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Opposition governors form alliance

... as APC announces zonal leaders OBIORA IFOH ABUJA Fashola

Vol. 3 N0. 556

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overnors under the newly-formed All Progressives Congress, APC, have formed a

body called the Progressive Governors’ Alliance. The governors, who met

Finance Ministry not in-charge of SURE-P fund –Okonjo-Iweala

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

FG showers gifts on Super Eagles

Players get heroic welcome, national honours, land, cash I remain the coach, says Keshi P.27

President Goodluck Jonathan with the Super Eagles at the Presidential Villa during official reception for the team in Abuja, yesterday. More pictures on Page 3.

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Pension thief, Yusufu, to remain in prison till March 4 P.4

N150 EVEREST ONYEWUCHI, ROTIMI FADEYI, OMEIZA AJAYI AND JOEL AJAYI

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resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday announced cash reward for the Super Eagles at a reception in their honour for winning the African Cup of Nations. At a special presidential reception in honour of the victorious Super Eagles at the Banquet Hall of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

PHOTO: STATE HOUSE

Pope suffers from irregular heartbeat –Vatican Jonathan, Obama hail Pontiff’s courage, wisdom P.2 Newswatch: No document links petitioner with directorship P.4


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Pope suffers from irregular heartbeat –Vatican PAUL ARHEWE, ROTIMI FADEYI AND ABIODUN NEJO WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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he Vatican acknowledged for the first time yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI has had a pacemaker for years and that its batteries were replaced a few months ago in secret. A pacemaker is an electronic device that is placed in the chest or abdomen to help abnormally slow or irregular heartbeats.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Pope Benedict had the pacemaker installed “a long time” before he became Pope in 2005. He called the latest medical procedure “routine.” Italian daily, Il Sole 24, said the Pope had the pacemaker procedure less than three months ago in a Rome hospital and did not miss any public appearances. This latest revelation is coming a day after the Pontiff announced his resignation.

However, Lombardi reiterated that Pope Benedict was not stepping down because of any specific illness. “His last public appearance will be his final mass in Saint Peter’s Square on February 27,” Fr. Lombardi said. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 after John Paul II’s death. It is reported that in theory, there has never been anything stopping Pope Benedict or any of his predecessors from stepping

aside. Under the Catholic Church’s governing code, Canon Law, the conditions for the validity of such resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published. But resignation is extremely rare: the last Pontiff to step aside was Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 amid a schism within the church. At a news conference at the Vatican, Lombardi confirmed that the batteries in the pacemaker, which had

L-R: Progrssive governors: Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Kashim Shettima (Borno); Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa); Babatunde Fashola (Lagos); Abdulaziz Abubakar (Zamfara); Abiola Ajumobi (Oyo); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) during their meeting on the merger pact in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

been fitted several years ago, had been replaced in the routine operation. “That hasn’t affected his decision (to resign) in any way and simply he felt that his strength was diminishing with the advancement of age,” Fr. Lombardi said. Earlier, the Pontiff’s brother, George Ratzinger, said the Pope had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months. “When he got to the second half of his 80s, he felt that his age was showing and that he was gradually losing the abilities he may have had and that it takes to fulfill this office properly,” he told the BBC from his home in Regensburg, Germany. He said the resignation, therefore, was part of a “natural process.” The Vatican now says it expects a new Pontiff to be elected before Easter. Fr. Lombardi said the Pope would not intervene in the election of a succes-

sor, who would be chosen by members of a 117-strong conclave held in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. “He will not interfere in any way,” AP news agency quotes the Vatican spokesman as saying. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama of the United States have extended “appreciation and prayers” to the Pope after news of his pending resignation. “On behalf of Americans everywhere, Michelle and I wish to extend our appreciation and prayers to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI,” President Obama said in a statement. “Michelle and I warmly remember our meeting with the Holy Father in 2009, and I have appreciated our work together over these last four years. “The church plays a critical role in the United States and the world, and I wish the best to those who will soon gather to choose His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI’s successor.”

residents lined the Airport Road route to give the triumphant team a rousing welcome. Some immaculately dressed students waved national flags as the team’s convoy passed, even as security officials at the airport had hectic time managing the surging crowd. It took officials of the dog unit of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, several minutes to keep the crowd in line. Nigeria had on Sunday night defeated Burkina Faso by a lone goal to become the African Champions for the third time. Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, while speaking to journalists on arrival said: “We thank God for the victory. The next thing is to be patient and I believe things will work out.” Asked to comment on his purported resignation, Keshi replied: “Well, you know there were issues to make things better in the team and all around our football sector in the country. “But yesterday, I spent

about four to five hours midnight with the Minister of Sports, we spoke about things and how we can move things forward. I am here now.” The Sports Minister, Abdullahi, said: “We thank God almighty that we are part of this process. The issue of Keshi’s resignation, you heard him yourself. And it was blown out of proportion. “Though there were issues, but I think things were not properly managed as they should be but thank God I was on hand to discuss it. “He never tendered resignation in the first place, so the issue of resignation is not true. So, Keshi remains the Head Coach of Super Eagles.” Minister of State in the FCT, Ms. Olajumoke Akinjide, commended the Eagles for making the nation proud at the AFCON. Akinjide expressed delight that the senior national team was led to victory by a Nigerian coach and assisted by Daniel Amokachi, Ike Shorunmu and Sylvanus Okpala, all Nigerians.

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FG showers gifts on Super Eagles CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Villa, President Jonathan rewarded the Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, with N10m, Assistant Coaches got N5m, each of the players also got N5m while the Technical Assistants are to receive N2m each. In addition, the President rewarded each member of the team with National Honours as well as a plot of land in Abuja. Keshi bagged the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) while each of the three Assistant Coaches got Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), Captain Joseph Yobo also bagged OON while the rest of the team got Member of the Order of the Niger (MON). President Jonathan assured the Super Eagles of his support, saying that with the victory of the team, the process of rebuilding the sports sector had begun. He stated that his administration would continue to give sports a place of pride. The President told the Super Eagles’ handler that he has his full support as the team gets ready to re-

start the qualification series towards the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil. “Nigeria must qualify for the World Cup in Brazil,” Jonathan charged Keshi and his team. He also told the players that more Nigerians will receive them and shower them with money and other gifts. He commended Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, who has given $1million to the team and $200,000 to Coach Keshi, and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who has given the team N130m. The President announced that Chief Emeka Offor would give $500,000 to the players and their officials, ditto Mr. Tony Elumelu, who will also present another $500,000 to the victorious Eagles. Another $1million from other two well-wishers. Before presenting the trophy to the President yesterday, Chairman of Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Aminu Maigari, introduced the members of the victorious team and their officials. Yobo presented the tro-

phy to the NFF Chairman who in turn handed it to the Minister of Sports who presented it to the President. The event scheduled to commence at 7p.m. did not start until 9.30p.m. when President Jonathan came into the venue of the event, just about 20 minutes after the arrival of members of the team and their officials. Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, said that winning the trophy was a milestone, saying that the ultimate aim “is to be African Champion not only in football but other sporting events.” He noted that the level of unity of purpose ultimately determines winning or losing in a competition. The minister, therefore, charged those involved in the administration of sports in the country “to put rancour and acrimony aside and give the necessary support to the sports sector.” Abdullahi commended the courage of the Super Eagles for their outstanding performance in the competition, saying that government would contin-

ue to give them the encouragement and support. In attendance at yesterday’s dinner were Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Gabriel Suswan (Benue), Peter Obi (Anambra), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Tanko AlMakura(Nasarawa). Also present were Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and his Deputy, Emeka Ihedioha. Earlier, the Super Eagles had returned to Abuja at 3:15p.m. to a tumultuous crowd of jubilant supporters and appreciative residents of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The victorious Eagles, along with their technical crew and officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, were received by top officials of the Federal Government, led by FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed. Hundreds of school children and other FCT


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

HEROIC WELCOME FOR SUPER EAGLES, AFCON 2013 CHAMPIONS

Students cheering the players on their arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday.

Military officials celebrating the arrival of the team.

Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, (middle) at the Airport reception.

Super Eagles’ Captain, Joseph Yobo, with the trophy.

Supporters on the pedestrian bridge cheering the players. Super Eagles’ Captain, Joseph Yobo, displaying the trophy to the admiration of the crowd.

Supporters cheering the players on their arrival in Abuja yesterday.

Super Eagles Supporters’ Club were also at the airport to welcome the heroes PHOTOS: ROTIMI OSASONA


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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L-R: Guest Lecturer, Dr. Austin Nweze; Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Mr. Mansur Ahmed and President, Sam Ohuabunwa Foundation for Economic Empowerment, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, at an economic business roundtable on Budget 2013 in Lagos, yesterday.

Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo (left) and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido, during Sanusi’s visit to the state recently.

L-R: Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta; Director of Education, Mrs. Rashedat Okoduwa and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, PHOTO: NAN Prof. Isaac Adewole, at a public lecture in Ibadan, yesterday.

Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi (right), presenting a souvenir to the District Governor, Rotary International District 9140 Nigeria, Mr. Onyebuchi Onuoha, during a courtesy visit to the governor in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

National News

Newswatch: No document links petitioner with directorship KAYODE KETEFE

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s the substantive hearing of the case instituted by two persons claiming to be former directors of Newswatch Communications Limited, Nuhu Wada Aruda and Prof. Jibril Aminu, against the company started before a Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, one of the petitioners, Aruda failed to identify any documents showing he had been a director. Aruda and Aminu, who claimed to be representing minority shareholders of the company, had filed the substantive petition accusing the new management team led by Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, OFR, of assuming control of the company “illegally” even though they admitted that there was a Share Purchase Agreement, which transferred the majority of the shareholding to Ibrahim. The petitioners were, therefore, praying the court

to quash the powers of the current management of the company elected by the majority of the shareholders. In their petition No. FHC/L/CP/1367/2012 brought pursuant to sections 310 (a), (b) and (c) and 311 (1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the applicants also prayed the court to, among others, set aside the Share Purchase

Agreement on the basis of which Dr. Ibrahim assumed majority shareholding in the company. Joined as respondents in the matter are; Newswatch Communications Ltd, Global Media Mirror Ltd, Dr. Ibrahim, Newswatch Newspapers Ltd and the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. At the proceedings yester-

day, there was a mild drama in the courtroom during the cross-examination of Aruda, (who was the first witness in the case) by the respondents’ lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN. Ayorinde asked Aruda to point to any document, among all the documents the petitioners had tendered as exhibits that established that he was a director in the

Pension scam: Yusufu remains in prison till March 4 EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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onvicted pension thief and former Assistant Director, Police Pension Office, Mr. John Yakubu Yusufu, will endure prison experience till March 4, when his bail application before a federal high court sitting in Abuja, will be heard. This development followed the absence of the trial judge, Justice Adamu Bello, who was said to be attending a conference organised by the Asset Management Corporation of

Nigeria, AMCON, in Lagos. Yusufu was convicted by a Federal Capital Territory court over an “illegal act” of stealing pension funds meant for police retirees. He specifically pleaded guilty to counts 18, 19 and 20, where he was alleged to have connived with others still standing trial to convert N24.2 billion, N1.3 billion and N1.7 billion respectively. Other co-conspirators still standing trial are; Esai Abubakar, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila

Zira. Dissatisfied with the twoyear jail term with an option of N750, 000 fine handed down by Justice Abubakar Talba, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on January 28, re-arraigned the convict before Justice Bello on a fresh four-count charge bordering on alleged failure to disclose his assets (as they relate to his interest) in a company called SY -A Global Services Limited. According to the anti-graft agency, SY-A Global Services Limited is solely owned by the convict and members of his immediate family.

Newswatch Communications Ltd. Aruda collected a bundle of documents that had earlier in the day been tendered through him as exhibits by his lawyer, Mr. Adekunle Oyesanya, SAN, and began to leaf through painstakingly as a hush fell on the courtroom. After some minutes of fruitless search, Aruda admitted there was no single document among all the exhibits that showed his name as a director. At this juncture, Chief Ayorinde put a poser to him thus: “These documents are all yours which you tendered as exhibits before this honourable court, you claim to be a shareholder and a director in Newswatch, yet you cannot point to a single document which shows your name as a director. Now let me ask you to take one, are you just a shareholder or a shareholder and a director?” Aruda retorted he was both a shareholder and di-

rector of the Newswatch, documents or no documents. Earlier while being led in evidence by his lawyer, Oyesanya. Aruda had told the court that he had been invited at the inception of Newswatch and that after meeting with the late Dele Giwa and other founding members, he had paid N100, 000 to obtain five per cent share in the then fledgling Newswatch Company. He added that he was also made one of the directors of the company and that he maintained this directorship until March 5, 2011 when the company affairs passed to a new management led by Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim. The cross-examination of Aruda could not be completed yesterday as the court had to attend to other matters. Meanwhile, the court granted the petitioners application to call two more witnesses to prove their case while granting leave to the respondents to call more witnesses if they deem it necessary.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Opposition governors form alliance CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

in Abuja yesterday, also announced the party’s contact and mobilisation committee leaders in the six geopolitical zones. The leaders of the zones include Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State (North-East), Nassarawa State Governor Tanko AlMakura (North Central), Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari (NorthWest), Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha (SouthEast), Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (SouthSouth) and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi (South-West). Addressing journalists after a six-hour meeting at the Lagos State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, AlMakura said that the governors were pleased with the name, All Progressives Congress, APC, adopted by the merger committee because “it captures the spirit of cooperation and compromise that they espouse and it underscores the imperative of rescuing Nigeria from decay.” He said that the overwhelming public support that greeted the announcement of the merger compelled the progressive governors to announce the establishment of the zonal contact and mobilisation

committees in the six geopolitical zones. The committee, AlMakura added, would mobilise support for APC across political, social, religious, ethnic and professional interest groups. “Given the desire of Nigerians for change, our party will undertake to facilitate radical social economic and political reformation of the country. “Our programme priorities shall be agricultural development, job creation, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural development, adequate power supply, eradication of poverty and corruption, rapid technological advancement and industrialisation. “We shall pride ourselves as social democrats that are committed to organising our society based on the values of justice for all and individual freedom where everyone’s basic needs are fulfilled.” Asked why he was the only voice of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in the merger, Okorocha said that though his party might actually be in crisis, APGA participated fully in the arrangement. He said: “Let me say emphatically that APGA is in the merger talks and we

have our little challenges and we are just trying to sort out about who are the APGA-APGA and APGA-PDP. “The APGA-APGA is already in the merger talks and I also want to say emphatically that if CPC, which ought to have been a regional party, ANPP and ACN have agreed to come together for a bigger mega party, APGA should not be exception. “So, you must see this as a collective responsibility of all parties to form a formidable party that can stand the test of time come

2015. “At the end of the merger meetings you will see that APGA is in the merger. We are fully in the merger.” Ten governors participated in yesterday’s meeting. They include Geidam (Yobe), Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Yari (Zamfara), Okorocha (Imo), and Oshiomhole (Edo). Others are Fayemi (Ekiti), Raji Fashola (Lagos), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibukunle Amosun (Ogun) and Rauf Aregbesola (Osun). Oshiomhole, while commenting on the chances of

the merger said: “I am a believer in democracy and I believe that for Nigeria’s democracy to flourish you need to have alternative political platforms. “So, I am fully convinced about the need for this merger and the fact that for all of us who desire to deepen democracy, we have to agree that when the opposition is factionalised, we are not about to create the kind of organic platform that we need, so there is no question about my conviction and my commitment.” Fayemi said that a merger

committee had been set up to work on the party’s constitution and when they finish, they would present the logo, manifesto and constitution to the party faithful. He said: “We are fully in the know of what our representatives in the merger committee are doing. On the unveiling of the party’s flag, logo, manifesto, constitution, it depends on our party. When the merger committee concludes their assignment, they will announce it but that is not to say that the governors are not in the know.”

L-R: Head, Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Prof. Ademola Omojola; Director-General, Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research, Prof. Olufemi Taiwo and Social and Governance Policy Researcher, Dr. Felix Olorunfemi, at the monthly seminar series of NISER in Ibadan, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Pope suffers from irregular heartbeat –Vatican AMCON misleading the public –Babalakin CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

Also, President Goodluck Jonathan has hailed the exemplary wisdom and courage by Pope Benedict XVI in his decision to voluntarily relinquish the papacy because of his advanced age and growing inability to keep up with the physical and mental demands of the office. In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President wished the Pope a peaceful and restful retirement at the end of this month. The President said that even in retirement, Pope Benedict XVI would continue to contribute to the spiritual well-being of the world in every possible way and that he would continue to offer prayers to God Almighty for global justice, equity, peace and progress. President Jonathan

prayed to God to grant members of the College of Cardinals the wisdom and divine insight to bring forth a worthy successor who would build on the outgoing Pontiff’s commendable achievements as head of the Worldwide Catholic Church. The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, has said that the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is a lesson for those in office to let go when they can no longer continue for one reason or the other. Ajakaye said: “It is a lesson to all of us that we should let go when we know that we cannot continue. “He has said that due to old age, he cannot continue with the rigours of the office, so having studied himself, he decided to take a noble action.” The bishop told journalists in Ado Ekiti yesterday that the Pope’s resignation should not be regarded as a

surprise, saying the laws of the Catholic Church (Cannon Law) allowed it. Ajakaye dismissed negative insinuations in some quarters about the Pope’s planned resignation which, he said, was due to inadequate knowledge about the church’s rules. He added that Christians, especially Catholics, should update themselves with the teachings and the doctrine of the church. The cleric said that the fact that the late Pope John Paul II died in office did not mean that Pope Benedict XVl should also die in office, adding: “His (Pope Benedict XVl) spirit is willing but his body is weak to carry on with the vigour of office. “He became Pope at the age of 78 unlike the former Pope John Pall II who ascended the papacy at 58 and Pope Benedict will turn 86 years by April or so this year,” the bishop said.

K AYODE KETEFE

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i-Courtney Limited, BCL, has accused the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, of misinforming the public about the facts of the issues between it and Dr. Wale Babalakin. The company, in a statement by its spokesman, Dipo Kehinde, said instead of addressing the issues raised by its Chairman at the press conference he held at BCL’s headquarters in Lagos, on Monday, AMCON chose to engage in cheap blackmail and character assassination by bringing up issues that are not relevant to the one at hand. The firm said it was compelled to make “certain clarifications, following the erroneous and provocative claims made

by AMCON, at a press conference addressed by its counsel, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, in Lagos, yesterday”. BCL said it was not ready to join issues with AMCON and, or, any of its legal representatives as to the circumstances of, or the actual volume of Babalakin’s indebtedness to the corporation, but only demanded the corporation’s compliance with the order of Justice G.K. Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on April 5, 2012, in the suit number: FHC/ABJ/ CS/50/09. According to BCL, the figure of N60billion suggested by AMCON is a figment of the corporation’s imagination. BCL stated that paragraphs three and four of the order unambiguously directed as follows: “An order directing the Defen-

dant/Respondent (Attorney General of the Federation), being the Chief Law Officer and legal representative of the Federal Government of Nigeria and all its agents/ agencies, including the government institutions and bodies responsible for the payment of the sum due to the Applicant, to mandatorily compel the said government institutions and bodies to immediately comply with the judgment of this honourable court by making without any further delay the payment of N132,540,580,304.00 to the Plaintiff/Applicant (BiCourtney) in fulfilment of the aforesaid order of this Honourable court.” The statement also says this order is yet to be upturned by either a court of coordinate jurisdiction or a superior court till date.


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Value of cashless transactions hits N40bn daily

Local content: Reps reject motion to probe Petroleum Ministry

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s a result of the growing awareness on the cashless policy, transactions recorded by the Nigerian Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) under its NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) and Nigerian Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) have increased significantly to about N40 billion daily. NIP and NEFT are products used by corporate organisations to make payment for huge transactions electronically, in line with the cashless policy. Data gathered from NIBSS also shows that as a result of the cashless policy, cheques, Point of Sale (PoS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) usage have continued to record huge volume and value. Head, Shared Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Chidi Umeano said that the cashless project has continued to record huge success, adding that the initial challenges associated with the alternative channels are being tackled. “Banks have continued to roll out more innovative electronic payment platforms to meet customers’ expectations. The cashless policy has been very successful in Lagos considering when we started and how far we have gone in terms of PoS deployment. “When we started the cashless Lagos, we had less than 10,000 PoS in Lagos, but currently we have over

ABUJA

Sanusi

150,000 PoS machines in the state alone.” As a result of the significant success recorded in Lagos, the apex bank last week said it plans to extend the cashless policy to Rivers, Kano, Anambra and Abia States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from July 1. CBN Deputy Governor Operations, Mr. Tunde Lemo had explained:“When we talk about nationwide rollout, we are also being careful to ensure that we make use of resources in a smart way. Cash doesn’t flow in the same volume in every state of the federation. What we would do in July is to look at those other market clusters where large of volumes are transacted and add them to Lagos. “It is cheaper that way because the resources you need to cover the entire 923 square kilometres in Nigeria are huge. But you can achieve almost the same thing by looking at the pattern of cash distribution and you can cover about 90 per cent of that by adding about five more locations to Lagos. That is: Abuja, Kano, Aba, Port Harcourt and Onitsha.

he House of Representatives threw out yesterday a motion asking it to investigate the level of compliance with the Local Content Law by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and its agencies. Signed into law in 2010, the Local Content Act expects the Ministries of Petroleum and Labour and Productivity to ensure that companies operating in the oil and gas sector give priority to workers and contractors of Nigerian nationality. The motion is seeking to eradicate an entrenched system of preference for foreign contractors and workers as against Nigerians. The motion was sponsored by Hon. Nasiru Ali Ahmed (Kano) and Hon.

Robinson Uwak. Leading the motion, Hon. Ahmed said: “The Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010, which was passed by this respect Assembly, was enacted to address the need for Nigerians to participate fully in the Oil and Gas Industry which has long been dominated by foreigners and multinational companies operating in the country. “Another reason for the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act was the lack of statutory framework for the internalisation and transfer of the technologies relevant in the Oil and Gas industry to the Nigerian Labour Force and the reduction of Capital Drift. “In order to achieve its purpose, the Act clearly states in Section 3(1) that

Nigerian independent operators shall be given first consideration in the award of oil blocks, oil fields licenses, oil lifting licenses and all projects for which contract is to be awarded in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry subject, to the fulfillment of such conditions as may be specified by the Minister”. The lawmaker urged the House to share his regrets that “in spite of the provisions of the Act as stated above, local contractors are still not appropriately patronised as provided for by the Act in the award of oil and gas contracts, the sales of oil blocks, crude oil term contracts, petroleum and gas pipeline maintenance, refinery maintenance, procurement of Goods, Materials and services”. He added: “ministries departments and agen-

cies concerned failed to comply with provisions of the Act. In other words, Agencies in oil sector like Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services(NAPIMS), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency(PPPRA), Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), Nigeria Petroleum Development Company(NPDC), Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt Refineries, Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas(NLNG), Nigeria Gas Company, Petroleum Pipelines and Marketing Company(PPMC), Integrated Data Services Limited, National Engineering and Technical Company Limited Hydrocarbon Services Nigeria Limited are constantly violating the provisions of the Local Content Act.

L-R: Executive Chairman of Golden Gate Industry Limited, Rear Admiral Dele Osunmakinde; Special Adviser on Investment Promotion to Cross River State Governor, Mr. Gerald Ada; Chief of Logistic, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Maj.-Gen. Garba Audu and General Manager, Calabar Free Trade Zone, Mallam Sadiq Kassim, during the commissioning of Golden Gate Industry Limited in Calabar, yesterday.

Pilot error likely responsible for Dana crash –Report OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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t has been revealed that the Dana Air aircraft crash at the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos in which the 153 passengers on board died may have been caused by human error. A report monitored online by our correspondent attributed the crash to an error of the aircraft’s captain. The report stated that the accident was caused due to the failure of the pilot to turn on certain fuel pumps or valves, according to people familiar with the

joint investigation by the United States and Nigerian officials. It will be recalled that the McDonnell Douglas MD-83, operated by Dana Air, lost power from both engines while approaching the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos and rammed into an apartment building. It killed about 10 people on the ground. However, the official report of the accident was yet to be released by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) over eight months after the accident. The online report added that AIB’s chief executive,

Mr. Mukhtar Usman, said he was yet to hear the results from the U.S. forensic laboratories on the likely cause of the crash. By ending the mystery surrounding the crash, the findings stand to return a sense of normalcy to Nigeria’s booming but dysfunctional air travel industry, analysts say. “We have nothing to hide,” said Dana spokesman Tony Usidamen, who declined to comment on the crash’s cause until the report is completed. “We hope that the government will take the decision to make the report

public. It may or may not affect how the average traveller views the industry,” he said. The report added that the most likely cause of the accident was the crew’s failure to properly monitor fuel flow and turn on certain fuel pumps, according to industry and government safety experts familiar with the investigation. That would result in both engines shutting down almost simultaneously from lack of fuel. No other significant problems were discovered with the engines or other aircraft systems, these people said,

and the 22-year-old plane had plenty of fuel onboard to reach the airport. Partly fed by that fuel, the crash sparked an intense fire that raged for nearly a day and compromised the flight-data recorder. So, investigators had less data to rely on than is usual in modern jetliner crashes and are still working on the final wording of the report. The preliminary focus on pilot error could be toned down, according to two people familiar with the details. The cockpit voice recorder, which survived intact, showed the pilots spent the

last 25 seconds unsuccessfully trying to restart the engines. A preliminary report issued last year by Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau did not say why the engines shut down. Some pilots and safety experts said crews flying MD-80 series jets need to pay close attention to turning on certain booster pumps and ensuring that valves controlling fuel flow from various tanks are in the proper position, because mistakes can result in one or both engines ending up starved of fuel.


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Senate panel conducts inquiry over Amansea corpses C HARLES O KEKE AWKA

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he Senate panel investigating the case of unidentified bodies dumped in Ezu River, Amansea, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday conducted an interactive inquiry in Awka. During the inquiry, key commissioners, including the state Police Commissioner, Ballah Nasarawa, told the panel what they know and did since the incident happened on January 19. The six-man panel led by Senator Paulinus Igwe Nwagu had, on arrival in Anambra State, paid a courtesy visit to the traditional ruler of Amansea, Igwe Kenneth Okonkwo, after

which visited the Ezu River, and later went to the Conference Room of the Government House, Awka, where it conducted the interactive inquiry. Members of the panel, who asked inquisitive questions during the session that lasted several hours, were Mohammed Magoro, Chris Ngige, Solomon Ewuga, Mohammed Sani Sali and Shaba Lafiaji. The first to testify was the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Lawrence Ikeakor. He told the panel that the autopsy on the 19 bodies recovered from the river had not been completed because exhumation of the remaining bodies in the mass grave was yet to be completed.

Recruitment scam: Police arrest ex-Naval officer, two others OMEIZA AJAYI ABUJA

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olice have arrested a dismissed naval officer, Emmanuel David Audu, and two others for operating a recruitment syndicate in Benue State which they used to swindle job seekers. Audu, who still resides in the Abacha Military Barracks, Abuja, was arrested alongside one Adegoke Musbahu and Idowu Abraham at Habibat Hotel, old GRA, Makurdi, last Thursday. Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, who disclosed this in a state-

ment yesterday, said that at the time of their arrest, 11 persons already hoodwinked into believing they were on the verge of being recruited into the Nigerian Navy were found with them. Mba said items recovered from the suspects included two laptops, three Naval uniforms, one Naval Identity Card bearing the name of the syndicate leader, documents capturing names of candidates and N100,000 which Audu reportedly admitted to have collected from their victims at a rate ranging from N10,000 to N20,000 per candidate.

L-R: Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah; Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr. George Ureisi and Project Supervisor, Mr. Zakhem George, during the inspection of ongoing expansion work at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, yesterday.

Why corruption thrives in Nigeria –ICPC KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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orruption is difficult to eliminate in Nigeria because of the lack of will to implement a series of laws enacted to check it. The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta, said this yesterday at the University of Ibadan, UI, while delivering a public lecture titled, “Combating corruption in Contemporary Nigeria: Prospects, Challenges and Strategies,” to commence programmes of the 50th anniversary of the institution’s Department of Political Science. He said: “There had been Corrupt Practices Decree, War Against Indiscipline, MAMSER, NOA, Foreign Exchange Decree, Money Laundry Decree, EFCC and ICPC Acts, Fiscal Responsibility 2010, etc. “We have more than

Power sector reform on course, says Nebo • Alausa IPP ready by October –Fashola ROTIMI FADEYI AND MURITALA AYINLA

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ew Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, has promised to vigorously pursue ongoing power sector reform to ensure uninterrupted power supply before the end of the year. Speaking with State House Correspondents shortly after the meeting of the Board of the Niger Delta Power Holding Com-

pany, NDPHC, Nebo said the power agenda was on course, stressing that with the strong will of President Goodluck Jonathan, problems in the sector would soon be history. He said: “What I can say is that, yes, we are forging ahead, the power agenda is on course and we intend, by the grace of God, to make Nigerians much happy as soon as possible. “I don’t have any fear... our problems are not insurmountable. The problems are very enormous, very challenging but we have the will, and the dexterity and

the support of the President who is very keen on ensuring that the power sector issue is put behind us.” Also yesterday, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State said the Alausa Independent Power Project, IPP, which would provide power supply for the entire Alausa Secretariat, would be ready by October. Fashola also said the state government was almost completing the design of a broadband infrastructure that would allow everyone to have easy access to the internet.

enough laws that will stamp corruption out of our system but the problem is implementation. Implementing our laws is the problem.” Nta, who described corruption as an abuse of trust and political power for private gains, said except all hands were on deck to fight corruption, it would continue to grow in the country. The ICPC chairman, who said the effects of corruption in the country were too grievous, noted that everyone must redouble efforts to

rid the country of the cankerworm. He also said corrupt practices such plagiarism among lecturers, falsification of records, sexual harassment, cultism, extortion, false representation during accreditation must be eliminated in the universities. The Head of the Department of Political Science, Prof. Osisioma Nwolise, said corruption in Nigeria today had wasted the country’s resources and sentenced Nige-

rians to misery, adding that corruption had reached the level that required surgical operation. He said: “It has adopted a dimension at which it should be declared as a crime against humanity and treated as such. “Anti-corruption agencies are caponised with court injunctions; and judges are either intimidated with violence or compromised with juicy part of the loot from the commonwealth.


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South West

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG dismisses report on likely collapse of Third Mainland Bridge DAYO AYEYEMI

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he Federal Government has dismissed claims by some people that the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos State will soon collapse. Speaking yesterday in Abuja, Minister of Works, Mr. Mike Onolememen, said that Federal government was committed to taking proactive steps in line with its mandate to ensure that the bridge was kept in an acceptable service condition. The minister said that

the speculations about the bridge were based on mere perception as there is no engineering test to justify the claims. Onolememen said that though serious steel casing corrosion on the bridge was noticeable, he pointed out that the steel casing had no structural function regarding the pile bearing capacity, as they served only as form-works to the piles. It will be recalled that at the plenary session of the Senate last Wednesday, a member representing Lagos East, Senator Gbenga

Ashafa, raised a point of order to bring to the attention of the Senate the state of the Third Mainland Bridge, adding that he would want an urgent remedial measures to be taken. Ashafa said private consultant, who carried out the post-assessment of the repair works of the bridge, discovered that the repairing on its foundation was not properly done, adding that the bridge could collapse any moment. Meanwhile, repair of the Third Mainland Bridge, including eight ex-

We didn’t accuse Osun of banning CRS –CAN

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hairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Osun State, Superior Evangelist Abraham Aladeseye, has dismissed a report that the association, in a communiqué, alleged that the government banned the teaching of Christian Religious Studies (CRS) in Muslim schools. Aladeseye described the report as figment of the writer’s imagination as

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola

neither he as a person nor CAN as a body issued the communiqué in question. He urged security agencies to investigate the matter, saying the report was an attempt by some peopel to cause religious disharmony in Osun State. The cleric said: “I don’t know anything about the communiqué. Even the CAN executive did not know anything about it. I don’t know where the reporter got its information. “I just want to implore the security agencies to step into the matter and conduct a thorough investigation. This is because I don’t want anything that can tarnish my image and name. We did not issue any communiqué. “I am prepared to sue the newspaper because I didn’t not see or know anyone of them. It was around last

year April that we wrote a simple letter to the government over the issue of pupils wearing hijab, revival ground in Ilesha (Open Heaven Arena) and the proposed school uniform. “And that we have trashed out among ourselves. That letter of last year is different from what I read in this paper today. This year, CAN has not issued any communiqué. In fact, we are to meet today (Tuesday). So, how could we have issued a communiqué before meeting? CAN did not know anything about the story. “About two weeks ago, we had an emergency meeting with the deputy governor under the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NAIREC) where somebody raised the issue of cancellation of CRS in Muslim schools.

Nine policemen, LASTMA official held for extortion FRANCIS SUBERU

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o fewer than nine policemen and an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) have been arrested for extorting motorists in several parts of Lagos The suspected security officials were arrested by men of the X Squad attached to the Lagos State Police Command during surveillance patrol in Oyingbo, Gbagada and other parts of the state last weekend It will be recalled that about 20 other policemen recently faced orderly room trial, with some of them detained, others demoted and some dismissed.

National Mirror learnt that three policemen, two of whom were traffic wardens, were arrested by officials of X Squad at the popular Oyingbo Central Motor Park while extorting luxurious bus drivers and other motorists. A source at X Squad, who did not want his name mentioned, said that squeezed naira notes were found on the arrested policemen. The police source said that three others, who were attached to Bariga Police Division, were arrested while extorting commercial motorcyclists at the inner parts of Gbagada. He added that the arrested policemen were found with squeezed naira notes, which they tucked in many

parts of their uniform A senior official at X Squad, who confirmed the arrest, said the culprits had been handed over to the provost for investigations and prosecution. He added that an official of LASTMA was also arrested, after he extorted N2, 500 from a supposed traffic offender. The LASTMA official, who was arrested around Alagbado area of the state, had, on Monday, been handed over to the coordinator in charge of the PWD Bus Stop Zone of LASTMA. The X Squad official, however, asked members of the public to always misconducts by policemen and other law enforcement agents to appropriate authorities.

pansion joints of both sides before it was re-opened last year October gulped N1.5 billion. The minister, however, asked members of the public to ignore the claim, saying: “The Third Mainland Bridge is not in any way defective,” claiming that he drove on the bridge twice last week. Asked on the origin of the story, the minister said that

the report originated from the ministry which was for under water inspection. He said the structural integrity of the bridge was not in doubt as further tests by reputable engineering companies confirmed the adequacy of pile concrete quality, adding that based on their advice, the ministry is ensuring continuous routine maintenance works.

However, Senate President David Mark had warned that the Third Mainland Bridge would be a major national disaster if allowed to collapse. The Lagos Third Mainland Bridge, measured 11.8 km and connected the Mainland to Lagos Island, was commissioned by the former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, in 1990.

Truck owners protest Ogun’s restriction order FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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ruck owners and drivers yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, took to the streets and protested the restriction order placed on the movement of articulated vehicles by the government during day time. The protesters, under the aegis of Truck Owners Association of Nigeria (TROAN), called on the state government to rescind the decision, which they said has affected their business. The protesters barricaded Abiola Way, the major road in the Abeokuta me-

tropolis thereby preventing free movement of vehicles, particularly articulated vehicles. It will be recalled that the Ogun State Government recently restricted the movement of trucks across the state as part of the measures to checkmate the recklessness of articulated vehicle drivers which it claimed had been responsible for most of the road crashes and traffic congestion. To further bring the activities of the truck drivers under control, the state government restricted their movements to between 9am to 1pm and 8pm to 6am.

But the restriction order did not go down well with the truck owners as they complained that they had lost substantial amount of money. Addressing journalists over the issue, TROAN Chairman, Alhaji Isiaka Ajetunmobi, said since the restriction order was announced, his members had lost over N75 million. Ajetunmobi said: “When we met with the state government on Monday, the government partially agreed with our terms and agreed to release all the 13 trucks seized from our members upon the payment of N10, 000 each as fines.

This Day in African American History

February 13: On this day in 1970—Joseph Searles Becomes First Black Member of the New York Stock Exchange! Joseph Searles graduated from Kansas State University in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. While working on a public policy research project, Searles met New York City Mayor John Lindsey in Washington, D.C. After completing his research, Searles joined Mayor Lindsey in New York City where he served as Director of Local Business Development in the New York City Economic Development Administration. After serving as an aide to Mayor Lindsey, Searles left public office temporarily to pursue the world of high finance and was hired as a floor trader for the emerging brokerage firm Newburger, Loeb, and Co. He became a general partner for the firm and was elected as the first African

American member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on this day in 1970. Shortly after his time in Wall Street, Searles returned to public office and served two gubernatorial appointments as Chairman and Director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency where he was responsible for municipal housing issues totaling more than $600 million. Searles was the first Chairman of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in Harlem and is considered a leading expert in urban retailing.

After being confirmed as a member of the NYSE, Searles noted: “It’s a personal challenge to me as a black man to become part of the economic mainstream of this country. I think there will be more black members at the exchange. Hopefully, my presence will increase the credibility of the financial community, as far as blacks are concerned.” Searles paved the way for African Americans, and later women, to participate on Wall Street, and is a shining example of African American progress.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South West

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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FG’s anti-corruption efforts cosmetic –ASUU KEMI OLAITAN

•Demands social security for unemployed, marginalised

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and marginalised. This is contained in the communiqué issued after its National Executive Council meeting held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, and made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. In the communiqué signed by its President, Dr.

IBADAN

he Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday lambasted the Federal Government over its halfhearted attempts to wage war on corruption. The union, which described government’s antigraft crusade as cosmetic, called for social security scheme for the unemployed

Nasir Fagge, ASUU said the battle against corruption was being fought halfheartedly with ridiculous outcomes, adding that if all avenues of corruption and mindless looting in Nigeria were plugged, the country would be able to implement social security programme to develop human capital.

ASUU also described lampooned the judicial decision on the case of Mr. John Yakubu of the Pension Office. “It is unimaginable that this culprit could be allowed to pay a fine of N750,000 after embezzling about N23 billion and left off the hook. “Yet the leadership of this country would want us

to take it serious on its orchestrated crusade against corruption,” the union said. ASUU also raised the alarm over the quality and integrity of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology with negative consequences for her graduates. It added that students, who were not properly

taught, were forced to sit for examinations in a most bizarre manner by the university authorities. The union disclosed that its members in the university had been on strike since August 2012 over the illegal appointment of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. B. B. Fakae, while calling for the inauguration of governing councils of universities whose tenure would expire today.

Crisis not behind committees’ dissolution –Ekiti Assembly ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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Sympathisers removing a vehicle involved in an accident at OPIC roundabout, Oke-Ilewo area, Abeokuta, yesterday.

Police brutality: Group seeks justice, compensation for corps member

ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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pressure group, Ekiti for Justice and Fairness, EJF, has threatened court case to compel the police to compensate a corps member who lost his sight while being tortured by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS. The corps member, Mr. Anthony Chukwuebuka Onuagbara, serving with Ekiti State University, AdoEkiti, was allegedly beaten by some SARS men on August 12 last year at his house in Adebayo area of Ado-Ekiti. But EJF said it was saddened by the shoddy way the police and the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, were handling the case of Onuagbara, who completes his service year tomorrow. When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Victor Babayemi Olu, said the matter was still being investigated. He said: “Whether the corps member is in Ekiti or not, we will ensure that the

culprits are fished out and punished for committing such an offence. “He had met with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sotonye Wakama, and he had assured him that those behind the attack would be dealt with. “So, whether he is in Ekiti or not is inconsequential to us, we will still go ahead and do the investigation to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.” But the EJF Coordinator, Dr. Joseph Ayeoba, said in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti yesterday that while other corps members would be completing the service year hale and hearty, Onuagbara would be leaving with disability occasioned by police brutality. Ayeoba emphasised the need for the corps member to be compensated by the police to make up for the sufferings and lifetime infirmity they subjected him to. The coordinator expressed fear that those behind the dastardly act might not be punished owing to laxity being displayed by the police

and NYSC, saying that it expected the police to have concluded investigation by now and ensured that the officers responsible were made to face the full wrath of the law. He said: “Anthony is under excruciating pain on a daily basis. His eye is shrinking and he could no longer see the way he had been seeing, so we demand an expeditious investigation of this case. “The victim will be rounding off his one year compulsory service on February 14,

PHOTO: NAN

2013 and we suspect that the police may cover up the case immediately Anthony leaves Ekiti and this will not be in the interest of justice and fair play, which are the bedrocks of democracy.” The travail of the Marketing graduate of Anambra State University started with his fellow corps member resident in the same compound who had a misunderstanding with a sex worker, who in turn called the SARS operatives.

kiti State House of Assembly said yesterday that dissolution of its standing committees was to strategise and reposition the legislative body for more work. The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Churchill Adedipe, who said the rumour of crisis in the Assembly was in the imagination of the peddlers, said the committees would soon be reconstituted for fresh ideas and innovations in the lawmaking process. Adedipe told journalists at a press conference attended by 22 of the 26-member Assembly including the Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin, that the joint conference addressed a few days after resumption from its break was a reflection of the existing unity in the House. Describing as untrue the claim that a principal officer of the House resigned her position, he also dissociated the legislature from the alleged sack of the Clerk of the House, Mr. Tunde Famo-

yegun, saying that was the duty of the House of Assembly Service Commission. He said: “I am not aware of any lawmaker resigning his or her position as a principal officer of the House. It is news to me and you are just giving me information to that effect.” Meanwhile, an acting Clerk, Mr. Joseph Tola Esan, who is former Executive Secretary of the Ekiti House of Assembly Service Commission, has been appointed for the Assembly. Adedipe added that the disagreement between some members of the Assembly had been resolved amicably. He said: “You don’t resolve internal disagreement in market places. Whatever disagreement we had, it was an internal matter and it is the beauty of democracy that when we have any disagreement, we resolve it amicably.” According to him, the presence of security men at the Assembly Complex last week was based on the security report by the state government.

Oyo demands Ladoja’s ‘stolen’ money, Akala’s trial

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overnor Abiola Ajimobi’s administration has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to release to it money and property belonging to Oyo State seized from former Governor Rashidi Ladoja. The government also called on the anti-graft agency to expedite the trial of former Governor Adebayo AlaoAkala. The demand, which formed part of the resolutions of the State Executive

Council, was conveyed to journalists yesterday in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Taiwo Otegbeye. The executive council said this was necessary for good governance. “The Executive Council of Oyo State Government has passed a resolution urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to expedite action on the trial of the two former governors of Oyo State and their co-accused persons facing trial for

misappropriation of the state funds and resources,” the statement reads in part. Commending EFCC for its giant strides in investigating, arresting and prosecuting the two former governors for offences relating to misappropriation and conversion of the state funds and resources, the government noted that the trials of the former governors were yet to commence. The government also asked the commission to release to it money and

property, which included impounded vehicles purchased from the proceeds of the loot for some family members, that were recovered from the former governor and fellow accused persons. It added that the money and property, worth over N700 million recovered by the anti-graft agency, was still outstanding. The government thus demanded for the refund to enable the state apply and use it for the execution of developmental projects.


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South East

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

I travelled to London for cancer treatment –Chime DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

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ne week after he returned to Nigeria, Enugu State Governor Sullivan Chime has disclosed the nature of the sickness that took him abroad for four months. Chime admitted that he travelled abroad to treat the cancer that attacked his nose. The governor, however, said his aides were right to have described his absence from the Government House as an “extended vacation” because he hid his medical condition from them.

The governor, therefore, asked the Enugu people to blame the speculation on his illness on himself rather than on his aides. Chime, who addressed some journalists on Monday night, said he was happy that the administration of the state ran smoothly while he was away, adding that he would soon resume work. He said: “It is indeed heart-warming to be in your midst today after four and half months outside the country. I decided to meet with you for us to have opportunity to clarify a few issues because I read so many embarrassing publications;

most of them conflicting, almost all of them false. I have decided to clear the air because when I came back, I got all sorts of messages from strange people thanking God for my return. I have, therefore, decided to meet with you with the hope that after this meeting, we would have put to rest everything that bothered on rumour. “In August last year, I was privileged to be one of those nominated by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to go to Germany to study their federalism. I was to represent the South- East zone; I had to use the opportunity of the trip to pass through London

to do my medicals since it was the only opportunity I had to do that. After my medicals, I was certified fit by the doctors, but I noticed that I had a little growth beneath my jaw. Ordinarily, nobody could see it, but I felt it seriously and asked the doctors to do further investigation on it. “I was later referred to a GP, who after examining me, said there was nothing wrong with me. I still asked for further investigation. I even made arrangement with them to help me set appointment for closer investigation. “I left for Germany and had to still return to Lon-

don to keep the appointment for proper screening of the growth. It was after the screening that it was discovered that the growth in question was cancerous. It was also discovered that the main tumour was behind my nose; it was simply called cancer of the nose. “Cancer is such a thing that when you hear it, the person involved will even declare himself dead instantly. I was subjected to further scanning at the nose and neck and was told that it was curable, not manageable. When I asked how to go about it, I was told it has to be as early as possible be-

fore it spreads to other areas. Accordingly, I arranged for it to be done. I had to cancel further trips and agreed to be back to London in two weeks. “Within the period, I came back to Nigeria and made arrangement for transmission. I wrote a letter to the House of Assembly Speaker, informing him of my decision to proceed on leave and sought his cooperation to work with my deputy who will act as governor. We even held two executive council meetings within the period where I informed members of my executive that I was proceeding on a long vacation”.

Our benefits not paid 13 years after amnesty –Biafra policemen CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Dr. Chris Ngige (left) and others at a public hearing on the discovery of corpses at Ezu River of Amansea in Awka, yesterday.

House members reject Okorocha’s budget CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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ll is not well in the Imo State House of Assembly as majority of members have allegedly vowed not to support the passage of the 2013 Appropriation Bill presented by Governor Rochas Okorocha last year. It was gathered that the aggrieved lawmakers have

planned to stop the passage of the budget. National Mirror learnt that the members, after series of meetings, resolved not to support the Speaker of the House, Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu, over the budget issue without the full payment of all their outstanding entitlements and fringe benefits, which they alleged the governor denied them. But a source, who did not

want his name mentioned, said the lawmakers decided not support the budget passage because of Governor Okorocha’s refusal to dissolve his executive as suggested the lawmakers. It will be recalled that Okorocha, on December 3 last year, presented a budget proposal of N197.7 billion to the state House of Assembly for the 2013 fiscal year. Three months after, the

Imo State House of Assembly is still playing cat and mouse game on the budget proposal. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who pleaded not to be mentioned, said: “the lawmakers are ready for a showdown with the Speaker over the passage of the budget, except the governor pays up every entitlement he owes the lawmakers.”

Monarchs accuse Abia lawmakers of extortion GEORGE OPARA ABIA

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raditional rulers in Abia State have accused the House of Assembly of extorting N80 million from all the autonomous communities in the state. They alleged that the House asked each of the autonomous communities to pay N100, 000 as levy for their reaccreditation. There are about 800 autonomous com-

munities in the state. The monarchs, who reported the issue to Governor Theodore Orji on Monday when they visited him at the Government House, decried the levy and described it as illegal. The monarchs, therefore, urged the governor to stop the alleged extortion. They were led to the Government House by the Chairman of Abia State Traditional Rulers Council, Eze John Akaliro.

“You are the only person we can come to for protection and we want you to save us sir,” Eze Akaliro told the governor. According to him, the lawmakers distributed forms to all autonomous communities and asked them to fill and return the forms with N100, 000 per community. The monarchs said the House of the Assembly claimed that the forms were for the verification of autonomous status of each com-

munity. They added that the House issued similar forms to them two years ago which they submitted with N40, 000 each. Akaliro told the governor that the House had pegged February 19, 2013 as deadline for the submission of the forms. But Governor Orji denied knowledge of the levy, explaining that all three arms of government are independent of one another.

he Imo State chapter of the Members of the Association of Retired War Affected Police Officers from the South-East and SouthSouth states of Nigeria (ARWAPO) yesterday accused Police Authorities of corruption. ARWAPO accused the Police Authorities of refusing to pay their entitlements 13 years after former President Olusegun Obasanjo granted amnesty to the Biafran police officers. Addressing journalists yesterday in Owerri, the Imo State capital, ARWAPO Secretary, Chief Cal-

istus Anejionu, said since May 29, 2000 when former President Obasanjo granted amnesty to the police and members of the armed forces who fought on the side of Biafra that the Ministry of Police Affairs had refused to pay their retirements as well as pension arrears. Anejionu said: “After the civil war, we were not reabsorbed back into the Nigeria Police Force in 1970 on the allegation that we fought on the side of Biafra. We protested the action, but on May 29, 2000, former President Obasanjo granted an unconditional amnesty to the police officers and members of the armed forces affected”.

Coalition hails CP over crime reduction NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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coalition of human rights groups has praised the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Ballah Nasarawa, for tackling crimes in the state. The rights groups praised the police boss for reducing criminal activities in the state within the 12 months of his assumption of office. The rights groups included South-East Democratic Vanguard (SDV), Save Anambra Group (SAG), Anambra People’s Assembly (APA), the Traders Right Forum and Ndi-Igbo Unity Forum. In a press statement issued yesterday in Onitsha, the coalition said it unanimously gave the commissioner of police vote of confidence even in the face of obvious challenges. In the statement signed

by the chairman of the coalition, Chief Augustine Chukwudum, the rights groups said in the last one year, the Anambra State Police Command had recorded tremendous successes in the fight against crimes, especially kidnapping in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi. The statement reads: “not minding the non-availability of logistics like tracking machines and other devices to fight crimes effectively in Anambra, Nasarawa had lived above board in the discharge of his duties. “In the last 12 months, Nasarawa has recovered over 60 AK-47 rifles and 30 General Purpose Machine (GPM) guns, 17 English pistols and 27 locally made guns, as well as several quantities of arms and ammunition which are enough to declare war in Anambra State”.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South South

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

JTF arrests 52 suspected oil thieves •Destroys 23 illegal refineries O peratives of the Joint Military Taskforce, JTF, has again arrested 52 suspected oil thieves, impounded two marine vessels and two barges allegedly used in illegal bunkering activities in parts of the Niger Delta. The JTF also destroyed 23 illegal refineries along Ughoton River in Okpe and Saghara Pipeline Inlet Channel in Warri South Local Government of Delta State. In a statement issued yes-

terday by the spokesman of the JTF, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the body said it conducted illegal oil bunkering raids along Akassa Waterways in Otokolomobio, near Oloma, Bayelsa State and Bonny Island in Rivers State, where it impounded the said vessels and barges. Nwachukwu said the various raids by the JTF were executed between January 19 and February 8, this year, noting that the seized vessels

MT Sophia and MT Everest 1 were currently berthing at the jetty of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, in Bonny Island. The spokesman informed that the suspects were currently undergoing preliminary investigation before they would be handed over to the various prosecuting agencies. He continued: “The JTF also arrested five wooden barges popularly known as

Cotonou boats conveying stolen petroleum products. The boats were arrested along Ugbokoto community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State and Obi Creek at Ikomogbemi, Otua, Tebidaba and Akassa communities in Brass and Southern Ijaw Local Governments of Bayelsa State.” Nwachukwu further said that the JTF was conducting ‘cordon and search’ of suspected sea robbers who killed two of its personnel during a gun battle on February 5.

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BRACED tasked to develop South-South’s aquatic life TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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kwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, has tasked BRACED Commission comprising Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta States to focus more on the development of abundant aquatic lives of the SouthSouth zone. He said such efforts will create employment opportunities for the zone’s teeming youths. Governor Akpabio, who made the call yesterday when the Director-General of BRACED Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi and the Commissioners of Agriculture of the BRACED states paid him a courtesy visit at the Governor’s Office, Uyo. He lamented that Akwa Ibom State has not really taken advantage of the development of aquatic lives in the state. The governor remarked: “The South-South has some challenges such as poverty and insecurity. So, this is the time for us to take our des-

tinies in our hands for the peace and development of the region. “Therefore, the BRACED Commission must focus and discuss more on their next summit meeting on the aquatic wealth of the nation for the employment of our people. “Already, the South-South has a lot of shrimps which could be transported by boats for sale and for export. That could in turn generate revenue for the people. We must discuss how to provide the boats and finances for the processing of our marine wealth.” According to him, Ghanaians and other nationals have been engaged in fishing business in the country’s territorial waters, urging the BRACED Commission to take advantage of the availability of aquatic lives in the region by exploiting such to create jobs for the people. The governor expressed happiness at the commission’s interest in agriculture, acknowledging that Akwa Ibom State government is committed to agriculture, particularly rice production.

ASUU carpets RSUST over abuse of due process PRECIOUS-WERNER AHIAKWO PORT HARCOURT L-R: Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; his Benue State counterpart, Gabriel Suswam and Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, speaking to journalists after a board meeting of Niger Delta Power Holding Company in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Immigration deports 4, 738 illegal immigrants TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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he Akwa Ibom State office of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has announced the deportation of over 4,738 illegal immigrants between last year and early this year. The state Comptroller of Immigration, Mr. Emmanuel Gbuuga, who disclosed this in an interview with National Mirror yesterday in Uyo, also said that no fewer than 4, 328 persons were admitted to stay in the country after the Service was convinced about the veracity of their documents. Gbuuga said the deported immigrants were arrested at various authorised entry and exit points in the state. He pointed out that during the period under review, 7,199 applications for electronic passports were processed and handed over

to their eligible owners. According to the comptroller, one Cameroonian was arrested and was accordingly deported on the order of the court while 32 other African nationals were also repatriated to their countries of origin after being screened and found to have entered the country illegally. Out of this number, Cameroonians top the list with 24 irregular immigrants; there were also five Gabonese nationals, one Ghanaian, one Equatorial Guinean and one Gambian. The culprits were shown the way out of the country for various immigration offences, ranging from lack of valid documents and overstaying their visitors permit, among other sundry offences. “We also refused 24 irregular immigrants entry into Nigeria through vari-

ous control posts in Akwa Ibom State, for non-compliance with admission procedures, warning that this practice was a threat to national security. A breakdown of the 24 nationals showed that Cameroonians again topped the chart with 11 persons, while Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Mali and Mauritanian, all have their nationals as culprits. He said the state command has also evolved strategies that will promote economic growth, tourism and internal security in line with the state government’s transformation agenda. It has also promised to remain focused, proactive and purely professional in the discharge of its functions in the years ahead. In another development, the Service in Akwa Ibom State wishes to alert the general public that it has

not authorised any person or group of persons to collect money for employment purposes on its behalf nor have any knowledge of such arrangement as it has never and will never sell appointments. It warned that anybody patronising these groups of criminals is entirely on his or her own. “Employment in the Service is always advertised in the print and electronic media and are strictly for those who are eminently suitable,” the command stated.

Minister of Interior, Abba Moro

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he National Executive Council, NEC, of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has again criticised what it’s described as abuse of due process at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, RSUST. ASUU in a communiqué issued at the end of its national executive council meeting at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, described RSUST as a university where mediocrity thrived. The communiqué berated the action of the management of the RSUST in disregarding the rights of ASUU members to freedom of association and peaceful assembly. The national executive council of ASUU further called on the National Universities Commission, NUC, not to condone the wanton violation that is threatening the ability of RSUST to produce quality graduates. Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer, PRO, of RSUST, Desmond Nwosu, in a reaction, described the

statement as unfortunate and a blackmail of the university. “The national executive council of ASUU is merely blackmailing the management of this university. The Rivers State chapter of ASUU here has accused the reappointment of the current Vice-Chancellor of RSUST, Prof. Barineme Fakae, of not following due process. “The governor who appointed him said he followed due process and asked ASUU to go to court if they are not satisfied, but they didn’t do that. “We are surprised that this case is still reoccurring. It’s very unfortunate for the Rivers State chapter of ASUU to call on the national ASUU to sanction us,” he said. He also dismissed claims by the state ASUU that the university is on strike at the moment. “The students are back to campus following the resumption of a new session. Lecturers are teaching in the classrooms, over 85 percent of students and lecturers are against the proposed strike by the union,” he assured.


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North

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Benue needs over N3bn to pay teachers –Gov’s aide K

I’ve no plan to become CBN gov –Yero A ZA M SUE KADUNA

HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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enue State Government said yesterday that it was shopping for over N3 billion to implement the minimum wage and settle backlog of teachers’ emoluments. The Special Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Solomon Wombo, disclosed this in an interview with journalists. This followed the outcry teachers in the state over the non-implementation of the Federal Government approved minimum wage for workers in the country. Wombo said the problem had become cumbersome because of the meagre monthly allocation accruable to the state from the Federation Account. The special adviser said the government was ready to meet the yearnings and expectations of the teachers. He, however, said there was no money to conveniently offset the arrears of the teachers’ emoluments. Teachers in Benue State have been grumbling over what they described as “government’s insensitivity” to their plight because of its refusal to pay the minimum wage for more than two years.

Wombo also said the issue had been causing the government sleepless nights. He said: “We are suggesting a way out. The committee set up by state government to verify the number of teachers in the state has concluded it assignment. The state

government is studying the report. “We are not insensitive to the plight of teachers but we cannot borrow money to pay salaries rather government is working towards cutting cost. “I have been holding several meetings with the

leadership of Nigerian Union Teachers, NUT, in the state and have pleaded with them for time.” The special adviser appealed to teachers in the state to bear with the government, noting that efforts were being made to find a lasting solution to the problem.

aduna State Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero yesterday disclosed that he had no interest in succeeding Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. This followed alleged plot by the Presidency to appoint Yero as CBN governor to allow his deputy, Ambassador

LG polls: Gombe opposition parties sue electoral body DANJUMA WILLIAMS GOMBE

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he Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has led a coalition of opposition political parties to sue the Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission, GOSIEC, for charging fees for nomination forms before participating in the forthcoming local government elections.

The CPC Chairman, Audu Baba Kwami, told journalists that the opposition parties filed the suit at the state High Court because of the various sums of money charged as fees for nomination forms for candidates vying for the offices in the councils in the polls scheduled to hold on February 23. He said: “We consider that uncalled for, unconsti-

tutional and we are challenging that decision. We have filed a matter on that and we are waiting for the date of mention for hearing.” Kwami, who is also a lawyer, argued that the law passed by the state House of Assembly over the nomination fee must conform with the provisions of the country’s constitution otherwise, it becomes null and void.

He said: “The law of the state must be subject to the laws of the country; that is our position. “We, the coalition and the leadership of the CPC, are taking the responsibility because we represent the people. More so, they gave us only six days to pay that huge sum of N500,000 for chairman, N250,000 for deputy chairman and N150,000 for councillors.”

L-R: Chairman, Zaki Local Government Area, Bauchi State, Alhaji Mohammed Babaji; Commissioner for Special Duties, Alhaji Bappah Azare; Chairman, Bogoro council, Mr. Simon Taimako; District Head of Bogoro, Alhaji Husaini Haruna and Village Head of Bogoro, Mr. Nuhu Tafida, during the inauguration of Bogoro Local Government Guest House in Bauchi State, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Group plans N97bn hospital for Abuja MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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fforts by the Federal Government to make the health sector private-driven to make healthcare accessible and affordable for Nigerians yesterday received a boost with a proposed N97 billion hospital to be built in Abuja. Dubbed: “Abuja Medical City,” the 1,687-bed hospital expected to be completed between 24 and 36 months will comprise Trauma Centre, Specialty Hospital, Amenity Care Pavilion, Paediatric Hospital, Maternal and New Born Institute, Physiother-

apy and Rehabilitation and Ambulatory Care Centre. The project, according to the spokesperson of the multinational corporation executing the project, IBT Group, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, is to save Nigeria several billions of naira lost annually to foreign medical treatments and bring healthcare services closer to the citizenry. He added that the institution fitted into the National Strategic Health Development Policies, NSHDP, and would “strengthen national healthcare train and inspire tomorrow’s healthcare professionals. Abuja Medical City represents an opportu-

nity to redirect money spent on medical tourism into the country.” Kachikwu said the facility would engage doctors in Nigeria and in the Diaspora and create employment opportunities for unemployed Nigerians. Speaking on the project, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, commended the initiative. Chukwu said the proposed hospital would help in reducing economic loss by Nigeria to medical tourism. The minister added that the initiative came at a time Nigeria was preparing for its centenary celebrations.

Merger, only credible option to rescue Nigeria –Former Minister HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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Second Republic Minister of Communications, Chief Isaac Shaahu, has described the merger of the four major opposition parties as the only credible option to save Nigeria from disintegration. Shaahu said this yesterday in an interview with our correspondent in Gboko, Benue State. He added that the country required people with strong will to save it. According to him, the

national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Bola Tinubu, the founder of the Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, General Mohammadu Buhari, and other chieftains of the opposition are struggling for the rebirth of Nigeria. The former minister and chieftain of ACN implored well-meaningful Nigerians to give necessary cooperation to the newly formed party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, “to effect the desired change” at the centre in 2015.

Nuhu Bajoga, complete the late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa’s tenure. Describing the speculation as the handiwork of mischief-makers, Yero said he was committed to delivering dividends of democracy to the people of Kaduna State. However, in a statement signed by his Director General on Media and Publicity, Ahmed Maiyaki, the governor urged the people to ignore what he described as wicked rumour, while appealing for massive support to move the state forward. Yero said he remained resolute in his principle of putting the interest of the people above personal interest and could not be distracted by the recent antics of political jobbers bent on creating confusion in the state. The statement read in part: “It has come to our notice that some miscreants are peddling rumour of a purported move to appoint His Excellency, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, at the expiration of the tenure of the current Governor of the apex bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. “While we may have ignored this insinuation as another handiwork of mischief-makers, it is pertinent to put the record straight in the interest of providing accurate information to the people of Kaduna State and beyond, to save them from falling gullible to falsehood. “We wish to state categorically that His Excellency is the governor and has no interest in taking up appointment at the CBN or any other institution. “... Yero remains committed and focused to providing purposeful leadership that will bring about rapid transformation of Kaduna State. His preoccupation at the moment is how to draw up and execute comprehensive master plan that would improve the overall living conditions of the entire people of Kaduna State. We call on the good people of Kaduna State to ignore such wicked rumours.”


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Treasury looters won’t escape justice –Bakare

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Politics

2015: Akpabioo endorsed for Senatee

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PDP opposes Oyinlola’s return as secretary Ex-gov knows fate March 21

EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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new twist has been added to the removal of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the party yesterday opposed his application for stay of execution before an Abuja Federal High Court. Justice Abdu Kafarati had on January 11 ordered Oyinlola to vacate his position as PDP’s national scribe on the basis that the South-West Zonal congress that produced him was null and void. Kafarati’s order was made sequel to a suit filed by Chief Adebayo Dayo and Alhaji Semiu Sodipo, both of whom are chieftains of the party in Ogun State. They had in an originating summons sought an order nullifying the

South-West Zonal congress of the PDP that produced Oyinlola. This is even as they prayed the court for an order removing the former governor of Osun State from the office of national secretary of his party. Consequent upon this, the PDP filed an application for stay dated January 14. However, signs that the party was making a volteface emerged when its counsel, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) made an application to withdraw the earlier motion for stay; same was struck out. In a counter-affidavit by Gadzama, the PDP informed the court that “We are opposing the application for stay of execution both factually and legally.” Gadzama further stated that, “the executory order of the court was made on 11th of January, 2013 and

the applicant slept and woke up on 21st January, almost two weeks later. “The executory orders of the court were complied forthwith on the 11th January by the PDP and Oyinlola also complied with the executory orders of the court; there is nothing to stay and this application ought not to stay in this court,” Gadza-

ma added. On that score, therefore, he urged the court to dismiss the application, saying since they had “slept and just woke up, it presupposes that if they get an order of stay, they will go and sleep.” Arguing on the compelling need for the court to stay its order pending the hearing and determina-

tion of the appeal before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, Oyinlola’s counsel, Dr. Awa Kalu (SAN) told the court that, since it did not make any order for the benefit of the PDP, the party could not have proceeded to enforce same, pointing out that they were just “volunteers” in the circumstance. According to him, “It is

APC: Merger’ll strengthen democracy, says Ita-Giwa TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE

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ormer Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on National Assembly Matters, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa has applauded the merger of opposition political parties ahead of the 2015 general elections, describing it as ingredient that will sustain the nation’s democratic principles. Ita-Giwa, who is the political leader of the Bakassi People Assembly, in a statement made available to National Mirror yesterday, noted that the merger of four political parties to form All Progressives Congress (APC) is in the interest of the nation, adding that the merger is not strange since parties had always merged to position themselves against the ruling party. Rather than seeing the merger as a threat to the

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ita-Giwa asserted that it will be myopic to see it from that perspective, noting that strong opposition will only strengthen democratic institutions. She said: “The furore and controversies raised by the merger of the CPC, ANPP, APGA and ACN is unnecessary. This development is a welcome one. My take is that it will further strengthen our political system. “Globally, opposition parties consolidate democratic ideals. It enables the ruling party to deliver more on its electoral promises to the people. It allows for a healthy competition between the opposition and the ruling party and the benefits cannot be overemphasised. I am keen at all efforts aimed at sustaining our democracy and ensuring that the masses benefits accordingly.”

Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole (left) and Chairman, Organising Committee of the Abel Guobadia Memorial Lecture, Dr. Wilson Imogan, during a courtesy visit to the governor in Benin City, yesterday.

not in the place of any of the parties to claim that the order has been executed and so there is nothing to stay.” Also opposing the motion, counsel to Dayo and Sodipo (Plaintiffs/ Respondents), Mr. A. Oluyede urged the court to dismiss Oyinlola’s motion with cost. He submitted that “it is not in controversy that the applicant is no longer the National Secretary of the PDP. “This applicant is a contemnor and until the court determines the pending application of contempt, he cannot be heard,” he concluded. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) urged the court to determine the pending application on its merit. Counsel to the electoral commission, W. T. Iorshe said: “We urge your lordship to exercise your discretion on its merit because, as an independent body, “we are poised to obey the decision of this court.” The matter has been adjourned till March 21, to deliver ruling on the motion brought Oyinlola.

Ex-Kogi senatorial candidate to be arraigned for impersonation

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former Kogi Central Senatorial candidate, Alhaji Abdulazeez Bello will soon be arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of impersonation and forgery. Bello, 49, according to a EFCC’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, was arrested recently by operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) at a popular hotel in Lagos for impersonating the Director of Operations of the EFCC, Mr. Olaolu Adegbite. According to the commission, Bello was at the hotel premises to further an advance fee fraud agenda targeted at Mrs Mercy Orji,

wife of the Abia State governor, Mr. Theodore Orji. He reportedly posed as the EFCC’s Director of Operations with a fake identity card bearing the name of E. Adegbite. Reports from the SSS indicated that Bello was arrested on January 27, 2013 while negotiating with some aides of his would-be victim. He was later handed over to the EFCC for prosecution. At the EFCC’s office, the politician said that he was working with certain Nelson Ndukwe and Chuks Offor, both aides of Mrs. Orji to perfect his nefarious agenda of swindling her. He confessed that he

impersonated the EFCC’s Director of Operations. “I’m sorry that I impersonated the Operations Director of the EFCC. I did it to be able to arrest Mrs. Orji’s assistants who are said to be working for

Bello

her to launder money. It was my first time of doing this. EFCC should help me out of this,” he said. Bello has made useful statements to the EFCC and will be charged to court soon.


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Politics

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2015: Akpabio endorsed forA Senate TONY ANICHEBE writes on the adoption of the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, by his kinsmen, as the senatorial candidate for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in the 2015 election.

KPABIO HAS

RESTORED THE DIGNITY AND PRIDE OF THE

ANNANG... THEREFORE, SENDING HIM TO THE SENATE

PEOPLE OF

T

hough 2015 is more than two years away, politicians have started preparations to get power at all cost. From subtle campaigns to loud ones and outright endorsements and adoption of aspirants, the stage is gradually taking shape in Akwa Ibom State. While every other political position may be hotly contested by politicians in the state come 2015, one position appears to be reserved without any opposition and that is the position of senator for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, which has been expressly reserved for the incumbent governor of the state, Godswill Akpabio. Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is made up of nine local government areas of predominately minority Annang ethnic stock, but within the Annang is two Ibibio local government areas of Ikono and Ini, which are minorities within the Annang territory where they are geographically cited. Ibibios are the majority in the larger Akwa Ibom State. The incumbent senator representing the senatorial district at the Senate, Aloysious Etuk, is from Ikono Local Government Area and his sojourn to the National Assembly was due to the magnanimity of Governor Akpabio, who insisted that since he is of Annang ethnic stock and governor of Akwa Ibom State, the position of the senator representing the area should go to the minority Ibibio in the senatorial district. Ordinarily, Etuk stood no chance of winning an election with two Ibibio councils against seven Annang councils within the senatorial district. That was in 2007. He had initially lost to Saviour Udoh from Obot Akara in an open contest for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket but Governor Akpabio’s resolve to give the Ibibio in the district a sense of belonging prompted his emergence. In 2011, as a serving senator, Etuk was again rescued by Akpabio when other aspirants, mainly from the Annang ethnic stock trooped out to wrestle the seat from him. Akpabio openly appealed to them to sheath their swords and Etuk was returned unopposed in the senatorial primaries as the likes of Obong Okon Uwah, former deputy speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assmebly, Anny Asikpo, Emmanuel Enoidem and many others quitted the race in reverence to the governor. Though Akpabio’s towering influence in the senatorial district was not questionable, he had one way or the other seen to the compensation of most of the aspirants discouraged from contesting the Senate seat with either another position or contract jobs. On assumption of duty as governor

IS JUST A WAY TO ENCOURAGE HIM TO DO MORE FOR OUR PEOPLE

Akpabio

in 2007, Akpabio obviously aware of the rural nature of his senatorial district made the idiom, ‘charity begins at home’ his watch word. For those who last visited Annang land of Akwa Ibom State before 2007, any visit to the area now would require a strict guide else they may not find their way. The governor, out of what he sometimes described as positive anger, brought first class construction firms who have changed the entire landscape of the area with dualised and well paved roads, and several other facilities which include hospitals, schools, several electricity and water projects among others. The governor has also touched the lives of several people from the district through appointments, contract jobs and other forms of empowerment. It is a known fact that roads like Cardinal Ekanem, Etim Ekpo-Ika, AbakIkot Ekpene etc were so dilapidated that people farmed on them when vehicles could no longer ply them, but Akpabio has transformed the fortunes of his Annang people. Thus, it is a common knowledge today that in the entire Annang land which is Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, when the governor made known in an interview of his desire to retire after his eight years stint as governor, to become a development consultant,

his people refused and urged him to go to the Senate. Making their position known recently during the presentation of good governance award to prominent Akwa Ibom indigenes, the Forum of Coordinators of Akwa Ibom State Local Government based socio-political organisations, led by Nsikak Ekong, the member representing Ikot Ekpene/ Obot Akara in the state House of Assembly said that since Governor Akpabio has enthroned good governance in the state and also gave true meaning to democracy and governance, as evidenced in the uncommon transformation in the state, it would be wise and rewarding for him to represent the area in the Senate. The lawmaker noted that the beauty of participatory democracy is the ability to touch lives directly and also provide a strategy to discover collective problems of the people and proffer solutions to them. He maintained that the governor, apart from giving the electorate a sense of belonging in governance, has pursued vigorously the welfare of his people; turned around their economic woes and laid a solid foundation for the future. According to the lawmaker, “it will become an effort in futility for any politician from the senatorial district to struggle for the senatorial seat with Akpabio in 2015, judging by the unquestionable and intimidating political credentials and antecedents of the governor.” Ekong, who is the Chairman of the state House Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Renewal in the state Assembly, expressed hope that if Akpabio is elected to represent his people in the Senate in 2015, there will be qual-

‘Emulate Omoworare’s programmes’ FELIX NWANERI

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olitical leaders and elected representatives in the country have been urged to emulate the senator representing Osun East Senatorial District, Jide Omoworare’s job creation and empowerment programmes in delivering the dividends of democracy to the electorate. A woman leader in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Pastor (Mrs.) Margaret Apo-Eso, who made this appeal from the United Kingdom, said if other representatives of the people could copy this initia-

tive, it would check growing insecurity and unemployment in the country. Apo-Eso, who was recently in Nigeria, said she witnessed the donation of 11 vehicles, 22 motorcycles, 106 generators, 106 fans, 22 grinding machines, sewing machines and tricycles by Omoworare to the people of his senatorial district. She also commended the senator’s healthcare programme, in which 15 healthcare personnel were deployed to treat the elderly and children in his district as well as sending a number of youths from the area to the United States in December 2012 for leadership training and sinking of boreholes for the people of

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

ity and effective representation of the area in the hallowed upper chambers of the National Assembly. He called on the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District to support the aspiration of the governor for the senatorial seat in 2015. Another politician from the Ikot Ekpene, Aniekan Akpan said it will be laughable for any politician to come out to contest the 2015 senatorial slot of Ikot Ekpene district with Akpabio. His words: “Akpabio has restored the dignity and pride of the people of Annang, he has wiped away tears from their eyes, he has given them a sense of belonging in the Akwa Ibom Project, therefore, sending him to the Senate is just a way to encourage him to do more for our people.” Akpan further added: “Governor Akpabio is a visionary leader par excellence, he remains the most intelligent, witty, energetic, simple, unassuming and yet very firm governor Akwa Ibom State ever had. What stands him out from the crowd are his quality and informed decisions and his word which is his bond; Akpabio only has to promise once after that, it is done whether now or tomorrow. Governor Akpabio by actions and utterances has proven that truly a prophet can be honoured in his home.” A businessman based in Abak, Akwa Ibom State, Iboro Ekpo said though people will nurse the ambition of contesting the senatorial seat come 2015, it will take a lot of courage for any of them to stand an election against Akpabio, with his enormous resources and goodwill in Annang land coupled with the fact that he will contest the position as a sitting governor of the state. “It will be a political suicide mission for any aspirant to go to the field with him in 2015,” he said. With the development, Akpabio is sure of getting the PDP ticket while Etuk’s political career may have been halted because of the governor’s ambition. It is believed that the incumbent senator cannot struggle for the same ticket with the governor and succeed. There are permutations that Etuk will either give up his ambition on the platform of the PDP or seek re-election on another political platform. While Akpabio is sure of flying the PDP’s flag in the senatorial election in 2015, there are other aspirants from different political parties ready to challenge him for the senatorial seat. But for Akpabio, the Senate seems to be a fait accompli. his senatorial district. While commending the Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola for his giant strides in turning the fortunes of the state around, Mrs. Apo-Eso saluted the synergy between the governor and the senator, urging the two leaders not to allow detractors to come between them. She said: “The ACN is the only party that can save Nigerians from being further impoverished. What has 13 years of PDP rule in Nigeria given the country? It has not moved the country forward. But we can see the transformation in all the ACN-controlled states in the South-West. Other parties are not happy and they will do anything to frustrate the development for their selfish interest.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Treasury looters won’t escape justice –Bakare The Presiding Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) vice presidential candidate in the 2011 elections, Pastor Tunde Bakare recently spoke to journalists on the state of the nation. SINA FADARE reports. What is your take on the state of the nation? You are all witnesses to what has transpired in our country as a nation in the last one week. How our leaders are chasing shadows instead of substance. I have to come out strongly on this issue because I see a part of the church buying into the hypocrisy, and trying to make mountains out of a mole hill. That was why my sermon was titled “the head that refuses a life giving rebuke will be thrown down the cliff of perdition.” It was the Psalmist who said ‘let the righteous strike me, it would be a kindness and let him rebuke me, it shall be an excellent oil, let my head not refuse it.’ Every time, good quality people, especially those who have served in government before, talk and think this could go further, it is either they have been frustrated or they have lost an election. One of such is what happened to Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The Catholic bishops withdrew from CAN, because of what they say that CAN, under Ayo Orishajefor, has become: nothing but an appendage of the government in power. The body is no longer the voice of the voiceless and the conscious of the nation. Rather than addressing that, what became of CAN leadership was because they lost election. Now I know why President Goodluck Jonathan reasoned the way he did and talked the way he talk; he is surrounded by such people. They do not know their left from their right; promote men above their mental capacity and the incompetence is glaring to the whole world today. They should not vilify good people. On the issue of Nasir el-Rufai statement, a common retweet has become an issue, there was no offence in the statement. ‘That if anyone will criticise the government of Jonathan, his handler, if Christ were to do it in all his holiness, they will find a fault in it and say we suspect you must be sleeping with Mary.’ How has that become an offensive thing? It is a statement, have we lost our sense about simple idiomatic expression? Let us put this right. How do you see the recent pronouncement from the judiciary on corrupt trial? It could be both of them. All the law we have today flows from the Ten Commandments. The punishment for kidnapping in the Bible is death sentence. But the society is moving from the Bible; an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Most people in the world today are against such penalty. The world is looking at a way of reforming them. For example, they can give them life- imprisonment, let them suffer deprivation. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria need total cleansing. We are only wasting our time. There is no vivid way of dealing with the corrupt people and those who brazingly loot the treasury in the country. Treasury looters are given chieftaincy tittles. What nation in the world will go with a band to go and meet a convict from prison? Not that alone, to have a church service for such a person, a former President was in attendance and the following day he said he did not know that it was going to be like that. It was just I scratch your back you scratch my own sort of a thing. But they will not escape. If you ask me how it is going to be, I do not know, but it will come to pass. In whatever God chooses, we need what happened in Ghana to happen in Nigeria. God will send shockwaves down to everybody that have looted the common patrimony to the extent that people will think twice before they go into public service because there will be consequences . Is the judiciary not redeemable?

Bakare

GOD WILL SEND SHOCKWAVES DOWN TO EVERYBODY THAT HAVE LOOTED THE COMMON PATRIMONY TO THE EXTENT THAT PEOPLE WILL THINK TWICE BEFORE THEY GO INTO PUBLIC SERVICE

There are good and bad judges. In all segment of our national life, we have good and bad people, it doesn’t matter their religion. I recall what happened when the late Umaru Yar’Adua perceived that the present Chief Justice might not write judgement in his favour; I was told he sent somebody to her, since she was then a justice of the Supreme Court. He said he needed her help and will appreciate whatever she could do for him. But she replied that ‘I will always follow the laws.’ But she was told that the President want to know if there is anything she can do for him. She told him (Yar’Adua) that the only thing left for her is AlJannah. ‘I want to enter that place and see God. If the President can do it, I will appreciate him.’ They left her alone. The entire system is rotten; we need more than overhaul. The governor of Lagos State has just said that Jonathan is a road side mechanic; he is just tinkering with the destiny of our lives. The whole head is rotten, we need a total overhaul. We need a constitution of the people and for the people which will address the fundamentals, not the one that was imposed on us. Whatever it will take us to get there, we trust God that He would do it and facilitate it sooner than 2015 so that we can celebrate our centenary with sanity. What is your take on the N4 billion allocated for the building of First Ladies Mission house and the N500 million for the rehabilitation of prostitutes and destitutes in Abuja? It is glaring they are not budgeting for the people of this nation or for their comfort. Their concern is not education, good health or rural integration, but their concern is their stomach and their stomach is their god. Once it is approved by the National Assembly, they will spend it. There is nothing anybody can do. But a day is coming when there will be a king who will not know Joseph. I am

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sure something is driving them towards an edge of the cliff which will be calamitous at the end. The First Lady they voted such huge amount of money for is still battling her health; we are all in the hands of God. How do you see the trial of Farouk Lawan while Femi Otedola is walking tall on the street? It may be funny that the government may want to use Femi Otedola as they call it in those days, as ‘the crown witness’. Perhaps it will be planned that he sought the cooperation of the police. But don’t expect that anything will come out of it. Farouk may have gone to the prison, that is all you will hear; they will give him a soft landing and he goes back to the House. He has been there since 1999. The governors are opposing granting autonomy to the local governments. How do you see the development? It does not matter which law you write, as long as you have wrong people and roadside mechanic to fix your vehicle, you will continue to have wrong parts, that are fake, to fix your life. A bad law can be implemented by a good person and a good law can be messed up by a bad person. What we need is a total change. The governors know why they are insisting on controlling the local government. How can the Speaker of the House of Assembly say anything to the contrary? When the House is ‘settled’ before signing anything to law. If you have constituency allowances, I wonder which constituency they want to spend the allowances; the same place the local government is going to function; the same place the governor is going to execute whatever the programme of the government in power is. It is a matter of I scratch your back, you scratch my own. I have a clear example: in my state, during the dedication of my father’s house, we decided to do a three-day health care delivery in order to help the community. We brought a mobile theatre to do simple surgery for people free of charge. Thousands of people rushed to our neighbourhood. When the local government saw that, they decided to name the street after my father. Later the chairman came and said that he needs my help so that all the local governments in the state can benefit from such a laudable programme. I introduced him to the Pure Health organisation, which came to do it and promised to assist. I told him that project cost N10 mllion, that I was willing to subsidise and let all the local government bring N5 million. He told me he was going to see the governor to approve the money. I told him you are the chairman and that I saw in the papers how much you got as allocation for a month, but he told me that, that was what we got on paper. He said ‘the governor is your friend go and speak to him’. I went, and the rest is history. Until we have good governance in our nation, and credible people are not discouraged to enter the public life to serve, things may never change. Do you welcome the recent declaration of ceasefire by the Boko Haram sect? If Boko Haram ceases fire, Haram Boko will resurface somewhere else. People have been pushed to the wall. Was it Boko Haram that killed a medical doctor recently in Lagos? The younger sister of the man who was also a doctor said ‘don’t cry that an armed robber killed my brother, talk about the failed system that did not give that person opportunity to have education or a job to do.’ We would pay for it dearly unless we rise up and fix it now. But the truth of the matter is a child who says his mother is not going to sleep, he too will not sleep. What is your view concerning the merger of some political parties? The truth of it is that if the driving force behind the merger is public good, for Nigeria to change, it is welcome. All of us should key in. If it is going to advance the purpose of those that looted our treasury, it may not work. Last time the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as party of rogues. PDP replied that there are worst criminals among you. My concern is the driving force of that merger and the people that would emerge out of it would not be worst than PDP itself. That is all I’m saying. We trust God that He would guide it and good people will come out of it or else we would be shooting ourselves in the foot again.


Editorial

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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HEAD, GRAPHICS

Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Emir of Kano

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n a rare display of interreligious accommodation and tolerance, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby last Sunday paid a sympathy visit to recuperating Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, in London. The encounter was both an uncommon showcasing of religious piety and conviviality, and a profuse manifestation of what a world of diverse religiosities should be. It is our candid hope that Nigeria’s religious supremacists and pretentiously pious clerics who are intolerant of the rights of others to alternative religious persuasions would learn some lessons from this visit. The strong reaction by the principal leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion to the Saturday January 19 attack on the Emir shows the reprehensible way the world took that dastardly act. The visit is a classical case of empathy and the oneness of humanity irrespective of religious differences. “I am here to bring my condolences on the disgraceful and atrocious attack on His Royal Highness. And on the loss of some of his staff, which is something that is a great shame and I rejoice that His Royal Highness himself was unharmed in the attack”.

CONDEMNATION OF VARIOUS ACTS OF VIOLENCE IN THE COUNTRY IS

NOT ENOUGH, WE MUST ADDRESS THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE UGLY CONDUCT The attack was indeed a national shame and underlined the repugnancy associated with unbridled religious fanaticism. It is gratifying that Nigerians rose in unison to condemn the misguided action. It never crossed the minds of the sponsors and the perpetrators that the Emir’s outing that day was to promote the cause of Islam. What could have been the offence of a royal father known for his predilection for peace and principled but conciliatory stance on the security impasse in the country? Recall that in that sinister attack, several persons including the driver, orderly and a guard were killed and two of his sons wounded. The ease with which the act was carried out exposes the untidiness in the arrangement of guarding the nation’s high profile personalities. If some highly placed individuals

enjoy high profile security cover, why should first class royal fathers like the Emir not enjoy higher state security cover? This becomes more imperative given the pervasive insecurity in parts of the North, especially in Kano Emirate that has been under intense attacks in recent times. The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has shown zest and zeal in fighting crimes and criminalities in that state. His handling of this particular case is commendable. At the last count, seven people have been arrested and eight others, including Malam Sharif Mohammed Ghali, the Imam of Filin Cashew Mosque; Babangida Baba Salihu, an official of the National Hajj Commission in 2010; and two Islamic scholars, have been declared wanted. Those declared wanted should be apprehended for the information they would provide on why and how the attack happened. Condemnation of various acts of violence in the country is not enough, we must address the sociology of the ugly conduct. It has become equally necessary to assess the fighting spirit of our security agents, especially the men and officers of the Nigerian Police Force. All observable lapses must be addressed and their welfare taken more seriously. The security agents could have been given insurance coverage,

but it is common knowledge that claims made on it are unduly delayed. Something should be done by the authorities to ensure that all such claims are expedited. Revelations from the pervasive insecurity in the North have shown that for less than N10, 000, majority of the seriously dehumanized youths could be recruited to kill. The remedy to this is complete social rehabilitation of the mass of our youths to restore their humanity and their warped value judgement. All the three tiers of government need to collaborate on this, and the initiative must come from the Federal Government. The nation would get more mileage from investment in human capital that would transform the bulk of Nigerians into change agents than spending billions of naira on procurement of arms and ammunitions to confront the felons and the training and retraining of security personnel. Alhaji Ado Bayero, it is said, is due back this week. We call on the Police High Command to upgrade his security cover. The last January attack would make the second attempt on his life, the first being that of July 2010 at a Jumaat prayer at the Kano Central Mosque. It is imperative to institute serious investigation into why people want the Emir out.

ON THIS DAY February 13, 2012 The opposition party in Venezuela has picked Henrique Capriles Radonski to run against President Hugo Chavez in the first opposition primary election to be held next October. Chavez who has been in power since 1999 has expressed confidence of his victory. He is largely held by majority of Venezuelans as having run a people-centred government.

February 13, 1955 Israel bought four Dead Sea scrolls written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD from the Syrians for $250,000. The scrolls together with many others discovered in 11 caves in and around the Wadi Qumran are housed at the Shrine of the Book, a wing of the Israel Museum.

February 13, 1945 A massive air raid was carried out in the city of Dresden, in eastern Germany with hundreds of British bombers loaded with incendiaries and highexplosive bombs dropping 1,478 tonnes of high-explosive bombs and 1,182 tonnes of incendiaries. Between 35,000 and 135,000 civilian were dead and the city was reduced to rubbles.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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The fantasy world of aviation ‘expert’ OLA ERINFOWOJURA

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hen men and women of cerebral excellence and strong patriotic will turn around things to make great impact of political and economic relevance in the society, people with dissonant mentality see a different thing altogether! This group of persons abounds in all facets of human endeavors; the Nigerian aviation industry is no exception to this social degradation promoting the Pull Him Down syndrome. They parade themselves as industry experts when in actual fact they are industry destroyers, cynics, confusionists and chronic antagonists, who see nothing laudable and promotional in the sector since the exit of the military almost 14 years ago. Under the military then, the nation’s aviation industry suffered a terrible setback in all ramifications, reaping negatively from its pariah status amongst the comity of nations, when long years of neglect-induced catastrophe resulted in breakdown of facilities at the our airports. The good news is that this sad chapter has changed for the better and progressively over half a decade under the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, whose reliable aide, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, has been outstanding in driving his vision in the sector. This Amazon of a woman, with strong private sector record of excellence, quickly undertook the remodeling of 11 major airports

in the country. A few of them in Lagos, Benin and Yola have been completed and commissioned to the delight of the travelling public, who are yearning for more! Apart from this, the last aviation road show abroad has been adjudged a success in a singular drive to inject vibrancy into the industry through foreign investment. Positive responses from aviation firms from China, USA and Canada lend credence to this astounding story. With a comprehensive master plan/road map, she rolled out the much celebrated Aerotropolis project, which is aimed at transforming the airports to multipurpose entities that will enlarge job and revenue generation capacities for both the public and private investors. Under her charge, the aviation ministry has been given new business orientation leading to its restructuring and re-jigging for optimal results that almost eluded the sector before her arrival. To ensure the steady growth of the aviation sector and facilitate its outstanding contribution to the nation’s GDP, she got approval for import waiver on all commercial aircraft and spares. This singular effort received accolades from the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON).This woman of destiny is not done yet as she is not relenting in pushing for the establishment of a befitting national carrier, though with different ownership formulation. She is undoubtedly on the fast track to bequeath a lasting legacy, and has proved cynics wrong on all fronts .It was not sur-

THE LAST AVIATION ROAD SHOW ABROAD HAS BEEN ADJUDGED A SUCCESS IN A SINGULAR DRIVE TO INJECT VIBRANCY INTO THE INDUSTRY THROUGH FOREIGN INVESTMENT prising therefore, that the Chairperson, House Committee on Aviation, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, declared during a budget defence for 2013 that ‘’the aviation ministry has surpassed other ministries in terms of capital budget implementation for 2012 fiscal year. The transformation of our airport terminals by the minister is phenomenal and highly commendable’’. The Upper Chamber of the House was not left out in this praise and commendation. Her achievements may not have gone down well with self acclaimed experts such as Group Captain John Ojikutu who now ride on the beguiling wing of the unfortunate June 3,2012 DANA air disaster in Lagos to market his ‘expertise’ in the crude manner of an 18th century article merchant. It is my candid believe that it is only those who have been feeding on the previous rot in the industry that could be

audacious enough in this maladaptive orgy of painting white as black. Where was Ojikutu when Runway 18 Left of the Lagos Airport was not lit for more than five years and what was his response when the minister gave Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) a marching order to install airfield lighting on this runway without further delay - it was accomplished on December 24, 2012? Of course, no good comment! Perhaps this expert would have preferred that the airlines should continue to burn fuel taxing from the international wing for 15 minutes to disembark passengers at the local wing for lack of airfield lighting on this particular runway. One of the affected airlines in a recent press interview to acknowledge the minister good work, disclosed losing N600 million monthly on all its fleet having to land in the night on the runway at the international wing of the airport. In the face of this unsavory onslaught, Princess Oduah has remained undaunted, but burning with determination to leave an unassailable legacy in the aviation industry in Nigeria and the entire Sub Saharan Africa. What Oduah deserves now is cooperation of all to achieve the new vision for the thriving Nigerian aviation industry. Erinfowojura, member of Association of Practicing Aviation Professionals, wrote from Lagos

APC: Where are the Igbo? JOE IGBOKWE

THE ERA OF “THE

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PRESIDENT IS OUR

historic event took place at Lagos House Marina on Tuesday 5th February, 2013 where committed men and women gathered to strategize on how to move Nigeria forward after almost 16 years of harrowing hardship in the midst of plenty. It was a gathering of men and women of history who are bent on rewriting the story of Nigeria for the better. It was an assemblage of people with known antecedents, people that can be trusted and people with character. Prior to the Super Tuesday of February 5th 2013 in Lagos, the momentum had been gathering. Since the aborted merger plan in 2011, these men and women have been meeting to find a common ground. Engagements have been taken to the highest level for the good of the Commonwealth. After almost two years of search to end tales of miseries, anguish and pain in Nigeria, a new baby, a child of necessity so to say, was born in Lagos. Welcome, All Progressives Congress (APC)! Before this time, the PDP, desperate to cling to power at all costs, has been scoffing and boasting that the other parties cannot find a common ground to challenge its cosmetic hold on power. That must have informed the way and manner the enablers of this merger worked, keeping the PDP and its acolytes guessing for the most parts of the period the merger talks lasted till February 5th when, unannounced, 10 governors met in Lagos and proclaimed the

NEIGHBOUR” SHOULD BE THROWN INTO THE DUSTBIN OF HISTORY.

HOW TO RETRIEVE

NIGERIA FROM SOULLESS AND STONE AGE MEN AND WOMEN SHOULD BE THE BIG PICTURE birth of APC! Since its birth, while it has been gathering momentum and with Nigerians who have been desirous of ridding the country of the nuisance PDP has been in for 14 years lauded the initiative, the PDP has been struggling between sowing innuendoes about the intent of the parties that came together and struggling to find the right way to react to this development. The proponents of APC know that the old tricks and the ancient antics of a dying power cult that sees its hold on power threatened will be unleashed in the days to come. Propaganda, playing on the people’s ethnic and primordial sentiments, will definitely come in. They are quite prepared for the darts of the PDP and they have assured Nigerians that this is a radical departure from the past the PDP has cashed and profited on

to the detriment of Nigerians. But sadly, I saw only poor Igbo representation in the historic event. Only Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and few other Igbo leaders were there. A day after, some all weather Igbo politicians began to struggle to pull the rug from Governor Okorocha’s feet. I was taken aback that our people through timid and backyard politics are not keying in into this monumental political development in Nigeria. The era of “the president is our neighbour” should be thrown into the dustbin of history. How to retrieve Nigeria from soulless and stone age men and women should be the big picture. During the June 12, 1993 saga, a greater percentage of Igbo leaders lined up behind IBB and Abacha. We know the consequences thereafter. An attempt to change the cause of political events in 1999 failed also because Igbo insisted on playing PDP politics. In 2011 again Igbo timidly played “Jonathan Azikiwe” politics, and Nigeria continued to go under. Now, the big question is this: What have Ndigbo benefited from PDP since 1999? Can we see the benefits in Igboland? Please show me! What have we benefited from Jonathan Azikiwe’s politics since 2011? Which of the promises he made to Ndigbo have been fulfilled as the politics of 2015 is about to kick start? Second Niger Bridge? International Airport? Good federal roads, security? Refineries? Power stations? Additional state(s)? No, no, no, our people must open their eyes now. In 1995, in my book, Igbos: 25 years Af-

ter Biafra, I challenged Ndigbo to try to do away with the politics of the stomach and play politics for growth and survival. It is this politics that has worsened our fate in Nigeria and from a major leg of the tripod that is the Nigerian project, we have been relegated to no leg at all and the elite crop of Igbo politicians continue to blubber about without direction. A serious alliance is being built with the coming of APC, but Igbo are stranded on the very crossroad of indecision and lack of political vision and foresight. There is no alternative to serious politics, if you want to change your fortune for the better. Ndigbo, I support the likes of Governor Rochas Okorocha, Chief George Moghalu, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Dr Chris Ngige, former Governor Achike Udenwa, former Governor Ogbonnaya Onu etc, who joined the great movement to salvage Nigeria. I urge them to work harder to develop a new and visionary genre of politicians that will be able to articulate Igbo politics and issues to the next level and work to achieve the noble goals that will benefit Ndigbo. Igbokwe, a chieftain of ACN, wrote from Lagos Send your views by mail or sms to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mail@ nationalmirroronline.net mirrorlagos@ yahoo.com or 08164966858 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject views or photographs. Pseudonyms may be used but must be clearly marked as such.


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Mail Mirror

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plea bargaining is fraud

P Kudos, FBN

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irst Bank is setting a good example to others. The bank is threading the path of honesty and consistency. The bank’s ATM machine seized my N20, 000 when I tried withdrawing money from the Dugbe branch in Ibadan recently. I reported the matter to the cash operations at UI and the Dugbe main branch. I was asked to write it the way it happened and later my money was refunded. No wonder in its decades of operations the bank has remained on top. The Nigerian society has refused to grow because of dubious and dishonest citizens, corruption and all kinds of vices. We should borrow a leaf from FBN.

lea bargaining is another way of encouraging corruption in governance. Every leader found to be corrupt should take stiff penalty to deter others with the intention of enriching themselves with government funds. The recent

judgement of John Yusuf ’s pension fund fraud is an insult and wickedness from the judiciary and slap in the face of Nigerians. Judiciary is, by this judgement, encouraging corruption in governance. If we don’t fight corrup-

tion seriously, Nigeria is going nowhere in development. The EFCC and other agencies are not living up to their responsibility to bring this syndrome of corruption under control. Also, if it is true that Boko haram wants to dialogue with govern-

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ment, it is a welcome development. Government should not hesitate to take up the dialogue option because many lives have been wasted. We are tired of condolence and sympathy messages. We need proactive action now! Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State.

On Seyi

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Double face of Judiciary

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Paul Agbolade, Ajah, Lagos

WAEC, my result please

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am appealing to the West African Examination Council, through your widely read newspaper to please release my withheld GCE result to enable me further my education. My name is Harrison Nwaigwe and I wrote the exams last year in Delta State. Thank you, sir. 07031356740

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he lesson to learn from the accident in the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan is that Nigerian Heads of State do not need a large entourage during overseas visits, particularly in Europe. Apart from being inelegant, it is an unnecessary waste of money, for a country in economic doldrums. As for who bears liability, it should be assumed that the rented car involved in the accident , has insurance coverage, in which case the carrier of the insurance will cover the loss. With the liaison officer’s car five places away from the President’s car, who are these busy-bodies so close to his car as to displace this government functionary? It is high time we started doing things right. Joseph Fagbola, Lagos

Comrade Ola, Ibadan, Oyo State (08167587147)

udiciary, please be fair! The Daily Mirror of January 30, 2013 featured the story of two staffers of the Federal Cooperative College, Ibadan slammed with four years imprisonment without option of fine for mismanaging N3 million. This was few days after another man, who confessed to stealing billions of naira of police pension funds, was only given two years imprisonment with an option of a paltry N750, 000 fine! Is Nigeria operating two different laws depending on who is involved? Anyway, we should all know that one day, we will stand before the incorruptible Judge of the universe where we shall receive the reward of our activities on earth.

GEJ’s accident in Paris

Dejected casual workers protesting non payment of their wages in Lagos.

Letter to Keshi

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ear Stephen Keshi, I have never seen a man who resigns and ‘un-resigns’ within the time frame of 5 hours. Did you think it over before going public on your ‘resignation’? Was that a cheap blackmail to arm twist the hands in NFF and the presidency just because you just won for your country an elusive AFCON trophy? If truly you were serious, negotiations would still be on with you now and probably the nation would be holding its breath awaiting news of the outcome of the talks with you. But before some people who heard the news on Brilla FM drove from V.I to Ketu, you had already ‘un-resigned’. Listen carefully, NFF had wanted to take the right decision of sacking you after our first two group matches and Nigerians would have applauded them because you looked lost and bereft of ideas on how to make the team click. Our Super Eagles

were nothing, but a bunch of school boys. And then, something happened and they came back and won the hearts of millions of Nigerians once again. Only die hard Super Eagles fans like me stood by that your ‘group stage Eagles’. Don’t abuse that support by trying

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he crisis rocking the Ohanaeze Ndigbo is very unfortunate and sad. Since Igbo cannot manage in-house Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s presidency well, how then can we produce the president of Nigeria when it is our turn? Ndigbo should not make themselves the laughing stock in the eyes of other tribes with this in fighting. The Chief Ben Obi’s committee should resolve the crisis before things get out of control. I love Gov Peter Obi’s directive that all Ohanaeze Ndigbo factions should withdraw their cases from court. In every election, there must be winners and losers. The winner should

Letters to the Edi-

PHOTO:ADEMOLA AKINLABI

to blackmail us. You should have kept quiet, thanked your God and aspire to shame your critics the more instead of that five hour drama you acted. You were lucky it was not an Abacha who would have called your bluff. You had made your mark, you would have either moved on to coach some other country or stayed quiet

and work on winning the World cup with my Eagles, but you acted like a typical Nigerian. Anyway, don’t try that stunt again, even at your home. I wish you all the best as we strive to make an impact at World Cup. Super Eagles forever.

C

Makurdi,

Dr Oby Ezekwesili’s allegation against the government of President Goodluck

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enrich themselves. Government should cancel the anniversary because Nigerians are not happy with what is happening. What with infrastructural decay here and there. Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia state.

Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia state.

ing politics of bitterness so that the South East geopolitical zone will move forward. Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia state.

Centenary celebration, a waste

entenary celebration is another way of wasting resources. What are we celebrating? Is it corruption, insecurity and social vices that had been in our system? I believe the Centenary anniversary is an avenue for some people to

Viasgima, Benue State.

onathan’s mismanagement of our foreign reserve is proper or seeking relevance or because she’s no longer in the corridor of power that warrants her to open up? Nigerians know how leaders milked our foreign reserves dry. If it is the truth, then the allegation is welcome. We should salute her boldness to speak up in letting Nigerians know how our leaders rule us with corruption intake in government. She will come up to defend herself against allegation levelled against her over education trust fund’s misappropriation when she was the Minister of Education.

Justin Akpovi-Esade, Ketu, Lagos

Think, Ndigbo think embrace the loser while the loser should accept defeat in good faith. Power comes only from God. The better way of achieving our presidency in 2015 is by working together. Let us stop play-

eyi Fasugba, You are indeed a great man. I love your write up in today’s National Mirror. May God continue to grant you the wisdom to write more.

Send your letters or mails to PMB 10001, Ikoyi, or our Email: mirrorlagos@yahoo.com and info@nationalmirroronline.net or 08056180209, 07033375481 (SMS only). The Editor reserves the right to edit and reject letters or photographs. Psuedonyms may be used, but must be clearly marked as such.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Health & Wellbeing Drugs containing sulphur may cause neonatal jaundice –Paediatrician

75% breast cancer patients seek medical help late –Surgeons

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ENDANGERED: Health workers going for immunisation exercise

Polo victims: Is this what health workers’ murderers want?

MURDER OF HEALTH WORKERS IN KANO

Nigeria threatens global polio eradication MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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he global effort to eradicate the wild poliovirus, the virus that causes lifelong paralysis or death, suffered a major setback last Friday following the gruesome murder of nine female health workers involved in the national immunisation campaign in two separate attacks in Nassarawa and Taraunil local government areas of Kano State. Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are the only three countries in the world where polio is endemic. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria had the most new cases of polio, with 121. A similar attack occurred last year in Pakistan when nine volunteer vaccinators (mostly women) were murdered thus dimming the hope of polio being the second human disease ever to be eradicated from the earth after small pox. A senior official of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Monday warned that the attack on health workers may mar future immunization exercise especially in the North where the poliovirus is endemic. The official who pleaded anonimity said: “It is unfortunate that security situation in Nigeria is turning this way. Our security challenges in the North started with assaults on political office holders to attacks on public institutions; then it graduated to killings of innocent Nigerians. From there, it moved to bombing of international agencies and unprovoked attacks on religious and traditional institutions and communication masts. Today, what do we see? Mere health officials that work day and night to safeguard the health of our people are the target. This is unfortunate. Except government come to salvage the situation, security of lives in future exercise in Kano

may not be guaranteed. “As a staff of the agency, we are often deployed to states of the federation for the immunization exercise. No matter the benefit anyone would gain, many health workers would not like to take security situation in such an environment for granted. I had this sense of unfriendliness in Kano state last year when a young man threatened to beat the vaccinators in my presence should they vaccinate his child. It took the intervention of the community head before he was convinced of the importance of the vaccine. We must continue to orientate them on the significance of this exercise,” the official concluded. Meanwhile, Gimbiya, Garki 2 headquarters of the agency wore a grim look when our reporter visited the premises, Monday morning. Staff of the agency were seen in groups discussing the Kano incident that marred an exercise largely considered to be successful, nationwide. Mood of the staff observed by our reporter in some of the agency’s offices under renovation was a clear difference from palpable joyful mood of people across the country where the

victory of Super Eagles at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa was being celebrated. A statement signed by Public Relations Officer of the Agency, Mr Saadu Salahu on behalf of the Executive Director of the agency, Dr Ado Mohammad said: “It is sad and pathetic that health workers who are on humanitarian service fall victims of the unfortunate cycle of violence in Kano. We condole the Governor and government of Kano and the families of these fallen heroes and heroines. “As a programme, we remain undeterred and resolute in our determination to ensure the interruption of wild poliovirus and also the provision of basic health services for all in Nigeria. “We salute the reaffirmed commitment of health workers all over the country as they resolve to continue to provide professional service aimed at improving our health outcomes.” This is not the first time polio vaccination is running into trouble waters in the north. About ten years ago, some leaders in that part of the country halted the exercise saying the vaccine could be contaminated with anti-fertility agents (estradiol hormone)), HIV, and cancerous agents. Few others attributed their boycott to the growing enmity between the East and the West. Saddened by the growing apathy of many people in the region, prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, President of International Fiqh Council came to the rescue. He slammed the detractors and said: “I was completely astonished about CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

UNICEF, WHO condemn attacks

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• Joint WHO/UNICEF Statement

NICEF and The World Health Organization (WHO) join the Government of Nigeria in condemning attacks in Kano state, Nigeria, that have killed and injured healthworkers.

Such attacks are a double tragedy; for the health workers and their families and for the children and vulnerable populations who are robbed of basic life-saving health interventions. These attacks are unacceptable under any circumstance.

WHO and UNICEF extend their deepest sympathy to the families of the healthworkers. We remain committed to supporting the Government of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria in their efforts to better the health and lives of its people.


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Health & Wellbeing

Nigeria threatens global polio eradication CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 the attitude of our fellow scholars towards polio vaccine. I disapprove of their opinion, for the lawfulness of such vaccine in the point of view of Islam is as clear as sunlight.” He noted that the same polio vaccine had been effective in over 50 Muslim countries, and blamed all persons halting the exercise for being ignorant of Islam’s position on science and medical progress. “They distort the image of Islam and make it appear as if it contradicts science and medical progress,” the cleric said. Today, many states in the North find it very challenging to deal with the number of young and old Nigerians who have been debilitated by the scourge. Recently, 26 Indian surgeons with support of Rotary Club International offered to treat 400 polio patients in the country. The beneficiaries virtually came from the region. The exercise was a success as the surgeries were conducted at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Abuja. While many southern states in Nigeria such as Ekiti which has not re-

corded a case for 16 years gladly accept the routine exercise, there are fears the gruesome killing of the health workers might impede recent successes being recorded in many parts of the north on immunization. Meanwhile, celebrated Islamic scholar Sheik Ahmad Gumi has cautioned against the use of Islam for carrying out evil acts. He condemned the killing in strongest term saying it was “sad, abominable, barbaric and evil. According to him, in the old Northern Nigeria, people were vaccinated against cholera, CSM, smallpox, BCG, measles to name a few. “How can then today, people that are neither specialist in Islamic Law nor specialist in Medical Sciences go public with such a fatwa in clear contradiction of the Quran? It means the Quran doesn’t pass through their throat,” the cleric said. Over 900 settlements were recently discovered in Kano by the Federal Government which had never been reached by health officials for the exercise. From all indications, it appears there are mercenaries in the state that are prepared to thwart any effort to immunize millions of innocent children in the commercial hub of the north.

Polio Key facts

Nigeria in yellow is the only polio-endemic country in Africa joined by Pakistan and Afghanistan as the only three countries harbouring the virus in the world.

•Polio (poliomyelitis) mainly affects children under five years of age. • One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. • Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988, from an estimated 350 000 cases then, to 650 reported cases in 2011. The reduction is the result of the global effort to eradicate the disease. • In 2012, only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic, down from more

than 125 in 1988. • As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world. • In most countries, the global effort has expanded capacities to tackle other infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems. Source: WHO

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Health Beat Sam Eferaro

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

Northern governors must take polio vaccine!

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nce again, the Nigerian polio campaign is in the news. Just as it happened some ten years ago when the Kano state government suspended immunisation activities for some reasons ranging from religion to the composition of the vaccine, there’s palpable fear that the entire world may not achieve the polio eradication dream, thanks to Nigeria. Just last Friday, some depraved individuals gunned down nine hapless health workers – women, mothers and house wives – during the national vaccination exercise. Their only crime was the vaccination of children against polio to ensure that Nigeria does not drag the world back in the global efforts to eradicate the crippling disease. I can imagine the mood at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). Now, members of staff and thousands of volunteers across the country who comb the nooks and crannies of our communities to vaccinate children will have to think twice before embarking on the exercise. You have to consider if it’s worth struggling, pleading and cajoling people to have their children protected against the dreaded virus only to be slaughtered like a goat and leave your own children without a mother or father as the case may be. I have monitored immunisation in many parts of the north and I know what the health workers have to go through to vaccinate children there. Some parents would go as far as hiding their children under the bed and some would threaten you physically if you try to persuade them to bring out the kids. They have been so cruelly misled and misinformed about polio vaccination by zealots and fanatics that many would do anything to keep the vaccine away from their children. If it’s not the rubbish about the vaccine being designed by the whites to wipe out the black race, especially Muslims, it is the talk about the vaccine containing anti-fertility agents or HIV. I was once “tutored” by an Islamic scholar in Kano on the perceived dangers of the vaccine. He had just finished lecturing his congregation in the community mosque about the need to keep their children away from the vaccinators and the then National Programme on Immunisation (NPI) chief executive assigned me to invite him for a talk. The revered scholar relied on the internet as his only source of information and his main grouse was that the vaccine used in America to eradicate polio was not the same vaccine being used in Nigeria. He drew my attention to different internet materials to back up his argument. Of course, the invitation by the NPI Chief Executive was rebuffed. Just when we thought we have put all these behind us, and Kano children will

not only be saved from polio but prevented from spreading the virus to neighbouring states and countries, the zealots have struck again. This time, they are not wasting time on meaningless propaganda. They have decided to go for the health workers. I just wonder how this will be resolved this time around. I wonder how you will convince anyone to go out there for another round of immunisation, knowing his life could be in danger. I think the northern governors will have to do more than condemning this most wicked act. Apart from joining the Federal government to provide security for the health workers, they must go all out to inform their people not only about polio but routine immunisation in general. They must let their people know that the United States of America now being accused of sending vaccines to harm Nigerian children once had as many as 42,000 polio cases in 1949. Today there is not a single case of polio in that country. The US succeeded in eradicating the disease through vaccination which we are rejecting in Nigeria. The northern governors should please inform their people that there are only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic. One of them is Nigeria and she has the highest number of cases. Other countries, including India, that have successfully eradicated the virus used the same vaccine we are using today. Not only that, most of them sourced their vaccines through UNICEF and that organisation has been our major supplier for years except some few years back when Madam Abacha took over the supply. Mallam Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso, the Kano State governor must take the lead in the fresh campaign. It was he that suspended immunisation activities in 2003 in the state. He should come out boldly and tell his people that he goofed at that time. He should openly vaccinate his own children, if he’s still in the business of making babies, or bring out his grand children and all babies in his household and openly drop the polio vaccine in their mouths for all to see. Not only that, Governor Kwakwanso and his northern colleagues should publicly drop the polio vaccine in their own mouths to show the people that it is quite harmless. Dr. Dere Awaosika the former NPI chief executive used to do that some years back to convince mothers each time she fished children out of where they were hidden. In addition to all these, Governor Kwakwanso and his colleagues should reach out to the families of the dead health workers and ensure that they are well compensated. Only genuine and concerted efforts by the governors would restore the polio campaign in Nigeria. I sincerely pray that such gruesome murder of health workers will never happen again in our country. God bless Nigeria.


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Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Drugs containing sulphur may cause neonatal jaundice –Paediatrician People come up with different notions about neonatal jaundice. Some refer to it as yellowness of a baby’s skin. Is this true? Neonatal jaundice is the Jaundice that occurs in the neonates and the word neonates refers to any child that is less than 28 days of life while jaundice is simplythe yellow discoloration of the sclera or the skin. Sclera is the covering of the eyes/ skin. Any child who has yellowish discoloration in the covering of the eyes or the skin has jaundice and this occurs in a child who is less than 28days.There are two types of jaundice: The physiological jaundice and the pathological jaundice. We are not bothered about the physiological jaundice because every baby will have some break down but it all depends on how the liver can mop the bilirubin. The pathological jaundice is an abnormal case and it comes up about the second or third day of life. While the physiological one gets to the highest level about the fourth and fifth day and goes off between 6 and 7 days of birth. Mothers cannot sit down at home and conclude that it is physiological because the diagnosis is retrospective. It is after the jaundice has gone that one will be able to say that it is pathological or physiological. If I bring in a baby for jaundice, I can’t just conclude that it is physiological. I must wait for that peak and I must make sure that that peak is over. It is after these seven days that I will be able to say that the peak was the fourth day, and started going down by the seventh day and it never exceeded 12mg. That is why no one can sit at home and say it is physiological. What are the likely causes of jaundice? There are different causes of jaundice. The key common cause in our country, Nigeria is blood incompatibility. This is a situation where the mother and the baby’s blood group differ in a way that there is a reaction which leads to jaundice. Infections can cause it. There is also a particular problem in the blood cells where there is a deficiency of an enzyme called the G6PD. Glucose six Phosphates dehydrogenate enzymes and when that is deficient, it can lead to jaundice. Prematurity is also another cause. It is important that we understand what the basic causes of jaundice are. The basic thing that causes jaundice is when the blood cells or a component of the blood known as the red blood cell breaks down, it causes a release of a particular substance called billirubin. This bilirubin is what stains the covering of the eyes and skin and makes it appear yellow. So anything that will cause the break-down of this blood cell will cause the release of this bilirubin. The bilirubinis produced all the time in everybody but it is taken care of and mopped up by the liver. So, if there is increase production of this bilirubin, and it’s too much for the liver to mop up, it then stains the eyes and the skin. Sometimes the liver might be able to mop it up but when it is being produced at rapid rate, or it’s too much for the liver to take care of, or if it is being produced at the normal rate and there is problem of the liver mopping up, it will also stain the skin. So the issue is when it is excess in the blood and it’s not being taken care of by the liver, it stains

Neonatal jaundice is a very common ailment which occurs within the first few days of birth and a major cause of neonatal death in Nigeria. In this interview, a Senior Registrar at the Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH), Dr. Ogoo Elumelu tells LATEEFAH IBRAHIM-ANIMASHAUN the likely solutions to the dreaded condition. Excerpts bilirubin is up to some particular levels, we now put the child under the light. At what point can one seek medical help? The yellowness goes from the face down. Once you notice that the child has jaundice; you must go to the hospital because what you are seeing on the eyes is just like yellow but the most objective means is by measurement of the bilirubin concentration in the blood and that is done by a laboratory test.

A baby with jaundice phototherapy

the eyes and skin. Apart from the eyes and skin, other parts of the body can also be stained especially when it stains the brain. That is the situation which leads to deformities later in life. There are other causes of jaundice like which includes hepatitis, for example, some children are born with some deformities which can be associated with jaundice. There are also some enzymes that are necessary for this liver functioning. When these enzymes are low, they won’t be able to mop up the bilirubin. The four major common causes in Nigeria that we see are prematurity, G6PD deficiency, infections and blood incompatibility. How common is neonatal jaundice in What about the issue of dusting powder for babies? It is not only dusting powder, it could include mentholatum. Those are the things that stimulate the breakdown of the blood cells when there is deficiency of the G6PD. Like I said, the G6PD in the blood cells helps it not to break down easily but there are some things that could incite this break-down. So if the blood cells have the normal concentration of this G6PD, they won’t break down under due circumstances and when the G6PD is reduced in amountmeans they arefragile, and when they are exposed to thesesubstances, they break down. Apart from thementholated, dusting powder and rob there are also some other drugs that contains it. Take example, some anti malaria drugs but most of those anti malaria are no longer in use. The powder helps the red blood cells to break down when they are G6PD deficient but if the child has normal concentration of G6PD, the child is well. But the truth is that you can’t know who has G6PD deficiency or not and we don’t routinely check up for it here in Ni-

ONE IN EVERY 20 NIGERIAN NEONATES WOULD BE DEFORMED OR KILLED BY NEONATAL JAUNDICE geria so it is better we just stay off from these things. Can it be treated at home? I am aware of some various means like using pawpaw leaves, herbal drinks like Agbo mixture. Some people believe in using antibiotics like Ampiclux, glucose water. Some even recommend sunlight. But the truth about the matter is that jaundice can only be treated by 2 or 3 ways. By putting the child under special light called photo therapy, Exchange Blood Transfusion and there are some drugsthat can also be used. Some of these drugs are still at experimental level and they are used before the baby is born because they take a long time to act. For example, some of them take 48 to 72 hours and once the baby is born, it is already late. We usually use this for some mothers who have had history of severe neonatal jaundice in their previous babies because of their blood group. So we want to prevent it and we give them those drugs while the baby is still in the womb to prevent but these conditions are not very common. The common one is photo therapy. Sunlight was used in the olden days but now, we know that the wave length of the sunlight is not adequate for treating jaundice. There are special white or blue lamps that have the light rays at a particular frequency that would help to lower the level of the bilirubin in the blood. After we have confirmed that the

What are the extreme cases that could arise if jaundice is not managed well? We try to prevent a case when there is a stain in the brain. Such babies with extreme cases become weak, not being able to eat and experience convulsion. Some of them can even die around the acute phase. Some of them, who don’t die, survive and end up having deformities like mental retardation. They end up not being able to go to school. They might not be able to understand, havearithmetic abilities like other children. They might not even be able to spell. In some, the mental retardation might be so profound that they are not even able to communicate. Some might not be able to do anything unsupervised. It can also cause deafness. Some of them come up with hear defects. It also leads to problem of movement in some children like they come up with jerky movement or general stiffness and seizure disorder known as convulsion that can last for the rest of their lives. The convulsion might not be every day but it happens ones in a while in their life time. Can it be prevented? Deformities and death from jaundice can be prevented. Like Isaid 80 percent of neonates will come up with jaundice. If we have fewer children who are born prematurely, we will have fewer deaths as a result of jaundice. So, everything that can be done to prevent premature will prevent neonatal jaundice. Avoiding prolonged labour as much as possible from the gynaecological point of view, avoiding too frequent virginal examinationcan predispose to infection. For example, if the membrane breaks for a long period before a child is finally delivered can predispose the child to infections. Infections in children, goes to the blood quickly. Such infections could be caused by bacteria and some of these bacteria’s can be from the genital tract of the mother and the child born gets the infection from the genitals of the mother. If the mother has virginal or urinary tract infection around the time of delivery, it can predispose the baby to it. Blood group incompatibility is quite difficult and there are many blood group incompatibilities. When the baby is O and the mother is A or B. In such case, the baby would be monitored to prevent jaundice. Also the rhesusincompatibilities that happen to mothers who are rhesus negative and deliver babies who are rhesus positive.


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Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

75% breast cancer patients seek medical help late –Surgeons TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

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consultant surgeon at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) IdiAraba and a professor in the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Wole Atoyebi, said about 75 per cent of women with breast cancer seek medical attention only when the disease has reached an advanced stage. He made this disclosure at a recent symposium on ‘dispelling myths

and misconception about cancer,’ organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day. According to him, many breast cancer cases were presented when they had developed to stage three or four making such condition almost imposible to handle by medical experts. Noting that the disease is preventable and curable when detected and presented at a right health

facility early, Atoyebi said that was why breast cancer-related deaths were on the rise in the country. He lamented that many prefer seeking treatment from herbal practitioners or spiritual homes rather than hospitals, where he said they could get right treatment. Also speaking, LUTH’s Chief Medical Director, Prof. Akin Osibogun, said the issue of breast and other types of cancer would need to be taken more seriously in the country to prevent people

from untimely death resulting from the disease. While he challenged NIMR to research into the virus that causes the growth of tumour in the breast and other parts of the body, he said such research effort could help in developing the vaccines for the treatment of the disease. He declared that there was nothing wrong if Nigeria could champion the course of developing vaccines to treat cancer. Earlier in his address, NIMR’s DG, Prof. Inno-

cent Ujah, who is a consultant Obstetric and gynaecologist, said the symposium, which had many female secondary schools students in attendance, was aimed at promoting the culture of healthy lifestyle among Nigerians. While urging women, especially those in their reproductive ages, as well as men from 40 years above to be more conscious of their body parts so as to report to medical experts if they experience something strange, Ujah

said it was only through such practices that Nigeria would be free from cancer-related deaths. Speakers at the forum, included: Dr. Folusho Omodele from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, who spoke on ‘Breast Cancer: Education, detection and treatment modalities’; Dr. Oliver Ezechi from NIMR, who spoke on ‘Epidemiology and prevention of cervical cancer’ and Dr. A.A. Osuntokin, a nutritional biochemist from UNILAG, among others.

Senate set to amend National Health Bill –Mark TOBORE OVUORIE

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he Senate is to carry out further legislative work (amendment) on the National Health Bill to make it all embracing on all health matters. The amendment became necessary as some aspects of health matters, especially in the area of renal diseases such as kidney, liver and heart, were not covered in the initial bill, yet to be accented to by President Goodluck Jonathan. Senate President David Mark said when he played host to the executive of the Nigerian Association of Nephrologists (NAN). Senator Mark said the Senate was very mindful of health issues, adding, “anything we can do by way of legislation to improve health care delivery in Nigeria would not be compromised.” He harped on the need for health providers to work in harmony in order to provide effective and quality health care services to the citizenry. Earlier, the president of the association, Professor

Evelyn Unuigbe, raised the alarm on the increasing rate of chronic kidney diseases in the country, especially among the youth between the ages of 25 and 40. “Although, there are no accurate data and no national renal registry on Nigeria, data from small scale community studies have found that the prevalence of CDK in adults ranges from 19-30 per cent,” she said. She added that hospital data showed that advanced CKD account for 6-12 per cent of medical admissions.

L-R: Dr. Austin Aipoh, General Secretary; Dr. Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, President, both of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN); Dr. Richardson Ajayi, Managing & Clinical Director and Dr. Ogunkinle Babatunde, Senior Gynecologist, both of The Bridge Clinic, during the donation of Neonatal Equipment to the Association recently in Lagos. PHOTO: TOBORE OVUORIE

MDG 4: Private medical doctors seek effective ANC policy TOBORE OVUORIE

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orried about the challenges of attainment of the fourth Millennium Development Goal, MDG 4, by 2015, stakeholders in the private medical sector have urged government at all levels to initiate policies that would encourage proper antenatal procedure in the country. Making the call in La-

gos recently during the presentation of 150 neonatal resuscitation sets by the Bridge Clinic, Lagos to private medical doctors in Lagos, Chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN, Lagos State Chapter, Dr. Jimmy Arigbabuwo said encouragement of proper antenatal care guarantees survival of a baby as well as safe motherhood. Arigbabuwo further

Cerebral palsy initiative to be launched in Lagos L ATEEFAH IBRAHIMANIMASHAUN

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minent stakeholders in the health, political, military, finance, public service, legislative and the executive unit of the government alongside captains of industries will converge in

Lagos to unveil the Benola, cerebral palsy initiative soon. The initiative was, according to Air Vice Marshal Femi Gbadebo (rtd), motivated to create awareness and to establish a need to push for appropriate legislation that will draw attention to those who are suffering from the ailment.

As one of the founding fathers of the initiative, he disclosed that the event would take place on Tuesday, February 26, in Lagos. “Benola, a non-profit organisation, committed to change and progress for persons living with cerebral palsy, is striving for their inclusion in the society, as well as ensuring that

noted that such policies would not only reduce the deaths of babies at birth but would encourage affordable healthcare delivery in the country. “It is important for us to restore the confidence of expectant mothers that facilities and skilled professionals are available to attend to their needs whenever they visit the healthcare centre. In terms of resources, it could be very sad to lose a baby after such a period. they and those who care for them live the best possible life under the peculiar circumstances they find themselves.”, he said. He said the initiative is a means to keeping professional families, friends, health care professionals, care givers and educators abreast of current trends and options available for better management of cerebral palsy in the country.

PSN urged FG to encourage local manufacturing of drugs SEKINAH L AWAL

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clarion call has gone to the Federal Government to encourage manufacturing of drugs locally in the country through the provisions of infrastructures, most especially electricity as this will go a long way in preventing counterfeiting and faking of drugs. Making this known in Lagos recently at the product presentation of new novel drugs by Bradford Pharmaceuticals Limited was the National President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, ably represented by Pharmacist Oyawole Anthony. According to him, apart from the multiplier effects of job creation, local manufacturing would make it easy to trace the

source of the drugs and reduce incidence of faking. “Local manufacturing of drugs especially done by making use of alternative solvents that are devoid of the risks of using propylene glycol, glycerin, analogues and the likes, is a worthy venture and we must commend the management of Bradford Pharmaceuticals as many professionals have testified to the potency of their drugs. The issue of fake and counterfeit drugs has been a menace for decades and it will be good for Nigerians if we have situations like this that will reduce faking.” In his welcome address, the Chairman of Bradford Pharmaceuticals, Mr. Idowu Obasa disclosed that the company was duly registered by NAFDAC. Three over-thecounter drugs and one ethical medicine were launched at the event.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Arts Lounge NICO accepts new batch of culture trainees

I’m a romantic person at heart – Michelle Bello

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Barry Day: Fan club remembers Fuji legend two years after OLUFEMI AJASA

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ast Friday, memories of the commendable life lived by Fuji legend, Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, were reawakened in Lagos by a group, Ayinde Barrister Legacy, ABLE, club which is set to achieve greater strides in its quest to immortalise Dr. Ayinde. In this regard, members of 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 Fuji icon who died on December 16, 2010 aged 62. But while the icon’s music was popular in his days and won him several appellations like ‘Barry Wonder’, ‘Barry Black’, ‘Mr. Fuji’, ‘Alhaji Agba’ etc, he may never have imagined how much his person would be celebrated at demise. The colloquium was graced by top government officials, traditional rulers, relatives, children and wives of the late legend and several leading Nigeria artistes like King Sunny Ade, Queen Salawa Abeni, Obesere and Adewale Ayuba, among others. The President, ABLE, Mr. Kayode Bello said the club which started on February 20, 2012 as a Facebook fan page was officially incorporated on May 10 in the same year. “Already, we have over 3000 members spread across all nation in the world. We are set to publish books and documentaries; we are set to endow academic chairs and scholarships. We are set to commit to charities and humanitarian causes; we are set to take the Barry name and legacy further and farther in glory”, he explained. Speaking at the occasion, Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, said; “Ayinde Barrister is no doubt a great man of our time. When they came to inform me about this event, I sat and personally penned my thoughts and created a document in celebrating his exemplary life. He is a man I call, ‘The Edifice’”. Otunba Runsewe commended the group for allotting their time and money to celebrate a focused, gifted, disciplined and generous legend in the Nigeria music industry. Stressing the commitment and role played by NTDC in the course of immortalising achievers in the country, Runsewe said there is an ongoing plan between NTDC and the Federal Government to celebrate 50 distinguished enter-

Friends and family members of the late fuji icon during the cutting of the cake at the Barry Day PHOTOS: OLUFEMI AJASA

SIKIRU AYINDE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE

YORUBA MUSIC GENRE WAS THE CONSTRUCTION OF A DISTINCT YORUBA IDENTITY DESPITE THE MULTILINGUAL SYSTEM HE FOUND HIMSELF tainment icons in Nigeria. He also urged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of celebrating icons in their lifetime and not only when they are gone. Guest lecturer of the occasion, Prof. Kunle Lawal, brought to fore academic expertise in summarising the lifetime of the late Fuji legend. He described Ayinde as one of the manifestations of God’s love for Yoruba land. “As a musician, he used his versed knowledge of Yoruba language to deliver poignant messages. His contribution to the Yoruba music genre was the construction of a distinct Yoruba identity despite the multilingual system he found himself. In fact, he was gifted and found it natural in using deep techniques in communicating meanings to his listeners. These techniques reflect in the terms of the quality of proverbs, idioms and narrative styles he adopted in telling stories in his songs”, Prof Lawal stated. Singing one of the tracks from the late Fuji legend archive, the university don analysed how Barrister reviewed a soap opera titled: “Koto Orun” by skilfully weaving the story of one of the cast in telling a message on the futility of arrogance. In the song, a local actor, Koledowo, who after roaming the town

and boasting of being blessed with lots of children and was later deprived of his joy by a barren woman, ‘Oyiboyi’ (who played the role of head of the witches) was summarised by Barrister to substantiate the theme of the song. Lawal furthered explained: “In this way and many others, Barrister successfully perfected timeliness in relating his songs to the society and this is part of what amounts to the timelessness of his kind of music. He was not a garrulous person, he was not the type that talked for talking sake; he was quiet and reflective even when among the inner circle of his friends. Another trait is the extreme generosity and kindness to the poor which was hinged on his belief in the vanity of life. His brand of music was produced for all. He sang on several topics with huge importance to humanity– Yuletide, birth control and family planning, child naming ceremony, love. Additionally, he sang about globally-known figures such as Adolf Hitler, Bill Clinton, Queen of England, Mandela and several others as well as capturing moments of places around the world he visited. He was always there levelling healthy criticisms on those in government; be it civilian or military”,

the lecturer pointed out. Lawal also mentioned facts to prove that Ayinde’s music was a reflection on the life he lived. He said the Fuji icon lost his dad at a very tender age, worked as a motor boy in the Nigerian Breweries, later became a conductor and eventually joined the Nigerian Army, which marked the era where his talent started blossoming. The life he lived was full of down and ups; an epitome of struggle and triumph which brought that enviable height of success to his career. Likewise, leading Fuji artiste, Adewale Ayuba, recalled that all he dreamt of becoming when he started his music journey was to be as great as Barrister. “He called us his ‘Aso-Ibora’ in the Fuji sphere which contextually interprets to mean ‘successors’. Fortunately for me, after singing my debut, “Bubble”, I was privileged to meet him in his home. I was shocked the first time I saw him when he started praising me and my mother with a song he composed on the spot. Alhaji Agba prayed for me and told me he was glad that I took Fuji into the tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Today, we are all glad to see his wish for a bigger Fuji family come to life”, he concluded Commending the organisers for celebrating the legacies of Dr. Ayinde, Queen Salawa Abeni, confidently said the legend took Fuji to a level where artistes singing other genres of traditional music were left with no option than to start incorporating Fuji styles into their songs. “I have heard so many hip-hop artistes making use of our techniques and this gradually proves that Fuji has come to stay in Nigeria”, she said.


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Arts Lounge

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

I’m a romantic

MIDWEEK JUMP

Michelle Bello’s romantic comedy, titled: Flower Girl is her biggest effort since her award-winning feature film, Small Boy. Flower Girl will premiere today at Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island to an invitation-only crowd. Tomorrow, which is St. Valentine’s Day, the movie that parades some of the best young Nigerian talent, will open to the delight of couples. In this interview with TERH AGBEDEH, the filmmaker talks about the film, filmmaking and Nollywood. Elevatorz, winner of 2012 K-Pop competition in performance last year

Arojah stages Call for Me My Osheni ...As Korea Centre hosts dance fest

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rojah Royal Theatre presents Dr. Seyi Adigun’s Call for Me My Osheni, directed by Adesewo Fayaman Bay tomorrow, February 14 and Friday, February 15 by 6.00 p.m. daily at the Korean Cultural Centre, Rivers House, Ralph Shodeinde Street, Central Business District (opposite Federal Ministry of Finance), Abuja. The event will also feature poetry performances by Onimisi ‘Wordsmith’ Adejoh with comedy from Bulus, El-Effizzy and Chuks, the General and music entertainment coming from E.T. Best, Igwe and

Paul Simon. Meanwhile, K-POP Cover Dance Festival, an event to celebrate and embrace the current craze for Korean pop culture, holds tomorrow and Friday at the same venue. Just like last year, the Visit Korea Committee is hosting the 2012 K-POP fest globally to commemorate the Visit Korea Year campaign. The contestants will be evaluated in not only songs and choreography, but also costumes, makeup and styles. Contestants who have won national championships will compete in Korea for the final round of competition. In addition to participation in the contest, successful contestants will have chances to meet K-POP stars.

Lagos Theatre fest opens Performance in unconventional

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ritish Council Nigeria, in conjunction with three of Nigeria’s most exciting theatre companies and award-winning British Nigerian actor, Inua Ellams, presents the Lagos Theatre Festival 2013. For two days– Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17– Renegade Theatre, Black Soul Performance Company, House of Tales and Fuel Theatre will bring to life, amazing performances across a number of unconventional spaces namely; the Presidential Suite, Car Park, Petanque Area and Casa Chianti Restaurant at the Eko Hotel and Suites. The Festival is featuring: The 14th Tale by UK’s rising star, Inua Ellam’s (duration: 60mins) on Saturday at 8.00 p.m. and Sunday at 3.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m. respectively. Similarly, The Waiting Room by Renegade Theatre (duration: 60mins) showing on two days; Saturday at 3.15 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. and Sunday at 3.15 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. There is also Shattered by House of Tale (duration: 50mins) on Saturday, 3.00 p.m and 6.30 p.m. and the same hours on Sunday. Not leaving out, Grip Am by Blacksoul Performance Company (duration: 50mins) on stage for Saturday and Sunday by 4.00 p.m. respectively.

Ellams in an earlier performance

Marvellous Benjy

Young comics feature in Val’s gig

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overs of comedy have the opportunity to witness jokes revolving around the season at Tasia Hotel and Bar, Ogba, Lagos at the “Love and Comedy” show, which kicks off tomorrow with a red carpet session by 4.00 p.m. The event, which is a platform for younger comedians to express their talent, will also feature established artistes such as Alarm Blow, Marvellous Benjy, Alaba Suru, D Saint, Choco Girl, D Cross, MC Okansoso and Labi Olayori (presenter, Entertainment Splash).

Entertainment goes to Ibari Ogwa

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bari Ogwa Village, in its usual tradition, would be exciting lovers at an evening of fun and entertainment tomorrow, Valentine’s Day. Guests are expected to appear in red at the resort for the event which is tagged: “Valentine Entertainment Assembly 2013”. Performers like Uche Ogbuagu, Mr. Patrick, Uncle O, Ichie N’Laffingas, X-Buster, Silver Crew, Achara Man, Mr. UJ, Asopal, Cindy O, Eva, Ice Babe, Kokoma, Body Language, Uncle JBs, Young Evangelist, Osu Baba and host of others will be on stage to thrill guests.

Small Boy your first feature film did very well, winning awards and getting nominations here and abroad. You have gone back to school, for your master’s, does that mean Flower Girl, to be premiered today at Silverbird Galleria, will be far better than Small Boy? I studied filmmaking as my first degree before I did Small Boy. I studied communication, specialising in visual media as my bachelors degree, which I did at the American University in Washington DC. After that I moved back here. Two years after I shot Small Boy. That was my first feature film, I have done a lot of short films prior to that and even prior to Small Boy I produced Ty Bello’s ‘Greenland’ video, which went on to win awards. I was associated producer for Mo Abudu’s Moments with Mo when she first started. So I have been in the industry. I thank God that Small Boy got the response that it did. I just did my master’s at Regent. I really wanted to go back and study because I really wanted to develop my craft as a director. I just didn’t feel that I was fully ready. I am so glad that I went to Regent because I have got lots of opportunities to meet other filmmakers, go to the biggest film festivals in the world – Sundance and Cannes film festivals. The teachers were amazing and I really studied. I have been away from Nigeria for quite a while but I kept in touch with my friends to know what was going on so that I will be updated about the industry. When I came back I knew I was going to do Flower Girl. My brother and I started developing the script but he took it over and made the script what it is now. Even after that it still took a while before the cast came onboard. This project has been two and half years in the making. So a lot of preparation goes into filmmaking, you don’t wake up one morning, write a script and shoot it the next day, edit it and send it out. It takes a lot of time and preparation. In preproduction, we really took our time, we did several drafts of the script before we said, ‘okay, this is the one’. That doesn’t sound like Nollywood at all which has made its name from churning out movies by the numbers. What I’m doing is for an international audience as well, I want the Nigerians to love the movies we make as well as the international audience. I want them to say, ‘wow, this is the Nigerian experience, this is what Nigeria is like, these are the kind of stories we have here’. There is no reason why Nigerian films should not

be competing in the biggest festivals around the world, winning the biggest awards around the world. We have the resource, the stories and the talent. So it’s for us to work more on the craft and putting it together at the high quality that people will love and enjoy. That’s what we are here to do. Is it because your target is the international market that Small Boy is still not be available in the Nigerian market? I’ve spoken with international distributors about online distribution and with Flower Girl coming out now people will be even more interested in Small Boy. Does that mean there will be no local distribution? We will and we are talking to local distributors who are interested. It’s all about timing right now but we will definitely release Small Boy this year. You had an internship at Cannes although a lot of people felt you should not have done that since you have already made an award-winning film. Would you say that you gained a lot from the internship and what is the yardstick for measuring that gain; is it in doing Flower Girl? Even the friends that I made while at the internship, when I told them about my experience they were completely shocked and asked me, ‘what are you doing here?’. I mean, most of them had never worked on a film, never been in the industry and they just wanted to get that experience. For me, it was important to have that experience and make the contacts as well. I got to sit in on major business deals going on in Hollywood. I learnt a lot through my internship and it wasn’t just running around doing petty work. I learnt a lot like how the business side of film works because we focus so much on the creative side, which is great but so is the business. Without the business we won’t be able to make a living off our art and what we do. So it is very important to run the business side of the industry as well and balance the two sides. If you are not a business-minded person then partner with someone who is. He could help raise the money and take care of all the financial side while you focus on the creative side. I really wanted to learn about the business side and work with professionals in Hollywood. I met so many top names. So without that in-


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Arts Lounge

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

25

person at heart –Michelle Bello ternship I would not have had that opportunity. So, I don’t regret it one bit. To make Small Boy, you relied on your lifesavings. Would you say that you have recouped that? No, not at all. I haven’t but, for me, doing that film at the time wasn’t about the money. It was about the story and I really wanted to talk about child abuse and child trafficking but not in the heavy in your face kind of way but I also wanted to tell an inspiring story from a Nigerian perspective. I was tired of hearing negativity about Nigeria from the international community. Back then it was all about corruption and greed. We need more positive messages about Nigeria and it is for all of us involved in the media to put it out there. It needs to come from us first, and I really wanted to do an inspiring story so that this boy went through so much hardship but came out of it at the end, survived it. Flower Girl seems to be different since it is romantic rather than a story of survival. What informed this? I like to do a different thing and not do the same thing all the time. So while working on my second film I wanted to do a completely different genre. So I decided to do romantic comedy, I love romantic comedy. I’m a romantic person at heart so I said, okay; let me start work on a romantic comedy movie. And this movie is very different because already I have learnt a lot since Small Boy in terms of my directing and producing skills, and so much. Small Boy was a small project compared to Flower Girl in every aspect. In the production sense, budget, cast and even the location. There is also the religious angle in your movies, although not in your face. Why do you choose the subtle route? I take my faith very seriously, I grew up catholic and I’m a very proud Catholic. None of us is perfect and at the end of the day it is about recognising that and being a better person and changing lives for the better. So for me in my movies, it is not so much pounding your head over issues but in terms of the character and the story, the underlining theme. Would you accept scripts from scriptwriters in the future? For now the way I work is that I usually come up with the story for the next movie, even now I’m working on my next movie, which is completely different than Flower Girl. I come up with the story and give it to the screenwriter to write the script. I don’t have time as both director and producer to write the script as well. I can write but for that kind of creativity I’d rather give it to somebody that specialises in writing. We work on several drafts until I’m happy. For now, that’s how I’ve been working. People have been sending me scripts but at this stage right now, maybe later on. If it’s a really good story that captures me, then sure, I’ll take it.

ARTISTE UNCENSORED

WE NEED MORE POSITIVE MESSAGES ABOUT

NIGERIA AND

IT IS FOR ALL OF US INVOLVED IN THE MEDIA TO PUT IT OUT THERE What film are you working on? All I can say is that it’s an action thriller and it’s going to be a bigger budget than this one. While shooting Flower Girl did you build sets? We shot on location and the only set we built was in my office, the main character, Temitayo, played by Damilola Adegbite, we had to change my office to her house. It was her living, dining and bedroom. That was interesting. Everything else was shot on location at bars, clubs and airport, among other places. What do you think people who see Flower Girl will go away with? When they think of Flower Girl they will think about love, what love really means. We get so caught up with being in love. It’s really about young marriage; people marry the wrong people for various reasons. A lot of times they don’t know that they are marrying the wrong people until it’s too late. If they really could be more aware that it’s not just about the wedding day first of all, it’s a lifelong commitment. They need to pray about it, make sure they are marrying the right person that God has sent to you. It’s really about love and what love means. And I think we’ve forgotten that. This is a real reminder about love. You have used relatively new talent for this film rather than a Genevieve Nnaji or someone like that. What informed that? For this movie I really wanted to showcase the young talent in this industry that we have. We have so many young talented people. I auditioned so many of them and unfortunately, it’s only the right person that can get the role. We have so many talented people and I just felt that it was time their work was showcased. I felt that there is also a gap in the industry for the younger audiences where there are not big stars in that area there is a huge gap. Because apart from the big stars when you go down to the younger age group in the 20s you try and think of who are the big stars there and you start juggling. I found that the audience wants something new, something different. They love the big stars, and I’m going to work with them definitely, but in this particular movie, we decided to go with a young up-andcoming cast. To have new faces, give other people a chance to come in and show their

Bello

Michelle flanked by her parents Air Vice Marshall Bello (Retd) and Mrs. Silvia Bello at the premiere of Small Boy in Lagos in 2010.

talent. We thank God that it’s been so well received. Online, everyone loves the trailer. They have commented that they are excited to see Dami in a film having seen her in Tinsel and now her first Nigerian film. This is Eku Edewor’s first feature film. People don’t know if she acts, and she acts brilliantly. Bikiya (Graham Douglass), who plays the best friend, she comes from a theatre background, this is her first film and she was so amazing in film. Chucks Chukwuzekwu, this is his first male lead

role and he was amazing as well. The industry is so big for everyone, major stars, new people, so I just really wanted to showcase what we have. Where is the premiere holding? At Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island on Wednesday (Today). It’s taking place on a Wednesday because Valentine’s Day is on Thursday. The movie will be released on Thursday so that couples can go and enjoy a Nigerian romantic comedy.


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FAR AND NEAR

NICO accepts new batch of culture trainees IJEOMA EZEIKE

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he National Institute for Cultural Orientation, NICO, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, is set to conduct the matriculation ceremony for the fifth set of students for Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma Courses in Cultural Administration for the 2012/2013 academic session into the NICO Training School, Lagos. The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke will be the Special Guest of Honour, while Vice Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Professor Shamsudeen O.O Amali, will be Guest of Honour. The ceremony takes place on Friday, February 22 at the NICO Training School, Lagos, National Theatre Annex, Iganmu, Lagos.

NICO Training School is in line with the Institute’s vision of consistently spearheading the provision of innovative training, research and documentation of our cultural heritage and assets, aimed at making culture the vector for national development, as well as training cultural development officers, motivators and communicators who would be grounded in Nigerian cultural practices, realities and philosophies that are essential for national integration, peace, unity and development in a multi-ethnic nation. Coming out of the third NICO management retreat held in January and themed: “Mainstreaming Culture in the Transformation Agenda: The NICO Perspective”, the institute’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, had reiterated his commitment to executing NICO’s founding mandate. According to Dr. Ayakoroma, “the idea of a management retreat was mooted in year 2011 as a platform

where management staff of the institute, at headquarters and zonal offices, would meet yearly to critically reappraise NICO’s statutory mandate and fashion a roadmap for achieving its vision. “The retreat, therefore, provides a unique opportunity for impact assessment of key programmes, evaluation of implementation strategies, identification of sources of funding and consideration of collaboration/partnership options”. In this respect, courses in the training school are designed to orientate, re-orientate and equip cultural workers, cultural attendants, cultural assistants, senior cultural assistants, assistant cultural officers etc, in the civil and public services, the private sectors and other culture related organisations in Nigeria with basic background and knowledge of cultural administration to enhance their performance in their work environment.

Remarkable Night starring Olu Jacobs to premiere soon

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Culture foundation for presentation in Lagos TERH AGBEDEH

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plendid Literature and Culture Foundation, SL&CF, incorporated to produce quality literature that will entertain, enlighten and stimulate the imagination of child readers, will be publicly presented on February 21 at Oranmiyan Hall, Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos at 10 a.m. The Chair of the event is the Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye Tomori. In July 2012, SL&CF made a call for submission of imaginative children’s literature from young Nigerian writers all over the country for the Splendid Literature and Culture Foundation Series. Stories were received from states including: Enugu, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Imo, and were evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of Mr. Toyin Akinoso, Ms. Sola Alamutu and Mr. Dagga Tolar. Some of the stories were chosen and considered publishable; the names of the lucky writers will be announced at SL&CF’s public presentation. SL&CF said the stories will be edited, illustrated, published and distributed by the foundation, and the writers will be published under its series. Also, the writers will be taken on book tours to various states and their annual royalties paid after the sale of their stories. And as its sub-project, SL&CF will run writing workshops, to be handled by able retired English language teachers, with materials developed by the foundation, for students in public schools during the long vacation, at centres designated by each state. “Everywhere, the imagination ethos of the foundation will permeate. Imagination is everything, and is related to how one thinks. At its workshops, children would be taught HOW to think, because schools mostly teach them WHAT to think,” SL&CF stated.

Olu Jacobs

Tuface

12 shortlisted for 2face’s connect Tour

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fter weeks of impressive voting expected of a 2face project, 12 higher institutions of learning have emerged top to vie for the four definite slots available for the much talked about Campus Connect: 2face & friends Tour 2013. Campus Connect, a production of Now Muzik En.Core/Hypertek, in partnership with Sound City, was launched at the maiden edition of Playa’s Ball on December 9, 2012 in Lagos to announce the re-connection between 2face and his fan base on campus. According to Efe Omorogbe of Now Muzik, “The overall objective is to ensure that we bridge the gap, find a solution to all the inherent problems that made it impossible for 2face to tour campus circuits in the last eight years”. According to 2faceonline.com, the official website of 2face Idibia, the 12 campuses are

University of Lagos (Unilag); University of Benin (Uniben); University of Ibadan (UI); University of Calabar (Unical); University of Ilorin (Unilorin); University of Jos (Unijos); Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU); University of Abuja (Uniabuja); University of Port Harcourt (Uniport); Lagos State University (LASU); Benue State University (BSU) and Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu (IMT). Voting for the definite four slots will close on February 20. Star acts expected to hop on the ride with Africa’s finest include Olamide, Dammy Krane, Rocksteady, Sheyi Shay, Durella, Capital FEMI, Harrysong, Sound Sultan, Crystals, Basket Mouth and Timi Dakolo. The 2face & friends Tour 2013 promises to be a super exciting experience for fans and the stars on parade.

emarkable Night a Christian family movie that stars Olu Jacobs, BobManuel Udokwu and Clarion Chukwura, among other Nollywood stars, will premiere in Lagos soon. Remarkable Night dwells on matrimonial issues, particularly infidelity among spouses. It is a complete departure from the traditional Christian films where pastors are seen in charge of deliverances and other spiritual cleansing. The deliberate avoidance of Bible quotations makes the film a general viewing material for everyone, including non-Christians. Dr. Raphael, a medical practitioner in his 40s is the instrument God is using to deliver other men whose marriages are at the brink of collapse. On this faithful night, he is preparing to go home after seeing the last patient, but the voice of God instructs him to work overnight. As a man given to the perfect will of God, he takes the instruction without question. Patients begin to arrive. First among them is George, a banker who brings his sick child with his wife. While the doctor is battling to save the child’s life, Chief Umeh, an elderly man rushes in with Emma, whom he has just knocked down with his car. In the cause of the long wait in the night, the doctor reveals the extent of unfaithfulness by each man and tells them that their marriages were heading for the rocks. This is a surprise as the men confirms the true position of their escapades and begin to wonder how Dr. Raphael is able to see through their lifestyles. Written and produced by Ossai Raphy Bond and directed by Taiwo Oduala, it is a highly inspiring and educating movie. Bond, a manager of Prudent Oil and Gas for many years, said he has a call to do Christian movies as a ministry. Shot in Lagos, the film also features top Nollywood stars such as Victor Osuagwu, Ayo Adesanya and Angela Philips, among others.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

I still feel like in a trance after missing the AFCON gold that I targeted. But then, life must go on

Nwachi signs for Thai club

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- GHANA CAPTAIN, ASAMOAH GYAN

Northern governors applaud Eagles PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

Leave Keshi alone –Kanu F

ormer Super Eagles’ captain, Nwankwo Kanu, has said that Coach Stephen Keshi should be left alone to fully re-build his team ahead of future international tournaments. Kanu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday that Keshi had laid a solid foundation with the crop of young players that won the justconcluded Africa Cup of Nations. He said the coach had been in football for a long time as a player and now coach and had vast experience on how to manage a team. “The big boss, of course he is a big boss. He makes his decision and one thing you have to know, he has been there. “He captained the Nigerian team to win it, so I do not believe that

anybody can still tell him what to do. Everybody has to leave him alone. Whatever he did today, no ordinary coach especially, a local coach can do that,” Kanu said. Kanu said the present Super Eagles were potential that could go places. “He made his team, he stood by them. He played his pattern, he stands on them; he talked to the boys as a father, he takes them to this highest level and they win the cup. What else do you expect of him?” The former two-time African Footballer of the Year (1996 and 1999) said he had been talking to the players to take advantage of their talent to do the nation proud. He added that the Eagles had proved critics wrong by winning the Nations Cup, saying that his presence in the team is to give them confidence.

Keshi in command during a match at the AFCON 2013 finals.

EVEREST ONYEWUCHI

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ormer Abia State Governor, Chief Orji Kalu, thinks Coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi deserves to be crowned the Igwe of Nigerian soccer. In a statement yesterday, Kalu said, “His father, Frederick Aniemeka, was Ogbueshi (Killer of Elephant), while Stephen is the first Nigerian to win the Nations Cup as player and coach.” Extolling Keshi’s profile, Kalu added, “The first Nigerian to qualify another nation, Togo, for the World Cup, first to take three countries –Togo, Mali and Ni-

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he Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has congratulated the Super Eagles and all Nigerians on the nation’s victory in the justconcluded Africa Cup of Nations 2013 finals in South Africa. They applauded the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Coach Stephen Keshi and all members of the team who made the country proud after almost two decades of reversal of fortunes in the competition.

I remain the boss

…Keshi’s press statement, yesterday

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y attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the Head Coach of Super Eagles of Nigeria. While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned. I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and

…‘Give him Igwe title’ geria - to the Nations Cup, first to play in four continents -Africa, Europe, Asia and America - first Nigerian to win AFCON gold, silver and bronze both as player and coach and many more.” The ex-governor described Keshi as a true Nigerian who cherishes friendship more than gold and a great patriot ready to die in defence of fatherland. “Born in Zaria to Igbo parents from the South-South, bred in Lagos and married to an Ishan, Edo lady, Keshi’s friends are legion. At St. Paul’s school, Ebute-Meta,

The NSGF through its Chairman and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, also commended the Nigeria Football Federation, Supporters Club and others who have been a source of encouragement to the team, stressing that the Super Eagles’ victory has reinforced the unity of Nigeria. The forum expressed the hope that Eagles would go on to win the World Cup in Brazil next year. It assured the team of every necessary support and encouragement it would require from Nigerians to achieve the feat.

his pals were Paul Okoku and Segun Olukanmi. “When he joined New Nigeria Bank FC, Benin in 1979, it was because of Henry Nwosu and Edema Benson, snubbing Aloy Atuegbu’s better deal from Rangers. Keshi met his wife, Kate, through Franklin Howard’s friend, Lizzy. And one of his assistants in the Eagles team, Sylvanus Okpala, was a pioneer Flying Eagle like Humphrey Edobor, Sam Igwenagu and Prince Afejuku. He also remembers Akeem Alade and Demola Adekogbe,”

have decided to continue with my job. I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention. SIGNED Steven Okechukwu Keshi 12th February, 2013.

Keshi

Kalu wrote. He recalled the challenges the Big Boss had faced to bring Nigeria to this joyous moment. “In 1993, Coach Gilbert Gress of Stasbourg, France, took the captain’s band from Keshi for playing in a World Cup qualifier against South Africa. In 1994, Keshi was sacked by Belgian club, RWD Molenbeek, again, for choosing country over club. He was also attacked by armed robbers at Oshodi, losing his Benz car and almost losing a brother in the process. Do not forget he was sanctioned by the NFA in 1985 and sacked in 2002 after assisting to qualify Nigeria for the World Cup.”


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

UEFA Champions p League

Europa League

Ramos wary of Devils

Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric, is unimpressed by the reporting of the Catalan media. Modric, who was asked about the video aired by the Catalan regional television station, insulting white players and comparing them to hyenas, said: “I have played in Croatia and England and I have never seen anything like it. That has nothing to do with journalism and a lot less to do with football. “I have not spoken about it in the dressing room, but I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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Malouda

The agent of Chelsea outcast, Florent Malouda, Salavador de Miranda, has confirmed Anzhi’s interest in the midfielder. With the Russian transfer window not due to close until the end of February, Anzhi has time to try and strike a deal for Malouda. “At the moment we are working for Florent to leave Chelsea this winter,” De Miranda said yesterday.

Bradley

Ideye

Kiev hustles Ideye IKENWA NNABUOGOR

Pressure on Madrid –Ferguson

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game is hard but you look at Madrid’s programme at the moment and it’s also very difficult. Every game is hard.” The two managers have enjoyed a friendly rivalry since first competing against one another during United’s Champions League defeat to Porto in 2004. “I think he’s pitting his wits against me. I think it’s a great challenge-the two biggest clubs in the world and obviously it’s a big game for us,” Ferguson added.

Today’s fixtures Madrid

vs

Man Utd

Shakhtar

vs

Dortmund

Tit bits...

Modric

eal Madrid stand-in captain, Sergio Ramos, insists that the Spanish club will not underestimate Manchester United when both sides clash today in the UEFA Champions League first leg round of 16. Madrid warmed up for the match with an emphatic 4-1 win over Sevilla, while United eased to a 2-0 success over Everton, and Ramos is expecting a tough clash. “United is the most important game of our season. We shouldn’t go crazy. We know it’s going to be 180 minutes not just 90,” Ramos, who has taken over team leadership from injured goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, said yesterday. “It’s true that over here it would be superimportant to keep a clean sheet and try to maintain the offensive level we have. We have the players to create danger.” Ramos is looking forward to doing battle with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. “Van Persie is on very, very good form,” Ramos said. “We hadn’t seen him this good for years. He’s quick, strikes the ball well, he’s a constant nuisance. Rooney’s different. He’s hard work, heavy going. He enjoys the physical challenge. I prefer that, to be honest. I like that defender versus striker battle, that challenge. “But Rooney’s mobility is difficult and you don’t always know how far to step out to pressure him. He drops deeper, or pulls wide and you wonder whether to follow. The communication with the midfield is vital. If he drops, there’s a point at which the centreback can’t follow him and the responsibility passes to the midfielders. Ramos insists he was happy to be paired with the Red Devils when the draw was made.

anchester United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, says the UEFA Champions League is Real Madrid’s ultimate goal ahead of today’s game at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos are currently 16 points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona and have recently slipped up against Granada, Valencia and Osasuna domestically. “I think their target is the European Cup. They got a bad start in the league and were chasing their tail a bit because Barcelona’s form has been incredible. I think Jose has set his targets firmly on the European Cup, no doubt about that,” Ferguson said yesterday. “It can be harder for us but there’s a bit of pressure for them too. At this moment in time we’re involved in three things. Jose has still got the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, they play Barca next week and then again in a league game before we play them on the Tuesday at Old Trafford. So they’ve got a big programme themselves. “You look at English football and say it’s a very, very difficult programme and every

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Ferguson

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he leadership of Dynamo Kiev is working on having African champion Brown Ideye feature for the Ukrainian team in the crucial Europa League knock-out tie against Bordeaux tomorrow. The Super Eagles including Brown Ideye arrived in Abuja from Johannesburg yesterday afternoon. Club sources reveal that Dynamo Kiev are mounting pressure on their Nigerian import to cut down on celebrations and return to Ukrainian capital as soon as possible. Ideye, who is the second top scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League, will be expected to lead the Dynamo Kiev attack against Bordeaux. ‘’Dynamo returns from the training camp in Marbella on Tuesday and they are waiting for Ideye today (yesterday),” a source revealed. “It all depends on the professionalism of the player. If he will not celebrate too much, then back in time and in the normal condition. “Another thing is how Ideye will be ready to go on Thursday against Bordeaux-physically and emotionally. The 24-year-old former Sochaux striker netted against Porto, Feyenoord and Borussia Monchengladbach in the Europa League campaign this season.

USA Coach, Juergen Klinsmann, is turning to AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley to fill the leadership void left by LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan. Donovan is still on his selfimposed sabbatical away from the game as he assesses his future but his absence was notable as the US suffered 2-0 loss to Honduras in their final round World Cup qualifying opener last week. Although Bradley plays a different role to Donovan, Klinsmann feels he is the man to fulfill the leadership duties the Galaxy ace takes in his stride.

Moyes

Everton Manager, David Moyes, admits he could have been Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United. Moyes was building a reputation as a young boss at Preston when approached by United. “I met Fergie in the year they won the Champions League,” he said yesterday. “He was looking for an assistant. I met him but he gave the job to McClaren. They went on to win the European Cup and have been very successful since but I’m happy with the way it’s worked out for me.”

I’m no rival –I –

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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GEORGE OJI ABUJA

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make of experts’ view nel Messi has scored make Barcelona tick? reat team comes about erson plays to his full rça are better with am and Leo plays beta. Football isn’t an int, it’s a team game in duals stand out much everyone’s pulling toy better when Leo’s s a better player alonghat’s what matters: the we’ve a part to play in right.

you’re playing, things g very well for you tball… ies in the stability I’ve e game, with my wife, my family and the d me. But everybody’s re will be players who e having the best of field, but once they get ’s the ideal place to get t their system. But, in nk that the two worlds ly linked.

you that Barcelona trophy in 2012? say that, I’d focus on won the Copa del Rey y close in both La Liga mpions League. In 2012 on the verge of where be to win things, but little short. This year at as an incentive to y trophy once more.

e yourself ever pulling ub’s shirt? said that my dream tion would be to hang at the club I’ve been as 12, a club that’s givally everything. So obng doesn’t even cross ht now because I’m in I could ever be. That my performances that ng I carry on.

quad doubly deterhe FIFA Confedera-

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Senate votes Stephen Keshi

o Messi’s –Iniesta Iniesta

also praised you… Leo to say so, particus a team-mate of mine wn for a long time and ongside me. It’s very I didn’t consider him r an instant. He’s still e. I was as happy for s fourth Ballon d’Or.

Sport

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Iniesta

tions Cup 2013 trophy? Yes, yes...But we won’t forget we’ll be up against other national teams that want to win too. There’ll be the host nation, former world champions and on top of that it’ll be in Brazil, which should provide a very special backdrop. It’ll be great.

ollowing the reported resignation of coach of the victorious Supper Eagles, the Senate yesterday passed a vote of confidence on Stephen Keshi and prevailed on him to rescind the said resignation. The lawmakers also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to reward the victorious team and their handlers handsomely, in addition to conferring befitting national honours award on them. The senators came up with these positions following the debate and adoption of a motion sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on “Nigeria’s Glorious Outing at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013.” Other prayers adopted by the senators included to commend and congratulate the Super Eagles for winning the trophy and making the nation proud and to give a standing ovation in honour of the new kings of African football. In addition, they resolved to commend and congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan for this achievement and for motivating the team. Finally, the Senate called on sports managers in Nigeria to sit up and return to the grassroots to source and develop the nation’s abundant talent to sustain this new dawn in the nations’ football and sports in general.

Efe Ambrose on arrival in Glasgow, yesterday

Ambrose shuns reception, returns to Glasgow IKENWA NNABUOGOR

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uper Eagles defender, Efe Ambrose, arrived Glasgow, Scotland on Monday and was available for selection when his side Celtic played Juventus last night in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. Ambrose arrived at the international airport in Glasgow Tuesday morning after leaving South

Africa on Monday night and was driven straight to the club house. The defender, who helped Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday in South Africa, denied himself a dinner party with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday evening. Manager Neil Lennon may now heave a sigh of relief as there have been worries over the availability of the defender who has been away for over three weeks.

What’s your verdict on Spain’s hopes of reaching Brazil 2014? When you’re not quite on top of your game, the opposition can beat you or hold you to a draw, and that’s what happened against France. But we’re fully confident that we’re capable of staying top, seeing our games through. The squad’s got what it takes to do that. Who was your role model as a kid? I always used to watch Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup really closely. They were the two players I most wanted to be like, and I’d try to do the things they did. Then, as time goes by and when everything goes well, the lads who are the age you were back then are now watching you. That means that you’re doing the right things. What did you wish for 2013 to bring? Good health. If I can train and play well, that’s what’s most important. As for the rest, things will go better or worse, depending on what fate has in store. But, more than anything, I want to stay healthy so I can enjoy what I do on and off the pitch.

AFCON fallout: Mba eyes Euro move

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igeria’s unlikely hero in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Sunday Mba, says he has done enough to earn a dream move to Europe. On Sunday in Johannesburg, the 24-year-old Warri Wolves forward scored the goal that ended Nigeria’s 19-year wait for a continental glory as they won their third Nations Cup trophy at the expense of Burkina Faso. “I hope I can also get a deal in Eu-

rope after what I achieved at the Nations Cup,” the former Nigeria U-17 star, who was also the match winner against star-studded Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals of the competition, said yesterday. His exploits have already sparked off interest from top German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. In 2008, he was close to teaming up with Spanish lower league side Elche, but the deal collapsed after his local club, Enugu Rangers, demand-

ed too much money. “A transfer abroad is the next step for his career after his decisive goals capped a very decent tournament for him,” Nigerian football agent Vincent Alumona, who was behind the player’s move to Spain five years ago, said. “He will need good advisers to make a decision about this and whatever he chooses would surely shape his career for the next two, three years.” Alumona added.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nigeria Premier Nig League with

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Cricket

IIKENWA NNABUOGOR ikenwa.nnabuogor@gmail.com

Rangers to pummel Sporting Principe

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nugu Rangers’ striker Sanusi Sani is hopeful that his side would beat Sporting Principe convincingly in this weekend’s CAF Champions League, preliminary round, first leg encounter in Enugu. He told supersport.com that the Champions League is of immense importance to Rangers and that they would go all out for a resounding win to hold the aces ahead of the return leg in Sao Tome and Principe. “If you look at the quality of players at the club, it is very clear that the management want us to do well in this competition and we certainly do not foresee any problems at this stage,” he said. “We are aware that to have qualified to represent their country, they must be a good team, but we are well prepared and want to win well to make the second leg a mere formality. “I’m promising the fans a goal in this game, and we aim to win by a minimum of three goals,” he proudly said. The Nigerian domestic campaign is billed to commence the same weekend Rangers play hosts to Sporting, but Sani has allayed fears that they could be match rusty. The team move into closed camping today (Tuesday) and he is adamant that they have blended well and should be in tip-top condition by Sunday. “We have been playing friendly matches since the beginning of the year and the team has started to take shape,” he said. “There has been a steady improvement since we played in the Super Four, where we tested quite a lot of players. “I know these are mere friendly games and the results do not matter a lot, but there was a better understanding in our games against the Flying Eagles and Kwara United, and we’ll be fully prepared by the time we’re through with the closed camp. “We’re three matches away from the group stage, so we’ll take each match as they come, but for now we have focused firmly on winning the upcoming game,” he added. Rangers qualified for the Champions League after finishing second in the premier league last season.

Onybuchi Onyechefula (left)

Emmanuel Nwachi

Nwachi signs for Thai club

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olphins striker Emmanuel Nwachi has signed for a Thai Premier League side Suphanburi. Nwachi has since settled nicely at his new club awaiting the resumption of the season on March 2. The big striker signed an undisclosed deal. Nwachi had been on trial at the club where he impressed the officials scoring in some friendly games before he was rewarded with a contract. Nwachi, who has tested with some foreign

clubs before including Start Kristiansand in Norway, filled the third foreigners’ quota in the newly-promoted club, which also includes Brazilian and South Korean players. The former Heartland striker joins the fast growing Nigerian export to the top flight in Thailand which also invested millions of dollars to develop their league. The Thai Premier League’s millions have also lured top coaches notably former England manager Sven Goran Ericsson amongst others.

OWU sportswear signs six NPL players

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ix Nigeria Premier League (NPL) stars will converge on Lagos for the unveiling of OWU Sportswear jerseys to be used by the trio of 3SC, ABS and Lobi Stars during the 2012/2013 season. The players are goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye, Mutiu Adegoke and Sola Adeboye (3SC); Abdulrahman Bashir (ABS) as well as the duo of Tony Okpotu and Ezekiel Bassey (Lobi Stars). “It’s a historic event for the OWU Sportswear team. From one team in 2010, we’ve progressed to three teams in 2012. “The OWU trio are the only teams with

Adegoke

replica jerseys for sale to supporters and football fans in Nigeria,” CEO OWU Sportswear, Tunji Brown told supersport.com. Supersport.com learnt that replicas of the NPL trio jersey will be available for sale after the event. OWU sealed a three-year deal with 3SC during the 2010/2011 season and is in the third year of the deal. On the other hand, the brand is in its first year with the duo of ABS and Lobi Stars. OWU Sportswear has since emerged as the leading sportswear branding clubs in the NPL and the Nigeria National League (NNL).

Bashir

Heartland new recruit aims high

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eartland’s new signing Onyebuchi Onyechefula has declared that his reason for teaming up with the Naze Millionaires is to gun for honours. The right back completed his switch from Gombe United a few weeks ago and has fully integrated into the system so much so that he has been the preferred choice at right back position manned previously by ex-Flying Eagles star Orji Kalu. The young right back was in impressive form in the last five games he played for his new side including the Super Cup encounter against Kano Pillars which the Owerri-side won. Onyechefula, who loves to run down the right flank, was also in full time action in the Super Four tournament played in Kano, recently. He shone brightly forcing coach Ndubuisi Nduka to hand him the starter’s shirt at right back ahead of Orji. The former Gombe United star told National Mirror that he was delighted to sign for the Federation Cup champions, saying he was in Owerri to add laurels to his personal honours cabinet. “Heartland are a huge club and I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait to start lifting titles,” he beamed. “It will also be delightful playing in the Confederation Cup for the first time and that will afford me the opportunity to sell myself further. “I’m glad to be in a champions club like Heartland and among top players in the NPL and I can’t ask for anything bigger than this. “I’ve got my eyes set on taking my game higher by first attracting attention of Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi and then taking my game to Europe, which is the ultimate. “But first I have got to show what I can do here and then take it from there. I have settled in nicely here and I love it.”


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Business & Finance Nigeria’s micro finance banking model not different from universal banking Former consultant to UNESCO, DFID, Prof. Sola Aliu

It is not the duty of NERC to import the meters. It is the direct responsibility of electricity distribution companies, CHAIRMAN OF THE NIGERIAN ELECTRICITY REGULATORY COMMISSION, NERC, SAM AMADI

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FG directs PHCN to import prepaid meters UDEME AKPAN

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he Federal Government has directed the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, (PHCN), to import commercial number of new pre-payment meters for distribution to consumers nationwide. The importation of the meters is aimed at ending the exploitation of consumers through estimation of their bills as a result of lack of meters. The importation which is also based on the nation’s inability to produce the facility locally is to be carried out through local and foreign vendors. The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi who confirmed the development in a telephone interview said: “It is not the duty of NERC to import the meters. It is the direct responsibility of electricity distribution companies, DISCOs to do so. He said the commission has already directed them to import the new

meters without delay. Investigations showed that the directive followed massive exploitation and complaints of consumers who petitioned the Commission from different parts of the nation. The exploitation is said to have gotten to its climax when the PHCN stopped the issuance of new meters to consumers in all parts of the nation as well as raise its estimated tariff by over 150 per cent without any explanation. This, it was learnt com-

pelled consumers who live in two-bedroom flats that used to pay about N5,000 monthly tariff to now pay between N12,000 and N15,000, depending on the policies and practices of the distribution companies, DISCOs. Consumers who live in three-bedroom flats and duplexes pay between N16, 000 and N20, 000 per month against about N7, 000 they used to pay. These bills include Value Added Tax and “meter maintenance charge” even though most con-

sumers do not have meters. Industry sources remarked that PHCN officials had purposely stopped the issuance of pre-payment meters after a noticeable drop in revenue as consumers adopted measures to reduce their tariff. Consequently, many consumers who have been waiting for months to get the new meters after upfront payment are compelled to continue to pay bills estimated based on the so-called “dynamic average” consumption

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he Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX), has said that the worsening insecurity in the maritime domain is not akin to Nige-

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L-R: Head, Data Messaging, Applications & Devices, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Okung Ebiefie; Chief Executive Officer, PTV Phones, Mr. Banji Adesanmi and Director, Products & Services, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Lucas Dada, at the launch of Blackberry 10 in South Africa recently.

Maritime insecurity is a global challenge, says NIMAREX FRANCIS EZEM

in a particular locality. For instance, a few days ago, the youths of Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State took to the streets, protesting alleged extortion by the PHCN. The protest nearly turned violent but for the timely intervention of the police. The youths, who carried placards with various inscriptions, were protesting what they termed illegal billings and extortion by the PHCN officials.

ria alone, rather a global challenge that requires international solutions. Vice Chairman of the planning committee of NIMAREX 2013, Mrs. Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi, who briefed newsmen on the 2013 edition of the expo slated for March 12 in Lagos, spoke against the background of increasing piracy cases in Nigeria as an inhibition

to inflow of foreign direct investment. She noted that the issue of insecurity on the waters occasioned by piracy, sea robbery and other illegalities constitute a major problem to global shipping and are therefore not limited to Nigeria alone. According to her, the scourge requires a global approach since no one

nation can successfully tackle the problem alone. She noted that the expo, which came on stream in 2011, is a public-private sector initiative borne out of the necessity to bring all stakeholders together under one platform to showcase the maritime potential in Nigeria. Said she: “The theme of the 2013 edition of the expo is Nigerian Maritime

Industry: Invest Now and it is designed to showcase the investment opportunities in Nigeria’s maritime industry and the need to invest now”. It was gathered that President Goodluck Jonathan would declare the event open while former President Olusegun Obasanjo would be chairman of the occasion even as the Minister of Transport, Mallam Idris Umar would be the chief host.

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

Immigrations introduce biometric at borders, airports

NCAA boss raises alarm over insider threat

PHCN exploitation continues despite NERC order

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Immigrations introduces biometric at borders, airports OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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he acting Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Rilwan Bala Musa biometrics will be installed across all borders in the country including the nation’s airports to check their porosity. Speaking to aviation reporters shortly after paying a visit to the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Musa agreed that the country borders were porous and needed

to be fortified by the introduction of biometrics. Musa, who revealed that some of the machines will be at the airport, maintained that its installation would give accurate date of individuals in the next 40 years as every information provided will be in the data bank. “The borders are porous in such a way that they are not like the airports where anybody comes to the airport with passport. So we are trying to put biometric in place,” he said. He noted that the Immigration counters at the airports would be increased to accelerate passen-

gers clearance, stressing that passengers were expected to be given speedy clearance on arrival after over eight hours flight. He said that Immigration officers would be sent on observation trips outside the country to observe passengers clearing in other airports and said there would be changes as soon as that was done. According to Musa, the average Immigration officer needed to be cautious hence there was a need to send them outside to observe how it was done in other airports around the world. “Our intention is to have these

officers on observation trips so that by the time they come back; they would have improved on what they are doing.” On difficulties associated with issuance of passport to Nigerians, the Immigration boss blamed it on desperate Nigerians who wanted to travel abroad by all means without obtaining genuine travelling documents and stressed that the organisation was working with embassies in the country to fish out criminals with fake documents. Earlier while playing host to the Immigration boss, the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr.

George Ureisi assured the Immigration chief of the organisation’s support to ensure seamless clearance of passengers. Ureisi who was represented by the director of security service, Mr. Wende Ogunedo explained that FAAN and Immigration Service have been working tirelessly to provide conducive travelling environment for passengers. He remarked that the current extension of D and E fingers of the MMIA airport was to ensure speedy facilitation of passengers adding that most of the equipment will be installed by the end of the month

FG to compensate fish farmers affected by flood in Kebbi

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L-R: Human Resources Manager, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, Mr. Robert Maduekwe; Managing Director, Mr. Peter Eshikena; Finance Manager, Mr. Jelle Kleefstra and Operations Manager, Mr. Vyas Vemuri, during the first Fitness Walk of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria in Lagos at the weekend.

Minister tasks new SMDF board on work plan CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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inister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada has charged the Board of Solid Minerals Development fund (SMDF) to urgently prepare and forward its annual and midterm work plan to the ministry for the rapid development of the minerals and metal sector. Giving the charge yesterday while inaugurating the board in Abuja, the minister noted that the move was to sustain the efforts to open up the minerals sector for rapid development for diversification of the nation’s economy. The board would among other things, monitor the operations and evaluate the progress of the fund and give advice as to changes required to improve the operations of the fund. The board which, Sada said is expected to take immediately is made up of nine members including Mr. Utsu Linus Adie as

chairman and Mr. Mahe Shehu Ahmed as Secretary and representatives were drawn from Bankers’ Committee and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Arc. Sada stated that in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval the Secretary of the board shall serve as an administrative secretary with the responsibility of the day to day running of the activities and programmes of the fund under the directions of the board. The new board’s Terms of Reference (TOR) include to determine the remuneration of external auditors and solicitors, monitor the operations and evaluate the progress of the fund, advise the minister as to changes required to improve the operations of the fund, and publish names of defaulters of loans and granted in the national newspapers. Others are to pursue defaulters through judicial action, solicit the assistance of government loan machinery in the recovery of loans granted and perform

such other functions relating to the fund as may be assigned to it by the minister of mines and steel development. According to the minister, the board is in consonance with the section 34 of the Nigerian minerals and Mining Act, 2007 to support the ministry’s policy framework to develop the sector. Sada said he shall in due course nominate a non-voting ministry representative on the board in line with part 11, section 4 of the Act, to provide the necessary synergy between the ministry and the board. He explained that the SMDF consists of any sums appropriated for solid minerals development under the revenue Act or any other federal law, sums appropriated for solid minerals development under the small and medium industries equity investment scheme (SMIEIS) funds received as grant, donations, foreign loans, bonds and long term swaps and any sums appropriated to it by the federal government budgetary allocation.

he Federal Government has provided funds to cushion the effects of the recent flood disaster on fish farmers in Kebbi. The state’s Director, Field Project Monitoring Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Kevin Tekpat disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi on Tuesday. Tekpat, who did not disclose the amount, said that that the Federal Government had also commenced the production of five million fingerlings to be given to the fish farmers. He explained that the department was liaising with the state Ministry of Agriculture to identify the affected farmers. Tekpat also said that the department would ensure that farmers, who lost their sources of livelihood, were adequately assisted, adding, “We want to ensure equity so that the actual farmers

affected receive compensation”. In a related development, Tekpat said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture would commence data capturing of farmers for the next distribution of fertilisers in the state. He said that the new data capture exercise would last for two weeks and was aimed at capturing a minimum of 100 people daily in each ward in the state. He said the exercise was intended to register five million farmers nationwide, adding that 47,000 farmers, who would soon be redeeming their packages, were registered for the accelerated dry season rice farming scheme. He said that each farmer was allocated three bags of assorted fertilisers, two bottles of chemicals and 50 kilogramme of improved seedlings. “The 50 kilogramme seedlings would enable each farmer to produce at least seven tonnes of crops per hectare.

Dangote drivers graduate from transport institute MESHACK IDEHEN

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he first batch of the 2,000 Dangote graduate drivers have graduated, after three months of intensive training at the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Zaria, A statement by the company explained that the graduates were issued with certificates and automatic employment into the Dangote Group of companies, after the ceremony which took place at the NITT Zaria, Kaduna State. The Director General of the Institute, Alhaji Aminu Musa Yusuf, said the Graduate Driver Training Scheme is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and that of the 100 shortlisted, 96 were able to make it to the end of the programme. According to him, the programme was delivered in partnership with the Federal Road

Safety Commission (FRSC) and Federal Vehicle Inspection Office (FVIO). Yusuf said the ‘super’ drivers have the advantage of becoming members of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, which is the lead professional body for the regulation of logistics and transport practice worldwide. On his part, Group Chief Human Resource Officer, Dangote Group, Mr. Paramjit Pabby, said the graduates were selected through a rigorous process, explaining the aim is to make Nigerians safe on the road. He said as graduate drivers, that they are expected to run the company’s newly formed super fleet with a professional touch, putting into practice all that you have been taught here, adding also that a female driver is among the graduates and that six other ladies will join her in the next batch.


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2013 budget: Civil society to engage Lagos govt UDO ONYEKA

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he Lagos state Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) has scheduled an engagement process that will provide opportunity for Lagosians to seek clarifications through dialogue on the 2013 fiscal budget of the state. Speaking on the conference, Coordinator of LACSOP, Barrister Ayo Adebusoye said the citizens has the right to ask questions as to how government run affairs of the state as tax payers money is usually spent during budget implementation and as such they should be involved in all the processes. He said LACSOP operating under a large network of civil society organisations including community based organisations (CBO’s) will run a live tweet

powered engagement debate with support from the Department for International Department (DFID) project known as State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI). Adebusoye said: “The programme the first of its kind in the state will attract media representatives and a large number of civil society organisations in Lagos state where direct debate will feature key government officials to answer specific questions on the budget proposals and will enable citizens to understand what are expected of them under the process.” He maintained that the citizen ought to be carried along in the development process which concerns them adding that the needs of the people should be sought first and their reactions obtained before such development would be accepted.

“We understand the Lagos State’s overarching vision is to be Africa’s Model Megacity and Global, Economic and Financial Hub that is Safe, Secure, Functional and Productive and we also appreciate efforts that this vision be achieved by 2025 and the smaller steps towards the realisation of this vision can be found in its annual policy targets. “What we intend to do during the conferencing is to open a dialogue channel, it is going to be a two way communication debate where citizens will ask questions directed to government officials who will be expected to respond, for they may want to find out what specific initiatives are expected in the agriculture sector, how much is to be committed and time frame and expected results and role the citizens should play”, he explained.

L-R: General Manager, , Nipco Plc, Mr. Chiranjibi Roka; Executive Director, Mr. Ramesh Virwani; Managing Director, Tamal Petroleum, Alhaji Muhammadu Usman Sarki; Snr. Manager, Sales & Marketing, Mr.Victor Adeyemi and Depot Rep, Mr. Muniru Sanni, at the presentation of awards to Tamal Petroleum Limited as Best Marketer of the Year 2012 in Lagos recently.

South African Airways suspends acting CEO OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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arely four months after South African Airways Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Miss. Siza Mzimela resigned from her job in a controversial circumstances, her successor in acting capacity, Mr. Vuyisile Kona was yesterday placed on precautionary suspension. Kona was suspended by the Board of Directors of the airline “after careful consideration of recent developments in the airline.” An online statement signed by the SAA’s media agent in the country and made available to journalists stated that the precautionary suspension of the CEO was based on certain allegations that have come to the attention of the board, in respect of

which the board has a fiduciary duty to investigate. The statement emphasised that the suspension took effect from Monday, 11th February, 2013, but noted that it was yet to come to any conclusion as to the veracity or otherwise of these allegations. The statement emphasised that the board had embarked on a process to recruit a permanent CEO for the airline, stressing that applications have been received while the board was in the process of evaluation. The statement reads in part, “The board is confident that this process will be completed by 31 March 2013, at which time recommendations will be presented to the Minister. In the interim, the Board has requested the CEO of Mango, Mr. Nico Bezuidenhout to oversee the Group’s operations.”

It will be recalled that Mzimela had resigned on October 7, 2012. She had tendered her resignation to the chairperson of the board of directors, Mr Vuyisile Kona at the airline’s head office, Airways Park in Johannesburg. Before her resignation in October, Mzimela had been with the airline for approximately three years as its CEO. In the same period, two other general managers, Theunis Potgieter and Sandra Coetzee had tendered their resignations and acting executives were immediately made. The airline had viewed these resignations as a turbulence of a temporary nature, which must not be allowed to affect its ability to discharge its core function in a responsible and prudent manner.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NIPCO rewards customers UDEME AKPAN

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ipco Plc, an integrated downstream operator in the nation’s oil and gas industry has appreciated its numerous customers for their unalloyed patronage in dispensing of petroleum products to all the nooks and crannies of the country. The highlight of the unique event held at the company’s terminal in Lagos was the special recognition and honor of the overall Best Marketer for the year 2012 – Tamal Petroleum Nig Ltd based in Katsina State whose Managing Director, Alhaji Muhammadu Usman Sarki received the award on behalf of the company amidst pomp and pageantry. Presenting the award to the recipient on behalf of Nipco, Executive Director, Finance, Mr. Ramesh Virwani said the feat is

in recognition of the outstanding performance of the marketing company in the distribution of petroleum products to end users through their outlets. Virwani used the forum to assure all the marketing companies doing business with the company of excellent service delivery that will be beneficial to both parties in the overall interest of the sector. He urged the firms to venture into the gas business too especially in the realm of Liquefied Petroleum Gas [LPG] marketing which could shore up their business endeavours in the hydrocarbon industry. In his remarks, Senior Manager, Sales & Marketing, Mr. Victor Adeyemi said the honour is in line with the company’s reward scheme for its esteemed customers in her avowed vision of being the first choice company in the oil and gas industry to all stakeholders.

NAMB wants states to establish more MFBs

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he National Association of Micro Finance Banks (NAMB), has called on state governments to establish more Micro Finance Banks (MFBs) to provide employment opportunities at the grass roots. The national president of the association, Mr Jethro Akun, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Abuja. Akun said the MFBs would serve as a veritable means of channelling micro credit facilities to low income earners and the poor at the grass roots. He also urged states to consider the importance of financial inclusion to help people

with limited or no access to formal banking services. According to him, it is a legal requirement for states and local governments to set aside one per cent of their annual budget for micro credit scheme. He said that the association would encourage the states to use their one per cent for the establishment of MFBs to encourage financial inclusion. Akun commended the Kano State Government for taking the lead in establishing MFBs at the grass roots and urged other states to emulate the Kano model. He also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria for granting licences to 37 MFBs at a stretch in Kano State.

Overland Airways commences online booking OLUSEGUN KOIKI

O

ne of the rapidly developing airlines in Nigeria, Overland Airways yesterday announced the introduction of online ticket booking and payment for all its customers. The Chief Operating Officer of the airline, Mrs. Aanu Benson said that with the introduction of the online ticket booking and payment option, customers now have the opportunity to make reservation and pay for their flight tickets from any part of the country using any of the following debit cards: Interswitch Verve, VISA, Mastercard and E-tranzact. Benson added that the introduction of the online ticket reservation and payment would create convenience for its customers as they can now book

and pay for their tickets online from the comfort of their homes, offices and any other location they find themselves. In its 10 years of flight operations in Nigeria, the airline has continue to deliver efficient and reliable flight services to its numerous customers. She said, “After the payment passengers will receive their electronic ticket with their unique booking reference number or Passenger Name Record (PNR) via their email addresses for presentation at the check in counter. “This is part of our commitment to our customers, to continuously innovate to improve their flying experience. From the booking and payment of tickets, to our seamless checkin process and to flying onboard our modern aircraft, Overland customers are assured of a unique travel experience.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

35

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Energy Week

udemea@rocketmail.com 07031546994

PHCN exploitation continues despite NERC order

Electricity transformer

I

t is no more news that consumers of electricity have experienced various forms of exploitation from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), that is supposed to provide them improved services. These, including unwarranted disconnection, over estimation of their monthly bills and non provision of new meters, compelled the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), an independent regulatory agency, to intervene a few weeks ago. The commission whose mandates include monitoring and regulation of the electricity sector, issuance of licences to market participants, enforcing compliance with market rules and operating guidelines directed the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, to tackle the issues made against them. The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who confirmed the swift intervention, said the Commission directed the DISCOs to import commercial number of new pre-payment meters for distribution to consumers nationwide. The importation of the meters is targeted at ending the massive exploitation

With the recent directive by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), consumers of electricity expected the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), to fully address their complaints. But UDEME AKPAN reports that they are still being exploited through various forms, especially estimated bills. of consumers through estimation of their bills. The importation which is also based on the nation’’s inability to produce the facility locally would be carried out through local and foreign vendors. Amadi who confirmed the development stated that it was not the duty of NERC to import the meters. However, the directive was partly fuelled by complaints of consumers who petitioned the commission from different parts of the nation. The exploitation, however, got to its climax when the PHCN stopped the is-

suance of new meters to consumers in all parts of the country as well as raised its estimated tariff by over 150 per cent without any explanation. But investigations showed that the DISCOs have not yet complied with such directive. Many consumers who spoke with National Mirror confirmed that they are still being exploited in Lagos and its environs. For instance, consumers who live in twobedroom flats that used to pay about N5,000 monthly tariff now pay between N12,000 and

THE IMPORTATION OF THE METERS IS TARGETED AT ENDING THE MASSIVE EXPLOITATION OF CONSUMERS THROUGH ESTIMATION OF THEIR BILLS

N15,000, depending on the policies and practices of the distribution companies, DISCOs. Consumers who live in threebedroom flats and duplexes pay between N16, 000 and N20, 000 per month against about N7, 000 they used to pay. These bills include Value Added Tax and ““meter maintenance charge”” even though most consumers do not have meters. Industry sources remarked that PHCN officials had purposely stopped the issuance of pre-payment meters after a noticeable drop in revenue as consumers adopted measures to reduce their tariff. Consequently, many of them continue to pay bills estimated based on the socalled ““dynamic average”” consumption in a particular locality. These consumers CONTINUED ON PAGE 36


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

PHCN exploitation continues despite NERC order CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 are not happy. In fact, they are very bitter with the DISCOs. For instance, a few days ago, youths of Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State took to the streets, protesting alleged extortion by the PHCN. The protest would have degenerated into a crisis without prompt intervention of the police. The youths, who carried placards with various messages, were protesting what they termed illegal billings and extortion by the PHCN officials. Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: ““We are tired of crazy bills””, ““Stop this extortion now”” and ““Omu-Aran no go gree””. The situation became charged and almost got out of hand when the protesters got to the PHCN’’s building at the city hall. The policemen along with some officers of the National Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, had to form a barricade to prevent the youths from entering the building. The leader of the protesting youths, Mr. Wasiu Awoniyi, said that they were forced to embark on the warning protest after several meetings to resolve the issue with PHCN proved abortive. The questions many people are asking are: Why has it become difficult for the DISCOs to supply the new meters, stop crazy billing as well as tackle other consumer concerns in all parts of the nation? They also wonder how long it would take to find permanent solution to the various problems. Investigations showed that the situation is mainly fuelled by lack of funds. The DISCOs are said to lack much funds, particularly after bending back to meet the expectations of labour that made several demands before embracing the privatization of the firms. Consequently, they are said to lack the funds to sustain the supply of the new meters, even though some consumers have already paid for them. The craze for funds is also said to be a major reason for the continued over estimation of consumer bills. Authorities have not yet come up with plans to assist the DISCOs solve their financial predicament, probably because private investors would soon take over the firms. They have however urged consumers to cooperate with other stakeholders in order to find lasting solution to critical challenges. For instance, the Minister of State for Power, Hajia Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi who encouraged consumers to pay for the new meters explained that they would be compensated in future. She remarked that such customers would get energy credit and reduction in their fixed charges over time. From all indications, many consumers who have experienced inconsistencies of the DISCOs in the past may not likely pay for the meters because of lack of trust. The National President of Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, OGSPAN, Mr. Colman Obasi remarked that: ““The poor consumers have been exploited for too long. They do not have confidence in the companies anymore. They do not believe the DISCOs are sincere and that they would get their monies back. He stated that: ““This has some negative implications for the sector. First, the sector

Labo

Nebo

Amadi

may continue to experience lack of electricity meters that could affect effective service delivery to consumers in different parts of the nation. Second, the situation would also breed conflict, especially as the billing of consumers would continue to be based on estimation. Third, the situation, it was learnt would affect the capacity of individuals, households and even firms to produce goods and services at affordable cost. Already, the Small and Medium Enterprises, whose operations have been affected as a result many factors, especially irregular supply, and crazy billing has called for the creation of separate classifications, specifically for NSMEs, to enable them reduce the high operational cost. It also called for the elimination of all fixed charges. ““In the medium to long term, NASME recommends that the fixed charge is completely eliminated and all charges become variable based on consumption,”” it said in the report. The organisation explained that this would ensure that its members only pay for what they consume and ultimately encourage energy conservation in the nation. It also made a case for the introduction of a unified standard for information shown on payment receipts, explaining that the minimum information requirements for each distribution company to be the same, in order to improve transparency. NASME added: ““Distribution companies should be

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR POWER, HAJIA ZAINAB IBRAHIM KUCHI

The organisation explained that this would ensure that its members only pay for what they consume and ultimately encourage energy conservation in the nation. It also made a case for the introduction of a unified standard for information shown on payment receipts, explaining that: ““The minimum information requirements for each distribution company to be the same, in order to improve transparency.”” NASME further called for the restructuring as creation of complaint channels in distribution firms so as to enable service providers respond to complaints. It stated that distribution companies should be mandated to set up structured and effective complaint and resolution channels with stipulated resolution timelines. Appropriate penalties should be established with supervision by NERC. It also stated that there should be awareness campaigns and sensitisation on MYTO 11 to MSMEs using grassroots/practical methods. Despite the seriousness of the issues, the small and medium scale operators have not given up. They have started engaging major stakeholders, including NERC in order to tackle the challenges. But all the problems may not be solved in a short or medium term as findings showed that it would require a much longer time to either revive the two dwindling plants or establish new manufacturing firms to boost production in the country at affordable cost.

WHO ENCOURAGED CONSUMERS TO PAY FOR THE NEW METERS EXPLAINED THAT THEY WOULD BE COMPENSATED IN FUTURE mandated to set up structured and effective complaint and resolution channels with stipulated resolution timelines. An authoritative study conducted by the organisation showed that many industries have already closed shops as a result of poor supply of electricity which compelled them to take to the use of generators at higher cost. The cost which is reflected in the prices of various goods and services make them uncompetitive at the global market. The NASME stated that the high cost of the new Multi Year Tariff Order 11, introduced in June this year was counter-productive on the operations of its members. The Executive Secretary of the organization, Mr. Eke Ubiji who confirmed the development said NASME is ready to engage with relevant government institutions.

Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company raises alarm over vandalism

T

he Management of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company has the raised alarm over the increased rate of vandalism of its equipment in many parts of its network in Lagos State. The vandalism which had initially reduced after the conviction of two vandals to various terms of imprisonment assumed a wider dimension in the last six months. The management of the firm who confirmed this in a statement stated that during this period, a total number of 69 Distribution Transformer Substations

were vandalised and various electrical items were stolen from these stations, thereby throwing the Communities being supplied from the stations into darkness. It stated that the socio-economic effect of this act of sabotage is high. Apart from throwing communities into darkness, the cost of replacing vandalized equipment is colossal and the Management can no longer bear such cost. The Company spent over N20million to replace the equipment in the 67No.

vandalised substations. This amount would have been better expended on new projects for network expansion. The management will like to once again advise Community Development Associations and other well-meaning community members to be alert and assist in curbing vandalism of electrical equipment within their locality. The management also seeks the continued support of the Police, the State Security Service (SSS) and other security Agencies in putting an end to vandalism of electrical equipment.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

37

OPEC daily basket price hits $113.67 a barrel UDEME AKPAN

WITH AGENCY REPORT

…… raises hope for 2013 budget

T

he price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC basket of 12 crudes has risen from $113.10 to $113.67 dollars over the weekend, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). This means that many oil exporting nations, including Nigeria would be able to generate adequate foreign exchange for the execution of their 2013 budgets. For instance, at the current oil price, Nigeria generates over $34 per barrel which showed that budget planning were accurate in adopting $79 as the reference price for the budget. The cartel believes the volatile oil market would likely remain firm throughout a greater part of the year. The market forecast is said to have partly informed the decision of OPEC not to tamper with market fundamentals last year. At its last meeting, the conference had elected Hani Abdulaziz Hussain, Minister of Oil of the State of Kuwait, as President of the Conference for one

ment matters, including the outcome of COP18/CMP8 held in Doha, Qatar, earlier this month; the status of the Organization’’s ongoing energy dialogue with the European Union (EU); its continued cooperative work for the G-20; and its dialogue with the Russian Federation. The conference congratulated the Government and people of Qatar on the successful hosting of COP18/CMP8, noting with satisfaction that the event’’s positive conclusion paved the way for a new course of action for designing the future climate change regime. It reviewed the oil market outlook, as presented by the Secretary General, in particular the supply/demand projections for 2013. Ministers noted that the price volatility witnessed throughout 2012 remained mostly a reflection of increased levels of speculation in the commodities markets, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions and, latterly, exceptional weather conditions. The conference observed: the mounting pessimism over the global economic outlook, with downside risks continuing to be presented by the sovereign debt crisis in the Euro-zone; high unemployment in the advanced economies, especially the Euro-zone; and inflation risk in the emerging economies. Indeed, the biggest challenge facing global oil markets in 2013 is uncertainty surrounding the global economy, with the fragility of the Euro-zone remaining a major concern.

El-Badri

year, with effect from 1 January 2013, and Dr Abdel Bari Ali Al-Arousi, Minister of Oil and Gas of Libya and Head of its Delegation, as Alternate President, for the same period. The Conference reviewed the Secretary General’’s report, the report of the Economic Commission Board (ECB), the report of the Ministerial Monitoring Sub-Committee (MMSC) –– whose Members the Conference again commended for their continued and appreciated efforts on behalf of the organisation –– and various administrative matters. The conference exchanged views on, inter alia: developments in multilateral environ-

... forecasts marginal rise in economic growth, oil demand

W

orld economic growth is estimated at 3.2per cent in 2013, showing a marginal improvement from 3.0 per cent in 2012, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC that made the forecast in its current report stated that: ““Following last month’’s revision, US growth expectations for 2013 remain at 2.0per cent, down from an upwardly-revised 2.3per cent for last year. It maintained that in Japan, fiscal and monetary stimulus might lift growth to 0.7per cent, after an estimated expansion of 2.0per cent in 2012.

The cartel stated that China is benefiting from increasing global trade and is forecast to expand by 8.0per cent in 2013, following 7.6per cent growth in 2012. After 5.5per cent growth last year, India is expected to grow at a higher 6.4per cent in 2013. It stated that: ““The forecast for world oil demand growth in 2013 remains unchanged at 0.8 mb/d, in line with the growth seen in the previous year. This year, the impact of economic turbulence on oil demand should be considerably milder than in previous years. The OECD region is expected to continue to contract this year by 0.2 mb/d, although at only half the rate seen in 2012. The non-OECD region is projected to consume about 1 mb/d more than last year.

The organization stated that NonOPEC oil supply growth in 2012 is estimated at 0.5 mb/d, broadly in line with the previous assessment. In 2013, nonOPEC supply is expected to increase by 0.9 mb/d. It maintained that growth would come mainly from the US, Canada, South Sudan and Sudan, Brazil, and Australia, while Norway, Mexico, Syria, and the UK are seen declining in 2013. The cartel maintained that: ““OPEC NGLs are expected to increase by 0.2 mb/d in 2013. In December 2012, total OPEC crude production averaged 30.37 mb/d, according to secondary sources, indicating a decline of 465 tb/d from the previous month. Product markets in the Atlantic Basin continued to fall in Decem-

Energy & Oil Prices

Source: Bloomberg

OIL ($/bbl) Nymex Crude Future Dated Brent Spot WTI Cushing Spot

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

85.95 111.01 85.54

0.41 0.90 -0.74

0.48% 0.82% -0.86%

07:42 07:52 10/29

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

310.55 275.30

-0.97 -0.38

-0.31% -0.14%

07:37 07:41

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

NATURAL GAS ($/MMBtu)

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

11:19

New York City Gate Spot

3.77 3.43 3.57

-0.03 0.09 0.11

-0.84% 2.69% 3.18%

07:43 10/29 10/29

ELECTRICITY ($/megawatt hour)

PRICE*

CHANGE

% CHANGE

TIME

% CHANGE

09/24

Nymex Henry Hub Future Henry Hub Spot

Mid-Columbia, firm on-peak, spot Palo Verde, firm on-peak, spot

32.95 35.23

-0.40 -0.76

-1.20% -2.11%

10/26 10/29

BLOOMBERG, FIRM ON-PEAK, DAY AHEAD SPOT/ERCOT HOUSTON

30.25

2.04

7.23%

10/26

Source: Oilprice.com

ber as sentiment remained bearish on increasing supplies, following the return of refineries from seasonal maintenance. The organisation stated that lack of support from the winter season –– as mild weather dampened heating oil demand –– hit cracks at the middle of the barrel and caused margins to fall further. In Asia, refinery margins exhibited a slight recovery on the back of rising seasonal demand, supporting middle distillates and fuel oil. Clean tanker freight rates increased on the back of a rise in activities, heading into the year-end holidays. OPEC spot fixtures rose 2per cent to average 14.54 mb/d, while OPEC sailings increased 0.5per cnet to average 24.38 mb/d. However, the organization said there are uncertainties. It remarked that: ““For the past weeks, the outcome of negotiations in the US to avoid the ‘‘fiscal cliff ’’ –– a term that describes the automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to take place at the beginning of 2013 –– has been a major uncertainty hanging over the US economy.


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Energy Week

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

National interest to guide nal decision on PIB ––Abe Chairman of Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe (Rivers East) commented on a number of issues in the petroleum sector to some newsmen in Abuja recently, GEORGE OJI was there.

will not be discuss in the senate, it would be discuss because it is a document that is with the senate.

What is happening to the PIB? The PIB is here in the National Assembly. It has not been slated on the order paper contrary to some insinuations here and there. There is no problem as far as I know with the PIB, it will be treated like any other law that comes to the floor of the Senate but it is already been taken in the House of Representatives and it will definitely come up in the Senate Why is the north so vehemently opposed to the PIB? Like any other law that has the kind of impact and consequence that the PIB would have on economic life of this country, it has elicited quiet some interest across the county. It is not just the North and South. There are all sorts of interests in the PIB. The multinational have their interest, the indigenous oil producers have their interest, the oil producing communities have their interest and of course every state in this country has an interest in the PIB because of the ideas that it will one way or the other affect the revenue that accrue to the country, so it is not a bill that anybody would take likely. So, I see the interest of all sections in the PIB as healthy and to be appreciated. The whole essence of a law is that it is the aggregate of what Nigerians agreed upon that becomes the law that is binding on all Nigerians. So, I think that whatever misgivings or interest that people have in PIB will come out and be addressed. But what I know is that substantially, almost everybody I know in this country agrees that there is a need for us to take a second look at the way we have been dealing with our hydro carbon resources in this country. I don’’t know of anybody whether from the north or south who believe that what we are getting now is the best that we can do, I don’’t know of anybody who believes that what we are getting now is the best that we can get. Why the delay by the Senate in deliberating on the bill? What happened is that as you would remember, the day the PIB was slated on the floor was the day after the aircraft that involved late General Azazi and late Governor of Kaduna State and everybody felt that it was not appropriate to take such an important matter on a day immediately after such a tragedy. Nobody was in the mood to talk about PIB that day including myself. So, naturally it was agreed that it should be stood down to another legislative day but naturally because it was a PIB, if it was any other law, it wouldn’’t have raised any eyebrows but because it was a PIB all sorts of insinuations had gone into why we did not take it on that day So, when will it be slated? It would be introduced. The nature of the Senate and how issues are pitched;

Senator Abe

THERE ARE SENATORS HERE FROM THE NORTH, DEFINITELY, AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHAT WE WOULD PASS WOULD BE WHAT NIGERIANS AGREE UPON AND WE WON’’T KNOW WHAT NIGERIANS AGREED UPON UNLESS WE DISCUSS THE ISSUE there are a lot of things that have been outstanding and I really can’’t say for certain because I am not the chairman of Rules and Business Committee but right after this briefing, I will call Senator Ita Enang and try to get a date from him as to when we can deal with the PIB and if I get a date from him I will communicate it to you. But I can assure you that the PIB will come up, it is already here The Kano State governor in particular has come up very strongly that the north will oppose the PIB because the interest of the north is not protected by the bill? I haven’’t heard the Governor of Kano say that, you are quoting him to me and I don’’t think that the interest of the North is not protected in the Senate. There are senators here from the north, definitely, at the end of the day, what we would pass would be what Nigerians agree upon and we won’’t know what Nigerians agreed upon unless we discuss the issue. The PIB is important to everybody in this country and if you hear reactions from the PIB, you shouldn’’t deal with extremes. Definitely in any piece of legislation, there would be extremes, but it is the compromise positions that become the position. If you hear some of the oil major producers, they are also taking an extreme position; if you pass the PIB bill, in fact we will stop investment in Nigeria. If you hear the executive talking, they are also having some kind of extreme position that this is the minimum that Nigerian government must get from its oil revenues. So, all across the place, people are taking positions. If any governor has a position, he can take it out, but the assurance I will give to any Nigerian is that the PIB will be

discussed in the National Assembly and at the end of the day, it is the national interest that will move this country that will guide our deliberations in the senate and national assembly and not particular interest of anybody. At the end of the day, what is good for Nigeria will be good for Kano. The whole idea of the PIB is to improve Nigeria as regard our hydro carbon resources. You can improve the position of Nigeria without improving the position of every State that benefit from our hydro carbon. I don’’t think there is any way that any state will not benefit from greater improvement of our hydro carbon. For example, today Nigeria is doing less than 2.6 trillion barrel, there are lots of people who believe we can do more than that if the atmosphere is right, if we do 4.6, won’’t Kano get more money from than they are getting from 2.6 trillion. What is happening to your committee’’s report on the fuel subsidy? Let me say that the issue of the report of the Senate investigation into the oil subsidy issue, the report has been concluded, submitted in the open and not privately, it was submitted to the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria. So, as a chairman of the committee, it is when I am called upon by the senate to come and present the report that I will do so. When I present the report, then you know whether I have been settled or not but like I said earlier, it is not the place of individual senators to determine what the senate will discuss. That is the function of the Rules and Business Committee and contrary to what you are saying, the report has actually been slated twice for discussion but we couldn’’t take it. So, there is so many report, bills, motion that is before the senate, I don’’t think there would be any time when anybody will say that report

When are we going to have access to it? As far as I know, the report today is a public document, if you ask the Clerk of the senate, he can give it to you and you can look it and draw your own conclusions. You can decide whether it is relevant or irrelevant, it is been submitted to the Senate which is a public institution, I believe by now, it is covered by the Freedom of Information Act. So, if you want to see it you can ask the Clerk of the Senate but for us as a committee we concluded the committee, we were aware that the House was carrying on a concurrent investigation and we tried not to duplicate what need not to be duplicated. There is a lot of issue with the way the oil subsidy issue was being managed and what could be done to improve it. We tried to look at those things we consider the core of the challenge and tried to deal with it on a once. That was the nature of the report. 33 senators, we sat down and look at these issues and we came up with what we considered to be common sense solutions to those problems and we passed on our views and recommendations to the senate. Can we have a preview of at least the major recommendations? Like I said, the report is with the senate of the republic, if you ask the Clerk and you cannot get a copy, you come and ask me, I will ask him. Not even the major highlight of the report? Are you here to make me discuss the report and findings? I have told you where the details can be found. The report is with the Senate of the republic. Get a copy from the Clerk and read it yourself. Did the committee found out something that will help the country move forward? I don’’t want us to keep going backward and forward. You want me to say this is what we recommended. What I would say is that, go and try to get the copy of the report, read it and draw your own conclusion. It is a public document. I think it will be self serving for me to say something like that, to the extent of our own wisdom, understanding, knowledge of what the problems are. We have made certain recommendations. For example, one of the recommendations we made was that Nigeria should as a matter of policy introduce a first charge on all oil crude produce in this country for local refining so that if you build a refinery in Nigeria you don’’t even have to talk to the government, once you show capacity to actually refine crude oil here, it is possible, you have the right to buy Nigeria crude before people who are taking it out unrefined and that rule apply in a lot of countries including the United States of America but you can take it out of Nigeria. But if you have a rule like that it would help people who are uncertain as to what the climate would be in terms of if you go and invest in building a refinery here, are you going to actually CONTINUED ON PAGE 39


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

T

he hope of the Federal Government to boost local content and capacity building in the petroleum industry through increased training has been threatened by limited vacancies in the oil companies. The oil and gas firms were to provide the much needed opportunities for the nation’’s human capital to acquire necessary experience after their formal training in Nigeria and overseas. The Acting Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Mr. Jolomi Arenyeka lamented that despite spending huge sums of money in training Nigerians for the oil and gas industry, a lot of the trainees remain jobless. He said although PTDF was ready to pay 15 young Nigerians who have completed drilling engineering training at the French Institute of Petroleum (IFP) there were indications that they may have to face the harsh reality in the labour market. One of the graduates, Mr. Ifeanyi Muoaghalu, said that if they could be offered jobs in local firms they would contribute their quota to the nation’’s economy if not, they may be forced to export their expertise to make ends meet. Muoaghalu specifically called on Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to create opportunities for them. He said: ““We really thank PTDF because they gave the chance to experience such wonderful training. And we wish more of such programme will take place more often because it was hands on

Energy Week

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Local content: Lack of vacancies in oil and gas worry stakeholders

Oil workers on duty

training, based on skilled work not just theoretical, we went to the rigs, for instance, we thought the oil and gas industry was just you come earn your money and go, but individual in the oil and gas industry earns his money by dint of hard work, we are very grateful for this opportunity and we hope Nigerian government would give us the opportunity to prove ourselves.”” While, one of them was said to have been offered employment by a foreign company, others are still hoping that there would be an opportunity to serve their country rather than serving other nations.

Speaking during the presentation of the new experts, Arenyeka disclosed that it cost the nation about 50,000 euros (N10.5million) to train each of the grandaunts at the institute reputed to be the best in the world adding that the operators of the industry have no excuse for not employing them. He said: ““The programme evolved due to the intention of the fund to fill identified gaps and ensure adequate capacity building in the area of oil and gas drilling/production operations to ultimately enhance Nigerian content development in

the industry. ““In view of the 15 trainees spread across the country (which includes five staff of NPDC/NNPC) who emerged the best performing candidates after a rigorous selection process underwent the drilling engineering training programme at IFP””. He explained that the international certificates would enable the engineers ““to work anywhere in the world, and it is my hope that they will make good use of this unique opportunity offered to them by PTDF and ensure that they remain as good

‘‘National interest to guide nal decision on PIB’’ CONTINUED FROM 38 have access to crude to fix stock to run your refinery and even in the PIB, we are going to try to push some of these things to make it legal and be back by law because it exist in other places, so you must add value to our crude before you can take it out and if you are prepared, you will get preference over those who are not adding value, this is a common sense solution and it will help to fire up refinery business because it guarantee you fill stock and compel those who are drilling in Nigeria to invest in trying to refine in Nigeria. So, there are a lot of common sense recommendations that we have made to try to place the country in a position where we may not have to face some of these challenges again in the future. How much has the country spent on fuel subsidy? I don’’t want to give figure because I did not arm myself with that figure before this interview

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but as at the last time I spoke with the Minister of Finance, she was emphatic that all legitimate claims have been met and when I spoke to PPRA, the response I got from them wasn’’t much different from what she has said except that certain other claims were either being disputed or being processed but those that have been cleared have substantially been paid. Now, we are hearing that NNPC is trying to take another loan of $1.5 billion to pay for existing debt and we have told them in clear terms that that transaction should not proceed without approval from the National Assembly. I don’’t mind what kind of business entity that NNPC think they are, the debt of NNPC and invariably the debt of Nigeria, so, nobody has the right to commit the country with that indebtedness without the approval of parliament. All the relevant committees in the National Assembly met and took a position that we need to be briefed on that loan before it can proceed. Last week they were to come to explain

but unfortunately a lot of us were not here, we could not make that appointment, we still expect to see them but in the mean time, we have agreed that we should do a formal letter directing NNPC not to proceed with that loan without the approval from the National Assembly. That is where we stand. But NNPC said it is going ahead with the loan no matter what the National Assembly is saying? This issue between NNPC and the National Assembly, we have debated it publicly and privately, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is clear as to what NNPC is, so to think that anybody can create a corporation that can drain the resources of the country without parliamentary oversight or approval, it is an allusion and I dare NNPC to go ahead and commit this country to $1.5 billion without the approval of the parliament. It is not possible and we will not allow it. That argument has been overtaken by the constitution of Nigeria. It is

clear in the constitution and the National Assembly will not allow it, if it means going to court, we will go to court. If they are going to commit this country to a debt of $1.5 billion by whatever means, they need to come and explain as elected representatives of Nigerian people how this debt was incurred, how it is going to be paid, and how it will not affect us. We must understand that before they can proceed. If they do not take it, will Nigerians suffer as a result of possible cut in supply chain? I am part of anything that makes Nigeria a better and organised society that makes Nigeria a more accountable society. Nobody will say that what happens to oil can be a private business of anybody in this country. The economic life of Nigeria depends on what happens in NNPC so I don’’t know how NNPC can think that Nigeria will allow them on their own to decide to do whatever they want to do

ambassadors of the fund and the country wherever they find themselves””. He noted that there appears to be a disconnect between the industry operators and the fund stressing that ““PTDF mandate is to train and hand over to the industry. We cannot insist that they employ them and that is why we bringing the stakeholders together. We a number of them still not engaged but we cannot continue like that””. The acting PTDF boss said the new drilling engineers would be attached to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in Benin City until they are engaged by other firms. ““The good thing is that one of them had the best result the institute had recorded in recent years and while at the institute, he received job offers from Total, International Welding Institute and also from the French institute to remain as a trainer””. Speaking on behalf of the trainees, David Odesa thanked the federal government for providing them with the opportunity to be trained as drilling engineers. ““I can assure you that all us have the capacity to design and build any well both on and off shore. We have the capacity to manage any rig. The training we had was very challenging but we came out successfully””, Odesa stated. and nobody can ask questions, it will not happen. What happens in NNPC to that magnitude is the business of Nigeria and that is set up by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria to protect the interest of Nigeria when it comes to financial and monetary matters is the National Assembly. I have read the legal opinion of the NNPC and I have responded to it. The constitution of Nigeria is clear on this issue. It is from you that I heard that NNPC said they are not coming; I already have a letter from NNPC saying they are coming. What is the state of our refineries now? Let me use this opportunity to commend NNPC on the improvement of the refineries over the past one year. If you go back now, you will be impressed as to the sustained capacity that the refineries have achieved since we had those interactions with NNPC. They have focused a little more to increase their output. Those are the reports we have gotten and we still intend to go back and verify some of these things.


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Energy Week

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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The world of oil & gas in 2013 Ossie

Esiemokai E-mail: anthonyossie52@yahoo.com Tel: 08023021212 (SMS only)

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t is customary for columnists, in specialised areas such as this, to indulge in some form clairvoyance or crystal ball gazing at the beginning of the year. We crave indulgence to engage in this art or is it craft of erudite fortune telling. Ours is not that form very common place in Nigerian climes of ecclesial predictions of the ‘‘a mighty rain shall fall’’ or ‘‘many great men would pass on’’ kind. Give me a break –– mighty rains have fallen since the great Biblical deluge that got Noah scampering into the Ark. As for great men, what else is left to happen to them, than to go join their ancestors as we love to announce in obituaries. We have been in this business of futuristic prognosis but on a wider platform for more than three decades. In the Fortune 500 multi-national, present in 149 Countries, of the world where we worked, we had a responsibility to do in-depth, analytical prognosis what the markets would look like on short term (annual), medium term (5 years) and the long term (7 years) basis. And in the fast-growing, world conquest bound conglomerate wherein we now work, great, intellectual-based planning have always driven its strategic focus. It was the US President and Army General Dwight Eisenhower who once said that ‘‘plans are nothing, planning is everything’’. And in the two organisations mentioned above they do plan and they do implement. What makes a good forecast is the data eruditely assembled, the analysis of those data, the perspective of their application in inference and the deductive benefits they have in their conclusions and projections. In the markets and bourses across the globe from Wall Street through the City in London to the DAX beside the River Main in Frankfurt, Analysts, those begoggled

Oil vessel

gnomes that predict stock and markets movement live, and live well, from such informed crystal ball gazing. Their buy, sell or hold advise to individuals and corporate clients move markets up or down but like Oppenheimer –– the gold baron –– once not that necessarily in that order. In this article, we are going to concern and limited ourselves to the wheels of fortune of oil and gas, locally and internationally in 2013. In a two part series, we would first discuss the larger global outlook and then narrow down to the national picture. At the perennial pilgrimage to Davos, Switzerland the Khalifs of world power; the mavens that move geld (money) have converged on snowy mountain-side and conjured the world they ought and want to see. That is well, but realism would rush in with the first gusty wind as they alight from their corporate jets back home in St. Petersburg, Kobe, Shanghai, London, Ottawa and New York. In a world hurtling on the brink of man-made apocalypse accelerated by the back-lash of environmental plunder, the multiplied factors that can roil the perfect plans and insular anticipations of its most powerful players is membrane-thin indeed.

Time there was, merely two decades ago when the most impactful factor that would change the world’’s projection of oil consumption were what the Greek tanker owners wished to charge for bulk carrying super-tankers. Aristotle Onassis and his brother-in-law Stoavouides held nearly 30 per cent of capacity. Ari Onassis, who the world later came to know more for his celebrated marriage to the widow of the American President JF Kennedy, Jacqueline, was so powerful that governments courted him, Arab potentates bowed in greeting him and the CIA kept a tab, a very detailed tab including his less than righteous beginnings and even a onetime Jack and Jack liason of sought, Ari had power and he wielded it to the utmost and in its furtherance built the world biggest and first supertanker. It was nearly three football fields long! But today bulk-carriers ownership has atomized between some New England, Norwegian, Danish, Japanese and Chinese families and corporations. Two of the world’’s biggest and most patronised ship-building yards are in Singapore and Indonesia. And as we said in our second book ‘‘African Renaissance’’, the world is moving East, to the Far East.

CSR: NDDC constructs more roads in Bayelsa State UDEME AKPAN

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arely one week after the inauguration of the Odi-Trofani road and other key development projects across Bayelsa State, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has inaugurated eight more road projects in Sagbama, Ekeremor, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of the state. The concrete roads lined with drainages, include the Arere Road in Ikebiri, the Korobiri-Ogumain Polo-Adagbe-Opubri road in Oporoma and the Angiama internal roads. Others are the Tungbabiri internal roads, rigid pavement in Adagbabiri, Oloibiri internal roads and Aleibiri concrete roads. Inaugurating the projects, NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Christian Oboh told the various communities that the commis-

sion will continue to execute projects that would positively impact on the lives of the rural people. Represented by Edi Orubo, Bayelsa State representative on the Board of the NDDC, he charged the community leaders to ensure that peace reigned in their area since without peace, development would be elusive. ““I urge every one of you to keep the peace in order to assist government in the task of spreading development in our region””, he said. The communities in their separate responses thanked the commission for the gesture. At Oporoma, which now has a 1.5km concrete road, the people said they were overwhelmed with joy. The traditional ruler, Chief King Abule, commended NDDC and the administration of President Jonathan for touching the lives of the people, while his counterpart in Ikebiri, Chief Francis Ododo, lauded

NDDC for the gesture. The people of Agiama kingdom in an address signed by their acting traditional ruler, Chief M. E. Engman and 15 other community leaders while thanking NDDC urged other agencies of government to emulate the Commission. However, in Rivers State, the NDDC has completed the dualisation of the over 40 kilometre Igwuruta-Amala road with bridges. Site Manager of the firm handling the project, Engr. Dyer in a chat with newsmen said the company has completed the asphalting of about 4.3 kilometres after clearing, excavation, mounting and grading on both side of the road. Commending the NDDC for embarking on the project, a tipper driver said the expanded road would enhance their sand tipping business. ““I am very happy that the NDDC is expanding this road for us; the dualisation will help us to increase the number of tips

A factor that used to roil the energy markets was the periodic eruptions in the Middle-East between the belligerent Arabs and Israelis. The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo nearly brought the West to its knee, even if only one knee, and its lasting contribution to the history of Mankind was the advent of the fuel efficient mini-car (the Japanese led in this), the demise of the Andy Warholesque Pontiac, the size of a barge and tail fins that mimicked those of its gargantuan relative, the great white whale. It compelled the nations of the West to seek alternative sources of energy in the hydro (great dams), thermal waters and nuclear power stations. The back-lash dangers inherent in the latter is what we saw in the Chernobyl and more recently in Japan. The great American bard-Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) did once write and sing that ‘‘A hard rain is gonna fall’’. Forty years ago the great mass of nearly, one billion Chinese were uniformly clothed in drab preferably olive green or matt grey ‘‘Chinese Mao’’s Suits topped with a visor-cap and clutching the little red book –– ‘‘The Thoughts of Chairman Mao’’, and seemingly beaming with a patriotic glint or sparkle in their eves and arrayed building dykes or commonly harvesting rice in sloshy, dank paddies driving yoked buffaloes. They were then undergoing Cultural Revolution and if the watchful commissars ferret you out as not displaying sufficient outward revolutionary fervor, out you go to the indoctrination camps. There you got your saline drip of revolutionary Maoism; seven days of 12 hours daily labour and your bourgeois fat would be digested by your body down to the bones. The odd that you will return alive was more remote than the winning roulette spin in the nearby outpost of capitalist decadence –– Shanghai or on the Ilha Formosa (that is Taiwan, but let’’s not go there!). Who would have believed that the same China commanded nearby 50 per cent of all oil produced in Africa in 2010 –– 2012! The world they are changing –– predicted Mr. Dylan decades ago. x

we make daily””, he said. Meanwhile, the commission has commenced the construction of a Specialist and Orthopedic hospital in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. The hospital comprising Orthopedic and Cardiovascular units, when completed will deal with the correction of injuries to the skeletal system, associated muscles, joints and ligaments while the cardiovascular unit will treat heart problems, said to be prevalent in the region. Briefing newsmen at the project site along Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, Engr. King Babalola disclosed that his firm has excavated and constructed 349 pads for the one storey orthopedic unit and already started blinding for the foundation of the four-storey cardiovascular centre. ““The foundation stage is the most difficult in building construction but going by the pace of work, we are sure of delivering this project before the end of this year””, he assured.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Executive Discourse

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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‘Nigeria’s micro finance banking model Professor Sola Aliu was, for close to three decades, a university don. He has, over the past 40 years, been contributing to national development at different frontiers. The former consultant to UNESCO, DFID and other international and local organisations. Aliu, who has devoted substantial part of his time to entrepreneurial development initiatives, in this interview with TOLA AKINMUTIMI, shares his views on sundry ways Nigeria’s financial inclusion agenda can achieve the desired goals at the grassroots

Appraising the policy framework in the nation’s financial system with specific reference to micro finance policies and initiatives, how you would rate the current reform efforts? Thank you so much for that question. The policies are okay. It is not the policy issue but the disconnect. We have the history, we have a tradition we should build on what works rather than import things that are a little bit strange to our own way of doing things. If you look at any culture in Nigeria today, the Esusu culture has always been there and people who trust themselves come together, they have their own law and have to save and use what they have saved for the improvement of their lives. If you look at the origin of micro financing in the world as it is today that is, from what we see with Grameen Bank established by Professor Yunus, what he did was to look at the culture around him and build on the strength of the culture and lace it to education and discovered that with the right orientation people become more responsible. The people became more enlightened and their self esteem increases. So, you discover that growth is encouraged but when you bring something which is out of culture to the people and you don’t lace it with education or what I can call enlightenment because that is what give people power, then you can hardly achieve the best in terms of results. Remember, the Holy Scripture says my people perish for lack of knowledge. Micro finance as being practised or as entrenched by the Central Bank of Nigeria today is just banking in the micro sense. It is not in any way different from universal banking, the same rules and the same set of conditions. Why would you want somebody to leave her small business and go to the bank when he is sure that the Esusu person will come to meet him there and collect the money and when he needs the money he knows where to go? All he needed to probably do is to attend a meeting once in a while and through peer review, they will find out whether he is doing well or not and if he is not, there could be peer sanctions. But everything now depends on what we call socio capital, but when you neglect that and you want normal banking to be done by the poor we have a problem there and this is a serious problem. I believe micro finance institutions should go back to the people if they are meant for the poor and for the people they should concentrate their efforts on going to meet the people where they are, where they do their business and reduce the level of formality that is in that system today. Unfortunately, we have not graduated to a place where we trust ourselves. So, the micro finance banks are supposed to keep a lot of books and records to show transparency and to do all these things we need to enlighten the people in the grassroots. But more than anything, they need to educate the people they are supposed to be working with. This people don’t have any banking culture. Even in our own primary schools, secondary schools and universities we do give financial education any point in time in the curriculum. I think, financial education is at the heart of micro financing and economic empowerment and that is an area the operators should give more attention.

I THINK, FINANCIAL EDUCATION IS AT THE HEART OF MICRO FINANCING AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT AND THAT IS AN AREA THE OPERATORS SHOULD GIVE MORE ATTENTION. Sir based on what you are saying now it appears there is need for a holistic re- orientation of the micro finance bank operators in the financial system? Now, we need to have in the curriculum somewhere both at the formal and informal education systems some knowledge about how money works, how do you acquire money, how do you save money and how do you make money work for you. These are important issues that must be addressed at all levels. Then, where do you put your money and it will be safe and how much can it generate for you? These are absolutely issues. Now in the Grameen banking model, for example, the poor are made to have capital build up, a saving equivalent to about N200 weekly which translates to about N10,000 a year if you look at a year as 50 weeks and take two weeks holiday. Now, that sort of money is there for them to fall back on. If you keep that sort of money and you keep going through that system for about 10 years, you would already have N100,000 presumably which you put in but because they are using that money for you and using the power of compound interest that guarantee that though you are saving as little as N10,000 at the end of that period you collect over N50,000. The poor see this as a way of protecting their old age when they are no longer able to work as actively as they used to. You see this are some instruments this system brings in. Now let us look at issue of reforms. You will recollect the disaster that almost crippled the micro finance sector in 2008 which led to the withdrawal of over 100 licenses by the CBN. After then, there are revised guidelines which is being rolled out from time to time by the authorities to stabilise the sub-sector. How would you rate the impact of these on the roles of the MFBs in the financial inclusion agenda? Let ask ourselves the question first those who were there and lost their licenses were they really micro finance banks or were they people who crashed into it, because there was counterpart funding that was available from government? Why can’t we look at organisations like COWAN, a grassrootsbased entity, which has devoted energy to building the grassroots people and getting them to save and now doing things for them individually and collectively because within the micro finance system, you

should be able to encourage groups to take money together. Now we are looking at a scenario where you go to a village you look at the cassava growers in that village, they come together and they are saving money. The micro finance system there, which has been put in place, allow them to borrow collectively to put a processing plant in that village so that they can add value to what they are doing and they are trained to manage that company because all the equipment are there on lease holding so they pay for it and after a few years they own it. What has that done to that community? It means they can grow more cassava because they know they can now process it, they have leant how to process and how to add value which means you now have transport company being brought to come and pick finished products from there to other markets. Then other issues develop. Now, that sort of community is empowered and positioned on the path of economic growth. But if you just get these people, they keep their money with you and at the end of the day if the micro finance bank is owned by a family, he collected the money, he bought cars, he keeps behaving like a commercial bank and so he cannot sustain it. Of course, he cannot sustain it. So, you


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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Executive Discourse

43

not different from universal banking’

Aliu

have to look at those things and ask yourself are they really microfinance banks? You discover that those which started as micro finance institutions based on the Esusu culture, got its, got some more funds and they are growing stronger. They are not part of those who suffered the fate we are looking at. We need to compel microfinance banks to go into the villages or the rural communities and let them conduct thorough studies on the areas they are operating in and understand the right financial products and services that suit their socio-economic needs. Let us keep asking them how many poor have they brought out of poverty into the mainstream banking system because that is the success. You teach them to bank, you train them to sell, you give them a little money to start a business and grow that business until that business translates into being able to grow into a manufacturing concern. Now that sort of scenario is what we should be looking at. In other words, are you saying that despite the reforms, including the recapitalisation target set by CBN for them which expired last December, there is still a long way to go if the MFBs will become relevant to national econom-

WE NEED TO COMPEL MICROFINANCE BANKS TO REALLY GO INTO THE VILLAGES OR THE RURAL COMMUNITIES AND LET THEM CONDUCT THOROUGH STUDIES ON THE AREAS THEY ARE OPERATING IN AND UNDERSTAND THE RIGHT FINANCIAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT SUIT THEIR SOCIO-ECONOMIC NEEDS.

ic development agenda? That is my position. My position is that micro financing is not banking, it has to be done by people who have the passion for grassroots development who are actually looking at how do you make 95 per

cent of Nigerians who are not using the banks now to get into the mainstream of the financial system. That is what we should be looking at. I have the privilege of attending the Annual General Meeting of one these microfinance banks during the Christmas festivities and listening to their reports and listening to everything they said they were doing, I don’t find anything different from those of the commercial banks. They are into foreign exchange, they are into virtually everything the normal banks will do and I asked the Managing Director where is the micro financing here? I told him they are just a smaller commercial bank and he laughed. I said you don’t look like micro because the bank has over 10 cars for marketing and who are they marketing? The same people who use commercial banks so you understand what I am saying now. Whereas their target group is the poor but you discover the MFBs are not looking at poor. So, this gives me an impression that despite everything we are doing, the target we are supposed to be addressing has been left untouched. Are there some legislative frameworks that could be put in place at the state levels that could help in actually strengthening the micro finance system at the grassroots because essentially what we have now seems to be national, national and national? Now if you remember when the micro finance model was even started, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo gave a policy guideline that one per cent of the money allocated to each state from the Federation Account was to be spent on this sort of development to make money available to the poor, to grow the rural economy. But unfortunately, even the Federal Government didn’t do it. Some states that you see they got awards did something to help agriculture, help small businesses in their states. Delta, Niger and I think Katsina states are regular winners at all these annual Central Bank micro finance conferences. I am not surprised when in the last National Statistics reports on poverty Niger state was ahead of all the states in their efforts to reduce poverty within their domains. Why do you think they came top? It is because they have invested some money on the people at the grassroots. Now Delta State seems to have got to the grassroots too. People are beginning to see that if you invest in the poor you can boost your local economy. When people are productive, they wouldn’t have time for crimes. When people are productive, they are more concerned about their growth and when people are productive it will difficult for the political class to use such people as thugs. So, that might be one of the reasons why the ruling class has refused to do what we are saying now because they know once this people get into the frame of self realisation, they would want to move on and on and politicians will find it difficult to recruit the idle hands for anti-social agenda as we have witnessed during elections in this country. Part of the major problems is the failure to develop the local governments and that is why micro finance model is not working as we want it to work. But I think the ruling class should not be that selfish. Just like you have the Millennium Development Goals where the whole world has come to realise that there cannot be world peace if poor have to leave side by side with the rich is the same thing applicable in our land. Poverty is getting out of control and for as long as poverty is allowed to continue to grow unchecked, for as long will peace elude Nigeria. And we need to be very clear and careful about that. So, it is not an issue for government alone. It is an issue for all of us. The rich must continue to think of everyday what can I do to at least help one of the under privileged and lead them out of poverty.


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Global Business

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Bernanke seen buying $1.14 trn in assets in 2014

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ederal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s latest round of bond buying will reach $1.14 trillion before he ends the programme in the first quarter of 2014, according to median estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Bernanke will push on with purchases of $40 billion a month of mortgage bonds and $45 billion a month of Treasuries, according to the survey of 44 economists, even as some Fed officials warn his unprecedented balance-sheet expansion will impair efforts to tighten policy when necessary. “To get to the point where Bernanke would be comfortable letting up, you have to have a good solid string of economic reports that you’re just not going to get” this year, said Eric Green, global head of rates and FX research at TD Securities Inc. in New York and a former New York Fed economist. The Federal Open Market Committee will renew its commitment to asset buying during a two-day meeting starting today after determining the benefits from the program exceed any risk of inflation or financial instability, according to economists

surveyed January 24-25. Bernanke has said the policy will continue until there are “substantial” gains in employment. Fed officials have a brighter outlook for the economy than many private economists. FOMC participants forecast growth this year ranging from 2.3 percent to 3 percent, while economists in a separate Bloomberg survey have a median estimate of 2 percent. “The economy is not going to be able to generate growth above 2 percent” as it faces headwinds from federal tax increases and a weak global expansion, Green said. Fed asset purchases will probably do little to help reduce 7.8 percent unemployment, economists said, with 57 percent of them predicting the program won’t help boost the number of jobs created this year. Economists who expect gains from socalled quantitative easing say it will account for an increase of 250,000 jobs during 2013. Last year, the economy added 1.8 Bernanke million jobs. Employers probably hired 160,000 work- partment reports the figures on Feb. 1. ers in January, after a 155,000 increase in In the first round of purchases, begun December, based on Bloomberg News sur- in 2008, the Fed bought $1.4 trillion of vey of economists before the Labor De- housing debt and $300 billion of Treasur-

BOJ’s $267bn JGB buys spur record win streak

Shinzo

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apanese government bonds are headed for the longest run of annual gains on record, buoyed by central bank purchases almost equivalent to Malaysia’s economic output. The bonds have returned 2.1 percent

on an annualised basis in 2012, set for a ninth year of gains that’s the longest streak since at least 1986, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index shows. Ten-year yields have declined 22 basis points to 0.76 percent. U.S. Treasuries are poised to post a third annual gain with a 2 percent return, while the benchmark rate has fallen 10 basis points. The Bank of Japan (8301)’s JGB holdings increased 22.6 trillion yen ($267 billion) in 2012 as it sought to pump funds into a deflation-plagued economy that contracted for two quarters through September 30. With incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe planning a “large-scale” extra budget to bolster growth, analysts forecast the 10-year yield will rise to 0.99 percent by the end of 2013, a Bloomberg survey shows, which would still be the third lowest globally. “Public-works spending will kick-start the economy” under an Abe administration, said Koichi Kurose, chief economist in Tokyo at Resona Bank Ltd., which oversees about $178 billion. “But the BOJ will increase asset purchases to keep a lid on borrowing costs.”

Spanish unemployment to swell as public jobs vanish

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erez de La Frontera, a Spanish town of 214,000 in southern Andalusia, is negotiating with unions to fire 13 percent of the 2,000 government workers who absorb 80 percent of its budget. “It’s not easy because these are people and families,” said deputy mayor Antonio Saldana. With a quarter of Spain’s workforce already jobless, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s efforts to retain investor confidence by shaving more than twothirds off the nation’s budget deficit by 2014 will worsen the highest unemployment rate in the European Union. Tenyear yields at 6.86 percent mean “we can’t finance ourselves,” Rajoy said on September 1. “There’s going to be less hiring and

more firing for the spending cuts to be made,” said Ricardo Santos, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in London who sees unemployment climbing to 27 percent next year from 24.6 percent currently. “The more unemployment persists, the more difficult it’ll be for the government to meet budget goals and implement reforms.” Television stations, airports, hospitals, schools, fire brigades and social services from Spain’s southernmost tip to the Balearic islands in the east are reducing headcount as Rajoy tasks regions and municipalities with shouldering 60 percent of the cuts needed to reduce the budget shortfall to 2.8 percent of gross domestic product in the next two years.

ies. In the second round, beginning in November 2010, the Fed bought $600 billion of Treasuries. In the current round, the Fed’s total purchases will be split between $600 billion of mortgage-backed securities and $540 billion of Treasuries, according to the median estimates of economists in the survey. Asked what would prompt the Fed to halt its bond buying, 63 percent of economists said the central bank will act in response to substantial improvement in the labor market. Only 13 percent said the Fed will end its purchases because of accelerating inflation or a rise in inflation expectations. Inflation for the 12 months ending in November was 1.4 percent, according to the Fed’s preferred gauge. That’s below the central bank’s longer-run target of 2 percent. Investors expect inflation of 2.24 percent over the next five years, compared with 2.1 percent when the FOMC met December 11-12, as measured by the spread between Treasury Inflation Protected Securities and nominal bonds.

Merkel, Monti step up diplomacy as ECB comes in focus

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uropean leaders are stepping up shuttle diplomacy this week as details of a bond-buying plan emerged from the central bank, fueling gains in the euro and a surge in some Spanish and Italian debt. European Union President Herman Van Rompuy traveled to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday as Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti hosts French President Francois Hollande in Rome. They were given a hint about what may be in store when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said he would be comfortable buying three-year government bonds to aid nations struggling to fund themselves. The stewards of the single currency, who have sparred as borrowing costs diverged in the 17 nation-euro area, have a chance to fall in line behind Draghi. Merkel, whose country shoulders the largest cost of bailing out weaker governments, has indicated she would back a more active crisis-fighting role at the ECB and Monday told a crowd of beer drinkers in Bavaria that Germany must show solidarity with Europe. “I think there is broad agreement among these people,” said Luca Jellinek, head of European interest-rate strategy at Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank in London. “Many people are realizing that monetary policy is broken in Europe, badly broken.” The euro traded near a two-month high against the dollar yesterday, gaining 0.1 percent and adding 0.4 percent against the yen as of Monday in Rome. Italian and Spanish two-year yields dropped the most in about a month. In both countries, the two-year yield fell to the least on record relative to 10-year bonds. Leaders are back from summer va-

cation and facing what Merkel called a “very ambitious agenda” this month to quell what has been a three-year sovereign debt crisis. Talks haven’t always gone smoothly, as Merkel and Monti clashed last week in Berlin over details while agreeing on the broad principles of collective action. Monti has pushed for flexibility on market intervention, while Merkel has focused on budget rigor. “We have to press for reforms in other countries even if they sometimes say we’re hard-line,” Merkel said to a packed beer tent in the town of Abensberg, northeast of Munich. “It’s not enough just to keep muddling through. But I also say that in such a difficult phase these countries deserve our solidarity and that we root for them to overcome their difficulties.”

Merkel


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Capital Market

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

45

Index drops 0.07% on prot taking JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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he benchmark index of equities retreated on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as some investors took profit from the gains recorded the preceding days. The All Share Index lost 0.07 per cent to close at 33,487.82 points, as against the increase of 0.59 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 33,511.63 points. Market capitalisation shed N1bn to close at N10.71trn, lower than the appreciation by N7bn re-

corded the preceding day to close at N10.72bn. The Insurance Index led sectorial indices by 4.04 per cent to close at 173.25 points, followed by 0.88 per cent to close at 186,73 points. The Banking Index increased by 1.05 per cent to close at 418.73 points, but the NSE 30-Index lost 0.14 per cent to close at 1,604.37 points. The Consumer Goods Index depreciated by 0.07 per cent to close at 982.27 points, while the Lotus Islamic Index declined by 2,115.57 points. Unity Bank Plc led the gainers’’ table with 10 kobo

or 10 per cent to close at N1.10 per share, followed by Wema Bank Plc with 16 kobo or 9.94 per cent to close at N1.77 per share. Royal Exchange Plc gained 10 kobo or 9.80 per cent to close at N1.12 per share, while Prestige Insurance Plc appreciated 11 kobo or 9.73 per cent to close at N1.24 per share. Fidson Healthcare Plc gained 17 kobo or 9.55 per cent to close at N1.95 per share. On the flip side, ABC Transport Plc lost three kobo or 4.92 per cent to close at 58 kobo per share, while John Hold Plc shed six kobo or 4.51

per cent to close at N1.27 per share. Livestock Plc rose by 10 kobo or 3.91 per cent to close at N2.46 per share, while PZ Cussons Plc increased by N1.38 or 3.10 per cent to close at N43.10 per share. Ashaka Cement Plc added 73 kobo or 3.80 per cent to close at N25.30 per share. Transaction volume in equities increased by 30.5 per cent, as a total of 891.40 million shares valued at N4.68bn were exchanged in 8,337 deals, compared to 683.23 million shares worth N4.34bn traded in 7,299 deals the preceding day.

Source: NSE NIBOR QUOTES 11 FEBRUARY 2013 & 12 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 1 -Fe b -1 3

1 2 -Fe b -1 3

Source: Afrinvest

Market indicators

Nigerian Eurobond yields reach two-month high on US recovery

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igeria’’s dollardenominated borrowing costs rose to the highest in more than two months on speculation that a United States economic recovery will drive up the global borrowing benchmark rate. Yields on the West African nation’’s Eurobonds due 2021 climbed three basis points to 4.21 per cent yesterday, the

highest since December 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. ““Should the US economy recover, US treasury yields will possibly back up, negatively affecting the 21s,”” Samir Gadio, an emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Group Limited, said yesterday. The bank has a smaller allocation to Nigerian bonds than the weighting

in benchmark indexes. US 10-year bond yields remained higher before a report that may show retail sales in the world’’s biggest economy climbed for a third straight month, damping demand for the relative safety of US debt. The international bonds of Africa’’s biggest oil producer declined 203 basis points, or 2.03 percentage points, last year as crude prices stayed

above the West African nation’’s $72 a barrel benchmark, boosting foreign-currency reserves 34 per cent to $44bn by year end. The naira was little changed at N157.3 a dollar, yields on the nation’’s domestic debt due 2022 fell four basis points to 10.88 per cent, according to Monday’’s prices on the Financial Markets Dealers Association website.

Forex Time begins Nigeria operations JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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ew forex broker, ForexTime Limited (FXTM) has commenced its operations in the country with the activation of its Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF) license and the launch of its website. A statement from the company yesterday said ForexTimegives its clients access to the global currency market and offers trading in forex, precious metals, commodities, shares and indices. The statement said that the company was established by Andrey Dashin, Alpari co-founder and shareholder, adding that it is led by an executive team of experts who share the cumulative experience of several decades. The company is registered as a Cyprus Investment Firm and is licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commis-

sion. Aside from offering traditional instruments such as forex, gold, silver and CFDs, the company is also introducing solutions tailored specifically to different regions, including Shariah compliant account services. According to the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Olga Rybalkina, the mission is to maximize the value our clients derive from their most precious commodity, time. ““The executive team’’s cumulative experience means we have an indepth knowledge of the forex industry and we are committed to pushing the boundaries of this sector with the client experience in mind,”” he said. He explained that the company intends on expanding this list by releasing new products and services throughout the year and ensure that the client experience is at the centre of the company’’s offering.

““The services provided are tailored to the individual needs and ambitions of each customer –– novice, intermediate or experienced,”” Rybalkina added. Meanwhile, European shares traded modestly higher yesterday struggling for clear direction, as strategists weighed in on whether the recent rally still has further to run. Britain’’s Barclays saw solid gains after announcing hefty job cuts, while auto-related stocks came under pressure on the back of downbeat earnings. The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 per cent at 1,155.15 points, having traded within a narrow 4-point range on Tuesday in the wake of the previous session’’s 0.7 per cent drop. The index has slipped around 2 percent from a two-year closing high reached on January 29. Strategists indicated that the recent retreat by

All-Share Index 10,714,308,830 points Market capitalisation 33.5 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

UNITYBNK

1.00

1.10

0.10

WEMABANK

1.61

1.77

0.16

ROYALEX

1.02

1.12

0.10

PRESTIGE

1.13

1.24

0.11

FIDSON

1.78

1.95

0.17

TRANSCORP

1.79

1.96

0.17

ETI

13.80

14.76

0.96

CUSTODYINS

2.20

2.35

0.15

AIICO

1.34

1.42

0.08

AFRIPRUD

2.00

2.10

0.10

LOSERS COMPANY

stocks looked more like a pause than the start of a serious correction, with the asset class attractive, particularly against a backdrop of low interest rates and below-inflation bond yields. ““From an asset allocation perspective, equities are still the major standout asset class that you’’d probably want to own,”” Exane BNP Paribas head of equity strategy Ian Richards said. ““As far as I understand, when markets have travelled a long way people automatically question the duration of any further rally. I think it would be a mistake to take the trade off.”” Standard Life Investments’’ global thematic strategist Frances Hudson said, ““I think if you’’ve done your fundamental analysis, there are decent opportunities and setbacks should be used to pick up stocks that you like for the long term.””

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

ABCTRANS

0.61

0.58

0.03

JOHNHOLT

1.33

1.27

0.06

LIVESTOCK

2.56

2.46

0.10

PZ

44.48

43.10

1.38

ASHAKACEM

26.03

25.30

0.73

PRESCO

27.90

27.30

0.60

DANGCEM

144.00

141.00

3.00

WAPCO

72.00

70.50

1.50

FCMB

5.09

5.01

0.08

INTBREW

24.00

23.75

0.25

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

39,057.21

12.75

12-Feb-13

182 Days

50,000.00

15.30

12-Feb-13

364 -Days

67,219.06

16.90

12-Feb-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

84-Days

101,097.58

13.50

14-Feb-13

14-Days

69,166.00

12.00

12-Feb-13

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$180m

N/A

$180m

11-Feb-13

$120m

N/A

$112m

6-Feb-13


46

Capital Market

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at February 12, 2013 1st Tier Securities

1st Tier Securities Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)

Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

47


48

News

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG to establish industrial cluster projects in communities, says minister

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he Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Ita Ewa, says its wardbased cluster projects will soon start at the designated political wards nationwide.

Ewa announced this at the opening of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council techno-expo and 25th anniversary of the council on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the scheme would begin on a pilot basis at the designated locations. The minister said that strategies were being worked out to ensure that the projects

were replicated at other wards in the country. Ewa said the programme was in line with the transformation agenda of turning around the economies of the rural areas in the

country. The minister said that skill acquisition centres built across the country would be used to train unemployed youths, using technologies developed by the ministry.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

49

Community Mirror Chieftaincy tussle tears community apart

“We will not stay and allow those who are causing disharmony in the nation to continue.” NIGER STATE GOVERNOR; BABANGIDA ALIYU

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NSCDC arrests suspected cable vandals FRANCIS SUBERU

WITH AGENCY REPORT

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he Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have arrested 18 suspected vandals in Akwa Ibom State. The commandant of the NSCDC in the state, Mr Pedro Ideba, made the disclosure in Uyo while speaking on activities of the agency. Ideba said, the suspects were arrested for destroying various public utilities in different parts of the state, even as he alleged some were

caught stealing cables belonging to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCH, while others were involved in vandalising Nigeria Telecommunications, NITEL, cables. Accordingly to him, some of the arrested persons were involved in illegal bunkering of petroleum products. Ideba said all the suspects have made confessional statements. “Last week, we arrested three tankers at Uyo, while those involved in oil bunkering in Ibesikpo were arrested in Uruan Village, even as

all suspects have been arraigned. He said the suspects attacked his officers at Mbak Etoi in Uyo, but they were able to overpower them. Ideba said that illegal bunkering was on the increase in the state in spite of the Federal Government efforts to reduce it, as he assured that the command was ready to ensure that Akwa Ibom State was not safe for bunkering activities. He, therefore warned perpetrators to desist from economic sabotage as the long arm of the law would catch up with them.

Cross River warns against land encroachment OKAY OSUJI

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he Cross River State Government has warned those encroaching into the fire service land in the state to desist from such act, as the full wrath of the law would be brought to bear on them when caught. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, Hon, Fabian Okpa, disclosed this while reacting to reports of encroachment into fire service land in the state. Hon. Okpa, expressed concern on the way people take laws into their hands without fear and warned that government would no longer condone such unwholesome acts. He said that those in the habit of building or farming

on lands belonging to the fire service, will have themselves to blame, as officials from his office will soon embark on inspection of the areas with a view to taking appropriate action. The Special Adviser stated on acquiring land for the establishment of fire service stations, the government entered into agreement with host communities where compensation was paid, and warned that no individual or group would be allowed to take any land belonging to government. He therefore charged all fire service officers to be at alert and report cases of further encroachment on the fire service land for necessary action.

Ekiti to rid streets of destitute JOHNSON OKANLAWON

A Students of Abuja University protesting non-accreditation of the institution’s Faculties of Engineering and Medicine.

PHOTO: NAN

Appeal Court dismisses G. Cappa’s application WALE IGBINTADE

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he Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has struck out an application filed by a construction company, G Cappa Plc seeking for extension of time to appeal against the judgement of Justice Doris Okuwobi of a Lagos High Court. Justice Okuwobi had, in a ruling, restrained G Cappa Plc from collecting rents from tenants at a property situate at plot 1699 Sanusi Fafunwa Street, Victoria Island Lagos pending the final determination of a suit instituted before the court. The court also directed that the money should be paid to the firm of Alonge Ogumoyero- and Co, Estate Surveyors and Valuers, who

shall in turn pay it into an interest yielding account pending the final determination of the suit. Dissatisfied, G Cappa filed notice of appeal against the ruling asking the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court. But, in its ruling, the appellate court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, described the notice of appeal as incompetent, adding that it has no ground of appeal as listed. Counsel to G. Cappa, Mr. Mbanefo, apologised to the court and withdrew the notice of appeal and it was subsequently struck out. In a preliminary objection brought pursuant to Order 7 Rules 3, 7(60 of the Court of Appeal, the 1st respondents, Mrs. Mudasiru

had challenged the competence of the application and urged the court to dismiss it. Chief Robert Clarke SAN, counsel to Mudasiru, described the application as incompetent as it failed to comply with the conditions precedent to bringing such an application. He informed the court that the appellant deliberately withheld material information from the knowledge of the court. Justice Okuwobi, had in her ruling in a counter claim filed by Foluke Asani Mudashiru, widow of late military governor of Lgaos State, Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudasiru directed G. Cappa to render accounts of all monies received by the firm as rents in respect of the disputed property from October 1, 2004 till date.

total of 21 destitute and six mentally-ill persons have been taken from the streets and into the rehabilitation and relief centre by the Ekiti State Ministry of Youths and Sports, as part of efforts to rid the state of destitute. Speaking after the exercise in Ado – Ekiti, the Permanent Secretary in

Justice Okuwobi, also held that trustees of the estate of the former military governor have no legal certification as executors of his will. The court stated that that the production of probate was the only way a person could be permitted to prove their title as executor of the will left behind by late Mudasiru. The court further held that the applicants not being competent parties in the suit saying ‘’the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate on their application and this will be an exercise in futility to consider other issues upon the finding that they are incompetent parties to seek relief in the suit”. The trustees had argued, that a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Ayisat Opesanwo,

the ministry, Dr. Babatope Adeyemo, noted that it became necessary due to the alarming increase in the number of beggars on the state. He noted that the influx of the destitute, including beggars, the mentally-ill and physically challenged persons from other states has led to an alarming increase of beggars, especially in the state capital.

had in a judgement of December 15,2012 duly appointed them as executors of late Mudasiru’s estate. But, Chief Robert Clarke SAN, counsel to Mrs. Mudasiru submitted that the purported trustees are not entitled to the reliefs sought as they are not properly before the court. Chief Clarke further argued, that the court is functus officio in respect of the order sought to be set aside, hence it has no to jurisdiction to either vary or set same aside. He further submitted that there was no evidence before the court that probate has been granted on the Will of late Commodore Mudasiru under which the trustees claimed they have been admitted to probate.


50

Community Mirror

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Chieftaincy tussle tears community apart DENNIS AGBO ENUGU

S

ome residents of Iggah Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State have disassociated themselves from the recent installation and coronation of one Chief Herbert Ukuta as the new royal father of the community. In a statement co-signed by Elder Paul Ekwuobi (the eldest man in Iggah), Comrade Vitalis Aniekwe (President General, Iggah Town Union), James Obiora (President General, Iggah Pro-

gressive Union) and Barr. Vincent Okonkwo, it was said the installation of Ukuta as traditional ruler of the community did not follow any known Iggah customs and traditions. The statement also alleged that the emergence of the embattled traditional ruler violated the existing agreement reached by the people of Iggah on selection and installation of a new monarch for the community. The statement reads in part: “The people of Iggah had agreed and enshrined it in its constitution that there should be rotation

among the four quarters of the community to fill vacant Igwe stool. Presently, it is the turn of Asadu Quarter to fill the vacant Igwe stool not the Ogboche Quarter where Ukuta hails from.” The statement urged the general public to disregard the coronation, alleging that there was never anything like that as the coronation was done without the knowledge of the community. While describing the event as a pure comedy, they urged the general public to avoid being deceived and duped by those who parade themselves as traditional

rulers to avoid a repeat of what happened in the past in the community. They added: “the community is yet to decide who will fill the vacant Igwe stool. We, therefore call on the State and Local governments to save the community from unnecessary crisis and stop Mr. Herbert Ukuta and his Uncle, Chief Maximus Ukuta from creating unnecessary tension which the community does not need at this period.” Every effort made to reach Ukuta failed as at the time of filling report.

HIV\AIDS campaign: Akwa Ibom to partner FG TONY ANICHEBE

UYO

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he Akwa Ibom State Government has stressed its readiness to partner the Federal Government and other donor agencies to map out an action plan for 2013, to mitigate the spread of Human-Immuno Deficiency Virus/Acquired Deficiency Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, in the country. The Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, stated this during a courtesy visit on him by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammed Ali Pate, at Government House, Uyo . Represented by his deputy, Lady Valerie Ebe, Chief Akpabio said HIV/AIDS has become a global issue and as such should be treated with all amount of sincerity, noting that the main challenge is with funding and moral behavior of the society. He said the health sector in the state has experienced an unprecedented revolution in his administration, stressing that government has invested enormous financial resources through the ministry of health to revamp the sector in order to make healthcare delivery not only accessible but affordable. Chief Akpabio, expressed sadness at the level of complacency in the society and urged the Federal Government to go beyond the campaign against the deadly disease and be sincere while taking the prevalence statistics in states.

Safana LG to get boreholes JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

Children at the Child Love and Protection Advocacy Initiative (CLAPAI) orphanage, during the presentation of food items to them in Jos.

Group laments poor distribution of farm seedlings OYEWALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

A

group, Kogi Rice Farmer Cooperative Union has lamented that four months after the flood which ravaged nine local government areas of the state, more than 75 percent of the victims whose farmlands were destroyed cannot not access the seedlings as promised by the government The state chairman of the cooperative, Hon. Umar Adejoh who made this known at an exclusive interview with Community Mirror in Lokoja, stated that the hopes and aspirations of peasant farmers may be hanging in the balance, following what was described as a trap set for them by the state government.

He also expressed the fears that there might be shortage of food in the state from next year, if farmers are unable to get adequate seedlings. He decried the lackadaisical attitude of the field officers of the state Ministry of Agriculture over poor handling and distribution of seedlings. Adejoh who lamented that officials of the government have thwarted the efforts of the Federal Government in ameliorating the sufferings of rice farmers whose farms were submerged by the rampaging, even as he alleged that the seedlings were given to people with political connections and whose names were not on the original list. He explained that over 300,000 hectares of rice and other farms were destroyed in

the nine local governments ravaged by the flood , adding that more than 10,000 peasant farmers lost their homes and other valuables to the disaster. His words , “ After the post flood, it is expected that both the federal and state governments will assist the affected farmers in the nine local governments where rice is being planted , but when officials of the Ministry of Agriculture were compiling the list of the affected farmers, they deliberately omitted names of genuine rice farmers only to come with a political list.” “As I am talking, over 75 percent of the affected farmers could not access the seedlings. This is because when they were compiling the list, the Kogi Rice Farmer Cooperative Union that has data of affected farmers was

not contacted. I went round the affected local governments areas and discovered that those getting the seedlings are ‘political farmers’ who are not genuine farmers before now.” He claimed the state government is demanding that the victims pay N4,000 for a bag of fertiliser, saying “where do they expect those who lost everything and still picking the pieces of their lives to get such money”. He pointed out that worst still the state government is asking the victims to pay N4,000 for a bag of fertilizer because the state government has already subsidised , lamenting that where do they expect those who lost everything to the flood and still picking the pieces of the life together.

A

total of 21 communities are to be provided with boreholes under a special water supply project in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State. The project which is being coordinated by the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) is jointly funded by the state government and government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Speaking at the inauguration of a five-day training exercise for beneficiaries, the Executive Director of RUWASSA, Abubakar Gege, said 97 boreholes would initially be drilled and fitted with hand pumps in five local council areas of the state. Gege, said that after the training programme, beneficiaries would be provided with necessary repair tools, while receiving training on operation and maintenance of the pumps.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

North

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Police sack three officers for conspiracy PRISCILLA DENNIS MINNA

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iger State police command has dismissed three of its officers over alleged indictment in the vandalisation of NITEL cables at Bosso area of Minna, the state capital, as part of measures to rid the system of bad eggs. The three police of-

ficers include two sergeants and a corporal. They were sacked from the force following investigations that they conspired with six other suspects, who would soon be arraigned in court to vandalise the property of the company. Their conspirators are Alfa Murtala, 32; Nasiru Ibrahim, 33; Yahaya Suleiman, 32; Aminu Abdullahi, 26; Ibrahim

Suleiman, 30 and Lawal Adamu, 25, respectively. Confirming the development to journalists in Minna, the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Desire Deseye Insirim, said the police officers were sacked for criminal conspiracy, vandalisation and receiving stolen property as a result of police investigation that indicted them. According to her, the

Nigeria Police are not ready to shield any erring police officer that ran foul of the law, adding that while Sgt. Musa Isah, 34, and Corporal Christopher Ejembi, 31, are presently with the state Criminal Investigation Department, CID, Sgt. Victor Jatau, is at large. She explained that Sgt. Musa Isah, along with Aminu Abdullahi and

Yahaya Suleiman of New Market, Minna, were arrested in the night by men on patrol on January 27, 2013 along Bosso Road while vandilising the NITEL cables. Insirim said this led to the arrest of more suspects including the receiver of the stolen cables, who is based in Kano. Aside dismissing the officers, the commissioner said 26 officers were commended and rewarded for excellent performance in their duties, last year. Similarly, she said another set of five suspects

51

are currently with the CID for criminal conspiracy and vandalisation of NNPC pipelines at Kwakuti-Kaffin Koro area of the state. The suspects are Abdullahi Yusuf, Nda Yakubu, Ibrahim Isah, Hamisu isah, and Tanko Ibrahim. The commissioner said their truck, with registration number SK 810 KWL, was containing a load of gas products suspected to have been vandalised, saying the truck is presently parked at Kwakuti, along Suleja Road, until investigations are over.

Gunmen attack WAMCO, kill four security guards JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

G Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang (left) and the new judge of the Customary Court of Appeal, Mr. Patrick Sati-Dapit, during his swearing-in at the Government House in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Katsina civil servants get salary increase JAMES DANJUMA KATSINA

C

ivil servants in Katsina State yesterday received an increase in their take-home pay across the board with cost implication to the state government running into N500 million for the 2013 fiscal year. Speaking on the issue yesterday, the state’s Head of Service, HoS, Muham-

mad Aliyu, who said payment would commence this February, also confirmed that N43.18 million will be paid to the workers on monthly basis. Aliyu said the increment is an annual thing that cuts across all members of staff in the state civil service, excluding those working under the council areas. He said 1, 455 civil servants on Grade Level 13 and

above from 35 Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and three tertiary institutions in the state have received various promotions. He added that those affected in the promotion have been paid N64.74 million as six months’ salary arrears. Aliyu said another N128.35 million has been approved as 12 months incremental rate for the year 2012, to staff of three ter-

Group flays suspension of Offa, Oyun LGs WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

A

socio-political group, the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, has taken strong exemption to the suspension of Offa and Oyun Local Government Councils where a bloody communal clash claimed lives early this month. The group in a statement signed by its Chairman, Chief Joe Olarogun and Secretary, Lateef Bamidele, said the law invoked by the state government to suspend the councils ran counter to the

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is superior to all other laws of the land. The ARG argued that the sin of inability to control security in the council areas by the chairmen and elected officers was not fair enough, pointing out that no local council in the country has control of either the police or any other security agency for that matter, to douse a fracas of that magnitude. “The accusation of the councils’ failure to protect public order and protect the welfare of the people is not

only flimsy but also ridiculous,” they argued. The ARG further said: “Since 2003, local councils in Kwara State financially bleed from executive recklessness of various manipulations of local government allocations by those that maintain a bottomless pit of security votes.” “The security votes are always on yearly increase, yet every year, security challenges are never tamed,” they added. “They therefore questioned the law that gives the state government power to suspend these democrati-

tiary institutions and health sector workers. He said the state government was looking into the appeal by the state’s justice ministry, state counsel and judiciary staff for salary adjustments. He called on civil servants to justify the salary increase and arrears by redoubling their efforts and commitments for enhanced service delivery.

unmen yesterday attacked the West African Milk Company, WAMCO, in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State and killed the four security men on duty. National Mirror learnt that the incident occurred at about 2.00am yesterday. It was further learnt that the security guards died as a result of gunshot injuries. An eyewitness told our correspondent that men of the Special Task Force, Operation Safe Haven, who stormed the area shortly after the attack, killed two of the assailants. It was further gathered that the gunmen did not cart away anything from the company. Contacted, spokesman of the STF, Captain Salisu Mustapha, said he was not aware

Jang swears in two new judges JAMES ABRAHAM

cally elected governments saying; “There is need to re-examine the content of Kwara State Law No 4 of 2006 (Kwara State Local government Amendment Law 2006) without recourse to the legislature. “The law is not only draconian; it is an abuse of democratic principles and tenets. It totally muzzles local government administration as a third tier of government. “Section 7 of our constitution states that government at the local level should be democratically guaranteed,” ARG concluded.

of the attack. But the Chairman of Jos South Local Government, Hon. Peter Vwang Dung confirmed the incident. He said it was unfortunate that the gunmen could attack the company for no reason. Meanwhile, the Chapel of Grace, Government House Jos, has declared a three day prayer and fasting session for the restoration of lasting peace in the state. Government House Chaplain, Rev. Chidi Harrison, said this while interacting with journalists in Jos. He said prominent preachers are expected to grace the occasion and pray for the state. He said a similar programme was held last year which resulted in a lot of blessings for the state and its citizens. Chidi said the prayer is meant to seek the face of God to intercede in the problems of the state.

JOS

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lateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, yesterday swore in two new judges for the state’s customary court. Those swore in were Mr. Patrick Sati Dapit and Mr. Daniel Danjuma Gopep, who is also the Jos branch chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA. The governor while performing the ceremony at the Government Lodge, Jishe in Jos yesterday, said their appointments were aimed

at strengthening the administration of customary law in the state. “The fact that barely two months ago we, swore in the President of the State Customary Court, Justice Julie Kyentu, and today we are doing same for two judges speaks of the renewed push this administration is giving to the dispensation of justice as it affects our people, especially at the grassroots.” Jang charged the new judges not to betray the confidence reposed in them.


52

News

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Three journalists charged to court over incitement T he three radio journalists arrested and detained by the police in Kano on Monday for alleged incitement resulting in the death of nine female health workers were yesterday charged to court. They are Suleiman Gama, Yakubu Musa and Malam Mubarak, all of

Wazobia FM Radio. In his presentation during the arraignment, the prosecuting police officer, sergeant Sadiq Na’Abba said the charges against the accused include, criminal conspiracy, abetment, inciting disturbances, intentional insult, obstruction of public servant in the discharge of public

function. Others are defarmations 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 and aired a programme discrediting 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 obtained in Kano, this is meant at instigating the public against the immunisation programme, which resulted

to the attack and killings of nine immunisation personnel at Filin Cashew and Hayen Hotoro. However in his submission, counsel to the accused persons Musa Adamu Aliyu, applied for bail, which was rejected by the prosecutor. In his rulings, the Chief Magistrate, Ibrahim Bello

ordered that the accused persons be remanded in police custody until Thursday when he would rule on the issue of bail application. The presiding magistrate also ordered the police to allow the accused unconditional access to their families and lawyers.

Finance Ministry not in-charge of SURE-P fund-Okonjo- Iweala

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he Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that her office is not incharge of the finances of the Subsidy Re-investment Programme, SURE-P. Okonjo-Iweala made the statement in Abuja yesterday at an investigative hearing on the operation and management of SUREP, organised by the House of Representatives Special Joint committee on SUREP. She said that all the questions on how the funds were spent should be directed to the Chairman of the Programme, Dr Christopher Kolade. The minister said: “The director-general, who is the accounting officer of the programme, does not report to me. Even the accounting officer of SURE-P (DG Budget Office) does not report to me.” She defended the decision of the Federal Government to set up the management team for the fund rather than allowing the MDAs to manage it. “It was the desire of Nigerians to see the funds were managed separately. This led to the issue of creating a committee to manage the funds in a manner that Nigerians could see that the monies were trans-

parently utilised,” she said. The Director- General of the Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, debunked the allegation that the SURE-P programme was a duplication of the work of MDAs. Okogu said out of the N180 billion budgeted for the programme, N1 billion was dedicated to the running of the office, out of which N536.35 million had already been spent, leaving a balance of N463 million. He said all the monies given to the MDAs under the SURE-P programme should be looked at as additional budgetary provision for them. “It is this additional budgetary principle that we are using to drive the SURE-P Programme and it’s not duplication,” Okogwu said. According to him, claims are made through the Board of SURE-P by Programme Implementation Units, PIUs, and the board verifies before payment. On his part, Kolade said that N180 billion was budgeted for the programme in 2012, out of which N105 billion was paid to contractors for various jobs. He said that one of the challenges faced by the programme was how to convince Nigerians that the programme would be beneficial to them.

L-R: Abia State governor, Theodore Orji; his wife, Mercy and Deputy governor, Sir Emeka Ananaba, during the funeral of the governor’s brother, late Mr. Igbozuruike Emmanuel Orji, at Ugba Ibeku in Umuahia, yesterday.

Bankers’ Committee names Borno for financial inclusion pilot scheme TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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he Bankers’ Committee yesterday announced Borno State for the pilot scheme of the national financial inclusion strategy. The committee noted that the successful implementation of the project in the state would help in guiding the banks in replicating it in other states. Briefing the media on the proposed strategy slated for commencement in March at the end of the

...say zero charges on ATM transaction stays Committee’s meeting in Abuja, Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, who spoke amid contributions by Group Managing Director, Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Yinka Sanni, said the commencement of the strategy in Borno was in furtherance of the decisions reached at the Retreat held in Calabar last year

Jonathan cannot sign budget this week, says Okonjo-Iweala

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he Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that reports in some newspapers that President Dr Goodluck Jonathan would sign the 2013 budget this week were untrue. A statement made available to National Mirror and signed by the Senior Media Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu said

it was premature to talk about signing the budget as discussions are ongoing between the Executive and the National Assembly on the budget. “The talk of the President signing the budget this week is premature. Whereas discussions between the Executive and the National Assembly are ongoing in a cordial atmosphere, it is not yet clear when they will be conclud-

ed as much work remains to be done. Against this background, reports stating that the President will sign the budget this week are therefore not realistic,” the statement said. The Federal Government had presented a N4.92trn budget to the National Assembly on September 19, 2012, but the latter passed N4.98trn on October 4, 2012, causing a disagreement between the

two arms of government. The lawmakers had retained the $79 per barrel oil benchmark price for the budget, higher than the $75 a barrel proposed by the President. The budget is based on an assumption of 2.53 million barrels of oil production per day with an economic growth of 6.5 per cent, inflation at 9.5 per cent and an exchange rate of N160 to the dollar.

to ensure that un-banked Nigerians have access to financial services. He explained that in order to ensure the success of the pilot scheme in Borno, which is rated as one of the states with the highest level of financial exclusion in the country, extensive consultations had been held among key stakeholders, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Consumer Protection Council, CPC and the Borno State government, amongst others. Aig-Imokhuede, who described the pilot project as pivotal in getting the financial inclusion strategy drive to other states in the country, said that in addition to studies conducted on the demographic and other socio-economic distributions of the indigenes of the state, substantial efforts and

resources were also being committed to build the infrastructure capacity for its effective implementation. Specifically, he disclosed that the overall target of the banks was to raise the level of financial inclusion in the state with about five million people where only about 280,000 now have access to financial services to a level where the women, youth and rural people who are currently excluded would be integrated into the financial system. Meanwhile, the Committee also reported on the progress made so far on its ongoing Customer Identity Management project, which when completed would radically reduce the cost of banking transactions, improve customers’ identity and reduce frauds, saying it was working assiduously to ensure that cost of financial services is reduced in the overall interest of the economy and financial system stability.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

53

World News

Benedict won’t interfere in new Pope’s affairs, brother says

54

PAUL ARHEWE, WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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ecurity forces sprayed protesters with water hoses and tear gas outside the presidential palace as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s with angry demonstrations against his elected successor. The forces were trying to disperse a small crowd of protesters on Monday evening, after some of them attempted to cross a barbed wire barrier meant to block them from the palace gate. Some protesters chanted: “The people want to bring down the regime.” Others threw stones. Graffiti scribbled on the palace walls read: “Erhal” or “Leave,” the chant that echoed through Cairo’s central Tahrir Square during the 18-day uprising that ended with Mubarak stepping down on Feb. 11, 2011. Earlier, masked men briefly blocked trains at a central Cairo subway station and a dozen other protesters blocked traffic with burning tires on a main overpass in Cairo. Hundreds rallied outside the office of the country’s chief prosecutor, demanding justice and retribution for protesters killed in clashes with security forces after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi took office last summer. The protesters lobbed plastic bags filled with red liquid at the prosecutor’s office to recall the

Soldiers beef up security in Gao after attack by Malian rebels

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oldiers from Niger are patrolling on foot through downtown Gao and Malian troops are driving around in pickup trucks to secure the city in northern Mali. The stepped-up security presence remains two days after radical Islamic fighters attacked the center of Gao and fought a five-hour gun battle with the Malian army. Yesterday soldiers concentrated around the waterfront area along the Niger River where the fighters invaded the city by boat. Gao was controlled by the Islamic militants for 10 months until a French-led military intervention dislodged them at the end of January.

“Young churches of Africa and Asia have now become solid enough that they have produced mature clergymen and prelates that are capable of exercising leadership also of this world institution.” –GHANAIAN CARDINAL PETER TURKSON

Egyptians protest on anniversary of Mubarak’s fall

Egyptian protesters shouting anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a demonstration marking the second anniversary of Mubarak’s resignation, in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. PHOTO: AP

blood spilled by civilians in clashes with security forces. The prosecutor’s appointment by Morsi was criticized as a violation of the judiciary’s independence. Another group of protesters locked shut the doors of the main administrative building for state services just outside the subway station at Tahrir Square. Egypt has been gripped

by political turmoil since Mubarak’s ouster, in an uprising driven largely by anger over widespread abuse at the hands of state security agencies. After he stepped down, Mubarak was replaced by a ruling military council that was in power for 17 months. The rule of the generals was marred by violence and criticism that the

council mismanaged the transitional period. Morsi won the first free elections in June. But he and his Muslim Brotherhood, which rose to be Egypt’s most powerful political group post-Mubarak, are now facing the wrath of Egyptians who drove the 2011 revolt but who say few of their goals have been realized.

ECOWAS Commission accredits eight envoys

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he President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, dismissed as ‘criminals and drug traffickers hiding under the guise of religion,’ the armed militants and terrorists in northern Mali being flushed out in joint operations by French and Malian forces. At a ceremony for the accreditation of the Austrian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Joachim Oppinger as the country’s special representative to the ECOWAS Commission, the president said the militants ‘are not true Muslims but only using the religion to deceive the people.’ He told the envoy, one of eight accredited during separate brief ceremonies at the Commission that while the region would continue to encourage dialogue between the Government of Mali and elements in the country with legitimate grievances it would never condone terrorism. The President noted that with the restoration of government

control over Malian territory, the next challenge was how to expedite the deployment of the UN Security Council-approved Africaled International Force in Mali (AFISMA), to assist the country’s security forces in restoring security and engender a conducive environment for the conduct of presidential and National Assembly elections. In his response Ambassador Oppinger announced a new initiative by his country to build capacity of the ECOWAS Standby Force through the Accra-based

Ouedraogo

Kofi Annan Centre for peacekeeping. This will complement its support in peace and security as well as regional energy development through ECREEE, the Praia-based ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. While accrediting the Swedish Ambassador to the Commission, Mr. Svante Kilander, the President said that after a period of relative calm, the region was going through a ‘testing period’ caused by the crises in Guinea Bissau and Mali, but expressed optimism that the region will overcome the challenges to enable it concentrate on its core mandate of economic development and regional integration. President Ouedraogo used the opportunity of the accreditation of the envoy of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Choi JongHyun to canvass for increased investment from that country in order to boost the economic development of the region and contribute to the realizationof the organization’s full mandate.

WORLD BULLETIN

ECOWAS signs pact with 10 institutions on peace

The ECOWAS Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a Project Implementation Agreement (PIA) with 10 training institutions on peace and security in the region, as part of efforts to strengthen the capacities of the institutions. A key objective of the MoU is to strengthen the training pillars of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), ECOWAS Institutions, Member States and Civil Society Organizations for the prevention and resolution of conflicts in the region, and to develop a full range of training at all levels, cutting across a broad spectrum including Military, Police, Civilian and Humanitarian issues. This is in line with the regional Peace Support Operations (PSO) Concepts and the need for effective capacity building, particularly with reference to the recommendation of the 4th Defence and Security Commission meeting of August 2002 in Cote d’Ivoire, calling for the establishment of Tactical, Operational and Strategic training facilities within the region. The MoU seeks to create the modalities for enhancing demanddriven PSO training capacity building, operational relationship, coherence and coordination between ECOWAS and the Training Institutions for their efficient and effective functioning in support of the strengthening of the training pillars of ESF.

Former DR Congo president’s son charged in coup plot

A man who says he is the son of former DR Congo President Laurent Kabila has been charged in South Africa with plotting to overthrow the government of Joseph Kabila. Etienne Taratibu Kabila is alleged to be the leader of 19 other people who were charged last week. Etienne Kabila says President Kabila is not the true son of Laurent Kabila. His claims about the president and to be the former leader’s son have been dismissed by DR Congo’s government. Etienne Kabila handed himself in to police at the weekend. He was not asked to enter a plea and the case was postponed until yesterday, when his case will be joined to that of the other 19. Prosecutors said they belonged to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Union of Nationalists for Renewal (UNR) rebel group. South Africa’s counter-terrorism forces arrested them last week in the northern Limpopo province under the country’s Foreign Military Assistance Act, which is intended to crack down on mercenary operations in the country.


54

World News

WORLD BULLETIN

Putin bans officials from owning foreign accounts President Vladimir Putin has submitted a bill that would ban Russian Cabinet members and other senior officials from having foreign bank accounts and owning foreign stock, the Kremlin said yesterday. The proposal also applies to the officials’ wives and underage children. The Kremlin said that the measure is aimed at “ensuring national security, establishing order in lobbyist activities, increasing investment in the national economy and raising efficiency of anti-corruption efforts.” Putin first mentioned the move in his state-of-the nation address in December, casting it as part of efforts to make officials accountable to the public. “How can you trust an official or a politician who rants about Russia’s benefit but tries to keep his money abroad?” he said in the speech. Some observers, however, saw it as part as an increasingly isolationist course Putin has taken since his election to a third presidential term and warned it could lead to a split in Russia’s ruling elite. Putin accused the U.S. of staging massive protests against his rule, and he initiated the passage of a series of repressive bills after his inauguration in May.

Ex-Italian spy chief jailed 10 years in CIA case

Italy’s former military intelligence chief was sentenced to 10 years in jail yesterday for his role in the kidnapping of an Egyptian Muslim cleric in an operation organized by the United States. An American former CIA station chief was this month sentenced in absentia to seven years in jail after imam Abu Omar was snatched from a Milan street in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation during the United States’ “war on terror”. The Milan appeals court sentenced Niccolo Pollari, former head of the Sismi military intelligence agency, to 10 years in prison and his former deputy Marco Mancini to nine years. The court also awarded a provisional 1 million euros in damages to the imam, the Ansa news wire reported, as well as 500,000 euros to the imam’s wife.

Students die in murder-suicide

Two University of Maryland roommates are dead and a third is hospitalized in what Prince Georges County police are describing as a murder-suicide. Officers found the three students when they responded to a report of a shooting at a house near the university just before 1 a.m. local time yesterday, The Baltimore Sun reported. Officer Nicole Hubbard said a preliminary investigation indicated one of the roommates started a small fire in the basement of the single-family home and all three went outside. Police believe the student who started the fire fatally shot one of his roommates and injured the second roommate when he tried to flee, the Washington Post reported.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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ope Benedict XVI will not meddle in his successor’s duties, the pontiff ’s brother said after Benedict’s announcement he would resign at the end of the month. “Where he’s needed he will make himself available, but he will not want to want to intervene in the affairs of his successor,” Georg Ratzinger, a German Catholic priest and musician, told the BBC. Pope Benedict XVI is planning to stay out of the public eye following his retirement at the end of the month but may stand ready to advise his successor if asked, his brother said yesterday after talking with the pontiff. Speaking to reporters at his home in the southern German city of Regensburg, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who was ordained on the same day in 1951 as his brother Joseph, said he didn’t expect Benedict’s continued presence in the Vatican to intimidate the next pope. “It’s possible he (the next pope) may ask for advice,” said Ratzinger. “I think it’s quite likely they will talk.” It is the first time in nearly 600 years the Catholic Church is faced with the problem of how to deal with a former pope living on into his successor’s term. “We have no experience with a retired pope,” said Rudolf Voderholzer, the bishop of Regensburg

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Benedict won’t interfere in new Pope’s affairs, brother says ... European to retain pontiff’s post who is also in charge of the institute that publishes the pope’s theological works. For his brother, however, the decision was no surprise. “He has been thinking about it for several months,” the elder Ratzinger said. “He concluded that his powers are falling victim to age.” He dismissed suggestions that

the pope had been pushed to resign. “The intrigues are a fairy tale,” the 89-year-old said. “There were no intrigues against him.” As for his successor, Ratzinger said his brother “feels that a younger person is needed to deal with the problems of the times.” Asked whether he thought the time had come for a pope from

outside of Europe, Ratzinger said that could happen in the future, but that he did not think it would in the next election. “For now I think the job will remain with a European,” he said. Ratzinger said he hoped to visit his brother in the Vatican later this year, but didn’t expect the pope to return to Germany or Regensburg, where their parents and sister are buried.

Georg Ratzinger, brother of the outgoing Pope Benedict XVI, answers journalists’ questions during a media opportunity in his home in Regensburg, southern Germany, yesterday. PHOTO: AP

China, US, Japan condemn North Korea nuclear test Iran may allow UN

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orth Korea conducted its third nuclear test yesterday in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including from its only major ally, China, which summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest. The reclusive North said the test was an act of self-defence against “U.S. hostility” and threatened further, stronger steps if necessary. It said the test had “greater explosive force” than the 2006 and 2009 tests. Its KCNA news agency said it had used a “miniaturized” and lighter nuclear device, indicating that it had again used plutonium which is more suitable for use as a missile warhead. North Korean leader Kim Jongun, the third of his line to rule the

country, has presided over two long-range rocket launches and a nuclear test during his first year in power, pursuing policies that have propelled his impoverished and malnourished country closer to becoming a nuclear weapons power. China, which has shown signs of increasing exasperation with the recent bellicose tone of its neighbour, summoned the North Korean ambassador in Beijing and protested sternly, the Foreign Ministry said. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said China was “strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed” to the test and urged North Korea to “stop any rhetoric or acts that could worsen situations and return to the right course of dialogue and consultation as soon as possible”. China is a permanent member of the Security Council.

Activists from anti-North Korea civic group chanting slogans during a rally against North Korea’s nuclear test near the U.S. embassy in central Seoul, PHOTO: REUTERS yesterday.

U.S. President Barack Obama labeled the test a “highly provocative act” that hurt regional stability and pressed for new sanctions. “The danger posed by North Korea’s threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community. The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies,” Obama said in a statement. The Security Council will meet on Tuesday to discuss its reaction to the test, although North Korea is already one of the most heavily sanctioned states in the world and has few external economic links that can be targeted. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the test was a “grave threat” that could not be tolerated. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the test was a “clear and grave violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms program and return to talks. NATO condemned the test as an “irresponsible act” that posed a grave threat to world peace. The test “was only the first response we took with maximum restraint”, an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, which acts as Pyongyang’s official voice to the outside world, said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

team to military site

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ran’s Foreign Ministry yesterday raised prospects that Tehran may allow inspectors from the U.N. nuclear agency to visit a military site where the country is suspected of conducting nuclear-related experiments. A ministry spokesman said the upcoming talks with a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency could lead to a visit to the site — if a “deal” was struck with the Iranian side. The IAEA inspectors are due for talks in Tehran on Wednesday in hopes of restarting a probe into the country’s disputed nuclear program, which the West fears masks ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon. The agency in particular wants to visit Parchin, southeast of Tehran, where Iran is suspected of testing components needed to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies any such activity, insisting that Parchin is only a conventional military site. “Discussion over visiting Parchin could be part of a deal” with the IAEA inspectors, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday. He did not say when a visit to Parchin could take place. “The prospect of reaching an agreement with the agency is bright, if Iran’s nuclear rights are recognized,” Mehmanparast added.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FOR YOUR SUCCESS

WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE

Today's Tonic (95) “Work is a constant professional psychiatric reassurance.” –Rabbi Daniel Lapin *** Work Is Part Of Our Happiness In Life Many of us don’t realise again what it means to leave home daily for our places of work. Ask the jobless! Ask a typical prisoner! Ask a sick person who cannot work! It’s a privilege to have something to do! Work is part of the therapies of life. Work is a channel for the release of the creative energies in us. It’s a great privilege to have something to do! Work is a way to contribute to the progress of humanity. Work is the way to be a blessing to our loved ones. Without something to do, our self esteem will be severely affected. It’s really a great privilege to have something to do! May I ask you to do something right now? Here it is: drop whatever you are doing right now and lift up your hands to thank God for giving you something to do. Remember to pray for the jobless and the sick too! TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL deji.folutile@gmail.com Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE

Turkish man cured of clinical vampirism

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Turkish man whose symptoms were described as clinical vampirism has recovered following two years of treatment, a doctor said. Dr. Direnc Sakarya of Denizli Military Hospital and his research team said the 23-year-old man, who was the subject of a report in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in 2011,

Cocktail

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

no longer suffers from the post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder that led to his cravings for human blood, Today’s Zaman reported Monday. Sakarya said the man’s vampire-like activities began with drinking his own blood and eventually led to several arrests for stabbing and biting others to drink their blood.

55

Oddities

Philippine town mourns largest captive crocodile

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remote southern Philippine town has gone into mourning over the death of the world’s largest saltwater crocodile in captivity, even though it was suspected of killing people. Bunawan town plans to preserve the remains of the 1-ton crocodile, named Lolong, in a museum to keep tourists coming and stop the community from slipping back into obscurity, the mayor said Monday. Lolong was declared dead Sunday after being found floating on its back with a bloated stomach in a pond in an ecotourism park which had begun to draw tourists, revenue and development because of the immense reptile, Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said. “The whole town, in fact the whole province, is mourning,” Elorde said. “My phones kept ringing because people wanted to say how affected they are.” Wildlife experts will per-

form an autopsy to determine the cause of death, he said. Guinness World Records had proclaimed it the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity last year, measuring the giant at 6.17 meters (20 feet 3 inches). The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile that measured more than 5 meters (17 feet)

and weighed nearly a ton. Estimated at more than 50 years old, the crocodile was named after a government environmental officer who died from a heart attack after travelling to Bunawan in Agusan del Sur province to help capture the beast. Even though Lolong was blamed for the deaths of several villagers over the years,

Bunawan villagers grew to love the giant reptile because it came to symbolize the rich biodiversity of the marsh where it was captured. The vast complex of swamp forests, shallow lakes, lilycovered ponds and wetlands is home to many animals, including threatened species such as the Philippine hawk eagle.

The remains of the 21-feet (6.4 metres) saltwater crocodile is covered with ice at a conservation park at Bunawan, PHOTO: AP Agusan del Sur, in southern Philippines, on Monday


WORLD RECORD

Longest single line of dancers Vol. 03 No. 556

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Curiosity of a merger

he business world has always been a fertile and charted territory for mergers. And this is done to gain economy of scale, as companies and institutions with common vision agree to leverage their strengths and competencies to gain market share, while staving off competition, or even challenging existing status quo. In politics, the purpose is the same, even when the products and target audiences differ. Political mergers are as old as humanity and had been an alternative means for parties with compatible ideologies to present a common front in the bid to win enough votes to put them in power. Even wild bees do merge, especially in the face of existential dangers to their lives. So, it should interest Nigerians to know that some politicians have started seeing the wisdom in pooling their talents and material resources together in order to rescue the country from the

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restling has been dropped from the 2020 Olympic Games to make way for a new sport. The International Olympic Committee’s executive board made its decision after assessing the performance of all 26 sports at the London 2012 Games.

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The longest single line of dancers consisted of 2,569 participants performing the “Hokey Pokey” dance and was achieved by Walkway Over The Hudson (USA) in Poughkeepsie, New York, USA, on 9 June 2012.

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

present parlous state. But if history is any guide, then what we are witnessing, including the noise and fanfare, is nothing new. Before the 1964 general elections and 1965 Western Region’s election, there was party realignment involving the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons, Action Group, Northern Elements Progressive Union and United Middle Belt Congress to form the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA). To counter that the Northern People’s Congress, Nigeria National Democratic Party, the Midwest Democratic Front, the Niger Delta Congress, and Dynamic Party entered into a counter alliance named Nigerian National Alliance (NNA). As fate would have it, the mergers were not destined to succeed given the personal interests and political objectives of the principal actors, who in the best of times were not only mutually antagonistic, but made the exercise turn out as an agglomeration of strange bed fellows. The raison d’être for their alliances was to serve as veritable platforms for the pursuit of personal ambitions. Today, the situation has not changed, even as the dramatis personae have. Five decades ago, the sole motive for the birth of UPGA was to remove the dominant NPC from power at the centre. Accusations against it, were that it was not only an ultra-conservative and reactionary party, but also patently incompetent to be saddled with the onerous task of leading Nigeria to the Promised Land soon after independence from Britain.

SADLY, THE PICTURE IN THE ENTIRE SCENARIO IS THAT THE INTENDED MERGER IS ALL

BUHARI AND TINUBU

ABOUT

Just like today, the gathering storms of political violence, social decadence and economic ruins were all over the place. Such accusations and counter accusations later degenerated into vicious rancour that culminated in the January 15, 1966 military coup and the subsequent civil war that has not only left the country bitterly divided ever since, but continues to define all relationships between the ethnic nationalities. From the present look of things, such volcanic noises that have so far accompanied the much touted merger of the Congress for Progressive Change, Action Congress of Nigeria, All Progressive People’s Party and rump of All Progressive Grand Alliance into All Progressives Congress, could eventually turn out a whimper. The reasons are not farfetched. With exception of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose faces continue to define

the merger, no other notable party leader has any discernible clout to sway the interest and opinions of the party faithful to come on board the train. It would therefore, amount to a Sisyphean task for both chieftains to convince any formidable crowd of voters to cause a tectonic shift large enough to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the polls. So, in spite of every sanctimonious protestations and open show of concern for the plight of ordinary Nigerians, many still see and believe that both are too beholden to narrow interests, which have so far been responsible for their continued visibility on the national stage. Moreover, each has a Pacific size political ambition that only a merger of parties can help actualise. And because of this, the feud between them is bound to become more intensified when the chips are down. Sadly, the picture in the entire scenario is that the intended merger is all about Buhari and Tinubu. Definitely, that would be a most potent weapon in PDP’s arsenal with which to confront the merger as the days wear on. The greatest undoing of UPGA in the 60s was the lack of a convincing manifesto that would have stolen the thunder from the ruling NPC. But while being consumed by a blind rage to dethrone the NPC, the UPGA failed to articulate any grand vision on how it would redeem the country from the seeming morass at the time. The same mistake is happening again, especially in view of the high wire scheming for political positions in a party that currently exists only in imaginations and fantasy. Unless, the present political midwives can convince skeptics that the merger is not purposely built to fit into the mould of any single individual, it would be difficult to take it from conception stage to reality. As it stands, the PDP has squandered all the goodwill that has enabled it stay in power for the past 13 years. It has not become only a stodgy behemoth, it is also an extinct dinosaur that is good as relic for the museums. But it would take more than fancy footwork from Buhari and Tinubu to make the APC a credible alternative.

Sport Extra

Wrestling dropped from Olympics

“The news from the IOC is extremely disappointing,” said British Wrestling chief executive, Colin Nicholson. There is a slim chance wrestling may win a reprieve when the IOC

meets in Buenos Aires in September to ratify its choice. But it will be vying with seven other sports, among them squash, roller sports and sport climbing, that are hoping for inclu-

sion in the Olympic programme. Modern pentathlon and taekwondo were thought to be the sports most at risk when the IOC committee met in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday, but

wrestling was the surprise choice for the axe. It will now compete with baseball/softball, squash, karate, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and roller sports for a place in the 2020 Games.

IOC President, Rogge

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013  

All the facts, al the sides