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FG’s deregulation of downstream sector illegal, says court EMMANUEL ONANI ABUJA

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Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday declared as illegal and unconstitution-

Alison-Madueke

Vol. 3 N0. 581

Tragedy in Calabar:

al the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by the Federal Government. Delivering judgement in a suit brought by a Lagosbased lawyer, Mr. Bamidele

Newswatch: Drama as Ray Ekpu rejects petitioner’s document

Aturu, presiding judge, Justice Adamu Bello held that the policy of government to deregulate the petroleum sector, by not fixing pump prices for petroleum prodCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

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Ekpu

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166 feared dead as boat capsizes

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4 soldiers, 5 others killed in fresh blast in Borno Outrage trails Kano bus park bombing

t least 166 Nigerians were feared dead when a boat they were travelling in sank about 40 nautical miles off the coast of Calabar, the Cross River State capital. Eyewitnesses said that the passengers were travelling in a large wooden boat, which departed from Oron, Akwa Ibom State on Friday and was heading for Gabon when it capsized off Malabo, near the coast of EquaCONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

No ministerial appointment without PDP membership card, says Tukur

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FAAN terminates Bi-Courtney’s lease agreement The Fisherman’s Ring is placed on the finger of Pope Francis by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals. More photos on page 2

Jonathan seeks review of ‘toxic clauses’ in 2013 budget

I earn $2,000 monthly –Malawian President P.14&15

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...reiterates commitment to fight corruption

Banda

Henry Okah knows fate today

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

166 feared dead as boat capsizes CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

torial Guinea. The Assistant Director, Information, Cross River Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, Mr. David Akate, confirmed the incident, but did not give further details. Sources familiar with the situation told our reporter that the boat was carrying 168 passengers, adding that rescue efforts were still going on. A marine transporter at the Calabar Inland Waterways, Mr. Ikechukwu Egwu, also confirmed the incident. He added that the two known survivors were a young boy and a woman who had clung to a gas cylinder and were rescued by fishermen. He said that the passengers of the boat were mostly Igbo traders who were heading for Gabon. He said that the traders were mostly from the South-East states and headed to Oron in Akwa Ibom to board the wooden boat because it was cheap. “They are mostly Igbo traders who headed to Oron to board the wooden boat because it was cheaper,’’ he said. The cause of the accident was not immediately known but sources said the boat might have been overloaded due to non-compliance with basic safety standards. As at yesterday, the mood at the morgue of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, where 45 corpses of some of the victims have been deposited was that of gloom and people thronged the hospital to try to identify the remains of loved ones. Official sources said the victims’ corpses were brought to Calabar instead of Malabo, where the mishap occurred, because they were believed to be Nigerians. The eyewitnesses also said that other corpses had been deposited in Oron, from where the ill-fated journey began. In another development, a bomb blast yesterday hit the patrol vehicle of men of the Joint Task Force, JTF, at the Roundabout of Kashim Ibrahim Way at noon, killing four soldiers, five civilians, while four others sustained injuries. This came barely 24 hours after the killing of

four teachers in schools in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The bomb was apparently planted by suspected Boko Haram Islamic sect members and targeted at a vehicle transporting soldiers from the 202 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Bama. The incident occurred along Sir Kashim Ibrahim Way/Roundabout, a busy area with concentration of banks including UBA, Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank and Unity Bank among others. The remains of the soldiers were later evacuated from the scene by military personnel. A top security official said: “An Improvised Explosive Device, IED, planted around First Bank roundabout targeted at a moving vehicle of the 202 Battalion, Bama in Borno State exploded and destroyed the vehicle completely and claimed the lives of four soldiers and five civilians and destroyed many cars at the scene.” But the spokesman of the JTF, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa insisted that only one soldier was killed while two others sustained injuries in the blast. Musa said the attack was carried out by suspected Boko Haram terrorists. He said the suspects used an IED. A witness, who craved anonymity, told our correspondent that the blast ripped the JTF patrol vehicle into pieces, while passersby scampered for safety into various directions. Our correspondent gathered that five minutes after the blast, the entire areas was cordoned off by security operatives for five hours. Vehicles and pedestrians were directed to take the Post Office Area and Government Reservation Areas, GRA, roads. However, a source at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH, said that the body of two soldiers were brought into the hospital, while other four soldiers, who sustained critical injuries, have been admitted at the Accident and Emergency Unit. The hospital attendant, who did not want his name in print said: “The bodies of the soldiers and the in-

jured were brought in two Hilux Patrol vehicles about 1.15p.m.” Meanwhile, outrage yesterday trailed the bomb attack on a Lagos-bound luxury bus in Kano that killed about 60 persons. Reacting to the incident yesterday, Kano Ethnic Traditional Rulers Forum ordered a sit-at-home today for non-indigenes in the city in honour of the victims of the bomb attack. A statement signed by spokesman of the forum, Prince Ajayi Maimayetan, made available to newsmen directed all non-indigenes in the state to use the workfree day to fast and pray for the repose of the souls of the departed. The statement said: “Non indigenes in Kano are expected to heed this directive as a mark of mourning for all those who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident that devastated the non-indigenes community in Kano. “Shops, markets, schools and other places of business run by non-indigenes should remain closed throughout the one-day mourning.” However, there was yet another attack in Kano yesterday when gunmen shot a female police Sergeant, identified as Maimuna Yusuf. She is the secretary to the Assistant Inspector General of police in charge of zone 1, Mr. David Omojola. She was attacked, according to police source, at the farm centre area while fixing her car. The Kano State Police Commissioner, Mr. Musa Daura confirmed the attack. The violence in Kano triggered the deployment of a security blanket in Kaduna yesterday amid fears of possible attacks as armed security troops were deployed on 24 hours surveillance to counter any terrorist threat. In reactions to the attacks, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has called for synergy between the Kano State government and the security agencies to forestall future occurrence. The President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who condemned the bombing also called for speedy prosecution of Boko Haram suspects by the Federal

POPE’S INAUGURATION IN PIX

Pope Francis waving to the crowd.

The Pope arriving at the St. Peter’s Square for his inauguration Mass.

Pope Francis speaking during his inauguration Mass, yesterday.

The new Pope touring St. Peter’s Square in an unusual new Mercedes Benz G-Class SUV instead of the Popemobile which has a bulletproof glass.

Government, while fishing out the sponsors of the sect. Oritsejafor, in a statement signed by his spokesman, Kenny Ashaka, in Abuja, urged security agencies to intensify intelligence gathering, just as he commiserated with the

families of the victims. According to CAN, the Federal Government should liaise with the international community and obtains expertise in order to deal with the terror acts. Also reacting, CAN in the 19 Northern states and

Abuja called on the international community especially Britain and the Nigerian government to declare war against the sect. Northern CAN Public Relations Officer, Elder Sunday Oibe, while conCONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Photo News

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: Enugu State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Jude Akubuilo; President, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Dr. Theo Okonkwo and Nigerian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr. Matthias Orji Okafor, during the Vietnam Day at 24th Enugu International Trade Fair in Enugu yesterday.

L-R: Executive Director, Institute of Human Rights and Democratic Studies, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin; Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action, ERA, Mr. Nnimo Bassey; Chairman of anniversary, Prof Festus Ajayi; a lawyer, Mrs. Ayo Obe and Royal Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Rolf Ree, during the 20th Anniversary of Environmental Rights Action in Abuja, yesterday.

Managing Director, Ecobank Plc, Mr. Jibril Aku (left) and the Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Mr. Mike Omeri, at the launch of Citizenship and Business Automation E-CITIBIZ WEB Portal by the Ministry of Interior in Abuja, yesterday.

L-R: Guest Lecturer, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe; Special Guest of Honour, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru and Chairman, Board of Trustee, Stephen Oluwole Awokoya Foundation for Science Education, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye; during the 18th annual lecture, award of honours and postgraduate scholarships in Lagos, yesterday.

PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

National News

Newswatch: Drama as Ray Ekpu rejects petitioner’s document KAYODE KETEFE

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here was a mild drama before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday as one of the former directors of Newswatch Communications Ltd, NCL, -the former publisher of Newswatch magazine - Mr. Ray Ekpu, rejected a document tendered before the court by one of the petitioners in the suit filed by two minority shareholders of the company, Mr. NuhuWada Aruda and Prof. Jibril Aminu. The document in question, a statement of account of Newswatch Communications Ltd, prepared for the company by its financial specialist, Marino and Partners had been tendered by one of the petitioners, Aruda, to prove the petitioners’ case against the new management of Newswatch. In his testimony as the second petitioner’s witness, Ekpu said he had absolutely no knowledge of the documents and could not therefore vouch for its accuracy. The two petitioners 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 majority of the company’s shares had been legally transferred to Ibrahim via a Share Purchase Agreement, SPA, signed by all the parties. The petitioners are therefore, praying the court to quash the powers of the current management 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 are also praying the court to, among others, set aside the SPA on the basis of which Dr. Ibrahim assumed majority shareholding in the company. Joined as respondents in the matter are; Newswatch Communications Ltd and Global Media Mirror Ltd. During yesterday’s proceedings, the respondents’ lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN, who observed that Ekpu was fond of reacting

with “I don’t know” and “I cannot say” to many of the questions he was being asked under cross-examination, called his attention to a document containing the analysis of the accounts of NCL with the permission of the court. Then the following exchanges ensued between Chief Ayorinde and Ekpu in the open court. Ayorinde: “Do you recognise this document?” Ekpu said “I cannot recognise it. Who did the analysis?” Ayorinde: “But you were the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Besides, this document was issued to all the shareholders at the Board meeting at which you said you were present.” Ekpu: “That cannot be correct; I have not seen the document before today.” Ayorinde: “For your information, this is a document already tendered in court by the first petitioner, (Aruda) whom you have come to the court to assist by giving evidence on his behalf. So I want to ask you once again, do you know about this document? Ekpu: I don’t know about

this document” Ayorinde: “Alright, whether or not you know about this document. Look at it and say if it accurately reflected the financial position of the company. The document was prepared by your external auditor, Marino and Partners. Ekpu: “Since the Mariner prepared it, I would expect it to be correct” After this, Ayorinde asked Ekpu to read out information from a portion of the document. Ekpu read out the information to the effect that the NCL had series of losses before it was

taken over by Dr. Ibrahim. He specifically read out that the company sustained a loss of N27.9m in 2005; N49m in 2006; N86m in 2008; N20m in 2009 and N93m in 2010. Then Ayorinde asked: “Would you say that these figures reflect the state of affairs of the company at the said periods?” Ekpu: “No, these figures do not define the company’s state of affairs because they don’t refer to assets of the company. You don’t define a company just by looking at the assets. I cannot confirm nor deny the figures in this document.”

Meanwhile, Ekpu completed his evidence yesterday and was discharged as a witness while the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, adjourned further hearing in the case till April 22 and 26, 2013. It will also be recalled that on February, 4, 20013, Justice Buba had dismissed the interlocutory application of Aruda and Aminu, seeking to stop the operations of the Newswatch pending the determination of their substantive suit. Justice Buba had dismissed the application for lacking in merit.

Okah knows fate today –Justice Claaseen

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ustice Neels Claaseen of the South Guateng High Court, Johannesburg, says he will deliver judgement in Henry Okah’s case today. Claaseen told both the Prosecution and Defence counsels at the hearing of mitigation of sentence on Okah yesterday that he would deliver judgement after the submissions of both counsels. NAN reports that Okah,

a fractional leader of the Movement of Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, was found guilty of 13 countcharge of conspiracy to commit terrorism, by masterminding two car bomb attacks in Abuja on October 1, 2010. At the hearing for mitigation of sentence yesterday, a defence witness and a Pastor, Filonus Ekiyor, described Okah as a man of peace. “My lord, I have known

Okah for about 30 years through his elder brother, Charles. Henry is a man of peace, he is not a man of violence. “He is a generous man who gives scholarship to poor children to be educated. Certainly, he is not a man of violence,” Ekiyor said. He said the arrest and trial of Okah was political rather than a criminal case. He said Okah is a business man dealing in oil.


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Jonathan seeks review of ‘toxic clauses’ in 2013 budget GEORGE OJI ABUJA

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resident Goodluck Jonathan has expressed fears over the implementation of the 2013 budget against the backdrop of what he described as ‘toxic clauses’ in the one approved by the National Assembly. To avert the crisis, the president yesterday asked the National Assembly to amend those sections of the law and the 2013 proposal of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).

The clauses, according to the president, are injurious to the spirit of separation of powers and if not amended could hamper the work of the executive arm of government concerning the implementation of the budget. The president’s observations were contained in the bill he forwarded to the National Assembly yesterday for the amendment of certain clauses of the budget and the SURE-P. The said ‘toxic clauses,’ according to findings by National Mirror were responsible for the delay in

166 feared dead as boat capsizes CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

demning the deadly attack insisted that no amnesty should be granted to Boko Haram as being canvassed. CAN further advised government to take the warning of Gen. Theophilous Danjuma over the looming civil war seriously, saying advocates of Boko Haram amnesty should be placed on security checks. The House of Representatives also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to adopt a more thorough approach in his fight against terrorism. The House made the call after adopting a motion sponsored by Hon. Ibrahim Olaifa. The House also mandated its Committees on Public Safety, Army, Defence and Police Affairs to en-

gage the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, to tackle the problem. In the motion titled: “Need To End Terrorism Activities in Nigeria,” Olaifa stated that several Nigerians have been killed in the last three years by Boko Haram. Interior minister, Comrade Abba Moro, described the attack as callous, unwarranted and wicked. Moro, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, George Udoh, said he was pained when he heard the news of the unprovoked attack and killings of innocent Nigerians by members of a sect, who have chosen to tread a path of violence by making life miserable and agonising for Nigerians. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6>>

the signing of the 2013 budget by the president. It was gathered that while the president complained about the said clauses he insisted that he was not going to sign the budget until they were removed. But an understanding was reached whereby the leadership of the National Assembly asked the president to sign the budget as it was and later bring an amendment bill to the National Assembly. Part of the agreement was the assurance by the lawmakers to okay the amendment once it was forwarded by the executive. The affected clauses include clause 6 (ii), which states that, “The Accountant General of the Federation shall forward to the National Assembly full details of funds released to

the government agencies immediately such funds are released.” Also considered “toxic” is Clause 9, which states that, “All accounting officers of ministries and departments of government, who control heads of expenditure shall upon the coming into effect of this act furnish the National Assembly on quarterly basis with detailed information on the internally generated revenue of the agency in any form whatsoever.” According to the president, both clauses run counter to the established chain of reporting. The president also complained about Clause 7, which states that, “The Minister of Finance shall ensure that funds appropriated under this act are released to the appropriate

agencies or organ of government as and when due, provided that no funds for any quarter of the fiscal year shall be deferred without prior waiver from the National Assembly.” According to the president, what this means is that the Minister of Finance will seek waiver from the National Assembly each time the Ministry of Finance cannot make full funds released to ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, available as and when due. The president observed that this provision would create delays and constraints in the budget implementation. Another clause, which the president found objectionable is Clause 10, which states that: “All revenue however described, including all fees received, fines,

grants, budgetary provisions and all internally generated revenue shall not be spent by the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, for current or capital purpose or for any other matters, nor liabilities thereon incurred except with prior appropriation and approval by the National Assembly.” The president noted that considering the fact that the budget of SEC does not form part of the core budget as presented to the National Assembly, this clause ought not to have been inserted in the 2013 appropriation act in the first place. Secondly, the president stated that the import of the clause was tantamount to shutting down the business of the commission with a potential negative impact on the capital market.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right) and former President Luiz Lula Da Silva of Brazil, during a meeting in Lagos yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

FG’s deregulation of downstream sector illegal, says court CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

ucts, was a violation of section 6 of the Petroleum Act, cap P.10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Listed as defendants in the case were the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN). Aturu had challenged the decision of the Federal Government to deregulate the downstream petroleum sector, saying it was the duty of government to fix and regulate prices. The following reliefs were sought and granted

in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/ CS/591/2009: “A declaration that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in vicious violation of the mandatory provision of section 6 of the Petroleum Act, cap P.10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. “A declaration that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not

fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in flagrant violation of the mandatory provision of section 4 of the Price Control Act, cap P28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. “A declaration that the policy decision of the defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever being in conflict with Section 16(1) (b) of the Constitution of

the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which provides that the government shall control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity. “A declaration that the policy decision of the Defendants to deregulate the downstream sector of the petroleum industry by not fixing the prices at which petroleum products may be sold in Nigeria has the effect of making the freedom of movement guaranteed in section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal

Republic of Nigeria, 1999 illusory for the plaintiff and the generality of Nigerians and is therefore illegal, unconscionable and unconstitutional and of no effect whatsoever. “An order restraining the defendants their agents, privies, collaborators and whosoever and howsoever from deregulating the downstream sector of the petroleum industry or from failing to fix the prices of petroleum products as mandatorily required by the Petroleum Act and the Price Control Act. “An order directing the defendants to fix and publish

regularly prices of petroleum products forthwith.” In his reaction to the judgement Aturu said:”We thank the judge for his unparalleled erudition and sound logic and the Nigerian people for having confidence in the rule of law. “The sound and logical treatment of the issue of locus standi raised by the defendants reassures us that the judiciary without doubt cannot be wholly dismissed in the struggle to build genuine democracy. A source close to the Minister of Petroleum Resources said the defendants may likely head to the Court of Appeal.


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Jonathan reiterates commitment to fight corruption UDO ONYEKA AND ROTIMI FADEYI

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resident Goodluck Jonathan yesterday reiterated the commitment of his administration to fighting insecurity and corruption to ensure good governance and successful implementation of the National Transformation Agenda. He said the Federal Government would intensify its efforts to tackle the menace of insecurity which he said is hampering development and growth in the country. According to him, the government is using a threepronged strategy - dialogue and negotiation, partner-

ship with foreign partners and economic development - to achieve this. Jonathan, who spoke at The Economist Nigeria Summit 2013, which opened yesterday in Lagos, noted that the transformation agenda of his administration remains an onerous task that would require the support of all Nigerians, stressing that security and creation of a politically stable environment are the bedrock for economic and social progress. His words: “The government is aware of the challenge of insecurity and its adverse effect on development as there would be little or no development where there is insecurity.

To this end while we are open to negotiations and dialogue, we are also aggressively putting in place the needed infrastructures and creating enabling environment that would assist youths that want to engage in meaningful vocation to have such opportunity. We are going into partnership with international partners such as United States, United Kingdom and France, among others, to tackle terrorism and insecurity.” He told participants at the summit with the theme: “Enabling and Implementing Change” that the first approach to addressing the menace of terrorism in the country was the strength-

ening of counter-terrorism cooperation with neighbouring countries. The President said the second approach is openness to political dialogue, stressing that this can only realistically progress when the groups and individual involved in acts of terror, relinquish their anonymity and come forward in sincerity to make their objectives known to the Nigerian people. He said the third approach focused on economic inclusion, which targets the disadvantaged and unemployed in the society, especially in the NorthEast, with economic opportunities in agriculture, entrepreneurial support,

graduate employment and unskilled jobs programmes. On the issue of power, President Jonathan noted that the privatisation of the sector was in progress, stressing that though the problem of power cannot be solved overnight, he assured that the most competent and painstaking solutions are being progressively applied. Former President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, who was also at the event, explained that it was time for the African continent to work together to ensure the prosperity of their people instead of depending on aid from foreign countries. According to him, Nigeria and Brazil have large

potentials that could be harnessed for the growth, development and progress of both countries. Da Silva stated that Africa must rise up to the present global challenge in economy, trade and investment and other sectors in order to ensure greater future and an enduring prosperity for its people. Ministers present at the occasion include; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Finance); Olusegun Aganga (Trade and Investment); Diezani Alison-Madueke (Petroleum); Samsudeen (National Planning); Akinwumi Adesina (Agriculture); Prof. Chinedu Nebo (Power) and Minister of State for Works, Bashir Yuguda.

Central Bank retains MPR at 12% TOLA AKINMUTIMI ABUJA

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L-R: National Chairman, Progressive Peoples Alliance, Chief Sam Nkire; National Chairman, United Progressive Party, Chief Chekwas Okorie and Chairman, Social Democratic Mega Party, Chief Olu Falae, at the first quarter INEC meeting with political parties in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

166 feared dead as boat capsizes CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

The minister urged prominent Nigerians as well as groups in the country to voice out their resentment against the evil being perpetuated by members of the inglorious sect on the nation. The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, described the attacks as cruel. PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement yesterday said the party was shocked by the attacks and has been deeply saddened over the manner in which Nigerians were being killed for no just cause. Calling on those behind the attacks to have a rethink and realise that life is sacrosanct, the PDP said Nigerians must learn to live in harmony and to eschew all acts of violence.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State described the attack as heartless, inhuman and barbaric. This was just as the governor urged security agents and government to do more in all that is required to ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigerians and foreigners in the country. Following the bomb blast, northerners, residents in the South-East have started fleeing to nearby security outposts for fear of reprisal. In the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, Hausas and other ethnic groups from the North yesterday fled the city in search of protection in various security stations. National Mirror gathered that the non-indigenes closed all their business premises in Head Bridge and other parts of the city

to seek protection in various security stations, including the military cantonment housing officers and men of the 302 Artillery Regiment and 14 Field Engineers Regiment of the Nigerian Army in the city as well as Onitsha Area Command and Central Police Station, CPS, Onitsha. It was further observed that the non-indigenes became apprehensive of possible reprisals from the people of the city, especially members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Association of Igbo Youths, AIYO, which made them to vacate the streets and major roads for safety. A source, who did not want his name mentioned disclosed that they got information that there could

be violent attacks on nonindigenes in the commercial city, adding that all security outfits in the state mobilised to safeguard the lives and property of the Northerners in the state. The Ogirishi Igbo and founder of AIYO, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, directed all Igbo youths not to hurt any Northerner in the name of reprisal, saying that “we should continue to live as brothers and sisters at all times.” Also, the leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike dismissed any possible reprisal in the entire South East and called for calm. Reports by: Augustine Madu –West, Omeiza Ajayi, Inusa Ndahi, Aza Msue, Richard Ndoma, Temitope Ogunbanke, Joel Ajayi and Nwabueze Okonkwo, Paul Arhewe with agency report.

he Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday retained the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, at 12 per cent with a corridor of +/- 200 basis points by a majority vote of nine of its Monetary Policy Committee members to three, who voted against the retention of the old rate. In addition, the bank also retained the Cash Reserve Requirement, CRR, at 12 per cent and Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent with Net Open Position at 1 per cent The apex bank’s decision, which did not align with most experts’ earlier projections for a reduction of the old rate, was based on what the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, termed the yet uncertain developments in the global environment which still call for caution in monetary policy measures and the need to ensure macroeconomic stability at the domestic level. Sanusi, who briefed the media on the decisions taken during the two-day meeting, said the committee was faced with three options, but decided to retain the MPR at its current rate in order to sustain the gains of monetary policy while utilising the existing space in the corridor to influence yields and exchange rates in the short term. Sanusi said the committee was satisfied with the level of accretion into the external reserves which stands at $49.38 billion as at

March 14, 2013, representing an increase of $5.5 billion or 12.68 per cent over the level of $43.83 billion as at December 2012, a development which was attributed largely to proceeds from crude oil and gas sales and crude oil related taxes as well as reviewed funding of WDAs. Similarly, he disclosed that the committee was comfortable with the macroeconomic stability in the economy despite shocks from both external and domestic environments, a development which informed the tightening stance of the third quarter, even as the committee urged the regulatory financial institution to continue monitoring the portfolio of direct investment flows while being conscious of the financial risk and of hot money in the event of a shock. He pointed out that the committee felt that at 9.0 and 9.5 per cent in January and February, respectively, the price data, which largely reflected the base effect of the first and second round impact of the fuel subsidy removal in January 2012, sends a clear signal that there was still an upside risk to inflation in the near-to-medium term. This is even as he explained that yields on FGN bonds have been declining steadily, signalling the impact of increased inflows while equity prices have been trending upwards. Quantitative easing, especially in the US and the EU is already creating a potential new round of asset bubbles globally.


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2015: INEC set for delineation of constituencies OMEIZA AJAYI ABUJA

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he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it had evolved workable plans for the delimitation of constituencies before the 2015 general elections. INEC Chairman, Prof.

•PDP, ACN boycott parley Attahiru Jega, stated this yesterday at the First Quarter meeting of the commission with political parties in Abuja. But leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and those of the Action Congress of Nigeria

(ACN) were conspicuously absent from the meeting. No reason was given for their absence. Just before the meeting went into a closed session, Prof. Jega said the parley was to “address issues of mutual concern and to, to-

gether, continue to improve the transparency and credibility of the electoral process as we prepare for the 2015 elections.” He added: “This first meeting in the series will focus on a review of the guidelines for the regulation of the activities of political parties by INEC and a briefing on INEC’s preparations for delimitation of constituencies. “Subsequent quarterly meetings will also focus on one or two issues so as to ensure sufficient time to do justice to any issue being deliberated upon.” He said since the conduct of the 2011 general elections, the commission had achieved a lot even

while preparing for the 2015 polls. “No doubt, we have been busy, but we shall be busier still this year, especially as we have planned to embark upon two major programmes of activities,” Jega said. The INEC boss, however, listed the commission’s two major activities to include the continuous voter registration and the de-limitation of constituencies. Jega said: “Through these meetings, we hope to consult and share with political parties our plans and preparations to continuously improve the electoral process especially as we move towards the 2015

general elections. “The party leaders are expected to lay before the commission some of the challenges they are facing and how the commission could assist especially in the area of funding though INEC had ruled out any financial assistance to any political party. “Issues regarding the registration of new parties are also expected to be discussed at the parley. Jega listed the achievements of INEC since the 2011 general elections as having conducted eight governorship, three senatorial district, 11 federal constituencies, 18 state constituencies and one Area Council elections.

Two kids injured in Ibadan building collapse KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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Henry Okah at South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday. PHOTO: NAN

wo kids were critically injured yesterday in Ibadan as a building collapsed. National Mirror learnt that the two kids - Emmanuel Oketunbi (3), a pupil of Ifeoluwa Nursery and Primary School, and Rashidat Popoola (15), a pupil of United Secondary School, Idiose, Ibadan, were on their way to their respective schools when the building collapsed on them. But for the prompt atten-

tion of an on-looker, who noticed that the pupils were passing behind the building when it collapsed, they would have been killed. The alarm raised by the on-looker quickly attracted residents to the incident scene. The residents mobilised to the accident scene to rescue the pupils. The three-year old Emmanuel was said to have sustained a head injury and taken to Adeoyo State Hospital for treatment while the second victim, because

of the critical nature of her injury, was referred to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. It was learnt that her two legs were broken. During a visit to the scene of the incident, the mothers of the victims, a teacher and a trader said they were not around when the building collapsed. Speaking with journalists, the two mothers said that they were called from their respective places of work when the incident occurred.

Crisis looms as FAAN terminates Bi-Courtney lease agreement OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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he crisis between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and its major concessionaire, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), may be far from over as the former yesterday announced the termination of lease agreements granted the latter. The agreements terminated, according to FAAN, are the ongoing constructions of a four-star hotel and conference centre both at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos. FAAN, in a statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said that in two separate letters, dated April 19, 2012, it informed Bi-Courtney that the leases granted it in respect of the two projects

had been terminated. FAAN said that it terminated the agreement as a result of breaches by the company. Dati stated that by the agreements, the two projects were supposed to be completed in 2008, but they are yet to be completed as at 2013. He added that FAAN extended the construction period to July 2009, but still Bi-Courtney failed to complete the two projects at the expiration of the extended period. The statement reads: “By that termination order, the demised premises, in respect of the two projects, have reverted to FAAN automatically, in line with the terms of the agreements. “It will be recalled that Bi-Courtney forcefully and illegally acquired part of the premises belonging to the Murtala Muhammed

Airport, School, Ikeja to construct the conference centre, despite loud protest by the pupils and parents of the school. “It was these protests that stopped the company from acquiring the entire premises of the school, which Bi-Courtney had planned to take to another location in Lagos.” But Bi-Courtney spokesman, Mr. Steve OmolaleAjulo, said that the court had restrained the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), InspectorGeneral of Police (IGP), Managing Director of FAAN and FAAN from commencing, continuing or completing any actions on the issue. Omolale-Ajulo described the termination as laughable, adding that it showed clear disobedience of subsisting court orders. In a statement yester-

day, he said: “Justice S.J. Adah of the Federal High Court, Ikeja Division, had, on April 23, 2012, issued an order restraining the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector-General of Police, Managing Director of FAAN and FAAN itself (all defendants in the suit we filed against them) from commencing, continuing and/or completing any actions or permitting the commencement, continuance and/or completion of any actions in respect of taking over possession of and/or interfering with applicant’s possession of the four-star hotel and the conference centre situated at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, Ikeja, under construction pursuant to its letters reference: FAAN/1600/0210213 and FAAN/1600/0210214, both dated April 19th, 2012, or any other letter, instru-

ment or instruction whatsoever pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s application for interlocutory injunction. “The court order, originating motion, affidavit in support, exhibits and the Notice of Arbitration were all served on FAAN and its Managing Director, and received and signed for, on their behalf by one Mrs. C. Akinola at 11.55a.m on April 24th, 2012. “So, for FAAN to say it has terminated the projects and taken possession of the land is laughable and a clear disobedience of subsisting court orders. Nigerians should please ignore them, as they are not saying anything new. “Like they themselves admitted in their latest statement, they first issued the statement purportedly terminating the two projects on April 19, 2012.

“As it is usual with them, they have re-issued the same statement in order to confuse aviation stakeholders and continue to create crises in the sector. Every aviation stakeholder knows that it was the same old statement, issued last year that they have rewritten and presented to the media as a new one to deceive the public. FAAN knows that it cannot terminate the projects because of the court injunction. There are consequences for such an action.”

Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Ajimobi’s govt, anti-people, says Ladoja KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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Ogun State Head of Service, Modupe Adekunle (second left); Dean of the Lagos Business School, Inase Okonedo; Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Ogun State Deputy Speaker, House of Assembly, Hon.Tola Banjo and MBA students of the LBS after the 4th edition of the LBS lecture in Lagos, on Monday.

22-year-old nurse butchered in Ekiti ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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ome yet-to-be identified people have murdered a 22-year-old nurse and mother of two, Mrs. Moyinoluwa Osire, in her apartment at the Ayedun Quarters in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. The body of the woman, said to be butchered with a cutlass, was found in a pool of blood when other residents of the house arrived from church about 1pm that fateful day. Her stepfather, Mr. Olawale Ogundare, said the assailants stole the phone of

the deceased and the N250,000 that she withdrew from her bank on Friday for her building project. Ogundare said the lady did not go to church that day following complaint that she was tired as a result of the Midwifery examination she had just concluded at the School of Nursing, Ado-Ekiti. Family members of the slain nurse have called for proper investigation into the incident. Ogundare said the police at Oke Ila Division had arrested the estranged husband of the lady, Mr. Abayomi Osire, as a prime suspect in the mat-

ter in view of the frosty relationship and having allegedly threatened several times through phone conversations and physically that he would kill Moyinolouwa over some unresolved issues. He said: “On return from church, we knocked here door and when I could not hear from her, I peeped through the window and I saw that the way she slept was not normal and we quickly came to the main door and found out that it was already opened. “When we entered, we found her in her pool of blood. We tried to reach out to

the husband, but he switched off until Tuesday when he called us with one strange number.” Ogundare, who described the slain nurse as a security conscious person who would not just open the door for anyone, said her death was strange and suspicious especially since the door was not forcibly opened. The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Victor Babayemi Olu, who confirmed the incident, however, said no arrest had been made. He said the police were waiting for the result of the post-mortem conducted on

Professionals’ involvement in politics key to Nigeria’s growth –Amosun

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overnor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has called for the active involvement of professionals in politics to pull Nigeria out of its social and economic crisis. Amosun made the call at the fourth edition of the Lagos Business School, LBS, “Project What Next” series held at the Lekki campus of the institution on Monday. The governor said the country’s challenges had

been well documented. He said: “The political landscape is yet to record a critical mass of professionals with active partisan participation. People who will dream new dreams, articulate ideas and bring in the discipline required for execution. “When professionals decline to actively engage the system, avoiding getting directly involved or actively participating in the political

process, they unwittingly create an environment for the emergence of leaders that are not the best among us. “After all, nature abhors vacuum. The professionals will then not have the moral right to query the way and how they are governed.” In his lecture entitled: “A voyage powered by Conviction,” Amosun expressed optimism that the present docile approach by professionals

Oyo Assembly passes N159bn budget KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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yo State House of Assembly yesterday passed the N159,625,261,000 2013 budget made up of N85,018,383,347 recurrent expenditure and N74,606,877,653 capital expenditure. The Speaker, Hon. Monsurat Sunmonu, presided over the Committee of the Whole House where the budget passed through the

third reading. The Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Segun Olaleye (Ibadan North II), presented the committee’s report on the budget before the Assembly eventually passed it. Sunmonu disclosed that the budget was N5 billion in excess of the proposal submitted to the Assembly by Governor Abiola Ajimobi in January.

She appealed to the executive to ensure that all geopolitical zones in the state benefit from all the developmental projects earmarked for execution in the budget, noting that the Assembly would monitor budget performance vis a vis funds allocated to various projects. But the committee chairman explained that the variations that led to the final budget approved by the Assembly was meant to

would soon fade away, and commended the role recently played in the polity by the Save Nigeria Group, SNG. He said: “The roles played by the Save Nigeria Group, SNG, during the period of absence due to the health challenges of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua speak about the potency of the power of professionals to galvanise national consciousness and action for the common good.” take care of the government proposed projects, including the state new University of Technology, tourism, especially the Agodi Gardens and the traders displaced by the current urban renewal programme. He said: “We at the House are giving every support to the executive especially on the various developmental projects it wants to execute this year. “This informed the variations you have seen in the budget the House has just passed.”

ormer governor of Oyo State, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, has berated the Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led administration for its ‘anti-masses programmes’. Ladoja said this yesterday when Accord Party member in the state House of Assembly representing Ibadan North-East 1 state constituency, Hon. Kehinde Ayinla Oloya, distributed over N20 million worth of amenities to his constituents at the Christ the King School ground, Agugu, Ibadan. The former governor queried the government for neglecting people for plants. He said: “I am surprised that government has been sinking boreholes to wet flowers when people of the state cannot get potable water to drink in various homes. Flowers and plants were made for man by God and not man for plants.” Ladoja, who lauded Oloya for his kindness, described the lawmaker as a true social welfarist and committed member of the Accord Party who had helped in actualising the dreams of the party to the people of his community.

He said the gestures were in line with the orientation of the party to uplift the people and ameliorate their suffering. The Accord Party national leader also commissioned six electronic controlled boreholes, 500KVA transformer at Alafara-Oje and two blocks of three classrooms each at St. Joseph Primary School, Gbekale. The National Chairman of the party, Mallam Ibrahim Nalado, commended Ladoja for his leadership quality which had endeared the party to millions of supporters across the Yorubaland, noting that since the former governor joined the party, it had moved from being a paper party to a national party that had attracted a lot of goodwill across the country. The amenities made available to the constituents included one 33,000-litre tanker to lift and supply of kerosene to the community; four tricycles known as Keke Accord; two Micra saloon cars; one 34-seater air-conditioned bus, 20 surface tanks for kerosene sellers, 10 2700cc generators, 40 pieces of hand dryers, 10 sewing machines and 20 anti-malaria fumigation equipment.

Association, firm partner on dental care DAMILOLA AJAYI

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he Nigerian Dental Association, NDA, has called for the development of sustainable strategies for national preventive and therapeutic oral health services. The NDA President, Dr. Olojede Olurotimi, made the call yesterday in Lagos at a press conference organised in collaboration with Unilever Nigeria to mark this year’s World Oral Health Day. He said: “Dental caries and periodontal diseases are the most common chronic diseases worldwide affecting children, adults and elderly resulting in great impact on wellbeing, daily performance and, of course, treatment costs.” “World Health Day celebration is aimed at increasing awareness for oral health as well as the impact of oral diseases. “It provides an opportunity to raise awareness

and encourage individuals, families, communities, and governments to take measures to lower the incidence of oral diseases.” According to Olurotimi, a healthy smile and the ability to speak and eat without pain or discomfort are critical to general health and wellbeing. He added that easily preventable or treatable oral diseases left unchecked could lead to major negative health consequences. The NDA president, however, expressed regret that “appropriate services are not available for many people in low-income and middle income communities.” The Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria, Mr. Thabo Mabe, said the company was collaborating with the NDA to reach rural Nigerians with the much needed oral health awareness, dental check up, and referrals while making the firm’s world class oral care products more available, accessible and affordable.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South West

Wednesday March 20, 2013

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Ondo tribunal asks parties to prepare final addresses HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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he Ondo State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Akure has asked the counsel to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the People Democratic Party (PDP) candidates to prepare their final addresses. The tribunal also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Labour Party (LP) to prepare theirs. The Justice Andovar Kaka'an-led tribunal has therefore fixed April 23 for the adoption of the written addresses by the parties involved in the petitions before it. The panel gave this order after the closure of the defence by respondents to the petition filed by the candidate of the PDP in the October 20, 2012 governorship election in the state, Chief Olusola Oke . The state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, had

•Fixes April 23 for adoption opened his defence before the tribunal on Monday to the petition filed by the ACN and PDP, calling four witnesses to defend his case. The governor, however, called nine more witnesses as the tribunal resumed sitting yesterday to bring his witnesses to 13. All the witnesses agreed in their evidences before the tribunal that the election was free as voters cast their votes without any form of violence or intimidation. The witnesses, including Sola Olaniran from Okeigbo, Adefarati Babatunde from Ikun-Akoko and Francis Ojo from Irun-Akoko during cross examination by counsel to the PDP candidate, Dr. Abode Olatoke, gave evidence to the fairness of the election. After calling the 13th witness, counsel to Mimiko, Wole Olanipe-

kun (SAN), told the court that the respondent would be closing his case. In the same vein, counsel to the Labour Party (LP), Yusuf Ali (SAN) and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Ifeanyi Ikpeazu, said they

would not call any witness as they would be relying on the evidences of the witnesses brought by Mimiko. The tribunal, however, told the parties to begin the compilation of their written addresses immediately.

school. The device contains ebook library, comprising of text books, study tips, among others; integrated test zone, which comprises of past questions and answers, solution to standard examinations questions among others; and virtual classroom, where comprehensive school notes with illustrations and worked examples for the 17 subjects of science, art and commercial were configured. Handling over the device to the pupils, the Principal of Ataoja

School of Science, Dr. Adeagbo Taiwo, expressed optimism that the device would enhance the performance of students. She said: "We can now see that Opon Imo is real and we are happy because this has never happened anywhere in Nigeria, except Osun. “We are ready to work with it, as our governor has done his part in making teaching easier for us. "This is a modern trend in education and I am sure it will work." To ensure the durability of the device, she said that the school.

Group hails Mimiko over residents’ social security card

he Osun State Government has begun the distribution of the Computer Learning Tablets popularly called Opon Imo to pupils of public secondary schools across the state. The state government initiated the idea to develop public education. The distribution of the tablets began at the Ataoja School of Science in Osogbo on Monday with each of the 385 pupils in the Senior Secondary School 2 (SSS2) receiving the technological device. The project, an initiative of Governor Rauf

Aregbesola, was specially designed for secondary school pupils to enhance their performance in internal and external examinations. The device, according to the governor, would make the pupils to be Information and Communication Technology (ICT) compliant as well as enable them to compete with their peers globally. The device had earlier been test-run through the pupils of the school, a situation that encouraged the Opon-Imo project team to start the distribution from the same

KEMI OLAITAN

Minister lauds Ajimobi’s urban renewal programme

IBADAN

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inister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Muhammed Sada, has praised Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi for the urban renewal programme carried out by his administration. The minister, who spoke during a visit to the governor in his office in Ibadan, said he was impressed by the beautification of the environment which has taken place in the state in the last one and a half years. He said that the urban re-

•Soun tasks governor on dual carriage road

newal programme had succeeded in changing the face of not only Ibadan, the state capital, but also other major towns in the state. Sada said: “I was in Oyo State on an official visit about two years ago and as an architect, I must say that I am very impressed by what I have seen. I have seen a lot of attention being paid to the environment.’’ He also commended the Oyo State Government for

more time to enable the lawyers to attend a conference slated for Cape Town in South Africa. The tribunal thereafter ruled that the parties should return to the court on April 23 to adopt their addresses preparatory to the delivery of judgment on the petitions.

L-R: Representative of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Iyabo Obasa; Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Mohammed Amate and Oyo State Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, during the 49th Annual International Conference & Exhibitions of Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society held at the University of Ibadan, yesterday.

Osun begins distribution of Opon Imo to pupils

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The Electoral Law 2010 stipulates that the respondents have 10 days to file their written addresses, while the petitioners have seven days to reply to the addresses and another five days for the respondents to reply on point of law. However, Olanipekun prayed the court to give

its support for the Federal Government on the exploitation of mineral resources in the state. The minister, who was in Ibadan to open an International Conference on Mining and Geo-Sciences, said: “It is not a coincidence that the conference is taking place in Oyo State which happens to be one of the major mining states in the country. This has largely influenced the selection of

Ibadan for this important conference’’. Meanwhile, the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade, yesterday called on Governor Ajimobi to expand the execution of the dual carriage road project in the town. Oba Ajagungbade spoke when the Oyo State Compensation Team, led by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Pastor Taiwo Otegbeye, visited

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overnor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State has been applauded for introducing the social security card, otherwise known as Kaadi Igbe Ayo (KIA) to enhance the social service delivery to residents. In a statement issued yesterday in Akure, the state capital, a group under the aegis of Ondo Stakeholders, commended the governor for the initiative. In the statement signed by its secretary, Dr. Charles Akinwa, the group said the initiative would make Ondo the state to beat by its peers in terms of delivery of good

him in his palace. Stressing that the dual carriage road project being executed in the town was inadequate compared to the one in Ibadan, the monarch said there were more areas that could be opened up. Oba Ajagungbade, however, thanked the state government for the project, adding that the payment of compensation should not be delayed unduly to pacify those whose property were affected in the execution of the road project.

governance to the people. The group said Mimiko began his second term in office on a promising note, adding that the introduction of the social security card for residents “is no doubt a sure way for the governor to demonstrate his sincerity to serve the people.” Over 600,000 residents have, however, been certified beneficiaries of the social security scheme. The Coordinator of the Social Security Residency Card scheme, Mr Tunde Yadeka, said the residency card would serve as an interface in all transactions between the government and residents. Yadeka added that the scheme would allow all residents equal access to the governments social and welfare services. It would also allow the government to monitor distribution of such services even to the remotest parts of the state. Giving an insight into the process culminating into the execution stage, Yadeka said the state government contacted several international agencies in the planning stages of the project, adding that the responses of the agencies, such as UNDP, DFID and UNFID confirmed the novelty of the project.


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South East

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CJ’s panel on Agbaso put on hold CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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he inauguration of the seven-man panel set up by the Imo State Chief Judge, Benjamin Njamanze, to investigate allegations of fraud against the state Deputy Governor, Jude Agbaso, was yesterday put on hold. No reason has been given why the exercise that was publicised in both the

electronic and print media was put on hold, but it was gathered that the stoppage may not be unconnected with the Monday court ruling on the motion ex-parte brought by the deputy governor in which the judge, Florence Duruohaigwwe, ordered that the status quo be maintained by both parties pending the determination of the case. The chief judge was expected to inaugurate

the panel yesterday, but at the time our correspondent visited the high court premises in Owerri, there was no arrangement in place for such exercise. Some of the members of the panel, who were at the office of the chief judge as early as 8.30 am, told journalists that the inauguration has been put off. “The exercise has been put off, we have been asked to go that we will be

communicated on a new date later.” However, efforts to contact the chief judge were abortive as he was busy presiding over some cases at High Court 1, but a reliable source in the office of the chief judge said that, “We saw the reports all over the papers where the judge said that the chief judge as a high ranking judicial officer knows when a matter is subjudice.”

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, with students of Girls Secondary School, Agulu, when he paid a visit to the school and donated N10 million for rebuilding infrastructure in the school.

Gunmen kidnap Anambra lawmaker CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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member representing Onitsha South 1 Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Dr Emeka Aniebonam, was on Monday abducted by gunmen who stormed his private hospital in Fegge, Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of the

state. While the whereabouts of Dr Aniebonam, who is an Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, member of the House is still unknown, it was learnt that the case has been reported to the Fegge Divisional Police station for appropriate action. Sources which spoke to National Mirror on the incident said that Dr Aniebonam

was attending to patients in his hospital, when the kidnappers stormed his office and forcefully took him away in their operational car. It was gathered that during the incident, which took place on Monday night, the kidnappers who were armed with A.K 47 riffles, had upon driving in to the premisses with their Honda Accord car, went straight to Dr An-

iebonam’s office where he was attending to patients, dragged him to their car and escaped, while those around scampered for safety. The spokesman of the Anambra State Police Command, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, confirming the incident, said that security operatives are now doing everything possible to rescue Dr Aniebonam.

Obi releases N30m for rehabilitation of schools CHARLES OKEKE AWKA

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nambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has released N30 million to the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, for the rehabilitation of some mission-owned secondary schools in Anaocha and Njikoka Local Government Areas respectively. The development came at a time Bishop Ezeokafor has said that only credible and worthy successor to Governor Obi would sustain the stability, peace and tempo of

development witnessed in the state since the tenure of Governor Obi. Speaking during the presentation of the N30 million cheques by Governor Obi for the continued rehabilitation of some of the secondary schools returned to the church recently, Bishop Ezeokafor thanked Obi for his gesture, promising to make the best use of the money for the purpose intended. The benefitting schools incluse; Lorreto Secondary School, Adazi-Nnukwu; Girls’ High School, Agulu

and St. Michael’s Secondary School, Nimo. The bishop said the governor had demonstrated that government could make a promise and fulfill it and had continued to make appreciable sacrifices to uplift education and other sectors so as to build a better infrastructure for a stable and progressive society. He prayed God to give the state a governor better than Obi or at least as good as he is for the development of the state to be guaranteed. In his remark at the occasion, Governor Obi said the

state government’s partnership with the church had become a reference point in the country. He assured that he would continue to strengthen that collaboration for the benefit of the state. The Transition Committee Chairman, Anaocha Local Government Area, Mr. Emeka Chijioke, said the governor’s intervention had provided conducive learning environment to schools and transformed all parts of the state. He noted that the governor has set a standard that will continue to challenge future administrators.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Ojukwu’s property: Court rejects Bianca’s demand for cost WALE IGBINTADE

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Lagos High Court judge, Justice Funmilayo Atilade, yesterday refused a request made by Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the widow of the late Ikemba of Nnewi, Chukwuemeka OdimegwuOjukwu, asking the court to award cost against one of the defendants, Mrs. Massey Udegbe (doing business under the name of Massey & Company.) Bianca had in the suit, filed on behalf of her two under-aged children, Afamefuna and Nwachukwu (claimants), wants the court to declare that her children are entitled to the possession and occupation of the property known as No 29, Oyinkan Abayomi Street, Ikoyi Lagos, until the harmonisation of the management and administration of the assets of the first defendant. The other defendants are Prof. Joseph Ojukwu, Engr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, Lotanna Putalora Ojukwu, Dr Patrick Ojukwu, Arc. Edward Ojukwu, Lota Akajiora Ojukwu and Mrs. Massey Udegbe (doing business under Massey Udegbe & Company). At the last hearing of the suit, Justice Atilade had ordered Mrs. Massey Udegbe (8th defendant) to file her defence against the allegations contained in the claimants originating process. However, at the resumed hearing of the suit yesterday, Nick Omeye counsel to Bianca and her children informed the court that the 8th defendant had not complied with the order of the court to file a defence and urged the court to award cost in her favour. But, counsel to the 1st -7th defendants, Ikechukwu Ubahakwe, informed the court that he has been served with statement of defence filed by the 8th defendant. Although, the court was yet to receive its copy, Justice Atilade refused to award cost against the 8th defendant and adjourned the suit till May 20, for mention. Bianca had on behalf of her two children, sued Ojukwu Transport Limited, OTL, and seven others. In their statement of claim, the claimants want the court to declare that the threat of forceful ejection from 29, Oyinkan Abayomi Street, by the defendants is illegal.

In addition, they urged the court to declare that they are entitled to possess the following property, namely: No 13, Hawksworth Road, Ikoyi (now known as No. 13 Ojora Road); No 32A, Commercial Avenue, Yaba, Lagos; No 30, Gerard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; No. 30, McPherson Avenue, Ikoyi. All the above properties were alleged to be under the possession of late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, the father of the claimants from the time the property were released from government acquisition till date. The claimants stated that throughout the period their father was struggling to retrieve the property from the government, the second to the seventh defendants “never played any role in the struggle nor contributed financially or otherwise to the realisation of the struggle.” Besides, the claimant is asking for an order of court restraining the defendants, their agents or privies from interfering with the claimants’ possession and control of the property. But, in their statement of defence, the 1st -7th defendants averred that the subscribers of the Memorandum of Association of Ojukwu Transport Limited (1st defendant) at incorporation in 1952 were L. P. Ojukwu and Betram Chukwuemeka Obi, adding that the late Chukwuemeka OdimegwuOjukwu and one Prof. Joseph Ojukwu (2nd defendant) were later appointed as directors in 1953. They stated that late Chukwuemeka OdimegwuOjukwu, thereafter ceased to be a director of the company prior to the Nigerian civil war and was reappointed as a director on December 16, 2005 while the 3rd and 4th defendants were appointed directors in 1954 and 2005 respectively. They added that the claimants’ statement of claim contained tissues of lies and distorted facts alleging that Bianca who instituted the suit, being greedy felt that she could hold unto the company’s property. Besides, they said that for over 12 years prior to the death of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, he had moved to Enugu State and since then had not lived at any of the company’s property as alleged by the claimant.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South South

Wednesday March 20, 2013

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Academic activities paralyzed at UNIUYO TONY ANICHEBE UYO

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cademic activities at the University of Uyo were yesterday paralysed as members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, stage a protested on the campus The members were protesting the non-release of one of their members, a female lecturer that had been kidnapped for five days. The development paralysed academic activities for hours in the institution.

Led by the local ASUU Chairman, Mr. Ayim Nwachukwu, the lecturers were carrying different placards condemning the incessant kidnap of their members. Some of the inscriptions on the placards read thus; “Help University of Uyo lecturers,” “Save Uniuyo from kidnapping, AKSG,” “End this unholy act now,” “No more abduction of Uniuyo lecturers,” “Uniuyo need peace for progress, stop kidnapping,” among others. According to Nwachukwu, the union has

given the abductors 24 hours to release the female lecturer, failure which the union would adopt actions that would have negative consequences on the running of the institution. “Congress has resolved that in the next 24 hours, if our member is not released, we will meet again today and take further action that would have negative consequences on the smooth running of the institution. “The problem is that our member, Dr. Mrs. Ime Udotong, a senior lecturer was abducted by kidnappers

last weekend, our members went on the street to demonstrate and to show our displeasure at that incident. “We also did that taking cognisance of the fact that in the past for whatever reason, our members have been target of kidnappers and our members had to stop all their work to have a meeting and go out on protest. Sources close the family of the kidnapped lecturer told National Mirror that the hoodlum demanded a ransom of N100 million and that some part pay-

ment has been made but that they have not released the woman as at the time of going to the press. However, the ASUU chairman said; “We have information that they have communicated with the family and have asked for a ransom, I cannot give information on the amount the kidnappers are demanding from the family.” It will be recalled that the latest kidnapping of Dr. Udotong has brought to about 10, the number of lecturers that had been kidnapped. Husband to the current Vice-Chan-

cellor of the University of Uyo, Dr. Mefin Ekpo, a lecturer in UNIUYO, was kidnapped in 2011. According to the Police Public Relations Officers, PPRO, Mr. Etim Dickson, the command is not relenting in its efforts at tracking the kidnappers. He said the police were investigating the matter, adding that the method used cannot be disclosed to the public, but assured the family of the kidnapped lecturer of the safety of their bread winner and that they should not panic.

Dickson breached our agreement, say Bayelsa guber candidates EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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o fewer than 12 gubernatorial candidates from different opposition parties in the February 2012 governorship election in Bayelsa State, yesterday accused Governor Seriake Dickson of dumping them after the election. The aggrieved politicians under the auspices of the Committee of Bayelsa State Governorship Candidates 2012, said they stepped down for Dickson and adopted him as their sole candidate in the poll, but regretted that the governor failed to fulfill his part of an agreement reached with them before the poll. Chairman of the group and former governorship candidate of the Peoples Action Congress, PAC, Chief Shagamu Eberiye, spoke with journalists yesterday in Yenagoa, shortly after its meeting. Eberiye said the group was giving Governor Dickson two weeks to urgently address the issues raised in their agreement with him; else they would be left with no option than to pull out

of the unity government to pursue their individual party aspirations towards 2015. His words: “It has become apparent that the PDP-led government has abandoned the members of the gubernatorial forum that helped in stabilising the state polity. We therefore, appeal to Governor Dickson to adopt urgent measures within two weeks to address the issues raised, otherwise, members of the forum will be left with no option than to pull out of the unity government to pursue their individual party aspirations towards 2015.” According to Eberiye, the governor by the agreement, promised to make the gubernatorial candidates his advisers after the election, since they supported him to win the election. “The forum has exhausted every available and civilized avenue to reach the government for speedy resolution of the salient issues, but, has always met a brick wall as a result of the uncooperative attitude of some of the governor’s aides, “the chairman said."

Vice-Chancellor, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Prof. Barineme Fakae (left) and state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emma Chindah, at the 38th annual conference and 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Society for Animal Production in Port Harcourt, on Monday. PHOTO: NAN

Two die in Benin-Ore Road auto crash SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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t least two people were confirmed dead in a multiple accident that occurred around the Ovia River Bridge along the BeninOre Road on Monday, according to the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC. Vehicles involved in the accident included two trailers, a Tipper, an 18-seater bus, a Toyota Sienna car with registration number: APP 53 BB, a Pas-

sat Volkswagen car and another unidentified lorry. The incident caused traffic gridlock along the road. National Mirror gathered that the two dead victims were trapped inside their vehicle and while rescue operation was going on, a lorry rammed into some vehicles that were waiting at the scene of the crash. According to the Unit Commander of FRSC, Mr. Ameen Adewale, three other people were injured in the accident. Adewale

Cross River to hold LG poll in September RICHARD NDOMA

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he Cross River State government said that it has concluded plans to hold local government election in September this year. The state Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, CROSIEC,

Sir Patrick Otu, said this yesterday when giving a notice for the 2013 local government election in Calabar. He warned would-be candidates against unruly behaviour before, during and after the election, stressing that CROSIEC is committed to conducting a free and fair election as obtained in other countries. He added that

issues of ballot box snatching, electoral violence and all forms of malpractices would not be tolerated. Otu said political parties wishing to participate in the poll are given one week to visit the headquarters of CROSIEC to perfect their participation. According to him, the commission shall without hesitation annul the poll in

any local government area or ward, where a political party or person, tries to subvert the rules. On election observers, the chairman said observer groups shall be expected to officially inform the commission up to June 30, 2013, stressing that no group shall be entertained at the expiration of the stipulated date. The CROSIEC chairman,

said they were making efforts to retrieve the trapped victims when another trailer rammed into the vehicles from behind. In another development, a patrol team of the Edo State Police Command has intercepted a truck loaded with bags of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp. Speaking with National Mirror on Monday, Edo State Commissioner of Police Mr. Adebanjo Folusho, said the truck with registration number: AYB 97 XA was arrested last Thurshowever, stated that only cleared candidates of the party shall proceed to obtain nomination forms LGE 006A and 006B on payment of stipulated fees. Contrary to what the CROSIEC chairman said at the occasion, the Cross River State Chairman for the PPN, Mr. Sunday Michael, decried the outrageous fee CROSIEC is demanding for the forms, saying such fees are lower in other states.

day. He said the weeds were loaded at Otuo in Owan East Local Government Area before it was intercepted at Auchi, the headquarters of Estako West Local Government Area. Adebanjo said the boys, who were involved in the transportation of the suspected Indian hemp, ran into the bush just as the driver was arrested. The police boss added that the driver was now helping the police in their investigation and that he may be charged to court soon. However, the driver of the truck, who gave his name as Abiodun, said he was the person that raised the alarm on the weed when he discovered that what was loaded into the truck in his absence was not what they told him. Abiodun, whose narration seemed doubtful, said the owners of the weeds covered them with fufu, a local food, which he only discovered after sniffing the smell while driving.


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Shettima promises slain teachers’ families N2m each INUSA NDAHI MAIDUGURI

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overnor Kashim Shettima of Borno State yesterday promised to donate N2 million to each of the families of the teachers killed by some gunmen in Monday’s separate attacks on three secondary and primary schools in Maiduguri metropolis.

Governor Shettima equally promised that the government would donate N200, 000 to each of the five other teachers injured in the attacks The governor, who spoke while inspecting the affected schools, said the gesture was not meant as compensation for the dead and surviving victims of the attacks, but to enable the families meet their fi-

nancial needs. He also visited the injured victims at the hospital, promising that the government would offset their medical bills. Shettima said: “The state government will equally cater for those who were critically injured and required to be flown abroad for treatment.” The governor sympathised with the surviv-

ing victims and wished them quick recovery. He also prayed God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest. Governor Shettima, however, said his administration would not relent in its efforts to provide quality education for young people, adding that the attacks would not in any way discourage the government from achieving the

goal. Principal of Government Secondary School in Mafoni, Malam Babagana Ali, who received the governor, said three gunmen stormed the school and fired several shots at two female teachers. Malam Ali told Shettima that all the victims died on the spot, while the assailants fled the scene before the arrival

of security agents. Meanwhile, residents of Maiduguri have called on the government to initiate effective security strategies to curtail further attacks on both public and private schools. They expressed fear that if adequate measures were not adopted to stem the ugly trend, children would be forced to stay at homes.

Ex-minister asks Jega to hasten APC registration HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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L-R: Assistant Director, Civil Military Relations, Navy Capt. Michael Afolabi; leader of delegation, Directorate of Civil Military Relations, Defence Headquarters, Navy Commodore Yusuf Hinna and Deputy Director, Civil Military Relations, Defence Headquarters, Air Commodore Ademola Onitiju, at the Civil Military Relations Interactive Forum with stakeholders in Jos, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Almajiri school contract scam rocks UBEC

IJEOMA EZEIKE ABUJA

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t was a startling revelation yesterday when the Federal Government discovered that the Universal Basic Education (UBEC) has engaged in muti-million naira contract scam. It scam involves double award of furniture chairs to contractors handling Almajiri Programme. The Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who discovered the scam at a meeting with contractors handling Almajiri projects, found out that awarding of furniture chairs had earlier been awarded to some contractors to handle the job separately, but UBEC secretly included the projects to contractors in charge of building Almajiri schools across the states. The development thereby made the Federal Government to pay double for one project. While querying UBEC management on the double deal, Wike said: “Something is going on

somewhere because I could remember that there were contractors you awarded the furniture projects to, how come the contractors building schools are at same time providing furniture? If members of UBEC staff are found guilty of this, we will know and we will use their salaries in making up. We are going to find out where the problems lies and who master minded this deal”. The meeting was held to ascertain the level of completion of the projects and where the contractors are having major problems. The projects are meant to be delivered next month. Wike also discovered that one of the contractors Almajiri School in Ogun State has already absconded with the money without completing the project. But the consultant, who is in charge of the contractors, Mr. Baba Aliyu, told the minister that the project had reached 85 per cent completion.

Aliyu said: “N41million out of N52 million had already been paid, but the contractor has refused to go back to site. We have tried in reaching him, but our effort has proved abortive”. The minister found out that external work and fencing were not involved in the original work of four contractors in some states and wondered why such job could be given without including fencing and other external works. The visibly angry Wike rhetorically asked: “Who

is going to be blamed, is it the contractor? And who is going to suffer it, is it the government? Who will be penalised for all these? You cannot shift the burden to the government. All these are ways of making the government to cough out more money because I don’t know how you will award a contract and exclude the external work”. Meanwhile, 37 schools are ready to be handed over to the state government while 25 have been inspected and 12 are yet to be inspected.

econd Republic Minister of Communications and chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Benue State, Chief Isaac Shaahu, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Atahiru Jega, to hasten the process of registering the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a full-fledged political party. Shaahu, who spoke in an interview with National Mirror yesterday in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, said that the heated argument on the issue of acronym of APC did not hold water and that INEC should have known whether the acronym was already registered or not. The former minister alleged that members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) connived INEC officials to sabotage the registration of APC. He said that the rul-

ing PDP had become jittery since the merger of the four major opposition parties to form APC. “The ruling PDP has become jittery because of its abysmal performance in the last 13 years. “The abysmal performance has fuelled the PDP’s fear that the opposition would defeat it in the 2015 general elections. “I must frankly say that members of the PDP are worried and in their desperation, they want to frustrate the registration of APC; they are the people behind the delay in registration of the APC,” the former minister said. The elder statesman therefore urged Prof. Jega to shun attempts by the PDP to frustrate the APC registration. He said: “By outright denying the opposition the right to come together under one roof signifies that the ruling party does not want to confront competition which invariably Nigerians will resist.”

Youths protest colleague’s killing in Benue HENRY IYORKASE MAKURDI

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andemonium erupted yesterday morning in Otukpo, Benue State, as about 40 angry youths took to the streets, protesting the death of one Musa Abdul, who was allegedly killed by a faction of a vigilance group. The angry youths laid Abdul’s body at the gate of the residence of the Chairman of Otukpo Local

•Accuse vigilance group

Government Area, Dr Innocent Onuh, who was out of town. The deceased, according to eye witnesses, was shot dead on Akpa Street, beside Total Filling Station after an argument ensued between him and members of the vigilance group. The youths, who were said to be irked by the killing of their colleague, forcibly took his body from a

private hospital where he was taken before embarking on the protest. They also destroyed the property of the vigilance group’s leader, Mr. Ella Ochi. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Otukpo, Mr. Francis Obinwa, confirmed the incident, adding that investigation had begun. Obinwa said that many

suspects had been arrested in connection with the incident. Condemning the killing, the Area Commander in charge of Otukpo, Mr. Samuel Darakoji, banned activities of the vigilance group until further notice. He said vigilance groups were supposed to take cases to the police for onward prosecution instead of taking the law into their hands.


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I earn $2,000 as salary –Malawian President

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No ministerial appointment without PDP membership card –Tukur OBIORA IFOH ABUJA

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he National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday declared that anyone who fails to produce the membership card of the party will henceforth be denied ministerial appointment. “No minister will get

cleared without the party card; you must be a cardcarrying member, you pay your dues, we know you, the people know you, the governor knows you and you are registered and known in your ward. Let us have a disciplined party; we must move from the ordinary to what is better,” he said. Tukur, who was apparently angry that ministers from the North-East

shunned the zonal meeting held in Bauchi yesterday, warned that there must be total loyalty from members to the party. He reiterated that the party is supreme and bigger than any individual irrespective of the status. He was responding to comments made by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) that politicians

work before and during elections and at the end of the day, those who become ministers were non-party members with no loyalty to the PDP. Ningi also said that key ministerial slots were being enjoyed by non politicians. Tukur said that people must register at their various wards as party members for identification for appointments. He said: “We must be loyal, we must support our party; we must show com-

mitment to our party, our leaders and leaders of the party. We are here to appeal to you that we must put our differences behind us, we should resolve our problems, differences and we must continue to serve our people. We have a very beautiful manifesto.” The meeting took place at the Bauchi State Government House with Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi, Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe, Acting governor of Taraba, Garba Umar and the deputy governor of Adamawa State in attendance. Besides some senators and stakeholders present at the meeting, ministers were conspicuously absent at the zonal town hall meeting. The North East has Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mo-

hammed; Transport, Senator Idris Umar; Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina; Finance (State), Yerima Ngama; Agriculture (State), Bukar Tijani; Niger Delta, Dahiru Ishaku (State); Ali Pate, Health (State). Besides the ministers, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former Minister of Education, Senator Jubril Aminu; Governor Murtala Nyako, Senator Danjuma Goje, Adamu Muazu, Jolly Nyame, Mohammed Bello Kirfi, among others were absent. Ministers were also absent in Port Harcout during the South-South meeting, just as only the Minister of State, Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada was present at the South-West meeting held last Friday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, while only the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo was present at the South-East meeting held last weekend.

Guber aspirant slams Fayemi over foreign trips FELIX NWANERI

L-R: Kebbi State Governor, Saidu Dakingari, Justice Abbas Ahmed and sole administrators of Local Government Development Areas during their swearing-in, in Birnin Kebbi, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

Attack on Yoruba: Ahmadu Ali suffering from oral diarrhoea –Fasheun AYO ESAN

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ounder of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has carpeted the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Ahmadu Ali, for describing Yoruba people as ungrateful. Dismissing Ali’s statement as a symptom of “verbal diarrhoea,” Fasehun said it proved that the former Education Minister, whose mishandling of a students’ crisis led to the death of several youths in 1978, was as insensitive, reckless and narcissistic as ever. According to him, it was foolhardy for Ali to sweepingly insult world-class

Yoruba dignitaries whose shoe latchet he could not untie. Fasehun said: “There are some leaders, who had accidentally found themselves in positions in our national life, but their poor performance made them materials that Nigerians would rather prefer to abandon on the rubbish dump of ignominy. Retired Colonel Ahmadu Ali is one such character. Who can forget his inglorious role as Minister of Education in the 1978 ALI MUST GO saga that resulted in the death of over 10 university students nationwide? “Ahmadu Ali is trouble and President Goodluck Jonathan should keep such a man with doubtful integrity miles away if His Excellency wants this regime

to enter the good books of Nigerians. Ali may choose to cringe for presidential favours but not at the expense of the Yoruba people. Ali’s quest for relevance, through castigating the entire Yoruba nationality, is misguided, mischievous and suicidal.” Fasehun advised Ali to face squarely the task of delivering his son, Mamman Nasir Ali, who currently faces prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a N4.4 billion petroleum subsidy scam. His words: “He who is incapable of putting his house in order should forget about putting the nation in order. Ahmadu Ali should first put his house in order before claiming any moral high ground

against the entire Yoruba race.” Fasehun, who is in the vanguard for redressing the marginalisation of South-West by the Jonathan administration, warned that the likes of Ali will only further alienate the ruling PDP in the South-West. “The Yoruba people now know some of these characters involved in giving ungodly advice to the powers that be to marginalise our people. Payback time is just around the corner. “When a flea perches on an elephant and the elephant fails to shake off the pest, the flea begins to assume an illusion of importance. This is why I find it necessary to respond to Ali’s flippancy and verbal diarrhoea,” he said.

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he campaign organisation of Prince Dayo Adeyeye, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Ekiti State, has described as worrisome, the rate at which Governor Kayode Fayemi has been wasting the state’s resources on frequent trips outside the country. The Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM), speaking through its Director General, Hon. Bisi Kolawole, alleged that “in the last three weeks alone, Fayemi travelled to South Africa, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ghana and United States of America.” It described the trips as a criminal waste of public fund, adding that it was even more ridiculous that one of the trips was for Fayemi to receive an award from Samsung as the best governor in Africa. Kolawole said: “We are compelled to once again raise an alarm over the

criminal waste of Ekiti State fund on needless foreign trips by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. “From our records, Fayemi has made not less than 100 foreign trips since he became governor in October 2010. It is more worrisome that none of these trips were made in the interest of Ekiti State as they were mostly on the governor’s private issues. “Last week, he was in South Africa to receive a ridiculous award of best governor in Africa from Samsung, a company that got over N6 billion contract from the Ekiti State government. One may ask the governor when he is going to be awarded the ‘best governor in the world or even in heaven.’ “He also travelled to USA to deliver a lecture at Harvard University, using public fund and paying huge estacodes to himself and his retinue of aides.” The organisation called on Fayemi to stop wasting the state’s resources on foreign trips that have not benefited its people.


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I earn $2,000 monthly –Malawian The President of the Republic of Malawi, Mrs. Joyce Banda, will be one year in office on April 7, having come to power after the death of President Bingu wa Muntharika to whom she was deputy. In this interview with National Mirror’s TERH AGBEDEH, at the Presidential Villa in Lilongwe, she speaks on challenges of the office, as well as the drive to bring investments to her country. Excerpts: What are the challenges of leading a country like Malawi? I was the Foreign Minister before I was elected with the late president in 2009. Immediately we got into office it was very clear that he had decided he was going to have his brother take over from him. This was not part of the plan. What he had told my husband and I, when he asked me to run with him was that he saw in Malawi a future after him where a woman took over. Of course, she would have to go through an election but he would support me. But from day one in the State House, it was very clear that that was not the case. As a result, it compromised everybody else, everybody wanted to please him in that quest to have his brother take over from him. But after a year, it was also clear that he had deviated from the development agenda and he was just concentrating on this succession process and the biggest losers in that equation were Malawians. Because at the end of the day, we found out that poverty has worsened. This is a country where 85 per cent of the people live in the rural areas; only 15 per cent live in urban areas. Also, statistics show that half of Malawians live under the poverty line. So, to have a situation where the economy and poverty worsened, it meant that we hit rock bottom. And in those three years I was fighting with my boss, I could see things going wrong and once in a while I made statements and that worsened our relationship. Everyone in Malawi knew what I went through. It was the civil societies and the churches that fought for me. But it got so bad that on November 19, 2011 there was an assassination attempt on me, fortunately, they hit the wrong car and the newspapers in Malawi rebuked the government for that. The situation in the country when I took over was so bad, there was no fuel, there were no friends and there were no drugs in the hospitals. There was nepotism, corruption and wastages. So, Malawians were suffering and suddenly, the president died. For a year and half, I was not allowed to come anywhere near this residence. Cabinet meetings took place next door but I couldn’t come. In fact, I didn’t know much of what was happening. If you recall, on July 20, 2011, there were protests in this country because of the economic situation and 20 people were shot dead. This time last year, there was another big conference organised by the civil societies and they gave the president a 60-day ultimatum to call for a referendum, get a fresh mandate or to resign. He died within the 60 days. In fact, there was a meeting on

February 4, 2012 where he approached the civil societies to plead with them to change their mind about the ultimatum. Another meeting was supposed to take place on the sixth but he died on the fifth. So, I took over a country that was in that situation; everything had broken down. For me, the biggest challenge, to answer your question, was to pick up the pieces and to begin the process of rebuilding this nation. I organised a national dialogue the moment I took over and at that dialogue, we drew up what we called the Malawi Economic Recovery Plan. We did that plan with five sectors namely; agriculture, energy, mining, infrastructure and tourism. I have told Malawians that in each of those five sectors in the next 15 months, there will be three projects that they can see, feel and touch. Whether completed or not, but they will align those projects to judge and say: ‘She came, didn’t have enough time but she also tried to implement a programme that was not popular but within that time was able to do one, two, three projects.’ The last president refused to devalue the Kwacha for three years, so by the time I took over, we had to devalue by about 50 per cent, which was huge and the impact was also huge on ordinary Malawians. That is why side by side, we have had a reform programme, we had to implement a social programme and such programmes that could help mitigate the effects of the reform. You called for unity among Malawians on your inauguration. What have you put in place to unite the people? When I suddenly became the president, it meant that I was on this side and everybody else was on the other side. So, I had to reach out, to forgive, to bring everybody together and to make sure that I formed a cabinet that was inclusive of all political parties as a starting point. I feel that it worked but it was not easy because the problem that we have in parliament is that the majority are on the opposite side because all those that were not appointed cabinet ministers left the government side and went into the opposition. So, the opposition is in the majority now. My side has 80 members of the parliament. That sometimes poses difficulty when we have to pass a bill; we have to negotiate with other parties in order to have a smooth ride in parliament. Before you came to power, Malawi was a pariah nation in the sense that Germany, USA, Britain and all the international agencies had withdrawn financial support to the country. What is the

Banda

situation now? What has happened so far is that we have a very close relationship with Britain, which is the country that colonised us. They are our big brother but the late president fought with their ambassador and expelled him. Apart from them, the rest withdrew because of our governance record, corruption and because we were off-track. So, the first step I had to take was to go back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to negotiate and get back on track. After the negotiations, they had to provide what they call ‘letter of comfort.’ It is the letter of comfort that allows you to begin to negotiate with other donors, too. That is the only letter that will bring them back. You must however build confidence. In 2004, we were at the bottom. When we went back to negotiate, our economy went up. We were growing by six per cent a year, then the former presi-

I AM NOT HERE BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE MONEY. I GET $2,000 AS MONTHLY SALARY AND I DON’T EVEN SEE IT BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE

DAY, I PAY SCHOOL FEES FOR 2,200 GIRLS

dent decided ‘my brother must become president’ and abandoned the development agenda and started fighting with me. Then we went down again, back to the bottom. So, we had to really work very hard to convince the international community this time there is a woman in the State House. Second, it is not going to be business as usual and third, they have to trust us. So, we gained that trust and they began to come back one after another. But I also quickly renewed our relationship with Britain and as I speak, we have our ambassadors exchanged. They are the ones who have given us most of the money that we have received as budgetary support. As of last week, the money that has come into the country is about a billion Kwachas. We have done well but I have asked the former and current governors, everybody, why is it that we still struggle? And they told me the hole was too huge. There was a lot of looting, so it will take a long time. I have said to Malawians, ‘yes, donors can come in and help us but we should be angry with ourselves and not depend on donors for 40 per cent of our budget.’ Therefore, as they assist us, we must also look for ways of moving away from aid to trade. So, we are looking at countries like Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, countries that are big, that are not going to come and give us handouts. We must look upon them as trading partners. We are so rich and we didn’t know that we have so many min-


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Politics

Wednesday March 20, 2013

President erals we can mine. We have coal, gold, bauxite, oil, gas; we didn’t know this before. So, what we must look for in other countries are partners who will come and invest. That is the only way I believe we can move forward and prosper. But right now, where we are is hard. It is hard because we are now just beginning to recover. In getting back on track, we had to devalue our Kwacha and it is what people are not used to. The previous president said: ‘I will not devalue but I will also fix the Kwacha.’ So, it had an official rate, which was 150 Kwacha to the dollar and then on the black market, it was 350. It is where we are now. When we devalued, the hidden dollars came back but we need to find a way forward and that is what is hard because I have to convince even people in my own party to say, ‘we need to wait just a little bit longer, we are closer to the end than where we have come.’ Nigeria is one of the countries you visited immediately you became president. What is your relationship with Nigeria and other African heads of state in terms of getting their support to drive your development agenda? What we are focusing on most in Nigeria is your expertise; your Minister of Agriculture is our jewel. That is what we are aiming at. Why? When we went to the Rockefeller Foundation and other places to talk about agriculture, they told us, ‘stick to the Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria.’ So, we are trying to launch in this country, a cassava programme to increase production, processing and export. I have had meetings with President Goodluck Jonathan and I asked him: ‘Will it be possible for us to engage his Minister of Agriculture?’ He graciously accepted. So, we have started negotiations. Then he came here and launched the cassava project. We have distributed a lot of cassava sticks and we are looking at how we can process the cassava. We are looking at how we can get the market. But I believe that those countries that have done well on this continent can help us by transferring technology and knowledge. I even brought here baskets of Nigerian bread made with 20 per cent cassava flour. Malawians couldn’t believe because we just didn’t know, because cassava grows here very easily. Indeed, we are hoping that that is where we can benefit. But also, I had discussions with President Jonathan in Addis Ababa that we intend to grow two crops a year and he must help us by buying our rice because we know that Nigeria is working towards being self-sufficient in the production of rice but right now also imports. I asked: ‘Is it possible for Nigeria to import rice from here?’ He laughed and said: ‘One order will be your entire harvest.’ I also spoke to the President of Equatorial Guinea. I said: ‘I hear you buy everything?’ and he said: “Yes, including tomatoes and onions.’ You can just imagine what excitement we have here. You saw them dancing last night. It is the hope that is driving the people. At

EVERYONE IN MALAWI KNEW WHAT I WENT THROUGH. IT WAS THE CIVIL SOCIETIES AND THE CHURCHES THAT FOUGHT FOR ME. BUT IT GOT SO BAD THAT ON NOVEMBER 19, 2011 THERE WAS AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON ME a very difficult time like this, they are beating drums all the time. It is the African way, we don’t despair. That hope was kindled when they said even tomatoes, and when I told Malawians, it was only a few days later that we woke up and said, no, but quantity, because he said: “I can send you a plane every week” and we looked at each other and asked: ‘A plane a week, can we fill a plane a week? No, so let’s go back to the drawing board to see how we can increase production.’ We have experts from Israel trying to look at the production side to see that we produce the quantities required. You have travelled around the world in search of investors since you became president. Would you say that what is on ground, in terms of foreign investments, meets your expectations? In those five sectors that I talked about, agriculture is the easiest, we are getting a lot of interest in people wanting to come and invest in agriculture. They are also interested in energy and mining. Mining yes, but it is long term, it is just that we are impatient but that is where it is going to happen; that is where the jobs will be; that is where our wealth is. But for the time being, it is agriculture and so we see a lot of interest. Our planes are always full in Malawi. So, there must be something people are seeing but what we need to do is to create an enabling environment in order for them to come and run their businesses in a friendly atmosphere. We have set up a one-stop destination where people can come, register their businesses, get land and all they require under one roof. In the meantime, I have set up in my office, a project implementation unit. The Nelson Mandela Initiative has also provided staff to strengthen the capacity of that office. George Soros has provided staff, so that they can monitor progress and make sure that when somebody comes and wants to start a business, he or she doesn’t have to wait and get

frustrated. The index that I found on the World Bank Destination for doing Business, we are number 157 and it is my task to make sure that we change that and get within the first 100 because that has an effect on why somebody will decide that he or she wants to do business in Malawi or not. How soon do you hope your diplomatic relations with Nigeria will move from the level of special envoy to say a high commissioner and ambassador and what do you hope that will do for you? What we looked at was that the ambassador that was representing us in the whole of West and Central Africa was one person and that doesn’t work at all. All these things we are talking about, even about you people coming here, it is because Michael Anyiam-Osigwe is now our honorary consul and he can tell us about the opportunities that exist in Nigeria. Even for me to visit Nigeria, it is because when you begin to talk to people they say: ‘Oh, we are growing cassava, rice; there is a market for this and for that.’ Having a representative, a permanent ambassador in Nigeria will be the way to go but even if that happens, we still need an honorary consul. That is what happens in other countries but the timing is difficult for me to say because we have to look at the resources. It will not make sense if I tell Malawians that we are beginning to open embassies now. They will say: ‘But we have no drugs in the hospitals’. So for me, it is first thing first. Right now we are satisfied at how things are going. Your ambassador here is doing such commendable work. You did something unusual when you sold your presidential jet and the exotic Mercedes Benz cars in the presidential fleet. What was the motivation for that and in the light of your many travels abroad, looking back would you say that selling off the plane was a good

15

decision? It was not a good decision to sell the president trial jet, but one I had to take, I didn’t have a choice. Actually, a plane for the presidential is not a luxury, it is a must. But all Malawians made a decision that we are going to make sacrifices. I spoke to all Malawians: ‘Are you ready for us to take the tough route into the future in order to prosper? We need to devalue, to do this, are you ready?’ They said yes. The first person to demonstrate it was me. Therefore, I had to make that sacrifice. I am told, a plane, whether it is flying or parked, you are losing money. Therefore, this is a great loss of money, so let it go. Number two, I had to cut my salary by 30 per cent. I just have to demonstrate to Malawians that I can make that sacrifice. I just gave up my salary; in fact, I get a token now, for your information, $2,000. So, I am not here because I want to make money, I gets $2,000 as monthly salary and I don’t even see it because at the end of the day, I pay school fees for 2,200 girls. So, I just send it to the schools and God looks after me. My vice president equally did the same. Suddenly, I found that it is getting down. Everybody realises we have a responsibility, a duty, everybody is suffering. So, selling the presidential jet was a must. I know that another president will come and build this economy, we shall prosper. And I shall get out because I have to leave, I can’t be here forever. Another person will come and buy himself a plane. I have no problem with that but at that point it will make sense. We will have a plane, we can run it, we will have the resources and everybody will be living a better life. Yesterday you made a statement during the AMAA nominations party where you talked about investors coming in and then you cautioned your ministers not to frustrate them. Are the people prepared for this type of journey that you are embarking on? We are prepared but what I do is when I appoint any minister, I tell him or her that I am running and if you are not ready please don’t come. So, what we found at was that we have a very strong team that is why they were laughing. I don’t have any problem with them, they run with me. But they and I are frustrated; we are frustrated together, so when I say don’t frustrate anybody, I am talking about their officials because the system has to be cleaned up. A lot of people are ready to work with us, for us and for the people of Malawi but you can also find some elements that are still where they were, who don’t understand and wonder, why must we work so hard? Every week, cabinet officials bring their staff here. The ministries must give me their reports and I tell them to allow everybody to speak. So, even if they are the simplest persons in the ministries, who have never dreamt of meeting with a president before, they have an opportunity now once a week. Most of them are young, so they are more creative than some of us. And because I have given them the opportunity to come here and speak to me, it has also changed their way of thinking because I tell them that it is not about anyone, but about Malawi.


16

Editorial

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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

STEVE AYORINDE

„

MD/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

YELE AKINROLABU

„

ED OPERATIONS

SEYI FASUGBA

„

DAILY EDITOR

BOLAJI TUNJI

„

SUNDAY EDITOR

GBEMI OLUJOBI

„

SATURDAY EDITOR

DOZIE OKEBALAMA

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COORDINATOR, EDITORIAL BOARD

ADESOYE ADEKOYA

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CONTROLLER, PRODUCTION

CALLISTUS OKE

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EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

ISE-OLUWA IGE

„

ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF

KAYODE BALOGUN JNR

„

SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

FRANK OBOH

„

HEAD, GRAPHICS

Nigerian women and high maternal mortality G T he recent revelation by the Director-General of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Mohammed, that no fewer than 60,000 Nigerian women die annually as a result of complications in pregnancy and the dearth of qualified health care experts to cater for expectant mothers, underscores the urgency of the need for the government at all levels to be more active in tackling the high child-birth-induced mortality scourge among women in the country. While flagging off a scholarship and bursary award scheme instituted by a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Capacity Plus, to train 874 student-nurses, midwifery and community health extension workers in Makurdi, Benue State capital penultimate week, Ado said with such a number of pregnant women being lost annually, the USAIDsponsored scholarship and training initiative was a specially welcome development. Indeed, scaling down maternal mortality happens to be one of the key components of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGS). Reports said the scholarship and bursary awards were meant to increase the availability of health workers to meet

OVERNMENTS AT

VARIOUS LEVELS

IN THE COUNTRY

(EXCEPT IN A FEW STATES) SEEM TO NEITHER ATTACH SERIOUS IMPORTANCE TO THE PROBLEM,

NOR APPRECIATE ITS GRAVITY the priority health needs of Nigerians in 23 states covered by the Benue zone under the initiative, through sustainable and scalable human resources for health interventions; as well as enable the beneficiaries to economically improve their pass rate in their professional examinations, provide intuitional support for provision of textbooks, learning aids and equipment for demonstration, et cetera. Sadly, Ado’s remark seems an official confirmation of earlier reports which indicted the Nigerian government for failing to implement its own policies on maternal health. We recall, for example, that in one of its published works, the New York, United States-based Centre for Reproduction Rights and

Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, poignantly stated that the lack of financial and political commitment from the government had created a number of significant barriers for pregnant women seeking maternal care. Titled ‘Broken Promises: Human Rights, Accountability and Maternal Deaths’, the publication listed such factors as the compulsory pre-requisite of blood donation by husbands, distance to maternity centres, corruption and ineptitude of many public health officials who, sometimes, demand in exchange for care, that pregnant women purchase basic necessities of specific brands, etc., as some of the impediments that hinder the access of women to maternal care in the country’s health institutions. The damning verdict of the report is not just the truth, but of greater concern, based on the experiences of citizens on daily basis, remains the fact that governments at various levels in the country (except in a few states) seem to neither attach serious importance to the problem, nor appreciate its gravity. How unfortunate it is, that at a time when other less endowed countries have significantly reduced maternal mortality arising from preventable pregnancy-related complications, Nigeria is still crawling and tailing far from behind in meeting one of the most

critical targets of the MDGs reducing maternal mortality! Despite pledging to be committing 15 percent of the country’s annual budget to the health sector, the Federal Government’s yearly vote for the sector rarely exceeds six percent. For the 2013 fiscal year, the allocation for the health sector is a paltry 6.4 percent of the total budget of N4.987 trillion, for instance. The situation is particularly distressing in the northern part of the country that battles with a high incidence of Visico Virginal Fistula (VVF). It is, therefore, worrisome that the deplorable condition of northern women would most probably worsen because of their rejection, out of ignorance and the lack of proper healthcare enlightenment, of pre- and post-natal vaccination; as well as the security threats health workers are facing in the North. Indeed, we think it is high time state and local governments up North took drastic and more far-reaching measures to save women in that part of the country from further avoidable and untimely deaths occasioned by pregnancy. We also expect the FG to do same nationwide. Since health is wealth, women’s health, like education and economic empowerment, should be of utmost importance to any government committed to national development.

ON THIS DAY March 20, 2006 Over 150 Chadian soldiers were killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel United Front for Democratic Change (UFDC) or Front uni pour le changement (FUC). The rebel movement sought to overthrow the Chadian president, Idriss Deby. The UFDC is a Chadian rebel alliance made up of eight individual rebel groups, all with the goals of overthrowing the embattled government of President Deby.

March 20, 2003 The 2003 invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries began military operations in Iraq. The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003, and signaled the start of the conflict that later came to be known as the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the US. The invasion consisted of 21 days of major combat operations and the deposition the government of Saddam Hussein.

March 20, 1990 Ferdinand Marcos’s widow, Imelda Marcos, went on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering. She is often remembered for symbols of the extravagance of her husband’s political reign, including her collection of 2,700 pairs of shoes. She was ordered on September 14, 2010, to return 12 million pesos ($280,000) in government funds secretly taken out by her late husband from the National Food Authority 27 years ago.


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Views

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

17

Nigerian professionals and national renewal J.K. RANDLE Continued from yesterday

N

ow, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian government was pursuing debt relief and wanted to pay off whatever was outstanding in one fell swoop. This was a direct contradiction of the stance of the late General Sani Abacha administration, which had threatened to unilaterally cancel what it called “dubious and bogus debts”, and even threatened to take the matter to the World Court! In ThisDay of February 10, 2013, Simon Kolawale, its former editor, posed a long standing question and probably provided the answer, albeit inadvertently: “There seems to be a competition on who can destroy Nigeria the most. The executive is trying its best to loot the country dry; the legislative is striving hard not to be outsmarted in the race to the bottom; and the judiciary does not want to be left behind in the sleaze. The private sector is a willing accomplice – sometimes the mastermind – in the game to ruin Nigeria. Politicians are manipulating everything possible to achieve their selfish goals. There are times you ask yourself: who really is genuinely interested in the progress of this country?” I believe that it is the search for that Holy Grail that brought all of us together this evening. It was the same intellectual curiousity that prompted me to lead a powerful delegation of chartered accountants, including its past presidents and the elder

statesmen amongst us (one of whom was Alhaji Aliko Mohammed (FCA), who is now the President of the Arewa Consultative Forum where he is undoubtedly a formidable political player). Anyway, we were granted audience by Chief Obasanjo and he listened patiently to the doubts we raised about the authenticity of the debts which Nigeria was alleged to owe. It bears repetition that the debts were never properly verified. When we appointed consultants to verify the debts the very same people to whom debts were owed were appointed as consultants! Of course, it is common knowledge that some of the containers shipped to Nigerian turned out to be loaded with saw dust when they were opened. Other containers were simply off-loaded en route, mostly in Las Palmas and shipped elsewhere, but Nigeria was charged all the same. Time and space will not permit me to go into the nitty gritty of the grand misrepresentation, brazen fraud, and putrefying deception that plunged our beloved country into the gigantic mess. Perhaps, I should add that sometime in 1992 I was at a dinner hosted in London by S.C. Warburg Merchant Bankers and the Managing Director, Mr. Ian McKenzie, had accosted me with information that took me entirely by surprise. He was very dismayed by the nonchalant attitude of the Nigerian government that had hired his bank to manage its foreign debts. Apparently, not even our own Central Bank or Ministry of Finance was robustly engaged in monitoring the currencies in which the debts were denominated.

HERE WE ARE IN 2013, JUST A FEW YEARS AFTERWARDS AND OUR FOREIGN DEBTS ARE ESCALATING ALMOST IN TANDEM WITH OUR EVEN MORE WORRYING DOMESTIC DEBTS Also, there was considerable confusion between the “London Club Debts” and “Paris Club Debts”. Besides, much of the debt escalation was due to interest charged on unpaid interest (at compound interest). This was in addition to exchange rate fluctuations. Even more intriguing was the fact that many of the debts were anchored on project-finance or imports which were already covered by Export Credit Guarantee [ECGD; COFAX; HERMES etc]. Hence, if the projects were not completed (or never even existed in the first place) how and when could the obligation to pay crystallise? Besides, most of the debts had already been “provisioned for” by the creditors. To further compound matters, debt obligations which were previously private transactions somehow metamorphosed into sovereign debts. All that is now history. Before leaving office in 2007, President Obasanjo obtained debt relief from our creditors and

paid the balance of U.S. $18 billion in full and final settlement in order to enable Nigeria to start off on a clean slate with no foreign debts around its neck or burden of wasted resources shackling its feet. Here we are in 2013, just a few years afterwards and our foreign debts are escalating almost in tandem with our even more worrying domestic debts. This is an issue regarding which Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, our former Minister of Finance under General Ibrahim Babangida, holds very strong views. Whenever I meet him on the plane or at social gatherings I make a point of confining our discussions to sports and occasionally the weather – in the interest of peace. Incidentally, Chief Olu Falae who was at one time Minister of Finance and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) played a pivotal role in monitoring the accumulation of debt by Nigeria. Thankfully, he is still hale and hearty. He is perfectly able to tell his own side of the story. To my mind, the most critical aspect of the topic on which I have been asked to speak relates to the aspect which touches on the final product of our exertions – economic growth. I believe that is what we are all yearning for in the hope that we can leapfrog into the first eleven in the comity of nations. To be continued Bashorun Randle (OFR, FCA) delivered this address during the Presidential Award of the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors held recently in Lagos

What a country! CHIJIOKE UWASOMBA

T

he title of this piece was the last expression of late Kenule Saro-Wiwa, the minority rights activist, environmentalist and leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). Exasperated and convinced that General Sanni Abacha, his friend and former colleague in the Rivers State Executive Council had made up his mind to guillotine him, Saro-Wiwa in anger and disbelief cried out for a country he had fought for, worked for and propagandised for. The implication of SaroWiwa’s painful cry is that Nigeria’s postcolonial state eats its own and can engage in other bizarre and meaningless activities that reduce it to a midget within the comity of nations. It is in this context that we can understand the latest buffoonery of President Goddluck Jonathan in the pardon he recently gave his former boss, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha and six others. This development has drawn flaks from well-meaning Nigerians and outsiders alike. Some have even alluded that that the inclusion of others in the Presidential pardon was to make it look like a non-selective exercise. Alams is not only an ex- convict, he is also a fugitive who ran away from the British criminal justice system for money laundering and other related offences. He was found guilty of the following: money laundering, running into billions of Naira; he jumped bail in December 2005

NO MATTER THE DEFENCE PUT UP BY THE VOLUBLE DR. DOYIN

OKUPE, THE LIKE OF ALAMIEYESEIGHA

DO NOT DESERVE THE SYMPATHIES OF DEPRIVED

NIGERIANS

from Britain and ran back to Nigeria; the U.K. authorities seized his $1.5 million cash kept in his London home as well as $2.7 million held in bank accounts. His London real estate valued at $15 million was also seized by the UK authorities. He also forfeited his luxury penthouse in South Africa, various stolen assets in Cyprus, Denmark and Nigeria, including the Chelsea hotels in Abuja. Surprisingly, because of the jaundiced criminal justice system in Nigeria, he spent a greater part of his prison term in a hospital claiming he was ill. No sooner had he left the prison premises than he was rehabilitated by the powers that be to the extent that he was made an Honorary Adviser to President Umrau Musa Yar’Adua on Niger Delta Affairs. The implication of the above is that Chief Alamieyeseigha had been rehabilitated a long time ago in spite of the humongous resources of the people he had stolen and stashed away in foreign bank accounts.

Most of our leaders are in every material particular like Alamieyeseigha, stealing and engaging in various sybaritic lifestyles at the expense of the masses and the commonwealth. This explains why they cannot fight corruption. If they have their way they will use all the instrumentalities of the state to steal the country blind. No wonder, in Nigeria, politics and political power have become a strong platform to access undeserved wealth and privileges. No matter the defence put up by the voluble Dr. Doyin Okupe, the like of Alamieyeseigha do not deserve the sympathies of deprived Nigerians who bear the brunt of their despicable activities. The way this government is going, one may not be surprised if Chief James Ibori et al are pardoned and given national honours. The issue as it relates to the latest faux pas is not about its legality or constitutionality. The decision fouls the moral atmosphere of Nigeria and diminishes the status of the President and his office. It is a pity that those who framed the Nigerian Constitution were too idealistic to the point that they did not think of smallminded people assuming the office of the President. They had thought that the office of the President approximates the best and the finest in terms of values and intelligence and therefore, they bestowed on it powers and discretions of immense proportions. But the reality on our hands today is different, making many people to think that some of the sweeping powers enjoyed by the President should be reviewed.

Jonathan’s pardon of Alamieyeseigha portrays him as a nepotistic person who manoeuvred the National Council of State, all with the clear intent of favouring his political benefactor. It is regrettable that on a lot of issues demanding swift and courageous responses, this President has been found wanting. He demurs and makes errors of judgment when and where he is supposed to act fast and decisively. The burden of leadership appears too big for his shoulders. The lesson from above that Nigerians should try at all times to show the highest level of patriotism in their choice of our leaders. One remembers with pain that during the election that threw up Jonathan, most of his party leaders and even the opposition did everything to get him elected because of his southern origin. The point being made is that the issue of North or South should not become a determining factor in the choice of our national leaders, but their competence and capacity to lead. Dr. Uwasomba, cjsomba@yahoo. co.uk, is of the Dept of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife 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, March 20, 2013

Justice for slain students

W What immunity?

W

hat is the rationale behind the House of Representatives to move a motion for the immunity clause to cover them? Is that what voters sent them to do in Abuja? Our honourables simply want the immunity to enable them embezzle tax payers’ money without stress. God forbid bad thing! Nigerians reject the proposal because it is a canopy to cover corrupt enrichment in governance. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, Abia State

Kim what?

K

im Kardashian, I learnt, became a celeb after the OJ Simpson trial. Her father and mother were on different sides of the long legal battle and when OJ was acquitted during the initial trial, her mum filed for divorce. Seeing the family crises at the time and seeing all the beautiful daughters who were showing up in court in support of their mum who was supporting the family of OJ’s murdered wife, someone just thought of doing a reality stuff on how they lived as family. The show was KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS. No talent, no skill, no nothing. Just that. And no channel could air it except E! And for this, all the big men in Nigeria took monies belonging to a starving populace to see her say “HELLO NAIJA!!!!!!!!!” Ikem Okuhu

Much ado about APC

P

lease, I want the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enlighten me on the possibility of approving the APC for a political party whose activities are only limited to Nigeria and not extended to any other nation in West Africa, not to talk of Africa. I am not a politician; I just want all of us to carry out the reasonability test. Paul Agbolade, Ajah, Lagos.

e strongly appeal to all human rights organizations and the non-governmental organizations to unanimously condemn the fresh killing of four students in Nasarawa State University, while protesting lack of water and basic amenities in their institution. The soldiers and policemen allegedly shot these students with live ammunitions. It is absurd and crazy! We appeal to human rights advocates to take up this case and ensure there is justice; otherwise the blood of those students will cry! Do you know what it takes for a woman to conceive and carry a pregnancy for nine months and some men in uniform will just snuff life out of them for whatever reasons in a civil protest? Incredible! We

need justice. We call on all eminent lawyers, Femi Falana, Festus Keyamo etc., to please wake up. Wake up and fight for the right of the victims and prosecute these security men who choose to kill instead of protecting lives. I urge people of like-minds to push for a legislation that bans carrying of live ammunitions in civil protest. Furthermore, the use

of rubber bullets and nonharmful anti-protest materials should be encouraged during civil unrest. America is known for sanctity. This entire lawless tendency will keep alive my dream of studying International Law abroad. We must place premium on the sanctity of human’s life. Every human has the right to life according to the United Nations human rights

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

charter in which Nigerian is signatory. I have heard of volume of inventions by so many provoking minds globally since time immemorial, but no one has ever been able to invent or create humans. Right to life is a gift from the Creator in which only God gives and needs to preserve by all. May the Lord give the family of the deceased students the fortitude to bear this loss. Goodness Oyeniyi, Dutse Alhaji, Dutse-Abuja.

Dame Patience, beware of commercial advisers

I

read the reaction of the First Lady’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Ayo Osinu, in your print of February 26, 2013. Though I was not surprised by his choice of words and presentation, he’s only rendering service for his pay. But at the same time, I will

like to call his attention to the fact that he is a personal staffer of “Her Excellency” and not any recognized authority to decide on national issues/ matters. Above all, I want to implore the First Lady to make use of her personal encounter with God during the time of her

sickness and know that “man proposes, but the Almighty God determines the reality; man’s life is like a vapor!! Dame Patience, please, don’t allow ‘commercial advisers’ advise you contrary to your faith in God. Paul Agbolade, Ajah.

Mirror, the people’s voice

I

give kudos to the media house that is the true voice of the peoplethe National Mirror- I say move on with your good work. May God add more grease to your elbow. Ola, Ago Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State

Kalu: Abia Varsity goofed

W

hy is it now that the Abia State University is now withdrawing the degree certificate awarded to former governor of the state, Orji Uzor Kalu since year 2002? Have they just woken up to find that the award did not follow due process? Let us not believe that their action is not politically-motivated to spoil the reputation of the former governor because of his ambition for 2015. I am not holding brief for Orji Kalu, but things should be done in proper way so that history will vindicate us. The blame is on the Abia State University for their negligence in the admission process. Gordon Chika Nnorom

What manner of pardon?

I

SLEEP KNOWS NO PLACE: A mentally-challenged man sleeping in an untidy environment at Orile Iganmu in Lagos. PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

Moslems, curb Boko Haram

B

eyond efforts by the Federal Government to contain Boko Haram, what are Northern leaders (Islamic, political and traditional) doing to contain this scourge of socio-economic and political development in that part of Nigeria? Recently, nine female health workers were murdered by Boko Haram elements. Few days after, reports confirmed the murder of three foreign

medical doctors. Several deaths by bombings have been recorded after these ones. In a region that is effectively backward in every standard in Nigeria, I sincerely feel it is time Muslims in Northern Nigeria move against Boko Haram. We’ve now gone past the stage of the sect’s members being victims of state persecution. The sect is effectively seeking the death (economic, social

Letters to the Edi-

and political) of an average Northerner. Currently operating as a guerrilla organisation, the oxygen of such groups remains clandestine local support - not fear. Once the local (Mus-

lim) population begins to see Boko Haram as the enemy, the organisation will be forced to stop its current senseless atrocities. Wale Adedayo

Move, Sunday Mbah

S

ince transfer windows have closed in Europe, Sunday Mbah should move to Russia or Ukraine and stay for a year. His agent should insist on one year trial, or make sure he can leave

for France when window opens in July in that country. If Mbah stays in Russia, he can move early next year to Germany. He can’t stay in Nigeria till then please. Churchil Umoren

don’t know what President Jonathan wants to achieve with the pardon of some convicts, especially former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, who got a light sentence for stealing his state blind. At a time people are complaining that the fight against corruption is weak, he is arming his critics with more bullets. What a pity! Azuka Onwuka, Lagos

Moses, beware

D

ear Leke Moses, I am a regular reader of your cartoons and I appreciate your effort. However, I wish you desist from cartooning Christian leaders the way you do nowadays. You know you can’t try that on Muslim leaders. Concentrate on things that give fun and joy and not provocative cartoons, please. Ben Ekahinu, Makurdi, Benue state

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.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Health & Wellbeing Foundation seeks passage of violence against persons Prohibition Bill

Measles: Funding delays new immunization plan –Minister

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Tuberculosis, time bomb waiting to explode –WHO TOBORE OVUORIE

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he World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the current increase of the multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) worldwide as a time bomb waiting to explode, just as the World TB Day is marked globally on Sunday. Surprisingly, experts say there are more Nigerians suffering from TB who don’t report to the hospital than those who have and are receiving treatment. This, they say, accounts for the seeming low incident rate in the country. Speaking to National Mirror Prof. Oni Idigbe, former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMER) revealed that no fewer than 12 persons in a small community contract

tuberculosis each time one infected person coughs or sneezes the bacteria causing agent. “This process continues multiplying as each persons infect other newer 12 persons within a community continuously. TB is still a myth in many rural and urban parts of the country,” Idigbe added. Not only that, the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics released March 21st last year, indicated Nigeria was 10th among 22 high TB, burden countries that account for 80 percent of the global incidence rate. Prof. Idigbe further disclosed that Nigeria still maintains the rank as the statistics that has emanated so far in the country represents only those who reported to government hospitals for treatment. Consequently, the estimated 290,000 cases of TB last reported in 2010 could actually be more than that. “Nigeria is also contending with over 2,700 cases of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, yearly, while the 630,000 reported global estimate is actually higher than that. The situation is still of major concern in the country as we have not fared well so far” Idigbe added. Indeed, the picture could be worse than this as the 2012 scorecard by the United

Tuberculosis still incapacitates and kills more people in the world than all other communicable diseases combined

States Agency for International Development (USAID) indicate 311 of every 100,000 Nigerians are living with the condition. MDR-TB is TB that is resistant to firstline (initial treatment) drugs. Studies so far indicate that tuberculosis still incapacitates and kills more people in the world than all other communicable diseases combined. The new strains, which experts say

Denial, stigmatisation slow progress in Nigeria LATEEFAH IBRAHIM-ANIMASHAUN

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railing her out of the Direct Observation Therapy centre where the reporter saw her being given her TB drugs at the Lagos state University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Mrs Ogunyomi Adenike (not real names) denied having anything to do with tuberculosis. At first, she told the reporter she was at the DOT centre to collect drugs for fever. Then she changed the story. “Ok, I came to collect TB drugs for my children who have it,” she said, trying to control the accumulating phlegm in her mouth. The truth, however, came out when she realised she was talking to a journalist who could provide answers to some issues on her mind. “Is it true that if I use my drugs properly, my health condition will improve,” she asked. “Is it also true that TB makes

Health worker attends to a TB patient

somebody dry?” The reporter enlightened her and was rewarded with some short answers about life with TB. Soon she rushed off claim-

ing she needed to attend to more important commitments. She was however the only patient at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

are virtually impossible to treat; account for about 630,000 of the nine million TB confirmed cases worldwide. Around two million people die from the disease each year and, without strict controls, those infected could potentially spread the disease and cause an epidemic. The disease claimed about 1.7 million lives worldwide in 2009, and the highest number of deaths was in Africa. “TB spreads through the air similar to the common cold. When people who are sick with TB in their lungs cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs, known as bacilli, into the air. A person needs only to inhale a small number of these to be infected. “Human immunodeficiency virus, (HIV), a major enabler of the disease-causing mycobacterium tuberculosis, makes the situation in Nigeria doubly tragic. Some three million citizens are known to be living with the virus, with the result that TB/HIV co-infection, though high, are actually on the decline but still present a sub-set of health challenges to both health and government authorities. Detection rates for HIV are quite impressive when compared to TB as most Nigerians are reluctant to undergo laboratory tests or lack access to facilities so has facilitated our maintaining the 10th position out of the 22 countries” he added. Recent scorecard by the WHO however revealed that every single undetected case CONTINUED ON PAGE 20


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Health & Wellbeing

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuberculosis, time bomb waiting to explode –WHO CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 of TB is a grave health hazard as unsuspecting members of the public become exposed to infection. As indicated in the literature on the disease, symptoms might not manifest clearly even when an individual is infected. The bacteria remain in the body until an impairment of the immune system creates an opportunity for its invasion. But the Federal Government says it is making progress. According to government reports so far, in a bid of curbing the health condition, the government through the Federal Ministry of Health introduced the National TB and Leprosy control programme which entails presence of microscopic centres in all local government areas in the country where people can go to for diagnosis of TB at the local government level. However, findings by National Mirror revealed that the centres only became functional late last year in all LGAs across the country. Again, the FG says the nation currently has four TB Reference Laboratories- at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos; NTBLTC, Zaria; Infectious Diseases Hospital, Calabar, and Zankli Medical Centre, Abuja. But National Mir-

ror’s investigations reveal that these are inadequate for a country of 160 million people in the six geo-political zones. Our findings further reveal that most TB patients have to travel all the way from Osogbo to Lagos for tests as not all states have designated laboratories for advanced diagnosis besides microscopic testing centres. The latter cannot detect what more specialised laboratories such as those at the national, and zonal level would do. As the way forward, Prof. Idigbe advised that “The Federal Government can learn one or two lessons from China where sustained efforts in tuberculosis treatment and surveillance led to the coverage of the country’s vast population of 1.34billion. Between the period of 1990-2010, China was able to cut down its prevalence of tuberculosis infection by halving and reducing it by 78 per cent. “Awareness should also be viewed as a vital component of whatever strategies government and aid agencies desire to adopt for containment and eradication of the scourge. Citizens should know, for instance, that co-occurrence of mild fever, headache, night sweat, fatigue, cough (with or without mucus), loss of appetite/

Multi Drug Therapy is a major component of TB management

weight loss, sore throat and chest pain requires a visit to a standard hospital as they are symptoms of the health condition. “Individuals suffering from diabetes must also take special care and should be encouraged to note predisposing factors and to undergo laboratory tests for TB on a regular basis. Otherwise healthy, individuals should also guard against medications that are capable of suppressing their immune systems. Alcoholism and tobacco smoking also impair the body’s natural defense system and predispose individuals to TB”. To prevent oneself from contracting TB, Mrs. Doris Aniemene, a nutritionist with Ace Medicare Centre, Sango-Otta advised that “Through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, individuals can equally keep TB at bay and, of course, several other diseases. Foods high in B-vitamins

Denial, stigmatisation slow progress in Nigeria

Less stigmatisation would result in improved care

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 centre will to share her experience with TB. Others simply kept mute or flatly denied having the disease. According to Dr. Cyril Chukwu, Consultant Chest physician at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, this is the trend in several TB centres across the country. Patients not only deny their status but would go to any length to ensure that the disease is not traced to them, giving fictitious addresses and phone numbers. Their fear is understandable. No one in the country would like to be associated with a TB Patient. When asked by this reporter the direction to the DOT centre and procedures for registration, a cleaner moved away and from a distance retorted: “Do you mean you have tuberculosis as you are talking to me”? Well, I will tell you some of the things that the doctors and nurses

will tell you. They will tell you to bring your saliva for test, you will be told to do x-ray after which you will see the doctors. Then you will start coming to collect your drugs free of charge.” Indeed, to lessen the burden of stigmatization on those living with TB and protect their privacy, LASUTH DOT centre is located in a less conspicuous area of the hospital. The main entrances have two non conspicuous doors. There is also the back door for those who don’t want to be visible at all. Dr Chukwu described the fear of stigmatization as one of the problems that DOT is facing and a major reason why many patients don’t report for treatment. Nobody wants people around him to see him entering a hospital around him to take drugs on a daily basis. So, they prefer to go to far distance where they are not known. This, he said often lead to different problems which sometimes could prevent the patient from completing the treatment.

: “I can tell you about marriages that have been called off because either the man or the woman had TB. Our society is not receptive to TB at all and this may be due to culture, education and some other factors”. He expressed that taking the drugs is usually challenging for the patients because the treatment is prolonged and after taking the drugs for about four to five months and they feel better, some patients may stop using the drugs which can expose them to developing resistance for the anti TBs. “What that means is that it multiplies in the lungs, enters the blood, and the TB will no longer respond to those drugs again. This can lead to TB meningitis. Somebody with TB meningitis can behave irrationally. That is behaving like a mad person. So it is quite possible that poorly treated patients or those who did not comply with TB treatment can develop that kind of mental illness”, he said. “Another challenge is that not every person can afford the TB treatment for nine months. They find it difficult because the money is about N4000 per month on the average, apart from x ray, doctor’s consultation etc. However, another consultant Physician/pulmonologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr Dania Grace disclosed that TB could become non-infectious after a while, when patients are undergoing treatments. Thus, an individual may not be infected when talking with an infected person within a short period and in a well ventilated environment. She however urged anyone with persistent cough for two weeks to see the doctor so that adequate treatment can be given.

and iron (such as whole grains, dark leafy grains like spinach, and vegetables), and others that serve as anti-oxidants (such as fruits) are very useful. “Suspected food allergens – milk, cheese, eggs and ice cream – should be eliminated, especially after confirmation by a medical doctor (through lab tests) that an individual is allergic to any of such. White bread, pastas, and sugar are also undesirable”.

Fact File • Nigeria ranks 10th among the 22 high-burden TB countries in the world. • WHO estimates that 210,000 new cases of all forms of TB occurred in the country in 2010, equivalent to 133/100,000 population. • There were an estimated 320,000 prevalent cases of TB in 2010, equivalent to 199/100,000 cases. • There were 90,447 TB cases notified in 2010 with 41, 416 (58%) cases as new smear positives, and a case detection rate of 40%. • 83% of cases notified in 2009 were successfully treated. • The main goal of Nigeria’s TB program is to halve the TB prevalence and death rates by 2015. • TB death rates have declined from 11% in 2006 to 5% in 2010.

By State • Lagos, Kano, and Oyo have the highest TB prevalence rate. Other states experienced a drop in cases notified, resulting in a 4% overall decline in 2010. Oyo increased by 46.5% from 2008 to 2010. • Benue has a high TB burden which is attributable to a high HIV prevalence.

Age and Sex Distribution • The age groups commonly affected by TB are the most productive age groups, with the 25 – 34 age group accounting for 33.6% (15,303) of the smear positive cases registered in 2010

MDR-TB in Nigeria • Multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB is TB that is resistant to any of the first-line drugs, specifically Rifampicin and Isoniazid. • The emergence of MDR-TB also poses a threat, which if not effectively addressed, may wipe out the achievements of previous efforts in controlling TB. • The estimated number of MDR-TB cases among notified TB cases was 2,400, of which 21 cases were notified in the country and 23 cases were undergoing treatment in 2010 .


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Tuberculosis is curable –Chest Physician Consultant Chest Physician at the Department of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Cyril Chukwu in this interview with LATEEFAH IBRAHIM-ANIMASHAUN describes Nigeria as one of the highest TB-burdened countries in the world. Although shrouded in so much fear and stigmatisation Chukwu says the disease is curable when patients comply with treatment. Excerpts: How will you describe Tuberculosis in the medical parlance? Tuberculosis; It is a germ of microbes and this germ floats in the air. The medical name of the germ is mycobacteria. If you inhale it and it starts multiplying inside you as a germ, that means you have TB. So those who have inhaled the germ called mycobacteria and the micro bacterium is multiplying inside them, they have a disease we call tuberculosis.

THE PATIENT SHOULD

Is there any link between tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS? Yes, I said if you inhale the mycobacteria and it starts multiplying in you, you have it. It is possible for one to inhale the germ and it doesn’t multiply in you. At this point, you don’t have tuberculosis because the germs only remain there. The question now is why is it not able to multiply in everybody? It all depends on what in the medical world, we call the body immune system. If you have a normal competent immune system, the thing will remain there, it won’t be able to multiply and you remain well. Those who have HIV, their immune system is very low which means they have very low resistance. So the microbe is able to multiply very easily in them. For example, if we’ve come in contact with the germ in the past but our body is able to hold it to check and it is not able to multiply, so we don’t have the disease. If our resistance lowers either by HIV or by another sickness like Cancer, drugs, excessive alcohol, radiotherapy amongst others, the resistance drops very low. The microbes that such a person has inhaled and which has been quiet since can begin to multiply.

THEIR ADDRESSES

How do you contact tuberculosis? Of course it is communicable. It can be contacted when someone who has it releases the germ into the air and another person breathes it in. As you breathe, cough, talk, cry or sing, you are releasing the thing into the air if you have it because it floats in the air. That is why it is common in an overcrowded condition, poorly ventilated condition, because anybody who has it is releasing it into the air, and if there is no good ventilation, or there is overcrowding, any other person can inhale it and it starts multiplying in the person that is it. It also depends on the fighting capacity of the kind of germ you inhale which we call virulence in the medical world. You may inherit or inhale a small number of the germ but if they have a very high fighting capacity, which we call high virulence, you can come down with it even if your immune system is normal. So it is a balance between the invading germs which is the microbe and the body’s ability to resist. These are the two factors;

BE WILLING TO

COOPERATE.

MOST

PEOPLE EVEN GIVE FAKE ADDRESSES

BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT US TO KNOW

you have an enemy invading and you have a defence. Whichever one that gets the upper hand will win. If the defendant is stronger, then the enemy is at risk. What is the symptom? It happens when a cough is more than two weeks and increases in the evening or at night. Chukwu

Is it linked with hunch back in anyway? What we call hunch back is the TB of the spine. You inhaled a germ, the germ, through the lungs enters the blood, circulate in the blood and if it settles in the bone an starts growing in the bone, that is it. The oxygen in the air that we breathe enters the blood because something that enters the lung can also enter the blood. So the germ may be able to escape from the lungs to the blood and the blood will now carry it to the bone, sometimes to the brain, ovary or any part of the body. What do you do to the issue of patient’s non willingness to use the drugs? The reason is because we don’t treat TB with one drug. We use multi drug therapy. I mean we treat it with many drugs. Right now we use five drugs. Four are the main active and the other one is like vitamin. One might turn out to be two. For example when you are told to use drug A, the number of that drug A is two. When you are told to take drug B, you are taking three drugs from it which means which signifies that you already have five drugs to use. Under drug c, you are taking two of it and by the time you count all the number of drugs, you find out that it is amounting to nine drugs in all. How do you ensure that they use these drugs? It takes a lot of will power and explanation from the doctor of the consequences of not taking the medications judiciously. Secondly there is what we call DOT, Direct Observation Therapy centre. What we do here is to give the drugs, and the patients swallow it under the full view of the health worker and if the patient does not come, we have a register of those who are supposed to come for the day so that

when the patient does not come, they go after them. So that is the whole idea. However, implementation becomes a difficult challenge. For example, take a place like Lagos, where we have people scattered all over the places. If you discover that some certain people did not come, going to the different locations becomes difficult. The Nigerian address also sometimes makes it difficult to get the house address. The streets are not labelled. The houses are not numbered. So to find somebody who did not come in this our country is very difficult. What about the means of transportation of the person going after patients? The patient should be willing to cooperate. Most people even give fake addresses because they don’t want us to know their addresses. We know that because of our HIV patient. They even give fake telephone numbers. What is the consequences of not taking the medication right? If you don’t take your TB medications outrightly, you take it haphazardly or you discharge yourself from the hospital because you think you are feeling better, which happens, you are not on the right track. Very often, because the treatment is prolonged, some people stop wing them after four or five months, because they now feel very well and they think they are ok. You may develop resistance for the anti TBs and what that means is that it multiplies in the lungs, enters the blood , and the TB will no longer respond to those drugs again. This can lead to TB meningitis. Somebody with TB meningitis can behave irrationally. That is behaving like a mad person. So it is quite possible that poorly treated patients or those who did not comply with TB treatment

can develop that kind of mental illness. What is the possibility that the person will get well? A good proportion of patients who cooperate, take their drugs religiously get cured. It is a curable illness if everything is right. i.e. when the patient takes the drugs as directed. We also have to consider if the drugs are genuine drugs because in the Nigerian contest we have so many counterfeit drugs and we also have the substandard drugs. If the person complies for nine months and he is taking substandard drugs, from Aba or Onitsha, you take the drugs for nine months that is a problem. Tuberculosis is a curable disease. Are patients still getting their drugs free? The policy on TB treatment varies. Some of the government treats TB free. Some government insists you pay. There is also the DOT, which is another way of treating it. The DOT is free because it is funded internationally by some donors. Whether you pay for your TB treatment or not depends on where you go. If you go to the state government that treats TB free, it would be free. If you go to the DOT centre, it would be free but if you go to the private hospital or you go to the government hospital that don’t offer treatment free, you pay. It all depends on where you are getting your treatment form. What is the statistics of people living with TB in the country? Nigeria is one of the highest TB burdened countries in the world. As a respiratory doctor, I can tell you that half the patients who come to see us in the clinic on a daily basis come for TB, if not more.


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Health & Wellbeing

MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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non-governmental organization, WellBeing Foundation, has called for the passage of the Violence against Persons Prohibition Bill as a panacea to reducing violence against women and the vulnerable in Nigeria. The Foundation, a health initiative of the wife of former Governor of Kwara state and a Senator, Mrs Toyin Saraki, made the call in Abuja at the weekend, as it joined the world in marking this year’s Women’s Day. Head, Technical and Policy of the organization, Dr Luther-King Fashehun told National Mirror that the NGO had partnered with other stakeholders in the struggle to end domestic violence in Nigeria. “This event happened in Lagos a few weeks ago. During this event, which was attended by a lot of students, we had the opportunity to have over 400 students signed a petition. This petition was to the

Nigerian legislators, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The petition was for the passage of Violence against Persons Prohibition Bill, which has been with the legislature for about a decade. “On International Women’s Day, there are a lot of things going on. This year’s theme is “The Gender Agenda Gaining Momentum.” Fashehun, who decried the state of violence against women in Nigeria, called for stakeholders’ commitments in ending the menace. “There is a broad agenda to end violence against women all over the world. In Nigeria, where half of women experience domestic violence, we believe that on an International Women’s Day like this, we should speak out against it. “What we are doing from Well-Being perspective is to create more awareness about this petition that we gathered from Lagos. We want to make sure this petition is delivered to both Arms of the National As-

GHMI partners AnalizaDx on advanced Cancer diagnostics SEKINAH L AWAL

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imple blood-based cancer diagnostics screening tests to enable early and effective treatment while reducing unnecessary procedures will soon be introduced Africa. This is courtesy of a partnership announced recently between Global Health Management Informatics (GHMI), a Houstonbased company focusing on advancing effective and affordable healthcare solutions, and AnalizaDx, a Cleveland-based company developing a pipeline of next-generation cancer diagnostics products. Under the partnership terms, GHMI has entered into exclusive license agreement with AnalizaDx to offer its cancer tests in Africa and Islands of the Caribbean. “With operations in the U.S. and Africa, we plan to enable smooth transfer of technology and diagnostics products in the near future.” According to Mr. Debo Awosika-Olumo, CEO of GHMI, under the terms of the license agreement,

GHMI will enter markets in Africa, beginning with Nigeria and South Africa. Through its network of collaborations with leading hospitals and clinical laboratories, GHMI will begin offering AnalizaDx’s PSA/ SIA, a next generation prostate cancer test that has demonstrated superior performance in differentiating between prostate cancer and other benign conditions using blood sample. Follow-on tests will target breast, colon, ovarian, and other cancers. “With operations in the U.S. and Africa, we plan to enable smooth transfer of technology and diagnostics products in the near future. Effective, low-cost diagnostics and screening tests in cancer are especially important in regions in which wide access to advanced, expensive diagnostics tools and procedures is not readily available or affordable,” said Arnon Chait, Ph.D., President of AnalizaDx. “Our technology platform provides lab-based solutions that could bring definitive answers to millions using blood-based analysis of protein biomarker structure.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Foundation seeks passage of violence against persons Prohibition Bill sembly,” he added. He stressed that Mrs. Saraki attended “a HighLevel Post 2015 Roundtable consultation in Johannesburg convened by Her Excellency, Graca Machel, to discuss the challenges that will need to be addressed after the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 South Africa.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of United Nations’ Population Fund (UNFPA), Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin has declared global commitment to reducing violence against women, globally. Osotimehin, who made the call in a release to mark 2013 Women’s Day, declared “World-wide today, the sta-

tistics given on violence against women are as follows: up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16. Globally, 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime. Up to 70 percent of women in the world report having experienced

physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. “Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18. In the face of such unacceptable figures, the international community is strongly committed to change the plight of women,” he pledged.

Officials of the Iga Idunganran, Primary Health Care (PHC) centre attending to patients, during the flag-off ceremony of the PHC centre in Lagos, recently.

Govt urged to support fight against tuberculosis, HIV TOBORE OVUORIE

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he Director of Plan Foundation, Mr. Obatunde Oladapo, has called on governments at all levels to support the fight against tuberculosis. Oladapo made the call at Moniya in Ibadan recently at a meeting organised for stakeholders in five local government areas of Oyo State on tuberculosis and HIV infections. He said that the foundation, being a health advocacy organisation with focus on elimination of tuberculosis, would provide support for any other community-based organisation that engaged in advocacy and social mobilisation activities. Oladapo said the level of knowledge about tuberculosis among the affected communities was still very low when compared to the awareness on HIV and AIDS, malaria and immunisation. The director commended Ibadan North-East and

Akinyele local governments for their support in the fight against tuberculosis in their areas of authority.

Oladapo called on other local governments to emulate the two councils. Earlier, Mr Mukaila Ambali, Chairman of Akinyele

Local Government, said that the council would continue to support the state government’s vision for healthcare delivery in the state.

Measles: Funding delays new immunization plan –Minister MARCUS FATUNMOLE AND JOEL AJAYI ABUJA

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lan by the Federal Government to embark on a new immunization policy against measles in the country is being hindered by paucity of fund, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said. The Minister disclosed this to National Mirror in his office at the weekend. Responding to the plan being put in place by the Federal Government to tackle outbreak of measles in the northern part of the country, the Minister said his ministry was advised to double the dose currently being given to children during vaccination against the disease across Nigeria. “The issue (of measles) wasn’t supply of vaccines.

For measles vaccines, the conversion rate is actually 80 percent. What it means is that, if you immunize 10 children, actually eight of them would be protected against the disease because of the efficacy. “Now, we have accepted a new policy. Our Technical Experts suggested that instead of making measles vaccination one dose, we should make it two doses so that before we can say a child is fully immunized, he must have two doses. What is holding the implementation of that policy is funding because we need more money. We are working on it. As soon as we ensure we can have more money, we will immediately introduce that. “Certainly, if it is only 80 percent (that can certainly be protected with one dose during immuni-

zation), it means that you cannot guarantee that a child has had immunization against measles, except you do other tests. But, vaccines have been supplied, it is being published in the newspapers. We want Nigerians to know that when these vaccines are brought, they are being given to the children. “Second, we have called on National Primary Health Care Development Agency; they have gone back to those states that were affected. They are doing mass immunization now. All the kids are being immunized. More so, they are looking at how all the children that are affected are being treated so that we don’t lose them to the disease. Reports say about 40 children have been killed while over 4,000 were already.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Arts Lounge

What impressions of Africa does Nollywood create?

Grillo Pavilion: Kolade Oshinowo takes his turn

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AMAA 2013: Who gets what? TERH AGBEDEH

JUST BACK FROM MALAWI

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t was an elated Mrs. Joyce Banda, the President of the Republic of Malawi, who addressed an excited crowd at the African Movie Academy Awards, AMAA nominations dinner event that held at the Bingu wa Muntharika International Conference Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi. Held on the evening of March 15 to announce the nominees for the ninth edition of the annual awards regarded as Africa’s most prestigious for filmmakers on the continent and in the Diaspora, it was a night to remember. Films that make it into the 25 categories of the awards are announced ahead of the main award ceremony at the nominations event and in the last six years, AMAA has moved the event from one country to the other within the continent. The event has held in Burkina Faso, Gambia, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. This year it was the turn of Malawi to host the AMAA nomination weekend in Lilongwe, which started on March 15, during which the businesspeople, the political class in Malawi, celebrities from across Africa and their counterparts in the country were hosted to nominations dinner, concert as well as other events. The organisers said Malawi got the nod to host the event because of the level of popularity and acceptability of African films, most especially Nollywood and Gollywood movies there. At the beginning of March the Af-

rican Film Academy, which organises AMAA, started a training programme targeted at the young men and women of Malawi who are interested in making a career in any aspect of filmmaking. The first day featured announcement of the nominees for the awards ceremony that will take place on April 20 in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State. It was done by members of the jury led by Mr. Shuaib Hussein, who is also chairman of the college of screeners. On the second day, the duo of P-Square defied heavy rain to thrill the Malawian crowd that came out to dance with them at the golf club in the city. This year, 671 films were received by the organisers of the awards with countries like: America, Canada, France, Germany, Guadalupe, Italy, Jamaica, and the UK also getting nominations. Elelwani got 11 nominations making it the film to beat followed by Nairobi Half Life with nine. The Twin Sword, Virgin Magarida, Blood and Henna, Ninah’s Dowry and The meeting got six nominations each. Last Fishing Boat, Last Flight To Abuja, Okoro The Prince and The Contract each got five. What is remarkable in this group is that Last Fishing Boat originated from a country not associated with movie making like Malawi. It is no wonder that the hall erupted time and time when each nomination was called out. Another remarkable nomination is the one for the late veteran actor, Justus Esiri who is in contention for the best ac-

L-R: Mr. Michael Anyiam-Osigwe, Honorary Consul of Republic of Malawi to Nigeria, Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Movie Academy Awards and Her Excellency Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi during the AMAA awards nominations Gala Night at the Bingu International Conference Centre, Lilongwe, Malawi on Friday.

tor in a leading role category for his role in Assassins Practice. OC Ukeje, who has worked hard since coming onto the Nigerian movie scene by winning the now rested Amstel Malta Box Office, AMBO reality show contest, got nominated for his role in Charles Novia’s film titled Alan Poza also deserves a mention. The audience at the event consisted of Mrs, Banda’s husband, former Chief Justice of Malawi, Richard Banda, the Vice President of the country, Khumbo Kachali and his wife, top government functionaries, the Chief Executive Officer of AMAA, Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, a delegation of the Bayelsa State government and members of the film industry worldwide. “The glamorous event that we are witnessing and celebrating this evening and the Film-in-a-Box Training Programme

that the Africa Movie Academy Awards, in partnership with my government is conducting, mark a major milestone in the development of Malawi’s creative art industry,” Mrs. Banda said not before saying profound thanks to Ms. AnyiamOsigwe on behalf of herself and the people of Malawi. She went on to say that her government has identified the creative art industry as one of the areas that it wants to develop in order to create employment for Malawian youth. In fact, only that afternoon, she said she had launched the Youth Job Creation Initiative. “This is a programme that aims at economically empowering our youth and integrating them in the mainstream economy and economic processes,” she explained. Indeed the development of Malawi’s creative art industry, according to Mrs. CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

AMAA 2013 NOMINEES LIST Best Short Film Dead River : Namibia Elegy For A Revolutionary : South Africa Yellow Fever : Kenya Kwaku Ananse : Ghana Nhamo : Zimbabwe Big Daddy : Nigeria Release : South Africa Burnt Forest : Kenya

Best Animation Tageni’s Dol : Namibia Adventure Of Zambezia : South Africa Mission Impossible : Nigeria Oba : Nigeria Lion Of Judah : South Africa

Best Film By An Africans Abroad Turning Point : United States / Nigeria Assasins Practice : United Kingdom / Nigeria Best Documentary Last Flight To Abuja: United Kingdom Fuelling Poverty : Nigeria / Nigeria Gun To Tape : South Africa Swimming The Zambezi : South Africa Bianca : United States / Nigeria Wolwich Boys : United Kingdom / Give Me Back My Home : Kenya Nigeria The African Cypher Fly On The Wall: South Africa Achievement In Production Design Virgin Magarida Best Diaspora Feature Elelwani Against The Grain : United States The Twin Sword Between Friends: Trinidad / Tobago The Contract Stones In The Sun : Haiti / United Blood And Henna States Okoro The Prince Best Diaspora Documentary Achievement In Costume Design Fan Do Brasil : Brazil / Guatamela Twin Sword My Thiero Boys : United States Elelwani Red, White, Black And Blue : United Virgin Magarida States

Blood And Henna The Meeting Cobweb Achievement In Make:up The Meeting Twin Sword Elelwani Ninah’s Dowry Okoro The Prince Uhlanga, The Mark For Achievement In Soundtrack Journey To Self Okoro The Prince The Last Fishing Boat Hoodrush Nairobi Half Life The Twin Sword Achievement In Visual Effects Okoro The Prince The Twin Sword Elelwani Last Flight To Abuja Uhlanga, The Mark Awakening Achievement In Sound Last Flight To Abuja

Streets Of Calabar Hereos And Zereos Zama Zama Virgin Magarida Nairobi Half Life Achievement In Cinematography Virgin Magarida Nairobi Half Life Uhlanga, The Mark Swirl In Bamako The Twin Sword Elelwani Achievement In Editing Last Flight To Abuja The Contract Elelwani Nairobi Half Life Uhlanga The Mark Hereos And Zereos Achievement In Lightning Zama Zama The Flower Girl Moi Zaphira Elelwani Uhlanga The Mark

Achievement In Screenplay The Contract Ninah’s Dowry Hereos And Zereos Alan Poza Blood And Henna Zama Zama Best Nigerian Film Blood And Henna Hereos And Zereos The Meeting Confusion Na Wa The Twin Sword Kokomma Okoro The Prince Best Film In An African Language Moi Zaphira : Burkina Faso Elelwani (South Africa) The Last Fishing Boat (Malawi) Nairobi Half Life (Kenya) Blood And Henna : Nigeria Sherifa : Togo Kokomma: Nigeria Best Child Actor Cobweb The Ugandan

Imbabazi, The Pardon Ninah’s Dowry Swirl In Bamako Salimatu Traore (moi Zaphira) Best Promising Actor Belinda Effah : Kokomma Sumela Maculuva : Virgin Magarida Joseph Wairimu : Nairobi Half Life Shonelo Mbutho : Ulanga The Mark Karoumwi Olakunle : The Twin Sword Best Actor In A Supporting Role Gabriel Afolayan : Hoodrush Ali Nuhu : Blood And Henna Olwenya Maina : Nairobi Half Life Alfred Atungu : Twin Sword Ikponmwosa Gold : Confusion Na Wa Best Actress In A Supporting Role Hermelinda Cimela : Virgin Magarida Patience Ozokwo : Turning Point Linda Ejiofor : The Meeting Crista Eka : Ninah’s Dowry Foluke Daramola : Cobweb Best Actor In A Leading Role Oc Ukeje : Alan Poza Bimbo Manuel : Hereos And Zereos

Lindani Nkosi : Zama Zama Justus Esiri : Assasins Practice Hlomla Dandala : The Contract Femi Jacobs : The Meeting Amurin Wumnembom : Ninah’s Dowry Best Actress In A Leading Role Yvonne Okoro : The Contract Florence Masebe : Elelwani Mariam Ouedraogo : Moi Zaphira Rita Dominic : The Meeting Mbutung Seikeh : Ninah’s Diary Flora Suya : Last Fishing Boat Best Director Kenneth Gyang : Confusion Na Wah Shemu Joyah : Last Fishing Boat Shirley Frimpong Manso: Contract Niji Akanni : Hereos And Zeroes David Kitounga : Nairobi Half Life Ntshavheni Wa Luruli : Elelwani Best Film Nairobi Half Life : Kenya Ninah’s Dowry : Cameroon Last Fishing Boat : Malawi Virgin Margarida : Mozambique Elelwani : South Africa Last Flight To Abuja : Nigeria Confusion Na Wa : Nigeria


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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

AAMA 2013: Who gets what? Banda, is one of the major components of the initiative. She made the audience understand, sometimes taking pains to speak in the language of the Malawian people, what her government and people have learnt from Hollywood and Nollywood, which is the potential that the film industry has in creating employment, particularly for the youth. “My Government believes that the time for Malawi to get her creative industry on a sound footing is now. The film-in- a- Box training is an urgent intervention needed to help found and develop an enabling infrastructure that provides Malawian film-practitioners with the necessary impetus to mobilise and; evolve the sector to a point where it generates a viable cultural economy in the same way other countries outside Malawi have done and are doing,” she stated. In partnership with the African Movie Academy Award, the Malawian government under Mrs. Banda intends, with these initiatives, to sow the seed of having Malawi become one of the movie centres of Africa. The Film-in-a-Box training programme had by March 15 trained about

200 youths part of the 500 hundred to be trained in phase one of the programme. Also at the event compered by Nollywood actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim and the Malawian, Mr. Thomas Chafunya also had players in the motion picture industry like Kanayo O. Kanayo, Chioma Chukuka-Apotha, O.C. Okeje and Lydia Forson, among others. Some of those who performed included the comedian from Bayelsa State, Geebons, one of Malawi’s poets Q Malawezi reciting a poem, while the South African gospel artiste, Dr. Rebecca Malope gave a high powered performance. Before she came on stage the Kamuzu Barracks Singers preceded her and equally moved the crowd powerfully. Ms. Anyiam-Osigwe, when she addressed the crowd reminded everyone that the theme for this year’s AMAA is, ‘Africa One’, saying that before the colonialists created borders Africans had been one. She thanked all the supporters of this year’s AMAA, including Mrs. Banda, Malawi and the Bayelsa State Government. Mrs. Rachel Mazombwe, who is Malawi’s minister of tourism also addressed the audience.

MIDWEEK JUMP

PEN Nigeria opens contest for young writers …stand a chance of winning $1000

N

igerian PEN Centre is calling for entries in prose and poetry in order to shortlist a male and female writer in the age bracket of 18 to 30 years old to represent the centre in the PEN International/New Voices Award 2013. PEN International has set up an annual New Voices Award to encourage new creative writing in each country of operation to provide a space for young and unpublished writers to submit their work. The award will actively encourage entries from diverse linguistic regions and communities. Details of the award’s terms of entry and judging structure are: All candidates must be over 17 and still be under the age of 30 at the time of the closing date; writers who have published books may not enter, but those who have existing contracts with publishers for forthcoming books may enter. Writers who have published pam-

Adesanya presents three books

A

folabi Adesanya, the managing director of the Nigerian Film Corporation will, tomorrow, present three books he authored about the film industry in Nigeria. The event, which kicks off at 9.00am, will take place at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos. The presentation of the books with titles such as Reel Views, Behind the Scenes and Reel Transformation will be part of the highlights of the I-Rep Film Festival 2013 which opens tomorrow. The books draw intensely from the many years Afolabi Adesanya has been a stakeholder in the film industry.

phlets work in magazines and journals are allowed to enter; prose entries must be between 2,000 to 4,000 words (short stories to be double-spaced and a word count noted at the top of the first page); poetry entries may take the form of individual poems, a sequence, or one long poem of no more than 2,500 words in total (poems to be single-spaced and a line count noted at the top of the first page). Writers may only submit one prose work. Eligibility in the Nigerian shortlist process is based on the exact rules of the international competition as stated. Contestants should note that the ultimate prize money is accessible only after scaling the Nigerian hurdle. The award will be open to submissions from March 15 to May 15, 2013. To enter, send entry with subject as PEN NEW VOICES 2013 to Secretary General, Nigeria Pen Centre, Ropo Ewenla: firo_po@yahoo.co.uk Founded in 1921, PEN International is a non-political organisation and holds consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO.

Naija Ninja screen acting workshop kicks off today

A

spiring actors who want to be part of the entertainment business have the opportunity to get the requisite training at the one-week long Hustle2Fame workshop which starts today Wednesday, 20th March to Tuesday 26th March 2013 at The RockView Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos. 25 participants will be trained for screen acting while five participants will be admitted for screen writing. The successful participants will be immediately engaged in professional production (Hustle2Fame) as actors and writers. The television project is designed to create the new school acting professionals for the TV and film industry in Nigeria.

LET’S

T AL K FAD with

Fidelis Duker

fidelisduker@yahoo.com; 08055662925(SMS ONLY)

Pardon by ‘Oga at the top’

T

he last one week has been an interesting one because first was the presidential pardon given to some Nigerians by President Goodluck Jonathan and, of course, the biggest joke on all social media networks called ‘oga at the top’ which involved the Lagos Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC. These two issues occupied the front burner of discussions among many Nigerians. I have every right as a Nigerian to comment on the recent pardon granted the former Governor of Bayelsa State who was also impeached and jailed for corruption by a court of competent jurisdiction. I was in a fit of shock and disappointment when the rumour went viral of the pardon of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha amongst other Nigerians like retired Generals Oladipo Diya, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Abdulkareem Adisa amongst others. When you begin to equate the likes of Diya, Yar’Adua and Adisa, whose crimes are basically coup plotting which were committed under illegitimate military regimes, then it becomes an absurdity because the crime committed by Alamieyeseigha is corruption and therefore, offering state pardon to a corrupt politician is simply an insult on the state. The reasons offered by the Presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe are nothing, but a joke on the sensibility of Nigerian citizens as he insisted the government has no apologies to make on the action they have taken as regards the pardon given to Alamieyeseigha and Shettima Bulama who were both convicted on corruption charges. He said the President has the right under the Nigerian constitution to pardon anybody he feels has shown remorse and deserves pardon. Truth must be said that even when the president needs to exercise these powers and privileges, there should be some element of morality attached to such pardons. What can be deduced from the action of the National Council of State on this set of pardon is that it was meant for a particular individual and so, other names were added. That is why since the release of the names, the name that has received more condemnation is that of Alamieyeseigha who was arrested in the United Kingdom for money laundering and other corruption charges. While in custody, he escaped back to Nigeria, dressed as a woman which was a major embarrassment to the nation. He was finally impeached, convicted and jailed. Sadly, he has been given presidential pardon and like the president said, he is his benefactor and as such he has to support and pardon him.

THERE HAVE BEEN RUMOURS THAT THE PARDON FOR

ALAMIEYESEIGHA IS AHEAD OF HIS SENATORIAL AMBITION IN

2015

Other reasons given for the pardon is that he has contributed to keeping the peace in the Niger-Delta. It is also pertinent to mention that the pardon has received commendation from several Nigerians, and to say the least, it is one of the unjustifiable actions of this government and the ruling party ahead of the 2015 elections. Some school of thought will say that 2015 is two years away and, as such, it’s too early to begin to plan or plot. But if truth must be told, we must realise that all the political gladiators are working round the clock ahead of the elections and there have been rumours that the pardon for Alamieyeseigha is ahead of his senatorial ambition in 2015. Sadly, the pardon has finally put paid to the position of this government’s fight against corruption and painfully it shows it’s only out to support corruption and tell the world that if convicted for corruption, you can be pardoned. Soon, other convicted politicians will receive their own presidential pardon. However, now that the ‘Oga at the top’ has decided to pardon his benefactor, it brings me to the issue of the Lagos Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence corps, Mr. Obafaiye Shem who appeared on the Channels Television breakfast show to embarrass the organization over his inability to give the web address of NSCDC. He was ignorant of the address and had to tell the interviewers that his ‘oga at the top’ (boss) knows the web address. What this tells us is the quality of individuals at the top of most organisations who lack the required qualification, but because of the ‘man no man’ or ‘oga at the top’ factor. It was a shameful or humiliating experience for Mr. Shem who had to be the butt of jokes on all social media platforms until, according to information, he was suspended by his ‘ogas’. The lesson from this to public officers is the need to understand that you must be prepared at all times and, as they say in law “whatever you say may be used against you”. For employers, it is important we employ competent people to lead organisations who will not depend on the ‘oga at the top’ to help them.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Arts Lounge

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

25

VOICES

What impressions of Africa does Nollywood create? MELINDA OZONGWU

W

hen I think of a major city like New York City or London, there are particular visuals in my memory bank created purely by images I’ve seen in films, television shows and even music videos made in those cities. These images give us the imagery we use to feel familiar with the unfamiliar. Sometimes a particular movie manages to encapsulate the tone and feel of the city; the depiction may be mostly fictional and include clichés and stereotypes, but it still gives the viewer an impression of the place. Many African film and television productions are criticised for lack of quality and poor depiction of Africans – and some of the criticism comes from Africans, too - but these industries are making money entertainment without a commercial interest doesn’t sustain an industry. Nollywood’s imagery and storylines have greatly affected people’s perception of Nigeria and Africa beyond the continent. The second largest film industry in the world, its average of about 2,000 movies a year provides more than enough material for viewers to create a visual impression of Africa beyond National Geographic stock photos or BBC headlines. Most people that have come across a Nollywood movie have in some way or another allowed it to contribute to their opinions about Nigeria, Nigerians and even Africa as a whole. But it is no different from Bollywood: gross exaggerations of homegrown truths created for great entertainment. Then again, there are many people who watch these movies and believe Indians walk around singing and dancing on staircases, and many who also believe people from Hong Kong are ever ready to bust some kung-fu moves. I have often felt frustrated by the depiction of Nigerians in Nollywood movies -the witchcraft, the greed, the violence, etc. - but then I have to remind myself that it is only entertainment, and entertainment that is created to appeal to a particular demographic and it is not a documentary, not made for charity or to show at Cannes but to make money and entertain. “We are doing films for the masses, we are not doing films for the elite and the people in their glass houses; they can afford to watch their Robocop and their whatever…” (From the documentary “This Is Nollywood”) It has been argued that the depictions perpetuate stereotypes, and there is some truth in that. On the other hand, it took years for Nollywood to arrive at its successful formula, which is to take factual issues and over-drama-

tise them. Besides, like it or not, witchcraft is very much an African issue, as is AIDS and corruption. Not just Nigerian issues, but African issues. This is why Nollywood movies are so popular around the continent, despite our different languages, cultures and history. We share similar issues, many of which are unique to our continent. The masses are going to relate to a particular interpretation of an issue in a different way to people from the smaller group of wealthier Africans. I think this is a key reason why there is a tendency in Nollywood to unmask and uncover the problems of the wealthy. It may appear on the surface that these movies glorify the rich and elite, but in fact, they chip away at the belief that money buys happiness, because aside from bank balances, everyone has the same problems, and no one’s life is perfect. Sure, this is as much a fairytale as anything Hollywood produces, but we need fairytales, too, for comfort. As T. S. Eliot wrote: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality”. Beyond Nollywood, there are movies being made specifically with the international market in mind, i.e. the international market that includes non-Africans. An example of such would be the South African film Tsotsi, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005 and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006. Many saw this as a turning point for African film, but there were also those that believed the movie portrayed Africans through the lens of a Western perspective, and not the national representation it claimed. These types of films are being made to higher technical standards, with better-developed scripts and more subtle acting. They are being made with higher budgets and take up to a year or more to complete, unlike the days it takes for the typical Nollywood movie. It is easy to brand such films as sell-outs, simply because they are after international reverence and because they may glorify or depict imagery that is usually swept under the carpet, or downplayed in our regular Nollywood movies. Despite the critical acclaim and awards - including MTV’s Best African Film - Viva Riva! did not escape criticism for its depiction of Congo, as well as for what some considered graphic scenes of violence and sex. But such criticism remained continent-bound; internationally the film was not branded too violent or too sexual, it was a successful piece of work from Africa, with an African cast and directed by an African. South African movies such as Jeruselama and District 9 were both directed by white directors, as tends to be the case with African films created for an

A scene from The Mirror Boy

WE -THE AFRICAN AUDIENCE- ACCEPT HOLLYWOOD IN ITS ENTIRETY, BUT CONTINUE TO JUDGE

AFRICAN

ENTERTAINMENT SOMEWHAT UNFAIRLY international market. So to see black directors telling an African story should be something we commend, even while remaining critical as film fans, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. We - the African audience - accept Hollywood in its entirety (and don’t expect them to be proxy trailers for America’s tourist industry), but continue to judge African entertainment somewhat unfairly. Perhaps our reception to these movies will change as we see more and more co-productions with transnational themes like The Mirror Boy and The Assassin’s Practice, films that do not conform to the high volume/low quality production churn of Nollywood and whose scripts are quite different from “traditional” Nollywood fare. And looking beyond Nollywood again, a movie like Pumzi -an African sci-fi short film, the first of its kind- is an example of uncharted territory that the African film has yet to explore, but which we might see more of as the filmmakers themselves step out of their comfort zones, with the permission of an audience ready for more experimental films. At the moment, though, it appears that if we are telling African stories to a western audience, certain formulas must apply, even if we are affirming stereotypes. It is about box office sales and making back the investment, and for that the African “ghetto” story seems to fit the bill. If we are telling African stories to African audiences, then

another set of rules seem to apply, and the latter is what Nollywood has traditionally done well. Nollywood has built a massive industry on the premise that it is entertainment for everyone. Rough around the edges, yes, but playing by our own rules, using our own actors, filming in real Africa and not fake backdrops, making mistakes along the way, but at least they are our own mistakes. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other; there is enough room for variety, creativity, taking chances and wider leaps. Some will work and others fail miserably, but the boundaries will be pushed at a pace that works for us. Ozongwu is a writer/media consultant/producer based in Uganda, East Africa.

MUSINGS Beyond religion and culture They have stopped us from practicing our cultures and handed us books of theirs to read. They have burnt our holy places and built theirs so that we would be their perpetual captives. They are controlling our young people with thrives so that we will not control our cultures. They have made us not to practice our cultures but to read their magazines and watch their TV. Their gift of cultures is not the best fashion style for us. We have to control our emotions and not to massage their ego. They have beaten us into submission, just as we’ve done to nature and their cultural fixation on us is an obsession to our future. ©Odimegwu Onwunere 2012


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Arts Lounge

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Daches Multimedia set with Glass House

FAR AND NEAR

N GOZI E MEDOLIBE

A

L-R: Kolade Oshinowo, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi and Kunle Adeyemi at the press conference

Grillo Pavilion: Kolade Oshinowo takes his turn

A DENRELE NIYI

F

or the 5th edition of Yusuf Grillo Pavilion, it has been announced that Kolade Oshinowo, one of Nigeria’s most prolific studio painter and a Zarianist, will be celebrated for his invaluable contribution to the practice of visual arts. This was made known during a press conference held last Friday in Lagos to unveil the master artist, teacher, scholar and inspirational figure as the ‘theme’ for the annual visual arts fiesta. At the niftily organised media gathering, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, OFR, the Chairman, Yusuf Grillo Pavilion and a former Minister of National Planning, said the one-day fiesta has been scheduled for Saturday, March 30 at 1, Sule Oyeshola Gbadamosi Crescent, Ikorodu, Lagos. It will encompass a lecture on Kolade Oshinowo by Prof. Jerry Buhari, viewing of the artist’s works in the gallery followed by lunch in the garden and interactive sessions with Oshinowo. Already occupying a prominent place in the annual cultural calendar, the Yusuf Grillo Pavilion, a brainchild of Chief Gbadamosi, started in 2009 as an avenue to appreciate, celebrate and recognise visual art masters who have contributed to the development and progress of the practice of visual arts”. The inaugural edition was held for Yusuf Grillo, after whom the Pavilion was christened. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions celebrated Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko and Okeke respectively. Domiciled in Ikorodu Town (a vibrant suburb of Lagos) from inception, not only will Grillo Pavilion again host a horde of art critics, researchers, students, patrons, historians, journalists and artists this year, but Ikorodu will be aglow with pride as one of her sons, Oshinowo, is honoured and recognised for prodigious creative work. Oshinowo is hailed as one of Nigeria’s most prolific visual artists and this was attested to by Dr. Kunle Adeyemi, Head, Curatorial Team for the 2013 Pavilion at the press conference. “We were confronted with which work

to register and show for the art fiesta as the master has too many good works that beckon ‘a must show’…the curatorial team faced what I termed choice challenges at the Osinowo studio and gallery”, Adeyemi said. Also speaking, the artist expressed deep gratitude that the 5th art fiesta was being staged in his honour adding that, “since the Grillo Pavilion started, I have never missed any edition”. Born 1948 in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, Oshinowo studied Fine Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He held various teaching and administrative positions at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. In 2004, he received the National Productivity Order of Merit award of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Aside members of the media, guests at the press conference included veteran arts aficionado, Benson Idonije; ex-Editor, Sunday Guardian, Jahman Anikulapo and Mrs. Titilayo Gbadamosi, amongst others.

new drama series, Glass House will soon be introduced to the airwaves, courtesy of Daches Multimedia, a frontline TV and digital content provider, headed by Jerry Isichei. The TV programme, which has cast members like Victor Olaotan, Kiki Omeilli, Moji Olaiya and Kelechi Ejelonu, amongst others is being directed and produced by Jerry Isichei, who is also responsible for Footprints, a soap opera which is currently in its fifth season and available on 35 TV stations across Nigeria and Europe. According to Isichei, Glass House should have been on air before now, save for some unforeseen circumstances. “It is better late than never. The project is long overdue. It is a story line that will leave a lot of inspiration, lessons and excitement amongst viewers, which is why when I look back, I thank God for the delay as well. It made sure that things were done thoroughly. The week we intended to start filming was when I lost my dad, but we give God all the glory. Glass House has some of the hottest artistes on TV right now. And everybody is working to make sure that the Nigerian TV scene has something exciting. Our team of writers is doing a great job in

bringing this work to reality. Nigerians should brace up for Victor Olaotan, who is playing Chief Mukoro, Moji Olaiya, who is Moji Mukoro, Kiki Omeilli, who is Esse, Michael Okon, who is playing Tega, Kelechi Ejelonu, who is Ajovi and Toyin Oshinaike, playing the role of Ugorji”. Glass House filming in Lagos, according to Isichei is a multithematic drama, highlighting certain ills in the society and how certain agents of intrigues work against good intentions. “Life is full of intrigues as regards the battle between good and bad and that is what this TV programme is portraying. In a world where things are changing rapidly, so much is at stake for the audience as Glass House gets set to screen on TV”, Isichei said.

Actors on the set of the TV series

Ghana-Nigeria culture showcase honours Aregbesola, others NGOZI EMEDOLIBE

T

his year’s Ghana-Nigeria Tourism and Culture Showcase will honour some Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the promotion of the culture and tourism sectors in Ghana and Nigeria. Those nominated for awards include: Rauf Aregbesola, Osun State Governor; Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State Governor; 2Face Idibia, foremost contemporary music artiste and Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications. The award, which is aimed at promoting the unique cultural identities of the two countries, will also recognise outstanding entrepreneurs who have business interest spreading across the two countries, according to a press statement made

available by Tribe Media. Confirming his willingness to play host to the event on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Ambassador Seyi Onafowokan told a delegation of Tribe Media and Pan Africa Ghana who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the Nigeria High Commission that the government was especially committed to the promotion of Nigeria’s diplomatic cultural policy at such a crucial time the nation is marking her centenary. The High Commissioner further assured the team that the Nigerian House in Ghana will gladly host a cocktail in honour of the Nigerian contingent to the event, adding that the bilateral tourism and culture initiative was one that should be sustained, considering that both countries share a lot in common. The Ghanaian Minister of Culture and Traditional Affairs, Hon. Dr.

Henry Seidu Daana also expressed the support of the government and people of Ghana for the event which will hold at the Accra International Conference Centre on April 18 and 19. This year’s event is expected to be declared open by President of Ghana, His Excellency John Drammani Mahama. Keynote addresses are expected from dignitaries like: His Excellency Amb. Seyi Onafowokan, Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana; Rauf Aregbesola; Hon Dr. Henry Seidu Daana; Hon. Mrs. Elizabeth OfosuAggyare, Ghana’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Arts; Dr. Munzali Dantata, DG, Nigeria Institute for Hospitality and Tourism; Prof. Ablade Glover, a former University Don at Kwame Nkruma University of Science and Tech. and Dr. Tony Joe Turkson, Dean School of Business-Takoradi Polytechnic.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Whether or not we will make it to Brazil next year will certainly be determined by our collective resolve!

Agbim to join Rangers on loan

30

- GHANA CAPTAIN, ASAMOAH GYAN

Eagles in Calabar Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Chigozie Agbim (Warri Wolves) Defenders: Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland), Elderson Echiejile (FC Braga, Portugal), Kenneth Omeruo (ADO Den Haag, Holland), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Benjamin Francis (Heartland); Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars) Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Chelsea, England), Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), Fegor Ogude (Valerenga, Norway), Gabriel Reuben (Kano Pillars), Sunday Mba (unattached), John Ogu (Academica de Coimbra, Portugal). Strikers:

Sunday Mba (left), tussling with Malian captain, Seydou Keita, in the AFCON 2013 Semi-Final match.

I’m charged for Kenya –Mba

N

igerian midfielder, Sunday Mba, is pleased to have made the 24-man list of the Super Eagles for Saturday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Harambee Stars of Kenya. Mba, a subject of an intense transfer battle between two Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) sides, Enugu

Rangers and Warri Wolves, had risked been dropped from the squad following declarations by the national team head coach, Stephen Keshi. Keshi had threatened to drop the player as he had not yet resumed playing competitively despite the domestic season already in full bloom. However, Mba was eventually in-

cluded in Keshi’s final squad alongside eight other stars from the NPFL and 15 overseas-based players. “I am pleased and relieved to have made the list. As always I will give 200 percent. Now the next step is to work hard in training and hope I get selected by the coach to play on Saturday,” Mba told supersport.com.

AYC: Gabon skipper misses Nigeria’s clash

G

abon skipper, Franck Engongah, will miss today’s U-20 African Youth Championship (AYC) Group B match against Nigeria after he was sent off against DR Congo. The Boca Juniors of Argentina defensive midfielder, who featured for his country at the 2012 London Olympics, was sent off after a second booking in last Sunday’s goalless draw with DRC. Kick-off for the match between Gabon and the Flying Eagles is 8.30pm at the Stade Ahmed Zabana in Oran. Flying Eagles lost their opening match against Mali

1-0 last Sunday. And ahead of today’s match that kicks off at 8.30pm in Oran, Algeria, striking duo of Olanrewaju Kayode and Edafe Egbedi has fired up their teammates to rise to the occasion. “It was very difficult against Mali, but we will bounce back on Wednesday (today) against Gabon,” said Kayode, who did not train with the rest of the squad on Monday night as he was nursing a slight knock from the Mali game. “We respect Gabon, but they are not in the same class with us and we will prove that on Wednesday,” added Denmark-based Egbedi.

Today’s Matches

Egbedi

Mali

v

Congo DR

Gabon

v

Nigeria

Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kyiv,Ukraine), Victor Moses (Chelsea, England), Babatunde Michael (Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine), Nnamdi Oduamadi (A.S Varese, Italy), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders, USA), Gambo Mohammed (Kano Pillars), Obinna Nwachukwu (Heartland)

Wanyama promises Eagles hell A FOLABI G AMBARI

WITH AGENCY REPORT

H

arambee Stars’ striker, Victor Wanyama, has boasted that the East Africans could cause an upset by beating the Super Eagles when both sides clash on Saturday in a World Cup 2014 qualifier in Calabar. “We are ready for this match with the knowledge that in football, anyone can beat anyone and everything is possible,” Wanyama, who plies his trade at Celtic, told MTNFootball.com yesterday. “I think if we do things right we might even go to the World Cup,” he added. The 21-year-old player became famous when he scored against Barcelona in a 2-1 win in a UEFA Champions League tie in November 2012, drawing attention afterwards from European top sides that include Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal, even as he has declined a contract extension at Celtic. Meanwhile, the Kenya contingent yesterday announced that it would arrive in Lagos at noon today enroute Calabar aboard a chartered flight to the Cross River State capital. Spokesman for the Kenya Football Limited (KFL), Henry Kariuki, said on a radio programme monitored in Lagos that the team was determined to record an upset against the starstudded Eagles who are under pressure to sustain their AFCON 2013 success. “From the preparation that the Stars have had so far, the KFL has no doubt of a good result for our country in Calabar,” Kariuki said.


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Sport

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Owen calls time on career

F

Lampard targets millennium

C

helsea midfielder, Frank Lampard, hopes to reach a century of England appearances after netting 200 goals for Chelsea. The 34-year-old midfielder reached his double century of goals in the 2-0 defeat of his former club West Ham which took the Blues to third in the Barclays Premier League ahead of the international break. Chelsea faces six matches in 16 days following the internationals, but Lampard is now focused on England duty, with six more appearances required to reach 100 caps. “I’m really enjoying the England thing,” the midfielder said yesterday. Lampard showed few signs of age catching up with him against the Hammers and he is relishing the finale of a season which could be his last at Stamford Bridge, with his contract set to expire this summer. Meanwhile, Gary Cahill has been ruled out of England’s World Cup qualifier with San Marino and has been replaced ep aced by Newcastle’s Ne cast e s uncapped u capped SteSte ven Taylor. The Chelsea defender was assessed by England medical staff who decided he will not be fit to take part in Friday’s match.

ormer England striker, Michael Owen, has announced he will retire from football at the end e of the season. The 33-year-old who began his T career at Liverpool before spells car at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United U and current club Stoke City, a announced the decision yestera day. d “It an immense amount of “ It is with w pride that tha I am announcing my intenfrom Professional Football tion to retire ret at the end of this season,” the England legend ssaid. “I ha have been very fortunate in that my career care has taken me on a journey that like many young players starting out, I cou could only have dreamt of,” he added. “None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I with have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, back room staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors.” Owen, whose father Terry played for Everton, joined Liverpool at the age of 12 and broke club and international scoring records throughout his youth career. After scoring 158 goals in 297 games, Owen elected to leave Liverpool in August 2004, joining Real Madrid in an £8m move but he failed to nail down a first team place at the Bernabeu despite continuing to score whenever he was selected. Owen spent three years at United, scoring 17 goals in 52 games before moving to Stoke City where to date he has scored one goal in seven appearances.

Cech turns Gunners’ ‘bride’

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helsea goalkeeper, Petr Cech, is the surprise name on Arsenal’s six-man shortlist to replace goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny next season. The Chelsea keeper, who has been watched extensively by Gunners’ scouts, remains the Blues’ first-choice keeper and a move across London would be one of the most unexpected transfers in recent memory. Cech’s deal expires in the summer of 2016 and the chances of Chel-

sea agreeing to sell the goalkeeper to one of its biggest rivals seem remote. But Arsene Wenger’s renewed vigour illustrates his intention to spend heavily this summer as Pepe Reina, Asmir Begovic, Victor Valdes, Rene Adler and Michel Vorm also appear on the club’s goalkeeping hit list. Szczesny is facing a fight to save his Gunners career after a string of belowpar displays. The Pole was dropped in favour of countryman Lukasz Fabianski for Arsenal’s last two games against Bayern Munich and Swansea.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Tit bits...

Shilton England’s most capped footballer, Peter Shilton, has been banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty to a drink-driving offence, reports said yesterday. The 63-year-old, of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, was arrested in Manor Road in Colchester on February 24. Shilton, whose partner is understood to live in Colchester, was charged with driving with excess alcohol. Magistrates in Colchester also ordered him to pay fines and costs totaling £1,020.

W/C qualifi AFOLABI GAMBARI

WITH AGENCY REPORT

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arriors of Zimb play Egypt in a Cup qualifier u test on March 26 due to th instability rocking the N can country. The Warriors face the in their third World Cup and efforts to have the ma to a neutral venue have b down by both CAF and FI

Tamas

West Brom defender, Gabriel Tamas, is in talks about a new contract and says he wants to finish his career at The Hawthorns. Tamas, who joined Albion three years ago from Auxerre on an initial loan, is out of contract in the summer. “I would like to stay here until the end of my career,” Tamas said, adding, “I hope to play football for another decade, maybe up until I am 38 or 40.”

Laudrup

Swansea Manager, Michael Laudrup, has admitted his mind is more or less made up on the players he will retain for next season. In comments that could worry fringe members of his squad, Laudrup suggested it was highly unlikely that he will be using the final eight games of Swansea’s season as an audition for those who had not yet proved themselves.

Pulis

Stoke Manager, Tony Pulis, yesterday criticised reports claiming he is considering his future at the Britannia Stadium. “On transfer fees and money spent on the first team, nobody can question the Coates family on the amount of money they have invested in this football club,” Pulis said. “Anybody who says anything else is being disrespectful to a family that should be held in high esteem,” he added.

Taylor

Matthew Taylor has revealed he played with a broken jaw against Chelsea on Sunday. The West Ham midfielder was knocked unconscious earlier this month when kicked in the face by Peter Crouch and despite not yet being fully healed he refused to sit out the clash at Stamford Bridge. He came on in place of Mo Diame at half time and said afterwards he would continue to make himself available to Sam Allardyce even with the fractured bone.

Zimbabwean players will seek

Club Owners on collision c

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fresh round of ba tween the League pany (LMC), own registered Nigeria Pro League (NPFL) and the C ciation over the alleged COA’s directors. While registering with fairs Commission (CAC) o the LMC had listed four ers of NPFL, namely Nd Maigari (representing th Association), chairman o Alhaji Sabo Babayaro; an of the Lagos State Footba But the club owners holes in the arrangemen for yet another crisis tha page of the two-week-old National Mirror gathe owners would summon League club managers to soon to harmonise their velopment, although ma bers might call for the lea “We shall resist this because the teams are c league and not the prope as the LMC has done,” owner said yesterday. The application prep Aminu & Partners for t verified and approved on the CAC.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

29

fier: Zimbabwe squares Egypt on protest

babwe will 2014 World under prohe political North Afri-

e Pharaohs p qualifier atch moved een turned IFA.

“We have advised the match commissioner that we are playing under protest because of the conditions that are prevailing there,” Chief Executive Officer of Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), Jonathan Mashingaidze, said in Harare yesterday. “We have no choice but to just go and play and register our protest there. We do not want to be scapegoats,” Mashingaidze added. Zimbabwe needs to win the match to keep the country’s hopes

after alive after losing the opening match 1-0 to Guinea at home before a 0-0 draw away against Mozambique. Egypt won two of its opening matches. Meanwhile, Warriors’ Coach, Klaus Pagels, has made some changes to his team after Matthew Rusike and Simba Sithole pulled out due to injuries. He has also recalled Belgiumbased Ovidy Karuru and Moroka Swallows defender Gilbert Mapemba.

Blue House shines in Skylight

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lue house has won the 8th Inter-house Sports meet of Skylight Schools Ikola Ipaja, Lagos at the Sports Centre of Anglican Comprehensive High School, Ipaja. Blue house came top with 300 points in the overall table ahead of defending champion Yellow House which had 289 points. Red House came third with 273 points while Green House got 261 points to place 4th. In some of the events decided, Blue House made it a clean sweep of medals as

TONY ANICHEBE

s, LMC course

attle is brewing beManagement Comners of the newly fessional Football Club Owners Assosubversion of the

pared by George the LMC has been n March 1, 2013 by

Kafayat Onasanya claimed gold in the 800 meters Girls final while her housemates, Aishat Ojeyemi and Chioma Anumaka, finished second and third respectively. Joyce Ogunmokun of Green House won the high jump gold, with Alimot Agunbiade of Red House finishing second ahead of Chioma Anumaka of Blue House. In the Girls shot put, Blessing Okpara of Red House gold as Remi Adediran of Green House and Folake Adeshina of Yel-

low House took silver and bronze respectively while Emmanuel Nwaokocha of Yellow House was adjudged the Best Athlete of the day. Director of the school, Richard Taiwo, expressed satisfaction with the students’ performance while admonishing parents to encourage their wards to embrace sports as a profession. “The school will continue to hold the event to keep the children healthy and physically strong,” Taiwo assured.

Ibom Stadium due in December

k a repeat of this celebration when they meet Pharaohs in Cairo on March 26

h the Corporate Afon January 30, 2013, r directors as ownduka Irabor, Aminu he Nigeria Football of Kaduna United, nd Seyi Akinwumi all Association. yesterday picked nt, setting the stage at could force stopleague. ered that the club n all the Premier a meeting in Abuja position on the deajority of its memague’s suspension. ugly development co-directors of the erty of individuals an aggrieved club

Parents marching at the inter house sports meet of Pacific Schools, Shasha, Lagos State recently

Otu-Akpan

Funds scarcity stops Otu-Akpan YEMI OLUS

L

ack of funds has stalled Cecelia Otu-Akpan’s participation in the forthcoming 2013 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships scheduled to hold in Paris France from May 13 to 20 But the All-Africa Games gold medalist told National Mirror yesterday that the ill health suffered by Cross Rivers State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, may have put paid to her dreams of participating in the champion-

ships as the issue was not tabled to the governor on time. “You know, our governor has not been feeling fine and it would be too late to table such a request now because sponsoring some athletes from Cross Rivers State will cost millions,” she said. “I would have seen the signs by now if we were to go to France but we are yet to be called for visa interview. “I know some members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will travel but I wish we could also make it there as well. The Nigeria Table Tennis federation (NTTF) has also not reached us, although that may not be unconnected to the election in April.” Despite having featured in a number of international competitions, Otu-Akpan is looking forward to participating in next year’s National Sports Festival which has been thrown open to elite athletes. “We are already training towards next year’s NSF and the Commonwealth Games even though we do not have enough competitions. We want to win as many gold medals as possible so we are already preparing; we are not taking anything for granted.”

UYO

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he Akwa Ibom State Olympic Stadium under construction will be completed in December this year. Project Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the contractor handling the project, Mr. Chustan Lerche, gave the deadline while conducting the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Ita Umo Udo, round the project site. Lerche, who was assisted by the consultant to the project, Mr. Bassey Bassey, during the visit disclosed that the stadium, on completion, would have 36 exits and that the main bowl would capable of draining out flood water 20 minutes after a heavy downpour. He also disclosed that the main playing pitch would be made of natural grass to conform with international standard, since artificial pitch is not acceptable. The consultant, in his contribution, assured that the stadium would be completed on schedule, but pleaded with the host community and the adjoining villages to show concern and support the project instead of unnecessary demands from the company. Speaking, the commis-

sioner explained that the state government had paid all the claims and compensation due to owners of the land on which the stadium is sited and the drainage through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Renewal and wondered which other compensation the youths were clamouring for. He urged elders and youth

leaders of the host community to show understanding and restrain the youths from delaying the works, pointing out that if the project is not completed on schedule, it will be the state that will suffer and not the company. “If the work is not completed on schedule, the state will suffer the consequence,” Udo warned.

Take me to Glasgow 2014, says Police Games medallist

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gold and silver medallist in kickboxing and boxing at the last Police Games held in Port Harcourt, Michael Ayodele, says his dream is to represent Nigeria at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Ayodele told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Akure that his dream would be fulfilled if given opportunity to represent Nigeria at the Games. The Zone 11 athletes, who won gold in the 86kg kickboxing and silver in the same category of boxing, said the double victory at the Police Games had further boosted his morale. “I am happy that I contributed to the success of

my zone. I trained regularly for my aspirations to come true and now I am proud I won a medal each in two different sports. “But I will be more fulfilled if given the chance to be in the next Commonwealth Games to represent the country,” Ayodele said. Zone Two of the Nigeria Police emerged overall champions of the Games with 220 medals. The zone won 86 gold, 70 silver and 64 bronze medals to finish tops on the medals’ table and clinch the games’ trophy. The Force Headquarters, Abuja, was second with70 gold, 66 silver and 46 bronze medals, while Zone 11 came third with 47 gold, 46 silver and 56 bronze medals.


30

Sport

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nigeria Premier Nig League with

Cricket

IIKENWA NNABUOGOR ikenwa.nnabuogor@gmail.com

Nasarawa United shift Aba trip

Fixtures Today

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ewly-promoted Nasarawa United have shifted their trip to Aba for their Thursday’s league tie against Enyimba by a day due to financial problems, National Mirror can exclusively report. The struggling side was scheduled to depart Lafia on Tuesday for their long trip to Aba but had to shift the journey a day forward, meaning the NPFL newcomers are expected to embark on the journey today. Club sources revealed that the financial difficulties besetting the club may have been the reason why their trip was shifted. The club is cutting costs since it is working on a shoe string budget that has also seen the players yet to receive their entitlements this season. Meanwhile, former Golden Eaglets goalkeeper Dami Paul is expected to keep his gloves in the Enyimba game having recovered from a slight hamstring injury. The diminutive keeper aggravated the groin injury he had been nursing in their league opener against El-Kanemi but soldiered on till the blast of referee’s whistle. Paul has since recovered from the injury having been excluded from training and allowed to rest leading to the game against Enyimba. The source told National Mirror that the keeper started jogging few days after their league opener and has been certified fit for their trip to Aba, where he’s expected to be in the post. Star striker Eze Isiocha said the club have put behind the pain of not grabbing the maximum points in their league opener against ElKanemi that ended in a stalemate, to gun for glory against the Aba Millionaires. He admits the game will be a tough one considering the pedigree of the two-time African champions, but expresses optimism that they will come away with a good result. “It will be a tough game but we’re upbeat that we will put up a very good show,” Isiocha said. “The game is particularly interesting for me because Enyimba are my home town club and I’m very known in Aba. “I was devastated my effort last time was adjudged to be offside by the referee but it’s in the past now and I’m looking forward to grabbing my first league goal on Thursday.”

El-Kanemi

vs

Wikki Tourists

Kwara Utd

vs

Sunshine Stars

Kano Pillars

vs

Bayelsa United

Dolphins

vs

3SC

Thursday, March 21 Enyimba

vs

Nasarawa Utd

Nembe City

vs

Rangers

Warri Wolves

vs

Heartland

Kaduna Utd

vs

Sharks

Gombe Utd

vs

ABS

Lobi Stars

vs

Akwa United

NPFL Week 1 results Rangers

1-0

Enyimba

Heartland

1-2

Nembe City

Nasarawa

0-0

El Kanemi

Agbim to join Rangers on loan

Akwa Utd

1-0

Dolphin

Wikki

0-1

Kano Pillars

Sharks

2-1

Wolves

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Sunshine

1-0

Kaduna Utd

3SC

2-0

Gombe

ABS

0-0

Kwara Utd

Bayelsa

1-0

Lobi

Agbim

igeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club, Enugu Rangers, could finally land Super Eagles’ goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim this week. But supersport.com has been informed that the Flying Antelopes could end up snapping the shot-stopper from Warri Wolves only on a loan deal till the end of this season. Rangers are said to be exploring the possibility of a loan deal for the Nigerian goalkeeper as at last week but the effort fell through on the eve of their trip to Bujumbura in Burundi where they faced Vital’O in the

CAF Champions League on Sunday. “Rangers were very close to finalising paperwork to get Agbim before the trip to Bujumbura last Wednesday. They listed his name among the 18 travelling players with the expectation that they would get him just before they left the country. “Unfortunately they couldn’t finish the paperwork to secure the deal. So I believe when Rangers return to the country this week, they will continue from where they stopped regarding Agbim’s transfer,” said a source from the Rang-

Amanyi returns for Oluyole Warriors

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hooting Stars’ central defender David Amanyi is set to return to action in their Thursday’s league fixture at Dolphins following his shin injury. Amanyi was named in the 18-man list that made the trip to Port Harcourt for the league game. The Kaduna-born star copped the injury in the preseason build-up in Ijebu-Ode and had been in the treatment room. He was excluded from their league opener against Gombe United at home as his rehabilitation process continued. Amanyi told National Mirror that he would start against Dolphins, maintaining that he would be on top of his game to justify his inclusion despite his absence. “It’s good to be back in again after being in the sidelines due to shin injury I copped on my right leg,” he said. “I was rested for a long time while I continued with my rehabilitation. I was fit enough to play the league opener against Gombe United but I was told by the coach to rest. “I’m really looking forward to the game and I’m set to do what I know best. The game is important to me Amanyi because I need to be on top of my game.”

ers’ camp. Before now, Warri Wolves were demanding for a transfer fee of N15 million from Rangers for the Nigerian goalkeeper. Rangers had offered N4 million, which their Professional Football League rivals baulked at until a loan deal was mooted recently owing to the fact that the Flying Antelopes had registered the goalkeeper for the Caf Champions League before they agreed on a deal with Wolves. The financial details of the loan deal are however undisclosed.

Dolphins grab Onuigbo from Vietnam

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ormer Heartland and Al Hilal striker, Ifeanyi Onuigbo, has sensationally returned home to sign for Dolphins, having successfully completed his transfer from his former Vietnamese club T&T Hanoi. The big striker joined the growing Nigerian players’ train to Vietnam after he left his Egyptian side last season. He played 11 games without finding target and was released by the rich Vietnamese club following the row in the review foreign players’ quota that threatened to take the shine from the fast growing Vietnam’s Super League. Onuigbo made his name in the colours of the Beach Eagles while playing for the defunct NPA FC Lagos in 2006. His superlative outing in the Beach tournament in South Africa earned him a move to Heartland in 2007. He would later take his trade abroad, joining Sudan’s Al-Hilal one year later. At Hilal he managed five goals from 12 games and moved on again, this time to Ahly Benghazi in Libya where he played for three seasons before moving on to Hanoi T & T in Vietnam in 2012. The Lagos-born striker has now pitched his tent with Dolphins at least for the next season since he signed a one year deal. “We expect him to give his best and not jettison the team at the slightest opportunity,” Head of Dolphins technical crew, Stanley Eguma said. “Part of the agreement we had with him was that he will stay with us for one season except of course there is an arrangement where the management of the team grants him permission to travel,” Eguma said.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

31

Business & Finance We want to make Ibom Airport a model for others in West Africa Chairman, Project Implementation Committee Idongesit Nkanga

We are working to ensure that network operators are able to roll out infrastructures without hitches including bottlenecks of multiple taxations and regulations MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY, OMOBOLA JOHNSON

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Why FG is yet to release list of fuel importers’ UDEME AKPAN

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he Federal Government has not yet released the list of approved fuel importers for the second quarter of the year, barely one week to the end of the first quarter because of the need to ensure that companies with bad records are not given opportunity to participate. A source in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who confirmed that the ministry received a comprehensive list of about 40 companies from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), two weeks ago said it was still being reviewed. He said: “We can confirm to you that we have received the list from PPPRA. What the agency has done is not final. The ministry has the power to remove or add to it. The essence is to ensure that only competent and reputable firms are engaged to do the importation.” The official said al-

though the list of importers was expected to be released last month, there was a need to ensure that companies with questionable character are eliminated. Marketers who applied for participation in the exercise said they expected the list to be released early this month to enable them prepare and deploy adequate resources for the

importation. One of them who preferred not to be named said: “We thought the list would be released before now so that we can prepare to start placing orders for the product. If the list takes a long time to come out, it therefore means that the importation may also start much later than expected. The General Manager,

Media Relations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Farouk Omar, said he was not in a position to speak for the agency and PPPRA is not an NNPC subsidiary. The Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr. Reginald Stanley did not take telephone calls nor respond to several messages sent to him yesterday A survey of the market

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rik Air yesterday denied increasing airfares due to the temporary grounding of Dana Air and Aero Airlines for different reasons.

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

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

Arik Air Lag-Abj:07.15, 09.15, 10.20, 13.05, 15.20, 16.20, 16.50,18.45 (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun). Abj-Lag: 07:15, 09.40,10.20, 12.15, 15.15, 16.15,17:10, (Mon-Fri/Sat/Sun); 12.15, 15.15, 16.15 (Sun)Lag-PH: 07:15, 11.40, 14.00, 16.10, 17.15 (Mon-Fri) 07.30, 11.40, 15.50 (Sat) 11.50, 3.50, 17.05 Sun) Abj-PH: 07.15, 11.20, 15.30 (Mon-Fri) 07.15, 16.00 (Sat) 13.10, 16.00 Sun) PH-Abj: 08.45, 12.50, 17.00 (Mon-Fri) 08.45, 17.30 (Sat) 14.40, 17.30 (Sun) AbvBeni:08.00, 12.10 (Mon-Fri/ Sat)08.56, 12.10(Sun)

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

IRS

L-R: Senior Manager, National Security, MTN, Mr. Olisa Don Ogwuadi; Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 11, Osogbo, Mr. Ebikeme Orubebe and Regional Security Manager, West, MTN, Mr. Frank Oduaran during a visit by the AIG to MTN office in Ibadan, yesterday.

Arik Air denies increasing airfares as Dana resumes operations OLUSEGUN KOIKI

showed that both independent and major marketers have stocks that can last up to the early part of the second quarter. Spokesman of Nipco, Mr. Lawal Taofeek said: “Immediate negative impact should not be expected as there are always contingency plans to meet any shortfall. Marketers usually have stocks that could last to up to two or three weeks into the next quarter. According to him, it is after that period that any negative impact could start to be witnessed in the downstream sector, involving refining, distribution and marketing of petroleum products.

This is just as Dana Airline yesterday resumed flight operations following the release of its operating license by the Ministry of Aviation. A statement signed by the spokesman of Arik Air, Mr. Adebanji Ola stated that it has not increased fares across its network as being speculated in some quarters. The airline’s Associate Vice President,

Public and Government Affairs, Mr. Lanre Bamgbose in the statement said the airline’s fares remain as it was at the beginning of the year. The statement reads in part, “Our fares still remain competitive in the industry. We have special low fares to all destinations as well as lower fares when you book on line. Further discounts are available

when you booking a return domestic flight.” He, however, called on the travelling public to beware of activities of touts who are may want to cash on the present situation to swindle them. He stated that touting thrives when passengers are desperate and advised its passengers to buy their tickets on time and directly from its sales desk at the airports

or sales outlets across the country and duly accredited travel agents. Meanwhile, following the lifting of suspension of its operations, Dana Air yesterday resumed flight operations. National Mirror was at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Two (MMA2) yesterday and observed that the airline was already selling tickets to willing travellers.

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

NCP terminates ALCSON share purchase deal

FG moves to protect ICT infrastructures

Electricity distribution companies still awaiting signal to import meters

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Business Finance

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

NCP terminates ALCSON share purchase deal AYO OLESIN

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he National Council on Privatisation, NCP, has approved the termination of the offer by BFI Group Corporation to purchase 77.5 per cent equity in the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) following their inability to meet the payment deadline. BFI was required to pay the agreed 10 per cent of the offer price within 15 working days of the execution of the Share/Sales Purchase Agreement as directed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The Bureau for Public Enterprises said in a statement issued yesterday and signed by Public Communications. Mr. Chigbo Anichebe that the deadline for the execution of the SPA and payment of the 10 per cent of the offer price elapsed at midnight Nigerian time on the March 18, 2013 and as at that deadline date, the BFIG had neither executed the SPA nor made the initial mandatory 10 per cent of the bid amount. The Supreme Court of Nigeria, had in a July 6, 2012 judgment ordered that ALSCON, located in Ikot-Abasi, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria, be offered to BFIG Corpora-

tion as the rightful preferred bidder after it contented the earlier award to Russian firm, RUSAL. The BPE consequently transmitted an offer letter and the Share Sales/Purchase Agreement (SPA) in respect of ALSCON to BFIG. However, BFIG was expected to execute the Share Sales/Purchase Agreement (SPA) and pay $41m being the agreed 10 per cent of the offer price of $410 m within 15 days of the execution of the SPA as directed by the Supreme Court. The BPE also said that BFIG, in total disregard of the apex court, drafted and executed an agreement that was different from

the one ordered by the Supreme Court and failed to pay up. The court had made an “order of specific performance” mandating the respondent to provide the mutually agreed share purchase agreement for execution by the parties to enable the plaintiff pay the agreed 10 per cent of the accepted bid price and the 90 per cent balance of bid price shall be paid within 90 calendar days. The financial bid opening for the privatisation of ALSCON was held on June 14, 2004 and BFIG emerged the preferred bidder with a bid offer of $410 m subject to the approval of the Na-

tional Council on Privatisation (NCP.) The Federal Government approved their bid and on June 17, 2004, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), conveyed the approval of the Federal Government to BFIG Group, which however was unable to pay the 10 per cent deposit with the 15 day deadline and instead sought a 10 day extension which was turned down by the Federal Government. The company then sued the BPE at the Federal High Court, Abuja challenging the decision of the BPE to cancel its status as the preferred bidder.

Africa’s energy can drive growth – Report DAYO AYEYEMI

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

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L-R: Vice Chancellor, Unilorin, Professor Abdul Ganiyu Ambali; Winner/ 300 level Law student of the University of Ilorin, Sola Oladimeji and Manager, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Idiareno Atimomo, during the presentation of the Etisalat Cliqfest raffle draw star prize in Unilorin recently.

Sacked bank workers insist on payment of redundancy benefits MESHACK IDEHEN

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acked workers of Mainstreet Bank limited formerly known as Afribank Plc, said they will continue to fight for the payment of their redundancy and other benefits until they are adequately settled by the bank. The sacked workers who held a peaceful meeting at the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) office in Lagos, said they would not give up demanding for their right until they have all received their entitlement. According to them, about 800 workers were sacked on June 22, 2012 without any reason after some of them had served the bank for 30 years. A member of the executive of the aggrieved workers, Mr Pascal Ndukwe, told National Mirror that they were surprised when the management of Mainstreet Bank told them (workers from Afribank) that their employment in the bank was not continuous.

Ndukwe explained the workers were further shocked, because they had previously been given assurance that they would not be laid off, saying also that if the employment of the workers were not continuous, why then was their loans transferred to Mainstreet Bank?, adding the situation is sad because their other colleagues in Keystone Bank have since received their redundancy entitlement. Speaking further, Ndukwe lamented that the workers were unhappy because their union, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks and Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) had not shown enough concern to their plight, adding the gratuity which the union had agreed that the workers be paid was a paltry sum. “No sacked worker can accept to be paid gratuity in place of redundancy package. If we are paid redundancy the money would be about N20bn with each person receiving

about N4m”, he said. On his part another member of the executive, Mr Eyo Usanga, said the workers would not take the matter to the court but would continue to pressure the country leaders and law makers to intervene in their case until it was settled. He said that some of the sacked workers had protested in their zones in Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna and Benin, and urged those in Lagos and other parts of the country not to relent until they are settled. Responding to the allegations of the workers, TUC’s General Secretary, Mr Musa Lawal, said the Congress would not take further decision on the issue since ASSBIFI and the bank had signed an agreement that the sacked workers be paid gratuity. He disclosed that the total sum of the gratuity had been deposited in each person’s account as they would soon start to get their alerts.

frica can go a long way towards lifting itself out of poverty and ending its chronic shortage of energy by using its own resources, a report has said. The report, entitled, Powering Africa through Feed-in Tariffs advancing renewable energies to meet the continent’s electricity needs, said renewable energy feed-in tariff policies (REFiTs) can unlock renewable energy development in Africa. REFiTs encourage investment in generating renewable energy - by individual home owners and communities as well as institutional investors - by guaranteeing to buy all the electricity produced from renewable sources. The report is based on analysis of existing and planned REFiT policies in 13 African coun-

tries. It is the work of the World Future Council and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, with the support of Friends of the Earth UK. It says that, when tailored to local conditions, REFiT policies successfully increase the overall energy production of areas both on and off the electricity grid. Their decentralised nature, it said, provides an opportunity to empower communities and to revitalise local democracy and self-governance by allowing for alternative models of ownership and governance. And, of course, they do not cause emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, being based on technologies like wind and solar power. The authors said REFiTs have helped to increase the use of renewable technologies worldwide, with 65 countries implementing some version of the policy by 2012.

SON shuts steel firm over substandard products STANLEY IHEDIGBO

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n a bid to ensure full compliance with the zero tolerance policy for substandard goods as well as stem the tide of incessant building collapse across the country, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria has shut down Sunflag Steel Manufacturing Company located in Ikorodu, Lagos. Head of Inspectorate and Compliance, Mr. Bede Obayi, who represented the SON Director General and lead the operation told news men after the closure products failured to meet the basic quantity standards. He said that SON had no other option than to close the company as several efforts made by SON to ensure that the company complies with quality standards proved abortive. According to him, laboratory analyses of the company

product failed tensile and yield strength, which poses great danger to the users of the steel product. The company will remain closed until it complies with the requirements as stipulated in the Nigerian Industrial Standards. He called on users of steel products in the country to patronise steels that are embossed with individual company’s identification mark as it is a veritable source of identifying and ascertaining quality steel products. He noted that SON recently introduced company’s identification marks embossment on steel bars to ensure best practices, self regulatory checks as well as well traceability. He said that such initiative would also help the organisation to determine the source of products used in the event of structural collapse, he affirmed.


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Business Finance

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FG moves to protect ICT infrastructures KUNLE A ZEEZ

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he Federal Government said it has begun intensive work aimed at tackling vandalism of Information and Communication Technology infrastructures in the country through appropriate policies. The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who stated this on the sidelines of the flagging off of the pilot phase of the National Microwork Initiative in Lagos, said ICT infrastructures had become central to any nation’s economy for their protection to be left in the hands of private sector. “What we are doing presently is working on so many things that will ensure that telecoms services improved tremendously. “We are working to ensure that network operators are able to roll out infrastructures without hitches including bottlenecks of

multiple taxations and regulations; Right of Ways challenges; kicking against vandalism of ICT infrastructure among others,” she said. She said the ministry was working with the state authorities; agencies of government to ensure that ICT infrastructures are well protected in order for the operators to be able to deliver improved services to their over 113 million subscribers. In addition, the minister assured that the country will flag off its mobile number portability scheme before the end of this month, as earlier promised. “We are going ahead with Mobile Number Portability, because it is going to give subscribers lots of choice and freedom. MNP will bring new dimension to the competition in the industry. All network operators will have to work harder to earn the trust of subscribers, because they will now have choices.

“MNP will definitely give consumer varieties of choice but the major issue is for us to improve on our infrastructure and improve services, so that we don’t have to be moving from network to network,” he added. However, speaking on the opportunities available for youths in the micro-work initiative, the minister said the scheme will create jobs. She said ICT has been recognised as the fastest-growing sector of the Nigerian economy currently growing at 30 per cent, saying the sector has maintained the momentum for the past five years. “So, in the scheme, we are leveraging ICT to empower people such that at the end of the training, participants can sit at home with a PC and Internet connection to do a business, without necessarily going out. It will aggregate work for micro-workers and rub off well for Nigerians and the economy.”

Indomie Sub-Distributors promo star prize winner, Mr. Ugochukwu Nwosu, (right) and Area Sales Manager, Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Port-Harcourt, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoloedo, at the prize presentation to the winner in Port-Harcourt, recently.

‘Nigeria’s N40bn Vessel Financing Fund lying idle in banks’ FRANCIS EZEM

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igeria’s $200m (N40bn) Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) is currently lying idle at the various receiving commercial banks about 10 years after the fund was created to enable indigenous ship owners acquire ships, says foremost maritime lawyer, Mr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN). CVFF, established under the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act 2003, is derived from the two percent deduction from all contracts awarded under the Cabotage regime designed to enable indigenous shipping companies acquire adequate tonnage to be able to participate in coastal and inland trade currently dominated by foreigners, who also dominate deep sea shipping. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is the statutory secretariat for the fund and is also mandated

to disburse it. Igbowe, who is senior partner of Mike Igbokwe (SAN) & Co, while speaking in Lagos, noted that nearly 10 years after, the fund is lying unused at the various commercial banks housing it. “It is noteworthy that section 44 of the Cabotage Act and some clauses of its guidelines made in 2006 provide for a Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund for the purpose of providing financial assistance to indigenous operators to acquire Cabotage ships, facilitate vessel charters and other shipping auxiliary projects relating to the development of local tonnage”, he said. He also said: “But I am not aware any Nigerian investor has benefited from the said Fund. The consequence is that the Fund which runs into millions of United States dollars is being enjoyed by the banks in which they are deposited at the expense of the indigenous ship operators for whose

benefit the legislators made the provisions”. “Moreover, by the combined reading of sections 16 and 17 of its enabling Act, NIMASA is mandated to establish a Maritime Fund that it should provide with not less than 25 percent of its revenue and use it to promote the development of indigenous shipping and shipping infrastructure in Nigeria for Nigerian citizens and companies. Igbokwe argued that if these provisions are fully implemented, Nigerian citizens and companies intending to invest and those already doing business in the maritime industry will be more capable of growing and occupying their pride of place. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, had recently queried the decision of NIMASA to allow both funds to lie untapped in bank vaults while the stakeholders suffer.

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MAN hails FG for renaming ministry STANLEY IHEDIGBO

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he Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has hailed the Federal Government for renaming the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment to Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI), saying is a new drive to re-position the manufacturing sector. According to the statement from the association, the Honourable Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed the development at a meeting with the National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos, recently. It stated that MAN has been the leading voice in the call for name change when government named the former Ministry of

Commerce and Industry, in 2011 as Ministry of Trade and Investment. At the meeting with MAN National Council, Mr. Aganga reiterated the position of the government that the new National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) would be the drive of the new vision of Government for the manufacturing sector. He added that President Goodluck Jonathan said that the 2013 budget and beyond would be designed to encourage the manufacturing sector for employment generation. In support of government’s new resolve, the Minister explained that no major nation has managed to transform itself from a poor nation to rich nation by relying solely on exports of raw materials without a vibrant industrial and services sector.

UBA Ghana posts higher profits

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nited Bank for Africa (Ghana) Limited a subsidiary of United Bank for Africa Plc, has made steady and significant strides in the growth of its profits and total assets, according to the bank’s financial statement for last year, which was published last Monday in Accra. UBA drastically reduced its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio during the period under review, the financial year-ending December 31, 2012. The bank posted a profit before tax of GH¢62.9 million compared with GH¢30.1 million in 2011, representing a 108 per cent rise. Profit-after-tax grew by 112 per cent from GH¢22.4

million in 2011 to GH¢47.5 million while there was also an appreciable growth in total assets of 23 per cent from December 2011 to the same period last year. The growth, according to Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mr Oliver Alawuba, was mainly due to a 79 per cent rise in net interest income over the 2011 level on the back of over 62 per cent increase in the bank’s loan book, as well as 41 per cent growth in its investment in government securities. Alawuba observed that the consistent growth in the bank’s performance was attributable to some peculiar credentials about UBA.

SystemSpecs restructures operations KUNLE A ZEEZ

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ystemSpecs, Nigeria’s leading e-payment and financial management solutions provider, has restructured operations, leading to the promotion of six management staff of the company. The elevated staff members include Emmanuel Eze, Demola Igbalajobi and Paul Ibidun who are now General Managers; Uche Obiofuma as Deputy General Manager; while Abayomi Oniku and Olugbenga Oludaisi are now Assistant General Managers. The Managing Director of the company, Mr. John Obaro, in statement announced the promotions, which he said had been approved by the company’s board of directors chaired by Dr. Christopher Kolade. According to Obaro, “The promotions were approved by the company’s Board of Directors in recognition of the commendable contributions, dedication, commit-

ment and loyalty that these managers have shown to the company.” He said the promotion form an integral part of a bouquet of company-wide recognition and commendation exercise in which employees at other cadres of the system have earlier been duly recognized, saying that SystemSpecs’ flagship product, Remita, remains a leading integrated e-payment, payroll solutions with in-built biometrics in the country and beyond. Eze is the Chief Technology Officer of SystemSpecs. She is a graduate of Computer Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a PhD candidate in Computer Science at the Centre for Internet Computing, University of Hull, United Kingdom and members of many professional bodies. Igbalajobi is the Group Head of Remita Services at SystemSpecs. An accountant by profession, Igbalajobi is a seasoned Project Management Professional with over 20 years multiindustry experience.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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35

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Energy Week Electricity distribution companies still awaiting signal to import meters

udemea@rocketmail.com 07031546994

Consumers of electricity had expected early supply of new meters following the intervention of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). UDEME AKPAN reports, however, that the era of exploitation may continue as importers have not yet started the process.

Power station

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t has become unbearable for electricity consumers to pay their monthly bills in virtually all parts of the nation for a reason. The bills that have risen by about 150 per cent in the past one year are not real. They are based on the estimation of electricity distribution companies’ officials who have no clear basis for doing so. These consumers however expected to heave a sigh of relief following the intervention of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC), that has emerged with guidelines to regulate the importation of new meters into the nation. The importation of new meters through an arrangement known as Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI), is expected to assist both consumers and the DISCOs arrive at accurate billing. Specifically, the CAPMI is expected to enhance service provision while reducing the pains of consumers. As he puts it: “One of the top priorities of the commission is the speedy metering of customers. Numerous customer complaints indicate a high level of dissatisfaction with the way they are billed by the DISCOs. Currently, no upfront pay-

WILLING CUSTOMERS CAN BE ALLOWED TO ADVANCE FUNDS FOR THE PURCHASE AND INSTALLATION OF METERS ment for meters is required of customers. The commission stated that: “Commission considers it expedient to explore other avenues of ensuring that customers are metered to eliminate wildly estimated bills. Willing customers can be allowed to advance funds for the purchase and installation of meters. These advance payments are subsequently refunded through a rebate on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills. CAPMI will minimise estimation and enhance revenue collection.” It also added that: “All urban areas within Nigeria shall have smart metering with prepayment functionality and upgradeable software. DISCOs shall render monthly reports to NERC. Customers who have made payments for meters from Jan-

uary 1, 2011 shall be metered by DISCOs within 45 days of the commencement of CAPMI. Customers who make payments under the CAPMI sScheme shall have meters installed within 45 days of payment. Payments shall be made into escrow accounts controlled jointly by the DISCOs and vendor/installers.” These were not the only basis for optimism. Investigations showed that many consumers were also pleased when the commission emerged with two classes of guidelines to guide importers and service providers. The two classes of guidelines released by NERC were targeted at guiding importation, production or supply and those specifically dedicated to regulating metering service providers respectively. For the first class of investors, NERC stated that the firms would indicate the number of meters to be imported, quantity to be supplied, annual production capacity as well as indicate technical data such as nominal voltage, operational voltage, accuracy class, current class, frequency, operating temperature, storage temperature, life span, purpose of importation, country of origin and year of manufacture. The commission made it known that: “Applicants are to send copy of certificate

of incorporation, tax clearance certificate for the last three years, VAT registration certificate, commercial invoice/ proforma invoice, Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme, SONCAP, manufacturer’s test certificate, meter test station test report, copy of MSP registration, proof that local production cannot satisfy the demand for metering systems (for importers) and proof of metering systems warehousing facilities.” The regulator stated that they would also be required to pay some charges. For instance, those involved in single phase meters are expected to pay N50 per unit, three phase (415V) N100 per unit while three phases (11kV) attracts N1, 000 per unit. Others such as three phase (33kV) attract N1, 500 per unit, three phase (132/330kV) N3,000 per unit while renewal of clearance certificate attracts 100 per cent of fee paid on the initial certificate (for importers). According to NERC: “The objective of the guidelines is to ensure that only competent persons, conversant with the standards approved by NERC are alCONTINUED ON PAGE 36


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Electricity distribution companies still awaiting signal to import meters CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 lowed to perform the functions required for metering services in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). The services include importation of meters, supply and installation. While NERC as the regulator will not be involved in the procurement of electricity meters, the commission is committed to establishing the requisite framework for electricity metering in the NESI.” Despite the introduction of these and other measures, investigations showed that stakeholders, especially DISCOs and operators have not yet taken any steps toward importation of the new meters. A source in one of the DISCOs stated that: “We are aware of the measures that have been taken to address insufficient meters and overbilling of consumers. But we will not start until we get official directive to that effect.” The source who would not state when exactly the importation would start stated that: “The importation must be well planned and properly coordinated in transparent, accountable and sustainable manner. Like I said, we understand the need for urgency, but we would not rush into it until we have official directive. This has attracted the comments of many people. For instance, the National President of Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria (OGSPAN), Mr. Colman Obasi stated that the delay in embarking on import means that many consumers of electricity would continue to pay estimated bills, not exactly what they consume. He stated that it is unfair to do so as the high bills amount to exploitation of consumers who deserve to be protected from over billing and other forms of exploitation. Obasi stated that: “Authorities have not yet enough to check the excesses of operators. Urgent intervention is required to achieve fairness and attract the confidence of consumers in all parts of the nation. Obasi stated that the development can affect the stability of the sector, particularly now that private investors are set to take over the ownership and management of various GENCOs and DISCOs. He stated that while households may like-

Jonathan

ly bear the entire cost, manufacturers and others would likely pass on the cost in form of high prices to consumers. This seems true, particularly as the National Association Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), has already raised the alarm over the effect of crazy bills on the operations of its members. The organisation called for the removal of measures that promote high bills, especially because of the negative impact on their operations. Specifically, 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 mandated to set up structured and effective complaint and resolution channels with stipulated resolution timelines. An authoritative study conducted by NASME showed that many industries have closed shop as a result of poor supply of electricity which compelled them to result to the use of generators at

Amadi

Nebo

WE ARE AWARE OF THE MEASURES THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO ADDRESS INSUFFICIENT METERS AND OVERBILLING OF

CONSUMERS.

BUT WE

WILL NOT START UNTIL WE GET

OFFICIAL

DIRECTIVE TO THAT EFFECT 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 last year was counter- productive on the operations of its members. The Executive Secretary of the organisation, Mr. Eke Ubiji who confirmed the development said NASME is ready to engage with relevant government institutions. 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 trwansparency.” NASME called for restructuring as creation of complaint channels in distribution firms so as to enable service providers respond to complaints. It maintained 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.” Unfortunately, these challenges have not been solved. Investigations showed that although there have been various engagements with NERC and other agencies, members of the body still groan under the heavy yoke of high bills. These and other issues should not be pushed aside. There is a need for stakeholders, especially NERC and the DISCOs to find lasting solutions to various challenges, including lack of meters before the final handover of the firms to new buyers.

PENGASSAN, others support moves to boost investment in oil, other sectors

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he Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN and other stakeholders have pledged to support efforts targeted at promoting investment in the petroleum and related sectors of the nation’s economy. The President of the Association, Mr. Babatunde Ogun said the nation was in need of massive investments in many sectors, especially petroleum which generates a bulk of the country’s foreign exchange. He said increased investment would expand and deepen the capacity of the nation to produce crude oil, natural gas and other resources for export and local consumption. Consequently, Ogun told AOC Biocycles Limited and Hillcrest Energy, the organisers of Nigeria’s International Integrated,

Energy, Environment, Maritime Technology, Trade and Investment Expo who visited him that participate in its programme. The programme, involving conference and exhibition scheduled for Petroleum training Institute, Warri, Delta State next month will be attended by entrepreneurs who have expressed their intentions not only to participate but also invest in major sectors of the economy, including petroleum, power, environment, maritime and commerce. The Coordinator of the event, Sir Aiyegbeni Omonhinmin stated that: “NIGEEM is Nigeria’s international annual exclusive and specialized offshore oil and gas, electricity, alternative energy, environment, maritime technology, trade exhibition and investment expo targeted at showcasing made in Nigeria equipment and services. He maintained that the expo enjoys the

support of relevant Federal and State Government ministries, departments, agencies, institutions, trade and professional associations and driven by the organized private sector. Omonhinmin stated that NIGEEM is a business to business networking platform that attracts global players, professionals, investors, designers, fabricators and development experts and institutions, thus creating the right atmosphere for the formation of partnerships and alliances needed to expand various investments. Already, many government and other institutions, including Nigerian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, National Business and Technical Examination Board, National Office of Technological Acquisition and Promotion, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigerian Entrepreneurs Forum, National Universities

Commission and Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria have expressed their commitment to support the programme. For instance, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR who has the mandate to supervise all petroleum industry operations as well as enforce safety and environmental regulations have expressed interest play active roles to bring about success. The DPR director, Mr. Augustine Olorunsola as stating during a courtesy call that: “We are pleased to associate with your Organisation in hosting NIGEEM, an epoch making event expected to create a networking platform for entrepreneurs, professionals, investors and allied businesses etc, to show case their products and services, share technology, as well as engender economic growth and human capacity development, in various aspects of the economy.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

37

Oil prices crash in global market UDEME AKPAN

WITH AGENCY REPORT

F

ear gripped many watchers of the volatile global market as prices of many crude oil crashed early this week. For instance, the price of Brent fell towards $109 a barrel on Monday as stock markets tumbled and the dollar strengthened after an unusual bank bailout proposal for Cyprus threatened to trigger fresh economic turmoil in the euro zone. A proposal for debt-laden Cyprus to tax depositors as part of a bailout plan for the country sparked fears of a run on some banks in the region. Reuters who confirmed the development stated that the U.S. dollar gained 0.4 percent against a basket of foreign currencies. A firming dollar can weaken oil prices, making them more expensive for holders of other currencies. It maintained that: “However, recently positive economic data from the world’s top oil consumer the United States and worries over supply disruption helped stem larger losses in Brent. U.S. crude futures turned positive in afternoon trading. The agency stated that Brent futures fell 47 cents to $109.35 per barrel by 1:38 p.m. in New York, after dipping below $108 a barrel earlier in the day. U.S. oil reversed earlier losses to trade up 3 cents a barrel at $93.48. It quoted an analyst, Tamas Varga as stating that: “The bailout conditions for Cyprus, specifically the unprecedented removal of funds from depositors’ accounts, are sending share and commodity prices lower. Varga also said: “This step is causing shivers throughout the financial world, and it has created the fear that a reaction in other peripheral eurozone countries could hit the whole banking sector in Europe.” Analysts predicted that oil mar-

Crude oil vessel

Almost all U.S. states began 2013 with lower unemployment rates than they had at the start of 2012, according to Labor Department data. Current oil prices will have no impact on growth in Asia, the oil minister for top exporter Saudi Arabia, Ali al-Naimi, said in Hong Kong. The region’s biggest economies, including China, have struggled with rising energy costs in their efforts to boost growth. Worries of an escalation in a standoff between the West and Iran over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme could also help ensure prices do not fall much further. Concerns of supply disruption from the Middle East have kept Brent above $100 a barrel through most of 2012 and this year. Bloomberg also stated that crude options volatility rose, after touching below 17 percent on March 15, as underlying futures prices swung the most in two weeks.

kets will remain volatile for the next few days as investors watch for any spillover of the developments in Cyprus to other EU nations, analysts said. Cypriot ministers were trying to revise a plan to seize money from bank deposits before a parliamentary vote on Tuesday that will secure the island’s financial rescue or could lead to its default, with reverberations across the euro zone. The uncertainty surrounding the proposed bailout drove investors to the safety of gold, which rose above $1,600 an ounce for the first time in more than two weeks. Technical signals are mixed for Brent as it is not clear that a rebound from the March 13 low has completed, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said. U.S. oil may drop to $91 as it failed to break resistance at $93.72 for the second time. Further losses in oil were capped by expectations of a steady revival in demand growth from the United States, and comments from Saudi Arabia’s top energy official that oil prices near current levels won’t hurt the economy.

Source: Oilprice.com

Group calls for quick completion of Ajaokuta steel project CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

T

he Initiative for the Actualisation of Ajaokuta and Itakpe (IAAI) has staged a peaceful protest to the National Assembly condemning the delay in the completion

of Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCO), saying the continual delay in the completion of the project would not lead to the industrialisation of the country. In a message to the President of the Senate and President Goodluck Jonathan, the Chairman of IAAI, Mohammed Bashir Sani Omolori commended the administration

for not acknowledging the importance of the steel projects and called on government to complete it. “A lot has been achieved with the project, yet, a lot more is needed to get it off and running,” Omolori said. “We implore the Presidency to reactivate, complete and commission the first phase of Ajaokuta Steel plant and

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

associated infrastructures, as well as resolve the legal issues of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO). Furthermore, government should urgently permit the disbursement of the federal solid mineral development fund to provide essential capital needs of Ajaokuta steel,” Omolori said. He told the leadership of the country to toe the path of progress by summoning the courage to do all that is necessary to put the country on a path of sustainable industrialisation, saying that only by means of industrialisation will Nigeria take her place of pride in the committee of important nations. “At this juncture, don’t be afraid to put Nigeria on a firm foundation, on a trajectory for growth and future industrial development,” he said, adding that the steel project is of immense importance toward attaining the administration’s Vision 20: 2020 programme.


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Energy Week

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Total awards Egina FPSO contract to Samsung UDEME AKPAN

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he Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC’s Joint Venture partners, Total Upstream Petroleum Nigeria Limited has awarded the $3.1 billion Floating Production, Storage and Offloading, FPSO, vessel contract for Egina deepwater oil field to Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). Samsung Heavy Industries, with its ship building capabilities and track record of achievements becomes the preferred bidder in a highly competitive and transparent bidding conducted by NAPIMS. (National Petroleum Investment Management System), the investment arm of the NNPC and approved NNPC GEC (Group Executive Committee) headed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. The multi billion Egina field in OML130 near Akpo Field, is the third deep offshore development projects of the French oil giant in Nigeria with reserve potential of in excess of 550million barrels and a peak production of 150,000b/d. The NNPC/Total management took the decision to award the Egina FPSO contract to Samsung Heavy Industry, after a comprehensive review of the economics, the track records of the bidders and having met all the requirements of NCD including 12,000 - 15000 tons in- country fabrication of topsides Besides, as a good corporate citizen Samsung through its capacity building programme had trained many Nigerians youths over the years in South Korea in various aspect of welding, sandblasting, integrity inspection etc, with America certifications while plans were equally in top gear to train more Niger Delta indigenes in South Korea under its skill acquisition programme to improve the capacity and competency of Nigerians in 6 G welding. According to sources, Hyundai Heavy Industry (HHI), bided $3.8billion for the

Egina deepwater oil field

HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRY (HHI), BIDED $3.8BILLION FOR THE EGINA FPSO WHILE SAMSUNG HEAVY INDUSTRY STUCK TO $3.1 BILLION FOR THE SAME FACILITY, A DEVELOPMENT THAT GAVE IT THE WINNING EDGE Egina FPSO while Samsung Heavy Industry stuck to $3.1 billion for the same facility, a development that gave it the winning edge. Industry experts commended the French Oil giant, Total Upstream and NNPC for the transparent manner they conducted the bidding process and determination to move the project to the next level. Speaking on the scope of the multibillion dollar project, Mr Frank Ejizu, the General Manager, Samsung Nigeria Limited, said new FPSO will measure approximately 330m in length, 61m in width and 33.5m in depth, and is expected to have an

oil storage capacity of approximately two million barrels. Besides, the FPSO will equally have topsides modules with a gross dry weight of 34,000tons and it will be delivered on schedule for the production activities by 2014. Ejizu said Samsung Heavy Industries foray into Nigeria dated back to 2002 when it built the first FPSO, BONGA with a 304,400 DWT for Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC. BONGA remains a source of pride to the Nigeria offshore oil and gas development, adding value to the Nigeria production quota and above all to the Nige-

CSR: Be unbiased in assessing Jonathan’s transformation – Uranta

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he Secretary-General, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), Comrade Tony Uranta has sued for an unbiased disposition toward assessing President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation stride. He stated this shortly after an independent assessment of Niger Delta Development Commission’s fast tracked hostel alleged to have been abandoned at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt. “The Transformation Agenda of Mr. President is on track. We must report to Nigerians honestly about the giant strides of Dr. Jonathan so far in governance”. “We have done an on the spot check in the university hostel and from what we have seen, work is progressing appreciably. It is most uncharitable for anyone to say that this project has been abandoned”, Uranta said. Uranta who faulted some aspect of the Presidential Monitoring Committee on NDDC report, emphasized that though some projects have been seemingly abandoned, plans were on to reactivate them.

The member, Federal Government’s Technical Committee on Niger Delta commended the present NDDC Board and management for placing on the front burner the re-activation of abandoned project sites in line with President Jonathan’s directive. The RSUST Hostel project manager, Engineer Ebi George told the Niger Delta group that going by the work schedule and progress so far, he was confident that the hostel would be completed in May. “We are now mounting the door frames and fitting the glass windows. Generally, we are working on the internal fittings which will be completed in a few weeks time”. Meanwhile, NDDC has inaugurated many projects in Cross River State. The projects, acknowledged by leaders of beneficiary communities as having improved the living conditions of the people include roads, classroom blocks, electrification and solar-powered water supply. Inaugurating the projects, NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Christian Oboh, represented by Cross River State Representative on the Board of the Commission, Dominic Edem, said the Commission was deter-

mined to complete its projects. Oboh said gone were the days when children learn under trees and trek long distance to fetch water from the streams, disclosing that “NDDC will bridge the gap by ensuring that the people have adequate classrooms to learn and potable water to drink”. In his remarks, Head of Akim Akim Qua

Oil workers on duty

rian economy, he, pointed out. The field was discovered in December 2003 when the Egina-1 well was drilled. Following the discovery, the appraisal well Egina-2 was drilled in October 2004. The appraisal programme and seismic data processing resulted in the Egina-3 well drilling in September 2006, which occurred at a water depth of approximately 1,500m. Following this, Egina-4 was drilled in November 2006 and Egina-5 was drilled in January 2007. Located 150km off the coast of Nigeria and about 20 km from Akpo oil field, Egina oil field in Oil Mining Lease OML 130 is a production sharing contract being developed by Total Upstream Nigeria (24%) in partnership with NNPC (10%), CNOOC (45%), Sapetro (5%) and Petrobras (16%). Egina is the third deep offshore development of Total in Nigeria. The field is currently under development and the production is scheduled to begin by 2014/2015. clan in Odukpani Local Government Area, Chief Francis Omin, thanked the Commission for bringing the projects to the community. “We really thank the NDDC for their intervention. The light will attract investors and open the way for economic activities”. Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Abi Local Government Area, Hon. Emmanuel Elemi thanked the Commission for finding his community worthy of the projects, and pledged maximum utilization.


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Energy Week

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Multiple taxes bother marginal oil field operators –Fatona

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he Federal Government has been tasked to eliminate multiple taxes in the oil and gas industry. The Managing Director of Niger Delta Exploration and Production, Mr. Layi Fatona who made the call said multiple taxation is a major challenge confronting marginal field operators in the country. Fatona made the observation in a presentation at the just concluded 2013 Annual Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Lagos. He said the production rates of these fields are often low, but not lower than those of stripper wells. Fatona said that indigenous marginal field companies were facing challenges of start-up assets and multiple taxation by the local government, states and Federal Government. The indigenous operator said that inability to access funds and the right calibre of people had also made the marginal field’s asset unattractive to investors. Fatona said that the only way to enhance indigenous participation in the Nigerian petroleum industry was by making the assets more attractive and bankable. ``There should be timely agreement with

Fatona

lease holders and government agencies in all marginal field operations. ``Government should assist indigenous marginal field operators through import duty waivers and tax breaks and also im-

proved local bank involvement by reducing rates,’’ he said. Fatona said that marginal field operators were contributing to the Nigerian economy and expanding the oil and gas operational frontier, but still faced enormous challenges. ``Poor technical competence, fluctuating assistance from foreign equity partners and low funding capacity of indigenous players pose serious concern. ``Federal Government’s policies to promote indigenous participation in the petroleum industry are quite laudable. ``The success of the indigenous players’ incursion into field development and production can be said to be very ‘marginal’,’’ he said. He said the investment on infrastructure was an indication of what could happen if there was a more structured guidance for the unleashing of entrepreneurial energies of Nigerians. According to him, indigenous companies are facing legislative, financial, logistical and technical challenges on the way to their first oil or gas. ``The challenges must be adequately analysed and remedial actions fully enshrined in necessary legislation,’’ he said.

Australia partners NEITI on extractive resource management CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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ustralia has pledged to work with the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), to strengthen its efforts in enthroning transparency, accountability and good governance in the Nigeria extractive sector. NEITI’s Director, Communications, Mr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said in a statement that the Australian High Commissioner, Mr. Jonathan Richardson made the pledge in Abuja during a courtesy visit to NEITI Secretariat. The Australian High Commissioner explained that his visit to NEITI was to show solidarity to the Agency on what he called the extraordinary job that NEITI is doing in drawing national and international attention to the connection or the link between efficient extractive revenue governance and poverty reduction and development in the country. The Australian envoy commended NEITI for its independent views, courage and professionalism. He explained that the Australian mining sector is developed, vast, ready and willing to share experiences with Nigeria through NEITI operations with a view to building partnership and collaboration among investors in the two countries. He pledged the readiness of his Mission in Nigeria to work with NEITI in the area of human capacity development, civil society relations, logistics and dissemination of NEITI Audit reports and other identified areas of mutual interest. The Chairman of NEITI, Mr. Ledum

Total to continue partnership with PHCCIMA

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otal Exploration and Production (E&P) Upstream Limited has expressed delight over growth in relationship with the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA). The Deputy Managing Director of the company, Mr. Nicolas Brunet stated this when a delegation of PHCCIMA led by the president, Engr. Emeka Unachukwu visited the company on a courtesy call. He said PHCCIMA and Total share similar objective and assured the delegation that he will do all within his powers to further strengthen the relationship. Earlier on in his remark, Unachukwu had welcomed the new DMD to Nigeria noting that the Chamber is an organisation with over 900 strong members cutting across various professions and who also advocate for policies that allows businesses to thrive in the region. According to him, since 2005 Total has been instrumental in supporting the activities of PHCCIMA, notably in the area of sponsoring trade missions and also in the area of carrying out its corporate social responsibilities in the most sublime way.

NNPC Co-operative demands prompt remittance of deductions

WE ARE CALLING FOR MORE INVESTMENT; WE WANT GENUINE INVESTORS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF

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THE REVOLUTION THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN IN THE SECTOR Mittee used the forum to assure the Australian High Commissioner that the board as a multi- stakeholder group was committed to providing strategic policy direction. Mittee added that this would help NEITI focus more on recording measurable impacts through enforcement of the NEITI Act 2007 with regards to ensuring prudency and discipline in the extractive industry revenues by both companies and relevant government agencies. He explained that poverty reduction through NEITI activities has become the major target of NEITI in its strategic plan. This Ledum Mitee explained can be achieved with sustained implementation of EITI principles in the oil, gas and mining industries. The visit by the High Commissioner provided wide forum for the Executive Secretary to acquaint the mission with NEITI activities and its relevance to national development. Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has reiterated the stand of the Federal Government on privatization

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Ledum Mittee

of power sector by affirming that there is no going back on contents and details of the approved Road Map. He said that to even strengthen and take care of gaps that have been identified, Government would soon approve, Road Map II. Speaking in his office when he met with USAID delegation, Nebo said that, “we must hit the ground running, we do appreciate the enormous work you have done in the past, especially in the area of capacity building, and we need more help now even in the area of strengthening of institutions that will implement our plan”. “We are calling for more investment; we want genuine investors to take advantage of the revolution that is about to happen in the sector”.

he NNPC Staff Co-operative Multi-Purpose Society Limited in Lagos, at the weekend declared N157, 317,832.00 as dividend payable to shareholders for 2012. The President of the Co-operative, Mr. Ojeyemi Adeleke, made this known to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the cooperative. Adeleke called for prompt remittance of deductions from staff emoluments, saying irregular remittance of deductions is one of the challenges facing the society. “This is our greatest challenge. It is hampering our operations and service delivery to our members. It also puts enormous financial pressure on us. `` Just as blood is to life, so is prompt remittances of our deductions from our members’ salaries to the society. We, therefore, on behalf of our society and sister societies in the NNPC Group, appeal to the NNPC management to regularly remit our deductions together with the payment of salaries,” he appealed.


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Energy Week

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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The Kwale oilfield incident: Nigeria –Biafra War (2) Ossie

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

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fter the Mid-west incursion and routing, Biafran Commandos under the leadership of a militarily brilliant but flawed ‘Colonel’ were able to infiltrate the territories adjoining the western bank of the River Niger almost at will. It helped that those areas were inhabited by their kinsmen – the Ika Ibos. It did not hurt matters that this Field Marshall Montgomery look alike, hailed from that very part of Nigeria, but chose to throw in his lot with Biafra and fought so successfully in their colors that he earned himself the status of a legend. In one such incursion sometime in May, 1969 a company of commandos raided an oil field in Kwale and in a ferocious, pre-meditated manner gunned down 11 Saipem workers and Agip technicians. They captured three unhurt. Gung-ho with their predatory success, they stalked over to a nearby Okpai Field Development and with what appears a change of heart or acting on field radio instruction as to the greater value in capturing white, European oil field workers rather than killing them, they surrounded and captured the 15 expatriate personnel they could lay their hands on in this swoop. One individual was able to escape, more out of good fortune, than any heroics. The total haul of captives rose to 18 and before the alerted military detachment sent in from the 2nd Division formation in Warri and Ughelli got to the scene, the guerrillas had melted into the bush eastwards to their lairs in the Ohaji-Egbema regions south of Oguta with their prey. As was to be expected, there was ecstatic jubilation when this stealth feat by elements of glorious commandos – specifically- the 4th Brigade Commandos, was broadcast to the people of an enclave enduring some of the most horrendous pummeling and battlefield losses since the beginning of the war. The men were pilloried into town, slapped with an eleven count charge and arraigned before a ‘specially’ constituted court for summary trial. Oh! The things oil-

Biafrian soldiers

IN ONE SUCH INCURSION SOMETIME IN MAY, 1969 A COMPANY OF COMMANDOS RAIDED

KWALE AND IN A FEROCIOUS, PRE-MEDITATED MANNER GUNNED DOWN 11 SAIPEM WORKERS AND AGIP TECHNICIANS AN OIL FIELD IN

men are subjected to in their quest to extract hydrocarbons! Their crime was cached under the broad, catch-all phrase of ‘Enemy Action’. In the interpretation of the Biafran Authorities, hell-bent on extracting maximum international capital from the furor generated world-wide by the incident, the mere fact that these men were working to enhance the Nigerian side’s oil production capacity and consequent revenue generation equated to ‘enemy action’.

Of course, the rag-tag men consisting of 14 Italians, 3 Germans (then West) and one Lebanese were not availed any defense counsel of their choice. Even then such human right or fair trial considerations were a fairly preposterous, if not heretical, idea in a war situation. The court acquitted them on nine of the charges and found them guilty of two, which still carried the death penalty. They were consequently sentenced to death. The international umbrage and clamor that followed in the capitals of Europe and North America can best be imagined. It didn’t help the prisoner’s cause that the Vatican came out strongly on this particular matter when it’s championing of Biafra’s cause, in general, could have been better. Now by the thinking of the Biafrans, The Holy See could have gotten the predominantly Catholic Latin American Nations to grant recognition to them. The secessionist leader Ojukwu could not hide his angst at what he saw as an uproar borne of an abject racist, supremacist attitude and bias. This was sheer, unmitigated hypocrisy

and in exasperation Ojukwu asked a question that can only issue from a man at the end of his tether in an unfair and unsympathetic world. He asked: ‘How many losses of black lives equates to the loss of one white man’s?’ or something to that effect. No one answered the reprimanding prophets of Old – Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah and no one answered the perturbed Biafra leader. In the month that followed, while the execution of the condemned hung heavily and ominously in the balance, His Holiness Pope Paul VI, the governments of Great Britain, the United States of America, with the shuttle diplomat Henry Kissinger at the helm of Foreign Affairs plus the Republic of Italy mounted concerted pressure. France characteristically channeled its pressure through its African surrogates namely Ivory Coast, then run by President Houphet-Boiny and Gabon then ruled by Omar Bongo . It had always had this policy of equivocation on the Biafran crises with an eye on the Biafran oilfields should they win and an eye on the substantial French oil interests in Nigeria, which would be jeopardized by overt support for the Biafran cause. Already in 1968, its prospecting and production company SAFRAP had run into serious Federal ‘reprimand’ for its sustained activities in the Port Harcourt area that benefitted the other side. There were also some highly respected personalities, diplomats and technocrats in Ojukwu’s inner circle who strongly disagreed with any possible execution of the hapless oilmen. On June 4, 1969 after receiving a personal direct mail from His Holiness, interceding for his favor on the matter, the Roman Catholic in the Biafran leader caved in and he granted a reprieve. Not one to let an opportunity at grandiloquence pass unexploited, he staged an elaborate ceremony during which he did what Paul did before Agrippa and Felix. He strongly made and rested his case. Then, he handed over the men to the special envoys sent by the governments of Ivory Coast and Gabon. The oilmen lived forever after, to see another day in the oilfields, in a constantly troubled and belligerent world.

Ghana’s revenues from natural resources increase 400% … EITI challenges other nations

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he Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has challenged other nations to pay more attention to the development of their mineral resources as Ghana received over four times more from its natural resources in 2011 compared with the previous year. This remarkable increase, revealed in Ghana’s 2011 EITI Report that was launched last week, is a consequence of two positive developments: production started at the new Jubilee oil field and higher tax revenue from Ghana’s mining sector.

Clare Short, EITI Chair said: “With high expectations about these revenues, transparency is more important than ever.” While revenues from oil and gas production boosted the country’s economy, revenues from the mining sector also increased significantly. The Ghanaian government’s revenues from mining more than doubled between 2010 and 2011, from $ 210 million to $ 500 million. The increase was partly a consequence of higher mineral prices, in par-

ticular gold, and of the end of an initial investment recovery period. There was a 75per cent increase in the corporate taxes paid by companies. In addition, Ghana increased the royalty tax rate on its mining sector. Speaking about Ghana, Bill Gates is said to have remarked that: “EITI made it possible for civil society groups to discover that mining companies were paying an average royalty of just 3 per cent. When the low rate was revealed, they pressured the government to take action, and the average royalty rate was bumped to 6 per cent for future projects – a potentially key source of revenue for improving the plight of Ghana’s

poor.” Government revenues from natural resources were $940 million, of which revenues from oil and gas were $440 million and mining $500 million. Ghana 2011 EITI report also reconciles revenues from payments that were made ‘in-kind’, that are in physical quantities of oil/gas. These in-kind payments amounted to two million barrels, which were sold for $234 million. Discrepancies between the payments reported by the government and the companies were in the order of 5 per cent. Discrepancies were mostly found between figures within the mining sector.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Executive Discourse

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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‘We want to make Ibom Airport a The Akwa Ibom Airport Limited is a dream that had been in the pipeline for decades. Conceptualised as a regular passenger terminal, it has been expanded to include a maintenance hangar, international and cargo terminal, and search and rescue centre. Chairman, Project Implementation Committee and former military governor of the state, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, in an interview with journalists, spoke on the project and other issues. OLUSEGUN KOIKI was there. Excerpts:

What gave rise to this project by the state government? First and foremost, the plan of the state government was to make the airport a gateway to this region and as a reference point for the aviation industry. That is what we want to do and we are still on track on our mission. We are having tremendous support from the government and the regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has been working with us to get to where we are now, but we will want to move further than that. That is why we have succeeded so far. The plan of the state is to develop the airport in three phases; We have finished phase one basically, with a lot of overlap of the items on phase one to phase two and then, the ultimate phase. At the beginning, we looked at an airport that would assist our people to move out because we were coming from a point that if you wanted to come into this state, you have to go through the neighbouring states, Calabar or even Port Harcourt. The roads were not good and any businessman that wanted to come here must devote about two days to do that. It has never been something satisfactory to us. We realised that not just moving out of the state, which is passenger aspect of aviation, but we realised that there was a part of aviation, which government has paid little attention to and that was maintenance. That was why we could not get the required categorisation internationally because if you are flying international, they must make sure you have a place where you can easily do basic assessment facilities in your country of origin, but we didn’t have that for many years. Since the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, we’ve been planning to build a national hangar, which up till now, Nigeria has not been able to build, but Akwa Ibom State took it up as an investment and that is why we have today, the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, which you’ve seen and by the time we finish, there won’t be more than two that can compete with it in the continent and we are happy for that. There are lots of our aircraft that are flying out of this country and they don’t have easy access to maintenance, you have to take your aircraft to Europe for maintenance. Even the cost of ferrying, is enough to discourage you. So, we don’t want people that will compromise on this thing. If it is closer to you, and labour, which invariably might be cheaper, then an operator will be happy and willing to keep to its maintenance schedule. We also looked at it that within this Gulf region, the oil companies are crying for movement of cargo, but we don’t have it, but we are now determined to pursue that with the planned construction of a terminal cargo, which is already designed by the government. Cargo business is a big business. At present, your runway is one of the longest and widest in Nigeria, why did the state invest so much money on the runway, rather than divert it to other important projects at the airport? As I mentioned; maintenance hangar and cargo terminal are what informed us to build the kind of runway that you are seeing today; 3.6km and expanded to 4.2km, 60metres wide. With this runway, we are the only airport in the country that can conveniently host an Airbus 380. The taxiway that we are building now, the dimension is the same because we don’t want an aeroplane, landing on the runway and the wings are on grass. The international terminal that you’ve seen, we devoted one finger specifically to take an Airbus 380, when the time

THERE ARE LOTS OF OUR AIRCRAFT THAT ARE FLYING OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND THEY DON’T HAVE EASY

ACCESS TO MAINTENANCE, YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR AIRCRAFT TO

EUROPE FOR

MAINTENANCE comes, you will see that people who are involved in cargo will want to carry as much cargo and they are now using a bigger aircraft. So, you must build a runway that will accommodate that kind of aircraft. It is only this airport and the Lagos Airport that are category Two in this country in terms of Instrument Landing System (ILS). That ensures that if you come in and the weather is bad for instance at the Abuja Airport and the visibility from the cockpit is less than 800 metres, and you attempt to land, if you do that, you will be violating the regulations, but here, you can come as low as 300 metres and that is because of the navigational aids and the lighting we have in place. Here, you can come as low as 30metres without seeing the runway and landing and the visibility as low as 300 metres. All these things we put together so that it will accommodate the vision of the state in terms of investments. So far, we’ve been able to put together an interim terminal and we had hoped that when the airfield and other facilities were ready, we will start moving people to Lagos and Abuja, but the response from the passengers overwhelmed us, that is why we are embarking on international terminal as soon as possible. We all know that if you want to fly out of the country to some countries, you will have to first fly to Lagos or Abuja and a lot of people especially in the surrounding states here who want to go to Dubai for instance, I’m sure if there is an airport here that is closer to them, they will want to do that. So, we believe we have enough passengers and I know this will be a success. The oil companies are asking us when we will be commencing so that they can join us. That interim terminal that you saw, by the time we finished the MRO, it will now be a terminal for general aviation for those with private aircraft to fly. With this, they don’t have to go to the international terminal to board their planes while the commercial airline operators will be using the international terminal for their operations. Most state governments are partnering private investors in the development of their states, is the government not looking in this direction for its MRO facility and cargo terminal? We are talking to people on this, there are some people who have shown interest now that will come in, take the design, build it and operate for sometime. That will be the agreement with the state government. On the MRO, we realise that we won’t just look at the operator, but a known name in that business so that people will be encouraged to bring their aircraft in. Before you could touch somebody’s aircraft, the manufacturer must certify you and we are almost through with those things that have the approval. They came here and gave us people at supervisory level and you know the state government has spent a lot of mon-

Nkanga

ey training engineers on ground. They were in the United States of America for training, they came back and we attached them to some of the airlines and some have gone back to Ethiopia and they spent 14 months there again to make sure that their licenses are up-to-date. They are waiting for the MRO to be ready. Those that are on avionics, power plant and others also joined the engineers that are working with some of the experts to maintain the airfield facilities and all that. So, the operators will give us people at the supervisory level, then, our people will grow so that they can be in a position to release aircraft and completely take over in the future. By that time, customers will have been used to the facilities we have in here. They have shown a lot of respect to what we have here because if you go to Europe, you have to wait before you can be attended to, which at times is too long, but if you have the same operator that is maintaining aircraft in Europe and is working here, you will be glad to bring your aircraft here. On MRO, the state government has been calling on the Federal Government to contribute to its construction as it wants to make it a national hangar, how far have you gone with this request? It will be our pleasure if the Federal Government takes over the MRO facility, but from the outset, before we brought the federal Government in, they said they wanted to build a national hangar and now that Akwa Ibom is doing it, they said they would like to partner with us and they said it was going to be a national hangar. It was the former Minister of Aviation, Alhaji Musa Yuguda that signed on behalf of the Federal Government that the President has agreed, but I can tell you that up till now, not a kobo of Federal Government has come into this project. At a point, we wrote letters and requested for waivers for some of the things that we import, but it was not accepted. Everything we imported we had to pay full duties, but we are hoping that the Federal Government will still come in and assist even if not to take over the project. If they take over, that will be fine, but where we are now, if they don’t come in quickly, we want to operate this airport


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Executive Discourse

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model for others in West Africa’

IT WILL BE OUR PLEASURE IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TAKES OVER THE

MRO

FACILITY, BUT FROM THE OUTSET, THE FEDERAL

GOVERNMENT SAID THEY WANTED TO BUILD A NATIONAL HANGAR AND NOW THAT

AKWA

IBOM IS DOING IT, THEY SAID

THEY WOULD LIKE TO PARTNER WITH US AND THEY SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE A NATIONAL HANGAR as a private sector driven. Federal Government has its challenges, this is same with state governments, but if it is private sector driven, we will have a return on investments for the state. I believe with the level of consultations we’ve had with some of the private investors who are willing to partner with us, there will be standards, but all the same, I will be glad if the Federal Government comes in, knowing full well that the project is not just for Akwa Ibom, but it improves the image of Nigeria aviation. We should see it from that line. Can you tell us what the second phase of the Ibom Airport project entails? The second phase of the project consists of the parallel taxiway, which will come in handy whenever a repair work is being done on the main runway; we can actually use the taxiway for a certain categories of aircraft because the load facilitation factor will not be the same. On the taxiway, about 30 metres will be the full compact while on the main

runway is about 45 metres. Also, part of the second phase is the second runway; this is necessary because the traffic will surely grow in the future. This phase also involves the expansion of apron because as you can see, the apron we have for now is small. The MRO apron, what you find is just about one-third of what it should be. If the MRO starts having its own aircraft, we will not be able to make use of the apron. The international terminal also involves getting fuel underground. So, the fuel matter is going to be seriously addressed because of the things we are doing and the fuel will pass through underground so that fuel contamination will be eliminated and all that. We also hope that all these things would be through by 2015 and the rest of the work would be done by subsequent administration. In any case, by that time, we would have gotten to a point that investors can now comfortably come in because an investor will not come and build a runway, taxiway and those things for you, they will just come and build maintenance hangars for their helicopters and other projects. Also, we have here, which you may not find in other airports, an emergency airport control centre, we noticed that sometimes when there is an accident, you see a lot of people trying to bombard the airport for information in a disorganised way, but with what we’ve done here, that is eliminated. When the NCAA came here, they were happy with us and they’ve upgraded the facility to a Search and Rescue (S&R) Centre for this region. If you don’t have an organised S&R, people will be confused. If there is a problem, journalists, families and other interested parties should just go there and get information and we can now organised S&R better. The building is there and ready for use with lots of equipment. The clinic, I’m sure you have seen, the essence of that is to give attention to victims of aircraft incident or accident and the state is also looking forward to equipping other hospitals within the state. I hope we don’t have a major incident or accident, but if it does happen, we are ready for that.

Fire fighting is one of the most critical aspects of safety, how prepared are you for this in case of an incident or accident in the future? We have three fire tenders at the airport, which are primarily aimed to combat fire incase of an incident or accident. When we had our inaugural landing in 2009, the then minister of aviation saw it and said he was going to recommend such for the Federal Government and we hope they have done so. Also, we have an effective warning system in place. Essentially in this region, we have bird strike as an issue and we decided to get this equipment to combat the situation. It is the only airport in this country with such equipment because if you have a bird strike, it can damage an entire engine, forgetting even an accident that it may result to, but it’s very expensive. With that, we have minimised wildlife and bird strike within the airport because if they hear the sounds, the birds would move away from the airport. It was an engineering thing that was designed by the American Air force for Europe and they use it in their places there. We are the first in the continent to have this kind of equipment to scare away birds; Combined Land and Air Warning Systems (CLAWS) is the name of the equipment. On the average what is the annual passenger traffic into this airport? It varies, you know we started in 2009 and there was a period that the Calabar Airport was totally closed and then, most of the traffic moved to this airport. At present, we are beyond 500, 000 passengers annually. Also, we do operate some international flights for pilgrimage, we’ve been doing that consistently for the past three years for the state and some of the neighbouring states, but we are moving closer towards a million annually, but we are far beyond 500, 000. How far have you gone with night operations at this airport? We do night operations. Incidentally, not too long ago, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Engr. Nnamdi Nwankwo was here and gave us 24 hours operations, which was what we wanted in the first instance because if you have an MRO, any handicap aircraft can come in at any point in time. So, we were initially restricted to 9pm operations because Calabar Airport operates only up to 9pm and we were regarded as an alternate airport, but now, our status has gone up. So, we can now operate 24-hour operations. So far, how many technical personnel have been trained by the state government for this airport? As far as 2008, we trained people in Air Traffic Control (ATC), but because of the existing laws, they were not licensed and you know in an airport you want to operate continuously, the ATC must be in good numbers. Then, we were having that handicap and NAMA sent a few people on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), basis because they are the service provider, but we have our own people that we trained, who were not licensed then for them to take responsibilities because of an existing 1964 law, but that has changed now. When the MD NAMA came, he took over the people that we have trained and put them now to help Nigeria and just gave us enough so that we can operate our airport to run for 24-hour. How much have you expended on training of personnel on this project? First and foremost, we were always crying that you need to train people; accident and aviation don’t like to go in the same direction, if there is an accident, it becomes a global issue, but we don’t want that. So, training is very important. That is why when there is an accident and the panel wants to probe you, they will first of all ask if you were assigned the duty and if the response is positive, they will ask if you have the skills, which means your initial and refresher trainings. If the answers are positive, then, you go in for it, not your boss or your director. That is the way the industry is programmed. In fact, the best equipment in your aircraft needs a well-trained crew. We say we need new aircraft, but this is not what will solve the problem. What will solve the problem is well-trained crew, once you have that; you will have rest of mind.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Draghi’s cash triggers unprecedented drop in bank lending stress

E

uropean Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s $1.3 trillion of cheap loans and pledge to do whatever it takes to stand behind the euro helped push indicators of stress in the continent’s money markets down by an unprecedented degree this year. The difference between the euro interbank offered rate and overnight index swaps, a measure of European banks’ reluctance to make unsecured loans to one another known as the Euribor-OIS spread, contracted a record 0.85 percentage point this year to 0.12 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Frankfurt-based ECB has lent financial institutions more than 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) under its longer-term refinancing operations since December and is committed to providing cheap, unlimited cash for lenders to boost the economy. Draghi’s pledge to stand behind the currency of the 17- nation euro area in July eased stresses in money markets, where banks fund their day-to-day business. “The key catalyst behind this year’s

Draghi

contraction has been Mario Draghi and the ECB,” said Chris Clark, a Londonbased interest-rate strategist at ICAP Plc, the world’s largest interdealer broker. “First through the three-year LTROs and later with Draghi’s commitment to do whatever it takes and subsequent announcement of the outright monetary transactions.”

German investor confidence unexpectedly rises to 3-year high

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

G

erman investor confidence unexpectedly rose to a three-year high in March, suggesting Europe’s largest economy will return to growth. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic develop-

ments six months in advance, increased to 48.5 from 48.2 in February. That’s the highest since April 2010. Economists forecast a decline to 48.1, according to the median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The Bundesbank predicts the economy will expand in the current quarter after contracting 0.6 percent in the final three months of last year. Business confidence improved for a fourth month in February. Still, political turmoil in Italy and the specter of a bank run in Cyprus are spooking financial markets and threatening to derail an economic recovery in the euro area, Germany’s biggest export market. The increase in the ZEW index “leaves it at a high level, but there is a clear risk that ongoing developments in Cyprus and Italy prompt renewed falls soon,” said Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics in London. “We suspect that sentiment will weaken in the coming months and, while Germany should continue to easily outperform the rest of the euro zone, a strong recovery seems like too much to hope for.”

Spanish unemployment to swell as public jobs vanish

J

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.

The Euribor-OIS spread narrowed from as much as 2.07 percent four years ago, and is now little more than twice its typical level before the financial crisis broke. The spread widened in 2011 and 2010 and this year’s contraction is poised to beat the 84.5 basis-point drop in 2009. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point. Low interest rates also helped spur a

drop in money-market stress indicators. The ECB held its main refinancing rate at an all-time low of 0.75 percent on December 6, a month after Draghi fueled speculation he would put reductions back on the agenda, saying the euro debt crisis was starting to hurt Germany and that inflation risks were “very low.” While low interest rates were beneficial for banks’ borrowing costs, they meant trouble for money-market funds investing in Europe. Because they’re designed to be haven investments that return members’ cash intact rather than make huge profits, the ECB’s zero-percent deposit rate, as well as the negative yields on some of the safest European government bonds, narrowed the field of investments for these funds. Fidelity Worldwide Investment, an affiliate of the second- largest mutualfund company in the U.S., extended the average maturity of its holdings to boost yields earlier this year, while Ignis Asset Management Ltd. responded to the record-low interest rates by broadening its range of investments.

UK inflation quickens to fastest in nine months

U

nited Kingdom inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in nine months in February and factory-gate prices increased twice as much as forecast as energy costs surged. Consumer prices rose 2.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with 2.7 percent in January, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. That matched the median of 35 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Producer prices increased 0.8 percent in February from the previous month, the most since April 2011. Higher energy bills and a weaker pound have fueled price pressures in recent months. That’s adding to the squeeze on consumers as they brace for another austerity budget by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne tomorrow. With price gains above the Bank of England’s 2 percent target, Osborne may also flag changes to the central bank’s mandate to give policy makers more flexibility to stimulate growth. “The economy is going nowhere fast and the BOE has said it will essentially look through above-target inflation,” said Rob Wood, an economist at Berenberg Bank in London. “Whether of its own volition, or because the chancellor tweaks its inflation remit in the budget, we continue to expect the BOE to add more monetary stimulus this year.” The pound erased its decline against the dollar after the data were published. It was trading at $1.5117 as of 10:11 a.m. in London, up 0.1 percent from yesterday. Housing, water, electricity and gas added 0.11 percentage point to annual inflation in February -- the biggest upward impact. That reflects increases in utility bills, the statistics office said.

Today’s report also showed that retail-price inflation, a measure used in wage negotiations, cooled to 3.2 percent in February from 3.3 percent in January. The retail-price index excluding mortgage-interest payments was at 3.2 percent. The inflation data are the first since the Statistics Authority stripped the Retail Prices Index of its designation as a “National Statistic” after a review found it fell short of international best practice. Two new experimental indexes were introduced yesterday. A variant of the RPI, known as RPIJ, was at 2.6 percent in February. CPIH, which includes a measure of housing costs, was also at 2.6 percent.

Osborne


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Global Business

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

T

he yen rallied from a 20-month low against the dollar on speculation that monetary easing bets had driven the Japanese currency down too rapidly. The yen earlier weakened to the brink of 85 per dollar after Japan’s incoming prime minister said he may change the law governing the central bank unless it boosts its inflation target. Demand for the dollar was supported as investors sought the safety of the world’s reserve currency amid concern that U.S. lawmakers will fail to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Japan reopened after a holiday Monday while most other markets are closed for Christmas. “Dollar-yen rose to try 85 on the back of Abe’s comments, but it was sold off in front of key resistance levels,” said Michiyoshi Kato, the senior vice president of foreign-currency sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. “The yen moves are probably caused by limited liquidity in the market.” The Japanese currency touched 84.96 per dollar, the weakest since April 11, 2011, before trading at 84.85 Monday in

Yen rises from 20-month low on speculation drop overdone

Japanese yen banknotes

Tokyo, 0.1 percent stronger than the New York close. It gained 0.1 percent to 111.86 per euro, following a 0.8 percent slide Monday. The dollar was little changed at $1.3183.

Japan’s fiscal impasse threatens stimulus to spur growth

J

apan’s political gridlock threatens to curtail the government’s ability to apply fiscal stimulus as a rebound falters in the world’s third-largest economy. Opposition parties in the upper house of parliament stymied legislation approved in the lower house August 28 that enables the issuance of 38.3 trillion yen ($490 billion) of deficit- financing bonds, seeking to force Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda into an early election. The government could hit a spending ceiling as soon as October, according to the Finance Ministry. The freeze may suspend outlays from this year’s budget for the first time, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and limits Noda from proceeding with the supplementary spending package he mooted in July. With economists increasingly seeing an economic contraction this quarter, the deadlock adds to risks facing global expansion that include a so-called fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax increases in the U.S. at year-end. “The impasse on deficit-covering bonds may delay the compilation of a stimulus package and would be a drag for the economy,” said Taro Saito, Tokyo-based director of economic research at NLI Research Institute and a past winner of a Japan Center for Economic Research award for accuracy in forecasting. “This is not as severe as the U.S. fiscal cliff but could be said to be Japan’s fiscal slope.” Japanese stocks headed for a fourth day of declines, the longest losing streak in more than a month, on pessimism about the global expansion. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average was down 0.4 percent Monday in Tokyo. The yen was at 78.37 per dollar, about 4 percent from its postwar high, underscoring the threat to exporters of a strong currency. Besides exchange-rate appreciation, Japan’s manufacturers are facing diminishing demand abroad, hurt by the European crisis, China’s slowdown and stunted

45

Shinzo Abe said on Fuji Television on December 23 that he’ll consider revising the central bank law if the Bank of Japan (8301) fails to increase its inflation target to 2 percent from 1 percent

RBA sees rate cuts working as currency helps stabilise economy

T

Yoshihiko Noda

American growth. A government report yesterday showed capital spending rose 6.6 percent in the second quarter from a year before, less than the 7.8 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. This report spurred economists to cut forecasts for Japan’s second-quarter gross domestic product, initially reported at an annualised 1.4 percent gain. Officials may pare that calculation to 0.9 percent on September 10, according to the median of seven projections in a Bloomberg survey.

at its January meeting. Abe has called for unlimited monetary easing from the BOJ to spur inflation and growth. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, which swept to power in lower house elections this month, yesterday reached an agreement with the New Komeito Party on a policy package that includes the 2 percent inflation goal. The LDP lacks a majority in the upper house, and backing from New Komeito increases the chance the package will become law. Japan’s consumer prices excluding fresh food probably slid 0.1 percent in November from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey before the data on December 28. The so-called core inflation rate has fallen an average of 0.2 percent every month in the past decade.

he Reserve Bank of Australia said the economy is responding to low interest rates and Deputy Governor Philip Lowe indicated a higher currency and savings levels allowed for lower borrowing costs even as mining boomed. The impact of the policy easing “still had further to run,” the RBA said in minutes today of the March 5 meeting where it kept its key rate at 3 percent. “While further reductions may be required, on the information currently to hand it was appropriate to hold rates steady.” Australia’s dollar averaged $1.0380 in the past two years, more than 30 cents above the level of the prior two decades, spurred by near-zero rates in the U.S. and Japan, and the crisis in the European Union. Lowe said yesterday the EU’s decision to force Cypriot savers into a bailout was a “step back” for the region and could increase instability in the financial system. “The fact that this approach of haircutting depositors has been sanctioned could lead the public to think it could happen again,” Lowe said in response to audience questions following a speech in Sydney. “It could make the system more

susceptible to bank runs and that’s something that the authorities in Europe will have to watch very, very carefully.” The RBA’s No. 2 official said in his speech earlier that the Australian currency’s strength and a savings ratio that soared after the financial crisis -- it was 10.1 percent last quarter, from minus 0.1 percent in the first three months of 2006 -- is helping stabilise the economy.

Lowe

Manufacturing in U.S. probably stagnated amid global slowdown

M

anufacturing probably teetered between growth and contraction in August, a sign the pillar of the recovery is now struggling, according economists surveyed before a report Monday. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index was little changed at 50 compared with 49.8 in July, according to the median estimate of 70 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. A reading of 50 is the dividing line between shrinking and expanding. Spending on construction projects probably rose in July, other figures may show. The possibility that taxes will rise and government outlays will fall if U.S. lawmakers don’t act by January may shake confi-

dence and cause consumers and businesses to curb spending. The European debt crisis represents another stumbling block that threatens to limit orders to American factories. “Domestic uncertainty and global weakness are both restraining growth in manufacturing,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “It’s a weak sector of the economy right now. We don’t expect a lot of pickup in investment activity this year.” The Tempe, Arizona-based ISM released the report Estimates ranged from 48.7 to 51.5. The group has said that an index (S15MACH) reading above 42.5, while signaling contraction in manufacturing,

is generally consistent with an expanding overall economy. The gauge averaged 55.2 in 2011 and 57.3 in 2010. Other reports show manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, weakened last month. Factory activity in the New York region contracted in August for the first time in 10 months, and production in the Philadelphia-area shrank for a fourth month, Federal Reserve reports showed. The Institute for Supply ManagementChicago Inc.’s business barometer also fell in August, indicating manufacturer’s pace of expansion was slowing and that companies may hold the line on production until sales pick up.


46

Capital Market

Vigeo Power pays $32.3m for Benin Distribution Company JOHNSON OKANALWON

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igeo Power Limited has paid $32.3m to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, a 25 per cent of the $129m bid price for the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), covering Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States. The company is one of the consortia that emerged as core investors in the Federal Government’s privatisation programme in the power sector, having clinched BEDC in the open and internationally-acclaimed competitive bid process held in 2012. A statement from the company yesterday said Vigeo Holdings is the consortium lead and equity member, with Global Utili-

ties Management Company Limited (GUMCO) as local technical partner and equity member, African Finance Corporation (AFC) as equity member and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) as the foreign technical partner. It said that Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) will provide technical service for BEDC on the wire side, while GUMCO provides technical service on the commercial side. According to the statement, Vigeo Holdings is a multi business group with interest in major sectors of the Nigerian economy. “With over 25 years of successful track record, VGL has made a name and carved an image as a quality group providing qual-

ity service consistently since 1985. “Before Vigeo Power Limited bought BEDC, which was one of one of the distribution companies unbundled from PHCN, GUMCO a member of the consortium had also participated in virtually all the public private partnership in the downstream subsector of the power sector including Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) and Prepaid Metering Service and the PHCN bid for metering and billing management (MBM),” the statement said. It explained that GUMCO was the management operator for the National Pre-Payment Metering Programme in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company covering Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti

States. The statement added that the programme primarily targeted at reducing non-technical losses and improving customer satisfaction via improved customer service delivery. “This entails the procurement, installation and management of prepaid meters in BEDC. The contract provided for the installation of 161,000 Pre-Paid Meters (PPMs) within two years and management of the vending operations until the operator’s investment in metering and vending infrastructure is fully repaid. “GUMCO emerged top with no less impact, installing over 150,000 Prepaid Meters within two years, when the total Pre-paid metering installation in the whole 11 Distribution companies under the NPPMP was 485,000 at the stoppage of investment deployment under the NPPMP,” it said.

Equities rise by 0.2% as Lafarge WAPCO leads gainers JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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he benchmark index of equities rose further yesterday on Nigerian Stock Exchange, as more investors took positions on stocks with good earnings. Specifically, the All Share Index appreciated by 0.17 per cent to close at 33,298.74 points, compared to the increase of 0.89 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 33,243.54 points. Market capitalisation increased by N2bn to close at 10.7trn, lower than the in-

crease of N10bn recorded the preceding day to close at 10.6trn. The Insurance Index led the sectorial indices with 0.81 per cent to close at 155.41points, followed by the Banking index with 0.29 per cent to close at 413.56 points. Lotus Islamic index rose by 0.20 per cent to close at 2,142.23 points, while the NSE 30-Index appreciated by 0.21 per cent to close at 1,591.97 points. The Oil and Gas index and the Consumer Goods index lost 1.03 per cent and 0.18 per cent to close

at 198.17 points and 968.81 points respectively. Lafarge WAPCO Plc led the gainers’ table with N3.79 or 5.19 per cent to close at N76.79 per share, followed by Ikeja Hotel Plc with four kobo or 4.88 per cent to close at 86 kobo per share. Livestock Plc appreciated by 10 kobo or 4.76 per cent to close at N2.20 per share, while Fidson Healthcare Plc rose by seven kobo or 4.46 per cent to close at N1.64 per share. AIICO Insurance Plc added four kobo or 4.44 per cent to close at 94 kobo per share. On the flip side, UAC-

Properties Plc fell by 99 kbo or 6.19 per cent to close at N15.01 per share, while Wema Bank Plc dipped by seven kobo or 5.93 per cent to close at N1.11 per share. FTN Cocoa Plc dropped by three kobo or five per cent to close at 57 kobo per share, while MRS Oil Plc declined by N1.37 or 4.97 per cent to close at N26.18 per share. Nigeria Police Microfinance Bank Plc depreciated by five kobo or 4.59 per cent to close at N1.04 per share. A total of 310.03 million shares valued at N2.98bn were traded in 5,619 deals.

ForexTime unveils new currency pairs, CFDs for trading DAMILOLA AJAYI

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orexTime Limited has announced the launch of seven new currency pairs and 13 new Contract For Trading instruments for trading, giving traders more options and variety in their trading. A statement from the company yesterday said the new currency pairs include exotic pairs, crosses with the Swiss Franc and crosses with the Australian Dollar, a major commodity currency.

The statement explained that ForexTime gives its clients access to the global currency market and offers trading in forex, precious metals, commodities, shares and indices. The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Olga Rybalkina said, “The new currency pairs include exotic currencies such as the Turkish Lira, the Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone and Swedish Krone. He stressed that the currencies tend to make quicker and larger move-

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ments than major currency pairs and it is this volatility that makes these pairs popular with experienced traders. “All of these currency pairs and CFDs are available for trading via Standard MT4 accounts. Additionally, the USD/TRY and EUR/TRY currency pairs are available for trading with ForexTime’s unique Shariah compliantAmanah accounts,” he added. The new currency pairs are Australian Dollar vs Danish Krone, Australian Dollar vs Norwegian Krosne, Australian Dollar

vs Swedish Krone, Australian Dollar vs Singapore Dollar and Swiss Franc vs Singapore Dollar. ForexTime CFD shares, commodity futures and index fund future instruments now include American International Group, Incorporation, Apple Incorporation, Amazon. com, Incorporation, eBay Incorporation and Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Incorporation. Others are FedEx Corporation, Google Incorporation, Halliburton Company and Goldman Sachs Group Incorporation.

Source: NSE

Source: Afrinvest

Market indicators All-Share Index 10,655.3 points Market capitalisation 33.3 trillion

Stock Updates GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

WAPCO

73.00

76.79

3.79

IKEJAHOTEL

0.82

0.86

0.04

LIVESTOCK

2.10

2.20

0.10

FIDSON

1.57

1.64

0.07

AIICO

0.90

0.94

0.04

WAPIC

1.42

1.48

0.06

CADBURY

33.70

35.10

1.40

CILEASING

0.57

0.59

0.02

OKOMUOIL

57.00

59.00

2.00

NASCON

8.80

9.05

0.25

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

UAC-PROP

16.00

15.01

WEMABANK

1.18

1.11

0.07

FTNCOCOA

0.60

0.57

0.03

0.99

MRS

27.55

26.18

1.37

NPFMCRFBK

1.09

1.04

0.05

IPWA

0.97

0.93

0.04

JAPAULOIL

0.73

0.70

0.03

ETERNA

3.79

3.65

0.14

PZ

41.00

39.50

1.50

PRESTIGE

0.83

0.80

0.03

Primary Market Auction TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

32,488.72

11.95

7-Mar-13

182-Days

20,000.00

13.80

7-Mar-13

364 -Days

57,119.37

15.57

7-Mar-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

355-Days

75,273.10

15.37

14-Mar-13

97-Days

63,681.60

13.37

14-Mar-13

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$180m

N/A

$180m

11-Mar-13

$150m

N/A

$150m

6-Mar-13


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Capital Market

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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

Sector

Company name

1st Tier Securities No Of Deals Quotation(N)

Sector

Company name

No Of Deals

Quotation(N)

Quantity Traded

Value of Shares(N)

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Cocktail

48

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FOR YOUR SUCCESS

WITH DR. DEJI FOLUTILE

Today's Tonic (113) “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believed that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” –Bruce Barton * * * Believe In Yourself You have to believe that at any point in life, you are bigger and better than what you think you are. You have to see yourself as unlimited. You have to engage in ceaseless positive self talk that you are stronger than your circumstances whatever they may be. This is how to win daily battles. This is how to tap the riches of life. You see, the world is ruled from within. If you bluntly refuse to stop believing in yourself, you will use circumstances to create a rosy future for yourself. You will win today! TEL 08104942999 E-MAIL deji.folutile@gmail.com Follow me @TwitterOWOTIDE

Woman arrested for toilet message

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Tennessee woman was arrested for writing an obscene message directed to a police officer on a broken toilet and leaving it in her front yard. Investigators said Patti Cole, 48, of Mount Pleasant was angry at Rob Wagonshutz, a member of the Maury County Drug Task Force, for arresting her daughter March 1 at her home, so she scrawled an obscene message

addressed to Wagonshutz on a broken toilet and left it outside her home, The (Columbia) Daily Herald reported Monday. “[Expletive] you, Rob Wagonshutz” the toilet bowl read, with the tank next it bearing the message, “Rob Wagonshutz special place in hell for u and ur boys!” Wagonshultz, who lives near Cole’s home, was alerted to the message and filed a complaint.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Oddities

Dog accidentally travels to Ireland A family moving from New York to Arizona said their dog was placed on the wrong flight and ended up in Ireland. Edith Lombardo-Albach said she took the dog to New Jersey’s Liberty Newark International Airport in January and handed him over to United Airlines workers to have him sent to join her husband and daughter Thursday in Phoenix, ABCNews.com reported Monday. “They marked everything Phoenix, and put the tags on Phoenix,” she said. However, LombardoAlbach said she got a call Thursday evening from the airline saying the 6-year-old English Springer Spaniel, Hendrix, had been placed on the wrong flight and was headed to Shannon, Ireland. “I almost fainted,” she said. “My husband and my daughter were already at the airport waiting for the dog.” Lombardo-Albach said United promised her Hen-

drix would be cared for and returned. “They were going to have someone clean the dog, feed the dog, walk the dog, and then they were going to get the dog back on the plane and send him to Newark,” she said. “The dog had already gone seven hours to Ireland, and now the dog has a

two-hour layover and then a seven-hour flight to Newark,” Lombardo-Albach said. “I was insane.” Lombardo-Albach said she greeted Hendrix when he returned to Newark and spent time with him before he boarded the right plane to Phoenix. United apologized for the incident and refunded

Lombardo-Albach’s money. “We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the situation and will take steps to prevent this from happening again,” she said. “Hendrix’s experience is not typical of the service we provide to the more than 100,000 pets who travel with us every year.”

Four of 10 German shepherd puppies selected annually to work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their canine PHOTO: RCMP training compound in Innisfail, Alberta.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

49

Community Mirror “Corruption and indiscipline have stopped us from leaving a befitting economic and moral legacy for posterity.”

Ekiti monarchs allege marginalisation.

MINISTER OF NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION , DR. SHAMSUDEEN USMAN

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Police arrest Igbokoda chiefs for murder OJO OYEWAMIDE

AKURE

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he Ondo State Police Command has arrested eight chiefs in Igbokoda, for alleged complicity in the gruesome murder of Prince Titiola Lebi. The police also said they would soon invite the town’s traditional ruler, Oba Odidiomo Afolabi to explain his alleged role in the death which has generated crisis in the area. Those arrested are now be-

ing detained at the state Criminal Investigations Department, CID, Akure, even as father of the deceased, Pa. Titiola Taiwo, pleaded with the police to fish out the killers of his son. The arrest of the chiefs followed petitions sent to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Osogbo and the state police commissioner by counsel to the deceased family, Chief Juwon Shemudara, accusing the monarch and some of his subjects of being responsible for Lebi’s death.

In the petitions, Shemudara, who is also the traditional head of Kofawe Community, said the deceased and three others were unjustly arrested and brutalised by thugs at Oba Afolabi’s Palace. The counsel stated further that a detachment of police from Igbokoda Division, led by the DCO later went to the palace to free some of the victims while taking them to the station. When contacted, police spokesman, Mr. Dele Egodo, ASP, confirmed the chiefs’ arrest. “It is true

that we have arrested eight chiefs at Igbokoda in connection with the case and they are now being detained at the state CID. It is the duty of the CID to invite the monarch as well”. The police spokesman assured that whoever is linked to the death would be arrested irrespective of his position. Father of the deceased, Pa Titiola Taiwo, said in Akure that his son was gruesomely murdered by the powers that be for unjust reasons.

“My life has been ruined. I am now a walking corpse. What did I do to deserve this? Who did this to me? My joy has been taken away from me. I am finished. Whoever did this to me will never know peace. Sorrow and tears will not depart from his house.” Meanwhile, the monarch, Oba Afolabi, has denied sponsoring people to murder the deceased as alleged by the family, even as he claimed that some hoodlums attacked his palace and destroyed valuable items.

Man attempting to steal car escapes lynching LATEEFAH IBRAHIMANIMASHAUN

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A man frantically scooping spilled lubricants from a distressed tanker on Eko Bridge.

PHOTO:ADEMOLA AKINLABI

Imoshe residents petition over hoodlum attacks FEMI OYEWESO ABEOKUTA

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he people of Imoshe village in Igbesa Community of Ado – Odo/ Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, have appealed to the Inspector General of Police,IGP, Mohammmed Abubakar to save them from incessant attacks from hoodlums. The community also urged the police boss to investigate the alleged police complicity in the attacks, especially the personnel attached to Sango Area Command. Speaking with Community Mirror, the head of Ilamoshe village, Chief Hamsat Lawal ,alleged that some gunmen were, led by police personnel in the invasion of the community.

Chief Lawal, said the attack of last week, was the third in less than six months by hoodlums,even as he alleged that they shot indiscriminately while raiding the homes of some chiefs and other prominent individuals. “I escaped from the palace because the last time they invaded; they assaulted and took me to the state police headquarters atEleweran. Before then I was sleeping in my bed room, as they forced their way and manhandled me. As I came out, I saw policemen and they told me we were going to Igbesa police post but rather drove to Eleweran where I was released on bail.” Community Mirror however, gathered that Imoshe village had been embroiled in a legal battle over land in the community prior to

Wednesday’s attack. The village head, Chief Lawal, who maintained the attacks, had nothing to do with any disagreement however, said that indigenes identified as Jamiu and Lateef, engaged the services of the hoodlums with aim of selling the disputed land. He further alleged that the invasion was sponsored by them, even as they have relocated to Lagos some years back. “They have been indiscriminately selling land and now want to send everyone out of the village”. Some victims of the attack also narrated tales of police brutalities and how they lost their valuables. There was however palpable fears in the town as dozens of police personnel were stationed at the scene where the hoodlums aban-

doned two vehicles; a Mitsubushi Montero with registration number, Lagos CK 07 APP and blue Toyota Sienna with registration number, Lagos Epe 57 AW,even as it was speculated that the vehicles were filled with arms and ammunitions. When contacted on the issue, the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed the incident and stressed that the command was still investigating. He said some persons in Imoshe community who were attacked, put a distress call to the Sango Ota Area Command which it promptly responded,as he confirmed the arrest of some persons in connection with the attack, saying the case has been transferred to the State Criminal and Investigations Department,SCID.

man has escaped lynching at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital,Ikeja, LASUTH, after being caught trying to steal a Jeep. As the alleged thief was being manhandled by a mob, a lady suddenly appeared on the scene to claim the suspect was her junior brother sent to withdraw some money for the purchase of drugs for their sick father on admission at the hospital. “We were together in the ward and he was sent to buy some drugs for our dad who is on admission in the hospital”, she said. Meanwhile, an eyewitness said he saw the suspect trying to open the doors of the Jeep, even as the latter denied ever trying to open the car doors. Speaking with Community Mirror, a staff of the hospital disclosed that the mob action was as a result of recurring car thefts at the hospital premises. “People like him have master keys and or other equipment that could open car doors, he said”. Another witness, said that car thefts have become rampant at LASUTH and stressed that most of them occur at weekends. “There were periods we discovered that car side mirrors were always missing in the compound without anyone being caught”, he said. “These suspected thieves come into the hospital compound to steal different gadgets. Last week, an office window net was cut with blades and phones stolen”. One of them added that his shoe was stolen while praying at the hospital mosque.


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Ekiti monarchs allege marginalisation ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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he traditional rulers of two prominent towns in Ekiti West Council Area of Ekiti State are alleging marginalisation of their domains in matters of development. The monarchs, the Owa Ooye of Okemesi, Oba Adedeji Gbadebo, who is the Chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and the Regent of Erio Ekiti, Princess Dejoke

Ojo; said the marginalisation was borne out of the large size of the council area. They spoke at separate town hall meetings organised by the Local Government Chairman, Mr Ropo Famubode, in their domains., as they made case for the splitting of the council area to enable development reach them. Speaking at the events, Famubode canvassed the splitting of the present Ekiti West Local Government into two to

give room for meaningful development in all the towns. The council boss said in view of the large size of the area and the current revenue earning, the area might find it difficult to develop to its optimum capacity, adding that breaking the existing council into two would fast track development. He said: “This is one of the largest councils in Ekiti State, even Nigeria. So I believe for our people to have the best development at the grassroots,

another council should be created from the existing one.” Famubode, however, assured that all the constituent towns and villages would be given adequate attention during his tenure despite the lean resources at his disposal; promising that the water treatment plant at Okemesi Ekiti would be reticulated across the town for maximum use by the people. The council boss also promised to grade all the farm roads across the council to increase

productivity and food security. Oba Gbadebo, who blamed the youth restiveness in the nation on desperation on the part of the politicians, lamented the rate at which youths are used for acts of criminality by desperate politicians. He said: “It is disheartening today that politics has deprived the youth of productive engagement in farming and other vocations, because they have become willing tools in the hands of politicians.”

House outlaws revenue collection in Anambra NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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he Anambra State House of Assembly has reminded communities in the state that the ban on revenue collection in whatever guise is still in force; saying anyone caught indulging in such an illicit act would be penalised. The Chairman of House Committee on Public Petitions and Conflict Resolution, Hon. Ebele Obi sounded the warning after the committee received a petition brought before it by some stakeholders from Nkpor community in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, against the Director of Finance/Administration in the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of Nkpor Development Union, NDU, Barrister Raphael Asha Nnabuife. The House recalled that it had in April last year passed a bill prohibiting all tolls and levies such as development, land, building and market tolls, among others being collected from developers by some communities, adding that five-year jail term awaits any culprit. The committee specifically directed Nnabuife who is also the chairman of transition committee of Idemili North Local Government Area to stop further collection of such levies and allow peace to reign in Nkpor community. Reading out their petition jointly signed by chairmen of the seven villages of Nkpor, under the aegis of Nkpor Village Chairmen’s Forum, including Umusiome, Akuzor, MgbachuAgu, Ububa, Isingwu, AmaforUno and Mgbachu-Uno villages, a onetime President-General of NDU, Dr. C. C. Okeke, and other aggrieved stakeholders, Chief Fidelis Iwugo, Barrister Uche Darlington Okeke, Chief Augustine Udo, Chibuzo Okeke requested the House to use its veto power to stop Nnabuife from further collecting the levies from land developers and petty traders in the area.

Some youths trying to place back fallen load back on a wheelbarrow in Lagos.

PHOTO:ADEMOLA AKINLABI

Abepe residents plan power project commissioning KEMI OLAITAN

IBADAN

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esidents of Abepe/Idi-Igbaro and environs in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State are planning the official commissioning of power project solely financed by them after years of waiting for government’s support to no avail. The Chairman and Secretary of the Landlord’s Association, Messrs Philus Adedokun and Ayodele Adio respectively, in a release issued in Ibadan, said the multi-million naira electricity project which is to be commissioned for use next month would signal an end to age-long perpetual darkness in the fast developing community. They stressed that the entire community and its environ in the local council had never been provided with electricity by successive administrations until two years ago when a former council

boss, donated a transformer to it. They argued that even with the donation, the task of securing the equipment had cost the community N500, 000 due to the monthly salaries being paid to security man, who has been safeguarding it. “Having waited for close to two years with no succour from the incumbent administration in Ido Local Government, the community took it upon itself to raise funds for the project by obtaining loans and took other equipment on higher purchase from one of the suppliers in Ibadan. “Since our letters and physical representations before the council helmsman for times without number had always met brick walls, we resorted to self help and we thank God it has paid off now as we look forward to commissioning of the project. “We have no doubt that it will enhance and further cement harmonious healthy-living among residents, fast track its overall

growth and engender economic status and security of lives and property of our people. We also want to thank God for the grace

of living in peaceful atmosphere all these years notwithstanding the state of our environment,” the release states.

Akobo PCRC lauds police boss KEMI OLAITAN

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embers of the Police Community Relation Committee (PCRC), Akobo branch, have described the era of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in-charge of Akobo Police Station, CSP Elisha Bawa as a golden age for the people of the area. Speaking during a thanksgiving ceremony held jointly by the PCRC and officers of the station for Bawa who was recently promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Chief Leke Oyekola, chairman of Akobo PCRC described the police officer as a God send who had stabilised

the security situation of the area within a short time. He affirmed that the CSP has introduced many measures and laudable projects since his transfer to the police division to the benefits of personnel and people in the community. He said; “we are happy for CSP Elisha Bawa because since he resumed here, we have been enjoying peace in the area and moreover, he is a man of the people who is ready to settle disputes without taking side”. Bawa thanked all who contributed to the actualisation of the event, singling out members of Akobo PCRC for their assistance and support which he claimed had made policing the area a lot easier.


Wednesday March 20, 2013

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World News

Papal inauguration: Pope Francis calls for defence of the weak

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“What we have to do, we do it in a way that is consistent with Afghan sovereignty” –US GENERAL, JOSEPH DUNFORD

Gaddafi’s cousin arrested in Egypt PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam, Gaddafi’s cousin, gesturing to supporters from a car after being arrested in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday. PHOTO: AP

of committing offenses during the eight-month war. In addition to Qaddaf alDam, the list included former Foreign Minister Ali Al-Treki and military intelligence chief Bouzeid Al-Jabou. During the siege, Qaddaf al-Dam said in a phone call to a private TV channel that he had been invited to Cairo by the military council that took over after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. He de-

scribed security forces as “a gang.” “We came here with an invitation from the Foreign Ministry and the military council ... We are not terrorists to be ambushed like this,” he said. “We will defend our house until the end.” Mubarak, who like Gaddafi was ousted by a 2011 Arab Spring uprising, had close ties to the Libyan dictator. Human rights groups said Cairo allowed Libyan intelligence to kidnap the

anti-Gaddafi opposition, notably dissident Mansour Kikhia who disappeared in 1993. Kikhia was said to have later been killed. His remains were located in a house in Tripoli in September. Even after Mubarak’s overthrow, Cairo appeared reluctant to hand over wanted Gaddafi officials, possibly because they had ties with Egypt’s intelligence and security apparatus or investments in the country.

U.S. considering what to do with Congo’s warlord, Ntaganda

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he U.S. embassy in Rwanda was working out yesterday what to do with a Congolese warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court; a day after Bosco Ntaganda walked off the street and turned himself in to face war crimes charges. Ntaganda stunned U.S. embassy staff when he walked into the diplomatic mission and gave himself up, an apparently meek end to a 15-year long career that saw him fight as a rebel and government soldier on both sides of the Rwanda-Congo border. He specifically asked to be transferred to the Hague-based tribunal, the U.S. State Department said. Neither the United States nor Rwanda has an obligation to hand over the commander nicknamed “the Terminator” to The Haguebased ICC as they are not signatories to the Rome Statute that set up the court.

Zimbabweans vote in favour of new constitution

Zimbabwe’s official election body says 94.5 percent of those who cast ballots in a referendum on a new constitution gave a “Yes” vote to accept reforms that call for a strengthening of human rights and curb presidential powers in the troubled nation. Judge Rita Makarau, head of the state electoral commission, said yesterday just over 3 million Zimbabweans voted for the draft constitution and 170,489 voted against. Spoilt ballot papers that were not factored in to the final results. In Saturday’s polling, all citizens over the age of 18 were allowed to vote without being registered on official voters’ lists. Of the population of 13 million, half are estimated under 18, leaving a turnout Saturday of slightly below 50 percent of people eligible to vote on the constitution.

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gyptian security forces arrested a close aide and a cousin of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi yesterday following an hourslong siege of his home in central Cairo, a security official and witnesses said. Gaddafi’s former intelligence official Ahmed Ahmed Qaddaf alDam, who is among dozens wanted for their role in Libya’s 2011 civil war, surrendered to Egyptian security forces, they said. Police had surrounded his home in the Cairo neighbourhood of Zamalek before dawn. Shots were fired during the siege, but witnesses gave conflicting reports as to whether Qaddaf al-Dam opened fire in the air to drive police away or police had fired the shots as they tried to storm the building. There were no injuries reported. The official said that Qaddaf al-Dam will be handed over to Interpol to be transferred to Libya. He spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the press. Last year, Libya’s general prosecutor had requested that Egypt hand over 40 Libyans affiliated with Gaddafi’s regime suspected

WORLD BULLETIN

Washington broadly supports the ICC, but testimony by Ntaganda, who has fought in a string of Rwanda-backed rebellions in Congo’s east, may be damaging for the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a close U.S. ally. “I don’t think we have any real idea of when things will happen,” an official at the U.S. embassy in Kigali told Reuters. “We are still figuring out how it’s going to work.” Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has welcomed Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda’s surrender to stand trial on war crimes charges. Known as “The Terminator”, Gen Ntaganda surrendered on Monday to the US embassy in Rwanda after seven years on the run. The ICC said it was in contact with the relevant authorities to arrange for his immediate transfer to The Hague. He denies committing atroci-

ties during the long-running conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DR Congo government says Gen Ntaganda crossed into Rwanda on Saturday. Rwandan-born Ntaganda faces charges of recruiting child soldiers, murder, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery and rape during the 2002-2 conflict in north-eastern Congo’s gold-mined Ituri district. But a U.N. panel of experts said Ntaganda was most recently

Ntaganda

a leader of the year-old M23 rebellion - an insurgency in eastern Congo the experts said was backed by senior Rwandan government and military officials. “He’s on the compound and we have a place for him to sleep but obviously we’re not a hotel and we don’t have a guest room,” the embassy official told Reuters. One of Africa’s most wanted men, Ntaganda’s defeat came after a split within the M23 rebel movement in past months left the rebel commander increasingly sidelined. A rival, more powerful faction of M23 had shown signs of warming up to a peace deal with the Kinshasa government. With an international arrest warrant hanging over him, Ntaganda worried he might be sold out as part of any peace deal and was seen as a potential spoiler to the process, Jason Stearns of the Rift Valley Institute wrote in a briefing paper days before Ntaganda’s surrender.

Ex- Bush lawyer fighting Kenyan election case

A former lawyer for President George W. Bush now representing the Kenyan prime minister in his battle to persuade the Supreme Court to order a new presidential election said he doesn’t think Kenya’s election commission is impartial. William Burck said Kenya’s election commission, known as the IEBC, failed in its duty to ensure that the March 4 presidential election was fair. Burck is helping represent Prime Minister Raila Odinga in his petition to Kenya’s Supreme Court asking that the results be scrapped and a new election held. Uhuru Kenyatta — the son of Kenya’s founding father — was named the winner of the vote with 50.07 percent. Burck — Bush’s deputy counsel from 2005 to 2009 — said in a phone interview from the U.S. late Monday that the “evidence is not great” for the commission’s conduct in the election, Kenya’s first since a 2007 vote led to weeks of tribal violence that killed more than 1,000 people.

Malian newspaper editor charged with crime A media rights group says that a Malian newspaper editor, who was arrested two weeks ago after publishing a letter criticizing the salary of the nation’s coup leader, has been charged with “inciting disobedience” and “publishing falsehoods.” Reporters Without Borders said that Boukary Daou, the editor-in-chief of The Republican newspaper, was charged Monday. He was transferred to the central prison in Bamako. Daou was arrested on March 6 after his newspaper published a letter signed by an army captain criticizing Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo’s more than $8,000-a-month salary, a lofty sum in the poor country.


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WORLD BULLETIN

UK approves plan to build new nuclear power plants

The first of a planned new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK has been given approval. Energy Secretary Ed Davey told MPs in the Commons that he was granting planning consent for French energy giant EDF to construct Hinkley Point C in Somerset. The proposed £14bn power plant would be capable of powering five million homes. Davey said the project was “of crucial national importance” but environmental groups reacted angrily. The building of Hinkley Point C is expected to pave the way for a fleet of new plants across the UK. It is estimated the project will create between 20,000 and 25,000 jobs during construction and 900 permanent jobs once in operation. What’s more, the stations there will have to be subsidised massively by the public under a deal being “intensely” discussed by the Treasury. Its owners are asking for government guarantees that may possibly be challenged under EU competition law and the firm is still looking for a business partner. And even if the plants at Hinkley actually do get off the ground, there is still a huge question mark over the rest of the new-build programme. To replace historic capacity would need at least three more developments on this scale. But it’s barely conceivable that the new-build programme could progress with no sign of a long-term nuclear waste disposal in prospect.

Seven killed in blast at US arms depot

Seven service personnel have died in an explosion at a military ammunition storage facility in the US state of Nevada, says a Marine Corps spokesman. Several others were injured in Monday night’s blast during a Marine training exercise at the Hawthorne Army Depot. The injured have been transported to local hospitals for treatment, said the spokesman. It is not known what caused the blast, but CNN quoted an official as saying that a 60mm shell had exploded. Those caught in the blast at 22:00 local time (05:00 GMT on Tuesday) were members of the 2nd Marine Division. Marine commander Maj Gen Raymond Fox said in a news release: “We send our prayers and condolences to the families of Marines involved in this tragic incident. “We remain focused on ensuring that they are supported through this difficult time.”

Syrian opposition PM says no dialogue with Assad

The Syrian opposition’s newly elected interim prime minister has ruled out dialogue with President Bashar Assad’s regime. In a speech in Istanbul following his election Tuesday, Ghassan Hitto says “there is no place” for dialogue with the Assad regime. He also said all members of the regime who have committed crimes will be tried. Hitto said the interim government will be headquartered in rebel-held territories in northern Syria and urged international recognition.

World News

Wednesday March 20, 2013

Papal inauguration: Pope Francis calls for defence of the weak

The papal mitre is placed on the head of Pope Francis during his inaugural mass in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican, yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

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ope Francis set the tone for a new, humbler papacy yesterday with a call for the defence of the weak and the environment, saying this was the way to prevent the triumph of death and destruction. Addressing up to 200,000 people and many foreign leaders gathered under bright sunshine in St. Peter’s Square, the Argentine pope underlined his constant message since he was elected by a secret conclave of cardinals last Wednesday - that the Church’s mission was to defend the poor and disadvantaged. In line with this message, the inaugural Mass on the steps of the giant St. Peter’s Basilica was much simpler and an hour shorter than the baroque splendour of his predecessor Benedict’s inauguration in 2005. The Mass formally installed Francis as head of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. The Church’s mission “means respecting each of God’s crea-

tures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about”, he said in the homily. The message chimed with the teachings of the 13th century St. Francis of Assisi, from whom the pope took his name and who is a symbol of poverty, simplicity, charity and love of nature. Francis said that whenever human beings failed to care for the environment and each other, “The way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically in every period of history there are ‘Herods’ who plot death, wreak havoc and mar the countenance of men and women.” The hallmark simplicity of Francis, the first Jesuit pope, has fuelled hopes for change and renewal in a Church beset by a deep crisis.

“For me this is a call to humility and service to others that will mark his papacy... This is a new breeze of fresh air that is blowing through the Church and the name of that breeze is Francis,” Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri told Reuters. That reaction was shared by many. “He is a simple, humble person, he is not like the untouchable popes, he seems like someone normal people can reach out to,” said Argentine electrician Cirigliano Valetin, 51, who works in southern Italy and was among the huge crowd. Francis inherits a Church mired in scandals over priests’ sexual abuse of children and the leak of confidential documents alleging corruption and rivalry between cardinals inside the Church government or Curia. He has also been accused by some critics in Argentina of not doing enough to oppose human rights abuses under a military

Bus falls off bridge in India, kills 37

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bus packed with passengers crashed through a guard rail and fell off a bridge in western India early yesterday, killing at least 37 people and injuring another 15, police said. The overnight bus was carrying passengers from the beach resort state of Goa to Mumbai when it crashed in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, said Mahendra Singh Pardeshi, a police official present at the site. The area is about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Mumbai. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear. The driver was among those injured in the pre-dawn accident. The bus had a capacity of 55 passengers, but Pardeshi said it

was not known how many people were on board. Early, blurred video if the accident showed that the bus

broke through the guard rail on the bridge and fell several meters to the bank of the Jagbudi River below.

Rescuers and others gathering at the site of a bus accident in Ratnagiri district, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

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government during the 1976-1983 “dirty war” when some 30,000 leftists were kidnapped and killed. The Vatican has strongly denied the accusations. In his homily, the new pope called for world leaders to be “protectors of one another and of the environment... Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives. Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts.” Before the Mass, the pope toured St. Peter’s Square, which was filled with people waving flags, in an open white jeep, abandoning the bullet-proof popemobile often used by Benedict. He stopped frequently to greet those in the sprawling square, kissing babies and getting out to bless a disabled man. For the Mass he wore plain white vestments, trimmed with gold and brown, and black shoes, in contrast to the red ones that Benedict wore and that attracted attention. The ceremony, conducted from an altar on the steps of the huge basilica, was shortened to two hours after a three-hour service in 2005 when Benedict began his papacy. “We have gone from the rigid theology professor to a teacher of Christian simplicity,” said Italian church historian Alberto Melloni, referring to the contrast between the warm, common touch of Francis and Benedict’s stiff, intellectual manner.

Bombs kill 65 on Iraq’s invasion anniversary

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wave of bombings tore through Iraq yesterday, killing 65 people on eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion and showing how unstable Iraq remains more than a year after the withdrawal of American troops. It was the deadliest day of attacks in Iraq since Sept. 9, when insurgents unleashed an onslaught of bombings and shootings across the country that left 92 dead. Violence has ebbed sharply since the peak of Sunni-Shiite fighting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 20062007. But insurgents maintain the ability to stage high-profile attacks while sectarian and ethnic rivalries continue to tear at the fabric of national unity. The symbolism of yesterday’s attacks was strong, coming 10 years to the day, Washington time, that former President George W. Bush announced the start of hostilities against Iraq. It was already early March 20, 2003, in Iraq when the airstrikes began. The military action quickly ousted Saddam Hussein but led to years of bloodshed as Sunni and Shiite militants battled U.S. forces and each other, leaving nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis killed.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kwara wades into Ganmo kingship crisis WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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wara State Government yesterday announced the suspension of all actions on the Oluganmo of Ganmo obaship stool which led to a bloody clash that claimed at least two lives. The suspension is, however, pending the resolution of all litigations on the matter in court. The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, announced the suspension after an on-the-spot assessment of the damage caused by the crisis in Ganmo in Ifelodun Local Government. Gold expressed displeasure at the level of destruction in the community, saying that government had directed security agencies to fish out culprits in the clash to bring them to book. He said: “Following the suspension of actions on the traditional stool, government will view any further outbreak of violence in Ganmo as an act of criminality and will prosecute those ap-

prehended to the full limit of the law.” The SSG charged security operatives to provide adequate security to ensure the safety of

all the residents of the community. He advised the people to go about their lawful activities without fear. Gold also enjoined the

people to embrace the culture of dialogue to resolve all forms of disagreements among them rather than taking laws into their hands.

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, during a visit to victims of the bomb blast at the Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, yesterday.

APC heads for court to stop Kogi LG polls WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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olitical parties, which fused into the All Progressives Party, APC, have concluded plans to stop the May 4 local government elections in Kogi State. Rising from a meeting at Idah in the East Senatorial District of the state, the APC members said a team of lawyers had been constituted to file a suit to stop the polls. A chieftain of the yet-

to-be registered party, Dr. Umar Akwu, said arrangement had been concluded to sue the state government and the State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, to postpone the May 4 elections. Akwu said APC had already commissioned a team of lawyers to present its stand in court, adding that a decision on that was taken at Idah as well as at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lokoja. He explained that the decision was taken because all the parties in-

volved in the coalition had asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to return their respective original registration forms as they had fused into one party. According to him, until INEC complies with the request and register the new party, the concerned parties stand disqualified to contest the said election, because they have lost their original identity to APC. He said: “Look, all the parties involved in the

formation of APC have lost their original identity. The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and others who formed the APC have therefore lost their original identity and as such cannot participate in the council elections, except for the registration of the new party, APC. Our lawyers would soon appear in court.”

2015: Northern Yoruba back Jonathan/Sambo ticket A ZA MSUE KADUNA

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he Yoruba community in the 19 northern states yesterday declared support for President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo, ahead of the 2015 presidential poll. The leader of the community, Alhaji Moham-

med Arigbabuowo, said in a statement that the decision to support Jonathan for another mandate was to enable him complete all his programmes. Arigbabuowo said although viable opposition could checkmate government activities, he advised Nigerians to accept democracy and give its time to mature.

The community leader, however, appealed for cordial working relations among the three tiers of government in order to develop the country. He said: “The people of this country will benefit immensely if we all vote again for the Jonathan/ Sambo administration and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2015.

“As the general elections of 2015 draw closer, it has become imperative for all of us to go back to the basis and promote a lasting democracy for the country. “Looking at our past records as one indivisible nation, it is a fact that democracy has stayed with us for almost 13 years, a tempo that must be kept alive.”

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Al-Makura signs N110.4bn 2013 budget IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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overnor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has signed the 2013 Appropriation Bill of N110.4 billion into law, as passed by the state House Assembly. The signing ceremony was held yesterday at the Lafia Parade Ground in the state capital. Last December, AlMakura presented a budget proposal of N107.9 for the 2013 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly but the lawmakers jacked it up to N110.4 billion. Signing it into law, the governor said the major feature of the Appropriation Bill was to access loans and bonds from financial institutions on favourable terms and conditions to fast-track the implementation of critical developmental projects that had direct bearing on the lives of

the people. He said: “The focus of the 2013 budget is the provision of basic infrastructure, employment generation and confidence-building in governance in tandem with the terms of our covenant with the good people of Nasarawa State.” Al-Makura, however, noted that the growth in the size of the budget was attributable to the desire of the government to reintroduce scholarship awards beginning from the 2012/2013 academic session. The import of the scholarship, according to him, is to provide educational opportunities for the physically-challenged from primary to tertiary levels. He said: “This is to enable our school age population, particularly the less-privileged, accomplish their educational aspirations to the highest level possible.”

Ajaokuta steel, Itakpe iron ore firms’ revival good –Grouppresent efforts of President WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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Non-Gover nmental Organisation, NGO, in Kogi state, Ebira Peoples Vanguard, EPV, has commended the present move by President Goodluck Jonathan to revive the ailing Ajaokuta Steel Complex and the Itakpe Iron Ore Company. EPV said it would help to industrialise the country in line with the transformation agenda of the present administration. The President of the organisation, Abdulrahman Adoke, said in a statement that no nation could boast of accelerated industrial growth without a solid steel base. Adoke explained that with the new zeal and determination by the Federal Government, Nigeria would be able to realise its Vision 20-20-20 and become a force to be reckoned with internationally. He pointed out that if Ajaokuta Steel was operational, it would help to reduce unemployment in the country. Adoke also urged all Nigerians to support the

Jonathan. The activist regretted that wrong advice and policy formulation had stalled the completion of the plant in the last 40 years. The EPV president called on stakeholders in the steel industry to offer useful advice that could help the country realise its objectives in the sector. He noted that the alarming rate of unemployment was partly responsible for the present insecurity across the country, saying that all hands must be on deck to arrest the trend. Adoke called on corporate organisations and well-to-do individuals to invest in steel development, noting that the country must be rescued from its state of poverty and underdevelopment.

President Goodluck Jonathan


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News

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FG inaugurates committee to settle PHCN workers CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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fter over 16 months of negotiations, the Federal Government yesterday inaugurated an implementation committee on the settlement of benefits of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, workers. Speaking at the inauguration, the Minister of State for Power, Hajia, Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, said the committee would work relentlessly to ensure that all due payments were made at the fastest time possible, assuring that government had sufficient funds to make full payments to all. She said: “The committee is expected to undertake its assignment with dispatch and work relentlessly to ensure that all due payments, working together with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Auditor General of the Federation are made at the fastest time possible. “I will like to take this opportunity to assure all here today that the Fed-

•Assures of sufficient funds

eral Government, in line with its previous commitments, has sufficient funds to make all full and complete payments to that entire are due. “Let none therefore entertain fear that government will relent in its commitments to the affected staff who after all,

are citizens of this country and would be treated with best conceivable stand.” Kuchi said the committee, which brings together all stakeholders to discuss in frank and transparent manner, various issues related to the fair and proper resolution of human resource-

oriented matters, was a major fulfilment of one the most critical aspects of the power sector reform. She said the committee would enable all players have a full participation as to how various issues such as determination of procedures for settlement of all due benefits to all concerned, taking into

cognizance all existing laws in the country. The chairman of the committee is the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, while the directors, Human Resources of the Ministry of Power and Bureau of Public Enterprise would be joint secretaries that would provide secretariat for the committee.

Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina (left) and Team Leader, Flying Broom Women's Communication and Research, Turkey, Sevna Somuncuoglu, during a visit to the minister in Abuja, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

1,585 Nigerian drug peddlers in Norway’s prisons –NDLEA OLUSEGUN KOIKI AND DENNIS AGBO

T

here are at least 1,585 Nigerians languishing in Norway prisons for offences relating to drug trafficking. The Head of Public Affairs of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said the prisoners were arrested

between 2000 and 2012 by the Norwegian authorities. Ofoyeju, however, said that in a bid to reduce drug trafficking by Nigerians, the Federal Government, through the NDLEA, was working on a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, on effective drug control between the two countries. This is as about 25 Nigerians, including a man and his wife, are currently in different prisons in Vietnam, serving various jail sentences over drug peddling.

The NDLEA Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade, according to Ofoyeju, said the decision was reached after a meeting with a delegation of Norwegian Intelligence Service in Lagos on Monday. He said: “We need to enter into a memorandum of understanding to deepen our collaboration with the Norwegian government. “Drug trafficking is a common problem and we need to embrace the principle of shared responsibility in addressing it.”

Giade condemned Nigerians’ involvement in criminal activities abroad and promised to take necessary steps to boost the country’s image. The steps to be taken, according to him, include effective collaboration in counter-narcotics, financial and assets investigation and anti-drug education. Also, the leader of the Norwegian delegation, Mr. Kai Arild Holm, said the collaboration between the

two countries would help to reduce narcotic smuggling, money laundering and human trafficking. He said: “In 2012, we arrested 432 Nigerians in Norway and deported 95 over drug trafficking. We need your help in dealing with the problem of West African criminal networks in Norway. Most Nigerians arrested over drug trafficking are based in Europe. They engage in drug smuggling and launder the money back home.”

Reps query NAMA over recruitment scam TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

N

igeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, has been put on the spot over allegations that its recent recruitments are a breach of Federal Character principle as enshrined in the constitution. Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Abdulrahman Kawu (ANPPKano), yesterday moved a motion, seeking investiga-

tion into the alleged lopsided recruitment exercise by NAMA. He told the House that “the recent recruitment exercise in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, which took place between September 2012 and February 2013 as reported by Blueprint of 5th March, 2013 was wrought with irregularities and manipulation in favour of certain states whereby 292 persons employed in the agency, Abia and Anambra (home states

of the Managing Director and the Minister of Aviation/Supervising Minister of the agency respectively) got 32 slots each, while some states of the federation did not get a single slot”. He said: “Section 1 of the Guiding Principles and Formulae for the Distribution of Posts as stipulated in the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc) Act stated that: Each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, shall equitably be represented in

all national institutions and in public enterprises and organisations.” Though the motion was enthusiastically received by the members, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal stepped it down on the information that the House Committee on Federal Character was already looking into it. Before the Speaker could put the motion to question, the Chairman of the Federal Character Committee, Hon. Idris Ahmed (PDP,

Plateau), raised an order to disclose that the motion was already being considered by the committee. He warned that “if no urgent step is taken, the problem will defeat the purpose of the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc) Act especially with regards to equal distribution of job opportunities among the states of the federation, and the supposed transparency and due process in the activities of the civil service of the federation.”

55

Diamond Bank, staff face money laundering charge K AYODE KETEFE

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he Federal Government has filed a criminal charge against Diamond Bank and two of its top employees before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for conspiring with some alleged drug barons to conceal large sums of proceeds from illegal drug dealing. The bank and two of its staff are standing trial in a charge instituted by the Federal Government through the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA. The accused, named in a five-count charge signed by the NDLEA Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Mr. Femi Oloruntoba, are Lasisi Abayomi, Hillary Ojukwu, Oni Oil and Gas Limited, Onoche Ikenua and his wife, Lizzy Chinyere Ikenua. At the proceedings before Justice James Tsoho yesterday, the prosecution, represented by Mr. Raphael Hinmikaiye, told the court that he had been informed that the fifth accused (Onoche Ikenua) was seriously ill. He also noted that another accused (Abayomi) was similarly absent at the last day of the proceedings which stalled the trial. Hinmikaiye therefore applied for an adjournment to a date that all the accused would be present in court to face trial. After hearing from the defence lawyer, Mr. O. O. Ogunleye, who did not oppose the application for adjournment, Tsoho fixed June 18 for trial. In the charge, the Diamond Bank workers were said to have failed to verify the true identity of Oni Oil and Gas Limited, Onoche Ikenua and Lizzy Chinyere Ikenua, before opening an account for their company after which they started rendering bank/customer services to them. The bank workers were also alleged to have conspired with other accused to convert various sums of money with a view to concealing their origin.


WORLD RECORD

Smallest species of water lily Vol. 03 No. 581

A

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

N150

The smallest documented species of water lily is Nymphaea thermarum, also known as the thermal lily has pads 10-20 mm (0.3-0.6 in) across.

Alarm over Alamieyeseigha

s usual with Nigerians, there is a proclivity to drown themselves in the staccato and din of noises whenever President Goodluck Jonathan indulges in his now familiar shibboleths that look very confusing to many of them. Of course, the pattern of noises had always followed the well worn path, whereby some few powerful opposition voices denounce any of his action that catches their fancy, then step back and watch their acolytes work themselves into frenzy while fulminating at such perceived treason. One of such choreographed public denunciations is that which is now trailing the pardon of some Nigerians by the President. Those said to have benefitted include former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha; former Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (deceased); former Chief of General Staff, Lt. General

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

Oladipo Diya; Major-General Abdulkareem Adisa (deceased); former Minister of Communications, Major-General Tajudeen Olarewaju; Major Segun Fadipe; Major Bello Magaji; Mohammed Lima Biu; former Managing Director of defunct Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama and Dr. Chiichi Ashwe. But the one that looks like a viper’s venom is the pardon of Alamieyeseigha. Why? Because some of them believe he does not deserve it. Reason being that the former governor is not only a convicted felon, but also an inveterate criminal who jumped bail in the United Kingdom. Moreover, on arrival home, Alamieyeseigha was arrested and charged for money laundering by the EFCC, after which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. Apart from forfeiting most of his illegally acquired properties to the state, he has remained a virtual pariah shunned by persons of moral and decent conduct. Definitely, his fall from grace to grass should serve as reminder to all crooks still in the corridors of power that their days of reckoning will surely come. Even by the country’s warped and distorted standards, the president’s critics maintain that the Ijaw ‘Lord of the Manor’ deserves no reprieve. Given the scale of Alamieyesigha’s malfeasance, many of those now squirming claim that because of such action, the President has abdicated any role he has in the fight against corruption. Short of blowing off the roof in the bid to castigate him, question is does he have the powers to grant state pardon? Section 175 of the Nigerian Constitution gives the President the

WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT THE OPPOSITION NOW THROWING STONES AT

PRESIDENT JONATHAN IS NOT DOING SO FROM A HIGH MORAL GROUND EITHER powers to grant any person a state pardon for any offence whatsoever, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State. Before now, President Jonathan’s predecessors both during the military and civilian dispensations have relied on this executive privilege to pardon those they want in spite of crimes committed against the state. Probably, those now railing against this seeming imperious act believe the president was only using such solemn instrument for crude political purpose. They see the unfolding drama as fitting neatly into his perceived second term bid for 2015. As usual, his opponents posit that the President is in desperate need of Alamieyeseigha’s political services, against the background of the battle for control of Niger Delta politics, especially now that his relationship with Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has turned frosty. According to an American maxim, “All

politics is local”. Taken from this perspective, it is not out of place that while the President’s action may have a high moral ring about it, there is the tendency that he has his eyes fixed on the politics ahead. Every Nigerian president had always exploited this privileged instrument to further perceived political interest at one time or the other without triggering a hullaballoo as has been in this case. We should not forget that the opposition now throwing stones at President Jonathan is not doing so from a high moral ground either. The same cast of politicians would readily do the same if they find themselves in such executive position. Their hot air over the issue is for public consumption and positioning for 2015 and not because they parade any credible credentials for fighting sleaze and corruption now or in future. Even in countries now feigning indignation, incumbent presidents have pardoned their predecessors who fell from power for abusing their office. But that should not be a blank cheque for continuing dishing out state pardon like barbecues to unrepentant crooks. Much as the President’s spokespersons are taking to the airwaves to defend and even justify the action, it is pertinent to note that those now walking free are no more deserving of this act than Major Hamza al- Mustapha, who has been incarcerated for years for his alleged role as Gestapo officer under the late General Sani Abacha. If one is to believe Jonathan’s public reasons for the pardon, as a national catharsis for the country to turn a new chapter, what stops him from extending such magnanimity to the Borno State born former army major, if that would help extenuate the blur on our ugly past? It takes courage for a chief executive to tread on such dangerous mill as presidential pardon, especially when it could be misconstrued by different groups as a narrow and self serving exercise. As it now stands, Jonathan has taken a big gamble on the political stage, and whether it helps achieve any perceived purpose remains to be seen.

Sport Extra

D

ropped Flying Eagles forward, Ekene Nwaobosi, remains confident that the team will over-run Gabon today in Oran, Algeria in the AYC’s second Group B match to brighten Nigeria’s chances of qualifying

AYC 2013: Nwaobosi confident of Flying Eagles for the knock out stage after losing the first game to Mali on Sunday. Nwaobosi missed Flying Eagles’ final cut for the African junior competition. “The loss to Mali was

a wake-up call for the team,” Nwaobosi, who is also captain of Enugubased FBF Football Club, said yesterday. “It was the least result we expected, but I am confident in the team to

bounce back to reckoning after the game with Gabon. “We will not only win the two remaining group games, but we will also scale through to the semi finals to pick one

of the World Cup tickets.” The Flying Eagles will need an outright win in this encounter to retain hope of qualifying for the last four of the youth championship.

Nwaobosi

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013  

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