012. Inyama, who was fielding questions from journalists at a news conference, said the idea was to have a template for football development in the country. “There has not been any rebuttal since the general secretary said so; so, we are

going ahead with the plan. What we have always said is that there is a need for us to develop a structure and a template for football development in this country. “That is the beauty of a technical director. He doesn’t coach the teams but he will be able to say this is the mode of scouting, equipment and so on,” Inyama said.

On Keshi’s resignation saga, Inyama explained that his job as the Super Eagles’ Head Coach was intact. Belgian Tom Saintfeit was last year hired by the NFF on $20,000 monthly salary, but the Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, refused to approve his appointment, saying there are Nigerians capable of holding the post.


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Friday, February 15, 2013

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with IIKENWA NNABUOGOR ikenwa.nnabuogor@gmail.com

Sodje’s stolen SUV recovered

Nwankwo eyes goals at new club

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he British Police have recovered the stolen vehicle of Portsmouth new signing Sam Sodje just few days after his black Audi Q7 SUV was whisked away from his garage while on an away game at Bournemouth by suspected robbers believed to be Russians, National Mirror can exclusively report. Sodje, who recently transferred to Pompey following his successful knee injury, told National Mirror that he was glad to have his SUV back though without his valuables, including 7, 000 pound worth of gold wrist watch, some cash and his daughter’s ipad. The four Russians including a lady broke into his London home while on the pitch at Bournemouth, vandalised the SUV and heading to the Dover sea port to ship it to an unknown destination. “Luck ran out on the robbers when they stopped at the Filling Station to refill the tank with fuel not knowing my vehicle was using diesel,” Sam narrated. “It was so funny that the fools didn’t know the vehicle did not use fuel forcing the SUV to stop along the motorway. “They were simply rounded up by the Police and they were taken to the Police Station for questioning. My SUV had to be removed to the Police Station but I got it back in my garage after few days. “The thieves messed up the engine but I have taken it to the car company for fixing. I’m so happy I have recovered my SUV. “They are still in the police net and I’m not really bothered about them but I think they will be charged to the court.” Meanwhile, Sodje has begun to start games for the embattled Pompey side that are languishing at the foot of the League One log since he signed the short term contract in January. Sodje began with a place in the bench but had a good game as a sub after two games before grabbing the starter’s shirt in the subsequent games. He was in terrific form in Pompey’s goalless draw at Hartlepool United on Tuesday to continue his slow and steady ready to full fitness

Sam Sodje

Sunday Mba

Norwegian side rue not signing Mba

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orwegian top division side Haugesund have regretted their decision not to sign Nigerian offensive player Sunday Mba some years back. The Warri Wolves star tested with the Norwegian club way back in November 2007, National Mirror has gathered from sources in Norway. Mba, then a teenager, trained with FK Haugesund, and despite scoring a hat-trick in the 8-2 win over Kopervik, he was not offered a contract. Nils Halvor Berge, who was the sporting administrative manager of Haugesund, was not convinced with the performance of the AFCON champion and the other players on trial and turned them back without contracts. National Mirror learnt that the top hierarchy at the club was livid with anger not signing the talented Jos-born player following his superlative performance at just-concluded AFCON in South Africa. The Enyimba star shone brightly and capped his outstanding showing by nicking the only goal in the final against Burkina Faso that won the title for his country for the first time in 19 years. ‘’We want something extraordinary, but the only thing that has been extraordinary with sample players, is how bad they’ve been,’’ Berge told h-avis. no in 2007. In a recent interview with

Norwegian newspaper VG Nett, Nils Halvor Berge regretted those statements credited to him. ‘’I see that the Haugesund Avis writes it and I cannot remember having said so. If I’ve said it, was the flippant comment I never should have come with. If true then it is a stupid statement. ‘’The assessments were made then was that no one could excel except Mba. It is obvious that we failed to see the potential that lay in the boy at the time,’’ says Berge to vg.no. Obinna Allen, Obinna Okafor, Timothy Anjembe and Kabiru Alausa had traveled with Mba to Norway but they all went home empty-handed without signing contracts. Norwegian - Nigerian agent Atta Aneke facilitated the trials for the five players.

urkey-based Nigerian striker Kingsley Nwankwo says his eyeing a good return of goals for his new club Denizlispor. The Enugu-born striker joined the former Super League side last January after his brief stint at fellow first division side Boluspor. Nwankwo, who will be spending the next four months out of the six-month loan deal he signed at his new club, said he was targeting to score eight goals at the end of the season and help his embattled new club stay up on the log. Nwankwo faced his Nigerian team mate at Boluspor, Akeem Agbetu, who has also moved on to his first Turkish side, Tavsanlı Linyitspor, in the league tie on Sunday which ended 1-0 in favour of Agbetu’s team. It was a very important game for Nwankwo who had looked forward to settle some scores and it didn’t just happen for him. “It was a very painful game for me personally because I had targets which

didn’t happen. We had our chances but we blew it,” he recalls. “They took the only chance they got and put the ball in the net. But I’m looking forward to the subsequent games, though; I wouldn’t be playing in the next league game because of suspension from four yellow cards.” Nwankwo says he’s targeting to score eight goals at the end of the season and hope his team will win most of their remaining games to improve their standing on the log. He says he’s happy to be playing full 90 minutes for his new club and he hopes to continue doing well to attract the attention of top clubs. “Denizlispor belong to the Super League and I want to contribute my quota to bring them back to where they rightfully belong. “I’m happy I’m back to playing 90 minutes week in, week out and I want to continue this and smile at the end of the season.”

Kingsley Nwankwo

Eneramo scores in Turkey, thinks Nigeria

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ivasspor of Turkey striker Michael Eneramo has declared in clear terms that his rich vein of goals in the Turkish top flight should earn him an instant recall to the national team. The former Esperance striker told National Mirror that he had been in impressive goal scoring form to deserve a place in the Super Eagles. Eneramo netted two goals in their famous 2-1 away win at Fenerbache two weeks ago despite playing the game with

injury, to take his season’s haul to seven goals. Eneramo has scored a total of 11 goals this season to underline his propensity in front of goal since the big striker arrived in Turkey in January 2011. He’s currently the club’s leading scorer having also top-scored last season with 15 goals. “I can’t just believe that with my consistency in front of goal over the years that I’m not in the national team,” Eneramo wondered. “But I will not make any

noise about it because I know what I’m worth and I will continue doing well no matter what happens. “I played under Coach Shuaibu Amodu when I was at Esperance and I think I did well. I was on the verge of picking up Tunisian citizenship to play for Tunisia when Amodu moved quickly to get me. “But it’s really a pity I’m not in the team now. But I’m still waiting and hoping because I sacrificed Tunisia to play for Nigeria.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Friday, February 15, 2013

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‘Blade Runner’ charged with girlfriend’s murder

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outh African police have charged Olympic star Oscar Pistorius with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot in the sprinter’s home early yesterday. He will appear in court today. Pistorius, 26, kept weapons at his luxury South African home as a means of protection against his country’s soaring crime rate, according to reports. The 400 metre runner, the first man to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics, is believed to have used part of his weapons collection to tragically gun down Steenkamp. Early reports had the alleged incident being reported as an accident, but police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes, said that the information did not come from police and that “it would be very premature and very irresponsible of me to say what actually has happened.” “There have been allegations but we are not sure,” Beukes said. According to those initial reports, Pistorius mistook the 30-year-old television per-

sonality and model, for an intruder as she entered his residence at 3 a.m. and allegedly shot her four times in the arms and head. According to the reports, police said there had “previously been incidents and allegations of a domestic nature at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius.” Pistorius’ close ally, Jonathan McEvoy, however said the athlete held serious concerns for his personal safety, given South Africa’s appalling record of violence. The Blade Runner, who remained in custody yesterday, was said to be distraught after the girl friend’s body was removed from the home at around 8 a.m. Pistorius reached the semifinals of the 400m and the final of the 4x400m relay at the London Olympics, before later adding his fifth and sixth Paralympic golds. He has also earned well from appearance fees and endorsements during his athletic career, aside coming from a privileged background. Steenkamp and Pistorius are understood to have met in November and embarked upon a whirlwind romance.

The Blade Runner setting to take off on the track

…Shock, disbelief trail killing

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eports that Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius shot dead his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, have shocked fans, leading to an outpouring of grief for the victim. That Steenkamp was killed on Valentine’s Day added poignancy to the news. Just the day before, she had gone on Twitter to write: “It should be a day of love for everyone!” “The news stunned South Africa also because Pistorius belongs to sporting royalty,” South African broadcaster, Daniel Silke, said yesterday, adding the athlete’s life story was known to all. “He is of course someone who has overcome great difficulty and tragedy in his own personal life,” Silke further said. “His exposure through the Olympic Games, being able to run in the Olympicsnot just in the Paralympics-has placed him amongst the sporting royalty in South Africa, and indeed globally.” Sporting bodies, such as the International Paralympics Committee, did not make any comment beyond expressing sympathy for those affected by the incident. “What an awful tragedy,” Olympic heptathlon champion, Jessica Ennis, reacted. Katharine Merry, who won bronze at 400m at the Sydney Olympics, tweeted: “One of the nicest guys and a true gentleman. What could have gone wrong?” Later she added: “Still lying in bed staring at the ceiling...” Police later said they were “surprised” by such a theory and were not the source for it. Paolo Urbani, the mayor of the Italian town of Gemona where Pistorius had a training base described him as “a delightful person”. “The news shocked not only me personally but also the whole of Gemona and the region,’’ Urbani said. His former coach in Italy, Andrea Gianni-

ni, said he hopes this turns out to be “just a tragic accident.” Miss Steenkamp’s family members were devastated by news of her death, an unnamed person described as a close friend of the family said. The 29-year-old model was set to star in South African reality television series Tropika Island Of Treasure. “SA Model, Cover Girl, Tropika Island of Treasure Celeb Contestant, Law Graduate, Child of God,” was how she had described herself on Twitter. In a tribute on its website, Tropika said: “We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends.” The dead woman’s publicist, Sarit Tomlinson, described her as sweet, kind and an absolute angel. “She had big dreams, she had big aspirations but her biggest asset was her heart! She was loved by so many and made her mark in the lives of those she treasured,” Tomlinson said. “Her passing is devastating and tragic. My heart aches for her family as they come to terms with this tragedy.” Meanwhile, the killing has also sparked discussions about the levels of crime in South Africa. “Many South Africans live in fear of violent crime, there’s a high crime rate in the country and South Africans are often on edge in their home, particularly in the early hours of the morning when they hear noise,” an unnamed resident said yesterday. “This has occurred in an atmosphere in South Africa in which crime again is at the forefront of the public debate, personal safety is again at the forefront of everybody’s concerns.” In 2004, Springbok rugby player Rudi Visagie shot dead his 19-year-old daughter Marle after mistaking her for a robber trying to steal his car in the middle of the night.

Pistorius (r) with his late girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp when the going was good

‘The fastest man on no legs’

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scar Pistorius was born 26 years ago into a prominent family in Pretoria without fibulas, the outer of the bones that run between the knee and the ankle. His parents, Sheila and Henke, grappled with information, complied with doctors’ advice, and at 11 months, his legs were amputated below the knee. “It was a hugely emotional decision,” Dr. Gerry Versfeld, the orthopaedic surgeon who performed the operation, said. “It is easier now to convince somebody the right way to go is amputation because Oscar Pistorius is an icon you can point to and say, ‘Look, this is possible’.” Much of his success is attributed to the fact he was always treated as a ‘normal little boy’. By the time he arrived at Constantina Kloof Primary School aged five, Pistorius had been walking on his rigid glass fibre prosthetic legs for almost four years. Usually he ran. One of Pistorius’s first memories is hurtling down a hill on a go-kart with his brother, Carl, who then decided to use one of Oscar’s prostheses as an impromptu brake to stop them crashing. “My brother was like my hero when I was growing up,” Pistorius said.

Oscar Pistorius blazing the track at the London Olympics 2012

“He’s a year and a bit older. We’re still very close. We stayed on a plot that was near an informal settlement, like a township, and we used to go and play football with the kids there and we used to have so much fun. “We would build tree houses in the holiday and we had motorbikes on a track in our garden. It’s nice to have someone who pushes you to do things. You’re always trying to compete with him.” Oscar was in high school when he showed up at Jannie Brooks’s garage gym in Pretoria, South Africa, with a group of friends looking to get fitter. He boxed, skipped and did press-ups until he threw up. It was six months before Brooks realised he had no legs. “He was just one of the bunch, doing everything at the same pace as everybody else. Between the classroom and the fields there were two sets of stairs,” Tessa Shellard, who taught Pistorius mathematics and PE,” said. “I used to cringe because he would always run down. I closed my eyes waiting for him to fall. But he never did,” he said. “His legs would chafe and give him enormous blisters on his stumps but he did rugby, cricket, football and absolutely everything else. He wasn’t quick at all because of his heavy legs but in inter-house athletics, Oscar would do the sprints every year knowing full well he would come last.”


WORLD RECORD

Longest dance party Vol. 03 No. 558

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The record for the longest dance party was achieved by Unique Events Limited (Ireland) and began on 27 October 2006 at 12:00 with 40 dancers, 31 of which completed the marathon after 55 hours, at the Quay Front, Wexford, Ireland, on 29 October 2006.

N150

Friday, February 15, 2013

FRSC at 25: The journey so far

n less than 48hours, glasses will clink, drums will roll, as the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) celebrates 25 years of its existence as the lead traffic management agency in Nigeria. Leading the toast will be the man who midwifed the Corps, former military President Ibrahim Babangida. He is to be strongly supported by the C-in-C, President Goodluck Jonathan with Professor Wole Soyinka, pioneer chairman of the FRSC Governing Council, complementing. From across the globe, renowned specialists in traffic management will be there to celebrate an agency that the World Bank says is the model for Africa. Now, for the past 17 years of its existence, I have been an insider, a paid

...EVEN IF THE TEAM HAD LOST?

Guest Columnist

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Agwu

worker or what is generally known as a regular marshal. I have been privy to the intricacies, challenges, constraints, hiccups and triumphs of staying relevant in a constantly changing traffic environment. Twenty-five years after its existence, there is need to take stock of where we were, were we are and where we are likely going to be in the nearest future. Now, I would like to ask in advance forgiveness if I seem to be tilting in favour of the Corps. That is to be expected, given the fact that I am a committed and ardent member of the family. However, I would try as much as possible to be as objective as I can. The FRSC was born as a child of necessity. Prior to its establishment, traffic situation in Nigeria could best be described as chaotic and unpredictable; it was underlined by consistent and disturbing waves of road crashes with attendant colossal human and material losses. The then military government of Ibrahim Babangida felt it was of paramount importance that a road management agency be established at the national level. That impetus led to the establishment of the Commission and it was headed by Wole Soyinka. It had initial staff strength of 250 officers made up of mainly National Youth Service Corps

THE FRSC TENTACLES HAVE CONTINUOUSLY

SPREAD, AS THE ZONAL

COMMAND STRUCTURE HAS BEEN INCREASED

FROM THE INITIAL FIVE TO 12, WHILE MORE

UNIT COMMANDS

HAVE BEEN CREATED, BRINGING THE TOTAL TO 184

members. The initiative, from all indications, seemed to draw the acclaim of every Nigerian. The Corps operatives were adjudged to be fair, firm, enlightened and totally courteous. Some actually called them elitist. Before long, the impact of the agency was felt all over the nation. Prior to its existence, seatbelt usage was non-existent, overloading was the order of the day, driver’s licence was paper-written, while number plates were easily done through roadside artists, giving room for forgery.

Agwu, jonasagwu65@yahoo.com, is Corps Public Education Officer at FRSC National Headquarters, Abuja

Sport Extra

w wansea City Manager, Michael Laudrup, has reiterated his intention to commit his future to the club following reports he is ready to open talks over a new contract at the Liberty Stadium. Laudrup’s agent, Bayram Tutumlu, said

Jonas

Crash helmet use was at zero level. There were a lot of other anomalies too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say that Nigeria and Ethiopia were rated as the countries with the highest records of road crashes in sub-Saharan Africa. With the establishment of the Corps, sanity was restored on Nigerian roads and the anomalies mentioned above addressed. There is the installation of road signage on the highways. The driver’s licence has under-gone various stages of transformation through the National Uniform Licensing scheme, aimed at bringing about centralised data on drivers and vehicles. The FRSC tentacles have continuously spread, as the Zonal Command structure has been increased from the initial five to 12, while more Unit Commands have been created, bringing the total to 184. This has helped to enhance Corps presence along the nation’s highways. The staff strength is now 18,000. Operational strategies and activities have constantly been modified to ensure Corps presence on the roads, particularly at critical points and periods. Let me mention that the Corps has had its fair share of challenges, controversies and hiccups. Its relevance has within the last two and half decades been questioned on more than one occasion, culminating in its merger with the Nigerian Police in 1999. With its demerger in 2003, the Corps tethered on unsteady feet as it sought to grapple with challenges of an ever changing traffic environment and populace. To be concluded

Laudrup commits to Liberty Stadium yesterday that the former Denmark international was set to begin contract discussions with the Welsh club’s board “in the coming days”. “I think things are looking up in the right direction

for Michael,” Tutumlu said. The 48-year-old Laudrup has enjoyed an impressive debut season in South Wales so far, guiding the Swans to the Capital One Cup final as well as keeping the

club in the top half of the Premier League to build on last year’s maiden topflight campaign under Brendan Rodgers. “I have said more than once my intention is to

stay. We are way ahead of what I could have imagined-being in a league cup final,” Laudrup, who succeeded Liverpool boss, Edgar Rodgers in June last Michael Laudrup year, said.

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Friday, February 15, 2013