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N4.56bn pension scam:

Court frees suspects as EFCC files fresh charges against accused ISE-OLUWA IGE

ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF

Lamorde

Vol. 3 N0. 606

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Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday freed a

former Director of Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Sani Teidi Shuaibu and nine other accused per-

sons standing trial over a N4.56bn pension scam. The trial judge, Justice Adamu Bello, discharged all the accused persons CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Sunmonu

Pollution: Community demands $1bn compensation from Shell, Agip P.11

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Outrage trails Borno massacre ...Chadian, Nigerien troops involved in operation NASS probes incident as UN, others condemn attack

N150 AYODELE OJO, OBIORA IFOH, GEORGE OJI, EMMANUEL ONANI, TORDUE SALEM AND A ZA MSUE

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utrage yesterday trailed the killings of 187 people during last weekend’s clash between members of the Joint Task Force, JTF, backed by Nigerian and Chadian forces, and the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Baga, Kukawa Local Government Area of BorCONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>

Terrorists bomb French Embassy in Libya P.51 Jonathan inaugurates Amnesty Committee today P.6

L-R: Children of the deceased, Ololade, Olamide and Yeside; widower, Arc. Lanre Olayinka and wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, at the Service of Songs for the late Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: YINKA ADEPARUSI

2015: Nigeria preparing for war, not election –Afenifere Opposes amnesty to Boko Haram, state pardon to ex-convicts P.2

Four varsity students paraded for drug trafficking

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Ibadan fire victims count losses ...as Ajimobi promises assistance

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News

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

2015: Nigeria preparing for war, not election –Afenifere AYODELE OJO

DEPUTY EDITOR (POLITICS)

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oing by the utterances of political leaders in the build up to the 2015 polls, Nigeria is preparing for war not elections. This was the submission of the Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday. The group also decried the spate of insecurity, unemployment and corruption in the country. The leader of the group, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, in a speech titled: “Nigeria heading for the cliff”, also noted that the country is moving towards disintegration. “Today, our country lies almost prostrate with palsied unemployment problems of graduates and able-bodied youth, debilitating insecurity of life and property, rife and festering corruption in our body polity, wanton killings and assassinations, indiscriminate bombings, senseless kidnappings, discordant drums of impending religious wars et cetera et cetera,” he said.

While expressing worry about the tension building up in the country ahead of the 2015 elections, Fasoranti warned political actors to desist from over-heating the polity “as no one can predict the outcome of the drive to the cliff that they are propelling the country toward.” Fasoranti said: “We are also worried that a large section of our political class pretends not to understand the signs of the times and what needs to be done. We have in our hands a country that appears to be preparing for a war but almost all are pretending that it is all build-up to the next elections. “The sabre-rattling going on among some major party and political actors are not healthy for the democratic project, as most of the noise going on is not even about solving any of the major challenges confronting the country but power mongering. Rather than creating an enabling environment for rational discourse and contestation of ideas for the electorate to be able to make informed choices, many of the political actors are mak-

ing inflammatory remarks to inflame passion and deepen the divisions within our country to make political gains. “What the country needs at the moment are statesmen-politicians whose preoccupation should be the next generation and the survival of the polity not just only the next elections. On security, Fasoranti said Nigeria had never had it so bad like today. He said: “Never in the history of our country, except in the

civil war years, have our people been more insecure than they are today. Hardly is any news segment complete without the word “kill” in it. Life has become short, nasty and brutish like in the Hobbesian state of nature. There is little or no value again for human life in our country as casualty figures would have to be in scores for any tragedy to make front headlines in our bulletins. “It is such high rate of killings that warrants pres-

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Mariaga told AFP that his staff were still struggling to reach Baga, where the security situation remains uncertain. “We are making efforts to get clearance from the security agents to get in and assist the victims of the violence,” he said. Much of the town remains deserted after the fighting on Friday, which forced thousands of people to flee, said a resident who asked that his name be withheld. “Baga is still under military siege,” he told AFP. “The town is at a standstill with little food and water, which has forced even those of us that stayed behind to start leaving.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was “shocked and saddened at the reports of high numbers of civilians killed.” Washington also condemned the violence and the deaths of many civilians. The military has been accused by leading rights

been any concrete, serious and effective efforts to nip these crises in the bud and assure our people that they can sleep with their two eyes closed. “Unfortunately in the last three years, we have devoted a substantial proportion of our national budget to security with all the money without being able to buy safety.” The group also faulted the amnesty programme of the Federal Government, CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima (2nd left) discussing with a victim of the Baga attack during his visit to the hospital.

Outrage trails Boko Haram, JTF killings no State. The clash in the largely fishing town in the northeast on the shores of Lake Chad, on the Chadian border and close to Niger Republic also left about 2,000 houses razed, while scores were injured. Reactions to the high casualty recorded during the clash came from the National Assembly, political parties and the northern elders, even as it was learnt that troops from the neighbouring Chad and Niger were involved in the operation. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives set up separate committees to probe the incident. President Goodluck Jonathan had also on Monday set up a committee to carry out a full-scale investigation into reports of high civilian casualties in the confrontation. Rescue workers meanwhile, struggled to reach the town yesterday. The National Coordinator of the Red Cross, Umar

idential promise of “we shall find the perpetrators” that we hear....The regular killings of defenseless and innocent citizens by blood-thirsty Boko Haram terrorists have been unfortunately complemented by the nefarious activities of kidnappers, assassins, armed robbers and other petty criminals who, seeing themselves as deprived and abandoned are always poised to take a pound of flesh. “Sadly, there have not

groups of widespread atrocities in the campaign against Boko Haram, including killing scores of civilians. The details of the alleged military atrocities in Baga are still emerging, but it could mark a major setback in Nigeria’s effort to end the insurgency. Baga’s location near Chad and Niger Republic is problematic for Nigeria’s security forces as people from the three countries move freely through porous borders, said Shehu Sani, an expert on religious violence in Nigeria. The security forces struggle to identify the insurgent and criminal groups migrating in the region, a confusing and lawless environment that has led to the reckless targeting of innocent civilians, said Sani. “The security agents are very much confused as to who is an insurgent and who is not,” he said. In the Senate, a joint committee was set up to probe the killings of those

the Senators called “the innocent.” The probe committees, which are the National Intelligence, Police and Defence were asked to turn in their report within 14 days. The decision of the Senate followed the intervention of Senator Maina Lawal (Borno North) who raised the issue under matters of urgent national importance drawing from Order 43 of the Senate Order Rules. Maina, who said he comes from Baga, said that following the military operations, which lasted three days, the town was currently in total ruin, with 180 to 200 lives lost and numerous others unaccounted for. According to him, 2,000 homes, 62 cars and 284 motor cycles and tons of food stuff were destroyed. The lawmaker, who said he would not like to delve into the controversy of the possible perpetrators of the act however noted that the scale of atrocities were condemnable. He prayed the Senate

to “call for a full scale investigation to unearth the truth, as this is a recurring decimal in all such past instances in Borno.” Maina also urged the upper legislative chamber to “call upon all concerned agencies of government, NEMA, states and local governments as well as good spirited individuals to come to the aid of the surviving victims – women, children and the aged who are in dire need.” Senate President, David Mark also condemned the alleged high civilian figures occasioned by the action of the security operatives. He said the task force must operate under globally accepted military standards as well as the rule of engagement prescribed by the military. According to Mark: “We cannot have this high number of Nigerian casualties at a given time. The military task force must conduct themselves within the rules of engagement provided for them as well as the global best practices.”

While fielding questions from newsmen after the Senate session, Maina revealed that members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect has sacked about one third of the local government councils. He said in some of the council areas the sect also sacked the police, immigration and the customs. He described the situation in some of the affected councils as complete breakdown of law and order. According to the lawmaker: “The truth of the matter is that when JTF intensified their operations in Maiduguri, of course, they concentrated in Maiduguri understandably because it is the state capital, it was too hot for them. They ran out and fizzle into the country. “In the country side, there is no police standing. In Borno North, there is no Police outpost or divisional offices standing. It is true. What was written is not true of everywhere but there are such areas that government officers don’t CONTINUED ON PAGE 5>>


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Midweek Interview Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, in this interview, speaks on the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the dispute between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi. He also sheds light on the transparency initiative in Bayelsa State and the amnesty offer to the Boko Haram sect. AYODELE OJO reports. For some time the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been in the news over the crisis rocking it. What is your position on the crisis in the face of the ongoing merger of opposition parties with the All Progressives Congress (APC)? Naturally, and in a developing democracy, you will expect some pull here and there once in a while, which is normal even with one-man-one-wife party. You saw what happens even in smaller parties that could not even win elections, because in politics you are managing not just a clash of ideas and vision; it is also a clash, inevitably, of ego and all of that. So, democratic politics promotes diversity and diversity sometimes generates conflict and tension. But the democratic system must be managed in such a way that democracy and the rule, will at the end of the day, take care of all these things in their own time. So, what you are seeing as tension at the end of the day, will resolve itself. On the APC, I want to use this opportunity to urge the leaders of the opposition to work hard to bring about a virile, effective and viable opposition; an opposition that will play by the rule, an opposition that will be in a position to confront the ruling party in a market place of ideas and vision. We are looking forward to virile debates on various issues; on economy, on national security. If they are viable, as a party we want to engage them and let us see the alternative viewpoints that are contending for the minds and hearts of our people beyond issues of religion, ethnicity and zoning – that’s the whole debate. The whole political engagement is all about grandstanding, manipulation, positioning and it sickens me, really. So, for me, and I’m not speaking for my party, I’d be very happy to see a very virile, effective and well organised opposition because a democracy without an opposition is dictatorship - democracy must have viable opposition. In this state, with what we are doing, I cannot for example be scared of strong opposition party; in fact, I had looked forward to an opposition party. Instead of rumours, blackmail and propaganda, I look forward to an engagement – an organised opposition that can confront us and then present an alternative vision. We have to develop that tradition in this country. It is not there now. With all due respect, if we are not careful, we will descend to a situation that even respected national newspapers will just be like political pamphlets. Let us have virile

Jonathan too big to engage in squabbles with Amaechi – Dickson

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Forum all attempted to use it as a platform for playing national politics – a platform for occupying national political space. It is wrong! It shouldn’t be allowed! That’s why the idea of the PDP Governors’ Forum became necessary. But you see, because for now there is manipulation of facts and our institutions are not yet strong enough, including the media. You see things being manipulated as if anybody is disturbing anybody, instead of saying no, this thing you guys are doing is wrong, people are saying as if “there is a crisis and somebody does not want somebody, no! The Governors’ Forum is simply a peer review mechanism; no more, no less! PDP governors have the right to have their own group because the associative right is a first love in a democracy. ACN governors and others, even councillors have associations. There is so much focus on what goes on in the PDP; if you are in the PDP, you will meet at the structure of the PDP to resolve problems, if you are not in the PDP, you concentrate on your party and make strong effort to defeat the PDP. You don’t operate outside the PDP and control the PDP or want the PDP to do things according to your own whims and caprices. That is what is going on in this country, but I’m sure by the time opposition parties become viable and credible, you will see that those things will come down. But if you are in a party, you must play according to the rules of your party or you get out. That is what is done all over the world. But people want to stay in PDP and still play political opponent. That is indiscipline. If you cannot be a good PDP member you will not be useful, even to any opposition party and these opposition party leaders are very experienced politicians. I had the honour of playing politics with most of them. I have a lot of regard for them. They know what they are doing. They are serious Nigerians. They mean well for this country and they also know charlatans.

we even copied it from, you don’t see Governors’ Forum there coming to tell Obama what he should and what he should not do. We are provincial players, because our mandates are to lead our states, not to run the federation. Those who have the mandate to run the federation are the President, Vice President, the elected members of our National Assembly and the political leadership of the parties. Those are the people who have a platform. And if as a governor, I have any strong view on things that go on at the federal level, we have avenues; informal, formal – we have the National Economic Council, to make our observations known. Over the years, I think what has happened, particularly in the PDP and it is very unfortunate that this focus on the Governors’ Forum, is as a result of some developments in the PDP. It is unfortunate that it is rubbing off on the governors from the opposition parties. What has happened over the years is that governors of the PDP who became chairmen of the Governors’

There is a lingering crisis between Mr. President and the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi. What is your position on the dispute between these major actors in the national politics? The press should not equate a provincial player with elected President of the Federal Republic. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot have misunderstanding with a provincial player as a governor of Rivers State or any other governor for that matter. I don’t know how you came by that – that is why we must be careful because you are also very important players in our democracy. As governors, we are elected to run our states, no more, no less. If you want the mandate to run Nigeria, you contest an election for it. Don’t do it through the back door. If you want to be a leader of opposition, you go the opposition. What is happening is that people are taking adCONTINUED ON PAGE 16

Dickson

political parties that will contest ideas. But for me as a person; I’m not a spokesman for the PDP; I don’t see any reason why anybody in the PDP is supposed to be scared of the APC. We just need to focus on what we are doing and at the end of the day, if the electoral process is free and fair; Mr. President has always promised Nigerians that, Nigerians will decide who occupies the position of leadership. Why do you think the PDP came up with the PDP Governors’ Forum? Let me make it clear; the Governors’ Forum is primarily a mechanism for peer review of governors who are equal. You do not have to be a member of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to be a governor, is it? Yes! It is just like your association; Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), whether you are there or not, you are functioning, so the Governors’ Forum is a platform for peer review mechanism – it’s a platform for collaborating with the Federal Government on critical issues of development, national security and other challenges that come up. The Governors’ Forum is not and should not be a platform for control of national politics, because we are not elected to run the country. I don’t know how many of you will agree with me? We, as governors are elected to manage our states. So, the Governors’ Forum cannot be allowed to go on as a trade union. Of course, that is wrong! What has happened is that people are taking advantage of the development and discontent in our system to manipulate it to suit their individual whims and caprices. But what is wrong is wrong! Look at the United States’ Governors’ Forum where

AS GOVERNORS, WE ARE ELECTED TO RUN

OUR STATES, NO MORE, NO LESS. IF YOU WANT THE MANDATE TO RUN

NIGERIA, YOU

CONTEST AN ELECTION FOR IT.

DON’T DO IT

THROUGH THE BACK


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Photo News

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

L-R: Group Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje; Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Pascal Dozie; Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Brett Goschen; Group Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi and Executive Director Corporate Banking, UBA Plc. Mr. Emeke Iweriebor, during the signing of N470bn medium term financing agreement by MTN and a consortium of banks in Lagos, yesterday. PHOTO: OLUFEMI AJASA

L-R: Dean, School of Engineering, Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke; Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, National Mirror newspapers, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and representative of FRCN Zonal Director, Ibadan, Mrs. Bola Owoyemi at the 35th Anniversary of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria chapter in Ibadan, yesterday.

L-R: Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; his wife Funso; wife of Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola; wife of Osun State Governor, Mrs. Serifat Aregbesola; Ogun State Deputy Governor Segun Adesegun and Senator Remi Tinubu at the Nigeria Goes Green international conference and workshop in Abeokuta, yesterday.

L-R: Managing Director, Etose-Tourism Aichtal Aich Germany, Mrs. Mayuri Straub; Chief Executive Officer, Compumetrics Solutions Ltd, Dr. Evans Woherem and Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, during the 2013 Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition in Abuja yesterday. PHOTO: ROTIMI OSASONA

National News

Ibrahim tasks journalists on challenges KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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he Group Managing Director, GMD, of Energy Group, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, OFR, yesterday suggested an eight point agenda for the Nigerian media that will assist them face emerging challenges in the country. These, he said, include the need for them to encourage self censorship and focus attention on the brighter side of the various sectors of the nation’s economy. Barrister Ibrahim, who was the guest lecturer at the 35th anniversary lecture of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Ibadan Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, in a paper titled, “Media and National Development”, gave other suggestions to include the need for the media to edit with responsibility, publish with conscience and promote developmental journalism. He also charged the me-

dia to hold leaders and government accountable for their actions. Ibrahim, who was represented at the occasion by the Managing Director of National Mirror newspapers, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, also urged the media to “engage in business reporting that enhances the understanding of business in Nigeria; drive the business community in meeting its corporate and social responsibilities; provoke debates and discussions and strive for excellence in business reporting. While appraising the media industry in the country since its inception in 1859, with the establishment of ‘Iwe-Irohin Yoruba’, up to the time when WNTV was established in 1959, to the era of deregulation of media establishment during the Ibrahim Babangida era in 1992 and up to modern day maked by the rising influence of social media, the Group Managing Director called on practitioners not to

gloss over issues, but carry out in-depth analysis that will further educate Nigerians on the way forward for the country. He said: “Be mindful that biased, incomplete and inaccurate reporting could affect investors’ in-

terest in Nigeria.” He disclosed that from his study and analysis of the media in the country, the press still has confidence in the nation’s economy, but only need to focus and discuss issues that will further aid development.

The Chairman of the occasion, Professor Sabit Ariyo Olagoke, while lauding Barrister Ibrahim for his contributions to the nation’s economy and the media in particular, also saluted the courage of Nigerian journalists and their acts

of patriotism. He counseled media practitioners to perform according to the ethics of their profession, maintaining that doing so will further accord them respect in the society.

Tourism law: S/Court to rule on validity of NTDC Act, July 19 ISE-OLUWA IGE ABUJA

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he Supreme Court, yesterday fixed July 19, this year, to pronounce on the legality of the National Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Act, which regulates tourism operation and related hospitality outfits in Nigeria. The apex court will also rule on the validity of the law enacted by the Lagos State government on regulation of hotels operations and related hospitality outfits in the state, which conflicted with the NTDC Act. The decision will finally lay to rest who between the

Federal Government and the states has the powers to legislate on tourism in the country. The Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, had sued Lagos State through its Attorney General, praying the court to void the laws enacted by the state’s House of Assembly. The laws include the Lagos Hotel Licensing law, CAP H6, 2003, the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law, No. 30, Volume 42 of the Lagos State official gazette of June 23, 2009 and the Hotel Licensing (Amendment) Law No. 23, Volume 43 of the La-

gos State official gazette of July 20, 2010. But the state equally filed a counter claim, asking the court to nullify sections 7 and 10 of the NTDC Act on the ground that the regulation of hotels, restaurants, travel agencies among others, was not within the exclusive legislative capacity of the National Assembly. A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Aloma Mukhtar reserved judgment in the matter after entertaining arguments from both parties. At yesterday’s sitting, parties agreed that they would argue only the case

filed by the Federal Government with suit number: SC/340/2010 and that the judgment given on it shall apply to that filed by Lagos, with suit number: SC/462. Lawyer to the Federal Government, Tunde Busari, adopted his client’s brief of argument and urged the court to hold that the Lagos State government was in error when it enacted a set of laws to regulate the operations of hotels, restaurants and related outfits in the state. Busari argued that the crux of the Federal Government’s claim was that it was challenging the validity of the three laws made by Lagos.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

News

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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N4.56bn pension scam: Court frees suspects CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, withdrew the criminal charge preferred against them. The anti-graft agency had hinted that it wanted to amend the joint charge against them. The accused persons, by the amended charge, are to be tried separately. The charges were already lodged at the registry

of the high court as at the time of withdrawing the joint charge. Counsel to the accused persons jointly attempted to crumble the fresh charge by arguing that it amounted to an abuse of court process to file a new charge when the old charge was yet to be withdrawn. They urged the court to refuse the oral application by EFCC to withdraw the old charge after the fresh

Outrage trails Boko Haram, JTF killings CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

go for the fear of their own lives. Ask the Immigration officers or Custom officers when last they visited their Banki outposts? Where there are supposed to be an Inspector and three constables they are not there and when they are not there and there is somebody with a gun, he rules. “I thought we are informed enough about the gravity of the situation in Borno. Not just Northern Borno but Borno State in general. So, when papers reported that officials of government have abandoned their posts whether federal or state, apart from areas where the military are operating, I am afraid, it is largely true. And that is exactly why we are talking of this brute application of force we apply. About one third of neighbourhoods in Maiduguri is closed already and you can see grasses as tall as myself.” The House of Representatives also urged the Federal Government to direct an inquiry into the killing. The House made the call on the Presidency after it passed a motion on the pogrom sponsored by Muhammed Tahir Monguno and seconded by Hon. Abdurrahman Terab both of ANPP-Borno. Monguno who brought the motion under matters of urgent national importance, decried the persistent clashes between the Boko Haram sect and the Joint Task Force commissioned by the Federal Government in Borno and Yobe States leaving scores dead. He warned that if the Federal Government continued to ignore the continuous killing of these civil-

ians, there is a possibility that the people might begin to sympathize with the sect. “If the Federal Government continues to ignore calls to address the cases of indiscriminate shooting and killing of civilians in Borno and Yobe States, there is a tendency that members of the public would begin to sympathize more with the sect than the government and it will help the sect recruit more hands to the sect”. He lamented the massive loss of lives in these areas as he disclosed that because of the porous state of “our borders in those states”, Nigeria has joined forces with Chad and Cameroun in the battle against the sect. He said that soldiers were killing civilians in the hundreds for every death of a soldier and therefore called on members of the sect to “embrace the amnesty offered by the Federal Government”. The House thereafter adopted a the motion and directed that the Federal Government “set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of the soldier and 185 civilians” and that the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, should provide relief materials to the victims who lost their property. In its reaction, the Northern Elder’s Forum, NEF, called on the Federal Government to deploy only Hausa speaking soldiers to Borno, Yobe and other troubled states facing insurgency, just as it expressed fear over the recent composition of the amnesty committee headed by government ofCONTINUED ON PAGE 55>>

ones had been filed and to grant them an adjournment in the case to establish that the prosecution indeed abused court process. The prosecution however said that the application of the accused was strange in law and that the prosecution was at liberty to withdraw its case against the accused at any stage of the trial. EFCC counsel, Chief Godwin Obla, said he was more surprised because it was the agreement of both the counsel to the accused and the prosecution to file the new charge and withdraw the old one. The trial judge, Justice Bello, however ruled in favour of the EFCC. Immediately after the proceedings, the EFCC rearrested all the accused persons in court in preparation for their fresh arraign-

ment. Efforts by their counsel to stall their re-arrest were frustrated by the EFCC counsel. He had opposed the application by their counsel to allow them walk home on the strength of the previous bail granted the court. National Mirror reports that Justice Bello had, in the course of their trial, admitted them to bail in the sum of N10m each and a surety each in like sum. The sureties must have properties in Abuja; and such properties must be verified by the court, while the value of the property should not be less than N10m. Besides, the accused persons’ travelling documents, which are with the EFCC were also ordered transferred to the court. Obla had argued that the court lacked the jurisdic-

tion to allow them go home on bail after striking out the earlier charge against them. He said the trial judge had already become functus officio with the striking out of the criminal charge against the accused. But Obla promised that he would prevail on the EFCC to grant them fresh administrative bail in the anti-graft agency office after their arrest, since their bail bonds were still intact. Justice Bello upheld his submission and discharged the accused persons. The accused, who were all taken away by the EFCC are not likely to be tried by only one judge any longer. National Mirror gathered yesterday that their case files will be assigned to different judges of the Abuja Federal High Court.. Dr. Shuaibu, Mrs. Phina

Ukamaka Chidi and other suspects are facing trial on a 134-count charge bordering on diversion of pension funds, abuse of office, using ghost pensioners to pay millions of naira into their personal accounts monthly and diversion of funds through award of fictitious contracts to companies which they manage. Shuaibu is a former Director, Pension Administration in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, while Ukamaka Chidi is a former Deputy Director (Finance and Accounts), in the pension office. Aliyu Bello was a Personal Assistant to Dr. Shuaibu. Other accused persons are Garba Abdullahi Tahir, Emmanuel Olanipekun, Abdullahi Omeiza, Computer Plaza and Essential Gadget Ventures.

L- R: Political Correspondent, Leadership newspaper, Mr. Chibuzor Ukaibe; human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and Group News Editor of the newspaper, Mr. Tony Amokeodo, during their arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday.

2015: Nigeria preparing for war, not election –Afenifere CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

describing it as wasteful. “We agree that granting amnesty in the Niger Delta per se is in order. But we find it hard to defend the monumental abuse going on especially among the elite managers of the scheme and are disturbed as to whether the scheme will bring a lasting peace given episodic restlessness still being demonstrated. Yet, we have created a set of emergency billionaires from amnesty while the conditions in the creeks remain virtually what they were. “It is with this at the back of our mind that we have been so sceptical over the so-called amnesty for Boko

Haram, which is a much more dangerous group than the Niger Delta insurgents who were known and demands were clear,” he said. He noted that it would be a tragedy if the nation embarks on another money sharing spree in the name of “amnesty” with all the blood that has been shed. The group specifically opposed granting amnesty to the Boko Haram Islamic sect, saying the action is preposterous. “Granting amnesty to dare-devil, blood thirsty insurgents whose identities and grievances are yet to be properly ascertained is preposterous, offensive to common sense and retrogressive in its entire

ramifications. Our stand is that any decision on Boko Haram should be holistic. We should not just be talking of the insurgents but also their victims and the causes of this menace with a view to ensure it doesn’t happen again and again,” Fasoranti said. The Yoruba leader also said the anti-graft war is being defeated with the recent developments in the polity. He pointed out that there have been worrying signals of late that corruption may have become the fifth estate in Nigeria given the way it is being promoted almost like a directive objective of state policy. “It is not only that state officials are corrupt but cor-

ruption has become official. In years past people talked of corruption in millions of naira, today they refer to it in billions and trillions with reckless impunity… Our elected and appointed officials continue to live large on unearned income in the midst of mass misery of our people,” he said. Afenifere also decried the state pardon granted some Nigerians. According to Fasoranti, “Nothing riles more than the recent state pardon granted to former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepriye Alamieyeseigha who was convicted of corruption and still a wanted man for financial crimes in the United Kingdom.”


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News

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Jonathan inaugurates Amnesty Committee today MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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resident Goodluck Jonathan is expected to inaugurate the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North in Abuja, today. The President yesterday named Aisha Wakil (a lawyer) as member of the committee. Wakil’s inclusion is contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the

President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati. The committee is mandated to identify and constructively engage key leaders of Boko Haram, and develop a workable framework for amnesty and disarmament of members of the group. The decision to include Wakil follows the withdrawal of two members of the committee shortly after it was constituted in Abuja, last week. President of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nige-

ria, SCSN, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, and the President of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, CRCN, Shehu Sani, rejected their membership of the committee. Sani rejected his nomination and put forward the names of persons through which the government could reach out to the sect leaders for dialogue. While alleging insincerity on the part of the government during an interview on the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corpo-

ration, BBC, Ahmed said he rejected the offer because of the bitter experience he had with the government when he voluntarily tried to mediate between the authorities and members of the Islamic sect. Ahmed also faulted the composition of the committee, saying its Chairman, the Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Taminu Turaki, and the Secretary, a representative from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,

would only feed the government with what would be pleasing to it. He said: “Previously, I made such moves twice and it wasn’t the government that asked me to do that and we had reached a stage where, had the government agreed with what we got, what we resolved with the sect members called Boko Haram, by now we would have forgotten everything; Nigeria would have witnessed peace by now. “When we told the gov-

ernment everything we discussed with them and the agreement we had which were not difficult to do, that first of all, if the dialogue was truly genuine, their wives and children that were unjustly detained should be released because they had not committed any crime. “We advised the government on that, we said even if you continue to detain them there was no gain in doing so. The government said they will release them but did not.”

Medical Council withdraws Igbinedion varsity’s accreditation MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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Chairman, Vigeo Holdings Limited, Mr. Victor Osibodu (left), receiving Certificate of Transaction from Vice President Namadi Sambo, at the Presidential Power Reform Transactions Signing Ceremony at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.

High poverty rate: Reps probe NAPEP TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

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he House of Representatives yesterday directed its Committees on Poverty Alleviation, Labour, Employment and Productivity and National Planning and Economic Development to investigate the cause of the worsening poverty rate in the country despite the huge sums expended to fight it. The committees were given the mandate after a motion sponsored by Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso (APGAImo) was passed. Alagbaoso’s motion, entitled: “Need to Re-appraise the Poverty Alleviation Strategies of the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP, in Nigeria,” was overwhelmingly supported and adopted. While making a case for his motion, the lawmaker noted that NAPEP “was

established in 2001 by the Federal Government to address poverty and its related issues in Nigeria”. He, however, regretted that “the 2010 target of eradicating poverty was not realised due to ineffective strategies and poor implementation of NAPEP. “Some of the strategies adopted by NAPEP in fighting poverty in Nigeria are not transformational enough to stand the test of socio-economic and political time”. Alagbaoso, therefore, called for probe of the allegations that “the tricycles, popularly known as Keke NAPEP, are usually released to beneficiaries of the programmes at a very high rate, rampant cases of mechanical breakdown of these tricycles and its attendant economic and psychological frustration and drain on the beneficiaries of the programme”.

The lawmaker also claimed that the NAPEP “presently being executed does not encompass the various socio-economic and political factors”. He decried the lack of an “effective poverty alleviation strategy” in the country. Alagbaoso advised that NAPEP must involve “a combination of macro-

economic, structural and social forces or policies and programmes that are vigorously pursued over several years”. Several members, who contributed to the motion, supported it. The motion was summarily considered and referred to three committees which are to hold an investigative session on the issue and submit a re-

he Dental and Medical Council of Nigeria, DMCN, yesterday announced suspension of its accreditation for the College of Health Sciences at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, for failing to meet the required standard. The council also said 20 fake doctors were being prosecuted for illegal practice. The DMCN Registrar/ Chief Executive, Dr. Abdulmumini Ibrahim, made this known in Abuja during the induction ceremony for 395 doctors and dentists. He said: “We have a new unit called the Monitoring and Inspectorate Department in the Secretariat which is responsible for cracking down on individuals involved in quackery. “Currently, we have about 20 cases pending in courts and all have to do with quackery where people parade themselves as doctors. “They were arrested and prosecuted; that is why they are in court. Whether they are on bail or not is another issue. But we have succeed-

‘Tax phone calls, flight tickets to fund health sector’ MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

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ealth experts converged on Abuja yesterday and called on government to introduce taxes on phone calls and air travels to help generate more funds to service the health sector. This was in addition to the call on government to increase annual budget for the sector to help reduce

preventable deaths and startling health statistics in the country. The Federal Government currently spends about four to six per cent of its budget on health. This is against the 15 per cent agreed by African leaders during the Abuja Declaration in 2001. The experts shared their views at a Stakeholders Engagement Forum on “Sustainable Health

Financing in Nigeria,” organised by Access Bank Plc as part of its contributions to the ongoing reform in the health sector. Speaking at the event, President/CEO of Association for Reproductive and Family Health, Prof. Ladipo Oladapo, said with just N1 paid by each of the 144 million telephone users in the country, N52 billion would accrue to the health sector annually.

ed in arresting them. They were arrested by the state monitoring committees; then the council secretariat was invited as a witness to testify in court.” Ibrahim said the council was committed to restoring standards in the medical profession. He said: “Failure of some medical/dental institutions to meet the quality assurance requirements of council resulted in withdrawal or suspension of accreditation. “In this regard, the case of the College of Health Sciences at Igbinedion University, Okada in Edo State readily comes to mind. “The accreditation of this institution was suspended for gross violation of council regulations on operation of medical/dental institutions especially in the areas of approved students’ quota. This institution was further barred from admitting medical students since August 2010. This sanction will remain enforced until all pending cases are resolved.” According to him, other institutions were guilty of not meeting required standards. He noted that another N9.89 billion could be generated if everyone flying in economy class on domestic routes paid N1 while those on international flights paid N10. According to him, about N1 trillion could be generated if a small percentage of Dangote Group’s profits and those of other companies like Nigerian Breweries which made a profit of N56 billion were devoted to the health sector.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Climate change responsible for Boko Haram insurgence, others –NSA TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

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ncessant kidnappings, restiveness in the Niger Delta and the bloody and worsening Boko Haram sect attacks in the North can be blamed on adverse climate change in Nigeria, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Col. Sambo Dasuki, said yesterday. Besides, the NSA recommended the establishment of a National Grazing Route by the Federal Government to halt the continuing clashes between herdsmen and farmers which have resulted in several casualties. Dasuki spoke yesterday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change. The committee is chaired by Hon Eziuche Ubani. Dasuki, who was represented by senior officials from his office led by the

Special Adviser on Economic Intelligence, Prof. Soji Adelaja, stressed that there is connection between climate change and criminality in Nigeria. Other members of the team were Gen. T.T Waya, Mr. A. Nyam, Amb. L. Laseinde and Amb. Haruna Wando. Responding to a question from a member of the committee on whether Boko Haram violence in the North, unrest in the Niger Delta, kidnappings in the SouthEast and myriads of cases of violence and killings in other parts of the country had anything to do with the climate change, Nyam said emphatically that there was a connection between the current state of insecurity to climate change. He said the rising sea level in the Niger Delta and the problem with Lake Chad had forced young people out of job in the Niger Delta and the Borno area lading to their involvement

in crimes. Adelaja described the continuing clashes between herdsmen and farmers in several states as disturbing. He told the committee that President Jonathan had held a meeting with governors to solve the problem. Adelaja said the governors, however, rejected the President’s proposal at the meeting for a grazing route in each state. He sought the support of the National Assembly to help in the formulation of a legislation for the establishment of National Grazing Route to end the incessant clashes. The committee chairman, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, accused the Federal Government of ignoring climate problems. He urged the Federal Government to devise ways of addressing the continuing blood-letting arising from clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

My Pikin syrup contains deadly contaminant –NAFDAC KAYODE KETEFE

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prosecution witness testifying in the case of the alleged killer teething mixture, which the National Agency for Food Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) filed against three Nigerians yesterday told the court that laboratory analysis revealed that “My Pikin” teething mixture contained a deadly contaminant. The witness, Mr. Momodu Segiru-Momodu, who is the NAFDAC Director of Chemical and Evaluation Research, stated this while giving evidence at the resumed hearing of the suit filed against Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Limited and two of their employees for the production of the alleged killer teething syrup. Giving his testimony during the examinationin-chief conducted by the prosecutor, Mr Aminu Ali-

lu, Segiru-Momodu told the court that on January 2009, he received a sealed package, containing samples of my Pikin teething mixture with batch number 02008 at the Yaba office of NAFDAC The witness said the samples were analysed in consonance with the laid procedure on microbiological and physiochemical assays. He added that upon analysis, the product was found to contain a contaminant called “diaethylene glycol” He stated that the samples were later taken to the NAFDAC central laboratory at Oshodi for confirmation by a qualitative and quantitative estimation of the products. Segiru-Momodu added that advanced analytical technique was employed using an instrument called “gas liquid chromatography”. He said: “The result of the analysis at the Oshodi central laboratory proved to be the same with that conducted in the sister lab-

oratory at Yaba. “As a result, we came to a conclusion that “My Pikin” baby teething mixture was contaminated with diaethylene glycol. “Diaethylene glycol belongs to a group of substance called glycol and there are four closely-related glycol with common characteristics. “They include: diaethylene glycol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol and glycerol. “The first two are sweet and deadly while the last two are sweet and harmless. “Some dubious elements engaged in drug counterfeiting now sell the harmful substance, “diaethylene glycol”, as glycerol and propylene glycol.” After hearing the testimony, Justice Okechukwu Okeke adjourned the case till April 24, 2013. NAFDAC had charged the accused including a man now deceased, Muri Okunola, in March 2009 on a six-count charge.

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Police assure of Ibadan fire victims count losses, Olayinka: hitch-free burial as Ajimobi promises assistance T V ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

ictims of Monday fire at Omitowoju area of Ibadan, other residents and sympathisers yesterday trooped out to take stock of the losses incurred in the unfortunate incident. The incident occurred about 6.30pm when a tanker laden with Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise called petrol, tumbled at the junction of the road leading to Mokola - Inalende - Orita - Merin Road, pouring its content. The tanker exploded into fire. The fire which trailed the fuel flowing through the gutter consumed all the houses and shops on the right hand side of the road. Meanwhile, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who visited the area yesterday, pledged government’s assistance to the victims. The governor was also moved by the extent of injury sustained by one of the landlords in the area, Alhaji Yinusa Ajibade and directed the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, to immediately ar-

range for his treatment at government’s expense. Ajimobi was welcomed to the area by thousands of residents, sympathisers and those who lost their property to the inferno. The governor took time to inspect, one after the other, the houses and shops gutted by fire, before addressing the residents and the victims. Describing the situation as “most unfortunate,” Ajimobi said he empathised with the victims, noting that he also experienced a similar incident in 1992 when his newly-built house in Lagos was reduced to rubbles by fire. The governor, however, admonished them to see the incident as an act of God, adding that they should even give thanks to God that no life was lost. He said: “My coming here is not to exploit the fire incident to campaign but to most sincerely sympathise with you. I know how painful it could be losing one’s means of livelihood to a raging fire because I was once involved too. But we should take solace in the fact that no life was lost.

“You should also have faith in God that He is able to replenish your lost property in multiple folds.” One of the leaders of the community, Mr. Joel Adewumi, who expressed appreciation for the governor’s prompt visit, promised to prevail on the residents to maintain a clean environment. In his reaction, the Chairman of Ibadan North-West Local Government, Mr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, described the incident as disheartening, wondering why such incident should happen in an interior part of the metropolis. Olatunbosun, who blamed the incident on negligence on the part of the tanker driver, expressed gratitude to God that no life was lost despite the magni-

tude of the incident. One of the victims, Aminat, a dozen-price provision seller, whose shop was razed, said the only thing that came to her mind when she saw people running was how to escape with two teenagers under her care and her less than a year old child. Aminat disclosed that the goods in her shop worth N600,000. She said: “What came to my mind was how to survive together with those very vulnerable ones under me including my child and we all survived by the grace of God, but I lost everything that I have laboured for over the years. I join my people to appeal to the government not to abandon us in this terrible moment.”

he police have promised a hitchfree burial for the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, whose body is expected to arrive the state today from Lagos. The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Victor Babayemi Olu, said the police and the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, had increased patrol within the state capital and the highways leading to the state to prevent influx of criminals. Funeral activities for the deputy governor, who would be buried in AdoEkiti on Friday, would hold in the state between today and Sunday. Olu said policemen had been ordered to stop and search people and vehicles

on all the roads to stop those who might want to capitalise on the influx of people to smuggle dangerous weapons into the state. He said: “The command is quite aware of the fact that there would be influx of people into the state on Friday and we are taking precautionary measures to ensure that we have a hitch-free burial for the deputy governor.” Olu added that the intelligence unit of the command had also been deployed to some flash points in the state capital to get first hand information that would help them map out strategy to curtail violence. The FRSC Sector Commander, Mr. Rindom Kumven, said his men had been deployed in all strategic junctions in the state to ensure free flow of traffic.

Gunmen abduct 90-year-old man in Akure HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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hree gunmen yesterday abducted a 90-year-old man, Alhaji Musa Adisa, in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Adisa, popularly known as Labaika, was said to be on his way to the mosque around 5:30am to observe the early morning prayer at a mosque about 20 metres away from his residence. The abductors, said to be waiting for their victim near the mosque located at 121, Isolo Street, in a red Toyota Camry car besides the mosque, pounced on him and dragged him into the waiting car The whereabouts of the nonagenarian said to be former president of the Ondo State branch of Master Bakers Association of Nigeria, were still unknown at press time.

One of the worshippers in the mosque explained that the kidnappers targeted Pa Adisa, as they did not disturb those who had come to pray before the man. He said: “Many of the people who had earlier arrived at the mosque for prayer saw these men but immediately they sighted Alhaji, they dragged him into the waiting car, covering his mouth to avoid attracting people and drove off.” The source said the residents of the area attempted to pursue the kidnappers by trailing the car but their efforts yielded no result. The matter was immediately reported at the Ijapo Police Station where officers sent signals to other police formations while a team of detectives was dispatched to the scene to commence preliminary investigations.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State (right), with one of the victims of the fire incident, Alhaji Yinusa Ajibade, when the governor visited Omitowoju area of Ibadan, yesterday.

Ondo guber: ACN, PDP, LP present final addresses HAKEEM GBADAMOSI AKURE

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he main argument of the three major political parties who participated in last year’s gubernatorial election in Ondo State before the Andovar Kaaka’an Election Tribunal yesterday was on the validity or otherwise of the voters’ register used by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. All the three political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the ruling Labour Party, LP, were

in court to present their final written addresses before the tribunal. While the opposition PDP, ACN in their addresses said the election which produced Governor Olusegun Mimiko of LP as the winner of the election was fraught with irregularities. The two opposition parties hinged their evidences on the voters’ register which they claimed was manipulated before the election was conducted. However, LP faulted their claim, saying the election was conducted under a peaceful atmo-

sphere. It added that the election was free and fair with the final result representing the wish of the majority of the people. The major actors in the election, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the LP, Chief Olusola Oke of the PDP and Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, of the ACN, were in court, while their counsel argued for several hours. Also, the courtroom was filled to capacity by the supporters of the three political parties. Mimiko’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who led other five

Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, prayed the tribunal to dismiss the petitions brought before it by the opposition parties’ candidates on the grounds that the allegations against the result of the election could not be substantiated. In the end, the tribunal said a date would be fixed for the final judgement on the case, adding that the date would be communicated to all the parties concerned. However, the three candidates expressed optimism that the final judgement would favour their parties.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Ekiti 2014: I’m not Fayose’s stooge –Ex-Speaker •Aspirants accuse govt of victimisation

ABIODUN NEJO ADO EKITI

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ormer Ekiti State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Femi Bamisile, has denied fronting for the 2014 governor-

ship aspiration of former Governor Ayodele Fayose. Bamisile, who claimed that his aspiration to govern Ekiti State was genuine because of his experience and quest to meet the yearnings of the people, said he is not a

stooge of anybody. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain spoke at a press conference yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. He said: “Fayose and I are aspirants and he, as a party

man, will support me when I emerge the PDP governorship candidate through primary election”. The former Speaker spoke against insinuations that his aspiration was to prepare way for Fayose’s emergence as the party’s candidate in view of their

L-R: Vice-President, Nigerian University Engineering Students Association, Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure chapter, Mr. Idowu Adekanye; Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola; President of the association, Mr. Adedeji Micheal Oderinde and the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olaniyan Opeyemi, during the presentation of award of recognition to the governor in Osogbo, yesterday.

Suspension of SAN: Court to hear contending applications May 7 WALE IGBINTADE

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ustice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie of a Lagos High Court yesterday ruled that she would hear the two contending applications filed by Chief Ajibola Aribisala who was recently suspended from using the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a preliminary objection filed by Fidelity Bank challenging the jurisdiction of the court. Aribisala had in his preliminary application dated March 7, 2013 asked the court for a mandatory injunction restraining the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) from stripping him of the rank of SAN.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, counsel to Aribisala, Chief Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN), urged the court to take the application for a mandatory injunction against the LPPC and the preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court together. Ayanlaja submitted that taking the two applications would save time and speedup hearing and determination of the suit. He said in line with a judegment of the Supreme Court delivered in 2009, the court was expected to take the two contending applications together and deliver just a ruling, adding that any of the parties who is not satisfy could then appeal against it. But counsel to Fidelity Bank, Chief Seyi Sowemi-

mo (SAN), urged the court to hear the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court first before considering any other application. Sowemimo said the preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court was the only application that is ripe for hearing. Justice Adefope-Okojie in a bench ruling held that the two applications would be heard together and a joint ruling delivered on them. She thereafter fixed May 7 for hearing of the two applications. Aribisala had in his suit instituted against the LPPC and Fidelity Bank Plc prayed the court to reverse the verdict of the committee.

While the LPPC did not file any response to the suit, Fidelity Bank challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit. The bank specifically noted that by the nature of the case, only the Federal High Court was mandated to hear it. But Aribisala in his motion on notice dated April 9, 2013 asked the court to dismiss the preliminary objection filed by Fidelity Bank challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear his suit against the bank and the LPPC. He contended that the mere mention of the federal legislation or of matter in the exclusive legislative list does not make the case proper for the Federal High Court to have exclusive jurisdiction to entertain.

Osun urged to release report on Iragbiji ruling house ADEOLU ADEYEMO OSOGBO

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he Lagbua Osho Family of Oke Agbo Iragbiji has appealed to the Osun State Government to publish the White Paper and official gazette on the Justice A. A Aderibigbe Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Aragbiji of Iragbiji Chieftaincy declaration to include it as a ruling house.

The family’s spokesman, Aderemi Adedeji, who made the call at a press conference held at the state NUJ Press Centre in Osogbo, recalled that the family renewed its complaint to the state governor in 2009 “on the irregularities in the Aragbiji Chieftaincy declaration of 1957 where Lagbua Family’s name was wrongfully deleted as one of the ruling houses in the town without the knowl-

edge of Lagbua family”. In response to the complaint, Adedeji said: “The state government subsequently directed the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to set up an administrative panel to look into the matter. “His royal majesty, Oba Abdul Rasheed Olabomi, the Aragbiji of Iragbiji and his family rejected the panel and wrote through their lawyers led

Mr. Remi Ayoade to demand for a judicial panel of enquiry.” He said the request by Aragbiji was granted as the government thereafter directed the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs to set up the panel of enquiry which was assigned to Justice A.A Aderibigbe to conduct the inquiry with the instruction to complete the assignment within four weeks.

working together during the March 18 last year PDP state congress. He said: “Working in with Fayose during the congress was to wrestle power from some individuals within the party. We worked for the same interest then, but now, the calculation is different. “Fayose believes he will be governor. But I have told you I will be the next governor. Fayose was governor at 42. That was about 10 years ago. I am about 48, I represent my generation. I am not a stooge of anybody.” Blaming the slow pace of Ekiti development on those he alleged had stayed away from the state to understand the realities on ground, the former Speaker said he had a better knowledge having contested and winning four primaries and as well occupying positions of responsibilities in the past. He, however, said that he would publicly declare his intention in June, adding: “At no point in time will I merge, resign my fate or resign for anybody. I have done four primaries and I never lost any. There were pressures then and I never yielded’. Meanwhile, some governorship aspirants on the PDP platform have accused the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi of victimizing them through the removal of their billboards. Former Governor Fayose and Dr Peter Obafemi, whose billboards were removed yesterday in Ado-Ekiti by the state Advert and Signage Agency, told journalists that the government action was targeted at them because of their growing popularity. Fayose described the agency’s action as a plot to

remove the traces of PDP from the state especially at a time when visitors would storm Ado-Ekiti for the burial of the deputy governor, Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka, whose body would arrive at the state from Lagos today. Other PDP aspirants whose billboards were removed yesterday included Hon Wale Aribisala, Senator Gbenga Aluko and Mr Bisi Omoyeni, among others. However, the billboards of former Afenifere chieftain and PDP aspirant, Prince Dayo Adeyeye were spared by the agency. Fayose, who said the government wanted to create the impression that the PDP was not popular in the state, alleged that the agency’s officials broke into his office after removing the billboard and carted away all the posters inside the place. He said: “The action is suspect. It indicates that the government is jittery and intolerant of the opposition”. But the agency’s DirectorGeneral, Prince Adewole Ajakaye, denied the allegation. Ajakaye said those whose billboards were removed were indebted to the agency. He said the agency’s activities were not limited to politicians as other organisations owned by private individuals and corporate bodies were also affected. Ajakaye said: “Anytime we take an action that they feel is unfavourable, they always raise the allegation of victimisation. Erection of billboards is being regulated in Ekiti State and they are all aware, so we expect them to pay the requisite fees to prevent us from removing them.

Oyo to distribute free insecticide treated nets ment was in addition to the KEMI OLAITAN IBADAN

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he Oyo State Government has stated its resolve to control the scourge of malaria among its citizens as it has procured a fresh consignment of 1.8 million long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN) for free distribution to members of the public. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, spoke yesterday while flagging off programmes marking the celebration of this year’s World Malaria Day. He said the latest consign-

880,000 LLIN earlier distributed to 445,000 households. Gbadegesin said the fresh consignment was specifically targeted at residents of Oyo South and Oyo Central Senatorial Districts so as to achieve coverage of the entire state. Announcing that the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, will be decorated as the State Net Ambassador during the flag-off of the Universal Net Campaign, the commissioner said: “The target of the government is to reach and even surpass the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for malaria control.”


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FG still committed to end nation’s security challenges –Anyim CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

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L-R: A beneficiary, Mr. Hyacinth Okafor; Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Ndubisi Menakaya, during the presentation of N1 billion loan to farmers in Awka, yesterday.

Four varsity students paraded for drug trafficking CHRIS NJOKU OWERRI

•Police recover 33 stolen vehicles Government Area of Lagos State and Umuime community in Ubakala, Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State. Adewale Fuhad, 24, is a native of Odogbolu in Ogun State and a 300 Level student of Crescent University, Abeokuta. The two other suspects, Okechukwu Nwosu, 32, and his brother Ndidi Nwosu 28, are distributors of the hard drugs and they hail from Egbela Umujechi in Umuekwuene, Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State. The police chief, however, expressed the alarm at the

rate at which illegal substances are consumed by miscreants, adding that the North American students were arrested as they were on their way to link up with their accomplices (distributors.) He said: “The rate at which these dangerous drugs are peddled and consumed by these miscreants is alarming, but it explains why they are undeterred vicious and unrepentant in their deadly mission.” Katsina promised to intensify the campaign against criminal activities. He asked members of the public to come forth with proof of ownership to collect the recovered vehicles.

he Imo State Police Command yesterday paraded three undergraduates of the North American University based in Cotonou, Republic of Benin and two others for being in possession of substances suspected to be hard drugs. The suspects, who smuggled the narcotics neatly wrapped with plastic tapes, were apprehended when they were about to sell the drugs at Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area. The command also recovered 33 stolen vehicles and 12 motorcycles in the last two

months. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Musa Katsina, said that the university undergraduates were arrested with nine compressed parcels suspected to be hard drugs by the command’s Ambush Squad following a tip off. According to him, the suspects identified as Ola Abdulgafaru, 22, and Henry Tochukwu, 22, are 200 Level students of North America University. They live at 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, Estate in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and are natives of Biniyo community in Eti -Osa Local

ALIUNA GODWIN

UNFPA decries increase in Visico Vagina Fistula

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EBONYI

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he United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday in Abakaliki the capital of Ebonyi State decried the increase in the number of women and girls suffering from Visico Vagina Fistula (VVF). UNFPA said that an estimated two to three million women and girls are living with the disease in Nigeria and other developing countries. The Country Representative of UNFPA, Mme Victoria Akyeampong, disclosed this to journalists shortly after the discharge of 25 VVF patients at the National Obstetrics Fistula Centre of Excellence in Abakaliki. Akyeampong said UNFPA had promised more support to the wife of Ebo-

•Says three million women infected nyi State Governor, Mrs. Josephine Elechi, in her fight against the disease as well her efforts to improve the living condition of women. She expressed delight at the success recorded following the partnership between UNFPA and other donor agencies, as well as the Ebonyi governor’s wife. Akyeampong noted that obstetrics fistula is a highly neglected disease just as she revealed that over three million women and girls are living with the disease in developing countries. She said: “The prevalence of fistula is an indication of underlying socioeconomic factors such as gender inequality and poverty. To end fistula, we need to work collectively to pro-

vide access to reproductive health services, eliminate gender based social and economic inequalities, prevent child marriage and early child bearing and keep our young girls in school.” Also speaking, Mrs. Elechi said the National Obstetric Fistula Centre in Abakaliki had since its inception in 2008 treated and discharged over 1,600 patients from over 20 states of the federation. She said: “Since its inception, over 1,600 indigent patients from over 20 states of the federation and over 195 others with uterine prolapsed have received free treatment in the centre and the capacity of several medical personnel have been enhanced during this

period. “Furthermore, over 2,000 women have received free screening for cervical and breast cancer, while women with premalignant lesions have equally received free treatment and are on follow-up. “My initiative is complementing the efforts of the state government in promoting maternal health and preventing the formation of new cases of obstetric fistula. There is the maternal mortality and morbidity law introduced by my initiative and passed into law.” The Medical Director of the Centre, Dr. Sunday Oduoye, advised the discharged patients to stay away from sexual intercourse for at least six months.

he Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, yesterday reassured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s commitment to tackle the nation’s security challenges. Anyim said the government planned to tackle the challenges through partnership with relevant institutions and organisations. The SGF, who spoke in Owerri, the Imo State capital, during a two-day summit on security and good governance challenges in the South-East organised by the CLEEN Foundation, identified reliable security as indispensable impetus for good governance across the globe. He, however, regretted that efforts by the Federal Government to achieve reliable security had occasionally suffered setback as a result of unpatriotic activities of some disgruntled elements. Represented by his special adviser, Senator Ben Collins Ndu, Anyim commended the organisers of the summit for their visions and urged them to beam their searchlight on

security beyond the SouthEast zone for greater results. Speaking at the summit, Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo of University of Port Harcourt and Dr. Nwachukwu Orji of University of Nigeria Nsukka, and a representative of Ford Foundation, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, noted that the urban renewal and safety city programme had resulted to increased population of displaced persons in the South-East with its attendant consequences. Chukwuma said the traditional self-help development efforts of the Igbo should be complemented by the South-East governors so as to achieve good governance. He, however, challenged participants to come up with a position on how to rescue the region from the jaws of criminals. Declaring the summit open, Governor Rochas Okorocha, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Security, Mr. Okey Okorocha, commended the organisers for initiating the summit and challenged them to come up with far reaching solutions that could assist the government tackle the worrisome security issues confronting the region.

Okorocha reinstates two suspended ISOPADEC commissioners

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wo Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) commissioners earlier suspended by Governor Rochas Okorocha have been reinstated. The two commissioners, Chief Emmanuel Duru and Chief Gideon Mefor, were reinstated through a letter by the state government. The letter captioned: “Relifting of suspension order on Emma Duru and Gideon Mefor, dated April 22, 2013, was signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Anthony Anwukah. The letter addressed to the ISOPADEC Chairman in Owerri reads: “Reference to my earlier letter suspending Emma Duru and Gideon Mefor as members of the commission, please note that by copy of his letter GH/PL/ S.662/T/2 of 19th April, 2013, His Excellency has directed that the suspension order be lifted. “The suspension order is therefore by copy of this letter lifted. Both persons can

now resume duties as members of the ISOPADEC.” A Government House source, who did not want his name mentioned, said: “The commissioners did not commit any offence. They were only set up. They were blackmailed before the governor. After the governor’s independent investigations, he discovered that they were innocent and ordered their immediate reinstatement. “Governor Okorocha does not oppress people. He stands for the truth at all times and he is God-fearing.” Reacting to their reinstatement, President of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta Youth Movement, Mr. Martins Atasie, described the governor’s latest action as a step in the right direction. He accused the SSG, Prof. Anwuka, and ISOPADEC Managing Director, Henry Okafor, of instigating the suspension. Commending Governor Okorocha for reinstating the commissioners, Atasie pledged the support of youths for his administration.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

South South

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Community demands $1bn compensation from SPDC, NAOC EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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he people of Nembe community in Bayelsa State are asking the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, to pay them $1billion in compensation for polluting their environment over the years. The demand of the community was contained in a petition signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Oil and Gas Committee in Nem-

be, Chief Nengi James and Francis Furo, to the United Nations. The community leaders lamented that the several years of gas flaring, oil spillages and dumping of industrial wastes in their environment, had impacted negatively on their lifespan. The petition was also copied to the National Assembly. The community called for fairness, equity and justice in the management of the resources in their environment as they regretted that the Nembe Kingdom

alone produces over 200, 000 barrels of oil per day, but that the area is not linked with any part of the country by road. The people expressed dismay that Nembe was not linked to the national grid, forcing them to make do with hurricane lamps and generators for those that could afford same while their only source of drinking water is continually polluted. They said the oil firms not only denied them employment but also compensation

for the environmental despoliation being unleashed on their environment. The petition reads in part: “We, the people of Nembe Kingdom, have a cause to cry out loud to you, because, we are seriously aggrieved over the shoddy treatment meted to us by the oil companies operating in our land. “If we fail to call your attention to our plight now, there is the likelihood that we may not be able to tell our story after some years as we may have been slowly

exterminated by the effects of oil spills, gas flaring and improper disposal of toxic wastes and materials in our kingdom. “Therefore, it becomes imperative for us to alert the world body of our predicament before it becomes too late. As a result of gas flaring, frequent oil spillages and dumping of industrial toxic wastes, the lifespan of the average Nembe man and woman has been drastically reduced to 40 years. This is just too low and calls for serious investigation.

“In the light of the above, we want the United Nations to come to our kingdom for investigation and analysis of the environment and subject their findings to high level expert interpretations and opinions. “These tests and analysis must encompass our land, rivers, creeks, streams, oil spill sites, toxic waste dumping sites and even the air we breathe so that the truth of our claims would be made manifest for the indictment of the oil companies involved.”

Dickson declares N28.9bn balance as IGR hits N1bn

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Youths at a rally in Benin City in support of the outcome of the local government election held last weekend in Edo State, yesterday.

JTF invades Azuzuama for suspected criminals EMMA GBEMUDU YENAGOA

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peratives of the Joint Task Force, JTF, yesterday invaded Azuzuama community in Southern Ijaw Local Government area of Bayelsa State in search of some suspected criminals hiding in the area. The presence of the JTF operatives generated tension among inhabitants of the coastal community. National Mirror could not confirm as at the time of filing this report if the JTF

personnel arrested any of the suspected criminals. It was learnt that the manhunt for suspected kidnappers and sea pirates by the security agency was one of its routine operations to ensure sanity in the creeks. It will be recalled that some ex-militants ambushed and killed 11 policemen at Azuzuama on April 5, along the waterways. Security agencies in the state are yet to make any headway on the arrest of the gunmen that killed the policemen.

In a statement issued yesterday in Yenagoa by the spokesman of the JTF, Lt.Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the agency said its investigations revealed that kidnappers, sea robbers and other criminals had clandestinely developed hideouts in some parts of the creeks in South Ijaw Local Government of the state. According to Nwachukwu, these suspected criminals launched attacks on unsuspecting victims going about their legitimate businesses in the waterways. He continued: “Given

our mandate to rid the Niger Delta of criminality, we are spurred by this unwholesome development to commence today, a cleanup operation of criminal hideouts where kidnappers and sea robbers hibernate. “Our troops have successfully clamped down on four criminal hideouts at Azuzuama in Southern Ijaw Local Government.” Nwachukwu urged all abiding citizens to stay clear of such criminal hideouts and partner with its operatives in ridding the region of criminals.

April 20 LG poll, best in Edo history –CRPP SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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he National Secretary of Accord Party, AP, and the Edo State Chairman of the Coalition of Registered Political Parties, CRPP, in the state, Dr. Samson Isibor, has lauded the conduct of the April 20, 2013 local government poll, describing it as the best in the history of the state. The CRPP leader said this while congratulating the leadership of the ruling Action Congress of Nige-

ria, ACN, and the government of Edo State for winning the poll. Reviewing the election that has drawn the ire of some opposition parties in the state, Dr. Isibor said the little hitches noticed were due to human error and were not superimposed by the government as some opposition have been alleging. Speaking at a press briefing in Benin yesterday, Isibor listed the pluses of the council poll that did not witness any case of ballot snatching, ballot stuffing,

gun battles, thumb printing and result writing in the homes of party chieftains, as were the case in the past. His words: “After a thorough assessment of the exercise on Saturday, April 20, we have come to the conclusion that the election was free, fair and credible. The election is adjudged to be the best local government election ever conducted in Edo State. “Though, you cannot rule out human infallibility in such an exercise; the little hitches that were

experienced were due to logistic problems devoid of electoral malpractices such as ballot snatching, stuffing of ballot boxes, using of guns to scare away eligible voters. There was none of such. “The late arrival of materials was a human error. Mr. Solomon Ogoh, the chairman of EDSIEC did all his best to ensure a smooth election. He earned our respect during the verification exercise, which the opposition had credited to be the best.”

ayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has declared N28.972 billion as balance of funds after necessary deductions, including statutory ones, were made as at the end of March, 2013. The declaration is in line with his administration’s policy on transparency and accountability. Addressing journalists on the financial position of the state for the months of February and March, 2013 at the Banquet Hall, Yenagoa, Governor Dickson added that at the end of February, the state had a balance of N19.7 billion. In his analysis, the governor declared N19.7 billion as Gross Inflow comprising Statutory Allocation of N2.4 billion, Derivation amounting to N10.04 billion while Value Added Tax, VAT, raked in N648 million, Subsidy ReInvestment and Empowerment Programme, SUREP, came up to N1.1billion, among other items. On the outflows, Governor Dickson said a total FAAC deduction of N2.38 billion, consisting of Bond deduction, N1.241bn, Foreign Loans obligation, N11million, refund of overpayment to the Federal Government on the Excess Crude Account in three tranches of N509.8 million, N187million and N392.8 million was made, leaving a Net Inflow of N17.270bn. According to the governor, salaries of civil servants gulped N3.817 billion, that of political appointees stood at N335 million with monthly overhead payment of N1.1billion while statutory approvals stood at N230 million. Gratuity payment was N250 million as well as transfers to the state Compulsory Savings Account of N250 million. He said N100 million was

remitted to the state-owned Niger Delta University for the payment of salary arrears owed its workers, pointing out that actual recurrent expenditure gulped N2.5 billion while that of capital was put at N10 billion. For the month of March, the governor reported a Gross Inflow of N24 billion made up of Statutory Allocation, N2.3bn, Derivation N9.5 billion, VAT N658 million, SUREP N1.068 billion while augmentations was put at N10.3 billion, noting that there was no disbursement from the Excess Crude Account. He also said that N2.38 billion was deducted at source by FAAC, giving the breakdown of the figure to include salary obligation for civil servants N3.8bn, political appointees N336 million, overheads of N1.1, Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of N80 million, land acquisition N250 million. The governor who used the opportunity to commend the state workforce for their understanding and cooperation on the present tax regime, said revenue accruing to the state coffers has increased to N300 million on a monthly basis. He also added that the overall monthly IGR came up to N1billion assuring that government would make judicious use of the resources to develop physical infrastructure, create wealth and jobs for the people to get value for their money. Meanwhile, Governor Dickson has donated N250 million for the take off of the Bayelsa State Indigenous Movie Trust Fund aimed at developing budding talents in the state. Also, the governor laid the foundation of the Bayelsa Film City in Igbogene, Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.


12

North

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Offshore-onshore dichotomy responsible for terrorism –Kwankwaso A ZA MSUE KADUNA

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ano State governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, yesterday said the offshore/ onshore dichotomy issue was responsible for the Boko Haram insurgency in the North. Kwankwaso said the dichotomy also brought about a high level of poverty and hopelessness in the region, resulting in the insecurity currently being witnessed. Kwankwaso’s declaration came even as the Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero,

rejected the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, bill yesterday, saying it would further alienate other parts of the country economically. Kwankwaso told members of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill, North-West zonal public hearing held in Kaduna, that people of Kano State oppose the bill in its totality, stressing that Nigeria needs to be building towards one nation. He said the decision to kick against the bill came after due consultation with stakeholders and the ordinary citizens of Kano State

warning northern legislators not to be bought over like it was done in offshore/ onshore debate of 2002. He recalled that the onshore-offshore dichotomy debate took the same dimension with arguments to promote development, but after it was passed, it became a catalyst that has aided poverty and underdevelopment in state and the north at large. While noting that people of Kano State will not be decisive in endorsing the Petroleum Industry Bill, the governor stressed that the South-South region has a ministry, 13 per cent derivation, amnesty programme

as well as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, against other parts of the country. His words: “I made my position clear here in this hall in 2002 against the offshore/ onshore dichotomy, which I said will have devastating economic consequences for the north. I am vindicated on what I said that offshore-onshore will bring more poverty that will lead to insecurity which we found ourselves today. In addition to the 13 per cent derivation, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, amnesty

programme with billions of naira all for the South-South region, this country is building towards one direction.” Kwankwaso added: “Even the national budget is toward one direction. Offshore-onshore dichotomy should be abolished. What I am saying here today, 75 per cent of northerners are against the PIB bill. They did it before and now government wants to sow another seed of poverty in the north. Let there be peace and justice in this country. On behalf of the good people of Kano State, I hereby oppose the PIB bill.” On his part, Governor

Yero, who was represented by the State Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary, Hauwa Dalhatu said; “There is also in existence the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the Ministry of Niger Delta, in addition to the autonomous amnesty programme. To create host communities fund therefore, will not only be tantamount to creating a fourth tier of government, but also making provisions that will further alienate other parts of the country economically. The term, ‘host communities’ as used in the bill, is nebulous.”

Northern Govs’ Forum under attack over insecurity

•Forum restates commitment to ending carnage

JAMES ABRAHAM AND PRISCILLA DENNIS

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L-R: Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Ibrahim Chatta Umar; Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar and Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, at the 57th edition of Patigi Boat Regatta in Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State, yesterday.

Indicted ex-govs, ministers, others still power brokers –Akanbi WOLE ADEDEJI ILORIN

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he pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, yesterday said indicted former governors, ministers and party officials, have surprisingly become the power brokers in the country. This development he said is sadly widening the vicious circle of corruption and making the fight against corruption in the country almost impossible. The retired jurist therefore, urged “the President, governors, political leaders, politicians, top brass civil/public servants, Emirs, Obas and Obis to imbibe the spirit of leading by example and be in the vanguard of the struggle

to eliminate corruption or reduce it to tolerable level.” Justice Akanbi, who is also the retired President of the Court of Appeal said this in Ilorin, the Kwara State at the 46th annual conference of the National Association of Law Teachers, NALT. “Many well meaning and responsible Nigerians have been crying foul at the turn of events and the apparent cover up of purveyors of corruption in recent times and the lethargic manner corruption cases are being handle. “Given the situation described above, more often than not, mediocre, incompetent and corrupt officials rather than resourceful, efficient and competent hands, find their way to positions of power and authority which they use and manipulate to their own advantage and not to the benefit of society or for the

public good. “The end result is that the nation begins to drift and slide dangerously down the slippery road of economic ruination. In the process, there is the general desecration of societal and normative values, low level performance in both socio-economic and technological developments and ultimately a putrefying decadence, the stench of which often puts off or prevent other nations, with a record of transparency and probity, from wanting to interact or do business with a corrupt nation,” he said. President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Okey Wali, SAN, in his address hinted that the association would de-register any lawyer found to be corrupt in his practices as a lawyer. He added: “Any lawyer implicated in any act of corruption will lose his

membership of the NBA. On the bench, we are working seriously with NJC and the CJN is determined to turn our judiciary to the judiciary of the Hon. Justice Mustapha Akanbi’s dream.”

he Northern State Governors’ Forum, NSGF, led by the Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, has come under attack over what many perceived as the nonchalant posture of the forum in tackling the security challenges facing the north. The feeling among many stakeholders is that instead of championing the war against insecurity in the region, the forum has chosen to look the other way while terrorists’ activities reign supreme. In a statement issued in Jos yesterday, a group under the auspices of the Association of Northern Youths for the Advancement of Peace, Harmony and Development, ANY-

PAD, accused the NSGF of being insensitive to the plight of innocent citizens resident in the north who are being killed by terrorists on daily basis. The statement, which was signed by ANYPAD President, Comrade Melvin Ejeh, reads in part: “After watching the role of Governor Aliyu’s NSGF in tackling the security challenges facing the region, we have come to the conclusion that the forum is evidently not interested in involving itself in tackling the problem. “We want to say it here that whether his state is affected by terrorists’ activities or not, we know that as the chairman of the body in the 19 northern states, it is his duty to champion the many challenges confronting the region, especially the fight against terrorism that has engulfed the region”.

Reps intervene in Kogi-Anambra oil well dispute TORDUE SALEM ABUJA

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he House of Representatives yesterday directed its committees on Special Duties and Disaster and Emergency Management to liaise with the National Boundary Commission, NBC, on the lingering clashes between Enugu-Otu, Nkpunado and Eziagulu-Otu communities of Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government of the state and Olu communities of Ibaji Local Government of Kogi State, over the oil rich land.

The decision of the House to give the committees the mandate, arose from a motion sponsored by Hon. Chriscato Amaeke (PDPAnambra), seeking the intervention of the House. Hon. Amaeke, who represents Anambra East and West in the House, brought the motion entitled: “Urgent Need to Stop the Boundary Conflict between Aguleri Communities of Anambra East LGA of Anambra State and Olu Communities of Ibaji LGA of Kogi State,” under Matters of Urgent National Importance. He said the “lingering

boundary conflict between Enugu-Otu, Mkpunado and Eziagulu-Otu communities (Odeke, Asonwa and Ayeke) of Ibaji LGA of Kogi State,” emanated from “the claim of ownership of oil well” in the area. He regretted that a recent resurgence of the conflict resulted in killing and abduction of innocent people, burning of houses, farmlands, livestock and properties worth millions of naira in these areas.” He added that at the last count, 12 people have been confirmed dead in my community, Aguleri-Otu.


Wednesday April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

13

Politics

2015: Buhari’s ambition and APC’s dream

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LG chair sack: Rivers’ Assembly gets 48-hr ultimatum GODWIN OKONKWO PORT HARCOURT

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here seems no end to the lingering crisis rocking the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the state Executive Committee of the party has issued

a 48-hour ultimatum to the state House of Assembly to reverse itself on the suspension of the chairman, vice chairman and 17 councillors of the Obio-Akpor Local Government Area. This was even as the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has sworn in a

seven-member caretaker committee to run the affairs of the council. The caretaker committee members were sworn in after being screened by the state Assembly, yesterday morning. Members of the committee include; Dike David

Chikordi as chairman, Yellow Ernest Ogbonda as vicechairman, Ihunwo Ovunda, Wogu Chima, Ejims Chinkweru, Stanley Ehoro, and Friday Owhor Kinikanwo. Represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), George Feyii, Amaechi charged members

L-R: Chief Olu Falae; Secretary General, Afenifere, Chief Seinde Arogbofa; Leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti and Mr. Yinka Odumakin, during a press conference on the state of the nation in Lagos, yesterday.

Akwa Ibom 2015: Eket district vows to produce gov OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU

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s the race to the 2015 general elections gathers momentum, political stalwarts and stakeholders of different shades from the Akwa Ibom South (Eket) Senatorial District has re-asserted their unalloyed commitment to satisfy the yearnings of their people to produce the next governor of the state. The stakeholders also renewed its warning to strayed politicians from the district, to back down from playing the second fiddle by not lobbying for the deputy governorship slot, saying that erring politicians will be sanctioned accordingly. While calling on all well meaning sons and daughters of the oil-rich Eket Senatorial District to put their trust in God and use all the resources that nature has endowed the district with, to fight for their rights, they admonished politicians

from the district to either support the 2015 project or cause no harm to it. One of the highlights of the conference was the inauguration of a 13-man National Executive Committee (NEC) to marshal the affairs of the group, headed by the immediate past Minister of Lands and Urban Development, Nduese Essien, to be assisted by Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to

Greece, Etim Uye. Other members of the NEC are: former chairman of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Amaete Ntuk, Okon Essang, Douglas Ekperikpe, Chris Abasi Eyo, Imowo Udobia and Prof. Abang Isangedighi of the University of Calabar. Also included in the NEC are: Ime Ekpoatai, Joshua Mbiam, former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Bassey Es-

sien, Prof. Eka Uwe and Bassey Nkannang. Calling for support for Governor Godswill Akpabio to continue with his transformation agenda, Essien appealed to the conscience of the other senatorial districts to shift power to the South Senatorial District, “as the district has not produced any governor, elected or appointed since the creation of the state in 1987.”

ACN chief backs Aregbesola Afenifere on Aregbesola for a second stands to gain a lot from OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU

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woman leader in the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mrs. Margaret Apoeso, has thrown her weight behind the adoption for a second term of Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, by the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG). Speaking with National Mirror, Apoeso urged Osun State citizens to vote

term because of the giant strides of the governor, especially in the constructions going on in the state. While hailing the Aregbesola administration’s initiative on the provision of ‘Opon Imo’ (Tablet of Knowledge) to students in secondary schools in the state, Apoeso said that even in advanced countries, computers are not given out free to students. Her words: “Osun State

good governance if Governor Aregbesola is returned for a second term. We have seen what he has done in less than four years.” She advised Osun people not to allow desperate politicians, who do not have the people’s interest at heart, back in government, adding that such politicians’ antecedent showed that they want to grab power in order to plunder the economy of the state once again.

of the committee to exhibit high sense of diligence in carrying out their assigned responsibilities, saying: “We justify the confidence reposed in you by giving you this appointment to show diligence and manage the resources of the local government with every sense of responsibility.” While advising the caretaker committee to always conduct the affairs of the council in accordance with set objectives of the council and the vision of his administration, Amaechi said: “You do not have the freedom to conduct yourselves in a way that will not be befitting of the responsibility that has been placed on you. “And we have confidence that you will do that, and the best way you can do that is to conduct yourselves positively. I congratulate you all in your new appointment as caretaker committee of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council.” After its meeting on

Monday, the state executive committee had in a public announcement on radio noted that the suspension was illegal and hence null and void, saying that it will not allow illegality to thrive in the state. The party said: “The committee noted the illegality perpetrated by the Assembly and hereby warn it to reverse the suspension order or face a law suit over the matter’’ the statement said. Meanwhile, the newly sworn in caretaker committee chairman, Chikordi has dissolved all outstanding committees of the council, expressing assurance that new committees will be constituted in no distant time. He assured the people of Obio/Akpor that he will continue to ensure that dividends of democracy gets to the people of the council and promised to inject new blood in the effective management of the council to achieve desired results

PDP candidates insist on participating in rescheduled Edo council poll SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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do State main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is planning boycott of today and tomorrow’s rescheduled local government council election in Edo Central and South senatorial districts respectively, National Mirror has exclusively learnt. This was even as the party’s candidates in Esan North-East and IkpobaOkha, John Yakubu and Edegbe Ugbogbo respectively are gearing up to partake in the rescheduled council poll, irrespective of the outcome of the poll. Rescheduled council poll will take place today in Esan North East and Central local government areas while the two other rescheduled council poll holds tomorrow in Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha local government areas. National Mirror reliably gathered yesterday that the

PDP leadership was meeting in Benin on whether to participate or boycott the local council election that was cancelled last Saturday due largely to the late arrival of election materials. The party leadership, National Mirror gathered, is not too comfortable with the seriousness of the ruling ACN to win the four councils. It was reliably gathered that having realised that the ruling ACN was not in any mood to soften its work and expectation of 18 over 18 agenda, the PDP was reconsidering its widely anticipated participation in the council poll. When contacted, state PDP chairman, Dan Orhih said: “No comment. I cannot say anything on that now. We are in a meeting as you are talking to me. I will communicate our decision on the matter to you as soon as it is taken,” but he did not get back to National Mirror as at the time of filling this report on the party’s decision.


14

Politics

FELIX NWANERI writes on the recent declaration by a former Head of State and leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Muhammadu Buhari of his readiness to confront the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 presidential election and its likely implications on the fortunes of the newly formed opposition alliance.

Wednesday April 24, 2013

2015: Buhari’s ambition and APC’s dream

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he stage is once more set for a tough battle over who occupies the nation’s number one position between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition political parties that have fused into a merger – the All Progressives Congress (APC), though yet to be registered as a political party by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Indications to an interesting contest in 2015 had already emerged with the recent declaration by a former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 elections, Muhammadu Buhari, to contest the forthcoming poll with a promise not to disappoint Nigerians if voted into power. Buhari, who made the declaration during the North-West zonal CPC Contact and Mobilisation Committee meeting in Kaduna, said that the ruling PDP has destroyed the nation’s socio-political system and pledged to embark on the desired transformation. The former military ruler therefore urged the electorate to engage in grassroots mobilisation for credible persons to be voted into positions of leadership and ensure that their votes count in the 2015 elections. Stressing that urgent actions are needed to put the country back on the right track to bring dividends of democracy to the people, Buhari urged Nigerians to support the APC to wrest power from the PDP. While Buhari is not new to contest, having made three unsuccessful attempts in the past (2003, 2007 and 2011), some analysts have argued that age is no longer on his side for such tough challenge. He would be 73 in 2015. Others opined that he would be embarking on another “political gamble” that may jeopardise the opposition’s bid to unseat the ruling party, as he may not submit himself to a selection process for the party’s presidential candidate. This school of thought hinged its argument on the recent statement credited to the CPC, in which it insisted that Buhari will not drop his presidential ambition in the 2015 general elections. The party’s spokesman, Rotimi Fashakin, was quoted to have said: “It is not true that Gen. Buhari is stepping down. He will make himself available for the 2015 election if he is accepted by the new arrangement. If he is not accepted, he is a democrat; he will not force himself on the party.” He was reacting to insinuations in some quarters that Buhari has been compelled to drop his ambition to enable younger politician to take up the battle of flying the presidential flag of the APC if it is to make any impact in the 2015 polls. However, Buhari is not the only chieftain of the new party said to be under

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Buhari

HE WILL MAKE HIMSELF AVAILABLE FOR THE

2015

ELECTION IF HE IS ACCEPTED BY THE

NEW ARRANGEMENT.

IF HE IS NOT ACCEPTED, HE IS A DEMOCRAT; HE WILL NOT FORCE HIMSELF ON THE PARTY

pressure to jettison their ambition. A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu and National Leader of one the merging parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), is also facing the same pressure, but his has not been intense as that of the CPC leader, who late last year reiterated that he would not leave the political stage until good governance and sustainable democracy are enthroned in the country. He had said:“I won’t quit politics until good governance and sustainable democracy are entrenched in this country. We should not be under any illusion that democracy dividends will ever come to us easily without making sacrifices. The time for proper change is 2015.” But how will Buhari’s ambition affect the fortunes of the opposition’s alliance? Many have asked. The PDP National Chairman, Bamangar Tukur, whose party, the APC is poised to confront, believes that the ambition of the former Head of State will tear the new party apart. His words: “Don’t worry, this is not the first time Nigerians would hear about merger. Let elections come and everyone will see the problems within them. They will be tear to rags because of ambitions.” Another political school of thought is however of the view that Buhari’s quest will unsettle some elements in the North who have been waiting to step into his shoes. It would be recalled that a Kadunabased human rights activist and ACN

candidate for Kaduna North senatorial district in the last election, Salihu Lukman, who is believed to be working for a chieftain of the CPC interested in the 2015 presidency, had in reaction to Buhari’s renouncement of his decision to stay off active politics, last year, said such move will not bring the desired changes expected in the polity. In an open letter to Buhari then, titled: “Your Aspiration for 2015 is Ill-Advised,” Lukman advised the Katsina-born General to drop his aspiration to contest the 2015 presidential election. He premised his position on two fundamental reasons – altruistic reasons not regulating campaign structure, and the possibility of the aspiration to blur the vision of some Northerners who will not see beyond Buhari. The letter read in part: “To strengthen opposition parties in Nigeria would require a strategy that would throw up completely new candidates at all levels in 2015 including the presidential election. Your moral authority to serve as the facilitator of this will engrave your name in the sands of Nigerian history as one nationalist who sacrificed everything, including his personal aspirations to ensure that the monster called PDP is defeated.” But Fashakin, who allayed fears over Buhari’s ambition, said the CPC leader is electable and would be accepted by the APC because of his high electoral value. Fasakin said: “Many people do not understand the average Northerner. The preponderance of these people is in rural areas. These are people Gen. Buhari is popular with. The general belief is that Gen. Buhari is adjudged as a leader. “There are not many of these Northern elements that have the kind of popularity that Gen. Buhari has. The electoral value of Gen. Buhari is never in doubt. It is a fact. He has created a niche for himself. The truth of the matter is that Buhari is a man with amazing and remarkable character. He is a dependable leader in terms of service delivery.” A member of the APC Merger Committee and National Publicity Secretary of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Osita Okechukwu, also dis-

missed the suspicion that Buhari’s ambition poses danger to the merger process. According to him, “the most prominent thing that the members and supporters of the APC have put ahead is to save the country, to save our democracy and even save our constitution which the PDP has bastardised. So, the song is to redeem the country because if there is no country there is no ambition to talk about.” He further said that though the political leaders reserve the right to contest elections, the internal democracy in the new party would be strong enough to decide those to contest the elective positions to avoid the trap that the PDP has fallen into. “For them this thing is about the country. Nigeria is drifting dangerously into a failed state. So these patriots are saying that they are going to salvage this country and let personal interest go down the drain,” Okechukwu said. A former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji Bashir Tofa, who expressed similar view, said it would be a mistake for the APC to insist on Buhari and Tinubu to drop their ambitions. “Dropping Buhari and Tinubu’s ambitions will be a serious blow to the APC, in my opinion. So, they must be allowed to aspire to whatever they fancy, and let democracy determine their nomination for that position,” he said. Tofa argued that Buhari and Tinubu, and not their parties are the important factors in the merger arrangement, saying the CPC leader will lose his political relevance, while Tinubu will also lose his interest if they are compelled to drop their respective ambitions in 2015. His words: “Buhari and Tinubu must be allowed to aspire to whatever position they fancy, and let democracy determine their nomination for that position. If Buhari withdraws, 95 per cent of CPC is out. If Tinubu loses interest, 50 to 70 per cent of the funding is lost. But if they genuinely decide on their own without any pressure from anywhere to opt out and remain faithful to the new party, that will be a big credit to them. But, I do not see that happening without a serious loss to the new party.” A former Secretary to the Lagos State Government in the Second Republic and chieftain of the ACN, Olorunfunmi Basorun, who expressed optimism in the ability of the APC to resolve issues concerning Buhari’s presidential ambition, however insisted that the former Head of State does not require the intervention of people to persuade or dissuade him from his bid to come back to power. Noting that Buhari will abide by the decision of the APC leaders that everyone subsumes his or her ambition for now until when everything has been put in place, Basorun said: “He has said the party will decide who would be. So, if he has surrendered himself to the party, let us take him for his word.” While politics remains the doctrine of the possible, 2015 will determine if Buhari, who has always predicated his interest to lead the country again on two compelling objectives – need to sanitise the Nigerian polity and ensure that Nigerians enjoy the dividends of democracy at all levels of government, will return to the seat he vacated three decades ago.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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16

Politics

Wednesday April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Governors’ Forum shouldn’t be a trade union –Dickson CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 vantage of our weak institutions and our fledgling democracy such that sometimes you don’t even know who belongs to where. So, I’m not aware of any misunderstanding between the President of Nigeria and a provincial player like myself who is a governor of a state. You are demeaning the President and you shouldn’t do that in this country. He is the one that has to do that because every little thing, he brings in the President as if he is at the same level, at par with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Whether that is right or not, Nigerians will talk. But what we know is that for you to be a good leader, you must be a good follower first. So I’m not aware and I’m not a presidential spokesman.

Rivers and Bayelsa states have unresolved dispute over oil wells, what is the situation of things now? On the issue of oil well dispute, this is one of the instances I say people are playing politics with critical issues that can explode. They play politics with anything and everything. This thing you talked about has been in existence for long, even before the creation of Bayelsa State. Even when these two local governments were in old Rivers State, commissions of enquiries were set up and so on and so forth. As a governor, your responsibility is to use existing institutions to solve problems. Because there are statements you make recklessly, carelessly as if you are a cult leader or a gangster, which could inflate tensions and create instability. What I have been doing since this incident is to call for peace and I’m using our existing channels within the Ijaw system, because these people are all Ijaw people in case you don’t know; the Kalabari are Ijaw people, the Nembe people in Bayelsa are Ijaw people. Just because of the way the country came into being and states were created and today we now find ourselves, some in Rivers and some in Bayelsa, they are not enemies. For us as a state, we have submitted ourselves to federal institutions – we are cooperating with federal institutions. We have federal institutions; the Boundary Commission, we have the Revenue Allocation and Mobilisation Commission and all of that. When they came, we were ready but unfortunately, even the people who were shouting ‘come to the table and establish’, pulled out. They are more interested in politics. But I think that the system will take its course. Remember they have now gone to court. They had gone to court before and lost. And let me use this opportunity to also clear this misinformation that seems to have stuck; there was no time any money was paid to Bayelsa from the so-called escrow account. You see, this is why facts are important because some people will just form disinformation machinery meanwhile the truth is somewhere else. There was no time monies were kept in an escrow account and paid to Bayelsa State. No! What happened was that Akwa Ibom, Abia, Delta, Bayelsa – all the neighbouring states, we all had issues and they now deducted funds from us, all these states, and paid to Rivers State. They also now, on another claim, deducted some money from Rivers State and other states and paid to Bayelsa. So, whereas we received N15 billion, Rivers State received N17 billion. Now, was that money from an escrow account? Normal reconciliation process, if you have any feeling because these oil wells are just like that here, one here, so if you have any differentiation, that look, this one shouldn’t be accounted for this and that it should be mine, you will write to the Boundary Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation. They would come and do a demarcation exercise – if they are convinced that it should have been accounted for you, they simply rework the money and collect it from wherever they have paid it and refund it to you. That is what is going on but some people just want to use anything to grandstand and play politics. They don’t care whether communities and clans fight to kill themselves and so on. So, we don’t really have much problem with all that. How do you cope with the monthly transparency briefing of the state and are you ensuring that it is being done at the local government levels? And how does your party feel about some of these your leftist political ideologies?

because of my deep conviction that politics should be an avenue for service to the people, not the other way round. So that is why we are talking of free education. Anyway, the PDP, as it is in this country, has a lot of people who share my political tendency as well. Don’t forget that somebody like Sule Lamido spent all his life in progressive politics. What happen was that the PDP actually started with more people that are of that disposition. Don’t forget that the constitution of the PDP was drafted by Bola Ige and others; I was there with them. It was they who formed the PDP; Solomon Lar, Ige, Falae and others. That was how we started. It was when they pulled out, we followed them to All Peoples Party (APP), they pulled out and then they held a meeting and said they were going to go alone and I said, well I will stay with you. I believed in them and then brought AD here. I became National Legal Adviser and the rest is history. So, because of the way this democratic dispensation started we have a lot of people of my kind of tendency, in the system, so I’m very comfortable with my larger political family that I later came to join. I was key leader of the opposition in this state, when I came to join them because of my association with the President, I found people like that and so, we are getting along. Dickson

As a democrat, I’m not an accidental politician, I’m a politician by conviction and if you check my political antecedents, you will see that I have spent the better part of my political life identifying with issues that are related to deepening and broadening the frontiers of our democracy. When I was a member of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Justice, when I was supporting the Freedom of Information (FoI) Bill, for example, I meant it. For me, it wasn’t just politics, because in a democracy, the right to know is of great importance. We don’t seem to have enough of that. We are doing what we are doing and making the sacrifice – I have offered myself sometimes as a guinea pig, to experiment on transparency, accountability and openness to the people because you need to arm the people. Empowerment of people is not just in the material sense, the most important empowerment is the mental, intellectual and the empowerment that comes with proper information. The people must know – in a developing democracy that is critical, the people must know that we are here to serve them. They must know that things that we do are in their best interest, so it is our little way of submitting ourselves to the sovereignty that resides in the people. In this state, by the law that I proposed, which was institutionalised – I didn’t just announce it as a policy, the penalty for non-compliance, if I don’t do it for three months consecutively, is impeachment; it is an impeachable offence. We put it there in the law and I signed it. So I sensed that as I was doing it, the chairmen of local government are also doing it. By the grace of God, when I serve out my tenure, whenever it pleases God, I feel that anybody coming should also build on it so that after some time, transparency and accountability will be part of the political culture of this place. So knowing the history in terms of governors and what happened in this state, I felt that we should do that as part of our sacrifice and effort to repackage the state. That is why I’m here, people say that I’m a leftist – you are not the first one to tell me I’m a leftist and I always tell them I have no apologies for that because that is my political disposition. I’m a people-based politician. I’m not an establishment politician

WHAT HAS HAPPENED OVER THE YEARS IS THAT GOVERNORS OF THE PDP WHO BECAME

CHAIRMEN OF THE GOVERNORS’

FORUM ALL ATTEMPTED TO USE IT AS A PLATFORM FOR

PLAYING NATIONAL POLITICS – A PLATFORM FOR OCCUPYING NATIONAL POLITICAL SPACE

What is your position on the issue of amnesty for Boko Haram sect? On the issue of amnesty, I want to commend the President for his large heart in proposing amnesty, even for Boko Haram members. Of course we all know that Boko Haram, whatever is driving them, is very different from the factors that gave rise to the situation that we had here in the Niger Delta. Whereas the insurgency in the Niger Delta was founded on economic issues – issues that had to do with rights and deprivation of rights, the one of Boko Haram is religious. So, there is a clear distinction and even with that, the President has come up with amnesty, I think as a result of the calls by some leaders in the affected areas so that amnesty can be given and they want to see whether that can make the difference, so we have to encourage that. I think we should give it a chance. Though those who say amnesty should not be extended to Boko Haram members also have a very strong point on account of the mindless and criminal, despicable and wanton destruction of property and lives. And even now, from what we are reading, they seem to say they have not done anything wrong and they are rejecting amnesty, but on the part of the leader of a country, I think the President has done well by proposing amnesty. Let that not be the excuse for not getting all hands on deck to address the issue. What are the challenges you are being confronted with as a governor? The challenges are enormous and we knew in this state that things are not right but I underestimated the magnitude of the challenges: the absence of institutions, the absence of governmental structures, the absence, if you like, even of core values. But we are working hard to overcome these; providing the way, taking decisions, trying to live by example and doing the type of things we are doing. So, the constraints are enormous – we have a mindset to build. Don’t forget that this area, Bayelsa, was the least developed part of Rivers State when it was created. The governors of old Rivers State were mainly from Bayelsa but they were not parochial people; Ijaw man is not. So, they concentrated critical developments in Port Harcourt. When Bayelsa was created, there was nothing on the ground, so it was a very daunting task; challenges are on all fronts because now as against these challenges you now have limited resources that cannot match the cost of developing this very difficult terrain. Yes, we earn more than other states. That is what a lot of people look at but they don’t look at the challenges and match it. Because when God gave this place oil resources, God also knew that our problems – the cost of developing this area is more than some other parts of this country. So, because of that dislocation we have issues of funding, which we are addressing. That is why people call me ‘tightfisted governor,’ because we have to manage the available resources prudently and then be very clear on our priority, which is what we are doing.


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Is Africa democratising? PUBLIC DOMAIN

DELE

SETEOLU

deleseteolu@nationalmirroronline.net (08033137577 SMS only)

T

here is a subsisting debate on the relationship between democracy and democratization in Africa. It borders on the nature of democracy and democratization, and attempts to explain whether democracy is of a higher level to democratization or vice versa. The title of this piece has been posed as a question to capture the de-democratization trends in Africa. What are these trends, their nature and implications for Africa? Meanwhile, it is useful to intervene in the debate on democracy and democratization with a view to conceptually clarifying what the African experience denotes. Democracy is largely about structures and institutions of political governance. The three organs of government (executive, legislature and judiciary) and the media are features of democracy. Democratization involves structures and processes in a state; the political and economic processes define the behavioral pattern of the political elite and their perception of political power. The socio-economic conditions of a state largely define the attitude of the electorate to politics and political partici-

I

t is heartening to notice that the rot that has permeated the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is attracting the interest of many Nigerians and institutions. It appears that the Channels Television’s report and general interest in the institutional decay of the NPF, as manifested in the near collapse of the Ikeja Police Training School, have made some impact on the psyche of the state and society. This is not surprising, considering the fact that the police institution is Nigeria’s number one law enforcement agency in spite of the attempts by the state, especially under the military, to divest it of most of its constitutional roles and responsibilities by creating and duplicating many quasi-law enforcement agencies like the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC); Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), among others. There is no doubt that the NPF is wracked by and buffeted with a lot of problems like any other institution. Apparently because of the antediluvian behaviour exhibited by most members of its rank-and file bordering on corruption and kill-and-go mentality, most commentators have written the institution off. The problem is compounded by the inability of the successive Inspector-Generals of Police to come up with well-thought out programmes and capacity-building and enhancing operational guides and manuals beyond the effete “firefor-fire” template that has characterised the workings of our police force over the years. Attention appears not to have been given to the needs, efficiency, welfare and the general well-being of the rank-and-file, who vent their spleen and general disenchantment

pation. The pervasive poverty in Africa, especially since the adoption of the orthodox Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), has constrained democratization in Africa. The poor human development, unreliable and decaying social infrastructure, high material poverty and high illiteracy rate under-develop the political consciousness of the populace. The imposition of economic reform measures narrows the economic space; and contradicts the notion of participation and economic liberalism. Some scholars argue, for instance, that Nigeria is a democratizing state without democracy. Scholars and pundits gleefully refer to re-democratization efforts, which are occasioned by the collapse of the cold war and ascendancy of political pluralism; they insist that democratization, as canvassed in Africa, is a signpost of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank conditionality to adjusting states in Africa. Scholars, such as the late Professor Claude Ake, have argued that Africa is not democratizing. To Ake, the continent is a democracy without democratization. This writer shares the argument that most of Africa, including Nigeria, is a democracy without democratization. The continent is characterized by civilian dictators and repressed parliaments, rigged elections, repression of political opposition, social alienation of the populace through anti-people socio-economic policies, and deliberate underdevelopment of the economies in the region to foster specific class interests and objectives.

RECENT POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN

AFRICA SUGGEST

THE PREVALENCE OF DEMOCRACY AS AGAINST DEMOCRATIZATION AND DE-DEMOCRATIZATION

Recent political developments in Africa suggest the prevalence of democracy as against democratization and de-democratization occasioned by the pervasiveness of authoritarian political systems, massively rigged elections, biased electoral umpires, de facto one party system and human rights abuses. It is relevant to cite the developments in Africa to capture the de-democratisation trends. The last presidential election in Ghana was disputed by the opposition, which threatened court action. The perception of democratic growth in Ghana occasioned by the previous defeat of incumbent government appears to be disappearing. The Gambia, Togo, Guinea and Guinea Bissau are not good examples of liberal democratic states. The state actors in Uganda, for instance, have perpetuated the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni, they have manipulated the constitution to his political advantage and have consistently harassed political opposition

and independent media. The rebel activities in Cote D’Ivoire, Congo Democratic Republic, Rwanda, and Uganda are major threats to the democratic processes in these states. The rebels are succeeding at sharing territories, loyalties and expropriating resources. The civilian government in Central Africa Republic has been displaced by rebels, who formed a government in Bangui. The result of the recent Kenyan presidential election won by Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta was rejected by the opposition. Newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta has been accused of genocide in previous presidential elections that were characterized by political violence and mass rigging. The coup d’état in Mali, a hitherto stable democracy, has led to rebels insurgency by Islamists and Tuaregs. The crisis in Mali is threatening to destabilize the West Africa sub-region amidst interventions of French forces and forces of member states of the African Union (AU). The state in Africa is so powerful that it concentrates political and economic resources on state actors and their cronies. It is also repressive and ventilates foreign economic model that reduces the capacity of the mass of the people to gain political and economic empowerment. The pretence to economic liberalism through IMF and World Bank economic reforms is betrayed by the arrogance of state actors on the choice of economic models for Africa. These state actors insist on foreign models that alienate the populace from existing political institutions and deepen dependency in the region.

Appreciating the decay in NPF WERE THERE TO BE A STRONG POLICE FORCE WITH THE CAPACITY AND PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE TO

DISCHARGE ITS DUTIES, NATION-BREAKING

ORGANISATIONS LIKE

BOKO HARAM WOULD HAVE MET THEIR WATERLOO on the people they are supposed to protect in the first place. Any attempt to re-direct the sagging morale of members of the force is a worthwhile venture, and it is in this context that we can understand the new interest that the pitiable condition of the institution has generated recently. Quoting copiously from the damning statistics made available by Senator Gyang Pwajok (PDP, Plateau North), showing the gross under-funding of the force, The Nation on Sunday in its April 14, 2013, editorial, urged the Federal Government to increase the funding of the police with a view to re-establishing it as the primary institution of state with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and the overall protection of the citizenry. With a N300 billion budget in 2013, as Senator Pwajok had shown, the NPF, as an institution, is in a mess. Compared to other

security-related institutions in the country, the force appears to be the whipping boy and child of circumstance. If the report of The Guardian of April 19, 2013, is anything to go by, the FG is said to have set up a Special Committee chaired by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, to raise funds to assist the police force to meet its constitutional responsibilities. Much as this latest government’s effort ought to be commended, one is surprised that instead of rushing to the National Assembly with a supplementary budget to address the need of the police, at least for now, the government is concerned with what appears to be a long term project for the force. I feel the government should immediately remedy the short fall in the 2013 budgetary requirements of the force before it goes on with what looks like middle to long term funding of the NPF. After all, under the 8-year rule of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a committee to raise funds for the police was set up, and it is interesting to note that the committee and the billions of naira it raised have become a subject of controversies and litigations. The interpretation from the above is that the current government, even though a civilian one, still behaves like its sister military regimes that treated the police force with levity. But the attitude of the military regimes can be understood. An efficient and professionally mobile police force is an antidote to military rule. The military did everything within their powers to ensure that the police would not be in a position to perform well. The rivalry wars were so palpable that the then PPRO of the Force Headquarters, Mr. Alozie Ogugbuoaja, had to lose his commission for his insistence that the military deliberately denied the

Point Of Order er

CHIJIOKE

UWASOMBA

cjsomba@yahoo.co.uk (08037058775 SMS only)

police of funds and relevance. Today, the nation is paying heavily because of its inability to fund the police adequately and give it the bite to perform its assigned functions. Were there to be a strong police force with the capacity and professional competence to discharge its duties, nation-breaking organisations like Boko Haram would have met their waterloo. But because of the incompetence of the force and near impotence and immobility, the Boko Haram group is riding roughshod on everybody and dictating the tune even to the government. The inability of the military to finish off the Boko Haram menace may be because of its lack of capacity to do a job that is otherwise meant for the police. Dr. Uwasomba, cjsomba@yahoo. co.uk, is of the Department 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.


18

Editorial

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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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

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SM, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

FRANK OBOH

„

HEAD, GRAPHICS

Journalists and incessant state intimidation I F ,

our journalists working with the Leadership newspapers, Chinyere Fred-Adebulugbe, Chuks Ohuegbe, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, were recently detained by the police in Abuja, following their refusal to divulge the source of a document purportedly emanating from the Presidency, which allegedly contained a presidential directive meant to frustrate the bid by some opposition political parties to form a coalition against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Reports said the journalists were held for about 12 hours without food and water. Though there were no incidents of physical assault on the detained newsmen, all manner of strong-arm tactics were reportedly adopted by the police to cow or intimidate them into producing the controversial document, even when the Presidency had promptly denied the validity of the publication. And penultimate Tuesday, however, the Federal Government filed a 10-count criminal charge against the Leadership Group Limited and two of the journalists, Amoekeodo and Ukaibe. The government in one of the

N PERFORMING THEIR DUTIES THE POLICE

NEED TO BE CIVIL AND RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS charges dated April 16, 2013, accused the newspaper and its reporters of forgery, an act of felony punishable under the Criminal Code Act, Cap ‘C’ 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Reports said the arraignment could not hold at the Abuja Federal High Court because the criminal charge was not served on the 3rd accused (Leadership Group Limited). The presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, was said to have insisted that the proper procedure was that all accused persons must be served before the plea could be taken. The arraignment was eventually adjourned to April 23, 2013 to enable the prosecution serve the 3rd accused with the charges. We consider it quite unfortunate the crude manner the police went about the initial investigation of the controversial Leadership story. If, indeed, it is true,

as was widely reported, that the four journalists were summoned to the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja on the day in question and told they would be held until they identified ‘the source of the story’, which they refused to do, it then becomes obvious that the nation’s police are yet to wean themselves from their primitive, military style of policing and investigation. Why detaining, starving and weighing down the held journalists psychologically under a democratic government that flashes the Freedom of Information Act as one of its greatest achievements? It is therefore, not surprising, the widespread condemnation, locally and internationally, the unlawful detention of the four journalists attracted to the FG and the police. In a democracy, if an offence is committed and there are aggrieved parties, whether as individuals or government, the most appropriate option would be to go to court, and not taking the law into one’s hands. There is no need for the Federal Government or its security operatives to breathe down on journalists like wounded grey-hounds. While we do

not support reckless journalism, governments at all levels should demonstrate restraint and conduct themselves in tandem with due process principle whenever an infraction of the law is being suspected. Again, commendable as the quick arraignment of the case in court would seem, we strongly flay government’s seeming intolerance of the media as has been demonstrated in recent times. Just last February, for instance, two journalists from the Wazobia Radio in Kano were charged with inciting disorder after they repeated a conspiracy theory that polio vaccines were part of a Western plot to harm Muslims. In performing their duties, the police need to be civil and respect the rights of others, especially when an accused is considered innocent before the law until he/she is proved guilty in a competent court of law. In addition, the Goodluck Jonathan government should learn from history. It should realise that government’s crackdowns on press freedoms and the intimidation of journalists have never cowed the Nigerian media to submission, even during military rule.

ON THIS DAY April 24, 2006 King Gyanendra of Nepal gave into the demands of protesters and restored the parliament that he dissolved in 2002. Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (born July 7, 1947) was King of Nepal from 1950–1951 and 2001–2008. His second reign was marked by constitutional turmoil. His predecessor King Birendra had established a constitutional monarchy in which he delegated policies to a representative government.

April 24, 2005 Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, was born in South Korea. The puppy was created using the cell of an ear from an adult Afghan hound; and involved 123 surrogate mothers, of which only three produced pups with Snuppy as the sole survivor. The team of 45 responsible for cloning Snuppy was led by a biomedical scientist, Hwang Woo-Suk, while independent investigators confirmed that Snuppy was a true clone.

April 24, 2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was inaugurated as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict XVI (born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on April 16, 1927) is Pope emeritus of the Catholic Church. He served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that role, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Health & Wellbeing Antibiotics should not be abused when treating pneumonia –Pulmonologist

Forceps delivery: To be or not to be

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Malaria, still a major public concern TOBORE OVUORIE

M

alaria, Nigeria’s number one disease and one of the world’s most prevalent sources of illness takes centre stage in global health tomorrow as the world marks the World Malaria Day. Studies so far indicate that malaria remains the most prevalent tropical disease in the world today. Each year, it causes ailment in approximately 650 million people and kills between one and three million, most of them, young children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, one of such countries is Nigeria and has become well known for a high prevalence of malaria, which is also a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among its citizenry. Latest scorecard released by NOI Pollsa leading opinion polling and research organisation which works in partnership with the Gallup organization (USA) to develop opinion research in Nigeria, on April 16, revealed that almost 7 in 10 Nigerians (66%) had malaria at least once in 2012, and about 13% treated the ailment with the use of local herbs such as Agbo, Dogonyaro, Neem leaves and lemon grass. The former, accounts for over 45 percent of all outpatient visits in hospitals. This, medical experts note is not unconnected with the infection most Nigerians suffer during the first five years of life, thus making it a major public health problem. Further analysis by geo-political zones revealed malaria to be more prevalent in the South than in the North. Again, the malaria scorecard indicated that majority of the residents in the northern regions; NorthCentral (43%) North-East (38%) and NorthWest (38%)) have not had malaria over the past 12 month while the southern regions; South-South (77%), South-East (75%) and South-West (64%) have the largest percentage of people who have had malaria more than once over the last 12 months. The latest score card however explained this disparity between geo-political zones to be due to the greater presence of rivers, seas and lakes in the south where mosquitoes are prevalent; while the North is mostly land locked. Nationwide, the NOI Polls latest scorecard further indicated that many (44 percent) Nigerians visit the hospital to see a doctor when they have malaria, while 38 percent simply buy medicines from the pharmacy or chemist. Furthermore, four percent do not use any medicine at all. The scorecard further revealed females visit hospitals more than males, as a greater proportion of males were discovered to simply visit the pharmacy to buy malaria medicines or opt for native herbs, than females. Analysis along regions showed that majority of the residents in the southern regions selfmedicate, while most of them in the northern regions go to the hospital. An in-depth view of the malaria snap poll indicated that

Sleeping under Long Lasting Insecticide treated Nets (LLIN) is still a veritable way of preventing malaria

the North-West has the highest proportion (71%) of residents who visit the hospital, while the South-East has the highest percentage (52%) that simply buy malaria medicine from the pharmacy; also the South-West has the highest proportion of respondents (19%) that use native herbs. Even statistics by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) indicate that in 2010 the disease accounted for 25 per cent of infant mortality and 30 per cent of childhood mortality in Nigeria thereby imposing a great burden on the country in terms of pains and trauma suffered by its victims as well as loss in outputs and cost of treatments. Consequently, reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal malaria still remains one of the most significant public health problems in Nigeria and perhaps the commonest cause of ill health in Africa. The world health body disclosed that almost all the entire population of Africa is at risk of this parasitic disease that has continued to claim at least one million lives. “It is mosquito-borne and one of the killer diseases of the world, currently accounting for about 300 to 500 million clinical cases annually and over 1.2 to 2.7 million deaths worldwide each year” WHO reports. As a result of these, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has over the years developed several methods and programmes in combating the scourge of both malaria and drug-resistant malaria in the country. One of such strategic interventions is the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme. According to the Minister of Health,

Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, RBM in Nigeria anchors on the global strategies for malaria control which are multi-pronged and of proven efficacy. Some of these include prompt and effective case management, intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy and Integrated Vector Management. The IVM includes the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) such as the Long Lasting Insecticide treated Nets ( LLIN) which has become a part of most homes as over five million nets have been distributed alone in Nigeria. It also includes Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and Environmental Management. Other cross-cutting interventions include Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization, Effective Programme Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Partnership and Collaborations. Notwithstanding these, malaria re-

mains a global health problem, and public health efforts today focus on controlling it. Consequently, over the years, a lot of efforts have gone into controlling it in the country and in other African countries, but the problem has not shown any sign of abating. The reasons discovered so far for the limited success in efforts to eradicate malaria -a disease of poverty in Nigeria, include poor health practices by individuals and communities and resistance to drugs. The Malaria Day, which was instituted by the World Health Assembly at its 60th session in May 2007, is a day for recognizing the global effort to provide effective control of malaria. It is an opportunity for countries in the affected regions to learn from each other’s experiences and support each other’s efforts. The theme for this year’s edition is: Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.


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Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Don’t treat pneumonia at home –Pulmonologist Pneumonia is the second killer of children in the country after malaria. In this interview with LATEEFAH IBRAHIMANIMASHAUN, a consultant pulmonologist from Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr Dania Grace says Nigerians needs to be cautious on the use of antibiotics when treating the menace as she urged government to make vaccination against the ailment available in the country. Excerpts: What is pneumonia? Pneumonia means an inflammation of the lungs due to an infection. When we use inflammation, we talk about congestion and consolidation. This makes the lungs to become solidified. Pneumonia is the solidification of the lungs claraentima as a result of an infection. The lung is usually full of air and when you have pneumonia, that part of the lungs that is affected becomes solidified. There is a lot of purse in it which is what we mean by solidification. It happens when you have infections in your lungs due to bacteria, viruses and other organisms which make a part of the lungs become solidified. Pneumonia happens in the lung tissue. What manner of ailment is pneumonia? They are caused by infections, either through bacteria, or organisms getting to the lungs and causing an infection. When we talk about organisms, we have different types of organisms that cause pneumonia. We can have bacteria, viruses and fungi causing it. Virtually any organism, that is a germ, causes it as long as it gets to the lungs. Some of the routine causes of pneumonia are mostly from the environmen, that is the inhaled air. We have organisms that live in our mouth and the upper

AVOID SMOKING IN THE HOUSE BECAUSE SMOKING CAN PREDISPOSE PEOPLE TO HAVING PNEUMONIA airways. If for any reason, you inhale some of these organisms mostly when the immunity, ability to fight infections is low, it can lead to it. Sometimes, poorly ventilated environment can predispose one to pneumonia. Smoking is also another factor , alcohol can also predispose one to pneumonia, cooking with stoves in poorly ventilated areas can also predispose one to it. The use of firewood in poor environments can also predispose one to it. Malnourishment is also a risk factor. How common is pneumonia in this country? For children, pneumonia is a common leading cause of death in children in Nigeria. In 2005, more than 204,000 children have died of pneumonia in the country. It is more common in the extreme age groups

Dania

which include children and elderly people. In children, it could be as a result of immunity and in elderly people; it could be as a result of some other medical issues. Some of them could be diabetic or have other medical problems. In children, there is a way you weigh the level of antibiotics. They also require oxygen too. After pneumonia, you will have to immunize children that have not been immunized before. There is immunisation for measles which you will ensure that the baby takes especially when they are still within the age limit. This is because measles can predispose children to pneumonia. If children are still within the age limit, they should have appropriate immunization. What are the signs and symptoms? In adults, signs and symptoms of pneumonia include cough, which looks as if it contains blood - this is not too common though. It involves chest pain and this chest pain is usually localized to include cough and fever. They could also have other symptoms like headache, joint pain but they predominantly have cough which is productive, chest pain and fever. Apart

Polio: My fear for Nigeria –Prof. Tomori SAM EFERARO

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orried by the slow pace of Nigeria’s polio eradication effort, renowned professor of virology and President, Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Oyewale Tomori has advocated the need for more commitment by the country if she must meet the global eradication deadline. Speaking at a Media Round Table on Vaccines organised by the African Health Journalists Association (AHJA), in Lagos, Monday as part of the activities marking the World immunisation Week, Prof Tomori expressed fears that Nigeria might not meet the global deadline unless everyone from the government down to the communities is fully involved in the eradication programme. He drew attention to the endorsement of the Global Vaccine Action Plan by the World Health Assembly which again set 2018 as the new target for the global eradication of polio saying Nigeria must ensure that no single case of polio is reported anywhere in the country by 2014. “The hope is that by the year 2014, the

Tomori

world will have the last country with the last case of polio and by 2018, the world will be declared free of polio. We are taking a gamble because the year 2014 is only subject to the fact that Nigeria, Afghanistan or Pakistan (the only three remaining endemic countries) will not have any case of polio in 2014. If we do have any of these countries having one case by 2014 it means

we have to shift the year of eradication by an extra year. It is thus very important that we, as a country, must play our role otherwise we will be holding the world back.” He declared. Prof. Tomori however expressed disappointment that the commitment required from both the government and the people of Nigeria to achieve the polio eradication goal is not strong enough and wondered why Nigeria should be the last country to eradicate the crippling disease. “Why should we be the last,” he wondered, asking why President Jonathan for instance, had not accorded polio eradication the kind of priority given the spate of flood disasters in some parts of the country where he personally garnered support from individuals and corporate bodies. According to him, the government had not made polio eradication a challenge. “Has our president ever said anything on polio without stimulation from outside? The only time we’ve heard him make pronouncements are when he was invited by the Commonwealth, the United Nations or when Bill Gate came. We are not putting enough into polio (eradication.),” he further stated, adding that the nation must also in-

from cough and fever, you notice that their breathing becomes very fast. When you look at the chest, you will notice that it looks as if the ribs are collapsing inward. This means there is intercostal recession. In children, you notice that the child is very restless and is refusing to suck breast. Majority of pneumonia are usually caused by bacteria infections. The treatment will require antibiotics. There are different types of antibiotics. This will be based on the result of the test. The test will guide on the antibiotics to use. If it is caused by a fungal infection, we give antifungal and if in addition to that, we have fever and chest pain, this will require analgesics and pain relievers for that period. Those who are very ill will require oxygen to help their oxygenation. The basic treatment is antibiotic. Is it possible to treat pneumonia at home? The challenge of treating pneumonia at home is that patients may not take the adequate dose of drugs they require for the duration of period. Sometimes, the organism may be resistant to the antibiotics they are CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

volve and engage the communities to win the polio war. “We need education. We need to get our people to know the advantage of immunisation; we need good leadership and community involvement. Nobody should be left out of the fight,” he further stressed. Prof. Oyewole also expressed disappointment about the nation’s routine immunisation coverage which has remained very low in recent times. Dismissing the notion that Nigeria is not in the yellow fever belt, for instance, he told journalists that Nigeria is one of the 17 endemic countries in the belt. Unfortunately, he said while every other country in the yellow fever belt had immunised their citizens against the disease, Nigeria remains the only country yet to embark on mass vaccination against the disease. He however disclosed that the government currently had 6.6 million doses of the yellow fever vaccine and hopefully, should commence immunisation soon in some endemic parts of the country adding that the quantity could not cover the entire country. “We still don’t have enough yellow fever vaccine. There’s a plan to gradually go round the country and there’s hope that by the time we go round the country, the producer would have produced more. There’s not enough but the little that will be available, people should go for it,” he advised.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

21

Health Minister blames false medical claims on poor research standards MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

C

laims of unsubstantiated medical breakthroughs in Nigeria have been blamed on poor research system in the country. Minister of State for Health, Dr Ali Pate made this known in Abuja recently at a briefing on the achievement of the nation’s health sector, with 1000 days remaining to the 2015 set target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), of which health issues are prominent. While debunking a social media claim that the current polio vaccine should be rejected by Nigerians

because of proven defects, Pate emphasized that Nigerians had accepted polio vaccines and would not be stopped from immunizing their children. “The Professor that was mentioned, I think might have been well-intentioned ten years ago according to the research he did. As far as I know, no recent research has been done on that. “But, beyond that, more vaccine has been used all over the world, more than ten billion doses. The empirical evidence to say that it is not safe is not there. People are conflicting what happened 50 to 60 years ago with where we are. The rest of the world has moved

Pregnant women urged to patronize medical facilities L ATEEFAH IBRAHIMANIMASHAUN

W

ife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola has urged women particularly at the grassroots to patronize health facilities and infrastructures to meet up with the desired objective of the state to reduce maternal and child deaths. She stated this in Lagos recently at a meeting with the people of Lagos West 1 Senatorial district on maternal and child mortality reduction saying maternal and child deaths would be prevented only if women at the grassroots are well informed. “If pregnant women and nursing mothers do

not patronize and use these facilities as a result of lack of awareness or misconception about modern health practices then, all these efforts become futile, hence the importance of the town hall meeting”. She said women need to be well informed on what to do when faced with challenging conditions during pregnancy, childbirth and after delivery which she described as key strategy to reducing the incidence of maternal and child mortality in the state”. She said the state has witnessed initiatives to demonstrate its commitment towards ensuring that the process of procreation is joyful and that no woman loses her life while giving birth. “All these efforts have

on. The choice is for Nigeria whether we want to go with the majority, with progress and development or we want to go back and stick to conspiracy theories without evidence to support them. “Unfortunately, the level of academic standard has become variable. In some places, it has been preserved, in some areas, it may have gone bad. People can make claim without evidence, without fair review, without publishing research in a paper of repute to it become a subject of discuss. In other climes that have developed, scientific research and academia, there are standards. Mediocrity is disallowed; no doubt yielded positive results as shown in the progress recorded towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. But we can achieve much more if our people at the grassroots are well informed on what to do when faced with challenging conditions during pregnancy and after delivery,” she said. She expressed optimism that families, communities and leaders in Lagos West 1 Senatorial District comprising 18 local governments and local council development areas would implement some of the issues addressed at the meeting. She added that the meeting is one of a kind that is aimed at bringing positive change by ensuring proper utilization of health facilities especially the primary health care centers and maternal care hospitals in the senatorial district.

Senate decries NIMR’s poor funding TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

T

he Senate Committee on Health has decried the country’s

inability to adequately fund the only medical research institute in the country- Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos- noting that research

remains a veritable avenue to the development of health sector and nation building. The chairman of the committee, Sen. Ifeanyi

L-R, Member, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gijang Pwajok, Chairman, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa; DirectorGeneral, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research(NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Innocent Uja and Sen. Chris Ngige during the committee members’ visit to NIMR recently. Photo: TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

there are standards for everything and ethics for research. If you do your research, it is subjected to fair review; it is published in scientific publications. “But, here, anybody can come and claim that he has a cure for this or that and make name by saying I am Professor this or that. This

is what is gradually eroding our ability to deal with these health issues. Globally, there are Muslim countries and there are non-Muslim countries that are taking the vaccination. Niger which is next to us here has eradicated polio. Recently, there was a global task force on polio eradication

to help deal with countries that still face the challenge. “My advice as a Nigerian to all Nigerians is to take on those that are claiming scientific expertise without meeting up to standards of science. And, we should also enlighten our people that this vaccine is safe,” he counselled.

L-R: Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegeshin, Special Adviser to the governor on Information and National Orientation, Mr Busari Bolagade and the Special Assistant to the governor on Information and National Orientation Mr. Ademola Solalu at a news conference on 2013 World Malaria Day in Ibadan, Tuesday.

Don’t treat pneumonia at home –Pulmonologist

So what happens if it is not properly treated When pneumonia is not properly treated, it can come

with complications. The person can develop lung absess; there could be a situation of lump collection within the lungs. There could also be fluid in the envelope that surrounds the lung. There could also be collection of pulse in the lungs. It can also affect other organs in the body. It can affect the heart; it can also lead to abscesses in the brain. It can cause jaundice. It comes with other problems with the lungs. Somebody might be having cancer of the lungs and presents with some of these symptoms and this cannot be discovered until it is investigated.

What is your general advice to people on pneumonia? Children should be immunized according to their age. As soon as a child is having a fever and is becoming reckless, take the child to the hospital. Don’t just assume that it is just a cough and be giving cough syrup to the child. Avoid smoking in the house because smoking can predispose people to having pneumonia. I mean both children and adult. Avoid smoking; make sure your house is well ventilated and take balanced diet

Okowa, who made this observation in Lagos during the committee’s facility tour of the institute, weekend, said there was need for the country to encourage quality research into health conditions of Nigerians, especially in the areas of malaria, HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis, hypertension among other diseases. He said Nigerians need not die of preventable and treatable ailments, thus the need for governments across tiers, as well as private sector and including spirited individuals to give a deserved attention in tackling various health conditions confronting the citizenry.

Okowa, from Delta North Senatorial District, who said he was particularly impressed with the level of ongoing research activities and developmental projects at NIMR, including the elibrary project, pledged the committee’s continued support for the institute in its areas of needs for effective service delivery. He however used the medium to appeal to private investors, institutions and spirited individuals to support the Federal Government in lifting NIMR to a greater height as the government cannot all alone shoulder the responsibilities. Earlier in his presenta-

tion, NIMR’s Director General, Prof. Innocent Ujah, said the institute had in recent past, recorded some breakthroughs in national response to such health conditions as malaria, HIV and TB control and management, noting that the institute was handicapped to do better due to inadequate fund. Ujah, an obstetrician and gynaecologist said NIMR engaged in partnering with local and international health- related institutions and hospitals not only to train medical personnel in the country but also to enlighten the public on the best practices to stay healthy.

CONTINUED FROM page 20 taking. That is why when patients come to us, we do other tests like checking the sputum to know what organism is causing the pneumonia and to know what it is sensitive to. That guides us to know the exact way to treat it. When you treat pneumonia blindly, there is likely that we have the wrong medication which could be under dosage or not using it for the adequate duration of time.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

21

Health Minister blames false medical claims on poor research standards MARCUS FATUNMOLE ABUJA

C

laims of unsubstantiated medical breakthroughs in Nigeria have been blamed on poor research system in the country. Minister of State for Health, Dr Ali Pate made this known in Abuja recently at a briefing on the achievement of the nation’s health sector, with 1000 days remaining to the 2015 set target of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), of which health issues are prominent. While debunking a social media claim that the current polio vaccine should be rejected by Nigerians

because of proven defects, Pate emphasized that Nigerians had accepted polio vaccines and would not be stopped from immunizing their children. “The Professor that was mentioned, I think might have been well-intentioned ten years ago according to the research he did. As far as I know, no recent research has been done on that. “But, beyond that, more vaccine has been used all over the world, more than ten billion doses. The empirical evidence to say that it is not safe is not there. People are conflicting what happened 50 to 60 years ago with where we are. The rest of the world has moved

Pregnant women urged to patronize medical facilities L ATEEFAH IBRAHIMANIMASHAUN

W

ife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola has urged women particularly at the grassroots to patronize health facilities and infrastructures to meet up with the desired objective of the state to reduce maternal and child deaths. She stated this in Lagos recently at a meeting with the people of Lagos West 1 Senatorial district on maternal and child mortality reduction saying maternal and child deaths would be prevented only if women at the grassroots are well informed. “If pregnant women and nursing mothers do

not patronize and use these facilities as a result of lack of awareness or misconception about modern health practices then, all these efforts become futile, hence the importance of the town hall meeting”. She said women need to be well informed on what to do when faced with challenging conditions during pregnancy, childbirth and after delivery which she described as key strategy to reducing the incidence of maternal and child mortality in the state”. She said the state has witnessed initiatives to demonstrate its commitment towards ensuring that the process of procreation is joyful and that no woman loses her life while giving birth. “All these efforts have

on. The choice is for Nigeria whether we want to go with the majority, with progress and development or we want to go back and stick to conspiracy theories without evidence to support them. “Unfortunately, the level of academic standard has become variable. In some places, it has been preserved, in some areas, it may have gone bad. People can make claim without evidence, without fair review, without publishing research in a paper of repute to it become a subject of discuss. In other climes that have developed, scientific research and academia, there are standards. Mediocrity is disallowed; no doubt yielded positive results as shown in the progress recorded towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. But we can achieve much more if our people at the grassroots are well informed on what to do when faced with challenging conditions during pregnancy and after delivery,” she said. She expressed optimism that families, communities and leaders in Lagos West 1 Senatorial District comprising 18 local governments and local council development areas would implement some of the issues addressed at the meeting. She added that the meeting is one of a kind that is aimed at bringing positive change by ensuring proper utilization of health facilities especially the primary health care centers and maternal care hospitals in the senatorial district.

Senate decries NIMR’s poor funding TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

T

he Senate Committee on Health has decried the country’s

inability to adequately fund the only medical research institute in the country- Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos- noting that research

remains a veritable avenue to the development of health sector and nation building. The chairman of the committee, Sen. Ifeanyi

L-R, Member, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gijang Pwajok, Chairman, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa; DirectorGeneral, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research(NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Innocent Uja and Sen. Chris Ngige during the committee members’ visit to NIMR recently. Photo: TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE

there are standards for everything and ethics for research. If you do your research, it is subjected to fair review; it is published in scientific publications. “But, here, anybody can come and claim that he has a cure for this or that and make name by saying I am Professor this or that. This

is what is gradually eroding our ability to deal with these health issues. Globally, there are Muslim countries and there are non-Muslim countries that are taking the vaccination. Niger which is next to us here has eradicated polio. Recently, there was a global task force on polio eradication

to help deal with countries that still face the challenge. “My advice as a Nigerian to all Nigerians is to take on those that are claiming scientific expertise without meeting up to standards of science. And, we should also enlighten our people that this vaccine is safe,” he counselled.

L-R: Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegeshin, Special Adviser to the governor on Information and National Orientation, Mr Busari Bolagade and the Special Assistant to the governor on Information and National Orientation Mr. Ademola Solalu at a news conference on 2013 World Malaria Day in Ibadan, Tuesday.

Don’t treat pneumonia at home –Pulmonologist

So what happens if it is not properly treated When pneumonia is not properly treated, it can come

with complications. The person can develop lung absess; there could be a situation of lump collection within the lungs. There could also be fluid in the envelope that surrounds the lung. There could also be collection of pulse in the lungs. It can also affect other organs in the body. It can affect the heart; it can also lead to abscesses in the brain. It can cause jaundice. It comes with other problems with the lungs. Somebody might be having cancer of the lungs and presents with some of these symptoms and this cannot be discovered until it is investigated.

What is your general advice to people on pneumonia? Children should be immunized according to their age. As soon as a child is having a fever and is becoming reckless, take the child to the hospital. Don’t just assume that it is just a cough and be giving cough syrup to the child. Avoid smoking in the house because smoking can predispose people to having pneumonia. I mean both children and adult. Avoid smoking; make sure your house is well ventilated and take balanced diet

Okowa, who made this observation in Lagos during the committee’s facility tour of the institute, weekend, said there was need for the country to encourage quality research into health conditions of Nigerians, especially in the areas of malaria, HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis, hypertension among other diseases. He said Nigerians need not die of preventable and treatable ailments, thus the need for governments across tiers, as well as private sector and including spirited individuals to give a deserved attention in tackling various health conditions confronting the citizenry.

Okowa, from Delta North Senatorial District, who said he was particularly impressed with the level of ongoing research activities and developmental projects at NIMR, including the elibrary project, pledged the committee’s continued support for the institute in its areas of needs for effective service delivery. He however used the medium to appeal to private investors, institutions and spirited individuals to support the Federal Government in lifting NIMR to a greater height as the government cannot all alone shoulder the responsibilities. Earlier in his presenta-

tion, NIMR’s Director General, Prof. Innocent Ujah, said the institute had in recent past, recorded some breakthroughs in national response to such health conditions as malaria, HIV and TB control and management, noting that the institute was handicapped to do better due to inadequate fund. Ujah, an obstetrician and gynaecologist said NIMR engaged in partnering with local and international health- related institutions and hospitals not only to train medical personnel in the country but also to enlighten the public on the best practices to stay healthy.

CONTINUED FROM page 20 taking. That is why when patients come to us, we do other tests like checking the sputum to know what organism is causing the pneumonia and to know what it is sensitive to. That guides us to know the exact way to treat it. When you treat pneumonia blindly, there is likely that we have the wrong medication which could be under dosage or not using it for the adequate duration of time.


22

Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Infertility in men on the increase –Expert

OLUWOLE ALABI

T

his piece was provoked by a story in the National Mirror recently on a baby that was delivered by forceps in one of the maternity hospitals in Ondo state. Firstly, I sincerely sympathise with the parents of this baby and I hope she makes full recovery from the complications. Like any other tool, obstetric forceps is a veritable and useful tool that can be deployed to aid delivery of babies but not without complications. Similarly, like any other tool, the outcome of the task that is deployed to perform depends on the experience of its user. The history of obstetric forceps dates back to 15th century. Since then, it is being used to assist in vaginal delivery. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, between 10-13% of babies are delivered by assisted vaginal delivery. There are obviously complications to this procedure as with any other surgical procedure, but these complications could be minimised if an experienced medical staff is involved. There is no gainsaying that the practice in America, especially in obstetrics,is too defensive so much so that an obstetrician in America would rather perform an assisted abdominal delivery (caesarean sections) than to perform an assisted vaginal delivery. One of the reasons for this is high rate and cost of litigations and medical insurance. It is an incontrovertible obstetric fact that a caesarean section performed at second stage of labour (when the neck of the womb is already fully dilated with or without commencement of pushing) is more technically difficult and associated with potentially fatal complications. In my opinion, this is an overboard that clearly places an extraneous reason over a clinical judgment. This has to be discouraged while safety of both mother and baby is constantly ensured. Clearly, there are indications and contraindications to assisted vaginal delivery. In this situation, the tools that are deployed are vacuum cup and obstetric forceps. While vacuum cup could be used in all foetal positions, the forceps can only be applied when the baby is either facing down (occipito-anterior position) or looking up (occipito-posterior) position. The latter position is more difficult and associated with a high risk of tear of the muscles surrounding the anus (sphincters) with attendant sequela if such tear was not recognised and primarily and properly repaired. Forceps may also cause foetal complications such as facial lacerations, brushings, rarely, skull fractures. The vacuum cup is friendlier to the mother tissues but may lead to varying degrees of swelling haemorrhage in the baby’s head. Albeit, majority of these are self-limiting, they get mothers more worried when they see their babies with any of these. The reason for undertaking an assisted vaginal delivery could be foetal (distress, cord prolapse) or maternal (prolonged 2nd stage of labour, maternal exhaustion, medical conditions that preclude extensive pushing). The first rule of any procedure is for the operator to be competent in performing it. Proper abdominal and vaginal examinations are sine qua non to undertaking assisted vaginal delivery. If more than

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

TOBORE OVUORIE

F Forceps delivery: To be or not to be? • Facts you should know

Dr. Alabi

one-fifth of the baby’s head is felt during the abdominal examination, then an assisted is absolutely contraindicated. Then, the type of tool to be used significantly depends on the baby’s position, amongst other findings, when a vaginal examination is performed. It also depends on the instrument one is confident with. The golden rule regarding the use of forceps is that, if the blades didn’t lock easily, then the baby’s position isn’t right for forceps delivery. This serves as a safety net. It is also extremely important to know when to stop or call for assistance of senior colleagues. When there is no APPRECIABLE (capitals mine) descent of baby’s head, then the procedure should be abandoned. Now, back to this unfortunate case. I completely agree with the Dr Akintan, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital for declining to comment on the case. Firstly, the case has not come to his knowledge. Secondly, such a case is better not discussed on the pages of newspaper until all the facts are known. In an ideal world, an internal review of the case would be instituted and sometimes, external experts are brought in to dispassionately review the case. The idea behind this is not to witch-hunt, but to afford every staff, including those who were not directly involved in the case, the opportunity to learn from mistakes that

might have been identified. It will also guide the hospital to put in place a protocol that must be strictly followed to avoid future occurrence. I will therefore implore Dr Akintan to set the ball rolling by contacting the parents of this baby and establish an effective channel of communication with them. The hospital must also see how they can help ameliorate the situation this unfortunate baby is. This is not necessarily monetary. He should then meet the doctor that performed the delivery one-on-one and establish the facts of the case. It’s then of paramount importance that at an internal review of the case is carried out now that this case is fresh. The outcome of the review should be disseminated to all medical and midwifery staff. The parents of the baby should also be informed that a review of the case had been undertaken and lessons learnt therefrom. This has many advantages. Crucially, the hospital would be seen as being open and has nothing to hide from the public. It will instantly boost mutual confidence between the hospital and the end users. Not only this, the hospital will also be able to provide continued standard services to its clients without blemish. It will also give the staff opportunity to reflect on their practice and undergo re-training if deemed necessary. In conclusion therefore; shall we then answer the question this piece posed? In my humble opinion, forceps in assisted delivery still has a place in the practice of modern obstetrics. The caveat, the rotational delivery is not advocated by this author because it is fraught with unacceptable complications. There is a small tool called KIWI Omnicup which is now widely used in America and Europe. It is user-friendly and has fewer foetal and maternal complications with similar results to the conventional ventouse cups used in Nigeria. It is hand-held and does not depend on any pressure machine or power supply to work. I believe this is a way forward in giving our client satisfaction they so much deserve. Oluwole Alabi, an obstetric specialist practices in Republic of Ireland.

ertility experts have warned that if nothing is done urgently to reverse the increasing trend of infertility in the country, more Nigerian men will not be able to impregnate their wives. This was revealed recently by the Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi at the clinic’s 10th year anniversary celebration. According to Ajayi, the rising male factor infertility in Nigeria can be blamed largely on environment and lifestyle. Speaking in the same vein, Prof. Stanley Okolo, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist with North Middlesex University hospital, London, stated that “There are rising cases of infertility in the country. It is usually a male factor issue. Most of the infertility cases in Nigeria are due to problems with men. These issues especially low sperm count are because of environmental issues and lifestyles. Several studies even in Denmark have shown that male sperm count is plummeting. “The earlier they go for treatment, the better because the age of a woman can determine the success of any treatment. Men should stop blaming women for the problem. Both male and female factors can cause infertility”. Okolo further disclosed that low sperm count is the commonest infertility in men. According to him, men with this condition cannot impregnate their wives no matter how hard they try. “Infections can cause this condition in men. A lot f people can also be born with this condition, while some inherit it. However, blockage of the fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders and fibroids can be responsible for infertility in women” he added. Hundreds of well-wishers, including the dozens of happy couples who have been enabled to give birth to their own babies, through the numerous assisted reproduction techniques, ART, graced the joyous event. Notable among the gaily dressed guests was Master Julian Oluchukwu Onwudijo – the first baby conceived through a combined ART procedure of IVF/ICSI and delivered through Caesarean Section. Julian was born September 14, 2004 to Emmanuel and Francesca Onwudijo. Also the cynosure of all eyes, were the Shofunlayo quintuplets, popularly called “Five Alive” – Eyitayo, Eyitope, Eyitomini, Eyimofe and Eyidayo, children of Wale and Olayemi Shofunlayo. Conceived at Nordica, the babies were born December 2011 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. As part of efforts to enable more Nigerians benefit from In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) test, the clinic during her week-long anniversary event offered free pre-IVF treatment screening for all couples looking for the fruits of the womb while three among these were granted 100 percent IVF treatment. Over the last 10 years, the fertility centre has birthed over 1000 babies true the means of test tube technology well known as IVF.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Arts Lounge

I was amazed by Don Jazzy –Sarz

Nollywood urged to project positive values

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AMAA WINNERS’ LIST Best Short Film Kwaku Ananse –Akosua Adoma Owusu (Ghana) Best Documentary Fuelling Poverty (Nigeria) Best Diaspora Feature Stones in the Sun (Haiti/United States) Best Diaspora Documentary Fan Do Brasil (Brazil/Guatamela) Best Animation Adventure of Zambezia (South Africa)

Niji Akanni

TERH AGBEDEH

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igeria returned to undisputed reckoning at the ninth Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, winning 13 out of the 27 categories up for grabs at the prestigious ceremony that held at the Gloryland Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State last Saturday. This is reminiscent of the early days when Nigeria was king at the coveted awards for filmmakers in Africa and the Diaspora. When the 2005 edition of the AMAA regarded as Africa’s Oscars, the very first held, it was a Nigerian affair with Dickson Iruegbu’s The Mayors clinching Best Film and four other awards. The film made in 2004 also won Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Supporting Actor. Richard Mofe-Damijo, Sam Dede, Segun Arinze and Mike Ezuruonye starred in it. Most, if not all of the films in that maiden edition of the awards were made in Nigeria or by a Nigerian cast and crew. Films like Yesterday, Mastermind and Usuofia in London, were among the rave then. But Africa took note and waited for the day when it would bring its films to the table. That day was to come soon enough. Nigeria would continue to rule the awards in the next edition in 2006 with Gambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Burkina Faso making a showing. However, in 2007, South Africa entered two films, Bitter Water Mara and Bunny Chow for award consideration. Though Sitanda, a Nigerian film produced from the Amstel Malta Box Office talent show won Best Film in the 2007 edition, Nigeria has had trouble dominating the awards since then. In 2008, Ghana won Best Film with Run Baby Run and if this year was terrible, the next was worse for Nigerian filmmakers at the awards when in 2009, Kenya won with From a Whisper. It was clearly Kenya’s year but South Africa also took home three categories next to Nigeria’s eight. Everyone on the film scene in Africa thought Nigeria had lost it until Kunle Afolayan’s The Figurine walked away with five awards in the 2010 edition. 2011 was Viva Riva’s year and the film from Congo went home with six awards after being nominated in 13 categories, winning Best Film, Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories.

Gabriel Afolayan in a scene from Heroes and Zeros

Appraising Nigeria’s triumph at 2013 AMAA IT IS OUR DESTINY TO BE THE GREATEST FILMMAKING NATION IN THE WORLD!

WE ARE

ON OUR WAY Last year, How 2 Steal 2 Million was Africa’s Best, while Rita Dominic (Shattered) and Majid Michel (Somewhere in Africa) emerged Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, but the battle was between Nigeria and South Africa, with the latter winning the war with only a slight lead. Nigeria was the most awarded country that April 22 night in 2012, receiving 12 awards, followed closely by South Africa with 10. It was the only time the AMAA held outside Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital; it took place at The Expo Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos. Nigeria again established her dominance this year at the AMAA, which received 671 entries; almost double the 328 that came from across Africa and the Diaspora last year. In separate interviews with award winning Nigerian filmmakers; Femi Odugbemi, Charles Novia and Michelle Bello, they all ascribed it to the recent improvements in filmmaking in the country. Novia, who has also penned an insightful book on the Nigerian film industry titled: Nollywood to Novembersaid Nigerian films in the past three years have improved in content, output and technical quality. “That has to do with the aspirations of producers thus the new Nollywood movement, going to the cinema, understanding that it is not business as usual”, he said pointing out that there will always be the populist market in Idumota, which films were not even nominated for the awards. Reacting to whether the injection of fresh blood may be responsible for the new trend Novia countered that a filmmaker is always a filmmaker and there is nothing like being young or being old. “Steven Spielberg and a whole lot of them are still at the top so

it is not quite about being young. I think that as young filmmakers we have something to prove basically, so they come out with all guns blazing”. For Bello, whose feature film Small Boy won two AMAA prizes in 2009 (Best Art Direction and Best Performance by a Child Actor), she says it shows that Nigerian filmmakers are stepping up. “I remember my year when we won for Small Boy, the Kenyans completely swept us out. I looked at Tunde Kelani and said to him, ‘we all really need to step up our game in terms of production, the story and budget to be competing very well with all the other African countries as well as internationally’”. It is her belief that “everyone really decided that we really need to up our game and do better quality films and more international stories as well that audiences abroad can understand and relate to our stories, our characters”. Bello however admitted that there is still a long way to go, but expressed satisfaction movement has been made in a different direction. ”More cinemas are being built now and everyone in the cinemas watch our movies. I think it is fantastic and it is only going to get better in the future”, she said. Sharing his views, Odugbemi, executive director of iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival, iREP, described Nollywood’s success at the 2013 AMAA as an exciting reality. “It says our quality issues are being addressed. It means individual filmmakers are committing themselves to investing more creativity and ambition in the works. But overall, it inspires the up-coming generation of filmmakers. It is our destiny to be the greatest filmmaking nation in the world! We are on our way”, he said. About young bloods in the industry making an impact, Odugbemi particularly singled out Kenneth Gyang, whose film Confusion Na Wah, won AMAA 2013 Best Film. “I was in the UK with him during the cultural Olympiad. I respect his work greatly; I think he is awesome”, Odugbemi said.

Best Film by an African Abroad Last Flight to Abuja (United Kingdom/Nigeria) Achievement in Production Design Elelwani (South Africa) Achievement in Costume Design Blood and Henna (Nigeria) Achievement in Make-up The Meeting (Nigeria) Achievement in Soundtrack The Last Fishing Boat (Malawi) Achievement in Visual Effects The Twin Sword (Nigeria) Achievement in Sound Nairobi Half Life (Kenya) Achievement in Cinematography Uhlanga, The Mark (South Africa) Achievement in Editing Hereos and Zeros (Nigeria) Achievement in Lightning Moi Zaphira (Burkina Faso) Achievement in Screenplay Heroes and Zeros Best Nigerian Film Confusion Na Wa (Nigeria) Best Film in an African Language Moi Zaphira (Burkina Faso) Best Child Actor The Ugandan Best Promising Actor Belinda Effah –Kokomma Joseph Wairimu –Nairobi Half Life Best Actor in a Supporting Role Gabriel Afolayan –Hoodrush Best Actress in a Supporting Role Hermelinda Cimela –Virgin Magarida Best Actor in a Leading Role Justus Esiri –Assassins’ Practice Best Actress in a Leading Role Florence Masebe –Elelwani Best Director Niji Akanni –Heroes and Zeros Best Film Confusion Na Wah (Nigeria) Lifetime Achievement Awards Tunde Kelani Chief Eddie Ugbomah Sir Ositadinma Okeke Oguno (Ossy Affason) Ayuko Badu Chief Pete Edochie Special Recognition of Pillars of Nollywood @20 Emem Isong Kanayo O. Kanayo Kenneth Okonkwo Film/Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) Special Jury Award: Ninah’s Dairy (Cameroun)


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Arts Lounge

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

VOICES

Achebe: I flew on the torn pages of Things Fall Apart ACHEBE VERILY INSPIRED AN ENTIRE GENERATION AND WILL CONTINUE TO INSPIRE SEVERAL MORE TO COME

BETTY ABAH

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y literary career kick-started on the torn pages of Things Fall Apart (TFA), the classic novel by Chinua Achebe (whom I am too afraid to prefix ‘Late’). I still have vivid memories. I was five. At Ojira, Otukpo, Benue. And, like many girls my age then, unschooled. That was the age when girl education was still given only half-hearted consideration. Surprisingly, that was 1979. And so, I stumbled on a copy of TFA in Baba’s living room, a copy torn into half, belonging, I guess, to a half elder brother in secondary school. I neither asked for whom nor about what happened to the second half. I merely ‘stole’ it. I couldn’t read then but was deeply fascinated by what was left of the book – the catchy illustrations (by iconic artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya), funny drawings of Okonkwo and of several other characters and events. There was a compelling allure about the book… it triggered my imagination. I hid it and when I wasn’t running errands for seniors (during which I would be subtly threatened that my navel would rot if the spittle on the ground dried before I returned!), I would flip through the pages, amused, intrigued by the drawings. I didn’t know the story. I was just okay with the strange images, the brownish look and smell of the paper. Later that year, I also found a copy of Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, of course without the cover, and digested drawings of the Merchants of Venice. I guess something snapped in me. That early acquaintance with the two books stirred my love for books. When I eventually started school at age eight (!), I went on to read every available book from the Heinemann’s African Writers Series (incidentally, edited by Achebe) supplied by a classmate whose dad, fortunately, had a big library. Through the help of black and white TV, I later got a clearer picture of TFA via the flick version aired in the animated 1980’s by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Oh, how I read and re-read my elder brother’s copy of Chike and the River until it grew several wrinkles. And gradually, five years later, in Primary School, I wanted to write stories like Achebe, and like Cyprian Ekwensi (The

Drummer Boy, An African Night Entertainment and The Passport of Mallam Illia), and like Kola Onadipe (Adventures of Souza, The Boy Slave), the trio who were my greatest literary influences at childhood. Another five years, in secondary school, and I wanted to write poetry like J.P. Clark, Gabriel Okara and later, like Odia Ofeimun. Today, I am still very much an eaglet trying to find my place on the branches of the giant Iroko but then I can’t forget where, exactly, the literati rain first began to drench me. I believe the torn pages were God’s way of triggering my potentials and Achebe, the acclaimed man of the literary people, was a giant arrow of God. Achebe dazzles and dazzles with the thin pen; originality; poetic elegance, and ofcourse, the local colours! Achebe verily inspired an entire generation and will continue to inspire several more to come. He gave us African literature. He gave us pride. He gave us an authentic voice. Achebe forever dispelled the falsehood about the sentimental ‘Heart of Darkness’ and shone the right light on our continent. Today, the world is divided between those who have read TFA and those who, sadly, haven’t. Those who haven’t, pitifully, are those who still hang on to the notion about Africa being the perennial begging bowl with pictures of starving children being swarmed by flies, an Africa that always means bad news. Obviously, they haven’t read TFA. No, they do not know of Okonkwo, the valiant warrior. And, concerning Achebe’s patriotism as a Nigerian, there is no question. His outspokenness, forthrightness and principles, like his literary craftsmanship, are a rarity. They need no elaborate re-telling. When his fiction couldn’t pierce the half-intelligent minds of our leaders enough, he came out to talk plainly about The Trouble with Nigeria. When he saw our volatile history being repeated, dangerously, he came out bluntly to say, just before you forget, There was a Country. What else could a patriot do, biko? I agree with an AIT reporter who mentioned in a special documentary on the titan; ‘Achebe was the Nobel Laureate Nigeria never had’. So well put. Mba, you do not do lengthy tributes when Masters pass; there is not much to be written simply because in themselves, legends they are living letters, unmistakeable masterpieces. His name, through his pen, is imprinted in timeless gold… We can only thank God for the life of Chinua Achebe (1930—2013). I am personally thankful for encountering him – on the torn pages of TFA..! I never met him in flesh and blood, nevertheless, I feel him in my lines and sentences! Certainly, Achebe will continue to live in living, blazing letters as long as stories are told…! Abah is a Lagos-based journalist, poet and environmentalist.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

LET’S

T AL K FAD with

Fidelis Duker

fidelisduker@yahoo.com; 08055662925(SMS ONLY)

Efere Ozako: Wetin..? (a tribute)

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his will be the first time I’ll give my entire column to an individual; a gentleman who devoted his entire legal career to the entertainment industry in Nigeria. When you talk Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law in Nigeria, the name Efere Ozako rings a resounding bell because he has handled, represented and fought for several entertainment practitioners and even writers in his over 20 years as a legal practitioner. My first encounter with Efere was about 20 years ago during my early days as a Nollywood producer when I engaged him for his professional advice as a lawyer. Then, in 1993, when Nollywood looked bleak with challenges, Efere believed in the future of the entertainment industry. He was convinced the entire entertainment landscape in Nigeria would change and practitioners would live well. During this period, most of his colleagues laughed at him that he was wasting his time with entertainers who had nothing to offer. The success of Nollywood, the comedy business and music cannot be quantified without the eloquent and brilliant delivery during Efere’s presentation at several industry related events offered at no charge. At the inception of the Abuja International Film Festival 10 years ago, Efere was fully involved in advisory capacity and was instrumental to the participation of several corporate organisations. Even when I did not solicit his assistance he was always there to help. Efere attended virtually all entertainment and entertainmentrelated events in Nollywood; I remember telling my friends, Emeka Ossai and Chico Ejiro that Efere attended and participated actively in 99% of all activities. A week before his death, Efere was at the ‘Night of Tributes’ for veteran actor Justus Esiri. I will always remember Efere’s brilliance, commitment, eloquence and determination to succeed in any brief; one instance that readily comes to mind was when Chico Ejiro lost a member of his production cast. It was during one of Ejiro’s shoots in the east around the late 90’s and it resulted in a legal battle with the family; Efere was committed to the case until he reached an amicable settlement. Another interesting but funny incident I recollect was when he was the legal adviser for the movie industry during our Guild harmonisation process. It was Efere who drafted and prepared the legal papers; sadly, he was ridiculed and pushed to the wall after committing his time, experience and energy to the process. In anger, he in-

I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER EFERE’S BRILLIANCE, COMMITMENT, ELOQUENCE AND DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED stituted legal action against the group called Nollywood CWC and got judgment against us because we called his bluff and never made appearance in court. As punishment, a couple of properties were impounded by the bailiff on the instruction of the court. Years later, when I asked him why he went to court and got judgment, he simply said it was a way of making us take issues serious and stop thinking because we are celebrities, we can take things for granted. I learnt from that point that had we responded to his series of letters, the court won’t have been an option. Another interesting incident was a guy who was robbed of his car in front of Efere’s Chambers in Yaba, Lagos; Efere offered to assist the robbery victim with one of the cars in chambers. This was a person he barely knew but seeing the man’s discomfort was something Efere hated; he was always out to help. Efere Ozako was not only a quintessential gentleman; he was also several things to several people. To me, Efere was an Ex-Fedgocolian, having attended the prestigious Federal Government College, Warri, before proceeding to University of Benin where he studied Law with the likes of Governor Babatunde Fashola amongst several others. He was well known for his annual conference, “Wetin Lawyer Dey Do Sef ” which he started in Nigeria and later moved to Ghana and Kenya. In Ghana, he was able to assist in setting up their copyright commission. He would also be remembered for inspiring the younger ones even though Efere was also a young man; such intellectual minds like Chude Jideonwu of the Future Awards; Kaine Agary who won the NLNG award and his sister, Maero Ozako, were products of Efere one way or the other. At this point I extend my condolences to his beautiful wife, Anne and their two teenage children, his family, his colleagues in the legal profession, clients, Isoko brothers, fellow bikers, the entertainment industry and Nigerians who will miss this great man. We take solace in God and ask him to comfort us. It is well.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Arts Lounge

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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ARTISTE UNCENSORED

I was amazed by Don Jazzy –Sarz

Edo-State born Sound Producer, Osaretin Osabuohien, aka Sarz, is fast spreading his reputation as music’s wunderkind producer after dropping a hit track “Beat of Life (Samba)” and being publicly saluted by foremost Nigerian producer, Don Jazzy. OLUFEMI AJASA

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aying Sarz seats conveniently at the pinnacle of sound production in Nigeria is unarguable and the proof is underlined by his various accomplishments. The producer and sound engineer who is signed to Trybe Records is best known for his mastery of the art of cycling artistes to stardom effortlessly. Most of Sarz’s productions are club friendly, credible on the ‘streets’ and enjoy massive air play in the media. The list of artistes he has worked with include: late Dagrin, Lord of Ajasa, YQ, Banky W, Reminisce, Wizkid, Jah Bless, eLDee (CEO of Trybe Record), Skales, Naeto C and many others. However, among the tracks produced by Sarz, one of them, ‘Beat of Life (Samba)’ featuring Wizkid, is presently winning acceptance from the music-loving public. According to Sarz, after he created the beat, many who heard it before release rated the beat as unique, danceable and of international standard. But getting Wizkid to work on it created more ‘magic’. “After I made the beat, Wizkid came to the studio one day, heard it, loved it and did some singing on it and we got the magic. Working with Wiz was awesome”, the young artiste explained. But does he have favourites among his many works or a special formula to getting the result he does? “I don’t have a favourite because every time I make beats, I put all my best into the process. My formula is A plus B equals hit songs”. However, the soft-spoken artiste can-

DAYS AFTER LISTENING TO CERTAIN MUSIC, I

Sarz

CAN STILL MENTALLY REPLAY MOST OF THE BEATS IN MY HEAD not hide his joy at being able to mastermind the beats for popular ‘Kako bi Chicken’, a hit track he produced for Reminisce. “I love ‘Kako bi Chicken’ because I’m not Yoruba, yet I did justice to the beat”. Possibly, the beat maker’s talent and rapid growth in the industry are reasons why Don Jazzy, one of the foremost contemporary producers in Nigeria and CEO, Mavin Records, handled over his 2012 Nigeria Entertainment Award (NEA) Producer of the Year trophy to Sarz. The young producer was in that category with Don Jazzy alongside names like Shizzy, Samklef, Jesse Jagz and Cobhams Asuquo. Dramatically, in acknowledgment of Sarz’s remarkable work, Jazzy conceded the trophy to him Speaking about the gesture, Sarz described the moment as one his greatest moments in life. “It was unbelievable! I was amazed that a great producer like Don Jazzy had seen my struggle and efforts and equally extended me such an endorsement. I really appreciate the gesture and will hold on to the moment dearly”, he declared. Remembering how he cut his teeth in the Nigeria music industry, Sarz who would have ended up as a software devel-

Don Jazzy and Sarz at the award hand-over

oper; his childhood dream, said: “I stumbled into music because I have always loved it; I began cultivating the habit of memorising beats anytime I hear distinct ones. Even days after listening to certain music, I can still mentally replay most of the beats in my head. “But, I started the career seriously after a friend of mine brought a music software to my house and I devoted time to master it”, he said. Sarz remembered he met eLDee in 2009 and a lucrative music partnership started from that time, while also describing the award-winning music star

as his boss, brother and friend. Despite quick success, Sarz said he is not distracted from making newer beats not even minding the plethora of party bangers he has turned out. Surprisingly, for a producer brimming with such tremendous creativity, he found it difficult to pinpoint his source of motivation. “I really can’t tell it. Most times I just get into the studio and do my thing”, he stated jocularly. The music landscape has seen new talents popping up daily and Sarz attributed the situation to the instant reward that comes with good music. “Lots of people now want to go into sound production because they find it very attractive. Music has been financially attractive and this is the fastest growing industry in Nigeria at the moment”. But, Sarz would not tolerate that producers are given less prominence, saying they remain the mainstay of artistes. “As far as music is concerned in terms of production, lyrics is 50% and the beat is equally 50%. If you get credit for the lyrics then credits should be given to the beat and the producer”. Having once been a student of the University of Lagos, Sarz has the aspiration of studying at the Institute of Digital Music in Atlanta, USA, while he plans to rely on the internet to shuttle between studies and the music industry. “Thank God for the internet, I can always do beats and send them to appropriate people”.

MIDWEEK JUMP Chess, a National Legacy to be presented tomorrow

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s part of the 70th birthday ceremony of Dr. Sylvanus Olisanye Ebigwei, former leader of Aka Ikenga Association, a new book, Chess, a National Legacy will be presented to the public tomorrow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Victoria Island, Lagos at 11.00 a.m. The book chronicles the activities of Ebigwei as a pioneer member of the Nigerian and African Chess Federations, which led to the adoption of chess event at the National Sports Festival, NSF, and the All African Games. Some dignitaries expected at the event

include Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State; Chief Sunny Odogwu; former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral J Ayinla and CSP Sanni Mohammed, who will review the book.

Centenary essay contest opens

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ympt Light Services in collaboration with the Niger State Book and Research Development Agency, NBRDA, is calling for essays on Nigeria as we celebrate 100 years of Nigeria’s creation in 1914. The book is to commemorate the Centenary anniversary and afford young Nigerians the opportunity to document whatever views they might have of Nige-

ria as a nation for the next generation. Contributors have the liberty to write on any subject that tickles them or what they are passionate about. Contributors must be within the ages of 18 to 35 years. The age restriction is because the opinions sought are of fresh and young Nigerians who still brim with hope, strength and the potentials to inspire the next generation. All essays must be intellectual-based and must be critical to the Nigerian struggle. Essays must be well-written and selected topics articulated with uttermost seriousness. Contributors can only send in one essay of a maximum of 1000 words and must be in Microsoft word format (as attachment) for

easy retrieval, to avoid unwanted adjustment. The essays must be well-typed, edited and presentable. Contributors will receive two copies of the published work and will be duly recognised. Therefore, contributors are to send a brief profile of themselves along with their essays to symptlightservices@gmail.com or symptlightservices@yahoo.com. A grand public presentation of the book will be held later in the year in Minna, the Niger state capital.

African Women Writers residency calls for submissions

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EMRITE, Uganda Women Writers’ Association, is calling for submissions for

the fifth Residency for African Women Writers which will be held from November 18 to 30, 2013. The main aim of the two-week residency is to give women mental and physical space to write. Selected writers will get the opportunity to reflect on their writing, connect with one another, read each others’ manuscripts and give feedback, interact with established writers and build literary bridges across cultures of the continent. The residency is also aimed at strengthening collaboration among women writers’ initiatives in Africa. This call is open to all African women writers above 18 years of age and living on the continent. Successful applicants will be notified by July 30.


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Arts Lounge

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FAR AND NEAR

Nollywood urged to project positive values

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ayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has stressed the need for the Nigeria Film Industry, Nollywood, to focus more on projecting the positive values and rich cultural heritage of the people to the outside world. Governor Dickson made the remark during cultural activities marking the 9th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, AMAA, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital. Over the weekend, the

state witnessed an influx of the crème de la crème of the continental film industry, where the country was the biggest winner of the award night clinching 13 out of the 27 award categories. The eight local government areas of Bayelsa also played host through series of cultural events including a boat regatta and wrestling competition. In furtherance of the state’s restoration agenda, Dickson stated that his government would organise a cultural event

before the end of the year, to showcase the culture and traditions of Ijaw people as well as the tourism potentials that abound in Bayelsa. Dickson noted that the creation of a separate Ministry for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs was to advance the cause of the Ijaws and promote unity among the people. In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, said wrestling and boat regatta are two age-long tradi-

‘Know Your Movies’ exhibits at 2013 MIPTV

Fashion: Samsung empowers local talent

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NGOZI EMEDOLIBE

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s Equity Concepts Entertainment, owners of the ‘Know Your Movies TV Game’ show prepares to officially launch the reality TV show in Nigeria, accolades have come their way from the 2013 MIPTV, which just ended in Cannes, France. The festival which is in 50th year is a forum where the entire ecosystem of TV and online content comes together in Cannes, France to make deals, be inspired and forge new partnerships around the world. According to Rowland Okorie, creator of the TV game show, the invitation to take part at this year’s edition of MIPTV was at the instance of Format Recognition and Protection Association, FRAPA, which last month finalised the copyright details of the show which would test the knowledge of viewers on movies produced everywhere in the world for an opportunity to win N10m. “The chairman of Equity Concepts, Austine Okpe and the show’s executive producer, Ojy Okpe, have been supportive. They made it possible for us to showcase at the just concluded MIPTV. It was an opportunity to meet with and listen to big names like Tim Hincks, President, Endemol Group innovators and inspirers; Anthony Bay, Amazon’s Global Head of Digital Video; Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s Vice President and Global Head of Content Partnership; Jane Campion, the legendary film director; Piv Bernth, producer and head of drama, Danish Broadcasting Corporation and our own Nigeria-born, Wale Gbadamosi Oyekanmi, CEO of Darewin Social Media Network based in Paris. We are ready for production now after taking our time to go through the process of building a great format”, he said. The trip also availed the brand the opportunity to take part in MIP Formats International Pitch, where new talents are showcased to the TV content world. This part of the festival, which is sponsored by Warner Bros Pictures avails up to 25,000 to develop any winning project.

tions that have had significant bearing on the lifestyle of the Ijaws because of the peculiar nature of the terrain. The governor later performed the groundbreaking foundation-laying ceremony for a Film City at Igbogene, in Yenagoa. The multifaceted project is expected to accommodate facilities such as business district, relaxation centre, helipad, collapsible sets, police and fire service stations, inauguration centre, night club and film village, among others.

Adam and Eve Waiting For A Flight Out Of Eden 62x151

Ehikhamenor opens Amusing the Muse ADENRELE NIYI

O

ne of Nigeria’s progressive contemporary artists, writer and photographer, Victor Ehikhamenor opens a public exhibition of his recent drawings and paintings titled “Amusing the Muse” on Monday, April 29. Curated by Sandra Mbanefo Obiago and supported by Veuve Clicquot, the three-day exhibition would reveal Victor’s introspective view of contemporary African art as expressed through the artist’s unique calligraphic style of black and white symbolic images. His style is influenced by the drawings he grew up with on the walls of sacred spaces in Udomi-Uwessan, Edo State, Nigeria. In three large canvas wall hangings spanning over five meters in length or width, Victor presents lone human forms completely engulfed in landscapes of symbols. “As a figurativeabstractionist I hate taming my style. I have started working on very large pieces, using charcoal on canvas. These works are stories and histories, myths and mythologies, tales and folktales, beliefs and disbeliefs”, he explains. One of such chronicling works is entitled “Adam & Eve waiting for a flight out of Eden”, an over 6 meter wide wall hanging, which is his visual representation of the entire book of Genesis told ‘in one fell swoop’. Over the years, the artist’s bold symbols have been encased in doors and window frames as in

his “Entrances and Exits” series, while his sculptures of re-purposed mundane objects like old typewriters and generators are often thought provoking sociopolitical critiques. In “Amusing the Muse”, Victor presents an exciting new dimension to his art with his “Paintforation” technique that uses nail perforations on thick white handmade paper to create subtle relief work– a new take on his popular “Face” series. He explains that he has translated ancient rituals of body scarification evident in 16th and 17th century Nigerian bronze heads into his contemporary masks. ”The face phenomenon dawned on me during the ‘Occupy Nigeria’ protests, while I was photographing people”, explains Victor. “I realised what really formed the mass of differences are the faces. People live and die by the look and shape of their faces. I believe faces define humanity. The face is the GUI (graphical user interface) of the brain”. The former Creative director of 234NEXT newspaper holds a first degree in English Literature from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Delta State, and two Masters degrees in Fine Arts (Creative Writing) and Technology Management from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. “Amusing the Muse” is presented by Temple Muse, Nigeria’s foremost luxury design and lifestyle space, located in Victoria Island, Lagos, which has been active in the competitive African design and fashion space since 2008.

n furtherance of its commitment to facilitating economic growth and development in Nigeria, the world’s largest maker of mobile handsets, Samsung Electronics, is offering five young, upcoming Nigerian fashion designers an opportunity to showcase their designs at the upcoming launch of its flagship Galaxy S4 Smartphone. Participants in the programme were required to submit evening wear design proposals to brand ambassadors, Kate Henshaw and Banky W via Samsung’s website. Of the submissions received, 18 entries were initially chosen by a panel of fashion experts including Kate Henshaw; CEO, Beth Model Management Africa, Mrs. Elohor Aisien; Creative Director, CLAN, Ms. Teni Sagoe and Hakeem Balogun of Kimono Kollection. A second and final selection process took place last Saturday in Ikoyi, Lagos, with five lucky designers emerging as winners of the competition. The five finalists will be given the opportunity to present their collections to buyers, consumers, the media and the general public at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in Lagos on Friday, May 10. Samsung Electronics West Africa’s Business Head for Hand Held Products, Mr. Emmanouil Revmatas, described the programme as an avenue for the company to provide emerging stars in Nigeria’s fashion industry with the much-needed pre-requisites for success, including publicity, mentoring services and networking opportunities. “At Samsung, we are committed to providing an enabling environment for Nigerian youths to pursue their dreams and passions, as we believe that this would help to unlock the country’s huge economic potential. We are very proud to support Nigeria’s growing fashion industry with our ‘Galaxy S4 Design for Life’ programme”, he said. In addition to providing the five finalists with the opportunity to showcase their collections at the launch of the Galaxy S4, Samsung also organised a workshop on Sunday, April 21 to enrich and expand the overall fashion experience of the participants in the programme. The workshop encompassed training and mentoring by Teni Sagoe and Hakeem Balogun, as well as networking opportunities to equip the emerging, creative talents with the necessary tools for launching and managing a fashion business. Also speaking, Samsung Electronics West Africa’s Marketing Manager for Hand Held Products, Ms. Olajumoke Okikiolu said, “The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a combination of innovation, class, style and beauty; and what better way to launch it into the Nigerian market than to showcase Nigerian designers’ sense of style and creativity”.


27

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Essien in Madrid shut-out

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Of course, I will expect Madrid to prevail over Dortmund in this tie, although it’s tricky - FORMER FRANCE INTERNATIONAL, ZINEDINE ZIDANE

28

Brazil 2013: Nigerian mission awaits Eagles – Envoy EVEREST ONYEWUCHI

N

CAF U-17: Eaglets battle Tunisia for final place

Golden Eaglets’ Kelechi Iheanacho with eyes on the ball in a match.

Golden Eaglets’ Isaac Moses (right) and his team mates getting rready for today’s match.

YEMI OLUS

N

igeria’s Golden Eaglets approach their decisive semi-final clash against Tunisia today at the ongoing CAF U-17 Championship, as clear favourites, following their 7-0 thrashing of Congo in their last group match played in Marrakech last weekend. The Coach Manu Garba-led side has impressively scored 13 times, the highest number of goals scored in the competition. They also finished at the top of Group B with six points and qualified for the semis alongside Cote d’Ivoire who secured a 1-0 victory over Nigeria and eventually qualified with five points. The Eaglets secured massive wins in their games against Ghana (6-1) and Congo and topping the scorers list are Success Isaac and Kelechi Iheanacho with six and four goals respectively. Their impressive credentials notwithstanding, the Eaglets will face a stiff test in trying to overcome their North African rivals, who remained unbeaten and finished at the top of their

Today’s Match Nigeria

v

Tunisia

Results Morocco

1-2

CIV

group with two wins against Botswana and Gabon. The Tunisians played a one-all draw with host Morocco in their final group match. An excited Garba said, “We are happy that we have eventually qualified for the World Cup because that was our first priority at this championship and we thank God that we have achieved that. But we have put the victory over Congo behind us as we forge ahead for the crucial stages of the championship. We are taking no chances at all and you can see that we are taking everything seriously. “But we don’t want to depend on the lottery of the penalties as such; we would try our best and win the match in regulation time. We have never excluded taking penalties from our training even before now. In fact, almost all the players are good at taking penalties but we are going to even work more as we prepare against Tunisia.”

This match will go into penalty shootouts straight if the 90 minutes regulation time ends in a draw. As such, the Golden Eaglets on Monday and yesterday practiced the art of taking penalty kicks during their training session at the Sidi Youssef Ben Ali Stadium in Marrakech. Nigeria is seeking for a third title, having won the 2001 and 2007 editions of the championship. The Tunisians’ best result was a fourth place finish in 2007.

igeria’s Ambassador to Brazil, His Excellency, Mr. Vincent Okoedion, has visited the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Abuja, as the federation and the Embassy plan for Nigeria’s participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June. “The whole of Brazil is presently animated for the FIFA Confederations Cup. Hotels and transportation services are being booked ahead, as so many people are showing big interest in the tournament. “Even within Brazil, the quest for hospitality and transportation services, as well as tickets for the matches, is high. I have come to the NFF so that we can harmonise our strategies to be able to cater for the large contingent of Nigerians expected for the event,” Ambassador Okoedion was quoted in a statement released yesterday by the NFF. NFF general secretary, Barr Musa Amadu, who received the envoy said, “We are happy with Ambassador Okoedion’s visit. Of course, the NFF and the Nigerian Embassy in Brazil have been working on several areas of services to be provided at the competition. The Ambassador’s visit only underscores the fact that the Embassy and ourselves are working assiduously for a hitch-free participation by Nigeria at the tournament.” The FIFA Confederations Cup, which features champions of the

six continents of the world alongside the host nation and one other, traditionally comes as dress rehearsal for the FIFA World Cup finals, and is staged exactly one year before FIFA’s flagship tournament in the same country hosting the World Cup. This year’s showpiece, which takes place between June 15 and 30th, will welcome Spain (World and European champions), Nigeria (Champions of Africa), Uruguay (South American champions), Mexico (Champions of North America), Japan (Asia kings), Tahiti (Champions of Oceania), host Brazil and Italy (Europe’s number two). Super Eagles’ only previous participation in the competition was in 1995 in Saudi Arabia, when it was still known as Intercontinental Tournament for the King Fahd Cup. NFF says that Eagles will spend two weeks at a training camp in Nuremberg, Germany in May before flying to Texas, USA for the prestige friendly match with Mexico on May 31, and then fly back to Frankfurt, before flying to Nairobi on June 4 for a FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Harambee Stars. The team will proceed to Windhoek on June 7 for another World Cup qualifier against Namibia, scheduled for June 12, and then fly to Johannesburg on the morning of June 13. In Johannesburg, the Eagles will fly same day to Sao Paulo, Brazil and connect a flight to Belo Horizonte for their first match against Tahiti on June 14.

CAF invites Keshi, Amodu to AFCON review

T

he Confederation of African Football (CAF) will organise a symposium next month in Cairo, Egypt, to analyse the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Gabon/ Equatorial Guinea 2012 and the South Africa 2013. Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi, and newly appointed Technical Director of the NFF, Shuaibu Amodu, have been invited to attend. The event will take place at the Marriot Hotel from May 11 – 13 and the key objective will be to provide a technical and tactical analysis of the 28th and 29th editions of the tournament, according to a state-

ment from CAF. The symposium will attract the technical directors of the federations and the coaches who participated in the last two editions. Modern trends of the game and analyses of the performances of the teams during the tournaments will be discussed, while the coaches will present their technical and tactical preparations before, during and after the tournaments. They will also discuss the performance of their teams and the difficult parts the coaches faced during the matches. The FIFA World Coach of the

Year 2012 Vincent del Bosque Coach of Spain, winner of euro 2012 and World Cup 2010 will be the guest of honour of the symposium. The CAF Technical Director, Abdel Moneim Hussein, and Juerg Nepher, Head of FIFA Education and Technical Development will also attend.. The technical directors will also organise a workshop for their national teams, first and second division coaches after they return back home. Moneim Hussein said, “It is important to share with colleagues the legacy of such a tournament for CAF and this competition.”


28

Sport

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Di Maria tips Madrid

R

Santana (front)

Santana dreams UCL glory

B

Essien

orussia Dortmund midfielder, Felipe Santana, is dreaming of Champions League glory as the home side prepares to face Real Madrid tonight at the Signal Iduna Park. Dortmund saw off Malaga in their quarterfinal with a stunning late show in the second leg, while los Blancos comfortably beat Galatasaray, leaving both clubs just two games from the final at Wembley. The Brazilian admits reaching the showpiece would be the realisation of a childhood dream, while speaking of the mutual respect between the two sides. “If you’re talking about the Champions League, of course it’s our dream,” the 27-year-old said yesterday. “To play in the Champions League and to reach the final is the dream of not just me but that of all children born with the desire to play football. “We are facing Real Madrid and we already know each other. There is mutual respect and we know about the difficulties. So we will put into practice everything we have shown so far in the Champions League, so we can leave the second leg with a victory and continue our dream.” Meanwhile the German Bundesliga club is hoping to repeat its success against Real Madrid in this season’s group stage as both sides meet again. Dortmund eyes a second European Cup final while Madrid is aiming for its13th.

Essien in Madrid shut-out

R

eal Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho, has left out Michael Essien from his 23-man squad to face Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of the Champions League semi final at Dortmund today. The versatile player failed to recover from a muscle strain he picked up during Madrid’s quarter-final return leg against Galatasaray. Reports said Essien trained alone on Monday but could not win the fitness battle to play in

this crucial tie. The on-loan Chelsea player, who was a first choice to play at right-back with suspension of Alvaro Arbeloa, had impressed in the makeshift role in recent times for the Madridistas. Essien’s inability to recover means stand-in captain Sergio Ramos will return to his former position.

eal Madrid m i d f i e l d e r, Angel Di Maria, believes Real Madrid is playing much better now than it was when Borussia Dortmund had the upper hand during their Champions League group meetings last year. Dortmund beat Madrid 2-1 at the Westf alenstadion in October, while Mesut Ozil’s 89th minute free-kick rescued a 2-2 draw for Jose Mourinho’s men at the Bernabeu a fortnight later. ���Things are going much better for us and the defence is more compact,” the Argentina international said yesterday, adding, “We have the extra confidence now to do very well in the tie.” According to Di Maria, Germany internationals Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil would have

Today’s fixture Dortmund

vs

Madrid

F

ormer Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder, Dietmar Hamann, believes Jose Mourinho will win his third Champions League trophy this season. The Real Madrid boss, who has already won the tournament with Porto and Inter Milan, is hoping to bring the trophy back to the Bernabéu for the first time in 11 years. “I still favour Madrid because the team is full of expe-

rience and quality,” Hamann said yesterday. Despite being the only undefeated team left in the competition, Hamann doesn’t think Dortmund will progress any further than the semis. “When you give Dortmund a sniff, they make the most of it. But with Ronaldo being on form, I think Mourinho can ensure a Madrid/Bayern final,” the former Liverpool ace added

F

ormer Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, will be the ‘Legend of the Night’ at the Heineken Champions Planet today as guests will be given opportunity to interact with him during the second semi final first leg match of the UEFA Champions League featuring

Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. The former Nigeria international who mentored the Flying Eagles to a silver medal feat at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Holland in 2005 before coaching Nigeria’s U-23 team to another silver medal outing at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, said yesterday that he would feel honoured by his presence at the Planet.

van Persie

League title, feeling –RVP

M

Hamann votes Mourinho

Di Maria

Champions Planet hosts Siasia

A FOLABI G AMBARI

important roless to play in tonight’ss encounter. “Sami and Mesut have improved oved tremendously and have developed d in every way and I think they will prove vital against Dortmund,” he submitted. Meanwhile, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho hass included playaymaker Luka Modric in his squad ad to face Borussia Dortmund. The Croatian tian picked up a calf injury during Los Blancos’ 3-1 home ome victory over Real Betis in La Liga a on Saturday, but iss in Germany with the team. French striker iker Karim Benzema ema has also been included in the squad quad as he has recovered ered from the knock k he suffered against ainst Betis.

“Although I was part of the premium experience some seasons ago, I would nonetheless be delighted again to interact with guests who I think will equally be delighted to know more about my career,” the AFCON 1994 gold medalist said. Reputed to have a large fan base in Nigeria, Siasia will also use the forum to share his excitement with friends on social

platforms like Facebook and Twitter worldwide, as well as offer his insight on the semi final matches of the UEFA Champions League. Former Nigeria internationals Austin Eguavoen, Christian Chukwu, Austin Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, and Daniel Amokachi have been guests at the Champions Planet in the ongoing European biggest football competition.

anchester United s t r i k e r, Robin van Persie, was understandably delighted after propelling Manchester United to its recordbreaking Premier League title. Van Persie has often been cited as the key factor in United’s success this season and fierce rivals Manchester City falling well short of regaining the crown they won last year, and the Dutchman underlined his class with a fabulous first-half hattrick in the Red Devils’ 3-0 win over Aston Villa which wrapped up the club’s 20th domestic league crown. “It didn’t really matter who scored as long as we won

this did w the f forw terda “F minu playe eryon was a so ea a fa of very weir for s first great Af Unit early minu then derfu 13 m ing outsi follow Roon the t ing just hour


, great P

game and we win this game,” ormer Arsenal ard said yesay. From the first ute everyone ed well and evne wanted it. It a great to score arly and it was antastic game football. I’m happy but it’s d. I had to wait so long for my title and it’s a t feeling.” fter putting ed ahead as y as the second ute, Van Persie scored a wonul second after minutes, volleyin from just ide the area wing Wayne ney’s ball over op, before sealhis hat-trick after the halfr mark.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Sport

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hockey boss decries neglect of Abuja pitch

Tit bits...

Gerrard Ger Steven Gerrard Stev scored one of finest goals the fin of his career against Greek side Olympiakos agains and he will have the chance to all over again this summer, do it a whether Luis Suarez will be but wh on the field with him remains to be seen. see The Liverpool legend has granted a testimonial on been g August 3, the only pre-season Augus game that will be played at Anfield. Anfield He sscored a last-gasp thunderbolt derbo against them in the 2004-2005 Champions League 2004 campaign which eventually cam saw Liverpool emerge as the Li competition winners in Istanbul. compe

Ferdinand Ferd

Rio Ferdinand F has taken tak a swipe at Manchester City Man after Manchester M United cruised to the Premier League title without Pre relying on goal difference. United Unite wrapped up its 20th championship with four games to champ spare thanks to Monday night’s t 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford. Trafford “We have won it outright and we have ha won it comfortably,” Ferdinand said. Ferdin

Terry T

Chelsea captain, John Terry, is unsure whether the w club will w open discussions over a contract extension this summer. t The 32-year-old defender’s current five-year deal expires in 2014, but having been integral in the successes of the 10-year Roman Abramovich era, the former England captain has been a more peripheral figure this season.

Redknapp

QPR Manager, Harry Redknapp, has denied committing two motoring offences in Dorset last year. Redknapp, 66, who inherited a struggling Loftus Road outfit and has all-but failed to save the side from relegation, did not attend Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court He is accused of speeding on October 23 and also of failing to supply the driver’s identity as required under section 172 of The Road Traffic Act.

Vermaelen Arsenal captain, Thomas Vermaelen, will lead his mates to provide new Barclays Premier League champion Manchester United with a guard of honour ahead of Sunday’s match at Emirates Stadium. A hat-trick by Robin van Persie, sold to United from Arsenal last summer, sealed a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Monday night to secure a 20th domestic championship for the Red Devils.

29

JOEL A JAYI ABUJA

T Harambee Stars before their last match with Super Eagles in Calabar last month

Brazil 2014: Harambee opens camp Saturday

K

enya Coach, Adel Amrouche, names a 25man home-based team for Harambee Stars’ 2014 World Cup qualifier against Super Eagles on June 5 in Nairobi. After holding the African Champions to a 1-1 draw away in Calabar on March 23, Amrouche is taking no chances and wants the team to report to camp on Saturday. “We must start preparing early with the local players who are present before the professionals join us later next month,” Amrouche told MTNFootball.com in Nairobi yesterday. Among the new entrants to the team include Sony’s

Ben Baraza, Daniel Murage and Thika United’s Kennedy Otieno and David Kingatua. Kenya will build-up for the Nigeria game with a friendly on June 2 against the Black Stars Ghana who will camp in Nairobi en route to Khartoum to face Sudan in a World Cup qualifier. The Harambee Stars team will however face Nigeria without skipper Dennis Oliech who is suspended after accumulating two yellow cards in the qualifiers. Kenya sits currently bottom of Group F on two points, three less than leader Nigeria after three rounds of pool matches played.

he Ministry of Sports and National Sports Commission (NSC) yesterday came under condemnation for their inability to maintain dilapidated facilities at the Abuja National Stadium. Tournament Director of the Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF) Mr. Walter Imoedemhe, decried the nonmaintenance of the hockey pitches and other facilities as the national hockey championship flicked off in Abuja. Speaking to National Mirror, Imoedemhe lamented the neglect of facilities at the stadium to rot. He said, “Is unfortunate we have the best hockey pitch in Africa, but it is not being maintained. As you can see nobody cares about the maintenance. If things continue this way in the next two years, nobody will come in here not to talk of using the facilities.” No fewer than 15 teams including nine male and six female teams are participating in the tournament sponsored by Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim. So far in the men’s category, Delta Force defeated Gombe 2-0, while Yobe Warriors and Plateau Tigers recorded another win over

Niger Flickers and Benue Amazons. The match between FCT and Union Bank ended in a 1-1 draw. Coach of Delta Queens, Michael Itinagbedia, whose team defeated Edo Queen 3-0 in their first outing yesterday, lamented that his team was compelled to pay for a hotel accommodation due to lack of spaces in the camp. Winners of the week-long competition are expected to represent Nigeria in the forthcoming continental championships holding in Nairobi, Kenya in July this year.

Sport minister, Abdullahi

Commemoration: Chipolopolo hosts Warriors AFOLABI GAMBARI

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

W

arriors of Zimbabwe Coach, Klaus Dieter Pagels, yesterday named an 18-man squad comprising rookies to face Zambia in an international friendly match in Lusaka on Sunday. Zambia is marking 20 years since the April 27, 1993, plane disaster off the coast of Gabon which killed all 18 national team players, two coaches, a doctor, two Football Association of Zambia officials, a journalist and five crew members. Pagels is taking on his third assignment after leading Zimbabwe to a 2-1 win against Botswana in an international friendly in February, before narrowly losing 2-1 away to Egypt in a 2014 World Cup qualifier last month.

FC Platinum striker Nelson Mazivisa, who is Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League’s Golden Boot winner for last year, and Chicken Inn captain Felix Chindungwe will be the notable stars in the team travelling to the Zambian capital on Friday. FC Platinum defender Kevin Moyo has also been called up along with Chicken Inn goalkeeper Liberty Chirava, CAPS United striker Tawanda Nyamandwe, Motor Action defender Godfrey Moyo and Eric Chipeta of Hwange. Dynamos midfielder, Devon Chafa, and the Black Mambas pair of winger Nicholas Alifandika and striker Last Chibwiro also made the cut. According to Warriors Team Manager, Shariff Musa, the team would open camp in Harare today and

Star striker Knowledge Musona (l) is exempted from the Warriors’ list of all home-based players

would train twice on Thursday before departing for the friendly. “They will have another day of training in Zambia on Saturday,” Mussa said. Emotional scenes are expected to highlight the match as Zambians remember their fallen stars who perished on their way to

Senegal for a World Cup qualifier when their Air Force DHC-5D Buffalo crashed. Sublime midfielder, Derby Makinka, who played for the defunct PSL side Darryn T and was a hugely popular figure in Zimbabwe, is one of the stars that perished in the disaster.


30

Sport

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nigeria Premier Nig League with

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Cricket

IIKENWA NNABUOGOR ikenwa.nnabuogor@gmail.com

Onyeudo set for Azerbaijan

Heartland dare Pillars without Efugh

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H

ost Kano Pillars will hope to beat Heartland today so as to extend their lead at the top of the Nigeria league. Champions Pillars are top of the standings on 16 points from seven matches, while Heartland are seventh with 10 points. Pillars striker Bello Musa Kofarmata, who rejoined his hometown club from Heartland this season, said he did not expect a friendly reunion with his ex-team mates for the 90 minutes that the game will last. “It is going to be a tough game. I am happy that I will reunite with my former team mates at Heartland, but it won’t be a friendly affair at all while the game is on. We want to extend our lead on the table so victory is inevitable,” Bello Musa told MTNFootball. com Meanwhile, Heartland will battle Pillars without their inspirational captain, Chinedu Efugh. ‘Chicago’, as Efugh is fondly called by his admirers, is out of the clash due to an accumulation of bookings, but he said he believes the team will still do well without him. “I won’t play against Pillars on Wednesday (today). I would have loved to be part of this match but I can’t because I have two yellow cards. But I am very sure the team will do well and get a good result in my absence in Kano,” Efugh said. Last season, Heartland drew 1-1 with Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano. Both teams are smarting from early exits in international competitions Pillars crashed out of the CAF Champions League, while Heartland were ousted from the Confederation Cup.

Efugh

ombe United striker and NPFL top scorer Bishop Onyeudo has concluded plans to hit Azerbaijan for trials at an unnamed top club, National Mirror can exclusively report. The former Rangers striker, who tops scorers’ chart with six goals, is being packaged for the trip by Enugu-based agent Obinna Temple Okocha. The Enugu-born striker, who was rejected by Rangers this season, returned to his base on Monday after meeting with his agent in Enugu to finalise his move to the former Russian enclave. It is understood that the lanky striker will be on his way to Azerbaijan in few weeks to try his luck. Onyeudo was in Qatar for trial early this year but returned to the country after he was not offered a deal, to train with Rangers with a view to rejoining his former club. He would take his trade to Gombe United and punished Rangers by hitting a brace in a 2-1 win early in the month. Fixtures Today

Josiah Maduabuchi

Enyimba misses Maduabuchi for Gombe United’s clash

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nyimba will miss the services of striker Josiah Maduabuchi ahead of Thursday’s fixture against Gombe United. The former Kaduna United front man is still recovering from a thigh problem that kept him out of training for four days. Maduabuchi injured his thigh during the Abia State FA Cup semi-finals against Okigwe Road AllStars team parading former Enyimba players like Ekene Ezenwa and Chinedu Ezimora. He was hit on the thigh by on rushing All Stars’ defender and has been on the treatment table since then. Maduabuchi, who is expected to return for the next fixture, was left behind in Aba as they departed the commercial city on Monday and travelled the long distance on road to honour the league tie. They stopped over in Jos

Monday night and continued the journey yesterday. Star midfielder Chime Amanfor told National Mirror they were leaving nothing to chance to return to Aba with a good result. Amanfor lamented the team’s not too impressive outings since the league started two months ago and promised they would better their performance. “The players know they have not been in top form since the league started and have resolved to start doing better beginning with the Gombe tie,” Amanfor continued. “It will not be an easy game but we must have to be at our best to impress. Things have really changed and clubs have improved greatly.” Meanwhile, club sources have revealed to National Mirror that the management are not happy with the club’s results in the

Bayelsa Utd

v

Sunshine Stars

Wikki Tourists

v

Sharks

Kano Pillars

v

Heartland

Kwara United

v

Nembe City

El-Kanemi

v

3SC

Thursday

seven-week old league and have refused to carry out some of their financial obligations to the players.

Akwa United

v

ABS

Lobi Stars

v

Rangers

Dolphins

v

Nasarawa United

Gombe United

v

Enyimba

Kaduna Utd

v

Warri Wolves

NPFL Standings – Week 7 Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Pts

1

Kano Pillars

7

5

1

1

8

3

5

16

2

Rangers

7

4

2

1

11

5

6

14

3

Nasarawa

7

4

2

1

8

3

5

14

4

3SC

7

4

0

3

13

10

3

12

5

Sunshine Stars

6

3

2

1

9

5

4

11

6

Nembe City

7

3

2

2

9

8

1

11

7

Heartland

7

3

1

3

14

7

7

10

8

Bayelsa United

7

3

1

3

8

9

-1

10

9

Enyimba

7

2

3

2

4

3

1

9

10

Kwara United

7

2

3

2

4

5

-1

9

11

Akwa United

7

3

0

4

8

10

-2

9

12

Lobi Stars

6

3

0

3

6

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-2

9

13

Gombe United

7

3

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4

7

12

-5

9

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Warri Wolves

7

1

5

1

7

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2

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15

Dolphins

7

2

2

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7

-3

8

16

ABS F.C.

7

2

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-1

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Kaduna United

7

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1

4

6

10

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7

18

Wikki Tourists

7

2

1

4

5

9

-4

7

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El-Kanemi

7

1

3

3

6

11

-5

6

20

Sharks

7

1

2

4

2

8

-6

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National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Business & Finance Subsidy scheme will expand access to cooking gas Exec. Director, International Centre for Energy Environment and Development Ewah Eleri

Nigeria’s micro finance banking model not different from universal banking FORMER CONSULTANT TO UNESCO, DFID, PROF. SOLA ALIU

42-43

Banks will be cautious about power sector funding – MD, GTB AYO OLESIN

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s private sector players get set to take over the operations of the nation’s power sector, banks are likely to thread with caution in dealing with the new entities. Group Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje, who gave this hint yesterday in Lagos at media briefing with senior financial journalists, said banks will be a bit slow in embracing the sector, as it was still uncharted waters for Nigerian lenders. He said that while the privatisation of the power sector was a good and necessary initiative, banks are likely to wait and see how the situation unfolds. “The approach is going to be that of cautious optimism. It is not the issue of funding the power sector that is most important but making sure that the money comes back to the banks and the sector grows”, Agbaje said. On the bank’s strategic growth plan, Agbaje said GTB aims to be among

the top three banks in Africa by 2016 stressing that Nigerian growing economy, emerging opportunities and high population placed it at an advantage even over the South African banks where the banking system was already maturing. He also said that while Nigeria will continue to remain the major franchise GTB will be looking for opportunities elsewhere especially in East Africa,

which he described as a high growth economic zone with decent sized population and national resources that could contribute substantially to the organisation profitability in the coming years. He said that presently the bank’s subsidiaries in Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast were contributing just five per cent of profits and said the plan was to raise the share of offshore

in this regard to 10 per cent by 2015. Explaining the bank’s stellar performance in 2012, when it reported gross profit of N103bn, Return on Equity of 34 per cent, the highest in the industry and Return on Assets of 5.22 per cent, Agbaje said that this was achieved by keeping cost down and increased efficiency in operations and service delivery. He said that bank’s ro-

T

he Managing Director of Dizengoff West Africa Limited, Mr Richard Hargrave has said that agricultural

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L-R: Executive Director, Market Operations Technology, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Ade Bajomo; Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Oscar Onyema; Chief Executive Officer, C & I Leasing Plc, Mr. Emeka Ndu and Executive Director, Business Development, NSE, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri; at the Bell Ringing ceremony in commemoration of the listing of the company’s Bond that was admitted on the Daily Official list of the NSE recently.

High interest rate ‘ll hinder agric sector growth

UDO ONYEKA

bust retail strategy was delivering the expected results and that the banks will continue to maintain a conservative approach to branch expansion due to cost considerations and rather, focus more on complementing branch operations with alternative platforms including ATM, Internet banking and mobile money. Agbaje said that the slow uptake of mobile money was largely due to infrastructure challenges on the side of the telecommunication firms, but he stressed that mobile money would become a critical part of banking as time goes on just like the ATM.

sector in the country may not grow the way it should due to lack of funds for farmers. Speaking recently to National Mirror, Hargrave said it would impossible for any farmer to survive in his business at 25 to 30 per cent interest, “adding that because farming is a capital intensive business, funds has been one of the

biggest challenges to farmers. He said the passion and zeal shown by the Minister of Agriculture Dr Akinwumi Adesina to revive the agricultural sector is highly commendable but that much would not come out of it without the private sector driving the process. “The agricultural sector is an incredibly important

FG enhances technology to boost power supply

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sector, and Nigeria needs to be serious in it, in terms of how she is blessed, in terms of lands, climate, and many other things Nigeria should be leaders in agriculture. I think the federal government is correct, government need to get back to the business of agriculture, government need to be focused on assisting in building

‘Countries need to harness urbanization to achieve the MDGs’

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infrastructure to help the private sector to build a successful agricultural sector. Government can drive the sector it is the private sector and private sector need is to have the enabling environment. “One of the frustrations of government and it is a very difficult challenge is having its plans and initiatives for farmers being abused by speculators and all kinds of dubious characters.

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

New incidents of oil theft threaten economy, oil market

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Business Finance

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG enhances technology to boost power supply CHIDI UGWU ABUJA

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he Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has said that government is upgrading relevant infrastructures to bring about a technologically driven boost in power supply boost across the country. The minister stated this while commissioning the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company’s (PHEDC) Corporate Headquarters and Silver bird 1 X 15MVA, 33/11KV injection substation. He also noted that the introduction of Geographic Information System (GIS), Automated Meter Ready system (AMR), Advanced Metering Infrastructure

are technology driven initiatives that have radically changed the way things are done in the sector. He applauded the Geographic Information System (GIS) technology which he said would boost load management study and balancing of distribution network, calling on other distribution companies to emulate Port-Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company in this regard. He said the technological equipment in use in the power sector by Port-Harcourt Distribution Company would enhance revenue collection, energy management as well as promote accountability. He expressed optimism that all these technological compliance initiatives would all enjoy Federal

Government’s support. The minister, who later addressed the staff of the Company, called for a positive reorientation to work just as he urged them to key into the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration in the power sector. The 2010 Power Sector Reform he said, should not derail, assuring them that all their entitlements would be paid to them in the on-going privatization programme. Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), Engr. Rotimi Onanuga commended the minister for finding time out of his tight schedule, to come for the formal commissioning of the Corporate

Headquarters which he said, would provide a good working environment that will spur the staff to perform better. Onanuga further stated that Silver Bird 1x15 MVA, 33kv Injection Substation which was being commissioned would relieve the grossly overloaded on the Ojoto 11kv feeder emanating from UST 2 x15mMVA, 33/11kV injection substation and overloaded Abonnena 11kV from UTC injection substation respectively, stressing that the affected customers have been long subjected to a strict load shedding prior to this time. Also, the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Port Harcourt Zonal Headquarters, Comrade

Itoro Thomas, thanked the Minister for the visit and told him that workers had since embraced privatisation of the sector. He, however, called on Federal Government not to short change them in the exercise as a way of reciprocating the good gesture of support from the workers. In a related development, the minister was also at the site of the upgraded Akani 2x15 MVA 33/11kV injection substation and Afam Power Station where he assured the staff that their problems would be looked into. It would be recalled that Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), is the first distribution company the minister is visiting on assumption of office.

Port Harcourt Airport about 60% completed - FAAN official OLUSEGUN KOIKI

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L-R: Head of Personal Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Ayoola Adio; Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking, Mr. Obinnia Abajue; Head, Relationship Management, Ms. Joyce Uredi and Head, Customer Channels, Mr. Abiodun Gbadamosi, at the launch of Stanbic IBTC Bank’s Executive Banking Services in Lagos, recently.

US blames Nigeria’s worsening sea piracy on poor enforcement of laws FRANCIS EZEM

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he United States of America said the worsening spate of piracy and sea robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, especially Nigeria at a time when the menace is declining in other regions was as a result of a combination of insufficient and inconsistent enforcement of the relevant laws. Consul General of the US Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Jeff Hawkins, who spoke at the West African Maritime Security Conference organised by Chatham House at the weekend in Lagos, observed that most pirates and sea robbers in the region operate without any fear of being caught and punished. According to him, the Gulf of Guinea has become what Americans colloquially call The Wild West which is a zone where there is insufficient or inconsistent enforcement of the law, thereby

enabling criminal organisations to enjoy the freedom to operate with minimal fear about being caught and punished. “Many criminal groups operating in the Gulf of Guinea have become more brazen partly because they often wield heavier weapons than in the past. As one maritime sector insider said to us recently: “It’s not hard to get a ship to stop when you’re pointing a rocket propelled grenade at it”, he said. He also said: “The zone is characterised both by tremendous opportunities as well as tremendous challenges. It presents opportunities for enhanced economic growth in Nigeria by leveraging the shipping and commercial fishing industries. It presents opportunities for increased and badly- needed employments in ports, onboard ships and in companies that provide goods and services needed by those industries. And it presents opportunities for foreign investors, who look at this mas-

sive, natural-resource endowed country with strong macroeconomic fundamentals and a rapidly growing population of over 170 million and see dollar signs”. On the way out of the problem, he called for concerted effort by the parties, working together to implement both offshore and onshore solutions, arguing that eliminating the problems will require strategies and initiatives that address onshore issues which have perpetuated this maritime insecurity. He argued that there are actions that can be taken by commercial shipping companies, the Nigerian government agencies, the Nigerian military and the country’s international partners. “The United States firmly believes that Nigeria can meet those challenges and that is why we have supported and will continue to support national and regional efforts to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

he ongoing remodelling exercise of the Port Harcourt International Airport, PHIA, Port Harcourt is almost 60 per cent completed. The Regional Manager, Southsouth airports of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Mrs. Ebele Okoye disclosed this to journalists on Monday during the recommencement of Dana Air flight operations to the airport. According to Okoye, the agency was looking at the first week of next month, May to complete 60 per cent of the project, which included departure halls for both international and local flights. The remaining 40 per cent, Okoye said included the remodelling of the international and local arrival halls among others. Speaking on the traffic at the airport, she explained that both the passenger and cargo traffic had been on the rise over the

years, stressing that several local and international airlines have applied to fly the route or increase their frequencies. She assured that the traffic to the airport would increase at the end of the current exercise. She said, “We have really gone far with the remodelling exercise and I want to commend the minister for her vision on this exercise. In the next couple of months, we shall be ready for commissioning and we expect the traffic at this airport to grow. “There are several airlines both local and international that have indicated interest in flying into this airport, which I think is good for the industry. New cargo aircraft are coming in and we are beginning to raise awareness for cargo operations. By the time the cargo terminal is completed, we are expected to export goods through this airport to other countries of the world.” She, however, lamented the unwillingness of most of the agency’s clients to pay for the services rendered them.

Zenith Bank’s Q1 profit rises by 26%

Z

enith Bank Plc has said that its gain increased by 26 per cent in first-quarter profit on increased lending. The bank also said its net income climbed to N23.3billion ($146.7 million) from N18.5 billion naira a year earlier. According to a statement from the financial institution, revenue rose 20 percent to 87 billion naira, while loans and advances increased 21 percent to N1.1 trillion. Zenith Bank expects costs to rise this year due to an increase in a funding levy by the state-owned Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria,

which was set up up in 2010 to buy lenders’ bad debts, Chief Executive Officer Godwin Emefiele said April 8. The statement said Zenith’s firstquarter operating expenses gained 14 percent to N33.9 billion. The bank, which listed $850 million of global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange on March 21, expects loan growth of 15 percent to 20 percent this year with opportunities to lend to the manufacturing, power, agriculture, telecommunications and oil industries, according to Emefiele.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Business Finance

‘Countries need to harness urbanisation to achieve the MDGs’ UDO ONYEKA

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orld Bank has said that urbanisation helps pull people out of poverty and advances progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but, if not managed well, can also lead to burgeoning growth of slums, pollution, and crime. According to Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2013, released by the World Bank, urbanisation has been a major force behind poverty reduction and progress towards other MDGs. The GMR said with over 80 percent of global goods and services produced in cities, countries with relatively higher levels of urbanisation, such as China, and many others in East Asia and Latin America, have played a major role in lowering extreme poverty, “ adding that in contrast, the two least urbanised regions,

South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, have significantly higher rates of poverty and continue to lag behind on most MDGs.” “Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals starkly compares the wellbeing in the countryside versus the city. Urban infant mortality rates range from 8-9 percentage points lower than the rural rates in Latin America and Central Asia; to 10-16 percentage points in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa and highest in East Asia (21 percentage points). “In South Asia, 60 percent of urban dwellers have access to sanitation facilities, compared with 28 percent in rural areas. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 42 percent of the urban population has access, compared with 23 percent of rural residents. Access to safe water in urban areas in developing countries was almost complete in 2010, with 96 percent cov-

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 erage, compared with 81 percent of the rural population having access”, the report said According to World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics, Mr. Kaushik Basu, the rural –urban divide is quite evident, mega cities and large cities are the richest and have far better access to basic public services; smaller towns, secondary cities, and areas on the perimeter of urban centres are less rich; and rural areas are the poorest. Basu, however, said this does not mean unfettered urbanization is a cure-all – the urban poor in many places urgently need better services as well as infrastructure that will keep them connected to schools, jobs and decent health care. The GMR, which is also an annual report card on MDG attainment, finds that progress continues to lag on reducing maternal and child mortality and providing sanitation facilities, targets which will not be met by the MDGs 2015 deadline.

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Inlaks Computer positions for renewed service delivery KUNLE A ZEEZ

F

oremost Information and Communication Technology solutions provider in Nigeria, Inlaks Computers Limited, has confirmed its status as a major player in its segment of the ICT market through efficient service delivery and customer focus. Going by the various activities currently being undertaken by the company under its new management, Inlaks said it was set to become a one-stop service hub in the next coming years. The development manifested itself at a recent Business Review Retreat organised by the company in Lagos, which had in attendance 18 Nigerian banks including First Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Inter-Bank

ECBE grants Nigerian institute membership status MESHACK IDEHEN

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L-R: Manager, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Idiare Atimomo; prize winner, Awolope Roland; Deputy ViceChancellor (Development), Ekiti State University, Prof. Esther Aderibigbe and Specialist Retail Promotion & Marketing, Etisalat Nigeria, Obi Chukwunonso, during the presentation of a car prize to raffle draw winners, at Etisalat Cliqfest seminar at Ekiti State University in Ekiti, recently.

Minister tasks ICT stakeholders on capacity building TOLA AKINMUTIMI

ABUJA

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he Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, yesterday advised Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals in Africa, but more particularly Nigerian industry players, to concentrate more of their efforts to the development of core infrastructure and systems that would make access to Internet and other technology-driven communication channels cheaper for their people. The minister, who gave the advice at the opening session of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, noted that improved investment in key capacity-enhancing technological assets and skills would not only help in exploring the growth po-

tentials of the various economies in the continent to the fullest but also crucial to getting Africa into the leading edge of the rapidly evolving digital global economic order. She specifically listed some of the core areas requiring additional investment and innovative creativity by the industry professionals to include, rapid development of adequate bandwidth, innovate contents in software development and massive production of devices, amongst others. Johnson, explained that Nigeria and other countries would be unable to translate their huge ICT products and services delivery potentials into socio-economic gains unless professionals and investors in the ICT sector prioritise the agenda of exponentially enhancing internet access and devices capacities in order

to make Africa the hub of the emerging opportunities of the digital, knowledge-driven global market. She said: “As we discuss the issues that affect Africa in this Conference, we should appreciate that ICT covers a broad spectrum of the economic space, it is about telecommunications, it is about connectivity, it is about software, it is about education, it is about governance, health, financial services, education and a whole range of other developmental activities. All these sectors are enabled or are facilitated by ICT. “So, we need to focus on core areas of bandwidth expansion, improved access to Internet and development of devices and creation of contents, particularly in software in order to get to where we want to be as a group in the global ICT industry.”

Settlement System and Heritage Bank, the newest entrant into the banking sector. These clients make up the top 80 per cent of the company’s customers base in the financial sector. Speaking at the retreat, Executive Director, Inlaks Computers, Mr. Rajiv Bhatnagar, said the company which has been operating in the country for over 30 years, would in the next three years leverage on efficient service delivery as a key growth strategy. Rajiv further stated that the purpose of the event is to deliberate on business issues with the customers, to understand what has been achieved in view of clients’ expectations, and also discuss areas of improvement to properly position the company as a choice company for most of its customers.

he European Council for Business Education has granted the Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria (ISMN) a membership status. With this development, ISMN will now enjoy affiliation and partnership of three international bodies, which ECBE aside, also includes affiliation and membership of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, (IISS) United Kingdom, and partnership with the University of Business and International Studies, (UBIS) in Geneva Switzerland. Conveying the new status to ISMN through a letter signed

by its Executive Director, Mr. Bryan Holden, ECBC said with this new status, ISMN courses can now be weighted and given appropriate credit points for eventual award of diplomas and degrees, while the institute can also network with business schools and business studies departments of European universities for exchange programmes and other collaborations. ISMN Registrar and Chief Executive. Mr. Yemi Mapaderun, while receiving the letter on behalf of the institute, said the institute has invested heavily on study platform, adding the new status will drive ISMN towards achieving its set goals as an institute.

DHL records increase in transport requests from Nigeria, others KUNLE A ZEEZ

D

HL, one of the leading logistics companies in the world, said it has recorded in increase in requests to transport various endangered animals as well as some unique personal client requests both from Nigeria and other countries around the globe. Managing Director, DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr. Charles Brewer, who stated this also noted that throughout Africa, the capabilities of logistics companies have also evolved exponentially over the past 20 years. He said, who took a retrospective look at the logistics sector in 2012, said it is today commonplace to transport ‘packages’ such as live animals, specially prepared food

or the latest car model across the continent. According to him, “A highlight in 2012 was moving three endangered Black Rhinos from the UK to the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. The 10-hour journey from Manston, United Kingdom airport to Tanzania included a refuelling stop in Italy and took place aboard a specially outfitted Boeing 757.” He said special accommodation included rhino-sized lifesaving devices and temperature controlled conditions in the cabin, and the transport team included two rhino keepers, two aircraft engineers and a specialist veterinarian. “It is very special that we can use our core capability of logistics to support such valuable conservation efforts,” said Brewer.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Energy Week

udemea@rocketmail.com 07031546994

Rising oil theft threatens economy With the introduction of improved monitoring, the frequency of crude oil theft had started to decline last year. UDEME AKPAN, however, reports that the incidence has started to rise again with negative impact on the nation’s economy.

An illegal refinery.

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il theft has always been a major thorn in the flesh of the Federal Government for a number of reasons. First, it culminates in the destruction of facilities, especially pipelines dedicated to the movement of petroleum (crude oil and natural gas), and even petroleum products from one part of the nation to another. Second, oil theft reduces the quantity of petroleum available for export, thus, affecting foreign exchange the nation generates for the execution of yearly budgets. It also slashes the quantity of refined products such as petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene among others. This explains why most observers heaved a sigh of relief when it became obvious that crude oil theft had dropped from 180, 000 barrels per day, bpd to about 80,000 bpd as a result of improved monitoring of facilities in the onshore and offshore (land and sea) areas of the

WE’RE CONCERNED THAT THE NCTL HAS BEEN TARGETED BY CRUDE OIL THIEVES REPEATEDLY SINCE WE INSTALLED THE NEW LINE IN

$1.1 BILLION

Niger Delta. The Group Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Abiye Membere who confirmed the development in Abuja said the government was about to launch a major campaign to be tagged Blood money to further discourage thieves from stealing the nation’s commonwealth. The campaign, targeted at major markets of stolen oil is meant to discourage those who patronise the trade from doing so because of serious negative implications to Nigeria. The GED said the major campaign being packaged by NNPC would involve key officials moving from one major buyers of the nation’s crude to

2010 AT A COST OF

another in West Africa and other parts of the world. Membere said: If we are able to discourage buyers from buying stolen crude and the petroleum products that are processed from it, it would go a long way to tackling oil theft in the nation.” Membere was not alone. The Country Chair/Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu stated that Shell had started to ensure pipelines were buried much deeper than in the past. He said: “In one of our projects, the pipelines were laid as deep as 13 feet, which makes them deep enough for discourage vandals. We are glad that the different security issues are being addressed by the government in associa-

tion with friendly West African nations as well as governments of other countries.” Consequently, many stakeholders did not expect frequent occurrence in oil theft anymore. But this has not been the case. Oil theft has continued to occur even more frequently in the Niger Delta. For instance, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) shut down the Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL) on April 15th April to remove crude oil theft connections and investigate suspected oil theft leaks. Production of some 150,000 barrels of oil per day has been deferred due to the shutdown. As a result, SPDC has declared force majeure on Bonny Light export. He stated that: “We’re concerned that the NCTL has been targeted by crude oil thieves repeatedly since we installed the new line in 2010 at a cost of $1.1 bilCONTINUED ON PAGE 36


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Energy Week

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 lion,” said Managing Director of SPDC & Country Chair, Shell Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu. “The current exercise aims to remove a significant number of oil theft connections and repair any leaks on the pipeline. We recognise efforts by the security forces to contain the crime, and SPDC will work with them during the shutdown to clear illegal connections on the NCTL.” The 97-kilometre NCTL has been closed several times as a result of crude oil theft leaks and fires between December 2011 and May 2012. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation also stated that there has been a drop in crude oil production for the first quarter of 2013. The Acting Group General Manager Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Mrs. Tumini Green, attributed the drop to incessant crude oil theft and vandalism along the major pipelines within the Niger Delta. She stated that daily crude oil production during the period fluctuated between 2.1 and 2.3 million barrels per day (mbpd) compared with the projected estimate of 2.48mbpd. As She puts it: “Expectedly, this fall between actual production and forecast in first quarter 2013 has resulted in a drop in crude oil revenue of about $1.23 billion (N$191 billion) that should have accrued to the Federation Account. She explained that the NNPC/SPDC JV recently declared a force majeure on Bonny Crude due to incessant crude oil theft. This resulted in the shutting in of 150,000 bpd. Green stated that: “Investigations showed that 53 break points were discovered along the 97km Nembe Creek Trunkline. Repair work is expected to last about six weeks. This will further reduce our April and May monthly average to about 2.2mbpd and further decrease crude oil revenue by about $554.0 million (equivalent to N83billion) that should have accrued to the Federation Account.” Green assured that: “We shall continue to work with relevant government agencies both at the Federal and state levels to end this incessant crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism. We have the potential to meet the national target of 2.48mbpd if this menace is eliminated, she said, adding that crude theft and

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Rising oil theft threatens economy

Jonathan

pipeline vandalism continue to degrade the environment, increase operational costs, impact negatively on the image of the country and of course, reduces revenue accruable to the nation.” Investigations showed that oil thieves have positioned themselves for brisk business in the Niger Delta. Many oil thieves steal crude oil almost daily in the region. The oil is processed at countless illegal refineries that are located in different parts of the Niger Delta. Part of the petroleum products, especially diesel are sold close to where they are processed while others are distributed through the use of boats and ferries in the coastal states and beyond. This practice which seems to be increasing over time denies the government and operators of genuine income. The operations of the illegal plants also affect the environment as operators also dump their waste at onshore and offshore environments, thus, causing severe pollution of very destructive impact. The trend may be difficult to arrest as there is a connivance with influential global syndicates around the world. The SPDC observes in its latest report that unrest has grown, particu-

Sunmonu

Madueke

INVESTIGATIONS SHOWED THAT 53 BREAK POINTS WERE DISCOVERED ALONG

THE 97KM NEMBE CREEK

TRUNKLINE

larly as a result of frustration over lack of benefits from oil production. It states that: “The unrest has turned into a worrying criminal movement, which feeds on massive thefts of crude oil. Heavily armed and well-organised groups attack oil and gas facilities in the delta, shut down operations, kidnap staff and sabotage pipelines.” The firm which notes the clashes of rival gangs in the region states that: “Barges take stolen oil to tankers waiting offshore for export. There is also a massive illegal refining business based on stolen crude oil. All these have reduced the amount of oil SPDC is producing, created environmental and social problems from oil spills and reduced government revenue that could be used to develop infrastructure and

services.” According to the company’ s account, in 2010/2011, there were 237 reported incidents of crude oil theft from SPDC facilities that involved vandalism, spills, fire or arrests (there were 187 in 2009/2010)1 while authorities arrested 145 people and seized among others 18 tankers, 22 vehicles, 16 barges, and 35 locally made boats. The situation sometimes gets out of hand. For instance, in early 2006, a series of attacks forced SPDC to shut many of its operations in the region, thus causing not only the firm but also the nation to record substantial amount of its oil. The impact is not limited to oil production and revenue. The firm states that: “In 2011, criminal gangs kidnapped 19 SPDC employees and contractors (26 in 2010). One fatality was recorded in December 2010 when a contractor employee was killed during an abduction related incident near Imo River in the Eastern Delta Operations. Be this as it may, many stakeholders, including operators have made strong case for the adoption of measures, capable of tackling oil theft and other challenges in the industry so as to realise improved and stable operations.

NDPHC plans to commission over 1,000 NIPP schemes in Lagos, Ogun

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he Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), owners of the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) has delivered the largest Transmission substation located in Oke Aro a boundary town between Lagos and Ogun State. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NDPHC Mr. James Abiodun Olotu, who powered the substation in Oke Aro at the weekend to mark the delivery of the project among several distribution projects said the completion of the project was in line with commitment of NDPHC to commission many projects before the end of this year. He said: “Oke Aro NIPP project is a 330/132/33 MVA transmission station that has 2x300 MVA transformers to im-

proves and radiate more power for Lagos and her environs comprising Ogun state and easy off the heavy load centres in Maryland, Ikeja and Akoka and Ijora. Olotu stated that: “The biggest transformer in the system and the first of its kind in Nigeria. It has the capacity to wheel out 480 MVA on the 330/132 /120 MVA on the distribution side feeding mainly Ikeja and her environs. The projects would go a long way in improving supply to both Lagos and Ogun State through its 332 KVA injection Sub-station.” Olotu said that the 330 kva energy supply line that is coming from Egbin Power Station is also linked into the sub-station to re-distribute to PHCN Ikeja west transmission line.

He said the station is a three cable power source; it has supply from 330 cable transformers connected to 132 KVA and descends into 33KVA for distribution. Olotu said the 330 kva has 10 feeders that can go out to various locations to supply power to Nigerians with and outside the neighbourhood .while six feeder from 33kva that will supply Oke-Aro environs, which shows that this is a mega stations. The managing director said that the ongoing commissioning of the substation was part of its commitment to ensure projects completion thereby strengthening transmission and distribution infrastructure in the country, He said that this was achievable be-

cause everybody is asking question on the completion of the job and most contractors that handled the projects in the contrite are upright The NIPP boss said the control panel is automated which is going to replicate it in Lekki, Alagbon, New heaven in Makudi. He urged Nigerians who are working with the expatriate to tapped into their experience and urged the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSA) to commence adequate training for their members in order to match up with their counterparty outside the country. Olotu said, “it is part of my promises and objective to deliver over a thousand NIPP projects, which we are seriously working towards that direction now.”


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Energy Week

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

37

OPEC makes case for more investment in oil, gas UDEME AKPAN

… price drops to $102.44 per barrel

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he Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC has made a strong case for more investment in oil and gas. The Secretary General of the Organisation, Mr. Abdalla S. El-Badri who made the case in his recent presentation stated that it became necessary in order to meet future rise in demand. The Secretary General stated that energy has positively impacted the lives of billions over the centuries, especially after the discovery and utilisation of fossil fuels. He stated that it has provided heat, light and mobility, and been central to the development of the industrial civilization as we know it. El-Badri stated that, “it will be as important to our future economic and social progress. Therefore, we need all sources of energy - old and new - and it is easy to understand why.” He said the world population is expected to reach around 9 billion by 2040, an increase of over 1.8 billion from today’s level. The Secretary General stated that the global economy will rebound in the longer term. Of course, I cannot stand here and say the current economic outlook is rosy, but we should be optimistic about the future. He said the passenger car ownership rates are expected to more than double by 2035, from around 900 million today to close 1.8 billion by 2035. The Secretary General disclosed that with about three billion people living on less than two dollars 50 cents per day, 1.4 billion people having no access to electricity and some 2.7 billion relying on biomass for their basic needs, there is huge potential for socio-economic development.

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ain One, Nigeria’s premier and leading provider of broadband communication services to telecommunication operators, Internet service providers (ISPs) and corporate organisations has widened its coverage as it announced its presence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. At an event, themed, “Business Expansion: the Connectivity Edge”, held at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt, the company showcased its broadband solutions to locally resident businesses. The launch was held in collaboration with partner company Phase 3 Telecom. Phase 3 is a national long distance operator

Oil vessel

retariat calculations. The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela). The drop in price, attributed to relatively low demand in the volatile international oil market would not have negative impact on the yearly budgets of oil exporting countries. Available records have it that the OPEC price was still in excess of the budget reference prices of many nations, including Nigeria which has $79 per barrel as it reference price.

He said: “All this underlines that world energy demand is set to grow. In OPEC’s most recent World Oil Outlook, world energy demand in 2035 increases by 54 per cent over the period 2010-to-2035. He stated that with this figure in mind, there is clearly room for all energies. There are great prospects for the industry. He noted that: “Nonetheless, it is vital that we fully understand which energies will form the core of our future? And which energies will play a more complementary role? I should add that none of us can make accurate predictions. We don’t have crystal balls! Over time, opinions can shift, new realities can set in, and of course, we can expect many challenges and uncertainties on the path ahead.” Meanwhile, the price of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC basket of 12 crudes has crashed from $102.44 to $100.63 per barrel, according to OPEC Sec-

Source: Oilprice.com

Main One, others host awareness creation event in Port Harcourt with aerial fibre optic cable deployed on high-voltage electricity power lines that extend Main One’s services from Lagos to various parts of the country including Port Harcourt. With the launch, businesses and service providers in Port Harcourt and surrounding areas can now readily access the benefits of the reliable services that Main One provides. Speaking on the impact its broadband solutions would provide to Rivers State, CEO of Main One, Ms. Funke Opeke stated, “It is imperative that reliable and affordable broadband internet services

are available in all parts of Nigeria for increased economic development and business growth. This is the reason we have sought to distribute more of our capacity in the Port Harcourt region where demand from our customers for such services is growing and critical as a driving force for their success”, Opeke added that the event is in line with Main One’s commitment to assisting Nigerian businesses in their stride for growth, and accelerating the rate of broadband penetration across Nigeria. Main One is one of the largest providers of Internet connectivity in West Af-

Commodity

Units

Price

Change

% Change

Time(ET)

Crude Oil (WTI)

USD/bbl.

95.58

+0.77

+0.81%

08:26:50

Crude Oil (Brent)

USD/bbl.

108.26

+0.13

+0.12%

08:26:24

TOCOM Crude Oil

JPY/kl

61,280.00

+180.00

+0.39%

08:28:44

NYMEX Natural Gas

USD/MMBtu

3.87

+0.02

+0.23%

08:26:11

Source: Bloomberg

rica, providing services in Nigeria and Ghana among other countries, to its growing customer base of service providers and corporate customers. On his own part, Mr. Otuya Okecha, Head, Business Solutions and Sales, Phase 3 Telecoms, stated that the partnership with Main One would result in a more efficient distribution and extensive reach due to strength of both companies, thus improving broadband availability in Port Harcourt. “With connectivity from Main One and Phase 3, MDAs, ISPs, MNOs, corporate organizations and other businesses in Port Harcourt will have immediate access to high capacity broadband Internet services at very affordable costs. You can rely on the connection to a global IP backbone and integrated Fiber Network to ensure that your organizations gain the broadband connectivity edge to transform the way you do business, enhance the way your students learn and the way your branch offices communicate,” Okecha affirmed.


38

Energy Week

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Poor collection, remittance of tariff, bane of power sector –Wonodi The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc that serves as the bridge between generation and distribution companies occupies a prime place in the power sector. In this interview with CHIDI UGWU; the Chief Executive Officer of the institution, Rumundaka Wonodi speaks on activities of the agency over the last one year, among other issues. What has been the thrust of your operations in the past one year? It is an interesting question in a way because it assumes that we are preparing for a role. But we see ourselves as already performing our role while there are other parts of our mandate that we are gearing up towards taken up. So, over the past one year, what have we been working on? We have done a lot. But we can categorise them into two areas. One is that we have been able to drive and work with Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) to make the privatisation happen. We have also been able to go out and procure new generation capacity for the industry. Both prongs are to eventually get the private sector into the Nigerian power industry as the act has actually stipulated. Last year, we provided the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and the vesting contracts as part of the industry agreements that will drive the privatisation. So the bidders took a look at those, and other agreements, including the tariff that was set by the commission. They came to the conclusion that within the reform, that government has one way or another put a commercial arrangement that works for everyone. They were therefore encouraged to submit their bids. In February, we signed PPAs and vesting contracts with the generation companies and distribution companies respectively. On the green field, we are negotiating with about three and four IPPs. Last year, our board gave conditional approval of the term sheet that we have agreed with one of the front runners. We took the same term sheet, including its tariff to the commission and they issued us a no objection to conclude that PPA. We are looking forward to concluding that PPA. It will perform a basis for other PPAs that will be entered by the Bulk Trader. So, we are working hard in playing the role. We are beginning to do the settlement for the transition market coming in place for the bulk trader, the market operator, the system operator, the transmission service provider and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). We are all working towards making that happen through the transitional steering group that is supervised by the commission. So, once that transitional market is declared, the bulk trader will assume each role of managing those contracts. What funding arrangement do you have with the GENCOs? We are funded through appropriation for startup cost and then for our capitalisation. Last year, what was appropriated was about N20 billion. The reform and the transactions were delayed up to this year. About 50 per cent of that was released to the bulk trader. This year, the proposal is for N14 billion. If you add that to what we have, you would expect that we should

have over N20 billion for capitalisation for operations. We receive money under appropriation through the Ministry of Power, and we also receive additional funds from the market because we are part of the market. The MYTO tariff order provides for covering some of our costs. The Federal Government has decided to issue some Euro bonds up to $1 billion and part of that would be used to capitalise the Bulk Trader. It could be $200, 300 and up to $400 million which would be used to capitalise the Bulk Trader and the other will also go into infrastructure that supports the power sector. What is the power sales arrangement like, are you going to give the DISCOs power on credit? The market has a settlement period. This is not unique to the Bulk Trader. It is unique to the agreement within the market. The way the market works is that at the end of every month, the market operator will send out a settlement statement to each participant. If you are a distribution company, you are going to receive a statement that says you have consumed so much power that was supplied you by the Bulk Trader. If you are the Bulk Trader, you will see a settlement statement that says you have received so much this month. It may state that you utilise 10 units from Egbin power plant, five units Sapele, and five units from Olorunsogo Power Plant and so on. The Bulk Trader can say well, Eko Disco, I gave you 50 units. From the statement, you received five through Egbin power plant or indeed other stations. What the bulk trader will then do, is based on tariff in the PPAs, it will then send invoices to each of the distribution companies. At the same time, it is receiving invoices from of the generation companies that has supplied it power. The day it is sending or asking please pay me, it is also expecting invoices from the generation company that is saying pay me. Yes, everybody will be issued a bill after the end of month. We expect the payments to be done about the same time. We expect the distribution companies to pay us and we pay the generation companies. There is a need for distribution companies to give consumers 60 days before they can go and disconnect them. There might be gaps and if there are gaps the Bulk Trader might make that payment on their behalf, and wait for them to pay. But if they do not, as private sector concerns, we are going to dip hand into the bank guarantee that we expect them to post in our favour or a Letter of Consent (LC). We might give them a little grace period, but if they do not pay, we are just going to go and dip our hands into the bank guarantee or an LC which they post in our favour. One of the problems that have bedeviled the industry is the poor collection, poor remittance and low tariff. We believe that

Wonodi

THE SOLUTION REQUIRES LONG TERM PLAN WHERE PEOPLE FOCUS ON THE REFORM AND DRIVE IT TO CONCLUSION the tariff is fair, and that it is at the right level. This is true because the people coming to take over the assets are saying that the tariff is good enough to enable them deliver the services, collect enough and pay for the power. They pay the bulk trader. The Bulk Trader is able to pay the Generation Company while the firm is able to pay the gas transporter and gas suppliers. The chain is a viable chain. Do you have the technology and infrastructure to store as well as redistribute power? We do not need any infrastructure because we buy from generation companies and sell at the same point. It is transmitted by the transmission company to the distribution companies. We do not have any hard assets. We do have need for technologies software and things like that to be able to manage the trade. We need to process the data and be able to analyse it and produce bills. Right now, we are procuring and looking forward to procuring some facilities. At the same time, we are also working with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to see which of their technological platforms can be utilised in the short term. What challenges do you envisage in this whole process? There are quite some significant challenges in terms of capacity, both structural and human. Understanding the exact way the market would work, especially in terms of regulation, trading, settlements, system operation. In other words, there are gaps within the sector. We want to believe that as we keep moving forward, we keep

learning. At the same time, we are happy that it is something that is recognized by the government. Government knows that there is a need for capacity building. That explains why we have NAPTIN that would help. It should be noted that NAPTIN is more inclined to operations of power plants and distribution companies. But the commercial frameworks, the power purchase agreements, and different types of industry agreements, the commercial framework, the capacity comes from DFID, USIAD and the World Bank. Of course these entities, including the Commission, the Bulk Trader and Ministry of Power also have training budgets to make sure that they build human capacity. There is also the issue of continued investment by government. But, I think that for the power sector, the relief that government is going to get in owning all these assets would also allow it to focus on where it really controls, which is transmission. People express concern about government, but I think government is addressing that. And with Manitoba Hydro and the management contract being in place, the first thing you need is system planning and data. Without that, you would not know where you are investing or how much you are going to invest. This is because you need to identify the projects and so on, so those are challenges. And of course, the biggest challenge of all is long deprivation that the citizens may have faced. People have been deprived for a long time. It is difficult to wait any longer. That clamour for power at times forces policy makers to focus on the short term instead of long term solution. The solution requires long term plan where people focus on the reform and drive it to conclusion. This administration has achieved a lot in the power sector but you can only see it after five years when you look back. People need to be very patient to enable government complete the projects and programmes targeted at improving power supply in the nation.


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Energy Week

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

FG screens bids for Afam, Kaduna distribution companies UDEME AKPAN

ITH AGENCY REPORT

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he Federal Government has started screening of bids for Afam and Kaduna distribution companies. Of the 20 firms that submitted bids, two are expected to emerge as preferred bidder and another two as reserved bidder respectively. A source at the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, who confirmed the development stated that: “The Bureau of Public Enterprises has started processing the bids. At the end of day, two preferred bidders and another two reserved bidders would emerge.” He said the BPE would consider among other things the amount bided as well as other issues such as technical competence, technological competence, financial strength and ability of the bidders to make impact on the nation’s local content. The BPE received 20 bids for Afam Power Plc and Kaduna distribution companies as at April 16, 2013 which was closing date for the submission of bids by prospective investors. A break down showed that nine bids were received for Afam Power Plc and 11 for Kaduna Distribution Company. At the deadline of January 31, 2013 for the submission of Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from prospective bidders for the two companies, BPE received 19 applications for Kaduna Disco and 29 applications for Afam Generation Company. Consequently, the Bureau, on February 4, 2013, sent Requests for Proposals (RFP) to the 48 prospective bidders. Afam Power Plc and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc were among the 17 PHCN successor companies that were earlier advertised for sale in December 2010

along with the 15 other PHCN Successor Companies that went through a full competitive tender process which culminated in the submission of technical and financial proposals in July 2012. However, following the rigorous technical evaluation that all bids were subjected to, none of the bids received for Afam Power Plc and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc scored the minimum 75per cent required to progress to the financial bid stage. This development compelled the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) to order a re-run of the entire transaction as it was not prepared to settle for a second best. The pre-due diligence conference for the re-tender of Afam Power Plc and Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc was held in Abuja on Monday, March 4, 2013. Meanwhile, about 30 indigenous and foreign investors have indicated interest in 10 of the nation’s independent power plants.

The plants include Calabar, Egbema, Ihovbor, Gbarain, Sapele, Omoku, Alaoji, Olorunsogo II, Omotosho II, Geregu II and which have 561 megawatts, mw, 338mw, 450mw, 225mw, 450mw, 250mw, 1,074mw, 750mw, 500mw and 434mw respectively. The plants being put forward for sale were developed under the nation’s National Integrated Power Project, NIPP as part of government measures to boost power generation, transmission and distribution in the nation. The Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Mr. James Olotu, who confirmed the development in an interview with Reuters stated that: “We have organisations showing interest from all parts of the world,” he said without giving further details. The agency stated that the companies that jointly owned by the federal, state and local governments, the power companies

were set up from 2004 as a special intervention to boost gas-fueled electricity output. Reuters stated that: “With combined installed capacity at more than 5,000 megawatts, they include the 850-megawatt Alaoji Generation Co. near the southeastern city of Aba, the 754-megawatt Olorunsogo Generation Co. in the southwest and the 634-megawatt Calabar Generation Co. on the southeastern coast. It stated that the nation sold as much as 60 percent stakes in 10 electricity distributors and five power generators that were part of the former state monopoly on February 22, 2013 under a plan to increase output with private investment. The agency stated that: “Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Africa’s top oil producer where electricity demand is almost double the supply of about 5,000 megawatts.

ecutives of the Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate, Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency, the National Oil Company, the Asset Management Corporation and all government agencies or corporate entities established or to be established after the Bill has been passed into law. The Bill criminalizes interference or any form of obstruction to the minister’s duties. It is a punishable offence for any person to interfere with, or obstruct the Minister or his servants and agents in the exercise of ministerial duties and powers. Offenders are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N 5,000,000 (Five Million Naira) or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both. (Section 7 (4))

Does the PIB give excessive powers to the petroleum minister?

minister is also empowered to make regulation regarding major fiscal terms such as fees/ bonuses, royalties and the terms of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs). The current framework arrogates too much responsibility to the person of the minister rather than to independent institutions and this can easily give room to abuse of power, patronage and political interference. Uncontrolled decision-making power is often prone to misuse and abuse, mainly because it is impossible to see into how decisions are arrived at and accountability is obfuscated. At an E-conference on the PIB hosted by Spaces for

Facts on PIB What are the functions of the Minister of Petroleum Resources? The Minister of Petroleum Resources is the regulatory and operational head of the oil industry. S/he is responsible for coordinating all activities; exercising general supervision over all institutions and operations in the petroleum industry, and advises the government, including the Federal Executive Council on all matters pertaining to the petroleum industry (Section 6). The minister also formulates and monitors government petroleum policy, and is empowered to make regulations necessary to give proper effect to the PIB provisions (Section 8). In addition, the Minister advises the President on the appointments of the chief ex-

Total supports first Egi City SME trade, investment fair

A

Afam power station

By section 6 of the PIB, the Minister has the power to grant and revoke licenses; make regulations and decisions; and participate actively in all boards and corporate bodies created under the Bill. Apart from having supervisory oversights over the UPI and DPRA, the Minister will also be the one to nominate individuals to the boards of the various newly-created entities. The Minister will determine the administrative structure of the Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHC) and also serve as the chairman of the boards of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) and the Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF). The

CONTINUED ON PAGE 40

39

s part of a determined effort to economically empower the Egi people, Total in collaboration with the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce (PHCCIMA) and other stakeholders, has organized a Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) Trade & Investment Fair. The eight-day Fair was flagged off at the SME-DN Centre, Obite with over 100 exhibitors participating. The vision of the trade fair is to facilitate the emergence of at least 5,000 sustainable small businesses and 10,000 new jobs by the year 2020 with a view to reducing over-dependence on the Oil & Gas sector. This is the first time such an economic fair is taking place in these parts. The forum afforded entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase and sell their goods and services while also providing a platform for entrepreneurs, investors and their customers/clients to exchange business ideas, establish partnerships and business relationships, explore new supply chains and access new market opportunities. “Total is supporting the Egi City Trade and Investment fair to see that these enterprises prosper and grow, as well as compliment efforts of the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) to establish the Rivers North Growth Pole. This is the strategy aimed at transforming Egi into an economic hub with intention of spreading its economic prosperity to other neighbouring communities in ONELGA”, said the Managing Director, Mr. Guy Maurice in an address read on his behalf by the Deputy Managing Director, Port Harcourt District, Mr. Nicolas Brunet. The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Mr. Gift Ake commended Total for supporting the fair which he stated would accelerate economic development in the area. Other speakers also commended the company for this initiative to build the economic capacity of its host community. They include the Eze Egi, HRM Eze (Dr) Kingdom Elemchukwu Elenwa and the Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local council, Hon. Austin Ahiamadu. The Egi City Trade & Investment Fair is the result of 5 years’ effort by Total and other development partners to stimulate sustainable local economic development in the host communities.


40

Energy Week

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The politics of oil Ossie

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

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here is no politics like the politics of oil, at least not since 1861. It has driven nations to war, restrained nations from war, created national and leadership arrogance and extreme hubris that eventually caused implosion. When the matter boils down to oil, international morality and legalisms are thrown overboard. That’s when new rules get written. Navies can and do get mobilised when sovereignty over bleak, windswept volcanic islands and islets is in dispute, if it is suspected that there could be oil deposits in the surrounding seas. A case in point is the dispute and muscle flexing between China and Japan or the lingering problem between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falkland Island. National integrity and a nation’s respect for international law could be at stake as was the case of Nigeria in the course of its argument with the Republic of Cameroon over the Bakassi peninsula. The World Court decided the matter in Cameroon’s favour and the more powerful nation elected to abide by the ruling. It is our honest belief that if the rebel Republic of Biafra had gotten the same level of recognition from Cameroon as the one given by Ivory Coast or Gabon, war might have taken a different turn. Biafra would have been impossible to encircle and would have been guaranteed unlimited access to the external markets for arms. But the bait would have been to cede Bakassi peninsula and possible some good acreage of continental shelf outright to The Republic of Cameroon. With the split of Sudan and South Sudan, there had been a series of high attrition skirmishes and the kernel of the matter is who gets the borders straddling oil fields, flow-stations and prospective land. So each party interprets the exact line of border differently. The sad fact is that both parties are finding armament freely from oil thirsty nations, especially from the East, desirous of sweetheart arms for oil barter. The bond that hold nations together and the old alliances can be shredded or trampled underfoot when it comes to oil. The North –Sea discoveries did tempt Anglo-Norwegian relationship. Even firm CONTINUED FROM 39 Change on July 14, 2012, stakeholders2 expressed deep concern regarding the powers of the minister, and urged that it be reviewed. 2.3 What are the new entities that will be created after the Bill is passed? The PIB provides for the establishment of nine agencies that will be answerable to the Minister of Petroleum Resources. Of the nine, there will be two regulatory agencies – Upstream Petroleum Inspectorate (UPI) and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (DPRA); three major funds – Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Petroleum Host Community Fund; three companies that will operate under com-

Militants

SOME JUSTIFIABLE PENALTIES WERE SOUGHT AND IMPOSED, BUT WHEN COMPARED WITH THOSE EVENTUALLY IMPOSED ON

EXXON FOR THE ALASKA MISHAP, EYE-BROWS COULD BE RAISED

commitments and covenants between nations can be razed or torn at short notice; such that new re-alignments would be coupled up at high octane speed. Take the case of Operation Nickel Grass during the Yom Kippur War, when the US airlifted nearly 25,000 metric tons of arms and ammunition to the beleaguered State of Israel. The lifting C-5 Galaxy and consigned C-130 had to be flown through a very narrow corridor over the Mediterranean because virtually all European countries denied over-flight rights to these redemption flights. Refueling those aircrafts en-route was a logistic nightmare the Americans were able to overcome because of their existing naval presence in those waters. The Kiev-born Mamaleh in Tel Aviv had to arm twist for this aid by visibly taking steps to deploy thirteen 20 kiloton nuclear warheads. She, appreciating the precarious situation of her country pleaded to erstwhile allies, the western European nations, for military assistance to. No one heeded her nor showed her light of day. The Arabs have oil the Israelis had only orchards in their kibbutz. Who needs orange juice when motor spirit is what matters!

Oil and the relationships derived from it or desired there from can give cause to undermining, arm-twisting and client state relationship. The global dimensions, interconnectedness and geo-political ramifications of oil and gas are mind-boggling. It is the stuff of stimulating, awe inspiring and informative reading for those who wish to delve into the copious, in-depth materials available on the subject in the past one hundred and fifty years. The important thing was that Big Oil still found a way to weather the storm of the Arab Oil Embargo and the attrition it caused. For instance it brought an eclipse to Andy Warhol-esque type of barge-sized cars with tail fins like whales. Read: Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Cadillac. They guzzled and burnt fuel by the barrels with a liter per kilometer efficiency rate comparable to salmon and trout spawns. The industry is coping very well and resilient against the more recent New Terrorist World Order of sabotaging pipelines, well-heads, refineries plus piracy against supertankers especially in the areas of Kirkuk, Iraq; Sinai (constant threat), Somalia(established threat), Togolese and Beninois waters(emergent piracy threat), Cabinda (constant guerrilla threats), the Niger Delta Regions of Nigeria(kidnap for ransom regime) and the subsiding incidents in the peripheries of the Bakassi Peninsula. The Cameroonian gendarmes and units of their amphibious forces are effectively putting paid to these types of acts of mischief making. The global oil and gas industry also surmounted the internationally devised mandatory Cabotage Law that prescribe expensive, double hulking of supertankers (VLCCs), and PPSVs (production, processing and storage vessels. The double hulking business was a consequence of

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the Exxon Valdez oil tanker that broke and caused a massive spill in Alaska in 1989. The industry was also able to cap the campaign of calumny, generalised vilification or put more precisely demonization that arose in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April, 2010. The entire fossil fuel industry was collectively crucified and for good measure nearly suffocated in the congealed crude muck floating on the surface of the choppy waters of the Gulf. President Obama weighed in on the matter when he declared that if Tony Haywood were working for him, he would have fired him summarily. Some justifiable penalties were sought and imposed, but when compared with those eventually imposed on Exxon for the Alaska mishap, eye-brows could be raised. It was a miracle and revealed BP’s strong fundamentals that the financial costs of resolving the incident did not bankrupt the company. The British icon lost its Chief, Tony Haywood whose position was undermined by his acts of omission in not treating this industrial accident with the seriousness it deserved. He committed shocking public relation gaffes through actions and utterances that portrayed him as a very insensitive person and Chief Executive. Some of the hard cuffs on the knuckles could have been as a result of the levity with which this walk on water kid handled a matter that threatened for real, the livelihoods of thousands upon thousands of families eking out a living lobstering, fishing and crabbing in the Gulf Coast and Louisiana bayou. On 27th of July, 2010 he was BP history. Who knows a stitch in time on the Horizon oil rig could have saved nine, but that is old saw wisdom, very naïve and simplistic in assuming that cloth mending begins to compare with taming a blowout issuing from a perforation of the horrendously compressed earth crust. Big Oil however acquitted itself well in the subtle, nearly imperceptible solidarity it showed BP at its time on the cross. This writer has been opportune to study the lives and times of some of the legends of Big Oilmen such as J.D Rockefeller. He it was who confessed in a moment of rare candor and introspection that of all the investments he ever made, oil it was that left him most scarred. He ought to know. But oil it was also that gave him the greatest excitement and wealth whose application and privilege bought him power and fuelled his croesusian philanthropy that acquired him immortality. At the turn of the century Standard Oil of New Jersey had as much clout as the US Government if you subtract the Departments of the Army, Navy (including the Marines),

Facts on PIB mercial terms – National Oil Company; National Gas Company Plc and National Petroleum Assets Management Company; and a technical and support bureau – Petroleum Technical Bureau. The UPI will take over or replace the current regulator, the Directorate for Petroleum Resources (DPR) that is generally perceived as inefficient, corrupt and powerless. In addition to inheriting the assets and liabilities of the DPR, its main functions include regulating all technical aspects and commercial activities of the upstream sector and promoting the efficient, safe, effective and sustainable infrastructural development

of the upstream sector. The Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency shall be in charge of assets and liabilities relating to the downstream petroleum industry, and assume the functions of both the DPR and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA). The agency shall, among others, enforce compliance with the terms and conditions of all licences, permits and authorisations issued in respect of downstream petroleum operations.

Will the new regulatory bodies be independent? In line with industry best practice, the PIB established two standalone regulatory

bodies: the UPI and the DPRA to regulate activities in the petroleum sector. As independent entities, they may enter into contracts and incur obligations; (b) acquire and dispense movable and immobile property, and do all such things as are necessary to the carrying out of their functions and duties. The UPI also has the power to institute legal proceedings against any licensee, lessee or permit holder for failure to comply with licence, lease or permit conditions or other `requirements. (Section 13 (2) and 43) TO BE CONCLUDED


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

41


42

Executive Discourse

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Subsidy scheme will expand The Executive Director, International Centre for Energy Environment and Development (ICEED) and Coordinator, Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Mr. Ewah Eleri urges the Federal Government to come up with appropriate policy which will not only help to stop the avoidable deaths arising from cooking with firewood, but also enable the country tap into the emerging efficient woods stove market, estimated at $3bn. He spoke with OLUFEMI ADEOSUN. Excerpt What are the health and environmental hazards associated with cooking with firewood and what effort is the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves making to make Nigerians break away from this traditional form of cooking? Nigeria is facing a tremendous energy crisis. Nearly 100,000 Nigerians die every year from smokes coming out of the kitchen. Most of these deaths are women and children. Cooking ordinarily should produce health and happiness for families. But cooking in Nigeria today is taking the lives of many of our children and women. The Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is set up to address the health development and environmental challenges that cooking with firewood is causing. The Alliance seeks to replace the traditional cooking with clean stoves, using firewoods with modern, efficient, sustainable and health promoting stoves. These stoves can come from the several fuels, including cooking gas, known as LPG but also stoves that use the same woods more efficiently. The Alliance seeks to reach 10million households and institutions by the year 2020. Apart from this associated hazards, could you quantify the amount that is being lost through the use of firewood for cooking? The estimate made by the Nigerian Infrastructure Advisory Facility is that cooking in energy sector is a big market of $2billion to $3billion Now, that can be translated to naira. So, it is a huge market. In our inability to be able to exploit that market, this is an opportunity that we lose. Opportunity in terms of economic benefits, in terms of jobs creation, in terms of health gains that we unfortunately cannot make, because we are unable to tap into the market. The benefits are huge. In terms of health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already estimated that Nigeria loses 95,300 lives every year to lack of action on cooking energy. If in addition, the country loses $2billion to $3billion annually because we have not expanded market, then this is quite serious. If we are looking at production of 10 million cookstoves between now and 2020, how many has the alliance produced since the campaign was launched last year? The Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves will come up with an appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanism that will enable us have an overview of what is happening in the stove market in Nigeria. Currently, this is not in place because we need time since the launch in 2012 to evolve a proper mechanism to do so. A lot of efforts are being made by several companies, mostly companies which are expanding the coverage of the use of natural cooking gas by the poor or low income families. Today, several companies have been producing and marketing small cylinders of cooking gas that make it easier for poorer families to be able to first buy the cooking gas cylinders and also makes it easier for them to refill them. That is one positive development in the market. Secondly, there is a significant interest in the Nigerian market for efficient wood stoves. It is estimated that we have a market of $2billion to $3billion yet to be developed. Today, the world’s largest producer of

THE NIGERIAN ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN COOKSTOVES IS SET UP TO ADDRESS THE HEALTH DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES THAT COOKING WITH FIREWOOD IS CAUSING efficient woods cookstoves, Everonfit, has signed an agreement with one of the Nigeria’s largest maker of household utensils to co-brand and distribute its stoves. They have gone into a joint venture with Tower Aluminum to distribute efficient woods and charcoal stoves throughout the entire federation. This is a positive development. There are other companies angling to come to the Nigerian market. The Nigerian Alliance is making efforts to ensure that we do not only allow importation of efficient wood stoves into the Nigerian market, but that we put in place mechanism to promote local design and production of efficient woods and charcoal stoves in the country. Issues of jobs creation, issues of supporting small businesses, are as important as issues of providing efficient fuels and technology for cooking in Nigeria. The recurring issues in the Clean Cookstoves market have been the twin issues of availability and affordability. What measures has the Alliance put in place to address these gaps? It is very important for households that fuels are convenient, accessible and affordable to them. Often, fuels that are convenient, like natural gas has supply chain problem, and as such, you find many households who have cylinders but do not use them, either because of irregularity in the supply of cooking gas or the prices are high. There is a genuine families scares concerning access, but today there is an increasing efforts within government and donors to promote the expansion of infrastructure for cooking gas in the country. This makes it easier for people all around the country to have access to cooking gas. Let me also say I am not only coordinating the work for the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, I am team leader in the Nigerian Infrastructure Advisory Facility and I know we in NIAF is working with the Federal Government to expand access to cooking gas. There are also efforts to help build a National Clean Cookstoves Programme anchored in the Ministry of Environment. These are all inter-related works conducted in collaboration with the Federal Government. There is a steady progress in building national programme that enhances access. This would not be done in a day, but there is a structured process to ensure that these fuels are available all-year-round across the country. What effort is the Alliance making toward ensuring that Nigerian private sector key into the programme with a view to setting up plants to

Eleri

mass produce the cooking stoves to address the availability gap? The Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a Public Private Partnership. It believes in the delivery of efficient cooking stoves to every home in the country and institutions through the private sector. Today, the Alliance is working with so many private sector partners. We have partners such as Environflight, Tower Aluminium, and Oando and several others. But we will also increasingly seek to stimulate interest by medium and small enterprises to be able to build stoves and sell within their local communities. We are not only looking at the highly capitalised companies with large networks, but also exploring ways of working with community associations, private sector companies and small scale companies to be able to build capacity to meet the challenges of financing which is a big bottleneck in this area. We are also advocating a subsidy scheme that allows companies to set up and produce stoves and distribute them, so that we can empower micro-finance banks to do micro-leading to people who are purchasing stoves. If we are able to introduce micro lending


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Executive Discourse

43

access to cooking gas -Expert

What about Nigerian government? What role is the Federal Government playing? Our government is playing a key role in this. Four agencies of the Federal Government are our partners in the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. These are: Energy Commission of Nigeria, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Power. These are key agencies of government who are already our partners. Government has a key role to play. First and foremost, the government, in the past two years has been able to introduce cookstoves in the annual appropriation. This did not exist before 2012. Both for 2012 and the proposed budget for 2013, there are budget lines for clean cookstoves. This is a good start. We hope the Federal Government would see reason to scale this up. However, that is the first part, working with other stakeholders, establishing a quality assurance centre in form of a texting centre is one key role government can also play. There is a crucial role for the Federal Government both in policy and quality assurance and financing.

GOVERNMENT HAS A KEY ROLE TO PLAY. FIRST AND FOREMOST, THE GOVERNMENT, IN THE PAST TWO YEARS HAS BEEN ABLE TO INTRODUCE COOKSTOVES IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION.

THIS DID NOT EXIST BEFORE 2012. BOTH FOR 2012 AND THE PROPOSED BUDGET FOR 2013, THERE ARE BUDGET LINES FOR CLEAN COOKSTOVES in this area, people, families, mothers and fathers who would want improved health and improved fuel saving, can be able to approach and have lending to purchase the stoves. These are the areas we have started working.

What is the place of the parent body, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in all of these? The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves coordinates the work worldwide in promoting the markets for Clean Cookstoves. They do so by promoting work on policy reforms, providing innovative funding, strengthening quality assurance and increasing information on clean cooking worldwide. Nigeria Alliance is a partner of the global alliance and we seek to realise the mandate of the global alliance in Nigeria. This year, the Nigerian Alliance, would establish a testing centre for clean cookstoves in Nigeria. And this is being supported by the global alliance. We will be one of the first in West Africa where standards can be set for stoves being imported into Nigeria and stoves developed in Nigeria. This stove will be tested for their durability, the quantity of pollution of smokes they emit, for how much they conserve woods. For the first time, we will be able to establish this in partnership with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Energy Commission of Nigeria. This is a significant development for our country.

Apart from collaborating with key agencies of government, to what extent has the Federal Government helped in encouraging the use of clean cookstoves through appropriate policy framework? I think a key role for government is a policy that promotes access to the use of cooking gas. Nigeria produces 3million tonnes of cooking gas annually, but we use only 150,000 tonnes. So the scope for expanding access to the use of cooking gas is so large. Most of our cooking gas is exported to other countries. So, we need to develop the infrastructure to take cooking gas around the country; we need to have excellent scheme that promote access to gas cylinders at subsidised prices to Nigerian people and businesses. We need to make sure we have public awareness schemes, so that people understand that the use of gas is safe. We need to work with manufacturers of cylinders in the country to ensure that we have quality cylinders that conform to international standards. We need to empower regulatory agencies like Department of Petroleum Resources to be able to evolve a system that will guarantee quality cylinders in the country because one single defect in a cylinder can cause a lot of damage, not only to the immediate family that is affected by the fire, but will also send wrong signals about the entire industry. So the role of government is pivotal.


44

Global Business

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

China’s recovery falters as manufacturing growth cools

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hina’s manufacturing is expanding at a slower pace this month on weakness in global and domestic demand, fueling concern that the world’s second-biggest economy is faltering. The preliminary reading of 50.5 for a Purchasing Managers’ Index (EC11CHPM) released by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics compared with a final 51.6 for March. The number was also below the median 51.5 estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 11 analysts. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. China’s stocks slumped as the data provided further evidence of an economic slowdown after weaker-thanestimated numbers for gross domestic product last week prompted banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to cut full-year forecasts. In Washington, central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said April 20 that a 7.7 percent first-quarter expansion was reasonable and “normal,” highlighting reduced expectations after 10 percent- plus rates during the past decade. “This paints a picture of a continued painfully slow recovery for China’s

manufacturing sector,” said Yao Wei, a Societe Generale SA economist based in Hong Kong. “The government needs to help translate the easy liquidity conditions into real growth.” President Xi Jinping’s officials are grappling with constraints on export demand, property-market overheating, the risks associated with a surge in socalled shadow banking, and weakness in consumption because of a campaign to rein in official perks such as spending on banquets. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.6 percent, the biggest decline in three weeks. Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted for a 15th month in April as the currency bloc struggled to emerge from a recession, a report showed yesterday. In the U.S., the Commerce Department is forecast to report new home sales improved in March, a Zhou Xiaochuan Bloomberg News survey of economists flu in Shanghai and Zhejiang and an showed. In China, first-quarter growth slipped earthquake in Sichuan now adding to from a 7.9 percent annual pace in the fi- the challenges for officials. “This has been a very narrowly based nal three months of last year, with bird

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

Shinzo

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

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

Spanish unemployment to swell as public jobs vanish

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

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

recovery, predominantly driven by infrastructure investment, but now even infrastructure investment is also apparently slowing down,” said Tao Dong, head of Asia economics excluding Japan at Credit Suisse Group AG in Hong Kong. Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. last week cut estimates for 2013 expansion to 7.8 percent. That would be the same as 2012’s pace, which was the weakest in 13 years. This data show that weakness in demand, including for exports, is starting to weigh on employment in manufacturing, HSBC said in a statement. The preliminary report is based on 85 percent to 90 percent of responses to a monthly survey of purchasing executives at more than 420 companies. “Beijing is expected to respond strongly to sustain the economic recovery by increasing efforts to boost domestic investment and consumption in the coming months,” said Qu Hongbin, chief China economist with HSBC in Hong Kong.

Bernanke seen buying $1.14 trn in assets in 2014

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ederal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s latest round of bond buying will reach $1.14 trillion before he ends the programme in the first quarter of 2014, according to median estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Bernanke will push on with purchases of $40 billion a month of mortgage bonds and $45 billion a month of Treasuries, according to the survey of 44 economists, even as some Fed officials warn his unprecedented balance-sheet expansion will impair efforts to tighten policy when necessary. “To get to the point where Bernanke would be comfortable letting up, you have to have a good solid string of economic reports that you’re just not going to get” this year, said Eric Green, global head of rates and FX research at TD Securities Inc. in New York and a former New York Fed economist. The Federal Open Market Committee will renew its commitment to asset buying during a two-day meeting starting today after determining the benefits from the program exceed any risk of inflation or financial instability, according to economists surveyed January 24-25. Bernanke has said the policy will continue until there are “substantial” gains in employment. Fed officials have a brighter outlook for the economy than many private economists. FOMC participants forecast growth this year ranging from 2.3 percent to 3 percent, while economists in a separate Bloomberg survey have a median estimate of 2 percent. “The economy is not going to be able to generate growth above 2 percent” as it faces headwinds from federal tax increases and a weak global expansion, Green said. Fed asset purchases will probably do little to help reduce 7.8 percent unemployment, economists said, with 57 percent of them predicting the programme won’t help boost the number of jobs created this year.

Economists who expect gains from socalled quantitative easing say it will account for an increase of 250,000 jobs during 2013. Last year, the economy added 1.8 million jobs. Employers probably hired 160,000 workers in January, after a 155,000 increase in December, based on Bloomberg News survey of economists before the Labor Department reports the figures on February 1. In the first round of purchases, begun in 2008, the Fed bought $1.4 trillion of housing debt and $300 billion of Treasuries. In the second round, beginning in November 2010, the Fed bought $600 billion of Treasuries. In the current round, the Fed’s total purchases will be split between $600 billion of mortgage-backed securities and $540 billion of Treasuries, according to the median estimates of economists in the survey.

Bernanke


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Global Business

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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pain’s recession eased in the first quarter as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy prepares plans to foster growth while reducing the country’s budget deficit. Gross domestic product fell 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter, when it dropped 0.8 percent, the most since 2009, the Bank of Spain said in its monthly bulletin today. That’s the seventh quarterly contraction. This data is in line with the median of 15 economist estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Rajoy pledged on April 17 to unveil measures to stimulate the economy and create jobs later this week. His government is seeking more time from European Union peers to reorder public finances in the euro-area’s fourth largest economy after a banking-sector bailout propelled Spain’s deficit last year to the largest in the region. “It’s a good sign after a horrible last quarter in 2012, but we are still in an intense recession,” said Jose Carlos Diez, chief economist at Madrid-based brokerage Intermoney SA. “It’s difficult to see a recovery. Our main trading partners

Spain’s recession eases as Rajoy prepares growth plan

Rajoy

aren’t doing well and unemployment is going to continue increasing.” The yield on Spain’s 10-year benchmark bonds fell 23 basis points to 4.264 percent yesterday in Madrid, narrowing the spread with German debt of similar maturity to 3.05 percentage points after met its maximum target of 3 billion eu-

Japan’s fiscal impasse threatens stimulus to spur growth

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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

ros ($3.9 billion) in a bills sale. The Spanish 10-year yield rose to a euro-era record of 7.75 percent in July before the European Central Bank pledged to do whatever it takes to save the euro. The International Monetary Fund last week cut its outlook for Spain, predicting the economy to shrink 1.6 percent this

Slowing Polish economy may force Tusk to ease budget cuts

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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.

year before growing 0.7 percent in 2014. Still, the Washington- based fund’s managing director Christine Lagarde offered support for Rajoy’s calls for the EU to loosen demands for further deficit cuts. Spain “needs more time,” Lagarde said in Washington on April 18. ���We do not see a need to do upfront, heavy-duty fiscal consolidation as was initially planned.” Funding conditions remain restrictive for households and companies, weighing on domestic demand, the Bank of Spain said. Households’ limited capacity to save in a context of declining disposable income as well as uncertainty on the labor market and a high level of debt leave little space for consumption to pick up in the short term, it said. Spain’s export growth was also held back by the euro-area recession during the first three months of the year, the Bank of Spain said. Spain’s National Statistics Institute will report first-quarter GDP data on April 30.

oland’s slowing economy is putting pressure on Prime Minister Donald Tusk to ease deficit cuts to avoid the fate of other European Union nations where austerity measures to tackle the debt crisis helped suffocate growth. Tusk’s Cabinet met in Warsaw to discuss a revised 2013 budget after the economy expanded at the slowest pace in 11 quarters in the three months through June. While Poland will stick to a plan to cut the 2012 budget gap within the EU’s limit of 3 percent of output, the slowdown means its “ambitious goal for a 2.2 percent deficit next year is out of the question,” Maja Goettig, a member of Tusk’s Council of Economic Advisers, said by phone on August 31. “Everyone, including markets, would understand and maybe even appreciate it, if the government avoided excessively harsh austerity for the sake of growth, which is now key to financial stability,” said Goettig, who’s also a Warsaw-based strategist at KBC Securities. Tusk, the first Polish premier to serve a second term since communism ended in 1989, must weigh EU deficit demands

against concerns that further spending cuts may damp growth in the nation of 38 million people, whose GDP-per-capita is 40 percent below the 27-nation bloc’s average. While his Cabinet still enjoys broad support in polls, governments across Europe have collapsed after protests against austerity policies that helped plunge economies from Romania to Spain into recession.

Donald Tusk

Manufacturing in U.S. probably stagnated amid global slowdown

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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

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

No end in sight for SEC, National Assembly rift, says lawmaker JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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he Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, Mr. Chris Azubogu yesterday said that nobody knows when the rift between the National Assembly and the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, is going to be resolved. Azubogu who spoke to National Mirror in Lagos noted that the rift is political and it is left for the assembly and the executive to decide on how to solve it. On the notion that zero allocation to SEC could affect the growth of capital market, he said, “I don’t think the zero allocation could affect the growth of the market.

“There are definitely solutions to the problem because both the assembly and the executive are being guided by the law of the country.” The House of Representatives had in a letter to SEC’s Director, Finance and Administration, warned the management of the commission not to spend any fund on its operations this year unless approved by the National Assembly. The letter, which was written by the Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Compliance, Mr. Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, also stated that spending any fund without the authorisation of the National Assembly would be a breach of the 2013 Appropriation Act. The letter appeared to be a move by the House to

enforce its resolution demanding the sacking of the Director-General, SEC, Ms. Arunma Oteh, on the grounds of not being qualified to head the agency. The House of Representatives’ letter, which was copied to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Pius Anyim; and SEC’s governing board, read in part, “I write in the above regard to put the board and management of the Securities and Exchange Commission on formal notice of the fact of the House of Representatives resolution on the Securities and Exchange Commission. “You will recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission had

submitted its budgetary proposal for 2013 to the House. You will recall that no approval was passed back to the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Further to this, and most importantly, the National Assembly had vide the 2013 Appropriation Act, item 9, Part E, Clause 10, stated thus: ‘All revenues, however, described, including all fees received, fines, grants, budgetary provisions and all internally and externally generated revenue shall not be spent by the Securities and Exchange Commission for recurrent, capital purposes or for any other matters, nor liabilities thereon incurred except with prior appropriation by the National Assembly.’”

Source: NSE

Source: Afrinvest

Market indicators All-Share Index 33,086.29 points Market capitalisation 10.58 trillion

Stakeholders urge NSE to visit SMEs factories JOHNSON OKANLAWON

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perators in the Nigerian capital market have enjoined the sales department of the Nigerian Stock Exchange to visit factories of the Small and Medium scale industries. Speaking at the launch of Alternative Securities Market in Lagos yesterday, the Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, noted that the Exchange’s sales department has not been going out to monitor and explain opportunities in the capital market to the SMEs. According to her, there is need for the Exchange to visit the SMEs, know their

operations and check their financials. She said, “What the Exchange started today will sincerely assist a lot of SMEs, but the NSE needs to target small companies on how to keep their books and grow well.” Also, Head, Global Market Sales of Stanbic IBTC, Mr. Akeem Oyewale, agreed with Seriki, saying that it is by visiting them that the NSE will have confidence in the companies coming to list. He said, “The NSE should go to the locations of these companies, encourage them on how to grow the companies and explain to them opportunities in the capital market.” The Chief Executive Of-

ficer of the NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema explained that the alternative securities market (ASeM) is a veritable platform for emerging businesses to access the capital market. He explained that ASeM seeks to address major challenges of emerging businesses in Nigeria like difficulty in accessing long term capital due to high cost of funds as a result of perceived high risks, informal nature of operations, inadequate accounting standards, controls and management of resources. According to him, pillars of ASeM are divided into designated advisers, growth ambassadors and institutional services. “Designated adviser

Stock Updates programme is to support companies on ASeM in complying with post listing obligations and maintaining their listing status, while growth ambassador programme is to project the ASeM brand and support the advocacy and quotations drive of the Exchange. The institutional service is to assist listed companies to maximise benefit of their listing status,” he said. Other benefits of listing on ASeM include access to long term capital for growth and expansion, reduction of financial burden and risk spreading amongst shareholders, platform for facilitating long term sustainability of the company.

Index slides 0.01% in bearish trading DAMILOLA AJAYI

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rading in equities closed on bearish note on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday, as some investors took profit from the gains recorded the preceding day. Specifically, the All Share Index declined by 0.01 per cent to close at 33,086.29 points, as against the rise of 0.29 per cent recorded the preceding day to close at 33,090.05 points. Market capitalisation dropped by N1bn to close at N10.576trn, in contrast to the increase of N3bn

recorded the preceding to close at N10.577trn. All the sectorial indices closed negative except the Banking index which rose by 0.41 per cent to close at 388.74 points. The Insurance index lost 2.87 per cent to close at 146.35 points, followed by the Lotus Islamic index with 0.46 per cent to close at 2,243.40 points. The Industry Goods index dropped by 0.18 per cent to close at 1844.33 points, while the Oil and Gas index shed 0.17 per cent to close at 194.18 points. The Consumer Goods index depreciated by 0.05

per cent to close at 964.32 points, while the NSE 30- index declined by 0.01 per cent to close at 1580.21 points. Learn Africa Plc led the gainers’ table with 16 kobo or 9.58 per cent to close at N1.83 per share, followed by AG Leventis Plc with 13 kobo or 9.22 per cent to close at N1.54 per share. Prestige Assurance Plc appreciated by five kobo or 8.77 per cent to close at N0.62 per share, while Paint Company Plc gained 13 kobo or 8.12 per cent to close at N1.73 per share. CI Leasing Plc increased by four kobo or 7.55 per cent to

GAINERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

LEARNAFRCA

1.67

1.83

0.16

AGLEVENT

1.41

1.54

0.13

PRESTIGE

0.57

0.62

0.05

PAINTCOM

1.60

1.73

0.13

CILEASING

0.53

0.57

0.04

DANGSUGAR

7.38

7.80

0.42

NEM

0.71

0.75

0.04

HONYFLOUR

2.71

2.85

0.14

WEMABANK

1.36

1.42

0.06

IKEJAHOTEL

0.68

0.71

0.03

LOSERS COMPANY

OPENING

CLOSING

CHANGE

LIVESTOCK

2.99

2.70

0.29

JOHNHOLT

1.65

1.49

0.16

COSTAIN

1.59

1.44

0.15

ROYALEX

0.64

0.58

0.06

WAPIC

1.20

1.09

0.11

UNITYBNK

0.67

0.61

0.06

CCNN

9.60

8.80

0.80

MANSARD

2.70

2.50

0.20

AIICO

0.90

0.85

0.05

IHS

1.80

1.70

0.10

Primary Market Auction close at 57 kobo per share. On the flip side, Livestock Plc lost 29 kobo or 9.70 per cent to close at N2.70 per share, while JohnHolt Plc shed 16 kobo or 9.70 per cent to close at N1.49 per share. Constain Plc declined by 15 kobo or 9.43 per cent to close at N1.44 per share, while Royalex Plc fell by six kobo or 9.38 per cent to close at 58 kobo per share. Wapic Plc dropped by 11 kobo or 9.17per cent to close at N1.09 per share. A total of 316 million shares valued at N3.99bn were exchanged in 5,203 deals

TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

91-Days

30,159.21

11.55

11-Apr-13

119-Days

104,392.58

13.40

11-Apr-13

63 -Days

25,100.00

11.50

11-Apr-13

Open Market Operations TENOR

AMOUNT (N’mn)

RATE (%)

DATE

122-Days

76,995.77

13.49

11-Apr-13

119-Days

104,392.58

13.40

11-Apr-13

Wholesale Dutch Auction System AMOUNT OFFERED

MARKET DEMAND

AMOUNT SOLD

DATE

$300m

N/A

$300m

8-Apr-13

$300m

N/A

$237m

8-Apr-13


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Capital Market

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stock exchange daily equities summary Equities as at April 23, 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)

47


48

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

49

Community Mirror Carpenters demand ban on importation finished 50 furniture products

“If you look at the Nigerian Extractive Industry, Transparency Initiative Reports that there is a lot of leakage in the oil and gas industry.” MINISTER OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT; OLUSEGUN AGANGA

Estate agent charged for fraud, assault FRANCIS SUBERU WITH AGENCY REPORT

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n estate agent, Bolanle Ogunshokin, who allegedly duped an accommodation seeker of N60, 000 and subsequently assaulted her, has been charged before a Yaba Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, The accused, who resides at No. 19, Israel Ogunbanwo St, Somolu, Lagos, is facing a two-count

charge of stealing and assault. The prosecutor, Cpl. Adenike Abudu, told the court that Ogunshokin committed the offence on March 25 at her residence. Abudu, said that the accused obtained N60, 000 from Mrs. Idowu Olanishola, with a promise to provide her a room apartment, a representation she knew to be false. “The accused collected N60, 000, from one Mrs. Idowu Olanishola under the guise of providing her

an accommodation. Ogunshokin disappeared after collecting the money and also failed to fulfill her part of the contract. However, On April 2, the accused was caught trying to escape from her home by Olanishola and an argument ensued. Ogunshokin then physically assaulted the complainant, hitting her viciously on the face and chest,’’ Abudu said. She said the offences contra-

An overloaded car on Dass/Tafawa Balewa road in Bauchi.

Driver arraigned for killing sisters FRANCIS SUBERU

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58-year-old driver, Idris Murtala, has appeared before a Surulere Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, charged with causing the death of two sisters as they left a church programme. Murtala, who resides at No. 8 Baptist Church, Igbola, Shibiri, Lagos, is facing a three-count charge of dangerous driving, causing death and driving without driver’s licence. The prosecutor, Sgt. Philip Osijale, told the court that the accused, on April 15, at Apapa/Oshodi Expressway caused the death of two sisters. He said the deceased were Miss Beauty Aseyenimbia, 28 and Mercy,

her 27-year-old sister. Osijale, said the deceased had left a church programme in Lagos, and were going back to their base in Port Harcourt when the driver knocked them down. He said the accused used a Toyota Jeep with Registration No. SMK476AS to knock down the deceased. The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 19(1), 20 and 22 of the Road Traffic Act. However, Murtala, pleaded not guilty to the charge. The Magistrate, Mrs. Joy Ugbomoiko, granted the accused N100,000 bail with two sureties in like sum, and adjourned the case to May 20 for advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions,DPP.

vened Sections 312 and 171 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, even as the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. Section 312 provides that if convicted of the offence of fraud, the accused is liable to 15 years imprisonment. The Magistrate, Mrs Bola Folarin-William, granted the accused bail in the sum of N50, 000, with two sureties in like sum.She adjourned the case till May 15 for trial.

PHOTO: NAN

Fayemi condoles parents of drowned boy ABIODUN NEJO EKITI

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he Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has condoled with the family of seven-year old, Olamide Ayeni who was drowned in the flood after heavy rains in Ado-Ekiti. The boy was said to have been sent on an errand with his elder sister, Faith, but fell into a flooded drain while returning home. Condoling the family, Fayemi described the incident as pathetic, noting that having lost his deputy; he knew the pains Olamide’s parents are going through. “The loss of any of our children gives us a lot of pains. This is a very young kid, an innocent person who

had a good future and we have lost him to an avoidable tragedy like this. It was a terrible loss. Having lost my deputy, I know the pains the parents must have felt for losing this child. It is a loss to the family and the state”, Fayemi said. While assuring that government would not relent in its duties of making the environment safe for every resident, Fayemi urged parents to do everything to ensure the safety of their children and wards; adding that the child could have been rescued if an adult was at the scene of the incident. “I will advise all of us, to always do everything to guarantee the safety of our children and from what the parents said, it could have happened to any child.

No meat scarcity in Lagos –Union scribe

T

he General Secretary of Lagos State Butchers’ Stakeholder Forum, Oko-Oba, Agege, Alhaji Tanko Sodiq, has denied rumours of meat scarcity in the state. Sodiq, said what caused a minor scarcity in some parts of the state was a misunderstanding between the butchers and their leaders. He identified some areas where the scarcity occurred to include Lagos Island and Mainland, Eti-Osa and some parts of Apapa. “There was enough meat in the state, as 178 cows are slaughtered daily, while at the weekends, about 200 cows are slaughtered. Some of the butchers came and bought meat, on getting to their bases, they were stopped from selling by their union leaders. So, they moved the supplies to other areas”, he said. Sodiq also mentioned hygiene as one of the challenges confronting the butchers at the abattoir, adding that the Lagos State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, and other environmental agencies had, however, brought the situation under control. Other challenges include the lack of policies for compensation and empowerment of butchers. “There are instances where cows were slaughtered and the veterinary doctors came for inspection and condemn the whole cow and butchers are made to bear the loss. Mr Omotayo Adere, a member of Lagos State Butchers Association, said their leaders were not informing them adequately on decisions affecting them, “For instance, we have every right to express our grievances because the cost of the butchers’ meat van was high and we have not included it in our budget”, Adere said. He, however, urged their leaders to carry their members along in the interest of peace


50

Community Mirror

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Carpenters demand ban on importation of finished furniture products

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he Professional Carpenters and Furniture Makers Association has appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to ban the importation of finished furniture products so as to provide employment for artisans in Nigeria. The group, in a letter delivered through Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State to the president, said importation of finished furniture products has led to the closure of many companies, as well as threatening the jobs of over six

million artisans (which include carpenters) in Nigeria. PCFA President, Comrade Anthony Aluko speaking with National Mirror before the OneMillion Man march to the Alausa, Ikeja seat of Lagos State government, commended the efforts of the Lagos State government in training and retraining of his members, but lamented that the retraining will be in vain if the jobs are not there for them. The group also appealed to government to enforce the ban through the Standards Organization of Ni-

geria (SON) on sub-standard and fake furniture and building materials which make made in Nigeria furniture products look inferior to those produced elsewhere. While noting that the ban, if implemented by the Federal Government, would reduce unemployment as it will attract the closed manufacturing companies back, the group also appealed to government at all levels to give its members regular contracts and projects. The letter, jointly signed by PCFA President in Lagos, Comrade

Aluko and the Human Rights/Mobilisation leader, Comrade Babatunde Ashafa also advised the Federal Government to complement the effort of the Lagos State government by retraining artisans so as to promote safety and quality in building projects and for increased better service delivery. The One Million Man March which took off from Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota through Kudirat Abiola Way to Alausa, Ikeja was also joined by the carpenters’ association from Ondo state.

A bridge linking Ugbene community in Awka North Local Government Area with the rest of Anambra State being built by direct labour of the Army Engineers from the 14 Field Engineer Regiment, Onitsha. PHOTO: NAN

Wife cites lack of maintenance for dissolution of marriage

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housewife, Mrs. Rukayat Alade has prayed an Ilorin Area Court to dissolve her three-year-old marriage to Taofik Alade, for his failure to take care of the family. Rukayat, 30, had told the court that her husband, Taofik, had refused to attend to the family’s needs since they got married. “My husband was always reluctant to spend for his family’s needs, but rather spends on friends and outsiders,’’ she said. She told the court that her husband was fond of giving excuses whenever asked for money to purchase foodstuffs. Rukayat told the court that their marriage had produced two children, Memunat and Kafayat.

“My lord, I want an end to the marriage because my husband is not responsible,” said the petitioner. The respondent objected to the prayer, saying he was still interested in the marriage. “For the sake of my two children, I am not ready for divorce because they are so precious to me,” he said. The respondent promised to change and give attention to his family. He, therefore, prayed the court for an adjournment for him to make a reconciliatory move. The presiding Judge, Mr. Ibrahim Abdulquadri, adjourned the case to May 23 for a report of settlement or continuation of the case.

Ex-militants threaten to destroy oil facilities SEBASTINE EBHUOMHAN BENIN

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here was pandemonium in Benin, Edo State capital, when former Niger-Delta militants took to the streets to protest their non-inclusion in the Federal Government amnesty programme. The protest halted human and vehicular movements at the ever busy Kings’ Square and adjourning streets. The ex-militants numbering more than 2, 000 and comprising those in 11 camps in the riverine communities also threatened to attack oil installations in the state and environs if their demands are not met. Spokesperson for the protesters, Mr. Richard Obe said they surrendered their arms on July 21, 2011 in

order to be eligible for the government’s third phase programme. According to him, “About 6, 342 former agitators from Ondo, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom States, who disarmed have been documented but they refused to extend such to us. Now, if they refuse to listen to us, we will blow up the Gelegele Flow Station because the gas station is located in our community.” The Head of Media and Communication, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, who reacted to the development, told National Mirror that the protesters are mere “impostors seeking for attention.” “We just finished our arms verification exercise. Where did they surrender their own arms? I think they are making claims they cannot justify,” Alabrah countered.

Lagos, NRC to curb perching on moving trains MURITALA AYINLA

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orried by a growing habit of perching on moving train coaches, the Lagos State Government and Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC, have devised strategies to halt the practice by hoodlums. Speaking at a meeting between the government and NRC at the government secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, the state Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa said the thrust was to improve security on the rail corridor. Opeifa, who lamented untold hardships and safety risk the practice has placed on train passengers and other residents, also said the act was unbecoming and should be stopped. He said: “On the part of government, we are going to mobilise stakeholders to nip the issue in the bud. The Railway Police Command needs our support. We have agreed to use advocacy to ensure compliance rather than enforcement. We will work with the NRC to ensure this situation comes to an end. While appealing to Lagos residents to desist from such practice, he said the government had increased the fleet of its buses on Abeokuta Road so that people could board rather than perch on trains. On his part, the Managing Director, NRC, Seyi Sijuade however, said many people were now migrating from road transportation to rail, disclosing that the corporation made 16 trips on daily basis, with 16,000 passengers moved to their destinations in Lagos alone. He explained that the meeting was to discuss ongoing efforts aimed at enhancing safety on the Lagos corridor from Ijoko to Iddo and other places. “It has been discovered that those perching on trains were hoodlums, who did so to perpetrate nefarious activities and not because demand was greater than supply.” In order to curb this, we have made several arrests and we feel the need to partner with the Lagos State Government to bring the issue to rest. We will ensure regular awareness campaign to eliminate perching on train roofs”, he added.


Wednesday April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

51

World News

Boston bombing suspect: FBI faces Congress questions

52

PAUL ARHEWE

WITH AGENCY REPORTS

A

car bomb in Tripoli wounded two French guards at France’s embassy in Libya yesterday, bringing new violence to the capital, which has not seen attacks on diplomats like that which killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi last year. Since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled by Western-backed rebels in late 2011, Tripoli, like the rest of the sprawling desert state, has been awash with weapons and roving armed bands, but violence in the city has not targeted diplomats before in the way Western envoys have been shot at and bombed in the east of the country. “This is an attack that targets not only France but all countries that fight against terrorist groups,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in Paris before flying out to see for himself the damage to the embassy. One of the two wounded French guards required emergency surgery in Tripoli, he added. Security will be stepped up across a region where France has taken a leading role of late, first in pushing for a NATO air campaign to defend the Benghazi-based rebels from Gaddafi’s forces, and most recently mounting its own assault in its former colony of Mali against Islamist insurgents who have profited from arms and fighters coming over the Sahara border from Libya. President Francois Hollande

“The fact that chemical weapons were used (in Syria) without an appropriate response is a very disturbing development because it could signal that such a thing is legitimate” –ISRAELI MILITARY INTELLIGENCE CHIEF, BRIG. GEN. ITAI BRUN

French Embassy in Libya bombed, two guards injured

Security personnel inspecting the site of a car bomb that targeted the French embassy, wounding two French guards and causing extensive material damage in Tripoli, yesterday. PHOTO: AP

said: “France expects the Libyan authorities to shed light on this unacceptable act so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.” Libya’s government, struggling to exert its authority, said it was a “terrorist act” aimed at destabilizing their country, and ministers said they would work with French investigators. There was no immediate claim of responsibility in the hours after the early morning blast, which caused extensive damage, but

al Qaeda’s North African arm, AQIM, threatened retaliation for the French intervention in Mali as recently as last week. Interior Minister Ashour Shuail told a press conference he could not say whether the strike was linked to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi last year, but said a commission had been set up to investigate the blast. The minister added a diplomatic security force would be active in the country within days. “I don’t expect a heavily armed

force to be put in front of each embassy,” Shuail said, providing detail on the force. “The problem is not the security of the embassies, but the security of the whole nation.” Westerners in the region have been on particular alert since January’s bloody mass hostage-taking at the In Amenas natural gas plant in Algeria, close to the Libyan and Malian frontiers, during which militants demanded Paris halt operations in Mali.

Criticism trails Ugandan president’s sack of cash donation

I

t’s become an infamous photo in Uganda. The country’s leader looks on in bemusement as a young man bends low to carry a sack filled with a donation from the president — almost $100,000 in cash. The money is a donation from President Yoweri Museveni to a

partisan group of youths in eastern Uganda, where he struggles to win votes in national elections, and activists and opposition politicians are seizing upon the moment as a blatant example of political corruption in Uganda. The picture, which was distributed by the president’s office

L-R: Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Ronald Kibuule, center, hand over what the president’s office said was a sack of money containing 250 million Ugandan shillings about $100,000 - to an unidentified member of a partisan group of youths, right, in Kampala.

after the event last weekend, was meant to highlight Museveni’s generosity toward a group of youth. Instead it has focused attention on Museveni’s profligacy during political tours and what some say is his role in fueling graft in the East African country that he has led since 1986. Museveni has long been accused of using public money at his disposal to build the patronage networks that have kept him popular in some parts of the mostly impoverished country. He makes many promises at campaign rallies and distributes brown envelopes to supporters who beg for his help at campaign stops. But donating a sack filled with Ugandan bills hit a raw nerve among critics who say it makes the president look like he’s actively buying support. Others say it sets

a bad example in a country that depends on foreign donors to finance about 25 percent of its budget. “It’s not generosity; it’s patronage,” said Bishop Zac Niringiye, a retired Anglican cleric. “The level of patronage is also related to regime longevity. He’s stayed in power for too long and he thinks he can do things and get away with them.” The political success of Museveni, who took power by force in 1986, has been built in part on the idea that he is the generous, moderate politician who rescued Uganda from brutal dictators. But some also see a desire to stay in power at all costs. In 2005 Museveni had term limits removed from the constitution so he could run for office again, and Ugandan police routinely block the opposition from holding rallies.

WORLD BULLETIN Spain arrests two linked to al Qaeda in Mali

Spain has arrested two North Africans suspected of links to the North African branch of the militant Islamist network al Qaeda, the government said on Tuesday, following an investigation lasting more than a year. One man, an Algerian believed to have trained in a fighter camp in northern Mali run by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was arrested in the eastern province of Zaragoza, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The other, a Moroccan also alleged to have had contact with AQIM in Mali, was detained in the southern province of Murcia. The ministry said the arrests were the result of a joint operation between Spain, France and Morocco but declined to say in response to questions whether the men were believed to be planning an attack or merely providing support for al Qaeda.

Another journalist killed in Somali capital

A Somali radio station editor says unidentified gunmen have shot dead a journalist in Mogadishu, the fifth to be killed in the country his year. Mohamed Abdullahi Haji, a news editor at the state-run radio station, said that gunmen killed Mohamed Ibrahim Rage, who worked for the station, at his home in the capital Sunday. He had reportedly received death threats in the past, and had recently returned to Somalia after living abroad, according to local media. Working as a reporter is a dangerous job in Mogadishu. Last year, 18 media workers were killed, most in targeted killings. “The supposed improvement in security in Mogadishu is for the time being still very fragile,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. “The Somali capital continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.”

Sudan, South Sudan agree to open 10 border crossings

Sudan and South Sudan agreed yesterday to open 10 crossings along their joint border to boost travel and trade after a recent thaw in relations between the long-time foes. Sudan had closed much of the 2,000-kilometre (1,200-mile) boundary after South Sudan’s secession in 2011 - hitting traders and communities on both sides of the disputed line. Almost a year after the split, border skirmishes brought both countries close to full-blown war over unresolved disputes over oil, territory and other issues. But the African neighbours agreed last month to resume crossborder oil flows and ease tensions following talks brokered by the African Union.


52

World News

WORLD BULLETIN

Briton convicted for selling fake bomb detectors

A millionaire businessman who sold fake bomb detectors that were based on a novelty golf ball finder to countries including Iraq was convicted yesterday of fraud in a British court. Police investigators said the bogus devices put people’s safety at risk. James McCormick, 56, is said to have made an estimated 50 million pounds ($76 million) from sales of his detectors, which claimed to be able to find explosives, drugs and people from planes, under water, underground and through walls. They could purportedly detect at distance and bypass “all known forms of concealment.” But experts said the hand-held devices, which were sold for up to 27,000 pounds ($41,000) each, in fact lacked “any grounding in science” and were “completely ineffectual as a piece of detection equipment.” “The devices did not work, and he knew they did not work,” prosecutor Richard Whittam said. One of the earlier models McCormick sold was based on a novelty machine for finding golf balls that could be bought in the U.S. for less than $20, he added. The detectors were sold to military and police forces around the world, including Iraq, Niger, Georgia, Egypt and Thailand. Nigel Rock, an investigating officer with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Scores on hunger strike at Guantanamo prison More than half of the men held at the Guantanamo detention camp have joined an escalating hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention, a camp spokesperson has said. The US military counted 84 of the 166 prisoners as hunger strikers by Monday, and was force-feeding 16 of them liquid meals through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs. Six were hospitalised for observation, said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesperson for the detention operation at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in south-eastern Cuba. The US military is sending additional medical personnel to the prison camp to handle the hunger strikers, House said on Monday. Reinforcements numbering fewer than 40 will arrive by the end of April.

Two bishops kidnapped in Syria released A church official says two bishops who were abducted by gunmen while travelling in northern Syria have been released. Greek Orthodox Bishop Tony Yazigi says the kidnapped priests, Bishop Boulos Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and Bishop John Ibrahim of the Assyrian Orthodox Church, were released yesterday and have arrived safely in the city of Aleppo. Yazigi said the two bishops were abducted late Monday from the village of Kfar Dael, and their driver was killed by the gunmen. It was not immediately clear who kidnapped the men.

Wednesday April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

Boston bombing suspect: FBI faces Congress questions U S security officials are to face questions in Congress over whether they mishandled information about Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They will brief the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing, after some US lawmakers accused the FBI of failing to act on Russian concerns. Tsarnaev was questioned in 2011 amid claims he had adopted radical Islam.

He was killed in a manhunt after the attack but his wounded brother Dzhokhar has been charged over the bombings. Federal prosecutors charged him in hospital with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He could be sentenced to death if convicted on either count. The officials say his written answers from his hospital bed to investigators’ questions lead

them to believe that the pair were motivated by jihadist ideology and that they devised the bombings using the internet. However, the sources also said the interviews were preliminary and they must verify the defendant’s responses. Lawyers for Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaeva, said that their client was doing everything she could to assist authorities. She is “trying to come to terms with these events”, her lawyers

The Tsarnaev brothers

said in a statement on Tuesday, without saying whether she had been questioned by investigators. “The report of involvement by her husband and brother-inlaw came as an absolute shock to them all.” Both Tsarnaev brothers had origins in the troubled, predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya in southern Russia. They had been living in the US for about a decade at the time of the attack. The twin bombs which exploded near the finishing line of the marathon killed three people and injured more than 200. Of those injured, 13 lost limbs. More than 50 people remain in hospital, three of them in a critical condition. Members of Congress want to know why no further action was taken after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was investigated in 2011 at the request of the Russian government. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the intelligence committee, said that she and her colleagues would have to “sort it out” when they met FBI officials later on Tuesday. The FBI has defended itself, saying in a statement on Friday that it had run checks on the suspect but found no evidence of terrorist activity. A request to Russia for further information to justify more rigorous checks went unanswered, and an interview by agents with Tsarnaev and his family also revealed nothing suspicious.

Nicaragua arrests US most-wanted child porn suspect

P

olice in Nicaragua have detained a former U.S. school teacher who was on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted fugitives as a suspect in a child pornography investigation, authorities confirmed Monday. Eric Justin Toth was detained

Saturday in Esteli, a city near Nicaragua’s border with Honduras, and will be immediately deported to the United States, said National Police chief Aminta Granera. “Toth will be deported immediately because he was in our country illegally,” Granera said

36 killed in Iraq after raid on Sunni protest site

I

raqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn yesterday, prompting clashes that killed at least 36 people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. The fighting broke out in the former insurgent stronghold of Hawija, about 240 kilometres (160 miles) north of Baghdad. Like many predominantly Sunni communities, the town has seen months of rallies by protesters accusing the government of neglect and pursuing a sectarian agenda. In an apparent response to the morning raid, militants tried to storm two army posts in the nearby town of Rashad, and six of them were killed, according to the Defence Ministry. Seven other militants were killed while trying to attack military positions in another town, Ri-

yadh, according to police and hospital officials. Outrage also spread through other Sunni parts of the country, including the restive western Anbar province, where demonstrators took to the streets and clashed with police. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki swiftly announced the formation of a special ministerial committee to investigate what happened in Hawija, underscoring the government’s concern over the incident. Sectarian tensions have been intensifying for months, pressured by Sunni protests that began in December and what officials fear is a strengthening of al-Qaida and other Sunnibacked militants. Hawija was the site of some of the fiercest fighting between U.S. and Iraqi forces who faced frequent deadly attacks by al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents.

at a news conference in Managua, the capital. She said Toth entered Nicaragua with a false passport and also had a fake driver’s license and credit cards. Toth was being handed over to FBI agents present at the news conference and they planned to take him to the U.S. in a special plane, Granera said. A thin and nervous-looking Toth dressed in cream-colored shirt and pants was briefly presented to journalists and photographers who took his picture, but he wasn’t allowed to talk and was quickly taken away. Granera said Toth first en-

tered Nicaragua on Oct. 24, 2012, and left on Jan. 27. He returned on Feb. 12 and that’s when Nicaraguan police began keeping a close watch, she said. “He was captured in a house in the Panama Soberana neighbourhood in Esteli, even though he resisted,” Granera said. Toth taught third grade at Beauvoir, a private elementary school on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. He was escorted off campus in June 2008 after another teacher reported finding sexually explicit photographs on a school camera in Toth’s possession. He had not been seen since he lost his job.

Nicaragua’s National Police agents escort U.S. citizen Eric Justin Toth to be presented to the press at a police station in Managua, Nicaragu.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

North

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

53

Opposition parties lose bid to stop Kogi LG polls WALE IBRAHIM LOKOJA

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High Court sitting in Koton Karfe yesterday dismissed the request by the opposition parties to stop the May 4 local government elections in Kogi State. The opposition parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, the All Nigeria

Peoples Party, ANPP, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, through an application for interlocutory injunction, sought an order of the court to restrain the Kogi State Government, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the State Independent Electoral Commission, KOSIEC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, among others

from conducting the council polls, pending the determination of the substantive suit. In the main suit, the applicants are challenging the composition of KOSIEC. Justice Alaba Omolaye Ajileye held that the court could not grant the application because it was coming ‘on the eve of election,’ as enormous preparation and

resources had been committed to it. He said: “It becomes clear that delay by the applicants in bringing this application has destroyed and defeated their equity. It is therefore inequitable to grant this application. It is a case in which I cannot properly exercise my discretion in favour of applicants. Application is refused.

Same is accordingly dismissed.” The judge noted that the application was a subtle invitation to the court to determine the substantive action or part of it, adding that there was no way facts in the application could be decided without prejudging facts in the substantive suit. The opposition parties are challenging the compe-

tence of KOSIEC to conduct free and fair local government elections, claiming that members of the commission are members of the PDP. The applicants also averred that the impartiality of the defendants could not be guaranteed for the conduct of free and fair elections, arguing that there was need for KOSIEC to be reconstituted.

Realistic budgeting, key to Nigeria’s growth –Kwankwaso budget.

AUGUSTINE MADU-WEST KANO

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Chairman,Transition Committee, Musawa Local Government Area of Katsina State, Alhaji Tanimu Kira, testing one of the 80 rehabilitated boreholes by his administration in the council at Kira village, yesterday. PHOTO: NAN

N9.15bn Bauchi airport, hospital nearing completion –Gov’s aide EZEKIEL TITUS BAUCHI

•Yuguda approves recruitment of 5,000 teachers of the governor’s campaign promises to ensure healthcare service delivery. The CPS said the hospital would soon be inaugurated alongside other health facilities to cater for the masses who could not pay for the services rendered by the existing teaching hospitals. The Yuguda administration, according to him, has given priority attention to healthcare delivery and is committed to providing free healthcare services to women and children. Meanwhile, the state government is set to recruit additional 5,000 teachers as part of efforts to improve on the quality of education. The Chairman of the State Teaching Service Commission, Yahaya Baba, dis-

closed this yesterday in Bauchi, the state capital. Baba said about 7,000 applicants initially applied for the teaching job, adding that the commission had commenced screening of the applicants to ensure that competent hands were employed. According to the chairman, 3,000 teachers would be employed by the Ministry of Education while the State Universal Basic education, SUBEB, would employ 2,000 teachers in line with their 2013 approved budgets. The recruitment exercise, according to Baba, is opened to people from other states as the applicants include people from Enugu and Edo states. He said Yuguda was after quality education, not quantity.

overnor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State will soon commission the Bauchi International Airport and the Bauchi Specialist Hospital worth N9.15 billion. The Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the governor, Mr. Ishola Adeyemi, disclosed this to journalists during a facility tour to the projects still under construction. This is as the state government plans to recruit 5,000 teachers. Adeyemi said the government awarded the contract for the international airport for N7.8 billion while the hospital was awarded for N2.7 billion. According to him, the government is hoping to airlift this year’s pilgrimage

to the Holy Land through the international airport instead of Gombe State as was the case before now. The international airport, the CPS said, was designed to accommodate seven cargo aircraft including small ones with a parking lot for 300 vehicles, while the terminal has domestic and international wings. He disclosed that the contractor had completed the 3.5km runway while work on the control tower would soon be completed, adding that arrangement had been concluded to train fire fighters in Canada in line with the aviation recommendations. Adeyemi also said the 300-bed specialist hospital was designed in line with international standard as part

INUSA NDAHI

Shettima sacks council caretaker chairmen

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MAIDUGURI

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overnor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has approved the dissolution of the caretaker chairmen of the 27 local government areas with effect from April 22. Shettima said in a statement signed by the

Commissioner of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Kaka Bashir Garbai, the 27 caretaker chairmen “are hereby directed to handover to the secretaries of their respective local government areas on or before Wednesday the

24th of April, 2013”. The governor thanked the caretaker chairmen for the services rendered during their six months tenure and also wished them God’s guidance in their future endeavours. Shettima said his administration was deter-

mined to provide dividends of democracy to the people at the grassroots by opening up the rural areas. According to him, work is ongoing on Miringa -Garubula - Gunda Road, Damboa - Chibok - Mballa Road and the Marghi highway.

ano State Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, said the country’s sustainable development could only be guaranteed if government at all levels insisted on realistic budgeting. According to Kwankwaso, the three tiers of government must focus on projects that are specific and achievable based on priority, need and spread instead of embarking upon projects that will be abandoned. The governor spoke while receiving participants of Senior Executive Course No. 35, 2013 at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Plateau State, on a study tour to Kano. Kwankwaso therefore called on National Assembly members to carefully select development projects before including them in the federal

According to him, a situation whereby the Federal Government embarks on small projects in the name of “constituency projects,” and later abandon them is not in the best interest of the people. For instance, he argued that the Federal Government should have included in its budgets, the completion of major undertakings like Kano River, Bagwai and Kunchi irrigation projects, which were started decades ago in Kano instead of executing almost 100 yet-to-be completed primary healthcare centres, which ought to have been constructed by local governments. Consequently, the governor tasked leaders at all levels to be more serious in discharging their mandates and to adopt proactive approach towards the implementation of reports and recommendations of experts and stakeholders on critical issues.

Al-Makura orders Nasarawa varsity to remain shut IGBAWASE UKUMBA LAFIA

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asarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, yesterday directed that the state university in Keffi should remain closed until the fundamental problems that culminated in the crisis were satisfactorily addressed. Al-Makura’s directive came on the heels of a unilateral decision by the management of the university to reopen the institution without due consultation with the university’s Visitor, who is the governor. The governor said before the university could be reopened, the government would be guided by findings and recommendations of the committees set up to look into the crisis to resolve the identified issues.

Al-Makura spoke through his deputy, Dameshi Luka, while receiving reports from the committee government set up to investigate the recent violent crisis involving students of the Nasarawa State University and those of the visitation panels constituted on four state-owned tertiary institutions. He said: “Let me, however, point out that, while government was still awaiting the report of the investigation committee, the management of the university took a unilateral decision to re-open the institution without due consultation with the Visitor. “It is also worthy to note that the critical issues that led to the crisis are yet to be resolved, hence government views the posture of the university in this direction as pre-emptive of the report of the investigation committee.”


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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net

FG hires SAN to prosecute Leadership reporters ISE-OLUWA IGE

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he Federal Government has hired an Abuja-based member of the inner bar, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, as private lawyer to prosecute the Group News Editor, Mr. Tony Amokeodo and Political Correspondent, Mr. Chibuzor Ukaibe, of Leadership newspapers, over allegation of forging a document containing a presidential directive. The journalists are also accused of fraudulent publication of a bromide of the controversial document, inciting members of the public against the government to dislocate the nation’s peace and forgery of the seal, signet or sign manual purported to be the signature of President Jonathan Goodluck. But, the government which concealed a number of crucial documents containing details of the forgery allegation against the journalists, however, failed

yesterday to arraign them as they insisted on full disclosure of the entire case against them before they would know the type of plea to enter. Besides, the journalists, who were represented in court by a team of seven lawyers led by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, also opposed the bid by the government to arraign them on the account that they needed sufficient time to study the charge against them since the new counsel, Chief Awomolo, SAN, had further amended the charge and served them few minutes before the court sat. Hidden from the journalists yesterday were statements of star prosecution witnesses lined up by government to testify in the matter, the report of the handwriting analysts upon which the charge is anchored and three crucial annexures which the Federal Government refused to disclose. But, Falana, SAN, yesterday argued that the federal

high court procedure rules and section 36 (6) (b) of the 1999 Constitution command that every person charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to adequate time and facilities, including full proof of evidence for the preparation of the defence. He said they would need to study the amended charge containing six counts instead of the earlier charge which contained 10 counts and all the facilities including the full proof of evidence in the matter. “My lord, the constitution

did not say that the accused shall not be entitled to full proof of evidence. It is also not available to the prosecution to release the proof of evidence instalmentally,” he said yesterday. But Chief Awomolo told the court that the government had complied with the law by providing everything necessary for the arraignment to take place. Although, he agreed that they were entitled to sufficient time to prepare their defence, having just been served the amended charge

yesterday, he nonetheless argued that they were not entitled to the said crucial documents they sought for the arraignment to take place. Awomolo, who claimed yesterday that the summary of the statements of prosecution witnesses made available to the two journalists were sufficient to make the arraignment possible, however, said that if the journalists were still insisting on full disclosure, he said he would want them to address the court on the narrow legal issue. The trial judge, Justice Ad-

eniyi Ademola, adjourned further hearing in the case till April 30, even as he gave the Federal Government 24 hours to file its argument on the issue of full disclosure of proof of evidence before arraignment while the journalists are to respond within three days. The judge said that he would rule on the application at the next adjourned date after they must have adopted their arguments, saying that the journalists would be arraigned immediately after the ruling.

JTF destroys 294 drums of seized diesel RICHARD NDOMA CALABAR

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he Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield, Calabar Zone, on Monday in Calabar, Cross River State, continued its onslaught against illegal merchants of petroleum products as it destroyed over 294 drums of diesel it impounded last week in the state capital. The task force, made up of soldiers from the 13 Brigade, Calabar also destroyed one truck load of diesel, six generating sets, one J-5 bus and several hoses seized alongside the diesel from oil bunkerers. Speaking during the destruction exercise at the JTF dump site in Odukpani, near Calabar, the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, Major-General Olaniyi Adebayo, described bunkering as economic sabotage. Olaniyi said the Chief of Army Staff was committed to fighting oil bunkering, adding that the command was doing everything within its powers to wipe out the menace. According to him, the Federal Government has made eradication of oil bunkering one of its transformation agenda, adding that the army was ready to help government achieve zero-

bunkering level in order to boost the country’s economy. “Mr. President is fully in support of the eradication of oil bunkering in Nigeria as part of the realisation of his transformation agenda. “All we need from you is to help us with intelligence information and I assure you that we will bring this economic sabotage to an end. “It is a collective responsibility of every individual to ensure the eradication of this economic sabotage in our country, ‘’ he said. He further directed that the burnt truck should be completely destroyed to ensure that the owner did not come back to claim it and make use of it again. “We are going to cut the truck into pieces to ensure that the owners cannot regain them,” he said. Commander of 13 Brigade Nigeria Army, Calabar, Brig.-General Okwudili Azinta, said the consignment was impounded by men of the JTF following an intelligence report. He said the suspects on sighting the JTF operatives, jumped inside their boat and zoomed off. Azinta, who is also the sector commander of Operation Pulo Shield, Calabar zone said that the onslaught against oil bunkerers was a continuous one.

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima (centre), during a visit to the scene of the fighting in Baga, yesterday.

MASSOB accuses police, Army of killing members NWABUEZE OKONKWO ONITSHA

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he Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has accused soldiers and policemen of raiding the Oyi regional office of the movement in Anambra State during last Monday’s meeting, killing three of its members and arresting six others. In a press statement issued yesterday in Onitsha, entitled: “Police/Army raid MASSOB office, three shot dead,” and signed by MASSOB’s Deputy National Director of Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, MASSOB alleged that the incident took place at about 3.25 hours.

The statement further alleged that the raid was carried out at Ogbunike, along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, by a combined team of soldiers and policemen drafted from Awka in four Hilux vans who opened fire on the MASSOB members when they were holding their meeting at the time of the invasion. The movement gave the names of the deceased victims as; Somto Udeolisa, John Ekwerekwu and Ikwunne Agbata, while those arrested were Augustine Icha, Dieke Cletus, Dibor Donatus and Ignatius Ekwem, just as Adiogbu Jude and Ezekiel Metuh, were arrested and whisked away to an unknown destination. The statement added

that items removed from the MASSOB office were Biafran flags, a sign board, a cash of N10, 500 and six pairs of shirts and trousers, Biafran soldiers’ uniforms, six boots and six belts, adding that the combined team led by the Oyi Divisional Police Officer, DPO, at Nteje, took them to the state headquarters of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, at Awkuzu, but the policemen at the gate refused to accept the case, hence the disagreement among the security forces. It said the disagreement was where to take the MASSOB members to as a result of the crisis generated by the lingering Ezu River floating corpses, adding that it was at last that the

DPO directed the team to bring the arrested MASSOB members to his station at Nteje for detention. Recalling that during the weekend, one Mr. Chika Oka, a MASSOB member was arrested by the police in Onitsha and has been in detention at the Area Command Headquarters, Onitsha since then, the statement demanded the immediate release of the three bodies and other items including the nine motorcycles in the police custody. Meanwhile, MASSOB has threatened to shut down the country if eventually the Federal Government decided to slam a treason charge on its leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, as it is being threatened.

Plateau: Police plan house-to-house search for arms JAMES ABRAHAM JOS

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he Plateau State police command has announced plans to conduct a house-to-house search for illegal weapons in the state. The command also said it intercepted a cache of arms and Impro-

vised Explosive Devices, IEDs, set to be detonated within the state capital. State Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, said the police made the discovery following a tip off by concerned members of the public. The commissioner said the house-to-house search

for arms has become necessary in view of the attacks by gunmen that had become prevalent in some parts of the state. The police commissioner is also calling on the state and local governments’ administration to partner with the police by providing vehicles and

other logistics to help fight the growing insecurity in the state. He attributed the current conflict in some communities outside the state capital on the continuous disagreement between farmers and herdsmen on grazing areas and farmland.


National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

ficials. Spokesman of the forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi,

News

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

said during a visit to Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, secretariat in Kaduna, that using soldiers to curtail in-

surgency would aggravate the situation. The forum demanded judicial commission of inquiry into Baga killings adding that it should expand terms of reference for people to come out and testify. NEF said: “This is because most of these soldiers posted to these areas are not only known as soldiers but they are coming from totally different backgrounds. If you want a peace keeper in Borno, you need a person who can speak Hausa, somebody who can speak Kanuri, somebody who can speak Shuwa and most of the soldiers posted there cannot even communicate

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Outrage trails Boko Haram, JTF killings in Pidgin English. “This certainly is not the way an operation like this should be conducted. That is why we believe the President need not just a probe. We need a judicial commission of inquiry to unravel what has happened in Baga.” On the amnesty he said: “Where the government has one of its ministers as chairman of the committee and the secretary of the committee coming from the government this will not give the kind of confidence one expects to get because the other side was saying

they don’t need amnesty because it was the government that offended them. The only worry in some quarters is about the independence and neutrality of the committee because of its chairman and secretary.” The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, also condemned the reported killings. In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also warned the JTF against engaging in extra-judicial kill-

ings, saying the security agencies must respect the relevant rules of engagement in their ongoing onslaught against the sect in order to spare the lives and property of innocent civilians. ‘’Without jumping to any conclusion on what really transpired in Baga, we hasten to say that the military, in fighting an asymmetric war against insurgents, must ensure a strict observance of its rules of engagement to avoid the kind of deaths that were recorded in the border town.”


WORLD RECORD

Most trees planted simultaneously Vol. 03 No. 606

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Let the campaigns begin

arring last any minute hitches, the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC) parading the likes of former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and ex- military Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, looks set to mount a bruising challenge to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections. Of course, the coming days will test this confidence, especially as it approaches the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registration as a political party. Having fulfilled one of the major requirements, which is the winding down of their former political platforms and the fusion of all existing structures into one, the new outfit is bracing to hit the campaign trails. But for now, everything about it still remains in the realm of speculation.

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The most trees planted simultaneously was 64,096 and was achieved by the people of Siruma and Tinamba (Philippines), in Camarines Sur in association with the El Verde programme, Philippines, on 23 February, 2011.

orld number five, Rafael Nadal, will start this week’s Barcelona Open as the favourite to clinch his eighth title in the Catalonia capital. The Spaniard, who is former number one before he slipped into injury spells, is the second seed behind com-

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

How? It is still early in the day to give cast iron assurances that its registration is a fait accompli, especially when one of the three pretenders to that name is in court to challenge INEC on the proprietary of disqualifying it. As it stands, a legal pronouncement is eagerly awaited as to who should bear the name. For now, any little tremor could trigger a massive quake capable of putting all the plans and schemes of APC into serious jeopardy. Even such likely scenario should not cast any forlorn shadow on the present momentum and what lies ahead in the coming months. Political observers have always posited that one week is a long time in politics. So Nigeria is not going to be an exception to this rule and the concomitant subterfuge, intrigues, backstabbing, blackmail and betrayal that find resonance in this weird game. In this country, politics has been known to make strange bedfellows temporary soul mates, while turning long time friends into mortal enemies, all in the quest for fleeting power. It is therefore, not surprising to see the hurriedly arranged alignments and realignments now going on among political parties. All hunches portend that it is only a matter of time before we start seeing many political turncoats switching camps like harlots, just to actualise their basest ambitions. As it stands, the game of musical chairs has already begun, given that some prominent party chieftains are now becoming fixtures at book launch and seminars of

EVERY PARTY IS GOING INTO ITS BAGS TO CONJURE UP TRICKS THAT WILL DELIVER THE FATAL BLOW TO ITS OPPONENTS their political opponents, where they even grace the high tables in a deceptive show of camaraderie. No one should be deceived with such innocuous dispositions, as there has been the long held belief that some of them are now footloose and only bidding time to jump ship. It is such unabashed revolving door politics which is making this time interesting. Every party is going into its bags to conjure up tricks that will deliver the fatal blow to its opponents. So it was not out of place for the APC to latch on the perceived ineptitude of PDP on the economy to deliver a body blow. Also, the lingering Boko Haram insurgency and spate of kidnappings across the country provide it with convenient fodder to disparage the presidency and portray it as incompetent and weak in fighting crimes and criminal behaviours. President Jonathan is finding it difficult to shy away from such accusations, which many have come to associate with his administration. But it would be foolhardy to walk away without a fight. That was why

one of his advisers and Rottweiler, Dr Doyin Okupe, has come out blazing. In a no holds barred reply, he charged that it had become the norm for the opposition leaders to disparage the administration in order to confuse Nigerians and deceptively present themselves as possessing what is takes to move the country forward. Pulling no punches, Okupe in his trademark aggressive style, reminded the citizens that the same persons now pontificating on how to take Nigeria to the Promise Land had at one time in their political careers presided in their states and at the national level only to make a failure of governance. More explicit is fact that he told Nigerians how these Jonathan critics only succeeded in obscenely enriching themselves to an extent capable of making any Pharaoh shudder in utter disbelief. We all know that politics is a game of the possible, especially in a backward democracy like ours where politicians will employ every means to demobilise perceived enemies. So it did not come as any surprise that the APC is now shouting from the roof tops, following the moves by the founder of the Odua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasheun to resuscitate the moribund Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Even when he has the constitutional right to form any association in furtherance of his legitimate political goals, those who see the dark hands of PDP in all this accuse the doctor-turned politician of playing out a well orchestrated script to give Tinubu a run for his money in the Southwest. Who says anything is wrong in that? That other parties lack the numbers, strategy and spread to dislodge the PDP from power goes to reveal their weakness while making mockery of their much touted national outlook. For now, the campaign for 2015 has started in earnest and from the look of things, it promises to be a debilitating contest. It is well that Nigerians sit by the ringside and watch who wins this bloody fight.

Sport Extra

Tennis: Nadal targets Barcelona honour patriot David Ferrer at Real Club de Tenis. With the exception of 2010 when he did not enter the tournament due to injury, Nadal has dominated this event as well as most clay

court seasons during the past seven years. But the 26-year-old believes he needs to improve his physical conditioning following a first defeat in 10 years at the Monte Carlo

Masters on Sunday. Nadal says he still has time to prepare for the French Open which starts at Roland Garros on May 26. “Roland Garros is very far away but I will try my

best now to have a good week in Barcelona,” he said, stressing, “I have enough time to reach my peak before the French Open.” UEFA Champions League Bayern

4-0

Barcelona

Rafael Nadal

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013